These ham hock and pea croquettes are made from a stiff béchamel, rather than mashed potato that so many versions of croquettes seem to be bulked out with. They need to be eaten hot – so hot you burn your fingers on the crisp breadcrumb exterior as you rush to bite into the oozing, cheesy, molten centre. The smoky ham and tangy mustard make the perfect accompaniment to a cold beer or cider.
Makes about 40
75g plain flour
500ml whole milk
100g mature cheddar, grated
1 tbsp mustard
Salt and white pepper
200g cooked smoked ham hock, shredded into chunks
100g frozen peas, defrosted
flat-leaf parsley a handful, finely chopped
3 eggs, beaten
150g panko breadcrumbs
groundnut oil for deep frying
Melt the butter in a pan and then stir in the flour to make a thick paste. Gradually stir in the milk until you have a smooth sauce. Simmer over a low heat for 10-15 minutes. Add the cheese and mustard and stir until melted, then add the ham, peas and parsley and season. The mixture should be quite thick and paste-like. It will thicken a little more once chilled too.
Scoop into a tray or dish, cool, then chill completely in the fridge. (This can take 2-3 hours, or you could make it the day before.) Scoop out large tablespoons of the mix and roll each into small logs, around 5cm long and 2cm thick. Flouring your hands slightly will help prevent the mix from sticking to everything.
Put the beaten egg on one plate and breadcrumbs on another. Roll the croquettes in the egg then the crumbs. Repeat so you have two layers of egg and breadcrumbs.
Fill a pan no more than 1/3 full with oil and heat to 180C (or until a cube of bread browns in around 30 seconds), then deep fry the croquettes in batches for 3-4 minutes until crisp and golden. Scoop out and drain on kitchen paper (you can keep the cooked croquettes warm in a very low oven). Serve with English mustard and cold beer.
150g/5oz Caerphilly cheese or Welsh Cheddar, finely grated
2 eggs, separated
1 tsp English mustard
½ tsp flaked sea salt
5 tbsp sunflower oil
freshly ground black pepper
For the sausages, melt the butter in a large non-stick frying pan and fry the leek gently for 8-10 minutes, or until very soft but not coloured.
Put 100g/3½oz of the breadcrumbs, the parsley, thyme and cheese in a large mixing bowl and mix until well combined. Beat the egg yolks with the mustard, salt and plenty of freshly ground black pepper in a separate bowl.
Remove the frying pan from the heat and tip the leeks into the bowl with the breadcrumbs. Add the egg yolks and mix together well with a large wooden spoon until well combined. Divide the leek mixture into eight portions and roll into sausage shapes. Place the sausages onto a tray lined with cling film.
Whisk the egg whites lightly in a bowl with a large metal whisk until just frothy. Sprinkle 40g/1½oz breadcrumbs over a large plate. Dip the sausages one at a time into the beaten egg and roll in the breadcrumbs until evenly coated, then place on the baking tray. Chill the sausages in the fridge for 30 minutes.
Heat the oil into a large non-stick frying pan and fry the sausages over a medium heat for 10-12 minutes, turning regularly until golden-brown and crisp. Serve the sausages with what you fancy. I chose baked beans!
After going meat free for so long, I was craving a meat fix. What better way to get it than with sausages?! This recipe uses good quality sausages to create a really simple meatball dish that packs a ton of flavour and satisfaction.
If you can find it, shiitake mushroom powder is so good to use in recipes like this. It delivers a real umami punch to dishes. The savoury flavour is perfect with the creamy mustard sauce but if you can’t find it, the dish will still be really lovely.
For the meatballs:
4 sausages, skins removed (I used Lincolnshire)
2 spring onions, chopped finely
½ tsp fennel seeds
½ tsp dried rosemary
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 Tbsp breadcrumbs
For the sauce:
1 Tbsp olive oil
100g chestnut mushrooms, sliced
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tsp flour
1 beef stock cube
2 Tbsp sour cream
1 heaped tsp mustard
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tsp Shiitake powder
2 spring onions, chopped
Linguine, or any pasta and fresh herbs to serve
Grind the fennel seeds and rosemary in a pestle and mortar until well ground.
Add the sausage meat to a bowl along with the spring onions, breadcrumbs, seasoning and ground herb mix. Stir really well with a fork to combine.
Take teaspoons of the mixture and roll out into little meatballs.
Heat the oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat. Fry the meatballs off until browned all over.
Add the garlic and mushrooms to the pan and continue to cook for 2 minutes.
Next, add the flour and shitake powder and crumble in the stock cube. Stir to coat the meatballs and mushrooms before adding any liquid.
Once this is done, add a splash of water along with the sour cream and mustard. Stir everything together then add the remaining water and let the meatballs bubble away on a medium low heat while you cook the pasta.
Once the pasta is ready, stir the spring onions through the meatball sauce and serve.
Okay, so I’ve posted a few scone recipes before but I think I’ve topped myself with this one. It all came about like most of my recipes, because I had particular ingredients to use up. This time it was bacon and spring onions. These scones are rough and ready but delicious and full f bacon and cheese goodness. Crunchy and knobbly on the outside and soft and fluffy on the inside with savoury onion and bacon bits running throughout, these scones are sensational eaten warm from the oven with butter and ground pepper… and lots of coffee. Treat yourself!
8 rashers streaky bacon, diced
5 spring onions
150g mature cheddar, grated
340g self-raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
85g butter, diced and chilled
135ml whole milk
1 large egg (plus extra for glazing)
2 tbsp dukkah
To make the scones preheat the oven to 180C and line a baking tray with parchment paper.
Place the bacon into a non-stick frying pan and cook until beginning to crisp. Tip out onto a plate and allow to cool before mixing together with the spring onions and the cheese.
Place the flour, baking powder and sugar into a large bowl and mix together to combine. Add the diced butter and using a pastry blender or two knives cut in the fat until it resembles coarse breadcrumbs – some pieces should be about pea sized. Add the bacon, spring onions and cheese and mix together. In a jug whisk together the milk and the egg.
Make a well in the flour mixture and pour in the liquid. Using a knife bring the mixture together. Once a shaggy dough has been formed tip out on a lightly floured work surface and bring together into a uniform dough – don’t work too much or your scones will be tough.
Pat the dough into a flat round a couple centimetres thick then use a knife to cut into 8 equal sized pieces. Place onto the prepared baking tray and brush the tops of the scones with a little egg or milk and sprinkle with the dukkah. Bake in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown. Allow to cool for a few minutes before serving. Best served warm on the day baked.
Take the flavours of the classic comfort food to new heights with this omurice with crab and curry sauce. Omurice is a Japanese favourite consisting of omelette covering a bed of fried rice slathered in sauce. This particular version involves a generous dose of rich and flavourful curry sauce that works perfectly with the fluffy omelette and veg and crab-filled fried rice inside.
½ onion, finely chopped
2 chestnut mushrooms, finely chopped
2 crabsticks, chopped
50g cooked, cold jasmine rice
1 tsp soy sauce
2 tsp mirin
1 cube curry roux
150ml hot water
Fry the onion and mushrooms in a small saucepan over a medium heat for 5 minutes.
Add the rice, crabsticks and soy sauce. Stir until everything is evenly distributed. Remove from the heat.
Make the curry sauce by mixing the roux with hot water in a mug then microwave for 1-2 minutes until thickened to your liking. Set aside.
Whisk the eggs and mirin together in a small bowl.
Heat a little oil in a large frying pan over a medium high heat. When the pan is hot, pour the eggs into the pan and quickly spread to cover the bottom of the pan.
Lower the heat and put the fried rice on top of the omelette. Fold both sides of the omelette toward the middle of the rice to cover.
When the eggs have cooked, cover the frying pan with a plate and carefully flip over to place the omurice on the plate. Serve the curry sauce over the omurice and sprinkle with chopped chives.
Arancini, named after the little oranges that these fried rice balls are said to resemble, are best known in the UK as a handy way to use up leftover risotto. You can use any risotto you have made, fill it with anything you like and coat it in what you fancy too.
I had leftover mushroom risotto, stuffed it with some chorizo and coated it in a sage and pistachio breadcrumb coating but you can use whatever you have or fancy.
Some ideas could include:
Risotto: Butternut and sage, chicken and bacon, saffron, tomato and basil
Take 1 heaped tsp of leftover risotto and flatten it slightly in the palm of your hand
Place a little of your filling in the centre and gently cup your hand to encase the filling within the risotto mix. Form into a compact ball and repeat until the risotto is used up.
Place the flour, beaten egg and breadcrumbs in three separate bowls. Coat the risotto balls in the flour, then in the egg and finally in the breadcrumbs.
Heat the oil in a pan over a high heat until it reaches about 180C or until you drop a few breadcrumbs in and they sizzle and turn golden.
Fry about 4 arancini balls at a time so the temperature of the oil does not drop as this will make the balls soggy. When they are deep golden brown, remove with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper. Keep in a warm oven while you cook the rest.
Serve with a tomato sauce to dunk them into… and maybe a glass of wine too 😉
I recently went to a Japanese restaurant in London with my best mate and haven’t been able to stop eating Japanese food since. This is a recipe for a Japanese crispy fried chicken with a sauce made from a curry roux. This is an incredibly easy dish and an incredibly satisfying one with silky sauce to accompany crispy, juicy chicken.
The recipe serves 3 as I was raving about it so much that a couple of mates wanted in on the action too but the quantities are easily adjustable.
3 Chicken breasts, skinless & boneless
50g Plain Flour
100g Panko Breadcrumbs
1/2 Onion, finely chopped
3 chunks of curry roux (I used S&B Golden Curry Sauce Mix)
Sunflower Oil for frying
Salt & Pepper
Cooked Jasmine Rice and chopped chives to serve
Butterfly the chicken breasts, cover with a sheet of cling film and flatten them out using a rolling pin until they’re about 1cm thick. Season both sides of each breast with salt then coat all over in the flour.
Beat the egg in a shallow dish and tip the breadcrumbs into another. Dip each piece of chicken in the egg then coat in breadcrumbs. Leave to one side whilst you make a start on the Katsu Curry sauce.
Add a tsp sunflower oil to a small pan and sweat the chopped onion until cooked through.
When the onions are cooked, add in the curry roux and a little bit of the hot water. Stir to dissolve the roux then gradually add the rest of the water and cook over a medium heat until the sauce has thickened.
Meanwhile, heat some sunflower oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat. (Just short of enough to coat the base). Be a little patient with this, if you put your chicken in and the oil isn’t hot enough, the panko crumbs will likely go soggy.
Carefully add the prepared chicken into the pan and fry for about 5-7 minutes on each side or until golden and crispy. Remove from the pan onto a plate lined with some paper towels.
Now all your components are ready, it’s time to serve. Plate up some cooked rice, slice up the chicken and place on top. Then pour over as much of the katsu curry sauce as you like! You could even sprinkle over some chopped chives.