Vegetable Noodle Bowl


Delicious light soupy supper.

Fry thinly sliced broccoli, 1 garlic clove, sliced baby corn, and sliced red peppers in a tablespoon of light vegetable oil and a splash of sesame oil. After about 1 minute add a litre of vegetable stock and a level tablespoon of chilli flakes.

Bring to boil and add Chinese noodles- I used dehydrated noodles. Cook according to packet instructions, add a large handful of roasted salted cashews. Before serving top with fresh diced spring onion. I would have added coriander also if I had any.

Serve with soy sauce and sweet chilli to taste.

This takes 10 minutes or less to make. Great midweek supper.

B-G’s de-chillied version was also a huge hit.


Coq Au Riesling


This is a bit of a household favourite for a quick and easy meal. Unlike the more well-known Coq au vin which uses red wine, this uses Riesling. I tend to find using a whole bottle of white wine as prescribed is just a bit overwhelming so I cook the chicken in chicken stock and 180 ml of white wine instead.

I fry sliced onions, 2 cloves of garlic and diced celery in a bit of olive oil and butter.Then add a packet of pancetta cubes, diced carrots, and a box of button mushrooms. I then brown chicken thighs and drumsticks.


When this has all been gently cooking for 7-9 minutes or so I add a litre of chicken stock, the white wine, put on a lid and simmer gently until all cooked through. Once cooked I turn off the heat and let the dish cool. The flavours are better if it is made the day before or several hours before eating. When we are ready for dinner I heat it through, add two tablespoons of sour cream and serve with flat noodles and broccoli.

B-G really does not ‘do’ cooked carrots so he gets a rather more streamlined version.


This is just delicious and a bit of a hit (even without the carrots.)

French Family Food – an experiment Part 2


Avocado and tomato salad


Spicy prawn pasta


crackers, apples and cheddar


Caesar salad with anchovies and parmesan


Baked pork with grilled tomatos and peppers and pesto sauce (Pesto mixed with a little creme fraiche).


H-G and I had parmesan in the entree and so we skipped the cheese for the fruit and cheese course.

I made us a three course meal several times over a few weeks. In the end we decided we could not sustain it as a daily event, as I found it simply too labour-intensive thinking of 3 courses daily. Certainly at the weekends, or when we are less time-pressured we will make a point of eating multiple courses, but for every day we went back to our regular one course dinner. However we are definitely sticking with eating together at the dining room table. I have bought a lovely new table cloth, and set the table up daily with candles and flowers. It is a simple thing, but makes me very happy.


*** I am thinking that we will keep the fruit course as a pudding. We hardly eat puddings, but an extra serve of fruit is not going to hurt anyone.

French Family Food – an experiment Part 1

Naturally,being a food obsessive, I love reading other blogs and gaining an insight into other worlds of food.  I was recently involved in a discussion with friends where we talked about the different types of lunch that school children enjoy around the world. That led me to the article

In the rather meandering way that I pootle around the net I then came across this blog and was riveted.

The whole concept of what are apparently typical school lunches in France fascinated me. Raw vegetables, a main,a cheese course and fresh fruit. I am on an endless quest  to get real, nourishing food down B-G and so with H-G’s eager acquiescence I decided that for a week we would experiment with eating in a prescribed ‘French Family Way’. We would enjoy a raw veg starter; a main with veg on the side, cheese and fresh fruit as a pudding. We would eat together at the table as a family with water to drink and candles. Dinner would be a slow, relaxed, family affair. No matter how busy our days had been, our family meal would be a punctuation in the day. As a starting point though our portion sizes had to be drastically curtailed as there was simply no way we could eat 3 courses daily otherwise. For our Monday main course of chicken paprika for the three of us I would usually cook 2 and a half chicken breasts. This time I cooked 1 chicken breast in total and that made three meals comfortably.




Starter – tomatoes with cucumber yoghurt sauce.


Main- Chicken and red pepper paprika with rice


Cheese course and dessert -1 small triangle Camembert with sliced apple.


B-G ate the tomatoes and dabbed at the sauce. He ate the all the rice,some of the chicken and left the peppers.He ate his apple, nibbled at his Camembert and ate his small sliver of cheddar that I had put on his plate. I was exceptionally pleased with this, as he is usually quite conservative in his approach to food, and the attempt at the Camembert in particular pleased me hugely. We usually eat a single meal each evening, with the occasional pudding of fruit and yoghurt. While we do eat at the table a few times a week-mostly at the weekends it has to be said- B-G initially found it hard sitting at the table for what ended up being a solid 45 minutes rather than the 20 or so minutes we are used to. However by the cheese and fruit course he had relaxed and had started to volunteer snippets about his school day and his teachers.


Starter – raw mushroom and lettuce salad with vinaigrette.(B-G had a honey mayonnaise dressing).


Main – tagliatelle with prawns, chilli and fresh cherry tomatoes


Cheese course and dessert -apples and camembert / cheddar.


B-G was horrified at the raw mushrooms. It is more usually one of the ‘hidden vegetables’ that I have become used to sneaking into his food. He tried one bite.

We then ate our main course and B-G wolfed it down. This was delicious. I just gently heat a cup of olive oil, add prawns, one crushed garlic clove and a tablespoon of dried chillis. B-G had his version without the chillis. Just before serving I stir through diced raw cherry tomatoes.

One of the cats was also keen to partake in the cheese.



Starter – radish and cucumber salad

Main- Salmon fillet baked with pesto, potatos and peas

Dessert – Vanilla ice cream

This radish salad is one of my all-time favourites. I just slice radishes, a spring onion and mix with sour cream a little bit of salt and black pepper. Today I also added cucumber just because. This is perfect on a very heavy dark Eastern European bread. Delicious.


The salmon fillet is easy, but tastes amazing. I just dollop a bit of pesto (from a jar) onto the raw fillet, wrap in foil and bake at 180 degrees celsius for 18 minutes. With buttered boiled potatos and peas this makes a gorgeous mid-week meal.


B-G got a mid-week treat of vanilla ice cream while H-G and I again had apples and a sliver of cheese. It is only Day 3 and already B-G is learning to relax over his meal and that the aim is not to wolf it all down in 15 minutes flat before racing upstairs to watch The Simpsons.  Result!

[…. see Part 2 next week…..]



Shalfleet is one of our favourite villages on the Island, and The New Inn,  it’s pub is one of our favourite pubs. We went there this week just for a lazy mid-week treat.




Shared a smoked mackerel pate starter with homemade piccalilli.


Then steak with red peppercorn sauce and a wild mushroom risotto



Then a wander around the church and churchyard. On a foggy and wintry day it was very atmospheric and I hoped there might be ghosts…… it certainly felt very ghosty!!

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The inside of the church is austere and lovely.

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Slow Saturday


The day started with an early morning dog-walk around our little town.


I then made up a strawberry compote using frozen strawberries. I use alot of frozen fruit,particularly in winter when berries come from who-knows-where and are exceptionally expensive. Most often I cook up the frozen fruit with a little bit of butter, some water and a teaspoon of sugar. This is then used in porridge, with Greek yoghurt and honey or just hot and with ice cream.


We had a light supper of Oeuf en cocotte (eggs baked in the oven) and toast. H-G had his with spinach and B-G and I had ours plain.


Following a relatively light meal I thought we were justified in having a pudding. Meringue nests with strawberry compote and fresh cream.


Happy Weekend everyone!