25 Nov 2016



This is so good I just want to eat it forever and ever and ever!  Yes that good!!!  Who knew, well I do now.  This is what I call comforting spoon food that you just can't stop eating and you just don't want it to end which leaves you scraping the bowl so clean does it really need washing!

WARNING...Probably Best Eaten In Private

Quick to make, ready on the table in fifteen to twenty minutes and never any leftovers...  Now if I can wait I will throw on some roast potatoes to cook so that I can make this even better if possible with crispy roast potatoes on the side for dunking dipping scooping and just devouring.

Prep / Cooking time 15 minutes

(serves 2 or maybe 1!)

1 head of cauliflower florets
50g butter
50g flour
750ml - 1 ltr whole milk
Sea salt
White pepper
100g Gruyere grated
100g Emmental cheese grated
200-400g medium mature cheddar

Roast Potatoes
1 kg King Edward potatoes peeled halved
Par boiled for 10 minutes, toss in
2 tbsp oil or fat, sprinkle with
Sea salt
Bake 200C / 392F for 40 minutes
Turn half way through cooking..

Bring a steamer or pan of salted water up to a simmer and add the cauliflower florets and cook until very tender, drain, season with sea salt and leave to one side.

Meanwhile melt the butter in a pan and add the flour, cook on a low heat for five minutes to cook the flour out, start to add the milk a good glug at a time and whisk in until smooth, keep adding the milk until you have a medium thin soup consistency.

Next add the cheese I love this really cheesy but you may want to add most of the cheese and then add more to taste, stir in and gentle simmer the sauce for five minutes, taste and season with white pepper and sea salt if needed.

Add the cauliflower to the cheese sauce and blitz with a hand blender or in a food processor until smooth, then sit back and enjoy.

24 Nov 2016


This is a really simple clean and quick way to make your buttermilk in five to ten minutes, so there is no reason you can't have delicious pancakes or waffles when ever your family wants them.

Prep / Waiting time 10 minutes

(makes 500ml)

2 cups 473ml whole milk
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice 
2 tbsp white wine vinegar

Place the milk in a jug and gently whisk in without frothing up lots of air bubbles the lemon juice or white wine vinegar and leave to stand for five to ten minutes and that really is it, buttermilk ready to go.  I prefer to use lemon juice but have used white wine vinegar when I have had no other choice and the difference was minimal.

Storing Buttermilk
Place any unused butter milk in a glass jar and cover the top with a piece of muslin and tie on or use a rubber band to secure in place, this is so that the butter milk can breath.

Now you can make some gorgeous maple syrup pancakes and waffles.

Maple Pancake Recipe

1 apple peeled, cored and grated
1 cup self raising flour
1 cup buttermilk
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 egg beaten
1 pinch salt
1 pinch cinnamon

Combine all the ingredients together to form a smooth batter, I like to leave the batter to stand for about half an hour if I can but no worries is not.  This makes around eight pancakes.

20 Nov 2016


"Stir it up Sunday"

A wonderful family tradition, this is a lovely day in our home and a beautiful family tradition.

The last Sunday before the season of Advent is so called Stir up Sunday, this day was so named after the collect for the day in the common book of prayer which starts with the words "Stir up, O Lord the wills of thy faithful people.  It has also become the traditional day to make your Christmas Pudding for the British, this day is said to have been introduced by Prince Albert, Queen Victoria's husband.

Wonderful rich decadent sumptuous Christmas plum pudding, an old fashioned traditional recipe handed down for generations, unfortunately not from my generations!

Prep Time 15 minutes / Cooking time 40-50 minutes

(makes 1 large family ball & 10 small individual puddings)

225g Sultanas
225g Currents
175g raisins
100g prunes
1 tsp earl grey tea leaves
80g mixed peel
1 orange zest and juice
1 lemon zest and juice
1 apple grated
150g fresh breadcrumbs
200g dark brown sugar
150g self raising flour
1 tsp mixed spice
1/4 tsp grated nutmeg
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp golden syrup
1 tbsp black treacle
30ml Madeira
30ml Cognac
3 beaten eggs
25g grated butter

If I can I like to place all the dried fruit in some boiled tea water, just enough to almost cover the fruit with and leave to steep over night, you can skip this and place all the fruit in a saucepan and bring to a simmer for five minutes, take off the heat and leave to cool while the fruit absorbs the tea.  

Strain the fruit and place in a large bowl and then add all the other ingredients and mix well allowing each family member a stir of the pudding East to West while making a special wish for the year ahead.  I like to leave my pudding mix to rest for a couple of hours if I can before cooking.

Pre heat your oven to 170 C / 338 F, grease your pudding tins and line the bottom with a circle of grease proof paper, fill the tins most of the way up but still leaving a little space for expansion, cover the top of the tins with a piece of baking paper that you have put a folded pleat in the centre to allow for that expansion during cooking.

Place in a deep roasting tin and fill with hot water 3/4 of the way up the tins, place in your oven for approx 40 minutes, to check if they are cooked in the centre insert a skewer and when a skewers comes out clean they are done.  Leave to cool and then take off the foil, keeping to one side and pour over a tablespoon of brandy, wrap back up and store in an air tight container until the Big Day.

Every few days add another spoon of brandy over each pudding, this is optional, and I do have a reputation for a very boozy Christmas pudding, this is from the topping up...

16 Nov 2016


(Geeky Science Bit Below)
WoW this is one of those lip smacking can't stop eating please don't look at me dinners, I have a great love for chic peas and hummus, so I thought what better than to marry up a chic pea hummus falafal and this does not disappoint.  The fresh garlicky chic pea hummus is really well balanced with the freshness from the peas and broccoli then the zesty lime lightens the falafal, stuffed in to un leven old fashioned spelt flat breads with fresh salad and finished off with a drizzle of lime yogurt once you start you are not going to wanna stop...

Prep time:  10 minutes / Cooking time 25 minutes
Falafal Ingredients
(serves 4-6)
200g broccoli
200g peas
240g chic peas (1 tin)
3 cloves garlic
1/2 onion rough chopped
1/2 juice of a lime
1 tbsp tahini
1 carrot grated
Sea salt
Black pepper
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp paprika
1 red chilli
30g flax seeds
20g chia seeds

Flat Breads Ingredients
Prep time: 10 minutes / Proving time: 1 hour plus
(makes 6-8)
500g spelt wholemeal flour
10g sea salt
50g olive oil
320g water

Salad Stuffing Ingredients
Bunch of spinach
Bunch of watercress
Bunch of kale
6 spring onions julienned
1 carrot julienned
4 large tomatoes sliced
1 lime zest and juice
2 red chillies finely chopped

                                                                    First make the dough, place all the ingredients in a large bowl and bring together I do use my kitchen aid with a dough hook but by hand is great too, knead for seven minutes and then dust with a little spelt flour, cover with a tea towel and leave to rest in a warm place to prove.

When ready to use, turn the dough out on to a floured work surface and cut in to eight portions and roll in to balls, roll out the dough in to a rough circle shape and as thin as you can.  To cook heat a non stick pan hot hot hot and place in your bread, cook on each side for around a minute or so, wrap in a tea towel to keep warm until needed.

To make the Falafal
Place all the ingredients except the carrot, flax and chia seeds in a food processor and blitz to a smooth consistency. tip out in to a bowl and add the carrot, flax and chia seed mix together and form in to small golf ball size balls, place on a greased baking tray and bake in a pre heated oven 180 C / 400 F for 25 minutes, turning half way through.  That is it your almost ready to serve.

While the falafal balls are baking, prepare all the wonderful gorgeous ingredients that you can stuff you flat breads with, these can be anything, but I love fresh cabbage, kale, spinach, watercress, tomatoes, spring onions, julienned carrots and chilli, then to finish off with a drizzle of yogurt infused with lime juice and zest, glorious...  Serve family style so every one can jostle and have fun stuffing their own flat breads to their own style and taste, I just love family dinners.

Geeky Science Bit...
Chic peas are not a complete protein (all 9 essential amino acids) on their own but they are high in lysine, which wheat (flat bread) is deficient in therefore eating the pair together will give you the nine essential amino acids in a complete protein meal, you do not have to eat complete protein meals in order to obtain the nine essential amino acids that our body cannot synthesise in one meal you can eat in complete proteins individually throughout the day and marry up good pairs that make complete proteins overall by the end of your day. 

15 Nov 2016


Another super easy self sufficient goal ticked off the list, lovely clean fresh live yogurt that has not been produced by someone else, well ok I don't have daisy the cow yet!  I do have some goat's though and maybe in time I might get to breed and share her milk with her young but for now I buy un homogenised milk from Riverford Organic Farms and make my yogurts, cream cheese, cheddar, marscapone and buttermilk with this.  For recipes use the search bar top right of the home page.

Making time: 20 minutes / Alone standing time: 12-18 hours
Equipment: Saucepan, thermometer and sterilised 1 ltr glass jar

To Sterilise Your Jar
To sterilise your glass jar, wash and completely dry, in a pre heated oven 180 C / 400 F place your jar and lid for five minutes, then remove and leave on the side to cool and use as soon as you can.  Your dishwasher may have a 100 degree sterilising cycle you can pop your jar in the dishwasher on this cycle, just make sure it is completely dry before use.

You will need a little live yogurt to start the culture off, for the first batch I used a store brought organic live yogurt and then from then on I was able to use some of my home made live yogurt each time, so don't eat it all, keep back two tablespoons from the batch before.

I like to make this late in the evening so that the yogurt is ready in the morning to eat.  The longer you leave the yogurt on the side to cultivate the more flavour your yogurt will have, also the milk you use will also factor in the flavour.

(makes 1 ltr)

900ml milk
I use full fat or skimmed un homogenised 
2 tbsp live yogurt

1.  Place your saucepan on a low heat and add the milk, bring up to 85 degrees C / 185 F slowly so as not to burn the milk at the bottom of the pan, I speak from experience and burnt infused yogurt is not great.  

2.   Remove the milk from the heat and leave to cool to 43 C / 109 F.

3.   Add the live yogurt and gently stir in using a whisk don't actually whisk as you do not want to add air, pour in to your sterilised jar and leave in a warm place in the kitchen over night and that is it in the morning 12 or so hours later you will have a thick sharp clean fresh yogurt. 

Enjoy with flax or chia seeds, a drizzle of honey, fresh fruits, a vanilla pod and seeds, 

14 Nov 2016


A beautiful bowl of sweet caramelised roasted beetroot and chic pea hummus, I just love hummus and I find that there is something very comforting in scooping this up with a fresh warm flat bread and enjoying every mouthful, this is one snack that there is never any leftovers for later...

Wonderfully quick and simple to make, really just a assembly and blitzing of the ingredients.  I have used heritage pink and white striped beets that I grew this year and that has resulted in a lighter pink hummus.

Cooking time: 45 minutes / Prep time: 5 minutes
(makes 280g)

2 beetroots oven roasted
1 tsp olive oil
1 tin organic chic peas
3 cloves garlic
1 red chilli
1/2 juice and zest lemon
60-100ml olive oil
1 pinch sea salt
2 tbsp tahini
(recipe to make your own below)

1.  First pre heat your oven to 200 C / 410 F toss the beetroots in the olive oil and place them in the oven to roast for around 40 minutes, remove and leave to cool for five minutes, then peel the skins off by hand, the beets peel better when still warm.

 2.     Place all the ingredients except the olive oil in your food blender and blitz and pulse away until you have a smooth consistency then drizzle in half the olive oil and pulse some more, season with salt and taste, at this point your hummus is ready, but you might like a looser consistency and if you do add the rest of the olive oil.

(makes 6 tbsp)
70g sesame seeds
3-4 tbsp grape seed oil
1 pinch of salt

This only takes a minute to make, heat a non stick pan to a medium heat and lightly toast the sesame seeds for a minute or so, keep the seeds moving so as not to burn, which would give your tahini a bitter taste, remove and place in your blender, blitz to a powder.
Drizzle in the grape seed oil and season with the salt and that's it.. I used grape seed oil as it has a neutral base flavour that won't distract from the sesame flavour.


Whats not to love, this is a gorgeous bowl of so good for you goodness, creamy pan seared butternut squash tossed with fluffy quinoa seasoned with a drizzle of olive oil and apple balsamic vinegar, served with fresh spinach, watercress, carrots, avocado and a mollet egg, every mouthful just sings.

Whats more this is a really quick dinner and can be on the table in 15 minutes from the start.

Cooking and Prep time: 15 minutes
(serves 2)

120g quinoa
500ml vegetable stock
1 handful watercress
2 handfuls spinach
1 avocado sliced
1 carrot julienned
1/2 courgette julienned
1/2 green pepper finely sliced
1/2 butternut squashed peeled diced
2 boiled eggs peeled halved
10ml olive oil
3ml apple balsamic vinegar
1 pinch sea salt
1 fresh chilli optional


1.   Place the quinoa and vegetable stock in a pan and bring up to a slow slow simmer, pop a lid on and leave to cook for around 12-15 minutes until all the stock has been absorbed by the quinoa.  Mix the olive oil and apple balsamic vinegar together and leave to one side.

2.   Meanwhile bring a pan of water up to a boil and add the diced butternut squash and cook until tender, drain and then bring a frying pan up to a medium high heat add the coconut oil and sear the butternut squash for a few minutes, reserve to one side.

3.  Once the quinoa is cooked divide equally between two bowls and season with the olive oil dressing and then load the bowl with all the other ingredients and season with a little salt and fresh chilli.

13 Nov 2016


At the moment I am loving Quinoa, so much so that this glorious seed, a brilliant complete protein, is my new best friend it is soooo good that I can not wait to eat more, cook more and blog more...

Serves 2

120g Quinoa
500ml vegetable stock
1 tsp Himalayan sea salt
200g butternut squash peeled diced
1/2 lime juiced
12 sun blushed tomatoes chopped
1 carrot julienned
1/2 courgette julienned
2 handfuls fresh spinach
1 bunch coriander chopped
1 glug olive oil for cooking
1 tbsp olive oil for the dressing
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
1 avocado sliced

This is a fabulous bowl of good and greatness it hits a few of the must do's, a complete protein and lots of lovely fresh foods that provide some essential fats, vitamins and minerals, there is a hint of my geeky science bit below.

1.   First place your Quinoa in a saucepan with 500ml of vegetable stock and bring to a slow slow simmer pop on a lid and leave to cook for 12-15 minutes until all the liquid has been absorbed, remove from the heat and place to one side.  Mean while bring a pan of water to a rolling simmer and add the butternut squash to cook until knife tip tender, around 10 minutes.

2.  Next mix the olive oil and balsamic vinegar together along with pinch of sea salt and reserve to one side. 

3.   In a large bowl mix the carrots, courgette and spinach and pour over the olive oil dressing and toss through.

4.   Drain the butternut squash, heat the olive oil in a pan medium hot, add the squash and pan sear for a few minutes until slightly caramelised, remove from the heat and season with sea salt.

5.   Now to assemble your gorgeous meal, divide the quinoa between two large serving bowls next add the sun blushed tomatoes, carrot and spinach dressed mix, butternut squash and coriander roughly toss through with your hands, finish off with half the avocado and drizzle over a squeeze of lime

Geeky Science Bit...
Gorgeous fluffy balls that taste so good and are a great source of protein, a complete protein which is brilliant for a non meat eater, a good source of calcium, magnesium and manganese along with good levels of multi B vitamins and E and a great source of fibre too.  This seed plant is also being looked at by NASA as a crop that they could grow on interplanetary flights...

High in anti-inflammatory phytonutrients a great benefit for prevention of disease, best of all Quinoa has all nine essential amino acids including the harder to come by on a vegan diet lysine and isoleucine acids along with a small amount of heart healthy omega 3 fatty acids and a monounsaturated fat.  Also a slowly digested carb making Quinoa a low GI option too.

The Ethical Pants Bit
As with every and any new technical super food that suddenly becomes trendy there is often a pay off, the locals in South America (Peru, Chile and Bolivia) have for thousands of years enjoyed their natural food, then all of a sudden someone/company discovers and decides to take this super food to the market, the demand and rapid increase raises sharply the cost of their humble seed to their local population who then become unable to afford their staple food.  Farmers are more in profit you think a good thing however from the sustainability point of view the land that once grew a multitude of diverse crops become dedicated to Quinoa fields, which then drives unfavourable conditions for the local growers. 

9 Nov 2016


This is such a naughty dish for me, firstly I love pasta and cream but my figure does not!  Nether the less the calling from the kitchen came a knocking and that naughty me was running the show...And when I go off grid it is in style...

 Half an hour later and I was in lip smacking heaven tucked up on the sofa with a big bowl under my chin enjoying this gorgeous rich creamy mushroom and white wine sumptuous saucy stuffed giant pasta shells, was it worth it, well after an evening of moaning I had eaten too much and then laying awake at 5am giving my naughty self the discipline talk, Yes, and there she is again!

Prep Time 10 minutes / Cooking Time 15 minutes
(serves 2-3)

1 300g pack Giuseppe Cocco Conchiglioni
1 small onion finely diced
1 fat clove garlic finely diced
1 glug olive oil
15g butter
10 mushrooms finely sliced
200ml dry white wine
500ml double cream
handful spinach
handful watercress
1 lrg pinch sea salt
1 lrg pinch fresh ground black pepper

Bring a deep pasta pan of water to the boil and season with salt, add the pasta shells to the water and set your timer for 12 minutes, meanwhile in a pan add the olive oil, onion and garlic and soften gently for around five minutes, add the mushrooms and the butter and soften for around another three minutes, turn up the heat and add the wine, simmer and reduce by two thirds then add the cream and simmer vigorously for a couple of minutes to thicken the sauce, lower the heat right down and season to taste, add the spinach and watercress and fold in just as you serve so they wilt just a little, season to taste with the sea salt and black pepper.

Drain your shells and toss in the sauce, a little pasta water can be added with the shells if the sauce is to thick, while the shells are in the sauce I spoon the mushrooms in to the shells for that extra sumptuousness in each mouthful, serve the shells with plenty of extra sauce and enjoy, I like a little fresh chilli on most of my meals, that is optional.

3 Nov 2016


Self Sufficient Living

This is much easier to make than you think, it is always a little daunting and exciting when you read an alien recipe for the first time and really have no concept of the method as you have not cooked this way before, but take a deep breath believe in yourself and go for it, have some fun, after all its just another culinary experience and odds are you will succeed and have a truckle of cheese to present to your family and friends as a moment of culinary triumphant...or not...and who knows where that is going to lead to...

There is no need for fancy equipment, I did splash out on a cheddar cheese truckle mould but a large margarine tub with a few drain holes punctured in it would equally suffice.  I do recommend purchasing 2 new cheese muslin's and the cheese wax, the rest you probably have in your kitchen.

The jury is still out on the taste and flavour on my first home made cheddar truckle as it is tucked away and maturing it's flavour, I will update at Christmas time when we un-vail the awaited truckle...


Make a starter
Separate curds and whey
Drain whey leaving curds
Pressing curds
Air drying
Waxing your truckle

Large saucepan, glass jug, thermometer, ladle, 40-50kg of weight (paving slab or weights) a plastic container with holes for draining, 2 cheese muslin's and a colander, 100g cheese wax, 4 drops vegetarian renet and a double boiler.

1 sachet freeze dried cheese starter, 1 litre milk, thermometer, glass jug 1.5 ltr, saucepan, cling film and 2 ice cube trays.

10 minutes hands on time several times over 48 hours.
Waxing Time:  20 minutes on day three.

This is your first and a once only job and will give you approx 20 batches of starter that can be kept in the freezer until needed by filling two ice cube trays and then sealing the frozen cubes in a zip lock food bag.

1 ltr un homogenised milk
1 pack freeze dried cheese starter

Bring the litre of milk up to 85 C, just under boiling and hold at this temperature for 10 minutes, remove from the heat and cool rapidly by standing the saucepan in cold running water in the sink until the temperature is down to 20 C, sprinkle the freeze dried cheese culture into the milk and whisk vigorously, this is important and is to ensure that the powder is thoroughly mixed into the warm milk.

Sterilise a glass jug in the oven at 180 C for 5 minutes and then leave to cool, pour in the starter culture and cover with cling film, leave in a warm area 20 C - 22 C for 24 hours to incubate, your starter is ready when it smell wonderfully sharp and clean.  Pour in to ice cube trays and freeze, then store the ice cubes in zip lock food bags in the freezer.  Two ice cubes are enough culture for 1 gallon / 4.5 ltr of milk.


(makes 450g truckle)

4.5 ltr un homogenised milk
4 drops vegetarian rennet
30ml / 2 ice cubes culture starter (how to make below)
Sea salt

To Start 1st 24hrs
Place the milk in a deep saucepan and bring slowly up to  32 C / 90 F using your thermometer, then fill your sink with cold water and place your saucepan in the sink to help cool the milk down to room temperature 22-24 C / 72-75 F.  Once cooled add your 30 ml of starter and 4 drops of rennet, cover the saucepan with a cheese muslin and leave for 24hrs somewhere it can maintain its temperature at 22 C/ 72 F.  That is stage one done.

Stage Two
Soft Cream Cheese Option
Now at this point you can separate the curds from the whey and you will have a gorgeous soft cream cheese that is great seasoned with some sea salt and chives this will keep in the fridge for a few weeks.

Cheddar Cheese Truckle
To make your hard cheddar place a larger pan than used for the milk on the stove and fill one third of the way up with water, bring to a gentle bubbling simmer turn down to a low simmer and place your milk culture saucepan in to the simmering pan and slowly (a couple of degrees every five minutes or so) bring the temperature up to 100 F / 38 C.  Once your culture reaches 100 F / 38 C cover and let sit for five minutes off the heat.

Next line a colander with a fresh cheesecloth and ladle out the curds and whey you want to drain the whey from the curds through the muslin and the easiest way is to tie the cheese cloth up round a wooden spoon or skewer and hang the muslin so that the muslin is off the base of the colander allowing the whey to drip through until you are left with just the curds, this takes 20-24hrs.

Stage Three
Remove the curds from the cheese cloth and crumble with your fingers to small pieces, sprinkle with sea salt, line your plastic cheese mould with a clean muslin and place all the curds in the mould, pop the lid on and place back in the colander in the sink ready to start the pressing.

The Pressing Of the Cheese
You will need 40-50 kg of weight to successfully press the curds in to a solid block of cheese, this can be achieved with bricks wrapped in tin foil, gym weights or as I have done with a very large solid stone pestle and mortar and the head of a 20 kg sledge hammer!

Leave the cheese under the weights for 20-24hrs until you have a solid block of cheddar, the last of the liquid will have been pressed, remove you young cheddar from the mould and place on a wooden board somewhere safe at room temperature for 2-4 days to dry and form a skin, the time will depend on if its summer or winter, the cooler the temperature the longer the drying, turn the cheese over a few times a day to allow the whole cheese to get a equal airing.  

The Waxing
This was much easier than I thought it was going to be, in a double boiler I melted approx 30g of cheese wax, I then held the cheese in the wax and removed allowed to dry for 30 seconds and dipped again, I repeated this four times and then placed the cheese on a board to dry thoroughly for a few minutes and then repeated with the other half.  You can alternatively brush the wax on the cheese.

I am leaving my cheddar truckle to mature for 30-60 days in my fridge and am looking forward to the family unveiling, I am going to try to hold out for Christmas which is 60 days, but the truckle can be ready at 30 days.

Will update with the eating in December...2016

December 2016 Here is my Cheese...

So please with the texture and flavour of this young cheddar cheese.  I will  leave the next cheese to mature for around one year as this cheddar was very fresh and young giving a mild cheddar flavour.  I am looking forward to trying the matured cheddar in a years time, something to admire each time I pass the truckle in the kitchen...