If you are looking for some simple, quick and healthy recipes for dinner to share with friends and family then these dishes are deserving of your attention. We've got a selection of super starters, followed by a variety of delicious meals that will leave you and your guests satisfied and happy.
Little plates to serve with drinks
Simple yet tasty combinations to have with drinks instead of a starter.
Asparagus, soy and sesame
Steam asparagus tips then refresh under cold running water. Mix soy sauce with toasted sesame seeds and serve in a dipping dish alongside the asparagus.
Radish and marinated anchovies
Crunchy radish is a perfect partner to marinated anchovies. Serve with bread and butter, and sprinkle with sea salt.
Quail's eggs with samphire
You can now find ready-shelled and cooked quail’s eggs in supermarkets, making this super easy. Otherwise, boil the eggs for 4 minutes then run under cold water before shelling and halving. Blanch samphire for 2 minutes in boiling water and drain; refresh under cold running water, or steam for 3 minutes. Toss in lemon juice and a little olive oil.
Marinated spatchcock chicken with lemon and garden herbs
If you spatchcock a chicken, ie take out the backbone, it cooks more evenly and prevents drying out.
Per serving: Carbs 0g Fat 8g/12.5g (Sat Fat 3/2g) Calories 137/205
1 large free-range roasting chicken
Zest and juice of 2 large lemons
2tbsp herbes de Provence
2tbsp olive oil
7tbsp mixed chopped fresh herbs, such as chives, parsley, basil and tarragon
1. Spatchcock the chicken. Turn it over and cut out the backbone – making two cuts either side of it. We used a very sharp large knife and poultry shears. Turn the chicken over and push right down so you flatten it out. Make sharp cuts about 1cm deep in the legs and breast.
2. Mix together the lemon zest, herbes de Provence and the oil with plenty of black pepper. Rub it over the chicken, pushing it into the cuts. Now pop it into a large freezer bag, seal and leave in the fridge overnight or for up to two days, if you like. It will still be tasty if you just leave it for an hour or so. Heat the oven to 170C fan, gas 5. Allow the chicken to get to room temperature then roast it, with its marinade, for 1 hour 15 minutes or until fully cooked through. Pour off the pan juices and allow the chicken to rest for 15 minutes.
3. Serve on a platter with the fresh herbs, the pan juices and lemon juice with some asparagus and our spiced roast potatoes.
Spiced roast potatoes
Peel and cut 1.5kg King Edward potatoes into chunks. Steam until just tender and leave covered, off the heat, to dry. Heat the oven to 180C fan, gas 6. Add 4tbsp olive oil to a heated roasting tin then add the potatoes and 1tbsp each smoked paprika and ground cumin. Toss well, add a good grinding of sea salt and roast for 1 hour or until browned and crispy.
Hot smoked salmon with sunblush tomatoes
A main course fish idea with new flavour combinations. Easy – but needs time.
Per serving: Carbs 15g/20g Fat 16g/21g (Sat Fat 3/4g) Calories 294/391
1 side of fresh salmon, skin left on
3 red onions, thinly sliced
2tbsp white wine vinegar
A large pinch of sugar
150g sunblush tomatoes
2 large oranges, segmented
A handful of micro herbs (optional)
For the dry rub:
30g sea salt
60g soft dark brown sugar
1tbsp coriander seeds, crushed
You will need:
Hob-proof roasting tin, the base lined with a triple layer of foil, smoking wood chips (buy ones used for a barbecue), and a rack that’s large enough to accommodate the salmon.
1. Mix together the dry rub ingredients then rub into the salmon flesh, cover and leave overnight in the fridge. Soak 3 handfuls of wood chips in cold water. Mix together the onions, vinegar and sugar with a pinch of sea salt, cover and leave at room temperature.
2. To smoke the salmon, drain the wood chips and spread over the base of the roasting tin. Take the salmon out of the brine and lightly pat it dry. Oil the rack on both sides. Put the roasting tin and rack on the hob and heat gently. Once the chips start smoking, put the salmon on top and cover tightly with a tent of foil. turn up the heat and smoke the salmon for 20 minutes. turn off the heat, remove the foil; set aside.
3. Put the salmon on a serving plate, add the onions without their liquid, the tomatoes and oranges. Scatter over the micro herbs if using. Serve with a crunchy green salad and steamed new potatoes.
Chickpea, broccoli and rocket salad with crispy bacon
We recommend using jars of large Spanish chickpeas for this salad – they’re juicier and tastier than their canned cousins.
Per serving: Carbs 13g Fat 14g (Sat Fat 4g) Calories 213
200g smoked streaky bacon
250g tenderstem broccoli
660g jar chickpeas, drained and rinsed (we like Brindisa Navarrico Chickpeas, from Ocado)
4 roasted red peppers (from a jar), cut into strips
A large handful of rocket
For the dressing:
6tbsp extra virgin olive oil 3tbsp sherry vinegar Grill the bacon until crispy; drain on kitchen paper. Blanch the broccoli in boiling, salted water for 3 minutes then drain and refresh under cold running water. Whisk together the dressing ingredients and season. Toss the broccoli, chickpeas, peppers and rocket in the dressing. Put into a serving bowl then roughly chop the bacon and scatter over.
Goat's cheese and green tart
Creamy, delicious and easy to make, this is a real show-stopper.
Per serving: Carbs 29g Fat 49g (Sat Fat 24g) Calories 621
375g all-butter shortcrust pastry
1 onion, sliced
3 large free-range egg yolks, beaten
200ml double cream
100g frozen petits pois, thawed
100g broad beans, outer skin removed#
150g soft goats’ cheese log, sliced
A few sprigs of lemon thyme
You will need:
A 23cm loose-based fluted flan tin, lightly oiled, foil and baking beans
1. Roll out the pastry and line the tin, leaving an overhang, then chill for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a sauté pan and gently soften the onion for about 15 minutes. Set aside to cool.
2. Heat the oven to 180C fan, gas 6. Line the pastry case with foil and fill with baking beans, then blind bake for 20 minutes until the pastry begins to look golden around the edges. Remove the foil and baking beans then bake for 10 minutes until the case is golden all over. If there are any cracks in your pastry, just brush with beaten egg and bake for a further 5 minutes to seal. Trim off the overhanging pastry with a serrated knife. Turn down the oven to 130C fan, gas 2.
3. In a small bowl, mix the egg yolks with the cream then season. Scatter the onion, peas and broad beans over the base of the pastry case, fill with the cream mixture and top with slices of the goats’ cheese. Bake in the centre of the oven for 40 minutes until the filling has set. Scatter over the thyme leaves. Serve warm or at room temperature with a green salad. It’s best eaten on the day it’s made.