Spring

Green shoots pushing through the ground - at last! - herald the end of winter dearths. Enjoy spring eating with early crops of vegetables, watercress and shellfish...

 
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Crunchy Pistachio-coated DrumsticksServes 4

Crunchy Pistachio-coated Drumsticks

Marinate some chicken drumsticks, then coat them in a crunchy mixture of pistachios, spices and herbs - perfect for barbecues, outdoor eating and picnics, and bound to be a hit with any children who need feeding.

 
 
Marinated Kipper Fillets and Potato Salad with Coriander Seeds and Cracked PepperServes 4 as a main course or 8 as a starter

Marinated Kipper Fillets and Potato Salad with Coriander Seeds and Cracked Pepper

Kippers are marinated for up to a week in a glorious mixture of spices, lemon and oil. Then all you have to do is steam some new potatoes for a very satisfying meal.

 
 
Polenta and Ricotta Cake with Dates and PecansServes 8-10

Polenta and Ricotta Cake with Dates and Pecans

This unusual Italian cake freezes really well and makes a nice change from the more obvious teatime offerings: polenta gives the cake a grainy texture while the ricotta and amaretto to add moisture and an alcoholic kick!

 
 
Little Sticky Toffee Puddings with Pecan Toffee SauceServes 8

Little Sticky Toffee Puddings with Pecan Toffee Sauce

Why not freeze these gorgeous little puds for a very special dessert? Your guests will love the wonderful flavours of this real treat.

 
 
Eton MessServes 6

Eton Mess

Invented at Eton for 4 June celebrations, this easy summery dessert is one of the quickest and most delectable ways to enjoy home-grown strawberries, couple with cream and meringue. Yum!

 
 
Canadian Buttermilk Pancakes with Maple SyrupMakes about 6

Canadian Buttermilk Pancakes with Maple Syrup

The Canadian bit comes from the maple syrup - that sticky, sweet, caramelly ingredient that lifts pancakes into the realm of the heavenly. Using buttermilk makes pancakes particularly light and moreish.

 
 
Highland Pasta with Smoked SalmonServes 2 as a main course or 4 as a starter

Highland Pasta with Smoked Salmon

This very quick supper dish for two (or starter for four) has the luxurious addition of smoked salmon and a very moreish wine and creme fraiche sauce. Sure to become a favourite!

 
 
Fried Skate Wings with Very Quick Homemade Tartare SauceServes 2

Fried Skate Wings with Very Quick Homemade Tartare Sauce

This unctuous sauce keeps for a week and so can be called into service for other fish dishes too. Make it with lime and coriander for a more oriental touch. Skate is hugely underrated, easy to cook and well worth the effort.

 
 
Chocolate Almond CrunchiesMakes 18

Chocolate Almond Crunchies

You really don't want these in the house if you're watching your weight as it's impossible to eat just one! Made with chocolate and almonds, they are quite irresistible and can be made with chocolate chips for a child-friendly version.

 
 
Chocolate Chip Ginger NutsMakes 16

Chocolate Chip Ginger Nuts

Chocolate and ginger is a marriage made in heaven, so combine them in these irresistible little biscuits... impossible to eat just one!

 
 
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