Tuesday, October 13, 2009


Serves 4

The BLT has become one of the most popular sandwiches on both sides of the Atlantic. Here, for some blasphemers, this actually might be an improvement on the original. The trout offering the same salty smoky role as the bacon, but with more interest in its flavour and texture. As with a regular BLT, the very best bread and tomatoes you can find are a must.

8 broad thick slices from a good sourdough loaf

500g smoked trout

A good few dollops of mayonnaise

12 medium thick slices of perfect deep red tomato

Crisp green lettuce, little gems are ideal

Slather the mayonnaise over the bread; construct the ingredients in no particular order on one slice, and top off with the other.

Weighing down for 10 minutes or so will do no harm whatsoever, and may actually prove slightly easier to eat.

Decent potato crisps, even better chilled white Burgundy, and I think perfection is just around the corner.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Seafood falafel with chermoula dip

Makes about 25 canapés, or serves 5 as a main course

Comfortable and satisfying - falafel making sits in the same category as fishcakes and scotch eggs for me. Something you can get all the messy work out the way nice and early, then as and when you're ready to eat it's 10 minutes worth of cooking and you're good to go...


125g dried chickpeas, soaked in cold water overnight

¼ large onion

1/8 bunch parsley

1 spring onion

1 garlic clove, peeled and chopped

1 tsp cumin

2 tsp ground coriander

½ tsp salt

¼ tsp bicarbonate of soda

75g prawns, finely chopped, plus extra, whole and cooked, for canapés

50g scallops, finely chopped, plus extra, whole, for canapés

4-6 tblsp vegetable oil, for frying

Chermoula dip

50ml olive oil

1 large onion, finely chopped

3 large tomatoes, roughly chopped

2 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped

1 chilli

¼ bunch coriander

Juice of 1 lemon

First, prepare the falafel. Drain and rinse the chickpeas. Roughly chop the onion, parsley and spring onion. Place in a food processor, along with the soaked chickpeas and garlic, and pulse for 30 seconds.

Place the chickpea mixture in a large bowl and add the spices, salt, bicarbonate of soda and chopped prawns and scallops. Mix gently for a minute. Roll the mixture into small balls, each about 3cm in diameter.

Next, make the chermoula dip. Place a large saucepan over a medium heat, add the olive oil and onion and cook for 10 minutes to soften. Put in the tomatoes and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes. Then add the chilli, coriander and lemon juice and 250ml water and cook for 35-40 minutes, until the mixture has been reduced by two-thirds. Purée with a hand blender or in a food processor, then, if you want it particularly smooth, pass through a sieve.

Heat 2 tblsp of the vegetable oil in a frying pan over a high heat and cook the falafel in batches (with fresh oil as needed) for about 3 minutes per batch, until browned. Serve the chermoula either warm or cold, with the warm falafel and pitta breads.

If making canapés, cut the extra scallops in half and sear for a minute on each side. Skewer together a scallop, falafel and prawn, arrange on a plate, then serve.