Recipe: Chicken Kievs with buttered Jersey Royals

IS THERE A better retro dish to hark back to than the chicken Kiev?  For me, you can't beat that waft of garlic as it smacks you in the face when you open the oven door.

Making them at home really doesn't require much time or effort at all. It's one of those dishes that gives you so much satisfaction that you just want to put your cutlery down and lie back in your chair with a big smile on your face.

Ingredients (serves 2):

2x free-range chicken breasts
125g butter, softened (I always use Abernethy butter)
3 garlic cloves, grated
Bunch of Parsley, chopped
150g plain flour
2 free-range eggs, beaten
200g panko breadcrumbs
Small packet of Jersey Royals
Good quality sea salt

Sweetcorn to accompany


1) Turn the oven on to 180C and have a deep fat frying on at 190C. Mix the butter, garlic, parsley and a pinch of salt together.  Set aside.

2) Remove the fillet from the chicken breast. With a sharp knife, make an incision straight down the thickest part of the breast, being careful not to cut straight through. The aim is to make a pocket for the butter.  Next, make gentle slicing motions to either side of the initial slit to open up the breast. Stuff with the butter and carefully prise the chicken back together (it should stick together a little).  Bash out the fillet slightly, and gently press onto the incision to seal.

3) Have the flour, panko breadcrumbs and beaten egg mix ready.  Place the breast in the flour, ensuring it's covered all over, then repeat the process with the egg wash before placing in the panko breadcrumbs, flipping to coat. If this fails to coat it well enough, pop the chicken back into the egg wash and back into the breadcrumbs. This can be messy so try and use one hand for the dry parts, the other for the egg.

4) Place the Jersey Royals in a pot and fill with cold water.  Bring to a boil and cook for 8-10 mins until tender.  Drain.

5) Carefully place the Kiev into the deep fat fryer, placing it away from you. Cook for 3-4 mins until golden. Drop onto some kitchen paper and repeat for the other Kiev.  Place into the oven for a further 5 mins to finish off.

6) While the Kievs are in the oven, place a couple of handfuls of sweetcorn in a pan.  Boil the kettle and fill the pan with water. Melt a knob of butter in a pan and add the Jersey Royals.

7) Remove the Kievs from the oven and drain the corn.  Finish the potatoes with the remaining chopped parsley. Serve.

Recipe: Tarka daal

I AM GUILTY of indulging in the odd curry at lunchtime, with The Mosque Kitchen, Punjabi Junction and Desi Pakwan being my regular haunts. I was recently told by the team at BBC Kitchen Cafe that my file has me down as a 'huge meat eater', so I thought I better make a vegetarian contribution to slightly alter that perception. Tarka dal is my usual choice so here is my take on it.

A huge meat eater I am, but I am also heavy with my spice usage.  I have mentioned on here before sitting at my Nan's as a child grinding spices with a pestle and mortar, and although I have graduated to an electric spice grinder (that once masqueraded as a coffee grinder), I still get a tremendous amount of pleasure from the old-fashioned methods.  Spice grinding is a bit of an art form and it's very easy to over blend your spices when using an electric grinder, resulting in a bitter taste to your mix.  You have far more control with a pestle and mortar, so it's worth making room for one in your kitchen.  If you do use a machine, the key is to blend in short pulses and to use your sense of smell as a guide.

Ingredients (serves two):

250g dried yellow split peas or red lentils
1x small red onion, finely diced
3 cloves, garlic, sliced
Thumb-sized piece, ginger, finely chopped or grated
3 green chillis, pricked with a fork
1 red bullet chilli, chopped (optional if you want more heat)
Tin of good quality chopped tomatoes
1tsp organic tomato puree
1tbsp cumin seeds
1tbsp coriander seeds
1tsp garam masala
1/2 tsp turmeric
Few sprigs of coriander, chopped
Few sprigs of Parsley chopped
Vegetable stock to cover
Sea salt


1) Cook the yellow split peas in the stock for 45-50 mins until tender. Drain in a sieve, keeping some of the stock for later and allow to cool.

2) Place a frying pan on a medium heat.  Add the whole spices for 10-12 seconds. When the aroma hits your nose, place them into your pestle and mortar or grinder and crush to a fine powder.  Add the remaining spices and set aside.

3) Sweat the onion for 5-6 mins then add the ginger, garlic, green chillis and red chilli (if using) for a further minute.  Add the tomato puree and stir for another minute.  Now add the spice mix and the tinned tomatoes.

4) Add the split peas or lentils to this mix with a pinch of salt and add a couple of ladles of the stock set aside earlier. Bring to the boil then reduce to a simmer for around 15 mins. Be careful not to overcook or you will make it mushy and lose the texture of the peas.

5) This dish is ready to eat, but for best results, leave in the fridge overnight to develop those flavours.  Simply pop it into a takeaway dish and take it for your lunch, reheat in a microwave or a pot. Serve with some delicious bread or a microwaveable packet of rice. Tasty, healthy and simple to make!

Recipe: Confit pork belly with black pudding, cauliflower cheese puree, kale and cider jus

A TRIP TO my beloved Manchester wouldn't be the same without rounding it off with a visit to Westmorland Farm Shop in Cumbria. As we head back up the M6 to Edinburgh, this little oasis provides a welcome change from the usual service station offerings of junk food and overpriced coffee house chains. On this occasion, I picked up some terrific black pudding and a hunk of my favourite meat - pork belly.  I couldn't wait to get home and start cooking.

I'm always impressed with the pricing at this particular farm shop.  Whilst I wholeheartedly welcome the influx of these businesses over the years, you often pay a premium, but Westmorland is refreshingly good value and offers just as good quality and service as any farm shop I've visited.

This pork belly recipe is one of my fondest of all of all recipes. I used to try and improve my cooking by making dishes from Gordon Ramsay's cookbooks before I enrolled at catering school in Glenrothes.  The first time I ever made pork belly was from one of Gordon's BBC Good Food Magazine recipes and although I've tried several different methods since, this one always achieves the best results.

I must mention black pudding before we get into the nitty-gritty of the recipe.  I've done a few recipes on my blog with it over the years and was delighted when it was announced as a superfood.  I think it goes so well with pork and the combinations of the sweet meat, earthy cauliflower puree and the black pudding are just heavenly.

This is quite an indulgent dish despite the fact that it's relatively pocket-friendly.  It's also an ideal main course for having guests over at the weekend because it can (bar the black pudding) be made in advance and warmed up.  The cider jus is crucial, as it provides the acidity necessary to cut through the richness of the main ingredients. We all know that pork and apple is a perfect match!

Ingredients (serves 2):

For the pork:

600g pork belly, fat scored
Bulb of garlic, cut in half
2 separate garlic cloves, sliced
500mls vegetable or rapeseed oil
2tsbp Chinese five spice
Good quality sea salt

Cauliflower cheese puree: 

1/2 cauliflower, cut into florets
1 shallot, finely diced
Pint of milk
1 organic chicken stock cube
Good knob of Butter (I use Abernethy Butter)
100g Cheddar cheese (I used Keen's), grated
50g Parmesan, grated
White pepper

2 pieces of black pudding
1 bottle of cider
250g kale
Rapeseed oil
Sea salt
Organic black pepper


1) Stir the five spice into a few glugs of oil, add the salt and sliced garlic. Rub all over the pork, especially in between the slits in the skin. Place the pork in a snug-fitting tray and wrap in cling film.  Leave in fridge overnight, if not for 24 hours.

2) When ready to remove from the fridge, boil the kettle and turn the oven on to 200C.  Very carefully pour the boiling water over the skin.  This will help to achieve the perfect crackling. Place the pork back in the tray along with the sliced bulb of garlic.  Top up with oil until the flesh is covered and the skin just above the level of the oil.  Sprinkle a pinch of sea salt onto the skin.  Place in the oven for 20 mins then turn heat down to 150C.  Leave in the oven for four hours. When tender, remove from the oven and pat dry.

*TIP* These first two steps can be done a day or two in advance.  The pork belly will just need a quick blast in the oven to reheat.

3) Turn oven on at 180C. Melt the butter in a pan and sweat the shallot fo 6-7 mins.  Add the cauliflower florets and the stock cube then cover with the milk.  Season with salt and pepper.  Bring to the boil and turn down to a simmer.  This dish does need frequent stirring.

4) Once the cauliflower is on, pour the cider into a saucepan and bring to the boil.  Turn down the heat and allow to reduce until an almost treacle-like consistency is achieved - the acidity is crucial for cutting through the richness of the dish.

5) When the cauliflower is tender, blitz with a stick blender or in a food processor until smooth. Beat in the cheese and correct the seasoning.  Remember the cheese is salty, so watch how much salt you had beforehand. Set aside. Turn the grill on to a high heat.

6) When the puree is made, place the kale in a steamer for around 5-6 mins.  At the same time, place the pork belly under the grill for a couple of minutes to crispen the crackling.  Set aside for a few minutes to rest.

7) Place a non-stick frying pan onto a medium-high heat.  Place the black pudding into the dry pan and cook for 1-2 mins on either side as you plate.

8) Ladle the warmed up cauliflower cheese puree onto your plate.  Put a chunk of the rested pork belly on along with a portion of kale.  Next, put the cooked black pudding on.  Drizzle with a little of the cider jus and serve.

Recipe: Mushroom risotto 

I WAS SURPRISED to see an Italian staple like risotto featured so frequently on menus when we visited San Sebastian in the Basque region of Spain last October.  With such amazing produce on their doorstep, I have always admired the humility of the Spanish when it comes to their own food.  With that in mind, I suppose it's no surprise that you would find this humble dish so prominent in the wonderful plethora of pintxo bars that this beautiful city is famed for.

The key to achieving maximum enjoyment from this dish is to avoid buying those bland white mushrooms from the supermarket.  It's worth paying a little extra for chestnut mushrooms, or, even better, wild mushrooms if you can get them.  One of my pet peeves is seeing restaurants billing this dish as "wild mushroom risotto" when it's clearly just made with white mushrooms that pale in comparison flavour-wise.  I suppose it adds another couple of quid on to the bill... 

For me, this dish also represents where my own cooking-style is at at the moment: just simple cooking, using good ingredients and not trying to reinvent the wheel - classics are classics for a reason and some things, given the care and attention they deserve, just don't need to be tampered with.

Ingredients (serves 2):

150g arborio or carnaroli rice
100g chestnut or wild mushrooms, roughly chopped
150mls white wine
75g Grana Padano, grated
2 chicken stock cubes, dissolved in 500mls boiling water
Two tbsps creme fraiche
Bunch of chives, finely chopped
Truffle oil, to drizzle
25g butter
1 shallot, finely diced
1 garlic clove, grated


1) Melt the butter and add a splash of olive oil in a saucepan.  Sweat the shallot for 6-7 mins then add the garlic and chopped mushrooms.  Cook for a further minute. Make sure you have brought the stock upto the boil at this point.

2) Add the rice to the pan and mix with a spatula.  Let it cook for 1-2 mins until you hear the rice "pop".  Add the wine and allow it to reduce right down to almost nothing.

3) Start adding the stock ladle at a time, just to cover.  Allow it to reduce, then add another ladle or two, stirring occasionally.  Repeat this process for around 15 mins until rice is cooked "al dente". 

4) Turn off the heat and stir in the creme fraiche, Grana Padano and chopped chives.  Check the seasoning (remember the cheese is salty, so it's key to do this after adding it). Allow the risotto to rest for a couple of minutes.

5) Serve in a warm bowl and drizzle a few drops of truffle oil over it.

Recipe: Scotch lamb koftas with red pepper and tomato cous cous with mint raita

THE BEAUTY OF this lamb kofta recipe is that it can be adapted to use in many different dishes. From lamb burgers to a tagine with pomegranate seeds and sweet potato, or a meatball curry, this versatile mix is delicious in whatever guise you feel like making on the day. This particular recipe is straightforward to cook and doesn't take much time whatsoever. The koftas can be made well ahead, ready to seal and finish in the oven while you cook the cous cous and chop up a salad. Plus, it celebrates Scotch lamb! What's not to love!?

Ingredients (serves 2)

400g lamb mince
1 small tin, harissa paste
2 cloves garlic, grated
Tsp ground cumin seeds
1 egg, beaten
2 tbsp breadcrumbs
150g cous cous
1/2 red pepper, cut into small dice
2 ripe tomatoes, skinned and cut into small dice or concasse
Bunch spring onions, sliced
Chicken stock to cover
1 block of feta cheese
1 red onion, rouchly chopped
2 ripe tomatoes, roughly chopped
Lemon juice
Olive oil
1 packet of mint, chopped
1 small tub of organic natural yogurt
Packet of flatbreads or pittas
Sea salt


1) Preheat the oven to 180C. Mix the harissa paste in with the lamb, garlic, cumin, egg, breadcrumbs and seasoning. Give it a good mix and pounding down with your fist until slightly mushier in texture.

2) Take a good pinch of the meat and roll into the size of a golf ball. Repeat and place onto a tray, cover and pop in the fridge for 20 mins to firm up slightly.

3) Meanwhile, prep the salad and cous cous, leaving out the lemon juice and olive oil from the salad until serving.  Place in a bowl and reserve in the fridge.

4) Place a frying pan on a moderate heat.  Add oil then gently colour the meatballs on all sides.  Be careful not to have the pan too hot, or they may burn or break apart. This should take 5-6 mins per batch. Once coloured, place into the oven on a grill tray (so they cook evenly) for 8-10 mins.

5) Chop the mint and add to the yogurt with a good squeeze of lemon and some sea salt.  Mix thoroughly.

6) Halfway through this process, boil the kettle.  Warm the chicken stock (or 200mls of boiling water with a stock cube).  Put the cous cous into a bowl and add the stock, covering with cling film.  Leave for 5-6 mins. When done, whisk with a fork and add the tomatoes, pepper and spring onions.  Check the seasoning and stir the ingredients to mix.

7) Spoon the cous cous into the centre of a bowl or plate.  Place the desired amount of meatballs on top.  Serve with flatbreads, raita and salad on the side.

Happy cooking!

Recipe: Ultimate salmon fishcakes 

Unlike some fishcakes you buy in the shops, these bad boys aren't bulked out with mashed potato, which, for me, dilutes the true pleasure of eating one of Scotland's best products.  These fishcakes are bursting with fresh, zingy flavours that are truly delicious.  You can easily make a larger batch to freeze for another day.

Ingredients: (serves 2)

2 salmon fillets
2 shallots, diced
1 egg, beaten
1 tsp capers
50g gherkins, diced
Bunch of parsley
Zest of one lemon
Dash Worcestershire sauce
3 slices of bread (slightly stale)
Rapeseed oil, for shallow frying

For tartare sauce
100g (about 7 tbsp) Mayonnaise
1 tsp capers, chopped
1 tsp gherkin, diced
¼ of a carrot, cut into brunoise (fine dice)
1 small shallot. Finely diced
Squeeze of lemon juice


  1)      Preheat the oven to Gas mark 5
  2)      Butter a piece of tin foil (one for each fillet) and sprinkle a little of the zest over the salmon fillets.  Place in the oven for around 18-20 mins until just cooked.  Coarsely flake into a bowl.
  3)      Add all the ingredients (apart from the breadcrumbs) and mix together, then shape into desired shape (I like 2 smallish sized cakes for starters)
  4)      Place in fridge and allow to set for around 30 mins
  5)      Meanwhile, combine all the ingredients for the tartare sauce and place in fridge 
  6)      Sprinkle some flour onto plate, beat another egg into a bowl and have the breadcrumbs ready to coat the fishcakes.  Pop the cakes in the flour giving them a light coating, then pop them in the egg wash to coat. Place the fishcakes into the breadcrumbs and lightly press them down, trying not to move them around too much. Turn it over and repeat until covered, dust off ay excess.
  7)      Once coated, place a frying pan on a medium heat and add enough oil so the pan  is just covered.  When the pan is hot enough (you don’t want it too hot or the outside will burn, leaving the inside cold) place the fishcakes in. It should make lightly sizzling sound.  Cook for about 3-4 mins until lightly golden, then flip over and repeat.  

     Peter Suggests... Chardonnay is the common theme with salmon - ideally unoaked and at just below room temperature.  Something like a Chablis would be excellent with this, as would a Chardonnay sparkling wine or Champagne.  On Champagne, the phrase Blanc de Blancs on fizz means it is made entirely of Chardonnay, but if you see it on a sparkling wine it just means it is made out of white grapes, so take a peak on the back label to see what grapes are in it.
2008 Chablis Denis Race (Burgundy, France) £15.00 (Independent Wine Stores)
2009 Plantagenet Omrah Chardonnay (Australia) £10.00 (Widely available)


Recipe: Fennel seed, tomato and chilli sausage rolls

HAVING ANTICIPATED SPENDING the first day of the New Year with a hangover I knew that some comforting snacks would be needed to raise spirits, well at least until the cava was cracked open. Having developed a slight obsession for fennel and chilli sausages it seemed the natural choice of filling for this easy-to-make treat.

My mother will probably tell you my love of cooking started because I like making a mess and there is plenty to guddle with in this recipe, my favourite part  being mixing the ingredients for the sausage meat filling. Just chuck it all in and get squishing... It's terribly therapeutic!


500g sausage meat 
1/2 small onion, finely diced
1 1/2 tbsp ground fennel seeds
1 tbsp tomato puree
1 tbsp dried chilli seeds (you could chop a fresh one up, I prefer dried)
2 garlic cloves, grated 
375g ready rolled puff pastry
2 eggs, beaten


1) Pre-heat the oven to 180C. Make the filling by placing all ingredients bar the pastry and egg into a mixing bowl and mix thoroughly.  I like to punch the meat to make it smoother in texture. 

2) Cut out three even sheets of cling film, overlapping each layer by about an inch.  Roughly roll the sausage meat about two inches in from the body.  Pull over the excess closest to you and tightly roll into an even-sized sausage shape.  Tie at the ends and place in the fridge for twenty minutes.

3) On a floured work surface, roll out the pastry.  Beat two eggs in a bowl with a splash of water.  Remove the sausage meat from the fridge and place on the pastry as you did with the cling film previously.  Brush the egg mix around the edges and fold over.  Tuck in the pastry at the sides and lay on a baking tray.

4) With a sharp knife, make slits at one-inch intervals to allow the steam to escape. Brush the egg wash all over and place in the top shelf of the oven for around 45 mins.

5) Serve hot or cold. Great with a cold beer and I recommend Adnan's Broadside for its caramely fruitiness that I think is sublime with my tasty sausage rolls. Happy cooking!


Recipe: Smoked mackerel pate on sourdough toast

Easy no cook lunch... 

This dish is a really simple, no cook lunch that can be prepared days in advance - perfect for taking to work.  Mackerel is cheap, sustainable and rich in Omega 3, so we should be eating more of it! I love the silver and blue markings of this beautiful fish. I didn't realise, and was a little surprised,  to learn that mackerel is Scotland's most valuable species of fish (check out

So, here is my recipe for mackerel pate with toasted sourdough bread:

Ingredients (makes about three ramekins worth):

Four smoked mackerel fillets (you could use peppered if you please)
2 tbsp Dijon mustard
2 tbsp honey
3 tbsp creme fraiche
Good dash of lemon juice
125g butter
Sea salt flakes
Sourdough loaf, sliced thinly (try making your own at
Bunch of spring onions, sliced
Micro parsley (or chopped) to garnish


1) Remove the skin and flake the flesh of the fish into a bowl. Add mustard, honey, creme fraiche, lemon juice and seasoning and blend in a food processor until smooth.

2) Check the seasoning then add the butter, blend again. 

3) Scoop into ramekins or whatever moulds you have available, cover and chill for at least two hours.

4) To serve, toast the sourdough then spead the pate, sprinkle over some spring onions and dig in.

Recipe: Garlic, olive and Parmesan fougasse

MAKING BREAD IS one of my favourite things to do in the kitchen.  From making a mess with flour to the therapeutic kneading of the dough, and the wonderful yeasty aromas from the oven; I just love knocking up a loaf. Although things are getting better slowly in the UK, a recent trip to Spain reminded me how far away we are of providing quality bread for the masses in this country.  This one is ideal for sharing and is quick to make, as it requires little proving.

I have a ton of new season garlic from Gascony in the kitchen, so that was always going in, as well as a few left over olives I found lurking in the fridge.  I couldn't make this without Parmigiano Reggiano - just a perfect ingredient that every kitchen should have.

You can vary toppings as you please.  Chorizo, red onion and Manchego cheese is another favourite of mine, but a simple Cheddar filling is just as satisfying.

Ingredients: (makes one, as pictured)
350g strong organic bread flour, sifted
20g fresh yeast or two sachets of fast action yeast
2 tbsp sugar
175mls lukewarm water (blood temperature)
1 pinch sea salt
Glug of olive oil
6x cloves of garlic, half grated, half thinly sliced
250g Parmigiano Reggiano, 100g grated, the rest shaved
Handful of olives, sliced


1) Pre-heat oven to 180C.  Add the yeast to the water and stir.  If using sachets, just add straight to the flour. In a bowl, add the salt, sugar, olive oil, grated garlic and Parmesan to the flour.  Gradually add the water and mix to a smooth dough.  Knead for about three minutes until the dough can just about hold its shape when pinched.

2) Cover with clingfilm and place in a warm place for 15-20 mins to prove.  The dough should rise in size slightly and give off a beautiful yeasty, beery smell.  Lightly flour your surface, and knead again for a couple of minutes.  
3) Punch the dough out to around an inch thick. Start studding it with the olives, remaining Parmesan shavings and sliced garlic.  Fold the left-hand third into the centre, and repeat with right-hand side, Then fold both into each other.  Take a rolling pin and roll to about half an inch thick. 

4) Place on a lightly oiled tray, but before placing in the oven, put a glass of water in another tray on the shelf below to create steam.  Bake for 25-30 mins.


Recipe: Scottish heather honey parfait with summer berries and shortbread crumble 

Scotland's climate means we produce some of the best soft fruit in the world. We also have some amazing apiaries currently experiencing a boom time due to the health benefits of heather honey; what better way to flaunt our produce than a wonderful summer pudding?

The berries are all grown in Fife, with the honey being produced in Dumphries and Galloway by John Mellis. The parfait is created by making a sabayon, but don't be afraid of the culinary jargon - it's reasonably straight forward. This dessert requires quite a bit of work, but is ideal for making in advance. I suddenly had the urge to make a sabayon-based dessert after catching up with Masterchef this week, and I'm sure Mr. Wallace would be a fan.


For the parfait:
150 mls Scottish heather honey
300 mls double cream
1 tbsp icing sugar
4 free-range egg yolks

For the crumble:

50g organic plain flour
60g unsalted butter
70g caster sugar
25g brown sugar

I used:
1 punnet of raspberries
1 punnet of blueberries
1 punnet of strawberries 
150g caster sugar
Good few dashes of lemon juice

Few mint leaves, julienned 


1) First make the parfait, as it needs to set.  For this, we make what is known in the culinary world as a sabayon - don't be afraid! Put the honey in a pot on a low heat to gently melt it.  Boil the kettle, and fill a medium-sized pot a quarter of the way up with boiling water.  

2) Next, take a glass bowl that fits securely on the pot. Place the eggs yolks in the bowl and continually whisk over the boiling water until the volume doubles in size and is almost a cream like consistency. You want to bring it to the ribbon stage - this is where the whisk leaves a trail behind it.  

3) Pour in the melted honey and fold through.  Now, using an electric mixer, whip the cream and icing sugar to stiff peaks. Gradually fold in the honey sabayon and then fill the desired mold with the mixture.  Place in the freezer.  This could be done days in advance.

4) For the crumble, mix all the ingredients together in a food processor, then squeeze into small lumps with your hands.  Wrap them in cling film and freeze for around 30 mins.  Get the oven on to around 150C at this point.

5) While waiting, removed the stalks from the strawberries and slice into quarters.  Place all the fruit in a bowl and mix through the sugar and lemon juice.  Leave in the fridge to macerate for around 45 mins.

6) Once frozen, blitz the crumble mix in a food processor.  Sprinkle the mix evenly on a baking mat to around the thickness of a 50p coin.  Bake for around 6 mins - you want a nice blonde colour, not golden. Allow to cool then then blitz to a rough crumb in a food processor. Again, this could be done a couple of days in advance, leaving little to do if entertaining.

7) Take half the berry mixture and blend in a food processor.  Pass through a fine sieve to ensure a smooth puree and set aside in the fridge.  This mix could also be churned into a cracking sorbet.  

8) Hard work done... time to plate.  Place a generous spoon of the crumble in the centre of the plate, turn out the parfait and place on top.  Dot around the berry coulis mix as shown and then mix some of it through the macerated berries.  Arrange the fruit around the parfait, and place the mint on top. Voila!