Category Archives: Mains

Chicken Biriyani

Chicken Biriyani

This dish is the perfect dish for a tasty, quick, mid week meal. It tastes even better then next day 🙂

300g basmati rice

25g butter

1 large onion – finely sliced

3 cardamom pods

small cinnamon stick

1 bay leaf

1 tsp turmeric

1 green chilli

4 skinless chicken breasts, cut into large chunks

4 tbsp curry paste (I used Patak’s Masala paste)

85g raisins

850ml chicken stock

chopped coriander and toasted flaked almonds to serve

  1. Soak the rice in warm water, then wash in cold until the water runs clear.
  2. Heat butter in a saucepan and cook the onions with the bay leaf, other whole spices and chilli for 10 mins.
  3. Sprinkle in the turmeric, then add chicken and curry paste and cook until aromatic.
  4. Stir the rice into the pan with the raisins, then pour over the stock. Place a tight-fitting lid on the pan and bring to a hard boil, then lower the heat to a minimum and cook the rice for another 5 mins. Turn off the heat and leave for 10 mins. Stir well, mixing through half the coriander. To serve, scatter over the rest of the coriander and the almonds.

Tip: I removed the cardamom before serving. They are difficult to find though so don’t worry if you can’t find them all.

Tip: I also made a yogurt dressing to go with the curry.

Thanks to


Cajun spiced salmon

2 salmon fillets, about 140g/5oz

Juice 1 lemon

Pinch of chilli powder

½ tsp ground cumin

½ tsp ground paprika

½ tsp ground coriander

Pince of soft brown sugar

Drizzle of sunflower oil

Steamed rice, to serve


For the salsa

1 ripe avocado, peeled and diced

Handful of cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered

2 spring onions

Juice of 1 lime

Splash of olive oil

Bunch of coriander, half roughly chopped, half picked

  1.  Put the salmon in a bowl, pour over the lime juice and leave the salmon to ‘cure’ for 5 mins. Meanwhile, mix all the spices together with the sugar. Lift the salmon out of the lime juice and roll in the spices so it’s completely coated.
  2. Heat grill to high. Grease a baking tray, then sit the salmon, flesh-side up, on the tray. Grill for 5 mins, until the salmon is cooked through and the edges are starting to blacken. While the salmon is cooking, gently mix all the salsa ingredients together with the roughly chopped coriander. When the fish is cooked, serve with the salsa, some rice and the coriander sprigs.

This is a really healthy meal but if you don’t use enough spices on the salmon and enough juice, it can be a little bland.  Play around with the spices to see what you prefer.




I made this dish for a group of friends coming overr.  I’d never heard of it before but everyone loved it. It’s a perfect recipes for friends as it’s quite quick to make. My guests helped themselves to Pasticcio, salad, garlic bread and homemade French dressing.  This recipe makes 6 but 4 of us polished this dish off – yummy scrummy!

1 tbsp sunflower oil

500g minced pork or beef

2 onions, chopped

3 garlic cloves, crushed

1 x 400g can chopped tomatoes

90g tomato puree

90ml red wine

2 bay leaves

1 tsp sugar

1 tsp dried oregano

½ tsp ground cinnamon (optional)

250g short cut macaroni

salt and black pepper

Cheese sauce

30g butter

30g plain flour

300ml milk

175g mature Cheddar cheese, grated

1 egg yolk

1 tsp Dijon mustard

  1.  Heat the sunflower oil in a large frying pan, add the meat, onions and garlic, and cook over a medium heat for 5 minutes or until lightly browned.
  2. Add the tomatoes, tomato puree, and wine. Bring to the boil and simmer for 15 minutes.
  3. Add the bay leaves, sugar, oregano and cinnamon (if using) and season with  salt and pepper.  Simmer gently for about 10 minutes or until the sauce is thickened.
  4. Meanwhile cook the macaroni in boiling salted water for about 8-10 minutes until just tender.  Drain and set aside.
  5. Make the cheese sauce: melt the butter in a saucepan, sprinkle in the flour, and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Remove from the heat and gradually blend in the milk.  Bring to the boil, stirring constantly until the mixture thickens.  Simmer for 2-3 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the cheese, egg yolk, and mustard, and season with salt and pepper.
  6. Spoon half of the meat mixture into an ovenproof dish and add half of the macaroni.  Cover with the remaining meat mixture, then top with the remaining macaroni and the cheese sauce.
  7. Bake the pasticcio in a preheated oven at 180oC (350oF, Gas Mark 4) for 40 minutes or until the topping is golden.

Creamy pesto chicken with roasted tomatoes

This dish is delicious and nice and healthy.  It’s the perfect mid week meal as it takes no time at all and is quite a cheap meal to make.

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

3 tbsp pesto

85 light cream cheese (I used sundried tomato and basil Philadelphia for extra flavor but you could experiment with anything)

4 tbsp breadcrumbs, preferably from day-old bread

175g baby tomatoes, on the vine

Handful pine nuts

Handful of basil leaves.

  1. Heat oven to 200C/fan 180C/gas 6. Use a small sharp knife to make a slit along the side of each chicken breast to form a pocket. Mix together the pesto and cream cheese, then carefully spoon a quarter of the mixture into each chicken breast and smooth over the opening to seal.
  2. Brush a little oil, about 1 tsp, all over each chicken breast and season well. Tip the breadcrumbs onto a large plate and season. Place each breast on the plate and press all over with the breadcrumbs. Place in a lightly oiled shallow baking dish along with the tomatoes (kept together on the vine in a couple of bunches). Drizzle over the remaining oil.
  3. Cook in the oven for 20-25 mins until the chicken starts to turn golden and is cooked through. Scatter over the pine nuts and cook for 2 mins more. Sprinkle with basil leaves.  I served with salad and some homemade bread.

Creamy courgette lasagne

I made this creamy courgette lasagne for a veggie friend who came to dinner.  It was quick and easy to make and went down well, even amongst the meat eaters.  I also topped with a bit of parmesen.

Serves 4

Dried lasagne sheets

1 tbsp sunflower oil

1 onion, finely chopped

700g courgettes (about 6) coarsely grated

2 garlie cloves, crushed

250g tub ricotta

50g cheddar

350g Tomato sauce – I made my own sauce (recipe below)

Chilli flakes (optional)


  1. Heat oven to 220C/fan 200C/gas 7. Put a pan of water on to boil, then cook the lasagne sheets for about 5 mins until softened, but not cooked through. Rinse in cold water, then drizzle with a little oil to stop them sticking together.
  2. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large frying pan, then fry the onion. After 3 mins, add the courgettes and garlic and continue to fry until the courgette has softened and turned bright green. Stir in 2/3 of both the ricotta, cheddar and chilli flakes and then season to taste. Heat the tomato sauce until hot.
  3. In a large baking dish, layer up the lasagne, starting with half the courgette mix, then pasta, then tomato sauce. Repeat, top with blobs of the remaining ricotta, then scatter with the rest of the cheddar. Bake on the top shelf for about 10 mins until the pasta is tender and the cheese is golden.

For the tomato sauce

Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a saucepan. Add the onions, garlic cloves and carrot, roughly chopped and cook for 5-7 mins over a medium heat until softened. Turn up the heat a little and stir in the tomato purée. Cook for 1 min, pour in white wine, then cook for 5 mins until this has reduced by two-thirds. Pour over 3 x 400g cans chopped tomatoes and add 1 handful basil leaves. Bring to the boil then simmer for 20 mins. Leave to cool, whizz in a food processor.


2 tbsp olive oil, plus a little for greasing

750g lean mince

90g prosciutto

Home made tomato sauce (see below)

200ml beef stock

A little grated nutmeg

300g lasagne sheets

Home made white sauce (see below)

125g mozzarella

For the tomato sauce

Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a saucepan

2 onions, finely chopped

2 garlic cloves, sliced

1 carrot, roughly chopped.

2 tbsp tomato purée.

200ml white wine,

3 x 400g cans chopped tomatoes

1 handful basil leaves.

For the white sauce

85g butter

85g plain flour

1¼pt milk

  1. First make the tomato sauce. Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a saucepan. Add the onions, garlic cloves and carrot, roughly chopped and cook for 5-7 mins over a medium heat until softened. Turn up the heat a little and stir in the tomato purée. Cook for 1 min, pour in white wine, then cook for 5 mins until this has reduced by two-thirds. Pour over 3 x 400g cans chopped tomatoes and add 1 handful basil leaves. Bring to the boil then simmer for 20 mins. Leave to cool, whizz in a food processor.
  2. Heat the oil in a frying pan, then cook the beef in two batches for about 10 mins until browned all over. Finely chop 4 slices of prosciutto, then stir through the meat mixture.
  3. Pour over the tomato sauce and stock, add the nutmeg, then season. Bring up to the boil, then simmer for 30 mins until the ragu looks rich and is well coated in sauce.
  4. Now make the white sauce. Melt the butter in a saucepan, stir in the plain flour, then cook for 2 mins. Slowly whisk in the milk, then bring to the boil, stirring. Turn down heat, then cook until the sauce starts to thicken and coats the back of a wooden spoon. Sauce can now be cooled and kept in the fridge for up to 3 days or frozen for 3 months.
  5. Heat oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas 4. To assemble lasagne, lightly oil an ovenproof serving dish (30 x 20cm). Spoon over a third of the ragu sauce, then cover with lasagne sheets. Drizzle over about one quarter of the white sauce. Repeat until you have 3 layers of pasta. Cover with the remaining half quantity of white sauce, making sure you can’t see any pasta poking through. Tear the mozzarella into thin strips, then scatter over the top. Arrange the rest of the prosciutto on top. Bake for 45 mins until the top is bubbling and lightly browned.

Depending on the size of your dish there’ll be quite a lot of tomato sauce left over.  This left over sauce make a great spaghetti bolognaise or topping for a jacket potato.  This is one of my favourite recipes and is great when served with Italian salad and dressing.

Making your own tomato sauce does take a while but it tastes SO much better than shop bought sauce. 🙂

Steak & ale pie

2 tbsp vegetable oil

1kg braising steak

2 large onions – chopped

4 large carrots – chopped into large chunks

2tsp golden caster sugar

4 tbsp plain flour

300ml dark ale

2 beef stock cubes with 400ml of boiling water

Bunch of thyme, parsley and a bayleaf all tied together

200g smoked bacon lardoons or chopped rashers

  1. Start by braising the beef. Heat oven to 160C/140C fan/gas 3. Heat half the oil in a large casserole dish, brown the meat really well in batches, then set aside. Add the onions and carrots to the pan, adding a drizzle more oil, then cook on a low heat for 5 mins until coloured, then scatter over the sugar and flour, stirring until the flour turns brown.
  2. Tip the meat and any juices back into the pan and give it all a good stir. Pour over the ale and stock. Season stew, tuck in the herbs and bring everything to a simmer. Cover with a lid and place in the oven for about 2 hrs, until the meat is really tender.
  3. While the stew is cooking, heat a drop more oil in a frying pan and sizzle the bacon for 3 mins until crisp. Turn up the heat. Remove from the heat and, when the stew is cooked, stir them through.
  4. Leave everything to cool completely – better still, make this up to 2 days in advance and keep it in the fridge as the pie will be better if the filling is fridge-cold when added.
  5. When you want to make the pie, heat oven to 220C/200C fan/gas 7. Heavily grease a 24-28cm pie dish and dust well with flour. Roll out the pastry to a thick-ish round that will easily line the pie dish with an overhang, then line the tin. Add the beef to the dish using a slotted spoon so some gravy is left in the container, as you don’t want too much sauce in the pie. You want the filling to be slightly higher than the rim of the dish.
  6. Roll out the remaining pastry to a thick round big enough to cover the dish. Brush the edges of the pastry in the dish with egg yolk, then cover with the pastry lid. Trim the edges, crimp the pastry, then re-roll your trimmings to make a decoration, if you like. Brush the top heavily with egg. Make a few little slits in the centre of the pie, place on the hot baking tray, then bake for 40 mins until golden. Leave the pie to rest for 10 mins while you heat up the gravy left in the container.
  7. I served my pie with long stemmed broccoli and potatos wedges and it was lovely.  Perfect for a Sunday dinner.

Amazing chilli con carne

This is definitely my favourite chilli recipe – you can vary the hotness by adding more or less chilli powder.  It’s quick and easy to make and is perfect for a meal with friends.  The coleslaw is a great addition.

Serves 4

1 tbsp oil

1 large onion

1 red pepper

2 garlic cloves, peeled

1 heaped tsp hot chilli powder (add more or less depending on how hot you like it)

1 tsp paprika

1 tsp ground cumin

500g leaned minced beef

1 beef stock cube

400g can chopped tomatoes

½ teaspoon dried marjoram

2-3 squares of plain, dark chocolate

2 tbsp tomato puree

410g can of red kidney beans

Basmati rice, coleslaw and nacho chips to serve

  1. Prepare your vegetables. Chop your onion into small dice, about 5mm square. Cut your pepper in half lengthways, remove stalk and wash the seeds away, then chop.
  2. Start cooking. Put your pan on the hob over a medium heat. Add the oil and leave it for 1-2 minutes until hot (a little longer for an electric hob). Add the onions and cook, stirring fairly frequently, for about 5 minutes, or until the onions are soft, squidgy and slightly translucent. Tip in the garlic, red pepper, chilli, paprika and cumin. Give it a good stir, then leave it to cook for another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Brown the mince. Turn the heat up a bit, add the meat to the pan and break it up with your spoon or spatula. The mix should sizzle a bit when you add the mince. Keep stirring and prodding for at least 5 minutes, until all the mince is in uniform, mince-sized lumps and there are no more pink bits. Make sure you keep the heat hot enough for the meat to fry and become brown, rather than just stew.
  4. Making the sauce. Crumble your stock cube into 300ml/1⁄2 pint of hot water. Pour this into the pan with the mince mixture. Open the can of chopped tomatoes and add these as well. Tip in the marjoram and add a good shake of salt and pepper. Squirt in about 2 tbsp of tomato purée and stir the sauce well.
  5. Simmer it gently. Bring the whole thing to the boil, give it a good stir and put a lid on the pan. Turn down the heat until it is gently bubbling and leave it for 20 minutes. You should check on the pan occasionally to stir it and make sure the sauce doesn’t catch on the bottom of the pan or isn’t drying out. If it is, add a couple of tablespoons of water and make sure that the heat really is low enough. After simmering gently, the saucy mince mixture should look thick, moist and juicy.
  6. Drain and rinse the beans in a sieve and stir them into the chilli pot, along with the chocolate. Bring to the boil again, and gently bubble without the lid for another 10 minutes, adding a little more water if it looks too dry. Taste a bit of the chilli and season. It will probably take a lot more seasoning than you think. Now replace the lid, turn off the heat and leave your chilli to stand for 10 minutes before serving, and relax. Leaving your chilli to stand is really important as it allows the flavours to mingle and the meat.
  7. Serve with Basmati rice, coleslaw and nacho chips.  This recipe is delicious!!

Quick and easy chicken curry

This is a really quick and yummy chicken curry recipe.  You can add almost anything to it to give it variety – try different veg you may have in the fride or a different curry sauce for an extra kick.  This recipe made curry for 2 with leftovers for my lunch the next day, which I had with a jacket potato 🙂

1 onion chopped

1 green chilli chopped

1 garlic clove, chopped

1 green pepper, sliced into medium chunks

2 tbsp curry paste – I used tikka pasta but you can use anything

Carton of chopped tomatoes

2 chicken breasts

4 tbsp yogurt

Garam Masala (optional)

Basmati rice

Naan bread – I used coriander and garlic flavoured bread to give even more flavour

  1. Heat a little oil in a deep non-stick frying pan (with a lid) and add the onion.
  2. Fry for about 3 minutes until tender then stir in the chilli, garlic and pepper, after a few minutes add the curry paste.
  3. Fry for another minute and then add in chicken, tomatoes and a splash of water – I filled up the carton to a quarter so I could get all the remaining juices.
  4. Cover and cook for 15-20 minutes until cooked through. Stir in the yoghurt. Season with pepper and garam masala.
  5. Serve with rice, naan bread or a salad or all three!

Turkey Curry (for 2)

Basmati Rice – 150g
Turkey Steaks, bite size chunks – 200g
1 Onion, chopped
1 RedPepper, chopped
1 Green Chilli, chopped
3 tbsp Olive Oil
1-2 tsp Curry Paste
4 Tomatoes, chopped
1 handful Coriander, chopped
2 – 3 tbsp Natural Yogurt

1. Boil the Rice using the packet instructions.

2. Heat the Oil in a pan for a couple of minutes then add the Onion and Red Pepper.  Leave them to cook for 5 minutes on a medium heat. When they have become soft and transulcent stir in the Curry Paste.

3. Turn up the heat and add the Turkey.  Cook for a few minutes then add the Chilli and Tomatoes.

4. Reduce the heat and cover for 10 – 15 minutes until the Tomatoes have softened.

5. Next stir in the Coriander and Yogurt and take off the heat and cover until the Rice is ready.  Serve with a Nan or Side Salad.