Tag Archives: food

Quick Pickles

This recipe for Runner Bean Pickles appeared in the recent series of River Cottage which focused on vegetarian dishes. I’m more or less repeating it here verbatim (original at the Channel 4 website) but it’s also worth saying that this quick pickling method appears to be worth trying with other veg. The secret is to shoosh the veg around in a plastic bag with some seasonings (salt being important for drawing out the vegetables’ natural juices), then press out as much air from the bag as you can and weigh down the contents with maybe something like a plate with a can on top. Wait a couple of hours and bobs-yer-uncle, quick pickle.  I’m certainly going to give it a try.

Runner Bean Pickles

1 tsp fine sea salt
2 tsp golden caster sugar
¼ tsp ground ginger
½ tsp coriander seeds, lightly crushed
Pinch of chilli flakes
150g runner beans, destringed and cut into 1cm pieces on an angle


  1. Put all the dry ingredients into a plastic bag and shake to combine.
  2. Add the beans and give the bag a really good shake to ensure the beans are thoroughly coated in the spice mix. Roll the bag up to remove excess air, weight it down (as mentioned above) then set aside for about 2 hours.
  3. Before serving drain off the water that has been drawn from the beans.

This pickle is fresh and sharp and goes perfectly with cheese.

Leave a comment

Filed under Cookery

Welsh Rarebit

I never promised that it would be all fine cuisine around here (quite the opposite, I think) so since we all seem to be freezing our buns off at the moment I thought I’d refer to one of my favourite cold weather comfort foods – something that I happily snaffled for my lunch today and poo to the diet guilt in this cold snap.  I love cheese but God has decreed that hot cheese shall be totally irrestible, both in smell and taste, to all but the steeliest-willed skinniest of skinnies. 

I have quick combos that I love on a cold day: toast one side of a slice of bread under the grill then spread the other with tomato puree (paste), good grated strong Cheddar (the real thing, not that plastic muck that tries to pass itself off as Cheddar) and sprinkle on some dried oregano.   Pop back under the grill and cook until the cheese is melting and just starting to brown.  Voila! –  Pizza Bread!  🙂   I’ve successfully substituted a scraping of Sacla red pesto and then cheese when I don’t have tomato puree (making a kind of Basil-ly pizza bread.  Mmmmmm…).  And for true connoisseurs of the Toast and Cheese Tasters Guild nothing can compare to a scraping of Marmite and then the grated cheese (although if you haven’t tried Marmite before you may want to take it easy with that one – Marmite truly is a product that you either love or hate.  It has been known to make grown men cry).  

Purists, however, will undoubtedly prefer to go through the extra kerfuffle of making proper Welsh Rarebit (also called Welsh Rabbit, although of course no rabbits are actually harmed in the making of it).  Lovely, but I’m normally too much of a gannet to muck around and do things ‘properly’.  Here, however is the authentic recipe for this English (well…Welsh) classic:

Welsh rarebit (Serves 4)

(By the way, the phrase Welsh rabbit was coined in the 18th century to describe this cheese on toast. Some believe it was invented when the Welsh wives spied their menfolk returning empty-handed from the hunt and had to melt cheese as a substitute for game).

This Welsh rarebit with egg is from the Edwardian chef C Herman Senn:

  • 9 oz/255g freshly grated Llangloffan, Caerphilly, Cheshire or Cheddar cheese
  • 1 oz/30g unsalted butter
  • 2 tbsp fresh breadcrumbs
  • 1 tsp Colman’s English mustard powder, mixed with 1 tsp water
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • Salt and pepper
  • Tabasco and Worcestershire sauce (optional) – a few drops of each may be added to the mixture
  • 4 slices of good bread, white or brown, lightly toasted and buttered

Heat the oven to 220C/425F/gas mark 7. Mix the finely grated cheese with the butter, breadcrumbs, mustard and egg. Beat well, season with salt and pepper to taste and spread thickly on buttered toast. Cook in the oven until golden brown (5-10 minutes).

That’s it.  Enjoy…  And stay warm! 🙂

Leave a comment

Filed under Cookery

Butter Chicken

butter chicken







For the marinade

  • 50g natural yoghurt
  • 1 tbsp plain flour
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 4 cm piece ginger, finely grated
  • 2 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 green chillies, seeds removed and chopped
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • 1/2 tsp tandoori masala powder (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 500g skinless fillets of chicken thighs, cut into 3cm pieces

For the masala

  • 4 tsp raw cashew nuts
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 4 tsp butter
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 5 cm piece ginger, finely grated
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp tandoori masala powder, (optional)
  • 1 x 400g can chopped tomatoes
  • 3-4 tbsp milk
  • 100ml single cream
  • 1 chilli, seeds removed and finely chopped

For a lower fat alternative, try using reduced fat evaporated milk instead of cream in the masala



1. For the marinade: Mix the yogurt, flour, oil, aromatics and spices together, then place the chicken in a shallow dish and coat it with the mixture. Marinate for at least 2 hours or overnight if you can.

2. Heat the oil in a large frying pan and gently fry the marinated chicken over a medium heat for 10–15 minutes until the chicken is cooked through.

3. For the masala: Soak the cashew nuts in hot water for 10-15 minutes, drain and grind to fine paste in blender, adding a little milk if needed.

4. Heat the butter in a large sauce pan, add the bay leaf, ginger and garlic and cook gently for 1 minute until lightly golden. Mix in the masala powders and fry for a further minute. Stir in the chopped tomatoes and sizzle until the mixture reduces and the tomatoes have lost most of their moisture. Mix in the cashew paste and add enough milk to get a thick, saucy consistency.

5. Add the chicken and cook on a low heat for 10 minutes to warm through. Reserve a teaspoon of the cream and stir the rest in with the chilli, then season to taste. Spoon into a warmed dish, garnish with the reserved cream and serve with chapatis.

Leave a comment

Filed under Cookery

Citrus Chicken with Chilli New Potatoes










For the citrus chicken

  • 4 chicken breast fillets
  • 1 lemon, juice and zest only
  • 1 lime, juice and zest only
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small bunch coriander, chopped
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the chilli new potatoes

  • 1kg new potatoes
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp chilli paste, or 1 red chilli, finely chopped
  • 1 bag mixed green salad leaves, to serve




1. For the citrus chicken: lay the chicken fillets between 2 sheets of greaseproof paper and use a rolling pin or meat mallet to flatten them out to about 5mm thick.

2. In a large, shallow dish, mix together the lemon and lime juice and zest, olive oil, coriander and salt and freshly ground black pepper.

3. Add the chicken fillets and coat thoroughly in the marinade then cover and chill in the fridge for at least an hour, preferably overnight.

4. For the chilli new potatoes: parboil the potatoes in a large pan of boiling, salted water for 7-10 minutes. Drain well then cover with a clean, dry tea-towel to absorb any excess moisture. Set aside to cool slightly then cut into diagonal slices.

5. Melt the butter and oil together in a large frying pan over a medium heat. Add the chilli and the potato slices and fry for 10 minutes, turning halfway, until crisp and golden-brown.

6. To cook the chicken, preheat a griddle pan over a high heat (you could also cook the chicken over the hot coals of a barbecue).

7. Place the chicken fillets on the griddle pan and cook for 5 minutes on each side, or until charred on the outside and cooked through.

8. Serve the citrus chicken with the chilli new potatoes and green salad alongside.


Leave a comment

Filed under Cookery

Oh no

Following on from yesterday’s discovery of a recipe for French Fry and Spam Casserole, (yum yum), a friend of mine pointed me in the direction of this site which refers to a recipe for Olives in Dr Pepper aspic.  I kid you not.  Are there no culinary depths to which we will not sink? 

Barf making

Leave a comment

Filed under Cookery, media, modern life, People watching, Things to make you smile


betty-rubbleI was in our local Marks & Spencer Food Hall again last week, despite a promise to myself to wean myself away from all of those highly priced and sensational looking goodies.  My mode of shopping is far more ‘continental housewife’ than your regular UK shopper, i.e. I go equipped only with the most basic of ideas of what we need and just see what looks fresh and tasty when I arrive.  In Marks, everything looks fresh and tasty, and therein lies the downfall of many an unwary shopper – myself included.  (Marks, in case you don’t know, is well known for selling very highly priced food….the £3 prawn is not unheard of for instance).  

So there I am, standing in front of the butchery section eyeing up a couple of tasty looking sirloin steaks, my mind ticking away:

Hmmm … they might be a good idea.  We’ve been feeling a bit jaded in this dull winter weather and a couple of steaks would go down a treat.  [Reading the blub now] ‘Ethically raised, organic meat, hung for 28 days for maximum flavour and tenderness’.   Yeah, that sounds good.  Those and some nice green veg….Bet they’re not cheap though…where’s the price?…

Then I saw it: £29.98 

WHAT???!!!  As near as dammit thirty Pounds for two steaks!  Are you completely INSANE?!!!!  

I got sausages instead … but then I spotted the bunch of Protea flowers on my way out.  Come on!  How often do we see Protea flowers over here in winter?  Gotta have me some of that cheery South African sunshine for the coffee table …

Scores on the doors?  Marks and Spencer : 1         AngelCel : 0


Filed under Home, modern life, Smile / Humour

This is why you're fat

Rather largeWant to have a giggle but also be totally grossed out at the sheer piggery of some people?  Then go and see this selection of photos posted in The Daily Telegraph from website ‘This is why you’re fat ….where dreams become heart attacks’.  Un~be~lievable.

Telegraph selection

Original website:  http://thisiswhyyourefat.com/

Leave a comment

Filed under media