Pie recipe for left over chicken – recipe

We’re launching a competition for a new book: Less Meat, More Veg by Rachel de Thample.

As you’ll soon see, it’s not a veggie cookbook, but it is designed to help us think more economically about the meat we buy. Keep your eye out for the competition details next week.

I’ll let this recipe from the book speak for itself…

Wholesome chicken pie
A hearty and wholesome meal, with a touch of cream, loads of veg and very little chicken needed, especially if you get some delicious stock going through it. It’s a great dish for any cut of chicken, be it two thighs, a leg or a breast, so is a great one for using up any meat in your freezer, or leftovers from a roast.

Serves 6

olive oil
2 chicken thighs
500ml chicken stock or water
3 carrots, diced
2 leeks, thinly sliced
5 celery sticks, thinly sliced
3 garlic cloves, chopped
200g wild or chestnut mushrooms
250ml white wine
juice and zest of 1 lemon
100ml double cream
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
a handful of fresh herbs, roughly chopped
sea salt and black pepper
Pat-in-the-Pan Pastry (try this Pat in the Pan recipe from another website – the full recipe is given in the book)

1) Add a splash of olive oil to a saucepan. Add the chicken and saute until it starts to pick up colour. Cover with stock and simmer for 30 minutes.
2) Place a large frying pan over medium heat, add a little olive oil and when it’s warm, add the carrots, leeks, celery and garlic. Saute for 15-20 minutes until the veg starts to soften. Ladle in a bit of the stock from the chicken and let it sizzle to help soften the veg.
3) Remove the chicken from the stock, let it cool, then shred the meat and add to the vegetables. Pour in the wine and let it reduce slightly. Fold in the lemon juice and zest, double cream and mustard, and cook for a moment to thicken.
4) Saute the mushrooms in olive oil until golden. Fold through the pie mixture, along with the herbs. Pile the mixture into a pie dish large enough to hold everything.
5) Preheat the over to 190*C/gas mark 5.
6) Make the Pat-in-the-Pan Pastry, but rather than patting in the pan, roll it out. Make sure you do this on a well-floured surface, or roll it between pieces of greaseproof paper to keep it from sticking and tearing. Cover the pie with the pastry.
7) Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until the pastry is golden. Serve with roast potatoes and a salad.

Get a break from all that cooking – win some organic pizzas from What On Earth

When I found out that What On Earth are making spelt pizzas I wanted to shout it from the roof tops! I have had many enquiries about spelt based pizzas – though they are not gluten free, some people with IBS still tend to prefer a spelt base.

(If you’re gluten-free then there’s always Dietary Special’s pizzas to enjoy, but I’d love to see a popular organic brand like What On Earth perfect a nice crispy polenta based pizza which coeliacs could rave about too.)

What On Earth’s pizzas have been described as the “best pizza available” – that’s quite an accolade from Men’s Health Magazine.

I imagine most people would love the idea of not having to cook any more after the Christmas festivities. So, if you’d like to win some pizza…. all you need to do is look at the GoodnessDirect range to see which flavour pizza would taste the most wonderful in your mouth (three of the ten flavours are now spelt based), then email me with your choice – don’t forget to include your address. I’ll pop your name into the prize draw and two lucky winners will receive six pizzas of their choice! (UK only, competition ends on 30th December 2010 – yes, that means you’ve got just one day to enter! Good luck…)

Ideas for left-overs (or how to make the meat go further)

There’s a timely book coming out called Less Meat, More Veg.

Following our Christmas excess we often find that there’s half a turkey left in the fridge or too many brussel sprouts to hide in a stew. In Less Meat More Veg, Rachel de Thample shows how to make the most of the meat you do eat, spinning out a roast to last the week and using lesser known cuts of meat in imaginative ways.

Let’s be clear: this is not a vegetarian cookbook. It’s about meat. Cutting down on meat and dairy is a significant step to help reduce greenhouse gases, and it also improves our health – but many of us still want the opportunity to enjoy it.

There are 100 recipes included to persuade even the most hardened carnivore that eating less meat can be a good thing. (Each recipe contains the recommended 50g protein as well as half of your 5 fruit and veg a day.)

Here’s a sample recipe from the book…

Irish barley broth
This is a great way to use up the last of the meat and bone from your leg of lamb. It requires slow cooking but this draws out all the flavour and nutrition from the lamb bone.

Serves 4
a few glugs of olive oil
2 onions, peeled and chopped
200g leftover lamb, cut into chunky cubes
bone from leg of lamb (optional)
2 large carrots, peeled and cubed
350g root vegetables (swede, parsnips, celeriac and/or Jerusalem artichokes), peeled and cubed
2 large garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
4 large sprigs of thyme
6 tablespoons pearl or pot barley
1½ tablespoons cider vinegar or Worcestershire sauce
2 handfuls of parsley, chervil, kale or any other green you can finely chop and add for a healthy kick of colour

1. Place a large pot over medium-high heat. Add enough olive oil to coat the bottom. Once the oil is warm, add the onions and cook until golden.
2. Add the lamb, the lamb bone, if using, and the carrots. Cook until the carrots have started to soften, about 8 minutes or so. Add the other root veg and the garlic and let them sweat down a bit.
3. Add a splash of olive oil, if needed. Once the root veg have softened, add the thyme and barley. Let the barley toast for a moment. Add a good grinding of pepper.
4. Pour in enough water to just cover everything. Pop a lid on and let it bubble away over low heat for 1 hour.
5. Once cooked, stir through the vinegar or Worcestershire sauce. Taste and add a pinch of salt, if needed. Chop the herbs or greenery. Chuck them into the pot but don’t stir them in. Spoon the soup into bowls, ensuring each person gets a good portion of greens on top.

Less Meat, More Veg by Rachel de Thample is published by Kyle Cathie Publishers and is available from 6 January.

Scotch eggs with a twist? Try this tuna recipe

For sustainable tuna fishing Fish4Ever have been named the best.

Try this recipe for homemade scotch eggs with a twist. You will need a deep fat fryer to get the best results.

Serves 4

1 tin of Fish4Ever yellowfin tuna, well drained
2 slices fresh, thin cut, white bread (crusts removed)
1 teaspoon capers
5 medium eggs
250g polenta
milled pepper
good pinch of curry powder
plain flour for dusting

1. Boil and peel four eggs and leave to cool.
2. Roughly chop the capers and bread put into a bowl and add the drained tuna
and the contents of the last egg. Season with a few turns of the pepper mill and add the curry powder. Mix well to make a not too wet paste.
3.  Dust the boiled eggs with flour then wrap in an even layer of the tuna
mix roll in polenta and then roll in hands to make an even egg shape.
4. Repeat till all mix is used up.
5. Deep fry in oil (160 degC) till golden – drain well on kitchen paper and
lightly salt.

Serve with lemon juice and olive oil dressed iceburg lettuce.

Have you given up on Tuna? There are still good brands out there

If you’re still worried about canned tuna then it’s worth trying Fish4Ever. It continues to give consumers the best choice for taste, quality, ethics and sustainability.

Local fishing for sustainable fish
Local fishing for sustainable fish

While several supermarkets have followed the Fish4Ever lead to pledge to either only sell, or sell mostly, pole and line tuna in their own label product, the only way to be sure that the fish is of the highest quality is to use a highly ethical company.  Fish4Ever (fish-4-ever.com) was named most Ethical canned tuna provider by Ethical Consumer and was rated best for sustainable canned tuna by Greenpeace (Australia).


For Fish4Ever every tuna is caught by small local boats, which in turn supports the local fishing industry. Pole and line skipjack tuna, for example, is caught
in the Azores, in the North Atlantic and packed on the island of Sao Jorge – just a short journey away.

Fishing by pole and line ensures a careful handling of the fish which are then processed and packed mostly by hand – a guarantee of sustainability and quality. Sustaining the fishing communities is ultimately also good news for the customer as well.

For more information onFish4Ever tuna types, which can be bought at GoodnessDirect – see below… Continue reading

9 ideas for reusing Simpkins Travel Sweet tins

The traditional sweet makers, Simpkins, have also provided us with one of the best recyclable materials to re-use. Here are just a few suggestion:

Home-made candles – Use soy or bees wax for simple candles
Secret mini safe – Hide your spare keys, money, jewelry in an innocent box
Cookie guardian – A mini lunch-box for crumbly food, espeically Simpkins cookies (or the other half of that no-added-sugar Simpkins chocolate bar)

So helpful, so useful. Simpkins.
So helpful, so useful. Simpkins.

First aid box – Useful for when you’re away from home
Money boxes – Punch a hole in the top for your spare coppers
Maggot tin – Every angler needs a few
Seed stash – Keep seeds dry for next year
Sewing kit – Needles and thread, buttons and beads, organise everything! (Very useful for fuses and nuts and blots too.)
Promoting fair trade – Simpkins now have sweets made with Fairtrade sugar from the Kasinthula Cane Growers farmer’s project in South Malawi. All the tins contain Natural Colours and Flavours and are vegan too. What easier way to make a fairer world than sucking on a sweet?

New Fairtrade flavours include:
Mixed Fruit
Forest Fruit
Orange, Lemon & Grapefruit
Mixed Mint

Flu is on the rise – protect yourself

“It is the worst winter outbreak for influenza and viruses for 10 years.” Dr Philip Monk, a communicable diseases consultant has said. “There are a lot of illnesses out there.”

Boost your immunity to avoid flu
Boost your immunity to avoid flu

One of the big three flu strains affecting people at the moment is the H1 N1  Swine Flu virus, from which a surprising number have died this year.

If you are vulnerable (that means you are elderly, have a major illness or you’re pregnant) go and get a flu jab from your doctor to avoid needless harm – it only takes a couple of minutes.

What can anyone do to increase their immunity?
You should follow the basic rules of hygiene. Also, eat plenty of healthy food and take supplements to improve your immunity. Stay active but rest as well, and avoid going on a detox diet that might flush out your nutrients.

One example of a helpful immunity supplement is Sambucol, an extract from the powerful black elderberry, which now comes in tablet form. The antioxidants in black elderberries are noted to protect your cells and it has been found to help 90% of people recover from flu within 3 days. (Dr Madeleine Mumcuoglu, The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine 1995;4:361-369) It is apparantly also the only live shop bought product suitable for people with diabetes.