Summer Salmon Salad


A Fabulous Melange of Green leaves, Salmon and Giant Cous Cous!



Simplicity itself! Arrange salad leaves of your choosing on a large platter. Pan fry 100 gm of giant cous cous in a little olive oil for about 2 to 3 minutes until golden brown. Then add 200 ml of cold water. Add  pinch of cumin seeds and a pinch of smoked paprika and simmer for about 20 minutes stirring often. You may need to top up the water a little if it starts to dry out. Once it is ready leave to one side to cool then spread over your salad leaves. Add a couple of hot smoked salmon fillets broken up. Then add a few dashes of balsamic vinegar and mix gently.

You could always use lentils if you cannot get hold of any giant cous cous.

A great summer light lunch!



Best laid plans of mice and butchers….


Best laid plans of mice and butchers....

Ok…where was I? Tuesday I went shopping for the rest of the week’s meals and went to a mighty fine establishment in Windermere called Booth’s. Normally, it stocks a fine range of food, especially the butchers…but my plans went awry when I heard the butcher say in a rather too casual way for my liking, ‘sorry, we have no pork tenderloin.’ That scuppered Wednesday’s fare. And it got worse….they no longer stock ham shanks…the reason was fairly bizarre but seemed to be along the lines that they did not keep long enough. I was left speechless. I have never heard such a ridiculous  excuse for not having an item! Hey ho! So, I had to alter Tuesday’s meal, which is what you see part compiled above – here are the ingredients for 4 – see May 9th for recipe.

60 gm of lardons or cubed smoky bacon – or pancetta even
340 gm Puy lentils – or any green ones if not
Some chopped fresh rosemary but you’d be fine with dried
A large red onion chopped finely – or white if no reds handy!
2 cloves of garlic finely chopped
800 ml of chicken stock
red wine vinegar
olive oil

I used a kilo of lentils for 15 of us and 3 litres of stock. I also added to the pan for the last half an hour – a small smoked gammon joint cut into cubes (I had boiled it gently for an hour beforehand), 12 fabulous pork and black pudding sausages pan fried and cut in half – the butcher partly salvaged his reputation here, they were fabulous – chorizo sausage sliced and pan fried, and several slices of pan fried pork belly cut into bite sized chunks. I served it with copious baskets of rustic bread and ficelles. And it all disappeared! I had served a large garden mushroom to each person as a starter baked in the oven with fresh oregano, garlic and butter on a bed of salad leaves. We finished off with pan fried nectarines in brandy with cream.

Last night we had meatballs and pasta – I got up early and made 70 or so of them – beef mince with cumin, rosemary and thyme and some dried crushed chilli. We went for a stonkingly long walk yesterday to Blea Tarn– well it felt like forever – it was only 3 miles there and back – but as it rained most of the way there it took the edge of it a tad. I felt like Noah who realised he forgot to anchor the ark down. I did dry out on the way back though and I also got to the pub by 6pm for an hour before cooking. So all was dandy in the end.

Tonight it is salmon steaks with a lime and mayo sauce and salted crushed new potatoes. And for those of you who are interested sufficiently to scroll further, here are a few more pics, including the house we are residing in for the week. Keep well!

IMG_4088Birch House…sleeps 15 and comfortably too!

IMG_4080Blea Tarn arising from the mist and rain…

IMG_0583The younger members of our group! My two are far left and 3rd from the left….

IMG_4066Little Langdale….saw kites several times sweeping overhead.

IMG_4071Canopy of forest up by the tarn where we took shelter and had a soggy picnic!

Pan fried pork tenderloin with Puy lentils…


Pan fried pork tenderloin with Puy lentils...

Lentils – I love them…my kids love them…we all love them…and Puy lentils are just so toothsomely moreish and retain a little bite even after cooking that is somehow magical. It’s a lentil love-in!

And I had a really stupendous piece of pork tenderloin that needed a good accompaniment – it was a marriage made, if not in heaven, well certainly in my kitchen!

Tenderloin is so versatile and almost as lean as chicken breast. We often have it sliced and pan fried with a pepper sauce – but tonight was Mr P.Lentil’s turn.

This is a dish i have mentioned on here before I am sure – but here it is again – it is a basic standby that could accompany anything – last time out it was with belly pork and sausages if I recall – but it is equally as good with ham shanks.

Anyway – let’s get on shall we – enough reminiscing!

Pre heat oven to 160c

You need for the lentils –

60 gm of lardons or cubed smoky bacon – or pancetta even
340 gm Puy lentils – or any green ones if not
Some chopped fresh rosemary but you’d be fine with dried
A large red onion chopped finely – or white if no reds handy!
2 cloves of garlic finely chopped
800 ml of chicken stock
red wine vinegar
olive oil

I, as you know by now, have to fiddle – so I also added later on some chopped okra left over from the other night. It went v well!

Pan fry the onion and lardons in olive oil in a stock pot or large casserole. When the lardons start to colour add the garlic and rosemary. 2 more minutes should be fine – then rinse the lentils and add them to the pan.

Fry for one more minute to coat the lentils. They all need to get chummy. Add the stock – pop a lid on – bring to the boil. Into the oven for 1 hour.

I rolled the tenderloin of pork in cumin seeds, crushed black pepper, rock salt and chilli seed. Let it sit in this for at least an hour if poss.

Then slice it about into about half a centimetre slices – maybe a tad wider. Pan fry on a highish heat in olive oil for about 5 minutes per side.

Take out the lentils after an hour – please do check them tho on the way – they may, may need a little more water if they are drying up too much – they shouldn’t. They should absorb most of the liquid – not all. I transferred them to a large roasting dish, stirred in a tablespoon of red wine vinegar and a drizzle or two of good olive oil – and this time I stirred in a some pre cooked slices of Jersey Royal potatoes thinly sliced, plus some chopped pan fried okra.

I added the pork medallions to the dish and popped them back in the oven with some foil over – heat off – to let them all get to know each other even better. I also opened another bottle of mighty fine Shiraz /Petit Verdot.

Then it all arrived at the table and was purred over… then consumed with relish!

I was hoping some would be left over for lunch today…but it all
vamoosed! Hey ho!

Cheat’s Cassoulet recipe…see I remembered!


OK..this is not really anything to do with a cassoulet but it inspired me..and I love the word cassoulet…so good to get your tongue…sooo…lay….mmmmm! It is a great hearty dish for gathering friends round…you will need for about 6 needy folk:

60 gm lardons or pancetta or-at a pinch- smoked streaky bacon / 350 gm green lentils – Puy preferably / couple of sprigs of fresh rosemary / 1 red onion  chopped / 2 cloves garlic finely chopped / 1 carrot finely diced / 900 ml chicken stock / 2 tbs olive oil / tbs red wine vinegar /  tin of cannellini beans- meat can be all or any mix of the following – 4 pieces of belly pork, grilled or pan fried and cut into large chunks /good quality sausages -2 chipolatas per person was my choice last night – you could also add chunks of boiled or roasted ham hock, roasted chicken thighs or drumsticks…use your imagination.

I use a large stainless steel dutch oven – a pasta pan would be ideal – in which you pan fry the lardons til they start to colour, add then the onion, garlic and snip in the rosemary from one sprig. Fry for 2 minutes. Rinse the lentils..add to pan and fry for a minute tops. Add the stock and diced carrot. You could also add some celery if you wish. Season with black pepper – it may need a dash of salt but should not be necessary with the lardons and stock. Put lid on and bring to boil. Then pop in the oven with lid on for an hour at 160c.

After 50 minutes, I remove the pan and pour it all into a large roasting tin – add the meat and cannellini beans – put some foil over the top and return to oven – after an hour turn oven down very low to keep warm til you are ready to serve. Just before you take to table – stir in the red wine vinegar and a little more olive oil.  I also roasted in my top oven, a tray of quartered potatoes in veg oil, sprinkled with sea salt, for an hour – adding some sliced cooked chorizo sausage for last ten minutes – gives the potatoes a lovely reddish tinge – a scrumptiously mouth filling delight- and I put a large basket of crusty bread on the table too. I put both trays of potatoes and the lentil dish on the table to serve from – and folk can also just dip their bread in as they desire!

Any leftovers are great the next day warmed through – though tis rare that there is anything left……!