Recipe for Success

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Mango and Banana Smoothie

A quick and tasty breakfast drink. It's extremely healthy as it only contains fruit and it's full of all the vitamins and nutrients you need - an easy way to five-a-day. Serves 2.

Update: Obviously you can make smoothies with practically any fruit, but mango, papaya and banana with a squeeze of lime is a very tasty combination!


One large ripe mango
One large ripe banana
One large orange


  1. Peel the mango and remove the stone. This is difficult with a very ripe mango, which is what you need for a smoothie with the extra sweetness: the skin will come off easily - scrape any flesh off it with a spoon - but the easiest way to remove the stone from a very ripe mango is just to scrape the flesh off it, preferably over a bowl or jug to catch the juice. Put the mango in a blender.
  2. Roughly chop the banana and add to the mango. Blend until smooth.
  3. Squeeze the orange into the blender, allowing some of the pulp to fall in too (but remove any seeds).
  4. Blend once more to incorporate the orange, then serve in two tall glasses.

Monday, March 14, 2005

Lemon curd

Today I've experimented with making lemon curd partly in the microwave. You need to make lemon curd in a bain marie or a glass bowl over a pan of boiling water - the pan I was using wasn't quite the right size so the curd wasn't thickening well, leading to my desperate microwaving effort. Do proceed carefully either way - cook it too fast and you'll have lemon flavoured scrambled eggs, not really what we want.


grated zest of 3 lemons
juice of 2 large lemons
8 oz sugar
4 oz butter
3 medium eggs


  1. Fill your sink with cold water. If the curd starts to turn scrambled, put the bowl in the water to cool it quickly to stop it getting worse.
  2. Sterilize jars (makes a little more than one standard 454g / 1lb jar) - place them in a cool oven or just put them on a hot cycle in the dishwasher and use immediately when it finishes, when they are still hot and steaming.
  3. Place a glass bowl over a pan of boiling water. Make sure that the water does not touch the bowl and that the pan does not boil dry.
  4. Put the sugar, butter, zest and juice in the bowl and keep stirring until the butter is melted and everything is combined.
  5. Beat the eggs well and add to the bowl. Cook and keep stirring until the mixture thickens.
  6. After adding the eggs you can try using the microwave to thicken the curd. Remove the bowl from the pan and dry it before placing in the microwave. I have a 950W microwave and would advise proceeding very carefully: put the curd in the microwave for only about 15 seconds at a time and then whisk well before returning to the microwave - any longer and you risk the scrambled egg problem. Continue until the curd thickens.
  7. Pour the curd into the hot jars (they must be hot or they may crack). Allow to cool for a while then place in the sink full of cold water (with lids on) to cool quickly. The jars should seal. Once cool, keep in the fridge.

Lemon and poppy seed cake

This is basically a madeira cake with added juice and seeds, which makes it just that little bit more moist. It's also lovely and easy to make - practically foolproof: if the middle of the cake is still uncooked when the outside is almost ready, just turn down the oven a bit and leave it in a little longer. Perfect with a cup of tea!

240g softened unsalted butter
200g caster sgar, plus extra for sprinkling
grated zest of one lemon
3 large eggs
210g self-raising flour
90g plain flour
juice of 1 ½ lemons
2 tbsp poppy seeds


  1. Preheat the oven to 150° C fan (170° C electric / gas mark 3). Butter and line a 23 x 13 x 7cm loaf tin.
  2. Cream the butter and sugar and add the lemon zest.
  3. Add the eggs one at a time with a little of the flour for each. Then gently mix in the rest of the flour.
  4. Finally mix in the lemon juice and poppy seeds.
  5. Transfer to the loaf tin and sprinkle with caster sugar. Bake for one hour or until a cake-tester comes out clean. Remove to a wire rack, and let it cool in the tin before turning out.

Saturday, February 26, 2005

Simple Scallops

Simple, quick and tasty - it only takes about 5 minutes. Scallops may seem a little posh, but this far from the sea there are few alternatives to cod available - bizarrely this seems to be one of them. They are, however, fantastically easy to cook, so treat yourself.


butter and oil
root ginger, finely chopped
lemongrass, finely chopped (optional)
coriander, finely chopped
white wine
lime juice


  1. Heat the butter in a frying pan with a little oil (this stops the butter burning).
  2. Fry the scallops for a couple of minutes on each side then remove.
  3. Fry the ginger and lemongrass in the same pan for about 30 seconds then add the wine and lime juice. Finally add the chopped coriander.
  4. Pour this sauce over the scallops. The sauce will be very sharp to taste, so you may want to just remove the scallops from the sauce to serve.

Friday, February 25, 2005

One-pot fish with tomatoes and olives

This is a wonderfully simple and healthy dish for a low-fat supper - you can cook it for five minutes then leave just leave it in the oven while you get on with something else. The flavours are also infinitely variable - add whatever you like to make it more substantial (see below) or keep it simpe and serve with rice or couscous.


1 large onion, roughly chopped
400g can chopped tomatoes
6 oz black olives
4 boneless white fish fillets
variants: sun-dried tomatoes, capers, artichoke hearts...


  1. Preheat the oven to 200° C (fan 180° C)
  2. Heat 1 tbsp of oil in an ovenproof pan (use the oil from the olives or sun-dried tomatoes if using). Tip in the onions and stir well, leave to cook for a minute or two.
  3. Stir in the tomatoes and some salt and pepper. (If you are wanting a more substantial dish, or if your pan is shallow but quite wide, you may wish to use two tins of tomatoes.) Bring to the boil, then add the drained olives and any 'variant' ingredients.
  4. Put the fish, skin-side down, onto the sauce and drizzle the fillets with pesto.
  5. Bake uncovered for 15 mins until the fish is cooked. Serve straight from the pan.