You know when you have a couple of favourite things you like doing, like photography, cooking, designing and even putting together websites.
Guess what, I’ve put them all together. Have a look around and I hope you enjoy it as much as I have building the site.
Most of the photography by Michael Furey (apart from the cool food stuff).
Here are some of my latest recipes based on other people’s of course (thanks to Rick, Raymond, Marcus, BBC food et al) but changed to suit what’s generally available in our herbs and spices cupboard.
You can read more of the on my Recipes page
600g salmon fillets, diced, two-inch cubes
200g firm white fish, diced (cod, hake, monkfish)
2 tbsp tahini (30g, basically toasted sesame seeds crushed with olive oil to make a paste)
Juice of 3 lemons
4 cloves garlic, crushed
2 big bunches parsley and coriander, chopped
1 tsp nigella seeds
2 tsp cumin seeds
2 green peppers, diced and seeds removed
1 punnet cherry tomatoes, halved
In a large saucepan, sweat the onion and garlic in the olive oil over a medium heat until soft. Add the tahini, nigella seeds, cumin seeds and green peppers and cook for a further five minutes, until the peppers are just starting to soften. Add the lemon juice, diced fish and the tomatoes and cook for 10 minutes over a gentle heat until the fish is opaque. Don’t overdo it though; remember that the fish will continue cooking once it’s off the heat. Gently spoon the chopped herbs through the fish before serving.
450g/1lb lean beef mince
1 tsp crushed garlic
1 large onion, finely chopped
½ tsp black pepper, coarsely ground
1 tsp garam masala
1 free-range egg
1 tsp rapeseed oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp finely chopped root ginger
1 x 400g/14oz can chopped tomatoes
1 tsp tomato purée
½ tsp ground turmeric
60-90ml/2-3fl oz water (optional)
cooked brown basmati rice, to serve
Mix the beef mince, garlic, half of the onion, pepper, garam masala and egg together in a bowl. Using your hands, shape the meat mixture into 24 balls.
Preheat the grill to hot. Line the bottom of a grill tray with aluminium foil and place the meatballs on the grill tray. (This will allow the fat to drain off into the lined tray, saving on washing up.) Grill the meatballs under a medium heat for 10-15 minutes, turning occasionally, or until nicely browned.
Heat the rapeseed oil in a frying pan, and add the cumin seeds and the remaining onion. Cook for 4-5 minutes, or until softened, then stir in the ginger.
Add the chopped tomatoes, tomato purée and turmeric and cook for 10 minutes or until the sauce has thickened.
Add the cooked meatballs, reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Add 60-90ml/2-3fl oz water if the curry is a bit dry. Serve with rice.
Chicken Daube – Spiced Tomato Stew
2 tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, chopped finely
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2cm piece of ginger, finely chopped
1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
1 red chilli, finely chopped
1 cinnamon stick
1 medium tomato, chopped
400ml canned chopped tomatoes
1 tbsp coriander leaves, keep 1tbsp of stalks (chopped finely)
150ml good quality white wine
1 tsp sugar
1 organic chicken stock cube
2 medium-size potatoes, quartered
50g chicken thighs, debones & skinned, cut into pieces
Heat the oil in a large pan on a medium heat. Add the onion and fry for a few minutes, then add the garlic and ginger and mix it all up. Add in the thyme, chilli, cinnamon stick and chopped fresh tomato and fry for another 2 minutes.
Next, add in the canned tomatoes, chopped coriander stalks, white wine and sugar, then crumble a stock cube into the mixture. Give this a good stir, then let simmer for 5 minutes.
Add in your potatoes and chicken pieces, then cover and simmer on a low heat for around 20-25 minutes. If the sauce dries out, add a little water to loosen it.
Check that chicken is cooked and potatoes are tender then season to taste and discard the cinnamon stick. Take of the heat, garnish with fresh coriander leaves and serve with rice.
Tuna Pasta Bake
Preheat the oven to 180C/160C Fan/Gas 4.
Cook the pasta in a saucepan of plenty of boiling water according to packet instructions. Drain and set aside.
Meanwhile, for the sauce, melt the butter in a saucepan over a low heat and stir in the flour with a wooden spoon. Cook for 1 minute, or until the mixture darkens slightly.
Slowly stir in the milk, stirring until smooth after each addition of milk. Stir in the mustard powder and continue to cook until the mixture thickens enough to coat the back of the spoon.
Remove the pan from the heat and stir in most of the cheese, and all the sweetcorn, peas and spring onion. Season with salt and pepper. Stir the cooked pasta into the sauce.
Spoon the tuna into the bottom of an ovenproof dish. Pour over the pasta and sauce. Tap the dish gently so the sauce pours into every nook and cranny. Sprinkle over the remaining grated cheese.
Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the sauce is bubbling and the top is a golden-brown. Serve immediately.
600g pasta shapes such as fusilli, penne or farfalle
50g plain flour
½ tsp mustard powder
200g extra-mature cheddar, grated
100g tin sweetcorn, drained
3 spring onions, sliced
2 x 185g tins tuna in spring water, drained
Spicy Lamb Albondigas
40g thinly sliced crustless white bread
3 tbsp milk
125g thinly sliced Serrano ham, finely chopped
600g lamb mince
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1½ tsp cumin seeds, freshly ground
1½ tsp coriander seeds, freshly ground
¾ tsp hot paprika
2 tbsp chopped fresh flatleaf parsley
olive oil, for frying
For the sauce
3 tbsp olive oil
150g shallots, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, crushed
½ tsp crushed dried chillies
800g vine-ripened tomatoes, peeled, chopped
200ml good quality fino sherry
200ml homemade chicken stock
2 bay leaves
½ tsp salt
freshly ground black pepper
For the albondigas, soak the bread in the milk for five minutes, then squeeze out the excess milk.
Lace the bread, ham, lamb mince, garlic, spices, parsley and seasoning into a bowl and mix until well combined.
Shape the mixture into approximately 40 meatballs (each weighing about 20g/¾oz).
Heat the oil in a frying pan and fry the meatballs for 4-5 minutes, or until golden-brown all over. (You may need to do this in batches.)
For the sauce, heat the olive oil a frying pan and fry the shallots, garlic and chilli for 8-10 minutes, or until softened.
Add the tomatoes, sherry, stock, bay leaves, salt and pepper and simmer gently, stirring now and then, for one hour, or until the sauce has reduced and thickened.
Add the meatballs and simmer gently for five minutes or until heated through. Discard the bay leaves.
Meanwhile, for the patatas fritas, heat a deep fat fryer to 120C/250F.
Cook the potatoes for two minutes, then remove them from the oil. Increase the temperature to 180C/350F and cook the potatoes for a further 4-5 minutes, or until pale golden-brown. Remove the patatas fritas from the fryer and set aside to drain on kitchen paper. Season with salt.
To serve, spoon the meatballs onto a plate, scatter with a little chopped parsley and drizzle with a little more olive oil. Serve with the patatas fritas.
1kg braising, cut into 5cm chunks
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp vegetable oil
150g baby onions, peeled
4 carrots, peeled, cut into chunks
1 tbsp plain flour
200ml red wine
400ml oz fresh beef stock
2 fresh thyme sprigs
1kg potatoes, cut into 5mm slices
Preheat the oven to 170C.
Season the meat with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Heat a large casserole dish until very hot then add the oil and a small knob of butter. Fry the beef until browned all over, then remove from the pan and set aside. (You may need to do this in batches.)
Add the onions and another knob of butter to the pan and fry for 2-3 minutes, or until lightly browned. Add the carrots and cook for a further minute.
Stir in the flour then gradually add the red wine, stirring until smooth. Add the browned beef and the stock, season with salt and freshly ground black pepper and bring to the boil. Stir in the fresh thyme, then arrange the potatoes on top. Dot the surface with the remaining butter.
Cover with a lid and cook in the oven for one hour.
Remove the lid and increase the heat to 200C for 30 minutes.
900g steak, cut into 5cm cubes
500ml red wine
1 tbsp fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
1 garlic clove, chopped
1 tbsp vegetable oil
100g bacon lardons
1 onion, sliced
1 carrot, sliced
salt and freshly ground black pepper
30g plain flour
30g tomato purée
250ml game stock, or chicken stock
16 small shallots
300g button mushrooms
Place the beef, red wine, thyme, bay leaf and garlic into a large bowl. Cover and marinate in the fridge for at least two hours, preferably overnight. Preheat the oven to 160C/320F/Gas 3. Heat the vegetable oil in a pan over a medium heat. Add the bacon pieces and fry until crisp and golden-brown.
Remove the beef from the marinade. Reserve the marinade liquid for later. Add the beef to the pan and cook until brown on all sides. Remove the beef from the pan. Add the onion and carrot to the same pan and fry for 5-6 minutes, until softened. Return the beef to the pan and season well with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Sprinkle with the flour, stir well and cook for a further two minutes.
Add the tomato purée, stir to combine and cook for four minutes. Add the wine marinade and the game (or chicken stock) and bring to the boil. Cover with a lid and cook in the oven for two hours.
Towards the end of the cooking time, melt half of the butter in a frying pan over a low heat. Add the shallots and fry for 10-12 minutes, until golden-brown all over. In a separate frying pan, melt the remaining butter and fry the mushrooms until golden-brown all over.
Remove the beef casserole from the oven and carefully strain the sauce into a clean pan. Reserve the beef and vegetables. Bring the sauce to the boil and cook to reduce the volume by half. Return the reserved beef and vegetables to the pan of reduced sauce and add the cooked shallots and mushrooms. Simmer for three minutes, stirring occasionally. To serve, spoon equal portions of the beef bourguignon onto warmed plates. Garnish with parsley and serve with rice or boiled potatoes.
Leek & Fish Pie
250g smoked haddock
1 bay leaf
2 leeks, washed and chopped
50g butter, plus 25g for dotting on top of the pie
1 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp flour
salt and white pepper
50g frozen peas
1 tbsp finely chopped parsley
1 lemon, zest only
Preheat the oven to 190C/375F/Gas 5. Cut the potatoes into 5cm/2in chunks and boil until soft. Drain and mash with the butter, crème fraîche and warm milk. Season with salt and white pepper. Set aside and keep warm.
Heat the milk in a large pan, add the smoked haddock and cod. Cut the onion in half, make an incision in one of the halves and insert the bay leaf. Push the cloves into the same onion half and place this into the pan with the milk and fish. Bring the milk up to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer gently for 6-7 minutes. Meanwhile, finely chop the remaining half onion and the leeks. Heat the butter with the olive oil in a small frying pan and gently fry the onion and the leeks for 4-5 minutes to soften, but not brown. Remove the fish from the pan, and set aside to cool slightly. Keep the milk in the pan.
Add the flour to the leeks and stir well to combine. Fry for one minute, stirring frequently. Gradually spoon in the milk from poaching the fish, and stir it in well each time. Add all the milk in this way, and heat gently until the sauce has thickened. Taste the sauce for seasoning, and add more salt or pepper if necessary. Break the fish into chunks, being careful to feel for any bones and remove any skin, then fold the fish pieces into the sauce.
Add the raw prawns and frozen peas to the mixture. (Optional, particularly as I can’t stand them). Place an ovenproof pie dish onto a baking tray (this will catch any of the mix that bubbles over when cooking). Spoon the fish mixture into the bottom of the ovenproof dish. Sprinkle fresh chopped parsley and grated lemon zest over the top. Carefully top with the cooled mashed potato. Use a fork to spread the mash over the pie and create a rough texture on top. Dot the pie with the remaining half of the butter and place in the oven for 25-30 minutes, or until golden-brown and bubbling.