Monday, 4 March 2013

Spicy Chicken & Bacon Pasty

2 rashers streaky bacon , chopped
1 large potato (about 250g total weight), peeled and cut into small cubes
red chilli , deseeded and finely chopped
1 ready-cooked chicken breast , shredded
3 spring onions , thinly sliced
375g pack ready-rolled puff pastry
2 tbsp milk

Heat oven to 220C/fan 200C/ gas 7. Fry the bacon in a non-stick pan over a medium heat for a few mins, until it starts to release its fat. Add the potato, turn up the heat and fry for 5 mins, stirring occasionally, until the bacon is crisp and the potato just underdone. Add the chilli and cook for a further min. Season generously with black pepper, plus salt to taste.
Tip into a bowl and mix with the shredded chicken and spring onions. Unroll the pastry and, with a rolling pin, roll out until it's large enough to cut out 4 circles of pastry, using a large saucer or a side plate as a guide, discarding the trimmings. Lift onto a baking sheet.
Spoon the filling into the middle of each circle. Brush the edges of the pastry with a little milk, then bring them up to the middle, pinching at the top to make a pasty. Brush with a little milk, then bake for 15 mins or until golden.

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Ultimate chocolate cake

This is from bbc good food, and its a really good recipe. One of the few cakes that tastes even better the next day.

200g good quality dark chocolate , about 60% cocoa solids
200g butter
1 tbsp instant coffee granules
85g self-raising flour
85g plain flour
1⁄4 tsp bicarbonate of soda
200g light muscovado sugar
200g golden caster sugar
25g cocoa powder
3 medium eggs
75ml buttermilk (5 tbsp)
grated chocolate or curls, to decorate

200g good quality dark chocolate , as above
284ml carton double cream (pouring type)
2 tbsp golden caster sugar


Butter a 20cm round cake tin (7.5cm deep) and line the base. Preheat the oven to fan 140C/conventional 160C/ gas 3. Break 200g good quality dark chocolate in pieces into a medium, heavy-based pan. Cut 200g butter into pieces and tip in with the chocolate, then mix 1 tbsp instant coffee granules into 125ml cold water and pour into the pan. Warm through over a low heat just until everything is melted - don't overheat. Or melt in the microwave on Medium for about 5 minutes, stirring half way through.
While the chocolate is melting, mix 85g self-raising flour, 85g plain flour, ¼ bicarbonate of soda, 200g light muscovado sugar, 200g golden caster sugar and 25g cocoa powder in a big bowl, mixing with your hands to get rid of any lumps. Beat 3 medium eggs in a bowl and stir in 75ml (5 tbsp) buttermilk.
Now pour the melted chocolate mixture and the egg mixture into the flour mixture, stirring just until everything is well blended and you have a smooth, quite runny consistency. Pour this into the tin and bake for 1 hour 25- 1 hour 30 minutes - if you push a skewer in the centre it should come out clean and the top should feel firm (don't worry if it cracks a bit). Leave to cool in the tin (don't worry if it dips slightly), then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
When the cake is cold, cut it horizontally into three. Make the ganache: chop 200g good quality dark chocolate into small pieces and tip into a bowl. Pour a 284ml carton of double cream into a pan, add 2 tbsp golden caster sugar, and heat until it is about to boil. Take off the heat and pour it over the chocolate. Stir until the chocolate has melted and the mixture is smooth.
Sandwich the layers together with just a little of the ganache. Pour the rest over the cake letting it fall down the sides and smoothing to cover with a palette knife. Decorate with grated chocolate or a pile of chocolate curls. The cake keeps moist and gooey for 3-4 days.

Monday, 21 January 2013

Sweetcorn and fish chowder

Sweetcorn and fish chowder with cornbread from Sainsbury's little ones recipe book.

This is one of our favourite recipes in this house- and one of Shaun's 'dishes' to cook.

I don't always do the cornbread as I'm not very good at it but the chowder is just gorgeous. I always use smoked fish as I prefer it but you can use unsmoked if you want. I also prefer to do it with sweet potato rather than butternut squash!

For the cornbread
125g Sainsbury’s polenta
125g plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 bunch spring onions, finely chopped
50g mature Cheddar, grated
2 medium free-range eggs
150g natural yogurt
150ml Sainsbury’s whole milk
25g unsalted butter, melted
For the chowder
20g unsalted butter
2 shallots, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
300g butternut squash, cubed
2 medium floury potatoes, cubed
300ml Sainsbury’s Signature vegetable stock
100ml Sainsbury’s double cream
300ml Sainsbury’s whole milk
300g frozen sweetcorn
300g Sainsbury’s line-caught cod loin, cubed
Small bunch fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped

Preparation time:
25 minutes
Cooking time:
25-30 minutes

Preheat the oven to 200°C, fan 180°C, gas 6. Grease a 23cm square baking tin.

Make the cornbread. In a large bowl, mix together the polenta, flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, spring onions and Cheddar until combined. Make a well in the centre and set aside.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, yogurt, milk and melted butter. Pour this mixture into the well of the dry ingredients and stir until everything is combined. Pour the batter into the greased baking tin and bake in the oven for 20 mins until golden.

Meanwhile, make the chowder. Melt the butter in a large saucepan and gently cook the shallots and garlic for 3 mins until softened. Stir in the squash and potatoes, and cook for a further 5 mins. Pour over the vegetable stock, double cream and milk, and bring to a gentle simmer.

Add the sweetcorn and simmer for 5 mins. Using either a hand-held blender or a free-standing blender, purée half of the mixture until thickened and smooth. Return the puréed mixture to the pan, add the fish and parsley, and cook for a further 5 mins until the fish is opaque.

Sunday, 13 January 2013

American Pancakes

200g self-raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 egg
300ml milk
knob butter
sunflower oil or a little butter for cooking
golden or maple syrup

Mix together the flour, baking powder and a pinch of salt in a large bowl. Beat the egg with the milk, make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and whisk in the milk to make a thick smooth batter. Beat in the melted butter.
Heat a teaspoon of oil or small knob of butter in a large non-stick frying pan. Drop a large tablespoonful of the batter per pancake into the pan to make pancakes about 7.5cm across. Make three or four pancakes at a time. Cook for about 3 minutes over a medium heat until small bubbles appear on the surface of each pancake, then turn and cook another 2-3 minutes until golden. Cover with kitchen paper to keep warm while you use up the rest of the batter. Serve with golden syrup

Saturday, 12 January 2013

Spanish Omelette

I did Spanish omelette for the first time today- I've not really had the right tools before- I.e a pan that goes under the grill and one non stick enough to be able to get it out after!

I did it from a BBC good food recipe- but we have run out of leeks so I replaced with bacon. It's one of those fab things that you can do whatever you want with them though

butter , for frying
1 leek , thinly sliced
225g potatoes cooked and cooled (about 1-2 medium size ones)
6 eggs
85g cheddar
1 tbsp sage , finely chopped (or 1 tsp dried sage), optional

Melt a knob of butter in a medium, nonstick frying pan, then cook the leek for about 5 mins until softened. Meanwhile, cut the potatoes in half, then into slices about ½cm thick. Beat the eggs, season, then stir in the cheese and sage.
Add a little extra butter to the pan if needed, tip in the potatoes, then the egg mixture. Turn the heat to low, then cook for 10 mins until nearly set. Place under a hot grill, then cook for a couple of mins more until the top is set and golden. Slice into wedges and serve with a green salad.

* I have to say I added plenty of pepper
And would probably use stronger cheese next time or more of it but it was yummy all the same. I had mine with some sweet chilli sauce and Ethan and Shaun had theirs with ketchup. Perfect for Saturday dinner time

Mini mash pies


Makes 8
Takes 20 mins to make and 25-30 mins in the oven

35g crustless white bread, torn into pieces (about 2 slices with crusts off)
100ml milk
9 rashers streaky bacon.
300g good-quality pork sausages, skinned (about 6 sausages)
½ onion, finely chopped
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp tomato ketchup
1 tbsp finely chopped fresh parsley
Freshly grated nutmeg
400g floury potatoes (such as king Edward), cooked, drained and mashed with butter and milk
2 tbsp coarsely grated Parmesan or Cheddar
Preheat oven to 180˚C/fan 160˚C/gas 4. Soak the bread in the milk for 1 minute. Drain, squeeze out and discard the excess milk.
Line the base and sides of 8 muffin holes with the bacon, overlapping to fully cover each hole. ½ a slice across the bottom of the cup, one slice around the sides.
Put the bread, sausage meat, Worcestershire sauce, ketchup and parsley in a large bowl and season to taste with freshly ground nutmeg, salt and freshly ground black pepper. Using your hands, squelch the mixture together until well mixed. Roll into 8 balls, place in the bacon-lined holes and pat gently to fill the space.
Whip the mashed potato with a fork and lightly pile high on top of each mound of meat, to completely cover. Rough up potato with a fork and scatter with the grated cheese. Bake for 25-30 mins or until cooked

Friday, 11 January 2013

Mexican Chicken and Spiced Wedges

Mexican Chicken

5 Chicken breasts (skinless)
1 large or two small red onions
1 red pepper
1 green pepper
1 red chilli
2 cloves garlic
1 lime
1 jar of salsa
2 tablespoons sugar
Tin of tomatoes
Small jar tomato puree
Packet of Mexican spice mix -taco/ enchilada/ fajita (1 Tbsp reserved for potato wedges)
1 chicken stock cube
Sour cream and grated cheddar cheese to serve (optional)

Mexican Spiced Wedges

450g potatoes
1 Tbsp reserved Mexican Spice Mix
1 Tbsp olive oil


Preheat oven to 220 (200 fan oven)

Wedge potatoes, place in Large Micro Cooker with a tablespoon water and microwave on high 10 mins (for a 600w microwave. Reduce cooking time for more powerful microwaves). Drain and shake gently. Add spices and oil and mix to coat. Put on Medium Round Stone.

For the Mexican Chicken, slice the chicken and peppers into thin slices with Forged Knife on Flexible Cutting Mat. Chop onion and chilli with Food Chopper, crush garlic with Garlic Crusher, zest lime with Microplane and juice with Citrus Press. Open Tomato Puree with Smooth Edge Can Opener. Place all the Mexican Chicken ingredients into a rectangular baker and cook for 15 mins. Take out and stir and then put wedges in the oven. Cook wedges and Mexican chicken for 20 mins until chicken is cooked through and wedges golden and crisp. Put cheese and sour cream in bamboo bowls to serve.