Stroganoff

We went to the Aldeburgh Food Festival in September and bought some beautiful Red Poll beef steak (a native Suffolk cattle breed) from one of the vendors – we had some of it as a plain steak with salad but there was still a lot left in the freezer so I decided to make this classic bistro dish – beef stroganoff. It’s one of those ’70’s type dishes that has fallen out of favour but it’s so delicious and easy to make, I thought it was worth resurrecting. With prep and cooking, this takes about 40 minutes so it’s a pretty speedy supper for two that tastes simply wonderful. The key is to make it with good quality beef and to cook the onions slowly as that’s where the flavour is. A little lemon juice and finely chopped parsley added at the end cuts the richness of the sauce and adds freshness. Serve as the Russians do with fried potatoes, or with rice or noodles. Rediscover the stroganoff, you won’t be disappointed!

STROGANOFF

Serves 2

  • 350g beef fillet, preferably cut from the tail end
  • 30g unsalted butter
  • 1 level tablespoon of paprika
  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
  • 200g button mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 11/2 tablespoons of light olive oil
  • 150ml soured cream
  • 1 teaspoon of lemon juice
  • 1 small handful of finely chopped fresh parsley
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Rice, noodles or fried potatoes to serve

To make…

  • This doesn’t take long once the onions are cooked – about 25 minutes total. So, put the rice, noodles or fried potatoes on to cook so they’re ready when the stroganoff is.
  • Cut the beef into thin strips across the grain and set aside, slice the onions and mushrooms.
  • Melt the butter with a dash of oil in a large frying pan, add the paprika and the onion and cook slowly until the onions are soft and sweet but not browned – this will take about 15 minutes on a low heat. Add the sliced mushrooms and fry gently for a few minutes. Transfer to a plate – just on one side – and keep warm.
  • Heat the oil in the frying pan until very hot, add the fillet steak in batches and fry quickly (don’t overload the pan or the meat will reduce the temperature of the oil and it won’t fry/brown properly), season and turn for about a minute. Transfer the cooked meat to the clear half of the plate with the onion mixture but don’t mix them up.
  • Return the onion mixture to the pan, pour in the soured cream. Stir, heat and simmer until it thickens slightly. Only add the beef when you’re ready to serve the rice, noodles or potatoes, then stir in the lemon juice and fresh parsley at the end. Serve onto warmed plates, enjoy!

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Smoked haddock kedgeree

If you’ve never been to Pinney’s of Orford smokehouse on the Suffolk coast, make a trip there and you won’t be disappointed. We always stock up on their wonderful undyed smoked haddock just so we can make this beautiful kedgeree. For me, it’s the breakfast of champions but it also makes a perfect brunch, lunch or supper dish that tastes superb; lightly curried rice with smoked haddock, soft-boiled eggs and fresh parsley and coriander – heaven!

Kedgeree

  • 300g undyed smoked haddock fillet, skin on
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 300ml milk
  • 4 eggs
  • handful chopped parsley
  • handful chopped coriander
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 small knob of butter
  • 2 shallots, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 2 tsp curry powder
  • 300g basmati rice
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

To make…

  • Place 4 eggs in a pan, cover with water, bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer. Leave for 5 mins, drain, allow to cool and then peel and cut the eggs into quarters.
  • Heat 2 tbsp vegetable oil and a knob of butter in a large, lidded pan, add the finely chopped shallots, then gently fry for 5 mins until softened but not coloured. Add 1 tsp ground coriander, 1 tsp ground turmeric and 2 tsp curry powder, season with salt, then continue to fry for about 3 minutes until the mix starts to go brown and fragrant.
  • Add the basmati rice and stir thoroughly. Add enough water to sit just above the surface of the rice, stir, then bring to the boil. Cover with a tight lid, take off the heat and leave to stand for 10-15 mins. The rice will be perfectly cooked if you do not lift the lid before the end of the cooking.
  • Meanwhile, poach the smoked haddock fillet with 2 bay leaves and the milk in a frying pan for 10 mins. Remove from the milk, peel away the skin, then flake the flesh.
  • Gently mix the fish, eggs, a handful each of chopped parsley and coriander, and rice together in the pan. Serve warm.

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Roast shoulder of lamb with roasted root vegetables

I love this slow-roasted lamb dish for weekend suppers, it takes very little effort to make and it tastes amazing.  All you need to add is a big bowl of green veg like cabbage or broccoli to serve on the side. You’ll need the biggest roasting dish you can fit in your oven so you can make plenty of this dish because the leftovers are the basis for my delicious Madras shepherd’s pie – chopped lamb and veg in a yummy curry spiced gravy topped with buttery mash.

Roast lamb

Serves 4

  • Large shoulder of lamb joint
  • Carrots – peeled and chopped into chunks at an angle
  • Celeriac – peeled and cut into 16 pieces
  • 3 onions – peeled and quartered
  • 2 leeks – washed and cut into large chunks at an angle
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 6 medium potatoes – peeled and halved
  • Celery – de-strung and cuts into large chunks at an angle
  • 500ml chicken stock
  • Salt and pepper

To make…

  • Preheat the oven to 180°C
  • In a large frying pan on a medium heat place the lamb shoulder skin-side down, brown and render the fat. Sear on each side and put to one side.
  • Sauté the onions and celery in the lamb fat for about 5 minutes, add the carrots and sauté for another 5 or so. Transfer them into a large metal roasting tray.
  • If there’s no fat left in the frying pan, add a little light olive oil and then sauté the celeriac and potatoes for another 5 minutes until lightly coloured on each side. Transfer to the roasting dish and make a bed with all the vegetables. Pour over the hot stock and season lightly.
  • Place the roast shoulder and any juices onto the bed of vegetables.
  • Place in the oven on the middle shelf and leave to roast for 2 hours. The meat should fall off the bone, the vegetables should be soft and sticky.
  • About 20 minutes before you want to serve it, increase the temperature to 200°C to just add some extra colour/crisp to the lamb and potatoes.
  • Remove the lamb and carve into thick slices – it should really fall apart.
  • Transfer the veg and potatoes to a large warm serving plate and add the roast lamb slices everyone can help themselves.

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Balsamic and red wine beef stew

Now there’s an autumnal edge to the weather, it’s only natural to long for some proper comfort food and this rich beef stew in a thick red wine and balsamic vinegar sauce is just the job. I used half shin and half chuck steak for the stew as they each add different flavours and textures. I made a big batch so we could have it for supper one evening with buttery mash and some new season purple sprouting broccoli and I froze the rest for another day – it makes a lovely ragout sauce for pasta sprinkled with plenty of Parmesan. This stew is also one of my favourites because it’s a no-fuss dish that cooks slowly in the oven for a few hours and fills the kitchen with mouthwatering wafts of deliciousness. Enjoy!

Beef in balsamic

  • 1kg each of shin of beef and chuck steak cut into nice large chunks
  • 1 tablespoon of plain flour seasoned with black pepper – a good 20 turns of the mill
  • 3 onions, peeled and sliced
  • 2 tablespoons of light olive oil and a small knob of butter
  • 300ml robust red wine
  • 2 tablespoons of aged balsamic vinegar
  • 2 fresh bay leaves
  • 4 cloves of garlic – crushed (I used black garlic, my new favourite wonder ingredient)
  • 500ml beef stock
  • 1 dessertspoon of tomato purée
  • Sea salt 

To make…

  • Preheat the oven to 160°C
  • Heat the oil and butter in a heavy cast iron casserole dish, add the onions and cook gently for 10 minutes or so, add the garlic and stir for another couple of minutes.
  • Beef in balsamicAdd the beef pieces in the seasoned flour – add in small batches, the meat doesn’t need to be really browned but the flour needs to cook out slightly.
  • Add the wine, balsamic, tomato paste, bay leaves and top up with stock until it barely covers the beef. Bring to a simmer and then cover with the lid, place it in the oven and allow to cook slowly for four hours or so until the meat is tender and the sauce is thick and delicious.
  • I usually take a peek after about 3 hours, give it a stir and check the seasoning at this point. This way you can see if it needs a little salt, how tender the meat is and how the sauce is progressing – it should have reduced a little but the sauce is delicious so don’t let it reduce too much. Everyone’s oven is different and the meat may need a little longer. It’s better to leave more time and then just turn the oven off and leave the casserole until you need it than try to skimp on time. You might want to spoon off some of the excess fat before you bring it to the table.
  • Serve with buttery mash and your favourite green veg.

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Cherry clafoutis

The markets are brimming with fat, juicy black cherries right now. I’d happily eat my own body weight in them just as they are, but I’ve been dying to make this classic dessert from the Limousin region of France too – and try out my new cherry stoner; it’s a brilliant little gadget – £5.99 from amazon. I consulted about 5 different recipes for this dessert but this is pretty much the best one from Larousse Gastronomique (although I added vanilla essence to the batter). Traditionally, the cherries are not stoned as it’s supposed to add to the flavour, however, I think that would make it a bit unpleasant to eat and probably lead to an expensive dental bill if you accidentally chomped into one!

Cherry clafoutis

  • 500g washed, ripe black cherries – stoned
  • 125g plain flour
  • 3 medium eggs, beaten
  • 50g caster sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla essence
  • a pinch of salt

To make…

  • Preheat the oven to 180°C.
  • Lightly butter a baking dish.
  • Stone the cherries and put them into the base of the dish.
  • Make the batter. Mix the flour, sugar and salt together in a basin. Make a well, pour in the eggs and mix thoroughly. Gradually add the milk and vanilla, combine with a balloon whisk until you have a silky batter.
  • Pour over the cherries and bake in the centre of the oven for 35 to 40 minutes. It should rise and turn golden. Leave it for another 5 minutes if necessary.
  • Remove from the oven when it’s ready and allow it to cool.
  • Serve lukewarm dusted with a little icing sugar. Enjoy!

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