Overstrand Life - Janet's Diaries

Recipes A-F

Bolognese Sauce

Olive Oil – enough to fry
Onions, 2 medium, finely chopped
Garlic – 2 cloves, crushed
Carrot – 1 large, finely chopped
Celery – 2 sticks, finely chopped
Mushrooms – 3 flat, chopped
Steak – 1kg, minced
Bacon – 6 rashers streaky, chopped
Tomatoes – 500g fresh, skinned and chopped
Tomato Puree – 2tbsp
Basil – 1/2tsp, dried
Pepper – freshly ground
Basil – fresh, a few sprigs to garnish

• Heat some olive oil in a pan and sweat the onions, garlic, carrot, celery and mushrooms until soft. Transfer to a heavy bottomed saucepan
• Fry the mince in batches to brown, add more olive oil if required, add the browned mince to the vegetables in the saucepan.
• Fry the bacon until just starting to brown and add to the other ingredients in the saucepan.
• Stir in the tomatoes, tomato puree, basil and season with salt and pepper, pour in enough water to make a fluid sauce.
• Simmer the sauce for about 1 hour, stirring frequently, to prevent sticking. Add more water if the meat mixture starts to dry out.

Variations: Use minced lamb instead of the steak and fresh tomatoes and tomato puree can be substituted with 400g of tinned tomatoes

Serves: 6, or 2 with 2 portions for the freezer

Bread and Butter Pudding

My version of this popular pudding is based on Chef Anton Mosimann’s recipe. I have substituted bread rolls with Brioche, reduced the amount of sugar, soaked the sultanas in Brandy, simplified the method and I cook them in individual dishes rather than one larger one. This version of Bread & Butter Pudding is different to the one I associate with my childhood which had a crusty sugared top and included mixed chopped peel as well as Sultanas. Using cream and Brandy and with an Apricot glaze, this is a slightly ‘posher’ version and has been enjoyed by both friends and family.

Sultanas – 1tbsp
Brandy – 1dsp
Single cream – 150ml
Milk – 150ml
Eggs – 2 large
Castor Sugar - 40g
Butter – enough to grease the ramekins and spread on the Brioche
Brioche – 2 rolls
Apricot Jam - 2tbsp, sieved
Icing sugar
Mint - 4 small sprigs

• Soak the Sultanas in the Brandy for about 8 hours
• Lightly beat together the cream, milk, eggs and sugar
• Grease 4 ramekins (approx. 9cms in diameter and 4.5cms deep) with butter
• Slice the Brioche and butter each slice
• Place a layer of Brioche in the bottom of each ramekin
• Put the Sultanas on top and cover with another layer of Brioche
• Pour over any remaining Brandy
• Pour the cream mixture through a sieve over the Brioche
• Leave for about 15 mins to allow the cream mixture to soak into the Brioche
• Put the ramekins in a bain-marie and poach in an oven preheated to Gas 3/160°C for about 40-50mins. The puddings should be soft and wobbly.
• Remove the ramekins from the bain-marie and leave to cool slightly
• Heat the sieved Apricot jam in a pan and when liquid, using a pastry brush, brush over the surface of the puddings.
• Finally, sieve a little icing sugar over each pudding, top with a small sprig of mint and serve immediately.

Notes: A bain-marie ensures the custard does not curdle. I use a metal roasting tin with enough boiling water poured round the ramekins, to come halfway up the sides.

Serves 4

Chicken and Chard Pancakes

This recipe sounds time consuming but the chicken can be cooked in advance and either used the following day or put in the freezer along with the stock to defrost and use at a later date. The chard can also be cooked in advance.

Chicken Breasts – 2
Carrot – 1, cut roughly into chunks
Onion – 1, medium, skinned and cut into four
Celery – 1, large stick
Thyme – fresh, sprig
Rosemary – fresh, sprig
Bay Leaf – 1
Peppercorns – 10

Chard – 200g cooked weight, chopped

Pancakes: © Raymond Blanc
Butter – 30g
Flour – 50g, plain
Egg – 1
Salt – pinch
Milk – 175ml

Butter – 25g
Flour – tbsp. heaped, plain
Stock – 140ml
Milk – 140ml, semi skimmed
Nutmeg - grated

Cheese – 50g, grated, strong cheddar

• First cook the chicken. Cut the celery stick in half, lay the thyme, rosemary and bay leaf on one half, cover with the second half and tie with string. Put this, along with the chicken, carrot, onion and peppercorns in a heavy bottomed pan. Pour over enough water to cover and bring to a simmer. Skim any scum that floats to the top and simmer for 30-40 mins.
• Remove the chicken from the stock. Strain the stock and discard the vegetables etc. Leave both to cool.
• Cook the chard, strain and chop. The quantity needed will vary but you need to end up with approximately 200g cooked weight. Leave to cool
• Next prepare and cook the pancakes. Heat the butter in a pan until foaming. Put the flour, egg and salt into a large bowl. Add the butter, then half of the milk. Whisk together, gradually adding the rest of the milk.
• Place a small piece of butter in a small omelette pan. Heat this until if foams. Coat the inside of the pan with the melted butter. Pour about a quarter of the pancake batter into the pan, cook until brown, turn and cook the other side. Tip out flat and leave to cool. Continue and cook the remaining three pancakes.
• Break the chicken into bite sized pieces, place in a bowl and add the chard. Mix the two together with a fork.
• Now for the sauce. Make a roux with the butter and flour then gradually add alternately the stock and the milk, thickening between each addition. Season with salt and grated nutmeg to taste.
• Pour a small amount of the sauce (this should be just enough to bind the two ingredients together) over the chicken and chard and stir.
• Place equal portions of the chicken mixture on the pancakes, roll up and place into a dish pre-greased with butter. I use a dish 24cm x 18 cm which fits the four pancakes snuggly.
• Pour over the rest of the sauce to cover the pancakes. It doesn’t matter if the ends are not covered, after cooking they will be crispy with is rather nice.
• Cover the pancakes with the grated cheese and put on the middle shelf of an oven preheated to Gas5/190ºC for about 40 mins when the sauce should be bubbling and brown.
• Remove from the oven and leave to cool for a few minutes before serving.

Variations: Replace the chard with some small chunks of ham. This is a good way of using up the end of a gammon joint.
Use spinach instead of chard.

Notes: The pancake recipe is copyright of Raymond Blanc and taken from a supplement from Taste magazine; this is no longer in publication. Any extra stock from the chicken can be frozen and used in another dish.

Serving Suggestions: This dish goes well with my recipe for Beans in Tomatoes and Olive Oil. This is a Greek recipe and published in my book, The 3R’s – Recipes, Reflections & Reminiscences (see www.clifftoppublishing.com). Serve the beans in a separate side dish. Homemade crusty bread is also a good accompaniment especially when dipped in the juices from the beans.

Serves: 2

Chicken Tikka Kebabs

As long as you remember to marinate the Chicken in advance, this is a quick and simple recipe for anyone who fancies a Curry but does not have the time to cook a traditional dish.

Chicken – 2 boneless Breasts cut into approximately 3-4cm cubes
Cumin – ¼ teaspoon
Corriander – ¼ teaspoon
Chilli Powder – ¼ teaspoon
Turmeric – ½ teaspoon
Fresh Ginger – 1 teaspoon, grated
Garlic – 1 large clove, crushed
Yoghurt – 2 large tablespoons, Greek style

•Place all the ingredients in a glass bowl and stir thoroughly
•Cover the bowl with cling film and leave in the refrigerator for about 6-8 hours
•Thread the Chicken onto skewers (if using wooden kebab skewers, soak these in water for about an hour beforehand)
•Place the kebabs under a preheated grill. Turn them occasionally to ensure they are surface browned and cooked through.

Notes: Use a fine knife the check the chunks of Chicken are cooked through.

Variations: Fresh Ginger can be substituted by the same quantity from one of the proprietary jars available in most supermarkets

Serving Suggestions: Boiled Basmati Rice, Mango Chutney and Raita

Serves: 2

‘English’ Chicken Curry

This was a dish I picked up from my Mum who cooked it long before curries became as popular as they are today. I don’t know where the recipe originated from (I must ask her) but some years later it came to be called ‘English’ because it incorporates mango chutney, apples and sultanas and was not considered to be authentically Indian.

Oil – for frying
Chicken Breasts – 2, boneless fillets, cut into strips
Onion – 1, large, peeled and sliced
Apple – 1, large cooker or desert, peeled, cored and cut into chunks
Curry Powder – 1tbsp
Flour – 1tbsp
Water – 200mls, approx.
Tomato Puree – 1tbsp
Mango Chutney – 1tbsp
Sultanas – 25g

• Fry the chicken strips in hot oil in a frying pan. When brown remove the chicken to an ovenproof casserole.
• Reduce the temperature, add more oil to the frying pan if necessary and cook the onions slowly until soft. Put these in the casserole with the chicken.
• Next, lightly fry the apple before adding to the chicken and onions.
• Add the curry powder and flour to the pan and fry gently until they have absorbed the remaining oil.
• Add the water, a little at a time, stirring all the time until you have a thick sauce.
• Stir in the tomato puree, mango chutney and sultanas before pouring over the chicken, onions and apple.
• Stir well before putting the casserole in an oven preheated to Gas4/180°C and cook for about 1 hour. Check during the cooking period and if the sauce looks too thick, add a little hot water.

Notes: I prefer to cook at least one day in advance of eating; this allows the curry flavours to develop. This curry freezes well so it is worth while cooking double quantities, one to eat and the other for the freezer. I use one of Bolst’s range of curry powders but any good manufacturers curry powder can be substituted, choosing a strength and type to suit your taste. Finally, I do not add any salt and pepper; I find this curry needs no further enhancement.

Serves: 2


Cod or Haddock fillet – 400g
Milk – 150mls
Potatoes – 300g
Capers – 2 teaspoons, drained and chopped
Ground Black Pepper
Egg – 1, small, beaten
Flour – small amount (if shaping by hand)
Sunflower Oil

•Put the fish into a shallow dish, just big enough to take the fillet. Pour the milk over. Cover the dish with foil and put on the middle shelf of an oven preheated to Gas5/190ºC and cook for about 35mins. The fish will steam in the milk.
•While the fish is cooking, peel the potatoes. Cut into even sized pieces and boil in salted water until cooked. Drain the potatoes, mash and tip into a bowl.
•When the fish is cooked, allow it to cool a little before flaking and adding to the potatoes
•Add the chopped capers and season with salt (not too much as the capers are salty) and ground black pepper.
•Fold the ingredients together gently, using a fork. Mix in sufficient egg to form a stiff mix that holds together well. Leave this to cool and firm up.
•When cool shape into six cakes. You can either do this by using a mould or by flouring your hands and shaping.
•Put enough oil into a frying pan to cover the base and heat. When the oil is hot, add the fishcakes and cook until brown both sides. .

Variations: Use salmon instead of cod or haddock and replace the capers with a mix of black and green olives.

Serves: 2

Fisherman’s Pie


Monkfish – 350g fillet
Lemon – ½, juice of
Milk – enough to cover, approx. 175mls
Butter – 65g
Pepper, freshly ground
Potatoes – 400g, peeled, cut into small chunks
Prawns – 70g, peeled
Flour – plain, heaped tbsp.

• Wash the monkfish fillet and pat dry with some sheets of kitchen paper. Place the fillet in a shallow oven proof dish, about the size of the fillet, cut in two if necessary.
• Squeeze the lemon juice over the fish, add enough milk to cover, dot with 15g of the butter and season with salt and ground pepper.
• Cover the dish with foil and place on the middle shelf of an oven preheated to Gas 7/200°C/400°F and cook for about 15-20 mins.
• Boil the potatoes in salted water until cooked, drain and mash adding 25g of the butter to produce a soft spreadable mixture. Add a little milk if the mash is too stiff.
• Remove the dish from the oven, lift out the fish and divide into bite size pieces removing any membranes, pour the juices into a jug.
• Return the pieces of fish to the dish and place the prawns on top.
• Melt the remaining 25g of butter in a saucepan, stir in the flour to make a roux, cook for a few minutes before gradually adding the fish cooking liquor a little at a time, stirring between additions until thickened. Add more milk if the sauce seems too thick.
• Pour the sauce over the fish and prawns and finally top with the mashed potatoes.
• Place the dish on a baking sheet and return to the oven on a high shelf and cook for a further 30 mins after which the potato topping should be nicely browned.

Notes: Monkfish works particularly well with this recipe; it holds its shape and does not break up.

Variations: Add some chopped parsley to the sauce.

Serves: 2

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