Cucumber & beetroot cocktail

detox02Beetroot is used often for cleansing and to relieve constipation. Because it can have quite a strong effect on the body, we have diluted it with cucumber, an excellent cleanser, and soda water.Serves 2
•     1⁄2 medium beetroot, chopped
•    1 small cucumber, chopped
•    375 ml soda water
•    Squeeze fresh lime juice

In a juice extractor, process beet, then the cucumber. Add the soda water and lime juice and stir well.

From Fresh and Healthy Smoot

Mark Hix’s Scallops with Purple-Sprouting Broccoli

season03Sprouting broccoli isn’t often paired with such posh partners, but it’s a perfect foil for firm, sweet scallops and makes a great seasonal starter.Serves 4
8 small, tender stems of sprouting broccoli
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
100g butter
12 medium scallops, shelled and cleaned

Trim the broccoli heads and a few of the leaves and put to one side. Chop the rest and cook in a pan of boiling salted water for 4-5 minutes until tender, then drain and whiz in a blender or food processor until smooth. Transfer to a clean pan, season with salt and pepper to taste and add a couple of knobs of the butter; keep warm.

Remove the corals from the scallops and cut in half if large. Heat about a third of the remaining butter in a heavy-based frying pan. Season the corals and fry for 4-5 minutes, turning them every so often until crisp.

Meanwhile, add the purple heads and leaves to a pan of boiling salted water and cook for about 3 minutes until tender, then drain.

When the corals are crisp, remove and set aside. Wipe out the pan, then rub some of the remaining butter over the base and place over a medium-high heat. Season the scallops and cook for just 1 minute each side, then add the rest of the butter, the fried corals and the broccoli heads and leaves.

Spoon the broccoli puree onto warm plates, arrange the scallops, corals and broccoli on top and serve at once.


Mark Hix is an award-winning food writer and restaurateur. He has four acclaimed restaurants in London and writes a weekly column in the Independent on Sunday magazine.

From British Seasonal Food, Mark Hix, Quardille, £14.99

Eggs Barnaby

eggbarnaby_lowresFollowing heart surgery in 2010, Barnaby Reid is on medication that leaves a metallic taste in his mouth, so he has been exploring what kind of foods will taste best with the help of his mum, Fiona. Together they tried all kinds of egg dishes on an ‘Eggy Tour of the World,’ and this recipe is Barnaby’s own invention that his mum cooks for him – with a little help in the kitchen from her son, of course. 

Serves 1

50g broccoli, cut into small florets
1 English muffin, halved and lightly toasted
2 slices of honey roast ham

For the cheese sauce
4 tbsp butter
4 tbsp plain flour
8 tbsp milk
25g mature Cheddar cheese, grated, plus extra for sprinkling
pinch of mustard powder
salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the eggs
dash of vinegar
pinch of salt
2 eggs (the fresher, the better)

  • Steam the broccoli for 6-7 minutes, or until tender.
  • To make the sauce, melt the butter in a pan, stir in the flour and cook for just under a minute. Whisk in the milk a bit at a time to avoid lumps forming, then bring to a boil, stirring continuously. Cook for 2 minutes, then take off the heat, add the cheese and mustard powder and season to taste.
  • To cook the eggs, half-fill a saucepan with water, add the vinegar and salt and bring to a gentle simmer. Stir the water vigorously with a balloon whisk to create a whirlpool and crack an egg into the centre. Reduce the heat to low, and cook for 5 minutes. Remove from the water with a slotted spoon, drain on kitchen paper and keep warm. Repeat with the second egg.
  • Place the muffin halves on a serving plate. Put a slice of ham, a poached egg and half the broccoli on each one, then top with the cheese sauce. Serve straight away, sprinkled with a little extra grated cheese and a twist of pepper if liked. 

From ‘Food Glorious Food’ published by Mitchell Beazley, £20