Turkey, red pepper and chilli bolognese.

IMG_1482

 

I cook lots of traditional Italian ragu at home as I love the fact it just cooks for many hours on a slow cook and boy is it worth the wait at the end! I will post one at some point. However there are sometimes midweek when I love a “British” style bolognese but using turkey mince, it’s a lovely lighter alternative and great for children nutritional wise. Even better for adults!  More to the point, its quick to make and cheaper.

I’ve actually been meaning to post the recipe for sometime, truth be told I thought I had until I looked! This recipe is a slightly different version that I made by using up some peppers and chillies I had. My partner loved it and said it was better than the first version, I agree, but if you don’t want the peppers or chillies in it then follow the recipe and take those out.

If I’m making the “British style” bolognese like this one, I actually now prefer it with Turkey so If your young ones struggle a little with beef mince then give this recipe a try. Let me know how it went?

Also if you have any left either freeze it down or pop it on a jacket potato for your Lunch the next day.

 

Ingredients:

( Serves 4 )

  • 450g Turkey Mince
  • 2-3 tbsp Rapeseed oil
  • 1 onion diced
  • 1/2 large carrot or 1 small carrot finely diced
  • 1/2 stick of celery finely chopped
  • 1/2 red pepper finely chopped
  • 1/2 yellow pepper finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic finely chopped
  • 1/2 mild chilli chopped finely
  • 4 chestnut mushrooms sliced
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree
  • 1 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 1/4 of chicken stock gel pot
  • a good splash of dry white wine ( optional )
  • Handful of fresh herbs chopped finely = Rosemary, sage and oregano
  • A good splash of Worcestershire sauce
  • 250ml of water to hand if needed
  • Pinch of sea salt and cracked black pepper to season

 

IMG_1480 (1)

Method:

  • Heat up your rapeseed oil for a few seconds in a frying pan until hot then fry your onions, carrot and celery. Cook for about 2 minutes then add in your mushrooms and stir.
  • Once your mushrooms are starting to colour add in your peppers and turkey mince. Then add in your garlic and fry until your mince is cooked.
  • Once the mince is cooked pop in your chillies, herbs, stock, wine and tomato puree. Stir for a further 2 minutes.
  • Then add your chopped tomatoes, stir and simmer for about 10 minutes. If it starts to go dry, add in a little water. *** A good tip from me is pop your water into the chopped tomato can then none is wasted! ***
  • After this add in your Worcestershire sauce and simmer for a further 5 minutes or until your sauce is lovely and thick. Season if needed.
  • Serve up with spaghetti or the pasta of your choice and add parmesan if you wish. Try a bit without first though.

 

IMG_1485

 

 

Sausage, veg & mashed potato bake

 

 

IMG_1308

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.

IMG_1291

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.

IMG_1314

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:

IMG_1304

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.

 

IMG_1306

Layering up

IMG_1307

IMG_1310

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

Smoked mackerel and pea fishcakes with a green bean salsa

I actually did this recipe back in June this year for my column but I thought it would be perfect to share now as a nice meal change in-between all that Christmas shopping.

These fishcakes are a great alternative for a fish Friday supper. The green bean salsa gives it more of a lighter feel but will still fill you up. 

  So I wanted to show you how easy making fishcakes can be, as having no egg and breadcrumbs to this recipe, it takes less time.  Also this version is  healthier than the usual mashed potato used with butter and cream. 
 I have added the peas into the fishcakes as it’s a great way of getting vegetables  into your children’s diet.
  You can use other strong fish in this recipe but I prefer the mackerel and its great for budget shopping. 

   This dish will be a perfect, lighter alternative for you before all that meat is consumed over Christmas. 
    Oh and a little tip from me also…they are great eaten cold the day after. 


Smoked mackerel and pea fishcakes with a green bean salsa:



Ingredients:
Fishcakes
  • 2 tbsp of Rapeseed oil for frying
  • handful of plain flour to dust the fishcakes
  • 4 skinned Fresh Smoked mackerel fillets
  • 2 Spring onions chopped
  • 500g bag of Jersey Royal potatoes or any other New potatoes halved
  • A good Handful of petit pops defrosted and drained
  • fresh flat leaf parsley chopped 
  • A good squeeze of lemon
  • Salt and cracked black pepper to season 
Green bean salsa
  • Fine green beans blanched for 3 minutes and halved
  • 2 large tomatoes chopped roughly
  • 1 medium red onion diced finely
  • small handful of baby capers chopped
  • half a 180g tin of sweetcorn drained
  • Fresh flat leaf parsley chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste as above


Method:
  • Boil your potatoes until just starting to break/soften
  • Blanch your green beans for about 3 minutes as they still need a “bite” to them then place into ice cold water
  • When your potatoes are done crush them using a potato masher, leaving them still with chunks and add a little seasoning to them. 
  • Take a bowl, pop in your crushed potatoes, flake in your smoked mackerel but also leave chunky.
  • Add spring onions, peas, lemon and seasoning and mix together with your hands.
  • Start to form in your hand a ball like shape and flatten to form a fishcake. dust in flour and place on a plate.
  • Continue with the rest of the mixture.
*  If you aren’t using them all, you can freeze at this stage.
  • Once all formed, in a frying pan heat a little oil and start to fry. Turning every couple of minutes. Once golden brown after approximately 5-6 minutes, they will be done.
  • Place all fishcakes onto Kitchen paper to drain the oil.
*  Put all your salsa ingredients together in a bowl and serve.






Chinese spiced meatballs with seasonal veg and wild rice





Meatballs don’t always have to come in tomato sauce, around pasta or in a Sub Roll. Being a little more creative with your dishes by a slight change can create a dish so different and fantastic, you’ll never want to turn back. 
 You may not always associate a meatball with Chinese food, but it’s allowing your food to go a little further, using a cheaper meat alternative and to get your taste buds tingling to new flavours.
  This weekend, why not get the Children involved in making the meatballs to create a meal together. 
  I have teamed this dish by using ribbons of seasonal Courgettes and carrots, again, so easy for the children to make as you just use a potato peeler. 
  This is my take on that takeaway classic thats normally swimming in a heavy sweet and sour sauce. It’s healthier, cheaper and if you make too many Meatballs at the raw stage, just freeze down for another meal.




Chinese spiced meatballs with seasonal veg and wild rice:





Ingredients:
(Serves 4 approximately)
(Meatballs):
–    1-2 Tbsp Rapeseed oil
  • 5oog Pork Mince
  • Salt and cracked Black pepper to season
  • 1 heaped Teaspoon of Chinese Five Spice I used Spice Kitchen’s own blend
  • 1/2 a large Green chilli ( mild) diced finely or 1 small one
  •   1 clove of Garlic finely chopped d or 2 if small
  •   2x Thumbnail size amount of fresh ginger finely grated
  • 3-4 spring onions chopped as finely as you can get them
  • Small handful of chopped coriander 
(Veg mixture):
–    1-2 tbsp of Rapeseed oil
  • 1 onion sliced
  • 1-2 carrots ( depending on size )ribboned with a potato peeler
  • 1 Courgette Ribboned with a potato peeler * Don’t peel the skin away, thats the best bit!
  • 1 yellow pepper sliced lengthways 
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic finely chopped
  • Thumbnail size amount of grated fresh ginger ( Wang Fung Hong )
  •  
  • 1 -2 tbsp superior light soy sauce ( Mine was from the Chinese supermarket Wang Fung Hong in Leicester )
  • 1 tbsp Oyster sauce ( Wang Fung Hong )
  •   1-2 tsp of Chilli Bean sauce ( Wang Fung Hong )
  • 1-2 tsp of honey ( I used the non clear )
  • A good spritz of lime juice
  • a handful of chopped coriander to finish 
Wild basmati rice to serve.
Method:
Cook rice to packet instructions.
  • Mix all the ingredients in a bowl for your meatballs together and form meatballs, place aside.
  • In a frying pan fry off your meatballs turning after a few minutes. They should take about 10 minutes in total approximately or when cooked through.Pop aside when done.
  • In a separate wok , start to stir fry your onions and peppers, then after a minute or two add your courgettes, tossing the vegetables around the Wok continuously. 
  • After about a minute, add the carrots, garlic and Ginger, be careful the ginger doesn’t burn. 
  • After a minute or two add your soy sauce, Chilli bean sauce, oyster, 1 tsp of honey and a small spritz of lime. Stir and taste to see what sauces you need to add more of.
  • Add in your meatballs and coat them with the sauce. They need to be fully warmed through.
  • When you are happy with the taste of your sauce, add in chopped coriander and serve on a bed of hot Wild rice.
NB: If you didn’t want to add in too much chilli bean sauce then reduce the amount, if you want more spice add in extra fresh chilli to your sauce.




Gooey Chocolate Chilli brownie’s with cranberries




  At teatime or in the evening when it begins to get chilly, this is great to have with a cup of Coffee or tea. It gives you a real tingle inside after having one.

  I have been making this Chocolate chilli brownie recipe for years now, sometimes I drizzle white chocolate on top, add pistachios or you can even change the cranberries to dried cherries. However Ive decided to use cranberries as we only seem to see them in December but in actual fact they go perfect along side the chocolate and chilli.
This is such a super, easy, sweet treat to serve whatever the occasion. It will go great after Hot dogs, or an autumnal one pot wonder. They are even fantastic to give as a gift.

  You can serve this with double cream, ice cream or to be even more decadent and naughty, I would add some booze such as Pedro Ximenez sherry.


  I also made these for my regular cooking slot on BBC Radio Leicester a couple of weeks ago so if you click on the clip here, you can hear me making them for Ben Jackson and how much he liked them! 



Gooey Chocolate chilli brownie’s with cranberries:






Ingredients:


(Serves 8 Brownies in a tin roughly as mine was 28cmx18cm )

–  100g Dark Chocolate ( at least 60,70 % cocoa solids ) 
–  88g unsalted butter
–  163g Caster sugar
–  2 eggs
–  65g plain flour
–  50g dried cranberries
–  1/4-1/2 tsp of Ground hot chilli powder (depending how hot you want it! )I use Spice Kitchen spices
–  1/4-1/2 tsp of fresh chopped red chilli ( depending how hot you want it! )




Method:

*  Grease a tin of your choice and line with parchment paper

*  Preheat oven to 160-170c

*  Melt chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water

*  In a separate bowl whisk eggs and sugar together and then sift in flour and fold in

*  Place that mixture into the melted chocolate and butter and mix with a spatular, add in cranberries

*  place mixture into your baking tray and pop into the oven for about 40 minutes

*  Allow to cool on a tray until you cut into squares

*  Serve with a nice cup of hot drink, double cream or Ice cream. If you want to be even more naughty, pour over some booze such as Pedro Ximenez sherry.