14th February 2016 Helen 4Comment

I’m a bit meh about Valentine’s Day. It’s all very nice and that but – maybe a bit like I find the ‘in your face’ sexiness of Fifty Shades oh-so-unsexy, I’m less than excited about the slightly embarrassing obviousness of it. That said I have had some truly memorable Valentine’s encounters.  There were, of course, many years of telling childish fibs about stacks of cards that had never actually arrived.   In my late teens I had the Dawson’s Creek style overly-elaborate, rose-filled Valentine’s that only a (well-intentioned) teenage boyfriend could have thought was a great idea.  In my twenties I traveled with a…

3rd February 2016 Helen 5Comment

This really simple vegetable dish is what it is: Greens & Beans with Garlic & Basil Dressing. It was knocked up in a bit of a rush the other night making it up as I went. It’s a mix of those lovely flavours that just go brilliantly together plus one of those cans of beans that I buy to feel all good and green but which often lingers in the back of the cupboard feeling terribly unloved. This went down a storm as a side dish with some pasta. It would go equally well with fish and boiled new potatoes; or using a crusty bread to…

Greens and Beans with Garlic & Basil Dressing
Print Recipe
A quick and good looking vegetable dish. Perfect with pasta or fish and easy to split between two meals.
Servings Prep Time
2 People 10 Minutes
Cook Time
10 Minutes
Servings Prep Time
2 People 10 Minutes
Cook Time
10 Minutes
Greens and Beans with Garlic & Basil Dressing
Print Recipe
A quick and good looking vegetable dish. Perfect with pasta or fish and easy to split between two meals.
Servings Prep Time
2 People 10 Minutes
Cook Time
10 Minutes
Servings Prep Time
2 People 10 Minutes
Cook Time
10 Minutes
Ingredients
Servings: People
Instructions
  1. Rinse the courgettes and chop off either end. Cut into long strips with a knife or (even easier) with a potatoe peeler. Prepare the asparagus by chopping off the bottom end and rinsing.
  2. Heat a skillet (or normal pan) with 1 tbsp olive oil to medium high heat.
  3. Season the courgettes and cook, tossing lightly, for about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and place in a serving dish.
  4. Add the asparagus spears to the pan ( there should be no need for more oil unless the pan is very dry). Cook for about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and place in the dish with the courgettes.
  5. Add the drained beans to the dish and gently mix to combine.
  6. Using a pestle and mortar - or just mixing in a bowl, blend two good tablespoons of oil, the basil, a sprinkling of salt, the lemon juice and the crushed garlic cloves. Drizzle over the vegetables and mix lightly.
  7. Serve up and enjoy.
Share this Recipe
Powered byWP Ultimate Recipe
31st January 2016 Helen

In my teens, every Saturday morning my mum would make up a large pot of soup that we’d all dip into as we came and went during the day.  Though she made her soups from scratch, I have particularly fond memories of Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom and Cream of Chicken soups which must have featured as a treat.  This Cream of Mushroom soup knocks the socks off anything shop-bought though and has the added advantages of having very little cream in it and also working as a sauce for a pasta bake (recipe coming during the week). This is a bit…

Cream of Mushroom Soup - served up with crusty bread rolls
Print Recipe
A lovely creamy mushroom soup that's fast and easy to make and can double up as a sauce for a pasta bake.
Servings Prep Time
6 people 5 minutes
Cook Time
25 minutes
Servings Prep Time
6 people 5 minutes
Cook Time
25 minutes
Cream of Mushroom Soup - served up with crusty bread rolls
Print Recipe
A lovely creamy mushroom soup that's fast and easy to make and can double up as a sauce for a pasta bake.
Servings Prep Time
6 people 5 minutes
Cook Time
25 minutes
Servings Prep Time
6 people 5 minutes
Cook Time
25 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: people
Instructions
  1. Rinse and chop the mushrooms and celery thinly.
  2. On a medium heat, melt the butter and add the vegetables. Cook for five minutes stirring as needed.
  3. Add the flour, two or three shakes of tabasco sauce (more or less can be added later to taste) and cook for a further five minutes stirring frequently. If the floury mix starts to stick add a small amount of water.
  4. Add the stock, stir well and leave to cook on a simmer for ten minutes.
  5. Add the cream and cheddar and stir to mix.
  6. Using the stick blender or liquidiser, blend to smooth. Season to taste and enjoy!
Recipe Notes

Your leftover soup can us used in a pasta bake (link to recipe follows as I make and photograph it!) This soup also freezes fabulously.

Share this Recipe
Powered byWP Ultimate Recipe
28th January 2016 Helen 12Comment

I love my food. I like eating it, talking about it, making it and thinking about it.  I look like a woman who loves her food. That’s ok with me. Ish. I’ve a good kitchen – perfect for making nice things. Cupboards full of good ingredients and three shelves of cookbooks.  I’ve also got cannelli beans that have reached the end of their five year shelf life and a family that have come to think of meat-free days as the exception rather than the rule. I’ve gadgets that rarely get used; kids that whinge about green stuff; and a toddler…

20th January 2016 Helen 13Comment

This year I turn forty.  I’m pretty sure I have no particularly strong feelings about forty – or at least I thought I didn’t until I felt the need to say that I don’t – so maybe I really do; or in fact I really don’t. I guess I’m undecided on that part – but humour me and read on. Most days I think of myself as relatively young.  In spite of my terminally wobbly belly, the mortgage, loud and large family, 7-seater car and steady job; in my head I’m still 26 – or maybe on a bad day, 31.   I’m not dashing into…

16th January 2016 Helen 3Comment

It was a year of restrained gift giving. The house moves had taught us that we already have lots of stuff – much of which wasn’t missed when packed. Also the toddler has no actual interest in toys- unless it’s Lego that can be shoved between wonky floor boards or a pony that can be swung by her sparkling pink mane. In an attempt to maintain that restraint – while holding out hope that the child would develop an interest in something that isn’t his mother, Santa brought a shiny red workbench with tools. The initial interest was low. There…