Serve with a glass of chilled fino sherry to echo the marinade. Octopus needs high heat to cook quickly so it doesn’t get rubbery, so it’s best roasted or grilled.
Sweet, meaty scallops continue to cook for at least a minute after you take them off the barbecue, so once they have a good, seared crust, they’re basically done. So don’t overcook!
Long a dish signifying fine dining, lobster bisque takes time to make, but the rich flavour is well worth the effort.
These pumpkin gnocchi taste sweet and delicious and look gorgeous with their deep orange colour. They are especially delectable when served with sage butter.
Three different types of flavourful Mediterranean sausage served with sticky balsamic onions. Bliss.
Large, clean scallop shells – available at better delicatessens – make perfect ‘plates’ for this appetiser or first course.
Sip champagne while this dish roasts, then toast the good life. Serve this with crusty bread (or of course cake if you don't have any bread) to mop up all the juices.
This traditional comfort food dish from the Mediterranean uses dried salt cod, usually available at specialty grocery stores. Allow 48 hours to soak the salt cod. Serve with French bread.
Kedgeree, dating from British colonial days, is a brunch dish made with flaked, smoked fish, cooked rice, hard-boiled eggs, fresh herbs and a white sauce to bind it all together. Some people like to add a dash of curry powder. When made with hot-smoked fish, this dish is divine. Although smoked haddock is the usual fish for kedgeree, you can also use salmon, trout or whitefish.
Hot smoked trout is fabulous. It has a smoky aroma, a delicate and moist texture and fabulous flavour. It looks wonderful when garnished with thinly sliced lemons and sprigs of fresh herbs. Use any leftovers in pâté, for breakfast with eggs or in sandwiches.
Serve this dish with crusty bread to mop up all the delicious juices. Colourful Romesco, a classic sauce from Catalonia, also functions as a vegetable in this dish.
Stir-fried fish and vegetables get a final flourish of fragrant orange oil to finish. Serve with rice, if you like.
Clams and Spanish chorizo make an exceptionally good combination. The smoky meatiness of the sausage brings an interesting dimension to the seafood. This is lovely served in a big tapas dish, with a few chunks of crusty bread to mop up the delicious spicy juices at the end.
Sweet, delicate fish meets deep, rich sauce in a taste marriage made in heaven. Smaller lemon sole, tilapia, turbot or flounder fillets work best because they’re flat and sauté quickly. For larger Dover sole or any fish fillet that won’t fit in a sauté pan, grilling is the better option.
Normally to make a ballotine — a boned and rolled joint — is considered a little bit tricky. So get your butcher to do the hard work of boning the meat, leaving you the easy task of stuffing and rolling. The result is fantastic juicy meat with aromatic stuffing.
Melt-in-the-mouth venison steak is never better than when complemented with port.
Another under used cut of meat is the hanger steak, also known as butcher's steak, which is very lean and tender. It becomes a good wintry starter when paired with celeriac.
Veal, sage and anchovies are a marriage made in heaven, so imagine this… Breaded veal escalope pan-fried and dressed with crispy sage and anchovy sandwiches and doused in lemon. Scrumptious!
A rich red wine reduction dresses and glosses beef tenderloin while the blue cheese slowly oozes as it melts against the meat. Rioja is a quintessentially Spanish wine and a perfect partner for beef tenderloin.
Cordon bleu is a gastronomic term meaning of the highest class. Therefore, this moist chicken wrapped in ham with oozy cheese is just about as delicious as you can get. To make sure this recipe has a real Spanish flair, it uses the quintessentially Spanish ingredients of manchego cheese and Serrano ham.
This unusual salad is made especially striking due to the quantity of strong but complementary flavours involved. Pickled walnuts, a treat often found at Christmastime, go perfectly with meaty duck and sweet beetroot.
The great thing about oxtail is that it makes a perfect tapas portion when serving only one or two bones. Served with a delicate parsnip puree, this can be served as a main meal.
A warming rich beef stew, full of vegetables and hearty enough to satisfy on the coldest winter night.
This method of slowly braising pheasant with lots of red wine works especially well with an older bird that would be too dry if roasted. Finished off with the cream and the truffle, this is a truly luxurious and sumptuous dish.
Quail with a Middle Eastern influence, coated in five-spice powder and finished in piquant pomegranate molasses and seeds.
Venison is a very low-fat meat. If you want to lower the fat content of this dish even more, leave out the bacon and use 2 tablespoons olive oil to fry the venison.
Rabbit is very lean meat and lower in cholesterol than chicken or turkey. It is almost always sold skinned and cleaned, and either cut-up or left whole. One rabbit weighing about 1.5 kg (3 lbs) will serve 4 people. This recipe works well with chicken, if you prefer.
This is a dish from Italy of veal marrow bones braised in tomato and wine, and garnished with a colourful Milanese gremolata, which is lemon and parsley mixed together. Ask the butcher to saw the veal into pieces about 4 cm (11⁄2 in) long. Serve with sugar snap peas for a refreshing summer meal.
This rich custard can be made with any flavour chocolate and is the perfect filling for Swiss rolls and mille feuilles.
This is a deliciously smooth, plain chocolate tart that can be served warm or cold.
The name of this classic dish means semi-cold, meaning an ice cream that is softer than normal. This is due to the addition of alcohol, which slows down the freezing process. Because you can’t make a semifreddo without adding alcohol, this makes it a grown-up dessert. This recipe is for a white chocolate and raspberry semifreddo, but you can use other berries, such as blueberries. To serve, decorate wedges with a few fresh berries, a sweet herb sprig or a few edible flowers and a dusting of icing sugar.
This elegant, healthy dessert is very beautiful to look at, with a sensational taste that matches. Pomegranate seeds can be frozen and kept for several months in the freezer; they can be used from frozen in this dessert.
The creaminess of this dessert is enhanced by the addition of dulche de leche. The combination is just heavenly.
This is equally good served as a dessert or as a special cake to celebrate a birthday or anniversary. Let the ganache cool at room temperature rather than in the fridge.
This simple cheesecake, flavoured with lemon and vanilla and topped with a snowy white layer of sour cream, is an all-time classic.
If you wish, you can use just wholemeal flour and brown sugar, but choose a finely milled wholemeal flour for best effect.
Ribs always benefit from long slow and gentle cooking, so the slow cooker is ideal for this. They are baked first, then cooked in the slow cooker with barbecue sauce.
This recipe for baked swordfish can also be used for tuna steaks, or even fillets or steaks of another kind of fish, although the cooking times may need to be slightly adjusted depending upon the type of fish and how thickly the slices are cut.
Wild rice has long, slim grains and a nuttier, firmer texture than regular rice. This salad, with its nuts, dried cranberries, herbs and spicy dressing, makes a great side dish.
This recipe is for filleted red mullet, which is a really meaty fish with a very intense flavour that marries very well with the rest of the ingredients. A good substitute for red mullet, which can prove tricky to find, are small, meaty perch fillets or small red snapper fillets. If you can, buy large mullet that can be filleted easily, as this is a very bony fish.
The chicken breasts can be stuffed in advance and you might want to ask an adult to help you stuff the cheese under the skin. Serve with potatoes and some green beans or salad.
These are equally good as a family supper or to cook for friends as an informal supper party.
These dumplings are traditionally made with suet (I prefer vegetable suet), which can sometimes be found in the ethnic aisle in the supermarket. But they are equally as good made with butter. During the cooking process, dumplings soak up the flavour from the stew and are a delicious way of mopping up the gravy.
Make this strudel in the spring, when fresh asparagus is at its very best.
This is Vietnam’s answer to China’s 'Peking Duck', which is served in three courses. The Vietnamese, on the other hand, generally serve it as one course with pickled vegetables, dipping sauces and steamed rice.
Slowly braising pork in red wine adds depth and personality to this beautifully tender meat.
This dramatic dish is a very special way to serve fresh fish. The crust is very thick, and it must be cracked open like a shell to reveal the perfectly cooked white fish within. It is important to protect the fish from becoming too salty – the skin of the fish will protect it all over, but use foil or waxed parchment paper along the belly slit to prevent the salt from seeping inside the fish. Use a large fish if you're cooking for a dinner party or special family meal or if there are just two of you, you can use a smaller fish and cook for a slightly shorter time.
As with all recipes using clams (vongole), make sure they are as clean as possible before you cook them to avoid an unpleasant muddy taste or a gritty sensation under your teeth. This is a real classic from Italy.
Known as ‘finnan haddie’ in Scotland, smoked haddock is usually cold-smoked. This hot-smoked version, paired with luscious Hollandaise, mimics a classic French dish served at brasseries along the Atlantic coast.
Pinchitos morunos are eaten everywhere in Spain as tapas, though nowadays they are made of pork, rather than lamb like Europe’s first kebabs, which were brought by the Arabs from Africa.
Rich and succulent, this classic French casserole takes on the flavour of the red wine you choose, so make it a good one!
This versatile Italian casserole can be made with a large variety of fillings. This is the classic version, but don’t miss the exquisite seafood variations.
A korma is a mild and creamy curry containing coconut milk and ground almonds. Serve with rice and naan bread for a curry feast.
A great favourite with everyone. These crab cakes freeze well before cooking, so double the recipe and freeze some for another day.
This is a rich, smooth soup based on the classic French recipe. It is perfect served with warm French bread and a glass of chilled Chablis.
Nothing is nicer than a succulent piece of flavoursome grilled chicken. The instructions here work for a grill or an outside barbecue, depending on the weather! You can put the chicken together with the marinade in a resealable plastic bag for up to 24 hours in the fridge or make up a batch and freeze them in the bags.
Apple and fresh mint jelly is a match made in heaven. It’s delicious served with grilled Greek halloumi cheese and a green leaf salad.
This is a delicious way to enjoy succulent chunks of fresh tuna and an ideal recipe to make on the barbecue. Just don’t skimp on the marinating time or the fish will turn out dry.
For linguine al sugo di pesce, it is a good idea to use a fish that can withstand a fairly long cooking time without losing all its flavour and texture, you could opt for a thick swordfish steak, chopped into small cubes, and some white fish, which will flake better. In this way, there are two completely separate textures within the same dish. However, you can use any combination of fish of your choice, or even squid if you prefer. Cheese is never served with fish pasta dishes or at least, extremely rarely.
There are many different recipes for this very important Ligurian dressing (or uncooked sauce), as well as many ready-made versions of the sauce. To keep the pesto really green, you can add a few leaves of spinach to the basil. The amount of garlic required is largely up to personal taste, although its complete exclusion will mean this sauce is no longer a pesto but simply a basil sauce.
If you have not used it before, do not be put off by the squid ink. It is a very familiar ingredient in coastal Mediterranean cooking, where it is prized for its subtle iron flavour.
The slight bitterness from wood smoke makes a fine counterpoint to the natural sweetness of scallops. Serve them on a bed of colourful pasta that is both sauce and side dish.
Swordfish is one of the few fish that you can still get cut into steaks. It’s a meaty, oily fish from the colder, deeper waters of the Atlantic and Mediterranean. Rosemary and garlic really accentuate its flavour and firmer texture.
Stir-barbecuing involves marinating foods cut into small pieces, then placing them in a perforated metal barbecue wok over a hot fire. You use wooden paddles or barbecue spatulas to stir-barbecue the food, giving it a great flavour at it cooks. Serve with steamed rice, if you like.
Beef and horseradish are a classic combination; both work well with beetroot, so serve with a beetroot salad or a potato salad. The flavoured butter can be made in advance and kept in the fridge or can be made in bulk and kept in the freezer until needed.
This is the dish to cook for a crowd – the perfect centrepiece. It is wrong to think that ham is a fatty meat; you just need to cut off the visible fat before eating. It is excellent served hot with vegetables and equally good served cold as a salad.
As an appetiser with a dipping sauce, as a main course with malt vinegar or as a sandwich filling, these crispy, tender nuggets of fish please young and old alike.
Live crabs steamed in a flavourful liquid can be picked and eaten with melted butter right then and there. The picked meat can also be used in lump form in salads or crab cakes; flaked crabmeat is more suitable for dips and fillings. While it’s easy to steam crab, it’s more difficult to pick out the meat – that’s why crabmeat is expensive to buy already picked. But once you get the hang of it, you’re fine.
One of the classic dishes of Belgium served with frites and homemade mayonnaise, steamed mussels are easy to make and delicious to eat. Make sure you scrub away the ‘beard’ from each mussel. Discard any that are open before you steam them and any that don’t open after steaming.
A hot slaw is perfect on a cool day when the thought of a cold salad doesn’t appeal. A flavoured oil is used to scent the lamb, but if you didn’t get any as a birthday gift this year, use olive oil and a little chopped rosemary instead.
A classic and flavourful soup originating in Greece and combining eggs and lemon with rice and chicken stock to create a lovely zesty taste.
This is a very old-fashioned game stew. The term in salmí almost always refers to this dish containing game of some sort. For a dish to be in salmí it is essential that the liver of the animal is used in the stew.
Mackerel and horseradish are a match made in heaven, with the creaminess and heat balancing perfectly. Use a ready-made horseradish sauce if fresh horseradish is unavailable.
Slow cookers are ideal for cooking pâtés, which need a long, slow cooking time in a water bath. Serve slices of pâté on salad greens with melba toast and cranberry sauce.
A Japanese-influenced dish, tempura batter should be light and airy, crunchy and without any trace of oiliness. Make the batter just before using it.
Filipino cooking incorporates oxtail in numerous ways. The finely ground peanuts enrich the sauce and give this dish its own character. You can grind your own nuts, or purchase powdered peanuts in an Asian market. Banana hearts are found in tins in Asian shops.
Sold at Chinese and Nonya hawker stalls in Singapore, this is a great recipe for using up leftover roast duck. It can be served hot with rice, or at room temperature as a salad.