Oxtail Ragu

Oxtail RaguI’ve done it again, another recipe that takes hours to make and this time it really does need as long as possible. I took over 4 hours but it is worth it, also oxtail is one of those cuts that needs a long time otherwise the meat that is not very pleasant if it’s chewy.



  • 1kg Oxtail
  • 2 big lugs of oil
  • 1 leek
  • 2 carrots
  • 2 celery stalks
  • 1tbs fresh chopped rosemary
  • 1 tbs fresh chopped thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1tbs plain flour
  • 400g tinned tomatoes
  • 200ml red wine
  • 2 cloves
  • 500ml good beef stock
  • salt and pepper to season
  • serves 4

Put baking tray in the over and pre-heat oven to 220c. Once heated put the oxtail on the tray and cover with 1 lug of oil and mix together and place back in the over for 20 minutes or until golden brown.

When the oxtail have been caramelised, take out the oxtail and put to one side, then turn the oven down to 150c.

Whilst the oxtail are in the oven, take a casserole dish and place on the hob and add the other lug of oil and gently heat.

Cut the leek, celery stalks and carrots in half, then slice and add to the casserole dish and mix into the oil.

Add the rosemary, thyme and bay leaves in the casserole pot and put on the lid and gently cook for 20 minutes.

After 20 minutes stir the plain flour into the vegetables. Once the flour has been stirred and cooked into the mixture add the tinned tomatoes, red wine and cloves and again stir together.

Take the tray of the oxtail and put them and the liquid into and pot then pour in the beef stock.

Put the casserole dish into the oven and cook for at least four hours – for better results cook for longer.

You will need to keep an eye on the casserole ever 30-45 minutes to ensure it doesn’t dry out and you should add more water or stock if required.

Once finished, take out the oven and leave for about 10-15 minutes.

Completed Ragu From Oven


Take out the oxtails and remove the meat from the bones – be careful as they will be very hot, I used a fork to pull the meat off.

Put the pulled meat back into the casserole dish and stir together.

This made a great ragu for pasta and I served it with spaghetti, but you could have it with creamy mashed potatoes and vegetables.

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Sweet Potato and Chickpea Soup

finished soupIt seems that I am going through a bit of a cooking fad and making lots of soups. Maybe because they are quick and easy to make and perfect for wet, cold and miserable UK winters day.

I’ve also had a nasty cold – actually it’s manflu, which of course is a lots worse :-) and I needed to make a healthy soup. One that is high in vitamins and minerals, especially vitamin c, to help combat this stupid cold.

As with all soups this is very easy to make and I will never understand why people buy them, when it so simple. It’s also a good way to get children to get confidence in cooking

I also like a bit of a bite in my soup, so I don’t add all the chickpeas before I blend and add them just before I serve the soup

  • 2tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of chopped garlic
  • 1 large sweet potato, peeled and diced
  • 400g chickpeas
  • Bunch of parsley, washed and chopped
  • 1ltr vegetable stock
  • salt and pepper to season
  • (serves 4)

Place the extra virgin oil into a pan and gently heat.

Add the onions and cook for about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for a further 2-3 minutes. Stirring occasionally to ensure the onion and garlic do not burn

Place in the sweet potato, and half the chickpeas (keep the other half to one side) and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally to mix all the ingredients together.

sweet potato cooking

Add in the chopped parsley, mix together. Once mixed, pour in the vegetable stock and simmer for about 15 minutes.

Allow to cool a little bit and then blend together until you have a smooth liquid. If too thick add some more water until it’s at the consistency you like

Add in the remaining chickpeas and simmer for 5-10 minutes

Season as required and serve with hot crusty bread.

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Potato Boulangere

Complete DishI love potatoes, but I always end up having them as mash, so it’s always nice to prepare potatoes differently. This is similar to dauphinoise potatoes but instead of using cream it uses stock, so a lot less calorific, a lot less fat, but still very tasty with lots of flavour and very simple to make.

All the versions of this recipe I have seen ask you to peel the potatoes. I disagree and prefer to keep the skins on as it adds more fibre and adds a bite to it. Although I use vegetable stock, chicken stock is also fine.

I thinly slice the potatoes using a knife, but if you have a mandolin then I suggest you use it. To be honest mandolins scare the hell out of me and that I am going to lose top of a finger or 10.

  • 600g potatoes, thinly slice
  • 200g onions, sliced
  • 500ml vegetable stock
  • salt and pepper to season
  • (serves 3-4)

Pre-heat the oven to 180c/350c/gas 4

Take a oven proof bowl and place a layer of potatoes on the bottom, then place a layer of the onions and repeat until you have used up all the potatoes or onions or until you’ve reach the top of the bowl

Layering of potatoes and onions, before adding the stock

Layering of potatoes and onions, before adding the stock

Pour in the stock, until it reaches the top. Place tin foil over the bowl and cook for 1 hour.

After 45 minutes remove the foil, serve hot with any main recipe.

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