Slow Cooker Chicken Curry & Lemon Cheesecake

I hope I still remember how to work WordPress – it has been too long since I posted anything – *hangs head in shame*

I’ve been busy preparing to move apartments – I will be very sad to leave the beautiful Chatelain which has been my home for so many years – but looking forward to a change and being closer to friends….and hopefully discovering lots of cool new places on the other side of the city…. watch this space!  (not too closely though, as it’ll probably be another age before I post again – #worstbloggerever)

I recently bought a Crock Pot/Slow Cooker – I love it, it’s like a magical machine that makes you dinner while you do other things – freakin genius!

I’ve made  a few things and will post in due course – but this is my most recent (and I remembered to take photos – don’t get too excited, as soon as the food was ready to eat I forgot about photos so there are no ‘finished product’ photos.

Once again – #worstbloggerever


Slow Cooker Chicken Curry


  • Small handful coriander leaves
  • 1-2 tbsp olive oil
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic
  • 1-3cm knuckle of fresh ginger, peeled
  • 1tbsp garam masala
  • 6 tomatoes, chopped
  • 3 chicken breasts, diced
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 pepper, sliced
  • 1-2 sweet potatoes, diced
  • 1-3 chillies, depending on personal taste
  • 1 stick of lemon grass, peeled (I omitted this as I don’t like lemongrass… though I might include it next time!)
  • 50g red lentils
  • 200ml coconut milk
  • 3tbsp Greek yoghurt
  • zest of lime (I also added juice of 1/2 the lime too)
  • Chopped coriander


  1. In a food processor add ginger, garlic, chilli, olive oil, coriander, garam masala and tomatoes.  Whizz until you form a paste – though mine was quite watery due to the tomatoes so I wouldn’t have described it as paste – but it turned out fine! (Store in fridge or freeze until needed).
  2. Remember to cut the vegetables and chicken into equal size so you get a more even cook.
  3. Place all the ingredients into the slow cooker apart from the Greek yoghurt and lime.  If the curry is too thick, add a little water.
  4. Cook on low for 6-8 hours ( 6 was plenty for me), or on high for 3-4 hours.
  5. About 30 an hour before serving I felt it was a bit watery so I added some cornflour (about 2 tsp mixed to a paste first with some of the cooking liquid).
  6. 20-30 minutes before serving, stir in Greek yoghurt, chopped coriander and zest of lime.
  7. Stir and serve on a bed of rice (I used basmati).

It was felt by my dinner guests that there was something missing (I forgave them after) – so I’ll include the lemongrass next time, and I might add a teaspoon of ground coriander too – and see what happens!!!

And now for dessert……

Curry and Cheeseckae-2

Lemon Cheesecake with Speculoos Base

This was kind of a combination of about 3 recipes…

For the Base…

  • 160g Speculoos biscuits
  • 75g butter
  1. Melt the butter and crush the biscuits, then add them to the butter and pour into a round tin, preferable with a removable base.
  2. Now – the recipe for that base said to cook this for 8  minutes at about 160degrees. Which I did, and it worked out ok, but I’m not sure if it was necessary – next time I’ll just chill the mixture once it’s been placed in the tin…. trial and error!

For the filling

  • 700g Marscapone Cheese
  • 2 lemons, juice and zest
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 4 tbsp icing sugar
  1. mix the mascarpone cheese, lemon juice and zest and caster sugar and icing sugar together in a bowl until well combined. Do not mix the mixture too much as this will cause it to split. Taste the mixture and add more sugar, to taste.
  2. Spoon the mixture into the tin on top of the chilled biscuit mixture and chill in the fridge for at least 2 hours.

For the Topping

  • Juice of 1 orange
  • 350g frozen fruits of the forest
  • 50g caster sugar
  • 1 heaped teaspoon cornflour
  1. Put the orange juice and frozen berries into a saucepan.  Cook gently to thaw, then add the sugar and stir to dissolve.
  2. Blend the cornflour with a dribble of water and some of the hot liquid from the saucepan.
  3. Mix well, then stir the cornflour mixture into the berries in the saucepan.
  4. Bring to the boil, stirring to thicken.  If a thicker consistency is required, more cornflour can be added (in the same way).


Avoca Fish Pie and a day off work.

The weather here has been terrible.  It hasn’t been very cold, but it’s been very dark and very very wet, it has felt almost like night time all day long.  Unusually however the weather gods decided to save up the sunshine for the weekend which was nice!  And even nicer it spilled over onto Monday which was a holiday (for some of us!).

I sit in my office today (Tuesday) and it’s grey, dull, and wet outsite, also our heating is broken so I’m freezing.

But the weekend was lovely, it was cold, bright, sunny and full of autumn colours.  Yesterday was 11th November and was a public  holiday in Belgium, although as many of my friends and loved ones work for one or other of the various European Instituions who do not have the day off it was a bit of an odd holiday!

I had a lovely day though, after a run in the morning, a bit of toast with the last remnants of Sylvia’s Ginger and Rhubarb Jam I went and met her for a coffee and then we took a stroll down to Bois de la Cambre where we walked for about 2 hours.

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After that we stopped in Cafe de la Presse for some lunch, which was lovely and warm and cosy.  We spotted a friend and his son strolling by so we strolled home with them.

By the time I got home the cold had run through me so no better way to warm up than spending some time in the kitchen.  My Mam had sent me this recipe the week before so I gave it a bash and it turned out very tasty!

Avoca Fish Pie
Serves 4 to 6

  • 300g cod fillet
  • 150g smoked halibut
  • 150g smoked makarel

(the original recipe called for 600g fish – I think you can probably use any combination – but smoked fish gives a really good flavour – I used the above combination because it’s what I had in the freezer)

  • Small glass dry white wine
  • 250 ml cream
  • 2 carrots
  • 2 sticks celery
  • Approx 400-450ml of fish cooking liquid (milk)
  • roux  made with 50g flour and 50g butter
  • 1 lemon halved and zested
  • Tablespoon chopped parsley, stalks speerate
  • tablespoon of chopped dill (I didnt have this so used chives instead)
  • sea salt
  • freashly ground black pepper
  • 100g of grated mature cheddar cheese (optional)
  • creamy mash
  1. Start by preparing the fish, remove the skin and all pin bones then dice into squares.
  2. Make the roux (melt butter and add flour and cook a little).
  3. Zest the lemon.
  4. Cut the grated lemon in half and place in a shallow saute type pan along with the diced fish, some of the parsley stalks, the white wine and just enough liquid to cover.  I used milk here – it worked out fine in the end though initially it looked a bit curdled probably because of the wine! I’d do the same again as the wine gave a lovely flavour but if you prefer you could either use water and wine to cook it in, or if using milk add the wine at a later stage while making the sauce.
  5. Simmer the fish gently for 6 – 8  minutes, no longer, dont worry if its not totally cooked it will be cooked in oven later.
  6. Using a slotted spoon gently remove the fish from the stock and place in an earthenware dish.
  7. Remove the lemon and parsley stalks from the stock and continue to simmer until it has reduced to around 125 ml if using stock.   ( I didn’t do this I just cooked fish in milk added parsley stalks then the lemon and removed them and used the milk for the roux) it was grand.
  8. Cook carrots and celery in a little water until al dente 6 to 8 minutes. Simmer liquid and allow to reduce.  Remove veg and add to fish, reserve the cooking liquid and add it to sauce later, to lighten the sauce if necessary.
  9. Place both types of stocks in a large saucepan and add the cream and lemon zest and heat gently.  Once the liquid is hot start whisking in the stock cook until sauce thickens.  Add the chopped parsley and chives. 
  10. Now pour the sauce over the fish and veg in the ovenproof dish mixing it gently between pieces of fish, sprinkle with the remaining herbs.   Sprinkle grated cheddar on top if using.
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  12. Then pipe on the mash.
  13. I cooked for 25 to 30 minutes at around 180degrees or until the mash is crisp and golden
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Flash Fried Moroccan Chicken

This is another dish I inherited from Gill.  She had the Nigel Slater Simple Suppers Book, it didn’t have pictures so I didn’t look at it much (mon Dieu I sound really stupid, but it’s true).

Thankfully Gill did read it as there are some really good recipes in there!  This was one of them, it’s super quick and easy, has a bit of spice and is delish.

Friday 1st November was a holiday here in Belgium, I went out on Thursday night with some old friends that I hadn’t seen in far too long a time, of course this ended up with us eating and drinking alot, and coming home late… and the inevitable hangover!

So Friday we decided to head downtown, get some brunch in Bia Mara (fish and chips – seabream, delish) and go to the cinema. Bia Mara is amazing, if you haven’t been, please go, of course we met Aisling and Jelena in there and Jelena joined us for the cinema trip – we saw Gravity, it was very good but un peu stressful for a hungover movie!

Anyway by Friday evening we weren’t hungry enough for a massive dinner but rather than snacking on toast and cheese I made this, and we had it with a bit of couscous pilaf  and natural yoghurt.

It was really good, but I’m not really good at remembering to take photos when the food a) looks good and b) there is still a full plate of it so sorry about this pic:

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  • 350g chicken fillets/ boned pieces
  • 1 fresh red chilli papeer (seeded and finely chopped)
  • 1 tsp crushed dried chilli pepper
  • 2 cloves of garlic (finely chopped)
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp sultanas or raisins
  • 2 tbsp pine nuts
  • 1tbsp chopped mint


  1. Place the chicken pieces in a shallow dish
  2. Mix together the fresh and dried chillies, garlic, lemon, half the olive oil, cinnamon, sultanas or raisins and pine nuts, and then pour over the chicken.  Leave for 20 minutes or so.  An hour would be better if you have it
  3. Heat the remaining oil in a shallow pan; when it sizzles add the chicken pieces.
  4. Heat over a high heat until golden brown and then turn over and cook the other side.  Depending on how thick the chicken is you may need to lower heat slightly to ensure that the chicken is cooked inside without burning it
  5. Pour in the marinade ingredients and bring to the boil, season with salt and pepper and scatter over the mint.  Serve hot with its pan juices and sprinkle over the mint.

Mary’s Lasagne

Ok so you use the Bolognese from my previous post, plus the following…..

  • 1 ltr Milk
  • 60g butter
  • 150g flour
  • 1 Onion
  • Cloves
  • Peppercorns (whole)
  • Bayleaf
  • Salt/Pepper
  • Grated Cheddar Cheese
  • Lasagne sheets
  • 1/2 teaspoon made mustard

Note – my beloved mother’s instructions on how to make this white sauce were quite vague. Below you have the measurements that the Stork Recipe Book recommends, and of course there are plenty of Roux/White sauce recipes available on the internet.  She literally just ‘throws it in’. Sigh.

Stork: 575 ml milk, 50g marg, 50g flour, 75g grated cheese (1/2 for top)

  1. Pierce the onion with the cloves, add to the milk with a few peppercorns and the bayleaf.  Bring to a gentle simmer and allow to infuse with flavour for a while – 10-20 mins
  2. Strain the milk and put it back on the hob, add the butter and flour, bring to the boil stirring continuously with a whisk, simmer for 2-3 mins until think and glossy
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  4. Stir in half the cheese and the mustard.
  5. Dip the lasagne sheets in boiled water to soften gently.
  6. Layer as follows: Lasagne sheet, bolognese sauce, lasagne sheet, cheese sauce, bolognese sauce, lasagne sheet, cheese sauce, cheese
  7. Bake at 190degrees for 30-40 minutes.

I stuck it in the freezer for a couple of weeks and cooked it yesterday – it was delish if I do say so myself!

next time I might use slightly more white sauce, it was prefect when just out of the oven but for reheating it got a bit dry.


Mary’s Bolognese Sauce

It was my Mam’s birthday on 28th September so I took the trip back to Dublin for the occasion.

We had a lovely dinner out with the family, followed by a mini-pub crawl which included crashing my friend Michaela’s hen party, leading to an unfortunately unsuccessful search for a stripper and topped off by a birthday Jaegar-bomb bought by Eddie.

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Anyway, a good night was had by all, and after a walk on Sandymount strand to let Toby stretch his little dog legs and try to seduce some lady dogs (also unsuccessful) all traces of hangovers disappeared.  I made dinner on Sunday evening and in return, on Monday Mam kindly agreed to show me how to make lasagne.

Basically she makes a massive amount of Bolognese Sauce and uses half of it for the lasagne.  I mentioned before that there is alot of guess work in her cooking, including a certain amount of boiling over, forgetting about things etc etc, and yet somehow it all tastes delicious. It’s not fair.

That is why the below is a bit vague… but here it goes. I also include a photo from her old recipe books where the original recipe can be found, but this has of course been altered over the years…

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  • 2 Carrot
  • 1 Onion
  • 3 Celery
  • 2 Garlic
  • Bacon/salami
  • Oregano
  • 5 Tin Tomato
  • Dash of Red wine
  • Tomato Puree
  • 800kg Mince

This made about 4 servings of Bolognese and 1 large lasagna – it is currently frozen so I’ll let you know how it tastes when it’s been cooked!

  1. Chop the carrot, onion, celery and garlic and gently saute with the bacon for a few minutes.
  2. Add the tins of tomatoes, salt and pepper and simmer gently until the veg is tender.  Add 1/2 teaspoon of sugar per tin of tomatoes
  3. Blend the sauce (or if you prefer, blend 1/2 the sauce so that it is still a bit chunky) using a hand blender.  Keep some aside to use in other dishes instead of plain tinned tomatoes if you have enough, I guess you can freeze it too!


4. Meanwhile, fry the mince with some tomato puree and add to the sauce along with the red wine, salt and pepper.


5. Simmer very gently for about an hour, don’t stir! Taste the sauce as you go and if necessary add a veg stock cube for extra flavour  (this is what I’m talking about with the vagueness….)

My first attempt was ok.

It’s hard to get good quality mince in Belgium, it’s usually pure beef (so no fat = not much flavour) or a mixture of beef and pork, so I’m sure with a good quality mince it would make the difference.

Also I think I added too many tins of tomatoes – I had extra sauce (about 400ml which I froze for future), and when I tasted the sauce before adding the last tin there was a lovely flavour, especially from the chorizo, but that seemed to get last in the end dish.  I will play around with it the next time and let you know what happens!

My finished product (I have to get better at taking photos of food, this looks a bit sad).

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Moroccan Lamb Tagine

My first Tagine!!!

Albeit made in a saucepan.  Another one that would work better in a Le Creuset pot (Santa…..) or indeed an actual tagine.

It was so tasty that I have already bought some more lamb and stuck it in the freezer for the next time.

This is from Brenda Costigan’s book – 100 Favourite Recipes

Lamb and dry marinade

  • 800-900g bite-sized chunks of lean lamb cut from the soulder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1-2 teasponns grated fresh ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1-2 tablespoons chopped fresh coriander
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper


  • 3-4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic chopped
  • 300ml vegetable stock
  • 1 x 400g tinned tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon tomato puree
  • 1-2 thin strips of orange peel, no white pith
  • 50g ready to eat apricots
  • 50g ready to eat prunes (stoneless)

To serve

  • 75g whole blanched almonds
  • 1-2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint

Couscous Pilaf

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small onion chopped
  • 1 clove garlic chopped
  • 225g couscous
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 300ml chicken or veg stock
  1. Put the lamb pieces into a bowl.  In a separate bowl, combine all the dry marinade ingredients and mix well.  Stir the marinade into the lamb, coating well.  Cover and leave for at least 30 minutes, preferably longer (up to 3 hours).  If keeping overnight, put in the fridge.
  2. To make the sauce, heat the olive oil in a frying pan and fry the onion and garlic for 1-3 minutes, until soft.  Lift out and transfer to a saucepan or casserole
  3. Fry the lamb (including the dry marinade) in small batches until the meat is lightly browned, then transfer to the saucepan.  Add all the remaining sauce ingredients to the saucepan and bring to the boil.
  4. Cover with a lid and simmer gently for about 1 hour, or until the lamb is tender, reducing the heat if necessary.
  5. Before serving, discard the orange peel.  Fry the almonds until golden in a little olive oil , drain and stir into the stew along with the fresh mint.  Serve with cooked basmati rice or couscous pilaf.

To make the Couscous Pilaf

  1. Heat the oil in a saucepan.  Add the onion and garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes, until soft.  Add the couscous, stir through and then pour in the stock.  Season with salt and pepper.
  2. Cover with a lid and cook gently for another few minutes, stirring occasionally, until heated through, ten take off the heat and leave, covered, until the couscous swells.
  3. After about 5 minutes or so it should be ready to serve.  Fluff up with a fork to break up any clumps.


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Veggie Thali

The dilemma of the vegetarian dinner guest(s)

Not so long ago I decided to cook dinner for some friends, mainly Caoimhe because she had cooked for me so many times.  Caoimhe is in love with a Spanish man. So of course he was also invited, he is a nice Spanish man who in fact has also made dinner for me (he cooks very well).

He is also a vegetarian Spanish man, but it’s ok he eats fish.

Sylvia also came along because I owe her about 10,000 Guinness and Chocolate muffins. To be fair she contributed with her excellent Sea Salt and Caramel Chocolate Cake

As I was already cooking for a vegetarian I thought well I might as well cook for 2, and I invited Babs along. Then I realised that Babs is a real veggie and doesn’t eat fish.

And so my challenge – after alot of googling I finally settled on this. I did involve me visiting an authentic Indian food shop for some of the ingredients but that is all part of the experience!

It turned out quite nicely actually, although I added some chicken dish after I saw the disappointment on Colin and Sylvia’s faces that there would be no meat. Everyone was happy.

It looks a bit challenging at first and there are moments when it feels like you are juggling a bit, but in fact it’s actually very simple:

Lemon Rice

  • 1 Lemon, zest pared and juiced
  • 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
  • 3 cardomom pods, bashed
  • 1 mugful basmati rice
  1. Cook the lemon zest and spices in a little oil until fragrant
  2. Add the rice and stir well
  3. Tip in 2 mugs of water and 1 tsp salt, bring to simmer, put  on a lid and cook until water is absorbed and rice cooked
  4. Add a splash of lemon to serve


  • 250g red lentils
  • 1 tsp tumeric
  • oil
  • onion grated
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 red chilli, shredded
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  1. Put the lentils and tumeric in a pan and add water to cover by 2cm.
  2. Season and simmer for about 20 minutesuntil tender, adding more water if needed.
  3. Heat some oil in a pan then cook the onion, garlic and chilli for a few minutes.
  4. Add the garam masala, cook for a minute then stir into the cooked lentils.

Saag paneer

  • 1 x 250g block paneer, cut into cubes
  • groundnut oil
  • 1 onion, grated
  • a small chunk root ginger, finely grated
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 300g spinach, washed and chopped
  1. Fry the paneer in a little oil until golden.
  2. Add onion, ginger, garlic and spices, and cook until softened.
  3. Add the spinach and a splash of water and cook until wilted.

Onion raita

  • 1/2 small red onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • a handful mint leaves, chopped
  • a handful coriander leaves chopped
  • 200ml natural yogurt
  1. Mix everything together just before serving and season

Aubergine and tomato curry

  • 1 onion, chopped
  • oil
  • 1 large aubergine, cut into chunks
  • 1 tsp tumeric
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1tsp black onion seeds
  • 1 punnet cherry tomatoes
  • a handful coriander leaves
  1. Fry the aubergine and tomato curry by frying the onion in oil until soft.
  2. Tip onto a plate,
  3. Add a little more oil to the pan and fry the aubergine in batches until browned all over and tender.
  4. Add another slug of oil to the pan and fry the spices for 30 seconds, add back th eaubergine and onion, plus the cherry tomatoes, and cook everything until the tomatoes have burst.
  5. Season with salt and scatter with coriander leaves.


Paprika Cod with Chorizo and Puy lentils

Come Dine with me, by Jane and Gill

Well – we tried. We tried to have our own Come Dine with Me experience.

Unfortunately, we were the only episode if I recall correctly.

But the food was good – if I do say so myself.  It was my first real experience of lentils and I’ve made that part of the dish several times since on it’s own as it was so easy and tasty!

We also served it with mashed potatoes.  There was an almost disaster there which involved using a hand held blender and finishing the cooking in the microwave – lesson is: Always make sure you have enough time to fully steam your spuds!

For the Puy Lentils

  • 200g Puy Lentils
  • 300ml chicken stock
  • 3tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 red onion, finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 small (or 1 large) spicy chorizo sausage, thickly sliced
  • salt and freshly ground black papper
  • dash red wine vinegar

For the cucumber garnish

  • 1 large cucumber, skin removed, flesh cut into ribbons using a vegetable peeler, seeds disgarded
  • salt

For the cod

  • 1kg cod fillet, skin on
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 2tsp paprika
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • knob of butter

For the dressing

  • 5 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  1. For the Puy lentils, preheat the girll to its highest setting
  2. Place the lentils into a measuring jug and note thier volume.  Place them into a pan.  Ad the chicken stock to the measuring jug and top up with enough water to bring the volume of liquid to double that of the lentils.  Add the liquid to the pan with the lentils.
  3. Bring the lentils to the boil and cook for 20 – 25 minutes, or until tender.
  4. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a frying pan over a medium heat.  Add the onion, garlic and chorizo and fry until the onions have softened and the chorizo is golden brown.  SEason, to taste, with salt and pepper, then set aside.
  5. Drain the lentils, return them to the pan and stir through the cooked onion, garlic and chorizo, as well as the red wine vinegar.
  6. For the cucumber garnish, place the cucumber ribbons in a sieve or colander to drain, sprinkle generously with salt and cover with kitchen paper and a plate.  Set aside for 20 minutes.
  7. For the cod, make slashes in the skin of the cod using a sharp knife.  Mix the olive oil, paprika and seasoning together in a small bowl.
  8. Melt the butter in an ovenproof frying pan and add the cod, flesh-side down.  Fry for exactly two minutes.
  9. While the cod is cooking, pour over the oil and paprika mixture, then season the skin of teh cod with the salt.
  10. Transfer the cod to the grill and cook for 6 minutes (or less, depending on the thickness of the cod fillet), until the cod is just cooked through and the skin is crisp.
  11. For the dressing, mix together all of the dressing ingredients until well combined.
  12. Just before serving, place the cucumber ribbons into a bowl.  Pour the dressing onto the drained cucumber ribbons and mix to coat thoroughly.

Chilli Con Carne

Another great one pot dish…

And another one that tastes better the day after.  I made this 2 years in a row for our annual Ardennes January trip and so far, nobody has come down with food poisoning = result.

It’s the only chilli I’ve ever made, our kitchen cupboard consists of a few tins of chilli flavoured beans that Colin continues to buy and never use (ok he used them once, I’ll be in trouble if I don’t admit that), but to be honest I don’t even know how to use them.

And this recipe is ridiculously easy to make – I have discovered that once you make the effort to buy all the fancy herbs and spices then it’s so easy to make tons of different dishes.

2 tbsp olive oil
2 onions, chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1kg/2¼lb lean beef mince – (I’ve just seen the Hairy Bikers use 1/2 mince 1/2 chopped beef to give it a ‘luxurious’ texture, might try that next time!!!)
250ml/9fl oz red wine
2 x 400g cans chopped tomatoes
3 tbsp tomato purée
2 red chillies, thinly sliced, or 3-4 tsp dried chilli flakes
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1 stick cinnamon
good shake of Worcestershire sauce
1 beef stock cube
salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 x 400g can red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 large bunch coriander leaves, roughly chopped
wedges of lime, to serve

  1. Heat the oil in a large, heavy-based saucepan with a lid and fry the onion and garlic until softened. Increase the heat and add the mince, cooking quickly until browned and breaking down any chunks of meat with a wooden spoon.
  2. Pour in the red wine and boil for 2-3 minutes.
  3. Stir in the tinned tomatoes, tomato purée, fresh chilli or chilli flakes, cumin, coriander, cinnamon, and Worcestershire sauce and crumble in the stock cube.
  4. Season well with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Bring to a simmer, cover with a lid and cook over a gentle heat for about 50 minutes to 1 hour, stirring occasionally until the mixture is rich and thickened.
  5. Add the kidney beans and fresh coriander. Cook for a further ten minutes, uncovered, before removing from the heat, adding any extra seasoning if necessary.
  6. I usually serve with baked potatoes – easiest thing to do for a large group but you could also include with rice, guacamole, sour cream and a big green salad.
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Beef Bourguignon with redcurrant and rosemary

So this is a little more in keeping with the theme of the blog…

It was sent to me by Mary B – I will copy and paste her words below – they have some extra advice! However I know that she made it for her own version of Come Dine with Me.  I don’t think it won but I know it definitely got high marks.

I’ve made it a couple of times, once in Gill’s Le Creuset pot and once in a regular pot (after Gill moved back to Ireland).  It definitely benefits from the heavier pot – and like most of these dishes it’s even nicer the second day.

Serves 4
pre heat oven to 150 C
Gas Mark 3

1 Kg diced beef
2 tablesp plain flour seasoned gererously with salt and pepper
250 ml of red wine (Burgundy) or whatever plonk…. u have ….
1 large onion fincely diced
1 Tablsp of Olive oil
150 grams of lardons of bacon –  Streaky rashers
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 bay leaf
2 sprigs of rosemary
3 sprigs thyme
1 ttsp tomatoe puree
1 420 grm of tomatoes
1 tablespoon redcurrant jelly  (this is the added extra which makes it nicer)
300 ml beef stock (NICE STOCK CUBE)
baby button mushrooms  150 grm
pearl onions
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper.

The great thing about this recipe is that it gets better after a day or two so make it in advance for stress-free entertaining.  It will also freeze well. Better to add the mushrooms and pearl onions after you have defrosted it and when you are reheating It should be ready to eat in 30 mins…


Toss the meat in lightly seasoned flour.  Fry in small batches until brown, transferring to a large place.  De-glaze the pan by adding the red wine and allowing it to come to the boil, stirring the bottom of the pan to release any crusty bits on the bottom: we want these as they are full of flavour.

In a large saucepan or ovenproof casserole dish, cook the onion in olive oil until soft and translucent, then add the bacon lardons and garlic.  Continue to cook until the bacon picks up a little colour.  Add the browned meat, along with the de-glazed pan juices, half the herbs, (these dont need to be chopped just throw them in), the tomatoe puree, tinned tomatoes, the redcurrant jelly and enough beef stock to cover the meat by 4 cm.  Bring to simmering point, season well and either bake in the oven or continue to simmer on a very low heat for on hour.  Remove from the oven, discard the herbs, add the mushrooms and perl onions along with the remaining chopped herbs and cook for a further 30 minutes.  Taste to ensure the meat is tender and seasoning is correct.

I cook in advance up to cook in oven and leave to cool and put in fridge.  On the evening of serving add the mushrooms and cook for 1/2 hour.

Enjoy and serve with creamed spuds ….. saute the chopped scallions or spring onions in butter and add to potatoes and heat milk and add it too.  Do this just before serving, I let the spuds dry out too much ….. too much wine.

Talk soon,

Love Mom


I have no photos of the dish, or her Come Dine with me Experience – so here she is making a snow angel: