30 Dec 2012


The boxing day buffet, all the work is done nice and early and then we get to eat and enjoy our fabulous friends company while we eat, talk, rest, talk and eat some more...

Love making these mini steak and ale pies with a old fashioned short crust

Venison fillet, rare, topped upon a seasoned yorkshire pudding finished off cranberry jelly

Rare fillet of beef, topped upon a mini yorkshire pudding with horseradish cream

Local pork and sage seasoned sausage rolls, some with aged Stilton

mini short crust pastry steak and horseradish pasties

Le Rustic Camembert cheese oven baked with garlic, thyme and white wine, until gooey

Home made pork pie with just boiled eggs, and No Jelly!

Rare beef, Jerk home baked ham and left over roast turkey

The boxing day platter...

This to us is the ultimate extra bonus of Christmas.  The Leftovers!  We love love love leftovers!  Fabulous cold cuts, bubble and squeak, oh and in the top favourite's pickles, beetroot, chutneys, pate, pork pie, pickled onions, mustard's, jamon's and cold cuts of meat.  Why Why Why do we only eat this at Christmas, I ask ?

29 Dec 2012


Beautiful ingredients make beautiful pies

Rendering down the back fat to make a gorgeous flavoured lard for the pastry, to do this ask your butcher for any back fat and cook at 200 degrees for approx 2 hrs, periodically draining off the fat that is rendered off, I then place this fat in a loaf tin for the shape and wrap in parchment paper and store in the fridge until needed.

The pastry in the making, simple but so yummy.

Makes 1 large pie or 3 small individual pies
1 wild rabbit
1 carrot peeled and diced
2 celery stick diced
1 leek fine diced
1 lrg onion fine diced
1 knob butter
1 glug oil
1 chicken jelly stock
300ml dry white wine
1 ltr water
2 bay leaves
6 whole black peppercorns
1 tsp dry mustard
1 pinch grated nutmeg
200ml double cream
For the Pastry
110g lard
100g butter
450g plain flour
160ml cold water
1 pinch sea salt
Make the pastry first, cold is the key here, place the flour and salt in a large bowl and then grate in the cold lard and butter and cut in with a knife, stir in the water and bring together to make a dough ball.  Wrap in clingfilm and chill for at least 1 hour.
In a deep saucepan or pressure cooker, saute off in the oil and butter the onion, celery, carrot and leek until soft, not coloured, add the wine and reduce by 1/3, add the water and then the jelly stock, the rabbit, bay, peppercorns, dry mustard, nutmeg and seasoning.  Bring to a simmer and cook for a couple of hours, if using a pressure cooker then cook for half an hour. 
Drain into a large colander and reserve the stock, pick all of the rabbit off  the bones and add to the stock, bring to a simmer add the cream and reduce a little, taste and season to taste.  The pie filling is now ready to use.
Roll out the pastry to fill your pie tin or mini tins, fill to the top, egg wash the rim and place the pie lid on top, bake in the oven for approx 30-40 minutes until the pasty is light and golden in colour and crispy to the touch.  If there is any left over filling use as extra gravy when serving.


18 month aged Jamon Serrano Grand Reserva
Every kitchen should have a Jamon, fresh bread, wine and Love.  This was sent over from Spain and a real treat for the kitchen, we have made a good start of enjoying the beautiful Jamon Serrano and are excitedly looking forward to the many months of Jamon, wine and love...

27 Dec 2012


I always ask my local fishmonger to steam my crab 10 minutes before I arrive, they are very good at Southern Head Fishery's, I love the fact that they are a beach hut on the sea front and supply Billingsgate fish market, I will never forget when I found that out as I used to get up at 3am and drive to the Isle of Dogs for Billingsgate fish market, (never on a Monday tho! did that once and they are closed!!!), to choose the fish for our restaurant, and I saw them there delivering there! One of my favourite memories is that I really loved the atmosphere, banter, haggling and fresh range of produce and being shouted at by the barrow boys who run the delivery trolleys up and down, I was shouted at because I was always getting in the way, as I was so engrossed in all the produce!
Dressed crab ready to go in the oven and under the grill with cayenne pepper, butter, lemon juice, salt and pepper seasoning and finished off with a cheese mornay sauce and Parmesan panko breadcrumbs.

Dressed crab to be eaten cold with seasoned crab meat with a extra touch of melted butter, cayenne pepper, nutmeg, salt and pepper then presented with boiled egg white, yolk and chives to finish off.
2 whole crabs, steam cooked
80g butter melted
2 pinches cayenne pepper
1 tsp fresh grated nutmeg
1/2 juice of a lemon
Salt and white pepper
200g panko breadcrumbs
100g Parmesan cheese
2 boiled eggs
1 bunch chives finely diced
200ml dry white wine
500ml fish stock
25g butter
25g flour
1 pinch grated nutmeg
100g guyere cheese
100g mature cheddar
50g Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
For the hot to eat crab with the thermidor mornay sauce, first make the mornay sauce, add the fish stock to a sauce pan and simmer to reduce by half, add the wine and reduce again by a third.  Place to one side, melt the butter gently in a pan and stir in the flour to make a roux, then slowly add the reserved fish stock and wine liquid to create the thermidor mornay sauce, bring to a gentle simmer and add the cheese, stir in well and season to taste. 
Next to dis-assemble the crab and seperate the white and brown crab meat, I also like to clean the carapace (shell) and use this for presentation of the finished dish.
You can buy a cleaned crab dressed ready to use for this, every now and then I like to work with a whole crab for the experience and practise, but often I buy the cleaned dressed crabs, this removes the stress and time giving you the space to create a gorgeous sumptuous dish, oh so many dishes!
Take the white meat and season with salt and pepper, drizzle over some of the melted butter, a drizzle of lemon juice and a pinch of cayenne pepper.  Now add some of the morany sauce and gently mix, trying not to break up the meat to much.  Take the panko breadcrumbs and mix with a little of the melted butter, then toss with the Parmesan cheese.
Season the brown crab meat with salt and pepper and a drizzle of butter.
Place the brown meat in either side of the crab shell and place the white crab meat mix in the centre and top with the Parmesan panko breadcrumbs.
To heat and serve place the crab shell in the oven 180 degrees for approx 15 minutes until hot in the centre (75degrees) and then pop under the grill for a couple of minutes to brown of the Parmesan breadcrumbs, yummy...
Separate the white meat and brown meat into bowls, with the white meat season with a drizzle of melted butter, salt, pepper, a pinch of cayenne pepper and fresh grated nutmeg.
For the brown meat season with butter and a pinch of salt and pepper.
For the final dressing bring to the boil a pan of water, season with salt, place the fresh room temperature eggs in to the water and boil for exactly 6 minutes, drain and leave to cool on the side, this will give you a beautiful boiled egg that is just set and has a glorious orange and yellow yolk.
Peel the eggs and separate the yolk from the whites, dice the whites and yolks separately and then finely dice the chives.  Fill the edges of the crab shell with the seasoned brown meat and then fill the centre with the seasoned white crab meat.
For the final dressing place the chopped egg white either side of the white crab meat, then place the chopped egg yolk either side of the white egg and finish of with the fine chopped chives either side of the egg yolk.  keep refrigerated until serving and enjoy.



 It is tradition in our home that our son helps make the Christmas pudding, this year we had such fun, we decided to add all the flavours that we all liked and wanted in a Christmas pudding, like cardamon for daddy, brazil nuts for mummy and black treacle for Oscar, that we did not make a note of the recipe and typically this is the best pudding we have ever made, is a little frustrating, but then that makes next years pudding making so much more exciting!  So I will list the ingredients from our memories and hope for the best next year!  Not that this really matters as my son and I had a great time making this recipe up ourselves and it is the memory that is more precious than any recipe (!)  and we can have the same fun next year trying again!
250g currents
250g raisins
200g sultanas
200g glacier cherries halved
200g chopped brazil nuts
100g chopped walnuts
10 cardamon pods
4 tbsp black treacle
3 tbsp golden syrup
3 eggs beaten
150g breadcrumbs
1 zest orange
1 juice of orange
300g dark brown sugar
300ml brandy
100g mixed peel
2 tbsp mixed spice
175g butter melted
1 tsp fresh grated nutmeg
150g plain flour

Start the pudding the night before by placing the currents, raisins, sultanas, mixed peel, cherries, chopped nuts in a large bowl with the brandy to soak over night, if you can. 

Mix well and then add the rest of the ingredients in no specific order.  For this year we purchased a round pudding steamer for the classic looking pudding.

Fill each half of the steamer circles, I over filled which was ok, but it shows a seam on the finsihed pudding as I squished out excess filling, so next year I will very slightly under fill to try to stop that showing, you can still use a traditional pudding basin or Dario moulds, just cover the tops with pleated tin foil and adjust the cooking time.

Place the pudding mould into a large deep roomy saucepan, if the mould has doesn't have a trivet, place a jam jar lid in the bottom for the basin to rest on, last time I used a tea plate and it shattered.  Fill the saucepan with water half way up the mould or basin and place the lid on, bring to a simmer and cook for 3-4 hrs for a large pudding, 1 hour for individual small puddings.  A good guide to a cooked pudding is insert a skewer and if it comes out clean your cooked.  Or if you use a digital probe you will be looking for a temperature guide of 72+ degrees.

MY MISTAKE...  Remove the pudding while still warm from the mould!  I left the pudding to cool over night as it was late and I found it really hard to remove in one piece!  Once removed wrap in parchment paper and place in a air tight container once cooled.  Over the next 5 weeks I love to topped up with a generous glug of brandy and turn my puddings each time.

I don't re-steam for 2hrs on the big day, but feel free to do so, instead I spend the time relaxing with my family and I place the whole pudding in the OPS!!! (microwave) for 10 minutes and then serve with lashings of individual choice, brandy butter, brandy cream, double cream or custard.




These little gems are a real crowd pleaser, just small enough to be a single mouthful full of pleasure the light airy Yorkshire pudding with the sweet cranberry jam and the depth of the venison, then the creamy fieriness of the horseradish with the richness of the rare beef, you wont stop at one!
Makes 36
200g plain flour, exactly
200g eggs, exactly, no shells
200g creamy Jersey milk, exactly
1 pinch salt
1 8oz fillet of venison
1 8oz fillet steak
1 glug oil
1 knob butter
3 tbsp horseradish sauce
2 tbsp creme fraiche
3 tbsp cranberry jelly warmed
Salt and pepper
First pan sear the fillets, heat a pan to a high heat, rub the venison and beef fillet with the oil and season with salt and pepper, add a dash of oil to the pan and the butter and sear the fillets for a minute on each side caramelising with good colour.  Remove and rest for 20 minutes.  Slice very thin.
It is the method that makes for successful Yorkshire puddings, I have tried many methods, resting, chilled resting, 24hr resting and going straight at it!  This recipe and method have always given me perfect tall show stopping Wow Yorkshires, why?  I don't know!
Season the flour after you have weighed it, beat the eggs into the flour until you have a smooth paste, now slowly beat in the milk until you have a lovely smooth batter consistency.  Pour in to a easy to use jug and leave to rest at room temperature for at least an hour if you can.
Take your Yorkshire tin and place approx 1/2 tsp of fat into each well, place in the oven at 220 degrees for approx 7 minutes until the fat it really really hot, but not burning.  Now this is important, remove the tin from the oven and pour in the batter half way in each well, and return to the oven, do not bang or knock the tin, this you need to do in under 30 seconds to help keep the fat hot and ensure that glorious rise from the Yorkshires.  Once you have returned the tin to the oven, under NO circumstances open the the oven, these will take 12 minutes if mini and approx 18 minutes for standard larger puddings, it is better to cook your pudding for a minute over than under.
Quick and easy to assemble. just line up your mini Yorkshires, fill half with the warmed cranberry jelly and the other half with the creme fraiche horseradish, top with a twisted piece of venison fillet or beef fillet and then top some of the puddings with a extra drizzle of sauce, maybe some greenery.


1kg chuck steak diced
2 bottles ale
2 marrow bones
3 fresh bay leaves
6 peppercorns
1 tsp dry mustard powder
1 pinch of salt and pepper
1 pinch cayenne pepper
1 tsp curry powder
1 carrot fine diced
1 stick celery fine diced
1 lrg onion fine diced
1/2 a leek fine diced
1 tbsp plain flour
1 glug oil
1 knob of butter
110g cold lard grated
100g cold butter grated
550g plain flour
180ml cold water
1 lrg pinch salt
Place the flour in a large bowl season with the salt, add the grated lard and cut in with a knife, repeat with the butter, add the water and bring together with your hands, careful not to over mix or work the dough to hard.  The reason for this method is to keep the fat in whole pieces in the pastry so that when it is cooking the fat will melt and create a slight light puff making the pastry deliciously light, crispy and flaky.  Wrap in paper or cling film and chill for one hour.
Melt the butter and oil and soften the onion, celery, carrot and leek, remove from the pan and place in your braising tin, add another glug of oil to the pan and brown off the chuck steak in batches, add this to the tin along with a tablespoon of flour.  De-glaze the pan with some beer and add to the tin along with all the other ingredients, mix well, top up with a little water if needed, cover in foil well and slowly braise in the oven at 170 degrees for 3-4 hours until the meat is falling apart.  Remove the marrow bones and bay leaves, taste and adjust seasoning if required.  If the stock gravy is a little too thin, I place the tin on the hob and reduce a little, breaking down some of the tender chunks also thickens the gravy. 
For the size of the pies they can be any size you want, I have a silicon tray that has 12 small wells and this is perfect for pies, mini Yorkshires, cakes etc.
Roll out the chilled pastry and line each pie mould, fill with your braised steak and drizzle in some gravy to give your pie that extra juicy burst of flavour.  Egg wash the top rim and place the pastry disc on top and push gently on the rim to seal, this is not that important as having some glorious meat juices escape while cooking and becoming caramelised on the edges of the pastry just makes this pie more so.
Egg wash the top and bake in a pre-heated oven 180 degrees for approx18 minutes, until golden brown all over.

26 Dec 2012


Bringing the lard and butter to a boil ready to make the hot water crust pastry
Hot water crust pastry

Hot water crust pastry lined in the French raised pie tin

Hand diced pork, rabbit, pheasant, venison and pigeon, with a minced belly pork and streaky bacon force meat stuffing with sage and thyme herbs and seasoning
Glazed and ready for the oven

Glorious raised pie Christmas gift for my neighbours

500g diced pork shoulder
250g belly pork minced
125g streaky bacon minced
300g mixed game breasts diced
4 sprigs of thyme chopped
8 sage leaves fine chopped
1 lrg pinch salt
1 lrg pinch white &black pepper
1 pinch cayenne pepper
1 small pinch mace

100g lard
110g butter
200ml water
550ml plain flour
1 egg beaten
1 lrg pinch sea salt

Make the hot water crust pastry first, place the lard, butter and water in a saucepan and bring to just a simmer, place the flour and salt in a bowl, mix and then add the beaten egg, cut into the flour with a knife, make a well in the centre and then pour in the hot melted butter and lard mixture.  Bring together with a spoon and then using your hands gentle knead the dough to form a ball.  Place in clingfilm, flatten and then place in the fridge for 1 hour to chill.

For the game filling, mix the pork shoulder, game, belly and bacon mince together, add the thyme, sage, pepper's, cayenne, salt and mace and mix in evenly. 

Roll out the 2/3 of the chilled pastry to at least a one pound coin thickness and line the game pie tin, trim off the excess.  With the left over pastry, roll out and place the base of the tin to cut the top for the pie, with the left overs cut out leaves for the decoration for the top of the pie.

Place the game pork pie filling in to the pie tin and press down firmly into all the cavities of the pie tin.  Egg wash the top edges and then place the pastry lid on to the top edge of the pie, crimp the edges together and then egg wash the top, place the leave in a pretty pattern in the centre of the pie and make a well in the centre of the leaves and then brush with egg wash.

Place in the oven at 180m degrees for 90 - 120 minutes until golden brown, remove from the oven and rest for 5 minutes, remove the sides of the french pie tin, egg wash the sides and place back in the oven for 10-15 minutes to glaze the sides.  Don't be tempted to go any further as the pastry becomes a little unstable and  the filling starts to ooze out. 

Leave to cool and then place in the fridge for a couple of hours before serving.  This will keep for five days.

21 Dec 2012


There is an crispy beef chimmichanga under there somewhere !!!  Sometimes you just have to do over the top fully loaded food and just stuff your face and satisfy your belly!
Makes 4
For the chilli beef filling
1 big glug ooil
25g butter
1kg chuck steak twice minced
2 tsp mexine chilli powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1 Spanish onion fine diced
6 cloves garlic fine diced
1 tube concentrated tom puree
2 tins of top quality plum tomatoes
1 tsp dried chillies
1 fresh chilli fresh diced
Salt and ground black pepper to taste
For the enchilada sauce
1 tin of chopped tomato's
2 tbsp tom puree
1 onion fine diced
1 clove garlic fine diced
1 chilli de-seeded fine diced
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp fresh oregano chopped
Salt and pepper
4 large flour tortillas
1 tin re-fried beans
400g grated mexi mix cheese
(1/3 red Leicester/cheddar/mozzarella)
3 ltr veg oil for frying the chimmichanga
For the salsa
1 tin chopped toms
1 bunch coriander
1 juice of lemon
20 sliced jalapenos
40g tom puree
1 lrg pinch salt
Blend all the ingredients together and season to taste.  Best served chilled.
To make the guacamole
1 ripe soft avocado
lime juice
Beat all the ingredients in a pestle and mortar and season to taste.  Chill until needed.
Finishing touches
4 portions of salad
1 large pot sour cream 
To make the beef filling heat the ooil and butter in a large deep pan, soften the onions, not colouring, add the garlic and then after a few minutes add the beef and brown off.  Once browned off add the fresh and dried chillies, mexine chilli powder and garlic powder and tom puree mix in well, now add the tins of tomatoes and bring up to just a simmer and let cook for a couple of hours just ticking over.
The enchilada sauce, heat the ooil and butter and pan fry the onion until soft but not coloured add the garlic and gently pan fry for 5 minutes, add the chilli and sugar and caramelise for a couple of minutes then add the tomatoes and tom puree and herbs, then simmer for 10 mins, season to taste and adjust accordingly.
To assemble the chimmichanga, place the flour tortilla on the work top and paste the centre with some re-fried beans, then place your chilli beef filling on top, then top with cheese.  To wrap the chimmichanga fold over the first flap, and then the oppoiste flap, turn over and bring left and right sides up and over to the centre then turn over.
In a shallow pan bring the oil up to 200 degrees, place the chimmichanga parcel face down in to the oil and cook for approx 3 minutes, then turn over and cook for another 3-4 minutes until golden and crisp.  Remove and drain on paper.
Serve the chimmichanga with some plain rice and salad, top the chimmichanga with sour cream, salsa and guacamole, and a sprinkle of cheese...  Then drizzle over the enchilada sauce over the chimmichanga, perfect.

19 Dec 2012


A rich Christmas spiced fruit, cherry and nut cake covered with a layer of marzipan and finished off with festive decorative icing and edible glitter

Makes 8

200g currents
200g sultanas
175g raisins
150g cherries
100g walnuts
100g hazelnuts
75g dried apricots
Zest and juice of one orange
100ml brandy
300ml brandy for topping up pudding once cooked
1 tsp grated nutmeg
2 tsp mixed spice
175g melted butter
2 tbsp black treacle
1 tbsp golden syrup
150g fresh breadcrumbs
150g self raising flour
3 medium eggs beaten
200g dark muscovado sugar
1 large air tight container

1 x 250g red regal icing
1 x 250g green regal icing
1 x 2kg white regal icing block
1 pot gold edible paint
1 pot edible gold glitter
1 thin pastry brush

As I like to top up my cake up with way too much brandy over the weeks up to the big day I do not soak my fruit overnight as trust me the cakes are going to get a generous soaking before icing!

In a large bowl add the currents, sultanas, raisins, cherries, walnuts, hazelnuts, apricots, zest and juice of orange, all the spices and brandy and mix well.  Melt the butter gently in a pan and add to the fruit mix with the golden syrup, treacle, muscovado sugar, bread crumbs and flour again mix well, now add the beaten eggs and sugar.

Grease with butter 10 mini pudding moulds and fill almost to the top, cover with a pleated sheet of foil and place in a deep roasting tray, 3/4 fill with boiling water and simmer in the oven for 1 hr or until your skewer comes out clean from testing.  You may have to top up the water to keep it at the half way level for simmering the pudding cakes.

Take out of the dariol moulds and wrap in baking paper and place in a air tight container and give a little drizzle of the extra brandy.  Repeat this extra drizzle every week for 3weeks and turn over the cakes each time you drizzle. 

Now you are ready to ice and decorate.  First I roll out some marzipan to the thickness of a pound coin and cover the mini cakes and then I repeat this and roll out the white regal icing to the thickness of a pound coin, and then just place over and tuck under the ends.  For the red strips, I just roll out a square of the red icing and slice even strips and then lay them on the cake starting at the centre on the top, dropping the red stripe down for evenness.  I love the use of edible glitter as this makes a prettier presentation effect for the finished Christmas cake.

For the Ivy leave this time I did have a ivy cutter, if not just cut the shape or use a real ivy leaf to indent the shape and cut around, I then made a couple of berries to go with the leaves.


My style of Reuben, rare beef, Monterrey Jack cheese, Russian sauce and some sauerkraut

For my hubby the Reuben from New York, now this sandwich has pastrami and beef, sometimes corned beef, layered with peppers, pickles. Monterrey Jack cheese, sauerkraut, and  Russian dressing

(serves 2)
2 part baked ciabatta rolls
50g butter soft
300g fillet steak
300g pastrami
4 tbsp sauerkraut
6 slices Monterrey Jack cheese
1 sweet dill sandwich pickle
1 large roasted pepper

6 tbsp mayo
3 tbsp horseradish
1 tbsp tk
1/2 small onion finely diced
1 dash chilli sauce
1 tbsp chopped parsley
1 pinch paprika

To make the Russian dressing mix all the ingredients together and season to taste. 

Pre heat a plancer and the oven 180 degrees.  The ciabatta rolls should need approx 8 minutes in the oven, I like to run each roll under cold running water, quickly so as not to drench and then pop in the oven, this gives a crispier finish to the roll.

Slice the roll in half length ways and butter both sides, then lavishly spread Russian dressing on top of the butter.  On the bottom slice place your layers of beef and pastrami, now place the cheese on top, at this point I like to pop the roll into the oven to start warming through and giving the cheese a head start to melt, as this is a very thick toasted sandwich and I like to make sure my cheese is really gooey.  Leave for 5 minutes and then remove and place on the plancher, place the pickles and roasted peppers on top, followed by the sauerkraut and then the lid, place on top of the bottom roll and place the lid of the plancher down to toast the sandwich, if you don't have a lid on the plancher then just turn the ciabatta over half way through, when you have a lovely brown crispy finish and the cheese is trying to escape it is time to enjoy.

18 Dec 2012


Pan sealed and ready for a quick spell in the oven

My new meat slicer, oooh such fun, very simple to do and 70% cheaper than buying from the local deli, fresher and cooked and seasoned perfectly to our choice of rare.

Gorgeous, rare pan seared and roasted centre cut of fillet steak


2kg centre cut fillet steak
Dash oil
Sea salt and pepper

Very simple and so easy to do.  Pre-heat your oven to 180 degrees, place a large pan on the hob and bring up to a hot heat, rub the fillet in oil and then season the fillet beef with sea salt and fresh ground black pepper, place in to the hot pan and sear each side of the fillet, you will create a fair amount of smoke, so don't worry it means you are creating fantastic flavour.  Let each side colour and catch a little as this adds to the flavour.  Once all sides are browned off nicely, place the fillet in the pan in to the oven for approx 18-20 minutes for rare, as above, if you want a more medium rare leave the fillet to cook for 26 minutes and if you want a more medium to well done then cook for approx 35minutes. 

I then remove from the oven and wrap in tin foil and leave to cool, chill for at least a few hours or over night is better and then slice slice slice!  You don't need a meat slicer, I know this, so a sharp knife is just fine, but I love my meat slicer as I can do the wafer thin cuts that I often do not achieve when I am carving with a knife.

My first recipe was to make a New York Deli sandwich the Reuben with Russian dressing...


Such a lovely dinner, quick, simple and full of flavour
(serves 2)
4 raw king prawns shell on
50g butter
1kg fresh raw clams
1 small onion fine diced
1 clove garlic grated
1 can chopped tomatoes
2 tbsp tom puree
1 bunch fresh parsley chopped
1 fish stock jelly stock pot
3 glasses white wine, (2 for you)!
2 ptn spaghetti
Sea salt and fresh black pepper
Parmesan cheese freshly grated
Put the pan of water on to boil and season with sea salt, once up to a rolling boil add the spaghetti to cook, approx 11 minutes, meanwhile melt the butter with a glug of ooil and pan fry the prawns tuning over to ensure even cooked all the way through, remove, cover with tin foil and leave to one side.  In the same pan gently pan fry the onion and garlic until soft, but not coloured, add the fish jelly stock and the tin of tomatoes, bring to a gentle simmer and stir occasionally, season with the salt and black pepper.  Add the chopped parsley, the sauce is now ready. 
In a separate pan bring up to a hot heat and add one of the glasses of white wine, you can just use water/stock if you want, add the clams and place the lid on to steam, these will take two minutes only to cook, after one minute add the prawns just bring the temperature back up.  Drain off the cooking liquid and add some to the tomato sauce.
To serve, drain the pasta and add to the sauce mix well, serve into your warm dish and then place the clams all around and over the dish and place the prawns piled high on top of the centre of the dish, sprinkle with more chopped flat leaf parsley, some fresh ground black pepper and a dusting of Parmesan cheese, pour a glass of chilled dry white wine and enjoy.

14 Dec 2012


Glorious meaty beef and pork ragu

A must have for me Parmesan cheese
(serves 4)
500g chuck minced beef
500g minced pork
100ml ooil or ground nut oil
1 lrg onion fine diced
1 clove garlic fine diced
2 glasses of burgundy or claret wine
1 red pepper fine diced
Salt and fresh ground black pepper
1 sprig of fresh thyme
1 sprig fresh oregano
1 fresh bay leaf
200g tom puree
2 tbs mexine chilli powder
1 tsp cayenne powder
1 tsp garlic powder
4ptn of spaghetti or tripoline pasta
I often make this in a much bigger batch, portion and freeze so that  I have quick dinners to hand, pan fry the onions in the oil until soft, without colour, then add the garlic and cook on for a few more minutes, add the mexine chilli powder, cayenne, red pepper, black pepper and garlic powder, cook for a few minutes and then add the beef and pork mince, pan fry until the meat is all browned off, add the tomato puree, salt and fresh herbs, stir in well, then add the wine and simmer to reduce by half, add the tinned chopped tomatoes and tomato puree, simmer gently for 30 minutes.  I find the flavour improves by standing for a few hours or overnight to mature.
Cook your choice of pasta, drain, toss the pasta in a couple of ladles of the sauce and place in your bowl, top with lots more sauce and some freshly grated Parmesan cheese, black pepper and a pinch of sea salt.  Sometimes I love to eat this with some classic toasted buttery garlic bread.

13 Dec 2012


Absolutely fabulous, loved every mouthful and so much cleaner and tastier
Hubby wanted me to replicate a kebab, we can't eat them from a kebab shop as we just don't like the quality, therefore I made him a mini kebab

Fresh, healthier and gorgeous
(makes 10)
800g mince lean lamb
1 onion finely diced
1 garlic grated
1 tbsp mixed herbs
2 good pinches of sea salt
1 good pinch ground black pepper
1 good pinch white pepper
1 tsp cayenne pepper
Iceberg lettuce thinly sliced
Garlic mayonnaise
Chilli sauce
Kebab pickled chillies
Sliced raw onion
Sliced red cabbage
Sliced sauerkraut
To make the kebab, place the minced lamb in a large bowl and add all the seasoning and diced onion and grated garlic, mix by hand really well.  I like to pull off a tsp size and pan fry to check for seasoning, adjust if required. 
Form into the oblong shape and then lay on some tinfoil and roll up tight, I twist the ends to form a tighter packed sausage.  Place in a pre-heated oven 200 degrees for approx 25 minutes, then rest for 5 minutes and un-wrap, now I like to seal the meat in a non stick pan to add extra flavour and texture to the kebab, each time we slice off some meat I will re-sear the kebab to ensure that authentic flavour.
Take your pitta bread and warm in the oven, slice open and stuff with meat and salad and your personal choice of extra toppings,  for us we love the crunch of cold crisp lettuce and onion, the creaminess of the garlic mayo and the bite of the chilli sauce with the rich meat and then the final zing of a pickled chilli to finish of the perfect mouthful, guilt free.