Wednesday, 22 October 2014


Pascal has been working so much recently, it feels like we have barely cooked together this past month or two. Plus we have both been trying to watch our weight which is never fun. However yesterday we had the whole day together and so decided to cook something healthy. Even though Pascal always moans about eating fish, he is a big fan of fresh tuna steaks so we decided to do this very quick and easy recipe from Olive magazine.

Ingredients for 2 people:

2 tuna steaks
Olive oil
15 pitted green olives, quartered
1 shallot, finely chopped
1 tsp capers
Half a lemon, zested and juiced
Half bunch of parsley, chopped
Cooked new potatoes to serve

The potatoes take the longest to cook, around 20 minutes, so start to boil these first.

In a bowl mix together the olives, shallot, capers, lemon zest and parsley. Season well and then add the lemon juice and olive oil to taste.

Rub the tuna steaks with some olive oil and season well, then cook in a very hot frying pan or griddle pan for 1-2 minutes on each side, depending on how rare you like it. We did about 90 seconds on each side.

Finally serve the tuna on some new potatoes, topped with the dressing and enjoy.

This was delicious - all the flavours really compliment each other - I do love this mixture of the olives and the capers, and even Pascal was highly complimentary and raved about it. 

We will definitely be making this a regular meal and without the potatoes, it is around 245 calories so can even work on the 5:2 diet - I would just add spinach or broccoli instead.

Tuesday, 21 October 2014


Whenever I see a French recipe in a magazine, I will normally cut it out and cook it for Pascal, just like I did here. A Pissaladiere is a pizza style tart from Nice in the South of France - traditionally it is a pizza style base topped with caramelised onions, garlic, olives and anchovies. Obviously we had to mix it up and involve cheese somehow!! Unfortunately little did I know Pascal doesn't like caramelised onions (and neither does Arabella) - whoops!

Ingredients for 4-6 people:

4 roasted red peppers (you can buy them in a jar or roast them yourself)
50g butter
4 red onions, finely sliced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tsp Marmite
2 tsp chopped fresh thyme
375g ready rolled puff pastry
8 rashes of smoked streaky bacon, chopped (you could probably use lardons instead)
150g goats' cheese
Rocket leaves, Parsley or Basil, to serve

Melt 50g of butter in a frying pan and gently cook the onion and garlic over a low heat until they are soft and golden brown. This will take around 30 minutes. While these are cooking, preheat the oven to 180 C / 160 C(fan) / gas mark 4 and take the pastry out the fridge.

Then stir in the Marmite and thyme. The Marmite gives the onions a more meaty, richer taste.

Unroll the pastry onto a baking sheet (I used a dish) and prick all over with a fork.

Spread with the caramelised onions.

Then cut the peppers into strips and add them.

Scatter over with bacon and roast in the oven for 20 minutes.

Then add the goats' cheese and cook for a further 10-15 minutes (you just need to make sure the bacon is cooked).

To serve scatter with some green leaves.

I really really liked this, even though I am not a Marmite fan, it added a great flavour to the onions which went brilliantly with the goats' cheese, bacon and peppers. Unfortunately neither Pascal or Arabella were that enamoured with the recipe….Arabella even went so far to say it was the most revolting thing she had ever eaten…she did eat it though! The offending ingredient was the onions, so I will do this again for them but with a tomato base (more pizza than pissaladiere) or I will have to make it for fellow onion lovers like myself.

One thing I have realised is when I do rip these recipes out of magazines for Pascal, they are actually more for me than him ;-)

Monday, 20 October 2014


I have a much more savoury tooth than a sweet one, however after checking out all the delicious puddings on Pinterest, I knew it was time to make something sugary for a change (much to Arabella's delight). 

This recipe is super easy - it is basically just chocolate bars melted together - I did go overboard on the chocolate buying though and instead you actually just need the equivalent of 7-10 chocolate bars (not 16 or whatever I bought) - however no one is complaining about the leftovers!!

Ingredients for 8 slices:

200g milk chocolate
200g dark chocolate 
1 bag maltesers
1 pack of munchies
7-10 other chocolate bars depending on their size and the size of your loaf tin

Line a loaf tin with baking paper.

Chuck in a line of munchies down the middle and maltesers either side.

Melt the dark and milk chocolate in a bowl over boiling water.

Once it is melted, spoon it over the maltesers and munchies and press in your selection of chocolate bars so they are highly packed.

Then repeat the process, adding another layer of melted chocolate and then more chocolate bars.

To finish off top with the remaining melted chocolate and smooth over (I wasn't as neat as I should have been here) and tap the loaf tin down to ensure you fill the gaps (I didn't do this as well as I should either)!

Chill in the fridge for at least a couple of hours - we actually left ours over night (if you can wait that long)!

Once ready, turn upside down on a board and slice and serve.

This was absolutely delicious - my kind of pudding - I loved the combination of all the different chocolate bars, it worked brilliantly. Plus it was so quick and easy to make. Arabella, Pascal and I all adored it and I will definitely be making this again - it would go very well with vanilla ice cream or is perfect just the way it is!!

Friday, 17 October 2014


I am currently trying to do the 5:2 diet - funnily enough I don't find it difficult to have two five-hundred calorie days a week, the problem is not going OTT on the normal days (especially at a weekend). Also I do not want Arabella growing up with weight issues (like I did) so the word diet is banned from the house and I still need cook and eat with her, without her knowing I am watching my calories. Slim pasta has become a life saver!!

Last night I cooked a delicious Fay Ripley pasta recipe which came to 256 calories and that included 15g Parmesan (I still need my cheese). Here is the recipe with proper pasta but if like me, you are watching your weight, just substitute the pasta for slim pasta (although it obviously won't taste as good)!!

Ingredients for 2 people:

250g tomatoes
4 garlic cloves, unpeeled
1 tbsp of olive oil
3 slices (45g) prosciutto
10g fresh basil leaves
150g dried pasta (penne or fusilli works well)

This recipe does take a little bit of time however it will make your house smell amazing and it tastes incredible.

Preheat the oven 180 C (fan) / 200 C / gas mark 6. 

Cut out the green core from the tomatoes and slice in half horizontally. Place them on a baking tray with the unpeeled garlic and drizzle with olive oil and season. Roast for 30 minutes.

Next lay the prosciutto on top of the tomatoes and roast for a further 15 minutes. While this is in the oven, start thinking about cooking the pasta according to the packet instructions.

Remove the prosciutto and set aside.

Squeeze out the roasted garlic flesh into a food processor and roughly mix with the basil and tomatoes.

Finally toss the pasta with the tomato, basil and garlic sauce and serve with broken bits of prosciutto (it is easiest to use your hands for this).

Garnish with some basil, sprinkle with Parmesan and tuck in.

This is delicious - really fresh and sweet at the same time - plus the roasted garlic smells incredible and so your house smells like a real Italian mama's house. This is definitely worth the time it takes and I think will be a regular fixture on my "2" days and maybe my "5" days too!!

Monday, 13 October 2014


I had a cooking/eating disaster on Sunday. Firstly we went to our local farmer's market to buy some bread and cheese - we bought some olive bread and decided to share a Cuban sandwich. Both very disappointing - the sandwich was super greasy and the bread so so chewy. What a waste of calories.

It didn't matter though, as we were cooking a stuffed roast lamb in my new super douper pressure cooker / slow cooker which my gorgeous friend Sally had bought Pascal and I for our wedding. Typical me being me, didn't read the instructions properly and ended up serving Pascal raw lamb. Ugh. I obviously seriously underestimated the cooking times.

Most of it was inedible so all we had was our side, some cheese and chewy olive bread! Thankfully the side was yum!

Ingredients for 3-4 people (depending on how hungry you are):

1/2 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1 garlic clove, crushed
100g Parmesan, grated
2 courgettes
Olive oil for drizzling
Parsley for garnishing

Preheat the oven to 180 C.

Cut the courgettes length ways in to quarters and lie on baking paper in a suitably sized dish.

In a small bowl mix together the grated Parmesan, the garlic, basil, oregano and thyme and season to taste.

Sprinkle the mixture over the courgettes.

Drizzle with olive oil (Pascal was a bit too heavy handed, you only need a tiny amount otherwise the courgettes are too oily).

Finally put in the oven for 8 minutes and the grill for another 2-3 minutes or until the vegetables are crisp and golden brown.

Serve immediately, garnish with parsley if desired.

These were really good - crispy, crunchy and cheesy - even Arabella who claims not to like courgettes thought these looked delicious so I will definitely be cooking them again soon. Who doesn't love a jazzed up veg?!!


I made these little parcels for a dinner party recently - they are really easy as you can make the filling the day before and then finish them off before the guests arrive. The recipe makes around 16 pastries however I still had quite a bit of filling left over which I will freeze until I make these again or you can eat the chorizo and chickpea mix with a jacket potato or pasta.

Ingredients for 16 parcels:

1-2 x 320g packs of ready rolled shortcrust pastry
a splash of olive oil
1 red onion, peeled and finely chopped
100g chorizo, finely diced
400g tin chickpeas, drained
400g tin chopped tomatoes
250g ball of mozzarella, drained and finely diced
1 egg, beaten

First things first, take the pastry out of the fridge 20 minutes before you need to use it and preheat the oven to 200 C fan / 220 C / gas mark 7.

Chop up the ingredients. I only used 125g mozzarella but you definitely need to double this.

Heat the olive oil in a frying pan and cook the onion and chorizo for 5 minutes until they start to caramelise. 

Add the chickpeas for another 5 minutes.

Add the tomatoes and simmer for another 5 minutes.

Take off the heat and stir in the mozzarella and let the filling cool.

Unroll the pastry and then cut down the middle length ways, then cut each half into 4, creating 8 equal rectangles. Do this for the second roll of pastry too.

Divide the chorizo and chickpea mix equally among the rectangles (about two loaded teaspoons per parcel). Then fold the pastry over the filling in the middle and use a fork to press down around the open edges.

Place the parcels on your baking trays and brush each with some beaten egg and cut a small steam hole in the top with the tip of a sharp knife.

Bake for 25-30 minutes until all are golden and then leave to cool for a few minutes before tucking in.

These were really good - a great dinner party canapé. They were bigger than I thought they would be and very filling, you could also make them for supper with a nice crisp green salad or as an open top tart. Even though Pascal doesn't like spice, he thought a hot sauce would also compliment them! So many options - I am looking forward to adding the chorizo and chicken mix to some pasta and plenty of melted cheese!