Hasselback Potatoes with garlic and parmesan


I love this way of cooking potatoes. It makes them look fancy. I therefore, feel a little fancy! They are dead easy and tasty and persuade even my non-spud-eating seven year old to eat potatoes which makes it an achievement in itself.

First, preheat your oven to 200c and get your roasting tin ready. It’s almost a non recipe in that you take potatoes (one to two or whatever is required per person) You need to slice them very thinly now, but not all the way through, so each potato sits on a large dessert spoon while you slice, thereby preventing this happening.

Now place them carefully in the tin and drizzle with a little oil and a sprinkling of salt and pepper and roast for 40 minutes. Near the end of this time, melt a little butter (couple of tablespoons, depending on how many spuds you are roasting) with a clove or two of crushed garlic. You can add some chopped fresh herbs at this point if you like too, such as oregano, thyme or rosemary.

Take the tin out and carefully brush the melted butter over the potatoes. You can finish with a grating of parmesan too if it takes your fancy.

Pop back in the oven and finish off roasting for 15-20 minutes, depending on the size of the potatoes. The outsides will be all crispy, the insides tender and the herbs garlic and salt add lovely flavour and crunch.


Simple Sausage and Bean Casserole

The weather eh? So much for any hope of a sunny reprieve. In the autumn and winter I get the best use out of my slow cooker. Truth be told, I get use out of it all year round, but it really comes into its own when the weather is cold and rainy and we are busy at after school activities or out and about. It’s good to know that the slow cooker is home alone, doing its thing! Needless to say, it’s in use here these days.
Not surprisingly, the kids tire of it after a while, but this recipe is one of their favourites. I like to produce it on the days I’m working or post swimming lessons to quell the hangry outbursts (and that’s just me.)
I use a 6 litre slow cooker. It has high/low setting and a timer. When the time is up, it switches to a keep warm setting. There is no wrong way to follow this recipe. I’ve popped this on before the school run and it’s been perfect to eat even at six that evening. It’s most forgiving.
Simple Sausage and Bean Casserole
Serves 4 (with leftover beans, unless you are a member of my savage family)
8 sausages, decent size! (I love the M&S Italian Sausages – high meat content and quality product and I’ve used Tesco finest smoked garlic and basil which give a nice flavour to the dish but any decent meaty varieties will do)
1 onion diced
2 cloves garlic
2 teaspoons dried oregano or a small bunch of thyme
2 peppers, one yellow and one red, chopped
2 tins of chopped tomatoes
2 tins of cannellini beans, drained and rinsed (you can also use butter beans to great effect too)
1 tablespoon tomato puree
splash of red wine, optional
salt and pepper to season
Brown the sausages in a frying pan. This is for colour and appearance – they will look much more pleasant. While the sausages are browning, mix all the remaining ingredients in the slow cooker. When coloured, but not necessarily cooked through, add the sausages, gently nestling them in the bean mix.
Turn on low for 8 hours. I like to serve this one with either some toasted sourdough with garlic butter (yum!) or a baked potato or just some greens (revolt! say the children)
Alternatively, you can make this in a heavy lidded casserole if like me today you left it far too late and still wanted to eat it for dinner. I preheated the oven to 160C. I browned the sausages and set aside. I added the garlic peppers and diced onion to the pot and let them soften for a bit, then added in thyme, beans, puree, tomatoes and brought to a gentle simmer. Tuck the browned sausages in and pop on the lid and let it do its thing in the oven for an hour.

Superfast Chicken Fillet Burgers


These burgers are the kids’ current favourite. They are very quick and easy to make and can be varied with different toppings. If the chicken breasts are large, you can butterfly them and serve half per child. Plates are cleared every time I rustle them up here and they are requested often – a firm favourite!

To make two burgers:

2 small chicken fillets

1 tsp smoked paprika

1/2 tsp cumin

1/2 tsp garlic salt

1/2 tsp dried oregano

1 tblsp olive/rapeseed oil

2 brioche burger buns (we love the ones from Aldi)

mayo/ketchup/tomatoes/lettuce/onions/pickles/your choice of burger topping – the possibilities are endless!


Preheat the oven to 190c. Mix the oil and spices together with salt and pepper in a small dish/cup. Put the chicken breasts between two pieces of clingfilm and flatten/bash them with a rolling pin – you want to make them a bit flatter so they cook evenly.

Heat up an oven proof pan – I have a chargrill one I use. (If you are making more than will fit in the pan, you can sear them and finish them off in a foil covered tin in the oven) While that is heating, brush the fillets with the seasoned oil. When the pan is hot, put the fillets on. Sear them on one side for a couple of minutes, then flip over. Cover loosely with foil and pop in the oven to finish cooking – mine took about 15 minutes, but it will depend on the thickness of the breasts – make sure they are cooked through. Remove from the oven and let them sit for a minute – turn the oven off and pop the buns in for a minute to heat.

When ready, load the buns up with the fillets and your favourite fillings and enjoy!

Smoky Baked Meatballs with Chickpeas

This all started with a jar of (diced) chipotle peppers and another wave of excitement as I discovered that they were available in one of my local supermarket aisles and not just by mail order (I know I know) They are smoky, spicy and make the most delectable dishes, mayos, braised and slow cooked dishes. I just love them. A little goes a long way though! I also used a tin of cherry tomatoes I got in Lidl from the Italiamo range, which were lovely so do try and use them, but tinned tomatoes would work too. This dish serves 4 generously with a salad and maybe some crusty bread. On the night in question, I had some leftover potatoes. I chopped them up and fried them until crispy and served them with some mayo mixed with a squeeze of lemon and chopped fresh herbs (dill, basil and coriander – just what I had in the fridge). Yum 🙂


400g lean mince beef

1 shallot, minced/finely chopped

1 large clove garlic

3-4 tblsp olive oil

1 tsp smoked paprika

1 egg, beaten

75g breadcrumbs


1 tin cherry tomatoes in juice (or tinned chopped tomatoes)

1 red onion chopped

1 clove garlic, chopped

2 tblsp tomato puree

1 tblsp brown sugar

1 tsp chipotle paste

1 tblsp balsamic vinegar

250ml beef stock

1 tin chickpeas, drained

100g grated cheddar

Preheat the oven to 180C. Heat 1 tblsp oil in a wide frying pan and gently fry the shallot and garlic for five minutes, until soft, not coloured. Stir in the paprika. Fry gently for one more minute and remove to a large bowl, leaving to cool for a few minutes. Add in the breadcrumbs, egg and mince and mix well. Roll into walnut size balls – I got 23-24. Heat 1 tblsp oil in the pan and fry the meatballs (in batches if necessary) – until nicely browned – it’s not necessary to cook all the way through and set aside in a large ovenproof casserole.

Wipe out the pan and heat another spoon of the oil. Fry the red onion and garlic gently for a couple of minutes, then add in the tin tomatoes, vinegar, chipotle, puree, sugar, beef stock and chickpeas, bring to a simmer and let bubble for 6-7 minutes or until slightly reduced and looking a little glossy. Gently decant into the casserole dish over the meatballs and sprinkle the cheddar over the top. Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes until golden and bubbly.


Chopped Asian Salad with Lime and Coconut Chicken

This is a tasty dressing that is lovely mixed with a chopped vegetable salad and grilled chicken or prawns. It’s just perfect for the warm weather we are having right now. I like to make it up in a jar and it will happily sit in the fridge ready to be used. I paired it here with an old Good Food hack for a pack of mini chicken fillets. It turns them into something interesting! We ate this warm and also cold for lunch too. Gotta love a dish that keeps on giving.

I chopped up a whole mix of veg – salad leaves, mint, coriander, carrots, peppers, sugarsnaps, scallions, some broccoli and mixed it with quinoa too. Anything goes.

Asian dressing

1 tblsp shallot, minced/diced very finely

3 tblsp rice wine vinegar

2 tblsp dark brown sugar

1 tblsp wholegrain mustard

pinch maldon salt

pinch cayenne

1/2 tsp ground ginger

2 cloves garlic, crushed

2 tsp sesame oil

80 ml olive oil or rapeseed oil.


Mix the shallot, vinegar, sugar, mustard, salt, cayenne, ginger and garlic together and leave for a few minutes. Then gradually whisk the oils in. Season to taste, if necessary. Keep in a jar in the fridge for a few days.

Lime and Coconut Crusted Chicken

Pack of chicken mini fillets or 3 chicken fillets

zest and juice of 2 limes

2 tsp curry powder

pinch chilli powder

75g dessicated coconut

Preheat the oven to 180C. Slice the chicken fillets (if using). Mix the chicken with the zest, juice, curry powder and chilli powder in a bowl. Place the coconut in a ziploc bag. Line a baking tin with foil and a slick of oil.

Once the chicken has sat for a few minutes, then place it in the bag so that the coconut sticks to it and shake it around making sure the chicken pieces are coated.

Place them carefully on the tray and bake for 20 minutes or until cooked through and toasted, turning once. Serve with the chopped salad and asian dressing.




Dry Rub for Steak


It’s Friday and we are having steaks which can sometimes fail to live up to the hype if flavour is a little lacking.

This is a tasty dry rub that you can make up, keep in a jar and rub on your steak or other meat before grilling or barbecuing. It’s a variation on the whole30 mocha rub, but I’ve omitted the ground coriander and cocoa.

At this point I feel I have to mention my measuring spoons which make me very very happy! They fit in the spice jars 😉 I love them, really.


2 tblsp instant coffee

1 tblsp maldon salt

1 tsp ground black pepper

1 tblsp garlic salt

1 tblsp dark brown sugar

1/2 tsp cayenne

1/4 tsp ground cloves

1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

Mix all ingredients in a jar and store until needed. Rub on your meat and leave at room temperature for 20-30 minutes before cooking. I prepped mine this afternoon with the spuds and wrapped the meat in cling film in the fridge. I then unwrapped at room temp before cooking.

Then, obviously, cook your steaks to your liking 🙂 I have a trusty chargrill pan which I use to sear the steaks and then finish them off in a hot oven, but everyone has their own routine.  I served the steaks this evening with gratin potatoes as I could prep these in advance and leave in the oven and also some sautéed spinach and mushrooms.



Simple Moroccan Chicken with Olives and Lemon


Another week, another menu plan! We were away at the weekend so I am sort of starting this week on the back foot – yuck! It’s nice to have a quick recipe like this one to hand when you are feeling less than inspired of a Monday! Feel free to add extra chicken – the recipe is quite forgiving in that regard. Oh and if you are 7 years old, scrape all the olives and mint off first before eating.

Ingredients to serve 4

8 chicken thighs (skinless and boneless)

2 tblsp plain flour

3 tsp ground cumin

good pinch salt (Maldon is great)

2 tblsp olive oil

250ml (1 cup) chicken or vegetable stock (I use Marigold Bouillion)

Juice of half a lemon and about 1/2 tsp of zest (or to your taste)

50g (1/2 cup) sliced black olives (I use the jarred ones in brine)

small handful of mint, chopped


Get a large ziplock bag and add the flour, cumin and salt. Seal and shake to mix. Add the chicken and seal and shake to mix again, coating the chicken with the cumin mix.

Heat the oil in a wide pan (with a lid for later) and add the chicken lifting it out of the bag with tongs, gently shaking off the excess flour before adding it to the pan. Brown the chicken until golden, 3-4 minutes each side. Now add the hot stock to the pan, together with the lemon juice and zest and stir gently. Bring to a gentle simmer, then put the lid on and simmer gently for 15 minutes.

Check again, stirring in the olives and mint and letting simmer for the last 5 minutes. Check the thighs are cooked through. Serve with cous cous or quinoa (our fav!) and vegetables.

salmon and veggies with lentils

Our favourite go-to is salmon. There are lots of easy ways to elevate this already tasty quick accessible item into something special, even if you are serving it up on a rainy Tuesday. I happen to do this on a lot of rainy Tuesdays after football – it’s 20 minutes in the oven and the lentils, serving two are microwavable in a pouch, which makes it handy and even faster than a takeaway and healthier to boot. We are also a teeny little bit obsessed with roast sprouts these days. Roasting imparts a deeper nuttier flavour and any dinner that means one tray or dish gets a thumbs up from me. I say the following recipe serves 2 – I eat a fillet of salmon and my better half eats 2 and takes leftovers to work for lunch the next day. You would certainly serve four serving one fillet each and upping the quantity of vegetables.

Roast Salmon and veggies with a side of lentils
Serves 2 -ish!
4 fillets of salmon
1 net of brussel sprouts
1 large red pepper
Schwartz Perfect Shake Italian Garlic and Herb
1-2 Tblsp olive oil

Preheat your oven to 180C. Prepare your roasting tray by covering with foil.
Prep the veggies by cleaning and chopping to even size pieces (see the picture) Drizzle with 1 tblsp of oil and sprinkle with a small amount of the herb shake.
Roast the veg for 5-8 minutes in the oven. You will then add the salmon into the hot tray (careful!) sprinkling same with some of the shake and a drizzle of oil. Carefully mix the veg while you do this. Return the tray to the oven for 15 minutes. Salmon should be done when it is firm to the touch and pale through.
I served this with a pouch of the microwavable puy lentils – they also work really well cold in a salad – the possibilities are endless!

Goat Cheese Salad with Apples and Almonds


This is a super quick starter to make – it’s on the table in a matter of ten minutes and is super tasty. We had it on Friday with a cold glass of white – very welcome prelude to a tasty steak dish which I will post about later! There’s nothing like low effort high reward food at the end of the week and once you’ve a few bits in the fridge it all comes together very quickly. I used a small packet of goat cheese from M&S – the rind holds it together when it’s baking in the oven, it easily cut into three generous slices.


Ingredients (serves 2):

Goats cheese with rind, a small log sliced into 1 inch slices

2-3 tblsp of chopped almonds

1 egg, beaten

1/2 red onion, sliced into very fine rings

1/2 apple, either green or golden delicious, sliced into matchsticks

couple handful of lettuce leaves of your choice (I used red gem)


2 tblsp olive oil

1 tblsp balsamic vinegar

1/2 tsp dijon mustard

2 tsp maple syrup

salt, pepper and snipped chives to serve

Set up your small baking tray, lined with a little foil or parchment and preheat oven to 170C. Whisk the egg in a small bowl. Place the chopped almonds on a small saucer and working from one side to the other dip each cheese slice firstly in the egg, then the nuts gently pressing them in to stick, then gently on the tray. Bake in the oven for 7 minutes approximately. Watch them closely. They will go from sturdy to melted in a nanosecond! Prepare the salad. Whisk the dressing ingredients together in a small bowl. (You can do this before the cheese goes in the oven if you like) Plate up the (washed!) leaves, onion and apple sticks. Drizzle the dressing over. Place the baked cheese on top and sprinkle the snipped chives to serve. Arrange to eat in the sunshine if you can!

the first bite.

Welcome welcome. I’d like to think that you’ll find something inspiring here. Eventually. It’s my first foray into this, so I have a few recipes up my sleeve and I am frantically thinking of some witty anecdotes to dovetail nicely with them. You know, interesting things!! Although as we all know, when thinking of dinner ideas, interesting is often sacrificed for quick and whatever-they-will-all-eat.


With that in mind, I’m sharing a handy little number that I often feed my troops. It’s in the oven in a few, takes 25 minutes to cook and I like to serve it with spuds/rice/quinoa and whatever vegetables are in the fridge or those that are the least hateful as far are the kids are concerned. That can change on a daily basis, believe me. It’s even nice served cold in slices with a salad if you’ve any leftovers.

Tasty Parmesan Chicken

Serves 4



4  chicken breast fillets

4 tablespoons natural yoghurt

2 teaspoons honey

2 teaspoons dijon mustard

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

4 tablespoons grated parmesan

Salt and black pepper to season


Preheat your oven to 180C. I like to line a shallow baking tin with tinfoil and brush it with a little oil. Of late, I’ve even discovered the nonstick Bacofoil which is pretty handy! Minimise the washing up! Set this aside. Place the chicken breasts between two pieces of cling film and bash them with a rolling pin to flatten them a little. Place the flattened chicken breasts on the lined tray and season.

Mix the yoghurt, honey, mustard and garlic powder in a small bowl. Spread a spoon of the mixture on each flattened breast, taking care not to go over the edges. Sprinkle a spoon of parmesan on each chicken breast.


Bake in the oven for 25 minutes or until golden and bubbling, making sure they are cooked through. Check the thickest part of each breast – any juices should run clear.