Thyme Chicken Marsala

Thyme Chicken Marsala

 

Marsala, an Italian wine, traditionally flavours this classic dish. The chicken breasts are sautéed and served on a bed of sautéed red pepper and carrot sticks. A thyme–marsala sauce is then poured over and the dish is served with linguine.

 

Thyme Chicken Marsala
Prepares: 4 servings
 
  • Preparation time: 35 minutes
  • Cooking time: 25 minutes

  • Ingredients
  • 4 chicken breasts, skinned
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 large carrots, cut into julienne strips
  • 2 small red peppers, cut into julienne strips
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • salt and pepper
  • 150ml (5 fl oz) dry Marsala wine (⅔ cup)
  • 2 tbsp fresh thyme leaves

  • To serve
  • linguine (I can recommend the De Cecco brand)

  • Equipment
  • a large sauté pan


  1. Method
  2. Warm four plates in the oven.

  3. Place each chicken breast between 2 pieces of cling film/wrap and, working from the centre to the edges, pound lightly with a rolling pin to flatten.

  4. Spread the flour onto a plate. Then coat each chicken breast in the flour, shaking off any excess, and transferring to a clean plate. Set aside.

  5. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in the pan over a medium heat, add the carrot strips and cook for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.

  6. Add the red pepper, garlic, and seasoning to the pan and cook for a further 5 minutes, stirring occasionally until tender. Divide between the four plates and return to the oven to keep warm, while cooking the chicken.

  7. You are now ready to cook the chicken. Depending on the size of your pan this may need to be done in two batches. So, pour the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil in the pan, add the chicken and, over a medium heat, cook for 4 minutes each side until cooked through. Place the chicken on top of the vegetables and keep warm in the oven.

  8. Reduce the heat to very low and stir the wine and thyme into the pan. Scrape up any crusty bits from the bottom of the pan and stir for 1 minute. You just want the wine to warm through but don’t let it evaporate.

  9. Pour the sauce over the chicken and vegetables. Serve with linguine.

Updated: September 3, 2017

Lemony Chicken Stir-Fry

Lemony Chicken Stir Fry

 

Chicken strips are marinated in lemon and then stir-fried with broccoli florets, carrot sticks and spring onions/green onions and tossed in soy sauce. It is served over a bed of rice and is just perfect for a summer dish.

 

Lemony Chicken Stir Fry
Prepares: 4 servings
 
  • Preparation time: 25 minutes
  • Marinading time: 1–2 hours
  • Cooking time: 15 minutes

  • Ingredients
  • 450g (1 lb) boneless chicken breasts cut into strips (4)
  • 1 lemon
  • pepper
  • small head broccoli
  • 340g (12 oz) carrots (6–8 medium)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 60ml (2 fl oz) water (¼ cup)
  • 2 tbsp clarified butter*
  • 2 spring onions/green onions cut into 2.5cm/1 inch pieces
  • 1 tsp cornflour/cornstarch
  • 1 tsp water
  • 4 tbsp soy sauce

  • * To clarify butter, melt in a saucepan over a low heat. Skim off the clear liquid from the sediment that collects in the bottom. Discard sediment.

  • To serve
  • rice

  • Equipment
  • Large sauté pan with lid


  1. Method
  2. Place the chicken strips in a non-metallic bowl. Finely cut the rind from a quarter of the lemon and put to one side. Squeeze the juice from the whole lemon (this should produce 3 tablespoons). Pour the lemon juice over the chicken and season with pepper. Refrigerate, covered, for at least 1 hour.

  3. Cut or break the broccoli into small florets. Cut the carrots into 8cm (3 inch) batons.

  4. Heat the oil over a high heat and add the broccoli florets and carrots. Stir-fry for 1 minute.

  5. Add the water, then cover and reduce the heat to medium. Steam for 5 minutes until the vegetables are tender-crisp.

  6. Make a well in the centre of the vegetables and add the butter, lemon rind, and onions.

  7. Drain the chicken, reserving the marinade, and add to the pan. Stir-fry for 6 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through.

  8. Combine the cornflour/cornstarch and water until smooth. Add to the pan along with the reserved lemon marinade and let it bubble for 1 minute until thickened.

  9. Stir in the soy sauce and toss to coat.

  10. Serve over a bed of rice.

Updated: August 30, 2017

Pork and Noodle Stir Fry

Pork and Noodle Stir Fry

 

Just 10 minutes to cook this tasty stir fry. Pork fillet cut into rounds, julienne carrots and green beans all in a sweet orange teriyaki sauce. This is so easy to prepare.

 

Pork and Noodle Stir Fry
Prepares: 4 servings
 
  • Preparation time: 30 minutes
  • Cooking time: 10 minutes

  • Ingredients
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 450g (1 lb) pork fillet/tenderloin
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 2 tsp fresh ginger, grated or ginger purée
  • 225g (8 oz) carrots
  • 170g (6 oz) frozen French beans/whole beans
  • 2 sheets medium egg noodles (140g) (5 oz) (1¾ cups)
  • 2 tsp cornflour/cornstarch
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 300ml (10 fl oz) orange juice (1¼ cups)
  • 2 tbsp runny/liquid honey
  • 3 spring/green onions
  • 1 tbsp fresh coriander, chopped

  • Equipment
  • Large frying pan/skillet, sauté pan or wok


  1. Method
  2. Prepare everything first as this dish doesn’t take long to cook. Slice the pork thinly. Peel and crush the garlic clove. Peel, wash and cut the carrots into 5cm (2 inch) lengths and 0.5cm (½ inch) thick. Cut the beans so they are about 5cm (2 inches) in length. Trim and thinly slice the onions.

  3. Now everything is prepared and you are ready to start cooking.

  4. Cook the noodles according to the directions on the packet and then drain.

  5. Heat the oil in the pan over a moderate heat, then add the pork and fry on both sides for about 2 minutes until they start to brown.

  6. Add the garlic, ginger, carrots and beans to the pan and fry for a further 4 minutes, stirring occasionally.

  7. Meanwhile, whisk together the cornflour/cornstarch, soy sauce, orange juice, and honey. Once the vegetables have finished cooking, pour in the liquid and stir until it starts to thicken, 1–2 minutes.

  8. Stir through the drained noodles and spring/green onions.

  9. Then sprinkle the coriander over the top and serve.

 

Quick Minestrone

Quick Minestrone

 

This quick minestrone is made up of a selection of vegetables cooked with cannelloni beans and small pieces of spaghetti. It makes for a satisfying lunch accompanied with crusty rolls.

 

Quick Minestrone
Prepares: 8–10 servings
 
  • Preparation time: 20–25 minutes
  • Cooking time: 25 minutes

  • Ingredients
  • 4 small carrots
  • 2 celery sticks
  • 1 onion
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 x 400g tin (½ x 796ml/28 fl oz can) chopped tomatoes/diced tomatoes
  • 1.8 litres (3 pints) good chicken stock (7½ cups)
  • 85g (3 oz) spaghetti
  • 400g tin (540ml/19 fl oz can) cannellini beans/white kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 140g (5 oz) frozen peas (1 cup)
  • fresh basil to garnish


  1. Method
  2. Peel the vegetables and dice into small pieces, about 0.5cm (¼ inch). Heat the oil in a large pan, add the vegetables and stir to coat with the oil. Cook, uncovered, over a medium–low heat until the vegetables are soft, about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

  3. Then stir in the tomatoes and stock, and bring up to a simmer. Break the spaghetti into small pieces and add to the pan. Simmer for 10 minutes.

  4. Finally, add the beans and peas, and simmer for a further 5 minutes.

  5. Serve garnished with basil leaves and accompany with crusty bread or rolls.

Updated May 21, 2017

Steak aux Légumes

 

Steak aux légumes

 

A simple sauce is poured over the steaks to marinade for just 30 minutes. They are then quickly fried and served with the sauce drizzled over and accompanied with a selection of vegetables.

 

Steak aux légumes
Prepares: 4 servings
 
  • Preparation time: 20 minutes
  • Marinading time: 30 minutes
  • Cooking time: 25 minutes

  • Ingredients
  • 4 × 170g (6 oz) good quality steak
  • 4 tbsp soy sauce
  • 4 tsp dark brown sugar
  • 2 garlic clove, crushed
  • ground black pepper
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1½ tbsp olive oil


  • To serve
  • baby or new potatoes and a medley of vegetables (for example, broccoli, mange tout, baby carrots, courgettes/zucchini)

  • Equipment
  • a large heavy-based frying pan/skillet


  1. Method
  2. Lay the steaks in a shallow dish. In a small bowl add the next 5 ingredients and mix together. Pour over the steaks, cover the dish, and leave to marinade for 30 minutes, turning halfway through.

  3. Put the potatoes in a pan, cover with water and bring to the boil. Simmer for 15–20 minutes.

  4. Bring 5cm (2 inches) water to a simmer in the bottom half of a steamer, put the medley of vegetables in the top half and steam for 7 minutes or until they are tender.

  5. Heat the frying pan/skillet over a medium-high heat. Add the olive oil and when hot, reduce the heat a little and add the steaks. Cook for 2–3 minutes on each side, depending on how you like your steak. Remove from the pan and keep warm to rest for a couple of minutes.

  6. Meanwhile, stir the reserved marinade into the pan and, over a gentle heat, let it bubble to heat through.

  7. Serve the steak with the sauce poured over and the vegetables alongside.

Updated: May 7, 2017

Country Vegetable Soup

Country Vegetable Soup

 

This is a lovely smooth, thick vegetable soup. It’s quick to make and great for a winter’s day accompanied with soda bread.

 

Country Vegetable Soup
Prepares: 6 servings
 
  • Preparation time: 20 minutes
  • Cooking time: 45 minutes

  • Ingredients
  • 55g (2 oz) butter (¼ cup, or ½ stick)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 2 celery sticks, chopped
  • 1 large potato, chopped
  • 400g tin chopped tomatoes (½ × 796ml can diced tomatoes)
  • 600ml (20 fl oz) good beef stock (2½ cups)
  • 1 tsp tomato purée
  • salt and pepper


  • To serve
  • Chopped chives or celery leaves to garnish


  1. Method
  2. Melt the butter in a large pan, add the vegetables and cook until soft, about 10 minutes.

  3. Add tomatoes, stock, tomato purée, and salt and pepper to taste. Bring to the boil, cover and simmer for 30 minutes.

  4. Remove from the heat, cool slightly, then purée in a blender.

  5. Pour into a clean saucepan and simmer for 5 minutes.

  6. Check seasoning and serve garnished with chives or celery leaves.

Updated: May 7, 2017

Beef and Bacon Bolognese

Beef and Bacon Bolognese

 

This bolognese is loaded with wholesome ingredients. The beef and bacon are cooked in a sauce of tomatoes, chopped onions, diced carrots and celery, garlic, herbs and red wine.

 

Beef and Bacon Bolognese
Prepares: 4 servings
 
  • Preparation time: 30–35 minutes
  • Cooking time: 55 minutes hob

  • Ingredients
  • 1½ tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 carrot, peeled and diced
  • 1 celery stick, diced
  • 115g (4 oz) smoked bacon rashers, chopped (about 4 rashers)
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled and crushed
  • 400g can chopped tomatoes (½ x 28 fl oz can diced tomatoes)
  • 150ml (5 fl oz) beef stock (⅔ cup)
  • 150ml (5 fl oz) red wine (⅔ cup)
  • 4 tbsp tomato purée/tomato paste
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tbsp mixed herbs (basil, marjoram and oregano)
  • salt and pepper
  • 340g (12 oz) lean mince beef/ground beef
  • 1 red pepper, de-seeded and chopped
  • 115g (4 oz) mushrooms, rinsed and sliced (6 button mushrooms)

  • To serve
  • serve with fettuccine

  • Equipment
  • Large frying pan/skillet
  • A deep sided frying pan or sauté pan


  1. Method
  2. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a frying pan/skillet over a medium heat. When hot, add the onion, carrot, celery, bacon and garlic Stir to coat in the oil and then cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

  3. Stir in the tomatoes, stock, wine, tomato purée/tomato paste, bay leaf, herbs and seasoning. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat, cover and simmer gently for 20 minutes.

  4. Heat the remaining oil in a deep frying pan or sauté pan, over a medium heat and, when hot, add the beef with the pepper. Fry for about 5 minutes to brown the meat.

  5. Add the mushrooms and cook for a further 3 minutes.

  6. Stir in the sauce, bring everything to the boil, then cover and simmer for 30 minutes.

  7. Serve with fettuccini.

Updated March 29, 2017

One-Dish Beef Casserole

One-dish Beef Casserole

 

This easy beef casserole is made from chunks of steak, braised slowly with carrots, onions and potatoes in a tomato-based beef stock. Once prepared and in the oven there is nothing more to do!

 

One-Dish Beef Casserole
Prepares: 4 servings
 
  • Preparation time: About 25 minutes
  • Cooking time: 2½ hours

  • Ingredients
  • 700 (1½ lb) stewing steak
  • 45ml (3 tbsp) flour
  • 2 medium onions, sliced
  • 450g (1 lb) carrots, sliced (6 medium)
  • 700g (1½ lb) potatoes, peeled and sliced (4½ medium)
  • ground nutmeg
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 × 400g can, or ½ × 28 fl oz can whole tomatoes
  • beef stock
  • 225g (8 oz) peas (optional) (1½ cups)

  • Equipment
  • lidded casserole dish


  1. Method
  2. Preheat the oven to 170°C (325°F) (gas 3)

  3. Place the flour in a plastic food storage bag and add salt and pepper. Shake the bag to mix. Cut the steak into 2.5cm (1 inch) cubes and add to the bag. Shake again so the flour coats the steak.

  4. Layer the steak, onions, carrots and potatoes in the casserole dish, sprinkling each layer with a pinch of nutmeg and some seasoning as you go. Sprinkle any remaining flour in the casserole and add the tomatoes. Pour enough stock to come just over halfway up the ingredients. Gently stir the stock into the ingredients.

  5. Cover and cook for 2½ hours.

  6. Peas can be added 15 minutes before the end of cooking.

Updated: March 14, 2017

Chicken Fricassee

Chicken Fricassee

 

A chicken fricassee where pieces of chicken are cooked in a creamy sauce with sliced carrots, chopped onions and sliced mushrooms, served garnished with bacon rolls and parsley.

 

Chicken Fricassee
Prepares: 4 servings
 
  • Preparation time: 45 minutes
  • Cooking time: 20 minutes

  • Ingredients
  • 4 chicken breasts, skinned
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 carrots, finely sliced
  • 110g/4 oz mushrooms, sliced
  • bouquet garni*
  • salt and pepper
  • 50g/2 oz butter
  • 50g/2 oz flour
  • 4 rashers streaky bacon/side bacon, rinded and rolled
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 3 tbsp double cream/whipping cream
  • juice of ½ lemon (1½ tablespoons)
  • chopped fresh parsley to garnish

  • *In Canada these little bags of bouquet garni aren’t available so I make my own. Traditionally, thyme, parsley stalks and bay leaf are wrapped in a small piece of muslin and tied to make a sack.

  • To serve
  • Seasonal green vegetables


  1. Method
  2. Place the chicken, onion, carrots, mushrooms, bouquet garni and seasoning in a pan and cover with water. Bring slowly to the boil and then reduce the heat and simmer gently for 20 minutes.

  3. Remove from the heat, strain off the stock and reserve.

  4. Cut the chicken into cubes and set to one side.

  5. Preheat the grill/broiler to high.

  6. Over a medium heat melt the butter in a separate pan. Reduce the heat and add the flour, stirring to form a paste (a roux). Cook for 2 minutes and then remove from the heat. Measure off 600ml/20 fl oz/1 pint of the reserved stock and gradually stir it into the roux until smooth. Bring to the boil and continue to stir until the sauce thickens.

  7. Reduce the heat, add the chicken and vegetables and heat through, about 2 minutes.

  8. Meanwhile, grill/broil the bacon rolls until crisp on the outside.

  9. In a small bowl, blend the egg yolk and cream together. Stir a little of the sauce into the mixture and blend until smooth. Add the mixture to the sauce and stir through, being careful not to let the sauce boil. Then stir in the lemon juice.

  10. Serve the fricassee garnished with the bacon rolls and chopped parsley.

 

Beef Stir Fry with Vegetables

Beef Stir Fry with Vegetables

 

Sirloin steak cut into strips and stir fried with red pepper, broccoli and carrots, served with a sauce over a bed of rice.

 

Beef Stir Fry with Vegetables
Prepares: 4 servings
 
  • Preparation time: 25 minutes
  • Cooking time: 15 minutes

  • Ingredients
  • 1 tbsp cornflour/cornstarch
  • 140ml/5 fl oz water
  • 284ml/10 oz can beef broth (Campbells)
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 red pepper
  • 1 small broccoli head
  • 3 carrots
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 4 tbsp oil
  • 450g/1 lb sirloin steak, cut into strips

  • Equipment
  • A 22.5cm/10 inch frying pan/skillet


  1. Method
  2. First, blend together the cornflour and water in a bowl. Stir in the beef broth and soya sauce and then set aside.

  3. Deseed the pepper and cut into small chunks. Break the broccoli into small florets. Peel and thinly slice the carrots.

  4. Place the pan over a medium-high heat and add 2 tablespoons of oil. When hot, stir-in the vegetables and garlic to coat and stir-fry until tender, about 5–8 minutes. Remove and keep warm.

  5. Add the other 2 tablespoons of oil to the pan and when hot add the beef. Stir-fry for 2–4 minutes. Remove and keep warm.

  6. Add the reserved broth to the pan and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to medium and stir until it thickens. Return the vegetables and meat to the pan and heat through.

  7. Serve over a bed of rice.

 

Rich Beef Stew

Rich Beef Stew

 

This is a lovely rich beef stew with chunks of beef, baby carrots, swede/rutabaga and red onion, cooked slowly in a wine and passata enriched stock. Perfect for a cold winter’s day, served with garlic mashed potatoes.

 

Rich Beef Stew
Prepares: 4 servings
 
  • Preparation time: 40 minutes
  • Cooking time: 2 hours 30 minutes

  • Ingredients
  • For the stew
  • 675g/1½ lb stewing steak
  • Oil
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely sliced
  • 4 sprigs thyme
  • Knob of butter
  • 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 125ml/4 fl oz red wine
  • 250ml/8 fl oz passata
  • 250ml/8 fl oz good beef stock
  • 450g/1 lb Chantenay carrots/baby carrots
  • 450g/1 lb swede/rutabaga, cut into small chunks

  • Note
  • Chantenay carrots, which are found in the U.K., are lovely small sweet carrots. The baby carrots found in North America are smaller but can be a good substitute or just use ordinary carrots roughly chopped, small.

  • Butternut squash would be a good alternative to the swede/rutabaga.

  • For the garlic mashed potatoes
  • 800g/1¾ lb potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
  • Olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 sprig of rosemary
  • 2 sprigs of sage
  • Knob of butter


  1. Method
  2. For the stew
  3. Put a little oil in a large deep pan and brown the beef over a medium heat, about 5 minutes. Remove to a bowl.

  4. Add a little more oil to the pan and reduce the heat to medium-low. Add the onion and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until softened. The onion should have started to brown.

  5. Return the beef to the pan with any of its juices. Stir in the garlic and thyme. Add the butter, Worcestershire sauce and wine. Stir, and let it bubble to reduce a little.

  6. Add the passata and stock. Season well. Cover and let it simmer very gently for about 1½ hours, stirring occasionally.

  7. Add the carrots and swede and cook for a further hour. The meat should be really tender and the vegetables cooked through.

  8. Remove the thyme sprigs before serving.

  9. For the garlic mashed potatoes
  10. Boil the potatoes in a pan of salted water for 20 minutes until tender.

  11. In a separate pan, over a low heat, add the oil, garlic, rosemary and sage. Cook very gently for about 10 minutes to flavour the oil. Remove the sprigs of rosemary and sage.

  12. Drain the potatoes and add the oil. Mash. Add a knob of butter, season, and beat until creamy.

 

Sweet Mustard Pork

Sweet Mustard Pork

 

Succulent pork tenderloin marinaded in a sweet mustard sauce and then roasted.

 

Sweet Mustard Pork
Prepares: 4 servings
 
  • Preparation time: About 30 minutes
  • Marinading time: At least 30 minutes, overnight if possible
  • Cooking time: 40 minutes

  • Ingredients
  • 500g/1lb pork tenderloin
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup*
  • 4 tsp wholegrain mustard
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • salt and pepper

  • Vegetables to serve
  • Roasted, diced potatoes and carrots
  • Peas

  • *I like to use real maple syrup as I try to avoid the ingredients in synthetic maple syrup. Pure Canadian maple syrup is freely available in the U.K.


  1. Method
  2. For the mustard pork
  3. Mix together in a bowl the maple syrup, mustard, garlic, oil and seasoning.

  4. Coat the tenderloin with the marinade, leave it for at least 30 minutes, overnight if possible.

  5. Preheat the oven to 200°C, 400°F, gas mark 6.

  6. Put the meat in a small roasting tin and roast for 20–25 minutes until it. browns on the outside and the juices run clear when tested with a skewer. Spoon the sticky pan juices over the pork and then slice.

  7. For the vegetables
  8. Parboil a few potatoes and carrots for 10 minutes. Drain and cool slightly. Dice and toss in a little extra virgin oil. Roast for about 30 minutes until browning and crisp.

  9. Accompany with peas.