Category Archives: One pot wonders

Easter 020

Roast leg of Lamb with lemon, rosemary, garlic and anchovies with Pear Tarte Tatin to follow

Here’s a two-parter that’s not only a Sunday crowd-pleaser, but probably the easiest roast you may ever make. Nothing beats the look of a leg of lamb fresh from the oven. The golden crusty bits on the edge, the rich fragrant gravy, and the promise of leftover lamb sandwiches. This is an incredibly quick way to ensure maximum flavour and hitherto unknown savouriness. And have Monday night’s tea sorted on Sunday. The Pear Tarte Tartin is the perfect solution to a fruit bowl spilling over with overripe pears (or apples if you wish) who seem to have a perfectly ripe window of about 30 minutes before going soft and shrivelled….It looks and tastes like you’ve spent all day making it- not 15 minutes.

Sunday for 4-5

Decent sized leg of lamb (at least 2.5kg)
salt and pepper
Olive oil
2 cloves garlic
few sprigs rosemary
1 lemon
3 or 4 anchovies
splash of white wine (the cook gets to drink the rest)


1 courgette
tin flageolet beans

Heat the oven to 170 degrees C. Make small incisions (7-8) in the lamb and rub all over with salt and pepper. Crush the garlic, chop the anchovies and rosemary and grate the zest of half the lemon into a bowl and loosen with a tbsp of olive oil. Rub well into the incisions in the lamb, place in a roasting tin and splash the wine over the joint. Cook for 20 minutes per 500g plus another 20 minutes. Cover with foil and leave to rest for 20 mins.

If you wish, 1 hour before the end of cooking, slice the courgette thinly and throw into the roasting tray along with the drained tin of flageolets, more crushed garlic, pepper, a few knobs of butter and another splash of wine and return to the oven to braise. Stir a couple of times during cooking.

Easter 017
Pear Tarte Tatin

1x375g puff pastry, rolled to 2mm
50g (2oz) unsalted butter, softened
100g (3 ½ oz) golden caster sugar
2 tbsp Poire William liqueur or lemon juice
4-6 ripe pears

Roll out the pastry and chill until needed. You can now buy ready-rolled rounds of puff pastry which are perfect for this. Peel, core and quarter the pears, squeeze a little lemon juice or Poire William over them to stop them browning. You need a small-medium sized ovenproof frying pan for the next bit. Place the pan you are going to use on the pastry and cut around, leaving an extra 3 cm all the way around. Prick the pastry with a fork.

Easter 015

Preheat oven to 200 deg c. Sprinkle the sugar into the pan, add 3 tbsp of water and allow the sugar to absorb the water. Cook on a low-med heat until it starts to bubble, then in around 5 minutes it will turn reddish brown as it caramelises. DO NOT STIR. Just shake it around a bit. Remove from heat and stir in the butter. Tightly pack the pears curved side down and cook over a low-med heat for a further 5-10 minutes. Remove from heat and place pastry over the top. Tuck in the edges to form the sides of the tart. Bake for 30 mins and leave to stand for 10 mins before inverting onto a serving plate.

Serve with big dollops of creme fraiche or vanilla ice-cream.


Stuff warmed pitta bread with leftover lamb, yogurt, and shredded red (possibly pickled?) cabbage and enjoy.

curry and soup 020

Amazing Minestrone

The OMGWFT? post a couple of weeks ago, advocating the consumption of a more exotic take on the pot noodle, has left me feeling a little uneasy. I’m not one for packaged, processed food. Quite apart from the landfill-busting packaging and scary additives, it usually tastes pretty rubbish and I was guilty of being a total cop-out. Sometimes the need for speed and convenience (and eating something excitingly different) gets the better of all of us.

With a glut of carrots, leeks and celery (weird as I don’t like celery) eyeing me suspiciously from the fridge and an almost ex-courgette, I made this incredible soup in less than 30 mins. It’s delicious and can contain pretty much any vegetable you’ve got knocking around.

An old Jamie Oliver recipe, the base is as for a bolognese- with the addition of chopped rosemary. Leeks, courgettes, tomatoes and spring cabbage give it colour and crunch, with pasta or beans for body. A salty stock (ham is best, but let’s face it, who’s got that hanging around?) and a final grating of pecorino lift this out of the ordinary.

A glug of olive oil
2 tbsp chopped rosemary
2 slices pancetta (or streaky bacon)
2 carrots, chopped
2 ribs celery, chopped
2 red onions, finely chopped
(and a few of the following- chopped leeks/courgettes/peas whatever is green and needs to be eaten!)
1 tin chopped tomatoes
750ml stock (homemade ham stock is best but I used leftover chicken and Marigold vegetable powder)
A few handfuls small pasta (broken spaghetti for example)
two handfuls shredded and chopped spring cabbage (this goes in at the very last minute and is literally just blanched)
A good grating of pecorino or parmesan.

Heat a good few tbsp of olive oil in a large pan, add the rosemary and pancetta first and fry for a minute, then add the carrots, onions and celery. Sweat gently for 10 minutes, until soft. Add the other veg and cook for a further 5 minutes.

Pour in the tomatoes and stock, bring to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the pasta and simmer until cooked. Just before you eat, throw in the cabbage to blanch for a few minutes.

Serve with a grating of cheese and a hunk of crusty bread (the bread’s good in it too)

No packaging, no additives, no guilt.

fridge 042

Ever So Cheaty Tuesday

Ok, so these really are just posh Pot Noodles, but they look so appetising. And only 170 calories! Conscious of the ticking clock until the kids get home, working from home I have little time or inclination to whip up a tasty, satisfying lunch. If there are no leftovers from the night before I’ll a) have a bacon sandwich b) bread and jam c) three lollipops and bag of hula hoops).

So whilst I am not entirely comfortable with the packaging element of buying this for my lunch- it is very quick and very easy. Shred a few carrots, spring onions and peppers and throw them in before pouring over the hot water and you’ve got yourself a quick, tasty lunch.

If only they did family size pots.

estofado 011

Estofado Malagueno (Malaga Beef Stew)

I’ve called this dish Malagueno as that is where I first tasted the sublime estofado. I arrived in Malaga for the first time as a sophisticated 17 year old on a school exchange. To my horror, my exchange partner was a 15 year old boy. And I had to share his room. And it was really, really embarrassing. His mother’s cooking won me over- realising I liked cakes, she presented me with a huge pastry for breakfast every morning. And once a week, she made this. I have no doubt that I haven’t come close to recreating her’s (she fried the potatoes and used litres of olive oil) but it’s that estofado that stays with me.

This is for 4- but of course I doubled it (I’ve already had it twice for lunch and once for tea- the kids loved it too) I’ve added turnip just to up the veg quotient.

500g stewing steak (Jerusalem artichokes or tofu could work here)
2 large carrots, cut into chunks
2 onions chopped
1 stick celery, chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tsp flour
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp paprika
250ml beef stock
1 glass red wine
150ml water
2 large potatoes, cut into chunks (fry them if you like- oh, bliss)
a handful peas

Heat 1 tbsp oil in a large casserole, fry the meat (in batches so it doesn’t boil) until brown and set aside. Add the remainder of the oil and fry the carrots, onions, celery and garlic for 10 minutes until soft. Add the flour and paprika and cook for a few minutes.

Re-introduce the beef, then stock, wine and water, bring to the boil and put it in the oven for a couple of hours at 140 degrees. Add the potatoes and peas and cook for a further hour.
Serve with crusty bread and a large glass of Rioja..