Recipe: Quarter teaspoon Chicken breasts

Ages ago I did a sort of homage to the Marco Pierre-White idea of seasoning cuts of meat with stock cubes. Last week I followed the broad principles of this and came up with this. You could adapt it with different herbs and spices as you like.

Serves 2


2 chicken breasts

1 chicken stock cube

Quarter tsp of dry oregano

Quarter tsp of chilli powder

Quarter tsp of cumin powder

Small sprig of rosemary.

1tbs of vegetable oil


  1. Start by finely chopping up the rosemary leaves. Put them in a bowl with the vegetable oil, chilli powder, cumin, oregano and stock cube.
  2. With your fingers break down the stock cube in the oil until you have a paste.
  3. Cover the chicken breasts with cling film and using a rolling pin or anything heavy beat them until they’re half the thickness they were. Spread the paste all over the chicken breasts, wrap in cling film and leave for at least one hour. All day would be fine so long as it’s in the fridge.
  4. Heat a frying pan over a high heat and cook the breasts for around 5 minutes per side, but double check they’re cooked before serving. No one likes raw chicken!


Recipe: Chorizo & Mascapone Raviolli 

For years and I mean years, I’ve tried to make fresh pasta. For some reason it always goes wrong; I end up throwing my toys out of pram and that attempt ends for that year.

On Saturday, in a moment of bravado I thought I’d give it a go again and this time it  worked. It’s a very rich filling that’ll probably serve eight as a starter and four as a main course.


For the pasta

Half a cup of durum wheat semolina

Half a cup of plain flour

3 large eggs

A pinch of salt

For the filling

4 raw Chorizo sausages

4 cloves of garlic

30g Parmesan 

250g mascarpone cheese

1tsp of oregano flakes

1tbs olive oil

Salt and pepper.


  1. Start by making the pasta. In a bowl put the semolina and plain flour. Make a well in the centre, add the eggs, salt, lightly beat and add the flour. Combine until you have a dough you can kneed. If you need to add extra flour add a pinch at a time.
  2. Kneed the dough until it is smooth. Wrap in cling film and put in the fridge for at least two hours.
  3. To make the filling remove the Chorizo sausage from its casing. Either  run the meat through a mincer or pulse it in a food processor.
  4. Heat the frying pan over a medium/high heat. Add the olive oil, crush the garlic cloves in and fry for a minute. Add the Chorizo and fry for ten minutes. Add the oregano and fry for one more minute. Remove from the heat and let this cool completely. 
  5. When the cooked Chorizo is cold add the mascarpone and mix in throughly. Season with salt and pepper. 
  6. Now, how your roll out your pasta is up to you. I used a pasta machine. However, looking up a video on rolling and shaping pasta is probably a pretty good way to go if you don’t know how. (I’ve watched loads)
  7. I put about of teaspoon of filling in for each ravioli, egg washed the opposite side and folded over before pushing the air out. I then placed the raviolis on a tray dusted with some semolina.
  8. To cook them I place them in boiling water for two minutes and then serve with some melted butter with fresh added fresh herbs like sage, parsley and oregano. 


Recipe: BBQ Chicken Risotto

It’s been ages and I mean ages since I’ve blogged. What can I say? I’m a man that sometimes looses not the interest but the discipline. But the lovely people at the MS Trust have interviewed me about fatherhood and MS and promoted this blog so it was the best reason to get typing. 

So here, a new recipe. It’s very much from the Italian/American school of food.


For the chicken 

2 Chicken Breasts

6tbs of BBQ sauce  

For the risotto

200g arborio or other risotto rice

1 onion

3 cloves of garlic

1 jalapeño seeds removed 

1tsp of paprika

Half a tsp of oregano

1pint of chicken stock

20g finely grated Parmesan

20g butter

1st of BBQ sauce

Salt and pepper

  1. Cut the chicken into chunks. Mix it with the BBQ sauce. Set aside for an hour.
  2. Finely cut up the onion. In a casserole pan melt the butter, add the onion and fry over a medium heat for 10 minutes. Crush the garlic in and add the jalapeño. Cook for a further two minutes.
  3. Add the paprika and oregano and cook for one minute.
  4. Stir in the rice, increase the heat to high and stir constantly for three minutes. 
  5. Add a ladle of two of stock and reduce. Continue to add the stock reducing each time until the rice is tender and creamy.
  6. Whilst the rice is cooking in a hot frying pan fry the chicken off until it’s cooked.
  7. During the final stage of the rice cooking add in the cooked chicken.
  8. Put a small or even large amount of butter in! Then add the Parmesan put a lid on and then let it rest for five minutes before serving. 

Veggie Week: Red pepper, goats cheese, caper and tomato tart

The final recipe of #veggieweek. It involved pastry, something I’m not great with but that didn’t stop me trying no matter how scrappy how it looked in the end.

Makes 6 servings


3 onions

2 red peppers

1 clove of garlic

100ml Tomato sauce

1-2tbs balsamic vinegar

2tbs capers

100g goats cheese

2tbs olive oil

For the pastry

300g plain flour

150g butter

Pinch of salt

2-3 tbs water


  1. Chop the onions into a course dice and deseed the peppers and coursely chop them too. Skin and crush the garlic clove.
  2. In a pan with a lid heat the oil over a medium heat and add the onions. Put the lid on turn the heat to low. Cook for 10 minutes stiring occasionally. Add the peppers and garlic put the lid back on cook for a further 15-20 minutes. 
  3. Remove the lid raise the heat and cook for a further five minutes.
  4. Add the tomato sauce, capers and balsamic vinegar. Season with salt and pepper and cook for one further minute. Remove from the heat and cool completely. 
  5. Start the pastry by mixing the salt and flour together. Add the butter (cut into cubes) and rub into the flour to form a breadcrumb texture.
  6. Add the water slowly mixing in with your hand to form a ball of pastry.
  7. Wrap the pastry in cling fill and chill for 15 minutes.
  8. Heat your oven to 180c fan/200c electric/gas mark 7. Roll the pastry to fill a 26cm/10″ flan dish. Fill the flan dish with grease proof paper. Weigh it down with rice/beans/baking beans and  blind bake for 10/12 minutes. Remove the paper and bake for a further 10 minutes.
  9. Add the filling and bake for 20 minutes.
  10. After 20 minutes add slices of goats cheese over the top and bake for a further 10 minutes.

Veggie Week: Tomato and cheese gnocchi bake

This recipe is all about taking two staples of tomato sauce and cheese sauce and adding gnocchi and turning it into a meal. Nothing simpler. 


200ml my tomato sauce

40g flour

40g butter

Pinch of cayenne powder

1 pint of milk

110g grated vintage cheddar

25g grated Parmesan

300g gnocchi 

Salt & Peeper


  1. Make your tomato sauce. Add 200g gnocchi and warm through for two minutes.
  2. In a separate pan melt the butter. Add the flour and cayenne pepper and stir for two minutes. Remove from the heat and whisk the milk in gradually.
  3. Return to the heat and bring to a vigorous simmer whisking for two minutes until thick. Remove from the heat and add the Parmesan and cheddar and the remaining gnocchi.
  4. In a baking dish put the tomato layer. Add the cheese layer on top. 
  5. Bake in a pre heated oven 180c fan/200c electric/gas Mark 7 for 25-30 minutes.


  • You could obvious add some bacon to the tomato sauce!
  • This is a great kids veggie dish.
  • Chrissy suggested (correctly) that this would benefit from some green vegetables on the side.

Veggie Week: Refried Beans

Refried beans is a pretty simple dish. I’ve no doubt I’ve way over complicated it. However, it was worth it!

It’s useful if you have an electric chopper to get the onion, garlic and chilli really fine.


1 400g tin Kidney Beans

1 400g tin Cannellini Beans

2 tomatoes

1 onion

1 red chilli

2 cloves garlic

2 tbs vegetable oil

Salt & Pepper


  1. Skin and de-seed both of the tomatoes and chop up the remaining flesh. Set aside.
  2. Cut the chilli, garlic and onion very finely.
  3. In a frying pan over a medium heat add the oil and fry the chilli, garlic and onion for seven minutes. Add the tomato flesh and cook for a further two to three minutes. 
  4. Drain any water from the canned beans and add to the frying pan. Mix the beans well into the mixture. Cook for one further minute before mashing the beans with a potato masher and serving.


  • Chrissy and I had ours in wraps with sour cream and pickled jalapeños.

Veggie Week: I forgot the ingredients stir fry 

So, part of doing #veggieweek is about being prepared. Today I screwed that up. I’d put something down on the list of dishes and omitted to check the contents of the fridge. So, on the fly here’s the veggie stirfry I put together tonight.

Serves 2


1 butternut squash

1 onion

4 cloves of garlic

One lump (up to you how much) ginger root

1 yellow pepper

1 red pepper

100g sweet corn

2 tomatoes 

1tsp chilli flakes

300g Amoy Udon thick noodles pre cooked

1tbs oyster sauce

1tbs miren

1tbs soy sauce

Half a teaspoon salt

4tbs vegetable oil


  1. Pre heat your oven to 180c fan/200c electric/gas mark six.
  2. Cut your onion into wedges and the squash into chunks. Put two tablespoons of vegetable oil into a roasting pan and heat in the oven for five minutes. Add the onion and squash and cook for 35-40 minutes until the squash is soft and the onions dark around the edges.
  3. In a pestle and mortar beat the garlic and ginger with salt and beat to a pulp and set aside.
  4. Cut the peppers into small pieces. Remove the seeds from the tomatoes and cut up.
  5. Heat the second two tablespoons of oil in a wok. When hot add the garlic and ginger mix and stirfry for two minutes. Add all the other vegetables including the squash and onions and stirfry for a further two minutes. Add the chilli flakes.
  6. Add the oyster sauce, miran, soy sauce and noodles. Cook for a further two minutes and serve.


  • You can of course add any vegetables.
  • A handful of finely chopped coriander would add a great freshness.
  • Ramp up the chilli flakes as much as you like!

Veggie Week: A Simple Vegetable Curry 

So here we go again with my second Veggie Week. The idea is simple, no meat for a week and hopefully a whole host of vegetarian recipes.

To start a vegetable curry. Now this was not a planned start rather more nescesity. I’ve got the shopping coming on Friday and a limited larder. But a curry is a great way of using up those leftover sad looking vegetables. 

Serves 2


5 cloves of garlic

A chunk (you decide how big) of ginger

Half a head of cauliflower 

Half a head of broccoli 

200g green beans

3 tomatoes 

Half a teaspoon of turmeric 

Half a teaspoon of chilli powder

Heaped teaspoon of coriander powder

5 green cardamom pods

1 teaspoon of fennel seeds

3 tablespoons vegetable oil 


  1. Start by cutting up you cauliflower and broccoli into florets. Trim the beans and half them. Set aside.
  2. Slice the onion and set aside. Blitz the garlic and ginger with a splash of water in a food processor and set aside. 
  3. In a wok or casserole pan heat the oil and add the cardamom pods and fennel seeds. Cook for one minute and then add the onion. Fry for five to seven minutes.
  4. Add the garlic and ginger mix and fry until all the water has evaporated. Wash your food processor out and blitz the tomatoes and set aside.
  5. Add the turmeric, chilli and coriander power and fry constantly stiring for one minute. 
  6. Add the blitzed tomatoes and cook over a medium heat for 15-20 minutes or until the oil appears around the edge of the pan.
  7. Steam the cauliflower, broccoli and beans for 8-10 minutes and add to the curry sauce you’ve made. Stir in and cook for a further two minutes then serve.


  • There is of course no limit on the amount or type of vegetables you can add to this curry. Go with what you have.
  • I used fennel seeds and green cardamom pods at the start for lighter notes than using say black cardamom pods and mustard seeds that give more earthy notes.
  • Whilst I’ve cooked this as a main course you could cook it as a side dish.

Travelodge: They changed!

It’s been a few weeks of intense hassling from me. Multiple emails to Travelodge’s CEO. A letter from the MP for Ludlow to the CEO. Then last Friday having dug out the email address of the Head of Customer Experience and added her to the copy list things moved. She came out of a meeting with the CEO yesterday and bingo. Travelodge can now add that extra bed into an accessible room to make it suitable for a family of three. They’re supplying breakfast and not charging us anything.

It’s excellent they came round in the end. But equally so frustrating that it took so much hassling and a normal complaints route would not have worked; this involved going to the top of the shop.