Archives for category: Dinner

Nothing quite beats a warm flaky pastry after a chilled day to myself. I bagged a cheap last minute ticket to the theatre to see Our Ladies of Perpetual Succour, which was awesome. I got home about 6pm and wanted a quick and tasty dinner. I’d defrosted a sheet of puff pastry that had been in the freezer for about 2 months and was reduced to 75p. 

1) lightly grease a baking tray and lay out the pastry.

2) melt a knob of butter and brush all over the pastry.

3) slice 3 leeks and sprinkle on the pastry, chop 3-4 broccoli florets and sprinkle over. Blob on some pesto. Grate over cheddar.

4) oven on 180 for half an hour or til golden brown. 

I served it with sweet potato wedges, which I put in the oven when I started prepping the tart so they were nice and crispy.

Mmmm pastry.

Another challenging dinner to photograph but delicious nonetheless.

[10 min prep / 40 mins cooking time / serves 4]

1) chop: 2 small carrots, 1/2 white onion, 5 cup mushrooms, 3 medium potatoes

2) place the potatoes in a pan of water and leave to boil for 10-15 mins til soft. 

3) in a pan fry the onion, carrot and mushroom. After 5 mins, add a up of frozen quorn mince and 1 tin of rinsed lentils. Add 1 veg stock cube and half a pint of water. Season. Simmer for 20 mins.

4) mash the potatoes with a knob of butter and a good grate of cheddar.

5) place lentil mix into an oven proof dish and spoon the mash on top. Finish with grated cheese and bake for 20 mins on 200 degrees C. 

Serve with more cheese and veggies. 

It’s tricky to make a dal look great in a photo. I promise that this tastes better than it looks. I used this recipe from BBC Good Food. 

The yellow split peas took double the amount of time to cook, so it’s lucky I started early. It was worth it though. I also found setting all the ingredients out at the start helped get through the recipe without forgetting anything.

[10 min prep / 70 mins cooking time / serves 4] 

1) rinse 250g yellow split peas and place in a pan with 900ml water. Boil, remove scum with a spoon and then simmer. It took 70 mins for me. I’ve read that the peas soaking overnight reduces the cooking time by 30 mins so I’ll try that next time.

2) chop/ set aside in separate bowls: 1 onion, 3 green chillies, 2 tsp minced ginger, 100ml water.

3) set aside in a ramekin: 3/4 tsp turmeric, 3/4 tsp garam masala, 1 1/2 tsp ground coriander.

4) in a blender whizz 3 cloves of garlic and 3 salad tomatoes.

5) put 3 tbsp veg oil in a large pan and fry 1 tbsp cumin seeds. Once becoming fragrant, add the onion, chilli and ginger. After 5 mins add the tomato and garlic purée, 100ml of water and the ramekin of spices. Simmer for 20 mins.

6) whisk the yellow split peas to loosen them, then add to the onion/tomato mix/spice mix and bring to the boil. Season to taste.

Serve with rice and lashings of mango chutney.

Pastry is the best. And I actually made it from scratch for this pie – with help from my trusty Kenwood!

[15 mins prep / 4o mins baking @ 180 degrees C / serves 4 : 3 chicken breasts, 2 leeks, half an onion, half a tub of Philadelphia, 200ml chicken stock, 125g plain flour, 55g butter, pinch of salt, water]

1) chop the leek, onion and chicken. Fry chicken in a pan, and after 5 mins add the leek and onion.

2) add the chicken stock and leave to simmer.

3) put the flour, butter and salt in a food processor and pulse. Gradually add the water to combine. Once a dough is formed, place aside.

4) remove the chicken pan from the hob and stir in the Philadelphia.

5) pour into a pie dish (mine is le Crueset naturally).


6) roll out the pastry and place on top of the pie dish. Cut of excess pastry.

At this point I made a couple of leaves with the leftover pastry, but you can make whatever design you like. In hindsight I’d go for a chicken.

7) egg wash or milk wash the pastry and bake for 30 mins until golden brown.

Serve with greens and chicken gravy.

That meatball on the left was perfectly balanced a second ago but toppled just as I took this photo. Ah well, it still looks tasty, which it was.

I bagged a bargain batch of reduced meatballs in Morrisons the other day – 15 beef brisket meatballs for £1.75. They went straight in the freezer for another time. Thrifty.
I have to say, the flavour of these meatballs was absolutely amazing. Sometimes meatballs can be a bit bland but these were rich and beefy.

[5 min prep / 30 min cooking/ serves 4 : 15 beef brisket meatballs, half a white onion, 5-6 mushrooms, 1 tin tomatoes, dessert spoon tomato puree, Italian seasoning, spaghetti, broccoli and cheddar to serve]

1) in a pan, fry half a chopped white onion and 5-6 chopped mushrooms. Once browned, remove from the pan.

2) fry the meatballs til browned all over and add the onions and mushrooms, fry together for 5 more minutes.

3) pour over a tin of tomatoes, fill the empty tin half full with water and add to the pan.

4) add a squirt of tomato purée, season with salt and pepper, and shake over a dessert spoon of Italian seasoning. Stir altogether.

5) put a lid on and simmer for half an hour.

6) in the meantime, boil up some spaghetti and brocolli.

Serve up with lots of grated cheddar.

I had 8 mouths to feed at my New Year’s Eve get together so I decided to do something special. I visited my local butcher, Carnivore, which was an awesome experience. All their meat is local and the butchers really know their stuff.


I loosely followed this Jamie Oliver recipe but used 3kg of beef brisket on the bone and cooked it for 5 hours.


I removed the beef from the pans once cooked so I could pull it, and then sieved the sauce because it became rather fatty. I added some chilli and paprika, and simmered for 10 mins to make a spicy tomato sauce.

I served the pulled beef with rice and kidney beans, nachos, homemade guacamole, sour cream and grated cheddar.

I surprised myself as it was incredibly delicious and a total bargain at £2.50 per person.

The moment the temperature tips over 16 degrees I start eating salad again. I’m also on a bit of a health kick. This salad is massive and would easily do you for dinner.

[5 mins prep / 40 min baking @ 180 degrees C / serves 1 : 1 salmon fillet, 1 sweet potato, 2 eggs, rocket]

1) peel and chop 1 sweet potato, drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper, place in the oven at 180 degrees.

2) in a ramekin, mix 1 dessert spoon of olive oil with cayenne pepper and smoked paprika to create a paste. Then smother on a salmon fillet. Pop in the oven 15 mins after the sweet potato.

3) after 15 more mins, boil two eggs for 8-10 minutes. Peel and halve.

4) flake the salmon and place on top of mixed leaves with the sweet potato.

Pop on your eggs with symmetry!


Gotta love a homemade soup – tasty and super cheap. This recipe made about 3 medium bowls.

[5 mins prep / 20 mins cooking time / serves 3 : 2 potatoes, 2 leeks, 1 pint of veg stock]

1) wash and chop 2 leeks, peel and chop 2 medium potatoes.

2) melt a knob of butter in a large pan and add the leeks. After 2-3 mins, add the potato.

3) after 2 more mins, add 1 pint of veg stock, pop the lid on and simmer for 20 minutes.

4) remove from the hob and add a splash of milk. Transfer ladlefuls to a blender and whizz til smooth.

5) reheat in a pan and season, serve up with buttered crusty bread. Lots of butter. Lots. 


Saw a recipe for Cajun bean burgers ages ago but couldn’t remember where, so I just threw these together and they were so good! This recipe makes 3 medium burgers or 2 huge ones!

[10 mins prep / 20-25 mins baking @ 180 degrees C / serves 1 ]

1) in a bowl mash 1 tin of rinsed cannellini beans, 1/3 cup of sweetcorn (I have a bag in the freezer!), then mix in 1 egg, 1/2 cup of breadcrumbs and a big shake of Cajun seasoning.

2) place foil on a baking tray, wet your hands and form the mix into patties – it’s quite wet so you may have to just scoop it out and form it on the foil.

3) bake on 180 for 20-25 minutes.

4) serve up with sweet potato fries, potato wedges and a splodge of garlic mayo.

As easy dinners go – this is one that requires barely any effort but packs a tasty punch in flavour. Anything with halloumi is the best.

1) in a blender, whizz up 3-5 sun dried tomatoes and their oil, and a shake of chilli powder, to form a paste. Place a salmon fillet in an oven proof dish and spread on paste. Bake on 180 degrees C for 20 mins.

2) to prepare the lentil salad, wash a tin of lentils, stir in 2-3 chopped salad tomatoes and add a splash of lemon juice.

3) slice halloumi and grill for 2-3 mins until golden brown on both sides.

4) place rocket on a plate, put lentil salad on top, place the cooked fish on top and add the halloumi.

Yum!