Is there anything better than a good Beef and Ale pie? Pieces of melt in the mouth beef in a fantastic unctuous sauce, encased in buttery pastry!!! 

I’ve seen this fantastic dish made with absolutely no love or care so many times! Meat thrown into a saucepan, covered with water, boiled to within an inch of its life!, thickened with gravy granules and then the final indignity of being wedged between the most tasteless ill made pastry one can imagine!!! By “chefs” too!! 

This recipe I’m going to share with you guys is as far from that method as you can possibly get! We’re going to use the ox/beef cheek for starters, marinated in fantastic Wild Craft Brewery Wild Ride Dry Hopped Pale Ale, slowly cooked until wonderfully tender…..

Now i’m using Wild Ride because, firstly, I love the name, Wild Ride! just brilliant, and secondly, Wild Ride has been produced in celebration of Norwich Door to Doors 25th Anniversary, their mission is to enable social inclusion and enhance quality of life for people with severe mobility problems on low incomes in Norwich and districts, a percentage of profits from every bottle and pint of Wild Ride is donated! Great cause x

I could go on and on!!

But let’s just get started shall we??

The recipe does take time, but believe me it’s well worth the work 

This recipe will make you a pie enough to feed 6 people easily 



500g ox cheek ( trimmed of the sinew)

500g piece smoked bacon, cut into lardons

One bottle of Wild Craft Brewery Wild Ride Pale Ale

10g of flour

Beef dripping for frying

1 onion, peeled and chopped

2 cloves garlic, crushed

2 carrots peeled and chopped

150g button mushrooms, quartered

2 litres beef stock

1 tbsp Of bovril (optional but makes the difference)

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 6cm-long marrow bone ( ask your butcher he’ll get you a piece)

For the pastry 


500g self-raising flour

1 teaspoon of baking powder

chopped thyme leaves

Sea salt and black pepper

100g bone marrow, chilled and grated (or suet)

100g butter, chilled and grated

4 egg yolks, beaten

Cold milk



Marinade the ox cheek


Cut the ox cheek into generous chunks, not too small, keep it quiet big, put the ox cheek in a bowl, add the bacon lardons and marinade in the beer for as long as possible, ideally over night

For the pastry 


in a bowl mix the flour, baking powder, thyme, a pinch of salt and some black pepper. Gently stir in the bone marrow and butter, then add the egg yolks and enough cold milk to bind,the idea is to bring it together into a paste. Don’t over work the pastry Wrap in clingfilm and rest in the fridge for at least an hour

Cooking the meat 

Drain the meat and reserve the marinade. Pat dry and dust the ox cheek in seasoned flour. Pat dry the bacon lardons. Heat the dripping in a large pan, brown the meat all over in batches, then brown the onion, garlic, carrot and mushrooms. Add the marinade, stock and Bovril and simmer for 3 hours, DO NOT BOIL THE PAN!!!!! Gently cook until the meat is tender.

Making that fantastic sauce/gravy 

Lift out the meat and vegetables with a slotted spoon and keep to one side,Increase the heat under the pan and reduce the sauce to a coating consistency, skim off any scum from the top, Now return all the meat and vegetables to the sauce,adjust the seasoning and set aside to cool.

Now for the pie!!!

Fill a pie dish with the meat mix, and stand the marrow bone in the centre, just like a pie funnel!

Roll the pastry to about 1cm thick and lay over the filling, you’ll need to make a small hole for the marrow bone to poke through,allow a overhang. The marrow bone should sit proud of the pastry. Sitting nicely in the centre of the pie

Heat the oven to 180C
Glaze the pastry with milk and bake for 30-40 minutes, or until the pastry is well browned.

I’d serve some delicious horseradish mashed potatoes and bashed carrots and swede with this utterly unctuous pie 

You will not taste a better Beef and Ale Pie!! 

Happy cooking 



There’s something about a good pie that makes you feel all warm inside, a well made pie is an absolute delight, and I’m not referring to those horrible pies you see in establishments with microwaved fillings and a ridiculous puff pastry hat sitting on top!!!! That my good friends is not a pie!

I’m talking about a proper pie! It’s worth making the effort, and it’s worth using great ingredients, I’ve long been a fan of Thornby Moor Dairy, I’m using their Cumbrian Farmhouse Cheddar for this recipe, they make in my opinion, some of the best cheeses around, so please go check them out 


For the pastry 

450g plain flour, plus a little extra for dusting

2 tsp baking powder

A pinch of salt

120g unsalted butter, plus a little extra for greasing

1 egg yolk

50g of grated parmesan cheese

120ml of water

1 egg, beaten, for glazing
For the cheesey filling 

1 large potato, peeled and cut into cubes

2 onions, finely sliced

2 leeks finely sliced

2 tbsp plain flour

50ml of whole milk

50ml of double cream

200g of grated mature cheddar cheese ( I’m using Thornby Moor Cumbrian Farm house)

1 tsp English mustard

½ tsp cayenne pepper

salt and black pepper


Now for the methods 

Firstly make the pastry,

pulse the flour, baking powder, salt, butter and egg yolk in a food processor until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add the grated parmesan and stir until well combined.

Now Gradually add the water, a tablespoon at a time, mix until the mixture just comes together as a dough. (You may not need to use all of the water.) Roll the dough into a ball, then wrap it in cling film and chill in the fridge for an hour.

Now for the filling 

bring a saucepan of salted water to the boil. Add the potato pieces to the pan and cook for 10-15 minutes, or until tender, then drain well and set aside.

Using the same saucepan (think of the washing up!!) bring some water to the boil, add the sliced onions and leeks, cook for 2-3 minutes until softened. Drain well, now return the cooked onions and leeks to the saucepan.

Sprinkle the onions with the flour and mix well to coat. Add the milk and cream and gently heat the mixture over a medium heat for 5 minutes, stir continuously, until the liquid is smooth and thickened slightly. Now Add the cooked potato pieces, grated cheese, mustard and cayenne pepper and stir well. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper, mix well, leave to cool slightly
Next job 

Preheat the oven to 180C

Now you can make one large pie or individual ones, the choice is yours

Lightly Grease a deep 20cm/8in pie tin with some butter. Add a small amount of flour, turn the tin to coat the base and sides of the tin, then shake out any excess.

Now roll out two thirds of the pastry onto a clean floured work surface, almost twice as wide as the diameter of the pie tin. Now Using the rolling pin, lift the pastry and lay it over the pie tin to line the base and sides. Gently press the pastry into the corners of the tin, trimming off any excess, then prick the base of the pastry case several times with a fork.

Cover the pastry with a sheet of greaseproof paper and fill it with rice or if you’re very posh and have them, baking beans, Bake in the oven for 12-15 minutes, or until the pastry is pale golden-brown. Remove from the oven, remove the rice and greaseproof paper and set the pastry aside to cool. Once cool,carefully spoon the pie filling into the pastry case.

Roll the remaining pastry out onto a floured work surface until it is slightly larger than the diameter of the pie tin. Brush the rim of the cooked pastry case with some of the beaten egg and place the pastry lid on top of the pie. Trim off any excess pastry. Seal the pastry lid to the pastry case by crimping the edges of the pastry lid with your fingers or a fork

Now make two small holes in the centre of the pastry lid this will allow the steam to escape. Brush the pastry lid with the remaining beaten egg, then transfer to the oven and bake for 30-35 minutes or until golden-brown.

You can serve the pie hot with a lovely green salad, but it tastes great cold too if you’re lucky enough to have the weather for a picnic!!! 

I know that you are going to love this recipe, even all of those meat eaters amongst us!! 

Happy cooking 




This recipe is an absolute doddle, if you’re looking for something special to start off a dinner party or for something special? Give this a try, I’ve been doing this recipe in one way or another for years, I don’t take credit for it! I found the recipe in a book and thought it sounded interesting and made it! 

You can be as simple or as flamboyant as you want when it comes to serving your salmon, simply thinly sliced on blinis or as I do with Lemon Purée, Lemon Confit, Cucumber, Beetroot and Lemon Oil!!!! 
For the salmon 

One salmon side, about 1kg, skin on & bones removed

75g (3oz) black treacle

1 tblsp English made mustard

50g (2oz) sea salt

2 tsp coarsely ground black pepper

1 tsp fennel seeds

1 lemon, zested


1. Put the salmon skin side down on a sheet of cling film.

2. Gently warm the treacle in a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water, then add the mustard, salt, pepper, fennel and lemon.
3. Spread this mixture over the top of the salmon flesh, NOT the skin, wrap well in cling film, place skin side down on a tray and leave at room temperature for 1 hour, before refrigerating 
4. Leave the salmon for at least 3 days, but for best results 5-6 days 

5. Remove the cling film from the salmon and scrape away any excess liquid and marinade and pat dry with kitchen paper. 

6. To serve, Slice at a 45° angle into thin slices and simply serve with bread and butter.

What could be easier than this? 

Happy cooking 



Risottos are fantastic if done correctly, by no means do I think mine is the best! Every chef will have their own recipes, this is mine, I think it works beautifully with seafood of every kind, experiment! That’s what cooking is all about 

1 litre of Fish,chicken or vegetable stock

1 tsp saffron threads

50g butter, plus 15g extra

A good splash of light olive oil

2 garlic cloves finely chopped 

1 Carrot peeled and finely chopped 

A handful of frozen peas 

50g shallots, finely chopped

250g risotto rice

125ml dry white wine

4 tbsps grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra to serve

1. Heat the stock in a saucepan, add the saffron threads and put over the lowest heat just to keep it warm.

2. Melt the butter and oil in a heavy-based saucepan over a low to medium heat

3. add the chopped shallots, garlic, carrot and cook for a couple of minutes or so, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon, until softened.
4. Add the risotto rice and keep stirring for a minute or so

5. Turn up the heat and add the wine, Keep stirring until it is absorbed.
6. Start ladling in the hot saffron infused stock

7. allow each ladleful to absorb as you stir before adding the next. 

8. Stir and ladle the stock into the rice until it is cooked but still has a slight bite to it. This should take about 20-25 minutes 
9. Turn off the heat and add the peas,the heat from the risotto will be enough to warm the peas, stir in a knob of butter and the grated Parmesan, then season to taste. 

Serve immediately, spooning the mixture into warmed bowls, use whatever Seafood you like, add some Smoked salmon, throw in some prawns, top with a pan fried piece of sea bass or scallops??? The list is absolutely endless 

Happy cooking 



Before hot-smoking fish it must be brined, rubbed or marinated. 

For mackeral 

cover in salt half an hour before smoking, wash it off, dry and rub with olive oil. 

For salmon 

use a brine or rub it with dill and mustard seed or crushed coriander seeds. Then smoke for 10-12 minutes at roughly 160C.

Try other ingredients including lemon zest, herbs, peppercorns,garlic or sweet smoked paprika.

Only use clean hardwoods such as oak or apple. Softwood such as pine will give a nasty taste.

This is the portable smoker that I use, reasonably cheap and does the job

Simply light the meths burner,sprinkle oak chips on the base, place your chosen fish inside, pop the lid on and wait patiently while your dinner is infused with wonderful, deep smokey flavours.

For the brine

This is just the basic brine recipe that I use, you can add a multitude of flavours to your brine, depending on what results you are looking for 

500ml of water 

25g of salt 

20g of sugar 


Mix all the ingredients and stir until the salt and sugar are dissolved. 

Submerge the fish in the brine, 
• Trout, prawn and sardines, and other delicate seafood: 15 minutes

• Bass, haddock, Hake and other flaky fillets: 20 minutes

• Halibut, turbot, tuna and other flaky, meaty fillets: 30 minutes

• Salmon, mackerel, Arctic char, and other meaty, full-flavored fish: 35 minutes

Remember these times are just guidelines, but should give you a good result 


This is a recipe I’ve been doing on and off for years in one form or another, it initially came about simply because we used to rear our own piggies! And we were for ever coming up with different dishes to use up the abundance of pork!! 

There’s nothing groundbreaking about this recipe, it’s just absolutely delicious! And works fantastically well with wonderful Pork Belly

You’ll be able to feed 4 people really well with this recipe, it’s a fantastic dinner or supper dish 

It’s definitely well worth leaving the Pork to infuse with all those fantastic flavours overnight 


For the Pork belly 

1.5kg piece of boneless pork belly, with rind on

4 tbsp coarse sea salt

2 tsp freshly ground white pepper

2 tbsp Chinese five-spice powder

1 tbsp caster sugar

1 good pinch of chilli flakes 
For the pak choi 

2 tbsp sunflower oil

6 pak choi, cut into quarters

1 piece fresh ginger, peeled and cut into thin strips
4 spring onions, sliced

A good splash of chilli flakes 
For the dressing 

A piece fresh root ginger, cut into thin strips

2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

2 red chillies, thinly sliced, leave the seeds in!! 

1 bunch of chopped fresh coriander leaves

1 bunch of chopped fresh mint

3 tbsp palm sugar

A good splash of soy sauce

A good splash of fish sauce

1 lime, juiced 
For serving 

4 spring onions, sliced thinly 

1 red chilli, sliced thinly

1. To prepare the pork, pierce the rind side of pork with a sharp knife until the skin is covered with fine holes.

2. Bring a kettle of water to a boil and pour the hot water over the rind side of the pork several times. This is best done over a wire rack, Set the pork belly aside.

3. Heat a frying pan until it is hot, then add the salt, pepper, five-spice powder and sugar and fry the mixture for 3 minutes.This brings out the fantastic flavours and aromatic aromas,Allow the mixture to cool slightly.

4. When the mixture is cool enough to handle rub the mix into the belly Pork, ideally I’d now leave to marinade overnight in a fridge uncovered, Alternatively, place the meat on a wire rack set above a roasting tin.

Preheat the oven to 200c 
1. Place the pork on a wire rack, rind-side up and roast for 20 minutes.

2. Reduce the heat to 140c and continue to roast for 2 and a half hours

3. Remove the meat from the oven and allow the pork to cool.

4. For the pak choi, heat a frying pan or wok if you have one, once hot add all the ingredients and cook for 2-3 minutes. The pak choi should still have a good bite 

To make the dressing 

place all the ingredients into a food processor and blitz to a rough paste.
To serve 

stir the dressing through the pak choi  ( for something different you can use green beans, peppers, asparagus etc) 

Slice the pork into strips, or chunks, the choice is yours 

Arrange the pak choi on warm plates and top with the belly Pork 

Garnish with the spring onions and chilli and enjoy 

You’re going to need a bigger piece of Pork next time trust me!! 

GINGERBREAD BISCUITS (gluten and dairy free)

I’d almost forgotten about this recipe! It’s a recipe I came up with around 4 years ago, I was asked if I’d enter a biscuit into “The Great Biscuit Dunk Challenge” and this recipe is what I came up with 


175g of gluten free whole meal flour 

50g of porridge oats (make sure they are gluten free!)

1 teaspoon of cream of tartar 

2 teaspoon of ground ginger 

175g of dairy free margarine (some contain lactose,casein and whey)

175g muscavado sugar 


1. Sift together the flour,cream of tartar and ground ginger 

2. Mix in the porridge oats 

3. Stir in the sugar 

4. Gently rub in the margarine with your fingers 

5. Press the mixture into a lined baking tray 

6. Bake in a preheated oven 165c for 30 minutes 

7. Allow to cool for 5 minutes and cut into fingers 

These are delicious, no one will even know they’re gluten and dairy free!!! Until you tell them!! 

Enjoy your biscuits