Category Archives: Straight Forward

Recipe: Collard Greens

Collard Greens
Collard Greens

Ingredients;

1kg pork knuckle
2 bay leaves
500g turnips, peeled and roughly chopped
2 sticks of celery, roughly chopped
4 carrots, roughly chopped
400g spring greens (selection of Swiss chard, Cavolo nero, Kale, Brussels tops)
White wine vinegar
Extra virgin olive oil
Salt
Pepper

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In a large pan, cover your pork knuckle with approx 2.5 litres of tap water and add your bay leaves. Bring this to the boil and then simmer for 2.5 hours, with the lid on.

Next, add the carrot, celery and turnips and a good pinch of salt and pepper. Cook for a further 35 mins.

While this is cooking, cut your greens up into 4-5cm pieces and then add them to the pot when the previous listed time is up. Push them down well into the pot and cook for 5 mins, then stir well and cook for a further 20 mins.

Take the pan off the heat and carefully lift out the pork knuckle with tongs onto a chopping board. Cut away the skin and fat and dispose of these. Then shred the meat with a couple of forks and stir it into the pot. Taste the dish and season as needed with salt and pepper and add a little swig of white wine vinegar.

Serve a mix of the vegetables, meat and some broth. Dress it with a little olive oil and some white wine vinegar to bring out the flavours

Recipe: Mango Muffins

Mango Muffins
Mango Muffins

Ingredients;

2 ripe mangoes, peeled and coarsely grated
1/3 cup melted butter
1 cup sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups plain flour

Makes approx 18 small cupcakes/muffins

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When I tried to make this, I discovered that the easiest way to get the flesh off the mango is to peel it with a potato peeler and then grate it on the coarse side of your grater, and then I chopped it lightly to make the pieces a little shorter. You can also substitute tinned mango if fresh is not available, in this case just mash the mango to a paste with your hands.

Cup measures can be bought in most large supermarkets or homeware stores these days and I find them much easier to use than having to weigh everything. A plastic set is best, as you can use them in the microwave if needed and they can also be cleaned in your dishwasher.

To melt butter, place it in a microwave proof container and heat for 20 secs on the lowest power setting (usually 30%), remove, stir and repeat until fully melted.

Preheat your oven to 180 C.

Start by mixing your mangoes and melted butter.

Add in the sugar, egg, vanilla extract, baking soda & salt and mix well.

Finally, mix the flour in and stir until fully incorporated, the mix should be damp and very sticky.

Place paper muffin covers in your muffin pan and spoon in the mixture until it sits just below the top of the pan. These muffins won’t rise very much.

For small muffins, bake for approx 40 mins at 180 C, if you are using a large muffin pan, then increase the time to approx 50 mins.

To check that muffins are done, stick a cocktail stick into one, and swirl around. If it comes out clean or with just crumbs, then they are done. Remove from tins and leave to cool.

Will store for approx 5-7 days in an airtight box.

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).

Recipe: Tuna Bake

Tuna Bake
Tuna Bake

Ingredients;

3 tins tuna
1 tin sweetcorn
4 medium potatoes, diced
good handful frozen peas
2 carrots, diced
2 onions, diced
2 parsnips, diced
15g butter
handful plain flour
glass of white wine
glass of milk
3 good pinches of dried herbs (whatever you have in the cupboard, i.e. oregano, thyme, basil, etd)
2 slices brown bread
large handful cheddar, finely grated
Packet of Lidl bacon bits

Serves 6.

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Open and drain the cans of tuna. Peel and dice the vegetables into approx 1 cm chunks. Toast the slices of bread and use a blender to zap into breadcrumbs, set aside.

Turn your oven on to 180° C and set aside a large casserole dish.

In a large stock pot or frying pan, heat up some oil and add the onion, potato, parsnips and carrots and fry on a medium heat for 10 mins. Add the peas and sweetcorn and fry for another 2-3 mins. Add the tuna and stir well until it breaks up.

Turn up the heat and add the butter, letting it melt and coat all the vegetables. Toss in a good handul of plain flour and stir well until it vanishes.

Add 1 glass of white wine. As it starts to boil off, turn the heat back down to medium and add the glass of milk and slowly add glass of water as needed – the mix should be wet and move freely, but there shouldn’t be too much free liquid. Now add your pinches of herbs and a little salt and pepper (half a pinch or so of each).

Stir the mix well and cook for another 5 mins, then turn the heat off. Pour the mix into your casserole dish and smooth down. Top with the breadcrumbs, then the handful of cheese, and finally scatter the Lidl bacon bits over the top.

Bake for 30-40 mins, until the top is golden and the bacon bits are well cooked. Keeps well for a few days and leftovers can easily be microwaved in a bowl, approx 2 mins on high per portion.

Recipe: Risotto

Risotto
Risotto

Ingredients;

1 large onion finely diced
1 sweet red pepper finely diced
2 sticks of celery finely diced
2 cloves of garlic finely diced
butter
olive oil
250g risotto rice
2 vegetable stock cubes, mixed with 1.5l boiling water
handful of parmesan finely grated

Serves 4

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Begin by chopping the vegetables as finely as you can. You can use a julienne peeler on the carrot and then cut across the strips for very fine dice.

In a very large saucepan or stewpot, melt a knob of butter with a lug of olive oil. Throw in your vegetables and fry softly on a medium heat for 15-20 mins, until the vegetables soften. The onions should not take on any colour, so don’t have your heat up full whack.

Once the veg is soft, place 2 stock cubes in another saucepan and add the boiling water. Keep this on a low simmer.

Turn the heat right up under your veg pan for 2 mins and add the risotto rice. Stir this well, and once the grains have soaked up the juice from the veg and begun to toast lightly, throw in a glass of white wine (or a good splash of vermouth). As this starts to boil off, reduce the heat again and add your first ladle of stock.

Stir it well and wait for the liquid to be absorbed. Keep the mix moving regularly, as this will encourage the grains to release their starch. Once each ladleful is absorbed, add another ladle of stock (usually about 2-3 mins apart). You should keep this pan at a simmering temperature.

After about 20 mins of adding stock and letting it soak in, taste your rice – it should be soft, with just a hint of a bite. If it’s still too hard, keep on adding the stock as needed. If you start to run out of stock, then top off the stock pan with some boiling water.

Once the rice is cooked, turn off the heat and add another knob of butter and the handful of parmesan. Stir well to mix it in, then put a lid on the pan and leave for 2-3 mins. This is when the magic happens and the mix all comes together… Taste it and add salt as pepper as desired at this point.

You can serve the risotto plain or add whatever toppings you fancy – fried bacon bits & Gorgonzola, pesto, flaked cooked salmon – as your own tastes dictate.