Sunday, 28 August 2011

Yorkshire Puds

Yorkshire Puddings

Want to hear something good... Yorkshire puddings are so easy to make... its ridiculous!! They make a great addition to any Sunday roast (especially beef). Give these a try and you wont look back!

Makes 10-12:
1 mug of milk
Just under 1 mug of plain flour
1 egg
Pinch of salt
Olive oil


  • While the oven is on for your roast place in a muffin tray to heat it.
  • Put all the ingredients into a liquidizer with a pinch of salt and whiz until smooth or alternatively you can whisk until smooth (bit of elbow grease)!! 
  • Remove the hot bun tray from the oven and pour a little olive oil into each compartment. Now pour the batter into each compartment up to half full.
  • Place the full tray into the oven for 15 mins at 220c but DO NOT open the door until they are cooked, risen and golden or they wont rise as well as they should.
  • Left over batter can be use for pancakes Monday morning! But for now you have gorgeous 

    Yorkshire Puddings

Saturday, 27 August 2011

Spice Crusted Roast Beef

Spice Crusted Roast Beef

Roast beef is a truly wonderful roast Sunday roast. There are several different joints you can get but these all depend on your taste but probably more importantly your budget, ask your local butcher for advice on this and please remember that more expensive doesn’t mean more flavoursome. This is a lovely way to bring a little heat to roast beef. Your lips will be tingling after it; the crust also protects the meat from drying out. My delicious homemade Yorkshire puddings are great with this.

Serves 4-6:
1.5kg roasting joint (of your choice)
1 small onion
1 carrot
2 sticks of celery
Small bunch of rosemary and thyme
1 bulb of garlic
2 tablespoons of black peppercorns
1 tablespoon of sea salt
2 tablespoons of caraway seeds
1 tablespoon of white cloves
5 tablespoons of red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons of honey
Olive oil


Take the beef joint out of the fridge about a half hour before u plan to start. Preheat oven up to max. Chop the vegetables roughly no need to peel them as they are for flavour purposes only.
Toss them into a suitable sized roasting tray along with the herbs and the garlic cloves. Drizzle with olive oil. Now drizzle olive oil over the roasting joint and rub it all over.

In a pestle and mortar crush all the spices together and pour them out onto a plate. Roll the beef in the spices coating it all over evenly and seal the joint on a hot pan all over. Place it on top of the prepared veg.
With the pan still on the heat; pour in the red wine vinegar and honey. Stir around and reduce by half. Pour the reduction over the beef.

Place the tray in the hot oven and turn heat down to 200°c and roast for 1 hour for medium beef. If you prefer it a little’ rarer’ or a little more ‘well done’ give or take 10-15 minutes accordingly. Take it out of the oven half way through and baste it.

When cooked to your liking remove from the roasting tray and place on a clean chopping board, cover with tin foil and a clean tea towel, allow to rest for 20 mins before carving.

Carving: Remove the string and with a long sharp carving knife cut in thin clean slices, holding it in place with a fork.

Thursday, 25 August 2011

Courgette Risotto with pan fried Chicken

Courgette Risotto with pan fried Chicken

There are certain words I normally try and stay away from, especially when describing food... Awesome, sensational and spectacular to name a few as I find they can be overused and can lead to disappointment after trying a recipe. However this Risotto is awesome, the texture is sensational and by god the flavours are spectacular!!!
There is numerous green veg you can use here instead of courgettes if you wish like broccoli, asparagus, green beans etc. 
This is good homely comfort food at its best!

Serves 4:
3 shallots
A knob of butter
2 fat cloves of garlic
2 large courgettes
4 plum tomatoes 
200g risotto rice
100ml dry white wine
700ml of good chicken stock
2 tablespoons of chopped chives and basil
4 skinless chicken breast fillets
1-2 tablespoons of mascarpone (or soft cheese)
Olive oil
sea salt and black pepper


  • Chop the courgettes and tomatoes into small bite size pieces, finely chop the shallots and mince the garlic.
  • Heat the butter and a tablespoon of oil in a saucepan on a medium heat and saute the shallots and garlic for about 5 mins until softened.
  • Stir in the rice and toast gently for 2 mins then add in the wine and turn the heat up and boil until the liquid is all absorbed. Stirring all the time. 
  • Heat the stock to a gentle simmer and add about a quarter to the rice. Simmer uncovered and stirring frequently until the stock has been absorbed into the rice. Next add a ladle of stock and add in the courgettes, again allow the stock to be absorbed before adding more. Then add the remaining stock ladle by ladle (continue stirring frequently) each time waiting until it has all been absorbed before adding the next ladle. The rice grains should be plump but keeping a 'bite'.
  • In the meantime pan fry the chicken fillets about 5 mins each side, seasoning as you go, until cooked right through.
  • When the risotto is nearly ready,add in the tomatoes, herbs and mascarpone (or soft cheese), mix in well and season to taste.
  • Divide out into 4 portions and roughly cut up the chicken fillets and add to the top, garnish with some fresh basil.

Wednesday, 24 August 2011


Summer Berry, White Chocolate and Rum Crumble

Now before I get started I will just say that the rum in this is totally optional. This started off one day I had collected some berries from the garden and just wanted to do something different with them. Even without the crumble topping this is beautiful done in the oven for about 8 minutes and served with ice-cream is superb and simple!

Serves 4:
300g strawberries
150g raspberries
150g blueberries
150g eating white chocolate
A sprinkle of white rum (optional and amount is optional)
For the crumble:
75g butter
150g plain flour
75g soft brown sugar
A half a teaspoon of cinnamon
50g chopped almonds


  • ·        Preheat oven at 180oc. Pour the prepared fruit into a suitable sized oven dish. Roughly chop the white chocolate and add over the fruit and add a splash of rum if using.
  • ·        For the crumble, place the flour into a mixing bowl, cube the butter and add mixing in with your hands until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. Stir in the sugar, cinnamon and almonds and stir until well combined.
  • ·        Sprinkle over the topping and bake in the oven for about 20 mins or until the crumble is golden brown and bubbling around the edges.
  • ·        Serve with fresh whipped cream or ice-cream. 

Monday, 15 August 2011

Chicken with Five-Spice Sauce

Roast Chicken legs with Five-Spice Sauce

The darker meat of a chicken in my opinion is the tastier meat, in this recipe I leave the skin on as it crisps up really well in the oven and is mouth-watering; now if you want to go healthier just simply remove the skin before cooking. Alternatively this recipe can be done with a full chicken that has been jointed. Jointing a chicken is something you can practice yourself or simply ask your butcher to do for you.
There is a little bit of work involved in the sauce although I feel it is worth it, it has a beautiful flavour and creamy texture plus it fills the room with its wonderful aroma.

Serves 4:
4 chicken legs-jointed
1 teaspoon of Chinese five-spice
Sea salt and black pepper
1 lemon
1 bulb of garlic
A few sprigs of thyme

For the sauce:
1 small onion
1 medium carrot
6-7 cherry tomatoes
The wings of the chicken
1 tablespoon of toasted sesame oil
50ml of white wine vinegar
400ml of chicken stock
A bouquet of tied herbs
100ml of double cream
1 teaspoon of Chinese five-spice

Preheat the oven at full temperature. Carefully joint the chicken legs with a large heavy, sharp knife at the joint to make a drumstick and a thigh. In a suitable sized oven dish place the chicken pieces and sprinkle lightly with Chinese five-spice, salt and pepper. Quarter or slice the lemon and add to the dish with the cloves of garlic and sprigs of thyme. Place in the oven and keep at full temperature for ten minutes then turn down to 200°c for 50 minutes.

 To make the sauce: chop the onion, carrot and cut the cherry tomatoes in half.
Put a saucepan onto a hot hob and add the oil, add onion and carrot to the saucepan and sweat for 2 minutes then remove from the heat and add the vinegar and leave for 1 minute. Add the chicken stock, tomatoes and the bouquet of herbs and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to a steady simmer.

Remove from the heat when the sauce has thickened and coats the back of a spoon. Add the cream and five-spice and put back onto the heat and gently bubble for a few mins. Serve right away or keep warm in a bain-marie.

Sunday, 7 August 2011

Roasted Potato and Fennel Slices

Roasted Potato and Fennel Slices

This dish came about one evening recently I was experimenting in the kitchen. We have been steaming our new potatoes religiously recently and I just fancied a change. Dont get me wrong the there is nothing like new freshly dug spuds steamed and eaten with a slab of butter, but after a few weeks of them the taste buds deserved a new taste sensation. So I went out and dug a fresh stalk of spuds and gave them a quick scrub then randomly started culling them into 1cm thick slices. My plan was to put some spices with them and throw in some herbs, but the first jar of spice I put my hand on was fennel seeds. Then I thought why not put some fresh fennel bulbs with them instead (considering I have a fresh supply in my salad bed). The fennel has a beautiful delicate aniseed flavour so i knew it wouldn't over power the humble spud. 50 mins in the oven with a little rapeseed oil and some sea salt and crushed black pepper... fantastic!!

Serves 2:
4 large floury potatoes
2 small or 1 large fennel bulbs
Rapeseed oil
Sea salt & black pepper


  1. Give the potatoes a scrub but leave the skins on, slice them into 1 cm thick slices and add them to an oiled oven dish. Thinly slice the fennel and add to the dish.
  2. Season with salt and black pepper and add a good glug of rapeseed oil and toss well.
  3. Place into a preheated oven at 200c and leave for 50 mins, giving a few tosses in between to stop them catching. They go beautifully with chicken or fish.

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