1. Pumpkin Soup with Maple Syrup

1 medium-sized pumpkin, about 600g after it is peeled and de seeded, cut into large chunks
A dash of rapeseed oil


6 cloves of garlic, roasted whole

1 large spanish onion, diced

1 tsp of ground cinnamon

1 tsp of mild chilli powder

800mls of stock

100 mls of dry sherry, such as fino

2 tbsp of maple syrup

A handful of pumpkin seeds

Crunchy bread for four

This is a recipe I adapted from The New York Times. I love the sweet intense note that the maple syrup adds to the soup. It is the perfect winter warmer to comfort you after a long day at work. Butternut squash or sweet potato can work well if you do not have pumpkin.

Toss the pumpkin chunks in the oil and seasoning and place into the oven heated to 190 degrees. At the same time place the whole garlic cloves onto a tray and roast them on the other shelf.

Heat another dash of oil in a large saucepan and sauté the onion slowly until it is completely soft and translucent.

When the pumpkin is completely soft remove from the oven and add it to the pot with the onion. Add the garlic cloves too, as well as the cinnamon, chilli, stock, sherry and maple syrup. Blend well until it is completely smooth. Taste and season.

Heat the soup and serve with a sprinkling of seeds and the crunchy bread on the side. You ca also have a salad with it if you wish.


2. Mackerel Hash bake

A dash of olive oil

1 onion, finely diced

A bunch of dill, chopped

The zest of a lemon

1 tsp of wholegrain mustard

100 mls of creme fraiche

100 mls of stock

3 smoked mackerel fillets, flaked

Rocket leaves for four

vinaigrette dressing

Put the potatoes on to boil in lightly salted water and drain when cooked. Chop into bite size chunks when cool enough to handle.

Heat a dash of oil and sauté the onion until it is turning translucent.

Toss it through the chunks of potato and put it all into an oven proof dish and season. Place into an oven heated to 180 degrees for ten minutes.

Stir in the lemon zest, mustard, creme fraiche and stock. Gently stir the mackerel through and place back into the oven until it is bubbling.

Toss the leaves in the dressing and some seasoning.

Serve a scoop of the hash per person along with a handful of rocket.


3. Grilled gammon with parsnip mash and pineapple salsa

600g of parsnips, peeled and roughly chopped

½ red onion, finely diced

1 red chilli, finely chopped

½ large pineapple peeled, core removed and finely chopped

A bunch of mint, finely chopped

A bunch of parsley, chopped

½ tbs of lime juice

A bunch of chives, chopped

A dash of olive oil

4 gammon steaks

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

In the meantime stir the red onion, half of the chilli, the pineapple, mint and half of the parsley together. Stir in the lime juice and set aside to allow the flavours blend.

Mash the parsnips with the oil and chives as well as the rest of the chilli and parsley. Taste and season well.

Put the gammon steaks under the grill and cook until golden. Turn over and grill on the other side.

Taste the salsa and season. Serve the gammon with the mash and the salsa on the side.


4. Beetroot Rosti with a Raw Carrot Salad

1. Pumpkin Soup with Maple Syrup

4 large waxy potatoes

1 clove of garlic, finely grated

1 tsp of ground nutmeg

2 medium sized beetroot, roughly grated

2 eggs, lightly beaten

Zest of a lemon, juice of half

2 tbsp of rapeseed oil

½ a thumb size piece of ginger, grated

2 spring onions, very finely sliced

2 tsp of cumin seeds, toasted

1 tsp of coriander seeds, toasted and lightly crushed

3 large carrots, roughly grated

1 tbsp of creme fraiche

Par boil the potatoes for ten minutes, drain and set aside to cool.

Stir the garlic, nutmeg, beetroot and egg together. Season.

Once the potatoes have cooled, roughly grate them. Stir them into the beetroot mixture and form into eight patties and set aside in the fridge for about 15 minutes.

Mix the lemon juice and zest, most of the oil, the ginger, spring onions, cumin and coriander seeds. Taste and season. Toss the carrots in the dressing.

Heat the rest of oil in a pan over a medium heat. Fry the patties on either side until they are turning golden about 5 minutes.

Serve the patties while still hot with the carrot salad and a spoon of creme fraiche on each plate.


5. Salmon and Lime Salad

1. Pumpkin Soup with Maple Syrup

Rice for two, left over rice is perfect

The juice of half a lime and the zest of a whole one

½ tbsp of fish sauce

1 tsp of honey

½ thumb-sized piece of ginger, finely grated

2 cloves of garlic, finely grated

½ tbsp of light soya sauce

2 tbsp of rapeseed oil

4 flat breads

6 spring onions, white parts sliced

1 small cucumber, thinly sliced

A large handful of rocket

500g of smoked salmon, cut into strips

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

Mix together the lime juice and zest, fish sauce, honey, ginger, half of the garlic, soya sauce and most of the rapeseed oil. Taste and season. You can add some chilli if you like as well.

Rub the rest of the garlic into the flat bread and drizzle with the rest of the oil. Season well and place under a grill until golden.

Toss the spring onion, cucumber, rocket and rice in the dressing. Gently toss the salmon through the salad and serve with the flat breads on the side.


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