Sausage and Potato Pie



You need the following:

Goodish quality sausages…Wall’s and Richmond’s won’t do it, but neither will Weight-Watchers…just keep the fat content at under 20%.

Onion, sliced thinly.

Potatoes. Two types, some small new ones peeled, some larger ones …. about apple sized, also peeled.

Bisto beef gravy granules, Low salt…the blue top.

Puff pastry, a chilled roll.

Kettle of boiling water

Peel the skin or casing from the sausages with the tip of a small sharp knife and gently fry them whole with the onions. When cooked through allow to cool before cutting into three or four pieces and set aside. But add a good slug of the boiling water  to the browned onions in the pan and add enough gravy granules to make a really thick paste…thick as peanut butter! Allow to cool.


Meanwhile cook the peeled potatoes gently but thoroughly. Allow to cool.

Spread the cooled onion gravy paste into the bottom of a pie dish, add the larger potatoes after slicing them. Follow with a layer of sausage pieces and finish with the small new potatoes pushing them in to fill all the gaps. Squash it all down gently and then add a little cold water until; you are an inch from the pie dish rim.

You can egg-wash the pastry for appearances, or maybe roll it out to twice the original size and add some grated mild cheddar and mixed herbs, folding and rolling a few times before covering the pie.


Cover with puff pastry and cook at 200 degrees C, Gas Mark 6 for about 50 minutes. Test it’s hot in the middle by inserting a skewer, counting to ten and then pulling it out and feeling the temperature…or you might have meat thermometer? Look for at least 80 degrees C.

Variation: Add a small tin of Baked Beans and their juice last to the pie, just before the pastry goes on.



009Massive thick ‘pie’ pizza in the Chicago tradition but made with a focaccia dough to make it lighter.

You need a ‘ciabatta’ style bread dry mix, warm water and olive oil. I used a Wright’s one…just 75p in Sainsbury ( Oct 2017) but I used a whole tablespoon of olive oil and stopped at 300ml of warm water..the flour couldn’t take the 350ml they suggested. I kneaded it, left it in an oiled bowl, covered, in the airing cupboard for 4 hours and then ‘knocked it back’ with the back of my hand and spread it into a tray lined with parchment and a LOT of olive oil…I used the oil left over from some Tesco sun-dried tomatoes. Pushing the sticky dough out was hard…I used two oiled brushes to get it to the edges……006

Then it’s  the cheese ……. lots of mozzarella, especially at the edges and maybe some grated mild cheddar there too to go crispy how they like it in the Mo-Town. I used home made pork mini meat balls, diced tomato, diced ham, chicken pieces, mushrooms, pepperoni, green pepper and onion strips and some chillies.



Only at the very end of the toppings do you add just a little tomato sauce splashed about.



Ready for the very hot oven…….220 Degrees C…more if you’ve got it! It may take 20 minutes..maybe only 15…don’t forget to peel away the greaseproof paper……Rest for a few minutes to firm before cutting. This stuff is VERY VERY filling!!! Maybe not the nicest pizza cold or re-heated..get it while it’s hot!



That’s a mighty ‘zza!!!!

Salad Niçoise

Salad Niçoise2

This simple cold salad has a few ingredients that make it a whole meal in itself, not a side dish.

Good quality tinned tuna like Albacore in extra virgin olive oil

Cooked and chilled extra fine French beans

Black olives.  The real Provençale black olives are just unobtainable in the UK…just use a packet of convenience ones, ….but you could dust them in olive oil and a finely rubbed pinch of Herbes de Provençe.

Anchovy fillets, preferably those marinated in olive oil, garlic and herbs.

A large hard-boiled egg, cut into two halves.

Salad leaves

Tomato slices

Cucumber slices

Assemble the salad and drizzle a little of the oil from the tuna can over the leaves before adding the toppings as shown below…served here with a side bowl of hot new potatoes……have you SEEN the state of this Summer??!!

Salad Niçoise2


Chicken Donner Kebab….sort of

chicken donner 2

Ok it isn’t donner it’s grilled on a skewer, but it tastes the same and has  a similar texture.  Chicken thighs are bought ready de-boned and skinned…currently £3.50 in Sainsbury ( June 2017). They are trimmed to a smaller size to more to cook quickly and the fat is left on, but scored to help it melt.


The marinade contains a few extras, but is basically the usual Greek ingredients:


Olive Oil

Lemon Juice

Red Wine Vinegar

Dried Oregano

Dried Mint


Garlic Pepper ( a fine grind is best)

Meat Tenderiser ( Papain powder from dried papaya fruit)

Tomato Paste…a dab

Garlic paste…a dab

Honey…a tablespoonfull

The meat is marinated for at least 8 hours and then grilled gently so that the fat melts and goes crisp..if you cook chicken thighs too quickly they have a raw bouncy texture that some find unpleasant. Hence the slow grill and the meat tenderiser…..


When cooked…important this…baste with a mixture with a blend of olive oil, lemon juice and salt!


Serve on hot bread with the usual fixings.

chicken donner 1


Tandoori Treasures Pizza

tandoori pizza 001Friday night prevarication….do I want Indian or do I want pizza….?

Why not have both?

So I made chicken tikka, lamb sheek kebab, both of which I sliced and tandoori king prawns which I butterflied by removing the vein and miniature onion bhajis…some green chillies, some green pepper and onion strips…job done!

There’s already recipes here for everything except the bhajis, for them you need:

Sliced onion and grated potato in equal quantities.

Gram flour.

Medium curry powder

Ground cumin.


Add the spices to the gram flour and pour this over the onion and potato mixture, fork through to coat thoroughly. You may need to add just a few drops of water to caot evenly, but this is a semi-dry rub, not a wet batter.


Place a small portion into a frying pan of hot oil with by taking a small amount with a teaspoon and flatten the mixture into the oil. Shallow fry on both sides until golden brown and remove to kitchen paper to drain.

tandoori pizza 002





The simplest dessert in the world…Affogatto



The simplest and yet one of the most pleasing…it is still nice if you’ve eaten too much….in fact it’ll make you feel better.

It’s the simplest thing in the world to make…and it has three ingredients that you already probably have at home plus boiling water:

Instant coffee


Vanilla ice cream

Boil the kettle, use the hot water to dissolve equal quantities of sugar and instant coffee together so that you have a thick coffee sauce…you’ll probably need to give it a few 10 second ‘pings’ in the microwave to get everything melted.


Drizzle a tablespoon of the hot sauce over a portion of vanilla ice cream…that’s it!  Job done…..


I don’t know why this works so well together…….the ultimate agro-dolce maybe? But it does…it far outreaches the sum total of its simple ingredients. Try it…it’s too easy for words……..


If you want to bling it up, shave some dark chocolate over the top and serve with an Amaretti biscuit….Affogatto Biscoti!




Potato Salad



Hot Dogs 2This is just one of around 40 potato salad recipes I have, but it’s the one I make time and time again…in it’s simplest form it’s unbeatable


Boiled new potatoes, done to fall off the skewer immediately…you don’t want firm spuds!

Finely diced raw onion…as fine as you can manage.

Herta hot dogs, cut into 4mm slices and dry-fried to get a little colour on each side.

Helman’s Mayonnaise…any type will do but NOT the ‘Lighter than Light’ which is tasteless……

Caraway seeds.



Chopped small gherkins or cornichons.

Mustard seeds.


sugar and vinegar to taste.


Boil the potatoes in their skins until they are very well cooked indeed and can be easily crushed with a spoon. Leave to cool a little when drained.

Chop the onions and turn into the mayonnaise ( add the optional ingredients too now if using)

Add the caraway seeds….just a few.

Add the sliced hot dogs and mix the salad thoroughly with the potatoes whilst still warm. Cover to chill and then refrigerate overnight, preferably.

It doesn’t sound much I know, but the salt in the Helman’s softens the onions, the smoke from the hot dog slices gives a great flavour and the whole thing together is just great….do try it without the optional extras at least the once……..



Hot Dogs….again.

Hot Dogs 2

The buns we serve hot dogs in in the UK are awful!  Wet pappy, indigestible Chorleywood bread ( look it up!) that falls apart when a hot sausage touches it…you need the fried onions just to make the stuff wet enough to swallow!

So we’ve been trying some different breads….the above is a Panini cut in half from the side.

On the right here is a Panini again, ‘canoed’ out to take the sausage and onions…on the left is a Panini again, canoed as well to take the long hot dogs.

Hot Dogs


The hot dogs used above are the best I’ve found…from Marks and Spencer ‘Simply Food’ and have a great ‘snap’ to them as well as a pleasant natural beech smoke flavour.

My wife doesn’t like smoky food so hers had M&S chipolatas in……just £2 for 10 sausages….that’s 20p a banger….really good sausages too.


The reason these Panini and ciabatta breads are so light is that they have three raising agents in the, yeast, baking soda and a culture too. They make a far nicer ‘bun’ than ordinary hot dog buns.


Serve with potato salad and fried onions with ketchup and mustard as condiments…….

Steak Frites, part deux.

Steak frites the Paris way 2

I’ve written this one up before, but that time I was using expensive steak whereas the cafés of the Rive Gauche, the ‘left bank’ in Paris that made this dish famous use a far cheaper, seam -cut steak called ‘bavette’. You won’t find it in the supermarkets but you can create a cheap tender steak that is just the same by beating out some rump steak.

Just seam cut the steak, …. that is to say trim the fat and gristle you don’t want off the meat and separate it into the different muscles that make up the steak. Now beat the steak out thin with a steak hammer or a rolling pin, season it with black pepper and garlic granules and brush with olive oil and it’s ready for the grill.

You want the grill really hot and I think therefore this just has to be done outside. Turn as soon as it’s got some scorch marks on it and do the other side.( Now is the time to drop your French fries into the hot oil……oven fries you need to do beforehand).

When the steak is cooked with a bit of scorching both sides, move it to a warm plate and stand somewhere warm to rest..for at least 5 minutes…….maybe in an oven that has been warmed through to 70 or 80 degrees C for your dinner plates  and then turned off?

Steak frites, the Paris way

Now the important bit…..those two steaks above….cost me a total of  £3.50 ( March 2017) and were delicious…that’s £1.75 per person!   £27 for two at Café Rouge, Woking……..


Nice with a cold Brittany cidre……..( Aspalls were French Huguenots) but Sainsbury Taste the Difference stuff is brilliant!

We had them with simple oven ‘steak’ chips and a peppercorn sauce made with  half a beef stock concentrate ‘jelly’ by Oxo, some double cream and freshly crushed, bottled, pink and green peppercorns, a dash of brandy and some slaked corn flour to thicken.