Sunday, 26 February 2012

More of a Boast than a Post

I’ve just finished eating one of the most gorgeous Sunday roasts you could ever wish to eat. I’m not going to tell you how I cook it in this post, because this is more of a boast than a post.

 I love Sunday’s not just because it is my only day off, but also because I have 2 of the best meals, Smoked River Cobbler and Scrambled Eggs at around 10:30 am and then I wait until the evening to have roast chicken, roast potatoes, vegetables and the best gravy in the world.

 I think the gravy can make or break a good roast dinner, so take a look at my gravy post and give it a try.

 I live on my own which has its drawbacks but it also has its advantages especially on a Sunday when all the timings are up to me and me alone, I can have breakfast near lunchtime, drink scotch and coke while listening to music in the afternoon and have dinner with JP Chenet exactly when I want to.

 So I’m full now, its 8:00 pm I’m going to finish this post, watch some TV and then bed because I have to be up at the crack of dawn to feed the masses.

 Thanks for letting me think that you have the slightest interest in what I do on a Sunday, good night and god bless.

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Saturday, 25 February 2012

River Cobbler on Noodles in a Cracked Black Pepper Sauce

River Cobbler on Noodles in a Cracked Black Pepper Sauce

River Cobbler
To cook yesterdays Chow Mein I bought about twice the amount of fresh noodles than I needed so I have to use the rest today. That’s not a problem with noodles because there are endless possibilities with them, what I like to do is make a sauce and coat them with it, a bit like a Bolognese and spaghetti.

Noodles So tonight as I have some river cobbler I’m going to make a creamy white wine sauce to go with the fish and the Noodles.

 So here we go: -

1 fillet of river cobbler for each person
200 gm Noodles per person
100 ml double cream
2 or 3 knobs of butter
½ glass of white wine
1 tbs plain flour
½ tsp fennel seeds
1 tbs cracked black pepper

Adjust the amounts of sauce ingredients according to taste and the amount of people you are cooking for.

Melt the butter in a wok and cook the fish for about 5 minutes each side on a medium heat. When the fish is cooked through take it out of the wok and plaice it somewhere to keep warm.

River Cobbler
 Put the flour into the butter and fish juices and stir into a paste, then add the wine, fennel, parsley and black pepper and again stir into a paste. Now add the cream and stir well, keep this simmering on a low heat for about 15 minutes, you must make sure that the wine has cooked out otherwise you will get a bitter taste, so keep tasting. To get the consistence that you want add some vegetable stock or water, keep working it and tasting until you are satisfied.
River Cobbler

 Add the noodles and simmer for another 5 minutes. Spoon the noodles onto a plate, place the fish on top and drizzle some sauce over the fish.
River Cobbler

 Wonderful, you’ll enjoy this.

Friday, 24 February 2012

White Fish Chow Mein

I love Chow Mein from my local takeaway; I usually have special Chow Mein which includes chicken, prawns and beef. But tonight I had all the ingredients for the sauce and only a couple of small fillets of white fish in the fridge, so I thought why not.

 Now this is my take on Chow Mein, it’s very quick and very very tasty.

 So here we go: -

 ½ tsp five spice
Tsp garlic powder
Tsp powdered ginger
1 dollop brown sauce (HP)
1 veg stock cube
2 tbs soy sauce
Olive oil
¼ glass of white wine
2 fillets white fish
1 onion
200 gm Fresh noodles
100 gm fresh Bean sprouts

Heat about 2 tbs of olive oil in a wok and add the chopped onion, fry for a couple of minutes then add the spices ,brown sauce and soy sauce then stir, add the fish and cook for about 5 minutes,  then add the wine and simmer for about 5 minutes.

 Don’t forget to keep tasting and adjust if you need to, now add about a cup full of water and bring to the boil and add the veg stock cube, stir well then add the noodles and simmer for about 3 minutes.

 Now add the bean sprouts and give a good stir, leave for a minute and your done.

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Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Chilli Sauce

First of all I’d like to say that my website  is now fixed, apologies to all that had a problem viewing it.

Now...... Chilli sauce, this is a firm favourite with all my friends and family when I have barbeques and produce chilli dogs and burgers. It’s the same ingredients and method that I use for Chilli Con Carne only its ground into a sauce.

 So here we go: -


400 gm minced beef
1 large onion
1 pepper
2 red chilli peppers
1 400 gm can of chopped tomatoes
1 400 gm kidney beans
1 dollop of tomato ketchup
Mixed Italian herbs
2 tsp chilli powder
2 cloves garlic
1 tbs olive oil


Put the minced beef, onion, pepper and de-seeded chilli’s in a mixer and wiz into a pulp, then place into a pan of heated olive oil on a medium heat, cook to brown off the mince for about 10 minutes, then pour in about two glasses of red wine and mix thoroughly along with the herbs spices and crushed garlic.

 Now the secret of a good chilli is to cook very slowly in the red wine on a low heat at this stage, so leave to simmer on a low heat for about an hour. keep an eye on it and stir from time to time and if necessery add more wine.

Now add the tomatoes, ketchup and kidney beans and mix well, bring to the boil and then leave to simmer for about ½ an hour.

 Leave to cool and then again wiz into a pulp.

 If you are having a barbeque heat it up and put the pan on the edge of the grill to keep it warm ready to put on the hot dogs and burgers, or freeze it and use it later for any other dish you choose.

Monday, 20 February 2012

Veggy Burgers with a Difference

A few days ago I posted a recipe for River Cobbler on Cheesy Mash in Mushroom and pepper Sauce. Well the next day I was rummaging in the fridge to find something for lunch and I came across the leftover cheesy mash and sauce.

 I thought well I can’t let this go to waste so what can I do with it, then I thought well why not fry it.

 So this is what I did: -

 Mix the mash and the sauce together.

Flour a board with plain flour.

Make burger shapes about 5 or 6 centimetres in diameter and 1 centimetre thick.

Put a frying pan with a little olive oil on a high heat.

When the oil is hot put the burgers in and sizzle them for a few minutes each side to form a crust, turn it down and leave them for 5 minutes to heat through.

 They were gorgeous, I had them on their own but you could have them with almost anything, great for vegetarians.

 So if you wanted to make them just follow the original recipe (click on the recipi on the right) and leave out the fish.

Sunday, 19 February 2012

The Ultimate ShroveTuesday Breakfast

So you all know how to make pancakes, but just a quick reminder: -

 4 oz Plain Flour
2 eggs
Pinch of salt
210 ml milk
90 ml water
Mix it all together.

 The ultimate Shrove Tuesday breakfast, poached eggs and mushrooms on a pancake base.

 Poached Eggs
Boil about 3 inches of water in a pan, then turn down to half heat and break the eggs into the water leave them for about 3 minutes, or more if you like them a little more solid.

 Button mushrooms
Salte  the mushrooms in a little olive oil, I like to add some soy sauce I think that goes really well with mushrooms.

 While all that is going on cook your pancake and do you’re flipping as you probably do once a year, I know, when you actually flip it you feel really cool, I know I do.

 Arrange your eggs and mushrooms on the pancake and there it is. I had this, this morning as you can see from the photo’s I couldn’t wait for Tuesday.


Saturday, 18 February 2012

River Cobbler in a Mushroom and Sweet Pepper White Wine Sauce on Cheesy Mash

River Cobbler in a Mushroom and Sweet Pepper White Wine Sauce on Cheesy Mash

You can use most types of fish for this dish, salmon or tuna, I don’t recommend cod purely because it tends to fall apart at the end of the process. I’m using unsmoked river cobbler because river cobbler has rapidly become one of my favourite fish.
River Cobbler

 Right we’ll get straight into it: - hang on, no we won’t I’ll do an ingredients list, it’s something I don’t normally do but it has been mentioned so I’ll do it. Don’t expect quantities because you know I like you to feel your way through them.
River Cobbler
River Cobbler
For the sauce
Button Mushrooms 
Sweet Peppers 
Plain Flour 
White Wine
¼ tsp of Fennel Seeds 
Freshly Ground Black Pepper
Sea Salt

For the Mash
Potatoes, Grated Cheddar, Butter, Cream, Ground White Pepper and Salt.

The fish
Unsmoked River Cobbler.
River Cobbler
 OK put the potatoes on to boil and put some butter in a frying pan, when the potatoes are about 10 minutes boiled turn them off and cover, then switch on medium heat under the frying pan, when the butter has melted put the fish in.

 Quarter the mushrooms and chop the pepper finely, cook the fish about 3 minutes each side (if you are using another type of fish IE tuna  then time the cooking so that it’s not quite done) then take it out of the pan and put it aside.

 Tip the mushrooms, pepper and fennel seeds into the pan with the fish juices and fry for about 3 or 4 minutes adding ground black pepper and some sea salt, then sprinkle a level desert spoon full of plain flour over and stir, add a gloop of white wine and keep stirring. After a minute add the cream as much as to get the consistency that you want, give it a good stir and heat it through, return the fish to the pan and simmer on a low heat.

 The potatoes should now be done add the cheese and mash it into the potatoes, then add the butter, cream, salt and pepper then whisk until they are smooth and creamy.

River Cobbler

 Plate up and enjoy

Friday, 17 February 2012

Breakfast at The Bacon Arms

Hi everyone, it was racing in Newbury today so we have a full hotel. I’ll be there early tomorrow morning to cook breakfast for the masses; well we only have 14 rooms so there will be 28 guests at most. They’ll all be down at the same time for breakfast so that they can get to the racecourse for the first race.

 Because I cook my breakfasts freshly to order it can be a bit daunting if they all come down at once especially if we get people in off the street (walk ins) at the same time.

 So let me set the scene..............

 I get there at 6:30 am and do two of the most important things of the morning, put the radio and the coffee on, because in this hotel the chef does nothing unless there is a constant supply of real black coffee. Anyone who thinks that I put the coffee on for the customers is sadly mistaken, although I do allow them to drink it as well.

 Over the next hour I prepare myself for the onslaught, Bacon, sausages and tomatoes ready for the grill, I use field mushrooms, sliced rather than button, beans and hash browns. As you can read from my earlier posts my eggs are my pride and joy so in turn so must my egg pans, frying pan in pristine condition scrambled egg pan at the ready (I don’t do microwave cooking) and of course my old faithful poached egg pan.

In between all that there are fridge and freezer temps to be checked and........... oh I can here Dave the food delivery guy pulling his trolley down the car park (he doesn’t bring the lorry in since writing my car off in the icy conditions Christmas Eve 2009).

 Then the staff arrive (by staff I mean the one person that’s rotered on to help me this particular morning) looking like they would give a million quid to still be in bed. Mind you I can’t blame them because most of the time unlike me they’ve had to do the late night session as well. Now I don’t know about you but I think it’s an un natural act to go to work in the evening, if I haven’t started work by midday then I’m afraid I’m not going to bother.

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Thursday, 16 February 2012

Today I Just Couldn't Be Bothered

I love to cook and invent new recipe’s but occasionally there are days (and this is one of them) when I just can’t muster the enthusiasm. For lunch I had some of the leftover sweet mini pepper rice from last night that I fried with sausages, which was really nice, but tonight I just could not be bothered.
 I looked in the fridge and as it’s the day before shopping day, not much in there, eggs, bacon, a bit of veg and some leftover chicken which looked ok but it moved aside for me when I went for the eggs. So I went to the freezer and retrieved a fillet of white fish and defrosted it.

I melted some butter in a pan and in it went, and then I chopped up two rashers of bacon and put them in with the fish. When the fish was done (about 5 minutes) I put it somewhere to keep warm and dumped two eggs into the bacon with salt and pepper and whisked.

 It was a bit like a broken omelette, with fish but with a glass of Chenet and Adele 21 playing in the background it was really quite nice.

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Savoury Rice with Mini Sweet Peppers and Mushrooms

This dish is open to a wide variety of ingredients, but for my dinner tonight I have chosen some sweet mini peppers that I found in the supermarket today, and some mushrooms.

 As you have probably noticed from my other posts I tend not to mention exact quantities, that’s because I think you should feel your way through a recipe and taste as you go.

 So here we go: - Chop 4 or 5 of the peppers quite finely, removing the stalk and seeds first of course, and some mushrooms the same. Heat about a tablespoon or so of extra virgin olive oil in a pan and add the peppers and mushrooms, add quite a liberal amount of sea salt, freshly ground black pepper and about a ¼ of a teaspoon of fennel seeds, give it a good stir and cook until they soften (about 4 – 5 minutes).

 Add a cup of long grain rice followed by a cup of vegetable stock, I use cabbage water because I think it’s the tastiest stock you can get, bring to the boil and then add a vegetable stock cube just for good measure. Turn it down to the lowest heat and simmer for 10 minutes.

 If after 10 minutes it’s still a bit wet give it a blast while stirring to reduce it down to a consistency of your liking, and your done.

 There are endless things you can accompany this with so tonight I’m having chicken.

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Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Bubble and Squeak

Well I guess you all know how to make bubble and squeak, so this is just a post to remind you how good it is.

 This goes back to my childhood days when we all knew that on Monday evening dinner was going to be bubble and squeak with whatever meat was left over from the Sunday roast, what better way is there to use up the leftover veg.

 The traditional way is to mash and fry the veg. but what’s to say you can’t just fry the veg. it makes for a completely different dish and is equally as nice, but I’m going to mash it because I like it that way best.

 So get your leftover vegetables, I’ve just used carrots and cabbage but any mixture of veg will do including potatoes, although I do think that there has to be cabbage. Mash it up either by hand or electric adding salt and ground white pepper.

 Don’t put too much oil in the pan; just enough to stop the veg sticking and put it on a fairly high eat because you want to get the crispy bits on the underside. When the pan is hot put the veg in and pat it into a burger shape, let it sizzle and heat through for about five or so minutes and turn it over. Carry on this process until you are satisfied that it has heated through then you are done.

 Plate it up with some slices of cold meat; I’ve used chicken because it’s really the only meat that I enjoy cold as much as I do hot.

 There..............A dollop of brown sauce, heaven.

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Monday, 13 February 2012

How To Make The Best Gravy

I love sauces so I suppose you could say that I’m a wet food man, my favourite sauces are the ones that I make myself. To my mind the most important ingredients in any sauce is wine, plain flour and the juices of whatever it’s going to embrace.

How To Make The Best Gravy
 In this post I am talking about gravy, the make or break of a roast dinner, the break being if you dare to use gravy granules. My favourite roast is chicken but I don’t go for this chicken gravy stuff I always use a beef stock cube whatever the meat but that’s just personal choice.
How To Make The Best Gravy

So here is How To Make The Best Gravy;

You've just taken your roast chicken out of the oven, take it out of the pan and lay it to rest while you make the gravy.

 You now have a pan with these wonderful meat juices in it so put it on the hob on a low heat and throw in about two dessert spoonfuls of plain flour and whisk because you certainly don’t want any lumps.
How To Make The Best Gravy

 As the mixture is gently bubbling add a glass of red wine. Now just some information about cooking with wine, THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS COOKING WINE. If it’s not good enough for you to drink then it’s not good enough for you to cook with....... Just thought I’d get that off my chest.
How To Make The Best Gravy

 Let the wine cook in for 3 -4 minutes (red wine cooks off a lot quicker than white) then add a couple of stock cubes, as I say I always use beef but any will do. I always cover my chicken with mixed herbs and sage so there is plenty of flavour in the juices but if you don’t then add them with the stock cubes.

 Now your gravy at this point should be a thick paste so now you need to add another very important ingredient, VEGETABLE WATER cabbage water is by far the best, don’t worry if you steam your veg just use the water from the bottom of the steamer.

 Get it to the consistency of your liking and it’s ready.  
How To Make The Best Gravy

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