Tomato tart

We have had a rather trying week, and I felt in need of food that was super easy and quick to cook but which was tasty and oh-so-good to eat.  It may be the way I was brought up, where my parents would hold wonderful dinner parties that always seemed to feature beef wellington and vol-au-vents (It was the 80s after all!) but pastry to me always has a sense of something special about it. I rarely use pastry in my everyday cooking, but after tonight’s ridculously easy supper I think I have to make ready made jus roll a more regular addition to the shopping list.

I spread out the puff pastry and cut into squares. This I smeared with a good dollop of basil pesto and sliced tomatos. Baked in a hot oven (220 degrees celsius) until it looked cooked- about 18 minutes. The leftover pastry was used to make B-G jam tarts for breakfast the next day. Served with broccoli and corn and my favourite beetroot salad which is just diced cooked beetroot mixed with crushed garlic, spring onions and sour cream.

Good, easy and an excellent way to get more vegetables into a recalcitrant 6 year old. What’s not to love?


Asparagus and butternut squash frittata

This was a very successful ‘clean out the fridge’ recipe. We had leftover butternut squash, asparagus, a single tablespoon of sour cream and some rapidly ageing eggs.

I thinly sliced the butter nut squash and put in salted boiling water for 5 minutes. Then I added the asparagus and boiled for a further five minutes. In the meantime I beat 5 eggs, added the tablespoon of sour cream and mixed well. I oiled an oven-proof dish with olive oil. When the vegetables were cooked I placed them into the dish, layered grated cheese on the top then poured in the egg mixture. This was all put into a pre-heated oven (200 degrees celsius) and cooked for about 20 minutes. I always have to turn the dish half way through as my oven does not heat evenly. It is cooked when a knife inserted into the middle reveals that the eggs are no longer runny.

We served this with a salad leaves and some sweet corn. It was a light and delicious supper. Leftovers the next morning eaten cold for breakfast were even better.

Despite the forecasts, it was a beautiful sunny spring day. My peppers are growing nicely in their pots.

The Good Life- potatoes and peppers

I confess to a secret dream- that of living a bucolic life in a garden filled with flowers, herbs, my own vegetable plots and rescued former battery hens. We have a smallish space in our backyard that is mostly given over to lawn. H-G has a few fruit trees that are about to be planted, and a few years back we planted an English walnut sapling to take the place of a beautiful yet sadly deceased horse chestnut. But what I dream of are rows and rows of vegetables, fruits, and definitely my own chickens providing me with our own eggs.

This year I am determined to at least make some effort towards this dream and so today I planted some seed potatos and green and red peppers. Here they are before planting. We have had a difficult week with illness and stress and some gentle planting in the early spring afternoon sunshine was the best sort of medicine.


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.)