Friday, 12 December 2014

It's Friday and here are my 5 things....


I have purchased all of my Christmas presents - which must be a record for me. Plus last weekend H got most of his which is surely a record for him! So I feel smug. Then I stop feeling smug when I look at the mountains of presents I have to wrap. I have a bit of a tradition whereby I stick on Love Actually, pour myself a glass of wine and spend the evening wrapping up my gifts. I try and keep it as peaceful and as calm as possible!


I have also ordered the Christmas meat - a ham and a turkey. I always want to try goose but then I worry that if people didn't like it then Christmas dinner would be ruined.  I have to confess I don't cook the feast itself - my brother takes on that challenge and he is AWESOME at it.... I will be making these for the starter / canape - perfect with a glass of champagne! 


Check out these vibrant colours! I went a bit Mexican this week and shared some fresh and easy recipes for fish tacos and courgette quesadillas - check them out! Anyone else created something ace in their kitchens this week?


(Not on the High Street)

I've been thinking about my Christmas outfit this year and is it a bit odd that this is by far my favourite thing I've come across. And its for kids. Man, I love petticoats and I love stripes! Even the pigtails I feel are inspired!


Recipe: Christmas Spritz (an easy cocktail of prosecco and pomegranate juice). Photo: Karsten Moran for The New York Times
(New York Times)
We are going to my friend Lulabelle's for a Christmas party on Saturday and I am taking ingredients for a Christmas Cocktail - the one I have linked to uses pomegranate but I will make it with cranberry juice. 
1 part cranberry to 2 parts prosecco with a squeeze of lime. 
I'll also make some ginger fizzes:
piece of stem ginger, 1 tsp stem ginger syrup topped up with prosecco

Christmas is well and truly on its way! 

So many Friday link ups! Happy to be linking up with these lovely ladies!

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

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The Sandwich Sessions #2........ {Courgette Quesadillas}

My eldest little sister (who blogs over here) gave me the idea a while ago that I should do a blog series on how to take your sandwiches to a whole other level and enjoy this most perfect of comfort foods.

Today I'm going for a Mexican toasted sandwich - a quesadilla which I make with courgette, chorizo and lots of gooey melted cheese. You can omit the chorizo if you want this to be vegetarian and you can also omit the spice if you so wish - which I never do! Perfect served with an ice cold beer!

Courgette Quesadillas

1 onion, diced 
50g chorizo, cubed 
olive oil
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2tsp cumin 
2 tbsp tomato puree 
1 tin black beans, drained 
2 courgettes, sliced on the diagonal 
200g cheddar, grated 
green chilli, finely chopped
handful of coriander

take a griddle pan and heat it up, using a pastry brush, brush the courgette with olive oil and then place them on the pan and char-grill them on each side, set aside to cool, season and squeeze over a bit of lime juice. in a separate pan fry off the onion and chorizo in a pan with a tiny splash of oil. once they have softened add in the garlic, cumin and tomato puree and cook off for a couple of minutes. add in the beans along with around 6 tablespoons of water and mash the beans a bit with a fork until you have a rough paste. in a bowl combine the cheese, chilli and  coriander. take a shallow pan and place on tortilla on one half add the beans, courgette and the cheese and then fold it over, pressing down slightly, cook for a few minutes and then turn over and cook for a couple of minutes on the other side. remove from pan and then repeat until you have used all the ingredients. 

I'm linking this "session" with Honest Mummys blog's link up - Tasty Tuesdays! 

Tasty Tuesdays on

Monday, 8 December 2014

An easy option.....{fish tacos with avocado and corn salsa}

Ah this blog of mine, how I have neglected you. I can only blame impending Christmas and so much going on at work. Still, Christmas shopping is nearly done and I'm looking forward to two weeks of work soon! Will be good to rest.

When time is short we turn to tacos a lot in our household. This is a favourite which is really easy and made up of ingredients I always tend to have in the kitchen!

Fish Tacos with Avocado and Corn salsa 

fish, cooked - I used just some breaded fish and cut it in to pieces but I have used steamed salmon and baked cod on occasion (depending on healthy I want to be)
tin of sweetcorn, drained
2 tomatoes, chopped
green chilli, finely chopped
1/2 red onion, diced 
2 avocados, diced
small handful of coriander, chopped 
splash of olive oil
juice of a lime 
wholewheat tortillas 

put corn in a dry pan and cook over heat until the corn is charred, combine all the the other ingredients in a bowl and season. add in the corn and taste - you may want to add more lime. take your cooked fish and lay on a tortilla that has been warmed and add on a healthy amount of the salsa. Devour. 

you can add some cheese if you so wish and I quite often make the salsa minus the sweetcorn. 

Thursday, 27 November 2014

The days are getting colder.........{Stuffed Pumpkins and Baked Cod)

I swear it hasn't stopped raining in London/ Kent the last few days. I'm kind of over grey skies and drizzle, and I'm a self confessed rain lover. I don't know it's all a bit melancholy. Still December is just around the corner and then the dark nights become more magical and there's the end in sight to the exhaustion of work as we have the Christmas holiday to look forward to.  On these dark and cold autumn nights we need food that will nourish and warm us. These pumpkins are a great side dish although we sometimes have them on their own. I did them with cod this time as I like cod and chorizo - they go well together. If you are vegetarian feel free to omit the chorizo the stuffing will work just as well without it

Stuffed Pumpkins and Baked Cod

1 medium pumpkin, cut in half and de-seeded
1/2 aubergine, diced finely
1 small onion, diced finely
1/4 orange pepper, diced finely
50g chorizo, diced finely
3 tbsp. breadcrumbs, I used panko
50g blue cheese, gorgonzola works well here
sprinkling of grated parmesan or cheddar
2 pieces of fresh cod
couple of lemon slices

take the two halves of pumpkin rub them all over with olive oil and bake for about 30mins. in a pan cook the onion and pepper with chorizo, remove from the pan and add a couple of glugs of olive oil and then cook the aubergine. once the aubergine is cooked then add the bread crumbs and the other already cooked ingredients. take the pumpkin from the oven and scoop out the flesh so there is a cm left(this will help you pumpkin remain sturdy) add the flesh chopped up a bit into your stuffing mix and crumble in the blue cheese. give the stuffing a good mix and then stuff the pumpkins, top with grated cheese and cook on a medium to high oven for approx. 45mins until lightly brown on top. I cooked the cod in a bag made from greaseproof paper (as I did in this recipe here) I just seasoned the fish well and laid it on a couple of slices of fresh lemon, wrapped it in its parcel and cooked for around 25mins.

Thursday, 20 November 2014

Baking for Builders.........{Snickerdoodle Cookies}

H recently got a promotion and on his last day I sent him off with a batch of snickerdoodle cookies. Snickerdoodles are a wonderful sugar and cinnamon cookie that whenever H takes these into work they are always a hit! We love their cinnamon delicate taste. I always have the ingredients in the cupboard and they are very simple to make. When I first made these and was looking at various recipes I noticed there is a bit of a debate whether they should be soft, dense, thick, chewy, crisp.... mine are how I like them crisp with a slight chew, I am by no means saying that they are traditional but I like them just the way they are! 

Snickerdoodle Cookies 

140g caster sugar
120g light brown sugar
120g salted butter, make sure it is at room temperature
1 egg, beaten
200g flour
pinch salt
1 TBSP cinnamon
1 TSP bicarbonate of soda
about 4 TBSP of granulated sugar and 1 TBSP cinnamon for coating the biscuits

preheat oven to 180oC and line a couple of baking trays with greaseproof paper. cream together the butter with the two types of sugar. add in beaten egg and mix well. in a separate bowl mix together the flour, salt, cinnamon and soda - you could sieve this if you want but I rarely bother sieving these days as flour is so processed. Add the two mixes together so it is a firmish dough. put the granulated sugar and cinnamon in a bowl, take a small piece of the dough (about the size of a walnut) and roll it in the sugar. place on baking sheet,. make sure the cookies are spaced out as they spread a lot. bake in oven for 8-10 minute until they are lightly brown.  

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

How do you like your eggs in the morning?......... {huevos rancheros}

Sunday mornings are usually spent in bed and lets be honest quite often with a slightly sore head from the night before. H usually loves one of my bacon sandwiches on a Sunday morning but recently we have been a bit more health conscious so said sandwich have kind of come of the menu. Instead this weekend I rustled up some Mexican Eggs (Huevous rancheros) which are so tasty with a real kick and totally get rid of any lingering hangover. There are a number of recipes out there for Huevous rancheros and this mine. Enjoy. By the way - this recipe works best when you make it listening to the soundtrack to Chef. 

Huevos Rancheros

handful of chorizo, diced 
1 small onion, diced 
1 green chilli, finely chopped 
1/2 red chilli, finely chopped 
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped 
2 tomatoes, diced 
1 tin chopped tomato
handful of coriander, chopped 
1 tsp smoked paprika
a little grated cheese 
tortilla wraps, I used wholemeal 

fry off your chorizo for a couple of minutes and then add the onion and chilli and a bit of oil if it needs it. cook until soft. add in the garlic and after a few minutes add the fresh tomato. cook until the tomatoes have soften and add the tinned tomato along with the paprika and 2/3rds of the coriander - as always when using tinned tomatoes add a tsp of sugar and season with salt and pepper. allow to simmer for 10 minutes. in the meantime fry as many eggs as you need. brush your tortilla with a little oil and place in hot frying pan and allow it to puff up on each side. place your tortilla on the plate, add a couple spoonful of the tomato mix, squeeze over some lime juice and a sprinkling of cheese. top with the egg, another squeeze of lime and some coriander. 

Monday, 10 November 2014

A week away......

H and I had a lovely week away staying in Norfolk in a little cottage by the sea which was lovely and peaceful and relaxing. Now I am back at work and have so much to do! so this post is just some photos of our time away, oh how I wish the time hadn't passed by so quickly!  

As you will see we did lots of eating on this trip! 

Saturday, 1 November 2014

To My Birthday Boy

Dear H

So it's your birthday and your another year older and the age gap between us widens that little bit more for a few months at least...... 

a year ago today we were still at the very beginning of our adventure together - look at us now, living together and about to let a cat into our lives..... who'd have thought it although I think we both knew how we wanted our story to develop

I'm so proud of you for getting your promotion recently and I'm excited for you as you start your new job when we get back from holiday..... You work so hard and I'm pleased your talents are being recognised

I can't for this week off we have together and I'm so looking forward to our mini break to the cottage in Norfolk, lots of walks, cozy nights in and visits to traditional pubs! I think we are both so ready for some R&R .........

I love celebrating your birthday because it's a celebration of the kindest, most handsome, special man I's not a lie that everyone we meet loves you and i know how very lucky I am that you made the choice to love me.......... love is a choice and for us it wasn't the most obvious choice but the best decision i ever made was to persuade you to give me a chance - to look beyond the age and see the possibilities in store for us...... 

so thank you my darling one, thank you for loving me the best and for your patience with me as I adjust to this new period in our relationship......thank you for bringing me a cup of tea every morning........thank you for always being on my team and being my number one supporter.......thank you for endless cuddles and kisses....... thank you for taking me on walks and buying me red wine......thank you for embarking on dry January with me.......thank you for making me laugh every day and ironing my clothes.......thank you being the person by my side. 

I truly am the luckiest girl to have found you. 

Happy Birthday, I love you. 


Thursday, 30 October 2014

Blogtober Day 30: Facts about me

I love rain and thunderstorms and puddles, I like to be cold so living in the UK makes perfect sense for me

I am the worlds silliest and craziest dancer i look really mad but I love it and I love making people laugh when I'm dancing

My siblings are my world and I would honestly do anything for them, I love them so much and our bond is so special 

There is a  19 years and 7 month age gap between me and my love

 I am pretty photogenic but also maybe just a little bit vain

I tell my sister jenni everything even though i probably shouldn't- I've probably put her of men for life 

I still feel like a completely geeky, gawky, clumsy young girl 

I always have tomato ketchup sachets and a tube of english mustard in my handbag 

Recently I became a published food writer which was a dream come true. In the future I would like this to be my full time career 

 I am incredibly loyal and would do anything for my friends and family, even if I haven't spoken to you in ages I would drop anything to help a friend out 

One of my greatest achievements was getting my first and no matter what people say no one can take that away from me 

 Although i have been really hurt I would never change a second of any of the experiences I've had in life- they have made me who I am, be that a good or bad thing 

 I have a few close friends- they know who they are and without them i would be lost 

I love champagne and Prosecco they are my favourite thing ever 

I love cooking, I love going out for meals, I love flavours, I love menus, I love food full stop 

I am incredibly honest and very open about things, I like to think that this is why I'm quite good at giving advice 

I always have my phone on silent even though it drives my friends and H batty 

Sometimes I get so happy and excited about life I really want to walk along the streets dancing and singing 

I talk to myself ALL THE TIME its really embarrassing but Its one of the reasons I'm quirky

When I was younger I used to always look for drama in life, now I actively don't- life's complicated enough!

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

A Cheesecake of the chocolate variety......... {Chocolate Cheesecake}

Fact # 1 - I am not great at making puddings look pretty

Fact # 2 - I do make great tasting puddings, so yes, there's that

I made this for a friend's dinner party we went to at the weekend. I always offer to do dessert if I am going to a dinner party. Or the starter. An I always take a bottle or two of wine and some flowers / chocolates for the host. Because it's not easy to host dinner parties but they are such wonderful occasions. I add the baileys because it tastes good but you can leave it out if so wish. The inspiration for this recipe came  from Lorraine Pascale's Home Cooking Made Easy 

Chocolate Cheesecake 

450g chocolate digestives or oreo cookies, crushed 
75g butter, melted 
800g cream cheese 
5 TBSP baileys liqueur 
2 TBSP icing sugar
500g milk chocolate 
100g white chocolate 
vegetable oil 

take the crushed biscuits and the melted butter and combine in a bowl. press the mixture in greased spring form tin, cover and place in fridge for half an hour. combine the icing sugar, cream cheese and baileys in a bowl. melt 350g of the chocolate in a bowl (a little vegetable oil helps) and spoonful by spoonful add the cream cheese mixture in the melted chocolate until combined and you have a silky smooth chocolate mixture. pour on top of your biscuit base, level off and then refrigerate for a further hour or so. melt the remaining milk chocolate and white chocolate (separately) and spread the milk chocolate on top of the cheesecake. take the white chocolate and pipe thin lines on to the cheese cake and use a cocktail stick to drag the pattern - this is where I struggle to make things look pretty, but who cares, everyone loved the taste! 

Today I'm linking up with Fitness Blondie - I know this isn't healthy but it's great as a treat! Happy Hump Day!

The Hump Day Blog Hop

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Italian Tomato Toasts..... {Bruschetta}

I love Italy for so many reasons (I wrote about it here) but one of the main reasons is the food. It's where I first fell in love with cooking, where I learnt to ramp of my cooking, to appreciate flavours and textures and most importantly to respect ingredients. If you have a piece of fish fresh from the boat cook it simply with the gentlest of seasoning, if you have a piece of fresh bread rub it with a juicy fresh garlic and a drizzle of local olive oil, ripe peaches are amazing if you grill them and serve with a drizzle of honey... you catch my drift. Simplicity is the key to beautiful Italian cooking and having a glut of tomatoes growing in the garden I used them to make this simple, traditional Italian starter which is done so badly throughout the UK in fake Italian restaurants. This is how it should be done. 

 Italian Bruschetta

400g cherry tomatoes, roughly diced - I used red and yellow
1/4 red onion, very finely diced
balsamic vinegar
good quality olive oil
Ciabatta loaf (or any other stone baked white loaf), cut into thin slices and toasted
clove of garlic

take the tomatoes and onion and mix together with a small dash of balsamic vinegar and a good glug of olive oil. season well and then leave to rest at room temperature for at least half an hour so flavours can develop. Take the toasted bread and rub one side of each piece with the garlic and a drizzle of olive oil. when ready to serve, add a spoonful of bruschetta onto each toast and a couple of the really small leaves of basil for decoration. This is a great canape or starter and goes very well with a chilled glass of prosecco

Linking up with Honest Mum 

Tasty Tuesdays on

Eat Drink & Be Mary

Monday, 27 October 2014

When One Raids the Contents of Ones Fridge......... {Spanish Wild Rice}

The other day was one of those days when I hadn't planned what we were going to eat, I had no idea what I wanted us to eat and I hadn't gone to the shop to buy anything to eat so I just opened the fridge and cupboard and cobbled something together. I like cooking like that as I'm a firm believer that if you trust your experience of flavours, textures and ingredients there's always something that can be made from not much at all and as a budding cook its the best way to learn. This was a sort of combination of a basque and a paella and it tasted wonderful; the oil for the chorizo and the peppers delicately flavouring the nutty rice. I had to blog it as H loved it so much and I need to remember the recipe....

Spanish Wild Rice  

150g Chorizo, sliced in to circles size of pound coin 
one chicken breast cut into chunks 
one large onion, sliced
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped 
1/2 orange pepper, sliced
approx 200g cooked wild rice 
200ml chicken stock
100ml white wine 
1 TBSP tomato puree 
couple handfuls frozen peas

cook the chorizo in the pan, remove with slotted spoon. add chicken and cook in the chorizo oil, one cooked through and golden brown remove, add onion garlic and pepper to pan and cook until soften. add in the chorizo and chicken with tomato puree, stock and wine cook off for a couple of minutes before adding rice and frozen peas, season and transfer to oven proof dish and place in oven 200oC for approx 30-40minutes until the liquid is absorbed and the dish is piping hot. 

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Blogtober Day 22 : My Pet Peeves.... {rant ahead}

Confession: I am a pretty irritable and impatient person. It's funny because even though I like to think I'm pretty chilled out and calm about life in general I definitely have things that I get abnormally irritated by. H also says I have a time limit on my patience - if he starts to exceed it I will just take over. I say if you want a job done well, do it yourself.

Here are just a few of the things that wind me up:

1. Chewing with your mouth open. It's disgusting, it makes you look ugly, just stop.

2. Talking loudly on the phone when on a train. I don't care that "what Cheryl said to Paul was so f**cking amazing babe", I don't know you, I don't want to know your business, Shut Up. 

3. Vague Facebook status updates oh just spit it out or shut up 

4. Friends who don't put kisses at the end of texts. A text with no xxx at the end, is a text with no soul.

5. LOL, if i think what you say is funny I may just laugh out loud but please don't ever tell me too. 

6. And whilst we are at it ROLF, WTF, YOLO etc these are not cute, they are not clever they are just annoying, lest we forget! And don't even get me started to people who actually say it as well as write it 

7. People singing in American accents when they are British oh how I roll my eyes at this 

8. Not sealing food up properly so it goes stale H is THE WORST at doing this - it drives me bananas

9. Background noise when I'm trying to concentrate When I am trying to watch something/ concentrate on cooking etc and I can hear someones TV or people walking about in the flat upstairs I just can't cope with it. I like peace and quiet but so rarely get to experience it

10. Selfishness  I've just spent three and a half hours listening to you talk about your boyfriend's sister who just bought a puppy, after cooking you dinner and sharing my wine with you; you could at least ask me how my lunch was. 

Lets be honest, now I've started I could quite easily continue.......

What are your pet peeves? 

Linking up with Helene and Taylor for Blogtober!

Helene in Between Blogtober