Toad In the Hole

It’s jolly well freezing here in the UK, and so I wanted to give you a recipe that should warm you up, and which children love.  You could substitute meat sausages for vegetarian ones too.  Check out the next recipe for Colcannon which goes fabulously with this dish!

toad in the hole

 

Ingredients

8 pork sausages
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
225g plain flour
4 eggs
250ml milk
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C

Pour the oil into the bottom of a baking dish, and arrange the sausages over
in a single layer. Bake for 10 minutes in the preheated oven.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, eggs and half of the milk until smooth. Gradually mix in the rest of the milk until a smooth batter forms. Season with salt and pepper.

Remove the sausages from the oven, and pour the batter over them until the sausages are 3/4 covered. Return to the oven, and bake for 35 minutes, or until the centre is risen and golden.

Great with onion gravy and colcannon.

 

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Meatballs & Spaghetti

Loved by adults as much as children, this has been a firm favourite family dish in our household,  for many years.  You could buy ready made meatballs if you are pushed for time, but this recipe is so you can have a bash at making your own. A mixture of pork and mince beef is used so that the meatballs don’t dry out.  You could use just beef if you so wished but they will be a drier texture.

 

meatballs and spaghetti

 

Ingredients

Olive oil
400g minced pork
400g minced beef
150g fresh white breadcrumbs
2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
5 tbsp chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
100g freshly grated Parmesan cheese – plus extra for garnish
2 eggs beaten
Salt and black pepper

Sauce Ingredients

800g of tinned chopped tomatoes
690ml jar of passata (sieved tomatoes)
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
½ tsp dried chilli flakes
10 fresh basil leaves, plus extra to garnish
Optional – 1 tbsp sugar.

Preheat the oven to 220 Degrees C. Rub a large baking sheet with the olive oil and set aside. Place the beef, pork, breadcrumbs, garlic, parsley, parmesan and eggs in a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Mix gently with a wooden spoon until everything is thoroughly combined.

Take small golf ball sized amounts of the meat mixture and roll into equal sized balls. Place the balls on the baking sheet and then bake for 12 minutes.  Baking rather than frying the meatballs off, helps the meatballs to retain their shape and not break up.  Plus you get a lovely colour to them.

To make up the sauce, put the tomatoes, passata and oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat. Stir in the chilli flakes and some salt. Bring to the boil. Reduce the heat, partially cover the pan and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Taste the sauce, if it is too sharp for you, then add the optional sugar.

Carefully place the meatballs in the tomato sauce making sure you partially cover the pan again. Simmer for 30 minutes, turning the meatballs occasionally. If the sauce is getting too thick, add a little hot water from a kettle.  During this time, cook your spaghetti according to pack instructions. To serve, scatter over a few fresh torn basil leaves and additional parmesan if you wish.

Quick Spinach & Ricotta Cannelloni

There are times when you want to cook something tasty, but don’t want to slave over the stove making sauces and the like.  This is a good dish that you can make up pretty quickly with the illusion you have been slaving away at it all day.  Just make sure you test for seasoning.  If of course you don’t want to cheat with the bechamel sauce then by all means make you own.  I made it this way, to help a lady who gets in a blind panic making sauces.  She also hates the frozen ready meal options of this dish that are often available.  I agree with her that the frozen ready made taste, is just not the same as a good homemade version!

spinach and ricotta cannelloni

 

Ingredients

500g ricotta cheese
150g spinach leaves, chopped
2tbsp roughly chopped fresh basil
1 clove garlic, crushed
¼tsp nutmeg
6 sheets fresh (not dry) lasagne
500ml shop-bought béchamel sauce (or you can make your own)
50g freshly grated Parmesan – you can use vegetarian variation if you wish.

Heat the oven to 200ºC. Put the ricotta into a bowl and break it up with a fork. Add the spinach, basil and garlic and mix well. Sprinkle with nutmeg and season well with salt and ground black pepper.

Cut each fresh lasagne sheet in half (if the large sheets). Spread 2-3tbsp of the ricotta and spinach mixture down the centre of each then roll into a tube, ensure the edges overlap slightly.

Spread a layer of béchamel sauce over the base of an ovenproof dish Place the cannelloni tubes with the seam-side down, in a single layer on the dish. Pour over the rest of the béchamel sauce and then sprinkle the freshly grated Parmesan over the top. Bake the cannelloni in the oven for 20-25 minutes or until the pasta is tender.

I love to serve this with a crisp green salad.

Chicken & Ham Pie

I usually make this recipe using left over chicken, and adding some ham.  You could also use turkey instead of chicken too.

IMG_0772

Ingredients

50g Butter
2 large leeks washed and roughly sliced
3 tbsp plain flour
500ml chicken stock
1/2 tsp mustard
600g leftover chicken/turkey meat, cut into bite-sized chunks
250g cooked ham off the bone, cut into bite-sized chunks
1 tbsp chopped fresh tarragon – use 1/2 tbsp if using dried tarragon
200ml single cream
1 free-range egg, beaten for egg wash
Salt and white pepper
Pack of Puff Pastry

Melt the butter in a large non stick pan over a medium heat and add the leeks to the pan. Cover and cook on a gentle heat for 5 minutes, giving the mixture an occasional stir until the leeks are just tender. Remove the lid and sprinkle in the flour over the leeks and stir to mix through. Gradually add in the stock and simmer for 5 minutes until the sauce has thickened slightly. Add the mustard, turkey and ham and stir, then add the tarragon and cream. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees C

Pour the pie filling into a 1.5 litre pie dish. Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured work surface to about 5mm thick.  Brush the rim of the pie dish with egg wash, then place the pastry onto the rim and brush it with more egg wash. Make a steam hole in the centre if you have not used a pie funnel.

Bake for 35 minutes on a baking sheet,  and cook until the pastry is risen and golden-brown.

 

Chicken Noodle Stir Fry

I really love Chinese New Year for food.  That said, I will often make stir fry dishes in particular all year round.  I find that many home-made stir fry dishes are low-fat and healthy, but the best bit is that they are full of taste and texture.  The ingredients for the vegetables are not set.  If you have any mushrooms, courgettes etc to hand that you want to use, then chop them up and throw them in.  Just make a note that harder vegetables like carrots, need to be sliced into thin shreds so that they cook properly.  This dish also helps to combat food waste, which is a huge concern of mine.  If you need any further persuasion, then this dish is also quick to cook!

 

chicken nooodle stir fry

 

Ingredients

2 Cooked chicken breasts sliced or cut into pieces
1 Tbsp Sunflower oil
1 Red pepper, sliced
1 Handful of mangetout sliced
300g Ready Wok noodles
3 Tbsp soy sauce
3 Tbsp Thai fish sauce
1 Tsp Sesame oil
3  Tbsp Teriyaki sauce
Juice of a Lime

Mix soy sauce, fish sauce, sesame oil, teriyaki sauce and lime all together to make up the sauce.

Heat the oil in a wok or large frying pan, and fry the vegetables for 2-3 minutes.  Add the noodles along with 120ml of water.  Cook for a minute.  Add the chicken and stir, then add the sauce and continue to stir making sure that you coat all the ingredients.  Cook for around 3-4 minutes and then serve.