Sunday, 12 August 2018

Chilli Con Carne


Chilli Con Carne
There are so many variations of Chilli Con Carne but this has to be one of the BEST!  It takes a while to make so pour yourself a glass of red... the wait is most definitely worth it!

Serves 4
Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 2 ½ hours

Ingredients

For the Braised Mince
1½ tbsp vegetable oil
2 small onions, peeled, chopped
3 garlic cloves, peeled, chopped
1 tsp chopped fresh thyme
1 tsp chopped fresh rosemary
500g beef mince
200g canned chopped tomatoes
½ tbsp Worcestershire sauce
500ml beef stock

For the chilli con carne
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 onion, peeled, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, peeled, finely chopped
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp chilli powder
1 tsp smoked paprika
350ml red wine
1 x 400g can of chopped tomatoes
splash of Worcestershire sauce
2 red chillies, finely chopped
Braised mince (see above)
250g mushrooms, thickly sliced
1 x 400g can red kidney beans, rinsed, drained
250ml beef stock

To serve
300g long-grain rice, cooked according to packet instructions, drained
4 warmed tortilla wraps
1 x 150ml pot soured cream
100g mature cheddar, grated
Small bunch fresh coriander, finely chopped

Method

1.      To make the braised mince, heat half of the vegetable oil in a large pan over a high heat.  Add the onions, garlic and herbs and fry for 3-4 minutes, or until softened and golden-brown. Turn off the heat and set the pan aside.
2.         Heat the remaining oil in a separate pan over a medium heat. Add a third of the beef mince and fry for 4-5 minutes, or until browned.
3.          Transfer the browned mince to the pan containing the onions, garlic and herbs.
4.          Repeat the process twice more, overloading the pan will not speed things up because the pan will lose heat, so take your time.
5.          Return the pan containing the cooked mince and vegetables to a medium heat. Add the canned tomatoes and Worcestershire sauce and stir the mixture well to combine. Bring the mixture to a simmer.
6.          Add the stock to the beef and tomatoes mixture and bring to a simmer. Simmer for one hour, uncovered, or until the volume of liquid has reduced slightly and the sauce has thickened. Set aside to cool. Now pour yourself a glass of red and prepare the ingredients for the Chilli Con Carne.
7.          For the chilli con carne, heat the oil in a large heavy-based pan over a medium heat. Add the onions and garlic and fry for 3-4 minutes, or until softened and slightly browned.
8.          Stir in all the ground spices until they coat the onions and garlic, then pour in the red wine and bring the mixture to a simmer, stirring occasionally.  Simmer for 6-8 minutes, or until the volume of liquid has reduced by half.
9.          Add the chopped tomatoes, Worcestershire sauce and chopped red chillies and continue to simmer for 4-5 minutes, or until the sauce has thickened slightly.
10.       Add the braised mince, mushrooms, kidney beans and beef stock, stir well, then simmer over a low heat, uncovered, for 40-45 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until the sauce has thickened and the flavours have intensified.
11.       To serve, divide the rice equally among four serving plates. Spoon over the chilli con carne. Place one tortilla alongside each serving. Place the soured cream and cheese into small bowls and serve alongside.

Tuesday, 7 August 2018

Sausage & Mustard Pasta


Sausage & Mustard Pasta
A tasty and very easy dish to make!  Sausage & Mustard, a perfect combination...

Serves 4
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 10-30 minutes

Ingredients
1 tbsp olive oil
2 onions, peeled, sliced
1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
200g pasta (use your favourite)
6 good quality sausages
1 small handful fresh basil, roughly chopped (plus extra for serving)
1 tbsp Dijon or English Mustard
1 tbsp wholegrain mustard
a small pot of double cream
salt and freshly ground black pepper

Method

1.         Add the oil to large hot frying pan or wok and fry the onions and garlic until soft and slightly golden but not crisp.
2.         Meanwhile cook the pasta in boiling salted water as per packet instructions.
3.         Remove the skin from the sausages and divide the sausage meat into 1 inch pieces and add to the onions and cook for a few minutes.
4.         Add the basil and then add the mustards.
5.         Stir in the cream and check the seasoning, taste, and add more mustard if needed. Drain the pasta and add to the sausage and mustard. Serve on warm plates with a sprinkling of chopped basil.


Cooks Tips
·           You can use a variety of different mustards for this recipe & different flavoured sausages.  I love to experiment with the different and unique flavoured sausages I buy from the farmers market.


Monday, 6 August 2018

Quick & Easy Crab Pasta


Quick & Easy Crab Pasta
A taste of the sea, this pasta dish is so quick and easy to make but very delicious. 

Serves 4
Prep time:  5-10 minutes
Cooking time: 10 minutes

Ingredients
500g of your favourite spaghetti or linguine, cooked as per packet instructions
3 tbsp olive oil
1 garlic clove, peeled and finely chopped
1 red chilli, de-seeded and finely chopped
2 shallots, peeled and finely chopped
350g pre-prepared crabmeat
100ml white wine
Freshly ground salt and pepper
1 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
1 tbsp fresh basil, chopped
1 lemon, juice only

Method

1.  For the pasta, bring a large pan of salted water to the boil, add the sea salt and cook the linguine or spaghetti according to packet instructions, until al dente.

2.  In a large frying pan or wok heat the olive oil.  Add the garlic, chilli and shallots and fry until softened, 2-3 minutes.

3.  Add the crabmeat and cook for a further minute and then add the wine and simmer until most of the alcohol has evaporated, season with salt and pepper.

4.  Drain the pasta, reserving a few tablespoons of the pasta water. Add to the pan with the crabmeat and stir in the parsley and basil. Mix together to coat evenly, adding a splash of reserved pasta water if the mixture is too dry. Season with freshly squeezed lemon juice and serve.


Friday, 3 August 2018

Sausage and Mash with Beer & Onion Gravy



Sausage and Mash with Beer & Onion Gravy
Comfort food at its best with a unique flavoured gravy of beer, star anise & cloves.

Serves 4
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 50 minutes

Ingredients
12 good quality pork sausages
For the gravy
700g onions, sliced thinly
pinch sugar
2 tbsp vegetable oil
25g butter
1 tsp plain flour
600ml brown ale or a beer of your choice
600ml fresh beef stock
½ star anise
2 cloves
2 fresh bay leaves
Drizzle of Balsamic vinegar
For the mashed potatoes
900g floury main crop potatoes,
peeled and cut into chunks
55g butter
2-3 tbsp milk
salt and freshly ground black pepper
English mustard to serve

Method

1.         To make the gravy, heat the oil and the butter in a large pan.  Add the onions and sugar and cook over a low heat for 30-45 minutes, stirring now and then, until soft and richly caramelised.
2.         Stir in the flour and cook for 1 minute.  Then stir in the beer, beef stock, star anise, cloves and bay leaves and boil until the gravy reduces to a rich, glossy sauce - about 20 minutes.
3.         Add a drizzle of Balsamic vinegar, remove the star anise, bay leaves and cloves from the gravy and season to taste with some salt and pepper.
4.         For the sausages and mashed potato, cook the potatoes in boiling salted water for 20 minutes until soft.
5.         Then after about 10 minutes, heat the oil for the sausages in a large frying pan. Add the sausages and fry them over a medium heat for 8-10 minutes, turning now and then, until nicely browned.
6.         Drain the potatoes and mash until smooth - a potato ricer does this really well.  Mix in the butter with some seasoning and enough milk to make a smooth, creamy mash.
7.         To serve spoon the mashed potatoes onto 4 plates and rest the sausages alongside. Pour over some of the gravy and serve with a good spoonful of English mustard.

Wednesday, 1 August 2018

Rocky Road with Maltesers


Rocky Road with Maltesers
This has to be the best rocky road that I have ever tasted, it is a must try!
Naughty but extremely nice!

Makes 12
Prep time:  20 minutes (plus 3 hours 20 minutes refrigeration time)
Cooking time:  10 minutes

Ingredients
110g unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing
90g caster sugar
2 tbsp golden syrup
1 tbsp cocoa powder
50g milk chocolate
150g maltesers
100g marshmallows, torn in half or quarters

For the topping
100g milk chocolate

Preparation method

1.    Butter a 24cm x 11cm loaf tin or the equivalent and line with cling film.

2.    In a small pan gently melt the butter, sugar, syrup, cocoa powder and chocolate.  Remove from the heat and allow to cool.

3.    Now add the maltesers and marshmallows, mix well and spoon into the loaf tin.  Cover with the excess cling film and refrigerate for 3 hours.

4.    Once set remove from the loaf tin and place onto a serving plate.

5.    For the topping, place a small heat-proof bowl over a pan of gently simmering water.  Place the chocolate in the bowl and gently melt, once melted pour over the rocky road.

6.    Place in the fridge for 20 minutes to set the chocolate, to serve cut the rocky road into slices.  Enjoy!



Friday, 20 July 2018

Jerte Picota Cherry Glazed Lamb Shanks


Jerte Picota Cherry Glazed Lamb Shanks
Heavenly tender lamb shanks with a Jerte Picota Cherry glaze, this dish is truly out of this world!

Serves 4
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cooking time:  3 hours

Ingredients
2 tbsp plain flour
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp freshly ground pepper
1 tsp ground cumin
4 lamb shanks
1 tbsp olive oil
400ml red wine (a merlot works well)
600ml good quality chicken stock
250g Jerte Picota Cherries, pitted
1 tbsp cornflour


Preparation method

1.    Preheat the oven to 180°C/160°C Fan/Gas mark 4.
2.    In a large bowl mix together the flour, salt, pepper and cumin, add the lamb shanks one by one dusting each with the flour mixture.
3.    Add the oil into a large lidded oven-proof casserole dish and place over a medium heat, now brown the shanks.
4.    Pour the wine, stock and cherries into the casserole and bring to the boil.  Cover with the lid and place in the oven for 2 hours or until the meat is very tender.  Remove the lid and cook for a further 30 minutes uncovered.
5.    Place the lamb shanks onto a plate and wrap with foil to keep warm.  Pour the sauce through a sieve and set aside the cherries. 
6.    Put the cornflour in a bowl and mix in 2 tbsp of cold water.  Pour the sauce into a large pan and whisk in the cornflour paste.  Bring to a simmer and continue whisking for a further 10-15 minutes until the sauce thickens, season to taste and return the cherries.
7.    Place a lamb shank on each plate and pour over the Jerte Picota cherry sauce and cherries.  Serve with buttery mash & seasonal vegetables, rice or cous cous.  Enjoy!

Why are Jerte Picota cherries so delicious?

·         The Jerte Picota Cherry is a special variety of cherry that is native to the beautiful Jerte Valley in Northern Extremadura, Spain, 200km west of Madrid. This area is famous for the incredible cherry blossom of more than a million trees that takes place each year.

·         It is a 100% natural product that follows a natural growing season, which is why the arrival of the Jerte Picota Cherry changes each year and why they are only available for six weeks each summer.

·         When the cherries are ready to be harvested at optimum ripeness, they are hand-picked off the trees, leaving the stalks behind, and placed into chestnut baskets. This is why they are sold without a stalk.

·         Jerte Picota Cherries are usually available from the end of June until the beginning of August in the UK, and they are expected to arrive in stores from the beginning of July, due to the cold winter this year.

·         The Jerte Picota Cherry are a P.D.O. Product (P.D.O. standing for Protected Designation of Origin) which certifies that the fruit has been grown, harvested and packed under rigorous quality-controlled procedures and has come exclusively from the Jerte Valley in Spain.

·         The Jerte Picota is not only unique from its P.D.O. status but also from its stalkless harvest and its shape, which has a slight peak to the base, hence the word ‘Picota’ means ‘peaked’.

For more information on Jerte Picota P.D.O., please visit https://cerezadeljerte.org/en/


Monday, 16 July 2018

Jerte Picota Cherry, Goat’s Cheese & Walnut Salad with Cherry Balsamic Vinaigrette


Jerte Picota Cherry, Goat’s Cheese & Walnut Salad with Cherry Balsamic Vinaigrette
Spruce up your summer salads with sweet & juicy Jerte Picota Cherries!  Make this salad a main by adding shredded chicken!

Serves 4
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cooking time:  5 minutes

Ingredients
180g baby spinach
150g Jerte Picota Cherries, pitted & halved
110g goats cheese, crumbled
60g walnuts, crushed

For the Vinaigrette
100ml cherry juice
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 clove garlic, peeled & crushed
1 tbsp honey
50 ml olive oil
Freshly ground salt & pepper

Preparation method
1.    For the vinaigrette, place the cherry juice into a small pan and heat over a medium heat.  Let the juice reduce by half.
2.    In a small bowl add the balsamic vinegar, crushed garlic, honey and reduced cherry juice.  Whisk together and slowly add the olive oil, season to taste.
3.    For the salad, share the spinach between four plates, spinkle over the Jerte Picota cherries, goats cheese and walnuts.  Then drizzle over the cherry balsamic vinaigrette. Enjoy!
Why are Jerte Picota cherries so delicious?

·         The Jerte Picota Cherry is a special variety of cherry that is native to the beautiful Jerte Valley in Northern Extremadura, Spain, 200km west of Madrid. This area is famous for the incredible cherry blossom of more than a million trees that takes place each year.

·         It is a 100% natural product that follows a natural growing season, which is why the arrival of the Jerte Picota Cherry changes each year and why they are only available for six weeks each summer.

·         When the cherries are ready to be harvested at optimum ripeness, they are hand-picked off the trees, leaving the stalks behind, and placed into chestnut baskets. This is why they are sold without a stalk.

·         Jerte Picota Cherries are usually available from the end of June until the beginning of August in the UK, and they are expected to arrive in stores from the beginning of July, due to the cold winter this year.

·         The Jerte Picota Cherry are a P.D.O. Product (P.D.O. standing for Protected Designation of Origin) which certifies that the fruit has been grown, harvested and packed under rigorous quality-controlled procedures and has come exclusively from the Jerte Valley in Spain.

·         The Jerte Picota is not only unique from its P.D.O. status but also from its stalkless harvest and its shape, which has a slight peak to the base, hence the word ‘Picota’ means ‘peaked’.

For more information on Jerte Picota P.D.O., please visit https://cerezadeljerte.org/en/