Game Terrine

I had this recipe sat in my folder of dishes to try for ages so I just decided to bite the bullet and give it a go. This is my first terrine and I think it turned out quite well. It all held together and it tasted pretty good!

It takes quite a bit of time as the meat needs to marinate and is then cooked the next day, so you need to have a weekend spare, but the results are worth it. I liked the fact that some of the meat is minced and some is chopped so you get a mix of textures.

The recipe calls for ‘mixed game’ so I used a mix of duck and rabbit.

Recipe by John Torode from BBC Good Food

Serves 8.

  • Cals per portion: 329g
  • Carbs per portion: 1g


  • 300g smoked streaky bacon
  • 300g boneless, skinless chicken thigh
  • 500g chicken liver, trimmed
  • 140g mixed game, such as skinless pheasant breast, pigeon or additional duck
  • ½ tbsp chopped garlic
  • 1 tsp ground allspice
  • 1 tsp juniper berry, finely ground
  • 1 tbsp chopped parsley
  • 2 tbsp Armagnac or any other brandy
  • 100ml dry white wine
  • 50ml chicken stock
  • a little butter, for greasing
  • toasts and cornichons, to serve
  1. Carefully cut the duck skin from the duck breast, then very finely chop the skin. Reserve 12 bacon rashers for lining the tin. Cut all the meat and remaining bacon into 1cm pieces, keeping the different meats separate. Put all the best bits to one side.
  2. Reserve the chopped bacon and, from the best bits, reserve 100g chopped chicken, 250g chicken livers, half the mixed game, half the duck and half the duck skin.
  3. Put all the remaining meat and duck skin into a food processor (include any fattier pieces) and blend to a mince. Transfer to a bowl and add the garlic, allspice, juniper berries, parsley, Armagnac or brandy, wine and stock. Mix in the reserved chopped meat and marinate in the fridge overnight.
  4. Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Grease a 1.5-litre loaf tin or terrine mould with butter. Lightly stretch the reserved bacon rashers and use most of them to line the tin or mould, overlapping slightly and leaving plenty of overhang at the top. Pack the meat mixture into the tin, then fold over the bacon overhang and lay the reserved rashers on top.
  5. Cover the terrine with baking parchment, then cover tightly with foil. Put a folded tea towel in a roasting tin and set the terrine on top. Pour enough hot water into the roasting tin to come just below the rim of the terrine tin.
  6. Put in the oven, then reduce heat to 160C/140C fan/gas 3 and bake for 1½ hrs. Take from the oven and leave to cool for 1 hr in the water bath, then remove and leave to cool completely.
  7. Once cool, cut a strip of foil or card to fit the top of the tin, put it on top of the terrine and weigh it down with a few heavy cans. Chill overnight.
  8. Carefully remove the terrine from the tin, wipe off all the jelly and serve in slices with the toasts and cornichons.

Grilled pears with blue cheese and walnuts

I used to HATE blue cheese. Growing up, even the whiff of blue cheese would send me running from the room. Then I met my boyfriend, who loves it.

He  forced me persuaded me to try it again and gradually, I actually came to like it. Now, I absolutely adore it and eat it all the time. It just goes to show, that even if you think you don’t like something, it’s worth tasting it occasionally to make sure that your tastes haven’t changed. I’m not sure this applies to everything though. I keep trying olives with the expectation that one day I’ll find them delicious, but to no avail! They still taste like perfume to me.

Since blue cheese is a fairly new ingredient for me, I’ve been looking for new ways to use it and since I love pears this seemed like the perfect thing to try. It would make a delicious starter for a dinner party, no?

From Delicious Magazine

  • 2 large pears, not too ripe
  • 1 tbsp clear honey
  • 50g creamy blue cheese, such as cornish blue
  • 20g shelled walnut pieces
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180c/fan160c/gas4. Heat a griddle pan over a high heat. Slice the unpeeled pears in half lengthways and scoop out the core. Lower the griddle pan to medium and cook the pears cut side down for 3-5 mins.
  2. Transfer the pears to a roasting tray, cut side up and drizzle with honey. Roast for 10-20 mins until tender. The roasting time will depend on the ripeness and variety of the pears.
  3. Lay a slice of cheese on each pear and roast for 1-2 mins until the cheese melts. Remove, scatter with walnuts and serve.


Pesto pasta, with leeks and peas.

Leek and Pea Pesto Pasta

Incase you’re sick of the rich food you’ve been eating over the past two weeks and fancy something green, this pasta could be the dinner for you.

You might want to make your own pesto for this, but frankly, as it’s New Year’s Day, I just reached for the jar of Aldi’s pesto genovese at the back of the fridge (which is actually the nicest jar of pesto I’ve had!).

  • 175g spaghetti
  • 140g frozen peas
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 large trimmed leeks (about 250g), thinly sliced
  • 1 tbsp basil pesto
  • freshly grated Parmesan (or vegetarian alternative), to serve (optional)
  1. Cook the spaghetti according to pack instructions, adding the peas for the final 2 mins. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a frying pan, add the leeks, then gently cook for about 5 mins until softened. Stir in the pesto and 3 tbsp of the pasta cooking water, then simmer for a few mins.
  2. Drain the pasta and peas, then add to the frying pan, tossing everything together. Divide between 2 warm bowls and sprinkle with a little grated Parmesan, if using.

Buffalo Wings

We recently had a vaguely american themed dinner party and for starters, I served chicken wings. Having searched the web for a few recipes, I decided on following this one from instructables as I liked the idea of steaming and baking them, rather than deep frying them. As well as being healthier, this method also promises a moister wing. Beware though, preparing and steaming batches of wings takes a long time, so prepare ahead and bake later!



  • 1/2 as many whole chicken wings as you’d like to serve
  • Salt and pepper

Buffalo Sauce

  • 3/4 cup hot sauce
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar

Dipping Supplies

  • 4 large carrots
  • 4 pieces of celery

Blue Cheese Dressing

  • 2 1/2 ounces blue cheese
  • 3 tablespoons sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1/4 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • salt and pepper

Prepare the chicken wings by cutting off the wing tips, and then cutting the wing into two by slicing down the joint. If you cut in the right place, you will be able to cut right through the ball/socket. I found it easier to bend the wing back to pop the joint out of place before cutting.

Prepare the steamer by filling a pan with a few inches of water and inserting a steam basket. Steam the chicken wings in batches – 10 minutes each. Don’t crowd the steamer. This means that you’ll need to do more batches, but it’ll be worth it.

When cooked, pat dry with paper towels and leave to cool. It’s important that they are patted dry, so they crisp up properly in the oven.
To cook, place in a hot oven (220C) for 20 minutes on each side, or until they are significantly brown and crispy.
Meanwhile, heat all the sauce ingredients in a pan until fully mixed. Mix all the blue cheese dip ingredients in a bowl. Chop the celery and carrot into sticks.

When the wings are ready, quickly coat them in the mixed sauce and serve immediately, so the wings remain crispy.

These are very spicy, so you’ll need some kind of dip. If you don’t like blue cheese, a sour cream and chive dip would serve nicely!


Smoked Mackerel Paté

I’m a massive paté fan. Huge. My early memories of eating paté were in sandwiches on days out with my mum and later, ordering ‘farmhouse paté’ as a starter for a meal out with my dad when I was about 10 years old. ‘You won’t like it’, he said. Little did he know that since that day, if paté has been on the menu at any restaurant I’ve been to, I’ve ordered it. I bloody love the stuff.

I’d never made a mackerel paté before, and when I saw the recipe for this one it looked so lovely that I thought I’d give it a try. I have to say that I was slightly disappointed. I can’t believe I’m actually going to say this, but it was a little bit too fishy for me. Now, I love fish. I’m a fisherman’s daughter, for crying out loud. I’ve been eating kippers for breakfast all my life – and you can’t get more fishy than that! But this paté was SUPER fishy. So much so that I could only have one cracker’s worth and I could taste it for the rest of the day. Kieran wouldn’t even sit next to me while I ate it – and he loves mackerel paté usually!

Looking about the internet, I can see that a lot of smoked mackerel paté’s use cream cheese, or sour cream which would temper the flavour slightly  – so next time I think I’ll try that instead of using this recipe. However, if you decide you want to make the FISHIEST paté in existence – the recipe is below.

From BBC Good Food

  • 25g unsalted butter , melted
  • zest ½ lemon
  • 160g pack smoked mackerel (split fillets), skinned
  • 1 spring onion , roughly chopped

Tip the melted butter, lemon zest, mackerel and spring onion into a food processor and blend until smooth. Spoon into a ramekin and smooth the top.

Beetroot risotto with sour cream and dill

Beetroot Risotto

I love beetroot – it’s one of my favourite vegetables. It always surprises me when people say that they only ever eat the pickled stuff out of jars, because there really is little better than a freshly boiled or baked beetroot. I used to eat it a lot as a child as part of our usual meat and two veg meal and haven’t really eaten it any other way since, so was intrigued when I saw a recipe for a beetroot risotto.

Isn’t it pretty?

This is a very quick and tasty meal – if you don’t have time to cook up your own beetroot, then you can buy cooked beetroot in most supermarkets which would be absolutely fine here (obviously NOT pickled).

I got the recipe from BBC Good Food again and found this to be a good midweek meal. For people who can’t have a main meal without meat (like Kieran!), this goes well with chicken.

If I made this again I’d be tempted to swap the soured cream and dill for some goats cheese mixed through the risotto. Definitely giving that a go next time!

  • 500g fresh beetroot
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • knob of butter
  • 1 onion , finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove , finely chopped
  • 250g risotto rice
  • 150ml white wine
  • 700ml hot vegetable stock
  • handful grated Parmesan (or vegetarian alternative)
  • 4 tbsp soured cream
  • handful chopped dill
  1. Heat oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas 4. Peel and trim the beetroots (use kitchen gloves if you don’t want your hands to get stained) and cut into large wedges. Place on a large sheet of foil on a baking sheet. Toss with 1 tbsp olive oil, season, then cook for 1 hr until the beets are soft.
  2. Meanwhile, heat the remaining olive oil with the butter in an ovenproof pan with a lid. Tip in the onion and garlic, then cook for 3-5 mins until translucent. Stir in the rice until well coated with the butter and oil. Pour over the white wine, then let the mixture bubble away for 5 mins.
  3. Stir well, then pour over the stock. Stir again, cover and place in the oven. Cook for 15 mins until the rice is soft. Remove the beetroots from the oven. Whizz ¼ of them to make a purée, then chop the remainder into small pieces. Stir most of the Parmesan, the beetroot purée and chopped beetroot through the risotto, then serve with some soured cream dolloped over and the dill and extra Parmesan scattered on top.
Thai Salmon Cakes with Carrot Salad

Thai salmon cakes

Kieran and I have stupidly signed up for a 10k run in the middle of May. Stupid, because I’ve never run half a kilometre in my life, let alone 10! Consequently we’ve been out most nights hitting the pavement trying desperately to get fit in time for the run, which is 10 short weeks away.

I don’t know about you, but the last thing I want after a run is something heavy, or loads of carbs. It makes me feel like I’m undoing all the good work from my run. Thai food is the answer – it’s light, healthy and full of flavour.

The recipe for these is from BBC Good Food. The fishcakes contain no potato, flour, egg – in fact, they only contain 4 ingredients, which means the flavour of the fish really comes through. They go perfectly with the fresh carrot salad. I doubled up the recipe below to turn this into a main course – the below recipe would serve two as a starter. This is a very quick and easy recipe, making it perfect for a midweek meal.

  • 2 skinless salmon fillets , about 300g in total, cut into large chunks
  • 2 tsp Thai red curry paste (get a good one from an oriental store – it makes all the difference!)
  • ½ small bunch coriander
  • groundnut oil
  • 1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp golden caster sugar
  • small chunk ginger , finely grated
  • 2 large carrots , shredded
  • 3 spring onions , shredded lengthways
  • handful coriander leaves
  1. Put the salmon, curry paste and coriander in a food processor. Pulse to a roughly chopped texture. Form into 6 fishcakes and chill while you make the salad.
  2. Mix the rice wine vinegar and sugar until sugar dissolves. Mix in the ginger. Toss all the other ingredients together with the dressing.
  3. Heat the groundnut oil in a non-stick frying pan. Cook the salmon cakes for 2-3 minutes per side until golden and cooked through. Serve with the salad.


Twice Baked Smoked Salmon Soufflés with Salad

Twice Baked Smoked Salmon Soufflés

When looking for a starter for our Christmas day meal, it was important that it had the ‘wow’ factor, but that it was also something that I could prepare easily for four people, preferably ahead of time. This smoked salmon soufflé recipe is perfect. They’re twice baked, which means that you can prepare them almost completely in advance and cook them for 10 minutes in the oven before serving. I made mine almost a week ahead and froze them.

They taste delicious and the smoked salmon means that you feel like you’re having something decadent on Christmas Day. Perfect.

These of course, would be good for any occasion and should not be reserved just for Christmas!

Recipe from BBC Good Food – makes 6.

  1. Put the butter, flour and milk in a pan and cook, stirring over the heat until thickened. Stir in the cheese, in small spoonfuls, and the dill; season to taste, then beat to incorporate.
  2. Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Butter 6 x 150ml soufflé dishes and line the base with baking paper. Stir the egg yolks into the sauce, add the chopped salmon and lemon. Whisk the egg whites until stiff, then carefully fold into the salmon mix. Spoon into the dishes and bake in a tin half-filled with cold water for 15 mins until risen and golden. Cool; don’t worry if they sink.
  3. To freeze, cool completely, then overwrap the dishes with baking paper and foil. They will keep in the freezer for 6 weeks. Thaw for 5 hrs in the fridge.
  4. When ready to serve, very carefully turn the soufflés out of their dishes, peel off the lining paper and place on squares of baking paper. Top with the crème fraîche and bake for 10-15 mins at 200C/180C fan/gas 6 until the soufflés start to puff up. Quickly top each with a frill of salmon and a dill sprig. Serve on their own or with some dressed salad leaves.



Gordon Ramsay’s Basic Hollandaise Sauce

I thought I’d try making my own hollandaise sauce, as I just love it. One of my favourite starters is asparagus, wrapped in parma ham, crisped up in the oven with a good dollop of hollandaise sauce.

And for a first try, I did pretty well!

By the way, I didn’t eat all of that asparagus myself 🙂

Gordon Ramsay’s Basic Hollandaise:

  • 500ml white wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp peppercorns
  • bunch tarragon
  • 3 large free-range egg yolks
  • 200ml melted and skimmed unsalted butter (see below)
  • squeeze lemon juice
  1. Boil the vinegar together with peppercorns and tarragon, reduce by half. Strain and reserve (see  below).
  2. Boil a large pan of water, then reduce to a simmer. Using a large balloon whisk, beat together the yolks and 2 tsp of the reduced wine vinegar in a heatproof bowl that fits snugly over the pan.
  3. Beat vigorously until the mixture forms a foam, but make sure that it doesn’t get too hot. To prevent the sauce from overheating, take it on and off the heat while you whisk, scraping around the sides with a plastic spatula. The aim is to achieve a golden, airy foam (called a sabayon), which forms ribbons when the whisk is lifted.
  4. Whisk in a small ladle of the warmed butter, a little at a time, then return the bowl over a gentle heat to cook a little more. Remove from the heat again and whisk in another ladle of butter. Repeat until all the butter is incorporated and you have a texture as thick as mayonnaise. Finally, whisk in lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste plus a little warm water from the pan if the mixture is too thick.

Melting the butter

Heat a 250g pack chopped butter in a shallow pan. As it foams, scoop off the froth and scum using a small ladle or large metal spoon. Don’t use a slotted spoon or the scum will slip back into the butter. (Don’t waste the froth – it can be used in potatoes or for dressing hot vegetables). You should have around 200ml of warmed butter for the sauce. You can melt the butter in a microwave, but keep it covered as it melts or it will spit. Leave to cool a little before adding to the eggs.

Olive oil hollandaise

Use 200ml of medium flavour olive oil (not extra virgin oil) instead of the butter, and heat until warm. Perfect with roasted vegetables and grilled fish.

Storing reduced wine vinegar

When vinegar has reduced, strain back into the bottle, cool and store as usual.


Salt breaks down the yolks if you add it too early, so season your sauce at the end.

Curdling tips

If the sauce mixture starts to ‘split’ or curdle, immediately scrape the mixture into a clean bowl and whisk in 1 tbsp ice-cold water, then continue whisking in the remaining butter just a ladleful at a time.

Potato and Pea Samosas

I love veggie samosas. There used to be an indian cafe near my old place of work that sold them and since moving, I have missed them. So I decided to make some of my own!

Since my recipe collection is world renowned (or at least, it should be – I’ve got 12 lever arch files full of categorised recipes from various sources!) – my grandad collected a load of indian recipes and factsheets from somewhere and gave them to me.

This recipe involves making your own pastry, though I’m sure this would be just as tasty with shop bought.

  • 2 potatoes
  • 150g frozen peas
  • 1 onion
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 250g flour
  • cooking oil
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 pinch ground nutmeg
  • salt, pepper

Mix the flour, pinch salt, 1 tbsp groundnut oil and 100ml tepid water. Mix with fingertips to make a smooth pastry. Roll into a ball, sprinkle with flour and leave to rest in a cool place for an hour.

Peel the onion and garlic, then chop finely. Peel the potatoes, wash them and cut into very small cubes.

In a heavy based saucepan, heat 2 tbsps of oil. Gently cook the onion, garlic then add the potatoes and peas. Add the spices, salt and pepper, then pour in 100ml boiling water.Cover and cook for 15 minutes to reduce the liquid, then leave to cool.

Roll out the pastry onto a floured surface until thin. Cut into 4 inch squares. Put 1tbsp of the mixture onto each square, moisten the edges of the pastry, then fold to make a triangle.

Heat 300ml in a deep fat fryer to a medium heat. When the oil is hot, carefully put  in the samosas. Cook for 4-5 minutes each side. When golden, remove the samosas and place on kitchen paper to absorb excess fat before serving.