Recipe: Cottage Pie

Hurrah, it’s getting colder and it’s pie time, yes yes yes!!! As an alternative to Sunday roast I love a good old Cottage Pie, rich, meaty and covered in bubbling cheese. Served with my Yorkshire puddings this goes down a treat and makes enough for leftover snap to take to work. This recipe is for 2 so just add more ingredients if you have more mouths to feed.

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You will need:

  • 250g lean Minced Beef
  • 2 Carrots
  • 1 Onion
  • 2 Rich Beef Stock cubes
  • 1 tablespoon Tomato Paste
  • good glug of Hendersons Relish
  • 300ml water
  • 1 tablespoon Bisto Beef Gravy Granuals
  • 5 Potatoes
  • Butter and Milk for Mash Potato
  • Salt and Pepper to season
  • 150g Mature Cheddar, grated

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Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 190 degrees Celsius.
  2. Finely dice the onion and carrots and fry over a medium heat for 5 mins until the onions start to turn translucent, turn up the heat and add the mince to the pan.
  3. While the meat is cooking, peel and chop the potatoes and start to boil to make the mash.
  4. Once the mince is cooked, add the stock cubes, herdersons, salt, pepper and water to the pan, turn down the heat and simmer. Add the gravy granuals to the pan and turn off he heat, mix until the liquid starts to thicken and transfer to an oven proof dish. (I know it’s a bit of a cheat move but it’s just an easy way to thicken the gravy and add more meaty flavour, forgive me?)
  5. After 10-  15 minutes of boiling the potatoes should be soft enough to drain and mash, then cream in the milk and butter and season.
  6. Top the meat mix with the mash flatten down, then sprinkle over cheese (of which I like to use a lot) and bake for 30 mins until the cheese is golden and the pie is bubbling. Mmmmmm.
  7. Serve with veg and Yorkshire puddings. Enjoy!!

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Recipe: Mediterranean Pork Kebabs

This is a simple yet flavoursome recipe which is what I made us for tea last night. I will admit I had a little mishap when making these, I would normally use onions or peppers to go alongside meat for the skewers but this time I decided to use leeks and, erm, well the kind of just fall off the skewers. But they chargrilled nicely anyway and became a tasty little side dish. This recipe uses pork but also works well on chicken too, or if you’re not a meat fan just mixed veg, just forget the leeks.

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You will need:

  • 500g Pork Loin, diced
  • juice of 1 Lemon
  • 1 teaspoon Dried Oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dried Marjoram
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dried Thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon Cayenne Powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon of Paprika
  • 3 cloves of Garlic
  • 1 Chicken stock cube, crumbled
  • salt and pepper to season
  • 6 Fresh Mint Leaves, chopped

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Method:

  1. Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and mix well to ensure the pork is well covered with all the flavours. Cover and leave to marinade for at least 30 mins.
  2. Thread the pork onto skewers, this should make approx 12 skewers which will be enough for about 4 people if served with a side dish/dishes.
  3. Over a high heat, heat a griddle pan until very hot and one by one add the skewers.
  4. Turn every few minutes to colour on each side. The kebabs will take approx 10 mins to cook but if you are unsure you can always cut open a pice of pork to check that the meat is no longer pink in colour.
  5. Once cooked sprinkle over fresh mint, take out the pan and serve.

I enjoyed my kebabs with roasted potatoes and homemade garlic and Parmesan bread but would go fantastic with Pitta bread, salad and Tzatziki (see older post for My Tzatziki recipe). This would also be great as part of a meat platter and great finger food when having friends over.

Recipe: Pink Pickled Onions

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These pickled onions have a slightly more fresh and foodie feel to them than those dreary silverskins you see on the supermarket shelves. These are easy to make, versatile and look great. You can tailor the flavours to a little bit of what you fancy, I made 3 different types all in cider vinegar; plain, garlic & pink peppercorn and Mexican style.  This recipe made 2 350g jars and 1 200g jar full.

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You will need:

  • 3 Red Onions sliced
  • approx 250ml Cider Vinegar
  • approx 250ml water
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt per jar
  • 1 teaspoon sugar per jar
  • Clean glass jars
  • plus for extra flavours:

Garlic & Pepper flavour;

  • 1/2 teaspoon pink peppercorns
  • 2 cloves of Garlic, halved

Mexican;

  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon pink peppercorns
  • Good pinch of dried chipotle chilli flakes

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Method: 

  1. Once you have sliced the onions in which ever way you fancy, I sliced mine into moons, put in a large bowl and cover with boiling water.
  2. After 20 seconds drain the water from the onions.
  3. Fill the onions into jars, making sure you press down well so the onions are compact.
  4. Once the jars are full then add your salt, sugar and your extra flavours.
  5. Pour over the cider vinegar until the  jar is filed half way up, fill up the jars with cold water to the top.
  6. Tightly screw on the caps and give the jars a good shake to disperse the flavourings.
  7. Leave the jars for a few days for the colour and flavours to develop and enjoy.

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This was the colour just after 1 day.

Great with many things, I’ll be enjoying mine with salads and as a side dish to many things. The Mexican will be great with pork pibil and tacos, mmmmm.

Another idea, these would make a great gift for any pickle lover.

Recipe: Easy Last Minute Peach Crumble

This was my saviour last night and my first crumble of the season, well we are well into the first week of September after all. This is an easy recipe for peach crumble which can be knocked up last minute and takes only 40 mins to prepare and bake, great if you get any unexpected visitors. With this recipe you also get extra crumble mix which can be stored in the fridge for a later date, or a later late night sweet fix.

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You will need:

  • 3 ripe Peaches/ Nectarines
  • 2 tablespoons Maple Syrup
  • 100g Plain Flour
  • 60g Sugar
  • 50g Butter (at room temperature)

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Method:

  1. De-stone and slice your peaches and mix with the maple syrup in a shallow oven proof dish.
  2. Place in a preheated oven at 200 degrees and bake for 20 mins.
  3. While the peaches are baking away, in a bowl rub together the flour, sugar and butter using your fingers. Carry on until the mixture forms crumbs, you’ll just know when it’s ready.
  4. Once the peaches have baked for 20 mins and top with your crumble mix, you’ll need to use about half of what you have made. Put the other half in a food bag and store in your fridge until the crumble cravings hit again.
  5. Bake for a further 15-20 mins until the crumble is golden brown and the fruit mix ifs bubbling through. Enjoy.

Recipe: Slow Cooker Beef Stifado

Another one of my Greek favourites the Beef Stifado made using a spice mix that I picked up on my holiday in Cyprus, fear not though see mix breakdown below which you can add the spices separately yourself. This recipe uses one of my favourite meat cuts of the moment beef shin, which you should be able to pick up at your butchers, it’s one of those forgotten cuts but slow cooked is succulent and just melts in the mouth. Easy to prepare and as it uses a slow cooker you can do the preparation the night before and allow to cook throughout the day while you work meaning it’s ready for you when you get home.

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You will need:

  • Beef Shin (as much or as little as you like)
  • 1 Jar of tomato based pasta sauce (eg. Bolognese, this is me cheating so you could substitute for chopped tomatoes and herbs)
  • 1 large glass of Red Wine
  • 2 tablespoons of Red Wine Vinegar
  • 1 Beef Stock Cube/ Stock Melt
  • 3 tablespoons Stifado Spice mix (which contains basil, onion, cinnamon, bay leaf, juniper and chilli)
  • 2 Onions- Sliced
  • 4 Whole cloves of Garlic
  • 2 Tomatoes- Chopped
  • 200ml water
  • Salt & Pepper

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Method:

  1. In a preheated oven at 180 degrees, season and roast you beef shin for 45- 50 mins until it has browned.
  2. Let the beef cool and add it with the rest of the ingredients with your slow cooker and slow cook for 8-10 hours.
  3. and… Enjoy! It’s literally as easy as that.

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I enjoyed my Stifado with roast potatoes and sprinkled on some freshly chopped mint how I would in Greece but would be good with roasted vegetables or rice. I even cooked up the leftovers with some pasta which was delicious.

Recipe: Maple Roasted Belly Pork

This great mid-week dinner is tasty, simple and cooks in about an hour and is a real treat. Belly Pork is a very versatile cut and takes on sweet flavours well, for this I decided to use Maple Syrup to roast the pork in which caramelises during cooking making to pork lovely and sticky. I made this a ‘one pot’ (or tray) tray bake and threw in some sweet potato, leeks and red onion. These cooked well with the meat and took on the flavour of the pork and the maple well and complimented the pork great.

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You will need:

  • 400- 500g Belly Pork Slices
  • 3 large Sweet Potatoes in large dices
  • 1 Leek sliced
  • 1 Red Onion sliced
  • Salt and Pepper to Season
  • 3 tablespoons of Maple Syrup

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Method:

  1. In a preheated oven at 220 degrees season you belly pork slices and roast in a large baking tray for 20 mins.
  2. Turn the oven temperature down to 180 degrees, take your pork out of the oven and add the sweet potato to the tray with the pork and drizzle over the maple syrup.
  3. Return to the oven and roast for 20 mins.
  4. Add the onion and leek and return to the oven, turn the oven back up to 220 degrees and cook for a further 20 mins basting the pork throughout until its caramelised and sticky.

Enjoy, serve with Apple Sauce or Caramelised Onion Chutney to add extra sweetness.

Recipe: Gin and Raspberry Cocktails

So after a beaut meal at the Wig and Pen we’ve come home to a night in of Cocktails and Captain America. Yum (cue: stop drooling, or try).

This week’s Saturday night treat is a gin special with fresh raspberries; fresh, zingy and so so tasty.

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  1. You will need (per glass):
  • 1 shot of gin (my choice is tanqueray or portobello road)
  • 1 dash of lemon vodka (I used grey goose)
  • 6 raspberries, plus more to garnish
  • tonic
  • elderflower sparkling water

Method:

  1. Add the ice a raspberries to a glass, for a quirky feel why not try using jam jar style. Muddle together until the raspberries are broken up.
  2. Add your spirits to the glass and mix.
  3. To finish fill the rest of the glass half up with tonic and the rest with sparkling elderflower water. Add more raspberries to garnish and enjoy!!

Recipe: Tzatziki

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This is my recipe for my ultimate favourite dip Tzatziki. This is a real taste of holiday and always brings me a sunny feeling. For over 10 years I have holidayed in Cyprus or Greek island where this dip is an ultimate staple. When eating Greek you NEED this dip. I love it.

You will need:

  • 1/2 Cucumber
  • 300g Greek Yoghurt (full fat, low fat, whatever you fancy)
  • 2 Cloves of Garlic
  • 15- 20 Fresh Mint Leaves
  • Juice of 1/2 to 1 Lemon
  • Salt and Pepper to season

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Method:

  1. In a preheated oven, roast the whole garlic cloves in an oven proof dish for about 5 mins, take out and allow to cool. This gives the dip the garlic flavour without the sharp raw taste.
  2. Next, prepare your cucumber. Use half and coarsely grate and finely chop the other half.
  3. Add a pinch of salt to the cucumber mix and allow to sit for a couple of mins. Squeeze out and drain as much water as you can get out to ensure that the dip isn’t too wet.
  4. Finely chop the mint and add to the cucumber; I find an easy way of doing this is to pile all the mint leaves up, rolling them together and then chopping it up.
  5. Once the garlic has cooled, remove its skin and finely chop. Add to the cucumber mix.
  6. Add the yoghurt, lemon juice, salt and pepper and give a good mix. Taste and add more seasoning if you desire.. and done!!

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This is a great simple dip which is great to impress your friends or just to simply ‘pimp up’ your meal and will keep good in the fridge for a fair few days. An instant taste of summer perfect for all year round.

 

Recipe: Lunchtime Halloumi Skewers

If your anything like me you need your lunch to be tasty, interesting and fresh. I easily get bored with eating the same foods everyday and you know what they say, variety is the spice of life!! Yesterdays lunch was no different and was inspired by the block of Halloumi sat in my fridge purchased on last weekends shop. This is quick, easy and not only a great for lunch but also good as part of a Meze or platter.

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(the below recipe was for my lunch and is enough for one person)

You will need:

  • 1/3 block Halloumi Cheese, cut into cubes (1-2cm)
  • Juice of 1/2 a Lemon
  • 3-4 Mint Leaves Chopped
  • pinch of Oregano (fresh or dried)
  • Black Pepper to season
  • Salad to serve (or whatever else you choose)

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Method:

  1. Put the cubes of Halloumi in a bowl with the lemon juice, mint, oregano and black pepper, mix, cover and leave to marinade for 30 mins.
  2. Thread the Halloumi onto skewers and place into a preheated frying pan/ griddle. Save the remains of the marinade in the bowl, you will need this later.
  3. Grill each side for 30 secs- 1 min until you see and nice golden crust forming. Once all four sides are cooked, turn off the heat and pour over the remainder of the marinade which will start to sizzle in the pan.
  4. Take out of the pan and serve with whatever you fancy.

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I enjoyed mine with salad, Tzatiki and these little Pearl Onion from Aldi. To top it all off the sun was shining and I managed to enjoy my lunch al fresco.

And today, because it’s Friday it’s going to be good old Fish & Chips.

 

 

Recipe: Mojito Salsa

I must admit it, this was a complete fluke but ended up being an amazing discovery. Halfway through making Salsa last night I realised that I had no corriander (cue panic!!) so as a bit of a gamble I decided to use mint instead. I then came to the theory (a very sensible one) that since the combination works so well in Mojitos I’ll add some golden rum and tadaa! it worked a treat.

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You will need:

  • Handfull of Tomatoes Piccolino or Baby Plum
  • Juice of half a Lime
  • Quarter a Red Onion
  • Red Chilli (as much or as little depending on how hot you want it)
  • Few Mint Leaves
  • 1- 2 teaspoons of Golden Rum (I preferre Havana Club)
  • Salt and Pepper to season.

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Method:

  1. Finely dice onion, red chilli and mint and add to a bowl with the lime juice.
  2. Roughly chop the tomatoes and add to the mix and stir, sprinkle over the rum and add salt and pepper to taste. If you feel it needs it or just like your salsas on the sweet side add a pinch of sugar (granulated or demerara will work fine). Enjoy!!

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This would be perfect for any mexican dish, I enjoyed mine with mexican spiced chicken, mashed avacado and wedges.