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Showing posts from 2014

Seasonal Change

Apologies for sporadic posts, I have been busy with a couple of new projects. A book on my favourite condiment of all time - Ketchup; an E-book guide to etiquette and manners, and the other is a gluten-free snack bar I hope to launch before the end of the year. I do love a challenge and if all or none of them work out, I'm really enjoying the process.

The book on manners has been brewing for quite a few years now, the catalyst being a recent disastrous business meeting. Six ( youngish ) grown-ups conducting  a tech start-up marketing meeting with no idea how to make each other comfortable, awkward handshakes, mumbled introductions, it made this old fart cringe watching. A basic idea of etiquette, even in tech-type "new" industries,would have made such a difference to the atmosphere and the outcome of the meeting. 
Having worked in the hospitality industry for a long time, good, no GREAT manners are the key to any successful service based business. Great food is often spoil…

Celery. Raw. Is Good For Your Jaw.

We go through about 5 bunches of celery a week. FIVE.  It probably seems a little excessive. No-one is on a diet. No-one has a Bloody Mary habit, to my knowledge.
I think we may be crunch addicts though. Mostly it's for classic snacks with either peanut butter or cream cheese but it does go into a lot of my cooking too.


Apart from being a low calorie crunchy vegetable, celery is a hot bed of antioxidant goodness. Not only the usual vitamin C, manganese and beta-carotene, it also contains many phytonutrients from the phenol category that are proven to be anti-inflammatory and therefore can help to undo the damage caused by stress, exposure to toxins and acute and chronic illnesses. 

When I looked for some new recipes using celery as the main ingredient, interesting ones were few and far between. Lots for celeriac but not many for good ol' celery.
One of my favourites is a classic from Jane Grigson, adapted by Delia Smith for 
Poached Celery with Pheasant , a lovely softly flavoured,…

Venison, My Dear.

Okay. Venison is the Anna Wintour of meats. Rich, very lean and for some, very scary. The thought of eating deer, or any game, rabbit, pheasant, wild boar can bring on the instant heebie jeebies in even the most committed carnivores.
From Jane Grigson's English Food, "Game animals and birds are man's oldest food as far as meat is concerned. The deer swimming across the river painted on the walls of Lascaux, the bones in in every Paleolithic excavation, are evidence of that. The surprising thing is that deer in particular who can become tame and biddable, have never been fully domesticated. Sheep, goats, cattle, dogs have all become part of human society over the best part of 9,000 years. Why were deer ignored by Neolithic farmers, when venison had been the most widely eaten meat in Paleolithic and Mesolithic times? The bones of red deer have been found in 95% of European sites: in southern parts this means a period of 50,000 years."
The thing to consider especially if y…

Menu Monday 19th May

What a week. I had tears and tantrums and an embarrassing encounter concerning a pool table trick, an osteopath, and a retro ladygarden. All mine. How was yours? 
This week is National Vegetarian Week in the UK and my girls have asked if we can participate. Nightmare. Now don't get me wrong, I am a big vegetable fan and we usually have a couple of meatless meals every week, but I do think you have to have a good source of fresh produce and not everyone is lucky enough to be near a farmer's market or fabulous greengrocer. Maybe a veg box delivery service could be the answer for people that don't.

Monday
This one Kitty made yesterday and we are having it tonight Spicy Chickpea Stew, probably with some rice and pita bread.

Tuesday
Busy day for all of us and I will be dashing out to my new Tai Chi class before dinner, woohoo, so it will be Tomato and Red Pepper soup and Jalepeno Cornbread from the freezer.

Wednesday
One of my favourites,  Mushrooms on Toast and maybe a tomato and red…

Menu Monday 12th May

I'm happy to be back to a normal week at last! Still waiting for some sunny weather to arrive but the gardens are looking glorious despite the constant drizzle we've been having in my part of the world. Really looking forward to getting the BBQ out one day soon... Have a great week and good cooking!

Monday
A little bit of effort , but worth it for this #MeatlessMonday, Quinoa, red rice, black lentil and spicy cauliflower salad.

Tuesday
A quick Chicken Caesar salad before an epic badminton re-match ( long story...)

Wednesday
I'm going to make double the quantity of this classic stew so that I have a meal to serve for Sunday lunch as well, a lovely Lancashire Hotpot .

Thursday
Loads of good quality and good value asparagus around so a spaghetti, pea and asparagus dinner will be easy, fresh and tasty. Add some frizzled chorizo if you want some spice.

Friday
Fish this Friday is salmon as my fishmonger has a good deal going. This is Gordon Ramsay's version of Salmon en Croute . I mus…

Menu Monday 7th April

Another busy week. I've done a course that made me really use my brain and a Manic Street Preachers gig that made me shake ma booty, all good. Glad I made some soup for the freezer last week as along with those April showers, comes a nip in the air so a bowl of soup still goes down a treat. Not long until Easter, can't wait for a break and some serious relaxation. Have a great week and here's the plan!

Monday
#MeatlessMonday but still delicious will be homemade Butternut Squash Soup with
Cheesy Jalepeno Pull Apart Bread .

Tuesday
Take one Roast Chicken, I serve mine with brown rice from my family food post.

Wednesday
A really simple dish of John Dory with lemon butter sauce and a tomato and onion salad.

Thursday
We'll be having the leftover chicken and rice, turned into special fried rice by adding finely chopped ginger, garlic, chilli and a couple of eggs and a good glug of soy sauce and whatever greens that are in the fridge.

Friday
Friends over for dinner, we're doing a bi…

Menu Monday 31st of March

The clocks have "sprung" forward this weekend and the evenings will be getting longer, can't wait for full on BBQ season to start properly. I plan big things in the smoking and marinade department and am collecting some funky herbs and spices, will keep you posted. In the meantime, here's what's happening food-wise in our neck of the woods.


Monday
We're getting an early crop of very nice aubergines/eggplants from Spain in my local market so #Meatless Monday is a classic Egg Plant Parmigiana .

Tuesday
Tasty, speedy and easy to make Lamb and Pea Keema Curry have with rice or naan bread.

Wednesday
Main course salad, quick to throw together, White Bean, Chorizo and Herb Salad, chunk of crusty bread, done!

Thursday
I have today off so I'll be making stock for future soups etc and actually have time to make 2 courses for tonight. Starting with Persian Duck with Walnuts and finishing with gorgeous and seasonal  Rhubarb Crumble.

Friday
Making burgers. Grilled fish, homem…

Menu Monday 24th March

After a brilliant weekend away playing with friends, laughing way too loud on public transport and learning more than I ever thought possible about cranes, I'm ready to tackle another week of the baffling and delicious stuff the universe sends me. Hope you are ready too! 

Monday
For Meatless Monday today the Greek classic feta and spinach pie, Spanakopita is perfect. If you can't find filo pastry, I know it's not authentic but I put the mixture into a pie dish and top with ready rolled puff pastry. Not "perfect" but still delicious.

Tuesday
An easy one pot dish from Hugh Fearnley-Wittingstall, Chicken with Tomatoes and Tarragon, served with nutty brown rice, cooked while the chicken is roasting away.

Wednesday
Home late tonight,so some super quick pasta!
Peppered Smoked Mackerel Pasta
500 grams of dried pasta, best with shell types to catch the sauce. 
150 - 200 grams smoked, peppered mackerel, skinned removed and broken into chunks
100 ml single cream,
 handful of spinach …

Menu Monday

Monday has a bad rep but I really do love the start of a new week and the chance to do it all over again but better and bigger and with a little bit more throwdown!! I hope your week starts the way you want it to, here's the menu plan. 

Monday 

My kids tell me I've been" living under a rock "cos I hadn't heard of pizza dough made out of cauliflower, Doh. It's all kinda Paleo and Low Carb and it looks delicious and perfect for Meatless Monday, Cauliflower Pizza Crust-with-Roasted Vegetablesand GoatCheese.   
Let me know what you think of it if you give it a try.


Tuesday

This is quite similar to a dish of mine but I love apricots  so I'll give this a try,  Saffron Chicken with Apricots and Cardamom

Wednesday

Even though I should really wait till the summer to make these , I have a major craving for one of my favourite dishes, Piedmontese Peppers and serve them with piles of good sour dough bread to mop up the yummy juices.

Thursday

Friends over for dinner so it'…

Menu Monday

I'm old Mother Hubbard today. I went to the cupboard, no bone for the poor dog,nada for us, just a whole lot of bare happening. So it's off to the shops and the fruit and veg market, so happy the sun is shining and spring really is in the air! Hope it's fab where you are too. Here's this weeks menu.

Monday -  Keeping to Meatless Monday and thankfully my girls are fans of both spice and veggies. We will be having Black Bean and Vegetable Burritos but will be swapping the Monterey Jack for cheddar.


Tuesday - The pickled veg are great with these Vietnamese Grilled Pork Skewers and cucumbers are 4 for £1 in my local market at the moment, result!


Wednesday - I get home late most Wednesdays so it's a quick stir-fry of udon noodles, broccolini, ginger, chicken  and kecap manis. But after dinner I'll make the Labneh for tomorrow night.


Thursday -  Bulgar Wheat and Spinach Pilaf with Labneh , great recipe, add a platter of grilled lamb chops and it makes a perfect spread fo…

5 Cool Gifts For Mother's Day

"My Mother had a great deal of trouble with me, but I think she enjoyed it" Mark Twain

Mother's Day in the UK is on the 30th of March this year, are you prepared? Are you tired of giving the same old presents to your Mum every year? Well I bet she's a bit sick of petrol station chrysanthemums and the daggy nighties from M & S but way too sweet to say anything..  Check these little giftlets out and hopefully they might inspire you a wee bit.



1. Mahjong Set
I have always been fascinated by Mahjong. Full of west winds, red dragons, kongs, pungs and chows it seemed full of magic to me and you can play for money!
Mahjong is a Chinese game of skill, strategy, and calculation. Researchers have recently developed a form of healing using Mahjong, as they believe that playing the game is beneficial for individuals suffering from dementia, cognitive and memory difficulties but that's probably better kept to yourself....
Buy beautiful vintage ones on Ebay for between £10 and …