1. Carrot frittata

A dash of olive oil
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
2 carrots, very thinly sliced

2 spring onions, sliced

8 eggs, lightly beaten

1 tsp of nutmeg

2 handfuls of frozen peas, slightly defrosted

200g of ricotta cheese, I use Toonsbridge Dairy

Heat the oil in a pan and gently sauté the garlic, carrot slices and spring onions until the carrots are soft.

Add the eggs to the pan and sprinkle with the nutmeg and seasoning. Sprinkle with the peas and gently cook until the eggs are setting. Crumble the ricotta into the pan and cook slowly until the eggs are set.

Serve while still warm with some salad or bread on the side.

2. Spiced Vegetable Biriyani

Basmati rice for four, about 250g

1 tsp of turmeric

A dash of rapeseed oil

1 red chilli, sliced

1 red onion, finely diced

A thumb-size piece of ginger, peeled and chopped

2 cloves of garlic, chopped

A carrot, diced

A handful of frozen peas

1 tsp of cinnamon

1 tbsp of madras curry powder

A handful of golden raisins

A handful of slivered almonds, toasted

Ginger and garlic are both particularly helpful this time of year for warding off colds as well as having other health benefits. You can add more ginger to this recipe if you wish.

Put the rice on to boil. Stir in the turmeric and some seasoning and drain when cooked.

In the meantime heat the oil and sauté the onion until it is turning translucent. Add the garlic, ginger, chilli, carrot and peas. Stir until the carrot is starting to soften.

Stir in the rice, cinnamon, curry powder and raisins. Stir until the rice is coated in the oil from the pan. Taste and season.

Serve with the toasted almonds on top.

3. Ham hock with lentils

1 ham hock

2 bay leaves

A bunch of thyme, left on the stalk

150g of puy lentils

1 onion, diced

1 medium carrot, diced

2 large potatoes, diced

1 stick of celery, diced

A knob of butter

1 tbsp of creme fraiche

Crunchy bread for four

The ham hock takes time to cook but it can be done in the background as you work away on other things. Hock is a relatively cheap cut of meat and is very tasty. We order ours for Slice and The Cake Café from Ed Hick family butchers.

Put the hock into a pot and completely cover in cold water, bring to the boil. Discard the water and fill the pot up again. Add the bay leaf and thyme and bring the water to the boil. Allow to simmer away with a lid on for two hours until the meat is falling off the bone. Top up with a little more water half way through if needed.

In the meantime in a frying pan melt the butter and sauté the onion, carrots, potatoes and celery until they are beginning to soften.

Remove the ham from the water and allow to cool and then pull the meat apart.

Add the lentils and the contents of the pan to the cooking water and boil until soft. Stir in the ham. Serve with a dollop of creme fraiche on top and the bread on the side.

4. Pan Fried Prawns on Toast

1. Carrot frittata

A dash of rapeseed oil

4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped

A thumb-size piece of ginger, peeled and finely chopped

1 red chilli, finely chopped

500g of prawns, heads removed and peeled

A knob of butter

8 slices of bread, toasted

A bunch of parsley, chopped finely

4 slices of lemon

Heat the oil in a pan and over a low heat gently fry the garlic, ginger and chilli until the garlic is about to change colour.

Add the prawns to the pan and fry until they are turning pink all over. Add the butter and allow it to heat up. Season well.

Spoon the prawns onto the slices of toast making sure to pour over all of the juices. Sprinkle with the parsley and squeeze some lemon on top.

5. Beef and Black Pepper Stir Fry

1. Carrot frittata

Basmati rice for four

A dash of rapeseed oil

2 cloves of garlic, finely sliced

1 red chilli, finely sliced

2 spring onions, finely sliced

1 carrot, julienne into fine strips

500g of beef fillet, finely sliced

2 tbsp of light soy sauce

2 tbsp of dry sherry

2 tbs of oyster sauce

1 tbsp of freshly cracked black pepper

A bunch of pak choi, pulled apart and sliced

Put the rice on to boil in lightly salted water and drain when cooked.

Heat the oil to very hot in a large wok. Add the garlic, chilli, spring onion and carrots and stir fry quickly for 30 seconds.

Add the beef to the pan and stir fry for another 30 seconds.

Add the three sauces and the black pepper and take off the heat. Taste to see that there is enough flavour. It will probably not need to be seasoned as the soy sauce will add enough salt.

Serve spooned over the rice.


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