Margot Henderson's recipes from You're All Invited

Crab, chilli and coriander

Makes 12

For the crab
onion 1
celery stick 1
fennel bulb 1
lemon 1
lime 1
fresh herbs (thyme, bay leaves) a small bunch
sea salt 2 tbsp
large live cock crab about 1.5kg, or 2 smaller ones (a larger one will be less fiddly to pick)

For the devilled bit
spring onions 2, trimmed
fresh ginger 50g
fresh red chilli 1 tsp, finely chopped
limes 2
mayonnaise 4 heaped tbsp
coriander leaves a bunch, leaves picked and chopped
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

To serve
little gems 12 leaves or
toast 4 pieces

To cook the crab, bring a very large pan of water to the boil. Roughly chop the onion, celery and fennel, and halve the lemon and lime. Add to the pan with the herbs and salt and turn down the heat slightly so that the boil is not too violent. Add the crab and boil gently for 12-15 minutes, depending on its size.

Leave to cool in the water.

When the crab has cooled down, twist off the legs and the claws. Push the body section out, using your thumbs, and remove the dead men's fingers – these are the soft brown flaps on either side. Scoop the brown meat out of the large shell with a teaspoon. Remove the flap of shell from the body and cut the body in half. Remove the white meat as best you can, using picks, crackers and cleavers – the more the better. Put the brown and white crabmeat into a bowl.

Cut the spring onions in half down the middle and slice thinly at an angle.

Peel and finely grate the ginger, collecting the juice. Add the spring onions, grated ginger, ginger juice and chopped chilli to the crabmeat and mix together, adding lime juice to taste and enough mayonnaise to bring the mixture together. Last, add the chopped coriander and season with salt and pepper.

Serve in little gem lettuce leaves or on toast fingers. Also good as a starter – three leaves per person.

Boiled egg, little gem and anchovy

It is important to make your own mayonnaise for this. Don't boil the eggs for too long – they're better with a bit of yolk ooze. Three of these each also make a good starter.

Makes 12

little gem lettuce 2
eggs 6
mayonnaise 4 tbsp
anchovy fillets in olive oil, drained 12

First, wash, drain and dry the little gems and pick out the best leaves – you need 12. Make sure you don't rip the leaves: little gems are the best to use here, as they have good structure.

Boil the eggs for just 7 minutes, then leave them under a cold running tap until cool. Just before serving, shell the eggs and cut them in half. Pop each egg half into one of the little gem leaves and blob on a little mayonnaise with a teaspoon. Cut the anchovy fillets at a jaunty angle and place on top.

Bacon and egg pie

This is an old school pie from New Zealand: you are not a proper mother if you don't pack your kids off with a bacon and egg pie for their sports day.

I found it was also very successful on a cold sandy bank in Scotland after the children had spent a night camping. I think their camping involved running around all night and not sleeping, starving because they had eaten all their sausages very early on, so I was "top mum" arriving with a warm bacon and egg pie.

It feels as if it won't work, but it does and very easily. Peas can be added – always good to get a bit of green in.

Serves 9-12

streaky bacon 250g
butter 30g plus extra for greasing
flour for dusting
frozen puff pastry 375g
tomatoes 2
eggs 9
egg yolks 2
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 200C/gas mark 6.

Put the strips of bacon on a baking tray with a few knobs of butter and cook in the preheated oven for 5 minutes or so. Take the bacon out but leave the oven on.

Using a little more butter, grease a rectangular baking tray about 30cm long.

Flour your work surface and roll out the pastry. Cut it in half, then, using a rolling pin, roll out one half until it is large enough to line the baking tray and let the pastry come halfway up the sides of the tray – this is important to prevent the egg leaking out later.

Cover the pastry with the bacon – you may need to break it into strips to make sure that the pastry is evenly covered. Slice the tomatoes and lay them over the bacon. Crack the eggs evenly on top. Roll out the rest of the pastry, and cut it into thin strips, placing it over the eggs in a lattice pattern. Beat the egg yolks with a little salt and pepper and glaze the pastry with the mixture, using a pastry brush or your fingers.

Bake in the oven for 30 minutes, until the pastry is golden. Set aside to cool slightly, then cut into pieces and serve with Steinlager.

Baked whole brill

Brill is a glamorous flatfish with firm white flesh. It is a treat to cook, as it holds itself beautifully. A crowd-pleaser – it's hard to find someone who doesn't like brill. It's so pleasing to cook a fish whole, tastier for a start, and fun to eat the cheeks, pick the frame clean and proudly hold the cleaned skeleton and know there has been no wastage.

Serves 4-6

brill 1 whole, weighing about 2-3kg (ask your fishmonger to scale and gut the fish)
olive oil 50ml
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
butter 75g
lemon 1

Preheat the oven to 200C/gas mark 6. Wash the fish and pat it dry, making sure the cavity is clean. Brush it with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

Heat an oven tray that is big enough to hold the fish and, once hot, drizzle with a little olive oil. Place the fish on the pan and blob a few bits of butter over it. Squeeze over half the lemon and bake for 10 minutes.

Turn the grill on and finish by browning the fish for 2 minutes.

Serve the baked brill with braised fennel or new potatoes, just to be a bit old school.

Roast chicken

Simon Hopkinson's book Roast Chicken and Other Stories is a gem that everyone should own. If you have a copy, read his recipe, but if not, read on for my version, which is probably almost the same as his.

A good roast chicken should have lovely crisp brown skin, and the flesh should be moist but well cooked, with no pink bits. I prefer a wing, my kids want skin and breast, and Fergus has it "as it comes". In the Canteen, or for events, we roast chickens whole and carve them through the bone, so that you get a lovely juicy piece of meat on the bone.

When buying a chicken, look out for free-range – it is always good to know that your chicken has been running around, looking at the sky.

Serve with potatoes and wilted watercress. Cooking the watercress quickly seems to bring out its flavours.

Serves 4-6

free-range chicken 1.5kg with giblets (Sutton Hoo are good)
garlic 1 bulb, halved horizontally (use the other half for the stock, below)
lemon 1
fresh thyme a small bunch
bay leaves 2
olive oil 2 tbsp
unsalted butter 150g
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
dry white wine 100ml

For the stock
chicken giblets from the bird
garlic ½ a bulb
celery stick 1 chopped
onion ½, chopped
carrot 1 chopped
leek 1 chopped
bay leaves 2
fresh thyme 2 sprigs
fresh rosemary 2 sprigs

To serve
olive oil 1 tbsp
watercress 2 bags, washed
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper

Take the chicken out of the fridge an hour or half an hour before you want to cook it. To make the stock, put the giblets into a medium-sized pan with half the bulb of garlic, the celery, onion, carrot and leek. Add the herbs, then add water to cover and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 30 minutes, then strain and set aside until needed.

Preheat the oven to 200C/gas mark 6. Into the chicken's cavity pop the half bulb of garlic, half the lemon and the herbs. Rub the bird with the olive oil and spread the butter all over the skin, squeezing over the juice from the other half lemon. Season really well with salt and pepper.

Place the bird in a roasting tray and roast in the preheated oven for 10 minutes, then turn the oven down to 180C/gas mark 4 for a further hour.

Check that the bird is cooked by spearing the inside of the thickest part of the thigh – if any pinkness appears, carry on cooking. Remove the chicken from the oven and leave to rest for 15 minutes. Prop the bird up on the edge of the roasting tray so that all the juices can run out.

Pour the juices into a small pan, carefully skimming off any fat that rises to the top. Add a splash of white wine, then whisk in the stock and simmer for 5 minutes, continuing to skim off the fat. Check for seasoning and strain into a warmed jug.

When you are ready to serve the chicken, heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a pan and add the watercress. Season with salt and pepper and stir as it wilts. Serve straight away .

Serve the chicken with the gravy, and the watercress, and bread sauce and roast potatoes. New potatoes can also be cooked around the base of the bird at the same time, so that they sup up all the flavours from the chicken. Just add them to the pan at the beginning, sprinkled with salt and a little black pepper.

Courgette frittata

Serves 8

olive oil 6 tbsp, plus a little for the pan
onions 2 chopped
garlic 4 cloves, finely chopped
courgettes 8 medium
sea salt 1 tsp
ground paprika 1 tsp
eggs 12
freshly ground black pepper
soft butter 20g

Heat the oil in a large frying pan, then add the onions and garlic and cook on a medium heat for 15–20 minutes, until very soft and sweet.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 180C/gas mark 4. Cut the courgettes into 1cm slices, and sprinkle them with the salt. Add them to the pan with the paprika and cook for a further 10 minutes, stirring frequently.

Beat the eggs in a large bowl and season lightly with salt and pepper. Add the courgette mixture. Heat the butter and a little oil in an ovenproof pan. Once the butter is frothing, add the egg and vegetable mixture. Cook for 5 minutes, until the base is sealed, then transfer to the preheated oven for 20–30 minutes, until the centre is firm, with a little give, and the frittata is browned on top.

Leave the frittata to cool a little, and cut into generous wedges to serve.

Double lemon pudding

A simple soothing pudding, the sort that will warm any man's heart. Men love creamy warm puddings. Do not fear if the mixture splits as the acidity of the lemons will divide the mix. What you have left is three different layers of texture, with a gooey bottom moving to a more spongy top. A good quality pouring cream is a must here.

Serves 6

soft unsalted butter 200g plus a little for greasing
caster sugar 350g
lemons grated zest of 3
vanilla essence 1 tsp
eggs 8, separated
plain flour 100g, sifted
milk 250ml
lemon juice 250ml

Preheat the oven to 180C/gas mark 4.

Cream together the butter, sugar, lemon zest and vanilla in a bowl until white and creamy. Beat in the egg yolks, one at a time. Fold in the flour with a metal spoon, alternating with the milk and lemon juice. Whisk the egg whites in a large bowl until lightly stiff and fold into the mixture.

Generously grease a 3 litre (22 x 30cm) ovenproof dish and pour in the mixture. Place the dish in a high-sided roasting tin and add boiling water to the tin so that it comes a third of the way up the outside of the dish. Carefully transfer to the middle shelf of the oven and bake for 40 minutes, until golden brown on top and looking set in the middle.

Serve warm, with double cream, or chilled.

Braised artichokes, mint and rocket

Serves 4

violet globe artichokes 16
lemons 2
olive oil 200ml
water 1 litre
fresh red chilli 1 whole
garlic cloves 8, peeled and left whole
fresh mint a bunch
rocket 2 packets, washed and dried

For the dressing
Dijon mustard 1 tsp
lemon juice 1 tsp
sherry vinegar 1 tsp
fresh flat-leaf parsley a handful
fresh mint leaves a handful
capers a small handful
olive oil 50ml

To prepare the artichokes it's best to use a sharp paring knife and a good peeler. You also need a large bowl of water with a few lemons squeezed into it – this will keep the artichokes fresh and stop them discolouring while they are being prepared.

Clean the artichokes, cut off the top half, and snap away the outer leaves until you get to the light-coloured inner cone of leaves. Cut the prickly top end off. Trim the ends of the stems, but keep the stems long. Peel away the green at the base and along the stem. Keep the artichokes in the lemon water until you cook them.

Put the oil, water, chilli and garlic into a pan large enough for the artichokes to be placed upside down. Add the mint, stalks and all, and bring to the boil. Add the artichokes, then reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes, until tender. Leave to cool in the liquor.

Meanwhile, to make the dressing, whisk together the mustard, lemon juice and vinegar in a small bowl. Chop the parsley and mint and add to the bowl along with the capers. Finally, whisk in the olive oil.

When the artichokes have cooled down, slice them in half. Remove the tiny choke with a teaspoon and discard. Put the artichokes into a bowl and toss together with the rocket and the dressing.

The artichokes are also delicious served with roast tomatoes and broad beans when in season, or on their own. The possibilities are endless.

Baked halibut with capers and lemon

Serves 4

halibut 4 pieces, cut on the bone (tranches)
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
olive oil a little
butter 2 tbsp
white wine a splash
lemon juice of ½
capers 1 tbsp

Preheat the oven to 180C/gas mark 4.

Season the fish with salt and pepper, then brush an ovenproof pan with olive oil and place it over a medium heat. Add half the butter and a little olive oil to the pan and when it's sizzling, slide in the fish. Brown it on one side, then turn it over and place the pan in the preheated oven. Cook for 7 minutes.

Check if it is done by pressing the flesh: it is ready when it gently comes away from the bone.

Take the fish out of the pan and place it to one side. Add a splash of wine to the pan and return it to the heat, letting it bubble away until the wine has reduced. Pop in the lemon juice and capers, stir in the rest of the butter, and shuggle the pan so all the ingredients come together. Taste and season the sauce, then pour over the fish.

Serve with potatoes and chard.

Salt cod and potato bake

Salt cod and potato bake played an important part in the early days of my romance with Fergus, as it was the first dish that I cooked for him. There are many ways to make this dish, but the recipe below is a Portuguese version I learnt from David Eyre at the Eagle. The most important thing about this dish is that it all comes together and has a lovely sticky texture.

Serves 4

salt cod 500g
fresh herbs (thyme, parsley) a bundle
bay leaves 3
lemon ½
waxy potatoes (Desiree are good) 1kg
onions 2
garlic 4 cloves
olive oil 125ml
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
tomatoes 8, sliced
eggs 4, boiled for 8 minutes

Soak the cod for 24 hours, changing the water every few hours. Once soaked, pour away the water, then put the cod into a large pan and cover with fresh cold water.

Add the bundle of herbs, the bay leaves and the lemon half. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Strain and leave to cool. Once cool, remove the bones and skin from the fish and put the flesh to one side.

Preheat the oven to 180C/gas mark 4.

Peel the potatoes, leaving them whole, and put them aside in a pan of water.

Peel and slice the onions and garlic. Heat the olive oil in a heavy-bottomed pan, add the onions and garlic, then turn the heat down and cook gently until soft.

Slice the potatoes about 2mm thick on a mandoline or using the slicing attachment on a food processor, being careful of your fingers. Put them into a bowl, mix in the onion and olive oil mixture and season with salt and pepper.

Spread a third of the potato mixture in the bottom of a large baking dish.

Cover with half the salt cod and add another third of the potato mixture. Layer the rest of the salt cod on top, followed by the sliced tomatoes. Finish with the remaining potatoes.

Bake in the preheated oven for approximately an hour, until the potatoes are cooked through – if they are browning too much, cover the dish with foil and turn the heat down. Serve each portion with a boiled egg.

Thanks to guardian.co.uk who have provided this article. View the original here.