31 Dec 2014


A glorious bowl that hugs and loves you back, this wonderful yet simple dish is loaded with super health giving properties that boost your immune and detox your system, there is nothing you won't love about this dish.  Gorgeous thin ribbons of steak and thai noodles bathed in a seasoned broth with star anise, lemongrass, ginger and a hint of cinnamon.

Generally traditional Pho is made from roasting beef and marrow bones and making a simple yet packed with flavour stock that you then build your dish around, you can also make your Pho broth with left over roast chicken or roast pork bones.  Building your dish traditionally you would add to your bowl thai noodles, beansprouts, thinly sliced rare beef, sliced chillies and a dash of fish sauce and lemon juice finished with a sprinkling of coriander, but this is just one way to enjoy this beautiful meal, I get my inspiration from Japanese ramen's and thai tom yum and laska style thin stock soups

Prep 15 minutes / Un-attended cooking time 3 hours / Assembly time 5 minutes

I make my broth up in advance the reason for this is two fold, firstly I like to store my broth in the fridge so that once it has gone cold and jelly set I can scoop of the fat and discard and secondly it is ready to go for quick and speedy suppers during the week, I can have a gorgeous healthy meal on the table in under five minutes.

(serves 2)

2 beef knuckle/leg bones
1 marrow bone
2 carrots scrubbed
2 sticks celery rough chopped
1 leek rough chopped
3 star anise
1 stick lemongrass bashed
1/2 stick cinnamon
2 tbsp fish sauce
2 onions halved
1 lemon halved
3" piece ginger halved

6oz piece of rib or fillet beef
(allow 20 minutes chill time before use)
1 tsp coconut or ground nut oil
1 handful beansprouts
2 spring onions
1 red chilli
Thai noodles cooked
1 tbsp fresh coriander
1 tsp fish sauce
1 tsp lemon juice

First pre-heat your oven to 200 degrees to roast your beef bones for approx one hour, no need to do this if you are using leftover roast beef bones.  Place the roasted bones and scrapings from the roasting tin into a deep saucepan, add three litres of water and bring to a simmer, meanwhile in a frying pan on a medium heat and caramelise the onion, ginger and lemon, this releases their natural sugars and adds another depth of flavour to the broth, add these to the saucepan along with the rest of the broth ingredients, carrots, celery, leek, star anise, lemongrass, cinnamon and fish sauce.

Leave to gently simmer for three hours and skim off any scum that collects on the top, the slower you simmer the less scum will be produced and you will make a clearer purer stock.  Once your stock has bubbled away for three hours and reduced by half, increasing the depth of flavour, strain through a fine mesh sieve or muslin.  

Heat a non stick frying pan to medium hot, rub the beef with a dash of oil and sear the fillet on all sides for three to four minutes for rare and five to six for medium, take off the heat, wrap in clingfilm and place in the freezer, for twenty minutes, this will firm up the beef making it much easier to thinly slice, while the beef chills, place 600ml of stock in a saucepan and bring to a rolling simmer, turn down to tick over, take your beef from the freezer and thinly slice into ribbons.

In your bowls place a handful of thai noodles and top with a handful of beansprouts, a sprinkling of spring onions, chillies and coriander, place the ribbons of beef piled high in the centre and then pour over your hot beef stock, adjust the seasoning if needed with a dash of fish sauce and or lemon juice then enjoy your bowl of goodness, health and happiness.

29 Dec 2014


Decadent glorious over indulgent happiness in every spoonful, this is a pudding that will take you several attempts to finish, the gorgeous rich marscapone custard and fragrant amaretto espresso biscotto will bring a cracking smile to your taste buds.

Cook time 7 minutes
This is really an assembly of ingredients very quick and easy to make.

(serves 4)

20 biscotto amaretti almond biscuits
75ml disaronno Italian liqueur
1 espresso coffee
250g marscapone
2 egg yolks
4tbsp caster sugar
1 tsp cocoa powder

First make the espresso, place the biscotti biscutis on a plate pour over the disaronno and espresso and leave for a couple of minutes to soak up all the liquid.  In a large bowl whisk the marscapone, sugar and egg yolks together until smooth, now you are ready to assemble the layers.

In individual or one large serving bowl place six of the soaked biscotto biscuits top with one third of the marscapone custard, dust over a third of the cocoa powder, repeat this twice more and place in the fridge to chill for a couple of hours before serving.

28 Dec 2014


My best ever fresh sweet sumptuous classic take out dish that is so easy to make, super fast from wok to table in under 15 minutes and full of fresh clean flavours, you will never order this from a takeaway again!  Why it can not be this good from fast food take outs is a mystery to me, juicy pork belly encased in a light crispy thin batter then tossed in a gorgeous fresh pineapple and orange sweet glaze, this is sumptuously gorgeous.

(Serves 4-6)

1kg of belly pork, skin removed
2 eggs beaten
2 tbsp cornflour
200ml water
1 pineapple chunked
1 orange zest and juiced
1 bottle of tomato ketchup
100ml pineapple juice
8 tbsp sugar
2 ltr nut oil for frying

This is great fast food!  First put the oil in a wok and warm up to 190 degrees, while this is coming up to heat make the sweet and sour glaze, place the pineapple juice, orange juice and zest along with the tomato ketchup and sugar in a saucepan and bring to a rapid boil and reduce to a pulpy sauce, taste and adjust the flavour if needed with sugar and pineapple juice, keep this gorgeous sauce on a low heat ticking over ready for the next stage.

Next make the lovely thin crispy batter by beating the eggs and cornflour together to make a smooth paste, slowly start adding the water until you have the consistency of thick double cream.

Cut the belly pork into small squares approx one inch square, when your oil is up to temperature dip the pork belly in the batter and gently place into your hot oil, these will take approx 4 minutes to cook, remove from the wok and drain on kitchen paper, once all your belly pork is cooked, add to your hot sweet and sour sauce gently tossing to coat and serve immediately and enjoy.

18 Dec 2014


I am so pleased with my first batch of canned tomato sauce, the huge amount of joy and satisfaction I feel when I know our own onions, peppers, garlic, tomatoes, celery and leeks made this sauce, it is another successful step forward in our self sufficient lifestyle, I also love the glut of over a hundred jars in my larder, just from the tomatoes!  I am going to need a bigger larder!  

This paves the way for next year's food growing and preserving list, I am currently working on our self sufficient cook book on all the meals we can provide from our garden to plate throughout each season with only relying on a few larder items that we don't grow.  This lifestyle envokes a truly positive satisfying feeling from producing your own fresh food and lowering the burden on Mother Nature, what's more all the fodder and weeds from the garden supplement the feed for our chickens and pigs

(makes 14 jars)

(14 kilner or glass jars with lids)
8kg tomatoes or 5kg tinned
1 tbsp coconut oil
6 red peppers
4 whole bulbs garlic
Sea salt 
Fresh black pepper
6 onions diced
10 sprigs of thyme
4 sprigs oregano
4-6 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 lemons juiced

First job is to sterilise all your new kilner or used jam, chutney or pickle jars, all jar lids must have a pvc coating because tomatoes have a high acidic content and this important to the safety of the long term preserve.  Take all,your jars and lids and run them through the dishwasher on a high heat or wash in hot soapy water and rinse and dry well, the jars are now ready to use.

Pre-heat your oven to 180 degrees, take the bulbs of garlic and loosely wrap in tin foil, pop in the oven and roast for an hour or so until the garlic just wants to ooze out when a minimal amount of pressure is applied to the skin, remove from the oven and squeeze out all of the gorgeous roasted sweet garlic purée, keep to one side for later.

In a deep large pan place the coconut oil, on a medium heat add the onions and gently cook, not allowing them to colour for twenty minutes, while the onions are soften turn on your gas ring if you have one, if not crank up your grill to it highest heat and roast your red peppers under the heat until the skin burns turn until all sides are burnt.  Place in a bowl and cover with cling film, this will allow the heat from the skins to creat condensation which will make the next stage of removing the skins and seeds really easy making this a quick process and worth every bit of effort for the final flavour in your sauce.

Next add the tomatoes, garlic puree and the skinned de- seeded roasted red peppers to the onions and heat through, the tomatoes will slowly break down creating a sauce, once all the tomatoes have broken down completely add the balsamic vinegar, sugar, thyme, oregano, sea salt and black pepper, gently simmer for half an hour.

Taste and adjust the seasoning if needed, next you want to remove the tomatoe skins from the sauce, you can stick blend the sauce or as I do pick them out of the sauce one at a time, then stick blend or you can pass the sauce through a fine meshed sieve using the back of a spoon to apply pressure to squeeze all the sauce through.  Return to the heat and keep on a low simmer while you heat the preserving jars.  

Place all the clean dry jars and lids in your pre-heated 200 degree oven for five to seven minutes to sterilize, remove the jars fill each jar with a teaspoon of the lemon juice then the tomatos sauce leaving a inch gap at the top to allow for expansion in the next stage of preserving, screw on all the lids tightly and place in a large pan of boiling water, when the pan comes back up to the boil start timing for 35 minutes, remove from the pan and leave to cool, one of my favourite sounds from my kitchen is hearing the pinging of theses canned jars re-sealing the pressure button on the lids while they cool, the jars are now ready to be stored for use when you need them.

10 Dec 2014


Love love love this time of the year when everyone makes that extra special effort and all the lovely warm aromatic spices come out to play, I love to make my christmas mincemeat a few months before I am going to need it so that the warm brandy and mixed spiced oranges can work their christmas magic in creating the most sumptuous rich decadent boozy brandy orange spiced mince pies.

(Makes approx 50 mince pies)


Old fashioned short crust flakey pastry
 450g plain flour
110g cold lard diced
100g cold butter grated
180ml ice cold water
1 lrg pinch of salt
1 beaten egg wash
100g light brown sugar

The Boozy Mincemeat
5 kilner or glass storage jars
1ltr lady or earl grey tea
500g currants
500g raisins
500g sultanas
400g suet
1/2 bottle of good brandy
100ml orange liqueur 
250g citrus peel
2 oranges zest and juice
500g soft dark brown sugar
2 tsp mixed spice
1 tsp ground ginger

In a large bowl add the currants, sultanas, raisins, citrus peel, orange zest, juice, mixed spice, ginger, and the hot tea, mix well, cover and leave over night if you can for the fruit to absorb all the liquid.  Next add the fruit mix to a large saucepan along with any liquid that is left in the bottom of the bowl, add approximately a third of the bottle of brandy, orange liqueur and the sugar, bring to a bubbling simmer and reduce until you have a thick syrupy glaze, when you can drag your wooden spoon through the fruit and you can momentarily see the bottom of the pan it is reduced enough, remove from the heat and add a generous glug of brandy and the orange liqueur, stir in and leave to one side to cool down slightly.

Once your fruit mix is only just warm, add the suet and stir in, then heat your oven to 200 degrees, pop your sterilised (basically super clean and dry) jars and lids into the oven for 5-7 minutes to sterlize, remove your jars from the oven and fill with your gorgeous boozey orange mincemeat pie filling, I like to finish off the filled jar with another wallop of brandy or flavoured liqueur at this point, seal the lids and leave to mature for a couple of weeks or months, these make great christmas gifts and awesome mince pies for friends and family.

To make this great pastry place the flour and salt in a large bowl, add the cold grated butter and cut through with a knife, add the cold cubed lard and roughly rub into the flour, you don't want a breadcrumb texture you want large rough chunks of lard as this will melt during baking creating lovely airy flakey pockets.  Add the water and bring together to loosely form a ball, wrap in cling film and chill in the fridge for half an hour before using.

Roll out the pastry and using a scone cutter cut out all your circles then either place a generous spoonful of your gorgeous mincemeat in the centre of the circle, egg wash the sides and then pop another circle on top and gently push the edges together, these are old fashioned flying saucer mince pies, alternatively you can line a muffin tin and make mini mince pies, why not get creative by cutting out a star or heart from the top of the pastry lid.   

Egg wash the tops, sprinkle with light brown sugar and bake at 200 degrees for around 15 minutes, then share with friends, family and neighbours.


This is really a lovely simple to make recipe that delivers a gorgeous sumptuous rich decadent starter ensuring that one will not be enough, your taste buds will be begging for one more morsal!  This dish is also a great starting point if you want to vamp it up by adding lobster, smoked haddock and/or cold water prawns sending this from a gorgeous starter to love every mouthful main meal.

(Serves 4)

8 scallops
4 scallop dishes
(from a local fishmonger)
1 tbsp butter
1 glug of oil

Court boullion 
1 shallot finely diced
1 carrot finely diced
1 bay leaf
2 peppercorns
125ml white wine
125ml fish stock
125ml water

Mornay sauce
70g butter
70 plain flour
400ml Jersey full cream milk
Sea salt and white pepper 
200g grated Gruyere cheese

First place the court boullion ingredients in a pan and bring to a simmer for approx ten minutes until reduced by half, strain and reserve for the mornay sauce.

Clean your scallops by removing the roe and foot, gently peeling the foot away from the side of the scallop will also peel away the thin membrane that half covers the scallop.

Next melt the butter, stir in the flour and over a low heat cook out the roux for ten minutes, it is important not to let the roux brown, like you would for a gumbo.  Start to add the court boullion a ladel  at a time and stir in until absorbed and smooth, then slowly add the milk until you have a medium thick sauce.  Cook on a low heat for ten minutes then add the grated cheese and stir in, season with salt and white pepper to taste, leave on a very very low heat while you cook the scallops.

Pre-heat your grill, heat a non stick frying pan medium/high, add the butter and oil and sear the scallops for 60 seconds on each side, this should be enough to just cook them through.  Place two scallops in each dish with any remaining butter from the pan then spoon over a generous amount of your moray sauce, pop the scallop dishes under the grill for a couple of minutes to brown off, serve immediately and enjoy.