Tonight, I’m serving up three courses for four in (just about) an hour! It all hinges on time management: begin with pudding, this one a flour-free, fruity autumn bake, which uses a quick-to-prepare vanilla batter made with ground almonds and dotted with lots of fruit.
Bakes like this are a favourite among my gluten-free friends. I’ve made it for them with a mix of raspberries and blackberries (picked from the bushes on my street), as well as with plums. Change it up as you like – and once you’ve got it in the oven, crack on with cooking the rice for your main course, a lemony, herb-flecked, nutty rice salad.
For the starter, all you really need to do is fry some capers in butter and mix the crab with mayo and chives; do this before, finally, popping the main-course mackerel, sprinkled with the wonderful north African spice mix ras-el-hanout, under the grill.
You’ll have pulled out the bake to cool a little – a treat to serve still warm, scooped from the tin, with a dollop of cream.
Prep time: 5 minutes | Cooking time: 5 minutes
- 1 tbsp butter
- 2 tbsp capers
- 240g crabmeat (about 200g white and 40g dark is a delicious mix, or use all white)
- 1 tbsp good-quality mayonnaise
- 2 tbsp snipped or chopped chives
- Juice of ½ lemon, plus the other ½ sliced into wedges
- 2 heads of Little Gem lettuce
- Melt the butter in a small frying pan, then add the capers and fry them over a medium heat for about five minutes, shaking the pan or stirring them every now and then.
- Meanwhile, mix the crab with the mayonnaise, most of the chives and the lemon juice, and season to taste, bearing in mind that the capers will add saltiness.
- Separate the lettuce leaves (the smaller leaves work best for bite-sized servings), wash and dry well and arrange them on a big platter. These will serve as ‘cups’ for the crab mixture.
- To serve, dot the lemon wedges around the lettuce. Either dollop a few teaspoons of crab mix into each lettuce cup then finish with a sprinkle of chives and the hot fried capers, or serve the crab mixture in the centre of the table and encourage people to assemble their own cups, topping them with chives and capers.