Pork loin with garlic confit and basil



First make the confit. Place the whole garlic and some basil leaves in a tin foil parcel with a dash of olive oil. Place in a low over, around 180 degrees for 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and peel the garlic,mash into a paste.

Cut the pork loin into 2 pieces, then butterfly each section by cutting it through the middle horizontally (not all the way through). Place some basil leaves along the centre of each piece and then spread the confit on top. Close the fillet and then wrap each fillet in the pancetta or streaky bacon. Wrap the fillets tightly in cling film to help them form a good shape, and place in the fridge for 30 mins or so.

Remove the fillet from the cling film and pan fry in a little oil over a high heat until browned all over. Place in an oven at 180 for 25 mins. Remove from the oven, test the centre of the meat with a metal skewer to make sure it is cooked through, it should be hot in the centre when you touch the skewer to your lips. Slice the pork and serve.

Southern fried chicken burgers

southern fried chicken burgers


Place the chicken in a large bowl and add all of the ingredients apart from the breadcrumbs.  Mix well and then remove a small portion and fry in olive oil to test for seasoning.  If the meat needs more seasoning or heat then add the appropriate ingredients and repeat the process.

When you are happy with the falvour of the meat add a good handful of breadcrumbs and mix well, you need to do this as the chicken tends to be quite a wet mixture.

Lay the remaining breadcrumbs on a large plate and shape the meat into burgers before generously coating them in breadcrumbs.  Place in the fridge and chill for at least 20 mins.

When ready to cook add enough olive oil to coat the bottom of a non-stick pan and heat until very hot. Add the burgers and fry antil golden brown on each side, this should only take about 4-5 mins each side.  Depending on the thickness of the burgers transfer them to an oven at 200c for about 20 mins to finish them off.

Serve on crusty bread with salsa and salad.

Fish pie with potato and celeriac topping

fish pie with potato and celeriac topping


The celeriac adds a little twist to the traditional potato topping for this fish pie. Yummy.

Boil the potato and celeriac in salted water until soft. Drain and mash with 25g of the butter. Add a little milk too if you like but watch the mixture does not become sloppy. Season to taste.

Meanwhile heat 60g of the butter in a pan, add the leeks and cook, covered, until soft. Add the flour and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Gradually add the milk and bring to the boil, stirring constantly.

Add the fish to the pan and simmer, covered, for 3 minutes. Gently stir in the lemon juice, herbs and seasoning. Try not to break up the fish too much.

Preheat the oven to 220C. Spoon the fish mixture into an ovenproof dish. Melt the remaining butter. Spoon the potato and celeriac mash over the fish and smooth with a palette knife. brush the top with the melted butter.

Bake for about 25 minutes until the top is golden brown.


Mango chicken curry

Chicken curry with mango chutney


This is a really tasty chicken curry – creamy, fragrant and slightly sweet from the mango.

Heat a large heavy-based pan over a medium heat and add the oil, about 3 tbsp. Add the curry leaves and the whole spices and fry for about 30 seconds.

Add the onion and and a pinch of salt and gently fry over a low heat for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently, so that the onion softens and changes colour.

Add the garlic, ginger and chilli and fry for a further 5 minutes.

Add the ground spices and fry for a few minutes more. Don’t let the spices burn or they will take on a bitter flavour.

Next add the chicken with another pinch of salt and stir well until the meat is well coated with the spice mixture.

Set aside a couple of tablespoons of the chopped mango. Put the remaining mango in a food processor or blender and whizz to a smooth puree.

Add the pureed mango to the curry. Mix well then add the coconut milk. Give everything a good stir and add a grind of black pepper. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer for about 15 minutes until the chicken is tender.

Taste and add more salt if needed. Serve garnished with the chopped mango and coriander if using. Goes well with pilau or saffron rice.

Pasta with chickpeas, greens and tomatoes

Pasta with chickpeas, greens and tomato


This recipe uses mafalda corta, a short, flat, ribbony pasta with a wavy edge from the Campania region of Italy. If you can’t find that, any other short pasta (such as penne or gemelli) with ridges to hold the sauce will work just as well.

Put the pasta on to cook.

Pour a generous amount of olive oil in to a cold frying pan and add the garlic and rosemary. Put the pan on a low heat and let the garlic gently sizzle for a few minutes.

Add the tomatoes and the cooked greens along with some salt and pepper and allow the tomatoes to cook down for a few minutes.

Next add the chickepeas. Once they have warmed through, take a fork and roughly mash most of the chickpeas down (I like to leave some whole). Add some of the pasta cooking water a tablespoonful at a time and mix in with mashed chickpeas to make a sauce.

Add the parsley and a squeeze of lemon juice. Taste and add more salt and pepper if needed. Drain the pasta and mix with the sauce.

Serve straight away with grated parmesan and a drizzle of your very best extra virgin olive oil.


Dark chocolate fondants


This is the Rolls Royce of hot chocolate puddings and this recipe is foolproof. You can make them up ahead of time and either chill or freeze until ready to use. Apologies for the lack of photograph for this recipe – they were so good I forgot! Thanks to Babbie for the recipe!

Grease 4 ramekins and dust the insides with cocoa powder.

Melt the chocolate and the 50g of butter slowly in a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water. Make sure the bowl doesn’t touch the water. Stir occasionally with a spatula. Allow to cool slightly.

Meanwhile, whisk the egg, egg yolk and sugar until pale and fluffy. You can do this by hand but better with an electric mixer. Gently fold in the melted chocolate mixture and then fold in the flour. Spoon or pour into your prepared ramekins. Cover with cling film and chill. You can also freeze them at this stage.

When ready to use, heat the oven to 180C. Put the ramekins on a baking sheet and cook for 12 minutes (15 minutes if cooking from frozen). You will know they are ready when the sides have set and are starting to come away from the ramekin and the tops have formed a crust. The middle will still be lovely and gooey. Serve at once with cream or ice cream.

Winter minestrone

winter minestrone


A great lunch for the winter months – warming, filling and healthy. Kale, an under-appreciated member of the cabbage family, is packed with bet-carotene, folate and vitamin C so should keep the sniffles at bay!

Heat some olive oil in a large soup pan and add the onion and a pinch of salt. Fry over a low heat, stirring, for about 10 minutes until soft and starting to colour. Add the garlic and chilli flakes and fry for a few minutes before adding the carrot and pepper. Mix well and cover. Leave to sweat for about 5-7 minutes until the vegetables have softened. Check and stir occasionally.

Next, add the stock and simmer for 5 minutes or so before adding the pasta with another pinch of salt. Stir well and leave to simmer with the lid off until the pasta is nearly done. Add the kale and the beans and simmer until the kale is tender – about 5 minutes. Season with black pepper and more salt if needed. Garnish with the parsley.

Italian pea and basil soup

pea and basil soup


This is such an easy soup to make. The basil gives it a lovely pungent flavour but you could also use mint to give a fresher flavour.

Heat a generous amount of olive oil in a large pan and add the onion, celery, carrot and garlic. Cover and cook over a low heat, stirring frequently, for 30-40 minutes.

Add the peas and the stock and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for about 10 minutes. Add the basil and remove from the heat. Use a stick blender to whizz to a smooth soup. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve with the parmesan shavings on top and a drizzle of your best olive oil. Great served with crusty bread.

Chicken pie

chicken pie


Add some olive oil to a medium heat in a deep sided frying pan, add the carrot and onion and fry for 10-15 mins until softened.  Add the garlic and mushroom and fry for a further 5 mins before turning the heat up to high and adding the white wine.

Allow the wine to bubble until almost evaproted and then add the stock.  Allow to reduce by around half before adding the chicken and thyme/rosemary and peas.  Cook on a gentle heat for around 10 mins.  Remove the chicken and vegetables from the pan with a slotted spoon and place them in your pie dish.  Add the cream to the stock and reduce further, you want about enough sauce to come about half way up your dish and it should be the consistency of double cream.

Trim the edges of the puff pastry and stick strips around the edge of the pie dish.  Add the sauce to the chicken and vegatable mixture and then brush the edges of the pastry with a beaten egg before putting the remaining pastry on top of the dish, press the edges down with a fork so the top sticks to the pastry you stuck around the edges.  Don’t worry about pastry hanging off the edges, you can trim this before serving and it will help the pastry to not fall in the middle.

Cook for about 35 mins and serve with mashed potato and brocolli…

Aidan’s Rasta Reggae Pizza

Ellens best pizza


Roll out the dough into the shape of a face

spead on the levi roots jerk sauce

use the peppers for eyebrows and dreads

chicken for eyes ears and mouth

cover in the cheese

bake in the hot oven for 8 mins

………….we jammin

Fishy fish burgers


A tasty, fresh and healthy burger!

Put the fish in a food processor and roughly blitz. Tip the fish into a large bowl.

Put the shallot, cornichons and capers into the processor and blitz quite finely. Add to the bowl with the fish, parsley and a good seasoning of salt and pepper. Mix thoroughly and then shape into 2 nice big burgers. Cover and chill until needed – at least an hour.

When ready to serve, dust the burgers with the flour. Heat some olive oil in a non stick frying pan and fry the burgers over a medium heat until they are nicely browned on both sides and cooked through – about 10-15 minutes.

Serve with the garnishes and some chips or potato wedges.

Smoked mackerel salad

smoked mackerel salad


This is a really easy starter or light lunch, ideal to take to work. Packed full of goodness with lots of veggies and omega 3-rich oily mackerel. Win win! The amounts are just a rough guide – add more or less of what you want.

Boil the potatoes in salted water until tender. Drain and cool then cut into slices or quarters.

When ready to serve, assemble everything in individual bowls and dress with the vinaigrette. How easy was that!

Spiced chickpea and vegetable soup

Spiced chickpea and veg soup


A warming and heathy soup, great for lunch.

In a large pan, gently fry the onion in some oil for about 15 minutes, stirring regularly, until soft and starting to caramelise.

Add the garlic, ginger and spices and fry for a further 5 minutes.

Next, add the stock and vegetables along with some salt and pepper. Bring to the boil, cover and simmer for about 20 minutes until the vegetables are cooked.

Add the chickpeas and cook for a further 5 minutes.

Transfer about 4 ladlefuls of the soup to a jug and whizz to a puree using a stick blender. Return this to the pan and stir well. Pureeing some of the chickpeas and vegetables gives the soup a velvety texture.

To finish, squeeze in the lemon juice and taste to check the seasoning. Add more salt and pepper if necessary.

Tagliatelle with prawns and brandy

tagliatelle with prawns, brandy and cream


Normally, I would only advise drinking brandy but here it’s used in this very tasty pasta dish!

Cook the tagliatelle in a large pan of salted water until al dente.

While the pasta is cooking, fry the shallots and walnuts in olive oil in a large frying pan for a few minutes.

Add the garlic and prawns with a pinch of salt. When the prawns have changed colour, turn the heat up and add the brandy. Allow to bubble for a minute or two then add the tomatoes.

Cook over a medium heat until the tomatoes have broken down a bit. Then add the cream and allow to bubble away for a few minutes, stirring occasionally.

Squeeze in the lemon juice and add the parsley. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Add the drained tagliatelle to the frying pan and mix through with the sauce. Serve immediately and enjoy!