If you've missed out on one of the coveted fine restaurant takeaways, cooking a memorable meal at home need not be daunting.
Here are three easy to cook but elevated mains to cook at home.
Crab linguine with lemon, chilli, garlic and white wine
I make this frequently at home on weekends when we are not eating out. Our local fishmongers has picked crab in shells most weekends - yours should too.
Serves two. Takes 10-15 minutes to make once water is boiled.
- One whole cooked crab, ideally picked by your fishmonger and a mixture of white and brown meat
- A glug of white wine
- 2 garlic cloves, pressed or chopped in to small pieces
- 3 tablespoon's olive oil
- Small squeeze of lemon juice
- 50ml double cream (optional - substitute for more olive if you'd like)
- Chilli (optional)
- 180g good quality dried linguine
- A small bunch of fresh parsley
- Boil a large pan of salted water. Add the linguine once boiled. Stir occasionally so that the pasta doesn't stick together. Set a timer for one minute less than the packet time, around 9 minutes.
- In a separate large frying or sauté pan, heat the olive oil with garlic and chilli gently until they start to sizzle. Once this happens, add the white wine - approx 4 tablespoons or a two second pour!
- Simmer together until the olive oil and wine come together. Take off the heat and add in the crab meat, combining the crab meat with the liquid. Add your cream in now also, if preferred.
- Once the timer for the pasta goes, taste a piece. It should be soft but still have a slight bite. When the pasta is ready, use tongs to remove the pasta from the water and . Keep aside some of the pasta water, if needed.
- Put the crab sauce back on to a low heat. With tongs, add the pasta to the large pan with the crab and combine.
- Taste and add salt and pepper if desired, and lemon juice if preferred. Add a little bit of pasta water if it looks claggy.
- Serve on warm plates with a garish of parsley. Enjoy!
Steak with Peppercorn Sauce & Dauphinoise Potatoes
Serves two. Assuming the dauphinoise are prepped in advance, needs 10 minutes of hands on cooking time.
- Two steaks of your choice
- Vegetables of your choice
For the dauphinoise
- Two large King Edward or Maris Piper potatoes
- A large clove of garlic, pressed or chopped in to small pieces
- 125ml double cream
- 125ml whole milk
- 50g gruyere cheese
For the peppercorn sauce
- 1-2 tablespoons of peppercorns
- 30g butter
- Half a shallot, finely chopped
- 50ml beef stock
- 30ml double cream
- 50ml brandy (optional)
Dauphinoise potatoes. You can make these (up to step 5) up to one day before and do steps 6-7 when ready.. Keep in the fridge covered.
- Heat the oven to 190 degrees celsius / 170 fan / gas 5
- In a large saucepan, combine the cream, milk and garlic and simmer over a medium heat.
- Peel and slice the potatoes as finely as possible, about 3-4mm. Add them to the cream and simmer for 3 minutes. Add a bit of salt and pepper.
- Gently stir the cream mixture to separate the potato and prevent from sticking to the bottom of the pan.
- Remove the potato with a slotted spoon and layer in a wide, shallow ovenproof dish. A dish approx 10 x 20cm is ideal. Poor over the garlic cream until it seeps through the layers and just covers the top of the potatoes.
- Add grated gruyere cheese to the top.
- Bake for 30 minutes or until the potatoes are soft and browned.
Peppercorn sauce (with everything prepared, takes 6-8 minutes)
- Crush the peppercorns in a pestle and mortar or with a rolling pin and the peppercorns in a sandwich bag.
- Melt the butter in a saucepan and sauté the shallots until they're soft and translucent (a few minutes).
- If using, pour in the brandy and bring to the boil for a couple of minutes. Add the beef stock and peppercorns, boiling for another couple of minutes.
- Add the cream and reduce the heat to medium.
- Heat through until it's as thick as you like but don't let it boil.
- Season, and serve!
For the steak, cook to your liking based on the thickness of your steak. I would serve with steamed broccoli and green beans.
Tagliatelle with Black Truffle, Cream and Mushrooms
Serves two. Takes 10-13 minutes to make once water is ready.
- 180g of tagliatelle or other pasta of your choice
- 60ml unsalted butter
- Thin slices of fresh truffle
- 1 tblspn of truffle paste
- 3 tblspns of mascarpone
- Salt and pepper
- Prepare a large pot of salted boiling water and cook the pasta until slightly tender. Drain the pasta, leaving about 100ml of cooking water aside. Oil the pasta lightly.
- In a large skillet or frying pan, heat the truffle paste in the butter for approximately one minute. Add 60ml of the cooking water, mascarpone cheese and parmesan. Stir and cook gently until the cheese has melted.
- Add the pasta to the pan with tongs and coat thoroughly with the sauce. Add cooking water, as needed, if claggy. Season with salt and pepper and garnish with fresh truffle slices. Enjoy!
Serves four (extra for the day after)! Takes half an hour to make, plus chill time (make ahead).
- 120g sponge finger biscuits
- 380ml double cream
- 70ml marsala
- 200ml strong coffee: either two strong coffee pods or instant coffee
- 170g mascarpone
- 4 tbsp golden caster sugar
- 20g dark chocolate
- 2 tbsp cocoa powder
You will need a dish approximately 20x12cm.
- Put the double cream. marsala, sugar and mascarpone in a large bowl. Whisk until the cream and mascarpone have combined and has the consistency of thickly whipped cream.
- Prepare the coffee - make 200ml of strong coffee. Use two tablespoons of coffee granules, for example, in 200ml of water.
- Pour the coffee in to a shallow dish and dip a few of the sponge fingers in, one at a time, turning for a few seconds until they are soaked but not soggy. Layer these in a dish - you should use approx half.
- Spread over half of the cream mixture and grate over most of the dark chocolate. Repeat step 3, using up all the coffee and finishing with the creamy layer.
- Cover and chill for a few hours or overnight. Keeps for up to two days.
- When ready to serve, dust with cocoa powder and grate the remaining chocolate.