Delia’s potato salad with vinaigrette

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This simple, yet quite sophisticated potato salad is one of Delia’s creations, and as I trust her ability I didn’t actually test this recipe before I made it for a dinner party; I just knew it would be nice. And of course it was. One can always trust Delia.

The only change I made was to cut down a bit on the shallots, as chopping onions really makes me cry. I think I gave up after having chopped eight shallots for double the amount of potatoes below.

Potato salad with vinaigrette, serves 8

Adapted from Delia Smith’s recipe.

900 g washed new potatoes

6 shallots, finely chopped

4 tbsp finely chopped (ot cut with scissors) chives

salt

Vinaigrette:

1 dessertspoon sea salt 

2 cloves garlic, peeled

1 dessertspoon mustard powder

1 tbsp balsamic vinegar

1 tbsp sherry vinegar

150 ml olive oil

black pepper

Steam or boil the potatoes in salted water until soft, for approx 20 minutes. Leave to cool a little and cut into smaller pieces if needed. 

Meanwhile make the vinaigrette using a pestle and mortar: crush the salt coarsely, then add the garlic. Crush it, mixing it with the salt, creating a purée. Add the mustard powder and really work it in, after that add some black pepper. 

Then add the vinegars and really work them in. Then add the oil, but switch to a small whisk and give everything a really good whisking. 

Stir in the vinagrette while the potatoes are still warm and add the shallots. Add the chives just before serving. Can be served still warm or cold.

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Crab tarlets with chives, red chilli and lime

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These wonderful tartlets came about when a colleague was asking me for a recipe for a crab tartlet. I didn’t know a nice one so she used a recipe by Mary Berry that she raved about afterwards. So of course I had to try it. But for some reason I wasn’t in the mood for full on Thai flavours in the filling like the recipe suggests so I made my own filling with chives, red chilli and lime instead.

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It turned out really well. Less full on flavours, but it complemented the crab perfectly and the crab taste came through more. It’s perfect as a light lunch or a starter.

I only made two tartlets but made one full batch of the dough (for eight) as I like having pastry in the freezer. It’s just fiddly to make a small batch anyway.

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Crab tarlets with chives, red chilli and lime, makes 2 small tartlets

I made the dough using Mary Berry’s recioe while the filling is my own

Pastry (freeze what you don’t use):

175 g plain flour

1 tsp Coleman’s mustard powder

75 g butter, cut into cubes

50 g parmesan, finely grated

1 egg, beaten

Filling:

100 g crab meat

1/2 röd chilli, finely chopped 

1/2 lime, zest only

3 tbsp chopped chives

1 beaten egg

100 ml cream

salt, white pepper

Preheat the oven and a baking tray to 200C. 

Start with the dough; mix flour, butter and mustard powder in a food processor until you have crumbs. Add the egg and the parmesan and run the food processor until the dough comes together. 

Press out (or roll if you prefer) the dough into two small dishes with a fluted edge. Freeze the remaining dough. 

Mix crab meat, lime zest, chilli and chives in a bowl. Divide between the tartlets. Beat eggs and cream, season well and fill up the tartlets. 

Place the tartlets on the now hot baking tray and bake for 15-20 minutes, until the filling is set. Leave to cool a little and serve with a salad. 

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Asparagus is probably my favourite vegetable, at least during the time it is in season. The rest of the year it is probably in second place behind the aubergine.

One reason I think I love asparagus so much is its compatibility with buttery sauces. If it didn’t work so well with hollandaise it probably wouldn’t be my favourite.

Last time I had asparagus and hollandaise I flavoured the sauce with chives and added some crispy pancetta to the plate. It was really delicious and a dish I will cook again and again. I had it as a starter but I would happily eat it for brunch too with an added poached egg.

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Asparagus with chives hollandaise and pancetta, serves 2

6-8 asparagus stems

6 thin slices pancetta

1 batch chives hollandaise (receipe below)

Break off the wooden part of the asparagus stems and cook in simmering water for 2-3 minutes. Drain. Fry the pancetta until crisp in a frying pan or in the oven. Make the sauce. Plate up and serve.

Chives hollandaise, serves 2-4

3egg yolks

150 g salted butter

1/2 – 1 tbsp lemon juice

salt and white pepper

1 bunch chives, chopped

Mix egg yolks and lemon juice in a non stick sauce pan (start off with only half a tbsp lemon juice if you don’t want the sauce too sharp, you can add more towards the end). Cut the butter into cubes and put one or two into the egg yolks, while whisking. Let all the butter melt before adding more butter cubes and repeat this until all the butter is used. The sauce will slowly thicken and when it is thick enough, remove it from heat, still stirring, season and add the chopped chives. Serve.