Archives for category: British Classics

Nothing beats a weekend afternoon like a roast. Simple prep involved, patient wait while the bird cooks away with occasional tending to and the dinner itself. Incredibly easy to make provided you have an oven and a few herbs and great to try with different varieties and combinations to mix it up. Even though I didn’t grow up with roasts traditionally on Sunday I have thoroughly embraced the British roast culture in other ways. Friends making them, serving them in restaurants, have both taught me perfection to timing and hot plates is the secret. Everything ready at the same time and relaxed in the approach. Slow roasting gives the most wonderful flavour and  I just love the wait as the smell takes over the kitchen in anticipation of a perfectly cooked chicken. Next time you’re out food shopping, pick up a bird, a whole bulb of garlic(or half in my case since it was only a little chicken), lemon, some fresh rosemary, thyme and you’ll have the perfect roast. Accompanied with roast vegetables and some blanched broccoli to provide a little crunch this is a well-balanced treat.

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A quick and easy dish here, pretty winter colours and lovely flavours. Roast chicken breast browned off nicely in a pan, some potatoes simply washed and sliced in half, a handful of cherry tomatos, garlic, rosemary and leek thrown in. A splash of avocado oil and balsamic vinegar and half an hour in the oven make this a perfect dish. The little extras that make this are the whole peppercorns that sweeten in the oven and the fresh rosemary. This is great with a fresh salad or some bread and the light chicken breast makes this a healthy dish that will keep you filled up. I like to use a mix of whole peppercorns usually but RAN out! It tasted just as good but if you have some pretty pink, white or green ones then please go ahead and peppercorn it up.

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Winter = comfort food sometimes and Shepherd’s Pie is a very comforting way to enjoy one’s dinner during these winter months. Shepherd’s Pie is a classic British dish and usually made with ground lamb or beef, it is cooked in onions and herbs and then baked in the oven with fluffy mash crisping at the peaks.  It can be adapted and made with ground pork or chicken or even a tasty vegetarian version with brown lentils or soya mince so don’t shy away if you don’t eat beef or lamb. I have a lot of fresh rosemary at the minute so was liberal with incorporating it into the sauce. This is wonderful after being baked in the oven and it’s nice taking your time making something like this. Sitting back for half an hour while it bakes anticipating the moment you’ll eat it and taste those intensified flavours. Worcestershire sauce is usually added, however if you live somewhere where it is difficult to buy or simply don’t have any you can try a couple of things. A mixture of tamarind, anchovy paste, hot pepper sauce, red wine vinegar and soy sauce is what I made this delight with, or equally good I have found is Okonomiyaki sauce.

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An easy 10 minute recipe my mum said. And after about half an hour not disimilar to a GCSE maths problem the scones were ready to start on and yes they turned out perfectly. The trouble started and usually does for myself and baking with how much of everything I needed. I much prefer cooking to baking, tasting as I go and using my palette to guide what I think should and shouldn’t be added. Baking is more of a science and unless it’s an ‘easy’ recipe I tend to shy away from any complex baking. Two reasons really. The weighing and preparing of ingredients, especially when working with recipes that involves ounces or cups, and all I have is a scale that uses grams, and the amount of butter of sugar that goes into some recipes can freak me out. With cups, a Japanese ‘go’ is slightly smaller than an American ‘cup’ and although I get it doesn’t matter as you just vary the ratio, it does matter when they don’t sell self-raising flour in Japan (except National Azabu apparently) and I have to mix baking powder and regular flour explained in cups! Anyway, thanks to technology and having my unit converter on the iPhone, together with my dashboard widget and a useful Wikipedia guide on cups I was ready to start. Pleas don’t be put off by my complicated intro. These really are easy and turn out perfect. I had some cranberries, blueberries and raisins so thought I would go for a mixed berry version and they even passed the ultimate scone test of being able to be broken in two perfect pieces. Lovely with a cup of tea and next time think I’ll grate some orange rind and with just the cranberries think they’ll make a very festive treat.

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