Bring the stock to the boil in a large pan and add the noodles. Cook until tender according to the time recommended on the packet. Once they are tender remove from the heat but do not drain. Then leave to cool a little.
This a good time to chop the basil, crush the garlic, dice the ham and red pepper.
Next add the cottage cheese, sour cream, and cornflour/cornstarch to the noodles and stir. Then add the basil and garlic.
Now add the ham, peas, and red pepper.
Spoon into the casserole dish.
Mix the breadcrumbs and cheese together and then sprinkle over the top.
Bake, uncovered, for 30 minutes. The top will be crispy and golden.
For that time when you need something quick and simple to prepare, this British favourite fits the bill. A gammon steak, topped with a soft poached egg, and roasted baby potatoes instead of fries, makes for a very enjoyable meal.
Wash the potatoes, cut into 1 inch pieces and place in a large bowl. Add 4 tablespoons of olive oil, garlic cloves, and seasoning. Toss together to coat the potatoes.
Tip into a small roasting tin/pan and roast for 30 minutes until the potatoes are tender, turning a couple of times to make sure they brown evenly.
Preheat the grill/broiler.
Remove any rind from the gammon steaks, then brush with the remaining olive oil. Grill/broil for 3 minutes on each side until they are starting to brown and are crisping at the edges.
While cooking the gammon, also cook the eggs. Pour some boiling water into a non-stick frying pan/skillet to a depth of 2.5–3.75cm (1–1½ inches). Gently heat the water so that it produces just a trace of tiny bubbles over the base of the pan. Next stir the white wine vinegar into the water, which will prevent the whites from spreading as they cook.
Now, holding the cracked eggs as near as possible above the water, slip them gently into the water and cook for exactly 1 minute to let the eggs settle.
Cook for a further 3 minutes, occasionally basting the top of the eggs with the water.
Once the eggs are cooked, lift them out of the water with a flat slotted spoon, resting the spoon on a sheet of kitchen paper to absorb any water before slipping the egg off the spoon onto the top of a gammon steak.
675g (1½ lb) potatoes, cut into even sized pieces (about 5 medium)
115g (4 oz) cooked ham, diced
340g (12 oz) baby spinach leaves, chopped
28g (1 oz) butter (2 tbsp, or ¼ stick)
28g (1 oz) flour (3 tbsp)
150ml (5 fl oz) milk (⅔ cup)
150ml (5 fl oz) hot chicken stock (⅔ cup)
salt and ground black pepper
150ml (5 fl oz) single/table cream (⅔ cup)
85g (3 oz) Gruyère cheese, grated (¾ cup)
1.5 litre/2½ pint (6 cup) ovenproof dish
Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F) (gas 6).
Put the chicken, onion, carrot and bay leaf into a pan and cover with water. Bring the water to the boil, then cover the pan and gently simmer for 15 minutes. Remove the chicken and discard the water and vegetables.
Blanch the potatoes in boiling salted water for 5 minutes. Drain and, when cool enough to handle, dice into 1cm (½ inch) cubes.
Dice the chicken and put into a large bowl along with the ham and spinach. Toss to mix, then spread over the base of the ovenproof dish.
Melt the butter over a medium heat. Turn the heat down and quickly stir in the flour and mix to a smooth paste. Gradually add the milk and stock, stirring continuously until there is a smooth sauce. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for a further 2–3 minutes, stirring continuously, until the sauce begins to thicken. Remove from the heat. Add the seasoning, cream and cheese and beat well.
Pour half the sauce over the chicken mixture. Spread the cubed potato over the top, then spoon the rest of the sauce over.
Bake above the centre of the oven for 40 minutes until the potato is tender and has started to brown.
Heat 2 teaspoons of oil in the pan over a medium heat, then stir in the garlic. The steaks will need to be cooked two at a time. Lay the first two steaks in the pan and cook for 3 minutes each side. Remove and transfer to a warmed plate in the oven.
Heat the remaining 2 teaspoons of oil in the pan and cook the remaining two steaks. Then transfer to a warmed plate in the oven.
Meanwhile whisk the vinegar with the water, pepper and honey in a small bowl. Once the steaks are cooked, remove the pan from the heat and add the sauce along with most of the parsley. Stir for 1 minute. The heat of the pan will be enough to heat through the sauce.
Pour the sauce over the steaks and sprinkle over the remaining parsley. Serve with the peas and other seasonal vegetables.