Monthly Archives: September 2012


Hi there

Curried fish and rice?  For breakfast?  Why yes, that’s what I ate yesterday morning.  I made a (very delicious) chilli for dinner on Wednesday and popped to the supermarket to get some sour cream to slop on the top.  Whilst there, I picked up a whole load of reduced things, including some kippers for 15p.  Now, kippers aren’t the fish most people would use in kedgeree but they’re my favourites.  So I cooked some extra rice and stuck in the fridge to cool down, ready for the morning.

I completely forgot about the boiled eggs until after I’d finished my breakfast, but I don’t think it was missing much (although perhaps it would have looked slightly more attractive!).  I stirred through the remaining sour cream, but it’s not necessary.

Also, I cooked a pizza for dinner last night with the other reduced things I picked up – mozzarella and polish sausage.  I’m not going to post a recipe (I’ve done plenty of pizzas before) but I will post a picture just because it was so darned pretty!

Much love

Gemma xx


Cooked white rice
Cooked fish
Smoked paprika
Cayenne pepper
Sour cream
Parsley (preferably fresh, but I had to use dried)




  1. Boil the eggs for 5-6 minutes, until the yolks have set, but not hardened.  Run briefly under cold water, shell and set aside.
  2. Melt some butter in a frying pan.  Dice the onion and fry until soft.  Add the cooked rice and spices.  Taste and adjust the spices as necessary.
  3. Flake the fish, removing as many bones as possible.  Stir through the rice and heat gently until warm.
  4. Stir through some sour cream and add a good sprinkling of parsley.  Dish up the kedgeree, chop the eggs into slices and don’t forget to add to the rice!

Quick and easy stir fried fishies


I came home from work completely knackered and did nothing this afternoon.  Seriously, I have no idea how 3 1/2 hours went by between me getting home and A Man getting home, but somehow they did.  I wanted to cook something super-easy, and it was between this and chilli, which I decided would be better tomorrow as that’s the evening I do karate and A Man kicks boxes.

As I’ve said before, A Man doesn’t really like fish, but he will eat salmon.  That and the sardines I had were short date and highly reduced, so I stuck them in the freezer after we bought them and defrosted them in the fridge.  It takes longer, but it’s technically safer, and less moisture leaks out of the flesh.  They were only in there 24 hours, anyway.

Making this also gave me a chance to try out my new sweet chilli jelly and the verdict is success!  But it’s pretty pungent so I really didn’t have to use very much (which is good to know, and also means it’ll last longer).  Most of the stir fried veg was actually some leftover salad which had been stuck in the fridge and wasn’t ideal to eat raw any more, but was fine for cooking.  It had been dressed in some olive oil, balsamic vinegar and wholegrain mustard, but I don’t think that added much to the final flavour.

Love love

Gemma xx

Stir Fried Fish

Fish of your choice (A Man had a salmon fillet and I had 3 sardines)
Toasted sesame oil
Red gem lettuce
Root ginger
Sesame seeds
Sweet chilli jelly (or shop-bought sweet chilli sauce would do the trick if you’re not a crazy person like me and have home-made stuff)

A Man’s salmon, with its crispy crispy skin. He likes it a bit more well done than I do!

  1. Place the noodles in a bowl with a lid and cover with boiling water.
  2. Heat some sesame oil in a wok.  Chop the veg into bite-sized chunks and the ginger into matchsticks and stir fry for a few minutes.  Add some sesame seeds.
  3. Add the zest of the lime to the veg, and a spoon or two of sweet chilli jelly.  Stir through the juice of half the lime and a small teaspoon of honey.  Taste the sauce and adjust as necessary, adding a spoonful or two of the noodle water to loosen it.  Remove the veg from the heat.
  4. Heat a little oil in a frying pan.  Add the fish, skin side down, once the oil is hot and cook for a couple of minutes, until cooked to your liking, turning half-way through.
  5. Plate up the noodles and veg, and place the fish on top.  Cut the remaining lime into wedges to squeeze over the top, and season with soy sauce to taste.

And my sardines, which are somewhat less attractive.

We’re Jammin’…and jellyin’ and chutneyin’ too


I’ve been meaning to write this post for a week, but hadn’t quite got around to it.  Last weekend I did a lot of fruit picking with my dad.  We’d gone sloe and blackberry picking down the drove and collected plums and both eating and cooking apples from my parents’ garden.  I was driven home last Sunday with a lot of this fruit and one of my parents’ large pans so that I could make some jam and other such jarred loveliness.  The result was several jars of plum and ginger jam, plum and apple chutney, apply and thyme jelly and sweet chilli jelly, not to mention the blackberries, stewed apple and sloes (which have since been thrown into a kilner jar with some gin) in my freezer.

I’ve been collecting jars for several months – jam jars, condiment jars, sauce jars etc.  If you’re not a serial hoarder, you can buy jars from cookery shops, homeware stores and even some supermarkets.

Youngest brother climbs into the plum tree.

The instructions below are very very rough – a lot of it was trial and error, involving a lot of tasting between times.

If anyone’s got a favourite preserving recipe I’d love to hear it!

Much love

Gemma xx

Jars and jars and jars of stuff 🙂

Plum and Ginger Jam

4lb fresh plums (most of mine were yellow plums, but there were a handful of little red cherry plums too)
Around 4oz fresh root ginger
1 pint water
Between 1-4lb preserving sugar
Pectin (I used 1 Tate and Lyle Pectin Sachet)

  1. Sterilise some jars and leave in a low oven to keep warm and dry.  I ended up with 6 jars of jam.
  2. Grease your preserving pan to prevent the fruit from sticking.
  3. Weigh the bowl or pan you’ll be stoning your plums into and zero the scales.  This will prevent frustrating guesswork as to how heavy your fruit it later on.
  4. Wash the fruit as necessary.  Stone your plums into the bowl or pan you weighed.  This is a job which can be done whilst sitting on the settee watching a favourite film or some TV programme.  I watching University Challenge and then trashed it up with Don’t Tell the Bride😉

    All of my plums. I had just over 6lb of fruit after it had been stoned. I used 2 thirds in the jam and the rest in my chutney.

  5. Peel the ginger and grate finely.  Squeeze the juice from the fibrous gunk into the fruit and discard.  Add the grated ginger to the plums with the water.
  6. Stew the plums on a medium heat until they have cooked down.  Mix the pectin with some sugar and stir through the fruit to dissolve.  Continue to sweeten the plums, tasting as you go.  I only added about 1lb of sugar because I like my fruit more tart than most people.
  7. Remove the jars from the oven (carefully – they’ll be hot!) and jar the jam immediately.  Label with the type of jam and the date.  Keep in a cool, dark, dry place and refrigerate once opened.

Plum and Apple Chutney

2lb stoned plums
1lb cooking apples
A few onions
Your favourite spices – I think I used some mustard seeds, smoked paprika, ground ginger, cumin and cayenne pepper
Dried figs
2lb brown sugar
1 pint malt vinegar (I used the absolute cheapest stuff and it worked fine)
2 tablespoons salt

Some of our apple harvest.

  1. Sterilise some jars and leave in a low oven to keep warm and dry.  I ended up with 4 very large jars of chutney.
  2. Peel and chop the apple and onion.  Fry the onion and spices in a little oil.
  3. Add the apples to the onion and cook for a couple of minutes.  Stir in the remaining ingredients and bring to the boil.
  4. Turn the heat down and simmer until the fruit has softened and the chutney thickened.
  5. Jar the chutney, label and allow to mature for a couple of weeks before using.

Apple Jelly from The Ballymaloe Cookery Course

5 1/2 lb cooking apples
4 1/2 pints water
2 lemons
2 sachets pectin (Darina Allen tells you not to use pectin, but I don’t think this would have set otherwise)
Your chosen flavours – I did some with fresh thyme and some with fresh chilli, but use whichever herbs/spices you fancy

  1. Sterilise some jars and leave in a low oven to keep warm and dry.  I ended up with 7 jars of jelly.
  2. Chop up the apples, but do not discard the peel or cores.  Place in a pan with the water and lemon zest.  Cook until the fruit has turned to pulp.
  3. Transfer the pulp into a jelly bag and allow to drip overnight.  You’re not supposed to squeeze the bag, but I did in order to get as much juice as possible out of the apples.

    Dangling in a muslin from my kitchen cupboards. One advantage to having door handles which you can thread string through.

  4. Place a couple of plates in the fridge.  You will use these to check if the jelly has set.
  5. Measure the juice into a pan.  Mix the pectin with the sugar and add 1lb of sugar for every 1 pint of juice.  Squeeze the lemons into the juice and warm gently until the sugar has dissolved.  Bring to the boil and cook without stirring for 10 minutes.  As a warning, my jelly was very sweet, but perhaps the apples weren’t as sharp as cookers usually are.
  6. Drop some juice onto one the the cold plates and return to the fridge for a couple of minutes.  Remove the plate and push your finger against the juice – if it wrinkles, it has set and the jelly is ready to jar.
  7. Stir through your chosen flavouring and jar.  As the jelly cools, twist the jars in order to redistribute the herbs/spices so that the pieces are suspended throughout the jelly, rather than floating to the top.
  8. Serve with meats and cheeses or use in cooking.  We had some of the thyme jelly with roast lamb at the weekend, which was really good.  Mint or rosemary would have worked well too.

I’m not a food addict! Who’d have guessed?

Fat In Manhattan

Phew! What do you score on this quiz?

View original post

Triple Chocolate, Fruit and Nut Brownies

Hullo hullo

It’s a chilly, wet day in the South West today and I’m spending quite a lot of it curled up on the sofa with a cup of tea.  A Man’s gone to a kickboxing competition in Croydon, so it’s just me, the radio and catching up with my blog.  And what better thing when you’re cold and lonely than a slab of something deliciously calorific?

It’s also my youngest brother’s 16th birthday today, and so to celebrate in his absence I’m munching on some brownies I made yesterday.  He’s also at a martial arts competition, though this one is judo, and it’s his first at a senior level, so fingers crossed for him!

I adapted a recipe in Donna Hay’s Chocolate, basically so that I didn’t have to go back to the supermarket and could just use the ingredients I already had.  It’s rich and squidgy and frankly it’s darned delicious.

Hope you’re having a relaxing Sunday!  And good luck to A Man and baby brother!

Love love

Gemma xx

Triple Chocolate, Fruit and Nut Brownies

8oz butter
2 1/2 oz milk chocolate (I used a packet of chocolate buttons!)
2 1/2 oz white chocolate
7 1/4 oz dark brown sugar
4 eggs
3 oz cocoa powder
5 oz plain flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
Handful of dried fruit (I used figs, cranberries and glacé cherries)
Handful of nuts (I used mixed nuts, including peanuts, hazelnuts, walnuts, almonds and brazil nuts)

I had planned to liberally coat the brownie with icing sugar to make it more appealing to photograph, but it turns out I don’t have any icing sugar in the cupboard.

  1. Preheat the oven to 160OC/320OF/Gas mark 3.  Line a cake tin with baking parchment.
  2. Melt the butter and half of the milk chocolate in a bain marie and allow to cool slightly.
  3. Beat the sugar and eggs together.  Sift the cocoa, flour and baking powder into the egg mixture and stir until it is well combined.
  4. Add the melted butter to the bowl and stir until it is thoroughly combined.  The mixture should be glossy and reasonably thick.
  5. Chop the remaining chocolate, dried fruit and nuts into small pieces.  I used the mezzaluna.  Sprinkle over the batter and fold in gently, until the pieces are well distributed.
  6. Pour into the prepared baking tin and cook for between 35 minutes and an hour, until set.  This will entirely depend on how thick the brownie is.  Mine was quite thick, and I ended up leaving it in the warm (but switched off) oven while we watched a film so that it would set, but still be deliciously squidgy and moist.  Yum!

Hijacking A Man’s New Griddle

Well hello there.  Long time no post.

I’d like to have a good excuse for having not written up any new recipes, but truth be told I’ve been pretty lazy.  I’ve not felt inspired to cook recently and have been rehashing old recipes which I can assure you wouldn’t have been especially inspiring.

Yesterday was A Man’s first day in his new (permanent!) job and I had intended to cook him something exotic, exciting and celebratory for tea.  That never quite occurred, but what I cooked instead was I think a resounding success.  It was a slightly different take on an old favourite of ours – pork topped with cheese and apple.  The apple came from my parents’ garden (more on that in a later post) and the cheese was a tomato chutney cheddar, which added something a little unusual to the proceedings.

The griddle is A Man’s latest kitchen toy, but as I cook more often than he does I pinched it to use for this recipe.  It was a leaving gift from his former colleagues, and is cast iron and purple and brilliant.  I love the excuse to use it on the hob and under the grill 🙂

Love love

Gemma xx

Griddled cheesy pork chop

1 bulb fennel
Handful of mushrooms
Pork chops or steaks
1 apple
Olive oil

  1. Warm plates in a fairly low oven.
  2. Heat a little olive oil in the griddle on a medium-high hob.  Slice the fennel into 8(ish) pieces, leaving the core intact to keep the leaves together.  Trim the stems from the mushrooms.
  3. Place the fennel and mushrooms in the griddle and drizzle with a little olive oil.  Season with salt and pepper and turn regularly, until they have started to brown nicely.
  4. Once the veg is cooked through, either push it to the sides (if the griddle is large enough) or transfer to a warm plate.  Place the pork on the griddle to start cooking.
  5. Peel and core the apple and grate with the cheese, mixing together well.  Turn the pork after a couple of minutes and add some butter to the pan.  Top the pork with the cheese mix and pop under the grill to brown.
  6. Transfer the pork to the warm plate and return the griddle to the hob.  Once the juices have started to foam, add a generous slug of cider.  Reduce by around half.
  7. Plate up the pork and veg.  Swirl the griddle to ensure the sauce is well mixed and pour over the top.  Serve immediately.

Yet another example of my poor presentational skills…

This is a tasty burger


Yesterday, A Man and I went to have a look at how our wedding rings are coming along, and was that ever exciting!  This meant that we were out of the house half of the afternoon, and didn’t want anything too labour-intensive for dinner.  This wasn’t too time consuming (especially for me as I didn’t make it!) but absolutely delicious.

Earlier on, I had caught the scent of a BBQ blowing on the breeze, and realised just how long it’s been since I had a homemade burger.  A Man was put in charge and the result was amazing.  Honestly, I’m seriously considering having another one for breakfast.  It was goooood.

I leave you with the recipe, and the wise words of Samuel L Jackson (aka Jules Winnfield).

Love love

Gemma xx

A Man’s Tasty Burgers

Good quality beef mince
Fresh breadcrumbs
Fresh basil leaves
Half an onion
One fat clove of garlic
Salt and pepper
1 egg

  1. Finely dice the onion and garlic.  Place all of the ingredients in a bowl together.
  2. Mix everything together really well with your hands.  Add more breadcrumbs or egg until the meat stays together well.
  3. Shape into burgers and leave to rest until ready to cook.  Cook under a medium grill or on a BBQ for a few minutes on each side.  You can leave it slightly pink in the middle if you like.  I melted some mild cheddar on top of my burger just prior to serving.
  4. Serve with your preferred side dishes.  We had toasted ciabatta bread, homemade baked chips, corn on the cob, tomato, lettuce and thinly sliced red onion.  My favourite way to eat my burgers was with a scrape of mayonnaise and a dollop of sweet chilli sauce.  Om nom nom nom nom nom nom.

There’s also a rather attractive photo of me attempting to stuff this in my gob. For some reason I don’t seem to have uploaded that one…