Category Archives: Easy

Japanese Simmered Pumpkin (Kabocha no nimono)

1/2 Japanese pumpkin (kabocha)

3 tbsp sugar

1/2 tsp salt

2 tbsp mirin

1 tbsp soy sauce

– Deseed the pumpkin and roughly peel (leave some bits of peel there). Chop into large chunks.

– Place skin side down in a large pan and just cover with water. Bring to a boil.

– Add the sugar and salt and simmer on a low heat until the liquid is half reduced.

– Add the mirin and soy sauce and continue to simmer until the liquid is reduced in half again.

– Either serve warm or leave to cool completely.

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Filed under Dairy Free, Easy, Japanese, Mains, Sides

Japanese Egg Salad Sandwich

From time to time I find myself craving the food I had in Japan. Sometimes it’s the simplest of things, like this Japanese egg salad sandwich. Because even though you’d think there isn’t much wiggle room in how to make egg salad you’d be amazed what a difference a few little tweaks make. I think the biggest difference is that the egg is mashed, not chopped and the mayonnaise must by kewpie for a truly authentic taste. The pinch of salt adds that little je ne sais quoi that makes this run of the mill sandwich spectacularly moreish!

For one sandwich:

2 hard boiled eggs

2tbsp kewpie Japanese mayonnaise

Pinch of salt

Soft salted butter

Two slices white bread

– Put the eggs, mayonnaise and salt in a bowl and mash with a fork until there are no large chunks. You could even use a food processor to get it even smoother (some conbini do) but I prefer a little texture.

– Spread the bread with butter and add the egg mix. This should be a well filled sandwich! (Though factors such as egg size and bread size will affect it, you may find this makes two less well filed sandwiches if using smaller bread.)

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Filed under Basic, Easy, Japanese, quick

Japanese Potato Salad

You will need Japanese Kewpie mayonnaise for this to taste right but it’s easy to get hold of, either a local Asian supermarket or Amazon will sort you out! I would also advise the chunkiest ham you can get, either go for trimmings or bake a ham joint and use some in this.

2 large floury potatoes

1/2 small tin Sweetcorn, drained

100g ham, chopped

1/2 medium carrot, julienned

1” cucumber, very finely sliced

6 tbsp kewpie mayonnaise

Pinch of salt

– Peel and chop up your potatoes and boil in a large pan of salted water for 20 minutes. Drain and return to the pan, let them air dry for 5 minutes.

– Mash the potatoes until smooth.

– Add your other ingredients and give a good stir through. Eyeball it, if you feel you want different proportions go for it! Alter it to your taste.

– Voila! It’s a Japanese Potato salad!

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Filed under Easy, Japanese, Sides

Childhood Risotto

Thus named because this is the risotto that we had throughout my childhood in the week following a roast chicken dinner as a good way to use up leftovers… it still is!

Serves 4

3 tbsp olive oil
25g butter
2 cloves garlic, crushed
250g arborio rice
150ml white wine

700ml hot chicken stock (make it from the roast chicken carcass if possible)

Leftover cooked chicken (I use the two thighs)

~8 mushrooms, quartered

1 cup frozen peas

100g cold water prawns

1tbsp lemon juice
small knob of butter

– Heat the oven to gas mark 4/180°C.
– Melt the butter, with the olive oil, in a large, deep casserole dish with a lid until just bubbling and foaming.
– Add the garlic and cook on a medium heat for 1 minute.
– Add the rice and cook for about 1 minute, stiring well.
– Add the wine and cook, stiring until the liquid is absorbed.
– Add the hot chicken stock and stir.

– Add the clocked chicken, frozen peas, mushrooms and prawns and give a good stir.

– Add the lemon juice and stir.
– Put the lid on and put the casserole dish and out it in the oven for 35 minutes.

– Remove from the oven give it a good stir and check the rice is to your taste, if it is too al dente (hard) then put it back in for another 5 minutes.

– Add the knob of butter and leave to sit for 5 minutes to melt before storing through and serving.

When I was little I would add soy sauce to it but as I grew older I would add Parmesan and creme fraiche, follow your own taste buds

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Filed under Easy, Gluten Free, Mains

Chocolate Fudge Cake

Sometimes you need cake. Chocolate Cake. Special Cake. And sometimes you need two Very Special Mini Chocolate Cakes! 

One for you, one for a friend… Or something! Mini cake is always a good idea, right? 

Basic Cake Mix:

180g self raising flour

1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

1 pinch salt

40g cocoa powder

125g caster sugar

2 eggs

150ml olive oil

150ml milk

2 tbsp golden syrup

– Heat the oven to gas mark 4 and grease and line your chosen cake tins. 

– Sift the flour, bicarbonate, salt and cocoa into a large mixing bowl. 

– Mix the sugar and wet ingredients together in a large jug. 

– Stir the wet I to the dry and mix well until thoroughly combined. 

– Divide between your chosen cake tins. 

– Bake! 4″ tins should take around 25-30 minutes, 8″ sandwich tins around 30-40 minutes and if you want to bake it all as one huge cake (23cm springform) then you’re looking at about an hour. Check regularly and test to ale sure a skewer comes out clean before removing from the oven. 

Chocolate Fudge Icing: 

50g butter

200g icing sugar

45g cocoa powder

4 tablespoons milk

– Melt the butter in a medium saucepan. 

– Sift in the icing sugar and cocoa powder. 

– Add the milk and mix well until smooth. 

– Leave to cool and thicken before spreading on the cakes or pour over as a glaze. 

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Filed under Cakes, Easy

Cinnamon Scone Cake

This Cinnamon Scone Cake was actually the first of the Giant Scone Cakes. I had the idea of a cinnamon flavoured scone smothered in clotted cream and honey and I couldn’t rest until it had been created!



450g self raising flour

a pinch of salt

1/2 tsp baking powder

100g butter, softened

1 1/2 tbsp caster sugar

1 tbsp ground cinnamon

Just under 300ml milk with 1 tbsp lemon juice added* (or 300ml buttermilk)

2 tbsp brown sugar + 1 tsp cinnamon

50g icing sugar + cold water

– Heat the oven to gas mark 5 /180C and line a baking tray. 

– In a large mixing bowl mix the flour, salt and baking powder. 

– Rub the butter into the flour mix until it resembles coarse breadcrumbs. 

– Add the sugar and cinnamon and stir lightly. 

-Mix in the milk quickly and thoroughly but be careful not to over mix the dough. 

– Trn the dough out onto the baking tray and use floured hands to shape into a round. 

– Slice though the dough to to the number of sections you want. 

– Brush the top with a little milk and a sprinkle of brown sugar and cinnamon. 

– Bake for ~30 minutes until the sugar on top is caramelised and the scone cooked through. 

– Mix the icing sugar with just a little water then drizzle over the top. 

– Serve with clotted cream and honey. Plain butter is also delicious! 

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Filed under Cakes, Easy, quick, Teatime Treats

Korma Paste

This was one of the tastiest things I’ve cooked all year! I was so proud of how it turned out. My kitchen smelt amazing having been full of spices! I usually have a jar of supermarket curry paste tucked away for emergencies but I was feeling creative and I knew I could do better. 

It was actually a doddle to whip up and it gave me enough for two separate curries. Needless to say, the second portion wasn’t hanging around for long!


For the Korma paste:

2 tsp garlic purée 

1 tbsp ginger paste

½ teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 teaspoon garam masala

½ teaspoon sea salt

2 tablespoons oil

1 tablespoon tomato puree

2 fresh green chillies

3 tablespoons coconut powder

1 tsp dried coriander leaf

2 tsp ground coriander

2 tablespoons flaked almonds

2 teaspoons cumin seeds

For the Sauce:

2 chicken breasts, sliced

1 x 400g can coconut milk

1 tbsp corn flour slaked with a little water

– First you want to heat a large, heavy frying pan and lightly toast the flaked almonds and cumin seeds over a medium high heat until fragrant. 

– Then put all of the ingredients for the paste into a food processor/blender and pulse until you have a smooth paste. 

– To serve 4 add half of the paste to the large frying pan and heat on a medium high heat. 

– Add the chicken breasts and stir well. 

– Add the coconut milk and simmer on a low heat for 15minutes. 

– To thicken your sauce add the cornflour and stir well until thickened. Then remove from the heat. 

– Serve as a main meal or as part of a larger feast! (My Cumin Roasted Cauliflower and Red Lentil Daal go brilliantly with it.)

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Filed under Easy, Mains, Uncategorized

Giant Victoria Scone Cake

I love sitting in the garden in the summer surrounded by flowers with a big pot of tea and scones for tea! So what could be better than a Giant Victoria Scone Cake. One giant scone, sliced in half and filled with freshly whipped cream, homemade jam and berries from the garden. Yum! 

Makes 1x 9″ or 2x 7″ scone cakes

450g self raising flour

a pinch of salt

1/2 tsp baking powder

100g butter, softened

2 tbsp caster sugar

Just under 300ml milk with 1 tbsp lemon juice added or 300ml buttermilk

– Heat the oven to gas mark 7 and line a large baking tray. 

– If using milk and lemon juice, combine in a jug now and let it sit for a bit. 

– Place the flour, salt and baking powder in a large mixing bowl and give a quick stir to combine. 

– Add the butter and use your fingers to rub it in until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. 

– Add the milk and mix until all the flour is incorporated. Try not to mix too much, a light hand gives a better scone. 

– Tuen out the dough directly on to your lined baking tray. Scrape down the sides for any spare dough as this mix should be quite sticky. 

– Flour your hands well and lightly pat the dough into a round cake. 

– Brush the top with milk. 

– Bake for 25 minutes until firm and just browned. 

– Leave to cool almost completely before splitting in half and spreading with jam. Fill with whipped cream and fresh berries. Dust with icing sugar and enjoy! 

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Filed under Cakes, Easy, Teatime Treats

Gnocchi with Wild Garlic and Cream Sauce

If you’re quick you may just get to the last of the wild garlic in a shady spot.  The distinctive smell should guide you!

Gnocchi with Wild Garlic and Cream Sauce

This is a quick easy supper that takes advantage of the wild food available for such a short season. Although, I admit, I grow some ‘wild’ garlic in a container in my garden for convenience and I always find gnocchi very satisfying after a long day in the garden!

Gnocchi with Wild Garlic and Cream Sauce

Serves 2

1 pack gnocchi (I use giant gnocchi here but regular ones work just as well)
200ml double cream
2 tbsp green pesto
a good handful of wild garlic leaves, washed and slices into ribbons
4 tbsp* freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano *at least

  • Cook the gnocchi according to the packet instructions.
  • Gently heat the cream and pesto in a small saucepan.  Do not allow it to boil.
  • Add the garlic leaves and Parmigiano Reggiano and make sure it’s piping hot through.
  • Pour the sauce over the gnocchi in bowls.
  • Excellent with some crusty bread and a crisp Riesling after a long day in the garden!

 

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Filed under Easy, Mains, quick

Farmhouse Butter Biscuits

A lovely simple biscuit, quick and easy to work with and it gives a delightfully crisp buttery biscuit.  Nothing fancy at all, as simple and wholesome as a biscuit can get! These biscuits remind me of some I had as a child at a farmhouse on the way to the lake district. There were no such things as hygiene certificates then, this was literally the farmer’s wife selling tea and biscuits in her kitchen and they were some of the best I’ve ever had!

Makes 18 biscuits

125g butter, softened
70g golden caster sugar (Plus a few tsp extra for sprinkling)
1 egg yolk
160g plain flour
small pinch of salt

  • Heat the oven to gas mark 5 and prepare two baking trays with baking paper.
  • Cream together the butter and the sugar in a small mixing bowl.
  • Add the egg yolk and beat well to combine.
  • Add the flour and the salt (if your flour is at all lumpy do sift it in as it will mix easier).
  • Bring all the ingredients together into a soft dough.  It can help to use your hand to get it all together in the last bit.
  • Pinch off small walnut sized balls of dough and roll them in your palms to shape into rounds.
  • Place on the baking tray and use the heel of your palm to squish them flat.
  • Sprinkle the tops with the extra sugar.
  • Bake for 10 minutes until the edges are just starting to colour.
  • Remove from the oven and allow to sit on the tray for 5 minutes before trying to move them as they will break otherwise.
  • Allow to cook on a wire rack.
  • Put on a pot of tea and enjoy!

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Filed under Cookies and Biscuits, Easy, quick