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

    Monday, 9 April 2012


    So I know Easter has just gone and as with Christmas, you are probably sick of the sight of chocolate BUT ..... I just came across this recipe in the fantsastic blog and felt that it was my duty to share it with you.


    Toast 1 cup of hazelnuts in a dry pan until they are fragrant and golden, then let them cool.  Meanwhile melt 4 ounces of semisweet chocolate (not chips) and 2 ounces (4 tablespoons) of unsalted butter. Stir in 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract.  Blend cooled nuts in a processor until smooth, 3-5 mins, drizzling in one to two tablespoons of nut or vegetable oil.  With the machine running add in the chocolate mixture, 3 tablespoons of condensed milk and half a teaspoon of salt. Transfer to a container and refrigerate.

    Back to life....

    Hello again, hello.  It's been an extremely hectic month.  My parents have just moved house and I was designated head of operations which meant a thousand and one car trips on my part, an almost broken arm and a ridiculous and actually quite sickening amount of take out!  J has also been working flat out and we've all hardly seen each other despite it being the school holidays!

    Fingers crossed we can now return to a semblance of normal and I can get blogging again.

    One thing that has repeatedly popped up in any stolen moments I've had to do some recreational reading is the David Gelb film Jiro Dreams of Sushi.  A documentary on sushi chef Jiro Ono, the octogenarian owner of 3 Michelin star Sukiyabashi in Tokyo. 

    With the poise of a Kendo master and an almost religious reverence for the sushi he creates, Jiro Ono's absolute dedication to the craft is absolutely inspirational.  Now I just need to find a cinema that's actually showing it!

    Friday, 9 March 2012


    Although my first love is Thai I seem to be leaning towards Italian this weather.  Perhaps I'm being influenced more than I think by my current choice of reading material, Anthony Capella's Food of Love which is in part, a modern take on Cyrano de Bergerac.

     In Capella's reworking of the tale, Tomasso is a waiter who in an attempt to woo the object of his affection, Laura-an American art student-enlists the help of his best friend Bruno-a chef- after overhearing a telephone conversation in which she agrees with her friend she will only date someone who can really cook.  Unbeknown to Tomasso, Bruno has already fallen in love with the same girl after seeing her at the market in Rome.  Bruno's trips to the markets and to purchase fresh seafood at the shore and meat from local farmers have me salivating.  His insistence however is always that fresh and simple produce maketh the dish.

    A lot of people assume risottos take too much time and are difficult to cook.  Not so.  As Bruno says they only rely on simple and flavourful ingredients. My favourite risotto is alla Milanese.  An authentic Italian Milanese dictates the use of bone marrow to add depth of flavour but it's omission makes it no less delicious.  The inclusion of saffron gives the dish an amazing colour and it's satisfyingly filling without being stodgy.

    This my version but you can play around with it.  Prawns and scallops taste fab in this dish or add some wine, replace the saffron with garlic and use pork and asparagus.  Sage and squash is another delish combo.  See what I mean?  Get experimenting!



    1 1/2 cups of risotto rice
    1 onion chopped finely
    15g butter
    750 ml chicken stock
    300g chicken breast diced into small pieces (you can use cooked/leftover chicken if you prefer)
    few threads of saffron
    chunk of Italian cheese, grated.
    zest of 1/2 a lemon.
    frozen peas (optional)


    Sweat off the chopped onions in butter.  Once translucent add rice and stir to ensure it's coated in butter.
    Now begin to add your stock, just a ladleful at a time, and continue to stir until it all the liquid has been absorbed adding more and repeating the process until the rice is almost cooked.  If you feel you need to add more stock then do so.

    At this stage add your diced chicken breast, a few threads of saffron, the lemon zest, grated cheese and frozen peas if using.  Fold in to risotto.

    For serving you can grate some more cheese on top.

    Sunday, 4 March 2012


    Whilst out for dinner, many moons ago, The Fabulous Baker Girl, another friend and I ordered antipasto and spurred on by the urban legend 'if you eat something seven times you will begin to enjoy it, or at least stop hating it' we steeled ourselves and began our battle with the olives on our dish.  Only minutes later, following much groaning and pulling of ridiculous faces, we accepted defeat and collectively consigned olives to our food room 101.  On balance however, my sister, conducted the same experiment with mushrooms and can now tolerate the funghi.

    So as I sat one day watching Nigella conjure up another amazing dish-Calabrian Lamb Cutlets-it was with trepidation that I tried out the recipe and with great surprise, mopped up every morsel on the plate, including the offending olives.

    Reading a friends post about her pesto and olive crusted cod had me slabbering but being ovenless at the mo (which is, really beginning to get me, but I refuse to give in until I have enough money in the pot to treat myself to a proper range) I'm unable to try it out.  Thankfully with an abundance of delicious spring lamb in markets everywhere I can treat myself to this Calabrese delight.



    • 12 lamb rib chops
    • 4 tbsp olive oil, plus 2 tbsp extra for frying
    • 3 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
    • 1 teaspoon chilli flakes
    • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
    • 1 small lemon, zest and juice only
    • 1 tsp sea salt/kosher salt or ½ tsp table salt
    • 15 black olives, stones removed, sliced
    • 2 tbsp water
    • 1 long red chilli, seeds removed, finely chopped, to serve (optional)

    Preparation method

    1. Place the lamb chops between two sheets of cling film on a work surface and gently flatten by tapping them with a rolling pin or meat mallet. Remove the chops from the cling film and place into a large dish in a single layer.
    2. Pour over the four tablespoons of oil and sprinkle over the garlic, chilli flakes, oregano, lemon zest and juice, salt and olives. Turn the chops in the marinade so that both sides are coated.
    3. Cover and leave the lamb to marinate for 20 minutes at room temperature before cooking.
    4. Heat the remaining two tablespoons of oil in a large frying pan over a medium-high heat. Scrape any excess marinade off the chops and reserve in the dish, then fry the chops for 2-3 minutes on each side, until lightly golden-brown.
    5. Turn the heat down to medium and pour the reserved marinade into the pan over the chops. Add about two tablespoons of water so that they cook in a little liquid. Cook for about five minutes for rare cutlets, or a little longer if you like your lamb well cooked (this will also depend on the thickness of the chops).
    6. To serve, place three lamb chops onto each of four serving plates. Pour over the juices from the pan and sprinkle with the chopped red chilli, should you feel like enhancing the dried chilli with the pep of fresh.

    Friday, 2 March 2012


    Still makes me laugh.


    Lastnights' show had me reaching for my passport.  With advances in technology more of us are enjoying programmes in high definition and 3D but I'm championing smellavision.  Imagine inhaling all those herbs, spices and just in general, the awe inspiring produce that the contestants were able to get their hands on.

    I'm definitely in John Torode's camp in that I find Thai/Malay/Indo food to be the most exciting and delicious of all cuisines.  It's light, fragrant, surprising and inventive.  For anybody who has ever watched Chef Wan Islaim (think of a male, Asian, Rusty Lee) you can't fail to be enthused.  Other ambassadors including Bobby Chinn and the inimitable Keith Floyd who gifted the residents of Phuket with their first celebrity chef establishment-Floyd's Brasserie in the Burasari Resort, extolled the virtues of Thai cooking.

    I'm getting behind Tom the plasterer to take this years title, his pork and mango sorbet dish hit all the right spots for me and his use of fish and cockroach paste earlier on proved he's not afraid to go out on a limb.

    I reckon that even the fantastic Seewoo wouldn't have fish and cockroach paste on their shelves and I don't know if I'm quite brave enough to try it but a dish that I eat frequently is Rendang.  Here's my own, simplified version.


         Lemongrass (stalk or Lazy)
         6-8 Shallots 
        1-2 Red chillies (deseeded if you don't want too much heat)
        Thumb size piece of Galangal (thai ginger)
        Thumb size piece of Ginger
        1-2tsps turmeric
        4 tablespoons of cashews

        Pack of frying steak
        Fennel seeds
        Coconut milk

        As this is my version, it's a bit slap dash and not an exact replica.  All you have to do is pound the first half of the ingredients in a pestle and mortar or processor till you're left with a paste then add to a hot pan with a little oil and cook off for 2-3 minutes.  Now add your beef.  Once your beef is browned add the coriander, coconut milk and kaffir lime leaves and cook for a further few minutes.  Season with salt and sugar.

    A good tip to balance too much heat is to add a touch of golden syrup.  I make it without the chillies for Finlay, but still with a dash of the syrup and he loves it.  It's also great with chicken and I like to serve it with rice noodles.


    Thursday, 1 March 2012


    I've had a few lew leaks in my house of late, but with a little gentle persuasion (some would call it nagging-such an ugly word) J has finally did the repairs.  I daren't bring up the missing bit of skirting again, which have I told you I have been asking for since T-Mobile launched their first smart phone? (3yrs ago-yes really)

    Anyway, today being St.David's Day, Prince Charles presents the Welsh Guard with leeks which he probably tells them are straight from his organic Duchy estates *clears throat*.  TBH Charlie I think they'd much prefer a bonus.

    For those who plan to do something with them here's a wee recipe that my kids love and in which, the presence of  vegetables, doesn't resort in them pushing said offending articles round with their forks. 



  • 30ml/2tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 leeks, cleaned and sliced
  • 350g/12oz baby carrots
  • 450g/1lb turkey
  • 30ml/2tbsp chopped fresh tarragon or 10ml/2tsp freeze dried
  • 100ml/4floz dry white wine
  • 300ml/1/2pt poultry gravy
  • 60ml/4tbsp half fat crème fraiche
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • chopped fresh tarragon to garnish, if liked
  • serve with rice or mash

  • Directions

    1. Heat the oil in a large pan, brown off turkey and set aside.  Add the leeks and carrots to pan and sauté for 4mins. Add the turkey, tarragon, wine and gravy and bring to the boil. Cover and simmer for 6mins.
    2. Remove the lid, and simmer for a further 5mins. Stir in the crème fraiche and season to taste. Remove from the heat. Spoon into a serving dish, scatter over the parsley and serve with rice or mash.
    This can be frozen and reheated in the popty ping or microwave to the non Welsh. :)


    Snapped up another crackin wee deal on today.  For just £18, two can dine and enjoy two starters, two mains and a glass of house wine each or for just £13 can enjoy two mains and two glasses of wine at Greek Taverna Athena on Argyle Street.

    Been dying to see the Descendants, so this will be a perfect wee pre cinema treat for me and J.  Won't be going on Tuesday 13th though, did you know that it's the equivalent of Friday 13th for Greeks?

    Wednesday, 29 February 2012


    If you were to ask me what I'd like for my last meal?  I'd probably choose a mushroom risotto.  I can't get enough of them and I love a bit of citrus fruit too.

    I can only imagine what incredible flavours are bursting in the mouths of the patrons of Pierre Herme as they sink their Parisian ivories into his latest limited edition macaron.

    To see more of the maestros confections visit


    For me cooking means simplifying everything as much as humanly possible.  Preparation is an absolute must.  No one can turn out a beautiful meal amidst chaos.  So read your recipe and have all your ingredients to hand. 

    When I first began cooking it was all very haphazard and onions which were meant to be sauteed would invariably end up on the wrong side of opaque whilst I searched for spices or prepared additional ingredients, that's why the guys on tv make it look so easy!

    There a few gadgets in my kitchen that I turn to on a daily basis and are worth investing in if you plan to be cooking on a regular basis.  For a catering course (many moons ago, which was thwarted by youth and a placement, in which I thought was a fantastic restaurant but brought about my educational demise) I was told to purchase a set of chef's knives.  I still have the same knives today.  All I'll say is that they're older than my kids and are almost as cherished.

    While we're on the subject of knives, there's also my mezzaluna.  I swear to God, use this to chop your herbs and chillies and I promise you'll never use a standard knife again!  You could pop them in your mini chopper, but it's so much easier just to grab and clean this.

    Garlic is used in such a variety of cuisines, I go through ridiculous amounts of it.  Treat yourself to a decent crusher with removable plate,  again for easy cleaning.  I'm not averse to using Lazy garlic and ginger from time to time but my preference is always fresh.
    And to get rid of all those garlicky, fishy and onion odours?  A wee steel egg.  Although to be fair, they can be banished by rubbing your hands over a piece of cutlery or steel utensil under cold water to the same end.



    In his 18th consecutive year in his role as the Oscars 'chef de cuisine les etoiles', Wolfgang Puck served up another heavenly array of dishes with assistance from his chef partner Matt Encivaga and Executive pastry chef Sherry Yard.  90% of the menu was sourced locally, comprising of organic produce and sustainable seafood, with the exception of the Maine lobsters and French truffles and was washed down with some 1500 bottles of Moet Chandon.

    Highlights included chicken pot pie with shaved black truffles, lobster tacos with tomato and pickled shallots, beet salad with pistachio butter, braised short ribs with parmesan polenta, lamb chops with a mint cilantro vinegar, lobster with curry ginger sauce, burrata and citrus balsamic, baked potato wrapped in gold with caviar and crème fraiche and all American favourite mac and cheese.

    And for all those who didn't receive a hallowed statuette?

    Their very own bitter sweet chocolate Oscar dusted in twenty four carat gold.


    In these austere times it's always better to dine in, but there's nothing better than some downtime with a good friend, lounging about in gorgeous surroundings and puttin the world to rights whilst enjoying a tasty meal and cocktail to boot!  So when I spied a fab deal on offering a sharing platter for two along with a cocktail each for just a tenner at, I snapped it up and got straight on the blower to the Fabulous Baker Girl.

    We don't get out much us two.  We actually tie our own apron
    strings to the kitchen and anyone who attempts to detangle them is chased forthwith, usually with a sharp implement! 

     However in this wee nook nestled under Taylor Ferguson, we were met by very attentive staff and shown to our table tout suite which made us feel right at home.  For good measure we ordered our cocktails from the smiling waitress, a Cosmo for me and a non alcoholic libation for The Fabulous Baker Girl.

    In no time at all, we decided on the Seafood platter and it was despatched to our table in minutes.  A huge bowl of green curry mussels, prawn and squid tempura, salmon skewers and flatbreads accompanied by a generous portion of coconut rice.  All absolutely delicious and in a perfectly judged portion.  Kuta we'll see you real soon.


    Him indoors and the kids were famished and as usual I was harassed and running around in the hope of glamifying myself so as not to be shown up by The Fabulous Baker Girl who has ten years on me and looks like a cake has never touched her lips so I hid the takeaway menus and rustled up this wee curry for them.


  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 x 431g pack chicken fillets, cut into chunks
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 tsp finely chopped root ginger
  • 1 red chilli, deseeded if you like, finely chopped
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • 3 tbsp smooth peanut butter
  • handful coriander, chopped
  • salted peanuts, to serve
  • boiled rice, to serve

  • Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a casserole dish. Add the chicken and cook until lightly browned all over. You may have to do this in batches. Remove the chicken from the pan and set aside. Pour in the remaining oil and cook the onion for 5 minutes until softened. Then add the garlic, ginger and chilli and cook for another 2 minutes. Stir in the cumin and the ground coriander and cook for a minute more and then add the tomatoes. Simmer for 10 minutes, topping up with a little water if needed.
    Stir the peanut butter into the sauce until smooth, then return the chicken to the pan and cook for 5-10 minutes more until the meat is cooked through. Scatter over the coriander and peanuts and serve with some plain boiled rice, if you like.

    Thanks Tesco, you're not all bad. Scratch that, you are but I think I can sleep with a clear conscience having only stolen one of your recipes from a mag and not someones liberty. ;)

    Sunday, 26 February 2012



    Like many people who have tried this recipe, it's one of those I've heard about but have always been a little dubious about attempting.  J does a really good barbecue beef sandwich, which in the American tradition involves about 45 flavour combos and is slow cooked until the meat is mouth meltingly tender.

    I imagine this to be in the same vein.  We've overindulged a bit on beef and lamb lately so this will be a nice change, served with mash, green beans and on advice, some fruity jelly. Also it has minimal ingredients and I'm doing it in the slow cooker.  Perfect if you're a mum on the go like me!



    You may be thinking my pasta looks a litlle off colour.  I can explain.  For this dish I used Asda's garlic and basil linguine just to add another wee layer of flavour. Also you could pretty much throw in any seafood you desire, in this instance I've just used a bag of mixed seafood from the frozen section.     The sauce itself is really simple, sauteed onion, couple of crushed garlic cloves, a can of chopped tomatoes, a  teaspoon or so of paprika and stock of your choice just to keep it loose. Dress with either fresh basil or parsley. Most importantly, as Nonna always says, the pasta goes into the sauce with a little of it's cooking liquid and never the other way round.  Bueno appetito.x



    I don't bake but then even if I wanted to, I don't have an oven at present so...... 

    But I know someone who friend THE FABULOUS BAKER GIRL. Incidentally she is extremely well versed in so many areas I couldn't begin to list, so I'll simply refer you to her blog where you can fill your boots. x

    Pineapple cake but not as we know it!

    Taste the rainbow.
    Queen of hearts



    My gorgeous sister made these at Christmas, I have been planning to make them ever since.

    Last weekend Ellis and I made chilli, clove and cinnamon truffles, although I have to tell you I was a little disappointed.  Only in that I held back on the chilli after making beef rendang the previous evening and watching tears well up in both her and her fathers eyes on account of the chilli content!


    I love fish, not everyone does though. An earlier offering this week of Seafood Linguine was sniffed at by him indoors.  However the kids lapped it up and asked for seconds. This sunny Spanish offering has got my mouth watering and is on this weeks hit list and incorporates one of my favourite ingredients-paprika.

    I will serve it with some Pan Rustico, to mop up all that gorgeous sauce.


    Just amazes me!

    I hear ya.


    ''I tried to get on Ina (Garten)'s show. I tried to use my, well, you know....I say use what you have to make the world better or for yourself!  But eventually she just said ''I'm sorry, I only use my real friends on the show.''  I felt like, ''What are you saying? That we're not friends? I know everything about you!''

    Jennifer garner on how using her star leverage to get on the Barefoot Contessa show failed.


    So following on from my intro, I thought I'd share one of my favourite soup recipes with you.  It's really quick, satisfying and disappears quicker than a London looter in my house whenever I make a pot.

    Like all home cooks, I tweak quantities in recipes.  I still don't have the cheffy capability for increasing ingredients to serve huge numbers but as I don't plan to open a restaurant or appear on Masterchef, despite the Fabulous Baker Girl's attempts to persuade me otherwise, it's all just trial and error. 

    This recipe calls for tamarind paste (don't worry not that obscure) you can leave it out but it does make a difference.  If you're in the Glasgow area Seewoo supermarket is a veritable treasure chest for ingredients and at reasonable prices.  I love to just wander around looking at the cornucopia of supplies on offer but I digress and my love of Seewoo will be borne out in later posts.


    Serves 2

    750ml chicken stock
    1/4-1/2 red chilli, deseeded and very finely chopped
    1 small lemongrass stalk, outer leaves removed and finely chopped
    1 teaspoon tamarind paste
    1/2 tsp grated fresh ginger
    handful of coriander, stalks left whole and tied in little bundle, leaves roughly chopped
    1 skinless chicken breast
    1 spring onion, finely sliced
    2 tablespoons of fish sauce
    1 1/2 tablespoons of lime juice

    Bring the stock to the boil in saucepan with chilli, lemongrass, tamarind paste, ginger and stalks of coriander.
    Once boiling gently lower the chicken breast into the stock and simmer for 20mins, covered. Turn the chicken over half way through the cooking time.
    Discard the coriander stalks and remove the chicken breast.  Thinly slice the chicken and add back into soup with the spring onions, chopped coriander, fish sauce and lime juice.
    Reheat and once piping hot, serve.

    *this recipe taken from cook yourself thin