Friday, 30 December 2016

Longleat Slow Cooker Pork and Bacon

After spending a chilly winters day in Longleat Safari Park and Festival of Light, the thought of returning to the cosy van with a slow cooker stew waiting to be dished up was simply divine. No cooking needed to be done as this stew has enough veggies, proteins and carbs in it so it was just a case of fill up a bowl and tuck in.



Ingredients:

750g Stewing pork
4x Rashers smoked back bacon, chopped
150g Baby button mushrooms
1x Onion, diced
1x Red pepper, chopped
1x green pepper, chopped
1x garlic clove, crushed
6x Shallots, peeled
300g Mini carrots, peeled
600g Potatoes, peeled and chopped into equal sizes
1x Parsnip, peeled and chopped
1/2 Celeriac, peeled and chopped
300g Broth mix (pearl barley, lentils, etc)
1tsp Dried mixed herbs
1tsp Caraway seeds
1tsp Smoked paprika
1x Bay leaf
2L Stock, hot
2x Slices of bread


Method:

1. Season the meat with salt and pepper then brown in batches in a frying pan and add to the slow cooker.
2. Add all the remaining ingredients and cover with the hot stock (you might not need it all). Top with the slices of bread and cook on low for 10 hours.
3. Stir well and dish up!

Tip:
Adding slices of bread to the top of a casserole works as a thickening agent. the bread slowly melts into the stew and thickens it. I learned about this tip from the Belgium recipe of Stoofvlees.

Thursday, 29 December 2016

Gammon, Egg and Chip-Henge

I have mentioned before how the temperature difference between the top and bottom shelf in a caravan oven can be frustratingly far apart. Usually it is a nuisance but occasionally it can work in your favour when you have two dishes that need to be cooked at different temperatures. In this case I had chips that need a hot oven on the top shelf with the gammon at the lower temperature on the bottom. We were going to visit Stonehenge today but plans changed so I recreated it with chips. If you are going to do anything like this you need to make sure you have some square cut ends so at least some of your uprights will stand up. Food should not only be tasty but good fun too!


Ingredients:

1kg Gammon
Potatoes, peeled and chipped
Eggs


Method:

1. Put the oven on gas mark 6. Cover the gammon loosely with foil and put on the top shelf for half an hour.
2. Turn the oven up to gas mark 8 and move the gammon to the bottom shelf. Heat some oil in a roasting dish on the top shelf.
3. Pop your chips into the hot fat and turn regularly until done (about an hour or so).
4. Remove the gammon from the oven and allow to rest for 10 minutes.
5. Fry eggs.
6. Slice the gammon and plate up!

Thursday, 1 December 2016

Black Country Beef Stew - Groaty Pudding

Groaty pudding is a traditional Black Country dish made from beef and oats and is slow cooked either in the oven or on the hob. Locally and affectionately it is known as Groaty Dick and I doubt I'm not the only one who finds that just a little bit funny. Childishness aside it is a very tasty, easy and warming stew and is perfect served up with chunks of oat bread and butter. As we are visiting the wonderful Black Country Living Museum this fresh and bracing autumnal weekend (hunting for Santa) it is the perfect comfort meal inviting us back to the snug and cosy van.




Ingredients:

500g Stewing steak
2tbsp Oatmeal
2tbsp Parched peas (soaked overnight / optional)
3tbsp Pearl barley
1x Large onion, diced
1x Carrot, peeled and sliced
1x Garlic clove, crushed
1x Leek, sliced
2x Celery sticks, sliced
500ml Beef stock
1x Tin of chopped tomatoes
500ml Water
1tsp Mace
1tsp Smoked paprika
1tsp Turmeric (I am trying use more turmeric as it is good for you)
1tsp Balsamic vinegar
2x Cloves
1tsp Marmite
2x Bay leaves
1tbsp Chopped rosemary leaves
1tsp Thyme leaves
Spring onion for garnish


Method:

1. Season the beef then in a frying pan brown it in batches then transfer to a big casserole dish.
2. In the same fry pan sweat off the onions for 5 minutes then pour in the stock, tomatoes and water and bring to a simmer. Pour into the casserole dish.
3. Add all the remaining ingredients to the casserole dish and cook in the oven on gas mark 3 for about 3 hours.
4. Plate up with some nice bread and butter, garnish with a bit of sliced spring onion if you have some and tuck in!

Friday, 28 October 2016

Medieval Beef Pottage

Continuing with our trip to Ironbridge, and looking at traditional cooking from the 1700's, tonight sees us trying the age old working class staple of pottage. Pottage is basically a thick stew or soup where all the ingredients simply get boiled in the pot. There is no set recipe for pottage, you just bung what you have into the pot and hope it turns out great, which it usually does.



Ingredients:

500g Stewing beef
2x Slices bread
3tbsp Pearl barley
1x Onion, diced
2x Carrots, peeled and sliced
1x Parsnip, peeled and cut into chunks
1/2 Swede, peeled and cut into chunks
1x Leek, sliced
1/4 Red cabbage, diced
1tsp Thyme
1tbsp Parsley stalks, chopped
1tsp Mace
550ml Water


Method:

1. In a large pan or pot on the stove brown the meat on all sides.
2. Add the diced onion and keep stirring.
3. In goes the remaining veg, thyme, parsley stalks and mace.
4. Pour in the water and pearl barley and bring to the boil then reduce to a slow simmer.
5. Top with the bread then pop on a lid. Cook for at least 2 hours and stir occasionally after the bread has dissolved.

Tip: I know they wouldn't have had stock cubes back in the 1700's but I do suggest adding one for flavour.

Wednesday, 26 October 2016

Lamb Rare Fricassee and Oatmeal Pudding

This half term sees us visiting Ironbridge Gorge to learn about the start of industrial revolution and how life was for people living in the 1700's. Continuing that theme back in my caravan kitchen tonight's meal would more likely have been eaten by the wealthy elite of that time as ingredients like lamb chops were too expensive for the working class. Thanks to Gode Cookery for the recipe that uses traditional verjuice (which I definitely haven't got in the van) so I used lemon juice instead, gooseberries and egg yolk. The tartness really cuts through the lamb fat, I liked it, but Mrs Larry wasn't as keen. I love using the caravan to find local or traditional recipes and later this trip we will try something more akin to the working class fayre of the 1700's.


Ingredients:

Lamb Fricassee
Lamb chops
3x Egg yolks, beaten
Juice of 1 lemon
1tsp Capers, chopped
1tbsp Fresh parsley, chopped
Nutmeg, a pinch
Gooseberries (I used tinned as it is all that is available this time of year)

Oatmeal Pudding
100g Oatmeal
200ml Milk
100ml Double cream
1x Beef stock cube
50g Beef suet
2tsp Thyme
2tbsp Fresh parsley, chopped
1x Leek, finely chopped
Spinach, chopped, a big handful
1tsp Mace
1x Egg
1tbsp Flour
Salt and pepper
Animal fat for the tin


Method:

Oatmeal Pudding
1. Turn the oven on to gas mark 3 and put a knob of fat in a roasting tin and allow to get hot.
2. Mix all the ingredients together then pour into the hot tin and cook for about half an hour or until the middle is set.

Lamb Fricassee
1. While the pudding is cooking pan fry the chops on all sides until done to your liking. Set aside the meat and pour off the fat.
2. While the lamb is cooking beat together the egg yolks, lemon juice and nutmeg.
3. Pour the egg mixture into the meat juices, add the gooseberries, capers and parsley, stir briefly to warm through but do not cook the egg.
4. Plate up and pour the sauce over the lamb, serve with a slice of oatmeal pudding and a bit of veg.

Friday, 2 September 2016

Wild Mushroom Risotto

This weekend sees our annual rally of locals where the kids play all day and the adults indulge in a spot of eating and drinking around a campfire. There are 20 of us in total so each family is responsible for cooking one dish, but lots of it! I'm doing a vegetarian option of wild mushroom risotto in the paella pan on the cadac and it couldn't be easier cooking for so many people. Simply chuck it all in the big pan, stir a bit then serve.


Ingredients:
(serves 20)

1kg Risotto rice
1kg Mushrooms, roughly chopped. I used wild mushrooms from the supermarket and chestnut
3x Onions, finely chopped
1x Garlic head, crushed or diced (don't be shy, this dish loves garlic)
1x Bottle of white wine
200g Parmesan cheese
Vegetable stock, I used about 2 litres of swiss marigold made up hot in a jug
Extra virgin rapeseed oil
Fresh flat leaf parsley
Salt and black pepper


Method:

1, Pour a massive glug of rapeseed oil in to the pan on medium heat and stir in the diced onions. Continue stirring and cook until transparent.
2. Add the chopped mushrooms, stir and cook for a couple of minutes.
3. In goes the garlic, stir for about 30 seconds then pour in the rice and continually stir until each grain is coated in oil.
4. Slowly pour in the wine until it appears all absorbed.
5. Bit by bit pour in the vegetable stock and gentle turn the rice so it doesn't stick to the bottom. Keep going until the rice is cooked and is a creamy texture.
6. Season with salt and black pepper and grate in a load of parmesan. Serve drizzled in that lovely British rapeseed oil and topped with torn parsley leaves.

Wednesday, 10 August 2016

Dorset Jugged Steak

When you think of a jugged dish you immediately think of jugged hare that is cooked in its own blood. Don't worry, jugged steak is not as adventurous as that, jugged can also mean slowly cooked to retain flavour and this dish does exactly that. Traditionally it would be cooked with port but as I had some cider I gave it a whirl with that and it worked well. I like the fact that the steak casserole is topped with balls of sausagemeat, it adds a really tasty extra dimension and is perfect for carnivores like me.



Ingredients:

900g Stewing steak, cut into bite-size pieces
2tbsp Plain flour
1x Medium onion, diced
2x Cloves
250ml Cider
350ml Beef stock
250g Sausagemeat
1x Star anise petal
1x Rosemary sprig, leaves removed and finely chopped
2tbsp Parsley, chopped to add as topping
Salt and pepper


Method:

1, Turn on the oven to gas mark 3.
2. Toss the steak in the flour then put it in an oven proof casserole dish.
3. Add the onion, cloves, star anise and rosemary with a pinch of salt and pepper then top with the cider and stock.
4. Bring to a simmer on the hob then put the lid on the dish and pop it in the oven for 2.5 hours.
5. Roll your sausagemeat into balls and drop them into the casserole dish and cook uncovered for a further 30 minutes.
6. We served ours with some simple sauteed runner beans and garlic mash all topped with those fresh parsley leaves.

Cadac Pancakes

We all know the Cadac is a great outdoors cooking machine, it's great for grilling meat and famous for its Paella but it also makes a mean pancake. The flat plate gets so hot you can knock a pancake out in seconds, with the added bonus of them being huge! The kids love these massive Cadac pancakes, eaten with your favourite topping outside on a summer morning is a special experience and a memory to treasure.

There are many pancake recipes out there but ultimately you are looking to end up with a batter similar to the consistency of single cream. I'm using the 2-3-4 recipe here, 200g flour - 3 eggs - 400ml milk. The milk is an approximation as it depends on the size of your eggs so just add it slowly until you get that single cream imitation.


Ingredients:

200g Plain flour
3 Eggs
400ml Milk
Oil for greasing the pan


Method:

1. You can sift the flour into a bowl but I tend to just bung it in.
2. Make a well in the middle of the flour and crack your eggs into it.
3. Either whisk by hand or electric and incorporate as much of the flour as possible into the egg.
4. Pour in a dribble of milk and continue whisking and adding small amounts of milk until you have a thick batter.
5. Now slowly add the rest of your milk, still whisking, until the mixtures resembles single cream.
6. Crank up the Cadac with the flat plate side of the griddle on, smear it with oil using a bit of kitchen paper then ladle on your mixture and spread it about quickly.
7. Use a slotted turner to flip the pancake, cook the other side then serve.


Tip: It helps to get your Cadac level, use a tilt meter app on your phone if you have one or the caravan spirit level will do.






Tuesday, 9 August 2016

Dorset Lamb Crumble

After yesterdays bacon cakes today sees us attempt the Dorset lamb crumble. Yes lamb crumble! It's another new one to me but boy does it work. It is basically a shepherds pie with a savoury cheesy and crumbly topping rather than mashed potato. You can use any shepherd pie recipe or try mine below, whatever you do I recommend you give it a go.


Ingredients:

500g Lamb mince
1x Large onion, diced
1x Celery stick, diced
2x Carrots, peeled and diced
1x Garlic clove, diced or crushed
1x Rosemary sprig, leaves chopped fine
350ml Lamb stock
5x Anchovy fillets
1x Glass of red wine
Handful of frozen peas
2tbsp Plain flour
1tbsp Tomato puree

For the crumble:
150g Plain flour
75g Butter, cubed
100g Cheddar cheese, grated


Method:

1. Sweat off the onion in a bit of oil in a large frying pan or wok.
2. In the same pan add the mince lamb and brown.
3. Add the carrot, celery and garlic and cook for a couple of minutes.
4. Stir in the flour then the tomato puree and continue stirring until it is stodgy.
5. Pour in the glass of red wine and then the stock.
6. Now add the anchovy fillets and rosemary.
7. Season with salt and pepper and simmer for a few minutes.
8. Add the peas then pour the lot into an oven dish and allow to cool a little while you make the crumble.
9. In a large bowl mix the flour and butter with your fingertips until it resembles breadcrumbs.
10. Mix in the grated cheese then pour the lot on top of the lamb mince.
11. Bake on gas mark 4 for about 30 minutes until golden brown.
12. Serve with some green veg, in our case it was cabbage stir fried with mint.


Monday, 8 August 2016

Dorset Puddle Bacon Cakes

"Bacon cakes?!" I hear you exclaim. Yes bacon cakes! As soon as I heard of this bacon and cake combo I just had to give it go. They were originally called Piddle Bacon Cakes, after the river Piddle that runs through Dorset, but the Victorians thought it too vulgar so renamed them Puddle Bacon Cakes. I haven't a clue what the original recipe is so I made one up, it's basically a cheese scone with bacon and what's not to like about that!


Ingredients:
(makes 4)

150g Self raising flour
40g Butter, cubed
1tsp Baking powder
40g Cheddar cheese, grated
4x Back bacon rashers, fat removed and chopped up
50-60ml Milk
Pinch salt
Pinch white pepper

Method:

1. Chop up your bacon and fry until just cooked then allow to cool.
2. Sift the flour and baking powder into a large bowl. Add the butter and work it through the flour with your fingers until it looks like breadcrumbs.
3. Add the salt and pepper then pour in most of the milk and mix together until it forms a dough. If it's too dry add a bit more milk.
4. Mix in the bacon and cheese, being careful the cheese doesn't melt with the heat of your hands.
5. Form 4 scones out of the dough with your hands and brush the tops with milk. Dust a baking tray with flour, pop on the cakes then bake on the centre shelf in the oven on gas mark 8 for 15-20 minutes until golden brown.

Tip: You can add more grated cheese to the tops to make them super cheesey but in this case I didn't as we served them up cut in half, buttered and topped with poached eggs.


Saturday, 6 August 2016

Dorset Lettuce Soup

Apparently a traditional Dorset recipe is lettuce soup (although the locals we spoke to had never heard of it). It has something to do with Dorset being a good county to grow lettuce and if there is a glut of it they make soup. All I know is I had a couple of little gems in the fridge so thought we could give it a try. Served warm with crusty buttered bread it was actually delicately tasty but served gazpacho cold style the next day was so refreshing I think I prefer it that way.


Ingredients:

2x Little gem lettuces, chopped up
6x Spring onions, sliced
3x Celery sticks, sliced
Mint leaves, a handful
50g Lambs lettuce
1 Litre of vegetable stock
150ml Cream
Rapeseed oil


Method:

1. Sweat of the onion and celery in a bit of oil in a saucepan.
2. Add stock and all lettuce and simmer for 5 minutes.
3. Add mint then blend with a hand blender.
4. Pour in the cream.
5. Serve up in bowls topped with a bit of lambs lettuce and a drizzle of oil and eat with buttered crusty bread, or chill to eat gazpacho style later, I promise it is refreshing and delicious.

Tip: You can pass the soup through a sieve to remove the bits and make it smoother, however we like it bitty with a bit of texture and crunch.

Friday, 5 August 2016

Butterflied Mackerel on Beetroot and Mango Salad

Mackerel freshly caught and cooked as soon as possible is amazingly delicious so we took the opportunity whilst staying in Dorset to pop over the border to Beer in Devon and go out on a fishing boat to catch some. After dragging our plentiful haul on to shore we stopped for a quick beer (you have to have a beer in Beer) then zoomed home to get the Cadac lit and that delicious mackerel filleted and cooked. I opted to butterfly the mackerel as we are a picky bunch and not keen on bones. Butterflying is surprisingly easy and there is an M&J Seafood video below demonstrating how to do it. Served up on a fresh beetroot and mango salad was the perfect accompaniment, and healthy too.


Ingredients:

Fresh mackerel
Beetroot, cubed
Mango, cubed
Feta cheese, cubed
Avocado, cubed
Cucumber, cubed
Baby tomatoes, quartered
Jalapeno peppers, sliced
Sunflower seeds
Cold pressed rapeseed oil
Balsamic vinegar


Method:

1. Butterfly the mackerel as per the video below.
2. Prepare the salad by mixing it all together, plate up and drizzle with a mix of balsamic vinegar and rapeseed oil.
3. Fry the mackerel in a little oil skin side down for about 2 minutes until most of the flesh has turned white and there is a just a pink strip in the middle. Season the flesh then flip it and fry for about 30 seconds.
4. Pop the mackerel on top of the salad and tuck in.


Thursday, 2 June 2016

Chorizo Bean Pasta

This is the first of the "If It's" series of recipes, which basically stands for "If it's in the fridge it's in the dish!". More often than not you cannot beat eat up night. You know, the last night of the holiday when everything gets eaten up before the journey home the next day. Some unusual but wonderful creations are conjoured up in caravans up and down the country, and sometimes they can be the most delicious meals of the trip. We are no exception so starting us off is this dish created on the Isle of Wight, which turned out very tasty indeed, even if it doesn't look like it!


Ingredients:

1/2 Chorizo ring
1/2 Green pepper
1/2 Tin of tomato soup
1/2 Tin of beans and sausages
1/2 Carrot
1/2 Lemon, juiced
1/2 Lettuce
1/4 Broccoli
1x Garlic clove
2x Celery sticks
1x Stock cube
1tsp English mustard
Splash red wine vinegar
Glass of water
Handful of pasta
Pinch of mace
Handful of Greek basil, leaves separated from the stalks
Nice oil
Sea salt if you have it


Method:

1. Chop everything up then start by sweating off the chorizo in a wok.
2. When the chorizo starts to release its oil add the pepper, carrot, celery and garlic. Stir fry for a minute or two.
3. Now in goes everything else except the basil leaves and lettuce. Stir until cooked.
4. Plate up! Serve topped with the basil leaves, next to the lettuce dressed in oil and a bit of sea salt.

Wednesday, 1 June 2016

Chicken in 40 Cloves of Garlic

The garlic theme continues on our Isle of Wight holiday with the classic Chicken in 40 Cloves of Garlic. This is a famous dish that probably originated in France but has been tweaked by many a chef and home cook. The internet is jam packed with different versions of this recipe but in our van we are keeping it very simple, just chuck the lot in the oven and roast it.


Ingredients:

2x Chicken breasts, skin and bone on
40x Garlic cloves, whole and in their skins
1x Glass of white wine (large)
Some nice oil
Seasoning


Method:

1. Put the chicken and garlic in a roasting tin, season, cover with tin foil and pop in the oven on gas mark 3 for about 1 hour.
2. Remove the foil lid, drizzle over a good coating of oil then return to the oven uncovered and turn up to gas mark 6 for about 30 minutes.
3. When the chicken skin has crisped up nicely set it aside with the garlic cloves and deglaze the oven tin with the glass of wine to make a sauce.
4. Serve with seasonal greens and mashed potato as a meal, or simply tuck in, spread that lovely garlic pulp onto some hunks of bread and butter, top with a slice of chicken and dip into the sauce. You will whiff for a day or two but by gum its worth it.

Tuesday, 31 May 2016

Garlic Scape Pesto Pasta

Something I have been meaning to try for a long time now is a garlic scape. Scapes are the stalk and flower head of a garlic plant that growers chop off so the plant concentrates its efforts on growing the bulb instead of flowers. Cook them a bit like asparagus and they are delicious on their own but the internet is full of recipes for scape pesto so I just had to give it a go, especially as the Little Larry's love pesto. We had some parmesan cheese leftover in the fridge and some chickpeas so it all went in the food processor with a few additional ingredients and this is what we ended up with.


Ingredients:

Pasta of choice
Parmesan cheese, 25g grated for the pesto with a bit left over to shave for topping
Chickpeas, half a tin
Basil leaves, a good handful
Flat leaf parsley, another good handful, leaves separated from stalks. Stalks are for the pesto, leaves for the garnish.
1/2 Lemon juice
3x Garlic scapes, chopped up
1/5 tbsp Cold pressed rape seed oil
Good pinch of salt and pepper


Method:

1. Cook the pasta as per packet instructions
2. To make the pesto simply bung all the remaining ingredients into a food processor and whiz it up.
3. When the pasta is cooked drain it but leave a little bit of water in the bottom of the pan. Mix through a good spoonful of the pesto then plate up. Top with parmesan shavings, parsley leaves, a dribble of rapeseed oil, some cracked black pepper and sea salt.


Garlic Scapes courtesy of The Garlic Farm


Isle of Wight Garlic Soup

I first experienced Spanish garlic soup at The Trinidad restaurant near Arboleas in Spain and I was amazed at its simplicity yet deliciousness. The fact that it had a poached egg in just made it even better, I had never seen anything like it before and I loved it. This version uses three types of Isle of Wight garlic, being the cloves, the scapes and fermented black garlic, however you can simply use plain old white garlic from the supermarket instead.


Ingredients:
(serves 2)

4x Large cloves of garlic
2x Garlic scapes, thinly sliced
2x Cloves of black garlic, finely diced
2x Eggs
2x Thick slices of bread, for croutons
50g Chorizo, diced
700ml Chicken stock, hot
1tbsp Plain flour
1tbsp Parsley stalks, finely diced
Parsley leaves to garnish
Rapeseed oil
Black pepper
White vinegar to poach the eggs


Method:

1. Cut the bread into 1" cubes, place on a baking try and drizzle with oil. Bake on gas mark 6 for about 10-15 minutes until browned.
2. In a saucepan gently fry in oil the garlic cloves and chorizo for about 2 minutes.
3. Add the flour and cook for another 2 minutes, stirring all the time.
4. Pour in a little of the stock to dissolve the flour then pour the rest in and stir well.
5. Now chuck in the parsley stalks and allow to simmer.
6. Bring a separate pan 2/3rds full of water to just bubbling then pour in a good glug of vinegar and pop your eggs in to poach.
7. Now add your scapes to the soup and season if needed with salt and black pepper.
8. When the eggs are done (about 3 mins) plate up. Pour the soup into bowls, top with the croutons and poached egg then garnish with the parsley leaves, black garlic and a few drops of nice oil.


Tip: Use the leftover vinegar from your pickled eggs for poaching, it works a treat.

Monday, 30 May 2016

Tomato Caprese

A typical tomato caprese consists of sliced tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, basil leaves and olive oil. The Isle of Wight is well known for growing good tomatoes so this is my IoW version using Isle of Wight soft cheese instead of mozzarella, British cold pressed rapeseed oil instead of olive oil, and I'm adding a spot of The Garlic Farm black garlic. As this holiday is all about garlic I steeped a clove of garlic in the rapeseed oil for half an hour beforehand, just to add an extra garlic kick.


Ingredients:

Tomatoes (the bigger the better)
Soft cheese, sliced
Basil leaves, whole
Black garlic cloves, sliced
Cold pressed rapeseed oil, 1 tbsp
Small clove of garlic, snapped in half (optional)
Sea salt (I used the black stuff)


Method:

1. Steep the garlic clove in the oil for about half an hour.
2. Slice everything up and plate up.
3. Pour the garlic oil over the salad then sprinkle over the sea salt.

Now just pick up a piece of each ingredient between your thumb and forefinger and shove the lot in your mouth. Yum!

Tomato Soup

It is very easy to warm up a can of tomato soup in the caravan but why not try making your own. The vibrancy of the colour is a feast for your eyes, the alluring aroma tantalizes your taste buds and then, finally, that oh so fresh taste satisfies you in a way no tin of soup ever could.

As we were on the Isle of Wight, where arguably the best British tomatoes come from, we just had to make tomato soup (with maybe just a little bit of IoW garlic in it too). Little Larry and I made this one together as he loves tomato soup, it's such an easy recipe to get kids cooking and understanding the flavours that go into their food.


Ingredients:

8x Tomatoes, quartered
1x Celery stick, chopeed
1x Small red onion, roughly chopped
1x Carrot, peeled and sliced
1x Garlic clove, crushed
1x Fresh basil stem
2tbsp Tomato puree
1tbsp Flour
700ml Hot water
1x Vegetable stock cube (or bouillon)
1/2 Lemon, juiced
Oil


Method:

1. In a saucepan gentle fry the onion until it is translucent.
2. Add the carrot, celery and garlic to the pan and stir well.
3. Add the tomato puree, stir well and cook for a minute.
4. Chop up the parsley stalk but retain the leaves. Chuck the chopped stalk into the pan.
5. In goes the flour, stir and cook for a minute.
6. Pour in about a quarter of the water.
7. Tomatoes time, in they go.
8. Pour in the rest of the water.
9. Crumble in the stock then simmer with a lid on for about 1 hour.
10. Whiz it all up with a hand blender then pass through a sieve into a clean pan.
11. Season with lemon juice, salt and pepper.
12. Serve! We made some cheese on toast croutons and topped with torn basil leaves and a splash of nice oil.

Tip: For a more intense flavour try roasting the tomatoes and garlic first. You can also add a chilli if you like it spicy.

Sunday, 29 May 2016

Trio of Homemade Dips - Garlic, Guacamole and Hummus

Our first afternoon on holiday saw the Isle of Wight bathed in glorious sunshine so we immediately decided to fire up the coal barbecue. We must have had our Weber Go Anywhere portable barbecue for 10 years now and it has never let us down, and nor did it this afternoon with some simple sausages and steak from the local shop. Pre-BBQ it is customary in the Larry clan to pop open a bag of tortillas, tear into some pitta bread, chop up carrot and cucumber sticks and get dipping. Now shop bought dips are all right but you cannot beat the freshness of homemade, and as the Isle of Wight is known for growing good garlic I was keen to get stuck in with these garlicky dips.


Garlic Yoghurt Ingredients

1x Tub of Greek Yoghurt
1x Garlic clove, crushed or finely grated
1/4 Lemon, juiced
1x Tsp Greek basil
Sea salt

Garlic Yoghurt Method:

1. Mix the garlic, lemon juice and yoghurt together.
2. Top with Greek basil leaves and sea salt flakes.


Guacamole Ingredients:

3x Avocados
1x Tomato, deseeded and diced
1x Chilli, finely chopped (add more if you like it spicy)
1x Small garlic clove, crushed or grated
1x Lime, juiced
1x Handful of fresh coriander
Salt and Pepper

Guacamole Method:

1. Chop the avocados in half length-ways, pop out the stone then scoop the flesh into a bowl.
2. Pour in the juice of 1 lime.
3. Tear off the coriander leaves and set aside. Finely chop the stalks and add to the bowl.
4. Add the chilli, garlic and tomato then mix well with a fork.
5. Taste, season, top with the coriander leaves and serve.


Hummus Ingredients:

2x Garlic cloves, crushed or grated
1/2 Tin of chickpeas
4x tbsp Tahini
1x Lemon, juiced
1x tbsp Sour cream
Pinch of salt
1x tbsp Cold pressed rapeseed oil

Hummus Method:

1. Place all the ingredients except the oil into a food processor. Before you exclaim "a food processor in the van!", I use this mini Kenwood. Or you can get additions to a hand blender, which equally do the job.
2. Whiz up the ingredients to a paste.
3. Serve in a bowl with that lovely British oil poured over the top.

Saturday, 7 May 2016

Homemade Pork Pie

Football fans the world over will be rejoicing today when Leicester City Football Club are presented with the Premier League trophy and are crowned champions of England. With odds of 5000-1 at the start of the season it has truly been an epic and historical journey, today is great day for English football. Coincidentally we are staying on a small CS site in Leicestershire so in celebration I have made a Pork Pie. The world-famous pork pie has it's home in Melton Mowbray in Leicestershire so I cannot think of a more apt celebration of Leicestershire's greatness.

I cannot take the credit for this recipe as it is taken from The River Cottage Meat Book by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall. Every year at Christmas my great mate Pete would make a batch of these pies and we would always look forward to sampling his creations on Pork Pie Day. Pete used to be a chef in the RAF and a lot of my inspirations to cook came from our long chats over a beer or two. Sadly Pete is no longer with us but I like to think he would be proud of my attempt at the humble Pork Pie, maybe I'll make one at Christmas.


Ingredients:

1kg Pork shoulder, hand cut into small cubes
250g Sausage meat
250g Bacon, diced
12x Sage leaves, finely chopped
1tsp Thyme leaves, finely chopped
1tsp Salt
1tsp Black pepper
1tsp White pepper
1/2tsp Cayenne pepper
1/2tsp Mace powder
250ml Stock
Gelatine
2x Bottles of beer

For the pastry:
100g Lard
100g Butter
200ml Water
550g Plain flour
1tsp salt
3x Eggs, 2 for the pastry and 1 to glaze


Method:

1. In a saucepan warm the water, butter, lard and salt until it has all melted then take off the heat.
2. Put the flour and 2 beaten eggs into a mixing bowl and stir until combined.
3. Pour in the melted fatty water and mix then knead to make a warm soft dough. Cover in cling film and pop it in the fridge for an hour.
4. Sit down, put your feet up, enjoy drinking a bottle of beer.
5. In your mixing bowl add all the meat, herbs and seasonings and combine well.
6. Cut off 1/4 of your pastry and leave it in the fridge then with the remaining 3/4 line a cake tin (I used a 21cm tin). Simply work the pastry with your fingers, flattening it and poking into the edges until the tin is evenly lined.
7. Its not hard this bit, put the meat into the pie.
8. Brush the edges of the pastry with a bit of egg then roll out the remaining 1/4 of pastry and lay it on top of the pie. Crimp the edges with your fingertips and cut off any excess, also cut a small hole in the centre of the lid.
9. Bake in the oven on gas mark 4 for 30 minutes then turn down to gas mark 3 for a further 75 minutes.
10. Sit down again and have another beer.
11. Remove from the oven and remove the pie from the tin. Brush the beaten egg over the top and sides and pop it back in the oven for a further 15 minutes so the glaze sets.
12. Remove the pie from the oven and allow to cool slightly.
13. Warm your stock and gelatine in a saucepan then pour it into the small hole in the centre of the lid. Use a small funnel, turkey baster or flavour injector and slowly fill until the pie is full to the brim.
14. When cool put the pie in the fridge. Serve it cold with English mustard, it cannot be beat.


Friday, 1 April 2016

Yorkshire Savoury Ducks

Most people in the South of the UK will probably be thinking "what on earth is a savoury duck?". A savoury duck is what the endearing folk oop north call a faggot. It does get a bit confusing though because there is absolutely no duck meat whatsoever in a faggot as it is usually made from pork off-cuts and offal.

Traditional faggots, sorry savoury ducks, are wrapped in caul fat, which is like a spiders web of fat that surrounds the internal organs of the beast. You can see some pictures of caul fat by clicking here. Now caul fat is not something you will get in your local supermarket, indeed a butcher will probably have to order it in unless you get your meat direct from the abattoir, and as it is our last day on holiday here in Yorkshire I have a cat in hell's chance of getting some. We are staying on t' moors so it is kind of appropriate that my savoury ducks are not made from pork but lamb instead (just to add more confusion to the pot).


Ingredients:

500g Lamb mince
160g Lamb liver
4x Anchovy fillets, chopped
1x Small onion, finely diced
1x tbsp Fresh oregano (you can use dried but use a little less)
1x Slice bread, leave it out to go stale then grate into crumbs
1x Garlic clove, crushed
1x Egg


Method:

1. Mix all the ingredients together and form 16 round savoury ducks in your hands.
2. Place the ducks in a roasting tin and pop in a preheated gas mark 4 oven for about 40 minutes, turning half way through.
3. Plate up with mushy peas, mash and onion gravy.


Onion Gravy Recipe:
(also available here)

Ingredients:

2x Large red onions, sliced
1x tsp Sugar
1x tbsp Plain flour
1x Lamb stock cube, made up with 500ml hot water
2x tsp Marmite
Oil for frying


Method:

1. On a low heat on the hob cook the onions and sugar until caramelised, for about 25-30 minutes.
2. Stir in the flour and cook through for another couple of minutes.
3. Add the Marmite and stock then bring to a simmer for 10 minutes.



Yorkshire Fat Rascals

Fat rascals are a type of fruit scone that originated in Yorkshire in the 1800's. Traditionally they are topped with almonds and cherries but as Mrs Larry doesn't like almonds, and isn't particularly fond of cherries either, I've topped mine with left over cranberries from our Wensleydale and Cranberry Mash the other night. As the name suggests the scones are full of a big blob of fat in the form of lard but if you are a vegetarian please substitute the lard with an equal amount of butter. I don't often bake cakes as we could easily be a bunch of fat rascals ourselves, but these are 'reight tasty' and were well worth doing as a holiday treat. We are in Yorkshire after all.


Ingredients:

150g Plain flour
150g Self raising flour
1tsp Baking powder
65g Lard, diced
65g Butter (unsalted), diced
150g Dried fruit mix
1/2tsp Cinnamon powder
1/2tsp Nutmeg powder
Zest of 1 lemon
Zest of 1 orange
100g Caster sugar
50ml Milk
2 Eggs, beaten
Dried cranberries


Method:

1. Sieve the flour and baking powder into a bowl.
2. Add the butter and lard and work it through the flour with your fingertips until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
3. Pour in one of the beaten eggs and the milk followed by the dried fruit, cinnamon, nutmeg, lemon and orange zest, and sugar. Mix well.
4. Pull the dough apart into 6 large pieces (or 8 smaller) and form into rascals with your hand.
5. Place the rascals on some grease proof paper on a baking tray then brush the tops with the remaining egg.
6. Finish off with a sprinkling of cranberries then pop in a gas mark 6 preheated oven for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. Watch the temperature of that caravan oven though as the tops of the rascals can easily burn with the bottoms remaining a bit soggy.
7. Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly before serving with real butter.


Tip:
They will be quite crumbly when served hot from the oven but if you allow to cool they will take on a denser texture, just like cold scones.

Thursday, 31 March 2016

Toad in the Hole

We couldn't come to Yorkshire and not make Yorkshire pudding but I'll be honest, its not the easiest thing to make in the caravan oven. There are many different recipes with varying quantities of flour, eggs and milk so as its the Easter holidays I'm going for the holy trinity of 3, 3 large eggs, 300ml milk, 300g flour. It is good to make your batter earlier in the day and let it rest in the fridge for a while but do let it come up to room temperature before cooking. You also need to use a high smoke point fat like lard or dripping, rapeseed oil or trex.


Ingredients:

Sausages, as many as you need.
3x Large eggs
300ml Milk
300g Plain flour
Fat, lard, dripping, rapeseed or grape seed oil, trex
Salt and pepper

Method:

1. Crack the eggs into a mixing bowl and add the flour. Whisk until combined then slowly add the milk until it resembles single cream. Season with salt and pepper, I like white pepper in batter. Rest in the fridge if you can, otherwise set aside.
2. Put the fat and sausages in a roasting tin and roast in the oven on gas mark 7 for 5-10 minutes, just until the sausages are slightly turning brown.
3. Pour in enough batter to come half way up the sausages then pop back in the oven. Cook until the batter is golden brown but be careful, the top of a caravan oven can get very hot and the batter can easily burn, keep a close eye on it.


We served ours with some sauteed cabbage and leek, crushed new spuds and Marmite and onion gravy as follows:

Ingredients:

2x Large red onions, sliced
1x tsp Sugar
1x tbsp Plain flour
Stock cube of your choice, made up with 500ml hot water
2x tsp Marmite
Oil for frying

1x 700g Bag of new potatoes
1x Garlic clove, crushed
Butter

1x Savoy Cabbage, sliced
1x Leek, sliced
Butter

Method:

For the Marmite and Onion Gravy:
1. On a low heat on the hob cook the onions and sugar until caramelised, for about 25-30 minutes.
2. Stir in the flour and cook through for another couple of minutes.
3. Add the Marmite and stock then bring to a simmer for 10 minutes.

For the Crushed Spuds:
1. In a pan of water boil the potatoes and garlic for about 15 minutes.
2. Drain, add a knob butter with salt and pepper and gently crush with a fork.

For the Cabbage and Leek:
1. In a wok or large frying pan cook the leek and cabbage in a big knob of butter for 4-5 minutes then season to taste.

Marmite Onion Gravy

Onion gravy is delicious but the addition of Marmite takes it to another level. If you are a Marmite hater just omit the Marmite but the Larry tribe love the stuff and this gravy goes down well with all of us. This recipe is based on the Official Marmite Gravy and all credit goes to them. It goes with many a meat dish from sausages, faggots and meatballs to pies, brisket and chops.


Ingredients:

2x Large red onions, sliced
1x tsp Sugar
1x tbsp Plain flour
Stock cube of your choice, made up with 500ml hot water
2x tsp Marmite
Oil for frying


Method:

1. On a low heat on the hob cook the onions and sugar until caramelised, for about 25-30 minutes.
2. Stir in the flour and cook through for another couple of minutes.
3. Add the Marmite and stock then bring to a simmer for 10 minutes.

Sunday, 27 March 2016

Shepherds Pie

It's Easter Sunday and traditionally folk celebrate with a roast lamb dinner but as we are on the North York Moors we are having our lamb in the form of a shepherds pie, served with cavolo nero and some mint jelly.


Ingredients:

6x Potatoes, peeled and quartered
1x Garlic clove, peeled
Butter
Milk

800g Lamb mince
2x Onions, diced
2x Garlic cloves, crushed
2x tbsp Tomato puree
1x Glass of red wine
3x Anchovy fillets
1x Carrot, peeled and diced
1x Celery stick, diced
1x Thyme sprig
1x Lamb stock cube, made up into 500ml stock
Henderson's Yorkshire relish
Cornflour

Method:

1. Bring the potatoes and the peeled garlic clove to the boil in a pan of water on the hob. Simmer until soft then drain and mash with butter and hot milk. Season to taste.
2. In a frying pan sweat off the onion for 5 minutes then add 2 crushed cloves of garlic and cook for a couple more minutes then transfer to a pie dish.
3. Brown the mince in the frying pan then transfer to the pie dish.
4. Squeeze the tomato puree into the frying pan and cook for a minute then pour in the red wine and stir well.
5. Add the anchovies, thyme and a good glug of Henderson's relish. You can use Worcestershire sauce if you haven't got Henderson's Yorkshire sauce.
6. Pour the lamb stock into the wine and bring to a simmer. Thicken with cornflour mixed with water, season to taste and pour into the pie dish.
7. Mix the celery and carrots into the pie dish.
8. Top with mashed potato and fluff the top with a fork.
9. Pop it in the oven on gas mark 6 until golden brown.
10. Plate up! We served ours with some cavolo nero simply sauteed in butter for 3 minutes, and a dollop of mint jelly.



Saturday, 26 March 2016

Venison Pie with Wensleydale and Cranberry Mash

We are staying in the lovely North York Moors and following the theme of trying to cook regional dishes I figured you can't get more Yorkshire than a pie, pair it with mashed spuds with Wensleydale cheese and we have a Yorkshire dish. Wensleydale with cranberry goes very well with the venison and makes the mash a bit more interesting, Mrs Larry enjoyed it very much, which is lucky because I made 2 pies and we've got it again later in the week.



Ingredients:

500g Venison rump, chopped into cubes and seasoned
1x Onion, finely diced
200g Smoked bacon lardons
1x Garlic clove, diced or crushed
1x Carrot, peeled, quartered and sliced
1x Celery stick, finely diced
2x tbsp Tomato puree
6x Large white mushrooms, quartered
2x Black pudding slices, diced
1x Beef stock cube
1x tbsp Redcurrant jelly
1/2 Bottle of red wine
Splash of balsamic vinegar
Lard
Cornflour
Shop bought puff pastry
Milk for brushing the pastry

Potatoes
150g Wensleydale with cranberry cheese
A big knob of butter
A glass of milk
1x Small garlic clove, peeled
Dried cranberry's


Method:

1. In a frying pan cook the onion in a little lard for about 5 minutes.
2. Add the lardons and cook for a further 5 minutes.
3. In goes the garlic and venison, lightly brown the venison.
4. Stir in the tomato puree and cook for a couple of minutes.
5. Pour in the wine and the balsamic vinegar then stir in the redcurrant jelly.
6. Add the black pudding and crumble in the stock cube then simmer for about 15 minutes.
7. In goes the celery, carrot and mushrooms and continue to simmer for another 15 minutes.
8. If needed thicken the gravy with a bit of cornflour mixed with water.
9. Pour into your pie dishes.
10. You can skip this step and go straight to 12 if you like. Allow the filling to cool, cover with cling film and refrigerate overnight.
11. The next day top the pie with puff pastry and brush with a little milk. Cover loosely with foil and pop it in the oven on gas mark 5 for 30 minutes.
12. Remove the foil and turn the gas up to 7, the pie is done when the pastry is golden brown.

For the mash:

1. Boil the potatoes and garlic clove until soft.
2. In another saucepan warm the milk then crumble in the cheese, stir until melted.
3. Drain and mash the potatoes then combine with the cheesey milk and butter, season to taste.
4. Serve up with a handful of dried cranberry's on top.

Wednesday, 17 February 2016

Garlic Pea Crusted Rack of Lamb, Dauphinois Potatoes, Black Garlic Foam

Rack of lamb is a pretty expensive treat but this Welsh rack is a mighty fine treat indeed. This version combines the sweetness of peas with the flavour of garlic to form a colourful but flavourful crust. Paired with garlicky dauphinois potatoes and black garlic foam it takes some beating.



Ingredients:

1x Rack of lamb, seasoned
1x Slice of white bread, grated into crumbs
1x Handful of fresh parsley, finely chopped
1x Handful of frozen peas, allowed to thaw and finely chopped
1x Garlic clove, crushed or grated
Dijon mustard

500ml Lamb stock
1x Black garlic clove

1kg Potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
2x Garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
300ml Double cream
300ml Milk
Butter


Method:

1. Arrange the potato slices in an oven dish.
2. On a chopping board sprinkle some salt over the 2 crushed garlic cloves then using the back of a fork work the garlic into a pulp.
3. In a saucepan mix the garlic pulp with the cream and milk and a good pinch of salt and pepper, and warm through.
4. Pour the garlic cream over the potatoes and scatter the top with knobs of butter.Cover with tin foil and put in the oven on gas mark 3 for 90 minutes.
5. To serve I simply placed a glass upside down on top of the dauphinois, cut around it with a knife then pushed the glass into the potatoes. You can then drop the potatoes out of the glass onto the plate to add that extra bit of visual presentation.

Black Garlic Foam:

1. Reduce the lamb stock by half by simmering on the hob, whisking regularly.
2. Peel the black garlic and crush it with the side of a knife. Add the pulp to the stock and continue simmering.
3. Thicken the sauce if needed with a cornflour and water mix then pass through a fine meshed sieve.
4. Pour the sauce into a whipping siphon and charge with one cartridge and shake very well. You can omit this bit if you haven't got a siphon and simply serve the sauce, it's just as tasty.

The Lamb:

1. Mix the breadcrumbs, peas, parsley and garlic together in a bowl.
2. In a hot frying pan brown the lamb on all sides but leave it a bit longer on the skin to melt the fat. Remove from pan and allow to rest.
3. Spread a really good dollop of dijon mustard over the skin and stick the garlic pea mixture to it.
4. Put the lamb in a gas mark 6 pre-heated oven for about 15 minutes. We like our lamb very rare so cook it a bit longer if you prefer it more done.
5. Slice the chops in pairs then plate up. We served ours with some french beans simply blanched for 3 minutes in boiling water.

You can read more about black garlic here www.britishblackgarlic.co.uk

Tuesday, 16 February 2016

Pot Noodle and Chips

Yes you did read that right, this is pot noodle and chips! This, erm recipe, was born out of a teenage hangover and is equally suited to times when you're not feeling 100%, just like Mrs Larry is right now. Tonight for simplicity we have used the Golden Wonder plastic potted version but below you will find my recipe for homemade pot noodle. You must serve it with crinkle cut chips, those crinkles create a bigger surface area for absorbing more of your favourite noodle sauce. Mrs L likes the beef and tomato version whereas I prefer the chicken and mushroom loaded with extra chilli sauce, either that or the BBB (Bombay Bad Boy). All I can say is don't knock it until you try it!


Ingredients:

Pot Noodle
Chips, crinkle cut


Method:

1. Cook your chips as per packet instructions.
2. Boil kettle and make pot noodle as per instructions. Add additional chilli sauce if you like.
3. Pour pot noodle over chips.


To make your own pot noodle:

Ingredients:

Noodles, either fresh or dried soaked in water.
Meat, chopped into small pieces, I used pork in the photo below but chicken is good
Mushrooms, diced
Shallot, diced
Carrot, peeled and diced
Peas
Chicken stock
Soy sauce
Cornflour


Method:

1. Sweat off the onion in a pan until translucent.
2. Add the meat and brown if raw.
3. Pour in the stock and soy sauce then add the remaining veg.
4. Simmer for a few minutes then thicken with cornflour and season to taste. Add any chilli sauce if you like.
5. Add the noodles and cook through.
6. Plate up! Eat as they are or if you're feeling delicate pour them over a hot steaming plate of crinkle cut chips.



Monday, 15 February 2016

Venison Fillet and Black Garlic Sauce

One ingredient I absolutely love is British black garlic. How it is made is a closely guarded secret but it is basically an aged and cured garlic bulb that turns black as part of the process. The flavour is similar to balsamic vinegar, a sort of liquoricey garlic, a perfect accompaniment to venison fillets. I simply combined it with leftover gravy from the venison cawl the other night but any stock will do.



Ingredients:

2x Venison Fillets
500ml Leftover gravy or stock
1x Large clove of British black garlic


Method:

1. Reduce the gravy or stock by half by simmering on the hob, whisking regularly.
2. Peel the black garlic and crush it with the side of a knife. Add the pulp to the gravy and continue simmering.
3. Thicken the gravy if needed with a cornflour and water mix then pass through a fine meshed sieve.
4. This bit is optional. Pour the gravy into a whipping siphon and charge with one cartridge and shake very well.
5. Season the venison then sear both sides in a hot pan for about 90 seconds a side.
6. Plate up and squirt or pour over your black garlic sauce.
7. Serve with veg of choice, mine is with sweet potato chips and mange tout, and I sneaked a poached egg in there too.


You can read more about black garlic here www.britishblackgarlic.co.uk

Saturday, 13 February 2016

Venison Cawl

It's not been the best trip away in the van this one as Mrs Larry and the Little Larrys have been poorly with this dreadful lurgy that's traversing the UK at the moment. What they need is a good hearty stew and as we are in Wales I'm serving them up a Welsh cawl using some venison saddle. I think cawl is Welsh for soup, which makes sense because it is a very thin stew. Sometimes the gravy is served as a soup to start but we are going to mop it all up with some crusty bread, and keep some of it to use as stock for dishes later this trip.


Ingredients:

500g Venison saddle, cubed
200g Bacon lardons
1x Large onion, diced
2x Leeks, sliced
3x Carrots (300g), peeled and sliced
500g Swede, peeled and chopped up
3x Potatoes (600g), peeled and thickly sliced
Chicken stock, 1 litre


Method:

1. On a high heat brown the lardons in a big frying pan then transfer to a casserole dish.
2. Season the venison cubes and lightly brown in batches in the bacon fat. Add them to the casserole dish.
3. Turn the heat down to medium low and sweat off the onions in the frying pan for 10 minutes.
4. While the onions are cooking add all the remaining veg to the casserole dish.
5. Mix the onions into the casserole dish then pour in the stock.
6. Bring the casserole to a boil on the hob then transfer to the oven on gas mark 1 and cook for 2-3 hours.
7. Serve with some lovely crusty bread to mop up the gravy.

Mwynhewch eich bwyd!