Thursday 4 December 2014

Alternative Sunday Supper. Post #1 The most scrummy Jamie Oliver inspired Porchetta!

ALL HAIL THE BRITISH ROAST. Well actually, if like me you get fed up of the traditional meat and two veg for Sunday feasting, this is the most delicious alternative. 

It uses Pork Shoulder, which, although fatty, makes for incredibly tender meat, which is both delicious and low cost. The shoulder is stuffed with a glorious sausage meat, sage and onion stuffing which is just divine. The fat melts away through hours of cooking too, which means you aren't actually eating it, it's there to keep the meat moist. Genius I know.

 The recipe posted below shows how to make crackling as an extra, but of course, if you're watching your waist... don't eat it! Don't be too strict with yourself though, everyone deserves a Sunday treat to help Curb those looming Monday morning blues. This recipe is inspired by Jamie Oliver, and his Porchetta recipe, however my stuffing is completely different. This can be served with whatever you fancy, we ate it with sautéed red cabbage ( chucked in a pan with olive oil and Worcestershire Sauce) and a Sweet Potato mash.  This recipe could also be made with a nice Loin of Pork, but Shoulder keeps it cheaper, and more melt in the mouth! I dare you to give this one a go, and you won't be disappointed. 


Ingredients (serves 6-8) 
2.5-3 kg Butterflied and Boneless Pork Shoulder 
500g Sausage Meat 
2 Onions 
Large Glass Red Wine 
Large Handul Sage Leaves 
2 Garlic Cloves 
4/5 Carrots 
3 Slices of Bread (Preferably crusty or stale) 
Salt and Pepper 
Olive Oil 


1. Firstly, put your oven on full wack ready to give the crackling a head start. Open up the butterflied shoulder and rub with olive oil, and sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper. Do the same to the skin, and set aside. 
2. Now to get started on the stuffing. Dice your onions and put a good glug of olive oil into a frying pan. When heated add your onions and pine nuts, and sweat gently for 10 minutes. Then coarsely chop your sage leaves and add those to the pan as well. Mince in the garlic to the mix and sweat it all off for a further 5 minutes. 

3. When everything is soft let the mix cool. Once completely cool, add the sausage meat and mix everything together well. Season the stuffing with salt and pepper and add a glug of red wine. 
4. Finally, pop your bread slices in the blender until they represent course crumbs, and add those to the sausage meat. 

5. To stuff the Shoulder, open the meat out and put a hefty amount of your stuffing along the centre. Roll the meat up, and tie up the whole thing with enough string so that the stuffing won't fall out all over the place. 
6. Slice the carrots in half, and lay them in a roasting dish. Your pork will sit on top of this. Then  pop your rolled meat on the top of its carrot bed. Add a glass of water and a glass of wine to the bottom on the tray. 
7. Put the pork into the hot oven and roast at the high temperature for 20 minutes to get the crackling going. After the 20 minutes, turn the oven down to 160 degrees C, or 140 fan, and cook for a further 3 hours. 
8.When it comes out the crackling should be beautifully crisp and the meat juicy. If the layer of fat was too thick to turn into crackling through slow cooking, take the rind off and put it back into the oven, full wack, so that it will turn crispy.
9. To make a gravy,(optional) tip away the majority of the fat within the bottom of the tray, leaving just a thin coating. Put the tray onto the hob, and add a good glug of red wine, and any stock you have in the house. It is also nice to add a few sage sleeves if you have any left over. Reduce it down, and serve with your roast. 
10. Enjoy! 


Tuesday 8 July 2014

Breakfast Post #1 Very Berry Anti-Oxidant Smoothie Bowl

These are my favourite ways to begin the day, so delicious, full of nourishment, and keep you filled until lunchtime. My favourite smoothie bowl is the Very Berry addition below. Packed full of vitamins and anti-oxidants, and honestly the most flavoursome thing that will pass your lips this week! 

2 handfuls of mixed berries
Table Spoon of Yoghurt 
Juice of Half a Lemon 
Table Spoon of Stevia (or honey)
Table Spoon Chia Seeds (optional)
Sunflower seeds 

1) Put the Berries, Yoghurt, Stevia, Lemon and Chia Seeds into the blender, and pulse until smooth. 
2. Put into a bowl and sprinkle seeds and extra berries on top.
3. Easy peasy now enjoy!


Thursday 20 March 2014

Dinner Post #2: Easiest Ever Chicken Casserole

This is perfect for a Monday night dinner. So easy, everything gets shoved into a tray and cooked off for about 40 minutes. It's all cooked in the same pan, so there's no faffing about. Perfectly balanced, low in fat, and again using cheaper cuts of chicken so it keeps things low cost. Nothing fancy, but tastes amazing! 

Serves 4

8 Chicken Thighs 
Half a Chorizo Sausage Ring 
3 Red Onions 
400g of Waxy Potatoes 
Chicken Stock 
2 Glasses of White Wine 
Sundried Tomatoes 
Mixed Herbs 
2 Garlic Cloves 
Salt and Pepper 
Bay Leaf. 


1. Pre heat the oven to 180degreesC/GasMark4. Put a pan on the hob with a glug of olive oil, and season the chicken thighs. Place in the pan, skin side down to get some colour and crispiness onto the chicken. Once crispy, take the chicken out and put into a roasting tray.
2. Slice the onions, and add them to the same pan the chicken was browned in. Once softened, but them into the roasting tin along with the chicken. 
3. Now, it's just a case of throwing everything else into the roasting dish. Slice and add the Chorizo, the chicken stock, the wine, the herbs and the sundried tomatoes, the crushed garlic, and finally slice the potatoes and throw those in two. Season well, and cook for around 40 minutes, or until the potatoes are cooked. 
4. Serve with salad or veg, and crusty bread to soak up those juices!


Thursday 13 March 2014

Dinner Post #1: Asian pork tenderloin with vegetable and Shiitake noodle broth.

Such a delicious and low fat meal. I love Asian food, and the combination of flavours within this dish will blow your mind! Really easy to make, but perfect for dinner parties as your guests will think you've been slaving away for hours to achieve such perfection! I used two pork tenderloins which fed 5 people, and cost me less than £8 for the two, from Aldi. The meat was tender and delicious, I urge you to give this one a go! Most ingredients, other than the meat and vegetables were already in my store cupboard, so i'll be posting how to keep a clever store cupboard in a future post. Keep your eyes peeled! 

Ingredients: (serves 5) 

2 Pork Tenderloin (buy size dependent on own appetites!)
4 nests of medium egg noodles
1 pack of Shiitake mushrooms 
1 pack of Oyster mushrooms 
500 ml Chicken Stock 
2 red peppers 
1 pack of Mangetout 
1 Red onion 
6 Table spoons Soy Sauce 
4 Table spoons of  Hoi Sin Sauce 
2 Table spoons of Sherry 
1 Table spoon Fish Sauce 
3 Cloves of Garlic 
1 Red Chilli 
Sesame Oil 
Chilli oil or sauce. 
Sesame Seeds 


1. For the marinade mix together the sherry, 4 Table Spoons of Soy Sauce, the Hoi Sin sauce, the Fish Sauce, Garlic, Chilli and 3 Table spoons of Sesame Seeds, (the rest of the soy sauce is for the broth).
2. Put the pork into a bowl and rub with sesame oil. Then coat in the marinade for between 2 and 24 hours. Keep a little of the marinade back to put into the broth later.
3. When the pork is ready to be cooked pre heat the oven at 200C/fan 180C/Gas6, and cook the pork for around 40 mins, or until Juicy, but cooked all the way through (to check, make an incision in the thickest part of the loin)
4.While the pork is cooking, crack on with the broth. Slice all of the veg, apart from the mangetout. Heat a good glug of sesame oil in the wok. 
5. Put in the onion and Peppers and let them soften for around 5 Minutes. 
6. Meanwhile cook the noodles in a separate pan (these are added to the broth last minute to make sure they don't turn soggy). 
7. Add the chicken stock, remaining marinade, soy sauce, and chilli oil to to the veg, and add the mushrooms and mangetout. They will only take 3 mins to cook. 
8. Add the noodles, and have a taste. If you feel the broth needs more of anything (for instance chilli or soy) put it in now. 
9. Slice the pork loin into even pieces and serve in a bowl on top or your fragrant noodle broth. Sprinkle with sesame seeds for an authentic appearance and extra flavour/texture.
10. ENJOY!


Tuesday 18 February 2014

Low Cost Dinner Party Post #1: Baked Camembert, Goulash of Pork Shoulder, and Baileys' Chocolate Pots.

Hi team. So this is my first post regarding how to cook for a dinner party, without blowing the budget. Oh so often, the ingredients to feed guests surpass what you would pay at a restaurant, but not if you stick with me! My boyfriend lives in London, so we decided to belate our Valentines until tomorrow, so I cooked this menu for dinner party guests, it went down a treat! Really easy, and really flavoursome, it allows you to get everything out the way in the morning and get on with your day! Being clever with cheaper cuts of meat, allows you to feed the five thousand for pittance. I used pork shoulder for my Goulash and payed £5.85 for a 2.1kg joint, which fed six, with leftovers. The starter was easy, a traditional Rosemary and garlic baked camembert. Camembert is often very reasonable, and mine cost £1.50 each and were shared between two people. Desert has very few ingredients so really kept the costs low. So, no excuses, get your friends round for a gorgeous meal, without the stress!  

Camembert (For six) 

3 Camembert 
Crusty bread to serve
Any other dipping vegetables (Mange tout, Asparagus etc) 


1. Spike each Camembert with sliced Garlic and Rosemary sprigs. 
2. Keep in their cases, and bake in the oven for ten minutes, just before serving at 200C/fan 180C/Gas6 just before serving. They are ready when they become gooey, and you can dip your bread in them, fondue stylie.

Pork Shoulder Goulash 

2-2.5 kg Pork Shoulder Joint
Salt and Pepper 
4 peppers 
A jar of Chargrilled Peppers (drained)
3 red onions 
3 cloves of garlic 
One red chilli 
3 Table Spoons of Smoked Paprika
Table spoon of crushed Cumin 
Tin of Chopped Tomatoes 
Glass of Red Wine 
3 Table Spoons of Red Wine Vinegar 
4 Table Spoons of Natural Yoghurt
Fresh Tagliatelle


1. Pre heat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas 4Heat some olive oil in a large pan. Rub the Pork Shoulder fat skin side up with salt and pepper, and place into the pan. This will render some of the fat down and crisp the skin which can be turned into crackling. 
2. After 15 minutes set aside. Dice the onions and add to the same pan with all of the herbs and spices as well as salt and pepper. 
3. After ten minutes of sweating the onions, add the sliced and jarred peppers, the chopped tomatoes and the red wine, and give a good mix up. Let this bubble away and prepare the meat.
4. Take the rind of the pork of. Trim up the meat, taking off some of the fat from under the rind and any large visible pieces. Don't be tempted to take all the fat off, it makes the meat tender, and you won't be eating it all, as it melts away. 
5. Add the pork back to the pot, add the vinegar and enough water to just cover the pork. 
6. Put in the over for 3 hours. Once cooked, the sauce will have reduced and thickened and you'll be able to press on the pork and it will just fall apart. When this is done, take the pork out of the pot, and shred it up using two forks. Now is the time to scrape off any excess fat, it has already done its job. 
7. Add back to the pan with the Yoghurt. If you've prepared the dish in advance simply pop it back onto the hob when you're ready to serve until it's bubbling away again. Cook your pasta for around 3 minutes, and voilà!. 

Baileys Chocolate Pots 

285ml of Double Cream 
150g of 70% Cocoa Solid Dark chocolate 
100g Milk Chocolate 
2 Large Egg Yolks 
3 Table Spoons of Baileys 
30g of Butter 


1. Heat the cream in a pan, until bubbles appear around the edge. Take off the heat and add your chocolate. Stir into the cream until it melts. 
2. Whisk the two egg yolks together and beat into the chocolate and the cream. Then add the Baileys and the butter when the mix is cooler. Add too soon and you risk the alcohol splitting. 
4. Pour into your desired pots, (I used small gold coffee cups), and chill for four hours. 


Tuesday 11 February 2014

Ingredients Post #1 :Clever Store Cupboard = Clever Cooking!

I believe a well stocked store cupboard is the key to successful and delicious meals. I like to keep ingredients which can be used for different types of food from different countries. My main sections are; Italian, Asian (Chinese and Japanese), Indian and Mexican. So, let me teach you the secret of ingredients! It also means that if you keep your stock cupboard well filled, you spend less money having to buy all the ingredients from scratch when you find a new recipe to cook. Your cuisine will be easier and more economical! 


Dried Red Chillies (you can also buy fresh chilli, and freeze them, they defrost in seconds when it comes to cooking, Madras Curry Powder, Cumin Seeds, Ground Coriander,Mustard Seeds,Chilli Powder, Garam Masala, Basmati Rice. 

Soy Sauce (dark and light), Wasabi Paste, Sesame Oil, Fish Sauce, Hoi Sin Sauce, Rice Wine Vinegar, Sesame Seeds, Selection of Noodles, Thai Curry Paste, Coconut Milk.

Tomato Puree, Garlic, Red Wine, Olive Oil, Dried Mixed Herbs, Dried Oregano, Sun Dried Tomatoes, Selection of Pasta, Arborio Rice, Parmesan (in the fridge), Mozzarella (in the freezer, defrost 3 hours before using). 

Smoked Parprika, Kidney Beans, Cumin Seeds, Cayenne Pepper, Dried Chilli, Tortilla Wraps, Tabasco. 

Other Necessities:
Chopped Tin Tomatoes, Lea and Perrins, Red and White Wine Vinegar, Mustard, Flours, Sugars, Selection of Seeds, Cous Cous, Quinoa, Honey, olive/rapeseed/vegetable oil. 

Stick to this, and you will always have enough flavoursome treats available to knock up an amazing meal, ready for after work or dreaded impromptu guests! 

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