Mushroom toasts with bacon, thyme, garlic and roasted bone marrow

This is without doubt one of the most deliciously mouth watering recipes I’ve ever devised, for obvious reasons I guess. Roasted bone marrow spooned over garlicky mushrooms and salty jewels of bacon and perfumed woody thyme… what’s not to love? These mushroom toasts would be ideal for a Christmas Eve or New Year’s Eve dinner party. Just go easy on the garlic so as not to knock your guests side ways with your garlic breath.

This recipe really packs a punch in terms of flavour and it’s just so simple. Aside from waiting for the bone marrow to cook it only takes about 10 minutes to throw together, so even when you’ve still got some last minute wrapping to do you can find 10 minutes right?

Bring some restaurant elegance into your home

It is easy to bring a little bit of restaurant into your own kitchen. In fact, Christmas has to be the ideal time. Your guests will really appreciate the touch of elegance it brings to the dinner table, plus you’ll look extra chefy. All you have to do is ask your butcher for some femur bone cut into small discs and pop it into the oven. Job done! Well almost…

The inspiration for the recipe

The inspiration for this recipe came from a book I recently bought for a friend. It’s a book I feel compelled to share with all foodies I know. ‘The Flavour Thesaurus’ is always on hand in my kitchen. If you’re a foodie and you’ve not heard of it or read it I urge you to pop out and grab a copy. As the title suggests, the book is set out like a thesaurus and is a bible of parings, recipes and ideas for the creative cook. On many an occasion I’ve taken inspiration from the book, perhaps when I have a random ingredient left over and I’m not sure what to pair it with. I can always count on The Flavour Thesaurus to come up with the goods.

The recipe

Garlic mushroom toasts with bacon, thyme and roasted bone marrow
Recipe type: Starter, Main, Snack
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
  • 250g mushrooms (I used Chestnut and Shiitake), roughly chopped
  • 4 rashers of smoked streaky bacon
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tbsp freshly chopped thyme
  • Splash of white wine
  • 2 disks of femur bone (bone marrow) - ask your butcher for this
  • 4 thick slices of sourdough bread
  • 1 tbsp each of butter and olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  1. Turn the oven on to the highest temperature and pop in the bone marrow (in a roasting tin). It will take about 35-40 minutes.
  2. When the marrow has only 10 minutes from being done heat the butter and olive oil in a pan on a medium heat. Add the bacon and cook for 4 minutes.
  3. Add the mushrooms, garlic and thyme, cook for another 2-3 minutes.
  4. Then add a splash of wine and allow to cook until reduced. Season to taste.
  5. Pop the slices of sourdough bread under the grill. Remove when lightly toasted and whilst still hot rub them with a garlic clove.
  6. Remove the bone marrow from the oven and carefully spoon out the soft marrow from the middle - stir this through the mushroom mix.
  7. Pile the mushroom mix on to the toasts and garnish with a little fresh thyme.
  8. Serve immediately.




Basic White Bread (and poppy seed loaf)

Cook time: 30 minutes
Total time: 4 hours (inc rising time)
Yield: 2 loaves


  • 700g strong white flour
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp caster sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp easy-bake dried yeast
  • 25g cold butter, cubed
  • 450ml warm water
  • 1 tbsp poppy seeds
  • 1 tsp milk

Cooking Directions:

  1. Sift the flour, salt, sugar and yeast into a large bowl, then using your index and middle finger and thumbs rub in the cold butter until you have a bread crumb consistency.
  2. Make a well in the centre of the flour and slowly pour in the water forming a sticky dough, continue until you have used all of the water. The dough will feel really sticky, but don’t panic, this is normal.
  3. Lightly flour the work surface and begin to knead the dough until smooth and elastic. Shape the dough into a ball and place in a lightly oiled bowl. Cover with oiled cling film and pop in a warm place to rise until doubled in size. I use the airing cupboard and normally leave it for around 2 hours.
  4. Once the dough has risen to double the size, knock it back by punching down the dough to deflate it. Remove it from the bowl and knead vigorously for a couple of minutes.
  5. Shape the dough to the desired shape and size and place in a lightly oiled loaf tin if using. Leave covered by a tea towel for 30 minutes, or until doubled in size. This second rising shouldn’t take as long as the first.
  6. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 230C.
  7. Brush the loaves with milk and scatter over the poppy seeds.
  8. Bake the loaves for 15 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 200C and bake for a further 15-20 minutes, or until the bread has risen and is golden brown on top.
  9. The bread should sound hollow when tapped on the bottom. Turn out and cool on a wire rack.

Ever had a baking disaster?

I can’t believe it’s that time of year again already. The Great British Bake Off is in full swing and the hunt for Brittan’s next best amateur baker is on. There is something quite magnificent about a group of people who share a passion for baking coming together under one roof (or marquee as it were) and battling it out to be crowned The UK’s Best Amateur Baker. It’s TV gold. From builders to actresses, designers and students, this year’s line up is as diverse as ever.
So, having been inspired to get baking, I set about making some bread in the hopes of producing a light and delicious loaf, only to find it had a disastrous outcome. I realised that I’d forgotten the salt in the first batch of dough I made, so that ended up in the bin. Then for my second attempt, the bread didn’t rise particularly well to start with, but I persevered. It looked and smelled wonderful – just like a freshly home baked loaf should – but let me tell you – it was the densest loaf ever. I was the laughing stock of my household for a week. I’d used a pot of yeast that had been open and lurking around in the cupboard for who knows how long, it was over a year passed its use by date and as I’ve learnt yeast won’t work if it’s stale.
My partner joked that it’s a known fact that men are better bakers than women. No I thought, I’m not standing for this – says who? Okay, so my first two attempts were rubbish, but it was the yeast’s fault, not mine. Anyhow this failure and his comment spurred me on to ensuring bread success. I stuck with it and made another loaf (using freshly bought yeast) and I cracked it.
There’s nothing more satisfying that admiring a gorgeous loaf of bread you made, well I guess there is – smothering it with butter and eating it!
Having ruined various batches of dough, but actually managing to master the technique of bread making – even if it did take a while, I feel compelled to share with you my top tips and tricks to bread success:
  • Use the freshest ingredients, yeast that’s been sitting about for ages simply won’t work.
  • Knead, knead, knead – and then knead some more – if you’ve got the ratio of flour and water right your dough will start out really sticky. The more you knead it the more elastic and smooth it will become – really put some elbow grease into it.
  • Be patient – something Paul Hollywood advised on last week’s programme. Leave the bread to rise, just leave it until it’s doubled in size.
  • Master the basic white loaf before you experiment with other flours, flavours of toppings – don’t run before you can walk. It took me three attempts to even get the basics right.

So, if you’ve been thinking about baking for a while, now’s the time to dust off your apron and get stuck in. The Great British Bake Off is such a source of inspiration. I’ll be fixed to the TV every Wednesday at 8pm over the coming weeks to see what showstopper and signature bakes look good enough for me to replicate. I’ve earmarked Luis or Martha for winner.

Bread Baking Techniques

Kneading, proving and knocking back – what’s it all about?

If you’re a novice baker like me, you might well find all these terms very confusing.
It’s all very well someone telling you to ‘knock back your dough’ – but if you haven’t the foggiest idea what they are talking about it can all be very baffling. 
My advice is to get yourself a good reference guide, such a decent baking book and spend some time doing your homework. If you get to grips with these terms before you set about making the bread you should have a decent head start.
Start with a simple recipe, such as a basic white loaf and learn the techniques before you attempt to use other flours or flavours. For instance, some wholemeal or rye flours take more kneading than others. There I go, doing exactly what I didn’t want to do – assuming you know what these terms mean.
I wanted to give you a brief overview of a few of the basic bread making terms, but I’m certainly no expert and I won’t pretend my advice is worth noting, so I’ll leave it to the experts.
Read more about bread making techniques at Paul Hollywood’s website

English Muffins with Hot Oak Smoked Salmon and Poached Egg

Breakfast is always a carnival in my house, at weekends anyway. There’s always plenty choice, from bacon and eggs, to tea and toast – we start the day the right way – with full bellies. From the moment I open my eyes in the morning I’m ready to eat and love creating a bustle in the kitchen at this time of day.

When Richard’s kids are here for the weekend they love soft boiled eggs with soldiers and bacon sandwiches. Max likes Rich to make him pizza toast, with basil – yes, he is quite particular about it. If there is no basil he doesn’t want it. I love that they enjoy their food so it’s no fuss to get different pots and pans out for everyone.

If we are not having breakfast in our kitchen we pop across the road to the local cafe – they serve up huge breakfasts, the kind you need with a fuzzy head. The liver and bacon breakfast is my fav with a huge mug of tea.

I found some hot oak smoked salmon lurking about in the fridge the other morning so I decided to have it for breakfast. This one couldn’t be simpler. Toast and butter an English muffin, top with the salmon and a poached egg, sprinkle with chopped parsley and tuck in.

It’s the simple things in life that make me happiest, sitting down at the kitchen counter on a sunny morning with a delicious treat for breakfast and a deadly silence in the house because everyone else is sleeping, utter bliss.

I’d love to hear your favourite breakfast recipes, am I missing out on the best breakfast?

Eggs Benedict (Hollandaise Sauce)

How do you like your eggs in the morning?

I call myself a foodie, yet it struck me that I’d never attempted to make hollandaise, which quite frankly is absurd. I remember watching a series of MasterChef where one of the initial challenges was for the chefs to make a hollandaise sauce, many of them failed miserably, yet they were able to create stunning dishes that I wouldn’t even dream of being able to recreate. So, it seems that however much of a culinary expert you are the basics can sometimes get lost in the hype of creating new recipes and being all too innovative with food. Let’s face it; the basics are as important as the fancy stuff.

In all honesty, I’m slightly embarrassed to say that the technique of making hollandaise (the thought of it splitting) has always put me off, but I decided it was about time I stopped shying away from such thoughts and had a go. I’m amazed at how easy it was – and it didn’t split (pats self on back in congratulatory manner). Harrah me!
Whisking together the eggs yolks, vinegar and water is certainly the easy part, whisking only until light and frothy, it’s when you add heat to the equation that you seem to think it’s going to explode before your very eyes. Okay, that is a slight exaggeration, but my point is the thought is scarier than actually getting stuck in and having a go. You slowly whisk in the butter until you have a thick pale yellow sauce – et voila hollandaise! It really is that simple.
Ordinarily, when Saturday morning comes around I think of one thing only – eggs, normally boiled with soldiers, sometimes scrambled or poached, but never with hollandaise. From now on though, I’ll be found in the kitchen lording it up with my eggs Benedict – well, every now and then anyway. It’s the perfect breakfast in so many ways, not least because it really sets you up for the day, all that protein keeps you going for hours before feeling hungry again – perfect if you’ve a busy day lined up. Granted, it’s not exactly a healthy breakfast with all the butter, but let’s be honest, weekends were invented for indulgence, especially around the breakfast table.
I didn’t make Rich breakfast as he was sleeping off a hangover and I didn’t imagine hollandaise would sit well in his stomach. But, having seen the photos I took, he was in fact quite jealous of my delicious breakfast and has requested I have another bash at making it again soon. I guess this one is going to become a weekend staple in my household. This recipe serves two.
What have you shied away from making before, only to find it was so much simpler than you’d imagined?
2 eggs
Small packet of smoked ham
1 English muffin, halved
Salt and ground black pepper
1 tbsp freshly snipped chives
For the Hollandaise:
2 egg yolks
2 tbsp white wine vinegar
1 tbsp water
125g softened butter, cubed
Lemon juice, to taste
Salt and ground black pepper
To make the hollandaise sauce, add the egg yolks to a heat proof glass bowl and whisk until light and frothy. Place the white wine vinegar and water into a small saucepan and reduce by half, allow to cool slightly.
Place the glass bowl over a saucepan of simmering eater and add the reduced vinegar. Ensure that the simmering water does not touch the bottom of the glass bowl. Whisk vigorously until the mixture is light and airy. Gradually add the butter a cube at a time, whisking the whole time. Season with salt, pepper and lemon juice and keep warm.
Poach the eggs for 3-4 minutes and toast the muffin halves.

To serve, butter the muffins, place a couple of slices of ham on each, followed by the poached egg. Season with salt and pepper then pour over the sauce and garnish with the snipped chives. 

Smoked Haddock Fishcake with Soft Poached Egg & Green Beans

With the festive season well and truly upon us, I am growing increasingly excited about my Christmas dinner and all the other delicious food I’ll undoubtedly consume over the next week or so. Indeed, there could be no better time for a foodie than Christmas and I can’t wait to get stuck into my festive menu. This year I’ll be making curried parsnip soup, turkey with all the trimmings and a panettone bread and butter pudding. That said, the week leading up to the big day has inspired me to try and be a little healthier, so I opted for a homemade fishcake, with my favourite yellow fish, dyed smoked haddock. If you are not ordinarily a fan of fish, I urge you to try it smoked; it boasts a whole different flavour.   

This recipe is certainly a gathering of some of my favourite ingredients, and there is nothing better than the wonderful liquid gold of a softly poached egg spilling out onto your crispy delicious fishcake with a generous pile of steamed green beans. This dish can be prepared ahead (the day before) and is certainly an attractive one, which I think makes it perfect for a dinner party.

Serves 4

8 large potatoes, such as desiree
2 dyed, smoked haddock fillets
400ml milk
3 tbsp freshly chopped chives
1 finely chopped green chilli
Pinch of nutmeg
200g fine green beans, trimmed
6 eggs
2 slices of slightly stale bread
1 lemon
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the over to 180⁰C

Break two eggs into a flat dish and whisk. Place the bread in a blender and blend until you have crumbs, place the breadcrumbs into another flat dish and set the two dishes aside.

Boil and mash the potatoes, adding a splash of milk and a pinch of salt and pepper, set aside while you poach the fish.

Pour the milk into a large pan; add the fish, nutmeg and half of the chives, season well. Allow the fish to poach gently in the milk for about 5-6 minutes. Remove the fish from the pan and flake onto the mashed potatoes with the chilli and zest from the lemon, mix well to combine. At this point add two tablespoons of the hot milk from the pan and the rest of the chives.

Allow the mashed potato mix to cool enough to handle then shape into fishcakes, dip each fishcake into the egg mixture and then into the breadcrumbs. Once you have completed all of the fishcakes heat a little oil in a frying pan and brown them on each side. Transfer the fishcakes to the oven and cook for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, steam the green beans and poach the eggs.

Serve each fishcake topped with a poached egg and sprinkled with chives. Add the green beans and a wedge of lemon for squeezing. 


Delicious Herby Dumplings

“I’m so sad its Friday. I wish it was Monday already!” 
said no one in history, ever!
Hurrah for the weekend my fellow foodies. I’ve been a little lapse on the blogging front lately, mainly because I’ve been dining out far too much, so I thought it was time I got back into my kitchen and churned out some culinary delights. Well, I say my kitchen, but I’ve actually commandeered my boyfriend’s kitchen of late. This is for one of two reasons, firstly because it’s a beautiful big kitchen and secondly because his flat is closer to the pub, about 10 metres away to be precise.  
In other news, Miss Friday has been busy writing an exciting foodie article for a local magazine, which is due its first publication next week. I was asked by a gentleman that frequents my local pub if I’d be interested in contributing and knowing what an avid foodie I am, he knew I’d jump at the chance.
So this week has been delightful as far as the weather is concerned, well that was until today of course.  And when the weather decides to turn grim and the sky is full of heavy cloud, there are very few things that cheer me up, but comfort food certainly works a treat. Think thick hearty stew and tasty sausage casserole with a huge pile of creamy mashed potatoes, or better still, fluffy and delicious herby dumplings.
The humble dumpling has a way of making everything seem better on a cold and drizzly day. They are simply great for turning a stew or casserole into a warm and satisfying meal. What I love most about this recipe is that it’s actually relatively healthy; I mean who could resist a stodgy dumpling anyway, let alone when it contains only half the calories of your average one?  Made with milk and flour these little beauties are a lighter way to enjoy comfort food. And, you only need a few ingredients.
You can plop these little morsels of fluffiness into your sausage casserole, beef or lamb stew or even your coq au vin. They take around 20 minutes to puff up and transform your meal into a hearty feast. Obviously, you can leave them longer if you like a crispy edge, but for me they are best enjoyed when they are fluffy and soft and soak up all those delicious stew juices.

100g self raising flour
½ tsp salt
1 and ½ tsp olive oil
A small handful of fresh parsley, chopped
3 tsp snipped fresh chives
60ml semi-skimmed milk
To make the dumplings, add all of the ingredients into a bowl and mix together. Then divide the mixture to make 8 small balls (these will double in size when they cook).

When your stew has 20 minutes left to cook, add the dumplings and cover with the lid. You can remove the lid for the last 5 minutes so they become golden brown on top if you prefer. 


An Italian Dinner Party

I’m certain that a few people will loathe me for saying this, but it’s too bloody hot to eat at the minute. Maybe it’s the muggy weather, but food seems to be the last thing on my mind. There I said it. Truth be told, it’s been an awful week anyway, which may be another reason I’ve taken a side step from the kitchen. My good friend Richard decided to fall out of a window and break his back and his ankles. Ouch! So, with working and doing my Florence Nightingale bit I’ve not even had time to think about pulling out pots and pans, nor, quite frankly, could I be bothered to.
Anyway, enough about me and what I’ve been up to, I wanted to share this recipe/ menu plan with you in light of how busy I’ve been this week. This really is the simplest menu to put on for your friends. Everything can be served cold, which is perfect in this weather, and it also means you can prepare everything ahead of time – no last minute rushing around and working up a sweat which, lets face it, isn’t difficult in this weather.
You’ll notice the Italian theme with the menu, yes; I’m still stuck on Italian food. It’s so simple and tasty, what’s not to love? I decided to take the Jamie Oliver approach with this menu, by which I mean sticking everything on a big platter and letting people help themselves, it’s easier and a huge platter of steak looks great in the centre of the table, doesn’t it?

Italian Canapés

For the arrival of my friends I made some canapés. Perhaps the easiest thing to prepare, but they look really impressive and colourful, people comment on the effort you’ve made, when it actually takes you no longer than 2 minutes, great! Make the canapés by poking a little ball of mozzarella, a sun-dried tomato, a piece of Italian cured meat and a little basil leaf onto a cocktail stick. I’d make about a dozen for four people. Serve with some Italian olives.

Bruschetta Starter

You can’t get more Italian that bruschetta, it’s a simple, colourful and wonderfully rustic starter to serve for a crowd. And, you can be as creative as you like when it comes to the toppings. I’d recently seen a recipe for goat’s cheese and dill bruschetta in Olive magazine, so I knew that was a must, but with one of my friends being pregnant, I wasn’t entirely sure which cheeses were safe, so I thought I’d make few other variations.
Slice and toast the ciabatta bread, remove from the oven and rub with a raw garlic clove, drizzle with olive oil and top with any of the following combinations:
  • Chopped cherry tomatoes, basil and mozzarella
  • Soft goat’s cheese, dill and semi-dried tomatoes
  • Mozzarella, salami and semi-dried tomatoes
  • Mozzarella and salsa verde

The variations of toppings are endless. Experiment and create different types to suit your guests. I had a pregnant friend, a friend who doesn’t eat goat’s cheese and a friend who’ll eat anything (you know who you are!). Serve your bruschetta as is, or with a bowl of king prawns and a quick homemade lemon, mustard and mayo dip.

Homemade Italian Salsa Verde (for the main)

2 garlic cloves
80g fresh basil, roughly chopped
80g flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped
60g fresh mint, roughly chopped
6 anchovy fillets
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
2 tbsp capers
1 tbsp good Dijon mustard
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Blend the garlic and herbs in a blender until very finely chopped (you may prefer to do this by hand). Add the other ingredients and blend to combine, pouring in the oil slowly whilst still blending. You should be left with a thick pesto like consistency; it may be a little thinner, which is fine.
The salsa verde will keep in the fridge for 1-2 days

Steak Salad with Salsa Verde and New Potatoes – Main Course

Take a large serving platter and scatter with rocket, watercress and baby spinach.

Using rump or sirloin, season and fry the steak for as long as necessary. I like mine rare so a couple of minutes each side is enough. Rest for 10 minutes and slice thinly. Arrange the stake on the bed of salad and drizzle with a little olive oil, parmesan shavings and toasted diced ciabatta bread. Serve with homemade salsa verde and buttered new potatoes. 


Authentic Tuscan Ragú

The best Italian food is simple, rustic and colourful

There must be a million ragú recipes out there, but this wonderfully versatile sauce plays such a big part in authentic Italian cookery, so one more won’t hurt. Made with the freshest ingredients and slow cooked to perfection, there is no doubt that a huge pot of rich, mahogany ragú bubbling away on the stove will set your taste buds tingling. The red wine and mix of different meats, beef and lamb mince and chicken livers really set this recipe apart from the rest and creates the most wonderful depth of flavour.
The versatility of this ragú is what I love the most; enjoy it with freshly made pasta or in a lasagne. But, for me its best served on toasted ciabatta bread, topped and vine tomatoes, freshly chopped basil and a few shavings of parmesan, all washed down with a delicious Italian red wine. Make a big batch and freeze it for delicious, but quick, weeknight meals.

I’ve mentioned a few times, I’ve recently discovered a love of authentic Italian cookery, so I was delighted when I received an email from the folks at To Tuscany, explaining that they were running a foodie blogger competition, and they wanted me to enter. The idea is to post a Tuscan inspired recipe, which is something I was only too pleased to set about making. Having thought about the basics of Italian cookery, and the simplistic approach Italian’s seem to adopt when cooking, I knew the recipe had to encompass three things, fresh ingredients, good preparation and enjoyment. There is nothing the Italian’s love more that sitting down to enjoy a lovingly prepared meal over a lazy afternoon. And, given that seasonality plays such an important part in Italian cookery, only the freshest ingredients would do.
I’m excited at the prospect of a foodie competition, mostly because it allows me to put my thinking cap on and get creative, but also because I want to win a week in one of your Tuscany villas. Really I do! Imagine sitting in the warm Tuscan sunshine enjoying a glass of the finest Italian wine and munching your way through some delicious bruschetta, knowing you’ve earned your way there by creating a delicious Tuscan recipe. Fingers crossed!
Given that ragú is probably one of the most common Italian recipes, and one that is showcased in various different versions all across Italy, it may seem an obvious choice. But, ragú is all too often ruined by people mistaking it for a simple flavour combination; it’s a far cry from simple, dull or boring. Made with the best quality ingredients and just the right about of love your ragú will have the most wonderful depth of flavour, making you feel as if you’re enjoying an authentic Italian dish on a hill-top hamlet in Tuscany. We can but dream…

Authentic Tuscan Ragú Recipe

Recipe makes a large batch for freezing

250g Beef mince
250g lamb mince
200g Chicken livers, finely chopped
5 tbsp Italian extra virgin olive oil (such as De Cecco Il Classico)
800g chopped tomatoes
5 tbsp tomato purée
200ml of red wine
Salt and black pepper
Handful of freshly chopped basil
10 vine tomatoes, halved
4 tbsp parmesan shavings
A combination of the following ingredients finely chopped is what the Italian’s call Soffritto, which forms the basis of many authentic Italian meals:
2 Red onions
2 Carrots
2 Celery sticks
1 sprig of rosemary (optional in most Soffritto recipes)
2 bay leaves (optional in most Soffritto recipes)

Start by heating the oil in a pan and gently frying the red onion, carrots and celery. Add the rosemary and bay leaves. Cook until golden, about 12-15 minutes. Remove the rosemary and bay leaves and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Add the meats to the pan and continue to cook for a further 15 minutes. Once browned add the wine and stir well. Cook until the wine and fat from the meats has evaporated.
Add the chopped tomatoes, tomato purée and season to taste.
Serve with toasted ciabatta, topped with a generous spoonful or ragú, a few chopped vine tomatoes, freshly chopped basil and parmesan shavings.

Bon appétit!

 Wine Paring – Piccini Super Tuscan – medium bodied, it’s a blend of Sagiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, particularly good with red meat, pasta and rich tomato sauce – Perfect indeed!


Steak Sandwich with Horseradish Cream and Rocket

What with all this moving and my immanent holiday, I’ve not really had much time for cooking and recipe development recently, which is really how this recipe surfaced. I needed something quick, budget friendly and of course tasty. And let me tell you, this delicious 10 minute recipe ticks all of those boxes. Having moved in with my big brother and discovered that he lives on pizza and milkshake, I feel a certain sense of responsibility to ensure he has something healthy and tasty on his dinner plate at least once a week. And to be honest, I could do with a new guinea pig so I think we’ll do just fine together.

Kelvin (my brother) was rather impressed with this super quick supper, although he was not quite so impressed with the huge plume of smoke that appeared from the general cooker area. Perhaps there was not quite enough oil/ butter in my steak pan, but then again, my steak barely touches the pan before being briskly whipped out in an attempt not to over cook it. Yes, I’m a fan of very rare steak and would rather eat it completely raw than well done, seriously! You can really taste the meat when it’s rare and it practically melts in your mouth – delicious. However you like your steak cooked, I urge you to give this recipe a go.
Beef and horseradish, for me, are two things that belong together, and nowhere do they work better than in this recipe. If you’re not a huge fan of horseradish, or find it too hot, you can change the quantities to suit your own palate. Personally, I like it fairly punchy so the recipe below will give you a nice hot horseradish cream, but just add more sour cream for a milder version. It’s also worth noting that you can use a various different steak cuts, but I opted for rump because I tend to like the fatter cuts – they’ve so much more flavour, but obviously fillet would be nice too, not quite as cheap, but certainly nice.  
1 ciabatta loaf
1 rump or fillet steak
Knob of butter
Handful of rocket
100ml sour cream
1 tbsp horseradish
1 tsp Dijon mustard
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Combine the sour cream, horseradish and mustard in a small bowl, mix well.
Cut the ciabatta in half length ways then through the middle to create two sandwiches. Toast under the grill until golden. Meanwhile season and cook the steak in the knob of butter. Once cooked removed from the pan and allow to rest for 10 minutes.

Spread a thin layer of horseradish cream onto each slice of ciabatta. Thinly slice the steak and pile on top. Add more horseradish sauce if required and a handful of rocket.

Quick Garlic Bread

Okay, I realise this bread is not homemade, but I absolutely hate buying those pre-packaged ghastly garlic

breads you get in the supermarket. It’s the simplest thing to create at home, so why buy it? I’m certainly not going to call it a recipe, you’ll see why, but really it’s just to remind you that making it yourself is such a joy, especially when you get some fresh herbs in the mix. No Italian dinner would be complete without it, whether its spaghetti, pizza or grilled fish. So basically, all you need is a nice fresh ciabatta loaf, garlic, some proper butter and extra virgin olive oil and the herb of your choice; flat leaf parsley and basil work a treat.

Put 40g of softened butter into a dish; add a little olive oil, 4 minced garlic cloves and 3 tbsp of your chopped herbs, mix well to combine the ingredients. Meanwhile, roughly slice the ciabatta loaf on an angle at 2cm intervals, making sure that you don’t cut all the way through.
Here comes a Jamie Oliver tip, take a piece of baking paper large enough to wrap all the way around the bread, screw the paper up into a ball and rinse under cold running water. Unwrap the paper, place the bread in the centre and pour over the butter. Wrap the baking paper tightly around the bread and bake in the centre of a pre-heated oven for 12 minutes on 200C.