Because you all like a recipe!

It would appear you all like a recipe share! Yesterday it was my dad’s birthday so I cooked a salmon en croûte for lunch and baked a chocolate birthday cake. For everybody who asked me for the recipes, this blog post is for you…!

Salmon En Croute

(Originally a Jamie Oliver recipe but no longer available on his website);


  • Olive oil
  • 2 French shallots
  • 100g baby spinach
  • 1 bunch of fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 200g baby leaf watercress
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 whole nutmeg, for grating
  • 200g crème fraîche
  • 500g thick, skinless salmon fillet, pin-boned
  • 500gm puff pastry sheets
  • 1 large free-range egg, whisked



  1. Preheat the oven to 200c. Line a large baking tray with greaseproof paper and brush it with a little oil.
  2. Peel and finely chop the shallots, roughly chop the spinach, then pick and chop the parsley leaves. Chop half the watercress, leaving the rest whole.
  3. To make the filling, warm the butter and a splash of oil in a pan over a low heat. Add the shallots and cook for 10 minutes, or until soft but not coloured. Add the spinach, parsley and chopped watercress to the pan with the zest and juice from the lemon. Season to taste and stir in a good grating of nutmeg.
  4. Cook down the leaves for 3 to 5 minutes, then mix in 1 tablespoon of the crème fraîche.
  5. Tip it into a sieve set over a bowl and press to squeeze out the juices. Leave the filling to cool.
  6. To make the sauce, blitz the remaining watercress and crème fraîche in a food processor with juices from the bowl. Season and transfer to a bowl and chill until needed.
  7. Slice the salmon fillet in half sideways, so you can open it like a book and spoon the cooled filling down the middle, fold the fish back over to close and set aside.
  8. Place one piece of pastry on the baking tray and lay the salmon on top in the middle. With your finger, dab water around the edge of the pastry then lay the other piece on top. Mould the pastry around the fish with your hands, then press the edges with a fork to seal. Score the top with a knife, then beat and brush over the whisked egg. For decoration, I cut out some little pastry stars and placed them on the top and glazed with the egg!
  9. Bake the salmon in the oven for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the pastry is crisp.
  10. Serve with the watercress sauce (warm it slightly before serving).

Chocolate Cake


  • 225g unsalted butter softened
  • 225g golden caster sugar
  • 4 free-range eggs
  • 220g self-raising flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 50g cocoa powder

For the Buttercream –

  • 100g milk chocolate
  • 200g butter, softened
  • 400g icing sugar
  • 5 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 2 tbsp milk


  1. Preheat the oven to 160C Fan. Lightly butter two loose-bottomed 20cm/8in sandwich tins and line the bases with baking paper.
  2. Put the butter, sugar, eggs, flour, baking powder and cocoa in a large bowl and beat for 2 minutes, or until just blended.
  3. Divide the mixture evenly between the tins. Level the surface using a spatula or the back of a spoon.
  4. Bake for 25-30 minutes. The tops of the cakes should spring back when pressed lightly with a finger. Leave the cakes to cool in the tins for 5 minutes. Run a small palette knife around the edge of the tins, then carefully turn the cakes out onto a wire rack. Peel off the paper and leave to cool completely.
  5. To make the buttercream, put the chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a pan of barely simmering water (make sure the bowl isn’t touching the water). Stir until melted. Alternatively, melt in the microwave, stirring every 30 secs. Leave the melted chocolate to cool for 5 mins.
  6. Mash the butter and icing sugar together with a fork first, then switch to a wooden spoon or electric beaters if you have them. Sift in the cocoa and pour in the melted chocolate, a pinch of salt and the milk, then mix again until smooth.
  7. Choose the cake with the best top, then put the other cake top-down onto a serving plate. Spread with your chocolate buttercream (ensure a good amount is applied!), put the other cake on top (top upwards) and cover the entire cake with another helping of chocolate buttercream. I used a turntable to help get a smooth finish around the cake and topped with an outside ring of Maltesers.

Happy Birthday dad!

Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoy the recipes! x



  1. Tracey Munday
    October 22, 2019 / 6:22 pm

    Salmon En Croute was a winner in our house this evening! Love your blog – thank you!

    • justalittlebuild
      October 22, 2019 / 9:42 pm

      Brilliant! So pleased to hear this!

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