Category Archives for Recipes

Summer Party Food – Cheesy Prosciutto Puffs

Doesn’t that title just lure you in? I really love a summer party.  It summons images of warm evenings, lively chatter, soft music, fruity Pimms and of course, wonderful food. Light and colourful, packed with flavour and to allow for mingling, in nibble form. 

Just the word ‘nibble’ fills me with a kind of girlish glee. I love the guilt free abandon of it all.  Nothing that can be described as a ‘nibble’ can possibly be bad for you for goodness sake! Plus, nibbles tend to come in groups and I’m all for variety in my food.  I love nuts for sure, but I also enjoy a good olive, perhaps some blini or even a crostini. Perhaps a Cheesy Prosciutto Puff?

Cheesy Prosciutto Puffs

So read on my little vol-au-vents and I shall share with you the secret (or now, not so secret) recipe for Cheesy Prosciutto Puffs (squeee!) They’re bite-sized pieces of puffy heaven that really pack a Mediterranean punch.  Flaky pastry; as light as air, a slight tang of pesto with beautiful Prosciutto adding depth and Grana Padano cheese, an extra richness that makes them really elegant and completely indulgent.

I’m confident that you’ll want to make some of these little babies for your next summer gathering…and that your guests will thank you for it!

Cheesy Prosciutto Puffs

Cheesy Prosciutto Puffs

Ingredients

1 x 320 g packet of ready-rolled puff pastry
4 tbs pesto
1 pack of prosciutto
75 g grated Grana Padano Cheese
1 egg, beaten

  • Pre-heat the oven to 200 C Fan
  • Line a couple of baking trays with grease proof paper
  • Now, carefully lay out the pastry and roll it gently until it is more of a square shape (approx 35cm per side)
  • Spoon the pesto on to the pastry and spread it out so it covers it completely – right to the edges!
  • Using a sharp knife, cut the pastry into 16 squares (so, start by cutting into quarters and then cut each quarter into quarters.)
  • Cut the prosciutto so you have 16 pieces and a bit on each square
  • Now sprinkle over the grated cheese and season well. Go steady with the salt as the Prosciutto and Grana Padano are both quite salty. Plenty of black pepper though!
  • Gently roll each square into a sausage shape and then brush the fold with the beaten egg to help seal it
  • Cover them all in clingfilm and refrigerate for at least 10 mins
  • Remove from the fridge and using a sharp knife, slice each sausage into 8 small discs and place them on the baking trays, allowing enough space for them to puff up a little when cooked
  • Bake in the oven for around 10 minutes, until golden brown.

 Recipe Inspiration

Cheesy Prosciutto Puffs

I was recently sent some beautiful samples of Grana Padano cheese and Prosciutto di San Daniele. To be honest, they were both so good that very little would beat just eating them au naturel (no, I’m not being paid to say that – promise!) but that would have made for rather a dull post so I tried to come up with a recipe that would show off the beautiful flavours and allow them to compliment each other.  I hope that’s what I’ve done… 🙂

I also had help from Mary Berry and her fantastic book Mary Berry Absolute Favourites, where her Cheesy Cheese Spirals gave me the idea for the recipe above.

What are your favourite summer party nibbles? Let me know in the comments below!

Slow Cooker Beef in Red Wine

Beef, cooked in red wine, with a touch of rosemary until it’s meltingly soft. Simple ingredients but flavours that are rich and deep… 

Slow Cooker Beef in Red Wine

I’ve been meaning to post this recipe since before Christmas but I  kept making it and then eating it all before I remembered to take a photo! 

It’s one of those magical dishes which requires minimum preparation (if you can even call chucking all the ingredients into your slow cooker and giving them a quick stir, ‘preparation’) but which, when left for a few hours of gentle heating, transforms into something so special, so truly treatsome (yes, that’s a word!) that it both comforts and revives at the end of a wearisome day.

Slow Cooker Beef in Red Wine

Slow Cooker Beef in Red Wine
Yields 4
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Ingredients
  1. 1 onion, finely chopped
  2. 450 g cubed braising steak
  3. 1 tbs flour
  4. 1 tsp dried rosemary
  5. 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
  6. 200 ml red wine
  7. 200 water
  8. 100 g frozen peas
Instructions
  1. Set your slow cooker to medium
  2. Add all the dry ingredients and stir well so that everything is well coated with the flour
  3. Season
  4. Add the wine and water
  5. Leave for 7-8 hours, stirring occasionally if you're around to do so
  6. Add the peas at least 30 minutes before you eat
Eat Drink Cook http://www.eatdrinkcook.co.uk/
 If you’re still not convinced that you need to make this stew, then just do one last thing for me…  

Imagine yourself outside your front door.  It’s dark. It’s freezing. I mean freezing. You’ve been rushed off your feet all day and you think you can feel the first signs of a cold.  What’s worse, you can’t find your keys.  You’re scrabbling about in your bag but it’s too dark to see anything properly and your hands are so numb you can’t make your fingers work.  

Slow cooker beef and red wine

After what feels like about an hour of bag scrabbling, you finally find the elusive keys and put them triumphantly into the lock. One quick turn and you’re in.  

Suddenly, the cold of the day is behind you.  The warmth of your home greets you like the welcoming smile of an old friend and the smell?  Well, the smell of tender beef, red wine and rosemary  fills your nostrils and drives out the tiredness, the cold and the problems of the day.

All that’s left to do is to grab yourself a bowl and greedily ladle it in.  Then settle into your favourite chair and with a big sigh, enjoy….

After more winter warmers?

Try these for size…

Chicken & Vegetable Broth

Chicken & Vegetable Broth

Winter Vegetable Soup

Cheese & Rosemary Toasts

Slow Cooker Lamb Shanks

Lamb Shanks

Chinese Salmon and Crispy Kale

Sweet and salty, crispy seaweed stylee kale and succulent, pink, salmon with just a hint of the orient. A Chinese whisper if you will..

Chinese Salmon & Crispy Kale

I’ve always loved the Crispy Seaweed that you get at the Chinese.  I think it’s the combination of sweet and salty along with that satisfying crunch – plus hey, it’s one of your five a day right? So when  I recently discovered that, for the most part, it isn’t actually seaweed at all, but rather, cabbage or kale, I’ve got to say I felt a bit let down.

Once I got over my initial indignation, I realised that this could actually be a good thing! It meant I could recreate one of my favourite takeaway treats in my very own kitchen (without having to take a trip to the beach first…)

Chinese Salmon Crispy Kale

Now the good thing about this dish (other than the whole ‘no need for waders’ thing above and aside from the fact that it’s bloomin’ tasty) is that it’s unbelievably easy to make. You are no more than 10 minutes away from tucking into a mound of sweet and salty, crispy seaweed stylee kale and succulent, pink, salmon with just a hint of the orient. A Chinese whisper if you will…

Crispy Kale, Chinese Salmon

Chinese Salmon & Crispy Kale
Serves 2
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Ingredients
  1. For the Crispy Kale
  2. Around 3 handfuls of curly kale
  3. 1/2 tbs olive oil
  4. 1 tsp Maldon salt
  5. 1 heaped tsp brown sugar
  6. 1/2 tsp ground ginger (optional)
  7. For the Salmon
  8. 2 salmon fillets
  9. 1 tbs flour
  10. 1 tsp Chinese Five Spice
  11. 2 salmon fillets
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 200 C
  2. Pick the leaves off the kale and chop finely
  3. Mix in the oil, salt, sugar and ground ginger so that all the kale is coated
  4. Place the kale on a baking tray so that it's all evenly laid out
  5. Roast in the oven for approx 6 minutes (check so it doesn't burn but it should be, well...crispy, when it comes out!)
  6. Meanwhile, mix the flour and five spice and put it on to a plate
  7. Coat each salmon fillet in the flour mix, shaking off any excess
  8. If you have a George Foreman Grill then place them in the grill and cook for 6 minutes (if not, then heat a drizzle of olive oil in a frying pan and fry the fillets for around 3 minutes per side.
Eat Drink Cook http://www.eatdrinkcook.co.uk/
 The recipe for Crispy Kale is based on one I found in my trusty Abel & Cole book (nope – this isn’t a sponsored post – but credit where credit’s due right!?)

For the fish, I use my George Foreman grill, thanks to my lovely Mother-in-Law who recently served us some perfectly cooked salmon using her’s and so inspired me to dig mine out of a cupboard and dust it off after months (ok, years…) of neglect.  If you don’t have one, then a frying or griddle pan will do just fine.

Recipe: Apple Flapjacks

Oats, apple, golden syrup and just the smallest hint of cinnamon. What’s not to love about these meltingly soft, sweet apple flapjacks?

The great thing about flapjacks is that despite the fact that they’re clearly a yummy little treat; sweet and gooey like a slice of cake, they’re made from oats and so they somehow seem really rather healthy. To be clear, I’m not saying that they are (in fact, to do so would be to completely ignore the artery clogging amounts of butter and the tooth rotting levels of sugar and syrup..) – but it’s certainly easier to maintain the illusion with flapjack than with a big slab of chocolate cake.

apple flapjack

Apple flapjacks are frankly even more virtuous. They’ve got one of your five a day in them for goodness sakes! They’re practically a health food. So what I’m saying is, in this month of over-indulgence, these flapjacks are a little something which you can enjoy without too much guilt.  It’s nearly Christmas after all!

apple flapjacks

Gotta taste for apples?  I’m here for you…

Salted caramel apple crumble

Apple & Blackberry Cheesecake

Spiced Apple Butter

Apple & Pear Turnovers

Apple Flapjacks
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Ingredients
  1. 350 g butter
  2. 4 tbs golden syrup
  3. 100 g light brown sugar
  4. 500 g oats
  5. 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  6. 2 apples, peeled, cored and finely sliced
Instructions
  1. Line a tin with grease proof paper and pre-heat your oven to 170 C (fan)
  2. Add the butter, sugar and golden syrup to a small pan and stir regularly until the butter has completely melted
  3. Put the oats and ground cinnamon in a large bowl and add the melted butter mix. Stir well.
  4. Add half of the oat mix to the baking tin and flatten down firmly
  5. Now add the sliced apple and cover with the rest of the oats. Flatten again to prevent crumbling later
  6. Bake in the oven for 20-30 minutes until the edges are starting to brown
  7. Remove from the oven and leave to cool slightly
  8. Now slice while still in the tin and leave to cool completely before turning out on to a board or plate
Notes
  1. After much experimenting, I have found that the jumbo oats are much crumblier, so if you want a sturdier flapjack, I would use the smaller oats.
Eat Drink Cook http://www.eatdrinkcook.co.uk/
 Now, these are fab for breakfast, for pudding or just as a little something sweet with a nice cup of tea.  

Crispy Baked Chicken with Sweet Potato Fries

That satisfying crunch, through the crispy, golden breadcrumb coating, into succulent bites of chicken…

This recipe is a slightly more grown-up, much tastier and healthier version of the kids classic, chicken nuggets and chips.  It’s for those days when you yearn for childish food. You want something simple and comforting. Something that can be eaten with your fingers, dipped into your condiment of choice and happily scoffed with guilt-free abandon.

crispy baked chicken nuggets

Pretty perfect as it is, but add the tiniest hint of rosemary and the occasional hit of chilli and suddenly this crispy baked chicken gets even more exciting. Oh, an one more thing.  This is baked chicken so you get all of the crunch but none of the grease!

Fan of Crispy Chicken?  Try this too…

Pesto Breadcrumb Chicken

Crispy baked chicken

Now as you know, I’m certainly not one to be bossy, but if you’re going to go to the trouble of making this rather fabulous crispy chicken, then it seems a shame not to enjoy it with its natural bedfellow, the gorgeously gooey sweet potato fry (or rather, a whole bowl for them if possible).

Crispy baked chicken

Crispy Baked Chicken & Sweet Potato Fries
Serves 4
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For the Crispy Baked Chicken
  1. 40 g plain flour
  2. 1 tsp dried rosemary
  3. 1/2 tsp paprika
  4. 1 large egg
  5. 100 g panko breadcrumbs
  6. 1 tsp chilli flakes
  7. 450 g skinless and boneless chicken thighs
  8. Spray oil (optional)
For the Sweet Potato Fries
  1. 3 sweet potatoes
  2. 1 tsp paprika
  3. 1 tbs olive oil
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 200 C
  2. Line 3 baking trays with baking paper
  3. Put the flour, paprika and rosemary on a plate and season well with salt and pepper
  4. Whisk the egg in a bowl
  5. Put the panko breadcrumbs and chilli flakes in another bowl and season well
  6. Cut any fat off the chicken and then slice into strips
  7. Take each strip and coat in the flour, shake off the excess and then dip in the egg
  8. Roll each strip in the breadcrumbs and place 2 of the baking trays
  9. If you have some spray oil then give the chicken a spray. This will help it turn golden.
  10. Peel the sweet potatoes and slice them into fries
  11. Add the paprika and oil and mix so they are all coated
  12. Place them on the third baking tray and put them in the oven for 10 minutes
  13. Now turn them over and add the chicken to the oven.
  14. Bake for another 15-20 minutes
  15. Remove when the fries are soft and the chicken crispy on the outside with no pink on the inside.
Notes
  1. I use scissors to cut the chicken into strips - I find it much easier than cutting with a knife
Eat Drink Cook http://www.eatdrinkcook.co.uk/

Autumn Cottage Pie

This Cottage Pie has all the colours and tastes of autumn. A filling of minced beef, squash, herbs and just a heady touch of cinnamon. All with a bronzed crown of cheesey sweet potato…

You know that saying about how dogs start to look like their owners? Well, have you ever noticed that foods often tend to look like the seasons they belong to?

Cottage Pie

Not sure what I’m on about? Stay with me for a second… Think about the foods that you eat in summer. Vibrant, bright colours that match the world around them. Watermelon, strawberries, tomatoes… 

See what I mean? Well in autumn, the season of golds, coppers and orange, the food very kindly obliges again. Butternut squash, sweet potato and pumpkin all reflecting this cold season of warm, burnished colours.

Cottage Pie

This recipe is a celebration of some of my favourite autumn foods.  It’s actually inspired by Delia’s Special Cottage Pie from her Complete Cookery Course but with a few seasonal twists which add a subtle, but oh-so comforting sweetness.

Autumn Cottage Pie
Serves 6
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Ingredients
  1. 2 tbs olive oil
  2. 2 leeks, thinly sliced
  3. 300 g butternut squash, diced
  4. 500 g minced beef
  5. 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  6. 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  7. 1 tbs chopped fresh parsley
  8. 300 ml beef stock
  9. 900 g sweet potatoes
Instructions
  1. Heat the oil in a pan and then add the chopped leeks. Cook them, stirring occasionally until they have softened
  2. Add the diced butternut squash - the cubes should be around 1cm
  3. Now add the mince, cinnamon and herbs and continue to stir occasionally until browned
  4. Add the stock and bring to a simmer, then set aside
  5. Peel and chop the sweet potatoes and then add to a pan of water
  6. Pre-heat the oven to 200 C
  7. Bring the water to the boil and simmer for around 10-15 minutes until the potatoes are soft
  8. Put the sauce into a casserole
  9. Mash the sweet potatoes and add the second tbs of olive oil then add them to the top of the sauce and spread them out to cover it all
  10. Bake in the oven for 25 mins
Eat Drink Cook http://www.eatdrinkcook.co.uk/

Chicken & Vegetable Broth

Get your glow back with a bowlful of this Chicken & Vegetable Broth. Bitefuls of carrot and swede, the occasional satisfying pop of a pea, chicken that’s fallen from the bone and glistening pearl barley… 

You know that feeling when you’ve been out in the sunshine all day and you feel all glowing and full of life? It can be hard to recreate that at this time of year. The combination of grey skies, dark mornings and rainy days can leave you feeling pretty lack lustre and, if things get really bad, downright depressed.

Chicken & Vegetable Broth

That’s when I turn to food for a spot of comfort.  I’m not talking cakes and chocolate here (although I certainly wouldn’t discount them!) No, instead, why not try to replace what’s missing in sunshine and vitamin D with food that fills you with goodness and warmth on the inside?

Chicken & Vegetable Broth

This Chicken and Vegetable Broth is full to the brim with wholesome comfort and goodness.  A steaming bowlful slurped with a hunk of crusty bread, a good book and if possible, some sort of roaring fire, cannot fail to give you that glow of satisfaction that’s so often missing around this time of year.

For more words of wisdom regarding comfort food try this…

Chicken & Vegetable Broth

PS – I’m currently lucky enough to be on hols in the very lovely village of Ringstead in Norfolk and can confirm that a brisk walk along the beach is another great way to get a healthy, happy glow.  Said walk, followed by this Broth is pretty close to perfect.

Chicken & Vegetable Broth
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Ingredients
  1. 1 tbs olive oil
  2. 6 skinless chicken thighs (approx 600 g)
  3. 2 leeks, sliced into rings
  4. 2 carrots, chopped into 1.5 cm cubes
  5. 1/3 swede, chopped into 1.5 cm cubes
  6. 2 tbs tomato purée
  7. 1 tsp dried mixed herbs
  8. 750 ml chicken stock
  9. 50 g pearl barley
  10. 100 g frozen peas
Instructions
  1. Heat the oil in large pan and add the chicken thighs. Brown on each side and then remove to a plate. You may need to do this in batches.
  2. Now add the chopped leeks to the pan and cook gently until they have softened.
  3. Add the carrots and swede, herbs and tomato purée. Stir gently for a minute or so before adding in the stock.
  4. Now add the chicken thighs back in, along with any juices that have collected on the plate
  5. Bring to the boil and add in the pearl barley
  6. Simmer gently for 45-60 minutes until the vegetables have softened and the chicken has started to fall from the bone
  7. Now remove the chicken from the bones and add it back to the broth
  8. Finally, add the peas and simmer for a further 5-10 mins
Notes
  1. The dried herbs are included here so that the lack of fresh can never get between you and a bowl of broth. They can however, be very happily replaced with fresh - such as thyme, rosemary, parsley etc
  2. Equally, don't let a lack of leeks get in your way. These can be substituted with a large onion.
Eat Drink Cook http://www.eatdrinkcook.co.uk/
 For more recipes to warm your cockles, take a look at these…

Slow cooker lamb shanks

Winter vegetable soup

Quick and easy chilli

Recipe: Smoked Haddock Quiche

Smoked Haddock Quiche. A flaky, buttery crust packed with creamy smoked haddock, cubes of potato, caramelised onion and a fresh, clean hit of parsley.  

This isn’t a recipe to attempt after work when the evening is rushed and full of chores to complete.  Make this instead on those luxuriously relaxed weekends where you can afford to spend some equally luxuriously relaxed time in the kitchen.

smoked haddock quiche

I recommend some music (Michael BublĂ© is my personal favourite for this sort of activity), a mug of tea or coffee (to be substituted with a glass of wine if it’s past midday) and a couple of hours of blissfully free time to spend happily slicing, rolling and whisking…

smoked haddock quiche

The result? This golden, autumnal beauty! A flaky, buttery crust packed with creamy smoked haddock, cubes of potato, caramelised onion and a fresh, clean hit of parsley.  The recipe is for 6-8 people because if you’re going to put all that effort in, then you may as well make something which will serve a crowd or last for a couple of sittings!

If you love smoked haddock, then why not try my Smoked Haddock & Prawn Chowder too?

smoked haddock quiche

Smoked Haddock Quiche
Serves 6
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For the pastry
  1. 9 oz plain flour
  2. 7 oz butter
  3. 1 egg
  4. 2 tbs cold water
For the filling
  1. 3 red onions
  2. 1 tbs light brown sugar
  3. 200 g new potatoes
  4. 300 smoked haddock, thinly sliced
  5. 300 double cream
  6. 2 eggs and 1 yolk
  7. 100 g mature Cheddar cheese
  8. 3 tbs fresh chopped parsley
  9. 2 tbs horseradish sauce
Instructions
  1. Blitz the flour and butter together in a food processor until it is the texture of breadcrumbs
  2. Add the egg and water and blitz again until it has formed into a ball of pastry
  3. Flour a clean surface and then roll the pastry into a circle that is large enough to line a 28cm/11 inch loose bottomed flan tin and leave a small overhang over the top of it
  4. Line the tin with the pastry and prick the bottom all over with a fork
  5. Place the tin in the fridge so the pastry can chill for 20 minutes
  6. Pre-heat the oven to 180 C (fan)
  7. Finely slice the onions into half moons
  8. Heat the oil and 1/2 oz butter in a large saucepan
  9. Add the onions and sugar to the pan and fry for about 20 minutes until soft and caramelised
  10. Leave them to cool
  11. Place the new potatoes in a small pan of cold water and place on a high heat for 15 minutes
  12. Once done, drain the potatoes run in cold water. Once cool enough to handle, chop the potatoes into small cubes of around 1 cm
  13. Meanwhile, take the chilled pastry out of the fridge and line it with baking paper and baking beans
  14. Bake for 15 minutes, then remove the baking paper and beans and return it to the oven for a further 5 minutes
  15. Gently whisk together the double cream, eggs and the yolk, add the chopped parsley and season with salt and pepper
  16. Now put the horseradish sauce on the bottom of the pastry case and spread it around with the back of a spoon
  17. Add the onions and spread out to cover the base
  18. Now add the sliced smoked haddock and cubes of potato
  19. Finally, pour over the cream, cheese and egg mixture and bake in the oven for 30-35 minutes
Notes
  1. My hubby, not such an onion fan as I, suggested that 2 onions would have been enough. For me, 3 was perfect, but you must choose which would be best for you.
Eat Drink Cook http://www.eatdrinkcook.co.uk/
 Serve as a light lunch for friends, still warm and accompanied by a pile of sweetcorn, slicked in butter. If you’re lucky enough to have leftovers, then scoff cold the next day (or later the same day…) with a simple dressed salad.

Chilli & Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

For those days when the world feels a little cold and too much, this Chilli & Butternut Squash Soup will bring comfort, calm and just the right amount of heat…

It could be argued that October is really the month of the pumpkin but if, like me, you can’t really be bothered with all the carving and general icky preparation, then the Butternut Squash is an excellent alternative.

Butternut Squash Soup

What other month could this beautiful vegetable belong to with its pale gold skin revealing a brilliant orange core when cut? How welcome, the warmth of those colours as the crisp chill of Autumn creeps in, frosting our breath and reddening our noses?

In need of more meals to make you feel better? Try some of these!

Winter Vegetable Soup

Mum’s Macaroni Cheese

Herby Yoghurt Chicken

Slow Cooked Lamb Shanks

Salted Caramel Apple Crumble

With this soup, the butternut squash (with the help of a fiery kick of chilli) delivers on those colours’ warming promise.

Butternut Squash Soup

Now, I don’t want to be bossy but the best way to enjoy this soup is curled up on the sofa with a blanket, a steaming bowl clutched greedily in your hands and an old film on the television.

It’s for those days when you think you may feel the onset of the sniffles and frankly the rest of the world can wait. All you need is a comfy little nest, something (or someone) to snuggle up with and a bowl of Chilli & Butternut Squash Soup.

Butternut Squash Soup

Chilli & Roasted Butternut Squash Soup
Serves 4
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Ingredients
  1. 1 Butternut Squash
  2. 2 tbs Olive Oil
  3. 1 Red Onion, chopped
  4. 1/2 Red Chilli, de-seeded and chopped
  5. 1 tsp Dried Thyme
  6. 750 ml Chicken Stock
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180 C (fan)
  2. Cut the squash in half and rub 1 tbs of the olive oil on both halves
  3. Place them on a baking tray and season well
  4. Bake in the oven for 40 minutes until soft
  5. In a large pan, sauté the onion, chilli and thyme in the remaining oil until softened
  6. Roughly chop the roasted squash and add to the pan
  7. Now add the stock and simmer for 10 minutes
  8. Blend until smooth (I use a hand blender for this)
Notes
  1. Serve with a dollop of crème fraiche or Greek yoghurt
Eat Drink Cook http://www.eatdrinkcook.co.uk/
 Not to  push the whole bossiness thing too far but I also highly recommend serving the soup with some Cheese & Rosemary Toasts

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