Monday, 31 March 2014

Meal Planning Monday

Okay so yes Monday is very nearly over but I ran late with writing up this post- I've just finished working night shifts, and I was going to go out tomorrow to do the food shop but my boyfriends bike is off road again, which means he has the car and so we have just come back from doing the food shop. I am not sure if its night or day right now though to be honest! 

I did manage to have a little rant at the checkout as my money off vouchers of course had expired yesterday, why is it always the case?! They always seem to have such short expiry dates I never really get their value... however we did find two very nice chocolate cream buns reduced for 29p so they helped soften the blow!

This week is an attempt at using up freezer and fridge items - we have all the lovely car bills this month, along with a little holiday so pennies are being watched very closely! The most exciting thing is that finally this Saturday I am off to see my beloved Gary Barlow! We have found an awesome looking burger place to feast at before we burn it all if singing ourselves hoarse!

Monday - tonight we had twice baked tuna stuffed jacket potatoes, with a green bean, spring onion and red pepper medley

Tuesday - thawing the Coley leftover from the bake thingy , will be wrapped in parma ham and baked, served with mashed potatoes, spinach and roasted cherry tomatoes

Wednesday - Fishcakes with courgettes and mash

Thursday - Spaghetti Carbonara

Friday - Satay chicken noodle stir fry


Saturday, 29 March 2014

Tandoori Beef Kofta Masala with Pilau Rice

I am a bit of a naughty magpie for getting new spices and herbs, my poor kitchen cupboards are bursting at the seams from things like tubes of Harissa paste to tubs to Polish beetroot Borszcw powder and pretty much everything inbetween – as you can see by the random recipes competition late last year I have just a few random bags and tubs!). When an email appeared in my inbox at the end of last year to try the new Bart Blends range I jumped at the opportunity to receive some to play with though making room has been a bit of a challenge!

Since their arrival I have been playing with several of them and one of my favourites was this Tandoori Beef Kofta Masala I made – so much so that I’ve now used up all of my Tandoori Masala tin after recreating it several times! It’s a gorgeous blend of spices, fragrant, not to spicy (though add a little more chilli powder if you fancy it spicy!) It also makes a lush spicy beetroot soup too! Apologies for the not so brilliant pictures - winter lighting is not very friendly!

We love meatballs here - well proper homemade ones at least, I remember my mum forcing upon us tinned ones and still shudder inside at the thought of them! These ones fortunately are delicious and serve well to erase bad memories! The sauce is fragrant, delicious and quite mild as B doesn't care for much heat, and nor does my silly stomach at times but do feel free to add a little extra chilli if you prefer a bit more bite to it!

Serves 3 / 4 adults


1 large white onion, diced
1 large green pepper, cut into 1cm chunks
400g lean Beef steak mince
½ tbsp ginger and garlic puree
1.5 tbsp Bart Blends Tandoori Masala
1 tin good quality chopped tomatoes
2 tbsp sunflower oil
1 beaten egg
1 heaped tbsp dried breadcrumbs
3 tbsp yoghurt or crème fraiche


In a large mixing bowl combine the mince, egg, breadcrumbs and a little salt and pepper, roll into 16 meatballs and put to one side

Heat a large sauté pan, soften the onion in the oil, add the pepper and fry until lightly browned and nearly cooked through– about 5 minutes. 

Add the spice powder along with the garlic and ginger, fry for a further minute and stir in the tomatoes, cover and simmer on a medium heat for ten minutes.

Transfer the mixture to a blender and blitz until smooth (or use a hand blender), return to the pan and place the meatballs in the pan spaced a little apart and poach in the sauce for at least 5 minutes, covered, before gently turning around as you don’t want them to break up! 

Simmer gently for 30 minutes, season to taste with salt and pepper. Remove from the heat and stir through the yoghurt/ crème fraiche.

Pilau rice

I never really weigh rice – I go by one cup rice to one and a half cups of water always – and by cup sometimes it’s a bowl from the windowsill, probably more like two American cup sizes. Bart Blends Pilau spice is gently fragrant and my brother in particular was very impressed with it!


1 cup basamati rice
1.5 cups water
1 heaped tsp Bart Blends Pilau Rice

Heat a medium to large sized saucepan, add the Pilau spice and warm for a couple of minutes to release the fragrance, add the rice followed by the water, cover and bring to the boil for 2 minutes, turn off the heat and allow to rest, covered for 10 minutes or until the liquid has all absorbed. Fluff up with a spoon before serving and season with salt if desired.

Serve the rice along with your curry and some chapati's to mop up the sauce.

With thanks to Bart Blends and Deborah at The Mint Collective for my samples

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Spiced Coley and Potato Bake

In conjunction with Sainsbury’s, I developed this recipe to show that there are other fish varieties out there to try – and in turn help protect over fished varieties such as Cod, Salmon, Tuna, Haddock and Prawns. Sainsbury’s are the UK’s largest retailer of MSC certified sustainable seafood so you can buy with confidence – something I find quite hard to know wrong from right at the best of times!

How often do you try a new fish variety? I must admit that we don’t eat much fish – I love it but am very bad at remembering to put it on the shopping list. It doesn’t keep very long and our freezer space is limited and I hate wasting anything so its not often we do actually buy it. And when I do I have been buying prawns and salmon its high time I switch my fish as I would like to eat it in the future too!

Initially when I think of Coley for some reason I was a little dismissive, I think I ate it once in a rather naff Italian restaurant several years back and didn’t really enjoy it… and it wasn’t admittedly on my list to buy when I popped into Sainsbury’s as I really wanted the whole Lemon Sole, however there was only one left – not enough to feed both of us and so we went with the Coley and I put my thinking cap on! My boyfriend was fancying potatoes and so whatever I made, it would involve potatoes.. after buying the fish at the deli counter, we also decided to get some of my favourite olives from the other counter and whilst there was talked into trying, and buying some very tasty Etruscan Pepperoni. I've done the spiced meat n fish combo before and rather liked it and thought it would be worth a try with the Coley and so a few slices slipped into the trolley too!

Once home I had a root through the fridge and decided on creating a Mediterranean type dish – I love baking fish along with other ingredients and decided to treat the Coley with the same affection..

Not being super at judging measurements I wasn’t too sure how much Coley to buy and had ended up buying two rather large sides of Coley, however once home I realised it was a bit too much and froze one side for another time! Despite being assured it was fully filleted I did find a few bones, fortunately I keep a pair of old sharp tweezers handy just for this task!


250g Coley cut into two halves
385g baby potatoes, halved length way's (you probably wont need this many but B loves potatoes so I did extra!)
Half a large yellow pepper, halved and sliced
8 green olives, sliced
2 tbsp olive oil
Half large red onion, sliced thinly
½ tbsp dried oregano
2 pats lemon herb butter from the fish counter
2 slices Etrusan Pepperoni or similar spicy sausage, sliced into 3 pieces each
S&p to taste

Pre-heat the oven to 210o (my oven is slow – be cautious!)

Line a large roasting tray with baking paper, scatter over the onion and pepper, drizzle with half the olive oil and roast for 15 minutes

Meanwhile boil the potatoes for 10 minutes or until just tender, and drain.

Remove the tray from the oven, nestle in the potatoes, top with the fish fillets, and place the pepperoni slices across the fish – if you have any leftover bits just scatter in the tray. Halve each butter pat and place either side of the fish. Sprinkle over the oregano, season with salt and pepper, scatter the olives and drizzle the remaining olive oil over everything.

Roast for a further 20-25 minutes or until the fish is cooked through – it will flake easily.

Serve with lemon buttered and seasoned Kale. 

At Sainsbury's right now you can save 20% off until the 1st of April across the lesser known species so its a great time to try something new!

Many thanks to Sainsbury's for providing inspiration and vouchers to cover the ingredients and my time

Monday, 24 March 2014

Maple, Date and Pecan Hot Cross Bun's

My secret to better Easter Baking with Stork is giving Hot Cross Buns a modern twist by simply combining three of my favourite ingredients - soft dates - crunchy pecans and sweet maple syrup to create a delicious toasted treat!

Rather amazingly I had never made Hot Cross buns before this batch, however my boyfriend kept asking for them and along with an email dropping in from Stork, it seemed like fate and so over the weekend just gone, I did a little HXB research and after finally choosing a recipe that seemed fairly straight forward I then set about making them my own! I have baked with Stork since I was learning to bake but its normally the tub version, however this used the block version and it worked perfectly, its definitely something I will bake with again!

The recipe I chose as the base was from the River Cottage Handbook no3 simply titled Bread and it was easy enough to follow you just need plenty of time waiting in between the prooving's but it allowed me to crack on with also baking my mums birthday cake so it worked out well in the end! I used wholemeal flour instead of white to try and kid myself they are healthy and also swapped around the spices to what I had in the cupboard. And instead of normal salt I used some gorgeously pink Himalayan salt I bought recently!


250g strong wholemeal bread flour
250g plain flour
125ml warm water
125ml warm milk
5g powdered dried yeast (I used easy bake)
10g salt
1 medium egg
50g + 20g Stork block
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
50g chopped soft dates
50g pecan nuts
2 tbsp maple syrup


50g plain flour
100ml water


1 tbsp maple syrup
1 tbsp water

Note that I used my mixer to make these as I can't manage anything that physical nowadays but you can do by hand it might just take a bit longer to knead.

In a small frying pan melt the 20g of Stork, crush the pecans in a pestle and mortar and add to the butter along with the maple syrup. Stir well and bubble away for 2 minutes or until it turns sticky, cool for at least 10 minutes before making the dough. Mix with the dates, cinnamon and ginger.

Fit the dough hook onto your mixer and in the bowl place the flours, salt, water, milk, yeast and sugar and combine. Add the egg and butter and mix to form a sticky dough on a low speed. Add in the prepared pecan mix and carrying on kneading - I used speed 1 on my old Kenwood Chef for about 8 or so minutes or until its all nicely combined and you have a soft silky dough. Cover with cling film or a cloth and place somewhere warm until doubled in size. Mine took about an hour and fifteen minutes in the airing cupboard.

Knock back the dough and divide into 8 large or 15-16 smaller pieces and shape into rounds, place on a floured board and cover, allow to proove for a further 30 minutes or until doubled again. Mine are all slightly peculiar shaped!

Whisk together the plain flour and water to make a smooth paste ( mine was quite runny?!) Transfer to a piping bag (I buy disposable ones so much easier!)

Preheat the oven to 200o/ gas 6

Place the buns on a lined baking tray (I have a reusable non stick sheet its brilliant) and pipe over crosses.

Bake for 15-20 minutes or until risen and golden in colour.

Meanwhile warm the maple syrup and water together, then brush the buns when they come out of the oven and allow to cool before weilding the bread knife and the butter!! 

Enjoy halved and toasted with lots of lovely butter on!

These are best eaten freshly made but will keep a couple of days in an air-tight container. I have frozen a few to test later on and will let you know if successful!

With thanks to Sophie at Blue Rubicon and Stork for providing some of the basic ingredients.

Sunday, 23 March 2014

Celebrating Mother's Day

Mother's day here is always a close call as my mums birthday falls either slightly before or on the actual day, and its hard sometimes finding something different to do for both... this year as we have a whole week between them I decided to make a cake for her birthday and cook lunch, and in turn for Mother's day we are going out for a Chinese meal - I have done enough washing up in the last 48 hours believe me! 

I have bought her a few small gifts to give her on the day and I am planning to sneak a few helium balloons into the restaurant beforehand! Shh! No doubt there will be more cake too! My mum and me have a great relationship and whilst she doesn't like much fuss I still like to celebrate the fact she is my mum, and I love her very much and I am thankful for everyday we have together and like to show her how much I appreciate her. Mum's are very special people and whilst some might think its just a marketing exercise I think we should always celebrate our mums!

Here are a few things that I've selected to help with gift buying and to celebrate with:

Wine - I am really not into sweet wines and I only had a few sips of this, however it completely floats my mums boat and she really enjoyed today's Moscato from Gallo Family Vineyards and we got her pleasantly merry on this today! Its light and slightly peachy with floral notes with a gentle sweetness, perfect to go with the two puddings I had made for after's! If your mum likes wine a little sweeter then it really is a great wine! (It has an RRP of £6.99 and is available from all major retailers.)

Chocolate - Mum likes milk chocolate and I did pick her a box of Dairy Box chocolates incase these were too 'dark' for her and the rest of us enjoyed eating these Morette chocolates sourced from Vorrei - they are fig pralines, covered in a pure dark chocolate and are soft to bite and gorgeous! The figgy filling reminded my dad of popping candy, not a bad thing at all! RRP £6.90 from Vorrei, who are an Italian online deli with a great range to drool over! It came perfectly wrapped and speedy delivery too!

Last but not least if you are planning to bake mum a cake - do check out Dr Oetker's baking range - this is my mums cake I made, using their red gel colour to dye the fondant icing, and their edible butterflies and daisies for decoration - which were very well received and magically flew away...!

Many thanks to Gallo Family Vineyards, Vorrei and Dr Oetker for the samples and Happy Mother's Day to all the wonderful mums out there!

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Saving Money with mySuperList

Recently, I was contacted by mySupermarket about testing out their new money saving app called mySuperList which covers the main supermarkets and several major retailers. At heart I am a bargain hunter and always shop comparing prices from small shops and the market, to large supermarkets, often researching via the internet beforehand (including the mySupermarket website which I also love). However working shifts around the clock and facing life’s other challenges often gets in the way, it can be hard to find the time to shop around and still make savings. So I was very interested in finding out if we could actually save money at the supermarket and decided to put mySuperList to the test.

Image Courtesey of mySuperList
To give you a little more background it’s not often I actually do one big shop anywhere – mainly as I like to shop around and tend to stockpile things on offer (we have enough washing powder until at least the middle of 2015!) but I normally keep a paper list and scribble things down as we run out or when I think we need to do the meal plan. I managed to club together a list to use last week when me and a girlfriend went shopping. We are both bargain hunters together and often will share offers, so she was keen to test out the app with me.

Having a list and not going out whilst hungry or thirsty are two of the best tips for going shopping without buying up the entire sweets aisle – so after tea and biscuits we quickly downloaded the mySuperList app onto C’s phone (my new one has since arrived yay!) which is available on both iPhone and Android. My friend preferred to go over to Tesco, despite it being a bit further away however she had seen a dress in the sale that she wanted to pick up!  I did mySuperList based on Sainsbury’s anyway as in the back of my mind I thought we could always go on the way back instead as it is nearer home.

After typing in and finding my items, Tesco came up as the more expensive option – however after clicking into the actual comparison, it was because some of the items were not comparable so it wasn't as clear.. After removing a few items and following their tips on the Swap and Save feature I did manage to save a few pounds off my shopping! I also had received some in-store vouchers in the post which further increased our savings. I am sure on a bigger shop there would be more savings to be had via checking on the app.

Some example items for cost comparisons where I saved money were –

UHT skimmed milk was 8p cheaper in Tesco – 57p vs 65p at Sainsbury’s – I buy at least 4 at a time so that’s 28p less a week! It all adds up when your rent goes up but your pay doesn't! £1.12 per month as a saving approximately

Value porridge oats 75p per 1kg in Tesco, no equivalent in Sainsbury’s – their cheapest option was £1.25 per kilo. so a saving of 50p – This is brilliant as I eat a lot of porridge and make a lot of flapjacks!

Plain flour was on offer at 90p in Tesco – however it suggested their value one – a saving of 45p. Again I bake a lot so go through easily 2-3 bags a month so approximately a saving of £1.35 a month

Whilst I was in there I managed to take advantage of some instore offers – including some fab new Hello Kitty pyjamas in the sale for me and my friend got her dress, so a worthwhile visit for us both! She also bought nearly all the same items as me and was pleased with her savings!

Things I liked about mySuperList:

Swap and Save - It suggested how to make things cheaper by down-branding items ‘Swap and Save’– I am no stranger to value/ basic options anyway but it’s a handy reminder and interesting to see what other options there are

Convenience: The app is quick to use, I can make a list or even just compare prices for example on my break at work or whilst waiting in the doctors surgery. Plus you can also check out online using your phone if you prefer shopping online- so you can literally shop anywhere!
Informed: Regular emails advising how to make the most of the app’s features – including scanning barcodes and how to Swap and Save – great to make the most of it

In the right place: I have a terrible habit of forgetting the list so having the list ready on the phone is very helpful!

Lists: I can make as many lists as I want! Perfect for both small and large shops. I like lists. A lot. You can also sync lists you’ve made on the site with the app and vice-versa. Listmania!
Major Retailers: I can compare my shopping across several retailers as the touch of a button – at the moment there is ALDI, Waitrose,ASDA, ocado, Morrisons, Tesco and Sainsbury’s.

Price alerts: You can set up price alerts for items you might be coveting – I.e the treat bottle of wine or chocolate you have your eye on and it will tell you when the price changes to at least 30% off. This is the time to buy!

Being nosey: You can see how the price has changed on the item over the course of the year, handy if you are increasingly surprised at spending more but getting less!

Things I didn’t like about mySuperList:

Finding certain deals - I got stuck trying to find other ‘butchers choice’ bacon in the ‘2 for £4.50’ deal on the app but found it in store easily. 

Lack of some normal items - There didn't seem to have a price comparison option for other retailers – in particular for Kitchen foil - it showed me the cheap one in Tesco at 56p -I had to manually search for Sainsbury’s separately – which did indeed show Sainsbury’s basics one at £1.08 – obviously at half the price I bought two whilst in Tesco!

Differing pack sizes - Whilst its not the app’s fault sometimes it can’t find items as they are in different pack sized in different retailers – in particular the fruit n fibre cereal I buy every week and this applies to the main website too…… I’ve been told that you can scan items to compare using the app, so maybe this will help next time I use it. . I will let you know!
No Deli choices - I actually like going in-store (except weekends!), especially to my local Sainsbury’s as I love their Spanish green olives off the deli – this applies to the random slices of salami’s I buy. (note: you can’t get this online anyway!)

The Verdict:

Overall with having had only a brief play with it, scanning items which I am yet to try and I am still getting my head around the settings, I like it so far and will carry on exploring, especially as I have now installed the app on my new phone!

I am very good at wandering around aimlessly in supermarkets up and down the aisles, as I quite like picking things up and putting them down again, as my mum often says but when time is not on my side the app comes into its own as I can focus better!

It’s also great to have a practical app that will help us keep on top of our household budget and hopefully pick up a few bargains too!

I will keep you updated regularly with my savings via my twitter feed too.

Here are the links for downloading mySuperList:

To the app store (iPhone) :
To the Google Play store:

Disclaimer: This post was written in conjunction with mySupermarket and all work remains the property of Anne's Kitchen. I received expenses to cover my time and expertise however my this does not affect my opinion and all views are my own. 

Monday, 17 March 2014

Monday Meal Plan

So I didn't post the meal plan last week..sorry.. life got in the way, well shift patterns at least and there wasn't a chance- as it is its now 22:18 and I am doing the meal plan post long day shift and a laced hot chocolate (needed today) as it was the original plan changed somewhat, planned dishes changed around and well, it just was busy! I did make a couple of pretty decent dishes and will try and blog them soon! On the highlight of my week - I finally got a decent mobile phone, after many months of putting up with a temporary distinctly un-smart-phone and you can find me on Instagram under the alter ego of 'polkadotanne'!

Sadly of course I didn't weigh anything to give you an exact recipe but I made this bread and butter pudding last Thursday when my dad came over - it lasted about 5 minutes! I used a loaf of fruit n nut bread I bought reduced as the base, made the egg custard with ground ginger and then let the oven work its magic- delicious!

This week is the usual jumble of shifts but my mums birthday is coming up at the weekend and I am trying to decide what cake to bake for her! I was sent some lovely Dr Oetker baking goodies but I still have not decided oops! Sunday will involve roast lamb - my mum loves it but rarely treats herself to it and I like to spoil her when I can!

Monday - we had fish fingers, mixed veg and new potatoes

Tuesday - Sausage and bean casserole 

Wednesday - Sweet potato bean burgers with green beans and spicy rice

Thursday - Sweet chilli chicken noodles

Friday - Tuna pancakes


Sunday, 16 March 2014

Mango Crunch Fool

I seem to go through stages of liking yoghurt, which may seem a bit odd but I guess maybe I am a little bit odd?! Fortunately at the moment its the 'on' stage and it reminded me that I really do enjoy Total's plain yoghurt, its thick and creamy and perfect for both sweet and savoury dishes. I like that its natural and not full of sugar too! 

Total yoghurt are running a competition via Pinterest at the moment - and this recipe is my entry - you can see my Total board here. I know you want to see my delicious recipe on their tubs so please share this!

A few months back I managed to pick some gorgeous Sundae dishes for a mere 50p each in the local hospice shop and to be honest I will make any excuse to use them as they look so pretty! When I was deciding what to make with my yoghurt I stumbled accross a tin of sliced mangoes and thought a Fool would be perfect. Luckily the recipe worked perfectly first time and I didn't make a fool of myself, haha!

The amarettini biscuits are great for jazzing up quick puddings but if you can't find them just ust standard amaretti biscuits, just less of them! 

Makes two sundaes - would probably fill 3 ramekin dishes


8 amarettini biscuits
120g Total yoghurt
1 tin of mango slices
½ tbsp icing sugar

You will need a liquidiser/ blender or just get menacing with a fork!

1) Drain the mangoes and place in the liquidiser . Blitz in short burst – no more than a few seconds to a loose pulp. 

2) Add the yoghurt and icing sugar then gently blitz once to just combine.

3) Crush the biscuits – I used a pestle and mortar but a bashing with a rolling pin would work too - you want a loose crumb - not too much dust!

4) Layer the crumbs into your desired serving dish in between the fool mixture - keep a little bit for the topping

5) Once assembled, chill for 30 minutes and then serve:

The fools were delicious - a nice light, fruity end to our dinner and I've since been out to buy another tin of mangoes to make again! Erm and lots more Total Yoghurt...! I'm amazed how much B likes it too considering it doesn't involve chocolate! It really is that good.

As these puddings are so quick and easy to make and take well under 30 minutes to make, I've entered these into Dead Easy Desserts over at Maison Cupcake

Thanks to Total for my yoghurt voucher and little box of goodies!

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Spicy Kabanosy Fusilli

Apologies this week for not doing my meal planning post - I didn't manage to squeeze it between my shift pattern but I will be back next week! So far we have eaten jacket potatoes and a lush Spinaci pizza that Dr Oetker gave me a voucher for! I now have a few days off from work to catch up and rest my weary bones which is always welcome! I had planned to type up a curry recipe I recently made ..but I am struggling to find it! Ooops! Anyway this fusilli dish was pretty tasty so its not a complete waste!

Despite myself having Polish roots, we are not a very Polish family infact I know very little about Polish cuisine at all but I do like buying random ingredients and some of the Polish sausages are very tasty, this one being no exception. This is not meant to be reflective of Polish cuisine, its more a of a fridge raid kind of dinner! I really must try harder to learn more about it..

Rather than a traditional pasta bake, this is quicker as it only needs a couple of minutes under a got grill to crispen up the top - a tasty dinner in less than 20 minutes is always a winner! Slightly spicy with smoky sausage and cheesy top? What more do you need at the end of a long day at work?!

Serves 3/4

50g Kabanosy sausage, sliced
1/2 red onion, diced
1 clove crushed garlic
1 leek, sliced
3 Sundried tomatoes, shredded
1 tbsp tomato and basil puree
330g fusilli pasta
1 tbsp olive oil
1/4 tsp red chilli puree (I used Gourmet Garden's)
1 tin chopped tomatoes (save tin!)
1 tbsp dried breadcrumbs
50g grated cheddar

Heat a large frying pan soften the onion in the oil, add the garlic. leek and fry until lightly browned, stir in the sausage and tomato puree, stir well and add the tomatoes and chilli puree, bring to a rolling boil then simmer gently. Meanwhile boil the fusilli as per packet instructions.

Once the pasta has cooked, add 1/4 of the empty tomato tin filled with the pasta water into the sauce, this will help thicken it.

Drain the pasta and stir into the sauce, season to taste and transfer into a grill proof dish. Sprinkle over the breadcrumbs and cheese and grill for 4/5 minutes or until lightly browned

Serve in your favourite bowls and maybe a small wedge of garlic bread on the side!

Sunday, 9 March 2014

Salted Caramel Sauce.. for Scones..for cake..or on a spoon..

This sauce was born during one of those ‘you know you are a food blogger moments’ as it was nearly bedtime, and my mind was pondering at the sad thought of pouring away the last of the double cream that I was quite sure was to have been used by the previous day and then thought turned to twitter…and a little googling and both came up with the glorious suggestion I made Salted caramel sauce! 

I’ve made caramel sauce before in the form of Rachel Allen’s heavenly toffee apple crumble and I have become extremely fond (read that as addicted) to salted caramel and decided to go ahead with making salted caramel sauce, and after telling B I was a little crazy as no I was not coming to bed, I was in fact making caramel sauce he just nodded and off I went downstairs in my pyjamas and set about dragging baskets out of the cupboards and making a lovely late night mess in the kitchen. During the process of stirring it, I managed to locate an empty jar under the sink for the sauce (that only faintly smelled of the sundried tomato chutney it previously held) and managed to successfully fill it perfectly to the top! Pure lucky coincidence!

I did have thoughts of melting it back down to make a cake filling but then some heavenly Rodda's clotted cream arrived…we made some scones…and ya know the cake can wait – for salted caramel and clotted cream scones came to me in a dream and turned into sweet reality! Obviously do not open it late at night under the cover of darkness with a spoon for you shall have sugary filled dreams but heck, better than a nightmare right?

The recipe is based on this one for a coffee version (to definitely be tried at a later date!) and we love it! Its unsurprisingly sweet with a subtle hint of salt that just works so amazingly well together. As the recipe is in cups I stuck mostly to it, the only odd measurement for me was tablespoons of butter - I just sort of gauged out the chilled butter!

Salt wise, I had a few different salts in the cupboard and initially thought I had picked up the tiny pot that remained of Maldon sea salt flakes but it turned out actually to be the salt crystals for refilling the grinder... Obviously I realised this after it went it but in all fairness it worked perfectly so just go with whatver you have! Saying that I bought some pretty rose pink tinted Himalayan salt this week so will try that next time!

5 tbsp unsalted butter
2/3 cup Double cream
1/2 cup Light brown soft sugar
1/2 tsp sea salt 
 2tsp vanilla extract

In a small heavy saucepan melt the butter, add sugar, salt and cream, bring to the boil whisking constantly, reduce the heat and simmer for 3 minutes or until slightly thickened. Stir in the vanilla, and pour into a sterlised jar.

Apparently it will keep in the fridge up to a month, if of course it lasts that long......

..And so to make amazing scones - I used Rodda's recipe which works perfectly - its just our oven takes a little bit longer so they don't get as large but they still taste great! I noticed on their website the eggwash bit is missing - beat an egg with a little sugar to glaze them prior to baking. 

Top with clotted cream and a layer of the salted caramel sauce in whichever order you prefer!

Thursday, 6 March 2014

Honey and Mustard Sausage Casserole

Winter still has us in its chilly grip but the daffodils are starting to bloom and Spring is in the air!  I love seeing their bright sunny little heads burst into flower and think of warmer times ahead! Me and cold weather do not mix! However salads are not really going to cut it for a while yet and a warming dish, like my sausage and mustard casserole is just the thing to keep you warm inside! Packed full with sausages, soft tender barley and beans it will keep you full for hours and your tummy snugly and content.

I also feel I need to apologise I've been struggling lately to get my blog posts written up, sometimes its because I get downstairs and realise the note pad / camera/ pen are still upstairs, and as stairs are simply a menace to my knees to go back up, I abandon any blogging idea. Or at a later date and I can't find where I have written a recipe down. That on top of I simply the lack the energy to string more than a few sentences together to form a blog post someday's! As per this weeks meal planning post my health has been not too brilliant but I am trying to just pace myself, it just gets all a bit frustrating at times though but I will keeping trying! A lot of the food lately B has been eating as my appetite has been all over the place but hopefully when the new meds kick in I might feel a bit more level! I still love to look at food though so have been spending a lot of time tidying up my Pinterest boards - do head over and have a little drool whilst you are there!

So enough of my woes, this dish was originally developed using some Basics ingredients from Sainsbury's - I cook fairly budget friendly anyway but managed to switch several ingredients to basics ingredients very successfully and with no loss of flavour, definitely something I have carried forward into other dishes I make. I also used up some leftover potatoes and kidney beans from other meals so it was a tasty fridge raid casserole! 

Serves 3-4


2 Basics Vegetable stock cubes in 1200ml boiling water
6 cumberland sausages
1 large carrot, sliced
2 sticks celery, sliced
120g cooked new potatoes, cubed
115g cooked kidney beans
1 large white onion, diced
6 tsp Basics honey (if like mine its gone a little too set simply zap in the microwave without the lid to melt!)
1.5 tbsp wholegrain mustard
2 tbsp vegetable oil
150g pearl barley, soaked in water for at least two hours


In a large saute pan or casserole dish heat the oil and brown the sausages for about 10 minutes or until they have a nice golden colour. Transfer the sausages onto some kitchen paper, cut into 6 pieces each. 

Fry the onion for about 3 minutes in the remaining oil, then add the carrots and celery, stirring regularly until all the veg is just softening - about 5 minutes. Add all the remaining ingredients, bring to a gentle boil then cover and simmer gently for 2 hours.

Ladle into deep bowls or pasta plates and tuck in! It also reheats beautifully the next day too!

As this used up some stray leftover potatoes and kidney beans and some rather tired celery I am sending this over to the No Waste Food Challenge, held by Cooking Around the World this month:

Many thanks to Sainsbury's for supplying some of the ingredients. Disclaimer: I received vouchers to cover my time and ingredients to develop this recipe

Monday, 3 March 2014

Meal Planning Monday - Hello March..

Erm hello March where did you spring from? January went on for what seemed like forever, and then February vanished in a blink of the eye! I got completely thrown by the shorter month as I had a few things all with best before dates of the 1st of March and on Saturday I was scanning through the fridge thinking oh we will have the smoked mackerel tomorrow it doesn't go up till the 1st. Hmm it is the 1st! Anyway we ate it on the 2nd and to no harmful effects! We used it in a tasty pasta bake topped with the last of some stale bashed crackers and a generous scattering of cheese!

Last week's plan was hit and miss - The Harissa pork kebabs. Butternut Squash Israeli couscous with sultanas and almonds were all very delicious but Wednesday's planned Chinese Pork didn't happen, and in turn Thursday's leftovers was not possible, so instead we made a Chorizo and sweet potato rice one pot, which whilst was very tasty but I barely nibbled at mine... anyway we made loads and it fed B well for the next few lunches!..

..The week had started relatively well - halfway through I got another 'all clear' from the oncologist, always a relief (three years now!) but I was feeling a bit under the weather and struggling to get out of bed towards the end of the week - following a long awaited consultation they are working on the diagnosis of Fibromyalgia, which explains so much and yet feels like a burden too. However presuming it is that, once some more prodding and poking to be done to rule out anything else, at least now I can move forward and deal with it rather than assuming everything was in my head and I was going slowly mad..! I am forever grateful to my loving friends and family who help me see the wood for the trees on the bad days!

Anyway hopefully this week will be more positive, I've just finished night shifts and not quite sure if right now its day or night but I start new medication tonight with regards to the working diagnosis, so hopefully will feel a bit brighter once that properly kicks in and I actually sleep through the night without tossing and turning in pain..! Roll on bedtime!!

So this weeks plan is roughly as follows - some of the brain fog and exhaustion is still tickling my veins but this makes relative sense right now so hopefully will happen fairly on plan!

Quesadillas - spinach, mozzarella and parma ham with Sweet potato wedges 

Beef kofta masala with pilau rice. Vegetable curry

Green pesto and courgette spaghetti 

Baked chicken legs with Polish seasoning and kaska barley 

Spinach pizza with rocket, pine nut and sundried tomato salad 

MPM 03.03.14

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