Spaghetti Bolognese

Spaghetti Bolognese

 

What can I say? Spaghetti Bolognese is a real family favourite. And quick and easy to prepare!

 

Spaghetti Bolognese
Prepares: 4 servings
 
  • Preparation time: 25 minutes
  • Cooking time: 40 minutes

  • Ingredients
  • For the Bolognese
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 450g (1 lb) minced/ground beef
  • 2 tbsp tomato purée
  • 275ml (10 fl oz) beef stock (1¼ cups)
  • 400g tin chopped tomatoes (½ x 28 oz can diced tomatoes)
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 115g (4 oz) button mushrooms, sliced (1½ cups) (optional)

  • For the spaghetti
  • 225g (8 oz) spaghetti (filling the hole of a pasta server with spaghetti is a single portion)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • a little olive oil

  • To serve
  • Parmesan

  • Equipment
  • large frying pan/skillet or sauté pan
  • a large pan for the spaghetti


  1. Method
  2. Heat the oil in the pan and cook the onion over a low heat for 10 minutes until golden. Add the garlic and cook for a further minute.

  3. Increase the heat to medium, add the beef, and brown for about 5 minutes. Break up any clumps with a wooden spoon.

  4. Stir in the stock and tomato purée and bring to the boil.

  5. Add the tomatoes, Worcestershire sauce, mushrooms, if using, and season. Give it a good stir and then reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

  6. Meanwhile, bring a large pan of water to the boil. Add salt and dash of olive oil, then ease the spaghetti into the pan.

  7. Reduce the heat a little and cook the spaghetti for the length of time according to the directions on the packet. (Can recommend DeCecco brand.)

  8. Drain through a large colander, reserving 120ml (4 fl oz) (½ cup) of the cooking water and then return to the pan with the spaghetti. Add the sauce and toss well.

  9. Spoon into bowls and top with little slivers of Parmesan.

  10. Note
  11. A Caesar salad makes a good starter. And garlic bread to serve with the Spaghetti Bolognese.

 

Pork and Mushrooms in a Mustard Wine Sauce

Pork and Mushrooms in a Mustard Wine Sauce

 

A very tasty dish that takes just 20 minutes to cook. Pork steaks or tenderloin and sliced mushrooms are sautéed in olive oil and served in a creamy mustard and white wine sauce with thyme.

 

Pork and Mushrooms in a Mustard Wine Sauce
Prepares: 4 servings
 
  • Preparation time: 25 minutes
  • Cooking time: 20 minutes

  • Ingredients
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 pork loin steaks, or a piece of pork tenderloin cut into 4
  • 225g (8 oz) mushrooms, rinsed, trimmed and thickly sliced (12 button mushrooms)
  • 2 tsp flour
  • 240ml (8 fl oz) dry white wine (1 cup)
  • 2 tsp fresh thyme leaves
  • 4 tbsp crème fraîche
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • salt and ground black pepper
  • fresh chives (optional)

  • Suggested serving accompaniment
  • new or baby potatoes and a green salad, green beans, or spinach

  • Equipment
  • large frying pan/skillet


  1. Method
  2. Warm a plate in the oven.

  3. Then, place the frying pan/skillet over a medium heat and pour in the olive oil. When it is hot, add the butter. Once the butter has melted, add the pork to the pan. Brown the pork on both sides, about 5 minutes, then reduce the heat and cook for a further 5 minutes on each side. Transfer to the warmed plate and and return it to the oven.

  4. Toss the mushrooms in the pan to coat and cook until lightly browned, 2–3 minutes. Lift out with a slotted spoon and add to the pork.

  5. Blend the flour into the pan juices. Gradually stir in the wine until the sauce is smooth and then add the thyme leaves. Increase the heat and let it bubble until reduced by about two-thirds.

  6. Turn the heat down to low and stir in the crème fraîche and mustard to warm through. Do not let the mixture boil as it will make the mustard taste bitter. Season.

  7. Return the pork, mushrooms and any juices, to the pan and stir the sauce. Heat everything through very gently and then serve garnished with snipped chives, if liked.

Updated: October 4, 2017

Teriyaki Steak

Teriyaki Steak

 

Slices of steak are marinated in a teriyaki sauce and then sautéed with mushrooms and tomatoes. Serving on a bed of flavoured brown rice for a very tasty dish.

 

Teriyaki Steak
Prepares: 4 servings
 
  • Preparation time: 40 minutes
  • Marinading time: 1–2 hours
  • Cooking time: 50 minutes

  • Ingredients
  • 575g (1lb 4 oz) sirloin or rump steak, fat removed
  • 4 tbsp medium-dry sherry
  • 6 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp caster sugar/white sugar
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 225g (8 oz) button mushrooms, sliced (3 cups)
  • 1 tsp cornflour/cornstarch

  • For the rice
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and chopped
  • 200g (7 oz) brown rice (1 cup)
  • 475 ml (15 fl oz) chicken stock (2 cups)
  • ½ tsp cumin seeds

  • To garnish
  • 2 medium tomatoes
  • parsley


  1. Method
  2. Pour the sherry and soy sauce into a large bowl. Add the sugar and stir until it has dissolved.

  3. Cut the steak into 1.25cm (½ inch) slices and add to the bowl. Turn the steak to coat, then cover the bowl, refrigerate, and leave to marinade for at least an hour.

  4. Remove the bowl from the fridge just before preparing the rice to enable the steak to come to room temperature.

  5. For the rice
  6. Put the onion, rice, stock and cumin seeds into a large pan and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook for 35–40 minutes until the stock has been absorbed by the rice.

  7. When it is cooked, leave to rest for 10 minutes while cooking the steak and vegetables.

  8. For the steak
  9. First, cut the tomatoes in half and then each half into thirds.

  10. Drain the meat, reserving the marinade.

  11. Blend the cornflour/cornstarch into the marinade and set to one side.

  12. Heat the oil in a large frying pan/skillet over a medium heat. Add the steak and stir fry for 2–3 minutes, turning frequently, until lightly browned.

  13. Add the mushrooms and stir fry for a further minute.

  14. Add the tomatoes and stir in the reserved marinade. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and cook for 1 minute.

  15. To serve
  16. Divide the rice between four plates, spooning it around the edge of each plate to form a circle. Now divide the steak and vegetables into four portions placing each in the centre of the rice and spoon over any sauce remaining in the pan.

  17. Serve immediately, garnished with a little parsley.

 

Chicken Hunter’s Style

I have two recipes for chicken cacciatore. One I have already posted (see Chicken Cacciatore) and this one I call Chicken Hunter’s Style. We like both recipes although they are slightly different. As cacciatore means hunter in Italian, it seemed an appropriate way to be able to identify the two.

 

Chicken Hunter's Style

 

Chicken Hunter’s Style – breasts of chicken are cooked with diced bacon and onions, sliced mushrooms and plum tomatoes in a seasoned tomato sauce.

 

Chicken Hunter's Style
Prepares: 4 servings
 
  • Preparation time: 20 minutes
  • Cooking time: 40 minutes

  • Ingredients
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 chicken breasts, each cut into two
  • 3 back bacon rashers, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 110g/4 oz mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • salt and pepper
  • 120ml/4 fl oz/½ cup white wine
  • 400g tin/½ x 28 fl oz can whole tomatoes

  • To serve
  • 275g/10 oz peas
  • pasta, penne works well

  • Equipment
  • large sauté pan with lid
  • medium sized serving dish


  1. Method
  2. Heat the oil in the pan over a medium heat, add the chicken and brown on both sides, about 5 minutes. Remove and set to one side.

  3. Put the bacon in the pan and cook for 1 minute, then add the onions, mushrooms and garlic.

    Reduce the heat a little and sauté until the onions are soft, about 5 minutes.

  4. Return the chicken to the pan and sprinkle with parsley, basil, salt and pepper. Stir in the wine and tomatoes.

  5. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes, turning the chicken half way through.

  6. Remove the chicken to a warmed serving dish and pour over the sauce.

  7. Serve with pasta and peas.

 

Chicken Cacciatore

I have two recipes for chicken cacciatore. One I have already posted (see Chicken Hunter’s Style) and this one is called Chicken Cacciatore. We like both recipes although they are slightly different. As cacciatore means hunter in Italian, it seemed an appropriate way to be able to identify the two.

 

Chicken Cacciatore

 

Chicken is sautéed and then cooked with chopped onions, sliced mushrooms and chopped tomatoes in a seasoned sauce. Rocket/arugula is then stirred through before serving.

 

Chicken Cacciatore
Prepares: 4 servings
 
  • Preparation time: 20 minutes
  • Cooking time: About 35 minutes

  • Ingredients
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 chicken breasts, skinned
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 225g/8 oz mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 x 400g tins/1 x 28 fl oz chopped/diced tomatoes
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 140ml/5 fl oz/¼ pint chicken stock
  • large handful rocket/arugula

  • To serve
  • seasonal vegetables or crusty bread to mop up the juices

  • Equipment
  • deep sided sauté pan


  1. Method
  2. Heat half the oil in the pan over a medium–high heat, add the chicken and brown on both sides, about 5 minutes. Remove the chicken and set aside.

  3. Reduce the heat to medium, add the remaining oil to the pan and sauté the onion and mushrooms for 8 minutes, until beginning to soften.

  4. Stir in the tomatoes, oregano, bay leaf and chicken stock, then return the chicken to the pan and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes, turning the chicken halfway through, until the chicken is cooked and the sauce has thickened.

  5. Remove the bay leaf, then season well and stir through the rocket/arugula.

 

Chicken and Mixed Cheese Bake

Chicken and Mixed Cheese Bake

 

This chicken and mixed cheese bake is made with bite-sized pieces of chicken, strips of bacon and mushrooms, sautéed and then baked in a mixed cheese sauce with a grated Parmesan and breadcrumb topping. A very simple dish that tastes really good.

 

Chicken and Mixed Cheese Bake
Prepares: 4 servings
 
  • Preparation time: 35 minutes
  • Cooking time: 20 minutes

  • Ingredients
  • 110g/4 oz streaky bacon/side bacon
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 chicken breasts, skinned
  • 110g/4 oz button mushrooms
  • 1 x 350g tub fresh three cheese sauce, OR
  • 1 x 410g jar four-cheese pasta sauce
  • 1 rounded tbsp fresh breadcrumbs
  • 1 rounded tbsp Parmesan cheese, grated
  • salt and pepper

  • Equipment
  • A large gratin dish

  • To serve
  • tagliatelle


  1. Method
  2. Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/gas mark 6.

  3. Cut the bacon into thin strips. Heat the oil in a sauté pan and add the bacon. Cook over a medium heat until the bacon starts to crisp, about 5 minutes. Remove from the pan with a slotted spoon and set aside.

  4. Cut the chicken into bite-size pieces and put in the pan in a single layer. Brown all over adding a little extra olive oil if needed. This may need to be done in 2 batches. Remove from the pan and set aside with the bacon.

  5. Put the mushrooms in the pan and sauté over a low heat for 2 minutes, turning occasionally.

  6. Pour the sauce into the pan and heat through, then return the chicken and bacon to the pan and stir through. Season.

  7. Transfer to a gratin dish. Mix together the breadcrumbs and Parmesan cheese and scatter over the chicken mixture.

  8. Bake near the top of the oven for 20 minutes until the breadcrumbs are golden and the sauce is bubbling.

  9. Serve with tagliatelle.

 

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.

 

Luxury Fish Pie

Luxury Fish Pie

 

A buttery puff pastry makes this luxury fish pie a delicious alternative to a traditional potato topping. The salmon and prawns/shrimp are in a creamy sauce with sweetcorn and mushrooms.

 

Luxury Fish Pie
Prepares: 4 servings
 
  • Preparation time: 40 minutes
  • Standing time: 15 minutes
  • Cooking time: 30 minutes

  • Ingredients
  • 450ml/15 fl oz/¾ pint milk
  • 450g/1 lb salmon fillet, skinned
  • 250g/8 oz tiger prawns/jumbo shrimp
  • 170g/6 oz frozen sweetcorn (or canned)
  • 50g/2 oz butter
  • 50g/2 oz flour
  • 140ml/5 fl oz/¼ pint white wine
  • 110g/4 oz button mushrooms, halved
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 tbsp fresh dill, chopped
  • 225g packet frozen puff pastry, thawed*
  • 1 egg, beaten (for glaze)

  • Equipment
  • pie dish

  • * You can buy good frozen puff pastry that is made from butter. Making it from scratch is just one step too far for me.


  1. Method
  2. Preheat the oven to 220°C/425°F/gas mark 7.

  3. Pour the milk into a large saucepan. Cut the salmon into cubes and add with the prawns to the pan. Bring to the boil. Remove from the heat, cover, and leave for 5 minutes to cook the fish.

  4. Drain the fish, reserving the liquor, and place in the base of the pie dish with the sweetcorn.

  5. Melt the butter in a pan, add the flour and cook over a low heat for 1 minute to cook the flour. Gradually stir in the reserved liquor until smooth. Increase the heat and stir until thickened. Stir in the wine and add the mushrooms. Simmer for 3 minutes. Season to taste and stir in the dill.

  6. Pour sauce over the fish and mix in. Leave to cool slightly, about 10 minutes.

  7. Trim the pastry to fit the top of the pie dish. Dampen the rim of the dish with water and use the trimmings to cover the rim of the dish. Dampen the rim of pastry with water and lift the large piece of pastry over the top. Press down around the rim of the dish to seal the pastry and knock-back the edges. Make 2 holes in the top to allow steam to escape during cooking.

  8. Brush the top of the pastry with egg glaze. Place on a baking tray and bake in the centre of the oven for 30 minutes until the pastry is golden.

  9. Serve with peas, beans or carrots.

 

Chicken Marengo

Chicken Marengo

 

Chicken Marengo is a traditional French dish, apparently a favourite of Napoleon. My version cooks the chicken on a bed of vegetables in a rich sauce.

 

Chicken Marengo
Prepares: 4 servings
 
  • Preparation time: About 45 minutes
  • Cooking time: 1 hour

  • Ingredients
  • 4 chicken joints, skinned
  • 3–4 tbsp oil
  • 2 carrots, sliced
  • 1 stick celery, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 50g/2 oz streaky bacon, chopped
  • 3 tbsp flour
  • 300ml/10 fl oz chicken stock
  • 1 × 400g/½ × 28 fl oz can whole tomatoes
  • 30ml/2 tbsp sherry
  • salt and pepper
  • bouquet garni *
  • 110g/4 oz mushrooms, sliced
  • chopped parsley to garnish

  • *3 sprigs of parsley, 2 sprigs of thyme and 1 bay leaf, tied together. Or the dried herbs in a pouch of cheesecloth. In the U.K. these are already prepared in a small sachet.

  • Equipment
  • A casserole with lid


  1. Method
  2. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4.

  3. Heat the oil in a frying pan over a medium heat. Add the chicken pieces to the pan and cook for about 5 minutes on both sides until they are golden brown. Remove and put into the casserole.

  4. Fry the vegetables and bacon in the oil for about 5 minutes until golden.

  5. Reduce the heat and stir in the flour and cook for 2–3 minutes, then gradually add the stock, stirring constantly. Bring to the boil and continue to stir until it thickens.

  6. Remove from the heat and add the tomatoes, sherry, salt and pepper.

  7. Pour the sauce over the chicken, add the bouquet garni and sliced mushrooms. Cover and cook in the oven for 1 hour.

  8. Garnish with parsley.

 

Paprika Pork

Paprika Pork

 

A delicious combination of spice, herbs and sweetness. Strips of pork tenderloin, cooked in a paprika and herb sauce, with red peppers and mushrooms. Just add a dollop of Greek yogurt and sprinkle with more paprika.

 

Paprika Pork
Prepares: 4 servings
 
  • Preparation time: 30 minutes
  • Cooking time: 1 hour 15 minutes

  • Ingredients
  • 200ml/7½ fl oz milk
  • 200ml/7½ fl oz chicken stock
  • 2 tsp cornflour/cornstarch
  • 1 tsp oil
  • 450g/1 lb pork tenderloin cut into strips
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1½ tsp paprika
  • 1½ tsp fresh thyme, leaves only
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • ½ tsp runny honey
  • 1 tbsp tomato purée
  • 1 red pepper, deseeded and cut into thin strips
  • 170g/6 oz button mushrooms, quartered
  • 4 tbsp natural greek yogurt

  • To serve
  • Brown rice and seasonal green vegetables

  • Equipment
  • An ovenproof dish


  1. Method
  2. Preheat oven to 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4

  3. In a bowl mix a little of the milk into the cornflour and then gradually stir in the rest of the milk and the chicken stock. Set to one side.

  4. Heat the oil in a frying pan, add the pork and cook for 3 minutes to brown the meat. Stir in the garlic and cook for a further 30 seconds.

  5. Stir in the paprika, thyme, coriander, honey and tomato purée. Add the cornflour mixture and bring to the boil, stirring.

  6. Transfer to an ovenproof dish, cover and cook in the oven for 1 hour.

  7. Stir in the mushrooms and red pepper, cover and return to the oven for a further 15 minutes until tender.

  8. Serve on a bed of rice and garnish with the yogurt and a sprinkling of paprika.

  9. Accompany with seasonal green vegetables.