Tag Archives: one pot dinner

Vietnamese Beef Salad

For all salad dodgers – of which Brenda is definitely one – this is one you can make and enjoy with confidence…… the name “salad” is something of a misnomer as really, you can consider it more of a chilled beef noodle dish, with a few leaves in.

vietnamese beef salad recipe by fanny and brenda

Having said that, it does also fit the bill for those tireless (and fabulous!) housewives looking to serve something reasonably light – but still filling enough to genuinely constitute a proper meal. It also uses steak in a slightly different way than the usual fried in butter and garlic and served with potato in some form.

There are so many delicious herbs and sweet, salty, sour and hot Far Easten flavours going on so just cooking off and slicing the steak, as is, would be more than sufficient, although you can also marinate it beforehand if you wish. Below however, is my version exactly as I had it this evening ….

NB For those with allergies to peanuts or peanut oil, any light, flavourless vegetable oil can happily be substituted for the peanut oil

vietnamese beef salad recipe by fanny and brenda

INGREDIENTS – serves 2

350g ribeye steak – I pushed the boat out and used 28-day aged.
100g dried rice vermicelli noodles
100g snow peas, trimmed – most halved, the smaller ones just left whole
1 medium cucumber peeled lengthways into ribbons with the veg peeler
1/2 bunch fresh coriander leaves
1/3 bunch fresh mint leaves – cut into thin strips
4 shallots – thinly sliced
thumb size piece of fresh ginger – peeled and finely grated
2 cloves garlic – peeled and finely grated (possibly only need this if marinating – reduce to 1 clove if using in salad dressing)
1 carrot, peeled, cut into matchsticks
50g bean sprouts
60g Asian leafy salad mix – can be a bit specialist so I used lambs lettuce but great if you like to include tatsoi/mizuno etc
1 fresh red chilli, finely chopped
juice of 1 1/2 fresh limes
2 tablespoons peanut oil
1 tablespoon fish sauce
2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
2 tbsp dark soy sauce
1 tsp light brown sugar
1 tbsp sesame oil
1 tbsp sesame seeds

vietnamese beef salad recipe by fanny and brenda

METHOD

If you’re going to marinate the steak, just use a dribble of rice wine vinegar, peanut oil, a grate of fresh ginger and garlic, a little lime juice and a dash of soy. Leave to infuse for an hour, covered, but out of the fridge to allow the meat to come fully to room temperature.

Put whichever salad leaves you’re using into a large bowl, along with the beansprouts, carrot matchsticks, a quarter only of the sliced raw shallots, strips of cucumber, coriander and mint.

vietnamese beef salad recipe by fanny and brenda

For the rice vermicelli noodles, follow the packet advice on preparation which will inevitably involve merely boiling the kettle and pouring on hot water to cover and then leaving for 3-4 mins. However, don’t let them just sit there swimming in their hot bath – as soon as they have soaked to the required degree of doneness – perhaps one notch more tender than al dente – they should be tipped into a colander or sieve and run under the cold tap for half a minute or so, then left to drain with a tablespoon of sesame oil tossed through to stop them going claggy.

Fry the remaining 3/4 of your shallot slices in a little more peanut oil till crisp and set aside.

I even toasted my sesame seeds in the oven but this could probably be done quicker in a small dry frying pan over a medium low heat and watched like a hawk to avoid burning – which they will do extremely quickly. Set aside.

When ready to fry off the steak – just the usual instructions i.e. get the pan nice and hot, if you’ve marinated, gently pat dry – or if you haven’t, dab a tiny bit of oil on both sides. Bit of seasoning might be good too. Sear quickly for 2-3 mins each side and set aside, covered and in a warm place, to rest.

Now quickly conjure up your dressing by combining the peanut oil, sesame oil, fish sauce, rice wine vinegar, lime juice, chopped chilli, soy sauce, sugar and grated ginger – this will be so fragrant you’ll swoon! By the way I didn’t use any garlic in this dressing, having marinated the steak in some earlier and anyway, i don’t think raw garlic works that well in this!

Simply now add to the awaiting salad, the cold noodles, the dressing and the sesame seeds (or they can be sprinkled on top) and toss together.

Finally, slice your rested steak into thin strips and dot decoratively – or toss through – and garnish with the crispy fried shallots (and sesame seeds if you haven’t already combined them in the salad)

vietnamese beef salad recipe by fanny and brenda

Luxury Toad In The Hole

fanny and brendas toad in the hole recipe

Let’s face it, each of us has their own idea about what “luxury” is – and perhaps few will see at this moment in time, the possibility of a fine-dining version of something which is basically sausage in batter.

However,  even if the starting point is just a few simple ingredients, by “making it the best you can” you’ll hopefully see how something quite everyday can be transformed into something rather stunning!. The Italians have a phrase for it which is  “bella figura” – something Brenda had never heard of (which I didn’t have the heart to tell her was self-evident…)

Hopefully you’ll see what I mean and enjoy this special edition toad.

fanny and brendas toad in the hole recipe

INGREDIENTS

140g self raising flour
4 large eggs
Eggs

300ml semi-skimmed milk

1 tbsp mustard – Dijon or wholegrain
handful of herbs – leaves picked and chopped. To enhance the leek and onion in the sausages I used thyme and chives, plus sage. Rosemary would have also been good.
4 tbsp vegetable oil plus some goose or duck fat if you have it. Or use a bit of extra oil.
6 sausages – any variety – we used nice herby Lincolnshire ones.
2 red onions – each cut into 6
sea salt
fresh cracked black pepper

METHOD

Tip the flour into a bowl and crack in the eggs, one at a time, whisking as you go. Pour in the milk and keep whisking until you have a smooth batter. Finally, whisk in the mustard, herbs and some seasoning and set aside for 1-2 hrs. I’m not 100% sure why this seems to work – and you will see plenty of debate about it – but in any case, making the batter in advance gets it out the way!
Heat oven to 200C. Put the oil (and goose fat or equivalent – I did say this was the luxury version!) in a roasting tin or baking dish, roughly 30 x 22cm, with reasonably high sides. After a few minutes heating up, add the onion wedges and sausages to the dish, place back in the oven and cook for around 20 mins until getting nice and brown. You can turn everything half way through this if you like. For the last few minutes of this stage, increase the heat to 220C.

Now you can add the batter – ideally by opening the oven door and pouring the batter round the sausages/onions, in situ, using a jug. But if you don’t want the extra washing up or just feel more confident doing it on a surface, the key thing is to ensure you work quickly so that when the batter hits the fat, there’s a good sizzle. If you’ve achieved this stage outside of the oven, get the dish back in ASAP, leaving enough room overhead for it to rise, closing the door nice and smartly to keep as much of the heat in as possible.

The main advice to getting a lovely rise, a crisp golden brown finish while retaining a soft, mallow-ey base, is don’t open the door before 25 minutes. Depending on your oven, it may need a few more – I deemed 27 minutes perfect.

The eggy, light crispness of the batter, puffed to perfection by the roiling goose fat – further enhanced with the herbs and mustard – is a masterwork. If you have some leftover gravy, serve that with it, along with some greens perhaps. You probably won’t need potato as the batter takes care of the carbs! I hope having tried this, you’ll be reluctant to return to the “standard” version any time soon….

 

Beer Cheese Philly Steak

philly beer cheese steak from fanny and brenda

I’d got some steak in the other day but despite it being a nice ribeye (don’t forget folks, your beautiful hostesses never do slumming it….) I just couldn’t face another large slab of meat, which is not something you’ll ever catch Brenda saying.

It was midweek, so it didn’t need to be elaborate (and neither, frankly, did I have time as I was expecting a gentleman caller later that evening) – so it was just the two of us and although the lights had been dimmed as much as the switch would allow I could still make out Brenda chewing, even in the half light which is a sight for sore eyes.

philly beer cheese steak from fanny and brenda

As it so happened, I’d set out to make enough for three but we ended up finishing it between us which must mean the end result was gorgeous! Give it a go folks, and let us know how you get on…

Ingredients

1 green peppers, sliced
1 large onion, sliced thin
350g rib-eye steak, sliced thin
1 tablespoon olive oil
Pinch of sea salt
fresh cracked black pepper
garlic powder
1/2 loaf ciabatta or similar, cut into 1 inch cubes
75g butter
40g flour
350 ml beer
hot pepper sauce
bunch of fresh parsley – finely chopped
paprika
Worcestershire sauce
soy sauce
250 g strong cheddar cheese – grated
100g medium (“nutty”) cheese like gruyere or Comte – grated

Method

Preheat oven to 180°C

Heat splash of olive oil in a largish frying pan over medium-low heat; add the green pepper and onion to it along with some sea salt, fresh cracked black pepper and about 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder - cook until soft, about 20 minutes; set aside.

Raise the heat to medium, add another small splash of oil and add the sliced steak. Season exactly as above (salt, pepper and garlic powder) and cook for about 5 minutes, till beginning to brown. Set aside.

Meanwhile, arrange the bread cubes in the bottom of a 8×11 (approx) dish. Layer the steak on the bread and then layer the pepper and onion mixture over the steak layer; set aside.

To make the sauce, melt the butter in a saucepan, whisk in the flour to make a roux and once it’s cooked out a bit, pour in the beer, whisking continually. Season with salt and black pepper plus add garlic powder, about a tsp paprika and splashes of Worcestershire, hot and soy sauces to taste – stir to combine. As the mixture thickens, add the cheddar and stir till melted, at which point you can stir through the chopped parsley. Now pour the mixture over the meat/peppers/bread assembly in the pan. Top with your Comte or Gruyere cheese.

Bake for about 15- 20 mins or until the top layer is golden and bubbling.

philly beer cheese steak from fanny and brenda

Slow Cooked Chicken with Winter Veg Lemon And Thyme

slow cooked chicken and winter veg with lemon and thyme

It just goes to show that the following of received wisdoms too rigidly isn’t always the right way to go – like Brenda’s choices in designer wear. It’s not just her jumble of “bright” (i.e. gaudy) colours and horizontal stripes which she wrongly thinks take off the 10lbs the camera is said to add to everyone’s apparent weight. According to her, life is about balance and so, to make sure she doesn’t appear to completely waste away while co-presenting our famous “Fanny and Brenda” You Tube series on how to make gorgeous food, thinks it’s appropriate to consume a packet of chocolate biscuits and several Eccles cakes prior to the shoot. She’s probably got confused regarding that other received wisdom about not eating carbs after 8pm, perhaps thinking that you can eat as many of them as you like, before 8pm. Oh dear.

Now I’m certainly not suggesting that we, the World’s Most Fabulous Divine Hostesses, have produced anything which could be termed “heavy” or “dense”, but a review of our more recent output did seem to reveal a bias towards what we might call the “hearty”. In one sense, this is completely understandable given the cooler temperatures this country “enjoys” at this time of year. However, whilst Brenda was happy enough to suggest dumplings be included in all our Winter recipes, I said I did not feel that dollops of animal suet and herbs would be suitable in, for example, a coffee and walnut pavlova and therefore, after some negotiation (i.e. me saying no), this idea was shelved.

There are occasions where something truly rib-sticking like beef with beer and root veg totally fits the bill, but frankly, we don’t always feel like ladlefuls of thick, dark stews so, having surveyed the fridge’s contents on Tuesday this week, I was rewarded with a combination that effectively enabled me to adapt a delightful spring like Chicken with Spring Veg and Herbs recipe into this still light, but more December-y Chicken with Winter Veg and lemon and thyme. By the way, speaking of adapting, we often do this to other people’s recipes to make them better – and detail them in full here for your wonderment – so I would repeat the advice that most recipes should be treated as guides only and tweaked by your good selves, dear acolytes, to suit your own preferences and ingredient availability. Due to our (my) exceptional pallet and careful product- testing, with the possible lone other exception of the rather fantastic Simon Hopkinson, this advice should be treated with caution when preparing any F& B recipe…… see what I mean about received wisdoms??

slow cooked chicken and winter veg with lemon and thyme

Ingredients

6 chicken pieces (we used thighs with the bone in and skin on)
about 200g baby leeks, split lengthways and carefully washed
about 200g carrots, split lengthways once for halves and twice for quarters depending on size – also we had “heritage” varieties available which did add a cheery colour variation
about a third of a bottle of dry white wine
about 200ml of chicken stock (although this could be substituted with more wine or, especially as this time the meat was bone-in, water)
2 or 3 cloves of garlic – not chopped or even peeled, just bashed
Small bunch parsley – medium chopped
Juice of a lemon
Few sprigs of fresh thyme – leaves picked
Pinch (or half a tsp) of red chilli flakes
Olive oil
Sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper
2 tsp flour (optional – use only if making a roux for gentle thickening)
knob of butter

slow cooked chicken and winter veg with lemon and thyme

Method

1) If time, pop your chicken pieces into a good glug of olive oil/juice of a lemon/thyme leaves/pinch of chilli flakes, salt and pepper to marinate. I did mine for a couple of hours, but even 20 mins is worth it

2) When ready to cook, switch on the hob to high heat and get a good size casserole dish up to temperature – you may need 3-5 mins to bring it to the point where it’s nearly smoking. If you haven’t marinaded first, add a good glug of olive oil direct to the casserole at this stage to fry the meat off

3) Pop the chicken pieces straight into the casserole dish in a single layer so they brown quickly and evenly. Reserve any leftover marinade. Leave the meat well alone for up to 5 mins to allow a really beautiful golden brown “crust” to develop – also not moving the chicken pieces constantly around at the beginning makes them less likely to stick which in turn makes turning them to brown the other side(s) much easier. Don’t bother to pat them dry first as, even though some lemon juice inevitably goes in, a well pre-heated cast iron vessel will have enough in reserve to quickly boil it off so you won’t have issues with the chicken itself stewing instead of browning . Add your bashed garlic cloves at around the half-way point which should avoid the garlic burning by the time the chicken pieces are browned.

4) Once well-browned, turn the heat down to low and add the veggies and wine (plus lemon juice, thyme, chilli, salt and pepper if you haven’t pre-marinated – and by the way any remaining marinade can be added now if you did pre-marinate). If you’re happy with a thin “soup base” consistency, just add the stock as is. If you want a thicker, but still very light base, heat a knob of butter in a small saucepan and when melted, whisk in the flour and cook for a couple of mins (i.e. make a roux), followed by about half the stock and, once incorporated, the rest. The contents of the saucepan can then be added to the main dish.

5) Simmer gently for about 20 mins until the chicken and veggies are tender. If you just used stock, and not a thickened stock base, add the knob of butter straight into the casserole dish, to give the sauce a nice glossy finish – and of course an even more delicious taste!

6) You can serve up with just a really good sprinkle of chopped parsley and enjoy a light, but hearty winter stew exactly as it is – or, as i did, with some fried potatoes, to which I added some minced garlic and the zest of the same lemon, the juice from which works so successfully in the main dish!

slow cooked chicken and winter veg with lemon and thyme

A lovely warming and delicious lamb tray bake

fanny and brendas delicious lamb tray bake

I found myself with two lamb steaks yesterday and, given that Brenda had gone on another date with someone unsuitable, I had the place mercifully to myself, although I did miss her potato peeling skills……

We’d also defrosted the freezer earlier in the day so I was keen to use up any veggies which seemed to be getting past their youthful prime (I’m not saying a word here!). The bottom tray in the fridge gave me some olives, some parsley, the aubergine was too far gone so that didn’t make it (highly unusual for us that) and in fairness, the courgette was picked straight from the plant in the garden. The tomatoes were quite recent purchases (Vine tomatoes so they taste of something) – and obviously your store-cupboard standbys of onion and garlic last for weeks no problem.

To just bring it altogether, I was lucky find also some quite fresh fresh rosemary and about a third of a bottle of dry white wine

Here’s what happened

fanny and brendas delicious lamb tray bake

Ingredients

2 lamb leg steaks (about 140g each)
1 medium red onion, cut into 6 wedges
2 cloves garlic, medium chopped – no big lumps but doesn’t need to be finely minced
1 tsp dried oregano/ 2 tsp fresh chopped rosemary – actually I used both, just adjust the quantities of each down a bit
150ml white wine
200g medium or small tomatoes – i had a mixture of both and just sliced the bigger ones in half, leaving the small ones whole
1 medium courgette – sliced into about 8 pieces – i did them diagonally for a change.
2 medium sized potatoes
50g black olives – pitted if not already
handful flat-leaf parsley, chopped
olive oil
sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper

fanny and brendas delicious lamb tray bake

Method

Switch on the oven to 180°C and boil a kettle.

Peel and cut potatoes into wedges – about 6 from each spud and then transfer to smallish pan and cover with boiling water – bring back up to the simmer along with a good pinch of salt and carry on with peeling/slicing your onions, courgette, garlic and tomatoes (and pit the olives and/or chop your rosemary if necessary )

Heat a good splash of olive oil in a medium size roasting dish on the hob over a high heat. Drain the potatoes - which should have simmered for no more than 7-8 mins (which is how long the rest of the veg prep takes at the maximum), leave to steam dry for a minute during which time, give the lamb steaks a thin coat of oil and season both sides. Now gently place the par-boiled potato wedges in the hot oil, along with the onion wedges and fry on a high heat for 4-5 mins until picking up a nice golden brown colour.

Now place in the seasoned lamb (which should easily fit into an area unoccupied by veg) and fry for a minute or so on each side, along with the courgette slices.

Finally, tumble in the tomatoes, olives, garlic and chopped fresh rosemary(and/or oregano) and pour over the wine. Season but don’t over-do it as the sauce will evaporate during the cooking time and will thus concentrate the salt.

Place the dish in the oven for 15-20 mins, depending on how thick the cutlets are until the lamb is cooked. Don’t worry about keeping a perfect pink middle, but thicker cut lamb will obviously tend to stay juicier. In any case, the vegetables release water and combined with the wine should make a nice amount of sauce – not flooded, but very moistened. The potatoes, which will have only been half submerged, will be soft and fluffy underneath with a nice golden crust on top.

Scatter with chopped parsley and serve immediately.

fanny and brendas delicious lamb tray bake

Potted Shrimps

potted shrimps recipe from fanny and brenda

We don’t often say this, largely because we think a lot of quick recipes simply aren’t up to scratch, but this one can be done in a trice and is absolutely delicious. Please see the video which shows that with five ingredients and seasoning, you can have this recipe ready to chill before serving within 15 minutes.

Ingredients

250g butter
2 bay leaves
Half a lemon
Pinch or two cayenne pepper
(about 200g) Brown shrimps (we had enough for 5 ramekins)

Method

Melt butter in pan with a pinch or two of cayenne pepper and bay leaves

Place brown shrimps in ramekins

Pat down and add butter to submerge the shrimps

Decorate with parsley leaf on each ramekin

Place in fridge to chill

Economical Eating Part 2 – Our delectable Cottage Pie

fanny and brendas gorgeous cottage pie starts with the meat grinder spong

This is what happens with the leftovers from the roast featured in our previous posting. You need to be aware that for the time and trouble that you go to, the results will be spectacularly worthwhile. In fact you’ll never want to eat shop bought mechanically pelletted mince again.

INGREDIENTS

Leftover roast beef
2-3 sticks celery – finely chopped
2-3 parsnips – finely chopped
couple of cloves of garlic – crushed
fresh rosemary and thyme – roughly chopped
tin of tomatoes
squeeze of tomato puree
splash of red wine
Worcester sauce
2lbs floury potatoes
butter and cream
sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper
ground nutmeg

METHOD

1) Hopefullly you’ve got about 3-400g beef left over – anyway simply mince it through your Spong or other meat grinding device and set aside

2) Heat some olive oil in a spacious frying pan and add the finely chopped veg (onions, garlic, parsnips – in my case, but most people would use carrots instead) plus the herbs. Give that chance to get a really good fry, ideally with the veg dice being at this stage quite tender and even starting to brown a bit.

3) Add the mince which, being already cooked, should only take another five mins or so – I got a few crusty brown bits developing which is good – it’s all flavour – although you don’t want it getting too dry.

4) Transfer the meat/veg mix to a very large saucepan or pot and add the tin of tomatoes, tomato puree a good gush of red wine and possibly some water – use your judgement but bear in mind the pot will now gently simmer for the best part of an hour to really meld the flavours. During cooking, test the seasoning and add a few splashes of Worcester sauce. Once done, should have a loose, pulpy consistency, but not be too sloppy.

5) Meanwhile, peel and chop your potatoes and simmer in salted water for 25 mins until very tender. I actually recycled some from the pot roast which meant I was able to slightly cut down on the amount of fresh spud needed. Once cooked, drain and allow to steam off a few minutes then process through a ricer – there really isn’t another such foolproof way of guaranteeing smooth mash! Add butter, cream, salt and pepper plus ground nutmeg to taste (but max half a teaspoonful) and set aside. You do need the mash to be quite firm though otherwise it won’t keep it’s shape as a pie topping, so don’t over do the cream even though I can hardly believe myself for that command to self-control!! Switch on the oven about now, to about 170C if eating the pie immediately.

6) Once the meat sauce has simmered to the state where it looks rich and combined, usually around 45 mins, then transfer to a pie dish, then spoon on dollops of the mashed potato ensuring you leave it nice and rustic – bake, and while it cooks, the “peaks” will go darker and crispier than the rest, providing a very jolly effect!

7) I was lucky enough to have left over gravy from the pot roast, which I topped up with a few tablespoons of the cooking liquor from the meat sauce which seems to separate to the top of the pot in the earlier stages of simmering so is easy to retrieve for that purpose! This, along with a few frozen peas, (they’re done when they’ve JUST boiled) with some butter and seasoning makes for a simply superb winter supper – with the added advantage of hoovering up a lot of leftovers otherwise cluttering your fridge up and generally being wasteful.

fanny and brendas gorgeous cottage pie - there won't be any leftovers! photo by Simon Bennett

Cheap Eats with Fanny and Brenda – Beef Pot Roast

fanny and brendas economical eating part 1- beef pot roast

Economical eating does not mean eating poorer quality food. On the contrary, it can often mean eating better quality food if you have the interest in making your food go further. The results are surprising to many as you can often eat for the same price as those ‘value’ ready meals of stodge and have something far more enjoyable and of much clearer provenance too.

So today we start with Beef Pot Roast. This recipe is a gem and the whole house is filled with this marvellous aroma of beef stewing over a long period. It is one of the reasons why I love winter food as I have a love affair with unctuous stews and casseroles and meat dishes of this type. You will be able to feed a family of four with this dish and then in our next installment we will show you what to do with the gorgeous leftovers.

Ingredients

1kg beef topside or silverside
2 large onions – fairly roughly chopped
4 cloves garlic – fairly roughly chopped
3 carrots – cut into about 3-4 pieces
3 parsnips – cut into about 3-4 pieces
6 medium sized floury potatoes, each cut in halves or thirds
250ml red wine
600ml beef stock
olive oil and butter
sprigs of thyme
2 bay leaves
sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper

Method

1) Begin by adding a good lug of olive oil to your casserole dish and getting it nice and hot on the stove. Also heat the oven to 160°C. Having patted dry and seasoned your piece of meat, slap it down in the oil and just leave it for 3 minutes or so to get a really good crust. Turn, and do another side the same way until all sides of the joint are browned, which will take about 12 mins. People talk about “sealing the meat” which it hardly does at all – moisture can be lost or gained by the meat similarly whether raw or fried off first! What you are really getting by treating the meat this way, is FLAVOUR – the dark areas of caramelization both on the joint and stuck to the pan are the essential origins of a lot of your dish’s rich meaty savoury taste at the end.

2) Remove the browned meat to a plate and then stir in the chopped onions and garlic into the same vessel as you cooked the meat (obviously without washing it up first!), stirring quite a bit to make sure all those lovely crusty bits I mentioned above get incorporated into the liquid the onions release and they’re transluscent and quite probably also starting to brown a bit too – again, all super flavour!

3) Add the meat and any accumulated juices back into the casserole with the onions/garlic and now you can add your wine and stock. Once these have gone in, scatter some sprigs of fresh thyme and your bay leaves, plus any extra salt and pepper you feel the sauce might need. Place in the oven with the lid on and cook for an hour and a half to two hours.

4) When you take it out of the oven at this stage, you can tumble in your potato, carrot and parsnip (I don’t think parsnips are especially traditional for pot roasts, but there seems to be a great variety of suggestions as to what root veg accompanies the beef and frankly I used parsnips because a) we like them and b) we had some which needed using up).  I recommend about another hour back in the oven at this stage. Although the lid should have prevented most of the evaporation of the sauce, clearly it will be a little more concentrated than it was initially but this is good as again, it means richer flavour – in any case the veg do release some water during the last hour of cooking  – your meat may need longer, it all depends on the exact cut/quality – but what you’re looking for is a state of tenderness where you can just shred it apart with 2 spoons – which indeed  is a great way of serving it, perhaps in the middle of a platter, with the veg arranged round the edges along with some of the sauce spooned over the shredded beef – don’t forget also to take out the remaining twigs from the thyme sprigs and the bay leaves. As a final touch, I also added a knob of butter to the gravy once the meat and veg had been taken out the pot.

This is amazing one pot cooking – though we did add some buttered green beans to ours!

Spiced Pumpkin Chicken

fanny klunge's super gorgeous middle eastern inspired spiced chicken pumpkin dish

It seems pertinent to continue to the pumpkin theme given that they are in the shops so plentifully at the moment. This is a delicious recipe that has some Middle Eastern inspiration and maximises the loveliness of the pumpkin texture. It has a collection of flavours and colour that are vibrant and moreish which works both as a family supper and/or a party piece that everyone will adore. The recipe itself is relatively straightforward and could be considered a marvellous one pot dish!

fanny klunge's super gorgeous middle eastern inspired spiced chicken pumpkin dish

Check out the video below to see our own demonstration.

Ingredients

500g pumpkin, cubed into 1-2cm chunks
glug of olive oil
1 large onion, sliced
3 cloves garlic, finely sliced
1 tsp fresh ginger, finely minced or julienned
1-2 fresh chillies, finely chopped(no need for deseeding – you regulate the heat by the amount of chilli)
1 large cinnamon stick
2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 chicken cut into four
400g can of tomatoes
2-3 tsp harissa
400g potato, cubed
3 tbsp fresh coriander, chopped
sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper

Serve with a spoon of plain yoghurt and diced cucumber

fanny klunge's super gorgeous middle eastern inspired spiced chicken pumpkin dish

Peel the pumpkin and scrape out any seeds and fibrous bits and cut the flesh into 1-2cm cubes

fanny klunge's super gorgeous middle eastern inspired spiced chicken pumpkin dish

Heat the oil in a large pan and fry the onion and garlic for around 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

fanny klunge's super gorgeous middle eastern inspired spiced chicken pumpkin dish

Stir in the ginger, cinnamon stick, cumin and chillies plus the chicken pieces and cook for 5 minutes, turning to brown them slightly all over

Add the can of tomatoes, harissa, potato pieces, pumpkin pieces and 1/2 the empty tomato can of water. Stir well and check/adjust seasoning. Cover and simmer for 45 minutes until the chicken, potato and pumpkin are tender. Sprinkle on the chopped coriander before serving. (A small dollop of yoghurt and some diced cucumber on top makes this most appealing!!)

fanny klunge's super gorgeous middle eastern inspired spiced chicken pumpkin dish

Halloween Special- Spicy Roast Pumpkin

We have filmed a Halloween special and it is a delicious recipe with origins from Italy. You’ll notice that our make up artist made us look even more witch like than usual, largely on the instructions of Fanny who felt that looking even more gorgeous was quite necessary.

fanny and brenda's spicy herb roast pumpkin - ideal for halloween

Ingredients to serve 4

1-1.5kg pumpkin
350ml double cream
100ml milk
As much garlic as you like (we used 5 cloves)
A handful of red chilli flakes
Fresh thyme
100g fresh strong cheddar/gruyere/parmesan. We used a cheddar parmesan mix
Sea salt and ground black pepper for seasoning

Method

Preheat the oven to 150°c

Cut lid off pumpkin

Scoop out seeds

Squish garlic through a press and add to milk and cream

Add thyme,chillies,salt and pepper

Heat cream,milk,garlic,thyme,chillies,salt and pepper

Bring to boil and allow mixture to thicken

When hot, pour into pumpkin

Sprinkle in half the cheese

Replace the lid of the pumpkin and place in oven

Remove lid and sprinkle with pepper and rest of cheese

Bake for 15 minutes more

Scatter over the remaining thyme

Scoop the pumpkin and cream into bowls

Serve with a wedge of crusty bread