Category Archives: Midlands Recipe

Mix and match sausage & bean cassoulet

I’ve just got back from a 4 day work trip to the USA. Before I left I decided to make something new as a ‘last supper’ tea for Dave. When I’m gone he lives exclusively on a diet of pizza and chips and tuna cobs so I felt it was my duty as WTB (wife to be) to give him something homemade and vaguely nourishing before I left.

We nipped into our local Budgen’s supermarket in Mountsorrel earlier and bought some lovely Farmer Fear’s pork sausages which were on offer so I decided to make a cassoulet. With this in mind I started browsing my cook books and looking at various recipes online but couldn’t 100% decide on which recipe to go with. There were various online which looked appealing, in particular by Gino D’Campo, Nigel Slater and Jamie Oliver. But, as I said, none felt quite right so I created my own amalgamation of several different variations on the theme.

All the Farmer Fear products come from quality local farms meaning there is little impact on the environment and no carbon footprint. I am a BIG FAN and if you find yourself near Mountsorrel, would recommend a visit to stock up!

Al’s Sausage & Bean Cassoulet


Excuse my ‘loose’ measurements, cooking in our family has never been too precise. Suck and See method!

  • 6 good quality pork sausages
  • 1 tin of cannellini beans
  • 1 tin of plum tomatoes
  • approx 4 rashers smoky bacon diced
  • 50g green beans (topped and tailed)
  • 1 onion diced
  • 1 garlic clove crushed
  • pinch of sugar & seasoning
  • Glug of red wine
  • Sprinkle of fresh thyme
  • Glug of olive oil
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 100ml beef stock (I’m sure veg would work fine).


(This is where it gets a bit wooly!)

  1. You can either fry or grill the sausages until nicely browned, then set aside for later.
  2. Pan fry the bacon lardons for a few mins until beginning to crisp. Turn the heat down and add the onion and garlic. Cook for about 5 mins.
  3. At this point I added a glug of red wine and let it bubble for a few mins to cook off the alcohol.
  4. Add the tomatoes, green beans, a pinch of sugar, the stock and bay leaf. Reduce the heat and allow to simmer for approx 10 mins, stirring regularly.
  5. Transfer to a casserole dish and add the beans and sausages.
  6. Put this into the over for approx 15 mins in a pre-heated oven at 180 degrees (fan). This will cook through the sausages and soften the beans. The sauce will also thicken.
  7. Season with salt and pepper, sprinkle with freshly chopped parsley and serve with crusty bread or rice.

Here is how the finished thing should look!

By Alex of Gingey Bites

MFB Members Blog Round Up – August 2011

August has seen some fabulous posts from our members, here’s a small selection of what they’ve been up to:

Mum Louise and her son, Sous Chef J of Good Food, Great Fun and Gluten Free have continued to share their journey of their gluten free diet with a day out to Millets Farm, a trip into London and review of Leon’s and baking some gorgeous looking Ginger Pecan Cookies.

Julia of A Wannabe Foodie started off the month with a healthy dish of Chili Bean Soup, followed by a MFB BBQ she hosted and a recipe for the fabulous Avocado Thai Salsa she served.

Phil of Leicestershire’s Local Food Heroes has been making the most of the season’s fruits this month with a gorgeous Plum Tart and this week has begun preparing for the winter with some preserving and a fabulous looking Piccalilli.

Plus I have been busy and began the month with a Brewery tour at Lymestone, then tried to recreate a family comfort food dish without all the calories with this Lean Cottage pie and ended with her my Fresh From the Oven challenge and her Carrot and Walnut Bread.

For a look at what all our other members have been writing about click through to their blogs from the Members Page.  If you’re based in the Midlands and have a food blog, then email us to find out how to become a member.

Written by Louise of Comida y Vida on behalf of MFB

Tuk Tuk Thai & Tempura Prawns

Today we have a guest post from MFB member Craig of Lyons Made, a dad of two that enjoys cooking and having fun with with it. Here he shares his experience of a Lincolnshire producer of Thai dips and sauces along with a great recipe. Over to Craig …..

I have just been sent a box load of products from Thai food specialists Tuk Tuk Foods for me to review and create recipes from, so I got to work on trying them out, and wow, yes wow, such intense flavours and mouth-tinglingly great combinations of ingredients.

Tuk Tuk Foods is the brainchild of Bangkok born Tukata Bird, 11th of twelve children, Tukata was trained by The Thai Royal Household as her Aunt was a chef there.  Tukata was taught the fine art of pounding, chopping, grinding and combining the highest quality Thai herbs and spices. Tuk Tuk’s dips and sauces have won many Gold, Silver and Bronze awards from the Guild of Fine Foods Great Taste Awards. Tukata is based in Stamford, Lincolnshire, England where she can often be seen on her food stall giving demonstrations.

The Salsa recipe is one of Tukatas own, and it is simplicity itself, once tried I am sure this will become a household favourite. I have used a tried and tested Tempura batter recipe thats simple and pretty much faultless. It uses Tuk Tuks Mild Green Chilli and Coriander dipping sauce, which would also be great over fish, crispy beef or pork.
All Tuk Tuks products are suitable for Vegans and Vegetarians, contain no preservatives, artificial colourings or flavourings and are gluten free and wheat free. And even better they are all produced in the UK using fresh ingredients. To order some of Tuk Tuk Foods products please visit their website which also has some awesome free Thai recipes to download too.
Tempura Prawn with Tukata’s Mild Green Chilli & Coriander Salsa

15 raw king prawns, shelled and de-veined
Pure vegetable oil for frying

Tempura batter mix
1/2 egg beaten
50g plain four plus extra for dusting
Pinch of salt
Pinch of white pepper
Pinch of Bicarbonate of soda
125ml of ice cold lager, I used a Thai beer for more authenticity. 

Salsa Ingredients
 2 teaspoon of diced cucumber
1 teaspoon diced carrot
1 teaspoon sliced shallots
1 teaspoon coriander leaves, finely chopped
½ teaspoon lime zest
3 Tablespoons of  Tuk Tuk Foods Green chilli & coriander dipping sauce
1. Combine all the salsa ingredients together in a bowl, stir well and place in fridge until ready to use.
2. Pre-heat a deep fat fryer to 170C, or carefully use a heavy bottomed large pan.
3. Make the batter mix, making sure that the lager is ICE cold, I placed the bottle in the freezer for 30 minutes prior. Place all the ingredients in a large bowl and gently whisk, do not over whisk, its fine to have lumps of flour, this adds to the texture of the batter.
4. Dust the prawns in some seasoned flour, then dip into the bater mix, making sure the whole prawn is coated, then gently fry 4-5 of the prawns at a time in the heated oil, for around 4-5 minutes or until golden and cooked through. ( I always cut one in half, to check they are cooked all the way through). Then drain on some kitchen paper.
5. Plate the prawns with a small bowl of the salsa for dipping. Enjoy!
Serves two as a starter
Thanks to Craig for the post. If you are Midland Foodie and want to become a member and contribute guest posts, please get in touch. 

MFB Members Blog Round Up – July 2011

Throughout the past month our members have been busy writing some delicious posts. Here’s a small selection of what they’ve been up to:

Anneliese of Rising to the Berry has been busy this month continuing on her journey through Mary Berry’s Baking Bible with delicious treats like American Chocolate Ripple Cheesecake and a rather plain looking but fabulous tasting Lemon Yoghurt Cake. I do quite fancy the look of the Filo Apple Strudels though and I’m not one for apple desserts. Yum!

Jo of Jo’s Kitchen has been out and about with bump including a weekend away in London where she indulged in a trip to Odettes, a wander round Borough market and a  cupcake workshop with Cupcakes by Chrissie.

Bread at Borough Market

Lois at Bring back the Bliss has been trying out more gluten free recipes including Souffle and Gnocchi. One of the recipes was not only gluten free but also dairy free and perfect for those with allergies. Check out these Breakfast Muffins.

For a look at what all our other members have been writing about click through to their blogs from the Members Page.  If you’re based in the Midlands and have a food blog, then email us to find out how to become a member.

Written by Louise of Comida y Vida on behalf of MFB

MFB Members Blog Round Up – June 2011

Throughout the past month our members have been growing in number and busy posting some delicious recipes and great reviews.

Here’s a small selection of what they’ve been up to:

Lou and Chris of Is it Worth Waiting For are one of most recently listed members and in their journey to not cook the same dish for one whole year, June has seen them sample a confusing Rhubarb and Carrot Soup, delight in Scandinavian Meatballs which look lovely, and go east with a flavourful Lamb Biryani and a sweet Vietnamese Caramelised pork,  amongst many other dishes.

Jules of The Butcher and Baker shared with us some healthy, low cost lunchbox treats like Chocolate Bran Flake slice and how fun cooking with children is with an Italian flare by a Calzone feast.

Craig at We Grow Our Own has given us his usual low down on what we need to do in our allotments/gardens for the month – June is apparently one of the busiest months of the year. He also has some fab tips on Waging the War on Weeds.

Becky at Girl Interrupted Eating has been enjoying the seasons best greens with Pasta with Broad Beans, Peas and Spinach & feta pesto and is in full nesting mode ready for the arrival of her baby. She’s even made a Sticky Toffee Date Cake ready to take with her for the midwives. They’ll be some happy midwives – so wished I’d thought of doing something like that.

Kath at The Ordinary Cook has been baking a delicious looking Almond cake, her second attempt apparently. However, the first did not go to waste as she used it in a Almond trifle – what a great way to use cake that’s not going to be enjoyed!

For a look at what all our other members have been writing about click through to their blogs from the Members Page.  If you’re based in the Midlands and have a food blog, then email us to find out how to become a member.

Written by Louise of Comida y Vida on behalf of MFB

Celebrating the Bakewell Tart

I love Britain, in particular Derbyshire because not only do we have awe inspiring scenery but fantastic food. The Bakewell Pudding is one of the most famous foods coming from these Derbyshire peaks. Now there is lots of myths surrounding Bakewell Pudding/Tart. Don’t let Mr Kipling make you believe a Cherry Bakewell is traditional. The Bakewell Pudding is believed to have begun in a pub in Bakewell when an inexperienced chef in the kitchen was meant to make a strawberry tart, but made something very different. The Bakewell Pudding is a tart made with puff pastry shell, layer of jam and eggy custard topping and an alleged “secret ingredient” (No I’ve never been able to work the ingredient out). The Bakewell Tart however has evolved from the Bakewell Pudding and is made with a sweet shortcrust base, layer of red jam and a rich almond sponge topping.

Bakewell Tart is one of my favourite cakes and I believe a perfect Bakewell tart should have a thin, but supporting layer of sweet pastry, thick layer of raspberry jam and a deep, dense, moist frangipane sponge. A dry, tasteless Cherry Bakewell it is not!

Bakewell Tart
Serves 8-10

125g plain flour
75g unsalted butter, cold and diced
25g caster sugar
1 egg yolk
1 tsp cold water
1 egg white

100g raspberry jam
100g butter, softened
100g caster sugar
2 large eggs
25g plain flour
100g ground almonds
1 tsp almond extract
30g flaked almonds
1) In a large bowl mix together flour, salt and sugar then rub in butter until you have the consistency of breadcrumbs. Stir in the egg yolk and water until you have a smooth dough. Flatten into a disk, cover in clingfilm and refrigerate for 45 min.
2)cOn a floured surface roll out the dough until it is about 3mm thick then line a 20cm tart tin with the pastry. Lightly prick the base with a fork and chill for 30 min.
3) Preheat the oven to 180oc (160oc fan). Line the pastry case with baking parchment and baking beans then bake for 20min until pastry is a light golden colour. Remove the beans and parchment, brush the inside of the pastry shell with egg white and bake for a further 2 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 5 min
4) While the pastry is cooling beat together the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Gradually beat in the eggs and almond extract. Stir in the flour and ground almonds until well combined.
5) Spread the jam generously over the pastry base then pour frangipane mix on top of the jam. Level out with a pallet knife. Sprinkle with sliced almonds then bake for 35-40 until risen and golden.
6) Allow to cool in tin before eating.

By Jules of Butcher, Baker