Sunday, 30 December 2012

Lessons Learned

The burning pudding
The toasted sandwich
What foodie related things did we learn in 2012? Here's the top ones in no particular order:

Roasted ham with honey and mustard applied is fantastic.
A good turkey sandwich needs to be toasted.
Whisky burns very well on a Christmas pudding.
We need to buy more locally produced meat and vegetables.
Olive bread is great.
Coca-Cola still is the best drink in the world and should really be considered a health drink.
Garlic roasted spuds do the trick.
Salt and sauce or salt and vinegar? We can't quite decide.
French wine every time.
Breakfast biscuits are made by Elves and have magical properties.
Proactive yogurt and fruit smoothie mix well as an invigorating drink.
Dirty carrots are good for you.

Friday, 31 August 2012

Weekend Curry

Adapted from the More with Less Cookbook's "Garden Vegetable Curry"
Serves 7 - 8

Heat some olive oil in a saucepan and add a couple of chopped onions together with a couple of cloves of minced / finely chopped cloves.

Fry lightly for 5 minutes and then add 2 tablespoons of curry powder, 1 teaspoon of turmeric and a teaspoon of cumin seeds and fry for another 3 minutes.

Add a tin of chopped tomatoes and a squeeze of tomato paste and cook for a few minutes until the mixture thickens.

Add a packet of sliced cabbage or cabbage and leeks or greens; 3 diced carrots and 5 small chopped potatoes.  Stir until all coated in the sauce and then add a teaspoon of salt. 

Cover with water and simmer for 15 minutes.  

While simmering, boil half a dozen eggs then shell them.

Add a few handfuls of frozen green beans or peas or both, and a tablespoon of lemon juice, and simmer for another 15 minutes.

Add the boiled eggs (whole) and heat through for 5 minutes.

Serve with long grain rice, cutting the eggs in half for serving and with chutneys, curry condiments and chipatas on the side.

Thursday, 9 August 2012

Voodoo Chill Out Rice

A quick and tasty veg stir fry.

You need: A chopped onion, 6 small dirty carrots, 12 chopped mushrooms, a half cup of frozen peas, 6 small plum tomatoes, cooked rice, balsamic vinegar, garlic (as you like it), dried chillies, salt and pepper and oil. Use a well oiled wok or better still something non-stick with a lid and chop the veg to suit.

Fry in the usual stir fry order on a hot hob, that's onions oil and all the additives first, don't be mean. Then add the vegetables finishing with the cooked rice (pre-prepared elsewhere or even leftover). Take away from the heat after about 7 minutes and leave with a lid on for another 5 just to let it all come together. Serve immediately.

You can of course add (cooked) meat or whatever things you like towards the end of the process.

Saturday, 9 June 2012


It was a rare and unexpected triumph, my first attempt at Bruschetta. Something I presume everybody else knows about etc. and has made up oodles of times. Anyway this works:

Ingredients - 4 big tomatoes, fresh basil leaves, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic, seasoning and of course a nice crusty bread of your choice.

Method - Skin the tommys in boiling water (hold in the pot for a minute, extract with a fork and the skins peel away very easily in an extremely satisfying manner). Scoop out all the gunge and seeds (discard) and chop the bits up. Add a teaspoon of balsamic vinegar and a tablespoon of the oil. Chop up about 8 basil leaves and add with the seasoning and some crushed garlic (to taste). Mix.

Toast or bake the bread (cut into 1/2 inch thick slices), scoop on the tomato filling and serve on a warm platter. If you're lazy get some ready sliced garlic bread, heat it up and pop the mix on. Garnish with a few olives, splash around a cheap Chianti and you're motoring like an Alfa 166. Yummytastic.

Prep time - 10 minutes.
Cook time - 5 minutes.
Scoff time - 7 minutes (may vary according to conversation and other hygiene factors).

Thursday, 24 May 2012


Pastrami (TurkishpastırmaRomanianpastramăYiddish: פּאַסטראָמע pastróme), is a populardelicatessen meat usually made from beef and, traditionally in Romania, also from pork and mutton. In Israel, "Pastrama" is the term used for sliced chicken and turkey. Like corned beef, pastrami was originally created as a way to preserve meat before modern refrigeration. For pastrami, the raw meat is brined, partly dried, seasoned with various herbs and spices, then smoked and steamed. In the United States, although beef navels are the traditional cut of meat for making pastrami, it is now common to see pastrami made from beef brisket, beef round and turkey.

PASTRAMIRAMI: It's almost summer, the air temperature is almost in double figures so time for weekday salads. Why not brighten and protein up a salad bowl by adding pastrami rolls to it? Salad is a mix of iceberg (not trendy but crunchy), spinach, rocket, peppers, plum tomatoes and French dressing. Simple and tasty.

Sunday, 22 April 2012

Alabama Shakes

Serving Suggestion.

Got the Alabama Shakes? (Not to be confused with the rattlesnake shake or the crap over hyped soul/funk band). Suffering from a red wine/peanut oil and Gin hangover c/w a lack of sleep and a throbbing temple spot? You need some of the early morning Shakes, a simple, quick and not too colourful but easy on the eye feast of carbs and protein to get you back into orbit and onto the M90 once more. The Shakes are on the left here, the other items are French toast and scrambled eggs - you know fine well how to do them so I'll concentrate on the big Ss.

You need: Olive Oil, boiled garlic new potatoes, cold ham, a few cocktail sausages, Worcester Sauce, seasoning.

Heat the oil and frizzle the sausages in a non-stick sauce pan, add the spuds and ham, let it all get hot and sweaty. Add the Big W sauce (carefully and according to your taste). Serve sizzling from the pot with breakfast normals as above or with toast or muffins. Head(s) cleared in 5!

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Sweetie Sweet Chicken

Dished up with a little Basmati Rice.

From the oven ready to serve.


Main part - 4 chicken breasts chopped, 2 sweet potatoes sliced, 1 onion sliced, 1 red pepper sliced, seasoning (also garlic if you like that sort of thing) and a little water.

Place it all in a casserole, layer the sweet potatoes on top. Cook in the oven in the casserole (with a lid on to keep it moist) at 200 for about an *hour till the chicken is hot hot hot and sweet potatoes are nicely mushy.

Sauce - one tablespoon of olive oil and one of vinegar, 1.99 teaspoons of sugar, big squirt of tomato puree, a little water. Boil and simmer to a nice saucy consistency and add the cornflour to thicken.

Add the sauce to the chicken mix at the end of the *hour in the oven and cook for a further half hour or so.

Serve with rice on a warm platter.

Monday, 27 February 2012

Top Ten Foods - eat healthy

Best Foods

1. Sweet Potatoes

A nutritional All-Star — one of the best vegetables you can eat. They're loaded with carotenoids, vitamin C, potassium, and fiber. Bake and then mix in some unsweetened applesauce or crushed pineapple for extra moisture and sweetness.

2. Mangoes

Just one cup of mango supplies 100% of a day’s vitamin C, one-third of a day’s vitamin A, a decent dose of blood-pressure-lowering potassium, and 3 grams of fiber. Bonus: mango is one of the fruits least likely to have pesticide residues.

3. Unsweetened Greek Yogurt

Non-fat, plain Greek yogurt has a pleasant tartness that’s a perfect foil for the natural sweetness of berries, bananas, or your favorite breakfast cereal. It’s strained, so even the fat-free versions are thick and creamy. And the lost liquid means that the yogurt that’s left has twice the protein of ordinary yogurt – about 17 grams in 6 ounces of plain Greek yogurt.

4. Broccoli

It has lots of vitamin C, carotenoids, vitamin K and folic acid. Steam it just enough so that it's still firm and add a sprinkle of red pepper flakes and a spritz of lemon juice.

5. Wild Salmon

The omega-3 fats in fatty fish like salmon can help reduce the risk of sudden-death heart attacks. And wild-caught salmon has less PCB contaminants than farmed salmon.

6. Crispbreads

Whole-grain rye crackers, like Wasa, Kavli, and Ryvita — usually called crispbreads — are loaded with fiber and often fat-free. Drizzle with a little honey and sprinkle with cinnamon to satisfy your sweet tooth.

7. Garbanzo Beans

All beans are good beans. They’re rich in protein, fiber, iron, magnesium, potassium, and zinc. But garbanzos stand out because they’re so versatile. Just drain, rinse, and toss a handful on your green salad; throw them into vegetable stews, curries, and soups; mix them with brown rice, whole wheat couscous, bulgur, or other whole grains.

8. Watermelon

Watermelon is a heavyweight in the nutrient department. A standard serving (about 2 cups) has one-third of a day’s vitamins A and C, a nice shot of potassium, and a healthy dose of lycopene for only 80 fat-free, salt-free calories. And when they’re in season, watermelons are often locally grown, which means they may have a smaller carbon footprint than some other fruits.

9. Butternut Squash

Steam a sliced squash or buy peeled, diced butternut squash at the supermarket that’s ready to go into the oven, a stir-fry, or a soup. It’s an easy way to get lots of vitamins A and C and fiber.

10. Leafy Greens

Don’t miss out on powerhouse greens like kale, collards, spinach, turnip greens, mustard greens, and Swiss chard. These stand-out leafy greens are jam-packed with vitamins A, C, and K, folate, potassium, magnesium, calcium, iron, lutein, and fiber. Serve with a splash of lemon juice or red wine vinegar.

Saturday, 7 January 2012

le pain grillé français

Enough for three?

3 large eggs, a splash of milk, a knob of buttery substance, oil, rough cut whole meal bread (7 - 8 pieces), seasoning to taste.

Break the eggs into a pasta plate, mix with milk, add seasoning. Heat oil/butter in a frying pan. Dip the bread in the egg mix, two slices at a time and allow a little time to soak. Turn the bread over (more soaking up etc.) then using a fish slice drop the two slices into the hot oil. Sear each side and allow to brown. Serve with bacon, HP Sauce and whatever else you like for breakfast.

Alternatively once cooked you can dust the pieces with icing sugar and serve with jam or syrup.

Monday, 2 January 2012

High And Mighty

I'd never cooked roast pork or ham before so I saw mealtime on January the 1st as providing the perfect challenge. There is of course a lot of information and recipes out on the web, an easy google if you're new to this, pots of good advice from the old hands and experts.  Here's a Delia link that describes the mustard and sugar coated ham I prepared (on the right in the photo), it work surprisingly well. My main problem was understanding quite what kind of ham joint I had in the first place. I bought if from the (local) Hopetoun Farm Shop and despite having a conversation across the counter with the helpful butcher I failed to ask the correct questions. I was therefore unsure about how much of a soaking to give it, whether there was skin or fat and (oops!) how heavy it was. I therefore did what I usually do under these circumstances and hoped for the best and just did everything - strangely that seemed to work. Here's another recipe link, just to maintain a balance.

The pork (left) was much more straightforward, bought from Tesco with the minimum of human interaction there were instructions on the inner label (in a tiny font) that worked. I also knew the weight so it was simply a matter of rubbing in some rock salt and then roasting. I did both joints together at 180 degrees for about 2 hours, I then allowed the ham another 30 minutes at 220 to bake the added mustard glaze. The meat's best left to cool a little before you carve, then just serve warm with a gravy. Delia's further advice also helped.

I made the gravy by adding stock from both joints (they produce a lot) to some ordinary cranberry and sherry sauce I'd bought. I thickened it a little and hey presto, nice brownish colour too.  It was served with roast, mashed and sweet potatoes and various green veg. More than enough for the six of us in fact we'll be eating the leftovers for the rest of the week. The only mishap was my catastrophic dropping of a full bottle of champagne as the roast was being served. I flooded the dining room and soaked the guests in the process. Ho hum.