Friday, 12 October 2018

Butternut Squash Bhuna

A seasonal dish that is sure to warm you up as the temperature drops. Grab a bowl full of this hearty and nutritious curry with its thick spicy sauce and curl up by the fire. Preferably with a beer close by. The lightly pickled red onions help cut through the richness of the curry. This recipe also happens to be vegan friendly and gluten free.

Ingredients: Serves 2-3 people

·        500-600g Butternut squash – peeled, de-seeded and cubed 
·        2 tbsp Rapeseed oil (a bit extra for roasting)
·        ¼ tsp black mustard seed
·        4 fresh curry leaves (can used dried if required)
·        1 green chilli
·        1 tsp ground cumin
·        1 tsp ground coriander
·        1 tsp ground fenugreek
·        1 tsp ground turmeric
·        1 tsp red chilli powder (can add less for milder result)
·        1 tsp garlic and ginger paste
·        500ml passata
·        ¼ tsp fine sea salt
·        Couple of handfuls of fresh spinach leaves
·        1 red onion finely sliced
·        1 tbsp white wine vinegar
·        ¼ tsp fine sea salt


For the curry:

1.     Place the butternut squash into a baking tray, coat with a little oil, mix and roast in a pre-heated oven set at 200c for 25-30 mins. A knife should just be able to pierce the veg, you do not want it too soft or it will go to mush in the sauce. Then remove from the oven and allow to cool.
2.     Heat the rapeseed oil in a large saucepan on a medium heat and add the green chilli whole, black mustard seeds and curry leaves to it.
3.     When the above spices start to fizz and pop, turn down the heat slightly and add in the remaining spices and mix well with the oil.
4.     Add the garlic and ginger paste and cook for a minute.
5.     Add the roasted butternut squash into the pan and coat with the spices.
6.     Then add the passata and salt and mix though.
7.     Simmer partly covered with the lid for 15-20 mins until the sauce is reduced and thick.
8.     Add in the spinach leaves at the end and mix though.
9.     Taste and season with salt as required.

For the pickled red onions:

1.     Thinly slice one red onion
2.     Transfer to a bowl/container and add the white wine vinegar and salt
3.     Mix, cover and leave to stand for 20 – 30 mins ideally longer if time.

To serve:

Serve with fluffy and fragrant basmati rice and top the curry with the pickled red onions and coriander leaves.

I love this dish and I hope you do to! Please have a try and let me know how you get on. Better still post pics of you dishes tagging me in on Twitter and Instagram and I'll share them.

Sunday, 29 July 2018

Borough Market - Lamb Day

It's been a rather amazing 18 months and every week seems to bring its own set of adventures. So imagine my reaction when the email arrived asking me to take part in an event at Borough Market and would I like to do a food demonstration there. Well to say I did a little happy dance would be an understatement. 

Photo credit: Borough Market 

I am over the moon to announce that on the 1st of August I will be taking part in the Lamb Day event at Borough Market! Essentially a Welsh take over of this mecca of food showcasing the finest in Welsh produce, products and Welsh lamb of course! 

As a part of Lamb Day events I will be showing how versatile Welsh lamb can actually be and why we should be using it more in our everyday cooking rather than one off occasions. I'll be whipping up a straight forward, one pot wonder dish that packs a real flavour punch along with a more stand out dish to show that Welsh lamb can really be a showstopper.

I'll be making a Welsh lamb ragu with laver flatbreads. Here I pair Welsh lamb with another quintessentially Welsh ingredient, Laver (an edible seaweed product). I'll finish with a feast incorporating other renowned Welsh produce and products but with Welsh lamb at the very centre of it. I can't wait!

Celebrated on the 1st of August each year, Lamb Day kick starts the Welsh Lamb season and marks the start of the availability of new season Welsh Lamb.
Lamb Day celebrations are central to a newly-launched campaign to increase consumer awareness of the versatility of premium Welsh Lamb which is available on the doorstep of UK consumers.

Hybu Cig Cymru – Meat Promotion Wales and the Welsh Government, along with a host of other Welsh food and drink producers, will be offering up tastings of their Welsh products in the Market Hall at London’s Borough Market on 1st-3rd of August 2018.

Welsh Lamb is the product of traditional farming methods handed down through generations and in arguably the world’s finest lamb rearing conditions. This combination has enabled Welsh Lamb to achieve coveted Protected Geographical Indication (PGI).  

I'd love you to join me on the 1st of August at Borough Market, I'll be in the Demo Kitchen from 1pm - 2.30pm in the Market Hall. Demos are free to attend with tasters, cooking tips and recipe cards to take home. 

Hopefully see you there!

Friday, 11 May 2018

Salmon Fish Cakes.

In the pursuit to eat a varied and healthy diet I have come up with my take on salmon fish cakes. These are very easy to make, healthy and sneakily hide some veggie additions. It just so happens in wanting to make my son a wholesome meal I have come up with a dish that is as delicious for kids as it is for adults looking for a healthy lunch or dinner. It has the added benefit of being gluten free and the fish cakes freeze well ready to defrost and use on another day. You can substitute the salmon for halloumi to make the fish cakes vegetarian or some chickpeas to make vegan.

Salmon Fish Cakes - makes 10 chunky cakes
  • 1kg new potatoes - boiled then mashed (no need to peel!)
  • 230g salmon fillets - grilled
  • 1 carrott - peeled and grated
  • 1 red onion - finely diced
  • 2 handfuls of  fresh leaf spinach - wilted 
  • zest from 1 lemon
  • pepper to taste - (you can add salt but for children I would avoid)
  • 1-2 tbsp olive oil
  1. Boil then mash the new potatoes, no need to peel and lumps are all good.
  2. Grill the salmon, allow to cool then flake into the potatoes.
  3. Add the grated carrot, finely diced onions and lemon zest into the mix.
  4. Wilt the spinach in a saucepan with a little water, drain then squeeze out any excess water.
  5.  Mix all of the above together and season to taste.
  6. Then get involved and form the mixture into chunky cakes and place to one side or in the fridge to cool and set slightly. You'll note there is no egg or any other binding agent. I made 10 cakes and not one fell apart.
  7. Heat the olive oil in a frying pan and add the fish cakes two to three at a time, allow each side to colour and try not to move the cakes around too much. Remove from the pan and onto some kitchen roll to get rid of any excess oil.

There you have it an easy to make, delicious, healthy and filling dish. Serve with a salad or some fine green beans. This is a firm favourite in the Clonc household. Please give it a try and let me know how you get on. Enjoy!

Saturday, 24 March 2018

Masala Spiced French Toast and Green Chutney

Bread is the most wasted food in the UK with 24 million slices ending up in the bin every day! This is ludicrous level of waste could easily be resolved if we each wasted three fewer slices a week. As a part of the #MakeToastNotWaste campaign by Love Food Hate Waste this is my take on what to do with leftover bread. 
In fact this works really well with stale bread as it absorbs more of the delicious French toast mixture than fresh bread. Alternatively freeze any extra bread and defrost as required for this recipe. 
This spiced take on the classic works well for brunch or a light lunch, perfect with a nice cup of tea. The green chutney is a zingy accompaniment that cuts through the richness of the French toast and is a perfect way to use up every last bit of any fresh herbs you have knocking about as it also uses the stalks. Enjoy!

Ingredients (1-2 portions):

Spiced French toast:

·         2 slices of leftover bread (ideally thick sliced bread makes better French toast)
·         2 eggs
·         4 tbsp of milk
·         ½ tsp of ground garam masala
·         ½ tsp of ground turmeric
·         ½ tsp of hot chilli powder
·         Large pinch of fine sea salt
·         Sunflower oil
·         Butter

Green Chutney (works better with softer herbs):

·         Hand full of coriander leaves and stalks
·         Hand full of parsley leaves and stalks
·         1 green chili
·         Coarse sea salt to taste
·         1 lime


1.   For the green chutney; blanch the herbs for a couple of minutes in a pan of boiling hot water, drain then transfer to ice cold water to stop the cooking process. This will act to soften the herbs and especially their stalks.
2.      Drain and chop quite finely on a chopping board.
3.      Transfer to a pestle and mortar; add a pinch of coarse sea salt, juice of half a lime and half a green chilli thinly sliced.
4.      Mixed well until you have a bright green chunky sauce.
5.      Adjust salt, lime and chilli to taste.
6.      For the French toast; combine the eggs, milk, salt and spices in a bowl so that all ingredients are well mixed.
7.      Transfer mixture to a large shallow bowl or large rimmed plate.
8.      Set a frying pan over a medium heat add a glug of sunflower oil and knob of butter to the pan.
9.      Dip the slices of bread into the French toast mixture, make sure they are well coated but not so much that the bread falls apart!
10.   When the butter is beginning to bubble place the dipped bread into the pan.
11.    Cook for 3-4 mins on each side or until each side goes golden brown.
12.   Transfer to a plate and get stuck in!

·     I cut the French toast into triangles and arrange them around the edge of the plate. Season with coarse sea salt and hot chilli powder. Then finish with some coriander leaves and chopped chillies scattered over the top. Serve the chutney alongside in a little dish.
·    If there is any remaining French toast mixture then carry on cooking off any bread that you still have.
·       The above recipe doubles easily if more quantity is required.

For more information on helping reduce food waste please check out the good work over at Love Food Hate Waste 

Friday, 9 March 2018

Welsh Cake Ice Cream with Salted Honey Sauce

Inspired by the Italian influence on Welsh life, culture and of course food I decided to make my own ice cream in homage to the great ice cream producers of Wales such as Joe's, Sidoli's, Mario's and Conti's to name a few. These names are synonymous with quality ice cream and therefore with making people happy as everyone loves ice cream!

This recipe is very straight forward, does not require an ice cream maker and the pay off is well worth the little effort it takes to make. It tastes brilliant with subtle hints of cinnamon and nutmeg wrapped in a deliciously smooth and creamy ice cream with glorious chunks of welsh cake in it waiting to be discovered. The salted sauce adds another layer of indulgence and really sets the whole dish off, the salt providing a nice flavour counterpoint. This makes a delicious yet simple dessert. Try it!

Welsh Cake Ice Cream - easily makes enough for 6-8 portions
  • 600ml double cream
  • 200ml of condensed milk
  • 4-5 Welsh cakes - crumbled but not too much you want to keep some sense of texture
  • ground cinnamon - 1/2 heaped teaspoon
  • ground nutmeg- 1/2 heaped teaspoon
  • Vanilla Extract - 1/2 teaspoon 

Salted Honey Sauce 
  • 100ml Welsh honey
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 60ml of double cream
  • fine sea salt to taste

  1. Start with the ice cream, simply whisk the double cream, condensed milk, vanilla and spices together until you get soft peaks then fold in the crumbled up Welsh cakes. Pour into an air tight container and pop in the freezer over night ideally or make first thing in the morning if you plan on serving it in the evening. 
  2. For the salted honey sauce, place the honey and water in a sauce pan over a medium heat. The honey will start to bubble and turn a lovely dark brown (but not too much as you will have burnt it!). At this point remove the pan from the heat and pour in the double cream. You should end up with a golden coloured sauce.
  3. Add a pinch or two of salt (adjust to taste) stir in and allow to cool slightly and your good to serve.
Tip: take the ice cream out of the freezer 15 mins before you plan to serve it as it will be easier to scoop.

I like to serve this with some extra crumbled Welsh cakes and crushed up biscotti scattered on top for texture and a glass of Vin/Il Santo dessert wine!

Please do try making it and let me know how you get on! Until next time folks!

Wednesday, 28 February 2018

Tandoori Welsh Lamb Neck Fillet, Masala Potatoes, Crispy Onions and Coriander Vinaigrette

This St. David’s Day I have been inspired by the great produce of Wales and I for one am so proud and privileged to call Wales my home and help show off some of the incredible products that Wales has to offer. Teaming up with Food and Drink Wales I aim to do just that!

Here I use arguably to most well recognised Welsh product not only in Wales and Great Britain but the World. I am of course talking about Lamb! Not any lamb, Welsh PGI lamb. What does that mean? It stands for Protected Geographic Indication which is a byword for quality and means that the produce bearing that logo has been highlighted as having particular characteristics specific to that area. Think Champagne or Parma ham. Here I use a cut of lamb that is full of flavour and very reasonably priced. I always recommend using a quality butcher so find out where your local one is and use them!

The other product is Pembrokeshire new potatoes which in their own right are pretty damn good with a bit of butter and salt! Come May time however a certain variety of new potato the Pembrokeshire Earlies as they are known also have the coveted PGI status. These potatoes are versatile, sweet and buttery. I love them.

In this recipe I combine these great products with a hit of spice and I am super happy with the result. But don’t take my word for it, try it for yourself! #ThisisWales #GwladGwlad

Ingredients: (makes 4 portions)

For the Lamb-
·         2 Welsh lamb neck fillets – fully trimmed of excess fat and sinew

For the Marinade:
·         6 tbsp Greek Yogurt
·         2 tsp Gram Masala
·         2 tsp ground red chilli powder (medium heat)
·         ½ tsp smoked sea salt (fine)

For the Masala Potatoes-
·         500g Welsh new potatoes
·         1 tbsp sunflower oil
·         ¼ tsp cumin seeds
·         ¼ tsp black mustard seeds                                                                                                                ·         5 dried curry leaves
·         1 green finger chilli
·         ¼ tsp ground coriander
·         ¼ tsp ground turmeric
·         ¼ tsp ground red chilli powder (medium)
·         ¼ tsp garam masala
·         ¼ tsp salt (smoked)

For the Crispy Onions-
·         2 echalion shallots
·         1 egg
·         Dash of full fat milk
·         Plain flour
·         Smoked sea salt
·         Black pepper
·         Sun flower oil to fry

For the Coriander Vinaigrette-
·         2.5 tbsp white wine vinegar
·         2 tbsp olive oil
·         1 tsp shallots finely chopped
·         5 tbsp finely chopped coriander
·         Fine sea salt to taste
·         Freshly ground pepper to taste


For the lamb:
·         For the marinade mix all the ingredients together in a clip fresh tub or similar.
·         Trim any excess fat and sinew from the fillets (you can ask you butcher to do this for you).
·     Coat the lamb neck fillets and marinade in the clip fresh tub for 12hrs or overnight in the fridge.
·        Remove the from the marinade but ensure there is still a good coating of it on the lamb. This will form the ‘crust’. (Do this at least 20-30 mins before cooking as you do not want the lamb to be fridge cold before going into the oven).
·     Cook on the highest temperature your oven will go for 20-25 mins then remove from oven and check internal temp with a meat probe: needs to be at least 55-60c when removed from the oven. Internal temp will continue to rise while meat is resting. We are looking for the centre to still be pink.
·       Carefully transfer to a separate tray or cooling rack being sure not to disturb the crust hence use a fish slice/wide spatula rather than tongs to lift up the fillets.
·       Blow torch to glaze and char the coating, alternatively place under a preheated grill turned up to max until the coating has that lovely charred appearance.
·         Allow the meat to rest for about 5-10 mins.
·         Carve each fillet into slices just before serving.

For the potatoes:
·         Quarter/half the potatoes depending on the size.
·         Boil in salted water until cooked.
·         Drain and set aside to allow excess moisture to evaporate.
·         Then in a separate frying pan add the oil then the whole spices and heat gently.
·         Add the ground spices and cook out for a few mins.
·         Transfer the potatoes to this frying pan and coat. Gently press some of the potatoes down to ‘crush’ a few so there is a mix of whole and ‘crushed’ potatoes.

For the onions:
·         Slice the onions thinly.
·         Dip in a mixture of egg and milk.
·         Then coat in seasoned flour.
·        Fry in hot oil until crispy (both shallow and deep frying will be fine just be careful and try not to burn the onions).
·         Drain on kitchen paper.

For the vinaigrette:
·         Finely dice the shallots
·         Finely chop the coriander
·         Then add all ingredients to a jar and shake!

To serve:
·         Place a mound of potatoes in the middle of the dish
·         Place the carved lamb on top
·         Drizzle the vinaigrette around the potatoes
·         Arrange the onions on the lamb
·         Garnish with picked coriander leaves as required

There you have my dish inspired by Wales on St. David’s Day. With spring just around the corner and new season lamb on the way along with the Pembrokeshire Earlies now is the time to make the most of these amazing products Wales has to offer. Not to mention the cheese, beef, fish, shellfish, chocolate, wine, whisky…….. (I could go on and on!).
For more information about food and drink in Wales check out Food and Drink Wales website or on twitter @FoodDrinkWales @BwydDiodCymru

Dydd Gŵyl Dewi Hapus/Happy St Davids Day.