Monthly Archives: December 2014

Creamy Potato & Onion Bake with a Butter Crumble Crust

This is such an easy and deliciously scrumptious potato dish to make. It’s excellent served with a steak, sausages or any grilled/pan-fried meats. It can be prepared well in advance and reheated so is perfect for dinner parties.


Layers of sliced potatoes and onion rings.


Pour over the cream and top with cheese – I recommend ‘raclette’ cheese. Sea salt and ground pepper to garnish!

I highly recommend using a ‘raclette’ type cheese because, when heated, it melts and combines with the cream to make a thick, velvety and luscious sauce. I like to top my dish with a buttery and salty biscuit crumble – the combination of textures and flavours is just sensational. Give it a go – it’s so easy to make!

Creamy Potato & Onion Bake with Crumble Crust


  • 5 medium/large potatoes ( I allow one potato per person), sliced
  • 1 large onion, sliced into rings
  • 400ml pouring cream
  • 5 or 6 slices of ‘raclette’ cheese or similar
  • Ground sea salt and black pepper
  • 75/100g of soft butter
  • Just over half a pack of ‘tuc’ biscuits or similar


  1. Wash and slice the potatoes, skins on.
  2. Peel and thinly slice the onion
  3. Layer the potatoes and onions alternatively in a deep oven proof dish
  4. Add a sprinkle of salt and pepper each time and top up with cream.
  5. Add the slices of ‘raclette’ cheese and top with ground salt/pepper.
  6. Cover the dish with foil and bake in an oven (180/190 degrees or 350 degrees fahrenheit) for about an hour, or until the potatoes have softened.
  7. While the potatoes are in the oven, place the ‘tuc’ biscuits into a plastic food bag and crush to make crumbs.
  8. Place the biscuit crumbs in a bowl and combine with the soften butter.
  9. When the potato bake is cooked, remove the foil and sprinkle over the crumble mixture.
  10. Replace the potato with crumble top back in the oven for 10 mins or until browned and bubbling.

Cottage Crumble

Cottage Pie must be high on the list of dishes most synonymous  with British cuisine – up there with fish and chips, roast beef, hot pots and pies. It is also a dish that you might think of serving on a cold winter’s night, when deeply satisfying comfort food is the order of the day.

To add a little more paz-zaz to what can sometimes be a bland dish, I like to ‘jazz’ my recipe up with a few extra ingredients, a ‘glug’ of sherry and a cheesy crumble top. With the addition of various cottage-garden vegetables and a potato and butternut squash mash, it’s packed with natural goodness and positively zings with flavour!


Minced beef and pork with sliced carrots, leeks and cabbage cooked with a ‘glug’ of sherry!



Crumble the salty biscuits (Tuc or Ritz)!


Mix the crumbled biscuits with softened butter. Grate the Cheddar cheese and combine together.


Mash the potato and butternut squash. Spoon on top of the meat mixture and add the biscuit and cheese crumble. Sprinkle with dried oregano. Bake and serve!



Cottage Crumble

Prep Time: 30 Mins Cooking Time: 1 Hour Total Time: 1 Hour 30 Mins


  • 800g of potatoes for mashing
  • 300g of butternut squash, cubed for mashing
  • a generous knob of butter for the mash
  • full fat milk for the mash
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 to 3 tbsp of olive oil
  • 600 to 800g of minced meat (as you wish – pork or beef or a mix)
  • 3 carrots, sliced
  • half a small cabbage, shredded
  • 2 large leeks, sliced
  • 1 cup of medium or sweet sherry
  • 380/390g tomato puree (passata) 
  • 60/70g of ‘Tuc’ or ‘Ritz’ biscuits
  • Grated Cheddar cheese or similar
  • 50/60g Butter, softened to mix with the crumbed biscuits
  • Dried Oregano, to sprinkle on top


  2. Peel the potatoes and butternut squash and cut into chunks. Place in a pan of salted boiling water.
  3. When the potatoes/butternut squash are soft, mash with butter and milk, salt and pepper. Set aside.
  4. In a large pan, add the olive oil, the carrots, leeks and cabbage. Salt and pepper.
  5. Cook for 5 minutes. Add the minced meat and combine together.
  6. Add the sherry and cook for 5 minutes. Add the tomato puree and simmer to cook through.
  7. Place the meat mixture in and oven dish and top with the mashed potatoes/butternut squash.
  8. Sprinkle over the cheese crumble topping and finish with a shake of dried oregano.
  9. Cook for 25 to 30 minutes in a preheated oven at 180 degrees centigrade (350 degrees fahrenheit)

Tiger Prawn Tagliatelle

I love prawns! Prawns, grilled, sauté, barbecued, sweet and sour prawns, prawn curry, prawn just about anything! The only thing I don’t like about prawns, is peeling them! It’s time consuming and yucky, mucky! But ……. every cloud has a silver lining and these prawns were certainly worth the effort. Creating a meal with with fresh raw prawns is so much better than buying cooked peeled prawns which are often tasteless and watery.


Prawn Tagliatelle


  • 1 kilo of shell on raw prawns of a good size (serves 4 people)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large or 2 small leeks, sliced thinly
  • 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1 stick of celery, chopped
  • 1 sweet Italian pepper, deseeded and cut into thin rounds
  • Salt & pepper
  • Sea salt and ground pepper
  • 1 cup of Portuguese Moscatel wine or a semi sweet white wine
  • 200ml of cream
  • Fresh tagliatelle
  • Parsley to garnish


  1. Peel and remove the vein that runs along the upper length of the prawn. Set aside.
  2. In a frying pan, add the olive oil and pan-fry the garlic, leek, celery and red pepper to soften. Season with salt & pepper.
  3. Add the Moscatel or semi-sweet wine and continue to cook until the liquid reduces slightly.
  4. In the meantime, boil a pan of water and cook the tagliatelle.
  5. Add the cream to the mixture in the frying pan and combine thoroughly.
  6. Add the cooked prawns to the sauce and simmer for a couple of minutes.
  7. Drain the tagliatelle and serve into bowls. Top with the prawn sauce.
  8. Grind the sea salt and black pepper to taste. Garnish with chopped parsley.

Sweet ‘Potato’ Sensation!

Living close to Aljezur in Portugal’s Algarve, where the townsfolk have just celebrated the annual “Festival da Batata-Doce”, I felt the need to make my own contribution. The sweet potatoes grown in the region surrounding Aljezur are of such high quality that they have been officially recognised as a product with protected designation of origin. A bit like a Bordeaux fine wine or Cheddar cheese! Don’t be fooled into thinking that all sweet potatoes are the same! The sweet potatoes of the Aljezur region owe their particularly fine attributes to the sand layers in the soil together with underlying clay and the local climatic conditions. The festival celebrates the importance of the ‘batata-doce’ to the region with a variety of ‘gourmet’ recipes being produced, using this rather ugly looking tuber with a brown and purple skin, which can be baked, boiled or grilled and served as a sweet or savoury dish.


Sweet potato (batata-doce) baked in it’s skin. Delicious with a knob of salty butter!

My recipe is based on using 70% sweet potatoes with 30% of a waxy white potato. Scientific research shows that sweet potatoes have great health benefits. The orange flesh is a good source of beta-carotene which has been shown to raise blood levels of vitamin A. They are also a good source of vitamin B6 which is linked to the prevention of heart attacks; and vitamin C, important in warding off cold and flu viruses. I have also read that it can produce collagen which helps to maintain youthful looking skin! I need all the help I can get, therefore, this is definitely a vegetable that I will be eating a lot more of!


Sweet potatoes are delicious baked simply in their skins; but I have decided to create something a little different by combining some other flavours and textures in with the combination of potatoes. Lots of garlic gives it a good pungent aroma, finely chopped red peppers for colour and added sweetness, Spring onions for a touch of sharpness and bacon pieces for their salty and smokey contribution. The light crumble top gives texture and a salty bite! The combination, is simply sensational!


Pan fry in olive oil, the garlic, torchino/smoked bacon, sweet red pepper and Spring onions. Season well.

Peel the sweet and waxy white potatoes (just about a kilo in total) and boil them in a pan of salted water until soft enough to mash with milk and butter. In the meantime, pan-fry, in olive oil, the sliced garlic (3 or 4 cloves),  sliced red peppers (1 pepper – deseeded), bacon pieces (100g) and 3 sliced Spring onions. When softened set aside until the potatoes are mashed and ready. Mix the pan-fried vegetables into the potato mash and place in an oven dish. Using a little over a half packet of ‘tuc’ biscuits, place these in a food bag and crush into crumb form. Mix with approximately 100g of butter to produce a ‘crumble’. Sprinkle the crumble over the potato mixture and bake in a preheated oven at 180 degrees centigrade for 20/25 minutes. To accompany, I made some simple meatballs with a mixture of beef and pork and seasoned them with oregano, salt and pepper. Bom Apetite!


Bom Apetite!!