Sunday, 30 November 2014

Stilton and Walnut Salad

Winter salad made with creamy British Stilton, sweetness from apples, bitterness from walnuts and a delicious mustardy dressing.  Are salads in winter wrong?  I don't think so, look, I admit I used one out of season ingredient here because I had some courgette in my fridge but you could always substitute for some finely sliced cabbage or hard winter leaves.

It can be difficult in Winter to get raw vegetables in your diet, I like eating some raw food.  There is something so beautiful about a salad whatever time of year to make you not feel weighed down by stodge.

This would be a pretty good Christmas Day starter if you go for that kind of thing or for a special meal with a loved one when you don't want to be weighed down with food.

Tuesday, 25 November 2014


Dhal is one of those recipes I turn to in desperation when it's the end of the month and the bank account is looking sickly.  I then often wonder why I don't make it more frequently.  Maybe it's because it's the ultimate "you already have all the ingredients in but you didn't realise" recipe?  Or maybe because it seems so humble being made from such cheap ingredients and being vegan?  Who knows but every time I make it, I think "I should make this more often!"

Sunday, 23 November 2014

Fish Tortilla Wraps

Fish tortilla wraps were an invention to try and use food in my house.  Let's face it, November is an expensive month, especially if you start your Christmas shopping early like I have.  I realised before the weekend I had £10 left in my account.  It's always the way that you think there's nothing in the fridge or cupboards, then look a bit harder and can come up with something new.

So expect a few thrifty recipes coming your way!

Fish tacos

Sometimes necessity is the mother of invention.  You can buy really thrifty packs of pollock (often called "white fish") in the freezer department.  A great source of protein and Omega 3.

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

In praise of chillis; my top chilli recipes

Chillis are one of my favourite ingredient.  Recently on a trip to Italy I felt inspired to take a photo of these beautiful chillis, their bright waxy skins were so beautiful.

It made me realise how much I cook with chillis and enjoy eating them.  I think chillis are key to fast cooking for one because it is a way to pack in flavour without necessarily cooking for a long time.

What's more is that chillis are so versatile.  You can use them fresh, frozen, dried, ground or pickled, even use them smoked, actually smoked chipotles are beautiful.  I will write a recipe using them soon.

Sunday, 16 November 2014

Spiced Shortbread

Shortbread is one of my Mum's best recipes but I was inspired by the recent pepper challenge to try making it with pepper.  Why on earth?  Well pepper and strawberries has become one of those slightly off beat but accepted combinations which don't work but do, like chilli and chocolate or salt with caramel.  I was trying to think of how to combine strawberries and pepper and the idea of a buttery shortbread biscuit popped into my head so that's where the inspiration came from, now it's time to test out whether it works!

A gentle criticism on my last post was the donut burger would be ideal post break up food.  Forget that, this is the post breakup food.  A combination of gently spiced shortbread with peppered strawberries and silky cream.  It's what Sunday teas are all about.  I, however, was lucky enough to not suffer heartbreak today but I did spend 3 hours Christmas shopping in my local city centre.  That, is a long time for me (I hate crowds) but I was helped on my way by the most fantastic food festival I stumbled across.  I ate the most delicious curry goat spiced with turmeric which stained my fingers, delicious cinnamon and chilli which burned on for a good half an hour.  Fantastic.  But even the best curry goat is not enough to sustain you through the early Christmas shopping crowds.  It's not a surprise that internet shopping is so popular.

I have to admit I've artfully placed two delicate squares of shortbread on the plate for the photo but once taken, I piled on a few more.  Sorry but needs must.  You should have seen the madness in Primark!

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

The Ethics of Food

This popped up in my newsfeed this evening.  A burger made with doughnuts ('donuts') instead of bread.  On what planet is this a good idea?

The 'donut' burger.  Here we go:

From the BBC News Feed
So there you go.  This 'delight' is served up by Hungry Horse pubs.  These are the kind of pubs families on low incomes can go out to and afford to feed the family, the kind of places with family deals.  They have a kids club and kids menu.  Exactly the kind of places where you would hope someone in development would think about the consumers not just about emulating a trend to be like Man vs. Food (when even Adam Richman has stepped away from the food challenges nowadays.)

Sunday, 9 November 2014

Mulled Grape Juice

Mulled wine is something I love and will make or buy over the winter months but, after buying a bottle of non alcoholic gluwein from a well known furniture store, it made me wonder, is it actually better?

I seem to say this a lot but I'm not puritanical.  I will happily have a glass of wine but I'm of the view where if you can make small changes to your life without even noticing which help your health, perhaps you should.

When I've made mulled wine in the past, I've added masses of sugar to get the same kind of flavour you can get when buying it in a Christmas Fair, now I'm more than a little convinced that I may have been drinking mulled grape juice all along (or at least a proportion of it.)  Still, older and wiser now, I can now make my own and this is how to do it.

Mulled Grape Juice

Saturday, 8 November 2014

Cherry Pancakes

American style pancakes are my weekend breakfast of choice, even above a bacon sandwich.  I know, hard to believe.  I used to make sugar free versions of these when my son was little but these little beauties are a delicious concoction of defrosted cherries making a vibrant lilac batter drizzled with syrup and topped with butter.

I should explain; yesterday I ran for 7.5 miles.  My previous maximum was 6.4 miles and that felt hard.  I ended up on the sofa last night, aching and then slept for 8.5 hours and felt like I could have slept for a few more.  Sometimes you need a breakfast which is better for the soul than the body and sometimes you need to say "I need a rest day"!

American style pancakes

I've made a decent amount of batter for these; the good news is they freeze brilliantly.  Reheat gently in a microwave or in a non stick frying pan (taking care not to burn), alternatively it works just as well if you halve the recipe.

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Lentil and Mushroom Pie

Lentils are the kind of food which could almost convince me to become vegetarian.  They are a great source of folate but also filling and substantial.  Paired with mushrooms, it is the taste of delicious autumnal earthy flavours.

I've used a butter pastry on the top but if you are vegan, substitute the butter for dairy free margarine.

I've frozen one of these raw and will let you know how it reheats!

Lentil and Mushroom Pie