Beef in Red Wine

Tonight I had a meal I had cooked and put in the freezer just for these kinds of nights when I come back late from work and really don’t feel like cooking. I had let it defrost and then heated it in the oven (rather than the microwave) and served it with some gnocchi. Gnocchi was decided upon because it only takes two minutes to cook (yes it was from a packet, I don’t have the patience (or the skill) to cook it from scratch, especially on a week day evening.

Originally it had taken a few hours to cook, time I had then, but on an evening tonight would have been impossible.

The art of cooking something like braising steak or stewing steak is long slow cooking, cook it too fast or not long enough, you will get something very tough and chewy and rather tastless.

The beef I cooked was tender, melt in the mouth tender, and a very rich sauce.


Poaching Chicken

No this blog entry is not about going out in the middle of night and snaffling a couple of chickens from the local farm.

I have virtually always roasted or fried my chicken, or used it in casseroles. After watching Saturday Kitchen on the BBC I decided to try something new and poach the chicken. I have poached chicken before in foil parcels, but never just as it is.

I took some water, added a carrot, an onion, a chunk of leek, some red pepper, black peppercorns and a bunch of parsley.

Poaching chicken.

I then poached the chicken for about ten to fifteen minutes. I then put it on a plate to rest.

When I was ready to serve up, I pan fried the chicken in a hot pan with some butter just to add some colour.

I served the chicken on a bed of leeks with beans, carrots and roasted potatoes.

Poaching the chicken added a multitude of flavours and made the chicken very moist and tender. Verdict of the table was that it was delicious.

Chicken with mushrooms, tomatoes and courgettes

This is a simple easy recipe for cooking chicken.

Chicken with mushrooms, tomatoes and courgettes

One of the key things about cooking chicken this way is that it stays really nice and moist with lots of flavour.

Firstly take four chicken thighs, now you could use a whole chicken, half chicken or other chicken pieces. I much prefer chicken thighs over the breast meat as it has a lot more flavour (in my opinion).

Continue reading “Chicken with mushrooms, tomatoes and courgettes”

Pork with white wine and pancetta

Last night I cooked a very nice meal and it only took 15 minutes from scratch.


Pork medallions (or you could use loin steaks, pork chops or tenderloin)

Olive oil

Black pepper


Green beans

For the sauce





White wine

Creme frache

So first boil the kettle with fresh water to cook the rice and the green beans.

Whilst the kettle is boiling put two pans on for the pork and the sauce. Add a dash of olive oil to both pans. When the oil is hot, add the pork (ensure it is dry) to one and the pancetta to the other.

Ensure the rice is washed, I now use basmati rice all the time, in the main as it cooks easily without sticking and only takes ten minutes. Put separate pans on for the rice and the beans. Time the rice for ten minute, the beans should be cooked after ten minutes as well.

Once the pancetta is cooked, add the onion, finely chopped.

Check the pork, turning if needed.

Once the onion is softened add a spoonful of flour to the pancetta and onion and stir well, then add a good dash of white wine. When it starts to thicken take off the heat.

When the pork is cooked, remove to a warm plate and allow to rest, this will make it tender.

Deglaze the pork pan, by adding a good dash of white wine. Add the pancetta and onion sauce and a couple of large spoonfuls of creme frache, add the parsely and freshly ground black pepper.


Put the rice on the plate, you can just spoon it on, if you have more than fifteen minutes then I use a ramekin, spoon the rice into the ramekin and then upturn onto the plate, looks neater than a spoonfuls of rice.

You can either leave the pork whole, or slice depending on what you prefer.

Cover the pork with the sauce.

Serve with the green beans.

Fifteen minutes from entering the kitchen to on the table.


Ritazza Coffee

If you go to some service stations (Moto if I remember correctly) you will find Ritazza coffee shops.


I don’t recall seeing this brand on the high street, only on the motorway.

I recently enjoyed a nice Americano from Ritazza and (despite the picture) the coffee was served in a real mug as opposed to the cardboard cups you sometimes get. I was also able to get skimmed milk which was a bonus.

Though I still believe that the food at motorway service stations leaves a lot to be desired, I am relieved I can find a decent cup of coffee.

Now all they need to do is make the environment more welcoming!

Peroni Nastro Azzurro

I do like a lager now and again especially in the summer. It’s not as though I don’t like a good real ale, but during the summer, a bottle of lager reminds me so much of my travels to France and Italy back in the 1990s.

One of my favourite bottled lagers is Peroni.

Peroni Nastro Azzurro

If I am at an Italian restuarant for lunch I will often choose Peroni over wine. It has a distinctive taste and freshness and I really find it very refreshing.

Cannelli Bean Salad

I was inspired to make this by a cannelli and chorizo salad I found in Morrisons, but decided I wanted to make it myself using fresh(ish) ingredients.

Cannelli Bean Salad

I took one can of cannelli beans, I did think about using dried, but tinned are so much easier (no cooking required). These were washed, drained and put in a bowl.

I added some good olive oil, a dash of balsamic vinegar, cooked pancetta and red pepper, chopped sun dried tomatoes and a good grind of black pepper.


Southern Friend Chicken

Do you have friends who live in Surrey, or Kent, or London?

Be aware that Marks and Spencers are coating them in Southern style spices and serving them with a spicy tomato salsa in wraps to hungry customers up and down the country.

Southern Friend Chicken

Epicure Organic Puy Lentils

Today I roasted some pancetta covered organic chicken thighs on a bed of onions, red pepper, mushrooms and courgettes. This was splashed with some olive oil and seasoned with black pepper.

Whilst this was in the oven, I softened in a frying pan, some finely chopped onion with pancetta. When the onion was nicely soft, I added some red wine and beef stock before simmering it down. Beef stock over chicken stock just because of the colour rather than flavour. I then reduced and reduced this.

When I was happy with the sauce I whisked in some butter (with a fork as it happens rather than a whisk) and then added a tin of Epicure Organic Puy Lentils. I needed to add a bit more stock at this point.

I was really impressed with the Epicure Organic Puy Lentils and will certainly be buying them again, I guess it would be potentially tastier to use dried lentils, but I personally was quite happy with the tin.

So I put the lentils on the plate, placed the chicken on top and surrounded it with the roasted vegetables. I served this along with carrots and green beans.

Really tasty.