Tag Archives: Food Tags

Butternut Tortellini all the way

14 Jan

As Christmas is over and everyone has had their fill of meat I thought i’d tell you what I’ve been making today. A quick and easy pasta tortellini dish , simple to make the tortellini’s, sauce is straight forward, filling a little bit fiddly! – taste is fantastic!

Butternut ,sage & peccorino tortellini’s with tomato , anchovy & black olive. 


ingredient’s for the pasta:

8 Free range Med egg yolks ,1 x tablespoon of olive oil , 300 gs of triple zero flour or a good pasta flour. Mix the ingredients together in a food processor until it forms a paste or crumbles together, then remove and kneed together until a soft dough is formed – clingfilm & chill until filling ready.

Butternut filling:

1 Medium butternut squash (skinned /de-seeded). Roast this in a pan with 2 cloves of garlic(not chopped) and a little olive oil. Cover with tin foil to stop in catching. Once cooked mash to a puree with the roasted garlic , season lightly – add 40 g grated peccorino sado (this is a salty cheese so be careful not to add too much) add 20g chopped sage. Once the mix is cool – roll out your pasta(pasta machine may be required) as thin as you can get (so you can see your hand through it)  aim to cut out 6x rounds (4-5  inch). spoon the mix into the centre(teaspoon), rub the rim of the round with a little egg yolk , dip your finger tips in flour and fold the round in half then turn each point into the centre under the middle(filled area).

To make the sauce – seat shallot & garlic in a pan with chopped anchovy and a drop of olive oil, add tomato juice , 1 teaspoon of sugar and 5 black olives(pitted), simmer for 10 minutes until shallots cooked, add dice of chopped tomato flesh(not seeds or skin) season, black pepper – remove from heat.         Image

To put the dish together – place the tortellinis in boiling water with a little oil seasoning – cook for 4 minutes. Remove and lightly toss with 1/2 the sauce , place in bowl , add remaining sauce , black pepper , garnish with deep fried sage leaves. Simple! Any feedback most welcome 🙂


Valentines dessert day

15 Feb

Its Valentines day!  expectations running high , lack of romance ? Doing a meal is always the best option – for me (being a chef) , and at least this way I can have a nice long play in the kitchen. Although we agreed that we wouldn’t get each other prezies (we exchanged cards though:)) I thought it would be nice to do something special  – pop in a roast Honey & Mustard ‘mini’ Bacon Joint , with some veggies – sticky beetroot , roast rosemary potatoes , Carrot & swede puree. But a meal isn’t a meal with out a dessert! (& some Caramelised onion bread).

So I sent the lovely wife out for a bit (not sure where she went?!) , then ‘cracked on’ with making bread & the dessert.

Bread I’ll cover off another day – it was simple bread recipe , shaped into a bloomer, finished 1/2 way through proving with some pre-caramelised onions with balsamic.

The dessert: Strawberry & white chocolate Panna cotta with vanilla served with honey Tuille biscuits ,Star anise &  strawberry jelly.

ingredients needed:

makes 4 portions

300ml double cream

125gms white chocolate

60gms icing sugar

100gms caster sugar

1 vanilla pod – cut lengthways

2 small leaf gelatine ( 1 for Panna cotta , 1 for jelly)

120gms strawberries (6 single)

300mls water  

Tuille biscuit mix:

120gms plain flour         3 tbsp honey           40gms icing sugar          1 egg white                        1 teasp vanilla essence    30gms melted butter



Start your Panna cotta mix by bringing to boil the cream , split vanilla & 1/2 of the sugar , 1/2 the white chocolate together, then add the (pre-soaked) gelatine.Whisk over heat well. 

In a bowl whisk 3 of the cut strawberries , remaining icing sugar. Once blended combine with the cream & vanilla mix. Pour the Panna cotta mix into moulds or rings and chill in the fridge.

Mix all of the tuille biscuit ingredients together until a paste is formed. Using a palate knife spread the paste over a plastic template (I used a heart shape!). make sure when spreading the biscuit mix over the tray that the tray is either non stick or use a silicone mat. 

  Next focus on making the jelly – this goes on the top of the Panna cotta and a little used for the  sauce.

Place the water , star anise , caster Sugar & 1 of the strawberries (chopped) into a pan and bring to the boil. reduce by 1/3 – add 1 leaf of pre-soaked gelatine. Whisk until dissolved and clear. Remove from the heat. Once cool pour 1/2 on top of the Panna cotta – this should be no more than 10mm.Place back into the fridge to Set fully.  

Blend the last of the strawberries with 1/2 of the remaining jelly until a smooth sauce is made.  

The finishing touch – melt the remaining chocolate and spread over some grease-proof (shave some dark chocolate in over the white) then place in the freezer to set (very hard!) 

Plate up as the picture – I added some dried sugared vanilla, although the kids(watching us eating) didn’t get why we were eating sugared twigs….

Snow and more snow

23 Dec

Just when we thought the snow had gone ! – It’s very cold and there’s snow everywhere (well in the north-east anyway!). The kids love it as they get to throw white stuff at each other , and I get to make them a funky snowman!

We’ve just got back today from an “overnighter” in Edinburgh – It was seriously cold !! kids enjoyed it as they had a go at Ice skating and we wandered around the German market. Because it so cold I thought I’d have a go at making a nice little winter warmer – some mulled wine….

  You need:

 1x  full bottle Red wine – any strong red – i’m not fussed!

2 oranges peeled (rind , juice and orange go in)

2 x satsumas (just segments)

6x cloves

2x cinnamon sticks  , 5 tablespoons of honey

you can add a little more orange juice to make this go further or less stronger .. its your choice.

Happy festive drinking !! 


7 Nov

My recent competition entry :  Apple & ginger crumble with a Vanilla & lemon balm Panna cotta , served with Apple & cinnamon fritters.

Whats your favourite pudding? let me know

Autumn’s here

1 Nov

Leaves are falling off the trees – Autumn’s here , nearly all my apples have gone (we had an apple crumble fest!!)  but soon it’ll be christmas. At work we’ve planned a load of menus and really good dishes for christmas(starts November) and are working on summer next year ready for launch in may 2011. Us wicked chefs never stop !

I’ve had a great few weeks starting with restaurant show in earls court competing as Compass Chef of the year (see link below)http://www.therestaurantshow.co.uk/page/compass_junior_senior_chef_of_th.html demostrating deli tastings in Glasgow and bristol to my loyal follower’s , then college on friday (cert ed course)  

I thought I’d drop a couple of pictures in of dishes I’ve just done up for christmas – Egg  nog (really good taste!) , a lovely seafood platter with prawns ,crab and salmon.


Want to do have a go with a little something different over Christmas – try this dish with turkey breast , Bacon & cheese :

toasted sourdough bread (1 slice)

sliced cooked turkey breast  x 5 small slices or 120g

sliced cooked streaky bacon x 3 slices cut in half

Mature cheddar cheese(stronger the better) x 5 small slices

Cranberry sauce x 2 Tbsp

rocket salad x 20g

olive oil x 1 tbsp

Balsamic x 1 teaspoon

Dried cranberries & chopped chives to garnish


Make up the dressing with the balsamic , olive oil & chopped cranberries(dried) – dress the rocket and place in a centre of the plate, cut the hot toasted sourdough and place on the salad… drizzle with remaining dressing.

Fruits of our garden!

2 Sep

Here we are again in the garden on a bright and sunny day,there are fruits on the trees nice and ripe – I’ve got loads of bramble bushes with big black Blackberries on them, I’ve got strawberries and a tree full of apples ready to drop! Yes you’ve guessed it I’m gonna make some jam …  O Yes I am!  

I thought i’d have a go at making some jam  using some blackberries , strawberries , vanilla ,apples some sugar and water. i ‘ve made blackberry or Hedgerow jam before with good results – i wouldn’t say i’m a great jam maker – but I find its fun , the kids like it and I’m a lover of jam in the morning on my toast!


you need to make sure you have plenty of fruit around 3lb – with 2lb castor sugar and 1pt water. Add 1 vanilla pod split down the middle (remember to take this out afterwards) , I add a little pectin – 1 table-spoon will do. The pectin stops the jam setting to a thick caramel – its used for gelling foods in particular jams. 

Mix the fruit together and bring to boil.  add the vanilla & pectin .Simmer down the jam and let “tick over” for 30 mins to allow the apples to break down. Make sure you sterilize your jam jars and lids using a dishwasher I find  is the best way , allow to air cool , fill the jars while the mix is still hot to warm.

place the lids on the jam jars while still warm – seal tightly and leave at room temperature to cool. I’ve got plenty Apples left – so plenty apple crumbles for the family to sample ! Happy Jam making 🙂

Eating down the river

6 Aug

On an outing to Axminster , we booked into the river cottage – I’ve always been a fan on Hugh & the whole river cottage way ! from growing  to cooking to the plate,  I also think its important for my kids to know this. Anyway the axminster (theres now one at bath too) river cottage canteen & Deli looked great – loved the counter selection and picnic hampers – gotta be a winner!

The Meal was good (stringers home brew  – was great)  but I was slightly disappointed with the kids choice , as both my girls had soup! they don’t eat rubbish food – they understand how good fresh food is made 🙂 a selection of simpler dishes maybe?

I loved the rustic appeal of the place and all the team seemed switched on(which is always nice)

liked the chip dishes (see pic)  and the roasted pollack was nicely cooked.

Adventures in the UK!

Chronicles of a Texan's study abroad and internship experience in London

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Make-Meals Mama

My family is my life. Lucky for me, my kids are adventurous eaters. Lucky for them too! Support small business (caters and personal chefs!) My page: www.facebook.com/MakeMeals


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