Venison Casserole

A rich casserole – further enhanced by the addition of dumplings. Perfect for a slow cooker / Aga.

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Ingredients:

500 g venison – diced into bite sized chunks                           Olive oil for frying

1 large onion – coarsely chopped

2 carrots peeled and chopped

2/3 tbsp plain flour (I use gluten-free)

2/3 tbsp redcurrant sauce / jelly (cranberry tastes equally as good)

Red wine – 1 cup full

Water

Method:

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Fry the onions and venison for a couple of minutes to soften the onions and seal the meat

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Add chopped carrots

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Add flour and stir thoroughly

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Add wine, redcurrant jelly / sauce and sufficient water to cover the ingredients

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once all ingredients are in the pan pop the lid on and put in the oven and cook on a low heat for a couple of hours  – the longer the better (I leave it in the bottom oven of the Aga all day). One hour before serving increase the temperature of the oven to Gas Mark 5 / 180 C and then after half an hour remove the lid (and add the dumplings) to allow the gravy to thicken.

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Chilli roasted vegetables 

We eat roasted vegetables at least once a week. It is such a versatile dish and one that involves minimum effort – perfect 🙂

Invariably we have it as a supporting dish but it is worthy of being a main dish.

This dish posted is simply an assortment of vegetables – carrots, parsnips, peppers and sprouts – roasted in a drizzle of coconut oil for about 40 minutes with the occasionally gentle turning.Then I mixed in a tin of chopped tomatoes and a generous tsp of chilli powder and  topped with grated cheese. Back in to the oven to heat through. Serve with crusty bread.

Roasted vegetables, watercress and chicken soup

I always make this type of soup using leftovers. When I make a roast dinner or a dish involving roast vegetables I ensure there are some leftover to make soup the next day. Perfect if the roast was chicken as the scraps can be added to the soup and the carcass can be boiled / simmered to make a nutritious stock.

So, to a few leftover roasted vegetables – including potatoes – I add a bag of watercress and pint of stock. I simmer this for 10 minutes, blitz and then add the chicken scraps. Quick. Easy. Delicious.

Seasons

Chatting with a friend the other day, we started to discuss the seasons – random I know – and tried to pick a favourite.

I found this really difficult but in doing this task I realised that my love of the different seasons revolves around food choices!

Spring: I love spring – the fresh colours – vibrant greens of new buds, blossom laden trees – replaced with fruit in the autumn, blankets of yellow for daffodils. Planting of vegetables under glass ready for the frosts to stop. Hens, ducks and quail come back in to lay.

Summer: fruit sorbets / nice cream. Arrays of salad vegetables. New potatoes…yum

Autumn: the amazing palette of colours and the trees enter their quiescent phase for the winter. This is when I really wish I could paint. With autumn comes such a marvellous bounty of fruits and vegetables and the sound of the tractors harvesting wheat, barley, maize. hay for the animals etc. Nights turning cooler – one pot suppers / casseroles / fruit crumbles  /  jam/ liqueur and chutney making / freezer filling.

and then there is winter…curtains closing early, log fires burning, mulled wine, fruit cakes, mince pies, rich food and of course – family gatherings.

If I had to choose one…probably  autumn.

How about you?

 

 

Leek and potato soup 

I love autumn and winter – perfect weather for a bowl of warming and filling soup. I tend to make my soups hearty rather than a consomme type.

This soup is so easy to make and quick – from thought to tableware in half an hour😊

For a pan load that will provide 4 generous servings I use:

Ingredients:

3 leeks washed and chopped

5 white potatoes  peeled and chopped into small pieces

1 pint of stock – vegetable  or chicken

Cup of milk – optional

Salt and pepper.

Method:

Put the leeks, potatoes stock and seasoning in a pan. Cover and bring to the boil. Simmer until soft. Remove from the heat and blend until nearly smooth. I like to leave the odd chunk. Put back on the heat and add the milk if desired. bring up to boiling and serve.

Steamed broccoli, cavolo nero kale and cod bake

A delicious dish that is assembled and then baked to heat through and crisp up the topping. Takes about 35 minutes from starting to eating 🙂

Ingredients: Broccoli, cavolo nero kale, large cod fillet, cheese sauce, plain tortilla chips, grated cheese and black pepper.

Method:

Steam the broccoli and kale. Gently simmer the cod in milk. Make a cheese sauce.

Once all cooked or made then assemble:

1.Put steamed broccoli and kale across the bottom of an oven proof dish

2.Break the cod fillet in to large pieces and arrange

3.Cover with the cheese sauce

4. Sprinkle crushed tortilla over the top and cover with grated cheese and black pepper

5. Bake in the oven until heated through and the topping is crisp

I served this with gf tortilla wraps smothered in garlic butter and baked till starting to crisp.

 

Vegetarian chilli

This is my go to speedy chilli dish. One pot does the cooking so limited washing up – always a bonus. Have played around with my spice mix and this is a moderate chilli- the addition of the cayena guindillas do give it an additional punch so can be omitted. Chewing on a hidden gem does give your tongue a bit of a zap!

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Serves 4

Ingredients:

1 tbsp coconut oil       1 white onion – chopped

1 pepper – deseeded and chopped

250 g of vegetarian mince

1 large can of kidney beans – washed and drained

1 large can of chopped tomatoes      1 can of water

5 guindillas chopped (optional)

Spices: 2 tsp chilli powder, 1 tsp oregano, 1 tsp cayenne pepper, 2 tsp of cumin and 1 tsp of raw cacao powder

Method:

Saute the onions and pepper until softened.

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Add the vegetarian mince and stir until heated through.

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Add the tinned tomatoes and kidney beans.

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Stir through and fill the tomato can with water and add to the mix.

Add the spice blend, stir thoroughly, cover and allow to heat through thoroughly.

 

 

 

Cranberry salsa

I think the finest meal is one where you have the opportunity to have a multitude of different flavour combinations – probably why I love a roast dinner with all the extra trimmings.

A barbecue is one such opportunity – a plate can be laden with a multitude of little bits of this and that.

This is one such dish.

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Ingredients:

1 large white onion – finely chopped             Zest and juice of 2 limes

1 large green pepper – finely chopped          600 g of cranberry sauce

Mint – large handful chopped          Coriander – large handful chopped

Method:

Put all the ingredients in to a large bowl and combine thoroughly.

 

This salsa is perfect with meat, fish and salads – an all round great accompaniment.

I put the salsa in to the empty cranberry sauce jars. It will last for at least a week in the fridge (if not devoured beforehand!)

Kale, papaya and kefir smoothie

Serves 2

Ingredients:

300 ml Kefir                                         200 ml coconut water

Papaya peeled and deseeded          large handful of kale

2 tbsp chia seeds

Method:

Put all ingredients in to a blender and blitz.

 

 

 

 

Hake, mangetout and cauliflower cheese bake

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Oven to tableware dish from Prestige

Such an easy dish to prepare:

Serves 3    Pre heat oven to 180C Gas mark 4

Ingredients

For the cheese sauce:

350 ml Full / semi skimmed milk            80 g  Cheddar / Double Gloucester cheese – grated

20 g Butter                                                       30 g gluten-free plain flour

1 tsp English mustard

For the remainder of the dish:

1 cauliflower cut in to 3 chunks             1 skinned fillet of hake    1 handful of mangetout

15 g grated cheese

Method:

Place the hake fillet within a tin foil parcel and bake in the centre of the oven for 10 mins.

Put the cauliflower in a pan of boiling water and cook until for 8- 10 mins.(alternatively steam e.g Prestige pressure cooker 5-8 mins) and boil /steam the mangetout for 3 mins.

For the cheese sauce:

Melt the butter in a saucepan.

Stir in the flour

Gradually add the milk – stirring continuously.

Simmer gently  and add the mustard and then the grated cheese, stirring until all melted and thoroughly combined.

Simply assemble all the ingredients in an oven proof dish, top with grated cheese and put in the oven to heat through thoroughly.