Devilled Eggs

25 11 2010

Love it or hate  it the festive season is fast approaching.

One of the biggest headaches in the run up to Christmas and New Year (I refuse to say “The Holidays”) is what foods to serve guests, particularly if you are hosting a party.

Big heavy sit down dinners are all very well and good on Christmas day itself but for more laid back occasions it is often nicer to serve a selection of delicious finger foods – not to mention easier! As such over the coming days I am going to be publishing a selection of my favourite recipes for easy and delicious party food that everyone is going to love.

Devilled Eggs are surprisingly simple to make and cost very little money, not only that you don’t need cutlery to eat them and your vegetarian guests can enjoy them too (vegans not so much)

To make 24 servings you will need the following:

12 medium or large eggs

4 tbsp mayonnaise

4tbsp dijon mustard

1 spring onion

2 tsp cayenne pepper

Sea salt and black pepper to taste


Some chives


First you need to hard boil your eggs,  when boiling eggs make sure that you take the eggs out of the fridge in advance and let them reach room temperature before adding them to the water.

Once the eggs are hard boiled and cool enough to handle you need to peel off the shell and cut the eggs in half lengthways.

Using a teaspoon remove the egg yolks and place to one side in a bowl.

Add the mayonnaise and dijon mustard to the egg yolks and mix until you have reached a smooth creamy consistency.

Very finely chop you spring onion and mix into your egg yolk mixture along with the cayenne pepper ensuring that it is well distributed throughout your mixture.

Season your mixture with salt and pepper to taste.

At this point you need to add your mixture to the egg whites; to do this you can either use a piping bag or you can fill them with a spoon.

To stop your eggs from sliding around on the plate you can place them on some fresh crisp lettuce leaves.

Using a sugar sifter sprinkle over a little of the paprika and finely chop some chives and scatter over as a garnish


9 vegetable chili con carne

21 11 2010

Chili con carne is a great family favourite; it is cheap, filling, easy to make and tastes great.

It can also be a really great way of making sure that you get your 5 a day of fruit and vegetables or of tricking fussy kids into eating veggies that otherwise they might push around  a plate without them even realising they are there.

This works great for pretty much anything that you would normally use chili with more or less the only exception being chili burgers or chili dogs.

If you want to make a vegetarian version of this chili you can use quorn or soya mince in place of the ground beef and some nice meaty mushrooms such as portabello in place of the chorizo sausage.

To make the chili you will need: 

200g chorizo sausage

500g ground beef

2 onions

4 garlic cloves

2 medium carrots

1 stick of celery

2 fresh tomatoes

2 red bell peppers

1/2 tin of kidney beans

1/2 tin of pinto beans

1 tin of chopped tomatoes

1tbsp paprika

2 tsp cumin seeds

2 tsp chili powder

2tsp Worcestershire sauce

1tbsp red wine vinegar

1tbsp brown sugar

handful of  fresh coriander

1 pint of beef stock or hot water

olive oil

salt and pepper to season


Peel and roughly chop the garlic, carrots, celery and one of the onions,  take these vegetables and place them in a food processor and blitz them until you have  salsa like consistency.

Pour some olive oil into a large heavy bottomed pan and heat over a medium flame, add the vegetables you prepared earlier and sweat them for approximately 7-10 minutes

Whilst you are sweating the vegetables peel and finely dice the remaining onion and dice the chorizo sausage. Remove the leaves from the coriander and finely chop about half of the stalks that remain

Once the vegetables in the pan have softened add in the chorizo sausage,the coriander stalks, the paprika, the chili powder and the cumin seeds, continue to cook until the chorizo has just started to brown

At this point add in the remaining onion and the ground beef and cook until the beef has coloured

Now add in the sliced bell peppers, the kidney and pinto beans and stir everything together well before adding the tin of chopped tomatoes, the vinegar and about 1 pint of hot beef stock or water, leave over a medium heat for about 45 minutes stirring occasionally.

Remove the seeds from the fresh tomatoes and chop the flesh into  fine dice and roughly chop the coriander leaves add the tomato and coriander leaves into the chili along with the brown sugar and the Worcestershire sauce, stir together well.

Leave to simmer for a further 20 minutes before adding salt and pepper to taste.

You can eat this straight away but I prefer to leave it overnight in the refridgerator to allow all of the flavours to really incorporate into one another.

I like to eat this with boiled white rice, some salsa and some corn chips.

Carbonara Sauce

15 11 2010

When Saturday evening rolled round it became quite evident that the grocery shopping hadn’t been done yet and that the cupboards were quite bare.

No one in their right mind wants to go shopping at 7pm on a Saturday evening and so I had a quick sort through to see what could be knocked together. Luckily for us we had just enough staple items left for me to make a personal favourite; pasta with carbonara sauce.

Carbonara sauce is very easy and cheap to make and yet still you see people loading up their supermarket trolleys with over-priced jars of gloop.

I realise that in Italy cream is rarely added to the sauce however I prefer it this way, if you want to you can leave it out just as easily.

To make your own carbonara sauce you will need the following.

2 shallots

1 clove of garlic

2 eggs

250ml of single cream

100g parmesan cheese

200g pancetta

black pepper

sea salt

Pasta of your choice – Spaghetti or Tagliatelle work best

Dice the shallots as finely as you can and grate the clove of garlic, add the shallots and garlic to a frying pan along with a small amount of olive oil and sweat until they have started to soften.

Add the pancetta to the pan and fry until it has just started to crisp.

Whislt the pancetta is cooking beat together the two eggs and stir in the cream

Once the pancetta has crisped add the cream and egg mixture to the pan and reduce the heat to a simmer

At this point add your pasta to a pan of boiling water to cook

Grate the parmesan cheese into the sauce and ensure that it is well mixed in.

Add salt to taste – not much if any should be needed due to the pancetta and the cheese. Grind plenty of black pepper into the sauce and make sure it is incorporated well.

Once the pasta is just about cooked drain it and add it to the pan with the sauce making sure that all of the pasta is well coated.

Serve immediately.

If you want to add a touch of colour to the dish I sometimes like to add a small courgette cut into a small dice, this adds a different colour and texture to the dish without affecting the flavour.

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