Arford Cooks

Easy recipes from Apple Tree

Category: Main courses (page 1 of 11)

Best DIY Pizza

This makes four small or three generous pizzas.

  • 7g sachet dried yeast
  • 2 tsp caster sugar
  • 325ml lukewarm water (warm enough to wash in)

Mix together in a jug and leave for a few minutes

  • 400g strong white flour
  • 0.5 tsp salt

Stir to mix then mix in with the yeasty liquid. Either do this in a food processor and run the motor for 60 seconds or knead by hand for ten minutes.

Shape into a ball, smear with oil and place in a large warm bowl. Cover in oiled clingfilm and leave in a warm place like your airing cupboard for an hour or until double in size.

Take out all the shelves from your oven. Heat your oven to as hot as possible, 250degC.

Knock back the dough and break into three or four equal lumps. Dust a work surface with flour and roll/stretch into discs about 0.5cm thick. Take squares of foil, oil them (this is important) and lay the pizzas on them.

  • Top quality passata or homemade tomato sauce

Spread thinly over the pizzas. Add

  • toppings of choice (ham, prawns, anchovies, sliced pepperoni; or if you want vegan stick to sauted mushroom, olives, sliced antipasto artichoke, basil leaves, sliced pepper, sliced onion, etc.)
  • Top with sliced or grated mozzarella cheese or vegan cheese.

Now for the clever bit. Slide the foil carrying your pizza onto the oven shelves. Put the shelves back in the oven and cook for ten minutes. If they look done they are done!



Falafel (reliable recipe!)

I have tried several recipes and not all of them work. This one does! It needs a bit of preparation but it’s well worth it. Here are quantities to make a generous pile to feed four.

  • 225g dried chickpeas

Either soak overnight, or cook for 5 minutes in your Instant Pot and leave for a further hour in the water.

  • Optional – 1 small onion
  • Bunch of parsley leaves
  • 2 garlic loves
  • 1 tbs chickpea/gram flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 0.5tsp ground coriander
  • Pinch cayenne pepper
  • Black pepper

Put these and the drained chickpeas in a food processor with about 50ml water. Process to a coarse paste. Add a spash more water if necessary. Cover and refrigerate for about an hour.

Make little balls 2-3cm in diameter – you will make about 20 with this batch. A small icecream scoop is useful. Heat a pan full of oil to about 160degC and shallow fry the balls in batches. You may need to flip them halfway through cooking if your oil isn’t deep. They are cooked when the outside goes brown and crispy. Drain on kitchen paper and keep warm until ready to serve.

The best seafood chowder

This is even better if you make your own fish stock from the frames of white fish. This recipe is for a substantial soup for four people. We upped the quantities of the solid ingredients and it became a main meal for three. Use a variety of seafood: 350g serves four. We used a salmon fillet, two whiting fillets, a smoked pouting, a handful of prawns, a handful of frozen mussel and a few frozen clams. The inclusion of some smoked fish makes all the difference.

  • 4 rashers of bacon
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1tbs oil

Heat the oil in a deep pan and fry the bacon and onion until the onion is transparent and the bacon looks cooked.

  • 1-2 tbs plain flour

Stir in. Use more if you like a thicker soup, less if not.

  • 600ml fish stock (use a cube if you don’t have your own)
  • 250g new potatoes, quartered

Add to your pan, cover and simmer 15 minutes until the potatoes are cooked.

  • 300ml milk
  • Pinch of ground mace
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper
  • Mixed fish fillets cut into chunks

Bring to the boil and simmer for four minutes.

  • Shellfish, prawns
  • 4 tbs cream

Simmer for another minute. Serve in deep bowls garnished with chopped parsley and with crusty bread on the side. You may need to adjust the seasoning depending on the seasoning in your stock and smoked fish. This was rated 10/10 in a recent family meal.

Beef in Guiness Casserole

This is the Instant Pot version, for six portions.

  • 1 large onion
  • 2 carrots
  • 1 celery stick

Chop the onion roughly. Slice the carrots and celery thickly. Switch the Instant Pot to Saute. Add a tablespoon of oil and fry the vegetables in the pot. You could add a few quartered mushrooms if you wish. When the onion is looking transluscent, add

  • 3 packs (750g) cubed casserole/stewing beef

Continue to fry until the beef colours. Stir it around and add a bit more oil if the meat is very lean. Add

  • 1-2 tablespoons of plain flour

Stir around until it is absorbed. Add

  • 1 can or bottle Guiness (330ml)

Stir about and bit. Add a

  • Bay leaf
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme or a pinch of dried thyme
  • salt, pepper

Turn the Instant Pot to Meat and set for 40 minutes. Put the lid on, turn the pressure valve to Seal and wait. Allow to depressurise naturally at the end of the cooking time (another 15 minutes). Take the lid off and the meat should be nice and tender. If the liquid is too runny or you like a thicker gravy, add a teaspoon or two of cornflour dissolved in a dash of water, stir it in and switch the Instant Pot to Saute again to heat through and thicken the gravy.

Crumble-topped Fish Pie

This is from Mary Berry. You can use any combo of white fish, or a combo including salmon or smoked fish. I like to add prawns and hard-boiled egg too. Here’s how to make a very generous pie for two. Firstly make your sauce base:

  • 25g butter
  • 25g plain flour

Melt the butter in a sucepan and stir in the flour. Heat a bit more then add

  • 250ml milk

Heat and stir until the milk thickens to a sauce. Add

  • 2 tbs mayonnaise
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp chopped dill
  • 1 tsp chopped chives or parseley
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • 25g cheddar cheese grated

Mix well. If you have raw fish in your mix :

  • 250g fish pieces

Add to the sauce and continue cooking for a couple of minutes. If it is cooked fish then go straight on without needing to cook the raw fish in the sauce. Add:

  • Handful of cooked prawns
  • season with salt and pepper

Now put

  • 2 hard-boiled eggs, quartered

in a pie dish, and then pour over the fish and sauce mix. Now make the topping:

  • 100g fresh breadcrumbs
  • 50g butter, melted
  • 30g porrige oats
  • 1 tsp chopped chives or parsley
  • 1 tsp chopped dill
  • 25g cheddar cheese grated

Mix in a bowl until it looks even and crumbly. Sprinkle over the pie mix to make a crumbly topping. Bake in a pre-heated oven 180C Fan/200C conventional for about 25 minutes until it is bubbling and crispy brown on top (like the picture). Serve with a green veg.

Beer Mac’n’Cheese

The American classic. This is for two people as a main course, easy to scale up or down. It can also be served as a side like in American diners.

  • 10g butter or substitute
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed and chopped

Heat the butter in a flameproof pan (like a le Creuset casserole dish and gently fry the garlic

  • 50g spinach

Add to the pad and wilt

  • 400ml milk
  • 200ml pale ale
  • 170g macaroni, penne or curly pasta

Add to the pan, bring to the boil and simmer 20 minutes

  • 150g mozzerella cheese sliced
  • 100g cheddar cheese grated
  • 1 tsp cornflour in a little milk

Add to the pan and stir to thicken. Keep heating gently to melt the cheese. Place under a grill to brown the top if you like. Serve with crispy bacon!

Slow-cooked shoulder of lamb

This requires making a marinade, marinading overnight then cooking low and slow, so get yourself organised the day before! For half a shoulder, just halve the marinade.

For the marinade:

  • 1 small onion or shallot
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 4 cherry tomatoes
  • 2 anchovies or a glug of anchovy essence
  • half tsp cumin seeds
  • half tsp coriander seeds
  • half tsp pepper cords, pink if possible
  • 2 tbs fresh rosemary leaves
  • 1 thyme sprig, leaves only
  • 1 small bunch of mint
  • 70ml white wine
  • 4 tbs olive oil
  • 1 tbs brown sugar
  • zest and juice of one lemon
  • Shoulder of lamb

Zap the lot with a stick blender.  Now stab your lamb with a sharp knife all over, then place in a roasting tin. Slather over the marinade. Cover in clingfilm and leave overnight or a minimum of three hours in a cool place.

Take the lamb out of the fridge and allow to come to room temperature for an hour.

Heat the oven to 160C or 140C for a fan oven.

  • 2 large onions sliced thickly

Put the onions under the lamb. Take the clingfilm off and make a tent of foil over the lamb. Seal the edges well and make sure the tent has a dip before going over the edge or the steam hitting the foil from underneath may run out of the edge. Cook for 3-4 hours for a half shoulder, 5-6 hours for a whole shoulder. As long as the temperature is low enough, longer is fine. Have a peek now and again, baste the meat and add a splash or water if it is drying out.

At the end of the cooking time let the lamb rest for 15 minutes before carving. Actually, pulling apart rather than carving. You can make an awesome sauce with what is in the tin. Carefully pour off the rendered fat, add a spoon or two of flour and heat on the top of the stove, stirring gently. Add 350ml beef or lamb stock, and stir until it thickens.

Serve with a grematola made of lemon zest, finely chopped garlic and chopped mint.

Prawn Pasta

Very quick and tasty. For two people:

  • 170gm pasta of your choice

Get it boiling according to the packet instructions. Meanwhile…

  • dash of olive oil
  • Half a chilli deseeded and sliced
  • 1 garlic clove sliced

Add to a frying pan and saute gently for 3 minutes.

  • 100g chorizo, sliced (or bacon, or salami)
  • half tsp fennel seeds

Add to the pan, fry for one minute

  • 150gm cherry tomatoes, halved

Add to the pan, cover and simmer for 8 minutes. Keep an eye on the liquid, if it dries out add a splash of water.

  • 150gm raw prawns

Add to the pan, fry until pink (about two minutes)

  • Juice of half a lemon
  • Chopped parseley

Add to the pan, stir in. Adjust any seasoning. The pasta should be done by now. Drain the pasta, stir into the sauce and serve.

 

Hot Smoked Salmon

If you have a smoker, all good. If not, make one!

You will need a small side or half side of salmon, skin on.

Make about 1 litre of brine – see my Boat-Angling site for the instructions and recipe.

Brine the salmon for 30 minutes.

Pat dry and fan-dry in a cold oven for an hour, or leave in a cool airy place until a pellicle forms – the flesh surface will harden.

Hot smoke for 30 minutes over a high heat. If you have a very thick piece or the heat isn’t high enough you can give it 40 minutes.

Cool and serve.

You can make an awesome salmon pate in the same way as smoked makerel pate.

Prawn, squash and coconut curry

This is a very liquid stew really, so get ready with bowls and spoons! This is for four people, easily halved. There might seem a lot of ingredients but it is a quick and easy dish once everything is prepared.

  • 1 onion, halved then sliced
  • 1 tbs oil

Heat the oil in a large frying pan and gently ccok the onion until soft and golden

  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed and chopped
  • 2 red chillis, deseeded and sliced
  • 3cm of ginger, grated

Add to the pan and cook two minutes

  • 400ml can coconut milk
  • 750ml chicken or fish stock

Add to the pan and bring to a very gently simmer. Don’t let it boil or it will go curdly.

  • 350g squash or pumpkin, cubed
  • 150g new potatoes, halved or quartered

Add to the liquid and simmer until cooked 915-20 minutes). Watch it doesn’t boil away, you may ned to partially cover with a lid. If you want to thicken the stew you can mack some of the squack/pumpkin.

  • 400g prawns, raw preferably or or cooked
  • 300g baby spinach

Add to the pan and cook until the prawns are pink and the spinach wilted (about three minutes)

  • Juice of 1 lime
  • .5tbs golden caster sugar
  • 1tbs fish sauce

Add to your stew and stir. If it is not salty enough add more fish sauce.

  • Coriander leaves, chopped
  • red chilli, sliced

Serve into bowls and top with the coriander and chilli. You could serve with more lime wedges. This is fairly substantial already but you could serve with jasmine or basmati rice to help soak up the juices.

Alternatives (you will need to adjust cooking times):

Fish balls, salmon pieces, shellfish mix instead of prawn.

Green beans, peas, sugar snap peas, baby corn instead of spinach

 

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