Chicken with red peppers and olives
This chicken dish is just magic in flavour and you can use either fresh or jarred peppers. Stoned black kalamata olives just seem to make everything taste good. There is also plenty of garlic in this dish, but the cloves are left whole and unpeeled. You may worry that this dish will be too dry, but as long as you have a heavy duty casserole pot with a tight-fitting lid, you will find that everything cooks in its own wonderful juices, with the olives and peppers providing a rich blanket of flavour. Using chicken legs or thighs and a bit of breast ensures the meat stays moist.
1 jar of roasted red peppers
8 pieces of chicken, skin removed
10 cloves garlic, unpeeled
1 x 110 g jar black stoned olives
100 ml olive oil
1 glass white wine
Preheat oven to 180°C. Drain enough of the red pepper pieces to amount to two whole ones and chop them into thick strips. This is usually about 4-6 whole pieces of pepper from the jar. Toss all the ingredients together in the saucepan that you will use to cook it in, or if easier, in a big bowl and then transfer to the casserole pot with a tight-fitting lid. Bake for at least 30 minutes and then remove the lid and give a little stir, trying to get at some of the juices at the bottom to drizzle onto the top parts, and bake for 15 more minutes. You should have fully cooked, beautiful moist chicken pieces.
Lamb and chickpea soupy stew
The combination of cloves and paprika works a treat in this lamb dish. Lamb shoulder good as it is relatively cheap. However, it can be quite fatty, so trim it up well or ask the butcher to give you something leaner for braising. Pork or beef would also work really well in this stew, although the lamb always seems to go so well with chickpeas. If you want a vegetarian option, roast off some sweet potatoes and chuck them into the pot instead of the lamb.
2 tbsp olive oil
2 onions, peeled and chopped
4 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
600 g diced lamb shoulder
Salt and pepper
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp paprika
½ tsp ground cloves
2 bay leaves
Really good squeeze tomato puree
1 litre chicken stock
3 tins chickpeas
2 tins tomatoes
Black olives to garnish
Heat the olive oil in a big saucepan, for which you have a lid. Sweat the onions and garlic for 5 minutes until they go soft, then turn up the heat and put in the lamb. Brown the meat, but try not to let the mixture burn. Season well then add in the cumin, paprika, cloves and bay leaves. Mix well so the spices coat all the lamb. Add in the tomato puree, mix well then add in the stock, chickpeas and tomatoes. Put the lid on and cook for about three hours over a very gentle heart. You may need to add water during cooking. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Garnish with coriander and olives, and serve with bread and salad.
Italian beef stew
This Italian stew has a robust tomato flavour and is one of those dishes that will taste better if it is made a day in advance and re-heated - great if you’re feeding a big group but are under pressure time-wise. Not surprisingly, it will work well with some mash, although it would sit nicely on top of some pappardelle pasta. When buying the meat, do ask your butcher for beef that’s suitable for braising/stewing.
2 tablespoons olive oil
1.5 kg diced beef, suitable for braising
2 onions, peeled and chopped
3 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
1 bay leaf
2 good pinches salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon tomato puree
250 ml red wine
500 g jar/carton passata
Bunch sage and parsley, roughly chopped
Heat the oven to 160°C. Warm the olive oil in a large casserole saucepan. When hot, fry the beef until brown. Keep the heat high and allow 10-15 minutes to do this. Add the onions, garlic, bay leaf and season well. Add the remaining ingredients except for the herbs, cover with a lid and cook in the oven for an hour.
Check the seasoning and cook for longer if the meat is still a bit tough. If the sauce is too liquidy, remove the lid and cook for another 30 minutes. At this stage, you can add the herbs for the final blast of cooking.
Six Nations stew
[to adopt for a slow cooker: adjust the liquid in the recipe – less liquid for slow cookers – liquid should be ¾ of the way, don’t overfill!]
As the name suggests, this is a great dish for serving to a bunch of people watching a match on television. It’s easy to prepare – maybe even do it the day before – and is not too spicy or rich so will suit kids too. It’s actually a hybrid of two older recipes, but cuts down on the spices and uses lamb instead of oxtail. This will also taste great the next day, but great to do in bulk and then freeze for best-ever ready meals. Simply allow to thaw out overnight in the fridge and then heat up gently in a scauceona until simmering hot and bubbling for at least 5-10 minutes. You may have to add some water to get it going as the freezer alwasy dries it up. It is lovely to serve with sweet potato puree.
Serves up to 12
3 kg diced lamb
Olive oil; Salt and pepper
6 red onions, finely sliced
3 tsp Chinese five spice powder
1 big piece ginger, peeled and grated
1 head garlic, peeled and sliced
Good squeeze harissa (optional)
1.5 litres stock
4 tins tomatoes; 4 bay leaves
400 g stoned prunes
50 ml soy sauce
50 ml maple syrup
In a large frying pan, cook the lamb in batches in olive oil, season well and set aside. In another large heavy-based saucepan (or even use two) sweat the onions in some olive oil until soft. Add the five spice powder, ginger, garlic and harissa to the onions and mix well. Cook out for another few minutes. When the lamb is all done, add to the saucepan, mix well and deglaze the frying pan with some stock and pour it into the saucepan. Add the tinned tomatoes and bay leaves along with the rest of the stock. Mix well and bring up to the boil, then simmer for about and hour and a half.
Keep the lid on at first but remove it after about an hour so it could reduce and thicken up. Stir occasionally and then add the prunes, soy sauce and maple syrup. Cook for another 20 minutes and then cool slightly and taste. Adjust the seasoning as necessary.
- 400g caster sugar
- 225g plain flour
- 65g cocoa powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoons bicarbonate of soda
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 eggs
- 240ml milk
- 120ml vegetable oil
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Prep:20min › Cook:3hr › Extra time:30min resting › Ready in:3hr50min
- Spray the bowl of a large slow cooker with cooking spray.
- In a medium bowl, whisk the sugar, flour, cocoa, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder and salt. In a separate small bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, oil and vanilla until well combined. Whisk in the boiling water. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix well.
- Pour the cake mixture into the prepared slow cooker.
- Set slow cooker to "Low". Cook until cake has no wet spots on top and has pulled away from the sides of the bowl, about 3 hours. Turn off slow cooker and allow cake to rest for 30 minutes before serving.
4 rashers streaky bacon, chopped
750 g stewing steak, diced in to large chunks
1 tbsp cornflour
5 tbsp olive oil
1 carrot, chopped
225 g mushrooms, quartered
1 cube of beef stock
300 ml red wine
1 tbsp tomato purée
2 garlic cloves
1 tsp dried thyme
2 bay leaves
1. Preheat the slow cooker to low. In a large frying pan, add the streaky bacon and cook until slightly crispy then place in the cooker. Toss the beef in the corn flour. Heat the oil in the frying pan, and cook the floured beef in small batches to colour slightly, add to cooker.
2. Lightly colour the shallots and carrots in the frying pan then add to the cooker along with the mushrooms. Mix together 400ml boiling water with the stock cube, red wine, tomato puree, garlic, thyme and bay leaves and pour over the meat.
3. Season well with salt and pepper and place the lid on to cook for 5-6 hours or until the beef is tender. If you need to thicken the sauce slightly, mix cornflour with a little water to make a paste then add to the dish and stir through. Heat on high for a few minutes to thicken.
4. Serve the beef with mashed potatoes, green beans and the rich sauce poured over the top.