Thursday, 31 January 2013


Happy 1st Birthday Not Just For Rabbits

I can’t quite believe it but I have been writing


For AYear...

Yes! This January is our 1st Birthday.

It has all gone so quickly yet, as I look back over the posts from the last year I can’t help but feel very proud.

Proud I have managed to keep posting. Proud so many people have been discovering us and then re-checking us out.

It charts what has been happening in our lives last year. There are certain posts inspired by the places we were lucky enough to visit- Sicily, Hastings, Paris, North Uist as well as places we go regularly like Portsmouth fish market.

Others inspired by friends and guests..Pancake Day will always remind me of our lovely young American Friend who introduced us to “Fat Tuesday”. A concept the teens in the house will forever thank you for. I am already thinking how we can improve on it for this year in honour of you H!!

Others were a response to what was happening to us, good times and tricky ones.

 I have loved watching the changing seasons and the foods we crave at different times.

My initial challenge was to try and offer a variety of easy and economical recipes for the vegetarian and non vegetarians in the family, and to get certain members more interested in what they were eating, as well as offer ideas to others.

 It has made me more creative and in the process I have discovered some amazing flavours and ideas that I wouldn't have used before. Several people have even asked me if I am thinking of doing a cookery that would be amazing. 

Who knows what this year will bring?

Already things are changing. Teen V is recovering from her glandular fever, and taking much more interest in cooking and has even, on the advice of a nurse friend, eaten a little meat, to help boost her immune system. I didn’t see that coming.

So, thank you to everyone still reading this,
More recipes and adventures to come very soon.


Saturday, 26 January 2013



“I’m just going out to buy some blueberries” Teen V shouted up the stairs to me the other day, “I fancy making some blueberry muffins. I’ve found a recipe and we’ve got everything except the blueberries.”

I was speechless as the door shut and the footsteps disappeared. Is this the same Teen who has up to now taken very little interest in her food, and only wants to make chocolate brownies? Blueberries, a super food I have been going on and on about...Wow what a change!

When she shows me the recipe I have to remain very neutral, it has natural yoghurt and is the healthiest looking cake recipe I have seen for a while!! I am stunned.

As I lay in bed, post op, not just being lazy I hasten to add, I hear her creating and an hour later up she comes with a cup of tea and a delicious muffin on a plate for me.
After the last crumb has been prized from the plate and she returns to clean the it the general anaesthetic I wonder but no it’s true... I can’t help wondering if maybe, after all this time of me banging on about healthy eating and feeding your body to keep it fit and well, super foods, bla bla, just maybe, some of it has sunk in after all.

So for all you fellow parents worried about your children’s lack of interest in what they eat all I can say is, don’t despair, keep going with the healthy food, because they can sometimes surprise you.

And for any teens reading this, I have heard there are a few of you..THANK YOU for reading, and don’t give your parents too much of a hard time, they just want you to be healthy!!

Sorry I haven’t got the muffin recipe for you, I don't like to post anything I haven’t made, and haven't really got the energy to do much cooking. I just wanted to share this with you.

More recipes soon!!   

Saturday, 12 January 2013


Casablanca Cookies

As the cold winds bite and snow is forecast I dream of sun, warmth and summer holidays.

This sends me back to my cook books searching for something to lift my spirits and feed the dream.

Jossy’s Casablanca Cakes from the Leon cook book does just that. With its blend of almonds, semolina, icing sugar and lemon it captures the soft subtle taste of Moroccan pastries and is perfect as an after school, tea time treat as it is packed with nuts. 


So if you are having a SAD moment or just fed up with the cold greyness of the English winter, try these to remind you of Mediterranean warmth.


Serves ..lots!! about 20 plus little biscuits
Preparation time 10 minutes
Cooking time 12 minutes


50g whole almonds with skins on
1 lemon
1 large egg
100g icing sugar
½ tsp baking powder
100g semolina
Extra icing sugar for dipping



1.     Pre heat the oven to 170 degrees
2.     Blitz the almonds in a food processor until as fine as possible.
3.     Whisk the egg and the icing sugar until pale. Stir in the baking powder, semolina, ground almonds and the rind of the lemon. Mix well.
4.     Line a baking sheet and put some extra icing sugar in a bowl. Then with a tsp make little balls of mixture about the size of a large marble, dip one side in the icing sugar and place on the baking sheet.
5.     Do this with all the mixture you might need to cook these in two batches, but place in the preheated oven for 12 minutes.
6.     Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack.

Here’s looking at you kid!

Casablanca cookies for the winter blues

Thursday, 10 January 2013


A-Z OF DANGEROUS FOOD published by Tate Books

I had to share this picture of a children’s book that I saw last weekend in 
the TATE Modern.


It features such delicious delicacies as spiders and killer clams!!

It’s published by Tate books and comes highly recommended by bookshops and book groups alike for young children. 

·         ISBN-10: 1849760160
·         ISBN-13: 978-1849760164

It has great bold designs and is a fun A- Z but not something I would want to try cooking with! 

More real food soon.

Tuesday, 8 January 2013


Red lentil and Sweet Potato Soup

“I’m not hungry” was the initial response to this soup at lunch the other day. However as there was no alternative it was eaten and, more was asked for!!!

Yes, it was that tasty!

Just before Christmas I was sent a sample of Garden Gourmet fresh herbs to sample.  I blogged a prawn and noodle recipe

using a selection of the herbs but then didn’t really have time to do any more.

The little tubes of freshness have not been ignored or left festering in the fridge. In fact they have been used in so many different dishes I thought I should just share with you how useful I have found them.

They have been used in soups, sauces, curry’s and even biscuits. The Teens have found them useful when making brownies and garlic bread and they really brightened up several soups.

With a cold spell forecast I thought I would share this healthy tasty red lentil and sweet potato soup with you. Especially those of you trying to get healthy foods into reluctant youngsters I was really pleased with how this went down.

So here it is. 

Thank you Garden Gourmet I have been recommending your little tubes of goodness to everyone.

Gourmet Garden little tubes of fresh herbs


Serves 4
Preparation time 5 minutes
Cooking time 20 minutes


1 carrot
1 onion
500g of sweet potato
150g red lentils
2tsp gourmet garden garlic or 3 cloves of crushed garlic
2tsp gourmet garden fresh ginger or 1 cm of finely chopped fresh ginger
1 Litre of good vegetable stock
1slug of olive oil or approximately 1 tbsp


1.     Put the oil in a large saucepan and heat gently. Chop the onion, sweet potato and carrot and lightly fry in the oil for about 3 minutes.
2.      Add the herbs and stir in coating the vegetables then add the stock and bring to the boil.
3.     Once it has started to boil turn the heat down add the lentils and simmer for 20 minutes or until the sweet potato is soft.
4.     After about 20 minutes the lentils should have dissolved and the vegetables be soft and crumbly. Using a hand blender blitz it up to a velvety texture...

Then serve with crusty bread and eat!!

Thursday, 3 January 2013


Aubergine rolls

We had friends over to celebrate the New Year’s Day and I decided that an anti dote to Christmas would be roast lamb. 

Ok so it’s normally an Easter thing, but we were having a quiet New Year so I wanted delicious food that would feed the soul as well as hungry revellers after a bracing walk.

View from Lymington over the Solent to the Isle of Wight

 Tired of nut roasts and slices of fish I turned to my cook book of the moment, 
Made in Sicily by Giorgio Locatelli. 

It’s entirely his fault I became a Sicily convert.  I was hooked after watching one of his programs on TV a few years ago and then spend a few gorgeous weeks there last summer, splitting our time between Ernesto and Elda’s beach hut style villa near Noto

and Butera 28  

the Palazzo of the Lampedusa family in Palermo.

Anyway back to the food....more precisely Aubergines..

They aren’t popular with certain members of the family however this recipe had everyone, family and friends, converted. It combines the sweet taste of raisins, pine nuts and onion with a shavings of pecorino cheese all rolled up neatly in aubergine and baked..OH WOW..

The taste is divine.

Aubergine Rolls with bay leaves

So whilst we had them as a starter and moved onto the very slow roasted lamb, teen V had them instead of the lamb with roasted veg....

For us meat eaters they were a delicious starter and for her made a welcome change from nut roast.

On a practical level they can be made in advance and just put into cook for 10 minutes when you take the meat out so everyone is served at the same time.

The blend of nuts, dried fruit, vegetables and cheese is very well balanced and so offers a nutritional delight.


Serves 4 as main or 6 as starter
Preparation time 10-15 minutes but allow 2 -3 hours for draining drying etc..
Cooking time 10 minutes


2 Medium aubergines
Sea salt and black pepper a pinch of each
Splash if olive oil
2 cloves of garlic
1 onion
20g raisins
20g pine nuts
20g pecorino cheese, grated
Lots of fresh bay leaves
2 tbsp of breadcrumbs
Juice of 1 lemon..I forgot to put this on the finished dish and it was gorgeous with out – your choice-


1.     Slice the aubergines thinly length wise, sprinkle with salt and leave to drain for a few hours
2.     Wipe off any excess water or salt and squeeze them to get rid of any extra moisture.
3.     Boil a saucepan of water and blanch each aubergine in the water for about a minute then leave on the side to drain.
4.     Heat the oil in a frying and slowly fry the onion until soft, for a few minutes then add the raisins and pine nuts for a further minute. Take off the heat and stir in the cheese, salt and pepper. You should have a nice dense mixture, but you might want to add more olive oil here.
5.     Now place the slices of aubergine on a board and spoon a tsp of mixture at one end and then roll it up. Put it on a wooden skewer with a bay leaf between each roll.
6.     Put about 4 rolls to a stick and place in an oven proof dish, sprinkle with bread crumbs and bake for about 10 minutes.

Giorgio says to squeeze the juice of a lemon over the top before serving, but I didn’t and it was great..the choice is yours.

It is easy; just make sure you leave enough time for each stage.

Bay tree by the garden gate

The other unexpected pleasure I had when out getting some bay leaves from the garden was to discover the Mahonia, (spiky leaved shrub with small yellow flowers that smell amazing) had blossomed and smelt so beautiful. You felt spring was near, even though I know it’s not!

Winter garden 2013

Bay tree

So armed with bay leaves and a sprig of mahonia we celebrated the start of 2013



Bay leaves