Category Archives: Mains

Authentic Italian Carbonara

Serves 2

Ingredients

  • 250-300g giuanciale or smoked bacon lardons
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1tsp ground black pepper
  • 150-180g spaghetti
  • 1 egg
  • 20g parmesan + some for serving

Method

  • Add the bacon to a large cold frying pan and then put it on a medium-high heat to render out the fat
  • Boil your water and add the spaghetti, cook al dente (don’t remove it from the water, you’ll use it straight away!)
  • Bash the garlic clove to break it open and add to the hot pan with the bacon, stirring occasionally
  • Add the black pepper
  • In the mean time, whisk the egg in a bowl with 20g of parmesan
  • The bacon should be dark and crispy when the pasta is done.
  • Scoop the spaghetti straight from the water into the pan and transfer splashes of water to stop the frying process.
  • When it’s gone quiet, remove from the heat and toss in the egg mixture – be quick so it doesn’t scramble on the bottom of the pan
  • Serve with a sprinkle of parmesan on top

Spaghetti and Meatballs

Serves 4

Ingredients

Meatballs

  • 500g beef or pork mince (or a mix)
  • 1 sprig of fresh rosemary, finely chopped
  • 1 egg
  • 75g breadcrumbs

Sauce

  • 1 medium onion, finely sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped or put through a press
  • Bunch of fresh basil – pick all the big leaves and leave a few small ones for garnish
  • Half a red chilli, finely chopped
  • 2x 400g tins of plum tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar

Method

  • Mix all of the meatball ingredients in a blender or scrunch by hand
  • Make golf ball sized meatballs and set aside
  • Add a large wide frying pan to the hob on a medium heat
  • Cook the onion for 5-7mins until golden and soft
  • Add the garlic and chill, and as soon as they pick up a bit of colour, add the big basil leaves
  • Add the tomatoes and break them up with a wooden spoon
  • Add the balsamic vinegar
  • Season to taste
  • Bring to the boil and let simmer until needed
  • In a new pan, fry off the meatballs until browned on all sides, and then add them to simmer in the sauce until cooked through (min 15mins).
  • Cook your preferred pasta and serve with mini basil on top

Healthy Tuna Fish Cakes

Makes around 10 fish cakes

Ingredients

  • 2x 145g tins of tuna (either in water or brine), drained
  • 2x spring onions, finely chopped
  • 1/2 lemon zest and juice
  • 1 medium egg
  • 30-40g breadcrumbs
  • Salt and pepper

Method

  • Mix all of the ingredients either in a bowl or electric mixer
  • Roll the mixture into golf ball sized balls and flatten
  • Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a large frying pan on a medium-high heat
  • Lightly fry the fish cakes until golden on both sides
  • Serve with your choice of dip – mayo, garlic mayo, sriracha mayo, sweet chilli sauce etc

Best Ever Macaroni Cheese

Serves 4. Great with garlic bread on the side.

Ingredients

  • 350g macaroni pasta
  • 2tbsp butter
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1tsp English mustard
  • 3tbsp plain flour
  • 500ml milk
  • 250g mature cheddar
  • 50g parmesan

Method

  • Preheat the oven to 180C
  • Boil the pasta for 2mins less than the cooking time, and drain
  • Meanwhile, melt the butter in a saucepan (slightly bigger than the pan to fit the pasta)
  • Add the garlic and mustard, and cook for 1 minute
  • Stir in the plain flour
  • Cook for 1 more minute, then slowly add the milk, whisking the whole time
  • Simmer for 5 minutes, whisking the whole time until the sauce thickens
  • Take it off the heat and stir in most of the cheddar, and half of the parmesan
  • Taste and season the sauce
  • Stir in the pasta and tip into an ovenproof dish
  • Sprinkle the rest of the cheese on top and bake for 20mins or until golden on top

Sausage, fennel and red wine risotto

Ingredients (serves 4)

  • Olive oil
  • 2 knobs of butter
  • 1 litre of chicken or veg stock
  • 1 red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 small or 1/2 a bulb of fennel, finely chopped
  • 1/2 bunch of fresh thyme (15g)
  • 250g quality sausages
  • 300g risotto rice
  • 250ml red wine
  • 50g Parmesan, grated
  • 50g fontina or manchego or emmentaal, chopped into small pieces

Method

  • Simmer the stock
  • Put a large high sided pan on a medium heat with 1tbsp olive oil and a knob of butter
  • Once hot, add the onion and fennel, then strip the thyme leaves in as well.
  • Cook for a few minutes as it starts to soften.
  • Squeeze the sausages out of their skins and add to the pan. As they start to cook, break them up into small pieces.
  • Cook for 10mins, stirring occasionally
  • Add the rice and stir for 2mins
  • Add the wine and stir until absorbed
  • I tend to turn the heat down a little at this point
  • Now add the stock a ladleful at a time, letting each one cook away and absorb before adding more.
  • Make sure you are constantly stirring or it will stick
  • Do this for around 16-18mins, until the rice is cooked but retains its shape (you might not use all of the stock)
  • Add a final splash of stock to make it oozy, then add most of the grated Parmesan (save some for serving) and stir in with a knob of butter
  • Season with salt and pepper to your liking
  • Remove from the heat and add the second cheese, cover the pot for a few mins and let the cheese melt
  • Mix it all up and serve with some thyme tips and Parmesan garnish

Steak Ciabatta Sandwich with Zingy Tomato Relish

Ingredients (serves 2)

For the sandwich

  • 1 large or two small ciabattas (I use bake at home and bake it at the beginning).
  • 2 fillet steaks, at least 2cm thick
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 2 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • Butter
  • 2tbsp mayonnaise
  • 2tsp whole grain mustard
  • Salt and pepper
  • Baby gem lettuce

For the relish

  • 1/2 a red onion, diced
  • 1/2 a red chilli, chopped
  • 200g mixed colour baby tomatoes, sliced in quarters
  • 1tsp of balsamic vinegar
  • A handful of fresh basil leaves, chopped

Method

  • Important steak prep: take your steaks out of the fridge and out of their packaging 30mins before starting to bring them to room temperature. Then drizzle with olive oil and season very generously with salt (not pepper!). Leave to rest.
  • We’ll make the chutney first, so get a large frying pan on a medium heat and heat some olive oil.
  • Add the onion and chilli and cook for 5mins until softened.
  • Add the tomatoes and season with salt and pepper. Cook for 6-8mins until the tomatoes have softened and collapsed.
  • Add the balsamic and stew slowly for another 6-8mins.
  • While it’s stewing, mix the mayonnaise and mustard in a small bowl or ramekin.
  • Remove from the  heat and stir in the fresh basil. Set aside.
  • Heat a pan that comfortably fits both steaks with space around them on a very high heat until the pan is smoking. Do not add oil.
  • Add the steaks to the pan, oil side down and then oil and salt the other side. Sear for 1 minute.
  • Turn the steaks over and set another 1 minute timer. After about 10 seconds, add a generous knob of butter, the garlic and thyme. Swirl around the pan and use a brush to cover the steaks in the flavour.
  • Take a second to heat your griddle pan on a medium-high heat while your timer is going.
  • Turn the steaks again for 30seconds-1 minute (continue brushing) and once more to the other side for 30seconds-1 minute. This will give you a medium-rare finish.
  • Leave the steaks to rest on a chopping board for 4-5mins, and while they rest, toast your ciabatta on the griddle.
  • To serve, spread a layer of the mayonnaise on the bottom of your ciabatta, then a layer of lettuce, followed by thinly sliced steak, and topped with the relish.

Croatian Pašticada (fruity beef stew)

Serves 4-6 people
Marinating time: 5hrs-overnight
Cooking time: 2-3hrs

Ingredients

  • 2kg beef joint (toprump/topside – doesn’t need to be an expensive cut)
  • 2tbsp olive oil
  • 250ml apple cider vinegar
  • 50g smoked bacon lardons
  • 3 medium onions, chopped in 8ths
  • 2 cloves of garlic, chopped roughly
  • 3 sticks of celery, sliced
  • 3 carrots, sliced
  • 750ml red dessert wine
  • 2 braeburn apples, chopped in 8ths
  • 8 prunes, chopped in half
  • 3 tomatoes, sliced OR 20g puree
  • 1 thyme sprig
  • 1 rosemary sprig
  • 2 bay leaves

Method

  • Cut slits in the beed and insert the lardons throughout.
  • Put it in a dish you can cover with a lid or clingfilm and pour over the oil and vinegar.
  • Leave to marinate for at least 5hrs but overnight if you can.
  • Remove the beef from the fridge 20mins before you cook it.
  • Heat a large casserole/soup pot on the hob on a high heat and brown the beef on all sides
  • Remove the meat, lower the heat and sauté the onions, garlic, carrots and celery until they start to soften
  • Return the meat to the dish and pour in the wine.
  • bring to a boil and then turn down to a simmer. Cook covered for an hour-90mins.
  • Add the apples, prunes, tomatoes and herbs. You can also add a splash of water at this point if you feel it needs.
  • Cover again and simmer for another hour.
  • Remove the meat, frut and veg and keep them warm on a serving dish, and let the sauce reduce to your liking.
  • While the sauce is thickening, cook your gnocchi or mashed potatoes.
  • Slice the beef and serve with some of the fruit and veg, your side dish and pour over the sauce.

Korean Style Chicken and Halloumi Burgers

Makes 4 burgers

Ingredients

For the burgers

  • 4x skinless and boneless chicken thighs
  • Plain flour, seasoned with salt and pepper
  • 1 pack of halloumi cheese (cut 8 slices)
  • Sriracha mayo
  • 4x brioche buns

For the glaze

  • 4 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1.5 tbsp sugar

For the pickled cucumber side

  • 1/2 a cucumber, sliced thinly
  • 1/4 tsp rock salt
  • 1/4 tbsp sugar
  • 1/4 tbsp white vinegar

Method

  • Heat some olive oil in a large frying pan on a medium-high heat.
  • Open the chicken thighs out flat and coat them in the flour.
  • Add the chicken to the pan and watch it sizzle 🙂
  • While the chicken is cooking, make the glaze and pickled cucumber.
  • Glaze – add the ingredients to a pan and bring to a boil. Simmer for a few minutes then leave on a super low heat.
  • Cucumber – sprinkle over the salt and leave for 5mins to absorb. Mix in the sugar and vinegar and leave in a bowl for the flavour to develop.
  • Heat a medium sized non-stick pan on a medium-high heat and add the halloumi to the pan without any oil.
  • Flip the chicken once they’re half way cooked and crispy on one side.
  • Flip the halloumi and set aside once cooked on both sides.
  • Toast the buns and get ready to stack!
  • Add the chicken and spoon over some of the glaze.
  • Top with halloumi and the sriracha mayo.
  • Serve with pickled cucumber and your choice of salad/wedges/veg.

Swedish Meatballs with Creamy Gravy

Ingredients (serves 4 people)

For the meatballs:

  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 500-600g mince (beef, pork or a mix of both)
  • 75g breadcrumbs
  • 1 egg
  • 50ml milk or single cream
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
  • Salt and pepper

For the sauce:

  • 25g butter
  • 25g plain flour
  • 100ml white wine
  • 500ml beef stock
  • 100ml double cream
  • 2tsp soy sauce
  • 1tsp dijon mustard

Serve with creamy mash and lingonberry jam or redcurrant jelly

Method

  • Preheat oven to 200C/180C Fan
  • Add all the meatball ingredients to a large bowl or mixer and mix until combined.
  • Roll meatballs about the size of golf balls
  • Heat 1tbsp and 2tsp olive oil in a large pan on a medium heat and fry off the meatballs until browned.
  • Transfer to place on a baking tray. Cook for around 15-20 mins until cooked through
  • Once the balls are in the oven, get your mash going. Peel and boil your potatoes – 15mins should do it.
  • Now for the sauce. Add the butter to a large frying pan (make sure it will hold the meatballs later) and once it melts, add the flour. Mix together to make a roux and stir for a few minutes.
  • Add the white wine and whisk vigorously until it’s all incorporated.
  • Gradually add the beef stock, mixing along the way to avoid lumps.
  • Let the sauce thicken up on a low heat and then add the cream, soy sauce, dijon mustart, and salt and pepper to taste.
  • Add the meatballs to the sauce and simmer for 5-10mins while you mash up your potatoes.

Filling for Butternut Squash Ravioli

Makes enough to fill about 30-35 small ravioli

Ingredients

  • 350g peeled and chopped butternut squash (2cm cubes)
  • Olive oil
  • Sea salt
  • Black pepper
  • 1/2 small red onion, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 15-20g pecorino/grana padano cheese
  • Ground nutmeg/ground cinnamon

Method

  • Preheat the oven to 200C/180C Fan/Gas 6
  • Place the butternut squash in a large bowl with about 2stp olive oil, season with salt and pepper, mix it up.
  • Tip the pieces onto a baking tray and roast in the oven for 18-20mins.
  • Meanwhile, add the onion slices to the bowl used to season the squash. Drizzle another teaspoon of olive oil and season to taste.
  • Once the butternut squash has had 20mins, sprinkle the onion slices over it and cook for another 10mins.
  • Leave it to cool for 5mins and then tip it into a high sided bowl. Blend it into a puree with a hand blender.
  • One completely cool, stir in the cheese and season to taste with salt, pepper and nutmeg. I also like to add a dash of ground cinnamon.