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Celebrations don’t have to be complicated, time-consuming affairs. Get out of the kitchen faster with these quick, ready-to-please family meals and party plates

Baby marrow, bacon and basil pesto pasta

Serves 4-6 | TIME: 30 mins

45ml olive/avocado oil

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

100g turkey bacon, thinly sliced diagonally

200g baby marrows, thinly sliced

60ml ready-made basil pesto

salt and freshly ground black pepper,
to taste

500g spaghetti (or pasta of your choice)

100g Rosa tomatoes

60ml Parmesan, freshly grated

1) Heat the oil in a pan and sauté the garlic for a few minutes. Add the turkey bacon and cook until just crispy. Stir in the baby marrows and pesto and cook until the marrows are soft. Season and set aside to keep warm. 2) Cook the pasta in plenty of boiling salted water until al dente. Drain. Toss the pasta with the baby marrow sauce and tomatoes. Serve warm, sprinkled with the Parmesan.

Stuffed rolled lamb with pesto cream sauce

Serves 4 | TIME: 1 hour 10 mins

400g deboned leg of lamb

salt and freshly ground black pepper,
to taste

50g almond flakes, crushed

50g pecans, crushed

50g dried cranberries, halved

large bunch baby spinach

100ml olive/avocado oil

Pesto cream

30ml ready-made pesto

60ml crème fraîche

wild rocket, shredded, to serve

1) Preheat the oven to 180°C. Open the lamb on a work surface and season all over. Evenly spread the almonds, pecan nuts and cranberries over the inside of the lamb. Layer the spinach leaves on top. Roll the lamb up to enclose the filling and secure with kitchen string. 2) Heat the oil in a large pan over medium heat and sauté the lamb until golden on all sides, about 10 minutes. Roast in the oven until cooked, about 45 minutes. For the pesto cream, mix the pesto and crème fraîche well together. Serve the lamb with the pesto cream poured over, topped with the rocket.

Stuffed calamari

Serves 4 | TIME: 30 mins

12 large calamari tubes, cleaned

Juice of 1 lemon

Filling

1 bell pepper, finely chopped

3 celery stalks, finely chopped

5 spring onions, finely chopped

10 garlic cloves, chopped

170g tin shrimp meat, drained

170g tin crabmeat, drained

juice of 1⁄2 a lemon

100ml olive/avocado oil, for drizzling

1) Preheat the oven to 180°C. Place the calamari in a mixing bowl and pour over the lemon juice. Cover and refrigerate for 10 minutes. 2) To make the filling, mix all the ingredients well together. Stuff the calamari tubes with the filling and secure with a cocktail stick. Place on a baking tray and drizzle with the oil. Bake until cooked, about 15 minutes. Serve hot.

Rump steak with salsa verde butter

Serves 4 | TIME: 40 mins

4 rump steaks

Salt and freshly ground black pepper,
to taste

Salsa verde butter

60ml fresh flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped

45ml fresh basil, chopped

2 anchovies, finely chopped

8 capers, finely chopped

100g butter, at room temperature

125ml  olive/avocado oil

2 garlic cloves, crushed

Juice of 1 lemon

1) For the butter, mix all the ingredients well together and shape into a log. Refrigerate until solid enough to cut into slices. Mix the oil, garlic and lemon well together in a wide dish and set aside until needed. 2) Season the steaks well. Heat a griddle pan to hot and cook the steaks to your liking. As you remove each steak from the pan, immediately dip it in the oil mixture for about a minute on each side. Serve the steaks very hot, with a slice of the salsa verde butter.

Mexican wraps

Serves 4 | TIME: 10 mins

2 tomatoes, seeded and cubed

3 spring onions, finely sliced

1 cup fresh mint leaves

1 garlic clove, finely chopped

8 wraps

125g guacamole

Cheddar, freshly grated

1) Mix the tomatoes, spring onions, mint and garlic together and refrigerate until needed. 2) Place the wraps on a clean surface and spread with the guacamole. Sprinkle with the filling and top with the cheese. Serve immediately.

Roast beetroot quiche

Makes 1 quiche | TIME: 2 hours

3 beetroot, cubed

125ml olive/avocado oil

1 garlic clove, finely chopped

salt and freshly ground black pepper,
to taste

225g cake flour

100g butter, cold and cubed

60ml water

30ml butter, extra

1 onion, finely chopped

300g spinach

60ml fresh coriander, chopped

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

250ml fresh cream

60ml feta, crumbled

1) Preheat the oven to 180°C. In a roasting pan, mix the beetroot, oil and garlic together and season. Roast until crispy, about 45 minutes. 2) In a mixing bowl, combine the flour with a pinch of salt and rub the butter in with your fingertips until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Mix in just enough water to form a smooth dough. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 30 minutes. 3) Melt the extra butter in a large frying pan over medium heat and sauté the onions until tender, about 15 minutes. Stir in the spinach and cook for a further 2 minutes. Stir in the coriander and season. Set aside to cool a little. 4) Whisk together the eggs and cream until well combined. Stir in the feta and season. Pour the egg mixture into the spinach mixture and stir well. Line a 22cm flan dish or tart tin with baking paper. Roll out the pastry and press it into the tin. Spoon the spinach mixture into the pastry and bake until set, about 35 minutes. Cool on a wire rack. Serve with the beetroot sprinkled on top.

Kataifi-wrapped prawns with yoghurt, dill and horseradish dip

Serves 4 | TIME: 20 mins plus extra for marinating

6 large prawns, cleaned, tails intact

salt and freshly ground black pepper,
to taste

juice and zest of 1 lemon

1 garlic clove, crushed

kataifi pastry (available from bakeries) oil, for frying

Dip

200ml plain yoghurt

60ml fresh dill, finely chopped

30ml creamed horseradish

1) Place the prawns in a mixing bowl and season. Mix the lemon juice and zest with the garlic and pour over the prawns. Mix with your hands to coat well. Leave to marinate for 1 hour. Wrap kataifi pastry around each prawn and refrigerate for 10 minutes. 2) Heat the oil in a pan and shallow-fry the prawns for about 5 minutes on each side. Drain on paper towel. Combine the dip ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Serve the prawns hot, with the dip on the side.

Asparagus and pea risotto

Serves 4 | TIME: 45 mins

50ml olive/avocado oil

30ml butter

1 onion, finely chopped

1 garlic clove, crushed

200g Arborio rice

500ml chicken stock, hot

100g asparagus, blanched and chopped

100g fresh peas, blanched

60g Parmesan, freshly grated

30ml fresh mint, chopped 45ml

40ml fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped

1) Heat the oil and butter in a large pan and sauté the onion for a few minutes. Add the garlic and stir to combine. Pour in the rice and stir to coat well. Slowly add the stock, ladle by ladle, stirring until each ladle is absorbed before adding the next. Continue until all the stock is absorbed and the rice is al dente. 2) Stir in the asparagus, peas and 30ml of the Parmesan and continue cooking for a few minutes. In a bowl, mix the remaining Parmesan with the mint and parsley. Serve the risotto hot, topped with the herb mixture.

Roast chicken stuffed with couscous, nuts and parsley

Serves 4 | TIME: 1 hour 45 mins

1 whole chicken

salt and freshly ground black pepper,
to taste

125ml olive/avocado oil

45ml fresh ginger, crushed

50g couscous

180ml chicken stock, hot

50g mixed nuts, crushed

60ml fresh flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped

1) Preheat the oven to 160°C. Place the chicken on a roasting tray and season well. Drizzle with 60ml of the oil and rub all over with the ginger. 2) Put the couscous in a mixing bowl and pour over the stock. Leave to stand until all the stock is absorbed, about 30 minutes. With a fork, separate the couscous grains and stir in the nuts and the remaining oil. Stuff the couscous mixture into the cavity of the chicken and sprinkle with the parsley. 3) Roast the chicken covered with foil until cooked, about 1 hour. Remove the foil and grill the chicken until crisp and golden. Carve the chicken and serve immediately with trimmings of your choice.

Stuffed chicken breast wrapped in bacon

Serves 4 | TIME: 40 mins

4 deboned chicken breasts, sliced open

salt and freshly ground black pepper,
to taste

100g spinach

60g feta, crumbled

45ml fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped

50g pine nuts, toasted and crushed

50g beef bacon

45ml butter

45ml olive/avocado oil

1) Open the chicken breasts on a work surface and season well all over. Spread the inside of each breast with the spinach, feta, parsley and nuts. Roll the chicken breasts up to enclose the filling. Wrap beef bacon around each breast and secure with kitchen string. 2) Heat the butter and oil in a frying pan and fry the breasts over medium heat on all sides until cooked and golden, about 30 – 40 minutes. Remove the string and leave to stand for a few minutes before slicing. Pour over the remaining pan juices just before serving.

Orange-stuffed sardines with chermoula

Serves 4 | TIME: 40 mins

4 large sardines, cleaned and sliced open

salt and freshly ground black pepper,
to taste

1 orange, thinly sliced

4 rashers turkey bacon

60ml jarred chermoula paste

1) Open the sardines out on a work surface and season well. Stuff the orange slices into the opening of each sardine. Close the sardines and wrap the turkey bacon rashers tightly around them to enclose the filling. 2) Heat a frying pan to medium and pan-fry the sardines, turning until they are cooked through and the bacon is crispy, about 10 minutes. Serve the sardines hot, with the chermoula on the side.