Thursday 29 November 2018

Pigeon Breast with a Red Wine Reduction and Celeriac Purée

When I saw a pigeon reduced to £2 at Warners Budgens in Morton-in-Marsh and then 1/4 of a celeriac root for 25p the making of meal for one was born. I'm on my own in the caravan this week as I'm working away so this quick but delicious dinner was just perfect for me. Pigeon breasts are soft, tender and moist, full of flavour and should never be overcooked. I like my meat rare so only cook for about 90 seconds a side but you could stretch to 3 minutes at a push if you prefer it done a bit more. If you haven't already you really must give pigeon a try, you won't be disappointed.

(serves 1)

1x Pigeon
1/4 Celeriac
2x Potatoes
250ml Red wine
1x Spring onion
1tsp Caraway seeds
1tsp Sugar
1x Bay leaf
1tsp Cornflour


1. Peel the celeriac and potatoes then cook in a pan of water until soft.
2. In a small saucepan bring the wine to a fast simmer then add the spring onion chopped in half, the bay leaf, caraway seeds and sugar. Mix the cornflour with a little water to make a slurry and add to the wine. Reduce down until the sauce is fairly thick. Season to taste then pass through a sieve into a lidded pan to keep warm.
3. Drain the celeriac then return the pan to the heat. Mash with a fork whilst on the heat as it will allow the veg to steam away more water. Pour in a glug of milk and a blob of butter and mix through, still while on the heat. Season to taste.
4. Carefully cut the breasts off the pigeon keeping the skin on and discard the carcass. Season then cook in a hot frying pan for about 90 seconds a side or until golden brown. Add a knob of butter and spoon over the pigeon then set  aside to rest for a few minutes.
5. Slice and serve topped with the sauce accompanied with the mash, some chopped chives and a bit of nice veg of your choice.

Wednesday 28 November 2018

Super Quick Stir Fry Chicken and Mushroom with Noodles

I wanted a really quick tea in the van as I was on my own and the reduced section in the supermarket came up trumps with 1/2 a cooked chicken, some fresh noodles and chives. A super quick stir fry was immediately on the menu that took literally minutes to cook, just what I needed after a long day at work.


1/2 Chicken precooked
300g Fresh noodles
1x Large chili, sliced
150g Mushrooms, sliced
6x Spring onions, sliced
1x Garlic clove, crushed
1/2 Chicken stock cube
Light soy sauce
Oil for frying


1. In a hot wok add the oil and all the veg then stir fry for about 2 minutes.
2. Add a cup of water and half a chicken stock cube and bring to a simmer.
3. Mix a heaped teaspoon of cornflour in a little water then pour into the wok followed by a good glug of soy sauce.
4. Remove the chicken skin and bones and chop the meat into bite-size chunks then add to the wok with the noodles. Cook for about 3 minutes.
5. Season to taste then serve in a bowl topped with some chopped chives.

Tuesday 27 November 2018

Leek and Potato Soup Topped with Broccoli Shards, Crispy Bacon and Brie Bombs

I'm staying in the caravan on my own this week as I'm working away from home in The Cotswolds. The town of Moreton-in-Marsh is my host and a quick dash to the local Co-op just before closing time provided some leeks and potatoes, coupled with broccoli, bacon and brie a soup recipe was born. Leek and potato soup on its own is a gratifying winter dish but add a few toppings and it takes it to the next level. The little bombs of gooey brie are tremendous surprise nuggets of pure joy, give them a go and I promise you will love it.


2x Leeks
6x Potatoes
1x Vegetable stock cube
2x Broccoli Florets
4x Bacon Rashers
1tsp English mustard powder
80g Brie
Chili flakes (optional)
Onion flakes (optional)
Cold pressed rapeseed oil


1. Peel and chop the potatoes into fairly small chunks then bring to a simmer in a lidded pan with the water just covering the potatoes.
2. Wash and slice the leeks then add to pan 10 minutes after the potatoes, continue to simmer until soft.
3. Crumble in the vegetable stock cube and stir through the mustard powder then blend with a hand blender until smooth.
4. Taste, season, keep warm with the lid on the pan.
5. Fry the bacon rasher in a frying pan until crispy, set aside on some kitchen paper to dry then break up with your fingers into crispy bits.
6. Thinly slice the broccoli and gently fry in the bacon fat.
7. Serve in a bowl topped with the florets first, then the bacon bits followed by the brie cut into little cubes. For an extra kick add the onion and chili flakes then drizzle over a drop of rapeseed oil.

Wednesday 29 August 2018

Stilton Burger with Caramelised Onions

The combination of tangy Stilton cheese with sweet carmelised onions is a topping made in heaven for a big juicy burger. I don't think it really needs  a sauce but we did mix a bit of Dijon mustard with mayonnaise and it went well but you could try a nice chutney instead.


Onions (1 per person)
Stilton cheese


1. Halve and slice the onions then put them in a frying pan on a medium-low heat with some nice oil, butter or lard of your choice. Stir and cook for 20 minutes then add a pinch of sugar and salt per person and continue to cook until caramalised.
2. Slice the buns in half and lightly toast the insides.
3. Grill your burger until done then top with slices of Stilton and continue to cook until the cheese just begins to soften.
4. Make up your burger with whatever sauce and salad you like and top with the lovely sweet onions.

Tuesday 28 August 2018

Easy Beef Stew in the Slow Cooker

What can be more inviting than returning to the van to smell the aroma of a hearty beef stew bubbling away nicely in the slow cooker? It is so simple to make in the morning then leave it all day so its really just a case of dishing up when you're ready for it. No cooking tonight and very little washing up gets a big thumbs up from our family.


Phase 1:
750g Stewing steak
1x Bottle (330ml) Cider
300g Carrots, chopped and peeled
200g Baby button mushrooms
500g Pancetta
1x Can of chickpeas (300g)
2x Garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
500g New potatoes
2x Onions
1tbsp Dijon mustard
1tbsp Soy sauce
1tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1tsp Ground black pepper
1tsp Smoked paprika
1tsp Dried mixed herbs
1x Bay leaf
1x Star anise petal
500ml Water
2x Beef stock cubes

Phase 2:
1x Can of butter beans
1x Cup of peas
1x Cup of broad beans
1tbsp Butter
1tbsp Plain flour


1. If the stewing steak isn't cut into chunks do that then season and brown in a frying pan before putting in the slow cooker.
2. Add everything else in phase 1 to the slow cooker then leave it on low all day.
3. When you get back to the van  commence phase 2 by mixing the butter and flour into a paste to make a beurre manié and add it to the slow cooker along with beans and peas. Allow to cook for half an hour then serve with some nice bread and butter.

Thursday 16 August 2018

Leek and Potato Frittata

It was tea time in the van and we had some leeks, potatoes, eggs and cheese so what else to make but a frittata. We used new potatoes halved then cut into 1cm slices but you can use any spud you like, in fact you can use any vegetable you might have left over in the fridge to make this simple satisfying dish.


10x New potatoes, halved and sliced.
1x Leeks, also halved and sliced
1x Garlic clove, crushed
6x Eggs
Grated cheese, a couple of handfuls
Fresh herbs of choice to top, I used dill because it is all I had.
Butter for frying


1. Cook the potatoes in a pan of boiling water for about 5 minutes. Drain and allow to dry off.
2. In a frying pan cook the potatoes in butter until just about turning golden. Add the leeks and garlic and cook for another 5 minutes.
3. Beat the eggs together with some salt and pepper then add to the pan and cook on a low heat for about 5 minutes.
4. Top with grated cheese then pop under a medium grill until the cheese is bubbling.
5. Dust with some fresh herbs, allow to cool for 5 minutes then serve.

Wednesday 15 August 2018

Crock Pot Pork Cheeks with Celeriac Purée

Pork cheeks has to be one of our favourite cuts of meat and they lend themselves perfectly to a slow cooker. You will have to ask a butcher for them and probably order in advance but I totally recommend you do, you wont regret it. I usually serve one cheek as a starter but today we had 2 each as a main with a bigger portion of purée and a side of vegetable sauteed in garlic butter.


10x Pig cheeks
2x Onions, diced
2x Carrots, peeled and diced
2x Leeks, sliced
1x Parsnip, peeled and sliced
3tbsp Caraway seeds
1tbsp Black peppercorns
1tsp Dried thyme
2x Garlic cloves, crushed
280g Tomato purée
1x Bottle of red wine
2x Bay leaves
1x Pint of beef stock

For the Purée:
1x Celeriac
2x Large potatoes
Double cream


1. Dust the cheeks in flour, season then brown in a frying pan before placing in the slow cooker.
2. Cook all the veg, herbs and seeds in the frying pan for about 20 minutes until beginning to caramelise.
3. Add the tomato purée, stir through and cook for a further 5 minutes then pour in the bottle of wine and bring to a simmer for 5 minutes, followed by the beef stock for another 5 minutes.
4.  Pour the whole lot into the slow cooker and leave on low all day.
5. Peel and chop into chunks the celeriac and potatoes. Bring to a boil in a pan then simmer until soft. Drain the water, return to the heat and pour in a substantial amount of cream then mash with a fork until smooth. Add a big blob of butter and season to taste.
6. Remove the cheeks and set aside. Sieve the cooking liquor to make a rich sauce then plate up! Serve with some nice veg, I sauteed some runner beans, broad beans and courgettes in garlic and butter.

Tuesday 14 August 2018

Simple Pan Fried Sea Bass with French Beans and New Potatoes

No sauce, no spice, no flavours. Good, fresh food cooked simply can be just as delicious as the most complex dishes. Simply pan fried in rapeseed oil the fresh sea bass fillets are perfectly joined with fresh, boiled new potatoes topped with a bit of dill, and french beans blanched then finished off in a pan with a bit of butter. The whole thing takes about 10 minutes and is a delightful summertime dinner.


Sea bass fillets
New Potatoes
French Beans
Fresh Dill
Rapeseed oil


1. Bring a pan of salted water to boil then add the new potatoes and simmer for about ten minutes or until soft. Stab them with a fork and if they slide off they are ready. Drain then add a blob of butter, salt and pepper and spin around the pan to evenly coat.
2. Blanch the beans in boiling water for about three minutes then drain. Allow to dry then finish off in a frying pan with a blob of butter and somne salt and pepper.
3. Season the sea bass fillets then fry skin side down in a drop of rapeseed oil in a  frying pan on mid-high heat for 2-3 minutes, flip over for a minute then serve with the beans and the spuds topped with dill and a wedge of lemon. Simple and delicious.

Tuesday 3 April 2018

Slow Cooker Lasagna

My lot love lasagna but it can be quite time consuming to make so I was keen to attempt it in the slow cooker. The final result was certainly tasty but there is no doubt the traditional oven method is better, however the simplicity and ease of using a slow cooker, especially in the caravan, does make this lasagna a winner and we will be making it again. It's a dish that will evolve over time as we try different ingredients, cheeses and timings. If you do give it a go please let me know how you get on and any ingredient changes you make. As it is tweaked I think it will get better and better.


800g Mince Beef
1x Red pepper, finely diced
2x Onions, finely diced
2x Carrots, finely diced
2x Garlic cloves, crushed
3x Celery sticks, diced
1x Beef stock cube
680g Passata
1tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1tbsp Red wine vinegar
1tsp Mustard powder
1tsp Dried mixed herbs
2tsp Lemon juice
1x Handful of fresh basil, chopped
Lasagna sheets
200g Mozzarella, grated
400g Cheddar, grated
350ml Double cream

For the topping:


1. Brown the mince either in a frying pan or like I do in the oven. Break the mince up in an oven tray and roast on gas mark 6 for 45 minutes, but every 15 minutes or so remove the mince and break it up with a wooden spoon. The idea is to get lovely browned grains of mince and all the water evaporated. When browned allow to cool.
2. Mix the meat in a bowl with all the veg, herbs, sauces and spices.
3. In a separate bowl combine the mozzarella, cheddar and cream.
4. In the slow cooker layer the meat sauce, lasagna sheets then cheese sauce and keep repeating until all gone. The top should be meat sauce for the slow cooking but top with grated cheddar and parmesan half an hour before serving. Cook on low for a total of 4-5 hours.

Monday 2 April 2018


There is absolutely no way we could plan a trip to Stonehenge tomorrow without having Sausagehenge and mash the night before. It is such a comical way to serve up bangers and mash and the Little Larrys just loved it.




Cook the sausages your favourite way then slice length-ways and serve on top of mash surrounded by peas. Make a well in the mash in the centre to pour your gravy.

The perfect gravy  for bangers and mash is marmite onion gravy and the recipe can be found here:
Marmite Onion Gravy