Friday 31 October 2014

Pumpkin Soup

Halloween is great fun away in the van and this year we have brought our beloved Eagle to the Camping and Caravan Club's site Teversal in Notts. We are away with friends and between us we have six children, which means six pumpkins and a lot of pumpkin flesh. I'm not one for wasting food so pumpkin soup is on the menu, whether they like it or not!


6x Pumpkins, flesh hollowed out
2x Large onions, peeled and chopped
4x Garlic cloves, peeled
1x Tin of tomatoes
Tomato Puree
Cumin powder
Coriander powder
Smoked paprika
Marigold Swiss Vegetable Bouillon
Red wine vinegar
Double cream
Greek basil


1. Boil a kettle.
2. In a big pan sweat off the onions and whole garlic cloves.
3. Add the spices, about a tablespoon of each, and gently fry for a minute or two.
4. Add a good dollop of tomato puree and fry for a minute.
5. Add half the kettle of water and mix in the pumpkin flesh and chopped basil stalks.
6. Stir regularly and add more water as needed.
7. Add a good glug of red wine vinegar.
8. When the pumpkin is soft blend with a hand blender.
9. Taste. It will taste like bland old pumpkin at this point but seasoning with bouillon, salt and pepper brings it alive. The bouillon is salty so start with that then finish off with salt (if needed) and pepper.
10. Turn off the heat, swirl in the pot of cream, drizzle some nice oil and top with Greek basil leaves.

Thursday 30 October 2014

Chicken and Black Pudding Colcannon

An old Irish tradition is to serve colcannon on Halloween. I'm using quite a lot of poetic licence here as my colcannon came about on an 'eat-up' night where we simply bunged into a wok a bit of cabbage plus other ingredients that needed using up. I wasn't going to put it on the website but Mrs Larry enjoyed it so much we quickly took a photo before she polished the lot off!


Cabbage, shredded
Chicken, already cooked and chopped up
Black pudding, skinned and chopped into cubes
Pancetta or smoked bacon rashers
Leek, sliced
2x Garlic cloves, peeled and diced or crushed
Carrots, diced or sliced
Mushrooms, chopped into quarters
Cheese, we used boursan but any will do


1. Heat some oil in a wok and fry the black pudding and bacon until crisp. Place on a sheet of kitchen paper. Leave the oil in the wok.
2. Add the carrots to the wok and stir fry for a couple of minutes.
3. Add the cabbage and leek and continue stir frying for another couple of minutes.
4. Add the mushrooms and garlic, continue frying.
5. When the mushrooms look done add the chicken, cheese and a dollop of cream and stir through until warm.
6. We served ours on a bit of leftover rice but you could use mash, chips, new spuds, pasta, whatever takes your fancy or you have leftover.
7. Top with the black pudding and bacon, a little drizzle of nice oil and some herbage if you have it.

Wednesday 29 October 2014

Scallops, Black Pudding and Bacon on Garlic and Pea Risotto

Its not that difficult this dish, and pretty quick to rustle up too, yet it rewards you with a big hug of deliciousness. It's one of Mrs Larry's favourites. Supermarket scallops are kept in a special liquid to stop them drying out so you must wash and dry them first.


Scallops with the roe removed
Black pudding, skinned and chopped into 1cm slices
Risotto rice, 6 tablespoons
1/2 Onion finely diced
2 Garlic cloves, peeled and diced or crushed
1x Glass of white wine
Peas, one handful, we used frozen.
Lemon juice
1x Chicken stock cube
Parmesan cheese, thinly sliced with a vegetable peeler


1. Boil a kettle.
2. In a shallow pan sweat off the onion in a drop of oil.
3. Add the rice and a 1cm slice of butter to the onion and mix well. When the butter has melted add the garlic and stir fry for about 1 minute. Don't let the garlic go brown.
4. Pour in half a glass of wine and give it a good mix. Keep stirring until the liquid has been absorbed then pour in the other half a glass and keep stirring.
5. When the wine has been absorbed pour in a good glug of hot water from the kettle and sprinkle in the stock cube. Keep stirring.
6. Put oven on gas mark 1.
7. With scissors snip into the bacon fat at 1cm intervals. This will stop it curling. Fry the bacon in a frying pan until crisp then put in the oven to keep warm. We had to do this in 2 batches.
8. Don't forget to keep stirring the rice and adding more water as it gets absorbed. Taste it and if it is softening but still has a little bite add the peas, and more water if needed.
9. In the frying pan add a knob of butter and fry the black pudding for about 2 minutes each side or until the edges are beginning to crisp up. Put the black pudding in the oven with the bacon.
10. When the rice is soft and creamy take off the heat and season with a few parmesan shavings, salt, pepper and a drop of lemon juice.
11. Get the frying pan very hot again, season the dry scallops and sear them. It is very important you do not overcook them so I follow this simple rule, cook for 2 minutes on one side then 1 minute on the other, no more.
12. Its also important to eat the scallops as soon as you can after cooking so while they are searing get plating up. On a foundation of risotto place the black pudding and bacon. Top with the scallops as soon as they are done, a few shavings of parmesan and a drizzle of nice oil. If you have any green herbs like parsley you can sprinkle a few leaves over for decoration but its not essential.

Tuesday 28 October 2014

Nottingham Pudding

This was my first 'Challenge Larry' set by Rachel at Elddis. As we are staying at Teversal in Notts its only right we attempt this local dish. Traditionally I think it is done with whole, cored apples but as I haven't got a corer in the van I chopped them up instead - and it worked quite well.


3x Large apples, traditionally bramley but any will do (approx 1 per person)
1x Lemon (wash the wax coating off first)
5x Tablespoons of flour
1x Pinch of salt
4x Tablespoons of light brown sugar
1x Teaspoon of ground cinnamon
1x Large egg
1/4 Pint of milk (approx.)
1/4 Pint of water (approx)
1/5 of a packet of lard, about 1.5cm slice, or a good glug of vegetable oil.
1/5 of a packet of butter, about 1.5cm slice
1 Bottle of beer


1. Sift the flour and salt into a mixing bowl and make a well in the centre.
2. Add the egg and begin mixing, slowly milk and water until you have a smooth and quite runny consistency. A typical Yorkshire pud mix. Put it in the fridge for about half an hour.
3. Sit down, relax and drink the beer.
4. Peel and chop the apples, remove the core, put in a bowl with the zest of the lemon and the juice of half.
5. Put the lard in your oven dish and place on the top shelf of the oven on gas 7.
6. In a wok or frying pan on medium heat place the apples, sugar, cinnamon and the other half lemon of juice. Cook until the apple is just softening.
7. Take the hot lardy tin out of the oven, whack in the apples, pour in the batter and get it back in the oven quickly. Do not be tempted to open the door again until it's time to get it out. Cook on gas 7 for 20 minutes then turn down to gas 5 for another 20 minutes. It will not rise like Yorkshire pud because of all the sugar.
8. Serve with custard, I use the tinned variety and cook in the microwave for about 2 minutes :) I was tempted to pop a tot of whisky in, maybe next time..

Sunday 26 October 2014

Lamb Loin Chops, Roast Stalagmite Veg, Split Pea Hummus with Minty Gravy

Tesco in Mansfield decided this meal for me as they had the lamb chops reduced from £13 to £8. A great opportunity to have these expensive luxuries at a more palatable price.


Thick juicy lamb loin chops
Baby carrots
New potatoes
Dried split peas
Baby tomatoes
1x Garlic bulb
White wine
Double cream
Mint sauce


1. Cook the split peas as per packet instructions. Mine were boil for 10 minutes then simmer for 40. Include in the water 2 peeled garlic cloves.
2. Put the new potatoes into a roasting tin, drizzle with oil and season, place on the top shelf of the oven at gas mark 4.
3. Trim flat the big ends of the carrots and place in a roasting tin with some oil.
4. Trim the bottoms of the shallots, peel and place in the roasting tin with the carrots, season, place on the bottom shelf of the oven.
5. Have a glass of wine.
6. After about 15 minutes add the rest of your garlic cloves to the carrots and shallots, give them a mix to make sure everything is coated in oil.
7. When the split peas are done drain any excess water (if there is any) and give them a whizz with a hand blender. Season and if you're feeling indulgent add a blob of cream. Put the lid back on the pan to keep warm.
8. Add the tomatoes to the potatoes in the oven and give them a shake to make sure they're coated in oil.
9. Season the chops and sear in a hot pan for 2 minutes per side. I count the fat as a side too, get it nice and crispy. When they are done put to one side and cover with foil.
10. Chop a couple of shallots and sweat them off in the lamb pan.
11. Pour in a couple of glasses of wine and whack the heat up to reduce the gravy.
12. Add a teaspoon of mint sauce and pour in the cream. Season if needed, I used a few crumbs from a lamb stock cube. Strain the gravy through a sieve to give it a smooth consistency.
13. Remove all the roasting veg from the oven and plate up! With the flat bottomed carrots and shallots you should be able to get the stalagmite look.