Sunday, 13 July 2014

Tuna and Chive Cakes Recipe

Today's supper is for something lighter... a cheap supper dish whose main ingredient is mashed potato and tinned tuna.

Of course, if you have a fish dish accompanied by potatoes you can mash the potatoes and then flake the fish to use the recipe below as the basis of a leftovers dish.

The version I am presenting here is slightly more chefy than many other fish cakes you will see, but that just enhances the flavour and prevents them from being bland and boring. Indeed, I used this recipe to persuade my wife to make more roasted and poached fish, as she knew that the leftovers would be converted into this recipe!!

I hope you enjoy these as much as she does.

Tuna and Chive Cakes

Serves: 4–6
Tuna and Chive Cakes Recipe: Simple to make yet flavoursome crispy tuna and chive cakes that can be used as a base for using up any leftover fish or potatoes. A few chefy twists make this a delicious supper dish that you can prepare from leftovers.


500g (1 lb) potatoes, peeled and boiled until tender
4 x 225g (8 oz) tins of tuna in brine, drained
1 onion, grated
finely-grated zest of 1 lemon
juice of 1 lemon
6 tbsp sour cream
1 tbsp chives, finely copped
125g (1 cup) plain flour
3 eggs, lightly beaten
3 1/2 tbsp breadcrumbs
oil for shallow frying


When the potatoes are tender, drain and then mash until smooth. In a bowl, combine the mashed potatoes with the tuna, onion, lemon zest, lemon juice, sour cream and chives.

Shape the resultant mixture into patties.

Add the eggs, flour and breadcrumbs to separate bowls.

Dip the fishcakes first into the flour (shake off any excess) then dip into the egg and then into the breadcrumbs, ensuring that they are evenly coated.

Heat oil in a frying pan, add the fishcakes and cook in batches until golden brown and heated through.

Serve hot with a fresh salad and rice.

If you enjoyed this recipe, and would like more ideas for how to use up your leftovers, why not visit the Celtnet Leftovers recipes and cookery suggestions pages?

Thursday, 10 July 2014

Baked Egg Custard Recipe

A custard is essentially a blend of eggs and liquid, where the mixture is then either baked, simmered or microwave until the mixture thickens. The classic custard is made with eggs and milk or cream, but any liquid can be used and in the past this was made from a blend of nut milks and eggs.

The ancient Romans were the first to write down the recipe for a custard and they enjoyed egg custards, flavoured with fish sauce as both an accompaniment and a dessert.

Egg custards are so fundamental in cooking (many pies, all quiches and a number of desserts depend on them) that I am giving  a recipe for a basic (but tasty nonetheless) dessert custard here today.

Add a topping of caramelized sugar and you have a brûlée. If you top with fruit purée, then you have a cheat's cheesecake. The bas is just so versatile...

Baked Egg Custard

Serves: 4–6
Baked Egg Custard: A classic yet simple to prepare dessert dish that can also be used as the base for a brûlée, cheat's cheesecake or a trifle. This modern version is almost identical to the Ancient Roman original (excepting the fish sauce!!)


1 egg, lightly beaten
100g (1/2 cup) caster sugar
500ml (2 cups) milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg


Brush a deep 1l (4 cup) ovenproof dish with melted butter or oil.

In a bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar, milk and vanilla extract for 2 minutes. Strain this custard mix into the prepared baking dish then sprinkle over the nutmeg.

Place the dish in a shallow roasting tin then pour in enough boiling water to come halfway up the sides.

Transfer to an oven pre-heated to 180°C (350ºF, Gas Mark 4) and bake for about 30 minutes, or until the custard is set and a skewer inserted into the centre emerges cleanly.

When ready, remove the ovenproof dish from the roasting tin and serve immediately.

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Sweet and Sour Eggplant Recipe

Today's recipe is a classic sweet and sour vegetarian eggplant (aubergine) stir-fry made from parboiled vegetables that are finished by stir-frying with sugar, red wine vinegar and chilli flakes.

This is a healthy and very easy to prepare dish, just make sure you use home-made vegetable stock to cut down on the salt!!

The use of garden mint lends this dish a very North African twist.

Sweet and Sour Eggplant

Serves: 4
Sweet and Sour Eggplant: A vegetarian dish that is an interesting blend of Asian and North African. Eggplants (aubergines) parboiled with garlic, onion and tomatoes that are finished in a sweet and sour sauce with chilii flakes and which is served dressed with garden mint. Easy to make, tasty and healthy too!!


2 large aubergines (eggplants)
6 tbsp olive oil
4 garlic cloves, crushed
1 onion, cut into eight wedges
4 large tomatoes, blanched, peeled, de-seeded and chopped
3 tbsp mint, chopped
150ml (2/3 cup) vegetable stock
4 tsp brown sugar
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tsp hot chilli flakes
salt and freshly-ground black pepper, to taste
fresh sprigs of mint, to garnish


Using a sharp knife, cut the aubergines (eggplants) into cubes. Place these in a colander, sprinkle with salt and set aside to stand for 30 minutes. After this time, rinse the aubergine pieces thoroughly under cold, running, water then set aside to drain well. Once drained, pat dry with kitchen paper.

Heat the oil in a large frying pan and use to fry the aubergine pieces, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes. Now stir in the garlic and onion and cook for 3 minutes more.

Stir in the tomatoes, mint and stock. Bring to a simmer, cover and cook gently for about 18 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender.

Stir in the brown sugar, red wine vinegar and chilli flakes. Season to taste with salt and black pepper then cook for 2 minutes more to allow the flavours to meld.

Turn into a dish, garnish with fresh mint sprigs and serve.

For hundreds more classic and modern vegetarian recipes, why not visit the Celtnet Vegetarian recipes and vegetarian cookery pages?

Sunday, 8 June 2014

Warm Date and Mascarpone Tart Recipe

Today's recipe is for a delicious, yet simple to make dessert of a date and mascarpone cheese custard baked in a filo (phyllo) pastry shell.

Though it sounds decadent (and it does taste heavenly) this is actually a quite a healthy low-fat option for a dessert (if you choose low fat Mascarpone, that is!!).

It's great for a lazy Sunday morning as it's a snap to make, yet is sure to delight even the most fussy eater.

Warm Date and Mascarpone Tart

Serves: 6–8
Warm Date and Mascarpone Tart: Classic dessert tart of a date and mascarpone cheese egg custard baked in a phyllo pastry shell. Simple to make, this classic dessert tart is guaranteed to please the whole family.


4 sheets of filo (phyllo) pastry
40g (1/4 cup, scant) butter, melted and cooled
30g (1/4 cup) ground almonds
10 fresh dates, pitted and sliced
2 eggs
2 tsp custard powder
125g (1/2 cup) Mascarpone cheese
50g (1/4 cup) caster sugar
120ml (1/2 cup) single cream
2 tbsp flaked almonds, to garnish


Brush a shallow, fluted, oblong flan tin (about 10 x 35m [4 x 14 in]) with melted butter or oil.

Brush a sheet of filo pastry sparingly with melted butter and sprinkle with ground almonds. Fold the pastry sheet in half lengthways and carefully line a then flan tin lengthways with the pastry. Repeat this process with the remaining pastry, butter and nuts.

Spread the dates evenly over the pastry base. In the meantime, combine the eggs, custard powder, Mascarpone cheese, sugar and cream in a medium bowl. Whisk the mixture until smooth then pour the mixture over the dates.

Sprinkle the flaked almonds over the top then transfer to an oven pre-heated to 180°C and bake for 25 minutes, or until the custard is golden brown and set.

Remove from the oven and allow the tart to cool for 10 minutes before slicing.

Serve warm, accompanied by whipped cream.

For thousands more classic dessert recipes, why not visit the Celtnet dessert recipes and dessert cookery pages?

Saturday, 7 June 2014

Marmalade Breakfast Muffins Recipe

This recipe grew partially out of necessity and partially because I hate waste. Recently I bought a tin of marmalade, to try it out. But it was far too sweet and not bitter enough for my personal tastes. So, rather than throw it away, I decided to have a go at baking with it instead.

The obvious thing to try was a muffin, and I decided to adapt a Christmas muffin recipe I had lying around for use with marmalade instead. To make up for the lack of bitterness I added lemon and grapefruit zest, prepared the batter and into the oven they went.

About 18 minutes later the muffins were ready. I had two for breakfast with my morning coffee... My wife tried one, and, as always when a cake recipe works she whisked the remainder off to school with her!!! So I am going to have to whip-up another half batch this afternoon if I'm to sample the fruits of my labours once again!!

I like a little maize meal in my muffins, but this recipe works just as well if you substitute the plain flour and maize (corn) meal mix for 250g (2 cups) plain flour.

Marmalade Breakfast Muffins

Serves: 12
Marmalade Breakfast Muffins: A classic breakfast corn and wheat flour muffin flavoured with marmalade and citrus zest. Delicious and ready in less than 30 minutes from when you first begin to prepare them.


125g (1/2 cup) marmalade
180g (1 1/2 cups) plain flour
60g (1/2 cup) maize (corn) meal
3 tsp baking powder
140g (3/4 cup) golden caster sugar
finely-grated zest of 1 lemon
finely-grated zest of 1 orange (or 1/2 grapefruit)
90ml (6 tbsp) sunflower oil
2 eggs, beaten
200ml (4/5 cup) milk (or 100ml milk and 100ml yoghurt)
2 tsp mixed spice (pumpkin pie spice)


Mix together the flour, maize meal, sugar, baking powder, citrus zests and mixed spice in a large mixing bowl.

Pour the oil into a mixing jug then add the eggs and beat lightly with a fork. Pour in the milk, whisk briefly then add to the dry ingredients.

Place the marmalade in a microwave-safe jug and heat gently in your microwave until just melted.

Stir everything until just combined then fold in the marmalade (do not over-work the batter or the muffins will be tough). Spoon the batter into 12 muffin tin wells that have been lined with paper cases.

Transfer to an oven pre-heated to 180ºC (350ºF) and bake for about 20 minutes, or until nicely risen and golden brown on top.

Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Serve warm, with coffee.

For hundreds more muffin recipes, why not visit the Celtnet muffin and quickbread recipes pages?

Friday, 6 June 2014

Beef Salad with Watercress and Basil Sauce Recipe

Here is a rather wonderful beef salad recipe. If you want to do something different with your steaks, apart from the usual steak sandwich, then this is a great recipe.

This also makes a wonderful filling for a baguette or ciabatta bread if you are looking for a slightly more substantial meal.

However, it's the basil and mustard sauce that really lifts this dish and makes it something special. The sauce is so good that I make it and store in in the refrigerator like a pesto.

Beef Salad with Watercress and Basil Sauce

Serves: 4
Beef Salad with Watercress and Basil Sauce: Here is a classic salad of fried beef steak tossed with watercress leaves that's served topped with a basil and mustard sauce (rather like a pest). This works as a salad but also makes a great sandwich filling.


2 lean sirloin (or rump) steaks
2 tsp sunflower oil
250g (9 1/2 oz) watercress
salt and freshly-ground black pepper, to taste

For the Basil Sauce:

25g (1 oz) fresh basil leaves
2 garlic cloves, peeled
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 tsp Dijon or English mustard
4 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil


Begin with the sauce. Combine the basil, garlic, lemon juice and mustard in a food processor. Pulse to form a rough paste then, with the motor still running, add the olive oil in a steady trickle until the mixture is thick. Turn the resultant mixture into a small bowl, season to taste with salt and black pepper then set in the refrigerator until needed.

Season the steaks then brush with the oil. Cook on a pre-heated griddle pan until done to your liking (medium-rare is probably best though). Transfer to the meat to a warm plate and set aside to rest for 5 minutes.

Arrange the watercress in a serving dish. Slice the meat diagonally (reserve any meat juices to add to the sauce). Add the beef strips to the salad and toss to combine.

Drizzle over the sauce and serve immediately.

For hundreds more ideas of what to do with beef and beef-based recipes, why not visit the Celtnet beef information and beef recipes pages?

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Curried Cauliflower and Spinach

Here is a classic and very versatile recipe for cauliflower and spinach in a lightly-curried sauce base.

This can be served as a starter, be used as a base for a soup or it can be served as an accompaniment or as a vegetarian main course in and of itself.

Curried Cauliflower and Spinach

Serves: 4
Curried Cauliflower and Spinach: A dish of cauliflower and spinach in a lightly-curried vegetable stock base. A versatile dish that can be served as a starter, an accompaniment or even as a vegetarian main course.


1 medium-sized cauliflower, broken into small florets
6 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp garam masala
1 tsp ground turmeric
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 onion, halved and sliced
1 green chilli, sliced
450g (1 lb) spinach, washed
6 tbsp vegetable stock
1 tbsp coriander (cilantro) leaves, chopped
salt and freshly-ground black pepper, to taste
sprigs of coriander (cilantro), to garnish


Heat the oil in a deep flame-proof casserole dish. Add the mustard seeds and fry, stirring frequently, until the seeds begin to pop.

At this point stir in the spices, garlic, onion and chilli. Continue cooking for 3 minutes, stirring frequently.

Now add the cauliflower florets along with the spinach, vegetable stock, coriander leaves and seasonings. Cover and cook over gentle heat for about 15 minutes, or until the cauliflower is tender.

Uncover the dish and bring the mixture to a boil. Cook for about 1 minute, or until the pan juices have thickened.

Garnish with coriander sprigs and serve immediately, either as an accompaniment or as a vegetarian dish accompanied by rice.

For hundreds more curry and curry-based recipes from around the world, why not visit the Celtnet curry and curry-based recipes pages?

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