Monday, 24 June 2013

Simply Scrumptious Sausage Rolls

My Sister-in-law to be has just had a baby so I wanted to make them a few meals that they could grab quickly, heat up and enjoy with little effort. I also made some simple sausage rolls as a quick snack or lunch and they turned out fantastic!

They are so simple to make and take just 15 minutes to prepare. I am going to confess that I didn't make my own puff pastry but I don't think there is anything at all wrong with shop bought! Like I've said in the past, pastry is something that I am working myself up to making so one day I will have a post on here for my own puff pastry!

Serves 9


Sausage Meat
Puff Pastry
Worcester Sauce
1 Egg


1. Preheat oven to 175°C / 350°F / Gas Mark 4
2. Combine the sausage meat, thyme, Tabasco and Worcester sauce and give it a good mix.
3. Open out your puff pastry, cut into 9 portions and lay out onto a baking sheet.
4. Make sausage shapes with the meat and pop onto one side of the pastry, leave about 3cm at the end for crimping. 

5. Brush the edge of the pastry with beaten egg and fold the pastry over the sausage meat. Using a fork, push down the edges so they make a seal. 
6. Using a knife, score slits into the top of the sausage rolls and then brush with the remaining beaten egg. 

7. Pop in the oven and bake for 20 minutes. 
8. Remove from the oven and leave to cool.

Pop your feet up and enjoy!

Saturday, 15 June 2013

Cottage Quiche

With our wedding fast approaching and a wedding dress to get into, watching what I eat is definitely something I have to do at the moment. So even though some of my dishes may not be friendly to the waist line, I do like to bake the occasional healthy options and that is something you will probably see a little more of over the next few months. 

On tonight's menu it was definitely time  for something light a healthy and my Cottage Quiche is exactly that! Packed full of vegetables and topped with egg on cottage cheese, it has the tastes of your favorite Quiche without the calories and fat of the pastry base!

Eating healthy doesn't have to be boring. Stick with me and I'll make sure to have plenty of healthy meals to sink your teeth into!

Serves 2


1 Courgette 
1 Onion
1 Pepper (any colour) 
110g Low Fat Cottage Cheese
2 medium Eggs
5 mushrooms (I used shiitake but you can use any)
1 Leek
Chili Flakes


1. Turn oven on to 180°C / 350°C / gas mark 4
2. Chop up all of your vegetables.

3. Sauté the vegetables in a little water until al dente and add pepper, few chili flakes to give it a bit of a kick and some tarragon.

4. Whilst the vegetables are cooking, beat the eggs and cottage cheese together. Add some pepper.
5. Put the vegetables into a shallow glass dish and pour the egg mixture on top.

6. Cover with foil and place on oven for 10 minutes. Remove foil and cook for another 10 minutes.
7. Serve with a side salad. 

Healthy, tasty and guilt free!

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Croque Madame Muffins

There is nothing I love more than a Sunday morning lie in followed by a spot of bunch!

It was time to see what Rachel Khoo had to offer. What could be more perfect for Sunday brunch than Croque Madame Muffins? I hadn't seen something like before but what an awesome idea! 

Croque Madame is a grilled ham and cheese sandwich served with a fried egg on top. The Croque Madame Muffin combines all of the ingredients of a Croque Madame into an individual muffin. 

The best part of these muffins is the béchamel sauce. Béchamel to me sounded quite tricky when I first heard the term but it is simply a classic way of making a white sauce. Made from using a mixture of butter and flour to make up a roux which is then cooked with milk to form the creamy yummy white sauce.

Serves 6


6 Slices of white bread with crusts removed
6 Small eggs
6 Slices of ham
3 Tbsp melted butter
1 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp flour
200ml Milk
1/2 Tsp Dijon mustard
1/2 Tsp Nutmeg
30g Grated gruyere


1. Turn oven on to 180°C / 350°C / gas mark 4

2. Brush a muffin tin with some melter butter
3. Melt the butter in a pan and add flour. Beat until it forms a smooth paste. Remove from the heat and allow to cool for 2 minutes.
4. Whisk the milk in slowly until there are no more lumps. Place the pan back on the heat and add the mustard and nutmeg. Allow to simmer gently whilst to move back onto the bread. Keep an eye that it doesn't catch though.
5. Flatten your white bread with a rolling pin until nice and thin and brush the front and back of each slice with melted butter.
6. Push each piece of bread into the muffin tin, making sure to push down into the inside edges of the bread.
7. Put a slice of ham at the bottom of each muffin and then top with an egg. If you think the egg may be too big, pour away some of the egg white and just pop the yolk and a little of the white into each muffin.
8. Remove the sauce from the heat and add the cheese, be sure to leave some to sprinkle on the top later. Stir the sauce until the cheese is melted. The sauce shouldn't be too think and should run off the spoon quite thick but doesn't get stuck! If it is too think, just whisk in a little more milk.
9. Spoon 2 tablespoons of sauce over each muffin and sprinkle with the remaining cheese and pepper. Before adding the sauce, I placed a piece of sliced tomato on top of each one but that is completely up to you how you like it.
10. For the finishing touches, brush the corners of each muffin with melted butter and pop in the oven for 15 minutes. (20 minutes if you like your yolks a little harder). 

Finally, server immediately and enjoy.

Thursday, 6 June 2013

Secret Wedding Cake

I am so excited because yesterday we finally ordered our 'wedding cake'! Now I use the term wedding cake lightly as we are not going down the traditional wedding cake route. To be honest though we aren't really going down the traditional wedding route!

I am not going to give too much away as we want it to be a surprise for everyone!

Me and Jamie got engaged in Disney's Hollywood Studios in Florida in September 2011 so our wedding will have been in planning for 2 years. And as you can imagine we have had many ideas going through our minds. I was certain that I didn't want a traditional tiered wedding cake. And then I saw a pretty nice cake from Marks and Spencer's and thought that it was a bit edgy so would be different for our not so traditional wedding.

M&S Milk Chocolate Ribbons Wedding Cake

Then as time passed that idea was overridden by designing our own cake with each tier displaying a different part of our life together but the whole cake idea just wasn't us!

We then started to see Cake Pop wedding cake displays that looked amazing and having had Cake Pops at our engagement party we knew that was for us and we were finally set on this idea......... until I found Delish! I spent the whole of Saturday looking though all of their amazing facebook photos and then there was something we saw that instantly changed our mind. Now don't be deceived by the fact that Cake Pops feature heavily on their website. There will be no Cake Pops at our wedding.

We threw a few ideas around with Neli who makes these fantastic treats and placed our order!

Cannot wait to show you the final display on the day! My mouth is watering just thinking about it!

In the meantime, please go and check out all of the delicious photos on their facebook page and website. Here's a few to get your mouth watering!

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Spinach and Feta Filo Pie

After a long day at work, the last thing I want to do is spend hours in the kitchen making an evening meal. I like to be able to come home, throw together a nice delicious meal and relax for the rest of the evening.

One great recipe book I have come across that is prefect for this is Jamie Oliver's 30 Minute Meals. I have tried a few recipes so far but our favourite that we have made a few too many times but never gets boring is the Spinach and Feta Filo Pie.

The end result of this pie is fantastic. It looks like so much work has gone into it but you literally combine all of the ingredients, layer the filo and then fold it all over. Simple, quick and delicious! 

Now I know this recipe comes from Jamie's 30 Minute Meals and i'd like to say I can make it in 30 minutes but unfortunately I can't and it does usually take me a bit longer.... but it's totally worth the time!

This dish also lasts for a few days is the fridge and is great hot or cold. I like to serve it cold with a nice fresh salad. It is also great to take on a picnic or just pop it in your lunch box for work the next day!

Serves 4 - 6


100g pine nuts

5 free range eggs
300g feta cheese
50g Cheddar cheese
Dried oregano
1 lemon
A knob of butter
400g prewashed baby spinach
1 x 270g pack of filo pastry
Cayenne pepper
1 whole nutmeg


1. Turn oven on to 200°C / 400°F / gas mark 6

2. Put the pine nuts into a dry ovenproof frying pan and toast, tossing occasionally - make sure you keep an eye on these. I usually toast them for about 3 minutes.
3. Crack 5 eggs into a mixing bowl and crumble in 300g of feta cheese.
4. Grate in 50g of Cheddar cheese and add a pinch of pepper, a couple of pinches of dried oregano, the zest of 1 lemon and a lug of olive oil.
5. Once the nuts are light golden, add them to the egg mixture and mix well.
6. Pop the empty frying pan back onto the heat, add a little olive oil and a knob of butter and pile in half of the spinach. Gently move the spinach around, adding more as it wilts down. Make sure it doesn't catch and keep on adding the rest making sure to stir frequently.
7. Meanwhile, take the pastry out of the fridge and lay a large a large sheet of greaseproof paper, approximately 50cm long on your work top. Rub it all over with olive oil and scrunch it into a ball and then lay it flat out again.
8. Pop 4 filo pastry sheets in a large rectangle, overlapping at the edges so that they almost cover the paper. Rub some olive oil over them. Sprinkle over a good pinch of salt & pepper and a pinch of cayenne. Repeat until you have 3 layers - don't worry about any cracked bits.
9. Once the spinach is nice and dense, take the pan off the heat and add the wilted spinach to the egg mixture. Grate in ½ a nutmeg and mix well.
10. Carefully move the greaseproof paper and filo into the empty frying pan so the edges spill over. Push it down into the sides of the pan, then pour in the egg mixture and spread it out.
11. Fold the filo sheets over the top and let them fall where they will. Put the pan back on a medium heat for a couple of minutes to get the bottom cooking, then put the pan into the oven on the top shelf to cook for 18 to 20 minutes, or until golden and crisp.
If you don't have a frying pan that you can put in the oven, you can also use a pie or cake tin (I use an 18cm spring form cake tin and it works perfectly). Just be careful when putting it on the heat before putting it in the oven as the paper may catch and the tin will be hot!

Sunday, 2 June 2013

Recipe Book Delights

I have a great deal of recipe books that I have collected over the years, some dating back to the 1800's that have been passed down through the generations. There is one specific shelf that I have collated my current favourite recipe books on that I plan on working through for the next couple of months.

So what do we have on the shelf of delights this month?

From L to R:

Gwyneth Paltrow - Its All Good
This is a new one that I bought this week having heard some pretty good things about it. And as Gwyneth Paltrow as just been voted the worlds most beautiful woman, it cannot be all that bad!
In all seriousness though, there are some really interesting recipes in there that I am looking forward to trying such as Sweet Potato and Five Spice Muffins.

Barefoot Contessa - Back To Basics
I dont think there is anyone out there that doesn't like a bit of Barefoot Contessa. I started watching Ina Garten during my university days. I felt my waistline increasing just watching some of the things that she cooked. And therefore I had to buy her recipe book! I love Ina's Fruitcake Cookies that she freezes before baking. I have never actually baked the Fruitcake version but always used the recipe for all my cookies and have made flavours such as dark chocolate pistachio cookies and chocolate hazelnut cookies. They are to die for!

Rachel Khoo - The Little Paris Kitchen
I LOVE RACHEL KHOO! I first saw Rachel Khoo on her BBC show of the same name. I loved the easiness of her french recipes and bought her book the moment it came out. It is definitely my most used recipe book on the shelf but I haven't used it for a while so am looking forward to trying some of the recipes I have not yet made.
(Photo above from The Little Paris Kitchen - Cured Sausage, Pistachio and Prune Cake)

Jamie Oliver - Jamie's America, 30 Minute Meals and Happy Days with The Naked Chef
You cannot go wrong with a bit of Jamie Oliver. His recipes are always fantastic and simple. My favourite Jamie Oliver book is Jamie's America. Again one that I have done a number of recipes from in the past but am looking forward to revisiting.
(Photo below from Jamie's America - Chilli Cheese Cornbread)

Pieminister - A Pie for All Seasons
If you haven't tried a Pieminister Pie yet, you are missing out. They are mine and Jamie's favourite! This is one that I have set as a challenge for myself. I have not yet been able to make pastry successfully and have only ever made suet pudding which is the closet to making a pie that I have gotten! I really want to learn to make pastry so will be picking a few delights from this.

Nigel Slater - The Kitchen Diaries II
I bought this recipe book for Jamie this week as he had expressed an interest in getting a Nigel Slater book. Possibly one of my best purchases in a while. Nigel uses this book as a diary and has a recipe for every day of the year. I cannot wait to give some of these a go as they look absolutely scrummy!
(Photo below from The Kitchen Diaries II - Sauerkraut and Mushroom Pierogi)

The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook
This is one of those cookbooks that I go to when I need a good cake recipe and it never lets me down! But there are some recipes in here that I have never thought of touching as they look pretty tricky but now is the time to have a go.
(Photo below from Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook - Brooklyn Blackout Cake)

Marian Keyes - Saved By Cake
Yes Marian Keyes can usually be found writing novels but did recently release a recipe book of baked goods that I am yet to try. They really do look good so I would like to see how this novelist-turned-cook's recipes turn out.
(Photo Below from Saved By Cake - Pecan Pie)

Mrs Beeton - Everyday Cooking and Housekeeping

This is the oldest book on the shelf. I don't know when it was first published but its definitely from the late 1800's. There are some peculiar things in here that I would like to try.

Book With No Name
This is the book with no name because it is so old that the cover has completely rubbed off. It is a recipe book from my hometown that has a number of recipes in that local residents had submitted. There are some really great and unusual recipes in here that I cannot wait to try.

The recipes that I feature in this blog will be recipes of my own but I will also be trying recipes from these books along the way. I will let you know which book a recipe has come from a book and who it's by.