Category Archives: Mains

Authentic Bologna Bolognese

Gennaro Contaldo’s recipe, goes perfectly with my fresh pasta


  • 250g beef mince
  • 250g pork mince
  • 1 sprig of rosemary
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 stick of celery
  • 150ml red wine
  • 2tbsp puree
  • 900ml-1ltr beef stock


  • Heat 2-3tbsp olive oil in a high sided frying pan on a medium-high heat.
  • Add the mince, season with salt and pepper, and use a whisk to break it all up. It will stick to the pan at first but it will come off as it cooks.
  • Cook for 5mins, then add the rosemary sprig
  • Cook until the liquid has evaporated and the meat is brown and golden
  • Add the wine and let it bubble away for a minute
  • Add the vegetables and stir, then add the puree. Let this cook for 2-3mins.
  • Add the beef stock and stir.
  • Turn down to a low simmer and cook for around 90mins or until it’s thickened up.
  • Serve with your choice of pasta 🙂

Fresh Pasta Dough

The rule for this recipe is 1 egg per 100g of flour. Around 300g makes enough for 4 people.


  • 300g ‘Tipo 00’ flour (some supermarkets call it pasta flour)
  • 3 large eggs

Method – mixer

  • Assemble the mixing attachment, add all of the ingredients and mix on a low speed (2-3) until it forms a ball of dough.
  • If it’s struggling, add a tiny dash of water.
  • Swap the mixer for the dough hook attachment and use a low speed to knead the dough for 5-10mins.
  • Wrap the dough in clingfilm and rest it for at least 30mins.
  • When ready, use a rolling pin or pasta machine to roll out the dough super thin and cut it as required.

Method – hand

  • Add the flour to a large bowl and make a well in the middle
  • Break the eggs into the well
  • With a fork or your hands, gradually incorporate the flour into the eggs until well mixed
  • Knead (stretch and roll) until it’s a soft smooth dough
  • Wrap in clingfilm and rest it for at least 30mins.
  • When ready, use a rolling pin or pasta machine to roll out the dough super thin.

Chilli Con Carne

Serves 4 people


  • 500g beef mince
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
  • 1-2tsp hot chilli powder
  • 1tsp cumin seeds OR 1-2tsp cumin powder
  • 2tsp ground coriander
  • 2tbsp plain flour
  • 450ml stock made with one beef stock cube (or try 300ml water with 1 cube plus 150ml red wine)
  • 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 400g tin of red kidney beans
  • 3tbsp tomato puree
  • 1tsp caster sugar
  • 1tsp dried oregano
  • 1 bay leaf (optional)
  • Sea salt
  • Pepper


  • Put a large non-stick saucepan on a medium heat with a little oil and add the mince.
  • Once browned, add the garlic, 1-2 teaspoons of chilli powder (depends how hot you want it), the cumin and coriander. Cook together for another 2mins.
  • Sprinkle over the flour and stir well
  • Add the wine/stock slowly, stirring constantly.
  • Add the tomatoes, kidney beans, puree, sugar, oregano and bay leaf.
  • Season with salt and pepper, and stir it all together.
  • Bring it to a simmer, then reduce the heat and put a lid on it.
  • Simmer gently for 45mins, stirring occasionally until the mince is soft and the sauce is thicker.

Delicious Roast Beef

Chef’s Tip: serve with my Perfect Roast Potatoes, plenty of veg and some Yorkshire Puddings 🙂


  • Roasting joint of beef (silverside/topside/small roaster)
  • 2 onions
  • 4-5 cloves of garlic
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and Pepper


  • Preheat oven to 240C/220C Fan
  • Peel the onions and cut them in half. Place them face down with the garlic (unpeeled) in a roasting dish
  • Place the beef joint on top, drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper
  • Add about 50-100ml of water to the bottom of the pan to stop the veg from burning
  • Put it in the middle of the oven and turn down the heat immediately to 200C/180C Fan
  • Check the cooking time of your joint but generally follow the rule of 20mins per 450g/1lb for rare and then add an extra 10-15mins for medium and another 15mins for well done.
  • Make sure you baste the beef with the juices at least twice during cooking and add more water if necessary.
  • Remove from the oven, cover with foil and let it stand for 10-15mins before carving.

Slow Roast Half Shoulder of Lamb

Chef’s Tip: Delicious with my creamy potato bake or perfect roast potatoes


  • 1 medium sized onion
  • 4-6 unpeeled cloves of garlic
  • 1 half shoulder of lamb (around 800g)
  • Olive oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper


  • Preheat your oven to the highest setting (usually 230-240C).
  • Roughly cut the onion into wedges and place in the bottom of an oven dish with the garlic cloves
  • Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper
  • Place the lamb on top of the veg, drizzle it with olive oil, season with salt and pepper and rub it all over
  • Loosely cover it with foil and pop it in the oven, immediately turning the heat down to 170C/150C Fan/Gas Mark 3
  • Cook for 1hr20mins.
  • Remove the foil, baste the lamb with the juices and cook for another 1hr 30mins

Ultimate Roast Chicken


  • 1x 1.6kg whole chicken – adjust your cooking time for different weights.  The general rule is 20mins per 450g (1lb) plus 10-15mins on top.
  • 1 large or 2 medium onions
  • 2 carrots
  • 2 celery sticks
  • 1 small whole bulb of garlic
  • Olive oil
  • 1x lemon
  • 1 bunch of mixed herbs like rosemary, thyme and sage


  • Remove your chicken from the fridge around 30mins before cooking to bring it up to room temperature
  • Preheat your oven to 240C/220C Fan/Gas 9
  • Wash and roughly chop the onions, carrots and celery – you don’t need to peel any of them
  • Break the garlic bulb up into cloves and leave them unpeeled
  • Pile all of the vegetables into a baking tray with some of the herbs and drizzle with olive oil
  • Drizzle the chicken with olive oil and rub with salt and pepper
  • Place the chicken on top of the vegetables
  • Prick some holes in the lemon with a sharp knife (this will release the flavour) and place inside the chicken with the rest of the herbs
  • Put the tray in the oven and immediately turn the temperature down to 200C/180C Fan/Gas 6
  • Cook for the allotted time, which is 1hr 20mins for our chicken
  • At this point, you can get on with your vegetables such as my perfect roast potatoes and whatever else you fancy.
  • Take the chicken out of the oven when it’s done, cover it with foil and a tea towel, and leave it for at least 15mins to rest.
  • When you’re ready, carve the chicken and serve 🙂

Creamy Pesto Chicken Pasta

Chef’s tip: If you want to add a bit of spice to this, you can throw in a few slices of fresh chilli when you add the spinach.

Ingredients (serves 2 people)

  • 3-4 rashers of smoked bacon
  • 1 large chicken breast
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed/chopped
  • 50g fresh spinach
  • 500ml milk
  • 150-200g spaghetti/linguine
  • 60-70g green pesto


  • In a large frying pan/wok/low sided large saucepan cook the bacon with some olive oil until crispy
  • Add the chicken to the pan and season well with salt, pepper and the garlic powder
  • Cook until all the pink in the chicken is gone and then remove the chicken, placing it in a bowl to the side (keep the bacon in the pan).
  • Add the onion and garlic to the pan and cook until the onions are soft and brown
  • Add the spinach and once it’s wilted, add the milk
  • Bring it to the boil and then add the dry pasta.
  • Stir continuously for around 7-8 minutes, until the pasta is cooked (you may need to add more milk and cook for longer if using thicker pasta or wholewheat)
  • Mix the chicken back in and add the pesto
  • Serve and sprinkle generously with parmesan

Swedish Meatball Pasta


For the meatballs:

  • 450g mince (beef or pork)
  • Half an onion, diced
  • Breadcrumbs (amount is subjective but around 30-40g)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tablespoon salt
  • 1/2 tablespoon pepper

For the sauce:

  • 500ml beef stock (I use knorr which makes 490ml)
  • 500ml milk
  • 1/2 tablespoon salt
  • 1/2 tablespoon pepper
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • Approx 400g spaghetti/linguine/tagliatelle (or however much you’d make for 4 people).
  • Grated parmesan
  • 1/2 bunch chopped parsley


  • In a large bowl, combine the mince, onion, egg, salt and pepper. Add the breadcrumbs gradually until the mixture is smooth and doesn’t fall apart if you try to make a meatball.
  • Roll the mixture into golf ball sized meatballs and cook with a little oil over a medium heat in a large frying pan or wide large saucepan.
  • Add the beef stock, milk, salt, pepper and Worcestershire sauce, and stir.
  • Bring the sauce to the boil then add the pasta.
  • Stir constantly for around 7-8mins (a bit longer if you use wholewheat pasta) until the pasta is cooked and coated with the sauce. You may find that you want to add a bit more milk if it thickens before the pasta is fully cooked.
  • Add a sprinkling of parmesan and the parsley and stir through.

Creamy chicken pie

There are many variations you can make here so I’ve written in the options/substitutes where I can but it’s a very flexible recipe so you can adapt it your own way.



  • 2-3 chicken breasts
  • 1 onion OR 1 leek
  • 1 large or 2 small garlic cloves crushed/chopped
  • Optional: mushrooms
  • 50g butter
  • 2tbsp plain flour
  • 300ml milk
  • 1 chicken or beef stock cube (I use beef for more flavour)
  • 100ml boiling water
  • Ground nutmeg (optional)
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Small handful of fresh parsley, chopped

Topping or side dishes:

  • Ready rolled shortcrust pastry OR
  • Ready rolled puff pastry OR
  • Potatoes for mashing


  • Cook the chicken in a frying pan and set aside
  • In a new pan, heat a little olive oil and cook the onions and garlic on a medium heat
  • When soft, add the butter and once it’s melted, sprinkle over the flour
  • Combine into a paste and add the stock cube with the water
  • Gradually add the milk while whisking/stirring and make sure it stays thick (you don’t have to use all of the milk)
  • Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg
  • Once you’ve reached your desired consistency, add the chicken back in and simmer for 10mins.
  • At this point you can either cook your pie crust or mash your potatoes
  • You can either put the pie crust on top, cover with potatoes and cook in the oven for 20mins or serve with potatoes on the side.

Slow cook beef casserole

Serves 2 people

Chef’s tip: You can either use a casserole for the whole process or use a frying pan and oven dish which is how I’ll describe it.


  • 600g stewing beef (either casserole beef or brisket is fine) cut into chunks
  • 1 onion
  • 2 carrots
  • 2 sticks of celery
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1tbsp butter
  • 1tbsp olive oil
  • 1.5tbsp plain flour
  • 1.5tbsp tomato puree
  • 1.5tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 beef stock cube (I use Knorr)
  • 400ml boiling water
  • 100ml red wine


  • Preheat your oven to 150C/140C Fan/Gas 2
  • Heat the butter and oil in a large frying pan on a medium-high heat.
  • Add the onion, carrots, celery and bay leaves and soften for 10 minutes.
  • Sprinkle the flour in and stir until it’s not dusty anymore.
  • Add the Worcestershire sauce, puree, stock cube, water and wine.
  • Stir until it simmers
  • Add the beef and simmer for 5 mins.
  • Transfer to an oven dish/casserole dish, cover and cook for 2hrs.
  • Uncover and cook for another 30mins until the sauce has thickened up and the meat is super soft.