Sunday, 29 September 2019

Strawberry, Blueberry and Vanilla Jam or Compote in the Magimix Cook Expert

If you have a glut of strawberries, or just a punnet in the fridge that needs using, then this is a delicious way to use them and preserve them.


I had a huge box of Driscoll's in the fridge and it would have been a crime for any to go to waste, so I decided to preserve some with a punnet of blueberries that I had in this delicious jam. You could just make with strawberries if you preferred, but just be aware that the setting times might vary very slightly.


Huge thumbs up from the jam-loving famalam, for what they pronounced to be the tastiest strawberry jam they'd ever had - I have to say, jam isn't something normally made in this house as it's such a luxurious treat, but it's amazing to taste the depth of flavour from the fruit when you make it yourself!

Makes approximately three 340g jam jars.

Sunday, 28 July 2019

Antibacterial Spray Alternative

A fresh smelling, homemade alternative to commercial antibacterial sprays.


Easy to make, and using the natural antibacterial and antifungal properties of essential oils this will save you money, be kinder to the environment and you will reduce the amount of plastic you use by making your own.

I also think it smells much nicer, and it doesn't get to the back of my throat when I spray it!

I first started making this nearly twenty years ago and recently recovered my recipe in a box of old things, so thought I would record it on my blog for future use (so that way I can't use it again!). It's very easy to make, you just tip a few bits into your bottle, give it a shake, and off you go!

N.B. If you want a quick look at the science, you can find the abstract from an article on the NBCI website here which looked at the antibacterial and antifungal properties of certain essential oils. And of course there is lots more evidence all over the interwebs readily available.

Easy Foaming Handwash - only 3 ingredients and 30 seconds!

A really quick recipe for foaming handwash that you'll use again and again as it's so easy!


Many years ago, I used to make lots of my own eco-friendly cleaning products for around the home. Somehow (maybe a house move and a second baby on the way and other things?) I got out of the habit, and it was only recently, when clearing out some old boxes, that I found some of my old 'recipes' and started again as part of my efforts to reduce our usage of plastic.


Not only will you stop having to buy expensive plastic bottles of handwash, you'll also SAVE money, because it costs less than 20p to make each 300ml bottle yourself, rather than the £1 it usually costs to buy a 250-300ml bottle! Below, you'll find the recipe for handwash, together with the links for the lovely glass foaming bottles I found and the organic pure castile soap I use. If you have to buy in the ingredients to make this, they will soon pay for themselves with the huge saving you'll make on every bottle of handwash you make for yourself from now on.

Another unexpected benefit - after only a couple of days of using this handwash, there was a visible difference to the skin on my hands - particularly the back of my hands. I kept doing a double take, as my previously rather dry, and sadly a bit wrinkly hands had become noticeably smoother looking and softer. What's not to love?!

Anyway, enough eulogising, here's how to make it!

Saturday, 25 May 2019

Easy Fajita Spice Mix (Gluten Free) and Chicken / Beef Fajitas Recipe

Delicious with Chicken or Beef and Peppers!


Want to knock up your own tasty fajita spice mix in seconds, and know what's in it?

This is my delicious fajita spice mix, similar to commercial brands which you simply sprinkle over your chicken (or beef) strips and stir in just before you cook it - no need to marinate, and you just stir together the spices. It couldn't be more simple, and you know what's in it!



If you don't have onion powder or garlic powder, no problem, you just grate fresh garlic and onion onto the chicken (or beef) and stir in before you add the spice mix, and it tastes just as great either way!

This makes enough to make a generous serving for four people (using 640g chicken cut into 1/4 inch strips, 3 red/orange/yellow peppers, and two small-medium onions - see below for instructions how to use). Easy to double (or more) and store. This quantity makes about 5 x 15ml tbsp, so if you make a big batch, just measure this out for a 4 person serving.

Thursday, 11 April 2019

Decidedly Delicious Blueberry Muffins - Gluten Free

These are indescribably delicious freshly-baked and warm from the oven!


In fact, I'd say they're impossible to resist eating warm and moist after the fragrance of them baking has filled the house!



Not only that, they're gluten free - but you'd never guess! Only one of us in the household has to be gluten free, but when a batch of these come out of the oven there's a mad scramble for them!

This recipe makes 12 muffins, and I would say it's a very easy recipe to make - you just need to mix wet and dry ingredients together and combine.

Sunday, 3 February 2019

Delicious Homemade Doner Kebab Meat / Lamb Gyro Meat - Gluten Free and Dairy Free (includes Thermomix instructions)

A delicious doner kebab that you don't have to feel guilty about!


If you love a doner kebab, but you feel kind of uncomfortable about not knowing exactly what you're eating, then here is the perfect recipe to recreate what you get from your local takeaway at home, without any fancy equipment, and know that only good, wholesome ingredients have gone into it!


If you also happen love a good fresh tomato chilli sauce on top, and some garlic yoghurt sauce, I have blogged my very easy recipes for those too, which require no cooking, just mixing ingredients together! The chilli sauce recipe is here, and the garlic yoghurt sauce recipe is here.

If you're not into sauces, this is also delicious without any sauces and just served with fresh salad and a tiny squeeze of lemon, as there is so much flavour in the meat - even though I might be biased, I do not think that you could come closer to the flavour and texture of the doner meat from a typical kebab house in this country if you tried! Close your eyes and eat it, and you're there - except, dare I say it, it's even tastier!


Anyway, enough eulogising, and onto the recipe. If you're familiar with my recipes, you'll know that I always prefer to use fresh ingredients. Using onions and garlic granules / powder is not something I usually do, and it's not a shortcut here - it's for the flavour, and to keep the texture of the meat firm and close enough to thinly slice when it's chilled: as opposed to using fresh onion which would add a lot of unwanted liquid to the mixture, as well as the flavour of raw onion (and garlic) in this context, which is less authentic-tasting.

I hope you enjoy this recipe, please bear in mind this is a homemade replication of the doner meat found in English takeaways, rather than one of my more gourmet affairs - if you give it a try, please leave me a comment to let me know what you think! If you'd like to make more authentic Turkish kebabs, please have a look at my recipes for chicken shish kebabs, and lamb (adana) kebabs and the various accompaniments - great for BBQs!

Also, did I mention, once your meat is cooked and sliced, and your salad is prepped - it takes about 10-15 seconds to heat the meat through, and less than 5 minutes to throw together a home made doner kebab - how amazing is that!!!

Serves: 800g of 20% fat organic lamb mince (plus herbs and spices) yielded approximately 770g of cooked meat after draining and cooling. 100g of sliced meat makes for a very generously stuffed large doner kebab, so in total this would serve around 8 to 12 people (depending on serving sizes). Freezes well.

Very Easy Garlic Yoghurt Sauce

Perfect for drizzling over kebabs!


This is so easy, it's barely even a recipe - however I feel it's an important component of a home made doner kebab, alongside a good chilli sauce (see here for my easy fresh chilli and tomato sauce recipe), so it needs to be here!


Only 4 ingredients, and 12 calories per 15ml tbsp (depending on which yoghurt you use).

Easy, No-Cook Fresh Chilli and Tomato Sauce (includes Thermomix instructions)

This is such a simple, tasty, no-cook chilli sauce it's well worth making - and quicker than nipping to the shop to buy some!


I make this for drizzling over home made doner kebabs (see here for my recipe to make your own delicious doner kebab meat), but if you're a fan of spicy sauces then you could use it in lots of other ways!


As it's made from fresh ingredients it will only keep in the fridge for a few days, but it's easily halved, and you can freeze what you don't need for another time.

If you want to reduce the heat, you can either reduce the number of chillies you use, or omit the seeds.

Calories: approximately 7 calories per tbsp, 273 calories for the whole batch.

Saturday, 17 November 2018

Butternut Squash, Ginger and Orange Cake (Gluten Free)

A deliciously dark and decadent, spiced ginger cake with fragrant orange notes, with a lovely moistness and lightness from the grated squash.


When you end up with four butternut squashes (primarily from your veg box delivery), you need to be a bit creative to use them all up!

Having already made a tasty squash and tomato soup, curry, and some buttery squash and swede mash for the freezer, it seemed like I could turn towards the dark side (cake!), and come up with something new.

Saturday, 10 November 2018

Masala Chai Cake with Vanilla Cinnamon Frosting (Gluten Free)

A deliciously spiced, moist and light cake that no-one will guess the secret ingredient to!


I am always trying to think up new and exciting flavours for cakes to make that everyone can enjoy, and I thought my idea for a masala chai cake was inspired!


As it is autumn, I thought something with warming spices would be delicious, which made me think of masala chai - an Indian take on tea, simmered with whole spices - namely cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, cloves and black peppercorns - with a cinnamon and vanilla cream cheese frosting to complement the flavours.

Tuesday, 16 October 2018

Easy Battered Fish in a Tasty Lemon and Parsley Batter - Gluten Free (or normal)

Delicious, crispy, battered fish, in a gluten free batter that packs a flavour punch!


Once you've tasted this, you won't want to go back to 'normal' batter - the lemon zest and parsley give it a delicious lift, and the cornflour and sparkling water make the batter lovely and crispy and light.

When you like the crispy bits and drizzle over a bit more batter after the first turn...

What's more, you can have battered fish without the mess and inconvenience of having to fill up a deep fat fryer with litres of oil - this has been simply shallow fried with only 1/2cm of oil in a non-stick frying pan - so it's quick and easy to do too (and you can filter and re-use the oil afterwards if you like).

Well, what more do you need to have a go - just get a couple of fillets of your favourite white fish, and if you like curry sauce on the side, have a go at my delicious and easy (gluten free) curry sauce - it's better that the chip shop's too - not that we're biased!!

The quick version with dried parsley and oven chips to keep everyone happy!

Serves two, easily doubled. Let's not talk about calories, because a small minority of my recipes are just never going to have them, OK? This is for a day when you just don't care!!

Better-Than Chip Shop Curry Sauce - naturally Gluten Free

Craving a really, REALLY good curry sauce to have with your chips?


Then, as the cliche goes - look no further! This is based on the flavours of one of the tastiest curry sauces I've had in recent years with fish and chips, at The Fish and The Chip in Leicester which does a fairly priced and very tasty plate of gluten free fish and chips at lunchtimes, should you be looking for anywhere coeliac-friendly!


Curry sauce is by nature, not the most photogenic of condiments, however what it lacks in aesthetic appeal, it certainly makes up for in flavour, and it's not at all complicated to make, and you've probably already got most of the ingredients to hand - so do give this a go! Plus, you can freeze it in portions for the next time you need some with your (fish and) chips! And of course, I've got a delicious and easy recipe for gluten free battered fish, that you can make in a frying pan!

Sunday, 23 September 2018

Crisp and Spicy Onion Bhajis (naturally gluten free)

These are hand-on-heart the best onion bhajis I've ever tasted!


Crispy, with a moist fluffy middle and absolutely packed full of flavour, they are absolutely unbeatable when home-made!


We're fortunate to live not too far from a very multicultural city where there are some excellent Indian restaurants, and delis that you can buy wonderful treats from, so trying to nail a tasty, crispy onion bhaji was actually quite fun after many years of eating all kinds!

I rarely cook deep fried foods - in fact, I seem to buy a deep fat fryer maybe once a decade for a special occasion, and then it languishes unused for many years in a cupboard. However, since my daughter was diagnosed with coeliac disease, I have a new reason to develop recipes for things which
are difficult to acquire gluten free and/or free from cross contamination (so for example, onion bhajis are naturally gluten free, being made from gram flour, however they sometimes contain wheat flour, or even trickier to spot, if you buy them, they're often a 'may contain', or more often than not may have been fried in oil that has had other things fried in it containing wheat - so a bit of a no-no when you can't risk even a crumb of something containing gluten!).

Makes 16 to 20 - easily doubled. Warning - VERY more-ish! And no, we're not mentioning calories for this recipe...!

Saturday, 22 September 2018

Zigni - Spicy Eritrean Beef Stew with Instant Pot Pressure Cooker and Slow Cooker method

Love spicy food? Fancy trying something new? Then why not have a go at this delicious Eritrean beef stew.


In our house at the moment, shin of beef is currently enjoying a period of popularity, as it is one of the most delicious, tasty and tender cuts of beef to cook slowly and also relatively economical.


Aside from a handful of staples, I've always enjoyed cooking new dishes on a regular basis, and re-creating food that I've enjoyed out and about. Finding new ways to slow-cook beef is always good fun, as there are so many different ways from so many different countries.
This is not a difficult dish to cook, it's extremely tasty and it's well worth making your own berbere spice mix to make it with, as that is also a simple thing to do once you've assembled the ingredients. 
Serves 8 to 10, or more as part of a selection of dishes. You can easily half this quantity if you wish to, and it freezes really well.

394 to 492 calories per serving (depending on whether a tenth or an eighth of the whole quantity - if you want to knock off around 30 calories a portion you can use pure oil spray for browning the beef and cooking the peppers, but you will need the keep the oil as stated for browning the onions).

Berbere - Ethiopian / Eritrean Spice Mix

A spicy mix predominately made of chilli, used to flavour many Ethiopian and Eritrean dishes.


One of the fundamental cornerstones of Ethiopian and Eritrean cooking is berbere - families have their own recipes for it, passed down from generation to generation - a bit like Italian families might pass down the recipes for a basic tomato sauce.


You can buy it ready made, but I think you might be disappointed with what is offered by generic spice manufacturers - much better to have a go at blending your own for a bit more authenticity.

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