A really good friend of mine, Britt, came to visit today with her eldest daughter Anaïs.
She is such a little character. Wanted to get involved with everything.
– Can I roll the thing?
– Can I stir?
– Can I put the green stuff on the fish?
– Can I make you pasta?
Not sure where the last question came from but let me tell you, the girl got involved.
We had a really nice day and the food was delicious too.
Spinach and crunchy bean salad with toasted almonds
by Tom Aikens
400g green beans, topped and tailed
100ml bacon and shallot vinaigrette (see below for recipe)
4 large handfuls of baby spinach
80g almonds, toasted
Cook the beans in salted boiling water for 2-3 minutes – they should retain
a slight crunch. Refresh in iced water for five minutes, then drain and dry.
Place the beans in a bowl and dress with the vinaigrette seasoning lightly.
Pile on plates in a neat stack, interlayering with the parmesan, spinach
and almonds, finishing with a final layer of almonds and parmesan.*
*I didn’t get that last bit – I just mixed everything together in a bowl and
finished it off with the parmesan shavings on top.
Bacon and shallot vinaigrette
by Tom Aikens
200g smoked bacon, cut into strips
175ml vegetable oil
75g shallots, peeled and finely chopped
2 sprigs thyme, chopped
1 pinch of salt
10 grinds of black pepper
10g Dijon mustard
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
25g soft brown sugar
100ml balsamic vinegar
50ml olive oil
Fry the bacon in 50ml vegetable oil over a high heat until crispy and golden.
Lower the heat, add the shallots, thyme, salt and half the pepper and cook
for 2-3 minutes until just soft.
Drain on kitchen paper, retaining the oil.
Whisk together oil with all the remaining ingredients.
by Tina Bester
Makes 4 parcels
2 x 400g rolls ready-made all-butter puff pastry
4 x 100g salmon fillets
2 tbsp basil pesto
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 large egg, beaten
1 tsp poppy seeds
Salt and pepper
1 lemon, cut into wedges, to serve
Preheat the oven to 200˚C. Unroll and cut one roll of pastry in half
and then in half again. Place 1 salmon fillet on each piece of pastry.
Mix the pesto and lemon juice together and spread over the fish.
Season with salt and pepper.
Unroll and cut the other roll of pastry into quarters, and lay each of
the 4 resulting pastry pieces over the fillets. Cut slits down the length
of each one, separating the slits slightly.
Pinch the sides of the pastry together and trim to make neat rectangles.
Brush the pastries with the beaten egg and sprinkle with poppy seeds.
Carefully place the parcels on a lined baking tray and bake
for 20-25 minutes at 200˚C.
Serve with lemon wedges for squeezing over the fish.