Sunday, 17 May 2015

Beef and leek pan haggerty

I have been meaning to write about Pan Haggerty for a while, this northern dish is a cross between a cottage pie and a hot pot. Frugal, delicious and warming its a great recipe popular with all the family, pan haggerty comes in several varieties including a vegetarian version of just potatoes, onions and cheese.

This recipe came about as I wanted to use the last of the leeks from the garden, so I set about creating a twist on this classic Northumberland dish. Its an easy dish and showcases simple wholesome ingredients.

What you need
  • Minced beef - suitable quantity for number of people you are feeding
  • Leeks - cleaned and finely chopped
  • Beef stock - I used Essential Cuisine
  • Thyme - fresh freshly picked
  • Salt and pepper
  • Cornflour or gravy thickener
  • Brown sauce 
  • White potatoes - peeled and finely sliced
  • Cheddar cheese - grated
  • A little rapeseed oil
What you do

  • Heat a little oil in frying pan and fry off the minced beef until coloured , break up the mince in to small pieces, once well coloured then add the leeks to the pan.
  • Continue to cook with the beef and leeks until the leeks are softened, add some of the freshly picked thyme, brown sauce and beef stock to the pan and bring to a simmer.
  • Stir and simmer for 10 minutes or so then thicken the gravy to your desired consistency and allow to cool whilst you prepare your potatoes.
  • Slice the potatoes very finely and start the dish by placing a layer of potatoes in the bottom of your dish, then pour on  a layer of the mince leek mixture.
  • Then sprinkle with a little grated cheese, then another layer of potatoes, continue with mince, cheese and finish with another layer of potatoes and a sprinkling of cheese.
  • Pre heat your oven to 180c
  • Cover with foil and bake for 45 minutes or so until the potatoes are soft, remove the foil and bake until golden and slightly crispy on top.
  • Serve with a green vegetables

Saturday, 9 May 2015

Pink Lady Food Photography Awards 2015

We can formally announce that we have been awarded 2nd Prize in the Food Bloggers category of the Pink Lady Food Photography Awards 2015, with our image "Roasted Tomatoes" as below.

We were invited to the Champagne reception at The Mall Galleries London for the awards ceremony, at that point we didn't know that the image had won a prize, we had a great time meeting other foodies and photographers and also indulged in a little celeb spotting too. (Michel Roux, David Loftus, Jay Rayner, Harry Eastham, Valentine Warner and many more...)

London was dressed in her finest due to the General election and the celebrations for VE day, so we took the opportunity to visit most of the tourist spots such as Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, London Eye, etc given that it has been several years since we last visited the big smoke. 

The Food Blogger Category

The finalist images are currently all on show in the Mall Galleries on the Mall, near Admiralty Arch until Sunday 10th May, we are in the Thread needle Space.

The  all Northern winners #Yorkshire #Lancashire #Cumbria of the Food Blogger category

The image originally featured in a blog post last year for a rocket, tomato and feta salad and was taken on the fly as the tomatoes were cooling after leaving the oven, the shot is handheld and with a point and shoot camera.

Monday, 4 May 2015

Mike Bryan of The Bees Country Kitchen - Chorley Market

Our featured foodie this month is Mike Bryan, aka as the hotpot man of The Bees Country Kitchen who recently opened an outlet on Chorley market, serving up proper wholesome home-made dishes to the people of Chorley. As well as providing an outside catering service ,The Bees Country kitchen also supply a great selection of make at home kits (soups, brownies, salad dressing etc.) and can create fabulous gift hampers for your friends, relations and business contacts.

The emphasis is is on fresh local and seasonal produce being used to create tasty affordable food with a healthy twist, so pop along and enjoy one of their dishes. More details can be found on facebook and twitter .

  • What is your favourite cookery or food book or publication ?
My bashed up old copy of ‘Practical Cookery’ which I used as a student at Scarborough technical College in the early 80's. A great source of proper ‘from scratch’ recipes.

  • What sentence sums up Lancashire Food to you ?
Hearty, healthy, wholesome and the best produce on our doorstep.

  • If you weren't doing what you do now, what would you like to be ?
A jazz DJ in a dingy basement dive in New Orleans. Music is my other great passion and you can hear my ’Soul Moves’ show on Chorley FM every Thursday night from 10 pm to midnight. We’re hoping that we’ll expand the business into outside events like music festivals next year.

  • Which piece of kit could you not do without ?
My set of Sabatier knives with riveted rose wood handles which I've used since 1982!

  • Who would join you at your ultimate dinner party and why?
Nigella – the ultimate domestic goodness other than my wife of course

Levi Roots – a fellow foodie/muso

Craig Bancroft (Northcote MD) – for his amazing wine knowledge

Phil Maile (Chairman – Ludlow Food and Drink Festival) – in charge of our favourite foodie event and an all round nice chap

Karen Brady – for some top business tips

  • What advice would you give to your younger self?
Make sure you pass your maths o level!

  • Describe your style in three words
Informal, homespun, classic

  • What was your latest foodie gadget purchase ?
A wooden lemon squeezer for our home-made lemonade

  • What is your greatest achievement to date ?
After 33 years in hospitality, finally opening my own venture

  • What is the worst mistake you have made ?
Not doing my masters in hospitality straight after my first degree

  • Tell us a secret about yourself ? may be something we wouldn't expect !
I had a two year DJ residency at Sankeys nightclub in Manchester

Sunday, 3 May 2015

Peanut butter, oaty raisin cookies

Who doesn't love a cookie ?

These cookies are based on a recipe in River Cottage "Light and Easy", with a few tweaks as I didn't have all the required ingredients as recommended. The resultant cookies are soft and tender and not overtly nutty or sweet, great for an afternoon treat and easily whipped up in a flash.

Ideal for snacking on whilst having a brew and a quick browse of a magazine, low in sugar and gluten free, whats not to like.

What you need

  • 200g smooth peanut butter
  • 50g Honey
  • 1 egg - free range please
  • 1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 70g raisins
  • 100g porridge oats 

Makes approx 12 cookies

What you do

  • Pre heat the oven to 170c, prepare your tray either line with baking parchment or use a silicone sheet if you have one
  • Mix all the ingredients in a large bowl until you have a firm stiff chunk dough
  • Roll dessert spoon sized balls with slightly moist hands, place on baking tray and press down to make a cookie shaped round
  • Bake for 10 - 15 minutes until golden , cool initially on the tray and then gingerly transfer to a wire rack to cool fully
  • Store in an airtight tin

Saturday, 25 April 2015

Smoked ham, leek and goats cheese impossible pie

Impossible pie, what a fascinating title.....

Impossible pies come in two forms, sweet and savoury. The former is essentially a baked custard style dish, the latter a form of a crust less quiche. The impossible bit being (I think) the fact that other than whisking the milk and eggs together you basically throw everything in to the dish and bake and it does look rather impossible at first.

The resultant pie was very tasty and great for a light meal when served with a green salad, its also a useful recipe for using up a few eggs when you have a glut from your hens like we have currently. The additions are infinitely variable I used leeks as we had some in the garden and the ham as it was in the fridge, but I am thinking of making a fully vegetarian version probably using pre cooked broccoli or asparagus and adding a little seasonal wild garlic or sorrel next time.

Serve warm or cold, its also the ideal pack up and go snack for a picnic or lunch box, a definite keeper in my opinion. I now need to try the sweet version.

I recently received a lovely hamper of goats milk goodies from St Helen's Farm so took the opportunity to use both goats milk and goats cheese in this recipe.

What you need
  • Extra virgin rapeseed oil (1 tbsp or so)
  • Couple of leeks - cleaned and sliced thinly
  • Garlic - crushed or wild garlic if in season
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 eggs
  • 70g Self raising flour (it works fine with gluten free)
  • 300 ml semi skimmed milk (I used Goats as that what I had to hand)
  • 1 pack of smoked ham - chopped into small pieces
  • Approx 80g mature goats cheese -grated
I used a lightly oiled Pyrex flan dish to bake the "pie" in.

What you do
  • Pre heat your oven to 200c 
  • In a frying pan cook the leeks and garlic until softened and just every so slightly colouring
  • Remove from heat and place in baking dish along with ham and the grated cheese, season with a little sea salt and pepper
  • Whisk the eggs, flour and milk to make a thin batter
  • Pour this over the leeks, cheese and ham
  • Loosely cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes
  • After 30 minutes, remove the foil and bake for a further 30 minutes until the pie is firm and golden.
  • Remove from oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes or so, before serving in slices 
  • Refrigerate if you wish to serve cold.

Saturday, 18 April 2015

#GreatBritishRhubarbrecipe link up

My lovely fellow bloggers Karen at Lavender and Lovage and Janice at Farmersgirl have launched a linky for beautiful Rhubarb recipes, I love rhubarb now even though it was something I detested as a child and the blog has no less than 12 rhubarb recipes. 

                          Blog Hop and Linky Party: The Great British Rhubarb Recipe Round-Up!

So if you love rhubarb pop across and check out their lovely linky up. To find our selection just type "rhubarb" in the search field to find lots of rhubarby loveliness.

Thursday, 16 April 2015

Coffee Shop Classics at BB1 for Life for South Lancashire Clandestine Cake Club

Last weekend South Lancashire Clandestine Cake club visited BB1 for Life a newly opened community coffee shop and community space in Blackburn city centre. The centre is on facebook and twitter and is hoping morph into a community hub for all in the city.

We were lucky that the Coffee shop is run by no-one other than Kate - Cake club organiser for Ribble Valley so our every need was catered for, the coffee was fabulous. So if you are in Blackburn pop in for a warm calming welcome, they are just adjacent to King Georges Hall.

Decorated in a relaxed folksy vibe the venue is instantly calming , with scaffold shelving you just instantly relax.

Our theme was to help inspire Kate as to what cakes should feature on her menu, as usual we had a fabulous selection of cakey delights. We all delighted in sharing cake and chats on a relaxed Saturday afternoon visit. We enjoyed the following
  • Chocolate fudge cake - gluten free
  • Apple crumble cake
  • Cappucino cake
  • Pineapple upside down cake
  • Carrot and pecan cake
  • Kardemummakaka - Norwegian Cardamon coffee cake
  • Cherry and marzipan cake
  • Coffee and walnut cake
  • Orange cake
  • Swiss Roll

Sunday, 12 April 2015

Parsnip, carrot and mango chutney soup

Its official I am sad, yes very sad I cut out recipes and paste them in a scrap book and then on wet days, I stand at my kitchen counter and gently flick through the pages discovering inspiration for dishes to cook. This is one such recipe, inspired by a carrot and chutney soup recipe (this one contained rice as a thickener) I decided to rescue a few past their best carrots and parsnips from the vegetable rack and combine them with mango chutney in a sweet mildly spicy soup.

A perfect soup for a cool spring weekend lunch, sufficiently comforting without being too winter warming, I served this with some easy gluten free flat bread (recipe on separate post), any leftovers I plan to take to work in my trusty soup container.

The recipe would also work with other chutneys, caramelised onion would be good and its also very frugal too. What's not to like so why not give it a try.....


What you need
  • 2 large carrots - peeled and chopped
  • 2 large parsnips - peeled and chopped
  • Vegetable stock ( I used Essential Cuisine)
  • 1 tbsp mango chutney
  • 1 brown onion - peeled and finely chopped
  • Salt and pepper
  • A little rapeseed oil or olive oil or butter
What you do

  • Heat the oil in a large saucepan, add the onion, carrots and parsnips and sweats for a few minutes without colouring.
  • Add enough vegetable stock to the pan to cover the vegetables 
  • Simmer until the vegetables are soft and add the mango chutney to the pan. 
  • Blitz with a hand blender or in a liquidiser until you achieve a smooth velvety texture, add more vegetable stock if required.
  • Return to the pan and bring back to simmer before serving.
  • Delicious served with flat breads or artisan bread.
  • This soup also freezes well

I am linking this post up to Farmers Girl's linky "Recipe Clippings" for April, as this recipe was inspired by a clipped recipe from my scrapbook.


I am also linking up to Credit crunch munch as I am using past their best vegetables which is just the sort of frugal meal I like. The challenge created by Fuss Free Flavours and Fab food for All and hosted this month by Utterly Scrummy


Also to #ExtraVeg created by Fuss Free Flavours and Utterly Scrummy and hosted this month by Jo's Kitchen.

And to Souper Soup created and hosted over at Jo's Kitchen for soups.

                                                       Super Soup

And to No Croutons required co hosted in rotation by Tinned Tomatoes and Lisa's Kitchen, a challenge for veggie soups and salads.


And finally to Simple and in Season hosted this month by Fuss Free Flavours for the lovely Ren Behan 

                                          Simple and in Season Food Blogging challenge

Thursday, 2 April 2015

Antony Shirley, executive chef at the Seafood Pub Company

Antony is a former sous chef at Harvey Nichols in Knightsbridge, head chef at Panacea in Manchester and at Raffles in the West Indies. He was instrumental in setting up and opening the first Piccolinos restaurant and later served as their UK development chef. Now Antony’s creative dishes are the star of the show at the Seafood Pub Company. He won the Development Chef Awards Best Pub Group Menu 2014. The Seafood Pub Company has six current sites in Lancashire: The Oyster and Otter in Feniscowles, Blackburn; The Assheton Arms in Downham, Clitheroe; The Fenwick in Claughton, Lancaster; Farmers Arms in Great Eccleston, Fylde; Derby Arms in Thornley, Longridge and the Barley Mow in Barley, Pendle. A seventh site, Town Green Brasserie in Aughton, Ormskirk, is due to open at Easter.

  • What is your favourite cookery or food book or publication?
Lucky Peach is a great food mag, lifestyle and bits from around the globe
  • What sentence sums up Lancashire Food to you?
All the best ingredients in one county

  • If you weren't doing what you do now, what would you like to be ?
Drummer in the Artic Monkeys, artist or joiner.

  • Which piece of kit could you not do without?
Robata grill - a Japanese open grill - we have one in each kitchen, they add an amazing
smoky barbecue flavour
  • Who would join you at your ultimate dinner party and why?
Noel Gallagher, Mark Hix, Elvis, Damien Hirst, Fred Perry, Joycelyn Neve, Alex Turner
from the Arctic Monkeys and Morgan Freeman to narrate the evening!
  • What advice would you give to your younger self?
Calm down and don't ever doubt yourself

  • Describe your style in three word
World, Colourful, Spice
  • What was your latest foodie gadget purchase?
We don’t do gadgets in our kitchen, fire and flame do us just fine!

  • What is your greatest achievement to date?
Helping to start the Seafood Pub Company and everything we've achieved, it just keeps
getting better
  • What is the worst mistake you have made?
Forgetting the flour for a cookery demo, I was making flat breads, the demo was in the
middle of nowhere; it wasn't my greatest demo

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Easter pie anyone - Hollands Pies and Choc Amor creations


Holland’s, one of the UK’s best-known producers of piesand pastries, has teamed up with two Lancashire food fanatics to create a series of recipes for the ultimate Easter pies, Holland’s chocolate pies! Baking tools at the ready!

Working with celebrity chef Tom Bridge, off The Great British Bake Off, and Choc Amor’s Master Chocolatier Paul Williams, from Tarleton, Lancashire, Holland’s has created three recipes for a series of savoury taste sensations, each with a hint of smooth, rich chocolate; including, Lamb and Potato Ragu Pie with Dark Chocolate; Butlers Blacksticks Blue Cheese and Onion Pie with Milk Chocolate; and Chicken and Mushroom Pie with White Chocolate, Garlic, Coffee and hint of Chilli.

The perfect treats for Easter; these limited edition pies are a seasonal classic from the Lancashire food legends. Master chocolatier Paul, suggests using premium 58% Belgium dark chocolate in the Lamb and Potato Ragu Pie; the delectable minted chocolate Ragu compliments the succulent slow-cooked lamb shoulder with roasted potatoes. Use Choc Amor’s signature 35% milk chocolate to add a sweet sensation to the gourmet Cheese and Onion Pie recipe. Handpicked, especially for the Chicken and Mushroom Pie recipe, the white chocolate - unique to Choc Amor - is made up of 30% cocoa butter and 15% milk solids. The chocolate gives the pie fillings a unique texture and taste, and accentuates the other flavours in the pies.

Pie professional, and award-winning chef, Tom Bridge commented, “This Lancashire collaboration has been a great experience, using my knowledge of pies with Paul’s chocolate skills – we have created a real treat for Holland’s fans to bake over the Easter period!”

Chocolatier Paul Williams said: “My passion for food and creative cooking have had a huge influence on the chocolate I create and sell. This project has allowed me to marry my passion and expertise with Tom’s passion for pies to create some really unique recipes. Using chocolate can result in flavours that sound wrong but once tasted are so right!”

Heres the recipe for the Chicken and Mushroom Pie using white chocolate from Choc Amor.

Chicken and Mushroom Pie with White Chocolate, Garlic, Coffee and hint of Chilli.
With Choc Amor’s White Chocolate made up of 30% Cocoa Butter and 15% Milk Solid

200ml chicken stock
250g sliced mushrooms
1 tsp crushed garlic
2 tablespoons of strong cold coffee
50ml white chocolate sauce with a hint of chilli
300g/11oz Free range chicken breasts fillets, cut into small pieces
3/4 tsp salt
3tbsp plain flour
100ml/4fl oz milk
Freshly ground pepper

Short crust pastry (see recipe above)

Bring the chicken stock to the boil in a saucepan and add mushrooms, garlic, coffee and white chocolate with the chicken and salt. Boil, covered, over a low heat for approx. 1 min.
Stir together flour and half of the milk in a bowl. Add remaining milk and add this thickening mixture to the sauce while stirring. Boil over a low heat and while stirring for about a minute. Season with pepper. Allow to cool.

Pre-heat the oven to 400f /200c/gas 6
Prepare the pastry recipe, set aside one-third for the lids.
Roll out the pastry on a floured surface to 5mm thick. Cut out six large circles to fit in the pie tins and six smaller circles for the lids.
Line the tins with the large circles of pastry.
Place in the chicken mixture into the pastry cases.
Cover the tops with the remaining circles of pastry. Make a small hole in the centre of each pie.
Glaze with beaten egg and place the pies onto a baking sheet.
Bake the centre of the oven for 30 to 35 minutes until golden brown.

To win a one of six dozen Holland’s best-selling pies then simply head to Holland’s Facebook or Twitter page and post a picture of your chocolate pie creation, based on the above recipe, and use the hashtag #HollandsEasterPie or email with your name and address!

Become a fan at and on Twitter @hollandspies. For further information on the Holland’s Pie range please visit Holland’s is one of the UK’s best-loved pie makers; producing a range of delicious pies, puddings and pastries.

Sunday, 29 March 2015

Banana pancakes - gluten free and full of goodness.

Recently my blogging mojo has been some what lacking, what with a busy life, working full time and a large IT project at work just about to go live, I just haven't managed to fit it all in.

So this post is a pretty short one but a recipe I have just had to share due to its utter simplicity and the fact it uses only 3 ingredients and has no artificial sugars at all, so it healthy and so so easy to make. No wonder Jack Johnson (one of my favourites) sings about them.

So here goes, take one spotty overripe banana (the browner the better), crush to a puree with a fork, add 1 free range egg, whisk together and add 1 tbsp of flour (buckwheat or any gluten free flour works beautifully), whisk to a smooth batter.

Then fry tablespoon dollops in a very lightly oiled heavy based frying pan or on a griddle until little bubbles are visible and popping on the top side, flip over and cook until lightly golden. Serve warm with fruits, yogurt, cream, sliced banana, anything you want for a wonderful breakfast.

Delicious, light and fluffy and so easy and a great way to use of overripe bananas. 

Sunday, 22 March 2015

The Garden Forager - Edible Delights in your own back yard by Adele Nozedar

"Many of the plants that we now cultivate purely because they are ornamental were once highly regarded not for their looks but for their flavour" Adele Nozedar

One of the benefits of Food Blogging is that from time to time we are sent items to review. A few weeks ago I noticed that the lovely Adele Nozedar was publishing a new book "The Garden Forager" which is to be published on 26th March 2015

Well, we have been lucky enough to be sent a pre-release copy, the book follows a similar format to her previous book " The Hedgerow Handbook" reviewed here.

This beautifully illustrated book features 40 commonly grown garden plants which can be used in cooking, baking, remedies or for cosmetic use. The watercolour illustrations are by Lizzie Harper a very talented artist and Adele's words combine to create a stunning addition to anyone's bookshelf who has an interest in gardening, cooking or foraging.

The recipes include Marigold Butterfly buns, Oregon grape preserve, Salmon sumac rub, Lilac wine (of Elkie Brooks or if you are younger Miley Cyrus fame) and the particularly fascinating Begonia, strawberry and peach crumble, which I am definitely going to try once all the ingredients are in season.

The book encourages you to explore your own exotic kitchen garden and try the new ingredients you have to hand, unlike wild foraging you barely have to leave the house to discover this new fresh larder of flavours.

The publisher has kindly given permission to allow me to publish one of the recipes and two illustrations from the book, aren't they absolutely beautiful.

Sunflower Seed and Chocolate Chip Cookies

Makes about 50 cookies

125g butter, at room temperature, plus extra for greasing
300g light brown sugar
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 tsp vanilla extract
350g plain flour
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
100g dehusked sunflower seeds, lightly toasted
100g chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 180C / gas4.
Lightly grease for 30 x 20cm baking trays.
Cream together the butter and sugar with a wooden spoon (or use an electric mixer) until pale and fluffy.
Stir in the egg and the vanilla and beat until smooth.
Sift together the flour and bicarbonate of soda over the mixture, then add the toasted sunflower seeds and the chocolate chips and stir to form a dough. Do not overwork the dough.
Form the dough into balls - 50 balls will make biscuits about 4cm in diameter. You can make larger cookies if you prefer.
Press each ball on to the prepared baking trays to approximately 1cm thick and leave a 5cm gap around each one to allow for spreading.
Bake for 12 -15 minutes, in batches if necessary. Keep any uncooked dough in the fridge before baking.

Published by Square Peg , The Random House Group, the hardback will retail at £12.99 and is available from all good book shops. Support your local independent bookshop who will be more than happy to order for you when published.

Recipe reproduced by kind permission of Square Peg from The Garden Forager - Adele Nozedar and illustrations by Lizzie Harper.

Sunday, 15 March 2015

Apple Gingerbread pudding - gluten free

I think it must be the cusp season for apples as recently I have noticed that many of the eating apples in the fruit bowl aren't lasting for very long before starting to go soft. So here's another recipe that uses up apples that are slightly past their best, I hate waste.

This pudding is ideal served with custard, cream, creme fraiche or ice cream and the slight spicing of the sponge is great when there is still a slight nip in the air.This is a twist on the classic Eve's Pudding and made gluten free by switching out the flour for gluten free flour.

What you need
  • Oven proof dish (I used a Pyrex pie dish)
  • Oil spray
  • 6 eating apples- peeled, cored and chopped into bite sized pieces
  • 3 tbsp soft brown sugar
  • 50g quality vegetable margarine or softened butter
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp golden syrup
  • 7 tbsp skimmed milk
  • 2 free range eggs - beaten
  • 225g plain gluten free flour
  • 1 tsp mixed sweet spice
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp baking powder
What you do
  • Pre heat oven to 180C
  • Oil spray the baking dish
  • Place the chopped apples in the prepared dish and sprinkle with the soft brown sugar
  • Melt the syrups and margarine / butter and allow to cool, then add the milk and the beaten eggs
  • Pour this into a large bowl and sieve on the flour, spices and baking powder , mix together until well incorporated and pour over the apples and level.
  • Place in the oven and bake for 45 minutes or so until golden and well risen.
  • Serve hot or cold.

I am linking up this post to Credit Crunch Munch created by Fuss Free Flavours and Fab Food for All and hosted this month by Jo's Kitchen. A monthly challenge for frugal food, this post using rapidly ageing apples.

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