Category Archives: Chillies




Until recently I’d never even heard of tartiflette, but I have made it twice now and I know it will become one of our staple meals from now on because it ticks two major boxes – easy – tick, and delicious – big tick. This is what I call a proper comfort dish. Like a big, soft blanket wrapped around you, perfect for when the weather turns nippy. A great way to use up those homegrown potatoes and onions, with a bit of hot chilli pepper if you like. The bacon can be substituted for a little chopped ham or chorizo, or if you’re veggie just leave it out.

Thanks to the BBC Good Food for this recipe and many others that I’ve come to rely on. They really are my favourite recipe site.

A few slight alterations I made were – not to peel the potatoes, skins on works fine for me and stops the potatoes breaking up too much, I added a heaped teaspoon of wholegrain mustard (leave this out if you’d prefer), and I didn’t bother with the addition of breadcrumbs on top at the end. If I’d had some I probably would have added them, so feel free to do so if you wish, but it still tastes great without them. On the matter of cheese, the original recipe uses vignotte, which I’ve never been able to get hold of, I have tried it with cambozola and brie, both of which were lovely. I bought some reblochon specially for using in this dish, but then ended up eating it all before I had chance to make it! I reckon it would taste great with any old cheese, so just use whatever you have.

Scrub clean and thickly slice 2 large potatoes or 4-5 smaller ones, boil in salted water for 5 minutes, then drain and set aside. Meanwhile, slice 1 onion, add a little oil to a hot pan and fry the onion gently until soft. Add some chopped bacon and continue to fry until cooked. Remove the onions and bacon and add a little more oil to the pan. Add the potatoes and fry until they start to brown. Heat a grill to hot. Put the bacon and onions back in the pan, and mix everything together. Don’t worry if anything starts to stick, just keep stirring. Add around 100ml of double cream (or, as I do, use creme fraiche with a splash of milk to loosen it). Add 1 heaped teaspoon of wholegrain mustard, stir together. Nestle some chunks of soft cheese in between the potatoes, sprinkle over some chopped chilli, and then place the pan under the hot grill (protect the handle with foil if necessary) for around 5 minutes or until everything turns a lovely shade of golden brown.

tartiflette3 tartiflette2 tartiflette1


Spicy Lentil Soup

lentil soup
Another soup recipe from John:
I love the earthy, rich taste of lentils but I’m not overly confident about how to prepare and use them, so this was something of an experiment. I had a handful of slightly tired-looking vegetables at the bottom of the veg basket: some very small Romano potatoes from the plot, a couple of little carrots, an onion and some garlic. There’s a light dusting of snow on the ground outside today and I thought that a spicy lentil soup might be just the thing to keep the chill at bay.
  • 200g brown lentils
  • 200g potatoes
  • 50g carrots
  • 1 medium onion
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 1 small red chilli (optional)
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Paprika
  • Olive oil (1tbs)
  • Vegetable stock 800ml
Put the lentils on to boil for around 35 minutes in plenty of water. While they are cooking, dice the onion, garlic and chilli and fry them in a little oil in a separate pan for a few minutes before adding the carrots and potatoes, also chopped fairly small. Once all the vegetables have been fried lightly in the oil for a few minutes, add the drained, cooked lentils, mix everything together and then transfer to a single pan. Add the stock and seasoning and simmer gently for a further 20 minutes until all the vegetables are soft. Then use a hand blender, or a potato masher, to reduce the soup to a smooth texture. Finally, add any additional seasoning to your own personal taste – I used a pinch of hot cayenne pepper – and serve. This makes four good portions.
It tasted really warming, hearty and wholesome – great for a cold January day!
lentil soup ingredients
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