Monday, August 29, 2011

Egg & Bacon Pie

This is one of my old Family Favorite recipes that my Mum used to make, and I still make for my family now.  Great for Picnics, Packed Lunches and Summer Suppers with New Potatoes and  Salad.  Over the years I have tweaked it to get the flavours I want from the classic combo that is Egg & Bacon.  Many of which have been pinched from others, some just trial and error.  Have a go and let me know your tweaks...



Shortcrust Pastry

  • 200g/4oz Flour

  • 100g/2oz Butter, cubed

  • 1 Egg Yolk

  • Cold water to mix

If I'm feeling in a chilled out mood and have the time I like to make my pastry in a large mixing bowl, but on days where I don't have the time or the motivation I tend to use my food processor.  Which ever method you prefer is fine as I have never noticed any difference between the two.  No matter how much some chef's or cooks on tv bang on about how you must make it by hand!

Firstly place the Flour in either a large mixing bowl or food processor  and add in the cubes of butter.  Then you can gently rub the butter into the flour or pulse with the processor, until you get a mixture that looks like breadcrumbs.  Now pop in the Egg Yolk and combine/pulse gently.  Slowly add in the water, a little at a time, until the dough comes together.  Be careful not to over work the pastry.  So as soon as the dough is formed, pop in out onto some Cling Film, cover and give a little squash to flatten it(this helps it to chill quicker).  Pop into the fridge to chill for at least half an hour.  If your the organized type, you can always make up your pastry in advance, and keep it in the freezer until needed.  And if your super organized(unlike me) you can make a large batch and divide, use some that day and freeze the rest for a pastry covered treat another time!

Pie Filling

  • 500g Streaky Bacon, diced (smoked or unsmoked)

  • 1/2 Medium Onion, diced

  • 7 Eggs, 0ne is for pastry glue and glaze(but you can use milk)

  • Fresh Parsley

  • Pepper

Add the diced Bacon of choice to a large pan with the Onion, and fry until cooked through and maybe a little crispy, if you prefer, to add a little more flavour.  The other reason for doing this, is that I find that a lot of Bacon that you buy has had water added to it, so it's best to cook it out now to avoid a soggy bottom, and lets face it, there's nothing worse than that!  Add Pepper and Chopped Parsley to taste.  Allow the Bacon and Onions to cool slightly. Grease your pie dish with Butter and then sprinkle on Flour, to prevent the pie from sticking to the dish.  Now roll out the pastry, on a lightly floured surface or as I do, between two sheets of Cling Film, to about 1/2 cm thickness and line the bottom of your dish.  Be sure to save pastry for the top.  Don't trim the pastry at this point.  Fill your pie with the Bacon mixture and make 6 indents for the eggs to sit in.  Crack the eggs into there new homes.  Beat the last remaining egg and brush the edges of the pie and lay the lid on top.  Using a fork or your fingers, press down the edges, sealing the pie.  Now trim the extra pastry off, using a knife.  Make a few vent holes to release the steam in the top of the pie.  And if your feeling creative, use the excess pastry to decorate.  Or give to the kids to make them for you :) Brush the pie with the remaining Egg.

Bake the pie in a pre-heated oven at 200 c for 15 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 180 c and bake for a further 30-45 minutes.  Or until Golden Brown.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Cheese and Chilli Flapjacks




These Cheese and Chilli Flapjacks are great to nibble on at a sunny picnic.  You can adjust the Chilli to suit your tastes, leave it out for the kids or replace with another ingredient of your choice.  I know what your thinking though.  A savoury Flapjack?  Are you crazy?  But trust me, these are so quick, easy and delicious, one bite and you'll be totally converted. x

  • 50g Butter, Melted

  • 2 Eggs

  • 150g Grated Cheese, Any hard Cheese works well

  • 2-3 Chilli's, Chopped. Use more or less to taste, de-seed if prefered

  • 150g Porridge Oats

  • Salt and Pepper, to taste

Pre-heat your oven to 180 c and grease a 8 in/20 cm tin.  Whilst the butter is melted gently in a pan, combine the other ingredients in a bowl.  Add the melted Butter to the bowl and mix well.  Pat the mix into the tin and bake for 30 - 40 minutes or until Golden Brown.  Once the Flapjack is cool, cut into slices.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Masterchef Live 2011 at the BBC Good Food Show Summer

It was a little while ago on an evening in April that I was finally ready to submit my application to take part in the Masterchef Live Experience in the BBC Good Food Show Summer at the NEC Birmingham. I had spent a few weeks pondering the questions, such as 'What or who are your greatest food influences?' and 'What dish would you like to cook for John and Gregg and why?' And here I was about to click the Submit Button with crossed fingers, nervous and excited of the thought that maybe, just maybe I could be chosen. I wasn't until a couple of weeks after the closing date, cuddled up on the sofa for a lazy night in front of the telly, when my phone pinged. I stretched over to have a look, expecting more junk mail, then not to my surprise at the top it said 'CONGRATULATIONS!' 'Great, what have I won this time?' was the brief thought before I read on to realise that I had been excepted for a place on the Masterchef Live challenge. It then quickly turned into a frenzy of Facebook status updates and phone calls.

Well, after many practices and sleepless nights I was off to the show. And I can honestly say that the day is very much rated up there with my best ever. With a pep talk from Juan Sheet from Plenty ( their sponsor), and Andi Peters calling us onto the stage to cook, I was still waiting to wake up! And then it was time to cook and with that as a focus the audience disappeared and we all just got cooking. Tim Anderson, this years Masterchef Winner was being interviewed and then it was our turn as Andi and Tim both went round to talk to all the contestants. Then John Torode and Gregg Wallace came on stage to be interviewed by Andi, then it was their turn to do the rounds before our time was up. Unfortunately I wasn't lucky enough to go through to the next round, but I got good comments about my food and the people who went through cooked amazing dishes, and when I read up about the overall winner, I don't think I would have stood a chance, he did an inspiring job. My dish was A Pan-Fried Pork Fillet with Apples and Cider Sauce, Served with Rough-Roast Sage and Onion Potatoes, Sugar Snap Peas in Crispy Bacon. It has now become a favorite dish at home. However, after eating it so much in the run up I think I may leave it a little while before putting it on table again. Please have a go and adjust the quantities for your needs, this recipe makes two good-sized potions. And with more than 45 minutes to get it to the table, a sip or two of Cider makes for a perfect cooking experience. x

Pan-Fried Pork Fillet with Apples and Cider Sauce

  • 400g Pork Fillet

  • Olive Oil

  • 100ml Cider Vinegar

  • 200-300ml Cider

  • 2-3 tbsp Chicken Stock Concentrate

  • 1 tbsp Flour

  • 1 tbsp Butter

  • 2 Granny Smith Apples

  • 1 tbsp Honey

  • 3 tbsp Golden Caster Sugar

Put a large non-stick frying pan on a med- high heat. Slice the Pork into medallions approx 1 - 2 cm thick, coat with Oil and season with Salt and Pepper. Pan fry until you can see that it has cooked almost half way through, the pork should be nicely browned, then turn and fry on the other side for a few minutes. Remove to a dish and cover, place low in the oven to keep warm while you make the sauce and Apples. In the frying pan add the Cider Vinegar and de-glaze. Now add in the Cider and Stock Concentrate. Let the Alcohol cook off and taste. Adjust the Vinegar, Stock and Cider to taste. Combine the Flour and Butter to make a Beurre Manie. Whisk in half, and add the other half if you'd like your sauce thicker. But remember as the sauce reduces it will also thicken. Heat a separate frying pan and slice the Apples. Coat with honey then the Sugar. Fry in the pan until golden.

Sage and Onion Rough-Roast Potatoes

  • 4-5 medium Sized King Edward Potatoes

  • 6-7 Shallots

  • 6-8 Sage Leaves

  • Olive Oil

Pop your oven on to 180 c. Peel and chop the Potatoes into approx 3-4 cm pieces. Par-boil in a pan of salted water for 8-10 minutes. While they are boiling away, peel and cut in half the shallots, add to a roasting pan with the Olive Oil, and Sage leaves. Drain the potatoes and add to the roasting pan, season with Salt and Pepper and mix together well. Place into the oven to cook for about 20 minutes. Give the potatoes a good mix, if any fall apart, all the better as this will add to the roughness. Place back in the oven for another 15-20 minutes, until Golden.

Sugar Snap Peas Cooked in Crispy Bacon

  • 2 Rashers of Streaky Bacon, diced

  • 180 - 200g Sugar Snap Peas

Put a medium pan onto a med-high heat, add in the Bacon and allow to Crisp up, releasing it's fat. Add in the Peas and cook for a further 5 minutes. Your just heating them though, you don't want limp, soggy Peas.

I start with the Potatoes, and once in the oven, cook the Pork. Followed by the Sauce, Apples and Peas, to hopefully dish up at the same time.

I hope you enjoy this dish as much as I do. It has given me an awesome life experience and one that will be relived whenever I cook and eat it :)

Saturday, June 11, 2011

The Devil's Chutney... Temptingly Sweet, Wickedly Hot!

After our recent Strawberry binge, I still had quite a few left over that were past their prime.  So the only thing I could think about was making a chutney that would go with cheeses, BBQ's and could be used as a marinade for meats.  As a self confused Chilli fan I was looking for something with a kick of heat.  Strawberries and Chilli?  Was I going mad?... No!  This Chutney has turned out to be insanely sweet followed by an intense heat, and with an after taste that lingers leaving you craving more.  If you have any left over Strawberries left over from all the sweet treats of a visit to your local Pick Your Own, then give this a go, you can adjust the chilli to suit your tastes.  Mix things up and make it as individual as you. x

Spicy Strawberry and Chilli Chutney

  • 1 kg Strawberries - Roughly Chopped

  • 60 g Dried Crushed Chilli

  • 500 ml White Wine Vinegar

  • 500 ml Cider Vinegar

  • 1 kg White Caster Sugar

  • 2 tbsp Grated Fresh Ginger

  • 60 g Dried Cranberries

  • 60 g Apple - Peeled and Roughly Chopped

  • 2 tsp Salt & Fresh Ground Pepper

Place all the ingredients into a large pan and bring to the boil.  Reduce the heat and allow it to simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally, for around 3 hours or until the sauce has reduced and becomes thick and sticky when a small drop is placed on a cold plate.  Sterilize your jars (see note).  Carefully spoon the chutney into the jars and seal immediately with a vinegar proof lid, this is any lid that has a coating on the inside, not metal as this will corrode.  Label and date your jars.  Your chutney will be ready after a couple of weeks, but will improve with age.  Once opened store in the fridge.  I have to confess, I opened a jar within 1 day (I'm not very patient), and the Chutney tasted great.


Properly sterilising your jars is essential. If you are reusing old jars, check for cracks. Wash all jars in hot, soapy water and rinse in freshly boiled water, then turn upside-down on a clean tea towel to drain. To heat sterilise your jars, preheat the oven to Gas3/170C. Stand the jars on a baking sheet and heat in the oven for 10 minutes. Or put the clean jam jars in a deep pan and cover with boiling water. Bring to the boil and boil for 10 minutes. It is also possible to sterilise jars in the microwave. Half-fill jars with fresh water and microwave on full power until the water boils.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Sweet Pickings

Today was our first visit to the Pick Your Own at Lifton Strawberry Fields.  The first crop of the season are now ripe for the picking and are huge, sweet and juicy to boot.  The kids really enjoyed collecting their own lunch, dinner and breakfasts for the next few days.  Well, they did have a punnet each and they were big punnets.  But then what better excuse do you need to see how many things you can make with Strawberries.  Of course the great classic of Strawberries and Cream are pretty high on everyone's list, but today the first port of call was Strawberry Drop Scone Pancakes with Ice Cream.  Hope you enjoy this summer treat. x

Strawberry Sauce

Roughly chop your Strawberries and pop into a pan.  Add Caster Sugar to taste and cook away on a med-low heat until the strawberries are completely softened.  Give a little squash with a potato masher, or blender if you prefer a smoother sauce.

Drop Scone Pancakes

  • 250g Self-Raising Flour

  • Pinch of Baking Powder

  • 25g Caster Sugar

  • 2 Eggs

  • 275ml Milk

  • 50g Butter, Melted

  • Sunflower Oil

Gently melt the Butter in a small pan, and set to one side.  Place all the dry ingredients in a large bowl and whisk in the wet ingredients, adding the butter last.  Place a small amount of sunflower oil in a frying pan.  Using a dessert spoon drop the mixture into the frying pan, once the mixture turns matt, flip and lightly brown the other side.  You should be able to do a few pancakes at a time, then pop them in a dish in a low oven to keep warm while you cook the remainder of the mix.  Serve with the Strawberry Sauce and Ice Cream.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Roly-Poly Pizzas

These Roly-Poly Pizzas are always a lunchtime winner.  They freeze well too, so you can stock up for the days and weeks ahead.  Also they're great for packed lunches and Picnics, plus you can change the fillings to suit to what you have in your store cupboard. The kids will love making these and are a great way for them to get involved in food and choosing flavour combos, with delicious rewards for their efforts. x

  • 300g/ 10 1/2 oz Strong White Flour                     

  • 1/2 tsp Fast-Acting / Easy-Bake Yeast

  • 1/2 tsp Caster Sugar

  • 1 tsp Salt

  • 1 tbsp Olive Oil

  • 200ml/7 floz Tepid Water

  • 4 tbsp Passata / or Sauce of Choice

  • 1 tsp Dried Oregano / or Dried Herb of Choice

  • 100g / 5 oz Ham, Thinly Sliced / or any Combo Choose

  • 125g / 5 oz Grated Mozzarella / Any Cheese you have in the Fridge or prefer

  • Salt and Pepper

Preheat the Oven to 180 c / 350 f and line a baking tray with Baking Paper.  Either in a mixer with a dough hook or by hand, make your Pizza Dough.  Put the Flour, Yeast, Sugar and Salt in a large mixing bowl.  If your using a mixer pop in the Water and Oil as well and turn on to combine.  If your using your hands make a well in the dry ingredients and pour in the Water and Oil and using a spoon to star with begin to mix together.  Once you have a lump of dough start using your hands and knead on a floured surface.  After about 5 minutes  you should have a nice smooth dough that bounces back when rudely poked with a finger.  Place your dough into a clean mixing bowl, cover and leave to rise in a warm place for about 40 minutes.  When you return, the dough should have doubled in size.  Remove from the bowl and knead again for about a minute before pulling out on a large chopping board into a rectangle approx 40cm x 25cm.  Spoon on the Passata or Sauce and spread evenly then add the other ingredients, sprinkling them over the surface.  Turn the Pizza so that the longest side is in front of you and carefully begin to roll the Pizza up like you would a swiss roll.  Cut the roll of Pizza into 12 pieces and lay them on the Baking Tray with the cut side up.  Pop into the Oven for around 25 minutes or until cooked.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Leftover Lamb Ragu

After a satisfying Sunday Roast Lamb, I found that I had quite a lot of meat leftover.  I had a little nose online for some inspiration, but couldn't find a ragu for Lamb, so had to wing it a bit.  And so from the far reaches of my foodie mind and the contents of my cupboards, Leftover Lamb Ragu was born.  I cooked this in my trusted and much loved Slow Cooker, this should still work just as well simmering gently in a covered pot on the hob, or covered in a med-low oven. Couldn't have been too bad, as there were clean plates all round.  And with another joint of lamb waiting in the wings of the freezer for a Sunday soon, I'm pretty sure I know how to take care of the leftovers the following day.  I hope you enjoy this easy and very tasty recipe. x

  • Olive Oil

  • 1 Onion, Chopped

  • 2 Cloves of Garlic, Chopped

  • Leftover Lamb

  • 1 Tin of Tomatoes

  • 200ml Stock, whatever is available, I used Chicken

  • 5-6 Sun-dried Tomatoes, Sliced

  • 2 tbsp Red Wine Vinegar

  • 1 tbsp Tomato Puree

  • 1 tsp (each) Dried Oregano & Basil

  • Salt & Pepper

In a pan sweat down the Onion and Garlic, before added in your chopped Leftover Lamb and gently warm through.  Then place all the ingredients into your Slow Cooker or add the remaining ingredients into the pan.  Pop on the lid and allow to slowly simmer away until all the lamb breaks down.  I had my Slow Cooker on low for around 5-6 hours, but adjust your times to your method.  Serve with a pasta of your choice, would also be great with Gnocchi.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Macaroon Bars

For quite some time my Hubby and his family have been banging on about these Scottish Sweeties from their childhood and with anything sweet I'm willing to give it a try.  However, the only place that you can get them is Scotland, and I really couldn't be much further away in the UK.  Fortunately though, my mum told me that she would be travelling to Edinburgh for work, so I was straight in with my request for the Macaroon Bars.  And as baffled as me to what these sweets were, she asked about and found the treasure to return home with.  Well wasn't I impressed, and disappointed that I hadn't got my hands on Macaroon Bars sooner.  Not of the patient type, I didn't really want to wait for my Mum to return to Scotland before I could have them again.  So I set about looking up recipes on the internet, and appeared easy and cheap to make.  The biggest surprise of course was that it is made with Potato!  Well at least I could get one of my five a day in, of sorts.  Please give these wee sweeties a try, they will not disappoint. x

  • 1 Small Potato

  • Icing Sugar

  • Chocolate, Plain, Milk or White

  • Desiccated Coconut

Firstly peel, chop, and boil the Potato until cooked through. Whilst that's on, put the Coconut into a frying pan and lightly toast.  Place to one side.  Mash the cooked Potato and pop into the fridge for a little while just to cool through.  In a bowl add the Potato and enough Icing Sugar to form a firm dough.  To start with the Potato will go like liquid.  Don't Panic! Just keep adding the Icing Sugar.  The amount you will need will depend on the Potato, so have a big box to hand.  Dust a piece of baking paper with Icing Sugar and place the mix on top, roll out about 6"x6", again this will depend on the Potato, but aim for around 1/4" thickness.  Pop back into the fridge to firm up little more, or a flat surface in the freezer is ideal and quicker.  While you wait gently melt the Chocolate in a bowl sat over lightly simmering water.  Take a large clean plate and sprinkle the Coconut over.  Remove to the fondant from the Fridge/Freezer and cut into your prefered shape or bar size.  Now the production line begins.  Take a piece of fondant and add to the Chocolate, make sure it's covered.  You can use forks or spoons, but i found it easier to just get my hands in.  And anyway it's melted chocolate, so any excuse works for me.  Then just place on top of the Coconut.  Repeat until all the fondant has been covered in chocolate and is on the coconut plate.  Then simply sprinkle the remaining Coconut over the top.  Now put the bars back onto the baking paper and return to the fridge.  Allow to set, then eat.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Wild Garlic & Parsley Butter

Today I decided to make use of the vast supply of Wild Garlic that lives not to far from me.  So I collected a small bunch after the morning's school run, and set to work making Wild Garlic and Parsley Butter.  I simply softened a block of Butter (room temp) in a bowl, and added a good handful (or two) of washed and finely chopped Wild Garlic and Parsley and combined well.  Placed the mixture on some kitchen foil and rolled into a sausage, approx 1 inch thick.  Twisted up the ends like a cracker and the placed in the freezer.  When needed all you have to do is use a hot knife and slice the amount you want and store the rest.  I used some of mine for Garlic Bread to accompany our Spag Bol Dinner... I've tasted it, and it's the future. x

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Easter Treats in a Cone

I recently made these handheld treats for Amber's Primary School's Bake Sale during a very sunny Easter Egg Hunt.  And I was surprised to be told that these flew off the table quicker than the children running around the field with the scent of chocolate in their nostrils.  Needless to say they want more for the next Bake Sale,  and as you can change the theme to suit the occasion, the sky's the limit.  So I wanted to share these with you of course and to also put them forward for the Easter Cake Bake which is run by A Slice of Cherry Pie.  So if you have any Easter delights to share, just click on the link for more info.

Easter Nest Ice-Cream Cone Cakes

Cupcake Mix

  • 90g Butter, Softened

  • 1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract

  • 110g (1/2 cup) Caster Sugar

  • 2 Eggs

  • 150g (1 cup) Self-Raising Flour

  • 2 tbsp Milk

Start by Preheating your oven to 180 c and line a muffin pan with 12 paper cases.  Beat the Butter and Vanilla Extract with the Caster Sugar in a mixer or with an electric hand mixer until combined.  Then add the eggs one at a time, mixing after you add each egg.  Then add in the Milk followed by the Flour and mix until the ingredients are just combined and then turn up the speed on the mixer and continue to beat until the batter has changed to a paler colour.  Divide the mixture between the cases and bake for about 20 minutes.  Once their ready turn the cakes out onto a wire rack to cool.

Butter Cream Frosting

  • 125g Butter, Softened

  • 240g Icing Sugar

  • 2 tbsp Milk

  • 2 tbsp Cocoa Powder

Add together all the ingredients and blend together until throughly combined.

The Extras

  • Ice-Cream Cones

  • Mini Eggs

  • A decorated old shoe box with holes in the top for your Cones to sit in

Once the cakes are cool.  Trim to fit into your Cones.  Don't throw the trimmings away, as they will fit down inside the cone. Place a few small blobs of Icing on top of your cake stuffing and place the cupcake on top.  Then pipe the Frosting all over the Cupcake.  Place into the hole in the box and add your Mini Eggs. Repeat and Eat xx

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Homemade Ice Cream Without the Machine

I tried out a recipe for an Ice Cream without a mixer and it is truly delicious and most importantly of all, has satisfied a most picky critic... My daughter Paige. Check it out and have a go, you won't be disappointed. View at Brie en Croute



Banana and Choc Chip Cake/Muffins

A firm Favourite in our house.   A fantastic way of using up Bananas that have gone a little too ripe and as a result get over looked in the fruit bowl for something a little less brown!  The mix can be used to make 12 Muffins or a cake, the choice is yours.  This lovely moist cake/muffins keeps for a good few days in an air tight container without drying out.

  • 175g/6oz  Butter

  • 225g/8oz  Soft Brown Sugar

  • 275g/10oz  Ripe Bananas (before peeling)

  • 1tsp  Vanilla Extract

  • 275g/10oz  Self-Raising Flour

  • 1tsp  Bicarbonate of Soda

  • 3 eggs, beaten

  • 100g/4oz  Milk Chocolate Chips

  • Porridge Oats( optional )

First pre-heat your oven to 180 c/ 350 f/ Gas 4 and grease and line a cake tin or place cases in your muffin tray.  Gently heat the butter and sugar in a pan until all the sugar is dissolved.  Remove from the heat and set aside for 5 minutes.  Whilst the butter/sugar mix is cooling, mash the bananas together with the Vanilla.  In a large bowl or mixer sift the flour and Bicarb, then add in the bananas, eggs and butter/ sugar mix and stir until well combined.  Fold in the Chocolate chips and spoon the mix into your cake tin or muffin cases.  At this point you can sprinkle some porridge oats over the top or you cake/ muffins.  If your making the cake, bake for 40-50 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean when inserted into the centre of the cake.  If muffins were the order of the day, bake for around 20-25 minutes.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Marshmallow Makin'

This afternoon, inspired by the front cover of April's Delicious Magazine, I made some Marshmallows with my two lovely assistants.  The sticky results were a joy to the girls, who have never had so much fun cleaning out the bowl.  A bit different to the usually cake batter treat.  And as always with sweets, the end product doesn't hang round for long.  After all they made it, so why not enjoy it?  For some ideas and recipes for fluffy marshmallow head over to Delicious Magazine.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

What to do with the leftovers?

I'm always up for trying out new things with leftovers, as I hate to waste food, but my greed always forces me to make too much.  Last night I still had quite a large amount of a Beef joint leftover from the meal the night before and really did not fancy just making a roast with it, as of course I wanted to do that on Sunday  like I said it was very large joint).  I only really had pasta or potatoes to work with too.  But the resulting dish was a success and this is always a moment of joy for me when that happens.  It may need a little tweaking as I used ingredents that just happened to be around but a pleasure to eat all the same.  I will take a picture next time that this dish comes my way as I was a little rushed to feed everyone last night, but so excited I just had to share it.  Quanities are not very precise as I was winging it a bit and didn't weight anything, so just adjust to how much you need and to taste.

In a large pan bring water to the boil and add the Pasta of your choice.  Once in, melt some Butter in a seperate pan and then add Flour to make a roux, about 2 tbsp of each.  Then slowly add in Beef Stock until to get a sauce that is just a bit thicker that double cream.  In another pan heat 1 tbsp of Butter and Oil and Gently soften Half an Onion, sliced.  Once softened add 1/2 tsp Mustard Powder, the leftover cooked Beef, cut in to strips, 1 Clove of Garlic, 2 tsp Fresh Tyhme, a good couple of handfuls of sliced Mushrooms and plenty of Black Pepper and heat through.  Just before the pasta is ready add some Cream to the sauce, I used a good dollop of Clotted Cream, as that's all I had in the fridge, but Double Cream would be great also.  Drain the pasta and return to the large pan, add in the Beef and Sauce and mix well.  Serve x

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Dinner for Two

A few weeks ago now my lovely Hubby suggested getting the kids to bed early and having a nice Venison dish with the meat still in the freezer from New Year.  So as the Venison defrosted I set about trying to find the prefect dish for our late evening meal the following day.  After much trawling through the internet and the mass of cook books scattered around the house, I settled on a Blackberry Sauce recipe.  After all I still had a good stash in the freezer and what a nice change to use them in a savoury dish instead of Crumbles and Blackberry Vodka, which is where they normally end up.  I served the Pan-Fried Venison and Blackberry Sauce with neeps and tatties and baby carrots.  Well it was to die for, especially with a nice big glass of Red to help it down.  The following evening, however, all cosy on the sofa for my weekly dose of Masterchef, the dish I devoured the previous evening was being lovely made by the contestants to feed the hungry Scots!  I made the dish again last week with Broccoli and Celeriac and Potato Mash, so that I could post a picture to wet your appetite and hopefully get you in the kitchen to try it out.  I have only written out the recipe for the Venison and Blackberry Sauce as you can serve with whatever veg tickles your fancy on the day xx

Pan-Fried Venison with Blackberry Sauce

  • 1 tbsp Olive Oil

  • 2 Thick Venison Steaks

  • 1 tbsp Balsamic Vinegar

  • 150 ml Beefstock (I used 2 tsp of Beef Stock Concentrate)

  • 2 tbsp Redcurrant Jelly

  • 1 Clove of Garlic, crushed

  • 85 g Blackberries (Fresh or frozen)

While the pan is heating up, oil and season the Venison Steaks.  Pan-fry for 5 minutes on one side then turn and cook for a further 3-5 minutes.  Set the steaks to one side to rest while you prepare the Sauce.  To the pan that you fried the steaks in, add the Balsamic Vinegar, then the stock, Redcurrant Jelly and Garlic.  Stir over a quite high heat to blend everything together, then add the Blackberries and cook until softened.  Serve with the veg of your choice.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Clotted Cream Fudge

Being of the Cornish persuasion, I like nothing more that nice slab of Clotted Cream Fudge.  I have tried a few fudge recipes in the past, and although delicious, are not a spot on the one that I tried out yesterday.  I tend to try and make Fudge so that my husband can take it to work and share it at 'crib'.  However, it got left behind this morning... Guess I will have to make more for next week, as I don't think this batch will last the day, nevermind the weekend!  Give it a try, I found it to be the simplest, quickest and easiest fudge recipe that I have tried.  Also I have added the link to the original recipe and a video with Gizzie Erskine in the Recipe section.  I will also add that in the recipe it states 1/2 tsp of Vanilla and Gizzie says 1 tbsp in the video, so I went on the safe side and just added 1/2 tbsp, and found it to be enough, but have a try and add more or less as you feel it needs it.

  • 275g Golden Caster Sugar

  • 100g Light Muscovado Sugar

  • 225g Clotted Cream

  • 1/2 tbsp Vanilla Extract

Firstly weight out all the ingredients and place in a large saucepan.  Place on a gentle heat and allow all the ingredients to melt together and the sugars to full dissolve.  Then turn up the heat and bring to the boil, cover with a lid and let simmer for 3 minutes.  Now check the temperature with a sugar thermometer, it should be at 116c or soft ball.  If needed allow to simmer with the lid off until it reaches soft ball.  Remove from the heat and beat until the mixture becomes matt, thick and creamy.  Pour into a greased 20cm tin and set aside to cool.  Once fully cooled cut into chunks and store in an airtight container.  And don't for get to leave one or two pieces out for quality control x

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Pancake Day!

This year for Pancake Day I thought that something a little more special was in order.  And when I saw the link for a Chocolate Praline Pancake cake, I thought what could be better, Pancakes, Chocolate and Cake all in one... Brilliant.  I did however fancy changing just a couple of things, and that was to use Clotted Cream in place of the Double Cream and Whisky instead of Rum or Brandy.  The resulting Chocolate Sauce turned out so delicious, I just hoped that I would not eat it all before I could put together the pancake cake!  The Cake did get made and was a real hit with all the family.  If you'd like to have a try at this awesome recipe for yourself then check it out in the Recipe section of my blog.  Who needs Pancake Day anyway....Treat yourself. x

Sunday, March 6, 2011

The Most Moreish Cookies

Ever get that craving for those big soft and gooey in the middle, crunchy on the edges, with total sugar hit cookies that you buy from the shops and bakeries, but are hard pushed to find the motivation to leave the house.  Then this recipe is guaranteed to satisfy those urges we all tend to suffer with from time to time.  And this hunger could not be fed by anything more than these cookies minutes from the oven.  Just keep these  store cupboard essentials in stock and you'll never be far away from heaven with a soft centre.  And for those who are super organised, simply roll up your dough into a cling filmed sausage, freeze and then whenever the moment is required, just take from freezer, slice and bake.  Instant satisfaction!


  • 250g Plain Flour

  • 1/2 tsp Bicarbonate of Soda

  • 1/2 tsp salt

  • 170g Butter

  • 200g Soft Brown Sugar

  • 100g Caster Sugar

  • 1 tbsp Vanilla Extract

  • 1 Egg

  • 1 Egg Yolk

  • 300g Chocolate Chips ( Dark, Milk, White... You decide, or mix them up )

Pre-heat your oven to 170 c ( 325 f, Gas Mark 3).  Line and grease your baking trays.  Now put your butter in a saucepan over a low heat and allow to gently melt.  Whilst you waiting sift together the Plain Flour, Bicarbonate of Soda and the salt into a bowl.  Place the Soft Brown Sugar and Caster Sugar together in another bowl or food mixer and add the melted butter.  Mix together until fully combined.  Then add in the Vanilla Extract and Eggs.  Continue to mix for another minute, then add your dry ingredients.  Now remove from the mixer and stir in the chocolate chips.  If you want to save your dough for another day, now would be the time to place the cookie dough onto some cling film and form into a sausage about an inch thick, twist up the ends and place into your freezer until required.  If you can't wait, then gently drop approx 4 tbsp of dough onto your baking sheets, keeping about 8cm apart.  There is no need to shape the dough as the cookies will form perfectly in the oven.  Place in the oven and allow 15-17 minutes to cook.  Once your cookies are removed from the oven, leave them to rest for a couple of minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.  The only thing to do then is enjoy the fruits of your labour.

If you have frozen you cookie dough then remove from the freezer and cut slices of approx 3-4cm thick and lay on your baking sheet.  Allow 15-17 minutes in the oven.

As always, variety is the spice of life!  So feel free to experiment with different flavours.  I also love White Chocolate and Cranberry.

Welcome to my Kitchen

First of all I thought I would say Hello and Welcome.  Pour yourself a cuppa and make yourself at home. x