A recipe from Kate Hibbard, from ‘Come Dine with Me’ Portsmouth.

Serves 6


  • 6 x 125g slices goat’s cheese
  • 12 slices Parma ham
  • 1 tbsp sesame or olive oil
  • 200g walnut halves
  • 50g rocket leaves
  • 2 pears, quartered cored and sliced
  • 1 tbsp balsamic glaze
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper

Method: How to make goat’s cheese wrapped in Parma ham

1. Preheat the oven to 200°C/Gas 6. Put the goat’s cheese on a board and wrap each slice fully with Parma ham.

2. Place the cheese on a baking tray lined with baking parchment and season with a little salt and plenty of ground black pepper. Drizzle with 2 tsp sesame or olive oil and bake for about 15 minutes or until the cheese begins to melt.

3. Meanwhile, toast the walnuts in a dry frying pan for 3-5 minutes until golden brown, turning regularly. Arrange the rocket and pear slices or six plates. Scatter over the toasted walnuts.

4. Carefully place a goat’s cheese on top of each pile of salad and drizzle with the balsamic glaze. Finish with a few drops of sesame or olive oil and serve.


I flicked through ‘on demand’ menu today to catch up with my favourite show ‘Come Dine with Me’ and was thrilled to see season 4 from Portsmouth. Its availible to watch now and has some brilliant recipes from locals on it. As well as great filming of Portsmouth and lovely spots around Southsea. Lee Stafford pictured above is filmed shopping in my local fruit and veg shop picking up some mushrooms, ace! It was aired on More 4 recently so check it out!

seafood bbq girl

April 14, 2010

Its official BBQ season is here!

My brother has this really cute bucket bbq that he picked up from the awesome HEMA in Holland (we use to live right on the border with the Netherlands). It made its debut on the common last summer and it totally rocks. Even better as I mentioned in my Friday Fish post is that we live right next to the sea and have super fish markets on our door step. Not that sorry looking fish you get from the sainsco’s supermarkets.

Just think you could cycle down to Old Portsmouth pick up some fresh fish and within the hour be grilling it beside the sea. Try it as an alternative to frozen burgers, you wont be dissapointed. Its great for our local economy, great for the environment as its local. Grab some ice cream after and then a pint at one of our great Southsea boozers, what an amazing day that would be. If I didnt have kids I’d be right there with you. I dream big!

Remember to respect the common and take what you bought, dont leave rubbish, dont ruin it for everyone and get bbq’s banned, that would suck!

Serves 4


  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 5-6 grinds of black pepper
  • 4 fresh bay leaves, very finely shredded
  • 4 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 mackerel, gutted

Method: How to make grilled mackerel

1. Whisk together the garlic, salt, pepper, bay leaves and olive oil. Rub the marinade all over the mackerel and inside the cavity.

2. Make sure your barbecue is very hot. Put the fish on the grill and turn after five minutes, allowing the other side to cook for a few minutes longer until the fish is opaque all of the way through. Serve straight away.


April 6, 2010

‘Dinner’ is such an important thing in our house, it requires thought, timing, preperation and planning.( Sometimes a take away does the job though.)

Most weeks I write out a menu plan in biro and slap it to the fridge. It helps me shop and budget and I dont have to threat about what I’m going to have to feed everyone. Even if your cooking for yourself most nights, it will challenge you to cook a range of food and not to waste whats in the fridge. If I’m going shopping without thinking I end up with food that we never eat, it goes out of date and starts its own eco system in the back of the fridge. This is something I try and avoid, if possible.

Hmmm what can I disguise as edible tonight?

sister wordpress

April 2, 2010

I love cooking but being the home loving gal I am I also sew pretty good too.

Check out my sewing site and business Ooh la Lapin

Last night I made this, its one of my own recipes. Its so easy and tasty that I have to share it!

Gnocci bake

serves 4-6

1 bag of gnocchi (from the chiller/fridge)

1 carton of passata

1 tin of whole peeled tomatoes

1/2 courgette

1 pepper (any colour)

grated mozzarella

fresh basil

1 sprig of fresh rosemary finely chopped

dried oregano

salt, pepper and sugar

  • chop the courgette and pepper into big chunks and fry in olive oil until soft, sprinkle with oregano, pepper and salt.
  • tip in the tomato and passatta, add a large teaspoon of sugar and the rosemary, simmer for 10 mins.
  • cook the gnocchi according to the pack instructions.
  • tip the drained cooked gnocchi in with the tomato sauce and stir.
  • tip into an oven proof dish and cover with mozzarella
  • bake for 15-20 mins at 190c
  • remove from oven and scatter with torn basil leaves.
  • serve with yummy garlic bread to mop up the sauce

Back from Spain!

April 1, 2010

Shellfish ahoy

We have just enjoyed a family holiday in rural Spain in the Jaen province north of Granada. Jaen is the poorest province in Spain but produces pretty much all the olive oil. My parents have a traditional village house there, we enjoyed sitting outside and chatting to elderly Spanish neighbours. Some still sprightly 70 year olds off to harvest the olives. As we all know the Med diet of olive oil and fish is supposed to be responsible, personally I think the sunny weather and close family ties help people live longer happier lives!

The food was amazing and we ate at traditional Ventas (taverns) no posh eateries in Granada for us. The food is simple and very tasty. Here are a couple of recipes I nicked from local kitchens!

Tortilla Campana

serves 4-6

5 eggs

serrano ham

green pepper

1 tomato

2 med potatoes

salt + pepper

  • peel the potatoes and slice thinly into rounds, place in boiling water for 5-6 mins till nearly cooked.
  • Heat olive oil in a large pan, add the sliced green pepper, chopped tomato and ham, fry for 3 mins then add the potato slices, fry until the potatoes start to go crisp and golden.
  • Whisk the eggs together in a jug, add a couple of generous pinches of salt and a sprinkle of pepper.
  • Pour over the Potatoes, ham, pepper and tomato. Once cooked on one side place under a grill to cook the top until golden brown.
  • serve with a crisp salad and a glass of wine.

Cookies for Helen.

March 21, 2010

We had a fab lunch with friends yesterday, albeit short and sweet due to a child emergency! A wonderful lasagna was cooked by my dear friend Helen, it’s just what we needed on a wet and cold Saturday lunch time, comfort food at its best. I brought along a box of homemade chocolate orange cookies as a token of friendship, nothing exudes love like baked goods. So as promised to Hels here’s the recipe.

You will need

150g golden caster sugar

100g butter or butter like spread

1 egg

150g plain flour

40g Cocoa powder

half a bar of very very dark chocolate (one of those big bars)

grated peel of one large orange

pre heat the oven to 180c

  • cream the butter and sugar together with a spoon until light pale and smooth.
  • crack the egg in the bowl and beat quickly into the creamed mixture until combined.
  • weigh out the flour and cocoa powder and stir together, now fold in gradually to your sugar/butter/egg mix.
  • It will stiffen up into a very thick gooey consistency, now with the chocolate still in the wrapper beat it with a rolling-pin/heavy book, I use a hammer until it’s all shattered into little chunks.
  • fold the chocolate bits into the dough evenly and the finely grated orange peel.
  • using a tablespoon scoop up a ball and drop the ball onto a greased baking tray or on grease proof paper lined tray, space your chocolate lumps evenly apart by 3cm ish. They look like chocolate rocks!

Pop them in the oven for 10 mins they spread out a little as they melt but not too much.

Take the tray out and leave for a couple of mins for the cookies to stiffen a little, if you try to scrape them off the tray straight away they are too soft and gooey. Leave on a cooling rack, consume at your leisure but they wont make it for anymore than 24 hours in the house.

Friday fish day.

March 19, 2010

I was scouring the net today for a Friday night fish supper and came across this great recipe for ‘Mexican fish wraps’.

As a child we always had fish on a Friday and I remember waiting in anticipation outside Mays chippy in Cosham and the highlight of choosing a Panda pop (fizzy cherry flavour) it was in glass bottles which is pretty old school.

johnsons fish sales

Check out Johnsons fish sales in Old Portsmouth for local and sustainable white fish thats cheaper and fresher than the supermarket. Some superb photos of the market can be found on the Quiet Corners flickr page

For the wraps you will need:

  • finely grated zest and juice of 1 lime.
  • 700g skinless white fish fillet, cut into strips
  • 2 egg whites , beaten with a fork
  • 100g coarse fresh breadcrumbs
  • 4 squirts oil spray
  • 200g pot tzatziki
  • 8 small, soft flour tortillas
  • small wedge iceberg lettuce or white cabbage, shredded
  1. Sprinkle the lime zest over the pieces of fish, then season. Dip the fish into the egg whites, then coat with breadcrumbs and place on a baking sheet. Spray the fish with 2 squirts oil, then grill for 2 mins. Flip them over, spray with more oil, then grill for a further 2 mins until the fish is cooked and the breadcrumbs are golden and crispy. alternatively shallow fry in olive or sunflower oil.
  2. Squeeze the lime juice into the tzatziki and stir. Warm the tortillas according to pack instructions. To assemble the wraps, place a handful of cabbage or lettuce onto the top two-thirds of a tortilla, then rest 3 fish fingers on top with a good dollop of the lime tzatziki. Bring the bottom third of the tortilla up and fold the sides over to envelop the filling.

Try with a nice cold glass of Desperado, which I rather like.

St Patricks one pot.

March 15, 2010

After last months St Davids recipe of leek risotto it’s now the turn of good ole St Patrick and whats better than a lovely warming one pot and a pint of the black stuff?

Yesterday my Mum cooked an amazing roast dinner  for Mothers Day and I provided pudding (spotted dick, stop giggling). Mum did a roast leg of lamb which rocked! I asked her if I could have the bone and meat scraps that were left so I could make a stew. Nothing has to go to waste really and there is so much flavour in the bone to make stock and some lovely bits of lamb. I got hold of a bargain veg stew pack for 30p! So tonight’s dinner for 4 costs less than a quid, well I’m not buying the Guinness am I?

My Great Granny uped and left Ireland due to poverty and famine and settled in Newcastle where she bought up my Gran who still lives in one of the most deprived parts of Newcastle today. My Mum and Gran have taught me so much about cooking, how to use food and stretch it but it tastes soooo good. We have a food budget of about £40 a week, it used to be £100 in my husbands previous job, but times and situations change and we adapt so the skills they taught me have come to fruition, thanks ladies!

Granny Caulfields Stew.

You can use:

Lamb shanks, diced casserole lamb or in my case a left over roast lambs leg.

homemade stock (just buy lamb or beef stock cube to save time)

  • Strip the bone of meat and keep meat in fridge. Add the bones to a pot of boiling salted water with a stick of celery a chopped onion and a chopped carrot.
  • Cover and simmer for an hour or more, you should end up with a lovely stock.
  • Drain and keep the liquid, discard the bones and veg.


3 large Potatoes

med swede

2 med parsnips

5 carrots

1/2 cup pearl barley

1 lge onion

lamb meat

  • In a large pot fry the onions in a little butter until soft, add the carrots, parsnip and swede, cubed.
  • Pour in the stock about a pint and a half and bring to the boil. Now add the pearl barley, cover and simmer for an hour until the barley is cooked, now add the potatoes.
  • Season the stew to taste and cook for a further 20 mins.

Now its time to add the dumplings.

100g self-raising flour

50g suet (I use Atora light suet)

  • Mix together in a bowl with a little water and a pinch of salt until you get a pliable dough.
  • shape into balls
  • pop the dumplings on top of the stew they should be bobbing about.
  • put the lid back on and simmer for 30 mins.
  • now add the lamb meat you saved from the left over roast and heat through.
  • Serve with a glass of Guinness and a slice of soda bread.