Thursday 29 May 2014

Feijoada - Brazilian Black Bean and Sausage Stew

My son Max is studying Brazil at school and his homework is to research the national cuisine and cook an authentic dish at home, well in our case in the caravan. After a bit of googling we found this national dish called feijoada, which is basically a bean and sausage stew. We have taken a few sacrilegious shortcuts as we are in the van, and Max is only 7 so it needs to be easy to cook. Traditionally only dried black beans should be used where we have used tinned, and instead af raw ham hock we used a cooked one from Asda's rotisserie. Thank you to Elise and Hank for the recipe.


1x tin of black beans (or any beans if you cant get black)
1x tray of diced pork
1x tin of corned beef, chopped into cubes
 Half of a chorizo ring, skinned and chopped up
1x cooked ham hock
1x packet of sausages (we used precooked cocktail)
1x onion diced
2x carrots, peeled and sliced
2x cloves of garlic
2x bay leaves
1x tin of tomatoes
Lemon juice


Its not rocket science this, basically just bung it all in a pan.

1. In a big pan heat some oil and sweat off the onions.
2. Add the diced pork to the pan and brown.
3. Add the garlic and chorizo, letting it release all that lovely paprika goodness.
4. Add the tin of tomatoes and half a tin of water.
5. Add the corned beef, carrots and bay leaves.
6. Add the beans.
6. Add the cooked sausages and stuff the hock into the centre of the pan.
7. Simmer gently for about 30 minutes then season with salt and pepper and a squirt of lemon juice.

Serve with rice and any greens, we used broccoli, French beans and basil leaves.

Wednesday 28 May 2014

Sirloin Steak on Fried Bread Pâté with Marsala Sauce

We first saw a dish similar to this at The Sheaf in West Haddon (which has sadly now closed) and have modified it to suit us in our van. Please excuse the focussing in the picture, I'm learning how to use a new camera!


Sirloin steak about 2cm thick
Bloomer loaf
French beans
1x clove of garlic
Marsala wine, or any wine
1x shallot roughly chopped.


For the Chips:
1. Peel and cut the potatoes into chunky chips all the same length and thickness.
2. Pour a good glug of oil in a roasting tin and put in the oven on gas 7
3. Parboil the chips for 10 minutes or as I do microwave on high for 7 minutes.
4. Plunge into cold water to cool and rinse the starch.
5. Dry the chips on jolly roll (kitchen paper).
6. Gently place chips into the hot oil in the roasting tin, baste them and pop back in the oven on top shelf.
7. Regularly turn the chip so all 4 sides brown as much as you like. We like our chips crunchy.
8. When done turn the oven down and move to bottom shelf while you fry the steak. Season with salt and vinegar prior to serving.

I like to prepare the chips the night before up to the point where they are plunged in cold water. Dry them off and put them in the freezer uncovered. The next evening roast them from frozen. This is using Heston's triple-cooked-chips method but in this case only double-cooking.

For the steak:
1. Make sure the steaks are at room temperature and not straight from the fridge.
2. Brush oil over one side and season with salt and pepper.
3. Get a frying pan hot and smoking and drop the steaks in oil side down. Never do more than 2 steaks in one pan as the temperature drop stops the all important maillard reaction.
4. Oil and season the upturned side.
5. After 2 minutes add a big knob of butter and turn the steak over.
6. Fry the other side for 2 minutes whilst continuously basting with the buttery juice.
7. Remove from the pan and put to one side, cover with foil and allow to rest.

For the mushrooms and beans:
1. Slice mushroom into chunky slices or use shitakes whole as I've done.
2. Trim beans and chop in half.
2. Chop or crush a clove of garlic.
3. Chuck it all in a frying pan with a big knob of butter.
4. Keep turning and when done add a good squirt of lemon juice, season with salt and pepper and sprinkle with chopped parsley leaves.

For the fried bread pâté:
1. Cut into 2cm slices and trim to roughly the same shape as the steak.
2. Fry in a nice oil and set aside until serving.
3. Just lavishly smother in a pâté prior to serving.

Order of cooking:
1. Do the chips completely to the point of moving to bottom shelf.
2. Put beans in a bit of oil and begin sautéing.
3. Do steaks and set aside.
4. Add shallot and marsala to steak pan and reduce.
5. Add mushrooms and garlic to beans.
6. Plate up!

Tuesday 27 May 2014

Crispy Skin Pork Belly on Celeriac Mash

I think pork belly is one of the best things you can cook in a caravan oven. The traditional gas oven gets so hot at the top that it produces the crispiest skin on the juiciest meat. It is easy and so delicious!


Pork belly - get the butcher to cut it into individual portions
Celeriac, peeled and chopped into chunks
Potatoes, peeled and chopped into chunks
Carrots, peeled and sliced lengthways, a bit like chips.
Baby sweetcorns
Cider - I prefer dry and vintage if possible


1. Turn the oven on to gas 6.
2. Chop shallots and carrot and place in the bottom of a baking tray, cover the veg with water.
3. Place the pork on top of the veg and then massage into the skin some oil and salt.
4. Shove it in the oven on the top shelf for about an hour but keep checking it. When its done pour the juices into a pan then put the pork back in the oven, place on bottom shelf then turn the oven off.
5. Now boil the celeriac and potatoes together.
6. Pour a bottle of cider, less a swig for chef, into the pork juice pan and get boiling to reduce.
7. In a shallow pan put a knob of butter, a glass of water, a pinch of salt and a sprinkling of sugar. Gently simmer the carrots for 5 minutes then add the sweetcorn for another 5 minutes, finally adding the asparagus for the last 5 minutes. All the liquid should disappear and you're left with juicy, shiny and sweet veggies.
8. When the sauce has reduced down take off the heat and add a knob of butter, whisk through.
9. Mash the celeriac and spuds together with more butter and salt and pepper.
10. Serve. Yum!

Monday 26 May 2014

Barbecue Mackerel Salad

If you ever go to the coast you must try mackerel fishing. We go to Beer in Devon where little boats run throughout the day taking passengers out fishing for mackerel. There is nothing tastier than fresh caught mackerel. I like to slice the fillet off, dust it in seasoned flour and fry quickly in butter or oil. When it is that fresh mackerel is hard to beat! In this recipe though we barbecued the mackerel and did a warm salad of stuff we had in the fridge.


Fresh mackerel gutted (hopefully caught by your own fair hands)
Bay leaves
Lemon slices
Hard boiled eggs (here I have quails eggs)
Asparagus tips
Sugar snap peas
Black olives halved

For the dressing:
Just mix together the following in whatever quantities suit your taste, I tend to go heavier on the vinegar and mustard:

White wine vinegar
Wholegrain mustard
Rapeseed or olive oil


1. Light the BBQ and have a beer.
2. When the coals are almost ready on a gas ring bring to the boil a pan of water and drop in the green veg for about 2 minutes.
3. Remove the veg and plunge into icy cold water to cool (this helps keep its greenness and stops it cooking).
4. Season the mackerel inside and out with salt and pepper and put lemon slices inside it. Smear them with a little oil.
5. Place the mackerel on the BBQ for about 2.5 minutes each side. It's done when the flesh is opaque but when its this fresh you can eat it raw so don't worry.
6. Heat some butter or good oil in a frying pan and sauté the mushrooms, when they're almost done add the green veg to warm through.
7. While the mushrooms are cooking pick the flesh from the mackerel.
8. Plate up and finish off with the olives, capers and dressing.

Sunday 4 May 2014

Pasta Shells in Creamy Cheesy Garlicky Bacon and Leak Sauce

This was a quick simple supper for the kids that Mrs Larry enjoyed so much she said I had to include it on the blog. It's also what I was making when the header photo was taken.

Double cream
Grated cheese
1 clove of garlic
Bacon - chopped
Leek - chopped
Peas - frozen.

1. Boil any old pasta in a pan like normal.
2. In a separate pan heat a bit of oil and add the bacon and leek. Keep the mixture turning so not to stick, fry until cooked.
3. Add the garlic and mix through for a minute.
4. Pour in enough cream to make it saucy and warm through.
5. Add a handful of peas.
6. Bung in the cheese one handful at a time. I use 50/50 mix of grated cheddar and grated mozzarella.
7. Drain the pasta and pour it into the sauce and serve. I didn't add parsley this time as the kids were not in a mood for green bits in their dinner.

Saturday 3 May 2014

Rack of Lamb on Garlic Mash with Mozzarella Leeks and Minted Kale

It is a special treat rack of lamb but a delicious treat nonetheless. When you buy a rack of lamb make sure the butcher cuts off the chine bone and ask him to French trim the ends of the ribs. I once made the mistake of not checking the chine bone, which connects all the ribs together, and it made it a lot more difficult to prepare back at the van.


Ingredients (for two people):

1 rack of lamb, chined and French trimmed
1 leek sliced into about half inch rounds
Mozzarella cut into 1cm slices
Asparagus tips
Carrots sliced lengthways
Mint (fresh or tinned sauce)
Red wine
Black Garlic (optional)


1. Peel the potatoes and a big clove of garlic and get them on the boil.
2. Turn the oven on to gas mark 6.
3. In a hot frying pan brown the rack of lamb on all sides.
4. Put the lamb in a roasting dish, fat side up, and place in the top of the oven for 20 minutes.
5. Give the frying pan a wipe, get back on a medium heat, and place the leek rounds in gently. You want to try and keep their shape. Season with a bit of salt.
6. When they are just starting to brown carefully turn the leeks over. When the other side is done gently place them on a baking tray and top with a slice of mozzarella and a few bread crumbs if you like. Put the leeks in the bottom of the oven.
7. In the frying pan add a knob of butter, a pinch of salt, even a pinch of sugar if you have a sweet tooth, a cup of water and the carrots. Bring to a simmer.
8. After a few minutes add the asparagus to the carrot. We are looking to boil the pan almost dry so the liquid has gone but the veg is all shiny and buttery. This method of cooking veg is called Vichy.
9. Its now about time to get the lamb out. Allow it to rest on a plate to one side. Get all the juices and scrape any bits out of the roasting dish and put in a saucepan with a glass of wine and finely chopped black garlic if you have it, and get it boiling to reduce. If there isn't much roasting juice you can add a bit of a lamb stock cube.
10. In another frying pan or small wok get the kale sautéing.
11. Mash the spuds and garlic clove together, add butter, hot milk and seasoning to taste.
12. Mix in a bit of chopped mint or mint sauce into the kale wok and give it a good mix.
13. Slice the rack between each rib and plate up on top of a big dollop of mash, surrounded by the veg and leeks, drizzled with that lovely wine reduction.