Archives for category: Savoury

Super easy, super good. Best cooked on the barbecue, but at this time of year in the UK, the oven is probably a better bet. This is the best all round, guaranteed to be liked by everyone, marinade I have found: sticky, a bit sweet, but not too cloying. I think it tastes like it could be a home made marinade but without any hassle and under £2 a bottle.

Chicken drumsticks
Sainsburys Taste the Difference BBQ & Brown Ale marinade (one bottle is sufficient for 20-30 drumsticks)

Put the drumsticks into a large bowl or – even easier and less messy – a large strong freezer bag. Cover in marinade and stir or shake to ensure all pieces are covered. Leave in the fridge overnight. Remove from the fridge 30 mins before cooking. Preheat oven to 180 degrees. Tip drumsticks into a large oven proof dish or tin – ideally big enough to cook the drumsticks in a single layer. Cook, uncovered, for about 25 mins, basting and turning at least once. Either serve immediately, or leave to cool completely before putting in the fridge.




This is one of my absolute favourite recipes. I love that it is different every time, depending on the proportions and variety of fish etc used, but every time it is so delicious. It is seriously good, although I should warn you that it creates a lot of washing up, and the kitchen will look like a bomb site. Bizarrely, the recipe was a promotional ad for Sensodyne toothpaste in the December 2008 edition of Observer Food Monthly – no, I don’t understand either.

900ml full fat milk
1 small onion, peeled and quartered but with the root intact
2 bay leaves
3-4 sprigs fresh thyme
1kg fresh fish and seafood – eg 250g salmon; 350g cod; 150g smoked haddock; 150g prawns; 100g scallops
50g plain flour
3 tbsp plain flour
3 tbsp chopped parsley
3 tbsp double cream
4 hard-boiled eggs, shelled and quartered lengthways
1.5kg floury potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
50g butter
5 tbsp double cream
150g grated cheddar

Pour the milk into a large pan and add the onion, bay leaves and thyme. Place the fish into the pan and bring to a gentle simmer. Cook over a low heat for 10 mins, the set aside for a further 10 mins. Drain the fish through a colander, discard the onion, thyme and reserve the infused milk.

Boil the potatoes for 15-18 mins until soft. Drain well then mash with the butter until smooth. Season to taste. Preheat the oven to 190 degrees.

Melt the butter in a saucepan and stir in the flour. Cook for about 30 seconds, the gradually add the milk, stirring constantly. Cook for about five minutes until the sauce is thickened and smooth. Season well and stir in the parsley and cream.

Remove any skin from the fish and discard (NB put in the outside bin straight away to stop the house smelling of fish). Flake into large pieces. Add the fish, prawns and scallops to the sauce and fold in gently. Put the egg in then bottom of a two litre ovenproof dish then spoon over the fish mixture. Top with the mashed potato and use the back of a fork to ensure that it goes right to the edge and to make a ridged pattern. Sprinkle over the grated cheese. Place on a baking tray and bake for 30 mins until piping hot (add a further ten minutes if made in advance). Serve with peas.




I made this for the first time earlier this week for dinner with friends. Wow – it was good! Easy to do (well, lining the tin is a bit fiddly, but the actual cooking isn’t), though it has to be made well in advance – start it two days before needed. If we weren’t having pork for Christmas, this would definitely be on the menu, especially as it keeps well too. I found the recipe on the BBC Good Food website here

400g pork fillet
2 cloves of garlic
5 sprigs fresh thyme
2 tbsp whisky
12 good quality sausages
250g unsalted pistachios in shells / 100g unsalted pistachios
8 ready to eat dried apricots
1 1/2 packs smoked, rindless streaky bacon
Salt and pepper
Butter for greasing

Dice the pork fillet, removing any fat or sinewy bits. Crush the garlic and put in a large bowl with the pork, thyme and whisky. Cover with cling film and leave in the fridge overnight to marinade. The next day, slit open the sausages (I use scissors to do this) and put the meat into the bowl with the other pork. Shell and add the pistachios, season well and mix thoroughly. Prepare a 1 lb loaf tin by lightly buttering it, placing the remaining sprigs of thyme along the bottom and lining it with streaky bacon. Take your time on this bit, ensuring that the rashers overlap and there are no gaps. The ends are tricky – use more rashers and press well to get it to stick. Spoon half of the meat into the tin and press down well. Arrange the apricots in a line down the middle, then add the rest of meat. Press down well then cover the top with more rashers of bacon lengthways and then tuck the ends of the rashers lining the tin over the top. Ensure that there are no gaps. Cover with a piece of buttered foil (butter side down!) and place the tin in a large roasting tin then half fill with boiling water. Cook in the middle of the oven for about an hour at 180 degrees.

Allow to cool then place in the fridge with a piece of cardboard and some tins on the top to press it down. Leave overnight. To remove from the tin, dip it briefly in boiling water (not too long as I did, or the butter and jelly all melts and seeps out!) then turn onto a serving board. Slice as required – these quantities make a terrine that will easily serve 12 or more. Serve with cornichons, chutney and crusty bread.



A brilliant supper. Easy, nutritious, can be made in advance, and my daughter can feed it to herself. What’s not to like? The grated courgette is a good way to sneak some extra veg into the meal and also makes the meat go further. I like to serve this with peas on the side, for some contrast and some colour on the plate, but they could be added into the mix too. In fact, the recipe can be varied to accommodate whatever is in the fridge (eg no onions, as we have run out; splash of passata as we had some to use up; Parmesan instead of cheddar, to give a crisper topping). A perfect end of the week meal.


500g lean beef mince
1 stock cube
1 dssp Worcester sauce
Salt & pepper
2 medium carrots, peeled and cut into small chunks
1 courgette, coarsely grated
75g passata
2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into large chunks
4 large potatoes, peeled and cut into medium chunks
Butter and milk
50g cheddar, grated


Brown the meat in a large pan on a low heat. Crumble in the stock cube and add the Worcester sauce. Add a splash of water and / or olive oil if it starts to stick. Season well. Stir in the carrots then the courgette and leave to cook for about five minutes. Stir in the passata and taste – adjust seasoning as required. When the carrots are starting to soften, turn off the heat and spoon into an oven proof dish. Allow to cool slightly. Meanwhile, boil the sweet potatoes and potatoes in a large pan until really soft. Take off the heat, add a splash of milk and a knob of butter and seasoning to taste, then mash until smooth and mixed together. Spoon over the meat and use the back of a fork to spread the mash so that it completely covers it. Go right to the edges to prevent the meat bubbling up and out during cooking. Make ridges across the top with the fork then sprinkle over the grated cheese. Cook at 180 degrees for about 45 minutes or until the top is brown andbthe meat piping hot. Serve immediately on its own or with additional veg.



Perfect for chilly mornings! We’re eating this almost every day at the moment, as it’s my son’s favourite breakfast. It’s quite hard to refuse when he asks for it: “No, you can’t have a warm and wholesome filling breakfast, go and get a bowl of cold processed cereal”….. Really? It’s very easy to make, the only downside is starting the day with a pan to wash up. The quantities below make enough for two adults, or one adult and two small children. Serve plain (as per my daughter), with sugar (as per my son), with golden syrup (my favourite) or anything else you like.

1 mug rolled oats (as big as possible)
1 mug milk
1 mug water

Heat a pan on a low heat and tip the oats in. Stir quickly for about a minute to slightly toast them then add the milk and water. Bring to the boil and reduce the heat so that it gently bubbles and the surface ‘pops’ occasionally. Stir from time to time. It is ready when most of the liquid has been absorbed and the oats are soft – about 5 minutes, but this will vary depending on the oats used. Spoon into bowls and add any toppings whilst hot.



This is simply gorgeous: frugal (it ekes another meal out of a roast chicken), healthy and really tasty. A favourite in our house! The ingredients below are approximate and most of the veggies can be substituted for whatever Is festering in the fridge asking to be used up. These quantities give four good helpings. It keeps for a few days, and tastes even better the next day.

One medium leek, halved lengthways and sliced
Half a medium courgette, grated
One stick of celery, washed well and sliced
One litre of chicken stock (preferably home made)
One good bowlful of cold roast chicken (use the brown meat from the carcass for best flavour)
Two good handfuls of pearl barley, cooked according to instructions
Quarter of a savoy cabbage, shredded
Olive oil

Heat the oil in a deep pan on a gentle heat and gently cook the leeks. Add a little salt to stop it burning and stir occasionally to stop it sticking. After about five minutes add the courgette then the celery and cook gently for a further five to ten minutes until all the vegetables are soft but not brown. Add the stock and turn the heat up until it is bubbling. Add the chicken and pearl barley and season well. Finally, add the cabbage and cook for at least five minutes, or leave until needed. Serve with hunks of bread.



Another savoury, thrown together dish using up some more home grown tomatoes. A very quick and healthy supper based on the classic fish and chips. Not a patch on the proper thing from the takeaway aron the corner, but definitely kinder to the waistline!

The quantities below are a bit approximate, as it’s not exactly precision cooking. This was enough for two people.

Large piece of cod
3 large handfuls of fresh tomatoes
3 rashers of smoky bacon
Balsamic vinegar
Half a packet of easy cook polenta

Cut cod in half and place – skin side down – in an ovenproof dish. Cut the tomatoes if necessary into even, bite sized pieces and scatter over the cod. Snip the bacon into small pieces and scatter over too. Season well and splash some balsamic vinegar over it all. Slice the polenta into even, thin strips and spread over a metal baking tray. Pu the polenta into the top of the oven at 200 degrees, put the cod towards the bottom. Cook for about 15 minutes, turning the polenta chips over after 8-10 minutes (if they stick give them a few minutes more). Boil the peas once the polenta chips have been turned. Serve all together.