COOK - BAKE - LEARN - SMILE

Lancashire Hotpot


Following on with my theme of autumnal dishes and making meals for during the week, I decided it was high time to make a Lancashire Hotpot.

The beauty of this dish, is that there is no cooking. Just add all the ingredients to a large casserole dish and throw it in the oven.

The lamb is wonderfully tender and melt in the mouth with the stock turning into a delicious thick gravy.

I ate this again on Tuesday night and it was 100 times better - the flavours had deepened and the potato had taken on a delicious
Dauphinoise consistency.

Lancashire Hotpot : And Another

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Chinese Stir Fried Pork with Oyster Sauce


I was looking for a quick and easy mid week meal.

I found the pork chops in the freezer, so I defrosted those. To save time, I used a packet of stir fry vegetables I had picked up from the local supermarket on my way home.

Originally I had planned on using fresh ginger and honey, but having no ginger, I found a bottle of oyster sauce and went with that instead!

The sauce wonderfully coats the vegetables and pork. The sauce is sweet and tangy with a gentle chilli hit at the end.

This took no longer than 15 minutes to prepare and cook! Well under the time it took for the rice to steam!

Chinese Stir Fried Pork with Oyster sauce : Another

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Toad in the Hole


One of my all time favourite comfort foods. Ideal for this autumnal weather.

Toad in the hole is a British classic, using good quality sausages served in a Yorkshire pudding batter.

I keep this 100% traditional, serving with a delicious home made onion gravy and green peas.

There is nothing complex to this recipe. The gravy, sausages and batter can be prepared earlier, meaning that you only need to get the lard up to temperature when ready to cook.

Toad in the Hole : Last one

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Beef and Ale Stew



With the dreary weather in the UK seemingly here forever, there was only one dish on my mind to cook last Sunday. Beef and Ale Stew!

I like to use beef shin, as it is a cheap and flavoursome cut that is particularly well suited to stews.

Stew is extremely easy to make with very little effort - only requiring one large pot. I like to cook all the ingredients separately in order to provide extra textures and enhance the flavours.

Beef and Ale stew is a fantastic winter warmer. The shin after the cooking process melts in the mouth whilst still holding its shape. I cook the bones and bone marrow in the same way I cook the shin. The marrow melts into the stew adding delicious flavour and helps to thicken the liquor.

I add Pancetta to my stew to add a subtle smokiness and background saltiness.

Feel free to add other vegetables to the stew recipe, such as swede, parsnip and potatoes. Personally I like to keep it pretty traditional with shallots, carrots and mushrooms.

The beauty of this dish is that it is impossible to make a small amount so there are always left overs for another meal. It also freezes extremely well and is great to pull out when you cannot face cooking!

The flavour of the stew only gets better a couple of days later! We got 4 servings out of the stew, before using up the remainder in a divine beef and ale pie! Nom nom nom!

Beef and Ale Stew : Close Up

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Breaded Fish and Chips


Is there anything more traditional than fish on a Friday?

Not being a big fan of deep fried food, I opted to bread the fish fillets and cook in the oven.

The fish comes out beautifully flaky, with the crispy breaded exterior forming a seal around the fish and keeping it very moist.

I served the fish with buttered and minted peas along with some oven roasted chips.

A British favourite, and for a good reason - you simply cannot beat fish and chips!

Breaded Fish and Chips : Close Up

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Crispy Chicken Goujons with Spicy Salsa


This is one of these mid week meals which takes moments to prepare, but rewards with delicious crispy chicken and tangy salsa flavours.

I wanted to keep this healthy so I oven roasted the chicken goujons instead of the usual deep fried affair. This keeps the dish much lighter but the chicken remains mouth wateringly tender and crispy.

I made a salsa as I wanted to use up the evenings harvest of heritage tomatoes and Numex Twilight and Birdseye chillies. The salsa and plain rice turned the dish from finger food into a full meal.

This was a household hit and I will definitely be making this again.

When coating chicken or any other meat in breadcrumbs I find it best to use one hand for the egg and the other hand for the dry bowls. I do each piece one at a time so that every last bit has a generous and even coating.

Roast Chicken Crispy Goujons : Last One

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Spaghetti Bolognese


I was fortunate enough to travel to Australia and China last week for a family wedding - hence the lack of updates. Unfortunately, I do not have much vacation available at work, so in total I was in Oz for 6 nights!

Being very jet lagged last night, all I craved for was a hearty and comforting meal. Spaghetti Bolognese hit the spot!

I am one of those people who never knows what they wish to eat, regardless of jet lag, until that evening! It drives my wife crazy!!!

A quick zombie style trip to the butchers and deli to restock the fridge and I was set to go.

I unfortunately had run out of tomato puree, so substituted with ketchup at the end of the cooking. It worked well, intensifying flavour, but my preference would always be with the concentrate.

I have become extremely fond of
Faella pasta - it has a much better flavour than the supermarket equivalent. Most certainly worth the extra 50 pence.

Everybody has their own version and preferences for there Bolognese. My preference would be without mushrooms, but I must go with the mood of the house! I find the sauté vegetables add flavour and the Pancetta adds a cheeky saltiness.

Bolognese always tastes better the next day, so in order to try to get that depth of flavour, I simmer on a very low heat for a much longer period of time.

Spaghetti Bolognese : mandatory opera house shots

Mandatory opera house shots

Spaghetti Bolognese : Last One“></a></span><span style=

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