Thursday, 8 August 2019

Tomato Tart

Oven: 200 deg. C
Cooking time: 30 - 45 mins. (approximately)

Pastry Base:
1.1/2 cups of flour
1 tsp. caster sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
4ozs. unsalted butter - cold and cut into pieces (or grated)
6 tablespoons of iced water

1. Make your pastry, wrap in klingfilm and chill for about 30 mins ..... (the pastry that is!)

Tomato Topping:
1.1/2lbs. of small tomatoes - halved OR large tomatoes sliced
black pepper, added before putting tomatoes on top of Filling.

2. Place tomatoes in a sieve or colander and sprinkle a little salt over.  Leave while making the Filling.

1 cup of natural bio plain yogurt
1/2 cup of double cream
1 large egg - beaten
1 or 2 cloves of crushed garlic
Dried Basil - to taste
1/3 cup of Parmesan or Pecorino - grated
1/2 tsp. salt if needed, black pepper and good pinch of cayenne

3. Mix all ingredients together till creamy, and leave in fridge while rolling out pastry base.
4. Roll out pastry on a lightly floured surface, to fit your tart tin, with an overlap.
5. Remove Filling from fridge, mix together again, and carefully spoon into pastry base.
You may have some left over, but you can carefully spoon it over the tomatoes.
6. Drain your tomatoes on some kitchen paper and place - face up - on top of the Filling.
7. Pour any excess Filling over, adding a little more grated cheese if wanted.
8. Fold overlapped pastry in, and bake for 30 - 45 mins - (approximately).

Pastry will have become golden, and very slightly away from edge of baking tin, and, of course, the Filling will be 'set'.

Recipe tweaked from original by David Liebovitz.

Stewed Fruits and Crumble


This time of year is great for using soft fruit.
I tend to microwave any fruits I have leftover - or just 'slightly' over-ripening, with a little water (if necessary) and either sugar, honey or maple syrup.
Blackberries - rinse well if from your garden
Apples - peeled and roughly chopped
Plums - halved and de-stoned
Cherries- de-pip
peaches/nectarines etc. - you can skin these if required and roughly chop
Once cooked, add your sugar to taste.

Delicious served hot or cold with cream or custard :o)

You could also make the stewed fruit into a crumble:

Crumble Mix:
100g flour
50g butter - cold
50g demerara sugar
Add bits of butter to the flour and with fingertips crumble into 'bread crumbs'
Add the sugar
Sprinkle on top of cooked fruit - add a little ground ginger or cinnamon if wanted.

*Link: BBC: Frozen Fruit Crumble

Monday, 8 April 2019

Pesto Sauce - extremely easy - and delicious! (made with cashew nuts)


1 Bunch of basil leaves
clove of garlic (if wanted) 
a handful of plain (unsalted) Cashews ...... OR Pine Nuts
grated parmesan or pecorino
Olive oil or Rapeseed oil
sea salt and black pepper

Mix all the ingredients together in your blend/chopper.
You may want to finely chop the cashews first in your 'chopper' to make them a little finer.
Store in a lidded jar in the fridge. 
(I usually rinse the jar with boiling water before pouring in the Pesto Sauce) 

  (this lovely pic is from

Thursday, 14 February 2019

Chickpea Curry - Mild (with or without spinach)

approx. 4 tbl. vegetable oil
2 medium red onions - peeled and chopped
2-4 cloves of garlic (your choice) - peeled and grated
2.1/2 cm  piece of fresh ginger - peeled and grated
2 small crushed chilli
1 tsp. ground corriander
1/2 tsp. ground turmeric
1/2 tsp. ground cumin (Jeera)
1 tsp. salt
1 tin of chopped tomatoes (400g)
1 or 2 tins of chickpeas - drained and rinsed well

3 handfuls of fresh spinach leaves (if wanted)

1. heat the oil preferably in a wok and add the onions and fry till they are a light golden colour.
2. Add the garlic and ginger and cook through for a minute or so.
3. Add the salt and spices and cook for another minute.
4. Add the tomatoes and cook gently for about 5 minutes - stirring as it may stick - if it does, add a little water.  Reduce the heat and simmer for about 10 mins.
5. Add the chickpeas and stir well ensuring they are coated with the sauce.
6. Turn up the heat then cook for 5 - 7 mins. (or a little longer) - stirring continuously.  (Add little water if needed.)
7. If using the spinach, stir it in, cover and leave to wilt.

Serve with steamed or boiled Basmati Rice.

This recipe has been slightly tweaked, but is originally by Parveen Ashraf ...............  - who has some super recipes on her website.

Wednesday, 3 October 2018

Kitchen Pot Pourri

These herbs have been picked from the garden and dried - then crushed up.
Bay Leaves
Oregano (Marjoram)
(and a bit of Fresh Basil (dried too) )

Place in a pretty bowl
It smells lovely - and can also be used as mixed herbs in some recipes.
Crush the mix to release a super scent.
An added bonus is that it also seems to keep flies away!

Wednesday, 29 August 2018

Sweetcorn, Spring Onion and Philly Fritters

60g Plain Flour
1 tsp. Baking Powder
1/4 tsp. paprika
2 large eggs - separated
100g Philadelphia Cheese (with Chives is good too)
2 tblspns semi-skimmed milk
1 tin of sweetcorn - rinsed and drained - (approx. size 198g.can)
2 spring onions, thinly sliced

2 tablspns. sunflower oil

1. Mix the Flour, baking powder and paprika into a bowl.
2. Beat the Egg Yolks and Philly and add to the flour.
3. Add the Milk, Sweetcorn and Onions and mix together gently until the flour is incorporated.
4. Whisk the egg whites until stiff and fold into the sweetcorn mix.

5. Heat the oil in a non-stick frying pan and drop in large spoonfuls (approx.tablespoon) of the
6. Cook until just going a nice golden brown and flip on to the other side and cook too. (Approx 30 - 40 seconds).
7. Remove from the pan on to a sheet of greaseproof paper or similar.

These fritters can be eaten straight away, reheated in the micro or  kept covered and zapped the next day.

Serve with, chutney, sweet chilli sauce, or anything you may fancy!

This recipe originally comes from The Kraft Philadelphia CookBook.

Wednesday, 25 July 2018

Fly Repellent Herbs - from your garden

As the weather here in the UK has been SO hot - it's obviously best to either keep food in the fridge, or if it's out in the kitchen, - keep it covered with a tea towel.  There are just lots of flies around at the moment, and they seem to zoom in at the slightest whiff of 'food'!  Even grease on a paper kitchen sheet seems  to attract them :o(

I found a super article online about herbs that you probably have growing in your garden, and these (hopefully) will deter flies if you strew some around on your work surface, or hang them up in a bunch in the kitchen.

Useful herbs include:
Mint, Catnip
Tansy - this resembles marigold flowers
Bay leaves

To check on the full uses for these herbs - click on this link

Wednesday, 11 July 2018

Watermelon, Feta and Basil Salad

This is such a simple salad but completely delicious and refreshing.

Watermelon - peeled and cut into bite-sized pieces - (remove pips!)
Feta Cheese
Fresh Basil leaves
Little dried basil

A Good Olive or Rapeseed Oil

There are no particular quantities for this salad - make it as it pleases you - but with lots of melon!

1. Place the melon into your serving dish.
2. Crumble the Feta over the top
3. Add chopped Basil Leaves
4. Sprinkle with Olive Oil
5. Mix - gently - and sprinkle a little dried basil over the top of the salad and a few more fresh basil leaves.

Additions: (optional)
little salt and black pepper
finely chopped spring onions
small drizzle of honey 

Monday, 2 July 2018

Mixed Bean Hummus

I've had a can of mixed beans in my larder - (for a while now!) - and suddenly thought I could try and make a hummus with them.  It turned out quite nicely!  You dont have to be exact with the quantities - just make it to your own taste.

Ingredients: -
into the liquidiser ......

1 can of mixed beans - rinsed well and drained
clove of garlic
lemon juice - to taste
handful of chopped fresh corriander, and a little dried corriander if you have it.
tahini paste - (about a tablespoon / ish)
little salt and black pepper
Olive Oil - enough with the lemon juice to make a nice paste
few finely chopped olives - (black are good)
Pinch of paprika

Whizz ingredients together until as smooth as you can get it.
Taste for seasoning and texture.

Pour into a pretty dish and sprinkle with a little paprika, olive oil and the chopped olives.

Cover with klingfilm to store in fridge.

Sunday, 10 June 2018

Vegetarian Pate - Faux Gras

I saw this Faux Gras pate recipe/video on Facebook - LINK
(I have slightly tweaked the recipe)

It does look like a meaty pate - but I cant say it will replace fois gras - but it's pretty nice. 

2 tbls. olive oil
1 small onion or shallot - chopped
2 garlic cloves
Gently saute the above until softened, (not browned.)

Add and saute:
approx. 18 button mushrooms
dried herbs: rosemary, thyme, sage - 2 tsps. of each - I used some fresh herbs too.
+ 2 tbls. cognac 

Blend these in your liquidiser/blender.

2 cups of cooked brown lentils (canned is ok)
2 tbls. soy sauce
1 cup of toasted walnut - blended
2 tbls. beetroot puree - or a few slices of cooked betroot (either wash off the vinegar or use plain cooked beetroot - it's mainly used for colour).

Spoon into a sterlised jar, and top with either melted butter or softened butter.
Cover and chill well in fridge.

Saturday, 12 May 2018

Very easy (all-in-one) Marmalade Sponge Cake

When I've got oranges (or similar) that are just not quite nice enough to keep in the fruit bowl - I boil them up with some water and sugar, until the fruit is very soft, and make a sort of marmalade/compote.  I keep this in sterilised jars and use it - either like jam, or in cakes - this is the marmalade cake version.  

You can use actual bought marmalade (or apricot jam is very nice) - and it gives the sponge a very nice flavour.  Keeps well too.

180 deg. C - approx. 1 - 1.1/4 hrs. 
6 ozs. self-raising flour (or plain flour and 2 tsps. baking powder)
6ozs. sugar
6ozs. Flora (see pic) - make sure you use the 'baking' one
3 medium eggs - lightly beaten
3 tablespoons of marmalade or compote
1/2 tsp. baking powder and a pinch of salt. 

Mix all the ingredients together - dont overbeat - just till nice and smooth.
Pour into your greased or lined baking tin.
Check with a skewer (or listen in!) to see whether cooked through.
Cool - and eat!

Monday, 30 April 2018

Courgette (zuchini) Veggie Loaf

This is a really tasty and easy to make loaf/bread - without yeast.
(The measurements of the celery, onion and coriander/parsley dont have to be exact)

Oven: 180190 deg. C - approx. 1 hr. - *test with a skewer about 45 mins. in to baking time.
approx 4 sticks of celery 
1 onion - skinned
small amount of oil for sauteeing veg.

1 lb. (approx. 500g.) self raising flour or plain flour with about 8 tsps of baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
2 fl. ozs olive oil
handful of chopped coriander (or parsley)

1/2pt. milk less 2 tablespoons
1 egg

1. Put (A) the celery and onion in a food processor and whiz together - (not too mushy) 
or chop fairly finely.
2. Saute the veg in the oil until translucent - remove and set aside.
3. Place (B) ingredients into a bowl.
4. Mix the egg and milk (C) together and add to the flour mix.
5. Add the sauteed veggies.
6. Mix gently together, then knead lightly on a floured surface.
7. Knead into required shape, place on a greased surface and bake.*

This can be served warm or cold with butter - delicious.
Store in a plastic bag - (reuse a plastic loaf bag is fine).  This should keep well for a few days - if it's not eaten beforehand!

**Note:Chopped Bacon can also be added.

Saturday, 3 March 2018

Banana Fairy Cakes (cupcakes) - easy all-in-one recipe

 These little cakes dont look that pretty :o( 
- my icing skills aren't that brilliant as I was in a hurry - 
but they taste delicious! and are easy to make.

Makes 12 fairy cakes - which are a bit smaller than cupcakes
Oven: 180 deg.C - approx. 20 mins.  - check with a skewer to make sure they are cooked through - they should be a golden colour.

12 portion tin with paper cases.

4ozs. caster sugar
4 ozs. butter - softened
4ozs. self-raising flour
1 tsp. vanilla essence
1 VERY ripe banana
2 eggs

Place all the ingredients in a processor (or use a hand mixer) and mix thoroughly.
Fill each case approx. 3/4 full
When cool you can ice them:
approx. 140g. icing sugar
1 tablspn. of lemon juice + enough water to make a thick'ish paste - not so liquid as the icing will slide off the cake.  Although it may seem like a of of icing, I used all of it.

Store in an airtight tin.  They should keep at least 2-4 days.  The icing helps keep the cakes a little longer.

*original recipe measurements in grams: 
100g caster sugar
100 grams butter
140g self raising flour

Wednesday, 14 February 2018

Saturday, 10 February 2018

Baked Custard

Baked Custard doesn't really sound that pretty or appetising, but I have recently made some, and it was demolished in pretty quick time!  
It's lovely served cold with fruit salad or any other fruits
You can either make it in small ramekins or one large dish.

Always place the custard dish in a bain-marie - larger tin with very hot water in, about halfway up, so that the custard steams a little ...........

3 large eggs
1/3 cup of sugar - caster or demerara 
1 tsp. vanilla essence
pinch of salt

2.1/2 cups of very warm Full Fat Creamy Milk - this has the best taste
pinch of either ground nutmeg or cinnamon 

1. Beat the eggs and sugar until light and frothy - it wont be thick, but still liquidy.
2. Very slowly whisk in the warm milk a little at a time - so as not to scramble the eggs.
3. Add the cinnamon or nutmeg to taste.
4. Pour into a very lightly greased bowl and bake for approx. 30mins to 45 - until the custard is 'set'.
5. Leave to cool then refrigerate - covered.

Sunday, 4 February 2018

Date Syrup Cake - quick, easy and yummy

Oven: 170 deg. C
Bake: approx. 30mins/45 mins. or until cooked (!)

Ingredients - small cake:
60g butter
125 g date syrup **

100g plain flour
1 large teaspoon of baking powder
1 teaspoon of ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
100g caster sugar#pinch of salt

125 ml milk
1 beaten egg

1. Melt the butter gently with the date syrup. Stirring. Remove from heat to cool slightly.
2. Sift together all the dry ingredients

3. Beat the egg and milk together.
4. Add the egg and milk to the dry ingredients, then gently stir in (or electric whisk) the butter and syrup. This should make a nice gloopy mixture. *

4. Pour into a baking tin (6" x 8" x 1.5") - use a paper liner, which saves you greasing the tin. 
5. Test with a skewer to see if cooked through.
6. Cool on a wire rack.  

*You could add some sultanas or raisins to this cake.  Dredge some flour over them before adding in to the mixture.* 

**This is also the recipe for a gingerbread cake, so you could replace the date syrup for golden syrup.

Wednesday, 10 January 2018

Fairy Cakes/Cupcakes

I've been experimenting with a few 'fairy cake' recipes, and found this one, from the Hairy Bikers, has the nicest texture and keeps the best, so you dont have to eat them all 
on the same day!

Oven: 180 deg. C
Ingredients: - makes 12
7ozs. (200g) self-raising flour
1 tsp. bi carb.
3ozs. (75g) caster or golden caster sugar
3.5 ozs. blueberries (optional)
1 unwaxed lemon zest - finely grated
2 free range eggs - beaten
1/4 pt. (150 ml)  low-fat natural yogurt (or double cream)
2 tblspns. semi-skimmed milk (or little more if needed)
2 fl.oz. (50ml.) sunflower oil

Lemon Icing:
3.5ozs.(100g) icing sugar
4 tsps. fresh lemon juice

1. preheat oven. and line a 12 hole muffin/fairy cake tin with paper cups
2. Sift the flour and bi-carb and stir in the sugar, (blueberries) and lemon zest.
3. Make a well in the centre and add the eggs, then beat in the yogurt, milk and oil.
4. Stir into the flour and mix together - lightly.
5. Divide the batter evenly into the paper cups and bake for 16-18 minutes until the cakes are well risen and golden.  Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
6. Ice with the lemon icing when cool.

Sandwich a dollop of lemon curd in the centre with a blob of batter on top.  (These are technical terms! :o) )
You could also use jam.

Sunday, 7 January 2018

Cake Pops - with leftover (Christmas) cake - no cooking

·        400g/14oz Christmas Cake
·        100g/3½oz Dark Chocolate
·        100g/3½oz White Chocolate
·        sprinkles, to decorate
  • 12 round lolly sticks. 
  • Method
1.      Break the Christmas cake into pieces then blend in the food processor for a few minutes to turn into crumbs.
2.      Divide the mix into 12 and shape into balls. Place in the fridge for a couple of hours to firm up.
3.      Melt the chocolates in separate bowls, over pans of simmering water or in a microwave.
4.      Make a hole in each ball with a lolly stick, then dip the end of the stick in the melted chocolate and place back in the hole. Repeat with the other sticks and leave to set for about 30 minutes.
5.      Re-melt the chocolate if necessary, then, using a teaspoon pour the chocolate over a cake pop, holding it over the bowl. Work quickly to get a smooth finish. Tap the cake pop on the side of the bowl to get rid of the excess chocolate, then stick into a piece of polystyrene or upturned colander while you coat the rest of the pops.
6.      Once the chocolate has set slightly, but is still sticky, coat in sprinkles then leave to set completely.

Recipe Tips

Use an upturned colander or a polystyrene block to keep your cake pops standing while they set - just make sure your lolly sticks will fit in the colander holes before you start.    

Tuesday, 12 December 2017

Cranberry & Apple Sauce - simple

600gms of fresh cranberries
2 Granny Smith Apples - peeled, cored and roughly chopped
Demerara Sugar - to taste  - (quite a lot!)
squeeze of fresh lemon juice 
Small amount of water

Place all the above ingredients into a saucepan, and gently bring to the boil - stirring.
Stir in the sugar a few tablespoons at a time and taste for sweetness.
Adding some lemon juice.
Stir until almost all of the cranberries have popped and the condiment is squishy and to your taste.

Pour boiling water into 3 small jars and lids.  Drain carefully as they will be hot!
Spoon the cranberry sauce into the jars. Using double paper towel or tea-towel, hold the jar carefully and tap several times onto your work surface to remove any air bubbles - check the jars.  Use a skewer if any air bubbles remain.
Lid the jars, label and store until needed.
Eat cold with poultry.

Thursday, 7 December 2017

Walnut Cake (small) - All-in-One Sponge cake

This very easy cake can be made with a lovely cream cheese frosting - (though pic here is without it).

Oven: 180 deg.C - preheated
Paper Cake liner  or  buttered and floured baking tin

175g. butter (unsalted preferably) (3ozs.)
112g. caster sugar (approx. 3ozs.)
70g. self-raising flour (approx. 2.5 ozs.)
25 - 50g. walnuts - blitzed very fine in a blender - (or ready bought)
1/4tsp. baking powder
2 medium eggs - beaten
1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
few drops of almond extract
grated lemon zest - about 1/2 a lemon is fine

Beat all the ingredients together.
If the batter is a little stiff, add some warm water or milk (cold) - or little of both.
The batter should be a nice 'dropping consistency' cake batter, but not too loose.
Bake for approximately 45 mins and test with a skewer to see if cooked through.
Cover with foil, if it needs cooking longer.

Cool in the tin, then frost with cream cheese frosting:

200g (7oz) butter, softened
220g (7oz) full-fat cream cheese
700g icing sugar, sieved

Cream all ingredients together.
Add little zest or lemon juice if wanted, and spread on cake.  If you turn the cake and use the base, you'll have a nice smooth bottom (! :o) ) to work on.