Sunday, 10 June 2012


Smoke mackerel is dead cheap, versatile and incredibly flavoursome
and we usually have a pack in the freezer on standby.

Perfect in pasta, I often make a mackerel carbonara which I will add to the blog soon.
In a sandwich with lashings of mayo or in crunchy salads like this lentil one.

The Salad
2 smoked mackerel fillets
6-8 asparagus - blanched 
1 red onion - sliced
1 tin of green lentils - rinsed
2 handfuls of rocket leaves
1 tomato - sliced
2 free range eggs 

The French dressing 
1 tbsp olive oil, 
1/2 lemon juice 
1tsp Dijon
Pinch of sugar

Serves 2

Cook the asparagus for 3-4 minutes and plunge straight into cold water.
Boil  the eggs for 5 minutes and again plunge into cold water.
In the meantime, skin the mackerel removing any large pin bones and
break up in to large pieces.
Slice the onion and the tomato and throw into a mixing bowl along with the lentils, 
asparagus, rocket and mackerel.

To make the dressing

Put the Dijon mustard into a small bowl and spoon on the olive oil a little at a time,
 stirring well to combine before you add more.
When all the oil is combined add the lemon juice and sugar.
Stir and leave to sit for a few minutes to allow the sugar to dissolve.
Drizzle the dressing over the prepared salad and toss

Serve the salad onto two plates, half the eggs and place them on the top

Saturday, 9 June 2012


This recipe uses an organic, free range pork tenderloin.  
I cooked this slightly pink which is fine just as long as you are using good quality pork.


Pork tenderloin
6 chorizo sausages 
2 tins of beans (flageolet & cannelloni)
2 sticks of celery - sliced
1 red pepper - sliced
1 yellow pepper - sliced
1 onion - sliced
3 cloves garlic - chopped
4 ripe tomatoes - chopped 
tomato puree
pinch of chilli powder
salt & pepper
200ml water

Cut the sausages in to large chunks and fry 
When brown on all over, put to one side

Using the same frying pan, add the peppers, celery, garlic, onion, tomatoes and lovage 
and fry for a few minutes until softened.

Rinse the beans and add to the vegetables with the chorizo sausage.
Squeeze in a good desert spoon of tomato puree and stir in, continue to fry for a few more minutes.

Add the water, stir the pot and cover with a lid.
Simmer for 15 minutes

In the meantime, prepare the tenderloin by lightly coating with the paprika and chilli powder and 
fry off in a hot pan to brown the outside.  
Place in a preheated oven at 180 degrees for 5-10 minutes until core temperature is 60 degrees.
If you prefer your pork well done, then cook for 20 minutes until the core temperature is 70 degrees. 

Thickly slice the tenderloin
Spoon the sausage and bean stew on to a plate and place the sliced meat on top
Serve with green beans or curly kale

Friday, 8 June 2012


A fish pie to die for, hence the 'must try' title.
One helping just isn't enough!

You know me by now, I will always recommend you use the best ingredients and in this case, your local 
fish mongers.  We are lucky enough to have Mr Turner but if your only option is the supermarket,
make sure it's as fresh as possible; it will make all the difference.


250g salmon
250g smoked haddock
150g cod
100g peeled prawns
3 soft boiled eggs
750g potatoes - cooked and mashed with 40g of butter and a grating of nutmeg
Half glass white wine (optional)
300ml water
200ml milk
75g Parmesan
Salt & Pepper

75g butter
75g plain flour
100ml double cream

Serves 6

Poach the fish for 10 minutes in a saute pan with a lid.
Do this by simmering on a low heat in the milk, water and white wine 
Take off the heat and allow to cool for 5 minutes 
Remove the fish from the saute pan onto a plate and allow to cool further.
Save the liqueur , you will need this for the sauce.
When the fish is cold enough to handle, flake, removing the skin and bones.
Place the flaked fish in a deep baking dish 30cm x 40cm and scatter over the prawns
Grate over half of the Parmesan.

Soft boil three eggs for 5 minutes and plunge into cold water (to stop the egg cooking any more)
Quarter and lay on top of the fish.

Now for the sauce....
Melt the butter in a saucepan, add the flour and allow to cook on a medium heat while stirring.
Add the liqueur from the fish, a little at a time, stirring until combined before you add more.
Add a little water if the sauce is too thick - it should be thick enough to coat the back of the spoon
Remove from the heat and stir in the cream 
Pour evenly over the fish and egg

Fork over the prepared mash potato and grate on the rest of the Parmesan

Bake in the oven for half an hour at 190 degrees or until the top is golden brown and the sauce 
is bubbling up, as shown.

Serve with green beans or vegetables of your choice.

Tuesday, 5 June 2012


Banoffee Pie & Bread Pudding for the Queens Jubilee weekend
Not ground breaking but great for using up left overs

300g oat biscuits
70g melted butter
3 banana's - sliced
300ml double cream
1 tbsp icing sugar
297g Nestle carnation caramel
50g melted dark chocolate for decoration

Blend up the biscuits and add the melted butter
Press into a flan dish with removable base and leave to cool for 10 minutes
Spread over the caramel and refrigerate for an hour
Layer over the sliced banana.
Whip the cream, fold in the icing sugar and gently spread over the banana
Drizzle over the melted chocolate
Keep chilled

Bread Pudding

500g stale bread (we used bread rolls)
200ml milk
100g sugar
100g butter
200g sultanas or raisins
2 eggs
Zest and juice of half a lemon
Generous grating of nutmeg
Pinch of Cinnamon
Measure of whiskey (optional)
Light brown sugar to sprinkle over the top

Cube the bread and put into a large mixing bowl.
Tip over the milk, stir and leave to soak into the bread for half an hour
Whisk up the eggs and mix in to the milk soaked bread
Add the sugar, butter, dried fruit, nutmeg, cinnamon, lemon and whiskey and stir in.
Line a deep baking dish 20cm x 30cm with grease-proof paper and pour in the mixture.
Sprinkle of a good helping of light brown sugar for a sweet crispy top 
and bake in the oven for 1 hour at 170 degrees
Allow to cool and cut into 3cm fingers

Sometimes the old classics are enough!


The picnic in the park for the Queens jubilee which due to the great British weather, turned into a pint and a pork pie in the park, with waterproofs and a big brollie.

Still, there was a good crowd with plenty more beers later!

God bless her.

Monday, 4 June 2012


My dear old Granddad, who incidentally was 103 last month, comes from a family of butchers going back three generations. Here's a photo of one of their shops in London, taken in the 1890's.

Only those wearing aprons worked in the shop, so who were the rest?
Customers of the Middleton arms we think!

Behind all the carcasses is the family name, Baker as shown on this photo found
on line here Baker & Sons Butchers


 Seeing as it was national barbecue week last week and the weather was good, we decided to cook up the venison fillet we still had left.

First thing to do is trim off any sinew (the stringy bit!)
The best way to do this is using the same technique as skinning a fish.
Place on a chopping board.

Start with the sinew facing upwards and using the tip of a sharp knife, lift up a corner of the sinew and carefully slice the meat away until you about 25mm loose.
Turn the meat over so the sinew is underneath, continue to slice along whilst pulling the sinew. 
Keep the knife flat to the chopping board. 

The meat is now ready to marinate.
Do this at least a couple of hours before or over night if you have time.

1tspn dried ginger
2 tbsp dark soya sauce
1 tsp ground nut oil
2 tsp vegetable oil
pinch of salt
pinch of sugar

Cook on the BBQ for 4-5 minutes a side, constantly turning.
We cooked ours to a core temperature of 55 degrees which is medium rare.

Thinly slice across the grain of the meat as shown and serve

French stick with cranberry and Dijon mustard
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...