A collation of our successful recipes.
Steve’s mum always makes these for us (mainly because Steve demands them!). Below is her recipe with my changes alongside.
- 6 oz Butter or Marg. (Butter – salted)
- 3 oz Soft Brown Sugar. (Whatever sugar I have available)
- 6 oz Self Raising Flour. (I add bicarb to my plain flour)
- 1.5 oz Sweetened Drinking Chocolate. (Cocoa – unsweetened)
- Salt (I never add salt as I use salted butter)
- 3 oz Walnut Halves. (Steve doesn’t like walnuts so we don’t have them)
- Chocolate chips or chopped up chocolate bar to suit taste/availability
Soften the fat, add the sugar and beat until light and fluffy. sift the flour, drinking chocolate and salt and stir into the creamed mixture. Knead until smooth. Roll mixture into small walnut size pieces and place 4 inches apart on a greased baking tray. Flatten each piece with the base of a wet jar and top with a walnut.
Bake on the second shelf from the top in a moderately hot oven (375 deg F, gas mark 5) for 8 – 10 minutes until cooked through.
DO NOT ALLOW TO DARKEN as the flavour will be spoilt. Cool on a wire tray.
Makes approximately 36
Soften the butter, add the sugar and beat until as light and fluffy as you can be bothered. Add the flour and cocoa (don’t possess a sieve) and stir into the creamed mixture. Add choc chips or chunks. Knead until smooth(ish). Roll mixture into small balls, flatten with palm of hand and place on a baking sheet.
Bake in the oven at about 180 deg C for as long as it takes for them to look cooked but not BURNT.
Cool on an upturned pizza tray (COOK’S TIP – any breakages are cook’s perks!)
Makes approximately 18 (if you are lucky)
FALAFEL (adapted from Toriavey.com)
- 1 pound (about 2 cups) dry chickpeas/garbanzo beans – you must start with dry, do NOT substitute canned, they will not work!
- 1 small onion, roughly chopped
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley (I use dried)
- 3-5 cloves garlic (I prefer roasted) (I use dried garlic flakes – a good handful)
- 1 1/2 tbsp flour
- 1 3/4 tsp salt
- 2 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (I use chilli powder as I don’t have cayenne)
- Pinch of ground cardamom (I crush a few cardamom seeds and use that)
- Vegetable oil for frying (grapeseed, canola, and peanut oil work well)
See her full post at
- Place the dried chickpeas in a bowl and cover with about 3 inches of cold water. Leave overnight.
- Next morning, drain and rinse the chickpeas well and return to the bowl.
- Add the rest of the ingredients (apart from the oil) to the bowl.
- Get your stick blender (unless you are lucky enough to have a food processor) and bash/blend the ingredients until you get a thick paste.
- Fork through the mixture (and Tori says remove any larger chunks of chickpeas remaining – but I don’t), cover with an acquired shower cap (or clingfilm if you’ve not stayed in a hotel recently) and put in the fridge for a couple of hours.
- Get your husband (or alternative fryer) to put some vegetable oil into your wok.
- Whilst the oil is heating, shape your balls. I prefer smaller ones!
- Once oil is to temperature, leave the kitchen to your better half. He will gently add the balls to the oil and fry them, turning as required to achieve consistent colouration – just shy of Steve’s summer tan.
- Lift from pan using a slotted spoon and leave to drain on paper towels.
- Your falafels are now ready to eat.
MOROCCAN CARROT SALAD
- Carrots – grated or thinly sliced using a veggie peeler or mandolin
- Numnees (Sultanas to the rest of the world) – Green and Golden work best
- Orange Juice (freshly squeezed)
- Pinch of ground cinnamon
Mix all ingredients together and leave for at least an hour for the flavours to amalgamate and the numnees to plump up.
- 1 tin chickpeas (drained)
- Vegetable oil
- Lemon juice.(Jif will do – if you don’t have fresh)
With your stick blender wizzy wizzy woo woo the chickpeas with approximately 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil and a teaspoon of lemon juice and enough garlic for your taste (start with one clove initially). Add about 1/4 teaspoon of salt, blitz until smooth adding more oil if the consistency is too thick. Test for flavour and adjust accordingly. (We nearly always add more salt!) Transfer to suitable serving dish (if required and you can be bothered with the extra washing up). A pinch of cayenne on top looks good (we use paprika as we don’t have cayenne!)
This is my adaptation from two recipes found online.
- 250g strong white flour
- 1 sachet dried yeast
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 tsp olive oil
- Warm Water
Mix the flour, yeast and salt together. Add 1 1/2 teaspoons of oil and some of the water and mix the ingredients together using your fingers. Gradually add more water and the additional oil until everything is incorporated and you have a soft dough.
Put a small amount of oil onto your “kneading board”. Place the dough and then knead for 5 to 10 minutes until you have a smooth dough. Put into an oiled bowl and leave until it has doubled in size.
Once doubled in size place dough onto flour-dusted “kneading board” and knock the dough back. Split the dough into 6 equally sized balls.Roll each ball into a round(ish) shape 3-5mm thick.
Get your husband (or other responsible adult) to heat a non stick frying pan to medium-high heat and dry fry each pitta bread for 3-4 minutes on each side until slightly coloured but still soft. To get more colour push the bread down taking care not to puncture it. The breads puff up beautifully!! Keep warm in foil until all pittas are cooked then serve with all the above!!
If you don’t eat them all in one go, they reheat rather nicely under the grill but are just as good cold and nothing like the cardboard ones you buy in the supermarket!!
FALAFEL SCOTCH EGGS
We made the falafel mix as above, boiled (and I am sorry to say hard-boiled – but that is the only way I eat them) eggs and then wrapped them in the falafel mix. I had slightly more mix than I needed so just turned the rest into normal falafels for another day. Once again cooking duties were handed over to the master fryer and after several minutes of occasional turning we ended up with these beauties, which we served with a salad!! Tasty!
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 2 tablespoons chilli powder
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- ½ tsp garlic powder
- ½ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp cumin
- Vegetable stock
Heat the oil, cook out the flour (preferably in an extremely well-ventilated kitchen or have a slightly cooler pan), add remaining dry ingredients (choke) then add stock stirring as it cooks until it reaches the consistency of ketchup. Allow to cool and use as desired (at your own risk!!)
COURGETTE & ONION QUICHE
- 1 Courgette
- 1 Onion
- 1 Egg (Free range from the market – no idea of size but probably medium!)
- 100ml Crème Fraiche
- Sea Salt and Pepper to taste
- Cooking Salt (to extract excess moisture from courgette)
- 8” Pastry Case
Grate courgette into colander, sprinkle approximately one heaped teaspoon of cooking salt (not the decent sea salt) on top, stir and leave over a pot (to collect the water) for as long as you want or have time for (2-3 hours ideal). You can squeeze it occasionally to aid the process. Some may like to use a tea-towel – but only if a washing machine is readily available.
Chop one small onion, add to the now-dry courgette, and mix thoroughly-ish. Beat the egg and crème fraiche together and add to the onion and courgette. Remember to season using decent sea salt. (Chef’s tip: the salt used to extract the water from the courgette isn’t enough to flavour the dish). Steve would also have added pepper, but someone around here doesn’t like it! Pour mixture gently into pre-cooked pastry case and bake in the oven at 180 degrees(ish) until set. If (like us) your oven doesn’t always brown the top of your food, grill for a couple of minutes to get a nice finish.
PEA FRITTERS AND CHIPS
- 1 tin of marrowfat peas (small tin here 1€30)
- Pinch of salt
Combine egg, flour, vinegar and water and mix to a thick batter, leave to rest. (Batter recipe based on a Brian Turner one)
Drain peas thoroughly, then using your right hand (so apparently if you are left-handed you can’t make them – that’s my excuse anyway!!) manipulate the peas until they squelch through your fingers. Then add the required seasoning (salt). Best salt to use is the crappy table salt (none of the fancy sea salt for this recipe). Form pea mixture into neatly shaped, meat ball or cork ball float (for the yachties amongst us) size balls and lightly flour them.
Peel potatoes, then cut into batons approximately 3/8” square (length dependent on potato). Hide under a paper towel so the recipient can’t see what you’re doing.
Using a wok, as this is the only safe boat method for us, add approximately an inch to an inch and a half of oil – must be vegetable, however the purists could use lard or beef dripping – but not on my boat! Heat oil carefully to a temperature that would fry a bread cube to a crisp in minutes. Place hidden potato into said oil and fry for approximately 5 minutes turning frequently to ensure even fry. Remove and place in a position where the recipient can’t see them. Place preformed pea balls into the batter, coat thoroughly then place into the hot oil, turning occasionally to ensure thorough browning on the batter. If you have a deep enough pan, they could be considered done when they float – however on board that is not possible! Once the peas are nearly cooked, carefully return the batoned potatoes to the oil until everything is nicely golden brown. Serve with loads of salt and vinegar (again crappy salt works much better than fancy salt, and the vinegar must be malt vinegar!) No other garnish required. And there we have the southerner’s pea fritter and chips!!!
SMOKED MACKEREL PATE
- Two hot smoked mackerel (you can buy pre-done if you don’t have a smoker or a Frenchman to supply the fish)
- Crème fraiche
- Horseradish (Steve used jarred but you could use fresh)
- Salt and Pepper
- Smoked Paprika
- Lemon Juice
Place the crème fraiche, horseradish, lemon juice, salt, pepper, paprika, and half the fish in a bowl, then wizzy wizzy woo woo (blend). Add the remaining half of the fish, flaked – refrigerate and serve.
BASIC GRATIN TOPPING
Grate 6 inches of stale baguette (much easier if you have a food processor as it protects your fingers!), grate a teaspoon of Parmesan (and cheddar if you like), add dried or fresh herbs of your choice, then make sure you have some extra virgin olive oil for assembly. Amalgamate all ingredients (except the oil) in a suitable container (we use a plastic bag!), mix thoroughly and set aside.
Prepare the fennel bulb, cut into 8 segments length-ways, ensuring the root holds each segment intact. Boil in salted water until stalk is tender, drain, place in a suitable deep sided baking dish, place a small knob of butter on each segment, cover with gratin mixture, drizzle lightly with the virgin olive oil and bake for approximately 20 minutes at 180 deg c (or thereabouts!!) until the topping is golden and piping hot.
Serve as a main dish or accompaniment. I had it with roasted vegetables.
Char the skins of 3 peppers (we use red or yellow for sweetness) using either a handheld blow-torch, gas top burner or grill. Once blackened place in a plastic bag or bowl with cling film over, leave to sweat. Once cool enough to handle, remove as much of the skin as possible. Chef’s tip – don’t rinse under water as the blackened bits add flavour. Cut peppers into strips and place in ovenproof dish (one or two layers is ok). For the darker looking gratin finish on this dish Steve added finely chopped capers and black olives. Place gratin topping over the peppers, drizzle with oil and again bake for about 20 minutes at 180 deg c. Serve as a main dish or accompaniment. I had sweet Marsala carrots (although we didn’t have Marsala so used sweet white wine instead!!)