Quick filo pastry pudding baskets and fillings

Makes 6 baskets Ingredients 6 sheets of filo pastry 50g butter, melted Method Preheat the oven to 180C / gas mark 4. Grease a muffin tray with butter. Cut the filo pastry sheets into 4 squares. Keep the unused filo covered with an ever-so-slightly damp clean tea-towel while you work, or it will dry out….

Thai-meets-Scottish crab cakes to celebrate Scottish Food & Drink Fortnight

The approaching end of Scottish Food & Drink Fortnight prompted me to devise this recipe showcasing one of my favourite local ingredients – crab. Our house in East Lothian almost dips its toes into the North Sea, and fishing boats are a common sight from our windows. Though there’s little white fish left, mackerel, langoustine and crab remain plentiful, the…

Spanakopita

A vegetarian Greek classic that’s surprisingly filling, and an excellent way of encouraging enthusiastic spinach eating in those who may otherwise be reluctant. This makes a happy spring lunch alongside a punchy vinaigrette-dressed salad. Should probably serve six, but serves four in our household… Ingredients 500g frozen spinach or 1.5kg fresh 10 spring onions, finely chopped…

Pork and ginger wontons

Steam them soft, bake them crispy, pop them in a soup or the freezer: wontons take a bit of repetitive work to make, but are easy, versatile, healthy and fun. Just think of the time spent filling them as a mindfulness exercise! A great party appetiser alongside a dipping sauce, or a comforting addition to…

Squash, spinach, mushroom and goat’s cheese rotolo

A rotolo is kind of like a sideways lasagne or cannelloni – it looks impressive, but although like a lasagne there are a few components to it, it’s not difficult to make. It’s also not that heavy on pasta, so it’s lighter than lasagne and packed with vegetables. Serves 4 Ingredients 3 sheets of fresh…

Chicken and chorizo meatballs with spiced tomato sauce

Serves 3 as a main / 8 starter Ingredients Meatballs 100g chorizo 1 teaspoon paprika 1.5 tablespoons ricotta 300g chicken thigh fillets ½ 25g pack of basil Sauce 2 shallots, sliced 2 garlic cloves, crushed 1 red chilli, sliced (and deseeded, optional) ½ pack of basil, stalks and leaves separated, stalks chopped 1 teaspoon sweet smoked…

Smoked mackerel pate

This is always a popular starter or light lunch. Pate is something that most people don’t think of making themselves, but as you can see it’s insanely easy. Don’t let it intimidate you: start with these measurements, then taste it – if you want more capers in there, put them in. More of a horseradish kick?…

Black pudding croquettes with caramelised pears

  This is a good ‘introduction’ to black pudding, particularly for children or people who feel a bit queasy about a straightforward fried slice. The mashed potato base is a fun way to use up leftovers and makes this a quick, make-ahead starter for dinner parties, or they’re a rich and nutritious weekday dinner, full of iron,…

Apple roses

Makes six roses Ingredients 3 crisp red apples 1/2 pack puff pastry 2 tablespoons of jam Juice of 1/2 lemon 2 teaspoons cinnamon 1 tablespoon caster sugar A little icing sugar, to dust Method Pre-heat the oven to 190C / Gas 6. Thoroughly grease six holes of a muffin tray. Part-fill a microwaveable bowl with…

Chickpea and broad bean falafel

Falafel is a star food: cheap, healthy, easy to make and good for snacks, a starter, finger food for babies, a quick lunch or as part of a salad for dinner. Goes excellently with tzatziki of course: de-seed and grate cucumber, squeeze out the water, then mix with plain yoghurt, a little crushed garlic, a squeeze…