Local Chef Andy Shelton embraces new weekly lockdown cooking challenge

Yup! I’m talking about food again!

I had a very nice email week before last from Jeremy Nicol, MD of Nicol Hughes catering company in Chester. He asked me if I could promote their new home delivery service, and because this is a local family business – I was happy to help. I think he was particularly pleased that there would be no charge, seeing as I am currently furloughed so all of my work and activity is on a voluntary basis only at the moment, and I can’t tell you how rewarding it has been.

But this article isn’t about me, its about my friend Andy Shelton. Newly turned professional chef Andy (from now on known as #TheChesterChef) was there when I needed him. Currently furloughed just like me (in normal times you’ll find him working hard running the kitchen in everyone’s favourite neighborhood bar & eaterie The Suburbs in Hoole) he’s a little less busy than normal, so I asked him if he could help me.

When I received Jeremy’s email, a little plan formed in my head. Now you may have noticed that We Love Good Times creates content rather than shares other peoples (either is fine, its just the way we like to do things) – so  I couldn’t miss the opportunity to involve The Chester Chef with the campaign – and I was so pleased when he agreed.

This was a simple concept. Nicol Hughes Foodservice deliver a mixed grocery bag of great quality items directly to Andy’s front door every week – and Andy gets his creative juices flowing and creates some fabulous dishes from those ingredients.

We’re just coming to the end of week one – and seeing as it was National Vegetarian Week last week, his brief was exactly that (and wow did he deliver). Partner Teana was treated to some pretty super cooking, and he posted his ingredients, method and finished dish in his FB group ‘What’s for dinner tonight’ to inspire us all to cook some proper food between all of the takeaways!

So far #TheChesterChef has created some great homely and nutritious meals including Vegan coconut curry (my personal favourite), Vegan lasagne, Mango & tobasco salad and he also posted about the delicious Vegan chilli which arrived ready-made from Nicol Hughes (check out their ready-made range, all made on site by their own development chef).

Here is The Chester Chef’s recipe and method for his Vegan Lasagne using (mostly) ingredients from Nicol Hughes Foodservice (some ingredients are his own larder items);

3 x Leeks
2 x Onions 1 red 1 white
1 x Courgette
1 x Aubergine
8 x Mushrooms
3 x Tomatoes
1 x Tin Tomatoes
1 x Tin Mixed beans

1 x Vegetable stock cube
Mixed herbs
Salt and pepper to taste.
250ml of water
1 packet of grated vegan cheese
Soya milk
Olive oil

1. Trim the ends and slice the leeks lengthwise, peel away each layer making sure you don’t cut all the way through as this will half your slice of “pasta”.
2. Blanche your leeks until soft and leave to one side for later.
3. Cube all your vegetables into approximately 1cm² cubes.
4. Pour olive oil into a large pan on a medium heat. Sautee the onions first until soft and golden then add the remaining vegetables tinned tomatoes and beans.
5. Cook for approximately 5 minutes before adding the mixed herbs Oregano and basil. Then add the vegetable stock cube with the water and simmer for 20 minutes or until the water has reduced.
6. To make your white sauce add 50ml of olive oil to a small saucepan. Slowly add 1 tablespoon of plain flour to the oil on a low heat and continuously stir to make a paste.
7. Once a paste has formed slowly add the soya milk and continue to stir until a thick sauce has been formed. If you feel you haven’t got enough sauce slowly add more flour and milk until you have enough. Then add a handful of the grated vegan cheese and continue to stir until melted.
8. Layer your now cooked vegetables into an oven safe dish. Top with your sheets of softened leeks and white sauce repeat until you have filled your dish. Should be 2 to 3 layers.
9. Your top layer should be white sauce topped with the remaining grated vegan cheese.
10. Place in a preheated oven at 200⁰ for 25 minutes or until the cheese is crispy and golden.

I wanted to say a massive thank you to Andy for a fabulous campaign so far – and seeing as its National Sandwich Week next week and English Wine Week the week after, Andy and I have talked about some interesting foodie ideas to celebrate at home, so watch this space!

Check out the entire home delivery range from Nicol Hughes Foodservice Chester and please show your support for a local family business;

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