Recipes that are delicious and that always work!

You know these recipes are delicious because if I didn't think that they were fabulous . . . I wouldn't be showing them to you. You can also be sure that these recipes work for the same reason! The rest is simply a matter of taste.

Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Healthy Speedy Suppers by Katriona Macgregor, cookbook review

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Another cookery book I received recently for review is Healthy Speedy Suppers, by Katriona MacGregor. Bursting with quick, simple and deliciously healthy recipes, Healthy Speedy Suppers will inspire anyone who feels too tired or busy to cook at the end of the day.

Katriona MacGregor started her Speedy Weeknight Suppers column for The Telegraph online in 2013, after a move back to exhausting London office life caused a slump in her diet. Resolving to break away from eating ready meals and cheese on toast every night, she began developing recipes that took no more than 40 minutes to make, were packed with good quality, wholesome ingredients, and tasted fantastic.

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It is brimming over with advice for those who are short on time but stillwant to eat nutritiously and how to stock a healthy larder.  There are Six tasty chapters of recipes including . . .

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Soups and Salads - Nineteen delicious recipes including such fabulous delights as Little Gem, Cucumber and Rocket Soup, Asparagus, Broccoli and Proscuitto Salad wih Caper and Herb Dressing, Roast Carrot, Tomato and Dill Soup, Prawn, Courgette and Coriander Salad.  Who knew healthy could be so delicious!

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Poultry - Fourteen Tasty Delights . . .  Soy Roast Chicken Legs with Butternut Squash and Red Peppers, Pheasant, Coconut and Tamarind Curry, Honey and Mustard Glazed Poussin, Duck Breasts with Peaches and Balsamic Vinegar to name but a few.   Totally tempting to the tastebuds.

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Meat - Sixteen tantalizingly delicious sounding meaty meals including Pork, Courgette and Broccoli Stir Fry, Paprika Pork with Red Peppers, Corned Beef Hash with Roast Tomatoes, Lamb with Bashed Peas and Tomato & Mint Salsa.

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Fish -  Fifteen Oceanic Delights including  Sea Bass with Thai Vegetables, Moroccan Fish Tagine, Spicy prawn and Tomato Spaghetti, Garlic Roast Salmon with Courgettes and Olives.  Can't wait to get stuck in!

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Grains, Pulses & Vegetables - 18 delicious recipes using these as their main ingredient.   Fabulous sounding dishes such as Chickpea and Black-eyed Bean Chilli, Courgette, Cherry Tomato and Goats Cheese Frittata, Quinoa, Courgette and Herb Cakes,  Butternut Squash, Chestnut and Sage Risotto to name but a few. 

And finally  . . .

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Dips, Sauces & Dressings - Eight different dips, sauces and dressings including Butterbean and Pumpkin Seed Hummus, Grainy Mustard Mayonnaise, Beetroot and Walnut Dip and Watercress Sauce, just for starters.

No surprise . . .   no desserts.  Boo Hoo, but then again, unless you are talking about eating a fresh piece of fruit there are not too many healthy desserts are there really.

The recipes are fresh, seasonal and nutritious and showcase a broad range of influences from around the world. Ingredient lists are short, prep is kept to a minimum and the methods are relaxed, often featuring one-pot or one-tray cooking. All of them have been put to the test at home after a busy day in the office, and the ingredients are easy to find and can be scooped up on the way back from work. Ranging from the summery Strawberry, Fennel & Chicken Salad, to warming Aubergine & Red Lentil Curry and zesty Sea Bass with Thai Vegetable Noodles, there is something here for every mood, diet and seasons.

Most of the recipes are wheat and dairy free, and are all naturally low in fat, sugar and refined carbohydrates. Also included are a guide to larder essentials, suggestions for leftovers, ingredient substitutions and simple variations.  This is truly a one-stop cooking resource for stressed, busy people.

I, for one, can't wait to get stuck in!


Food writer and chef Katriona MacGregor has been cooking, thinking and writing about food since she was able to wield a wooden spoon. Leith’s trained, she has worked all over the country in restaurants, private houses and cookery schools both cooking and designing recipes.

Ultimate Family Wellness by David Kirsch, a review

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I wanted to tell you about a new book I recently received today, entitled Ultimate Family Wellness, by fitness guru and trainer, David Kirsch.   The No-Excuses program for Diet, Fitness and Lifelong Health.

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David Kirsch is the trainer behind Jennifer Lopez’s killer physique, and in this book he delivers easy-to-follow tips for leading a healthier life. This fabulous guide is a wonderful go-to source for five-minute workout fixes and delicious, yet efficient, fat-burning meals.  His 5-5-5 exercise and nutrition philosophy (follow it and lose five pounds in five days) is definitely one to note.

It is divided into 5 Main chapters.

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What is the 5-5-5 Program and the Ultimate Family Wellness plan - This chapter outlines the plan, explaining all the details of the plan and how to implement it in your life.

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Chapter 2 - Exercising and Activities.   Exercises for the 5-5-5 program.  Detailed photographs and in-depth advice for a wide variety of exercises and activities designed to get both you and your family off your bums and on the road to fitness.

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Chapter 3 - Nutrition Food and Family.  The importance of family rituals, Five rules for optimimum nutrition, the ABC's of  Nutrition, Debunking Food and Nutrition Myths, David's Top Ten Superfoods.

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Chapter 4 - Cooking with Your Kids   (My favourite chapter)  This is the recipe chapter, containing a multitude of Nutritious and Healthy recipes to take you and your family from breakfast on through to dinner with healthy snacking options. (Berry Yogurt Parfaits, Oatmeal Banana Brulee, Roast Turkey Avocado Salad, Turkey Kale Soup, Tuna Spinach Bowls, Crispy Samon Nuggets, Stir fries, dressings, dips, etc.)  There is a wealth of really delicious sounding and photographed meal options in this chapter, designed to maximize nutrtition and create appeal for even the fussiest child.

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 Chapter 5 - Management and Maintenance Made Easy -  How to manage the five day plan, keep a record of your exercise, recommended meal plans and cheats, Rules for to live by and how to maintain the momentum once you get going on this fabulous plan.  This chapter aims to inspire you on to success.

With over two decades of experience uncovering and harnessing the powerful connection between mind, body and spirit, David Kirsch has become a leading authority on achieving optimal health and wellbeing at any age or fitness level. Throughout his years as a sought-after trainer, David has transformed the bodies and lives of countless devotees through his signature combination of mind-body conditioning, multi-tasking workouts and smart nutrition. From founding New York's award-winning Madison Square Club to developing unprecedented supplements, classes and techniques designed to maximize workouts; David has been a pioneer in the wellness field throughout his long career.

Trusted by some of the world's most visible celebrities and influencers, David is the man with whom many A-listers train when they need to get in shape fast. One of the unique aspects of training with David is his expertise in reading different body types and his ability to target different parts of the body. In addition to authoring five books, including the bestseller The Ultimate New York Body Plan, David has appeared on numerous television shows, including The Today Show, E! and CNN World News, Dr. Oz, Live with Regis and Kelly and The View. Additionally, as a single father of four-year-old twin girls, he has expanded his wellness empire to include areas such as family and child fitness, nutrition and wellness. His website,, represents a passport to the complete David Kirsch lifestyle.

Altogether this is a fabulous book for those who are wanting to get themselves and their family back in shape and to promote good nutrtion and family wellness together.  If this is your goal and something you are really wanting to aspire to, then this book is for you!

Ultimate Family Wellness, by David Kirsch
224 pages
Colour, and soft covered
ISBN - 978-1-59233-709-5
Published by Fair Winds, A division of Quarto
$22.99/US  $27.99 /CAN  £14.99/UK

Spaghetti Pizza Pie

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This recipe came from a clipping that I have had in my Big Blue Binder for a very long time.  It was one that I thought looked delicious and that I wanted to make some day.  It's only taken me twenty years I am sure.  I can't see a date on the clipping or the name of the magazine I got it from, so I cannot say for sure, but I have lived over here for sixteen, so it has to be at least that and then some!

Monday, 23 May 2016

The New Teal Cooker from Everhot! A Gal can dream!

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Oh I am such a dreamer!!  When I worked at the manor I had a beautiful big kitchen to cook in and  a lovely big range to cook with that also served to keep the kitchen toasty warm in the wintertime.  Oh how I wish I had a big kitchen like that now.  I love to dream about what I would do if I did have a large kitchen, and one of the first things I would do is to get would be one of these gorgeous  NEW Teal Cookers from Everhot!   I am feeling giddy just at the thought of all the goodies I could cook up with this beautiful cooker!  I love the option of chrome hinges and handles . . .  against this pretty teal colour, they make  a bold and striking statement!  Just gorgeous!

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Everhot’s handbuilt cookers are the most energy efficient heat storage ranges on the market. Using less than half the energy of an equivalent comparable range cooker, Everhot cookers gently warm a kitchen using electricity, making them quick to switch on or off, easy to install, well suited to running off solar or other forms of renewable energy and, above all, great for cooking.

The option of having an induction hob alongside a traditional hot plate, as well as a grill, has made Everhot cookers popular with everyone from professional cooks to busy parents. Whether you want to bake bread, grill vegetables, slow-roast a leg of lamb or just get some pasta on the table as quickly as possible, there is nothing which an Everhot can’t do. With a wide choice of sizes and models there’s an Everhot to suit everyone and every kitchen. Lower energy bills and absence of any servicing costs only add to its appeal.

Built to last a lifetime, an Everhot can easily be taken with you when you move home – forever enhancing its place at the heart of family life.  This would be a real bonus in my books!

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The first Everhot range was built more than 35 years ago at Coaley Mill in Gloucestershire. The aim was to develop an efficient heat storage range which would make use of the water turbine installed by the owner, Ossie Goring. While Ossie still lives at the mill, his son, Guy, now runs the business.

Everhot’s passion for conserving energy has led to the whole company being carbon negative.   These lovely cookers are built to last a lifetime, and thanks to an in-house installation team, a robust design and traditional British craftsmanship there is usually no need for servicing.  The cookers are also available in nine other colours: Black, Graphite, White, Cream, Green, Sage, Blue, Burgundy and Aubergine.

I do love this Teal one however  . . .  and it matches the colour scheme in my kitchen perfectly.  At a cost of £7,530 it is going to remain on my wish list for a long time to come . . .  sigh . . .  but as they say,  you've got to have a dream before you can make a dream come true!!

Asian Slaw with a Spicy Peanut Dressing

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I love LOVE these types of salads.    There is just so much going on here.  They are interesting and they are delicious, with plenty of crunch and a really fabulous dressing!  Mmm! Mmm!

Sunday, 22 May 2016

May Cakes with a Vanilla Buttercream

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As I write this (Saturday morning) I am expecting a big crowd of youngsters to come later on today for a BBQ.  We are going to christen the new BBQ which we purchased last weekend and which the Elders so kindly helped Todd to put together!  Younguns love cupcakes and so I baked these lovely May Cakes to go along with all of the other goodies.

Saturday, 21 May 2016

Now that's a Proper Pickle!

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I think that beetroot is one of my most favourite vegetables.  It has a rich earthiness and subtle sweetness which just goes with so many things.  I could eat it in any way, shape or form.   I particularly love picked beetroot, and don't get me started on Harvard Beets.  Ohh . . .  and steamed buttered beets.   Julienned beetroot in a salad  . . . there is just no end to my love for the stuff!

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That is why when English Provender contacted me asking me if I would like to try their new Beetroot Proper Pickle I jumped at the chance.  English Provender?  Yes!  Beetroot?  Double Yes !!  Pickle?  Triple Yes!!!

Rich and fruity, crunchy British beetroot is combined with a unique blend of pickle spices creating a pickle with a beautiful pinky red hue. It’s the perfect addition to your lunchtime sarnie or for the more adventurous can be used for a mean salmon rosti  or even to cure a whole fillet of salmon.

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I've been enjoying it all week.   It was especially good in a cheese sarnie along with some baby rocket and ruby chard.  Yum! Yum!

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This stuff is really, REALLY good!   It is available from Waitrose and ASDA stores nationwide for just £1.50 a jar.  Sign me up!  I am in proper love with a proper pickle.

Apple and Prune Crumble

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My Todd just adores apple desserts . . .  pies, cakes, puddings, crumbles . . .  I decided to make him a crumble the other day, but this is a crumble with a difference!   It has the addition of sticky prunes and a lovely hazelnut and oat crumble topping!

Friday, 20 May 2016

Confetti Rice Salad

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We've had some really nice weather this week, a bit cool, but the sun has been shining and that's always a plus in my book!  The other day I made us a delicious rice salad to go with some grilled chicken for our supper.  We had spent a bit of time working in the garden, so quick and easy was the order of the day!

Thursday, 19 May 2016

Twice Baked Cheese Souffles

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Today I took advantage of having a somewhat quiet day (until tonight that is) and made something for our dinner that I had not made in a very long time.  Twice Baked Cheese Souffles.  I used to make these at least once a week for the Mr when I cooked at the Manor.