Moules marinière

Moules MariniereImage: bbc.co.uk/food
Moules Mariniere
Image: bbc.co.uk/food

Mussels are in season in any month that has an ‘R’ is the old British adage, and this classic French\Belgian recipe is a restaurant classic which is deceptively easy to replicate at home. Although I love the mussels, my favourite part of the dish is the creamy white wine sauce, mopped up with fresh crusty bread, like a home-made Irish Soda Bread.

Ingredients

  • 1.75kg fresh live mussels
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 2 shallots, finely chopped
  • 15g butter
  • a bouquet garni of tied parsley stalks, thyme stems and bay leaves
  • 100ml dry white wine or cider
  • 120ml double cream
  • handful of parsley leaves, coarsley chopped

Serves 4 – Gluten Free*

Method

  1. Wash the mussels under plenty of cold, running water, discarding any open ones that won’t close when lightly squeezed ot tapped.
  2. Pull out the tough, fibrous beards protruding from between the tightly closed shells and then knock off any barnacles with the back of a large knife, giving the mussels another quick rinse to remove any little pieces of shell and beard.
  3. Soften the garlic and shallots in the butter with the bouquet garni, in a large pan big enough to take all the mussels (it should only be half full so that thay have enough space to steam).
  4. Add the mussels and wine or cider, turn up the heat, then cover and steam them open in their own juices for 3-4 minutes. 
  5. Give the pan a good shake every now and then.
  6. Remove the bouquet garni, add the cream and chopped parsley and remove from the heat.
  7. Spoon into four large warmed bowls (discarding any closed mussels)

Serve with lots of crusty bread (chose your favourtie Gluten free bread for a gluten free version), to mop up the creamy sauce.

*Gluten Free – Although I make every effort to ensure that the ingredients list are gluten free, you should double check at the time of using as products change their base ingredients frequently

Roasted Chicken and Chorizo

Roasted Chorizo and ChickenImage: bbc.co.uk/food
Roasted Chorizo and Chicken
Image: bbc.co.uk/food

This is one of my ‘One pot wonders’ a tasty chicken and chorizo roasted in the same tin. It infuses the great paprika and herb flavours into the chicken and veg, and saves on washing up.

Ingredients

500g new potatoes, such as Charlotte
1-2 tbsp olive oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper
8 skinless and boneless chicken thighs (approximately 500g)
1 tsp smoked paprika
pinch ground cinnamon (optional)
pinch dried chillie flakes (optional)
handful fresh thyme sprigs or 1 tsp dried thyme
115g/4oz piece dried chorizo sausage
4 ripe tomatoes (or about 150g cherry tomatoes)
1 red or orange pepper, deseeded and sliced
2 garlic cloves
salt and pepper for seasoning

Serves 4 – Gluten Free*

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 220C/425F/Gas 7.
  2. Halve or quarter the potatoes, depending on their size (to produce evenly sized chunks).
  3. Place in a large non-stick roasting tin and toss with two tablespoons of the oil and season to taste with salt and pepper, then put into the oven for 15 minutes.
  4. Cut the chicken thighs in half, add the smoked paprika along with the dried chillies and cinnamon, if using. Scatter with half the thyme leaves, season with salt and pepper, stir through and set aside.
  5. Make a nick in the skin of the chorizo then, peel away the papery skin and cut into chunks or rounds.
  6. When the potatoes have had 15 minutes roasting, give them a stir, then nestle the chicken and tomatoes into the pan.
  7. Scatter with the chorizo, garlic and the remaining thyme leaves, then season with salt and pepper.
  8. Drizzle the remaining oil all over, and return to the oven to roast for 20 minutes more, stirring half-way.
  9. Cook until the chicken is cooked through and the potatoes and tomatoes are turning golden brown and crisp at the edges

Serve and enjoy….

*Gluten Free – Although I make every effort to ensure that the ingredients list are gluten free, you should double check at the time of using as products change their base ingredients frequently

 

 

Bara Brith

Bara BrithImage: bbc.co.uk/food
Bara Brith
Image: bbc.co.uk/food

Along with Welsh Cakes, I remember my Welsh paternal Grandmother Gwen making this wonderfully sticky cake. Although this tea-bread is made using yeast by commercial bakers, my grandmother’s recipe for Bara Brith or ‘Mottled Bread’ uses a standard quick mix method once you’ve soaked the dried fruit in tea.

Makes 1 cake

Ingredients

  • 450g dried mixed fruit
  • 250g brown sugar
  • 300ml warm black tea (standard english tea-bag)
  • 2 tsp mixed spice
  • 450g self-raising flour
  • 1 free-range egg, beaten

Method

  1. In a large bowl soak the fruit and sugar in strained tea and leave overnight.
  2. Next day preheat the oven to 170C/325F/Gas 3. 
  3. Line a 900g/2lb loaf tin with baking parchment.
  4. Mix the remaining ingredients into the fruit mixture and beat well.
  5. Pour the mixture into the loaf tin and bake the oven and bake for 1½ hours or until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.

Serve, sliced thicky with plenty of butter.

Welsh Cakes

Welsh Cakesimage: bbc.co.uk/food
Welsh Cakes
image: bbc.co.uk/food

My Welsh grandmother, Gwen, always had a batch of these ready for when we went to see herwhen I was younger. So they still remind me of her. These griddle cakes are really quick ad easy to make and make a great tea time treat alongside with the other Welsh favourite; ‘Bara Brith‘.

Makes 8-10

Ingredients

  • 225g self-raising flour
  • 110g salted butter, diced
  • 85g caster sugar, plus extra for dusting
  • handful of sultanas
  • 1 free-range egg, beaten
  • milk, if needed
  • extra butter, for greasing

Method

  1. Sift the flour into a bowl and add the diced butter.
  2. Rub with your fingertips, until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.(You can pusle in a food processor if you’re feeling lazy)
  3. Add the sugar, sultanas and beaten egg and mix well to form a ball of dough, using a splash of milk if needed.
  4. Roll the dough out on a floured board to a thickness of about 5mm.
  5. Cut into rounds with a 7.5–10cm plain cutter.
  6. Rub a heavy iron griddle or pan with butter, wipe away the excess and place on the hob until it is heated through.
  7. Cook the Welsh cakes a few at a time for 2–3 minutes on each side, or until golden-brown.
  8. Remove from the griddle and dust with caster sugar while still warm.

They can be eaten warm or stored in an airtight container for a week

Pea and Ham Soup

Pea & Ham SoupImage: bbc.co.uk/food
Pea & Ham Soup
Image: bbc.co.uk/food

This is one of those soups that bring memories of childhood in the cold British winter streaming back. It’s one of those warming comfort foods that my Mum used to cook to drive the cold from my little brother’s and my bones after playing outside. This Pea and ham soup is a really satisfying dinner, ready in 15 minutes, using simple ingredients you probably already have in the cupboard.

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil or butter if you prefer
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 large potato (about 250g), peeled, cut into small cubes
  • 300g frozen petits pois or garden peas
  • 400ml chicken stock (use a gluten free option for a gluten free recipe)
  • 200ml semi-skimmed or whole milk
  • 100g thick cut, good quality ham (Smoked ham adds to the flavour)
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Serves 2 – 4 – Gluten Free*

Method

  1. Heat the oil or butter in a large saucepan on low or medium heat, then add the onion and potato.
  2. Season with salt and pepper, then stir to coat the vegetables in the oil.
  3. Take a piece of baking paper large enough to cover the top of the pan, scrunch it up, wet it then unfold it. Lay the paper over the surface of the vegetables, sealing them in right to the edges of the pan (this helps cook the vegetables more quickly).
  4. Put a lid on the pan, cook on a low heat for 8-10 minutes, until the potatoes are tender and the onions are soft and translucent.
  5. Remove the paper and add the peas and stock to the pan, then bring to the boil.
  6. Cook for a couple of minutes until all of the peas have floated to the top of the stock and are tender and bright.
  7. Take the pan off the heat. Using an immersion blender, process the peas until very smooth.
  8. Add the milk (or, if preferred, use more stock, water or cream).
  9. Tear in most of the ham.
  10. Bring the soup back to a simmer, then season to taste with salt and pepper, remembering that the ham is fairly salty.

To serve, ladle the soup into bowls then scatter with the rest of the ham.

*Gluten Free – Although I make every effort to ensure that the ingredients list are gluten free, you should double check at the time of using as products change their base ingredients frequently

Whisky Cream Sauce

Whisky Cream Sauce
Whisky Cream Sauce

This rich sauce, made with cream and Scotch Whisky is the prefect companion to Haggis and Clapshot on Burns Night. The subtle smoky notes from the Whisky are perfect with the richness of Haggis.

Serves 4 – 6 Gluten Free*

Ingredients

  • 500ml/17fl oz double cream
  • 2 tsp wholegrain mustard
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 tsp whisky
  • sea salt and freshly ground white pepper
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh chives
  • ½ lemon, juice only

Method

  1. Heat the double cream in a pan over a medium heat.
  2. Add the wholegrain mustard, Dijon mustard and whisky and stir to combine.
  3. Increase the heat until the mixture is simmering and continue to cook for 1-2 minutes.
  4. Remove the pan from the heat and season, to taste, with salt and freshly ground white pepper.
  5. Stir in the tablespoon of chives, then whisk in the lemon juice.

Serve drizzled over slices of Haggis, with a mound of Orkney Clapshot for that perfect Burns Night meal on the 25th January

*Gluten Free – Although I make every effort to ensure that the ingredients list are gluten free, you should double check at the time of using as products change their base ingredients frequently

Orkney Clapshot

Orkney Clapshot
Orkney Clapshot

Burns night is fast approaching and thoughts turn to Haggis. Although the regular accompaniment to this is ‘tatties and neeps’ I prefer Calpshot. I was introduced to this during a visit to the cafe at the top of Cairngorm Mountain a good few years ago. The chef was from the Orkney’s and this was was their staple addition to the Burns Night Meal.

Serves 4 – Gluten Free*

Ingredients

  • 400g floury white potatoes such as Maris Piper, peeled and diced
  • 400g carrots, diced
  • 400g swede (The Scots know this as yellow turnip)
  • 1 medium onion, finely diced
  • 50g butter
  • 100 ml double cream
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • freshly grated nutmeg to taste

Method

  1. Put the potatoes, swede, carrot and onion into a pan of boiling water and cook until tender.
  2. Drain and mash
  3. Stir in the butter and cream along with the salt, pepper and nutmeg.

Serve, with Haggis and a splash of whisky cream sauce.

*Gluten Free – Although I make every effort to ensure that the ingredients list are gluten free, you should double check at the time of using as products change their base ingredients frequently