31 Dec 2018


Whole 30 Flaxseed Apricot Bars

To ease myself away from the physical carbohydrates cravings that my body is adjusting back to a low carb diet I make these flax, chia seed apricot squares for that go to snack so I don’t eat something I will regret during my whole 30 re-start.  

Here we go again my my why did I eat so much over Christmas 😆.  It has been a wonderful Christmas of eating and merriment, but it has to stop and while my naughty side and taste buds have throughly enjoyed eating all the food groups that cause inflammation and speedy weight gain my body has told me No on several occasions over the last two weeks.  I am pleased that naturally I have had enough and desperately want my clean living balanced lifestyle back!  I would also like to fit in to my clothes again! 

(Makes 8 bars)

250g dried sulphur free apricots
1cup flax seed milled
1/4 cup chia seeds
1/4 cup psyllium husk
1/2 cup sunflower and pumpkin seeds
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
50-100ml water

Place all the ingredients except the water in a food processor and blitz until incorporated, add the water I start with 50ml and blitz to combine, feel the mixture it wants to be moist enough to hold together.

Place the mixture in to a 6" x 4" baking tin and press down firmly in to all the corners, pop in the fridge and leave to firm up for an hour or so and thats it, I then cut the block in to 8 bars and wrap in parchment paper so that my family can just grab and go.

You can alternatively roll the mixture in to individual balls.

Geeky Good For You Food Science Bit...


Just to start 28g of Flaxseed will give you over 6000mg of omega (ALA)-3, 8g of fiber, over 30% of Vitamin B1, Manganese, Magnesium, 19% Phosphorus and 10% Selenium, along with good amounts of B6, Iron, Potassium, Copper and Zinc.

Flaxseed is one of the most nutrient dense foods on the planet, maybe the orgional first Super Food!

High in fiber and low in carbs, the seeds have a high level of mucilage gum, a gel forming water soluble fiber which is beneficial to the intestinal tract.  Also high in insoluble fiber which supports colon detoxification.  Flaxseeds provide food for the friendly bacteria in your colon that can help cleanse waste from your system.  3 tbsp flax seed oil with a glass of carrot juice can act as a natural constipation relieve.

The ALA fats in flax seed support healthy skin, nails and hair by providing essential fats and B vitamins, can help to improve acne, Rosales and eczema, and dry eye syndrome.  Even better is flax seed oil, 2 tbsp daily in your diet increases the concentration of healthy fats.

Lowers cholesterol, the soluble fiber content of flax seed traps fat and cholesterol in the digestive system so that it is unable to be absorbed, soluble fiber also traps bile which is made from cholesterol in the gall bladder, bile is excreted through the digestive system which forces the body to make more using up excess cholesterol in the blood and lowering cholesterol overall.

Packed with Antioxidants (Lignans), these are a unique fiber related polyphenols that provide us with antioxidant benefits, these support anti aging, hormone balance and cellular health.  Lignans are also high in anti viral and antibacterial properties, therefore may offer protection agains colds and flu.

Digestive Health the ALA in flax seed can help protect the lining of the digestive tract and maintain GI health.  It has been shown to be beneficial for people suffering from Crohn's disease and other digestive ailments, can also help reduce gut inflammation.

Flax seed and Cancer, there a studies that links time and time again that flax seed may decrease the risk of breast cancer, prostate, ovarian and colon cancer, the three Lignans found in flaxseeds can be converted by intestinal bacteria into enterolactone and enterodiol which naturally balance hormones which may be the reason flax seeds reduce the risk of breast cancer.


Have a natural phenolic (antioxidant) concentration and the antioxidant activity is shown in studies to stop up to 70% of free radical activity, this speeds up the body's response to repairing damage in turn this prevents further cell damage.

Very high in fiber, 28g has 11g of fiber thats half your RDA, fiber not only supports healthy gut and colon but is essential for your body's ability to balance insulin levels.  A natural blood sugar balancer due to their high fiber content and healthy fats.

Chia seeds ability to reverse inflammation, regulate cholesterol and lower blood pressure make them extremely beneficial to consume for heart health, by lowering and reversing oxidative stress you are less likely to develop atherosclerosis.

Fatty Acids, linoleum acid helps the body absorb fat soluble vitamins, A, D, E and K, for such a tiny seed Chia is incredibly high in healthy fats boasting more omega 3s then salmon.  Omega 3s work to protect inflammation, lower blood pressure and bad cholesterol.

Bones, just 28g of chia seeds has almost 20% of your RDA of calcium, fundamental to bone health.  A great protein.

High in alpha lipoid acids (ALA) a omega 3, ALA is found to limit the growth of cancer cells in both breast and cervical cancers.  It causes cell death of the cancer cells without harming the normal healthy cells.

Packed with calcium, phosphorus, vitamin A and zinc chia seeds are also great for your teeth and tooth health.  Zinc prevents tartar by keeping plaque from mineralising on to your teeth and has an antibacterial effect that keeps bad breath germs at bay, vitamin A and phosphorus are important for strong teeth and a healthy mouth.

30 Dec 2018


You so got to try this...
This simple old French Classic is such a outstandingly great dish, succulent lightly garlic infused roast chicken with a gorgeous white wine and herb infused stock liquor and the wow factor is the toasted sour dough slices that you squeeze out the whole roasted garlic cloves purée, paste on the toasted bread then dip this giant creamy garlic crouton in to that gorgeous white wine roasted chicken stock, unbelievably off the chart !  The home smells divine and everyone’s eagerly awaiting dinner.  

Prep time 10 minutes / Cooking time 2kg Chicken 1hr 20mins 
Resting time 20-30 minutes 

(serves 4-6)

2kg Organic Chicken 
40 whole cloves garlic unpeeled
2 carrots roughly chopped
2 sticks celery roughly chopped
2 onions quartered unpeeled
2 sprigs rosemary
6 sprigs thyme
8 stems parsley
250ml dry white wine
200ml water or homemade chicken stock
Olive oil
25g butter
Himalayan sea salt 
Black pepper

Pre heat your oven to 200 C / 392 F,  place the carrots, celery and onions in the bottom of a casserole dish, put a sprig of thyme, parsley and rosemary along with 6 cloves of garlic in to the cavity of the chicken, add the remaining herbs to the casserole dish, place the chicken in to the casserole dish, rub with olive oil and season with salt and pepper, sprinkle over the garlic cloves, add the white wine and chicken stock and that’s it, pop on a lid and place in the oven until the juices run clear when the thigh is pierced or when your food probe reaches 65-68 C / 147 F.  If you want crispy skin then remove the lid for the last 30 minutes.  Once cooked leave to rest for 30 minutes.

The Stock Gravy
After 20 minutes of resting strain off the cooking liquid in to a saucepan, reserve all the whole garlic cloves to one side, Squeeze out half the reserved garlic purée cloves in to the stock gravy, bring the gravy to a rapid boil and reduce by one third, take off the heat, add the butter and taste for seasoning, that’s your gravy done.

Garlic Croutons 
Slice your sour dough bread thin, drizzle with a hint of olive oil and bake in the oven for 10 minutes turning over half way through while the chicken is resting.

To Serve
Serve a generous portion of the garlic cloves with the chicken and croutons, squeeze out the reserved garlic purée cloves on to the croutons and dip these gorgeous decadent croutons in the rich stock gravy and enjoy.  I also serve this meal with quartered savoy cabbage braised in chicken stock and tossed in butter.

29 Dec 2018


42 Get Ahead Dinner’s 
I love stocking my freezer with these make ahead sheet pan tray bake dinners, knowing a fabulous family dinner is marinating in the fridge or freezer ready to go at a moments notice with lots of fresh veggies will be on the family table in 20 minutes means dinner is sorted.  This also means I can spend more time with my family and the bonus is left overs for lunch salads, wraps, quesadillas and tacos this is a winning formula.

What I love about get ahead dinners is the whole family are involved in making the weeks prep ahead dinners list which at some point usually gets a little loud with a hundred or so suggestions a minute being launched at me!  This is my family's next choices for this batch of get ahead dinners, 

Prep time 2 hours Made 42 Meals / Cooking time 18-20 minutes

These are some of my families favourite go to dinners, just make a meal plan for what you guys love and stock up your fridge and feeezer for a week or month, this prep ahead really pays off on those busy week nights when time is short.

Skinless boned out chicken thighs seasoned with salt and pepper, rolled in Dijon mustard, filled with sliced mozzarella forked in half and wrapped with sweetcure bacon, tossed in olive oil.  To cook place on sheet pan and roast for 18-20 minutes, turning half way through.

Tri tip or skirt steak seasoned with Himalayan sea salt, black pepper, Kashmiri chilli powder and ground cumin, place in bag with good glug of olive oil. To cook sear the steak in a skillet for 2 minutes each side, remove from the pan and leave to rest for 5 minutes, slice on the bias and serve with all the usual taco fixings.

Tri tip of skirt steak seasoned with Himalayan sea salt, white pepper and dried oregano, toss with olive oil.  To cook sear the steak in a hot skillet for a couple of minutes on each side, leave to rest for 5 minutes, very thinly slice on the bias and serve stuffed in to pitta breads topped with ice berg salad, lime slaw, chilli sauce, garlic mayonnaise and green kebab pickled chillies.

Chicken, soy sauce, sesame oil, sesame seeds, Himalayan sea salt, white pepper, grated ginger, fresh garlic, spring onions and olive oil.  To cook empty the chicken in to a roasting tin and bake in the oven for 18-20 minutes, serve with shredded stir fry veggies of broccoli, asparagus, red and white cabbage wok seared with sesame oil, soy sauce and a dash of shaoxing wine.

Diced boneless skinless chicken thigh meat, olive oil, Himalayan sea salt, black pepper and dried oregano.  To cook place in a roasting tin and bake for 10-12 minutes until just cooked, serve with kebab flat breads stuffed with salad, slaw, chilli sauce, garlic mayonnaise and kebab pickled chillies.

Chicken, olive oil, Himalayan sea salt, black pepper, dried oregano, ground cumin, coriander, chilli, paprika, onion powder, garlic powder and ancho chipotle chilli powder.  To cook place in a roasting tray with sliced red and green peppers and sliced onions, bake for 18 minutes, serve with soft flour tortillas, guacamole, sour cream, pico de gallo, pickled jalapeños, iceberg salad and grated cheese.

Chicken, olive oil, whole bottle West Indian hot sauce, Himalayan sea salt and black pepper, blue cheese reserved for later.  Place in a roasting tin with sliced peppers and onions and bake for 18 minutes, 3 minutes before cooking time is up crumble the blue cheese over the chicken to melt.  Serve with broccoli and home fries, or stuffed in to tortilla wraps or tacos with iceberg salad and fixings.

Chicken, olive oil, diced red and green peppers, onions, mushrooms, garlic, tin of chopped tomatoes, sea salt, black pepper, dried Italian herbs, tsp tomato puree and of sugar, dash of red wine optional, olives optional.  To cook empty the bag in to your roasting tin and cook in the oven for 20-24 minutes, serve over pasta or with rice and veggies.

Chicken, olive oil, Himalayan sea salt, black pepper, oregano, ground ginger, ground cardamom, garlic and onion powder, piri piri chilli powder, cayenne pepper, sliced peppers, onions and butter.  To cook place in a roasting tin and bake for 18-20 minutes until cooked serve over pasta or with home fries and veggies or stuffed in to flatbreads with salad.

Ground beef, sea salt, black pepper, grated Parmesan, onion powder, garlic powder, turmeric, chilli powder, oregano, mix and shape in to balls.  Marinara
Sauce onions, garlic, olive oil, chilli powder, pinch sugar, oregano, tomatoes, leave to cook for at least one hour then chill and cover meatballs.  To cook place in a roasting tin and bake in the oven for around 25 minutes serve with spaghetti or stuffed in to subs loaded with melted cheese.

Chicken, butter, olive oil, garlic, mushrooms, asparagus, sea salt and white pepper.  To cook place in a roasting tin and bake for 18 minutes, serve with fries, veggies or add a glug of cream and white wine and serve over pasta with Parmesan.

All in one pan at the same time, onions, garlic, olive oil, onion powder, garlic powder, mexine powder, cayenne, ground cumin, oregano, ground beef, tins tomato, tomato purée.  To cook leave to gently simmer away for a couple of hours finish off with a few knobs of butter.  This is a recipe that the flavours are better the day after.

To cook pre heat your oven to 200 C / 392 F, place your marinated meats on a sheet pan, toss your veggies, broccoli, red onion, garlic, red and green bell peppers, squash and courgettes in olive oil and maybe some fresh lemon juic, sea salt and ground black pepper and arrange on the sheet pan, pop in the oven and bake for around 18 minutes for chicken and 12 minutes for fish, check that your protein is cooked through and serve with a side of house salad.

28 Dec 2018


Buttery flakey shortcrust puff pastry stuffed and layered with all the Christmas dinner trimmings, cranberry cardamom sauce and served with a jug of roast turkey giblet gravy makes these a outstanding pie dinner from left overs.  I like to make these as individual pies for that over indulgence maximum pastry consumption at this time of the year.

Prep time 30 minutes / Cooking time 25 minutes 

(makes 8 small pies)

Left Over Filling
500g left over white and dark turkey meat
300ml left over to turkey gravy
8 chipolatas wrapped in bacon cooked
8 tbsp cooked left over stuffing
8 cooked brussel sprouts
4 tbsp cranberry sauce infused with cardamom 

Shortcrust Puff Pastry
450g plain flour
110g cold cubed butter
110g lard
180ml cold water
10g sea salt
1 beaten egg for glaze

The Shortcrust Puff Pastry
Mix the salt in to the flour, roughly rub or cut the butter and lard in to the flour not to finely, add the water just bring together to form a ball working very lightly.  Press the pastry in to a disk, to create a puff in the short crust fold the disk in half, push the pastry back out to a disk and turn 90 degrees, fold in half again, press out again, turn 90 degrees, repeat twice more so a total of four turns, this will create layers with the butter and lard which when cooked will melt and slightly puff up for a flakey short crust pastry, wrap in parchment paper and chill for 30 minutes.  Pre heat your oven 200 C / 392 F.

Cut one third of the pastry off and reserve for the pie lids, roll out your pastry as thin as you dare and line your pie tins, fill each pie to the edges to create full layers, first with a little gravy and turkey, then stuffing next place a bacon wrapped chipolata in the centre and sliced brussel sprouts either side of the sausage filling in the gap with cranberry sauce, top the final layer with more turkey and gravy, brush the edges with the egg yolk and seal on the pastry top, decorate the pie top with pastry leaves, give the pastry a egg wash and bake for 25 minutes until golden brown.

27 Dec 2018


Guaranteed Perfection Everytime

This is a guaranteed fool proof perfect cook every time!

As I always say the proof of a brilliant recipe is in the method and enhanced with the animal welfare of the ingredients along with the experience of the cook, well yes the more you know the better you can navigate those Ops! what do I do now or should I have done this moments, but information like that comes from experience and while your still learning that Ops is still a variable that can cause you a wobble!  So this cooking method is for those of us who do not cook these meals very often and need a fool proof cooking method that will deliver perfection without fail for the most glorious results for that special family or friends dinner!  

The Secret is in all the 2's, 220C for 20 minutes, 200C for 20 minutes, rest for 20 minuets 

Prep time 30 minutes / Cooking time 40 minutes / Resting time 20 minutes

(serves 6-8)

The Rough Puff Pastry
330g self raising flour
130g suet
150g water
1 pinch Himalayan sea salt 
200g butter

The Wellington 
1kg centre cut fillet steak
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp olive oil
200g chestnut mushrooms finely chopped
1 small onion finely chopped
1 clove garlic finely chopped
1 pinch Himalayan sea salt 
1 pinch black pepper 
6 slices Parma ham optional 
1 beaten egg for wash

First make the rough puff pastry, place all the ingredients except the butter in a bowl and bring together to a rough ball, roll out to a 1/2 " thick rectangle, slice the butter into 12 slices, place 3 butter slices on the top first half of the rolled out pastry and fold up the bottom half covering the butter, turn the folded pastry 90 degrees and roll out to rectangle again, repeat 3 more times, wrap in parchment paper or cloth and rest in the fridge for 30 minutes while you make the mushroom pate.

This is roughly how your rough puff pastry will look inside, all the layers of butter are what will melt and make your rough puff, puff up and become light, melt in the mouth pastry.

The Mushroom Pate
Heat a skillet medium hot, add the butter and olive oil, add the onions and garlic and soften for five minutes, add the mushrooms and cook for a further five minutes, remove from the pan and leave to one side to cool.

Searing The Beef
Using the same pan heat hot and sear the fillet steak until browned all over, remove from the heat and leave to cool.

The Wellington 
Pre heat your oven 220 C degrees
Roll out your pastry to a large thin rectangle, that will cover the beef fillet when wrapped up, you do not want any excessive overlapping, maybe a centimetre or so as to much overlapping will cook soggy, trim off as much excess as you dare.  If using the Parma ham lay a blanket over the pastry then  spread the mushroom pate on the pastry up to a inch or so away from the edges of the pastry, place the fillet of seared beef in the centre of the pastry and bring the left and right side up and over the fillet to cover, now hug the ends of the pastry parcel around the end of the beef fillet, trim off as much excess pastry as you dare, turn the parcel over so that the Wellington is now sitting seam side down and using your hands hug/tuck the minimal excess pastry back under the Wellington parcel.  

The Key To Success is all in The 2's ...
220 C 20 minutes, 200 C 20 minutes, 20 minutes resting ...

Place your beef Wellington parcel on a baking sheet, egg wash generously all over and place in your pre heated hot oven, once in do not touch or open that door!  After a further 20 minutes turn the temperature down to 200 degrees C and quickly turn the Wellington 180 degrees in the oven, next as soon as your 20 minute timer alerts you take your Beef Wellington out of the oven and leave to rest on the side for 20 minutes, this gives you time to fuss with any side dishes you want to serve with this dish.  Resting is as important as cooking.

 That's it, your Beef Wellington is now ready to carve and serve perfectly rare-medium and juicy to your family or guests.  It really is a beautifully simple dish when you have the perfect cooking method.


This is so good your left over Christmas Day Turkey will give your family a second outstandingly gorgeous meal.  So aromatic, fragrant and full of flavour this is a new Best Ever for our Christmas curry and we will not be going back.  I had to remove the tasting spoon while the curry rested or there would not have been enough turkey curry left to feed the family...this would not be the first time that has happened!!!

Prep Time 10 minutes / Cooking Time 30 minutes

(serves 4)

Fresh Fragrant Ingredients
2 tbsp ghee
1 onion finely diced
3 cloves garlic finely diced
2 tbsp finely grated ginger
4 fresh curry leaves (or dried) 

Whole Spices
4" long stick cinnamon
8 cardamom pods bashed half open
2 whole cloves
1 tsp toasted fennel seeds
1 tsp garam masala 

Dry Spices
1 tbsp turmeric
1 tbsp ground cumin
1 tbsp ground coriander seeds
1 tbsp kashmiri chilli powder
1 pinch mace powder
1 tsp sea salt

Curry Ingredients
500g + left over turkey
3 tbsp tomato puree
500ml turkey stock from the braised roasted bird
(Stock recipe below)

Finishing Ingredients
50ml double cream
125g natural yogurt
1/2 bunch roughly chopped coriander
1 tsp garam masala (homemade recipe below)

Heat a saucepan medium hot and add the ghee once melted add all the whole spices and gently fry for a couple of minutes, next add the onion and garlic and soften for around 15 minutes, add the ginger and fry for a further couple of minutes before adding all the dry spices, stir in well.

Add the chicken and coat well in all the spices then add the water and tomato puree, stir in and bring to a low gentle simmer, pop on a lid and cook for around 30 minutes, take the lid off and reduce the sauce if needed, I like a lot of sauce!  

When ready to serve stir in the cream, yogurt and coriander and adjust seasoning to taste if required.  Serve with fluffy rice and warm flat breads for dunking and scoping up this wonderful curry.

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 or tiffin tin and use within three months ensure the freshest flavours

Turkey Stock
Reserve all the best meat, keep separate for the curry
For The Stock Pot
Turkey bones, skin and left over trimmings
1 tbsp turkey fat dripping
2 carrots
3 sticks celery
1 large onion
1 while bulb garlic halved
1 leek
2 fresh bay leaves
10 whole peppercorns
few sprigs of fresh thyme
handfull of fresh parsley
1 tsp Himalayan salt
1 tsp white ground pepper
1 tsp turmeric powder or grated
Water to cover the ingredients 

Take a large stock pot add the turkey drippings, carrot, onion, garlic, celery and leek soften for around ten minutes, add the bay leaves, peppercorns, thyme, place all the ingredients in to the pan, pour in the water until you have just covered the turkey, pop on a lid and gently simmer for 1hr if using a pressure cooker or 2-3hrs on a low and slow in a stock pot, once cooked turn off the heat and leave to cool, at this point I taste the stock and season with more salt and pepper, if it is a bit watery you can reduce the amount of liquid to strengthen the flavour, once cool strain and that’s your stock..

24 Dec 2018


This recipe is based on Tom Kerridges Christmas carrots but twisted with my own recipe for orange braised carrots.  These went down a treat on our family Christmas dinner table elevating the carrots to one of those special Christmas Day dishes.

Prep time 5 minutes / Cooking time 40 minutes

(serves 4-6)

12 whole carrots peeled
4 oranges juiced
1 pack salted butter
4 whole star anise
2 tsp Himalayan sea salt
150g light brown sugar
300ml water

Place all the ingredients except the carrots in a saucepan and bring to a simmer, place the carrots in and gently simmer for 40 minutes until the carrots are fork tender, remove the carrots and place to one side turn up the heat and reduce the cooking liquid until syrupy, take off the heat, pop the carrots back in to coat in the syrup and serve with a drizzle of the syrup.

19 Dec 2018


Best Ever Christmas Turkey 
This is a easy no stress guaranteed perfect Christmas turkey, juicy moist full of flavour and truly no stress needed!  After all the stress we put on ourselves is to please the people we love (or not!) the most.  In all of my cooking career private and professional, hint private more stressful!, method and knowledge giving me more experience is the key to success time and time again.  This method once nailed is your forever key to successfully repeating that show stopping Christmas Dinner, however Christmas is about family and no matter how your Christmas dinner turns out, someone with great love for you, or you yourself cooked their heart out for the family Christmas dinner remember it is a beautiful dinner made with love. 


To start you need a beautiful slow raised old fashioned breed turkey, this year I ordered a Organic COPAS Hen turkey, a bronze free range out door living, rain forest diet feed, loved turkey that was raised to full maturity and game hung (with innards) for two weeks.  This turkey was magnificent, the size and shape of the bird echoed it's rooting lifestyle.

I follow the simple minutes per pound cooking rule, which for a turkey is 15 minutes per lb as a guide line but I do use a thermometer to test the temperature of the bird and I remove the turkey from the oven as soon as the centre reaches 64 / 65 degrees C, 148 / 149 F.  Then the most important part is to rest the turkey for at least 1 hour covered in foil and a towel for insulation keeping the bird warm.  This cooking method has always given me the most juicy moist succulent roasted turkey ever.  As soon as my turkey reaches 64 degrees out she comes and this ensures the turkey stops cooking at 65 degrees.

Preparing The Turkey 
Herby butter stuffing.  This is to go under the skin of the turkey, with the back of a dessert spoon facing up, slide the spoon between the skin and the breast meat gently all over creating a pocket between the breast and skin, stuff lots of seasoned butter in to the pockets you’ve made this gives extra moisture to the meat while cooking.  Rub a generous amount of the herb butter all over the turkey skin too.  Place the turkey on top of a mirapaw, french for mixed vegetables that will add a abundance of flavour to your gravy along with the giblets, I always order 15 sets extra of giblets from my butcher as a few people don’t want them so I will use them to make great stock for the rest of the year too.

Turkey Mirapaw Roasting Base To Go Under The Turkey 
3 carrots diced
2 sticks celery diced
2 leeks diced 
2 onions diced
6 cloves garlic bashed

This method results in a perfect cooked turkey every time.
15 minutes per lb 
Probe temp max 64 degrees C / 149 F in the thickest part of the breast

Pre-heat to 220 degrees
Place your Turkey un-covered on top of the mirapaw and one set of giblets into the oven and immediately turn the temperature down to 170 degrees / 338 F.  Cook for 30 minutes, by then your turkey skin will be browned all over, baste the turkey all over several time with the juices from the bottom of the roasting pan, then cover well with tin foil and leave to cook.  Half way through baste again.  Some recipes reverse the cooking temperature method by cooking at 170 degrees C then for the last 30 minutes cranking the heat up to 220 degrees to brown off the bird.  I don’t do this as I feel it toughens the meat, the turkey has cooked and relaxed nice and slow then by increasing the heat it’s like if you sat your bottom on a hot grill, tense!

Once cooked I then give my turkey a extra baste and sometimes using my Cajun injector, inject the cooking juices into the breasts.  Now wrap up the turkey in generous amounts of foil and cover with a couple of tea towels and leave to rest for at least 30 minutes.  This now gives you at least 30 minutes to one hour to make your gravy, cook your roast potatoes, carrots, parsnips, pigs in blankets, sprouts and stuffing then your ready to serve after enjoying the day too.

Drain off the cooking juices into a jug and now we can finish off the gravy.  
1 knob of butter
1 dash of olive oil 
1 onion chopped
2 carrots chopped
2 sticks celery chopped
Turkey giblets
2 bay leaves
10 black peppercorns
200ml dry white wine
2 ltrs water

In a large pan melt the butter and olive oil together, soften the onion, carrot and celery then add the giblets, bay and peppercorns and cook for 10 minutes then add the wine and reduce by half.  Add 2 litres of water and simmer for an hour or so until the stock has reduced by half.  You should be left with approx 1000ml.  This is your base for the most awesome gravy.

I do this stage on Christmas Eve so on the day all I have to do is add some seasoned flour to my turkey pan, let it melt into the fat, you can always add a little more fat if needed, cook out for a minute or so and then add your stock and whisk to a smooth gravy, taste and season well.

This is something you can do the day before and keep in the fridge ready to go on the day.

12 chicken wings
2 carrots rough chopped
1 onion quartered 
3 sprigs thyme
1 bulb garlic halved
Glug olive oil
2 ltrs water

Pre heat your oven to 200 degrees C 392 F, place all the ingredients in a deep roasting tin and roast in the oven for 30-40 minutes until the skin on the wings is crispy.  Add 2 ltrs of water to the roasting tin and cook for a further 10 minutes so that the water can de-glaze all the lovely caramelised bits on the bottom of the roasting tin and infuse from the roasted chicken skin.  Remove the tin from the oven and then using a potato masher crush all the wings, garlic, onions and carrots in to the water creating the most wonderful flavours.

Drain in to a large bowl through a sieve and push all that wonderful liquid through the sieve.  That is your fabulous base gravy made for the big day, just add this to your roasted turkey pan cooking juices on the day and following the gravy making tips above.

18 Dec 2018


French Pie Tin Show Stopper
Glorious hot water roasted crackling lard crust pork pie, a beautiful pie that every mouthful sings of great times shared with family and friends.  Organic raised loved and rootling pork seasoned with fresh sage and thyme from the garden and old fashioned mace. Home made jelly or Not! 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 Christmas and New Years and I love to make these as gifts for friends and family to enjoy over the festive season, love in every bite.

Cooking these pie’s for family and friends as gifts at Christmas is a lovely time out for me where I get to be in the kitchen for most of the day, I start by getting the jelly cooking first, if you are into jelly! I’m not, my family are and through food law I respect that jelly is a important honest historic part of a pork pie and I do nose to tail cooking but if like me your not in to jelly just leave it out, it’s personal just go with it, however I f you are into jelly like so many of my London family then you will need to start this cooking day with the jelly, this is so that later 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.


New Years Eve too...
These are a beautiful addition to your Boxing Day or New Years Eve party food, gorgeous light melt in the mouth suet crust pastry filled with slow braised chuck steak in Guinness and roasted bone marrow stock even more flavour is added buy the rustic style allowing the over filled pies to ooze out the delicious deep stock gravy which gets slightly caramelised during the baking adding a whole other level of flavour!  These pies are outstandingly delicious and your friends and family will devour them leaving you with a reputation that you may find you having lots of requests for these gorgeous pies.

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.