Monthly Archives: April 2015

Soft Boiled Quail’s Eggs

I was feeling fancy the other week so when I spied quails eggs I grabbed them without any idea how to work them into my meal plan!  It occurred to me that for many quails eggs might be a bit intimidating, they’re tiny little things and you don’t really see them in the supermarkets so they’re a bit of an unknown quantity.  I love using them though!  For lack of any suitable dish in my menu plan that week I simply soft boiled these and scoffed them like Malteasers with a pinch of salt!  They can be tricky to peel so if you were to fancy serving them as a canape I suggest you at least get them started by peeling off half the shell.  Wet hands are the trick here, makes things a lot easier!

Soft Boiled Quails Eggs

Simply prick each egg with a pin in the larger end and place in boiling water for 2 1/2 minutes.  Remove from the water and either eat warm immediately or plunge into a bowl of cold water to stop them cooking further.  If you leave them to air dry then your egg will continue to cook and will become hardboiled.  Rapidly cooking the egg means they stop cooking and stay soft.  Peel the egg as you would any hard boiled egg, as I said above, wet hands really help here, those little shells can be stubborn! A tiny pinch of salt makes any egg sing and these are no different.  Enjoy!


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Filed under Basic, Canapés, Easy

Garlicy Smoked Salmon, Prawn and Pea Pasta

Much though I try to like smoked salmon on its own, I just can’t get over the texture.  I love the taste though!  My solution is to work it into cooked dishes as much as possible so I can enjoy the flavour without the gag inducing texture!  This quick weeknight salmon and prawn dish works a treat and it’s so simple to throw together while the pasta is cooking.

Garlicy Smoked Salmon, Prawn and Pea Pasta

It’s a looker too, the peas give it a nice bit of pizzaz and the spirals of the prawns and spaghetti please me!  For a dish that takes about 10 minutes to cook you can’t go wrong!

Garlicy Smoked Salmon, Prawn and Pea Pasta

Serves 2

200g spaghetti (or linguine, tagliatelle etc, go nuts!)
2 cloves garlic, crushed (or use the pureed stuff in a tube!)
200g smoked salmon
1/2 cup frozen peas
150g king prawns (cooked)
150ml creme fraiche
1/2 tsp chopped parsley (dried or fresh)

– Get the water boiling, salted and the pasta in.  Most pastas take 10 minutes but check your packet for instructions.
– Heat a splash of olive oil in a small saucepan.
– Add the garlic and smoked salmon and cook until the salmon is all flaked and has turned pale and opaque.
– Add the frozen peas and cook for a few minutes until defrosted and bright green.
– Add the prawns.
– Add the creme fraiche and parsley and cook until heated through and just bubbling.
– Add salt and pepper to taste, I find the salmon doesn’t usually need any additional salt but a dash of freshly ground black pepper does wonders!
– Your pasta should be done by now so drain it off and divide between your bowls.
– Top with sauce et voila, Dinner!

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Filed under Easy, Mains


I LOVE Yakitori!  But I often forget about how easy it is to prepare and how delicious it is to eat!  It’s a mainstay of Japanese food found on street stalls and izakaya menus across the country.  I have some absolutely perfect memories of eating Yakitori across Japan on my travels.


It’s usually served as a snack, side dish or a dish amongst many but you can make it as a main in its own right.  I had it with a bowl of rice and some gyoza here.  It’s a brilliant option for BBQs as something a little different and makes a great canape option too.


One of the great things about Yakitori is that you don’t need to marinate the meat.  You just make the sauce and brush it on as you cook it.  You could even make the sauce in advance (and soak your skewers) then it’s simply a matter of 10 minutes on the  grill!



Makes 6 skewers (serves 2 as a main)

2 chicken breasts, sliced lengthways into strips (or chunks, whatever you prefer!)
1/2 cup mirin
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup granulated sugar

– Place your mirin, soy sauce and sugar in a small pan and bring to a boil.  Allow to simmer for about 10 minutes on a low head but don’t let it get too hot or you will end up with salty toffee!
– Once the sauce is reduced and thickened (about the consistency of double cream) remove it from the heat.
– Reserve a little of your sauce for dipping once cooked
– Thread your chicken onto presoaked bamboo skewers.
– I like to give the chicken a quick coating of sauce before placing on the grill.
– Then put them on the grill and brush every minute or two with sauce.
– Give one final coating just before you serve for a glossy, sticky finish.
– Serve however you wish!


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Filed under Canapés, Dairy Free, Easy, Japanese, Low Fat, Mains, Sides

Slightly healthier brownies! 

I have been playing around recently with trying out some natural sugar alternatives.  I’m not giving up sugar, no siree! However, I did come back from Canada with half a suitcase of maple syrup so I’m having a lot of fun finding new ways to use it and any health benefits are purely coincidental!

Maple Syrup Brownies

I found it really interesting how it affected the texture of the brownies.  Unsurprisingly without the solid sugar crystals there is no trace of the granular sugar feeling, it is a smooth, fudgey texture.  You still get the same chocolatey intensity though!  They also cooked more quickly I think.  All in all I feel that it was a very successful experiment.  I kept to just plain chocolate this time for a true base reading (I’m all about the science!) but I think it would take on any combination of flavours you wanted it to!  As ever with my brownies you can make these gluten free simply by substituting the flour for ground almonds.

Maple Syrup Brownies

Makes 12

200g unsalted butter
200g plain chocolate
3 large eggs
150g maple syrup
100g plain flour (or ground almonds)
40g cocoa powder

– Heat the oven to gas mark 5/190C and line a 7″ x 11″ brownie tin with baking paper.
– Melt the butter and the chocolate together then leave to cool a little. (Short sharp bursts in the microwave, stirring in between or slowly in a bowl over a pan of boiling water.)
– In a large jug mix the 3 eggs and the syrup until well combined.
– Add the chocolate mixture to the egg mixture, whisking constantly as you go.  (Make sure the chocolate isn’t too hot or you could cook your eggs!)
– Add the flour (or almonds) and cocoa powder and fold into the chocolate mixture.
– Pour into the prepared tin and level the surface.
– Bake for 30 minutes until just set in the centre.
– Allow to cool in the tray before slicing and serving.


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Filed under Easy, Gluten Free, Teatime Treats

Days Out: Kinder Scout

In a fit of enthusiasm guided by little common sense I decided to head off last weekend to Derbyshire and hike Kinder Scout.  I’m not 100% certain what made this sound like such a good idea but I was seized by the notion and as the weather was predicted to be very good off I went!

Kinder Scout

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Filed under Days Out, Not Food

Mini Egg Flapjack

First off, let’s get one thing clear: There is no such thing as “Leftover Easter Eggs”.  There are simply Easter eggs you haven’t eaten yet.  All recipes that imply otherwise, as if you would accidentally forget about all of that chocolatey goodness waiting for you, annoy me.  However, in the spirit of being adventurous in your chocolate consumption I came up with these Mini Egg Flapjacks to take on my Easter Weekend Hike up Kinder Scout.  A good flapjack is hard to beat for giving you an energy boost and the Easter holiday was to good  an opportunity to pass up! Mini Egg Flapjack Makes 16 bars 100g butter 75g golden caster sugar 3 tbsp maple syrup 200g oats 50g rice crispies 50g plain flour 100g whole hazelnuts 50g chocolate Chips 90g Mini Eggs (1 bag), lightly bashed – Heat the oven to gas mark 4 * and line a brownie tin with baking paper. – Melt the butter, sugar and syrup together in a small pan until just melted and bubbling.  Don’t over boil unless you want hard, crunchy flapjack! – In a large mixing bowl combine the oats, rice crispies, flour and hazelnuts. – Stir the melted butter into tthe dry ingredients until no flour is left visible. – Add the chocolate chips and stir through the mixture. – Tip into the prepared baking tray and spread the mixture out evenly. – Scatter over the mini eggs and press the mixture down firmly to give an even surface. – Place in the oven and bake for 25 minutes until just golden brown. – Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the tin  for 10 minutes before lifting out the paper and slicing into bars. – Return to the tin to cool completely. Mini Egg Flapjack

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Filed under Easy, Teatime Treats

Happy Easter!

 Happy Easter from Darcy and Anna!

We hope the Easter Bunny was generous this year! 

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Filed under Uncategorized