Creamy coconut broth with plump orange mussels makes an easy but impressive starter for two
- 5 coriander sprigs, leaves and stems separated, plus extra for serving
- 400ml can coconut milk
- 2 lemongrass, halved and bruised, plus a thumb-size piece ginger, thickly sliced (or galangal if you have it)
- 6 lime leaves, crushed
- 2 small green chillies, crushed
- 125ml coconut cream
- 500g mussels, scrubbed
- 2 tbsp fish sauce
- 2 tbsp fresh lime juice
MethodBring to the boil and simmer for 4 mins. Add the lime leaves and chillies, then stir in the coconut cream.
- 50g golden caster sugar
- 1 tbsp clear honey
- 1 tbsp redcurrant or cranberry jelly
- 2 spiced fruit tea bags (Pukka's 'revitalise' is good, or apple & cinnamon)
- 4 firm pears, peeled, halved and core scooped out with a spoon
- handful fresh cranberries
- yogurt or sweetened crème fraîche with a little orange juice or zest, to serve
- Put the sugar, honey, jelly and tea bags into a big saucepan with 600ml water and bring to the boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Add the pear halves, then cover and simmer for 12-15 mins until the pears are just tender – poke them with a skewer or the tip of a knife.
- Lift out the pears, then turn up the heat, throw in the cranberries and boil for a few mins until syrupy. Discard the tea bags. Serve the pears with the warm syrup poured over and a spoonful of crème fraîche or yogurt.
- 500g pack lean pork mince
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 2 tbsp cornflour
- 1 tsp Chinese five-spice powder
- 225g can water chestnut, drained, half finely chopped, half sliced
- 500ml chicken stock
- 3 tbsp hoisin sauce
- thumb-sized piece ginger, shredded
- 2 large carrots, shaved into strips with a potato peeler
- 8 Chinese leaves, thick part sliced, leaves shredded
- 300g pack beansprout
- bunch spring onions, cut into lengths, plus a few tops chopped to serve
- Tip the mince into a bowl with the soy, cornflour, five-spice, chopped water chestnuts and some black pepper. Work everything together, then shape into 12 meatballs.
- Pour the stock into a wide, deep pan and stir in the hoisin and ginger. Add the meatballs, then cover and poach for 5 mins. Drop in the carrots, Chinese leaves, beansprouts, spring onions and sliced chestnuts, then put on the lid and simmer for 5 mins. Ladle into bowls, then serve scattered with spring onion tops.
- 1 vanilla pod
- 1 bottle red wine
- 225g caster sugar
- 1 cinnamon stick, halved
- fresh thyme sprig, plus sprigs to seve
- 6 pears, peeled, but kept whole with stalk intact
- Halve the vanilla pod lengthways, scrape out the black seeds and put in a large saucepan with the wine, sugar, cinnamon and thyme. Cut each piece of pod into three long thin strips, add to pan, then lower in the pears.
- Poach the pears, covered, for 20-30 mins, making sure they are covered in the wine. The cooking time will very much depend on the ripeness of your pears – they should be tender all the way through when pierced with a cocktail stick. You can make these up to 2 days ahead and chill.
- Take the pears from the pan, then boil the liquid to reduce it by half so that it’s syrupy. Serve each pear with the cooled syrup, a strip of vanilla, a piece of cinnamon and a small thyme sprig.