Chunky puy lentil & vegetable soup

21 Feb

Serves 4

50G butter
2 medium carrots, peeled and finely chopped
2 leeks, white part only, thinly sliced
1 large onion, peeled and finely chopped
3 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped 1/2 tsp dried chilli flakes
2 tsp dried oregano
400g tin of chopped tomatoes
200g Puy lentils 
1 litre vegetable stock
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Melt the butter in a large heavy bottomed saucepan. Add the carrots, leeks, onion and garlic, stirring to coat with the butter. Add a healthy pinch of salt,cover and allow to cook for about 15 minutes until the vegetables are softened, stirring occasionally.

Add the chilli flakes, oregano, lentils and stock. Cover and allow to simmer for about 30 minutes or so, until the lentils are cooked. Taste and adjust seasoning if required.Ladle into heated bowls.




Crumpets with a burnt honey butter

20 Feb

Makes 6

250ml milk
1tsp dry yeast
1tsp sugar
1/2tsp salt
200g plain flour

For the burnt honey butter

5tbsps clear honey
125g butter
1/2tsp sea salt

Warm the milk up in a pan to body temperature,pour into a bowl,add the sugar,salt and yeast,then mix in the flour,leave for 20-30 minutes until doubled in size.

For the butter,place the honey in a small pan,heat up the honey,allow to bubble until a deep golden colour is reached.remove from the heat and allow to cool.

Beat the butter until fluffy and pale,add the salt and then fold in the honey,place in fridge until needed.

When the crumpet dough has doubled in volume,place a large frying pan over a moderate heat,add 1tbsp of veg oil,place a greased ring in the pan.spoon some of the crumpet mixture into the ring until two thirds full,allow the underside to cook slowly until the mixture has set and the bubbles on top have burst.repeat until all mixture has been used and then serve with the butter.



Black pudding scotch eggs

20 Feb

Adding black pudding,add an extra depth of flavour to these eggs.

Makes 6

6 eggs
Knob of butter
100g onion , finely chopped
450g sausage meat
100g black pudding
1 sprig of thyme
Pinch of cayenne
Salt and pepper
Vegetable oil for frying

For the coating

2 eggs
50ml milk
50g flour
100g breadcrumbs

Bring a pan of water to the simmer and cook the eggs for 8 minutes. Plunge into a bowl of ice cold water and leave until completely cold,then peel off the shells.

Melt the butter in a pan and add the onions.cook until soft. Mix with all the other ingredients.

Pat out a piece of the sausage meat in some cling film. Place the egg in the middle and using the cling film, fold the mix around the egg so its completely covered. Remove the cling film and make sure the the meat is an even thickness all the way round . Repeat with the other eggs,then put in the fridge to firm up.

Whisk the eggs and mill together and Sean,dust the sausage coated eggs in flour,then dip in the egg mix before rolling in the breadcrumbs . Place in the fridge to firm up a little.

Heat a deep fat-fryer to 180c,and the oven to 200c . Fry the scoth eggs for 2 minutes,until brown,then place in the oven for 10 minutes.



Roast beetroot & sqaush salad with red onions in a walnut dressing

20 Feb

Serves 6

6 beetroot
Salt and pepper
3tbsps olive oil
700g butternut squash
1 onion,thinly sliced
1tbsp balsamic vinegar
2taps light brown sugar
2 oranges,peeled & segmented
100g feta
250g fresh spinach,washed

Walnut dressing

150g walnuts , chopped
Grated zest & juice of 2 oranges
1 red chilli,deseeded & finely chopped
1 garlic clove,finely chopped
1tbsp balsamic vinegar
4tbsps olive oil
1tbsp chopped parsley
Black pepper

Preheat oven to 200c,put the beetroot in a tray with a little water,salt,pepper & 1tbsp olive oil,cover with tin foil and roast for 1 hour.
Cut the squash,remove the seeds and peel off the skin,chop into 1cm pieces,place into another tray with 1tbsp olive oil and roast for 30 minutes .
When the beetroot has cooled down,peel and cut into eighths.

Place the red onion,balsamic vinegar and sugar in a bowl and leave to marinade for 20 minutes .

Make the walnut dressing by roughly chopping the walnuts and then mixing with all the other ingrediants .

Toss the beetroot and squash in the remaining 1tbsp olive oil and add the marinated red onions,season with salt and pepper.
Add the oranges and drizzle with the walnut dressing,mix in the spinach and then to finsh,crumble over the feta .



Baked chicken curry

19 Feb

Serves 6

2 heaped tsp cumin seeds
2 heaped tsp coriander seeds
1 heaped tsp fennel seeds
2 tsp ground turmeric
2 tsp ground fenugreek
1 large onion, roughly chopped
3 large garlic cloves, roughly chopped
1 large green chilli,deseeded & roughly chopped
1 thumb-sized piece of fresh ginger, roughly chopped
3-4 tbsp sunflower oil
1 chicken, jointed into 6 pieces, or 6 skin-on, bone-in chicken pieces weighing about 1.5kg in total
400g tin of tomatoes
400ml tin of coconut milk
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


How to make baked chicken curry 1. If you’ve got the time, toast the cumin, coriander and fennel seeds in a dry frying pan for a minute or two, until fragrant. Grind the whole spices (toasted or otherwise) to a rough powder in a spice grinder or with a pestle and mortar, then mix with the turmeric and fenugreek.

2. Put the onion, garlic, chilli and ginger in a food processor or blender. Blitz to a coarse paste, stopping to scrape down the sides a few times.

3. Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large frying pan over a medium/high heat. Add half the chicken pieces, season well and brown them all over, making sure you get the skin a good colour. Transfer them to a large roasting dish, skin-side up. Repeat with the remaining chicken pieces.

4. Reduce the heat under the frying pan, add the spice mix and fry for a minute or two, then add the onion paste. Fry, stirring frequently, for about 5 minutes, until the paste is soft, fragrant and reduced in volume. Add a little more oil if it seems to be sticking.

5. Tip the tomatoes and coconut milk into the food processor (no need to wash it out first) and blitz to combine. Pour into the frying pan and bring to a simmer, stirring constantly. Add 1 teaspoon of salt and a grinding of pepper, then pour the sauce over the chicken pieces. Make sure they are all coated in the sauce, then push most of the sauce off the top of the chicken -if there’s too much sauce sitting on them, the skin won’t brown in the oven.

6. Place in an oven preheated to 180°C. Bake, uncovered, for 1 hour or until the chicken is cooked through and nicely browned on top, turning and basting it a couple of times. Serve with lots of basmati rice to soak up the sauce.




14 Feb


For the ragu

4 tbsp olive oil
4 celery sticks, finely chopped
2 carrots, finely chopped
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
1 sprig rosemary
700g/1lb 9oz beef mince
340g/12oz pork mince
1 bottle red wine (750ml/26½fl oz)
2 x 400g/14oz cans tomatoes,
200ml/7fl oz beef stock
salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the bechamel sauce

1 litre whole milk
50g butter
50g plain flour

For the lasagne

14 sheets fresh lasagne pasta
3 balls mozzarella, cut into small cubes small handful grated parmesan freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 180C

For the ragu, heat the olive oil in a frying pan over a low heat and fry the celery, carrots and onion for approximately 15 minutes, until softened and golden. Add the garlic and rosemary and fry for two more minutes.

Add the beef and pork mince and cook until the liquid from the meat has been absorbed.
Pour in approximately 400ml/14fl oz of red wine and stir well. Cook for approximately 45 minutes.

Once the wine has evaporated, add the tomatoes and stock. Leave the mixture uncovered to cook slowly for two hours. Top up with more warm stock if necessary. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.

To make the bechamel sauce, place the milk in a large non-stick saucepan, add the bay leaves, onion and nutmeg and gently bring to the boil.

In a separate saucepan melt the butter and add the flour. Beat well and cook for two minutes. Remove the milk from the heat and add a little to the flour mixture. Combine well, and when all the milk has been absorbed, add a little more. Continue to do this until all the milk has been added, whisking continually.

For the lasagne, blanch the pasta in salted boiling water for three minutes. Spoon a third of the bechamel sauce into the bottom of a lasagne dish in a layer, then place some of the pasta strips over the top. Follow this with some of the mozzarella and parmesan, and sprinkle over freshly ground black pepper. Follow with a layer of ragu. Repeat this step twice until all the ingredients have been used up. Place the rest of the bechamel over the  surface and cook in the oven for 30 minutes, or until golden-brown on top and completely cooked through.


Red lentil,red pepper and coconut soup

13 Feb

The flavours in this soup are well balanced and the red lentils should be a household stable as they ate inexpensive and really east to cook .

Serves 4

1 onion, finely chopped
2 celery stalks,finely chopped
1 red chilli,deseeded & finely chopped
2cm fresh ginger,grated
1/2 tsp ground cumin
2 red peppers,deseeded & diced
100g red lentils
400ml tin coconut milk
400ml vegetable stock
Salt & pepper
Toasted desiccated coconut to serve

Heat some oil in a large pan,add the onion and celery.saute for 5 minutes then add the chillies,ginger and cumin,cook for a further 2 minutes.

Add the peppers,lentils,coconut milk and stock.continue to cook for a further 10th minutes until the peppers are soft.
Puree the soup in a blender until its a smooth consistency.

Sprinkele over the toasted coconut when serving .