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

Paella

A fairly authentic Spanish paella which can be on the table in about 45 minutes. I use chicken thighs, which I find more easily available than rabbit. I have made this dish with pork, but if you do it's important to find pork with a good fat content, and to cut it into quite thin strips. The resting at the end is quite important - it allows the flavours to develop all through the dish.

Serves 2 people generously.

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced.
  • 3-4 chicken thighs, boned, and cut into strips.
  • 1/2 chorizo sausage (~ 100g) crumbled.
  • 1/2 sweet pepper, diced
  • 3/4 cup of basmati rice
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 1 tablespoon dulce paprika
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 pinch saffron threads
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 250ml white wine
  • 250ml water
  • 1 stock cube
  • 1/2 lemon zest & juice
  • 200g mixed frozen seafood
  • Salt & pepper

Instructions

  1. Fry the onion in olive oil until soft - about 5 minutes on a high-ish heat
  2. Add the chicken and the chorizo and fry for another 5-10 minutes, until the chicken starts to brown, and is cooked mostly through.
  3. Add the peppers, the garlic, and the rice and fry for another 1-2 minutes.
  4. Add the paprika (both types), oregano, saffron, bay, wine, water & stock cube, lemon juice & zest and bring to the boil. Cover and simmer for 10-15 minutes.
  5. Add the mixed seafood and simmer for another 10 minutes
  6. Remove from the heat, remove the bay leaves, season, and allow to rest covered for 5 minutes before serving.
Spanish Tortilla

The classic Spanish Tortilla - layers of potato and egg gently cooked with subtle flavours. It's good to eat straight away, but the flavour is even better the next day - either reheated or cold. We often have this as a plate in a meal of tapas. It's a great accompaniment to Gabas Pil Pil. If your frying pan is too full to add in the potatoes at the start of step #2 then remove the cooked onions and place to one side before re-incorporating them in step #4.

Ingredients

  • 2 large onions, sliced into half rings
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 25g butter
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4 allspice berries
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 600g new potatoes, sliced (not too thin - about 2mm)
  • 5 eggs

Instructions

  1. Fry the onions in olive oil and the butter and salt in a pan over a medium until soft but not brown - about 15 minutes.
  2. Add the bay leaf, allspice, garlic and potatoes and mix as well as possible (the pan will be very full - using a lid and shaking the pan gently is my favourite way to do this).
  3. Fry, covered, over a medium heat for about 20 minutes giving the pan a good mix every 5 minutes. The potatoes at the top will steam, and the ones at the bottom may get a little colour - this is fine.
  4. In a large bowl, beat eggs gently and add the cooked potato & onion mix. Remove the bay leaves and return to the frying pan
  5. Fry uncovered on a low-medium heat for 20 minutes, by which time the tortilla should be nicely brown on the bottom (check by pulling back the edges).
  6. Turn the tortilla over using a plate and fry the other side for 10 minutes uncovered on a low heat
  7. Remove from the pan and allow to cool on a plate.
Cornation Chicken Salad

The classic Coronation chicken, but served as a salad. This is a lovely light meal, and also goes down very well at picnics since it's fairly easy to transprot and robust as long as it doesn't get too warm. It's important to make the dressing first, as it gives the flavours a bit of time to combine and mellow. Alternatively make the dressing a couple of hours in advance and keep in the fridge. Serves 2.

Dressing

  • 1/2 tub creme fraiche
  • 1/2 tub natural yoghurt
  • 1-2 tbsp mayonnaise (to taste, for richness)
  • 1 tbsp mango chutney
  • 2-3 tsp curry powder (to taste for curry)
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp lime juice
  • 1/2 tsp honey (to taste for sweetness - leave out if the mango chutney is sweet)
  • Good grind of chilli or a dash of tabasco (to taste)
  • Salt & Pepper

Salad

  • 2 Chicken breasts, cooked, cut into bite sized pieces. Hot/warm/cold is fine.
  • 1/2 Avocado, cut into bite sized pieces
  • 1-2 Gem lettuce, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 small tin sweetcorn
  • 1/4 cup toasted almonds / pumpkin seeds / pine nuts / walnuts
  • Oil to dress

Method

  1. Start by mixing the ingredients for the dressing, holding back on some of the curry powder and the honey.
  2. Taste and adjust the dressing as necessary.
  3. Toss the lettuce, avocado and seeds/nuts in a little oil to coat.
  4. Add a couple of spoonfuls of the dressing to the salad and toss gently.
  5. Add the chicken to the remainder of the dressing and mix gently.
  6. Add the chicken to the salad, along with the dressing.
Quiche

A tried and tested recipe for a basic quiche, with a few variations on fillings. Making a quiche can be a bit of a task - it takes a while to make the pastry properly, and then the baking itself takes nearly an hour in total - one for those days when you have a bit of free time.

I personally err on the side of over-filling my quiches, and I tend to go for stronger flavour fillings as otherwise I fear the overall quiche can be a bit bland.

Makes one 20cm / 8" flan tin

Pastry

  • 175g plain flour
  • 85g chilled butter, cut into small cubes
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 tbsp cold water

Basic Custard

  • 250ml single cream
  • 2 large eggs
  • a good grind of black pepper

Broccoli & Stilton filling

  • Half a head of broccoli cut into florets and cooked for 4-5 minutes (al-dente)
  • 100g stilton, cut into small pieces

Bacon, mushroom, & peas filling

  • 6 rashers of bacon, fried
  • 100g mushrooms, sliced and fried with the bacon
  • half a cup of peas, added to the bacon and mushrooms and left in the pan to warm through.

Instructions

  1. Make the pastry by adding teh flour, butter and salt into a food processor and then blitzing until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
  2. Add the cold water to the mixture and stir gently with the handle of wooden spoon to combine into pastry. You don't want to squeeze the mixture or overwork it.
  3. Roll out the pastry and transfer to a greased flan tin. Prick the base with a fork.
  4. Chill the pastry in a fridge for at least 30 minutes before continuing.
  5. Blind bake the pastry case in a pre-heated oven at 200°C fan for 10 minutes
  6. Remove the baking balls and parchment and return the pastry to the oven to contine to cook until the base no longer looks wet - about another 10 minutes.
  7. Make the custard by gently wisking the cream, eggs, and the pepper
  8. Reduce the oven to 160°C fan. Remove the pastry case, add your choice of filling and the custard mix and return to the oven
  9. Bake for about 30-35 minutes until the custard is set and the quiche no longer wobbles when knocked.
  10. Allow to cook before serving. Excellent reheated, and will keep for 2 days in the fridge<./li>
Rice Pudding Print Icon

The classic baked desert, using mostly store cupboard ingredients, with just a bit of time and care. There are a lot of variations on the recipe and method that I've found over the years, but I settled on this one (which calls for heating the milk before baking) as I found the cooking times a bit shorter and more reliable. It's important not to stir the dish after the first 15 minutes in the oven, otherwise the classic brown skin won't form on the top of the pudding. I have tried variations with more cream (even clotted cream), but personally I find them a bit too rich.

Ingredients

  • 80g pudding rice (looks like too little, but don't be tempted to put more in)
  • 1 good tablespoon sugar
  • 1 small tub (200g) double cream
  • a good knob of butter
  • 1 pt full fat milk
  • 1/4 pint semi skimmed milk
  • 1 vanilla pod or 1 tsp sweet vanilla paste

Instructions

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 160°C fan
  2. Split the vanilla pod, extract the seeds and place the pod and seeds into a saucepan with the milk, cream and sugar. Bring to a near boil, stirring occasionally to make sure it doesn't catch.
  3. And the milk mix to a dish with butter and rice and mix together well
  4. Cook for 45 minutes, stirring once after 15 minutes.
Cauliflower Cheese Print Icon

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
  • ½ teaspoon of mustard powder
  • ½ 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 180ºC 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 Print Icon

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
Jules' Butter Bean, Chorizo and Tomato Stew Print Icon

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.