Easy Spring Veg Puff Pastry Tart

Here is a simple recipe for a very simple but effective puff pastry tart.

First get some savory puff pastry sheets – forget all the hassle of making your own as it’s just not worth it.

Then select some of your favourite vegetables  – mine included courgettes, red onion, mushrooms, cauliflour, yellow peppers, jersey royal potatoes and asparagus. Chop them into smallish pieces and throw into a roasting dish with a drizzle of olive oil and some sat and pepper.

Roast them off at 220 degrees for approx 10 mins or so until soft and some are slightly charred at the ends.

Place the puff pastry square on a sheet of greaseproof paper, then after the veg has cooled slightly scatter them across your puff pastry.  Top with grated cheese – I used goats cheese but anything will do.


Then brush the edges with beaten egg and put back into the oven until it is golden and crispy.

Slice up and serve with a crisp green salad.

Easy, quick and delicious



First BBQ of 2017 – A Honk of Pork

Despite the threat of a downpour, I had a Honk of Pork that needed heat and smoke!

So after knocking up a quick orange juice and pineapple marinade and leaving it to soak up the flavours for approx 4 hours, it was ready to go.

Luckily I had cleaned the BBQ after it’s winter hibernation when we had that last heat wave in April, so it was ready to go.

I filled up the chimney starter with coals and 10 minutes later it was cranking out a good 200 degree heat.

On with the pork in a roasting pan and using indirect heat for about 2 and half hours (it could have taken longer but we were starving) and here is the finished product.

A good start to the BBQing year – yeeehaaaah!


Easy Spanish Fish Stew

Here’s an easy recipe for a very tasty Spanish carzuela or fish stew

First the sofrito – you will need roughly chopped onions, leeks, carrots, celery, fennel red pepper and plenty of garlic.

Then chop some chorizo into slices and slowly fry to release the oil.  Once cripsy remove the choriz and add the sofrito, leaving out the chopped garlic.

Slowly saute the vegetables until soft and cooked through and then add the garlic and cook for about another 5-10 minutes.  Then add a teaspoon of La Chinata Pimeton Paprika – I used hot but you can use smoked or sweet and cook again for another 5 minutes or so.

Then add approx 250ml of fish stock (I used half a knorr cube) and a carton of chopped tomatoes and garlic and slowly simmer until the sauce has thickened. Add half a tin on cannelini beans.

Add the white fish, I used coley and sword fish.

And simmer until the fish is nearly cooked.  Then add the prawns for a final couple of minutes until everything is cooked through.

Sprinkle over the fennel leaves and some freshly chopped basil and serve with crusty bread wiped over with garlic and a tomatoe to make pan con tomate. Add a big dollop or alli olli (garlic mayonese) and you have a delicious and easy Spanish Fish Stew.

Three Cornered Leeks and Chicken

It’s amazing what you find when walking the dog!  Three Cornered Leeks!



I thought they were just white bluebells but on closer inspection and some googling I discovered they are a Mediterranean delicacy called the Three Cornered Leek or Allium triquetrum

So I decided to cook them with some roast chicken.  I basically braised them like you would a leek and added the edible flowers as a garnish.

How did they taste? – Like a mild version of a leek without three corners.


After a 4 year break GarysKitchen is back with the ultimate steak and nachos

It’s been a while but after a slight break from blogging, 4 years to be exact, GarysKitchen is back with a simple but effective ‘Ultimate Steak and Nachos’ recipe.

First the Steak. Forget Sirloin, Rump Rib-Eye or Filet and go for a Flat Iron Steak (also known as Feather Steak).  It is cheaper but better than the rest and with this simple cooking method it guarantees perfectly cooked medium rare steak very time.

First cut off any membrane and then rub with olive oil and season liberally with freshly ground salt and pepper.  then heat your heavy bottomed pan to a high heat and slap down the steak for 5-6 minutes, then turn and give the other side another 5-6 minutes, then rest it for 5 minutes.  This is important and really makes sure the steak is cooked to perfection.

Then carve into thin strips and voila – perfectly cooked medium rare steak!

Now to the Nachos.

Prior to cooking the steak put a sweet potatoe in the oven to cook through – about 15-20 minutes should do.

Then in the pan that you cooked the steak, fry off some mushrooms and thickly sliced red onions.

Once the sweet potatoe is cooked – remove skin and chop into small pieces. Then make one layer of nachos and add some of the mushroom and red onion mix and half of the cooked sweet potatoe. Then grate some cheese over the top – cheddar is fine.

Then make another layer and repeat.

Pop it into the oven to heath through and melt the cheese.

Whilst cooking, chop some cherry tomatoes, avocado and some fresh basil and once cooked sprinkle over the top.

Drizzle some alliolli (garlic mayo) over the top and you have the Ultimate Nachos.

2013 in GarysKitchen

2013 wasn’t a prolific year for blogging but the chaps at wordpress do prepare a nice little report showing this years stats.

Click here to see the complete report.

Interesting that many people found my blog searching for Duncan Norvelle – WTF?????


A Walter ‘White’ Christmas 2013

This year GarysKitchen decided to honour the best TV show ever and have a Breaking Bad themed Christmas meal.

Trying to link each course to a Breaking Bad theme or episode took some doing, but thanks to the power of the internet the Walter ‘White’ Christmas meal was developed.

Breaking Bad Menu

Breaking Bad1 MenuBut before I get onto the actual meal, a special mention should go to the providers of the ingredients.

Firstly to the Little Black Pig who provided the main event of a Norfolk Black Turkey and other wonderful meats.

A special thank you goes to Kate from the Little Black Pig who personally delivered the turkey on Monday 23 December, which if people recall saw severe winds hit the UK with chaos on the roads.

But after hours on the road, Kate delivered the box of goodies

Christmas meat

The turkey

With all ingredients ready the marathon cook started on Christmas eve and the Breaking Bad menu started to come together.

The opener saw us say ‘Salud’ and celebrate episode 10 of Season 4 with a glass of Zafiro Anejo with each glass topped with sky blue crystal meth.

Zafira Anejo

This little liverner kicked off proceedings nicely and everyone settled down to enjoy an amuse bouche of a tomato consomme shot with a mozzarella pearl.  This celebrated the pink teddy bear eyeball seen floating in Walt’s pool in episode 1 of season 3.

The lab effect was improved by some nifty glass measuring beakers bought by son of Garyskitchen – seen in the photo below.

tomato consomme

The amuse bouche was followed by a meat starter of mini Heisenbergers.  I love this play on words but can not take the credit for this as Heisenbergers are awash on the internet. Our mini Heisenbergers were Dexter beef in home baked mini rolls, with sky blue cheese and pink onions (again referencing the pink teddy bear).

Accompanying the Heisenbergers were a selection of madrigal dipping sauces from Season 5, episode 2.

HeisenbergerNext came Gustavo Fring’s Chillean fish stew which I found out was called Paila Marina.

This course celebrated the legend that was Gus Fring and the fish stew he cooks for Walt in Season 3, Episode 11.

Fish stew vegPMNow to the main event and the turkey.  For this I made another play on words and instead of us having Los Pollos Hermanos (The Chicken Brothers) we had Los Pavos Hermanos (The Turkey Brothers).

Now by this stage the party was in full swing and we did not take any photo’s of the bird but we did manage one photo of a full plate – although I think it looks pretty horrible.

Turkey dinnerThe eagle eyed amongst you may have spotted some butternut squash on the plate. This deserves a special mention as this is the homegrown butternut squash from my Mystery Plant and it was very tasty too.

mystery plant

After the main event we were flagging but we all managed to move on to the dessert which was in honour of Gale Boettichers coffee brewing as seen in Season 3, so a light dessert of Cafe Glaze, with a cookie referencing Saul Goodmans  classic quote of referencing his secretary Franchesca as HT and a light sprinkling of contaminated Chilli P, from Jesse’s signature cook.

contaminated batch

gales coffee

GarysKitchen also did a Black Forest Gateaux.  I have no idea why but it seemed like a good idea at the time.

BFG We then moved onto the cheese board, which had no real link to Breaking Bad

Cheese boardThe meal was washed down with a nice cold Schraderbrau to celebrate ASAC Hank Schrader and you can go **** yourself. Each Schraderbrau had a little added twist of Methylamine.



After four hours of feasting, we all needed a little pick me up and thanks to Walt we weren’t let down.

Sky blue

And even Skylar made it an A One Day

A 1 Day

Christmas 2013 – Homemade Cold Smoked Salmon

2013 has been a quiet year for blogging in GarysKitchen, and I have pretty much failed in adding content regularly but here’s a final hurrah with GarysKitchen countdown to Christmas 2013.

Compared to previous Christmases this years is going to be a simpler affair.  I am not going for the curing marathon that was 2011, or the faff of making my own Christmas Pudding, or even the anti supermarket feast that was 2012 (although there are some similarities).

Yes Christmas 2013 is going to be a simpler, slightly less extravagant and more stress free Christmas.

The menu is already designed, but will only be unveiled on the day, with each course being simple to prepare but hopefully very tasty.

As per last year I’ve ordered my turkey and other pork products from The Little Black Pig but I haven’t yet received it yet.

My fish has again come from Adam via ebay and his Brixham Seafood store.  This arrived on Wednesday and contained a whole side of salmon, a huge turbot, two giant skate wings, a couple of dover soles and fresh crab meat.

My vegetables were again bought from Rayleigh fruit and veg and I have also ordered some cream and eggs from my milk man.

My cheese and cured meats have come via Barcelona thanks to Sean and via Wales, via Rayleigh Market thanks to my Mum.

So as you can see there are some similarities to last years ASM Christmas.

So on with the preparations and this year I have decided to forgo the hugely successful Christmas Gravadlax, which by the way still comes in at fourth in a google search, for a homemade cold smoked salmon instead.

Readers will know that I love a bit of Heath Robinson style DIY cooking and I was inspired by Tim Haywards video on how to make smoked salmon at home via the use of a soldering iron.

I have adapted it slightly but the soldering iron principals remain the same.

So first cure your side of salmon – you can follow my gravadlax recipe here but only cure it for 12 hours and after you have cured wash off the cure mixture and leave it uncovered overnight in a fridge to form a pellicle.

For those of you who are interested, a pellicle is a skin or coating of proteins on the surface of meatfish or poultry, which allow smoke to better adhere the surface of the meat during the smoking process. Useful in all smoking applications and with any kind of animal protein, it is best used with fish where the flesh of, say, Salmon, forms a pellicle, the surface that will attract more smoke to adhere to it than would be the case if you had not used it. Without a pellicle; the fish would be inedibly dry from enough smoking to produce a tasty finished product. It is the pellicle which permits the transformation creating delectable Smoked salmon.

Here is my salmon already cured and pellicled.

cured side of salmon

I also added a slab of cheddar for some smoked cheese

Home smoked cheese too

Then make up your soldering iron smoker.

First get a soldering iron – £4.99 from ebid

My soldering iron

Then get an empty baked bean can and make a hole in the side at the bottom

Baked bean can

Then stick your soldering iron in the side

Ready to smoke

Half fill it with wood chips and this is where I differed from Tim as I put it in my barbeque

In the bbq

Plug it in and watch that baby smoke.

See the smoke?

To keep the smoke in and to stop the rain getting in, I covered my barbecue

All tucked in

Then leave it for about 5 hours for the cheese and 12 hours for the salmon.

Now here’s a tip. My curiosity got the better of me so I checked to see how things were smoking and noticed that I needed to top up my wood chips, so it is worth keeping an eye on things.

I regularly checked it and to be honest there wasn’t a lot of smoke being generated but it really did smell smoky and after about 5 hours I checked the cheese and it was done and was well smoky.  Here’s a photo but you need to smell it to appreciate the smokiness, as it hasn’t taken on a lot of colour.

smoked cheese

Its a bit harsh at the moment, although son of GarysKitchen raved about it (notice the corner missing), so I am going to leave it to mellow and take on a softer smoky flavour.

The salmon took a bit longer…. but it was worth the wait.

perfectly smoked salmon

After 12 hours of smoking, and again there didn’t seem to be a lot of smoke produced, the salmon was really smoky and had taken on a really nice colour.

Nice and smoky

It is now tucked away to mellow ready for Christmas.

Perfectly smoked salmon

Quality food on the cheap, as always.

It’s the latest foodie craze – cooking on a budget.

Jamie’s at it with his Money Saving Meals, although spending over £7 on a chicken doesn’t sound money saving to me!

The blogesphere is full of budget chefs The Skint Foodie and a Girl Called Jack are worth a mention.

And then there are the other celebrity chefs jumping on the bandwagon – The really skint Gordon Ramsey is having to cook at home, rather than in one of his 13 UK restaurants – poor old Gordon.

The really annoying Nigel Slater is having to resort to collecting windfalls from his orchard – poor old Nigel.

The really patronising BBC is telling us to bake our own bread or make friends with a butcher!

And finally the really nasty Tories are even telling us to save money by putting on a jumper!

One positive mention though for the moneysaving guru, Martin Lewis who has been giving us decent advice for ages.

So, in the true spirit of togetherness, and hopefully not as patronising, although for those who are really struggling I am sure it is, GarysKitchen is jumping on the bandwagon and here is my recipe for a really cheap, but high quality, three course Sunday lunch.

GarysKitchen menu consists of the following:

Starter – Vegetable Laksa

Main meal – Organic Half Leg of Lamb (totally patronising but you’ll see why) with all the trimmings

Pudding – Apple, Plum and Cherry Crumble with Custard

The total cost for this meal is £14.69 for four people with plenty of leftovers, so £3.67 a head.

I’ve had a go at providing a full cost breakdown and if you check out Jamie’s mothership lamb (no mention of starter or pudding) at over £15, you’ll see that I have beat him hands down.

So how did GarysKitchen manage this money saving feat?

here goes with my budget starter of Vegetable Laksa.

One Malay Taste Laksa kit – Free.  Now this was because they were doing a cashback offer and I got the kit absolutely gratis.

Some chopped vegetables – red pepper, green pepper, mushroom, red onion, pumpkin.

So a starter for about 50p.

Here are my ingredients and kit ready to go.

50p starter

Cooking the Laksa

Next, on to the main course of a Organic Leg of Lamb.  I took Martin’s advice and bagged a reduced organic half leg of lamb for £7.89, rather than the original £11.78. Now I know that this is still a hefty price tag but I do not like to buy cheap meat (I accept that I can afford to make this choice and many other people don’t have that option) but even forgetting the organic badge, £7.89 is still cheap for a decent lump of meat and this is a recipe for quality food remember.


So how to make this lamb even more quality – marinading of course.

So I picked some rosemary, thyme and mint from my Garden (oh no, I am turning into Nigel Slater – Well not quite as we have a tray of mixed herbs that the slugs haven’t managed to devour) which I chopped up with 3 garlic cloves and some lemon zest – about 20p’s worth.

Ready for chopping


And then I smothered the lamb in this mix and left it marinate for a few hours.

Marinating away

Now onto all the trimmings.

Potatoes – I am a bit fussy about potatoes and like Albert Bartlett Rooster red potatoes, they are a bit more expensive at £2.00 for 2kgs but they are nice and make great roasties.  so I used about 75ps worth

Parsnips – I always buy my veg loose as it is cheaper and 4 parsnips came in at about 90p

Mashed Celeriac – 80p for a whole celeriac, I used about half so 40p

Roasted Carrots – 30p

Sweetheart Cabbage – again about 40p worth

Peas – sorry Petis Pois – about 50p worth

Yorkshire puddings – Why make your own when Aunt Bessie does a great job at £1.00 for 12, so 8p each

Gravy – Make your own with the roast juices and a stock cube at 15p

All in all the trimmings came to about £4.00

So £11.89 for the main meal

Finally, the pudding.  Now I really have gone all Nigel here but rather than getting windfalls from my own orchard, I bagged some from my father in law – so free apples.

I then had some leftover plums about to go rotten in the fruit bowl, so about 30p worth and then the final ingredient really is the middle class pièce de résistance – cherries picked from our own tree in Kent!  Now these too were free (well apart from the cost of petrol driving to and from Kent twice) as we were bought a rent a cherry tree as a christmas present and harvested a load of cherries.

So our freezer is full of cherries, here are some frozen ones

our harvest frozen

And here they are being stewed.

Stewing our harvest

and potted into the ultimate middle class accessory – the Kilner jar!


Anyway, GarysKitchen has loads of free cherries!

Next the crumble mix.

Butter, flour, some porridge oats, brown sugar and ground almonds – what do you reckon, about a quid?

And finally custard – again why make your own when ambrosia does 500g for a quid.

So total pudding coming in at about £2.30 

Here are the finished articles

Veggie Laksa

Lamb Roast

Fruit crumble

and all three together

Three together

Easy Sushi and Summer Rolls

GarysKitchen loves sushi and summer roles so I decided to have a go at making my own.

It was pretty easy.

I used a mix of king prawn, avocado, red pepper, carrot, cucumber and sushi rice, but you could use whatever you fancy.

I cooked the sushi rice and then left it to go cold.

I sliced the avocado, red pepper, carrots, cucumber into thin long slices.

First for the summer rolls. I used sushi rice as my filling instead of rice noodles but you basically warp up your ingredients in the rice paper and your done.

The sushi is the same but using nori and laying everything flat and then roll it up.

Once rolled, slice up into smaller rolls and then serve with your favourite dipping sauce.





sushi 1


summer rolls

sushi 2