Shepherd’s Pie

Beef Recipes

Shepherd's Pie
‘The Highland Shepherd’ by Rosa Bonheur

Shepherd’s pie has remained our family favourite for many years due to its classic ingredients, and so I can assure you that should you follow this particular recipe you’ll soon discover exactly why this dish looks unlikely to fall from favour in our household anytime soon, and although the preparation requires at least thirty minutes of your time, the end result looks and tastes sublime.

Ingredients (Serves 4)

2 Tbsps Olive Oil
400g Minced Beef
Medium Onion (finely chopped)
2 Beef Stock Cubes
2 Garlic Cloves (peeled and grated)
2 Handfuls of Garden Peas
Tbsp Dried Thyme
0.5 Tsp Mustard Powder
Tbsp Dried Oregano
Tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
Bay Leaf
Tbsp Tomato Purée
Tsp Plain Flour
6-7 Maris Piper Potatoes (peeled)
100g Mature Cheddar Cheese (grated)
Tsp Salt and Freshly Ground Pepper
400g Tin of Chopped Tomatoes
50g Butter
200ml Water

How to Cook

1. Heat the oil in a 26cm non-stick chef pan, and gently fry the onions and garlic until soft and slightly browned.

2. Add the minced beef and brown slowly while stirring.

3. Add the stock cubes, mustard powder, Worcestershire sauce, tomato purée, dried thyme, oregano and salt and pepper, and stir well to mix.

4. Add the peas, chopped tomatoes and water, and simmer partially covered for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking.

5. Pre-heat your oven to 160°C

6. Cube and par-boil the potatoes for around 10-15 minutes, and then mash with half of the cheddar and all of the butter.

7. Add flour to thicken the meat sauce, and then pour it into a suitably sized casserole dish.

8. Level the meat sauce with a spoon, and then top it with mashed potato, evenly spreading it across the meat, (you can use a fork to create a nice swirling pattern in the potato) before evenly sprinkling the remaining half of the cheese on top.

9. Bake in centre of the oven for 30-35 minutes, placing a baking tray on the shelf below to catch any excess meat sauce that might bubble out during cooking.

10. Remove and let it stand for 5-6 minutes, before serving as required.

Comments
This robust meal goes brilliantly with chopped or sliced carrots and steamed broccoli, while it’s equally delicious with a generous dollop of tomato sauce on the side!

Mushroom Risotto

Recipes

Mushroom Risotto
‘Mushrooms’ by Albert Kechyan

More a labour of love than a quick meal, risotto is simple in design, and yet without the requisite constant attention you can bargain that it will almost certainly fail to evolve into the silky, almost perfect dining experience it offers, while this recipe exemplifies how just one simple ingredient can lift a risotto to almost heavenly standards, which means you absolutely owe it to yourself to prepare and cook this beautiful meal and share with those you really care about and love in the knowledge that your gesture will not go unnoticed.

Ingredients (Serves 4)

6 Tbsps Olive Oil
150g Butter
250g Mushrooms (sliced)
Medium Red Onion (finely chopped)
3 Garlic Cloves (peeled and grated)
300g Risotto Rice
1 Litre Chicken Stock
Small Bottle of White Wine
2 Tbsps Lemon Juice
25g Pack of Fresh Basil (finely chopped)
150g Parmesan (grated)
Salt and Freshly Ground Pepper to taste

How to Cook

1. Heat half of the olive oil in a 26cm non-stick chef pan, add the mushrooms, stir-fry them until well cooked, and then remove and set them aside, adding any remaining mushroom liquid to the chicken stock.

2. Melt half of the butter in the same pan, add the onions and garlic, and stir-fry both until the onions are soft, but not browned.

3. Meanwhile, add the chicken stock to an 18cm non-stick saucepan, and keep it warm on a low heat while you prep the risotto.

4. Add the white wine to the onions, and reduce by half over a medium heat while stirring.

5. Add the risotto rice to the onions, stir well to coat everything, and add a ladleful of the stock, stirring constantly until the stock has been absorbed by the rice.

6. Continue this process until all of the stock has been added, and the rice is now looking thick and glutenous

7. Gently fold the mushrooms, remaining butter, chopped basil, lemon juice and most of the parmesan into the rice, season with salt and pepper, stirring well to combine the ingredients.

8. Finally cover the pan, turn off the heat, and allow it to sit for 5-6 minutes, before serving as required with a sprinkling of parmesan on each portion.

Comments
When I cook this (and many other types of risotto) for my family, I typically serve it with either a crisp salad, crusty buttered rolls, or both if the appetite is wanting, however it’s just as good served as is, with a nice bottle of white wine to suit your palate.

The Dal and Rice sections are now complete.

A Cookbook for Food Lovers

Dal and Rice
‘Bowl of Rice with Soy Sauce’ by Faith Te

I’m happy to say that the dal and rice sections have now been written up, and so it only leaves me to add the brief but essential ‘Sides’ section and then begins the proofing and editing phase of this wonderful and diverse cookbook now titled ‘A Cookbook for Food Lovers’.

At this point I aim to have the book ready for purchase in the next two to three weeks, while as things progress I will naturally update this part of the site, while I’m excited to share these great meals with as many people as possible, and although it’s simple enough concept, there have been many unexpected elements to its writing than I first anticipated, so it just goes to show how it’s the simple things that often end up more complex than might be imagined.

Anyway here are the recipes, and while there are only a few dal’s, they were included primarily because of their ability to stand out from what can sometimes prove bland and uninspired dishes, which loosely translates that they’re merely the best of a large number cooked and eaten (at least as far as my family’s taste buds were concerned), while the rice dishes are all equally fantastic.

Dals

(1) Brown Lentils with Shallots

(2) Five Spice Red Lentils

(3) Green Lentils with Kale

(4) Green Lentils with Mint and Coriander

(5) Lentil and Garlic Dal

(6) Mung Dal with Onions

(7) Red Lentils and Ginger

(8) Rich and Spicy Dal

(9) Tarka Dal

(10) Tomato and Red Lentil Dal

Rice

(1) Aromatic Indian Rice with Peas

(2) Basmati Pilaf with Carrot and Mint

(3) Basmati Pilaf with Dill and Cardamom

(4) Basmati Rice with Cauliflower and Peas

(5) Basmati Rice with Cinnamon

(6) Basmati Rice with Lentils

(7) Basmati Rice with Whole Garam Masalas

(8) Brown Rice with Lime

(9) Caribbean Rice and Peas

(10) Cashew Nut and Curry Leaf Rice

(11) Egg Fried Rice

(12) Egyptian Rice with Lentils

(13) Fenugreek Rice and Peas

(14) Ginger and Garlic Rice

(15) Hyderabadi Spiced Rice

(16) Indonesian Coconut Rice

(17) Lemon-Laced Rice

(18) Lemon Rice

(19) Mushroom Pilau

(20) Pea and Mushroom Pilau

(21) Perfect Basmati Rice

(22) Rice and Mung Dal

(23) Rice with Dill and Peas

(24) Rice with Peas

(25) Rice with Mushrooms and Mustard Seeds

(26) Saigon Chilli Rice

(27) Sri Lankan Rice with Fresh Coriander and Lemongrass

(28) Tanzanian Vegetable Rice

(29) Whole Spice Pilau

(30) Yellow Pilau Rice

(31) Yellow Basmati Rice with Sesame Seeds

The Vegetables section is now finished.

A Cookbook for Food Lovers

Vegetables
‘Still Life with Vegetables’ by Yana Golikova

Far and away the biggest section in the forthcoming cookbook ‘Our Favourite Recipes: A Cookbook for Food Lovers’, I am very happy to say that this chapter is now complete, and so it only remains for me to write up the rice, dals, and sides sections, which brings me ever closer to finally having the book ready for publication.

So without further ado, here below are the recipes patiently waiting for you to cook and digest, and remember that they don’t get in without passing muster with my family of discerning diners, so always trust that nothing is left to waste, only to enjoy.

(1) Aromatic Vegetable Curry with Mushrooms and Beans

(2) Artichoke Risotto

(3) Asparagus Risotto

(4) Basmati Rice with Potatoes

(5) Bean Feast

(6) Bean Feast with Salsa

(7) Black-eyed Peas with Coriander and Chilli

(8) Broad Bean and Cauliflower Curry

(9) Butter Bean and Mushroom Casserole

(10) Butter Beans with Mustard and Tomato

(11) Cauliflower and Cashew Curry

(12) Cauliflower and Coconut Milk Curry

(13) Cauliflower in Curry Sauce

(14) Chhole

(15) Chickpea, Courgette and Pepper Stew

(16) Chickpea Curry

(17) Chickpeas in Tea

(18) Chickpea Stew

(19) Chickpea, Sweet Potato and Chili Dhal

(20) Chickpeas in a Coriander Sauce

(21) Chickpeas in a Northern-Style Sauce

(22) Chickpeas with Mushrooms

(23) Chickpeas with Tomatoes and Harissa

(24) Chilli Lentils with Spiced Vegetables

(25) Chilli Pasta Bake with Kidney Beans

(26) Conchigli with Cavalo Nero

(27) Corn and Cashew Curry

(28) Creamed Kidney Beans with Lentils

(29) Curried Kidney Beans

(30) Curried Spinach and Potato with Chillies

(31) Curried Spinach and Chickpeas

(32) Egg and Lentil Curry

(33) Genoese-Style Pasta

(34) Goan Black-eyed Peas with Coconut

(35) Golden Vegetable Paella

(36) Green Beans with Coconut

(37) Hot and Sour Chickpeas

(38) Italian Bean Casserole

(39) Jungle Curry

(40) Kodava Mushroom Curry

(41) Leek, Mushroom and Lemon Risotto

(42) Malaysian Split Pea and Vegetable Curry

(43) Masala Chana

(44) Mixed Bean Curry

(45) Mixed Vegetable Curry

(46) Mixed Vegetable and Macaroni Bake

(47) Moroccan Spaghetti

(48) Mungs Beans with Potatoes

(49) Mushroom Macaroni Cheese

(50) Mushroom Risotto

(51) Pasta with Autumn Tomato Sauce

(52) Pasta with Peas and Parmesan Pasta with Roasted Vegetables

(53) Pasta with Sautéed Vegetables and Tomato Sauce

(54) Pasta with Slow Cooked Cabbage, Parmesan and Pine Nuts

(55) Pasta with Smothered Onion Sauce

(56) Penne All’ Arabiata

(57) Penne with Artichokes

(58) Penne with Peas, Pepper, Proscuitto and Cream

(59) Penne with Tomato and Balsamic Vinegar

(60) Potato and Cauliflower Curry

(61) Potato and Spinach Curry

(62) Red Bean Chilli

(63) Red Beans with Ginger and Chilli

(64) Red Pepper Risotto

(65) Simple Courgette Curry

(66) South Indian Potato Curry

(67) Spaghetti with Garlic Oil and Chilli

(68) Spaghetti with Lemon, Garlic Thyme and Mushrooms

(69) Spaghetti with Raw Tomatoes and Peppers

(70) Spaghetti with Tomato and Basil

(71) Spicy Chickpeas with Cumin Potatoes

(72) Spiced Chickpeas with Sweet Yellow Rice

(73) Spicy Chickpeas with Fresh Ginger

(74) Spiced Kidney Bean Stew

(75) Spicy Chickpeas and Potatoes

(76) Spicy Parsnip and Chickpea Stew

(77) Sri-Lankan Chickpea Curry

(78) Summer Vegetable Risotto

(79) Tagliatelle with Leeks Tomato Biryani

(80) Vegetable Biryani Vegetable Chilli

(81) Vegetable Curry

(82) White Bean Chilli

Cumberland Sausage and Split Pea Casserole

Recipes

Cumberland Sausage & Split Pea Casserole

This is a deliciously simple, and yet comforting dish that can be prepared and cooked with minimum fuss, and is also perfect for this time of year. If you want to jazz the taste up a little, then by all means use pork sausages with chilli seasoning, or even paprika if you can buy them in your local supermarket, either way it will still go down well.

Ingredients (Serves 4)
A Large Slug of Olive Oil
30g Butter
8 Cumberland Sausages
Medium Onion (Finely Sliced)
2 Garlic Cloves (Peeled and Grated)
200g Split Peas
Small Bottle Red Wine
2 Sprigs of Whole Fresh Thyme (or 2 tsps Dried Thyme)
500ml Chicken Stock
6 Tbsps Crème Fraîche 
Tbsp Dijon Mustard
Salt and Freshly Ground Pepper to taste

How to Cook

1. Heat the oil in a non-stick chef pan (or similar) and gently stir-fry the sausages until golden brown, and then remove them and set aside on kitchen paper to soak up any excess fat.

2. Add the butter to the pan, and stir-fry the onions and garlic until the onions are lightly golden and soft.

3. Add the split peas and  red wine, and then simmer to reduce the wine by half, before adding the stock and seasoning, along with salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.

4. Cover the pan and then simmer everything gently for 1 hour, or until the split peas are tender to touch.

5. Meanwhile combine the crème fraîche and mustard in a small bowl.

6. Once cooled, slice the sausages into 1″ thick slices, and add them to the pan, before simmering everything again for a further 5 minutes in order to heat the sliced sausages through.

7. Serve equally into bowls and then add a hearty dollop of the crème fraîche and mustard mix on top before serving.

Comments
This dish would go well with either buttered mashed potatoes, or even a nice fluffy basmati rice if preferred, or simply with a buttered crusty bread of your choice.

Keema with Browned Onions

Recipes

Keema with Browned Onions
‘Two Onions’ by Julian Merrow-Smith

This is a great example of east meets west, and while based on the traditional Indian ‘keema’ dish, this was adapted by us over years of getting it to suit our need for depth of flavour, as opposed to what was previously a somewhat bland and ‘safe’ recipe for undeveloped English palettes.

While this is already a highly adaptable meal in itself, it can also be used with a variety of ingredients and accompaniments, which means that it’s perfect for introducing guests to the diverse world of Indian cuisine, particularly those reluctant to try ‘spicy’ food, and where suitable, you can always use minced beef instead of lamb.

Ingredients (Serves 4)
400g of Minced Lamb (or beef)
6 Tbsps of Olive or Sunflower Oil
3 Onions (Two Chopped and One Finely Sliced)
4 Garlic Cloves (Peeled and Grated)
1” of Peeled Fresh Ginger (Grated)
2 Tsps of Ground Cumin
2 Tsps of Ground Coriander
2 Tsps Ground Turmeric
2 Tbsps Natural Yoghurt
Whole Cinnamon Stick
Bay Leaf
3 Whole Cloves
0.25 Tsp Ground Mace
0.25 Tsp Ground Nutmeg
Whole Tomato (Finely Chopped)
Tsp Salt
Tsp Ground Black Pepper
100ml Water

How to Cook

1. Heat the oil in a non-stick chef pan (or similar) and then gently fry the sliced onion until browned but not burnt, and then remove with a slotted spoon to a plate covered with kitchen towel to absorb the excess oil.

2. Add the cloves, cinnamon and bay leaf to the remaining oil and gently fry, before adding the chopped onions, garlic and ginger, stir-frying further until the onions are slightly browned.

3. Add the coriander, cumin, turmeric and stir well, before adding the yoghurt, stirring again as the yoghurt is absorbed into the onions.

4. Add the minced lamb, and stir-fry over a medium heat while stirring occasionally, and breaking down the mince with a spoon.

5. Add all the mace, nutmeg, salt, and pepper to taste, and continue stir-frying for 1-2 minutes, before adding the water.

6. Mix well and simmer covered for 1.5 hours, while the sauce thickens and to allow for more intensity of flavour.

7. Gently stir in the fried sliced onions and serve.

Comments
This wonderful meal can be served with plain basmati rice, noodles, spaghetti and most pasta shapes, and as mentioned above, can be adjusted to suit spice tolerances, while any leftovers can be readily frozen and used again for children’s meals, or served with warm chapatis alongside a simple Indian salad.

Southern-fried Chicken

Recipes

Southern Fried Chicken
‘Kentucky Fried Chicken Bucket’ by Suhita Shirodkar

Enjoyed by millions of people all around the world, this is a simple recipe that we use when on the odd occasion, we decide to make a huge mess in the kitchen and eat with our fingers. As a word of caution please be extra careful when using hot oil, and ensure that you have plenty of space around you when frying to avoid any nasty spills.

Chicken Marinade (Serves 4)
4-6 Skinless Chicken Breasts (Halved Across the Breast and Lightly Scored)
600ml Buttermilk
Medium Onion (Finely Chopped)
5 Garlic Cloves (Peeled and Grated)
25g Pack of Fresh Coriander (Finely Chopped)
0.5 Tsp Dried Chilli Flakes
Tsp Salt

Chicken Coating 
10 Tbsps Plain Flour
Tsp Celery Salt
2 Tsps Ground Cayenne
Tsp Ground Black Pepper
3 Tsps Paprika
Tsp Dried Thyme
3 Tbsps Chicken Seasoning
2 Tbsps All Purpose Seasoning

How to Cook

1. Combine the halved chicken breasts with the marinade ingredients, mix well and refrigerate for at least 24hrs.

2. Combine the chicken coating mix in a bowl and set aside.

3. Remove the chicken breasts from the marinade and roll in the coating mix until well covered, before refrigerating them again for another 45 minutes to help the coating stick and set.

4. Heat 1-2 litres of vegetable or sunflower oil in a very large pan for about 10 minutes, or until a dropped in breadcrumb turns golden brown in seconds.

5. Pre-heat an oven to 175°C

6. Remove the coated chicken pieces from the fridge and then gently add introduce them to the oil one by one, allowing them to fry until a lovely golden brown before carefully removing each one with a slotted spoon and placing them on a baking tray.

7. Place the tray into the oven and cook the chicken on the middle shelf for at least 20 minutes before serving.

Comments
There’s little need to mention how best to serve what is already a staple fast-food meal for many, however you really can’t go wrong with a nice potato salad, corn cobs and some good quality coleslaw if you like it, and be sure to remember napkins for those greasy fingers too!