Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Gingerbread Men

350g plain flour
1-2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
100g butter or margarine
175g soft light brown sugar
1 egg
4 tablespoons golden syrup
Makes about 20 biscuits.

Put the flour, ginger and soda into a bowl and rub in the butter.

Add sugar and stir in the syrup and egg to make a firm dough.

Roll out to about 5mm thick and cut out your gingerbread men. If you don't have a gingerbread man cutter then use whatever you have - stars and hearts are just as tasty.

Bake at 190 C /Gas 5 on greased baking trays (spaced out, as they will spread) for 10 to 15 mins until golden brown. Leave to firm up for a couple of minutes before placing on a wire rack to cook.

Variations: Swap the ginger for cinnamon or a few drops of vanilla essence if you don't like ginger. Swap golden syrup for treacle, if preferred.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Easy Microwave Fudge

This recipe for microwave fudge has a crumbly texture (like butter tablet), rather than a chewy one, and is much quicker and easier to make than traditional fudge.

100g (4oz) milk or plain chocolate, broken into pieces
100g (4oz) butter, melted (not low fat spread)
450g (1lb) icing sugar
45ml (3tbsp) milk
a few drops of vanilla or other flavouring essence (optional)
Place the chocolate into a glass heatproof bowl and heat on medium for 2-3 minutes. Stop the cooking time and stir every 30 seconds or so, until just melted.

Add the butter, icing sugar, essence and milk, mix well.

Heat on high for 3-4 minutes, take out of the microwave and beat well every minute.

The mixture and bowl will be very hot, so take care.

When the mixture starts to set around the edges of the bowl and becomes thicker, it's ready to pour into a greased, 20cm x 15cm (8" x 6") dish.

Allow to set for a few minutes before marking into squares using a knife, and leave to cool before removing from the tin.

Place in paper sweet cakes and keep in an airtight container for upto a week.

Sunday, October 30, 2011


4 medium potatoes cut into large chunks
2 tins of chickpeas
2 medium onions chopped finely
2tsp garam masala
3tsp curry powder
1tsp turmeric powder
1tsp cumin seeds
2 pods of garlic crushed
1tsp fresh ginger roots grated
frylight spray
1/2 tin of tomatoes
1/2 tsp of chilli powder
1/2 pint of water


Put onions cumin seeds in non stick pan add frylight and cook till brown.

Add garlic, ginger then fry for 2 min.

Add all spices then tin tomatoes, cook again for about 5min on low heat.

Add potatoes and a 1/2 pint water cook 10 mins.

Then add chick peas cook till potatoes are cooked, watching the water at all

Sprinkle with fresh coriander.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Chicken and Chickpea Curry

  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 900 g boneless chicken thigh fillets
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 2 red peppers, deseeded and chopped
  • 2.5 piece root ginger, peeled and chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 6 tbsp Tikka Masala or medium curry paste
  • 1 tbsp tamarind paste
  • 2 x 400g can chopped tomatoes
  • 300 ml chicken stock
  • 225 g frozen chickpeas
  • 1 tsp caster sugar
  • 3 tbsp chopped fresh coriander


  1. Cut each chicken thigh fillet into four. Heat 2 tbsp of the oil in a large frying pan or wok, add the chicken and sauté over a high heat for 10mins or until golden. Transfer to a plate.
  2. Add the remaining oil, onions and peppers to the pan and sauté for 3 mins or until soft.
  3. Stir in the ginger, garlic, tikka masala and tamarind pastes and cook for 1 min.
  4. Add the chicken, tomatoes, chicken stock and chick peas, then bring to the boil. Cover and simmer for 20mins or until the chicken is tender.
  5. Remove the lid and simmer uncovered for a further 10mins or until the sauce has thickened slightly.
  6. Stir in the yogurt, sugar then season to taste. Stir in the coriander and serve with rice.

Monday, September 19, 2011


For the Chocolate Cake (makes 24 cupcakes)

185g butter
2 teaspoons vanilla essence (or 1 tsp extract)
380g caster sugar
3 eggs
300g self raising flour
100g cocoa
250ml water

Put 24 cupcake cases into muffin trays and preheat oven to 175oC.

Place all the ingredients in a bowl and using an electric mixer, beat on a low speed until just combined, then turn the mixer up to a medium speed and beat until the mixture is smooth and lighter in colour.

Divide the mixture into 24 cases and bake for about 20 minutes or until the centre of the cake springs back when lightly pushed. Leave to cool in the tin for 5 minutes, then put the cakes on a wire rack to cool completely.

For the chocolate buttercream:

250g butter, softened
500g icing sugar
2/3 cup cocoa
125ml milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Beat the butter with electric beaters until well softened. Add half the icing sugar, half the cocoa and half the milk. Beat until light and fluffy. Scrape down the bowl and add the remaining ingredients (you might not need all the milk though, I never do). Beat again until the mixture is light and smooth. Spread onto the tops of the cooled cupcakes, or pipe blobs on using a plain large nozzle.

For the decoration:

Mini marshmallows
toffee popcorn
fudge, cup up into little chunks
dark chocolate

Start piling the ingredients up on the top on of the buttercream, pushing them into the icing slightly so they hold. I always use 3 pieces of popcorn on the bottom, about 5 mini marshmallows in the gaps and about 5 pieces of fudge to fill in the rest of the gaps, but just play around with it!

Melt the chocolate then drizzle over the tops of the cakes and let it set.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Mixed Bean Bake

This is a good protein-packed meal for vegetarians. I tend to prepare it earlier in the day then it is ready to put in the oven later on.

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1 leek, chopped
  • 1 pepper (any colour), chopped
  • 1 large carrot, chopped
  • 2 tins chopped tomatoes
  • 3 tins beans (I use 1 tin kidney beans, 1 tin butter beans, 1 tin cannellini beans but you can use any)
  • Mixed herbs and black pepper (optional)
  • Grated cheese

Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a large saucepan, then add the onion, garlic, leek and pepper and fry until soft. Add the carrot, tinned tomatoes and beans. If you like you can put some mixed herbs and pepper in too. (I also sometimes put a courgette in).
Cover and simmer for about 30 minutes.

Transfer into an oven proof dish and cover with grated cheese then bake in the oven at Gas 5/190 C for about 10 minutes, until the cheese is going brown.

Serve on its own or with salad, crusty bread or garlic bread.

Variations: Add 1 tsp of mild chilli powder or cumin for extra flavour.

Slow cooker method: Add all ingredients (except the oil and cheese) to the slow cooker and stir. Cook on low for 4-6 hours. Serve sprinkled with the grated cheese.

Monday, May 02, 2011

Melt in the Mouth Shortbread


  1. Heat the oven to 190C/375F/Gas 5.

  2. Beat the butter and the sugar together until smooth.

  3. Stir in the flour to get a smooth paste. Turn on to a work surface and gently roll out until the paste is 1cm/½in thick.

  4. Cut into rounds or fingers and place onto a baking tray. Sprinkle with icing sugar and chill in the fridge for 20 minutes.

  5. Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes, or until pale golden-brown. Set aside to cool on a wire rack

Garlic, Chilli and Ginger Stirfry

1 large tsp Lazy Garlic
1 fresh Red Chill chopped and deseeded
1 tsp grated Ginger
6 Tbsp Oyster Sauce
4 spring onions
1 Red Pepper

2 breasts Chicken/3 pork loins/2 sirloin steaks(or whatever veg/meat/fish you wish)

Chop meat and vegetables and mix in garlic, chilli and ginger and the oyster sauce in a lidded dish and then pop in the fridge to marinate for a couple of hours or longer.

Heat wok very hot and add in some fry light, pop marinaded dish into the wok and stirfry for around 10-15 minutes depending on the meat.

Serve with rice

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Sweet and Sour Pork

Take-away food can be so expensive. To save money, make your own sweet and sour pork and vegetables for a special meal.

  • 500g diced pork
  • Small tin of pineapple in juice
  • 125g mini corn cobs
  • 150g sliced peppers
  • 1 onion sliced
  • 3tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 4tbsp tomato puree
  • 2tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 200ml water
  • 2 x 125g bags boil in the bag rice
  • Vegetable Oil

Heat the oil in a pan. Soften the onions, then remove them and brown the pork.

Add the onions back to the pan. Mix together the vinegar, soy sauce, sugar, tomato puree and water, and pour over the pork and onions.

Simmer for 15 mins, then add the frozen veg and the pineapple and simmer for another couple of minutes.

Meanwhile, cook the rice as per instructions on the packet. Serve the sweet and sour pork on a bed of rice.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Apple and Raspberry Muffins

  • 2 cups plain flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder and 1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1/2 cup soft light brown sugar
  • 1 large or 2 small eating apples, peeled, cored and chopped or grated
  • 1 cup fresh raspberries or other soft fruit (such as blackberries)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 50g unsalted butter (melted)

Preheat the oven to 200C°. Line a muffin tin with paper muffin cases.

In a large bowl mix all the dry ingredients together.

Beat the milk and egg together lightly, add the melted butter and then add the apples and raspberries.

Mix gently into the dried ingredients until just combined (the mixture will look lumpy, but that's OK!). Spoon the mixture into the cake cases.

Bake for 10-12 minutes until golden, well risen and firm to touch. Remove from the oven and cool in the tray for 5 minutes then remove from the tray and leave to thoroughly cool on a wire rack.

standard cup holds 250mls

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Pasta Primavera serves 2

100g fresh pasta spirals or quills
1 tablespoon olive oil
Handful mixed mangetout, baby sweetcorn, sugar-snap peas, carrot sticks, red and green peppers, bean sprouts
2 teaspoon pesto sauce
4 teaspoons crème fraîche
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 Cook the pasta according to the packet instructions. Drain and keep warm.
2 Heat the oil in a deep frying-pan or wok, and add the mixed vegetables. Toss over a high heat for 1 minute.
3 Add the pasta and the pesto sauce. Turn for 30 seconds.
4 Remove from the heat, add the crème fraîche, season to taste with salt and pepper and serve immediately.

Lemon paprika chicken with walnut

2 chicken breast fillets
Grated rind and juice of a lemon
½ cup olive oil
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 tsp sweet paprika
1 tsp ground turmeric
50g broken walnuts
1 small cucumber, peeled and sliced into ribbons with a vegetable peeler
Vegetable oil, for frying
1tbs vinegar
A little crème fraiche, to combine

1. Combine chicken, paprika, olive oil, garlic, lemon rind and juice and turmeric in a large bowl. Leave on hour or if you can, overnight. Turn chicken a couple of times.
2. Combine the cucumber ribbons with the walnuts and vinegar
3. Meanwhile, take out the chicken from the turmeric marinade. Cook in a large heated pan with a little oil, until browned all over and cooked through.
4. Cook the pasta according to directions, Drain and put immediately into a serving dish and keep warm.
5. Slice the chicken, add to the cucumber and walnuts, add the crème fraiche and mix. Serve straight away with a side dish of crisp sweetcorn and peas.

Tarragon Chicken

1 skinless chicken breast per serving
2 tbs half fat crème fraiche per chicken breast
Sliced onion
50g sliced mushrooms
Sprig of fresh tarragon or 2 tsp dried.
Salt and pepper to taste.

1. Sauté the onions and mushrooms with the butter in a large frying pan until brown and crisped. Add the chopped fresh or the dried tarragon. Sir through well. Remove and keep to one side.
2. In the same pan, cook the chicken breast(s) until thoroughly cooked inside - there should not be a hint of pink in the flesh.
3. Add back the cooked onions and mushrooms, then add the crème fraiche. Turn up the heat and cook through until the sauce turns slightly caramel in colour.
4. Serve with fresh vegetables or on a bed of brown rice.