Hakuna Frittata

Hakuna Frittata

Picture this; I’m 5 or so years old, I’m adorable, I’m in my Rainbows pinny and I’m just dying to get my cooking badge because society has already spoon fed me the idea that I need to learn how to cook on account of the fact that I’m a girl (an adorable girl, don’t forget).

We made frittata with some red peppers, onion and ham. I have no clue how it tasted, but I’ll never forget the excitement of actually helping to cook something. We had chopped things and mixed things, we were like the fucking sorcerers on Blue Peter!

The beauty of the Hakuna Frittata is that it really does mean no worries (unless you burn yourself but that’s an iss-YOU not an iss-me). Raid the fridge, use everything, use hardly anything at all, either way you end up with a quick and easy meal with the added benefit of feeling cheffy as fuck while you use the broil setting on your oven. The list below is what I tend to need to use up, chop and change ingredients as you need.

From an idea born in St. Lawrence’s church hall in Eastcote, now come to life in your own kitchen. You lucky bugger.

What you need:

  • 6 large eggs (free range because we’re not dicks, are we?)
  • 100g ‘Nduja (any other protein, if you want to use one, will work too)
  • 175g Broccoli florets, halved or quartered (depending on their size)
  • 70g frozen peas
  • 1 small red bell pepper, diced
  • 1/4 yellow onion, diced
  • Handful of chopped, frozen spinach
  • 1 tbsp rose Harissa
  • Meltable cheese of your choice for topping

What to do:

Get a large, non-stick frying pan that can also go in the oven (no melting handles here, baby) and place it on a medium heat to get up to temperature, in the meantime you can prep your veg.

Once the pan is ready, add a glug of any cooking oil you have, followed by the onion and a pinch of salt. Cover and let soften for about 5-10 minutes.

While that’s happening, crack your eggs into a bowl and beat them, season and stir in the Harissa.

Once the onion is soft, add in your ‘Nduja and break it up with a spatula; stir it together with the onion and watch that shit dance *sniff* it’s just so beautiful. After a few minutes, turn your heat up to a medium/high to add your pepper and broccoli. Leave that for about 5 minutes, or until you start to see the tips of the florets catch a little. Turn your heat back to medium (lest you burn some shit).

Now we get to that ‘cheffy as fuck’ bit, so buckle up sports fans.

Turn your broiler on to the bloody hot setting and arrange your rack (excuse me) in the middle of the oven (the handle on my pan tilts up slightly so I need to account for that, you do what you need). Stir in your peas, and now pour in the egg/harissa mixture and give a quick tilt of the pan to make sure everyone’s tucked in. Leave it on the top cooking for a few minutes, or until you see the sides of the frittata set.

Adorn with the shards of frozen spinach and the cheesy goodness of your choice, pop under the broiler, shut the door and sit and watch it obsessively to pretend your on your own little episode of Masterchef.

We’re looking for the egg to puff up and the cheese to melt and start turning a beautiful golden brown; think JLO, not Donatella.

GET AN OVEN MITT ON YOU ABSOLUTE DONKEY (obligatory message as I often forget that the handle of the pan is now hotter than all hell).

Grab a large plate, place it over the top of the pan and do a quick prayer as you flip the pan and plate upside down to turn out the frittata onto the plate; it will come out upside down. Then do another hail Mary as you flip it back onto a cutting board, right side up (I like a meal with a certain amount of peril, fun no?).

There you have it; the Hakuna Frittata. It means no worries, unless you burn it, burn yourself or you drop it on the floor.

Slice, serve, follow the bouncing ball, munch, enjoy.

Love Language: Chicken and Waffles

Love Language: Chicken and Waffles

I’m consciously avoiding perfecting fried chicken at home for two reasons; firstly, I’m lucky to get away with my life when working an oven let alone a vat of hot oil. Secondly, my blood pressure won’t be able to keep up with my adoration for perfection.

My middle ground is a buffalo style breaded, oven baked chicken thigh that is so fucking *chefs kiss*.

Maketh them up, chucketh in the freezer, and cooketh at a whim (pls over-pronounce the ‘h’ in that k thanks).

Cockadoodledo, bitches.

What you’ll need:

For the chicken:

  • 10 chicken thighs, boneless (I prefer skin on as it gets extra crispy and omggggg)
  • 120g plain flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 200g breadcrumbs
  • 55g panko breadcrumbs
  • 55g cornmeal
  • 1 tbsp lemon peel (I have dried, fresh zest will also work)
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp onion powder
  • 2 tbsp chili powder of your choice (I love ground Calabrian chili, but regular chili powder or anything other variety you love will work well).
  • 1 tbsp dried parsley
  • 1 tbsp mustard powder
  • 2 tsp salt
  • freshly ground black pepper

For the waffles:

  • Box waffle mix because I’LL DO WHAT I LIKE THANK YOU VERY MUCH KAREN

To Serve:

  • Maple syrup
  • Hot sauce of choice

What to do:

Take your chicken thighs and pat them dry with kitchen towel before putting them to one side.

You’re about to get yourself an assembly line that’ll put Wonka to shame.

Get three dishes that’ll hold at least one or two thighs. In the first one, add your flour and season it. The second gets the eggs, beaten. The third, your breading mix (everything under the chicken list from the breadcrumbs down). I like to use a big mixing bowl for this last one.

Mix it WELL because trust me karma will find a way to let you be the first one to figure out that you didn’t mix in that chili powder properly.

At the end of your three steps, add a tray that’ll fit into your freezer (or the tray you intend to bake these on), and line it with parchment.

Lastly, before embarking on your dredging journey you’ll want to make extra sure that you can differentiate between your right hand and your left hand (although after all the alone time we’ve been getting lately I’m sure you know them well). Designate one hand your dry hand, and the other, your wet hand (a little on the nose?)

Your dry hand will pass your chicken thigh to the flour and will coat it before dropping it into the egg. Your wet hand takes over to coat it in the egg, and then allows any excess to drip off the thigh before dropping it in the breading mix where your dry hand will tag back in and make sure that the thigh is totally and unutterably embellished with your breadcrumbs. When done, lay the thigh on the baking tray and don’t stop ’till you get enough.

If I have breading left, I like to double dredge a few thighs to use it up by dipping in egg again then more breadcrumbs. If you don’t use it, please lose it because salmonella isn’t cute on anyone.

At this point, I typically freeze them and then bag them up. Whenever you want to cook them, preheat your oven to 400F. Once up to temperature, drizzle both sides of the chicken with some oil and bung in the oven (I prefer to cook them close to the bottom). Fresh, they’ll cook in 20 mins (be sure to flip at 15) and frozen will take around half an hour (also don’t forget to flip).

In this time, prepare your hedonistic box waffle mix and WAFFLE TO IT BABY. Keep the waffles to one side, and once the waffles are ready and the chicken is cooked, turn the oven off and transfer the waffles to the tray with the chicken; toppity tip; use the waffles to mop up the chickeny goodness left in the pan. We’ve come this far, don’t let me down now.

When your inner demons are screaming for this meal, plate up a waffle with a chicken thigh on top. Now drown the fucker in maple syrup and your favourite hot sauce (this is a Valentina’s household. Any hot sauce that’s also a drag queen is the sauce for me).

Now grab a beer and have a private moment with both hands and the beauty they created.

Plunge, munch, enjoy.

Basic bitch fish and boujee chips

Basic bitch fish and boujee chips

I’m not going to bother with a painful soliloquy of how fish and chips are an institution in my homeland. They are, and you know it.

What I will tell you is that my local chippy bloke is happy to see me on my annual visits back home (sans covid), and he remembers me from when I would pop in with my Dad in THE FUCKING ’90’s.

I’ll never be able to recreate his magic but I have a quick weeknight solution for when the homesick hits hard; simple, yummy with a little bit of pomp (because, British). This is not the greatest fish and chips in the world, this is a tribute (of a tribute).

What you need:

  • Firm white fish fillets (I use Cod or Haddock; one per person)
  • 1/2 cup plain flour
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • Spices of your choice for fish dredge (see recipe for ideas)
  • Approximately 200g fingerling potatoes
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2tbsp grapeseed or olive oil
  • 2tsp champagne vinegar
  • 1tbsp your favourite honey

What to do:

Preheat your oven to 425f (220c or gas mark bloody hot). Slice your potatoes in half (leave any tiny ones whole if you like) and add them to a roasting tray lined with parchment if you want to avoid stick-age. Crush both garlic cloves (unpeeled), add them to the tray and then drizzle over your oil, your honey of choice and a ton of black pepper; mix it up. Hold back on the vinegar and any salt right now though, those will come later.

Note on the honey; I currently use the Spanish Orange Blossom Honey from Fortnum and Mason because little doses of home is what makes me happy. It’s light in taste but has just enough flavour to bring out the butteryness of the fingerlings. Don’t like my boujee style? Don’t care. Let’s move on.

Once your oven is up to temperature, chuck the spuds in and set your timer for 40 minutes.

When half an hour has vanished into the fabric of our universe, take a non stick frying pan and pop it on a medium heat to warm up while you get your fish sorted.

You’ll need two dishes/shallow bowls. One that will hold the beaten egg, and the other that will hold the flour and any spices of your choice. I like to keep things simple and use garlic powder, mustard powder, salt and pepper. If you want to switch things up here some sumac or smoked paprika would be welcome. Dried dill is absolutely a good choice but I find it’s easy to go overboard with it, so don’t get all salt-bae on me with the dill.

Tippy top tip! To get this basic bitch coating to stick as much as possible, make sure to thoroughly pat your fish fillets dry with kitchen towel before dredging them. No one wants a soggy fish, except maybe the fish when he was alive. But it’s a bit late for that.

When your pan is hot, add a few tablespoons of oil to it (aiming for a shallow fry). Arrange your egg dish and flour mix dish close to the pan to make things easier. We’re going for a double dredge here; one fillet goes into the flour, press it in and make sure it’s covered. Then to the egg, again, thoroughly coated, then back to the flour, coat it again. When coating with the flour, don’t be shy, press it in firmly. You’re eating this animal, all niceties went out the window a while ago.

Once you’ve coated a fillet, add it to the pan then do the other one quickly and add that too. The fish won’t take long to cook; if the fillet is thin like the one in my picture, only a few minutes on each side. Don’t rush flipping it though; as aforementioned, this is technically known as a basic bitch coating. We want to disturb it as little as possible to ensure it has the most chance of sticking to the fish itself.

As your fish is finishing up in the pan, grab your potatoes and give them a toss around; add the vinegar and some salt and they should be tender, caramelized and just fucking delightful. Leave them to the side as you finish the fishy.

Place said fishy, on a dishy. Add your boujee chips. Dollop some tartar sauce on the side and there you have it. Easy, simple but just so bloody satisfying.

Cry, munch, enjoy.

Variety is the Spice Girl of life

Variety is the Spice Girl of life

If you’ve clocked anything by now with this blog, it’s the fact that I fucking love food.

But you know what I don’t fucking love? Faffing about.

Yes there are moments when creating something in the kitchen is a fantasia of sorcery for each of our senses that dance their way through this simple existence and into our mouths to evoke an overture of life itself chiming in our very souls.

And then there are times when it’s Wednesday night and you just want some god damned nosh. Pronto.

Even on those Wednesday nights I can enjoy a few moments of bliss when pulling open my spice drawer and I see before me a stash of powders, flowers and seeds that will make even a quick spag-bowl into something with a little extra jazz *jazz hands not necessary but always encouraged*.

So in lieu of a recipe today we’re talking spice drawers and the little extra things that I’ve not only come to love, but tend to have mild panic when I run out of. Yes I’ve got herbs and the basic spices but something about these things I feel are underrated or overlooked for no good reason. So let’s dive in.

Porcini Powder

I guarantee that I’ve already lost some of the mushroom haters out there (and truth be told we’ll always be lacking a connection) but just hear me out if you’re unsure but you’ve made it past the heading.

Porcini powder doesn’t add ‘mushroom’ taste. Mushrooms themselves are inherently sponges to whatever you’re cooking them with and what they tend to add isn’t necessarily a certain flavour but instead more of an umami-style depth of savor and earthiness that you can’t get with much else. That’s what is so unique with this stuff, it’s the crisp white trainer of my spice drawer; doesn’t add flash but levels something perfectly.

I chuck this into meat when it’s browning in a casserole, onion and garlic when making my base for a simple pasta sauce, rubs that make their ways onto chicken and into breading mixes that coat a piece of fish. The smell is intense, deep and dark (if dark could be a smell, this is it). So get with the program and find yourself some porcini powder.

Tomato Powder

Just how porcini powder adds depth and gut into something, tomato powder adds bright, sunny, intense optimism (like a Canadian in powder form).

Adding fresh tomatoes, canned ones or passata to something that you want to add ‘tomato’ flavour to will typically also add a great deal of acidity which is wonderful if that’s what you’re wanting but if you over do it, you’ll end up with an after taste that brings back memories of the aftermath of many a night out. Not pretty.

Tomato paste is good for adding the intense tomato punch, but I have extreme challenges in keeping my shopping list up to date so tomato paste being present in my kitchen tends to be a fleeting moment.

Queue tomato powder. Vibrant and intense it adds that comforting nursery tomato flavour into any dish that involves a tomato sauce. It adds a sweet and fresh punch to any rub and ‘summers’ up a tray of roasted veggies a treat. A little goes a long way but if you’re anything like me, you don’t know the meaning of restraint. Pshh.

Mustard Powder

This is where my Brit flag starts to fly a little higher as I’m going to have to insist that if you stock mustard powder in your kitchen that it be Coleman’s (or at least an English mustard powder). In my view, having mustard powder around allows me to add punch; a punch that comes from having a powder that allows for a mustard’s heat and flavour to come through without any burn that comes from the jarred stuff. And no, not a gentle French Dijon caress nor a swift kick up the arse from a German senf.

Mustard powder has become a regular addition for me; particularly in those nostalgic dishes. Toad in the hole gets a small amount to enhance the savor of the sausages, roasted potatoes get a sprinkle to add a little extra bite and little goes into to the flour dredge on a piece of haddock to unlock a depth in fish that I’ve not found before. Basically any British dish gets some of this shit to make it more British.

Kimchi Powder

As much as I adore a hearty and warm plate of something from the homeland I tend to gravitate towards spice just as often. Spicy foods awaken the soul after a bloody long day and sitting down to a coruscating bowl of glossy noodles studded with sesame seeds is something that just can’t be beat. Adding kimchi powder to your cooking adds hot-blooded spice with a slight tang of the funk that comes with a fermented food.

I add this powder to a stir fry as the noodles are being introduced and it coats them just beautifully. Chuck some into a bowl of tofu and pan fry to wake it up (and if it can wake up tofu you know this shit is good). When making a beef and broccoli rice bowl, the broccoli takes the stage with its meaty co-star when its tossed in a little kimchi powder while cooking in a frying pan; you’re basically giving this veggie a cool faux leather jacket that anyone looks good in.

Not for the faint of heart, but by no means a challenging ingredient to work with. You’ll be obsessed in no time.

Ras El Hanout

This North African spice blend sits elegantly and happily smack-bang in the intersection of earthly depth and floral fragrance (I work a corner not far away).

Much like a garam masala this is a blend that variates across the market. The one that I keep is a combination of 16 spices ranging from mace, cardamom and cinnamon to cayenne, ginger and rose petals. If there can only be one thing in that spice drawer of mine that I can truly call ‘beautiful’, it’s this baby.

I adore tossing a generous amount amongst cauliflower and roasting it until it the florets catch a little. It’s a natural paring with lamb in kabobs, works magic when mixed into the flour to make a flatbread and is does naughty things when rubbed all over a chicken for a Sunday roast. Even sitting here now I’m realizing that as amazing as this spice is, I still don’t use it enough.


So there we go; by no means the first nor last spices to get excited about. There’s so much more lurking in that drawer, however we’ve got nothing but time and thusly more posts about these wild cards will come. Hopefully this has highlighted some new things to get your juices flowing (but not like that, that would burn).

Sprinkle, create, munch, enjoy.

Biccies 101

Biccies 101

I reckon I’ve embraced my Canadian life well; I love watching hockey, I would never fuck with the Maple mafia and I always have a stash of some sort of edible around.

But hot, strong tea with a splash of milk still runs through my veins and there must be a biscuit to go with it (as such is British law). Be it a choccy biccy, a digestive or a shortbread, I’ll never choose a favourite. These are my babies, how very dare you.

We can thank my Grandparents for my love of all biscuits great and small. I think we can also thank them for the genetics that gave me depression and asthma but lets just start with the food mkay?

I aim to run the full gambit on biscuit recipes; here we are with shortbread, probably the simplest kind. Easy as shit and done two ways to please at least two of your multiple personalities; chocolate chip, and lemon with cardamom.

What you need:

  • 300g of all purpose flour
  • 200g of butter, chilled and cut into cubes
  • 100g sugar, plus a little extra for sprinkling
  • 1/2 a lemon of zest
  • 1.5 tsp of cardamom (if you’ve got pods, 10 of them with seeds ground fine)
  • 50g semi sweet mini chocolate chips

What to do:

Mix your flour, sugar and butter into a large bowl (if you need cup measurements then I suggest you google the conversions or you know, get with the program and weigh out your damn ingredients). Using your dainty little fingertips, rub the butter into the flour and sugar mix. Be sure to avoid using your palms as we’re going to have to handle this dough a fair amount and if you faff around with it too much now, you’ll be rolling out half melted butter and you’ll cry.

Boujee tip of the day! I keep a small jar of used vanilla pods and sugar; over time the sugar is flavoured by the vanilla and you’re left with vanilla sugar (yes bitch). I used 50g of vanilla sugar in this recipe, and 50g of regular but don’t panic if you’re not high maintenance like moi; this will taste brilliant without that added dose of fancy.

When the mixture resembles breadcrumbs, take half of it into a separate bowl. For those of us with a scale, your mix is around 600g, so 300g in each bowl IS indeed half WOW MATHS RIGHT I KNOW.

In one bowl tip your chocolate chips, and in the other, your lemon zest and cardamom. Mix each up and choose one to work with first. We need to make this floury mess into a dough, so start squeezing it together with your hands. The heat in your palms will now help us to make this into an actual dough. Start squeezing (not kneading because bitch we’re not baking bread). You’ll notice it starts to hold up the more you squeeze, and eventually you’ll be able to tip it out onto a lightly floured surface and roll it out to around a 1/2cm thick.

Cut these buggers into whatever shape you like; I have a round ravioli stamp that works well but you do you, I ain’t the shape police. When you’ve cut them out, lay them onto a lined baking tray and prick the surface of each one with a fork a few times to make sure they don’t rise up too much.

Once you’ve done this for all of your dough (other flavour included), put them in the fridge on their trays by balancing them on top of some cans of things and a box off eggs and pray that’s good enough. They’ll need to chill out for about 20 minutes so start heating the oven up to 340F.

After the chill time and when your oven is ready, sprinkle the biscuits with some more sugar and bake for about 15-20 minutes. You’ll notice them starting to turn a very light golden brown when they’re done. Bring them out of the oven and leave them on the tray to cool for a good 10 minutes or so before inhaling them.

Chief, you just made biscuits. Actual biscuits (I’m looking at you, ‘murica).

Pop the kettle on, brew, dunk, munch, enjoy.

Double Trouble Pizza Dough

Double Trouble Pizza Dough

I’ve been known to take a six hour round trip journey on a dodgy bus to a market town for nothing else than fantastic pizza. Several times.

Once I brought an extra back to my hostel and popped it in my fridge to enjoy in the wee, not-so-sober hours. Some fucker ate it and let’s just say his eating days are over.

This pizza is just as good and doesn’t involve felonies. It also makes 2 pizzas worth of dough (hence the clickbait name).

Bon app├ętit.

What you need:

  • 500g of 00 flour
  • 15g of dry, active yeast
  • 4g of sugar
  • 4g of salt
  • 325ml warm water
  • 1tbsp of olive oil

What to do:

Start by pouring your water into the bowl you intend to mix in; add the sugar and yeast. Give it a little stir to dissolve the sugar and walk away for a few moments to let the yeast bubble and bloom. Pour a G&T or something (and that’s an order. Unless you’re not into that, then get some water and stay hydrated, amigo).

Once blooming, add your flour, salt and olive oil. If you’re a lazy ho like me you’ll pop this in the mixer with a dough hook attachment and let that bugger run for about 5 minutes. If you’re more of the “I’ve got to work this off” type of person (welcome! we’re talking about carbs) knead the dough on a floured surface for about ten minutes until the dough is soft, supple and ready for action.

Lightly oil the bowl and pop the dough back in, making sure it’s lightly coated in the olive oil to prevent it from sticking everywhere and ruining your life. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap (I additionally use an elastic band around the lip of the bowl to keep the wrap sealed) and let rise for about an hour. Be sure to put it somewhere that is completely in the way of not only yourself, but everyone else. Nothing screams “I’m a boujee kitchen queen” more than leaving your shit everywhere for people to deal with.

Once doubled in size, punch the dough down to deflate it and tip it out on to, yet again, a floured surface and give it a little knead just to bring it together. At this point, cut it in half to form two dough balls; I wrap one back up in the plastic wrap and freeze it as these defrost brilliantly. The other can sit aside while you prepare your crown jewels to top it with. Once your toppings are ready, take the dough and stretch it out nice and thinly onto your baking tray (lined with parchment might I suggest, and sprinkled with some semolina if you have any? What’s that, a rogue ingredient not in the list? ARE YOU MAD WOMAN).

Toppings vary in this house; sometimes it’s a simple margherita, other times a spicy buffalo chicken, but on this occasion it was a garish pepperoni that won the vote. Most of the time, my sauce is simply some good, organic tomato paste that I mix with oregano, chilli flakes, salt, pepper and a sprinkle of sugar. I always microplane some Parmesan over the base before adding the rest of the cheese (that I refuse to grate as grating cheese is one of the few kitchen tasks that I loathe).

Let’s be honest with each other, pizza toppings are controversial and I’m not here how to tell you to live your life. Do your thing, let your freak flag fly and whenever you’re done that, bake the pizza at 425F for about 15 minutes or until the cheese is bubbling and your crust is lightly golden and looking good enough to eat (because guess what it’s there for?).

Give it a few minutes before you hack it into incredible uneven slices.

All that’s left is to take that drink and a couple of slices over to my heated blanket and watch Drag Race and there’s nothing you bitches can do to stop me.

Devour, munch, enjoy.

(bloody hell that’s good) Wonton Soup

(bloody hell that’s good) Wonton Soup

I took a ten year hiatus from soup.

I was fed soup (mostly an oily broth with potatoes etc floating in it) for about three months straight but that’s not what started the hiatus. It was the day that I was morosely hungover and was taken to a local market for something to ‘cure it’. In front of me was placed a cloudy bowl of broth and as I raised the spoon out of the deep something else came out first.

A chicken foot.

Now I know that they give fantastic flavour to any dish, and I’m a great believer that if you’re going to cook with meat it’s best to respect that sacrifice and use as much of the animal as possible.

But on that day I was not fucking having it.

If this wonton soup spackled over the trauma of that memory for me, it’ll at least make you smile. It’s bloody good. And for the record this is NOT a “traditional” or “authentic” recipe and if authentic tradition is what you’re looking for, bitch you’re at the wrong blog.

What you need:

  • Wontons:
  • 1lb ground pork
  • 1tbsp ginger, grated (approx. 1″ piece)
  • 2 garlic cloves, grated
  • 1tbsp chili flakes
  • 2 tsp five spice
  • 1 tsp porcini powder (if you can’t find this, no big deal)
  • 1 stock cube (I use no sodium chicken ones; you do you, chief)
  • 1 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 1 tbsp coconut aminos (or soy sauce)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp corn starch
  • 1 pack of wonton wrappers
  • Cooking broth:
  • handful dried shiitake mushrooms
  • 1 stock cube
  • Flavour bomb:
  • 1 tsp coconut aminos (or soy sauce)
  • .5 tsp sesame oil
  • .5 tsp shaoxing cooking wine
  • 1tsp rice vinegar
  • 1tsp spicy chili crisp (or if you’re an animal like moi, a lot more)
  • Veggies:
  • Bok Choy, thinly sliced
  • Spring onions, thinly sliced

What to do:

Before you do anything else, chuck the mushrooms and the stock cube in a saucepan and top with about 4 cups of water from the kettle. The longer you can leave the mushrooms to steep, the deeper flavour you’ll get out of them. Leave this to the side while you get the rest going.

Believe it or not, to make wonton soup you need wontons so here we go:

Combine all the wonton ingredients in a bowl (except the wrappers, you muppet) and mix th-ou-rough-ly. The more you mix, the better your mixture will bind and it’ll soon become sticky.

Next, get your wrappers out and begin filling, folding and sealing these bad boys. You’ll need only about two teaspoons of pork mix per wonton, and some water nearby that you’ll use as a glue of sorts (by dipping a finger in and just running it along the edges of the wrappers. There are about five thousand ways to wrap wontons so I suggest looking for different methods that you like best. I watched the video below and used the second method shown:

For the record, yes there are also a thousand videos on YouTube about this; 56 seconds was all the patience I had at the time but if you have more, go find another one. I aint yo’ mamma.

As you make them, place them on a tray lined with parchment and when the tray is full and you’ve used up all your mixture, shove it precariously in the freezer and hope to god you don’t hear everything crash down when you shut the door. You’ll be making far more wontons than you need, so freezing them all is the most efficient way to go as they cook up a treat straight from frozen.

While you’re waiting for them to freeze up, clean up the kitchen you animal. It’s a mess. How dare you.

Get your bowls that you’ll use to serve and pour in the flavour bomb ingredients, then add the veggies. When the wontons are cooked, we’re going to pour the cooking broth over this flavour bomby goodness and thus will start world peace with the fucking magic that we’ve made (and we’ll revel in the deep irony of the past sentence).

When the wontons are frozen, get your mushrooms out of the stock and discard (I personally find them too rubbery to use), then bring the stock to a boil. Once boiling, throw in your wontons and be sure to stir them occasionally to stop them from sticking as they cook. In about 5- 10 minutes (or when they start floating to the top), they’ll be done.

Dish up the wontons into your serving bowls and then ladle that brothy goodness over top.

I don’t think I’ve said ‘wonton’ enough here.

Slurp, wonton, munch, enjoy.

Pimp my leftover roast beef.

Pimp my leftover roast beef.

Picture it; you busted your ass making a gorgeous roast beef dinner. The meat was perfection, the veggies were divine, the gravy, oh magnificent. It’s 24 hours later and you’re stood in front of your open fridge, staring at the remnants that remain; cold, sad, uninspiring. You feel yourself reaching for your phone, the faint voice cries in your head ‘just fucking order a pizzaaaaa’.

STOP. Halt. Wait. Okay I’m the absolute first person in line for a pizza but are you really going to let this pathetic little piece of beef and his roasted veggie friends mock you like that? Sit there in defiance as they know that they’ve beaten you? Oh hell no.

Get those little bastards out of the fridge. Time to show them who’s boss. Bitches, we’re making pie. Not only are we making pie, but we’re making roast beef and veggie pie with motherfucking home made cheesy pastry now LET’S GO.

What you need:

For the pastry: see the rough puff pastry recipe.

Aged cheddar

For the pie filling:

Leftover gravy (if you don’t have this, see below)

1/4 onion, finely chopped

2tbsp butter

2tbsp flour

1-1/2 cup of stock of your choice

1tbsp lea and perrins (I refuse to list the actual sauce’s name because you’re all going to butcher the pronunciation).

Leftover veggies

Leftover beef from this recipe

Handful of frozen peas

Handful of mushrooms

What to do:

First up, make your pastry (or use some store bought puff pastry, pansy). While it’s resting in the fridge, see below.

If you’ve got enough leftover gravy to generously cover your leftovers, then pour a drink. Otherwise do the following:

Heat a pan over medium heat with a drizzle of olive oil; add the onions and a pinch of salt and some pepper and then cook to soften them up. Once soft, add your butter and stir to melt, then add your flour. As you stir the flour in you’re definitely going to have a moment of ‘oh god I’ve fucked it up’ but you haven’t I promise. Things will turn clumpy, but clumpy is the goal. Clumpy, with no white flour anywhere in the pan (this will take about 30 seconds or so).

Add your stock a small splash at a time, it’ll start to loosen the clumps but stir as you go, and as you add more stock you’ll notice this turning into a thick bloody nice sauce. Once you’ve used all your stock, season the sauce some more and add the Lee and Perrins. Stir again, and get fancy with adding more flavourings and herbs if you like. Once you’re happy with the taste, pour it into a jug and set aside until you need it.

At this point, clean the pan out and put it back on the heat with some olive oil; while it warms up, chop up your mushrooms (I don’t like to chop them too fine here), and run the knife through your leftover roasted veggies too. Once the pan is hot, add the mushrooms and veggies. Season and stir every now and then; the mushrooms will start to brown a bit and the leftover veg will come back to life. After the mushrooms start to brown, throw in your peas and cook for another few minutes. Once the peas are done, take off the heat.

Now chop up your beef (in any god damn way you want because who’s the boss? YOU’RE the boss) and mix the beef, the veggie mix and the gravy all together in your pie dish. Set that mamma jamma aside while you get funky with the pastry.

Roll the pastry out (you’ll only need about a third of what you made with the recipe; keep the rest covered in the fridge for using over the next few days). Roll out a circle about 1cm thick, and just slightly bigger than your pie tin. Before cutting it to an exact, aesthetically pleasing circle, grate your cheddar over the pastry (just enough to cover the centre part of the dough) and then fold the outside back over the cheese to cover it all up. Use the rolling pin to roll it out again (some cheese might poke through but who ever cared about that?).

Now (if needed), cut the right size circle out from your pastry. Beat an egg in a small dish and brush a little around the edges of the pastry (to help it stick to the tin) and then place the pastry, egg side down, on your pie tin (it’s okay if the filling mounds a bit and your pastry lays on top; in fact that’s best). Press the pastry on to the edge of the tin and, if you’re feeling posh, seal it more with a fork around the edges.

Since you’ve faffed around with this pastry for a while, pop the pie back in the fridge while your oven heats up to 425f.

Once the oven is ready, get the pie out and, with a paring knife, slice a few slits in the pastry (in whatever pattern you want) to allow steam to escape. Brush with the rest of the egg wash and throw it in the oven for about half an hour, or until the pastry has puffed up and is golden.

This bugger will be steaming and bubbling when you take it out so for gods sake leave it a moment before diving in.

Scoop, serve, munch, enjoy.

Bonus Snacks

Bonus Snacks

In my fish-less fish cake recipe I eluded to bonus snacks and I would the absolute worst person on this planet to deny you of such promises.

I’m currently embarking on a tiny mission to start reducing food waste. I say tiny, because I really don’t feel like I’m actually doing anything but with THIS little trick, I can hold my head up high and expect my award for environmental protection any fucking day now.

All we’re doing is eating the peels of the root vegetables that we would normally throw out. Roast them as you’re prepping the rest of your dinner for a bonus snack of goodness as you go (or save them up in an air tight container for another time if you’re a psychopath).

Isn’t it a-peeling? (sorry, I’m really sorry)

What you need:

Peels of whatever you’re peeling; Potatoes, carrots, parsnips, sweet potato; most root vegetables should work here.

Olive oil

Salt/pepper

Seasoning of choice

What to do:

Preheat the oven to 400f (this is what I roast a lot of vegetables at anyway, so chances are my oven needs to be at this temperature for the rest of the dinner); adjust as you need.

When peeling the vegetables, I like to pay a little more attention to get bigger peels (as opposed to the speed peeling demon that I normally am). Gather the peels and chuck them on a lined baking sheet (or roasting tray; whatever you were going to use for dinner anyway).

Drizzle a good amount of olive oil over them (for about 2 potatoes and 2 carrots worth of peels, I use 2tbsp of oil). Season with salt, pepper, and anything else you like. I’ve used my bougie British only seasoning that I’ll never find anywhere else (how’s THAT for a carbon footprint), but garlic powder, cayenne, piri piri, ras el hanout, WHATEVER go mad, it’s your life.

Toss thoroughly to coat each piece of peel and take a moment to evenly spread them out as they tend to stick together a titch.

Roast in the oven for about 10-15 minutes or until crispy; tossing once or twice as they cook. When they are fresh out of the oven, take a little more of your seasoning of choice to sprinkle over and toss while the peels are still hot.

You’ve just made peel chips, bitch. Now go and be the hero.

Crunch, munch, enjoy.