Tag Archives: thyme

Sweet Potato Cottage Pie

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aka Jelly’s Miraculous Return from being a massive lazy bum.

So, I’ve been terribly rubbish and awful with not posting for like 6 months so I do apologise about that. Here’s a proper tasty, easy peasy cold January kind of a recipe. Adapted from BBC Good Food. Totally customisable to your taste.

P.S. Happy New Year!

Serves 4 very well, 5 quite well and 6 well

Ingredients

3 onions, chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
3 medium carrots, chopped
hefty sprinkling of thyme
300-400g minced beef/lamb
100g puy lentils
1 cup of peas
flour to thicken, if necessary
1l stock (beef or vegetable)
3 medium sweet potatoes, cut into 2cm cubes
3 large potatoes, cut into 3cm cubes
150g yoghurt
salt and pepper
2 tsp ground coriander
2 tsp ground turmeric
2 tsp ground paprika
few handfuls grated cheese

Method

Heat some oil in a large/deep saucepan. Sweat the onions for 5 minutes then throw in the garlic, thyme and carrots. Cook for 5 more minutes before adding the mince, stirring and breaking it up with a wooden spoon. Once fully browned add the lentils and stock. Simmer for 30 minutes or so, until nicely thickened – add flour if necessary.

Meanwhile stick all your potatoes in another large saucepan. Boil until soft, then drain and mash with the yoghurt. Season to taste, add the peas and stick in a large casserole dish. Cover the meaty mixture with the mash (if you’re feeling fancy you could pipe it, but if not just stripe with a fork). Stick in the oven (180°C/350°F/gas mark 4) until the mash begins to crisp then add the cheese and cook for a further ten minutes.

Picture soon to follow…!

Scrummy Pie

See, told you so.

J

Onion & Cider Soup with Stilton

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This is a great soup taken pretty much straight from the BBC Food website (a fantastic resource if you’ve never used it – also check out BBC GoodFood). Very simple, reasonably quick, damn tasty and quite a bit lighter than the much-vaunted French Onion soup.

Serves 3-4

Ingredients

4 medium onions, 3 diced, 1 sliced
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 large baking potato, cut into 2cm cubes
250ml cider
white wine vinegar
few sprigs fresh thyme (or a pinch of dried)
3 bay leaves
handful fresh rosemary, finely chopped
1 litre stock
salt and pepper
stilton

Method

Heat a big old glob of butter in a large saucepan, add the 3 diced onions, a good twist of salt and pepper and sweat over a low heat for 10 minutes. Add the garlic, rosemary and thyme and continue to sweat for a further 5 minutes.

Add a glug of white wine vinegar, the bay leaves and pour in the cider (I doubt you’ll be able to find a 250ml bottle so I guess you’ll just have to drink the rest!). Increase the heat and reduce by half before adding the stock and potato. Keep on a simmer until the potato is cooked through.

Meanwhile heat a little more butter in a frying pan and once melted added the sliced onion, a little salt and pepper. Fry up over a medium heat until starting to golden. Crumble in a little of the stilton, give a good stir and fry for a further 2-3 minutes. Turn off the hob but leave the frying pan on it while you use a stick-blender to zhuzzzhhh up the soup.

Serve the soup in bowls (bowls, for soup – what is this craziness?!) topped with fried cheesy onions and a further crumbling of stilton. Enjoy with friends – I dare you not to eat the whole lot!

J

Soup-a-soup-a-tasty-soup

Shredded Beef Wraps

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Another “Mighty Spice“-inspired/stolen recipe.

Serves 3-4

Ingredients

Beef

400g braising/casserole/stewing steak
1 onion, quartered and sliced
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
4 tomatoes, chopped
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp dried thyme
1 small red chilli, finely chopped
2 tbsp white wine vinegar
2 tbsp tomato purée
pinch sugar
salt and pepper
6-8 flatbreads

Garlic Mayo

200g mayonnaise
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
handful fresh coriander
2-3 spring onions, sliced
pepper

Salad

1 small lettuce, shredded
bowl of strong cheddar, grated
a few baby tomatoes, halved
a few gherkins, thinly sliced
1 carrot, cut into matchsticks

Method

Put a large pan of water onto boil. Add the beef, lower to a simmer and cook for approximately 1 hour. Once cooked through remove from the water and leave to cool on the side. In the meantime, why not make your flatbread dough, salad-y item, garlic mayonnaise (just throw all the ingredients into a bowl of mayonnaise, stir and hey presto!) and start on the sauce?

Heat some oil in a separate saucepan and add the onion and garlic, sweating for approximately 8 minutes. Bung in the rest of the “Beef” ingredients (apart from the cooking beef and flatbreads, obviously…!) reduce the heat to as low as possible, cover and cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove the lid and really reduce the sauce down to a thick, gorgeous gloop. Yes I just used the word gloop in a good way.

This is where an extra pair of hands comes in useful but if like most of us you are blessed with just the two I would do the following in this order:

1. Flake the beef into the gloop, stir really well and heat through until everything is piping hot. Reduce heat to minimum, cover and move onto step 2.
2. Hey, you made it! Start rolling out and cooking your flatbreads, throwing each cooked one onto a hot plate under a (clean!) tea towel to keep them warm.

Et voilá – all that remains is to serve up. Put the beef into a large bowl so everyone can help themselves (or even just serve in the saucepan if you want to save on washing up). Frisbee out the flatbreads, dollop on the mayo, bang on the beef and fling on the salad. That’s one mighty fine wrap you got right there, I tell ya.

Enjoy!
J

Pork, Pear & Parsnip Roast

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Fruit should not just be reserved for dessert.

I won’t lie, this is a little faffy – it was kind of on the hop and I haven’t really had a chance to perfect the method I’m afraid…if anyone has any ideas as to how to streamline it I would love to hear them! Having said that, for a roast this is pretty quick…

Serves 4-6

Ingredients

4 pork tenderloin steaks (approx. 700g), cut width-ways into strips – about 5 or 6 per steak
2 large parsnips, cut into wedges
2 large carrots, cut into wedges
3 large potatoes, cut into wedges
2 large onions, cut into wedges
3 large pears, cut into – you guessed it- wedges!
couple of handfuls of apricots

Marinade

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
thumb-sized piece of ginger, finely chopped
100ml cider (roughly)
juice of 1 lemon
good glug of oil
good slug of golden syrup
handful fresh rosemary leaves, roughly chopped
handful fresh thyme leaves, roughly chopped
2 bay leaves, gently crushed
salt and pepper

Method

Chop everything first – vegetables then meat, just to be safe. This is where having a couple of assistants comes in very handy – so if you’re cooking for a group get them to earn their grub! Parboil the carrots, parsnips and potato for about 10 minutes, until they’re slightly tender (basically just make sure you don’t turn them to mush).

Preheat the oven to 200oC/400oF/gas mark 6. Get a couple of oven trays or large roasting trays out and put them in an easily accessible place. Mix up all the marinade ingredients (don’t throw away your lemon skins!) in a large bowl. Put a large frying pan on a high heat. Toss the pork in the marinade, give it a good rub around with your hands (just wash them afterwards, a’ight) and add to the frying pan. Seal the outside of the meat, turn the pieces over every now and again to make sure you get every side. You may need to do this in batches – add the sealed meat to one of the trays and repeat.

Repeat the process – marinade then frying pan – for the pears and onions, about 5 minutes should do it. Again, depending on the size of your saucepan you may need to do this in batches.

Drain your vegetables and add to the remaining marinade with the apricots. Give a good shufty then divide everything up evenly over the roasting trays. Pour over any left over marinade, another glug of oil, a good few twists of pepper, the bay leaves and the lemon skins, give one final shufty and put in the oven for about 20-25 minutes.

After 20-25 minutes, take out the trays, give a good shufty, return to the oven and turn up to 220oC/425oF/gas mark 7 for a final 10-15 minutes. Take out and serve – succulent meat, caramelised fruit, roast vegetables all in one incredible ensemble.

Sorry, no picture – couldn’t stop myself from getting stuck in!

Sausage & Tomato Pasta

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I’ve been having reservations about posting this since making it the other day. You see, our “About Us” clearly states that we are “Two students, bored with student food” and this, for all intensive purposes is student food. Maybe it should read “Two students, bored with average student food” as I feel that statement is more accurate.

I guess it all depends on your definition of student food, but to me it screams: quick, bland, microwaved (*shudder*). This recipe certainly is one of those things, in fact the only one that’s never a bad thing: it’s quick, approx 30 mins from cupboard to table. And I guess this is what persuaded me to finally post it – most people, student or not, are after quick eats quite often and this is a particularly tasty one. So let’s drop the pretensions and get on with cooking some straightforward, yumm-o food.

Yumm-o.

It’s a word. Deal with it.

Serves 4 comfortably

Ingredients

4 good sausages, cut into bite-size chunks
1-2 onions, sliced into quarter rings
1 red pepper, diced
2 garlic cloves, crushed/finely chopped
2 tins chopped tomatoes
250g pasta (use more if you want to bulk it up)
few handfuls frozen green beans
good glug white wine vinegar
good glug balsamic vinegar
good glug golden syrup
couple of good squeezes of tomato purée
1 bay leaf
handful fresh rosemary, oregano & thyme, all chopped

optional extras: chilli flakes/powder, cumin, basil, peas, sweetcorn…etc!

Method

Heat oil in a large saucepan/deep frying pan over a high heat. Add the golden syrup and brown your sausages. After 5 or so minutes add the onion, then after a further 5 minutes lower the heat to medium and add the garlic. Cook for a further couple of minutes.

Pour in the white wine vinegar (say 50ml) and reduce for a few minutes before adding the tinned tomatoes, purée, bay leaf, rosemary, oregano, thyme and a glug of balsamic (say 25ml). Season well. Put the kettle on (3/4 full should be ample) and when boiled add the water to another saucepan before throwing in your pasta. Add plenty of salt and a glug of oil and cook as per instructions on packet. Check hardness every so often – there’s nothing worse than mushy pasta!

Reduce the sauce for 15 minutes, tasting regularly to see if anything needs adjusting. Add the pepper and green beans and continue to cook until both tender (approx. 5 minutes). Drain the pasta and add to the sauce, give a really good stir to coat as much of the pasta as possible. I used fusili (not out of choice, just out of the fact that’s what was in the cupboard – I’m no pasta anorak!) and it works quite well as the thick sauce gets in all the spiral grooves.

Serve, topped with a little cheese, another splash of balsamic and maybe some fresh green herbs of your choosing. Just watch out for that bay leaf!

Moroccan Spiced Burgers

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Blimey it’s been a while. Sorry to keep all you cool cats waiting. Charlotte’s been doing a mighty fine job with the last few posts though (MAN I want one of those mince swirls!) but it’s finally time for me to get back in the game.

Stolen, fairly blatantly from good ol’ Hugh-of-the-Fearnley, these make a tasty step-up from your standard burger. Well, I say step-up, but it’s more of a step sideways – I’m never one to scorn a good old-fashioned burger!

Serves 3 very well.

Ingredients

4-500g beef or lamb mince
1 onion, cut into quarter rings
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
250ml natural yoghurt
1 lot of Hugh’s Flatbreads, adapted to taste – I added fennel seeds, cumin seeds, black pepper, fresh thyme and whatever was in reach, really!
salad

Spice Mix – Burgers

1 garlic clove, finely chopped
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp coriander
3 tsp paprika
1 tsp chilli
salt and pepper

Spice Mix – Yoghurt

1 tsp cumin
1 tsp coriander
1 tsp ginger
leaves from a few sprigs fresh thyme
few sprigs fresh coriander
10 or so mint leaves, ripped
pepper

Method

I made my burgers in this order and it seemed to work out quite well.

1. Mix up burger spice mix. Tip mince into a bowl then the spice mix of the mince and get your hands dirty! Well…don’t…and make sure you WASH THEM THOROUGHLY AFTERWARDS. Common sense, innit? But yeah, mix it all up and stick in the fridge while you…

2. Make your flatbread dough. Leave to rest under the bowl on an oiled or floured work-surface.

3. Pour out the yoghurt into a bowl and throw in all your herbs and spices, bar the coriander. Give a quick stir then use the coriander as a garnish. Stick in the fridge.

4. Sweat your onions with whatever spices you fancy, after a couple of minutes adding the garlic. Once cooked, set to one side.

5. This part is easier with two people:
a. Start rolling out/cooking your flatbreads, sticking them on a plate under a tea towel to keep warm
b. Mould  your burgers into your desired thickness and start frying. 3-4 minutes each side did mine nicely, though they were relatively small. I suppose it’s all down to taste really – though if you’re like me, i.e. really paranoid about food poisoning, check the inside is cooked before you serve (even if it does mean cutting your burger in half!)

6. Grab a plate. Grab a flatbread. Spread sumptuously with yoghurt. Make a nest of salad. Lay your burger on the nest. Sprinkle over your onions. Drizzle over some more yoghurt. Fold in half. Frame it. EAT IT*.

*bonus points for whoever comes out of this dinner not looking like they’ve been involved in some kind of minor yoghurt-related explosion.

Here’s a picture of my yoghurt. ‘Cause I was too damn greedy to take a picture of the actual dinner. D’oh.

Hugh’s Stew

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This is ripped almost completely from the pages of Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s River Cottage Every Day, with minor alterations here and there. I thoroughly recommend the book by the way, it’s got such a range of food that tastes awesome and requires very little skill/finesse. Perfect for me then!

You could totally add loads of other vegetables to this to beef it out cheaply. Or veg it out I suppose would be a more appropriate term…leeks, turnips, sweet potatoes, squash…et cetera! A proper winter-y, root vegetable body-warmer of a dish. Like a hug, from the inside. N’awww.

P.S. Sorry for all the chopping!

Serves 4-5.

Ingredients

6-8 sausages
3 medium carrots, sliced
2-3 onions, sliced into quarter rings
2 baking potatoes, chopped into chunky cubes
2 parsnips, chopped into chunky cubes
6-8 broccoli florets, halved
6-8 cauliflower florets, halved
bowl of peas
bowl of green beans, halved
bottle of cider
2-3 bay leaves
2-3 sprigs fresh rosemary (2 tsp dried is a fine alternative)
2-3 sprigs fresh thyme (as above)
2-3 tsp cumin seeds, crushed
1 veg stock cube
worcestershire sauce
golden syrup
cornflour

Method

If you’ve got any life left in you after all that chopping, heat some oil and a dollop of syrup in a l-a-r-g-e casserole dish. Brown the sausages (I cut mine in half, half-way through the browning process) on a medium-high heat then remove and set aside. Add the onions to the oil, lower the heat and sweat for 5 minutes, adding some of the cider if the pan starts to dry out. When your onions are nicely translucent, pour in the rest of the cider, add the sausages, potatoes, parsnips, herbs and cumin. Crumble in a stock cube and add a really good helping of worcestershire sauce. Twist in a good few grinds of pepper and salt and pour in enough water just to cover everything. Bring to a simmer, stick on the lid and cook, stirring occasionally for 20 minutes before adding your broccoli/cauliflower.

After a further 20 minutes of occasional stirring remove the lid and turn up the heat to medium. I don’t know about you but I prefer my stews thick and saucy rather than wet and runny. To help thicken the sauce, put 4 tsp cornflour (or normal flour if you are cornflour-less like me!) to a suitable receptacle. Add a little of the sauce from the pan and stir together with your spoon to try and remove any cornflour lumps. Add the thick, icky mess to the stew and stir in. You might have to do what I did and ladle out some of the sauce into another pan and reduce it down separately, but if you’re well endowed in the casserole dish domain you probably won’t need to do this.

10 minutes before serving, when everything is well cooked and your sauce is reducing throw in the peas and beans. Taste-test along the way and add salt/pepper/worcestershire sauce/whatever to suit your tastebuds. Serve when everything is beautifully tender and there you have it. Dead easy, dead tasty. Thanks Hugh!

J

Ignore those ever-so-slightly-dodgy looking sticks, they’re vegetarian sausages for my vegetarian housemate. Not a fan, myself…I’m fine with vegetarianism, but vegetables pretending to be meat? Bit odd if you ask me!