Tuesday, 17 July 2012

'Nanny pops' Steak pie

It's always nice to see my Mum / 'Nanny pop' especially when she cooks her steak pie with suet crust...I always request this one when I see her.

This easily feeds a family of four

Pie filling
  • 500g approx Diced beef 'tip get your butcher to cut the meat infront of you from the shoulder joint this will result in fresher meat and larger chunks of beef '
  • 2 tablespoons of flour to dust the beef
  • 2 Large diced red onions
  • 8 halfed cherry tomatoes
  • 2 beef oxo cubes for beef stock
Pie crust
  • 224g Self raising flour
  • 112g vegetable suet
  • 100ml water
  • Oven proof dish with a lid

  1. Dice the onions first then fry in some hot oil in a frying pan until soft. Remi haveove from pan and add to the oven proof dish you will cook the pie in.
  2. Roll the diced beef in some plain flour salt and pepper
  3. Add the beef to the same pan you used for the onion and fry until light brown
  4. While beef is browning cut the cherry tomatoes in half and add to the onions
  5. When the beef is brown add to the onions and tomatoes and cover with beef stock made from the 2 beef stock cubes
  6. Cover the dish with tin foil first then place the lid on and put in the oven @ 150*c for about 2 - 2 1/2 hours pending the size of the diced beef.
  7. The crust only needs to be made just before the pie filling is cooked
  8. To make the crust; mix the flour and suet together along with some salt and pepper.
  9. Then add 3/4 of the water to begin with, see how wet the mixture is. Your aiming for a moist yet pliable texure that is easily rolled out.
  10. Roll the suet crust to 1 inch thick
  11. When the beef is cooked take out of the oven and roll the crust on the top and brush with some milk
  12. Cook until the pie crust is golden brown all over.
  13. Serve with any vegetables you want but I love mashed potato for sure
I have attached a wee picture..

Happy cooking peeps!

Thursday, 5 July 2012

I've been asked to post some quick and easy recipes that all the family will enjoy. The children love pasta dishes so I thought I would try them on gnocchi! they loved it.....I have attached a video of me making the gnocchi have a look and tell me what you think.

Gnocchi 200g
Peas 30g
Asparagus x 3 spears cooked and cut into 4 peices
Pinch of diced onion
Olive oil
parmesan & basil to garnish

If anyone has any questions about this dish or even any food related issues or need suggestions just let me know.

Enjoy cooking people....

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

BBQ season is coming

So spring is here and summer won't be far behind. I've always been interested in trying new ideas for my BBQ as we normally just get burnt sausages and burgers!! I've done some research on the humble BBQ sauce. Have a look and give it go when you get your BBQ out this season.

History of Barbecue Sauce
The precise origin of barbecue sauce is unclear. Some trace it to the end of the 15th century, when Christopher Columbus brought a primitive sauce used for cooking Alpaca meat back from Hispaniola, while others place it at the formation of the first American colonies in the 17th century. References to the substance start occurring in both English and French literature over the next two hundred years.

It does seem clear that the art of barbecuing meets was introduced to the Europeans by native tribes of North and South America.  Specifically, there are pictures showing the Native Americans slow cooking meats which is traditionally what barbecue is as compared to grilling which is cooking at much higher temperatures and very quickly.

The 4 Basic styles are:

Vinegar and Pepper
Light Tomato (most popular)
Heavy Tomato

Basic Tomato Based BBQ Sauce:
1 onion finely chopped
1 tablespoons tomato purée
2 tablespoons wine vinegar
2 tablespoons soft brown sugar
1 heaped teaspoon mustard powder
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup water

Pour the oil into a saucepan, add the onions and fry for 3-4 minutes until the onions are translucent. Stir in the tomato purée (this ensures a smooth sauce) and then add the rest of the ingredients.  Bring the mixture to the boil and simmer for 10 – 15 minutes.

Basic Vinegar and Pepper Based BBQ Sauce:
1 cup white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/4 cup of water
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
1 teaspoon of dried chilli flakes
Throw all the ingredients into a saucepan, warm over a gentle heat and stir until all the sugar has melted.

Basic Mustard Based BBQ Sauce: 
(This sauce has traditionally been best for pork)
200ml / 8 fl oz mustard
100ml / 4 fl oz balsamic vinegar
5 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Just mix the ingredients together in a saucepan and simmer for approximately 30 minutes.

Now to illustrate two well known regional styles we'll compare a traditional Kansas City BBQ Sauce with a St. Louis Barbecue Sauce recipe. This variation of the traditional Kansas City BBQ Sauce is a thick sweet sauce with a touch of heat to give it a little kick.

Traditional Kansas City BBQ Sauce: 
1 1/4 cup ketchup
1 cup water
1/3 cup cider vinegar
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons molasses
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon black pepper
teaspoon celery salt
1 teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon cayenne
Combine all ingredients in a saucepan over a medium heat.  Stir constantly for 5 minutes. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Sauce should be thick. Allow to cool. Store in an airtight container.  Refrigerate.

The St. Louis Barbecue Sauce is thinner and has more of a tangy flavor than its Kansas City cousin. Being at the crossroads, St. Louis style barbecue has many influences, so there are a number of ways of making this style sauce.
St. Louis Barbecue Sauce: 
2 cups ketchup
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup brown sugar
3 tablespoon yellow mustard
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon cayenne
Combine all ingredients in a saucepan over a low heat.  Stirring occasionally and simmer for 20 minutes. Sauce should be thin, but not watery. Allow to cool. Store in an airtight container and refrigerate. Sauce is better if allow to sit for a day.

Different ideas for BBQ…

Leg of Lamb butterflied with rosemary, garlic, sun blushed tomatoes. This will take about an 1 hour and 15 minutes to cook

Jerk salmon
  • 1/2 cup ground allspice berries
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 6 to 8 garlic cloves
  • 4 to 6 Scotch bonnet peppers, seeded and cored (wear gloves!)
  • 1 Tablespoon ground thyme or 2 Tablespoons thyme leaves
  • 2 bunches spring onions
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • 2 Tablespoons soy sauce to moisten
  • Simply put all the ingredients into a food processer and blitz to a paste and rub on the salmon. you could also use this recipe on beef...
BBQ Baby back ribs use the basic tomato base bbq sauce

Tandoori chicken kebabs

Lamb kofta – minced lamb with garlic, cumin, coriander

Pork apple and sage burgers

Moroccan chicken (breast) – cumin, coriander seeds, lemon zest only, saffron, chilli flakes & fresh coriander

Cous cous salad

Garlic new potatoes

BBQ sweet corn smoked paprika

BBQ tofu kebabs….marinade with lemon, chilli, garlic peppers & aubergine

Sea bass & Salsa

If you need any help with any of these ideas just add a comment and I will answer for you...

Happy cooking people!!


Tandoori chicken Done!

Well diner went down well tonight with the children....

The picture above is the finished chicken. It's been cooked for 1 hour and 50 minutes @ 160*c

This is the finished dish. I've served it with spinach and potato aloo, roasted baby parsnip, basmati rice and naan bread...

Spinach and potato aloo:

  • Spinach cooked with diced onion, chopped ginger, fresh chopped chilli cooked in ghee (clarified butter if you can not get ghee) first cook the ginger, garlic & chilli with a little oil and ghee once soft then add the spinach. Cook until wilted
  • Boil the new potatoes then peel and cut in half
  • Remove the spinach from the pan and add ground cumin, coriander, tumeric & garam masala to the pan along with the cut potatoes.
  • Then add the spinach to the potatoes & heat through until hot!!
Curried baby parsnips
  • Peel the parsnips and simply roast in a little oil with ground cumin, ground coriander and some tumeric
The rice was cooked as follows:
  • Fry diced onion with a little butter and cardamon pods, bay leaf and a touch of tumeric
  • Then add the rice and mix with the ingredients
  • Add chicken stock and bring to the boil
  • Simmer for a further 3-5 minutes then take off the heat, drain and serve
Happy cooking people!!

Monday, 16 April 2012

My Tandoori chicken

So I had diner last week with a good friend of mine who is a fellow foodie. We were talking recipes and decided to have a little friendly cook off! Tandoori chicken is the challenge. I'm going to cook a spinach and potato aloo side dish with roasted curried baby parsnips & homemade nann bread

So today I need to make the marinade for the chicken and get that marinading in the fridge for 24 hours..

Ingredients for my paste:

Fresh ingredients:
Red chillies
Dried ingredients:
Ground cumin
Ground coriander
Garlic salt
Other ingredients:
Tomato puree
Veg oil
Natural yogurt
Lemon juice
Red food colouring

  1. Place the fresh ingredients in a food processer with the oil and yogurt and mix
  2. Then add the rest of the ingredients apart from the food colouring
  3. Then turn into bowl and add the food colouring
  4. Rub the paste into the chicken

Im going to marinade this for 24 hours in the fridge. I sliced the chicken on the legs and breast and covered in the paste and now its doing it's stuff in the fridge....

It's National bread week this so lets get get baking....I've already given you a simple flat bread recipe lcheck it out. I will post a simple bread recipe tomorrow for a white loaf which I will be baking tomorrow and use for my baby girls pack lunch!!

Happy cooking people!

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Eating healthier

Eating healthy

It's a good idea to try to get this balance right every day, but you don't need to do it at every meal. And you might find it easier to get the balance right over a longer period, say a week

When looking at your diet follow the percentages below:

  Plenty of fruit and vegetables 33%
  Plenty of potatoes, bread, rice, pasta and other starchy foods 33% (wholegrain varieties whenever you can)
  Some milk and dairy foods 13%
  Some meat, fish, eggs, beans 13% and other non-dairy sources of protein
  Just a small amount of foods and drinks high in fat and/or sugar 8%

5 A DAY highlights the health benefits of getting five 80g portions of fruit and vegetables every day. That’s five portions of fruit and veg altogether, not five portions of each. 400g of fruit and vegetables a day help to lower the risk of serious health problems, such as heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and obesity. Fruit and vegetables are also usually low in fat and calories
Five reasons to get five portions
  • Fruit and vegetables taste delicious and there's so much variety to choose from.
  • They're a good source of vitamins and minerals, including folate, vitamin C and potassium.
  • They're an excellent source of dietary fibre, which helps maintain a healthy gut and prevent constipation and other digestion problems. A diet high in fibre can also reduce your risk of bowel cancer.
  • They can help reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke and some cancers.
  • Fruit and vegetables contribute to a healthy and balanced diet.

I know we all eat take aways so here are a few tips when ordering:

Fish and chips
·         Have a portion of baked beans or mushy peas and bread with your fish and chips.
·         Watch out for other foods that are high in fat, such as pies and sausages.
·         The thicker the chips the better because they absorb less fat. Try to have a smaller portion or share your chips.
·         Ask for your fish and chips without salt – if you want some salt then add a small amount yourself.
·         Don't eat all the batter around your fish because it soaks up a lot of fat. If available, have fish coated in breadcrumbs as it soaks up less fat.
·         Fish and chips that are cooked in oil at the right temperature taste better and absorb less fat. So watch out for soggy batter and chips because this is often a sign that the oil wasn't hot enough.
  • Try to avoid: thin-cut chips, pies such as cheese and onion pie or steak and kidney pie, jumbo sausage.
  • Healthier options: fish coated in breadcrumbs, mushy peas, thicker-cut chips without salt.
·         If you're having pizza, choose lower-fat toppings, such as vegetables, ham, fish and prawns. You could ask for some extra veg on your pizza to bump up your daily fruit and veg portions. But if you don't want to increase the saturated fat content and number of calories in your meal, don't ask for extra cheese.
·         With pasta dishes, if you want a lower-fat option then go for a sauce that's based on tomatoes or vegetables rather than cream.
·         If you're having a starter or a dessert then you could go for a smaller main meal such as a starter-size pasta with a side salad – Italian restaurants often serve two sizes of pasta dishes.
  • Try to avoid: large deep-pan pizzas, pizzas with the crust stuffed with cheese, triple cheese with pepperoni pizzas, creamy pasta sauces, garlic bread.
  • Healthier options: small or medium pizza with a thin base and vegetable or lean meat topping, tomato-based pasta sauces, bruschetta.
·         Anything that’s battered or marked as ‘crispy’ on the menu means it’s deep fried. Watch out for starters such as prawn crackers and spring rolls because these are generally deep fried. Anything in batter will be high in fat. Sweet and sour pork is usually battered.
·         Steamed dishes are the best option, but stir-fries are fine because they're usually lower in fat and include vegetables.
  • Try to avoid: sweet and sour battered pork balls with special or egg fried rice, prawn toast, spring rolls.
  • Healthier options: crab and corn soup, steamed dumplings, steamed vegetables and plain boiled rice, steamed fish, chicken chop suey, Szechuan prawns.
Try to stick to stir-fried dishes or steamed dishes containing chicken, fish or vegetables instead of curries.
Thai curries, such as the popular green and red curries, contain coconut milk, which is high in saturated fat. If you choose a curry, try not to eat all the sauce. Have some steamed rice with your meal instead of egg fried rice.
  • Try to avoid: fried rice, fish cakes, spring rolls, prawn crackers, satay skewers with peanut sauce and sweet and sour dishes.
  • Healthier options: clear soups such as tom yum, salads, stir-fried meat, fish or vegetable dishes, steamed seafood dishes, such as fish or mussels.
Try to avoid anything that’s creamy or deep fried. To reduce the amount of fat in your meal, choose dishes with tomato-based sauces, such as tandoori and madras, plain rice or chapatti. Also choose plenty of vegetables, including lentil side dishes (known as dhal).
  • Try to avoid: any creamy curries such as korma, passanda or masala with pilau rice, naan, bhajis, pakoras and poppadoms.
  • Healthier options: tandoori or madras with chicken, prawns or vegetables, plain rice and chapatti.
Kebab and burgers
·         Donor kebabs can be high in fat. For a healthier option, go for a shish kebab, which is a skewer with whole cuts of meat or fish and usually grilled.
·         If you’re having a burger, avoid breaded or battered chicken or fish patties, extra cheese, bacon strips and high-fat sauces such as mayonnaise. Instead, go for a regular, single-patty hamburger without mayo or cheese and have with extra salad.
  • Try to avoid: large doner kebab with mayonnaise and no salad, burgers with cheese and mayonnaise, thin-cut chips, chicken or fish patties deep fried in batter.
  • Healthier options: shish kebab with pitta bread and salad, grilled burgers made from lean fish or meat (beef or whole chicken breast) and without cheese and mayonnaise.

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Simple Bolognaise

This is a twist on the classic bolognaise by adding some vegetables the children get the vitamins they need. This recipe is so quick and easy. The children love and it and love cooking it with me.

I have added 2 videos of the cooking process at the end of the blog to help you

Serves 6 people easily

Cooking time 15-20 minutes.


500g steak mince
500g diced carrot & sweede (you can buy this already prepared)
1 x 500g jar of tomato sauce
1 packet of bolognaise mix
1 diced onion
3 crushed cloves of garlic


  1. First of all put some water on to boil for the pasta with a little salt and oil in the water
  2. Just cover the carrots, sweede, onion and garlic in water and bring to the boil then simmer for 8 minutes or so until vegetables start to soften
  3. Fry mince in a little oil on a medium heat until brown
  4. Add tomato sauce and bolonaise mix and bring to the boil then simmer
  5. When the vegetables are cooked add to the meat mix with the water as well. (This gives you lots of flavour)
  6. The bolognaise is now ready!
  7. When the pasta water is boiling add the spaghetti and cook for about 6 minutes (100g of dried pasta per person)
  8. Once the pasta is cooked strain and then season with salt pepper and a little olive oil (you can just leave this until the meat is ready)
  9. Now your ready to serve the meal

Cooking the bolognaise video

Pasta video