Roast chicken with couscous & pine nut stuffing#


100g couscous
175ml boiling chicken stock
50g butter
1 onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
100g pine nuts
140g dried apricots, roughly chopped
large handful parsley, roughly chopped
2 tbsp mint leaves, roughly chopped
1 lemon
1 egg, beaten
6 skinless chicken breasts
16 rashers streaky bacon


  1. Put couscous in a large heatproof bowl, pour over stock, then cover with cling film for 5 mins until liquid is absorbed. Melt half the butter in a pan, then gently cook onion and garlic for 5-8 mins until soft. Set aside. Dry-fry pine nuts for a few mins until golden. Combine onions, pine nuts, apricots and herbs with couscous. Add a good squeeze of lemon juice, season, then stir in egg. Leave to cool.
  2. Using the back of a knife, stretch rashers to 1½ times their original length. Lay, slightly overlapping, on a large sheet of foil to form a rectangle. Make a few slashes in the thickest part of each chicken breast and lay between 2 sheets of cling film. Use the base of a heavy pan to bash the chicken until about 1cm thick. Arrange chicken over the bacon, fitting so there are no gaps, but leave a border on longer sides. (This helps to roll up the chicken.)
  3. Spoon stuffing over chicken in a strip along one of the longest sides. Using tin foil to help, roll bacon and chicken around stuffing like a log. Wrap tightly in foil, twisting the ends to secure, then chill for 2 hrs or up to 1 day.
  4. Heat oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas 4. Place chicken, join-side down, in a roasting tray. Cook for 30 mins, then unwrap foil and brush roast with remaining butter. Cook, uncovered, for 20-30 mins more until cooked through, and the stuffing is hot (a metal skewer inserted into the chicken’s centre should come out hot). Cool and wrap in fresh foil to transport.

Citrus-spiked sea bass#



2-3 large oranges
zest 1 lemon (use the juice below)
1 tbsp olive oil
4 x 300g whole small sea bass, scaled, gutted and slashed a few times down each side
For the salad
2 oranges, segmented
juice 1 lemon
4 tbsp olive oil
2 bags watercress
handful small capers
handful pitted green olives, roughly chopped


  1. Finely grate the zest of 1 of the oranges and add to the lemon zest. Mix with the olive oil, then drizzle over the fish and season. Cut the rest of the oranges into slices about 5mm thick. When the coals are ashen, arrange the orange slices over the barbecue in groups the length of each fish. Char the orange slices on 1 side, then flip them over and lay the fish on top of them – this stops the fish sticking. Barbecue the fish for 5-8 mins on each side (turning them carefully), or until the flesh flakes away easily when prodded.
  2. While the fish is barbecuing (or beforehand), make the salad. Put the orange segments in a large bowl with the squeezed juice from the rest of the oranges and the lemon juice. Season and stir in the olive oil. When the fish is cooked, toss the watercress in the orange dressing with the capers and olives. Serve the fish with the salad.

Simple jammy biscuits#



200g self-raising flour
100g caster sugar
100g butter
1 egg, lightly beaten
4 tbsp strawberry jam


  1. Heat oven to 190C/fan 170C/gas 5. Rub the flour, sugar and butter together until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Alternatively, you can do this in the food processor. Add enough egg to bring the mixture together to form a stiff dough.
  2. Flour your hands and shape the dough into a tube, about 5cm in diameter. Cut into 2cm-thick slices and place on a large baking sheet. Space them out as the mixture will spread when baking.
  3. Make a small indentation in the middle of each slice with the end of a wooden spoon, and drop a tsp of jam in the centre. Bake for 10-15 mins until slightly risen and just golden. Cool on a wire rack.