Meat, poultry & game
On British tables for more than 200 years, toad-in-the-hole was a way of making a little go a long way for the lower classes. I like to make things a bit more celebratory with honey-mustard sausages wrapped in bacon and enveloped in beer batter.
My favourite chili is adapted from a recipe by Wahaca queen, Thomasina Miers - with the essential addition of beer and chocolate! It takes time, but is almost entirely spent doing its thing in a low oven, and like all stews tastes even better the next day.
Recently voted the most delicious food in the world, Rendang is a slow cooked, caramelised beef curry made from traditionally tougher cuts of meat that fall apart as they braise. I use ox cheeks, which have the benefit of being cheap, and prefer the traditional "dry" version, made by reducing the sauce to a thick flavour-packed coating for the spoon-soft meat.
The best Jerk chicken I've ever tasted. "Spatchcocking" cooks the meat quickly and makes it incredibly moist. But a word of warning, wear gloves when preparing the Scotch Bonnets - or be prepared for the consequences!
A great way to feed 4 hungry people with just 6 sausages - and it tastes delicious too. This recipe was inspired by the River Cafe's "Penne con Sugo di Salsiccie", which is as good a reason as any to add it to your favourites!
Pork pies are one of the most satisfying things you can make in the kitchen – like building your own house or giving birth to your first baby. I recommend going the whole hog (pun intended) and making the hot water pastry, pork jelly and filling yourself.
Carbonara - bacon and eggs, Italian style! No cream, just eggs, cheese, pancetta (guanciale if you can find it) and freshly ground pepper. Spaghetti's the pasta of choice but linguine or bucatini are fine too.
This dish is pure comfort food and was first introduced at the time of Queen Victoria as a way of using up leftover meat. Shepherd's pie is made with lamb but you can substitute beef and beef stock for an equally delicious "cottage pie".
This is easy one-pot-cooking. Packed with Mediterranean flavours it freezes well, so make up a large batch and save some for later.
This is the ultimate macaroni cheese. I like to add diced pancetta but you can substitute chopped mushrooms if you prefer a vegetarian option. This recipe also makes a great side dish, just bake in individual ramekins and reduce the final cooking time by 5-10 minutes.
Meatballs in a simple tomato sauce —or Polpette di carne—are a true Italian classic. Some chefs gently poach their meatballs in the sauce but I prefer to cook them separately to get a nice caramelised crust.
I was first introduced to this Italian classic on a visit to Rome and this recipe is adapted from the brilliant Rose Gray and Ruth Rogers' River Cafe Cook Book. Aficionados insist on bucatini pasta and pecorino romano, but you can substitute penne and parmesan if preferred.
This is my "go-to" when I'm craving a takeaway. Depending on your tastes you can make it sweeter or more spicy, but this is a great basic recipe.
Do an online search for the “ultimate burger recipe” and you'll find many weird and wonderful flavour combinations. Guinness, however, appears surprisingly often, adding an interesting malty flavour to the meat.
The secret to an amazing thai curry is really quite simple – use an amazing thai curry paste – and the best way to guarantee that is to make it yourself. I like my curries with a bit of a kick, but just reduce the number of chillies if you prefer yours less spicy.
This recipe takes time - but most of it is spent letting the lamb slowly cook away in a low oven, filling your home with amazing aromas. There are also a few ingredients, but they all add to the flavour and result in the most mind-blowing lamb shanks you will ever taste - guaranteed.
I first encountered steamed dumplings during a backpacking trip to China. My Mandarin wasn't what it should be, so I did what you’d expect from every linguistically challenged Brit - I pointed at a few things on the menu and hoped for the best. I was very pleased with myself…until I found out mine were filled with "twice fried goose gizzards"... These are better, I promise!
Whilst no self-respecting Italian will ever admit to eating “Spaghetti Bolognese”, they all have a favourite “ragu” of red wine, tomatoes, mince and hours of long slow cooking. The biggest challenge is waiting until it’s finished before diving in.
Stroganoff was first served in an 1890's cooking competition by the personal chef of Count Pavel Alexandrovich Stroganov. Legend has it that he invented the dish as his employer was unable to chew a whole steak due to poor dental health.
Steamed buns are the latest food trend - with every pop-up restaurant and street food stall getting in on the act. My favourites come from Momofuku in New York, so I recommend their bun recipe, although you could always buy frozen from your local Asian supermarket. I then add my own sticky, spicy confit duck. Delicious.
Chicken Tikka Masala is Britain's favourite dish. Here are two versions, one which involves brining and marinading the chicken and one which requires a little less forethought. Either way, this is a great recipe to replace your Friday night takeaway.
Red curry paste is less pungent than its green cousin but still packed with flavour. You can make your own or buy good examples from Asian supermarkets. Either way, impress your friends with this tasty Thai classic.
Meltingly soft oxtail in an unctuous stout and porcini sauce. Like most braised stews, this is even better the following day after the flavours have fully developed—assuming you can wait that long, of course...
Fortnum and Mason claim to have invented Scotch eggs as a luxury ready-to-eat meal in the days of horse-drawn travel. If true, every picnicker in the country owes them a debt of gratitude. I double coat mine to make them extra crunchy, but you can save time and miss this step out if you like.
These are addictive. I like to prepare mine as “lollipops” so they are easier to eat but if you like a simpler life - or just enjoy the mess - you can simply cut each wing into two pieces, crack open a beer and enjoy!
A simple but tasty salad that's surprisingly filling. The quality of the mozzarella makes all the difference.
There are times when the clean taste of chicken breast is perfect, but it can sometimes be bland. Poaching gently in a water bath keeps it moist and this Moroccan chermoula sauce adds enough kick to bring even the most jaded taste buds back to life.
For the ultimate Paella use short-grained Calasparra or Bomba rice - these absorb up to 50% more infused stock than other varieties.