Smoked Ham & Pea Croquettes

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20427807_10155446526246000_1312826262_n 26/07/2017

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

Ingredients:

  • 75g butter
  • 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

Method:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.

Leftover Turkey Curry

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turkey2 27/12/2016

Yes, it’s that time of year again! Everyone has eaten way too much and there is still more turkey than you know what to do with but have no fear. If in doubt, chuck it in a curry! Not just any old boring curry though, a vibrant Sri Lankan curry with creamy coconut, tangy lime and tomato and freshly ground spices for a flavour punch.

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tbsps groundnut oil
  • A pinch of cinnamon
  • 10 green cardamom pods, cracked open
  • 10 cloves
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 2 onions, thinly sliced
  • 4 fat garlic cloves, crushed
  • 50g peeled root ginger, finely grated
  • 2 tbsp medium Sri Lankan curry powder (see recipe below)
  • 1 tsp mild chilli powder
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 x 230g tin plum tomatoes
  • 1 x 400ml tin coconut milk
  • 3 green chillies, seeds removed, sliced
  • 2-3 Tbsps coconut yoghurt
  • 500g cooked turkey or chicken, shredded
  • 1 Tbsp lime juice
  • fresh coriander, to finish

 

Sri Lankan Curry Powder

One of the characteristics of Sri Lankan cuisine is their preference for freshly prepared curry powders rather than pastes. The roasted curry powder is predominantly used in meat and fish dishes.

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tbsp uncooked white rice
  • 50g coriander seeds
  • 25g cumin seeds
  • 25g fennel seeds
  • 5cm cinnamon stick
  • 1 ½ tsp fenugreek seeds
  • ½ tsp cloves
  • ½ tsp cardamom seeds (from about 10 green pods)
  • ½ tsp black mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp black peppercorns
  • 3 dried red Kashmiri chillies

Method:

Heat a dry, heavy-based frying pan over a medium heat. Add the rice ad shake the grains around for about 3 minutes until medium brown in colour. Tip the rice into a bowl and leave to cool while you do the same to the spices and then to the dried chillies. Mix the rice, spice and chillies together and grind to a powder in a pestle and mortar. Store in a screw top jar and use within 3 months.

turkey

For the Curry:

Method:

  1. Heat a large, deep heavy-based frying pan. Add the cinnamon, cardamom pods and cloves and leave them to become fragrant for a few seconds. Remove them and grind in a pestle and mortar. Set aside.
  2. Add the oil then the onions and bay leaves to the pan and fry them gently for 5 minutes until soft and golden. Add the garlic and ginger and fry for 1 minute, then add the curry powder, chilli powder and turmeric and fry gently for another minute.
  3. Add the tomatoes (crushing the plum tomatoes with your hand as you add them), coconut milk, green chillies and a little salt. Cover with a lid and simmer gently for 20 minutes.
  4. Uncover, add the coconut yoghurt and the cooked turkey, recover and simmer for 5 minutes until piping hot. Stir in the lime juice and serve sprinkled with coriander.

Special Fried Rice

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screenshot_2016-09-23-17-55-52-11  25/09/2016

A super speedy, cheap and tasty meal…

I’ve left some of the quantities undisclosed here as it is really up to you on your preferences and what you have to hand. I love the salty savoury note of soy sauce so tend to be quite liberal with it. Sometimes, I add a little oyster sauce to the mix too.

It is important to use cold rice as just boiled rice will turn mushy in the wok and will not be very pleasant to eat.

Add leftover meats, bacon, crunchy veg, beansprouts, sweetcorn, mushrooms… whatever you like. Duck and five spice is a fantastic addition or you could even keep it really simple and add a separate stir fried dish to it. Go crazy!

Ingredients:

  • Cold leftover rice (I used brown rice)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 250g pack raw king prawns
  • 1 large egg
  • Tenderstem broccoli
  • ½ cup of frozen peas
  • 2-3 spring onions, sliced
  • Soy sauce
  • Ground white pepper
  • Fresh coriander, to serve

Method:

  1. Add 1 tablespoon of oil to a wok over medium-high heat and fry the onions until soft and golden. Add the garlic and fry for 30 seconds.
  2. Add the tenderstem broccoli and peas to the pan and stir fry for a minute to begin softening the broccoli.
  3. Add the prawns and stir fry until just pink.
  4. Add the cold rice and stir to combine everything. Crack the egg into the wok and gently fold into the rice mix as it cooks. You should be left with some clumps of egg while binding the rice at the same time. Season with soy sauce and pepper generously and stir in the peas. Cook for a couple of minutes and serve topped with coriander and another drizzle of soy sauce.

Potato Scones

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IMG_20160223_133921[1] 23/02/2016

Another classic case of leftovers being better than the original dish! This particular batch of scones was made using a leftover baked potato from which I scooped out the insides and discarded (ate) the skin. I’ve also made the scones with leftover mash which gives equally light, fluffy and comforting results.

Makes 8-12

Ingredients:

  • 6oz plain flour
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 oz margarine
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 4 oz leftover mashed potato
  • About 3 tablespoons milk
  • Spring onions, cheese (optional)

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 220/200C. Lightly grease a baking tray.
  2. Measure the flour and baking powder into a bowl, add the margarine and run in with your fingertips until the mix resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add spring onions and cheese at this point for flavour if you wish. Stir in the salt and mash, mixing with a fork to prevent lumps. Add enough milk to form a soft but not sticky dough.
  3. Turn the mixture out on to a lightly floured work surface and knead very lightly. Roll out to a thickness of about ½ inch and cut into rounds using a 2 inch cutter. Alternatively, cut the dough into triangular wedges, as pictured.
  4. Place on the prepared baking trays and bake in the oven for 12-15 minutes or until well risen and golden brown. Best served warm and buttered.

Bubble & Squeak

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IMG_20150704_181213[1] 05/07/2015

A great English classic made using leftovers, this oddly named dish can be created with whatever vegetables you have to hand. It is a great way of using up your veg and as with most leftover dishes, is even better than the original.

You can serve it as a whole and cut into slices to serve or shape into individual cakes and fry. It is a fantastic accompaniment to sausages, pork chops, bacon, or even a full English! For a light lunch, serve with salad and poached eggs.

This recipe shows you how to make the dish from scratch but if you have leftover mashed potato or roast and boiled vegetables then you can skip the beginning steps and jump straight to the frying it all up.

Ingredients:

  • 6-7 Charlotte potatoes
  • 1 Tbsp cream cheese
  • 1 leek, washed, trimmed and finely sliced
  • ½ red onion, sliced
  • ½ head broccoli, cut into florets with stalk trimmed and chopped
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp English mustard
  • 3 spring onions, sliced
  • 2 Tbsp butter

Method:

  1. Boil potatoes, skin on, in a large pan of salted water until tender. Drain, return to the pan and allow to steam for 2 minutes then mash with the cream cheese and mustard until fairly smooth.
  2. Melt 1 Tbsp butter in a large frying pan. Cook leeks and onion until soft and melting, about 10 minutes.
  3. Boil or steam the broccoli until just tender. Drain and allow to steam for 2 minutes then roughly chop up and add to the potato along with the leek, red onion and spring onions.
  4. Season and form into 4 cakes. Heat remaining butter in a non-stick frying pan and cook cakes on each side for 2 minutes until golden and crisp at the edges.

IMG_20150704_181256[1]

These are fantastic with thick, beefy onion gravy for a warming meal or with hollandaise as a light meal.

Chicken & Leek Pie

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IMG_20140909_211021[1] 10/09/2014

Okay, so my presentation leaves little to be desired but the flavour totally delivers. 

A pie is a great homely meal that pleases everyone and when it is made from leftover roast dinner, it is all the more satisfying… and cheap!

This pie usually serves 3-4 people (depending on how hungry everyone was for their Sunday roast).

Ingredients:

  • 2 rashers smokey bacon, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 2 leeks, green parts finely sliced, white parts sliced
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • a handful flat leaf parsley, chopped
  • fresh ground black pepper
  • (I have omitted the addition of extra salt as this comes from the bacon and the stock)
  • Leftover chicken meat (1/2 a bird), in chunky pieces
  • 2 Tbsp plain flour
  • 3 Tbsp soured cream, creme fraiche, whipping cream or whatever you have that needs using
  • Chicken stock (fresh if available or a stock cube made up to about 300ml) 
  • 1/2 block of ready-made puff pastry

Method:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 190C
  2. To make the filling, melt the butter and oil together in a saucepan. Add the bacon and fry until crispy. This will give your pie a lovely subtle smokiness.
  3. Add the leeks to the pan and stir to cover them in the bacon and butter. Cover with a lid, reduce the heat to low and let the leeks sweat until meltingly tender and soft for about 30 minutes. Stir every so often to prevent catching.
  4. Add the thyme, black pepper and parsley then mix in the chicken pieces. Sprinkle the flour over and stir well to combine. You don’t want bits of flour that are not stirred in or they will go claggy when the liquid is added. You should be left with a thick and pasty looking mix at this stage.
  5. Add the cream and stir well to incorporate then gradually add the stock until you achieve a nice consistency. Sometimes you need a lot more stock than is stated. The flour mix will thicken slightly as you stir over a heat so use your judgement and your preference here. Once happy, pour the mixture into an ovenproof pie dish. IMG_20140909_210930[1]
  6. For the pie crust, roll out the half block of pastry on a lightly floured surface to the size of your pie dish and plonk it on top of the pie. No need for neatness here. If there is a bit overlapping, just tuck it under and it will go lovely and puffy when baked. Brush the top of the pastry lightly with milk or egg and bake in the oven for 35-40 minutes. It will be golden, bubbling and puffy.

You can serve this with any vegetables you like, mash, gravy, a big squirt of ketchup or for a little extra effort why not try adding closer to 1L of chicken stock to the filling mix? Sieve the runny mix before placing it in the pie dish. Keep the runny pie gravy aside and add the chunky mix to the dish. Continue assembling the pie as normal and serve with the extra sauce created. 

I have made this pie numerous times and never quite the same. It’s a great one to experiment with and tastes lovely every time. Try adding a spoon of pesto to the filling if you don’t have fresh herbs in or adding more vegetables such as mushrooms, asparagus and beans.