Home made ‘baked’ beans

A couple of weeks’ ago I made a pot of home made baked beans which I froze in portions.  I say ‘baked’ but this a hob-based and very simple version of an old authentic recipe – Boston baked beans. The original version (dating back to the New England pilgrims) involved a large chunk of salt…

Pork chop and pak choi

I went to Croydon’s Surrey Street market yesterday. I tend to go to the market after a meditation session at Croydon’s Buddhist Centre (they do lunchtime sessions on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays open to everyone). I always come out of the meditation session feeling very relaxed and usually pop in to a charity to shop…

Pasta puttanesca

Pasta puttanesca, or prostitutes’ pasta (so named perhaps because it is so quick to make it left ladies of the night more time to earn their living) is one of my store cupboard standby recipes. I nearly always have the ingredients in stock and it’s also really handy to make on holiday. If I know…

Chicken soup

I made this chicken soup for yesterday’s lunch. I’m not working at the moment so can stay cosy and warm indoors if I like and only need to venture out in the cold if I need supplies or to go to the woods. I live five minutes’ walk from Selsdon Woods in Croydon and I…

Chicken pilaf

Pilaf is a a kind of Middle Eastern risotto. I make pilaf with chicken leftovers after a roast, in this case after the weekend’s spatchcock chicken. You only need a handful or two of chicken, and the scrappy bits of chicken at that, as the key ingredient is rice. So it’s a great way to…

Kedgeree

This is my version of kedgeree which uses a mix of cayenne pepper, curry powder and fresh chilli to give it heat and spice. I use brown rice for a healthier option (I love brown rice anyway) and often include different vegetables. I like using peppers and often use more than just one (a combination…

Cheap and cheesy vegetable bake

I popped into Sainsbury’s on my way back from a trip to Somerset on Sunday and found a packet of Brussels sprouts in the  bargain section – 300g reduced from 80p to 19p – so I decided to use them in a vegetable bake. Added to a few florets of cauliflower (taken from a cauliflower…

Melanzane alla Parmigiana (baked aubergine with Parmesan)

This is my version of baked aubergines cooked in tomato sauce and Parmesan. I never get sick of aubergines. They are hearty and versatile and a good staple for a vegetarian diet. Aubergines are brilliant for dips, tagines, stews like ratatouille and of course cooked simply on their own. I often just brush them with…

Super green lasagne

I had a similar lasagne last week at The Magic Garden pub in Battersea – it was delicious  – and as usual when I find something particularly good I want to see if I can make my own. The Magic Garden used asparagus and I did too because I found a packet at a reduced…

Tarragon chicken

Tarragon has a mild aniseed flavour and pairing it with chicken is a classic French dish (poulet a l’estragon). This recipe is from one of my favourite old recipe books – Pan-cooked chicken dishes around the world. I bought the book years ago at a charity shop and would never want to be without it. In that…

Chicken, chickpea and chorizo stew

I can make this from scratch in about 40 minutes which is enough time to cook on a weekday evening after work. It’s perfect comfort food on an autumn evening. There isn’t very much work to do – just a bit of chopping and slicing and then stewing everything for around 35 minutes. You don’t…

Antonio Carluccio’s beetroot lasagne

I was very sad to hear of the death yesterday of Antonio Carluccio. I loved watching him in cooking programmes over the years and listening to him talk about growing up in Italy during the war and foraging for food – to make meals from mushrooms and nettles. His cooking reflects so much of the…