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15 Minute Meal – Pan-fried Haddock with Butter Beans, Kale and Chorizo

My Dad’s girlfriend’s daughter works for one of the fish processing plants in Grimsby. Processing has pretty much replaced actual fishing as the major industry in the area but whichever way you look at it, the fish is damn fresh and super tasty.  A perk of working in the processing plants is often getting sent home with some of the spare product and we recently benefited from this with three massive haddock fillets arriving for our Saturday tea. My father naturally went down the fried fish, mash and parsley sauce route but I went a little alternative with this light bean and chorizo stew and paprika coated fish.

Obviously I had a massive fillet of fish which would have bankrupted me to buy so I’ve written this recipe for smaller portions. You could also substitute haddock for any fish or even chicken or pork – whatever tickles your fancy.

Serves 2

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Ingredients:

1 Medium Onion
1 Bell Pepper
100g Chorizo
1 tbsp Garlic Paste
50ml Sherry
1 tsp Concentrated Liquid Chicken Stock
1 tbsp Cornflour/Cornstarch
1 Tin (240g) Butter Beans in Water
500g Haddock Fillet
2 tbsp Paprika
1 tbsp Garlic Salt
50g Kale
Sea Salt Flakes
Frylight


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Dice 1 Medium Onion and 1 Bell Pepper and fry these gently with a few sprays of Frylight in a large frying pan.

Once the onion and peppers have softened, dice 100g Chorizo and add to the pan.  It is already cooked so I just char the edges a little before adding 1 tbsp Garlic Paste and 25ml of Sherry.

Let the sherry and garlic cook out for a minute or so then add 250ml of water and 1 tbsp Concentrated Liquid Chicken Stock.  Bring the stock to a gentle boil.

Meanwhile make a slurry with 1 tbsp Cornflour/Cornstarch and a little cold water. Add a little of the slurry at a time to the pan until the sauce is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.

Drain and add 1 Tin (240g) Butter Beans in Water and leave the dish to gently simmer while cooking the fish.

Put a medium frying pan onto a medium high heat,

Meanwhile, sprinkle 2 tbsp Paprika and 1 tbsp Garlic Salt over 500g Haddock Fillets and add, skin side down, into the frying pan.

Cook the fish on each side for 2-3 minutes.

As the fish is nearing finishing cooking, add 50g Kale to the veg pan and stir until the kale has wilted a little. Add the remaining 25ml Sherry and check the seasoning – add Sea Salt Flakes if needed.

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Serve the bean and chorizo stew with the haddock resting on top. Lovely.

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10 Minute Meal – Carbonara

You may by now have noticed my propensity for eating bacon and eggs in pretty much every permutation possible. It only seems right that I share my version of that classic Italian dish Carbonara. There is literally nothing authentic about this recipe – there is far too much sauce for an Italian, I refuse to use spaghetti because who can be bothered to fanny around eating it? And the lack of vegetables in my diet in general is addressed with the addition of peas and mushroom – perennial favourite quick additions. Oh and cream – just a little but I find that using just eggs for the sauce much to risky.

I’ve said that this is a 10 minute meal but I will admit that whilst I can walk in from work and have this on the table in about 10 minutes because I throw everything together, if you are going to weigh everything out and read a recipe as you’re doing it, it will probably take a little longer however you shouldn’t have to use every single pot, pan and electrical appliance a la Jamie!

Whilst I am generally a big fan of freezing meals and preparing food ahead of time – this is one dish that does not keep or reheat well so make sure you only start to cook just before you are ready to eat.

Serves 2

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Ingredients:

150g Fusilli or Fafelle
100g Frozen Peas
250g Smoked Bacon
10 (25og) Closed Cup Mushrooms
4 Eggs
6 tbsp Double Cream
50g Grated Mozzerella or Cheddar
Sea Salt Flakes
Frylight Spray


Start by putting the kettle onto boil.

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Meanwhile put 150g Fusilli or Fafelle into a medium size saucepan with 50g Frozen Peas.

Pour the now boiling water over the pasta and peas and put on a high heat until boiling and then turn down a little so it is a gentle rolling boil. Stir the pasta every now and again whilst cracking on with the rest of the dish.

Chop 250g Smoked Bacon into small pieces using scissors directly into a frying pan on a medium high heat.

Stir the bacon whilst slicing 10 (25og) Closed Cup Mushrooms into thin slices and adding them to the bacon pan.  Add a few sprays of Frylight if your bacon is quite lean and a little extra lubricant is needed.

Tip – Take the bacon and mushrooms off the heat or turn it right down if they are browned and ready before the pasta is cooked and the eggs whisked.

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While the mushrooms cook and the pasta continues to boil, take 4 Eggs and crack two into a bowl along with only the egg yolks from the third and forth.  Add 6 tbsp Double Cream to the eggs with 50g Grated Mozzerella or Cheddar a generous pinch of Sea Salt Flakes and whisk until well combined.

When the pasta is cooked to your preference remove a couple of tablespoons of the cooking water and add this to the bacon and mushroom pan before straining the pasta and peas and adding that to the frying pan along with the egg, cream and cheese mixture.

Make sure the frying pan is on a very low heat or if there is a lot of retained heat, take it off the heat entirely periodically whilst stirring everything together – you do not want the eggs to cook through fast and scramble.

The dish is ready when the sauce is hot and slightly thickened with the cheese fully melted – only a minute or two at the most.

Baked Camembert with Garlic, Maple & Thyme and ‘Things to Serve it With’

First up, I’d going to recommend buying a Camembert and eating it fairly swiftly. You should certainly not buy it, leave it in the fridge for 3 weeks wondering why the fridge stinks every time you open it then pack it into the car boot, spend the day driving to Ikea, back again and then driving to Oxfordshire.  Because by the time you get to Oxfordshire, your car will reek riper than ripe. And you probably will to. This may or may not have happened to me! It is however worth it because whilst rather decadent, a whole baked cheese treated as a fondue is bloody delicious.

My Camembert was sold as a ‘baking camembert’ and came with a little ceramic dish to bake it in. More often than not, they come in flimsy cardboard boxes – simply dispose the lid then line the box with tin foil. The box/dish will stop the cheese from spreading as it bakes.

I cooked this as a lunch to share between two but it would equally make a great starter with some lighter ‘Things to Serve it With’ for 2 or with heavier ‘Things to Serve it With’ for 3 or 4.

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Ingredients:

1 Whole Camembert
1 Garlic Clove
1 tsp Dried Thyme
1 tbsp Maple Syrup
1/2 tsp Sea Salt Flakes

Things to Serve it With:

 1 Red Onion
2 Thick Slices ‘Cutty’ Bread
6 Baby Potatoes
6 Cherry Tomatoes
Leftover Roast Chicken
2 tbsp Olive Oil


Turn the oven on to 200c or equivalent. Put a kettle of water on to boil.

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Slice 1 Red Onion into chunks and lay in a lined oven tray and drizzle with 1/2 tbsp Olive Oil and a small pinch of Sea Salt Flakes. Pop into the oven and keep an eye on them. Remove from the oven when soft all the way through and crispy around the edges.

Prepare 1 Whole Camembert by carefully slicing off the top layer of rind trying to keep it in one piece.

Tip – This will be much easier if the cheese is fridge cold.

Finely slice half of 1 Garlic Clove. Using a sharp knife, poke slits in the top of the cheese and poke the slices of garlic into the slits.

Sprinkle 1 tsp Dried Thyme, 1 tbsp Maple Syrup and 1/2 tsp Sea Salt Flakes over the cheese then replace the lid and press down.

Put the cheese in the dish or foil lined box and pop into the oven. Set a timer for 20 minutes.

Cut 6 Baby Potatoes into quarters and put in a small saucepan, cover with some of the boiled water and put on a high heat to boil.

Meanwhile slice 6 Cherry Tomatoes in half and warm some Leftover Chicken in the mircrowave or small pan.

Toast 2 Thick Slices ‘Cutty’ Bread, rub the remaining half garlic clove over the toast and drizzle over 1 tbsp Olive Oil. Cut into soldiers.

When the potatoes are cooked through, drain and toss with 1/2 tbsp Olive Oil and a pinch of Sea Salt Flakes.

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Once the cheese is cooked, serve in the centre of a plate with all of the other elements presented around it.

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To eat, remove the rind lid (make sure to eat it or scrape of the gooey cheese!) and dip away.

Have a rennie on standby.

10 Minute Meal – Mozzarella in Carozzoa with Parma Ham

This recipe is, like a vast majority of my repertoire, adapted from a Nigella recipe many years ago – primarily with the addition of meat! It is basically a mozzarella and ham filled eggy bread sandwich. Crispy on the outside and soft (slightly soggy even – in a good way) on the inside.

This is not a healthy recipe. Counting the calories is not advised nor is using anything other than cheap white sliced bread – like with my Triple Decker, save the sourdough for another time. You need the bread to be press-able together for the whole thing not to totally fall apart on you. I’d also recommend the kind of mozzarella that comes quite dry in a block for slicing rather than the balls sitting in liquid or the slightly soggy interior may well become too much.

I like to serve this with either Marks and Spencers Caramelised Onion Chutney and some peppery salad leaves or baked beans – different levels of classy – equally tasty.

Serves 1

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Ingredients:

4 slices Thick White Sliced Bread
4 slices Parma (or Serrano Ham)
150g Mozzarella
2 tbsp Plain Flour
80ml Milk
1 Egg
Sea Salt Flakes
Butter for frying


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Cut the crusts off 4 slices Thick White Sliced Bread.

Lay 4 slices Parma (or Serrano Ham) over the bread with one slice of ham over each slice of bread. Leave a border of bread around each slice.

Slice 100g Mozzarella into 4 rectangles and lay 2 slices over 2 slices of the bread and ham.

Place a cheese-less slice of bread and ham over each slice with cheese to make 2 equally filled sandwiches. Using your thumb and forefinger, press around the borders of each sandwich to squidge the edges together to seal them. Reinforce the seal using the edge of your hand (like in a karate chop position).

Tip – Its ok – you can make the requisite noise as you’re doing this, I won’t judge.

Pour 80ml Milk into a small (lipped) plate. Put another large plate next to it.

Whisk 1 Egg with a pinch of Sea Salt Flakes and put in another small lipped plate.

Dip each sandwich in the milk VERY briefly, coating both sides. Put each sandwich on the large plate.

Coat each side of each sandwich with around 2 tbsp Plain Flour and gently shake of any excess.

Put a large knob of butter in a non-stick frying pan and put onto medium heat. Once the butter is just melted, take your plate f sandwiches and plate of egg right next to your hob. Dip each sandwich into the egg on both sides and place into the buttery pan.

Tip – Some mozzarella may escape – shove it back in or allow it to go a bit crispy in the pan. Don’t cry.

Gently fry until golden brown on each side and serve immediately.

Simple Victoria Sandwich Cake

Its a classic and one of the first things I ever baked. So simple and so good. Very little more needs to be said.

But I will anyway. Traditionally, the sponges are sandwiched only with jam. But I find this a bit boring so I add buttercream with the jam. And traditionally, the sandwich is topped with only caster sugar but again – Zzzzz – so I’ve used a basic white glace icing.

Confession time (I have lots of these). Actually two confessions. Firstly I made this cake with proper butter which is of course traditional and lauded by the traditionalists but actually I think it makes the cake a little on the heavy side. I should have stuck with what I know and used light margarine – I’d recommend you make this substitution. Secondly I made the whole recipe in ounces – as it should be but because I try to cater to allsorts, I’ve included the metric equivalents. Those over the pond should either invest in scales or google the conversions. Oh there is a third confession actually, I ate a good portion of the cake batter straight from the mixing bowl.  No regrets.

Serves 10

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Ingredients:

10oz (280g) Salted Butter (Or Light Margarine)
10oz (280g) Caster Sugar
5 Large Eggs
4 tbsp Milk
1 tbsp Baking Powder
10oz (280g) Self Raising Flour

3oz (80g) Butter
6oz (160g) Icing Sugar
1 tbsp Milk

5oz (140g) Strawberry Jam

3oz (80g) Icing Sugar
1 tbsp Milk


Preheat the oven to 180c or the equivalent.

Line 2 15cm round cake tins with liners or butter and flour.

Weigh 10oz (280g) Salted Butter (Or Light Margarine) and 10oz (280g) Caster Sugar a large mixing bowl and beat together until light and creamy.

Tip – make sure the butter is at room temperature or very carefully soften it in the microwave – cut it into small cubes and spread them out around a plate or bowl and nuke for 4-5 seconds at a time – you don’t want to melt it.

Tip – A hand whisk or stand mixer is ideal for this but it can be done with a wooden spoon and elbow grease. 

Add 5 Large Eggs one at a time giving the batter a good whisk between each egg addition.

Tip – The mixture will likely split – do not panic, do not start again, do not weep gently. Keep whisking, it turns out that it really doesn’t matter!

Add 4tbsp Milk one spoonful at a time whisking the batter as you go.

Add 1 tbsp Baking Powder and 10oz (280g) Self Raising Flour and fold this into the batter by hand until just combined.

Tip – Don’t use a mixer here as the gluten in the flour will overwork and your cake sponge will turn out tough. 

Split the mixture between the two tins and spread out to even layers. Bake for 20 minutes then check if it is done, give it another couple of minutes each check until it is done.

Tip – ‘Done’ will be when the sponges are golden brown on top and a skewer poked into the middle of the sponge comes out with only crumbs stuck and no liquid batter. I don’t condone overcooking as the cake will be dry but on this occasion, ‘actually cooked’ should be aimed for.

Leave the sponges to cool on a rack, in the tin at first unless you used liners in which case it should be easy to life them out still in the paper and onto the rack.

Wait until the sponges are totally cold before filling and icing.

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Make the buttercream by mixing 3oz (80g) Butter,  6oz (160g) Icing Sugar and 1 tbsp Milk for 5 or so minutes until it is light and fluffy.

Tip – Do not substitute the butter for spread in this part of the recipe – the butter taste and texture is essential to this bit but do make sure the butter is softened before starting the mixing.

Tip – I tried to use my new old Kenwood to make this but ended up having to go back to the old trusty electric hand whisk. You’ll not get a good light buttercream without some kind of eclectic assistance or you’ll end up with the rock hard layer of butter icing of my youth.

Spread the buttercream over one half of the sponge making sure it is relatively evenly spread and just shy of the edges.

Tip – The buttercream will squeeze out as you apply the top layer so if you spread it to the edge now, it will squirt out and make a mess. Not the end of the world admittedly.

Tip – If you can be bothered, I suppose you could pipe the buttercream for a super neat edge.

Spread 5oz (140g) Strawberry Jam over the second half of the sponge – you can go a bit closer to the edge this time as there will be less splurging.

Tip – Jam can be lumpy, even the seedless smooth stuff that I buy so I give it a good stir whilst still in the jar so it makes it easier to spread evenly.

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Put the jam covered sponge on top of the buttercream sponge and give it a good press together.

Make the glace icing by mixing together 3oz (80g) Icing Sugar and 1 tbsp Milk until smooth and spread the icing over the top of the cake by dumping the whole lot dead centre and spooning it outwards with the back of the spoon until the edges are nearly reached.

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Serve in great hunking slices with a cup of tea. In a cup and saucer (japes).

Cedges Classics – The Triple Decker

Now I am quite sure that I don’t come from the only family that has partook in a 3 layer breakfast sandwich delight on a regular basis but I’m yet to come across one. As a result, ‘The Triple Decker’ or ‘Trip Dec’ is a little legendary in my friendship circles.

Now this is not diet food and probably not recommended for consumption everyday but as a weekend breakfast – nom! It is also best not messed around with. The addition of some fried mushrooms is acceptable. Some baked beans to dip it in is mildly acceptable. Use of any bread other than plastic white sliced will ruin the entire point of the sandwich. The addition of ketchup is an abomination and will not be tolerated. Don’t even mention that brown stuff. Bacon should be cheap – ‘dry maple cured 100 day aged Gloucester old spot’ streaky bacon is not appropriate. Back bacon can be substituted for the middle bacon – both are preferably procured from the supermarket value range. Streaky bacon is pointless.

This is a proper northern breakfast sandwich – for the love of god butter the bread.

Serves 1

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Ingredients:

2 Rashers Unsmoked Middle Bacon or 3/4 Rashers Unsmoked Back Bacon
3 Slices Thick White Sliced Bread
Butter
1 Large Egg
Salt


Start by frying 2 Rashers Unsmoked Middle Bacon or 3/4 Rashers Unsmoked Back Bacon on a medium high heat in a non-stick frying pan.

Tip – Use a non-stick frying pan. Using some kind of non-stick pan does not make you better than everyone else nor does it put you on some kind of higher echelon of cook – it makes you a chump. I’d recommend the Kavalkad from Ikea – cheap as chips – keep a few in the house, replace them when the non-stick starts to go – ultimately significantly cheaper than spending £40 on a pan that loses its non-stick in a year anyway.

Meanwhile cut any dry crusts off 3 Slices Thick White Sliced Bread (I went for removing the top and bottom crusts but the sides were nice and soft so I left them). Liberally butter all 3 slices of bread, one of them on both sides (for the middle section).

Once cooked, remove the bacon from the pan and place on one slice of the buttered bread. Lay the double buttered slice on top.

Crack 1 Egg directly into the frying pan you used for the bacon. If you’re using that non-stick pan I recommended, you won’t need to add any oil.

Push any runaway egg white back towards the yolk as the egg starts cooking.

Once the egg white is cooked enough for the egg to hold its shape, use a fish slice to flip the whole egg over in the pan. Use the edge of the spatula to gently press down on the white all around the egg yolk to make sure the white is cooked through. Flip the egg back over to make sure the white is cooked though.

Place the cooked egg on top of the bacon bread stack and gently break the yolk and spread it over the whole surface of the sandwich to ensure yolky goodness in every bite.

Sprinkle the yolky egg with a small pinch of Salt (preferably sea salt flakes – the one nod I’ll sanction towards the poncey).

Lay the last slice of bread on top of the egg (butter side down obviously) and press down gently.

Cut the sandwich into two halves making sure to wipe any egg yolk left on the knife on top of the sandwich.

Eat – expect to be messy – keep kitchen roll close by but don’t employ it until all egg yolk has been licked off of the plate and your fingers.

Cedges Basics – Proper British Pancakes

Pancake day falls on Tuesday 28 February 2017 so I thought it was a timely week to resurrect  my ‘Feel the Fear’ only that was sort of irrelevant so I’ve re branded these posts as ‘Cedges Basics’.  Pancakes are not just for pancake day – I make them year round – they’re a super simple pudding or brunch.

Pancakes are not nearly as difficult as Blue Peter Presenters have made out over the years. Not even close in fact.  Watching them screw it up is however still quite funny….

The first rule of pancakes is to back the hell away from those mixes that now line every supermarket and convenience shop from late January until Shrove Tuesday. They’re just very expensive flour and a bit of dried egg. You only need 4 things to make pancakes (plus any toppings) – Plain Flour, Eggs, Milk and Salt. The recipe is in fact basically the same as for Yorkshire Puddings. It also takes 2 minutes to make the batter and a little patience to batch cook.

You can make these in advance for a larger group and keep them warm in the oven on low or heaven forbid, give them a quick nuke in the microwave before serving.

Serves 2 (Makes 6 Pancakes)

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Ingredients:

4 heaped tbsp Plain Flour
1 tsp Sea Salt Flakes
2 Eggs
150 ml (Skimmed) Milk
Frylight


Measure 4 heaped tbsp Plain Flour into a medium mixing bowl and add 1 tsp Sea Salt Flakes.

Crack 2 Eggs into the flour and add a little of the 150 ml (Skimmed) Milk.  Whisk together to form a thick paste – try to beat out as many of the lumps as possible – the thicker the mix is at this point, the easier it is to get the lumps out.

Tip – Saying that, a few lumps are not the end of the world, don’t stress about it.

Add the rest of the milk a little at a time until all combined.

Tip – At this point a lot of recipes will tell you to leave the mixture to ‘rest’. You can do – there is no problem preparing the batter in advance but I’m yet to establish any actually benefit of leaving it.

Tip – You can at this point move the batter to a jug for easy pouring, otherwise make sure you have a ladle handy.

Take a small frying pan and put onto a high heat until it is just starting to smoke then turn the heat down to medium.

Spray 3/4 sprays of Frylight into the pan, trying to coat the whole surface.

Take a ladleful of batter and pour into the centre of the pan with your dominant hand whilst starting to swirl the batter around the pan with your other hand.

Tip – If the pan is still a little too hot and the batter starts to cook through before it has spread to the pan edges, hold the pan away from the heat until the batter has spread then return to the heat. 

When the batter is no longer liquid on top of the pancake (only 30 second of so), use a flat spatula to gently tease the pancake away from the pan. It is ready to flip once the pancake can be shaken around the pan loosely.

Flip the pancake – you can either do this by practicing throwing the pancake up in the air and catching it or if you’re not trying to show off, use the fish slice.

Give the pancake another 30 second or so on the second side then put onto a plate and serve.

Repeat with the rest of the batter until all of it is used up.

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The classic topping is sugar and lemon but go to town with whatever you fancy. Nutella anyone?