Thursday, 29 November 2012

Winter tomato soup with fried cheese sandwiches

I didn't expect this soup to taste half as good as it did because of the use of tinned chopped tomatoes. There was bags of flavour in it, especially with the accompaniment of the fried cheese sandwiches. They were crispy on the outside and melty in the middle. Definitely a winter warmer. The recipe is taken from Olive Magazine. 

Serves 2
1 onion, chopped
1 carrot , chopped
1 stick celery, chopped
400g tin chopped tomatoes
1 tbsp tomato purée (forgot that)
750ml vegetable stock
1 tbsp creamed horseradish (optional) (I used a tsp of horseradish sauce)
75ml double cream (I just poured a little on top)
4 slices white bloomer (any bread would be fine)

slices cheddar or Gruyère

Melt a knob of butter in a pan and cook the onion, carrot and celery until softened. Add the tomatoes, purée and stock then simmer for 15-20 minutes, till the veg is soft. Blend until smooth, stir in the horseradish and cream and re-heat gently. To make the sandwiches, butter the bread on both sides and put the cheese in between. Fry on each side until the cheese has melted. Cut into soldiers.

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

No fuss Christmas Cake

I found this recipe in Good Housekeeping magazine in 2006 and have made this cake every Christmas since. It's one that doesn't have to be made ages in advance to cut well, infact it could be made a week before Christmas if need be. I always used to make Delia's classic christmas cake, which was lovely, but there were a lot more ingredients and it did seem more of a hassle to make. This one tastes great, there is not a huge list of ingredients and it really doesn't take long to make. It's cooking now and it smells fantastic. I have always used ground almonds in the place of the roasted marcona almonds. I can't see the point of grinding the almonds myself, and today as I could only get raspberry and vanilla vodka from tesco I have used that. It may add an interesting flavour to the cake. It's not a huge cake but it's sufficient for us to cut up and share at Christmas. 


cuts in 24 slices
250g  each plump raisins and sultanas
100g dried cranberries or blueberries (I always use cranberries)
200g natural glace cherries, halved
200ml vanilla vodka (or normal vodka with 2 tbsp vanilla extract)
150g roasted Marcona almonds ( I use 150g ground almonds)
200g  unsalted butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
200g unrefined dark muscovado sugar
4 medium organic eggs, beaten
100g  plain flour

Put the raisins, sultanas, dried cranberries and cherries in a large bowl. Add the vodka and stir well. Cover and leave to soak for 2-3hr or overnight.
Grease and line the base and sides of a 8in round tin with greaseproof paper. Preheat the oven to 150ºC. Put the almonds in a food processor and blend lightly until coarsely chopped. Tip out 75g and blend the remainder until ground. (no need for this if you are using ground almonds)
Put the butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl and beat with a handheld electric whisk for 2-3min until light and creamy. Gradually whisk in the beaten eggs, adding a little of the flour if the mixture starts to curdle. (mine often looks like it is starting to curdle) Stir in the ground and chopped nuts (or just add the bag of ground almonds) and flour. 
Tip the soaked fruit mixture into the bowl with any unabsorbed liqueur. Mix well, then spoon into the prepared tin and level the surface. Bake for 3½ (check at 3 hours mine is usually done then) or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Leave to cool in the tin, then remove and wrap in a double thickness of foil until ready to decorate. Once baked you can boost the cakes vanilla flavour by dousing with extra vodka before wrapping it it and storing it.

The photos above are the cakes from previous Christmas's and my mum and dad's Golden Wedding Anniversary cake, all from this recipe. The photo on the cake was a great idea from the site
Making marzipan fruits has become a tradition of mine now, and Rachel loves helping me make them (and eat them as she goes along). I got the idea of decorating the cake with them from some magazine or other. I'll post the method for marzipan fruits in December, they make lovely presents. 

Italian broccoli and salmon bake

There is nothing very Italian about this dish apart from the use of pasta, but it was a super dish to make for a crowd on Sunday. It can be made in advance and refrigerated until ready to bake. It's the second time I have made it, the first time I found it a wee bit bland so this time I added a big handful of parmesan to the sauce and a pinch of chilli flakes, this gave the dish more flavour. It's a recipe I found on the Good Food website. I doubled the recipe for 8 people, there was enough for seconds and two of us had leftovers for tea last night.

Serves 4
250g penne
300g broccoli, cut into large florets
25g butter
25g plain flour
600ml milk
100g mascarpone
8 sundried tomatoes (preserved in olive oil), drained and thickly sliced
2 tbsp small capers (optional) rinsed to remove excess salt or vinegar
8 anchovy fillets, halved (optional)
10 large fresh basil leaves, roughly torn
4 fresh skinless salmon fillets
50g mature cheddar , finely grated

A handful of parmesan cheese and a pinch of chilli flakes (Optional)

Preheat the oven to 190ºC and get out an ovenproof dish (measuring 20 by 30cm, and about 5cm deep). Meanwhile, put a large pan of water on to boil for the pasta. When it is boiling rapidly, tip in the pasta with a generous sprinkling of salt. Give it a stir, return to the boil and cook for 6 minutes. Add the broccoli, then return the water to the boil and cook for 4 minutes more, until the broccoli is on the firm side of just tender. Drain well.
While the pasta is cooking, put the butter, flour and milk in a large pan and heat, whisking or stirring continuously, until it thickens to make a smooth sauce. Remove from the heat and stir in the mascarpone, parmesan and chilli flakes (if using) sun-dried tomatoes, capers (if using), anchovies (if using) and basil, then add the pasta and broccoli and season well.
Halve the salmon fillets widthways (you will see that there is an obvious divide on each fillet) then place the pieces in a single layer on the base of the ovenproof dish. Spoon the broccoli mixture on top, then scatter with the grated cheddar. (You can chill this for up to 4 hours if you want to get ahead.)
Bake for 30 minutes until the mixture is just starting to bubble round the edges and the mixture is pale golden - don't let it go too dark or the fish will overcook.

Sunday, 25 November 2012

Pasta with savoy cabbage, bacon, thyme and mozzarella

James told me at the last minute he needed ingredients for his cookery lesson, so another trip to Aldi was needed. I picked up some pitta breads to make the kids pitta bread pizza for tea on Friday.
The adults had the left over cheese and potato pie which heated up beautifully (Aldi meal No. 4). I enjoyed it more that night. It can definitely be described as frugal food. Even with the extra trip my shopping bill has been way less this week and I still have some of the ingredients in the fridge to make another meal on Monday. I have had to resort to a tesco shop today as I have family coming for tea and could not have stretched to a meal for nine people. Last night for Aldi meal No.5, I made this very delicious Jamie Oliver, meal first posted in March 14th.

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Potato, cheese and onion pie

I decided to try this meal as I had some ready made short crust pastry to use up. The children had the leftover spaghetti bolognese tonight as I didn't think they would appreciate the pie. And what a pie it was. It was huge and as Aldi Meal No.3, I think it will also be Aldi Meal No.4 as there is so much left over. I'll serve it with baked beans for a meal tomorrow night. I'm not sure whether to have it cold or reheat it gently, either would be good. It was certainly very tasty, although not a particularly quick meal to do, but certainly not difficult. I had bought ready rolled shortcrust pastry and had to roll it a bit thinner to make the top and bottom of the pie. I wasn't too particular in lining the pie dish and had to botch bits here and there but I thought it still looked pretty impressive once cooked. The recipe is from the Good Food Website.

Serves 6
200g strong, hard cheese (we used cheddar ), ½ coarsely grated, ½ cut into small chunks
200ml tub crème fraîche
500g shortcrust pastry
1kg floury potatoes, thinly sliced
2 onions, finely sliced
1 bunch spring onions, roughly chopped
small pinch grated nutmeg
large pinch paprika
1 egg, beaten

Heat oven to 200°C. In a small bowl, mix the grated cheddar with the crème fraîche, then set aside. Grease and lightly flour a ceramic or metal pie dish, or shallow cake tin, about 23cm wide. Roll out two-thirds of the pastry on a lightly floured surface until large enough to line the tin with a little overhang.
Place a layer of potatoes over the tart and scatter over some of the sliced onions, spring onions and chunks of cheese. Season with salt, pepper, nutmeg and paprika. Layer over more potatoes, scatter again with more onions and cheese, then splodge over half the crème fraîche mix. Repeat with 2 more layers (the potatoes will come up way above the pastry), pushing the filling down slightly, then finish with the remaining crème fraîche mix.
Roll the remaining pastry so it fits over the potatoes. Brush the sides with egg, then lay the pastry over the top. Squeeze the edges together and trim with a knife. Crimp the sides and brush the top all over with egg. Place the pie on a baking sheet, bake for 30 mins, reduce the temperature to 180°C, then carry on baking for 1 hr until golden. Leave the pie to rest for 10 mins, then serve straight from the dish cut into
slices, with a salad or baked beans on the side.

Quick Spaghetti Bolognese

For meal No. 2 on the Aldi menu, the simple Spag Bol. I blogged an oven cooked recipe in March, (photo above) so I'll keep this quick. I also guess most people have their own recipe for this popular dish. I fried one chopped onion with two cloves of chopped garlic and browned 500g of Aberdeen Angus mince. I then added two tablespoons of tomato puree and a 400g tin of chopped tomatoes. I sprinkled in some dried thyme, seasoned with salt and pepper and a spoonful of sugar and then left to simmer for 30 minutes. I cooked mine earlier on in the day and left it to reheat for tea time.

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Salmon with leeks and parsnip mash.

As a little experiment I am seeing if I can use Aldi as my main source for shopping this week. My food bills have been rather high recently, and as Aldi seem to be branching out in their range of good fresh food I thought I would plan meals that used their ingredients. My food bill came to about £53 yesterday and I think that included ingredients that could last the whole week (I may have to add to it by Friday, only because I may have friends coming for tea). My friend Debbie has been asking me for another weekly meal plan so this could be the start of it. 
I thought I would try this meal from the Good Food website, the parsnip mash seemed a change from the usual. Though as I am not a huge fan of parsnips, it was not my favourite meal. I just wasn't sure about the sweetness of it. I would have preferred simple creamy mashed potato and leeks. Although if you love parsnips it would be a winner.

Serves 4
4 x 130g salmon fillets
juice and finely grated zest 1 lemon
2 tbsp thyme leaves (I didn't have these)
1kg parsnips , chopped
4 tbsp fromage frais (I used creme fraiche)
1 tbsp olive oil
2 leeks, thinly sliced

Heat oven to 200C. Place the salmon pieces into a roasting tin, squeeze over the lemon juice and scatter with ½ the zest. Season and sprinkle over ½ the thyme. Roast for 15 mins until salmon is cooked through.
Meanwhile, bring a lightly salted pan of water to the boil and cook the parsnips for 15 mins, until tender. Drain well, then mash with the remaining lemon zest and the fromage frais. Keep warm.
Heat the oil in a non-stick frying pan. Cook the leeks over a medium heat for 6-8 mins, adding a splash of water and covering with a lid after 5 mins, until soft. Stir the leeks into the mash and serve with the salmon, scattered with the remaining thyme leaves.

Monday, 19 November 2012

Lemon cupcakes

I was in need of cake last night for Sunday tea, having a large amount of lemons in my fruit bowl these seemed like the obvious choice from The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook. As I used large cupcake cases the mix only made 9 cakes. The recipe also make a huge amount of icing so I probably reduced it by half. They were delicious. I think the cupcakes from the Hummingbird Bakery are the most successful ones I have ever made. 
Make 12
120g of plain flour
150g of caster sugar
1½ teaspoons of baking powder
2 tablespoons of grated lemon zest, plus extra to decorate
40g of unsalted butter (at room temperature)
120 ml of whole milk
1 egg

For the lemon frosting:
250g of icing sugar (sifted)
80g of unsalted butter (at room temperature)
2 tablespoons of grated lemon zest (I used the juice of the two lemons I had zested for the sponge)
A few drops of yellow food colouring (optional but pretty)
25 ml of whole milk

You will need
A 12-hole cupcake tray lined with paper cases
Preheat the oven to 170°C.
Put the flour, sugar, baking powder, lemon zest, and butter in a freestanding electric mixer with a paddle attachment (or use a handheld electric whisk) and beat on slow speed until you get a sandy consistency and everything is combined.
Gradually pour in the milk and beat until just incorporated.
Add the egg to the flour mixture and continue beating until the flour is just incorporated, making sure to scrape any unmixed ingredients from the side of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Continue mixing for a couple of minutes until the batter is smooth, but be careful not to overmix.

Spoon the mixture into the paper cases until two thirds full. Bake in the preheated for 20-25 minutes, or until the cake bounces back when touched. A skewer inserted in the center should come out clean.
Let the cupcakes cool slightly in the pan before turning out into a wire rack to cool completely.
When the cupcakes are cold, spoon the lemon frosting on top and use extra lemon zest to decorate accordingly.

For the Lemon frosting:
Beat together the confectioners' sugar, butter, lemon zest (or juice), and food coloring in a freestanding electric mixer with a paddle attachment (or use a handheld electric whisk) on medium-slow speed. Continue until the mixture is well-mixed.
Turn the mixer down to a slower speed and slowly pour in the milk. (I didn't use milk as I used the juice from the lemon)
Once the milk has been incorporated, turn the mixer up to high speed.
Continue beat until the frosting is light and fluffy; this should take at least 5 minutes.

Gluten free apple and sweet mincemeat crumble

I apologise for the quality of the photograph, the light was a bit poor when I took the photograph on Friday evening. The simplicity of this dessert seemed like a good follow up to a main course with lots of flavours,( Lamb Machbous). I also wanted a gluten free topping and found this lovely recipe on an a website called Australia, I added the mincemeat to the recipe as I have enjoyed that combination before. I cooked the crumble for 1 hour covered, and then took it out of the oven until just before it was needed. Then all it took was 15 minutes uncovered until the topping was a lovely golden brown colour.

Serves 6
6 large apples
1 tablespoon white sugar
¼ tsp cinnamon
I jar of sweet mincemeat (optional)

Crumble Topping
3 tablespoons ground almonds
4 tablespoons rice flour
2 tablespoons desiccated coconut
2 tablespoons sugar


Preheat oven to 190°C. Grease a medium sized round baking or casserole dish. Peel, core and chop apples into 1 cm pieces and place directly into the baking dish. Sprinkle sugar and cinnamon over apples and toss well.
Combine topping ingredients and rub together with fingers. Sprinkle topping over apples and bake, covered, in preheated oven for one hour or until apples no longer have shape, and then bake uncovered for a few more minutes to crisp the topping.

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Linguine with tuna sauce

It was a real struggle today to find a recipe which included the small amount of ingredients I had in the fridge and cupboards. I finally came across this pasta dish and nearly had the correct ingredients. I used spaghetti instead of linguine and a tin of chopped tomatoes instead of passata. It had quite a kick to it, it was easy to make and tasted fresh and healthy. I added some chopped cherry tomatoes just at the end of the cooking time as suggested by someone who has also tried the recipe on the Good food website. A sprinkling of Parmesan and a glass of red wine and it made a good standby lunch.

Serves 4
4 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp fresh flatleaf parsley , chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 red chilli , deseeded and finely chopped
1cm fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
450g passata
2 x 200g cans tuna in olive oil, drained and flaked
375g linguine

Prepare the sauce. Heat the oil in a medium pan. Toss in 2 tbsp of the parsley, the garlic, chilli and ginger and fry for a few minutes until slightly soft. Tip in the tomatoes and cook for another few minutes. Fold in the tuna and season the sauce generously. Leave the sauce to simmer for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, cook the pasta for 8-10 minutes, or as directed on the pack. Drain, then return to the pan. Pour the tuna sauce into the pasta and toss well. Sprinkle over the remaining parsley, divide between four bowls and serve.

Saturday, 17 November 2012

Lamb Machbous

This lovely fragrant lamb dish is a recipe I have acquired from my father in law. He cooked it for us for dinner recently after discovering the dish on an Emirates flight. It's a traditional dish from Bahrain. He researched the recipe when he returned home and gave it to me. I cooked it a day in advance for a dinner party with friends last night. Leaving it overnight and reheating on the evening gave all the wonderful flavours a chance to develop. It also meant I didn't have a lot to do once the guests arrived. The dish is somewhere between a mild curry and a tagine. I served this with roast sweet potatoes (see below) and basmati rice. 

Serves 4 - 6

1 tsp ground black pepper
¾ tsp ground coriander
¾ tsp ground cinnamon
¾ tsp ground cloves
1 tsp ground cumin
5 cardamon pods (remove the shells and ground up the seeds)
a pinch of ground nutmeg
1½ tsp paprika
1 kg lamb (bought as chunks or shoulder cut into bite size chunks)
2 tbsp oil
2 onions, chopped
2 tins of canned chopped tomatoes
2 tbsp parsley, chopped
½ tsp grated lime peel
½ tsp ground turmeric

Mix the black pepper, coriander, cinnamon, cloves, cumin, cardamon, nutmeg and paprika and set aside.
Salt the lamb. Saute it with the onions on the oil, until the lamb is brown and the onions are golden brown. Add the prepared spice mixture, the tomatoes, the parsley, the lime peel and the turmeric. Mix well, bring to a full boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for an hour, adding water as necessary to keep it moist. Taste and add more salt if needed.
Tastes best if done the day before and then simmered for another hour before serving.
Serve with basmati rice (saffron optional) and roast sweet potatoes. Cube the potatoes, toss with oil, cayenne pepper, allspice, a tsp of brown sugar and salt in a freezer bag, then roast for 20 mins at 220 degC or until dark brown.

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Butternut Squash, chickpea and spinach curry

I found this recipe on a food blog called A combination of a vegetarian friend coming for tea and a lone butternut squash sitting on my kitchen work bench for the last few days led me to the recipe. A very tasty meal which I made earlier in the day and just heated up. I think it may taste even better tomorrow.

Serves 4

1 butternut squash, 6-8 inches high, peeled and diced with seeds scooped out
200g spinach, washed and excess water squeezed out, chopped
1 tin chickpeas
1 tin tomatoes
1 tin coconut milk
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
1 green chilli, finely chopped. More if you like it very hot!
thumb size amount of ginger, peeled and finely chopped
A handful of chopped fresh coriander
Half a lemon

1 tbsp cumin seed
1 tbsp coriander seed
1/2 tbsp turmeric
8 black peppercorns

Grind the spices in a pestle & mortar.
Fry the onion until translucent over a medium heat in some oil (sunflower or groundnut). Add the garlic, ginger and chilli for a minute or so. Add the spices for a minute or so, you’ll start to smell them as they temper. Add the butternut squash and coat in the ingredients in the pan. Cook for a couple of minutes.
Add the tomatoes and coconut milk, and cook for 10-15 minutes (mine took a lot longer) until the squash is cooked and you can push a fork through it.
Drain the chickpeas and add to the sauce. Also add the spinach.
When the spinach is wilted and the chickpeas are warmed through, add the coriander and a squeeze of lemon juice. The lemon juice lifts the flavour nicely, taste as you go.
Salt to taste and serve with rice and/or flatbreads.

Monday, 12 November 2012

Stilton, chard and walnut wellington

I made this meal out of the Christmas edition of Olive Magazine on Saturday night, because I love anything with Stilton in, but I also thought it might be a good recipe for anyone looking for a vegetarian Christmas dinner recipe. It certainly looked and tasted impressive enough to serve on the big day. I served mine with some asparagus and some cranberry sauce, which complimented the stilton beautifully. James wasn't too keen, but it was rather an adult taste. It wasn't difficult to make. You could actually make the filling in advance then assemble it just before cooking. 

Serves 6
12 shallots peeled
25g butter
100g walnuts, roughly chopped
200g Stilton, crumbled
2 sprigs of thyme (I didn't have this)
500g chard, tough stalks removed and finely shredded.(ooops didn't do that either)
500g block of puff pastry ( I used ready rolled and just halved it once it was opened out)
1 egg beaten


Fry the shallots in half the butter until they are soft and browned, this will take about 15 minutes over a low heat. Tip into a bowl and add the walnuts, Stilton and thyme. Blanch the chard in boiling water for 1 minute, drain well and tip into the frying pan  with the remaining butter and lots of seasoning. Cook for a minute or two to dry it out a little and then tip into the rest of the mix and cool.
Heat the oven to 200°C. Roll out the pack of puff pastry to the thickness of a £1 coin (about 35cm square) and cut into 2 pieces (or half the ready rolled sheet). Arrange the filling in a fat pile on one piece. Brush the edges with beaten egg then drape the second piece over the top to make a parcel. Trim and crimp the edges. Score the top and decorate with the pastry off cuts, then brush all over with egg. Cook for 40 minutes until crisp and golden.

Saturday, 10 November 2012

Pasta with spicy sausage and rosemary sauce

I cooked this meal for the children earlier on last night as we were having a meal with friends later. For the friends I cooked Beef stew with green peppercorns and cheddar dumplings and pear and ginger upside down cake (both October entries). A really easy dinner party meal as everything could be prepared in advance and all I had to do was the mash and put the dumplings in to cook 20 minutes before eating. 
This meal was another from Good Food website that I happened to have nearly the right ingredients in for. I substituted single cream instead of double and used pasta penne as it was all I had in. It was incredibly tasty, I was tempted to have a portion for myself, but I didn't want to ruin my appetite for the meal to come.

The new link (you might also like:) at the bottom of each post appears to be becoming a bit random. It's supposed to link relevant recipes to the one I have just posted. Not sure where the relevance of some of them is coming from. Never mind it serves as a little reminder of the past recipes I have done. I hope it's useful. 

Serve 2
200g rigatoni 
75g chorizo, chopped into small chunks
olive oil
a pinch chilli flakes
2 sprigs rosemary needles, chopped
1 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes
4 tbsp double cream (optional)

Cook the pasta following packet instructions. Fry the chorizo in a little olive oil for 3 minutes. Add the chilli flakes and rosemary and cook for 1 minute then tip in the tomatoes. Simmer for 15 minutes then add the cream (if using) and stir well.
Toss with the pasta and serve.

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Venison steaks with morello cherry sauce

Steve and I had the luxury of being alone at meal time last night while both kids were out at various activities. That morning I remembered about some Venison steaks that had been lurking in the freezer for a bit too long. I will give Aldi a big hands up here, as they were their frozen Scottish Venison steaks, which I notice they still sell but they now come from New Zealand. They were extremely tender and tasty, much stronger flavour than a fillet beef steak and I believe a much healthier option.  The steaks were just fried for a few minutes on each side for medium rare, then left to rest for a couple of minutes. I luckily had a jar of morello cherry jam in the cupboard, a couple of large tablespoons simmered with red wine for ten minutes made a perfect accompaniment.
I made some hassleback potatoes, which just involved cutting into the potatoes all the way along, but not all the way through (I put a skewer along through the bottom which prevented from cutting all the way through, a good tip from olive magazine) and roasting them in hot oil for 1 hour. Adding fresh rosemary 10 minutes before the end of cooking and a sprinkling of salt just before serving.

I felt it was a meal fit for a king, a glass of red wine and peace and quiet. Heaven.

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Lemony Greek Yoghurt with forest fruits

I have my cousin Jill to thank again for this lovely simple 2 minute dessert. Served in a large wine glass or glass sundae dish it looks stunning too. No recipe needed really. Just stir some good quality lemon curd into some thick greek yoghurt. Place in glass serving dish, top with some defrosted berries and dust with icing sugar. 

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Cottage pie with horseradish mash

A lovely traditional meal for bonfire night, unfortunately I didn't get to go to a bonfire or firework display but James did and he enjoyed this when he came back. It's not the quickest meal to prepare but once it's in the oven you can put your feet up for half an hour. Another meal from Olive magazine this month, I'm not sure what I would do without this magazine.

Serve 4-6
500g minced beef
olive oil
1 onion chopped
2 carrots grated
2 tbsp of tomato purée
1 tbsp of plain flour
2 tbsp of worcestershire sauce
500ml of beef stock
a glass of red wine (optional)
1kg of floury potatoes, peeled and cut into cubes
50g butter
4 tbsp of horseradish cream (I used horseradish sauce as I couldn't get cream from tesco)
1 egg yolk

Heat the oven to 200°C. Fry the mince in 1 tbsp olive oil in a large non-stick pan, until browned. Add the onion and the carrots then fry until softened. Stir in the tomato purée then sprinkle over the flour and stir in well. Add the worcestershire sauce, stock and wine and simmer for 20 minutes until the sauce is reduced and thickened. Season and cool.
To make the mash, boil the potatoes in salted water until tender then drain really well and mash with the butter, horseradish and lots of seasoning. Beat in the egg yolk.
Tip the beef mix into a large ovenproof dish and top with the mash. Fluff up with a fork then bake for 30-35 minutes until golden and bubbling.

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Quick Pork and bean tacos

I have previously only made tacos with a chilli con carne filling so these ones last night made a change. I wasn't very hungry having had a huge plate of fish and chips at lunch time. Maybe I would have appreciated them more when my appetite for something tasty had been greater. The recipe is from Olive Magazine this month as an idea for a Saturday night dinner. 

Serves 4
groundnut oil
400g of pork tenderloin fillet, cut into strips and seasoned
1 large red onion, halved and sliced, plus some to serve
2 tbsp of chipotle paste (I used chipotle sauce)
400g tin of black beans or borlotti beans
400g tin of chopped tomatoes
½ small bunch of chopped corainder
8 taco shells
shredded lettuce to serve
soured cream to serve
grated cheddar to serve

Heat a tbsp of oil in a large frying pan. Add the pork and cook on a high heat until browned then scoop out. Add most of the onion (keep a little back to garnish) then cook until softened. Add the chipotle paste, beans and tomatoes. Bring to the boil then simmer on high for 10 minutes. Add back the pork and simmer for 5 minutes until piping hot. Add most of the coriander.
Warm the tacos then stuff with lettuce, the pork mix and top with soured cream, cheeses and a sprinkling of extra chopped red onion and coriander. 

Friday, 2 November 2012

Italian Traybake

I loved this. I love any dish that can be cooked in one pot and prepared in under 10 minutes. 
This is another recipe from the 'Nigellissima' cookbook. I guess it's called an Italian traybake because the recipe states to use Italian sausages, I used pork chipalattas, which meant mine wasn't Italian in the least. 
Next time I would add more potatoes and as I used chicken breasts they overcooked slightly in the 50 minute cooking time. But it was delicious, the potatoes were golden and chewy with the juices from the chicken and sausages. After an afternoon out in fresh and chilly November weather it was a perfect dinner to sit down to.


Serves 4-6
3 baking potatoes (approx 750g/1lb 11oz total), unpeeled and cut into 2cm/¾ in chunks
8 chicken thighs, bone in and skin on
8 Italian sausages (approx 750g/1lb 11oz total)
small bunch (6 or 7 sprigs) fresh rosemary
zest 1 unwaxed lemon
1 teaspoon sea salt flakes or
½ teaspoon pouring salt
ground pepper
4 x 15ml tablespoons/60ml olive oil

Preheat the oven to 220C/gas mark 7.
Put the potatoes in a large, shallow baking tray and add the chicken thighs and sausages. If using 2 trays, divide everything between them (and also swap the trays over and turn them round halfway through cooking time).
Arrange about 4 sprigs of the rosemary among the chicken and sausages, then finely chop the needles of another 2 sprigs, to give you about 2 teaspoons of finely chopped needles, and sprinkle these on to the chicken pieces.
Zest the lemon over everything, and season with the salt and a good grinding of pepper. Drizzle with the oil and bake for 50
-60 minutes, or until the chicken skin and sausages are golden and the potato pieces are cooked through. It’s fine to let all of this stand for up to 30 minutes once cooked, prior to serving.

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Pancetta and pea risotto

I saw this recipe on the newly slim Nigellas cookery programme Nigellisima. It looked like a simple and tasty midweek meal. It cooks much quicker than a normal risotto as orzo pasta is used instead of risotto rice. There is very little effort involved, as unlike a rice risotto there is no standing over the pan and continuous stirring required. It's texture was creamy and using smoked pancetta gave a much stronger flavour than normal bacon. I watched the clip from the programme which didn't give the exact amounts of ingredients, so this is a bit of guesswork. I'll add the new cookbook to my Christmas list. I do find pancetta a bit fatty so I picked out the bits that were mainly fat. 

Serve 4
1 tbsp garlic oil (I used olive oil)
260g cubed pancetta
a couple of handfuls of frozen peas
2 coffee cupfuls of orzo pasta
a handful of grated parmesan, plus some for serving
salt and pepper

Heat the oil in a frying pan, fry the pancetta until golden. Add the frozen peas to the pan and cook until they have just lost their frozen look. Stir in the orzo and then add some just boiled water to the pan. I used 2 coffee cups of orzo and 4 cups of water. Give a quick stir then bring to the boil. Once boiled turn the pan down to a simmer and cover and cook until all the water has been absorbed. By this time the pasta should be cooked. Stir in the parmesan and season to taste. Serve immediately in warm bowls, sprinkled with more fresh parmesan.