Saturday, 29 October 2011

Monday, 17 October 2011

Pumpkiny chilli with saffron rice

If you’re holding a Halloween party or heading out to watch some fireworks, it’s nice to make this chilli ahead, spoon into small, scooped out pumpkins and place in a low oven to warm until you’re ready to eat. Make sure that the pumpkins are sitting on trays, just in case they bubble over. Serves 4.


A small piece of root ginger, grated

3 Garlic cloves, chopped

1 Red chilli, chopped (remove seeds if you don’t want it too hot)

1 Star anise

1 Large onion, finely chopped

1tsp Fennel seeds

500g Minced beef

1 Tin of chopped tomatoes

400ml Beef stock

2tsp Paprika

1tsp Ground cumin

1 Tin of kidney beans

A large handful of chopped mushrooms

200g pumpkin, cut into small cubes

Cayenne pepper

Chopped parsley

Feta cheese, to serve


240g Basmati rice

A pinch of saffron strands

1 Soften the ginger, garlic and chilli in a pan with the star anise, then stir in the onion and fennel seeds. After a few minutes add the mince; once it has browned get the mushrooms on the scene.

2 Pour in the chopped tomatoes and stock, then stir in the pumpkin and kidney beans. Season, then finally add the paprika and cumin before simmering for a good 20-25 minutes. If your chilli’s a bit on the mild side sprinkle some Cayenne in for extra fire.

3 To make the saffron rice, first rinse the rice a few times in luke warm water to get rid of some of the starch. Cover the rice in a pan with cold water (so that the level is approximately 1cm above the rice), sprinkle in the saffron and place on a medium heat. Avoid the temptation to stir. When the water has reached a fast bubble, turn down to low for 5 minutes. You’re on the right track if little holes start appearing on the surface of the rice. Kill the heat and put a lid on the pan; fluff the rice occasionally with a fork.

4 Just before serving, stir some chopped parsley into the chilli. Serve with feta cheese crumbled on top.

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Quinces roasted in Pineau des Charentes

Remember the opening credits to Quincy M.E.? A recurrent clip is interspersed throughout episode footage (mostly snippets of Quincy in a blind rage, shouting at someone); we’re led to believe that it shows him inspecting a dead body on a post-mortem table. But wait! The camera zooms out to reveal our hero ‘examining’ a bikini-clad lady’s shoulder on a yacht, moored up in a posh harbour! The cad! They toast a pair of gin & tonics - I swear that hers is laced with anaesthetic snaffled from the lab though. He’s not quite right that Quincy is he?

If you don’t know what I’m talking about, click here

Reader, I apologise. I feel that I’ve lured you here under the pretence of offering warming autumnal sustenance, only to digress with talk of a 1970s American TV series*. Many thanks to the lovely Silvana de Soissons for a bagful of gorgeous Quinces - I plan on making a batch of membrillo with the remaining fruit, but couldn’t resist roasting a few up on Sunday for dessert. It’s really worth trying to track down a bottle of Pineau (to drink as well as to cook with); I had the good fortune to visit the Charente Valley in the summer, but Oddbins stock it. Serves 4.

*Which was never a patch on Columbo, I might add.

4 Quinces, quartered and cored

1 Wine glass of Pineau des Charentes (use port or sherry if you can’t get hold of this)

Zest and juice of 1 orange

4Tbsp Honey

6 Cloves

2 Star anise

1 Cinnamon stick, broken up

Vanilla ice cream, to serve

Heat the oven to 200C/fan 180C/gas 6. Arrange the quinces in a large baking dish, then add the remaining ingredients. Cook in the oven for about an hour, turning the quinces regularly and spooning the juice over the softening fruit. Serve with scoops of vanilla ice cream.

Thursday, 6 October 2011

Chunky root vegetable soup with cheesy pesto toasts

Recipe: James Martin
Prop Styling: Arabella McNie
Food Styling: Lizzie Harris

Shot for BBC Good Food magazine, November 2011

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Mushrooming at Ardanaiseig

For more information on Ardanaiseig hotel visit:

Here's a quick wild mushroom recipe: