Monthly Archives: May 2013

Bank Holiday Monday 27th May 2013

Today is officially the count down to my gorgeous sister’s wedding- 1 year and counting, then Santorini here we come!

So I am turning over a new leaf and becoming more healthy and full of vitality! Or at least that is the plan and to help me I have invested in a new juicer…..

ImageHere it is in all it’s glory! Kitchen rearranged to fit it in and I am determined to use it every day- well, I’ll try at least.

This mornings juice- Zing Juice

ImageA foaming glass of green goodness: 2 apples, 1 pear, 2 kiwis and 1lime. Delicious and kept me going until lunchtime.

A small trip out in the afternoon took me for a walk in the sunshine ending in Hampton at the beer shop…..

ImageMy favourite Westmalle, and super refreshing Chalky. They are now in the fridge getting ready freezing cold, as they should be.

Dinner was a roasted veggie tart: puff pastry loaded up with aubergines, courgette, onion, tomato and red pepper. A hit, served with some buttered jersey royals. Yum!

Weekend 25/26th May 2013

It may be a bank holiday weekend but we are both working- poor us!!! However, we were both off for the last bank holiday weekend so I guess this is only fair.

 So to make life happier we have needed 2 delicious dinners, and Saturday night was a particular triumph.

ImageMy photographic skills need some serious upgrading! But despite appearances I a, delighted to say that this dish was gorgeous- light yet filling and full of warming spice. Here’s the recipe:

Cod with Roasted Peppers and Chickpeas

2 fillets of cod

1 tbsp olive oil

1 garlic clove, chopped

1 small jar of roasted red peppers, drained and sliced

1 small punnet of cherry tomatoes, halved

1/2 tin chickpeas, drained

1 tsp paprika, plus more for sprinkling

1 lemon

  • Season the fish and either pan fry or roast in the oven for 15mins. I used the oven as the flat is small and can be overwhelmed with fishy smells!
  • In a large pan heat the oil and add the garlic for 1 min.
  • Add the peppers and cherry tomatoes and stir for 10mins. Add the chickpeas and paprika and cook for 10mins until hot through and fragrant. Season.
  • Serve the fish on top of the chickpeas with a sprinkling of paprika, and a squeeze of lemon.

Both Thomas plates were completely emptied which is always a good sign. A good bottle of old vine Zinfandel made for a lovely evening, ready for another day at work while everyone else is enjoying the (rare) sunshine!

I seem to have a habit of picking the wrong food for the weather at the moment…. a side effect of planning in advance I suppose. So despite today being gloriously warm and sunny we are having Shepherd’s Pie. Lovely though, I can’t complain as once again 2 completely empty plates. And for once I have managed not to completely overeat which I almost always do with Shepherd’s Pie. Another portion ready for a late night dinner- yippee!



Friday 24th May 2013

Here is a sneaky Bellini to welcome in the sunshine!

ImageThis has accompanied a Friday night curry from the Teddington Tandoori- always delicious and tonight did not disappoint.  I was supposed to be cooking a roasted vegetable tart but it took 2 hours to drive home from work and it would have been very cruel to make me cook…

Yesterday, however, was my day off. A lovely restful day interspersed with some good food. Lunch was a healthy and yummy tabbouleh.


Small handful of bulgar wheat

2 large tomatoes, seeded and chopped

6 spring onions, chopped

Large bunch coriander, chopped

Large bunch parsley, chopped

Small bunch mint, chopped

1 lemon

1tsp garlic oil

Salt & pepper

  • Pour boiling water over the bulgar and leave to stand for 20mins or so until it has softened and is a good texture to eat. Drain and cool.
  • In a large bowl mix all of the ingredients, squeezing over as much lemon juice as you like- I use the whole lemon as I like it quite sharp. Don’t be stingy with the salt either as the tomatoes really love it.
  • Eat immediately!

This is great for a tasty lunch, but we often do it as part of a mezze type meal.

ImageLunch is sitting on top of a pile of Olive magazines from the past couple of years. I am continuing my cull of magazines so spent the day going through and tearing out recipes to try. Actually got through them all but spent the entire say starving, looking at such great foodie ideas. Lots to inspire me in the weeks ahead!

For dinner the old fav- spaghetti bolognaise. Pleasing as always, and as always I have eaten too much……

Tuesday 21st May 2013

Feeling a bit chilly, despite it being May and a little bit warmer, and looking to cook something with the gorgeous looking pork and wild garlic sausages we got from Natoora at the weekend. So, a midweek toad in the hole appeared! (never before seen out of a Sunday!)

ImageIt’s always a good excuse to get the gravy pan out- one of my favourite kitchen things. The sausage were very tasty, massive and meaty, and possibly a bit too wide for the mini toads here. But the gravy was delicious- WR red wine beef gravy, jazzed up with a stock cube, sausage cooking juices and a splash of soy sauce to make it really, very savoury. A good dinner all round I’d say.

Last night we had a kebab night- also usually a weekend meal! We’ve turned the week inside out it seems 🙈🙉🙊

Weekend 18/19th May 2013

ImageOur weekend off so we started Saturday with a delicious delivery from Natoora- full of delights, although over an hour late….. We were planning on going our for lunch and started to get anxious that we would be waiting in all day (ok, it was just me getting anxious, Colin knew we had plenty food arriving to keep us fed!).

Their website is particularly seductive, and I fell for some great veg which I used for Tonight’s dinner.


Beautiful globe aubergines and courgette!

I stuffed them with a spicy mixture of lamb mince, onions, the flesh of the veg and some Moroccan type spices- Colin’s favourite ras-al-hanout! Roasted in the oven for about half an hour and served with a harissa tomato sauce and salad. A great accompaniment to the Eurovision, yippee!!!

Inspired by national baking day I got up and whipped up a batch of strawberry and apple muffins.  They were easy and delicious and great for a mid morning coffee.

ImageHere’s the recipe for 8 big boys!

Strawberry and Apple Muffins

185g wholemeal flour

65g ground almonds

130g caster sugar

3tsp baking powder

2tsp ground cinnamon

Pinch salt

3tsp vanilla extract

120g unsalted butter, melted and cooled

2 eggs, beaten

1 large apple, peeled and chopped into little chunks

8 large strawberries, hulled and cut into 4

50g flaked almonds

1tbsp brown sugar

  • heat the oven to 180°
  • pop 8 muffin cases into a muffin tin
  • mix the flour, ground almonds, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon and salt in a large bowl.
  • in a separate bowl mix the vanilla, butter, eggs and 180ml warm water.
  • add the wet ingredients to the dry. Mix then add in the apple pieces.
  • Spoon into the cases, about 3/4 full.
  • pop pieces of strawberry on the top and sprinkle over the flaked almonds and sugar.
  • Bake in the oven for 30mins.
  • Eat when a little warm- really lovely.

We went our for a long walk after coffee to blow the cobwebs away. The muffins fortified us for the morning nicely.

For lunch I made some mini pitta pizzas with the piccante salami from Natoora. We also had a glass of white wine from Plumpton Estate in Sussex which was lovely and light, and really cold.

We finished the weekend off with some chicken, roasties, and griddled English asparagus and radicchio. What a delicious weekend we have had, seems a shame to go back to work tomorrow!


Friday 17th May 2013

I wonder why I always feel that I ‘should’ eat fish on Friday? I’m sure we didn’t have a fish on Friday rule when I was growing up, but I will ask the parents to see what their memory is!

Tonight was a bit of an experiment….

Image… and really nice. I would urge you to give this a try.

Soy and Sesame Salmon with Coconut Rice

2 fillets of salmon

2tbsp soy sauce

1tbsp sesame oil

1tbsp runny honey

100g basmati rice

200g water

200g coconut milk

1 carrot

1 courgette

1 red onion

1 garlic clove

Handful baby spinach leaves

  • mix half the soy with the sesame and honey. Pour over the salmon and rub it all over. You could marinade this overnight for a more intense flavour, but I left it for only 45mins and it had taken on the flavour well.
  • pop the salmon in the oven at 180° for 30mins, until cooked through.
  • cook the rice in the water until he water has absorbed. Add the coconut milk and cook until all absorbed and the rice is cooked.
  • use a potato peeler to peel long slices of the carrot and courgette. Stir fry all the veg in a wok for a min or two. Add the remaining soy and toss in the pan for another couple of mins.
  • serve all together.

I have to make a confession though- I loved his dish but Colin did not! He loved the fish, thought the rice was good, but didn’t like the thin strips of veg- he thought they were limp and lifeless!!!

Thursday 16th May 2013

Last night we were both a bit tired and hungry so we popped along the road to Brouge ( for some Belgian yummy delights! It’s in an old pub building called ‘The Old Goat’ which always makes me laugh for some reasons. Anyway, Mussels for me with crispy fried and a couple of bottles of Orval- just what the doctor ordered.


Tonight Colin was working late so needed something to look forward to for dinner. Sausages are the obvious choice for such a night! I got hold of Colin’s favourite Old Spot pork and sage sausages and simply roasted them and served them with some little sautéed potatoes and salad.

Tuesday 14th May 2013

We have started to stock paneer at work again and it got me to thinking about giving it a try in some veggie recipes.  I actually hadn’t tasted it before and was expecting it to taste like a cross between halloumi and feta, but it was a lot less salty and, if I’m honest, not really tasting of anything.  I guess that is why it works so well in highly spiced and flavoured dishes as it can take on the taste really well, while adding a firm texture to the dish.

So tonight I concocted some red lentil and paneer fritters with a spicy tomato sauce.  The fritters were easy to make and surprisingly lovely: I simply mixed some cooked red lentils with grated paneer, ground cumin, salt and pepper, and a little cayenne pepper.  I moulded them into little cigar shaped lads, rolled them in wholemeal flour and baked them in a hot oven for 20mins until cooked through and crispy.

They were really lovely, and could have taken on more Spice. However, I nearly killed Colin with a very chilli tomatoey sauce!!!! I think he is turning into a wimp!!!!

Weekend 11/12th May 2013

Sunday was my day off and what a great lunch for me!!!

ImageThis pan of loveliness turned into a clam linguine- I sautéed the clams in garlic, chilli, white wine and a handful of chopped cherry tomatoes, popped the lid on to make the clams pop open.  It was absolutely delicious if I say so myself! And one of the perks of having a different day off to Colin as this would not have brought a smile to his tum……

I had some butternut squash in the fridge which needed to be used up so I spent some time (probably way too much time….) looking at suitable recipes as an accompaniment for dinner.  In the end I brought several recipes together to make a really lovely side dish.ImageFrom 12 o’clock on the photo we have : rosemary roasted potatoes, pan fried sirloin steak, mustard sprouts, and finally the squash.  An absolute triumph across the plate, but my favourite was definitely the squash, roasted with sage and tossed with walnuts and stilton.  It would be great on it’s own for lunch, well if you made a bigger portion of course! Here’s the recipe:

Sage roast butternut squash

1 butternut squash, cut into 1cm thick slices

4-5 fresh sage leaves, torn in half

Olive oil

4-5 walnuts, roughly chopped

Small piece of stilton, or other strong blue cheese, crumbled

  • place the squash on a roasted sheet. Scatter over the sage leaves, season and splash with some olive oil.
  • roast in the oven at 200° for about 30mins until browned around the edges and soft.
  • put on a serving plate. Scatter over the walnuts and cheese and eat immediately.

Yesterday we had kebab night- spicy lamb kebabs with pitta bread and salads.  It was ok I guess, filled a gap! Tomorrow night I am late night so no dinner for me (pie and mash for Colin).

Friday 10th May 2013

I have been trying to make some space for my books and made the (quite scary) decision to get rid of my ‘Food and Travel’ magazines. I love the magazine, but rarely go back to look at them, and they take up ALOT of space! So I have been spending some time going through the magazines and taking out any recipes or articles in there that I want for the future.  Tonight’s dinner was inspired by a recipe I found, and only slightly adapted to make a delicious meal.

ImageHere’s the recipe…

Spiced Haddock with Indian Potatoes

2 Haddock fillets – or cod, or any white fish

1 tbsp Medium curry powder

1 tsp vegetable oil

1 tbsp lemon juice

3 large potatoes, cut into small chunks and par-boiled

1 tsp black mustard seeds

1 tsp yellow mustard seeds

1 tsp cumin seeds

Small handful of curry leaves

1 large onion, chopped

Fresh coriander, chopped, for garnishing

  • mix the curry powder together with the oil and lemon juice.  Rub all over the fish and leave to stand for half an hour.
  • heat the oven to 180°.
  • pop the fish into the oven and bake for 20mins, or until lightly cooked through.
  • meanwhile… heat a splash of oil in a frying pan and add the mustard seeds, cumin and curry leaves. Add the chopped onion and stir fry for 10mins. Add the potato and stir until the potato is browned and a little bit crispy.
  • serve the fish sitting on top of the potatoes, with the coriander strewn over the top.
  • bon appetit!


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