Thursday, 30 January 2014


For a quick throw it together supper, you can't go wrong with this.  I've used the meatballs with a tomato sauce and pasta but rice is also good or in sub rolls or pitta bread with salad.

I've used some ready made breadcrumbs from Sainsbury's that have been pimped up with a range of different flavours.  I've gone for Pistachio & Herb.  They're really handy to have in and can be added to home made stuffing or topping meat and fish, I've also used their Moroccan Inspired Breadcrumbs on a spicy cassoulet.

500g Minced Lamb
1 Egg

1 tbsp Oil
1 Onion chopped
1 Courgette grated
1 Yellow Pepper sliced
1 Garlic Clove crushed
400g Tin Chopped Tomatoes
1 tsp Rosemary chopped
150ml Water
Salt & Pepper to season

Combine the mince, breadcrumbs and egg and form into meatballs.  Place on a baking tray lined with parchment and bake for 20 minutes at 180C.
While the meatballs are cooking, heat the oil in a pan and cook the onions till soft then add the courgette, peppers and garlic till they start to brown.  Now add the tomatoes, rosemary and water.  Season with salt and pepper and bring to the boil then turn the heat down and leave to simmer for 20 minutes.

When the meatballs are cooked, add them to the pan and continue simmering with the sauce for a further 10 minutes.

Saturday, 25 January 2014


Perfect for using up those bananas that get left behind in the fruit bowl, you simply shove everything in a bowl and mix and the Bundt tin makes it look like a fancy cake that you've spent ages slaving over.  Don't worry if you don't have a fancy tin though, these also look great as individual cakes made in muffin tins. Just turn them upside down and decorate.

100g Butter softened
170g Sugar
200g Self Raising Flour
2 tbsp Maple Syrup
2 Eggs
2 Ripe Bananas
1 tsp Baking Powder
50g Walnuts roughly chopped

For The Icing
100g Icing Sugar
2-3 tbsp Maple Syrup
Drop of Vanilla Extract
20g Walnuts roughly chopped

Heat the oven to 190C. Grease and flour a Bundt Tin. Use an electric mixer to whisk together the banana and sugar then add the remaining ingredients and mix them all till well combined. Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin and bake for 30-35 minutes till the cake is firm and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Cool in the tin for 5 minutes then turn out onto a cooling rack.

Mix the icing sugar with the maple syrup and vanilla to make a runny icing then once the cake has cooled drizzle over the top and sprinkle with the remaining walnuts.

Friday, 24 January 2014


I wanted to come up with a recipe for my junior bakers for Burns Night and this worked out really well with some great results.  The majority of my students had never tried haggis before but they all went home converts, success!

200g Plain Flour
100g Butter
Water to mix

1 tbsp Oil
1 Onion chopped
100g Swede grated
250g Haggis
Apple Sauce

Make the pastry by rubbing the butter into the flour till there are no lumps then add the water to form a smooth dough.  Wrap in cling film and place in the fridge till ready to use.

In a frying pan heat the oil then add the chopped onion and cook till soft but not coloured.  Now add the grated swede and cook till this starts to soften.  Lastly ass the haggis, use a fork to crumble it up into the mixture and cook till it becomes soft, about 5 minutes.

Roll out the pastry and cut large disks, approximately 12cm across.  Brush the edges with water, place a tablespoon of the haggis onto each centre and top with a teaspoon of apple sauce.  Fold the pastry in half and crimp to seal.

Brush with a little milk and bake for 15-20 minutes at 180C till golden.

Tuesday, 21 January 2014


This Saturday is Burns Night which celebrates the life of the Scottish poet Robert Burns.  In England this means we suddenly get an influx of haggis in our supermarkets which is good news as far as I'm concerned cos I think it's extremely tasty, quite cheap and goes a long way.  I'm well aware that some people have the fear of haggis but you really should give it a go.

Haggis is traditionally served with neeps and tatties,  turnips and potatoes, so I've come up with this pie which incorporates all three.


350g Plain Flour
175g Butter
Water to mix
OR 500g Shortcrust Pastry

1tbsp Oil
1 Onion chopped
1 Haggis
1tbsp Plain Flour
500ml Stock
1 Large Potato
1 Turnip

Make your pastry by rubbing the butter into the flour till there are no lumps then add water to form a soft  dough.  Wrap in cling film and pop in the fridge till you need it.

Heat the oil in a pan and add the chopped onion.  Cook till soft and translucent.  Now split open the haggis and crumble it into the pan with the onion.  Break the haggis up as you cook till you have a mixture resembling mince.  Sprinkle over the flour and cook for 2 minutes. Lastly add the stock and stir to make a thick gravy.

Line an 8" loose bottom cake tin with the pastry leaving a slight overhang.  If possible use a mandolin to slice the potato and turnip into wafer thin slices or do this by hand.  Now layer your pie. Starting with a layer of potato then turnip then cover with the haggis mixture.  Continue with two more layers and end with the potato and turnip.  This will help stopping the pastry from getting soggy.

Brush the edge of the pastry with a little water and top the pie with the remaining pastry and seal firmly before trimming off the excess.  Brush with beaten egg then bake for 45-50 minutes at 180C fan till golden brown.  Leave to cool slightly in the tin before removing it.

Thursday, 9 January 2014


HAPPY NEW YEAR to you all, I hope you had a lovely break and enjoyed all the over indulging that goes with the festive season.  I certainly did and could be heard saying 'well, it's christmas' on many occasion.  But now is time to get back on track and start feeling positive about the new year ahead.  Don't worry, I know it's only the start of January and all the positivity about being healthy and owing weight will more than likely go out the wind before valentines day but I'm going to make the most of it while it lasts.  So the kick start things, here is a healthy but tasty soup recipe to get us going.

This recipe always goes down well in our house, we've been trying to be more veggie during the week and this ticks all the boxes. It's quick to make and cosy to eat.

The soup is accompanied by tortilla chips that act as croutons along with chopped onion, fresh coriander, grated cheese and sour cream that everyone adds to their portion as they eat.  My children love that bit, I think it's an opportunity to play with their food and get away with it.  You of course don't have to use all these extras and select the low 'light' versions if you do.

1 tbsp Oil
1 Large Onion chopped
2 Garlic Cloves crushed
1 tbsp Mild Chilli Powder
½ tsp Smoked Paprika
1 tsp Ground Cumin
400g Tin Chopped Tomatoes
420g Tin Borlotti Beans
410g Tin Kidney Beans
1 ½ pts Vegetable Stock
Large Bunch Fresh Coriander
Salt & Pepper to season

Heat the oil in a large pan and cook the onions till soft, add the garlic and spices and cook for a further 3 minutes stirring all the while. Now add the tomatoes, beans and stock. Bring to the boil and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove half the soup and whiz in a blender along with half the coriander. Return the blended soup to the pan, season and heat through.

Serve with the remaining coriander, tortilla chips, finely chopped red onion, grated cheese and sour cream.