So I've being having a little think about my first recipe is going to be on my new website, I wanted it to be especially tasty but I really wanted it to be something I can make with no recipe, with my eyes shut, whilst ironing and doing homework with the kids, so low and behold I decided on Lamb Cawl! Yay, but wait this presented it's own problem as I don't actually have a recipe for Lamb Cawl I only have the amalgamation of the way my mother, Nanna and Mamgu taught me to make it. It's taken a me a little bit of time to write out the recipe but here it is and I hope you give it a go and love it as much as my kids.
For those of you reading you might not know what Cawl is, it is a type of stew eaten all over Wales for centuries. At home we always eat ours with freshly homemade brown bread and Caerphilly cheese....yum!
2 sticks of Celery
1 small swede
750g lamb neck fillet, trimmed and cut into chunks
Beef stock (2 x oxo cubes)
1 stock pot
1. Prepare the vegetables, slice the onions, celery, carrots and parsnip. Roughly chop the potatoes and swede. thinly slice the leeks and separate the white and green parts.
2. Heat a large pan and add a drizzle of oil, add the onions, celery, parsnip and swede. Cook the vegetables, stirring all of the time until golden brown. (this is adding to the intense flavour). Then remove the veggies and set aside.
3. If needed add a little more oil to the pan, quickly brown the lamb chunks.
4. Add the cooked vegetables back into the pan, add the rosemary and thyme and season, pour over enough stock to cover the ingredients and add the stock pot.
5. Bring to the boil. Then cover and cook gently, the liquid should hardly bubble for 1½ hours, the lamb should be getting very tender.
6. Add the potatoes and the white parts of the leeks and cook for a further 30 mins. Check the potatoes are tender and the seasoning and adjust if necessary.
7. Finally add the green parts of the leeks, cook for a few minutes more to soften, scatter over chopped parsley and serve with wholemeal bread and Caerphilly cheese.
Cawl keeps very well in the fridge and also freezes well, and tastes better the following day.
I have a confession, I am obsessed with foraging wild garlic, my favourite wild garlic recipe is pesto, but after reading the April’s Good Food magazine I thought let’s create my own recipe for wild garlic soup, using the wild garlic oil recipe from the magazine, a fantastic way to preserve the flavour of the wild garlic for use in the months ahead when it is out of season. I’m hoping to try a version of this recipe using dandelion leaves, as I’ve been obsessively reading different ways of using them but I’m not quite feeling brave enough yet… but watch this space!
It was a damp day yesterday, so we all put on our boots and headed to Gnoll Country Park, it’s a beautiful country park just a few minutes from our doorstep. Once there we had a lovely walk around the pond and the kids played in the ruins of the old house, then I revealed the real motive for the trip to the park, it was time to pick wild garlic, I needed a very large bag of wild garlic for this recipe and the oil so it was all hands picking to get the bag full. We had a lovely selection of flowers from the wild garlic, handpicked by Amelia which I used to garnish the soup.
100g wild garlic
2 small onions
1 large leek
2 garlic cloves
1 tbsp rapeseed oil
Fresh thymes leaves
350ml chicken stock
100ml double cream
25g Caws Cenarth Per Las cheese (Welsh blue cheese)
1. Wash the wild garlic thoroughly.
2. Slice the onions and leek, peel and chop the potatoes and finely chop the garlic cloves.
3. Melt the butter and oil in a saucepan, on a medium heat. Add the onions, leek, potatoes, garlic cloves and lots of thyme leaves. Cook gently for 5-10 minutes, until the potatoes starts to become soft, add the chicken stock and bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for about 5 minutes, or until the potatoes are soft.
4. Add the wild garlic and spinach and use a stick blender to blitz until very smooth, then strain through a sieve.
5. Add the soup back into the saucepan and heat gently, add cream and seasoning to taste, then add the Perl Las a little at a time, tasting and reserve a little to sprinkle over the top, to serve.
If you can't find wild garlic or it is out of season watercress makes a nice alternative
It was fabulous being chosen as a favourite for a third time in episode 5, but then we had the rather unusual choice of tofu or aubergine. Well I can assure you I was never going to choose tofu…. And as usual I only had one recipe which sprung straight to mind, which was moussaka, well what else?
I am a massive fan of moussaka, it is a family favourite in our household which I make regularly and that my mother used to make before me. It’s not traditional to add mushroom, but I’m a big lover of mushrooms and I think their addition always improves a dish.
I like this recipe because it is fairly straight forward, a lot of moussaka recipes, require a lot of ingredients and can be quite complicated, but this recipe is straight forward and make a wonderful alternative to lasagne.
Moussaka, serves 4-6
1 large aubergine, thinly sliced into rounds
1 large potato, peeled and sliced
1 onion, finely diced
150g mushrooms, sliced
50g dried mushrooms, soaked in water (optional)
4 garlic cloves, crushed
500g minced lamb
200g tomatoes, peeled and diced (I use a vegetable peeler)
1 tin of chopped tomatoes
1 oxo cube
Small handful of basil, chopped
¼ tsp ground allspice
½ tsp cinnamon
For the topping:
1 egg, beaten
100g parmesan, grated
100g plain flour
Pinch of nutmeg
1. Sprinkle the aubergine with salt and place on top of kitchen roll, put more kitchen roll on top, leave for 30 mins. (This is to remove as much moisture as possible.)
2. Meanwhile heat a large frying pan add the lamb, onion, fresh mushrooms and garlic (adding the meat at the same time means there is no need for extra oil).
3. Once the lamb is browned add the dried mushrooms and the water they were soaked in, also add the fresh tomatoes, tinned tomatoes, soy sauce, spices and sprinkle in the oxo cube.
4. Bring to the boil, then simmer for around 10 mins, the sauce should be thick and the mince cooked through, taste and season. Sprinkle over the basil. Set aside
5. Preheat the oven to 180 C fan.
6. Boil the potato slices in salted water for approx. 6 mins, drain and set aside.
7. Heat a griddle pan, cook the aubergine for a few mins of both sides, the aubergine should colour and start to soften. Season with pepper then set aside.
8. For the topping: Melt the butter in a saucepan medium-low heat, add the flour and whisk continuously for two minutes to cook the flour. Add the milk bit by bit whisking the whole time, simmer for approx. 5 mins until it thickens. Remove from the heat and add the egg and most of the parmesan, whisk continuously. Season to taste with the salt, pepper and nutmeg.
9. Add a layer of aubergine to a baking dish, then a thin layer of mince, then a layer of potatoes, then another think layer of mince, topped with a final layer of aubergine. Then top the aubergine with the white sauce topping and sprinkle of the remaining parmesan cheese.
10. Bake for approx. 30 mins, until golden and bubbling.
This recipe will also make 4-6 individual servings, either in ramekins, or in steel ring mould (like I used on the show), put the ring on a baking sheet lined with baking paper and cook for 10 – 12 mins. Position the ring on the serving plate before lifting off the ring!!
Follow my weekly blog, with all the bits you didn't get to see on telly...
120g wholemeal bread flour
1 tsp olive oil
180ml tepid water
pinch of salt
ground black pepper
1. Add the flour to a bowl with the salt, pepper & oil, slowly add the water to make a tight dough, you may need a little more water.
2. Knead the dough until it starts to become soft.
3. Cover and set aside for approx 30 mins.
4. Divide the dough into 4 pieces.
5. Flour the worktop, and roll each ball until thin.
6. Heat a little oil in a frying pan and fry each paratha in turn until cooked through but still soft.
Crispy Tandoori Chicken Pieces
2 chicken breasts, cut into strips
130g natural yoghurt
2 cloves of garlic, smashed
Small piece of ginger, grated
1 tbsp garam marsala
2 tsp salt
120g plain flour
2 tsp ground ginger
2 tsp cayenne pepper/kashmiri chilli powder
1 tsp fennel seeds
150g runny honey
3 tbsps of hot sauce (I used habanero)
1. In a bowl mix the chicken, yoghurt, juice and zest of 1 lemon, the garlic, ginger, 1/2 of the garam marsala & 1 tsp of salt. Mix thoroughly to make sure the chicken is fully coated, cover with cling film and leave to marinate for at least 3 hours, but ideally overnight.
2. The next day add the flour to a ziplock bag, along with 1 tbsp garam marsala, cayenne pepper, fennel seeds and 1 tsp of salt, shake to combine.
3. Remove the chicken from the yoghurt mixture and add to the flour in the bag, seal the bag and shake to fully coat t.he chicken.
4. Heat the deep fat fryer to 180 C.
5. Combine the honey, hot sauce and the juice of 1 lemon in a small bowl, season with salt.
6. Fry the strips of chicken 5 at a time for approx 5 mins, check that the centre is cooked.
7. Drain on kitchen paper.
8. Transfer the chicken to a new bowl and drizzle with the honey and hot sauce mix.
120ml natural yoghurt
50g cucumber, grated
3 sprigs of mint leaves, roughly chopped
1. you need to get as much water out of the cucumber as possible, wrap it in a tea towel and squeeze out the moisture.
2. mix all the ingredients in a bowl and season to taste.
4 parathas (see recipe)
Iceberg lettuce, sliced
Crispy tandoori chicken pieces (see recipe)
1/4 cucumber, halved & sliced
1 red onion, sliced
Pineapple chutney (optional, mango chutney would work well also)
1 red chilli, sliced
White & black sesame seeds
1. Take the paratha and add some lettuce, top with 4-5 pieces of chicken, sprinkle over cucumber & onions. Drop over a few small teaspoons of pineapple chutney, (if using), then drizzle over raita.
2. Finally garnish with the coriander, chilli and sesame seeds.
Breakfast in our house is often the most neglected of all the meals, with four wild animals, sorry children to get fed, washed and dressed and out of the house each morning it can feel overwhelming.
One of the biggest issues we face as parents is the amount sugar or children are exposed to and one of the worse culprits for hidden sugar is cereal, even cereals which appear healthy often have a large quantity of sugar. Don’t get me wrong, my kids still have Coco Pops or similar but in our house that is a treat rather than the norm. My solution was to come up with my own recipe for granola, which was tasty enough that, the kids would be happy to eat it, and Alan loves this recipe.
The recipe is adaptable, so if I have something I want to use up, extra walnuts, raisins, dried cranberries for example I just throw them into the granola mix. It’s such an easy recipe to make so it’s lovely to have the kids help, be warned though it can get a little bit messy…oats flying everywhere!! This recipe makes a large enough quantity for our family to eat it a couple of times a week for about a month.
½ tsp nutmeg, ground ginger & Cinnamon
100g milled linseed
½ tsp salt
100g mixed seeds
200g mixed nuts, roughly chopped
50g coconut oil
2 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp vanilla extract
Zest of 1 orange
200g mixed dried fruit
1. Preheat the oven to 150 C.
2. You will need a very large bowl, add the oats, spices (I’ve chose the flavours my family enjoy but you can choose whatever you prefer), linseed, salt, seeds, nuts and sugar, then mix.
3. Melt the coconut oil and mix with the honey and vanilla extract and add to the oat mix.
4. Add the orange zest (lemon also works well) and mix thoroughly with your hand until the whole mixture is evenly coated, this can take a bit of time.
5. Transfer the mix to a large baking tray, use two if necessary, lined with baking paper and roast in the oven for approximately 30 minutes, checking and stirring every 10 minutes.
6. The granola is ready when it is dried out and light golden in colour.
7. Leave to cool completely before storing.
We usually eat this granola in milk or over yoghurt, but it also makes a lovely topping for muffins.
Every year in Neath, the town where I live, we have a brilliant Food Festival and a couple of years ago they had a baking competition. I had to make my cakes to enter the morning of the competition after a night shift because I only found out the day before. There was also a chutney category and as an avid chutney maker and eater I had a jar of my pineapple chutney and my Christmas chutney ready to enter. Well I won quite a few of the categories (there weren’t many entrants) including winning 1st place with my pineapple chutney!!
Alan loves this chutney it’s his favourite, so I usually make it 2 – 3 times a year, it’s super easy and straight forward to make and I like to make it to give to people, usually they haven’t tasted anything quite like it.
6 red onions
2 tbsp mustard seeds
2 tbsp black onions seeds
2 tsp ground turmeric
2 red chillies
Fresh ginger (large piece)
500g soft brown sugar
350ml cider vinegar
1. De-seed and finely chop the chilli. Grate the ginger.
2. Heat some oil in a large pan, add the onions and spices and cook gently for around 5 minutes, the spices should start to become fragrant.
3. Add the rest of the ingredients, plus 2 tsp of salt, simmer without a lid until dark golden and thick.
4. Pour into sterilised jars.
Once stored the chutney will keep for around a year and tends to get better with age. I like to make a large batch in the autumn ready for Christmas gifts.