Weekly menu 12

All British classics this week, some with a twist (of course).  For Friday’s classic CTM you will need to marinade the chicken overnight, it’s takes 10 mins to throw the marinade together then into the fridge and it will work it’s magic.  Hope you enjoy!

Saturday: Toad in the hole and onion gravy
Sunday: Cumberland pie 
Monday: Cauliflower, cheese and bacon tart
Tuesday: Ham and pea soup
Wednesday:Veggie crumble
Thursday: Cod and chips Cajun style
Friday: Classic Chicken Tikka Masala

Toad in the hole and onion gravy
75 g plain flour
1 large egg
75 ml milk
1 tsp white wine vinegar
1-2 tsp dried herbs (depends on how herby you want it)
6-8 good quality pork sausages (or any meat sausages you like)
2 tbsp vegetable oil

For the gravy:
2 red onions, finely sliced
1 tsp thyme leaves
25 g butter
1 tbsp flour
500 ml chicken stock, hot
Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp English mustard

Make the batter by sieving the flour with a pinch of salt into a mixing bowl, then add in the dried herbs. Whisk the egg in a jug with the milk and add 75 ml cold water and the vinegar.  Add the liquid to the dry mixture and whisk until you get a smooth batter. Make this a little ahead of time so it can rest for at least 30 mins.

Heat the oven to 210C / gas 7.  Put the sausages in a roasting tin and cook for about 15–20 mins until golden. Add the oil to the tin after 10 mins.

Pour the batter over the sausages, return the tin to the oven, and bake for another 35-40 mins – until the batter is puffed and crisp.

Make the gravy while the toad is in the oven. Soften the onions and thyme leaves in the butter for 5-10 mins – they should just start to get some colour. Stir in the flour and continue cooking, stirring all the time, for another minute.

Take off the heat, then gradually pour in the hot stock and add the Worcestershire sauce and English mustard. Taste and season if necessary.  Put back on the heat and bring the sauce to a boil, stirring all the time, and simmer for about 10-15 mins. Serve poured over the toad in the hole.

Cumberland pie
2 celery sticks, sliced into 1cm pieces
1 onion , chopped
2 really big carrots , halved lengthways then sliced into thick chunks
5 bay leaves
3 thyme sprigs
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tbsp butter
2 tbsp each plain flour, tomato purée and Worcestershire sauce
2 beef stock cubes (I use Knorr stock pot, 1 beef and 1 rich beef)
850 g braising steak, cut into large chunks
850 g large potatoes
25 g each mature cheddar and Parmesan , finely grated

 Heat oven to 160 C/gas 3.  Soften celery, onion, carrots, bay and 1 thyme sprig in a casserole with 1 tbsp oil and the butter for 10 mins. Stir in the flour, then the purée, Worcestershire sauce and stock cubes.

Add in 600 ml hot water, then tip in the beef and bring to a gentle simmer. Cover and cook in the oven for 2 hrs 30 mins, then uncover and cook for 30 mins -1 hr more until the meat is really tender and sauce thickened.

Meanwhile, cook potatoes in a pan of boiling water until they’re not done but about ¾ of the way there.

Transfer meat to a baking dish. Slice the potatoes into 1cm thick rounds and gently toss with seasoning, the remaining oil and thyme leaves. Layer on top of the beef, scattering with the cheese as you layer.

Increase oven to 200 C/gas 6 and bake for 30-40 mins until golden and crispy, and sauce bubbling. Serve with peas or other veg of your choice.

Cauliflower, cheese and bacon tart
500 g pack shortcrust pastry
1 small cauliflower, broken into small florets
4 rashers smoked bacon, roughly chopped
1 onion, diced
3 eggs, beaten
500 ml creme fraiche
small bunch chives, chopped
100 g strong cheddar, grated

Preheat to oven to 170C/gas 3. Grease a 23cm loose bottomed flan tin.

On a lightly floured surface, roll the pastry to the thickness of a pound coin and line the flan tin, gently pushing the pastry into the corners and trimming off the excess.

Line the pastry with greaseproof paper and weight it down with ceramic baking beans (I used to use washed 1p’s from my change pot until I got baking beans and they worked fine). Bake for 15 minutes, then remove the beans and greaseproof paper and bake for a further 8 minutes, or until the pastry is pale golden.

Put the cauliflower into a pan of boiling water, then simmer for 5 minutes until it starts to soften, drain and set aside.

In a frying pan, add a splash of oil and fry the bacon until brown. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside. Turn the heat down and gently cook the onion in the same pan for 3-4 minutes, or until soft. Add the cauliflower to the pan and give everything a good stir.  Then put the cauliflower, bacon and onions into the pastry case and spread out evenly.

In a bowl, combine the eggs, crème fraiche, chives and half the cheese and season well with salt and pepper.

Pour the egg mixture into the pastry case and top with the remaining cheese. Cook in the oven for 30 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and the tart cooked through with just a slight wobble in the centre. Serve with salad, or steamed veg of your choice.

Ham and pea soup
1 onion, finely chopped
3 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
50 g butter
900 g frozen peas
2 tbsp flour
500 g cooked ham, diced into 1-2 cm cubes
1500 ml ham stock
500 ml milk
Salt and ground pepper
Creme fraiche
Chopped parsley

Heat the butter in a heavy based pan and sauté the onion and garlic for 5 minutes. Add the flour and cook for about 3 minutes.

Next add the stock, stirring continuously, then the milk. Bring to the boil, add the peas and cook for about 5 minutes. Purée in a blender in batches so as not to over fill and have it explode all over the kitchen.

Return the soup to a clean pan. Season, add the ham and simmer gently for another 10 mins. Purée again and serve with a dollop of crème fraiché and a sprinkling of chopped parsley. You can skip the second purée stage if you want a chunky texture.

Veggie crumble
400 ml vegetable stock
 450 g celeriac, peeled and diced
3 carrots, peeled and diced
3 small sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
2 leeks, sliced
200 ml tub crème fraîche
2 tbsp plain flour
 1 tbsp wholegrain mustard
1 tsp thyme leaves
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried marjoram

For the crumble:
50 g butter, diced
50 g plain flour
50 g ground almonds
50 g Parmesan, grated
25 g flaked almonds

Preheat the heat oven to 190C/gas 5

Bring the stock to the boil in a large pan, then tip in the celeriac, carrots and sweet potato and gently boil for 6 minutes. Then add the leeks. Cover the pan and simmer for a further 8 mins.

Beat the crème fraîche with the flour and mustard. Stir into the vegetables until thickened, then add the thyme and dried herbs, taste and season well. Allow to cool a little.

For the crumble, rub the butter into the flour and ground almonds. Season, then stir in the Parmesan and flaked almonds. Spoon the veggie filling into small ovenproof dishes (or a large one if you don’t have little ones) and scatter the crumble on top.

Bake for 30-35 mins until golden and serve. This is a great, easy veggie main or really different side dish for grilled meat main.

Cod and chips Cajun style

Cajun seasoning:
6 tbsp smoked paprika
4 tsp salt
4 tsp dried minced garlic, such as Schwartz
4 tsp crushed chillies
2 tsp coarsely ground black pepper
2 tsp dried oregano
2 tsp ground coriander

Put all your ingredients into a jar and shake well. This will keep well in an airtight jar like all other spices. You can of course tweak the amounts according to your own personal taste. Now you have your own Cajun seasoning to use as a dry rub on meat or fish or to add to sauces.

750 g King Edward potatoes, cut into thick chips
3 tbsp sunflower oil, plus extra for shallow frying
25 g plain flour
50 g dried breadcrumbs
3 tsp Cajun seasoning
2 tbsp chopped parsley
1 lime, zest only
600 g thick cod fillets, cut into chunky slices
1 egg

Preheat the oven to 220C/gas 7. Blanch the potatoes in boiling water for 3 minutes and drain well, allow the majority of the steam to have come off the chips. Heat the oil in a heavy-based roasting tin till it’s really hot then add the chips. Coat well and bake for 20-25 minutes, turning occasionally until golden and cooked.

Place the flour on a plate and season. Place the breadcrumbs on another and stir in the spices, parsley, lime zest and season again. Beat the egg in a separate bowl. Dip the fish in the flour, shake off any excess and then dip in the egg. Finally roll in the breadcrumbs mixture and set to one side until all of the fish is coated. Heat a centimetre or so of oil in a large frying pan, and fry the cod in batches, turning until golden. keep warm (on a plate or tray in the bottom of the oven) and repeat with the remaining fish.

Serve with your oven chips, sprinkled with a little paprika (if you like) with a squeeze of lime on your fish, mayo and ketchup. I also like to heat up baked beans add some of the Cajun seasoning and have those as well.

Classic Chicken Tikka Masala
1/2 fresh red chilli, deseeded
1 clove of garlic, peeled
15 g fresh ginger
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tsp paprika (or chilli powder if you want more heat)
1/2 tbsp garam masala
1 tsp tomato puree
Small handful fresh coriander stalks (leaves picked and chopped and reserved for serving)

400 g chicken breast, diced into bite sized pieces
1 small onion, peeled and sliced
1/2 red pepper, deseeded and sliced
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp turmeric
400 g tinned plum tomatoes
100 ml plain yoghurt
50 ml single cream

For the marinade. Put the chilli, garlic, ginger and vegetable oil in the food processor and whizz to a paste. Then add the paprika, garam masala and tomato puree, plus the coriander stalks, and blitz again to a smooth paste. Place the chicken pieces in a large bowl, coat them with the marinade (and if you fancy it rub it in well with your hands). Then cover the bowl with cling film and leave in the fridge overnight.

The next day:
Put a large pan on a medium heat and add a little vegetable oil (if you want you can use Ghee), fry the onion, pepper and spices gently for about 10 minutes then add the tin of tomatoes and the yoghurt. Add the chicken pieces and simmer gently for about 20 minutes until your chicken is cooked. Stir through the cream and chopped coriander leaves just before serving. Serve with fluffy boiled rice and nann bread.

For a twist, cook your rice with cumin seeds and chopped coriander, start by adding a little oil to your pan add the cumin seeds and rice, mix to coat well and fry for 30 seconds, then add your coriander and water (based on 1 cup rice to 1.75 cups water) and once boiled and water has been absorbed, take off the heat and cover the pan with a tea towel to absorb the steam, this will take about 10-12 mins, then mix well with a fork. You might need to keep the tea towel on for a bit longer depending on how much steam there is but you will end up with lovely fluffy, delicately flavoured rice.

(Credits: Good Food Magazine, Matt Dawson, Love Your Greens, Jamie Oliver, Andy Bates, JJ Moola’s Kitchen)


One Comment Add yours

  1. Natalie says:

    My next venture will be to try cod and chips cajun style doesn’t look complicated so I will let you know how I get on.

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