Barbecued provencal mussels

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There’s nothing more I like that cooking outdoors. Wherever I can do it, I will. Yesterday was in my lovely little garden which is great as I can pick whatever herbs, fruit and vegetables I want. I get really bored of typical bbq food, i.e. burgers, hot dogs, sausages etc…that a lot of us Brits do. So if you are like me and want to cook something easy but a little more adventurous then this recipe will be for you. Especially if you like seafood!

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The only thing I would stress is that cooking outdoors, some bbq’s, fire pits, outdoor ovens with have different strengths to how hot they are and how quick things will cook. It also will change in time to how much other ingredients you put in there along with the mussels.

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Ingredients:

( Serves two as a main course portion )

  • A 1kg bag of fresh Mussels ( Mine were Scottish )
  • half an onion diced finely
  • 1 small courgette diced finely
  • A good handful of tomatoes. Sliced in half. I used my own homegrown ones which were golden ones and some piccolo red ones.
  • 2 cloves of garlic finely chopped
  • A few slices of a funnel bulb diced finely and also a few fronds
  • A handful of parsley ripped roughly
  • a pinch of sea salt
  • A good splash of white wine. I used Sauvignon blanc. Plus a good splash for yourself!
  • 2 knobs of unsalted butter
  • Also I used a branch of bay, thyme and Rosemary to smoke underneath the embers. The smell is amazing!

 

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Method:

  • De-beard and clean your mussels including taking off any barnacles. Rinse them under cold water.
  • Make a bag/parcel with foil and place in your Mussels plus all other vegetables and herbs. Add your wine and place the butter over everything.
  • Close up your foil parcel and place onto your bbq.
  • This will Cook for roughly 12-15 minutes ( Times may vary ) If you are cooking with just the mussels, it will take less time.
  • After half way through take off and check how far it is cooking. Stir will a spoon and place back on the bbq.
  • When everything is cooked through, take off, pour into large bowls and serve with some crusty buttered bread.

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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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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.






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.




Tomato, Barley and vegetable soup

This recipe sent me back thinking to my childhood, not because it was something we always ate, but because it reflected on something that happens all over our country at this time of year, in Churches, schools, Farm shops and that is of course…The Harvest festival. 
   
  Farmers and vegetable growers of all levels gather their crops in Autumn as a celebration to show the general public where their food comes from and also it’s a chance to raise money for Charity. 
  Last Saturday was also the start of British food Fortnight, (19th Sep-4th Oct 2015) so the two fit perfectly together.

  This soup is packed full of most vegetables that are being harvested now and they certainly were from my little Kitchen garden that Im so very proud of. 


   Soup always makes me feel good inside and warm,when Ive had it. Maybe after a long day or when a cold is drawing near. With this recipe, Im sure it will give you quite an amount of your Five-a day.

  This is a one pot dish that is so economical but with the added pearl barley and lots of vegetables it will keep you feeling full –  Fit for the Harvest festival! 








Tomato Barley and vegetable soup:
Ingredients:
( Serves 4 approximately)
  •   1-2 tbsp rapeseed oil 
  •   a couple of handfuls of pearl barley
  • 1 onion finely diced
  • 1  Large carrot finely diced
  • 1  large celery stick finely sliced
  • 2 cloves of garlic finely chopped or grated
  • 1 tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 1-2 tbsp of tomato puree
  •   Pinch of sugar
  • 1 leek  finely sliced 
  • 1 gel pot of vegetable stock or Chicken stock
  • handful of fresh herbs : Oregano, Thyme, Rosemary finely chopped
  • 1-2 runner beans sliced
  • 1 courgette chopped finely
  • salt and cracked black pepper to season
  • Handful of finely chopped fresh basil to finish
Method
  • Cook Pearl barley to packet instructions but add in some stock to your water, whichever you are using.
  •   Sweat off your carrot and celery with your rapeseed oil in a pan for a minute or two, then add in your onions. Cook until starting to soften.
  •   Then add in your sliced leek, stir and sweat down for about 2 minutes. Add in your Garlic and stir again.
  •   Pop in your chopped tomatoes, tomato puree and sugar and turn down the heat slightly. Stir in your stock and add about 1/2 litre of water. (I prefer to add as I go) 
  •   Leave this now to simmer away for about 15-20 minutes allowing your veg to soften. Keep checking and if it needs more water, add a little more.
  • After this point, add in your courgettes and runner beans and cook for about 3 minutes.
  • Then add in your cooked pearl barley and herbs, stir, add more water if it needs it and cook until your beans and courgettes are softened.
  • Taste and see if it requires seasoning or sometimes a little sugar if tart.

–   Serve into bowls, sprinkle on the basil and dive in with some crusty bread.