Chinese Braised Feather Blade Steaks

  • 3-4 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 6 garlic cloves , thinly sliced
  • 2 inch piece fresh root ginger , peeled and grated
  • 1 bunch spring onions , sliced
  • 1 red chilli , thinly sliced
  • 1½ kg feather blade steak ,in 2 cm slices
  • 2 tbsp seasoned plain flour
  • 3 tsp Chinese five-spice powder
  • 4 star anise
  • 3 tsp dark muscovado sugar (or use whatever you've got)
  • 3 tbsp Shao Hsing rice wine or dry sherry
  • 3 tbsp dark soy sauce
  • 500ml beef stock

Pre-heat oven to 160°C/325°F/Gas mark 3
Coat the beef in well seasoned flour.
Heat 2 tbsp of the oil in a large, oven proof casserole dish.
Brown the beef in batches, a few pieces at a time, and reserve on a warm plate.
Reduce heat.
Add 2 tbsp more oil and then gently fry the garlic, ginger, onions and chilli for approximately 3 minutes.

Add the five-spice and star anise to the pan, then fry for approximately 1 min.
Add the sugar, and stir until combined.
Return the heat to high, then deglaze with the wine or sherry, and return the beef to the pan.

Pour in the soy and stock, bring to a simmer, and cover with a tight fitting lid.
Transfer to the oven and cook for 1½-2 hrs remembering to stir halfway through.
Serve with plain boiled or egg fried rice, or noodles.
Accompany with steamed baby corn brocolli and mange tout or pak choi.
Alternatively chill and then freeze for up to 1 month.

Slow Roasted Shoulder of Lamb

  • Half Shoulder of English Lamb
  • 1 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 small leek
  • 2 carrots
  • 2 sticks of celery
  • 2 tsp redcurrant jelly
  • 125 ml white wine or chicken stock

Pre-heat oven to 160°C/325°F/Gas mark 3
Dice the vegetables into 2 cm cubes.
Lightly season the lamb with freshly ground salt and pepper.
Heat the sunflower oil in a large frying pan and brown the lamb all over.
When brown, rest the lamb to one side on a warm plate.
In the same frying pan, lightly brown the diced vegetables, and when brown, place the vegetables into the bottom of a large casserole dish.
Place the lamb directly on top of the vegetables along with any meat juices.
Deglaze the frying pan with the white wine, and pour over the lamb/vegetables.
Cover and place into the pre-heated oven and slow roast for 2½ to 3 hours.
Remove the lamb from the oven, and turn the oven up to 230°C/450°F/Gas mark 8.
Place the shoulder on a wire rack over a roasting tin, and return to the oven for 15-20 minutes to crisp up the outside of the lamb.
Meanwhile drain the stock from the casserole dish, discarding the vegetables.
Skim any excess fat from the reserved stock and place in a saucepan with 2 tsp redcurrant jelly, and bring to the simmer.
Reduce by half or thicken with a little corn flour, and serve with the lamb.
Serve with Potatoes Boulangiere

Potatoes Boulangiere

  • 1.15 kg desirée or romano potatoes, peeled
  • 3 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 2 medium onions, peeled
  • 275 ml vegetable stock
  • 150 ml milk
  • 40 g butter

freshly milled sea salt and black pepper
Pre-heat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas mark 4.
Lightly butter an ovenproof dish 28 x 20 x 5 cm (11 x 8 x 2 inch).
Combine the stock and milk and warm in a large saucepan, ½ tsp salt and ½ tsp freshly milled black pepper.
Strip the rosemary from the stalks and lightly chop and add to stock/milk mixture.
Thinly slice the onions and potatoes, and add to the stock/liquid a few pieces at a time, making sure that each slice is coated with liquid.
Carefully transfer to the buttered oven dish with a slotted spoon, pouring the remaining liquid over the sliced potatoes and onions.
Season the top layer, and scatter little flecks of the butter all over the potatoes.
Place the dish on the highest shelf of the oven for 50-60 minutes. Half way through remove from the oven and gently press down the top layer until the cooking liquor covers the top, return til the oven and continue cooking until the top is crisp and golden and the underneath is creamy and tender.

Pork Apple and Cider Casserole

  • 1 Kg diced shoulder of pork
  • 3 granny smith or golden delicious apples
  • 6 shallots
  • 2 sticks celery
  • 500ml cider
  • 2 tbsp sunflower oil

Pre-heat the oven to 190°C/370°F/Gas mark 5cxs x 7v d.
Heat the oil in a large frying pan.
Slice the apples, shallots and celery and lighty brown.
Put the vegetables into a large oven proof casserole dish, add the diced pork, and pour over the cider.
Casserole in the oven for 1½ hours.
Remove from oven, season and serve with parsley mashed potatoes.
NB. As an alternative, after casserole has cooked drain off the liquor reduce by ⅔ and add 2 tbsp crème frais.

Cuba Libre Ribs

  • 2kg (4lb) thick cut pork ribs
  • 500ml bottle of cola
  • 4 level tbsp tomato ketchup
  • 4tbsp cider vinegar
  • 4 level tbsp soft dark brown sugar
  • 3 cloves crushed garlic
  • 1 tsp Tabasco sauce
  • 30ml dark rum (optional)

To make the marinade, place all of the ingredients apart from the rum in a saucepan and slowly heat until the sugar has melted.

Increase the heat and bring up to a simmer until the volume has reduced by half. Remove from the heat, add the rum, and leave the sauce to cool.

Place the ribs in a pan of cold water, and then bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and then simmer the ribs until they are tender (about 30 mins).

Drain the ribs then run them under cold running water to cool, then drain again then and place in a suitable bowl.

Add the sauce to the ribs and stir mix thoroughly. Cover and marinate overnight , stirring the ribs a couple of times if possible.

Lift the ribs out of the marinade and barbeque or grill for 10-15 mins, turning them  and basting with any excess marinade  during cooking.

Serve immediately with a crisp salad and plenty of ‘wet wipes’!

NB: The marinated ribs can be packed into a freezer bag and frozen for up to 1 month.


Chicken Cooked Three Ways

Ask your friendly Butcher to cut a 1.5-2Kg free range chicken into a double breast portion less the wings, thighs and drumsticks.

Summer Roast Chicken


Double crown of chicken

  • 1 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 20g butter
  • 2 finely diced shallots
  • 1 glass white wine or dry vermouth
  • 100 ml double cream
  • 2 tsp chopped tarragon

Pre-heat the oven to gas mark 7/ 425°F/ 220°.

Simmer the double crown of chicken in a light chicken stock for 10 minutes. Remove from the stock and drain until dry.

In and oven proof  frying pan heat 1 tbsp sunflower oil, place in the poached double breast skin side down, and fry until the skin is crisp and golden brown.  Add a small knob of butter, turn the chicken skin side up, and place in the oven for 8-10 minutes.

Remove from the oven and place the chicken on a warm plate.  Pour any excess oil out of the pan,  add another small knob of butter and sweat the shallots until translucent.

Deglaze with the glass of wine or vermouth, then reduce by half. Add the cream and reduce again until slightly thickened, add the chopped tarragon.

Carve the chicken from the breast bone,  and serve with the cream sauce. (NB. Reserve the bones for the final recipe). Accompany with steamed new potatoes and seasonal vegetables.

Chicken Cesare Salad

For the salad:

  • 1 cos lettuce
  • homemade croutons
  • parmesan shavings
  • 2 roasted chicken thighs
  • 1 soft boiled egg (optional)
  • 1-2 anchovies (optional)

For the dressing:

  • 1 garlic clove crushed
  • 2 anchovies
  • 2 tbsp grated parmesan
  • 5 tbsp mayonnaise
  • 1 tbsp white wine vinegar

Pre-heat the oven to gas mark 7/ 425°F/ 220°C and roast the wings, thighs and drumsticks for 30-40 minutes.

(NB reserve the drumsticks and wings for the final recipe).

Remove the cooked meat from the thighs and shred.  

Place the crushed garlic, anchovies, cheese, mayonnaise and white wine vinegar in a blender. Blitz until it is amalgamated and the consistency of yoghurt . If it is too thick, let down with  a few tsps water and blitz again.

Place the lettuce into a large bowl.  Add half of the chicken and half of the croutons. Add most of the dressing and toss with your fingers. Scatter over the rest of the chicken, croutons (and optional ingredients), then drizzle with the remaining dressing. Sprinkle the parmesan shavingson top and serve straight away.

Summer Chicken Soup

  • Reserved chicken bones, wings and drumsticks.
  • 1 finely diced medium onion
  • 2 finely diced carrots
  • 2 sticks finely diced celery
  • 2 tbsp olive oil

Coarsely diced seasonal vegetables of choice, (eg. baby broad beans, courgettes, butternut squash, peas, etc)
50g soup pasta or broken spaghetti
Chopped flat leaf parsley

Pick the wings and drumsticks over, reserving the meat.
Place the rest of the chicken bits in a saucepan and cover with cold water, add one chicken stock cube and gently simmer for 40 minutes. Drain the stock into a large bowl, allow gto cool slightly and then skim off any excess fat.
In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil and sweat the onion, carrot and celery until translucent but not brown.  Add the coarse chopped seasonal vegetables, sweat for 2 minutes.  
Add the reserved stock and chicken meat, and pasta. Simmer for 5-10 minutes until vegetables cooked but still al dente.
Add chopped flat leaf parsley and season to taste.
Serve with warm crusty bread.

Easy Goulash

  • 1 large onion
  • 1 large green pepper
  • 1 clove of garlic, crushed
  • 800g diced braising steak or feather blade steak
  • 1 level tablespoon plain flour
  • 1 heaped tablespoon paprika
  • 1 tin chopped tomatoes
  • 5 fl oz (150 ml) real ale
  • 5 fl oz (150ml) soured cream
  • salt and freshly milled black pepper

Pre-heat the oven to gas mark 1, 275°F (140°C).

Chop the onion and the pepper into largish chunks, then place them in a bowl with the crushed garlic. Add the meat cubes, the flour and paprika and a good seasoning of salt and pepper.
Mix well and, then tip into a 4 pint (2.25 litre) casserole pot. Mix the chopped tomatoes with the real ale, then pour that over the rest of the ingredients and stir well.
Cover with a tight lid, then place in the oven and cook for 3 hours, stirring half way.
Serve on a bed of buttered tagliatelle with a spoonful of the soured cream on top.

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