At the Farm Shop we don’t treat cooking as a precise science. Nor are we trying to give a comprehensive list of recipes. These are some of our favourite dishes and we hope you’ll give some of them a try. They’ve worked for us on countless occasions but that doesn’t mean, with a bit of imagination and a few tweaks, they can’t be improved. Good luck and enjoy your cooking and eating.

Mojo Verde

Originating from the Canary Isles, this piquant green sauce works well with all things fish, chicken and vegetable.

Ben's Farm Shop Lentil Recipe

Best Braised Lentils

Serves: 6
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 45 minutes

  • Yields: Serves 6

Fabada Asturiana

Serves:8
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 3-4 hours

  • Yields: Serves 8

Christmas Trifle

Serves 6-8

  • Yields: 6-8 servings

Carbonnade Flamande

You might think that a beef bourguignon becomes Carbonnade Flamande when you substitute red wine for beer but there's a bit more to it than that. Vinegar, sugar and mustard, combined with the richness of the slightly reduced beer gives a whole new ‘agrodulce’ dimension that’s guaranteed to knock your socks off. Serve as a casserole, as a pie with a pastry crust or, best of all, with a crusty topping of stale, mustard and jus infused bread. Be warned - it's all in the timing. Get it right, and it's not hard, and you're walking through the culinary pearly gates.

It’s equally good with venison or other cuts of beef. Adjust the cooking times accordingly.

Normally, I’m a great believer in padding our stews with plenty of veg but, here, the flavours are so intense that it’s best to treat it as a celebratory blow out or just serve less. Turnips might work but the only thing I’ve found that really adds to a carbonnade is a few sticks of celery, thickly sliced. Lots of recipes call for mushrooms but, for me, neither taste or texture work.

 

  • Yields: Serves 6

Chorizo with piquillo peppers

The beauty of the Luis Gil cooking chorizo, or Chorizo fresca as it says on the packet, is that it doesn’t fall to bits when its sliced and fried so is perfect for this classic tapa. Serving on toast, with roast peppers works as a simple supper. Adding a fried or poached egg makes it even more of a meal.

Chunky chili con carne

There's chili and there's chili. Everyone has their version but I think this one, using diced chuck, is pretty good. Long, slow cooking breaks up the chunks of chuck steak and the vegetables, particularly the roast squash, adds a bit of unctuousness. The extra herbs and spices give it balance making it far more interesting than the standard mouth burner. Definitely one for a cold winters night and worth making in bulk and freezing. You don't have to worry about overcooking so gently thawing in the pan is, almost, an improvement.

Stuffed Tomatoes

Stuffed Tomatoes - or Pomodori al riso as they’re known in Rome. Stuffed anything sounds terribly retro but what goes around comes around and these have many laps left to run. Essentially a risotto in a tomato but because there is less liquid the rice acquires a lovely nutty texture as it bakes in the oven.

Caponata Involtini (aubergine rolls)

These little blighters are a combination of Nigella's Involtini and Thomasina Miers Aubergine Caponata but who cares? Caponata is one of those classic Sicilian fusion dishes which, despite its aubergine and tomato roots, can include a whole range of fried and crunchy blanched vegetables; fennel, celery, courgette, cauliflower, squash, red peppers, cucumber etc.  It's more a treatment than a recipe. Wrap in a slice of griddled aubergine and they're great as a snack, vegetarian main, side for meat dishes, part of an antipasta or mezze plate etc etc. And they're surprisingly easy and can be done in stages. Best served lukewarm.

 

Panzanella -Tuscan bread and tomato salad

As my sister said to me - 'who would have thought bread and tomatoes could be so delicious'.? Actually, it wasn’t a surprise to me because so many things start with a holy trinity of good bread, tomatoes and punchy olive oil. The secret is in the bread rather than the toms. The wrong bread and it will degenerate into pap. Tasty pap but pap nonetheless.

Almond Thief sourdough works, as does Baker Toms ciabatta or focaccia. Remove any tough crust and tear into pieces. Leave somewhere warm to dry out overnight. +

If, when you've finished, the salad seems a bit dry, don't despair - juts add a little more passata, oil and vinegar..