this is the personal website of Susannah Clark
Cooking is my way of unwinding after work. Below you can read about some of the meals we have cooked over the past year or two.
SUMMARY of my FAVOURITE MEALS (marked Highly recommended) : Regular Chilli con Carne, Cold Coronation Chicken Curry, Sausage and Pasta in Wine or White Sauce, Jerk Chicken, Shepherd's Pie, Traditional Roast Leg of Lamb, Fish Pie, Thai Paste curries especially Penang, Chillied mince with Pasta, Chicken and Mushroom pie, Moroccan Spicy Chicken with Cous Cous, Borsch, Beef Goulash, Chicken Tikka, Quails with Apricot and Orange Couscous, Pot Roast or Casserole (see Beef in Guinness Gravy for an excellent recipe), Bison or Beef Pie, Roast Guinea Fowl with Vegetable Gratin, Chicken and Sausage Jambalaya, Spaghetti Bolognese, Lamb Balti, Goat Curry, Swedish Meatball Soup, Sirloin Steak and Onions, Baked Salmon with Butternut Squash Risotto, Rendang Curry with Two Squeezed Limes, Roast Pork with Stuffing and Apple Sauce, Chicken and Apricot Madras or Gujurati Curry, Diced Beef in Guinness Gravy, Chiang Mai Burmese Curry, Pork Steaks in a Khukhan Marinade, Lamb Chops in an Apricot Marinade, Lamb and Plantain Ethiopian Stew, Karina's Creamy Mushroom Soup, Mediterranean Guinea Fowl in White Wine, Beef Stroganoff, Chicken Adjika, Grouse Casserole in Gin, Fillet Steak in Creamy Pepper Sauce, Moroccan Roast Lamb with Ras el Hanout and chickpeas, Lamb Vindaloo, Slow-Cooked Roast Belly of Pork, Chinese Chilli Beef, Lamb Iskender, Yakisoba Pork with Noodles, Jägerschnitzel, Caribbean Pork with Coconut Rice and Gungo Peas, Very Spicy Beer Chilli con Carne, Saffron Risotto with Butternut Squash, Steak with Walnuts and Ponzu Sauce, Creamy Bucatini with Mushrooms, Beef Stew with Guinness and Portobello Mushrooms, Nyonya Chicken Curry, Baked Salmon with Lemon and Herb Crumb, Gong Bao Chicken, Smokey Beef Chilli, Roast Rib of Beef cooked with a Chilli Barbecue Sauce marinade, Iberico Pork Fillet in Sherry Sauce, Fish Pie with Blue Stilton, Smoked Chicken Chili, Rib-Eye Steaks in Creamy Mushroom Escallion and Brandy Sauce.
OTHER GOOD MEALS I always enjoy a lot: Sweet and Sour Pork, Haggis, Boiled Potatoes with Piri Piri and Frankfurters, Egg and Chips, Homemade Chicken Pie, Chorizo Salad, Beef and Pork Mince Patties, Meat and Potato Patties, Spicy Roasted Parsnip Soup, Leek and Potato Soup, Chicken Chow Mein, Macaroni Cheese with basil, thyme, parmesan and gruyere, Creamy Mushroom and Bacon, Baked Sea Bass with Ginger and Chilli, Smoky Mexican Chicken Traybake, Cod and Prawns with Fennel and White Wine, Hainanese Chicken Rice, Chicken Drumsticks in Beer Batter, Gochujang Korean Beef Ribs, Pork and Mushroom Umami Rice Pot, Cullen Skink, Jerk Pork Chops, Spicy Oriental Tuna Stir Fry.
In more or less chronological order, we have cooked these dishes (not all have recipe details, but I try to give guidelines if I get time):
Creamed courgette, diced bacon, onions and tagliatelli, with grated cheese and crème fraiche. The bacon and cheese give it sufficient salt .
Steamed beef chilli con carne, with jalapenos, fried onion, oregano, cumin, black-eyed beans, tinned tomatoes and paste, sweetcorn, onions, garlic, bay leaf (and more oregano and cumin), some smoky chipotle sauce. Thicken as needed with cornflour. Served with brown rice. Highly recommended
Sweet and Sour Pork - with pork belly, sugar, dash of vinegar or soy sauce, onion roughly chopped and lightly fried, half a leek, red pepper, pineapple, a few mange tout and mushrooms, accompanied by egg fried rice and beansprouts
Cold Chicken Curry, with chicken, spring onions, apricots, a few raisins, mango chutney, natural yoghurt, mayonnaise, Madras curry paste - but minus the almonds), with additional lightly fried onion and juice of one lime - served with rice, lettuce, and chopped cucumber. Highly recommended
Sausage in Wine sauce Pasta Bake, with grated carrot, onion, and cheesy white sauce with a dash of vinegar, teaspoon of mustard, and nutmeg. Highly recommended
Rump Steak with fried onions, mushrooms, grilled tomatoes, chips and gravy.
Spicy Chicken and Chickpea Casserole.
Haggis, Neeps, and Tatties, with some cabbage, and a whisky sauce.
Lamb and Broad Bean Risotto, with mint, garlic, coriander, lemon, caramelised onion, and rice - served with yoghurt.
Boiled Potatoes and Frankfurters, with a dash of chilli paste, fried onions, spring onions and parsley.
Ndizi Na Nyama Beef and Banana Stew in Harissa Sauce, with onions, green pepper, chopped and puree tomatoes, and coconut milk.
Chicken in White Sauce with Rice, and chunky red pepper pieces, sweetcorn, button mushrooms, onions, and juice from one lemon.
Pork Loin Steaks in an Orange, Honey and Mustard Glaze. Fried, then casseroled in the glaze sauce. Served with fried sprouts, swede, and potato; and slices of orange.
Hungarian Pork Goulash with Mushrooms, tomatoes, onions, red pepper and spices.
Jerk Chicken, marinated for 12 hours in advance in Jerk mixture, served with boiled brown rice and juices. Highly recommended
Home-made Ham and Vegetable Pie, with Fried Onions and Leeks, Mushrooms, Red Pepper, Broad Beans, a Carrot, and a few Sprouts, in white sauce with some Garam Masala.
Spicy Vegetable Soup, with pureed Potato, Onion, Runner Beans, Sprouts, Red Pepper, Chilli, and Garam Masala)
Fresh Baked Rolls and Jalapeno and Cheese Burgers.
Shepherd's Pie, with Peas and Carrots, a little fresh thyme, chopped tomatoes, lightly fried onions, stock, Worcester sauce, garlic cloves, and mashed potato with milk, butter and an egg yolk. Highly recommended
Moroccan Chicken and Chickpea Spicy Casserole with Cous Cous, and fried onions, garlic paste, Harissa paste, aniseed, cinnamon, chilli powder and chopped tomatoes.
Various Other Food and Drink: Home-baked scones with clotted cream and home-made jam. Peach and Ice Cream Milk Shake. Banana Milk Shake. Apricot Milk Shake. Chocolate Milk Shake. Strawberry Milk Shake. Raspberry Milk Shake. Petit Munster Gerome cheese (Highly recommended). Raspberry Mousse. Home-made Sausage Rolls, with parsley, small clove of garlic, dash of cold water and seasoning. Fresh Bread and Rolls. Sultana Cake. White Chocolate and Orange Cake, with white chocolate and crème fraiche icing. Strawberries, Ice Cream and Meringue. Highland Flummery, with lightly toasted oats and fresh raspberries. Gaelic Coffee. (Our daily coffee is lightly frothed Mocha Java from Rave Coffee Highly recommended.) Blueberry and Lime Cheesecake, Highly recommended. Italian Strawberry Parfait, with biscotti (amaretti), strawberries, mascarpone, whipped double cream and a miniature of Cointreau. Apricot Jam Tarts. Cheese scones. Lemon drizzle cake. Plums and custard. Home-made mince pies with brandy sauce.
Cream of Asparagus Soup, topped with parsley, and French bread with butter.
Lamb and Apricot Curry, with 6 garlic cloves, 2 red onions, 1 leek, 3 red chillis, 2 green chillis, red and green peppers, dash of lemon, sprinkling of sultanas, 3 cm of grated ginger, medium curry powder, sprinkling of extra strong chilli powder, coconut milk (liquid), cream, a little garam masala, cumin and paprika, a can of chopped tomatoes (drained), topped with coriander, served with rice. Portions for two meals for two people.
Roast Lamb, Roast Potatoes, with Roasted Parsnips, Runner Beans, Onion Sauce and Gravy. Mint Jelly or Redcurrant Sauce. Highly recommended
Shop-bought spinach tortellini, with home-made cheese sauce, sweetcorn and broccoli.
Roast Duck, stuffing, roast potatoes, carrots, peas, gravy, with cranberry and orange sauce.
Cod and Smoked Haddock Fish Pie, poached in full milk, with bay leaves and quartered onions. White sauce made with the strained milk. 4 hard-boiled eggs, quartered. Chopped parsley and a few peas. Topped with mashed potato, and grated cheese, and served with carrots. Highly recommended
Corned Beef Hash, with potatoes, onions, Worcester sauce, sprinkled with parsley, and served with baked beans.
Natchos with Sour Cream. Layers: spicy sausages, red pepper and sliced jalapenos. Then natchos and then bean salsa. Then natchos and then tomato salsa. Then grated cheese on top.
Sorrel Soup, with steamed beef, beef stock, potatoes, sliced eggs and topped with sour cream.
Maple Syrup Glazed Sausages with Mustard Onion, including mustard seeds, red wine, Dijon mustard, and a pinch of brown sugar, in heated fresh rolls.
Green Thai Curry and Rice, with chicken, one fried onion, mange tout, baby corn, garlic cloves, thai curry paste, coconut milk, crème fraiche, red pepper, red and green small chilli, turmeric, thai fish sauce, 1 tspn caster sugar, zest of 2 limes, grated ginger. Highly recommended
Smoked Haddock Rarebit, with cheese, ale and mustard.
Chicken in Lime, Garlic and Chillis, with spicy vegetables in coconut sauce.
Penang Beef Curry, with Fried Onion, Red Chillis, 2 Red Peppers, Chopped Pineapple, Apricots, Soy Sauce, Fish Sauce, Brown Sugar, Juice of a lime, and Coconut Milk, with rice. Highly recommended
Massaman Chicken Curry, with Red Chilli, 2 Red Peppers, Shallots, Chopped Pineapple, Apricots, Soy Sauce, Fish Sauce, Juice of a lime, chopped beans, mange tout, mini corn, coriander, and top of coconut milk, with rice.
Cold Beetroot Soup.
Avocado and Bacon Salad, with new potatoes in mayonnaise.
Corn on the cob with garlic butter, followed by Bacon Lardons and Avocado in Mayonnaise on buttered toast.
Chicken and Bacon Casserole in White Sauce, and rice, with 2 onions, 2 leeks, a red chilli, a red pepper, 2 carrots, and some sliced beans, mange tout, broad beans and peas.
Spaghetti Bolognese, with chopped tomatoes, one or two chillis, red pepper, olives, oregano and fresh basil.
Thai Yellow Curry with Chicken, with an onion, a red pepper, two red chillis, beans, mange tout, coconut milk and rice.
Chicken and Bacon Pie, in white sauce, with onions, a leek, a red pepper, a red chilli, asparagus and mange tout.
Sweet Chilli Pork Stir Fry, with vegetables, red pepper, mange tout, tomato with chilli, dark soy sauce and Worcester sauce.
Lamb Cutlets, with Mint and Feta Cheese Salad, and three spring onions, a red pepper, lettuce, baby spinach, cucumber, juice of half a lemon, and a dash of balsamic vinegar.
Lamb in Mint and Onion Bechamel Sauce, with Broccoli (lamb marinated in half a tin of coconut milk and three tbsp of mint jelly overnight, liquid used as part of sauce).
Red Thai Lamb Curry, with 4 chillis, a red pepper, an onion, half a tin of coconut milk, apricots and a few green beans, with rice. Highly recommended
Penang Chicken Curry, (or see lower down for a great penang lamb version) with zest and juice of a lime, two cloves of garlic, mange tout, a red pepper, three chillis, coconut milk, a shallot, fish sauce, dark soy sauce, and brown sugar, served with brown rice. Highly recommended
Southern Thai Green Chicken Curry, with one small onion, a red pepper (but no additional chillis - hot enough without - my favourite home-made curry pastes come from Nitsa at 'mythaicurry'), mange tout, green beans, apricots, fish sauce, dark soy sauce, sugar, and coconut milk, served with basmati rice. Highly recommended
Lamb Chops and Roast Potatoes, with broad beans and onions in white sauce, broccoli, mint jelly and gravy.
Spicy Poussin with Roasted New Potatoes, cooked with Cajun spices and garlic.
Madras Chicken Curry, with half a chicken, a fried onion, a red pepper, two red chillis, three tbsp of madras curry paste, coconut milk, juice of half a lime, asparagus steamed for ten minutes, mange tout, served with basmati rice.
Duck Stew in Sour Cream Sauce, with sour cream, half a duck, a red pepper, parsley and tarragon, served with boiled potatoes.
Beef and Mushroom Pie, with a fried onion, a red pepper, 4 small chillis and a creamy sauce, served with green vegetables.
Massaman Beef Curry, beef casseroled for 2 hours in massaman sauce and coconut milk, then fried onions, 3 green chillis, and a red pepper added with the beef to second pan of massaman sauce and half tin of coconut milk. Served with basmati rice.
Salmon, Cucumber and Soft Cheese blinis and Home-made sushi.
Fried Swordfish in flour and egg batter.
Devilled Kidneys on Toast, in flour, tomato puree, English mustard and Worcester sauce (hangover cure).
Pork Belly Strips with Bubble-and-Squeak Cakes, made of mashed potato, carrots, Brussel sprouts, broad beans, red pepper, cheese and an egg, coated in flour and fried.
'White' Chilli con Carne, with kidney beans, a red pepper, an onion, crème fraiche, and sliced jalapenos, served with brown rice.
Macaroni Cheese, straightforward cheesy white sauce with plenty of pepper.
Bratwurst Macaroni, with cheese, tomato puree, a tsp mustard, and sausage.
Nasi Goreng Chicken and Rice, with a red pepper, an onion and soy sauce.
Beef, Beer, and Mushroom Pie, with 2 onions, 2 beef stock cubes, a red pepper and a tsp of mustard, served with mashed potato and peas soaked in the casserole gravy.
Ostrich Steaks in Marinade, with Roast Potatoes, served with peas and a marinade sauce combining Marrakesh and a couple of tsp of Harissa paste to spice it up.
Jerk Chicken Pieces on Sticks, with chicken marinated in a jerk sauce, then fried in flour, egg, and jerk sauce, served on sticks with red peppers.
Pork Chops in Apple Sauce, with boiled potatoes and sweet corn.
Sausage Casserole with Georgian Spice, fried onion, a red pepper and tomato puree, served with fusilli pasta.
Spicy Lamb Flatbreads, with one diced onion, 4 chillis, a red pepper, juice of a lemon, 2 garlic cloves, 1 tsp cumin, fresh coriander, half tsp cinnamon, 2 tbsp yoghurt, 3 tbsp sultanas ~ and for the flatbread, 350g strong flour, 1 tsp salt, 2 tsp fast-action yeast, 2 tbsp olive oil and 225ml of warm water. Served with a yogurt dip and lemon slices.
Spatchcock Marinated in Peri-Peri, loads of peri marinade, then cooked for an hour, served with carrots, broccoli, and creamy onion sauce with 2 green chillis and a red pepper.
Baked Salmon in Lime, with salad of gem lettuce, rocket, tomatoes, cucumber, grated carrot, spring onion, radish, beetroot and red pepper, with cold potatoes.
Shop-bought Five-Bird Roast, with chicken, turkey, duck, pheasant and goose - with a topping and extra streaky bacon rashers added for last 15 minutes - served with stuffing, roast potatoes, carrots, sweetcorn, cabbage, gravy and cranberry sauce.
Kangaroo and Stewed Plum Casserole, marinated overnight in some stewed plums I had left over from previous day's pudding, with a little Teriyaki, and a dash of rum. Fried the steaks to seal them, then added the marinade. Into a casserole dish to slow cook for 2 hours, with some broad beans, a red pepper, and one red chilli added along the way. Served up with peas and mash.
Uzbek Spicy Sausage and Rice.
Slow Cooked Beef Stew, with an onion, green beans, half a tin of chopped tomatoes, peas, carrots, and cumin, coriander, oregano, two red chillis, dark soy sauce, Worcester sauce, a little brown caster sugar, served with mustardy mashed potato.
Roast Chicken, with stuffing, roast potatoes, bread sauce, carrots, broad beans, peas and gravy.
Spicy Nehari Beef Stew, with sliced chillis and lime, and boiled potatoes.
Stilton Omelette, grilled tomatoes and home-made rolls.
Chicken Biryani, with cucumbers, fried onions, green chillis, tamarind sauce, two tablespoons each of crushed garlic, and ginger, served with basmati rice.
Sweet and Sour Chicken, with lightly fried onion, pineapple, two chillis, a red pepper, mange tout, chopped tomatoes, rice vinegar, three spoons of brown sugar, some soy sauce, two cloves of garlic, and some crushed garlic, served with basmati rice.
Tenderised Pork topped with Cheese, Mayonnaise and Grated Carrots, served with potatoes.
Roast Pheasant with Bacon, and stuffing, roast potatoes, onion sauce, thick gravy, Brussel sprouts, peas, and cranberry sauce.
Lamb Chops with Mint Jelly and Onion Sauce, peas, roast potatoes, and gravy.
Cod, Salmon, and Smoked Haddock Paella, with paella rice, two red chillis, green olives, cayenne pepper, turmeric, and a red pepper and fried onions in olive oil, tomatoes, and a little rosemary.
Sirloin Steak in Red Wine Gravy, with fried onions, runner beans, carrots, and garlic mashed potato, with garlic butter, a teaspoon of Dijon mustard and dash of milk.
Cheese on Toast, with diced onions, tomatoes, a dash of Worcestershire sauce, a splash of beer, some French mustard, a spoonful of crème fraiche, and a little milk.
Green Thai Pork Curry, with fried onion, two red peppers, carrots, mange tout, six chillis, coconut milk, crème fraiche, fish sauce, dark soy sauce, lemongrass, 5 cloves of garlic and grated ginger, served with basmati rice. Highly recommended
Venison Stir Fry, with beansprouts, chopped cabbage, a red chilli, baby sweetcorn, mange tout, leeks, sweet chilli, and cranberry sauce all fried together.
Hot Dogs, with fried onions, American mustard, and ketchup.
Goan-Style Curry with Slow-Cooked Beef and Apricots, with fried onion, a leek, green beans, and coconut milk, served with basmati rice.
Pork Chow Mein, with peppers, vegetable stir fry, beansprouts and fresh noodles.
Roast Partridge with Creamy Bacon and Chorizo Sauce, with mange tout, fried onion, half a red pepper, a few small squeezes of tomato puree, a few spoonfuls of double cream, and a light sprinkling of standard curry spices that can hardly be noticed. Served with creamy mashed potato, carrots and stuffing.
Chicken Jambalaya, with chicken, chorizo, onion, leek, a red pepper, red chillis, chopped tomatoes, Cajun seasoning, thyme, oregano, bay leaves, garlic and rice.
Grilled Pork, Fried Red Pepper and Onions, with rice - the red pepper fried in long strips and added to the fried onions, and the rice splashed with the juices from the pork grill pan.
Creamy Chicken Dopiaza, with fried chicken, two garlic cloves, a fried onion, broad beans, dopiaza spices, salt and black pepper, three red chillis, a red pepper, half a tin of coconut milk, and a few tablespoons of double cream, served with basmati rice. Highly recommended
Indonesian Slow-Cooked Pork, in Ketjap Manis Marinade, with mashed potatoes, sprouts, carrots, broccoli and sauerkraut.
Lamb Rogan Josh, with a red onion, a leek, garlic, ginger, two red chillis, a red pepper, green beans, mange tout, baby sweet corn, carrot, fresh coriander and coconut milk, served with pilau rice. Highly recommended
Roast Turkey, with cranberry sauce, bread sauce, roast potatoes, chipolatas wrapped in bacon, sage and onion stuffing, runner beans, sprouts, peas.
Moroccan Spicy Chicken and Cous Cous, with sliced chorizo, chopped tomatoes, garlic, aniseed, cinnamon, harissa paste, an onion, and a sliced pepper. Highly recommended
Ukrainian Borsch, using chicken (sealed in a frying pan with carrots), shredded cabbage, sprouts, (could add cut up celery sticks), bay leaves, about ten whole black peppercorns, salt, put this all to boil in a couple of litres of water. Meanwhile cut up an onion, fry onion in butter and add flour. In steam pressure cooker, half an hour. Open it and add the onion/flour mixture, and some cut raw potatoes. Add 2 or 3 stock cubes, and more water, and spices (parsley and dill), and steam for a further 20 minutes. Add a litre or 750 ml jar of small shredded or grated beetroot (or can grate fresh beetroot) then bring to boil for 5 mins, with a bit of garlic, and further salt and pepper to taste. Highly recommended
Pork Jalfrezi, with a fried onion, a leek, grated ginger, slightly roasted garlic, 3 red chillis, cumin, a red pepper, apricots, sugar snaps, coconut milk and some double cream, served with basmati rice. Highly recommended
Chicken Dopiaza, with two small onions, two small leeks, a red pepper, 3 cloves of garlic, mange tout, two carrots, 4 red chillis, dashes of cumin and paprika, coconut milk and some double cream, served with basmati rice. Highly recommended
Hungarian Meat Soup, with 1 kg lamb, 1.2 ml water, 3 chopped and fried onions in 4 tbsp of olive oil, 2 large tomatoes cut in wedges, tbsp of tomato paste, 5 garlic cloves, 1 red chilli, 5 tbsp of chopped parsley, 4 tbsp of rice, and 4 tbsp of plum sauce, served with slabs of bread and butter.
Beef Goulash, with 1.3 kg of beef, browned in 3tbsp of oil, then 2 large onions fried, and 4 garlic cloves heated and chopped, added to the meat in the casserole dish, with half tsp of salt, half tsp black pepper, some tomato puree, 3 all spice berries, two tsp of paprika, a little chilli paste, basil, fresh parsley, 4 fresh bay leaves, and one beef stock cube - all just topped up with boiling water, and cooked for 1.5 hours. Add sliced and lightly fried onions to taste, and 175ml of red wine, cooking in the casserole dish for 30 mins more. Mix 4 tbsp of flour with 280ml of sour cream, stirring it through the goulash, and cook 10 mins more. Served with basmati rice (could also serve with pasta, or mashed potato). Highly recommended
Russian Solyanka Soup, with pickled cucumbers and brine, some chicken, a fried onion, some garlic, a little sliced carrot, a little sliced potato, 2 cans of chopped tomatoes, a few black olives, chopped smoked ham, chopped frankfurters, all spice berries, peppercorns, fresh bay leaves, dill, parsley, capers, (could also use salami or chorizo or other meat).
Chicken Tikka, with generous portion of chicken, a large onion fried, a red pepper, two sachets of tikka paste, two red chillis, black pepper, mange tout, a tin of chopped tomatoes, 200ml of full cream, served with basmati rice.Highly recommended
Ghanaian Goat Stew with Okra and Garden Eggs, using 1kg of goat meat, 10cm of ginger, a tin of plum tomatoes, 2 garden eggs, 2 cloves of garlic, 2 onions, 1 habanero, and 6 pieces of okra, served with basmati rice.
Spicy Pork Pasta, with pork loin steaks, fusilli, 2 tins of chopped tomatoes, an onion, 7 chillis, 2 red peppers, cumin, oregano, basil, a few green beans, broad beans, and some yakhni pulao masala spices.
Latvian Bean Soup, with red kidney beans, carrots, an onion, pork ribs, four potatoes, pearl barley, dill, parsley, mixed spices to effect of two stock cubes, three all spice berries, black pepper and salt.
Steak in Yorkshire Pudding Pie, with briefly sealed steak, cut into pieces, and added with fried onion into a pot, with quarter of a bottle of Guinness, a tsp of sugar, and some beef gravy. Slow-cooked for two hours until gravy thickens (stir periodically), then enclose in a Yorkshire Pudding pie, and serve with mashed potato, carrots and peas.
Quails with Apricot and Orange Couscous, with quails seasoned and basted in honey, vinegar, olive oil and cinnamon, and couscous in boiled orange and apricot sauce, with thinly sliced red onion in vinegar and wine, pine nuts, a generous handful of chopped parsley and mint. Highly recommended
Springbok Pot Roast, with meat marinated overnight in red wine, rosemary, thyme, bay leaves, garlic cloves, and a mirepoix of onions, carrots, parsnips, turnip and celeriac. Bacon lardons fried in morning in olive oil, meat then sealed, and mirepoix fried in same pan, consisting of onions, a leek, carrots, parsnips, turnip, celeriac, garlic, with 40 ml tomato paste then added. Gravy made from overnight marinade, meat stock, 120ml of port, a tea-spoonful of mild mustard, 3 tbsp of redcurrent jelly, and browning. Apricots and celery stirred in. A few small pats of butter placed on the springbok, and rosemary, thyme and a bay leaf added. Slow-cooked in heavy cooking pot with lid for 4 hours. Served with mashed potato and parsley, topped with fried button mushrooms, red pepper, and a tiny sprinkling of cheese (optional). Highly recommended
Llama Stew, slow-cooked with part-boiled carrots and celeriac, then fried with leeks, spiced up with lots of little jalapenos and red chillis in the pot, a red pepper, and peas near the end, all served with basmati rice.
Bison Pie, with wholegrain Dijon mustard-basted bison sealed and then slow-cooked with fried onions, and beef stock mixed with half a bottle of Abbot's 'Reserve' Ale, then later adding a little flour, some runner beans, two carrots, a red chilli, fried button mushrooms, and at the end some peas - all finished in a puff pastry pie. Highly recommended
Ox-Tail Soup, with fresh ox-tail, two cans of chopped tomatoes, a fried onion, a blended carrot, three small potatoes, a turnip, and a parsnip (also all blended), tabasco, Worcester Sauce, 100ml of port, cloves, a few whole black peppers, fresh rosemary, thyme and parsley.
Quails in Creamy Sauce and Pasta with a red pepper and tabasco
Chicken Drumsticks and Chorizo in Harissa Sauce, with a fried onion, an orange pepper, half a red pepper, a sliced green chilli, aniseed, pimento powder, cinnamon, garlic, sultanas and chopped tomatoes, served with basmati rice.
Roast Guinea Fowl with Vegetable Gratin, made of two fried onions, a leek, half a yellow pepper, sliced chorizo, then adding three boiled carrots and a boiled courgette, boiled broad beans, some green beans, all fried, then adding chopped tomatoes, all placed in a casserole dish, and topped with sliced partly boiled potatoes and lots of grated cheese, grilled until the cheese browns on the potatoes. Served with half a broccoli. Highly recommended
Creamy Mushroom Soup, finely chopped pound of chestnut mushrooms, chopped onion fried in a large knob of butter with the mushrooms until onions are soft, then add two raised tbsp. of flour and mix it in, so all is covered in flour; then add 600 ml of chicken stock, boil for 15 minutes on medium heat, add a tin of evaporated milk which has been mixed with another tbsp. of flour, then add spices - pepper, salt, half level tspn of nutmeg - bring to boil, then turn off to let it cool a little Highly recommended
Slow-Cooked Beef Casserole, with beef cooked for 5 hours, beef gravy, a third of a bottle of Guinness, three tbsp of French seed mustard, three tbsp of redcurrant sauce, two roughly chopped onions, two chopped leeks, four cloves of garlic, plenty of button mushrooms, a yellow pepper, four chillis, then fried into a mirepoix with four roughly chopped and boiled parsnips, a turnip, four carrots, runner beans, and later, sugar snaps, a courgette, chopped coriander, celery, tomato paste and broccoli (which could be omitted), served with mashed potato, and spring greens stirred with sour cream. Highly recommended
Yellow Split Pea and Bacon Soup, with split peas left to soak for an hour or two (or overnight), then boiled for fifteen minutes, adding diced and fried smoked bacon and one onion, with salt and pepper, served with bread.
Lamb Balti, with basmati rice. Grill seasoned lamb steaks on a medium heat for about 16 minutes, but not too much, turning once. Meanwhile, lightly fry three cloves of garlic, later chopping them finely, and then fry a roughly chopped onion. At the same time, boil a carrot and a parsnip, dice a red chilli and a green chilli, and a red pepper and a green pepper. Add all these ingredients to a new, fat-free pan, grate a few cm of ginger, the grilled lamb in chunks, and then add Balti spices and 400ml of coconut milk, along with a tomato-based sauce - but not too much. Gently stir all the contents as they heat up in the pan. Add a dash (maybe 150ml) of full cream. Meanwhile very lightly boil some sugarsnaps and mange tout, and set aside. Boil the basmati rice, and in the final six to eight minutes add the sugarsnaps and mange tout, along with mango in chunks. Highly recommended
Goat Curry, steamed for an hour (after slightly browning) with curry powder, scotch bonnet chillis, onions, all spice berries, tomato paste, garlic, two bay leaves, black pepper, topped to cover with water, adding potatoes for the last twenty minutes; served with curried brown rice with onions, kidney beans, scotch bonnet chillis, two lamb stock cubes, thyme, a bay leaf and coconut milk. Highly recommended
Chorizo Salad, with a red pepper, a yellow pepper, about a dozen sliced radishes, half a dozen sliced spring onions, four sticks of celery (chopped), 220g of piccolo tomatoes, a thickly sliced and chopped cucumber, one avocado, 200g of feta cheese, wild rocket, watercress and two gem lettuces, with balsamic dressing, served with dishes of sliced beetroot, coleslaw, sweet corn, and sliced chorizo.
Swedish Meatball Soup, with meatballs made of minced beef and pork mixed with two eggs. The meatballs are only added for the last 20 minutes, into the soup made of… with spoonfuls of sour cream added Highly recommended
Beef and Pork Mince Patties, mixed with bread in milk, and onions, and served with boiled potatoes.
Spicy Roasted Parsnip Soup, with 675g parsnips (diced), a large onion diced in 8, 2 plum tomatoes, quartered, 2 diced cloves of garlic, all mixed with 2 tbsp of olive oil, a teaspoon of ground coriander, a teaspoon of cayenne pepper, a teaspoon of ground cumin, half a teaspoon of turmeric, half a teaspoon of wholegrain mustard, roasted at 225 for half an hour, then all into a food processor with 600ml of vegetable stock, then into a large pan with another 600ml of the stock, seasoned to taste, brought to simmering point, and finally a tablespoon of lemon juice, then served with buttered roll.
Baked Salmon and Butternut Squash Risotto, with the lightly smoked salmon marinated in lime and a little lemon juice, garlic, ginger and a little chilli and red pepper, black pepper and onions. The risotto, prepared with boiled rice, butternut squash, spinach, diced red onion lightly fried, a little whipping cream, some Emmental, a little Cheddar, dried tomatoes, a dash of olive oil and a dash of white wine, pine nuts, a few sunflower seeds, sage, a little red chilli, half a teaspoon of honey, and 200ml of vegetable stock - to which can be added, a small quantity of some seafood of choice. Half a lime to squeeze on the baked salmon (and risotto if wished). Highly recommended
Chicken Rendang Curry with Two Squeezed Limes. Although often associated with beef, Rendang is really delicious with chicken too. (Alternatively, slow cook diced beef for three hours in a beef gravy with a roughly chopped onion, and a dash of chilli paste, then remove the beef only, and marinate in rending paste overnight, before adding red pepper strips, a few sugar snaps late on, and lastly a few dollops (only 3 tbspns) of sour cream.) Lightly seasoned and fried chicken pieces. In separate pan, fry a chopped onion until golden, add four or five tablespoons of Rendang Curry Paste, heat, then stir in the chicken, pour on a chopped red pepper and four finely chopped red chillis, splash on a little fish sauce (not too much) and a small splash of dark soy sauce, sprinkle on one tablespoon of caster sugar, add three or four tablespoons of sour cream, then squeeze the juice from two fresh limes, and add just a few boiled sugar snaps chopped in small pieces (not too many, maybe about twelve). Finally, add half a tin of coconut milk (preferably the white consolidated part at the top). Let it all cook on a low heat for another fifteen or twenty minutes. Serve with basmati rice. The limes give it a lovely fresh taste. Highly recommended
Roast Pork with Stuffing and Apple Sauce. Roast boneless leg of pork served with onion gravy, apple sauce, stuffing, roast potatoes, carrots, runner beans, peas or vegetables of choice. Simple and delicious. Highly recommended
Chicken and Apricot Madras Curry. Fried pieces of chicken, three cloves of garlic, a fried red pepper, two sachets of Geeta's madras curry paste, then add a little cumin, black pepper and turmeric. Meanwhile prepare sixteen well-ripened apricots, one or two chopped runner beans, two red peppers, four extra red chillis, six fresh vine tomatoes, and one carrot chopped into short strips and then into quarter parts of each strip. Heat on the hob in a large pot. Ten minutes before serving add 150ml of sour cream. Serve with basmati rice. The apricots give the curry a lovely fresh taste that also plays on the heat of the chilli. Highly recommended
Alternatively, Chicken and Apricot Gujarati Curry. Fry pieces of seasoned chicken breast and set aside. Fry a large sliced onion, adding a sliced leek when the onion is turning. Add 3 or 4 finely-chopped red chillis. Heat up a small pot of Gujarati paste in a pool in the middle of the pan, add the fried chicken, turn it in the paste, and then stir in the rest of the pan. Add a sliced red pepper. Add the juice of 1 lime. Add 5 sliced vine tomatoes. Add 12 sliced and skinned apricots. Add a very small number of boiled sugar snaps. Do not add creams of any kind for this dish. Allow the contents to simmer for an hour, and then serve with basmati rice. Really fresh with citrus, fruity and delicious.Yoghurt to accompany. Highly recommended
Cold Coronation Chicken Curry (nod to Delia Smith), with a chopped mango, and served with cold brown rice, and a cucumber, lettuce, and avocado salad. Meat from a 1kg chicken (or larger), 150ml mayonnaise, 75ml natural yoghurt, a large tablespoon of Madras curry paste, 2 large tablespoons of Mango Chutney, salt and black pepper, a sprinkling of sultanas, a chopped mango, and optional sliced spring onions. It's important to be quite precise with these measurements, but if you are, the results are really delicious. Highly recommended
Diced Beef in Guinness Gravy. Fry 600g of salted and peppered diced beef until browned, and meanwhile fry two large onions until well browned as well. Heat up 700ml of beef gravy, with 250ml of Guinness, add 8 chopped tomatoes, and some puree chilli and garlic (not too much). Place the beef, onions and gravy in a large, heavy cooking pot. Pre-heat the fan oven, initially at 200 degrees, then after 20 minutes reduce to 140 and slow-cook for two hours. Next day, peel and cut in large chunky pieces 5 parsnips, 4 carrots, a turnip, and 250g of runner beans, along with two large leeks. Add boiling water to the carrots and parsnips, return to the boil, then simmer for 6 minutes. Add boiling water to the turnip, beans and leeks, return to the boil, then simmer for four minutes. Fry the carrots and parsnips until browned and add some tomato puree while frying. Add these, and the other vegetables, to the cooking pot. Season to taste. Slow-cook at 140 for another hour, and meanwhile make mashed potato (with salt, pepper, butter and a little milk), before serving. Highly recommended
Chiang Mai Burmese Curry, with marinated pork belly, chiang mai paste (I recommend the home-made paste from 'mythaicurry' and Nitsa is really friendly), red pepper and mange tout (small quantities) and strips of fresh ginger - absolutely superb. I marinated the belly of pork (cut into pieces) in the paste overnight, then next day lightly fried it to let it brown, then slow cooked the curry in a heavy 'crock' style oven pot for three hours, with just enough water added to cover the meat. When it was cooked, I set it aside in the fridge for another night, allowing all the paste juices to seep further into the now gorgeously tender meat. Next day I added a few strips of red pepper into the now thickened and reduced curry, slow-cooked another hour, adding a handful of chopped and partly-boiled mange tout late in the proceedings to add some green colour, juice of half a lime, and some strips of ginger (and that worked really well). I served it with brown rice/quinoa mix - and it was heaven. Absolutely heaven. I can't really begin to describe the originality of the taste experience, but the way the juice-soaked meat almost melted in the mouth was wonderful. This Chiang Mai curry is sensational. Highly recommended
Penang Lamb Curry, with 4 lightly-grilled leg steaks, diced afterwards. Meanwhile gently heat a tin of coconut milk, and another half tin of the creamed off solidified cream. As it heats, add two sachets of Penang curry paste (again, I use Nitsa's), stir in, then add the grilled lamb. Add a tbspn of soy sauce, and a little less of fish sauce, two level dessert spoons of demerara sugar, and juice from a lime. Cook at 140 for half an hour, then slow cook for another 60 to 90 minutes. Leave overnight. Next day, add some lightly-boiled mange tout and a couple of red peppers in strips. Once again, cook at 140, for 20 minutes, then slow cook for 40 minutes. Serve with basmati rice. Hot, spicy and flavourful. Highly recommended
Pork Steaks in a Khukhan Marinade: marinate the pork loin steaks in the sauce (also sourced from Nitsa), leaving for several hours. Scrape off most of the marinade and fry briefly on both sides of the steaks, then smear the tops of the lightly-fried steaks in the marinade, and grill until almost burning at the sides. The resulting pork is beautifully moist and succulent. I served with runner beans and halved sweet potatoes, but a more delicate accompaniment would probably have been better. The sweet potato, cut in halves, I smeared lightly with olive oil, and sprinkled on salt (not too much), black pepper, and paprika, at 200 degrees for 45 to 50 minutes. Highly recommended
Lamb Chops in an Apricot Marinade, served with brown rice and quinoa. Cut up 6 apricots finely and reduce in a pan with a very small splash of water, until the apricots are soft and able to be crushed to an extent. Meanwhile, mix up a marinade with: 1 and a half large tablespoons of apricot jam, 2 large tablespoons of whole-grained or Dijon mustard, 2 and a half large tablespoons of virgin olive oil, a tablespoon of fresh chopped thyme leaves, 3 teaspoons of garlic puree, 1 and a half teaspoons of ground black pepper, 1 and a half teaspoons of salt, 1 and a half to 2 tablespoons of soy sauce (according to taste), a large tablespoon of mint sauce, zest of 1 lemon, 1 to 1 and a half tablespoons of brown sugar, and add the boiled up fresh apricots. Stir well. Marinate 8 lamb chops for half an hour or more. Heat up a frying pan with two tablespoons of olive oil on a high heat. Scrape off most of the surface marinade from the chops (save the marinade) and fry lightly on both sides, maybe two minutes each side. Then place the chops in a large tray and pour the marinade on the chops, and grill on one side for about five minutes or until some of the edges of the chops start to char a little, but avoiding overcooking or crystallising the marinade. Serve up with brown rice and quinoa, splashing some leftover marinade and juices on the rice and quinoa. Highly recommended
Cottage Pie, with cheesy mashed potato, served with peas. Fry the minced beef. Separately fry a finely diced onion. Stir in gravy (not too much, keep the consistency quite thick in the pan or add flour), with one or two teaspoons of cayenne pepper, a little chilli paste, a little garlic paste, seasoning to taste. Lightly boil diced carrots and runner beans for adding later. When complete, top with mashed potato and light covering of grated cheddar. Then cook at 160 fan for 30 minutes, grilling the top at the end. Comfort food.
Piri-Piri Chicken, with Quinoa and Brown Rice mix. Easy and simple as anything, and delicious. Just add two shop-bought sachets of Piri-Piri marinade to three halved chicken breasts and marinate overnight. Then place in baking dish and add diced red pepper and a small fried onion. Season to taste. Bake for 45 minutes.
Welsh Rarebit, with grated mature cheddar, half an onion (finely sliced and diced), a splash of Abbots Special Reserve beer, one or two tomatoes diced into small pieces, a generous tsp of grained mustard, black pepper, and a splash of milk, on already moderately toasted slices of Hovis 'doorstep' white loaf. Grill. Highly recommended
Roast Lamb, with whole leg of lamb (2.4kg), left out of the fridge for 12 hours, then seasoned with salt and pepper, and 3 tbsp of finely chopped rosemary leaves, 1 tspn of paprika, and 3 tbsp of olive oil, stirred together, then rubbed all over lamb, top and bottom. Pre-heat fan oven to 200 (fan), then put lamb in for 30 minutes uncovered and with no extra butter or oil, on a rack, and underneath in the roasting tray, 2 sliced onions, and up to 2 pts of lamb stock. After 30 minutes, reduce oven temperature to 140 (fan) for 3 to 4 hours, with lamb now covered in foil. The lamb will release its juices, and baste it once an hour, with a little sprinkle of extra salt and pepper each time. After 2.5 or 3 hours at 140, roast potatoes as usual in a separate baking tray, raising oven temperature to 200 (fan), sprinkled with salt, black pepper and paprika, and then add parsnips. Optionally, make 780ml of white sauce, well-seasoned, and add lightly fried onions or other vegetables. When the potatoes have 20 minutes left, take the lamb out and place on a plate under foil, raising oven temperature to 220 (fan). Boil carrots, adding peas after 8 minutes (or other vegetables). Take the roasting tray juices, sieve into a jug, then try to remove top layer of fat. Transfer to saucepan (which can also have a sachet of lamb gravy if wanted), add flour, and a heaped tbsp. of redcurrant jelly, add seasoning to taste, and sieve again before serving. By then the potatoes and parsnips should be ready. Serve with redcurrent jelly and mint jelly. Highly recommended
Pork Loin Steaks marinated in Tum Yum Sauce - A bit unorthodox use of Tum Yum but I like the outcome. Pan-fried on both sides with additional salt and pepper. Served with rice or mashed potatoes, and vegetables.
Lamb and Plantain Stew Highly recommended
Chicken deep-fried in Beer Batter. Highly recommended
Khukhan Lamb Hotpot - Pan-fried lamb, marinated in Khukhan Sauce, then slow-cooked in a heavy dish, with asparagus, a fried red onion, a green pepper, three or four diced apricots, finely-cut fresh coriander, and juice from half a lime - served with jasmine rice and lightly peppered,salted and fried beansprouts.
Rump Steak and Chips - Classic and simple meal: well-peppered fried steak, onions, button mushrooms and red pepper (all fried), with chips and tomatoes, and a yorkshire pudding - gravy with a little 'heat' to accompany.
Creamy Turkey Stew - turkey drumsticks, very lightly sealed in hot oil, then covered two-thirds with water in a pot, with salt, pepper, one chilli, one red pepper, some Yugoslavian/Croatian spice mix, 150 ml creme fraiche, can add parsley - cook for an hour, boiling off excess sauce, then add flour and 150 ml more creme fraiche. Served with boiled potatoes and dill. Highly recommended
Mediterranean Guinea Fowl in White Wine - Ingredients: 1 tablespoon of olive oil, 115gms of diced pancetta, 1 guinea fowl jointed into 8 separate pieces (or use large chicken drumsticks), 2 red onions peeled and roughly chopped, 8 garlic cloves peeled and crushed (I fry them very lightly and then just cut them in very fine pieces), I red pepper de-seeded and chopped into nice lumpy pieces, 1 yellow pepper treated the same, 3 tablespoons of green or black olives (I used some black ones because we already had them in the fridge), 2 or 3 bay leaves, sea salt to taste, ground black pepper, I teaspoon of oregano, 320ml of white wine (I used Blossom Hill 'Crisp and Fruity', I don't think a sharp white wine would work so well), finely grated zest of 2 lemons, finely chopped bunch of parsley (personally I just use the leaves and try not to use the stalks, but maybe that's just me). Method: 1. Pre-heat the oven to 190C/180Cfan/375F/gas mark 5. Place the oil, pancetta and guinea fowl in a roasting tin (I used a heavy Staub cooking pot) and gently toss to coat everything in the oil. I added about a third of a tablespoon more oil myself. Put the tin (or pot) in the oven without lid and cook for 15 minutes (no more). Remove and add the red onions, garlic and peppers. Turn the meat and return to the oven and return for a further 15 minutes. 2. Turn the meat again and add all the remaining ingredients except the lemon zest and parsley, place a lid on the pot or foil over the roasting tin and return to the oven for a further 30 minutes. Meanwhile boil up some potatoes or pasta if you like. 3. Sprinkle half the lemon zest and parsley over the food, turn the meat again, sprinkle the rest of the lemon zest and parsley, and return to the oven for a further 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and serve (with potatoes or pasta if you want). Highly recommended. Pleasant with chilled white wine or rosé.
Zoran's Salmon and Spinach Pasta: Wrap 520gm of boneless salmon fillets in lightly oiled individual foil packets and bake for 23 minutes at 170Cfan. Meanwhile, boil fusilli pasta for 12 minutes, and fry an onion lightly, with lots (at least 240gm) of young spinach leaves (which will reduce). Drain pasta, add the onion and spinach to the pan, then spoon in 280gm of Philadelphia full fat soft cheese and stir. Crumble in the baked salmon and serve.
Leek and Potato Soup: Cut the end stalks off leeks until you are left with 600gm of leeks. Slice them in 1cm-wide slices. Peel potatoes until you are left with 600gm of peeled potatoes, then slice them in 1cm-wide slices as well. Place them in a saucepan or heavy hob pot, with salt to taste, plenty of black pepper and half a spoon of cayenne pepper, and add 1200ml of boiling water and one vegetable stock cube. Bring everything back to boiling point and boil for about 15 minutes, until the potatoes are near to breaking apart (avoid this as you want nice pieces of potato when you eat the soup). Add 50gm of butter, then taste and if necessary add more salt or pepper. Depending on how much 'heat' you want in the soup's taste, you can add further cayenne pepper, but personally I avoid too much as I like just a hint of heat, with maximum emphasis on the potatoes and leeks themselves. At this stage I add a generous bunch of parsley - personally I take off the stalks, though admittedly it's time-consuming, and I chop the parsley up then sprinkle it into the soup: it really enhances the soup and I use a generous quantity of parsley. I add about 100 to 150ml of crème fraiche: I'm a little cautious with this, and only add it progressively, as I don't want the creamy taste to dominate - but a little cream does make a nice smooth soup. Alternatively you can leave the cream out, if you like clear soups, but personally I prefer the slightly creamy version. A delicious soup!
Beef Stroganoff: Heat up half a tablespoon of olive oil in a frying pan. Finely slice and chop one large onion and fry at a low heat for 10 minutes, until the onion starts to soften and catch a little gold. Add four finely chopped garlic cloves (I lightly fry them first to soften them) and continue to fry and stir in for 2 more minutes. Crumble in a beef stock cube, one teaspoon full of smoked paprika, and one teaspoon full of hot paprika (or two of the smoked version if you want the stroganoff less 'hot'/spicy (though the outcome isn't too hot and spicy). Add a tablespoon of tomato puree - I like that, Karina says the recipe is more authentic without it. Stir everything for a further 2 minutes. At this point the ingredients will almost be paste-like in consistency as you've used little olive oil, but be careful not to overcook this paste, because if it catches it may spoil the flavour. Then add a 400g tin of beef consommé, 150g of thinly sliced chestnut mushrooms, and a tablespoon of Dijon mustard. Bring the frying pan to the boil, and then lower heat and simmer for 10-12 minutes. Meanwhile in a separate frying pan, fry 2 seasoned rump steaks on a high heat in not too much olive oil, enough to seal and cook the outsides, but only for 2 or 3 minutes each side, leaving the meat inside rare or medium rare (it will cook further in the frying pan when added). Don't add the meat yet. After the 10-12 minutes is up for the previous mixture, add 60g of thinly sliced cornichons, 110ml of half-fat crème fraiche, a couple of squeezes of lemon (but not too much, nothing like half a lemon, just 2 squeezes), and simmer. Finely chop 2 to 3 tablespoons of fresh parsley leaves and 2 to 3 tablespoons of fresh tarragon leaves (or fresh chervil if you can get it) and add to the pan. Finely cut the steaks into thin strips with a steak knife or similar, and add to the pan with any meat juices. Add 30g of butter and stir in. Finally (optional) add a bottle cap or two of brandy, and simmer the meat for 10-15 minutes more, while you boil 75g of fusilli per person (or basmati rice if you prefer). Serve (you could decorate with a little more parsley and tarragon if you wished, but I didn't think it needed it. If you season the meat well and add any juices, you may not need to add more salt and pepper in the mixture (I didn't need any). Highly recommended
Macaroni Cheese: with basil, thyme, gruyere and parmesan. First of all (because it's time consuming) pluck the leaves off fresh thyme until you have about 6g of the fresh leaves. (This may take half an hour, so if in a hurry you could just use 12g of thyme stems, but I prefer the leaves in the final meal. Bring a saucepan of water to the boil, then add 400g of macaroni (or personally I like fresh penne). Once boiling again, boil moderately for 6 minutes, then strain, rinse in a saucepan of cold water, strain again and leave. In another saucepan, warm 920g of full cream milk with the 6g of fresh thyme leaves and 24 basil leaves, chopped finely, and heat but don't boil. As the milk comes towards boiling point, take it off the hob and leave to infuse for 10 minutes. Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees fan oven. Then melt 72g of butter and add 7 chopped cloves of garlic, finely chopped at the start (you could use a garlic press, or I like lightly frying all sides of the garlic cloves then when they are softened, finely slice and chop). Let the garlic and melted butter simmer and stir for 2 minutes. Add 80g of plain flour, heat and stir into a roux for 1 or 2 minutes. Then add the milk and stir until the mixture thickens, adding black pepper and a small amount of salt (half a teaspoon or to taste), a level tablespoon of Dijon mustard, the chopped basil, 50g of grated parmesan and 80g of grated gruyere. Place the macaroni or penne in a casserole dish, add the sauce mix, and stir it all in thoroughly. Top with grated parmesan and gruyere to taste, and cook in the oven for 20 minutes at 180 degrees fan oven.
Chicken Adjika: You can get good Adjika marinate in Russian shops in London (like Kalinka at 35 Queens Street, close to Queensway Station) or on the Internet. It's an easy meal. Marinate 6 chicken thighs with a pot of Adjika (Georgian) Paste, making sure to salt and pepper all sides of the chickens first and leave for an hour before spreading the Adjika on all sides of the chicken, and leaving in a bowl, covered with clingfilm, ideally for 4 hours or overnight. Cook for 40 minutes at 180 degrees fan oven, skin side up, taking care to ensure each thigh is well-spread with a thin layer of adjika, and also taking care to baste the chicken with the juices at the 15 and 30 minute points, to stop the adjika turning too hard. Serve with white or brown basmati rice, drenched in any remaining juices in the pan. Personally I line the pan with foil prior to cooking. Highly recommended
Brussel Sprouts Gratin with Finocchiona Salami: Make a paste for the gratin, out of a third of a tablespoon of crushed fennel seeds, one crushed garlic clove, a couple of pinches of salt, one and a half tablespoons of olive oil, and a tablespoon of demerara sugar. Meanwhile put 500ml of double cram in a saucepan with two whole garlic cloves and a bay leaf, and bring to a simmer for five minutes on a medium low heat. Blanch 500g of Brussel sprouts in boiling water in a separate pan for three to four minutes to tenderise. In a frying pan, melt 20g of butter and fry the salami for 30 seconds, then add the sprouts (halved), and seasoning, and toss it all around in the melted butter for a minute. Then (removing the garlic cloves and bay leaf) pour in the cream, and then put the contents of the frying pan in a baking dish. To the gratin paste, add 70g of breadcrumbs, and 50g of grated parmesan cheese, stirring the contents in a mixing bowl. Scatter the gratin over the sprouts and salami in the baking dish, drizzle one tablespoon of olive oil over the gratin, and in a pre-heated oven at 180 (fan), cook for 25-30 minutes.
Large Hare in Creamy Sauce: Cut the hare into joints and pieces, fry at high heat to seal, then pressure cook for an hour and a half, in boiling water two thirds of the depth of the meat, with all spice, herb de provence and cloves, salt and pepper, and a lightly fried onion. After an hour of cooking, add 200ml of crème fraiche or sour cream, and sliced red pepper. Cook for a further half hour. Adapt to taste, adding further crème fraiche and heat/seasoning. Serve with boiled potatoes.
Chicken Chow Mein: Chicken Thighs cut into thin strips, coated in beaten egg white and cornflour, then boiled for 45 seconds to part-cook them. Pak Choi, mangetout, large spring onions, and a red pepper, all cut into strips. Sauce prepared, with light and dark soy sauce, a little sugar, mirin, and plenty of oyster sauce. Add fresh egg noodles to boiling water, separate them and remove them immediately, adding a little sesame oil. Heat olive oil in a large pan or wok, and when almost smoking hot, throw in the vegetables, toss as they reduce for a minute, then throw in the chicken, toss and cook for a further three or four minutes, then add the noodles and sauce mix, with a few more of the sliced green ends of the spring onions. Stir and toss the mixture, but only for a few minutes to keep some 'crunch' and freshness in the pak choi.
Grouse Casserole in Gin: Marinated 2 grouse in 200-300ml gin (and 200ml of rum, optional), thyme, a level tablespoon of light brown soft sugar (but no more than that), salt and black pepper. Then seared the grouse in a very hot heavy pan to seal in juices. After that I stuffed the grouse with a heaped tablespoon of butter and a heaped tablespoon of redcurrant jelly (or could use cranberry sauce), wrapped in 4 rashers of streaky bacon each, and cooked in a pre-heated oven at 200C (fan) for 18 minutes to part cook. Added the meat juices and 390ml of vegetable stock to the marinade liquid, and then sieved all the liquid into a heavy casserole dish, added a diced carrot and some of the vegetable water to ensure the meat is covered, two small diced and fried red onions, four or five slices of chorizo (lightly fried and quartered in small chunks), two more tablespoons of redcurrant jelly, a lemon de-pipped and sliced in three, the de-boned grouse meat and a tablespoon of Adjika paste. A little more salt and pepper to taste. Taste and check flavour halfway through. Cooked at 160C for 90 minutes, initially without lid until boiling, then with lid, and served with boiled potatoes and Dalwhinnie malt whisky. Highly recommended. Plums and custard to follow.
Moroccan Roast Lamb with Ras el Hanout, and chickpeas with a spicy sauce: Moisten a half leg of lamb with water, then smear it with copious amounts of Ras el Hanout, adding a little salt, to taste. Drizzle a little olive oil lightly over the lamb. Place in a roasting tray, covered with foil, and cook for two hours at 170 degrees (fan). Fry an onion, adding sliced red pepper, and a sliced courgette. Meanwhile heat up 2 tins of chickpeas in a little water for about 10 minutes, draining off the water into the frying pan with the vegetables. Add half a tube of tomato paste, and add 2 heaped teaspoons of Harissa paste. Add salt and black pepper to the sauce to taste, and serve up: lamb, chickpeas, and spicy sauce. Highly recommended. Enjoyable with a glass of red wine.
Fillet Steak in Creamy Pepper Sauce: Leave the steaks out of the fridge for half an hour. Cover them with 1 tbsp of black pepper, 2 tbsp of rainbow pepper, and a little salt. Pat the pepper into the steak, and make sure the steaks are nicely coated. Heat up oil to a high heat in a frying pan and add the steaks, frying each side for 3 minutes for a medium rare steak or 4 minutes each side for a well done steak. Place the steaks in a bowl and cover with foil. Fry 4 finely diced shallots (previously prepared) in the pan and oil used for the steaks, for about 90 seconds, until softened but not coloured. Add 75 to 100ml of brandy and bring to the boil for 3 minutes to evaporate a lot of the brandy. Add 300ml of double cream, bring back to the boil, then add the meat juices from the steaks you had set aside. As the sauce starts to thicken, whisk in a knob of butter, one and a half tablespoons of chopped flat-leaf parsley, one and a half tablespoons of wholegrain mustard, and 1 or 2 tablespoons of black pepper (to taste). Add a little salt if wanted. Place the two beef fillet steaks in the pan and cover with the sauce, basting them and retrieving any lost heat from their time out of the pan. Serve the steaks with previously fried mushrooms and an onion and 2 shallots, and mashed potato. This is a really delicious recipe! Highly recommended.
Creamy Mushrooms and Bacon: Finely dice a dozen chestnut mushrooms, and an onion, and fry in a large pan, adding diced bacon from a block. Stir in 300ml of crème fraiche, add some diced celery, and bring to a vigorous boil before simmering for half an hour. Season to taste. Serve with boiled potatoes. A simple and delicious meal. A pepper could be added, and a parsley garnish would work well.
Harissa Lamb with Chickpeas: Fry 2 onions until browning, adding a diced red pepper and green pepper as you fry, and 2 red chillis. Add a can of chopped tomatoes, 2 tbsp of parsley or coriander, 2 tbsp of cumin, 2 tbsp of harissa paste, one and a half tbsp of tomato paste, a little ginger, zest of a lemon and juice from half a lemon, 2 tbsp of soft honey, and leave the contents of the frying pan to simmer for half an hour on a low heat while lightly frying lamb, and adding it to the mixture. Season to taste, with salt and black pepper. A little white wine could be usefully added if available. Heat up chickpeas, and serve the meal. Samuel Smith's organic pale ale makes a lovely accompaniment.
Lamb Vindaloo: (details to follow) Highly recommended.
Slow-Cooked Roast Belly of Pork: Leave at room temperature for 45 minutes and then scar the skin deeply, to open meat up to the top of the flesh. Salt and black pepper to taste, on meat side, and also along the top and trickled into the deep scars. Roast in a pre-heated oven at 160 (fan) for 2 hours, basting the juice of 2 lemons over the crackling half-way through. Meanwhile slow roast some potatoes in the top of the oven after 75 minutes, and after the pork has been in for 2 hours, turn up the heat to 180 (fan) for 25 to 30 minutes. Serve with apple sauce, fried red onions and a red pepper and carrots and sprouts, along with gravy. Roasted parsnips as an extra. By this time the meat should be melty and soft and very delicious. Highly recommended.
Beef Stroganoff: Fry strips of beef (we used minute steaks), and also fry an onion and gently fry sliced chestnut mushrooms to brown and soften them. Then add 300ml of sour cream, and add salt and black pepper to taste, with a little garlic, a little beef stock, parsley and a tiny pinch of nutmeg. Serve with pasta (we used fusilli). If available, a dash of brandy can be added but we didn't on this occasion. Highly recommended. Served with a good Rioja.
Chinese Chilli Beef: Marinate the strips of beef in light soy sauce and cornflour. In heavy pan, a mixture of rape seed oil and sesame oils and heat up to maximum electric hob, and then dip the beef in cornflour again and fry the beef for one or two minutes to brown it, then take it off. Add a sliced pepper, some bean sprouts, 2 birds eye or other Chinese chillis(Sichuan or long Chinese chillis) (or you could use Kashmiri chillis adding more because they're not so hot), some small black beans and green peas (a selection of all these vegetables according to what you have). Soften Chinese noodles in boiled water for a while (if in hard, dry package) just to soften for 3 or 4 minutes. Add the noodles and fry for a further minute or two. Then add light soy sauce, a tablespoon of rice vinegar, and a little sugar or honey. Add more a little water or white wine if you need it, but not too much because you want the meat slightly sticky in texture. Fry the meat for two minutes in a second frying pan, then add it to the overall mixture. Highly recommended. Wonderfully delicious.
Chicken Legs in Carolina Reaper Chilli Sauce: The Carolina reaper version is only for people who handle extreme heat, or substitute with a habanero sauce if you like it less hot. Carefully break up 4 reaper pods (or even as little as half a teaspoon if you don't enjoy the heat) with sugar, brown or barbecue sauce and a little ketchup, for a kind of hot-wing coating. Coat the chicken and place the chicken and sauce in a steamer for 20 minutes, then finish in the oven at 180 (fan) for 15 minutes (underside first and turning halfway) or until ready.
Smoky Whisky Chilli: Place some oil in a pressure cooker. Seal diced beef with onions and chipotle sauce and a drop of habanero sauce. Add a tin of chopped tomatoes, a cut up pepper and some jalapenos (and chipotle flakes or Ancho powder if you want) and some de Arbol or other chillis with a hint of smokiness to them. Add water so it's just liquid enough not to burn, and steam for 20-30 minutes. Then open the cooker and add between 50 and 100 ml of Jura or Islay whisky or Jack Daniels, and a large tablespoon of peanut butter and tomato paste. If it tastes too sweet, correct with a dash of Worcester Sauce or vinegar. Add a tin of kidney or black beans and a tin of sweet corn. Other seasoning to taste during the process. Serve with boiled rice. Highly recommended.
Piri-Piri Pork Loin Slices: A simple, speedy meal. Place oil in a heavy frying pan on a high heat; meanwhile put salt and pepper to taste on one side of the meat, and add 150ml of medium piri-piri sauce. Flip the pork into the pan, sauce side down, and fry to seal and slightly brown - meanwhile salt and pepper and another 150ml of piri-piri sauce on the top side. Flip over and fry that side as well. Then flip a few times, spooning in the piri-piri sauce that seeps into the pan juices, reducing the heat as the pork browns. Serve with boiled potatoes to counter the heat, and selected vegetables.
Fried Cod in a Lahore Curried Batter: This is a delicious, spicy fish meal. Cut the cod (or other fish) into large chunks, double coat with egg, flour and curried batter, and deep fry. Serve with rice.
Lamb Iskender: Slices of uncooked lamb with blended onion, interlaced with layers of lamb mince (in proportions of 3 to 2), slow-cooked at 120 for 1 hour, and then 140 for 1 hour. Served with a tomato, chopped yellow pepper, and pea sauce; and with optional plain yoghurt; or sour cream with garlic; and assorted warm bread rolls. Highly recommended
Salmon and Pasta with Samphire: a simple and straightforward dish - fry the salmon, adding black pepper or lemon to taste, then boil some pasta, adding samphire for the last 2 minutes. Stir all these ingredients in one bowl, adding a generous knob of butter, one or two tablespoons of olive oil, and black pepper. Serve in bowls while hot, squeezing juice of half a lemon a bowl on top for each person.
Baked Sea Bass with ginger and chilli: and served with fried onion, cumin, red pepper, peas, a few sliced potatoes, (all fried together, with a splash of light soy sauce, a splash of white wine), and basmati rice. Nice chilled white wine to accompany.
Yakisoba Pork with Noodles: Diced Belly of Pork marinated in Teriyaki. Stir fry yellow pepper, an onion, two crushed cloves of garlic, one diced carrot, a red chilli, a green chilli, a birds eye chilli, fried in part vegetable oil, part sesame oil. Then separately fry the noodles briefly in a vegetable and sesame oil mixture and set aside; after which fry the marinated pork at a high heat (again in vegetable and sesame oil mix) in a heavy pan, then when well fried, adding the stir fry vegetables, the noodles, and a mixture of 4 tablespoons of Worcester Sauce, 2 tablespoons of Light Soy Sauce, 2 tablespoons of Oyster Sauce, 4 tablespoons of ketchup, 1 tablespoon of brown sugar, and black pepper. Highly recommended
Warming Stuffed Marrow: Dice and fry one onion, adding some diced button mushrooms (optional), a red pepper, a yellow pepper and 7 or 8 diced sweet vine-ripened tomatoes. Meanwhile start frying 400 to 500g of minced beef in a separate pan. Drain off the excess fat, then pour in the contents of the first pan with the onions etc. Add salt and black pepper to taste, a tspn of hot paprika, 1 to 2 tspn of cayenne pepper, a tspn of oregano, and 4 or 5 crushed cloves of garlic. Add 3 medium-size grated carrots, and a generous portion of grated cheese (about the same amount as the carrots but no more). Then add 3 tbsp of single cream and 4 or 5 tbsp of crème fraiche, heat and stir until the cheese has melted. Add 180g of jasmine rice (cooked in boiling water for 8 minutes). Stir the mixture but do not keep on hob for too long, so the rice does not congeal. Meanwhile, during this process, pre-heat your oven to 170 C fan, cut a medium-sized marrow in half, remove the seeds and hollow out a little. Place the two halves in water that has just boiled, take immediately off the hob, and soak the marrow halves for ten minutes. If the marrow is too long to submerge in your pan, after 10 minutes, reverse the marrow ends, bring back to the boil, repeating the process. After drying the marrow out, place the two halves in a large roasting pan on ample foil (sufficient to wrap the marrow). Stuff the two halves of marrow, join them together, and wrap them. Cook in oven for 45 minutes. There will be ample extra mince in the frying pan, which you can heat up again 7 or 8 minutes before you serve up, to supplement the stuffed marrow. Served with chilled cider in summer, or other drink to taste.
Traditional Roast Lamb: For me, because a leg of lamb was a frequent Sunday roast for the family, the combination of vegetables are evocative. It's a simple combination: slow-cooked leg of lamb, roast potatoes, gravy, mashed swede, boiled greens (don't overboil - just 6 minutes), and onion sauce (onions in a white sauce). Serve with redcurrant jelly, and mint jelly or mint sauce. Highly recommended
Fried Duck in Honey and Soy Sauce: Slices of duck breast, marinated in soy sauce and honey, and fried in Sesame Seed Oil, served with egg fried rice, with onion and red pepper.
Jägerschnitzel: Six escalopes of pork neck, well tenderised first and salted, then dipped in a mixture of black pepper and 4 eggs, beaten together. Then straightaway coat the escalopes in flour and fry at a medium (not high) heat in sunflower oil. Served with boiled potatoes. Optionally, can be served with a mushroom-based sauce. On another occasion, served with tagliatelli in a creamy onion and fennel sauce, with gorgonzola, parmesan and half a cup of dry white wine. Half and slice 2 onions, and a bulb of fennel, in 2 cm slices. Place in an oven dish, tossed with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, and bake at 180 fan for an hour, turning every 15 minutes. Meanwhile make a white sauce with 30gm of butter, 4 tablespoons of flour, 500ml of whole milk, half a cup of dry white wine, a very small amount of salt (will be salty anyway), generous black pepper, and a pinch of nutmeg. Crumble in 30 or 40 gm of gorgonzola and 40 gm of parmesan cheese. Take off the heat. When the hour is up, put in the fennel and onion (now well softened) and a generous tablespoon or two of parsley and simmer a further 5 minutes. Cook tagliatelli or other pasta and when al dente, add to the pasta sauce. This pasta can also be used as a standalone dish, with 4 or 5 chopped and cooked sausages. However on this occasion, with the Jägerschnitzel this was not necessary. Highly recommended
Sausage Miso Soup: (borrowed and adapted from Nigel Slater's recipe) Fry six sausages in a pan until they are pleasantly browned. To a pan with one litre of boiling water, add 4 teaspoons of red miso paste, and stir as it dissolves. Also add 4 whole red bird's eye chillis. Pour out the surplus oil from the original frying pan, and add one ladleful of the miso fluid, stirring the frying pan to get all the flavour left from the sausages, then return the liquid to the miso soup. In a separate pan add boiling water to a modest portion of udan noodles, and after 2 minutes drain, and add the noodles to the soup. Add a halved pak choi, some chopped lettuce, or 130g of baby spinach (which I roughly tear). Add the sausages to heat them again. Add salt and pepper to choice, and a little last-minute chilli paste if it doesn't taste spicy enough. Simmer, serve and enjoy.
Jerk Chicken with Lime and Honey: Deeply slice the skin and meat three or four times for each of 4 or 5 chicken wings. Stuff jerk mixture into the slits and over the skin (use about 2 large tablespoons of the jerk mixture), sprinkle on finely chopped spring onions and a large teaspoon of thyme, a tablespoon of light soy sauce, juice of half a lime, and a tablespoon of honey or a little more. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and leave to marinate overnight in the fridge. Take the chicken out an hour before cooking. Pre-heat the oven to 175 fan and cook on a foil-lined tray for 30 minutes. Then pour some of the juices over the chicken wings, and remove to another tray lined with foil for the last 20 minutes at 180 fan (keeping an eye to see they do not burn towards the end). This can be served with rice and some of the juices, or with a simple fresh salad of avocado, cucumber, rocket and small cherry tomatoes. Highly recommended
Smoky Mexican Chicken Traybake: Mix 2 to 4 chicken wings and assorted breast portions of chicken or drumsticks, with 2 roughly chopped yellow peppers, 1 roughly chopped red pepper, segments cut from 2 small red onions, 100g of sweet barbecue sauce, and 180g of chipotle chilli and smoked paprika paste. Make in an oven dish at 185 fan for 18 minutes, then add about 400g of sweet potato in wedges. Stir the sweet potato in to the mix and cook for a further 35 minutes. Sprinkle with fresh coriander leaves and serve with sour cream, and guacamole.
Caribbean Pork with Coconut Rice and Gungo Peas: Cut some shoulder of pork in strips, then brown the pork in a heavy pan, adding salt as it browns. In a pressure cooker, cook the pork further together with 1 tin of tomatoes, 1 quartered scotch bonnet, pimento (ground all-spice), some ginger powder, and one red pepper (optionally adding some sliced chorizo). Pressure cook these ingredients for about 40 minutes. Meanwhile in a separate pan, start by boiling basmati rice in about a tin of coconut milk, then add another quartered scotch bonnet, (and eventually a little boiling water) and after 20 minutes, add a tin of gungo peas and heat up. Highly recommended
Marie Sharp Hot Habanero Chicken Drumsticks: Place 8 chicken drumsticks (with a couple of deep incisions each) in a large bowl with a marinade made from 6 tablespoons of Marie Sharp's Habanero Pepper Sauce (or use another hot habanero sauce but I do love Marie Sharp's), 2 tablespoons of sweet barbecue sauce, 2 tablespoons of olive oil, one tablespoon of paprika, 3 tablespoons of rice or cider vinegar, 4 tablespoons of honey, 3 crushed cloves of garlic, 2 teaspoons of salt, a tablespoon of Worcester Sauce, a tablespoon of light brown soft sugar, 6 finely-diced spring onions, and a generous tablespoon of dash of dark rum. Leave the drumsticks to marinate for an hour or two (or overnight in the fridge) then - making sure to reserve the marinade for later use - place the chicken drumsticks on a baking tray lined with foil, and cook for 30 minutes at 160 degrees (fan oven), before removing the chicken drumsticks and placing them on a new foil-lined tray, and pouring the reserved marinade over them, turning them in it to ensure coverage. Raise the oven temperature to 180 degrees (fan) and cook for a further 30 minutes, turning the chicken periodically. To crisp up a bit, you may choose to raise temperature to 200 degrees (fan) for the last 15 minutes, but with care not to let them burn. For a good accompanying coolness, mix 125ml of sour cream with 65ml of salad dressing and I teaspoon of Dijon mustard, and add an avocado and half a cucumber (both diced in cubes to taste) with some chopped coriander. This is one of my favourite chicken recipes, but it is very hot and spicy, so not to the tastes of all. Highly recommended
Cod and Prawns with Fennel and White Wine: Melt 25g of salted butter in a frying pan and gently cook a thinly sliced fennel for 10 minutes, seasoned to taste, and covered with a lid. Save any fronds from the fennel. Stir and turn every 2 or 3 minutes. Then add one leek, thinly sliced, and cook and cover, for another 5 minutes with occasional stirs. Then pour in 150ml of dry white wine and 100 ml of crème fraiche, lightly simmering with the lid off for 4 minutes. Add 250g of cod, cut in chunks, and about 10 king prawns (to taste), cover and simmer for 8 more minutes. Taste and season if necessary, but it should be salty enough, and serve with a scattering of fennel fronds and chopped flat-leaf parsley. Slices of buttered bread from a loaf of your choice, to accompany, and perhaps some dry white or rose wine.
Very Spicy Beer Chilli con Carne: Heat up a dry frying pan and heat up 2 dried ancho chillis, 1 reaper (or habanero), and 4 dried dearbol chillis to release their flavour. Place minced beef and a sliced onion, oregano and cumin, and lightly brown in vegetable oil in a large pressure pot. Add a tin of chopped tomatoes, some tomato paste, and a bottle of beer (of your taste and flavour), and the chillis. Pressure cook for 30 minutes. Then put on brown rice to accompany. Add a tin of black-eye beans and a tin of kidney beans, and continue to cook for 30 minutes (checking every 10 minutes to make sure they are not catching and burning). At the end, add 2 good squeezes of garlic paste, check the seasoning and spice balance (if necessary adjust), take off the lid and cook in open pot for 5 minutes. Serve with the brown rice. This is likely to be very hot and spicy, and not suitable for all. Be sure to accompany with plenty of liquid - glasses of water, and/or beer and, if you're like me, maybe a nice mug of tea. The first spoonful may seem extremely hot, but the mouth acclimatises, and spoon by spoon the gorgeous flavour takes over. It should leave you feeling warm and contented in your stomach for the whole evening. Absolutely delicious. Highly recommended
Hainanese Chicken Rice: Take two chicken breast fillets, and score 5 or 6 fairly deep cuts in each (but not deep enough to break up the pieces). Squeeze quite generous quantities of red chilli paste on each fillet, sufficient to spread the chilli into each score with a knife. Do the same with even more generous quantities of Hainanese paste, then spread further Hainanese paste under the fillets and across the top of the chicken, and leave the chicken to marinate for several hours or overnight. The next stage is to prepare a mixture of about a tablespoon and a half of finely sliced spring onion, a finely sliced red chilli, juice of one lime and also its grated zest, and two tablespoons of clear honey. After that, heat a frying pan to high heat and sear (but don't cook through) the chicken fillets until they are partially browned on the outside (but not too cooked), after scraping and reserving the under-layer and most of the topping of Hainanese paste. Cut the chicken fillets into thin slices and cover them. In a saucepan, add 350ml of water, two-thirds of the chilli, spring onion, lime and honey mix, and 150gm of Mali or other types of Jasmine rice, bring them to the boil and then simmer, until it reduces to soft rice similar to risotto after about 9 or 10 minutes. Pour on three more tablespoons of Hainanese paste and any of the initial paste reserved from the marinade. Add the chicken slices, layered across the top of the by now moist but firm rice, and pour the remaining third of the lime-honey etc mixture gently over the chicken slices, allowing the chicken a little time to regain any lost heat. Serve the chicken slices on top of a bed of the rice. In our household, opinions were a little divided on this dish. I loved it and really enjoyed the meal's fragrance and its sweet-sour elements, but another view was that there was an indeterminate missing 'something'. Try it and see what you think. I shall be cooking this again, on home alone nights!
Cheese, Leek and Spring Onion Toasted Sandwiches: Pre-heat oven to 200 fan. For two toasted sandwiches, lightly soften two sliced leeks in 30 gm of butter in a pan for 6 or 7 minutes. Place them in a bowl. Grate 300 gm of cheese of your choice (for toasties I like a medium or mature cheddar), slice 3 or 4 spring onions, and add them all into the bowl, with a cautious pinch of salt and plenty of black pepper. I also like to add small chopped tomatoes (minus the pips and most of the juice) or sun-dried tomatoes would work well. I also like to add a teaspoonful of English mustard. Some people like a dash of Worcester Sauce. Finally, add a tablespoon of crème fraiche (you could also add a tablespoon of full cream milk, or as an alternative or as well - or a splash of beer instead of milk - but it can make the consistency quite runny, so be careful). Stir all the contents into a well-mixed and slightly damp consistency. Line a small tray with foil and place the amount of the cheese mix that you want onto the tray and heat in the oven until heated through and starting to melt. While you have been working on the bowl contents, lightly toast the slices of toast you want in a toaster (possibly toast one side a bit more, under the grill). Place the cheese mix on a low tray of the oven until it is warmed through. Spread the warm cheese mix on top of slices of toast. The choice from this point is yours. You can place the cheese on toast under the grill to melt the cheese further. Or you can eat it as it is. You can also choose whether you want a slice of toast on top, or simply want to eat it welsh rarebit style. Naturally, if you have a toasted sandwich maker, these guidelines need adapting, and it has the advantage of sealing the contents in so they don't drip everywhere when you bite into them!
Saffron Risotto with Butternut Squash: Preheat the oven to 190 (fan). Peel and dice in cubes a butternut squash that weighs around 1.2 kg, obviously removing the seeds. Place the squash on a baking tray and toss it with 2 to 3 tablespoons of olive oil, scattering 1.5 teaspoons of salt, and about three quarters of a teaspoon of black pepper. Toss the squash some more, and then cook it for 30 to 35 minutes, tossing it all halfway through, but not allowing it to cook so long that it turns soft and mushy. Remove from the oven. Meanwhile, as the butternut squash is cooking, heat 1.25 litres of chicken stock and leave it to simmer. In a heavy casserole pot, on the hob, melt 190gm of unsalted butter and sauté 175 to 200gm of pancetta, a few slices of left over smoky bacon if you have it, and 3 finely diced shallots on a medium/low heat for 10 minutes. Add about 320gm of Arborio or other risotto rice and stir it all in with butter. Add about 200ml of white wine and stir the mixture, letting it simmer for 2 minutes on a medium hear. Add 2 or 3 ladles of chicken stock, and about half a gram of saffron strands, a teaspoon of salt, and half a teaspoon of pepper. You now simmer the rice mix for about 30 to 35 minutes on a medium heat, stirring quite frequently as the rice may start to catch on the pan. Every 10-12 minutes, as the rice soaks up the stock, add 2 more ladles. Repeat this three or four times, stirring regularly, and until the rice is just a little al dente, at which point let it absorb the remaining stock, and then mix in the cooked butternut squash, Off the heat, and between 200 and 250gm of Parmesan cheese. This is a really delicious risotto, and goes well with a chilled dry white wine. Highly recommended
Chicken Drumsticks in Beer Batter: To prepare chicken, sprinkle over with salt, black pepper, and if you want, some hot chilli sauce. Put in the oven for 20 minutes, then turn and cook for 10 more minutes, so the chicken is almost cooked but not quite. Meanwhile in a bowl, add 2 eggs, 5-6 tablespoons of flour, and salt (any other herbs or spices to taste). It should be too thick (if not add more flour), but then add beer until you have a thick but workable batter to dip the chicken in. Heat oil and dip and cook drumsticks 3 or 4 at a time, and turn (unless you can submerge them in the oil). Repeat the process with more drumsticks until you have enough. Cook until they are a nice, golden brown. Eat on your knees, watching a film, with bottles of beer.
Glazed Sausages in a Creamy Mustard Sauce: Put some lentils and/or wild rice and/or quinoa on the boil, lowering to a simmer. Meanwhile, fry 6 good sausages of your choice in 2 tablespoons of olive oil, initially at a fairly high heat, then reduce to low/moderate heat and let them fry gently for 10 minutes, turning them occasionally. While the sausages are frying, in a mixing bowl pour in 250 ml of crème fraiche, and 3 teaspoonfuls of Dijon mustard. Mix these with 15gm of snipped chives, and perhaps 4 or 5 splashes of hot pepper sauce if you feel like some heat. Also add black pepper to taste. Remove the sausages after 10 minutes to dry off some oil on paper towel for a few minutes, while you put one finely diced yellow pepper into the frying pan for 2 minutes to soften and cook (dice to roughly the size of sweet corn). Then add the yellow pepper to the mustard cream sauce, mix in, and heat in a saucepan on the lowest heat for 5 minutes or until it reaches the temperature you want to serve it at. Meanwhile, the sausages, cut into three pieces a sausage, are tossed and turned in a balsamic glaze on a foiled baking tray and then grilled for about 5 minutes. Serve the sausages, with the creamy sauce, and the lentils, wild rice and/or quinoa, and spinkle some more chopped chives lightly over the dish.
Steak with Walnuts and Ponzu Sauce: Pre-heat the oven at 190 (fan) and chop up 5 or 6 spring onions, and a red pepper. Reduce 50gm of walnuts into smashed pieces. Heat 2 or 3 tablespoons of walnut oil to a high temperature, and then sear 2 or 3 seasoned steaks, 2 minutes each side, and place them in a heavy cooking pot or baking tray.Heat up some prepared jus for beef in a saucepan, letting it thicken, and then add 3 or 4 tablespoons of Ponzu sauce. Add another couple of tablespoons of walnut oil to the frying pan in which the steaks were seared, and fry the diced red pepper to soften and cook a little, then add the crushed walnuts and spring onions for 1 minute, and then add 4 crushed garlic cloves and some chopped Thai basil and fry everything for a further minute. Spoon all the contents of the frying pan on top of the seared steak in the separate pot or try, and place all this in the over at 190 (fan) for 5 minutes. In the frying pan stir-fry some pak choi for 2 or 3 minutes, then serve the steaks, pouring the Ponzu sauce mixture over them, accompanied by the pak choi. Lovely with a full-bodied red wine. Highly recommended
Creamy Bucatini with Mushrooms: Slice 250gm of chestnut mushrooms and fry in one or two tablespoons of olive oil for 3 minutes, turning frequently to douse the mushrooms in oil until they are mildly browned, then add 3 or 4 crushed cloves of garlic and fry with the mushrooms for a further minute. Add the chopped leaves of half a bunch of parsley, 75ml of white wine of choice, 4 or 5 tablespoons of porcini mushroom paste, and 250ml of crème fraiche, stirring all the ingredients together and simmering very mildly - while cooking 2 portions of bucatini pasta, at boiling point for 9 minutes. Stir the bucatini into the pan with all the other ingredients and serve. ** Meat Patties: In a large container, mix 500g of minced beef, 500g of minced pork, 3 eggs, a chopped onion, and a small loaf of bread that you have softened in milk. Also add salt, pepper, oregano, and other spices to taste. Mix all the ingredients up thoroughly. Then set a heavy-based frying pan, with about a centimeter depth of vegetable or sunflower oil, to high heat. Mould patties, flattening them so they cook better, and reducing the pan to medium heat, fry under a lid for about 25 minutes, turning periodically, and not rushing the process, until well cooked through but not burnt. Repeat the process for more patties. Highly recommended
Karina's Meat Patties: In a large container, mix 500g of minced beef, 500g of minced pork, 3 eggs, a chopped onion, and a small loaf of bread that you have softened in milk. Also add salt, pepper, oregano, and other spices to taste. Mix all the ingredients up thoroughly. Then set a heavy-based frying pan, with about a centimeter depth of vegetable or sunflower oil, to high heat. Mould patties, flattening them so they cook better, and reducing the pan to medium heat, fry under a lid for about 25 minutes, turning periodically, and not rushing the process, until well cooked through but not burnt. Repeat the process for more patties. Highly recommended
Susannah's Meat Patties: Mix the following in a large mixing bowl - 500g of good quality minced beef, one large potato shredded, half an onion finely chopped, 3 tablespoons of quite finely diced green pepper, half a teaspoon of salt, black pepper to taste, a teaspoon of hot cayenne pepper, and one beaten egg or up to half of a second (but don't overdo, or the pattie will get too moist and be liable to disintegrate. Mould the mixture into 6 patties, pressing them down so they are not too thick, and shaping them as necessary. In a heavy-based frying pan add two tablespoons of oil - I used 1 spoon of rapeseed oil and 1 spoon of walnut oil, simply because I had it to hand. Heat the oil at medium-high heat. Now add the patties and brown but don't burn both sides of each pattie. This can take some time, so if you are in a hurry you could use two pans, as the 6 patties may well not all fit in one pan. Either that, or brown them in two batches, but it is quite a gradual process, and may take 10-15 minutes each batch. Then set aside the patties on a plate and drain off the oil in the pans, before returning the patties to the pan and adding about a mug of tomato juice (not enough to swamp the patties but enough to encircle them), along with a little pepper, some cumin and oregano (not too much) and, if you have it, some fresh basil would work well. Now comes the slow bit. Once the tomato juice has come to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and place a lid over the pan, checking periodically to make sure it's not catching. After 12 minutes, carefully turn the patties, and simmer with the lid on for a further 12 minutes. By now the meat should be well cooked through. Remove the patties, and stir in a previously prepared mixture of 1 and a half tablespoons of flour and about 175ml of cold water. This will thicken the sauce nicely. Serve up with either boiled potatoes or chips. Highly recommended
Beef Stew with Guinness and Portobello Mushrooms: Pre-heat the oven to 175 (fan). Heat two tablespoons of olive oil in a heavy 'crock pot', and brown 250gm of diced and seasoned beef, then remove the beef, add a further two tablespoons of oil, and add a further 250gm of diced beef, repeating the process. With the meat out of the pan, add a final two tablespoons of oil and fry/brown 2 roughly chopped onions, 2 chopped carrots, 2 chopped parsnips, and 3 or 4 stalks of celery - along with 4 or 5 little sprigs of thyme, a heaped teaspoon of chopped rosemary (defrosted or fresh), and 3 bay leaves. Fry and stir all these for about 4 or 5 minutes. Add about 350ml of Guinness, add 4 or 5 tablespoons of flour, and stir it all in, on a high simmer for 7 or 8 minutes. Then add about 600ml of beef stock, and cook the mixture for another 3 minutes to let it all thicken a little. (It will thicken further during the cooking.) Then add the part-cooked meat and a 400gm tin of chopped tomatoes, and about 200gm of roughly chopped portobello mushrooms. Add 2 tablespoons of Worcester Sauce, up to one teaspoon of hot paprika, and salt and pepper to taste. Finally add a sprinkling of baby broad beans (that can be cooked from frozen). Stir all these in on the hob and simmer for a further 5 minutes. Place a lid on the heavy-based crock pot, and cook in the oven for 2 hours at 175 (fan). As it thickens you may need to stop it catching on the base, so stir about every 30 minutes. This also prevents the food on the top catching too. For the third hour, take the lid off the pot, add 2 chunkily sliced courgettes, and allow the stew to thicken further, still checking to stir and make sure it does not catch. Serve with mashed potato. Highly recommended
Nyonya Chicken Curry: Chop 1 onion, and fry in a pan with a little olive oil until starting to brown, then add a red pepper, a yellow pepper, and 2 chillis. Meanwhile in a separate frying pan, fry and slightly brown 300 to 400gm of diced and seasoned chicken breast. Do not over-fry, as the chicken will continue to cook in the curry anyway. Add about 360gm of Nyonya paste (or half for a milder effect), along with 400ml of coconut milk. The aim is to make it, in typical Thai and Malay tendency, halfway to soup-like liquidity. Simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring periodically. Meanwhile boil a few potatoes and set aside, stir in 2 pak choi (leaves separated), and simmer for another 5 minutes with a generous handful or two of finely chopped coriander. Near the end, add the potatoes (which should not be overcooked because you do not want them to dissolve and spoil the texture and taste of the curry). Serve with jasmine rice. Highly recommended
Sambal Oelek Pork Belly: Place 500g of pork belly, diced in chunks, in a pot of boiling salted water, and simmer/gently boil for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, slice 2 onions, and fry in oil until starting to brown, then add one red pepper (cut in strips), and gently fry for a further three minutes. Then add a generous portion of sambal oelek mixture (perhaps 250g) and gently heat until it has been simmering for five minutes. Add two cut and crushed lemon grass stalks (with ends and outside layer removed) and grate in about 3 cm of ginger. Add juice of half a lime, a level tbsn of light brown sugar, and then add the pork, stirring all the ingredients together. Add the cream from a tin of coconut milk (use about 300ml in total), heat everything up and add seasoning to taste. Simmer for 10 minutes, then add Chinese noodles which you have fried for 2 or 3 minutes in a separate pan. After a further three minutes, serve up the meal.
Baked Salmon with Lemon and Herb Crumb: Pre-heat the oven to 190 (fan). Lay 4 slices of salmon (skin down) on baking paper on a tray. Make an accompanying crumb in a mixing bowl by mixing 85gm of panko breadcrumbs with about 5 tablespoons of chopped herbs to taste (I used basil, and some left over parsley, coriander and thyme leaves stripped from sprigs of thyme). Then grate the zest of a lemon into the crumb mix, and a heaped teaspoon of chilli flakes. Season with salt and pepper to taste and add a few splashes of white wine just to slightly dampen the mixture as you stir it all in thoroughly (but not too much - you don't want to lose the crunch). Spread some mayonnaise on each salmon piece, so the whole of the top of the salmon is covered in a thin layer of mayonnaise. Spread the crumb mix over the salmon pieces, making sure that the crumb is covering the whole of each portion. Start boiling potatoes for 20 minutes. Cook the salmon for 22 to 24 minutes, but at 18 minutes, take the salmon out and sprinkle a little more white wine on the crumb, not to soak it or take away its crunch, but just to slightly soften it. It's very much just a light sprinkle. Meanwhile in a bowl, mix the juice of 2 lemons with 2 teaspoons of creamed horseradish and about half a cup of mayonnaise, along with a pinch of salt and a light sprinkle of pepper. Stir well and place on the meal table with a spoon, along with lemon wedges. After 24 minutes, take the salmon out, and serve with the potatoes. The horseradish and lemon sauce make a lovely accompaniment. Highly recommended. Enjoyed with some Chardonnay. Any left over crumb, box up and store in fridge as a lovely addition to cheese on toast.
Gochujang Korean Beef Rib with Kimchi Napa Cabbage: Score the fat of the beef ribs and then season the meat with salt and pepper on all surfaces. Use 100gm of Gochujang paste for every kg of beef. Make a sauce where for every 100gm of gochujang paste you stir in 3 tablespoons of soy sauce, 2 tablespoons of orange juice, 1 tablespoon of red wine (or simply a third tbspn of orange), 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar, 2 tablespoons of sesame oil, 8 cloves of crushed garlic (I fry it gently to soften it first), 3 tablespoons of soft brown sugar, a squirt or two of honey, half a teaspoon of ground ginger, and about half a teaspoon of salt. (I also used about two tablespoons of panko crumb mix left over from the Baked Salmon meal, to add texture to the sauce and glaze.) Line a baking tray with enough foil on the sides to fold up and seal in due course. Smear all surfaces of the beef with half the sauce (making sure to reserve the other half) and enfold in the foil. Leave for 2 hours if you have the time. In due course, pre-heat the oven at 225 (fan) and cook the beef for 30 minutes. Then cook the beef for a further 100 to 140 minutes at 170 (fan) depending on the size of meat. Test the meat during this phase to see how it bleeds. During this cooking phase, half and finely slice two echalion shallots as a garnish for the beef later on. Heat up the remaining half of the sauce in a frying pan and simmer until it thickens, in preparation for the final phase of cooking. Remove the beef from the oven, and increase oven heat to 225 (fan) again. Remove the foil covering, and drain off any excess juices (which can be poured onto the serving plate later if you wish). Cover the beef ribs (especially the fatty top) with the remaining (and now thickened) sauce and return to the oven for about 15 minutes. However, it is important to keep a close eye on this phase as the beef may burn and blacken quite quickly. When the beef is ready, remove from the oven and enclose in foil for 20 minutes to let it settle (improves juiciness). Meanwhile, get the kimchi sauce ready: 150mg of kimchi sauce which you can buy, a teaspoon of sesame oil, a teaspoon of sesame seeds, about 4cm of grated ginger, 4 crushed garlic gloves. Stir this all together in a pan and heat up. Then heat a frying pan at a fairly high temperature with a little sesame oil, and toss in a sliced napa cabbage with some whole leaves left, making sure to keep tossing the cabbage and keep doing this for about three minutes. Pour on the kimchi sauce mixture, continuing to toss the cabbage until it is all well mixed in. Serve up the beef on a warm plate, pouring on a little of the left over juices from the pan, add the kimchi cabbage, and scatter the sliced echalion shallots and half a tablespoon of black sesame seeds on each portion of meat. A red wine accompanies this well.
Pork and Mushroom Umami Rice Pot: Prepare ingredients - Take a generous bunch of spring onions and finely slice the white ends, placing the shredded green ends in a separate bowl. Dice 500gm of pork fillet and season it. Roughly chop two red peppers. Roughly chop three garlic cloves. Roughly grate 3cm of ginger. Chop in half about 500gm of shiitake, wild, and baby chestnut mushrooms. Prepare 500ml of chicken stock and mix in four or five generous tablespoons of umami paste. Now spray sinflower oil on the surface of a heavy cooking pot (I just use a crock pot on the hob - it will need a lid.) Turn the hob to maximum heat and cook the pork, continually stirring and turning. After two minutes turn down the heat just a little, and add the sliced white parts of the spring onions, the red peppers, and the chopped garlic cloves, continuing to stir for a further three or four minutes. Pour in 400gm of jasmine rice and stir for a further minute. If you don't stir it may stick to the pan. Next, pour in the stock with the umami paste in it, and a few splashes of white wine (completely optional, I just had a bottle open). Bring to the boil and taste. At this stage I chose to add two flat tablespoons of brown sugar, and about a teaspoon of chilli paste, just to flavour to my preference. You could leave thse out of course. Simmer the rice and other ingredients with the lid on, for about 15 to 18 more minutes (until the rice is how you want it), giving it a stir near the end to check it's not catching. Just before serving, give the food a couple of good splashes of light soy sauce and stir in the shredded green parts of the spring onions.
Butternut Squash Curry: Pre-heat the oven to 220 (fan) and in a large pot or bowl place, place a butternut squash, halved lengthways, and cut in 1.5cm crescents. Then add 1.5 tablespoons of olive oil, a level teaspoon of salt, and as much black pepper as you feel like. Stir all these up and then place the butternut squash on two baking trays, lined with baking paper. Roast for 30 minutes. Meanwhile fry a roughly chopped onion and thinly sliced (quarter centimeter thick) carrot rounds in 2 tablespoons of olive oil for 7 or 8 minutes at a fairly high heat, then adding 4 crushed cloves of garlic, 2cm of finely grated ginger, one and a half teaspoons of tomato paste, 1 tablespoon of curry powder, half a teaspoon of garam marsala and (if you like your food a bit hotter and spicier) several quirts of chilli paste. Stir everything in the pan for a further minute. Peel a baking potato, halve it, and then slice it very thinly (5mm thickness is recommended by Yotam Ottolenghi, whose recipe I have cribbed and slightly altered). Add the potato slices to the frying pan, with just under 2 tablespoons of soy sauce, half a tablespoon of maple syrup, 850 ml of water, a further teaspoon of salt, and more black pepper to taste. Let these all simmer for 15 minutes, adding 100ml of crème fraiche for the last minute or two. Then blend everything in the frying pan for a minute (I did that in two batches), after which pour back the now blended 'sauce' into a fairly large pot. Get some jasmine rice on the boil. Once the butternut squash has roasted for 30 minutes, add 120gm of baby spinach into the 'sauce' and cook for 2 minutes until it has wilted. Then toss in the butternut squash, and stir it in so it soaks in the curry sauce, cooking for a further 4 minutes. Serve the curry with rice and a quarter wedge of lime, and on top of the curry sprinkle coriander, finely sliced rounds of red chilli, and half a teaspoon of black sesame seeds.
St Andrews Day 2018
Cullen Skink: Finely chop half an onion and set to one side. Boil up one large potato for 20 minutes. (Some people might prefer a thicker soup with a further half or whole potato, but I think one is enough to add texture to the soup.) Place 450gm of smoked haddock in a frying pan, skin down, and just cover with cold water. Bring to the boil, and then simmer for 5 minutes, turning the haddock over after about 3 minutes. Remove the haddock, take off skin, and loosely break the fish into smaller pieces, then returning it to the stock in the pan. Add the chopped onion, and also a bay leaf, a little salt and some pepper. Simmer for a further 15 minutes. Strain the stock off into a larger pot, pour in 450ml of milk (and a little cream if you want, say 100ml). Roughly mash up the potato and stir into the pot (you could throw in a tablespoonful of finely chopped chives if you like). Stir and simmer for 5 minutes. Then return the sieved fish and onion and continue simmering 5 more minutes. Meanwhile roughly chop up some parsley. Taste and adjust seasoning if felt necessary. Just before serving, chop up 75gm of butter and stir into the soup. Serve the soup with chopped parsley added.
Arbroath Smokie on Toast: I made this at the same time I was making the Cullen Skink, but anyway you want to braise 175gm of smoked haddock for 5 minutes (as for the Cullen Skink, or in milk). Meanwhile toast 2 or 3 slices of bread, and grate 30gm of well-flavoured cheddar or other cheese of your choice. Make a white sauce (15 gm of butter, 15 gm of flour, 150ml of milk - you can use the milk you've braised the haddock in if you want), and stir in one egg, and the grated cheese. Add a little salt, and pepper to taste. Then add the haddock. Spoon out the mixture onto the 2 slices of toast, on a foil-line baking tray, and grill until the mixture is starting to brown. Serve with a few sprigs of parsley. If it is quite runny, provide a knife and fork for eating, and a napkin.
Haggis, Clapshot, and Whisky Cream Sauce: I prefer to cook the haggis in the oven for 60 or 70 minutes at 180 (fan), wrapped in foil in a baking dish. Meanwhile (or before), chop up 3 potatoes and set aside in a pan of cold water; chop up a medium to large swede and set aside in a pan of cold water. Lightly fry a finely-chopped half onion, and then chop up 120 gm of mushrooms (I used small chestnut mushrooms), and lightly fry for a few minutes and set them aside. Make a whisky sauce. I like the 'Balmoral' sauce. Pour 4 tablespoons of whisky into a frying pan and heat. Then pour in 280ml of double cream, 140ml of lamb stock, a heaped teaspoon of coarse grain mustard, and the mushrooms. Simmer gently until the liquid reduces by about a half and starts to thicken. When the haggis has been cooking for 30 to 40 minutes boil up kettles, drain off the cold water from the potatoes and swedes, add salt to each pan and pour in the boiling water. Bring the potatoes and swedes to a full boil, and cook the potatoes for 20 minutes and the swede for a few minutes longer. By then the meal is almost ready to serve. Meanwhile finely chop a small handful of chives (optional). Mash the potato and swede (I always add a pinch of salt and 50ml of butter to both, along with a small splash of milk to the potatoes) , and stir them together to make clapshot, along with the onion and chives. Place a lid on the clapshot or otherwise keep it warm. Take the haggis from the oven, and serve up, along with the whisky sauce to the side (not on top) and the clapshot.
Venison Auld Reekie:
Raspberry Drambuie Cranachan:
Gong Bao Chicken: First make the Gong Bao sauce. Pour 100ml of chicken stock into a measuring jug. Add 2 teaspoons of dark brown sugar, a tablespoon of rice wine vinegar, 2 tablespoons of dark soy sauce, and a tablespoon of cornflour. Whisk these all up and then set the jug aside. Next cut two chicken breasts into diced pieces and season them lightly (the sauce is quite salty anyway), heat up a tablespoon of vegetable oil in a wok or frying pan to a high heat, and cook for several minutes (about 4), turning to ensure the chicken can lightly brown on each side. Remove the chicken and set aside, but retain all the juices in the pan (there won't be much after the high heat but it adds to flavour). Then throw 2 finely diced large spring onions into the pan, 5cm of grated ginger, 2 finely chopped garlic cloves and between 1 and 3 crumbled or very finely diced dried red chillis, depending how much heat you like - I used 3 dried de Arbol pods (admittedly more Mexican than Chinese) and that made a very hot dish. You may prefer a milder taste: it's your call. All these components need about 2 minutes cooking and stirring in, then add a full handful of roasted peanuts and cook for a further 2 minutes. Return the chicken to the pan, and pour in the sauce you made at the beginning. Turn and stir everything as you cook for another 4 minutes, by which time the sauce will be smooth and sticky. Personally I then leave everything for half an hour, with a lid over the pan, while I cook long-grained rice, heating the chicken again in the last 5 minutes. Serve with some more chopped spring onion and some thin sliced circles of fresh red chilli. Totally delicious! Highly recommended
Jerk Pork Chops and Coconut Rice: First, prepare 1 crushed garlic clove, slice 4 spring onions, finely slice on red chilli, and lightly roast a good handful of cashew nuts and chop them up. Pre-heat your oven at 180 (fan). Next, score 4 pork chops (or I used 2 pork chops and some strips of pork belly), season them with salt and pepper and marinate them for 20-30 minutes (or longer) in a jerk sauce marinade (today I used 150gm of Reggae Reggae Jerk Barbecue Marinade and Sauce) making sure to rub the jerk into the scorings. Heat a tablespoon of rapeseed oil in a frying pan, and lightly fry the pork for 2 or 3 minutes each side, until the meat starts to brown a little (don't overcook at this stage). Then place them in a foil-lined baking tray, pouring remaining contents of the pan onto the pork. Seal the meat in the tray with foil over it, and set to one side. Rinse 200gm of long grain rice, and in a large heavy cooking pot heat another tablespoon of rapeseed oil, and add the rice with 300ml of cold water and 300ml of coconut milk, along with salt to taste, the garlic, 3 all-spice berries, and a sprig of thyme. Bring the contents to the boil, and simmer for 15-18 minutes (stir towards the end if it looks like sticking to the pan. When this has been simmering for 4 minutes, place the baking tray of pork into the oven (foil top still on) and cook until the rice is done. When the rice is ready, reduce heat, take out the pork from the oven to stand (still under the foil) for 5 minutes, and into the rice stir the sliced spring onions, the sliced chilli, about 250gm of sweetcorn, and 110gm of pineapple cut into chunks. Finally scatter the chopped cashew nuts into the rice and stir all the contents. Serve the jerk pork and the coconut rice, drizzling any remaining juices from the pork tray over the pork and the rice.
Smokey Beef Chilli: In a frying pan with a little sunflower oil, brown 800kg of seasoned diced beef and/or beef strips for 7 or 8 minutes, then set aside. In the same pan, add a further tablespoon of sunflower oil and fry a sliced large onion until well browned, then stirring in 3 or 4 tablespoons of chipotle paste, 5 cloves of crushed garlic, 5cm of grated ginger, several tablespoons of smoky semi-dried tomatoes, a teaspoon of cumin, half a teaspoon of cinnamon, and a teaspoon of flour. Cook and stir all these for 2 minutes, transferring the contents of the frying pan to a large heavy pan, then add 200ml of porter/stout, 400ml of beef stock, a tin of chopped tomatoes, a level teaspoon of oregano, and I also added two sachets of smoky hunan sauce. Bring these to the boil, adding salt and pepper to taste, and then simmer for 10 minutes, adding three finely diced red chillis and a large green chilli, along with generous helpings of preserved red and green jalapenos such as 'El Paso'; then adding the beef, stirring it in well, and sealing the lid to pressure cook at a low simmering point for 100 minutes. While doing this, rinse 100 to 125mg of pinto beans, and place in salted, boiling water. Boil for 10 minutes. Then simmer the beans for a further 60 minutes. Boil up some rice to accompany the meal. Add the pinto beans to the chilli for the final 15 minutes, leaving the lid off if you want to thicken the sauce. Highly recommended
Nyonya Mutton in Creamy Sauce:
Cajun Roast Pork:
Kecap Manis Sweet Soy Sauce Beef:
Pork and Shitake Mushroom Tom Yum Soup: with thin slices of pork fillet, a careful quantity of tom yum sauce (don't overdo the amount, start small with two tablespoons and work up to preferred taste), 3 cloves of crushed garlic, 2 teaspoons of grated ginger, one or two de-seeded green chillis, 800ml of vegetable stock, 3 or 4 stalks of lemongrass, 3 or 4 kaffir lime leaves, 2 teaspoons of light brown sugar (add more if needed, later), 1 and a half tablespoons of soy sauce, juice of 1 and a half limes, shitake mushrooms (maybe 1 to 2 cups of them), and 6 quartered vine tomatoes. Bring to the boil and simmer gently for 90 minutes. Remove the lemongrass stalks and the kaffir leaves, and add some parsley for the last few minutes. Roast Rib of Beef cooked with a Chilli Barbecue Sauce marinade: (Karina) Score the joint top and bottom, and spread over it a Chilli Barbecue marinade with added ancho chilli flakes, and leave to stand for at least half an hour. Line a roasting pan with foil, and cook at 200 (fan) for 20 minutes, then with foil cover wrapped over the joint at 145 fan for 90 minutes, then at 190 (fan) for the last 10-15 minutes. Pour cooking juices over the joint at the 50 minute and 110 minute points when you change the temperature. Highly recommended
Iberico Pork Fillet in Sherry Sauce: A gorgeous meal for four. I marinated 8 pieces of Iberico Pork Fillet (800kg) in Pedro Ximenez Sherry for five hours. For the next stage, I pre-heated the oven to 180 (fan) and I very finely diced 4 Echalion Shallots, and fresh thyme leaves plucked from 5 sprigs. Then I padded the pork fairly dry from its sherry marinade, seasoned with salt and tellicherry pepper, and sealed the pork in a frying pan with a couple of tablespoons of olive oil until the pork was lightly seared. Then I threw in 4 roughly crushed garlic cloves and a couple of whole sprigs of thyme, along with 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter, spooning the butter over the pork briefly. I then placed the 8 pieces of pork, the garlic and the thyme, on a foil-lined baking tray and cooked for 30 minutes, with some pork stuffing balls rolled with added paprika and seasoning to taste, on a separate tray. Meanwhile I prepared potatoes for roasting, and parsnips and chantenay carrots, and one roughly sectioned onion. When the pork was cooked, I set it aside under foil, and roasted the potatoes for 40 minutes at 200 (fan), adding the part-boiled parsnips after 10 minutes, meanwhile lightly frying some bacon/chorizo lardons and near the end, adding part-boiled fried carrots, red pepper strips and onion, all lightly fried and added to the baking tray for 15 minutes. On the hob, to make the Sherry Sauce, I drained out the oil from the pan I'd sealed the pork in, but used the same frying pan with its caramelised contents, with 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter, and I lightly fried the diced shallots and diced thyme in it. When the shallots were well softened, I added 200 ml of Pedro Ximenez Sherry, and brought the contents of the pan to the boil. I continued to boil until the volume of the liquid was about halved, then I added 400 ml of chicken stock and started the boiling process again until it once more halved in volume. During this time I tested and seasoned to taste, and nearing readiness, I returned the pork, and the vegetable tray (along with the stuffing balls and some lightly boiled broccoli stalks) back to the oven for a final heat. Last of all, I stirred in 2 tablespoons of butter into the Sherry Sauce, but avoided boiling again, which would spoil the texture. The meal was then ready to serve. Highly recommended
Spicy Oriental Tuna Stir Fry: Lightly fry 400kg of yellow-fin tuna, then set to one side. Prepare udon noodles, and add in a frying pan to a chopped yellow pepper and some strips of spring greens, all fried in chilli and pepper-infused sesame oil. Add a tablespoon or two of light soy sauce (to taste), add the tuna, and continue to cook for three or four minutes. A delicious, tasty quick meal.
Green Chilli with Beef and Potatoes: For an hour, in a bowl of just-boiled water, soak 2 ancho chillis, 3 castabel chillis, 2 de Arbol chillis, and 1 Habanero chilli. Heat up 800gm of Tomatillos in enough mildly salted water to cover, and add a tbspn of the chillis and 2 tbspn of Mexican oregano, boiling them all for 10 minutes. Fry 700 gm of lean diced beef in a little oil until browned, add a tbspn of Mexican oregano, with a little more of the chilli, and add one beef stock cube to the juices. Allow the meat and juices to boil for 5 minutes. Cook the beef in a pressure cooker on low/medium heat for 35-40 minutes. Meanwhile blend the tomatillos with a little garlic and one diced small onion. Add the blended tomatillo mixture and all remaining chillis, along with 3 large potatoes (halved) and some baby sweetcorn, to the meat once the 35-40 minutes are over. Pressure cook for a further period, until potatoes are cooked through. Serve in tortillas shaped inside bowls in the oven.
Fish Pie with Blue Stilton: Braise 230gm salmon, 240gm smoked haddock, and 260gm cod, in 900ml of full cream milk, with an onion quartered and studded with cloves, and 3 bay leaves. I like to leave the fish in the pan with these ingredients for an hour before bringing to a very gentle boil and then simmering for 8 minutes. Drain off the milk for later use. While the fish is cooling, peel and boil 4 diced potatoes for 20 minutes. Removing the onion, cloves and bay leaves, if not already done, flake the fish in a baking dish, and then add 100gm of sliced asparagus (boiled for 3 minutes), a couple of handful of lightly boiled peas, and half a diced carrot (boiled for 12 minutes). Dice a generous quantity of parsley and sprinkle over the fish and vegetables. Pre-heat the oven to 180 (fan). Meanwhile hard boil 3 or 4 eggs for 8 minutes, cool, slice, and place over the other ingredients. Sprinkle 200gm of crumbled blue stilton over it all, and then start making the sauce: melt 90gm butter in a pan, then stir in 90gm of flour, and a minute later add the retained milk topped up to 900ml. Bring to the boil, adding salt and pepper to taste and as it starts to thicken, crumble in a further 200gm of blue stilton (or to taste). Bake the contents in the pre-heated oven at 180 (fan) for 15 minutes, mash the potato and carefully lay it on top of the fish pie, sprinkle with a little grated cheese, and return to the oven for a further 35 minutes. Serve and enjoy with a quarter of lemon garnish. Highly recommended
Smoked Chicken Chili: Fry one diced onion until lightly browned, then add 115gm (drained) of red jalapenos, and previously smoked and cooked chicken (boned, but it does not have to be). Add 500gm of tomato passata, and half a jar (160gm) of smokey tomatoes, a tablespoon of cumin, a tablespoon of Mexican oregano (with small leaves), 3 or 4 dried chipotle (soaked the previous night) or third of a bottle of chipotle sauce, a small tin of sweetcorn (160gm when drained) and cook in pressure cooker for 35 minutes. Then for the last 5 minutes add crushed smoked garlic, salt and pepper to taste. Serve with brown rice. Explosively flavourful and one of our best dishes ever! Goes beautifully with a full-bodied Georgian red wine. Highly recommended
Rib-eye Steaks in Creamy Mushroom, Escallion and Brandy Sauce: Beforehand, season the steaks on all sides with salt, a lot of black pepper and a little steak seasoning, cut 200gm of button mushrooms in half, and very finely dice three escallions. Place a large halved tomato in the oven at 140 degrees (fan). Then seal the 600gm thick rib-eye steaks of choice at a high heat in 3 tablespoons of olive oil for a minute on each side (check and make sure they do not overcook), and then place to one side on a plate and cover with foil. Lightly fry and brown the button mushrooms in the meat juices, then set them aside in a bowl. Drain off excessive olive oil, then glaze the frying pan with 200ml of brandy mixed with the steak juices in the bottom of the pan, and add the diced escallions. Allow to boil quite vigorously in the pan until more than half the brandy has evaporated off (this may take 5 to 10 minutes). Then add 100 ml of beef stock, and continue the process, possibly adding a further 100ml of brandy and 50ml more of beef stock, until the diced escallions are softened into an almost creamed texture and the brandy and stock have reduced to a slightly creamy texture. Stir in 200ml of double cream, along with the halved button mushrooms, and the juices from the plate of steaks. Continue to simmer quite vigorously (now the cream is in) and add a generous handful of cut fresh thyme, gradually reducing to a very low simmer. In a separate frying pan, fry one diced onion in a tablespoon of olive oil to accompany the steak dish. Meanwhile boil a kettle. Drain and place the fried and browned onion in a bowl covered with foil and place in the oven, reducing the temperature to 100 degrees (fan). Steam or boil(for 3-4 minutes) 4 stems of tender-stemmed broccoli. In the second frying pan, add two more tablespoons of olive oil and resume frying the steaks at a moderately high temperature, turning them after a minute, and then gradually reducing the heat a little, and making sure the surfaces of the steak do not harden and overcook. Then finish the steaks according to taste. Serve with the creamy mushroom sauce, the baked tomato, fried onions, and lightly boiled or steamed tender-stemmed broccoli. (You may choose to add boiled potatoes or chips to this recipe if you want a larger meal.) Highly recommended
Brandy: Cognac Maxime Trijol - VSOP - Cognac Grande Champagne - Premier Cru de Cognac Very Highly recommended as it is a superb cognac. I have never been a brandy drinker but this one is really enjoyable.
Talisker (Highly recommended) and in particular, the 15-year-old Distiller's Edition, which is (Very highly recommended). The 18-year-old is very nice (Highly Recommended). Also the 25-year-old 45.8% Highly recommended
Dalwhinnie (Recommended) (but not all versions, I like the most standard version which is delightful and smooth). Dalwhinnie Distillers Edition - really gorgeous Very highly recommended
Tomintoul 19-year-old 54.6% Very highly recommended
Knockando (Recommended). Especially the 21-year-old Very Highly recommended
Glendronach Parliament 21-year-old Very Highly recommended
Blair Athol (Recommended).
Royal Lochnagar Selected Reserve is one of my favourites but you're paying very high prices - (Highly recommended).
The Macallan - Sherry Oak 12 year old - 40% (Recommended). Really pleasant and smooth whisky with warm and rich sherry flavour. Very easily drinkable and enjoyable.
Whisky tastes are very personal: it's simply what you like. For a cask strength, Glenfarclas 105 is gorgeous in my opinion.
I am not very into the peaty, smoky Islay-type whiskies, but Bunnahabhain Ceobanach - (Recommended) - is lovely for when I do feel like a peaty dram.
Karina is far fonder of peaty drams and as well as the Bubbahabhain which we both like she is very fond of Lagavullin 16-year-old - (Very Highly recommended) - and Ardbeg Uigeadail (Recommended) and Corryvreckan Recommended - and Laphroaig Lore Recommended. Tobermory - Heavily Peated 20 year old - 60% (Recommended). She also likes smooth whiskies when she is in the mood for them, and particularly likes Tomintoul Tlath (Recommended) and Fettercairn 21-year-old Cask Strength (Highly recommended). Among other drinkable malt whiskies we have enjoyed is the Yamazaki Single Malt (Recommended). Probably the best Cask Strength we have enjoyed several times is the 22-year-old Caperdonich at 59.2% but to our great regret this is no longer available on the open market.
Susannah and Karina's Whisky Advent Calendar:
We have made an Advent Calendar where we try a different sample each day in December up to Christmas Eve. This is our list:
Dec 24: Royal Lochnagar - Selected Reserve - 43% : Susannah 8.3/10 reliable, sound, pleasant drink; Karina 8.3/10 very drinkable, middle of the road, can't really go wrong Recommended
Dec 23: Lagavulin - 2006 Distillers Edition - 43% : Susannah 6.9/10 prefer to 16 yr old, but still too peaty for me; Karina 8.4/10 prefer 16 yr old, which is smokier and a favourite
Dec 22: Glen Turret - 35 year old - 47.7% : Susannah 8.2/10 good flavour, but balance did not quite work for me; Karina 8.5/10 well-balanced, subtle, delightful Recommended
Dec 21: Teaninich - 40 year old - 54% : Susannah 8.6/10 gorgeously full of character, leathery, deep; Karina: 8.5/10 fantastic whisky, great flavour and depth, and shows its maturity Very highly recommended
Bonus dram: Tomintoul - 19 year old - 54.6% : Susannah 8.7/10 a wonderful whisky, smooth, delightful, warming; Karina 8.4/10 very good whisky, smooth and drinkable Very highly recommended
Dec 20: The Macallan - 25 year old - 52% : Susannah 8.7/10 totally loved , so well-balanced and delicious and drinkable; Karina 8.4/10 really well-balanced, its kick almost dominates its flavour Very highly recommended
Bonus dram: Talisker - 25 year old - 45.8% : Susannah 8.5/10 depth, gentle smokiness, quality Talisker; Karina 8.3/10 delightful Talisker character and flavour Highly recommended
Dec 19: Bunnahabhain - 35 year old - 40.2% : Susannah 6.9/10 a fine Islay but too peaty for me; Karina 8.2/10 a good malt, good flavour, but prefer the Tobermory Heavily Peated
Dec 18: Tomintoul - 36 year old - 40% : Susannah 8.5/10 lovely, deep flavour and warmth; Karina 8.3/10 extremely enjoyable whisky, a rich outcome of its time in the cask Highly recommended
Dec 17: Mortlach - 26 year old - 57% : Susannah 8.4/10 lovely flavour, very good afterglow, strong; Karina 8.5/10 really nice whisky with subtle flavour and great aftertaste Very highly recommended
Bonus dram: Mortlach - 23 year old - 62% : Susannah 8.3/10 deep, rich, quite sweet and drinkable; 8.4/10 very good cask strength whisky, especially when slightly diluted
Dec 16: Springbank - 25 year old - 53.2% : Susannah 8.2/10 a pleasant, mildly peaty, well-flavoured whisky; Karina 8.3/10 a really good whisky with mild smokiness
Dec 15: Glenfarclas - 25 year old - 43% : Susannah 8.3/10 very drinkable but hoped a little more sweetness and depth; Karina 8.2/10 well-balanced and enjoyable
Dec 14: Caperdonich - 22 year old - 59.2% : Susannah 8.6/10 instant delight, gorgeous flavoured cask strength; Karina 8.4/10 that packs a punch and is really enjoyable. Sadly this whisky is no longer available Very highly recommended
Dec 13: Isle of Jura 'Highland Laird' - 27 year old - 52.4% : Verdict - Susannah 4.8/10 overpowering perfumed taste; Karina 7.75/10 strangest whisky I've tasted, not unpleasant
Dec 12: Highland Park - 26 year old - 46% : Verdict - Susannah 8.4/10 full of character and a big afterglow; Karina 8.2/10 subtlety, character and powerful finish
Dec 11: Knockando - 21 year old - 43% : Verdict - Susannah 8.4/10 Beautiful smooth whisky with almost creamy aftertaste; Karina 8.4/10 well-aged, smooth and creamy Highly recommended
Dec 10: Glendronach - 21 year old - 48% : Verdict - Susannah 8.3/10 Smooth and drinkable whisky with depth; Karina 8.4/10 lovely, smoothness and character Recommended
Dec 9: Tullibardine - 24 year old - 53.3% : Verdict - Susannah 8.3/10 straightforward, very drinkable, quality; Karina 8.0/10 very enjoyable, smooth whisky
Dec 8: Tobermory - Heavily Peated 20 year old - 60% : Verdict - Susannah 6.7/10 character but too peaty for me; Karina 8.3/10 very enjoyable whisky, with a few drops dilution Recommended
Dec 7: Talisker - 18 year old - 45.8% : Verdict - Susannah 8.4/10 that is a really lovely whisky; Karina 8.1/10 a very nice whisky, only bettered by Fettercairn so far
Dec 6: Glenfiddich - 19 year old - 40% : Verdict - Susannah 7.3/10 It has Glenfiddich's drinkable smoothness, with just a bit too much sharpness after for me; Karina 8.0 prefer to 12 yr old
Dec 5: MacMyra - Swedish Single Malt - 46.1% : Verdict - Susannah 6.7/10 drinkable but wants a little character; Karina 7.75/10 pleasant though not outstanding
Dec 4: Fettercairn - 21 year old - 59.9% : Verdict - Susannah 7.6/10 a pleasant, quite sweet tasting cask strength; Karina 8.4/10 best whisky so far Recommended
Dec 3: Tomatin - 20 year old - 46% : Verdict - Susannah 7.3/10 quite pleasing except a little of the aftertaste; Karina 8.0/10 Plenty of character and enjoyable
Dec 2: Dalmore - King Alexander III - 40% : Verdict - Susannah 6.3/10 liked less than yesterday's, a little rough taste; Karina 7.75/10 Smooth and quite enjoyable
Dec 1: Craigellachie - 17 year old - 46% : Verdict - Susannah 7.0/10 has character and warmth, slight sharpness in taste; Karina 7.75/10 definitely like this malt
- Wedding Whisky -
Karina and I married in Glencoe by Highland Handfast, and for our wedding whisky, which we shared in a Quaich with our guests, we opened a bottle of 50-year-old 1936 Mortlach. It was a really interesting whisky, full of flavour and age, with a woodsmoke element unlike any other whisky we've tasted: it was like woodsmoke from a deciduous wood fire in a bothy, rather than the usual peaty smoke taste of many whiskies. The whole whisky was mellowed by age and a unique experience.
Liqueurs: I have always loved Green Chartreuse, but only in very occasional and small quantities.
Wines and Port: I don't have very developed tastes with wine. Generally speaking I love good champagne. With red or white wines, I am not an expert, but here are a few that we have been trying recently (which we've scored out of 5). I stress that this is a learning experience for me, but I am learning what I like and we'll add some more in due course:
Spanish Rioja Reds:
Vina del Cura Rioja - Gran Reserva - Baron de Ley 2011: 'Tesco Finest': a really lovely, quite deep and full bodied wine with a hint of spice to it, but not so much that it overwhelms. Rich and enjoyable. 5.0 (Susannah) 4.6 (Karina) Very Highly recommended
Trivent Golden Reserve Malbec - 2016 - Mendoza, Argentina: this is a really enjoyable Malbec wine, a full-bodied red wine which is easy to drink, pleasant on the palate, and well-balanced, with only gentle acidity. A real pleasant surprise for us which we hope to drink again. 4.3 (Karina and Susannah) Recommended
Cotes du Rhone and nearby wine areas - full-bodied red wines:
Gigondas -Baptiste Granjeon 2016 - Southern Rhone valley, close to Chateau-neuf-du-pape - 'Tesco Finest' - this wine is really so fruity and drinkable, a lovely wine, with almost no after-taste sharpness. Some would say lack of character, because yes it is smooth and so easy and pleasant to drink, but its flavours are fruity and rich and it is quite a deep-bodied red wine. I recommend it. 4.75 (Susannah) 4.0 (Karina) Highly recommended
Roc des Dentelles Gigondas Gabriel Meffre - Southern Rhone Valley - 2015: Extremely enjoyable full-bodied red wine with rich fruitiness and balance. 4.8 (Susannah) 4.2 (Karina). Highly recommended
Saint Chinian - Languedoc/Rousillon Southern France - 2017 - 'Tesco Finest': Karina enjoyed this medium full bodied red wine a little more than me and found it interesting and a new discovery. Initially I would have rated it 3.5 as I found just slight roughness in the palate and I personally preferred an equivalently medium full-bodied wine, the Chateauneuf-du-Pape. Karina rates this St Chinian at 4.25. Afternote: I now rate it 4.0 myself as I got to grips with it on a second evening. It has that slightly different character, but is definitely drinkable. I put it on more or less a par with the Chateau-neuf-du-pape. Having said that, this evening I have really enjoyed Gigondas, which I rate above both of them. Recommended
Cote du Rhone Villages - Tain, France - M.Chapoutier - 2017: Out of three Cote du Rhone wines we tried this evening, this one was our favourite, compared to the ones produced by Francois Martenot (see below). This one had more depth and enjoyment, we felt, with just a slight but satisfying bite back in the aftertaste. A very pleasant and drinkable red wine with its own character. 4.3 (Karina) and 4.25 (Susannah). There are fuller-bodied wines, but this had enough and was a really good version of Cote-du-Rhone. Recommended
Chateauneuf-du-Pape - Heritages - Southern Rhone Valley, France - 2016: A very good iteration of this appellation, smooth and delightful and drinkable, with very little sharpness but its own character and good taste. 4.75 (Susannah) 4.5 (Karina). Highly recommended
Chateauneuf-du-Pape - Charlotte Fabre, Maison Bouachon, Southern Rhone valley, S France - 2016 - 'Tesco Finest': I do like this medium full-bodied read wine, which has character and a pleasing presence in the mouth, though I find it just a little sharp in aftertaste, so only rating it 4 and curious to try other similar wines. Karina preferred the Saint Chinian to this. 4.0 (Karina and Susannah)
Chateauneuf-du-Pape - Cuvee 13 for BVC Rhone - Rhone Valley, France - 2016: Karina enjoyed this wine for its character, while Susannah was more hesitant because she found the aftertaste a little sharp, though still a very nice red wine. 4.5 (Karina) 4.0 (Susannah)
Cote du Rhone Villages - Beaune, Vignoles, France - Francois Martenot - 2017: This was an easy drinker, and perfectly pleasant for casual and relaxed drinking, but it did seem a little short on character and the subtlety of the Chapoutier version of this Appellation. It's simply an unspectacular easy drinker, a tiny bit too watery for my taste. 3.75 (Karina and Susannah)
Cote du Rhone - Vignoles, France - Francois Martenot - 2017: This wine was drinkable and not unpleasant but just a little thin on character and complexity, and with a slight hint of a soapy sort of taste in the mouth that meant we did not like it as much as the other two. Nevertheless, it was drinkable. 3.5 (Susannah and Karina)
Cairanne - 2017 - its own appellation, a cru of Cote du Rhone Villages: This was a pleasant and drinkable, pretty regular tasting red wine in the style of Cote du Rhones. It wasn't a stand out wine, but it was enjoyable and worth drinking again. Not as much distinctive character as the Chapoutier Cotes du Rhone Villages. 3.85 (Karina and Susannah)
Bordeaux and SW France - medium and full-bodied red wines:
Les Vallons, Claret - Bordeaux - Henri Moreau - 2015: Very easily drinkable with little acidity, not complex but definitely enjoyable, and a favourite of Karina's. This came out top of our choices from the Bordeaux region. Susannah 4.0 Karina 4.25
Margaux - Chateau Cazauviel - Arsac, SW France - 2014: Another very pleasant and drinkable wine from the Bordeaux region. We both agreed it has a bit more character than some of the others, but neither of us thought it was outstanding. 4.15 (Karina and Susannah)
Saint Emilion - Calvet - Bordeau region, SW France - 2016: An enjoyable and drinkable red wine, without outstanding characteristics. We would always be happy to drink it again. Susannah 4.0 Karina 3.85
Saint Emilion Grand Cru - Chareau Ambe Tour Pourret, SW France - 2014: This was another Bordeaux red wine under the Saint Emilion appellation. This one had a little more character which grew on us as we drank it, and was worth drinking again, without being outstanding. Susannah 3.85 Karina 4.0
Other Full-Bodied French Red Wines
Reserve des Tuguets - Madiran, Pyrenees, France - 2015: This was definitely a pleasant red wine, which we would enjoy drinking again, and quite easily drinkable. It has some character and its own distinctive taste. Not a wine which blew us away enthusiastically, but appreciated and worth drinking. 4.0 (Karina and Susannah)
Light Bodied Red Wines
Chinon - Domaine de Colombier, 2016 - Indre-et-Loire, France: Quite a soft and easily drinkable light-bodied red wine, which Karina actually liked a little better than the Burgundies (as a personal taste). For sharing with others we agreed the Moillard Burgundy might be preferable, and we would also like to revisit the Combe aux Jacques Beaujolais. It had a less forward taste and character than the Moillard or the Mercurey, but Karina liked its distinctive character. 4.15 (Karina) 3.5 (Susannah) because Susannah felt there was a bit too much acidic aftertaste for her liking.
(a): Burgundy Light Bodied Red Wines
Red Burgundy - Antonin Rodet 2017 - Mercurey, France: A soft and easily drinkable wine, with little kick back in the aftertaste, and to my taste a little diluted and watery (though obviously it isn't). Karina came to feel it did have character. 3.75 (Susannah and Karina)
Red Burgundy - Moillard 2016 - Vignole, France: This Burgundy was pleasant and drinkable, with a little more depth and character, and an almost mildly tobacco-like taste. Of the 4 Burgundies we tried, we felt this one would prove most agreeable to people who liked a light-bodied red wine. Not a runaway amazing wine, but it has character. We would like to drink it again, alongside the Combes aux Jacques Beaujolais. 4.0 (Susannah and Karina)
Mercurey - Bouchard Aine, 2016 - Pinot Noir from Mercurey, Southern Burgundy: This wine had similarities with the Moillard Burgundy. It was drinkable and quite enjoyable, with some of the complexity of the Moillard, and marginally less acidity in the aftertaste. For this reason Susannah slightly preferred it, but collectively we place the Moillard first. 4.0 (Susannah and Karina)
Combe aux Jacques - Beaujolais Villages - Louis Jadot 2017: A very drinkable, smooth and light-bodied wine, for the person who wants a mild red wine that is easy to drink. No real kick-back aftertaste, so some might find it erring towards blandness, but as an expression of light-bodied drinkability, the taste is good, and worth drinking again. 4.1 (Susannah and Karina) Recommended
Brouilly - Cru du Beaujolais - Patrick Chodot 2016: A pleasant, light bodied wine. Compared to the Combe aux Jaques Beaujolais, it has a little more aftertaste bite and slight sharpness, which is not unpleasant and arguably adds character, but perhaps (and it is marginal) makes it less drinkable than the other Beaujolais. Nevertheless, a thoroughly pleasant wine that is worth drinking. 3.5 (Susannah and Karina
Georgian Wines Section:
Suliko Saperavi - Kakheti, Georgia - 2017: A gorgeous and full-bodied red wine, with fruity flavour and depth. Very easy to drink. 4.75 (Susannah) 4.5 (Karina) Highly recommended
Tbilvino Qvevris Saperavi - Kakheti, Georgia - 2016: A wonderfully well-balanced and delightful full-bodied red wine, which is extremely drinkable. 4.9 (Susannah) 4.6 (Karina) Very Highly recommended
Marani Saperavi - Kakheti, Georgia - 2018: Enjoyable and easy to drink, though a little bit fruitier and not quite up to the standard of the Suliko or the Tbilvino Qvevris Saperavi. Nevertheless enjoyable and happy to drink. 4.4 (Susannah) 4.4 (Karina) Recommended
Marani Mukuzani - Kakheti, Georgia - 2016: A very pleasant and enjoyable full-bodied red wine, with very acceptable fruity flavour and a taste of pepper. Not the best red wine ever, but easy to drink. 4.5 (Susannah) 4.5 (Karina) Recommended
Georgian Valleys Tbilvino Napareuli - Kakheti, Georgia - 2015: A bit too fruity and to my mind shallow as a full red wine. I can drink it and it is not unpleasant, but I wouldn't choose it. 3.9 (Susannah) 4.1 (Karina)
Medium-sweet red wines:
Georgian Valleys Kindzmarauli - Kakheit, Georgia - 2017: This wine really surprised me. I generally don't enjoy sweet wines, but his sweet red wine is an exception. Quite full, fruity, medium sweet but a total well-balanced wine, full of good flavour. I'd buy another bottle or two. 4.4 (Susannah) 4.5 (Karina) Recommended
Georgian Valleys Tbilvino Pirosmani - Kakheti, Georgia - 2016: A medium sweet wine, and not to my taste. Too sweet, and lacking in the edge that I seek. Having said that, a pleasant flavour, and I could drink a glass, but wouldn't want any more. Karina, however, enjoyed it as a sweet red wine, which she sometimes likes. 3.6 (Susannah) 4.1 (Karina)
'Pheasant's Tears' Vardisperi Rkatsiteli - Tibaani, Kakheti, Georgia - 2016: A dry amber wine, with some hints of a rose, but very much its own thing, and unusual. It is a refreshing drink, very fruity and quite floral, almost too fruity for my taste with insufficient acidity, but pleasant enough to drink several glasses. Because it is different to normal categories of wine, I found it quite hard to get a handle on it. 4.0 (Susannah) 4.2 (Karina)
Dry white wines:
Georgian Valleys Rkatsiteli - Kakheti, Georgia - 2017: A very enjoyable dry white wine, with hints of sweetness on the fringes, but well-balanced and definitely worth drinking again. This wine was so well-balanced and had some depth and a really good taste. 4.5 (Susannah and Karina) Highly recommended
Marani Mtsvane - Kakheti, Georgia: A light and fresh white wine, pleasant to drink and reminiscent of Trentino Pinot Grigio. To my tastes just slightly erring towards blandness, but I'd happily buy further bottles of this. A well-balanced, together sort of wine, it is refreshing and easy to drink. 4.15 (Susannah) 4.2 (Karina)
Medium Sweet white wines:
Georgian Valleys Alazani Valley - Kakheti, Georgia - 2016: This mildly sweet white wine was a very pleasant surprise. Made from rkatsiteli grapes, it is really lovely and drinkable. I generally do not enjoy sweet wines, but this is so mildly sweet, and has such delightful flavour, that I hope to drink more bottles. Susannah 4.5 (Susannah) 4.3 (Karina) Recommended
END OF GEORGIAN WINE SECTION
White Wines using Chardonnay grapes
Pouilly-Fuisse (Louis Jadot) - 2017 - Southern Burgundy, France: A very pleasant and drinkable Chardonnay, with depth and a slight bite in after taste, but still smooth and drinkable. Though it was hard to differentiate in quality from the two wines that follow, this was our favourite one. 4.35 (Karina and Susannah) Highly Recommended
Macon Village (Louis Jadot) - 2017 - Southern Burgundy, France: This was probably the smoothest of the three Chardonnay wines in this group, with a very slight flowery fragrance in the taste. We felt it was really enjoyable, and would like to drink it again, but in our view the Pouilly-Fuisse just had a little extra in its depth and character. So this Macon Village scored 4.0 from both of us.
Chablis (Union des viticulteurs de Chablis) - 2016 Premier Cru - Northern Burgundy, France: Personally I prefer the Pouilly-Fuisse and indeed the Macon Village. I found just a bit too much sharpness in the aftertaste for my liking. I scored it around 3.85 but Karina on a second drinking rated it higher. We both felt it was the best of the Chablis Recommended
Vire-Clesse (Bouchard Aine) - 2014 - Southern Burgundy, France: This was an easy and pleasant Chardonnay wine, not without depth, but in our view a little too easy and almost diluted in flavour compared to the other two. It has some bite back in the aftertaste, but is an easy drinker when accompanied, as in our meal, with salmon and a sauce. We both scored it 3.75.
Chablis (Union des viticulteurs de Chablis) - 2016 - Northern Burgundy, France: Less enjoyable than the other Chablis, less depth and a similar acidic sharpness in the aftertaste that was not entirely pleasant. Karina 3.75. Susannah 3.5.
White Wines using other grapes
Cotes de Gascogne (Plaimont) - 'Tesco Finest' - Gascony, SW France, 2017: A very pleasant and moderately dry white wine, with no negative bitterness or sharpness in mouth or aftertaste, though it does have a light, sharp after-taste. Made from Colombard and Gros Manseng grapes. It has average body for a white wine, with an almost citrus or scented element, but not at all dominating. We slightly prefer it to the Pouilly-Fume, though we like both. A well-balanced wine worth drinking again and again. 4.35 (Susannah and Karina) Recommended
Cabernet Sauvignon Light White Wines
Touraine Sauvignon Blanc - La Cheteau - Mouzillon, Loire Valley, France: drinkable sauvignon blanc, with some character. Karina 4.25, Susannah 4.00. It is a little bit distinctive which Karina likes as personal taste. Definitely easy to drink, with just a slight bite to it. (This along with the Trentino Pinot Grigio are probably the wedding choices, one sauvignon, one pinot.) Recommended
Calvet Prestige Bordeaux Sauvignon Blanc - Bordeaux, France - 2017: Pleasant and drinkable sauvignon blanc. Less identity than the Touraine perhaps, but Susannah preferred its less bite. Slight fragrance and flower to it. Karina 4.00 Susannah 4.25. Arguably blander but still very enjoyable to both of us.
Pouilly Fume (Fournier) - 'Tesco Finest' - Loire Valley 2017: This is another moderately dry white wine. It is smoother than the Cotes de Gascogne, though we both marginally prefer the Gascony, because it has a bit more character and slight, sharp kick in the after-taste. But this Pouilly Fume is very pleasant, and though smooth is not too watery. It has the mildest of little sharp kicks in the aftertaste, but is a smooth easy-drinking white wine, not without character. 4.0 (Susannah and Karina)
Sancerre - Central France - Fournier, 2017: A drinkable and quite pleasant sauvignon blanc, with a slight bite and sharpness in the aftertaste. On a second drinking, with a spicy meal, we found this type of food set it off well, though I'm not sure experts would agree. But that's how it worked best for us. Karina and Susannah 3.75
Pinot Light White Wines
Pinot Grigio - Trentino, N. Italy - 'Tesco Finest' - 2017: Very drinkable and pleasant, with just an enjoyable aftertaste of slightest sharpness. A pleasant wine which feels well-crafted and although it is quite light, it seems to have depth. Both of us enjoyed this one and would be happy to drink it again. 4.5 (Susannah) 4.25 (Karina) Highly recommended
Pinot Grigio - Cantina di Monteforte, N. Italy - 'Tesco Finest' - 2017: We found this Pinot Grigio rather bland in comparison to the Trentino version. Almost a watered down effect. 3.25 (Susannah and Karina) drinkable, but non-memorable. Vouvray - La Cheteau, Mouzillon, France - 2017: A pleasant background taste, but oversweet for my preferences, and best reserved for dessert. The basic wine itself is quite good, but I find just too much sweetness which I find cloying. 3.25 (Susannah) 3.75 (Karina).
Vouvray - La Cheteau, Mouzillon, France - 2017: A pleasant background taste, but oversweet for my preferences, and best reserved for dessert. The basic wine itself is quite good, but I find just too much sweetness which I find cloying. 3.25 (Susannah) 3.75 (Karina).
Riesling Rheinhessen - 'Tesco Finest', Zimmerman, Greaff and Muller, Zell - SW Germany, 2017: At the outset, I admit that I prefer dry white wines. This was demi-sec, but still sweeter than I like. However, it was very pleasant and drinkable, and I think many people would like it, so for its type I score it 4.5 against 4.25 from Karina who also thought it was a very enjoyable good quality Riesling. If it was just my own taste, and only for me, I think I should have given it a personal score of 3.5 Highly recommended
Gewurztraminer (Alsace) - 'Tesco Finest', Arthur Metz, Marlenheim - Alsace, 2017: I did not like this at all, simply because its spicy distinctive taste and relative sweetness (although probably just demi-sec) was off-putting. So I score it 2.5. However, in contrast, Karina liked its distinctive flavours a lot and would score it 4.5. This was a wine that we had a real disagreement about. Karina does like wines that have some distinctive character and she found this one really interesting and enjoyable. However, we agreed that the Riesling Rheinhessan would be a better wine for most people at our wedding. Divides opinion, but really liked by some
Adorada - Adorada Hopland - California, 2017: This rosé was incredibly easy to drink and very pleasant. Very little in the way of acidic aftertaste, but not bland, and a distinctive fruity, flowery aftertaste. We scored it highest, not for personal choice, but because we can see it will be very much enjoyed by many people. In this sense, it was the stand-out rosé of those we tasted. 4.5 (Karina and Susannah) Highly recommended
Cotes de Provence Rosé - Jean Chatelier - Provence, France, 2017: This was a pleasant and well-balanced rose, and was possibly our personal go-to choice, though we felt the Adorada would be more popularly enjoyed. A very mildly acidic aftertaste, but still very easily drinkable and enjoyable with a meal. Karina: 4.25 Susannah 4.0
Sancerre Rosé - Fournier - Verdigny, Sancerre, France, 2016: This was also a pleasant rosé, but with a little more acidic kick-back than we would normally expect from a rosé wine. Quite drinkable but not our favoured one. Susannah and Karina 3.75
I've always enjoyed an occasional glass of Port, especially on a winter's evening, with cheese, and reading a Scottish climbing book!
Beer: My all time favourite is Samuel Smith's Organic Pale Ale - Very Highly recommended. I also like Rogue Juniper Beer from the USA but it seems to have gone out of production - Highly recommended. For week to week beer drinking (say one bottle of beer with some meals) I choose Abbot's Reserve - Highly recommended - and also like Doom Bar. Karina enjoys Innes and Gunn, and also enjoys wheat beers.
Cider: In high summer, I sometimes like ice-cold cider, but I do not like sweet cider which I find too cloying. There are various vintage or scrumpy ciders that are a bit dry, and those are my preference.
Pimms: Also in high summer, I do enjoy Pimms and lemonade, served from the fridge, with a few slices of orange and lemon, but I don't add mint.
My favourite cheeses:
Munster Gerome Cheese from Alsace - Very Highly recommended.
Brillat Savarin a la Truffe Noire - Very Highly recommended.
Graindorge's Pont l'Eveque - Very Highly recommended.
Stilton - Very Highly recommended.
Cropwell Beauvale Creamy Blue - Very Highly recommended.
Chaource - Very Highly recommended
Epoisse -Highly recommended.
St Felicien du Dauphine - Highly recommended
GrossWalsertaler/Walserstolz - Highly recommended (creamy loveliness from the Austrian Alps).
Gorwydd Caerphilly - Highly recommended
The meals and alcohol descriptions on this page are spread out through the year. Other days I'll enjoy beans on toast, or a frankfurter sandwich with mustard. We eat well, and good food is such a pleasure. My alcohol levels are modest, though I've listed some expensive favourites. Above all, I just find cooking really relaxing. It's my way of switching off and winding down. And it's such a pleasure to make nice food, especially cooking for other people.