Food cooking and eating – stories and ideas from a passionate foodie

Archive for June, 2016

Some simple cooking escapades…

I’ve had a lot of celebratory meals recently – had a big birthday!  That will be for another post…but for now, some lovely simple stuff, which after much pushing by my wife, I am finally learning to stick to her mantra!


Roasted Ham with honey and soy sauce

So, here we go. This first is cheating. The ham cooks in 50 minutes, and it comes with it’s own sachet of sauce. Can be part of a £10 deal, as this was. (we all know who we mean…). It says ‘serves 2 or 3’. We find with judicious additions of good vegetables, it serves two meals twice for us…Easy to carve, too.  I made the sweet potato, carrot and parsnip mash.  The broccoli in cheese sauce?  Cheated, in oven for 25 mins.  Delish!

Next day? See below.  Second half of the broccoli. Chips, done in the oven (Peel and chip your spuds. 5 minutes microwave on full. Drain. Then,into a baking tray with hot (olive) oil, and sea salt. 25 mins at 180c. Turn a couple of times during cooking). And lovely weather to eat outside.

Tomatoes were a 5 mins in with the chips, late addition.  They warm through, look good as a splash of colour, and taste divine.  Small, vine ripened, and you can taste the difference!

Next?  Fish pie.  £3 for a fish pie mix from a supermarket. This is it just molten – having been 25 minutes at 170c in the oven.  I poached the fish in milk first for 5 minutes.  Used the milk to make a cheese sauce (cheddar plus some fresh Parmesan – adds zing).  I used cornflour to thicken for speed, rather than a roux (Chefs – just stop moaning – it’s not for customers it’s for me and Janie!) Finely mashed potato – slightly overcooked, and more milk than I would use if this was for plain mash.  Makes it lump free easier, and stops it drying out. Used Parmesan and a few dots of butter on top.  I also covered it in foil for in the oven, to stop drying, and then took it off for last 5 mins, to let it brown.

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Just out of the oven

Does that fill the ‘simple enough’ criteria? OK – cheese sauce a bit of a fiddle, but I much prefer knowing what I have put in it than buying a ready made one…And mash is one of life’s hyper comfort foods, don’t you think?





And here it is ready to eat.  And again, we got 4 meals out of this – making it quite a bargain.

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Fish has had mudrooms added…

Looks good enough to eat!  Loved it, and felt quite summery. Again, keeping it simple with just some peas.  As the say “You have to give Peas a chance” (Sorry)






What next? Finally – a simple and wildly exotic salad. Yes, outside again. Just layering the salad to fully cover the plate, add the cooked bits and eat quickly. Healthy, fast and simple!

Happy cooking. And keep it simple.

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Pan fried lamb steak, with large mushrooms mixed salad and balsamic dressing, plus tomotoes

Beef Stroganoff – again!

Beef stroganoff

Beef Stroganoff and a few ripped parsley leaves

Yes, and I added a few tomatoes later…

This is one of my standards.  We all have between 5 and 10, apparently, where we do not need a recipe, and can almost do it blind folded!

Just for once, we couldn’t find fillet steak in a small enough pack (sorry butchers, this was a spur of the moment thang…and we only had boring supermarkets to choose from…) So, an excellent piece of rump (the butchers favourite.  It just takes a little longer to cook.

Ingredients: (serves 2)

  • One red onion, peeled and chopped into large chunks – so cut in half, then 90 degrees to that.  Petals of onion really
  • Steak – chopped into caterpillar sized pieces – about 6 to 8 ounces
  • Large flat mushroom – same shape and size as the steak
  • Glass of white wine
  • Half a tub of crème fraiche
  • Salt, pepper, and NUTMEG – unusual but essential for the different flavour sensation
  • Rice to serve with – we use Basmati.  13 minutes on minimum water method.

Start the rice first – 5 fluid ounces of rice (look, I know it’s not liquid, but get your measuring jugs out!).  Put an acorn of butter in a saucepan.  Boil a kettle – you only need haf a pint for this.  Add the rice to the melted butter.  Swizzle it around.  Ad salt, and some (1/2 tsp) of dried powdered coriander if you like it).  Then add 10 fluid ounce of boling water.  Swiggle that around, making sure al rice granules are under water.  Put lid on.  Minimise the heat.  Set timer for 13 minutes (exactly).  Then don’t touch it!

Get the frying an going with a dessert spoon of oil in it.  When warmed, ad the onions.  Let them get to glistening point (keeping them moving) – about 3 minutes.  Add the steak (would do this later for fillet).  Keep it moving for 3 minutes.  Add the mushrooms – swiggle about again.  Another 3 or 4 minutes, add the wine, salt and pepper.  Add the crème fraiche, and the 1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg. Heat to minimum.  Rice should be ready, so serve it, and the steak mixture.

Recently had this with purple sprouting broccoli – fab too.

It’s one of those dishes that is different every single time, and I don’t know why!

So, what are your ‘turn to’ dishes?  here’s mine:

  • Beef stroganoff (as above!)
  • Spaghetti Bolognese
  • Any Roast Dinner – especially chicken
  • Apple and/or rhubarb crumble
  • Porridge
  • Phil’s oven chips with ham and eggs (and anything else!)
  • Lasagne
  • Sausage Mash and Onion gravy
  • Beef stew and dumplings and mash
  • Beans on toast!!!

I’d love to hear yours…

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