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One Pot Wonder – Braised Pork Chops with Potato and Courgette

10 Apr

We love a good one pot wonder in this house.  So many cheaper cuts of meat can have a good bubble in the oven and taste absolutely delicious.  Here is how the recipe went when my partner made it last, but you can change the ingredients to your taste or to what you have at the ready.  The recipe is loosely based on Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s Recipe in his MEAT Book (Pan to Oven Pork Chops)


2 good sized Pork Chops

3Tablespoons Olive Oil

6-8 Cloves of Garlic

3 Large Waxy Potatoes (peeled and diced)

1 Large Courgette (diced)

1-2 Bay Leaves

4 Sprigs of Thyme

3-4 Fresh Green Chillies (optional)

200ml of Chicken or Vegetable Stock

150ml white wine/cider


Put diced potatoes into pot of water and parboil for 2-3minutes – drain and leave until later

Heat olive oil in large oven proof pan and brown the pork chops

Take them out and leave on a covered warm plate

Place the cloves of garlic, skin and all, into the oil, roast them for a few minutes

Add Bay Leaf and Thyme

Add Courgette, Potatoes and Chillies – Fry for 3-5minutes

Add in the stock and wine or cider

Place the chops back in the pot, taking care to leave the fatty part and rind of the chop exposed so you can get some crackling

Place in the oven for 45minute-1hour at 180degrees centigrade.

‘CHEF”s TIPS’:  You can add or substitute these ingredients into this one pot wonder – diced apples, tomatoes or sweet potato just for a few variations.


Spaghetti and Meatballs – a firm favourite

2 Apr

This dish is my partner’s recipe and in all its simplicity is one of our family’s favorite.  So with out further ado’s here is the recipe:

Meatball Mix:

450g good quality beef mince – you can add a smaller proportion of this as pork mince if you have some available (or you could use a couple of skinned pork sausages instead)

Half a Medium sized Onion

1 Thick Slice Bread

1 Beaten Egg

Parsley (good handful of the leaves) or 3 sprigs of Thyme (pick the leaves off)

Pinch of Salt and Black Cracked Pepper

3 Tablespoons Olive Oil

Tomato Sauce:

Roughly three more tablespoons olive oil

The other half of the Onion

3 Cloves Garlic

Bay Leaf

1 Teaspoon Oregano

250Ml Stock (Veg/Chicken)

Tin of Plum Toms (blended until a puree)

Salt and Cracked Black Pepper to your taste

A pinch or two of chilli flakes (optional for adults)


For the meatballs

Finely chop the onion and parsley add to mince in a mixing bowl

Make bread crumbs out of the slice add to mix

Add beaten egg

Add salt and pepper

Mix all together well, cover and let all ingredients ‘get to know each other’

For the sauce-

Heat olive oil in saucepan

Cook onions until transparent

Add garlic, cook some more

Add bay leaf and oregano, salt and pepper (and chilli flakes)

Add stock, boil to reduce to half its volume

Add Chopped tin of Tomatoes simmer for a further 45minutes


Make 4-5cm diameter meatballs, rolling each in between the palms of your hands

Heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in an oven proof pan (it needs to have a lid for the oven cook)

Brown the meatballs on all sides

Add sauce to meatballs in pan

Put a lid on and put the pan in the oven at 180degrees cent. for 45 minutes

Cook spaghetti and eat.  This meal is absolutely worth the time and effort –  delicious

Spotty Bananas Again….what to do with them

26 Mar

Make a banana cake, the spottier the better I find.  The cake gets so sticky and sweet it is absolutely delicious.  The recipe is from my good old faithful ‘Edmond’s Cookery Book’  and is as follows:

125g (4ozs.) Butter

175g (60zs.) Sugar

2 Eggs

2 Mashed Bananas

1 teaspoon Bicarbonate of Soda

2 Tablespoons of Boiling Milk

1 teaspoon of Baking Powder

225g Flour

Cream butter and sugar.

Add eggs and mashed bananas.

Then add bicarbonate of soda dissolved in the boiling milk.

Finally add the mixture of baking powder and flour.

Bake in loaf tin or 24cm square cake tin for 30min at 180degrees cent. or until skewer comes out clean and cake a light brown colour.

(Edmonds bakes the cake in two small sandwich tins for twenty minutes and suggests to put the 2 cakes together with whipped cream and sliced bananas in the center – Very Naughty But Very Nice)

Four Ingredient Shortbread – Recipe

22 Mar

Easy to make and all ingredients should be at hand.  Easy to remember too as the ingredients measurements are as follows:

225g / 8oz Butter

225g / 8oz Flour

125g / 4oz Cornflour

125g / 4oz Caster Sugar

Cream Butter and Sugar together.

Add Sifted Flours.

Knead well.

Press into 22-24cm greased tin.

Prick with fork all over.

Mark out ‘short bread fingers’ with a knife.

Sprinkle fine layer of sugar.

Chill until firm (roughly half hour) and then bake in a 170degree cent. oven for 45-55mins or until light brown biscuit colour.

Chocolate Cake from Leiths Baking Bible – Recipe

10 Mar

This is my most favourite chocolate cake to make and eat.  From ‘Leiths Baking Bible’ by SUSAN SPAULL AND FIONA BURREL.  Here follows the recipe:

Leiths Baking Bible

115g/4oz soft light brown sugar

115g/4oz caster sugar

115g/4oz butter

4 eggs (room temp. and beaten)

170g/6oz self raising flour

55g/2oz cocoa powder

1.5tsp bicarbonate of soda

A pinch of salt

6tablespoons of creme fraiche or soured cream

1tsp vanilla (I omit this)

Cream sugar and butter together ’till pale and creamy

Beat the eggs in gradually

Fold in sifted flour, cocoa powder and bicarb and creme fraiche alternately.  Put in vanilla

Divide into two shallow baking dishes and bake in oven at 180degrees cent. for 25-30minutes until cake is risen.

Allow to cool


200g of good dark chocolate Leith suggests 225g

rest of tub of soured cream Leith suggest 225g

caster sugar to taste Leith suggests 1 tablespoon (I omit it completely)

I think you don’t need quite as much icing as Leiths Baking Bible suggest, but it is dependent on your taste.

Heat the chocolate in pot over another pot of hotsteaming water.  Do not overwork.

Add in the soured cream and caster sugar.

Put onto cakes and join them together.


Pastry Baking – I am in AWE

1 Mar

YES I am!!  Dan Lepard, wow…..and Michel Roux – the master of many things one of which is pastry.  I aspire to make pastry to these chefs perfection.  For this type of baking it took all the patience and concentration I could muster yesterday.  It is truly a labor of love.  Another steep learning curve in the hope that I can improve my pastry skills the next time round – if there ever is a next time round.  Simplicity and good ingredients, I think, is half of it – a cold kitchen, hands and marble slate another bit and knowledge behind pastry making definitely helpful, hmm, I don’t think I had the full quota.  But I did make a lemon and lime tart – ala Jamie Oliver and Dan Lepard and Richard Whittington – and it still tastes yummy.  So here it follows:

Sweet Pastry in Dan Lepard and Richard Whittington ‘Exceptional Cakes’ pg102:

You can easily half this recipe and be fine as it will make two 25cm diameter tart dishes.  You can also freeze half of it for the next time.

500g Plain Flour

150g Caster Sugar

100g Ground Almonds

380g Chilled Butter Diced

1 egg and 2 egg yolks

Half tsp grated Lemon Zest (I omitted this completely)

1tsp Rum or Brandy  (I used Masarla instead)

Here is where I think simplicity is important and in my opinion the above pastry mix is too complicated for the likes of me.  I would, in future, use a basic sweet pastry perhaps looking for a recipe from the master himself Michel Roux.

Mix the butter and flour, sugar, almonds together in mixer until it resembles bread crumbs ( I had no mixer,so worked it through with my hands try not to overwork the pastry – not sure?  I’m not either – ask Michelle Roux)

Add whole egg and egg yolks, lemon zest and brandy

Mix, then add in pinch of salt

Mix until pastry starts to ball

Scrape onto cling film in a rough ball – chill for at least 2 hours (can keep for up to a week in fridge)

Lightly flour baking parchment and roll out pastry

Roll out pastry until 2-3mm thick, let it over hang the dish by five cm

Place in tart dish press in pastry and fold over some of the overhanging to give thicker tart edge

Chill for at least 20minutes

Blind Bake at 190degrees cent for 15minutes

Take out, let it cool slightly.

Paint beaten egg mix over to give it water proof layer.  Bake for further 15 minutes at 150degrees cent.

In the meantime Jamie’s part:

15og Caster Sugar

8 Large eggs

350ml Double Cream

200ml lime Juice

100ml lemon juice

Zest of four limes (if you fancy it)

Whisk the sugar and eggs together

Slowly mix in the double cream, lime and lemon juice into the eggy mix

Return Cooled tart dish to oven Pour in the very liquid mix into the sweet pastry base- (About half of it – keep rest for next tart)

Bake at 180 degrees cent. for 40-45minutes or until the the mix it cooked on the outside but wobbly in the middle.

Take out and allow to cool completely – as the mix needs to set.

Eat.  It is yummy, and even the pastry tastes good – through all the trials of it.  It gets the thumbs up in this house!


How to make YUMMY Pear, Apple and Date Chutney

17 Feb

I thought it was about time to attempt a chutney.  I have watched it being done and know the process to be long, but rewarding.  I have based this chutney on my partner’s recipe adding my own mix of spice to it.  As I sit and write this I am smelling the sweet chutney mix as it simmers on the cooker.  This recipe makes roughly6 medium sized jars.  Feel free to change any of the fruit ingredients as you please, as long as the culmination of all add up to five pounds.

This was what my mix included:

2lbs of Pears

1lb of a selction of Onions and Shallots and 3 cloves of garlic inclusive.

1lb of Apple

8oz. of Courgette/Marrow

8.0z Dates/Raisins

1tsp Salt

3 tablspoons pickling spice/ or spices of own choice

1pnt Malt Vinegar

1lb Demerara sugar

There is a lot of chopping and peeling involved – here follow the instructions:

Peel and rough chop all pears, apples, courgette/marrow.  Pit and rough chop dates.

Fine chop onions and garlic.

Place all of fruit and onion along with the salt into a large pan.

In a sheet of muslin cloth tie the spice, add this to the pan.

Add a half pint of malt vinegar and bring to the boil.  Reduce heat and simmer for roughly 1-2 hours or until the chutney is thick and reduced.  Stirring it regularly.

When this is done, in another pan put the rest of the vinegar and sugar.  Heat the mixture gently until all sugar is dissolved.  Add to chutney.

Simmer chutney for a further 1.5-2.5 hours or until the chutney is thick.  Stir every so often.

Take out the muslin spice bag and spoon out the chutney into sterilized jars  cover and lid immediately.

And the finished product – a very satisfying feeling after the days work.

Top Tip:  Do leave your chutney to mature for at least a month.


To do this clean all jars thoroughly in soapy water.  Take out and leave to drain upside down.

Place in warm oven upside down (temp: 110degrees Celsius) for half an hour, allow to cool before placing chutney into them.

Boil lids for 10 minutes in pot.

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