Monday, 8 May 2017

The Best Chicken Tikka Masala Recipe

The Best Chicken Tikka Masala
A great British favorite!  If you love curry you will absolutely adore this dish!

Serves 4
Prep time10 minutes (plus 24 hours marinating)
Cooking time: 20-25 minutes

For the Tikka Masala
2 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp ground cumin
Pinch of salt
1 tsp fenugreek
½ tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp mild chilli powder
2 tsp hot chilli powder
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp ground cardamom
¼ tsp ground cloves
1 ½ tsp ground turmeric

For the Chicken
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp hot chilli powder
6 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 tsp soy sauce
2 tbsp olive oil
500g (1 lb 2oz) chicken breasts, cut into chunks
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 large onion, finely sliced
2-3 tomatoes, blanched, peeled & finely chopped
400ml coconut cream (or a good quality coconut milk and 100ml of double cream)
Salt & pepper for seasoning
Handful of fresh coriander, finely chopped
Basmati rice & Indian breads, for serving


1.  Mix together all the spices for the tikka masala.

2.  To make the chicken, mix together 2 tsp of the tikka masala, a pinch of salt, smoked paprika, chilli powder, 5 garlic cloves, soy sauce and olive oil in a large bowl.  Coat the chicken pieces in the spices, cover and leave to marinate in the refrigerator for 24 hours.

3.  Remove the chicken from the refrigerator and bring it to room temperature.  Heat the vegetable oil in a large frying pan until it begins to smoke.  Add the chicken until browned.  Remove from the pan and place on a warm plate.

4.  Add 2 large tsp of tikka masala to the oil in the frying pan with the onions, garlic and tomatoes, fry for 2-3 minutes, until the onions have softened.

5.  Add the coconut cream, mix through and add the chicken.  Cook the chicken 15-20 minutes whilst bringing the sauce to a simmer to allow it to thicken, season to taste.

6.  Serve the chicken tikka masala, basmati rice Indian breads and a sprinkling of fresh coriander... Delicious!

Friday, 5 May 2017

Sticky Chocolate Loaf Cake

Sticky Chocolate Loaf Cake
A deliciously gooey sticky chocolate cake that stays moist for days!

Serves 10-12

Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 1 hour 10-20minutes

250g unsalted butter, softened plus extra to grease
225g dark brown soft sugar
3 medium free-range eggs
150g golden syrup
1 tbsp vanilla essence
100g plain chocolate (melted)
225g plain four
1tsp bicarbonate of soda
25g good-quality cocoa powder
250ml boiling water


250g milk chocolate
350g strawberries
2 boxes of chocolate fingers


1. Preheat the oven to 190°C/fan 170°C/gas mark 5 then grease and line a 900g loaf tin.

2. Place the butter and sugar into a mixer and mix for a few minutes until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, and mix well.

3. Gradually add the syrup, vanilla essence and melted chocolate – mix well.

4. Sift the flour, bicarbonate of soda and cocoa powder into another mixing bowl. Add a third of the flour mix into the cake mix and blend well. Add half the boiling water, then half the flour mix and beat well. Now add the remaining water and flour, mix well.

5. Carefully pour the mixture into the prepared tin and bake for 30 minutes. Now reduce the heat to 170°C/fan 150°C/Gas mark 3 ½ and bake for another 30-40 minutes or until a skewer comes out almost clean. Do not worry if it’s a bit sticky – it will continue to cook whilst cooling. Remove from the tin, transfer to a serving plate and allow to cool.

6. To decorate, pour over half the melted chocolate and spread evenly over the cake. Now place the chocolate fingers evenly around the cake. Dip the strawberries into the remaining chocolate and place on and around the cake. Enjoy!

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Soufflé Baked Potatoes with Cheddar

Soufflé Baked Potatoes with Cheddar
This is a deliciously comforting main course or can be served as a side!
Serves 4
Preparation time:  15 minutes
Cooking time:  80 minutes

4 baking potatoes
2 eggs, separated
120g Mature Cheddar Cheese
2 tbsp fresh chives, chopped
1 x 85g watercress, roughly chopped
2 tsp Dijon mustard
Freshly ground salt & pepper

Preparation method

1.    Preheat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan assisted/Gas mark 6.

2.    Place the potatoes on a baking tray and  bake in the oven for 1 hour and set aside until they are cool enough to handle.  Now cut the potatoes in half and scoop out all the potato into a bowl and reserve the skins.

3.    Mix the potato with the egg yolks, cheese, chives and watercress – season to taste.

4.    In a separate bowl whisk the egg whites until stiff and then fold into the potato mix.  Now spoon the mixture back into the skins.

5.    Return to the oven for 20 minutes and serve immediately – enjoy!



Monday, 20 March 2017

The Best Coq au Vin Recipe

The Best Coq au Vin
A delicious and rustic French classic!  Red wine, brandy, pancetta, shallots, mushrooms, herbs & a pinch of chilli what a wonderful combination for chicken!

Serves 4
Prep time:  15 minutes
Cooking time: 1 hour 10 minutes

50g butter
200g pancetta or smoked bacon, sliced
8 small shallots, peeled
250g button mushrooms
3 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
1.5kg chicken thighs with bone, seasoned with salt and pepper
4 tbsp brandy
3 sprigs fresh thyme
250ml chicken stock
500ml hearty dry red wine
1 tbsp tomato puree
Pinch of dried chilli flakes
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp plain flour
Crusty bread to serve

1.    In a large frying pan or wok melt 25g/1 oz of the butter and add the pancetta and fry until crisp and golden.  Remove from the pan with a slotted spoon and set aside.

2.     Add the shallots to the pan and sauté until slightly browned, about 5 minutes and then add the mushrooms and garlic, sauté for about 5 minutes.  Remove from the pan and set aside.

3.    Now add the remaining 25g of butter and melt in the pan.  In batches add the chicken and cook on both sides until browned, about 10 minutes.  Return all the chicken to the pan and remove from the heat.  Add the brandy and flambé.  Remove the chicken from the pan.

4.    Add the thyme, stock, wine, tomato puree and chilli flakes to the pan and bring to the boil.  Return the chicken to the pan, cover and simmer for 30 minutes until the chicken is cooked through.  During the last 10 minutes add the pancetta and vegetables.

5.    Remove the chicken, pancetta and vegetables from the pan with a slotted spoon and cover with foil.  Also remove the pan of broth from the heat and let stand for 5 minutes.

6.    In a small bowl mash the butter and flour together to make a buerre manié.  Return the pan to the heat and bring to the boil.  Add ½ cup of the broth to the buerre manié and whisk together, now whisk into the rest of the broth.

7.    Reduce the heat and simmer uncovered stirring occasionally until the sauce has thickened, about 5 minutes.

8.    Season to taste and return the chicken and vegetables to the pan and coat with the sauce.  Serve with crusty bread.


Friday, 17 March 2017

The BEST Cottage Pie

The BEST Cottage Pie
This has to be comfort food at its best. A perfect family meal!

Serves 6-8
Prep time:  20 minutes
Cooking time: 1 hour 15 minutes


For the mince
2 tbsp olive oil
1kg lean minced beef
2 onions, finely chopped
2 celery sticks finely chopped
4 carrots, finely chopped
10 sprigs fresh thyme leaves only
4 tbsp tomato puree
2 tbsp plain flour
350ml red wine
800ml beef stock
Salt & freshly ground pepper
A few splashes of Worcestershire sauce

For the mash
2kg King Edward potatoes, peeled & chopped
125g butter
250ml double cream
Salt & freshly ground pepper

1.  Heat a large frying pan and then add a tablespoon of olive oil, add the mince in small batches until browned all over and set aside.

2.  In another large frying pan heat a tablespoon of olive oil and gently fry the onions, celery, carrots and thyme for 3-5 minutes until softened.  Add the tomato puree and flour and fry for one minute and then add the mince.

3.  Deglaze the frying pan which you cooked the mince in with red wine, cook for 3-4 minutes until it has reduced by half and then add to the mince.

4.  Add the stock to the pan and let simmer for 45 minutes.  Season to taste and add a few splashes of Worcestershire sauce.

5.  For the mash, place the potatoes in a pan of salted water bring to the boil and then simmer for 12-15 minutes.  Drain the potatoes and the mash with a potato masher or ricer.  Add the cream and butter and mix well until you have a smooth mash.

6.  Preheat the grill to high.  Put the mince into a baking dish and top with the mash.  Place under the grill for 8-10 minutes until the mash is golden brown.  Serve by itself or with your favourite vegetables, enjoy!


Thursday, 2 February 2017

Penne Amatriciana

Penne Amatriciana
A simple but classic pasta dish with a rich tomato sauce and a good chilli kick!

Serves 4
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 1 hour 15 minutes

A splash of olive oil
250g pancetta or smoked bacon, thickly sliced
1 ½ red onions, finely chopped
2 fresh red chillies, deseeded and finely chopped
1 (2 if you like it hot) small dried chillies, finely chopped and crumbled
1 tbsp fresh rosemary, finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic finely chopped
200ml red wine
2x400g tins of chopped tomatoes
300g penne pasta
2 handfuls of freshly grated parmesan cheese
(plus extra for serving)
Freshly ground salt & pepper

1.  Heat the olive oil in a large heavy based pan or wok and fry the pancetta on a high heat for 4-5 minutes or until crisp.  Add the onions and gently fry for about 8-10 minutes stirring occasionally.

2.  Add the chilli, garlic and rosemary and stir for 1-2 minutes.  Pour in the wine and turn up the heat so that the alcohol evaporates.  Then add the chopped tomatoes.  Reduce the heat to low and gently simmer uncovered for about 1 hour stirring occasionally until the sauce has reduced to a very thick consistency.

3.  Meanwhile cook the pasta as to packet instructions in salted water until al dente.

4.  Stir in 2 handfuls of Parmesan into the sauce and cook for a further minute and season to taste. Drain the pasta and mix with the sauce.  Serve on warm plates and scatter with Parmesan.

Cooks Tips
* Instead of rosemary you can use basil or oregano to change the taste.

Wednesday, 18 May 2016

Bangers and Mash with Roast Onion & Red Wine Gravy

Bangers and Mash with Roast Onion & Red Wine Gravy
This is comfort food at its best! This dish is full of flavour, you will make this time after time.

Serves 4
Prep time:  15 minutes
Cooking time: 1 hour

3 tbsp Olive oil
12-16 good quality sausages
3 large onions, peeled & sliced
4 garlic cloves, peeled
3 sprigs of thyme
Freshly ground salt & pepper
2 x sachets of Just Add Wine* or 350ml red wine
2 tbsp sugar
2 tsp Dijon mustard
500ml good beef stock

For the mash
1.5kg potatoes, peeled and chopped into quarters
150ml milk
Freshly ground nutmeg
50g butter
Sea salt


1.   Preheat the oven to 200°C/Gas Mark 6.

2.  For the bangers, heat 2 tbsp of olive oil in a roasting tray on the hob and add the sausages, brown them all over.  Add the onions, garlic, thyme, and a splash of olive oil then sit the sausages on top.  Season with salt & pepper.

3.  Place in the oven for 45 minutes, occasionally turn the sausages and onions.

4.  Remove the sausages from the oven and place the sausages in a warm place whilst you make the gravy.

5.  Remove the thyme and garlic a place the oven tray over a high heat and add the sugar and mustard, mix until the sugar dissolves.  Pour in the Just Add Wine* sachets or red wine and bring to the boil then simmer. 

6.  Pour in the stock and bring to the boil and simmer until it has reduced by a third and you have rich and full flavoured gravy.  Season to taste.

7.  For the mash, place the potatoes into a large pan filled with cold water and a good pinch of salt.  Bring the pan to the boil and cook for 20-25 minutes or until tender.

8.  In the meantime, warm the milk and grate in the nutmeg.

9.  Drain the potatoes and set aside for a few minutes to let them dry, mash with a potato masher or ricer until smooth.

10.  Beat in the milk and butter until you have a creamy mash.

11.  Divide the mash between four warmed plates, share out the sausages and spoon over the gravy and onions.  Enjoy!

 *  “Just Add Wine” is a sachet which is the equivalent of 175ml red wine.  You can purchase Just Add Wine at Sainsbury’s or online at A definite must have for every store cupboard.

Tuesday, 17 May 2016

Spicy Chorizo Penne

Spicy Chorizo Penne
This is a very quick and easy to make pasta dish with chorizo, tomatoes, “just add wine*”, chillies & garlic... delicious!

Serves 4
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 25 minutes

1 tbsp olive oil
300g chorizo, sliced
3-4 kashmiri chillies
3 cloves of garlic, peeled
1 x sachet of “Just add Wine”* or 175ml red wine
1 x 400g tinned chopped tomatoes
2 tsp caster sugar
200ml crème fraiche
Bunch of fresh basil, torn
Freshly ground salt & pepper
400g oz penne pasta
Parmesan cheese to serve


1.  Heat the oil in a large frying pan or wok and fry the chorizo for 2-3 minutes.

2.  Meanwhile blitz the chillies and garlic in a blender and add to the chorizo, fry for 1-2 minutes.  Add a sachet of “just add wine*” and then add the tomatoes and sugar and bring to the boil, simmer for 10 minutes.

3.  In the meantime cook the penne as per packet instructions, drain and set aside.

4.  Add the crème fraiche and basil to the chorizo and stir until all mixed through.  Season to taste and add the penne and stir until fully coated.

5.  Divide the pasta between four plates and serve with a sprinkling of parmesan.  Enjoy!

·       *  “Just Add Wine” is a sachet which is the equivalent of 175ml red wine.  You can purchase Just Add Wine at Sainsbury’s or online at A definite must have for every store cupboard.

Thursday, 5 May 2016

The Ultimate Spaghetti Bolognese

The Ultimate Spaghetti Bolognese
A delicious rich and slowly simmered sauce, which tastes even better the next day – if you can wait that long!

Serves 4
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 2 hours 15 minutes

2tbsp olive oil
100g pancetta, chopped into lardons
1 onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 carrot, peeled & grated
600g lean minced steak
125g button mushrooms, sliced
350ml red wine
2 tbsp tomato puree
400g tin of chopped tomatoes
1 tsp dried oregano
1 good pinch of sugar
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
Salt & freshly ground pepper
100ml double cream
450g spaghetti, cooked as per packet instructions
Freshly grated parmesan, to serve
Small handful of fresh basil

Preparation method

1.  Heat the oil in a large saucepan and fry the pancetta for 1-2 minutes.  Now add the onion, garlic and carrot, fry for 5 minutes stirring occasionally until softened.

2.  Stir in the mince, cook for 10 minutes until evenly coloured and stir in the mushrooms and fry for a further minute.  Now add the wine, tomato puree, tomatoes, oregano, sugar, balsamic vinegar and season well to taste and bring to the boil.

3.  Reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 1 ½ hours and stir occasionally.  Pour in the cream, stir through, cover and simmer for a further 30 minutes.

4.  Cook the spaghetti as per packet instructions, drain well and spoon the Bolognese over and serve with parmesan cheese and a few sprigs of basil.

Wednesday, 4 May 2016

Chicken, Chorizo & Prawn Jambalaya

Chicken, Chorizo & Prawn Jambalaya
Chicken and rice is always a really satisfying combination - with the addition of a bit of spice, chorizo & prawns it becomes even better!  This has to be one of the best Jambalaya’s I have ever tasted.

Serves 4
Prep time: 20-30 minutes
Cooking time: 35 minutes

1tbsp olive oil
225g chorizo, roughly chopped
300g chicken breasts, cut into strips
50g butter
2 onion, roughly chopped
4 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
2 large red chilli, finely chopped
1 – 2 tsp jerk or Cajun seasoning
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp paprika
2 red pepper, seeds removed & roughly chopped
300g easy cook basmati rice
800ml water
½ tsp saffron strands, soaked in 1 tsp warm water
250g large raw king prawns, head and shell removed, deveined
Salt & freshly ground pepper

To Serve
Sour Cream


1.    Heat a large frying pan or wok until hot, add the oil and the chorizo and cook for 30 seconds on each side until golden all over.  Remove from the pan with a slotted spoon and set aside.
2.    Add the chicken to the pan and cook for 6-8 minutes until golden all over.  Remove from the pan with a slotted spoon and set aside.
3.     Add the butter then add the onion and garlic and fry for 2-3 minutes, or until softened but not browned.
4.    Add the chilli and the spices and fry for 1-2 minutes or until the spices are fragrant. Now add the red pepper and fry until softened, 1-2 minutes.
5.    Add the rice and stir well so that it is coated in all the spices.  Add the water, saffron and the saffron water.  Bring to the boil then reduce to a simmer, cover and cook for 12-15 minutes or until nearly all the liquid has been absorbed and the rice is just cooked.
6.     Add the chicken, chorizo and prawns, cook for 4-5 minutes or until the prawns are cooked through.  Season to taste and stir carefully.

7.    Serve on warmed plates, with a good dollop of sour cream - enjoy!