Jodie's Chicken, Mustard & Mushroom Pie

Jodie's Chicken & Mushroom Pie served with cheesy mash, sweet potato mash, buttered mange-tout and pickled red cabbage. YUM!
Jodie’s Chicken & Mushroom Pie served with cheesy mash, sweet potato mash, buttered mange-tout and pickled red cabbage. YUM!

This is the ultimate easy-peasy pie to impress your mates with on a cold autumn weekend evening, with a few glasses of wine and a good-old catch up. Or even better, you could give your Mum a break from the usual Sunday-roast grind by rustling this up for her in no time, just tell her to put her feet up and you can have this little bad-boy ready within the hour.

A couple of week’s a go on a girls holiday to Sherwood Forest, where we stayed in a luxury log cabin for a week, my good friend Jodie House got to work in the kitchen, whilst the rest of us frolicked in the hot-tub sipping fine wine. She said she didn’t need a hand – ‘she got this’. So, we left her to it, and within the hour a feast was served, KUDOS Jodie – just what we needed after a long afternoon foraging in the woodlands at Go-Ape. Just perfect.

You can serve the pie with a number of options, but by request, Jodie went for a cheesy mash potato, a sweet potato mash, stir-fried buttered mange-tout and pickled red cabbage. Trust me, it was a taste sensation, so please, please try it!

Overall time to make this is about 1 hour, and this recipe serves 6 hungry log-loving forest ramblers. Warning: copious compliments guaranteed – so be ready!

what you need:

  • 4 chicken breasts, seasoned with salt and pepper, diced into 2cm chunks
  • knob of butter
  • olive oil
  • bunch of spring onions, thinly sliced
  • 200g button mushrooms, (any big ones halved)
  • 1 heaped tbsp plain flour
  • 2 tsp English mustard
  • 2 heaped tbsp creme fraiche
  • 300ml good chicken stock
  • bunch of fresh thyme, leaves removed and stalks discarded
  • 1/3 nutmeg, for grating
  • 1 sheet of ready-rolled puff pastry
  • 1 free-range egg

what to do:

  1. pre-heat the oven to 200C/400F/gas mark 6
  2. heat the butter and a glug of olive oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat, and cook the chicken for about 3 minutes
  3. add the spring onions, mushrooms and 1 heaped tbsp of flour and stir
  4. add the English mustard, creme fraiche and chicken stock into the pan and stir well
  5. add the thyme leaves and a good grating of nutmeg and leave the creamy chicken mixture to simmer whilst you prep the pastry…
  6. lightly dust a flat surface with flour and roll out the pastry so it’s large enough to cover the inside diameter of your pie dish (we didn’t have a rolling pin so had to think outside the box – see image below)
  7. use a knife to gently score (be careful not to cut-through) the pastry – get creative, criss crosses look nice but any pattern would work, just be gentle!
  8. after 5-10 mins of simmering, remove the chicken mixture from the heat, and transfer to your pie dish (this must be an oven-proof baking dish, and large enough to serve 6)
  9. cover the filling mixture with the sheet of pastry, tucking in the edges
  10. beat the egg and brush it over the pie – we didn’t have an egg brush, so we used a few sprigs of thyme stalks with the leaves on to coat the pie (see image below), which also added a nice flavour!
  11. place the pie on the top shelf of the oven, and cook until golden and crisp (about 15-20 mins max)
  12. serve in the middle of the table with your chosen accompaniments (as recommended above) and watch your mates dig in with sheer delight!

Enjoy, scranners!

If you don't have a rolling pin to hand, an empty wine bottle works just as well - and we happened to have plenty of those to-hand!
If you don’t have a rolling pin to hand, an empty wine bottle works just as well – and we happened to have plenty of those to-hand…
Chicken, mustard & mushroom pie filling before the pastry is placed on top.
Chicken, mustard & mushroom pie filling before the pastry is placed on top.
Chicken Pie filling taste test - always check your seasoning!
Chicken Pie filling taste test – always check your seasoning!
Brush with beaten free-range egg for the ultimate shiny glaze to your pie. Using the thyme stalks added extra scrumptious flavour!
Brush with beaten free-range egg for the ultimate shiny glaze to your pie. Using the thyme stalks added extra scrumptious flavour.

Thyme and Tabasco Sausage Rolls

It’s getting towards that time of year when we need a little bit of ‘comfort’ food to help us through the cold autumn and winter months. It’s pretty much a great excuse to stuff our faces with tasty treats. After all, we need a little bit of extra fat for the winter, so we might as well start now. Agreed? Good, then read on….

These sausage rolls are warming, moreish, comforting and super-easy to rustle-up  in about 45 minutes. They also have a slightly ‘festive’ feel about them.  You don’t have to cook them straight away either, you can save them covered in the fridge for up to 3 days beforehand, so they can be made well in advance if you are planning a little party or get-together. After all, it’s 100 sleeps until Christmas, so why not!

This recipe makes about 40 sausage rolls (I told you, they are moreish!) but if you don’t want to make so many, you can easily halve the quantities (but may live to regret it)…

Thyme & Tobasco Sausage Rolls
Thyme & Tabasco Sausage Rolls, baking in batches until golden and crisp.

What you need:

  • 1 knob butter
  • small glug of olive oil
  • parchment paper
  • 4 shallots, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tbsp Tabasco sauce
  • 2 tbsp fresh thyme leaves (removed from stalks)
  • 690g good quality sausage meat or 10 sausages with the meat pushed out from the skins (I use Sainsbury’s Ultimate 97% Pork Sausages)
  • 4 320g sheets of ready-rolled puff pastry
  • 1 free-range egg, beaten
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper

What to do:

  1. preheat your oven to 200C/400F/Gas mark 6.
  2. melt the butter in a large frying pan and fry the finely chopped shallots until they are golden and soft. transfer to a large mixing bowl.
  3. to the mixing bowl, add the Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco sauce, fresh thyme and sausage meat and season well with salt and freshly ground black pepper. mix together until thoroughly combined, using your hands if necessary!
  4. next, roll the puff pastry out into a large rectangle, then cut into two long rectangles.
  5. place a layer of sausage meat mixture down the middle of each pastry rectangle, then brush each pastry rectangle with beaten egg along one side.
  6. fold the other side of the pastry over onto the egg-washed edge. press down to seal using a fork (which makes a nice pattern) and cut each pastry roll into about 10 small sausage rolls
  7. repeat this for the second pack of puff pastry (if using), until you have as many sausage rolls as required.
  8. lightly oil a baking tray using the kitchen paper olive oil, and place the sausage rolls the tray and then into the oven.
  9. bake for 18-20 minutes, or until crisp and golden and the sausage meat is completely cooked throughout.

Enjoy, scranners!

Spanish Night at the Cabin – Classic Paella

Paella 2

Classic Paella with Chicken, roasted red peppers and Chorizo

This recipe serves 6 and is a great crowd-pleaser. It was my turn to cook at our log cabin holiday in Sherwood Forest, and all of my friends like different things (and some of them are just damn fussy), so I chose this dish because it has something for everyone. It was also a cost-effective way to feed 6 hungry forest ramblers on the second day of our log-cabin retreat/adventure holiday! The main ingredient is chicken (so the seafood-haters were happy) and the spicy element is completely optional (as you add the chorizo Piccante at the end) – so everyone was catered for, no one went hungry and everyone wanted ‘seconds’!!

This is a classic Paella, but of course you can mix it up my using seafood (tiger prawns, mussels and squid can be substituted for the chicken, just make sure you switch to fish-stock and leave out the chorizo altogether). If you want to make a veggie-version, use veg-stock, double the roasted red pepper quantities and add 200g of baby spinach leaves for the last 5 minutes of cooking time.

This recipe takes about 45 minutes from start to finish, and serves 6 hungry people. It may well go further if you serve with bread and oils, or if you do have left overs, it’s great for lunch the next day, re-heated.

What you need:

  • a good glug of extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 large chicken breasts, chopped into small pieces
  • 100 g chorizo Piccante, thinly sliced (optional ingredient – if you want to add spice)
  • 800ml chicken stock
  • pinch of saffron
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 2 400g tins of whole plum tomatoes (use some scissors inside the tin to roughly chop the tomatoes) by doing this, the taste is sweeter that using ready-chopped tinned tomatoes
  • 2 handfuls of frozen petits pois
  • bunch of flat leaf parsley, leaves roughly chopped and half the stalks set-aside for later
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 375g Spanish Paella rice
  • half a jar of roasted red peppers, drained and rinsed, chopped into chunks
  • 1 lemon, cut into wedges
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to season

What to do;

  1. heat 2 tbsp of olive oil in a wide frying pan (preferably with a lid but if you don’t have a lid then have some tin foil to hand) over a medium-high heat and cook the chicken until golden. Remove from the pan and set aside.
  2. boil the kettle and add 800ml of boiling water to the chicken stock, adding the pinch of saffron, set aside.
  3. fry the onion in the rest of the olive oil until soft and golden, then add the garlic, parsley stalks, paprika and tinned tomatoes and cook for a further 2 minutes.
  4. stir in the paella rice and season well with salt and pepper
  5. once the rice is stirred in, slowly add the chicken stock and bring back to a gentle boil – leave to cook with the lid off for 10 minutes and DO NOT STIR* – it’s tempting, but refrain!
  6. after 10 minutes scatter the cooked chicken pieces over the rice evenly and press them under the stock using a wooden spoon.
  7. sprinkle over the peas and the roasted red peppers, DON’T STIR – just give the pan a gentle shake, allow to simmer for a further 10 minutes or until the stock is absorbed and the chicken is cooked through.
  8. turn off the heat and cover the pan with a lid or some tin foil (ensure it is tight) and allow the paella to rest for 5 minutes before serving.
  9. serve your paella in the middle of the table with a serving spoon, with a generous sprinkle of the parsley leaves and give a few good squeezes of the lemon wedges (and the sprinkle over the chorizo, if using).

*by not stirring, you are encouraging a slight crunchy layer of rice at the bottom, which will make the dish more authentic

¡Buen apetito!

Paella 1
Classic Paella, served with chopped flat-leaf parsley and lemon wedges

Fusilli salad with Pork & Herb Chipolatas

Fusilli & Herby Pork Chipolats  photo 5

Super simple. Easy peasy. Delicious. Serves 2. Sometimes I make extra, knowing that this is sooooo scrumptious, I want it again for lunch the next day…. Go on, you know you want to!

What you need:

  • generous glug of olive oil
  • 150g Fusilli pasta
  • 4 pork chipoloatas (I use Waitrose British pork & herb)
  • 2 shallots, thinly sliced
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • handful of frozen peas (or petits pois)
  • 50g sun-dried tomatoes, sliced
  • grated Parmesan (to serve)
  • handful of chopped fresh herbs flat-leaf parsley
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper

What to do:

  1. Cook to Fusilli in a pan of well salted water for 10-12 minutes, or until ‘al dente’. 
  2. Slice the chipolatas into chunks and heat a glug of olive oil in a frying pan,  fry the sausages over a medium heat until golden brown.
  3. Add the sliced shallots and garlic to the frying pan and toss together with the chunks of sausage.
  4. Add the peas to the pasta for the final 2 minutes of the pasta’s cooking time, and toss the sun-dried tomatoes through the sausage mixture to warm through.
  5. Drain the pasta and peas and then add to the sausage in the frying pan, ensuring all the pasta is coated.
  6. Season well with salt and pepper and stir through a handful of the parsley, grate over the Parmesan.
  7. Serve hot or cold, for lunch or dinner. Enjoy -x-

 

BBC Good Food Show, save 20% on tickets

winterlogowithlexus

Save 20% on tickets to the BBC Good Food Show by using the promo code WW20 at the check-out! We will be there on Saturday 29th November and our show of choice is the Two Greedy Italians: Antonio Carluccio & Gennaro Contaldo @ 12:30 PM! 

antonio-and-gennaro

The event is all hosted at the NEC in Birmingham! Other guest chefs are John Torode, James Martin, Tom Kerridge, Paul Hollywood, Mary Berry and the Hairy Bikers!

Get your tickets before the offer expires at midnight tonight: www.bbcgoodfoodshowwinter.com/Content/Welcome/1/

Hope to see you there, fellow foodies -x-

The Hungover Breakfast

You all know the feeling. Slight nausea, banging headache, utter dehydration and, on some occasions, it even feels like every muscle in your body aches. Yes, it’s the dreaded hangover. You felt amazing last night though, right?

Many of my hangovers start with an almost urgent requirement for paracetamol and a glass of cold water, followed by an extended period in bed waiting for the water and pain-killers to take effect.

Then, once in a more ‘normal’ state, the next quest is for… FOOD.

During a hangover, the need for food is much more pressing compared to the need for food on a usual day, especially as you may have skipped dinner the night before, after all, ‘eating is cheating’. Therefore, something relatively easy, tasty, filling and nutritious is needed, which will give the kick-start you need, to this rather grim day.

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The use of spices, chilli, eggs and lots of veggie goodness (added meat optional) really does mean this dish works to actually cure your hangover, because it’s balanced and nutritious and just delightful.

This recipe is my adaptation of Milton Crawford’s ‘shakshuka’, a Middle Eastern dish, from his brilliant ‘THE HUNGOVER COOKBOOK’, which my wonderful friend Rachel bought for me one year for my birthday. Great recipe book. I’d highly recommend.

So, if you’re planning a big night out, check you have all the ingredients in first as to avoid any unexpected, disorientated trips to Tesco in your onesie.

This recipe takes about 30 mins from start to finish, and serves 2 starving people, or 4 hungry people.

What you need:

  • a good glug of rapeseed oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • a handful of cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 beef tomato, diced
  • any leftover veggies, I threw in half a diced yellow pepper
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 level tsp ground cumin
  • 1 level tsp sweet smoked paprika
  • 1 green chilli, deseeded and diced
  • 1 400g tin chopped tomatoes (I like the one with added herbs for this recipe)
  • 4 large free-range eggs
  • bread of choice, I used brown but pitta works so well, or warm baguettes
  • for a meaty kick: 4 thick slices of smoked bacon (optional)
  • small handful of flat-leaf parsley, to serve

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What to do:

  1. Pre-heat the grill to medium.
  2. Heat some of the oil in a small frying pan and gently fry the bacon on each side (if using), until crisp and golden, set aside on some kitchen paper to absorb any excess fat.
  3. In a larger, lidded frying pan, heat the oil on a medium heat and cook the onion and green chilli until softened and translucent (about 4 minutes).
  4. Add the cumin and paprika and stir well to let the spices release their aromas (about 1 minute). Feeling a little better already? Next, add the bay leaves, cherry tomatoes, veggies, beef tomato and stir well to coat everything in the spices. Cook for 2 minutes or so.
  5. Stir in the tinned tomatoes and season well with salt and pepper, leave to simmer on a low heat for about 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Pop the lid on if you have one.
  6. Make 4 small holes in the sauce using a spatula, and break an egg into each hole. Put the lid back on an simmer on low-medium heat for about 3 minutes.
  7. Warm your bread and get it buttered.
  8. For the last 2 minutes, transfer the frying pan to a low-medium heated grill to finish off the eggs. Runny yolk is key here, so keep and eye on them and don’t over-cook!
  9. Top the baked eggs with chopped parsley and serve with your bread to mop up the goodness and bacon (if using).

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What’s your go-to hangover cure?

 

Easy Tuna Steak Stir-fry

food

This is one of my favourite mid-week dinners for a few reasons: it’s easy, tasty, healthy and QUICK!

I’m not sure if anyone else experiences this, but most days when I get home from work I am STARVING. I’m often borderline ‘hangry,’ and we all know, the best way to avoid that is to eat well throughout the day (little and often and all that), but in

I’m often borderline ‘hangry,’ and we all know, the best way to avoid that is to eat well throughout the day, but in reality, this is not always feasible.

A good way to avoid this is if you have something semi-prepped for when you get in, ready to put your chef-hat on and rustle-up a STORM. This one is also a crowd-pleaser too if you wanted to impress your friends with an Asian-inspired dinner party!

This recipe serves 2, and takes about 25 mins from start to finish, depending on how quick you are!

Easy Tuna Steak Stir-fry

What you need:

  • 1 packet of The Saucy Fish Company Sweet Soy & Chilli Tuna Steaks (240g)
  • 1 packet (410g) of free range fresh egg noodles (the ones that go straight to wok, for speed)
  • 5-6 baby corn, sliced length-ways
  • handful of mange-tout, sliced diagonally
  • 1 red pepper, de-seeded and sliced thinly
  • 2 spring onions, sliced (even the green bits), to serve
  • a splash of soy sauce, and some extra to serve
  • a splash of ground-nut oil or a heaped teaspoon of coconut oil

What to do:

  1. Prep the veg as above, to ensure everything is ready for cooking
  2. Heat a griddle pan or a thick based frying pan on a med-high heat
  3. Heat the oil in a wok, also on a med-high heat
  4. Add the baby corn, mange-tout and red pepper to the wok, with a slash of soy sauce and stir often, leaving them to cook for about 5 minutes
  5. Whilst the veg is cooking, add the tuna steaks to the hot griddle pan and leave to cook on one side for 2 minutes
  6. Check the veg, giving it a toss in the wok to ensure it’s all coated by the soy sauce, then add the noodles and a little more soy sauce and stir
  7. As the noodles begin to warm through in the wok, go back to the griddle pan and use tongs to turn the tuna over, and cook for a further 2 minutes
  8. Once the tuna is cooked, transfer it to a chopping board and slice diagonally
  9. Now you’re ready to serve: separate the noodles and veg mixture into two bowls
  10. Place the sliced tuna steaks on top of the noodles in the bowls, and garnish with the spring onions and a little extra soy sauce

Sophie’s Spaghetti Carbonara

Spaghetti carbonara is such a great dish when made fresh. It’s perfect for all lovers of pasta and cheese. Enough said.

This dish can be a simple thing you rustle-up on a busy week night after the gym, or pimp it up into more of a gourmet dish at the weekend if you’re having mates round. It all depends on your situation. Choosing a shop-bought garlic flat bread saves time during the week, but, you can really go all-out at the weekend by home-making a garlic bread and serving with a classy bottle of white wine, like a crisp and zesty sauvignon blanc (www.nakedwines.com have a great selection).

This recipe serves 2 and takes about 30 minutes.

What you need:

  • 40g finely grated parmesan cheese + a small handful each to serve
  • 30g finely grated cheddar cheese
  • 3 large free-range eggs
  • 200g spaghetti
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 100g frozen petits pois
  • 8 rashers of good quality, smoked streaky bacon (snipped into small pieces)
  • 2 cloves garlic (leave whole with the skin on, but crush them slightly with a flat blade)
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • handful of finely chopped parsley

What to do:

  1. Warm up your best pasta bowls.
  2. Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil, add a good lug of olive oil and a pinch of sea salt.
  3. Lightly beat the eggs in a bowl and mix in the grated cheeses. Add good grinding of black pepper and set aside.
  4. Put the spaghetti in the large saucepan of boiling water, simmer for 10 minutes, or to the packet instructions. Just don’t overcook it as it cooks a little later on too.
  5. While the spaghetti’s simmering, heat the olive oil in a large, deep frying pan. Add the smoked bacon and the two crushed whole garlic cloves, and gently fry on a medium heat until the bacon starts turn golden brown. Add the frozen petits pois so they defrost and warm through.
  6. When the spaghetti is ready, drain it but SAVE SOME OF THE WATER.
  7. Add the drained pasta to the frying pan with the garlic, bacon and petits pois and turn the heat to low. Give it all a good mix and add a splash of the still-hot pasta water. Make sure everything’s nice and warm.
  8. Next, pour the egg and cheese mixture into the pan, using a pair of tongs to lift and stir all of the ingredients together, making sure the spaghetti is evenly coated. Turn the heat off and add an extra dash of the hot pasta water if necessary. This helps create a light sauce, and ensures the spaghetti is evenly coated with the eggy, cheesy goodness!
  9. To plate, simply lift and twist the spaghetti mixture into your pre-warmed pasta bowls using the tongs.
  10. Sprinkle on the extra cheese, chopped parsley and some freshly ground black pepper to serve. Yummmmmmm.

The Black Swan, Lower Withington, Cheshire

Burger
Char-grilled chicken burger, cajun fries and super-slaw.

 

So my first blog post on my new WordPress blog, scary, but exciting, here it goes…

I am opting to keep this first post simple, and thought it might be nice to share with you the scrumptious food I ate last night. I’d had a bad day at the office, so my boyfriend decided we would dine-out and took me to The Black Swan Inn, a quirky Cheshire pub just 15 minutes away from Alderley Edge. They have some great dishes on the menu (link here: http://www.blackswancheshire.com/), which is pretty refreshing compared to other pubs in the area, and it’s definitely nice to see something a ‘bit different’.

The food is tasty, simple and well-executed (it unfortunately took a fair while to arrive… but we didn’t get to the ‘hangry’ stage, so will let them off). The place is beautifully decorated and has a wonderful outside area with a wood fired oven, that is used on sunny weekends – a shame they are very few and far between now in this neck of the woods!

Took an aerial snap of my Char-grilled Chicken burger from the Special’s Board, served with spicy fries, homemade coleslaw and rather huge onion rings…. #yum

What’s your favourite country pub to visit in the UK? Or more specifically, the North West? Feel free to comment your thoughts and suggestions, I am always looking to add to my list of places to eat-out and welcome any suggestions if you have any.