30 Dec 2013


Nothing symbols the beginning of christmas feasting as much as the humble mince pie, often underrated, but if handmade they are a mouthful of the magic to come over christmas.  I love to make my own mincemeat, it is really quick and easy and will last all year.


200g Bramley apples peeled and grated
175g raisins 
110 g candied peel
100g cranberries
100g currants
150g sultanas
1 orange zest and juice 
1 lemon zest and juice
200 ml brandy
175 g suet
3tsp mixed spice
1/4 tsp grated fresh nutmeg
200g muscovado sugar

Take all the ingredients except the suet and sugar and place in a lidded deep pan, bring to a simmer then turn down really low and place the lid on, leave for approx 1 hour until all the brandy has been absorbed and the fruit is soft and plumped up, leave to cool.  Once cooled mix in the sugar and suet and a generous glug or three of brandy! 

Heat some jars and lids in your oven for around 5 minutes to sterilize them and fill with your mincemeat, pop on the lids and that is it.  Your mincemeat will improve it's flavour over the next few months, with this in mind I like to make my mincemeat by November at least.


110 g lard cold
110g butter cold
450 g plain flour
Pinch of salt
180ml of ice cold water

Place the flour and salt in a large mixing bowl then grate the butter and lard into the flour, add the water and gently mix together to form a ball, be gently you don't want to mix this evenly, the reason for this is as the pastry cooks the fat will start to cause a puff effect giving you a lighter pastry.

Roll out your pastry and line your tins or if your making old fashioned flying saucer mince pies just cut disks with a scone ring, egg wash and fill with your mince meat, top with pastry lids or stars, egg wash and sprinkle with Demerara sugar, bake for approx 15-18 minutes until golden, serve warm on their own or dusted with icing sugar or with some thick brandy cream or custard.



This was an exceptionally outstanding piece of beef, I asked my local farm butcher to hang this for me for 35 days, when I went to collect it he had to trim off the black bits which were a lovely treat for my dogs.  When I popped the beef in the oven for the half hour sizzle the smell of old fashioned beef basting itself in it's own gorgeous proper fat was divine and only a hint of the flavour to come.

Four and a bit hours later and WOW this beef was juicy, succulent and full of old fashioned fabulous beef flavour, possibly the very best beef I have ever eaten, (until next time)!  

5-10kg fore rib of beef

Cooking any joint of meat is really very simple, it is the method and timing that gives you a gorgeous result every time.  After trying many methods the following method for me works every time giving me full confidence each time I cook for friends and family. 

My family like many I am sure want their beef from blue to medium well done, and I do not like to disappoint.  With this 10kg fore rib I probed the thickest part of the meat and cooked until the probe read 55 degrees, this gave me rare meat at this point of the fore rib and then the slightly thinner part of the fore rib reached 60 degrees which gave medium rare, this way I was able to please all my family.

9-10 minutes per lb for RARE
12-15 minutes per lb for MEDIUM
15-18+ minutes per lb for WELL DONE

50 degrees for RARE
55 degrees for RARE-MEDIUM
60 degrees for MEDIUM
70 degrees for WELL DONE


Pre-heat your oven 220 degrees, take your beef out of the fridge at least 1 hour before you are ready to cook, to allow the meat to relax and come up to room temperature, this will give the beef a more even cooking temperature.

Score the fat on the beef lightly, not all the way to the meat, rub with a little oil, not olive oil, and give a generous rub with sea salt, this is all you need to do to enhance your gorgeous fore rib.

Place your fore rib in the pre-heated oven and give it the half hour sizzle at the high heat, then turn the oven down to 180 degrees and take the beef out and cover well with foil, pop back into the oven and cook for the time that you have calculated.  Take out and leave wrapped up to rest for at least one hour.  That is it your gorgeous wow factor roast is done.

This hour resting time is a blessing, not only will it allow the meat to relax and all the juices to evenly re-distribute themselves back through the meat, it allows you time now to cook the roast potatoes, vegetables to accompany your roast with out comprising your oven space and in a relaxed manner.

28 Dec 2013



This is my top favourite Christmas tradition because my gorgeous 12yr old son, Oscar is in charge of making the family Christmas pudding.  We start with soaking all the fruit the night before in a bottle, yes a whole bottle of brandy and then once Oscar has assembled all the magical ingredients in the bowl, he then stirs the pudding East to West following the direction of the thee wise men, then every member of the family gives the pudding a stir for good luck, then Oscar adds his sixpence that he gets from the Royal Mint into the pudding, this makes our Christmas pudding making a really magical time with the added anticipation on who will find the sixpence on Christmas Day and have good luck all the New Year through.


225g currents
225g raisins
175g sultanas
50g mixed peel
175g butter
1 bottle brandy 
Chopped almonds
Chopped hazelnuts
Chopped Brazil nuts
Juice and zest of 1 Orange 
3tbsp milk
150g self raising flour
1tbsp mixed spice
1 tsp grated nutmeg
150g breadcrumbs
Golden syrup
Black treacle
3 medium eggs beaten
200g dark muscovado sugar

A sixpence 
(This year we got a 1944 sixpence which is grandad's birth year)

I have a ritual that we can not make the christmas pudding unless all is well and happiness is in the home, so if all is well the night before place all the dried fruit in a bowl and add the whole bottle of brandy! cover and leave to steep overnight.  In the morning drain off the excess brandy and reserve in a jam jar for topping up the puddings later in the month.

Pre heat your oven 170 degrees C, in a large bowl place all the soaked fruit, peel, zest and juice, and milk, mix well.   Add the flour, spices a pinch of salt, to be traditional resist the temptation to stir!  Melt the butter and add to the bowl along with breadcrumbs, eggs and muscovado sugar.

Now the pudding is ready to be stirred East to West by every member of the household and family, then add the sixpence and give one more stir.

Grease your pudding basin or tin, then this is important, line the base of your tin with a circle of grease proof paper, this will ensure that your pudding does not stick and tear when you remove it.

Take a deep saucepan and place a trivet in the bottom.  To cover your basin take a sheet of foil and fold a pleat in the centre, then cover the pudding basin with the folded pleat in the centre, this is so that the peat can unfold as the pudding expands.  Place the foil over the basin and then with the some string tie it around the rim, to make handles loop over and tie back to the other side to made the handle, not essential but handy.   


Place the pudding basin in the deep saucepan on the trivit, fill with water 3/4 of the way up and cover with a lid  then bring to a simmer, place on the lid and simmer for 4 hours.  

Once cooked take out leave to cool a little and then turn out and wrap in baking paper, then store in a air tight container.  Every so and now give the pudding a drink with the left over brandy.  

To serve on the big day place the pudding back into the basin and steam just the way you cooked it, approx 1 hour and  serve with a sprig of holly and pour over some brandy.


Once the pudding is in place ready to serve, take a ladle of warm brandy and light it so that it is flaming, then pour the flaming ladle of brandy over the pudding, this will ensure you have a successful flaming pudding in the day.  In my home we all have to sign the figgy pudding song and make a big song and dance about Oscars Christmas pudding!!! 


With The Best Ever Giblet Gravy

There is nothing quite like Turkey Stress!  It really is so easy to cook the perfect moist juicy turkey and reduce that Christmas day fear of a dry over cooked bird!  It starts with the quality of life the Turkey has had, knowing your oven, minutes per lb and finally a long resting time, that's it.


To start you need a beautiful slow raised old fashioned breed turkey, this year I ordered a COPAS turkey, a bronze free range, out door living, rain forest diet, loved turkey that was raised to full maturity and game hung for two weeks.  This turkey was magnificent, the size and shape of the bird echoed it's rooting lifestyle.

I follow the simple minutes per pound cooking rule, which for a turkey is 15 minutes per lb as a guide line but I do use a thermometer to test the temperature of the bird and I remove the turkey from the oven as soon as the centre reaches 65 degrees.  I then rest the turkey for at least 1 hour covered in foil and a towel to insulate.  This cooking method has always given me the most juicy moist succulent roasted turkey ever.  This year I found that the minutes by lb cooking time was spot on with the turkey reaching 64 degrees so by the time I took the turkey out it was at 65 degrees.

I do like to loosen the skin from the turkey with the back of a spoon sliding between the skin and the meat, stuff that lots of seasoned butter to give that extra moisture in the meat while cooking.

This method results in a perfect cooked turkey every time.
15 minutes per lb 
Probe temp max 65 degrees

Pre-heat to 220 degrees
Place your Turkey un-covered into the oven and immediately turn the temperature down to170 degrees.  Cook for 30 minutes, then cover well with tin foil and leave to cook.

Once cooked I then give my turkey a extra baste and sometimes using my Cajun injector, inject the cooking juices into the breasts.  Now wrap up the turkey in generous amounts of foil and cover with a tea towel and leave to rest for one to one and half hours.

Drain off the cooking juices into a jug and now we can finish off the gravy.  

1 knob of butter
1 dash of olive oil 
1 onion chopped
2 carrots chopped
2 sticks celery chopped
Turkey giblets
2 bay leaves
10 black peppercorns
200ml dry white wine
2 ltrs water

In a large pan melt the butter and olive oil together, soften the onion, carrot and celery then add the giblets, bay and peppercorns and cook for 10 minutes then add the wine and reduce by half.  Add 2 litres of water and simmer for an hour or so until the stock has reduced by half.  You should be left with approx 1000ml.  This is your base for the most awesome gravy.

I do this stage on Christmas Eve so on the day all I have to do is add some seasoned flour to my turkey pan, let it melt into the fat, you can always add a little more fat if needed, cook out for a minute or so and then add your stock and whisk to a smooth gravy, taste and season well.

This is something you can do the day before and keep in the fridge ready to go on the day.

12 chicken wings
2 carrots rough chopped
1 onion quartered 
3 sprigs thyme
1 bulb garlic halved
Glug olive oil
2 ltrs water

Pre heat your oven to 200 degrees C 392 F, place all the ingredients in a deep roasting tin and roast in the oven for 30-40 minutes until the skin on the wings is crispy.  Add 2 ltrs of water to the roasting tin and cook for a further 10 minutes so that the water can de-glaze all the lovely caramelised bits on the bottom of the roasting tin.  Remove the tin from the oven and then using a potato masher crush all the wings, garlic, onions and carrots in to the water creating the most wonderful flavours.

Drain in to a large bowl through a sieve and push all that wonderful liquid through the sieve.  That is your fabulous base gravy made for the big day, just add this to your cooking juices on the day and following the gravy making tips above.

19 Nov 2013


Hot and spicy lamb stuffed pitta with watercress and spinach salad dressed with the spicy oils from the kofte finished off with a touch of mango chutney
Each pitta approx.:  307 kcal  / 13.3g fat / 6.5g sat fat / 26.3g carb / 19.2g protein
(serves 4)
300g lean minced lamb
1 tbsp crushed chillies
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp harissa paste
1 tsp curry powder
salt and pepper
100g watercress
100g spinach
4 tsp mango chutney
4 wholemeal pitta breads
A real quick and speedy supper, mix all the spices with the lamb and squeeze together to form patties or sausage shape torpedo's.  In a non-stick pan, no need for oil as the lamb has enough fat, pan sear the patties, I like to caramelise each side adding more flavour, these take approx 7 minutes to cook, once cooked leave the lamb to rest while you toast your pittas, spring open and paint on the mango chutney, this makes the mango flavour go further therefore keeping the calorie count down. 
Stuff the pittas with the spinach and watercress salad and your rested lamb kofte.  The hot and spicy flavours from the lamb will ooze out acting like a oil dressing on the salad in the pitta bread making this a really flavoursome supper without being full of fat or calories.

10 Nov 2013


This is a great healthy low fat filling dinner, full of antioxidants that stimulate liver support and antibacterial properties from the garlic and circulation stimulation from the chilli, along with beatcarotenes that protect the heart, riboflavin, niacin, vitamins C, B2, B12, selenium and zinc from a sprinkling of  Furikake (furry car key) a natural Japanese seasoning of black and white sesame seeds, nori seaweed and red shiso leaves.
Approx:  319 kcal / 4.8g fat / 0.8g sat fat / 42.6g carbs / 33.2g protein
(serves 1)
125g turkey breast sliced
10ml soy sauce
100g broccoli florets
50g greens sliced
40g red pepper diced
1 garlic clove grated
1 tsp grated ginger
1/2 tsp Harissa paste
75g cooked brown or white rice
pinch of Japanese furikake seasoning
This only takes 15 minutes to prepare and cook.  First put the rice in a sauce pan with twice the amount in water and simmer for 6 minutes, take off the heat but do not lift the saucepan lid, leave to one side for 10 minutes and you will have perfect cooked rice ready to serve.
Put a pan of water on to boil, once simmering add the broccoli and greens and blanch for 4 minutes, remove from the heat, meanwhile heat a non stick pan and pan sear the turkey with the soy sauce, add the garlic, ginger and red pepper, then add the broccoli and greens once blanched, add a little of the greens water if the turkey is sticking, add the harissa paste and season to taste, serve with rice and a sprinkling of furikake seasoning and crushed chillies.

7 Nov 2013


This is a non guilt full flavour low fat chicken and wild mushroom stroganoff filo pie, the filo pastry is low in fat and does not disappoint as a pie crust.  The hot smoked paprika rich creamy wild mushroom and dark chicken meat filling is everything it promises to be, Ooh I Love a Pie...
Each pie approx.: Kcal 309 / 23g fat / 5.2g sat fat / 26.6g carbs / 14.5g protein
Such a passion for the Mushroom and Pie, I love this time of the year where mushrooms are growing wild everywhere.  We have recently been on a mushroom foray and found 28 different species of mushrooms in our local woods.  I was most pleased when we were encouraged to pick some, we took a Cep, Chicken of the Woods and some winter Chanterelles , I look forward to learning more in depth knowledge to forage for mushrooms on our own, but I am secretly still a bit of a scaredy cat at the moment!
(makes 4 pies)
300g mixed mushrooms
4 chicken thighs meat only
1 small onion fine diced
2 cloves garlic fine diced
salt and pepper
1 tsp smoked hot paprika
2 tbsp ghee
250ml white wine
1 chicken jelly stock pot in 100ml water
1 can low fat Campbells mushroom soup
200g crème fraiche 1/2 fat
1/2 juice of a lemon
1 pack of filo pastry
Pan fry the onions and garlic in a little of the ghee until soft but not coloured, remove to the side, gently cook the mushrooms for two minutes, mushrooms only need to kiss the pan, remove and place with the onions, now add the chicken thigh meat and sear, sprinkle over the hot paprika and season, add the white wine which will de-glaze the pan lifting all the gorgeous flavours into the sauce and reduce by half, add the chicken stock, crème fraiche, Campbell's mushroom soup and stir well. 
Add back in all the mushrooms, garlic and onion to the sauce and bring up to a simmer and taste for seasoning, then leave to one side to cool before we place in the pie crusts.
I have allowed two sheets of filo per pie, which is generous and gives more depth to the pie crust,this is so you really feel you are getting more pie crust than you should when on a reduced calorie intake.  Line your individual or one large pie tin with the filo pastry, this is such a forgiving pastry so don't worry if you tear the sheets, make sure that the filo goes up and hangs over the top of the pie tin by a few inches, this is because you will fold these overhangs into the centre of the pie to create the pie crust top, brush with egg wash and bake for 20-25 minutes and enjoy.

4 Nov 2013


Love this time of the year, it is great fun to make and decorate these muffins with the children and even more fun to eat them!  Recipe below and then each muffin once cooled is topped with coloured butter icing then as follows:
Ready to roll regal icing red, yellow and blue.  I grated the blue icing to create the strands, and then shaped the lips and teeth and eyebrow, the eye is a chocolate covered candy ball.
On a piece of grease proof paper draw a witches head, then using coloured icing pens fill in the face and ice on the features, leave to dry.  Using some black regal ready to roll icing shape the hat and with the coloured icing pens draw a green ribbon and black square buckle.
Take an Oreo cookie, roll out some white regal icing and cut in to strips roughly the same thickness and then wrap up the Oreo cookie and with the icing pens draw on the eye with two colours looking through the bandages.
This is really quite simple but stunning, chocolate butter icing topped with a peeled Satsuma and a stalk made from celery, Ta-daa !
Using the black icing pen draw on your spiders web and with some black regal icing make your spider and place him/her on your web.

Again quick and easy on some grease proof paper draw a skull and using the icing writing pens fill in and draw your skull, decorate the eyes and mouth, leave to dry and peel off and stick on.
(makes 12)
2 eggs beaten
200g caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla
125ml vegetable oil
250ml milk
Blueberries or chocolate chips
400g self raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
Beat the eggs until light and fluffy, add all of the sugar and vanilla and beat for a further couple of minutes, gently whisk in the oil and milk and your choice of flavours, chocolate chips, fresh blueberries which melt while cooking so you have pockets of gorgeous blueberry jam, how about cherry's and chocolate or banoffi and banana.
Now mix all the dry ingredients together, the flour, baking powder and salt, give a little whisk, this is to remove the lumps and easier than using a sieve, fold into the wet mixture, the secret to a good muffin is not to over mix, you will want some little clumps of flour in the mix, this puffs up during cooking giving you that classic muffin top.  Fill your muffin cases two thirds only, this allows the muffin to rise up nice and high.
Bake in a pre-heated oven 170 degrees for 23 minutes, eat immediately or leave to cool and then decorate. 

3 Nov 2013


This is a wonderful simple quick recipe for all the pumpkins we have carved out over Halloween, a rich coconut vibrant zingy curry that is perfect for a almost winter's night, warm creamy and  huggingly comforting, for some heat sprinkle over fresh sliced chillies.
1 glug of ooil
1 onion fine diced
1 tbsp grated ginger
2 grated garlic cloves
2 tbsp curry powder
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 jelly chicken or veg stock
300ml water
1ltr coconut milk
Diced pumpkin
1/2 lime juiced
bunch fresh coriander
salt and pepper
Pan fry the onion, ginger and garlic in the ooil for five minutes until soft but not coloured, add the curry powder, turmeric and seasoning, pan fry for a few a couple of minutes, then add the chicken or vegetable jelly stock pot, water, coconut milk and bring to a simmer, add the diced pumpkin, or squash and simmer for 30 minutes until cooked, sprinkle over the coriander and serve with rice.
For great presentation serve the curry in a baked pumpkin, bake a hollowed out pumpkin in a moderate oven for 50 minutes and fill with the hot coconut curry.

17 Oct 2013


Light and spicy lunch or canapés with the hint (diet!) of richness from the gooey nutty cheese.  If I was not watching my waistline I would like to stuff this with spicy shrimps tossed in butter or a thick creamy cheese sauce and more ham, or even a rich cheesey fish mornay, oh to be on a diet...
Per Omelette :  285 kcal / 19g fat / 3g sat fat / 25.5g protein / 3.2g carbs
1 lrg egg lightly beaten
1 25g slice of Emmental cheese torn
50g torn ham
1 fine diced spring onion
1 red chilli diced
1 pinch cayenne pepper
sea salt and fresh black pepper
sprig of basil to finish
Heat a non stick pan medium hot, pour in the beaten egg and quickly swill so that it covers the whole pan in a perfect even circle, lower the heat cook till you have little air pockets, take off the heat, sprinkle over the chilli, ham and cheese, spring onion and seasoning.
With a pallet knife lift up the edge of one side and tightly roll up the omelette, slice into sushi rolls and enjoy.

16 Oct 2013


Fantastic fiery Mexican bean chilli, packed full of flavour, low in fat and a really filling dinner, if  I was not watching my waistline I would double the chorizo in this dish to add more naughtiness and serve with warm flour tortillas, spicy salad, corn chips, sour cream and cheese, well rather a good point that I am on a low fat low carb eating plan then I think !
Per portion:  535 kcal / 19.8g protein / 88g carbs / 10.7g fat / 4.4g sat fat / 9.1g fibre
150g rice and 200g Mexican bean chilli
(serves 4)
800g tin borlotti beans drained and rinsed
800g tin channelling beans drained and rinsed
1 chicken jelly stock pot
1 tin tomatoes
2 tbsp tomato puree
20g chorizo thin sliced
1 tsp ooil
1 onion fine chopped
1 clove garlic fine diced
1 tbsp Mexine chilli powder
1 tsp cumin powder
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tbsp dried chilli flakes
1 tsp smoked paprika
Sea salt
fresh ground black pepper
bunch fresh coriander rough chopped
This only takes 15 minutes to make, but it is one of those dishes that once made and left to settle tastes so much better for it.
Heat a pan and sear the chorizo until cooked, put the chorizo to one side and using the same pan add the ooil and soften the onion and garlic for 5 minutes, add all the spices and stir in, add the tomatoes and bring to a simmer, add the chicken jelly pot and beans and mix well, bring to a gentle simmer and once heated through, season to taste and add the coriander.  Serve with rice.

15 Oct 2013


My home grown bounty, this is a wonderful celebration of my mini Autumn harvest with a hint of decadence.  The sweet caramelised smell of the squash and the rich scent of thyme, leeks, cream and Parmesan is only a hint of the gorgeous creamy rich supper to come.  What is more this is only just naughty, if you behave and save your allowance during the day you can enjoy this guilt free !!!
Per Squash: 470 kcal / 33g fat / 14.6g sat / 18.6g protein / 42g carbs /  5.6g fibre
Small squash or pumpkin 400g
1 tsp olive oil
1 small leek fine chopped
100g  half fat crème fraiche
1/2 tsp English mustard
1 sprig of thyme
20g Parmesan grated
Sea salt and fresh black pepper
dusting of fresh grated nutmeg
Pre-heat your oven to 190 degrees, heat the oil in a pan and gently soften the leeks slowly for about 10 minutes, remove from the heat and stir in the crème fraiche, mustard and cheese, season with the nutmeg, and generously with the salt and pepper.
Take your squash, trim the base to make the squash as level as possible when free standing.  Slice off the lid and with a spoon scoop out the seeds in the centre, being careful not to pierce the bottom of the squash. 
Fill the squash almost to the top with the filling, add the sprig of thyme, pop on the lid and place the squash in your pre-heated oven for around 60 minutes, if your squashes are larger, maybe for sharing, cook for longer and if you are cooking more than one, there should be plenty of room for hot air to circulate around them.  Serve immediately and enjoy.

13 Oct 2013


I am having such fun, I think if I had really thought about low fat cooking and the challenge of still cooking and eating exciting dinners, I probably would have reduced my size long before now, but the greedy cook in me disagrees and I think she is right!
This is another great low fat, low calorie dinner that is bursting full of flavour, here I have used half the amount of coconut milk I would like to have used but this is because I have used full fat, my reason for this is that I will not use any ingredients that have added sugars or hidden fats ie "half fat" products as these are more harmful to your health than honest fats, I feel better having a smaller cleaner portion than a bigger helping full of processed chemicals.
Per portion: 490 kcal based on serving three potions.
(serves 3-4)
1 small onion diced
1 clove garlic diced
1 tsp olive oil
1 inch ginger grated
200ml coconut milk
1 jar Bart Red Thai curry paste
1 tsp Harissa paste
1 tbsp peanut butter
1 red pepper sliced
1/2 yellow pepper sliced
6 mushrooms quartered
6 stems asparagus chopped
3 stalks of stem broccoli sliced
200g monkfish thick sliced
1 cup of rice (brown is better)
10 peanuts crushed
handful chopped coriander
This only takes around 15 minutes to cook, so start the rice first, place the rice in a saucepan with a lid, add two more cups of water and with the lid on simmer for 6 minutes, do not be tempted to lift the lid or stir, take off the heat and leave to one side, lid on for 10 minutes, now your rice is perfectly cooked and ready to go, meanwhile cook the curry.
Soften the onions and garlic in the oil, add the ginger, coconut milk, red Thai curry paste, harissa, peanut butter, asparagus and broccoli, and simmer for a couple of minutes, now add the mushrooms, peppers and stir in, pop the monkfish on top and push down a little into the sauce, pop on a lid and gently simmer for around 5 minutes until the monkfish is just cooked. 
Serve with rice and finish off with a sprinkling of coriander and crushed peanuts.

11 Oct 2013


This is a wonderful abundance of vitamin B and iron from the lamb, while the vegetables provide lots of fibre and minerals.  The zing from the cumin is not only for a Middle Eastern flavour but adds digestive benefits and anti-cancer properties.
Per portion:  363 kcal / 17g fats / 6.6g sats / 29.5g protein / 19g carbs / 2.6g fibre
(serves 2-3)
200g lamb fillet diced
1 onion fine diced
1 clove garlic chopped
1 stick celery diced
1/2 turnip diced
1/4 swede diced
2 potatoes diced
1.5 ltr lamb stock
sea salt and black/white pepper
Where I am trying to keep fat to an all time low in my diet, the lamb here is a real treat and feels rather naughty, therefore I did not add any oil to my pan to soften the onions, this is optional.
In a non stick pan soften the onions, celery and garlic gently, add the lamb and brown off, add the stock and all the vegetables and gently simmer for 1-2hrs until the lamb is just holding itself together, if you want the soup to be a little thicker and more hearty, just gently crush some of the vegetables with a masher, season with some white pepper, freshly ground black pepper and sea salt. 


Not only is this super low fat, low calorie and low carb it is also packed with lots of anti-cancer and immunity boosting phytochemicals from the watercress, plant chloroplylls from the spinach suck up environmental toxins, chemicals and pesticides from your blood.  Antibacterial properties are found in the garlic and wonderful chest and heart protective effects from the onion, in all a fabulous bowl of super life giving gorgeousness.
Per portion:  222 kcal / 19.5g fat / 5.1g sats / 8.2 protein / 5.5g carbs / 3g fibre
30g onions chopped
1 clove garlic chopped
1 tsp olive oil
40g watercress
80g spinach
500ml chicken stock
10g 5 thin slice's of chorizo
1 tbsp 1/2 fat crème fraiche
This only takes a couple of minutes to make, heat the flat teaspoon of olive oil in a pan and crisply cook the chorizo slices, leave to one side and in the same pan gently soften the onion and garlic, add the chicken stock and bring to a simmer for a couple of minutes, add the watercress and spinach and take off the heat.  With a hand blender whiz the soup until smooth, stir in the crème fraiche, season to taste if needed and sprinkle over the chorizo.

10 Oct 2013


The loveliness of the mushrooms, slightly pan seared in nutty butter oozing all their gorgeousness into the flat bread as it bakes is outstanding on it's own but then to finish off with lavish amounts of black truffle shavings just sends this all the way up the scale, unfortunately for me I did not make a big enough flat bread as the family all tucked in !!!
(makes 6 x 12")
500g 00 tipo or caputo flour
15g dried yeast
10g sea salt
50g olive oil
320g water
Pre-heat your oven and stone 230 degrees
Mix all the ingredients together and work for approx seven minutes until the dough becomes smooth and springy.  Rest for 1 hour at room temperature or rest in the fridge overnight, and use the next day.  Divide into six equal balls and roll out nice and thin.
300g wild mushrooms
Winter Chanterelle
Chestnut mushrooms
3 tbsp butter
1 glug olive oil
3 cloves of garlic thinly sliced
Black truffle sliced
Melt a tablespoon of butter and glug of olive oil in a non stick pan and gently pan fry the mushrooms for one to two minutes only, mushrooms should only just kiss the pan, remove and reserve, add another tablespoon of butter to the pan and bubble until you have a light brown colour, take off the heat and the butter will darken just a little more, this butter will have a deep nutty rich flavour that with the cooking juices of the mushroom will intensify the layers on the finished flat bread.
Spread some butter on the flat bread, sprinkle over the garlic, layer on your mushrooms, bake in your hot oven for approx 5-7 minutes, served immediately with a drizzle of the nutty mushroom butter, a sprinkling of sea salt and generous amount of black truffle slices.


WOW what an amazing gorgeous creamy rich stroganoff, a beautiful dish to celebrate this seasons generous bounty of wild mushrooms. The more traditional stroganoff would general be served with beef, but I like to go with my mood, venison is great with this dish too, if I am going with red meat I would use the brandy instead of the white wine for a better balance.
Per Portion :  489 kcal / 33g fat / 13g sat fat / 31g protein / 28g carbs / 0.5g fibre
(serves 4)
1 mug of rice
500g wild mushrooms torn
2 chicken breast
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 onion fine diced
3 garlic cloves chopped
3 tsps of ghee
250ml dry white wine
150ml brandy
juice 1/2 lemon
300ml crème fraiche 1/2 fat
salt and black pepper
small bunch flat leaf parsley chopped
In a deep pan fry the onion and garlic in one teaspoon of ghee until soft, remove from the pan and reserve to one side, add the other two teaspoon of ghee and gently pan fry the mushrooms, in batches so you don't overload the pan, once just cooked (a minute or two only) remove from pan and reserve to one side.
Slice the chicken, rub in the seasoning and smoked paprika, sear in the pan until half cooked, add the wine to de-glaze the pan and reduce by half, now add back the mushrooms and softened onions, stir in the crème fraiche reserving one tablespoon for later, and the lemon juice, stir well and bring to almost a simmer, taste and season if needed, meanwhile cook the rice.
Place the mug of rice in a pan with two mugs of water, bring to a simmer with the lid on for 6 minutes, then take off the heat and leave for 8 minutes to finish cooking.
To finish off the dish drizzle over the remaining crème fraiche and swirl a little so that the gorgeous paprika oils mingle then finish with the chopped parsley.

7 Oct 2013


Portion approx:   500 kcal / 60g carbs / 2g sugars / 14g fat / 7g sat / 15g protein
(serves 2-3) 
300g arborio risotto rice
3 knobs of butter
2 tbsp ooil
1 small onion fine fine diced
1 clove garlic fine diced
200g wild mushrooms
50g dried mushrooms
Hot 500ml mushroom stock
(made with the dried mushrooms)
Hot 500ml chicken stock
200ml dry white wine
Salt and white pepper to taste
100g grated Parmesan
Truffle shavings and truffle oil
 Wild Ceps, Giant Funnel, Chicken of the Woods and Winter Chanterelle mushrooms, slice whatever mushrooms you have and in a non stick pan melt a large knob of butter and dash of ooil gently pan fry the mushrooms for only a minute, mushrooms need only to kiss the pan, reserve to one side.
Heat the butter and ooil in your pan and gently fry the onion and garlic, until opaque, do not colour, turn up the heat a little and add the risotto rice and stir for a few minutes until it starts to turn slightly translucent, we are now starting to release the gluten layers from the rice.  Now add the wine and gently keep stirring while the rice gently absorbs all the liquid.
Once the wine has been absorbed turn down the heat to a medium and add a ladle of the hot mushroom stock, keep stirring gently until all the liquid has been absorbed, keep adding ladles of mushroom and chicken stock, allowing each ladle to be absorbed before add the next, this should take around 15 minutes, when you add the last ladle of stock also add all the mushrooms.  Taste the risotto, you are looking for the rice to be soft with a slight bite, you want your risotto consistency to be slightly wet not thick and stodgy.
Remove the pan from the heat, season, stir in the knob of butter and grated Parmesan, cover with a lid and leave for a couple of minutes, this resting time will allow the risotto to become all creamy, smooth and gooey.
If you have a Truffle, shave a little over the top of your served risotto along with a drizzle of truffle oil, to add that extra layer of mushroom flavour.
This is a really simple way to make a deep flavoured stock, just pour 500ml of hot water over the dried mushrooms and leave for an hour as the mushrooms re-hydrate they will perfume the water.


4 Oct 2013


My gorgeous sumptuous lasagne, slightly tinkered with but still able to deliver the very best flavours, the smaller portion will save me 500 calories and still gives me mouth watering satisfaction.
I am slowly losing the 3 stone (42lb) that I have gained since I started my blog!  I don't believe in diets, I believe in small changes that will allow the gained lbs to drop OFF as slowly in the same way they dropped ON over the last three years!  I know just by halving your portion size, lowering carbs and cooking your meals in a healthier way will do just that.  My hypothesis is...that cooking all your own food removes hidden fats and salts which can allow you to eat your favourite foods in moderation and proportion, and keeping to these RDA'S...
1400kcal / Protein 70g / 100g carbs / sugar 50g / fat 40g / sats 20g / fibre 24g / sodium 2.4g / salt 4g
(make 8 slim ptn / 4 regular)
1small onion fine diced
1 clove garlic grated
1 red pepper fine diced
500g lean beef or quorn mince
1 glass of red wine
2 cans chopped tomatoes
1 sprig of oregano chopped
1 bay leaf
salt and pepper
600g 00 Caputo or Tipo flour
6 large eggs
1 flat tbsp butter
1 tbsp plain flour
400ml skimmed milk
50g - 100g Parmesan grated
(reserve 30g for topping)
white pepper
1 scone cutter
First I make the ragu and béchamel sauce, as the pasta takes very little time and dries out very quickly, therefore I like to have everything ready to assemble the lasagne.
In a non stick pan without the temptation for oil gently dry fry the onion, garlic and red pepper together, once softened add the mince and brown off,  drain off the fat through a sieve and return to the pan, add the red wine and deglaze the pan and reduce by two thirds.  Add the tomatoes, oregano and bay leaf and simmer until medium thick, taste and season to your liken and leave to one side.
Place the butter in your pan and gently melt, add the flour and mix well, cook gently for a couple of minutes, then add a generous glug of the milk and mix in until smooth, add some more and repeat until all the milk is used, you will have a thick ribbon sauce, add the Parmesan cheese, stir in well, taste and season with white pepper to taste, Parmesan cheese is high in sodium so doubtful you will need any salt to season the béchamel sauce.
This is such a simple and fun method, I find making my own pasta very satisfying and again knowing that everything I eat is free from additives and hidden chemicals or fats.
Tip your flour onto your work top and make a well in the centre, beat the eggs and pour into the well, slowly flick the flour into the egg and bring together slowly to form a stiff ball.  Alternatively you can pop the ingredients into a blender instead and pulse until breadcrumbs and then bring together by hand to form a stiff ball instead.  You need to knead the ball of dough until the gluten has come to life, you will feel this when the ball becomes springy and soft, probably 7-10 minutes. 
Now to roll out, I do have a pasta machine but I like to be old fashioned and all the Nona's in Italy do not have pasta machines they use a rolling pin, it just takes some muscles to get the thinnest pasta.  Dust your work top with some of the 00 flour and in small portions roll out into long thin oblongs, keep rolling until really thin and then cut into sheets.  Lay on a damp tea towel and cover with another and use immediately as the pasta will want to dry out, if this happens, the edges will become crusty, this is not so bad when using in lasagne, but if you were to trim the sheets into linguine, or ravioli then you would have clumpy edges on your pasta.
Pre heat your oven to 190 degrees.  Take your Lasagne dish I often use a 2-3lb loaf tin, only because it is super deep and that is how my husband likes his lasagne.  First layer in some of your ragu, then pasta sheets, followed by ragu, pasta sheets, half the béchamel, pasta sheet, ragu pasta sheet and finished off with either another layer of ragu and pasta or béchamel.  Sprinkle the top of the béchamel with 30g of Parmesan, this will become crispy and add fantastic depth of flavour to the finished dish, a must in my opinion.
Bake for approx. 30-40 minutes at 190 degrees, if your top browns to much to soon, just cover with tinfoil.  Leave to rest for 5 minutes and then for slim portion using a scone cutter and  pallet knife cut out your slimmer portion and serve with a spinach and basil salad or some crusty bread.