A collection of our favourite recipes - the ones we keep on coming back to time and time again....

Fried Chicken (Chicken Stop)

A classic Fried Chicken dinner - real comfort food for those rainy days when you've got time to do a bunch of frying. This dish takes a bit of preparation, and part of the key is not to rush the frying - lots of little batches if you don't want to run the risk of overfilling the pan (never a good idea, particularly if you're doing this on a hob). A digital thermometer helps - I like to set the guard/alarm temperature at 190C so that I can walk away for a few seconds. Also, find the right temperature on your hob (4.5 on bottom left for us), and then leave it be during the cooking. The quantities below are sufficient for 2 legs, 2 thighs and 6 wings.

Wet Coating

  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup water
  • Garlic salt

Dry Coating

  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 tablespoons pinchitos
  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne
  • Pepper

Instructions

  1. Heat oil to 170C
  2. Mix the wet and dry coatings in separate bowls
  3. Coat each piece of chicken in the wet mix, allow excess to drain and coat in dry mix
  4. Fry each piece of chicken in the oil for:
    1. 7 minutes wings
    2. 9-10 minutes drumsticks
    3. 10 minutes thighs
    4. 13 minutes leg + thigh
  5. Remove from the oil and place on a kitchen towel to drain
Cauliflower Cheese

One of my old favourites, and always popular. The trick with this dish is to take REALLY good care of all the individual parts, so that the overall dish is full of flavour. Oh, and it's got enough calories to get you thrown out of weight-watchers for life. Serve as a substantial side, or perfect as an accompaniment at barbecues.

Ingredients

  • One large cauliflower.
  • One pack of mushrooms (ca. 250g)
  • Two medium leeks
  • Four tablespoons plain flour (ca. 50g)
  • a large knob of butter (ca. 50g)
  • One pint of milk
  • teaspoon of mustard powder
  • tub of marscapone cheese
  • A small pack of medium/mature cheddar cheese (ca 200g) - diced
  • A good lump of Parmesan cheese (ca 50g) - grated
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs
  • 2 tablespoons Tuscan herbs (mixed dried garlic, herbs and chilli flakes)
  • 2 tablespoons mixed herbs (Provence herb mix for preference)
  • Salt and pepper to season
  • Grated nutmeg to taste
  • 2 cloves garlic - to be roasted and crushed

Instructions - Vegetables

  1. Chop the cauliflower and leeks into bite size chunks.
  2. Place in an oven proof dish, and season well with salt and pepper, along with the garlic cloves.
  3. Place in a pre-heated oven at 180C and roast for 30 minutes,
  4. Chop the mushrooms into halves (or quarters, depending on the size) and add to the dish after 15 minutes.
  5. Whilst the vegetables are cooking, prepare the cheese sauce.

Instructions - Cheese Sauce

  1. Melt the butter in a saucepan over a medium heat.
  2. When the butter is melted, add the flour and mustard and cook until nut brown.
  3. Add a little of the milk, to reduce the temperature in the pan and to start the bechamel.
  4. Add the diced cheddar and the marscapone - they won't melt immediately, but continue with the sauce.
  5. Add the milk a little at a time (a good trick, at the start, is to allow the milk to heat up before stirring in the roux).
  6. Continue adding milk and stirring until all the cheese has melted, and the sauce is the right consistency (a thick covering sauce).
  7. When the garlic is roasted, remove from the oven, crush, and stir into the cheese sauce.

Finishing the dish

  1. Pour the sauce over the vegetables.
  2. Mix together the breadcrumbs, Tuscan herbs, dried herbs, and nutmeg. Sprinkle over the top of the dish to create a crisy crumb.
  3. Place back in the hot oven, under a medium grill until the top turns brown.
Jules' Broccoli & Stilton Soup

Jules makes this great Broccoli & Stilton Soup (when she can be persuaded). It's fairly quick to prepare although a hand blender makes the world of difference. Don't try to hard to make it super-smooth this way though.

Ingredients

  • Two crowns fresh broccoli
  • 1 pint home-made chicken stock
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • A small onion
  • 1 medium size potato (grated)
  • 300g stilton cheese (cubed)
  • Fresh double cream
  • Salt, pepper and nutmeg (to taste)

Instructions

  1. Gently fry the onions and garlic in olive oil until soft
  2. Stir in the grated potato and continue to fry on a medium heat until the potato is cooked
  3. Add the stock and broccoli and bring to the boil
  4. Simmer for 10 minutes, or until the broccoli is cooked
  5. Off the heat, use a hand-blender to blitz the soup
  6. Return to the heat, and slowly add the Stilton
  7. Once the Stilton has melted, season to taste
  8. Serve in small bowls, with a little fresh cream
Lamb Curry

This is a classic curry, which is doesn't take too long and isn't too much effort. It doesn't quite qualify as a "quick and easy" recipe but it can be put on the table in about an hour or so. There are a couple of tricks to this dish - the temperature control is quite important; Gently fry the onions at the start, turn up the heat to brown the meat and then reduce the temperature when the spices and tomato go in. As always a little oil helps to stop the butter burning at the start, and don't over-heat the spices - very strong frying will destroy the flavours.

Ingredients

  • A good knob of butter
  • Oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 dried or 1 fresh chilli, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed.
  • 1 lb diced lamb
  • 1 carton passata or 1 tin chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp corriander seed, crushed
  • 1 tbsp garam masala
  • 1 tbsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 small tub of cream

Instructions

  1. Melt the butter and oil in a saute pan, then fry the onions and chilli until they start to turn brown.
  2. Add the garlic and lamb and fry over a fairly hot heat to brown the meat.
  3. Mix the dry ingredients and stir into the pan
  4. Immediately turn down the heat and add the tomatoes.
  5. Cover and simmer for 20-30 minutes until the meat is cooked and tender.
  6. Add the cream, and bring back to temperature. Serve immediately over rice and vegetables.
Jules' Butter Bean, Chorizo and Tomato Stew

This quick and tasty stew is just the ticket for a light meal, or as a starter. Most of the ingredients will keep in the cupboard for a long time, so it's great to keep in reserve in case of an emergency. Preparation time is about 15 minutes, and the whole dish will be ready in 25 minutes overall.

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 onions
  • 24 cm chorizo sausage, skinned and roughly chopped
  • 2 tins chopped tomatoes
  • 1 jar red peppers, drained and diced.
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 2 tins butter beans, drained and rinsed.
  • Black Pepper
  • Chopped coriander leaves to garnish

Instructions

  1. Fry the onion, cumin and garlic gently in the olive oil for about 5 minutes, until softened.
  2. Add the chorizo and turn up the heat, stirring carefully until the sausage begins to crisp
  3. Reduce the heat  to medium and add the tomatoes, red peppers, paprika and butter beans and season
  4. Simmer gently for 10 minutes.