Thursday 31 December 2015

Buxton Pudding Turnover

I couldn't say farewell to lovely Derbyshire without trying out a local dish. Everyone knows about Bakewell puddings and tarts but the little known Buxton pudding never gets a mention. A Buxton pudding is very similar to it's sibling over at Bakewell except it doesn't use almonds and the filling is mixed with breadcrumbs to make it denser. You will notice I've added 'turnover' to the title, this is due to the fact that my enamel tin was far to big for the quantity of filling I'd made so I just picked the pastry up from one end of the tin and pulled it over to make a pie. Lucky for me it worked and in the process I've accidentally invented a new dish!


1x Roll of ready made shortcrust pastry
170g Breadcrumbs
3 Eggs, beaten together
100g Soft butter
120g Caster sugar
Raspberry's, 1 punnet


1. In a pan gently warm your raspberries and 20g of sugar until you have a warm jam.
2. Mix together the remaining sugar with the butter in a bowl then gradually add the eggs followed by the breadcrumbs.
3. Roll out the pastry into an oven dish.
4. Spread your jam onto the pastry.
5. Top with the breadcrumb filling. Now here is where you should stop but as mentioned I didn't have enough filling for my tin so I grabbed one end of the pastry and pulled over the top to make a pie. If you have a small tin you can miss the optional bit out. Don't forget to seal the pie with a bit of water or egg wash. Brush the top of the pie with a bit of egg and sprinkle over with sugar.
6. Bake in the oven on gas mark 4 for about 30 mins.
7. Plate up with a tin of heated custard.

Wednesday 30 December 2015

Pot Braised Beef Brisket in Port Gravy

With Christmas done and dusted there was still plenty of wine and port left over in our caravan so I thought lets bung it all in a stew. Slowly roasting a brisket in a pot turns the meat into that lovely stringy melt in your mouth deliciousness, and coupled with a rich sticky port and cranberry gravy Christmas certainly isn't over just yet.


1kg Beef brisket
1x Large onion, roughly chopped
2x Carrots cut into 1cm slices
2x Sticks of celery
10x Mushrooms, halved
1x Leek, cut into 2cm slices
1x Star anise
1tsp Caraway seeds
1x Bay leaf
1x Sprig of thyme
1x Large glass of port, about 250ml
2x Large glasses of red wine
4x Garlic cloves
1tsp black peppercorn
2tbsp Cranberry sauce
500ml Stock


1. Cook the onions in a frying pan for 5-10 mins then pour them into a casserole pot.
2. Season the brisket all over then brown in the frying pan then place on top of the onions.
3. Pour the port, wine and stock to the frying pan and bring to the boil.
4. Add the chopped veg and all other ingredients to the casserole pot then pour over the hot porty-wine-stock mixture.
5. Place the pot in the oven on gas mark 2 for about 4 hours or until the meat is falling apart.
6. Remove the meat from the pan and set aside.
7. Strain the vegetables from the gravy and discard then get the gravy reducing on the hob.
8. Thicken the gravy with a little cornflour mixed with water and season to taste.
9. Plate up! We served ours with some simple roasted veg and some lovely crusty white bread and butter.

Tuesday 29 December 2015

Special Fried Rice Burger with Cheesy Leeks, a Fried Egg and Gravy

Sometimes you just fancy some deliciously dirty food and this certainly fits the bill. It sounds wrong but tastes so right and I guarantee you will like it as much as Mrs Larry and I did. After the myriad of proper dinners over Christmas a simple plate of honest grub can't be beat, and this uses up leftover leeks in cheese sauce and gravy - although from now on I'll make sure there are plenty of leftovers so we can have this time and time again.

(serves 2)

1/2lb Beef mince
2x Eggs
2x Cups of cooked rice (long grain or basmati)
4x Cabbage leaves, finely sliced
1x Onion diced (small onion)
1x Large carrot, peeled and diced
4x Rashers of streaky bacon, chopped up
6x Mushrooms, sliced
Any leftover gravy reheated

For the leeks in cheese sauce please see my Venison Shanks recipe from a couple of days ago.


1. Grab a handful (1/4lb) of mince, season well with salt and pepper then form into a burger with your hands. Don't forget to add a dimple in the middle to stop it swelling into a ball, see here for more info on making The Burger.
2. Cook the burgers in a large frying pan or wok with a splash of oil for about 4 minutes each side. When done place in a warm oven, gas mark 2 will do, and top with cold leftover leeks in cheese sauce.
3. In the same pan now sweat off the diced onion until translucent then add the carrot for a couple of minutes.
4. Now bung in the bacon, mushrooms and cabbage and cook for about 3 minutes.
5. In goes the cooked rice, keep stirring until well heated through.
6. Plate up the rice then in the same frying pan quickly fry your eggs so the bottoms are crispy but the yolks still runny.
7. Get the cheesy leek topped burgers out of the oven and place them on top of the plated rice. On goes the fried egg then drizzle all over your leftover gravy. Pure filth, but so good.

Sunday 27 December 2015

Slow Braised Venison Shanks

Our good friend Sam is a forest ranger so his job involves regularly culling deer and he has been very kind in filling our freezer with a selection of cuts. I know most people won't have a forest ranger friend but your local butcher should be able to get venison for you, and I do recommend you try it as it is a lean red meat quite different to beef, lamb or pork. I'm planning on doing a few venison dishes over the next few months when away in the van but the first on the list are these shanks. Cook them the same as lamb shanks but as the bone is pretty big remove it before plating up. The slow braised, melt in your mouth meat goes perfectly with mashed spud but you could serve it with couscous or polenta too.


2x Venison shanks
1x Celery stick, sliced
2x Carrots, sliced
1x Onion, sliced
1x Leek, sliced
2x Garlic cloves, crushed
Half tube tomato purée
1x Bay leaf
1x Tsp whole black peppercorns
1x Tbsp caraway seeds
1x Tbsp chopped parsley stalk
1x Thyme sprig
1x Tbsp cranberry sauce
500ml Chicken stock
Red wine - half a bottle

For Creamy Brie Leeks: 
2x Leeks, sliced
200ml Double cream
Half a Brie, rind removed
Grated cheddar, about a handful
Breadcrumbs, about a handful


For the Venison: 
1. In big frying pan brown the venison shanks all over then set aside.
2. In the same pan sweat off the onion until translucent then add the celery, carrots, leek and garlic and stir for about 2 minutes.
3. Squirt in half a tube of tomato puree and mix into the veg well.
4. Add the wine a glass at a time, allowing it to reduce to a sticky sauce before adding the next glass.
5. Pour in the stock and add the bay leaf, peppercorns, caraway seeds, parsley stalks, thyme and cranberry sauce.
6. Bring the sauce to a simmer, taste and season then pour the whole lot into an oven dish.
7. Put the shanks in the sauce then cover tightly with foil or a lid and put in the oven on gas mark 1 (140C/280F) for 2-3 hours. You know when the shanks are done when the meat just falls off the bone.
8. When they are done remove the shanks and set aside, strain the veg out of the sauce then reduce the sauce in a pan on the stove until you reach a nice consistency.

For the Leeks:
1. Cook the leeks in a frying pan for about 5 minutes.
2. Pour in the cream.
3. When the cream warms up add the brie and stir until melted.
4. Pour into a dish, top with cheddar then breadcrumbs and pop under the grill until the breadcrumbs are golden and the cheddar has melted.

Saturday 5 December 2015

Coronation Sprouts

Coronation chicken was famously invented for the coronation of our Queen, Elizabeth II, in 1953. That sweet spicy sauce is a perfect accompaniment to relieve the bitterness of sprouts and it so easy to make I think future monarchs should celebrate their coronation with this fantastical British combination.


Sprouts, halved
Mango Chutney
Curry powder


1. Bring a pan of water to the boil on the hob then add the halved sprouts. Bring back to the boil and simmer for 3 minutes before draining and cooling under cold running water.
2. In a bowl mix mayonnaise and mango chutney to a ratio of about 3 mayo to 1 chutney. Add curry powder to taste.
3. Combine the sprouts and coronation sauce and top with as many sultana's as you like.

Sprouts Marinière

If garlicky creamy marinière white wine sauce works a treat with mussels then why not with brussels too. Serve this up as a starter or snack with some nice buttered bread to mop up the sauce.


Sprouts, halved
Shallots, finely diced
Garlic clove, finely diced or crushed
Double cream
White wine, about a glass
Bay leaf


1. Bring a pan of water to the boil on the hob then add the halved sprouts. Bring back to the boil and simmer for 3 minutes before draining and setting aside.
2. In a frying pan soften shallots in a drop of oil for a few minutes then add the garlic and cook for a further minute.
3. Add the glass of white wine, thyme and bay followed by the sprouts and cook for about 2 minutes.
4. Pour in the double cream, heat through and serve.

Soy Roast Sprouts

This recipe was given to me by Gregor from Gregors Umami Dressing and it is simply delicious. It is so easy yet the addition of soy sauce does something special to those green lovelies while roasting n the oven. While you're here please check out Gregors website, his umami dressing really is exceptionally tasty.


Sprouts, halved
Soy sauce


1. Preheat the oven to gas 7.
2. Oil a roasting tray and put in the sprouts cut side down. Roast for 10 minutes.
3. Turn the sprouts over and cover the cut sides in soy sauce. Continue roasting for another 10 minutes.
4. Plate up!

Sprouts with Bacon, Shallots, Pecans and Redcurrants

Sprouts with bacon and onion is a festive staple in our house but this time I thought I'd jazz it up a bit with the addition of pecan nuts and redcurrant berries. It's certainly festive and the sweet / savoury blend work perfectly with bitterness of sprouts.


Sprouts, halved
Shallots, diced
Bacon lardons
Pecan nuts, chopped
Red currents


1. Lightly grease a frying pan and add to it the halved sprouts, diced shallots and bacon lardons.
2. Stir fry until the bacon is cooked then add the pecans for another minute.
3. Serve with a topping of red currant berries.

Cheezy Creamy Garlic Sprouts

Cheese, cream and garlic when mixed together are a match made in heaven and they do not fail to succeed with shredded sprouts either. I think these could be my favourite sprouts of all time, but be warned, you might be a bit stinky for a day or so!


Sprouts, thinly sliced, about a dozen should do.
1x Banana shallot, thinly sliced.
Garlic, 1 whole head plus another clove
Double cream, half a pot, about
Mature cheddar cheese, a big handful grated
Olive oil


1. Put the head of garlic in a foil parcel, drizzle with oil and season with salt then wrap up the parcel and pop in the oven on gas mark 7 for about 30 minutes.
2. In a frying pan melt a big nob of butter and add to it the shredded sprouts and shallots. Stir fry for about three minutes.
3. Crush or grate the 1 clove of garlic into the pan and stir fry for another minute.
4. Pour in the cream and grated cheese and stir well until totally combined and heated through.
5. Remove the garlic bulb from the oven, allow to cool slightly then peel the cloves.
6. Season the sprouts and serve topped with the roast garlic cloves and a drizzle of olive oil.

Monday 26 October 2015

Malvern Pudding

OK so the Clent Hills aren't in the Malverns but we are in Worcestershire, as are the Malverns, and as we can see them from the Clent Hills so Malvern Pudding will do as a local dish for me. All the traditional recipes talk of making custard from milk and cornflower or double cream but you know what, I cant see anything wrong with a good old carton of custard. There is nothing wrong with the taste so why go to all that hassle, especially when on holiday in the van.


Apples, 1kg peeled, cored and diced. We used Bramley but you can use any.
Granulated sugar, about 50g
1x Lemon, zested
Custard, 1kg carton
Cinnamon, 1tsp
Brown Sugar, 1tbsp


1. In a frying pan or wok cook the apples with a big nob of butter for about 5 minutes or until they are soft.
2. Stir in the lemon zest, granulated sugar and cinnamon and cook for another minute.
3. Pour the apples into a dish and top with the custard.
4. Dot thin slices of butter over the top of the custard and sprinkle with brown sugar.
5. Grill for about 5 minutes or until the bubbling.


1. Squeeze the lemon juice into a bowl and coat your apple pieces immediately after chopping, its stops then turning brown.
2. In the caravan the grill is quite small so you will have to rotate the dish to grill the top evenly.

Also available on Meals in Fields

Sunday 25 October 2015

Brummie Balti with Chicken and Rice

For our Sunday lunch today we decided to throw tradition out the window and have the local specialty of a balti. I'm not sure why I called this dish a Brummie balti as the term balti originated from Birmingham anyway. There is a debate as to where the name came from but to me it is simply another Indian curry, and I love curry! As we are a stones throw away from Brum it would be rude not to give the dish a go but not wanting to stink the van out I'm cooking it on the cadac outside.

(Serves a family of 5)

Paprika, 1 tsp
Cumin, 1 tsp
Coriander powder, 1 tsp
Garam masala, 2 tsp
Turmeric, 1/2 tsp
10 Cardamon pods, shell discarded, seeds removed and crushed
Cinnamon, 1/4 tsp
2x Onion, diced (or 1 large onion)
3x Garlic cloves, diced
4cm Ginger
Chopped tomatoes, 2 cartons 780g
1x Red pepper, diced
Fresh coriander, a bunch
Natural yoghurt
White wine vinegar, 1 tbsp
Sugar, up to 1 tsp
5x Chicken breasts, cut into pieces


1. In a big frying pan or wok heat a glug of oil and fry the chicken pieces in batches for a minute to seal then set aside.
2. Into the pan goes the onion to sweat off for 10 minutes, keep stirring.
3. Mix in all the spices and keep stirring for a couple of minutes.
4. Add the garlic, ginger and red pepper in. Keep stirring for another 2 minutes.
5. Pour in a cup of water and then the tomatoes.
6. Chop up the coriander stalks into the sauce.
7. Cook the sauce for about 15 minutes then blend with a hand blender. You might need to add some water if its too thick. Taste and season with the wine vinegar, sugar, salt and pepper.
8. Get a pan of water boiling ready for the rice.
9. Pop the chicken into the sauce and simmer for about 20 minutes or until cooked.
10. At the same time as the chicken goes in get your rice on the go.
11. Plate up with a blob of yoghurt and sprinkle over torn coriander leaves.


1. If you like it hot then definitely add chopped chillis, With the seeds if you like it really hot, with the garlic and ginger. This was cooked for the kids too so I omitted heat but added a good glug of my favourite chilli sauce to my portion.
2. If you want to make it more balanced add some veggies like cauliflower or broccoli florets for the last 10 minutes.

Saturday 24 October 2015

Faggotless Faggots with Mushy Peas and Cauliflower Puree

Mmmm you can't beat a good faggot! We are staying in the West Midlands conurbation and as such are not far from the Black Country where faggots* and pea's are as regional to them as jellied eels are to cockneys**. All the local butchers make their own faggots, each with unique tried and tested recipes and I'm sure I'd love them all but there is a but. Mrs Larry isn't keen on the thought of the offal so for our tea tonight I'm making faggotless faggots, meatballs basically, with Worcestershire Sauce - well we couldn't come to Worcestershire and not use that infamous and illustrious delectable pride of the county. Served up in onion gravy with mushy marrowfat peas and cauliflower cheese puree (to keep the carbs down) I can't think of a finer meal on this chilly old autumn evening in the van.

(Serves a family of 5)

1x Box of marrowfat peas soaked overnight
1x Cauliflower, large
Grated cheese, 3 large handfuls

For the faggots:

Mince beef, 1kg
1x Small onion, finely diced
1x Large garlic clove, crushed
Worcestershire sauce, as much as you like, I used 1 tbsp
Salt and pepper

For the gravy:
Chicken stock, I used fresh but only because I had some. Make up any stock cube you like.
1x Onion, halved and sliced
1 tbsp cornflower mixed with water to make a paste


1. Mix the faggot ingredients together in a bowl by hand,  season well and shape your meatballs with your hands.
2. Heat a glug of oil in a deep frying pan or wok and brown the meatballs for a minute or two. Do them in batches then set aside.
3. In the frying pan make the gravy by sweating off the sliced onions for 15 minutes then pour in the stock and bring to a simmer. Thicken the gravy with the cornflower/water mix
4. Pop the balls back in and simmer until cooked, about 30 minutes.
5. In another pan gently cook your marrowfat peas to the packet instructions.
6. Cook the cauliflower in a pan of water for about 5 minutes or until soft, drain the water then mash with a fork or a hand blender if you have one on board, add grated cheese and season.
7. Plate up


1. You could simply use bisto for the gravy and not bother making up stock and cornflower.
2. Personally I like Mr Brains faggots so you could simply use his. They are tasty, easy and cheap.
3. I don't use binding agents in the faggots but you could add breadcrumbs or egg if you like.
4. Use any mince meat you like, I used beef steak mince but you could use any beef, pork or turkey. A mixture of beef and pork mince is a very fine combination indeed.

* In the Black Country faggots are also known as Ducks, and in the North of England they're called Savoury Ducks.

** Did you know that to be a true cockney you have to be born within earshot of the Bow Bells, which is St Mary-le-Bow church on Cheapside near where I used to work in London. I can't think of any maternity ward near Cheapside so I'm guessing true cockneys are sadly a dying breed.

Sunday 30 August 2015

Somerset Mince

We've had a lovely time here in Somerset and I have to say this CL site in Perry Green is absolutely lovely. It's called Manor Farm CL and Pam the owner has been a most excellent host. In her small shop (that stocks everything you couldn't think of to forget) she has a delicious local cider that I cant help cooking with so tonight we're trying mince beef and onions with a bit of cabbage and veg in a gravy made from that delicious Somerset cider.


Mince beef, 500g
1x Onion, diced
Cabbage, shredded
Carrot, peeled and chopped
Mushrooms, quartered
Celery, sliced
Garlic, 1 crushed clove
Cider, a good vintage or local if possible, about half a bottle
Mixed veg as a side


1. In a wok or big frying pan add a glug of oil and sweat off the onions until translucent.
2. Add the garlic and beef and brown for a minute.
3. Add the four c's. Pour in the cider then chuck in the cabbage, carrots and celery.
4. Simmer and stir for about half an hour then mix in the mushrooms.
5. Season to taste and serve. We served with a mixture of veg (broccoli, squash, beans and asparagus) that was simply microwaved in a covered bowl with a splash of water for 3 minutes.

Thursday 27 August 2015

Pork Chops with Scallops and Bacon in Somerset Cider Sauce

One of our favourite cuts of meat is a thick juicy pork chop, it really takes some beating with cider sauce and as we are in Somerset it's a no brainer. We are on a bit of a low carb diet at the moment so out goes the usual mashed potato in favour of a few scallops. It's really easy this dish, using one pan and one oven tray, but is so tasty I'm sure you will want to cook it again and again.


Pork chops, thick cut and bone in, from the local butchers if possible
Cabbage, shredded
1x Onion, halved and sliced
Garlic cloves, as many as you like, I used a whole head
Bacon, diced


1. Turn the oven on to gas mark 7.
2. In a frying pan add a glug of oil and your garlic bulbs with the skin on. Gently fry for a minute then remove.
3. Season the chops then get the pan nice and hot and sear both sides for about a minute each. Set the chops aside in your oven tray and put the garlic cloves on top of them.
4. Pour in the cider and bring to a boil, reduce by half then pour over the chops.
5. Put the chops in the oven for 20 minutes.
6. Wipe the frying pan out, add a glug of oil and gentle sweat off the onion for 5 minutes.
7. Add the diced bacon and cook for another 5 minutes.
8. In goes the cabbage for another 5 minutes. Keep stirring so it doesn't burn.
9. Season the cabbage to taste then plate up.
10. In the frying pan add another glug of oil and fry the scallops on one side for 2 minutes.
11. While the scallops are cooking top the cabbage with the pork chops and garlic cloves.
12. Turn the scallops over and cook the other side for 1 minute.
13. Plate up! I like lots of black pepper with this dish so fill your boots and give it a good dusting.


1. If you like crispy pork fat like us hold the chops with tongues skin side down in the pan for a minute or two during searing.
2. If you like your sauce a little thicker add a cornflower and water mix during the reduction phase.

Monday 17 August 2015

Filet Steak with Cauliflower Gratin and Choy Sum

It was a big bag of choy sum we had during this holiday but I promise this is the last recipe using it. Its another dead quick and simple dinner using the rest of the bearnaise sauce we had with the Three Bird Delight a couple of nights ago.


Filet steak
Choy Sum
Garlic clove, chopped
Cheddar cheese, grated
1x Slice of bread
Bearnaise sauce


1. Put the cauliflower into a pan of boiling water and cook for 4 minutes.
2. Removed from the pan with a slotted spoon and allow to steam in a bowl.
3. In the same pan blanch the choy sum for a minute, remove and refresh in a bowl of cold water.
4. Cook the steak to your liking. For me it is liberally seasoned then 90 seconds per side in a very hot pan. Remove from the pan to rest.
5. Put the cauliflower in a roasting dish and cover with the cheese. Rub the bread between your hands to cover the cauliflower in crumbs.
6. Place under a medium grill until the cheese has melted and breadcrumbs toasted.
7. Make up your sauce.
8. Using the steak pan gently fry the garlic clove then add the blanched choy sum for a minute.
9. Plate up!

Sunday 16 August 2015

Choy Sum Brunch

One of the ways I've found to cut down on calories is to skip lunch but have a big meal for brunch. I'm sure there are all sorts of reasons not to do this but weight loss is my only goal at the moment and it works for me. We've got some left over choy sum from last nights Three Bird Delight so today's brunch has got a few of your five a day and is of course low carb. I have used turkey rashers, which I know are completely processed but as we are on holiday I thought I'd give them a try. Give me bacon any day though!


Choy sum, or you could use any cabbage or lettuce
Red pepper, I used pickled but you can use fresh
Turkey rashers or bacon


1. Heat a small amount of oil in a frying pan or wok and add the clove of garlic chopped in half. Cook the garlic for a few minutes so it releases its flavour then remove.
2. Stir fry the chopped mushrooms for a few minutes before adding the chopped choy sum.
3. Lightly oil a frying pan and get the rashers on the go. They only take a couple of minutes.
4. Remove the rashers, add a bit more oil to the pan and crack in the eggs. Cover with a lid.
5. Plate up. I topped with the garlic clove but I'll leave that up to you.

Saturday 15 August 2015

Three Bird Delight

A carnivores delight but low in fat and carbs three bird dinner that's easy and quick to knock up. The poussin was prepared and seasoned already and I also cheated with a shop bought bearnaise base that simply needed blending with a pot of milk. For a prepared sauce it was actually very nice, but more to the point it was simply done in the van.

(for two)

1x Spatchcock poussin
2x Small chicken breasts
1x Ostrich steak
Choy sum
Mushrooms, chopped
1x Garlic clove, crushed
Bearnaise sauce
Lemon juice


1. Heat the oven to gas mark 6.
2. Place the spatchcock poussin on a roasting tray and roast for about 30-40 minutes.
3. After 10 minutes loosely cover the chicken breasts with foil and also place in the oven.
4. Blanch the choy sum in boiling water then refresh in cold water.
5. Pan fry the ostrich steak to your likeness (about 90s a side for me) and set aside to rest.
6. Prepare your sauce.
7. In the pan used for the ostrich stir fry the mushrooms with a crushed clove of garlic and for the last minute add the blanched choy sum. Finish off with a squirt of lemon juice and season to taste.
8. Remove the poussin and chicken breasts from the oven, chop the poussin in half and plate up.

Scotch Woodcock Low Carb

Scotch Woodcock is a simple dish dating back to the Victorian era and can be simply summed up as anchovy toast with scrambled eggs. As we are on low carb diets here in Larry-land we need to ditch the toast in favour of a spicy Pierre Dukan Oat Bran Galette, and to add my twist I'm going to top with a crispy fried egg. "Fried!" I hear you say, "that's not low fat!". Well I have been using a refined coconut oil and you only need a little bit.

(per person)

2x Eggs
Oat bran - 1.5 tbsp
Fat free Greek yoghurt - 1.5 tbsp
Patum peperium gentlemens relish
Chilli powder or a drop of chilli sauce
Paprika for dusting


1. Combine in a bowl 1 egg with the oat bran, yoghurt, and chilli. It takes a bit of mixing but you will end up with a batter like paste.
2. Grease a non-stick frying pan on medium heat and pour the batter in, spreading it around to form the pancake shape.
3. Cook for a few minutes until the batter looks set then flip.
4. When the pancake is done slide it on a plate then lightly grease the pan again.
5. Crack the other egg into the pan and cover with a lid. No need to baste with fat because the lid will ensure the top cooks whilst the bottom goes nice and crispy.
6. Ever so lightly spread the gentlemens relish over your pancake then top with the egg and a dusting of paprika.

Wednesday 12 August 2015

Baked Monkfish Tail with Bacon Sauce on Samphire Salad

It's the first night of our inaugural summer holiday trip and we are staying at the lovely Wyatts Covert site in Denham to the west of London. Usually I would be seeking to cook local dishes but after a quick dash to the nearby Tesco I couldn't resist picking up a monkfish tail for Mrs Larry and myself to share. We are on a bit of a health kick at the moment so low fat and low carb is the order of the day but hopefully without losing any flavour. A bacon and shallot sauce made from Patum Peperiums gentlemens relish should pack all the punch that is needed. The fishmonger at Tesco had a big bunch of samphire for sale too, I can't resist its salty taste of the sea so that's tonight's dinner sorted!


1x Monkfish Tail
1x Lemon, unwaxed and sliced
Back bacon, fat removed and diced
1x Banana shallot, diced
Dill, finely chopped
Patum Peperiums Gentlemens Relish (see pic below)

For the salad:
1x Bag of samphire
Cauliflower florets
Broad beans, podded
Radish, thinly sliced
Black olives, drained and halved
Chili's (we used a jar of sweet pearls, see pic below)


1. Get your fishmonger to prepare the monkfish tail by removing the outer membrane. All you then have to do is plop it in a lightly greased tin foil parcel, top with salt and pepper and the sliced lemons, seal the parcel up and put in the oven on gas mark 5 for 20 minutes. That's the fish done, easy even in a caravan.
2. To prepare the salad bring a pan of water (not salted) to the boil and drop in your podded broad beans. Scoop them out when they float and allow to cool to the touch.
3. Gently pull apart the broad bean skins to reveal the emerald jewels. Discard the skins and set aside the beans. You can omit this step if its early in the season or if you don't mind the skins. It is a bit of a fancy faf to be honest.
4. Into the pan go the cauliflower florets and simmer for about 5 minutes.
5. Remove the cauliflower from the pan with a slotted spoon and set aside.
6. Into the hot water now goes the samphire for 1.5 minutes only. We are literally just very quickly blanching it.
7. For the bacon sauce lightly grease a frying pan on a medium heat and add the chopped bacon and shallots. Stir continuously until done, about 5 minutes will do.
8. Add a ladle of veggie cooking water to the frying pan and half a teaspoon of gentlemen s relish.
9. Remove the monkfish from the oven and pour the juices in the foil pouch into the frying pan. Let the fish rest.
10. Simmer the bacon sauce for a few minutes then add a handful of chopped dill and a spot of black pepper.
11. Plate up on a sharing platter. Start by covering the platter with samphire then sprinkle over the remaining salad ingredients. Top with the monkfish, then the bacon sauce and finish off with capers and more chopped dill.

We found these Chilli Pepper Pearls in Tesco's at Denham and what a find they were. They are sweet and juicy with a slight kick and a perfect accompaniment to any salad.

Patum Peperium Gentelemen's Relish. It's a curious name for sure and cannot help bring a smirk to the face of a mischievous mind. I mean, what is a Patum Peperium!? ;)

Nevertheless this stuff is awesome simply spread on hot buttered toast but it can also be used to add so much flavour to your cooking. I'll be experimenting with it for sure.

Friday 26 June 2015

The Burger

It is very easy to buy burgers ready made and just slam them on the barbecue but in this age of meat scandals and unknown additives it can be far safer, cheaper and tastier to make your own, and indeed more satisfying. I've experimented in the past mixing the mince with all sorts of ingredients such as onion, chili, mushroom, rosemary, star anise, the list goes on. Then there are binding agents like breadcrumbs or eggs that people insist on using, or they whiz everything up in a food processor pulverizing everything into a mush. I find the best burgers are simply done by grabbing a handful of good mince (from a butcher), gently forming a patty, put a dimple in the middle, season and coat with oil and barbecue for a few minutes each side. Don't be tempted to move it, don't even touch it! It will come free of the grill when its charred enough and that side is done, then you can turn it over. Please never be tempted to squash the burger, if you do all that lovely juicy flavour will escape and you will end up with a dry, burnt bit of shoe leather.

I've also tried many different toppings and sauces, while they can make for some interesting and different combinations in my humble opinion the best burgers are the simple ones.

Burger Rules:

1. Never over work the mince, just form a simple patty and don't forget the dimple.

2. Always toast the inside of the buns on the grill first.
3. Make a burger sauce out of mayo, ketchup and mustard (English or American). Equal quantities of each is a good start but be careful if using English mustard as it is hotter. I like to add a few chopped capers too but that's up to you.
4. Wash and dry your salad.
5. Don't overcook the burger and don't fiddle with it!


Mince beef from the butcher
Cheddar cheese, sliced
Iceberg lettuce, leaves torn off
Tomato, sliced
Red onion, sliced
Lemon juice
Tomato Ketchup
Mustard, English or American
Bread buns
Salt and pepper


1. Wash and dry the salad.
2. Put the sliced onion in a bowl with a bit of lemon juice and mix through. I find this add's a bit of tang and also softens the intensity of raw onion.
3. Make your burger sauce by mixing the sauces together with some chopped up capers.
4. Cut the buns in half and toast the inside on the hot bbq or grill. Be careful not to burn them! Set aside when done.
5. Grab a handful of mince and form your patty, give it the dimple, season and smear with oil then pop it on the grill, if you have a lid on your barby get it shut. I do mine for about 3 minutes then flip but it depends on the thickness and how done you like them. I have no problem eating them pink if the mince is from a good butcher, in fact I prefer them like that.
6. Flip the burger then after a minute cover with the sliced cheddar and shut that lid again.
7. After about 2 minutes remove from the grill and set aside and allow the burger to rest for a few minutes on a plate. It will release it juices then suck them back up again, and boy do you want those juices.
8. Plate up! I start with lettuce on the bottom, then the burger, topped with the tomato and onion with the sauce spread on the inside of the lid. Tuck in and let that juice dribble down your chin, cant be beat!

Wednesday 27 May 2015

Pork and Mushroom Stroganoff with Fries and Baby Kale

We have got quite a bit of pork leftover from the roast on Sunday and as it is our last night away this trip we are eating up. Traditionally stroganoff is made with beef but there are so many variations why not try it with pork. It is usually made with paprika but as we have some paprika packed chorizo to eat up I'm using that instead. You can serve it with rice or pasta but in Russia the side is always matchstick thin potato chips. Now there is no chance I'm going to risk a Clarkson-esque disaster deep frying in the van so frozen oven ready french fries it is!


Cooked pork cut into strips
Mushrooms, quartered
Red onion, peeled halved and sliced
Garlic clove, peeled and diced
Soured cream
Chorizo, about half a ring, peeled and chopped
Baby kale leaves
Oven ready french fries
Bread and butter


1. Put the chips in the oven as per packet instructions. A tip is to make sure the tin is red hot before pouring the chips in, by doing this they shouldn't stick.
2. Get a saucepan full of water boiling in order to blanch the kale later.
3. In a frying pan cook the chorizo until it starts to release its fat then add the onion slices and cook until translucent.
4. Bung in the mushrooms and stir until cooked.
5. In goes the cooked pork and garlic, stir for a minute then pour in the soured cream.
6. Blanch the kale for 3 minutes.
7. Season the strog and plate up! Top with chopped parsley and serve with some nice crusty buttered bread.

Tuesday 26 May 2015

Whiskey Porridge with Brown Sugar, Salted Popcorn and Caramel Sauce

This has certainly been a porridge packed trip thanks to the lovely people at Flahavans who sent me a parcel full of porridgey goodies. We've had savoury porridge in the form of bacon and egg, fruity pear and pomegranate porridge, wild garlic porridge for dinner and now its time for a boozy porridge, The rule in cooking with booze is that heat and time remove the alcohol so the hotter it gets or the longer it cooks removes more alcohol, leaving you with the flavour without getting drunk. I made just one bowl of this and the 2-3 minutes in the microwave didn't remove all the alcohol, but it's a great start to a chilly weekend day, or as a hangover cure!


Whiskey (note the e in whiskey, denoting its Irish, as we are using Irish oats)
Popcorn kernels (or just buy salted popcorn)
Rape seed oil if popping your own popcorn
Brown sugar


1. In a saucepan with a lid (I used a clear lid so I could see whats going on) put in a tablespoon of oil and turn the heat medium/high. When you think the oil is hot enough drop in one popcorn kernel and put the lid back on. When it pops sprinkle in your salt, pour in the rest of the kernels and put the lid on. Give the pan a shake every now and then and when they have all popped turn off the heat and set aside.
2. Heat a small fry pan and add a tablespoon of brown sugar and half a tablespoon of water. Don't mix it with a spoon, just rock the pan from side to side to swirl the mixture. When you have a brown sticky consistency turn off the heat and set aside.
3. Make the porridge as per packet but add your whiskey to the mix. I used about a pub single measure but feel free to use more or less to your taste.
4. When the porridge is done sprinkle over it some brown sugar, top with the popcorn and drizzle over your caramel sauce.

Sunday 24 May 2015

Slow Roast Pork Shoulder with Wild Garlic Porridge

As we are in Gloucestershire we just had to treat ourselves to some Gloucester Old Spot pork and a slow roast shoulder joint was just perfect for a lazy day hanging around the caravan site. I love roasting pork in the caravan, the hot temperatures at the top of the oven make perfect crackling whilst the meat stays juicy and moist.

As part of the #PerfectPorridge campaign Flahavans sent me a lovely porridge parcel to use during this trip and savoury wild garlic porridge with those big meaty oats worked a treat with the pork. We foraged the wild garlic from the local lanes too, which made it all the more appealing.


Pork shoulder, 2kg
Porridge oats
Chia seeds
Wild garlic, half a carrier bag full
1x Garlic clove, peeled and diced
1x Banana shallot
3x Chestnut mushrooms, diced
Chicken stock cube
Parmesan cheese
White Wine
White wine vinegar
1x Sage leaf


1. The pork takes about 6 hours so start early with this one and make sure the butcher has scored the skin, if he hasn't use a stanley knife to cut regular incisions about 1cm apart. Massage a little oil into the skin and then rub salt into all the incisions. Place in the oven on gas mark 7 for about 20 minutes then turn down to gas 3 for the remaining time. Baste with the juices regularly.
2. Peel and chop the potatoes and get them soaking in water. Change the water every hour or so when you baste the pork. This will help remove some of the starch.
3. Bring a pan of water to the boil and bung in the washed wild garlic leaves. Blanch for 3 minutes then drain and rinse under a cold tap. Reserve the cooking water.
4. In a mini food processor or using a hand blender whiz up the leaves with a bit of the cooking water. When you have a lovely green sauce push it through a fine meshed sieve and dispose of the leaf pulp. Keep the green sauce for the oats.
5. Drain the potatoes and fill up with salted water this time. Boil for about 10-15 minutes then drain and allow to cool.
6. When the pork is done remove from the oven, loosely cover with foil and set aside to rest. Separate the fat from the meat juices.
7. Turn the oven up to gas 7 and put the meat fat in a roasting tin and on the top oven shelf. When the fat is nice and hot gently pour the potatoes in and give them a mix, making sure they are totally covered in fat. Season with salt and get back in the oven.
8. In a saucepan sweat off the shallot for a few minutes then add the mushrooms and garlic clove and continue cooking for a couple of minutes.
9. Add the oats to the shallots and stir for a minute before adding the cooking water from the wild garlic. Crumble in half the stock cube and a splash of white wine vinegar.
10. When the oats are almost done grate in a chunk of Parmesan and add the wild garlic green sauce. Mix well, season if needed. Tip: If you make too much wild garlic sauce freeze the leftovers in ice cube trays so you can simply pop in a cube of green garlic goodness into any future recipe.
11. Peel and slice the carrots and place in a frying pan with a teaspoon of sugar, knob of butter and half a cup of water. Cook over a medium heat until the liquid has gone and the carrots are all shiny. Season with salt and pepper and sprinkle on some chia seeds if you have them.
12. For the gravy heat the meat juices with a glass of white wine and enough extra water if needed. Add a sage leaf and the other half of the stock cube. Reduce down a little, taste and add more stock if needed. Thicken with a bit of cornflour mixed with water.
13. All that's left to do is plate up and enjoy with a glass of the remaining white wine!

Pear and Pomegranate Porridge with Coconut, Coco Nibs and Maple Syrup

After yesterdays savoury bacon and egg porridge today we are continuing the Flahavans #PerfectPorridge campaign with a fruity one. The wonderful ingredients Flahavans sent me included coconut shavings and coco nibs but if you haven't got these just use any chocolate, or dare I say it - chop up a Bounty bar!


Porridge oats
Pomegranate seeds
Coco nibs
Coconut shavings
Maple syrup or honey


1. Peel and slice the pear.
2. Removed pomegranate seeds from the skin. Click here for a great video from BBC Good Food demonstrating how to do this. Alternatively buy your pomegranate seeds already removed.
3. Make the porridge as per the packet instructions, about 2-3 minutes in a microwave for 1 bowl.
4. Pile the porridge high, stand the pear slices vertical around the edge, sprinkle in your pomegranate, coconut and coco nibs and drizzle with maple syrup or honey.

Saturday 23 May 2015

Gloucestershire Squab Pie

Following our theme of trying to cook local fayre we are having Gloucestershire Squab Pie for dinner tonight. Bizarrely there is no pigeon in this pie, just lamb, apple and onion. Traditionally the lamb would have been a tougher cut but I have used leg because it cooks quicker, which suits me tonight. When I found this dish there was contrasting recipes with either a pastry top or swede mash so I've gone for pastry and served with swede mash and mint oil, along with some carrots, beans and sweet peppers. This one is dead easy but really very tasty, Mrs Larry loved it!


Lamb, we used 400g of leg steaks chopped up with the fat removed
1x Onion, peeled and sliced
1x Bramley apple
5x Sage leaves, chopped
1x Chicken stock cube
1x Packet of puff pastry roll
1x Swede
1x Potato
A handful of grated cheese, Double-Gloucester of course!
15x Mint leaves
Nice oil, we used extra virgin rapeseed
Balsamic vinegar
2x Carrots, peeled and sliced
1x Sweet yellow pepper, sliced
French beans, trimmed and cut in half


1. Finely chop the mint leaves and mix with a spoon of oil and balsamic vinegar. Allow them to infuse for as long as possible.
2. Cook the onions in a frying pan in a little oil until translucent then pour them into a separate pie dish.
3. Season the meat and dust with flour then brown in the frying pan and add to your pie dish.
4. Peel, core and chop the apple into about 1-2cm chunks and add to the pie dish with the chopped sage leaves.
5. Deglaze the frying pan with about 500ml of water and add to it the stock cube. Pour enough into the pie dish to just about cover everything.
6. Cover the pie dish with the puff pastry, trim and place a couple of cuts in the top. Brush with a little milk.
7. Place pie in the oven on gas 6 for about half an hour or until the pastry is nicely browned and done.
8. Peel and chop the potato and swede and bring the boil in a pan. Simmer until soft, drain, add a big knob of butter and the grated cheese and mash until smooth with a fork. Season with salt and pepper.
9. Pour in a frying pan half a cup of water and add the carrots with a knob of butter, a teaspoon of sugar, salt and pepper. Simmer for about 10 minutes then add the peppers and beans. Cook for a further 3 minutes, the liquid should have evaporated leaving the veg coated in a sweet shiny glaze.
11. Plate up! Not forgetting to drizzle the minty oil over the mash.

Bacon and Black Pudding Porridge with Egg and Chia Seeds and Maple Syrup

As part of the #PerfectPorridge campaign it was great to receive a porridge parcel from the nice people at Flahavans containing some interesting ingredients, one of them being chia seeds. I'd never heard of them before but they went nicely with the egg and are full of nutrients. Now the egg is raw in this but as soon as you mix it through the hot porridge it cooks and adds to the delicious consistency of those lovely big oats. I used Mabel Pearmans eggs because the yolks are lovely and orange but if you can get local fresh eggs more the better.


Black pudding
Chia seeds
Maple syrup


1. In a frying pan cook your bacon and black pudding.
2. Remove from the heat and pour the fat into your uncooked porridge.
3. Cook the porridge as per the pack instructions. I microwave for 2-3 minutes if only cooking for one but use a saucepan for more people. I used milk as Mrs Larry prefers it but you can use water.
4. Chop up the bacon and black pudding and sprinkle over the cooked porridge.
5. Make a small well in the top of the porridge. Separate an egg yolk from the white and pour the yolk into the well.
6. Sprinkle on the chia seeds and drizzle with maple syrup.


Since finding Chia seeds I have been trying to introduce them more and more into our daily diet as they are so very healthy and good for you. This interesting article from Cooking Detective explains it all: 17 Benefits Of Chia Seeds: Plus 13 Ways To Add Chia To Your Diet-With Recipes

Sunday 3 May 2015

Broccoli and Stilton Spaghetti With Red Onion Marmalade

For the May Bank Holiday weekend we have come with friends to the excellent Ferry Meadows country park in Peterborough. The village of Stilton is just down the road and as we are in Cambridgeshire my local dish has to include the controversial Stilton cheese. "Why controversial?" I hear you ask! Well Stilton cheese apparently does originate from the village of Stilton in Cambridgeshire but an EU trademark rules that it can only be produced in the three Counties of Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire and Leicestershire. You can read all about here on

The beauty of this vegetarian dish is that it only takes as long as the pasta cooking time to complete. It is quick, easy, yet the taste is a million times more rewarding than the effort put into it.

(serves 2)

1x Broccoli
2x Celery sticks, finely sliced
2x Red Onions, finely sliced
Spaghetti, about 200g
Stilton cheese, about 250g crumbled
Double cream, 1 pot
Cheddar cheese, about a handful grated
White wine vinegar
Walnuts, crushed
Nice oil, I used extra virgin rapeseed
Red wine, a glass
Red wine vinegar
Brown sugar, 2 tbsp
Bay leaf
Chili, optional


1. Fill up a saucepan with cold salted water and bring to the boil for the spaghetti.
2. In a small frying pan on medium-low heat add a splash of oil and the onions. Stir frequently.
3. Now is a good time to slice your celery, grate and crumble cheese, floret the broccoli.
4. When the water is boiling add the spaghetti and cook per packet instructions.
5. To the onions add the sugar and stir through then add the red wine, a splash of red wine vinegar, the bay and the chili if using. Keep stirring and top up with wine if it gets dry.
6. In a small saucepan pour in the cream and gently warm through.
7. Add the handful of grated Cheddar and half the crumbled Stilton. Stir until completely melted.
8. Add a splash of white wine vinegar to the cheese sauce, taste and season, cover and switch off the gas.
9. With 3 minutes left of cooking time for the spaghetti add the broccoli florets to the pan.
10. Drain the spaghetti and add it to the cheese sauce.
11. Plate up with a big dollop of spaghetti in the centre of the plate, surrounded by the broccoli florets. Top with the remaining crumbled Stilton, crushed walnuts, sliced celery and your red onion marmalade. Finish off with a handful of rocket, a good drizzle of nice oil and some black pepper.

Thursday 9 April 2015

Clam and Bacon Kedgeree

After last nights turbot we have a few clams left over and with a bit of bacon in the fridge what better a breakfast than kedgeree!


Streaky bacon, 2 rashers per person
Egg, 1 per person
Basmati rice, 75g per person
Shallots, 1 per person, diced
Coriander powder
Cumin powder
Turmeric powder


1. In a saucepan cook the diced shallots gently in butter for a couple of minutes.
2. Add chopped parsley stalks, your clams** and cover with water. When all the clams have popped open they are done.
3. Strain the clams and shallots and set aside. Reserve the cooking liquor.
4. Grease a frying pan with butter and cook your chopped streaky bacon.
5. Stir the bacon until cooked then pour your rice into the pan. making sure all the rice is coated in fat.
6. Into the pan goes about half a teaspoon of each spice powder per person and stir until fragrant then pour in the clam cooking liquor. Stir occasionally until cooked. If you like a bit of spice add cayenne pepper too or a drop of your favourite chili sauce.
7. Refill the saucepan with cold water, add your eggs, bring to a simmer and cook until hard boiled. This will take about the same time the rice takes to cook.
8. When the rice is cooked add the clams and shallots and stir through. Season if needed.
9. Plate up topped with a halved boiled egg and roughly chopped parsley leaves.

* If you cant get clams use mussels, and to make it even easier get precooked mussels and miss out stages 1-3 but you will have to use a fish stock cube in hot water instead of the clam liquor.
**  Make sure the clams are clean and get rid of any with broken shells, or open ones that do not close when tapped. When cooked throw away any clams that have not opened.

Wednesday 8 April 2015

Turbot and Clams Topped with Oyster Mushrooms on Kale and Bacon with Asparagus, Broccoli and Cauliflower Cheese Purée

The mighty turbot is the king of fish and when I saw one at the fishmongers in Whitstable harbour I just had to get it! A turbot is really for special occasions or rare treats but as we were coming to the end of a great holiday I could justify it, just! Now you really should roast a turbot whole in the oven but this fella was simply too big for our caravan oven so pan fried fillets it's to be. It was a big help getting the fishmonger to fillet it for us and we got four large fillets, two for now and two for the freezer for another day. So here we have turbot topped with oyster mushrooms and a handful of clams, served on a bed of kale, bacon and shallots, with both white and green asparagus tips, black garlic, broccoli, cauliflower and a cauliflower cheese purée.


2x Turbot fillets
Clams, a handful
Oyster mushrooms, sliced
Kale, chopped
Bacon, diced
Shallots, diced
Green asparagus tips
White asparagus tips
Broccoli, florets
Cauliflower, florets
Cheese, grated, we used a big handful of Emmental
Flour, about a tablespoon
Dry white wine
Parsley, fresh and chopped
Black garlic, thinly sliced
Rapeseed oil, extra virgin


1. Bring a pan of water to the boil and add 4 big cauliflower florets. Cook for about 5 minutes.
2. In another saucepan add a knob of butter, a diced shallot, chopped parsley stalks and the handful of clams*. Pour over a big glass of white wine and cover. When all the clams have popped open they are done.
3. Strain the clams and reserve the cooking liquor. In the saucepan add a knob of butter and the flour. Cook for a few minutes to make a roux.
4. Slowly add the clam liquor to make a white sauce then scoop the cooked cauliflower florets out of the hot water and add with the cheese. Whiz up with a hand blender, season to taste, cover and set aside.
5. Keep the hot water saucepan going and add some more cauliflower florets and simmer for 2 minutes. Add the broccoli and asparagus and simmer for 3 further minutes.
6. In another pan sweat off more diced shallots and the bacon then add the chopped kale. Cook to your liking but I like the kale to remain crunchy.
7. The turbot takes about 5 minutes to cook in a frying pan. Heat a knob of butter and place the turbot skin side down. Spoon the hot butter over the fleshy side whilst the skin crisps up. There is no need to cook the fleshy side as the hot butter will do it just enough. Whilst the turbot is cooking add the sliced oyster mushrooms too.
8. To serve place the turbot skin side up on a bed of the kale, top with some clams and the oyster mushrooms, make a couple of mounds of cauliflower cheese puree and present the vegetables on top, scatter a few more clams in their shells around the plate along with the sliced black garlic, drizzle some oil and scatter the parsley.

* Make sure the clams are clean and get rid of any with broken shells, or open ones that do not close when tapped. When cooked throw away any clams that have not opened.

Angels On Horseback

We are staying in Whitstable in Kent so there really is only one thing that should be on the menu and that's oysters! Whitstable is famous for its oysters and no trip here should go without a visit to the harbour and sampling some of the fine seafood. It was here that I tried raw oysters for the first time and they were delicious! Little Lady Larry tried one but spat it out and Mrs Larry and the Little Larry's refused point blank! They did say they would try them cooked so what simpler a dish than Kents most famous Angels on Horseback. These are simply fresh oysters wrapped in bacon, secured with a cocktail stick and grilled.


Oysters, shucked
Parsley, fresh
Black pepper
Cocktail sticks


1. Soak the cocktail sticks for at least half in hour in water.
2. Season the oysters with black pepper.
3. Wrap the oysters with bacon rashers and secure with the cocktail sticks.
4. Grill or bbq until the bacon is crisp.
5. Serve in the shells and top with shredded parsley.

Saturday 4 April 2015

Stoofvlees - Beef, Beer and Chocolate Stew

We crossed the border into Belgium today and had an incredible day exploring the trenches at Sanctuary Wood. Ypres is very nice too and it gave me chance to buy two special ingredients for this delicious beef stew, Belgian beer and Belgian chocolate!

Stoofvlees, also known as La Carbonade La Flamande, is a traditional beef stew slow cooked and served with chips. Endives are very popular here so I sauteed some in garlic butter to add a little bit of veg. The interesting bit that caught my eye is that stoofvlees is topped with mustard coated bread that slowly melts into the stew to thicken it. I've got to give that a go and here it is!:


750g Beef, any slow braising cut will do, chopped into bite size pieces
750ml Beer, it should be Belgian but any dark beer will do
2x Onions, diced
4x Garlic cloves, crushed or diced
2x Carrots, peeled and sliced
30g Belgian strong dark chocolate, grated or chopped into small pieces
1x Teaspoon of thyme
2x Bay leaves
1x Beef stock cube
2x Tablespoons of red wine vinegar
3x Tablespoons of brown sugar
1x French baguette
Dijon mustard


For the Stoofvlees:
1. Put the carrots, thyme, bay, red wine vinegar, brown sugar and chocolate in a stew pot.
2. Season the meat and brown off in batches in a frying pan, add to the stew pot when done.
3. Gentle fry the onions until translucent, add the 3 crushed garlic cloves for one minute then add to the stew.
4. Pour some of the beer into the frying and bring to the boil, crumble in the stock then add to the stew. Keep deglazing the pan until all of the beer is in the stew and give it a good mix.
5. Slice the baguette and slather one side of each with Dijon mustard. Place them mustard side down on top of the stew.
6. Cover the stew and place on the stove on the lowest heat setting possible and leave for a few hours. Occasional give it a stir to make sure nothing is sticking to the bottom and allow the soggy bread to disintegrate and thicken the sauce.

For the Chips:
1. Peel and cut the potatoes into chunky chips all the same length and thickness.
2. Parboil the chips for 10 minutes or as I do microwave on high for 7 minutes.
3. Plunge into cold water to cool and rinse the starch.
4. Dry the chips on kitchen paper and if you have a freezer pop them in there for an hour. If not just leave them out covered with kitchen roll.
5. Pour a good glug of oil in a roasting tin and put in the oven on gas 7
6. When the oil is very hot gently place the chips in then baste them and pop back in the oven on the 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 if you're not quite ready to serve.

For the Endives:
1. Using 1 crushed clove of garlic mix it well with a big dollop of butter.
2. Slice the endives into quarters length-ways.
3. Put the garlic butter in a frying pan and gently saute the endives for about 5 minutes.
4. Season and serve.

Friday 3 April 2015

Coq à la Bière (Chicken and Beer Stew) with Onion Pilaf

Bonjour from France! It is our first time in France with the caravan but we haven't headed far, just a little south of Calais so I must try cooking some traditional North West France dishes. Coq au vin is the obvious one but we are giving coq à la bière a go. You can use any beer but as I have planned something with dark heavy beer later in the trip I'm going to use a light lager. We went to Saint Omer today to visit La Coupole so for us it has to be Saint Omer beer for this dish.

You can use any chicken you like but as we are in France we are having the traditional cockerel. The butcher here doesn't speak English but he managed to get across that poule is a female hen and poulet is the rooster, so we've got poulet a la Saint Omer with a simple onion pilaf.

This photo was taken before going in the oven. Those wing tips were sacrificed as they burned in the hot top of the oven.


2x Bottles of beer, we used big 750ml bottles of Saint Omer
1x Chicken, cut into pieces
1x onion, diced
2x Carrots, peeled and diced
Mushrooms chopped into quarters
2x Garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
2x Tablespoons of brown sugar
2x Tablespoons of Dijon mustard
2x bay leaves
1 Teaspoon of dried thyme
Chicken stock cube

For the pilaf:

1 Cup of long grain rice
1/2 Onion, diced
2 Cups of vegetable stock


1. In a good sized stew pot put the carrots, mushrooms, garlic, sugar, mustard and thyme.
2. In a separate frying pan sweat off the onion until translucent then add to the stew.
3. Dust the chicken in flour, season then brown in the frying pan. Do this in batches and set aside.
4. Deglaze the frying pan with 1 bottle of beer. Crumble in the stock cube and season with salt and pepper. Add the hot beer stock to the stew.
5. Give it a good mix then add the chicken. I recommend putting the wings on the top as they will burn right at the top of the caravan oven and you want to protect the leg and breast meat.
6. Add the bay leaves then put uncovered in the oven on gas mark 5. It will take about 1.5 hours.
7. Drink the other bottle of beer.
8. Make the pilaf by sweating off the onion in butter in a saucepan until translucent.
9. Add the rice and stir for a couple of minutes.
10. Add the stock, season then cover and leave it on a low heat for about 20 minutes.
11. Remove the skin from the chicken and plate up! You could remove the skin prior to cooking but I think it adds more flavour (and fat!).

Thursday 12 March 2015

The Oxford Triple - Oxford Sausages, Oxford Carrot Pudding and Oxford Sauce

We are staying at the lovely Lincoln Farm Park in Oxfordshire and following the theme of cooking locally inspired dishes I have been searching for Oxfordshire recipes. It's safe to say there aren't many! The obvious choice is the fantastic Oxford Sausage but what to pair it with? Deep in the bowels of the internet I found reference to the traditional dish of Oxford Carrot Pudding but the old recipes were difficult to decipher so I used this Savoury Carrot Pudding recipe from as a base but added my own embellishments. The spicy carrot puree topped with savoury cheesy custard worked a treat with the Oxford sausages, we just needed a sauce and it had to be the tangtastic Oxford Sauce by Baron Puget de St Victor's!
I bought all these ingredients from the delightful shop at Millets Farm Centre but if you cannot get Oxford sausages and sauce I'm sure any sausage will do with good old brown sauce!


Oxford sausages
4x Carrots, very large, about 1lb, peeled and sliced.
1/2 Onion, diced
1x Garlic clove, finely diced
1x Potato, peeled and chopped into 1" chunks
500ml Vegetable stock, I used Marigold Bouillon
1x Handful of fresh parsley
Chili sauce or flakes (optional)
1.5 tbsp. Flour, about 1oz
1/4 Pint of milk
3 Eggs, beaten
Grated cheese, use as much as you like between 100g to 150g
Oil, I used rape seed
Oxford sauce
1x Bottle of Old Hooky Oxfordshire ale


1. In a big pan on a low heat slowly cook the onion with a good glug of oil. You are looking to slowly caramelise them and it will take about half an hour.
2. While you are waiting drink the bottle of Old Hooky.
3. When the onions are done add the clove of garlic and cook for a minute.
4. Add the carrots, potato and vegetable stock.
5. Chop up the parsley stalks and add them too. Keep the leaves for later.
6. I cooked mine uncovered for about 25 minutes as I wanted to watch the consistency of the mixture. You could cook covered for about 15 minutes but use less vegetable stock, about 300ml.
7. Add the chopped parsley leaves and your favourite chili sauce, chili flakes or cayenne pepper. Don't bother if you're not a spice lover.
8. Whizz it all up with a hand blender or mash with a fork. Season the puree to taste.
9. Grease an oven dish and pour the carrot puree in.
10. Melt a big knob of butter in a pan and stir in the flour to make a roux. Cook for a minute or two then add the milk and whisk until smooth.
11. Remove from the heat and beat in the eggs, followed by the cheese and season with salt and pepper.
12. Pour over the carrot puree and bake in the oven on gas mark 5 until the top is nicely browned. It was about 30 minutes in my oven.
13. Pop the Oxford sausages in the oven on the lower shelf at the same time. Turn them half way through cooking, they should take about 30 minutes too but they might need a quick brown on the top shelf when the carrot pudding is removed.
14. Plate up and serve with Oxford Sauce and some green veg, we had sugar snap peas cooked in boiling water for about 3 minutes.

Saturday 21 February 2015

Quesadilla - Savoury and Sweet

Another recipe demonstrated at the 2015 Caravan, Camping and Motorhome show is a quesadilla. Originating from Mexico the quesadilla is a quick, simple but oh so tasty lunch or supper. It is basically a round flour tortilla stuffed with a savoury filling and cheese then folded in half and cooked in a frying pan. You can really go to town with the fillings but my children’s favourite is a simple chicken, sweetcorn and cheddar cheese that we cook on the barbecue and call barbecue butties! If you have a spicy tooth then do add chopped chilli’s or your favourite chilli sauce and vegetarians can try peppers, tomatoes, mushrooms, etc. You can have a lot of fun trying different fillings, in fact quesadilla’s remind me of the breville sandwich maker I had in the 1990’s!

Savoury Quesadilla Ingredients:
(per person)

1 Tortilla
40g Sweetcorn (about ¼ of a small tin)
½ Cooked and shredded chicken breast, about 50g
50g Grated cheddar cheese
Salt and pepper to season


1. Cover half of the tortilla with half of the cheese.
2. Cover with the chicken and sweetcorn and season.
3. Top with the remaining cheese and fold the tortilla in half.
4. Oil the hot grill and place the quesadilla on it. You will need to flip the quesadilla so leave enough space on the grill to do this.
5. After about 2 minutes slide a fish slice under the open end of the quesadilla and flip it over the fold to do the other side.
6. When the cheese is all gooey and melted and the tortilla is nicely toasted remove from the grill.
7. Cut into quarters and eat straight away!

If you have a sweet tooth you can also use quesadilla’s for dessert using fruit, sugar and cream cheese. They’re a bit like a warm crunchy cheesecake and definitely worth experimenting with. I’m simply using blueberries here but strawberries, raspberries, gooseberries would all work well.

Sweet Quesadilla Ingredients:
(per person)

1 Tortilla
75g Blueberries
60g Cream cheese
1tsp Sugar
1tsp Icing sugar (optional)


1. Spread the cream cheese over the whole of one side of the tortilla.
2. Roughly chop the blueberries and scatter over half of the tortilla and sprinkle with 1tsp of sugar.
3. Fold the tortilla in half and gook on the grill the same as the savoury quesadilla above.
4. Cut into quarters to serve and dust with icing sugar if you have some.

Eggy Bread - Savoury and Sweet

For the 2015 Caravan, Camping and Motorhome show I was flattered to be asked to do a simple cooking demonstration of breakfast on a barbecue that could be done in any campsite kitchen. The great British fry up is a staple breakfast on campsites all year long and is really hard to beat but I wanted to try something different. Eggy bread is so versatile that it can be done savoury or sweet and it also overcomes the issue of cooking eggs on a barbecue without a pan! The only issue is that it can stick to the grill so you must follow these three rules of grilling:

1. Clean
2. Heat
3. Lubricate

The grill must be clean and very hot then just before placing food on it give it a liberal lubricating with a piece of kitchen roll soaked in vegetable oil. Use tongues to grip the paper if it’s too hot to handle.

For the savoury I’m doing bacon and tomato but vegetarians could try a field mushroom and tomato, for carnivores there is sausage and black pudding and if you're hungry do the lot!

Bacon and Tomato Eggy Bread Ingredients:
(per person)

1 Egg
1 tbsp Milk
1 Thick slice of bread
2 Rashers of streaky bacon
1 Slice of tomato
Greek basil leaves
Brown sauce
Vegetable oil
Salt and pepper


1. Beat the egg and milk together in a bowl and soak the bread in the mixture so that both sides are covered. Set the bread aside to allow the mixture to really get absorbed.
2. Brush a little vegetable oil onto both sides of the bacon and place onto the grill of a medium heat barbecue.
3. Slice a nice big tomato about 1cm thick, brush with oil, season with a bit of salt and pepper and place on the grill.
4. Keep checking the bacon and tomato and turn when they look done. It’s about 5 minutes a side but this timing depends on the heat of your barbecue so isn’t exact.
5. Rub vegetable oil on the grill as mentioned above and place on it the eggy bread. After 2-3 minutes flip the bread to do the other side.
6. Season the eggy bread then plate up with a few basil leaves and a big dollop of brown sauce!

For breakfast pudding or for those with a sweet tooth try grilling your favourite fruit with eggy bread. I’m doing banana and maple syrup but you can try slices of apple, pear, orange or mango and use plain syrup or honey. We served it up with a dollop of cream but you could use ice cream, canned squirty cream or even a blob of custard!

Banana Eggy Bread Ingredients:
(per person)

1 Egg
1 tbsp Milk
1 Thick slice of bread
1 Banana
3 tsp Sugar
Maple syrup
Thick double cream
Vegetable oil


1. Prepare the bread as above but prior to putting on the grill sprinkle each side of the eggy bread with a teaspoon of sugar.
2. Slice the banana in half, brush the fleshy sides with oil and place on the grill flesh side down. Cook for about 2 minutes.
3. Turn the banana halves over onto the skin side and sprinkle the flesh with sugar. Continue to grill until the skin is black and is beginning to peel away from the flesh.
4. Using a spoon gently scoop the banana out, serve on the eggy bread with a dollop of your favourite cream and a drizzle of syrup. Yum!

Cooking live on stage

The fantastic audience