Friday, 28 January 2011

Fish Pie with Peas

  • Ingredients

  • 2 shallots, finely chopped
  • 800 g skinless fillets of haddock and salmon
  • 1 large glass white wine
  • 1 lemon juice only
  • 75 g butter, diced
  • Salt and freshly milled black pepper
  • 150 g garden peas (frozen)
  • 225 ml double cream
  • 1 heaped tbsp wholegrain mustard
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped parsley
  • 1 kg mashed potatoes

  • Preheat the oven to 180C/Gas 4.
  • Place the shallots in the bottom of a large saucepan and lay the fish on top in an even layer. Pour in the wine add the lemon juice add the butter and season with salt and pepper. Cover with a lid and simmer on a low heat for 15–20 minutes or until the fish is cooked.

  • Cook and drain the peas.

  • Once cooked and using a slotted spoon, carefully transfer the fish from the saucepan (leaving the shallots and cooking liquid in the pan) to an oven proof dish.

  • Add the cream to the shallots and cooking liquid in the pan and continue to simmer, with the lid off, for 10–15 minutes or until the sauce is reduced and thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Stir in the mustard, peas and parsley and check the seasoning.

  • Pour the sauce over the fish in the dish and spoon over the mashed potato, spreading with the back of a spoon.

  • Bake in the oven for about 30 minutes until golden on top. 

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Left-over Haggis

If you had haggis to celebrate Burn's night and you are lucky enough to have some left-over, try this delicious Pakora recipe.

Haggis Pakora
50g gram flour
1tbsp garam masala
1tbsp dried Fenugreek leaves 
1tsp Ajwan seeds
Salt, to taste 
Chilli powder to taste 
3tbsp natural yoghurt
Cooked Haggis
2 large potatoes
1 large onion
3 green chillies
vegetable or rape seed oil for frying

Put all the dry ingredients into a large bowl and mix. Add the yoghurt and water gradually and mix the batter until smooth but not thick. Leave aside for 5-10 minutes.

Peel wash and grate the potatoes. Peel and slice the onions and finely chop the chillies. Mix all the vegetables into the batter

Heat the oil in a frying pan for 5 minutes. Scoop out a small spoonfuls of haggis and place it in the batter to coat.

Place the mixture into hot oil and fry for 2-3 minutes until golden-brown. Turn repeatedly to ensure even frying. Once cooked, remove from the pan and place onto  kitchen paper. 

Serve hot with raita.

Sunday, 23 January 2011

Venison Casserole and Pies

Venison makes a great casserole but, it's a bit richer than beef or lamb, so I tend to add a lot of vegetables to it.  I made double the quantity this time and put together some pies for the freezer.

Put the meat into individual foil pie dishes and cool completely before putting the pastry over.

They can be frozen wrapped individually in poly bags, for up to  3 months.  


2 carrots
140g swede, cut into cubes
6 shallots, peeled
3  leeks, cleaned and thickly sliced
1 garlic clove
1.5kg cubed shoulder of venison 
4 tbsp flour seasoned with salt and pepper
1 heaped tbsp redcurrant jelly
5 fl oz ruby port
450ml beef stock
2 sprigs thyme
1 bay leaf

Pre-heat the oven to 140C (fan oven).

Heat some oil and butter in a large casserole and add the shallots, carrots, swede and leeks. Fry for a few minutes until golden. Crush the garlic and add to the pan. Stir to combine and then set the vegetables to one side.
Sprinkle the meat with seasoned flour and mix to coat. Add a little more oil to the casserole and brown the meat in batches. Set aside with the vegetables.

Add the port and jelly to the pan. pour in the stock, thyme and bay leaf before adding the meat and vegetable back to the pan. Stir to combine and then bring to the boil. Cover and cook for 2 hours.

Remove the bayleaf and thyme.  Serve with mashed potatoes.

Pastry for the pies

100g salted butter
100g white cooking fat
200g plain wholemeal flour
200g plain flour
Large pinch of salt
Very cold water

Rub the fats into the flours and salt.

Add enough cold water to form a firm dough.

Rest the dough in the fridge for 30 minutes before rolling out on a floured surface.

When ready to bake brush the pies all over with beaten egg.

Cook the pies in a pre-heated oven at 180C for 15 minutes.

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Parsnip Fritters

Perfect for a warm snack or a starter.  Try a spiced yoghurt or mango chutney dip.

  • Parsnips should be firm and dry. 

  • Flavour and sweetness are increased by frost, so parsnips are better during mid/late winter.

  • Wrap in kitchen paper then put in a poly bag and store in the bottom of the fridge for up to two weeks.


1kg parsnips, peeled
salt and pepper
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1 green chilli, finely chopped (optional)
1/2 onion, coarsely grated
2 eggs
25g butter, softened
25g plain flour

Quarter the parsnips lengthwise and remove the central woody core. Cook in boiling salted water until completely tender, then drain. Place the parsnips back in the saucepan and stir over a low heat, allowing them to dry. Then purée until smooth in a food processor.
Rinse the grated onion in a sieve, dry it and add to the parsnips along with the eggs, chilli, spices and butter. Add the flour, beating it in well. Season with salt and pepper.
Heat the oil for deep-frying over a med/high heat.  Spoon the parsnip mix into the hot fat.  Turn the fritters from time to time, until a deep golden brown. Once they are cooked, remove them from the hot fat, drain on kitchen paper and lightly salt. 
For the yoghurt dip
2 tbsp natural yoghurt, 1 tbsp double cream, 1 tsp medium curry powder or paste and 1 tsp mango chutney.

Saturday, 15 January 2011

Chicken and Vegetable Stir-fry with Wholegrain, Egg Fried Rice

Another healthy recipe for the new year.  This one is not only low-fat but also has low GI.  I have used chicken breast, courgettes, mushrooms, green and orange peppers, onion and garlic, wholegrain for the egg fried rice and used a non-stick pan so I needed very little oil.

The flavour comes from star anise, soy sauce, seasoning, lemon juice, dry sherry and a drizzle of honey.

For the fried rice

200g wholegrain brown rice
2 star anise
2 eggs, beaten
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp toasted sesame oil

Add the star anise to the salted cooking water followed by the rice then cook according to the pack instructions (this may take around 40 minutes)  Remove the star anise.  Drain the rice and set aside.

To make the fried rice

Heat a non-stick wok or skillet and add the sesame oil, when it is very hot add the beaten eggs, when they start to set add the rice and stir fry for a few minutes then add the soy sauce and mix thoroughly.

Ingredients for the chicken and vegetable stir fry

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into strips
1 courgette, cut to small strips
1small onion or 1 bunch spring onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 orange pepper, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
100g mushrooms, sliced
Small bunch fresh coriander, chopped
Small glass dry sherry
Juice of 1/2 lemon
2 tbsp soy sauce (low salt)
2 tsp clear honey

Stir fry the chicken until almost cooked then add the courgette strips,mushrooms, onion, garlic and peppers.
Stir fry for a further 5 minutes then ad the sherry, soy sauce, lemon juice, and honey.  Season if necessary.  Finally add the chopped coriander and stir to combine.

Serve with egg fried rice.

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Tandoori Chicken with Fragrant Basmati Rice

This is a fairly low fat dish.  If you use breast of chicken it would be very low fat but chicken thigh is such a tasty cut.
The yoghurt for the marinade is fat free and I used a ready made Tandoori spice mix.
Ideally, marinate overnight to allow the flavour to develop or, if you are making it to consume the same day, no less than 1 hour.


1 kg boneless,skinless chicken thighs
1 litre natural yoghurt
Juice of 1/2 lemon
salt and pepper
1 heaped dessert spoon Tandoori spice mix
1 bunch fresh coriander chopped (save a few leaves for decoration)

Mix all the marinade ingredients in a large bowl.  Add the chicken thighs and mix together, cover with cling film and leave to marinate.

Pre-heat the oven to 200C

Lay the marinated chicken on a baking tray and cook for 30 minutes.

Serve with Fragrant Basmati Rice and salad

Fragrant Basmati Rice

Cook the rice according to pack instructions with the addition of 3 cloves, 1 stick cinnamon, 6 green cardamom pods and 1 star anise.  Drain and remove the spices.

Monday, 10 January 2011

Stewlash with Herby Doughballs

I was halfway through peparing the ingredients for a beef stew when I decided I would prefer goulash, as I had already opened the can of stout I decided my best bet was a stewlash.  It turned out great as the result was delicious. 

The herby doughballs flavoured with mint, parsley and coriander, really complimented the flavour of the dish.

For the stewlash

1 kg Shin beef, cut into large chunks
2 onions, peeled and chopped
4 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
A little oil for browning the beef
2tbsp plain flour
2 tbsp paprika
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 can dark stout
1 tin chopped tomatoes
100ml soured cream

Pre-heat the oven to 140C

Toss the meat in flour (either in a bowl or a polythene bag) shake off any excess flour.

Heat the oil in a large casserole over a medium heat  Brown the meat in batches.  Removing it from the pot to a separate bowl after each batch.

Add a little more oil to the pot and cook the chopped onion until softened, stirring frequently, put in the garlic and cook for a further 2 minutes.

Put the beef back into the casserole and add the paprika, stir to combine.

Add the stout and tinned tomatoes, stir and bring up to a simmer. 

Season with salt and pepper.

Place in the oven for 2 1/2 hours.  Remove from the oven and stir in the soured cream.

For the doughballs

50g suet
100g self-raising flour
1 tbsp chopped parsley
1 tsp chopped mint
2 tbsp chopped coriander
5 tbsp cold water
Salt and pepper

Place the suet, flour and herbs in a bowl, add the water and mix to a soft dough.

With floured hands shape the dough into 8 rounds.

Place them in the casserole and put the lid on.  Cook, either in the oven or hob, over a low heat for 20 minutes.

Friday, 7 January 2011

Broccoli Soup with Almonds

Miserable cold weather calls for a warming bowl of home-made soup.  Broccoli is full of nutrients like vitamin C and potassium to help ward off the cold and flu bugs associated with this time of year and the good thing about this particular soup is that it is made and ready to eat in 30 minutes.   Oh! and it's delicious.

You can add cheese instead of creme fraiche for a richer flavour (Stilton left over from Christmas would be great) just crumble it over when serving.

1 tbsp olive oil
1 clove garlic, peeled and chopped
300ml chicken stock
200g broccoli florets
100g broccoli stalks, chopped
2 shallots, finely chopped
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Creme Fraiche and toasted flaked almonds to serve

Heat the oil in a saucepan over a medium heat and sauté the chopped shallot for 1-2 minutes.  Add the chopped garlic and cook for a further 2 minutes.

Pour the chicken stock into the pan and add the broccoli florets and stalks.

Bring to the boil and reduce the heat and simmer gently for 10-12 minutes, until the broccoli is tender.

Season to taste, then transfer to a liquidizer. Blend until smooth.

Ladle the soup into warm bowls,  drizzle with creme fraiche and sprinkle with toasted flaked almonds.

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Warm Green Bean Salad

In the spirit of healthy eating for the new year, I am trying a new salad every day, either for lunch or dinner.  Today's lunch was a warm green bean salad with mushrooms, courgettes, Parma ham, smoked sausage and 2 tsp chopped lemon thyme.  Finished with a dressing of olive oil pepper and lemon juice.

Cook the sliced courgettes, mushrooms, chopped Parma ham, chopped smoked sausage and lemon thyme in a little olive oil for 3-4 minutes, stirring continuously.  Plunge the green beans into salted boiling water and cook for 4 minutes.  Drain and mix them with the rest of the ingredients.

Make a dressing with olive oil, lemon juice and pepper, pour it over the salad and mix well. 

Monday, 3 January 2011

Smoked Mackeral Pate with Melba Toast

This is an inexpensive and very quick and easy to make pate, delicious with melba toast or oatcakes.
For the pate
4 smoked mackerel fillets, skinned
50g cream cheese
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 1/2tbsp mayonnaise
1tbsp tomato ketchup
salt and freshly ground pepper
1 tbsp capers, finely chopped

Cayenne pepper and wedges of lemon to garnish

Place all the ingredients. except the cornichons,  in the bowl of a food processor. Blend until smooth. Alternatively mash the ingredients together with a fork.  Stir in the chopped capers.

Spoon into ramekins, garnish with a little Cayenne pepper and wedges of lemon. Refrigerate for 1 hour.

For the Melba toast

Toast the bread, cut each slice horizontally through the middle, then cut each slice to make 4 triangles. Place all the triangles of toast under a preheated grill until crisp and golden.

Serve the pate in the ramekins, with Melba toast.

Seafood Paella

Paella is the taste of Summer for me.  As soon as the sun is out so is the paella pan. I cooked this one on the hob, using two burners but i...