A.J. Recipes

I'm passionate about cooking & growing my own produce. 

On this page I'll regularly share new recipes, created by me, just for you.

I use fresh ingredients & aim to make the process as simple as possible but with impressive results every time. 

Many of my recipes can be made in bulk & frozen, saving you time when you're in a hurry and need something quick & easy. I'll also show you how to make the most of your Sunday roast leftovers, turning every part of your joint into something delicious & cost-effective. 

Leftover Lamb Tagine - Serves 4

1/2 kg leftover cooked lamb, cubed 

4oz/125g dried apricots, chopped

small can chickpeas, drained

small can chopped tomatoes

100ml/4 floz red wine

2 teasp ground cumin

1 tbsp ground coriander

4 cloves garlic, crushed

1 large onion, chopped

pinch saffron strands

2 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp dried rose petals 

1/4pint / 150ml stock

 

1. Mix together the garlic, red wine, rose petals & dried apricots & leave for 2 hours.

2. Preheat the oven to 350F/180c/Gas Mark 4.

3. Heat the oil in a flameproof tagine or casserole dish & cook the onions until soft. Add the red wine mixture & all spices, then cook for a further 5 minutes. 

4. Stir in the chopped tomatoes & stock, then add the cubed lamb. 

5. Cook for 2 hours, adding the chickpeas 30 minutes before the end of cooking time. 

6. Serve with rice, couscous or flatbread. 

Tasty, cheap & warming!

Spicy Thai-Inspired Soup

1 medium onion, chopped

1 teasp Thai red curry paste

1 lemongrass stalk, flattened & shredded

125ml/4 floz coconut milk 

1 red chilli, deseeded & chopped 

juice of 1 lime

1 medium-sized butternut squash, peeled & diced

 

1. Fry the onion, lemongrass & two-thirds of the chilli in a large pan with 4-5tbsp water until softened.

2. Add the Thai curry paste & cook for a further minute.

3. Add the butternut squash & 1 litre cold water, bring to the boil & simmer for 20 mins.

4. Add the lime juice & remove from the heat. 

5. Allow to cool slightly & then blitz with a hand blender until smooth. 

6. Pour in the coconut milk, season, then return to the heat to warm through.

7. Serve immediately garnished with the remaining chilli. 

Braised Beef & Onions - Serves 4

4 thick slices beef shin 

2 large onions, sliced

12 button mushrooms, halved

plain flour, seasoned with salt & pepper

small glass red wine

3 tbsp Worcestershire sauce

2 tbsp sunflower oil

500ml/1 pint beef stock

2 teasp caster sugar

6 garlic cloves, sliced

chopped fresh herbs to serve

 

1. Heat the oil on a large flame & ovenproof casserole dish & cook the onions until starting to caramelise. Add the sugar & garlic & cook for a further two mins.

 

2. Roll the beef in the seasoned flour & add to the dish, stirring well, then add the stock, red wine, mushrooms & Worcestershire sauce. 

 

3. Cover & cook at 200c/375F for 2.5 hours.

 

4. Serve with mash & greens, garnished with the herbs. 

Tomato & Spinach Risotto - Serves 4

1 tbsp olive oil

1 onion, finely chopped

125g bag fresh spinach leaves

300g/11oz risotto rice (arborio)

50ml white wine

400g tin chopped tomatoes

1 tbsp tomato puree

800ml/1.3 pts hot vegetable stock

40g/1,5oz feta cheese, crumbled

Rocket leaves or basil to garnish

 

1. Heat the oil in a large pan & gently fry the onion until soft.

 

2. add the rice, wine, tomato puree & tinned tomatoes, Cook for 2 mins.

 

3. Gradually add the stock one ladleful at a time, adding each once the liquid has been absorbed. Stir well & continue this until the rice is cooked, takes 15-20 mins. 

 

4. Stir in the spinach, stirring gently for a few minutes until completely wilted. Add the feta & stir for another minute. 

 

5. Divide between bowls & serve garnished with the leaves.

 

N.B. For a meat version, add chopped chorizo with the rice & tomatoes. 

Beef Souvlaki Skewers - Serves 4

1kg/2lb 4oz beef rump cut into 2cm cubes

3 tbsp olive oil

4 tbsp lemon juice

2 teasp finely grated lemon zest

125ml white wine

2 garlic cloves, crushed

2 teasp dried oregano

250g/9oz Greek yoghurt

2 teasp horseradish sauce

crusty bread & salad to serve 

 

1. Put the cubed beefed into a glass bowl with 2tbsp of olive oil, lemon zest & juice, wine, oregano, garlic & some freshly ground black pepper. Toss together, cover & leave in the fridge to marinate overnight.

 

2. Mix together the Greek yoghurt & horseradish sauce, tasting to check heat. Set aside.

 

3. Preheat an iron skillet & thread the beef onto eight metal skewers, dividing meat equally. Cook for 5-7 mins until done to your liking, occasionally brushing with the remaining olive oil & turning often.

 

4. Serve with salad, yoghurt sauce & crusty bead. 

Make in advance for an easy dinner!

Filling, cheap & delicious!

Barley, Chicken & Mushroom Risotto - Serves 4

1 tbsp each of butter & olive oil

2 large shallots, finely sliced

1 garlic clove, chopped

3 skinless chicken breasts, diced

300g/11oz pearl barley

250ml/9 floz white wine

400g/14oz mixed mushrooms, chopped

1 tbsp thyme leaves

1 litre/1 3/4 pints hot chicken stock

3 tbsp grated Parmesan to serve

 

1. In a large heavy pan, heat the butter & oil. Saute the shallots & garlic with a little seasoning for 5 mins, then stir in the chicken & cook for a further 2 minutes.

 

2. Add the barley & cook for 1 minute. Pour in the wine & stir until absorbed. Add the mushrooms & thyme, then pour over three quarters of the stock. cook for 40 minutes on a low simmer, stirring occasionally, until the barley is tender. Top up with the remaining stock if the dish looks dry. 

 

3. Remove from the heat & stir in the grated Parmesan & then serve hot with a little extra cheese shavings on top. 

Real Comfort Food

Easy Cheesy Tart

500g block shortcrust pastry

4 large eggs

150ml double cream

1 tbsp finely chopped chives

salt & pepper

100g/4oz Cheddar cheese, grated

6 chaerry tomatoes, quartered

1.5 tbsp wholegrain mustard

 

1. Preheat the oven to 200c, 375F, Gas 6.

 

2. Roll out the pastry to line a 23cm fluted flan tin, leaving some of the pastry hanging over the side. Fill with foil & baking beans & bake blind for 15 mins.

 

3. Meanwhile, whisk the eggs & cream together, adding the chives, mustard & seasoning.

 

4. When the pastry is ready, neatly trim the edges while still hot. 

 

5. Sprinkle half the cheese over the pastry, pour on the egg & cream mixture & then add the tomatoes, scattering them evenly & pushing them under the egg.

 

6. Sprinkle the rest of the cheese on top.

 

7. Bake for 30-35 mins until golden. 

 

8. Leave to cool & then cut into slices. Eat hot or cold with a crisp green salad. 

 

 

 

Shrewsbury Biscuits

100g/4oz unsalted butter, softened

Grated zest of 1 lemon

200g/8oz plain flour

50g currants

100g caster sugar

1 medium egg

 

1. Put the butter, sugar & lemon zest into a bowl and beat well, until pale & light. Beat in the egg & then slowly stir in the flour & currants, mixing well.

 

2. Turn out the mixture onto a lightly floured board & gently knead into a ball. Wrap in clingfilm & chill in the fridge for an hour.

 

3. Heat the oven to 180c/Gas 4. Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper.

 

4. Roll out the dough to about 1/2cm thick. Use a fluted pastry cutter (5-6cm wide) to cut out biscuits. Place on baking sheet. At this stage you can sprinkle with a little extra caster sugar if desired. 

 

5. Bake for 12-15mins, until firm & pale golden in colour. Leave to cool slightly & then transfer to a plate to cool completely. 

The Ultimate Samosa Pie

2 tbsp sunflower oil

500g/1 lb 2oz lamb mince or Quorn  

120g/4oz cauliflower, chopped

1 onion, chopped 

350g/12oz potatoes, diced

1 teasp garam masala

1/2 jar balti sauce

150g/5oz frozen peas

3-4 sheets filo pastry

1 tbsp cumin seeds

 

1. Heat 1 tbsp oil in a large pan over a medium heat & fry the onion for 5-6 mins. Add the lamb mince or quorn if making a vegetarian version, and cook until browned.

 

2. Add the potatoes, cauliflower & garam masala. CBrook for a further 5 mins. 

 

3. Gently stir in the balti sauce & peas, reduce to a low heat & cook for 15-20 mins until vegetables are tender. Meanwhile preheat oven to 180c/Gas 4. 

 

4. Transfer samosa mix to an ovenproof pie dish. Brush the filo sheets with remaining oil & gently scrunch up. Arrange them on top of the samosa mix. Sprinkle over cumin seeds & bake for 30 mins or until golden. 

Meat & Vegetarian variety.

Bacon, Apple & Chive Mash - Serves 4

800g/1 3/4lb potatoes, peeled & chopped

300g/11oz cooking apples, peeled & finely chopped

25g/1oz butter

200g/7oz bacon lardons

4 tbsp finely snipped chives

salt & pepper to taste

 

1. Place potatoes in a large saucepan & add enough water to cover. Bring to the boil & simmer gently for 15-20 mins or until tender.

 

2. Drain off two-thirds of the water & stir in the apples. Cover & cook gently for 10-12 mins or until the apples are soft. 

 

3. Meanwhile fry the bacon until crisp & golden. 

 

4. Drain potatoes. Add butter & mash until smooth. Stir in two-thirds of the bacon and most of the chives. Transfer to a serving bowl.

 

5. Sprinkle remaining bacon & chives on top. Serve immediately. 

 

 

A delicious side dish

Turkish Flatbreads

4 small flatbreads or tortillas

400g/14oz minced lamb

2 handfuls grated cheese

1 garlic clove, crushed

1 teasp ground cumin

2 large tomatoes. chopped

handful chopped coriander

4 tbsp natural yoghurt

 

1. Cook the mince for 5-6 mins over a high heat in a non-stick pan. Stir in the garlic & cumin, cook for a further 2-3 mins. 

 

2. Add the chopped tomatoes & then add salt & pepper to taste.

 

3. Heat the grill & put flatbreads onto a baking tray. Sprinkle cheese over the base & then add the mince mixture, spreading evenly.

 

4. Grill for 2-3 mins until bubbling. Add a spoonful of yoghurt to the centre of each flatbread & sprinkle with the coriander. 

 

 

Vegetarian Paella - Serves 4

Using Orzo pasta adds depth.

1 tbsp olive oil

1 onion, chopped

Small  jar roasted red peppers, drained & sliced

1 pack fresh spinach leaves

750ml/1.25 pint vegetable stock

2 garlic cloves, crushed

Small can chickpeas, drained

1 tbsp sweet smoked paprika

2 tbsp red pepper pesto

300g/11oz orzo pasta

Handful black olives

Handful fresh parsley to garnish

 

1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan with a lid over medium heat. 

2. Add the onion & peppers. Fry for 3-4 mins until starting to turn golden.  Add the paprika, garlic & pesto, stir for 1 min.

3. Add the orzo & cook for 1 min, stirring constantly so it doesn't stick to the pan. 

4. Pour in the vegetable stock & bring to the boil. Cover, reduce heat & simmer gently until most of the liquid is absorbed (takes about 10 mins).

5. Remove lid & add the chickpeas, spinach & olives. 

6. Slightly increase the heat & stir until the spinach is completely wilted down.

7. Garnish with parsley leaves & serve. 

 

 

Easy French Chicken - Serves 4-6

Delicious with roasted vegetables or a summer salad.

1.5kg/3.5lb whole chicken

15g/0.5oz butter

1 tbsp vegetable oil

Himalayan pink salt

Ground black pepper

4 cloves garlic, peeled

8 rosemary sprigs

8 thyme sprigs

150ml/ 1/4 pint chicken stock

150ml/ 1/4 pint white wine

1. Preheat the oven to 200c/400F/Gas 6.

2. Melt the butter & oil in a large frying pan, add the chicken & cook for 5 mins until browned all over, stirring constantly. Transfer to a casserole dish.

3. Season the chicken with salt & pepper, push half the garlic cloves & half of the herbs under the chicken legs, putting the rest inside the cavity. 

4. Pour chicken stock & white wine over the chicken & cover. Cook for one hour.

5. Uncover & cook for a further 30 minutes. Strain the juices & serve alongside the carved chicken meat. A little single cream can be added to make a thicker sauce if you wish. 

Minced Beef Wellington - Serves 6-8

Serve with salad or seasonal veg.

500g pack puff pastry

500g/1 lb 2oz minced beef

3 eggs + 1 for brushing

25g/1 oz butter

1 onion, finely chopped

3 garlic cloves, minced

100g/4oz tomato ketchup

200g/7oz mushrooms, finely chopped

Handful fresh parsley, chopped

2 teasp dried sage 

 

1. Heat the oven to 200c/375F/Gas 6.

2. Mix the minced beef with the eggs, herbs & tomato ketchup in a bowl. Mix in the onions, herbs & half the garlic.

3. Press the meat into a sausage shape, about 30cm x 10cm & place on a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper.  Bake for 20 mins & then leave to cool.

4. Melt the butter in a frying pan. Add the mushrooms & cook over a high heat for 3-4 mins. Add the remaining garlic, cook for a further 2 mins & then drain off any excess liquid. 

5. Roll pastry out on a floured board, just large enough to wrap up the beef loaf, brush the entire area with beaten egg.

6. Place the mushroom mixture in the centre of the pastry, the same size as the cooled meat mixture, as then put the meat on top of the mushroom base. 

7. Make diagonal slits across the width of the excess pastry & carefully criss-cross them over to completely cover the meat filling. Brush with egg all over the outside & cook for 40 mins or until the pastry is golden. 

Taiwanese Pork Chops - Serves 4

Great with noodles or steamed rice.

4 pork chops (bone in)

2 tbsp soy sauce

1 tbsp minced garlic

1 tbsp sugar

1/2 tbsp white wine

1/2 tbsp Chinese five-spice

1 tbsp vegetable oil

1 tbsp cornflour

1. With a sharp knife, make a few slits around the edges of the pork chops.

2. In a large resealable plastic bag, add soy sauce, garlic, sugar, wine & five-spice.

3. Add the pork chops to the bag & massage marinade into the meat, coating well. Put into the fridge to chill for an hour, or overnight if you want to prepare in advance.

4. In a large frying pan, gently heat the oil.

5. Remove chops from the bag, keeping as much of the marinade on them as possible. 

6. Sprinkle a little cornflour on each side of all four chops & then carefully add to the frying pan, turning once until golden & cooked through. Takes about 10-12 mins. 

Individual Cheesecakes - Makes 6

Add the fruit of your choice.

200g/7oz digestive biscuits, crushed

50g/1.5 oz butter, melted

1oz butter for greasing moulds

600g/1 lb 5oz mascarpone cheese

150ml/5 floz soured cream

175g/6oz caster sugar

2 large eggs, plus one yolk

2 tbsp plain flour

1 vanilla pod, split & seeded

Fruit of your choice to decorate

 

1. Preheat the oven to 180c/350F/Gas 4.

2. Grease six individual ring moulds with butter & place on a baking tray. 

3. Mix the biscuit crumbs with the melted butter & divide between the moulds, pressing firmly into the bottom. Bake for 5 mins or until firm. Do not remove the moulds. 

4. Whisk together the mascarpone cheese, soured cream, caster sugar, egg, plain flour & vanilla until smooth.

5. Spoon on top of the biscuit bases & bake for 25 minutes or until centres are set. Leave to cool.

6. Chill the cheesecakes in the fridge for 2 hours, still in the moulds.

7. Top with your favourite fruit, pretty much anything tastes great, then carefully remove the moulds & serve. 

Thai Green Chicken Curry - Serves 4

Serve with steamed basmati rice.

2 tbsp olive oil

4 chicken breasts, cut into thin strips

400ml (14oz) can coconut milk

2 tbsp Thai green curry paste

3 tbsp Thai fish sauce

strip of lime peel

100g/3.5 oz green beans

1 red pepper, cut into thin strips

100g/3.5oz sugar snap peas

100g/3.5oz bean sprouts

small handful fresh basil

1/2 large red chilli, cut into strips

 

1. Heat a wok, pour in the oil & swirl around to coat pan.

2, Add the chicken & cook over a medium heat, stirring continuously for 2-3 mins until lightly browned. Remove & put on a plate.

3, Pour coconut milk into the wok & cook gently for 4-5 mins.

4. Add the curry paste & cook for 2-3 mins. Return chicken to the pan.

5. Add fish sauce, lime peel, green beans & pepper. Cook gently for 3-4 mins but do not let it boil.

6. Add sugar snap peas & bean sprouts. Cook for a further 10 mins or until chicken is completely cooked. Check the seasoning.

7. Sprinkle with basil & chilli & and serve. 

Fresh Watercress Soup - Serves 8

Peppery & Smooth

1oz/26g butter

1 white onion, chopped 

freshly ground black pepper & sea salt 

1 leek, finely chopped 

2 teasp plain flour 

2 large potatoes, chopped 

1 litre/1000ml chicken or vegetable stock 

300g/12oz fresh watercress, stalks removed 

single cream, to serve 

 

1. Melt the butter in a large saucepan, then add the onions, leek & potato. Cook for 20 minutes, or until soft. 

2. Add the flour, mixing in well, then slowly add stock & a little seasoning. Bring to a simmer & cook for 30 minutes more. Add the watercress & cook for another 5 mins. 

3. Leave to cool before processing with a hand blender. 

4. Season to taste. Serve with a swirl of cream & crusty bread.

Heavenly Chocolate Brownies - Makes 12

Lovely warm with ice-cream.

125g/ 5oz dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids)

125g/5oz plain flour

150g/6oz unsalted butter (plus extra for greasing)

30g/1.5 oz cocoa powder

3 medium eggs 

375g/14oz caster sugar

1 teasp vanilla extract

 

1. Preheat oven to 180c/Gas mark 4. Grease a deep square baking tin (about 20x20 cm) with butter & line with greaseproof paper.

2. Chop up the butter & break up the chocolate. Place both in a small glass bowl over a pan of bubbling water until melted but don't let the bowl touch the water. Leave to cool.

3. Whisk together eggs, vanilla & sugar in a bowl. Add cooled chocolate mixture & then stir in cocoa powder. Finally, gently sift in the flour. Mix well.

4. Pour mixture into the baking tin & cook in centre of oven for 40 mins. 

5. Allow to cool for 10 mins before lifting out & cutting into squares. 

Easy Greek Meatballs - Serves 4

Serve with rice or potato wedges.

1 tbsp olive oil 

3 slices bread, torn into pieces

6 tbsp apple juice

450g/1 lb minced lamb

1/2 white onion, finely chopped 

1 teasp ground cumin 

1 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped 

300ml/ 0.5 pint tomato passata

handful black olives, halved

salt & pepper

 

 

 

1. Put the bread in a bowl & pour over the apple juice. Leave to soak for 5 mins. Squeeze out the juice & save. 

2. In a clean bowl mix together the bread, minced lamb, onions, parsley & cumin. Season with salt & pepper. 

3. Shape into small balls (around 16-20). 

4. Heat the olive oil in a large pan & fry the meatballs gently for 6-8 mins until browned, turning frequently. Drain off any fat.

5. Add the passata, olives & reserved apple juice. Simmer gently for 10 mins, until meatballs are fully cooked & sauce has thickened. 

Leek & Sweet Potato Soup - Serves 4-6

Crusty bread is a must!

 25g/1oz butter

2 tbsp olive oil

900g/2 lb leeks, trimmed & sliced

1 onion, finely chopped

700g/1 lb 8oz sweet potatoes, peeled & chopped

1.2 litre/2 pints chicken stock 

1 tbsp medium curry powder

salt & black pepper

chopped coriander to garnish 

 

1. Melt the butter & olive oil in a large saucepan. Add the leeks & onion and cook down for 5 minutes. Stir in the sweet potatoes & cook for a further 15 minutes, stirring frequently. 

2. Add the curry powder, chicken stock & plenty of salt and pepper. Simmer for 30 minutes or until the sweet potatoes are very tender. 

3. Leave to cool & then blend to a purée in a blender or food processor. Return to the saucepan & reheat, adjusting seasoning if necessary. Pour into bowls & serve garnished with the coriander. 

Potted Crab - Makes 4

Delicious as a starter or snack.

200g/7oz white crab meat (fresh or tinned)

1/2 red chilli, deseeded & finely chopped 

1 tbsp fresh chives, finely chopped 

few dashes Worcester sauce 

juice of 1/2 lemon

250g/9oz unsalted butter 

 

1. In a medium bowl, mix together crab, chilli, chives, Worcester sauce & lemon juice.

2. Melt butter in a small pan. Take off the heat, then spoon away any white foam from the surface. 

3. Divide crab mix between four ramekins & carefully pour the melted butter over. Sprinkle a little nutmeg on top. 

4. Chill in the fridge for a couple of hours, until butter is set.

5. Serve with crusty bread or toast & a wedge of lemon. 

Port & Blackcurrant Jellies - Makes 8

A delicious grown-up dessert.

350g/12oz granulated sugar

700g/1 lb 8oz blackcurrants

300ml/ 1/2 pint ruby Port

25g/1oz gelatine

150ml/ 1/4 pint double cream

 

1. Gently heat the blackcurrants & sugar in a pan until the fruit is mushy. Push the mixture through a sieve.

2. Add the port to the purée & add 100ml water. 

3. Put 8tbsp water in a small pan, then sprinkle in the gelatine. Soak for 5 minutes. Heat gently until clear but do not boil. Pour into fruit & stir well. 

4. Divide the mixture between eight cocktail glasses & chill in the fridge for 6 hours or until set. 

5. Just before serving, whisk the double cream & use to top the jellies. 

Zesty Chicken Traybake  - Serves 4

Delicious with steamed green vegetables.

4 large chicken thighs

400g (14oz ) baby new potatoes 

100ml chicken stock

1 tbsp olive oil 

6 cloves garlic 

large handful fresh thyme 

2 lemons

 

1. Preheat the oven to 180c, Gas 4.

2. Heat the olive oil in a flameproof dish & brown the chicken thighs for 5 mins. 

3. Cut the new potatoes into quarters & add to the dish. Mix in the garlic & thyme, then pour over the chicken stock. 

4. Cut one lemon in half & squeeze the juice over the chicken, then slice the other lemon & lay randomly over the dish. 

5. Roast for 25-30 minutes, until cooked through & crisp (chicken juices should run clear). 

Tasty Stuffed Mushrooms - Serves 4

An easy but impressive starter!

12 medium-sized brown cup mushrooms

75g/3oz ham or pancetta

75g/3oz mature Cheddar, grated

2 cloves garlic, crushed

50g/2oz butter

Salt & black pepper

Handful of fresh basil

 

1. Wipe the mushrooms with a damp cloth. Remove stalks & chop finely. 

2. Preheat the oven to 200c/375F/Gas Mark 5. 

3. Heat the butter in a small pan & fry the stalks with the garlic for 5 mins. 

4. Finely chop the basil, reserving 12 leaves for decoration. 

5. Mix together the cheese, ham, basil, salt & pepper. Slowly add the butter, stalks & garlic mixture. Stir well. 

6. Place the mushrooms on a baking sheet. Use the mixture to stuff, ensuring that you divide it equally. 

7. Bake for 15-20 mins, until cheese is bubbling. Top with basil garnish & serve. 

Hot Mulled Cider - Serves 6

A great alternative to Gluhwein.

1 litre medium cider          200ml brandy

1 cinnamon stick       2cm root ginger, finely sliced

100ml apple juice                1 tbsp muscovado sugar

6 cloves                                     6 star anise

 

1. Pour the cider into a heavy-based pan. Add the cinnamon stick, apple juice, cloves, ginger & sugar. 

2. Heat gently until hot but do not boil. Add the brandy to the pan & simmer for five minutes. 

3. Pop one star anise into each glass or serving cup & pour the cider over. 

4. Sit back & enjoy! 

Easy Chicken Stir-Fry            Serves 4

Serve with rice or egg noodles.

1/2 head of broccoli       1 large carrot

2.5cm root ginger            2 cloves garlic

3 chicken breasts             3 tbsp olive oil

2 tbsp soy sauce               1 tbsp cornflour

150 ml chicken stock      1 tbsp soft brown sugar

bunch of spring onions

 

1. Cut the broccoli into small florets, thinly slice the carrot & roughly chop the spring onions. Grate the ginger & garlic. Dice the chicken into cubes.

2. Heat the olive oil in a wok until sizzling. Add the chicken, ginger & garlic and cook for 5 mins, stirring constantly. 

3. Add the carrot & broccoli and cook for a further 5 mins. Add the spring onions. 

4. In a bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, chicken stock, cornflour & brown sugar until smooth. Add to the pan, bring to the boil & then simmer for 3-4 mins. 

Winter Beef Stew                      Serves 5-6

Rich & warming - perfect for a winter supper.

1 tbsp vegetable oil                   few sprigs of thyme

1 kg stewing beef, cubed         3 bay leaves

2 tbsp flour                      500ml/ 1 pint beef stock

8-10 shallots, peeled                  175ml red wine

500g/ 1lb carrots                          4 garlic cloves

salt & pepper                                 mashed potato

 

1. Heat the oil in a large flameproof casserole dish. Mix a pinch of salt & pepper into the flour & use to coat the beef. Fry until browned.

2. Add the shallots. Cut the carrots in to thick chunks & add to the dish. Crush the garlic add & then pour in the wine , then allow to gently simmer for 5 mins. 

3. Add the stock, bay leaves & thyme, then bring to the boil. 

4. Reduce heat & simmer for 2.5 - 3 hours with the lid on.

5. Serve with mashed potato or crusty bread. 

Simple Thai Crab Cakes                    Makes 4

Serve with sweet chilli sauce & Asian veggies

200g (7oz) cooked white crabmeat.                  

2 tbsp olive oil

1 medium egg, beaten                                            

150g (5oz) fresh breadcrumbs

Small handful chopped coriander                      

1/2 red chilli, deseeded & chopped

Finely grated zest & juice of 1 lime                      

4 spring onions, chopped

 

 

1. In a bowl, mix together the crabmeat, coriander, lime zest & juice, chilli & spring onions. Add the egg & bind together with your hands. 

2. Form into four equal sized balls & then flatten slightly to make a patty.

3. Roll each crab cake in the breadcrumbs until fully coated. 

4. Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan & cook crab cakes for 5-6 mins on each side until crisp & golden. 

 

Apple, Mango & Banana Crumble

Delicious served warm with ice-cream.

4 cooking apples, peeled & sliced

6 bananas, sliced

1 mango, finely chopped

25g/ 1oz brown sugar

150g/ 6oz plain flour

1 teasp cinnamon 

75g/ 3oz butter, softened 

50g/ 2oz caster sugar

 

1. Preheat oven to 190c, 375F, Gas Mark 5. 

2. In a small covered pan, cook the apple with the brown sugar & 2 tbsp water for 10-15 mins or until soft. Set aside to cool. 

3. Put the flour in a bowl & rub in butter until it resembles breadcrumbs, then stir in caster sugar & cinnamon. 

4. Mix together the apple, banana & mango. Place in an ovenproof dish & spread the crumble on top. 

5. Bake for 25 mins or until golden. 

Leek & Red Pepper Risotto                                      Serves 4

Tasty & easy!

300g/11oz risotto rice

1/2 red bell pepper, diced

1 large leek, finely chopped

2 larges pinches of saffron

150ml/1/4 pint white wine

1 tbsp olive oil

salt & pepper

500ml/1 pint chicken or vegetable stock

 

1. Heat the olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Fry the leeks & peppers until soft. 

2. Add the rice & saffron and cook for a further minute. Add the wine & leave to bubble until most of the liquid is absorbed. 

3. Add a ladleful of chicken stock to the pan & stir until the liquid is absorbed. Repeat until the rice is cooked. This will take 18-20 minutes. 

4. Season to taste & serve immediately. 

Roast Beef Salad                                                  Serves 4

A great way to use up left-overs!

2 tbsp white wine vinegar.      1 tbsp Dijon mustard

1/2 teasp black pepper.            100ml olive oil

1/2 teasp garlic powder.            1 tbsp runny honey

12 slices left-over roast beef     6 spring onions, chopped

1 lb small new potatoes.             1/2 lb French green beans

12 button mushrooms, sliced.   Knob of butter 

 

1. Cook the new potatoes in salted water for 15 mins & add the green beans for the last five minutes. 

2. Meanwhile, whisk together the vinegar, mustard, honey, pepper & garlic. Slowly add the olive oil & whisk constantly for 2-3 mins.

3. Heat a skillet & add the butter. Pan fry the beef & mushrooms for 5 minutes. 

4. Add the dressing mixture to the skillet & toss everything until coated. 

5. Drain the potatoes & beans & put onto plates, adding the beef mixture & finally some chopped spring onions on top of each. 

Traditional Apple Pie                                                  Serves 8

Serve with cream, custard or ice-cream

8oz/285g plain four.                   pinch of salt

4oz/110g butter.                           4oz/110g brown sugar

1.5lb/700g cooking apples.     1 egg yolk mixed with a little milk

1/2 teasp ground cloves.           1 tbsp caster sugar

1/2 teasp grated nutmeg.          2oz/55g sultanas

1/2 teasp ground cinnamon

 

1. Preheat the oven to 200c/400F/Gas Mark 6.

2. Sieve flour & salt into a bowl & rub in butter until it resembles breadcrumbs. Add enough water (slowly) to make a firm dough. 

3. Peel, core & thickly slice apples into a bowl & add brown sugar, spices & sultanas, mixing well. Place in a buttered pie dish & sprinkle with 2tbsp water.

4. Roll out the pastry & cover pie dish, trimming off any excess with a knife. Decorate top with pastry trimmings cut into an apple shape.

5. Brush top of pie with egg & milk mix & sprinkle with caster sugar.

6. Cook in centre of oven for 20 mins, reduce heat to 180c/350F/Gas Mark 5 & cook for a further 20 mins or until golden. 

Crispy Herbed Potatoes                                              Serves 4

Saturday Night Comfort Food.

750g/ 1 3/4lb potatoes

2 red onions, peeled & sliced

6 tbsp olive oil

4 rashers bacon, finely chopped

100g/4oz Mature Cheddar or Gruyere cheese

2 tbsp fresh basil, chopped

salt & black pepper

 

1. Peel the potatoes & slice very thinly. Place in a bowl of cold water & allow to stand for 10 mins. Drain on kitchen paper.

2. Heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the onions & bacon, then saute for 2 mins. Add the potatoes & cook for 15-20 mins, turning frequently, until tender & golden. Add the basil. 

3. Grate the cheese & sprinkle over the top. Cook for 3-4 mins without stirring, until the cheese melts. Season & serve straight from the pan. 

 

All-in-One Banana Bread

A great breakfast alternative.

125ml/4 floz sunflower oil

200g/7oz caster sugar

2 large eggs

1 teasp vanilla extract

3 ripe bananas, mashed

200g/7oz plain flour

1 teasp bicarbonate of soda

1/2 teasp ground cinnamon

 

1. Preheat oven to 180c/Gas Mark 4

2. Combine all the ingredients in a food mixer or bowl & mix until combined well.

3. Line a 2lb loaf tine with greaseproof paper & pour the mixture in.

4. Bake for one hour or until a skewer comes out clean. Cool & slice! 

Easy Slow-Cooked Beef                                              Serves 6

Easy & delicious!

1kg/2lb 4oz joint of topside beef

6 carrots, cut into large chunks

2 celery stalks, finely chopped

200ml/ 7floz white wine

500g/1lb 2oz onions, cut into chunks

600ml/1pint beef stock

2 bay leaves

Handful fresh thyme

salt  & pepper

1 tbsp cornflour mixed with a little water

 

1. Put the beef joint into a slow-cooker. Add the vegetables, wine & beef stock. 

2. Season well. Add the thyme & bay leaves. 

3. Cook on high for 4 hours. 

4. 30 minutes before the end, add the cornflour to thicken the gravy & stir well. 

5. Serve with mashed or new potatoes. 

 

Marinated Lamb Steaks                                               Serves 4

Great with savoury rice & mushrooms.

4 lamb steaks or 8 chops

olive oil

1 clove of garlic, finely chopped

juice of 1/2 lemon

2 tbsp chopped fresh mint leaves

1 teasp chilli flakes

salt & pepper

 

1. Mix all the marinade ingredients together in a bowl & whizz with a hand blender until it resembles a smooth paste. 

2. Smother over the lamb steaks & cover with clingfilm.

3. Leave to chill in the refrigerator for at least one hour.

4. Grill for 6-8 minutes on each side, basting regularly with any leftover marinade. 

Malaysian Beef                                                          Serves 4

Easy to prepare the night before.

500g/ 1/2 kg Braising steak, cut into strips

2 limes

1 tbsp soy sauce

1 tbsp runny honey 

6oz/ 175g mushrooms, sliced

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped or minced

1 red pepper, cut into thin strips

6 spring onions, finely chopped

salt & pepper to taste

 

1. Place the beef in a tagine or covered casserole dish with the juice of the limes, soy sauce, honey, salt & pepper. Leave for 24 hours to marinate in the fridge, stirring occasionally.

2. Preheat the oven to 180c, 350F, Gas Mark 4.

3. Mix the remaining ingredients into the dish & stir to cover in the marinade. 

4. Cook for one hour or until the meat is tender, stirring half way through.

5. Serve with noodles or rice. 

 

Sausage & Mozzarella Burgers                                        Makes 4

Quick & Easy for the BBQ

8 Pork sausages

50g/2 oz fresh breadcrumbs

1 red onion, finely chopped

Knob of butter

1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar

1 teaspoon soft brown sugar

few sprigs fresh sage, chopped

125g ball of Mozzarella cheese

4 burger buns & salad, to serve

 

1. Melt the butter in a frying pan. Add the onion & cook until soft. Add balsamic & brown sugar and cook for 2 mins until onion is coated & sticky.

2. Pull sausages out of their skins & place in a bowl with the breadcrumbs, sage & onion mixture. Pull together with your hands until ingredients are well mixed.

3. Divide mixture into four balls. Cut the mozzarella into four & push into the centre of each sausage ball, then flatten slightly to make a burger shape, ensuring that the cheese is completely sealed.

4. Leave to rest in the fridge for at least an hour before cooking.

5. Cook on the BBQ or a hot grill for 15 mins or until cooked through. Serve on the buns with your choice of salad. 

 

Garlic & Thyme Dipping Bread                                    Makes 2

Great with olive oil & balsamic vinegar

400g/14oz strong white bread flour, plus extra for dusting

1 teaspoon or 7g sachet of dried yeast

3 tbsp olive oil

4 garlic cloves, finely chopped or minced

2 tbsp fresh thyme, pulled from stalk & finely chopped

2 teasp sea salt

 

1. In a large bowl, mix together the flour, yeast, garlic, thyme & one teasp sea salt. 

2. Stir the olive oil into 10 floz/ 280ml warm water & then stir gently into the bowl.

3. Knead the dough on a lightly floured surface for 10 mins until smooth & elastic. 

4. Cover the dough with oiled cling film & leave to rest for 2 hours. 

5. Check that dough has doubled in size & then divide into two pieces & place on a floured baking tray, carefully stretching & shaping in oval shapes.

6. Leave for another hour or until each loaf has doubled in size again.

7. Preheat oven to 220c/425F/Gas Mark 7/Fan Oven 200c

8. Sprinkle the remaining teaspoon of seasalt over the top of the dough & bake on the centre shelf for 25 minutes. When cooked, tap the bottom of each loaf. It should sound hollow when done.  Leave to cool before serving with dips.

 

 

 

Roast Potato & Chorizo Hash                                           Serves 2

Great light bite or brunch.

200g/7oz leftover roast potatoes, diced

3 tbsp olive oil 

150g/5oz Spanish chorizo, diced

1 red pepper, diced

1 red onion, diced

1 tbsp fresh thyme

2 large eggs

 

1. Heat 2 tbsp of the olive oil in a large frying pan. Cook the onion & pepper for 5 mins or until soft.

2. Add chorizo & potatoes to the pan. Cook gently for 10 mins, stirring frequently. 

3. Add thyme & cook for a further 5 mins, seasoning with salt & pepper to taste. 

4. When almost ready, heat the remaining 1 tbsp oil on a smaller frying pan & cook the eggs.

5. Serve the hash in two bowls with a fried egg on top of each.