Tuesday, 4 August 2009

Lamb and Potato Bake

I love cooking a meal in one oven tray, not only does it save time washing dishes, but the flavour of the ingredients mix together and transform simple ingredients into something really tasty! This lamb and potato bake has a real Mediterranean feel and requires very little time and effort!


1 red onion
4 cloves garlic
3 tblsp olive oil
250g lamb chops
300g new potatoes
2 bay leaves
75ml white wine
1/2 litre stock
1/2 tsp dried (or fresh) oregano
salt and pepper
50g sun-dried tomatoes roughly chopped, or 1 dstsp tomato puree


Pre-heat the oven 150C.
Peel the onion and slice into 1cm slices and put in the roasting tray, bash the cloves of garlic and add to the tray, sit the lamb on top.
Slice the new potatoes into thick slices (1/2 -1cm) and scatter over the lamb.
Add the remaining ingredients and cover the baking tray with foil.
Cook in the oven for 45mins before removing the foil and return to the oven to cook for a further 20mins.
Allow to stand for 10mins before serving.

Delicious served with sprouting broccoli and crusty bread!

I love this dish with black olives, but I don't use them because my husband hates them. If you want to use them, add them for the last 20mins cooking time!

Soft Choc-Chip Cookies

These are not your regular cookies, they are very cakey and soft and bite-sized!
I serve them warm with icecream, or they are great with a hot mug of coffee and a gossip!


150g butter, softened
150g sugar ( I use 1/2 soft brown and 1/2 caster)
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 tsp vanilla extract (optional)
300g self raising flour
200g good quality chocolate, cut into chunks


Pre-heat the oven 170C.
Cream the butter with the sugar until creamy and well combined.
Add the egg and vanilla and mix well before adding the flour and chocolate.
Mix to a dough and either freeze at this stage in batches, or divide into walnut-sized balls and set on a baking sheet, allowing approx 2cm between each cookie.
Bake for 10mins or until they are lightly golden.
Transfer to a wire rack to cool slightly before eating several with a hot cuppa before anyone notices!

Risotto Balls

This is a great way to use up leftover risotto! The crisp exterior really works with the soft flavour-some rice and the melting mozerella in the middle - an Italian classic and now a family favourite!


350g leftover pea and broad bean risotto
100g mozerella, cut into 1cm pieces
2 tblsp flour
1 large egg, lightly beaten
3 slices bread, made into breadcrumbs (approx 150g)
Vegetable oil, for shallow frying


Lightly wet your hands and pick up a small handfull of the cold risotto. Flatten in the palm of your hand and put 1 or 2 pieces of mozerella in the middle. Form the risotto into a ball encasing the cheese in the middle and squeeze slightly, so it is firmly held together. Ideally the ball should be the size of a golf ball.

Roll the ball in the flour and then into the beaten egg and finally into the breadcrumbs. Roll the ball between your hands and gently squeeze to make sure it is compact. Transfer to a plate and repeat the process untill all the risotto has been used up.

Chill the balls for 2hrs-24hrs and then shallow fry untill golden and either serve immediately, or set aside and re-heat in a hot oven 200C for 10 mins.

I serve 3 balls per person with a crisp salad. They are delicious as an appetiser with drinks!

Monday, 3 August 2009

Volunteers Needed

For the first week of September I am looking for as many volunteers as possible to test out an exciting menu plan idea that I am setting up. All I ask is that you follow the plan to the letter and at the end of the week you let me know how you got on and let me have any thoughts or ideas on how you think it could be improved. There will be NO additional cost to you at all. Have a look at the description below and if you are willing to give it a try for one week then let me know your email address. Don’t worry if you are not in the UK as all the ingredients I use are available at any supermarket. (Obviously you will need to be in the UK for the link to the delivery site to work). I need as many people across all family structures as possible from single males to families with some vegetarians, some just fussy and some just difficult, through to those passionate about cooking. Everyone is welcome and your feedback will be valued.

As I say I am looking for as many volunteers as possible, so feel free to pass this on to ALL of your friends and family. The more people I can get to help me with this the better. At the end of the test period and once the site goes live any volunteers that have helped will get a significant discount in continuing with the plan.

Thanks very much and I look forward to spending a very exciting week with you.


As busy people we are all too familiar with the daily panic to get a meal on the table. That awful moment of thinking “what am I going to cook tonight”, “what ingredients do I have in the cupboard” and then worst of all that mad dash to the supermarket to buy a few missing ingredients and ending up buying things you didn’t need at all. No wonder most people turn to unhealthy convenience food and takeaways. Well, with my help, I intend to change all of that for you and make it easier for you to cook and serve your family quick, healthy, nutritious meals every day and in the process I will save you time and money and avoid wasting food.

Here's How:
I will send you a full week of recipes and a complete shopping list, as well as a link to a video of each recipe. I will also send a link to mysupermarket.com where with one click, the entire shopping list will be added to your basket ready for payment and delivery. No more spending hours in front of the computer trying to find what products you need or wandering up and down the aisles of the supermarket. Within 5 minutes your shopping will be done for you. You will get to choose which shop to use from Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury’s or Ocado (Waitrose) and you will see a price comparison from each store allowing you to choose the most economical. Of course if you prefer to go to your local shop instead there will be an easily downloadable shopping list on the site. All of the tedious combing through cookbooks and magazines to find meals your family will like is done for you! I will tell you exactly:

• What ingredients to buy in a convenient easy to read shopping list
• What meals to cook for the week
• Show you in a video how to cook each meal in only 30 minutes or less
• Give you a recipe card for each recipe that you can print and keep

How am I going to help?

• Savings – Whether it saves you an extra trip to the supermarket or you eat at home an extra night instead of going out, you will save both time and money with my weekly meal plans.

• Cut down on wastage – It is awful how much food we waste. Did you know we throw away 1million loaves of bread a day in the UK? That’s a lot of potential bread and butter puddings. With a few key ingredients and help from me, I will show you how to turn leftovers into great tasting dishes.

• Quick, Easy Recipes - Cooking times and step-by-step directions are easy to follow for the beginner or experienced cook. Each recipe can either be followed on an easy to read recipe card or viewed on a short video. Each recipe takes only 30 minutes or less of active prep time.

• Family Tested - All recipes are tested by my family and friends for taste and ease of preparation. Only those recipes that get thumbs up from everyone make it into my recipe collection.

• Child Friendly - My recipes are simple and delicious and do not relying on excessive spice or unusual flavours. My meals appeal to children's sensitive taste buds and adults alike. Of course if you like that extra spice I will show you how to jazz up you meal.

• Healthy Choices - With my weekly meal plans your family will tend to eat at home more so you'll know exactly what ingredients go into your food. My recipes use common ingredients that can be found in any grocery store.

Save Time & Money
Whether you like to cook, hate cooking or consider it a necessary evil, I will simplify your life. Take back the time you spend tearing through cookbooks and magazines or trolling through the aisle of the supermarket trying to find good meals each week. With my easy recipes and shopping lists automatically delivered to you, that precious time can now be spent with your family.

With my weekly meal plans you will:
• Serve nutritious dinners to a family.
• Save on your grocery bill each week with a defined shopping list.
• Save on eating out or takeaway’s since we eliminate all the guesswork of what to have for dinner.
• Cut down on unnecessary wastage.
• Prepare a delicious family meal in 30 minutes or less.
• Have your kitchen stocked with easy, healthy meal choices.
• Have more time since all meal planning is done for you.
• Be more relaxed without the 5pm dinner time panic.

Pea & Broad Bean Risotto

Firstly, do not be put off by the broad beans in this recipe! They are a really delicious vegetable if you know what to do with them. If you remove the grey, leathery outer skin there is a delicate, vibrant green treasure inside!


50g butter
1 tblsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, sliced, or chopped
250g risotto rice
1/2 litre vegetable stock, boiling
75ml white wine (optional)
100g Parmesan cheese, grated
150g frozen/fresh peas
100g frozen/fresh broad beans


Cook the broad beans in boiling water for 2 minutes, drain and rinse under cold water. Gently nick the broad bean skin with your finger nail and squeeze out the bright green bean, discard the skins.
Melt the butter in a large frying pan, add the olive oil and garlic and cook gently for 2-3 mins without colouring the garlic. Add the rice and continue to cook over a medium heat for 2 mins. Add the white wine to the pan and cook untill it has been adsorbed. Add the boiling stock a ladleful at a time, stirring continuously and only adding more stock when the previous stock has been absorbed. Continue adding stock over a medium heat untill you have added nearly all of the stock. This will take 10-15 mins. At this point stir the peas and broad beans into the rice, continue adding stock untill the rice is tender, and creamy. Stir in 2/3's of the Parmesan and serve. Sprinkle the remaining Parmesan over the risotto. Serve with a fresh green salad, or slices of tomato and mozerella drizzled with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. This dish is really worth the effort!

If you have any risotto left over, look for my recipe for risotto balls - one of my favourites! (should be online tomorrow - depending what time my husband gets home from work)

Friday, 24 July 2009

Classic Chicken in Red Wine Casserole with Buttered Tagliatelle


390g chopped onions
2 cloves garlic, crushed
100g smoked streaky bacon, cut into strips
400g diced chicken breast
1 heaped tsp paprika
1 (500g) can Red Wine Sauce
1 (300 g) can button mushrooms, drained
2 tbsp fresh parsley, roughly chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
To Serve
400g tagliatelle, cooked as per the instructions
Knob butter


1. Heat the olive oil in a heavy based casserole
2. Fry the onion, garlic and bacon for 2-3 minutes, until the bacon is browned.
3. Add the chicken and paprika and continue cooking for 2-3 minutes on a medium heat.
4. Add the Red Wine Sauce, mushrooms, half the parsley and season. Cover and cook for 20 minutes.

To Serve

Stir the butter through the hot tagliatelle, serve with the chicken and sprinkle with the remaining parsley.

Delicious served with homemade garlic ciabatta.

Sunday, 19 July 2009

Mediterranean Scone Bread

A really delicious alternative to bread, very impressive and so quick to prepare! I love serving this with homemade soup, or as a starter with mezze, such as hummus, olives, curred meats and cheese.


  • Knob of butter

  • 1tblsp olive oil

  • 4 spring onions, sliced

  • 1 clove garlic, chopped

  • 150g Feta/Goat/Cheddar Cheese (a mix is great)

  • 50g Parmesan cheese

  • 100g olives/sundried tomatoes, roughly chopped

  • 175g self raising flour

  • pinch of salt

  • pinch of cayenne pepper

  • 1 large egg

  • 2tbslp milk (if needed)


Preheat the oven to 180c. Melt the oli and butter in a pan and gently cook the spring onions and garlic for 2-3 minutes. Put the flour in a large bowl with the cheese, (reserve a tblsp of Parmesan), sundried tomatoes, salt, cayenne pepper and the egg and mix well with a fork. Allow the onion mixture to cool slightly before adding to the flour mixture, adding all the butter and mix well. Form the mixture into a dough and shape into a round about 2cm thick. Put the dough on a lightly oiled baking tray and brush with a little olive oil and sprinkle the remaining cheese and a little bit of rock salt. Bake for 20 minutes.

Allow to cool on a wire rack for 20minutes before serving with warm butter.

For a delicious alternative add 1 tblsp of Pesto sauce or fry a chopped red chilli with the spring onions.


Easy Eton Messy!

div>A great way of enjoying homemade brown sugar meringues and so easy to assemble a child can do it!


Brown sugar meringue - made with 2 egg whites, 60g soft brown sugar, 60g caster sugar
300ml double cream, lightly whipped
1 dstsp caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
200g strawberries, cut into chunks


Stir all the ingredients together, spoon into individual serving dishes and chill well before serving!

Spanish Chicken and Rice

This isn't technically a paella, but it's my version and is easy to follow and gets great results every time!

Serves 6


2 tblsp olive oil
6 chicken thighs, skinned and boned and cut into 2-3cm chunks
1 onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
100g chorizo sausage, skinned and sliced
1/2 tsp paprka
1 dstsp powdered chicken stock, or one stock cube
1 tblsp tomato puree, or rich tomato pasta sauce
250ml /250g paella rice
1/2 red pepper, finely chopped, or sliced
50g frozen garden peas
1 glass white wine
1 litre boiling water (approx)


Boil the kettle.
Heat the oil in a large frying pan, which has a lid. Add the chicken and fry for 2-3 minutes until lightly browned. Add the onion, garlic and chorizo and continue to fry for 2-3 minutes. Add the paprika and powdered stock and stir well before adding the rice. Allow the rice to fry for a minute before pouring in the glass of wine. When the wine has been adsorbed add approximately 200ml boiling water, stir and cover with a lid, cook over a medium/low heat for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes move the rice around to stop it sticking and add an additional 200ml of water, cover and cook for 10 minutes. Add the red pepper and peas, add 200ml boiling water, cover and cook for 10 minutes. Test the rice to see if it is cooked, it should be cooked through with a little bite to it. Add more water if necessary and continue cooking. The cooking time and amount of liquid can vary depending on the size of pan you use, the cooking temerature and how well the lid fits the pan!
When the rice is cooked, turn off the heat and allow to stand for 10 minutes before serving.

If you want to add mussels or prawns to this recipe, sit the shell fish on top of the rice for the final 5 minutes of cooking and serve the dish with wedges of lemon - divine!!

Crab and lemon linguine with pesto garlic bread

Pictures and video to follow shortly

This is my husbands comfort food and I must admit is not only very quick and easy to make it also looks fantastic and can easily be a dinner party dish or just a great family meal. You can replace the crabmeat with lobster or crayfish.

Preparation time: 10mins
Cooking time: 20mins

Serves 4


Olive oil
1 clove of garlic, crushed
½ tsp chilli flakes
1 lemon, zest and juice
Splash (50ml) white wine
340g white crab meat (you can use 2 x 170g cans, drained)
1 x (198g) can sweetcorn, drained
100g frozen peas
300g linguine, cooked as per instructions

1 tbsp fresh parsley, roughly chopped
100g fresh Parmesan, grated
Coarse sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Ingredients for the pesto garlic bread

Small French stick, cut ¾ through, in 1cm slices (so they are still attached)
2 tsp olive oil
1 tbsp pesto sauce
1 clove fresh garlic, crushed

Method to make the pesto garlic bread

1. Pre-heat the oven 200C, 400F, Gas 6
2. Mix the olive oil, pesto and garlic in a small bowl and spread onto the French bread.
3. Wrap the bread in a piece of foil and bake in the oven for 15 minutes.
4. Open the foil, so the top of the bread is exposed and cook for a further 5 minutes to crisp the top of the bread.

Method to make the pasta

1. Put a large pan of water on to boil for the pasta
2. Heat 3 tbsp olive oil in a large sauté, or frying pan, add the garlic and chilli flakes and allow to gently infuse the olive oil over a low heat for 5 minutes.
3. Meanwhile cook the linguine as per the instructions, add the peas to the pan for the last 2 minutes.
4. Add the crabmeat and corn to the sauté pan, the zest and juice of the lemon and the wine. Season and shake the pan to mix, allow to heat over a medium heat for 1-2 minutes.
5. Drain the pasta and tip onto the crab, toss gently and serve with a sprinkling of roughly chopped parsley and Parmesan.

For a tasty, but naughty alternative, add 50ml cream to enrich the sauce!
A great addition to this dish is asparagus! Snap the stems and cut the asparagus into 2-3cm pieces. Add to the boiling pasta for the last 2 minutes.

Friday, 17 July 2009

Chocolate Brownies

These chocolate brownies are very rich and come with a 'diet warning'! The recipe makes a large batch, so when they have gone cold I suggest cutting them up and freezing them in batches. They freeze really well and are fab if you let them defrost and heat them a little in the microwave and serve with some icecream - Yum!


  • 370g butter
  • 370g chocolate - 70% cocoa (Lindt is good)
  • 6 large eggs
  • 1 dstsp vanilla extract
  • 500g caster sugar
  • 225g plain flour
  • 300g chopped nuts (optional - but a must for true brownies))


Preheat the oven to180C. Line a roasting tin (approx 33cm x 23cm and 5cm deap) with baking paper. Melt the butter and chocolate in a large bowl. I do this in the microwave on high power for 3 minutes. Stir and continue to heat in 20 second intervals until the mixture has melted. Allow to cool. Beat the eggs, sugar and vanilla with an electric whisk for 2-3 minutes until the mixture is light. Add the chocolate mixture to the eggs, with the flour and nuts and mix until just combined. Pour the mixture into your lined tin and bake in the middle of the oven for 30 minutes, or until the top of the brownie is pale and slightly cracked. Do not over cook the brownies as they need to be a little gooey. As long as the mixture doesn't wobble it is cooked!

Best eaten on day 2 or 3!

Bet you can't wait that long :-)

Wednesday, 15 July 2009

Rice Crispie Crackle Cakes

If you are a fan of chocolate - beware. This is one of my easiest and most dangerous recipes. Once you start making these you wont be able to stop. Give them to your friends, you will score major brownie points.

  • 8 Mars bars (or caramel, nougat chocolate bars)
  • 100g butter
  • 75g rice crispies

Cut the chocolate bars into small pieces with a knife and transfer to a large pan with the butter. melt over a low heat for a few minutes stirring occasionally. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the rice crispies making sure they are evenly coated with the chocolate mixture. Transfer to a small oven tray or dish, lined with double thickness cling film or plastic wrap. Push down with a metal spoon and level the surface. Transfer to the fridge to cool for at least 1 hour. Turn out the crackle cake and cut into squares. The crackle cake will keep in an airtight container for 3 or 4 days.

Best eaten chilled from the fridge!

Tuesday, 14 July 2009

Crispy Garlic Potatoes

Not only are these better for you than oven chips they are quicker to prepare and cook and will go down a treat with everyone.


  • 300g potatoes per person
  • Olive oil
  • Whole garlic cloves
  • Sea salt

Pre-heat the oven 200C/400F. Wash the potatoes, dry and cut into 2-3cm chunks. Crack the cloves of garlic and transfer to a roasting tray with the potatoes and a generous drizzle of olive oil. Bake in the oven for 30-40 minutes, or until the potatoes are golden and crisp and cooked through. Remove from the oven, sprinkle with salt and serve.

Delicious with garlic mayo!

Left over potatoes can be used the next day to make a delicious Spanish omelette! See my blog!

Garlic mayo

Add a crushed clove of fresh garlic to 2 tablespoons of mayonnaise, stir well and serve.

Mini Cupcakes

Cupcakes are back in fashion so this recipe is a must for both kids as well as adults. Let your imagination run wild with the decorations - mini pic and mix always goes down well.


  • 200g butter, softened
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 1 dstsp vanilla extract
  • 4 eggs
  • 200g self-raising flour
Pre-heat the oven for 190C/375F. Cream the butter, sugar and vanilla in a large bowl for 2-3 minutes, until light and creamy. Add the eggs and flour and beat to combine, but do not over mix. Spoon or pipe the cake batter into cake cases, filling the cases 1/2 full. Bake in the centre of the oven for 8-12 minutes, or until the cakes are golden brown and springy to the touch. Allow to cool on a wire rack before decorating.


  • Icing sugar
  • orange or lemon juice
  • Food colouring
Put approximately 3 tablespoons of icing sugar in a bowl with 3 teaspoons of juice or water. Mix well to combine and form a thick paste. Add icing sugar and liquid until the desired texture is reached. For coloured icing, add a few drops of food colouring. Spoon the icing onto the cakes and allow to set. Decorate the cakes while the icing is soft, so the decorations will stick.

Instead or icing you could also use butter cream

Butter cream
  • 150g butter, room temperature
  • 250g icing sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
Cream the ingredients together in a large bowl with a wooden spoon, until light and fluffy. For chocolate butter cream, add 2 tablespoons of cocoa powder. Pipe or spread the butter cream onto the cooled cakes.

Sunday, 12 July 2009

Easy One Knead Bread

I developed this recipe to teach 5 year olds how to make bread. I now get accosted by their parents almost on a daily basis for the recipe because it is so easy.
It only requires one 5min knead and is pretty much left alone to do its thing.

  • 600g Strong White Bread Flour
  • 7g Easy Dry Yeast
  • 1tsp brown sugar
  • 2tsp salt
  • 400ml lukewarm water
  • 3 tblsp melted butter


Mix all the ingredients in a bowl and then knead either by hand or by machine for 5mins. Put the dough in a loaf tin or divide into small rolls. Cover with a clean tea towel and leave to rise in a warm place for approx 1 hour, or until the dough has doubled in size. Cook in a preheated oven 200c/400f for 30 mins.

And that is it.

You can use 400g of white and 200g of wholemeal flour if you wish.