Macaroni cheese

3 Mar

Serves 2

200g macaroni
35g butter, plus extra for greasing
25g plain flour
450ml whole milk
Grating of nutmeg
½ tsp English mustard powder
50g mature cheddar
1 slice of white bread, made into crumbs
1 tbsp grated parmesan

1. Cook the macaroni in plenty of salted boiling water until tender. Meanwhile, melt 25g of the butter in a pan, and stir in the flour. Cook, stirring, for a couple of minutes, then gradually whisk in the milk until you have a smooth sauce. Cook, stirring, for a few minutes until it thickens, then add a grating of nutmeg and the mustard and stir in the cheddar until smooth. Take off the heat, and season to taste.

2. Pre-heat the grill. Drain the macaroni and rinse under cold running water. Grease a baking dish with butter, then combine the pasta and cheese sauce and tip into the dish.

3. Melt the remaining butter and then toss it together with the breadcrumbs and the parmesan. Spread over the top of the dish, Grill for about 10 minutes until golden and bubbling. Allow to stand for five minutes before serving.



Braised Welsh lamb with cabbage and beans

29 Feb

Serves 4

2 tbsp rapeseed oil
2 onions, peeled and cut into quarters
2 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
1kg boneless Welsh lamb shoulder joint
sea salt and black pepper
1 tsp caraway seeds, crushed
1 tsp hot paprika
400g red and white cabbage, shredded
400g can borotti beans, drained
400g can cannellini beans, drained
300ml German lager beer
300ml lamb stock

1. Preheat oven to 160°C. Heat the oil in a large oven proof casserole pan or pot. Add the onions and garlic and lightly cook for 1-2 minutes.

2. Add the lamb joint and brown well. Sprinkle over the seasoning, caraway seeds and paprika, toss to coat all the ingredients. Add the cabbage, beans, beer and stock. Mix well. Bring to the boil, place in the oven and cook for 1-2 hours until the meat is tender. Serve thickly sliced with crusty bread.


Tea loaf

29 Feb

Makes 1 loaf (9×5 inch tin)

75g raisins
75g sultanas
75g currants
300ml  Earl Grey tea
250g self-raising flour
200g soft light brown sugar
1 egg, beaten
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1tbsp marmalade
butter, for greasing
unsalted butter and apricot jam, to serve

Place the dried fruit,marmalade and tea into a large bowl. Cover the bowl with a clean cloth and leave to soak overnight.

The next day, preheat the oven to 175C/325F/Gas 3.
Add the flour, sugar, beaten egg and spices to the soaked fruit and mix well.

Grease a 22cm x 10cm/9in x 5in loaf tin. Spoon the mixture into the tin.

Transfer to the oven and bake for one and a quarter hours, or until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean.

Serve slices of the tea loaf spread with unsalted butter and jam.


Welsh cakes

29 Feb

Makes 4-6

225g/8oz self-raising flour, sieved 110g/4oz (preferably Welsh) salted butter
1 egg
handful of sultanas
milk, if needed
85g/3oz caster sugar
extra butter, for greasing

Rub the fat into the sieved flour to make breadcrumbs. Add the sugar, dried fruit and then the egg. Mix to combine, then form a ball of dough, using a splash of milk if needed.

Roll out the pastry until it is a 5mm/¼in thick and cut into rounds with a 7.5-10cm/3-4in fluted cutter. 

You now need a bakestone or a heavy iron griddle. Rub it with butter and wipe the excess away. Put it on to a direct heat and wait until it heats up, place the Welsh cakes on the griddle, turning once. They need about 2-3 minutes each side. Each side needs to be caramel brown before turning although some people I know like them almost burnt.

Remove from the pan and dust with caster sugar while still warm. Some people leave out the dried fruit, and split them when cool and sandwich them together with jam.


Chicken,red onion and mushroom stew with sherry and butterbeans

27 Feb

Serves 4

Olive oil
6 chicken thighs – quartered
1tbsp smoked paprika
1 garlic clove – chopped
2 red onions – cut into thick wedges
200g chestnut mushrooms – sliced
100ml sherry
400mlb chicken stock
1 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes
1 x 400g tin butterbeans – rinsed
Small bunch of parsley – chopped

Heat a little oil in a pan,then add the chicken and brown all over.Add the paprika,garlic,onions and mushrooms and cook until the onions and mushrooms have softened,about 5 minutes.add the rest of the ingrediants except the parsley and bring to a boil.
Turn down the heat and simmer for 20 minutes.

Serve with a sprinkling of parsley and crusty bread .



Mushroom soup

24 Feb

Serves 4

About 500g mushrooms – mixed or all of one type
35g butter
2 tbsp olive oil
1 leek, sliced
1 small potato, peeled and diced
1 large onion, peeled and chopped
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped  Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 litre vegetable or chicken stock
100ml double cream
1 tbsp chopped parsley

Melt the butter in a pan with the olive oil, then add the garlic, onion, leek, and potato. Sweat the vegetables for a few minutes.
Clean and chop the less-attractive mushrooms, then add to the vegetable base to cook through.
Pour in enough vegetable stock to cover the ingredients. Simmer for 10 minutes.

Using a ladle, transfer the soup to a blender. Blend the soup to a smooth creamy consistency. Pour the soup into a new pan and re-heat.
Next, roughly chop the A-list garnish mushrooms and simply sauté in more butter and olive oil, with plenty of salt and pepper, until brown.

Season the soup with salt and pepper and add a good glug of cream.
The soup is now ready to serve. Pour into bowls and garnish with the sautéed mushrooms.



Spiced lamb meatballs with root vegetables

21 Feb

1 onion, finely chopped
3 tbsp olive oil
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 red chilli,deseeded & chopped
750g minced lamb
½ tsp ground fennel seeds
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
2 tbsp soft breadcrumbs
1 egg
1 tbsp chopped coriander, plus more to serve
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the sauce:
1 onion, finely sliced
2 garlic cloves, finely sliced
Pinch of chilli powder
400g tin chopped tomatoes
1 tsp sugar
200ml red wine
200ml chicken stock
1 cinnamon stick
750g root vegetables, cut into 1cm cubes (swede, turnip, parsnip and celeriac)

For the meatballs, cook the onion in one tablespoon of the oil for about 10 minutes until soft, then add the garlic andchilli. Cookfor another minute, then remove from the heat and allow to cool. Mix well with the rest of the meatball ingredients. Roll into balls about the size of golf balls.
In a large, deep frying pan, brown off the meatballs in the remaining oil. Remove from the pan with a slotted spoon. 
For the sauce, add the onion, garlic, saffron and chilli powder to the pan, place over a low heat and cook for 10 minutes, then add the tomatoes and sugar. Increase the heat and cook for five minutes, then add the wine, stock and cinnamon stick. Bring to a simmer and add the root vegetables. Mix well and simmer for 10 minutes.
Return the meatballs to the pan and cook for a further 10 minutes until the sauce has thickened, the vegetables are tender and the meatballs are cooked through.
Season and finish with a sprinkling of coriander.