Saturday, 3 October 2009

Venison Casserole

This tasty casserole can be made using beef or venison or a mixture of the two. I prefer venison and I buy 'casserole' venison which is already cut into large cubes so is very easy to use. There is almost no fat on the venison so no trimming is needed and therefore no waste.

1 orange
150g each no soak pitted prunes and apricots
125g raisins
200ml orange juice
150 ml dry sherry
900g venison
1 level tsp salt
1 level tsp black peppercorns
2 level tsp coriander seeds
450g onions
2 tbs oil
1/2 level tsp each of ground mace and ground cinnamon
pinch allspice
1 level tbs cornflour
450ml beef stock
2 tbs balsamic vinegar
Couscous to accompany

Finely grate the orange rind and squeeze the juice
Combine the orange juice and sherry add the dried fruit, cover and leave overnight to soak.
Cut the venison into large (4cm) cubes if necessary.
Season with the salt,
Crush the peppercorns and coriander seeds,
Slice the onions finely,
Heat the oil in a large heavy flameproof casserole and brown the meat in small batches until it has a a rich colour,
Add a little more oil if necessary and fry the onions gently until golden brown,
Put the meat back into the pan with the spices, orange rind and flour, cook whilst stirring for a few minutes,
Add the stock and combine and bring to the boil,
Add the vinegar,
Cover and cook in the oven at 150C for 1 hour,
Remove the casserole from the oven,
Drain the fruit from the liquid and put to one side,
Add the soaking liquid to the casserole, cover and return to the oven for another 1 hour or until the meat is very tender,
Add the reserved fruit, stir and return to the oven for 5 mins to heat the fruit.
This dish is best served with couscous but could be served with mashed potatoes.

This dish can be made in advance - just under cook it and reheat before serving, ideal for entertaining and a wonderful Christmas dish.

Sunday, 30 August 2009

Potato Salad with Sundried Tomato and Basil dressing

1 kg new potatoes
6 pieces of sundried tomatoes in oil
large handful of fresh basil
1 clove garlic
150 ml bought mayonnaise
black pepper

Boil the potatoes in the skins in salted water until tender.
Drain, and put to one side until cool enough to handle.
Skin the potatoes - the skins will lift off easily of the potatoes are still warm.
Cut into large bite sized pieces and put into mixing bowl.
Slice the sundried tomatoes thinly and add to the potatoes.
To make to dressing use a food processor or hand held blender and blend until smooth, the mayonaisse, the basil, the garlic, 4tbs of the oil from the jar of tomatoes, black pepper and some salt. Blend until smooth.
Mix together with the potatoes and sundried tomatoes, put into a serving dish and put in the fridge for several hours to allow the flavours to develop. Bring to room temperature before serving, as the flavour will be better, but don't leave in a warm place for too long.

These proportions are a rough guide, generally allow 150g - 200g potatoes per person and use a full jar of sundried tomatoes for anything up to 2kg of potatoes. Use as much basil as you have available.

Wednesday, 26 August 2009

Potato Ravioli, with Mushrooms, Garlic and anchovies

Here is my version for potato ravioli, based on a recipe of Paul Rankins, It sounds very plain and dull, but it is completely the opposite - try it.

50gm butter
1 small onion
3 cloves of garlic
450g potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 cm cubes
175ml milk
20g dried mushrooms
3 tbs chopped chives
Salt and black pepper
Fresh pasta( made with 285g pasta flour or strong plain flour, 1/2tsp salt, 2 large beaten eggs, 1tbs olive oil, flour for dusting)
1 egg
6 anchovy fillets, roughly chopped

Heat 25g butter in a large frying pan,
Add the chopped onion and 1/3 of the garlic.
Sauté gently for about 3 mins.
Add the potatoes, half of the dried mushrooms and the milk and cover, cook over a very low heat until tender.
Mash the potato mixture with another knob of butter, add 2 tbs of chopped chives and season.
Put remaining chopped dried mushrooms into a bowl and cover with boiling water - leave to soak until later.
Make the pasta in a food processor. Then using a pasta machine roll out into thin sheets the width of the pasta machine.

Place one sheet of pasta on a flat surface, lightly floured, On one long side of the pasta place small spoonfulls of the potato mixture about 7.5 cm appart.
Brush the edges of the pasta and between the potato mixture with beaten egg, fold over the other half over the filling and press to seal around the potato mounds. Cut the ravioli into square and make sure the seals are closed by using the prongs of a fork to seal the edges of each pasta parcel.
Put to one side on a lightly floured tray.
Repeat with the remaining pasta.

To serve, cook the pasta in a large pan of boiling salted water until the ravioli rises to the surface, this only takes 2 - 3 minutes.
In the meantime prepare the dressing.
In a small pan heat the remaining butter, add the remaining soaked dried mushrooms, cook for a few minutes and boil off the liquid until a small amount is remaining. Add the anchovies, the oil from the tin/jar, remaining chopped chives and the garlic and a little course ground black pepper and just heat through.

Drain the pasta and serve on warm plates, drizzle with the dressing and serve immediately.

Saturday, 18 July 2009

Tagliattelle with mussels

We enjoyed a supper of mussels, steamed simply with white wine, onion, garlic, salt and pepper. There were a few mussles left when we had eaten sufficient, so I took the remaining mussels out of their shells and saved them and the liquid which was left. The next day we enjoyed a lovely dish of homemade pasta and a simple mussel sauce.

We enjoyed a supper of mussels, steamed simply with white wine, onion, garlic, salt and pepper. There were a few mussels left when we had eaten sufficient, so I took the remaining mussels out of their shells and saved them and the liquid which was left. The next day we enjoyed a lovely dish of home-made pasta and a simple mussel sauce.

200g Pasta - tagliattelle either bought or home made
100g streaky bacon, cut into thin strips
small knob of butter
1/2 onion finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
200g spinach leaves or the green part of swiss chard cut into 1 cm strips
liquid from mussels
4 tbs creme fraiche / sour cream
mussels (just a cupful is sufficient)

Sauté the bacon gently in the butter
When the fat starts brown add the onion and garlic and cook until the onion is soft but not brown
Add the spinach to the pan and allow to wilt.
Add the remaining juices and reduce rapidly
Stir in the cream
Add the mussels and allow to warm through gently.

Add the cooked pasta and toss together serve immediately.
Sufficient for two people

Sunday, 14 June 2009

Welsh Amber Tart

4 eggs
75g sugar
grated rind 1/2 lemon, optional
2 heaped tablespoons marmalade
100g unsalted butter, melted
shortcrust pastry to line a 15cm/7inch flan dish, homemade or bought

Bake the pastry case at 200C for 10 - 15 mins, until set.
If using a foil pastry case put it onto a baking tray first so that it is easier to move in and out of the oven, and avoids the pastry from cracking.

Beat the eggs, sugar lemon rind and marmalade together.
Whisk in the melted butter.
Pour this mixture into the warm pastry case and return to the oven and bake at 190C for another 20 mins.
Serve warm or cold

Sunday, 24 May 2009

Toasted Bulghur Wheat Salad

3/4 cup of Bulgar wheat
1 1/2 cups of hot vegetable stock (a stock cube dissolved in hot water)
Good seasoning of black pepper
1/2 tsp salt
2 Tbs mint sauce (if possible use fresh mint sauce from Salisbury's)
1/2 cucumber diced
4 spring onions
2 tomatoes chopped
1/3 cup oil
2 tbs lemon juice
1 clove garlic

Put the Bulgar wheat into a dry frying pan, stir over a gentle heat until lightly browned, don't for get to keep stirring and don't walk away and leave it - it burns very quickly!
Turn off the heat and carefully pour over the hot stock with the pepper and salt.
Stir until combined and leave for 20 mins for the stock to be absorbed.
Add the onions, cucumber and tomato.
Blend the oil lemon juice and garlic together until smooth and add pour over the salad, toss until combined.
If you have fresh parsley add a good handful of chopped parsley for extra flavour and colour.

Friday, 15 May 2009

Grapefruit and Spinach Salad

Small bag of salad spinach (320g)
2 red grapefruit
Parmesan cheese either in a piece or flakes

2 tbs balsamic vinegar
2 tsp honey
1/3 cup olive or sunflower oil
1/2 course ground pepper
1 clove of garlic

Using a serrated knife cut the top and bottom off the grapefruit then cut off the rest of the peel and all white pith. then cut out the segments. Cut over a bowl to catch the juices.
Mix the spinach leaves with the grapefruit.
Put all the dressing ingredients into a container with the juice of the grapefruit and using a had held blender (or food processor) puree until everything is incorporated.
Pour over the spinach and toss until all the leaves are coated.
Using a potato peeler flake the Parmesan cheese over the top of the salad.

Sunday, 3 May 2009


I have been wondering which recipes to add to my blog. If there is a recipe you would like me to add please let me know as I think I have added all the ones you have asked for so far. It is a wonderful time of the year on the market yesterday there was plently of local asparagus, not cheap I admit but tastes really good and the season is so short we really have to enjoy it while it is here. Simply boiled until just cooked with a butter sauce is superb or make a bunch go further by adding it to smoked salmon or prawns and toss with pasta and some creme fraiche for a simple supper dish.

New potatoes are coming on to the market too, again why spoil them just boil and toss in butter and freshly chopped chives.

Let's enjoy food as it comes into season and try to buy it locally but don't pay over the odds for something special unless you really can afford it - wait a week or two until it becomes more plentiful and the price comes down.


Sunday, 22 March 2009

Aubergine cooked in the pickling style

2.5 cm cube fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
6 large cloves garlic, peeled
55ml water
800g aubergines
sunflower or vegetable oil, about 350ml
1 tsp fennel seeds
1/2tsp kalonji or cumin seeds
1 400g can chopped tomatoes
1 tbs ground coriander seeds
1/4 tsp turmeric
1/3 tsp cayenne pepper (more if you like)
1 tsp salt

Put the ginger and garlic in a small blender/food processor with 55ml water, blend until smooth.
Cut the aubergines in to wedges or slices about 2cm thick and about 5cm long
Put a metal sieve over a heat resistant bowl.
Heat some oil in a heavy frying pan enough to give about 1/3 cm depth.
When hot add the aubergine in a single layer, fry until a reddish brown colour, turn them over and brown on the other side. When well coloured remove from the pan with a slotted spoon or fish slice and put into the sieve and allow to drain.
Repeat until all the aubergine has been browned.
You can turn off the heat at this time and allow the aubergine to drain for an hour or continue. I normally just let the aubergine drain for the time needed to complete the recipe.
Add a little more oil to the pan and heat gently. When hot add the fennel seeds and kalonji, as soon as the fennel seeds start to get a little darker, this only takes seconds add the chopped tomatoes, the ginger and garlic paste, cayenne pepper, turmeric and salt.
Stir and cook gently for about 6 mins, turn down the heat and allow to simmer very gently until the mixture starts to thicken.
Add the fried aubergine to the tomato mixture and mix gently.
Cook on a medium heat for another 5 mins, then cover with a lid and simmer very gently for another 10 mins.
This dish can be eaten hot or cold and can be made in advance. Any excess oil can be spooned off when cool before serving if required.
This dish works well as part of a cold buffet meal or with meat dishes as a side dish or with a BBQ meal. Enjoy!

Sunday, 22 February 2009

Italian Style Shepherds Pie

1 large onion
25g butter
1 tablespoon sunflower oil
500g minced beef
2 large cloves garlic
250ml beef stock
2 large tablespoons tomato puree
1 tsp dried mixed herbs or oregano
salt and pepper
800g potatoes
20g butter
2 level tablespoons flour
300 ml milk
100g grated cheddar cheese
1/2 tsp mustard
salt and pepper to taste

Melt the oil and butter together in a frying pan, add the chopped onion and cook gently until the onion is soft and starting to brown.
Increase the heat and add the mince breaking it up as you add it to the pan, fry over a medium heat stirring constantly until the meat has broken into small pieces and is a nice brown colour.
Add the crushed clove of garlic, stir.
add the tomato puree stir until well mixed
add the stock, the herbs and season.
Bring to a very gentle simmer, allow to cook until almost all the liquid has evaporated.
Meanwhile, peel the potatoes and thickly slice. Cook in boiling salted water for about 10 mins, the should be just tender when pierced with the point of a sharp knife, do not allow to over cook as they will fall apart. Different varieties of potatoes need different cooking times.
When the meat has finished cooking put into an ovenproof dish. Cover with the sliced potatoes, making an even covering.
Make the cheese sauce
Melt the butter gently in a saucepan, add the flour and stir into the butter, cook gently for a couple of minutes but do not allow to brown.
Pour in the milk stirring all the time, either with a wooden spoon or a balloon whisk.
Continue to stir until the mixture is smooth, bring to a gentle boil and cook, still stirring, for a couple of minutes.
Remove from the heat and stir in the grated cheese and mustard. Season to taste.
Pour over the potatoes and spread into an even layer.
Bake in the oven at 180 C for approx 1 hour.
Serve with a green salad or peas.

Sunday, 15 February 2009

Smoked Mackerel Pate

125g butter
1 packet smoked mackerel approx 250g
juice of 1 lemon
black pepper

Soften the butter - either allow to warm at room temperature or soften in microwave lowest setting for about 1 minute.
Put butter, the smoked mackerel, flaked off its skin into a food processor.
Process for a couple of minutes, scrape down the inside of the bowl and process again until smooth.
Add the lemon juice and a good shake of black pepper and pulse until well mixed.

Serve with fresh bread or toast.

I like to replace the lemon juice with a couple of tablespoons of horseradish sauce (bought ready made in a jar).

Sunday, 25 January 2009

Hummus bi Tahina

This is a wonderfully simple recipe - there is no need ever to buy Hummus it is cheap and easy to make.

225g tin of chickpeas
juice of 2 - 3 lemons
3 cloves garlic
100 mls tahina paste
olive oil

Drain the can of chickpeas and rince with cold water and allow to drain.
Put the chickpeas, lemon juice, garlic and tahina paste into a food processor, and puree until smooth.
If the mixture is too dry add a couple of teaspoons of boiling water and puree again.
Season with salt and mix thouroughly, check for seasoning adding more salt and /or lemon juice.
Spoon into a serving bowl, drizzle a little olive oil over the top and speinckle with paprika.
Enjoy with fresh bread or chopped raw vegetables as a dip.

Sunday, 11 January 2009

Gujerati-style green beans

This is a wonderfully simple recipe from 'Madhur Jaffrey's Indian Cookery' I recommend all her recipes. I use frozen green beans rather than fresh and use them straight from the freezer.

450g frozen whole green beans
4 tbs vegetable oil
1 tbs whole black mustard seeds
4 cloves garlic - crushed or grated
1/2 - 1 dried red pepper crushed or chilli flakes
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp sugar

Heat the oil in a large frying pan or wok over medium heat.
When hot add the mustard seeds, as soon as they begin to pop add the garlic
Stir the garlic until lightly golden.
Add the green beans and stir.
Add the chilli flakes, salt and sugar.
Stir fry the mixture for about 4 -5 minutes until the beans have warmed through and the flavours have been absorbed.
Serve either hot or at room temperature