Friday, 24 July 2009

Classic Chicken in Red Wine Casserole with Buttered Tagliatelle


390g chopped onions
2 cloves garlic, crushed
100g smoked streaky bacon, cut into strips
400g diced chicken breast
1 heaped tsp paprika
1 (500g) can Red Wine Sauce
1 (300 g) can button mushrooms, drained
2 tbsp fresh parsley, roughly chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
To Serve
400g tagliatelle, cooked as per the instructions
Knob butter


1. Heat the olive oil in a heavy based casserole
2. Fry the onion, garlic and bacon for 2-3 minutes, until the bacon is browned.
3. Add the chicken and paprika and continue cooking for 2-3 minutes on a medium heat.
4. Add the Red Wine Sauce, mushrooms, half the parsley and season. Cover and cook for 20 minutes.

To Serve

Stir the butter through the hot tagliatelle, serve with the chicken and sprinkle with the remaining parsley.

Delicious served with homemade garlic ciabatta.

Sunday, 19 July 2009

Mediterranean Scone Bread

A really delicious alternative to bread, very impressive and so quick to prepare! I love serving this with homemade soup, or as a starter with mezze, such as hummus, olives, curred meats and cheese.


  • Knob of butter

  • 1tblsp olive oil

  • 4 spring onions, sliced

  • 1 clove garlic, chopped

  • 150g Feta/Goat/Cheddar Cheese (a mix is great)

  • 50g Parmesan cheese

  • 100g olives/sundried tomatoes, roughly chopped

  • 175g self raising flour

  • pinch of salt

  • pinch of cayenne pepper

  • 1 large egg

  • 2tbslp milk (if needed)


Preheat the oven to 180c. Melt the oli and butter in a pan and gently cook the spring onions and garlic for 2-3 minutes. Put the flour in a large bowl with the cheese, (reserve a tblsp of Parmesan), sundried tomatoes, salt, cayenne pepper and the egg and mix well with a fork. Allow the onion mixture to cool slightly before adding to the flour mixture, adding all the butter and mix well. Form the mixture into a dough and shape into a round about 2cm thick. Put the dough on a lightly oiled baking tray and brush with a little olive oil and sprinkle the remaining cheese and a little bit of rock salt. Bake for 20 minutes.

Allow to cool on a wire rack for 20minutes before serving with warm butter.

For a delicious alternative add 1 tblsp of Pesto sauce or fry a chopped red chilli with the spring onions.


Easy Eton Messy!

div>A great way of enjoying homemade brown sugar meringues and so easy to assemble a child can do it!


Brown sugar meringue - made with 2 egg whites, 60g soft brown sugar, 60g caster sugar
300ml double cream, lightly whipped
1 dstsp caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
200g strawberries, cut into chunks


Stir all the ingredients together, spoon into individual serving dishes and chill well before serving!

Spanish Chicken and Rice

This isn't technically a paella, but it's my version and is easy to follow and gets great results every time!

Serves 6


2 tblsp olive oil
6 chicken thighs, skinned and boned and cut into 2-3cm chunks
1 onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
100g chorizo sausage, skinned and sliced
1/2 tsp paprka
1 dstsp powdered chicken stock, or one stock cube
1 tblsp tomato puree, or rich tomato pasta sauce
250ml /250g paella rice
1/2 red pepper, finely chopped, or sliced
50g frozen garden peas
1 glass white wine
1 litre boiling water (approx)


Boil the kettle.
Heat the oil in a large frying pan, which has a lid. Add the chicken and fry for 2-3 minutes until lightly browned. Add the onion, garlic and chorizo and continue to fry for 2-3 minutes. Add the paprika and powdered stock and stir well before adding the rice. Allow the rice to fry for a minute before pouring in the glass of wine. When the wine has been adsorbed add approximately 200ml boiling water, stir and cover with a lid, cook over a medium/low heat for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes move the rice around to stop it sticking and add an additional 200ml of water, cover and cook for 10 minutes. Add the red pepper and peas, add 200ml boiling water, cover and cook for 10 minutes. Test the rice to see if it is cooked, it should be cooked through with a little bite to it. Add more water if necessary and continue cooking. The cooking time and amount of liquid can vary depending on the size of pan you use, the cooking temerature and how well the lid fits the pan!
When the rice is cooked, turn off the heat and allow to stand for 10 minutes before serving.

If you want to add mussels or prawns to this recipe, sit the shell fish on top of the rice for the final 5 minutes of cooking and serve the dish with wedges of lemon - divine!!

Crab and lemon linguine with pesto garlic bread

Pictures and video to follow shortly

This is my husbands comfort food and I must admit is not only very quick and easy to make it also looks fantastic and can easily be a dinner party dish or just a great family meal. You can replace the crabmeat with lobster or crayfish.

Preparation time: 10mins
Cooking time: 20mins

Serves 4


Olive oil
1 clove of garlic, crushed
½ tsp chilli flakes
1 lemon, zest and juice
Splash (50ml) white wine
340g white crab meat (you can use 2 x 170g cans, drained)
1 x (198g) can sweetcorn, drained
100g frozen peas
300g linguine, cooked as per instructions

1 tbsp fresh parsley, roughly chopped
100g fresh Parmesan, grated
Coarse sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Ingredients for the pesto garlic bread

Small French stick, cut ¾ through, in 1cm slices (so they are still attached)
2 tsp olive oil
1 tbsp pesto sauce
1 clove fresh garlic, crushed

Method to make the pesto garlic bread

1. Pre-heat the oven 200C, 400F, Gas 6
2. Mix the olive oil, pesto and garlic in a small bowl and spread onto the French bread.
3. Wrap the bread in a piece of foil and bake in the oven for 15 minutes.
4. Open the foil, so the top of the bread is exposed and cook for a further 5 minutes to crisp the top of the bread.

Method to make the pasta

1. Put a large pan of water on to boil for the pasta
2. Heat 3 tbsp olive oil in a large sauté, or frying pan, add the garlic and chilli flakes and allow to gently infuse the olive oil over a low heat for 5 minutes.
3. Meanwhile cook the linguine as per the instructions, add the peas to the pan for the last 2 minutes.
4. Add the crabmeat and corn to the sauté pan, the zest and juice of the lemon and the wine. Season and shake the pan to mix, allow to heat over a medium heat for 1-2 minutes.
5. Drain the pasta and tip onto the crab, toss gently and serve with a sprinkling of roughly chopped parsley and Parmesan.

For a tasty, but naughty alternative, add 50ml cream to enrich the sauce!
A great addition to this dish is asparagus! Snap the stems and cut the asparagus into 2-3cm pieces. Add to the boiling pasta for the last 2 minutes.

Friday, 17 July 2009

Chocolate Brownies

These chocolate brownies are very rich and come with a 'diet warning'! The recipe makes a large batch, so when they have gone cold I suggest cutting them up and freezing them in batches. They freeze really well and are fab if you let them defrost and heat them a little in the microwave and serve with some icecream - Yum!


  • 370g butter
  • 370g chocolate - 70% cocoa (Lindt is good)
  • 6 large eggs
  • 1 dstsp vanilla extract
  • 500g caster sugar
  • 225g plain flour
  • 300g chopped nuts (optional - but a must for true brownies))


Preheat the oven to180C. Line a roasting tin (approx 33cm x 23cm and 5cm deap) with baking paper. Melt the butter and chocolate in a large bowl. I do this in the microwave on high power for 3 minutes. Stir and continue to heat in 20 second intervals until the mixture has melted. Allow to cool. Beat the eggs, sugar and vanilla with an electric whisk for 2-3 minutes until the mixture is light. Add the chocolate mixture to the eggs, with the flour and nuts and mix until just combined. Pour the mixture into your lined tin and bake in the middle of the oven for 30 minutes, or until the top of the brownie is pale and slightly cracked. Do not over cook the brownies as they need to be a little gooey. As long as the mixture doesn't wobble it is cooked!

Best eaten on day 2 or 3!

Bet you can't wait that long :-)

Wednesday, 15 July 2009

Rice Crispie Crackle Cakes

If you are a fan of chocolate - beware. This is one of my easiest and most dangerous recipes. Once you start making these you wont be able to stop. Give them to your friends, you will score major brownie points.

  • 8 Mars bars (or caramel, nougat chocolate bars)
  • 100g butter
  • 75g rice crispies

Cut the chocolate bars into small pieces with a knife and transfer to a large pan with the butter. melt over a low heat for a few minutes stirring occasionally. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the rice crispies making sure they are evenly coated with the chocolate mixture. Transfer to a small oven tray or dish, lined with double thickness cling film or plastic wrap. Push down with a metal spoon and level the surface. Transfer to the fridge to cool for at least 1 hour. Turn out the crackle cake and cut into squares. The crackle cake will keep in an airtight container for 3 or 4 days.

Best eaten chilled from the fridge!

Tuesday, 14 July 2009

Crispy Garlic Potatoes

Not only are these better for you than oven chips they are quicker to prepare and cook and will go down a treat with everyone.


  • 300g potatoes per person
  • Olive oil
  • Whole garlic cloves
  • Sea salt

Pre-heat the oven 200C/400F. Wash the potatoes, dry and cut into 2-3cm chunks. Crack the cloves of garlic and transfer to a roasting tray with the potatoes and a generous drizzle of olive oil. Bake in the oven for 30-40 minutes, or until the potatoes are golden and crisp and cooked through. Remove from the oven, sprinkle with salt and serve.

Delicious with garlic mayo!

Left over potatoes can be used the next day to make a delicious Spanish omelette! See my blog!

Garlic mayo

Add a crushed clove of fresh garlic to 2 tablespoons of mayonnaise, stir well and serve.

Mini Cupcakes

Cupcakes are back in fashion so this recipe is a must for both kids as well as adults. Let your imagination run wild with the decorations - mini pic and mix always goes down well.


  • 200g butter, softened
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 1 dstsp vanilla extract
  • 4 eggs
  • 200g self-raising flour
Pre-heat the oven for 190C/375F. Cream the butter, sugar and vanilla in a large bowl for 2-3 minutes, until light and creamy. Add the eggs and flour and beat to combine, but do not over mix. Spoon or pipe the cake batter into cake cases, filling the cases 1/2 full. Bake in the centre of the oven for 8-12 minutes, or until the cakes are golden brown and springy to the touch. Allow to cool on a wire rack before decorating.


  • Icing sugar
  • orange or lemon juice
  • Food colouring
Put approximately 3 tablespoons of icing sugar in a bowl with 3 teaspoons of juice or water. Mix well to combine and form a thick paste. Add icing sugar and liquid until the desired texture is reached. For coloured icing, add a few drops of food colouring. Spoon the icing onto the cakes and allow to set. Decorate the cakes while the icing is soft, so the decorations will stick.

Instead or icing you could also use butter cream

Butter cream
  • 150g butter, room temperature
  • 250g icing sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
Cream the ingredients together in a large bowl with a wooden spoon, until light and fluffy. For chocolate butter cream, add 2 tablespoons of cocoa powder. Pipe or spread the butter cream onto the cooled cakes.

Sunday, 12 July 2009

Easy One Knead Bread

I developed this recipe to teach 5 year olds how to make bread. I now get accosted by their parents almost on a daily basis for the recipe because it is so easy.
It only requires one 5min knead and is pretty much left alone to do its thing.

  • 600g Strong White Bread Flour
  • 7g Easy Dry Yeast
  • 1tsp brown sugar
  • 2tsp salt
  • 400ml lukewarm water
  • 3 tblsp melted butter


Mix all the ingredients in a bowl and then knead either by hand or by machine for 5mins. Put the dough in a loaf tin or divide into small rolls. Cover with a clean tea towel and leave to rise in a warm place for approx 1 hour, or until the dough has doubled in size. Cook in a preheated oven 200c/400f for 30 mins.

And that is it.

You can use 400g of white and 200g of wholemeal flour if you wish.