Monday, 31 May 2021

Crab Linguini

A simple and tasty meal for 2. You can make this as spicy as you want but don't add too much chilli as you will lose the flavour of the crab.


  • 1 off shallot (banana type) - finely sliced
  • 2 Cloves of garlic - finely sliced
  • 3 red chillies (mild - de-seeded) and finely sliced
  • 6 cherry tomatoes (quartered) 
  • 8 pieces of sun blushed tomato -chopped 
  • large knob of butter
  • 1 pack of white crab meat
  • Handful of chopped parsley
  • pinch of sugar
  • salt and pepper to taste.
  • linguini or spaghetti for 2 people 
  • splash of olive oil

This is an easy and quick recipe. Just fry on a low heat the shallot, garlic and chillies until soft, using the butter. Put the pasta on to boil in salted water and remove when tender, drain and then add a splash of olive oil and stir (stops the pasta sticking together). Add the tomatoes to the shallot mixture and fry for a little while longer. Then add the remaining ingredients and mix together well. At this point add salt, pepper and sugar if required and then toss with the spaghetti. Serve with some sourdough bread and enjoy.

Sunday, 7 March 2021

Shallot Onions in Butter & Balsamic Vinegar

 So simple and yet a great accompaniment to cold meats and salad.

(Serves 2)

  • 4 or 5 banana type shallots
  • 30g butter
  • 1 tablespoons honey
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 3 pr 4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
slice the shallots in half (unpeeled) and then trim and skin the onion so that it remains intact and does not separate when cooking. Gently fry in the butter until browned and soft. Then add the honey and balsamic vinegar and cook until you have a thick rich sauce. Season if required.

I like to serve with cold ham, really fresh salad and brown bread - to mop up all of the lovely sauce! The balsamic mixture also works to 'dress' the salad.


Monday, 28 September 2020

Tomato Soup - 1 (Thermomix recipe)

At this time of year (Sept/Aug) we find we have a massive amount of tomatoes in the greenhouse. Apart from tomato sauces for pasta etc, I find a soup a perfect solution for excess tomatoes.


  • 500 gms of peeled and deseeded ripe tomatoes (fresh) (cores removed)
  • 1/2 red/brown onion - peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1/2 small carrot - peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1/2 stick of celery- cut into large pieces
  • 1 tbsp of olive oil
  • 1 tbsp of double concentrated tomato puree
  • 1 tsp of sugar (or 2 if tomatoes are not that sweet)
  • 1/2 tsp of salt
  • 1/4 tsp fresh gound black pepper
  • 1 tsp of vegetable bouillon stock (powdered)

Into the Thermomix, running speed 8, drop carrot, onion and celery - 10 secs. Add olive oil and cook speed 1 for 3 mins, 100 deg C. Add tomato puree, tomatoes, sugar, salt and pepper and cook speed 3, 100 deg C for 10 mins.

I find the fresh tomatoes have plenty of water in them and so I suggest adding the powdered bouillon direct to the mixture.

Check the level of salt and sugar and add as required and then blitz the whole lot, speed 10 for 30 seconds.

Of course, there is no need to use a Thermomix - its just easier and quicker. You can do all of this in a pan and use a blender when cooked.

Serve with warm, buttered crusty bread......

Monday, 14 September 2020

Tomato Chutney

 Quite often I have chutneys that are far too rich and dark and really take too much flavour away from cheese - my favourite 'goto' snack. This recipe hits the spot exactly!

  • Large onion (or red onion) - chopped
  • 800gms of tomatoes - chopped
  • 2 off eating apples - peeled, cored and chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic - crushed
  • 125g of light muscovado sugar
  • 1 tsp of ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp of ground mixed spice
  • 1/4 tsp of ground cloves
  • 250ml of cider vinegar

In a pan put all of the ingredients in and stir well. Heat gently and bring to the boil and and simmer well for 1.5 to 2 hours, stirring occasionally. When the mixture reaches a thick stage (moist but not wet), spoon into sterlised jars and seal. Allow to cool. 
The chutney is best left for a week or so but if you can't wait......

Serve with crunchy cheddar and a crusty loaf.

Friday, 28 August 2020


 Simplicity is the order of the day.....


  • 8 ripe tomatoes - deseeded and diced
  • 10 basil leaves finely chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic - crushed
  • 1/2 small onion - finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp of basamic vinegar (you can add more!)
  • salt and pepper to taste (and a little sugar if the tomatoes are not sweet)
  • 4 tbsp of good quality extra virgin olive oil
  • Crusty loaf cust into thick slices

Mix the ingredients together and leave in the fridge for an hour or so to marinate but remove 30 mins before serving.

Toast the bread on both sides until golden then spead the mixture generously onto the toast and serve.

This together with a glass of wine in front of the TV - simplicity at its best.

Wednesday, 26 August 2020


 A firm favourite in our house! I tend to serve with Mango Chutney as a condiment....

Ingredients (serves 2/3 ish):

  • 220g of smoked haddock
  • 1 cup of long grain rice (I use basmati as I have a sack of it!!)
  • 15ml of lemon juice
  • 75ml of single cream
  • pinch of grated nutmeg
  • pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 2 hard bolied eggs cut into wedges
  • 25g of diced butter
  • fresh parsley
  • salt & pepper

Place the haddock in a frying pan and cover with water and then poach for about 10 mins. Remove from the pan and remove the skin and any bones. Reserve the liquid for the rice as below.

The volume of rice needs to have double the quantity of cooking liquid. If there is not enough, then top up with water. Bring this all to the boil and simmer for about 15mins. Preheat the oven to 180degC.

Remove the rice when tender and stir in the lemon juice, cream, flaked fish, nutmeg and cayenne pepper. Stir in the eggs with care and then transfer the whole mixture into a buttered baking dish and dot the top with the butter as well. Bake for about 25mins.

Serve with a little chopped parsley, check the seasoning and add Mango Chutney to the side if you fancy it! As the fish is salty, check first before adding any salt. For a richer dish, the rice quantities can be reduced and the haddock and cream can be increased.


Sunday, 19 July 2020

Leek & Spring Onion Gratin

This recipe came about because of the veg we were growing on our vegetable patch. Very enjoyable and perfect with a piece of fish.


  • 1/2 red onion
  • 1 shallot onion
  • 3 or 4 spring onions
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 2 smallish leeks
  • 50gms of butter
  • 2 tbsp of double cream or creme fraiche
  • salt & pepper

  • Topping:
  • 22gms of shaved parmesan
  • 1/4 cup of breadcrumbs
  • (drizzle with olice oil before putting into oven)

Pre-heat an oven to 200deg C
Slice the leeks and onions and then fry them in the butter until soft. Take off the heat and add some pepper.

Place in an oven proof dish and add the cream or creme fraiche and stir well. 
Cover with the topping and olive oil

Bake for about 15 mins or so until golden on the top. Youcan add a little salt during cooking but remember that the parmesan can be a little salty.

Serve wih a piece of grilled salmon or fish of your choice.

Friday, 10 July 2020

Pasta, Chicken, Pea and Pancetta bake

This dish is so moreish that it is difficult not to have seconds. 

Ingredients (serves 4)

  • 140g of pancetta lardons (smoked)
  • 300g of macaroni pasta (or spirali)
  • 2 large chicken breasts cut into pieces
  • 500ml of chicken stock + 200ml of water
  • 1 tbsp of white wine vinegar
  • 300g of frozen peas but defrosted)
  • 2 little gem letuces (cut into wedges)
  • 30g of grated parmesan
  • 3 tbsp of creme fraiche
  • 10g of chopped chives
  • Black pepper from a mill to taste.

Pre-heat oven to 200degC.

In an ovenproof pan (that can have a lid), fry the lardons until golden and then add the chicken breasts, chopped into small pieces and fry until just cooked.
Add the stock, pasta and water and ensure the pasta is completely covered. Bring to the boil and then cover with a lid and transfer to the oven and cook for 30 mins. (stir a few times during cooking)
Take out of the oven and then make sure the chicken is broken up into small pieces. Mix in the peas, vinegar and lettuce. Put back into the over for 8  minutes or so, stiring halfway.
Remove from the oven and stir in the creme fraiche, parmesan and chives and plenty of black pepper and serve immediately.

Thursday, 25 June 2020

BBQ Lamb - Chimichurri style

This recipe was given to me by a friend - Jan of Not Just Canapes -

I will say no more than it is fabulous and VERY moreish.


  • 1.5kg of Lamb shoulder - de-boned and cut into large pieces
  • 20g flat leaf parsley, leaves and stalks
  • 30g mint, leaves and stalks
  • 30g coriander, leaves and stalks
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 15g fresh ginger, peeled and sliced
  • 3 chillies, seeded
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 50ml lemon juice
  • 60ml soy sauce
  • 120ml sunflower oil
  • 3 tbsp honey
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 4 tbsp water 

Just whizz all these ingredients together (except the lamb!!) and use some to marinade the lamb and heat the rest as a sauce. 
Marinate the lamb for an hour or so and then cook the pieces on the BBQ to your preferred level of cooking. Serve with the sauce (warmed or not) and devour!
You can use lamb rum, lamb leg or whatever is to hand....

Tuesday, 23 June 2020

Thai Style Pork Spare Ribs

Rib Stock:

  • 10 meaty ribs (or so) - cut individually
  • 1 stalk of lemongrass - chopped finely
  • 4 kaffir lime leaves
  • 3 10mm slices of galangal root
  • 2 litres of water

Simmer in this stock mixture for 1 hour. Once done, discard the stock.

Rib Marinade:

  • 1 stalk of lemongrass
  • 1 small handful of coriander stalks & leaves
  • 2 large gloves of garlic
  • 1/2 tsp of black peppercorns
  • 1/2 tsp of tumeric powder
  • 1/2 cup of light soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp of fish sauce
  • 2 tbsp of Kecap Manis (Dark sweet soy sauce)

Blitz the mixture with a hand blender. When the ribs are taken out of the stock, arrange in a dish and pur over the marinade. Leave for 30 mins to an hour. I tend to go back and turn the ribs every 10 mins or so

Dipping Sauce:

  • 3 tbsp of fish sauce
  • 3 tbsp of fresh lime juice
  • 25g of palm sugar
  • 1 red birdseye chilli - chopped
  • 2 tsp of toasted rice - search on this blog on how to make this
  • 2 tbsp of coriander leaves - chopped

Combine all of the ingredients in a bowl and make sure the sugar is dissolved in the mix. Serve with the ribs as a dipping sauce.

Oven roasting - 200degC for about 10 mins - do not over cook as this will spoil them.

Monday, 1 June 2020

Korean Spicy Ribs

This recipe is from 'Eat Korean' by Da-Hae West.
The meat falls off the bone and the ribs are sticky and (not too) sweet!
In fact I would recommend the book for not just this recipe but others that are also fabulous.


Serves: 6
500g (1lb 2oz) pork spare ribs
50g (1¾oz) fresh root ginger, roughly chopped
5 whole garlic cloves, peeled
125ml (4fl oz) light soy sauce
2 spring onions, trimmed and finely chopped, to garnish


1 tbsp sesame oil
4 tbsp gochujang (Korean red chilli paste)
4 tbsp apricot jam
1 tbsp regular soy sauce 
1 tbsp honey
1 tbsp roasted sesame seeds 
1 tbsp white rice vinegar
8 garlic cloves, minced
5-cm (2-inch) piece of fresh root ginger, peeled and very finely chopped
Put the ribs in a large saucepan or stockpot with the ginger, garlic, soy sauce and enough water to cover. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat to a simmer and leave to cook gently for 1½ hours, until the ribs are tender and cooked through.

Meanwhile, combine all the sauce ingredients in a bowl and mix together well. Line an oven tray with foil (this will make everything a lot easier to wash up later) and preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F), Gas Mark 6.
Arrange the cooked ribs on the prepared tray and brush with the sauce to coat evenly. Roast in the oven for 20 minutes, turning and basting the ribs with more sauce halfway through cooking.
Remove the tray from the oven and put the grill on to high. Brush the ribs once again with the remaining sauce, then grill for 2–3 minutes until the sauce is sticky and is just beginning to char at the edges. Scatter over the spring onions and serve.

Sorry about the photo - I just could not wait to try them!!

Sunday, 31 May 2020

Potato and Meat Pie

This is a derivation of my Grandmother's pie  (Maud Clarke) and was probably made during wartime as it contained little meat. It is, however, delicious and easy to make....


  • Short Crust Pastry (enough to line the top and bottom of a round 20cm baking tin)
  • 4 medium sized potatoes
  • 1 Tbsp of oil or lard
  • half a small onion
  • handful of mince - it can contain fat!
  • 1 egg - beaten for eggwash
  • Salt & Pepper to taste.

Fry the mince and onion in the fat until it is all browned off and transfer to a mixing bowl including any juices/oil. Peel the potatoes and then dice into cubes- they must be no bigger than 1cm cubed or even smallr if you can manage it.
Mix the potatoes with the mince mixture and then season with plenty of salt and pepper.
Line the pie tin with pastry and then spoon in the mixture trying to leave as few air pockets as possible. (now you know why you have to chop the potatoes quite small) Top off with pastry and then crimp the edge. Finally, eggwash the top liberally and pierce with a fork to allow any steam to escape.
Bake in a fan over at 180degC (200 conventional) for about 30 mins until golden brown.

Personally I can never wait to tuck in - just add tomato ketchup on the side!!

Saturday, 30 May 2020

Ox Cheeks (slow cooked)

By slow cooking the beef or ox cheek, you end up with super tender meat that almost melts in the mouth. The recipe below will feed 2/3 people. I use a pressure cooker for this recipe but there is no reson you can't use a slow cooker or the oven. The difference is that the pressure cooker takes about 1 hour, the oven takes about 4 hours and a slow cooker on low about 12 hours.....

  • 2 tbsp light olive oil
  • 750gms of ox cheek - cut up into large sized peices
  • 1 onion - diced
  • 1 celery stick - diced
  • 1 carrot - diced
  • 2 large cloves of garlic - crushed
  • 1 stems of fresh thyme
  • 1 or 2 bay leaves
  • 250ml beef stock
  • 350ml of full bodies red wine
  • 1 tbsp of black treacle
  • Salt & Pepper
Firstly you need to season the meat pieces with salt and pepper and then brown the meat pieces all over in a hot frying pan with 1 tbsp of the olive oil. Ensure you have removed any fat peices from the outside of the meat. Put the seared meat to one side, add the remaining oil to the pan, lower the heat and add the onion and garlic and cook until soft. Then add the celery and carrot and cook for 5 mins.

Add all of the ingredients to the pressue cooker and cook for 1 hour. (ensure all of the meat is covered by liquid)

Once cooled down, you can remove all of the meat from the cooking liquor and then strain this off, discarding the solids. (it is possible to liquidise this complete liquor but I prefer a richer sauce).
Return the liquid to the pressure cooker and reduce until you have a thick and sticky sauce. Season to taste. Add the meat back and coat in the sauce. Keep warm until ready to serve.

Point to note: if you use a stock cube as your source of beef stock, please be careful in the amount of salt you add as the reduction of the sauce could make it become a little salty. I tend to use Knorr Touch of Taste Concentrated liquis stock.

Serve with vegetables of your choice but horseradish mash is a good place to start!!!


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