Perfect strogonoff

We had a wonderful joint of rare roast beef at the weekend and, unusually, there was a fair bit leftover – time for a cheat’s strogonoff for supper! I trimmed my rare beef into thin strips and added them to the sauce at the end so they were warmed through but not cooked further. You can use the recipe to make this leftover beef version or cook it from scratch – either will be delicious and it takes less than 30 minutes to get from chopping board to plate!  Serve with plain boiled rice.


Serves 4

  • 500g sirloin or fillet steak (or leftover rare roast beef)
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 50g butter
  • 2 large shallots, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 300g white or chestnut mushrooms, cut in half or quartered depending on their size
  • 250ml sour cream 
  • 1 tbsp of English mustard
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped parsley
  • 150ml beef stock

To make…

  • Melt half the butter in a wide pan and cook the onions gently until soft and golden and sweet.
  • Meanwhile, if you’re using raw beef, heat the oil in a frying pan until smoking hot, fry the steak for about 1½ minutes on each side until well browned, then set aside. Cut into thin strips before adding to the sauce. The beef needs to be just pink to retain the tenderness.
  • Add the remaining butter to the pan and turn the heat up. Sauté the mushrooms until softened and slightly coloured.
  • Put the cream, stock and mustard in the pan, stir, combine and heat gently. Add the steak strips and warm through for 5 minutes. Season to taste. Add the parsley before serving with plain boiled rice.
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Christmas @PigeonCottage

Christmas KitchenIt’s almost Christmas! Got it all under control? Well, if you need some helpful tips or extra party food ideas, it could be time to visit the Pigeon Cottage archive! #TheFridayRecipe will be back in 2018! Happy holidays!


Sausage rollsPigeon Cottage Xmas party cold table – all the recipes

Pigeon Cottage Kitchen – savoury canapes and party treats

Christmas dinner without the drama – stress-free preparation tips


And, if you’re looking for the perfect Christmas stocking filler gift, why not buy your family and friends a copy of my family recipe collection ‘Whats4teaMum?’ for just £6.99 on amazon.

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Mafalda Corta pasta with parsley pesto and pepper sauce

I’m a big fan of Sainsbury’s ‘Taste the difference’ range of dried pasta and I’ve tried most of the range now. The Italians use specific pasta shapes to work with particular types of sauces and the Mafalda Corta I used for this recipe with its frilled edges is perfect for my fresh parsley pesto and roasted pepper sauce. Fresh parsley is rich in vitamins K and C, so important for winter health to help ward off those misery-making colds, and the roasted peppers bring a little bit of summer flavour and vibrancy to the dish.

Mafalda Corta

Serves 2, takes about 40 minutes

  • 150g dried Mafalda Corta pasta
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • Large bunch of curly parsley, coarsely chopped
  • 30g Parmesan cheese broken into chunks
  • 30g pine nuts
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 pointed red or yellow peppers

To make…

  • Preheat the oven to 200ºC
  • Place the peppers and the garlic on a shallow roasting tray and roast for 30 minutes until the skins are blistered. Set aside to cool. Remove the skin from the peppers and deseed. Halve and cut into strips. Put your serving bowls in the oven to warm in the residual heat once you turn off the oven.
  • Cook the pasta in a pan of boiling salted water according to the packet instructions. It’s usually about 12 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, make the pesto. Add the Parmesan chunks to a mini food processor and whizz for a minute until it forms coarse crumbs. Add the pine nuts and olive oil. Slip the garlic out of its skin and add. Whizz for another 2 minutes. Add the parsley, stalks and all, in stages. Pulse for about 30 seconds each time until it forms a paste. Season with a little sea salt and black pepper. Loosen with a little more olive oil if necessary.
  • Drain the pasta, return it to the pan and toss with the pesto and stir in the pepper strips. Serve in warmed pasta bowls. Delicious!
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Bloody Mary Brisket

I do love a good bloody Mary so when I came across this Jamie Oliver ‘Comfort Food’ recipe for a brisket cooked slowly in bloody Mary mix, I just had to give it a go. I added some beef stock to the sauce (so it’s more of a ‘bloody bull’ really) but pretty much kept to the rest of the recipe. This cooks slowly in the oven for a good six hours or more, so be sure to keep the onions and celery quite chunky so they don’t dissolve into the sauce.  Serve with bitter greens and mash enriched with a couple of tablespoons of creamy horseradish – it’s an absolute must, it really lifts the dish to another level.

Bloody Mary Beef

  • 1kg piece of brisket
  • 1 head of celery, cleaned, trimmed and chopped into large chunks 
  • 3 medium onions, peeled and cut into eight chunks
  • 4 sprigs of fresh rosemary
  • 2 fresh bay leaves
  • juice of a whole lemon
  • 1 500g carton of passata
  • 2 tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 teaspoons of Tabasco
  • 3 tablespoons of vodka
  • 1 tablespoon of port
  • 1 Knorr beef gel stock pot made up with water into 400ml of stock
  • To serve: mashed potatoes with 2 tablespoons of creamed horseradish, steamed kale or purple sprouting broccoli

To make…

  • Preheat the oven to 130°C.
  • Season the brisket with salt and pepper. Place an oven-proof cast-iron casserole on the hob on a high heat, add the oil and then brown the brisket on all sides. Remove the brisket and keep to one side. Add the onion and celery chunks and cook gently until slightly softened.
  • Replace the brisket and nestle it in amongst the vegetables.
  • Pour over the passata, port, vodka, Tabasco, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, beef stock and add the bay and rosemary.
  • Bring it to the boil, cover and cook for 6 hours until tender and falling apart. Check the seasoning before serving; add salt, pepper and more Tabasco to taste. Remove the whole herbs and the brisket string. Pull the meat apart with a fork.
  • Serve with horseradish mash and greens. 
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Baked chicken in harissa sauce

I love this chicken dish, one of those ‘What’s left in the fridge on Friday?’ recipes that just turns out to be a big hit. The yoghurt and rose harissa sauce is rich and spicy a bit like a Middle Eastern curry that goes perfectly with chicken and would probably work well with lamb too. It’s an easy ‘made ahead’ dish, looks impressive and is quite inexpensive to make. If you marinate the chicken overnight, you can have supper on the table in an hour and a half and it can cook away nicely while you get on with something else.

Harissa chicken

  • 2 tablespoons rose harissa paste (I use the Belazu brand – you can buy it at Sainsbury’s #BelazuFeasts)
  • 2 teaspoons of smoked paprika
  • pack or six  (to serve 3) or eight (to serve four) skin-on chicken thighs
  • 3 tablespoons of Greek yoghurt
  • 2 large cloves of garlic – grated
  • A jar of piquillo red peppers or two fresh pointed peppers, roasted
  • 2 medium onions, peeled and sliced
  • 4 medium tomatoes
  • A tablespoon of chopped parsley or coriander
  • 400ml chicken stock
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Basmati rice to serve

To make…

  • In a large mixing bowl, stir the yoghurt, minced garlic, harissa and paprika together. Trim the excess skin on the chicken thighs, add to the yoghurt mix and coat thoroughly. Cover with cling film and leave to marinate in the fridge for a couple of hours or, even better, overnight. Remove from the fridge and let it come up to room temperature for 20 minutes or so before cooking.
  • Preheat the oven to 180°C. If I roast my own peppers, I put them in the oven now for 20 minutes and then skin and deseed them myself – you could use a ready prepped jar of peppers to save time. The peppers are added to the casserole towards the end of the cooking time.
  • Sauté the onions until golden in a tablespoon of olive oil either in a frying pan or straight into a casserole dish. I cooked mine in a large, shallow cast iron casserole dish which makes the dish ‘oven to table’ ready.
  • Add the chicken pieces and all the marinade to the onion mixture. Lay the chicken pieces skin-side up. Add the stock, stir, cover with the casserole lid and cook it in the oven for an hour.
  • After an hour, remove the chicken from the oven and take off the lid. The sauce should be thick and oozy but there will probably be quite a lot of oil on the surface. Tip the casserole slightly so the oil pools, skim off the excess with a soup spoon into a small bowl and discard.
  • Check the sauce for seasoning, add pepper and salt to taste. Cut the tomatoes into quarters and drain the peppers. Tuck them between the chicken pieces into the sauce and put it back into the oven for another 15 minutes. This should heat up the peppers and tomatoes without them disintegrating into the sauce. If you’ve used a shallow casserole like the one in the picture, the skin on the chicken should protrude from the sauce and crisp up a little.
  • Cook the rice. When it’s ready, remove the casserole from the oven and dress with the chopped parsley or coriander. Yum!


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