Archive for the ‘Recipes’ Category

These are a firm favourite in our house. They are best eaten on the day they are baked… which is no problem at all! They take no time at all to make and they are a great way to use up old, manky bananas which would normally get thrown away. The more old and black the bananas are the better!
Instead of using chocolate chips I use supermarket own brand chocolate buttons and just chop them. A 70g bag costs around 40p. I only use the one packet.

Banana and Chocolate Chip Muffins.

3 very ripe bananas
125ml vegetable oil
2 eggs
250g plain flour
100g caster sugar
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp baking powder
150g dark/milk chocolate (I find 1 x 100g bag of chocolate chips or 1 x 70g bag of chopped choc buttons is plenty)
Topping – Demerara sugar


  • Preheat the oven to 200ºC/180ºC fan oven/gas mark 6 and line a 12-bun muffin tin with muffin papers.
  • Mash the bananas and set aside. Pour the oil into a jug and beat in the eggs.
  • Put the flour, sugar, bicarbonate of soda and baking powder into a large bowl and mix in the beaten-egg-and-oil mixture, followed by the mashed bananas.
  • Fold in the chocolate, then place equal quantities in the prepared muffin tin and bake in the oven for 20 minutes.

Sweet potato and orange soup

Posted: 12 September 2010 in Recipes

This is one of my favourite soups. I think it was originally from the Covent Garden soup recipe book.

  • 20g butter (I use a tiny bit of oil)
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 500g sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 200g potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
  • 700ml vegetable stock
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 150ml milk
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper

Cook the onion in the butter (or oil) until soft, without colouring.
Add the sweet potatoes, potatoes, orange juice, stock and ground coriander. Cover and bring to the boil. Simmer until the vegetables are tender.
Cool a little, then blend. Taste for seasoning and serve with creme fraiche if required.

If in doubt, bake!

Posted: 23 March 2010 in Recipes
Tags: ,

I just wrote a whole long blog post that was full of moaning and whingeing. I was about to post it and decided against it. It would have done no good at all. It does not do to dwell on things that cannot be changed.Instead I’m still going to list why I am feeling a bit fed up and then counteract it.

So our car broke down again… it’s ok. Anthony has been recovered on the M25 and is hopefully not too far away from home. At least he is safe and the car just needs a new alternator belt apparently.

The car breaking down means that Anthony wasn’t home to come with me to collect the kids like I hoped he would be. He has been gone since Friday morning and I’m very ready for him to come home. With a bit of luck though he will be home in time to help get Katie in bed.

Katie did not sleep well last night and therefore neither did I. She has a doctors appointment on Friday to hopefully swap inhalers. The coughing at night and after physical activity is getting worse. It’s ok though. The healthcare we get is free and tonight Anthony will be home to get up to her if she wakes.

Katie screamed and kicked and punched me when I left her at playgroup this morning. I came away in tears. She doesnt mean to hurt me though. She is missing her Daddy as much as I am.

Our money hasn’t been paid into the bank this fortnight. We are skint at the moment and really need that cash. We normally get it on a Saturday or Monday at the latest. We have been promised it by tomorrow. At least this means there will be less time until the next payment.

Katie dropped her litle fluffy chick from playgroup down the drain on the way home. Cue much crying and tantrum throwing. My nephew was with us and so I gave him some money to go to the shop and buy some more just to calm her down. We now have 12 Easter chicks and Katie is happy once more. She is walking round cuddling the tiny yellow chick!

Getting the car recovered from the M25 though means lower fuel costs! At least when the car is fixed again we’ll still have a full tank of diesel.

This afternoon while having my pity party I decided I needed to bake. I got up and made these…

Now, my mum always taught me that to make scones you need to be light with your hands. If you are too heavy the scones are too heavy and hard. They don’t rise and you might aswell use them to sink a boat.
So gently, gently I made cherry scones. The result? The yummiest, lightest scones I ever did make. Not only did they bring me out of my pity party but I’ve ended up with some delicious cakes for when Anthony gets home.

I’m still a bit fed up and I still feel a bit alone but I’ll be ok. Once Anthony is home and Katie is in bed I’ll feel happier I’m sure. The lack of adult conversation since Friday is starting to get to me.

Cherry Scones

60g butter
240g self-raising flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 tablespoons caster sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten
100ml semi-skimmed milk
100g glace cherries

Pre heat oven to 230 C / gas mark 8.

Place flour and baking powder in a mixing bowl and rub in butter, next stir in the sugar and chopped cherries, then blend in the egg and milk to form a soft dough.

Now turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead gently. Roll out to about 1cm (1/2 in) thick and cut into 5cm (2 in) rounds. Place on a greased baking tray and bake in centre of oven for about 8-10 minutes.

I’ve been meaning to try this for ages and seeing people talking about it on Facebook made me get up and make it for the girls pudding this evening. This picture was after we had tucked into it!
It’s really not bad! A splash of cream would make it even better.


4 tablespoons flour
4 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons cocoa
1 egg
3 tablespoons milk
3 tablespoons oil
3 tablespoons chocolate chips (optional)
A small splash of vanilla extract
1 large coffee mug

Add dry ingredients to mug, and mix well. Add the egg and mix thoroughly.

Pour in the milk and oil and mix well.

Add the chocolate chips (if using) and vanilla extract, and mix again.

Put your mug in the microwave and cook for 3 minutes at 1000 watts (high). The cake will rise over the top of the mug, but don’t be alarmed! Allow to cool a little, and tip out onto a plate if desired.

EAT! (this can serve 2 if you want to feel slightly more virtuous). And why is this the most dangerous cake recipe in the world? Because now we are all only 5 minutes away from chocolate cake at any time of the day or night!

Happy Easter!

Posted: 13 April 2009 in Celebrations, Recipes
Tags: ,

Happy Easter everyone!

Just a quick one today with a picture and recipe of my Simnel Cake. I have used this recipe from Nigella Lawsons “Feast” book a couple of times now. It is very yummy!

You can find some information about the origins of a Simnel cake here



100g glacé cherries
¼ teaspoon ground ginger
500g mixed dried fruit
25g ground almonds
175g soft, unsalted butter
3 eggs
175g caster sugar
2 tablespoons milk
Zest of 1 lemon
1kg yellow marzipan to decorate
225g plain flour icing sugar for rolling
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon apricot jam, melted
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 egg white


– Take everything you need out of the fridge. Preheat the oven to gas mark 3/170C. Butter and line the bottom and sides of a 20cm springform cake tin with a double layer of brown baking paper. Chop the cherries very finely and add them to the rest of the fruit.

– Cream the butter and sugar until very soft and light, and add the lemon zest. You could do this by hand, just with bowl and wooden spoon, but I own up to using my freestanding mixer here. But it’s not crucial, not least because the intention with fruit cakes is not to whip air into them. Measure the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger and ground almonds into a bowl and stir to combine.

– Add 1 of the eggs to the creamed butter and sugar with 2 tablespoons of the dry flour-and-spice ingredients, then beat in the remaining eggs in the same way. Beat in the rest of the dry ingredients, and then the milk. Finally fold in the fruit.

– Dust a surface with a little icing sugar and then roll out about 400g of the marzipan. Cut it into a 23cm circle that will fit in the middle of the cake later. Spoon half of the fruit-cake mixture into the cake tin, smoothing it down with a rubber spatula, and then lay the marzipan circle on top of it. Spoon the rest of the mixture into the tin on top of the marzipan circle and smooth the top again. Bake for half an hour and then turn the oven down to gas mark 2/150C for another 1½ hours or until the cake has risen and is firm on top. Let it cool completely on a rack before you spring it open.

– Unspring the cooled fruit cake, and unwrap the lining from the cake. Roll out another 400g circle of marzipan, paint the top of the cake with the melted apricot jam, and then stick it on.

– Make 11 Apostle balls out of the remaining marzipan, roughly 2.5cm in size. Beat the egg white – just till it’s a bit frothy and loosened up a little, no more – and use that as glue to stick the Apostles around the edge of the cake.

– Now for the bit I love, but you can ignore altogether. Paint the whole of the cake with egg white, and then blow-torch the marzipan so that it scorches slightly, giving a beautifully burnished look.

Extracted from Feast: Food That Celebrates Life by Nigella Lawson. Published by Chatto & Windus at £17.99.
© Nigella Lawson 2004

Lamb and Apricot Tagine

Posted: 18 September 2008 in Recipes
I’ve made this in the past and really enjoyed it. We are having it tonight as the weather seems to have turned quite cold and autumnal. I usually leave the apricots out and skip most of the 3rd step in the recipe.
The recipe is originally from the Adsa website.
Lamb and apricot tagine
Serves 6
Preparation time 30 minutes
Cooking time 1 hour, 15 minutes
Plus marinating time
  • 1.5kg shoulder lamb, trimmed of fat and cut into bite-sized chunks
  • 1tbsp ground cumin
  • 1tsp ground ginger
  • 1tsp paprika
  • 1⁄2tsp turmeric
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 4tbsp olive oil
  • 2 medium onions, sliced
  • 1 lamb stock cube
  • Pinch of saffron (optional)
  • 2 tomatoes, roughly chopped (I always use 1 tin)
  • 1 small cinnamon stick
  • 115g dried apricots
  • Grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 20g pack fresh coriander, chopped (optional)

1 Put the lamb in a large bowl, add the spices, garlic and oil and mix until meat is well coated. Marinate for 4 hours or overnight. Put a large, flame-proof casserole dish or thick-based saucepan over a medium to high heat and brown the meat in batches. Set aside.

2 In the same pan, gently fry the onion for 10 minutes. Dissolve the stock cube in 500ml of boiling water, add the saffron, and infuse for a few minutes. Add the stock and tomatoes to the onions with the lamb and the cinnamon stick. Bring to the boil, then cover and simmer for 1 hour.

3 Stir in the apricots and lemon zest, then simmer uncovered for 15 minutes. Strain tagine and, while keeping the meat warm, return the liquid to the dish and boil until slightly syrupy. Season, discard cinnamon stick and return meat to the dish. Stir in coriander, then serve with couscous.


Ham & Cheese Muffins

Posted: 16 August 2008 in Recipes, Uncategorized

Another apology for neglecting my blog… once Robyn is back at school I will make more time for it! That’s a promise!

I just made these muffins… it’s a Tana Ramsay recipe. I didn’t have any ham so I just missed it out and made plain cheese ones. I also missed out the parmesan cheese for the tops since we have run out.

They are delicious!

Ham and Cheese Muffins

300g/10½oz Self Raising Flour

½ Tsp Mustard Powder

½ Tsp Paprika

75g/3oz Butter

6 slices honey roast ham chopped into 1-cm pieces

185g/6 ½oz mature cheddar cheese, grated.

1 egg beaten

250 ml/ 9fl oz milk

6 tbsp finely grated parmesan (to sprinkle on top)

Makes: 12 muffins

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 20 minutes

• Preheat oven to 190 C/ 375 F/ GM5

• Lightly grease a 12 hole muffin tin (alternatively use muffin cases in the holes)

• Sieve the flour, mustard powder and paprika into a large mixing bowl. Rub in the butter until this resembles breadcrumbs. Add the ham and cheese, then stir in the egg and milk.

• Spoon equal amounts of the mix into the 12 muffin cases and sprinkle a little parmesan on top of each.

• Bake for 20 minutes

• Remove to a wire cooling rack