This saffron risotto looks stunning and makes a great starter or main course. It is an easy one-pan dish to make. We are in the season for green vegetables now, so you could make this with asparagus, courgettes or peas. Arborio rice is essential for this recipe. I love the taste and flavour of saffron, but as it is very expensive; you could use turmeric instead.

I often make these pesto-stuffed chicken breasts at home, another easy one-tray dish. Make sure to get Quality Assured chicken. I like the way the bacon crisps up and keeps the chicken and mozzarella moist. I sometimes serve this meal with rice, but this mix of rustic potatoes is lovely.

For dessert, this apricot pudding is sweet and light. Make sure your apricots are very ripe or they will not cook in the time allotted (or use canned, as I did here). You could make it with peaches, too. Amaretti custard is to die for. I love the sweet almond taste of the Italian liqueur. You could serve this with ice cream, whipped cream or crème fraîche.

Happy cooking,


Saffron risotto with green vegetable ragout

Ingredients: serves 4

1.2 litres vegetable stock

½ tsp saffron strands

1 tbsp rapeseed oil

A knob of butter

1 onion, finely chopped

350g risotto rice

150ml dry white wine

50g freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra to garnish

For the vegetables:

175g frozen broad beans

1 tbsp rapeseed oil

A knob of butter

2 small leeks, thinly sliced

2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

4 tbsp dry white wine

1 bunch of fine asparagus, trimmed and cut into 2.5cm pieces

100g frozen peas

2 tbsp chopped fresh herbs (such as flat-leaf parsley,

chives and/or chervil)

Juice of ½ lemon

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


1 Bring the stock to a gentle simmer in a pan. Heat a separate sauté pan over a medium to high heat. Add the saffron and heat, shaking the pan, for a minute, until the threads are dry, brittle and fragrant.

2 Add the oil and butter to the saffron, then tip in the onion and season generously with salt and pepper. Sauté for five minutes, until softened but not coloured.

3 Stir the rice into the onion and saffron mixture and cook for one minute, stirring, until the grains are well coated in oil and almost transparent. Pour in the wine and allow to bubble down for one minute, stirring.

4 Add a ladleful of the simmering stock and cook until it has been completely absorbed, stirring regularly. Continue to add the stock a ladleful at a time, making sure that each time you add the liquid, the previous amount has already been absorbed.

5 Blanch the broad beans in a small pan of boiling water, then drain and refresh under cold running water and pinch off the outer shells.

6 After 10 minutes, make the vegetable ragout. Heat a large non-stick frying pan over a medium heat. Add the oil and butter, then tip in the leeks and garlic. Season with salt and sauté for 4–5 minutes, until tender. Pour in the wine and allow to bubble down.

7 Add the asparagus and a splash of the stock from the risotto and simmer for a minute or two, until bright green and crisp tender. Add the broad beans and peas and cook for another two minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the herbs and lemon juice.

8 After 25 minutes, the rice should be cooked (al dente). Remove the pan from the heat, stir in the Parmesan and season to taste.

9 To serve, divide the risotto between plates and make a well in the centre, then spoon in the vegetable ragout and scatter over the Parmesan.

Pesto stuffed chicken with rustic mixed potatoes and green beans.

Pesto-stuffed Chicken Breasts with Rustic Mixed Potatoes

Ingredients: Serves 4

125g ball of mozzarella,

torn into small pieces

4 tbsp basil pesto

4 skinless, boneless chicken breast fillets

8 cherry tomatoes, halved

8 smoked streaky bacon rashers,

rinds removed

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Steamed French green beans, to serve

For the rustic mixed potatoes:

450g Rooster potatoes, scrubbed

225g sweet potatoes, scrubbed

3 garlic cloves, lightly crushed

(skin still on)

1 fresh rosemary sprig,

broken into tiny sprigs

Sea salt flakes

2 tbsp olive oil


1 Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F/gas mark 6).

2 Mix together the mozzarella and pesto. Cut a slit into the side of each chicken breast and then stuff with the pesto-covered cheese. Place two halved cherry tomatoes in each breast. Wrap each stuffed chicken breast with two bacon rashers – not too tightly, but enough to hold the chicken together. Season with salt and pepper.

3 To make the rustic mixed potatoes, cut the potatoes and sweet potatoes into 5mm slices. A Japanese mandolin is perfect for doing this. Arrange in a single layer on a large roasting tray lined with parchment paper. Add the garlic and rosemary and season with salt. Drizzle over the oil and toss until evenly coated.

4 Nestle the pesto-stuffed chicken breasts in the potatoes and roast for 20–25 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through and the bacon is crispy.

5 Remove the chicken from the oven and rest in a warm place for five minutes. Return the potatoes to the oven in that time for a final crisp-up.

6 To serve, arrange the pesto-stuffed chicken breasts on warmed serving plates with steamed French green beans and the rustic mixed potatoes.

Apricot pudding with amaretti custard.

Apricot Pudding with Amaretti Custard

Ingredients: Serves 4–6

Butter, to grease

2 eggs, separated

50g caster sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

25g ground almonds

50ml milk

2 tbsp cream

2 x 400g cans apricot halves, drained

Icing sugar, to dust

500g custard

3tbsp Amaretto Liquer


1 To make the amaretti custard, whisk the liquer into your favourite custard, either shop-bought or homemade.

2 Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F/gas mark 6).

3 Butter a shallow ovenproof dish that has a 1.5 litre (2 ½ pints)

capacity and is 30cm (12in) x 20cm (8in) and about 5cm (2in) deep.

4 Beat together the egg yolks, sugar and vanilla extract in a large bowl until foamy. Beat in the almonds, then the milk and cream. Whisk the egg whites very lightly in a separate bowl until they just begin to hold their shape, then carefully fold into the egg and sugar mixture.

5 Pour the mixture into a buttered ovenproof dish and arrange the apricot halves on top.

6 Bake for 20–25 minutes, until just set. You may need to cover the pudding towards the end of the cooking time to prevent it from turning too brown.

7 Dust with icing sugar and serve hot, straight to the table. Hand around a jug of warm amaretti custard separately.

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