Category Archives: Food

  • Ray
  • February 13th, 2018
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I’m not a great cook. I admit it.

I’m not terrible; I am more than capable of following recipes and instructions on boxes so I don’t often burn anything. The food I produce is often healthy and tasty but very simple, and I guess by “not great” I mean I take little pleasure from cooking and baking, so I don’t really invest any time into creating new dishes and honing my culinary skills. (more…)

Originally posted 2015-09-19 17:47:20. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

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  • Ray
  • January 31st, 2018
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Verdant watercress soup, bubbling cauliflower cheese and hot, crisp, sticky flapjacks straight from the oven: these dishes are reminiscent of my childhood. As temperatures drop and days become darker, the kitchen becomes the place where the family gathers and rests. (more…)

Originally posted 2015-11-12 13:13:04. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

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  • Ray
  • January 31st, 2018
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Meal Planner Cards provided by Discount Supplements Discount Code! (more…)

Originally posted 2016-06-22 23:40:11. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

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  • Ray
  • January 22nd, 2018
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What does he like to eat?” I asked the mother of one of my son’s friends when we arranged a playdate. “Oh, you know, normal kid food,” was her reply. This turned out to mean chicken nuggets, oven chips, plain pasta, ketchup. No vegetables.

(more…)

Originally posted 2015-10-01 13:25:37. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

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  • Ray
  • January 22nd, 2018
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With tips from Mary Berry, Gordon Ramsay, Marcus Wareing and Michel Roux Jr

 

When a survey last week found that the average Briton owns six cookbooks but cooks only nine recipes again and again, the implication was clear: we may think we are a nation of grown-up foodies, but the truth is we are still in short trousers. When it comes to cooking, we haven’t much of a clue.

If only it was nine: that would get us through a whole week with a couple to spare, but I suspect that in plenty of homes it’s rather fewer. The survey, sponsored by an online supermarket, suggested the problem was that we wanted to be more adventurous but struggled to source the right ingredients.

That’s nonsense: fashionable ingredients are part of the problem. In our skittish search for the new, we never take the time to master the basics. Freekeh and grilled aubergine salad, topped with labneh, slivered almonds and pomegranate seeds, is quite delicious, but it’s never going to be your go-to quick family supper dish.

 

So here I’m sharing the nine basics I think everyone should have in their repertoire, plus six extras that are nearly as easy. They are a round-up of family favourites from around the world that don’t need fancy ingredients or techniques. You don’t have to get out the scales (apart from for the victoria sponge: cake-making and baking is all about precision) and after making them a couple of times, you won’t need to get out the recipe either.

 

The Only Recipes You’ll Ever Need by Tony Turnbull (Quadrille) is out now

 

Roast chicken

Serves 4

Ingredients
1 lemon
4 garlic cloves, whole but crushed
Few sprigs of thyme
1 chicken, about 1.8kg
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
6 tbsp balsamic vinegar

 

Method
1. Roll the lemon on the work top to loosen the juices and pierce it all over with a sharp knife. Place the lemon, garlic and thyme in the chicken cavity. Drizzle the chicken with olive oil and season well.

2. Roast at 190C/gas 5 for 50 min, basting occasionally. Pour over balsamic vinegar and cook for a further 15 min. Check it is cooked by piercing the thickest part of the bird with a sharp knife. The juices should run clear. Serve with the pan juices poured over.

 

The 15 recipes you should know by heart 2

 

Chefs’ tips

Lorraine Pascale
Try mixing things up from traditional flavours — combine honey and mustard and smear it over the chicken about 30 minutes before it comes out of the oven

Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall
The most important thing when roasting a chicken is to start with a good organic bird that has lived well and felt the sun on its back

Curry

Serves 4

Ingredients
Oil for frying
2 onions, sliced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2tbsp curry powde
1 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes
1 tbsp mango chutney
500g chicken breast, cubed
100ml double cream
1 bunch coriander, to serve

 

Method
1. In a large frying pan, heat the oil and gently fry the onions and garlic, stirring until soft, for about 10 min. Add curry powder to taste and cook for a further 3 min, stirring.

2. Add the tomatoes, chutney and chicken, and enough water or chicken stock to cover. Cook for 10-15 min or until the chicken is cooked and the sauce has reduced. Add the cream and warm through.

3. Scatter with chopped coriander leaves. Serve with rice.


Chefs’ tips

Matt Tebbutt
I stir in pretty much half a jar of mango chutney into the curry right at the end for a bit of fruitiness and sweetness

 

Atul Kochhar
Sauté the onions until golden brown — it’s the key to a great curry base. Only keep ground spices for six months, otherwise they will lose their pungency

Lamb tagine

Serves 4

Ingredients
Splash of olive oil
2 onions, finely sliced
2 garlic cloves, finely sliced
1 tsp ground ginger
2 tsp ras-el-hanout
500g lamb shoulder, cubed
Up to 500ml chicken stock
2 handfuls dried apricots
Honey, orange zest and chopped coriander leaves, to serve

 

Method
1. Heat the oil in a large pan, add onions and garlic, season and cook very gently until soft, about 10 min. Add the spices and cook for a further 2 min, stirring to stop them burning.

2. Add the lamb and brown it, then just cover with stock. Put the lid on and simmer for 1 hr. Add apricots and simmer for for 30 min uncovered.

3. Add a drizzle of honey, some orange zest and the coriander. Serve with couscous.

The 15 recipes you should know by heart 3

Chefs’ tips

Allegra McEvedy
Add some butternut squash chunks to make the sauce rich and thick

Michel Roux Jr
Preserved lemons give a lovely bitter sharpness to a tagine

Spaghetti bolognese

Serves 4

Ingredients
1-2 tbsp olive oil
500g minced beef
1 large onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 carrot, grated
1 bay leaf
1 glass red wine
1 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes
1 tbsp tomato purée
1 tbsp worcestershire sauce
500g spaghetti
1 handful basil, chopped
Freshly grated parmesan

 

Method
1. Heat 1 tbsp oil in a large frying pan over a high heat. Add the mince, in batches if necessary, and cook until well browned all over. Remove from the pan with a slotted spoon.

2. Add another splash of olive oil, lower the heat and add the chopped onion, garlic, carrot and bay leaf. Season well and cook for 10 min until soft but not coloured.

3. Add the wine and cook until nearly evaporated. Turn down the heat and add the cooked mince, tomatoes, purée and worcestershire sauce. Simmer, uncovered, for an hour until rich and thick.

4. Meanwhile, cook the spaghetti in boiling salted water. Drain and serve with the bolognese sauce, with basil and parmesan scattered over.
Chef’s tip

Giorgio Locatelli
Use a mix of pork and beef mince; cheap cuts are best as they contain more fat

Fish stew

Serves 4

Ingredients
Olive oil
2 garlic cloves, sliced
1 red chilli, sliced
400g cherry tomatoes
100ml white wine
500ml fish stock or water
A pinch saffron
4 x 150g fillets cod or haddock, and mixed shellfish (optional)
Small handful capers
1 handful black olives
1 handful chopped parsley 
Method
1. Heat the oil in a large lidded casserole and cook the garlic and chilli for a few minutes.

2. Add the tomatoes and white wine and cook until the wine is reduced. Add the stock and saffron, if using. Bring to the boil.

3. Season the fish and add with the capers and olives, and shellfish if using. Cover and simmer for about 5 min, until the fish is cooked. Sprinkle over parsley and serve with new potatoes.

The 15 recipes you should know by heart 6
Chef’s tip

Valentine Warner
I always include coriander seeds, fresh fennel bulbs, saffron, bay leaves, a little dried chilli, a splash of Pernod and the juice from half a fresh orange

Lasagne

Serves 4

Ingredients
40g butter
40g plain flour
350ml milk
2 handfuls grated cheddar cheese
1 quantity bolognese sauce (see above)
200g lasagne sheets

Method
1.
Melt the butter in a saucepan over a medium heat, then add the flour. Cook for a couple of minutes, stirring with a wooden spoon.

2. Off the heat, add a splash of milk — the mixture will instantly thicken. Beat it with the spoon until smooth, add more milk and beat again. Continue to add the milk, beating each time. Return pan to the hob.

3. Turn down the heat and cook until the sauce has thickened enough to coat the back of the spoon. Season.

4. To assemble the lasagne, grease an ovenproof dish, about 20x20cm, and preheat the oven to 180C/gas 4. Spoon a third of the meat sauce into the dish, then cover with lasagne sheets. Pour over about a quarter of white sauce, followed by two more layers of meat sauce, lasagne and white sauce.

5. Pour over the remaining white sauce, so the pasta is completely covered, sprinkle with grated cheddar and bake for 45 min or until golden and bubbling.
Chef’s tip

Marcus Wareing
The secret to cooking mince is to make sure it browns over a high heat but doesn’t boil in its own juices. Get the pan really hot, cook it in batches and break it up with a wooden spoon

Thai green curry

Serves 4

Ingredients
Vegetable oil
600g chicken breast, cut into strips
150g button mushrooms
1 large garlic clove
2 tbsp green curry paste
400ml coconut milk
200ml chicken stock
1 tbsp fish sauce
1 tsp sugar
2 kaffir lime leaves, shredded
100g green beans, blanched in boiling water for 3 min
Basil and coriander leaves, chopped

Method
1. Heat a few tbsp oil in a wok and cook the chicken in batches until coloured. Remove with a slotted spoon. Fry the mushrooms until browned.

2. Add the garlic and curry paste and cook for a few seconds then add the coconut milk and chicken stock. Bring to the boil, then turn down the heat, add the chicken, fish sauce and sugar, and cook, covered, for 5 min.

3. Add the lime leaves and beans and cook for further few minutes. Scatter over basil and coriander, and serve with rice.
Chef’s tip
Rick Stein Make your own Thai green curry paste by blitzing lemongrass, ginger, green chillis, lime leaves, garlic, shallots and shrimp paste with a few tablespoonsful of water

Beef casserole

Serves 4

Ingredients
Olive oil
750g diced stewing beef
1 large onion, chopped
2 sticks celery, chopped
2 carrots, sliced
1 bay leaf
6 anchovy fillets
500ml red wine
600ml chicken stock
Sea salt and black pepper
1 handful chopped parsley

Method
1. Heat the oil in an ovenproof casserole dish. Season the meat and brown all over in 2-3 batches, then set aside.

2. Add a little more oil to the casserole dish and gently cook the vegetables until soft, about 10 min. Add bay leaf and anchovies and cook for a few minutes, stirring until broken down.

3. Add wine and boil until reduced by about half. Add the stock and return the beef to the dish. Season (be careful with salt as the anchovies are salty) and bring to the boil.

4. Transfer to a 150C/gas 2 oven and cook, covered, for 2-3 hours until very tender. Serve sprinkled with parsley.

The 15 recipes you should know by heart 5
Chef’s tip

Gordon Ramsay
Make it the day before — casseroles and stews are always better eaten the next day, once the flavours have had a chance to meld

Victoria sponge cake

Serves 4

Ingredients
200g caster sugar
200g butter, softened
4 medium eggs, beaten
1 tsp baking powder
200g self-raising flour
Pinch of salt
2 tbsp milk
Double cream, jam and icing sugar

Method
1. Preheat the oven to 180C/gas 4.

2. Grease two 20cm sandwich tins and line with baking paper.

3. Beat the sugar and butter until light and fluffy with an electric whisk. Gradually whisk in the eggs, then fold in the baking powder, flour and a large pinch of salt. Add enough milk to achieve a “dropping consistency”, where the mix drops off a spoon.

4. Divide between the two tins, smooth the tops and cook for 25-30 min or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. Cool on a rack.

5. Once cool, sandwich the cakes together with jam and whipped cream and dust the top with icing sugar
Chef’s tip

Mary Berry
Instead of traditional strawberry jam, use apricot jam, then stir in a handful of chopped dried apricots into the whipped cream
Mary Berry Cooks (BBC Books) is out now

Stir fry

Serves 4

Ingredients
Vegetable oil
1 large bag mixed stir-fry vegetables
5cm piece root ginger, peeled
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 red chilli, sliced
450g raw jumbo king prawns
4 tbsp rice wine or dry sherry
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp rice vinegar
400g fresh egg noodles
Sesame oil

Method
1. Heat a glug of cooking oil in a wok. Once smoking hot, add the stir-fry vegetables and cook for a couple of minutes.

2. Chop the ginger and add with the garlic, chilli and prawns and stir fry until the prawns are pink.

3. Add the rice wine or sherry, soy sauce, vinegar and noodles. Toss until heated through. Drizzle with sesame oil. Serve immediately.

Chef’s tip

Lorraine Pascale
Sprinkle the finished stir fry with toasted cashews or sesame seeds

Fish pie

Serves 4-6

Ingredients
1kg potatoes, peeled and chopped
150g butter
2 leeks, finely chopped
50g plain flour
1 glass white wine
500ml fish stock
2 tsp English mustard
100ml double cream
Juice of 1 lemon
1 handful parsley, chopped
600g smoked haddock fillets
2 handfuls grated cheddar

Method
1. Put the potatoes on to boil in salted water.

2. Meanwhile, melt 50g butter in a pan and cook the leeks gently with the lid on, until soft.

3. Add 50g plain flour and cook, stirring for a few minutes, then gradually add the wine and fish stock, stirring well to ensure there are no lumps. Add the mustard, cream, lemon juice and parsley. Season well.

4. Cut the haddock into bite-sized pieces and arrange in an ovenproof dish. Pour over the sauce.

5. Drain the potatoes and mash with the remaining butter. Season well and spread on top of the fish. Sprinkle with the grated cheese and cook at 180C/gas 4 for 40 min. Serve with buttered green beans.
Chef’s tip

Allegra McEvedy
I use leeks, hard-boiled eggs, turmeric, nutmeg and prawns. Make sure you don’t scrimp on the cheddar on the top

Chicken traybake

Serves 4

Ingredients
4 garlic cloves, unpeeled
8 chicken thighs
500g baby potatoes, halved if large
2 fennel bulbs, cored and quartered
Small handful fresh oregano, chopped
1 handful black olives
Olive oil
2 oranges, halved

Method
1. Flatten garlic cloves with the blade of a knife. Place in a large roasting tray with the chicken thighs, potatoes, fennel, oregano and olives. Drizzle with oil, season well and mix with hands to coat. Squeeze over the juice of both oranges and tuck spent halves in among the chicken.

2. Cook at 200C/gas 6 for 45-60 min, stirring once. Serve with green salad.
Chef’s tip

Mary Berry
Don’t overcrowd the roasting tin, you need everything to be in a single layer or it will not cook evenly — divide between two tins if necessary

Risotto

Serves 4

Ingredients
50g dried porcini
3 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
250g mushrooms, sliced
350g arborio rice
1 glass white wine
700ml chicken or vegetable stock
80g grated parmesan
50g butter
1 handful parsley, chopped

Method
1. Soak the porcini in 500ml of boiling water for 20 min. Strain into a pan with stock andbring to simmer.

2. Heat olive oil in a large pan and sweat the onion for 5 min. Add the mushrooms and cook for 5 min.

3. Add rice and cook for 2 min stirring continuously. Add wine and once evaporated add hot stock, two ladles at a time, stirring continuously and waiting until all is absorbed before adding more.

4. Once the rice is tender but with bite (about 18 min), stir in the parmesan and butter and leave to stand with the lid on for 5 min. Stir in the parsley, season and serve.

Chefs’ tips

Russell Norman
Use carnaroli rice (they have more slender grains than arborio) — you’ll notice the dish is more flavoursome and slightly looser

Angela Hartnett
Consistency is very important in risotto — it should be slightly sloppy and not hold its shape on the plate — make sure you add lots of good-quality stock

Slow-roast lamb

Serves 6

Ingredients
1 shoulder of lamb, about 2kg
Olive oil
3 onions, halved
1 head garlic, halved
8 carrots, halved
3 fennel bulbs, quartered
Few sprigs rosemary
500ml white wine

Method
1. Preheat the oven to 150C/ gas 2. Season the lamb. Heat a roasting tray on the hob, add a splash of oil and brown the lamb all over.

2. Tuck the vegetables and herbs under the meat, pour over the wine and bring to the boil. Carefully cover with tin foil and transfer to the oven.

3. Cook for 4-5 hours until very tender. Remove the lamb and crush the vegetables with a potato masher to thicken the juices. Strain and serve poured over the lamb with mashed potatoes and steamed greens.

Chef’s tip

Chris Galvin
Stud the lamb before roasting with little sprigs of rosemary, peeled garlic cloves cut into quarters and 1cm pieces of anchovy fillet. Simply insert the point of a sharp knife 2cm into the leg around 30 times and insert ten of each of the above.

Chocolate mousse

Serves 4

Ingredients
150g milk chocolate
50ml double cream
1 large pinch sea salt
3 eggs, separated
Chopped hazelnuts, to garnish

Method
1. Break chocolate into a heatproof bowl. Add cream and salt and heat until melted, either in a microwave or set over a pan of simmering water (don’t let the bowl touch the water).

2. Allow the chocolate to cool a little, then add the beaten egg yolks and stir well to combine.

3. Whisk the egg whites to form stiff peaks. Gently fold into the chocolate mixture, until uniformly mixed.

4. Pour into individual bowls and chill for at least 2 hours in the fridge. Serve with nuts scattered over.


Chef’s tip

Thomasina Miers
I always add a few decent pinches of sea salt, a pinch of ground cinnamon and a tablespoonful of very good quality, 100 per cent agave tequila to a basic chocolate mousse — it has to be tasted to be believed

Originally posted 2015-12-24 12:47:51. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

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