Chilli rarebit

Chilli_rarebiteI was feeling hungry, so stale bread, left-over soured cream and a glut of chillies (due to the sunny weather), resulted in this snack recipe. Chilli rarebit is usually made with chilli jam or chutney, but raw chillies seem perfectly OK. Enough for 2 people:

  • 4 small red chillies (deseeded and finely chopped)
  • 100g mature cheddar (finely grated)
  • 2 tbsp soured cream
  • 6 small (or 4 large) slices of wholemeal bread (toasted)
  • Black pepper

Mash the chilli, cheese and cream together with a fork. Spread the mixture evenly over the slices of toast.

Grill until the cheese starts to brown. Dust with black pepper and serve.



Baked eggs with spring greens and mashed potato


This recipe was a result using up left-overs the evening before a long Easter weekend away. Serves 2:

  • 1 tbsp oil (and extra for greasing the cooking dish)
  • 1 medium sized onion (chopped)
  • 1 clove garlic (finely chopped/crushed)
  • Mashed potato (I had about 250ml by volume)
  • 100g spring greens (washed, the stems removed, and then finely shredded and boiled in a small amount of water for 2 minutes)
  • 4 large eggs
  • 80g cheddar (coarsely grated)
  • Black pepper (to taste)
  • Hot chilli sauce (optional)

Heat the oil in a large pan. Add the onion and cook gently for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in the garlic and cook for further 2 minutes. ‘Crumble’ in the mashed potato and then stir in the greens. Heat for 5 minutes (stirring occasionally).

Tip the contents of the pan into a large oven proof dish (large enough to contain the mixture so that there are four ‘nests’ into which the eggs can be broken). Break an egg into each nest, sprinkle the grated cheese over the top (of the mixture and eggs) and season with black pepper.

Cook in the oven at 180C (Gas Mark 4) for about 12 minutes (I did not pre-heat the oven), or until the egg whites are firm, but the yolks still runny.

I served mine with some sliced mushrooms (which happened to be in the fridge), which I cooked in 20g of butter for about 4 minutes, and then seasoned with black pepper.

Smoked haddock fishcakes


I had some leftover mashed potato and some frozen smoked haddock so I made these fish cakes – enough for two:

  • 300ml mashed potato
  • 100g smoked haddock
  • Black pepper (to taste)
  • Lemon juice (a good squeeze)
  • Plain flour
  • Oil (for frying)

Cook the fish according to the instructions – I allowed mine to defrost and then microwaved it on high for a minute. Allow the fish to cool and remove the skin, before kneading it together the mashed potato, pepper and lemon juice. Divide the mixture into 4 equal pieces, and on a floured board, form into 4 cakes (I used a medium plain cookie cutter as a mould). Coat each cake with a thin layer of flour.

Heat a little oil in a large frying pan, and place each cake in the pan, over a gentle heat. Cook for about 5 minutes on each side, or until the cakes have browned and are thoroughly heated through. Add more oil as necessary.

I served mine with mayonnaise flavoured with a combination of sweet chilli sauce and hot chilli sauce, and some rocket.


Shepherds pie


I had some meat left over from slow roasted lamb, so I decided to make a shepherds pie. Enough for 3:

  • Cold lamb (chopped – the amount I used covered a standard sized saucer – see photo above)
  • 30g brown lentils (rinsed, cooked in water (should take about 20 minutes from boiling) and drained)
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 onion (chopped)
  • 1 carrot (chopped)
  • 1 stick of celery (chopped)
  • 1 clove garlic (finely chopped/crushed)
  • 200g tinned chopped tomatoes (1/2 of a normal sized can)
  • A pinch of dried oregano
  • Black pepper
  • 1/3rd beef stock cube
  • Hot water
  • 3 medium sized potatoes
  • 20g butter

Heat the oil in a saucepan. Add the onion, carrot and celery, and cook gently for 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Stir in the tomatoes, crumble in the stock cube, add the oregano and some black pepper, and mix well.  Top up with hot water, so the mixture doesn’t get too dry. Bring to the boil and simmer for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, peel the potatoes and cut into small cubes and cook in a pan of water. When cooked, drain and return to the pan over a low heat to ‘dry out’. Mash with the butter and add black pepper to taste.

When the tomato and vegetable mixture is cooked, stir in the cold lamb. Pour into a shallow ovenproof dish, and gently place the mashed potato on top.

Cook in the oven at 180C (Gas Mark 4) for 30 minutes, or until the top begins to brown and the whole dish is piping hot. Serve.

Left-over lamb tagine


I had the remains of a slow-roast half leg of lamb left over from the weekend, so I made a tagine – for 2:

  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 onion (chopped)
  • 2 small red chillies (cored, deseeded and finely chopped)
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tsp ground cummin
  • 2 cloves of garlic (chopped or crushed)
  • 6 dates (stoned and roughly chopped)
  • 4 soft dried apricots (each cut into eight pieces)
  • 12 raisins
  • 1/2 can of chopped tomatoes
  • 300ml of lamb stock (I had some in the freezer – you could use a beef stock cube, or beef/chick stock cubes 50/50)
  • 1 carrot (cut into smallish pieces)
  • 1 parsnip (peeled and cut into smallish pieces)
  • 100g swede (peeled and cut into smallish pieces)
  • Cold roast lamb – cut into smallish pieces

Heat the oil in a thick bottomed saucepan. add the onion and cook gently for 5 minutes. Stir in  the chillies, the spices and the garlic and cook for another 3 minutes.

Add all the other ingredients except the lamb. Mix well and bring to the boil. Simmer gently until all the vegetables are cooked (about 45 minutes). Stir in the lamb and turn up the heat so that the meat is pipping hot.

Serve with couscous.

Christmas left-overs – braised red cabbage

Toad in the holeXmas_left-overs with left-over braised red cabbage.

This time I made the toad in the hole using goose fat (another left-over) instead of oil – I think it improved the flavour and the ‘crunchiness’. I also used normal sized sausages (two each).

The red cabbage was mainly consumed on Christmas Day. Then some it disappeared in roast goose sandwiches – wholemeal bread, mayonnaise, slices of roast goose, apple sauce, cold braised red cabbage and lettuce – delicious!  The remainder accompanied the toad in the hole.

Enough for 6 as a side dish:

  • 500g shredded red cabbage
  • 1 large onion (sliced)
  • 2 apples (peeled, cored and sliced – I used 2 cox’s apples which were past their best (a bit soft))
  • 1 clove garlic (crushed)
  • A pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
  • A generous pinch of cinnamon
  • 6 juniper berries (ground/crushed)
  • 1 tbsp wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • black pepper
  • 3 tbsp water

Mix together all the ingredients in a large bowl. Tip into an oven-proof casserole dish. Cook in the oven at 150C (Gas Mark 2) for at least two hours. Stir occasionally and add more water if necessary. Can be frozen, or kept in the fridge for about a week. Easily reheats in the microwave.