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.
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.
Kachoris are a traditional Gujarati snack, often filled with spiced dhal. I find that using green peas, instead of pulses, gives them a fresher, sweeter flavour that combines wonderfully with the warmth of the spices. I’ve used peanuts for a little added crunch too.
This version of kachori are filled with spicy pea filling and served with a cooling coriander and coconut chutney. Yummy! They will make a delicious starter to a curry night. Like most Indian snacks, traditional kachori get a deep-frying treatment but these beauties have been baked in the oven with excellent results.
Adding citric acid to the dough helps to keep the chapatti case crisp and adds a little citrus zing to balance the flavour but it is completely optional. You can omit it if you don’t have any.
150 g plain flour, sifted
¼ tsp salt
1 tbsp / 15 ml of oil (I used olive oil)
about 75 ml / 5 tbsp of boiling water
½ tsp citric acid (if using)
300g frozen peas, defrosted
25g unsalted peanuts, coarsely chopped
2 tsp of grated ginger
2 garlic cloves, chopped finely
½ tsp black mustard seeds
½ tsp garam masala
½ tsp hot chilli powder
½ tsp cinnamon powder
½ tsp coriander powder
¼ tsp turmeric powder
¾ tsp salt
1 tbsp oil, for sauteéing
about 1-2 tbsp / 15-30 ml of lemon juice
small bunch of mint, chopped
1 cup of fresh coriander
about ½ cup / 120 ml full fat coconut milk
lime juice to taste (I used ½ lime)
2 tsp grated ginger
½ tsp ground coriander
½ tsp garam masala
¼ tsp chilli powder
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
In a large bowl, mix flour, citric acid and salt. Add oil and rub it into the flour with your hands. Now add 60 ml of hot water and start bringing the dough together. If it is too dry add another 1-2 tablespoons but do it gradually so that the dough doesn’t end up too wet. Knead for 5 minutes. Brush the surface of the dough with a tiny bit of oil and cover with a damp tea towel to prevent drying up.
Whiz defrosted peas in a food processor with the mint until coarse chunks remain.
Warm up a tablespoon of oil over a medium heat in a pan. Add mustard seeds and wait until they start popping. Add ginger and garlic and stir-fry them briefly until the garlic has softened. Mix all the spices in a small bowl with a bit of water to make a paste. When you add them to the pan, this will prevent burning. Now add the spice paste, peas, peanuts and salt to the pan. Stir-fry for a few minutes but do not let the mixture dry up completely. Let the filling cool down.
Pinch a small amount of the dough and roll it into an 8 cm / 3” circle. Place a heaped teaspoon of dough in the middle and gather the dough around the filling so it looks like a little money bag and tear away/cut off excess dough. Roll the kachori in your hands to make it more circular in shape. Keep kachori ready under a damp kitchen towel.
Heat up the oven to 200° C. Place kachori on a baking tray and brush them with a bit of oil. Bake for about 40 minutes, until browned.
To make the chutney, blitz all the chutney ingredients (apart from lime, salt and pepper) in a blender. Season with salt, pepper and lime juice to taste.
Yes, you read that correctly – wheels of cheesy bacon! Simple to make, yet deliciously moreish to eat, these bacon rolls make a great savoury snack, picnic staple, or side for soups and stews. A tasty filling of bacon, cheddar and cream cheese is rolled in an easy pastry, and then these little rolls only take 15 minutes to bake.
8 bacon rashers
1 medium onion, finely chopped
100g of soft cheese
100g of cheddar, grated
1/2 bunch of flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
250g of plain flour
3 tsp baking powder
75g of unsalted butter, diced and cold
225ml of milk
1/2 tsp salt
20g of butter, melted
Preheat the oven to 180°C. Line a baking tray with parchment paper.
Place the flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl. Crumb the butter into the flour using your thumbs and forefingers. Mix in the milk until just combined.
Place onto a floured work surface and roll into a 1cm thick rectangle, trimming the edges of the dough if desired.
Brush the dough with some of the melted butter then layer the bacon on top to cover the pastry, making sure to leave a 2cm edge free on one of the long sides of the dough,
Mix the onion, cheeses, parsley and garlic together and spread over the bacon.
Brush the gap at the edge of the dough with water then roll into a spiral, sealing the edge brushed with water to the body of the roll.
Wrap the roll in cling film and refrigerate for 20 minutes
Slice the roll into 1.5cm slices and place, spiral side up, onto the baking tray. Bake for 15 minutes, or until golden. Serve warm.
These vegetarian samosas are a great way to get 3 of the 5-a-day into your family as well as a huge burst of flavours. They’re also rich in fibre, folate, vitamin C, calcium and iron. They are not fried like traditional samosas but baked in the oven with minimal oil.
You can play around with whatever you like in the filling. Spinach is fantastic in these but at the time of making, I didn’t have any or I would have added it instead of peas.
They are great served hot and crispy from the oven but can also be eaten warm or cold as a snack for the next day – if they last that long.
Makes 6 large samosas.
2 large sweet potatoes (about 500g), peeled and cut into small pieces
1 tbsp vegetable oil, plus extra for brushing
1 red onion, chopped
thumb-sized piece ginger, peeled and grated
2 garlic cloves, grated
1 tsp each medium curry powder, garam masala, turmeric
small bunch coriander or mint, finely chopped
1 tbsp curry paste (I used madras)
1 tsp black onion (nigella) seeds
200g frozen peas
270g pack filo pastry (6 sheets)
Put the sweet potatoes in a large bowl, cover with cling film and microwave on full power for 5-8 minutes or until soft.
Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large pan, add the chopped onion and cook for a few mins to soften. Stir in the ginger, garlic and coriander/mint, stirring for a couple of minutes more until fragrant. Add the curry paste, spices and the black onion seeds to the pan, stir for 30 seconds or so until fragrant then add the frozen peas. Season well and mash everything together with the back of a spoon, leaving some chunky bits of potato. Leave to cool completely.
Unroll the pastry and pull out two sheets to work with – keep the rest covered with a tea towel to prevent it from drying out. Brush both sheets with a little oil. Put the other sheet on top. With the shortest side facing you, cut down the centre to make two long strips. Scoop a sixth of the sweet potato mixture onto the top right-hand corner of the filo in a rough triangle shape. Fold the pastry over on an angle, continuing down the length of the pastry until you reach the bottom and have a neat triangle encasing the filling. Trim off any excess pastry with a knife. Repeat to make six samosas. Heat oven to 200C/180C fan.
Put the samosas on a baking tray lined with baking parchment. Brush with a little more oil and sprinkle over some extra black onion seeds or cumin seeds if desired. Bake for 20-30 mins or until deep golden brown. Cover with foil if the corners begin to burn before the base is browned.
Yes you read right. Probably best not to google this one as you might get some quite different results but this recipe is great for serving up with some beers when your mates come round. Unsalted, unroasted peanuts are used and there is no oil in the recipe so it’s not really bad for you either.
1 Tbsp curry powder
2 tsp table salt
½ tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground turmeric
4-6 tsps water
500g peeled peanuts
Preheat the oven to 180C. Mix the spices and salt together in a bowl. Stir in the water until a paste forms. Add the peanuts and make sure they get a good coating.
Transfer the peanuts to a roasting tin. Place the tin in the oven and roast the nuts for 5 minutes. Give them a good stir then return the tray to the oven and roast for a further 5 minutes. Repeat this process 4 or 5 times until the paste has dried out and the nuts have a lovely toasted aroma.
Leave to cool then enjoy with a cold beer.
These nuts are spicy so if you just want the flavour then leave out the cayenne which adds the heat. If you can’t resist and eat the nuts warm, they will also taste even hotter as the flavours mellow slightly once cool. You can keep these in an airtight container for a few weeks but they won’t hang around that long.