Store cupboard chowder

I picked up this beautiful piece of dyed cod loin at the weekend, half price.  I’m not often in the supermarket at the right time for bargains!

dyed cod loin

I raided the store cupboards and make a this chowder.


Store Cupboard Chowder
(serves 4)

300g  dyed cod loin
300g  sliced new potatoes
1  sliced onion
1  150g can sweetcorn
200ml  milk/evaporated milk
400ml  vegetable  stock
3 slices of Parma ham
1tsp  rapeseed oil


  1. Sauté the onion in the rapeseed oil.
  2. Chop the Parma ham and add to the onions.
  3. Mix in the sliced potato.
  4. Add stock, milk and seasoning.
  5. Bring to the boil, then turn down to low, cover with lid and simmer for 10 minutes.
  6. Place cod loin on top of vegetables.
  7. Cover again and continue to simmer  for 5 minutes.
  8. Turn off the heat and leave for a further  5 minutes.
  9. Check seasoning.





Comfort food


mashed potato


As the nights draw in and I get home from hectic days at work nothing is  more welcome than mashed potatoes.  My ultimate comfort food!  My basic recipe is to boil Maris Piper or Cara potatoes (but sometimes beggars can’t be choosers and I use whatever I have).   Then I add a generous knob of butter, grated cheddar and bunch of spring onions, adding salt to taste and then I mash it carefully – there is nothing worse than lumpy mash! I love it and can happily eat this on its own but it is also delicious with stews. I love it even more when it has soaked up some sauce or gravy.

I also add other vegetables to my mash. My favourite is shredded Savoy Cabbage, but crushed Brussels Sprouts, carrots, swede and parsnips are all just as good.

When  I taste a well  made mash my troubles melt away and I feel the comfort of my Nana and my Mum surrounding me and nothing seems so bad.


Slow cooker lamb shanks

A firm favourite in the winter when we are out for the day.  I love opening the door to the delicious smells of supper already cooked.

Slow Cooked Lamb Shanks
(serves 2)

2 lamb shanks
an assortment of root veg
300 ml stock
glass of red wine (optional)
favourite seasoning


1.    Peal and chop the vegetables and put in the bottom of the slow cooker.

2.    Remove excess fat from the lamb shank and put it on top of the vegetables.

        (Some people prefer to brown the lamb – I don’t bother. I never have the time)

3.    Add the stock, red wine and seasoning.

4.    Cover and cook on low for 8 – 10 hours.

5.    Remove the vegetables with a slotted spoon and mash.

cooked lamb shanks


Slow cooker Goulash

(serves 4)

2 tbs light olive oil
2 onions, chopped
600 g stewing steak
1 tbs unami puree
1 anchovy fillet, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
2 tbs sweet paprika
2oo ml red wind
400 g tinned chopped tomatoes
2 romero peppers, chopped
300 ml beef stock
1 tbs sauce flour
sour cream


1.  Chop beef into 3 cm cubes.
2.  Toss is flour and season.
3.  Sauté onions and garlic in light olive oil . 
4.  Remove from pan to slow cooker .
5.  Brown beef in pan.
6.  Remove from pan to slow cooker.
7.  Add remaining ingredients (except sour cream)  to slow cooker.
8.  Cook on high for  6 – 8 hours.
7.   Serve on a bed or rice and stop with sour cream.

Delicious on a cold winter evening.


Leftover Salmon risotto

Leftover Salmon Risotto
(makes 2 generous portions)

salmon risotto

1tsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
150g  Arborio rice
900ml chicken stock
100ml  vermouth
frozen petit pois
1 cooked salmon fillet
grated parmesan


  1. Gently soften the onion in the olive oil.
  2. Add the risotto rice coat in oil.
  3. Gradually stir in  the stock & vermouth mixture a little at a time – adding more when rice has absorbed all liquid in pan.
  4. After 10 minutes add a handful of petit pois.
  5. After another 5 minutes add the flaked salmon fillet.
  6. The risotto is ready when grains are soft and creamy.
  7. Season to taste.
  8. Serve with grated parmesan.


Lemon Rice

Many years ago I learnt how to make rice from an amazing Indian chef.  I’ve used her recipe and variations of it ever since and they have  never failed. This is a delicious variation.

Lemon Rice
(serves 4)

lemon rice

250g Basmati rice
¾ pt chicken stock
1 small onion, sliced
1tsp light olive oil
1 large lemon, zest & juice
¼ tsp turmeric or strands of saffron
(I tend to use turmeric to accompany curries and saffron to accompany lighter dishes.)


  1. Soak the rice in cold water while you prepare the other ingredients.
  2. Zest & juice the lemon.
  3. Slice the onion.
  4. Brown the onions in the olive oil.
  5. While they are browning make up the stock, including the lemon juice and the saffron if you’re using it.
  6. Rinse and drain the rice.
  7. Add lemon rind to pan.
  8. Add the rice and coat with the oil and onions.
  9. Sprinkle in the turmeric if you are using it.
  10. Stir in the stock.
  11. Bring to the boil.
  12. Put on a well-fitting lid.
  13. Reduce heat and simmer for a couple of minutes.
  14. Turn off heat but leave on hob for about 15 minutes.
  15. No matter how much you are tempted to, do not remove the lid.  It won’t work if you do!


Fruity Chicken

I started out to make a Lemony Chicken Bake only to find that all the lemons were gone, so I used up the last of the  limes and oranges instead.

Fruity Chicken
(Serves 4)

citrus chicken and rice


8  chicken thighs
500g  carrots and parsnips – chopped into approx. 2” pieces
1  large onion, sliced
1 tbsp  light olive oil
3 tbsp.  honey
3 tbsp.  Devon Fire – onion, pepper and orange chutney
2 limes, zest & juice
2 oranges, zest & juice
3 tbsp. vermouth
1 tbsps.  tomato ketchup
1 tsps.  ginger – I used little packet of pre chopped ginger called One Shot
A handful of whole nuts – I used cashews.


  1. Brown the chicken thighs in the olive oil.
  2. Transfer to the ovenproof dish with a slotted spoon.
  3. Brown the onions.
  4. Transfer to the ovenproof dish.
  5. Add the carrots and parsnips to the dish.
  6. Stir the remaining ingredients together and add to dish.
  7. Put dish a pre heated 180oC over for about 30 minutes.
  8. Mix in nuts.
  9. Cook for another 10 minutes.
  10. Serve with Lemon Rice.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Marie

Spicy Lamb Kofta Tagine

I’ve been cooking Lamb Koftas for years, usually serving it with tomato and onion salad so we tend to eat it in spring and summer. Recently I’ve seem a lot of recipes for Kofta tagines and thought I’d try one.  When I looked in the cupboard for apricots I only had cherries and cranberries so I used them instead. Not very North African but tasted great in the end. I think we’ll be having Koftas all year round now!


Spicy Lamb Kofta Tagine
(serves 4)



1 tbsp.  olive oil
1 chopped onion
½ tsp. cumin seeds
1/tsp. pepper corns
1 piece cassia bark
1 or 2 chopped garlic cloves
2 tsp. chopped root ginger
1 or 2  chopped fresh chilli
1 tsp.  turmeric
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp.  coriander
1 lemon, rind and juice
400g  tinned tomatoes
2 tbsp. runny honey
150g  dried cranberries & cherries


400g lean lamb mince
1 large onion – chopped
1 tbsp mango chutney
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp corriander
1 tbsp mint


  1. Heat the olive oil in a large pan.
  2. Add the whole spices.
  3. When they begin to crackle ad the garlic and onion.
  4. Reduce heat and cook until onion is soft but not brown.
  5. Add the chilli and the dried spices.
  6. Add tinned tomatoes, lemon and honey.
  7. Mix well.
  8. Add the dried fruit.
  9. Put a lid on the pan and simmer gently for 20 minutes.
  10. While the sauce is simmering make the Kofta.
  11. Don’t put the Kofta balls in the oven; put them into the simmering sauce.
  12. Replace the lid and continue to simmer for about ½ an hour.
  13. Don’t forget to check the seasoning!

kofta and rice

Hope you enjoy it too!


Delicious Leek and Potato Soup

It was a busy  day at work yesterday  including a stressful presentation so when I got home I just wanted to relax and  ended up rummaging in the fridge and used some left overs to make this soup for lunch today.

Leek and Potato Soup
(serves 4)



2  leeks, thinly sliced
1 onion, diced
3 or 4  potato, halved and sliced
3 rashers of bacon, diced
½ l  chicken stock
Knob of butter


  1. Sauté  the onions in the butter until transparent.
  2. Add bacon and leeks.
  3. Add potatoes. Coat in mixture.
  4. Add stock.
  5. Season.
  6. Bring to the boil.
  7. Reduce heat. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes.
  8. Zap with hand blender.

lee and potato soup

If I’m feeling indulgent I top  soup with swirl of  crème fraiche, but if  I’m being good I use yoghurt and when  I’m feeling virtuous then there’s no topping at all!




Stuffed Romano Peppers

Life is getting back to normal this week after spending all of June so far writing reports and having my Knight in Shining Armour at home  sick.   I’ve been enjoying pottering in the kitchen again not just heating ready meals.   This is one of my favourite quick supper recipes – the peppers just melt in your mouth – and as an added bonus it’s gluten free.

Stuffed  Romano Peppers

Stuffed peppers

Romano pepper

1 portion Bolognese sauce (my recipe is below)

Grated cheese

Olive oil

  1. Cut the pepper in half and de-seed.
  2. Lightly coat with olive oil
  3. Put in a hot oven 190o for about 5 minutes.
  4. Spoon the Bolognese sauce  into the pepper.
  5. Return to the oven for 15 minutes.
  6. Sprinkle with grated cheese.
  7. Return to the oven to melt the cheese.

Delicious on their own or with salad and pasta.

This is my cheat’s recipe for healthy, thrifty Bolognese sauce.

Quick Bolognese  Saucebolognese

400 g      lean minced beef

1 jar        Dolmino Light Bolognese sauce

100 g      dried red lentils

½ jar      water

  1. Brown the mince  – no need to add extra  oil.
  2. Stir in the Bolognese sauce.
  3. ½ fill the jar with water and add to pan.
  4. Stir in the lentils.
  5. Bring to the boil and then simmer for 20 minutes.
  6. Add extra water if required.

When cool, I usually divide the sauce into 4 portions for freezing.