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Chicken and Sausage Pie

2 chicken breasts, chopped
1 cup garden peas
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tsp Herbes de Provence
olive oil
2 oz butter
3 tbs flour
chicken stock or veggie stock granules
6 good pork sausages, skinned
2 slices bacon, finely chopped
Ready rolled short crust pastry or make your own if you have time. I used the Food Processor recipe as it is so easy.

Line a greased pie tin with the pastry.
Prick the base all over with a fork and bake blind for 15 minutes. (
Take the base out of the oven so it can cool.
Roll out the rest of the pastry to make the lid, or cut into strips to make a lattice.

Cook the chicken in the olive oil until it starts to change colour.
Add in the herbs and the garlic, cook gently for 5 minutes so that the flavours infuse.
Add in the frozen peas. Continue to cook on a very low heat.

Meanwhile melt the butter in a saucepan.
Add the flour, stir to mix well, cook over a low heat for 5 minutes.
Add in any juices out of the chicken pan. Mix well, it may go lumpy, just keep stirring.
Add in enough milk to make a smooth, thick sauce, about the consistency of Greek yoghurt.
I added in 1 tsp chicken stock powder too.
TASTE THE SAUCE. You may need to add salt, or you may not. I didn't.
Stir that sauce into the chicken. Leave to cool.
Fry off the bacon until cooked, then mix that well into the skinned sausage meat. Leave to cool.

Pile in the chicken mixture to the pie base.
Blob the sausage and bacon mixture all over the chicken.
I added a lattice top but you can just add a regular pie crust here.
Brush edges of pie base with beaten egg, lay over second pie circle and press down to stick the top to the base.
Brush with beaten egg and cut a slit in the top to let out the steam.
Bake for 40 minutes until the top is golden brown.

Notes: next time I will only use 3 sausages, and no bacon, so that the sausage/pork doesn't overpower the chicken too much.


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Caribbean Lamb and Pumpkin Curry

This was inspired by wandering around in the Surrey Street market in Croydon. We hit a food festival at the same time so there was so much to choose from. When I spotted the bunches of properly fresh thyme, right next to th garlic, ginger and white skinned pumpkin, that decided it.

2 large lamb leg steaks
1 large piece of lamb neck fillet
1 slice of white skinned, orange flesh pumpkin
1 large white onion
1 bunch spring onions
4 cloves garlic
Slice of creamed coconut about 1'' wide
1 pint chicken stock
1 tbs tomato puree

1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp fresh grated nutmeg
1 tsp grated ginger
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 small sprig of thyme

Take off any overly fatty or stringy bits from the meat and cut into cubes.
Brown off in a very hot pan and set aside in a bowl.
Chop the onions and spring onions finely, along with the garlic.
Stir fry gently in a mix of oil and butter until softened but not browned then add in all the spices and cook over a low heat for about 15 minutes.
Remove the thyme twigs!
Add in the chicken stock, then the lamb plus any juices that have collected in the bowl.
Pop in the pumpkin chunks mix well then leave to simmer for an hour, or until the pumpkin is tender.
Stir in 1 tbs tomato puree and the creamed coconut then leave to simmer - uncovered - while you cook some plain rice.
The lamb mix should thicken up as the coconut melts into it. Some of the pumpkin may dissolve, but that is fine.
Serve over plain rice.
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Ricotta Cheese Bread

Okay. The honey ricotta bread is an ongoing one as I messed it up by forgetting an ingredient. Oops. I still had ricotta to use up so I found a recipe for cottage cheese bread by a friend of mine and just subbed the ricotta in that.

This is the recipe as I was given it.

Collapse ).

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Fried Plantain

Man this was easy.

1 plantain, the darker it is the more ripe and sweet it is.
1 tsp butter
2 tbs vegetable oil

Peel the plantain and cut into 1cm thick diagonal slices.
Heat the butter and the oil together.
When foaming add the plantain and fry on one side until dark golden, then turn and do the other side.
WATCH THE SLICES as they will burn fast.
When dark gold on both sides serve!
Very good cold with a sprinkle of salt.

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Caribbean Inspired Lamb

8 Lamb chops (with decent fat)
1 x 1" cube ginger, grated
2 fat cloves garlic
1/2 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp nutmeg
2 tbs Reggae Reggae sauce (or any jerk sauce) or more if you want it hotter
1 tsp fresh lemon thyme

Wash the lamb, removing any bone chips. Put in a bowl and douse with the lime juice.

Crush the garlic, ginger and thyme in a pestle and mortar until they form a paste.

Add in the sauce, allspice and nutmeg, mix well and then mix in 3 tbs vegetable oil.

Pour the mix over the chops and leave to marinate for at least 1/2 an hour.

Grill slowly in a pan with a rack until the meat is done and the fat is crisped.

Served with new potatoes, slow roasted tomatoes and fried plantain.

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Chickpea Falafel - Weight Watchers

1 tsp olive oil
1 small onion finely chopped
1 garlic clove crushed
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp chilli flakes
424g/15oz can chick peas, drained
1 egg
25g/1oz wholemeal breadcrumbs
3 tbs fresh chopped parsley

Heat olive oil in a pan and gently fry onions and garlic until soft.
Stir in the ground coriander, cumin and chilli.
Cook for 1 minute, remove from heat then add to the chick peas.
Mash or blend the chickpea mixture together with the egg, breadcrumbs, seasonings and parsley.
Blend until well mixed then shape into small balls and place on an oiled baking tray. (we used greased foil to line)
Bake at Gas 5/190C/375F for 20 minutes.
Eat with pitta bread and salad.

150ml/1/4 pt natural yoghurt
2 tbs mint jelly or 1 tbs mint sauce
175g/6oz cucumber finely diced

Mix all the above together. We added 1 clove of crushed garlic as well.

Total WW points per recipe: 13
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Lincolnshire Plum Loaf - variation on a theme

450g (1lb) Strong Wholemeal Bread Flour (I didn't have enough white, so just used the white for kneading)
225g (8oz) Prunes, cut into small pieces
100g (4oz) Sultanas (Golden raisins)
115ml (4fl oz) Milk, warm
110g (4oz) Butter, melted
4 tbsp brown Sugar
15g (½oz) Easy-blend Yeast
2 Eggs, lightly beaten
1 tsp Ground Cinnamon
1 tsp Mixed Spice
1 tsp Ground Allspice
1 pinch Salt

Soak all the fruit for at least an hour or overnight in black tea then drain well.
Mix milk, sugar, butter, yeast, beaten egg, salt, and spices.
Add all the flour. Mix well.
Then add in the drained fruit and mix that in. I used a mixer with a dough hook as it was too much for my hands otherwise.
Turn out onto floured surface and knead till smooth and elastic. You may need to add more flour! It is very sticky.
Place in greased bowl, cover.
Allow to stand in a warm place until doubled in volume.
Knock back, divide the dough in two, place into two 450g (1lb) greased and lined loaf tins.
OR put into a 2lb loaf tin, lined and greased, which is what I had.
Leave for 10 minutes to half an hour so it rises again. Mine just peeped over the top of the pan.
Pre-heat oven to 190°C; 170°C fan oven; 375 F; Gas 5
Bake on a preheated baking sheet for 40-50 minutes.
Remove from the tins. If a tap on the base sounds hollow it is done.
Return it to the oven for 5 minutes if need be.

Close up to show you what the crumb is like.

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Lincolnshire Plum Bread

I may have a guest tomorrow, so I'm getting this started now. This recipe doesn't say to, but other recipes say to soak the fruit in tea overnight, so that is what I am doing. Well, for a good few hours anyway.

450g (1lb) Strong White Bread Flour
225g (8oz) Prunes, cut into small pieces
115ml (4fl oz) Milk, warm
110g (4oz) Butter, melted
4 tbsp Sugar
50g (2oz) Currants
50g (2oz) Sultanas
15g (½oz) Easy-blend Yeast
2 Eggs, lightly beaten
1 tsp Ground Cinnamon
1 tsp Ground Allspice
1 pinch Salt

Mix milk, sugar, butter, yeast, beaten egg, salt, and spices.
Add the flour, beating until smooth to make soft pliable dough.
Turn out onto floured surface and knead till smooth and elastic.
Place in greased bowl, cover.
Allow to stand in a warm place until doubled in volume.
Knock back and knead briefly, adding the dried fruits, ensuring they are evenly distributed.
Divide the dough in two, place into two 450g (1lb) greased and lined loaf tins.
Cover and leave in a warm room to rise until doubled in size.
Pre-heat oven to 190°C; 170°C fan oven; 375 F; Gas 5
Bake on a preheated baking sheet for 40-50 minutes.
Remove the loaves from the tins.
Return them to the oven for 5-10 minutes, or until when tapped on the base they sound hollow.

Pictures to follow if it comes out right!

It is in the bowl, having been set to rise.

EDIT: If you use the fruit soaked in tea, I'd say use an extra 1/4 lb of flour as the dough ends up very sticky otherwise. I added in at least 4 handfuls of flour while I was kneading the dough.
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Fresh Tomato Tart

Not bad. Easy to make, definitely but mozzarella - real mozzarella - simply has too much water in it. Next time I will use a goat cheese for the cheese layer I think, or that 'pizza' mozzarella, or maybe pecorino but NOT the mozzarella that is stored in liquid. The tart shell was brimming with watery juice. Not from the tomatoes as I imagined but from the cheese.
I put it under the grill (hence the rather brown crust) to reduce the moisture and then managed to get rid of the rest of it with paper towels Not doing that again.

The recipe said it has a 'brilliant green' shell. I did put more basil in than the recipe said but even still, no. Not a brilliant green!

So. Here it is. (recipe was here:

I would add perhaps a touch of grated parmesan to the pastry and use thinly sliced pecorino for the cheese layer.