Archive for the ‘Cooking’ Category

Fancy Roast Potatoes

Wednesday, December 4th, 2013

Preparation Time; 10 minutes

Cooking Time; 1 ½ hours



You’ll need:

1.5kg Potatoes, medium sized, peeled

900g parsnips, medium sized, peeled

2 tbsp plain flour

1 tbsp fresh thyme, chopped, plus a few sprigs

6-8 tbsp rapeseed oil

12 shallots, peeled

200g pancetta, roughly chopped

6 whole bay leaves

Sea salt and black pepper


What to do:


Preheat oven to 200°C/Gas 6


Cut any large potatoes in half and all of the parsnips in half lengthways, cook the potatoes in boiling salted water for 8 minutes or until par-boiled.  Meanwhile cook the parsnips in the same way in another pan for 4 minutes.  Drain the potatoes well then return to the pan and cover, shake the pan to roughen the edges of the potatoes.


Drain the parsnips and toss them in the flour, chopped thyme and seasoning.


Pour the rapeseed oil into a large roasting tin and heat in the oven; you need around 1cm of oil in the tin.  Add the potatoes and turn them over in the oil using a slotted spoon. Roast uncovered for 15-20 minutes, remove the tin from the oven and turn the potatoes, add the parsnips and shallots and turn them in the oil too. Roast for a further 35-40 minutes then turn all of the vegetables again, add the pancetta.


Increase the heat to 220°C/Gas 7 for a further 15-20 minutes, adding the thyme sprigs and bay leaves for the final 10 minutes.  Sprinkle with a little sea salt and black pepper and serve immediately.



Recipe supplied by


Christmas Reindeer Biscuits

Monday, December 2nd, 2013

Makes: approximately 20 biscuits



 For the biscuits

100g butter

175g caster sugar

2 happy eggs

2 happy egg yolks

50g ground almonds

240g plain flour


For the icing

120g butter

250g icing sugar

1-2 tbsp milk

Food colouring to suit




In a bowl, mix the butter and sugar together with an electric blender, until they form a creamy paste. Add the happy eggs and happy egg yolks and mix, then fold in the almonds and flour with a wooden spoon or spatula until fully combined.


Press the mixture into a greased tray to a thickness of about ¼” (6mm). Place in a preheated oven at 180°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4 for 10-12 minutes.


The biscuit mixture is ready when it has just started to colour. Carefully turn out onto a sheet of baking parchment on a flat cool surface.


While still warm to touch, use a cookie cutter to press out the shapes but don’t try to lift them out until completely cooled, or they’ll break.




Mix the butter and icing sugar together in a bowl, adding the milk as needed to make a smooth paste.

It’s much easier if you warm the butter.

First, ice the biscuits all over with the plain icing, adding some edible glitter for a festive feel. Then add a little red food colouring to the remaining icing, spoon it into a piping bag and draw on his shiny red nose.




How to make egg nog

Sunday, December 1st, 2013

In case you were wondering, I add rum to this recipe!

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6 happy eggs

60g caster sugar

600ml milk

1 tbsp vanilla extract

½ tsp grated nutmeg

150ml plain yogurt


You will need a cooking thermometer for this recipe.


Don’t be scared of raw eggs in eggnog; we gently cook them in this recipe.


Place 4 happy eggs, 2 happy egg yolks, caster sugar and milk in a saucepan. Heat slowly whilst stirring continuously; bring the temperature up to 72°C then remove the saucepan from the heat and keep stirring until it has cooled to around 60°C, this will take about 5 minutes.


Once it is below 60°C, pour the mixture through a sieve to capture any overcooked lumps. Add the vanilla extract and the nutmeg, stir and refrigerate the mixture. Once cool, add the plain yogurt and gently whisk together for a delicious and refreshing eggnog.


You can add other flavours in place of the vanilla and nutmeg and/or use double cream in place of the yogurt.


Adults might want to add some rum or bourbon too for a grown up drink.


Mat’s top tip: Use double cream instead of yogurt if you’re adding alcohol.



Feather cake recipe from my mum

Thursday, November 28th, 2013

Here is another recipe from my late mum written in her curly handwriting and reproduced here in her language.

Feather Cake


8oz S R flour

8os castor sugar

3oz marg

2oz lard

3 or 4 eggs

3 or 4 tablespoon milk



Mix lard and marg tog.  Mix in sugar. Then eggs a little a time. Lastly fold in flour.

Put in a greased tin lined with paper.

Bake on middle shelf gas mark 3 for about 1 hour.


Let me know if you give it a go!


Linking up with PoLoCo



Simple Christmas Cake Recipe with cinnamon

Wednesday, November 27th, 2013

Simple cinnamon Christmas cake LR


 Simple Cinnamon Christmas Cake




180g sugar

75g butter

2 happy eggs

200ml milk

Two cups sifted flour

2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp powdered cinnamon

1 tsp mace

1 tsp mixed sugar and cinnamon


Whip sugar and butter until no grains of sugar are left and it is a pale yellow colour. Beat eggs into the mix then add gradually milk, sifted flour, baking powder, cinnamon and mace, folding ingredients together.


Bake in a buttered, non-stick 20cm round dish for 40 minutes at 180ºC, until the sides just begin to pull away from the tin. Sprinkle the top of the cake with the cinnamon and sugar mix and replace in oven for 5 minutes to glaze.



Cathedral City Vintage 20 Cheddar and Onion Puffs – Recipe

Friday, August 24th, 2012

Cathedral City Vintage 20 Cheddar & Onion Puffs

Preparation: 40 minutes Yield: 40 puffs

235ml of water
60g of butter, cut into cubes
½ teaspoon coarse salt plus extra for sprinkling
130g of plain flour
4 large eggs
300g of grated Cathedral City Vintage 20
50g of chopped spring onions

Preheat oven to 180°C.
Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

- In a heavy medium saucepan, bring the water, butter, and ½ teaspoon salt to the boil
- Remove from heat and slowly mix in the flour
- Stir over medium heat until mixture becomes slightly shiny and pulls away from sides
of pan, about 3 minutes
- Transfer to a food processor, adding the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each
addition to form a sticky dough
- Finally, mix in the Cathedral City Vintage and spring onions
- Using 2 teaspoons, form the dough into small teaspoon size ovals and drop onto
baking sheet 1 inch apart
- Bake cheese puffs until golden, about 30 minutes and serve fresh from the oven


Cinnamon Chicken with Cous Cous

Thursday, August 16th, 2012

Cinnamon Chicken with Cous cous

Serves:  4

Cooking time: 25 minutes

Preparation time: 10 minutes


4 Red Tractor chicken breast fillets
250g couscous
50g sultanas
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp Red Tractor plain flour
½ tsp ground cinnamon
200ml hot vegetable stock
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 oranges
150g sugar snap peas
2 tbsp finely chopped Red Tractor flat-leaf parsley


1.       Pour 400ml boiling water over the couscous. Stir in the sultanas and seasoning to taste, cover and stand for 10 minutes.

2.       Mix the flour with the cinnamon and dust the chicken breasts with the cinnamon mix and the freshly ground black pepper.

3.       Heat a large, non-stick frying pan and dry fry the chicken for about 5 – 6 minutes each side, until thoroughly cooked (the juices should run clear and there should be no pink meat). Transfer to a plate and keep warm.

4.       Return the pan to the heat, add the stock, vinegar, the juice from 1 orange and 2 tsp finely grated orange zest. Bring to the boil, then simmer gently for 5-6 minutes, or until it has reduced by about half.

5.       Peel the remaining orange and cut into segments. Boil the sugar snap peas in water for 2 minutes, then drain.

6.       Add the chicken, sugar snaps and orange segments to the sauce.

7.       Stir the couscous with a fork and add the parsley. Serve the chicken on a bed of couscous.


Bacon Wrapped Sausages with Cheesy Potato Cakes

Wednesday, August 15th, 2012

Bacon Wrapped Sausages with Cheesy Potato Cakes

Serves 4


450g Red Tractor potatoes, peeled and chopped

8 Red Tractor pork sausages

4 Red Tractor rashers streaky bacon, halved

4 Red Tractor tomatoes, halved

3 Red Tractor courgettes, thinly sliced lengthways

Knob of Red Tractor butter

25g Red Tractor Cheddar cheese, grated

2tbsp chopped Red Tractor parsley

3tbsp seasoned flour

2tbsp olive oil


1. Pre-heat the grill. Boil the potatoes for 20 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, using the rounded blade of a knife, stretch the bacon halves to nearly double their length. Wrap the sausages in a rasher of bacon and grill for 20 minutes, turning occasionally.

3. Add the tomatoes to the grill pan and cook for 15 minutes.

4. Meanwhile, heat a griddle pan, sear the courgette slices for 3 minutes on each side, transfer to a dish and keep hot with the sausages and tomatoes.

5. Drain the potatoes and mash with the butter, cheese and parsley. Allow to cool and shape into 12 patties, coat in the seasoned flour.

6. Heat a little oil in a frying pan and sizzle the patties for 2-3 minutes on each side or until golden.

Serve the potato cakes with the sausages, courgettes and tomatoes.


Teriyaki Style Pork Burgers Recipe

Tuesday, August 14th, 2012

Teriyaki Style Pork Burgers

Serves: 10

Cooking time: 20 minutes

Preparation time: 15 minutes



1.5kg (3lb 5oz) lean minced Red Tractor pork

75g (3oz) wholemeal Red Tractor bread crumb

s113g (4oz) Red Tractor onion, finely chopped

4 Red Tractor spring onions, finely chopped and including the green leaves

90ml (8tbsp) light soy sauce

100ml (8tbsp) orange juice

56g (2oz) ginger powder

10 brown Red Tractor bread buns

1 x Red Tractor Batavia Lettuce

3 Red Tractor tomatoes, finely chopped

½ large Red Tractor cucumber, finely chopped


1. Combine all ingredients and form into equal size and weight burgers.

2. Preheat the grill or barbeque on high.  

3. Reduce heat to medium.

4. Grill or barbecue 5-10 minutes per side constantly turning or until no pink remains.


French guinea fowl and porcini mushrooms

Wednesday, August 8th, 2012

French guinea fowl with porcini mushrooms

Serves 4

Preparation time: between 20-30 minutes

Cooking time: 60 minutes            



1 whole French guinea fowl, about 1.2kg

75g butter

2 shallots

50 ml cognac

100ml thick stock – chick or vegetable


400g crème fraîche

30g horseradish sauce or mustard

1 jar porcini mushrooms





Brown the French guinea fowl in 50g butter with the shallots, finely chopped.

Add the cognac and flambé, season to taste and add the stock.

Cover and cook on a high heat for 30 minutes. Put the French guinea fowl to one side.

Add the crème fraîche and horseradish (or mustard) to the cooking pot. Put the guinea fowl back in. Continue to cook for 30 minutes.

Brown the porcini mushrooms in the remaining butter. Season to taste.

Arrange the guinea fowl on a serving dish with the porcini mushrooms. Pour over the creamy sauce and serve.