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!
You could try using different veggies and cheeses for this. I just used what I had in at the time but this could be great with leeks, spring onions, parsnips, green beans, peppers… anything. Just remember that since you want this cheesy lentil slice to set nice and firm, you’ll need to thoroughly cook any particularly wet vegetables beforehand, and cut them nice and small.
This cheesy lentil slice is super high in protein and fibre and it’s still absolutely delish. The slice can be… well, sliced. This means that as well as making a great dinner alongside some homemade chips, garlic bread, salad or whatever else tickles your fancy, it can also be packed into lunch boxes to be served cold. Gotta love a versatile recipe!
190g red lentils
1 litre chicken stock
1 tbsp tomato puree
1 tbsp oil
½ onion, finely chopped
1 small carrot, diced fairly small
60g frozen peas
75g rolled oats
1 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp each oregano and thyme
Freshly ground black pepper
70 g cheddar cheese, grated
1 large tomato, sliced
Add the red lentils, chicken stock and tomato puree to a saucepan, and bring to a simmer. Cook over a medium heat until the red lentils are tender and any excess liquid has cooked off – around 15 minutes. You’ll need to stir regularly, especially in the last few minutes, to ensure the lentils don’t stick to the pan.
Meanwhile, heat the oil in a frying pan, and add the chopped onion and carrot. Cook for a few minutes over a medium heat, until softened then add the peas for a couple more minutes. Set aside to cool.
When the lentils are cooked, transfer them to a large mixing bowl, and add the cooked vegetables, rolled oats, smoked paprika, herbs and a generous pinch of black pepper. Allow the mixture to cool for a few minutes then add about half of the grated cheese (hold some back for topping). Mix thoroughly.
Spread the lentil mixture out into a greased baking tin (mine was 9 inches squared), and smooth out the top. Add the remaining grated cheese and a few slices of tomato. Bake at 180°C for around 45 minutes, or until the lentil slice is firm and the cheese on top is golden (cover with foil if you feel the cheese is browning too quickly). Either serve immediately, or allow to cool and cut into slices.
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.
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 😉
A good moussaka is a joy to behold with cinnamon spiced lamb mingling with aubergines and a delicious creamy sauce. It is something I’ve always wanted to make but never have until my friends and I decided to have a Greek night. Perfect chance. I don’t know why I’ve not made one before. It’s extremely comforting and flavourful and well worth the effort.
2 large aubergines, cut into ¼” / ¾ cm thick slices
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, grated
500 g lamb mince
1 cinnamon stick
1 Tbsp plain flour
400g tinned plum tomatoes
3 tbsp tomato puree
1 cup chicken or lamb broth/stock, or water + 1 stock cube
1 tsp dried mint
2 tsp dried oregano
¾ tsp salt
½ tsp allspice (optional)
Lemon zest and juice (optional)
4 tbsp butter
5 tbsp plain flour
3 cups milk
¼ tsp nutmeg, freshly grated
½ cup grated parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper
⅓ cup panko or fresh breadcrumbs
Sprinkle the aubergines with salt and place them (stacked) in a large colander. Leave to sweat for 30 minutes, then brush off excess salt and pat dry with a paper towel.
Preheat oven to 200C. Lay the aubergine onto 2 large baking trays, brush with olive oil and bake for 10 minutes or until just softened. Remove and set aside to cool.
Heat olive oil in a pan over medium high heat then cook the garlic and onion for 3 minutes. Add the lamb and cook, using the wooden spoon to break up the mince as you go. Add the flour and herbs and stir. Add remaining ingredients and bring to a simmer, then cover, lower heat to medium low and cook for 15 minutes.
Melt butter in a pan over medium heat. Add flour and cook for 1 minute, using a whisk to keep it moving.
Add 1 cup of milk and whisk to combine. It will thicken quite quickly. Add the remaining milk. Whisk until smooth then cook for 3 to 5 minutes or until it thickens so that it thickly coats the back of a wooden spoon.
Remove from the stove and whisk in cheese. Allow to cool for 5 minutes then whisk the eggs in.
Add salt and pepper to taste.
Preheat oven to 180C.
Place half the filling in the bottom of a baking dish then half of the aubergine in a layer on top. Repeat the process with the remaining filling and aubergine.
Pour over the béchamel sauce, sprinkle with breadcrumbs and a little extra grated cheese and bake for 30 – 40 minutes or until golden brown.
Allow to stand for at least 10 minutes before serving.
An authentic Palestinian bread from Jaffa that is served as a main meal along with a bowl of soup or a salad, this “Yafawi Sfeeha”, also known as “Milwayeh” which means twisted, is crispy yet fluffy and full of flavour.
The dough is a sort of un-yeasted bread dough that needs to be stretched out really thin, to the point where you can see through it, before adding the filling and rolling it up. The shaping technique takes a bit of practice to get right but you get the hang of it after you have done a couple.
The filling is traditionally meat based but I have chosen to make a cheese version using halloumi as that is what I had available. Feta would be great too.
small handful of fresh flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
fresh ground black pepper
Place the flour, salt, sugar, powdered milk and vegetable oil in a bowl and gradually add the water until you have a soft, slightly sticky dough. Turn out onto a work surface and knead for about 10 minutes.
Divide the dough into 8 even pieces and shape into balls, place on a greased tray and cover with oiled clingfilm, leave to rest for at least a couple of hours and up to overnight.
Once the dough has rested make the filling, simply mix together the grated cheese, beaten egg and chopped parsley in a bowl with some freshly ground black pepper. Preheat the oven to 200C.
Grease a work surface and your hands well with olive oil or ghee; take one ball of dough and use your hands to gently spread it out on the oiled surface into a large, thin circle. You should be able to spread it out to about 25cm (10in) wide and it should be thin enough to see through.
Fold one side of the circle over the middle, then the other, so that the dough is almost folded into thirds.
Spread some of the filling along one edge of the dough, fold the closest side over the top of the filling then roll it up into a tight sausage; coil the sausage up in a spiral shape, place the bun on a baking tray.
Re-grease the work surface and your hands and repeat with the remaining balls of dough.
Bake for about 20 minutes until golden brown. Serve warm.