Category: Saturdays & dinner parties

Great meals for a Saturday night

Marinated Sardines

Marinated sardines

Don’t waste your money on buying expensive marinated anchovies from the supermarket, Cornish sardines are big, fresh and juicy at this time of year, so get yourself down to your fishmongers and give these a go yourself. You really must make sure that the fish you use is fresh for this dish.


4 large sardines

half cup seasalt

250ml red wine vinegar

Freshly ground black pepper

A handful of finely chopped fresh parsley

Half a white onion, sliced

1 garlic clove, minced

100ml good extra virgin olive oil

A handful of cherry tomatoes to garnish


1. Gut, clean and fillet the sardines so that you’re left with 8 fillets

2. Rub the sardines with the salt so that they’re all covered, then place on a dish and leave in the fridge for half an hour

3. Transfer the salted sardines in to a bowl and pour over the onions and vinegar. The sardines must be completely submerged in the vinegar. If they’re not. add in some more vinegar then leave in the fridge for 24 hours.

4. Remove the onions from the bowl and leave to one side.

5. Run the sardine fillets under a tap in order to remove the salt and vinegar, then dab dry with a paper towel.

6. Mix together the olive oil, parsley and garlic and pour on to a dish. Rub the sardines in the mixture and ensure that they’re completely coated.

7. Sprinkle over the onions and some of the chopped cherry tomatoes

Serve with some flat bread and a nice cold glass of white wine.

Enjoy 🙂


Summer berry and lemon tart

The freshness of this tart makes it perfect as either a summer treat with a nice glass of Pimms, or as a great finish to any meal. 
2 Eggs
100g Caster Sugar
2 Lemons, zest and juice
100ml Double Cream
Strawberries and blackberries for decorating
Half a pack dessert pastry rolled out to half a centimeter thick
Grease proof paper
– makes two large individual tarts –


1. Beat the eggs and sugar together until combined. Beat in the lemon zest and juice and then whisk in the cream. Chill for 1 hour.

2.  Grease two small tart tins, and lay out the pastry so that it’s snuggly fitted into each of the tins. Cut some grease proof paper, and lay out over the pastry. Pour on top some dried butter beans and bake in a pre-heated oven for ten minutes on gasmark 5.

3. Remove the tins from the oven, pour away the beans (save for another time!) and remove the baking paper. Pop the pastry back into the oven for a further ten minutes, or until it’s looking lightly browned.

3. Reduce the oven to gasmark 1. Place the tart tins on a baking tray. Pour in the lemon filling, being careful not to spill over the edges. Bake for 45 minutes, or until just set. Remove from the oven and cool for 20 minutes then transfer to the fridge and chill for at least 2 hours before serving.

4. Top with the berries and Enjoy!

Rule Britannia red velvet cake

Inspired by a Kirsty Allsop topping, and the red velvet sponge of Lorraine Pascale, this cake is great to add colour to any afternoon tea-time get together. Not only does it taste amazing, but when you cut in to the rich red sponge, it looks very impressive indeed!


150g softened butter, plus extra for greasing

150g Caster Sugar

2 free-range eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla essence

pinch salt

125g plain flour

25g cocoa powder

1½ tsp baking powder

1 tbsp red food colouring

250ml whipped cream

5 tablespoons strawberry jam

Mixed strawberries, blueberries and raspberries


1. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4.

2. Take the cake tin and draw round it twice on greaseproof paper. Cut out both circles. Measure the circumference of the tin with string, then cut a long strip of paper the length of the string and fold in half lengthways. Grease the tin with butter and place one of the paper circles into the base. Grease again, add a second circle, then grease once more. Grease the inside edge of the tin and line with the long paper strip.

3. Beat the butter and sugar together in a large bowl until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in the eggs, vanilla and salt, and half of the flour. Add the remaining flour, cocoa powder and baking powder and give it a final beat to mix together. Add the food colouring and mix well. Spoon into the prepared tin and bake for 40-45 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.

4. Remove the cake from the oven, leave to cool for five minutes, then remove from the tin, peel off the greaseproof paper and leave to cool completely on a wire rack.

5. Once the cake has completely cooled, carefully cut the cake in half lengthways, so that you’re left with a round top and bottom. Smear whipped cream in the middle to make a sandwich, then add a good helping of strawberry jam. Put the halves back together, place on a cake stand and then add whipped cream to the top of the cake. Slice the strawberries in half, and then lay out the pattern on top as per the picture above

6. Serve with a nice hot pot of tea and Enjoy!

Pan fried Mackerel, Fennel and Green apple salad with lime oil

Turning Leaf have created the ultimate summer recipe, inspired by its Pinot Grigio wine. The crisp and fruity wine goes really well with the pan-fried mackerel and the fennel and green apple salad makes it really fresh and light – the perfect dish for a summers lunch. The recipe was created as a collaboration between Turning Leaf winemaker Stephanie Edge and culinary artist Esther Röling – we gave it a go ourselves (substituting the green apples with Braeburn) and thought it pure genius!

Ingredients & Instructions: 

Lime oil:

2 limes

50 ml lemon oil

Use a peeler to remove the zest of the limes. Only remove the green, avoid peeling the white pith. Cut the peel into small squares.

Bring water to a boil and add the zest and remove after 20 seconds. Repeat once more with fresh water. Add the zest to the oil.

Fennel and green apple salad:

2 bulbs of fennel with tops

Juice of ½ a lemon

2 tbs extra virgin olive oil

A pinch of salt

1 green apple, cut into thin sticks

Remove the green tops from the fennel and keep aside. Slice the fennel as thin as possible (if available use a mandolin). Toss the fennel with the lemon juice, fennel tops, olive oil, salt and half the apple. Leave in the fridge to soften for about half an hour. Keep the other half of the apple aside in the fridge.


4 fillets of mackerel

1 tbs olive oil

Salt and pepper

Warm up a frying pan medium hot. Add the olive oil to the pan. Season the mackerel with salt and pepper. Place the mackerel, skin side down in the pan and carefully push it down to prevent the fish from curling up. Turn the fish after 3 minutes and cook it for another minute flesh side down.


1 tbs poppy seeds

12 dill tops

Place a bit of the fennel in the middle of a plate. Put some apple sticks and dill around the fennel salad and drizzle with a bit of the lime oil. Scatter the poppy seeds over the apple. Place the mackerel on top of the fennel salad.

Pan fried Razor Clams

The ultimate fast food! You can’t beat fresh razor clams on a sunny day with a good squeeze of lemon and nice chilled glass of dry white wine. Always best when there’s an ‘R’ in the month, and make sure that when you buy them from your fish monger that they shells are closed and the clams retract when you run your finger over the end of them.


8 Fresh razor clams

1 small red chilli (de-seeded and finely chopped)

1 clove of garlic

A dash of white wine

1 tablespoon Olive oil

1 fresh lemon


1. Put a large frying pan on to the hob to warm up, then add the olive oil.

2. Place the razor clams in to the pan. so that each one is touching the base of the pan, along with the garlic and chilli. Leave to cook for approximately 1 minute

3. By now, the clams should have started to open. Give everything a good shake to ensure the clams are nicely coated in all of the oil, chilli and garlic.

4. Position all of the clams so that they are meat side down, with the outside of the shells facing up. Leave to cook on a high heat for a further 3 minutes

5. Serve with all of the delicious juices poured over, and a good wedge of lemon to squeeze over.

Some crusty bread to mop up the juice at the end of definitely advisable!


Lemon & Elderflower Cordial

It’s the perfect time to pick Elderflower (so I’ve been told!) This is my first experience of foraging, and I had such a buzz from making something that I’d found (for free!), picked and brewed.  I’m also SURE that drinking it has helped my hayfever this year. A deliciously refreshing drink that’s so easy to make, lasts for ages and is great in a Gin and Tonic as well as on it’s own. Remember that this is a cordial and so will need to have lots of water added to it before drinking – sparkling water turns it in to a grown up refereshing non-alcoholic summer drink.


10 Elderflower heads (as in a big bunch of flowers per ‘head’)

Half litre water

2 x fresh unwaxed lemons

440g white caster sugar

40g Citric acid


1. Gently wash the elderflower heads under cold water to get rid of any creepy crawly nasties

2. Add the sugar to a pan with half a litre of boiling water and leave on a low heat, stirring until the sugar has dissolved

3. Using a potato peeler, remove strips of zest from the lemons and add these to a large bowl or clean bucket, along with the elderflower heads.

4. Slice the lemons in to rounds and add these to the bowl along with the citric acid

5. Pour over the sugar, water fluid, give everything a really good stir, ensuring the flower heads are thoroughly submerged in the water

6. Cover with a clean cloth and leave at room temperature overnight (or for at least 14 hours)

7. Using a potato masher, press gently down on the flowers and the lemons to release some more lovely flavour

8. Cover the bottom of a sieve with a piece of muslin and then strain the liquid through this so that it runs clear without any bits

9. Pour the cordial in to clean bottles and store in the fridge for up to three weeks, or put in clean plastic bottles and freeze, where it will keep for around 3 months until defrosted