Spiced lamb pies

Don’t be put off by the amount of ingredients, to make the perfect spiced lamb pies you need to put in the effort.  These are amazing and another great addition for Christmas snacks Continue reading “Spiced lamb pies”

Italian beef stew

Season the beef with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a casserole pan and brown the beef in batches until well coloured. Remove with a slotted spoon.

Add the onion and fry gently for a few minutes until soft. Next add the carrot and fry for a few minutes before adding the celery and doing the same. When the vegetables are soft and slightly coloured, add the garlic and fry off for a minute or two.


Return the beef to the pan, turn up the heat and then add the wine. Allow to bubble off for a few minutes making sure you scrape all the good beefy bits from the bottom of the pan.


Add the tomatoes, thyme, puree and stock. Bring to the boil, cover and simmer gently for 1 and a half-2 hours or until the beef is tender. Check for seasoning and adjust as necessary. Cook uncovered for the last 20 minutes for a thicker gravy.

To serve, sprinkle over the parsley and serve with roast or saute potatoes and vegetables of your choice.

Indonesian Rendang

Place the onion and garlic in a small food processor and whizz until smooth, adding a little water to help it along if necessary.

Place the coconut milk in a pan with a heavy base and bring it to the boil. Reduce the heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until the milk has reduced by half. Be careful not to let the coconut milk brown or stick to the pan.

Grind the fennel seeds and cloves using a pestle and mortar and add to the pan along with the coriander, cumin and salt and stir for 1 minute. Add the meat and cook for a couple of minutes until it changes colour. Add the onion and garlic mixture, chilli, lemongrass, lemon juice and sugar and mix well.

Bring it back to the boil, cover and reduce the heat right down. Cook for about 1 and a half to 2 hours until the beef is cooked and the liquid is reduced to quite a thick sauce. You will need to check the curry and stir it frequently throughout the cooking to prevent it sticking to the bottom of the pan. Add a little more coconut milk if necessary.
For the last 10 minutes of cooking, simmer with the lid off, stirring all the time. The curry is ready when it is brown and quite dry.

Grilled beef fillet marinated in soy and chilli

Rub the beef with the sugar and chillies. Place in a non corrosive dish and pour over the soy sauce. Cover with cling film and marinade in the fridge overnight, turning a few times.

Remove the meat from the marinade (reserve the marinade) and wipe dry with kitchen roll. Cut into 4 equal size steaks and brush with peanut oil.

Heat a heavy griddle pan.

Meanwhile cook the noodles, refresh under cold water and drain again.

Place the steaks on the griddle and cook for 2-3 mins each side.

While beef is cooking, heat a wok and add 2 tbsp peanut oil. Add the beans and toss lightly to give a little colour. Add the noodles and toss. Then add the reserved marinade, coriander and sesame oil. Heat through. Sprinkle on the spring onions at the last minute.

Divide the noodles among 4 plates and place a piece of beef on each one.

Greek meatballs

Put the onion and garlic in a food processor and whizz to a fine paste. Add this to a bowl along with the mince, herbs and spices and a generous pinch of salt and pepper. Mix well with your hands (you can fry off a little bit to check the seasonings and flavours are to your liking) and shape into small sausage shapes. Chill for 20-30 minutes as this helps them to hold their shape when frying.

Heat about 2 tbsp olive oil in a large non-stick frying pan and add the meatballs. Fry on a fairly high heat, turning a few times until they are browned all over. Remove from the pan and set on some kitchen paper. Wipe the pan out with some kitchen paper and add the tinned tomatoes. Bring up to the boil, breaking the tomatoes up a little with a wooden spoon. Add some salt and pepper. Return the meatballs to the pan and simmer gently, uncovered, for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the fresh tomatoes and continue to cook for another 5-10 minutes until the sauce has thickened and reduced and the meatballs are cooked through.

Serve with rice, potatoes or pasta.

Chinese meatballs

Make the meatballs:

Mix all meatball ingredients together with your hands, ensuring they are well combined. Wet your hands and roll the mixture into small balls about the size of walnuts (you should get about 18 balls).

Heat a wok until smoking and add 100-150ml groundnut oil. When very hot, add half the meatballs and fry until browned all over. Don’t move them around too much as they will break up. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper. Repeat with the rest of the meatballs.

Pour all but 1 tbsp of the oil out of the wok. Add the garlic, ginger and chilli and stir fry for 1-2 minutes. Add the onion and green pepper and, keeping the heat high, stir fry for another 2 minutes.

Add the rice wine and allow to bubble off before adding the stock, soy and oyster sauce. Add the meatballs back to the wok. Cover and simmer for 7-10 minutes.

Add the tomatoes and cook, uncovered, for 2-3 minutes or until tomatoes have cooked out slightly and softened. Taste to check the seasoning.

Chilli con queso

Heat the oil in a casserole pan and gently fry onions, garlic and spices until spices have cooked out and the onions are soft and slightly caramelised- approx 20 mins.

Add meat, allow to brown then add the beer and tomato puree. Bring to the boil, stirring. Add salt and pepper. Cover then leave to simmer until the meat is cooked and tender – approx 1-1 and a half hours. Add the sugar and adjust seasoning if required.

Add the beans and sweetcorn. Cook for further 5-10 mins (with lid off if you need to reduce and thicken the sauce).

Bohemian goulash

In a large casserole pan over a high heat, fry the sliced peppers until slightly soft and charred at the edges. Remove and set aside. Add the pork to the pan and brown. Add the onion and fry until the onion is soft and starting to colour. Then add the garlic and return the peppers to the pan.

Mix everything well before adding the chilli, paprika, caraway seeds, oregano and a good seasoning of salt and pepper. Fry for a few minutes. Next, add the tomatoes with about half a tin of water. Mix well then add the vinegar and mix again. Cover and simmer for about 45 minutes-1 hour until the pork is tender.

Add the butterbeans and simmer for a further 5-10 minutes uncovered. Check the seasoning and serve with a squeeze of lemon or lime, a dollop of soured cream, some chopped coriander or parsley and plenty of basmati rice.

Beef wellington

Trim the beef fillet. Season well and sear in a hot pan. Remove and set aside to cool. Brush the beef all over with dijon mustard.

Roughly chop the mushrooms and puree in a food processor. Fry in a dry pan over a high heat until all water has evaporated and it has become a thick paste. Transfer to a bowl and leave to cool.

Lay out a good amount of cling film. Lay on the slices of ham, slightly overlapping each other. Spread on the moshroom paste. Lay the beef on top, roll up tightly into a sausage shape and chill for 10 – 15 mins.

Roll out pastry quite thinly and place beef (after removing the cling film!) on top. Brush the edges well with egg wash. Roll up in the pastry, tuck in the edges and trim off any excess.
Place on a baking tray and brush top with egg. Score the pastry.  Bake at 200C for 45 – 50 mins. Rest for 10 mins.

Cut into thick slices to serve.

Beef in Port

Dust the meat in the flour, shaking off any excess. Heat the oil in a large casserole pan and brown the meat in batches over a high heat. Remove with a slotted spoon.

Reduce the heat and add the onion and celery to the pan and soften before returning the beef to the pan. Add the port and cook uncovered on a high heat for a few minutes. Add the ketchup and some salt and pepper. Reduce the heat and simmer covered for a couple of hours on a very low heat – add the mushrooms half an hour before the end if using.

It is mandatory to serve with mash.

Beef in Stout with mustard and herb dumplings

Toss the beef in the flour. Fry the onions in the oil for 10 mins. Add the beef in batches until evenly browned.  Add carrots, celery, herbs, stock and stout. Bring to the boil, stirring.

Add sugar, Worcestershire and season.  Cover and simmer for 2 hours.

Make the dumplings – mix flour, breadcrumbs, suet, mustard seeds and herbs. Add 5-6 tbsp water and mix to a soft dough. Divide into 8, shape into balls and add to the beef. Cover and cook for 20 mins. Serve with mash.

Beef madras

This is a classic Indian recipe using beef but you could also make it with lamb.

In a small bowl put the coriander, cumin, mustard seeds, pepperorns, chilli powder, turmeric, salt, garlic and ginger. add the vinegar and mix to a smooth paste.
Heat a couple of tbsp of oil in a casserole pan, add the onion and cook over a medium heat until just soft. Add the spice paste and stir for 1 minute. Add the meat and cook, stirring until it is coated with the spice paste. Add the tinned tomatoes, water and tomato puree. Stir well to mix, bring to the boil, cover and reduce heat right down. Simmer gently for about 1 and a half hours or until meat is tender.

Serve with Pilau Rice and Cauliflower with Potatoes.

Beef fillet with a gratin of mushrooms

Prepare the topping ahead. Gently saute the shallot and garlic in 1 tbsp oil for about 5 minutes until softened.

Remove from the pan into a bowl with a slotted spoon and set aside. Add a further 2 tbsp oil to the pan and saute the mushrooms over a high heat, stirring frequently for about 7 minutes until browned and softened. Add the wine and cook until it has reduced away. The mixture should be quite dry.

Add the mushrooms to the bowl with the onions and mix in the herbs. Season and allow to cool.

Whip the cream until softly stiff, then fold into the cooled mushroom mixture along with the egg yolk. Cover and chill until required.

Brush the steaks with the remaining oil and season them. Heat a large non-stick frying pan until it is really hot. Cook the steaks for about 2-3 minutes, turning them to sear all over. Remover from the pan.

Heat the oven to 220C. Put the steaks on ashallow baking tray. Pile the mushroom mixture on top of the steaks and dust with Parmesan. Cook, uncovered, for about 7 minutes or until the topping is bubbling and golden. serve immediately. Good with roast potatoes and a green vegetable.

Beef and coconut stir fry

Heat a wok until smoking. Add the oil and then add the lemongrass, ginger, garlic and chilli. Stir fry for a minute or so and then add the spices.

Add the beef and stir fry to coat in all the flavours- keep the heat high, don’t let the beef ‘stew’. Next add the mushrooms and fry for a few minutes. Then add the coconut milk, mix well and simmer for 1-2 minutes. Add the seasoning ingredients and taste. You should get a balance between sweet, salty, hot and sour. Adjust seasoning if necessary.

Just before serving, add the basil leaves and mix through. Sprinkle over the coriander and serve with steamed rice.

Options: You could add spinach or green beans instead of or as well as the mushrooms.

Beef, chestnut and red wine casserole

Fry the beef in the oil in a small casserole pan until well browned.

Add the onions and fry until they are slightly softened. Add the thyme, wine and stock. Bring to the boil, then simmer for 1 hour with the lid on.

Add the carrots and chestnuts, season and cook gently for another hour with the lid off.

Serve with mash.