Bitacora’s veal with goat’s cheese

1 Mix all the ingredients for the veal together and marinate for at least 2 hours and up to 24.
2 When ready to cook, remove the veal from the marinade, reserving the marinade. Heat a non-stick saucepan on a medium-high heat, add a lug of olive oil and the veal, browning the veal on all sides. Add the reserved marinade and continue cooking for 6–8 minutes – veal should be served slightly pink on the inside. When the veal is ready, tip onto 2 serving plates, top each with a slice of goat’s cheese and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar, serve with fresh crusty bread or, even better, pa amb tomàquet.

Fantastic tomato and fennel salad with flaked barbecued fish

Mix together a good lug of extra virgin olive oil, a nice squeeze of lemon juice and a pinch of salt and pepper. Drizzle this all over the fish then pat on the chopped marjoram or oregano. Put your fillets on the hottest part of the grill (make sure your grill is really clean to prevent the fish from sticking).

If your fillets are 2cm thick, they’ll only need about 2 minutes cooking time. If the fish breaks up, don’t worry as you’ll be flaking it up later anyway. If it still has the skin on, cook it skin-side down as it’s less likely to stick. Once cooked, remove to a warm plate.

To make the salad, finely slice the tomatoes and season with salt and pepper. Arrange on your plates. Finely slice your fennel bulb and dress it in a bowl with extra virgin olive oil and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper then scatter over your tomatoes. Finally, spoon over your fish, flaking it as you go. Scatter over your reserved fennel tops, drizzle with the balsamic vinegar and scatter with chilli, if using, to finish.

Pizza with potatoes, mozzarella, rosemary, thyme and tomatoes

Smear the tomato sauce evenly over the pizza base. Slice the potatoes into 0.5cm/¼ inch thick slices and toss in a bowl with the rosemary, thyme, a good glug of olive oil, a small squeeze of lemon juice and a pinch of salt and pepper. Scatter them over the pizza base and put small torn-up pieces of mozzarella into the gaps. Cook until crisp and golden.

Beef stifado

1 Place beef in a large non-reactive bowl. Add marinade ingredients, cover and refrigerate for at least 6 hours, preferably overnight.
2 Heat oil over medium heat in a large saucepan and sauté the onions for 5 minutes or until softened. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside. Sauté the beef, reserving the marinade, for about 8–10 minutes or until browned on all sides. Return onions to the saucepan, add the marinade mixture, tomatoes and tomato purée and enough water to just cover the stew. Season generously with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Bring to the boil then simmer for 1½–2 hours or until the beef is tender and the sauce has thickened. Serve with pasta and grated cheese.

Baked pears with wine and a scrumptious walnut cream

Preheat the oven to 220ºC/425ºF/gas 7. Score down the length of the vanilla pod and remove the seeds by scraping a knife down the inside of each half. Put the pears into a tight-fitting ovenproof pot or pan, add the 125g of sugar, wine, vanilla pod and seeds, and the peel and juice of 1 orange and bring to the boil. Sprinkle over half the walnuts and then put in the oven to bake. Every so often, baste the pears with the syrup they are cooking in, as this will give them a nice glaze. Cook for around 20 to 30 minutes, depending on the ripeness, until the pears are tender but still holding their shape, then remove from the oven and allow to cool while you roast the remaining walnuts on a baking tray in the oven for 5 minutes – make sure you keep an eye on them as they can quickly go from golden to black and you don’t want burnt walnuts!

Remove the vanilla pod from the syrup. When the walnuts are done, either whizz them in a food processor or bash them up with a pestle and mortar until you have a paste. Whip up the mascarpone with the walnut paste, the zest and juice of the other orange and enough sugar to sweeten, and serve this cream with the baked pears, the nuts, some orange peel and some of the cooking syrup.

Baked mushrooms

These mushrooms have an interesting meaty texture and gutsy flavour. Topped with Taleggio cheese and fresh herbs, it's a match made in heaven. Go on, tuck in!

Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/gas 6.

Lay the mushrooms on a large baking tray and sprinkle with the onions, garlic and thyme.

Top the mushrooms with the slices of Taleggio. Toss together the breadcrumbs and the parsley and sprinkle over the mushrooms.

Bake for 15 to 20 minutes in the preheated oven until breadcrumbs are brown and the mushrooms are cooked through.

Meanwhile, dress the rocket with the lemon juice and some olive oil. Serve the mushrooms with the dressed rocket.

Chicken kokkinisto

1 Heat oil in a cast-iron casserole dish over medium heat and sauté onions and garlic for 5 minutes. Transfer to a bowl. Dust chicken in flour and sauté for 5–7 minutes until browned. Return onions to casserole dish and season. Add tomatoes, tomato purée, herbs and spices, stir well and cook for 10 minutes. Season, add wine and vinegar, then simmer for 1 hour until chicken is tender and sauce has thickened.

Chicken chow mein

This dish makes use of a tender, juicy Asian cabbage called bok choi, which is simple to cook and really tasty. You should be able to find bok choi (also known as pak choi, Chinese white cabbage or hakusai) in your supermarket but if not, then a nice little gem lettuce or a handful or two of baby spinach would work well instead.

To prepare your stir-fry
• Put a large pan of water on to boil
• Peel and finely slice the ginger and garlic
• Finely slice the chilli
• Slice the chicken into finger-sized strips and lightly season with salt and pepper
• Cut the ends off your spring onions and finely slice
• Pick the coriander leaves and put to one side, and finely chop the coriander stalks
• Halve the bok choi lengthways
• If using the mushrooms, either tear into pieces or leave whole

To cook your stir-fry
• Preheat a wok or large frying pan on a high heat and once it’s very, very hot add a good lug of groundnut oil and swirl it around
• Stir in the chicken strips and cook for a couple of minutes, until the chicken browns slightly
• Add the ginger, garlic, chilli, coriander stalks, mushrooms (if using) and half the spring onions
• Stir-fry for 30 seconds, keeping everything moving round the wok quickly
• Add your noodles and bok choi to the boiling water and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, no longer
• Meanwhile, add the cornflour, water chestnuts and their water to the wok and give it another good shake to make sure nothing sticks to the bottom
• Remove from the heat and stir in 2 tablespoons of soy sauce
• Halve the lime, squeeze the juice of one half into the pan and mix well
• Drain the noodles and bok choi in a colander over a bowl, reserving a little of the cooking water
• Stir in the noodles and bok choi, with a little of the cooking water to loosen if necessary, and mix well
• Have a taste and season with more soy sauce if needed

To serve your stir-fry
• Use tongs to divide everything between two bowls or plates, or to lift on to one large serving platter
• Spoon any juices over the top and sprinkle with the rest of the spring onions and the coriander leaves
• Serve with lime wedges

Pan-cooked asparagus and mixed fish

Get a really large frying pan, or two smaller ones, on the heat and add a glug of olive oil. Score the skin of your fish fillets all over, about 1cm deep, and season. Put the fish fillets into the pan, skin side down, with the squid tentacles. Add the scallops. Run your knife down one side of each squid to open them out, then quickly and lightly score the inside in a criss-cross fashion. Lay them in the pan, scored side down. Add the asparagus and gently shake the pan. Cook for a few minutes, then turn everything over and cook on the other side. Sprinkle over the thyme tips.

You’re the one in control of the pan, so if something looks cooked, take it out and keep it warm. Don’t watch things burn! When the fish has crispy skin, the scallops are golden brown with caramelized edges and the squid has curled up and is nicely chargrilled, remove the pan from the heat. Put the squid on a chopping board and roughly slice it into pieces at an angle, then return to the pan. Lay the fish fillets on each plate. Toss the asparagus, scallops and squid with half the chilli, a good drizzle of good-quality extra virgin olive oil and the lemon juice. Lightly season and mix together. Divide on top of the plated fish. Sprinkle with the rest of the chopped chilli and the fennel tops, and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil.

Broad bean and crispy pancetta salad with a pea pecorino and mint dressing

Bring a pot to the boil, half-filled with water, but with no salt as this makes broad beans and peas toughen. Add your garlic and allow the water to boil for a couple of minutes before adding the broad beans. Cook for around 3 to 5 minutes, depending on how young the beans are. Simply taste one to check. If you feel the skins are a little tough, which they can be sometimes, let them cool a little and then you can peel them very quickly by pinching and squeezing the bean out. Throw the skins away, and keep the garlic clove to one side. Place your pancetta on a baking tray, with the almonds spread out next to it. Place in a hot oven at 250°C/475°F/gas 9 − keeping an eye on the almonds to make sure they don't colour too much. You should be able to crisp up the pancetta at the same time as toasting the almonds, but simply remove one or the other if it is getting too far ahead.

To make the dressing, put your raw podded peas and the soft, boiled garlic clove into a pestle and mortar or a Magimix and bash or blitz until smooth. Add the cheese and most of the mint and stir or pulse to make a smooth paste. You want to turn this into a thick dressing, so add the olive oil and 4 to 5 tablespoons of lemon juice, to your preference. Season to taste − it should have an amazing flavour of sweet peas, twangy lemon, fragrant mint and a softness and roundness from the cheese. A balance is good, but you should also trust your own personal judgement. I generally like mine to be a bit more lemony, to cut through the smokiness of the pancetta.

Mix the dressing with the broad beans and sprinkle this over four plates. Crumble the pancetta over, followed by a sprinkling of the almonds, which can be crushed or bashed up a little. Tear a little mint over the top with a little shaved Parmesan if you like.

Cheese and onion salad with creamy herb dressing

Have a go at this recipe, even if you think you don’t particularly like onions in salads, as they’re quite mild. You can use sweet red onions instead of shallots if you like. And feel free to use any interesting mixed salad leaves.

Place the shallots in a small bowl with a generous pinch of salt and pour over just enough white wine vinegar to cover. You’ll pour away the excess salt and vinegar once the onions are pickled, so don’t worry if you think it’s a bit much! Scrunch everything together with your hands and leave to marinate for at least 10 minutes.

To make the dressing, mix 4 tablespoons of olive oil with the crème fraîche and the red wine vinegar. Whisk everything together and season to taste.

Squeeze the shallots hard with your hands and drain. Place the salad leaves on a plate. From a height, sprinkle over the shallots and the crumbled Roquefort. Scatter over the crumbled walnuts – it’s really nice if they’re still a bit warm from being toasted. I like to drizzle over the dressing at the table. Finish by throwing over some torn-up chive or allium flowers, if you have them.

Blackberry tart

First you will need to grease a 28cm/11 inch loose-bottomed tart tin with a little butter. To make your pastry, cream together the butter, icing sugar and salt and rub in the flour, vanilla seeds, lemon zest and egg yolks – you can do all this by hand or in a food processor. When the mixture looks like coarse breadcrumbs, add the cold milk or water. Pat and gently work the mixture together until you have a ball of dough, then flour it lightly. Don’t work the pastry too much, otherwise it will become elastic and chewy, not flaky and short as you want it to be. Wrap the dough in cling film and place in the fridge for at least an hour. Remove it from the fridge, roll it out and line your tart tin. Place in the freezer for an hour. Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF/gas 4 and bake the pastry case for around 12 minutes or until lightly golden.

To make the filling, split the vanilla pod in half lengthways and scrape out the seeds by running a knife along the inside of each half. Put the mascarpone, cream, vanilla seeds, sugar and grappa into a large bowl and whip until shiny. Have a taste – you should have an intensely rich, fluffy and lightly sweetened cream with a fresh hint of grappa. If you can’t get grappa, you can do it without, or add a swig of vin santo instead.

Once the pastry has cooled, get yourself a spatula and add the sweetened cream to the pastry case. Smear it all round so it’s reasonably level, then cover it with the berries – place them lightly on the cream, no need to push them in. If you want to be a bit more generous than this, feel free, and if you want to mix your berries you can do this too. Next, in a small pan, melt down a couple of tablespoons of jam with 3 or 4 tablespoons of water. Stir until it becomes a light syrup, then, using a clean pastry brush, lightly dip and dab the fruit with the jam.

Sprinkle with the baby mint leaves before eating. Great served either as one large tart or as small individual ones. Lovely with your afternoon tea. Either serve straight away or place in the fridge until you’re ready to eat it.

Blackberry and apple pie

First, make your pastry dough, wrap it in clingfilm and rest it in the fridge for at least half an hour. Then preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas 4. Put the butter and sugar into a saucepan and, when the butter has melted, add the apples, stem ginger and a tablespoon of the ginger syrup. Slowly cook for 15 minutes with a lid on, then add the blackberries, stir and cook for 5 more minutes with the lid off.

Meanwhile, remove your pastry from the fridge. Dust your work surface with flour, cut the pastry in half and, using a floured rolling pin, roll one of the pieces out until it’s just under 1cm thick. (Rolling the dough between two layers of greaseproof paper will also stop it sticking to your rolling pin.) Butter a shallow 26cm pie dish and line with the pastry, trimming off any excess round the edges using a sharp knife.

Tip the cooled apples and blackberries into a sieve, reserving all the juices, then put the fruit into the lined pie dish so you have a mound in the middle. Spoon over half the reserved juices. Brush the edge of the pastry with beaten egg. Roll out the second piece of pastry, just as you did the first, and lay it over the top of the pie. Trim the edges as before and crimp them together with your fingers. Brush the top of the pie with the rest of the beaten egg, sprinkle generously with sugar and the cinnamon, and make a couple of slashes in the top of the pastry.

Place the pie on a baking tray and then put it directly on the bottom of the preheated oven for 55 to 60 minutes, until golden brown and crisp. To serve, slice the pie into portions and serve with a generous dollop of custard.