National Trust Chicken Buknade

As members of the National Trust, my fiancé and I visit all sorts of NT locations across the country. I was delighted to spot they had put together a cookbook, comprising of dishes unique to some of the locations (I’m looking forward to making Chartwell House’s Churchill Stew’), and other seasonal based recipes.

This recipe, according to the book, originates from Tudor cookery, but has been adapted for modern ingredients. With some basic overnight marinating, and some veg prepped, this gives you a warming, light stew with some tasty chicken to accompany. You can buy the book here.

As is a running theme with my blog, the picture doesn’t exactly reflect that of the book, but then, this is the blog of a novice cook. I would say that if you a way of getting multiple veg into a meal, this is a good one. Don’t leave out the cabbage though, you need that or the dish would be very watery.


Jamie Oliver’s Creamy Cornish mussels

My fiancé loves mussels, and midweek, I like recipes that taste delicious and take 15 minutes from fridge to table. This is a fantastic recipe. One of the best things is that even though it’s so quick, you’ve not really cheated! Oh, and you have half a bottle of cider to get down you while you cook the rest.

The recipe can be found in Jamie’s 5 Ingredients book.

Jamie Oliver’s sausage and broccoli linguini

I used tagliatelle for mine, as that’s what I had, but this was a really nice dinner. It’s a good one to remember for whenever you’ve got some sausages or greens left over to use up.  The wine cooked away in the background provides some sweetness and the chilli at the heat. Find the recipe here.

Jamie Oliver pasta amatriciana

This is a really ncie dish, but you’ve got to let the sauce cook down to bring out the sweetness in the tomatoes. The other key here is the seasoning; there is saltiness from the pancetta, and the cheese you use, so you need to be careful there. However, the real element that makes this dish is adding as much cracked pepper as you dare – the pepper sets it off. Delicious

Jamie Oliver’s Spanish tortilla

This is one of the meat-free dishes we head to in our house. Partly because potatoes and onions are comforting in their own right, but mainly because this is also a great one wrapped up for lunch the next day. This would also be a really nice dish to stick in the middle of the table along with some other, perhaps wetter Spanish food.

Anyway, this tortilla is a doddle, especially with the help of a mandoline on the fattest setting.

A lovely recipe, although I probably used a bit more oil in there.

Wagamama shichimi spiced duck ramen

Anyone that has the Wagamama book will know that an ingredient list of seven, is actually 17. Be it a stock, a spice rub, paste or sauce, you’ll be flicking back to pages five and nine for a recipe on page 143 – it’s just how it is. For this recipe, I was required to make a vegetable stock, so made the simpler of the two, as I was pushed for time. The duck marinated the night before in the shichimi, a spice rub I’ve not sued before.

I will be honest, I was worried this was going be a bit wishy-washy, a basic veg stock with some bits and a duck drowning in it – however, this was actually a really tasty dish. In hindsight, I could have packed in some more greens to the stock when completely the dish such as tender stem or sugar snaps.

What made this dish for me, other than a warming broth on a cold night and crispy skinned, pink duck, was how the shichimi flavoured the soup for an extra kick right at the end.

This is a fabulous recipe, and because you marinate the duck and make the soup the night before, is actually doable for a busy midweek.

Steak and ratatouille (serves two plus left over stew for lunch)

This has been adapted from Jamie Oliver’s steak and ratatouille with saffron rice recipe. You can find his recipe on his website here. I’ve changed and reduced it slightly to include some more vegetables and dropped the rice. There is enough ratatouille to heat up at work the next day, lovely with a soft roll or on its own.

This recipe packs in loads of vegetables, but also has a nice indulgent hit topped with blushing steak. For such a chunky stew, it actually tastes fresh and light with the passata spiked with the unmistakable fragrance of basil.

The below is just a guide – if you’ve got extra veg, feel free to chuck it in.


  • One small courgette
  • One small aubergine
  • One red onion
  • 1 teaspoon harissa
  • Two mixed peppers
  • Olive oil
  • Two cloves of garlic
  • 700g passata
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Half a bunch of basil
  • One handful of spinach
  • 100g frozen peas
  • One sirloin steak


  • Allow the steak to come to room temperature for half an hour, or at least while you prepare the vegetables and get the pots out!
  • Trim the courgette and aubergine; slice the courgette in half long ways and the courgette into centimetre rounds. Place them all into a frying pan on a medium heat and brown on each side. Meanwhile, peel and roughly slice the onion into wedges. Deseed and chop the peppers into chunks. Pop into a medium casserole pan (or a large saucepan) with a tablespoon oil olive oil. Next, gun in the crushed garlic and the harissa and give a stir up – add more oil if it; catching. By now, your courgette and aubergine should be cooked, hack it up into large bitesize chunks and add to the onion/pepper pan. At this point, in goes the balsamic and passata – give everything a stir up.
  • At this point, you can pause. How thick or runny do you want your stew? If runny, get the steaks on soon, alternatively, turn the heat down and let to blip away until you’re happy.
  • When you know this, season up the steak with salt, pepper and olive oil, and cook to your taste on the frying pan you used for the aubergine.
  • Let the steak rest.
  • While resting, stir in any additions like half of the basil, the frozen peas and the spinach to the stew. Once rested, pour in the resting juices to the ratatouille.
  • Spoon neatly into bowls, top with perfectly blushing steak and garnish with an extra leaf or two of basil.