world according to sam

Don't go around saying the world owes you a living. The world owes you nothing. It was here first. Mark Twain

Month: December, 2014

Marinated Olives Recipe

Olives are an expensive addition to your drinks party when catering for lots of people.   This recipe is so simple and delicious and no-one would know that you haven’t picked up your olives from the deli …. .  I buy the large jars (907g) of Crespo Pitted Green Olives in brine … dull, but good quality Manzanilla olives nevertheless. If you are serving at a drinks party it also helps that people aren’t left clutching stones!

Drain the brine, place the olives in a large mixing bowl and add a crushed garlic clove, either some finely sliced fresh red chilli or a sprinkle of red chilli flakes.  Zest and juice a lemon, a good shake of Garlic Black Pepper and a slug of good quality olive oil should all be added to the bowl.  Coat the olives in the garlic/pepper/lemon chilli mixture and then return to a Kilner jar – the key ingredient that makes a real difference to flavour is the lemon zest, this really infuses the olives with an intense citrus flavour – combined with garlic and chilli – they are also a nice gift to take when visiting friends over the holiday period.  Food gifts are always well received over Christmas and thee can be stored for up to a week in the fridge.

If you want to add a little variety add in some Queen Olives, Kalamata and tiny Picholine olives to add colour and texture.


Perfect Christmas Eve Supper – Lobster Spaghetti

This is such a quick and easy supper to make that not only tastes delicious but looks great on the plate and is impressive to serve up to guests the night before Christmas … I love a fish dish on Christmas Eve before the meat heavy diet for the ensuing Festive season



Half a Lobster per person makes this a real luxury dish, but less will do (you can pad this out with raw tiger prawns if you want to bulk up the fish levels).  Remove lobster flesh from shells and chop roughly

The frozen cooked Canadian lobsters from Lidl are great value at £5-£6 each, I also like the raw Maine Lobster tails found on Waitrose fresh fish counters

Large onion, finely diced

Knob of Butter

Large Glass of White Wine

Juice of 1 Lemon

Black Pepper

Dried Spaghetti or Linguine works best with this dish

6 Medium sized tomatoes diced (you can also use cherry tomatoes)

Handful of flat leaf parsley




Place a large pan of salted water on to boil

Melt butter in a pan, soften diced onion in butter and then add tomatoes.  When all are softened add a glass of wine, gently simmer until the wine has reduced down and you have a fresh tomato sauce (approx 10 minutes)

Place spaghetti or linguine in boiling water and cook as per instructions, dried pasta is better as the fresh pasta cooks too quickly and you still want a little ‘bite’ to your spaghetti

When pasta is almost ready turn up the heat and throw in lobster (if adding add raw prawns, stir in to tomatoe sauce and when almost fully pink add lobster), add lemon juice and black pepper to taste followed by the chopped flat leaf parsley.

If you are using cooked lobster you only need to heat through for a couple of minutes, over cooking will make the lobster tough and rubbery – you want lobster to be soft not squeaky!! If the lobster tails are fresh they turn from a translucent white to a more opaque white – that is when you know they are ready

Drain pasta and toss in sauce, serve immediately.

Christmas Taste & Sensibility Bypass




Does anyone have the same problem as me? Christmas switches something in my thinking. Year round I love the simplicity of all things white. As the festive brochures arrive and the shops fill with gift sets and gizmos, for ONE MONTH ONLY (for it is a sin to buy anything Christmassy before the Macmillan Christmas Fair at the end of November). I develop an acute taste and sensibility bypass   …. every brochure that drops through the door I pore over, enthusiastically searching for that never-before-seen, quirky/witty/kitsch item that will keep everyone entertained for hours …. except they don’t.  The comedy glasses with windscreen wipers, moustache shaped pot scrubbers, jelly bean/chopstick challenges. Borat mankini all reside, often untouched, at the back of the cupboard until my annual clear out in the Spring.  I have ‘wasted’ so much on stocking fillers over the years but this year I have been resolute and filled my son’s stockings with sensible things …. spices and luxury cook items that their meagre wages won’t quite stretch to ….. and personalised jars of Nutella too, obviously!  What is your guilty pleasure at Christmas?

Quick Christmas Tip – Cinnamon Sugar


A quick tip to add extra spice to your mince pies … or give your morning coffee a Starbucks (other coffee chains are available!) makeover …. Add one or two  teaspoons of cinnamon to your icing sugar shaker and get sprinkling.  Also works to dust apple pies, strudels and hot chocolate.

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