Something Different To Start The Year

by Simone Conti

Dorset Clams with Tomato Sauce
Serves 4

Clams are usually associated with spaghetti. But there is another very good way of enjoying sweet clams: with a delicious rich tomato broth! A really good alternative to mussels with a much more delicate flavour. Note: when cooking clams just remember to leave them in salted water for 4-5 hours before cooking them. This is to make sure you get rid of all the sand that could be left inside the clams.


60ml of Extra virgin olive oil
1x 400g can chopped tomatoes
2 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
1kg fresh Dorset clams in shell
2 fresh red chillies, chopped
Salt and black pepper


1.   Heat 40ml of olive oil in a large heavy-based saucepan. Add half the garlic and cook briefly until it turns a light golden brown.

2.   Add the canned tomatoes and cook over a medium heat for 20 minutes until nice and thick, stirring occasionally.  

3.   Meanwhile, put the clams in a colander and rinse thoroughly under cold water, shaking the colander vigorously. Discard any clams that remain open.

4.   Towards the end of the simmering time for the tomato sauce, heat the remaining olive oil in a shallow pan with rest of the garlic and the chillies. Add the clams and stir. Cover and steam for 2-3 minutes until the shells are open. Discard any that stay closed.

5.   Add the tomato sauce and stir through. Season with salt and pepper, serve them hot with some crusty bread and some fresh parsley. Enjoy!

Recommended Wine: Pecorino (Italy)

Lamb Shoulder with Purple Broccoli
Serves 6

I always use this dish when we have friends over. It is easy to prepare and serve. Put it in the oven a couple of hours before your guests arrive and it will be ready in good time. It will be so tender and delicious that you can serve it with a spoon. If you don’t like purple broccoli feel free to change it with roast vegetables or roast potato. I love purple sprouting broccoli because it is so easy to prepare and so tasty, but please make it your’s changing it to your personal taste.


1x 5kg Boned lamb shoulder (not rolled and tied)
50ml of olive oil
8 Anchovy fillets
6 Garlic cloves, peeled
sprig of rosemary
50g pitted black olives
250ml white wine
500g purple sprouting broccoli (tough stem removed)
Salt and black pepper 


1.   Preheat the oven at 180c or mark 4. Trim excess fat from the lamb shoulder. Heat a flameproof casserole and add the olive oil, then put in the shoulder and sear to brown it on all sides. Take it out of the pan and pour off the excess fat.

2.   Add the garlic cloves, anchovies, rosemary, olives and white wine to the casserole and set the lamb shoulder on top.  

3.   Cover tightly with a lid or foil and place in the oven to cook for 1-1/2 hours until the meat is very tender, basting occasionally.

4.   Cook uncovered for the last 10 minutes or so to lightly reduce the cooking juices by about half.

5.   Towards the end of the lamb cooking time, cook the purple sprouting broccoli in a pan of boiling salted water until tender.

5.   Drain and dress with olive oil and seasoning to taste. Serve the shoulder of lamb with its cooking juices and the broccoli. Enjoy it!   

Recommended Wine: Shiraz (South Africa)

Rum and Raisin Cream Pots
Serves 4

These are simple to make and delicious, a perfect dinner party dessert with very little effort. Serve the pots straight from the fridge.


4 Tbsp of raisins
2 Tbsp of Spicy dark rum
350ml double cream
100g caster sugar
4 eggs yolk


1.   Preheat the oven to 170c. Soak the raisins in hot water for 5 minutes, drain and mix with the rum. Set aside.

2.   Heat the cream and sugar in a saucepan until the sugar dissolves and the mixture reaches 90c on a cooking thermometer. If you have not got a cooking thermometer just check when it starts to simmer. 

3.   Meanwhile, whisk the egg yolks in a bowl, just to mix. Add the hot cream mixture, stirring constantly. Strain through a fine sieve into a jug. Add the raisins in the rum.

4.   Pour into four ramekins. Set them in a small deep oven tray and add enough hot water to the tray to come 2/3 of the way up the sides of the ramekins. Cover the tray with foil and bake for 15 minutes.

5.   Lift the ramekins out of the water and leave to cool down, then chill. Serve with an extra dash of rum on top. Enjoy!

Recommended Wine: Port wine (Portugal)

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