Thursday, 15 March 2018

Southern-fried buttermilk chicken with tomato salsa


For the chicken

400ml/14fl oz buttermilk

1 tsp salt

1 whole chicken, jointed, then cut into 10 portions

125g/4½oz plain flour

1 unwaxed lemon, finely grated zest only

1½ tsp smoked hot paprika

1½ tsp English mustard powder

1½ tsp celery salt

1½ tsp dried thyme

1½ tsp dried oregano

2 tsp cracked black peppercorns

vegetable oil, for shallow frying

For the salsa

90g/3¼oz caster sugar

300g/10½oz tomatoes, finely chopped

2 red chillies, finely chopped

300g/10½oz tinned sweetcorn, drained and rinsed

2 tbsp red wine vinegar

1 lime, juice only

2 tbsp roughly chopped fresh flatleaf parsley leaves

salt and freshly ground black pepper


Whisk the buttermilk and salt in a bowl until combined. Add the chicken pieces and mix until coated in the buttermilk. Cover and chill in the fridge for at least 4 hours, and preferably overnight.

When the chicken has soaked in the buttermilk, remove the bowl from the fridge to allow it to return to room temperature before cooking. Preheat the oven to 200C/180C Fan/Gas 6.

Mix the flour, lemon zest and all of the spices in a bowl until well combined.

Lift the chicken pieces out of the buttermilk, scraping off as much of the mixture as you can, then roll them in the spiced flour until completely coated.

Heat the oil in a large, heavy-based, ovenproof frying pan to a depth of 1cm/½in, until a breadcrumb sizzles and turns golden-brown when dropped into it. (Caution: Hot oil can be dangerous. Do not leave unattended.)

Add the chicken pieces to the hot oil, in batches, placing them skin-side down. Fry for 2-3 minutes on each side, or until golden-brown all over.

Transfer the pan to the oven and continue to cook for 12-15 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through and the skin is crisp. (The chicken is cooked through if the juices run clear when the chicken is pierced in the thickest part with a skewer.) Remove from the pan using tongs and set aside to drain on kitchen paper. Keep warm.

Cook the remaining batch of chicken pieces in the same way.

Meanwhile, for the salsa, heat the sugar in a heavy-based frying pan over a high heat, without stirring, until it melts to form a golden-brown caramel. Swirl the pan occasionally to stop the caramel from catching on the bottom of the pan.

Add the chopped tomatoes to the pan, stir to coat them in the caramel, and cook for 1-2 minutes, or until just softened.

Add the chillies, sweetcorn, red wine vinegar and lime juice and continue to cook for 6-8 minutes, or until the tomato has completely broken down. Stir in the parsley, then season, to taste, with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

To serve, pile the chicken pieces onto a serving platter. Serve the salsa in a bowl alongside.

Saturday, 30 December 2017

Celebration celeriac and sweet garlic pie

For the pastry
250g/9oz plain spelt flour, plus extra for dusting
125g/4½oz cold unsalted butter, cubed
½ tsp fine sea salt
few sprigs each fresh rosemary, thyme and sage, leaves picked and finely
1 unwaxed lemon, finely grated zest only
25g/1oz Cheddar, grated
1 free-range egg yolk
For the filling
3 heads garlic, cloves separated and peeled
olive oil
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp runny honey
2 sprigs each fresh rosemary, thyme and sage, leaves picked and finely
chopped, plus extra to garnish
1kg/2lb 4oz celeriac, peeled, 300g/10½oz reserved, the rest cut into 2cm/
¾in pieces
220g/8oz Lancashire cheese or Cheddar, crumbled
150g/5½oz crème fraîche
½ lemon, juice only
1 tbsp wholegrain mustard
small bunch fresh parsley, chopped
dash Worcestershire sauce
2 free-range eggs, beaten
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1. To make the pastry, put the flour in a mixing bowl. Add the butter and
salt and rub gently with your fingertips until the mixture resembles
fine breadcrumbs. Stir through the herbs, lemon zest and Cheddar.
2. Beat the egg yolk with 1 tablespoon of cold water in a bowl. Add to the
flour mixture and combine until it forms a dough, adding more cold
water if needed. Wrap in cling film and place in the fridge while you
make the filling.
3. To make the filling, put the garlic in a saucepan, cover with cold water
and bring to a gentle simmer. Cook for 2–3 minutes, then drain
4. Wipe the saucepan dry. Add the garlic and 1 tablespoon of olive oil and
fry over a high heat for 2 minutes. Add the vinegar and 100ml/3½fl oz
water, bring to the boil and simmer gently for 10 minutes.
5. Add the honey, most of the rosemary and thyme (reserving the rest,
with the sage) and a good pinch of salt. Cook over a medium heat for 5
minutes, or until most of the liquid has evaporated and the garlic is
coated in a dark syrup.
6. Meanwhile, put the celeriac in a saucepan, cover with freshly boiled
water and boil for 7–10 minutes, or until so and slightly translucent.
Drain and tip into a big mixing bowl.
7. Add the cheeses, crème fraiche, lemon juice, mustard, parsley,
Worcestershire sauce and eggs. Add a good pinch of salt and grind of
pepper and gently fold in the garlic.
8. Preheat the oven to 200C/180C Fan/Gas 6.
9. Sprinkle flour onto a clean work surface and roll out the pastry to 3-
4mm thick. Line a 20cm/8in round cake tin with the pastry, ensuring a
little spills over the edges. Pour the filling into the pastry case.
Coarsely grate the reserved celeriac and pile it on top. Finish with the
reserved rosemary, thyme, sage and a drizzle of olive oil.
10. Bake for 45 minutes, or until the tart filling has set and the top is
golden brown. Leave to cool a little, then take it out of the tin. Serve
warm with a few herbs sprinkled over

Tuesday, 3 October 2017

bucatini with vegetables, pancetta, pesto and mozzarella


  •  100ml olive oil 
  • 1 large aubergine, cut into 1cm cubes 
  • 1 large courgette, cut into 1cm cubes 
  • 2 medium red onions, peeled and finely sliced 
  • 150g diced pancetta 
  • 2 x 400g tins of cherry tomatoes 
  • 2 tbsp fresh or shop-bought basil pesto 
  • 500g dried bucatini 
  • 2 x 125g balls of mozzarella, drained and cut into small cubes 
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper 

  •  Heat the oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat. Add the aubergine and courgette and some salt and fry for 7 – 8 minutes. 
  • Add the onions and pancetta and fry for 8 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes and pesto. Simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. 
  • Season with salt and pepper and set aside. 
  •  Cook the pasta in a large pan of boiling, salted water until al dente. Drain the pasta thoroughly and tip it into the sauce. Stir to combine. 
  •  Return the pan to a low heat. Add the mozzarella and stir until it starts to melt and go stringy. Serve immediately.

Monday, 24 July 2017

Fresh Mussel vinaigrette with onions and tomatoes


1kg fresh mussels, cleaned of barnacles and de bearded
200mls fish stock
100mls dry white wine
6 tbsp olive oil
1 small red onions, very finely sliced
1small red pepper, diced, small cubes
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
6 large fresh, ripe plum tomatoes, chopped, 1cm
2 tbsp flat leaf parsley, chopped
2 tbsp chopped fresh basil
Ground white pepper
2 tbsp red wine vinegar


First open the mussels. Bring the stock and white wine to the boil, add the cleaned mussels and cover.

Occasionally stir the mussels to ensure all are opened, do not overcook, or the mussels or they will become tough.

Place into a strainer, and carefully remove all the flesh, checking there are no bits of gristle or sand particles. Discard any unopened ones.

Heat the oil and add the onions, peppers and garlic cover and soften slightly, about 15 minutes.

Place into a bowl; add the mussels, tomatoes, parsley, basil, salt, pepper and vinegar. Mix well, but carefully.

Adjust the seasoning if needed and serve when ready, either straight away or well chilled.

Monday, 22 May 2017

Aubergine Lasagne


3 aubergines
3 cloves of garlic
a few sprigs of fresh thyme
6 tablespoons olive oil
1 dried red chilli
2 x 400 g tins of quality plum tomatoes
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 bunch of fresh basil
150 g Cheddar cheese
70 g Parmesan cheese
250 g fresh lasagne sheets
extra virgin olive oil

w sprigs of fresh thyme6 tablespoons olive oil1 dried red chilli2 x 400 g tins of quality plum tomatoes1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar1 bunch of fresh basil150 g Cheddar cheese70 g Parmesan cheese250 g fresh lasagne sheetsextra virgin olive oil





Preheat the oven to 200°C/400ºF/gas 6.Steam the whole aubergines in a colander over a pan of simmering water for 30 minutes, then halve, scoop out and roughly chop the flesh.

Meanwhile, peel and finely slice the garlic and pick the thyme leaves.Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat, add the garlic, thyme and aubergine, then crumble over the chilli and cook for 10 minutes.

Tip in the tomatoes, breaking them up with a spoon, then add the balsamic vinegar.Pick in most of the basil leaves, then bring to the boil and simmer for 10 minutes, or until the sauce has thickened and reduced, then taste and season to perfection with sea salt and black pepper.

Grate the Parmesan and half the Cheddar, roughly slicing the remaining Cheddar.

To layer up, spread a layer of tomato sauce across the base of an ovenproof dish. Sprinkle lightly with grated cheese, cover with a layer of lasagne sheets, then repeat the layers twice more. Finish with a layer of sauce, sprinkle with the remaining grated cheese and dot over the slices of Cheddar.Bake at the bottom of the oven for 25 to 30 minutes, or until golden and bubbling.

Pick over the remaining basil, drizzle lightly with extra virgin, then serve

Thursday, 27 April 2017



55g butter

140g plain flour

140g polenta (cornmeal)
2 tsp baking powder

2 tbsp sugar

Pinch of salt

2 eggs

284ml pot of buttermilk
100ml milk


Heat your oven to 200c /180fan/gas mark 6

Put the butter into a small saucepan over a low heat to melt

When it has melted, pour the butter into a mixing bowl with the flour, polenta, baking powder, sugar and a pinch of salt and stir everything together

Crack the eggs into a separate bowl, then add the buttermilk and milk and whisk until well mixed. Remember to wash your hands if you get any raw egg on your fingers.
5. Pour the egg and milk mixture into the flour and polenta and mix everything together well.

Pour the cornbread mixture into a baking dish, about 20cm square and at least 5cm deep, and put it into the oven for 25 to 30 minutes until golden brown and cooked in the middle. Poke the centre with a skewer to check
– if it comes out clean, the cornbread is cooked; if not, return to the oven for a few more minutes.

Cut the cornbread into squares and serve with the chilli opposite while it is still warm

Sunday, 22 January 2017

Sausage and Tomato Casserole


8 sausages cut onto 5 pieces making 32 pieces
2 onions, very finely chopped
1 x 400g can chickpeas
2 cans chopped tomatoes
200mls water
1 x 10g chicken or pork stock cube
pinch sugar
2 tbsp vinegar
200g frozen peas
salt and pepper


Heat a thick-bottomed shallow saucepan.

Add the sausages and gently saute for 2-3 minutes to take a bit of colour.

Add the onions, chickpeas, tomatoes, water, stock cube, sugar and vinegar.

Bring to simmer and cook for 15 minutes, until reduced slightly.

Add the peas and warm through for 5 minutes.

Finally season with a little salt and pepper and serve.