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!).