Good Granny Cookbook

Week 84: Courgette Frittatas

Ladies and Gentlemen, my first frittata! Well actually it’s not. I thought it would be until I got further down the instructions and found that this recipe is seemingly for a load of mini frittatas. This recipe is from the good granny cookbook, so there are no pictures to aim at – but I’d seen one once in the staff canteen so I knew I should be aiming for a sort of greenish wobbly discus.  Can you tell I let my lover choose this weeks recipe?


Week 64: Gardeners Pie

Boxing day is always a day for leftovers.  Even the poisoner has some spare after Christmas dinner.  Rather than some charred bubble and squeak I thought this recipe from the Good Granny Cookbook might save the day.  Gardener’s Pie was originally a wartime creation to help people stomach a load of veg, instead of the shepherd they’d usually cook under a layer of fluffy mash.  Pretty Christmassy eh?

The recipe uses a load of spare raw veg, but I’d imagine it’d work just as well with cooked cold veg – I think you’d just have to cook it until it was hot, rather than until it was cooked; if that makes sense?

To make this for 6 you will need 1kg of mixed winter veg (I used a leek, an onion, a carrot, a parsnip, and half a small cabbage – but the recipe also suggests celery, swede, cauliflower and Jerusalem artichokes), olive oil, stock, salt & pepper, 900g floury potatoes, 50g butter, 400ml milk, and 115g grated cheese.

Set the oven at 200 and start boiling the potatoes, and in a wide shallow pan heat 2tbs of olive oil. Throw the veg in and turn them in the oil until they start to colour.  Add enough stock/water to stop the veg sticking.  If you’re using leftovers you can use less stock/water as you only need to warm the veg through rather than cook it from scratch.


Stir occasionally until the liquid has evaporated.  The veg should be slightly crunchy (it won’t be if it’s leftover, unless you fried it for slightly longer… Oh I should have said that earlier)  season with salt and pepper and pour the veg into your pie dish.  It should seem a little dry, that’s ok though cos the moisture should come out of your veg in the oven.

I slightly disagree with the recipe for the potatoes, to my mind there’s far too much milk and it makes it more like a soup.  Mash the potatoes with milk (to taste) butter (of course) and cheese (controversial, but since when did Boxing Day become a diet day?) I’d also add a teaspoon of mustard powder or a big slosh of Lea & Perrins.  Plop the mash on top of the veg and scribe pretty/offensive patterns with a fork/dagger.


The recipe is rather vague when it comes to the oven bit, but vagues OK if you have a hangover like I usually do on boxing day.  Basically, when you’ve finished sculpting the mash over the top of the veg pop it in the oven until the potato goes brown.  In my oven this took about 15 minutes.


Serve with some leftover meat and some freshly cooked stink bombs sprouts and enjoy before dozing off infront of a repeat on telly.



Good Granny Cookbook by Jane Fearnley-Whittingstall (Short Books 2007 ISBN 978 1 906021 10 8)

good granny

Week 62: Leek and Bacon Tart

I’ve always been firmly of the opinion that the secret to good pastry is lard.  I know it’s an unfashionable thing to think these days, but it’s true. This recipe has been staring at me from the good granny cookbook every time I make toad in the hole, I’m not sure why it’s taken me over a year to give it a try.

First you need to make the pastry, which is nothing to be scared of. You will need 225g plain flour, 55g butter and 55g lard.  Roughly cut the butter and lard into cubes and rub it in to the flour with your finger tips.  Add cold water 1 tablespoon at a time and stir it with a knife after each spoonful. When it clumps together squash it into a bowl, wrap it in cling film and put it in the fridge for at least half an hour.

To make the filling you will need: 30g butter, 650g leeks (thinly sliced across), 85g smoked bacon, 90g Gruyere cheese (grated), 4 egg yolks 280ml single cream and salt & pepper to season.


When end the pastry has stiffened up take it out the fridge, roll it out and line your trusty 9″ tart tin; make sure you prick the bottom with a fork.  Turn the oven on to 190c and heat the butter in a frying pan.  Once it’s melted gently cook the leeks for about 5 minutes until they’re soft but not brown.  Spread them over the pastry case.


Cut the bacon into strips and fry for 5 minutes, grate the Gruyere while you wait.  I bought quite thick bacon for this, but I wish I’d bought much thicker bacon or gammon – next time!


Spread the bacon over the leeks and sprinkle the cheese on top.  In a jug whisk together the cream and egg yolks, season with salt and pepper and pour over the tart mix.  Bake for 25 to 30 minutes until set.


I had this hot and cold, and it was delicious both times; but I think cold from the fridge was my favourite – ideal for a quick dinner after work!  As I said I’d probably use thicker bacon/gammon next time but I’d definitely have it again with the normal bacon if that’s all I had in.  Don’t get me wrong, I love a good quiche, but this was somehow better.


Good Granny Cookbook by Jane Fearnley-Whittingstall (Short Books 2007 ISBN 978 1 906021 10 8)

good granny

Week 53: Hungarian Goulash

For the last year I’ve been trying to focus on speedy meals that don’t require me to be chained to the hob for hours on end, so in that spirit I spend three hours of last Sunday bubbling some stew.

The recipe in The Good Granny Cookbook says it serves six, but I reckon with a bit of veg and maybe an extra potato it could stretch to eight easily.  I halved the ingredients and it still served me and him two nights in row.

For six you will need: sunflower oil, 3 onions, 900g of chuck steak (I used casserole steak) 3 tablespoons of sweet Hungarian paprika (the book says to use a fresh tin of paprika, I just used normal smoked paprika) 2 tablespoons tomato purée, a garlic clove, a glass of red wine, a bouquet garni, 4 medium potatoes, 1 red pepper, and 200ml of sour cream. You can also add 2 teaspoons of caraway seeds, but I couldn’t find any.

Firstly, as always, peel and chop the onions, and cut the steak up into 3cm cubes. Get out a large pot that can go on the hob, and heat a tablespoon of sunflower oil in a frying pan.  When the oil had heated up brown the onions, and then chuck them into the pot. Then sprinkle the paprika into the pan and roll the beef around in it, keep stirring until the beef has been browned on all sides, then add to the pot.


If there is any paprika left add it to the pot, then throw in the garlic cube, tomato purée, the bouquet garni (mine came as a little teabag, which was exciting), the wine, a little salt, and enough hot water to cover the meat.


Bring to the boil – stirring well – then turn the heat down and simmer with the lid on for two hours. That’s right. Two hours.

After about an hour and three quarters, peel the potatoes and cut them into 1 inch cubes and boil them for 5 minutes. Drain and add to the pot, with 2tsp of caraway seeds if you’re using them. Simmer for another 20-30 minutes.


By this time you should have washed out the frying pan you did the meat in, so out it back on the hob, quite low with a bit for oil in, and while its heating up de-seed the pepper and cut it into thin strips.


Gently cook the peppers for a few minutes, then stir them into the goulash and serve with a dollop of sour cream.  And don’t forget the pick the bouquet garni out.


The first night we had it is was with a whole head of broccoli, and the second with noodles. I preferred it with the veg, but my lover preferred the noodles.


I didn’t want to risk freezing it because of the potatoes, so I left it in the pot on the hob overnight and it was fine. The meat was so tender it fell apart on the fork, and the flavour was really full and autumnal. It was absolutely perfect for a rainy October Sunday.

I’d imagine this would be a good meal to make in one of those slow cooker things, but I don’t have one. I’m definitely making this again, on a slow day…


Good Granny Cookbook by Jane Fearnley-Whittingstall (Short Books 2007 ISBN 978 1 906021 10 8)

good granny

Week 52: Shepherd’s Pie

Week 52! That’s a year! Actually a year and a bit but I think I missed a week or two somewhere along the line… But that’s some sort of blogaversary right?

I was going to cook something exciting and grandiose and frivolous and impressive… Lobster Thermador or sommat equally as flashy.  And then I needed to use some beans up, which usually means have a pie round at ours. So I decided to make a pie… A luxury pie magnificent enough to pay fitting tribute to a whole year of new recipes, maybe containing blackbirds. So I broached the idea of pie to my lover and his face lit up, he clasped his hands together and said “Oo yay Shepherd’s Pie!” And that was that. I’ll tackle the Blackbird Thermidor Luxury Pie another week.

There was only one book I could possibly reach for for a pie like this: The Good Granny Cookbook. Unfortunately the recipe was in the leftovers section so there was a certain amount of swapping and improvising as I’ve not really had leftovers since the great bread and butter pudding incident.

To make this for four you will need a large onion, about 450g of leftover lamb (I don’t imagine the size of meal that would yeald a pound of leftover lamb, unless you had a load of unexpected vegetarians for dinner), 2 carrots, a garlic clove, some olive oil, half a glass of red wine, tomato ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, leftover gravy (my sister can drink the stuff through a straw, so I don’t think I’ve ever seen leftover gravy), stock, 450g potatoes, 30g butter, and milk.

If you’re using actual left over meat you’ll need to cut off any gristle or fat and shove it in the food processor with the peeled and chopped onion and pulse it into a sort of course oniony mince. I bought ready minced mince, chopped the onion up really finely then sort mushed it all together… it was ok.


Finely dice the carrots and gently sauté them in a small pan with the garlic cube (crushed) and some of the olive oil.  Start the potatoes boiling.


Grease your pie dish and turn the oven on to 200c.  Brown the oniony mince in a large frying pan with some more olive oil.  Add the wine, a tablespoon of ketchup, 2 teaspoons of Worcestershire Sauce, the leftover gravy and ‘enough stock to stop the meat drying out’.  Like I said; leftover gravy isn’t a thing in my life, so I thought I’d make some instant. As I looked through the cupboards for some Bisto my lover said “this isn’t a gravy household” as he swished out to smoke… so I had to improvise and make gravy from cornflour and Jacobs Creek.


I bunged the carrots and garlic in with the meat, and simmered it for about 15 minutes. I mashed the potatoes with a small knob of butter and some milk.  It came out freakishly creamy which worried me because I thought it might somehow mix in with the gravy; but it was also good because I could pipe it if I ever found a Fanny Craddock recipe.  Pour the mince and sauce into the greased pie dish and then spread the mash over the top.  Bake for 20 minutes.



It wasn’t the special-est thing I ever made, but it was strangely satisfying – the first comfort meal of the autumn. I’ll definitely make it again, I probably won’t make the recipe exactly as written above, but everyone has their own version of shepherd’s pie, right? Pie and veg, perfect for a Sunday evening – and if you find yourself with a spare pound of lamb and a load of gravy; I could not recommend this recipe enough… Tuck in!




Good Granny Cookbook by Jane Fearnley-Whittingstall (Short Books 2007 ISBN 978 1 906021 10 8)

good granny

Week 6: Toad in the Hole

I would just like to say that before I made Toad in the Hole for the sixth New Recipe Night, I had never eaten it before and didn’t know what it should look like.  Like most Beano reading children of the 80s, I had heard of it – I had just assumed it was made with actual toad.

The idea for making it wasn’t mine – my Lover decided he wanted something more traditional after choking back the gorgonzola pasta in week five.  I had to dig deep into my stock of cookery books to find a recipe for Toad in the Hole – and I found one in Jane Fearnley-Whittingstall’s “Good Granny Cookbook”

good granny

I’ve moved house with this book so many times, and I couldn’t remember for the life of me when or where I’d bought it… it just seems to be a book that appeared from nowhere.  Like the title suggests, it’s a book of traditional meals that every schoolboy (now in his 60s) grew up eating in pre-spaghetti Britain.  Many of the meals even I had not eaten since primary school!

Now I’ve christened the book I think I should make a few more.

The first thing I learned about Toad in the Hole is that it does not contain toads.  I’d imagine the die hard foodie could source sausages made from toads, but I just got good quality pork ones from the butchers.  I halved the recipe and just followed the instructions as written.

To make for 4 you will need: 8 sausages, 2 tablespoons of oil (sunflower/vegetable oil) 125g plain flour, 3 whole eggs and 1 egg white, 300ml milk, and salt and pepper.

Like with pancakes you need to make the batter mix about half an hour before you need it.  Put the flour, eggs and milk into a bowl and whisk – get lots of bubbles into it, then season and whisk a bit more.

Turn the oven on to 220c (200 fan) and put the oil into a baking tin – obviously not a loose bottomed one – I use one of those enameled tins that I butter up the sides.  Put the tin of oil on a tray and put it into the oven – and make sure your oven shelves are set so there is space for the Toad in the Hole to rise.

The only criticism I have is that one of the key instructions is a little vague.  It says “Add the sausages and cook for a few minutes or more until the fat runs and they are lightly browned.” I’m not a good enough cook to realise that this means to make sure the sausages are pretty well cooked – which in my case was about 20 minutes.

To speed things up I start the sausages up in a frying pan and then put them in the oil in the oven for about 10 minutes until the sausage juice starts to run.  Then pour the batter in and put back in the oven for 20 minutes.


Serve before it deflates!

My first ever Toad in the Hole came out surprisingly well.  I made it a second time with Merguez Sausages – but it was much nicer with traditional British Butcher’s Bangers.

I will make it again, but before I do I want to get a non stick pan – because while my pie tin is about the right size for two portions; it’s such a fight to get the hole off that it sinks by the time it reaches the plate.


Served with a blob of Sainsbury’s ketchup.  Yum!

Good Granny Cookbook by Jane Fearnley-Whittingstall (Short Books 2007 ISBN 978 1 906021 10 8)