Sunday, 28 October 2012


Everyone that has children will know that the pumpkin is the second most fun part of Halloween after trick or treating but what do you do with the seeds and flesh you've scooped out? I either make spiced pumpkin soup (ideal for when you get back from trick or treating) or risotto. To give mine a twist I roast my pumpkin seeds in the oven and sprinkle them over the risotto, this gives a different texture to your meal and a nice nutty flavour. And if you're stuck for a pudding try toffee apple crumble,

For the topping

200g flour
100g butter
50g sugar

Rub the 3 ingredients together until its like bread crumbs


1 can condensed milk
4 good size cooking apples

Boil your unopened can of milk in a pan for 2 hours, and let it cool completely, slice your apples and chuck them in your dish, normally I would sprinkle with sugar but the can of milk has now turned to toffee so just spoon it over your apples then cover with your crumble topping. Stick it in the oven on 160c for about 45 mins. 


Saturday, 27 October 2012


Had a bit of a lazy Saturday dinner, Chinese take away. Having said that it wouldn't be complete without salt and pepper chips. Very fattening and very spicy but amazing with noodles.


Get a large pan and fry chopped garlic onion and chilli, depending how hot you like it, I use 2 birds eye chilli's. Throw your cooked chips in straight from the fryer/oven. Give them a shake until they are completely coated in the spicy oil the just before you serve sprinkle over some granulated sugar.


Friday, 26 October 2012

My Favourite Soup

Soups are great in the winter and this one is my signature soup. I've never before given the ingredients or the way its done partly because it only needs 3 ingredients but mostly because as a chef its the ultimate cheat. I first made this soup by mistake but it turned out to be one of the best soups I've produced.

So Tomato and Mango Soup (my best kept secret)

1 can chopped tomatoes (literally any will do)
1 vegetable stock cube
Mango chutney to taste

Heat your chopped tomatoes in a pan, add your stock cube then if you want a smooth soup blend it and if you want it chunky just add water until its the right thickness, spoon in your mango chutney to taste. Its that easy and a proper crowd pleaser, my customers were paying £3.50 per bowl with a bread roll. I've lost count of the times I've been asked for the recipe so here it is. Enjoy but don't tell anyone!!!

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Cooking on a Budget

Cooking quality food on a tight budget is never easy and its really tempting to go down ready meal convenience crap but is that really what we want to do?? I get roughly £4 per head per day for breakfast  mid morning break lunch (including desert) afternoon snack and 3 course dinner. By making our own bread products cakes pasta and everything else we can think of we manage to enjoy theme nights smoked salmon on the salad bar home made ice cream and even the odd steak night chucked in. It can be done if we just make the effort!!

Tomorrows Breakfast

OK so its last day for a week tomorrow so I'm making pancakes for breakfast. I know everyone knows how to make pancakes but I'll give you my recipe anyway.


1 egg
1 cup milk
1 cup flour

Makes 10


Mexican Beef Pasta

So today's lunch was Mexican Beef Pasta, Basically chilli con carne in a pasta bake. Easy, but things to remember, frying the mince beef takes at least 4 hours if you want to do it properly. This breaks down the beef better and gives a smoother feel, also beef stock and red wine are essential and heres my top tip instead of chilli powder I use Cajun spice this gives the chilli a fuller body and brings heat to he whole tongue not just the tip you get of chilli powder. I sprinkle mine with bashed up nachos just before service for added texture. I'll post the full recipe shortly.

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Beef Curry

Before me came the open the jar sauce and add meat, bit different now!! Here is my way.

How much you use depends on how you like it, can be hit and miss at first but if you trust your instincts it will be fine. 
I like to fry my onion chilli garlic and caraway seeds (caraway gives a fuller body) then add your meat. When the meat is sealed whack in some garam masala ginger, mild madras curry powder and stock is essential in everything you cook you could make your own but cubes or powdered is just as good so chuck some in of your chosen meat or use vegetable stock. The stock rounds off all the spices making it easier to balance. Add a can of chopped tomatoes simmer and job done. I garnish mine with roasted peppers coriander and shiso cress. 

Rice now

In your pan fry your chosen amount of dry rice let's say a cup in oil until the rice starts talking to you (makes a sizzling clicking noise) then add double the water, bring to the boil, lid on then off the heat and leave it till the water has been absorbed. You can get adventurous and fry onion and peas too and use stock instead of water.

Tuesday, 23 October 2012


So here is today's lunch, you might think a risotto is probably not the dish to serve kids and to be honest the first time I put it on I was a bit dubious but to my surprise and delight it was very well received. Sometimes its not what the dish is but how it looks, I serve mine with a home made cheese roll (see previous recipe) and dance some micro basil beetroot shoots and mizuna leaf just before they take their meal a drizzle of olive oil is always at the ready if they want it. Try it!!

Monday, 22 October 2012

Tomorrows Lunch

Tomorrow's lunch is chicken and leek risotto with a home made bread roll and garnished with micro basil and beet shoots, pics and recipe to follow!!

Bangers and Mash!!

Today's delights were sausage and mash with an onion gravy and peas but not just any old sausages we enjoyed

Pork and Leek
Pork honey and mustard
Lamb and mint
Chicken and apricot
Wild venison and red wine


Sunday, 21 October 2012

The Best Sponge Recipe

OK so we all know chefs are notorious for making recipes look harder than they really are so here's my top sponge mix, Baking cakes is more scientific than my normal approach to cooking but this is one recipe I really stick to.


500g self raising flour
500g sugar
500g butter or margarine
8 eggs

In the mixer beat the life out of the butter sugar and eggs until light and fluffy, throw in your flour and fold it in don't beat it gain it will ruin the gluten in the flour and won't rise properly. Grease your baking tin and line the bottom with grease proof paper. Spoon in your mixture and cook on 150c for about 45 mins or until a skewer comes out clean when poked in the middle. Makes about 10 portions.

You can literally chuck in any flavour you like but if your making chocolate throw a couple of glugs of oil in the mix to keep it moist.

Chicken and Tomato Lasagne

OK so last nights dinner was chicken and tomato lasagne garlic roast new potatoes and side salad. Cooking for children is never easy and when I started writing the menus it was very good food but in my eyes basic, cottage pie and jelly!! When I put this on the menu the first time I could see they were expecting beef lasagne but the feed back was excellent and since then they have been pretty much open to trying anything.


Basic filling of diced chicken in a tomato and basil sauce.
White sauce flour butter and milk
And for the pasta

100g plain flour
1 egg
Drizzle of oil
Couple of pinches of salt

Mix the ingredients together til its like bread crumbs then start kneading, its hard work at first but the end result is wonderful, better than shop bought and dare I say a fraction of the price.
 I use this a lot perfect for taliatelle and ravioli.

Friday, 19 October 2012


If there is anything you want to know how cook or just meal ideas feel free to ask!! I'll try my bet to answer or point you in the right direction.

Cheeky bread recipe

Easy lunch today bacon and cheese Panini's with fries and cinnamon buns for afters, I'll be posting the full recipe for the buns later but its done by using my own simple base dough.

The basic white bread mix is

500g plain flour, a lot of recipes call for strong bread flour but its not needed.
300-350ml warm water, depending on if you want a crusty roll or a more bap like roll, 300ml will give a crusty roll.
7g fast action yeast
Pinch salt
Pinch sugar
30ml oil

 In a mixer mix the dry ingredients using a dough hook first then add the oil and water, mix for 10 minutes this gives the flour time to absorb the water. Prove in a warm place until double the size. Knock back the dough to the size it was when you started, shape into 12 rolls, chuck them on a baking tray lined with grease proof paper and prove again until double the size. The roll should still feel firm, if the outer skin feels loose then the bread has over proved.
Bake on 150c for 15 mins or until the bread sounds hollow when tapped. Leave to cool for a while and enjoy!!! Easy and better than shop bought.

Thursday, 18 October 2012

what to expect

I'll be posting recipes pictures and top cooking tips from the school kitchen. I'm on a very small budget but have managed to produce restaurant standard food, let's hope my blog helps you too!!!


Hi my page is about good food and good recipes suitable for schools and parents.  Children and young adults not only need their brains educated but their palates too!!!

Istarted cooking in a boarding school last year and was amazed at how much was brought in so I decided to make it my mission to make as much as possible on site, now instead of deep fried chicken burgers and brought in pies we are enjoying restaurant standard food on a school budget. It can be done if we make the effort it works at home too!!!