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Food Lover

The Food Lover's Recipes

Steak and Kidney Pud with Cider

I have cooked my pud more or less the same way for years – I often use lamb kidneys because of the rich sauce they generate and I often only put the suet pastry on top as, in the words of my mother, we like a lot of gravy and the pudding casing would just burst.

Today, however, I thought I would wander new directions and try something different. In our fridge we have the remnants of bottle of cider – well, why not? See what you think.

How about Dough Balls with your stew?

Dumplings are very easy to make – you know the wonderfully sticky things made from suet and flour that adorn the best of country stews? But lovely though they are, it is all too easy to forget old fashioned dough balls – thick, luscious bread that is steamed above the stock.

I sometimes do this if I am having a bread making day, putting aside some of the dough to use for the stew or soup that night.

Couscous with Chicken, peppers and courgette

Couscous doesn’t half cause some debate! Most chefs shove it in the pasta group where as others like to call it a grain. In reality, couscous is made from the same semolina base as pasta and is a mixture of very coarse ground semolina and fine semolina flour, rolled together (sometimes by hand – yes you can make your own) to form a grain which is then steamed. Clearer now?

Well, enough of that. Here is a mild chicken recipe that goes with our Semolina perfectly!

Marrow stuffed with Tuna and Tomato

This is a simple recipe cooked for a friend who is doing Weight Watchers, though I have not worked out the maths properly.  Per portion, it is probably 3 or 4 points she reckons. The main reason for cooking it is to make room in my fridge, of course, which is groaning under the weight of cucumbers and courgettes and is about to be deluged with beans!

You could make this with fresh tuna if you wished, flaking it before mixing it in and baking it all, but I am trying to keep this nice and cheap.

Broad Beans and Parmesan – A Perfect Combination

As a child, broad beans were an unedifying proposition. Veg was cooked as it was and put on the plate with little thought other than to make sure it was on time. Broad beans were cooked without removing their thin skin. But cooked properly, these are wonderful.

With the allotment kicking out veg at this time of year, finding the best way to show off the produce is paramount. It is pretty pointless to spend ages growing something, cutting it fresh and rushing it home if you are going to cook it to death or smother it with sauce.

Twice Cooked Fall Apart Ribs

Pork ribs are one of the nicest dishes you can think of. Cooked well, they can fit into just about any cuisine whether that is American, Italian, Middle Eastern or Chinese, as in this case.

These ribs are cooked for hours in stock and spices before being finished off in the oven to give them their final rich, dry finish. These are not slavered in some ridiculous BBQ sauce, but instead are full of concentrated flavour from the long, slow cooking – much nicer and much less messy too.

Superfast Pilchard Curry. A spicy little treat.

Okay, so you are hungry, you want something delightful, spicy, clever and fast? We have the technology, or in this case, a small tin of Pilchards in tomato sauce.

These little, inexpensive offerings are often overlooked by the serious foody and this is simply despicable! The only sadness is that most of the best Pilchards in the world are caught off the coast of Cornwall, but are exported to Europe where they appreciate such things. Here? Our tinned pilchards are from everywhere EXCEPT here! Stupid.

Oxtail, Steak and Kidney Stew with Dumplings

I love rich stews and the tradition of steak and kidney rarely disappoints. Sometimes it is nice to do something that is richer still, and this recipe should do the trick by adding oxtail to the mix.

Normally, with my standard steak and kidney pudding, I use lambs kidneys or beef kidney as I love the gravy they produce, but here I am using pigs kidneys as it balances nicely with the oxtail. This recipe takes a considerable time to cook, though the method is pretty basic, so a good one for the weekend.

Chicken and Cheese Soup – A Winter Warmer

It is not always warm and sunny, and even in the summer, it can be nice to have a warming dish to cuddle up to.  So, I have put together a very simple soup made from Chicken Stock and veg and laced with good cheese (so, definitely NOT Cathedral City!) and some chilli powder for an extra lift.

It takes very little time to make and all the ingredients are straight out of your local shop.

Tagliatelle with English Ham and a crusty top

There are some things English which can easily get overlooked because we are often enamoured by the fine produce of our European cousins. One such is ham. I would guess that 90% of the ham sold in this country is a tasteless, textureless waste of our time and money, but picking between the rubbish we also produce some of the finest hams around, and you can even find them in your supermarket if you avoid anything prepackaged.