A french friend of my mum's cooks the most fantastic tarte tatins that she brings round for dinner parties. I didn't think I had a hope of recreating her amazing tarte, without even a recipe to go on. But I'm pleased to say it wasn't actually far off. Although I have used pre made puff pastry, and I'm sure my mum's friend makes her own!

Using this recipe, tarte tatin is actually really easy to make - there are only 4 ingredients - and can be made well in advance, then reheated and served warm, or just served cold!

This recipe makes a large tatin that feeds 8 people.

7 cox apples (can use Braeburns or Granny Smiths)
80g soft brown sugar
80g salter butter
1 roll of shop bought puff pastry

Preheat the oven to 220C.

Peel, quarter and core the apples. I used cox apples, you can use these, Braeburns or Granny Smiths. Slice the apples as thinly as possible. My magimix came up trumps here, with it's 2mm slicing blade. 

In a large frying pan (that is safe to later put in the oven) heat 80g of soft light brown sugar and 80g of butter. Leave this, on a medium heat, to bubble and foam and become golden and oozing. This takes around 5 minutes. Once it is so, quickly layer your apple slices onto the caramel, as neatly as possible. It doesn't matter if there are a few small holes in between the apple slices. Keep over a medium heat and let the caramel seep up between the apples.

Roll out a piece of shop bought puff pastry on a floured surface, until it's just less than 5mm thick. Cut a circle the same size of the pan out of the pastry.

Once the caramel is turning a dark golden, place the circle of puff pastry over the apples and tuck down the sides.

Put the whole pan into the oven and cook for 15-20 minutes or until the pastry has turned golden and crisp. With a teatowel, remove the pan from the oven - be careful - the handle of the pan will be very hot.

Leave to cool slightly before turning the tarte out onto a plate, with the apples showing.

Serve with vanilla ice cream.
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I planted a new veg patch this summer, and after a number of vegetable cat and slug related disasters, the one real survivor was my tomato plants. But after another typical London summer I've been left with a load of greeny orange tomotoes. So with winter and it's obligatory red wine soon approaching, I decided to cook up some green and red tomato chutney.

I used a combination of my own un ripe tomatoes and some delicious red vine tomatoes from our local market.

This makes 4-6 jars of chutney

800g green and red tomatoes
800ml malt vinegar
2 onions, finely chopped
400g soft brown sugar
400g sultanas
2 bay leaves
Bunch of thyme
Tsp salt

Chop the tomatoes and put them in a heavy bottomed pan with an equal amount of malt vinegar and the onions. Add the brown sugar and sultanas. Add a bay leaf, some thyme and a teaspoon of salt to mixture and simmer over a low heat for 80-90 minutes, stirring regularly. 

The mixture will reduce to a jammy consistency.

When reduced to the thickness you like (I like it when there is just a little liquid left in the bottom that separates when spooned away and takes a second or two to reform), pour the chutney into sterilised glass jars (to sterilise the jars place them in an oven at 130C for 10 mins or so, or rinse with boiling water). Leave to cool for a few hours, then cover with cling film.

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I have been meaning to write a post about my taste card, but normally get so carried away with eating when I go out with my card that I totally forget to take any photos/try to remember detail! But I recently discovered our local gastro pub was on the 50% off food taste card list, and today went for lunch with a girlfriend there. It was great, and I'll definitely be going back soon.

The Bollo is found on Bollo Lane, close to Chiswick Park tube station. It is a typical converted gastro pub with solid wood interiors and it's fair share of young families (most notable was a table of 5 adults with 5 children under the age of 1). However, thanks to the good manners of all such young children, we didn't feel like we'd gatecrashed a creche!

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For my birthday this year, amongst other very lovely presents, I was spoilt with a magimix from my parents (how I've longed for one!) and from my very generous brother and his girlfriend, a voucher for a beef butchery course at The Ginger Pig.

So last night, apron in tow, I headed to The Ginger Pig on Moxton Street for a night of beef!

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A year ago I didn't eat eggs. I hadn't eaten eggs for years, apart from the time I had rather stupidly decided to try a duck egg which was far too rich and didn't go down well at all! But now, I eat eggs at least once a day. I always eat free range eggs, and love to pick them up from farm shops if I get out of London for the weekend. And the combination of smoked fish, eggs and creme fraiche is just irresistible.

Here are two recipes I love - they are both great as a luxurious breakfast at the weekend, or, with the addition of potatoes in the second recipe, a quick evening supper.


Prepare all your ingredients - slice your bagel in half, get the smoked salmon out of the packet, and whisk 2 eggs per person with a large dash of milk, ground pepper and a thinly sliced spring onion.

Put the bagel in the toaster.

Add a large knob of butter to a medium hot pan. When melted, add the egg mix and leave for half a minute. Take a wooden spoon and mix up the eggs, continuing to do this until the egg is scrambled, but still wet. Remove from the heat.

Butter the toasted bagel and top with a dollop of creme fraiche. Serve the scrambled eggs on top of the creme fraiche with slithers of smoked salmon on the side. Add pepper and half a lemon.

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Slow roasting meat is my favourite kind of roast. And slow roast pork belly almost tops them all. Add to that super fresh veg from Somerset via our local farmers market in Ealing and you're onto a winner. Eating this food, I wish every day was Sunday.

Serves 4

800g-1kg piece of free range pork belly
Tbsp fennel seeds
Half a bag of potatoes
3 onions
Half a tin of Red Stripe
Curly kale
1 garlic clove

3 hours before you want to serve your food, turn your oven on full. Get the pork belly out of the fridge, and using a sharp knife lightly score the skin side of the belly. Don't score it so deep that the knife reaches the meat. Rub salt into and all over the scored skin and salt and pepper the other side of the meat. Rub the fennel seeds into the underside of the pork. Put the pork belly into an unoiled roasting tray, turn the oven down to 200C and put the meat in middle of the oven.

After 30 minutes, turn the oven down to 180C. You can leave it for an hour now.

Once the meat has been in for a total of 1hr30, put a pan of water on to boil. Peel enough potatoes to make lots of mash and add to the salted boiling water. At this point take the meat out of the oven, tip the tray, scoop all the juices up with a spoon and smother over the pork belly. Add 3 quartered onions to the roasting pan and return to the oven.

Let the meat cook for another hour (so it has 2 and a half hours in total) and then grill under a high heat for 3 minutes until the skin bubbles up into amazing crackling. Remove the pork belly from the oven and pan, cover with a clean tea towel and leave to rest while you mash the potatoes and cook the curly kale. Put the roasting pan on the hob, add half a tin of beer (red stripe's my favorite!) and mix up with all the sticky onions and juices from the pan.

Wash the curly kale and chop into inch thick slices. Add to a pan with an inch of water, a knob of butter and some sliced garlic. Cook for 3 minutes or until the curly kale has reduced to about a quarter of its original state.

Drain and mash the potatoes. Add plenty of butter and mash til smooth.

Take the fat off the top of the gravy (running a piece of bread across the top of the gravy will absorb the fat off it) and pour over the creamy mash, crunchy curly kale and thick slices of pork belly and crackling.

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Squid is a very easy fish to cook. It takes minutes and as long as you ask your fishmonger to clean it for you, it is very easy to prepare. This is a nice light dish.

For 2 people

Half a bag of baby new potatoes
2 avocados
3 garlic cloves
Half a red onion
Handful of coriander
Juice of half a lemon
Olive oil
Bunch of parsley
Bunch of coriander
Handful of capers
3 squid
1 red chilli
Lemon zest

Put a pan of water on to boil for your potatoes. Clean small baby new potatoes. Add to the pan of water as soon as it starts to boil.

In a mixing bowl, squish the avocados, and  mix with 1 crushed garlic, finely chopped red onion, a chopped bunch of coriander, the juice of half a lemon, a drizzle of olive oil and salt and pepper to taste.

Take a jam jar and fill up to a quarter with olive oil. Add chopped parsley, coriander, a handful of capers and 2 crushed cloves of garlic. Put the lid on and shake vigorously. This is to drizzle over your warm baby potatoes once they're cooked.

Chop the squid into cm thick strips along the body and add the tentacles to the squid rings. Rinse all the squid and pat dry. 

Add crushed garlic, a thinly sliced red chilli and lemon zest of 1 lemon to olive oil in a frying pan and bring up to hot. Once sizzling, add all of the squid rings and tentacles. Stir fry for 1 minute, or until the rings have turned white rather than opaque. Remove from the heat, add a little chopped parsley, and serve with the verde potatoes, guacamole and a big squeeze of lemon.
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1 large, free range chicken
Bag of potatoes
Bag of carrots
2 onions
1 garlic head
Half a lemon
Green beans
Small glass of white wine
Large glass of chicken stock

Turn the oven up to the highest it  can go. Take the chicken out of the fridge.

Roughly chop a couple of potatoes, the bag of carrots, and the of onions. Place in the bottom of a roasting tin with a glug of olive oil and all of the garlic cloves. Smother some butter over the chicken, put half a lemon in the chicken's cavity and place on top of the veggies. Loosely cover the chicken with foil. Reduce the oven to 210C and put the chicken in.

Boil a bag of potatoes. Remove the potatoes from the water 5 minutes after it's started boiling, drain and scatter on a pre-heated roasting tray of oil. Put in the oven.

After 40 minutes baste the chicken with it's oils and juices and take the tin foil off.

After 1hr 15mins, get the chicken out of the oven. Drain it's juices into the roasting pan, move onto a wooden board and cover with tin foil and a dishcloth. Leave the chicken to rest for 10-15 minutes. During this time move the potatoes up to the top rack in the oven, give them a shake, and turn it up as far as it goes.

Steam some greens, chard and/or beans for 4 mins.

Remove the carrots, onions and garlic cloves from the roasting tray for serving later. Add a splash of white wine and a generous amount of chicken stock to the gravy and bubble down. Drain the fat off the top before serving.

When the chicken has rested, carve and serve with the roast potatoes, carrots and onions, and greens.

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This recipe is my attempt at the most delicious fish pie from The Fentiman Arms. It didn't quite come out the same, but it's still equally as good.

For 6 people

400g salmon
400g coley
400ml creme fraiche
Half a bottle of mushroom ketchup
1 tbsp fish sauce
2 leeks
Bag of potatoes
4-6 eggs (1 per person)
Gruyere cheese

Preheat to oven to 220C and put a large pan of salted water on to boil.

Chop fillets of skinless salmon and coley into inch square cubes. Mix the creme fraiche with half a bottle of mushroom ketchup and a splash of fish sauce. Put the sauce in a dish and add the cubed fish and leeks, chopped into inch slices. Make sure all the fish is coated with the sauce, cover the dish loosely with tin foil and put in the oven for 30 minutes.

Peel a bag of potatoes, chop, and add to the boiling water. Boil until soft for mashing.

Put another pan of water onto boil, and 5 minutes before the fish is ready, add one egg per person to boil for 5 minutes 30 seconds.

Drain and mash the potatoes. Take the fish out of the oven and spoon a serving of fish and sauce into each bowl. Put a spoonful of mashed potato on top of the fish, and a boiled egg on top of this. Grate some Gruyere cheese onto the 'pie' and put under the grill until the cheese turns golden and bubbly.

Serve with the bowl on a plate so people don't burn their fingers on the bowls!

The picture doesn't really do it justice!
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You can use either salmon or mackerel for this recipe, both work really well.

Serves 2

Olive oil
2 mackerel or 2 fillets of salmon
Thumb size piece of ginger
1/2 red chilli, chopped
2 sticks of lemongrass
Juice of 1 lime
Handful of coriander
Mange tout
1/2 cabbage
1 tbsp soy sauce

Take a large piece of tin foil and place on a baking tray. Drizzle a small amount of oil on the foil. Place the fish on the foil (salmon skin side down, or a whole mackerel with slits in the flesh). Chop the ginger into small slices and add to the fish. Add the chilli, lemongrass (bash these first with the handle of a knife or something similar), half of the lime juice and some coriander. Seal the foil into a puffed up envelope around the fish. Make sure there are no gaps. Cook at 220C for 12-15 mins. Remove from the oven and leave to sit for 3-4 minutes with the foil still sealed.

While the fish is cooking, steam some mange tout and chopped cabbage for 2 mins. Make a sauce for the veg from the soy sauce, the rest of the lime juice and a handful of chopped coriander. Toss the warm veg in this sauce.

Take the fish out of the foil, and remove the sticks of lemongrass and lumps of ginger. Serve with the veggies, and rice noodles or boiled potatoes.
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When I think of Vauxhall I don't necessarily think of culinary delights, but there are 3 places in the area that serve fantastic food.

The first is the The Canton Arms on South Lambeth Road. You can't book tables here, so you just have to turn up and try your luck - if this fails, just go to one of the other great food places below - they're all within 5 minutes walk of each other. The Canton doesn't have a menu on it's website - it changes everyday, dependent on the freshest ingredients the great female chef can get her hands on. There are bar snacks though in the form of foie gras or haggis toasties, or other toasties made from my parents' friend's delicious Montgomery cheddar - these stay the same everyday.

When I ate at the Canton for my dad's birthday I had the lovely, smooth, chicken liver parfait, melba toast and pickles, for starter. My only criticism is the that the portions are enormous! I had hardly any room left for my main course of melt in the mouth lamb and veggies. The menu at the Canton has been very meat centred whenever I've been there - my brother tells me the hare lasagne is the best - but that's the joy of not knowing what the menu's going to be before
you arrive to eat.

The second place and the one I've most recently discovered is Hot Stuff, a bring your own booze (with no corkage fee) Indian on Wilcox Road. For about £15 a head you can eat like kings. We went for my brother's birthday, and just asked for the chef's recommended selection of starters and mains. We had piles of food, rich and deep flavoured chilli paneer and tender garlic chilli prawns for starters, and vegetable curries, king prawn dopiaza and biryanis galore for mains.

My boyfriend can't eat chilli or curry, but the chef came out and had a five minute chat with him to establish exactly what he could and couldn't eat, and went on to serve him 5 or 6 of his very own curry-and-chilli free Indian food! It went down a treat. Unlike the Canton, you can book a table at Hot Stuff - if there are a lot of you book early as they can only seat about 30 or 40 people in the whole restaurant.

Finally, the last place worth a visit for a good meal in Vauxhall is The Fentiman. This is my favorite of the 3 for it's layout and decor. Cosy cushioned bench seats and old wood tables inside make it a lovely weekend afternoon hang out, and the garden is big, with lots of tables for the summer and blankets for the evenings! The starters at The Fentiman make for great sharing plates, and were recommended to me by brother's gorgeous girlfriend. Recently we had their pressed terrine of smoked ham hock with pickle chutney and toast and crispy fried Cornish squid and garlic mayonnaise.

The Fentiman's class of food is really, really good pub food. They do the best fish pie in London, creamy and rich, with an oozing egg of top, covered in melting cheese, a brilliant hangover comfort!

Go to Vauxhall and eat!
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This is really a mix between paella and kedgeree and works brilliantly for dinner, or with salads and/or barbecue for lunch.

For 4

1 red onion, finely chopped
1/2 red pepper, finely chopped
2 cardamom pods
1/4 tsp turmeric
1/4 tsp caraway seeds
Zest of 1 lemon
200g basmati rice
400ml vegetable stock
2 large free range eggs
2 smoked haddock fillets

Fry the red onion and red pepper for 5 minutes. Add the cardamom pods, turmeric, caraway seeds and the zest of a lemon. Make sure the onion and pepper are coated in these spices before adding the rice. Stir the rice into the spicy veg mix and add the vegetable stock. Cover with a lid, turn the heat onto the lowest it can go and let it cook for 12 minutes. Check it half way through, and give it a stir if the rice is sticking to the bottom of the pan.

In the meantime put two pans of boiling water on. In the first pan boil the eggs for 9 minutes. In the second, boil the frozen smoked haddock fillets for 11 minutes. When the eggs are ready, peel and mash them, and when the haddock is ready, remove the skin and flake the bits of fish apart.

Gently stir the flaked haddock and broken eggs into the rice mixture and return to the heat for just long enough to make sure all the ingredients are piping hot.

Serve with a generous wedge of lemon and a sprinkling of home grown cress.

Cress is so easy to grow, and very satisfying. Take a piece of kitchen roll and line a tupperware with it. Sprinkle with water so it is damp and then sprinkle your cress seeds onto the paper. Cover with some paper for the first few days, ensuring the paper remains damp, then remove the paper, wait until your cress is a couple of inches tall, and enjoy!!
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Ever since I was invited to the candlelit dinner in the Wilderness Wood over a month ago, I was counting down the days to Friday 3rd June. And when that day came last week I was not disappointed.

We left London at 6 on Friday (BIG mistake) and were stuck in the car for 3 and a half hours. All the time, all I was worried about was that we would miss the food! I really had been waiting for this meal for a very long time! However, my concern turned to calm, when our gorgeous hostess, owner of the beautiful Wilderness Wood, Joanna Yarrow, texted us to check on our progress and assure us we would still get some food, whenever we showed up!

We arrived at 9.30, and having missed out on the choice of seating, we were given our own little table for 2 - everyone else sits on two long tables, but it was actually quite special to have our own corner of the beautifully lit barn. With in a minute of sitting down we were brought a glass of organic wine, and our starter to eat whilst the evening's speaker, Lucy Siegle, Observer columnist and ethical champion, continued with her talk.

An amazing smelling stuffed mushroom was presented to us, a lovely pearl barley and preserved lemon surprise that had not featured on the dinner's website. The fresh, zesty taste of the lemon complimented the woody mushroom so well. The whole thing was delicious.

As we finished our starter it was nearly time for everyone's main course, and we hadn't missed as much of the meal as I'd thought we would. This was thanks to the brilliant scheduling of the evening. Lucy Siegle gave great mini talks between each course, not only educating us on sustainable and fairtrade fashion and entertaining us with question and answers sessions, but letting the guests digest each course, instead of galloping on to the next.

The main course was better than I'd ever hoped. Rare roast fillet of beef with incredibly smooth and creamy dauphinoise, British asparagus and yummy hollandaise. Absolutely divine. Jonathan, who runs Wilderness Wood with Joanna, told us the next day that Joanna and he sit down with their chefs once a month to choose their menus, and always go for something that would be just a bit too difficult to cook for everyone themselves. What a wonderful idea. Nothing was pretentious or too 'cheffy', just big, bold, fresh flavours.

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Wandering round Brigton on Saturday we passed a lovely looking fishmonger and popped in to pick up some freshly caught and cooked crab pinchers.

I was going to make a delicious avocado and crab salad on Sunday, but felt like something much more sumptuous so decided to make crab linguine.

For 3 hungry people

1 cooked crab
240g spagetti
Olive oil
4 garlic cloves, crushed
2 anchovies
1 glass of white wine
1 tbsp double cream
1 spoon creme fraiche
Juice and zest of half a lemon

Smash the crab shell using a rolling pin. Be sure to wrap the pinchers in a plastic bag or something similar so bits of crab shell don't fly all over the kitchen! Once you have cracks in the shell you can use a chopstick to poke and pull all the bits of crab meat out of the shell. Set the meat aside.

Put some water on to boil, and as soon as it's boiling add a pinch of salt and 80g spagetti per person (I made this for 3).

Heat the olive oil in a heavy bottomed frying pan and add the garlic and chopped anchovies. Fry gently. After a couple of minutes add the crab meat and stir fry for a further couple of minutes. Remove the crab and garlic and put in a bowl to one side. Put the pan back on the heat and add a glass of white wine. Swish it round the pan, and let it bubble away until you can't smell the alcohol coming off it anymore. Add the cream and creme fraiche and stir.

When the spagetti is cooked, drain and add to the wine/cream mix with a spoonful of the pasta water. Mix together and tip the crab in. Add a squeeze of lemon, a grate of lemon zest and a large handful of parsley, combine with the pasta and crab, and serve.
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Such a simple supper, this meal only has 5 ingredients and takes about 10 minutes to make. It's perfect for summer evenings after long, hot days at work.

British asparagus is still around, mine came from the gorgeous deli on Fulham Road, courtesy of Peter Elliott.

However, when the british asparagus runs out I'll be making this with green beans or mangetout.

Supper, for 2

50g butter
1 free range egg yolk
1 tsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp white wine vinegar
1 bunch of asparagus
2 salmon fillets

Put a pan of water on to boil.

Whilst the pan is coming up to the boil make some hollandaise sauce. This is a cheats hollandaise but tastes just as delicious as the real thing. These are the quantities I use for 2 people. Melt the butter in a pan over a medium heat. Put the egg yolk, lemon juice and a couple of drops of vinegar in a blender. Blend, and once the butter is melted and bubbling slowly pour it into the blending egg/lemon mixture. Blend for a few seconds, until it thickens.

Trim the ends off a bunch of asparagus and peel 2 of them into thin strips for later. Once the water is boiling put the rest in the pan to boil gently for 4 minutes.

Put the salmon fillets in a lightly oiled frying pan and sear for just over a minute on each side, then leave to rest for 2 minutes.

Plate up, add a good grind of pepper to everything and you're ready to go.

If you want to bulk the meal out, add boiled potates, and if you want to make it lighter, don't make hollandaise, just squeeze some lemon over the salmon and veg.
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I have been very lucky to be invited to the Wilderness Wood candlelit dinner next Friday. The menu looks amazing :

Woodland canapes & a glass  of wine or juice on arrival
Rare fillet of beef with Dauphinoise potatoes, chargrilled asparagus & hollandaise sauce
Chargrilled asparagus, courgettes & halloumi dressed with basil oil, served with quinoa
Homemade flourless chocolate cake with whipped cream and raspberry coulis
A selection of coffees and teas

Wilderness wood do all sorts of great things with local and sustainable products, as well as Gruffalo hunting, Fairy Gardens, Wild Cookouts and courses for adults and children on their farm. They are in East Sussex, and I'll give you a full report after I get back from my night in the woods next week - I really can't wait!

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I cooked a thai feast on Saturday evening for some friends, recipes for the main course to follow, but the dessert was so easy to make and went down a storm. It was a nice palette cleanser too.

2 mangoes
500ml greek yoghurt
2 tbsp coconut milk or cream
Lime zest
1 tbsp icing sugar

150g ground almonds
150g plain flour
150g unsalted butter
60g soft light brown sugar
Vanilla essence

Mix equal quantities of mango flesh and greek yoghurt. Add a couple of tablespoons of coconut milk, a grating of lime zest and a spoon of sifted icing sugar. Put in individual glasses and into the fridge for a few hours. Don't remove from the fridge until it's time to eat them!

If you like you can freeze the fool, making sure to give it a stir every hour. It tastes just as good frozen. If you do freeze it though, don't serve it in glasses - freeze it in a tupperware container and then serve as ice cream.

I served my mango fool with crunchy almond biscuits, which add a lovely texture to the smooth fool: mix the ground almonds, flour, butter, sugar and a few drops of vanilla essence. Once doughy, form a ball, wrap in cling film and pop in the fridge for an hour. Roll into little moon shapes and bake on a greased baking tray for about 15 minutes at 180C, or until lightly golden brown. Wait til cool to remove from the tray otherwise they'll turn into crumbs (which are actually quite nice sprinkled on the fool anyway!)
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A nice roast on Sunday is an almost essential part of my weekend, and I'll put up my recipes for roast beef, yorkshires, potatoes, carrots, greens and red wine gravy, and for roast chicken, sweet potatoes, greens and delicious yoghurt sauce soon. But below are three great recipes for using up leftovers after Sunday roasts.


Uses - leftover roast chicken and cabbage.

After you've had your roast chicken, pull all the meat off the bones and put the meat in tupperware in the fridge.

Now you need to make your chicken stock. Put the chicken carcass in a large saucepan. Add one chopped onion, some cloves of garlic, a bay leaf and some pepper. For this recipe I add a stick of lemongrass to the stock mixture as well. Add 3 litres of water, bring to the boil and once boiling, bring down to a simmer. Leave this to simmer for 4 hours, making sure you skim the fat off the surface now and again. Sieve the stock once done, and after it has cooled down, keep it in the fridge.

Bring the chicken stock up to a gentle boil. Add a splash of fish sauce, 4 chopped spring onions, a thumbnail size piece of grated ginger, a chilli chopped into rings and some cooked egg noodles. Allow to cook for 3 or 4 minutes, then add lots of coriander and sprinkle the
leftover cabbage and shredded roast chicken over the top. Stir it once and serve.


Uses - leftover roast beef

It's a classic, with my own homegrown twist. I bought some alfalfa seeds last week and they have produced bundles of delicious sprouts - do try to grow them yourself, they require a minute's attention a day and work out to be around 3p per portion!

Take 2 slices of wholegrain bread. Spread both pieces with creme fraiche. On one piece add wholegrain mustard and on the other, horseradish sauce. Take 2 slices of cold roast beef, a slice of tomato, a sprinkle of chopped red onion and add a handful of alfalfa spouts. Close together and enjoy!!


Uses - leftover roast potatoes, cabbage and broccoli

Add a large knob of butter to a thick based frying pan. Add your roast potatoes, cabbage and  leftover broccoli if you have some. Using a fish slice mash down the veg and potato mix in the pan. Fry over a medium heat for 5-10 mins. Once the bottom is beginning to go golden, break up the mixture and then mash it all down again. Repeat this process for 30 minutes or until your have nice golden crispy bits everywhere. Serve with sausages, pie, beans or salad.
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Tucked away in sleepy Tetbury is a real gem of a gastropub. The Priory prides itself on sourcing ALL it's food (flour, oil and salamis included) from within a 30 mile distance from the pub: http://www.theprioryinn.co.uk/other/suppliers.aspx.

I have eaten food from The Priory three times now. The first two times we got their pizzas to take away. The thin base and plentiful toppings made for a delicious pizza, that tasted even better knowing that the food to make it had only travelled such a small distance. This is so refreshing in an industry that sends prawns caught off Scotland to China, to be deshelled and packeted, and then back to us to be eaten in the UK.

On my most recent visit to Tetbury I was treated to a meal in The Priory's main restaurant. Unfortunately I was only hungry enough for a main course so missed out on the starters, although I would have chosen either the rillettes of confit duck and rare breed pork with sticky red onion compote and toasted home made bread (£5.95) or the delicious sounding Upton Smokery salmon with a watercress salad, beetroot relish and toasted wood-oven bread (£6.95).

I had high expectations for our mains at The Priory, and was not disappointed. I chose the venison with braised red cabbage, mashed potatoes and pear and red wine jus from the specials board. The portion was huge, a massive hunk of beautifully cooked venison. My boyfriend had lamb shank which just fell off the bone and melted in the mouth.

The Priory are, and rightly should be, proud of the origins of their food, but that's not all that is good there. The staff are super friendly and it almost felt like we had our very own personal waitress with the level of attention we received. I have heard reports of slow service, but we tended to well and our food was prompt. Prices are reasonable as well.

I will definitely be going back here in the summer - their menu changes seasonally and I can't wait to see what they have in store!

To book in at The Priory call 01666 502251. They also offer a B&B service.
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There are 3 things my dad wins at every time: sorting my accounts, painting my nails (!) and making the best risotto ever. I recreated a mushroom version of this, but you can use lemon, peas and prawns instead for a great summer risotto.

Dinner, for 2

1 medium onion
1 clove garlic
Olive oil
2 packs of mushrooms, a mixture of varieties is good here
200g risotto rice
Glass of white wine
500-600ml chicken stock
Creme fraiche, to serve

Start by chopping the onion and clove of garlic very finely. Fry over a medium heat, with a generous amount of olive oil, until the onion is translucent. Add the chopped mushrooms to the pan and fry for a further 4 minutes.

Tip the risotto rice (enough for 2 people) into the pan and stir the rice so it is coated with the oil from the pan. After a couple of minutes of this add a glass of white wine - when cooking with wine, always use a wine you'd be prepared to drink, just because you're cooking with it doesn't mean you should lower the quality. Stir the rice and mushrooms in the wine, until it has all been absorbed.

The key to a great risotto is to constantly stir it, as this releases the starch from the rice and gives a nice soft, gooey final dish. Once the wine is absorbed start to add your stock. You'll need about 500-600ml of chicken or vegetable stock, but add it little by little, stirring all the time. Do this for 15 minutes or so, and then have a little taste of the rice. If is still crunchy add more stock and carry on stirring.

When cooked, remove the risotto from the heat, add a knob of butter and a grating of Parmesan. I serve mine with a dollop of creme fraiche, and my very own homegrown parsley.

If you want to make the pea, prawn and lemon version, leave out the mushrooms and add grated lemon zest instead, with a splash of lemon juice. Cook the risotto in the same manner as above, but add the frozen peas and fresh prawns 5 minutes before the end. Serve with a wedge of lemon and herb salad.
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Refreshing yet rich, this salad is SO good, and takes 2 minutes to make. It's great on its own for lunch, or with seared steak.

For 2 people

1 bag of watercress
2 cooked beetroot, chopped
1 avocado, chopped
50g roquefort cheese
Pinch of sunflower seeds
Lime juice
Olive oil

Wash and chop a bag of watercress. Add 2 chopped cooked beetroot, 1 chopped avocado and little nuggets of Roquefort cheese. Mix together with some sunflower seeds, drizzle with lime juice and olive oil, add salt and pepper... and enjoy!!!
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This is my version of a salad nicoise, without some of the traditional ingredients but with others added. You need to cook everything at the same time - the cooked parts of the salad should be served warm, so don't worry if certain elements are done before others.

Serves 4

10-12 baby new potatoes
1 pack of asparagus
4 large free range eggs
2 tuna steaks
Olive oil
1 pack of green beans, ends chopped off
1 bag of salad leaves (lamb's lettuce is great with this)
Juice of 1 lemon
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 tsp grainy mustard

Start by boiling a handful of baby new potatoes.

Whilst these are boiling, trim and grill some asparagus for 4 minutes or until they are just going soft.

Get another pan of water on the boil and when boiling, put the eggs in for 5 minutes 30 seconds.

Put a lightly oiled frying pan on a medium heat, and fry the tuna steaks for 1 minute on each side. Remove the steak from the heat and leave to rest for 3-4 minutes.

When the potatoes are nearly cooked add the trimmed green beans to the water, boil for 2 mins and then drain.

Mix salad leaves with the potatoes and green beans and cover with a dressing made from 2 parts olive oil, 1 part lemon, 1 crushed garlic clove, 1 teaspoon of grainy mustard and salt and pepper. Cover a large plate with this mixture.

Lay your grilled asparagus on top of the salad mixture, and the anchovies on top of them.

Peel the boiled eggs, cut in half and place on top of the salad. Then take your tuna steak and cut into slices and lay over the salad. 

Serve with crusty bread and a bottle of white wine, perfect for a sunny summer evening.
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Mussels take a bit of time and effort to make sure they are delicious, but it is so worth it! It only takes ten minutes or so, but after you’ve bought your 2 kilograms of mussels from the local supermarket or fishmonger you need to wash and ‘de-beard’ them! Run a cold tap over the mussels, and picking out one by one, you’ll find a hairy looking bit that comes out of the side of the shell. You need to grab this from as close to the shell as possible and yank it out. Do this for all the mussels, throwing out any mussels that are already open.

Serves 4

2kg mussels
2 cloves of garlic
1 medium onion
2 leeks
1/4 bottle (large glass) of white wine
2 spoonfuls of creme fraiche
Handful of parsley, chopped
Crusty bread

Chop 2 cloves of garlic, one onion and 2 leeks into small cubes. Chuck in a very large saucepan with a good glug of olive oil and cook down for ten minutes or until they are soft and smelling amazing. Add a quarter of a bottle of good white wine and simmer for 1 minute. Next add the clean mussels, put a lid on and let them steam for 3 or 4 minutes, or until they have all opened. Any that haven’t opened, throw away. Now add two spoonfuls of crème fraiche and some fresh parsley, mix and leave on the heat for another minute.
Serve with crusty bread and lots of napkins. Remember to put an extra bowl on the table for empty mussel shells.
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Last weekend we went to a birthday tea and cake party and were asked to bring a cake. It was my boyfriend's birthday the same day so I was elbow deep in cake mix all of Friday.

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There are certain vegetarian dishes I cook for friends that I could quite happily eat every day and frittata is one of them. It's yummy and healthy! And pretty easy to cook. This makes enough for at least 4 people, served with a side salad.

2 medium onions
1 courgette
1 red pepper
1/2 a broccoli
Handful of mushrooms
1 tbsp sunflower oil
7 medium eggs
Welsh goat's cheese

Pre-heat the oven to 200C.

Start with your vegetables. Chop the onions, courgette, red pepper, half a stem of broccoli and mushrooms into small ish cubes (bigger than 1cm). Fry the onion in a spoon of sunflower or vegetable oil in a medium size frying pan. Add the rest of the vegetables after a couple of minutes. Fry the vegetables over a medium heat, for 5 minutes, or until they are starting to soften.

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These brownies are SO good, every time I've made them they've been devoured (once one person ate 8 of them in half an hour!) They are gooey and boozy, and delicious warm with a scoop of organic vanilla ice-cream.

1 tin of prunes, destoned
4 shots of Captain Morgan dark rum
250g caster sugar
200g soft salted butter
3 large eggs, plus 1 yolk
150g organic fairtrade dark chocolate
100g organic fairtrade milk chocolate
60g plain flour
60g cocoa powder, or dark drinking chocolate
1 tsp baking powder
Drain a tin of prunes and put them in a bowl. Cover the prunes with dark rum. Leave to soak for up to an hour.

Pre-heat the oven to 180C.
A food processor is helpful but not essential for the next stages. Mix the sugar and butter. If you don't have a processor do this with a spoon, and mix until light and creamy. Add 3 large eggs and the extra yolk to the mix and beat lightly.
Bash the dark and milk chocolate so it breaks into little pieces (the best way to do this is to leave it in its wrapper and bash with a rolling pin). Place all the chocolate in a dry bowl over a saucepan of simmering water (make sure the bowl doesn't touch the water). Leave over a low heat until most of the chocolate has melted - it's nice to have a few bits unmelted as they make chocolate chunks.
Once the chocolate is nearly all melted, slowly add it to the butter and egg mix. Then, by hand, mix in the rum soaked prunes. The final stage is to add the dry ingredients. Sift the flour and cocoa powder (or organic drinking chocolate) with the baking powder into the chocolatey mix. Gently fold the flour and cocoa into the wet mix.
Pour the mixture into 20cm baking tray, greased and lined with greaseproof paper, and cook for 30 minutes.
Remove from oven - even though they might not look cooked, they are! Leave to cool in the tray you cooked them in. Do not try and take them out of the tray. Once the brownies are cool, put them in the fridge, still in the tray they were cooked in. You can remove them from the tray once they have been in the fridge for a few hours.
These brownies keep for up to a week and you can re-heat them just before serving.
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I've just moved to a beautiful cottage-style house, with a massive garden that's already got healthy rosemary, sage and parsley plants, where I'm also going to plant beetroot, spring onions, tomatoes and more - updates on that soon!

Anyhow, my beautiful new house has a very old cooker, which is stuck in the gas mark age (with most of the numbers missing off the dial!)

So for anyone who needs it here is a conversion chart:
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Last year, when cooking roast chicken for friends, one of my very fussy friends ended up  with a plate with chicken breast and a wing on, before moaning about being served chicken on the bone! A couple of weeks later though and he devoured two portions of these sticky chicken wings and said it was one of the best things he'd eaten!

You need to marinade the chicken for as long as possible before hand - half a day is ideal.

2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp honey
1 tbsp olive oil
Handful thyme
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp grated fresh ginger
1 tsp dried chilli flakes
4 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tsp allspice
1 lemon, juiced and zested
700g free range chicken wings

Mix the soy sauce, honey and oil together. Add the chopped thyme, nutmeg, ginger, chilli, garlic, allspice and juice and zest of the lemon and pour the marinade over the chicken wings. Cover the dish with foil and put it in the fridge. Leave to marinate for up to 6 hours.

Pre-heat the oven to 200C. Tip the chicken wings and marinade out onto a pre-foiled baking tray (make sure you cover the baking tray in foil; the sauce is so sticky it's a nightmare to wash off the tray!) and cook for 30 minutes. Remove the wings every 10 minutes so you can spoon the sauce back over the wings.

I serve 3 or 4 chicken wings per person and are delicious with mashed buttery sweet potato and steamed cabbage or peas.
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