Bacon and Cheese Sausage Rolls

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Time to stock up the freezer for the coming Festive Season and the boys and their friends being on holidays for weeks on end!

I make enormous batches of sausage rolls, and freeze them uncooked. All I need to do is defrost and bake them at a later date.

Pre made puff pastry comes in sheets and blocks here, I use the sheets for these to speed up the process, the sheets are roughly 25cm square. They are packaged with plastic between each sheet, i use this to then re freeze the individual rolls.

Each sheet makes 4 large sausage rolls or 16 minis.

Ingredients

550g minced pork

400g bacon, back and streaky, minced

1/2 brown onion, chopped very finely

200g Cheddar cheese, grated

120g fresh bread crumbs

1 tablespoon dried sage

2 teaspoons salt

a very good grinding of fresh pepper

4 sheets ready made puff pastry

1 egg, beaten

2 teaspoons poppy seeds

Method

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Centigrade.

Combine the pork mince, bacon, onion, cheese, breadcrumbs, sage, salt and pepper in a large bowl.

Lay out the sheets of pastry.

Take handfuls of the sausage meat and form into sausages the length of the pastry sheets, lay them onto the pastry.

Take a sharp knife and cut the pastry in half.

Brush the egg along the cut side.

Roll the sausage and pastry towards the cut edge, squeeze the edges together.

Take a fork and press all along the edge.

Brush with the beaten egg, sprinkle with poppy seeds and cut to your desired size.

Repeat with all of the meat.

Place on a baking sheet and bake for 25-35 minutes until golden brown.

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Broccolini with Whole Spices

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The boys have always loved broccoli in any form, now broccolini is challenging for a new favourites spot!

This is based on and Indian dish, Karhai Broccoli, using a stir fry and then steaming method you end up with beautifully flavoured broccolini that still has a little bite.

Ingredients

2 tablespoons ghee

1/8 teaspoon ground asafoetida

1 teaspoon cumin seeds

1 teaspoon whole yellow mustard seeds

500g broccolini, cut into 5-7cm lengths

a  good pinch of salt

a good pinch of ground cayenne

Method

Heat the ghee in a large frying pan or wok that you have a lid for.

Heat over medium to high heat.

Once hot add the asafoetida, cumin and mustard seeds. As soon as the mustard seeds start to pop throw in the broccolini and stir fry for 1 minute.

Add the salt, cayenne and 3 tablespoons of water, bring up to simmer and cover.

Steam for 4-5 minutes and serve.

Slow Roast Chicken with Cashew and Yoghurt Sauce

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We regularly have this chicken dish as part of an Indian inspired meal, I like to serve it with black dhal and broccoli or broccolini cooked with whole spices.

Leftovers are fantastic stuffed in pitta bread and sliced through a green salad.

Don’t throw the bones out! They make a fantastic stock with a hint of spice, ideal for curried parsnip and carrot soup.

Ingredients

2 whole chickens, around 1.6kgs each

2 lemons, juiced

500mls natural yoghurt

100g raw cashew nuts

2 medium onions, chopped

6 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped

60g fresh ginger, peeled and chopped

1 teaspoon cayenne powder

1 teaspoon Kashmiri chilli powder

2 tablespoons garam masala

Method

Combine all the ingredients except the chicken in a food processor and process to form a thick paste.

Take each chicken and score the breast 3-4 times and the thighs 2-3 times. Place in a roasting tin.

Pour the paste over and ensure the outside and cavity of the bird have been covered.

Allow to sit in the fridge for 4-24 hours.

Preheat the oven to 160degrees Centigrade.

Take a large piece of baking parchment, big enough to cover both chooks and to be tucked in at the sides.

Scrunch up the baking parchment under running water and then stretch back out over the chickens, tucking in the ends.

Cover with a large piece of tin foil, ensure there is a complete seal around the tin.

Bake in the oven for 3 hours.

Turn the oven up to 180 degrees Centigrade.

Remove the foil and paper, baste the chickens with the pan juice, return to the oven.

Bake for a further hour, basting regularly.

Remove from the oven and allow to sit, covered,  for 15-20mins.

Serve warm or at room temperature. I like to take all the meat off the bones and chop it roughly with the pan juices poured over the top.

Smokey Beef Chilli with Black Beans

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This is my all time favourite chilli dish, it can be made ahead of time at each stage, freezes well and feeds a crowd!

It is also surprisingly quick to make up before it goes in the oven for a long slow cook. I don’t brown the meat and instead leave the meat in the onion, garlic and spices overnight before throwing in the tomatoes and water, bringing it up to the boil and popping it in the oven.

I buy jarred peeled capsicums, lazy I know, I just check for seeds and then dice them, much easier than peeling fresh and saves time too!

I like my chilli quite thick so I often cook it uncovered for 90mins for the final stage but 60mins gives you a bit more liquid if that’s how you like it.

I serve it with rice, sour cream and a simple non spiced guacamole, avocado, lime and coriander.

I use leftovers to fill tortillas and top nachos or freeze in takeaway boxes as single potions with rice on the side.

Serves 10-12.

2.2kg beef, cubed into 3-5cm pieces

3 red onions, finely diced

8 cloves garlic, minced

2 tablespoons ground coriander

1 tablespoon ground cumin

5 chipotle chillies and their adobe sauce, chopped

3 tablespoons oil

5 skinned and deseeded capsicums

2 dried ancho chillies, soaked for 30mins in very hot water, deseeded and chopped

1 teaspoon cayenne

1 tablespoon smoked sweet paprika

2 tablespoons cocoa

1 tablespoon dark brown sugar

1 tablespoon salt

700mls sieved tomatoes

700mls water

4 tablespoons tomato paste

3x400g tins black beans, drained and rinsed

Method

Combine the beef, onion, garlic, ground cumin and ground coriander in a large bowl or plastic bag, cover and leave overnight in the fridge.

Heat a large pan over medium to low heat, add the oil and once hot, add the contents of the bag except the beef.

Cook until the onion is soft and then add the beef, capsicum, ancho chillies, cayenne and smoked paprika. Stir well.

Preheat the oven to 160degrees Centigrade.

Add the cocoa, sugar, salt, sieved tomatoes, water and tomato paste, stir well and bring up to a simmer.

Cover with a piece of baking parchment and then the lid and place in the oven, bake for 3 hours.

After three hours, add the drained beans, stir well and place back in the oven for 60-90 minutes uncovered, until the chilli has thickened and the meat is falling apart.

 

Sticky Chicken Wings with Whole Grain Mustard and lots of Garlic.

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Chicken wings are massively popular in our house with my boys and their friends!

Ingredients

12 large chicken wings, tips removed

250mls tomato ketchup

4 teaspoons whole grain mustard

4 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce, gluten free

5 clove garlic, crushed

1 tablespoon salt

Method

Combine all of the ingredients in a large plastic bag and marinade for 4-24 hours.

Preheat the oven to 200degrees Centigrade or the barbecue to medium high.

Place the chicken on a baking sheet for the oven or directly on the plate of the barbecue until cooked. Around 40-50mins in the oven and a little quicker on the barbecue.

Red Quinoa Salad with Middle Eastern Influences

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I first started cooking with quinoa a few years ago and always made the same salad, this salad is a huge leap from my previous efforts but we all love it and the flavours really pack a punch!

Leftovers are still lovely and zesty the next day and are super in wraps and pittas. I have also used leftovers to stuff large portobello mushrooms, delicious!

Serves 10.

Ingredients

2 cups red quinoa, cooked as per instructions and cooled completely

2 red onions, very finely sliced

10 Roma tomatoes, deseeded and cut into small cubes

2 lemons, zest of one and juice of both

2 teaspoons sumac

4 tablespoons Za’atar

50mls olive oil

salt  and pepper to taste

Method

Cook the quinoa as per the packet instructions, allow to cool.

Cut the onion up very finely and then set aside in a bowl of water for 10-20 mins.

Dry the onion and assemble the salad.

In a large bowl combine the cooled quinoa, onion, tomatoes and lemon zest, mix well.

In a small jug, combine the lemon juice and oil.

Pour the dressing over the salad, sprinkle over the sumac and 3 tablespoons of Za’atar, mix well.

Season with salt and pepper and check the seasoning.

Spoon into your serving dish and sprinkle over the remaining Za’atar.

 

Meringues

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One of the simplest gluten free treats to make that just about everyone loves.

I like to serve them sandwiched with whipped cream or with strawberries and cream.

Ingredients

4 large egg whites

180g caster sugar

Method

Preheat the oven to 140degrees Centigrade.

Line two baking sheets with baking parchment.

Whisk the egg whites in the bowl until very stiff, you should be able to turn the bowl up and nothing moves!

Start adding the sugar, a dessert spoon at a time, whisking very well in with each addition.

Either spoon the meringue onto the prepared tins or pipe, the meringues above are tiny, around 3cm across.

Pop in the oven and bake for around 45-60mins depending on size, they should lift easily from the paper and sound hollow.

Allow to cool on the baking sheet and then store in an airtight container.