Monday, 19 August 2013

Apple and Cinnamon Scones


  • 400g white flour
  • 1 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 100g butter (cut into dice)
  • 100g sugar
  • 1 egg
  • milk
  • lemon juice
  • 2 apples
  • 2 teaspoons of cinnimon

  1. Put the flour, baking powder, sugar and butter into a large bowl rub together with the tips of your fingers (to keep it cool) until it looks like fine bread crumbs.
  2. juice the lemon and put into another bowl.
  3. Peel and core the apple then cut into small dice and stir well into the lemon juice ( to stop it going brown)
  4. Mix the apple into the flour mixture.
  5. beat the egg in a small cup (leave a little over to glaze), then add to the mixture and stir well.
  6. Add enough milk to bring it together as a dough (sometimes if the eggs are large it needs no milk)
  7. Flatten a little and cut with a medium size scone cutter, if it's large it takes longer to cook. (if I don't have a scone cutter I often use a glass or other object!!!
  8. Glaze the top with egg mix.
  9. Cook at 200oC for 20 mins or until golden brown on top.

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Shepards Pie


  • 200g lean minced Beef
  • 1 onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 carrots
  • 2 sticks of celery
  • 1 tin of tomatoes
  • 1 beef stock cube
  • 2 tablespoons of tomato puree
  • 2 tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce
  • 6 large potatoes
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon (or more) fresh mixed herbs, parsely, sage, rosemary and thyme (dried will do)
  1. Wash, peel and cut the potatoes, not too small or they go too watery. Put them into a saucepan to boil.
  2. Peel and dice the onion, heat a little oil in another saucepan and add onion, salt and pepper saute until soft
  3. Peel the carrots and cut into small dice, add to the pan
  4. Wash and cut the celery into small dice, add to the pan
  5. Peel and crush the garlic, add this and the herbs to the pan.
  6. Put on the oven to pre-heat at 190oC
  7. Add the mince and stir well until turned from red to brown, drain any fat or water that appears.
  8. Add the tomatoes and puree and bring to the boil. lower and simmer until the veg are soft.
  9. Drain the potatoes, add the oil and mash well
  10. Put the meat and veg mixture into an ovenproof dish, then gently put the mashed potatoes in a layer on top of it, spread it carefully with a fork then put into the oven for 15mins or until the top is golden brown.
The tomato puree is full of the carotenoid lycopene I mentioned in the previous post and is more easily absorbed than raw unprocessed tomatoes, the olive oil also helps this absorption, but butter would do the same job, I just prefer the taste of olive oil.

Paint our recipes 'RED'

If we want to lower the risks or prevent heart & cancer diseases then we need to see where to go red.....
Researchers have been busy looking into this on our behalf, they've found that tomatoes are red because they are rich in an antioxidant carotenoid lycopene; a bit of a mouthful I know, its effect is to inactivate free radicals and protect cells from damage (Bhuvanesnari & Nagini 2005, Basu & Imehan 2007).
Because we've been bombarded by health manufacturers we might look for a supplement in this but interestingly (& saving euros) a synergistic effect is seen when lycopene is obtained from the whole tomato - what this means is that, the other components found in tomatoes enhance lycopene's effectiveness (Shi et al 2004).
Often nutrients are damaged or their effectiveness reduced in cooking but not so with this gem, when it is cooked and combined with oil it is more easily absorbed by the body, other foods with lycopene are watermelon, pink grapefruit and papaya (Gorden-Robinson, NDSU 2011).
People who suffer with Rheumatoid Arthritis are an exception and should avoid red fruit and vegetables especially tomatoes (Sen 1996).
I try to put tomatoes into as many recipes as possible even traditional ones that wouldn't normally have them but easily can.

Monday, 15 April 2013

Basil Pesto


  • 15g Fresh Basil (more if you like)
  • 100mls of extra virgin olive oil
  • 50g parmesan cheese
  • handful of pine nuts
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • salt & pepper
  1. Pre heat the oven to 180oC. Put the pine nuts onto a flat roasting tray and roast (without oil) for 10mins.
  2. Wash and dry the basil, take the leaves off the stalks and place in a measuring jug or blending jug.
  3. Grate the cheese. Cool the pine nuts. Peel the garlic cloves
  4. Add the oil, cheese, garlic and nuts into the jug with the basil, blend together into a smooth pesto.
If kept in an airtight container in the fridge this will keep well for up to 3 weeks as the garlic acts as a natural preservative. However it discolors and spoils every time it is exposed to the air; therefore store it in small airtight containers and only open one at a time.

Fish Risotto


  • 1 onion & 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 red pepper
  • 1 tin of tomatoes
  • 150g Risotto rice (can be called aborio rice)
  • 100mls white wine (optional)
  • 2 dozen large raw prawns & 1/2 med squid cut into rings (can use any fish but others may flake up so if using others cut into large chunks)
  • handful of baby spinach
  • Fish/veg/chicken stock cube
  • 60g Parmesan cheese (optional)
  • Half teaspoon of chili powder (optional)
  • Half teaspoon of smoked paprika
  • 1 tablespoon basil pesto (best made yourself, see next post)
  • Olive oil, salt & pepper
  1. Peel and cut the onion into small dice and crush the garlic.
  2. Heat 50mls olive oil in a saucepan and add the onion, garlic, rice and plenty of salt & pepper, lower the heat and saute until the onions are soft. Stir well and add more oil if it's too dry.
  3. Wash and peel the carrot, cut into small dice and add to the saucepan, stir well.
  4. Deseed the pepper, cut into dice and add. Add the chili and paprika. stir well.
  5. If using the wine add now and bring to the boil, leave on a high heat without a lid until reduced by half the amount.
  6. Add the tin of tomatoes to the saucepan. Stir well until absorbed.
  7. Add 100mls of water and crumble the stock cube into the saucepan. Stir well and again the water will absorb into the rice. You may need to higher and lower the heat as need be.
  8. Add the fish and another 200/300mls of water and stir well as before.
  9. Taste the rice and if it's soft enough and the mixture is nice and moist then it's done. If the rice is done but it's very dry then add a little water (50mls) and heat. If the rice is not done and the mixture is dry then add 200mls of water and stir until the rice is cooked.
  10. Add the pesto and chopped spinach, stir well.
  11. Grate the Parmesan cheese and add to the mixture (you can leave out the cheese if you like), stir well and Serve, you can garnish with more grated Parmesan, chopped parsley and lemon.

Friday, 5 April 2013

Green Lentil & Turmeric soup

The other day I was privileged to receive an insightful view of living beyond cancer. My friend, who survived cancer surgery and treatment explained that, while the treatment eliminated final traces of cancer it ravaged many other healthy cells. She communicated a sense of being afloat, with little support and practical information on how to assist her body to recover from the damage of chemotherapy; and then made the perceptive association between nutrition and her body attaining improved well-being and strength.

After investigating ‘healing foods’ I am left pondering my old hobby-horse; what good is it to know the names of food that assist health if we are not able to put them into dishes that we eat?

With this in mind let’s take look at Turmeric – it is from the ginger family and nicknamed ‘ Indian saffron’ because of its lovely yellow colour.
The substance called curcumin in turmeric has been the subject of investigations in relation to cancer. Cancer Research UK indicates that, while inconclusive, early trials show promising results. One such trial found that curcumin altered the expression of 62 genes, 2 of which were inflammatory; it was this information that indicates curcumin may hinder metastasis (Bachmeier et al. 2008).

Here’s a recipe that’s easy to make, and a pot of it can be kept in the fridge for up to four days if it’s only reheated in the portions being used. I have read suggestions that black pepper and oils increase the absorption of turmeric - off to read more......



·         1 Onion
·         2 Sticks of celery
·         1 Leek
·         1 carrot
·         2 cloves of garlic
·         2 tablespoons of green lentils
·         1 tablespoon of turmeric
·         1 tablespoon of paprika
·         1 tablespoon of tomato puree
·         1 stock cube (veg/chicken)
·         Salt, Black Pepper & tablespoon olive oil


1.      Peel and cut the onion and garlic.
2.      Wash and cut the celery, leek and carrots.
3.      Heat the oil in a saucepan, add the onions, garlic, salt & pepper, stir till soft.
4.      Add the lentils, leek, carrot and celery put on a low heat with a lid for 10mins, add the turmeric & 
5.      Add enough water to cover the veg well, add puree and stock cube, bring to the boil, then lower to a  
      simmer for 20mins.
6.      Puree with a hand blender.

Thursday, 28 March 2013



Ingredient / shopping list

  • 3  large OR five medium sized potatoes
  • 1 onion
  •  stock cube
  • ½ pint of hot water
  •  2 teaspoonfuls of dried mixed herbs
  •  a little butter and oil


                  3)   ADD THE ONIONS, SALT & PEPPER AND HERBS AND COOK   
                         ON A LOW HEAT UNTIL ONIONS ARE SOFT.
                        COOK ON A LOW HEAT FOR 5 MINS
                  6)    ADD TO THE SAUCEPAN, ADD MORE WATER TO
                         THEN LOWER THE HEAT, PUT ON A LID AND COOK
                         UNTIL THE POTATOES ARE SOFT