Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Slow cooked pork belly and chorizo stew

We were a bit greedy last night and had two courses! We were lucky enough to be given a beautiful piece of venison fillet from Tim's friend at work, as he's always raving about it! I'd never had it before so wasn't sure what to expect. I simply pan fried it in olive oil for about 3 minutes each side, then served rare on a bed of rocket and watercress. I wasn't disappointed-the meat was very lean and soft, with a strong irony taste. A real treat.

For our main we had a hearty slow cooked stew with pork belly, chorizo, butter beans and greens. This is one of those meals that takes a long time to cook in the oven, but once you've got it in you can just leave it and forget about it. I think it's a real winner, and the quantities can be easily doubled to feed a crowd.

Ok so to serve 3-4 people you will need:
500g boneless pork belly, skin removed
150g chorizo, papery skin removed
1 large onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 tsp paprika
400g tin of chopped tomatoes
100ml red wine
400g tin butter beans
A few good handfuls of curly kale or sliced spring greens.

First of all, heat the oven to 130'C/Gas 3.
Cut the pork belly into large chunks. Heat the oil in an ovenproof casserole. Fry the pork (in batches, if necessary) until starting to turn golden brown. This will take about 5 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.
Now gently fry the onions and garlic for a few minutes, until softened. While this is cooking, cut the chorizo into small chunks. Add the chorizo and paprika and cook for a minute.

Return the pork to the pan, then add the tinned tomatoes and red wine. The liquid should cover the contents-if not, add a splash of water. Stir, season, and cook in the oven for 2 hours.

Remove from the oven and add the curly kale and the tin of butter beans. Stir to combine. Return to the oven for a final 30 minutes.

Serve ladled into bowls, with some warm crusty bread and a good red wine. Tuck in!

Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Satisifed customer!

Well my Graze box arrived today and although the portions were quite small, the selection I received was delicious! They were each in a little individual sealed box: pitted kalamata olives in herbs;almonds,dark choc pieces and cherries;spicy japanese maize and broad bean crisps; organic mango,raisins and chocolate covered hazelnuts. Who knew healthy food could be so tempting! I've managed to save two boxes for tomorrow, but Toby did demolish the olives in about 30 seconds.
Stay tuned for tonight's recipe: slow cooked belly pork stew. Mmmmm

Sunday, 28 March 2010

Hell yeah!

What a treat on a Sunday afternoon...Ben's cookies are the ultimate gooey cookie. Great with a cup of tea and the papers. There's only a handful of stores in the country (where they are baked fresh daily), but don't panic! You can buy them online at
I recommend the triple chocolate chunk. You can also get white chocolate, peanut butter, chocolate orange and loads more-including oatmeal and raisin, which sounds vaguely healthy.

Saturday, 27 March 2010

Yummy Thai

My folks are staying for the weekend, so despite being at work today I was looking forward to cooking them a nice dinner. You can't beat a curry on a Saturday night, so we had a chicken Thai red curry. Here's how I do it:
Start by heating aboubt 1 tbsp of groundnut oil in wok (this adds an authentic nutty aftertaste to Thai food, rather than just using vegetable oil). Add 2 heaped tbsp Thai red curry paste and allow to sizzle for a few seconds until it releases its fragrance. Tip in one can of coconut milk and stir to combine. Add some chicken breast pieces (about 800g for 4 people), bring to the boil then reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Add 1 large sliced pepper and a few good handfuls of green beans and continue simmering for another 10 minutes. Add a splash of water to the pan if it appears dry. Check the meat is cooked- if so, switch off the heat. Stir through 100g cashew nuts before serving. Serve with basmati rice and a generous sprinkling of coriander for that real fresh taste. Oh and don't forget a couple of spring rolls. Delicious!

I'd like to say I prepared a lovely homemade dessert, but after the amount of wine we consumed it was simply a bowl of chocolate ice cream. I love Saturday nights, and love my parents. Of course it does help to have a certain little ginger man around to pour the wine.
Enjoy your weekend everyone xxx

Friday, 26 March 2010

Friday night pasta

A quick and easy meal for a lazy Friday night...good old pasta bake, with extra cherry tomatoes in the sauce and brocolli on the side. I have to say at times like these I am a big fan of Dolmio's no-need-to-boil-the-pasta sauce! The secret to getting a crunchy topping is to sprinkle dried breadcrumbs over the cheese before cooking. My mum used to use crushed ready salted crisps which was also very effective. Sometimes you just can't beat that stodgy post-carb feeling.

This might just be my new favourite thing..

I have to credit my good friend Cat for finding this one! Go to and enter promotional code BCQNPY9F to receive a free trial box containing an array of dried or fresh fruit,nuts,seeds,olives and the odd chocolate button! Free delivery to your door- you can choose what day and they will even deliver them to your workplace, so they're perfect for that 4 o clock slump. Just ordered mine and looking forward to seeing what I'll get!

Kitchen's open! Time for breakfast..

My son Toby enjoying his breakfast of porridge with honey, and some slices of melon on the side. We both have a sweet tooth so porridge has to be made with milk and honey, rather than the more traditional but much less appealing water and salt.

A cheeky chocolate brioche after for Toby,
and for me a morning essential- Earl Grey tea
with wholemeal toast
and jam.


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