Wednesday, 25 April 2012


My blog seems to somehow pre-empt what I'll be watching or be inspired by.  Strange but true. I already blogged this week about giving chilli an authentic Mexican twist with some chocolate, and only this morning I was once again oohing and aahing at Day of the Dead inspired cushions, textiles and chairs.  If  only I had the cash, I'd be be buying myself one of these babies.

I'm also lusting after this Kozyndan tea cup and saucer.  The Fabulous Baker Girl treated me to a framed copy of Uprisings by Kozyndan at Christmas and when I do get some cash, I'll be buying some more.

Then as if by magic and as if I needed any excuse to get in the kitchen, I received an absolutely beautiful gift from my gorgeous wee sis, which she got all the way from the U.S of A!  This amazing apron which even has a matching corsage for my hair!

Depicting the legend of the Mujer Dominadas, the warrior is holding her in his arms. The saying on the apron is 'Me equivoque' Contigo' (I made mistakes with you).

My sis has one with Our Lady of Guadalupe on it which is equally as gorgeous and has suggested that we wear them to our as yet, still to be booked, cooking course.  I'll keep you posted on that one!


I felt really guilty that I didn't spoil my wee girl on her birthday this year and that I didn't even see her until late into the evening so on Sunday after managing to get two tickets to the sold out Example concert (which would have been punishable by death if I didn't) I decided we'd make a day of it.  As cash was still a bit tight and as I wanted to hold some back for tour merchandise,  I called and was happy to have my booking taken by someone who was obviously smiling at the other end of the phone and printed off my http://www.itison/ voucher for redemption.

 Under strict instruction from my twelve year old daughter not to embarrass her in public, I regret to say that I wasn't able to snap any pictures.  To be honest I think she was more concerned that I save the memory space for the concert!  Also the place was pretty packed at 2pm and I always feel a bit freakish taking photos in crowded restaurants.

While we were waiting for our starters we noshed on delicious dips, hummous, tsatziki and taramasalata served with warm pittas as recommended by the very friendly waitress.  The tomato stained lips of my daughter were testament to the tasty sauce her lamb meatballs were served in and my breaded scampi was crisp and juicy.

For mains I plumped for Afelia (pork marinated in white wine and coriander) which reminded me of a dish I made for friends many years ago and which I'll be attempting again.  The wee lady opted for the Stifado, a rich beef stew which fell apart in your mouth as did the pork.  Both dishes were accompanied by potatoes and rice, either one would have sufficed as the portions were extremely generous but it didn't stop us trying both.

Athena also scored bonus points for it's well made soda and lime.  This is a personal and continual bug bear of mine.  How hard is it to pour one? Not very! So why do so many places fail to do so?

Anyways, I digress.  Relaxed, friendly and with fab food.  Sounds a bit cliche, but Athena is all of these. Get yourself down there as soon as.

Saturday, 21 April 2012


If I could live anywhere in the world it would be Tuscancy.  I have this dream of being sat under an olive tree with a lush landscape spread out before me and the sun shining on my face.  When Kingy from the Hairy Bikers divulged his not dissimilar dream, to be sat in a cypress grove in 15yrs time eating oranges with his grandkids at his feet, in this weeks Italian Bakeation, I wanted to fire him a letter of marriage proposal.  Pity he's already taken.

Being a Scot, I am deeply patriotic.  This trait was never more evident than in this weeks episode of Two Greedy Italians-Still Hungry in which they visited southern Italy. You can't fail to be inspired by the passion, the heritage and use of the amazing and local produce of the Italians. And if Antonio and Gennaro don't make you smile, then you're tired of life!

If you've missed either of these, get some joy in your life and watch them on                                                                                                                                               


My wee Mammy and Daddy have just moved into a new house and we're now neighbours.  Annie decided to have one of her infamous 'girls nights'.  Consisting of a group of ten who have all been friends since I was a little girl, this menagerie get together at least every couple of months and Halloween in particular is a sight to be seen. They continue to amaze me every year with their amazing outfits!

Anyhoo, Mammy works hard so I offered to do the food.  As I knew it'd be a boozy night, starchy food was the way to go.  So I made them a pot of chicken risotto (recipe on blog), some pasta carbonara with garlic and rosemary focaccias, kimchee slaw, green salad and smorgastarta.

Smorgastarta is a Scandanavian celebratory sandwich cake.  It's said that these have even been offered as bribes to the police to solve cases, such is their reverence.  I've been longing to have a go so last night was the perfect opportunity.  I left it a wee bit late though so taste triumphed over design on this occasion. 

See what you think


Thursday I decided (again) that it was time to shape up.  Inspired by a pic of the beautiful and curvy Kim Kardashian in this weeks Grazia magazine.  I really believe that diets don't work and that exercise and quality food is the key, just look at the national treasure that is Nigella.  I never struggle with the food part, but the exercise, well......  I did try and sign up for a Powerhoop class this week with the Fabulous Baker Girl but having been told we need to do an introductory course first we were bounced.  I've since invested in my own which I'm sure is an upcycled implement of Medieval torture from the Edinburgh Dungeons!

And quality doesn't mean us all having to traipse off to some high end supermarket or over priced deli.  Two more pots of soup (tomato and basil and sweet potato and lentil) were whizzed up in no time at all and for pennies. Just pop it into freezer bags and whenever you're feelin peckish stick one in the micro.

 Here's a crackin wee recipe I found on that's low cost, low fat and super easy.



Packet of gnocchi
300g turkey mince
1 cup chopped onion
3/4 cup chopped red bell pepper
1 tablespoon bottled minced garlic
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon fennel seeds
1/2 cup dry white wine
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1 can diced tomatoes with basil, garlic, and oregano 
1 tablespoon finely grated cheese
1/2 teaspoon black pepper 
Basil sprigs (optional)


  1. Cook gnocchi according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain.
  2. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add turkey to pan; cook 3 minutes or until browned, stirring to crumble. Drain. Add onion and next 4 ingredients (through fennel seeds); sauté 2 minutes. Return turkey to pan. Stir in wine; cook 2 minutes. Stir in tomato paste and tomatoes; cook 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat; stir in cheese and black pepper. Place about 1 cup gnocchi in each of 4 shallow bowls; top each serving with about 1/2 cup sauce. Garnish with basil, if desired.


I can't believe it's been over a week since I last blogged!  J and I actually had a wee night out last Saturday - a long overdue catch up with good friends. We tucked into a delicious spaghetti with chicken and a creamy chilli sauce. 

I have been attempting to re-energise myself and do a bit of cooking.  On Tuesday I made a Mexican chilli with some cocoa powder in, another one of those must get round to trying dishes.  Turned out great.  A common misconception with chilli is that it's all about the heat but the recipe that I followed resulted in a mild yet flavourful dish to which the cocoa gave a fantastic deep colour.

There's lots of different recipes online, depending on whether you like yours with peppers, ground beef or kidney beans. Chilli is like curry, everyone has their own versions often unique to your household so don't be scared, dive in and create your own!

On Friday I met up with the Fabulous Baker Girl and we headed to Tchai Ovna for a blether, laughs, yogiyogi and Jasmine tea.  A wee hour or two with her is as refreshing as a weekend away so it is, just a pity I had to get back to get organised for Mammy's do.

Thursday, 12 April 2012


Things are almost back to normal at mine.  The last few weeks I have susbsisted on ridiculously unhealthy food and my waistline is testament to the fact. After reading Run fat bitch run, I would genuinely like to make a start with at least some walking (I don't want to totally shock my body) but time is still the enemy at the moment.  You may be thinking if I have the time to sit and post, then I have the time to walk but I have two pre teens at home just now plotting world domination.

So my plan of attack starts with a huge pot of soup which will keep me going, satisfy both my sweet and savoury tastebuds and most importantly provide me with slow release energy throughout the day.  This one is also a great freezer staple.  Once cool I usually pour mug sized portions into freezer bags and store them flat.  This makes reheating much quicker too as opposed to storing in tubs.



  • 2 tsp medium curry powder
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 onions , grated
  • 1 eating apple , peeled, cored and grated
  • 3 garlic cloves , crushed
  • 20g pack coriander , stalks chopped
  • thumb-size piece fresh root ginger , grated
  • 800g sweet potatoes
  • 1.2l vegetable stock
  • 100g red lentils
  • juice 1 lime


    Put the curry powder into a large saucepan, then toast over a medium heat for 2 mins. Add the olive oil, stirring as the spice sizzles in the pan. Tip in the onions, apple, garlic, coriander stalks and ginger, season, then gently cook for 5 mins, stirring every so often.

    Meanwhile, peel, then grate the sweet potatoes. Tip into the pan with the stock, lentils and seasoning, then simmer, covered, for 20 mins. Blend until smooth using a stick blender. Stir in the lime juice, check the seasoning and serve, topped with roughly-chopped coriander leaves.

    Trust me, once you've tasted this soup, you'll make it over and over