Wednesday, 29 May 2013


Marinated Cornish Sardines.

BBQ’s are the easiest thing, bung on a few sausages, some home-made burgers, the odd kebab. I’d never really done much fish on the BBQ, a few marinated prawns on sticks but never full blown fish. They always seemed a bit fiddly and messy..not a good excuse I know but true.

However when faced with a vegetarian needing more than just a vegetable kebab I realised now was the time to embrace my fear and go for it.

Little did I realise how easy it would be. Especially once I had bought a holder thing..the first time we cobbled together two wire cooling racks to keep the fish in together, however we did manage to lose one of them in the flames. Not great!!

BBQ Cornish Sardines

BBQ'd Cornish Sardines

Now I am pleased to say with this handy gadget it is SO simple.

Waitrose BBQ Grill basket

Over the Bank Holiday weekend we went to Hengistbury Head in Dorset, a truly beautiful area, strolling along the beach you could see faint trails of smoke curling up as little groups gathered for beach BBQ’s. The smell of the smoke, the sea, and cooking food was so tempting.

Great British Seaside, Dorset, England.

Dorset, England

We were visiting friends and Si had just been out fishing and caught mackerel which we BBQ’d that evening, stuffed with garlic and olive oil. It was simple and delicious.

Back home this week when the rain stopped we BBQ’d sardines. Sadly not caught by us I hasten to add, but still delicious.

Beach Huts in Dorset, England.


Serves 4
Preparation time 2 minutes
Cooking time 10 minutes

4 Large sardines or 8 smaller ones
4 cloves of garlic
2 tbsp olive oil
Juice of a lemon
Handful of fresh fennel

1.      Rinse the fish then place in a large bowl.
2.      Crush the garlic into a small jug or cup, put in the olive oil, lemon juice and the  chopped fennel then pour over the fish, coating it well. Season with salt and pepper.
3.      Allow this to rest for an hour or so if you have the time, or whilst you light the BBQ.
4.      Place the fish in the BBQ turner and cook for about 5 minutes on each side.
Serve with lots of crusty fresh bread and a green salad and extra lemon slices.

So if you have shied away from fish give it a go, it’s so easy!!

Sardines all gone...

Sunday, 12 May 2013


Warm lentil salad with sun dried tomato

We’re in that in between period aren’t we?

We've had a taste of proper spring with blue skies and sunshine but it has been short lived. Summer feels a long way off as I get drenched cycling home in yet another down pour. I even end up picking rhubarb in the rain as it just doesn’t seem to show any signs of stopping.

Rhubarb in the rain

I don’t want winter warmers but I’m really not ready for just a cold salad yet.

Spring flowers in the rain

This warm lentil salad is a real in between recipe and can be adapted to suit Vegetarians and meat eaters alike.

We have had it with mozzarella and rocket, so that the cheese melted slightly and oozed over the lentils but we've also had it with spit roasted chicken..sorry to offend any staunch veggies by mentioning chicken- look away now!!

Warm lentil salad with chicken and creamy lemon sauce


If you are in search of other salads do check out La Tartine Gourmand- a blog I love

Bea is a French food writer and photograph who I admire greatly and has just posted a delicious quinoa, asparagus and broad bean salad recipe.

So here is the warm lentil salad recipe, it’s easy delicious and worth trying for a change.

Sun dried tomatoes

Serves 4
Preparation time 5 minutes
Cooking time 20-25


1 large red onion
30 g sun dried tomatoes
2 cloves of garlic
Good glug of olive oil
500ml of good vegetable stock- or chicken stock if you can!
250g Puy lentils


1.     Slice the onion finely, chop the garlic and fry gently in a pan in a glug of  olive oil, until the onion is soft.
2.     Add the chopped, or snipped sun dried tomatoes. I find snipping them up with scissors much easier and quicker.
3.      Tip the lentils into the mixture and coat with the garlic onion oil let them absorb the  flavour for a minute or two, but keep stirring them so they don't stick.
4.     Add the stock and cover for about 15 minutes. Check them to make sure they aren’t drying out. If they seem to just add a little more stock, until they have absorbed all the liquid and are nice and soft. This takes about 20-25 minutes 

It is great served with a young green leaf salad and mozzarella. 

Warm lentil salad

Sun dried tomato

Monday, 6 May 2013



It’s amazing what a difference a week makes isn’t it. Suddenly the blossom is out, everywhere looks green and it feels warmer. 

Eggs from friendly chickens.

A colleague I work with keeps chickens and came in with boxes of freshly laid eggs. It seems his hens are equally relieved with the arrival of spring and are laying an abundance of eggs. So we have been enjoying lots of omelettes, and eggs for breakfast. Thank you chickens!

They are a lovely range of shapes and colours. Nothing like the uniform ones you get in the supermarket.

As I cooked a pan of asparagus the other day followed by a delicious bright yellow omelette with the eggs from the friendly chickens, I couldn’t help thinking that it was spring on a plate.


The fresh woody tasting asparagus with lashings of olive oil, black pepper and lemon juice followed by a simple fresh omelette with peppers and herbs, YUM..

What could be healthier and fresher than that!

Asparagus ready to steam

Ok this isn’t a recipe, but for those of you reading this who have never cooked asparagus ( I had a friend who had never cooked a piece of fish and was intimidated by it until I explained an easy fail safe way)  it’s really easy and requires very little time or effort.   




One bunch of asparagus
Drizzle of olive oil
 Black pepper
Juice of half a lemon


Steam the asparagus for about 10 minutes or until tender, if you don’t have an asparagus steamer then use a lager steamer or saucepan.
Remove from the pan, place on a large dish, drizzle with olive oil and squeeze the juice of half a lemon over and liberal helpings of black pepper

Serve as a starter with fresh mayonnaise or with parma ham or dipped into boiled eggs. Then follow with an omelette and wow!