Donna Hay inspired Beef and dried mushrooms with polenta bake

Polenta:

875ml milk

170g polenta

80g finely grated parmesan

Sea salt

Meat sauce

500g minced beef

400g chopped tomatoes

100g mozzarella sliced

2 tbsp of oil

2 sticks of celery-chopped

1 onion-chopped

1 carrot-chopped

20g dried mushrooms rehydrated in 125ml boiling water

2 bay leaves

METHOD

Polenta:

Place the milk in a medium saucepan over medium heat and bring to the boil. Add the polenta in a steady stream and whisk for 2 minutes or until thickened.

Add the parmesan and salt and mix to combine. Spread the polenta onto a 20cm x 30cm tray lined with grease proof paper and spread to 1cm thick. Refrigerate for 10 minutes or until set.

Meat sauce:

Place the mushrooms and boiling water in a jug and set aside for 5 minutes to soak.

Heat the oil in a heavy based sauce pan over medium heat. Add the celery, carrot, onion, salt and pepper and sweat for until soft.

Add the mince and bay leaves and cook, breaking up the mince with the back of a spoon. Add the mushrooms, soaking liquid and tomato. Bring to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes or until reduced.

Compile the dish

Using a 6cm round metal cutter, cut the polenta into 16 pieces. Layer over the top of the beef mixture and top with the mozzarella in a dish suitable for serving. Preheat the grill to high and cook for 4–6 minutes or until golden and bubbling. Sprinkle with pepper to serve. Serves 4–6.

Hachis parmentier

Confit of duck (3 jars X 750g with fat, 2 legs per pack) OR what ever you have left over from Sunday roast

500g potatoes- peeled, boiled and mashed

500g sweet potatoes- peeled, boiled and mashed

2 sticks of celery- chopped

1 onion- chopped

1 carrot chopped

Wild mushrooms

220g wild mushrooms

25g butter / duck fat

2 shallots finely chopped

1 clove of garlic finely chopped

Little oil

Method:

Prepare the confit of duck

Heat the whole confit, duck and fat, in a saucepan.

Remove the duck legs from the fat. Pour the extra fat through a sieve into a glass jar.

Pull the duck meat apart keeping the pieces fairly chunky and substantial.

Heat a little duck fat in a heavy based saucepan over medium heat. Add the celery, carrot, onion, salt and pepper and sweat for until soft. Add the confit back into the pan and take off the heat.

Fried wild mushrooms

Melt the butter or a little duck fat in a heavy based frying pan, add the oil once it's hot.

Sweat off the shallots and garlic, do not colour.

Lightly fry the mushrooms in the shallot and garlic do not burn.

Place to one side until required for the topping.

Compile the dish

A layer of duck meat & veg on the bottom, a layer of mash potatoes, a layer of sweet potatoes and finish with a layer of wild mushrooms. Put into a hot oven until the potato is golden.

Hairy Bikers inspired Spanish-style chicken bake

Ingredients

500g new potatoes, quartered lengthways

8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs

1 medium onion, cut into 8 wedges

1 medium red onion, cut into 8 wedges

8 whole garlic cloves, unpeeled

8 medium tomatoes, quartered

75g chorizo

½tsp sweet smoked paprika

½tsp dried oregano

1 green pepper, deseeded and cut into strips

Sea salt & ground black pepper

Method

Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas Mark 6. Put the onions, potatoes, garlic and tomatoes in a large roasting tin and season with sea salt and lots of freshly ground black pepper. Toss everything together lightly and roast for 10 minutes.

While the vegetables are roasting, skin the chorizo and cut the meat into thin slices – 5mm is about right. Put the chicken thighs on a board and carefully slash each one 2 or 3 times with a knife. Season all over with black pepper. Mix the paprika and oregano together and set aside.

Take the roasting tin out of the oven, scatter the chorizo over the veg and turn everything a couple of times. Place the chicken on top of the vegetables and chorizo and sprinkle with the paprika and oregano. Season with a little salt and return to the oven for 15 minutes.

Take the tin out of the oven. Holding one corner carefully with an oven cloth, lift the tin a little so all the juices run to the opposite end, then spoon and drizzle the juices back over the chicken. Tuck the pepper strips loosely around the chicken and vegetables.

Turn the oven up to 220°C/425°F/Gas Mark 7. Put the tin back in the oven for another 20 minutes or until the peppers are just softened and the chicken is golden and crisp.

Chilli con carne

Ingredients

500g lean minced beef (10% or less fat)

400g chopped tomatoes

400g red kidney beans- drained and rinsed

300ml beef stock

2 medium onions- chopped

4 sticks of celery - chopped

2 carrots - chopped

3 garlic cloves- peeled and finely chopped

3 tbsp tomato purée

2 tsp hot chilli powder

1 tsp smoked paprika

1 tsp caster sugar

1 tsp dried oregano

1 bay leaf

Sea salt & ground black pepper

Method:

Place a large non-stick saucepan over a medium heat and add the beef and onions, celery and carrot. Cook together for 5 minutes, stirring the beef and squishing it against the sides of the pan to break up the lumps. Add the garlic, 1–2 teaspoons of chilli powder, smoked paprika. Fry together for 1–2 minutes more.

Slowly add the stock, stirring constantly. Tip the tomatoes and kidney beans into the pan and stir in the tomato purée, caster sugar, oregano and bay leaf. Season with a pinch of salt and plenty of freshly ground black pepper.

Bring to a simmer on the hob, then cover loosely with a lid. Reduce the heat and leave to simmer gently for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally until the mince is tender and the sauce is thick. Adjust the seasoning to taste and serve.

Piperade with Ham / Huevos ranchero

Ingredients

2 red peppers (or three long sweet red peppers)- sliced lenghtwise

2 green peppers- sliced lenghtwise

4 ripe tomatoes

olive oil

3 garlic cloves -finely chopped

Pimemt d’espelette or a small red chilli if you don’t have the real thing or 1 tsp smoked paprika

6 medium eggs -beaten

4 slices of cured Spanish, Italian or French ham

Sea salt & ground black pepper

Method

De-seed the peppers and cut them into long strips. Skin, quarter and de-seed the tomatoes. Heat the oil in a large heavy-based frying pan and cook the peppers and the garlic for 3-4 minutes, on a low heat to soften them. Or use extra from the Spanish chicken tray bake

Add the tomatoes, the piment and a little water, and let the whole thing simmer gently and reduce for about 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

In a separate saucepan, on a medium heat, cook the eggs, stirring from time to time with a wooden spoon until they are lightly scrambled.

Grill or fry the ham and serve with the eggs and vegetables on a large platter for everyone to help themselves.

Mac and cheese uncooked pasta

Ingredients

300ml milk – enough to cover the pasta full fat milk

50-75g pasta per person

1 Mozzarella cheese ball – drained and cubed

25g frozen peas per person

1 rasher per person- finely chopped

Grated cheese for topping (mix with some panko bread crumbs if you want that extra crunch)

Herbs to taste

Sea salt & ground black pepper

Method

Put the pasta, chopped rasher and milk in a baking dish. Make sure the milk covers the pasta. Heat the oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Cover the baking dish with tinfoil and bake for 20 minutes.

Remove the foil, stir the pasta and liquid, add more liquid if it seems to be too dry. Add the mozzarella, peas and herbs, stirring thoroughly. Top with the grated cheese (and panko mix). Return to the oven until it is golden and bubbling. Serve with salad.

Chicken in white wine sauce

Ingredients 250ml white wine 250ml single cream

200g mushrooms sliced 2 tbsp vegetable oil 2 chicken breasts- cut into bite size pieces

2 celery sticks- diced 2 garlic cloves- chopped 1 large onion- diced

25g flour

25g butter

Salt and white pepper

Method

Add some butter to a frying pan and heat gently. When it begins to foam, add the onion and celery, season with salt and pepper and fry for 3-4 minutes until softened. Add the garlic, cook for 1 minute then add the mushrooms. Fry for 3-4 minutes until softened. Remove and put aside on a plate.

Heat a frying pan with the oil. Meanwhile put the flour in a plate and season with salt and pepper. Dust the diced chicken with flour. Cook the chicken brown on all sides until golden.

Pour over the wine and bring to the boil stirring to prevent lumping. Return the vegetables to the pan, plus any resting juices and cook over a medium heat for 3-4 minutes. Add the cream, bring to the boil then simmer for 10 minutes.