Easy supper

It’s a week night. It is cold, damp and grey. (In England. Who would have thought…..). I was coming down with a cold that would worsen with a vengeance overnight and see me at home the next day. My energy was AWOL and so H-G was tasked with heading to the Deli counter at the market and purchasing something nourishing, something delicious and something ever so slightly indulgent.

All I had to do was set the table and pick out my preferred tableware.

I went for my fun melamine healthy eating plates. These plates are meant to be a guide to portion control and I love using them (if not necessarily adhering to their template). I tipped out gorgeously coloured little packs of Greek salad and beetroot, apple and yoghurt salad.

Then added the meat and starch.

Maybe a little too much starch in the form of chunky chips … but beef patties, chips, salads and English mustard….. easy. No fuss. Popular with all the family (vegetable patties were the order of the day for the vegetarians amongst us).

Less than an hour later the entire household was in bed…. while the wind howled outside and the creeping cold crept upon us.

Winter is here.

Cowes Week Day 4. The Waterside.


Lunch today was good old pub grub at The Waterside. This was good value for money. The food was tasty, serviceable. Did the job. Not great food I would say, but decent, filling and the portions were ridiculously large.

Children’s fish fingers, served with beans or chips, or peas or potato faces. £4.50 including  a free drink.


Beans and Chips. £3.29.


Beer and Burger meal deal. £6.29


Chips and gravy. £ 3.39


Mix and Match Fish cakes -smoked haddock; thai cod and prawn and salmon and dill fish cakes. £6.59


beer and Burger – vegetable burger. A tasty patty filled with carrots, potato, corn and peas. When loaded with mayo, sauce and salad this was very tasty indeed. £6.29


A local barbershop quartet serenaded the High Street.



‘Children’s Meals’ – Vegetable patties


I am not a big fan of the concept of ‘children’s meals’ as opposed to meals that everyone can eat, but B-G is being a vegetable-refuser lately. Unless it is baked beans or potatoes, it seems that a vegetable will not pass his lips… which is giving me the ‘opportunity’ [hmm] to experiment with a number of ways in which to get lovely vegetable goodness down him.

So today I made vegetable patties. I simply cooked potato, sweet potato, onions, celery and carrots and mashed them together when soft with butter and milk. I added a good handful of grated cheddar cheese, an egg to bind and let the mixture cool until quite firm in the refrigerator. Once cool I collected a handful of the mixture, shaped into patties, dipped again into egg and rolled in crushed cornflakes. The resulting patty was fried in vegetable oil and served with baked beans on the side.

B-G made a good attempt on it. The plate looks a little orange I’ll grant you!

Cashew Nut and Pumpkin Seed Burgers


My friend Paul has contributed this recipe. Paul has been near vegetarian for 25 years and has a variety of interesting and delicious recipes up his sleeve as a result. He first told me about this burger recipe one evening while several of us were unwinding in the pub over a pint or two, and his burgers sounded utterly delicious. He was very kind to lend me the recipe and we were delighted with the result, which was a lovely evening meal to end a Bank Holiday weekend. I first planned to have them a few weeks ago, but Husband-Gusto has been away and he was vociferous that as a confirmed cashew nut lover, he wanted to be around when I cooked this meal too.  With crusty rolls, fresh lettuce, tomato, mayo and gherkin, these burgers were luxurious and decadent. The texture was firm and ‘meaty’. I really think you could serve this to a confirmed carnivore and they would not miss the meat. This is a definite keeper. I could not improve on the clear instructions, so have cut and paste Paul’s recipe direct from my e-mail.


1 medium onion
2 large garlic cloves (or 4 small ones)
1 medium sized green pepper
2 mushrooms
100 g cashew nuts
25g pumpkin seeds
1 slice crusty wholemeal bread
1 green oxo or vegetable stock cube
1 egg
Pinch of mixed dried herbs.
Sea salt and pepper (or cayenne pepper) to taste.
Grape seed oil or other light oil for frying.
Chop or lightly blend the cashew nuts until large breadcrumb consistency.
Chop up the onion, garlic and green pepper and fry until soft.
Slice the musroom and add to the pan together with the pumpkin seeds and cashew nuts. reduce heat, stir, and fry gently until the mushrooms are cooked.
Remove from heat, drain of any excess oil and transfer contents to a mixing bowl.
Wipe the frying pan with kitchen towel for later use.
Add the green oxo or vegetable stock cube.
Add the pinch of mixed dried herbs
Blend the crusty bread into small breadcrumb consistency and add to bowl.
Add salt and pepper (or cayenne pepper) to taste
Add the egg.
Mix the ingredients well. The mixture is right if you can take a handful of the mixture and form a stable burgher shape between the palms of your hand. If too dry add a small splodge of milk, if too wet add more dry ingredients.
Form into burgher shapes and place in pan with more oil. Press down lightly on each burgher to make them flatter and fry gently on both sides until brown.

Sunday Burgers

In the past few years I have been very insistent on having a traditional Sunday roast on – wait for it- Sundays. I adore planning our weekly menus, and love to cook the full roast with trimmings. My usual go-to roast is my rosemary-lemon chicken, but I also often cook roast pork, as it is the special favourite of H-Gusto.

The vague plan for last Sunday was to cook roast duck. The Co-op have been selling whole ducks and duck legs lately, and I have bought a stash for my freezer, as I know from experience that what is being sold today may not be available tomorrow. However, H-G spent the day on the water, and Baby Gusto and I spent the vast majority of the day wandering around Northwood House and Park playing on the swings and the new seesaw, and by the time I got home again, had made lunch and B-Gusto had had his nap I really- frankly- could not be bothered faffing around with ducks, and hot ovens, and potato dauphinoise.

The Co-op have also recently been selling Venison Burgers. On Thursday I had bought 3 packs. Late afternoon I decided that today was the day to bring them out.

No burger is truly complete without picked gherkins. So, we had an almost embarrassingly  simple supper. Venison burgers. Burger buns. Mustard mayonnaise, sliced iceberg lettuce and tomatos. I could not be bothered to make chips either- homemade or frozen, so we had corn on the side. Plus wine. By no stretch of the imagination was this a great dish, although the venison burgers were really lovely.   They tasted fresh, not too gamey, and despite being grilled for approximately 3 minutes longer than desirable, were moist and tender. B-Gusto tucked in with- dare I say it- gusto.