Chicken, red wine casserole with parmentier potatoes and local king cabbage

 

 

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Even with how many recipes I develop on a day to day basis, it still begins to amaze me when a dish turns out fantastically especially when you were just using the odd thing up in your cupboards and fridge.

It was last month on a Sunday and I said to my partner I was going to do a bit of a fridge/cupboard raid for dinner. I called it a chasseur at the time just because it was cooked in red wine but I’ve decided to call it a casserole as it was cooked the same way.

This recipe blew my mind with how the red wine tasted in it. The wine I use isn’t too expensive but one of which we love in our house. A South African Stellenbosch.

Earlier on in the day we had been to our local garden centre to actually look for another blueberry plant to help with pollination. We did get one. However when we first turned up, they had these huge King cabbages for sale at only 40p! As you can see by the picture below, it had these vivid green and purple tones that were just mesmerising. I knew it would taste nice and would stretch to lots of meals for us.

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This was the sort of meal that for an occasion, date night maybe or a Sunday that you are fed up of the same roast, this a great alternative and so easy to cook. It somehow feels a little extra special but still comforting and warming at its best.

 

Ingredients:

  • 3 chicken breasts ( Or 1 per person )
  • 4-5 chestnut mushrooms sliced
  • 1 onion diced
  • 1-2 tbsp of rapeseed oil
  • a knob of unsalted butter
  • 2 garlic cloves finely chopped
  • 2 carrots peeled and chopped/sliced however you like
  • 1 large leek sliced
  • 1/2 celery stick chopped
  • 3/4 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
  • a sprig of thyme
  • a good handful of chervil, if you can’t get use a little parsley and tarragon
  • 250ml red wine ( I used a South African Stellenbosch )
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree, may need to use a little more
  • Chicken stock, Use a 1/4 gel pot or homemade. You need enough to create a lovely sauce. I used about 300ml of water. Add more if need be.
  • salt and cracked black pepper to season

Parmentier Potatoes:

  • 6/7 medium sized potatoes, I use marfona Peeled and chopped into squares
  • A handful of rosemary
  • 3-4 garlic cloves crushed
  • Plain flour for dusting
  • sea salt and cracked black pepper to season
  • 1-2 tbsp of rapeseed oil

 

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Method:

  •  Preheat your oven to 190c

 

  • In a heavy bottomed casserole dish, seal off the chicken breasts in some rapeseed oil.

 

  •  Take out your chicken once starting to colour and pop aside. Then in the same pan add a little more oil and a knob of unsalted butter and fry off your onions until starting to soften.

 

  •  Add in your carrots and celery and stir. Then add all other ingredients . Pop the lid on and place in the oven for about 45 mins-hour.

 

  • In the mean time you can prepare and cook your potatoes. Blanch the potatoes in boiling water for 3-4 mins.

 

  •  Drain and sprinkle your flour over the potatoes coating them.

 

  •  Place a baking/roasting tray in the oven with a little rapeseed oil in it. Once hot pop the potatoes onto it ( it should sizzle ) with the herbs and garlic and place in the oven for about 15 minutes or when crispy, golden brown.

 

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  • Once the casserole and potatoes are done. Best way to cook this cabbage is boil your water first and then once rapidly boiling plunge into the hot water. It will only need about 4-5 minutes cooking maximum and will stay vivid green.

 

  •  Once the cabbage is cooked, serve all together and enjoy.

 

 

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Sausage, veg & mashed potato bake

 

 

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Crispy mash top

 

I have just come in from being in the garden ( yes, sowing already )!  And even though we had glorious sunshine this morning in Leicestershire, it now has turned somewhat dull, and cloudy with a nip in the air still, due to the changing of seasons.

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Looking “Spring – like” in my garden. That is my rocket that has gone to flower in the background.

 

I’m starting off the week with a recipe that I have made twice now in our household and both times we have gone back for seconds, in fact one house guest actually had thirds!

We had this yesterday for our Sunday dinner as I had currently bought some reduced pork sausages and my leeks were only 21p too, bargain. The first time I made it was on a Friday night when a friend of ours stayed for the weekend. I wouldn’t have normally cooked something like this on a Friday but I’m glad I didn’t do my first choice, which was a fish pie…as it turns out, he wasn’t keen on fish! I was meant to write about it then, but it went down so good that muggins here forgot to take photographs.

This dish is great for a family midweek meal. By all means, if you don’t want the wine in it, take it out. It’s such a frugal recipe that will stretch far for portions and has lots of hidden veg inside too. I have used frozen peas and sweetcorn in this so for families who have the frozen mixture with carrots in also, use that if you like.

What a  great way to make sausage and mash that little bit more special. A real, rustic bake that you will have your family wanting more.

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Not the greatest photo, I admit, but I can assure you, this is comfort at its best.

Ingredients:

( Serves up to 6 people or 4 very generous portions )

  •  1 tbsp rapeseed oil
  •  1 pack of 8 British pork sausages ( not with a lot of herbs )
  •  2 onions sliced
  •  1 leek sliced
  •  A good splash of red wine ( I used a French full bodied ) about 125ml * Optional *
  •  1 tbsp tomato puree
  •  dash of Worcester sauce
  •  1/2 tbsp of Damson jam or any thing such as red current jelly to a similar taste
  •  Fresh herbs ( small sprig of each ) rosemary, thyme and sage
  •  handful of frozen peas and sweetcorn ( defrosted and drained )
  •  1/2 pork stock cube
  •  2 tbsp of chicken gravy or pork ( good quality )
  •  Salt and cracked black pepper to season ( may not need salt )

Mashed potato topping 

  • 8 good sized potatoes ( I use Marfona from a local farm )
  •  2 good knobs of unsalted butter
  •  1 tsp of Dijon mustard
  •  dash of double cream ( 100 ml )
  •  Salt and cracked black pepper to season if needed.

 

Method:

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Pretty self explanatory really…some sausages cut up!

 

  •  Boil your potatoes. Mash with the other ingredients or use a potato ricer like I did, then add in the ingredients.

 

  • Preheat your oven to 180c

 

  • Fry off your sausages until starting to turn golden brown.

 

  • Cut your sausages into 3 and place into your chosen oven proof dish.

 

  • Fry your onion until starting to soften and turn colour. Add in the red wine, tomato puree, Worcester sauce, Jam or jelly, stock and gravy and stir together. Add 300ml of water or until consistency is correct for a thick sauce. Taste to see if you need anything else more.

 

  • Add in your leeks and herbs. Cook for about 5 more minutes. Adding water if need be. Pour the gravy mixture over the sausages.

 

  • Scatter your peas and sweetcorn over. Cover with the mash and fork the top to create lots of crispy bits.

 

  • Pop in the oven for 20-30 minutes or until golden and bubbly. Serve with green veg such as cabbage, Spring greens or broccoli.

 

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Layering up

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That crispy top again. You’ll fight for this corner/ end bits! 

Cauliflower, leek and chorizo gratin with a parmesan crumb topping.

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So, this is my new blog. What do you think?

I thought what a better way to kick start it off but with a recipe that went out on last Friday for one of my regular shows I do for BBC Radio Leicester, “Food Friday” which I have done for a few years now. It’s on my friends show, that of course is the lovely Mr Ben Jackson. I love cooking on “Food Friday” as I love being able to help people think of ideas for the weekend. I normally do something seasonal, inexpensive, fridge raids/leftovers and family friendly recipes. You get the gist.

This dish is a simple recipe for a family of four all put together in one dish.It’s using seasonal ingredients at its best with a little something extra.

You could also have this as a side dish or starter in smaller sized dishes (how I have shown on the pictures). It’s a dish you really don’t need to be accurate with ingredients. You can play around with it a little, i.e if you don’t want to have the chorizo in it, its also great as that lovely parmesan crumb on top gives a special crunch. It would make a great dinner party dish that doesn’t have you slaving in the kitchen too.

It really is a super, simple supper that is inexpensive to make.

Click on this link to hear to me showing Ben and our listeners just how fabulous and easy it is to make.  

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Half way point!

Ingredients:

Depending on how big your dish is, this is based on serving 4 people in a 25cm gratin dish.

Gratin mix:

  •  1 whole head of cauliflower including using some of the leaves. Florets broken apart and sliced downwards to the stalks.
  • 1 leek sliced thinly
  • 1/2 chorizo ring ( approximately 100g ) chopped into smaller cubes
  • cheddar cheese grated, I used a mature British ( approximately 60-70g )
  • A sprig of thyme, if the leaves are quite large, chop them finely. My herbs are from my garden so I didn’t need to and just stripped off the leaves.
  • 300g carton of double cream ( you may not need to use it all, don’t cover the gratin mix with it )
  • 2 cloves of garlic finely chopped
  • A few knobs of Unsalted butter
  • salt and cracked black pepper to season

Crumb topping:

  •  2 slices of bread ( a few days old ) I used wholemeal which gives more flavour
  • 2 spring onions chopped roughly
  • Salt and cracked black pepper to season
  • 2-3 tbsp Parmesan ( Parmigiana reggiano ) grated some in the crumb mix and some for on top

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At the finish, bubbling away nicely

 

Method:

  •  Preheat your oven to 180c fan.

 

  •  Blanch off your cauliflower until just starting to soften.

 

  • In the meantime, in a blender/processor blitz together the ingredients for your topping.

 

  • In your chosen dish place a layer of cauliflower at the bottom. Then layer up with your leeks, chorizo, garlic, cheese and thyme. Then finish with cauliflower again on top.

 

  • Pour over your double cream and place your knobs of butter on top. Pop in the oven for 15 mins until things are starting to bubble and brown. Take out and put your crumb topping on. Place back in the oven for another 10 mins.

 

  • When golden brown onto, serve with perhaps some crusty bread, a nice salad and a lovely red wine.

 

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Diving in!

 

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Wheres that red wine and crusty bread?

Veg, chickpea and coconut kale curry



I love a “Fridge raid” dish as you know by now.  Something where you look at what you have got in the fridge and come up with something amazing. I tend to do this normally on a Monday or Tuesday when I’ve had lots of Meat or fish over the weekend when maybe you’ve had a roast or similar to takeaway food. I always then thrive on having a vegetarian meal.
   Now, One might say this is a Keralan dish or a Sri Lankan Curry as there are some resemblances to it.  I just know its a warming curried dish that makes me feel happy when I eat it!
 It has a lovely subtle coconut flavour to it which cools along side the spices.
  I wanted to show you a recipe that is so easy and quick to make but still makes you feel full after it and believe it or not, its vegan and dairy free! 
  A dish that will warm your cockles and still give you the satisfaction of being quite a healthy curry.



Veg chickpea & coconut kale curry:




Ingredients:
  • 1 Onion diced
  • 2 tsp Sri Lankan spice mix ( I use Spice Kitchen, all other ground spices and seeds below are too. )
  • 1 hot green chilli chopped
  • 1 tsp chilli powder 
  • 1 tsp Turmeric
  • 1 tsp Ground Coriander
  • Sea Salt to season
  • 1 tsp Cumin seeds   
  • 1 thumbnail size of ginger grated
  • 2 cloves of garlic finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp Coconut oil
  • 1/2 400g tin chickpeas drained
  • 1 courgette chopped into chunks
  • 2 bell peppers diced into inch size pieces
  • 1/4 butternut squash chopped into chunks
  • 3 handfuls of kale
  • 30g red lentils
  • 1/2 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
  •   2 tbsp Coconut flavour soya yoghurt
  • Little bit of water if needed ( If a little dry )
  • Long grain Rice to serve
Method:
  • Cook the butternut squash in boiling water until just starting to soften and then drain and set aside.
  • In a frying pan or wok, start to fry off your onions, then after a minute add in all of your spices including the garlic and ginger also. Stir, allowing not to burn your garlic.
  • Add in all your veg ingredients except your kale and butternut squash to the pan, the lentils and chopped tomatoes plus a little water and simmer for 15 minutes, not allowing it to dry out.
  • Add in your butternut squash, kale, stir and cook for a further 3-4 minutes. 
* Season to taste if needed, add in your coconut yoghurt and serve with your long grain rice.





  

Spicy Pork and pumpkin pie

So I’ve decided to post this recipe I did for my weekly column as it was a real winner on Halloween and there are still Pumpkins around. However you can still make it at any time, You could even substitute the Pumpkin for Butternut squash. 

  Here is what I wrote:-
Halloween is upon us so I wanted to show you a great dish that is hassle free for you if you are having a party. 
 Every Halloween when I have a party I want to be able to spend time with my guests and not be in the kitchen all day making fiddly buffet food.  I think sometimes one can feel a little pressured to be able to make an edible “Brain” or witches fingers. 
 So today I have done a recipe that still has a halloween theme by using pumpkin, its quick, simple and very tasty for your guests.
 I’ve used Pork mince in this as 1, its economical so will stretch further for any unexpected guests for you and 2, it goes really well against the Pumpkin however you could use Beef mince or lamb if you don’t eat Pork.
  Another point to make is that I was using leftover mashed potato from the day before, another time saver. 
  Serve this up in bowls to your guests and it will leave them spooked of how good it is.
Spicy pork and pumpkin pie:





Ingredients:
Pumpkin and potato mash:
  • Leftover Mashed potato, (enough to fit your dish you are using, there was about 4 potatoes worth left in mine) 
  • 1 small pumpkin chopped into chunks ( I bought mine from a local farm called Cattow’s Farm)
  • knob of butter
  • salt and pepper to season
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
Pork pie mixture:
  • 500g pork mince
  • 1-2 tbsp of rapeseed oil
  • 1 onion diced finely
  • 1/2 leek thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves of garlic finely chopped
  • A thumbnail size of fresh ginger grated
  • 1-2 green chilli’s finely chopped 
  • 3 tbsp of mild curry powder or madras, whatever heat you like it.
  • 1/4 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 4 small chopped fresh tomatoes
  • Salt and cracked black pepper to season
  • handful of frozen spinach defrosted and drained
  • handful of frozen petit pois peas defrosted and drained
  • few sprigs of fresh chopped coriander to finish


Method:
–  Preheat oven to 180-200c depending if fan oven or not.
  • In boiling water, cook your pumpkin until soft. Mash with a hand potato masher, pop in your butter, nutmeg and seasoning then stir in the potato mash together. Leave aside.
  •   Fry off your onion for a couple of minutes until starting to soften.
      Add your leek and cook for a couple of minutes also. Add your garlic, chilli, ginger and curry powder and stir.
  •   Add in your pork mince and continue to cook until the pork mince is almost all cooked through. Pop in the tomatoes and cook for 2 minutes.
  • Add in your peas and spinach, stir, take off the heat and pop to one side.

  •   In an oven proof dish of your choice put in your Pork mixture, level off and sprinkle with fresh coriander.Top with your Pumpkin mash and place in the oven for 20-30 minutes or until crispy and brown on top.