SPLIT PEA SOUP with ham hocks, peas and mint
2 cups green or yellow split peas, washed well
8 cups water
1 ham hock
2 bay leaves
2 carrots, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 leek, coarsely chopped
1 medium onion, peeled and coarsely chopped
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 cups frozen or fresh peas
Crème fraiche (optional)
Mint leaves

Place the, water, ham hock, 2 carrots and half the onion and half the leek, with the bay leaves into a large pot. Cook for 2 hours, or until the meat is almost falling off the bone.
Carefully strain the stock (liquid) into another large pot or bowl and then transfer into a large pot. Retrieve the ham hock and shred off the meat and remove any chewy bits. Keep aside for later.
Put the stock back onto the heat and add the remainder carrots, onion and leeks. Add the split peas and cook gently for about 40 minutes to 1 hour. Do not season until the peas are tender.
When the peas are tender add the fresh or frozen peas and cook for a couple of minutes as you want the freshness and vibrancy in your soup.
Either use a hand blender or carefully processor until the desired consistency. It is up to you whether you would like smooth or a little more texture!
Add the ham meat and check for seasoning and serve if desired with a dollop of crème fraiche and a couple of mint leaves.

Serves 6
300ml cream
100ml milk
2 cloves garlic, crushed to a paste
800g potatoes, peeled and cut into slices 2-3 mm thick
2 leeks, tough exterior leaves removed, and finely sliced
2 Tablespoons butter
1-2 Tablespoons freshly grated parmesan or any desired cheese
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Put the cream, milk and crushed garlic into a pan and bring to the boil. Season and add the potatoes, mixing well.
Cook the leeks in the butter until soft but not coloured
Add the leeks and mix through.
Transfer the mixture to a gratin dish or oven dish. Spread evenly and cover with foil, bake in an oven preheated to 180`C for about 50 minutes, until the potatoes are tender. Remove the foil, sprinkle over the parmesan and return to the oven for 10 minutes, until browned on top.
- try using stock instead of cream, or substitute thinly sliced fennel, or Jerusalem artichokes with some of the potatoes.
- add some lightly cooked bacon.


Serves 6
500g firm waxy potato, washed
4 spring onions, sliced thinly
Handful baby spinach or some robust leaf
Radish if in season, sliced thinly
250g crème fraiche
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
Pinch sugar
Grain mustard
Sea salt and freshly cracked pepper

Put a large pot of water on the heat with plenty of salt, add the potatoes and cook until they are tender - about 40 minutes.
Meanwhile mix the crème fraiche with mustard, vinegar and sugar.
When the potatoes are cooked, drain, and when able to handle, carefully peel off the skins and cut into bite size pieces, season. Add them whilst still warm too the dressing so the potatoes can soak up some of the flavours. Add the spinach, spring onions and radish if using and mix gently. Serve immediately delicious with a grilled pork chop!

Hint: if boiling potatoes, add salt to the pot and bring to the boil then reduce the heat to a gently simmer and cook until tender. If you boil them too rapidly the starch comes to the surface and they become floury.

Easy ideas for leeks
- sweat finely sliced leeks in butter for 5 minutes, until softened. Pour in a glass of red wine and simmer until reduced. Season and serve as an accompaniment to grilled fish or roast meat.
- Blanch 4 whole trimmed leeks (cut in half lengthways if large) in boiling salted water for 2 minutes, then drain and refresh in cold water. Drain well, brush lightly with oil and sear on a hot griddle pan. In a wide pan, gently heat the juice of 2 lemons, 1 tablespoon of sugar and 100ml water. As the leeks come off the grill, place in the warm marinade. Leave for 5 minutes, then sprinkle with chopped coriander or parsley and serve.
- Blanch and grill leeks as described above, then serve with Pine Nut Salsa in stead of marinade.
-Great sweated off in butter and added to quiche’s, on top of pizza’s with a good blue cheese, great in a potato gratin.


Serves 2
2 dessert apples
Juice of ½ lemon
30g butter, melted
Vanilla ice cream, pouring cream or a large dollop of whipped cream

Peel the apples and halve them from stalk to flower end. Cut out the core. Brush all over with lemon juice, then lay the fruit down flat on a grill rack. Brush with the butter.
Grill about 10cm away from the heat, until the apples begin to brown, about 10 minutes. Turn them over, brush with butter and grill until the apples start to colour. Pour the honey into the hollows where the cores were, and return to the grill. When the honey bubbles, and the apples are tender to the point of a knife, they are done. Eat with ice cream or cream.

Serve 4
5 medium tart apples, peeled, cored and sliced
1/3 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
½ cup all purpose flour
¾ cup rolled oats
1 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp ground ginger
½ cup melted butter
1/3 cup water
Whipped cream or vanilla ice cream

Arrange sliced apples in a buttered 8-inch square baking dish. In a bowl, combine the sugars, flour, spices and oats; stir in melted butter. Spread mixture over the apples. Pour water evenly over top. Bake in a 200`C oven for 30 minutes, until apples are tender and top is nicely browned and crisp. Serve warm or cooled with ice cream or whipped cream.
Serves 4.