Friday, 17 November 2017

Beef & Ale Casserole with Horseradish & Stilton Dumplings

An extremely simple to make beef and ale casserole which is full of flavour!  The dumplings make this dish... this is a definite must try!

Serves 4
Preparation time:  15 minutes
Cooking time:  2 hours 15 minutes


For the casserole:
2 tbsp vegetable oil
2 large onions, thickly sliced
750g braising steak, cut into 2-3cm cubes
3 tbsp plain flour
Freshly ground pepper & salt
2 large carrots, peeled & sliced
2 tbsp demerara sugar
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2 tbsp tomato puree
550ml bottle of Newcastle Brown Ale

For the Dumplings:
200g self-raising flour
100g vegetable or beef suet
½ tsp salt
75g Stilton, crumbled
1 tbsp finely chopped parsley
1 tbsp hot horseradish (from a jar)
150ml water

To serve:
2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
Steamed green vegetables

Preparation method

1.  Preheat the oven to 180°C/Fan 160°C/Gas Mark 3.

2.  Heat the oil in a large casserole and add the onions, cook until they start to colour.  

3.  In a large bowl toss the beef in the flour and season well.  Add to the casserole (there is no need to brown the meat).  Now add all the remaining casserole ingredients and bring to the boil.  Cover with a lid and place in the oven for 1 ½ hours.

4.  In the meantime, make the dumplings.  In a large bowl, mix together the flour, suet and salt using your fingertips to break up the suet.  Now add the Stilton and the parsley.

5.  Combine the horseradish and the water together then place in the bowl.  Bring the mixture together with your hands until you have a dough consistency.  Then, using your hands roll the dough into 8-10 balls and set aside and cover.

6.  When the beef is soft and tender, season to taste.  Now drop the dumplings on top, cover with the lid and return to the oven for 30 minutes.

7.  Now that the dumplings have puffed up, remove the lid and raise the temperature to 200°C/Fan 180°C/Gas Mark 4.  Cook until the dumplings have developed a crust.  Scatter with parsley and serve on warm plates with steamed green vegetable, enjoy!

Thursday, 16 November 2017

Curried Scotch Eggs

The spiced sausage meat is a welcome addition to this classic snack!  They taste absolutely delicious – maybe the best I’ve ever tasted!

Serves 6
Prep time:  15 minutes (plus 20 minutes chill time)
Cooking time:  15 minutes

25g butter
2 shallots, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
500g good quality sausage meat
Small handful of fresh flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
5 fresh sage leaves, finely chopped
1 tbsp mild curry powder
Sea salt & freshly ground pepper
6 eggs
50g plain flour
2 large eggs, beaten
100g panko breadcrumbs
Vegetable or sunflower oil for deep-frying

Preparation method

1.  Melt the butter in a frying pan and gently fry the shallots and garlic for 5 minutes or until softened. 

2.  Add the shallots to a bowl with the sausage meat, parsley, sage and curry powder.  Mix through and season to taste.

3.  Meanwhile soft boil the eggs placing them in a pan of boiling water and cooking them for 6 minutes.  Cool them in cold water and peel them under the water.

4.  To assemble, place a sheet of cling film on a board, put a ball of sausage meat on top and flatten enough to cover the whole egg.  Place an egg in the middle, then draw up the ends of the cling film and massage the sausage meat to cover the egg evenly.  Repeat this with the rest of the eggs.

5.  Place the flour, eggs and breadcrumbs on three separate plates.  One at a time roll each Scotch egg in the flour, then dip into the egg and then into the breadcrumbs to cover.  Repeat this with the rest of the eggs.  Now place in the refrigerator for 20 minutes.

6.  In a deep-fryer heat the oil to 170°C, test the oil is ready by dropping in a piece of bread.  If the oil sizzles and the bread turns golden in less than a minute the oil is ready.  Place the Scotch eggs into the oil and fry for 5-6 minutes or until evenly browned.  Fry in batches and keep them warm in a low oven.

7.  Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, 14 November 2017

Sausages braised with Cider & Smoky Bacon

A very simple but very delicious dish to make – pork and cider were made for each other!  This dish is best served with a hearty pile of mash!

Serves 4 or 2 if you like big portions
Preparation time:  5-10 minutes
Cooking time:  45 minutes

1 tbsp olive oil
8 good quality pork sausages
6 rashers of streaky smoked bacon
1 onion, peeled and sliced
1 tbsp plain flour
450ml cider
1 tsp Dijon mustard
a handful parsley, chopped
mashed potato, to serve

Preparation method

1. In a large frying pan heat the olive oil.  Add the sausages and cook until they are browned all over and set aside.

2. Add the bacon and onion the pan and cook for 5-7 minutes, stir occasionally until golden.  Now add the flour and cook for a further minute, then stir in the cider.  Bring to the boil and then simmer for 2 minutes, stir in the mustard.

3. Return the sausages back to the pan.  Simmer for 20-30 minutes until the sauce has thickened.  Sprinkle with parsley and serve with mash.

Monday, 13 November 2017

Spiced Red Lentil & Root Vegetable Soup

Spiced Red Lentil & Root Vegetable Soup
This soup is really hearty and filling - perfect for a chilly day!

Serves 4
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 40 minutes

2 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, peeled & finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, peeled & crushed
3 large carrots, peel & dice
3 large parsnips, peel & dice
2 medium sweet potatoes, peel & dice
1 stick of celery, chopped
1 tbsp mild curry powder
1 tsp ground cumin
½ tsp chilli powder
½ tsp ground ginger
½ tsp ground turmeric
150g red lentils
400 ml can coconut milk
750 ml vegetable stock
couple of sprigs fresh thyme
small handful fresh coriander
Freshly ground salt & pepper
Your favourite bread, to serve


1.    Heat the olive oil in a large pan over a medium heat. Add the onion and cook gently for about five minutes until the onion has softened.
2.    Add the garlic and the rest of the vegetables to the pan along with the spices. Continue to cook, stirring frequently, for another five minutes.
3.    Rinse the red lentils and add to the pan along with the coconut milk and stock.
4.    Bring up to the boil then turn down to a simmer and leave to cook, stirring every now and again, for 20-30 minutes until all of the vegetables and the lentils are soft.
5.    Remove from the heat. Strip the leaves from the thyme and roughly chop the coriander, add to the pan and season to taste.
6.    Use a stick blender to blend the soup until it is completely smooth then serve with your favourite bread, enjoy!

Saturday, 11 November 2017

Cheese & Marmite Scones

Cheese & Marmite Scones
The best way to eat these is to warm them up and add lashings of butter.

Serves 8-10
Prep time:  10 minutes
Cooking time:  10-12 minutes

280g self-raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
50g cold butter, cut into cubes
75g mature cheddar, grated (plus 50g extra for topping)
1 egg
1 ½ tbsp Marmite
5 tbsp milk, plus extra to glaze

Preparation method

1.    Heat oven to 220°C/fan 200°C/gas mark 7. Mix the flour and baking powder in a mixing bowl with the salt. Add the butter and rub with your fingertips until mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs (or use a food processor). Stir in 75g of the cheese and make a well in the centre.
2.    Whisk the egg, marmite and milk together and pour into the well and bring the mixture together to make a soft, but not sticky dough. Add a little more milk if the dough is too dry.
3.    Turn onto a floured surface, then roll out to about 2cm thick. Stamp out 4 scones using a round cutter, then gather the trimmings and repeat until all the dough has been used. Put on a baking sheet, brush with milk and scatter over the remaining 50g of cheese. Bake for 10-12 mins until golden. Cool on a wire rack.
4.    Serve with lashings of butter, enjoy!

Friday, 10 November 2017

The Best Chicken Enchiladas

The Best Chicken Enchiladas
These have to be the best chicken enchiladas that I have ever tasted!  They are quite spicy so if you don’t like a dish to be too hot reduce the amount of chilli powder and chillies.  This dish can be prepared in advance and placed in the oven when your guests arrive.

Serves 4
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 1 hour

900ml chicken stock
4 chicken breasts
1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, peeled & finely chopped
½ tbsp dried parsley
½ tsp dried oregano
1 tsp hot chilli powder
¼ tsp ground cumin
Freshly ground salt & pepper
2 garlic cloves, crushed
400g passatta
3 green chillies, deseeded & finely chopped
150g mature cheddar cheese, grated
2 tbsp sour cream
8 flour tortillas
2 tbsp fresh coriander, chopped

Enchilada Sauce
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp plain flour
1 tsp hot chilli powder
400g/14 oz passatta
¼ tsp ground cumin
1 garlic clove, crushed
Freshly ground salt & pepper

To serve
Sour cream
Small bunch of fresh coriander, finely chopped


1.  In a large pan bring the chicken stock to a boil then reduce to a simmer.  Place the chicken breasts in the pan, cover with the lid and let poach for 10 minutes.  Take off the heat and leave in the pan for 10-15 minutes.  Remove the chicken, shred and set aside.

2.  Heat the oil in a large frying pan and add the onion, cook until softened.  Add the herbs, spices, salt, pepper and garlic. 

3.  Add the passata and chillies, bring to the boil then add the shredded chicken.  Reduce the heat and let simmer for 20 minutes, add a splash of water if the mixture becomes to dry.

4.  Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/gas mark 6.

5.  For the Enchilada sauce, heat the oil in a pan and then add the flour and chilli powder.  Stir over a medium to low heat for 2 minutes.  Slowly add the passata stirring continuously to make sure you have a smooth consistency.  Add the garlic and cumin and a dash of water if the sauce is too thick.  Keep stirring and let simmer until it reduces to a thick tomato sauce, season to taste.

6.  When the chicken mixture is ready add 1/3 of the grated cheese, sour cream and coriander, mix until the cheese has melted.

7.   Lightly oil an oven proof dish, take a flour tortilla and place a 1/8 of the mixture inside and roll it.  Place in the dish and repeat with the remaining tortillas.

8.  Pour the Enchilada sauce over the tortillas and sprinkle over the remaining cheese.  Place in the oven and cook for 15-20 minutes or until the cheese begins to turn golden.

9.  To serve, divide between serving plates and top with sour cream and a sprinkling of coriander, enjoy!

Wednesday, 8 November 2017

Delicious Penne with Prawns

Delicious Penne with Prawns
Wonderful light & delicious penne with prawns, wine, tomato & crème fraiche – a fantastic combination!

Serves 4
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 15 minutes

300g penne pasta
1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 carrot, finely chopped
1 celery stalk, finely chopped
1 tbsp plain flour
1 tbsp tomato puree
1 lemon, juice only
1 small glass of wine
300ml fish stock
300g king prawns, cooked & peeled
3 tbsp crème fraiche
2 tbsp parmesan cheese, grated (plus extra for serving)
1 bunch of basil


1.  Cook the penne as per packet instructions.

2.  In a large frying pan heat the olive oil and add the onions, garlic, celery and carrot and cook until soft.

3.  Add the flour and stir into the softened vegetables.  Add the tomato puree, lemon juice, wine and reduce.  Add the fish stock, bring to the boil and reduce then pass the liquid through a sieve and return to the pan.

4.  Bring the sauce back to the boil and add the prawns reduce the heat to a simmer until the prawns are cooked.  Now add the crème fraiche, penne and then stir in the parmesan and some basil leaves torn.

5.  Serve with a sprinkle of parmesan and basil, enjoy!

Thursday, 2 November 2017

The Best Beef Casserole

The BEST Beef Casserole
A perfect recipe for winter evenings - the magic for me is definitely the red wine!

Serves 4

Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 2 hours

2tbsp olive oil
3tbsp plain flour
1kg stewing steak, cut into 4cm pieces
50g unsalted butter
150g shallots, peeled
3 carrots, peeled & cut into 1cm dice
1 celery sticks, cut into 1cm dice
1 small swede, peeled & cut into 1cm dice
1 leek, sliced
500g potatoes, peeled & cut into 1cm dice
2tbsp redcurrant jelly
500ml red wine
500ml beef stock
2 sprigs of thyme
3 cloves of garlic, peeled & finely chopped
250g chestnut mushrooms, cut in half
1 bay leaf
Freshly ground salt & pepper

To serve
Mashed potato
Crusty bread, to mop up the gravy

1.    In a large casserole dish, heat a tablespoon of olive oil.  Spread the flour in a shallow bowl, season the beef and dredge in the flour; shake off any excess.
2.    Add half of the meat to the casserole and cook over a moderate heat until browned.  With a slotted spoon transfer the meat to a bowl.  Repeat with the remaining tablespoon of oil and floured meat, brown all over and transfer to the bowl.
3.    Melt the butter in the casserole dish, add the shallots, carrots, celery, swede, leeks, potatoes and cook over a moderate heat until the onion has softened, about 7 minutes.
4.    Add the redcurrant jelly and the wine and bring to the boil over a high heat, stirring to scrape all the browned bits from the bottom of the casserole.  Add the stock and bring to the boil, add the browned meat and any of the accumulated juices with the thyme, garlic, mushrooms and bay leaf.
5.    Cover and simmer over a low heat until the meat is tender, about 1 ½ hours.  Remove the lid and cook for a further 15 minutes until the sauce slightly thickens.  Discard the thyme sprig and bay leaf and season to taste.

6.    To serve, place the stew onto warmed plates and serve with mashed potato and some crusty bread to mop up the delicious gravy.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Sausage & Chorizo Goulash

Sausage & Chorizo Goulash
An extremely delicious and easy to make Goulash with a kick!  This is a definite must-try!
Serves 4
Prep time:  10 minutes
Cooking time: 45 minutes

1 tbsp vegetable oil
15g butter
800g good quality beef or pork sausages, chopped
225g chorizo, chopped
2 red onions, peeled & finely sliced
2 garlic cloves, peeled & finely chopped
2 tbsp plain flour
1 tbsp smoked paprika
2 red chillies, finely chopped
1 red pepper, finely sliced
200ml beef stock
Small handful fresh parsley, chopped
175g soured cream
To serve
Small handful fresh parsley, chopped
soured cream
Long grain rice


1.     In a large pan heat the oil and butter and fry the sausages and chorizo for 5-7 minutes or until browned all over.
2.    Remove the sausages and chorizo from the pan and set aside.  Now add the onions and garlic to the pan and cook for 3-4 minutes until softened.  Stir in the flour and cook for 2 minutes.
3.    Add the paprika, chillies and pepper and stir until it is fully combined.  Gradually pour in the beef stock and return the sausage and chorizo to the pan.  Cover and gently simmer for 30 minutes.
4.    Stir in the sour cream and parsley until fully combined.
5.    Serve with long grain rice, a sprinkle of parsley and a dollop of sour cream – enjoy!

Thursday, 28 September 2017

Thai Green Chicken Curry

Thai Green Chicken Curry
This curry is incredibly easy to make and will suit all tastes as you can make it as sweet or as spicy as you want... This Thai Green Curry has to be one of the best I have ever made.

Serves 4
Prep time:  20 minutes
Cooking time: 35 minutes

For the Thai green curry paste
4-6 green chillies, de-seeded and roughly chopped
2 shallots, roughly chopped
5cm of fresh ginger, peeled and grated
2 garlic cloves, crushed
Small bunch of fresh coriander
2 lemongrass stalks, chopped
1 lime, grated zest & juice
8 kaffir leaves, torn into pieces
1 tbsp coriander seeds, crushed
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp black peppercorns, crushed
2 tsp Thai fish sauce or light soy sauce
3 tbsp olive oil

For the curry
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tbsp soft dark brown sugar
750g skinless, boneless chicken, cut into chunks (use breast or thighs)
6-8 kaffir leaves, torn into pieces
400ml coconut milk
400g green beans, trimmed & cut into 5cm pieces
Good splash of Thai fish sauce or light soy sauce
Small handful of coriander, roughly chopped
1 lime, juice only
Thai jasmine rice, to serve, cook as per packet instructions


1.    For the curry paste, place all the ingredients into a food processor and blitz to a paste.  You can use the paste straight away or store in a jar in the fridge for 3 weeks (for this recipe you only require 2 tbsp of paste).  
2.    Heat the oil in a wok or large frying pan.  Add 2 tbsp green curry paste and sugar, cook on a high heat for about a minute, stirring continuously.  Reduce the heat and stir in the chicken and lime leaves until coated in the paste.  Add the coconut milk, fish sauce and bring to a simmer.  Cook for 25-30 minutes until thickened slightly. 
3.    Stir in the coriander and lime juice.  For the last 3-4 minutes add the beans until tender. Taste for seasoning - add more fish sauce if needed.
4.    Leave the curry to rest for a few minutes so the sauce becomes creamier.  Serve with lots of fragrant Thai jasmine rice.

Cooks Tips

·         If you are unable to find kaffir lime leaves use the grated zest of an extra lime.
·         If your curry tastes too spicy add some more sugar.
·         If the curry is not spicy enough fry a little more curry paste in some oil for a minute and add to the sauce.
·         I used Thai Taste Kaffir Lime Leaves – they are amazing, as soon as you open the jar the fresh lime aroma hits you.