lovely leeks.

February 25, 2010

celebrate seasonal veg

The 1st of March is St Davids day, other saints days are often overlooked because they don’t centre so much on alcohol. Well maybe you would favour a ‘pint o the black stuff’ over a leek. Lets celebrate all our saints days with a good supper and a drink, there’s four a year and its a great excuse to get friends round the table to celebrate the diverse culture of the Isles. Leeks are in season at the moment, they are abundant and cheap in the grocers of Southsea and on the market.

In the local fruit and veg shop they have lovely local leeks in stock, picked just over Portsdown hill, their huge too so plenty to go round. Make sure they get a good wash because they are pretty muddy!

I found this recipe on Good Food, I’m a huge fan of risotto anyway as it has endless possibilities and you can interchange ingredients for whats in season. It’s also cheap to make and really warming, comforting and yummy.

Leek and parmesan risotto.

  1. Bring the stock to a simmer. Heat a large wide pan and add half the butter and the olive oil. Add the spring onions, leeks and garlic and cook for 5 minutes until softened. Add the rice and stir to coat then tip in the wine and bubble until reduced. Add the stock a little at a time, stirring until the rice is tender with a little bite and oozy.
  2. Stir in the parmesan and the rest of butter and season.

Serves 2, ready in 30 mins.

(this dish is great as a veggie option and GF diets)


todays recipes.

February 23, 2010

I have already received some readers recipes, thank you very much!

These  come from Sarah Dobinson and I particularly like the gluten-free cake recipe as my autistic son was on a GF diet for a long time. I still cook a lot of GF food especially flourless chocolate brownies which are awesome, because they are so moist and sticky thanks to the absence of flour.  So her cake recipe is sure to be a winner!

Courgette, lemon, capers & parmesan spaghetti – serves two / three

4 large courgettes
1 garlic clove
1 small onion
grated zest of 1 unwaxed lemon
1 tbsp of capers, chopped
handful of chopped flat leaf parsley
as much grated parmesan / pecorino as you fancy!
spaghetti or pasta of your choice

Finely chop the onion and garlic, fry on a low heat for 5 mins.
Grate the courgettes and add to the onion & garlic.  Cook for a further 5 mins (or until the courgettes are soft) with the lid on the pan.
Add the grated lemon zest, parsley and capers and cook for a further 3/4 mins.
Add the parmesan / pecorino, then stir into the cooked spaghetti.
Yummy on it’s own or with fish.

This one is a really good cake for those with gluten or wheat intolerance, as it has no flour.  Make sure the dates are soft before you start trying to make the cake mix, i nearly broke my food mixer using dates from Holland and Barrett that were a bit hard (i had to soak them in water for a while to get them in a state where they would blend properly)!  The cake is very rich and moist but great if you can’t have ‘normal’ cakes and always miss out on the fun!

Chocolate & date cake

500g soft dates
250g ground almonds
100g dark chocolate
6 eggs
1 lemon (juice and peel) or 1 orange
0.5 tbsp vanilla extract
3 tbsp cocoa powder
4 tbsp coconut oil (i think sunflower oil will do if you can’t find coconut oil)

Mix the dates and ground almonds together in a food mixer or blender.
Add the rest of the ingredients and mix together smooth-ish (the mix will always be a bit lumpy cos of the dates).
Pour the mix in a cake tin with parchment paper.
Bake for 40-50 minutes at 160°c.

Gluten free chocolate cake

And this is a really quick and easy cupcake recipe

115g butter
115g caster sugar
115g self-raising flour
2 eggs

and either –
grated zest of two unwaxed lemons

or –

1tbsp of cocoa powder
2tbsp aero drinking chocolate
2 tsp of vanilla extract

Topping: optional if having the lemon cakes
Icing sugar and juice of one lemon – as much icing sugar as you like to achieve the required consistency.

Makes 12 cupcakes or 6 muffins.
Using a food mixer mix together the butter and sugar, add the eggs one at a time with a tablespoon of flour, then add the flour.
Bake for around 20 mins at 180°c.

most loved….

February 22, 2010

Calling all local residents!

I’m looking for you to submit your most loved recipe, it has to be something you’ve made up yourself or your twist on a classic, it could even be a family recipe handed down from your Nan!

I would like to feature the recipes on the blog so it becomes a free resource for everyone to use, learn and cook from. You can try out recipes and exchange ideas about where to get the best ingredients.

  • Where’s best for spices or exotic ingredients?
  • Who supplies the best local produce?
  • Where are the best sausages from?
  • Do you have a cake recipe everyone compliments you on?

You can email me at

I look froward to receiving your ideas, thanks

Lou x

Holy Macaroni!

February 20, 2010

One of my favourite quotes,  ‘Holy Macaroni’ is the inspiration behind this dish because it tastes heavenly and its so simple to make. Why should all recipes be stuff we will never actually cook, I have loads of books I never cook from. Everyone loves this and the bacon and broad beans make a great addition to a retro classic. When we all get in from the cold it gets eaten up so quickly and the ingredients are cheap and easy to get hold of.

You will need:

500g Macaroni Pasta                        Cheese Sauce (shop bought is easier)

4 rashers of Smoked Bacon                 1 tin of Broad Beans

2 large handfuls of grated cheddar  and a cup of bread crumbs.

  • Pre heat your oven to 180c
  • cook the pasta per the packet instruction
  • Whilst the pasta is cooking grill your bacon till it’s really crispy, mmmm, resist eating the bacon.
  • grate your cheese and bread crumbs  (using a bit french bread is good, the day after its been bought it always go rubbish).
  • Drain the pasta and return to the sauce pan, pour over the cheese sauce, season with salt and pepper, add the drained beans and with a pair of scissors snip the bacon into the pot. Mix the loveliness together.
  • tip into an oven dish and top with cheese and bread crumbs, bake until golden and crispy.
  • If your like me try not to burn your mouth on the cheese.


Local ice cream.

February 19, 2010

Just a short ferry trip over the water is the beautiful Hayling Island and they now have there own ice cream producer, how long till there selling it on Southsea seafront? Not long I hope.

They also have a farm shop you can visit ‘Stoke Fruit Farm’ on the Havant Road. With amazing products like:

Three Harbours Beef is supplied by local farmers who rear their cattle naturally in the coastal pastures around the shores of Chichester, Pagham and Langstone harbours. Their beef takes two years to produce and is renowned for its flavour. Over 710 acres of environmentally valuable grassland, either designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest or as a Country Wildlife Site, is maintained by the farmers, which in turn benefits the rich variety of wildlife.

Sounds amazing, I never knew we had such quality farming so close.

Southsea Farmers Market.

February 19, 2010

Good local ale

This weekend is the Southsea Farmers Market a great place to pick up good local ales, I love the Cider you get in one of those plastic milk containers. It looks a bit sketchy when you open fridge and see it in the door, dont pour it on your cereal by accident.

So get down to Palmerston Road on Sunday!

Bransbury Park

February 12, 2010

Bransbury Park Butchers.

I live in a great area where we have some really good local shops. I just have to big up Bransbury Park Butchers, it’s a proper butchers, not filled with posh jars of sauce, just fantastic meat!

Sometimes going to the butchers can be a bit scary, or is that just me? You see cuts of meat you’ll never see in the supermarket. I also found  chatting to some older residents about the joy of cooking offal, something I have never been keen on the idea of buying or cooking. So some stuff behind the counter was a bit of mystery but the guys that work in there are really helpful.

They can recommend ways to cook different cheaper cuts of meat. I went with 4 pieces of middle neck of lamb and was advised to cook it with the bones in because the flavour would be amazing, they were right.

Not only do we have a great local butcher but a great grocers where we picked up Bramley apples from Petersfield and leeks from Titchfield. If you want to help the environment just get down your local shops and you’d be surprised how close to Porstsmouth foods grown and produced.

Heres my recipe for the lamb, 4 big pieces for about £3.20 and serves 4-6 people.

Eastney Lamb.

4 pieces of middle neck lamb                                       6-7 new potato’s sliced

500ml beef/lamb stock                                                     1 large onion chopped

2 red peppers                                                                             4 cloves garlic chopped

tin chopped tomato                                                             1 teaspoon mint

2 teaspoons of cumin                                                         1 glass of red wine

1 teaspoon ground coriander

1 teaspoon sugar

  • In a large casserole pot fry the onions and garlic on the hob.
  • Add the lamb and spices and brown the cuts on both sides.
  • Add the stock and wine, if the pieces aren’t covered in liquid add a bit more stock.
  • Put in an oven at 170c and leave for 2-3 hours.
  • Remove from oven and leave to cool so you can handle the lamb.
  • drain the lamb and stock through a colander over a bowl, reserve the liquid.
  • the meat sholud just fall away from the bone, get in there and remove all the meat, mmmm.
  • Put the liquid back in the pot plus the tinned tomatoes,sugar,mint, chopped peppers and new potatoes, you can add extras if you like, maybe chick peas or spinach.
  • Simmer it for 30mins until the stock has reduced and the vegetables are soft, now put the soft lamb meat back in and heat through until piping hot.

You should end up with a lovels saucy pot of succulent lamb, You can serve with cous cous or flat breads to mop up the sauce.

I will add some pictures soon, although I made it on Wednesday I forgot to snap some pics. Im going to have another go next week!