Saturday 4 March 2023

Sausage & Cheese Toastie


Sausage & Cheese Toastie

  • 2 slices thick crusty bread
  • 4 chipolata sausages (skins removed)
  • Mustard
  • Butter
  • Large handful of grated cheese
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • Salad to garnish
  • Tablespoon of vegetable oil
Toast your bread for a couple of minutes then lightly butter and then spread a small amount of mustard on top.  I use English mustard as I like a bit of heat but you can use a milder mustard.  Place two of the skinned sausages onto each slice of toast and then mash down with the back of a fork until the sausage meat covers the bread.  

Heat the vegetable oil in a large frying pan and place the toasted bread (sausage meat side down) into the pan and fry until the sausage meat is cooked through, this should only take a few minutes.

Once cooked remove from the frying pan and place onto a baking tray, cover each slice with half the cheese and a good splash of Worcestershire sauce then place under a pre heated grill until the cheese is nice and bubbly, remove, plate up and garnish with some salad leaves then get stuck in.

This is a great dish for breakfast or lunch, so simple but really tasty, hope you enjoy.

Sunday 23 October 2022

It’s all Greek to me! Spicy sausage flatbreads!


Spicy sausage flatbreads!
Spicy sausage flatbreads!

  • 3 flatbreads
  • 6 spicy sausages of choice (I used triple chilli pork sausages from Asda)
  • 1 red onion, finely sliced
  • 2 tomatoes cut into bite sized chunks
  • 1/2 small cucumber cut into chunky slices and quartered
  • Handful of cubed feta cheese
  • Red pepper cut into strips
  • 70g pitted green olives with herbs and garlic
  • Few spoonfuls of mayonnaise
  • Dash of mustard
  • Olive oil
  • Good pinch of oregano and mixed herbs

Cook the sausages according to packet instructions.  Whilst they are cooking mix together the red onion, cucumber, tomatoes, olives, peppers and feta cheese along with a good splash of olive oil and the herbs to make a nice Greek salad then set aside.  Heat the flatbreads in the microwave for 30 seconds.  Mix the mayo and mustard together and spread evenly over each flatbread. 

Once the sausages are cooked slice them in half lengthways.  Top each flatbread with the Greek salad mixture and place a couple of the sliced sausages on top and drizzle over any remaking salad dressing and get stuck in.

This is such a simple yet tasty dish, give it a bit of a gyros feel and add some chips, you won’t be disappointed, this was a huge hit in our house and the kids loved it.

Spicy sausage flatbreads with chips!
Spicy sausage flatbreads with chips!

Friday 15 April 2022

Bacon Naan Sandwich and Masala Fries


Bacon Naan Sandwich and masala fries
Bacon Naan Sandwich and masala fries

For the bacon naan sandwich - serves 4

  • 12 rashers of smoked streaky bacon
  • 8 mini naan breads
  • Soft cream cheese
  • Sweet chilli jam
  • Fresh coriander
  • Lambs lettuce
  • Red onion, thinly sliced
  • One large tomato cut into small chunks

Preheat the grill to medium-high, place the bacon on a lined tray and cook for several minutes each side until sizzling and cooked through.  Place the naans under the grill for 1-2 minutes until warmed through.  Spread one side of the naan with cream cheese and drizzle over some chilli jam and top with some lambs lettuce, place 3 slices of bacon on top and a small amount of plucked coriander and some of the sliced onion and chopped tomato, top with the second naan and you are good to go. (Repeat for the remaining 3 portions).

Masala Fries
Masala Fries

Masala fries

  • 900g frozen fries
  • 1 tsp red chilli powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • Few pinches of crushed sea salt

Masala sauce

  • 2 tbsp rapeseed oil
  • 1 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 5 tbsp hamburger relish
  • 5 tbsp tomato ketchup
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 red onion finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp mixed garlic/ginger paste

To start, you need to make the sauce.  Heat the oil in a small saucepan over a medium heat, when hot, add the cumin seeds and fry for around 30 seconds.  Add the hamburger relish and ketchup and bring to a simmer.  Stir in the sugar and cook for a further minute, then add the chopped onion and the garlic/ginger paste, season with a little salt, stir through and then set aside.

Cook your fries according to packet instructions (varies depending if oven fries or you are air frying).  When the fires are cooked season them with the chilli powder, cumin, coriander and a little salt to taste.  Whilst the fries are still hot, add them to the pan with the sauce, stirring so the fries are evenly coated.  Plate up and serve alongside the bacon naan.

Bacon Naan Sandwich
Bacon Naan Sandwich

This is a great dinner, you can spice up a bit more if you like and add some fresh chopped chillies.  Quick and easy to make, this will soon become a Friday night favourite!

Mark’s top tip - ensure you coat the fries quickly with the masala sauce otherwise the fries will go soggy!  Alternatively serve the masala sauce in a small dish on the plate and you can then dip your fries in!

Saturday 29 January 2022

The Red Lion - Handcross


Red Lion Handcross Menu
The Red Lion, Handcross, West Sussex

I stumbled across this lovely pub following a pop up on my Facebook, they had been closed following an extensive refurbishment and were holding a variety of relaunch events including a complimentary lunch which I promptly signed up for.  

Red Lion Handcross Interior

Not having previously visit the pub I can’t comment on what it used to look like however it is now nicely decorated, stylish and inviting with a lovely open fire in the bar side of the pub where I was lucky enough to sit on my first visit.

Red Lion Handcross Fire

The menu has a good variety of dishes which features flavours inspired by the seasons and modern world-food trends, fresh fish that is delivered daily, Asian influences and a good variety of healthier and lower calorie options, which includes nourish bowls and healthy salads.  They also have a pretty good vegan menu, so there is something for everyone.

Red Lion Handcross Bar

The fact I have had lunch a total of four times since just before Christmas should speak volumes, it has also given me the opportunity to try a number of different dishes. 

Balsamic and Rosemary Lamb Koftas
Balsamic and Rosemary Lamb Koftas

I can’t fault any of them, each and every one has been full of flavour and beautifully presented.  Since my first visit there are already new dishes on the menu so it is ever changing which is great, there is nothing worse than frequenting an establishment where it is the same old menu!  

Panko Breaded Chicken Milanese
Panko Breaded Chicken Milanese

The Red Lion have also launched a Dine at Home service, allowing you to order and collect your favourite dishes to eat at home, this includes a 20% discount at present so it makes eating at home even tastier.

Devon Crab and King Prawn Fishcakes
Devon Crab and King Prawn Fishcakes

The Red Lion has a good and varied drinks menu which includes cocktails, a gin bar and a nice selection of draught beers along with the usual non alcoholic options.

Diablo Pizza made with hand-stretched dough
Diablo Pizza made with hand-stretched dough

Asian style Crispy Duck Salad
Asian style Crispy Duck Salad

All in all our dining experiences have far exceeded expectations, fresh seasonal produce, tasty combinations (the Asian style crispy duck salad was amazing), ok, all the dishes have been amazing to be honest.  

All the photographs included within this review are of the dishes we have been lucky enough to try, taken "as served" at the table. I have also tried the pan-fried king prawns with chilli and feta which was fantastic, sadly my photograph didn’t do it justice!

Red Lion Handcross Interior

One of my favourite meals is a good roast dinner which sadly is hard to find so I am very much looking forward to trying a Sunday Roast at The Red Lion as the photographs look great!  They also have a good selection on the children’s menu, including a spiced coconut chicken curry which I think our eldest would love.

Salt and Szechuan Pepper Squid
Salt and Szechuan Pepper Squid

Maple Glazed Rotisserie Pork Belly
Maple Glazed Rotisserie Pork Belly

I think we have found our new favourite local pub, 10 minutes from where we live, good location, ample parking (don’t forget to register your car details when visiting), lovely looking establishment, fantastic food, not badly priced for what you are getting and a friendly warm service, we are very much looking forward to many more visits to come.  There is also a nice looking butchers shop directly across the street which I must try!

Buttermilk Chicken Somerset Brie and Bacon Pie
Buttermilk Chicken Somerset Brie and Bacon Pie

Become a friend of The Red Lion Handcross by signing up online to receive exclusive news, offers and promotional updates. We have already enjoyed half price mains, complimentary starters and a bottle of Prosecco for my husband’s birthday.  

Tomato and Basil Linguine
Tomato and Basil Linguine

Monday 29 November 2021

Tomato Wizardry In a Bottle!


Tongue in Peat
Tongue in Peat

You say tomato I say….what the heck!  Tongue in Peat is one of only a few smoked tomato juices that are made, it however can boldly claim to be the only one that is peat smoked, with peat from the Scottish Island of Islay which they found imparted notes of tangy smoked sea salt!

Tongue in Peat is proudly made in Scotland by less than 12 people, making 5,000 bottles per batch, the tomatoes are hand chopped to ensure maximum surface is exposed to the peat fires!  It definitely sounds like a lot of love goes into the whole process.

Tongue in Peat
Tongue in Peat 

Well, on to the smoked tomato juice itself, I love the label on the bottle, this is what drew me in, it certainly peaked my curiosity and being a lover of tomato juice I was keen to give this a go and the lovely people at Tongue In Peat kindly sent me a bottle to sample.  

Tongue in Peat
Tongue in Peat

What can I say, from the moment you open the bottle you are hit by the smokey earthy aroma -  now on to the taste.  For my Bloody Mary I poured a shot of vodka into a tall glass, topped up with the tomato juice, few glugs of Worcestershire sauce, a good few shakes of Tabasco sauce, few grinds of cracked black pepper and some ice, I then garnished with the obligatory stick of celery to which I also added some jalapeƱo stuffed olives and a slice of crispy bacon, hoping to give an additional hit of saltiness, which it did!  

Tongue in Peat
Tongue in Peat

I have to say both the aroma and the taste gave you a double whammy of earthy smokiness which I loved.  This is definitely a different take on tomato juice and yes it won’t be to everyone’s liking but it was to mine so all good.  A truly artisan product and one I am so glad to have stumbled across, give it a go, I dare you!  If you do, let me know what you think and also how you had yours.

Visit them at to obtain further info and place an order.

Wednesday 24 November 2021

Curried Squash Soup


Curried Squash Soup
Curried Squash Soup

  • 1 large squash, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 900ml vegetable stock
  • 1/2 can of coconut milk
  • 1 tbsp Penang curry paste
  • 1/2 small red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
  • Small handful Thai Basil
  • Couple tablespoons of vegetable oil
  • Salt and pepper

Preheat your oven to 180 degrees.  Line a baking tray with foil and cover with the chopped squash.  Drizzle the vegetable oil over the squash and season with salt and pepper before roasting in the oven for around 20 minutes or until the squash is somewhat charred and has softened, then remove from the oven and set aside.

Chopped squash

Heat the curry paste in a large pan with some of the chopped chilli, once the aromas and oils are released add the coconut milk and stir until mixed through before adding the squash, stir again to coat the squash then add the vegetable stock and most of the Thai Basil (reserve some along with the chilli to garnish), stir and allow to simmer for around 30 minutes, skimming off any foam at the end of cooking.  Remove from the heat and blitz with a stick blender until you have a smooth consistency.  Serve and garnish with some of the reserved Basil and chilli.

This soup is perfect for this time of year, nice and warming and packed full of flavour.  If you prefer a milder soup then leave out the chilli and add more coconut milk to make it creamier.  I used up 3 small squash left over from Halloween and this made enough for 4 large bowls of soup.  The great thing with this soup is you can use any curry paste that you like or that you have to hand so ideal to use up anything you have in your cupboard.

Mark’s top tip - The skin of the squash is quite tough however a vegetable peeler is ideal to remove the skin!

Saturday 21 August 2021

Sticky Chorizo Burritos


Sticky chorizo burritos
Sticky chorizo burritos

  • 6 medium cooking chorizo
  • 4 teaspoons maple syrup
  • 4 tablespoons bbq sauce
  • 3 large warmed tortillas
  • Tablespoon finely chopped coriander
  • Small tub of guacamole
  • Small tub of sour cream
  • Microwaveable pouch of black beans
  • Large handful of grated cheese

For the rice
  • 60g unsalted butter
  • 2 large garlic cloves,  minced
  • 225g cherry tomatoes (charred)
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon medium chilli powder
  • 250g washed basmati rice.

Start this dish by making the rice.  Melt half of your butter in a large saucepan over a medium heat.  Add the onion, garlic and 2 tablespoons of water and stir well.  Reduce to a low heat and cook for around 10 minutes, until the garlic and onions are softened (not browned).  Put the onion mixture into a blender, add 250ml of water, the cherry tomatoes, oregano, salt and chilli powder and blend until smooth.

Melt the remaining butter in the saucepan over a medium heat, add the rice and stir for around 2 minutes until coated then stir in the chilli-tomato mixture.  Bring to the boil then turn the heat to the lowest setting, cover the pan with a lid and cook for 15-20 minutes until the rice is tender.  Turn off the heat and leave to rest for 5 minutes before fluffing with a fork.

Whilst the rice is cooking, preheat your oven to 180 degrees.  Place the sausages on a roasting tray (line with foil, you will thank me later), brush all over with the maple syrup and roast in the oven for 15 minutes, turning halfway through then coat the sausages in the bbq sauce and return to the oven for a further 10-15 minutes.  Once cooked slice the chorizo into bite sized pieces.

Onto each of your tortillas spoon some rice down the middle, put some of the cooked black beans alongside the rice, top with two of the chopped sausages, sour cream, guacamole and a sprinkle of coriander and some cheese, roll tightly and enjoy.  If you prefer more heat add some hot sauce to your burrito before rolling.  We really enjoyed this dish, next time I will add some home made pineapple salsa to add another flavour dimension.

Mark’s top cheat - If you are pushed for time, buy a pouch of microwaveable Mexican style rice and use instead of making up the rice as above. 

Wednesday 21 July 2021

Sweet and sour chicken


Sweet and sour chicken
Sweet and sour chicken

  • 4 chicken breasts, cubed
  • Garlic salt
  • 1/2 tsp amchoor (dried mango powder)
  • Cornflour
  • Rapeseed oil
  • 100g sugar
  • 125ml vinegar
  • 4 tbsp ketchup
  • 2 tbsp hot sauce
  • 1 tbsp dark soy sauce
  • 65ml orange juice
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 175 degrees.  Line a baking tray with baking paper or foil (trust me, you will be glad you did otherwise washing up becomes a real chore!).  Place your chicken pieces onto a plate and sprinkle with garlic salt (to taste) and the amchoor powder and set aside.  Heat your oil in a large frying pan (about 1” deep), keep at a medium heat whilst you roll your chicken pieces in the cornflour (shake off any excess) and then fry for 4-5 minutes until lightly browned all over, once cooked remove from the pan and leave to one side.

Mix together the sugar, vinegar, hot sauce, ketchup, soy sauce and orange juice, season with a pinch of salt and a few grinds of pepper in a saucepan.  Heat this on a medium heat until the sugar has dissolved.

Lay the chicken out on the baking tray and pour over the sauce.  Bake this in the oven for an hour (turning every 20 minutes) until browned and crispy and serve, it’s as simple as that.

I served this with some rice and an assortment of Chinese appetisers which went down really well.  Trust me, once you have made this dish you will never buy store bought or takeaway again, it is so good.  Whilst the sauce contains chilli sauce it isn’t actually that hot, the orange juice evens out any heat.  The amchoor powder is readily available at most  ethnic supermarkets, that said I haven’t tried the recipe without so I can’t say exactly what flavour it brings to this dish so you may be ok without if you can get hold of it.

Mark’s top tip - To change this up and turn it into chilli chicken chop up some fresh chillies and scatter over the chicken after you have poured on the sauce, that will give a real kick to the dish.

Saturday 3 July 2021

Eat them to defeat them Carbonara


Eat them to defeat them carbonara
Eat them to defeat them Carbonara

  • Handful of tender stem broccoli
  • Fusilli pasta 350g (varies on how hungry you are)
  • 200g cubed pancetta
  • Handful of chopped Chorizo
  • 50g grated Parmesan cheese
  • 4 egg yolks
  • Large handful of sweetcorn
  • Large handful of peas
  • Black pepper
  • Salt

Bring a large saucepan of salted water to the boil, add the trimmed broccoli and simmer for 3 minutes, remove the broccoli and set aside to cool down.  Once cooled, chop into small pieces.  Leave the water in the pan as we will use this to cook the pasta in.

Bring your saucepan of water back to the boil and cook your pasta according to packet instructions, add the peas and sweetcorn (frozen is best).  Whilst the pasta is cooking place a large frying pan over a medium heat and add the pancetta and chorizo, they will release their own oils so no need to add oil to the pan.  Lower the heat and continue to fry until crispy.

Once the pasta is cooked, drain (reserve some of the liquid) and then add the pasta to the frying pan, stir well to ensure the pasta soaks up the oils from the pancetta and chorizo.  Remove the pan from the heat, add about 3/4 cup of the reserved water and the egg yolks and stir to create a creamy sauce.  Stir in the broccoli , season with pepper and then sprinkle over the grated Parmesan and serve!

This is a great recipe to include a variety of veggies in and certainly inline with the schools, the kids are definitely eating them to defeat them with this recipe.  If you want to keep to a vegetarian dish omit the meats and add more veggies to the mix, the more the merrier.

The kids both loved this dish and it got two thumbs up from them both, hope you enjoy as much as they did.

Saturday 22 May 2021

Chicken and chorizo tostadas


Chicken and chorizo tostadas
Chicken and chorizo tostadas

  • Chicken breast cut into bite sized chunks
  • Chorizo sliced and cut into quarters
  • Small flour tortillas
  • Radishes, thinly sliced
  • Diced herbed potatoes (most supermarkets sell these frozen)
  • Fried eggs
  • Avocado
  • Red onion, finely diced
  • 1 tomato, deseeded and cut into small pieces
  • Handful of chopped coriander
  • Hot sauce
  • Salsa verde
  • Lime
  • Rapeseed oil

I haven’t been precise with most of the ingredients as it depends on how many people you are cooking for, I made enough for 6 tostadas so I used half a chorizo ring and two chicken breasts, obviously increase/decrease depending on how many you are feeding.

Firstly we want to make up some pico de gallo to accompany the dish, put the diced onion and tomato into a bowl, the juice of half a lime a splash of hot sauce and half the chopped coriander, stir through and leave to one side.

Cook your potatoes according to packet instructions, usually this takes 20 minutes.  Once they go into the oven, heat the rapeseed oil in a large frying pan (enough to cover the base of the pan and deep enough to cover a tortilla).  Once hot, fry each tortilla until they brown slightly then place in tin foil and leave to one side.  Once the tortillas are done, drain away most of the oil and add the chicken and chorizo and fry until the chicken is cooked through (not much oil is required as the chorizo will release plenty of oil during cooking).  I haven’t added any seasoning to the chicken as you will get plenty of flavour from the chorizo oil however you can add some spices if you wish. 

Once the chicken and chorizo is cooked, remove from the pan and place onto some kitchen roll to soak up any excess oil.  Then crack your eggs into the pan (one for two tostadas) and cook for several minutes until the whites are firm but the yolk remains runny.  Whilst you are cooking the eggs you can assemble your tostadas. 

Place two tortillas onto each plate, top with some of the cooked potato and the chicken and chorizo, top with a fried egg and garnish with the sliced radish with some pico de gallo on the side.  Splash over as much hot sauce and salsa verde as you need, sprinkle over some of the remaining chopped coriander and get stuck in!

As you know, I am all for quick and simple recipes and this definitely fits the bill, packed with flavour and super tasty, hope you enjoy as much as we did.