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!

Tuesday, 3 May 2016

The Ultimate Chilli Con Carne with Steak & Chorizo

The Ultimate Chilli Con Carne with Steak & Chorizo
This truly is an amazing chilli and is a fantastic dish to serve friends or family for a casual get-together!

Serves 6-8
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cooking time:  2 hours  45minutes

2 tbsp olive oil
1.5kg casserole steak, cut into bites sizes
2 onions, peeled & finely chopped
6 garlic cloves, peeled & finely chopped
2 tbsp oregano
2 tsp ground cumin
2tbsp chilli powder
2 tsp smoked paprika
4 red chillies, finely chopped
400g chorizo, sliced
600ml red wine
250ml beef stock
2 tbsp dark brown sugar
2 x 400g can of chopped tomatoes
2 x 400g can of kidney beans
40g dark chocolate

To serve
Sour Cream
Small bunch of fresh coriander, roughly chopped
Crusty Bread & Rice


1.     In a large heavy based pan heat the oil on the hob over a medium heat and brown the meat in batches, remove and set aside.
2.    In the same pan add the onion and garlic on a low heat and sauté for 3-4 minutes until softened.  Now add the oregano, cumin, chilli powder, paprika, chillies and chorizo, cook for a further minute.
3.    Now return the meat to the pan with the wine, stock, sugar and tomatoes, bring to the boil, cover and simmer for 2 hours, stirring after one hour.
4.    Now taste the chilli to see if it requires any further chilli powder.
5.    Mix in the beans and simmer for a further hour adding more water if required.
6.    Stir in the chocolate.
7.    Serve with rice & crusty bread, garnish with coriander and sour cream. Enjoy!

Sunday, 24 April 2016

Ultimate Smoked Salmon & Scrambled Eggs

Ultimate Smoked Salmon & Scrambled Eggs
A very quick but very delicious and indulgent breakfast!

Serves 2
Prep time:  5 minutes
Cooking time: 3 minutes

8 free range eggs
2tbsp fresh chives, chopped
Freshly ground pepper
50g butter, plus extra for spreading
150g Smoked Salmon trimmings
2 English muffins, split horizontally


1.    In a bowl, beat together the eggs and chives with freshly ground pepper.

2.    Over a medium to low heat melt the butter in a non-stick pan.  Add the eggs and gently cook, stir occasionally until the eggs are softly scrambled.

3.    Meanwhile, toast the muffins and butter.  When the eggs are cooked remove the pan from the heat and fold through the salmon.

4.    Place 2 halves of muffins on each plate and spoon the scrambled egg and salmon on top. Enjoy!

Thursday, 7 April 2016

the BEST Moussaka Recipe

The Best Moussaka
Bring Greece to your home with this classic Greek dish, absolutely delicious!

Serves 6
Prep time:  30 minutes
Cooking time: 1 hour 50 minutes


For the Moussaka
3 large aubergines, sliced lengthways
Extra virgin olive oil
60g grated kefalotiri cheese or a mixture of gruyere & parmesan
½ tsp ground cinnamon

For the Meat Sauce
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 large onion, peeled & chopped
2 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
450g minced lamb
1 large glass of dry white wine
2 tbsp tomato puree
450g tomatoes, peeled & roughly chopped
1 tsp sugar
1 ½ tsp ground cinnamon
1 tbsp dried oregano
1 handful fresh parsley, finely chopped
Freshly ground salt & pepper

For the white sauce
60g butter
60g plain flour
600ml milk
60g grated kefalotiri cheese or a mixture of gruyere & parmesan
1 egg
1 egg yolk


1.  Sprinkle the aubergine slices with salt and set aside for at least 30 minutes, preferably 1 hour.

2.  To make the meat sauce, heat the oil in a large pan and add the onion and garlic.  Gently cook until tender without browning then add the lamb and fry until browned.  Add the wine, puree, tomatoes, sugar, cinnamon, oregano and season generously to taste.  Simmer for 30 minutes until thick and then stir in the parsley.

3.  To make the white sauce, melt the butter in a saucepan and stir in the flour.  Keep stirring for about 1 minute then remove the pan from the heat.  Slowly start to add the milk, stirring it well.  Return the pan to a gentle heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes until the sauce is thick, frequently stirring.  Add the cheese and season, just before serving beat in the egg and yolk.

4.  Preheat the oven to 190°C/375°F/Gas mark 5.

5.  Wipe the aubergines with kitchen paper and put them onto oiled baking sheets and brush with olive oil.  Bake in the oven for 20 minutes until tender and slightly browned.  Reduce the oven temperature to 180°C/350°F/Gas mark 4.

6.  Oil a 30 x 20cm (12 x 8 in)or 25 x 25cm 10 x 10 in) ovenproof dish. Lay half the aubergine slices on the base, overlapping if necessary.  Spread over half the meat sauce on top.  Lay the remaining aubergine on top and add the remaining meat sauce.  Pour over all the white sauce and sprinkle with cheese and cinnamon.  Bake in the oven for 50-60 minutes until nicely browned.  Let the moussaka rest in the oven for 5 minutes before serving, enjoy!!

Friday, 11 March 2016

Steak, Ale & Stilton Pie

Steak, Ale & Stilton Pie
This is a wonderfully delicious pie full of rich flavours – a great way to celebrate #BritishPieWeek

Serves 4-6

Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 2 hours


For the pie filling
3-4tbsp olive oil
200g smoked streaky bacon rashers, cut into 1cm strips
2 medium onions, peeled, halved & sliced
2 garlic cloves, peeled & finely chopped
2tbsp plain flour
1kg good quality stewing steak, cut into 2.5cm cubes
500ml bottle of real ale (I use Newcastle Brown Ale, but I am a Geordie)
500ml good beef stock
2tbsp tomato puree
1tbsp creamed horseradish sauce (optional)
3-4 sprigs of fresh thyme, leaves stripped from stalks & finely chopped
2 bay leaves
250g small chestnut mushrooms, wiped & halved or quartered
2 tbsp cornflour
150g stilton, crumbled

For the pie
325g ready-made puff pastry
1 egg, beaten to glaze

To Serve
Mashed potato


1.  Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large non-stick frying pan.  Fry the bacon and onions until pale golden in colour and then add the garlic and fry for a further 2 minutes, stirring regularly.  Set aside using a slotted spoon.

2.  Season the steak with salt and pepper and dredge with flour. Now heat 1-2 tbsp of oil to the frying pan and add the steak, you may have to do this in batches.  Fry the meat until it is well browned all over.  Add more oil if necessary.  Set aside.

3.  Deglaze the frying pan with half of the ale.  Bring the ale to the boil and stir hard to remove all the sediment from the base of the pan.  Transfer the steak and bacon to the frying pan  then add the remaining ale, stock, tomato puree, horseradish and herbs to the dish.  Bring to the boil and then cover, simmer for 1 ½ hour or until the meat is very tender.  Mix the corn flour with 2tbsp of cold water and add to the pan with the crumbled stilton cheese.  Continue to simmer uncovered for a further 5 minutes or until the juices are thick.  Season to taste and allow to cool.

4.  In the meantime preheat the oven to 200°C/Gas 6.  Heat the remaining oil in a frying pan and fry the mushrooms over a high heat for about 5 minutes until golden and add to the meat.  Remove the bay leaves and then strain the liquid from the meat but add some of the gravy to suit your taste.  Set aside the rest of the gravy to serve with the pie.

5.  Roll out the pastry on a well-floured board and brush the edge of the pie dish with egg.  Place the pastry gently over the filling and press the edges firmly to seal.  Trim the pastry neatly and decorate the top with the excess pastry and brush with the beaten egg to glaze.

6.  Place the dish in the centre of the oven and bake for 30-35 minutes until the pastry is puffed up and golden brown.

7.  Divide the pie and serve with mash and plenty of gravy, enjoy