What I'm cooking and eating

Monday, 31 January 2011


Equal weights - no more than 500g - of fruit and granulated sugar. This time of year, frozen fruit is the cheapest option - strawberries, raspberries, fruit of the forest, whatever.
2 tbs liquid pectin

Put everything in a very large saucepan. If frozen fruit is being used, let it sit and thaw a bit. Wash a couple of jam jars, rinse, and put in a very low oven (on warm) to dry and sterilise. Put a plate in the deep freeze.

Heat fruit and sugar very gently, stirring all the time. When the sugar has melted, turn up the heat and bring to the boil. Boil vigorously for about 5-6 minutes until it starts to thicken and set. Drip a couple of drops on the cold plate to see whether it's set, and if it has, turn off the heat. Pot and cover.

Food diary for Sunday 30 January

Early Tea

Breakfast: 1 slice toast spread 1/2 slice Blackberry jelly (bought), 1/2 slice butter; coffee.

After Church: Slice Edam cheese; more coffee

Broccoli and Stilton soup; cheese and pickle sandwich. Mini-lolly.

Supper: Salmon with stir-fried vegetables and noodles; Tesco's Finest blueberry almond tart; glass white wine.

Red bush tea.

Sunday, 30 January 2011

Home made bread

One of life's minor pleasures is waking up on a Saturday morning to the smell of bread baking! But the way I make it is almost cheating:

370 ml water
1/2 pack (500g) Lidl's bread mix

Put water into the inner container of a bread maker, add bread mix. Programme machine as appropriate. Set delay to the time you want to wake up in the morning. Switch it on.

Jam tomorrow!

Meanwhile, food diary for Saturday:

Early: Tea

Breakfast (rather late!): 1/2 slice home-made bread with butter; 1/2 slice with home-made raspberry jam.


Lunch: Bacon, avocado and tomato sandwich on wholemeal bread; mini-lolly.

Tea: 1 crumpet with butter, 1 with goats' cheese. Citrus tea.

Supper: Sausages, mashed potatoes, baked beans, leeks; Lidl caramel panna cotta.

Later: Tilleul menthe infusion, slice Edam

Later still (should have gone to sleep earlier!): 2 slices Tesco barm brack and butter.

2 litres water. No exercise.

Saturday, 29 January 2011

Spicy sausage pasta bake

I had such a cold that I really fancied something spicy and oniony for supper, and there were some mini-sausages from Lidl that wanted eating, so....

1/2 pack Lidl mini sausages
1 leek
1 large onion
1-2 cloves garlic
1 chilli pepper
1/2 head broccoli
1 tin tomatoes
1 tsp flour
1 tbs cooking oil (I used Tesco stir-fry oil)
100 g pasta (I used tricolour wheels, which I happened to have in the cupboard, but whatevs....)
Seasoning, including a little chilli sauce
About 60 g (well, probably rather more than that, but that's what it's meant to be!) grated Cheddar cheese.

Cook the sausages under the grill, then chop into small pieces. Cook the pasta and steam the broccoli. Chop leek, onion, garlic and chilli, and put in saucepan with cooking oil, allow to cook for awhile, stirring frequently and watch that it doesn't burn.

Put the flour, tomatoes and seasoning in a blender goblet and work until smooth. Pour on to the vegetables and bring to the boil, stirring all the time. Now mix in up to 1/2 the cheese, the pasta and the broccoli, and pour into an oven-proof dish. Sprinkle with remaining cheese, and then bake at Mark 5 for 30 minutes.

In hindsight, it might have been better to have cooked the broccoli separately and served it as a vegetable, but it was a lot easier to just shove it all in together so I could watch skating while it cooked!

Friday's food diary:

Early: Tea

Breakfast: Egg and tomato sandwich with wholemeal bread. Slice Edam.

Lunch: Glass multivitamin juice; toasted ham and cheese sandwich with pickle and a scrap of butter. 1/2 portion frozen yoghurt.

Snack: "Pickers" while cooking supper; 1 slice wholemeal bread and goats' cheese.

Supper: Spicy sausage pasta bake; Lidl caramel panna cotta; small Calvados

Later: Tilleul infusion.

Friday, 28 January 2011

Fish Pie

I make fish pie differently every time I make it, which isn't often enough. Last night's was very delicious and went like this:

1 sachet parsley sauce mix
300 ml semi-skimmed milk
2 skinless and boneless coley fillets
Frozen peas and broad beans (didn't measure, but just a "nice amount")
Left-over mashed potato (probably 1 serving!)
1 tin cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
A little Cheddar cheese, grated

Make up parsley sauce according to the instructions on the packet. Add the frozen vegetables and the fish, which you have allowed to thaw just enough to be able to cut into cubes. Bring back to the boil. Season - just salt and pepper, it doesn't want much more, and place in oven-proof dish.

Purée the cannellini beans in a food processor, then mix with the mashed potatoes. This lowers the overall GI of the dish and makes it more sustaining. Spread this mix on top of the fish, sprinkle with grated cheese, if liked, and cook at Mark 5 for about 30 minutes. Serve with a green vegetable.

Food diary for Thursday 27 January:

Early: Earl Grey tea, no milk or sugar.

Breakfast: 2 slices toast with peanut butter, banana and just a sprinkle of sugar. Slice Edam.

Lunch: Cornish Pasty with baked beans; 1/2 "diet" frozen yoghurt (delicious, and Lidl hasn't had them for simply ages - but the helpings are huge!).

Snack: Wholemeal crust with soft cheese

Supper: Fish pie and Brussels sprouts; profiteroles (tub of, from Lidl).

Later: Red bush tea.

A little over 1 litre water. No exercise except for popping round Lidl.

Thursday, 27 January 2011

Coldy Wednesday

Yesterday I had a rotten cold and spent the day curled up on the sofa in pyjamas; still sniffy and blowy today, but feeling a great deal better. So yesterday was all about comfort food (and the European championships, of course!).

On waking: Tea

Breakfast: Grapefruit. Bread and cheese. Slice Edam.

Lunch: Instant noodles with an egg and tinned peas (total and utter comfort food!); smoked salmon and cream cheese sandwich.

Snack: Mini-lolly; a few nuts; slice of cheese.

Supper: Chicken and cashew nuts with rice (from take-away); stewed apple and blackberry with natural yoghurt.

Only about 1 litre water. No exercise.

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Great chieftain of the whatsit.

So yesterday was Burn's Night, with its traditional offering of Haggis. Which we duly ate and enjoyed.

So, from my food diary:

06:30 Tea (Earl Grey, black, no sugar)

07:30 Banana, coffee (black, no sugar)

09:30 Satsuma, 3 lychees, some grapes, 1 slice bread with goats' cheese

12:45 1 slice wholemeal toast with scrambled eggs and smoked salmon; 1 slice wholemeal toast spread 1/2 cheese spread, 1/2 marmalade.

20:30 The aforementioned haggis, with all the trimmings (mashed potato, "bashed neeps", which is basically mashed swede) and leeks. Single malt whisky. Fresh mango.

23:00 Tilleul menthe infusion.

Not quite 2 litres water.

1 hours' ice skating, including 30 minute lesson.

And now I have a filthy cold and feel rotten!

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

A new blog

Years ago, when my daughter was leaving home, I made a collection of our family's favourite recipes which I printed out for her to take with her. Many of them, and some additions and expansions, were posted here. I haven't updated this page for some time, and it's probably time it turned into a blog.

Plus, to help manage my weight, I need to keep a food journal, and plan on posting that here, too, to aid accountability!

So for my first recipe, the delicious butternut squash with bulghur wheat and quinoa stuffing we had last night. I didn't actually stuff the squash because it had a bad bit on it, so I had to use the solid neck that didn't have a hollow in it!

Serves 2, as do most of my recipes unless otherwise stated:

Neck of a large butternut squash, halved (you could use a whole small squash, halve and deseed it).
1-2 large onions, peeled and chopped
1/2 cup (125 ml) Tesco's quinoa/bulghur wheat mix (or 1/4 cup of each)
1/4 cup (c 68 ml) pine nuts
100 g feta cheese, crumbled
A little cooking oil - I used Tesco's stir-fry oil.

Oil a baking tray and place the squash cut-side down in it; put in oven at gas mark 5 for about 30-40 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook the pine nuts in a little more oil, stirring frequently, until browned, and then set aside. Put the chopped onions in the saucepan that the nuts were in, and cook for 10 minutes on a gentle heat, again stirring frequently. Now add the bulghur wheat and quinoa, and 250 ml boiling water, bring back to the boil, cover, reduce heat to the merest candle flame and simmer for 15 minutes or until all the water has been absorbed. When it has, stir in the pine nuts and the crumbled feta, and gently heat through again. Serve either in, or beside, the cooked squash, as appropriate.