Thursday, 31 May 2012

Pork, sage and apple burgers

These burgers taste great! Everyone has asked me to cook them again, but I think I will try them on the barbeque next time. I chilled these in the fridge for an hour or so before cooking, I find this really helps them to keep their shape whilst cooking. I cooked mine under the grill, but you could fry them if you like. I served our burgers with a lovely Scottish delicacy - Potato Fritters! I can also post the recipe, just request it in the comments. The caramlised onions definitely add to the aoverall flavour, so dont skip those! Apparently, these are popular at Belfast's Graffiti restaurant.

  • 900g minced pork
  • 1 onion , finely chopped
  • 1 cooking apple , peeled and finely grated
  • 1 egg
  • handful sage


  • 3 onions , sliced
  • 2 tbsp light muscovado sugar
  • butter

 To caramelise the onions, cook them with the sugar and a large knob of butter over a very gentle heat for 30-40 minutes, stirring occasionally. Meanwhile, mix all the burger ingredients together in a bowl and season well. Shape into four burgers, then fry over a medium heat for 6-7 minutes each side until cooked in the middle.

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Cashew Chicken

This is another takeaway-inspired dinner though not from the cookbook I used yesterday. This is a recipe that I put together after having a look at a few online recipes for chinese chicken meals. It can be easily adapted with any vegetables you have, and those that your family enjoy. Mine all love peppers, so I made sure to add those. It would be tasty served with rice or noodles, I used ribbon noodles. This tasted amazingly like the cashew chicken that our local Chinese takeaway does, so I was very impressed!

Serves: 4 
2 tablespoons cornflour 
200ml chicken stock 
3 tablespoons soy sauce 
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger 
2 tablespoons vegetable oil 
1 (500g) pack chicken breast chunks 
1 small onion, chopped 
1 red pepper, chopped 
8 mushrooms, chopped  
1 (220g) tin water chestnuts, drained and sliced 
100g cashews    
Mix the stock with the soy sauce, ginger & cornflour intil it is all combined. Add half the oil to a large wok and stif fry the chicken until cooked through, about 7 minutes. Remove the chicken & set aside. Add the remaining oil to the wok, and stir fry the other ingredients for around 5 minutes, until heated through.  Add the chicken & the stock, and simmer for anouther 5 minutes. Serve with noodles or rice.

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Garlic Cream Fettuccine with Bacon & Mushrooms

 This is a dish from one my favourite cookbooks - The Takeaway Secret. It's cheap book, no pictures, but fantastic recipes if you love takeaways. I have tried many recipes from it, mostly Indian & Chinese, but decided to give other sections a go. Well, I am so glad I did! This was absolutely delicious, very rich & creamy. My husband, who is not great with praise, even said he loved it. I thin the whole thing took about 20 minutes or so to cook, so great for a quick dinner.It would be easy to make this vegetarian if you left out the bacon.

4 slices of smoked bacon, cut into thin strips
5 large chestnut mushrooms, thinly sliced
2 large cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 teaspoon butter
150ml double cream
 150ml semi-skimmed milk, mixed with 1.5 teaspoon cornflour
1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese
Pinch of salt
Pinch of black pepper
200 g fettuccine pasta (uncooked weight)

Heat the oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat. Add the bacon and mushrooms and stir-fry for 6–7 minutes. Add the chopped garlic and chopped onion. Stir-fry for a further 1 minute. Add the butter, double cream, semi-skimmed milk and Parmesan cheese. Add salt and pepper and stir thoroughly. Cook for a further 3–4 minutes or until the sauce just starts to thicken. Fill a large pan with water and bring to the boil. Add a pinch of salt and the fettuccine pasta. Stir once and simmer for 5–6 minutes or until the pasta is just cooked. Drain the pasta through a sieve, reserving a little of the water. Add the pasta and remaining water to the frying pan and stir well until completely coated in the sauce.

Sunday, 27 May 2012


Today was a BBQ day! How hot has it been your way? Even here in Scotland we have been baking! We just had a very basic BBQ (sausages and burgers) and made a few sides to go with it.I particularly enjoyed the sweetcorn salad, I keep going back for more!

  Corn Salad

1 large tin of sweetcorn, drained
1/2 cup small-diced red onion (1 small onion)
3 tablespoons cider vinegar
3 tablespoons good olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup julienned fresh basil leaves

Potato Salad

750g boiled new potatoes
3 tablespoons mayonaise
3 tablespoons natural yogurt
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
Snipped chives

1 small onion, finely sliced
1/2 small white cabbage, finely shredded
2 large carrots, grated
3 tablespons mayo
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
Pinch black pepper
Soak the onions in cold water for 30 minutes. Grain & pat dry. Combine all the ingredients, then
refridgerate overnight.

Big Mac Sauce

4 tablespoons mayonaise
2 teaspoons American yellow mustard
2 teaspoons tomato ketchup
1 tablespoons finely chopped gherkins

Mix & keep in the fridge for at least 4 hours.

 Yellow Rice

350g basmati rice
30g butter
Large handfull raisins
1 teaspoon sugar
1 scant teaspoon tumeric
Put all the ingredients in a large pan with 1 tsp salt and 500ml water, then heat until boiling and the butter has melted.Stir, cover and leave to simmer for 6 mins. Take off the heat and leave, still covered, for 5 mins. Fluff up and tip into a warm bowl to serve.

Pesto Pasta

500g cooked pasta
4 tablespoons homemade pesto

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Chicken Adobo & Yellow Pepper Rice

This warm weather is lovely! We have spent the day in the garden with the paddling pool and sun loungers out. It also means that I cant be bothered with slaving away in a hot kitchen. I had some chicken thighs defrosted, so had a look at all my bookmarked recipes for something interesting that could be eaten hot or cold. I found a few chicken adobo recipes, so cobbled a few ideas togther to make my own version, plus a nice rice side dish from the Good Food website. 

 Chicken Adobo

120 ml cup soy sauce
120 ml apple cider vinegar
240 ml water
2 cloves chopped garlic
1/2 tsp ground pepper
6 chicken thighs

Pour the soy sauce, vinegar, water, pepper & garlic into a casserole dish that can be used on the hob. You shoudl be able to fit all the chicken in, in one layer.  Heat the sauce until simmering, then add the chicken. Cover & simmer for 30 minutes, turning the chicken over halfway through cooking.

After 30 minutes, remove the chicken and place under a medium grill, about 4/5 inches from the grill heat, for about 5 minutes. While they are grilling, turn the sauce mixture up to a good boil and reduce down to a thicker sauce to pour over the chciken on serving.

Yellow Pepper Rice
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion , finely chopped
  • 1 red pepper , deseeded and chopped
  • thumb-size piece fresh root ginger , finely chopped
  • 250g basmati rice
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 600ml vegetable stock 

  1. Heat the oil in a wide pan with a lid, then cook the onion, pepper and ginger together for 5 mins, stirring, until softened. Stir in the rice and turmeric for 1 min more, then pour over the stock. When the stock begins to simmer, cover with the lid.
  2. Cook for 12 mins until the rice is tender and stock has been absorbed. If the rice is tender but a little stock remains, turn off the heat, cover again, then leave for 2-3 mins. Season and serve.

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Chicken Tandoori Kebabs

Wow, it's warm here today. Nobody wanted anything heavy or too hot, and I certainly didnt want to be stuck in the kitchen with the oven on! I had chicken breasts in the fridge, so the obvious choice was chicken kebabs! I also had a tub of the home made pesto I had made a few days ago, so decided to have that mixed through with cold cooked pasta as a side dish. A nice big bowl of salad, some tzatziki I made using this Nigal Slater recipe and some warm pitta breads = perfect dinner on a hot day!

4 chicken breasts, cut into chunks
4 tablespoons natural yogurt
1 tablespoon tandoori spice mix
1 red pepper deseeded & cut into large chunks
1 yellow pepper deseeded & cut into large chunks
1 onion cut into wedges

Mix the tandoori spices with the yogurt, and marinade the chicken in the mixture for at least 2 hours (overnight if possible). Once it is nicely marnited, thread onto skewers with pepper/onion. Grill or BBQ until the chicken is cooked through.

Monday, 21 May 2012

Double crunch honey garlic pork chops!

They dont look like pork chops, do they? I have never coated chops before, but it is quite tasty! The sauce is so tasty, drizzled all over the crispy chops. The orginal recipe is here at RockRecipes, but I made a few wee changes. I used less cayenne and pepper, and used sweet paprika. I also put my chops in the oven while I made the sauce, as I wasnt convinced my inch-thick chops would cook all through in the pan. I think this would taste lovely with rice or noodles, but we opted for chips as we havent had them in ages. Big Bee had trouble eating because of her sore throat, but the 2 wee ones ate all theirs up! None of us had tasted anything quite like this, but all agreed it was delicious.

6 pork loin chops

Sift together:
125g flour
2 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
1  tbsp ground ginger
1 tbsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp ground thyme
1 tsp ground sage
1 tbsp sweet paprika
Tiny pinch cayenne pepper

Mix 2 eggs plus 60ml (4 tblsp) water to make an egg wash.

Sauce -
2 tblsp olive oil
3 crushed cloves of garlic
200ml honey
60ml (4 tblspns) soy sauce
1 tsp black pepper

Dip the pork chops in the flour mix, then the egg wash then back into the flour,  and make sure they are well coated. Fry in frying pan with plenty of oil until crispy & quite golden (anout 5/6 minutes), then flip.  Once both side are golden, transfer to an oven tray & put into a 180C oven while you make your sauce.

Heat the  olive oil in a small pan and then cook the garlic for a minute or two, but dont let it change colour. Add the honey, pepper & soy sauce, and simmer gently for 5/10 minutes. This can bubble over VERY easily, so keep an eye on it.

Remove the chops, place on a warm plate & drizzle with the honey sauce. Serve with chips/noodles or rice & vegetables.

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Creamy Pesto Chicken

I made some delicious homemade pesto today, especially to try out this recipe. Well, I have to say, it was a success! All the kids liked it, loved it in fact. I have one poorly daughter tonigth though, so she had a cornetto for dinner (tonsilitis). Im sure she would have loved this though, I will make it again when she is feeling better. You can use any breadcrumbs, but I love Panko so used those. They are Japanese breadcrumbs, I use them for Katsu curry, you can find the recipe here. I used to travel to the nearest city to buy them from the Asian supermarket, but Tesco sell them now! I served our chicken with green beans and hassleback potatoes.
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 3 tbsp Homemade pesto recipe here
  • 85g mascarpone
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 100g breadcrumbs , I used Panko
  • 175g baby tomatoes

  1. Heat oven to 200C/fan 180C/gas 6. Use a small sharp knife to make a slit along the side of each chicken breast to form a pocket. Mix together the pesto and mascarpone, then carefully spoon a quarter of the mixture into each chicken breast and smooth over the opening to seal.
  2. Brush a little oil, about 1 tsp, all over each chicken breast and season well. Tip the breadcrumbs onto a large plate and season. Place each breast on the plate and press all over with the breadcrumbs. Place in a lightly oiled shallow baking dish along with the tomatoes  Drizzle over the remaining oil.
  3. Cook in the oven for 20-25 mins until the chicken starts to turn golden and is cooked through.

Hassleback Potatoes

These make a really tasty alternative to roast potatoes. Very simple to make (as is everything I choose to cook ha ha) and need little attention. The only slightly tricky part is slicing the tops, even now I still sometimes slice too far down & chop the potato in half! Make the cuts quite close together, but dont go more than half way through the potato.

I use baby potatoes for this, but not tiny ones as they would be too difficult to slice. Allow about 3 or 4 potatoes per person if they are small. Slice each potato halfway down, making the cuts quite close together. Toss in olive oil & sea salt & some pepper, then bung into a roasting tray. Roast at 200C for about 45 minutes to an hour, depeneding how you like them.

Homemade Pesto

My first ever attempt at homemade pesto! Very tasty it was too - way better than jars of the stuff you can buy in supermarkets. I have been growing my own basil on my windowsill, so had plenty to use as it had really sprouted lately. This will keep in the fridge for a day or two, or cover with a layer of oil to keep for up to 4 days.

Large handful of basil leaves
3 tablespoons olive oil
25g freshly grated parmesan
25g toasted pine nuts
1 crushed garlic clove

Blend all together in a food processor or with a hand blender.

BBQ Beans

I really fancied BBQ beans, but not the tinned variety! I found a really quick & easy recipe on the BBC Good Food website. We had them in baked potatoes. I can't wait to have a BBQ, these will definitely feature as a side dish. I will probably double the recipe though, as this just fed 5 of us. These dont taste like tinned/Heinz variety BBQ beans, the sauce is thicker and the flavour more intense - lovely!


  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion , thinly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves , chopped
  • 1 tbsp white or red wine vinegar
  • 1 heaped tbsp soft brown sugar
  • 2 x 300g tin pinto beans , drained and rinsed (or any other bean that you like)
  • 500ml tub passata
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce or vegetarian alternative (optional) 

Heat the oil, then fry the onion until it is soft & golden. Add the garlic & fry for another minute. Tip in the vingar, add the sugar & fry soflty until the onions caramelise. Add the rest of the ingredients & simmer for about 15 minutes, or until the sauce thickens.

Saturday, 19 May 2012

Cookig Tips - Your Storecupboard Essentials

I saw this question posed on a forum that I use, so thought it might be a useful post to blog. This is just what I personally think is essential for the cooking I do, please feel free to discuss or add your own in the comments section. I have many many more herbs/spices tec than listed here, but these are the ones I think most cooks would need.

Dried Herbs
Mixed Italian Herbs
Bay leaves

A curry blend (whichever one you prefer, I have madras/korma)
Mild curry powder
Chilli powder
Whole cumin
Ground cumin
Ground corriander
Mixed spice
Garam masala

Worcestershire sauce
Soy sauce
Balsamic vinegar
Rice wine vinegar
Tomato ketchup (yes, I do use this in some of my recipes)
Wine for cooking

Stock cubes (chicken/beef/veg)
Rock salt
Plain flour
Self-raising flour
Baking powder
Tinned tomatoes
Tomato puree
Ginger (keep this whole in your freezer, and grate as/when needed without having to defrost first!)
Veg oil
Olive oil

Spanish Tortilla

Lunch today was a simple & easy Spanish Tortilla. I had left over Jersey Royal potatoes in the fridge, and I always have eggs & onions in. We had a wee discusiion about the differences between a tortilla and a fritata. I thought a Spanish Tortilla only had eggs, onion & potatoes, add anything else & it becomes a fritata. I am happy to be put right though, if I am wrong :) The kids have asked em to make one of these for their packed lunch next week, which I am very willig to do. I will probably add some ham to it though. My tortilla was for 5 people (well 4 and a wee bit, the wee man prefers the side salad!), I allow about 2 eggs per person.

1 onion, sliced into thin ha;f-moon slices
6 Jersey Royal potatos, sliced thinly (you can use any cooked potatoes)
Olive oil
9 eggs

Heat a large drizzle of olive oil in a large non-stick frying pan. Fry the onion & potatoes until softened & golden. Whisk the eggs lightly (dont over beat them), season & then add to the pan. Give the whole mixture a quick stir, then leave to cook through. Once the bottom is set, place the frying pan under a medium grill to cook the top. Serve with a side salad.

Thursday, 17 May 2012

Toad in the Hole - with a difference

I apologise for the poor photographs! My camera just didnt like the light in my house today - I blame the grey clouds & rain we have had ALL day. Let me tell you though, this tasted amazing! Everyone agreed that this was much better than your average toad in the hole dish. The Wee Man even declared that he only ever wanted this version from now on. The original recipe is in the Lisa Faulkner book I bought recently, this brings my successes from the book up to 3, with just one that I wouldnt try again (crispy chicken, which I blogged about last week). We had some delicious jersey roaysl with this, plus kale and onion gravy - just what you want on a dreicht day!

500 g sausagemeat or 8 skinned sausages
1 shallot, finely chopped (I used half an onion)
1 apple, cored, peeled & grated
4 streaky bacon rashers, chopped
1 tblspoon chopped sage
1 garlic clove finely chopped
salt & pepper

175g plain flour
teaspoon mustard powder
4 eggs
450ml milk

Start by makingthe batter - put the flour, mustard powder & salt/pepper in a bowl. Mix the eggs & milk together, and gradually combine with the dry ingredients. Whisk until you have a smooth batter, the put aside. Put some oil in a large roasting tin, and put into a preheated oven (180c). In a large bowl, combine the sausage meat, apple, shallot, garlic, bacon & sage and thoroughly mix.  Season, then make into about 10 or so balls. Fry in a little oil in a pan, until browned. Tip into the heated oil from the oven, then pour in the batter mix. Place back into the oven for about 40 minutes, until all puffy & golden brown.

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Crispy beef & broccoli

This took mere minutes to make! If you are looking for a quick & simple dinner, this is it. I used pre-cooked rice, but next time I intend to use noodles. The original recipe here uses chilli, but I didnt think any of my children would enjoy that, so I left it out of my version. I think I might add some carrot & beanspouts next time too. If you dont have spring onions, normal onions wouldnt be too out of place in this dish.I also used less sugar than the original recipe.

  • oil , for frying
  • 300g minute or thin-cut sirloin steaks , sliced into thin strips and tossed with 3 tbsp cornflour
  • tenderstem broccoli florets
  • 2 garlic cloves , sliced
  • A 5cm piece ginger , finely chopped
  • ½ bunch spring onion , sliced on the diagonal
  • 4 tbsp soy sauce mixed with 2 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tblsp lime juice
  • Noodles or rice to serve
 Heat a 5cm depth of oil in a wok until very hot. Fry the steak in batches until dark and crisp. Drain. Pour off most of the oil and stir-fry the broccoli, garlic, ginger and spring onion for 1 minute. Tip in the sweetened soy sauce and lime juice and cook for 2 minutes. Toss in the beef and rice/noodles, heat through and serve.

French toast

There is always a discussion in our house about the difference between eggy bread & French toast. My view is that eggy bread is savoury, French Toast is sweet. Today I really really fancied some, but didn't have time to make some for breakfast. The Wee Man & I had soem for lunch instead, just what I needed after my morning aerobics! This is just a quick, simple recipe but it does taste good! If you want it crispier, pop it under the grill after frying.

2 slices of bread
2 eggs
2 teaspoons caster sugar
Dash of milk
Knob of butter for frying

Mix the eggs, milk & sugar together, and then soak the bread in the mixture (both sides). Heat the butter in a frying pan, and then add the bread. Flip after a few minutes. Once both sides are cooked, either serve as it is or pop under the grill to crisp it up a little.

Monday, 14 May 2012

Easy Cabonara

This is another recipe from the Lisa Faulkner cookbook I bought recently. The last recipe wasnt much of a success, but this one was a huge hit! Big Bee & Little Bee have both decided it is their favourite pasta dinner. I adapted it slightly, adding mushrooms, using bacon instead of pancetta and holding back on the parmesan. Still tasted amazing! It could easily be adapted for vegetarians by leaving out the bacon and adding lots more mushrooms/onions & veggie parmesan.

Ingredients (serves 2 adults & 3 kids)

300g dried spaghetti
50g butter
6 rashers of streaky bacon
8 mushrooms, sliced
1 onion, sliced thinly
2 cloves garlic, crushed
500g cottage cheese
300ml single cream
parmesan, added to taste

Melt the butter in a large fryingpan, and fry the onion & mushrooms til softened. Add the garlic & the bacon and fry until the bacon is cooked.
Whilst this is cooking, put the spaghetti on to boil.
Add the cottage cheese to the onion/bacon mix, and stir unti melted. It will look a bit thin at this point, but that is ok. Add the cream, and simmer until the sauce is thicker (to your own liking). Add the drained spaghetti, and mix.

Sunday, 13 May 2012

Saucy Sausage Pasta

I needed to use up a packet of sausages, so had alook at the Good Food website & found this recipe. Quick, simple and quite tasty. I used a big chunky pasta, and though the recipe said to use 500g pasta, this was way too much! I'd maybe use 350g next time. I also doubled the sauce quantities, and Im glad I did.  My pot of basil is growing quite happily on my windowsill, so that was very handy for this recipe! Fresh basil really brings out the flavours. Original recipe here.


  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 6 thick pork sausages , cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 2 garlic cloves , crushed
  • 400ml medium white wine
  • 2 tbsp tomato purée
  • 2 x 400g can chopped tomatoes
  • 350g pack rigatoni or penne
  • handful basil leaves , torn, (optional)
  • Parmesan , to serve
  1. Heat the olive oil in a heavy-based pan (preferably not non-stick) and add the sausages. Fry for about 8 mins until golden and cooked through. Tip in the garlic and fry for 1 min. Pour in the white wine and boil until it has reduced by half.
  2. Stir in the tomato purée and tomatoes, and season to taste. Simmer for 15 mins until the sauce is rich and thick.
  3. While the sauce cooks, boil the pasta according to pack instructions and drain. Stir in the basil if using, and cooked pasta into the sauce, then serve in bowls with grated or shaved Parmesan.

Saturday, 12 May 2012


I am definitely making this again! I think I could have eaten this whole loaf to myself, though I had to fight the kids for even a small section of it. It would go with so many meals, its a perfect sharing bread. I made 2, one to go with our pasta supper tonight, and one to dip into the veggetable soup at lunch. I used my electric hand mix, with the dough hooks attached, to make the dough so it was quite easy & relatively mess free. I only realised the other day that my hand mixer had dough hooks! Makes bread/pizza making so much easier - and it was quite a cheap mixer too! I still covet a nice shiney Kitchen Aid though :D

  • 500g strong white bread flour
  • 5g powdered dried yeast
  • 10g fine salt
  • 325ml warm water
  • About 1 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for coating
  • To finish
  • A generous drizzle of olive oil
  • A sprinkle of flaky sea salt
  • A couple of rosemary sprigs, leaves stripped and finely chopped
 To knead by hand: mix the flour, yeast, salt and water in a bowl to form a sticky dough. Add the oil, mix it in, then turn the dough out on to a clean work surface. Knead until smooth and silky, about 10 minutes.
Or, to use a food mixer: fit the dough hook and add the flour, yeast, salt and water to the mixer bowl. Mix on low speed until evenly combined, then add the oil and leave to knead for about 10 minutes, until smooth and silky.

Shape the dough into a round and coat with a little extra oil. Leave to rise in a clean bowl, covered with a plastic bag. When it has doubled in size, tip it on to the work surface and press into a rough rectangle. Place in a lightly oiled shallow baking tray, measuring about 26 x 36cm. Press the dough in with your fingers, right into the corners. Now leave to rise, covered, for about half an hour.

Preheat your oven to 250°C/Gas Mark 10, or as high as it will go. When the bread looks puffed up and airy, use your fingertips to poke deep holes across the whole surface, almost to the bottom. Drizzle the top generously (but not swimmingly) with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and rosemary. Bake for about 10 minutes, then turn the oven down to about 200°C/Gas Mark 6 and bake for a further 10 minutes.

Cooking tips & ideas - soup!

I thought I might start a weekly blog post sharing some cookery tips. I would LOVE for you to share yours, please add them in the comments section. I am making a big pot of soup at the moment, so thought that might be a great place to start!

1. ALWAYS sweat your aromatic veg (carrots, onion, leek, celery). This will break down the cellulose in veg, and bring out their flavours. I sweat mine for about 10 minutes on a low heat in some butter, with a bay leaf chucked in. It really will make a difference to your soup!

2. Perfect seasoning. Keep tasting your soup & adding salt and/or pepper until it tastes great. It sometimes needs more salt than you think, so dont be scared! If you do manage to over-salt your soup though, add a peeled potato to your pot and simmer for 15 minutes. It will absorb the extra salt.

3. Add a fresh un-cooked ingredient as a garnish when you serve - this will also bring out the great flavour. Throw on some fresh chopped herbs, or a dollop of cream/yogurt. A sweet tasting soup (parsnip/sweet potato etc) do weill with some crispy fried salty baon crumbled on top.

Please add your tips, or discuss the ones I have posted :)

Friday, 11 May 2012

Sausage Rolls

It's Takeaway night for my husband and me tonight, so the kids got a "lazy tea". These sausage rolls were very easy to put together, and I served them with beans. The kids totally devoured them & begged for more! I might make another batch & freeze them before baking, it would be very handy for having guests or a picnic.  I am going to try different flavours, like adding pickle or ketchup to the sausage mix. If I do try new flavours, I'll be sure to blog about it :D


  • ½ small garlic clove
  • handful parsley , chopped
  • 400g pack sausagemeat or sausages
  • 375g pack ready-rolled puff pastry
  • 1 beaten egg , to glaze

Crush the garlic with a pinch of salt, and mix with 50 ml of water. Put the sausage meat, garlic mix & parsley into a food processor & blitz til smooth. Unroll the puff pastry, and cut down the middle lengthwise. Cut each length into 3 square/rectangle pieces. Spoon the sausagemeat into the middle of the pastry, leaving a 1 cm edge. Brush the edge with beaten egg, and fold the pastry over to seal. They should look like this ...

Brush the tops with beaten egg and bake in the oven at 200c for about 35 minutes.

Crispy Chicken Bake

This is the first recipe that I have tried from my new Lisa Faulkner recipe book. It looked fairly simple & quick to make - perfect for busy nights that are full of after school clubs! It tasted ok. but it didnt "wow" me. The potatoes didnt crisp up or colour, which was disappointing. I would make it again if I needed a no-fuss quick meal. The portions are quite small, but maybe we are just hearty eaters!

10 chicken thighs (2 per person, I was cooking this for 5)
4 potatoes, sliced (the recipe didnt say how thinly to cut these, so I went for about 1/2 cm)
2 lemons
2 tablespoons oilive oil
1 tablespoon chopped tarragon
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
Salt & pepper

Slash the chicken with a sharp knife. Mix 1 tblsp oil, zest of 1 lemon & the juice of 2 & the tarragon in a bowl. Add the chicken and mix with your hands, getting the chicken nicely coated. Place the sliced potatoes in the bottom of a roasting tin, overlapping slightly if they dont all fit in. Drizzle with the remaining oil & sprinkle on the paprika. Place a wire rack over the potatoes, and place the marinated chicken on top of the rack. Cook in the ovan at 200c for about 35 minutes, til the chicken has crisped up and cooked through.

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Chickpea & ketchup curry

When putting together this weeks meal plan, I decided I would have another go at a curry. I went for 2 different kinds, one meat based & one vegetarian. The meat one is the same sauce that I made here but I added beef & mushrooms, and omitted the almond/cream & coconut. I made this the night before, froze half & left the rest to improve over night. The 2nd curry was from the River Cottage Veg Everyday cookbook, from the "store cupboard meals" section. I think most peopke would have the ingredients to hand, so perfect for a last minute meal. It also only took 25 minutes at most to put together! I added a dollop of yogurt to my beef curry as it was a bit spicy for me, but I have a week palatte for heat.

  • 2 tablespoons sunflower oil
  • 1 small onion, thinly sliced
  • 2cm piece of ginger, finely grated
  • A pinch of dried chilli flakes
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder or paste
  • 400g tin chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 5 tablespoons tomato ketchup
  • Juice of 1⁄2 lemon
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • A handful of coriander, to finish 

Heat the oil in a frying pan over a medium-low heat. Add the onion and sweat for around 8 minutes, until soft and golden, then stir in the ginger, chilli flakes, garlic and curry powder or paste. Fry, stirring, for 1–2 minutes more.
Add the chickpeas, tomato ketchup and enough water to just loosen to a thick sauce consistency. Simmer gently for about 5 minutes, then stir in the lemon juice. Taste and add salt and pepper if needed.
Serve in warmed bowls scattered with coriander leaves.

Sunday, 6 May 2012

Stuffed baguetttes

A friend of mine suggested this recipe to me. We share quite a few recipes, and this was another one that gets a thumbs up from me! I can't wait until she starts her own foodie blog. One of my girls enjoyed this lunch, the other didn't. I think I would make it again if I had friends coming to lunch and I wanted to impress, but I probably wouldnt make them for a normal family lunch. Use the part-baked baguettes for this recipe, not ready baked ones.

To feed 2 people (so multuply to feed more)

2 part-baked baguettes
2 eggs beaten
2 spring onions chopped
1 small bunch parsley, chopped
2 slices of smoked ham, chopped
100g grated cheese (I used mozerella but use a stronger cheese for adults)
1 teaspoon mustard

Preheat oven to 200c. Slice the top off the baguettes and discard. Remove the bread from inside, to leave a shell. Mix all the ingredients together, along with the crumbed bread taken from the baguettes. Spoon this mixture back inside the hollowed out baguettes, then bake for about 15 minutes. let them cool slightly before slicing into more managable chunks.

New Cookbook

I have been in Glasgow for a couple of days, so no new blogposts! I did arrive home to my new cookbook though - Lisa Faulkner From my Mother to my Daughter. Some tasty looking dishes in itthat I am eager to try! Has anyone else tried her recipes? Any recommendations?

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Cypriot Stuffed Chicken

The kids devoured their macaroni cheese hours ago, and have all dispersed to various clubs, leaving my husband and I to enjoy our own dinner in peace! I thought the flavours in this dish may be a bit too strong for them. I picked it because I had some feta in the fridge needing to be used, and as I grow my own herbs, I knew I had most of the ingredients before even going shopping! I had no idea what to serve with this, so opted for a salad with a homemade lemon dressing & toasted pine nuts. I think coucous or rice would be good too.

Ingredients: to serve 2

Small handfull of fresh flat-leaf parsley
Small handfull of fresh basil
4 jarred sun-dried tomatoes
2 cloves of garlic
50g feta cheese
Zest of 1/2 a lemon
2 chicken breasts
Olive oil
Few sprigs of fresh rosemary

Finely chop the basil, parsley, tomatoes & garlic with a drizzle of the oil from the jar of tomatoes, mixing it all up as you go. Crumble in the feta, and add teh lemon zest. Mix. Slice the chicken breasts, and stuff with the mixture. Secure with a coktail stick. Heat the olive oil in a frying pan to a medium heat. Add the chicken breasts and cover with a piece of greaseproof paper (that has been run under a tap then shaken off - makes the paper more manageable). Leave for 5-10 minutes, until golden on one side. Flip over carefully, chuck in the rosemary, recover & let cook for another 10 minutes. Check the chicken is cooked through, and serve.

15 minute Macaroni cheese!

This is my quick, easy cook meal I use on busy nights. Little Bee had a friend round for tea before they head out to Brownies, so it had to be something quick, tasty & something most kids like! The recipe amount is perfect for 3 children, so up the quantities if you need to feed more. I saw this cheese sauce method on Hestons cooking programme, though I have made it a bit simpler. He reckons that skipping the milk/butter/flour roux makes for a far tastier cheese sauce, and I agree. It really only takes about 15 minutes to make this dish, and the sauce is entirely homemade. You can jazz it up however you like, adding veg, bacon or sliced tomatoes on top. I sometimes add frozen peas & sweetcorn, or diced cooked ham.

Serves 3 children.

250g dried macaroni pasta
150g grated cheese
1/2 pint milk or cream
1 tablespoon cornflour
Pinch of mustard powder
Salt & pepper to season, if needed.

In one pan, bring the macaroni on to boil for 12 minutes (or per pack instructions). Meanwhile, mix the grated cheese in with the cornflour, and toss until all coated. Warm the milk (or cream) in a pan, and add a pinch of mustard powder. Dont let the milk bubble. Add the coated cheese a little bit at a time, until it is all melted into the milk. Try not to over stir! Drain the cooked pasta, tip into a casserole dish, and pour over the cheese sauce & mix. Add cheese to the top if you like, or sliced tomatoes/breadcrumbs/crushed crisps. Pop under the grill for a minute or two to crisp & melt the topping. Then serve!