Snacks – or The One Where Egusta Tries to Eat More Healthily

bagel with honey, apple and pumpkin seeds.

Toast with tomatoes, olive oil, green olive, pumpkin seeds and fresh basil from my garden.

Baba Ganoush and corn chips. I cannot tolerate aubergine in any other form, but baba ghanoush for some reason- must be the added sesame, lemony, garlicky goodness!

The Baba Ganoush was from the Sabra brand, bought on a rare trip to Sainsbury’s. (I am a committed Aldi woman). However I can see a return trip, purely to stock up on these delicious dips.Just too good.–Tahini-Dip/250780011?dnr=y


Smoked mackerel pate


I am feeling in a lazy and self-indulgent mood today so made smoked mackerel pate with melba toast and a crunchy peppery green salad. The recipe is basically from Nigella Lawson’s ‘Express’ cookbook, but she has it as smoked trout pate. Baby-Gusto calls Nigella; ‘Mama Gella’. That is how his toddler head first understood Nigella to be. I did however include 200 gm of light cream cheese instead of the 50 gm Nigella recommends and also added a large knob of melted butter so the thing would set in the fridge.

I skinned and flaked two smoked mackerel fillets. Added 200 gm cream cheese, the juice of half a lemon, a tablespoon of creamed horseradish, 2 tablespoons of olive oil, a little bit of water to loosen and lots of cracked black pepper. I blended, added melted butter (about 2 tablespoons worth) then chilled in the fridge for several hours. I served this with toast and a mixed green salad made up of baby rocket and watercress leaves. The most difficult thing about making this pate is washing up afterwards

I also do this with a poached salmon fillet, and if having dinner parties line ramekins with smoked salmon before pouring in the mixture. In order to set though you need quite alot of melted butter. Husband-Gusto finds the addition of smoked salmon in the ramekins too rich for his taste so for him I slice cucumber very very thinly, lightly salt it and use that for lining the ramekins.

Baby-Gusto, my budding food blogger took this photo of his dinner. Bacon and egg pasta with sweet corn on the side.


Finally- it appears that summer is well and truly over and winter is on it’s way. This photo was taken mid-morning out of our bedroom window earlier this week.


Red Pepper and Walnut pesto


I have started asking Baby-Gusto to look through my cookbooks and to choose what he would like for dinner in an attempt to get him interested in food and cooking.  So far this week we have had BBQ tofu skewers and mushroom pot pies. Today he chose spaghetti with ‘red sauce’. The sauce in question was a red pepper pesto. I adapted it to our tastes and omitted the parmesan cheese. Simply take a jar of marinated sweet red roasted peppers. Blend with half a cup of olive oil, a fresh raw garlic clove, a teaspoon of salt and 200 grams of walnuts. I also added a quick squitz of maple syrup (about two teaspoons) as the red peppers I chose were marinated in brine. Blend until smooth and leave for several hours for the flavours to develop. This was great with spaghetti but in the subsequent days I also used it as a delicious sandwich spread or lavishly smeared over crusty white bread with olives. Mmmmmm….. simple, so so so good.




Everybody has their own recipe for hummus. This is my super simple version.

1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed

3 raw garlic cloves

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cumin

1 large tablespoon tahini

1 cup good quality olive oil.

Blend all ingredients, adding a little bit of water if the mixture is too dry.

Pour into a bowl, sprinkle with sumac or paprika.

Perfect for eating with homemade roasted vegetables and hot crusty rolls.


and perfect for eating with a kitty companion.


Roasted pumpkin and coconut soup


A delicious, warming, and lightly spiced soup. Perfect for a cold autumn day.


1 large butternut squash or pumpkin diced into large chunks

2 medium onions diced

2 garlic cloves

3 sticks celery diced

2-3 large carrots diced

olive oil

2 litres vegetable stock

1 tablespoon all spice

1 tablespoon chilli flakes

1 tin coconut milk

Heat oven to 220 degrees celsius. Place diced pumpkin into a roasting dish and drizzle with olive oil. Scatter the allspice and the chilli over the oil and roast for about 40 minutes.

While the pumpkin is roasting, add oil to a saucepan, and the diced onions, celery, garlic and carrots. Sweat the vegetables on a low heat for 10 minutes before adding vegetable stock and cooking on a low simmer.

Add the pumpkin and simmer again for about 30 minutes. Add the tin of coconut milk and turn off the heat. When cool blend the soup until it it smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste.

I ate this with toast topped with grilled artichoke puree. Delicious. Grilled artichoke puree is my current favourite toast topper. I just pop a jar of chargrilled artichokes in oil into the blender, add a clove of garlic, pepper and a smidgeon of salt and blitz. This keeps for a good week in the fridge and is utterly scrumptious. I find it has been replacing my usual favourite of mashed avocado on toast as decent avocados are becoming more difficult to find.