Jack Daniels Barbecue Sauce

Many, many years ago I use to go out and eat at TGI Fridays, one thing they use to do with their steaks (and prawns and chicken wings) was either cook them in a Jack Daniels sauce or serve it on the side.

I remember trying to find that sauce at local supermarkets and other suppliers without success. I even (when I got the internet) trying to find an online supplier and again no success.

Eventually TGI Fridays stopped serving the sauce and it became one of those food memories, something you had once, and would never see again (like the Wispa).

So you can imagine my surprise when in my local Morrisons I found this.

Jack Daniels Barbecue Sauce

Alas though it was nice it was not as nice as I remembered it, maybe it’s different, maybe it’s just time.

How do you cook mash?

So how do you cook mashed potatoes?

Any tips to make the best mash?

My way is very simple, boil potatoes until they fall off when pierced with a sharp knife (twenty to thirty minutes).

To this I add a splash of milk and a large knob of (unsalted) butter. Mash with a potato masher until nice and smooth.

Season with freshly ground black pepper.

What’s your recipe?

Remember to thaw out the puff pastry…

Just a tip really, when cooking boeuf en croute (beef in puff pastry) remember to get the frozen puff pastry out in plenty of time!

Trying to thaw out puff pastry quickly basically doesn’t work, it will either break into lots of pieces, or go funny in the microwave.

Even if you manage to overcome those problems, it cooks okay, but not perfectly.

So tip of the day, go out and buy fresh puff pastry, make your own, or if you are using frozen puff pastry get it out of the freezer in plenty of time and not thirty minutes before you want to start cooking.

Christmas at River Cottage

Festive cheer

Fancy something different this Christmas?

Something a little more organic and ethical then you usually have?

Christmas is a time for overindulgence, for fabulous presents (and unwanted scarves) and, above all, for spending with loved ones. But if you’re the cook of the house, how many years have you missed out on the fun because you’ve been chained to the cooker? Do yourself a favour this year and adopt the River Cottage approach to festive cooking.

Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall writes in the Guardian on a (not too) alternative approach to cooking the Christmas dinner.

Photo source.

Pasta in Tomato Sauce

This is a very quick and easy dish with a lovely piquant tomato sauce.

Pasta in Tomato Sauce

In a large frying pan, cook off some pancetta, then in the same pan soften a finely chopped onion and red pepper.

When the pancetta, onions and pepper are nearly cooked, add a good splash of balsamic vinegar, then as this boils add a blended tin of tomatoes (or you could use passata if you want to). Add some tomato puree and sliced mushrooms. Leave to simmer for at least twenty minutes and preferably a little longer. Towards the end add some chopped fresh parsley.

When you are nearly ready to eat, cook the pasta. With a tomato sauce I much prefer to use a dried pasta (and use fresh pasta with a cream based sauce). With this recipe I used De Cecco Fusilli.

When the pasta is cooked, drain and toss the pasta in the sauce.

Serve with freshly grated parmesan and ground black pepper.

If you like to you could add some black olives or anchovies to the sauce, I prefer not to due to the saltiness of these ingredients.

Curly Wurly

After my Wispa fascination I seem to be searching out the chocolate bars I had when I was a child.

My most recent rediscovery is the Curly Wurly.

Something very satisfying about the sticky chewy caramel covered in chocolate most of which goes either on the floor or over your trousers as you bit into the bar.


Christmas in Pastry

The Guardian has posted a Christmas Pie recipe.

In the last of our exclusive baking recipes, Martin Dewey, founder of Square Pie, explains how you can recreate their hearty festive pastry in your own kitchen.


Have just been watching Rick Stein on BBC Two and to be honest nothing I saw was remotely appetising!

Maybe it was where he was, but most of the dishes I saw I didn’t like the look of, so much so I turned it off!

Do you like Truffles?

To be honest I don’t think I have eaten truffles or used truffle oil, but with the news this week that a huge €140,000 white truffle was found in Italy, it has brought to the fore the question, are truffles worth the money?

Black Truffle

The Guardian’s Jay Rayner asks this question:

So the question is, without the flavour burst of truffle oil do truffles really taste of anything? Or, to be more exact, do they taste of enough given their price?

A good article to read with some interesting responses. Personally I would quite like to try something made with truffles, black or white.

Photo source.