Mexican Carne con Chile, Red Pepper Rice and Salsa

Mexican classic beef with chilli, red pepper rice and a wonderful fresh salsa. Comfort food at its very best.


Serves two people

Preparation time 30 minutes, cooking time 1 hour

This recipe uses gaujillo chillies and chipolte paste to give the chilli sauce that authentic flavour. Firstly gaujillo chillies, garlic and tomato are dry fried, before being blended with cumin seeds and chipolte paste. Beef mince is browned with some white onion in a little oil, then the paste is added along with all spice berries, bay leaf, oregano, some water and seasoning. The dish is slowly simmered for around an hour to reduce the sauce and bring out the rich deep flavours.

Red pepper rice works so well with this dish, or indeed as a side to any mexican dish. Onion, garlic and half a red bell pepper are fried in a little oil then washed long grain rice is added along with chilli powder and tomato paste. The rice is fried in the oil and stirred until each grain is coated. Chicken stock is then added along with seasoning before the rice is covered and reduced to simmer. After the stock is absorbed the rice is fluffed up with a fork before serving.

The salsa is a straightforward mix of corn, tomatoes, spring onion, red onion, avocado, red chilli, coriander, seasoning, a little sugar and lime juice. Best done 1-2 hours in advance, mixed well and set aside to let the flavours come together. A winner with any mexican dish or as a dip for tortilla chips.

As an extra accompaniment I served this dish with corn tortillas and sour cream.

Ingredients and method

Carne con chilli

2 gaujillo chillies – soak in water for 30 minutes

3 garlic cloves (unpeeled)

3 round tomatoes

tsp cumin seeds

1 and half tsp chipolte paste

220 -300g good quality minced beef

1 white onion – diced

2 all spice berries

1 bay leaf

tsp oregano

1 tbsp oil

200ml water

Salt and pepper to taste

Method: Dry fry the garlic, guajillo chillies and tomatoes over a medium heat for 5-6 minutes, turning frequently until charred. Remove from heat and set aside until cooled. Peel the garlic then add to a mini blender along with the unpeeled tomatoes, gaujillo chillies, 1 tsp cumin seeds, 1.5 tsps chipolte paste and blend well until smooth. In a separate pan and the oil and heat over a medium heat, once hot brown the mince along with the onion. Next add the paste from the blender, approx 200ml water, 2 all spice berries, a bay leaf and a tsp oregano. Stir well bring to the boil then reduce to a simmer for approximately 1 hour. Stir occasionally and add a little more water if the chilli becomes too dry.


Red pepper rice

150g long grain rice – rinse before use

1 white onion –  diced

2 cloves garlic – peel, crush, finely chop

Half a red bell pepper – diced

2 tsp tomato paste

1 tsp chilli powder – use extra for extra heat

400ml chicken stock

1 tbsp oil

Method: Heat the oil over a medium heat in a saucepan then fry the onions, garlic and bell pepper for 2-3 minutes. Add the rice along with 2 tsp tomato paste and 1 tsp chilli powder, stir well and fry the mixture for 30 seconds. Pour in the chicken stock along with a little seasoning, stir once and bring to the boil. Cover with a lid and reduce to a simmer for 10-12 minutes or until the liquid is fully absorbed. Remove from heat, remove lid and fluff rice with a fork.


4 Tbsp sweetcorn

2 round tomatoes – finely chopped

1 red onion – diced

1 avocado – diced

Handful coriander leaf – chopped

2 spring onions – thinly sliced

2 red bird eye chillies – thinly sliced

salt and pepper – to taste

Half teaspoon of brown sugar

Juice of 1 lime

Method – This is really as simple as mixing all the ingredients in a large bowl, cover and setting aside in fridge. In My opinion it is best done 2-3 hours in advance and brought to room temperature 30 mins before serving.






Grilled steak rice salad with spiced coriander dressing

One day I hope to recover enough from my accident to open my own restaurant, this will defiantly be on the menu – its that tasty!

This recipe is extremely healthy as well as being super tasty. A selection of salad ingredients are seasoned then combined with cooked brown rice. The steak is marinated in my signature steak marinade, grilled then rested before being sliced on the diagonal and placed on top of a bed of the rice. A wonderful spiced coriander dressing is then made and drizzled over the top to complete the dish. It sounds simple however the combination of textures and flavours make this dish a real winner.

The best thing about this dish is that it is colourful, fresh, flavourful and satisfying yet it is extremely good for you.


Grilled beef rice salad

This recipe is for two people

20 minutes preparation (plus 2hr marinading time)

25 minutes cooking

Method and ingredients

For steaks:

2 rump or sirloin steaks (thinner cuts work best)

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon Worcester sauce

Teaspoon salt

Half teaspoon ground black pepper

Put all ingredients in a food bag, tie securely, then massage beef for 1 minute to ensure a good covering. Put in fridge for 90 minutes then remove 30 minutes before cooking to bring to room temperature.

To Cook the steaks: cook over a high heat to medium rare, rest then slice on the diagonal into thin strips. Make sure you collect all the juices and drizzle over the final dish.

For the rice:

140g brown rice – cook in lightly salted water, drain then put on a plate to cool

small red onion – diced

40-50g sweetcorn – drain on absorbent paper

1 red Romano pepper – diced

1 beef tomato – core removed, cut into chunks, drain on absorbent paper

10cm cucumber – seeds removed, cut into crescents then half, drain on absorbent paper

1 large avocado – diced (do last to avoid browning)

2 spring onions – thinly sliced on diagonal

1 large hot red chilli – very thinly sliced (as thin as you can!)

Half teaspoon salt

Half teaspoon brown sugar

Quarter teaspoon black pepper

Place all the chopped vegetables in large glass bowl, along with the salt, sugar and black pepper. Use your hands to mix well. Once the rice has cooled, tip in and mix gently.

For the spiced coriander lime dressing:

Half teaspoon ground coriander

Half teaspoon paprika

Three Quarters teaspoon ground cumin

Juice of two limes

Heaped desert spoon brown sugar

2 tablespoons chopped coriander leaf

Half teaspoon salt

Quarter teaspoon ground black pepper

In a large bowl first add the spices, then lime juice and stir well until combined. Next add the sugar, salt and pepper, stir well until they have dissolved then leave for 5 minutes. Next add the coriander and stir well for 2-3 minutes. Taste test the dressing, add extra seasoning or a little extra sugar if required. Ensure you give it another good stir just before serving.

Assembling final dish: Place a bed of the rice salad mixture on the plate. Place strips of steak on top the drizzle their juices on top. To complete use a spoon to drizzle the dressing over the dish. Serve and enjoy!

Grilled beef rice salad

Korean beef skewers

A really quick and easy recipe for knock out Korean beef skewers.


The beef is knocked flat with a rolling-pin, then thinly sliced. This is added to a marinade made from ginger, garlic, dark soy, vinegar, shaoxing, sesame, honey and gochujan chilli paste.  Left a few hours in a fridge then the beef is skewered, before being cooked quickly over a hot skillet.

In this recipe I used fajita steak, however any steak cut such as sirloin or rump would work just as well. I served this as part of a main meal along with some coconut rice and a cucumber salad (recipe below), however it also works brilliantly as a starter.

You can make a tasty dipping sauce by pouring the marinade into a saucepan and cooking it through the boil.



Serves two as a starter or part of a main meal

Preparation time 20 minutes (plus 3 hrs marinading time)

Cooking time approx 5 minutes

Beef Skewers

2 steaks (fajita, frying, sirloin or rump) – flatten with rolling-pin/mallet, thinly sliced

Bulb of garlic – crush and finely chop

Thumb of ginger – cut into thin match sticks

2 dessert spoons dark soy sauce

1 dessert spoon vinegar

1 desert spoon sesame oil

Dash shaoxing wine

2 teaspoons sesame seeds

1 dessert spoon honey

2 dessert spoons gochujan paste

Vegetable oil  (to lightly bush grill)

You need a skillet grill pan and bamboo skewers for this recipe.

Mix marinade in a bowl then add the thinly sliced steak. Stir then cover in a fridge for at least three hours or overnight. Remove 30 minutes before cooking.

Get cooking!

  1. Start by skewering the beef. Try to get several skewer folds as you do this instead of simply one in one out.
  2. Heat the skillet pan over a high heat until smoking hot, then lightly brush with oil.
  3. Add the skewers across the grill from right to left, spacing out slightly so that all the skewers have room on the grill and are not lifted off by its neighbour – this helps to evenly cook them.
  4. On a hot grill the skewers will cook very quickly and need at most 90 seconds on each side, even less for very thinly sliced beef. Make sure you turn them in the same order for even cooking.
  5. Once cooked on both sides remove skewers in same order placed on grill and transfer to a plate to rest for 2 minutes before serving.
  6. If you wish transfer the remaining marinade into a saucepan and heat through until it bubbles away to kill any bacteria. This makes an excellent dipping sauce along.

Cucumber salad

15cm cucumber – deseed, peel and cut into crescents

2 long red chillies – thinly sliced

3 spring onions – thinly sliced

2 tbsp chopped fresh coriander leaf

2 tbsp chopped peanuts

Mix ingredients in a bowl, keep the coriander and peanuts separate to add as a last-minute garnish.

For the salad dressing:

1 dessert spoon gochujang chilli paste

1 dessert spoon dark soy sauce

1 dessert spoon honey

3 teaspoons rice vinegar

1 teaspoon sesame seeds

1 teaspoon sesame oil

Mix the dressing well in a separate bowl, drizzle over salad before serving.



My version of this classic Italian dish.

Layers of rich smooth beef bolognese, creamy cheese bechamel separated by egg lasagna sheets topped with cheddar and Parmesan cheese.

For me a lasagna should have a rich smooth bolognese and this is achieved by making a paste from the flavour base of tomato paste, onion, celery, carrot, garlic, herbs and spices. The paste is fried to release its flavours like you would do to a curry paste. Mince is browned in a separate pan, drained then added to the paste. Passata, red wine, seasoning, a little sugar and a dash of Worcester sauce give the bolognese a wonderful deep rich flavour.

The bechamel should be nice and creamy and is made with flour, butter, milk, pinch of nutmeg, oregano, seasoning and some grated cheese.  Its important not to over season it as a lot of salt will come out of the added cheese.

Many people will say you must use fresh pasta, but I am a fan of good quality dried pasta – as are many of the worlds top chefs, who use it in their high end restaurants.


Serves 3-4 people

Preparation time 40 minutes

Cooking time 35-40 minutes

You require a mini blender for this recipe


For the flavour base paste:

Three small white onions

Two sticks of celery

Two small carrots

Handful of fresh basil leafs

Handful of fresh flat leaf parsley leafs

Three quarters of a teaspoon of smoked paprika

Half a teaspoon of ground cumin

One and a half teaspoons of dried oregano

A teaspoon of salt

A teaspoon of ground black pepper

A tablespoon  of extra virgin olive oil

Two tablespoons of tomato paste

Four cloves of garlic

Use a mini blender or food processor to blend into a smooth paste

For the bolognese:

400g Good quality steak mince (10%% fat is best)

650-700g Passata

One glass of red wine

One desert spoon brown sugar

Generous dash of Worcester sauce

For the Bechamel sauce:

One heaped desert spoon of plain flour

approx 35g of butter

approx 500ml of semi skimmed milk

Pinch of fried oregano

Pinch of nutmeg

50g grated cheddar

10g grated Parmesan

To complete the dish:

A packet of dried lasagna sheets

Approx 125g grated cheddar cheese (medium is best)

Approx 25g grated Parmesan

Equipment required:

A mini blender/chopper

A deep non stick frying pan

A deep oven dish

A saucepan to make the bechamel

A colander to drain the browned mince

Get cooking!

  1. Start by browning the mince in the frying pan over a medium heat, once browned tip the mince into a colander to drain the mince of the excess fat. Set aside.
  2. Next add the paste to the pan and fry over a medium heat, stirring frequently for 4-5 minutes. You want to cook the paste through to release all its wonderful flavours. If the paste sticks to the pan loosen with a little water rather than adding any extra oil.
  3. Tip the mince back in and stir well until the mince and paste are combined, fry for a further minute or so then add the passata, the red wine, a desert spoon of brown sugar and a generous dash of Worcester sauce. Stir well and heat through to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for 10 minutes.
  4. Now make the bechamel sauce. Start by melting the butter over a medium heat then add a heaped desert spoon of plain flour. Stir well to form a smooth paste then start adding the milk and as it heats the sauce will thicken. Once half the milk (approx 250ml) is added sprinkle in a pinch of oregano and nutmeg along with a little ground black pepper. Keep adding the milk and bringing it to a simmer until the sauce does not thicken any more. The sauce should be of the same consistency as a batter. Tip: is best to add a little at a time as it is easier to keep the sauce smooth. It is vital to keep stirring to keep the sauce smooth and to prevent the flour sticking to pan bottom and burning. If the sauce does become lumpy use a whisk to make it smooth again.
  5. Once the sauce is ready add 50g grated cheddar and 10g grated Parmesan and stir through the sauce until it has melted, this will give the sauce a creamy cheese taste, perfect to balance the rich bolognese.
  6. Pre heat your oven to 180॰c/170॰c fan assisted.
  7. Now to assemble the dish: layer the bottom of the dish with pasta sheets, cut them to size if required. Then spoon a generous layer of the bolognese (use approx half) over the pasta. Now add a layer of pasta sheets on top of the bolognese then spoon a generous layer of the bechamel sauce on top. Add a further layer of pasta, then spoon the rest of the bolognese on top before adding a layer of pasta sheets on top. Pour a generous layer of bechamel on top then sprinkle a good covering of grated cheddar and Parmesan on top.
  8. Add to the centre of the oven and cook for 35-40 minutes until the dish is bubbling and the cheese on top has turned golden. Remove from the oven, it is best to let the dish sit for at least 30 minutes before eating if you can wait that long!
  9. Serve and enjoy!

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Madras Curry with Cucumber and mint Raita

Cuts of prime Scottish beef slowly cooked in a Madras style curry sauce

Beef is seared, then removed from the pan. Onions and spices are then sauteed before adding the beef back in along with beef stock. The dish is then slowly cooked for at least two hours until the beef is melt in the mouth tender. This dish is very easy to make, but has a real depth of flavour.

The dish is best served with a simple cucumber and mint raita to balance the rich spiced taste of the curry sauce. This is also very easy to make.

This dish works well with choice of rice or Indian breads.


Serves two people

Preparation time 10 minutes

Cooking time 2 hours 15 minutes


For the curry:

350g Braising steak – cut into 3cm cubes

3 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 teaspoon mustard seeds

4 cardamom pods

4 cloves

2 bay leafs

4 white onions – diced

1 garlic bulb – crushed, chopped

1 tablespoon grated ginger

2 desert spoons tomato puree

1 teaspoon madras curry powder

2 teaspoons ground coriander

2 teaspoons ground cumin

1 teaspoon ground turmeric

1 teaspoon ground fenugreek

1/2 teaspoon Cayenne pepper (use more for extra heat)

1/2 teaspoon salt

500ml beef stock

1 red chilli – thinly sliced as a garnish

2 tablespoons coriander leaf – roughly chopped as a garnish

2 lime wedges – as a garnish

For the Raita:

3 heaped tablespoons Greek yogurt

2 heaped tablespoons diced cucumber – peel and deseed before finely chopping

Pinch salt

2 desert spoons chopped mint leaf

Juice of 1/4 lime

Method: Peel then deseed the cucumber, then finely chop and add to a mixing bowl. Add the yogurt, chopped mint, lime juice and a pinch of salt then mix well. Cover and sit aside in the fridge until serving.


Get cooking!

  1. Start by heating a tablespoon of oil in a deep frying pan over a medium to medium high heat. Once the oil is hot add in the beef and fry. turning each cube until browned on all sides.  This should take 3-4 minutes. Tip the contents of the pan into a colander to drain the beef, then set aside.
  2. Wipe the pan with some kitchen paper, then add 2 tablespoons of oil and place back on a medium heat. Add the teaspoon of mustard seeds and fry for 1-2 minutes then add the diced onions, cardamon pods, cloves and bay leafs. Stir and fry for 5-7 minutes until the onions start to colour.
  3. Add in the 2 tablespoons of grated ginger, chopped garlic and 2 desert spoons of tomato puree, stir and fry for a further 3-4 minutes.
  4. Next add in the spices – 1 tsp Madras powder, 2 tsp ground coriander, 2 tsp ground cumin, 1 tsp turmeric, 1 tsp fenugreek, half tsp cayenne pepper and a half tsp of salt. Stir through the fried onions and make sure that the spices coat all of them. Fry for 2-3 minutes until the spices become very aromatic.
  5. Add the beef back to the pan and stir well then add 500ml beef stock. Bring to the boil, stir well then cover and reduce heat to a gentle simmer. Let the dish cook for at least 2 hours, during this time the taste will become rich and strong and the beef will slowly become melt in the mouth tender.
  6. Garnish with coriander leaf, sliced chilli and lime. Serve with choice of rice or bread and a generous dollop of the Raita on the side. Enjoy!