Homemade Sausages with Cider & Mustard Gravy

  

Bangers and mash must be one of the all-time great comfort foods which for me  instantly brings back memories of childhood.  This weekend I decided that instead of a Sunday roast I would make these lovely big rustic homemade sausages with some cider and mustard gravy.   This is a great way to feed the family – your sausages have a high meat content and you can control exactly what goes in to them and they are also very economical – I used four boneless loin chops which yielded 11 (if I had been more careful there could easily have been 12) good sized sausages and I found 2 was enough for me but my husband demolished 3!   I served the sausages with creamy mash, oven baked carrots and my first sprouts of the season – delicious! [Read more…]

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Chicken wrapped in bacon with Red Pepper Sauce

If I ask my family what they would like me to cook for them it is usually Chicken with Red Pepper Sauce and even my husband, who really dislikes peppers, loves this sauce.  It is great with chicken or fish and I have also served it with pasta. 

The dish itself is a handy one to have in your arsenal if friends or family are coming to dinner – the sauce can be made and chicken wrapped early on or indeed the day before and kept chilled, then all you have to do is cook the chicken and heat the sauce – easy.   Tonight I stuffed my chicken breasts with roasted peppers and tomatoes (sprinkled with olive oil, salt and pepper and roasted for around 40 mins at 200ºC) and creamy mozzarella. I used spanish bacon but I also use pancetta or slices of serrano or parma ham depending on what is available that day. The sauce also freezes well so I often keep any left over sauce in a freezer bag ready for a quick supper for one. [Read more…]

Cottage Pie

One of the first meals my husband ever cooked for me was Cottage Pie and it (or Shepherds Pie if lamb mince is available) is still a firm favourite in our house.  Over the years we have tried out a few different recipes but the one I favour most is that of Gary Rhodes in New British Classics, which forms the basis for the recipe below.  I don’t feel the need to add wine – I like the mince to be savoury but not too rich.  I serve my pies in small pudding bowls and it is a great one-pot dish with no need for anything else, unless of course you wish to add more veg. [Read more…]

Roast Irish Pork Loin with Cider Gravy

 

This evening I cooked the remaining half of the fabulous loin of Irish pork kindly sent to me by Bord Bia.   I decided to cook a traditional sunday roast with rich cider gravy, served with oven baked carrots and potato and spring onion croquettes.

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Irish Loin of Pork – Char Siu Style

 

With much thanks to the lovely people at Bord Bia and the amazing Donal Skehan of the Good Mood Food Blog I was the delighted recipient of a parcel this week containing a wonderful big loin of Irish pork.

The loin was approximately 6lbs in weight and, as there were only 3 of us here this weekend, I decided to cut the loin in to two equal portions which enabled me to cook two very different meals – the first of which was an aromatic, sticky, deeply glazed, roast pork char siu served with noodles.  A 3lb joint will easily serve 4. [Read more…]

Roast Chicken, Moroccan Style

This is a really tasty way to cook chicken, either on the BBQ or roasted in the oven.  I bought a whole chicken and jointed it (you can ask your butcher to do it for you if you prefer) but I often buy packs of chicken thighs for this.  [Read more…]

Butternut Squash & Pancetta Risotto

I think a lot of people are put off making risotto for fear of overcooking or being chained to the cooker for hours on end.   Risotto really isn’t anything to be scared of – once you have everything prepared and to hand then it is simply a matter of 15/20 minutes stirring and you will be well rewarded for your efforts.  The most important thing is to stir almost constantly to help the rice release starch and to absorb the liquid, which should only be added one ladle at a time. [Read more…]

Prawn and Chilli Spaghetti

This recipe is my version of Gordon Ramsay’s Lobster Spaghetti.  I used frozen shell-on (but de-veined) tiger prawns and approx. 3 per person if they are very large.  I used tinned chopped tomatoes because the cherry tomatoes available in local shop at the moment are rather hard and not very sweet.  In the summer I will gladly substitute the tinned variety for some cherry tomatoes – and if you do this you need to put them in before the wine and give them a few minutes to soften, helping them to break down by crushing them slightly in the pan.  If the chillis are not very hot then I add another half or so – I like a bit of heat in this dish. [Read more…]

Spinach & Potato Frittata

I love the frugality of frittata – some eggs, an onion and whatever you have left over or in the fridge can be amalgamated to produce a wonderful, tasty offering in very little time.  I served this frittata with a pea and feta salad. [Read more…]

Lamb Shanks

The last few days (okay, years) have been freezing here in the west of Ireland and yesterday, with the wind howling outside and rain pelting at the windows, I felt like we were still stuck in the depths of winter.  When the weather is like that it I always seek comfort in something hearty for dinner – there is nothing like knowing you have a big pot of stew on the hob or casserole in the oven to make you feel a little bit more cosy.  I tend to cook stews the day before for three reasons – firstly because they generally taste better when all of the ingredients have spent the night mingling together; secondly stews take hours of cooking and after a days work you don’t need to wait that long for dinner; and lastly letting the stew cool down allows any fat to solidify on the surface which makes it much easier to remove before heating up – greasy stew is not nice.   I had 4 rather large shanks – a bit bigger than I prefer but I won’t grumble about the butchers generosity – and they just about fit in my 28cm casserole.  I don’t ever flour the meat before browning – meat has to be browned on a high heat quickly (and without overloading the pan to avoid it steaming) and I find the flour burns and leaves a bitter black residue in the oil, so I tend to add it after the onions have been cooked and flavoured by all of the meaty bits left in the bottom of the pot. [Read more…]

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