Mixed Bean Casserole

Recipe courtesy of Woman’s Own from many years ago!

Serves : 4

Prep time : 10 minutes;   Cook time : 45 minutes

Ingredients:
1 tblsp vegetable oil
1 onion, peeled and sliced
2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
2 celery sticks, washed and sliced
2oz (50g) plain flour
1 tblsp tomato puree
½ pint (300ml) vegetable stock
500g carton sieved tomatoes
1 green chilli pepper, sliced
1 tsp chilli powder
400g can mixed beans in salted water, drained
420g can red kidney beans in salted water, drained
420g can butter beans in salted water, drained
400g can chopped tomatoes
Salt and ground black pepper

Step One : Preheat the oven to Gas 4/350oF/180oC. Heat the oil in a flameproof casserole dish and add the onion, garlic and celery. Sauté for 3 minutes, or until softened.

Step Two : Stir in the flour and tomato puree and cook for a further 1 minute.

Step Three : Add vegetable stock, sieved tomatoes, sliced chilli pepper, chilli powder, beans and the chopped canned tomatoes.

Step Four : Season well with salt and ground black pepper, then cover and cook in the oven for 40 mins. Serve.

Some other bean recipes can be found here …

French Country Soup

This classic recipe is nutritious and high in fibre and vitamins.

Serves: 4

Ingredients:
1 tbsp (15ml) olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
1 medium leek, sliced
2 pints (1.1 litres) vegetable stock
1 medium potato, weighing about 175g (6oz), peeled and chopped
2 celery sticks, chopped
2 medium carrots, chopped
200g (7oz) can chopped tomatoes
25g (1oz) dried pasta shapes
100g (3 ½ oz) french beans, halved
1 large or 2 small courgettes, sliced
100g (3 ½ oz) pre-cooked or drained, canned flageolet or haricot beans
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Step One : Heat olive oil in a large flameproof casserole dish. Add the onion and leek, and soften for 5 mins, stirring occasionally. Add stock, potato, celery, carrots and canned tomatoes, then simmer, covered for 15 mins.

Step Two : Add pasta, French beans and courgettes, and simmer for 15 mins. Stir in flageolet or haricot beans, season well and simmer for 2 more mins.

Step Three : Serve the soup with crusty baguettes.

More yummy soup recipes can be found here …

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Chicken Casserole

Take succulent chicken quarters and ad a selection of your favourite vegetables, spice up with a little salami and herbs, add a splash of port … and you’ve got a meal in one.

Serves: 4;   Approx. Cals per portion: 739
Prep time: 25 mins; Cooking time: approx. 55 mins

Ingredients:
1 1/2lb (675g) new potatoes, scrubbed
225g (8oz) shallots
225g (8oz) baby sweetcorn
225g (8oz) sugar-snap peas
Small bunch of fresh coriander, washed and tied together with string
175g (6oz) mushrooms
4 chicken quarters, each weighing approx. 300g (10oz)
Freshly ground black pepper
3 tbsp olive oil
100g (4oz) sliced salami, chopped
1 clove garlic, peeled and crushed
1 1/4pt/750ml fresh chicken stock
2 tbsp cornflour
1/4pt/150ml white port or dry sherry

Step One : Depending on the size, halve or quarter potatoes. Peel and halve the shallots and place in a bowl with the potatoes. Reserve. Wash the baby corn and sugar-snap peas, then trim corn and top and tail peas. Place the bunch of coriander in a large casserole dish, then place the prepared peas and corn on top. Wipe and slice the mushrooms.

Step Two : Wash the chicken quarters and pat dry with kitchen paper. Trim away excess fat from the chicken and cut each portion in half to make eight pieces. Season with black pepper. Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan and sauté the chicken for 6-7 mins until golden brown on both sides. Drain and add to the casserole.

Step Three : In the same frying pan, sauté the new potatoes, shallots, mushrooms, chopped salami and garlic for 4-5 mins until lightly golden. Drain and place in the casserole. Mix the casserole ingredients well. Preheat the oven to Gas 5 / 375oF / 190oC.

Step Four : Spoon 1 tbsp of the frying pan juices into a saucepan and season.
Pour chicken stock into the saucepan. Blend cornflour with a little of the port or sherry and add to pan with remainder. Bring to the boil, stirring, and cook until thickened. Pour into casserole, then cover and bake in oven for 45 mins, or until cooked through. Discard bunch of coriander before serving casserole with crusty bread.

Find other Casserole recipes here …

Duck breast with orange sauce and breadcrumbs

Duck with orangeIngredients:

2 large duck breasts, with skin
30g (1oz) butter
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 tsp finely grated lemon zest
50g (1 ¾ oz) fresh breadcrumbs
2 tsp thyme leaves

For the marinade:-

150ml (5 fl oz) freshly squeezed orange juice
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp runny honey
Juice half lemon
Finely grated zest of half an orange
Pinch of ground cinnamon

Serves:  2     Prep time:  15 mins plus marinating time     Cook time:  20 mins
Cals per serving:  772     Fat: 49g

Step One:  Score the skin of the duck breast in diagonal crosses and place in a ceramic bowl.  Combine the marinade ingredients and pour over the duck.  Marinate in the fridge, turning occasionally, for about 8 hours.

Step Two: Heat the oven to 180oC (gas mark 4).  Remove the duck and dry with paper towels, reserving the marinade.  Heat a large heavy frying pan over a moderate heat.  Place the breasts skin side down in the pan.  Cook for 3-4 minutes, or until nice and golden.  Transfer the duck breasts, skin side up, to a roasting tin and cook in the oven for about 10-15 minutes (for medium).

Step Three:  Meanwhile, pour the marinade into a small saucepan and simmer over a low heat for about 5 minutes, or until reduced and slightly thickened.  Season and keep warm.

Step Four:  Drain any fat from the frying pan and add the butter.  When foaming add the garlic, zest, breadcrumbs and thyme.  Sauté until the crumbs are golden.  Slice the duck breast either onto individual plates or on a small platter.  Sprinkle over the crumbs and serve with a jug of the sauce on the side.

Tip:  You can marinate the duck for up to 12 hours.  It is important to boil the marinade well before serving it as the sauce.

Recipe courtesy of Easy Living

Fig and Ginger pudding

Fig and ginger puddingIngredients:

150g (5oz) dried figs, chopped
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
100g (3 ½ oz) unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
185g (6oz) caster sugar
2 eggs, lightly beaten
210g (7oz) self-raising flour
1 heaped tsp ground ginger
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp pecan nuts, roughly chopped, to serve
Stem ginger, to serve

For the Sauce:

125g (4oz) unsalted butter, cubed
150g (5oz) brown sugar
200ml (6 ½ oz) cream

Ice Cream, to serve

Serves:  8     Prep time:  30 mins     Cook time:  40 mins

Step One:  Heat the oven to 180oC (gas mark 4).  Grease a 18cm (7in) round cake tin and line the base with baking paper.  Put the chopped figs in a bowl, add the bicarbonate of soda and pour over 300ml ( 9 ½ fl oz) of boiling water.  Set aside.

Step Two: Beat the softened butter and sugar until pale and fluffy.  Add the eggs, a little at a time, beating well after each addition, then sift in the flour and ginger.  Add the soaked fig and the juice, then the vanilla and mix well.

Step Three:  Pour into the tin and bake for 35-40 minutes, or until risen and firm to touch.  A skewer inserted in the centre should come out clean.  Leave in the tin to cool, then carefully turn out on a baking tray.

Step Four:  When ready to serve, heat the oven to 200oC (gas mark 6).  Make the sauce by placing the butter, sugar and cream in a small saucepan.  Bring to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes.

Step Five:  Top the pudding with a few pieces of stem ginger and the pecans.  Pour a third of the sauce over the pudding and put in the oven for 5-7 minutes, or until golden and bubbling.  Serve immediately on individual plates, and serve with the remaining hot sauce and cream or ice cream.

Recipe courtesy of Easy Living Magazine

Winter Trifle

winter trifleIngredients: 

4 tbsp Grand Marnier
100g (3 ½ oz) dried cherries
100g (3 ½ oz) dried sultanas
250g (8oz) Jamaican ginger cake
600ml (20 fl oz) chilled custard
Toasted flaked almonds, to serve

For the Syllabub:

Grated zest of ½ lemon
2-3 tbsp caster sugar
100ml (3 ½ fl oz) sweet white wine
300ml (9 ½ fl oz) cream

Serves:  8    Prep time:  25 mins, plus refrigeration and standing time

Step One:  Soak the dried fruit in the alcohol for 6 hours or overnight.  Strain, reserving both the fruit and alcohol.  Cut the cut into slices 1 cm (½ in) thick and arrange a single layer over the base of a large glass trifle bowl.  Pour over the fruit and alcohol.  Pour the custard over the cake covering with cling film and chill for at least 3 hours.

Step Two:  To make the syllabub cream, mix together the lemon zest, sugar and wine and leave for 30 minutes.  Strain through a fine sieve into a large bowl, then add the cream and whip until the mixture just holds it shape.  Be careful not to over whip it.

Step Three: Spoon the cream over the trifle and return it to the fridge until you are ready to serve.  Just before serving, decorate with toasted almonds and silver dragees, if desired.

Recipe courtesy of Easy Living Magazine

Seafood Bisque

BisqueIngredients:

20g (¾ oz) butter
650g (1 lb 5oz) small shrimps or prawns (in the shell)
1 medium onion, peeled and chopped
2 leeks, roughly chopped
1 stick celery roughly chopped
1 medium carrot, roughly chopped
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped
½ tsp fennel seeds
250g (8 oz) fillet salmon, skin and bones removed, cut into 2 cm pieces
1 tbsp tomato purée
125ml (4 fl oz) dry white wine
80g (2 ¾ oz) Arborio rice
2.5l (85 fl oz) fish stock (made with good cubes is fine)
1 bay leaf
2 sprigs of thyme
100ml (3 fl oz) double cream
Ciabatta, to serve

Serves:  8    Prep time:  15 mins      Cook time:  40 mins
Cals per serving:  269      Fat: 13g

Step One:  Heat the butter in a large saucepan over a medium-low heat and fry the prawns (in their shells), onion, leeks, celery, carrot, garlic and fennel seeds for about 6-7 minutes, or until the vegetables start to soften.

Step Two:  Add the salmon, tomato purée, white wine, rick, stock, bay leaf and thyme and bring to the boil.  Reduce the heat and simmer very gently for about 40 minutes.

Step Three:  Let the soup cool a little and blend with an electric blender or with a hand-held stick blender until smooth.  Strain the soup through a sieve (it needs to be nice and smooth).  Taste and season with salt and pepper.

Step Four:  When ready to serve, add the double cream and bring back to just under the boil.

Tip: If you’re feeling extravagant, add cooked crabmeat at step 2 for a richer flavour.

 Recipe courtesy of Easy Living Magazine

Simple Beef Casserole

Simple Beef Casserole

Recipe courtesy of Easy Living

If you’ve never made a casserole before, this is the place to start.  This one couldn’t be simpler, as most of the cooking takes place slowly in the oven.  It has a lovely flavour and plenty of juice – don’t leave out the orange zest as it really lifts the flavour of the meat.

Serves:  6-8      Prep time: 35 mins      Cook time:  3 hours    Cals per serving: 619    Fat: 28g

Ingredients:  2 tblsp olive oil; 4 rashers streaky bacon, roughly chopped; 6 small brown onions or shallots, peeled and quartered; 2 cloves garlic, crushed; 3 carrots, sliced; 1 ½ kg (3 lb) chuck steak or braising / stewing beef, cut into 3 cm (1 ¼ in) cubes; 2 tblsp plain flour; 500ml (16fl oz) beef stock; 250ml (8 fl oz) red wine; grated zest of ½ an orange; 4 sprigs thyme; 2 bay leaves; 2 tblsp flat-leaf parsley, chopped

Step One: Heat the oven to 160oC (gas mark 2-3).  Heat the oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat and cook the bacon for 2 minutes.  Add the onion, garlic and carrot and cook, stirring occasionally, for 6-7 minutes, or until the onion is tender.  Transfer to the casserole dish.  Add the beef to the casserole dish and sprinkle with the flour.  Mix well.

Step Two: Stir the stock, wine, orange zest, thyme and bay leaves into the casserole and bring to the boil over the medium heat.  Cover, transfer to the oven and cook for 3 hours. Stir the meat occasionally as it cooks.

Step Three: Remove from the oven.  Stir in the parsley and season to taste. Serve with mashed potatoes or buttered noodles and plenty of crusty bread.

Chinese-Style Red Pork

Chinese Style Red PorkRecipe courtesy of Easy Living

Braising in soy sauce is a common Chinese method, giving the meat a distinct colour and flavour.  The braising liquid also makes a delicious sauce.

Serves:  6    Prep time:  25 mins     Cook time:  2 hours     Cals per serving:  369     Fat: 24g

Ingredients:  1.5kg (3 lb) pork belly, with skin; 150ml (6 fl oz) light soy sauce; 4 tblsp Chinese rice wine or dry sherry; 2 whole star anise; 2 whole cloves garlic, peeled; 6 spring onions, roughly chopped; 4 slices ginger, 4 mm thick; 1 tblsp demerara or light brown sugar; pinch of dried chilli flakes; 600-700ml (20-24 fl oz) chicken stock or water

Step One: Blanch the pork in a large saucepan of boiling salted water for about 5 minutes.  Rinse the pork and, when it’s cool enough to handle, cut the belly into 5cm lengths.

Step Two: Put the pork pieces in a large saucepan or casserole dish and add the soy sauce, rice wine, star anise, garlic, spring onion, ginger, sugar, chilli flakes and enough stock or water to just cover the meat. Bring slowly to the boil over a low heat, cover and simmer very gently for about 2 hours, turning the meet occasionally.

Step Three: Remove the meat with a slotted spoon and set aside.  Skim any fat off the top of the sauce, then simmer the liquid over a high heat until it has thickened a little.  Taste to check and stop simmering if sauce becomes too strongly flavoured.  Return the pork pieces to the sauce and heat through.  If you want to crisp the skin, place the pork pieces skin side up under a hot grill until crisp and bubbling.  Serve the pork belly with sauce with noodles and extra sliced spring onions or steamed Chinese vegetables.

Tip: You can follow the recipe using chicken or duck.  Just use leg pieces (with the thigh attached) and braise for about 45 minutes or until tender.

Hungarian Chicken

Hunters chickenRecipe courtesy of Easy Living

This delicious, easy and subtly spiced chicken stew is perfect to make ahead of time.  In fact, the flavour improves if chilled for a day before reheating and serving.  If making ahead of time, refrigerate overnight, allowing any fat to settle on the top. The fat is then easily removed and discarded with a spoon.

Serves: 4    Prep time:  10 mins     Cook time: 1 ½ hours    Cals per serving: 522     Fat:  33g

Ingredients:  2 tblsp olive oil; 2 onions, finely chopped;  4 cloves garlic, peeled and left whole; 2 tblsp Hungarian paprika; 8 large chicken thighs; 4 chicken legs; 3 fresh bay leaves; 400ml (13 fl oz) chicken stock; 1 x 400g (13oz) tin chopped tomatoes; sour cream to serve

Step One: Heat the oven to 180oC (gas mark 4).  Heat the olive oil over a medium heat in a large flameproof casserole dish or saucepan.  Add the onions and whole garlic and cook, stirring for 5-7 minutes, or until they have softened (without browning too much).

Step Two: Add the paprika, chicken pieces, bay leaves, stock and tomatoes.  Bring to the boil, cover with a tight-fitting lid and transfer to the oven. Cook for 1 hour.

Step Three: Remove the lid and cook for a further 25 minutes, or until the chicken is nicely coloured.  Skim off any fat with a large spoon. Serve with the sauce, topped with sour cream.

Tip: Using either legs or thighs for this dish (rather than breasts) gives a better texture and flavour for slow cooking.