28 Sept 2018


This is a winning dinner cooked in your home oven with all the benefits of charred clay pot cooking ensuring your tandoori chicken will be unbelievably moist succulent and outrageously flavoursome.  This has my family demanding more more more!  Served in skillet cooked flatbreads with charred onions, crisp iceberg and a fresh mint mayo yogurt, this dinner leaves my family almost silent at the table, the whole reason for cooking and sharing is just this watching everyone enjoying every mouthful.

Marinating 12 hrs+ / Cooking 20 minutes
Flatbread 1hr proving / Cooking 4 minutes

Equipment Clay pot, Clay flowerpot and base as lid or Casserole dish with lid.

(serves 4-6)

Tandoori Chicken 12-24 hrs in Advance
8 skin off boned out chicken thighs cubed
200ml full fat yogurt
2-4 tbsp tandoori spice 
(homemade recipe below)

Marinate the chicken in the yogurt and tandoori spices over night or 24 hrs is great but in a hurry just a hour will do, the longer the marinating the deeper and better the flavour.  

Fixings Family Style
1 iceberg lettuce finely sliced
2 onions chunky sliced
1 tbsp olive oil
1 bunch fresh mint chopped
6 tbsp mayonnaise
250g yogurt

Mix the yogurt, mayonnaise and chopped mint together.
Heat your skillet hot add the oil and onions, sear the onions for 5 minutes.

Homemade Tandoori Spice
Dry Spices
4 tbsp paprika
1 tbsp ground ginger
1 tbsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp grated nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
1/2 tsp Himalayan sea salt
1 tsp sugar (optional)
Whole Spices
6 dried Kashmiri chilli's or 1-2 tbsp ground
3 tbsp coriander seeds
1 tbsp cumin seeds
1 tsp fenugreek seeds
1/2 tsp whole cloves
1 cinnamon stick
1/2 tsp whole black peppercorns
1/2 tsp cardamom seeds from 10 bashed pods

Heat a dry skillet medium hot, add all the whole spices and gently warm for a minute or so.  Remove from the pan and in a spice, coffee grinder or pestle and mortar grind the whole spices to a powder, mix with the remaining dry spices.  Keep remaining spices in a air tight ball mason for up to three months.

Flat Breads 1-48 hrs in Advance
500g 00 flour (blue caputo)
15g yeast (optional)
10g Himalayan sea salt 
50g olive oil
320g water

Place all the ingredients in a mixing bowl and either by hand or by machine with a dough hook mix for seven minutes, then dust a little flour over the dough mix and gently form into a ball, cover the bowl with a tea towel and leave in a warm area to prove for 1-2 hours until doubled in size if you want to use immediately, then other options are leave to prove slowly in the fridge for 24hrs, this is what I do as it gives me much more control over time and usage, this will keep for 48hrs in the fridge ready to go when you are, you can also freeze any left over dough at this stage, then when ready to use remove from the freezer defrost and once up to room temperature use as you would fresh.

 Take a oversized golf ball piece of dough, dust your work top with a little 00 flour, roll into a ball and roll out a large disk no bigger than your skillet if your not cooking in a wood fired oven, heat to a hot heat, place the flat bread in the pan and cook for one and a half minutes on each side, keep warm by wrapping in a tea towel until serving, these flatbreads are best served warm but are almost as good used later the same day, to use the following day dip the flat breads in water and pop in a pre heated oven for 3-5 minutes and Ta-Da almost as good as fresh.

Ready To Cook
Pre heat your oven 180 C, if using a clay pot or flowerpot soak in water for 15 minutes.  Heat a cast iron skillet or griddle really hot.  Skewer the marinated chicken and place on the griddle, leave for around 4-5 minutes to char, turn over and char the other side.  Remove from the griddle and place the skewers in your clay pot along with 50ml of water, pop on the lid and place in the oven to finish cooking for a further 10 minutes, leave to rest in the clay pot for 5 minutes before serving.

Serve family style with a stack of warm flatbreads, all the fixings and enjoy.

22 Sept 2018


 What a serendipity outcome when we were actually trying to make cider!  Well maybe not after more research we discovered that this was actually a 50/50 certainty!  We did not want to use a campden tablet which if you do not will give you a 50/50 lottery that you will either end up with dry cider or apple cider vinegar!  One of them is a certainty!  I can't take all the credit for this awesome homemade apple cider vinegar with the mother as my foraging, self sufficient, preserving, canning and great cooking friend was the keeper of the demijohns and because we were too busy to decant the cider on the due day and we moved the demijohn to a cooler climate half way through the cider making process we ended up completely by accident or as I'm sure a experienced cider maker will disagree due to our gung ho approach, with a brilliant ten gallons of Homemade Apple Cider Vinegar.  How happy are we as this a daily ingredient in our kitchens.

Garden Apple Cider Vinegar
9 months matured

Gung Ho Method!

1 batch garden apples juiced or pressed
pulp left behind is important
Yield 1gallon per demijohn 
1 sterilised fermentation bucket
1/2 tsp pectin enzyme per 5 ltr or 1.32 gallons
Pray for natural yeast...

Place your pressed clear apple juice in your fermenting bucket, add 1/2 tsp of pectin enzyme per 5ltr of apple juice, cover and leave to ferment for 24 hrs.  Whisk the apple juice to aerate creating some frothing on top, leave covered to ferment for a further five days, now this is working with the natural yeast in the air and in the juice, this is not dissimilar to a sour dough ferment where the wild yeast is your ferment, I have had a sourdough ferment that's only been alive for a few years now we're as Boudian bakery in San Francisco America is 162 years old!

Decant from the fermentation bucket into your demijohns and place the bubble air release lock on.  Place the demijohns for around four months in a place with a steady temperature of 15 degrees, as cider is a autumn joy this is quite easy, however we placed our demijohns in the airing cupboard which was a little higher in temperature then realising our error moved the demijohns to a cooler place, not a great move for cider, but a great move for apple cider vinegar!  

Old fashioned apples from a wonderful old old tree around 150 years old.  I've never before had the privilege to pick or hold apples from a tree this old and these apples are magnificent, so large and fairy tale in appearance, these are classed as cooking apples but believe me these beautiful red cooking apples from many days gone by are so sweet and sour balanced I felt these were better than most modern eating apples today.

17 Sept 2018


This will get your taste buds zinging and fill your belly with the gorgeous fragrant juicy blackened jerk chicken stuffed in to a swiss chard leaf instead of a carb loaded wrap along with my son Oscar's homemade blow your head off habanero carrot salsa, pickled jalapenos and fresh bell peppers, wrapped up and topped with fresh guacamole, coriander, more habanero salsa and full fat sour yogurt.  This is one of those meals that delivers great goodness to you along with the freedom to enjoy all you favourite foods just without the carb loaded wrap!

My family love to prep, can and preserve our own sauces and seasonings at harvest time this is so our larder is stocked ready in advance with lots of produce at hand when ever we need it.  I whole heartily advocate cutting corners after all I am a full time mum, a taxi service and personal assistant to a very special teenager! but also encourage having the fun and rewarding sense of old fashioned times gone by with homemade foods.

Prep time 10 minutes / Cooking time 15 minutes / Can prep in cooking time too!

(serves 4)

4 chicken breasts 
1 tbsp coconut oil
4 tbsp jerk seasoning (recipe below)
4 chard leaves stalk removed
4 1/4 cups habanero salsa (recipe below)
4 tbsp pickled jalapenos
4 tbsp diced bell peppers
4 tbsp chopped coriander
4 tbsp guacamole (recipe below)
4 tbsp whole yogurt
The flowers are from my bolting salad 

1 ripe avocado mashed
1 tbsp fresh coriander
1 tomato diced
1 tbsp bell pepper diced
1 spring onion diced
1 tbsp pickled jalapneos chopped
1/3 lime juice
Pinch sea salt and black pepper

Mix all the ingredients together, Ta da...that's it all done!

1 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp cayenne powder
1 tbsp onion powder
2 tbsp dried thyme
2 tbsp dried parsley
2 tsp sugar
2 tsp salt
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp all spice
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp dried chillies
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp round cinnamon

Grind all ingredients together...that's it !

Take your chicken breasts and cover well with the jerk spices, heat a large skillet medium high, add the coconut oil and then the chicken breasts, you want to sear them well on both sides so don't be tempted to tourn the breasts until around 3 minutes so that you have a nice blackened, NOT burnt sear, then turn the heat down low and leave to finish cooking slowly for around another 5 minutes, take off the heat and leave to rest for a couple of minutes.

I like to roughly shred the chicken with two forks but you can chop or place the whole breast in your chard leaf, whatever suits you.  Lay your chard leaf on your plate and load with the chicken, habanero salsa, pickled jalapenos, you can if you have space stuff what ever you want in side!  Fold over the left and right side, turn 180 degrees and fold over the side in front of you then as you do roll the char over on to the far side so that in effect you have turned the parcel over, this is just for presentation of course, sometimes my burritos do not look this pretty!

Top with your habenero salsa, guacamole and sour yogurt, more pickled jalapenos and some fresh coriander and your good to go, enjoy.

Beautiful blow your head off hot fruity habanero salsa, this has a gorgeous burn that graduates to a almost to hot to handle lips, tongue and gum pulsating burn, in all a marvellous salsa to have over your chicken, fish or steak and great as a dip with corn chips, for the more sadistic pallet.  Simple to make and can be stored on the side for months and once opened in the fridge for weeks.

Don't miss out if you want all this gorgeous flavour with a lower heat, just halve the chillies for a medium hot or halve again for a mild salsa, you won't loose any of the great flavour.  

(Makes approx 500ml)

1 tbsp coconut or nut oil
1 onion finely chopped
3 large carrots peeled finely chopped
2 cloves garlic rough chopped
500 ml water
1 tsp fresh chopped oregano (1/2 if dried)
1 tsp crushed coriander seeds
200ml White wine vinegar
4-6 habanero chillies, stalks removed
2 large tbsp of honey

Gently cook the onions until translucent, around ten minutes, add the garlic after five minutes, then add the carrots and cook for a further five minutes, add the water and habaneros, bring to a simmer and cook until the carrots have melted into a sauce, approx twenty minutes.  

Add the White wine vinegar, oregano, coriander and honey, bring back to a bubbling simmer until you have a consistency that coats the back of a spoon and when you draw your finger down the middle of the spoon you draw a clean line in the sauce.  Take off the heat.

Have your clean sterile jars ready to pop in the oven, to sterile your jars and lids just run through the dish washer or wash in hot soapy water and rinse well, dry thoroughly then pop in your pre-heated oven 180 degrees for seven minutes, take out and fill the hot jars with the hot sauce, pop on the lids immediately, leave to cool and enjoy hearing the ping popping sounds of the jars re-setting their safety pop up buttons as the jars cool, this is one of my favourite sounds in the world self sufficient living!  These when canned successfully will last a year on the shelf, once opened keep in the fridge and use within a week.

16 Sept 2018


THE BEST PIE EVER...well so far...

This is a whopper of a pie, this pastry made my husband (26 yrs so far...) propose to me so be warned, the deep decadent curry filling is rich and deep in gorgeous flavours given from the slow braised marinated bone in lamb shanks that deliver a unbelievable creamy richness to the vindaloo masala encased with the Best Ever Suet Marriage Proposal Puff Pastry...

Prep Time 15 minutes / Marinating time 2-24hrs / Cooking time 3 hours

(makes 4 pies or 1 large pie)

Lamb Shank Curry Marinade
4 lamb shanks
1/2 stick cinnamon grinded
1 onion peeled rough chopped
6 cloves garlic peeled
1 thumb size piece ginger
20 cardamom pods seeds only
1 tsp cumin seeds ground
1 tsp black peppercorns ground
5 whole cloves
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp sugar
2 tbsp kashmiri chilli powder
2 tbsp tamarind pulp
5 tbsp white wine vinegar

The Vindaloo Masala
3 tbsp ghee
1 onion finely chopped
4 cloves garlic finely chopped
3 tomatoes quartered
1 green chilli whole
1 ltr lamb stock

Marriage Proposal Suet Pastry
330g plain flour
130g suet
100g cold butter grated
150ml-200ml cold water
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp ground white peppercorns

Marinating Lamb Shanks and Cooked Vindaloo Curry

First make the vindaloo marinade, place all the ingredients in to your food processor and blitz to a fine paste, massage all over the lamb shanks and leave to marinate for as long as possible up to 24 hours, this just deepens the flavour in the meat.

When you are ready to cook the vindaloo which will take around 2 hours unattended, heat a large casserole dish with a lid to medium hot, add the ghee and when melted the onions and garlic gently soften for around 10 minutes then add the tomatoes, stock and the marinated lamb shanks with the marinade, cover with the lid and leave to cook on a low heat for around 2 hours until the meat is falling off the bone.  

Meanwhile make the pastry place all the ingredients except the water in a large bowl and gently stir through, add the water and gently bring together to form a ball, turn out on to your work top and using the heel of your hand flatten out the ball until double the original size, fold in half, turn the pastry 90 degrees and flatten out again, fold in half, repeat twice more then wrap in baking paper and chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes before using.

Remove the lamb shanks and reduce the sauce to a medium thick curry sauce consistency place the lamb shanks back in and leave the curry to one side to cool, alternatively bung on some rice and enjoy as a gorgeous curry right now!

Roll out your pastry and line your pie tin or tins, fill with the lamb shank curry bone on or off, egg wash the rim of the pie casing and press on the pastry lid of the pie, egg wash and bake at 180 C / 356 F for around 30-40 minutes until light and golden, leave to rest for five minutes before removing the pies from the tin and enjoy, serve with some Indian spiced crushed potatoes and spinach.


A fantastic rich aromatic curry that will leave you wanting more, the lime leaves and cardamom give a fragrant undertone while all the flavour from the lamb renders down slowly in the clay pot that ensures the most succulent fall of the bone lamb infused madras masala curry.

Hands on time 20 minutes / Cooking time 3 hrs

The Curry Masala
(makes enough for 4 recipes)
2 tbsp coriander seeds
2 tbsp mustard seeds
1 tbsp turmeric powder
1 tbsp fenugreek seeds
1 tsp cumin 
1/2 tsp fennel seeds
 5 whole cloves
1 tsp black pepper

First gently toast all the seeds not the turmeric in a dry pan until warm, then place all the spices in a pestle and mortar and grind to a powder, using the pestle and mortar preserves the flavour of the spices.

Masala Curry Sauce
(serves 4 people)
4 large lamb shanks
2 onions 
1" ginger
2 red chilli
4 cloves garlic
1 tbsp ghee
2 tins of chopped tomatoes
12 kaffir lime leaves
500ml beef stock
10 green cardamom pods slightly crushed
1 stick of cinnamon
2 fresh bay leaves
2 tsp tamarind pulp
(home made recipe below)
salt and pepper
3 tbsp fresh coriander to garnish
1 tbsp garam masala
In a shallow non stick pan heat the ghee and brown off  all the sides of the lamb shanks, remove to your clay pot or casserole dish and leave to rest.  In a blender blitz the onions, ginger, chilli, and garlic and then in the same pan add the ghee and gently cook the onions for 5 minutes, add 2 tbsp of your curry masala powder stir in, add your bashed cardamom pods, cinnamon stick, bay, lime leaves and tamarind pulp, stir well, then add the tomatoes and beef stock and pour your sauce over the resting lamb shanks and pop on a snug lid.
Cook in your wood fired oven at around 150 degrees or pop in your oven for 3 to 4 hrs.  The curry is ready when the meat is ready to fall off the bone.  I like my sauce to be medium thick, therefore I often take the lid of for the last 30 minutes of cooking time to help reduce the sauce.  To finish the curry stir in the garam masala, taste and season with salt and pepper if needed and sprinkle over the chopped coriander.

Home Made Tamarind Pulp
You can buy tamarind pulp already made or you can source whole and dried tamarind seed pods as shown below, I like to make my own tamarind water, all you have to do is peel off the outer shell, place the tamarind in a bowl, pour over some boiling water crush the pod after a few minutes releasing the pulp from the seed, leave to infuse for ten minutes or so and then pass through a seive and collect the pulp.

Home Made Garam Masala 
1 tsp whole cloves
20 cardamom seeds only
tsp black peppercorns
1 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
2 tsp corinader seeds
1 whole nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon 
1 inch cinnamon bark

Place all the whole seeds ingredients, not the nutmeg or cinnamon in a dry pan and gently heat until they are toasty warm, remove and place in a coffee grinder or pestal and mortar and grind to a powder.  Surprisingly the nutmeg is easy to bash into small pieces with the end of a rolling pin then grind to a powder and add to the rest of the powdered spice mix. That's it use as your recipes require, keep in a ball mason jar and use within three months ensure the freshest flavours.

14 Sept 2018


Juicy succulent slightly charred tandoori marinated chicken cooked in a wood fired oven is pleasure to cook and eat, stuffed in wood fired cooked flat breads with salad and home made garlic olive oil mayonnaise and hot chilli sauce this a great weekend dinner.  This skewered kebab cooks just as well over a BBQ and flat breads can be cooked in a skillet or dry frying pan.

Marinating time overnight / Cooking time 30 minutes
Flat Bread dough proving 1-2 hrs (or overnight in the fridge)

(serves 4-6)

4 organic chicken breasts large chunks
1 tub organic yogurt
1 lemon juiced
1 tsp cumin seeds toasted then ground
1 tsp coriander seeds toasted then ground
1 heaped tsp paprika
1 tsp Kashmiri chilli powder
1/2 tsp Himalayan sea salt 
1/2 tsp turmeric 
4 cloves garlic grated
2 tbsp fresh ginger grated
1 good glug olive oil

To Serve
Crispy ice berg lettuce
Red and white cabbage slaw
Red onion sliced
Olive oil garlic mayo (recipe below)
Hot chilli sauce (recipe below)

Place all the ingredients in a bowl and combine coating everything evenly, leave in a air tight container to marinate preferably over night, a shorter time is fine.  To cook skewer the meat and if cooking in a wood fired oven place two old London or fire bricks in the oven to support the skewer, turn the skewer every few minutes to ensure even cooking and charring, after 20 minutes check the chicken, once cooked leave to rest for 5-10 minutes for all the juices to setttle, this is a great time to cook the flat breads.

The Flat Breads

(makes 6-8)

500g 00 caputo Italian flour
10g Himalayan sea salt 
50g extra virgin olive oil 
15g yeast
320g water

Place all the ingredients in a mixing bowl and either by hand or by machine with a dough hook mix for seven minutes, then dust a little flour over the dough mix and gently form into a ball, cover the bowl with a tea towel and leave in a warm area to prove for 1-2 hours until doubled in size if you want to use immediately, then other options are leave to prove slowly in the fridge for 24hrs, this is what I do as it gives me much more control over time and usage, this will keep for 48hrs in the fridge ready to go when you are, you can also freeze any left over dough at this stage, then when ready to use remove from the freezer defrost and once up to room temperature use as you would fresh.

 Take a oversized golf ball piece of dough, dust your work top with a little 00 flour, roll into a ball and roll out a large disk no bigger than your skillet if your not cooking in a wood fired oven, heat to a hot heat, place the flat bread in the pan and cook for one and a half minutes on each side, best served warm but are almost as good used later the same day, to use the following day dip the flat breads in water and pop in a pre heated oven for 3-5 minutes and Ta-Da almost as good as fresh.

Homemade Mayonnaise 
1 egg yolk
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
200-300ml extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 pinch Himalayan sea salt 
1 pinch black pepper

Place the egg yolk and apple cider vinegar in a large deep jug, start to drizzle the olive oil in very very slowly, whisking all the time, once you see the yolk and oil emulsify you can add the oil in much quicker, stop adding the olive oil when you have ribbons, whisk in the mustard, salt and pepper, this will keep,in the fridge for a week in a ball mason jar.

Hot Chilli Sauce
18 fresh cherry tomatoes
1 tbsp tomato purée
1 fresh hot chilli
1/2 small onion
1 clove garlic
1/2 tsp sumac 
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 pinch Himalayan sea salt 
1 pinch black pepper

Place all the ingredients in a food processor and pulse together, that's it.  If you use a magic bullet or stick blender you will lose the vibrant fresh red texture and flavour the sauce becomes more like a salsa.  Keep in a ball mason jar in the fridge for up to one week.

12 Sept 2018


My Nan's gorgeous slow braised steak in Guinness and a rich beef roasted bone stock, with mustard powder, onions, garlic, carrot, celery and Nan's move with the times ingredient curry powder is divine served as a dinner with gorgeous buttery vinegar mashed potatoes, (I have to eat this with a spoon so I can scoop as much as possible in every mouthful along with my nan's brown 1960's mug full of extra braised steak gravy on the side!) but this goes to a whole other level when stuffed in to a light crisp melt in your mouth suet crust flakey pastry with bursts of intense flavour from the chewy spilt out gravy, just a perfick mouthful every bite.

Prep time 15 minutes /  Cooking slow 4 hrs (day ahead even better)
Making and cooking the Pies 1 hr 30mins of pleasure
Equipment 3 x 12 mini hole baking trays

(makes 36)

(This also makes 2 pie top crusts)
330g supreme self raising flour
100g cold butter grated
130g atora suet
Water as needed (150ml+)
1 tsp salt and white pepper 
2 eggs beaten for egg wash

Nan's Braised Steak
2 kg chuck or rump steak 2" square chunks
 1 onion finely chopped
1 stick celery fine chopped
1 carrots finely chopped
2 clove garlic chopped
1 glug of ooil
knob of butter
1 ltr rich beef stock
(homemade recipe below)
3 cans of Guinness 
2 tbsp mustard powder
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp curry powder
1 bay leaf 
1 tsp Himalayan sea salt 
1 tsp black pepper
1 tbsp butter

Pre heat your oven to 160 C, in a large casserole dish add the olive oil and butter, on a medium heat add the onions and soften for ten minutes, then add the garlic, carrot and celery and soften for a further five minutes, crank up the heat and add the diced rump steak and let the steak catch a little browning off ever so slightly and catching the bottom of the pan creating more flavour, add the Guinness, stock, mustard, cayenne, curry powder and bay leaf, top up with water if needed to cover the meat by a inch, pop on a lid and place in the oven to slowly cook for 3-4 hrs, when your rump steak will fall apart when gently squeezed it's done.  Remove from the oven add the salt, pepper and butter.  Leave to cool before filling your pies.

The pastry will need to rest in the fridge for at half an hour before rolling.  Place all the ingredients except the water in a large bowl and very gently mix so that the ingredients are incorporated evenly, you do not want to over work the mix as this will make it tough in texture and this pastry is the best ever because it is light and crispy with a flakey texture finished off with a hint of almost dumpling flathat soaks up the gorgeous braise stake gravy.  Add the water probably 150ml ish and gently bring the pastry mix together to form a ball, wrap in baking paper and rest in the fridge for half an hour.

Cut 1/3 off your pastry ball, this is for the pie lids, roll out the larger piece of pastry on a lightly floured work top to as thin as you dare, using a standard scone cutter cut 36 circles, roll out the remaining pastry using a half size smaller cutter again cut 36 lids.  Taking your trays line each mini pie hole, brush all the pastry edges with egg wash, fill with a couple of teaspoons of your cold braised steak and press on the pastry lid.  Egg wash the tops of the pies and bake in the oven for 40 minutes, once cooked leave to cool in the tins for a couple of minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool or enjoy hot and fresh.

These pies are great at parties, friends and family gatherings served cold made the day before from the fridge or fresh and warm on the day these are a crowd pleaser.

Homemade Roasted Beef Bone Stock
3 kg beef bones and marrow bones from butchers
2 carrots roughly chopped
2 onions quarterd skin on
6 cloves garlic bashed
1 stick celery bashed
10 whole peppercorns
1 tsp Himalayan sea salt 
1 bay leaf
3 sprigs fresh thyme
Water to cover the bones approx 4-6 ltrs

Either left over Sunday roasted beef bones or roast all the bones from the butchers for a hour or so then place in a large casserole dish, add the rest of the ingredients and cover with water, simmer very gently not a excitable bubble for around 4 hours, leave to cool slightly then strain and make sure to spoon out all the bone marrow jelly from the bones in to the strained stock, return to the pan and reduce down to about 1ltr this is a glorious abundance of flavour to add to your braised steak.

10 Sept 2018


Glorious hot water roasted crackling lard crust pork pie, a beautiful pie that sings of summer picnic's and great times shared with great people.  Organic raised loved and rootling pork seasoned with fresh sage and thyme from the garden and old fashioned mace. Home made jelly and a gorgeous hot water crust made with our own roast crackling rendered down lard this pie is a show stopper.  For me this is a beautiful way to celebrate the end of summer and to celebrate my bestest friends 40th birthday with a glorious Darling Buds of May family and friends long table eating party, sharing and laughing all on a 50ft long table, this is one of the best ways to bring people together over great food.

To jelly or not to jelly that is a great debating question !  I am a 50/50 on this one!

This is a all at once cook, we start by getting the jelly cooking first, while we're also making and cooking the pork pie, this is so that we can jelly the cooked pork pie and leave to set overnight in the fridge ready for the excitement of sharing, giving and eating with everyone the next day.

(serves 6-8)

Hot Water Crust Pastry
600g strong plain flour
2 beaten eggs
7g Himalayan sea salt 
5g white pepper
1 tsp fresh chopped thyme
110g lard
110g butter
240ml water

The Pork Pie
800g pork shoulder diced
200g belly pork minced
200g bacon minced
10 sage leaves finely chopped
4 sprigs thyme chopped
1/2 tsp mace
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp Himalayan sea salt 
1 tsp black pepper

The Jelly
1 pork hock or 2 trotters
1 ltr water
1 onion skin on halved
1 carrot rough chopped
1/2 stick celery 
1 garlic clove bashed
8 peppercorns 
1 bay leaf
1 tsp mustard powder
1 pinch celery salt
2 leaves gelatine (optional) 

First get the jelly underway in a pressure cooker for 1/12 hrs or casserole dish for 3-4 hrs place all the ingredients in your pan, bring to a simmer and place on the lid, leave to cook for the time needed for your cooking vessel.  Once cooked remove the trotters or pork hock, the latter makes a wonderful dinner with some buttery vinegar mashed potatoes and pease pudding or a suet bacon and onion pudding roll.

Now to check if your pork jelly will set without the need for gelatine, which it should once cooled, place a saucer in the freezer for at least 30 minutes, take a tablespoon on the Cooke jelly stock and place on the cold saucer on your work top, leave for two minutes and assess the thickness of the set cooled jelly.  If too running then add the gelatine leaves by soaking in water to soften for 5 minutes and then stirring in off the heat.  Leave your jelly to one side while you bake the pork pie.

Next make the pork pie filling mix all the ingredients together and reserve to one side to infuse their flavours while you make the hot water crust pastry.

To make the hot water crust is really simple place the lard, butter and water in a saucepan and melt without allowing a simmer, in a large mixing bowl place the flour, salt and ribbon through the beaten eggs, make a well in the centre and pour in the hot lard and butter mix, using a spoon gently bring together until just combined, using your hand knead the mix for a minute until a smooth ish ball is formed.  Take 2/3 of the dough and place in your tin pressing the sides up and forming the base, place in your pork pie meat, lay your pastry lid on the top and crimp the edges, I like to take my left hand ready to pinch the pastry from the underneath of the tin lip and pastry, while my right hand will push the top pie crust pastry in to the two pinch fingers, this gives a great crust finish.  Make a hole in the centre of the pie and decorate with leaves.

Place the pork pie in a pre heated oven 200 C for half an hour, then lower the heat to 160 C for one hour, remove the pork pie from the oven and tin, glaze with egg wash and place back in the oven to cook for a further 10-15 minutes.  Remove and allow to cool, stuff with your homemade jelly then store in the fridge overnight, then your good to go, enjoy this glorious pork pie it is a outstanding pie.

6 Sept 2018


Cooking in a clay oven brick in a wood fired open flamed oven it doesn't get any better than this.  The most succulent juicy moist pulled pork shoulder slowly cooked in BBQ sauce spices, coke a cola and it's own stock juices this is an unbelievably melt in the mouth BBQ pork stuffed in to a buttery light brioche bun making sure the right ratio of bun to meat, general guide the bun should only be 1-2 cm thick and the meat, well at least 3" inches deep with extra BBQ meat aus jus juices poured over, a slight twist on the gorgeous French dip sandwich.

This is a five minute hands on cook with the oven doing the rest of the work, a really easy but super rewarding recipe.

Prep time 5 minutes / Slow Cooking time 3-4 hrs

(serves 6-10)

1kg pork shoulder rough diced
1 ltr coke
4 tbsp BBQ spice
50g dark soft brown sugar
150g tomato ketchup
1/2 tsp mustard
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 clove garlic grated
1 tsp Worcestershire 
1 pinch sea salt

In a clay oven brick, clay tandoor or casserole dish with a lid place the diced pork, add all the ingredients except the coke and mix evenly, add the coke and top up with water to just cover the pork if needed.  If cooking in a wood fired oven or over a fire pit then the cooking temperature needs to be around 180 C / 355 F to start for at least 1 hour and then lowering down slowly and naturally with the fire but ultimately keeping around 160 C / 320 F for the next 2-3hrs until your pork falls apart.

If cooking in a oven start at 180 C for the first hour then lower to 160 C for the reaming next 2 hrs or so until the pork is falling apart when gently squeezed, that's it, sometimes I like to add more BBQ sauce at this stage but that depends on the flavour.  Serve in toasted buttered brioche buns and enjoy, have plenty of napkins to hand as a good eat like this needs face mops!

4 Sept 2018


Serious gooey melty cheese pull, charred sautéed peppers and caramelised red onions with sweet chilli sauce this is so darn good make plenty as it's not a dish for sharing 

Prep time 5 minutes / Cooking time 10 minutes

(serves 1-2)

2 large soft flour tortillas 
200g grated mozzarella cheese
50ml sweet chilli sauce 
1 glug olive oil
1 tbsp butter
1/4 red pepper diced
1/4 green pepper diced
1 small red onion sliced
1 small bunch fresh coriander chopped
1 tub sour cream

To Cook
Heat a skillet medium hot, add the olive oil, peppers and onions, sauté for five minutes until slightly caramelised, remove from the skillet, place the skillet back on the heat, lower to a medium heat, add the butter to melt.  Place one flour tortilla in the skillet, sprinkle with half the cheese, all the peppers and onions, some fresh coriander, the sweet chilli sauce and finish off with a final layer of cheese, place the remaining flour tortilla on top, leave to gently cook for approx five minutes, to turn over place a plate on top of the skillet and turn over so that the quesadilla is now on the plate, slide the quesadilla back in to the skillet and leave to gently cook for the remaining five minutes ensuring that all the cheese has melted.

To serve drizzle with sour cream more sweet chilli sauce and the remaining fresh coriander, serve cut in to quarters and enjoy.