Are your mashed potatoes mushy or properly mashed and smooth? If your doing it wrong then disasterous mashed potatoes will result.
A few tips for great mashed potatoes: Choose medium to large potatoes this makes peeling much easier..peel and cut in to good big pieces..drop them in to cold water..Wash the potatoes under a cold tap this removes some starch, make sure your spuds are covered with at least 2″ of water and add in a good pinch of salt..
Boil until you can push a knife in to them, when soft drain and return to the heat for 10 seconds to drive off excess water..now add some milk followed by some knobs of butter or olive oil to suit..
Mash until smooth and finally mix with the masher to test how fluffy they are..your done! you now have perfect mashed potatoes that will not drip off the diners fork..
Ham shanks are the lower leg and a very tasty cut, usually they can be bought very cheaply. I buy mine in Morrison’s supermarket for under £2 each and the great thing about their shanks is that they are not salty, some ham shanks can be very salty, if suspect yours might be then, simply soak them in cold water over night before cooking. A normal shank is just like a joint of pork and you can slow cook them in an oven, gammon shank is like a bacon joint and in my opinion better to slow cook for 4 to 5 hours on a bubble heat.
When you cook your delicious shanks you will get a lovely liquor from the process, after cooking remove the shanks from the pan and stand the liquor until it cools sufficiently to place in a refrigerator, next day you can skim off any fat which will have set on top, you now have a wonderful jelly stock for making soups such as the classic pea and ham.
Cooking The Gammon Shanks
I usually buy at least two shanks, first rinse them in cold water, soak over night in cold water if they are salty you won’t really know until you eat them.
Next place into a large cooking pan with a lid and cover with cold water, cut a peeled onion in half and put half in the water along with 4 or 5 whole pepper corns.
Bring the water to a boil and at this stage you will notice a foam on top, remove the foam or scum just skim it off with a large spoon, place the lid on the pan and reduce the heat until the water just has occasional bubbles very low heat, leave for at least 4 hours.
Stop the cooking process and carefully remove the shanks on to a plate, place the cooking liquir in the fridge after it has cooled, cover the shanks with foil and place in the fridge unless you want to eat them hot.
Next day you have some lovely ham shank to eat, remove the skin and carve, now you know how to cook ham shank and I’ll bet you just love the taste, serve with fried eggs for breakfast, ham salads or even sandwiches..
In this basa fish recipe we fry the fish in beer batter and serve with chips and peas classic English fish and chips with scraps.
In this recipe I have used frozen basa fish fillet which I bought 4 for £2 frozen, thawed over night in the fridge.
Making Beer Batter
250 grams plain or AP flour
1 cup of gassy beer or sparkling water
Cold water, pinch of salt.
Make a well in the middle of the flour sprinkle a good pinch of salt, pour in the beer..mix with spoon or whisk dilute with cold water until the batter is like single cream or half and half cream..add some dried parsley and paprika for taste and colour.
Drain any water from the fish and drege with flour, coat the fish in the batter and fry at 190c until crispy golden brown, the fish will stop sizzling when it is ready to drain on kitchen paper.
Serve with chips or whatever you like, I used oven chips and garden peas..
Here is the link to my home made bread recipe..just click the picture if your interested:-
This is my first try to make pork pie don’t laugh
My Mum asked me if I could make her a pork pie so, thought OK I’ll give it a go.
In the video I have used water and lard boiled together and blended it in to about 300 grams of Plain or AP flour with a good pinch of salt, mix it up and turn it out on to your board, shape while hot in to whatever dish, tin etc your using.
Line the bottom of your tin with parchment, this makes it easier to turn out later.
The pork I ground myself from 1 kg of shoulder, I used about half all lean meat and the rest will make some sausages from. Chop a leek fine and mix it with your meat plus 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon white pepper, fridge until required.
5 Boiled eggs peeled and cold, cut the ends to make the egg run through evenly.
Place a layer of pork in the tin, place the egg’s down the middle and cover with more meat.
Make a pastry lid and cover the pie, pinch to seal all around, make 3 holes in the lid to add jelly later.
Cook the pie at 200c for the first 15 minutes then, reduce heat to 170 c and bake for a further 1 hour depending how big your own pie is, if it looks like it’s going really brown just cover with foil at the half way stage.
After baking, cool the pie..make a jelly with marrow bone or bought gelatin in a bit of chicken stock, lightly season the stock.
Pour in your stock until full, place in fridge overnight..slice and enjoy your lovely pork pie with egg.
Mine was not that good because, my jelly escaped and my pork pie pastry was a bit thin..anyways, I’ll have another try soon..it does taste great!
Any tips please leave a comment..
I’ve put together a really easy fish pie recipe for you, I use basa fish, salmon and prawns in a creamy sauce topped with lovely mashed potato and cheddar cheese. The dish is finally baked and served with green beans delicious..
Would you like to make some homemade bread? it’s fun satisfying and tastes great. I’ve put together an easy bread recipe for you..wait until the next morning when you slip a couple of slices in to the toaster..the incredible flavour will give you a huge smile.
What you need to make a small loaf of white bread
500 to 600 Grams strong bread flour though plain or AP will do, more if you want just increase quantities pro-rata.
1/2 Table spoon of sugar
1/2 Tablespoon of salt
1 Sachet 7 1/2 grams of dried yeast or 1 teaspoon from a pack
1 1/2 Tablespoons of vegetable oil or olive oil or even butter
3/4 Pint of luke warm water
Homemade Bread Method
Combine flour,salt,sugar and oil, make a well in the middle slowly add the water remember, too wet add flour too dry add water.
Next drop the mixture on to a floured board, knead the dough for 5 minutes to 10 minutes, 10 is best..
Place the dough in a pre-oiled bowl, cover with oiled cling film/plastic wrap.
The secret to well risen dough is warmth, I place my bowl in a large baking tray and pour in hot water, cover with a tea cloth and leave for 1 hour.
The dough should double in size, remove to floured board divide or use it all for a larger loaf.
Bake in a pre-heated oven at 200 c for 30 to 40 minutes.
Remove from the oven and tap the bottom, should sound hollow, if not, give it another 5 or 10 minutes in the oven.
Take it out of the tin or tray and place on a cooling rack, don’t cut it until it’s cold or it will go sad..
Give yourself a pat on the back and Enjoy your wonderful homemade bread…
Tip: Same dough will make great pizza.
A great soup to warm you up in the winter. You will love this recipe because, it’s so easy and tastes really good.
Mirepoix Ingredients List :
1 Pack of chicken thighs skin on and bone in 4 or 6 is fine. ( I’m calling them wings in the video old age)
2 Sticks celery diced
1 Medium white onion diced
2 Carrots Diced
2 Table spoons oil/veg/olive or chicken fat
3 Cloves garlic
2 Leaks sliced
2 Tablespoons chicken powder or 2 chicken stock cubes
1/2 Cup of peas or chick peas I used frozen
1/2 Cup of lentils pearl barley is good
1 Tablespoon sea or cooking salt
1 Teaspoon of white pepper or black is fine.
Herbs to season chicken like: Cumin, oregano, paprika or whatever you like.
Season your chicken thighs to suit your taste and roast at 200 c for 10 minutes cut back to 180 for a further 20 minutes or until cooked through and crispy.
Heat the oil in a large saucepan, add your carot,celery and onion to the hot oil, slice or dice your garlic cloves and put them in now….cook on low heat until onions have gone nice and soft maybe 10 minutes add a pinch of salt to draw juices out of the veg.
Once the onions have softened add a cup of hot water from the kettle, this will de-glaze the pan and pick up all that lovely flavour.
Cook your potatoes for 2 or 3 minutes, wash and cook lentils for 20 minutes in a seperate pans.
Add a full kettle of hot water to the mirepoix, now put the stock cubes and stir around keep the soup base on very low heat.
Now we continue to build the soup up, add your peas and any other veg you have kicking around cooked or raw..I found some chick peas in the fridge and a couple of leeks. You can use frozen mixed veg if you wish.
Now drain the potatoes and lentils, add in them in plus veg that doesn’t need much cooking time like leeks.
Top up the water so it covers everything fully, season with salt and pepper to taste, simmer with partially covered lid, taste for seasoning levels and adjust if required as you go along.
Remove the chicken from the oven and let it cool until you can handle it, strip or shred the chicken with a fork, should be pull apart tender, place the boneless chicken in to a bowl, after stripping all that succulent meat add to the soup..your ready to serve in a few minutes.
I served my soup with a ciabatta ham & cheese roll, I used my sandwich maker as a panini press delicious..hope you enjoy this soup recipe made with a classic mirepoix.
Should be all done in 30 to 40 minutes..serve with some nice bread and enjoy.
Here is my lasagna made with ground beef recipe with salad made from ground beef with lot’s of lovely seasonings cooked with red wine complimented with Grana Padano and mozzarella cheese.
This looks complex however, it’s really easy and you will probably have almost all the ingredients in your cupboard. Following is a shopping list to help pull your ingredients together.
1 Pack of lasagna sheets
2 Cans chopped tomatoes
1 Tube of tomato puree
500 Grams good ground beef
350 Mils milk
25 Grams Butter
25 Grams Plain flour
100 Grams Mozzarella Cheese
65 Grams Grana Padano or parmesan cheese
2 Cloves Garlic
2 Bay leaves
2 Tablespoons olive oil or vegetable oil
1 Tablespoon beef stock powder or granule
1 Tea spoon dried oregano
1 Teaspoon Worcester sauce
1/2 White onion
1/2 Cup good red wine
1 pinch white pepper
3 Tablespoon Sea salt or similar
1 Pinch black pepper
In this recipe we will pre-cook our pasta sheets, half fill a large saucepan with cold water and bring to the boil, turn down to a simmer and add 2 tablespoons of salt plus, a dash of olive oil.
Carefully cook 2 or 3 pasta sheets at a time for around 7 minutes, keep them separated or they stick together, after cooking remove and flush with cold water, cover stand to one side.
Chop the onion and garlic, place 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large pan and heat, fry the onion only until soft, add the meat and cook until sealed on both sides to retain flavour.
Start the white sauce by melting the butter and blend with flour in a small saucepan, warm the milk in a microwave for 2 minutes, add milk slowly but, keep whisking, when blended add more milk slowly keep blending, when the sauce looks well mixed and smooth add in the rest of the milk whisk and leave until it thickens up, whisk occasionally keep on very low heat, season with a little salt and pepper.
When finished let the sauce stand to cool down to warm then, crack the egg in a seperate bowl to prevent any shell getting in the sauce, mix the egg with a fork and add to sauce, whisk again and stand.
The meat should be browned now and we are ready to start seasoning it.
Pour in the red wine, add bay leaves, oregano, salt and pepper, Worcester sauce and pinch of white pepper, twist or two of black pepper, stir and cook for about 10 minutes to flash of the alcohol.
Now add the beef stock powder and half a tube of toamto puree, blitz the cans of toamtoes in a blender and add them to the meat , if you don’t have a blender just put them in as they are. Mix it all around the pan, bring up the heat and simmer the meat sauce for 5 minutes and then switch off the heat, it’s ready.
Grate the hard cheese and slice the mozzarella into thin slices enough to cover the top of your lasagna.
Now we can build up our dish:
First cover the dish with some meat sauce, prevents the pasta sticking. Place your pasta sheets in the dish enough to cover it fully, don’t overlap them. Cover with meat sauce, add the white sauce, sprinkle the Grano cheese on then, another layer of pasta, meat sauce and white sauce..continue to the top of your dish, if it is 3 layers or 4 no worries.
Now for the top, I usually put meat sauce on top of my last layer, then white sauce, all the Grano that is left plus the mozzerella to give a nice cheese crust.
Heat your oven to 180 and bake for 25 minutes or until golden brown on top. Serve right away or cool and fridge for next day, always tastes good the next day.
Quick tip: Get your dish and have a dry run with the uncooked pasta sheets, this will give you an idea of how many you need also, if you have to break them to fit…layer the sheets one way then the other so the dish holds together well.
Serve with a nice salad and french fries for example, enjoy this beautiful Lasagna Recipe. see salad recipe below:-
My quick easy cheap delicious sausage casserole recipe with mixed vegetables. You will love this recipe because, it’s so easy and tastes so good.
So here are your ingredients:
1 Pack of your favourite sausages or enough for amount of dinners
2 Rashers of bacon ( optional)
2 Fresh Leeks
1 1/2 Red or White onions
2 cloves garlic
6 to 10 peeled potatoes
2 Tablespoons of gravy powder or 2 chicken stock cubes
1/3 Cup of peas I used frozen
3 Tablespoons of vegetable oil or olive oil if you like
1 Tablespoon sea or cooking salt
1 Teaspoon of white pepper or black is fine.
Brown your sausages on a griddle, grill or frying pan, you just need colour on them only, don’t cook them through, set to one side when browned.
Heat the oil in a large saucepan, chop the bacon into pieces about 1″ x 1/2″ and drop in to the hot oil, now chop up your onions in to rings or large pieces drop in to the oil with the bacon, crush your garlic cloves and put them in now….cook on low heat until onions have gone nice and soft maybe 10 minutes.
Put a pinch or two of salt to bring out the onion juices.
Once the onions have softened add a cup of hot water from the kettle, this will deglaze the pan and pick up all that lovely flavour.
Next, add your diced carrots and potatoes, chop your potatoes in to smaller chunks not too small or they will vanish, add more water to cover the everything.
Now we continue to build the casserole up, add your peas and any other veg you have kicking around cooked or raw..I found some cabbage in the fridge and a couple of leeks. You can use frozen mixed veg if you wish.
Now add all the gravy powder or stock give a mix, add in the veg that doesn’t need much cooking time like leeks.
Lastly, cut the sausages in to bite size pieces and add them in, top up the water so it covers everything fully, season with salt and pepper to taste.
Bring the whole deal to the boil then simmer with partially covered lid, taste for seasoning levels and adjust if required..
Should be all done in 15 to 20 minutes..serve with some nice bread and enjoy.
This super simple sausage casserole recipe will put a smile on everyone’s face as they warm up.
PS: I made the sausages myself see here
For years I’ve wanted to learn how to make sausages at home and finally I took the plunge and ordered a meat grinder/sausage filler. In this particular recipe I’m making an English breakfast sausage from some nice pork loin with herbs. Now here is a little saying I heard years ago and it goes like this ” If you don’t know what’s in the sausages don’t eat them and if you do know then you might not eat them anyway”…Now, you might well be thinking why should I go to all this trouble however, let me tell you that, making sausage is a lot of fun and you get to eat some fabulous fresh homemade sausage recipe..
When making sausages please remember to keep a good hygiene regime like use a sanitary spray on surfaces as your handling raw meat be careful to wash your hands utensils and surfaces well.
Put your meat grinder metal components in the freezer for about 1 hour before grinding your meat, always use sea salt or kosher salt none iodized is best. Depending how fresh your meat is you can keep sausage in the fridge for say 3 to 4 days after this deep freeze them.
Sausage Recipe Ingredients
1 Kilo pork meat can be shoulder and belly or loin( In the video I used pork loin 10% fat)
2 Tea spoons salt per kilo
1 Teaspoon white pepper per kilo
1/2 Teaspoon mixed spice
1 Small bunch of sage
50 grams dry bread crumbs (or stale bread chopped fine)
1 Length Sausage casing skins natural hog 36/40 mm diameter ( got mine on Amazon)
Take a suitable piece of hog casing and soak it in water, even over night is good, keep the skin in a container and find the end, open the end and allow cold water to run through the skin, this will wash it out.
Grind your meat through the bigger plate and return to fridge.
Prepare your salt, pepper and spices in half a cup of cold water, this makes a slurry.
Chop your sage leaves finely.
Place your minced pork in a large mixing bowl add the bread crumbs sprinkle the sage now pour over the slurry and mix everything up by hand, ensure all ingredients are blended together, when you see your herbs are evenly spread then, you have probably got a nice homogeneous mix. Return to the fridge and keep very cold.
TIP: Take a small amount of the mixture and make a couple of patties, fry them off and taste for seasoning levels adjust to taste.
Now select the right nozzle for your grinder 24 mm is good, wet the nozzle and load the case or skin on to the nozzle and tie a knot as in the video, load your cold mince in to the tray on top. Ready to run:
Start the machine and gently push the mince in using the tool in a few moments meat will run through the nozzle and enter the case, if your alone doing this then: load the machine with one hand and feed the caseing with the other, voila you are making sausage, run the filled skins in to a container until all your meat has gone through.
Form your links by pinching and twisting one way then pinch and twist the other way, place your lovely homemade sausages in the fridge to dry off, maybe a couple of hours or even over night is good.
That’s it, have some great fun doing this, I have a recommendation for a decent grinder like mine on Amazon below, a word of warning don’t put your grinder components in a dishwasher:-
If I were you, just buy some sausage cases on Amazon or ask your local butcher for some, if you find you like making sausage then, I bought 80 yds of skins for £20 from a butchers supplier, they will last me a long time ..
Now you can make some nice sausage rolls here is the link