Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Spam carbonara

Spam carbonara
Serves 1

Almost pay day, but need something comforting! Never made a successful carbonara without cream before but this was a triumph – the little knob of philly and a drizzle of truffle oil made it rich and luxurious.

50g spaghetti
2 slices of Spam, diced
1 free range egg (local farm eggs make soo much difference!)
1 knob of Philadelphia cream cheese
Salt and pepper
Drizzle of truffle oil
2 tsp grated parmesan cheese

Cook the spaghetti for 10 mins in boiling salted water. Meanwhile beat the egg, philly, salt and plenty  of pepper,  a drizzle of truffle oil (any more than ½ tsp would be too powerful) and 1 tsp parmesan.
Drain the spaghetti then put back in the saucepan and straight away add the egg mixture and toss with a spoon until the spaghetti is coated and the egg becomes a sauce.
Pour into a serving dish and add the remaining parmesan and extra pepper and a basil sprig if liked.

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Mummy's Chicken and Leek Pie

Mummy’s chicken and leek pie
Serves 2 with leftovers for next day

I have no idea where mum got this recipe. It is pure comfort food and is equally yummy served hot or cold the next day which is why I always make this amount! I tend to buy Elmlea cream is it lasts longer in the fridge - great if you live alone and only need a little at a time. My friend Mandy always requests this pie!

180ml chicken stock, from a cube
125ml glass of dry cider
2 chicken breasts
A large knob of butter
1 leek, chopped finely
1 celery stick, chopped finely
1 tbsp flour
2 tsp fresh thyme or lemon thyme leaves
125ml cream
1 tbsp Dijon mustard (or as much as you like)
1 sheet ready rolled shortcrust pastry
1 sheet ready rolled puff pastry
1 egg, beaten
Extra thyme leaves
Sea salt

Preheat the oven to 200C.

Put the stock and wine in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Add the chicken breasts and simmer with a lid on for 10 mins. Then remove from heat and leave for another 10 mins. Remove chicken and reserve about 200ml of the liquor. Chop chicken into little pieces.

Melt the butter in another saucepan and cook the leek and celery until soft. Add the flour and thyme, and stir until bubbling and starting to brown the flour. Slowly add in the cooking liquor and cream, stirring until thickened. Remove from heat and add the chicken and mustard.

Grease a pie dish and line with the shortcrust pastry. Pour in the chicken filling and top with the puff pastry. Seal or crimp the edges. Brush with egg and sprinkle over a few thyme leaves and a few sea salt flakes. Make an air hole.

Bake for 20-30 mins until the pastry is golden. Serve with new potatoes or mash and veggies. You could also make mini picnic pies using muffin tins!

Thursday, 25 July 2013

Keema Matar (lamb mince and pea curry)

Keema Matar
Serves 4-6 depending on how much bread or other accompaniments you serve

This is one of my favourite weekend recipes to make as although it is a little time consuming, it is really easy and the results are worth it. I find I usually have most of the ingredients – maybe just have to go out and get some fresh coriander, chilli and the mince. The results are deeply satisfying, rich, savoury, sweet from cinnamon and warm from the chilli. Eat with naan bread. I forgot to add the coriander for the photo - looks much better with it sprinked over!

2 tbsp oil
Half a cinnamon stick
2 cloves
2 cardamom pods, bruised
3 peppercorns
2 onions, chopped
500g Lean minced lamb
1 tsp curry powder
1 tbsp ground coriander (I like to grind my own)
½ tsp ground cumin (again, I grind mine)
¼ tsp chilli powder/cayenne
¼ tsp turmeric
1 tbsp. coriander stems, finely chopped
1 fresh red chilli, split but not all the way in half
½ tsp garlic paste
1 tsp ginger paste
½ tsp paprika
400g can chopped tomatoes
1 medium potato, peeled and cut into 2cm dice
150g frozen peas
¼ tsp garam masala
Chopped coriander leaves to garnish

Heat the oil in a wok (with a lid) and add the cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, peppercorns and onions.  Cook on a low heat until turning golden brown, but don’t let it burn. Turn up the heat and add the lamb, curry powder, ground coriander and cumin, chilli powder and turmeric. Stir well and break up all lumps. Stir fry until the lamb is brown – if a lot of fat is release try to drain a bit off, but not all of it.

Add the coriander stems, red chilli, garlic and ginger pastes, paprika and season with about 1 tsp salt. Stir fry on medium-low heat for about 5 minutes to cook out the pastes and spices. Then tip in the tomatoes and about half a can of water. Cover with a lid and cook on a low heat for about 5 minutes.

Add the potatoes, pushing them down into the curry and add a bit more water just to cover if necessary. Pop the lid back on and cover gently for anything from 20-40 minutes until the potatoes are tender. Add the peas and heat through for a couple of minutes. Turn heat off, sprinkle with garam masala and chopped coriander and serve. 

Monday, 8 July 2013

Turkey stir fry

Turkey stir fry
Serves 1

Did a fridge raid and cleared out some of my vegetables that have seen better days – this calls for a stir fry! I usually add the aromatics – garlic and ginger near the end so it doesn’t burn over the high heat at the start, and also it retains a fresher flavour. Just make sure you cook out the rawness. The sweet chilli sauce had also been hanging around in the fridge too long than I’d care to admit, but it all tasted nice :)

1tsp oil
Half a small onion, sliced
¼ yellow pepper, roughly chopped
¼ courgette, sliced
½ carrot, peeled and cut into matchsticks
1 field mushroom, sliced
Leftover cooked turkey strips
2 spring onion, sliced on the diagonal
½ clove garlic, chopped
1 tsp grated ginger root
1 tbsp Kikkoman soy sauce
1 tbsp sweet chilli stir fry sauce

Heat a wok or frying pan with the oil and throw in the onion, pepper and  carrot and stir fry over a high heat for 2 mins. Add the mushroom and cook for another minute until the hard vegetables are starting to soften slightly.  Add the turkey strips, spring onion, garlic and ginger and mix well – stir fry for a minute until the garlic is fragrant and cooked, then add the soy sauce and chilli sauce, stir and serve immediately.

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Curried Turkey Pilaff

Curried turkey pilaff
Serves 1

A great quick dinner using just a few ingredients and some leftover cooked turkey. Some coriander, mango chutney, fresh chillies, a squeeze of lemon and anything else you fancy would be very tasty additions but this is simple and very filling – not to mention cheap as chips!

1 tsp oil
Half an onion, finely chopped
2 tsp curry paste
Few strips of cooked turkey or chicken breast
½ tsp tumeric
½ pouch Tilda white basmati microwaveable rice
1 tbsp frozen peas
2 tsp flaked almonds
1 tsp sultanas
Few pumpkin seeds (optional)
2 pinches nigella seeds (optional)
Sprig of fresh mint, chopped

Heat the oil in a frying pan and cook the onion for a couple of minutes until starting to soften. Add the curry paste and cook for a min or two more to cook-out the spices. Add the turkey and turmeric and stir fry for a minute to heat through.

Open the rice and squeeze half a pouch into the pan and stir to break up any lumps and coat in the paste. Add the peas, almonds, sultanas and pumpkin and nigella seeds if using. Add a splash of water to help coat everything nicely and to stop the rice from being dry.

Tip into a bowl and add the chopped mint and eat!

Monday, 1 July 2013

Super Easy Mexican Peppers

Super Easy  Mexican Peppers
Serves 2

This is the easiest lunch/ snack ever! I was going to serve them as a hot starter at a Mexican party but we had way too many nachos and dip so ended up making them yesterday.

2 small green peppers, halved and seeded
Spray oil
1 pouch Tilda Mexican microwavable rice
2 tbsp frozen sweetcorn, defrosted
2 tbsp grated cheddar
Paprika or cayenne

Preheat oven to 200C. Spray the peppers with a little oil and place cut side up in a roasting tin. Roast the peppers for about 30 mins until softened and singed at the edges.
Cook the rice in the microwave for 2 mins. Put the sweetcorn in to heat for the last 10 secs. Mix together and pile into the pepper halves. Sprinkle with cheese and place back in the oven until the cheese is melted and bubbling.

Sprinkle with paprika or cayenne if you like the heat and eat hot or warm with salad. 

You could add chopped coriander and a squeeze of lime if you have any to add extra zing to the rice.

Friday, 28 June 2013

Tuna and olive pasta

Tuna and olive pasta
Serves 2-3

I eat this at least once a month – usually in the run up to pay day when there’s nothing in the house to eat! If you have any leftover it will sit happily in the fridge until the next day. The sauce is quite punchy with salty olives and capers and a bit of warm heat from the chilli flakes, but you can always leave the chilli out if you are giving it to kids.

125g rigatoni or penne pasta
2 tsp olive oil
1 sprig rosemary (or use ½ tsp dried mixed herbs)
1 garlic clove, squashed
1 stick of celery, finely chopped, reserve a few leaves if there are any
400g tin chopped tomatoes
1 pinch dried chilli flakes
1 small can tuna
6 black olives, sliced
1 tsp capers, rinsed and chopped
3-4 basil leaves (only if you have any)
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp flat leaf parsley, chopped
1 tbsp grated Parmesan, optional

Cook the pasta according to instructions – about 12-14 minutes.
Heat the oil in a sauté pan and add the rosemary , garlic and celery and cook until lightly golden. Then add in the can of tomatoes – be careful as it will probably splutter! – and the chilli flakes and season, but go easy on the salt. Leave to reduce and thicken – about 5 mins.
Flake in the tuna, but don’t break up too much. Then add the olives, capers and tear in the basil if using. Add the balsamic and cook for another minute or two. Fish out the garlic and discard.
Take off the heat and stir in the parsley and any chopped celery leaves.
Drain the pasta and toss in the sauce. Serve with parmesan if you like.

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Coq au Vin

Coq au Vin
Serves 2

A casserole for 2 people isn’t any bother to make but it might be worth doubling the recipe and freezing half for another time. In fact I think it tastes better when made the day before so you could just make extra and eat it again the next day – you will see from the pics I had it with polenta the first day and broad beans the next . By the way, the sauce will turn into jelly after it’s been in the fridge and there will be a layer of white fat on the top. Just scrape the fat off with a teaspoon and the stock will turn back to liquid when you reheat it.
Another thing to point out, the wine will make the chicken skin go an interesting dark purple! But it still tastes fab.

2 chicken thighs, skin on
2 chicken drumsticks, skin on
Black pepper
1 chicken Oxo cube
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp butter
100g smoked bacon lardons
10 shallots, halved if large
3 cloves garlic, squashed
10 button mushrooms, halved
Small bunch parsley, tied twisted into a knot
1 tsp dried herbs
Few whole peppercorns
1 bay leaf
½ bottle red wine
Water for topping up
Chopped parsley

Preheat oven to 180C. Season the meat all over with pepper and crumbled Oxo. Heat a sauté pan with oil and butter and brown the chicken pieces all over. Transfer to a casserole dish. If there is lots of fat left in the pan drain most of it off.
Put back on the heat and fry the lardons, shallots, garlic and mushrooms for a few minutes until crisp and browned. Add all the herbs and peppercorns and pour in the wine. Leave to bubble away for a couple of minutes then tip over the chicken. Top up with water to cover the meat if needed.

Cook for 1 hour until meat is tender and the sauce is rich. Sprinkle with parsley and serve with crusty bread, rice or polenta.

Friday, 21 June 2013

Divine and decadent mushroom and truffle oil tagliatelle

Divine and decadent mushroom and truffle oil tagliatelle
Serves 1

Wow! This is another dish which hardly warrants a ‘recipe’ but it tasted so good  do not let its simplicity deceive you! In fact it is good to keep the ingredients short because it is the truffle oil that does the talking in this dish. The shoddy picture just doesn't do it justice. I suppose a glug of cream would be nice but I didn’t miss it. Be a great dish to double up for serving on a date J

PS I bought the black truffle oil from the BBC Good Food Show. Was £6 for just 100ml but the nice boys that sold it said it was real truffle steeped in mild grapeseed oil and far superior to supermarket oils that just have truffle “flavouring” added to them. Maybe I’m a mug but I was sold on the taste

60g tagliatelle
1 tsp butter
1 field mushroom, finely chopped
Salt and pepper
2 spring onions, chopped
¼ tsp finely chopped fresh rosemary - a bit of parsley would also be nice
1 tsp black truffle oil
1 tbsp grated parmesan

Cook the tagliatelle for 9-10 mins until al dente. Meanwhile heat the butter in a small frying pan and gently fry the mushrooms with some seasoning on a low heat. When beginning to soften and release moisture add the spring onion and rosemary and continue to cook gently for about 4 minutes until the mushrooms are dark and the onions have lost any rawness.

Drain the pasta and tip in with mushrooms, toss together and drizzle over the truffle oil. Place in a bowl and sprinkle over the parmesan and extra pepper if you like. Eat seductively by yourself or with someone also tasty.

Friday, 14 June 2013

Spicy scrambled eggs with spinach

Spicy scrambled eggs with spinach
Serves 1

Breakfast this morning - had some eggs going out of date and the addition of red chilli and spinach turned out to be jolly nice. It’s hardly a recipe but was very healthy and filling. Would make a nice brunch with some grilled crisp bacon and roast cherry tomatoes on the side.

2 thick sliced of seeded soda bread or whatever you have
Spray oil
¼ red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
2-3 eggs, beaten lightly
Small handful of baby spinach leaves
Salt and pepper

Toast the bread. Meanwhile in a small frying pan spray in a few squirts of oil (or a tsp of regular olive oil). Add the chilli and stir fry for about 30 secs to soften slightly. Tip in the eggs and spinach and season. Stir quickly and continuously so that the eggs scramble and the spinach wilts. You can cook until quite firm or leave the eggs a bit soft – it’s up to you. Pile onto hot toast (no need to butter in my opinion) and eat immediately.

Thursday, 13 June 2013

Kind of Mediterranean Pasta Bake

Mediterranean Pasta Bake
Serves 1

Leftover turkey and pasta sauce to use up! Pasta bake is a-calling! I tend to go through phases of eating pasta quite a lot and then don't use it again for weeks. No one said I'm normal :)

60g pasta e.g rigatoni
Olive oil
½ turkey or chicken breast, diced
50g smoked bacon lardons
½ clove garlic, chopped
½ stick celery, diced
Few olives, sliced
1 tsp capers
¼ jar tomato and basil pasta sauce
2 tsp parsley, chopped
1 tbsp grated Parmesan

Cook the pasta in boiling salted water for about 15 mins until tender.

Meanwhile fry the turkey or chicken, bacon and celery in frying pan for a few mins until cooked. Add the olives, capers, pasta sauce and parsley and simmer gently for 3-5 mins to heat through.

Mix with the drained pasta and transfer to an oven-proof dish. Sprinkle over cheese and cook under a grill until toasty and bubbling. Eat!

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Breaded turkey escalope with rosemary and garlic roast potatoes

Breaded Turkey Escalope with Rosemary and Garlic Roast Potatoes
Serves 1

I had an Italian dinner party at the weekend and decided at the last minute I couldn’t really be bothered to cook! So I bought ready-made breaded escalopes and needless to say they were pretty awful! So this is the made-from-scratch version and not only were they so easy, they were ten times tastier! It was inspired by my favourite dish from Strada.

1 turkey breast fillet
Salt and pepper
1 beaten egg
 Dried breadcrumbs
1 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
2 large-ish new potatoes
1 large garlic clove, halved
Olive oil
1 sprig fresh rosemary, chopped
1 shallot, sliced into half moons and separated out
Few green beans
¼ jar tomato and basil pasta sauce

Preheat oven to 200C. Flatten the turkey fillet a bit and season. Put the beaten egg in a bowl. In another bowl add the dried breadcrumbs and Parmesan. Dip the fillet in the egg and then the breadcrumbs until well coated. Set aside.

Cut the potatoes into chunks and tip into a baking tray with the garlic. Coat in oil and season well. Sprinkle over the rosemary and bake in the oven for 8-10 mins.

Put a bit of oil in a frying pan and sear the turkey fillet until lightly golden on both sides. After the potatoes have had 5 mins transfer the turkey to the baking tray. Cook for another 12-14 mins, turning halfway through. Toss the potatoes halfway and sprinkle over the shallot.

Boil the green bean for 7-8 mins until tender and gently warm the pasta sauce in another pan.

Rest the turkey for a couple of mins and then serve with the roast potatoes and frazzled shallot and  drained beans and  the pasta sauce on the side.

Thursday, 6 June 2013

Creamy pesto turkey, asparagus and spinach pasta

Creamy pesto turkey, asparagus and spinach pasta
Serves 1

More asparagus and spinach to use up! This is such a quick and comforting dinner – using just a little cream cheese and adding the pasta water makes a fab low fat sauce. Love it! Sprinkle with parmesan if you have any.

50g rigatoni
5 asparagus stalks, cut into 2in lengths
Handful spinach
1 tsp oil
1 turkey breast steak, sliced into thin strips
2 cherry tomatoes, quartered
1 tsp pesto
1 tsp cream cheese
Black pepper

Boil the pasta according to instructions in salted water. Add the asparagus for last 4 mins and the spinach just before draining.

Meanwhile heat the oil and fry the turkey breast strips until just cooked – about 2-3 mins. Throw in the cherry tomatoes and add the pesto and cream cheese. Loosen with a few tsp of pasta cooking water until you have sauce. Season with black pepper and then add the drained pasta and vegetables. Toss to coat then serve. Mmmm

Monday, 3 June 2013

Pommes Boulangere

Pommes Boulangere
Serves 1

I made this side dish to accompany sea bass and veg. It was damn tasty and very savoury in taste – the crispy top and soft, moist layers beneath were gorgeous. It would go with any meat or fish. I think it’s supposed to have thinly sliced onion in between the layers but I would say it’s no worse for no including them.

Small baking potato, sliced as thinly as possible
1 small tip fresh rosemary, finely chopped
Chicken stock concentrate (in a tub)
1 tsp butter

I lightly greased a small dish and layered in the potato, sprinkling in the rosemary and seasoning in between the layers. Put 2-3 tsp chicken stock over the top (mine was jellified which is fine) and 1-2 tsp hot water from the kettle, Add little pieces of butter on top and bake at 220 for 40-50 mins until cooked underneath and crispy and brown on top. Heaven!

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Chicken jalfrezi

Chicken Jalfrezi
Serves 2
This is another great leftovers kind of a dish. You can add extra veggies in such as courgette, beans, spring onions etc or use turkey, pork or lamb. It is a fairly dry, stir fried curry that can be made in 10 mins! Serve with either rice or naan. I once ate some leftover jalfrezi in a wrap at work the next day and stunk out the whole office – whoops!

1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, sliced
¼ green pepper, sliced
¼ red pepper, sliced
1 chicken breast (or cooked leftovers), diced
1 green chilli, chopped (deseed if you don’t like too much heat)
½ tsp garlic paste or 1 chopped clove
1 tsp ginger paste (or 1 knob finely grated root ginger)
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp paprika
½ tsp ground cumin
1 tsp turmeric
1-2 tsp curry powder
1 squeeze tomato puree
Half a can of chopped plum tomatoes (save rest for a pasta sauce)
To finish:
A shake of garam masala (optional)
Fresh coriander, chopped (optional)

Heat the oil in a large frying pan or a wok and fry the onion and red peppers until softened but not brown. Add the chicken and continue to stir fry for 3-4 minutes. Next add the chilli, garlic, ginger and spices and mix well so everything is coated for 1 minute. Then squeeze in about a teaspoon of tomato puree and half a can of chopped tomatoes. Keep cooking for a few more minutes until the sauce is thick and reduced. You may need to slacken with some water to get the consistency you like, but it is meant to be quite dry.  Sprinkle with garam masala and coriander and eat asap!

Thursday, 23 May 2013

Chorizo and Broccoli Storecupboard pasta

Chorizo and Broccoli Storecupboard pasta
Serves 1

This came about as another leftovers dish, hence the name. You maybe able to tell I hate waste. It sounds really basic but actually it is both fresh and rich, with fully pronounced flavours. And it’s good for you! You could of course add anything you have such as courgette or use bacon instead of chorizo. I didn’t add garlic because I had lots at lunchtime!

50g Rigatoni, or other pasta shapes
Splash olive oil
¼ onion, diced
Few slices of chorizo, cut into strips
Small pinch chilli flakes
 Small pinch mixed dried herbs
½ can chopped tomatoes
3-4 black olives, sliced
Few broccoli florets, quartered
1 tbsp grated parmesan cheese

Get the pasta on to boil and cook as per instructions.

In a small saucepan heat the oil and add the onions and some salt. Fry for a couple of mins until starting to soften. Add the chorizo and stir until it starts to crisp. Add the chilli, herbs, tomatoes, olives and seasoning to taste. Cook for about 5-6 mins, adding extra pasta water to stop it drying out.

When the pasta has 3 mins to go, add the broccoli to the water and cook until the pasta is done. Drain and tip into the tomato sauce. Stir to coat then pile into a bowl sprinkled with parmesan.

Tuesday, 21 May 2013


Serves 1

Haven’t made this lightly spiced rice dish in such a long time, but had some haddock in the freezer which needed eating up. If I had flaked almonds or pumpkin seeds I would have sprinkled in a few for added crunch.

50g basmati rice
2 cloves
2 cardamom pods
1 smoked haddock fillet, about 100g
¼ pint milk
Bay leaf
Few peppercorns
1 egg
½ onion, finely chopped
1 tsp oil
1 tsp curry powder
Pinch cayenne pepper
1 tbsp sultanas
1 tbsp petit pois
1 tbsp fresh parsley, finely chopped
1 cherry tomato, cut into wedges
½ lemon

Boil the rice in boiling salted water with cloves and cardamom for 10 mins until just tender. Refresh under cold water and leave to drain well in a colander.

Place the fish in a frying pan with the milk, bay and peppercorns. Bring to a simmer and gently cook fish for about 6-8 mins until cooked. Transfer to a bowl and flake, tip the milk over the top, but discard the bay and peppercorns.

Boil the egg for about 7 mins and then cool under cold running water. Peel and roughly chop half, then slice the remaining half into wedges.

Fry the onion in the oil under softened. Add the curry powder and cayenne and fry for 30 secs more to cook out the rawness of the spices. Add the cold rice, flake fish and moisten with some of the milk. Add the sultanas, peas and chopped egg and cook until the peas are warmed through. Turn off heat and stir in parsley.

Garnish with tomato, remaining egg and lemon wedges for squeezing over

Monday, 20 May 2013

Spicy roast field mushroom

Spicy roast field mushroom
Serves 1
A fridge inspection revealed a large mushroom and little else today. Was just going to roast it plain and eat with a slice of toast but I started looking at what else I had in my cupboard to rev up the flavour a bit and this is what I did… I swear this umami-packed shroom tasted just like meaty fillet steak!

1 large field mushroom
Dab of garlic paste
1 tsp Wholegrain mustard (or Dijon would be nice too)
1 tsp Worcestershire Sauce
Drizzle olive oil
Pinch paprika and chilli powder
Salt and pepper
Toast and salad to serve

Preheat oven to 200C. Place the mushroom in a tin and spread the garlic and mustard over the black gills. Drizzle over the Worcestershire sauce and oil and sprinkle with the spices. Set aside until ready to cook then roast for 20 mins until juicy and cooked through. 

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Updated tips

I have updated the Tips and Bits menu category... Perhaps nothing there that is out of the ordinary or that you didn't already know, but this page is basically things that I find helpful e.g advice on cooking for 1, healthy and general cooking tips and my personal store-cupboard essentials. I will add to this page any new pearls of wisdom I come across along the way!! If you have any tips of your own please share with me :) xx

Super-fast Sweet Chilli Turkey Wraps

Super-fast Sweet Chilli Turkey Wraps
Serves 1-2

Ok, so this is a recreation really of a lunchtime dish I had in a wine bar! It came with curly fries, but at home I served it with a plain green salad, only to then ruin my virtue by tipping the leftover turkey stir fry on top of the salad instead of saving it for lunch tomorrow – see 2nd pic! Well, I hadn’t eaten any lunch and it tasted bloomin lovely…

1 turkey steak or chicken breast, flattened if it is thick and sliced into thin strips
1 tsp olive oil
1 small carrot, cut into matchsticks
¼ red pepper, sliced into matchsticks
1 spring onion, shredded
Half a jar of sweet chilli stir fry sauce, such as Sharwoods
1-2 tortilla wraps
Salad leaves

Season the meat and stir fry in the oil on a high heat. After a couple of minutes add the carrot and peppers and continue to cook for another minute or so until starting to soften. Add the spring onion and then add the sauce, stirring continually – it will only need 30 secs to heat through otherwise it will go too thick and burn.

Meanwhile heat the tortilla(s) for 30 secs in the microwave and pile in the stir fry mix. Roll up and serve with salad on the side. 

Monday, 13 May 2013

Sea bass with spring veg in under 10 mins

Sea bass and spring veg in under 10 mins!
Serves 1

I love crispy fish but don’t cook it all that much. Not sure why, but this sea bass fillet was half price in a pack of 2 so I snapped it up. It’s a very virtuous dish – probably less than 400 cals I would imagine. I have frozen the other fillet for another time.

1 sea bass fillet, skin on
1 tsp olive oil
5 asparagus spears, tips separated
4 runner beans
1 tsp frozen peas
Half a bag of spinach
¼ lemon

First boil the kettle for the veg.  Season the fish on both sides and heat the oil in a sauté pan. Lay skin side down for about 3 minutes to crisp. Meanwhile boil the runner bean and thick ends of asparagus in salted boiling water for 5 mins.

Turn the fish and continue to fry for about 3 mins. I turned the heat off after a minute as it got quite hot.

Throw in the peas and asparagus tips with the runner beans and cook for 3 mins.

Tip the spinach into a large pan and wilt in a splash of water from the kettle over a low heat. Season.

When the veg is tender and spinach wilted, drain and plate. Add a squeeze of lemon and a drizzle of olive oil to the fish and place on top of the veg. And that’s it! Clean and fresh and carb free!

Thursday, 9 May 2013

Turkey, Asparagus and Baby Vegetable Risotto

Turkey, asparagus and baby vegetable risotto

Serves 1

So, having some of Sunday night’s leftover cooked turkey breast and lovely fresh asparagus to hand, I thought a risotto would be nice. Be careful with the seasoning – I found it didn’t need any salt.

5 stalks young asparagus, thick end trimmed off and set aside
1 tbsp frozen baby broad beans
1 tbsp frozen petit pois
3 spring onions, finely sliced
1 tsp olive oil
Half a garlic clove
50g carnaroli risotto rice
Splash of white wine
1 pint boiling chicken stock – I used fresh from a tub
Two thick slices cooked turkey breast, diced
Half a lemon
1 tsp fresh chopped mint, finely chopped
Parmesan cheese for grating over

Slice the thick ends of asparagus into 0.5 cm rounds. Bring a small pan of water to the boil with a little salt and blanch the sliced asparagus and broad beans for 3 minutes. Then add the peas and asparagus tip and cook for 1 minute more. Drain and refresh under cold tap. Leave to drain. I decided to peel the broad beans as their vibrant green colour inside are more visually appealing, but must admit I didn’t bother doing every single one. It’s up to you.

Gently fry the spring onions in the oil in a wok and add the garlic clove to help flavour the oil with a mere hint of garlic. Once the onions are soft, pick out and discard the garlic and add the risotto rice. Stir to coat in the oil and then add a splash of wine. Bubble away until it is all absorbed.

Then add a little of the stock at a time, stirring continually until it is all absorbed and the rice is almost tender. I think it depends on what brand you use, but mine took about 20-25 mins and it still had a bit of bite. Use some hot water from the kettle if you run out of stock.

Add the turkey and a squeeze of lemon and stir in the mint. Stir to heat through, and add the vegetables. You may need a little bit of water to stock it being too dry at this stage. Taste for seasoning, a bit of pepper is probably all it will need, and then pile into a bowl and scatter over as much parmesan as you like. 

Sunday, 5 May 2013

Yup, a regular roast... for 1!

Turkey roast dinner

Ok, I wouldn’t usually post something quite as simple as a roast, but this is a demonstration as to how my meal planning works. So on a Sunday, I decided to cook a roast turkey breast joint that I have had in the freezer as a standby for far too long. But I thought, I am going to have leftover meat and it got me thinking of all the dishes I could make over the next few days. So I will probably try a risotto tomorrow with unused British asparagus left from the roast, possibly risotto and maybe make some wraps for lunch too.

I don’t often cook a roast just for me, but seeing as I haven’t been eating my veggies this weekend I told myself it would be good for me! This makes rather a lot as you can see from the picture, but I was going for a lot of vegetable consumption!!

Roast turkey for 1

1 475g ready to roast turkey breast in a foil tray
2-3 baby new potatoes, halved
1 small carrot, cut into chunky batons
1 small parsnip, cut the same thickness as the carrots
½ tsp dried mixed herbs
¼ small pack Paxo stuffing mix
3 runner beans, trimmed and sliced
About 5 thin asparagus spears, fat ends sliced
2 tsp Bisto gravy granules, mixed with 2 tsp of water to a paste in a jug

Preheat oven to 180C and cook turkey according to instructions (Mine actually took about 40 mins instead of an hour)

Half an hour toward end of cooking, place the potatoes, carrot and parsnip in a baking tray. Spray with low cal cooking oil and season. Sprinkle with mixed herbs and toss about to coat. Put on the top shelf of the oven and cook for 20-25 mins, turning the veg halfway through.

Put ¼ small pack of Paxo into a ramekin and add a couple of splashes of boiling water, until rehydrated but not sloppy. Put in the oven for 10-15 mins until a bit crunchy on top.

Rest the turkey on a board.

Meanwhile bring a small pan of water to the boil, Add salt and throw in the runner beans and fat stalks of asparagus. Turn down to a simmer. After 5 mins are up add the asparagus tips and continue to simmer for 3 mins.

Pour some of the hot water into a jug of bisto, stirring until you have the consistency you like.

Friday, 3 May 2013


Serves 2
This is a real leftovers kind of a dish! You can practically use whatever you have in the fridge – in the past I have used chopped sundried tomatoes, leftover pork, quartered artichokes, broad beans, butter beans – most things work well, but maybe don’t add too many things in one dish!
There are no rules to the recipe given either e.g it will taste fine without the green beans and onion, but the absolute must is the chorizo and saffron. It is the key flavouring and won’t be paella-ey without it. Needs no accompaniment except a glass of Rioja.

1 tbsp olive oil
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
½ onion, chopped (optional)
1/2 tsp fresh rosemary needles, chopped or a pinch of dried
½ red pepper, diced
1 chicken breast, diced (or use leftovers from a roast)
10cm long piece of chorizo, thinly sliced
1 tomato, diced
100g bomba paella rice or arborio rice
½ tsp paprika – sweet or picante
Pinch turmeric
Pinch chilli flakes or cayenne pepper (optional)
Few green beans, halved
Pinch of saffron threads, softened in a tablespoon of hot water
1 litre chicken stock, hot
3 tbsp frozen peas
Small handful of peeled prawns, defrosted in frozen

Heat the oil in a large saute pan and gently fry the garlic, onion and rosemary until pale golden. Tip in the peppers and chicken and fry for about 2-3 minutes until the chicken is opaque and firm. Add the chorizo and fry, stirring, until it starts releasing its paprika-red oil and slightly crisp. Next goes in the tomato, rice, spices and season with salt and pepper.  Stir for about 30 seconds until the rice is coated in the spicy oils. Throw in the green beans, saffron and its soaking water and pour in enough hot stock to cover the rice mixture by about 1 cm. Bring to boil then turn heat to a slow simmer and cook uncovered for about 10-15 mins, stirring once or twice to stop the mixture sticking to the pan.

Add the peas and prawns and top up with a couple more splashes of stock to cover. Continue to simmer for another 5-10 minutes until the rice is cooked and the most of the liquid has absorbed.

I like my paella to have a slight glossy sheen of sauce on it, but you may prefer yours a bit drier.

Welcome to my online kitchen diary!


Here goes, the first post. Firstly thanks for reading. I am going to post recipes as often as I can that I like to cook at home.  I mostly cook for myself and hopefully my recipes show you can eat pretty well without being on a massive salary. You'll notice I am really anti-waste, so over a week the same ingredients are likely to crop up as I use what's in the fridge. But occasionally I  like to do themed dinners for friends when I will go a bit further to make it special. You could say the food controls my life!

Of course I have tested all these recipes so they have worked for me, but I cannot claim everything will be 100% detailed, as a lot of how I cook is done my eye, not by measuring. Handful of this, bit of that. You will have to judge and feel free to swap your fave things in or use what you have.

Most of the dishes are adaptations from recipes, or dishes I have tried in a restaurant and attempted to recreate, or just a experimental creation depending on what’s in the fridge. I like Nigel Slater’s style of cooking – he knows what flavours will taste nice together and keeps things simple, often just making something delicious out of nothing. He cooks food you want to eat, and that is also my approach. Rules are for teachers!!