Category Archives: 1.5 – 2 Hours

Recipe: The Tastiest Roast Chicken

The Tastiest Roast Chicken
The Tastiest Roast Chicken

Ingredients;

1 whole chicken, best quality you can afford
30g butter, softened
Mixed herbs, finely chopped (should give approx 1 handful when chopped)
1 lemon, zested and cut in half. Zest finely diced
Coppa di Parma (or Parma ham)
Root vegetables (carrots, parsnips, onions)
Potatoes


Heat your oven to 180 C.

This is a beautiful and simple one tray dinner. Start by preparing your chicken – check it has been thoroughly cleaned out internally, trim away any excess fatty skin from the openings. Begin to delicately tease the skin away from the flesh of the breast area, creating a pocket under the skin.

Mix your chopped herbs, lemon zest and some salt & pepper with softened butter. Rub this into the chicken flesh inside the pocket you created by lifting the skin. Also rub it all over the outside of the chicken, covering all of the skin. Next, take your pieces of coppa di parma and place in the skin pocket of the chicken. Place one half of the lemon in the cavity of your chicken, this will help to keep your chicken moist.

Chicken should be roasted for 20 mins per lb plus 20 mins. Your vegetables and potatoes will take about 1 hour to cook, so place the chicken in a large roasting tin and place it in the oven. Now, begin to prepare your vegetables and add them to the roasting tin when there’s one hour of cooking time left.

Peel your vegetables as needed and cut into similar sized chunks. Toss them in a little olive oil (add a little dried herbs if you like) before adding to the roasting tin.

Ensure that the juices of the chicken are running clear, by cutting into the bird with a sharp knife, and then rest for 10 minutes before carving.

Recipe: Caramelised Onion Chutney

Caramelised Onion Chutney
Caramelised Onion Chutney

Ingredients;

6 x medium white onions sliced in half moons
Balsamic vinegar
Olive oil

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This is another one of those recipes that’s not so much a recipe as a way of creating something supremely tasty from only three ingredients plus time and some heat.

Get a large pan or saucepan onto a high heat. Allow the pan to heat fully before adding a lug of olive oil, turning the heat down and adding all the chopped onions. Stir them well until the heat has gone down in the pan and they stop sizzling.

Next cover the pan of onions and leave over a very low heat for thirty to forty five minutes, stirring occasionally, until all the liquid has disappeared. Now add a glug of a good balsamic vinegar, stir this in and leave it for ten minutes until this too has disappeared and repeat this last step again, adding more Balsamic Vinegar, stir it in well and leave over a low heat until all the liquid has evaporated.

Now you’re ready to serve, hot over a freshly cooked burger or steak; or if you allow this to cool it can be stored in a refrigerated, sterilised glass jar for about a month, to be used cold on sandwiches or salads or reheated.

Recipe: Sweet Vanilla Pastry Pie Case

Sweet Vanilla Pastry Pie Case
An Empty Sweet Vanilla Pastry Pie Case

Ingredients;

250g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
50g icing sugar
125g good quality unsalted cold butter, cut into small cubes
1 vanilla pod, halved and seeds scraped out
1 large egg, beaten
A splash of milk

Makes approx 500g

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This is an all purpose sweet pastry mix for making pies and it is remarkably easy to make.

Start by sieving the flour and icing sugar into a large mixing bowl. Using your (clean) hands gently work the butter in to the flour and icing sugar mix until it resembles breadcrumbs.

Next add the milk and egg. Work it together using your hands until you have a ball of dough. Don’t over work it at this point as it will become chewy not crumbly. I’ve also heard that cold hands make better pastry, so if you have warm hands, rinse them under the cold tap as much as you can to cool them before you start to work the dough together.

Sprinkle a little flour onto a clean work surface and place your ball of dough on this, then flatten the ball until it’s about two and a half centimetres thick. Sprinkle some flour over it and then wrap it in cling film and pop it into the fridge to rest for at least thirty minutes.

At this point you can also place the wrapped pastry in a freezer bag and freeze for up to one month.

Next grab a 9 inch cake tin, preferably one with a removable bottom, and grease it lightly using some kitchen roll and vegetable oil.

Once the dough has rested, sprinkle some more flour on to a large work surface and grab a rolling pin. You want to roll the dough out turning it occasionally until it’s about half a centimetre thick.

The best way to get the pastry from your work surface to the cake tin is to roll it gently around the rolling pin and then unroll it over the oiled tin. Carefully ease the pastry into the tin making sure to get it into the corners. Trim off any excess, by running a knife around the top of the tin and then using a fork, prick the base all over. Place the tin and pastry into your freezer for about 30 minutes, while you heat your oven to 180C.

Take some greaseproof paper and scrunch it up, then use this to line the visible surface of your pastry case, making sure to press it into the sides as well. Next, fill it with either ceramic baking beads or plain rice and bake blind for about 10 minutes.

Remove the baking beads (or rice) and the greaseproof paper and bake the pastry case for another 10 minutes until it firms up and gets a bit biscuit like.

Recipe: “Blazing Saddles” Baked Beans

A Pot of Freshly made Baked Beans
Blazing Saddles Baked Beans

Ingredients;

4 whole onions finely sliced
1 heaped teaspoon of (smoked) paprika
3 fresh chillies finely diced
25g butter
3 x 400g tins of Pinto beans
3 x 400g tins of Cannellini beans
2 x 400g tins of chopped tomatoes
4 bay leaves
Salt
Pepper
White wine vinegar
3 tablespoons of molasses
Olive oil

Serves 8-10

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Hmmm Beanz meanz Heinz, except in this case it doesn’t :) We are all familiar with baked beans in tomato sauce and how wonderful they are as a side order with a fry up or on hot buttered toast, it’s so easy to open a tin of them and bung ’em in the microwave, that we take them for granted.

When I made this first I was surprised by just how convenient the tinned version is by comparison to making your own, but when I tasted my own for the first time, I knew the effort was worth it.

These are close to being the best baked beans I have ever tasted, unfortunately that honour still resides with a man who served me from a fire pit when I was in Utah about 9 years ago as I haven’t managed to get the sweetness the same. Don’t worry, if I discover his secret I’ll update the post and let you all know 😉

First up you’re going to need a large saucepan on a medium heat. Add a lug of olive oil and once it’s up to temperature, add your sliced onion and paprika, give them a good stir and fry them for 10 – 15 minutes or until the onions soften.

Next add the butter to the pan and once that has melted, add the tinned tomatoes, 5 of the cans of beans (including the liquid), the bay leaves, a good pinch of salt and pepper.

Next, drain the liquid from the last can of beans and discard it. Then add the beans to the pot along with the chilli.

Now stir and bring this to a gentle simmer and bring the heat down, you just want them to burble and blurp (a little) at you rather than boil. If they boil, the beans will split and you’ll end up with mush rather than beans 😉

Leave them for about an hour and a half stirring occasionally.

Now taste them and season with salt and pepper to taste. Then add about a tablespoon of white wine vinegar, the molasses and stir well before serving or leaving them to cool and freezing them in portions.

These are great as a side dish with just about any meat and most fish, or used for the traditional beans on toast, or with a portion of boiled rice and a good ladle full of beans over the top.

Recipe: The Best Bacon and Cabbage

Bacon and Cabbage with Onion and Parsley Sauce served with Mashed Potato
Bacon and Cabbage with Onion and Parsley Sauce

Ingredients;

Approx 700g Bacon Loin
2 small pinches ground cloves
Handful brown sugar

1/2 head of white cabbage, finely sliced
1 teaspoon goose fat (or duck fat or butter)

Small white onion, finely diced
Handful fresh parsley, very finely chopped
2 heaped teaspoons plain flour
Knob of butter
Tablespoon cream

Serves 2

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OK, let’s be honest, this is not a quick recipe, but it is totally worth it, especially if you’re trying to impress someone!

Start by placing your bacon loin in a large saucepan and filling it with cold water until the bacon is covered. Get this on the heat and bring it to the boil. Once boiling, keep the pot covered and leave it at strong simmer for about an hour, ensuring that the water always covers the bacon.

After an hour, place the bacon loin in a baking tray and sprinkle on the ground cloves and sugar, mainly over the fat, but also on the meat as well. Reserve a mug full of the cooking water.

Heat your oven to 200 C and bake the loin for 45 mins.

While the bacon is in the oven, begin to prep the cabbage and sauce ingredients. These both take less than 20 mins to cook, so you don’t want to be starting too early.

Add your diced onion to a small frying pan with the butter and cook on a medium heat for about 5-10 mins, to soften, but not colour the onion. Next add the flour and stir until it vanishes. Begin to pour in the reserved cooking water about a tablespoon at a time, stirring constantly.

You want the sauce to be slightly thick, not too runny. Keep adding the reserved water as needed, stirring regulary. Adjust your heat so that it is just barely simmering. Right before serving, add the parsley and cream and stir well. Add salt and pepper if needed (taste it and see!)

With about 10 mins of cooking time left on the bacon, melt the goose fat in a large frying pan and add the cabbage. Give this a few mins on full heat, then reduce to about 3/4 heat. Keep stirring it regulary, it should brown, but not burn. Once it has taken on a good bit of colour, add some the reserved cooking water and keep stirring. The cabbage should absorb the liquids and keep taking on colour.

Rest the bacon for 5 mins before carving and serve with the cabbage and sauce (and mashed potatoes if you like).