As a quick introduction... When I first put this page up, I thought it would be a good opportunity to provide good recipes to the world at large. Well, I'm a couple of years older, and I'd like to think at least half a year wiser than I was then, and I realise this is really a "how to cook when you're at uni and have really no idea", as opposed to "Great chefs of the world - secrets revealed!" type of arrangement.

That said, all the recipes here are easy to make and taste pretty damn good, so go figure.

Homestyle chicken and vegetable soup a la Clay
Lemon chicken
Claytie's infamous matriciana pasta
Claytono McGuirez Enchiladas
Hilary's amazing chicken curry
Mum's top notch 1234 cake
Och aye the noo! - Claytie's authentic Scottish haggis

Homestyle chicken and vegetable soup a la Clay

To make some outstanding chicken soup (great for the winter months), you'll need the following gear from your local store. How much of each you get depends on how much soup you are making, and how much you like each ingredient. The recipe here will feed about six.

Food supplies

First, put about 12 cups of water into a big pot, put it on the stove and crank up the heat. Add stock cubes per directions (for 12 cups of water I would normally use about 14. Some can be stronger than others though, and if you use too many it can be too salty. You can always add more later...). If you're really keen, you can break up the stock cubes, but this doesn't effect the taste, it only results in you having to wash stock cube muck off your hands. I normally throw them in whole, they dissolve without any help. Add the creamed corn.

While you wait for the water to boil, get all of the vegies together. Take the skins off, and then chop them into little squares (about 1cm x 1cm is best). Once they're cut, chuck them in a big bowl. This doesn't take long, so the water probably won't be ready. Sit down and have a beer while you wait.

Once the water is boiled, give it a good stir to ensure the stock cubes have dissolved. Give it a quick taste to see what your base is like. If there isn't much to it, you may want to add more stock cubes and give them a couple of minutes to dissolve. If it's way too salty, it probably means there were too many cubes put in at the start. If this is the case, you can either pour some of it out and add more water to dilute it, or chop a couple more potatoes, as they absorb a lot of the salt.

Once you're happy with the base, grab the big bowl and empty the contents into the big pot. Open the tin of corn kernels. Empty the liquid out of the tin, then add the corn kernels to the pot. That's pretty much it. Turn the heat down so your soup simmers, then grab another beer. Every time you go to the fridge to get a new beer, give it a stir, until it's been on for about three beers (hour - hour and a half).

Serve it up with some crusty Italian bread with a thick layer of margarine.

Optional extras

It's a pretty decent soup all up, but if you're like me, you like a bit of meat. Chop up half a cooked chook into bite size chunks, and dice some bacon (not too much - again, it gets pretty salty). Add the bacon at the same time as the vegies, add the chicken after the second beer (because it's already cooked, it begins to break up if you leave it in for too long).

Lemon Chicken Supreme a la Joyce

This little gem is one of Mum's old recipes which I never get sick of... should feed 4-5, depending on how hungry people are.

Food supplies

Lemon sauce

First step is to make the sauce. Combine all the sauce ingredients into a suitable container. That's it. Stick the container in the fridge as it needs at least an hour in the cold (why, I don't know. It just does).

Next to the chook...

Get a plastic bag. You put the dry ingredients in, you leave the butter out, you put the chicken in, and you shake it all about. You can do the hokey pokey if you want, but it won't effect the taste. Take the chook peices out of the bag in put them skin side down on a flat casserole dish. They should lie flat without overlapping. Brush with melted butter.

Bake uncovered in oven at 200C for 30 minutes. Then turn pieces over and coat with lemon sauce and cook for another 30 minutes until chicken is golden brown (basting 2-3 times along the way).

Serve on a bed of rice with a bottle of white.

Matriciana Pasta a la Clay

This is definetely one of my favourites, because it tastes great and only takes a couple of minutes to knock together. In the ingredient list I haven't said how many chillies you want to use, as it depends on two things. First, how hot you like it. Secondly, what chillies are available. The ones I normally like to use are the small red ones. I think they have a name, but I just call them "little bastards". Normally I go for two of these, but if they aren't available I go for the larger red ones, which aren't as hot.

You can pretty much use any sort of pasta with this, although I would recommend "three colour" spirals.

Food supplies

Slice the bacon into strips about five centimetres long. Dice the onion, and chop the chillies up very fine.

Warning: Be very careful cutting up the chillies, and make sure you wash your hands when you're done. The oil in the chillies is pretty lethal stuff, and you'll be in all sorts of pain if you touch your eyes or go to the bathroom. I learned this the hard way, and really don't recommend it.

Heat some oil up in a pan, then throw in the bacon, onion and chillies. Stir it around for a few minutes to let the bacon cook up a bit and the onions to soften. Add the tomatoes, the tomato paste, the basil and the oregano. Give it another quick stir to get everything nicely mixed, and you're done. I normally let it simmer for a bit just to thicken it up, but whatever takes your fancy.

Cook up your pasta, put some sauce on top, yank the cork out of a bottle of red and bon apetite.

Claytono McGuirez Enchiladas

Good for those occasions where you have to feed an army, or if you want leftovers that you can munch on for the next week. This one was invented during my uni days, where I had a cupboard full of stuff and just threw it all together. I got lucky.

Food supplies

The main bit

Put some oil in a frypan and let it heat up. Toss in the garlic and onion, and let them soften up for a bit. After a couple of minutes, add the mince, and stir it around until it's browned. Add the tomatoes (I normally go for tinned tomatoes - much easier), chopped chillies, kidney beans, cumin, a pinch of salt and pepper, and any other herbs/spices that take your fancy. Add the tomato paste and beef stock, turn it down to a simmer, and let it thicken.

The minor bit

In a saucepan, put some tomatoes, cumin, and whatever herbs/spices you like. Heat it up, then let it simmer.

Putting it all together

Get a square/rectangular baking tray, cut the lavash bread to match the width. Coat the inside of the tray with the minor sauce. Take your lavash bread and lay a sheet of it flat. Scoop in a healthy amount of the main sauce on top, and a bit of cheese, roll it up, and put it in the baking tray. Repeat until the baking tray is chockers with rolled up lavash bread. Pour the remaining minor sauce over the top, give it a layer of cheese, spinkle some cayen pepper and paprika on the top and whack it in a 200C oven for about half an hour, until the cheese is browned.

Serve with a green salad with balsamic viniger, and a bottle of your favourite Cab Sav. Yum.

Hilary's amazing chicken curry

Spent a day at the beach at North Berwick, with a few friends. Two of them, Dave and Hilary, live up there, and we all went back to their place for a bit of grub. Hilary went on to cook a magnificent chicken curry, and was kind enough to share the recipe with me. The quantities of the ingredients will depend on how many people you need to feed, so just use your judgement. Bon apetitite...

Food supplies

Dice the chook into cubes. The objective is that when eating this meal, you shouldn't need to touch the knife, so make them small enough to be bite-sized. Put the chook into a large bowl, and add the curry powder, the chillies, the garlic, salt and pepper, and the rosemary. Add some of the yogurt and mix it all together, then bung it in the fridge for 4-6 hours.

4-6 hours later...

Heat up a pan with some oil, and throw in a bit of pepper and the onion (dice it first) to soften. Once it's ready, add the chook mix. Be careful not to have the heat up too high - we're trying to cook the chook, not fry it, and if you burn it the 4-6 hour wait will have been for nothing, as it will ruin the flavour.

Cook it until the chook turns white. Add extra yogurt if necessary, and reduce the heat to a simmer. The chook will continue to cook in the yogurt.

When it's all looking good, add the carrot. Best off shredding them first, but don't add them until the last minute so they are still good and crunchy.

Serve on a bed of rice with some bread on the side. Or in the words of Hilary: "serve with good company, lots of wine and/or beer". Works for me...

Mum's top notch 1234 cake Nothing like a good home-baked cake. This one is really simple, but tastes great.

Food supplies

Get the oven cranking at 180 C before you start. Get all the ingredients to room temperature (stick the eggs into some lukewarm water to speed this up).

It's a pretty simple recipe, to be fair. Combine everything into a large bowl, stir it all together, then give it a good mix. Put the mixture into two greased cake tins, and shove in in the oven for about 20-30 minutes. After 20 minutes do the knife test (ie stab it with a knife - if it comes out clean, it passes the test), or look for the cake coming away from the sides of the baking tin. Do not overcook it, or it will taste like a brick instead of a light and fluffy cake. You can freeze the mixture to use later if you only want one cake.

Brush some melted butter over the cooked cake and sprinkle with cinnamon.

Chocolate icing (for chocolate cake version)

Add two tablespoons of cocoa to 1/4 slab Butter and beat well. Add icing sugar one tablespoon at a time until the mixture becomes very thick and hard to mix. Add boiled water one teaspoon at a time until the mixture becomes a spreadable consistency, then add a dash of vanilla.

Claytie's authentic Scottish haggis

What? You didn't actually think I was nuts enough to actually cook and eat this crap, did you? It's wrapped in a sheeps stomach for crying out loud! I'll stick to steak...