Category Archives: Cooking and Baking


After a couple of indulgent months of eating and drinking, hubby and I decided that it was time for a bit of healthy eating and coincidentally our favourite chefs, The Hairy Bikers, brought out a new book: The Hairy Dieters, Simple Healthy Food.

After ordering from Amazon, the book duly arrived and we scoured the pages for a recipe that grabbed our attention and we settled on the Southern Fried Chicken recipe.

This is their thoughts on the dish:

Actually, as you will see, this chicken isn't fried but baked, which means it is way lower in calories and fat but still so good. Chicken drumsticks are cheap and tasty, so are ideal for this recipe and as they take a while to cook the crumb coating browns and crisps up nicely. You could also use thighs or breasts if you prefer. These are great served with some salad or you can pop them in a lunch box to take to work. 


Serves 4
Prep: 15 minutes plus marinating time
Cooking time: about 40 minutes

1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp ground black pepper
200ml buttermilk
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
8 chicken drumsticks, skinned
75g breadcrumbs
1/2 tsp sweet smoked paprika
1 tbsp olive oil
sea salt and black pepper

How did I get on?

The first step was to marinate the chicken in the garlic and onion powder, thyme and black pepper with half a teaspoon of salt and the buttermilk and Worcestershire sauce. This is when it is best to look at the recipe beforehand as this needs to marinate between an hour and overnight.

We chose to use chicken breasts instead of drumsticks.

When the chicken has marinated, set the oven to 200oC/Gas 6 and line a baking tray with parchment.

Mix the breadcrumbs with the paprika and season with salt and pepper.

Dip the chicken in this breadcrumb mixture and arrange them on a baking tray. Mix the oil with a tablespoon of water and brush this over the drumsticks. Then bake in the oven for about 40 minutes, turning once or twice during the cooking time.

And there you have it, a quick and easy meal. We cooked some corn on the cob, onion rings and we made some Boston Baked Beans using our Thermomix.


This was extraordinarily easy to do, it tasted delicious and it was an ideal Saturday night meal, together with a bottle of cider!


This is an amazing piece of equipment for the kitchen, it can make anything from curries to pasta dishes to soups. It was on the expensive side but we use it about three times a week and it does save on a lot of washing up.

You can purchase it from Vorwerk and one of the things which impressed us was that a representative from the company came round our house and gave us a live demonstration.

Simple Christmas Cake

To easily make your Christmas cake, you can do no worse than buying a cake kit, I found one in Marks and Spencer for £13, all you had to add was butter, eggs and an orange.

After adding up the cost of the ingredients, it worked out cheaper to buy the cake kit.

I made the cake a month ago, and fed it once with some whisky and today was the day that I was going to decorate it with a simple design of a few snowmen. I have done a step-by-step guide for an easy Christmas cake to wow your friends and family!

I used the marzipan from the Marks and Spencer kit, but to keep to the theme of simplicity I used Dr Oetker Regal-Ice Ready Rolled Icing to cover the cake.

The next thing to do was to make the snowmen: these consist of a head, body, arms and legs and that’s it.

To make the eyes, just use a cocktail stick to wiggle a circle, then using black sugarpaste make small balls and after dabbing some water in the holes to make them stick, place the balls as eyes. For the nose, make a cylinder and place it on the face with a dab of water, the smile is created with a cocktail stick. You can have some fun making scarves, bowties, buttons, top hats, anything that takes your fancy!

Finished cake!!

You can add little snowballs, I used a snowflake cutter and holly leaf cutter and the cake sprinklings from the cake kit to decorate and finished with a light dusting of icing sugar for snow.

So there you have it, a simple Christmas cake which is fun, colourful and most importantly…. easy!

Chili with Cheese and Nachos

Another recipe from the Hairy Biker’s One Pot Wonders, we have actually made this dish a few times for friends and family and it’s never failed to impress.

This is their thoughts on this dish:

"We can't tell you how good this is - you just have to taste it. Yes, there are quite a few ingredients but a lot of them are spices and the prep is easy, just a bit of chopping. The nachos topping is amazing and you end up with different textures - crunchy on top and softer at the bottom, with the juicy, spicy chili underneath. Naughty but definitely nice!"


2 tsp olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 celery sticks, diced
I red pepper, diced
400g minced beef
200g minced pork
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tbsp dried oregano
1 tbsp ground cumin
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tbsp light brown soft sugar
400g can of tomatoes
2 x 400g cans of red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
400ml beef stock or water
50g dark chocolate
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the topping: 200g tortilla chips and 200g Cheddar cheese, grated

To serve: soured cream and fresh coriander leaves.

How did I get on?

Out came the trusty Le Creuset casserole dish, which is ideal for these type of recipes. First step was to heat the oil in the dish, add the onion, celery and red pepper and cook over a low heat until the onion has softened and turned translucent. Then, add both minces, beef and pork and break up with a spoon until it’s completely browned then reduce the heat. Then it’s time to add all the spices, the tomatoes, kidney beans and stock. Bring to the boil and turn down the heat, leave the chili to simmer for an hour, stirring regularly.

After an hour of simmering on the cooker, the dark chocolate is added and while it is cooking for another 15 minutes, preheat the oven to 200C/Fan 180C/Gas 6.

Arrange the tortilla chips over the chili and top with the cheese and put in the oven for at least 10 minutes until the cheese has melted and started to brown. Serve immediately with soured cream, coriander leaves and lime wedges.

Finished dish!


Another easy dish to make – there are a lot of ingredients, but a lot are spices so you probably already have them in your cupboard. One thing to bear in mind is that the dish has to simmer on the stove for an hour, so it’s best to factor that in when cooking this dish, you don’t want your diners waiting around for their meal.

With the added components, sour cream, guacamole, salsa and a bottle of Sol, it all adds up to a great Mexican meal.

Guacamole Recipe

1 small red onion
1 medium very ripe tomato
1 red chili, deseeded
1 large handful fresh coriander
1 lime
4 medium ripe avocados
Olive oil

In a food processor, pulse the onion, tomato, chili and most of the coriander until finely chopped, then transfer to a bowl.

Add the juice of the lime to the mix.

Cut the avocados in half, remove the stone and scoop out the flesh with a spoon.

Squash the avocado to a pulp, so that it is creamy, but leave a few chunks for some texture. Mix this with the pulped ingredients. Serve with a drizzle of olive oil and some more coriander.

Just a note: Le Creuset has brought out a Harry Potter edition of their brand complete with a Hogwarts Express kettle, Deathly Hallows spoon rest and even a Spellcasting spatula set!

Week One – Cake Week

Warning: there are spoilers in this blog - who won star baker, who left the show, who received a handshake from Paul, what necklace was Prue wearing, things along those lines.

I can’t believe that the last time I reviewed the GBBO was two years ago! It was back on our TVs last night, kicking off with Cake Week; let’s do this!

The new series kicked off with the GBBO Band and their interpretation of Achy Breaky Heart with lyrics such as:

“But don’t bake my tart, my flaky pastry tart…. You’ll overbake my tart, and that will break my heart and then you’ll never get to shake my hand.”

I love this Tweet by Specsavers:

Signature Dish : 12 Decorative Mini Rolls

Flavours, sponge and filling entirely up to bakers with a two hour time limit.

A highlight for me whilst the bakers were creating their mini rolls was Matt Lucas’s rendition to Jürgen of The Flintstones in German, especially the ending shouting, “Wilhomena!”

There were comments made by Paul about the similarities between Prue and Maggie, I think it’s the glasses! 🤣

George forgot to close the oven door, putting him behind with his bake, so he earned the first BLEEP of the season, plus Lizzie was also behind time, stating she was just a slow person.

Chigs put us all to shame during lockdown, he learned how to bake, played the guitar, did rock climbing, decorated his house and cooked with his mum…

Maggie’s “Knit & Natter” Mini Rolls:
Rough and ready chocolate, nice swirl, excellent sponge, lovely texture, great flavour, but couldn’t eat a lot as it is very rich.

Jairzeno’s Lime & Passion Fruit Mini Rolls:
More like a fold than a swirl, passion fruit flavour delicious, worth the calories!

Amanda’s “Cherry Solider” Mini Rolls:
Uneven, not a swirl but a blob, cherry flavour not strong enough, Prue liked the booze!

Tom’s Black Forest Mini Rolls:
Not really a mini roll, a bit of a swirl, texture of the cake lovely, not enough cherry coming through.

Crystelle’s “Chai and Chai Again” Mini Rolls:
Neat, not much of a swirl, delicious, great blend of the spices, touch too much jaggery.

George’s Chocolate & Hazelnut Mini Rolls:
Tasted like pudding, still warm and so it’s collapsed.

Rochica’s Colin Rolls:
Fairly good swirl, lovely flavours, a little stodgy, overmixed.

Jürgen’s Schwarzwald Mini Rolls:
Nice swirl, over-sweetened the filling, very, very good comment.

Freya’s Vegan Lemon & Raspberry Mini Rolls:
Nice tart flavour of raspberries, cake is a bit hefty.

Chigs’ Strawberry & Cream Mini Rolls:
Lovely swirl, fresh strawberries delicious.

Lizzie’s Zoo Mini Rolls:
Not the best looking mini rolls, flavours all wrong.

Giuseppe’s Easter Mini Rolls:
As neat as a pin, beautiful, elegant, perfect swirl, delicate and well balanced flavours, a triumph.

Technical Challenge set by Prue – The Malt Loaf

Words of advice from Prue: “This is a really old fashioned recipe and those of you who are under 35 may never have heard of it, don’t panic, just read the recipe.”

First two rounds in a nutshell!

One of the easier technical challenges, perhaps it’s because it’s the first episode, but nice to see all the bakers not having too much of a disaster!

Position in Technical Challenge:

1st – Maggie
2nd – Freya
3rd – George
4th – Lizzie
5th – Tom
6th – Jürgen
7th- Rochica
8th – Crystelle
9th – Jairzeno
10th – Guiseppe
11th – Chigs
12th – Amanda

That moment when Paul said to Prue, “You’ll have to take your teeth out and clean them later.”

Those in trouble before going into the Showstopper round:

Those in line for Star Baker:

Showstopper – Anti-gravity Illusion Cake

Must be appear to defy gravity and in a way that represents a precious memory.

Every week….

The mug fell off the cake in front of the judges, good layers, delicious, beautifully moist.

George’s Greek Table:
Could be neater, nice flavours, concentrate on finesse.

Magggie’s Ice Cream Cornet:
Looks more like a plant pot than an ice cream, Victoria sandwich delicious, but not much flavour in it.

Jairzeno’s “Kick the Can” Cake:
Didn’t look like what was envisioned, perfect sponge, flavourful.

Amanda’s Elderflower & Lemon Surf Explosion:
Lovely dolphins, lovely colour and concept, not sure if gravity defying as that part is the rice crispy part, slightly overbaked sponge, touch too much liquor. The cake collapses on the bench. (Not sure if that’s to do with Paul cutting the cake where he did?)

Lizzie’s Nana’s Peaches & Cream:
Simplistic, a bit messy, nice flavour,.

Freya’s “Flower Potty”:
Incredible flowers, lovely, very boozy, delicious, nice kick from the alcohol, great job.

Crystelle’s “Bouq-cake” of Flowers:
Elegant, beautiful pipework, beautifully flavoured, lovely, remarkable.

Rochica’s Apple Cake:
More detail, lovely flavours, more honed skills.

Tom’s Classically Spectacular Showstopper:
Disappointing gravity defying element.

Giuseppe’s “Jack and The Beanstalk”:
Beautiful, sponge a little dry, good flavour, maybe do three layers instead of two.

Jürgen’s “Night Time Reading”:
Elegant, clean and simple and beautifully done, well engineered, rose flavour absolutely right, perfect bake.

My favourite showstopper was Crystelle’s Bouq-cake of Flowers!

Star Baker and Who is Going Home…

Poor old Jürgen tried to phone his family, but no-one answered his phone….


I’m not really sure if the right decision was made for Tom to leave the show, I thought that it might have been Jairzeno as his showstopper was terrible. I think the favourites at the moment are Jürgen and Guiseppe with Maggie and Crystelle also in the running. But this is Bake Off, all it takes is a disastrous week and you are phoning for an Uber!

BBQ Tandoori Paneer

We have been ordering Simply Cook meals for a few months now; you have to make sure that you have chosen your recipes a couple of weeks before they are delivered, otherwise you receive a random choice. This month, I think because we went away and had a busy few weeks, we forgot to choose our recipes, so we had the random pick. When we saw this recipe, BBA Tandoori Paneer, we weren’t too sure about it, mainly because it was a vegetarian dish and we do like our meat, but we shopped for the ingredients and this is how we got on…

The description from Simply Cook is:

Experience a much-loved Tandoori dish featuring the smoky, Punjabi spiced, juicy flavours that we all know and love, normally achieved by traditional clay-oven cooking (in a “tandoor”). We’ve managed to capture the essence of this mouth-watering delicious classic in our pots of flavour. No overnight marination required, just fire up the grill, pop open a refreshing drink and get ready for a taste of an Indian summer.



220g paneer cheese

70g natural yoghert

1 lemon

2 medium sweet potatoes
(cut into wedges)

1 small bag of salad

2 peppers of any colour
(cut into squares)

Store Cupboard

Vegetable oil

Simply Cook suggest you can swap paneer for halloumi, sweet potatoes for new potato wedges and peppers for courgettes or mushrooms. We didn’t swap anything, but we did add mushrooms.

How Did I Get On?

The first thing we had to do was prepare the sweet potato wedges, so they were cut up and then tossed in some oil and we sprinkled over the sweet potato seasoning. Then they were put in an oven which has been preheated to 200C and cooked for 20 minutes.

Next step was marinating the cheese, peppers and mushrooms – we mixed the Smoked Chili Blend with the Tandoori Paste in a large mixing bowl, added the yoghurt and half the lemon juice and mixed this altogether. Then the paneer, peppers and mushrooms and mixed it all to coat them.

We made up the kebabs by placing the cheese, peppers and mushrooms alternatively on the skewers. We put them in the oven and they cooked for 15 minutes. You can grill them on either side for 6-8 minutes instead, but we put them in the oven.

While the sweet potatoes and kebabs are cooking, we prepared the salad, dressing it with a little olive oil and we had a few extra salad items to put in.

We served the skewers with the salad on the side and made some mint dipping sauce.


If we were choosing our recipes for the month, I’m pretty sure we wouldn’t have chosen this dish, but I’m glad we tried it, it was very tasty and more filling than I thought it was going to be.

The preparation was pretty simple – there was a good tip on the recipe card that if you’re using wooden skewers to soak them first in water to stop them from burning.

I think we would do this dish again, but it probably wouldn’t be a regular with us as we like our meat too much!

If you would like to trial a four recipe box for a £1 then follow this link:

Famous Meals

When my husband did his first 10k, we decided to throw a pasta party with some friends who were also doing the 10k and this made me think about how many other meals have there been that have become famous?  So, to try to answer that question, here are some famous meals….

The Last Supper


Perhaps the most famous meal of all time, the final meal Jesus shared with his apostles in Jerusalem before his crucifixion.

This is where Jesus predicts his betrayal by Judas Iscariot saying, “It is the one to whom I will give this piece of bread when I have dipped it in the dish,” and then he gives the bread to Judas. Jesus also predicts that Peter will deny knowledge of him, disowning him three times before the rooster’s crow that next morning. Jesus prays thanks for the bread, divides it and hands it out to his dispciples saying, “Take, eat, this is by body,” and then he offers a prayer with a cup of wine saying, “Drink from it, all of you; for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins, I tell you, I will never again drink of this fruit of the vine until that day when i drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.”

Blair-Brown deal or otherwise know as The Granita Pact

Pictured in 2013, the empty premises of the Granita Restaurant

This was the restaurant where a gentleman’s agreement was struck between Tony Blair, who was the Shadow Home Secretary for Labour at the time and Gordon Brown, the Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer for Labour.

Following the unexpected death of the Labour leader, John Smith, this is where Brown agreed to not stand in the forthcoming leadership election, to allow Tony Blair a better chance of victory.

The menu hasn’t been disclosed, but there was a film made about this called The Deal starring David Morrissey and Michael Sheen.

Alice in Wonderland Tea Party

tea-party-gifProbably the most famous fictional tea party is that which occurred in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.

The guests at the tea party which Alice encounters are The Mad Hatter, The Dormouse and the March Hare. It is explained by the Mad Hatter that they are always having a tea party because when he tried to sing for the Queen of Hearts, she sentenced him to death for “murdering the time.” He escaped decapitation but angry at the Hatter’s attempted “murder,” Time halts him and keeps him and the March Hare stuck at 6:00 forever. The party evolves around switching places at the table, making personal remarks, asking unanswerable riddles and reciting nonsensical poetry, which eventually drives Alice away.

Last meal on Death Row

I suppose the most macabre meal that is consumed is the final meal before you meet your demise – some don’t have an appetite (not surprisingly) while others opt for a simple meal and some even order an extravagent meal with all the trimmings….

Lawrence Russell Brewer

A murderer who ordered two chicken fried steaks with gravy and sliced onions, a triple-patty bacon cheeseburger and a cheese omelet with beef mince, tomatoes, onions, bells peppers and jalapenos. He was also given fried okra with ketchup, a pound of barbecuedd meat with a half loaf of white bread, three fajitas and a meat pizza. For dessert he had a pint of ice cream, peanut butter fudge with cushed peanuts and three root beers to wash it all down.

He actually never ate any of it, telling prison staff at Huntsville Prison that he wasn’t hungry.  This caused Texas to stop offering last meal requests…

John Wayne Gacy

kfcA serial killer, responsible for murdering at least 33 men, asked for fried shrimp, a full bucket of KFC original recipe friend chicken and some French fries, and for dessert a pound of strawberries.

KFC was also on the request list for kidnapper and murderer, Robert Alton Harris, who asked for a 21-piece bucket of KFC, together with two large pizzas from Dominos, some jelly beans, ice cream, six cans of Pepsi and a pack of Camel cigarettes.

Last meal on the Titanic


This was the menu for the first class passengers aboard the ill-fated Titanic. They would have been served this hours before the ship hit the iceberg. The first-class passengers, which famously included John Jacob Astor IV, an inventor, writer, businessman and Benjamin Guggenheim, an American businessman, would have then congregated in the smoking room or in the elegant, horseshoe-shaped reception room, where the ship’s orchestra played a selection of light classical and popular music until 11 pm.


What do you do when your son comes to pay a visit, who just happens to be a chef in a Michelin Starred restaurant? You get him to make you dinner, that’s what you do. So he made a Moussaka for us inspired by a Rick Stein programme filmed in Greece where a lady made a moussaka for Rick, with a few twists of his own.


  • 500 grammes of lamb mince
  • 4 red onions
  • Two cloves of garlic
  • Dried oregano
  • Dried cinnamon powder
  • Tin of chopped tomatoes
  • Vegetable and lamb stock cubes
  • Tomato puree
  • 70 grammes of plain flour
  • Two aubergines
  • Two courgettes
  • 500 mills of milk
  • Splash of wine
  • Two baking potatoes
  • Dried nutmeg
  • Parmesan cheese for topping


After peeling and slicing the potatoes and red onions, layer the potatoes and one onion’s worth in a ovenpoof dish, drizzle with olive oil and salt and pepper.

Potatoes and onions roasted

Whilst this is in the oven, turn your attention to making the lamb ragu. Start by browning off your mince, put to the side, sweat off your onions and your roughly chopped garlic. Then add two tablespoons of dried organo and cinammon powder with one good squirt of tomato puree.


Return your mince to the pot and add the white wine. Reduce this mixture down by two thirds.

Once done, add tin of chopped tomatoes and fill the empty can with tap water, crush and sprinkle in your stock cubes then add to mixture and leave to cook on a medium to low heat until the sauce has reduced and thickened.

Char grilled aubergines and courgettes

Thinly slice your courgettes and aubergines, place in a bowl and season generously with olive oil and salt and pepper, heat a griddle pan up to a high temperature then grill your vegetables to get a char grill on them.


Once grilled, place on a plate covered with tin foil to allow to steam.

Weigh out equal parts, butter and flour (70 grammes), melt butter in the pan, add flour to make a roux. Slowly add in your milk until the mixture becomes a creamy conistency.

To layer the moussaka, place the cooked layer of potatoes and onions on the bottom, add one layer of ragu, cover in your grilled vegetables, another layer of ragu, with another layer of vegetables and then add your creamy Béchamel sauce to the top.  Add a sprinkling of Paremesan on top and put in the oven at 185ºC for 30 minutes until golden brown on top.  Leave to rest for ten minutes before serving.


There you have it, I’m not biased but this was the best moussaka that I have tasted, there are different techniques used in this recipe, but it isn’t difficult and the end result is worth the extra effort!

Take a look at the YouTube video below – which shows the different stages of the moussaka!

Thank you for watching!


Creamy butternut squash pasta bake


I’ve never been fond of Macaroni Cheese, I’m not sure why, but this dish has never appealed to me, but after mooching through Tom Kerridge’s book, A Fresh Start, I saw this recipe for Creamy Butternut Squash pasta bake. I like butternut squash, so I thought I would give it a go.



575 calories per serving

  • 1kg butternut squash, cut into chunks (about 2 cm)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 500g macaroni
  • Sea salt and fresh ground black pepper

For the cheese sauce

  • 60g butter
  • 60g plain flour
  • 1 litre whole milk
  • 60g Parmesan, finely grated
  • 1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg

For the topping

  • A handful of sage leaves
  • 40g sun-blushed tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 50g fresh breadcrumbs
  • 2 tbsp pumpkin oil (or use olive oil)
  • 2 tbsp pumpkin seeds

How did I get on?

The first thing that needed to be done was to cut the butternut squash into chunks. So for that, I called upon my husband, or rather my husband volunteered as he didn’t want to see me chop my fingers off!  Here’s how he got on:

After he had cut up the butternut squash, not quite as fast as in the video, we put it on a roasting tray, drizzled it with olive oil and seasoned with salt and pepper, where it cooked on the top shelf for 25 minutes at 220ºC/Gas 7.

Once it was cooked and cooled, then comes my favourite part, you put three quarters into a blender and blitz it together.

Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil and cook the macaroni until al dente.

For the sauce, melt the better, add the floured stir for one minute. Then add the milk and whisk until it thickens slightly. Then add the Parmesan and nutmeg and stir until the cheese has melted. Grab your butternut squash puree and stir it through. That’s the most difficult part over with!


Drain the macaroni, add to the sauce and stir well. Tip into a deep baking dish and scatter over the rest of the butternut squash, sage, sun-blushed tomatoes and breadcrumbs. Drizzle with the oil.

This is placed in the middle shelf of the one, turning on the oven grill at the same time (I have to admit, I forgot to do this!).

Bake for ten minutes and then take out and scatter the pumpkins seeds evenly over the surface and return to the oven for a further five minutes.


The finished dish

This dish was very tasty, a change from your normal macaroni cheese dish. It wasn’t hard to prepare, the most tricky bit being the sauce. There wasn’t much preparation apart from the butternut squash, so once you had prepared and roasted this, the rest didn’t take very long at all.

This makes enough for six people, so if that’s too much, you can freeze it and just defrost it and put it in the oven for about 30 minutes.





Double Pie



The other day hubby and I sat down for dinner, nothing unusual in that, but today was different, I couldn’t quite put my finger on it to start with, but then I realised, we had eaten double pie! I’m not even sure if this is the right name for it, or even if there is a name for it, but we had eaten chicken pie for our main course and then had an apple pie for dessert.


I named it double pie in honour of the double denim look modelled here by Chuck Norris.

Anyway, I digress, I’m not a huge fan of pastry, which makes it surprising that I had one pie that night, let alone two, but I do like the fillings and the accompaniments, especially for the dessert.

Even if there is or is not a debate about double pie for tea, there has always been a heated debate in our household over cream, ice cream or custard over a dessert pie. I always plump for custard, I mean, you have to have something hot poured over a pie, right? But hubby always go for ice cream, with maybe some cream on top of that. (He has a very sweet tooth).

pie&pieI did Google the term, “Double Pie,” and got this: How to create pie of pie or bar of pie chart in Excel … confused, this is what it looks like:

And Lakeland have a double pie maker called  the Gourmet Gadgetry Retro Diner Double Pie Maker – costs just £29.99 if you’re interested! (I have linked it for you – no, I’m not on commission.)



So I don’t think the term, double pie, is a common phrase – yet, there’s no mention of it in the Oxford English dictionary, perhaps I could lay claim to it?

Whilst researching pies, (unbelievably I did), I never realised there were so many idioms which featured the word, “Pie.”

  • As easy as pie
  • To eat humble pie
  • To be pie eyed
  • Have a finger in the pie
  • Nice as pie
  • Shut your pie hole
  • Promises are like pie crusts, they’re made to be broken
  • Cutie pie
  • Pie in the sky

Can you think of any more?

All this talk of pie, has actually made me quite hungry, but I don’t think it’ll be double pie tonight, just the single one will do me fine!




Five-spiced Duck Salad



This is probably the simplest recipe that we have tried so far…  Again, it’s from his Fresh Start recipe book.



  • 1 tsp Chinese five-spice powder
  • 4 duck breasts, skin on

For the salad

  • 100g watercress, any tough stems removed
  • 2 little gem lettuces, trimmed and leaves separated
  • ½ cucumber, halved and sliced at an angle
  • 12 radishes, thinly sliced
  • 2 handfuls of beansprouts
  • 1 long red chilli, deseeded and thinly sliced
  • 4 ripe plums or peaches, stoned and cut into slim wedges

For the dressing

  • 3 tbsp. hoisin sauce
  • 1 tbsp. light soy sauce
  • 2 tsp runny honey
  • 1 tbsp. rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp. light olive oil
  • Juice of 1/2 lime.

How did I get on?

The first thing to do was to mix salt and the Chinese five-spice powder together in a small bowl, pat the skin dry with a paper towel and score with a sharp knife and rub in the spiced salt.

duck2The next step was to cook the duck, skin side down, in an ovenproof frying pan on a medium to low heat for about 10 to 15 minutes.

There should be an app whereby you can smell photographs  because this smelt so good!

Whilst this was cooking, you can make the salad, which is literally putting all the ingredients, sliced and trimmed, for the salad in a large bowl.

You can then make the dressing, again, mixing all the sauces and oils together in a bowl until well combined.

Then you put the duck into an oven at 200 degrees for about 3 to 4 minutes.

Divide the salad between the serving plates and scatter with mint and coriander leaves, carve the duck into thick pieces and lay on top of the salad.


Another simple dish, not unlike the Tamarind Chicken skewers, the dressing for this dish tasted superb, poured over the duck and the salad, plus with the plums, gave this dish a sweet taste to it.  Another variation on a green salad, which was very tasty, I’m loving the addition of fruit to these salads and will be making these in the summer rather than our normal green salad.

Below is a video of this recipe being prepared, very quickly, my husband doesn’t normally work this speedily!!