Fabulous Courgette Pasta Recipe


Courgette & chorizo pasta a la crema...

Courgette and Chorizo Pasta A La Crema…

This was a swift store cupboard special supper and one of the tastiest of the last week. I wanted to adapt my usual lardon and courgette pasta…and the simple answer was replace the lardons with cubed chorizo. The result was a sublime cocktail of flavours that slipped down and satisfied.

Do this. It is going to make your week.

100 gm of cubed chorizo
One courgette cubed
50ml single cream
Small bunch of coriander chopped
Olive oil
Sea salt and black pepper

In a splash of olive oil heated for a minute, add the courgette and pan fry until starting to just brown, then add the chorizo and continue frying gently whilst you cook the pasta.

Just before you drain the pasta, add the cream and a grind of sea salt and black pepper. Then add the chopped coriander.

Serve on the hot pasta.

Quick, sensuous and delectable. It’s what suppers should be.



For another exciting twist on the courgette recipe try this one from Nigel Slater

Smoked paprika and pancetta chicken…


Smoked paprika and pancetta chicken...

Today’s Sunday lunch was so simple I will not bore you with the recipe – even Simon on his simplest of days could sort this one out. Suffice to say that, with the rain dribbling down my windows, food with  an autumnal smokiness was needed – what better ingredients than chorizo and paprika…… I could almost feel the pagan pangs of bonfires and mist laden gatherings coursing through me as I assembled the dish – or maybe it was the the third glass of smoky shiraz… Anyway, I poured a glug or two of olive oil in the cavity of the free range bird, smothered her skin in paprika, then barded her with pancetta strips. She looked devilish. The smells from the oven as she cooked made me want to go out and do druid dances round my chiminea. I resisted.

I served the chicken with quartered roasted potatoes, to which I added a dozen slices of chorizo for the last ten minutes. Delightful. I also steamed some spinach in my wok. Then squeeze drained it – popped it back in the wok with a knob of butter and bags of black pepper for about two minutes on a high heat to let it meld together.

Everyone was a winner – even the cat got a slice or two of the paprika blessed bird. She is snoozing now…and I am going shortly to join her!


And now the Paella recipe for Anna!


A friend now dwelling in deepest Cornwall has just asked for the recipe for the paella below – how nice! Here you go young lady…though this is the full version – the poor man’s version enjoyed last night is basically without the chicken and chorizo – and using 100 gm of lardon instead – pan frying it first and then adding the peppers garlic etc and continuing from there. You can really add anything you want – rabbit instead of or as well as chicken, mussels, cockles…whatever is tickling your fancy that day or is lurking in the fridge.

INGREDIENTS – should serve between 4 and 6 folk

6 boneless chicken thighs, skinned and cut into mouth-sized chunks / 400 gm of paella rice rinsed well and drained in a sieve / 250 gm raw chorizo sausage, skinned and cut into decent slices – though you could use a cured one , just do not fry for as long / At least 20 decent prawns – not raw / 1 red pepper and 1 green pepper deseeded and chopped / 6 garlic cloves peeled and finely chopped – last night I just used two as all I had left! / 125 ml of white wine / 1litre chicken stock / pinch of saffron or colorante / 1/2 tsp smoked paprika / 100 gm of peas / 6 good toms deseeded and chopped- though again last night I just used 5 gorgeous cherry tomatoes and simply quartered them  / bunch of parsley chopped

I use a Valencian paella pan – around £26-£30 on Amazon – or use a large sauté pan. Heat a good glug of olive oil and brown the chicken pieces. Take out and put on a plate to one side. Then pop in the chorizo and pan fry lightly for 2 minutes or so. Then add the peppers and garlic. Fry for another 5 minutes or so. Keep stirring all the time. Stir in the rice and let it toast lightly for 2 minutes. Now add the wine – have one for yourself too! Cook’s perks! Add the stock, the colouring – colorante – or the saffron, and the paprika. Bring to the boil gently stirring all the time.  Let it bubble then return the chicken to the pan and reduce the heat to low. Simmer for around 15 minutes. Stir every now and then in between sips of wine.  Put some music on! Add the peas next and cook gently for another 5 minutes, then add the prawns. Stir gently and leave for a further 5 minutes. Turn the heat off and let it stand for about 5 minutes or so. The rice should still have a little bite to it.

I adore this dish – ok…I will not rave on any further than I did yesterday! You get the picture! Enjoy, Anna,  and anyone else who gives it a go – I am sure you all have a paella recipe like this – if not give it a go!

(See last post for the pic – and just imagine it with chorizo slices and bits of chicken in!)

Moz and Chorizo Salad…


Moz and Chorizo Salad...

Ok…I have been rather nastily unwell the last few days – am presently sitting up in bed with a cough that could cut rocks in two. At least my temperature seems to be almost back to normal – but I am plum tuckered! This blog however needs me…sorry..I need this blog to keep me sane…so apologies that this is only brief – tis a starter I did last Wednesday and was well received. I wanted to do something different with my friend mozzarella and so on a bed of spinach, beetroot, lambs lettuce and rocket I tore up some moz and draped it over the greenery on each plate. I then pan fried some chorizo cut into small cubes and spooned it over – I also drizzled on some of that wonderful reddish oil it creates. I then swirled some balsamic sauce around the leaves. The flavours were sublime. You could also, I reckon, add some shavings of parmesan… but that maybe gilding the lily. Enjoy your weekend everyone – hopefully I will be up and cooking soon! I miss my kitchen!

Green Day….


Green Day....

I know, I know, rack of lamb again….boring…sorry, but as it was so good last month I succumbed and ordered another rack from Parsonage Farm – please check out their website!

So, we had it ce soir…and I am still in Jersey Royal mode, so these were, once again, bosom buddies with the lamb.

But…. I had also a large bag of greens – and I felt that they needed more than just a stiff steam. So, I popped a large wad, sliced pretty thinly, in a wok with an inch of water- put a lid on and let them wilt a tad for 5 minutes. I then drained the green goddesses and whilst they lay recumbent in the colander, I added a grind or two of rock salt and some crushed dried chillies. Whilst they rested, I pan fried some finely cubed chorizo til almost crispy – transferred this to the now clean wok, popped it on the heat and stirred in the greens. The flavour was very very tasty indeed….I could imagine it with turkey at Christmas….but it certainly went well with the lamb.

Anyway…it was different…and it brought a hint of warmth, along with the succulent lamb to a frankly disastrously damp Wednesday. The cockles of my heart at least now feel dry and mellow…..

Vegetarians turn away now…! A full meat chilli!


Vegetarians turn away now...! A full meat chilli!

I have dabbled with different chilli recipes for many many moons – and have tried many many varieties. Everyone has their own version and each time folk make them they get a different twist – it’s what makes this dish so exciting and so cook friendly. The recipe I now base my current version on is Hugh Fearneley-Whittingstall’s from his magnificent book simply entitled – Meat. It is a stonker. A no nonsense meat feast of a dish that gets up and bites back.


1kg minced beef
500 gm diced shoulder pork
250 gm chorizo sliced into chunks
500 gm borlotti beans or kidney beans or a mix of both
Olive oil
2 large onions chopped
3 green chillies deseeded and chopped
2 tbsp white wine vinegar
2 tsps dark brown sugar
2 400gm tins of good chopped tomatoes
250 ml beef stock
1 cinnamon stick
2 bay leaves
Some dried oregano and thyme
3 tbsp of hot chilli powder
Black pepper
Fresh coriander

Soured cream to serve

Heat oil in large pan. Brown all meats in batches. Transfer to a large stock pot or casserole dish. Add more oil. Sweat onions on a slightly lower heat until a little brown. Add to meat along with all other ingredients except the beans and coriander.

Bring to the boil and simmer gently. Cook for at least an hour – I usually leave it for at least an hour and a half. No lid! Add beans for last twenty minutes. Taste – adjust seasoning – maybe just black pepper – I have never had to add salt. Add the roughly chopped coriander just before serving and stir through.

Serve with rice – I put a little turmeric in mine – cos it looks nice! And a pot of soured cream. Or you could serve with naan bread or tacos or crusty bread – or even a baked potato.

This is a demon of a dish – a veritable feast of flavours. So much more than some of the limp versions you see in pubs.


Cheat’s Cassoulet recipe…see I remembered!


OK..this is not really anything to do with a cassoulet but it inspired me..and I love the word cassoulet…so good to get your tongue round..ca…sooo…lay….mmmmm! It is a great hearty dish for gathering friends round…you will need for about 6 needy folk:

60 gm lardons or pancetta or-at a pinch- smoked streaky bacon / 350 gm green lentils – Puy preferably / couple of sprigs of fresh rosemary / 1 red onion  chopped / 2 cloves garlic finely chopped / 1 carrot finely diced / 900 ml chicken stock / 2 tbs olive oil / tbs red wine vinegar /  tin of cannellini beans- meat can be all or any mix of the following – 4 pieces of belly pork, grilled or pan fried and cut into large chunks /good quality sausages -2 chipolatas per person was my choice last night – you could also add chunks of boiled or roasted ham hock, roasted chicken thighs or drumsticks…use your imagination.

I use a large stainless steel dutch oven – a pasta pan would be ideal – in which you pan fry the lardons til they start to colour, add then the onion, garlic and snip in the rosemary from one sprig. Fry for 2 minutes. Rinse the lentils..add to pan and fry for a minute tops. Add the stock and diced carrot. You could also add some celery if you wish. Season with black pepper – it may need a dash of salt but should not be necessary with the lardons and stock. Put lid on and bring to boil. Then pop in the oven with lid on for an hour at 160c.

After 50 minutes, I remove the pan and pour it all into a large roasting tin – add the meat and cannellini beans – put some foil over the top and return to oven – after an hour turn oven down very low to keep warm til you are ready to serve. Just before you take to table – stir in the red wine vinegar and a little more olive oil.  I also roasted in my top oven, a tray of quartered potatoes in veg oil, sprinkled with sea salt, for an hour – adding some sliced cooked chorizo sausage for last ten minutes – gives the potatoes a lovely reddish tinge – a scrumptiously mouth filling delight- and I put a large basket of crusty bread on the table too. I put both trays of potatoes and the lentil dish on the table to serve from – and folk can also just dip their bread in as they desire!

Any leftovers are great the next day warmed through – though tis rare that there is anything left……!