All posts by admin

Spaghetti Bolognese

Serves 4-6 people.
Chef’s tip: Make this at least 6 hours before you plan on eating it. The flavours will develop the longer you leave it.

Ingredients

  • 500g lean beef mince (a bit less/more works just fine if you can’t get the exact weight)
  • 100ml red wine
  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced or finely chopped
  • 2 tins of plum tomatoes 
  • 1x 200g tube of tomato puree
  • Dash of Worcestershire sauce
  • Dry basil
  • Dry oregano
  • Salt and pepper
  • Olive oil

Method

  • Heat a tablespoon of oil in a large pan on a medium-high heat.
  • Add the mince and use a whisk to break it up and remove any chunks. Cook the mince until all of the liquid has evaporated and the meat is starting to brown/stick to the pan (don’t worry, it will come off). This will take your bolognese to another level of flavour.
  • Season the mince with salt and pepper and add the red wine. About 100ml is fine.
  • Cook for about a minute to release the alcohol and then add the onions and garlic.
  • Cook for another 5mins or so to soften the onions then add the tomatoes. Break them up with a spoon/masher/knife if you want smaller chunks.
  • Add about half of the puree (you might need to add a bit more later), a dash Worcestershire sauce, a good sprinkle of basil and oregano – I’d say around a tablespoon of each.
  • Re-season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Turn down to simmer with a lid on for as long as you possibly can leave it. Minimum should be an hour but if you can leave it for hours, occasionally stirring it then even better.
  • Taste it every time you stir and see if you need to add any more seasoning/puree.
  • When you put your water on to boil for the pasta, add a pinch of sugar to the sauce.
  • Serve with your choice of pasta and maybe some garlic bread 😉

Sticky Toffee Pudding

Serves 4. Great with fresh cream or custard.

Ingredients

For the puddings

  • 125g pitted dates
  • 100ml boiling water
  • 50g unsalted butter
  • 80g light or dark muscovado sugar
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 100g self raising flour
  • 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1/8 tsp cinnamon
  • 60ml whole or semi-skimmed milk

For the toffee sauce

  • 40g unsalted butter
  • 80g light or dark muscovado sugar
  • 60ml single or double cream

Method

  • Preheat your oven to 180C/160C Fan
  • Grease 4 ramekins
  • Soak the dates in the boiled water for a few minutes, then drain and whizz into a paste.
  • Beat the butter and sugar in a mixing bowl until smooth and creamy.
  • Add the egg a bit at a time, making sure to beat it in well.
  • Mix the flour, bicarbonate of soda and cinnamon in a bowl, then add a third to the mixture and fold it in.
  • Add half of the milk and mix it well.
  • Continue with the next third of the dry ingredients, then the other half of the milk and the final third of the dry.
  • Mix in the date paste.
  • Split the mixture between the four ramekins and bake for 20-25mins.
  • The sauce only takes 10 minutes so you can start as the puddings are almost done or let the puddings cool and use them later on.
  • Add the butter, sugar and 40ml of the cream to a pan and melt over a low heat.
  • Stir consistently for 7-10mins until all of the sugar has dissolved and the sauce is a dark toffee colour.
  • Remove from the heat and stir in the remaining 20ml of cream.
  • Turn the puddings out onto a plate/bowl and spoon the toffee sauce on top.

Apple and Blackberry crumble

Serves 4-6 people

Chef’s Tip: Try my custard recipe which goes perfectly with this crumble!

Ingredients

For the filling:

  • 3-4 cooking apples
  • 100-120g blackberries
  • 30g unsalted butter
  • 30g demerera sugar (or golden caster sugar)
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

For the crumble:

  • 50g golden caster sugar 
  • 100g plain flour
  • 80g butter
  • Optional: 1tbsp soft brown sugar
  • Optional: 2tbsp ground almonds

Method

  • Preheat the oven to 200C/180C Fan/Gas 6
  • Peel and chop the apples into small cubes.
  • Put the butter and sugar in a medium/large saucepan and melt together over a medium heat until it turns into a light caramel (around 3mins).
  • Stir in the apples and cook for 3-5mins.
  • Add the blackberries and cinnamon and cook for another 3mins.
  • Cover with a lid and remove from the heat to sit for another few minutes while you make the topping.
  • Add the sugar, flour and butter to a mixing bowl. 
  • At this point you can also add the optional ingredients which I highly recommend!
  • Use your hands to combine the ingredients until they are crumbly. 
  • Sprinkle the topping over your filling and bake for 10mins or until golden and crunchy on top.

 

Shepherd’s Pie

Serves 2 people

Ingredients

  • 2tbsp olive oil
  • Sea salt and black pepper
  • 500g lamb mince
  • 1 large onion, finely grated
  • 1 large carrot, finely grated
  • 2 cloves garlic, grated or minced
  • 1-2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree
  • Handful of thyme sprigs, leaves picked
  • 1 sprig of rosemary, needles chopped
  • 250ml red wine
  • 300ml chicken stock
  • 1kg Desiree potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 2 egg yolks
  • Parmesan, for grating
  • Sea salt & freshly ground black pepper

Method

  • Preheat your oven to 180C/160C Fan
  • Peel and chop the potatoes, put them in a large pan of salted cold water and get them boiling.
  • In the mean time, heat the oil in a large frying pan on a medium-high heat.
  • Season and fry the lamb until the liquid has mostly evaporated.
  • Stir in the onion, carrot and garlic for 1-2 mins.
  • Add the Worcestershire sauce, tomato puree and herbs, and cook for another 2mins.
  • Pour in the red wine and cook until it’s almost evaporated.
  • Check your potatoes and when they’re done, drain them. Let them sit in the colander to dry off.
  • Add the chicken stock, bring it to a gentle simmer and cook until it’s thickened up.
  • Mash up your potatoes, and stir in the 2 egg yolks.
  • Add a decent helping of grated parmesan and season with salt and pepper.
  • Transfer the sauce to a small oven dish, cover with the potatoes and then grate more parmesan on top.
  • Fluff the potatoes up with a fork and bake in the oven for around 20mins, or until golden and bubbling.

Perfect Pancakes

Ingredients

  • 100g plain flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 500ml milk
  • A pinch of salt
  • Butter for frying

Method

  • Whisk all of the ingredients in a large bowl until smooth
  • Rub your frying pan with butter over a medium heat
  • Use a ladle to spoon some batter into the pan and turn the pan to spread it around
  • Flip the pancake once it’s browned underneath and skates around the pan
  • Serve with toppings of your choice

Slow Roast Pork Belly with Gravy

Ingredients

  • 1-1.5kg pork belly, unrolled
  • 1 large or 2 small fennel bulbs
  • Sea salt
  • Black pepper
  • 1tbsp fennel seeds
  • Olive oil
  • 2 carrots
  • 2 sticks of celery
  • 1 onion
  • 6-8 cloves of garlic
  • 325ml white wine
  • 500-750ml chicken stock (depending on the size of your pan

Method

  • Preheat your oven to 180C/160C Fan.
  • Score the skin of the pork diagonally both ways to create a diamond pattern
  • Drizzle the skin with olive oil, and season with sea salt and black pepper.
  • Roughly chop the onion, celery and carrots and lay in the base of an oven dish. Add 4 unpeeled garlic cloves.
  • Heat some oil in a large pan and add the fennel bulb, half the fennel seeds and 3 of the garlic cloves. Cook for 2-3 minutes.
  • Push these to one side and add the pork skin side down to the pan. Cook for at least 5mins to turn it golden brown
  • Turn the pork over, season the skin again with a bit of salt and sprinkle the remaining fennel seeds on top.
  • Pour in the wine, being careful not to get the skin wet and scrape the flavour from the bottom of the pan. Cook for a minute or two.
  • Transfer the pork skin side up onto the chopped vegetables and pour the rest around it.
  • Add the chicken stock to come up the fat layer just under the skin.
  • Cook in the oven for 2.5 hours.
  • Remove the pork and set it aside to rest.
  • In the mean time, add the vegetables and juices from the tray to the hob on a medium heat, add a little flour until it starts to thicken up. If it’s too thick, add a splash of water or wine.

Home Made Tikka Masala

Serves 4-5 people

You will need

  • A large high sided frying pan
  • Wooden skewers
  • Garlic press
  • Fine toothed grater

Ingredients

For the marinade:

  • 3-4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 lemon
  • 125g plain yoghurt
  • 6 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon of fresh ginger, minced (use the grater)
  • 2 teaspoons of salt
  • 2 teaspoons of ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons of garam masala
  • 2 teaspoons of paprika (not smoked)

For the sauce:

  • 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons of fresh ginger, minced
  • 8 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons of ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons of turmeric powder
  • 2 teaspoons of coriander powder
  • 2 teaspoons of paprika (unsmoked)
  • 1 teaspoon of chilli powder
  • 2 teaspoons of garam masala
  • 1 tablespoon of tomato puree
  • 800g tomato passata
  • 300ml water
  • 250ml coconut milk
  • Fresh coriander to garnish

Method

  • Slice the chicken into bite sized chunks and combine in a bowl with all of the marinade ingredients. Stir until evenly coated.
  • Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
  • Preheat your oven to 230C Fan/260C
  • Skewer the marinated chicken onto wooden skewers and place them over an oven dish. Make sure the ends of the skewers are over the edges of the dish so that the chicken isn’t touching the dish at all.
  • Bake the chicken for around 15mins until slightly browned
  • Heat the oil in a large pan over a medium heat, and saute the onion, ginger and garlic until tender but not browned
  • Add the spices and fry for about 30 seconds, stirring constantly
  • Stir in the puree
  • Add the tomato sauce and water then bring to the boil and cook for 5 mins.
  • Pour in the coconut milk gradually, tasting as you go until you’re happy – you don’t have to use the whole lot.
  • Mix in the chicken and leave to simmer.
  • Cook your rice/naan and serve with a sprinkling of fresh coriander!

Slow-Cooked Duck Ragu

Serves 2 people

Ingredients

  • 2x duck legs (use 4 legs for 4 people or a whole duck cut into pieces)
  • Sea salt
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 stick of celery
  • 1 carrot
  • 125ml red wine
  • A sprig of fresh rosemary
  • 2-3 fresh sage leaves (optional)
  • A spring of fresh thyme (optional)
  • 1x 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
  • A pinch of ground cinnamon (optional)
  • 250ml hot vegetable stock
  • Parmesan to serve

Method

  • Place a large high sided frying pan over a high heat. Add the duck pieces, season with salt and seal on all sides.
  • Finely chop the onion, celery and carrot.
  • Pour the wine into the pan and quickly put a lid on it as it will spit fiercely.
  • Leave it to bubble for a minute, then add the chopped vegetables and herbs.
  • Reduce to a medium heat and fry for 10mins, or until softened.
  • Add the cinnamon, tomatoes and stock, and bring to the boil.
  • Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for 2 hours. Top up with more stock if needed.
  • Remove the duck to a plate and discard the herbs from the sauce. Keep it warm on a low heat.
  • Shred the duck meat and stir it back into the ragu.
  • Cook your pasta (pappardelle works really well with this) and then add to the ragu.
  • Serve with grated parmesan

Beef Wellington

Serves 2-4 people

Ingredients

  • 450-500g fillet of beef
  • English mustard
  • 250g chestnut mushrooms
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 tbsp breadcrumbs (optional)
  • 1 fresh spring of rosemary
  • 4-6 slices of parma ham
  • Puff pastry (I buy pre-rolled but if not you’ll need to roll it out to about A4 size)
  • 1 egg
  • Salt and pepper

Method

  • Put a frying pan on a high heat and once hot, add about a tablespoon of olive oil.
  • Sear the meat in the pan – about a minute on each side and then quickly do the ends.
  • Place the meat on a chopping board/plate and brush it all over with English mustard.
  • Add the mushrooms, garlic, breadcrumbs (if using), salt and pepper to a blender and whizz up until it resembles fine breadcrumbs
  • Get a dry frying pan on a medium heat and tip the mushroom mixture in. The idea here is to cook out all of the moisture so this might take a little while.
  • Once completely dry, leave the mixture to one side until it has cooled down.
  • In the mean time, lay out some cling film and lay your parma ham along it, making sure they overlap each other
  • Spread the mushroom mixture over the ham, leaving about half an inch at the top and bottom of where you’ll roll it.
  • Place the beef on top.
  • Use the clingfilm to help roll the beef in the ham and wrap it up in the clingfilm like a sausage. Put it in the fridge to set.
  • Roll out more clingfilm and place your pastry on top. Preheat your oven to 200C/180C Fan.
  • Get the beef from the fridge and place it on the pastry. Again use the clingfilm to wrap the beef in the pastry. Trim the pastry so that you have just enough to go round the beef without overlapping.
  • Tuck the pastry at both ends and wrap up like a sausage in the clingfilm. Leave this in the fridge for 5-10mins to set.
  • Unwrap the package and place on a baking tray. Brush with beaten egg yolk and use the back of a knife to slice patterns in the top of the pastry (don’t go through it!). You could also use the spare pastry to make shapes on top.
  • Sprinkle with sea salt and then cook in the oven for 35-40mins until the pastry is golden brown.
  • Cut into 1cm slices and serve 🙂

Sage and Butter Sauce

Ingredients

  • 100g salted butter
  • 8-10 fresh sage leaves
  • 70ml vegetable stock
  • 40g grated parmesan
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Method

  • Add the butter and sage to a pan over a medium heat
  • Allow the butter to melt and just start to bubble
  • Add the stock and let it bubble for a couple of minutes
  • Add your pre-cooked pasta to the sauce and stir in the parmesan until it’s nice and creamy