Saturday, 19 November 2011

Pork Chop tray bake with Sage & Onion coating

I loved the idea of having stuffing coating the outside of the pork chops. This was another very easy dinner, just one tray so minimal washing up!  I used Google to find a recipe, and decided to try this one. I will definitely be making this one again! Everyone loved it. I just used vegetables that needed used up in the fridge, so just use any that roast well.


4 carrots, chopped
1 large onion chopped into quarters
6 potatoes sliced thickly, or quartered
2 parsnips, chopped
4 pork chops
1 small packet sage & onion stuffing, made up as per instructions on packet

Lay your chopped vegetables on a large roasting tray. Drizzle with olive oil & season. Lay the pork chops on top, then coat the top of the chops with the stuffing mix. Roast in the oven, at about 180c, for an hour. Serve with lashings of gracy.

Pulled Pork Buns

This was easy, cheap and required very little input! I just put all the ingredients in my slow cooker on low for 8 hours, then removed the pork to "pull" before returning it to the pot to absorb the juices. I served this the traditional American way, in bread rolls, with coleslaw, salad & corn cobs.


1 pork shoulder joint
4 large onions, thinly sliced
1 bottle of BBQ sauce of your choice (I used Honey BBQ marinade)

Lay the onions on the bottom of the slow cooker, add the shoulder joint on top. Pour over the sauce until all coated. Turn the slow cooker to LOW. After 8 hours, remove the pork & shred/pull apart with 2 forks, then return to the slow cooker for half an hour or so (you can turn the slow cooker off at this point). Make sure the pulled pork is mixed  through with the sauce & onions. Serve in bread rolls.

Bacon, bean & pasta soup

This is almost like a stew, its so filling! Very tasty though, and warming. With a chuck of seeded bread, this is an entire meal in itself. This is also taken from the Good Food website.


  • 8 rashers rindless streaky bacon , chopped
  • 2 leeks , halved and sliced
  • 4 carrots , halved lengthways and sliced
  • 400g tin mixed beans , drained and rinsed
  • 1l chicken stock , fresh, cube or concentrate
  • 2 tbsp tomato purée
  • 50g small pasta shapes
  • a handful of flat-leaf parsley , chopped
  • grated parmesan , to serve 

  1. Fry the bacon in a large non-stick pan (it will cook in its own fat) until golden, then add the leeks and carrots and cook for about 5 minutes until softened.
  2. Tip in the beans, chicken stock, tomato purée and pasta and simmer until the pasta is cooked.
  3. Stir through the parsley and serve in bowls topped with grated Parmesan.

Sweet Potato & Lentil Soup

This is a really filling, tasty soup. Perfect with some fresh crusty bread! I found this recipe on the Good Food website.


  • 2 tsp medium curry powder
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 onions , grated
  • 1 eating apple , peeled, cored and grated
  • 3 garlic cloves , crushed
  • 20g pack coriander , stalks chopped
  • thumb-size piece fresh root ginger , grated
  • 800g sweet potatoes
  • 1.2l vegetable stock
  • 100g red lentils
  • 300ml milk
  • juice 1 lime   

  1. Put the curry powder into a large saucepan, then toast over a medium heat for 2 mins. Add the olive oil, stirring as the spice sizzles in the pan. Tip in the onions, apple, garlic, coriander stalks and ginger, season, then gently cook for 5 mins, stirring every so often.
  2. Meanwhile, peel, then grate the sweet potatoes. Tip into the pan with the stock, lentils, milk and seasoning, then simmer, covered, for 20 mins. Blend until smooth using a stick blender. Stir in the lime juice, check the seasoning and serve, topped with roughly-chopped coriander leaves.

Rich Tomato Soup

It's soup weather! In the last week, I have made quite a few soups and have frozen quite a few portions of it. Should see me through the next few weeks at least! This one is from the Good Food website. I didn't use pesto though, instead I added soem dried basil during cooking. Its delicious, but quite rich.


  • 1 tbsp butter or olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves , crushed 
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 5 soft sun-dried or SunBlush tomatoes in oil, roughly chopped
  • 3 x 400g cans plum tomatoes
  • 500ml turkey or vegetable stock
  • 1 tsp sugar , any type, or more to taste
  • 142ml pot soured cream 

  1. Heat the butter or oil in a large pan, then add the garlic and soften for a few mins over a low heat. Add the sun-dried or SunBlush tomatoes, canned tomatoes, basil, stock, sugar and seasoning, then bring to a simmer. Let the soup bubble for 10 mins until the tomatoes have broken down a little.
  2. Whizz with a stick blender, adding half the pot of soured cream as you go. Taste and adjust the seasoning - add more sugar if you need to. Serve in bowls with a little more soured cream.

Friday, 19 August 2011

Chicken katsu curry

100g flour, seasoned with lots of salt and
1 free-range egg, beaten lightly
200g Japanese panko breadcrumbs
4 boneless chicken breasts
100ml groundnut or vegetable oil
steamed rice and salad to serve
For the curry sauce
1 tablespoon groundnut or vegetable oil
1 onion, peeled and chopped
5 whole garlic cloves, peeled
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 tablespoons plain flour
1 tablespoon medium curry powder
600ml chicken stock
2 teaspoons honey
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 bay leaf
half a teaspoon garam masala
Anyone who is into Japanese food knows that katsu curry is wickedly wonderful. What makes it stand out from other curries is that the meat is breaded and fried before having a luxurious silky curry sauce slathered all over it.
To make the sauce, heat the oil in a small pan. Add the onion and garlic and sauté for 2 minutes, then throw in the carrots and sweat slowly for 10 minutes with the lid on, giving the odd stir, until softened and starting to caramelise. Stir in the flour and curry powder and cook for a minute. Slowly pour in the stock until combined (do this gradually to avoid getting lumps). Add the honey, soy sauce and bay leaf and bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes, so the sauce thickens but is still of pouring consistency. Add the garam masala, then pass the sauce through a sieve (unless you prefer a chunky sauce).
Now prepare the chicken. Lay the seasoned flour, egg and breadcrumbs on separate plates. Coat the chicken in the flour, then dip into the egg and fi nally into the breadcrumbs.
Heat the oil in a frying pan and fry the breaded chicken breasts for 5 minutes on each side, or until golden and cooked through. Remove from the pan with a slotted spoon and leave to drain on kitchen paper. Slice the chicken diagonally and serve with the sauce drizzled over, steamed rice and salad.
From 'Gizzi's Magic Kitchen' by Gizzi Erskine (Virgin Books, £20).

Homemade BBQ chicken pizza

Pizza dough (makes enough for two 10" pizzas)

230g strong white flour
1 x 7g packet active dried yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
120 ml water.

Mix the flour, yeast and sugar. Add the salt & mix again.

Add the olive oil & then slowly add the water until the dough comes together.

Knead thoroughly on a floured surface for 3-4 minutes. Shape into a ball.

Retrun the dough to the bowl, cover with a damp cloth & leave in a warm area for 1 hour (it shoudl double in size).

Knock the air out of teh dough. Divide in half and knead for a further minute. Shape into a ball again.

The dough is now ready to use or freeze.

Chicken Satay

This is a bit of a cheat meal, as I used a packet spice mix from my local Asain supermarket! It's this one here. The chicken is marintaed in the spices & coconut milk. There is a second sachet of spices to make the peanut dipping sauce to go with it - this was quite spicy! Delicious though.

Sunday, 7 August 2011

Tanddori Chicken Kebabs

These tasted way better than any takeaway! I dont think my home made pitta bread turned out right, too doughy really, but still tasted far better than the cardboardy shop-bought versions. The chicken was marinated overnight, but the marinade was very easy to make. I picked up the tandoori spice mix in my local Asian supermarket.

To make 2 kebabs -

2 chicken breasts, cut into strips
1 tsp tandoori masala spices
19 tsp natural yogurt

Mix the spices with the yogurt until completely blended. Add the chicken pieces, coat well & marinade overnight (or as long as possible).

Line a grill pan with foil, add 100ml water, then place the wire rack on top. Place the chicken on the wire rack, and put into a prehetaed oven (220c). Cook for about 20 minutes, turning once. Serve in a pitta, with salad and sauce (sauce recipe below).

Garlic kebab sauce

3 tblsp mayo
1 tblsp natural yogurt
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp olive oil
Pinch of salt
Pinch of dried parsley
1 tblsp water

Mix the ingredients (except the water) until thouroughly combined. Add the water a bit at a time until you get the desired consistancy. Chill in the fridge for 1-2 hours.

BBQ Pork skewers

These were so tasty! They need to be prepped in advance, as they are best being marinated over night (though you could possibly get away with marinating for just an hour). I cooked them on my George Forman grill, but they wold be fantastic on a bbq. I served mine with egg fried rice.

1kg of diced pork (I bought loin steaks & diced them into the size I wanted)


2 tbsp peanut butter
235ml coca-cola
1 tbsp. worcestershire sauce
2 tbsps. lemon juice

3 tbsp light soy sauce
1 crushed garlic clove

60ml tomato ketchup
3 tbsps. honey
1 tbsps. light soy sauce
1 tbsp. cooking oil

Mix the marinade ingredients together, add the pork & thoroughly coat. Leave to marinate overnight if possible. Thread onto skewers. Grill for 2 minutes each side. Brush on the glaze and grill for few minutes on each side to set the glaze.

Taken from this amazing  blog.

Egg-pot breakfast

I had a lot of eggs to use up, so made the kids an egg-pot for breakfast. They smelled so good - I wish id made one for myself!

To make 3 ramekins -

Half an onion, diced small
6 cherry tomatoes, chopped
3 slices of ham, chopped
3 eggs
some grated cheese

Lightly saute the onion & tomato in a frying pan, then divide between the 3 ramkins. Add the ham. Sprinkle a handful of grated cheese on the top of each one. Crack an egg on the top of each one, then burst the yolk a little. Put in a preheated oven (200c) for 15 minutes, then serve with toast soliders.

Saturday, 30 July 2011

Rainbow cupcakes

Broccoli & cheese soup

It's not so sunny here in Scotland today, so a warming soup was called for. We all ate this for lunch today, with my eldest wolfing it down! Quick & easy to make too.

2 tablespoons butter

1 small onion, finely diced

1 stalk celery, finely diced

3 cloves garlic, minced

 4  heads brocolli cut into very small pieces (you want them to fit on a spoon)

500ml chicken stock

500ml milk

65g flour

100g grated cheddar cheese

Salt and white pepper

Melt butter in a pot over medium heat, add onions and celery plus a pinch of salt and pepper and cook until soft. Add garlic, cook for another minute. Add broccoli, cook for one minute, then add the chicken stock and cover. Allow the broth to come to a boil, and cook until the broccoli is soft.

Whisk together flour and milk until combined. Add this mixture to the pot, stirring gently. The soup will thicken  and once it's thick and creamy looking, add the grated cheddar. Salt and pepper to taste, serve with toast.

Pull apart Pizza Bites

I made these when I had friends over yesterday evening - and they went down very well! Easy to make too. You can make your own pizza dough, or buy a mx that you add water to, or Asda do ready rolled, ready to use pizza dough.

Pizza dough, rolled & split into 14 circles.
14 chucky cubes of mozzerella
14 slices of pepperoni
Olive oil
Parmesan, grated
Italian herbs

In the middle of each pizza dough circle, place a cube of mozzerella & 1 slice of pepperoni, then bring teh sides up to enclose the filling in a ball. place in a cake tin, with the join underneath. Place each ball nestle/squashed a little to the next one. Drizzle olive oil over the top, and sprinkle parmesan & herbs. Bake in the oven at about 190 for 20 minutes. Serve whilst warm, and dip into a tomato based sauce.

Layered vodka jelly shots

These were just for fun, when I had soem friends round for drinks. I replaced 1/3 of the cold water for vodka in each layer. Let each layer completely set before adding the next. I used a blackcurrent jelly on the bottom, lemon in the middle and raspberry on top.

Twix biscuits

These turned out quite messy but very tasty! It just a mix-up of recipes and ideas to fit with what I had in the cupboards. To make the Dulce De Leche, I boiled a tin of condensed milk in a pan of water for about 3 hours. You MUST ensure the water completly covers the can, or it will explode. I kept at least an inch of water above the can. Let it cool to room temperature before opening the can.

It's best to keep these in the fridge, as the caramel turns quite gloopy when at room temp.

200g digestive biscuits
75g butter
1 tin condensed milk made into Dulce De Leche
100g chocolate

Mix the crushed digestive with the welted butter, then push in a muffin tin, to make 12 bases for the biscuits. Put in the fridge to set. After half an hour, place a dollop of dulce de leche into each one, then put into the freezer for 2 hours. Melt the chocolate, and drizzle or pour over the top of each biscuit. Back into the fridge to set the chocolate, then they are ready to eat!

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Cheats Cookies & Cream Fudge

This an easy & simple way to make soft fudge that tastes great (and amazingly sweet). I used Oreo cookies, as they seemed teh best type to go with, but you can use whichever you like. It took about 10 minutes to make and 2 hours to set. Simple!

1 tin of condensed milk
500g white chocolate
1 packet of Oreos, crushed/broken

Heat the milk & white chocolate on a low heat until it is all melted & combined. Add the crushed biscuits, and stir through. Pour into a tray lined with baking paper. Put in the fridge for 2 hours minimum, until its firmly set. Cut into chunks & enjoy!

Saturday, 23 July 2011

Chicken in a garlic sauce

I found this recipe on this blog here and decided to try it out. I added mushrooms, as I wanted more vegetables. It was really tasty, my 11 year old loved it as much as I did. I served it with rice and it made a filling & satisfying meal. Its so easy to do and uses mostly storecupboard ingredients.

Ingredients (serves 2/3)

3 Chicken Breast, boneless, skinless and cubed
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 Tbsp Butter
½ Large  Onion, chopped
3 Cloves Garlic, chopped
1 Bay Leaf
60ml Sherry
500ml Chicken Stock
A pinch of Paprika
Sea Salt
Freshly Ground Black Pepper

In a large skillet over high heat, add 1 Tbsp of Olive oil and butter. When the butter has melted, brown the chicken in two batches. Remove and set aside.

Lower the heat and add the remaining oil. Mix in the onion and garlic. Sauté until the mixture becomes translucent.

Then turn the heat back on high and toss in the chicken, bay leaf and give it a quick stir. Add the sherry and bring it to a boil, then mix in the chicken stock. Bring the mixture to a boil again and reduce to a simmer. Cook the chicken for about 4 to 5 minutes until the sauce has thicken and season with sea salt and pepper. Remove from the heat and sprinkle some paprika and serve immediately. Serve with rice.

Friday, 22 July 2011

Honey Soy pork chops

I got some tasty looking pork chops today, and went searching for a glaze to make them even tastier. I found this one here and decied to make it, seeing as I had all the ingredients in my store cupboard. I only managed to marinate them for a few hours instead of overnight. I poured the remaining sauce left in the frying pan over the noodles & broccoli - I would definitely recommend this!

4 pork chops
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp oyster sauce
1 tbsp sesame oil
1 tbsp honey
1 tbsp ginger
1 tbsp garlic
1 tsp pepper

Combine all the ingredients and pour over the chops. Marinade for as long as possible, preferably overnight. Turn the chops once or twice. Heat some oil in a frying pan, and fry the chops for about 8 minutes each side, turning occasionally. Tip all the left over marinade into the pan too, it will thicken up & turn sticky. Serve with noodles & vegetables.

Tuesday, 19 July 2011


Has anyone tried Graze nibble boxes? I am waiting for my first bow, which comes completely free of charge, on Thursday. Looking forward to seeing what nibbles come my way! If you would like a free box, use this code   F3FVD6 and sign up at
I will report back on Thursday with what delights (or disgusts?) I find in my box!

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Banoffee Pie

My daughter requested a banoffee pie instead of a cake for her birthday. I'd never made one before! It was very easy to do, but it was also very sweet! Too sweet for me I think. The kids loved it though.



  • 100g (3½oz) butter, melted
  • 250g (9oz) digestive biscuits


  • 100g (3½oz) butter
  • 100g (3½oz) dark brown soft sugar
  • 397g can Carnation Condensed Milk


  • 4 small bananas
  • 300ml carton double cream, lightly whipped
  • grated chocolate
You will also need:
  • 20cm (8”) loose-bottomed cake tin, greased


  1. To make the base, process the biscuits until crushed. Stir in the melted butter. Press the mixture into the base and 4cm (1½") up the sides of the tin. Chill the base while you make the filling.
  2. To make the filling: place the butter and sugar into a non-stick saucepan over a low heat, stirring until the butter melts and the sugar dissolves. Add the condensed milk and bring gently to the boil, stirring continuously. When the caramel has started to boil, remove from the heat and pour over the biscuit base. Cool, and then leave to chill for about 1 hour, until firm.
  3. To serve, remove the pie from the tin and place on a serving plate. Slice the bananas, fold half of them into the softly whipped cream and spoon over the caramel base. Decorate with the remaining bananas and finish with the grated chocolate.

Chicken & Red lentil Curry

This was a tasty & quick curry to make. Maybe too spicy for children, but it was just fine for my cant-handle-too-spicy palate.


  • 2 tbsp  Sunflower Oil
  • 2  onions, finely sliced
  • 2  cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 tbsp  Curry Powder
  • 1 tsp  Whole Cumin
  • 1 pack  Mini Chicken Fillets
  • 500ml hot  Chicken Stock
  • 175g  dried red lentils
  • 6 tbsp  Plain Yogurt
  • 50g  Cashews, unsalted, to garnish


  1. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large pan and add the onion. Cook for 8-10 minutes over a gentle heat, stirring occasionally, until softened. Stir in the garlic and spices, and cook for 1-2 minutes more.
  2. Add the remaining oil and the chicken, and cook for 2-3 minutes each side until coated in the spice mixture. Stir in the stock and lentils, bring to the boil then cover and simmer for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally until the lentils are tender and the chicken is thoroughly cooked.
  3. Stir in the  yogurt and cover, then simmer for a further 5 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, heat a small non-stick frying pan and toast the cashew nuts for 2-3 minutes, stirring regularly until they are golden brown in colour.
  5. Spoon the curry into individual bowls with basmati rice, and top with the toasted cashew nuts.

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Pea & pesto soup with fish finger croutons

Quite possibly the easiest & quickest soup I have ever made! I tried to make a Minced Beef Wellington this evening, but it was a disaster! So this was what I made instead as I had no time and little else in!

The only change I made to this recipe (taken from the goodfood wesite) was an onion, sweated before adding the other ingredients. My children loved having fish fingers in their soup!

  • 500g frozen peas
  • 4 medium potatoes , peeled and cut into cubes
  • 1l hot vegetable stock
  • 300g pack fish fingers (about 10)
  • 3 tbsp green pesto 

  1. Tip the peas and potatoes into a large saucepan, then pour in the stock. Bring to the boil and simmer for 10 mins, until the potato chunks are tender. Meanwhile, grill the fish fingers as per pack instructions until cooked through and golden. Cut into bitesize cubes and keep warm.
  2. Take a third of the peas and potatoes out of the pan with a slotted spoon and set aside. Blend the rest of the soup until smooth, then stir in the pesto with the reserved vegetables. Heat through and serve in warm bowls with the fish finger croûtons on top.

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Beef Paprikash

I wanted to try something new instead of the usual beef stew that I usually make. This turned out better than I expected, and not at all spicy. All the children enjoyed it, served with some lightly steamed carrots & broccolli.  I have saved some for my lunch tomorrow!


  • 500g braising beef
  • 1 tbsp flour , seasoned really well
  • olive oil
  • 1 large onion , halved and sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves , crushed
  • 250g chestnut mushrooms , halved if large
  • 1 red pepper , sliced
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • 2 tsp caraway seeds
  • 1 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • 300ml beef stock
  • a small bunch parsley , chopped
  • basmati rice , to serve
  • soured cream , to serve 

  1. Heat the oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas 4. Toss the beef with the seasoned flour then brown all over in 1 tbsp oil in a large pan. Scoop out, then add the onions and cook really well until soft and browned at the edges. Add the garlic, mushrooms and pepper and cook for 5 minutes until softened. Return the beef to the pan and add the spices, tomatoes and beef stock. Put on a lid and transfer to the oven and cook for 2-2.5 hours until beef is really tender and sauce thickened.
  2. Stir in the parsley. Serve with rice and soured cream.

Veg packed lasagne with chorizo

This is just a made up recipe, I wanted to use up leftovers from the fridge! I like to get as many vegetables as I can into my dishes, and this has onion, celery, mushrooms, peppers & tomatoes in it. I had a 2 inch chuck of chorizo left too, so sliced that up thin & bunged it in the sauce along with the beef mince.

Minced Beef 450g
Tin of Tomatoes 400g
Mushrooms 100g
Chopped onion 1
Garlic 1 clove
Celery - 2sticks
Red pepper 1
Beef Stock 1/2 pint (300ml)
Butter 25g
Leftover chorizo, chopped small
Lasagne  1 Packet (dry or fresh)
Milk 300ml
Butter 25g
Plain Flour 25g
Grated Cheddar 50g

One Pan Sage & Onion chicken & sausages

This is a lovely tasty Nigella recipe that I tried out on Sunday. I served it with vichy carrots and bread-sauce-flavoured potato dauphinoise - delicious! The marinade has to be made the nigth before, so that the chicken can take on teh flavours overnight. I was worried about the mustard in it, as I am not a fan of mustard, but it was lovely.


  • 1 large onion or 2 small onions
  • 125ml olive oil (not extra virgin)
  • 2 teaspoons English mustard
  • 1 tablespoon dried sage
  • Ground pepper
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2kg chicken, jointed into 10 pieces (I just used a pack of bone-in chicken thighs)
  • 12 sausages
  • 2 tablespoons chopped sage leaves


  1. Peel and cut the onion into eighths, and put into a freezer bag with the oil, mustard, dried sage, a good grinding of pepper, the lemon juice, the squeezed-out husks cut into eighths, and the Worcestershire sauce. Squidge everything around to mix (the mustard needs help to combine) and then add the chicken pieces. Leave to marinate in the fridge overnight, or for up to two days.
  2. Preheat the oven to gas mark 7/220°C. Allow the chicken to come to room temperature in its marinade.
  3. Arrange the chicken pieces in a roasting tin, skin-side up, with the marinade, including all the bits and pieces, and tuck the sausages around them. Sprinkle the fresh sage leaves over the chicken and sausages and then put the tin into the oven to cook for 1 hour and 15 minutes. Turn the sausages over halfway through to colour them evenly.
  4. Arrange the chicken and sausages on a large platter.
Serves: 6

Saturday, 9 April 2011

Baked Spanish Risotto

This amazing recipe is from the Good Food website members section. It was utterly delicious! I also happen to love bung-it-in-the-oven type meals :) I left out the prawns, but kept the rest of the recipe the same.

  • 250g cherry tomatoes
  • 1 red onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 300g risotto rice
  • 4 chicken thigh fillets, halved
  • 200g chorizo, thickly sliced
  • 2 tsp chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 litre hot chicken stock
  • pinch of saffron strands
  • 8 large, raw prawns
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper

  1. Preheat the oven to 220C/Gas 7. Place the cherry tomatoes in a roasting tin and sprinkle over the red onion, garlic and olive oil. Roast for 20 minutes until the tomatoes are softened.
  2. Stir in the rice, chicken, chorizo, rosemary, chicken stock, saffron and some salt and pepper, mixing well together. Return to the over for a further 20 minutes.
  3. Stir in the prawns and return to the oven for a further 10 minutes until the rice is tender and the chicken is cooked through.

Sunday, 13 February 2011

Gnocchi & Bacon Bake

This is just a quick & easy recipe I put together myself. It's a winner with kids, and very filling. I served it alongside some bread rolls, but no-one could manage those!

1 pack fresh gnocchi
1 tin 400g chopped tomatoes
Half red onion diced
4 slices of bacon chopped
Splash balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon Italian herbs (oregano, basil or whatever you have)
Cheese for topping
(I also added crispy onions & Panko breadcrumbs to the topping, but these are optional)

Fry the bacon until coloured in a little oil. Add the onion & soften. Tip in the tomatoes, balsamic & herbs, and simmer until sauce thickens. Meanwhile, cook the gnocchi as per packet instructions. Drain the gnocchi, and add to a casserole/lasagne dish. Add teh sauce & stir through. Sprinkle on your toppings & cook in the oven at 200 c for about 25 minutes.

Chicken Cacciatore

I stumbled across this fabulous cookery blog,, which is full of great sounding recipes. First on my list to try was this chicken cacciatore - her pictures of the dish are stunning and make it look so tasty! You can see the photos and recipe here ... pioneer woman blog . Scroll right down past the photos to findthe recipe. I'm afariad mine is nowhere near as good! The dish though, was very very tasty. My husband thought it tasted a little bit like chicken bolognaise, I just enjoyed it. I served mine with spaghetti.

Wednesday, 9 February 2011


I always thought bagels would be "difficult" to make. How wrong I was! I had a quick google for a recipe, just to see how tricky it was going to be. The very first recipe that came up looked far too simple, I didnt think it coudl work. Of course, I managed to mess up even this simple recipe teh first time hee hee. I forgot to add sugar, so there was absolutely no rise in the yeast/dough. I quickly started a 2nd batch though, as soon as I realised. When they came out of the oven, I couldnt believe they looked like real bagels! I  ate one for lunch, topped with scrambled egg and it was delicious! I am going to try & adapt the recipe to make cinnamon & raisin bagels - my favourite!

4 cups bread flour
1 Tbls sugar
1 1/2 tsps salt
1 Tbls vegetable oil
2 tsps instant yeast
1-1/4- 1-1/2 cups of warm water.

Mix all the ingredients in a bowl. You don't have to worry about soaking the yeast when you use instant yeast (most yeast sold these days is instant yeast). The dough should feel stiff, but add the extra water if it's really stiff, or you can't get all the dry flour incorporated.
Plop the dough down onto the counter, and knead for about ten minutes, or until the dough is uniform and smooth.
Cut the dough into 8 equal sized balls, and let rest for 10-20 minutes.
Pre heat your oven to 425.
Now, take each of the dough balls and using two hands, roll it into a little snake on the counter. When the snake is longer than the width of your two hands, wrap it around your dominant roiling hand. The dough rope should be wrapped so the overlapping ends are together at your palm, near the start of your fingers. Now take the two overlapping ends, and use your palm to squish/roll these two ends together. Once the dough is fused, you should have a perfectly circular bagel-to-be! This is the only part of the process that can take a little practice before your bagels will look really professional. Don't get discouraged if they don't look perfect, it just takes practice!
Let your bagels rest on the counter for about 20 minutes, and meanwhile, bring a pot of water to boil, and grease a large baking tray lightly. You can just rub a splash of vegetable oil and rub it around.
After the 20 minute wait, your bagels will start to look puffy, and it's time to get them boiling! Add them as many at a time as you can to your boiling water without crowding them. Boil for about a minute, turn them over, and boil for another minute. Take them out a let dry for a minute and then place them on your oiled baking tray. Repeat until all the bagels are boiled.

Add the tray to the oven, and after 10 minutes, flip the bagels over, bake for another ten minutes; and they're done!
Let them cool for at least 20 minutes.