Have yourself a salmon little Christmas

Are you cooking the typical turkey dinner this Christmas?  Most people do.  But for those of us who eat fish, I would like to share a simple recipe I came across years ago.  It’s so quick and easy to make and … it never fails! It certainly is a crowd pleaser!

 Holiday Side of Salmon

This recipe is taken from a Christmas cookbook supplement which came as a freebie with Essentials magazine many moons ago.  I remember picking up this magazine from the newsagent’s at Heathrow airport thinking it would make a good read.

Holiday side of salmon

Doesn’t it look spectacular? But it really couldn’t be simpler to cook.


* one whole side of salmon (approx. 1.6kg – 2kg)
* juice and zest of 2 limes, plus extra to serve
* 100ml dark rum
* 50g dark brown sugar
* 2tbsp honey
* 2tbsp soy sauce
* 1tsp ginger, peeled and grated
* 2 cloves garlic, crushed
* 1tsp allspice

Serves 8-10


How to prepare your salmon

  1. Put all the ingredients (except salmon) in food container large enough to take your fish.  Mix well.  Put in the salmon and coat all over.  Close the container and leave in the fridge to marinate for at least 2 hours.
  2. Heat oven to gas mark 7 / 220 degrees Celsius.  Remove the salmon from the marinade and put in a lined roasting dish.  Bake for 15 minutes.
  3. Boil the marinade in a pan for 5 minutes until thickened.  Drizzle over the salmon and bake for a further 5 minutes.

Rest the fish in a warm place for a couple of minutes before serving.

Ideas for sides

My favourite side dishes to go with salmon are spinach and lentils.  I think they go so well together.

This is my latest warm spinach salad

* rinse spinach leaves and put in pot with a tight fitting lid
* steam gently for a few minutes until the leaves are just beginning to wilt – drain any excess water
* warm one tablespoon of olive oil and saute two cloves of crushed garlic and two spring onions, finely chopped
* remove from the heat and pour over spinach – top with toasted flaked almonds.


My puy lentil salad is just as quick and easy to make.  Rinse the lentils and boil in vegetable stock for 15-20 minutes (do not overcook) – drain.  In the meantime finely chop an onion, courgette, two celery sticks and one large carrot.  Saute in a tablespoon of olive oil for ten minutes.  Remove from the heat – add boiled lentils, chopped parsley and 75g of dried cranberries.

Make dressing by putting two tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, one tablespoon balsamic vinegar, one crushed garlic clove, salt and pepper in a screw top jar, mix well and drizzle over lentils.

And for the final touch, you can add some potato wedges.

Try it … I guarantee your guests will be impressed.

My thanks go to Essential Magazine https://www.facebook.com/search/top/?q=essentialsmagazine for this lovely salmon recipe.





Squash, Pumpkin and Halloween

Halloween is but a few days away and the first thought that springs to mind is the jack-o’-lanterns. But pumpkins are not just for nicely carved out lanterns. Together with squash they make heart-warming meals – a treat in cooler autumn weather.


Pumpkin vs Squash – what’s the difference?

Pumpkin is a type of squash.  There are four different species of squash, but they all belong to the same family – the cucurbitaceae.  By the way, pumpkins and squash are fruit! Most pumpkins are kind-of flattened spheres whilst squash are often elongated.  Both squash and pumpkin come in a variety of colours, ranging from very pale yellow, to bright orange, yellow or green.  Pumpkins come with a stiff, spiky stem and their seeds are a good source of protein and fibre.

How do you know which to use for your recipe?

Different people have different views; personally, I prefer using pumpkin in soups with a watery base, like minestrone.  For stews, salads and thick soups I use squash because it is less watery and gives a better consistency. Before I start with my recipe, I roast the squash to bring out its nutty flavour.

Roasted squash can be used in various dishes – from soups to salads, to pies and purees.  It has a richer taste than pumpkin and is less liquidy which makes it a better choice when making puree and pie.

How to make butternut squash and lentil soup

Last Saturday I felt like being adventurous with my pumpkin soup.  I only had butternut squash in the house and felt like tweaking my typical pumpkin and walnut soup recipe to include lentils.

If you like a chunky, heart-warming soup, that’s full of earthy flavours, here goes.

Scrub the butternut squash, prick the skin with a sharp knife and roast in an oven 250 degrees Celsius for 60 minutes or until the squash is soft.  Let it cool down and chop into chunks.  I left the skin on but removed the seeds.roasted-squashRinse a cup of green lentils and boil for 10 minutes – drain and set aside.

In a pan sautee the white part of a chopped up leek, three crushed cloves of garlic and half a cup chopped walnuts.chopped-leeksAdd one heaped teaspoon of smoked paprika and one level teaspoon of ground cumin – mix well and sautee for one minute.

Add the chopped squash and lentils to the pan and mix well until the squash is covered with paprika and cumin.  Cook for a further two minutes, stirring continuously so the mixture does not stick to the pan.

squash-and-lentilsAdd 1.25 litres of vegetable stock, stir and bring to the boil.  Lower the heat and simmer gently for 20 minutes or until the lentils are cooked.

soup-to-boilTurn off the heat and using a potato masher, reduce the squash to a pulp.  If you prefer a smooth soup, whiz everything in a food processor.

Serve in warm plates with a dallop of Greek yogurt and a sprinkle of chopped walnuts.


If you love a soup full of earthy flavours, I promise this will not disappoint. Try it.

My thanks go to

Ask Florine



Food 52

Google images for jack-o’lanterns pics