Monthly Archives: February 2019

Blood Orange Tart

I hosted a lunch recently and whilst I made the main course of Torn Vegetable Lasagne my friend Catherine made and brought along an absolutely delicious Bitter Orange Tart over which she drizzled honey to serve.   Yum!  I believe she used a Nigella recipe if you want to try.

Those of you who are regular readers know that I have a bit of an obsession with blood oranges and so I wanted to adapt the basic idea to use those.  My first attempt tasted delicious but had a few issues in so far as I couldn’t get it to come off the base of my tin without collapsing and the filling was a bit runny but with a few tweaks I have managed to improve and overcome those issues! The result is a beautiful sunny looking tart that has just the right balance of tang and sweet.   It can be made 24hrs in advance if easier.

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Pistachio and Chocolate Macaroons

Dense and chewy, squidgy and packed with flavour these British style macaroons are very different to the light and crispy French equivalent. There is an added twist too as the middle of this macaroon contains a surprise of dark chocolate – oozing out if eaten warm from the oven but equally delicious at room temperature.  I used Pump Street Bakery’s 70% Grenada Chocolate.

I’ve made the macaroons with pistachios and almonds rather than the usual coconut so these treats are gluten free.  If you prefer you can replace pistachios with hazelnuts or ant nut you fancy.  The macaroons are easily made vegan by substituting the egg with a ground flax-seed and water mix (for details see tip at end of recipe) and making sure you use vegan chocolate.

Now for confession time, that is that these macaroons are ridiculously easy and quick to make.  Ten minutes to assemble and about ten minutes to cook.   So if you get a real craving for something sweet with your tea or coffee (they are an absolute dream with an espresso) or a friend announces they are popping round unexpectedly,  this is the recipe to reach for! Continue reading

Spicy Tomato and Lentil Soup with Roasted Chickpeas

It seems like everyone is going down with colds just recently so I wanted to share with you a soup that is great for helping you/them get better!   An alternative to the classic chicken broth that traditionally is the cure-all for so many people.

I have to admit that I make this Spicy Tomato and Lentil Soup because it is delicious but sometimes when I am feeling a bit sniffly I like knowing that It contains lots of herbs and spices that are held to help fight off symptoms of a cold or the flu.  I can of course, make no substantiated claims to this soup being a magic cure for colds and flu, but it always helps me feel as though I am doing something positive which is no bad thing and at least there is no eye of newt or tongue of toad needed in this caldron/saucepan to make this potion/soup!   It does, however, contain:

  • ginger as an highly effective against nausea, a powerful anti-inflammatory, great for treating indigestion and for fighting infection.
  • garlic which is renowned for its cold and flu fighting properties. It has anti bacterial  properties
  • chilli is very high in vitamin C. Capsaicin is the wonder property here and is reported to have anti oxidant and anti inflammatory properties
  • cumin Is held to increase antioxidant intake and promote digestion
  • ground coriander reportedly has anti inflammatory and anti bacterial properties as well as aiding digestion
  • turmeric’s active ingredients is curcumin which is said to be anti-inflammatory and to increase anti-oxidant capacity. Black pepper increases the absorption of curcumin by something like 2000% – so always have pepper with turmeric.

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Curry In A Hurry (From Scratch!)

You know sometimes when you get in from a long day and you just want to make something that doesn’t take forever and yet is special enough to make the effort worthwhile.    Out of store cupboard/freezer/leftovers so that is no special shopping involved.   That is adaptable.   Be you vegetarian, meat-eater, pescatarian, vegan or needing to use up fridge leftovers.   Made completely from scratch so you can pour yourself a glass of something and unwind, enjoying the cooking process without any great juggling acts.   Curry in a Hurry.   No pastes or packet mixes needed. All ready, including grinding the spices yourself, in about 30 mins.

This recipe is based on one of the most popular recipes I’ve ever put on the blog.   Sri Lankan Veg Curry.   It uses the flavour profile of that sauce, but simplified.   Using the sauce mean you can tailor it to  mood or dietary requirements or even just what you have in the fridge.    So you can add leftover meat or that ready roasted chicken you bought from the supermarket, chickpeas, roasted veg, frozen prawns or chunks of fish.  A friend of mine tested it out and used halves of boiled eggs!!??? She said it was nice though I can’t get my head around that one. Continue reading

Fruited Tea Loaf Cake

There is nothing better on a cold winter afternoon than snuggling down into the sofa with a big mug of tea and a slice of cake.   In particular this fruit cake preferably topped with a large slab of butter!!   Bliss.

My Scottish grandmother used to make this cake.  There is no creaming together of the butter and sugar, you just add them to the dried fruit in a saucepan and heat gently until the fruit plumps up in the buttery, brown sugary mixture and then add flour and eggs.  It is ridiculously easy.    Continue reading

Torn Vegetable Lasagne

I seem to have a real problem with dried lasagne sheets.  It has proved to be absolutely infuriating.   I seem to manage to break them.  I am not sure if its in the packing into bags after shopping or because I have rather a rammed full larder cupboard but when I open the packet more often that not there are quite a few broken sheets.    I could get round this by making or buying fresh pasta but, if I am honest, I cant always be bothered or remember to do so.   And I love lasagne.   Its a brilliant comfort food.  So in the spirit of the saying “if life gives you lemons, make lemonade”, this recipe was born – and whether or not you have broken or whole lasagne sheets, it very tasty if I say so myself.

The trouble with traditional lasagne is that it is fiddly to make.   Lots of layers to assemble and a sauce to make to go on top.   Delicious but time consuming and often too carb heavy for a supper.    The great thing about this “torn lasagne” is it is really simple to do and its easy to make sure that the veggies are more plentiful than the pasta if that’s the way you like things!!  Its also quicker to make and any leftovers are great the next day as a packed lunch.

It uses pesto rather than the traditional creamy béchamel to keep things light and fresh though somehow it tastes just as comforting as traditional lasagne.  If you use the vegan cheese and pesto (shop bought is fine here though, of course don’t let me stop you from making your own ) then you can easily, and very “taste-illy”, make this recipe suitable for a plant based diet without going to any extra effort.   As I have said before, the best parts of a lasagne are where the pasta edges go crispy.   With Torn Lasagne there are a lot more edges to go crispy!! Yum Continue reading

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