Tag Archives: Recipe

Slow Cooker Chilli

After months of friends telling me how awesome slow cookers are I bit the bullet and purchased one of my own, I don’t actually need a slow cooker if I’m honest because I’m usually in the house during the day working or looking after Arthur and have more than enough time to prepare and cook a family meal but I can totally see why people use slow cookers as they are an amazing invention (I hope my electric bill agrees)

After trying out a number of dishes in the slow cooker we have found that some things work really well and others don’t, of course this could be due to my timings and not the slow cooker.

Mr Gourmand doesn’t like mince dishes cooked in the slow cooker as he found the meat had broken down too much and was far too soft for his liking.  I thought that my slow cooker Chilli was pretty delicious but I do get Mr Gourmand’s point about the soft mince, even though I browned it off first it was still very soft but of course this is just our personal taste.  Even though I probably won’t cook mince dishes again in the slow cooker I thought I would share my recipe for anyone who wants to try it out for themselves.

Chilli, Slow Cooker


You will need:

  • 1 tin of red kidney beans, drained
  • 2 tins of chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon of tomato puree
  • 700g minced beef browned in a frying pan
  • 2 medium onions, chopped and cooked until translucent
  • 2 sticks of celery, diced
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 fresh green chilli finely diced
  • 1 teaspoon hot smoked paprika
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • salt and pepper to taste

Place everything into the slow cooker and cook on low for 9 hours or 5 hours on high.  In my opinion this tastes better the next day as it’s not as watery, you could experiment by only using 1 tin of tomatoes or 1.5 tins.

chilli, slow cooker

Sainsbury’s Back To Basics Challenge

I’ve never hidden the fact that I usually spend an awful lot of money on our weekly shopping, partly because my family are brand snobs and partly because I like to ensure that we eat the best ingredients that we can afford.  When I found out about the Sainsbury’s back to basics challenge I was very eager to take part for two reasons the first being that I don’t buy basics range food from any supermarket and was curious to see how it compared to other brands and secondly because I never shop in Sainsbury’s as I’m a Waitrose girl.

I went to Sainsbury’s armed with my £10 voucher and was surprised at how vast the basics range was, I knew I would only be willing to use certain items from the range so straight away meat, processed food and eggs were out of the equation.  I purchased white rice, digestive biscuits, black pepper, mixed herbs, chopped tomatoes, kidney beans and butter and spent the rest of the money on cooking chocolate, golden syrup and maltesers.

I am of the mindset that by purchasing certain cheaper ingredients you can spend more on other good quality ingredients necessary to your recipe.  I think I made good choices with my selections especially as they were to be used to make cakes, tray bakes and Chilli Con Carne.  The butter, biscuits, kidney beans, tomatoes and herbs tasted exactly the same as big branded products and most were half the price if not more.  Out of everything that I purchased the only item that I wouldn’t buy again would be the rice as it was very stodgy and didn’t cook as well as the basmati rice that I would usually buy.

Sainsbury’s basic range offers fuss-free packaging, lower prices and great quality and with over 500 everyday products there really is something for everyone. Click the video below to see how I used my basics ingredients, don’t forget to check back on Madame Gourmand for recipes.




*Disclaimer: I was sent a £10 sainsbury's voucher for the purpose of the challenge, my review of the basics range is honest and impartial*



Chilli Con Queso

Chilli Con Quezo

I first tasted Chilli con Queso in an Italian/Mexican restaurant in Byker, Newcastle upon Tyne, I had never heard of the dish before but it sounded fun so I decided it was something that just had to be tried.

After much internet research I found that all recipes were more or less the same, my only problem was that they all asked for Monterrey Jack cheese which I just couldn’t see to find (if you know where I can source this please let me know).

Chile Con Queso
1/2 onion diced
4 cloves of crushed garlic
3 diced red chilli peppers
3 diced green jalapeno peppers
2 tablespoons of butter
2 tablespoons of plain flour or corn flour
160ml milk
600g  of grated cheese, you can use any combination of semi hard/hard
handful of coriander, chopped
2 plum tomatoes, peeled and diced
90ml of sour cream
Salt to taste

1. Melt the butter in a pan on a medium heat, and fry the onions and peppers until the onions are translucent.
2. Add the garlic and cook for a further minute.
3. Whisk the flour into the pan and cook for about 30 seconds.
4. Slowly add the milk to the pan, and cook on a medium heat whisking constantly until sauce is thick. Stir in the coriander and tomatoes.
5. Turn the heat down to low, and add 100g of cheese at a time stirring into the sauce until completely melted. Repeat this, you can add some extra milk if the sauce is getting too thick.
6. Stir in the sour cream.
7. Add salt to taste.

Mussels In Spicy Tomato Sauce



Mussels make an incredibly cheap meal, my local fishmonger do a huge bag for under £5 meaning that by the end of the dish no one will be fighting for the last mussel as you will all be too full!

This wasn’t really a recipe, more of a throw what’s in the fridge into a pan and hope for the best and on this occasion it was a good choice.

I started off by cleaning the mussels, removing any beards or barnacles, I then discarded all of the dead mussels and rinsed them of any mud.

I finely chopped an onion, 2 cloves of garlic, 1 red chilli and gently cooked them in some olive oil.  I added 1 tin of chopped tomatoes, 1 glass of white wine, fresh black pepper and a teaspoon of sugar and left to cook for around 10 minutes.

I added the mussels to the pan and popped the lid on and cooked for 3-5 minutes until the mussels were open.  After I discarded the closed shells we enjoyed the pan of mussels with crusty french bread and only our fingers as eating utensils.  (I dare you not to get a spoon to drink the leftover sauce)

Smoked Fish Risotto

I love eating risotto and for me it’s the perfect comfort food, unfortunately it’s ranked in my top five foods that I hate to cook.  I’m not sure exactly what it is that makes me hate making risotto but I think it could be a combination of standing over the pan stirring for half an hour coupled with the fact I always get my timings wrong.  On this occasion the Risotto was a success, a delicious creamy and smoky success.






450ml milk (I used skimmed but any would work)

400g Smoked fish (I used cod)

2 Bay Leaves

6 Black Peppercorns

450ml stock (I used vegetable stock as I had some left over but chicken would work too)

1 onion diced

50g butter (I used unsalted as the fish is salty enough)

300g Arborio rice

1 small bottle of white wine ( the little miniature bottles you can buy)

100g Spinach leaves



Put the fish into a pan with the milk, peppercorns and bay leaves.  Bring to the boil, lower the heat and simmer for 10 minutes.  Turn off the heat and leave the milk to infuse while you start the risotto.

Put your stock on a low heat while you make the risotto.

Fry the onion in the butter in the pan which you will use to make the risotto, cook until it is soft and translucent.  Add the rice to the pan and coat in the butter.  Pour in the small bottle of wine and let it cook until it has evaporated.  Add the stock a ladelful at a time allowing each one to be soaked up by the rice before adding more.  Stir the risotto continually so it does not burn or stick, the heat should be medium to low.

Once you have used all of the stock up you can now move on to the milk that the fish was cooked in.  Remove the bay leaves and peppercorns and start to add the milk a ladelful at a time.  You probably wont need to use all of the milk and by the time you have a ladelful left the grains should be soft and plump with a small bite to them.

Tear the spinach by hand and gently stir in to the rice, break the fish into large pieces and add them to the rice keeping the flakes as whole as possible. 

This makes enough for 3 people to have a bowl plus extra if needed.  If you are a fan of Kedgeree you will love this!

Saffron and Lemon Chicken

Lemon Chicken

This dish needs to be prepared the night before to allow the flavours to absorb into the chicken, it really is worth it for the flavour.


  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 tsp hot smoked paprika
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • large pinch of saffron
  • 1 tbsp ground turmeric
  • 8 chicken thighs, on the bone, skinned
  • Half a jar of olives pitted
  • Handful of chopped coriander
  • 1 lemon sliced
  • 1 Pint chicken stock
  • salt, black pepper


  1. Crush the garlic cloves with a pinch of sea salt with a pestle and mortar. Add the smoked paprika, turmeric and cumin and grind to a paste. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil.
  2. Place the chicken thighs into a bowl, pour the paste over them and toss well to coat all of the meat. Cover with cling film and leave to marinate in the fridge overnight.
  3. Heat the remaining olive oil in a large pan, then cook the onions until soft. Add the chicken thighs and cook until coloured lightly on both sides. Add the lemon slices and pour in the chicken stock. Stir in the saffron, then season well with salt and pepper, cover with a lid and simmer for about 25 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through and tender. Add the olives and fresh coriander and serve with rice.

Anchovy Stuffed Olive and Mushroom Pizza



We love home made pizza, it’s quick and easy to make and costs considerably less than a takeaway or shop bought pizza.  We all like different toppings so by making our own pizza we can pick and choose what to put on.

Instead of the usual tomato base I decided to try Crème Fraiche mixed with a bit of garlic, I loved the creamy lemony taste this provided and it made a lovely change.


Small pot of Crème Fraiche

2 Cloves of Garlic crushed

Mixed dried herbs

Chestnut mushrooms


Anchovy stuffed olives

Olive Oil

Pizza Dough (I use this recipe here)


Make your pizza dough and put to one side.  Chop the mushrooms and fry in a little olive oil, while they are cooking stir the garlic into the Crème Fraiche.

Roll out your dough and place on a baking tray (I use my Tefal Ingenio pan) cover the base with a thin layer of your Crème Fraiche mixture and sprinkle with dried herbs, place a layer of mushrooms on to the base and scatter on some olives.  Top with ripped mozzarella and cook for around 10-12 mins until the base is cooked.

Baby Gourmand didn’t get to eat any of this as the anchovy inside the olives were a little salty.

Oven Cooked Sea Bass and New Potatoes

Sea Bass

This is yet another recipe inspired by Nigel Slater’s Sea bass with rosemary and capers.  I asked my fishmonger to clean up the fish and remove the heads and insides but if you have time you could do this yourself.


2 large Sea Bass (Head and guts removed)

750g New potatoes

Olive Oil

4 Sprigs of Fresh Rosemary

Tablespoon of Sherry Vinegar

2 Tablespoon of Capers

Juice and rind of a lemon

3 cloves of garlic

4 sprigs of parsley

Red Chilli (seeds removed)


Set the oven temperature to 200. Cut the potatoes into slices and fry in some olive oil for ten minutes on a low heat. Use a pan that is suitable for use on the hob and oven, I used my Tefal Ingenio pan which is oven to table and non stick.  Turn them over now and again to make sure they don’t stick.

Chop the rosemary leaves finely and pop into a mixing bowl with a finely chopped chilli, sherry vinegar, capers, lemon juice, black pepper, chopped garlic and finely chopped parsley.  Pour three tablespoons of olive oil into the bowl and stir to make a dressing.

Lay the fish on top of the potatoes and spoon the dressing into the cavity of the fish.  Bake in the oven until the fish is tender and cooked through to the bone.

To serve, remove the bone from the fish and divide the fillets between 4 plates, share out the potatoes and serve with a green vegetable of your choice – we had peas.


Baby Led Weaning – This dish is suitable for baby led weaning but check the fish by hand for bones, the bones in a Sea Bass are quite large so they should be easy to find if any are remaining after the backbone has been removed.

Lamb with Pappardelle


Osso Buco

This recipe is adapted from Nigel Slater’s Osso Buco Kitchen Diaries recipe, I needed to make it more baby friendly so have changed a few things to suit our tastes.

To cook this my way you will need:

2 Tablespoons Grapeseed Oil

700g Diced Lamb

1 Onion, chopped

2 sticks of Celery

2 Carrots

250ml Marsala

250g Pappardelle

4 Tablespoons Parsley

50g Butter (Unsalted)


Heat the oil in a frying pan and brown the lamb in batches, remove to a plate.

Chop the onion, celery and carrots into cubes – I used my Tefal Fresh Express for this stage.  Add the chopped veg to the pan in which the meat was browned.  Cook for approx 15 mins until they start to soften.  Return the lamb to the pan, add the Marsala and bring to the boil.

Lower the heat of the pan and cook with a lid for approx 40 mins or until the lamb is tender.

Cook the pasta in water (don’t add salt if cooking for a baby)

Remove the lamb and vegetables from the pan and divide between plates.  Add the pasta and chopped parsley to the pan in which the lamb was cooked.  Add the butter and a grind of black pepper and warm the pasta through.

Serve with the lamb and vegetables.

This dish is suitable for Baby Led Weaning, if you need to add salt to taste, add after plating up rather than during cooking.

Chocolate Cherry Brownies




I love Brownies of all different shapes and sizes and most importantly flavours.  I was looking for a way to use up some Glacé Cherries that I had in the cupboard and decided there was nothing better to put them in than a brownie.




To make these brownies you will need:

  • 250 g unsalted butter
  • 200 g good-quality dark chocolate broken up
  • 125 g Glacé cherries halved
  • 80 g cocoa powder, sifted (Not hot chocolate)
  • 65 g plain flour, sifted
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 360 g caster sugar
  • 4 large eggs

Preheat your oven to 180°C and line a 25cm square baking tin with greaseproof paper. Melt the butter and the chocolate in a bowl over some simmering water and mix until smooth. Add the cherries and stir together.

In a separate bowl, mix together the cocoa powder, flour, baking powder and sugar, then add this to the chocolate mixture. Stir together well. Beat the eggs and mix in until you have a silky consistency.

Pour your brownie mix into the baking tray, and place in the oven for around 25 minutes. The brownies should be slightly springy on the outside but still gooey in the middle.

These brownies will keep for up to 3 days if you still have any left!