What's for lunch?? 

My all-day workshops are hard work, and everyone deserves a decent lunch to keep them going. It’s lovely to sit together and talk about our arty morning over a freshly prepared meal. I am often asked for my recipes so here are a few samples. I’ve been making some things so long I can’t remember where I got the recipe, and the amounts are approximate. Others are new - where possible I’ve indicated where I’ve got the recipes. The photos are mine. 

Grilled Mediterranean vegetables with Spinach and Thyme

I love thyme.

1 Aubergine sliced into chunks the size of two fingers.
1 Courgette sliced into finger-sized chunks.
1 Red and 1 yellow pepper
Spinach Handful pine nuts
3 tbs Balsamic vinegar
8 tbs Olive Oil Thyme (dried or fresh)
Pine nuts

Slice the peppers in half and place on an oven tray sliced-side-down and grill until they are blackened. When they are cooled enough to handle, peel the skins off and slice into finger-sized strips.

Put aubergine and courgettes onto a baking tray and grill till golden - keep an eye on them and turn half way through. Do not leave the kitchen...

Mix the balsamic vinegar and olive oil in a jam jar with a lid, and give a good shake.

In a large salad bowl, scatter half the spinach leaves, arrange half the grilled vegetables on top and drizzle with the oil and vinegar mix. Sprinkle with thyme.

Then put the remaining spinach on top, and cover with the remaining vegetables, drizzle with more dressing and thyme. Put a handful of pine nuts into a small dry frying pan and toast them.

When cool, sprinkle over the salad and serve with yoghurty-garlic dressing. 

Roast mediterranean vegetables and melting cheese

4 tbs olive oil
6oz baby new potatoes, halved
1 red onion cut into wedges
1 small aubergine, cut into chunks
1 courgette, sliced
1 red and 1 yellow pepper, deseeded and cut into chunks (you can also add chunks of butternut squash)
salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
a few sprigs of fresh thyme and rosemary
4 tomatoes sliced in wedges
150g melting cheese such as brie or camembert
basil leaves to garnish

Pour the olive oil into a roasting tray and add the new potatoes, red onion, aubergine, courgette and pepper (and squash, if using).

Season with salt and pepper, add the cumin seeds, then toss together to coat. Add the sprigs of thyme and rosemary.

Roast for 30 minutes (oven 200C - I use the top oven of the Aga) then add tomatoes and wedges of cheese and roast for 5 more minutes.

Serve garnished with basil, accompanied by warm ciabatta or crunchy French baguettes. 

Crunchy Coleslaw

1/4 white cabbage
6 spring onions, finely sliced
5 tbs mayonnaise
2 tbs natural yoghurt
handful sultanas
handful chopped peanuts (optional)
handful parsley, finely chopped

Cut the cabbage as finely as you like - I don’t cut mine too thin as I like a good crunch.

Put in a large mixing bowl and add sultanas, spring onions and peanuts (if using).

Stir, then add mayonnaise and yoghurt. Season with salt and pepper, stir in parsley preserving a few leaves to garnish when you serve.

This is really good with Lasagne or Mediterranean Lamb. 

Tarragon Chicken

1 cooked chicken about 3lb raw weight
1 heaped tsp chopped fresh tarragpn
4 oz seedless grapes, halved
5 fl oz mayonnaise, preferably home made
3 fl oz double cream
3 spring onions, finely chopped
1 small lettuce, washed and dried
salt and freshly milled pepper

Remove the skin from the chicken and slice all the flesh into longish pieces. Place in a large bowl and season with salt and pepper.

In a separate bowl, mix the mayonnaise with the cream, add chopped tarragon and spring onions. Pour the sauce over the chicken, mix well and arrange on a plate of crisp lettuce leaves. Garnish with grapes.


Oatmeal Cookies

100g raisins
150ml vegetable oil
200g golden caster sugar
1 large egg, beaten
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla extract
140g plain flour
¼ tsp bicarbonate of soda
300g oats

Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4 and line 2 baking trays with baking parchment. Pour 50ml/2fl oz boiling water over the raisins and leave to soak for 20 mins until plump. Drain, reserving the liquid.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, mix together the oil and sugar. Gradually beat in the egg, along with the reserved water from the raisins, the cinnamon and vanilla extract. Sift the flour, bicarbonate of soda and a pinch of salt into the bowl, then add the oats. Finally, mix in the raisins.

Drop heaped tbsp of the cookie dough onto the baking trays, well spaced apart as they will spread when cooking. Bake for 12-15 mins until golden. Leave to cool on the trays for 10 mins before tucking in, or transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely. Will keep in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

From bbcgoodfood.com 

Luxury Chocolate Tiffin

100g unsalted butter, diced, plus more for the tin
80g shelled, unsalted pistachios (or hazelnuts or pine nuts)
1 tbsp golden syrup
100g 70% cocoa solids chocolate, broken into pieces
100g plain biscuits (or even unsweetened cornflakes)
80g dried sour cherries (or dried blueberries, cranberries, apricots or figs), finely chopped

Lightly butter a 20cm square tin or Swiss roll tin and line it with clingfilm; this will make it easier to remove the tiffin later.

Preheat the oven to 170ºC/fan 160ºC/340ºF/gas mark 3 1/2. Scatter the nuts on to a baking sheet and roast in the oven for about 5 minutes, shaking once and watching carefully to make sure they don’t burn, then remove and chop into chunks.

Find a bowl that will fit over a pan of simmering water, making sure the base of the bowl does not touch the water. In the bowl, melt the butter, syrup and chocolate together. Place the biscuits in a large polythene bag, seal the top, then bash with a rolling pin until very finely crushed. Add the nuts, dried fruit and biscuits to the butter mixture and stir until all is very well blended.

Spoon into the prepared tin (or the silicone moulds, if you are making nuggets) and set in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours. If you have used a tin, wait until the tiffin is set, then bring to room temperature to make it easier to cut (it might crack if too chilled). Cut into 3cm squares, wiping the knife with kitchen towel between slices.

From deliciousmagazine.co.uk

Lemon Curd

I use a lot of lemons in my classes and this recipe uses them up nicely.

Grated zest and juice 4 large lemons
4 large eggs
12 oz unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into lumps.
1 level dessert spoon cornflour

Begin by lightly whisking the eggs in a medium-sized saucepan, then add the rest of the ingredients and place the saucepan over a medium heat.

Now whisk continuously using a balloon whisk until the mixture thickens – about 7-8 minutes.

Next, lower the heat to its minimum setting and let the curd gently simmer for a further minute, continuing to whisk. After that, remove it from the heat.

Now pour the lemon curd into the hot, sterilised jars, filling them as full as possible, cover straightaway with waxed discs, seal while it is still hot and label when it is cold. It will keep for several weeks, but it must be stored in a cool place.


2 egg whites
115g (4 oz) caster sugar
pinch of salt (For every egg white use 55g (2 oz) caster sugar) Silicone paper

Separate each egg white and allow no yolk to contaminate the egg whites. Add a small pinch of salt and whisk.

Once it reaches soft peaks add the sugar with the mixer running, a tsp at a time until it is incorporated. Pipe or spoon onto silicone paper.

Place in the bottom of a very low oven (I use the simmering oven of the Aga) for 2 to 2 1/2 hours. Lift meringues off and place upside down on the baking sheet, and transfer the baking sheet onto a folded tea towel to dry out.

To serve, top with whipped cream and fresh sliced strawberries and grapes. 

Yoghurty-garlic dressing

150 ml Greek Yoghurt
2 tbs Mayonnaise
1 tsp mustard powder
1 tbs lemon juice
2 cloves garlic, crushed
salt & freshly milled pepper

Mix together garlic, mayonnaise, yoghurt and mustard powder.

Add the lemon juice and stir in. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to smaller dishes to serve and drizzle with a pinch of paprika.

Most Fabulous, punchy vinaigrette dressing

1 small glove garlic
1 tsp salt
1 rounded tsp mustard powder
1 dessert spoon white wine vinegar
5 dessert spoons olive oil 1 dessert spoon snipped fresh chives salt and freshly ground pepper

Crush the garlic and salt together with a pestle and mortar, then work the mustard powder into it. Add pepper.

Stir in the vinegar, oil and chives, then pour into a screw topped jar and shake vigorously.

Voila! Wonderful on tomato based/mozzarella salads, with added basil. 

Avocado and parma ham salad

80 gm parma ham
1 medium lettuce or bag of mixed salad leaves
2 ripe avocados
4 spring onions, finely chopped
150 g mozzarella cheese
Handful of chives
5 fl oz soured cream
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tbs mayonnaise
1 level tsp mustard powder
2 tbs olive oil
1 tbs wine vinegar
1 tbs lemon juice
salt and freshly ground pepper

Begin by combining the soured cream with the garlic, mayonnaise and mustard powder. Then mix together the oil, vinegar and lemon juice and gradually add these to the soured cream mixture, seasoning with salt and pepper.

Next break up the lettuce leaves and arrange them in a salad bowl Fold the parma ham into loose rolls and place on top of the lettuce.

Prepare the avocados by removing the stones and peeling them, then cutting them into ½ in (1 cm) cubes. Add these to the lettuce.

Cut the mozarella into chunks and dot on top, in an around the avocado. Mix it all together gently, then add the dressing and toss again very gently. 

Sprinkle the chopped spring onions all over the surface and serve straight away. This is nice with crusty bread.

(adapted from Delia Smith’s Four star salad.)