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Herby Chicken Bites


A sure fire week-day favourite. They only take 10 minutes to prepare, and then cook once marinaded.

These herby chicken bites combine a delicious Italian freshness with crispy succulent chicken.

I served these as standalone nibbles, but they would be equally good for a main meal.

Herby Chicken Bites : Close Up

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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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7 Pot Keema


I was looking for a way to use one of my rather ferocious
7 Pot Doughla chillies (2nd hottest in the world). After my last attempt with the Naga Chili Chicken, I was quite nervous!. These bright red devils are a delicious fruity chilli and really add a fanatic flavour to the finished dish. However, they are outrageously hot, punching in at 1.2 million scoville. This recipe will be equally good with Scotch Bonnets instead.

The recipe was also an attempt to clear out some of my old spices and the plethora of tomatoes from the garden.

It is a very simple recipe, making a tasty curry sauce base and then adding caramelised lamb mince in to enfuse with the spices and chilli flavours.

The finished dish was lip smackingly delicious, definitely on the hot side although a builder as opposed to a full front assault, but the petit poit and fragrant spice background keep everything under control and very moreish!

I served the dish with sticky Basmati rice, some naan bread and Greek yoghurt. It really is a great mouthful!

7 Pot Keema : Close up

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Chicken Broccoli and Cashew Nut Stir Fry


This is a great Monday night meal, 15 minutes of prep and 10 minutes cooking.

By the time that the Thai Jasmine rice is ready, the chicken and cashew nut stir fry is practically ready to be served.

I like my stir fries chilli hot so added some Numex Twilight and Little Elf chilli varieties from the garden. These chillies have a bit more heat and flavour compared to your supermarket bought Birdseye chillies.

I bought the chicken breasts on the bone, which is significantly cheaper than buying prepared breasts. It only takes a moment to cut the breast bone off and to remove the skin!

Dry roasting the cashew nuts really brings out their flavour and helps to release their natural oils.

The sauce is simple, again using the Sweet soy sauce that I am ever so fond of.

I would have preferred to have used Thai Basil instead of normal basil, but with the onset of autumn, I no longer have a ready supply from the garden.

Chicken Cashew Nut and broccoli Stir Fry : Last shot

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Chicken Provencale


Following on with my autumnal and comforting meal theme, I decided it was time to cook Chicken Provençal.

I have very fond memories of this dish, with my mother making this for myself and my three brothers.

The roasted peppers, capers and black olives give a distinct Mediterranean vibe.

This meal really does not take long to prepare - and once done can be left in the oven on a low heat should you wish to serve this after a nice long walk!

Roasting the peppers really helps to intensify their flavour, as well as remove the skin from the final dish. The same can be done with the tomatoes - but frankly life is too short on a week night.

Chicken Provencale : Last one

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Sizzling Beef Teriyaki


Now this dish is a household favourite both with the diners and with the cook. It takes minutes to make, and served with sticky basmati rice makes a very pleasing and tasty dinner.

I had the leftover rib of beef from Sunday (oh my I sound like Nigel Slater!), so I used that in substitute for a raw meat cut. Frankly, I am glad I did, the flavour from the beef was divine.

The vegetables were what I had left in the fridge, and can be easily substituted for other variants.

I like my Teriyaki quite hot, and with not cooking the chillies off in the oil at the beginning, you will need quite a few to make a punch.

I do not like MSG in my Chinese meals as a rule, so there is no cornflour used here.

The Soy Sauce I use in dishes like these is a sweet soy from Healthy Boy Brand - and is just right to complement the tang from the Teriyaki.

Sizzling Beef Teriyaki : Close Up Two

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Herb Crust Rack of Lamb


It may be miserable and autumnal outside, but there is something comforting about having a spring dish for dinner.

The combination of the cheesy aubergine and delicious crusty lamb followed by a blast of mouth watering and delicious salsa verde is amazing.

I like my lamb a nice medium rare, but adjust the cooking times accordingly.

I served this dish to guests, half a rack per person.

I also served a bowl of steamed new potatoes, sprinkled with mint, along with the remaining salsa verde and a quick mint sauce.

Herb crusted rack of lamb : Close up


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Spicy Meatballs with Herby Ragu


Having come home quite late from work, I had to knock up a quick and easy dinner. (Work seriously gets in the way of hanging out in the kitchen!)

You know when you have one of those days, and not just any food will do. It has to be comfort food - is there anything more comforting than Spicy Meatballs?

These meatballs pack a punch of flavour and chilli heat. The herby ragu is the perfect compliment.

I skipped adding tomato puree - as I did not want to wait for it to cook through. By all means add the puree and turbo charge the tomato flavour!

I am very pleased to finally have enough herbs and chillies growing in the new house’s garden.

I had the rest for lunch the next day, and it was totally delicious!

Spicy Meatballs with Herby Ragu : Another shot

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Thai Green Curry Paste


This recipe comes straight from my cooking notes from Thailand.

Fortunately these days I can purchase everything required to make an authentic tasting dish.

I admit the chillies are wrong - and our shallots do not have the sweetness of the Thai varieties.

This paste lasts yonks - store in an air tight jar, and cover with a little olive oil.

The roasted spices and fresh flavours mean this curry paste is head and shoulders above any shop bought alternative.

Traditionally you would make this with a mortar and pestle - but I prefer to add a little coconut milk and blitz with a hand blender.

Originally served as a
Chicken Thai Green Curry.

Thai Green Curry Paste : Fry when Ready


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Sizzling Beef Fajitas


I love eating Beef Fajitas. Whats not to love - sizzling beef with a good chilli kick!

They are quick and easy to make, and really show case a good quality, cheap cut of beef.

I like to use the griddle pan for this recipe, as it can get extremely hot, and replicates the chargrill of a barbecue.

I like to eat my fajitas with
Pico de Gallo, Guacamole, homemade flatbread topped with Manchego cheese and a little sour cream.

The marinade works just as well with pork and chicken.

Beef Fajitas : Close Up


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Sag Aloo


Sag Aloo is one of my favourite Indian Sides, and goes well with every curry I know!

Originally served with
Monkfish Curry.

Sag Aloo




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Tangy Fresh Garlic Bread


Garlic bread works well with so many Italian dishes as a great accompaniment.

Penne pasta to Lasagne, it never fails to add a great crunch and zing!

Can also be frozen, uncooked and cooked through from frozen
(takes 45 minutes).

So much better than takeaway or shop bought equivalents. The parsley and lemon are the key!

Originally served with
Breaded Chicken and a Herby Tomato Sauce.

Garlic Bread : As an Accompaniment




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Spicy Thai Minced Pork


Being Thai New Year, Songkran, it seems only appropriate to recreate another of my favourite dishes.

This is a very typical Bangkok style, Spicy Thai Minced Pork. I have fond memories of eating this numerous times across Thailand. Once in a while it would be so hot only a beer could quench the burn! As with many chilli hot dishes, the more you eat the more you want to have more!

It is a perfect balance of hot, sour, sweet and salty.

It really does take minutes to make. Once you have prepped /the vegetables, it is really just a super quick stir fry.
(There is no reason why you could not use a food processor to finely diced the ingredients first).

The pork freezes exceptionally well, and can be reheated in the microwave.

Being a celebration, I served the pork in lettuce wraps. Keeping it finger food, I also made
Spring Rolls and Sesame Prawn Toast.

A great festive celebration and a taste-bud extravaganza.

Spicy Thai Minced Pork : Thai Banquet


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Herby Butter


Herb butter is a store cupboard essential.

Pull the butter out of the freezer and slice of a little and add to boiled new potatoes or other seasonal vegetables. The herbs and lemon will really lift the vegetables to a whole new dimension.

I use the herb butter for my
garlic bread, as well as my stuffing for chicken Kiev.

It takes minutes to make and stores for months in the freezer.

Try it at home today!

Herb Butter : Pull from the Freezer when Needed


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Chicken Shish Taouk


Chicken Shish Taouk was one of the few dishes I would order from a takeaway.

Alas, Elias our local Lebanese shut down, and so I was forced to try and recreate the dish at home.

I love the moist chicken combined with the garlic humus. The yoghurt helps to protect the chicken and keep it succulent.

The key is to keep basting the kebabs as much as possible.

If they are looking dry - place them in a large pot and cover for 6-10 minutes - to allow the steam to moisten them up.

This is delicious as a wrap with Greek Salad and humus.

Even better on a charcoal barbecue!

Chicken Taouk : Taouk CloseUp” width=

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Humus


Humus is a great side dish for BBQs, buffets or just served on its own with some delicious homemade flatbread.

This is a very quick recipe, dispensing with the need to soak chickpeas 24 hours before you want to eat them. Occasionally, I have been known to be sufficiently organised to plan ahead and get the preparation done. However, it is rare, so I fallback on cooked, canned chickpeas.

I think this recipe tastes pretty damn good - definitely better than the bland supermarket versions. (I concede that there are some fabulous delicatessen variations of humus about these days that are extremely good.)

The humus was originally served with Chicken Shish Taouk. The garlicky humus worked beautifully with the zingy moist coated chicken.

Humus : Close Up”><br /></a></span><span style=

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Pork Souvlaki, Roasted Peppers, Tzatziki wrapped in Flatbread


I was flicking through the most recent edition of the Waitrose magazine when I saw a recipe for Pork Souvlaki. Now, I did not fancy pork mince, and so have gone off and done my own thing, using a nice lean cut of pork chump, chopped into nice large chunks. Chump is a delicate, non working piece of the pork, so needs to be cooked quickly, as there is so little fat.

Souvlaki is a fast food that can be purchased all over Greece. I became particularly enamoured by the chicken Souvlaki and pork versions, especially after a couple of drinks, celebrating a hard day sailing


These, I am sure would be even more fantastic on the BBQ. However, this is the UK, and a BBQ is a rare and special occasion - especially when you are away every weekend skydiving!

The Souvlaki are served on homemade flatbreads, with Tzatziki, Roasted Peppers, Diced Vegetable Salad and Plain Steam Rice. A true Greek feast!

The great thing about this dish is that it can all be prepared in advance, with only the kebabs needing attention when you are ready to serve.

A healthy, cheap and delicious dinner. We had left overs that were used for pack lunch the next day. By all accounts the flavours were even better cold! *Yum*

Pork Souvlaki : Close Up” width=

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Tzatziki


Tzatziki is an easy accompaniment to make, tastes delicious and goes with so many different main dishes, from burgers to shoulder of lamb. Always a popular side dish at any BBQ.

Even those that cannot cook, can make this side - as frankly, it invokes no cooking. If you can operate a grater; you can make this.

The Tzatziki will happily last for a day or two, cling filmed in the fridge.

Any lefts overs, normally gets eaten the next day with vegetable crudités and strips of flatbread.

Originally served with
Pork Souvlaki.

Tzatiki : Greek Feast” width=

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Roasted Romana Pepper Salad


The sweet roast pepper flavour coupled with a delicate hint of fresh herbs and olive oil never fails to impress guests, whenever I serve this as an accompaniment. It particularly works well with Lamb Koftas, as well the Pork Souvlaki.

I prefer to blacken the pepper in the oven as opposed to using the direct flame from the hob. This is mainly because, the last time I used the hob, the pepper got super hot and exploded! It literally splattered every wall in the kitchen!! As such, I prefer to use the oven!!

Roasted Romano Pepper Salad : Mix Well

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