Pie with all the trimmings

I mentioned in a previous post how much I had enjoyed pie and mash at Pie Minister. The Pie Minister in the Oxford Covered Market on a Tuesday has a special offer, basically any pie with all the trimming for just £5, the usual price is £7.95 so quite a good saving.

Normally I can’t get in on a Tuesday as, you might well expect, the queues are quite long. I generally don’t have a lot of time for lunch, but also I don’t like queueing! However on a recent Tuesday I was lucky to get in quite quickly. The place was busy though. 

I went with the traditional steak and kidney or as they call it Kate and Sidney. This was served with mash, gravy, a side order of mushy peas and topped with cheese and crispy onions.

Pie with all the trimmings

It certainly looked the part. I did enjoy the pie which was full of a rich delicious filling, big chunks of steak and kidney combined with a nice crunchy pastry shell. The mash was smooth and well seasoned, the mushy peas were also very nice. However I am not sure if the cheese added anything, there was something rather disconcerting about biting into a portion of hot pie with cold cheese, in some ways it was a little unpleasant. If I go again, though I will go with the mushy peas, I will avoid the cheese!

Slaw

Slaw

Though I have been known to go out and buy small tubs of coleslaw I much prefer to make my own. I recently made a slaw to accompany a meal I had cooked. I used a variation of my usual recipe.

Half a white cabbage thinly sliced into strips.

Two carrots, sliced thinly, I used a cheese slicer to get strips of carrot.

A parsnip, similar to the carrots, sliced thinly.

Half a red onion, sliced thinly.

Half a brown (or white) onion, sliced thinly.

Half a red pepper sliced thinlu.

Mix with three spoons of mayonnaise, two spoons of creme frache and two teaspoons of mustard.

It works better if you can let it stand in the fridge for a few hours or even overnight.

It tasted fresh, crunchy and delicious.

Breakfast

A traditional English breakfast usually consists of bacon and eggs with sausages, beans, fried bread and maybe a portion of tinned tomatoes. Obviously there are other things you can add such as grilled kidneys, black pudding, mushrooms, hash browns.

Actually the more you think about it, a cooked breakfast can be quite diverse and much more than just bacon and eggs. Eat a little later and it turns into Brunch.

I quite like a cooked breakfast now and again, but very rarely go down the traditional route. This was the basis of a recent breakfast and consisted of grilled tomatoes, mushrooms and onions.

Cooked

I took some cherry tomatoes and halved them. If you halve them with the stalk point at the top then they will always look nice. If you slice them through the stalk point then they may (well usually) don’t look as nice. I splashed a little olive oil on them and some torn basil leaves.

Grilled Tomatoes with Basil about to go in the oven

For the mushrooms I trim the stalks and then spread a small knob of butter on them and some freshly ground black pepper.

For the onions I just again splashed a little olive oil and more black pepper.

These were all then roasted in a hot oven for about 10-15 minutes.

I served them with some toast and a poached egg.

Paella with chicken and chorizo

I seem to be cooking paella more and more recently.

The key for me is the right kind of rice and saffron. I really do like the way the saffron adds not just colour, but also flavour.

After that you can add many different things to make a really nice paella.

The dish above contains in addition to the rice and saffron, the following, chicken, chorizo, prawns, onions, pepper, pancetta and peas. This is different to the last time I cooked paella.

There is something about paella, the richness, flavours that I really enjoy.

Roasting Vegetables

One of the things I like to have with a roast are roasted vegetables. I also add cubes of bread towards the end of cooking, these go all tasty and crunchy.

There are different vegetables you can use, this time I was using squash, pepper, mushrooms and onions.

Paella

I seem to be cooking paella more and more recently.

The key for me is the right kind of rice and saffron. I really do like the way the saffron adds not just colour, but also flavour. Some people I know have used tumeric, however that is most certainly not saffron, and though adds a similar colour, the earthiness of tumeric really can ruin an otherwise decent paella.

After that you can add many different things to make a really nice paella.

The dish above contains in addition to the rice and saffron, the following, chorizo, prawns, onions, pepper, pancetta and a small tin of tomatoes.

There is something about paella, the richness, flavours that I really enjoy.

Wrapped Stuffing

I very rarely buy stuffing, if I do it is only fresh stuffing, I don’t think I have bought a stuffing mix in years. Normally I make my own stuffing.

These were made very simply with diced onions, sausage meat, breadcrumbs, fresh herbs and wrapped up with pancetta bacon. I would then roast them in the oven for about 20-30 minutes.

Quick and easy and certainly just as quick as using a stuffing mix.

Grilled chicken on green lentils

 Grilled chicken on green lentils

For the grilled chicken, take a chicken breast, I used a free range corn fed chicken breast which I flattened with my hand (though you could take a rolling pin to it). I seasoned the chicken with seasoning and olive oil before placing under a hot grill for 15-20 minutes.

For the lentils eat a frying pan and add some chopped pancetta. There is no need to add any extra oil as there is usually sufficient fat in the pancetta.

Pancetta

Finely chop an onion. Add the onion to the frying pan with the pancetta.

I softened in a frying pan, the finely chopped onion with the pancetta. When the onion was nicely soft I then added some red wine and beef stock before simmering it down.

I use beef stock over chicken stock just because of the colour rather than flavour. I then reduced and reduced this.

Then add some sliced mushrooms.

I then added the green lentils, I used a tin, for convenience and speed. Once the lentils had heated through I then plated up.

On go the lentils and then slice the grilled chicken and place on top.

Serve with steamed vegetables.

Risotto

Risotto

In a large frying pan, place some olive oil and butter. Then add some finely chopped onion, red pepper, courgette and pancetta.

Soften the onions.

Bring up the heat.

Add the risotto rice and ensure that the rice is coated in the oil and butter.

Add a splash of white wine.

Now add some chicken stock.

Keep topping up with stock to ensure that the rice doesn’t dry out.

Once the rice is virtually cooked, add a large handful of grated parmesan, some chopped parsley and some freshly ground black pepper.

Serve, garnish with a few slices of lemon.