Cooking for a crowd is so satisfying. The secret for me is “getting ahead”, using locally sourced ingredients and an attention to detail that delivers a “wow” factor to the simplest of recipes.
As the summer arrives we look forward to the experience of eating alfresco. Whether it’s a picnic with family and friends or a simple supper in the garden, these three unique recipes are guaranteed to satisfy.
My starter, main course and dessert can all be made in advance, each one prepared in around 30 minutes and when served need little by way of accompaniment. I propose the eggs be served as finger food to start, a green salad to sit alongside the salmon main course and a drizzle of cream with the tart – hope you enjoy!
Scottish Two Salmon Plait
Serves 8 – 10
Perfect for sharing, hot or cold, with a fresh green salad – this is SO tasty. Can be made a day ahead and baked from chilled.
- 500g puff pastry
- 500g salmon fillet (bones and skin removed)
- 120g smoked salmon (4 slices)
- 4 tbsp finely chopped dill
- 1 tbsp freshly milled black pepper
- 1 tbsp sea salt
- Finely grated zest of 1 lime
- 150g full fat soft cheese
- 2 tbsp finely chopped chives
- 1 egg – use the white for glue when assembling and the yolk with a splash of water for egg-washing the plait
1. Start by preparing the salmon fillet. Dry on kitchen paper then trim to make an even oblong shape, reserving the offcuts, then season both sides and cover with the chopped dill. Set aside.
2. On a lightly floured board roll out the puff pastry to an oblong measuring roughly 28cm x 38cm. Neaten the edges with a pizza cutter then transfer to a baking sheet lined with baking parchment. With the pastry piece in front of you (portrait style) score two lines so that the pastry is divided into thirds, but don’t cut all the way through.
3. Lay two slices of smoked salmon side by side down the centre panel of the plait, allowing a 3cm margin top and bottom, then lay the salmon fillet on top. Use any offcuts to pack side by side at the base of the plait, maintaining the shape.
4. Mix together the soft cheese, lime zest and chopped chives. For ease, fill a small piping bag with the mixture and pipe over the top of the salmon fillet. Take the remaining two slices of smoked salmon to cover the cheese mix.
5. To make the plait – cut regularly spaced strips in the two pieces of pastry either side of the fillet then, starting at the top, fold the top over then one strip over the other, working from side to side and securing with the egg white. Fold up the bottom piece of pastry before covering with the strips. Chill for at least one hour to allow everything to firm up.
6. Brush over a wash of egg yolk and water then chill for a further half hour. When ready to bake, preheat the oven and a baking sheet to 200°C / 400°F / gas mark 6 – take the plait from the fridge and apply another egg wash before sliding from the chilled baking sheet to the preheated one. This will ensure the pastry seals immediately at the base and no soggy bottom. Bake for 30 minutes until dark golden. Allow to stand for 5 minutes before slicing.
You can find her delicious recipe for Free Range Eggs with Bacon here and her Rhubarb and Orange Custard Tart recipe here
We’d love to see photos of your creations! If you’ve given this recipe a go then please tag Hotter in your pictures on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.
Born and bred in Yorkshire, retired practice manager Nancy quickly became a household name in 2014 when she competed in and won the fifth series of the BBC’s ‘Great British Bake Off’.
Since then she has made guest appearances at numerous events; teaching and demonstrating her culinary skills at food shows and festivals, and undertaking public speaking engagements. She has an active following on social media where she loves to share her recipes and top tips for the home. Aside from baking and cookery, Nancy enjoys an active lifestyle – walking, gardening and cycling – as well as enjoying family time with her husband, children and grandchildren.