Not Fish or Chips

It’s been a while folks. Sorry ’bout that. Here’s a little treat for you, especially the veggie ones of you. Fish Friday fill you with fear? Here’s an alternative that pays homage to the great British classic Fish & Chips, without the fish. Or the chips.

Essentially, what we have here is battered halloumi with a quick & dirty potato rosti and mushy peas. To feed 2-3 you will need:
For the Rosti:
4 Medium potatoes
Salt & pepper
A little oil for frying

Peel the potatoes then grate finely, our ancient but still going steam powered Magimix is great at this, it definitely saves on injuries! If you don’t have a food processor with a grating attachment, we’ll warn you now, it takes elbow grease to grate potatoes.

Once grated, bundle the potato up in a clean tea towel and twist into a ball to squeeze the juice out. Twist in both directions for maximum drying. Random fact: The icky juice that comes out? That’s what Hula Hoops are made of.

Lay another clean tea towel on top of a large baking tray. Spread the grated potato evenly over it, breaking up any clumps as you go and season with salt & pepper. Leave for an hour or so then squeeze the juices out again.

Heat a little oil in a frying pan, shape a handful of potato into a round about 1cm deep, pressing together firmly. We used a small pie/tart tin which was perfect, just use your hands if you don’t or make one large rosti in the pan and do the squeezing down with a spatula while the rosti cooks. Fry lightly on both sides until the outside starts to turn golden. Trasfer to a baking tray and bake at Gas 6 / 200’c for 10 – 15 minutes.

For the Halloumi ‘fish’:

1 Block Halloumi (cut into 1cm thick slices try carefully not to break them)
100g Plain flour
125ml Beer, we used Brewdog’s Punk IPA
A couple of pinches of salt
1/2 tsp Bicarbonate of soda

Everyone has their preferred saucepan for frying things, our weapon of choice is actually a wok. Whatever you use, heat plenty of oil until it is hot enough to turn a cube of bread golden in 40 seconds. While the oil is heating, thouroughly mix the batter ingredients. Once the oil is hot dip the Halloumi slices into the batter and carefully place into the hot oil, frying 2 or 3 slices at a time. Make sure they don’t stick together.

The fish won’t take long, just two minutes or so until the batter is crisp. Remove from the oil when crisp and dry on some kitchen towel. Repeat the process until all of the Halloumi is cooked. Dish up with the rosti and mushy peas.

Note: The beer will make the kitchen smell amazingly hoppy, we recommend having an extra bottle or two on hand to enjoy in liquid form too!


Lightning fast!

If you have a hankering for a zingy and fresh sauce to top off your pasta with you got it. This sauce takes the same time to prepare AND cook as the pasta does to boil. Eat your heart out Jamie Oliver – this is the Ten Minute Tea.

The recipe will make enough red pepper pasta sauce for four.



1 Red pepper, core & pith removed
4 Fresh flavoursome tomatoes (watery ones just won’t do it justice)
1 Red chilli (medium hot), deseeded if you prefer a mild sauce, leave them in for piquant
3 Garlic cloves
Olive oil
Dried Pasta

Fill a large pan with boiling water and add the pasta with a little oil and a sprinkle of salt.

Take all of the ingredients bar the oil and blitz to a pulp. Pour into a saucepan and heat over a medium heat. Don’t allow the sauce to boil, we’re aiming for a hot fresh sauce rather than cooking it down.

Drain the pasta and return to the pan. Pour in the sauce, mix through then serve with a drizzle of oil, a sprinkling of parmesan and a dusting of pepper.

In a tangle

Stovies were first introduced to Courgette Carbonara by a good friend few months ago. It went down a storm with both of us then and has become a regular dish each time a courgette pops up in our organic veg bag. This recipe serves four. You can of course leave out the meat for veggies or leave out the courgette for a traditional Carbonara.

What you need:

1 Courgette, grated
150g Smoked pancetta, diced
1 Small onion, finely chopped
4 Egg yolks, beaten
75g Pecorino or Parmesan, finely grated
Olive oil
Fresh black pepper

Enough pasta for four – spaghetti, linguine or tagliatelle are all good choices

If you pasta is dried get it on the boil before making the sauce.

Drizzle a little oil into a large frying pan and fry the pancetta until cooked but not crispy, add in the onion and keep on the heat until it is soft and clear but has not taken on any colour. Take off the heat and introduce the grated courgette to the pan.

In separate a bowl beat the egg yolks, add in the cheese and season with black pepper.

Once the pasta is cooked fill a mug with some of the cooking water and set aside. Now drain the pasta and add it to the frying pan.

Whilst quickly stirring the eggy mix pour a little of the hot cooking liquor in – about 1/4 of the mug will do. Keep stirring and pour into the pan with the pasta and other tasty bits. The heat from the pasta and cooking liquor will cook the egg but to keep it from scrambling you do need to keep it moving.

If the sauce is looking a little claggy just add in a little more cooking liquor to loosen it up. When the sauce is creamy and glossy it’s ready to eat.

Dish up with another sprinkling of black pepper and if you really want to push the boat out, garlic bread.

Gourd-on Bleu

Hallowe’en has always been a time for dressing up, scaring off the ghoulies and filling up the gap between summer and Christmas. These days though kids go ‘Trick or Treating’ instead of guising and carve pumpkins instead of turnip. Without the prospect or Thanksgiving pumpkin pie to use up the pumpkin afterwards we got to thinking about other things to do with it in the kitchen. We’re also not the kind of folks to pass up any way of including biscuits in our day-to-day diet and the result is this complex tasting yet rustic pasta dish. You can use any type of gourd for this recipe so experiment with pumpkin or any of the weird and wonderful squash out there.

Squash and Amaretti Pappardelle
Recipe serves 4

1 medium Gourd, roughly cut into chunks
Roasted with:
2 Cloves garlic (bashed and peeled)
1 tsp Dried sage
1 tsp Cinnamon
1 tsp Chilli flakes
Salt & pepper
Olive oil

For the pasta:
5 Amaretti biscuits
1 tbs Balsamic vinegar
1 tbs Olive oil
1/4-1/2 a nut of nutmeg
2 Tomatoes, chopped
A handful of fresh sage
1 Red onion, finely sliced
6 slices Parma style ham, cut into small strips
Pecorino cheese

1 large bag Fresh Pappardelle pasta

Cut the gourd in half and remove the seeds. These can be cleaned and roasted in spice, butter and salt to make a yummy snack if you like, but sometimes life is too short to wash seeds…

Slice the flesh into wedges about 1-2 cm thick, drizzle with olive oil and mix with the rest of the roasting ingredients. Spread the wedges out on a roasting sheet and bake in a hot oven (gas 6) for around 30 minutes. When ready they should be soft when you insert a knife and hopefully they will have slightly caught around the edges. Allow to cool slightly then remove the skin and cut into bite-sized pieces.

Place the gourd into a mixing bowl, crush the Amaretti and add these too. This may sound odd but actually pumpkin and Amaretti is a very traditional italian ravioli filling, also, it really does work. Add in the oil, vinegar and tomatoes and mix well.

Start boiling the pasta. The sauce doesn’t take long to finish (3-4 minutes) so bear that in mind when timing the cooking of pasta!

In a large saucepan, fry the onion and ham and in a little oil until the fat has rendered off and the onions are soft. (Those of a vegetarian persuasion just leave out the ham). Add the gourd/biscuit/tomato mix and stir through. The mix needs to be a little wet to help the sauce coat the pasta. Add anything from one spoon to a ladle of pasta water to help loosen it up, depending how wet your gourds are. Once the sauce is piping hot, drain the pasta and add to the pan with chopped fresh sage and a good handful of grated pecorino. Stir well.

Serve with some crunchy bread, a glass of rich red wine and a good helping of cracked black pepper. Enjoy!

Spicy, ricey, nicey.

This is a bit of an all purpose dish, we’ve served it up as a fancy side and for meat free meals in the week. It’s a nice light equivalent the usual heavy, oily curry night but still packed with flavour. This will do more than enough for four as a main, or eight as part of a full on curry feast served with other dishes.

Vegetable Byriani

1 1/2 cups Rice
3 cups Water
A handful of garden peas
1 Onion, diced
1 Green pepper, diced
1 Clove of garlic, chopped
1 inch piece of fresh ginger
A large handful of fresh coriander
A large handful of fresh mint
Vegetable bullion powder
5-6 Cardamon pods
1 tsp Cumin seeds
1 tsp Yellow mustard seed
1 inch piece of cinnamon
2 Bay leaves
2 tsp Curry powder (use your favourite)
A pinch of saffron soaked in 1/2 cup milk

Heat some oil (about a tablespoon) in a pan until smoking. Use a plain, unflavoured oil like groundnut. Chuck in all of the spices apart from the saffron and fry until the seeds start to pop. This is a good way to get proper, burn speckled ‘chefs arms’ to impress your friends with at dinner. When the spices are going raj (sorry, couldn’t help myself) add in the garlic, ginger, onion and pepper. Once these start to colour stir in the rice and peas.

The aromas in your kitchen will be pretty amazing right now, sadly though there is a bit of a wait to eat! Add the water, salt (a couple of generous pinches should do) and about a teaspoon of vegetable stock powder. Bring to the boil and cook for two to three minutes, stirring occasionally. Chop and stir through half of the coriander, reserving the rest to add just before serving. Pour the milky saffron mix over the top but don’t mix it in, cover tightly and reduce the heat to the lowest you can. Cook for 40-50 minutes and do not lift the lid, no matter how tempting it is!

When you are ready to eat stir in the remaining chopped coriander and the chopped mint. Serve with chutneys and the indian bread of your choice. I love puri, the lady likes naan. Cheats tip – order your breads from the takeaway!

No Pain, no gain

It’s been a while since we had a bread recipe, this hearty French classic, Pain Rustique, has been known to beat up weedier loaves. Particularly baguettes, it doesn’t trust baguettes…

400g strong white bread flour
100g rye flour
1 tbsp salt
2 packets instant yeast
2 tbsp rapeseed oil
1 tbsp dried basil (note – oregano and sage work well here too)
300 ml water (or 200ml water/100ml milk for a richer dough)

Mix together all the ingredients. When they are mixed tip the dough out onto a floured surface and knead for 10 minutes or so. The dough will be nice and elastic if you have kneaded it enough.

Cover the dough and set aside in a warm place to rise for two-three hours.

After rising take the dough out onto a floured surface and form into 2 sausage shapes and put on an oiled and floured baking tray. Set aside to rise for one hour.

Preheat your oven to gas 7. Slash the top of the loaves a few times and bake for 25 minutes until nice and golden. Keep an eye on it though, the high heat gives a lovely, thick crust but can catch quickly. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

This loaf is a manly loaf. Lovely toasted with butter, dunked into a stew or with a really strong cheese and some pickle. It favours strong flavours.

Break it down man…

We love pesto and were messing about with the key ingredients one day. We ended up with this which we think turned out to be great! Good as a starter for four or serve with some chunky bread and green salad as a main.

Deconstructed Pesto Pasta:

250g Orzo pasta
200g Toasted pine nuts
Big bunch of basil, roughly torn
2 Cloves of garlic, finely chopped and lightly fried
4 tbsp Cold pressed rapeseed or olive oil
2 tsp Balsamic vinegar
100g Grated pecorino, plus some extra as shavings
 for decorating
Juice of half a lemon

Cook the pasta and allow to cool after draining. You can use any pasta you like really but Orzo works brilliantly – we think it’s the rice sized pieces. Stir through all of the other ingredients saving a few whole basil leaves for decorating along with the pecorino shavings.

Munch away!