Author Archives: Hannah Beezer

Erin’s BBQ Chicken Sandwiches


I love being introduced to new recipes and I love being cooked amazing food! Erin is a good friend of Jack and Catriona’s who they met in Edinburgh last year. Last summer Erin came to stay with us in Ivinghoe to carry out some research in London for her history masters whilst being plied with tea, cake and marmitey toast in our food-centric household. We spent a fun although fairly damp few days bike riding, running and walking to and lunching at pubs. One evening Erin very kindly introduced us to this wonderful sunshiney US Southern style BBQ dish . Here’s a few words from Erin about this gorgeous recipe:

Living abroad in Scotland has a multitude of perks. However, from time to time, I get a hankerin’ for some BBQ. While visiting my friends in Ivinghoe I decided to say ‘thank you’ by cooking something ‘American’ (or as close to something of that name) for the family. I chose the Barbecue Chicken Sandwiches from “The Pioneer Woman”. I truly enjoy the classic and rich flavours from this site’s recipes. I also appreciate food you can put in the oven, walk to the pub for a pint, and walk back to, ready to eat. The other perk of this specific recipe is that it doesn’t require a slow-cooker and several hours, unlike some other BBQ chicken recipes. We served these alongside some fresh rocket salad and smashed new potatoes with olive oil and sea salt.


2 packs of Chicken thighs and legs
Salt And Pepper, to taste
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1 bottle (large) Good Quality Barbecue Sauce (In this particular instance, Jack Daniels BBQ sauce)
1 whole Onion, Sliced
8 whole Cloves Garlic (more To Taste)


1/2 head Cabbage, Sliced Thin
1/2 head Purple Cabbage, Sliced Thin
1/2 cup Whole Milk
1/2 cup Mayonnaise
1 teaspoon White Vinegar
1 Tablespoon Sugar
1/4 teaspoon Salt
1/4 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
1 bunch Cilantro (Coriander), Roughly Chopped

We have all also picked up some new vocabulary from this. Jack and Erin discovered, after a few rather confusing minutes of shopping that what we call ‘coriander’ in the UK is referred to as ‘cilantro’ in the US (after the Spanish for coriander).


Combine shredded cabbage and sliced jalapenos in a bowl. In a separate bowl mix milk, mayonnaise, vinegar, sugar, salt, and cayenne. Pour over cabbage. Toss to combine. Cover and refrigerate two hours.

Before serving, toss in cilantro leaves.


Heat canola oil in a heavy pot over medium high heat. Season chicken, then sear on all sides until skin is golden brown and some fat is rendered. Remove chicken from pot and pour off excess grease.

Add sliced onions and whole garlic cloves to pot and stir around to cook for 2 minutes. Pour in barbecue sauce, add chicken to the sauce, and place lid on the pot.

Place in a 300 degree oven for 1 1/2 hours, or until chicken is falling off the bone.

Remove the whole garlic cloves from the pot and set it aside. Remove chicken from pot and allow to cool enough to handle. Using hands or two forks, remove the meat from the bones. Finely shred the chicken using your hands or two forks.

Carefully skim off the excess fat that has risen on top of the sauce. Return shredded chicken to the pot and stir into the sauce. Reheat so that it’s warm.

Spread butter onto rolls and toast on the griddle.

To serve, place a good amount of chicken on the bottom half of the roll. Top with one or two garlic cloves, then a good helping of slaw. Top with the other half of the bun and dig in!


Simple Tuna Fishcakes

It’s always good to have some storecupboard recipes at the ready which are a bit more special than simple pasta or rice. This is one of those kinds of recipes – comforting and simple fish cakes made with tinned tuna that make a special meal out of standby ingredients. I also think people don’t home make fish cakes nearly enough – shop bought fish cakes really don’t compare at all to even the most simple of home made efforts. When combined with a lovely leafy salad this makes a wonderfully satisfying meal!

Serves 2 very hungry or 4 less hungry (or with wedges!)

A 200g tin of tuna or for more luxurious fishcakes, another fish of your choice (my mum often makes these with salmon and they’re gorgeous!)
About 325g large potato(es)
30g melted butter
3 or 4 spring onions
a few tbsps of chopped parsley
lemon zest
a good squeeze of lemon juice (or lime as I rather like)
salt and pepper
1 egg, beaten
plain flour

15g of butter
Sunflower oil
Lemon wedges to serve (or lime again)
Tartare Sauce (recipe to follow!)

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees/400 F/ gasmark 6 and bake the potatoes in their skins until soft (about an hour) – though the microwave will do this job too if you’re in a rush! When the potatoes are nice and soft inside, scoop out the flesh into a bowl. If you’re using fish other than tuna make sure it’s cook (either in the oven with the potato or on the hob) and if you’re using tuna, drain it. Add the fish to the bowl, melt the 30g of butter and add it to the bowl alon with the parsley, chopped spring onions, lemon juice, lemon zest and some salt and pepper. Add about half the beaten egg (but NO more!) and mix the whole lot together with your hands – squidging away until you have a rough but nicely bound together mix!

Divide the mix into 4, dust hands with flour and shape each one into a nice round. Sometimes I make them half the size and have smaller fishcakes. Coat each of these in flour, and put on a plate. Cover the plate with clingfilm and leave in the fridge until ready to eat.

About 15 minutes before you want to sit down and eat, put the 15g of butter and a tbsp of sunflower oil in a pan over a moderate heat. As soon as it starts to foam, pop the fishcakes gently in the pan and cook until nicely browned on both sides. Serve very hot with the lemon wedges. I usually serve these with some home made potato wedges, a good big leafy salad and home made tartare sauce (recipe to follow!)


When life gives you lemons… Make Tarte au Citron

It would seem that we can’t stop making pastry at the moment, so here’s another tasty treat to brighten up your week and help bring some lovely lemony sunshine!

There’s a million and one tarte au citron recipes around but I feel it’s important to remember the origins of this lovely recipe and searched round for a recipe that I hoped would be the real deal and came across this lovely Raymond Blanc recipe from his wonderful website – if a foodie Frenchman can’t get a tarte au citron recipe right then there’s simply no winning! I particularly like this recipe because of the inclusion of egg yolk in the pastry which makes it gorgeously rich and crumbly and helps to seal it from the very liquidy filling when its first poured into the case.


120g unsalted butter, diced (at room temperature)
75g sifted icing sugar
250g plain flour
3 egg yolks
2 tbsps water

5 medium free range eggs
150g caster sugar
85ml lemon juice (about 3 lemons)
2 tbsps finely grated lemon zest
150ml double cream

Mix the butter and icing sugar in a large bowl to a cream and beat in just 2 of the egg yolks (watch out for this – I chucked all 3 in and had to perform a rescue mission on one that hadn’t broken yet!). Add the flour and rub it into the mix to achieve a dry crumby texture. Once it reaches this point, very gently gather it together, gently forming it into a disc. Wrap this in clingfilm and set aside in the fridge for 30 minutes whilst making the lemon filling. When putting the pastry to rest in the clingfilm, I always place the disc between two very large pieces of clingfilm (big enough to cover the size of the tart tin you are using) as this means that to roll it out you can keep it between the clingfilm, eliminating the need for flour and ensure the pastry doesn’t dry out or become overworked.

To make the lemon filling, mix together the eggs, sugar, lemon juice and zest together for a few seconds, add the cream and then whisk for a further few minutes. Then set this aside in the fridge. Wait until the 30 minutes resting time for the pastry is up and roll it out (between the clingfilm sheets!) until its pretty thin (but with no holes!). Peel off one half of the clingfilm and use the clingfilm covered pastry to gently lower the pastry onto a 24cm (91/2 inch) loose bottomed tart tin, being careful not to stretch it and gently push the pastry into the edges of the tin. I don’t own a loose bottomed tart tin, in fact my bottom was firmly in place(!), so I devised a cunning solution to remove my tart from the tin once it had cooked by folding greaseproof paper into two long strips and placing these in a cross in the tin with a bit showing at each end, as you can sort of see below:

This worked remarkably well (with a little help from Jack as four hands were best for this job!). The picture also shows the slight translucency of the pastry which is a useful sign that it’s not too thick! Prick the base of the pastry with a fork and place in the fridge for 30 minutes to help prevent it from shrinking too much when cooking. Preheat the oven to 160 degrees c/gas mark 3.

Once the pastry has rested for 30 minutes, line the case with foil and fill with baking beans. I don’t own baking beans, as much as I’d like to, so I used dried chickpeas which did the job wonderfully… As pointed out by Cat in her recent Pecan Pie post, once these have been used its best to make sure that they are kept labelled as baking beans as they’ll be rubbish to cook with!! Bake the case for 10 minutes then remove from the oven and remove the beans. Then put the case back in the oven for a further 20 minutes sans beans.

Towards the end of the 20 minutes baking time, pour the lemon filling into a saucepan and warm it very gently – this is an important step to reduce the time the tart needs in the oven (an avoid burnt pastry!). Be very careful not to let it scramble. After the 20 minutes of further baking time is up, take the case out of the oven and brush the inside of the case with the remaining beaten egg yolk, returning to the oven for 1 minute – I was skeptical about this because it doesn’t look so appetising at this point but it creates a great seal on the pastry so that when the liquidy lemony filling is poured in, the case stays good and crisp! Now turn the oven down to 140c.

Once the mixture is warm, pour into the pastry case. This is best done in the oven and done very gently as the mix should be quite liquidy. Bake this for 25 minutes only – it should be barely set when you take it out as it continues to set more during cooling. Then comes the hard part – leave it for an hour (yes a whole hour!!) before eating. I’m possibly a bit hypocritical saying this as we just couldn’t wait and had our first pieces about 20 minutes after it came out the oven but it was too soft and was perfect after a night in the fridge! Once this painful waiting period is over, dust all over with icing sugar and dive right in!


Fresher’s Veggie Bean Burgers

When I was in my first year at uni, I made the discovery that by cooking from scratch I could make food that was both tasty and very cheap and that veggie food was even cheaper still. Although I now much more frequently treat myself to somewhat less veggie ingredients, this is a recipe that has stayed with me – particularly because the ingredients are usually just sitting in my cupboard, waiting to brighten up an empty fridge situation or is often a special treat for when I’ve been to give blood!


1 onion (reds really nice but white’s fine too)
2 tbsps cumin seeds
a good hefty whack of cayenne pepper (I like mine really spicy so use between 2tsp – 3 tsps of the stuff but when cooking for others usually tone it down to somewhere between half and a whole tsp)
1 or two cloves of garlic to taste
1 tin of red kidney beans (can pick and choose whatever tinned beans really but these are cheap and carry the spices nicely)
Paprika – roughly a tsp
a couple of handfuls of breadcrumbs
Beaten egg (usually less than half a beaten egg does it)
Sunflower oil for frying

Chop the onion and fry gently on a medium heat until the onions are soften and nicely browned. Chop or mince the garlic and add these for the last minute or two of the onion’s cooking time, along with the cumin seeds.

Whilst the onion is cooking, drain the tin of beans and place in a large bowl. Mash with a potato masher to achieve a coarsely mashed texture. When the onion, garlic and cumin are cooked, put these in the bowl  add the paprika and only HALF of the beaten egg. Add some salt and pepper to seasons to taste, then mix in the breadcrumbs a very little bit at a time. This it the point where it really pays to get your hands involved so you can feel the texture of the mix. The mix should be fairly moist but should mould nicely into balls. Adjust this by adding either more egg or more breadcrumbs. It’s taken me a few mistakes to get the feel for this so practice makes perfect but what I’ve found is that if you’re not sure, err on the side of a slightly wetter mix.

Dust a plate with flour and shape the mix into fairly thick patties (I usually make 4 large ones from this quantity but you can get 6 slightly smaller ones from this mix), gently coating both sides of each patty with a little of the flour and setting them aside. They are ready to cook at this point and can sit in the fridge until anything else is ready. They take about 8-12 minutes  total time to cook. They’re best cooked in sunflower oil if you want them to crisp up a little bit.

I usually serve these in a soft bun with a few home made oven chips, some home made coleslaw and handful of salad. They keep in the fridge cling-filmed for a day or too and freeze very well, taking just a few hours to defrost.


Lemon Drizzle Cake (Jamie O’s Nan’s)

Drizzly, sticky, fizzy-lemon, tangy, tingly, gum-smacking citrus pop! This super lemon cake will cause a riot on your tongue, with cheeks stuffed, as a big childlike grin spreads across your face. Feel free to lick your plate and ask for more.


I made this at home in Ivinghoe for my lemon cake loving family, before I disappear back to Edinburgh taking my food love with me. Despite using the frankly terrible oven we have and catching the edges of the cake slightly, this was a great success.

From Jamie Oliver’s Cook With Jamie, adapted.

(Note: this recipe will only be as good as your ingredients. As always for cakes I used free range organic eggs, ideally they would have been from the local hen lady but supermarket best sufficed. And of course absolutely the best lemons you can get hold of, unwaxed as you are using the rind. I managed with a four-pack of unwaxed lemons from Waitrose, making up the extra bit of juice needed for the syrup with a splash of water.)

115g unsalted butter, softened
115g caster sugar
4 large free-range or organic eggs
180g ground almonds
30g poppy seeds (I didn’t have any poppy seeds so used lavender instead, about 25g)
zest and juice of 2 unwaxed lemons
125g self-raising flour, sifted

For the lemon syrup
100g caster sugar
90g lemon juice (I used more zest as well as that was another whole lemon and seemed a shame to waste it)

For the lemon icing
225g icing sugar
zest and juice of 1 lemon

Preheat the oven to 180ºC. Grease and line a 20cm springform cake tin with greaseproof paper.

Beat the butter and sugar with an electric whisk until light and creamy. Add the eggs one by one, beating each one in well. Fold in the ground almonds, poppy seeds or lavender, the lemon zest and juice and the sifted flour. Spoon the mix into the prepared cake tin and bake in the preheated oven for 40 minutes or until lightly golden. Check with a skewer. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on a rack.

Meanwhile, make the syrup. Heat the sugar, lemon juice and zest in a pan for a few minutes so the sugar dissolves a bit. Prick lots of holes in the top of the cake with a cocktail stick or fork and pour your syrup over while the cake is still hot from the oven. Let it sit and get juicy.

To make your icing, combine the sifted icing sugar with the lemon zest and juice, stirring until smooth. I did not quite need as much liquid as was in the whole lemon, so don’t add it all at once. When your cake is about cool, put it on a serving plate and pour the icing carefully on to the middle of the cake, letting it drizzle down the sides.


Perfect for tea time and family, and for sitting in the garden in snatches of sun between the April showers.


Sunshine food – Quesadillas

Quesadillas are something which I like to eat when I fancy a bit of sunshine –  I love them because they’re bursting with fresh and healthy ingredients and taste phenomenal for it. They’re also excellent barbecue fare for vegetarians. This is a recipe that I picked up from the excellent Otto Lenghi book ‘Plenty’ a few years ago and have written to my memory, making it time and time again.

(makes 8 quesadillas – sometimes less depending on how generously you fill them!)

1 pack of corn tortillas (the brand ‘Discovery’ do these in the UK – I always find they have them in Waitrose and make special trips to stock up on these!) – however, normal flour based ones will do the job too though if there is a corn tortilla deficit

2 ripe avocados
5 large ripe tomatoes (or lots of little ones, though these make the salsa a bit sweeter)
Half a red onion
3 spring onions (or thereabouts)
Juice of 1 lime
Crushed clove of garlic
1 fresh red chilli (finely diced)
pinch of salt
1 bunch of fresh coriander
2 tbsps cider/white wine vinegar

1 tin of black beans (or equivalent in soaked weight)
1 bunch of fresh coriander (I often use  just one between the salsa and bean paste and add a little more ground coriander as my student budget prefers this)
1 tsp ground coriander
half a tsp ground cumin
quarter tsp cayenne pepper
Pinch of salt
Juice of a lime

Soured cream (enough for a blob in each tortilla)
Grated cheddar (enough for a sprinkling on each tortilla)
Chopped jalapeno peppers  – also for sprinkling in the tortillas (the kind that come in vinegar in jars)

Chop the ends off the red onion, peel and then cut in half down the centre. Very finely slice this half to get neat little semi-circle slithers of onion. Place these in a large bowl (everything else will also go in here eventually) and mix with the vinegar. Then dice and slice all of the other salsa ingredients, finely chopping the leaves and stalks of the coriander and put these all in the bowl too. This is probably the most time consuming bit of the dish but well worth it!

For the bean paste, put all of the bean paste ingredients in a food processor and blend to form a lovely tasty paste.

Put a griddle pan (or failing that, a frying pan) on a good high heat whilst assembling the first 2 (unless you get several pans on the go, these cook 2 at a time). To assemble, put the tortilla on a plate, take a spoonful of the bean paste and spread it on the tortilla, leaving a good cm or two round the edge. Dollop some soured cream (or creme fraiche) in the middle of this in a little circle and then put a spoonful or two of salsa on. It’s best to go easy with the salsa otherwise it all ends up on the griddle pan which is rather upsetting. I find it’s generally better to serve it up with an extra spoonful of the stuff than overfill it and risk loosing it between the cavernous ridges of the griddle pan.

Once the salsa is on, sprinkle on some cheese and jalapenos then fold the tortilla gently in half  and put it on the hot griddle. Turn the griddle down to a medium heat so you don’t set the whole thing on fire and wait until the edges start turning the tiniest bit browned then flip the tortilla carefully and repeat (a few minutes on each side). If using a griddle this should result in lovely dark griddle lines across the tortillas.

I find that two of these alone is a good substantial lunch and one/two of these with a rice salad or some home made oven chips  is a substantial dinner.



For Jack, Hannah and I, Moules are reminiscent of holidays spent on the Ile de Ré. Alongside Andy’s chilli and lime prawns, bought fresh from the market that morning, this is a staple  lunch time meal before heading to the beach.

Jack made Moules for himself and I a month or so back, maybe yearning warmer weather, classic flavours and outdoor cooking whilst we were hunkering down to a typical February in Edinburgh evening, avoiding the rain and dreary cold. It was also inspired by recent visits to the Mussel Inn on Rose Street in Edinburgh, of which the menu is largely a selection of mussels, oysters and fish, good bread and good frites. A firm favourite, cheap enough for students, too.

Simplest of soul foods, this crock of mussels was just cooked with shallots and garlic, then steamed in its juices with a sauce of white wine, cream and lots of parsley. Served with great hunks of bread on the side, this is fast, beautiful food.