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Tag Archives: vegetarian

Recipe – Spiced Roasted Chickpeas

Last week, I made a chicken dish and I wanted to make a really flavoursome side dish that didn’t involve my usual default ingredient of potatoes. I found a tin of chickpeas in my cupboard, my brain started ticking and I came up with this little beauty.

We ate them warm from the oven but I think they would be lovely left to cool as a salad ingredient too.


1 tin of chickpeas, drained and rinsed

One garlic clove, crushed

One teaspoon of cumin

One teaspoon of smoked paprika

Salt and pepper

A drizzle of olive oil

A handful of fresh coriander

How to make it

  • Preheat your oven to 180°C, Gas Mark 4
  • In an ovenproof dish, place the chickpeas, garlic, cumin, paprika, salt, pepper and oil. Stir well to ensure the chickpeas are coated in the spices


  • Roast for 30-40 minutes until golden brown and slightly crispy


  • Sprinkle over the coriander and serve


Restaurant Review – A Midweek Treat at the Muddy Duck

It feels slightly strange blogging about our village pub as we are up there on a frequent basis (maybe a little too frequent!) but we had such a good meal recently, I felt it merited a post. Rather than trying somewhere new, Ian and I decided to wander up to our local for a midweek dinner.

I started with an Aperol Spritz cocktail which looked like a glass of Iron-Bru but this Italian aperitif has a lovely bitter-sweet taste and is apparently rather popular with the Hackney hipsters.

For my starter, I went for a salad which included two of my favourite ingredients: beetroot and goats cheese. Containing golden yellow and deep purple beetroot, which had been both pickled and roasted, this salad had a rich sweetness from the beets matched by the sharpness of the goats cheese, some of which had been whipped with lemon to add another texture and flavour. I thoroughly enjoyed this and I think the only thing missing was a crunch of some nuts or crispy bread.


Ian had a twist on ham, pea and mint in the form of this rustic ham terrine, served with a pea puree, mint and griddled new potatoes.  This was a hearty little starter and I was glad we opted to share them!


For my main, I went for another veggie option in the form of courgette arancini. Arancini, for those of you who are yet to discover this Italian delight, are little deep fried balls of risotto and one of those things I have to order when I see it on a menu! These ones were courgette arancini, with a cheesy, rich filling and served with marinated mozzarella, griddled vegetables and courgette and radish ribbons. The combination of these ingredients were spot on and I have my own take on these rice balls coming soon!


Ian went for the lamb served two ways but I have to admit I was enjoying my own dinner so much (and trying to pick apart the recipe so I could cook it myself at home!) that I don’t think I even tried any!


Ordering two veggie courses left me with some room for pudding and I could not resist the sticky toffee pudding, served with honeycomb and clotted cream ice-cream. This was a lovely end to the evening and no doubt we will be back soon x


Recipe – Courgette Chips

Another day, another courgette recipe! I am seriously obsessed with this vegetable at the moment and it is making its way into almost everything I cook.

This time I wanted a tasty and slightly healthier alternative to chips to serve with burgers and I thought I would try making ‘courgette chips’. Still not completely sin-free but one of your five-a-day and absolutely delicious!


One courgette

A couple of teaspoons of plain flour

A generous pinch of smoked paprika

Salt and pepper

A glug of milk

A glug of olive oil

A sprinkling of Parmesan cheese

How to make it

  • Prepare your courgette by slicing them into batons – I discard the soft, seedy centre as they just don’t keep their shape


  • Next, grab two saucers or small bowls and add the flour, paprika and some salt and pepper to one and a glug of milk to the other


  • Heat some oil in a large frying pan on a medium heat
  • Dip your courgette chips into the milk then coat in the flour

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  • Add to the pan and lightly fry until golden brown


  • Serve with a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese

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Recipe – Tom Yum Noodle Soup

We have been having a lot of soups lately. Today’s recipe is by no means an authentic, traditional Tom Yum soup (I don’t think the proper version has noodles in it) but it is my version and one that is quick and easy to make yet packed with flavour. It is really more of an aromatic broth and has a hot yet slightly sour taste.


The noodles are optional and I enjoy this soup both with and without them. You can even do the super trendy Pinterest thing and take this to work in pretty mason jars…yeah, I did that!

I love using baby corn in this recipe and also had some pretty heritage carrots to add in the mix. Some greens, like sugar snap peas, work well and then a handful of fresh herbs and a squeeze of lime really finish it off. You could also throw in some prawns, chicken or beef but I like to keep this veggie.




A jar of Tom Yum paste

A handful of bite-sized vegetables (I used sugar snap peas, baby sweetcorn, orange and yellow carrots)

A strip of dried egg noodles

Fresh lime

Fresh coriander

How to make it

  • Half fill a saucepan with boiling water
  • Add a generous teaspoon of Tom Yum paste and stir well


  • Add the vegetables and simmer for 5-10 minutes


  • Add your noodles to the pan and allow to cook for another few minutes until softened

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  • Serve with a squeeze of lime and plenty of fresh coriander


Recipe – Mushroom, Leek and Gruyère Quiche

Finally, the school holidays are here! It was an emotional last week of term with lots of goodbyes, a rather horrible car accident (my poor Smart car is currently off being repaired…fingers crossed it returns in one piece!) and a classroom move in this sweltering heat, but I made it and am already feeling very much in holiday mode.

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It was strange last night not to get the usual ‘Sunday night feeling’ but I do have lots of things planned for the summer holidays so will definitely not get bored!


So far we have had several meals outside, started work on a new area of the garden, drank Pimms from my new cocktail dispenser and I managed to burn my knees!

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We also had Ian’s parents and George to stay this weekend so I tried out a new quiche recipe on them. This is the perfect time of year for quiche – it is tasty warm or chilled and throw on a bit of salad and you’ve got yourself a lovely summery lunch.

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1 pack of shortcrust pastry (it was too hot to make it from scratch!)

A good glug of olive oil

3 leeks, sliced

1 tray of chestnut mushroom, sliced

Salt and pepper

A pinch of dried thyme

2 eggs

284ml of double cream

200g of Gruyère cheese, grated

How to make it

  • Begin by rolling out your pastry on a floured surface so that it fits your quiche dishDSCN0164
  • Using your rolling pin, lay the pastry over the dish (I usually grease mine first too) and use some leftover pastry scraps to gently push it into the edges of the dishDSCN0165
  • Chill the pastry case in the fridge for about half an hour and meanwhile preheat your oven to 200°C, Gas Mark 5
  • While the pastry is chilling, fry your leeks in oil for about 10 minutes then add the mushrooms and sauté for another 5 minutes
  • Season with salt and pepper and add a pinch of thymeDSCN0169
  • Once the leeks and mushrooms have softened, set the pan aside and allow to cool
  • Get your pastry case and lightly prick the base with a forkDSCN0166
  • Line with greaseproof paper then fill with baking beansDSCN0167
  • Blind bake your pastry for 20 minutes before removing the paper and beans
  • Cook for another 5-10 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown
  • In a separate jug, beat together the eggs and cream
  • Pour this mixture over the leeks and mushrooms and mix wellDSCN0170
  • Add half the Gruyère cheese and tip this filling into the pastry caseDSCN0173
  • Top with the remaining cheeseDSCN0174
  • Bake for 25 minutes until the quiche has set and is golden brownDSCN0175
  • I usually trim off the excess pastry tooquiche8

o   Enjoy warm or chilled!DSCN0181

Recipe – Roasted Tomato, Feta and Thyme Tarte

My blogging plans were cast to one side this weekend as I arrived home on Friday and realised that I had left my laptop cable in work…rookie mistake!

We had a great weekend though, seeing our friends for a birthday BBQ on Saturday (and yes, there was some classic British barbecuing-in-the-rain action!), a visit from my parents and our village breakfast on Sunday followed by a long walk and a few beers at the pub. I also had a mountain of books to mark but that doesn’t sound quite so exciting!

Today, I wanted to share a great little recipe that was actually my way of using up some leftover puff pastry after making a pie. It is quick, easy, has very few ingredients and is delicious warm or chilled the next day for lunch.


I decided not to bother with weights and amounts for his recipe as you can make one huge pie or lots of little individual ones depending on how much pastry you have.


Puff pastry (I always buy mine but high fives if yours is homemade!)

A block of feta cheese

Tomatoes, thinly sliced

Dried thyme

Salt and pepper

Olive oil

Balsamic vinegar (optional)

How to make it

o   Begin by preheating your oven to 180°C, Gas Mark 4

o   Lay out your puff pastry and score a line about an inch thick the whole way around the outsidefeta7

o   Crumble your feta inside this scored line evenlyfeta8

o   Place your slice tomatoes on top – you could do them in rows to look like a pro or just lay them on anywhere you fancy!feta9

o   Sprinkle over some dried thyme and a good amount of salt and pepper (although not too much salt as the feta is quite salty)

o   Drizzle over some olive oil and bake until golden brown and cooked throughout – 20 minutes should do itfeta2

o   Serve warm with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar and a salad or leave it to cool then have it for lunch the next dayfeta4

I’m off to Pilates now – my first session in four weeks so I expect to be aching tomorrow!

Recipe – Perfect Potato Dauphinoise

I mentioned on the blog yesterday that I was attempting my first ever potato dauphinoise to have with our lamb chops and as always if something is a success in my kitchen I share it on here.

Now I knew that dauphinoise was creamy but I didn’t realise that there is no other cooking involved apart from ‘bake potatoes in cream’!

I did however boost the flavours slightly and it really was the most delicious and indulgent side dish – if it wasn’t so bad for me, I’d have it a couple of times a week!

The below amounts would make enough for four people and the recipe is an amalgamation of things I read both in cook books and online.


2-3 large potatoes

2 cloves of garlic

Salt and pepper

Dried thyme

About 200ml of double cream (enough to cover the potatoes)

A generous sprinkling of parmesan cheese

How to make it

  • Preheat your oven to 140°C, Gas Mark 2/3
  • Slice your garlic cloves in half and rub them around the inside of your dishpot7
  • Grate the garlic and sprinkle on the base of the dishpot8
  • Peel and slice your potatoes to about 5-10mm thickpot6
  • To prevent them from browning, pop them in a bowl of cold water while you are slicing
  • Layer the potatoes in the dish
  • Season each layer well and sprinkle a pinch of dried thyme over the potatoespot9
  • Pour the cream over until level with the potatoespot10
  • Give the dish a good shake to ensure the cream is evenly dispersed
  • Top with the parmesan cheesepot1
  • Bake for 1 to 1 and a half hours until golden brown and the potatoes are cookedpot2
  • Enjoy with a roast dinner or a good steak!pot3

Recipe – Cinammon Tortilla Chips

Brrrrr…it’s a cold one today! I was greeted with the most beautiful sunrise this morning (along with the rest of the UK if my Instagram feed is anything to go by!) but it got progressively colder and windier and it was almost dark by the end of school at 3:05!


At least one of the lovely things about winter is that feeling of being cold and coming into a nice warm house and being able to wrap your hands around a hot cup of tea or hot chocolate and today’s recipe is a perfect accompaniment to that.


I wasn’t too sure what to call these as I kind of made the recipe up in a bid to use up some leftover flour tortillas I had from a recent quesadilla obsession (does anyone else go through these foodie phases?!). I feel like I say this about nearly all of my recipes but these are so quick and easy to make and as someone who always ends up with a few spare tortillas after having fajitas, I love that I have a use for them now instead of throwing them in the bin.



2 flour tortillas

A small bowl of melted butter

A small bowl of caster sugar

A few teaspoons of cinnamon

How to make it

  • Begin by preheating your oven to 180°C, Gas Mark 4
  • Mix your cinnamon in with the sugardec2
  • Cut your tortillas into chunky strips and lay on a baking traydec1
  • Using a pastry brush, cover one side of the tortillas in butter then liberally sprinkle over the cinnamon sugardec4
  • Turn the strips over and do the same on the other sidedec6
  • Bake for around 15 minutes but keep checking them after about 10 minutes as you they burn quite easily.
  • Allow to cool then tuck in!dec9

You can use these instead of brandy snaps and serve with a scoop of your favourite ice cream but I recommend snacking on a bowl of them with a cuppa and an episode of Gossip Girl!dec10

Recipe – Pomegranate, Beetroot and Feta Cous Cous


Today’s recipe is a lovely side dish I made last week and served with some minted lamb meatballs and a harissa and yogurt dip. I actually bought my meatballs from the butchers, otherwise I would share that recipe too because this cous cous went really well with the Moroccan flavours.


I absolutely love pomegranates and always associate them with Christmas. However, I have spent my entire life peeling them painfully slowly by hand until Ian showed me the wooden spoon trick this week and I am a total convert! If you don’t know what I’m talking about, you simply slice a pomegranate in half and bang on the skin with a wooden spoon to dislodge the seeds. I think this was a Nigella tip – was anyone else as shocked as me by her being in the news this week?! Anyway…

This cous cous dish can be served warm or chilled and although it would be perfect for a summer BBQ, I think it makes a nice change to have something fresh and vibrant in winter too!


Enough cous cous for 2 people

Seeds from one pomegranate

2 roasted beetroots (not the stuff in vinegar!), cubed

About 100g of feta cheese, crumbled or diced

Fresh coriander, chopped (you could also use fresh mint and parsley)

Salt and pepper

Squeeze of lemon

How to make it


  • Make your cous cous following the simple instructions on the packet
  • Mix through the pomegranate seeds, beetroot, feta cheese and coriander
  • Season to taste and finish with a squeeze of fresh lemon

Restaurant Review – Pizzeria Amici, Bradford-on-Avon

Hello! I hope you have all had a good weekend, whether it was a busy one out and about or a relaxed, cosy stay-at-home one. Ian and I popped down to visit my parents, hence the lack of posts over the past few days. pizza13 Yesterday, we went to see the Liverpool derby in one of the local pubs, then cheered my brother on playing football (and saw him score a corker of a goal!), followed by an Indian takeaway, drinks with friends then home for the boxing match. pizza6 pizza7 pizza8 pizza9 Today saw us head home via Clarkes Village where I made a good dent in my Christmas shopping  and we are now pottering and getting ready for another busy week!

Since we moved to our current house, I think Ian and I have done a fairly good job of acquainting ourselves with the local pubs and restaurants (!) and in doing so have found some gems. When I read a review recently of Pizzeria Amici, down the road from us in beautiful Bradford-on-Avon, I was slightly perplexed. I had no idea this place even existed and when I had a look for it on Google Street View I realised it was so well hidden that I had walked past it several times without noticing it was even there! The reviewer raved about their authentic pizzas cooked in a wood-fire oven so I knew we had to try it for ourselves.

On Thursday, we wrapped up warm and headed out to this lovely little restaurant. Upon entering, you will see there are only 7 or 8 tables and we got the last available one. The décor is simple, warm and cosy, and we instantly felt very welcome there. pizza15 Despite its size, there was a good menu with lots of delicious sounding pizza, pasta, risottos and salads on the menu and special boards.

We started with a bottle of fruity house red and a sharing plate of breads, olives, salad and various Italian meats. The salad had an amazing dressing on and we like to just pick at nibbles like this! pizza1 pizza2 pizza3 For our mains, we both opted for pizzas. pizza4 Mine came with tomato, mozzarella, gorgonzola, caramelised onions and pesto. Sounds amazing right?! This is where I feel a bit mean because I wanted to love this combination but the onions were so ridiculously sweet, and they piled on so many of them, that it completely dominated the other flavours. I know it’s nice when a restaurant is generous with the toppings but I think it’s all about balance! Once I had skimmed off some of the onions, I really enjoyed this pizza. The base was amazing – so chewy yet crispy and the pesto was fresh and vibrant with a hint of mint in it.

Ian’s pizza had tomato, mozzarella, anchovies, olives and capers on it. For me, this was just way too salty but he enjoyed it!

The pizzas were both huge so the waiters very kindly boxed up our leftovers for us (which I enjoyed for lunch the next day!) while we perused the dessert menu.

Ian opted for an amaretto espresso but I had room for a pudding. There were so many gelato options but I liked the sound of the mint sundae which was a gorgeous mint ice-cream, topped with a little chocolate sauce, surrounded in dark chocolate and served with lashings of cream. The mint flavour meant it wasn’t too sickly and I loved this variation of mint choc chip! pizza10 Overall, we had a really great night at Pizzeria Amici. I didn’t love it quite as much as I was hoping to but I am very keen to return and try out their pasta, especially as I saw my absolute favourite, spaghetti vongole, on the menu! The service was very good and it was well-priced for a midweek treat, as well as knowing you are supporting a local business rather than another chain…a lovely local pizzeria!