Friday, 14 October 2016

Lamb Koftas

Kofta are a great middle eastern and balkan dish normally made with lamb.  There are various versions across the region and I can't claim to any authenticity here, this is more from taste memory.  I've tried making Koftas around a skewer before and it is tricky to keep it on the stick if I'm honest.  I had an idea to make them into small patties and it worked.  The addition of bread as well made them lighter and softer.

This is a great starter or great in a wrap with salad, the yogurt dip and maybe a few chillis.

Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Cod with Bagna Cauda Dressing

Bagna Cauda is a delicious if pretty unhealthy dressing / dip made with anchovies.  It also makes a delicious savoury sauce.

Saturday, 8 October 2016

Great ideas for Seafood Week 7-14th Oct

It's seafood week this week and it's a great opportunity to try something a bit different.

There are some special offers and events going on around the country, take a look at the Seafood Week website to find out more.

In the meantime, here are a few great recipes to get you going.

Beef and Mushroom Pie

Slow cooking is not the most obvious thing to do when cooking for one but actually the great thing about it is that it always freezes well and is adaptable.  You can serve as a stew or as an awesome pie like this.

Wednesday, 5 October 2016

What's in season in October?

October is here and it's one of my favourite months for produce in the UK.  There are still British soft fruits available from poly tunnels, the end of the blackberry season and crisp apples from the trees are still at their best.  While it's the end of one season it's also the start of the next and that wonderful golden period when so much local food is available is fantastic.


But this is when we start to get the cruciferous vegetables coming to the fore.  I am no trend follower, I've been eating kale for years.  Kale is just a more flavourful cabbage basically.  Rumours as to it's superfood status have been highly inflated in my opinion.

Great Cheap Eats (for students or just for saving cash!)

It's University time in the UK and millions of Freshers will be leaving home for the first time, armed with a saucepan, a frying pan and a magic marker to label up their food in the fridge.

A few lessons from my time at University (many) years ago...

  • There will always be someone who steals your food.  It's not worth getting too stressed about if you can.
  • Eat fresh stuff as much as you can.  If you live on tinned food, you will get run down.
  • Chinese supermarkets can be great places to stock up on pre made sauces.
  • Lentils are a great store cupboard stand by and mean however poor you are you can make soup or a curry.  
  • If you live in a shared house or flat, even if you don't cook together, suggest to your housemates you share staples like rice, pasta, washing up liquid etc, even big bags of potatoes.  Otherwise it gets a bit ridiculous and the economies of scale can make it all cheaper.
  • Nothing brings people together like food so batch cooking can be a way to make friends with new housemates if you offer them a bowl too.
  • A slow cooker might not be the most obvious bit of student kit but University was where I got into slow cooking because it makes the most of cheap cuts.

So here are a few recipes which will hopefully make your Mum smile that you've not completely fallen to bits and been unable to cope (even if you do go home to visit with bags of dirty washing.)

Thursday, 29 September 2016

Is what people eat anybody's business?

I read Kirstie Allsopp's "twitter row" about eating today.  For those of you who missed it, this is what was said:

So what happened next?  Predictably the world went mad.  Most of the responses were negative.  How very dare she comment on this?

Kirstie Allsopp Twitter Photo

Tuesday, 20 September 2016

Monday, 19 September 2016

Chickpea and Spinach Curry

I make no claims to be an authentic Indian chef, but this is going to university time of year and it's also coming to the end of the month.  All of us could do with a decent curry recipe which costs pence and tastes great whether you're a meat eater, a vegetarian, a vegan, gluten free etc.

Saturday, 17 September 2016

Game stew

Now autumn feels like it's properly here.  I love summer but the first flushes of autumn with stews, pies, traditional puddings are like the coziness of coming home.  Autumn, season of mists and mellow fruitfulness, at the end moving into winter, the crisp cold, maybe snow.  The older I get the more I look forward to every season and everything it brings.

The dried mushrooms in this massively add to the flavour.  Without them, it wouldn't be the same, it wouldn't have the depth of flavour so I really would give it a go.

This was going to be a game pie and it would be fabulous to make into a pie filling if you prefer.  I was just too lazy and my son liked the smell of it so he wanted to taste it straight away (it was a hit with the 6 year old too!)

Sunday, 11 September 2016

My top 10 apple recipes

The apples on my tree are reaching their fantastic crisp ripeness.  There is nothing like a delicious crisp apple straight from the tree.

But apple trees can be prolific, even small ones but the joy is that apples are so versatile.  Great in salads and in cooking.  Here are a few ideas.

Friday, 9 September 2016

A cheeky antipasto of figs with blue cheese

I've just come back from Italy and the figs are just starting to ripen.  It made me think about blue cheese with fruit, sweet, sticky honey and the bitterness of walnuts.

Is it an antipasto?  Is it a dessert?  Is it a snack?  I suppose it could be any?  Either way it works.  Add some crusty bread or rocket to make it into more of a meal.

Thursday, 1 September 2016

What's in season in September?

Ah September... as we drift into this month summer starts to fade and become a distant memory.  If we're lucky in the UK we'll still have a few warm days but generally the cardies are going on and someone in the family starts looking wistfully at the heating controls.

But this month is also a season of bounty.  Everything from home gardens to hedgerows are groaning with produce.  The wild blackberries are still bountiful and what better than apples to have with them?

Saturday, 27 August 2016

Fruit and Pumpkin Seed Breakfast

I feel like I'm on a one woman mission to convince everyone that breakfast doesn't have to be cereal or toast.  This is my latest invention with some lovely pumpkin seeds.  I do love a breakfast which has layers of flavour and texture.  Pumpkin seeds add crunch and are a great source of fibre, protein, iron and magnesium.  Also you've had two of your 5 a day (or 7 a day) and you've only just opened your eyes.