Wednesday, 30 December 2009

Sausage, Cabbage and Potato Saute

For this recipe you'll need a saute pan or a deep frying pan which has a lid.


  • 6 potatoes, washed and cut into quarters

  • 2 onions, finely chopped

  • 3 tbsp sunflower oil

  • 6 vegetarian (or meaty) sausages

  • 1/2 a cabbage, finely chopped

  • 2 bunches of broccoli, washed and cut down to small pieces

  • 1 stock cube



  1. Heat up some water to boil.

  2. When the water is boiling add the potatoes to it. Boil them for 15 minutes.

  3. While the potatoes are cooking place the oil, onions and sausages in the saute pan.

  4. Fry on a medium to high heat until the onions are starting to go a bit soft. Turn the sausages every so often.

  5. Add the cabbage and broccoli and turn the heat down.

  6. Crumble the stock cube over everything. Place the saute lid on the pan and leave it.

  7. When the potatoes are done, drain them and add them to the saute pan, giving everything a good stir. Cut up the sausages using a knife so that they're in pieces a few cm long.

  8. Cook for a further 10 minutes with the lid on and then serve.

Serves 2.

Friday, 25 December 2009

Blue Cheese and Broccoli Pasta

This recipe isn't at all Christmas themed, but follows on nicely from the previous recipe so it's going to be here. Happy Christmas!


  • 8 spinach leaves, roughly chopped

  • 1 piece of broccoli, cut into smaller pieces

  • 150ml creme fraiche

  • 100g blue cheese, such as Stilton

  • 1 packet of cheese tortellini



  1. Boil the broccoli in a pan of water for 5 minutes.

  2. Add the spinach and cook for a further 2 minutes.

  3. Drain the spinach and broccoli and mix with the creme fraich and blue cheese.

  4. Add a couple of tablespoons of tap water (or some of the cooking water if it's still around).

  5. Use a blender to puree the spinach, broccoli and cheese mix.

  6. Cook the pasta according to the instructions on the packet.

  7. Mix the pasta with the sauce and serve.


Wednesday, 23 December 2009

Spinach and Creme Fraiche Pasta



  • 2 large handfuls of spinach, washed and roughly chopped

  • 4 tbsp water

  • 150ml creme fraiche

  • 1 packet spinach and ricotta tortellini



  1. Put the spinach and water in a pan and bring to a simmer.

  2. Once the spinach has gone a darker green, remove the pan from the heat.

  3. Stir in the creme fraiche.

  4. Cook the pasta according to the instructions provided with it.

  5. Stir the spinach sauce into the pasta and serve.

Serves 2.

Friday, 18 December 2009

Tempura Vegetables with Noodles

It took me a while to perfect cooking tempura vegetables. Two important things I discovered: make sure the oil is hot by dropping little bits of batter in it before using it and to make sure the batter is the right consistency.


  • 1 egg

  • 100g self raising flour

  • 75ml water

  • salt and pepper to taste

  • enough sunflower oil to fill a pan to 2 cm depth

  • 2 courgettes, washed and cut into thin strips 3 or 4 cm long

  • 3 salad chilli peppers (or sweet peppers if you don't like hot peppers), washed and cut into 3cm pieces

  • 8 runner beans, ends removed and knife run down the edges to remove stringy fibers, cut into 3 cm pieces

  • 2 blocks of medium egg noodles

  • 2 tbsp soy sauce

  • 1 tbsp sesame oil

  • 1 salad onion, chopped into slices and quartered



  1. Put on a pan of water for the noodles.

  2. Mix the egg, flour, water and salt and pepper in a bowl until you get a thick batter.

  3. Start to heat up the oil in a pan. Make sure it doesn't get too hot as then you'll have a bad fire (which you shouldn't use water to put out) but make sure it's hot enough so a bit of the batter dropped in sizzles and crisps up quickly.

  4. Put the noodles in the boiling water in the noodle pan and boil for 4 minutes.

  5. Coat the courgette, chilli and beans in the batter.

  6. Place the batter coated vegetables carefully and one at a time in to the oil.

  7. After the outside has crisped up nicely remove the vegetable and place on some kitchen towel to drain.

  8. Repeat until all the vegetables are fried.

  9. Once the noodles are done (which will probably be while you're still frying vegetables unless you use a very large pan) strain them and stir in the sesame oil and soy sauce. Then place them in a pan with the lid on until you want to serve.

  10. Once you've done all the vegetables, put the noodles onto the plates, distribute the vegetables between them and garnish with the salad onion.

Serves 2.

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Goat's Cheese and Onion Ciabatta

This is a bit of a classy sandwich, but one which is worth the extra bit of effort.


  • 1 onion, roughly chopped

  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar

  • 1 tbsp caster sugar

  • 1 tbsp olive oil

  • 1 ciabatta

  • 75g soft goat's cheese

  • 50g rocket leaves, washed and dried



  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.

  2. Put the onion, vinegar, sugar and olive oil in a pan with a lid on and cook on a medium heat for 10 to 15 minutes.

  3. While the onion is cooking, cut the ciabatta in half on a baking tray and place in the oven for 10 minutes.

  4. Remove the ciabatta and spread the now soft onions over one half.

  5. Spread the goat's cheese over the other half.

  6. Pile the rocket leaves on top of the ciabatta and press the two halves together.

  7. Finally cut it in half with a sharp knife and serve.

Serves two for lunch or one very hungry person for dinner.

Friday, 11 December 2009

Pan Fried Brie

It's rather difficult to get much more unhealthy than fried cheese, however this way of frying brie makes it so wonderful and melty that it's really best to forget about your health for this one meal.


  • 100g plain flour

  • 75ml water

  • black pepper to taste

  • 100g breadcrumbs

  • 175g not quite ripe brie, cut into 2cm cubes

  • 2 tbsp sunflower oil

  • 3 tbsp strawberry jam

  • 75g rocket and spinach leaves, washed



  1. Mix the flour and water into a batter in a bowl.

  2. Mix pepper into the breadcrumbs and spread them out on a plate.

  3. Next take the cubes of brie one at a time and coat it in the batter, then roll in the breadcrumbs and then place on a clean plate.

  4. Once you've done this to all the brie heat up the sunflower oil in a frying pan on a medium to high heat.

  5. Place all the brie pieces in the frying pan once it's got up to temperature.

  6. Fry the brie and turn it when each side is crisp.

  7. Serve immediately with a dollop of jam on the side and with the salad leaves.

Serves 3 to 4.

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Mini Pizza

These are inspired by something I once saw a killer robot cook. Seriously.


  • 1 quantity of pizza dough made as in here

  • 1/2 a tube of tomato puree

  • 1 tsp oregano

  • 300g of cheese, cheddar or mozzarella work, thinly sliced

  • 25g butter

  • 2 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced



  1. Make the pizza dough as in the other recipe.

  2. Pre-heat the oven to 220 degrees.

  3. Mix the tomato puree with the oregano.

  4. Divide the dough into 16 (split it in half four times).

  5. Roll each small dough ball out and place some of the tomato puree and some of the cheese on it.

  6. Place it on a greased baking tray and then repeat for the other 15.

  7. Bake in the oven for 10 minutes until they are almost done.

  8. Remove from the oven and leave to cool on the side.

  9. Melt the butter in a frying pan with the garlic.

  10. When the garlic starts to sizzle place the half cooked pizzas in the frying pan. Unless you have an insanely large frying pan you'll need to have 3 or 4 batches.

  11. Fry the pizzas for 2 to 3 minutes until the bread on the bottom starts to go golden brown.

  12. Serve while still hot (and ignore the calories).

Makes enough mini pizzas for a snack for 6 to 8 people.

Friday, 4 December 2009

Raspberry Muffins

The raspberries cook wonderfully inside the muffins in this recipe, providing little moist pockets of strong fruit flavor.


  • 100g butter, at room temperature

  • 180g caster sugar

  • 2 eggs

  • 250ml buttermilk

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence

  • 300g plain flour

  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

  • 2 teaspoon baking powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon powder

  • pinch of salt

  • 150g raspberries



  1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees.

  2. Mix the butter and sugar in a large bowl until they are well mixed (this is called creaming).

  3. Add the eggs, vanilla and buttermilk to the butter and stir well.

  4. Then mix in the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. Don't mix too much, just enough to get it all blended.

  5. Finally add the raspberries and stir enough to get them evenly distributed.

  6. Pour into a muffin tin lined with muffin cases.

  7. Bake for 20 minutes.

  8. Allow to cool on a wire rack.

Makes 12.

Wednesday, 2 December 2009

Aubergine and Courgette Thai Style Curry

The coconut milk in this curry adds both creaminess and a wonderful flavor.


  • 1 onion, finely chopped

  • 3 tbsp sunflower oil

  • 1 tsp turmeric powder

  • 1 tsp fenugreek powder

  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

  • 1 tsp mustard powder

  • 10g (one lump) of ginger, peeled and finely chopped

  • 1 aubergine, cut into cubes

  • 2 courgettes, cut in 1 cm slices

  • 4 carrots, cut into 1 cm pieces

  • 1 tin coconut milk



  1. Put the onion, oil, all the spices and ginger into a frying pan and fry on a medium heat for 5 minutes.

  2. Add the courgettes, aubergine and carrots and make sure they get coated nicely with the spices and onion.

  3. Fry for a further 5 minutes.

  4. Add the coconut milk and simmer for 10 minutes.

  5. Serve on a bed of sticky rice.


Friday, 27 November 2009

Cous-cous with Goat's Cheese and Tomato

A simple dish with a good range of flavors from the sweet tomato to the sharp cheese.


  • 75g cous-cous

  • 250ml hot vegetable stock

  • fresh black pepper

  • 8 cherry tomatoes, washed and cut in half

  • 40g soft goat's cheese



  1. Mix the cous-cous with the vegetable stock and leave for 5 minutes.

  2. Add the fresh black pepper to taste and fluff up the cous-cous with a fork.

  3. Place the tomatoes and goat's cheese on the top and serve.

Serves 1.

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Soy Bean Noodles

Ever since trying them on their own I've really liked the flavour and texture of soy beans. The only downside with them is that it's very difficult to get them fresh near where I live, so I have to resort to the dried one's which just aren't the same and require hours to cook.


  • 150g soy beans, soaked overnight if dried

  • 2 tbsp sunflower oil

  • 2 leeks, chopped into half cm slices

  • 1 red onion, roughly chopped

  • 3 sticks of celery, thinly sliced and ends removed

  • 1 tsp coriander seeds

  • 1 vegetable stock cube

  • 2 blocks of medium egg noodles

  • 1 tbsp brown miso



  1. If using dried soy beans then boil them for 1 hour in plenty of water and then boil them for a further 2 hours. If using fresh beans then boil for just 5 minutes. Leave them boiling in the pan (or start boiling them in the pan if using fresh beans) while you prepare the next steps of the recipe.

  2. Place the oil, leeks, onion, celery, coriander seeds and stock cube into a small pan and put on a gentle heat.

  3. Sweet all these ingredients together for 5 minutes with the lid on. Stir and leave for another 5 minutes, or until the onion and leeks are nice and soft.

  4. When the leeks are cooking for the last 5 minutes add the egg noodles to the soy beans which should still be boiling away.

  5. After 5 minutes strain the beans and noodles and then add the miso and onion mixture to the noodles.

  6. Stir well and serve immediately while still hot.

  7. Ideal with fresh black pepper ground on top.

Serves 2.

Friday, 20 November 2009

Perfect Basmati Rice

It took me ages to work out the best way to do rice. Here's my method which seems to be reliable.


  • 75g of rice per person

  • 160ml of water per 75g of rice

  • 1/4 tsp of ghee or butter by 75g of rice



  1. Place all the ingredients in a saucepan which has a good fitting lid.

  2. Place the lid on the saucepan.

  3. Put a low to medium heat on under the saucepan.

  4. When you can see the water boiling (or it looks like there is lots of steam under the lid if you don't have glass lids) turn the heat down to the lowest it'll go.

  5. Cook the rice until all the water is absorbed. It'll take about 20 minutes. Resist the urge to lift the lid and let out all the wonderful steam until you think it might be done.

  6. Enjoy beautifully tender rice.


Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Spinach Curry

This spinach curry is nice and simple and can easily be made from ingredients you can store in the cupboard so makes the perfect emergency dish when all the shops are closed and you forgot to buy anything.


  • 3 red onions, coarsely chopped

  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped

  • 2 tbsp butter or ghee

  • 1 tbsp coriander powder

  • 1 tbsp ground cumin

  • 600g tin of spinach puree



  1. Fry the onion with the garlic and butter/ghee on a medium heat.

  2. When the onion starts to soften add the coriander, cumin and spinach puree.

  3. Bring to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes.

  4. Serve with rice.

Serves 3 to 4.

Friday, 13 November 2009

Fresh Naan Bread

When I first had freshly made naan bread I was amazed. I'd never really thought about it, but it's as different to the naan bread you get from supermarkets and takeaways as a fresh loaf of bread is to pre-sliced bread. But given it's all bread that's hardly surprising.


  • 1 tsp dried yeast, make sure it's fast action otherwise it won't rise in time

  • 1 tbsp sugar

  • 50ml plain yoghurt

  • 100ml milk

  • 250g strong plain flour

  • 1/2 tsp salt

  • 1/2 tsp baking powder

  • 1 tbsp ghee or butter



  1. Either place all the ingredients in a bread maker and set it to dough setting or do the following: mix all the ingredients and kneed with your hands for 5 minutes; place the dough somewhere warm for 30 minutes; kneed it for 5 minutes again; return to the warm place for 30 minutes.

  2. Divide the dough into quarters and roll them out on a floured surface.

  3. Turn the grill on at a medium to high setting.

  4. Place the rolled out dough under the grill.

  5. Watch it carefully as it'll only take a couple of minutes for one side to be done.

  6. When the side is done, turn them over to cook the other side.

  7. Repeat with the remaining dough (depending on if you could fit all four under your grill to start with).

  8. Serve while still warm. If you need to keep them warm wrap a clean(!) tea towel around them.


Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Mango Curry

A slightly unusual curry which is fairly sweet, but still goes wonderfully with rice as a main course.


  • 3 red onions, finely chopped

  • 1 tbsp ghee or butter

  • 1 tsp mustard powder

  • 1 tsp fenugreek powder

  • 1 tsp turmeric powder

  • 4 not-quite-ripe mangos

  • 50ml yogurt

  • 1 tin coconut milk



  1. Put the onions, ghee/butter, mustard, fenugreek and turmeric in a pan and fry on a medium heat.

  2. While that fries get a knife to the mangos and peel off the outer flesh. Cut off reasonable sized chunks of the mango flesh, remembering that there is a stone in the center.

  3. Once the onion has gone soft add the mango to the onions and fry for 5 minutes.

  4. Add the yogurt and coconut milk and carefully heat through (you don't want to boil it as then it'll separate).

  5. Serve on a bed of rice.

Serves 3 to 4.

Friday, 6 November 2009

Fajita Wraps

This is a great way to use up random vegetables in a quick and tasty meal.


  • 1 tbsp sunflower oil

  • 1 onion, finely chopped

  • 600g of assorted vegetables cut into pieces no larger than 2 cm

  • 1 tsp fajita spice mix

  • 4 tortilla wraps

  • 1 pot of hot salsa

  • 50g grated cheddar cheese



  1. Start by frying the onion in the oil for 5 minutes.

  2. If you're using root vegetables (potatoes, carrots) you'll want to boil them in water for 10 minutes in water before adding them at the next step.

  3. Next add the vegetables and fry them for 10 minutes. Recommended combination:

    • Potato and Califlower

    • Mushrooms

    • Carrot and Cabbage

    • Sweet Pepper and Kidney Beans (from a tin)

  4. Add the fajita spice mix and 3 or 4 tbsp of water if the mixture looks dry.

  5. Fry for a couple more minutes.

  6. Serve at the table with the pan and the tortillas, salsa and cheese.

  7. Construct the fajita with the mixture, salsa and cheese and then roll up and eat.

Serves 2.

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Fajita Spice Mix

While you can buy spice mixes for fajita and other tex-mex style food in the supermarket, it doesn't ever quite beat making it yourself. I like having a jar of this available in the fridge for when I feel like tex-mex. It's great even just spread thinly in a toasted cheese sandwich.


  • Juice of 4 limes

  • 2 vegetable stock cubes

  • 4 tsp smoked paprika

  • 4 tsp cumin powder

  • 4 tsp coriander powder


  1. Mix all ingredients together well in a bowl.

  2. Store in a jar in the fridge until you need it.

  3. Roughly use a tsp of this mix for every 2 or 3 people you're cooking for when using it.