Category Archives: Stupendous Stews

Pepper, Chickpea and Spinach Curry

Pepper Chickpea and Spinach Curry
Pepper, Chickpea and Spinach Curry

I fancied cooking something vegetarian for a change, this tasty one pot dish is quick and easy to prepare and is substantial enough to fill a hole in anyones appetite. It’s only about 170 kCals per portion too.

Serves 4 – Gluten Free*


  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 Red Chilli
  • 2.5 cms Root Ginger, peeled
  • 2 cloves Garlic
  • 1 medium onion, finely diced
  • 3 mixed peppers, diced
  • 1 tbsp Garam Masala
  • 1/2 tsp Turmeric
  • 1 tsp Cumin
  • 1 tbsp Tomato Puree
  • 1 400g tin of Chopped Tomatoes
  • 1 400g tin of  Chickpeas, drained
  • 1 bag of Spinach, (200 – 250gms)


  1. Whizz the Garlic, Chilli and Ginger in a blender until it forms a paste, (you can substitute paste versions of these instead and use as directed on the tubes\jar)
  2. Heat the paste and olive oil in a large heavy bottomed pan, until it becomes fragrant and starts to sizzle (be careful not to burn the paste or it will become bitter)
  3. Add the onion and peppers and fry for a few minutes, util the onions start to become translucent)
  4. Add the spices and tomato puree and cook for a few moments
  5. Add the Chickpeas, and Chopped Tomatoes plus a splash of water and simmer for 10 mins.
  6.  Add the spinach and cook for a few minutes until it’s wilted, then stir through the curry.

Serve with some plain boiled rice and a Naan or Chapati and enjoy this healthy delight…..

*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





Welsh Cawl
Welsh Cawl

I was reading through a old recipe book, that was my Grandmothers, I came across a heavily annotated recipe for Cawl, which a Welsh version of the ubiquitous Irish Stew. The book is starting to fall apart and St David’s is almost upon us I’ve decided to publish the recipe up here. The flavour improves if you make it the day before hand.

Serves 4 – Gluten Free*


I’ve converted the Imperial Measurements in the book to metric for ease

  • 2lb (1kg) neck of lamb (on the bone), preferably Welsh, cut into serving pieces
  • 3 pints (2ltrs) lamb stock
  • 8oz (225g) potatoes, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 8oz (225g) onions, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 8oz (225g) leeks, trimmed and sliced into ½in (1cm) slices
  • 8oz (225g) carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 8oz (225g) swede, peeled and roughly chopped


  1. Place the lamb into a large pan and pour over the stock. 
  2. Bring the liquid to the boil, then reduce the heat until it is simmering and leave to simmer for an hour.
  3. Add the chopped vegetables and continue to cook for a further hour. 
  4. Remove from the heat, cover and set aside to cool overnight.
  5. When you are ready to serve the stew, return the mixture to the boil, reduce to a simmer and continue to simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, or until completely heated through.

Serve in warmed bowls with crusty bread and slices of a good Welsh cheese.

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

Braised Pig Cheeks

Braised Pig CheeksImage:
Braised Pig Cheeks

Pig cheeks are a forgotten but extremely tasty cut of meat and as they are out of fashion they’re still relatively cheap too. A couple of weeks ago my other half bought a pack of them at out local supermarket, after I had been describing a menu with braised cheeks on in a restaurant I visited  during a trip to Montreal a few years ago. I popped them in the freezer as I didn’t have the time to do them justice and cooking them they deserved, the cheeks respond best to a gentle braising.
With this easy recipe from Nigel Slater, the ingredients take less than 15 mins to prepare and the oven does the hard work.

Serves 4 – Gluten Free*


  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 8 pig’s cheeks (the pillow shaped bit)
  • 3 carrots, roughly chopped in to medium sized pieces
  • 2 brown onions, peeled and roughly sliced 
  • 1 red onion, peeled and roughly sliced 
  • 2 sticks of celery, roughly chopped in to medium sized pieces
  • 4 big fat cloves garlic, sliced thinly
  • A generous bunch of fresh thyme
  • a short piece of orange zest
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 350ml red wine (the bolder the better)
  • 350ml vegetable stock (use a Gluten Free Stock for a gluten free recipe)
  • 2 tbsp flour (use a Gluten Free flour for a gluten free recipe)
  • 2 tbsp Apple sauce or fruit jelly


  1. Heat the oven at 160C
  2. Warm a thin film of oil in a heavy roasting tin over a moderate heat, then season the cheeks with salt and pepper and brown them lightly in the oil. 
  3. Remove and set aside.
  4. Add the carrots, onions, celery, orange peel and garlic to the pan in which you browned the cheeks, letting them soften and colour very lightly. 
  5. Return the cheeks to the pan, tucking them among the vegetables, scatter over the flour, season with more salt and black pepper and cook for a minute or two.
  6. Add the thyme, the bay leaves, wine and stock.
  7. Bring to the boil, cover loosely with moistened baking parchment.
  8. Bake for 2½ to 3 hours until tender. Checking occasionally to make sure the liquid isn’t reducing too far. 
  9. After an hour or so, it might be prudent to taste and add up to two tbsp apple sauce or other fruit jelly to the gravy.

Serve with buttery mashed potatoes.

*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

Greek Lamb with Orzo

Greek Lamb with Orzo
Greek Lamb with Orzo

This recipe originally by Mary Cadogan, is based on a Greek classic. It’s made using Orzo, a widely available small rice sized pasta, which is used in place or the original Greek ingredient; Manestra.
It’s an easy recipe but takes a while to cook, however the flavoursome and tender lamb makes it all worthwhile

Serves 6


  • 1kg shoulder of lamb
  • 2 onions, sliced
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh oregano (or 1 tsp dried if you don’t have fresh)
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 cinnamon sticks, broken in half
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 400g can chopped tomatoes
  • 1.2l chicken or vegetable stock, hot.
  • 400g orzo 
  • freshly grated parmesan , to serve



  1. Heat oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas 4. 
  2. Cut the lamb into 4cm chunks and spread over the base of a large, wide casserole dish. 
  3. Add the onions, oregano, cinnamon sticks, ground cinnamon and olive oil, then stir well. 
  4. Bake, uncovered, for 45 mins, stirring halfway.
  5. Pour over the chopped tomatoes and stock, cover tightly, then return to the oven for 1½ hrs, until the lamb is very tender.
  6. Remove the cinnamon sticks, then stir in the orzo. 
  7. Cover again, then return to the oven and bake for a further 20 mins, stirring halfway through. 
  8. The orzo should be cooked and the sauce thickened.

Serve, sprinkle with grated Parmesan and serve with fresh crusty bread (like Soda Bread).

Top Tip:
This recipe can be frozen, just cool and freeze after step 4 and defrost and return to a casserole dish, gently bring to a boil (adding some water if it looks a little dry) and restart at step 5.

Sausages and Lentil Casserole

Sausage and Lentil Casserole

Was looking through my old recipe scrap book and I found an old ‘easy one pot’ favourite. This is a recipe that last had back in 2006, before point that I used to have it regularly but must have just plain forgotten about it.

Now it’s been found, I must have it again. Served with a hunk of good bread it’s one of my comfort food fav’s

Serves 2-3 – Gluten Free*


  • 2 teaspoon Olive Oil
  • 6 Pork Sausages (I use Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference Sicilian Style Sausages as they have a good garlicky fennel flavour that works well with the lentils, and they’re Gluten Free too!)
  • 1 onion peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves peeled and finely chopped
  • 150g Puy Lentils (can use everyday brown or green lentils too!)
  • 600ml hot chicken stock
  • 1 large tomato roughly chopped
  • 1 teaspoon Balsamic vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons chopped flat leaf parsley
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


  1. Heat olive oil and cook sausages until golden.
  2. Add onion and garlic and cook for a further 2-3 mins
  3. Add the lentils, stock and chopped tomato.
  4. Bring to the boil then cover and simmer gently for 40-45 mins until the lentils are tender and the stock is almost all absorbed
  5. Stir in the Balsamic vinegar and parsley
  6. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Serve with a good sized chunk of bread, like my Irish Soda Bread (or a Gluten Free alternative) and enjoy a bowl of warming hearty comfort food.

*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.

Lamb Hotpot with Celeriac and Potato

Lamb Hotpot
Lamb Hotpot

This is another British classic, a regional stew from Lancashire, in the North West of the England for those who aren’t from these parts. Although using a cheaper cut of meat, neck fillet, the taste is spectacular and it’s slow cooking ensures that the meat is soft and unctuous add in the layers of potato and celeriac it makes a great comfort food after a cold winters day on “t’moors” or anywhere else.

If you can’t get neck fillet, trimmed and cubed lamb rump works just as well.

Serves 4 – Gluten Free


  • 650g lamb neck fillet
  • 2 tbsp plain flour, seasoned  (use a gluten free alternative like Doves Farm Gluten Free Plain White Flour, for a Gluten Free Version of the recipe)
  • 3 tbsp oil
  • 2  medium to large brown onions, sliced
  • 125g chestnut mushrooms roughly sliced
  • 3-4 sprigs of thyme
  • 500ml hot lamb stock
  • 350g  celeriac, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 300g floury potatoes, like King Eward, scrubbed and thinly sliced


  1. Preheat the oven 150C/140C fan/Gas Mark 2
  2. Trim any excess fat from the lamb and cut into cunky bite sized pieces
  3. Pop the seasoned flour onto a plate  and use it to dust the lamb cubes
  4. Heat a tablespoon of oil in a 2 litre Cast Iron casserole and brown the lamb in batches, don’t crowd the pan as this will cause the lamb to steam rather than fry and it won’t brown, in this case less is more (If you don’t have a flame proof casserole, use a frying pan and stew in a 2 litre oven proof dish). The browned lamb will give the gravy a rich colour and flavour.
  5. Once browned put the lamb on a plate.
  6. Add another tablespoon of oil to the pan and fry the onions for 2 minutes or until the start to soften.
  7. Pop in the remaining oil and add the mushrooms and thyme and fry for a further 5 minutes, when the mushrooms should have softened.
  8. Put the lamb back into the onion and mushrooms and stir
  9. Pour over the stock and layer the celeriac, covering the top of the mixture.
  10. Top with the potato slices creating a nice layered look.
  11. Cover with a lid or foil and place in the oven for 1 1/2 hours
  12. Uncover and cook for a further hour or until the potato topping is crispy and golden.
  13. Leave to rest for 15 mins, this will allow the potato starch to bind the the stew slightly.

Serve with some steamed Chanteney carrot and green beans or tender stemmed broccoli.