Roast duck pie with mushrooms & sage forcemeat balls

duck pie

duck pie

duck pieFor the filling:

Fry diced bacon until crisp – drain and reserve

Season the duck legs and fry until both sides are golden

Transfer to oven and cook through

Drain off excess fat

Heat a large, flameproof casserole over a high heat, lower the heat slightly, add the bacon and oil and fry until crisp and lightly golden. Lift onto a plate with a slotted spoon. Season the duck legs with salt and pepper, add to the casserole and fry all over, until golden brown. Set aside with the bacon. 3. Pour away all but 1 tablespoon of the duck fat from the casserole, add the shallots and fry until they begin to take on a little bit of colour. Sprinkle them with the sugar and continue to cook until nicely golden on all sides. Add the carrots and fry for 2-3 minutes, then add the garlic and fry briefly. Pour in the red wine, beef stock and redcurrant jelly, and bring to the boil. 4. Preheat the oven to 180°C/fan160°C/gas 4. Stir the bacon into the casserole, rest the duck legs on top, cover and roast for 11/4 hours, until the duck is very tender. 5. Lift the duck legs out of the casserole and set aside until cool enough to handle. Meanwhile, skim off the excess fat from the top of the sauce, place the casserole over a medium heat and bring to a simmer. Mix the soft butter and flour until smooth, then stir into the sauce. Simmer for 2-3 minutes until thickened, then stir in the peas, chopped mint and seasoning to taste. Remove from the heat. 6. Discard the skin from each of the duck legs and cut them in half at the joint. Take the meat off the thighs, (discarding the bones), break into small pieces and stir into the sauce. Stand the duck drumsticks upright in 4 x 350ml deep ovenproof pie dishes (ours were 11cm wide and 6cm deep). Spoon the sauce around each leg. Wrap the top of the legs in foil so they don’t burn in the oven. 7. Unwrap the pastry and divide into 4. Roll each piece out on a lightly floured surface to make a 15cm disc, and cut a cross in the centre of each. Beat the yolk with 1 teaspoon cold water, then brush it onto the underside edges of each disc. Position the discs over the pie dishes so that the duck drumsticks poke through the holes. Press the edges firmly onto the rims and sides of the dishes. Chill for 20 minutes. 8. Preheat the oven to 200°C/fan180°C/gas 6. Put the pies onto a baking tray, brush the pastry with the remaining egg/water mix. Bake for 25 minutes until the pastry is crisp and golden. Return bacon to the pan

Add chopped mushrooms


Fry mushrooms until golden

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAdd red wine + chicken stock + bay leaves


For the pastry:

Sift the flour & add diced butter

Rub the fat in to the flour until it looks like fine breadcrumbs


Add chopped parsley & mix

Add cold water & mix until the dough is smooth & firm


Form a ball and wrap in cling film

Chill for 30 minutes

For the forcemeat balls:

Mix together white breadcrumbs + chopped sage & parsley + finely sliced spring onions
+ grated lemon zest + chopped streaky bacon + sausage meat + salt & pepper + beaten egg


Roll into balls and chill

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERARemove duck legs and allow to cool

Add flour and redcurrant jelly to the wine & mushroom pan to create a rich, well seasoned sauce

Allow to cool

16Remove the duck meat from the legs

Add the meat to the red wine sauce & pour into pie dish


Arrange the the forcemeat balls over the sauce so that they will support the pastry lid


Roll out the parsley pastry

Roll out the pastry until it’s about 2.5 cm larger than the top of the pie dish


Cut off thin strip of pastry from around the edge & brush with beaten egg

Press the pastry strip onto the rim of the dish and brush with more egg


Top with the pastry lid & press the edges together to sea


Press edge of fork around the rim

Decorate with pastry ‘leaves’ from the trimmings & make a steam hole in the lid


Brush the lid with more beaten egg & chill for 30 minutes

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABake at 200C for 25-30 minutes until the pastry is crisp and golden


34 2016


Cypriot style meatballs | Keftedes – with tzatziki & pitta

Cypriot style meatballs | Keftedes – with tzatziki & pitta

Cypriot style meatballs - Keftedes

Mix together: free range/organic pork mince + grated potato (with water squeezed out) + finely sliced spring onions + finely chopped fresh mint + pinch dried mint + sea salt

Roll the mix into balls and refrigerate for 30 minutes

Cypriot style meatballs - Keftedes

Shallow fry in olive oil until cooked through and golden

Cypriot style meatballs - Keftedes

For pittas:

240ml warm water
2 teaspoons dry yeast
400g  flour ( 1/4 wholemeal + 3/4 plain white is a good mix)
Good  pinch or two of sea salt
Drop of honey
Glug of olive oil
Mix water + yeast + honey & leave to froth up for five minutes
Add to the flour and knead for 7- 10 minutes
Cover and leave in a warm place for 90 – 120 minutes or until doubled in size
When ready divide into 8 pieces & roll into 7″ – 8″ rounds
Place on pre-heated baking tray and cook @ 210C for around 3 minutes
The pitta will puff up and when fully ‘ballooned’ is ready

Cypriot style meatballs - Keftedes

Serve with the freshly made pitta bread + tzatziki

Works very well with chicken mince too

For more meatball ideas visit:

Meatball Deli  |   |  For the love of meatballs!

Courgette & halloumi cakes with a caper & lemon dressing

Mix together grated courgettes + grated halloumi + dried or fresh mint + finely sliced spring onions + garlic + flour (for gluten-free –  chickpea flour or ground almonds) + egg + S & P
  Shape the mixture into cakes and shallow fry in olive oil until golden
Make a dressing with capers + finely chopped parsley + diced cucumber + olive oil + lemon juice
  . . . . they are also surprisingly good served with just a dollop of homemade guacamole! (click on link for guacamole recipe)

Devilled Louisiana crab cakes with roasted red pepper & smoked paprika garlic mayo

Louisiana crab cakes

Devilled Louisiana crab cakes with roasted red pepper & smoked paprika garlic mayo

Serves 2

For the crab cakes:
250g white crab meat – tinned or fresh
2 spring onions, finely sliced
1 stick celery, finely diced
½ red pepper finely diced
100g mashed potatoes
½ red chilli finely diced
50g plain flour, seasoned with cayenne + salt & pepper
50g white breadcrumbs
1 medium egg, beaten
Vegetable oil

Mix together the crab + spring onions + celery + peppers + mash + chilli + S & P
Divide the mixture into 4 and shape into big, fat cakes and then place in the fridge for 30 minutes to firm up
Dust the cakes with the seasoned flour
Dip in the beaten egg
Coat the cakes in breadcrumbs on all sides
Fry the crab cakes in in a frying pan over a hot heat for around 3 minutes on each side until golden & piping hot. Lower the heat if the cakes brown too quickly or you can  finish them off in the oven
Serve with a big dollop of garlic red pepper mayo & a wedge of lemon

Louisiana crab cakes

For the roasted red pepper garlic, smoked paprika and lime mayo:
1 medium roasted red pepper, skinned and roughly chopped
1 clove garlic
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
Smallest pinch of smoked paprika
Squeeze of lime
S & P
Add all the ingredient to a mini food processor and blitz as coarse or smooth as you like

 Louisiana crab cakes

Lebanese mezze

Lebanese mezze

Lebanese mezze: baba ghanoush + broad bean dip + labneh + falafel + marinated olives + toasted sesame seed, garlic & chilli dip + flatbreads

Lebanese mezze

Lebanese mezze

Lebanese mezze

Baba ghanoush or ghanouj: chargrilled & roasted aubergines + tahini + minced garlic + lemon juice + Mediterranean sea salt flakes

Lebanese mezze

Lebanese mezze

Broad bean dip:Cooked & skinned broad beans +  tahini + chopped coriander,  parsley & mint + garlic + lemon + extra virgin olive oil + Mediterranean sea salt flakes

Lebanese mezze

Labneh: strain Greek yoghurt for at least 12 hours

Add Mediterranean sea salt flakes & olive oil

Strain for up to 36 hours & the ‘cheese’ will become dense & then can be rolled into balls & preserved in plain or herbed oil

Lebanese mezze

Sesame seed dip: toasted sesame seeds + finely minced garlic + chilli flakes + Mediterranean sea salt flakes +extra virgin olive oil dip

475g plain flour flour (try substituting half with wholemeal or a quarter with chickpea flour)
2 tspns dried yeast
½ tspn ground cumin (optional)
Pinch of sugar
250-300ml lukewarm milk or water
Mix the flour + salt + cumin
Add yeast + sugar to the warm milk or water – leave to froth for 5 minutes
Add yeast mixture to the flour
Mix to form a smooth dough & knead for 5-10 minutes
Cover the dough and leave in a warm place until doubled in size ( about 60 to 90 minutes)
Knock back the dough
Divide into 12 equal pieces
Roll out onto circles
Cook on a medium to high heat in a lightly oiled, pre-heated solid frying pan for a couple of minutes each side

Lebanese mezze

Falafel: cooked chickpeas mashed together with minced garlic & onion + ground cumin + ground coriander + cayenne + chopped parsley & coriander + chickpea flour + S&P

Blend until the mixture is somewhere between the texture of cous cous &  a paste like consistency

Cover and refrigerate for a couple of hours

Roll into balls

Fry in vegetable oil, in small batches until  golden & piping hot – about 5-6 minutes



Sardinas al horno – baked sardines

Baked sardines

Baked sardines

Sardine fillets + lemon + parsley + white wine + olive oil

Baked sardines

Baked sardines

Rinse sardines & pat dry

Season with S&P

Add olive oil to baking tray

Lay sardine fillets side by side

Pour over wine + lemon juice

Scatter minced garlic & parsley over fillets

Drizzle with more olive oil

Baked sardines

Baked sardines

Sprinkle breadcumbs over the sardines

Baked sardines

Baked sardines

Bake @ 190C until cooked through  – about 15 to 20 minutes

Baked sardines

Baked sardines

Perfect for a quick summer lunch served with a simple mixed leaf & onion salad with a sherry vinegar dressing