Wednesday, 25 March 2015


I was planning on cooking cod with lentils and chorizo but then Arabella turned her nose up. Therefore I decided to do something more "relaxed" seeing as it is nearly holiday time and Arabella chose this recipe. I never cook Arabella fish fingers, even though she loves them, as I think they are too processed but I was pleased to see Waitrose sold a healthier, more natural version. I liked the look of this recipe as I used to love a fillet-o-fish at McDonald's and this seemed pretty similar - I was gutted I forgot to buy cheese slices though but probably better for me!!

Ingredients for 2 people:

6-8 fish fingers depending on the size
2 tsp capers
4 cornichons, finely chopped
3 tbsp mayonnaise
1 lemon, zested and a squeeze of juice
4 thick slices of good bread
A few lettuce leaves

Cook the fish fingers according to the packet instructions - mine took 15 minutes in the oven. Once they are cooked leave them to cool a little.

In a bowl mix the capers and cornichons with the mayonnaise.

Stir in the lemon zest, a squeeze of juice and season.

Slice the bread and then butter it - my butter was too hard to spread! Lay some lettuce leaves on one slice.

Then add the fish fingers and the mayo mix and make the sandwich.

This was so much better than I expected. I never make sandwiches so it was a real treat and the homemade tartar sauce was absolutely delicious. As I said earlier I would be tempted to add a slice of cheese although that is probably because I am a cheese addict. Plus I need to learn to slice bread better….my penultimate picture says it all! This was a great alternative to our normal suppers and I will definitely try it again. Arabella loved it although she found the thick bread a struggle to fit in her tiny mouth…thinner slices for her next time!

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Sunday, 22 March 2015


Another day, another Fay Ripley recipe and more goat's cheese! Arabella and I had a lovely weekend with our best friends in West Sussex but then came home to an nearly empty fridge. Arabella wanted bread, cheese and saucisson and so we kind of compromised with this risotto as it included goat's cheese!

I have made this several times before and it is super easy and so delicious. Pascal feels "icky" about the goat's cheese and smoked salmon idea but I think it goes together like bacon and eggs or strawberries and cream!!

Ingredients for 4 people:

1 large onion, peeled and chopped
1 tbsp olive oil
20g butter
250g risotto rice
800ml chicken stock
finely grated zest of 1 unwaxed lemon
150g soft goat's cheese
150g smoked salmon, roughly chopped into strips
10g fresh dill or chives, chopped
A shaving of Parmesan
Black pepper

In a saucepan, fry the onion for 5 minutes until soft, in the oil and butter.

Add the rice and stir for a minute.

Add the stock and lemon zest and bring to the boil. 

Stir once and then pop a lid on and simmer for 15 minutes until the rice is cooked but still has a little bite.

Crumble in the goat's cheese and stir until it melts into the rice.

Season with black pepper (I really don't think it needs any salt) and stir through the smoked salmon and dill. Er I forgot to take a picture here - I think I was just so keen to eat at this point!!!

Serve with a shaving of Parmesan and tuck in!

Wow - a big thumbs up from both Arabella and myself - we adored it. Risotto always used to be my favourite dish and it is again now. I rarely have it in a restaurant as it can easily be overcooked and rubbish, however this certainly wasn't the case here - it was creamy and delicious - a perfect 10!

Friday, 20 March 2015


It is very rare that I cook a recipe that I don't really love - being such a piglet I like eating pretty much everything. I have nearly always had great success with Fay Ripley's recipes however I was a little disappointed in this one. Bubble and squeak is a classic dish however Fay has "mixed it up" by adding egg….I tried this and really didn't like it as an addition so I would recommend leaving it out (ignore it in my picture). Also if, like me, you like a bit of meat, I would advise you to add some chorizo to this recipe - I didn't and I regret it! Here is the recipe, I have altered it a bit to make it better and I only cooked it for Arabella and I, but here it is for 4 people.

Ingredients 4 people:
800g potatoes
240g bag of ready shredded cabbage and leek (you can buy it and shred it yourself if you aren't lazy like me)!
2 tbsp olive oil
2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
1 red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped (I didn't add this as we don't like spice)
200g cherry tomatoes, halved
200g brie or dolcelatte, roughly chopped
200g chorizo, sliced
3 large eggs, beaten (I didn't like the egg in this so put it in at your peril)!

To serve (optional):
Green salad and warm crusty bread

Preheat the oven to 160 C fan / 180 C / gas mark 4.

Wash and chop the potatoes into bite size pieces, leaving the skin on (I didn't read this part - doh)! Par-boil in salted water for 8-10 minutes.

While these are cooking, in a frying pan, cook the chorizo in a splash of olive oil. As I said I didn't add this but I would really recommend it. After a few minutes add the cabbage and leek mix for 2-3 minutes. 

Add the garlic and cook for one more minute and season.

Then add the chilli (if using), the tomatoes, and the cheese, with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. 

If you are adding the beaten eggs, this is also when you do it. I did but as I said, I didn't like it, but each to their own!

Give it all a good stir and mix well. Transfer to a large, shallow, ovenproof ceramic dish. 

Bake for 30 minutes until bubbling and crispy on top.

Finally split between four plates and serve.

This wasn't Arabella nor my favourite thing I have ever cooked, however I believe if you add the chorizo and leave out the egg, it would be delicious. A great midweek supper or weekend lunch idea. Satisfying but not too filling. I will definitely be trying it again with Pascal, I think he will be a fan of anything involving brie, chorizo and potatoes!!

Thursday, 19 March 2015


After cooking my oven baked risotto with pesto and goat's cheese last week, I now have quite a bit of leftover risotto rice in my cupboard. Being a complete neat freak, I now want to use up the remainder of the rice so expect to see a few more risotto recipes this month! I have been wanting to cook this particular one for quite a while - it is from Fay Ripley's first ever cook book although I have adapted it slightly.

I made this for just Arabella and I, however here is the recipe for 4 people:

Ingredients for 4 people:

1 onion, finely chopped
300g pancetta
25g butter
A splash of olive oil
250g risotto rice
850ml chicken stock (I used vegetable)
250ml tomato passata
4 tbsp Parmesan, grated

This is a super easy recipe!

In a saucepan, add the butter and a splash of oil. My dad used to like using both when cooking!

Add the onion and pancetta and cook for around 10 minutes until the onion is soft and the pancetta cooked.

Add the rice and stir for a minute or two.

Turn up the heat and add the stock and passata.

Mix together and then bring to the boil.

Stir once and then turn the heat down to a simmer. Put a lid on the saucepan and leave for 15-20 minutes. I stirred a couple of times as the rice was sticking a little.

When it is ready and the liquid is absorbed, leave to sit for 5 minutes - don't forget this part as this meant that the rice became a lot less sticky at the bottom of the pan!

Finally serve with some grated Parmesan cheese.

I was extremely surprised at how amazing this was - I wasn't expecting to love this but I really did. Arabella added a touch of her favourite goat's cheese to her bowl and this worked really well. Fay recommends adding peas or popping some seared tuna on top. I have to say it worked so well on it's own, I am of the view - if it ain't broke, don't fix! A fabulous, quickish easy dish.

Wednesday, 18 March 2015


While I like to think I am "healthy", I am really rubbish when it comes to eating breakfast. I am never really hungry in the morning and I can't eat before a hot yoga session because it makes me feel sick. I end up just eating apples and then saving myself for lunch (although then I have the tendency to overeat). 

However I found this recipe at Waitrose and I thought it was time to try making a different kind of breakfast and break a habit of a lifetime. Plus as I do the 5:2 diet, after a day of 500 calories, I definitely need to eat the next morning and I want to have something healthy and sweet.

Ingredients for 8 portions:

100g mixed nuts, chopped
250g rolled jumbo oats
50g mixed seeds
2 tbsp sunflower oil
6 tbsp maple syrup (I used golden syrup as that is what I had in the house)
150g berry mix
75g dark chocolate, roughly chopped
1 litre of Alpro almond unsweetened or skimmed milk

Preheat the oven to 170 C / gas mark 3 and line a large baking tray with parchment/baking paper.

Chop the mixed nuts.

In a large bowl, mix together the nuts, oats and seeds.

In a small jug, mix 3 tbsp water, 2 tbsp of sunflower oil and 6 tbsp of maple (or in my case) golden syrup.

Pour over the nuts and seeds and mix well.

Pour the mixture into the lined baking tray and spread out into an even layer.

Bake for 35-40 minutes, stirring from time to time until golden. I gave it a stir every ten minutes.

Stir in the berries and the chocolate.

I then put it back in the oven for a couple of minutes to melt the chocolate a little and then stirred again.

Leave to cool completely. When ready serve with almond or skimmed milk.

This was really really good! It felt like a real treat even though it has plenty of health benefits as nuts and seeds are full of protein, magnesium, fibre, potassium and B6. It was also very filling. Any leftover granola can be stored in an airtight container for up to two weeks and you can also use it to sprinkle on top of winter crumbles or just eat it without mile as a quick snack.

I liked this so much I had some for breakfast and some for lunch. I reckon this is definitely going to become a staple in my fridge and I am already looking forward to breakfast tomorrow!