Spinach, Bacon, and Gorgonzola Pizza

A delicious pizza, that always goes down well when we have it at home, and a great way to get the kids to eat spinach.

Spaghetti Arrabiata

Spaghetti arrabiata is a fabulous Italian specialty pasta recipe, which is popular across the continents due to its delicious taste and lovely selection of aromatic herbs.

Chicken Makhani

A delightful Indian dish, simple and quick to make. You could make this with lamb if you prefer a change from chicken.

Thai Red Roast Duck Curry

For an authentic taste of Thailand you cant go wrong with this dish, a Thai Red Roast Duck Curry, to make it extra authentic make your own red curry paste.

Rogan Josh

Rogan Josh is an aromatic lamb dish of Persian origin, a classic in the west in Indian restaurants, try our much loved version of this classic spicy, warming curry.

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Beef and Ale Casserole

A British Classic is this Beef and Ale Casserole. Serve it over rice, baked potatoes or simply with crusty bread to mop up all the fantastic sauce.


2 (500g) packs of braising steak
2 tablespoons vegetable or olive oil
3 large onions, sliced
1 250g punnet mushrooms, sliced
2 tablespoons plain flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon snipped fresh rosemary or marjoram
1/2 teaspoon snipped fresh thyme
1/2 teaspoon snipped fresh parsley
1 bay leaf
freshly ground black pepper to taste
125ml beef stock
225ml ale
2 tablespoons brandy

Heat olive oil in a large casserole pot, add beef steak and cook until brown, then remove from pot. Place the onions and mushrooms into the pot and cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are soft. Remove and set aside. Return the beef steak to the pot; sprinkle lightly with flour, salt, marjoram, thyme, parsley and pepper. Stir in stock and ale and add bay leaf to the pot. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, cover and simmer for about an hour and a half or until the beef is tender. Stir in brandy, mushrooms and onions; heat through, stirring occasionally.

Serve over potatoes, rice or on its own

Friday, 24 January 2014

Warming Winter Vegetable Soup

1 swede, peeled and cut into chunks
4 large carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
3 sprigs thyme, leaves removed and roughly chopped
850ml vegetable stock
500ml semi-skimmed milk
2 x 410g cans mixed beans in water
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 garlic cloves, crushed

Place a large saucepan on a medium heat and add the olive oil. Once the oil is hot, add the crushed garlic and soften without allowing the garlic to brown. Add the swede, carrots and about three quarters of the thyme into the pan. Pour in the stock and milk. Bring the pan to the boil and turn down the heat to simmer for approximately 15 minutes. Remove about a third of the soup from the pan and place into your blender. Whizz this through until it is nice and smooth, before returning it to the pan along with the beans (make sure you drain them first. Season to taste and then place back on the heat and warm through.

To serve ladle the soup into bowls and sprinkle over the top with the remaining chopped thyme, choose a nice hearty bread roll to eat along side.

This delicious recipe was provided by Claire from The Diligent Gardener

Monday, 13 January 2014

Chorizo and Artichoke Risotto

1.2l chicken stock
50grams unsalted butter
5 shallots, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
350grams arborio rice
200ml dry white wine
70g pack sliced chorizo, each slice cut into quarters
175g marinated artichokes (in olive oil), drained and halved
50g parmesan, grated (reserve 25g/1oz for the garnish)
handful flatleaf parsley, finely chopped


Heat a large pan and pour in the chicken stock, bring this to a gentle simmer. Using a frying pan melt half of the butter, and add shallots and garlic and cook them until soft, taking care not to let them brown, pour in the rice and cook for about a minute. Add the white wine and two handfuls of hot stock, stirring until the rice has absorbed the liquid. Then lower the heat and add the stock a little at a time allowing the rice to absorb it before adding a little more until it has all been added and the rice should be a nice creamy consistency.

Add the sliced chorizo into a separate frying pan and fry gently until some fat has come out of the sausage. Add the artichokes to the pan and stir to warm through. Remove the risotto from the heat and then add the chorizo and artichokes. Next stir in the remaining butter, the parmesan and also the parsley. Season to taste and serve, garnish with parsley.

Smoked Chicken Crispy Spring Rolls

Spring rolls are a large variety of filled, rolled appetizers. The name is a literal translation of the Chinese chūn juǎn  found in East Asian and Southeast Asian cuisine. The kind of wrapper, fillings, and cooking technique used, as well as the name, vary considerably within this large area.

200grams smoked chicken breast, shredded
One small carrot, shredded
50grams bamboo shoots, shredded
5 spring onions, shredded
50g shiitake mushrooms, shredded 
10g dried black fungus mushrooms, soaked in hot water for 20 minutes, drained and finely chopped
1 tablespoon light soy sauce
1 tablespoon five-spice powder
Sea salt and ground white pepper
18 spring-roll wrappers (usually about 150mm x 150mm)
Light-flavoured oil for deep frying

Heat a wok until smoking and add the groundnut oil, then add the chicken and mushrooms and stir-fry for 1-2 minutes. Season with soy sauce and five-spice powder, then remove from the wok and set aside to cool for ten minutes.

Mix all of the filling ingredients together in a mixing bowl and add a small pinch of white pepper.

Lay the spring-roll wrappers on a flat surface and place one tablespoon of the filling diagonally across the bottom half of one wrapper. If you find they break when cooking use two to give an extra thickness.

Fold the corner of the wrapper over the filling then fold in both sides then roll up to form a spring roll. Set aside while you make the remaining spring rolls. Heat about 5cm of oil in a heavy-based pan, you will know it is hot enough when a cube of bread dropped in the oil turns golden in 30 seconds. Place the spring rolls into the oil a couple at a time and cook for about 2 to 3 minutes until they are golden and crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen towel and keep warm. When all the spring rolls are cooked, serve with a chilli dipping sauce.

Monday, 30 December 2013

Chorizo & Broad Bean Risotto

1 tablespoon olive oil
100g smoked bacon, diced
2 shallots, chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
350g small cooking chorizo
300g risotto rice
300g frozen broad beans
1l hot chicken stock

Add the oil to a medium sized pan and heat up, add the bacon, shallots, garlic and chorizo. Cook these through stirring occasionally for about 8-10 minutes on a gentle heat. Add the rice to the pan, stirring in well to ensure that the rice is coated all over with the cooking juices in the pan. Add enough stock to cover the rice but don't add too much at this stage, bring to a simmer and gently cook until all the liquid is absorbed. Continue adding the stock a ladleful at a time, and gently cook. Just before the final ladle of stock, add the broad beans to the pan and stir through, cooking for 3 to 4 minutes until tender. Finally remove the chorizo and slice it thinly, before returning it to the pan and mix through before serving.

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Butternut squash soup

Olive oil
Fresh sage leaves
2 sticks celery, trimmed and chopped
2 red onions, peeled and chopped
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
4 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
2 sprigs fresh rosemary, leaves picked
½ - 1 fresh red chilli, to taste, deseeded and finely chopped
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 kg butternut squash cut into chunks
2 litres good quality chicken or vegetable stock

Put a large saucepan on to a medium heat and pour in a some olive oil. Add the sage leaves and fry for about 30 seconds until they turn dark green and crisp. Quickly remove them with a slotted spoon to a bowl lined with kitchen paper. Put the pan back on the heat and add the chopped onions, celery, carrot, garlic, rosemary leaves, chilli and a generous pinch of salt and pepper. Cook gently for approximately ten minutes until the vegetables turn sweet and soft. Add the squash and the stock to the pan, bring to the boil and simmer for around half an hour.

When the squash is soft and cooked through, whiz the soup with a hand blender or pour it into a liquidizer and pulse until you have a smooth purée or keep it chunky if you prefer the texture. Divide the soup between your bowls, and sprinkle with a few of your crispy sage leaves and drizzle with a good-quality extra virgin olive oil.

Thursday, 21 November 2013

Beef Stir-fry

Olive oil
5 cups asian rice noodles
3 cups stir fry beef
1 zucchini
2 large carrots
1 pack bean sprouts
1 onion
5 tablespoons soy sauce
Hoi sin sauce (optional)

Cut the beef up into small strips. Place a pan and on medium heat and heat the olive oil, stir in the chopped beef and cook until brown. Set the beef aside. Whilst the beef is cooking bring a pan of water to the boil and simmer, adding the noodles. Add two cups of noodles at a time.  Dice the onion, quarter the zucchini, and slice the carrots. Add the onion to the first pan with the olive oil and stir for about five minutes. Add the zucchini, wait five minutes, then add the carrots. Finally add the bean sprouts for a couple minutes only. Once everything is cooked and ready drain the noodles and add the beef and the veggies to the noodles. Add the soy sauce and stir for a couple minutes. Serve warm. When serving, you can drizzle with hoi sin sauce if you like the taste.

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Lamb and Tomato Stew

50ml sunflower oil
600g lamb, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
400g canned borlotti beans, drained
100g spinach leaves
100g sun-dried tomatoes, drained
250ml passata
250ml lamb stock
200g green beans

Place a large casserole dish onto a moderate heat and add the sunflower oil. Add the lamb and season to taste then sear until the lamb turns a lovely golden brown colour. Remove the lamb from from the casserole dish and lower the temperature to a medium heat. Sauté the garlic for a minute or so, constantly stiring. Return the lamb to the casserole dish also adding the passata, lamb stock, sun-dried tomatoes and borlotti beans. Bringing everything to a boil before reducing to a simmer. Cover the dish and cook gently for about 50-60 minutes until the lamb is soft. Adjust the seasoning to taste as necessary. Bring a large saucepan of salted water to the boil and blanche the green beans for 2 minutes. Stir the spinach through the lamb stew and spoon into serving bowls.

Friday, 4 October 2013

Sweet Glazed Gammon

1.8kg (4lbs) smoked gammon joint
750ml diet Coke
1 red onion, peeled and thickly sliced
3 garlic cloves, peeled and bruised
2 bay leaves
cloves, for studding
For the glaze
3tbsp English mustard powder
3tbsp demerara sugar


Place the gammon joint in a lidded casserole dish along with all the ingredients above, apart from the cloves. Cover over with water and bring everything to the boil on a medium heat. Once it starts to boil then reduce to a gentle simmer, covering with a lid and cook for about 2 hours.

Preheat the oven to 200ºC. Remove the skin from the gammon joint using a sharp knife, leaving a good layer of fat attached. Place in a lined roasting tin and score the fatty surface in a diamond pattern, taking care not to cut right through to the meat.

Mix the mustard powder and demerara sugar with 2tbsp of the ham-braising liquid to form a paste. Spread this over the surface of the ham and stud with cloves. Bake for about 30 minutes until golden and glazed. Meanwhile, strain the braising liquid and reduce down by half to thicken. A little goes a long way as it is very sweet, but a small amount served with sliced ham is delicious. 

Thursday, 5 September 2013

Cider Glazed Hot Dogs

800g (1.75lb) echalion shallots
200ml (1/3pt) English cider
2 tbsp honey
2 tsp wholegrain mustard
12 pork and onion sausages
2 ciabattas, split lengthways and cut in thirds

Preheat the oven to 190°C. Place the shallots in an oven-proof dish and sprinkle them with 2 tablespoons of water, cover with foil and roast for about 1 hour. Set them aside and leave to cool slightly.

Place the cider, honey and mustard in a small saucepan and simmer for 15 minutes, until the mixture has reduced by about two-thirds.Meanwhile, put the sausages in a roasting tin and cook for 10 minutes, then coat with half the glaze and put back into the oven to cook for a further 10 minutes.

Squeeze the cooked shallots out of their skins, roughly chop, then stir in with the sausages. Brush the meat with the rest of the glaze, then return the tin to the oven for 5-10 minutes until everything is golden brown and sticky. Put the ciabatta in the oven for 5 minutes. Season the sausages, then spoon 2 sausages and some shallots onto each warmed ciabatta bap and serve.