Monthly Archives: April 2013

Easter Monday 2013

A nice, long lie in for me, an early start to work for Colin.  I raided the fridge for lunch and came up with mini pizza.  A tasty, veggie lunch, using up alot of odds and ends.



On Saturday I had bought some Italian sausages from Carmela, the Italian Deli in Horsham.  I remembered a recipe I used to cook all the time when I lived in Brussels, originally from the Tessa Kiros book ‘Twelve’: Sausages and Beans.



This is one of the simplest meals I’ve made, and certainly one of the yummiest.  The sauages are simply either grilled or cooked in the oven.  The bean stew in made as so:

1 garlic clove, chopped

2 red chillis, chopped

6 sage leaves, chopped

2 tins chopped tomatoes

1 tin cannellini beans

  • add a splash of olive oil to a saute pan and fry the garlic and chilli for 1 min.  Add the sage and stir around.
  • add the tomatoes and cook for 30 mins until thick.
  • add the beans, stir through and cook for a further 10 mins, adding a little water if the sauce is becoming too thick.
  • serve with the sausages and a sprinkling of more sage if you like.

You have to have some good red wine with it- preferably Italian- a Valpolicella did the job nicely!

Easter Sunday 2013

Happy Easter!  


My Easter pressie was a Cupcake Making Machine (pretty in pink) so we took it with us up to Colin’s parents to launch it into action.  The little cakes above were created by me but expertly decorated by my nephew Toby (11) and husband Colin (42)!  The men were very much in touch with their feminine side, using pink icing, pink glitter and pearly sprinkles to create the prettiest cupcakes I’ve ever seen!  16 made, 16 eaten…….  I do believe this cupcake machine will be used…alot!

I was in lunch duty, which was great as it’s been ages since I had more than just the 2 of us to cook for.  So a big roast: chicken, pigs in blankets, yorkshires, roasties, carrots (finished in orange juice to make them super juicy and orange, mashed sweet potato and swede, broccoli, green beans and sprouts.  Brilliant gravy was made using some Heston chicken stock and all the lovely juices from the bird.  Clean plates all round and a very happy chef!


For dessert a New York Cheesecake with blueberries and raspberries which is always a hit- I could easily eat half of it myself….   

We stayed to watch the boat race and then hit the road for home.  For a late snack-like dinner I made a little pizza which we washed down with a bottle of Vino Nobile de Montepuciano, and went to bed happy.  Although I realise now not much chocolate was consumed- we will need to rectify that tomorrow!!!

Saturday 30th March 2013

Wow, what a busy week it’s been!  Now I have 3 days off for a well earned rest, some time to recharge the batteries is definitely called for.

Being Saturday night it must be curry night and yet another experimentation evening.  Soon we will be able to have our perfect, favourite curry night banquet!



Usually our curry nights are veggie, but tonight I am trying some recipes from Madhur Jaffrey’s Curry Easy and one of them (bottom right) is a sausage pattie.  It’s actually made from pork mince and spices, mixed, chilled and griddled until cooked through.  It was actually delicious and will be making a regular appearance on the French Thomas table.

The 2 other curries are a tomato and onion curry, and a potato and cumin curry.  The potato was lovely- and very simple.  It called for waxy potatoes but I only had some King Edwards in and they did the job perfectly, and probably cooked alot quicker.  Simply sauteed with curry leaves, cumin, fennel and coriander seeds and sprinkled with paprika and cayenne, they made a perfect little sandwich with the patties in the pitta bread.  All perked up with a red onion, tomato and lime juice salad- a yummy start to a mini break.

Thursday 28th March 2013

It’s busy, busy, busy at work so an easy dinner was called for!  Also poor Colin was working late so not in until 9pm meaning we didn’t want anything too heavy, but definitely needed some tastiness.  Laziness directed me to the ready made pasta section at work and I bought some little tortellini men- light but full of flavour (have I been watching too much Masterchef!), taking only minutes to cook!  With it I made a good tomato sauce- a French Thomas staple, so here’s the recipe….

The French Thomas Standard Sauce

1 small red or white onion, chopped

splash olive oil

2 garlic cloves, chopped

2/3 hot red chillis, split open but left whole

100ml marsala, or a glass of dry white wine

6 fresh tomatoes, chopped and hard core removed

1 tin chopped tomatoes

salt & pepper

  • heat the oil in a large saute pan and add the onions, garlic and chilli.  Sweat down for 5-10 mins on a low heat until the onions are soft and translucent. 
  • add the marsala or wine to the pan and let it bubble down, reducing it by half.
  • add the fresh tomatoes and tinned tomatoes, stir and season.  Let it bubble slowly for about 40mins.

You could use 2 tins of tomatoes instead if you don’t have any fresh tomatoes around.  You could also add some herbs if you like- some basil at the end maybe, or some thyme for the last 5 mins or so.  This is the basis to so many of the dinners we make- delicious with fish, perked up with some spices, but most often eaten with pasta as my ultimate comfort food.  Yum!

Tomorrow it’s Good Friday but I am working late- that really does not seem right!- so no dinner for me, and a chilli for Colin.

Wednesday 27th March 2013

In an attempt to begin to empty the over flowing freezer tonight we have had some Toulouse Sausages.  I have adapted a Gordon Ramsay recipe for sausages and rice which is quite tasty- a bit like a paella but with long grain rice, red peppers, sausages broken into little pieces, and stock. A little bowl of warming food is presented for dinner- just the thing on such a coldey night.

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