Sunday, 19 February 2017

Humble Hummus

Happy Sunday afternoon my fellow readers! I know my blog has been neglected for the past few months and I apologies for that. I have found myself caught up in life and (I will admit) pure laziness! I still find myself in the kitchen creating dishes, but finding it hard to sit down in front of my laptop to write up my recipes. I have been trying to make my own snacks as of late. Why? As we live in such a fast paced world we find ourselves snacking more and more. Making your own yummy snacks is a great way in knowing what you are putting in your body.

Hummus is primarily based of chickpeas, a legume that is both a vegetable and protein source. A great alternative for non meat eaters or those wanting to reduce their meat intake. Also, super cost efficient, on average a 400g tin costs 50p. Chickpeas are high in fiber, folate rich, a source of iron and contain more protein than eggs.
As winter is soon coming to an end (finally!) we want to make ourselves feel good so we can spring into action. Hummus is your 'go to' snack, as eating hummus with vegetables containing vitamin C such as red peppers will help boost your iron levels.

So here is a quick recipe for hummus, a great healthy snack that can be whizzed up in no time!

  • 1 tin drained chickpeas
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice- or more to taste
  • 3 tbsp rapeseed oil
  • 1 tbsp tahini paste
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • Sprinkle of cayenne- optional but I like the kick
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • Water- to loosen if required

Method: Whiz up in a food processor until it reaches the desired consistency. Personally I like it quite coarse in texture. Spoon into an air tight container/jar and store in fridge for up to 5 days.

Note: This recipe can easily be doubled, tripled...

To get all the essential amino acids serve with whole wheat pitta breads and a selection of veggies- great way to get in those 'five a day'.


Sunday, 11 December 2016

Smoked Salmon & Fennel Pappardelle

For those of you that got the pleasure of attending the BBC Good Food Show, you may have caught Mary Berry in the Supertheatre (sponsored by Aldi & Stoves).
What I love about Mary Berry's recipes is that they are easy to recreate at home, but they don't skimp on aroma, flavour and texture. The following recipe is straight forward yet full of bold flavours. With Christmas fast approaching and life being hectic, this is a great dish to bring the family together without having to spend hours tied to the kitchen stove.

Serves 4


  • 1 fennel bulb, trimmed, quartered and thinly sliced
  • 1 large banana shallot, halved length-ways and thinly sliced
  • 250g pappardelle pasta
  • 200g full fat creme fraiche
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 200g smoked salmon, roughly chopped
  • small bunch flat leaf parsley, chopped
  • small bunch dill, chopped

  1. Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil. Add the pappardelle and boil for 5 minutes. Then add the fennel and shallot, continue to boil for 5 minutes or according to packet instructions. When the pasta is al dente, drain, reserving 100ml of the pasta water,
  2. Spoon the creme fraiche into the pan the pasta was cooked in. Add the lemon juice and bring to the boil. stirring so it does not catch. Add the drained pappardelle, fennel and shallots, smoked salmon, parsley and dill. Toss over the heat for 2 minutes gradually adding pasta water to loosen the consistency- you may not need it all.
  3. Season well with pepper and a little salt.
This dish can be enjoyed with a bottle of 'La Altena Gavi di Gavi 2015'.

Monday, 21 November 2016

debbie&andrew's: Competition!

WIN! A sizzling sausage kit to celebrate debbie&andrew’s at the BBC Good Food Show Winter

NEC Birmingham, 24th/27th November 2016

There are some sizzling good reasons to visit the Winter BBC Good Food Show at the Birmingham NEC this year, especially if you are something of a sausaholic! debbie&andrew’s will be at the show cooking up their amazing wheat, gluten and dairy free sausages. There’ll be the chance to sample the newest and the best-loved recipes in the range from the original Harrogate 97% pork sausage to the new Christmas Garnish Selection.

Get into the festive spirit: Christmas Garnish Selection
Especially for the festive season, the ‘welly good’ sausage makers atdebbie&andrew’s have come up with a real cracker, a 24 piece Christmas selection of sausage delights that you simply bake and serve. For your delectation and delight, this selection includes Perfect Pork Cocktail
Sausages, Perfect Pork Bacon Wraps and Caramelised Red Onion Stuffing Balls.  It contains everyone’s party favourites in one and is designed to make Christmas entertaining easy and delicious, from sharing platters or simple finger food to making the most out of the Christmas roast.The best present of all is that every piece is gluten, wheat and dairy free, making catering for those on restricted diets even easier!

Even if you can’t get to the show, you don’t have to miss out on the sizzle! 
Win 1 of 5 sizzling sausage supper kits, worth £25.00. 
This includes a recipe book with debbie&andrew’s favourite sausage recipes, a cool bag and free sausage vouchers.  With the recipe book in hand and debbie&andrew’s delicious Perfect Pork, Perfect Cumberland or Harrogate 97% Pork sausages in the fridge, you’ll sail through the festive season!   To enter simply answer the question below:

Which place provides the inspiration for debbie&andrew’s 97% pork sausages?
a) Harrogate, b) Harwich or C) Harlow?

For more recipe ideas, product news or competitions, visit

Tuesday, 15 November 2016

Presse Release- BBC Good Food Show 2016

The BBC Good Food Show returns to the NEC to set visitors up for the perfect festive, foodie season. The Show presents a stellar line up of some of the UK’s top chefs – including The Hairy Bikers, Raymond Blanc, Tom Kerridge, Michel Roux Jr and cooking live together on stage, Paul Hollywood with Mary Berry!
The renowned Supertheatre, sponsored by Aldi, will also play host to sessions of Saturday Kitchen Live where visitors can see their favourite weekend cooking programme come to life at the NEC!
NEW for 2016 - meet the team behind Good Food Magazine on the BBC Good Food Stage, sponsored by Lakeland and hosted by Editor at Large Barney Desmazery, featuring a combination of celebrity interviews, recipe demos, top tips and inspiration for the festive season. Hear from chefs and experts including James Martin, Sophie Godwin, and enjoy Lakeland’s Clean Eating Masterclass with Stacie Stewart.
Food lovers can equally get stocked up and fully inspired for the season in the Winter Kitchen, sponsored by Magimix,  with inspirational seasonal recipes being created live and great tips and techniques on how to whip up their favourite Christmas dishes imparted by James Martin and Bake Off winner and broadcaster Nadiya Hussain. For a hands-on experience visitors can also get involved in the Magimix cookalongs with Lotte Duncan.
In between all of this fabulous cooking, visitors can enjoy the Taste of Ireland Sampling Theatre, experience Christmas at:Renshaw Academy by learning how to decorate their own master piece to take home or immerse themselves in The Great British Beer Experience.
The UK’s biggest Food Show brings visitors a unique shopping experience from over 500 exhibitors ranging from artisan and independent producers to household brands and the very best cookware and gadgets.  
For more information, interviews and competitions please contact  or call 0203 405 4286.
Details correct at time of print.
Register for press passes at:
The BBC Good Food Shows are organised and presented by River Street Events Ltd.
The GoodFood word mark and logo are trademarks of the British Broadcasting Corporation. Copyright 2015 British Broadcasting Corporation.

Sunday, 25 September 2016

Four Seasons

As seasons change so should our diets. Eating fruit and vegetables that are in season are full of flavour, of better value and would reduce negative impacts on the environment. However, eating seasonally has almost become a concept of the past. We live in a society where absolutely anything can be in our hands with just a click of a button. We face an ever growing population, a surge in obesity, an increased amount of ready meals being consumed and the unwillingness to cook. This makes me ask myself; “Who really cares whether it is in season or not?” Would it be out of the ordinary to have strawberries on the dinner table on Christmas day…? Let’s face it probably not. We have become out of touch with nature as supermarkets provide us with almost anything all year round. It is so easy to pick up tomatoes in January despite them being pale in colour and flavourless, yet we still buy them. But how much attention do we pay to the label that states “Grown in X”?  For the most of us, including me, we pay little or no attention at all.
This is where part of my love for foraging came about. I enjoy a leisurely stroll, and I am fortunate to have the Lickey Hills close by. In the past three years my knowledge of food, nature and the environment has grown- not as much as I desire. If we respect Mother Nature she will in kind fruitfully pay us back. There is nothing more satisfying than foraging for wild produce and turning your pickings into meals, pickles or preserves. As autumn is settling in blackberries are at their best; beautifully glossy, plump and full of flavour. They should be a staple ingredient to British cuisine. They add colour to our crumbles and are also perfect for homemade jam.

Foraged Blackberries & Bilberries

Spiced Blackberry & Apple Jam

Makes: 5 x 250g jars

  • Large heavy based saucepan
  • Sugar thermometer or probe


  • 1kg blackberries, washed in salt water, rinsed and drained 
  • 500g cooking apples, peeled, cored and sliced
  • 150ml water
  • 1 star anise & 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1.5kg jam sugar


  1. Place the blackberries, apples, water and spices into a pan, cook until soft
  2. Add sugar, stir until dissolved
  3. Bring gently up to the boil, boiling for  10-15 minutes, the jam should reach 102 degrees Celsius
  4. Check the jam has reached setting point by placing a tsp of jam on a cold plate and allow to cool. Push a finger through the jam, the surface will wrinkle if it has reached setting point
  5. Allow to cool slightly then pot and jam into sterilised jars and seal.

Spiced Blackberry & Apple Jam

This is an ideal gift to make for jam lovers this Christmas as it can be made ahead of time. The jam will keep unopened for at least a year and in the refrigerator (opened) for 6 months.
If you too would like to have a go at foraging, I highly recommend buying “The Thrifty Forager” by Alys Fowler.


Thursday, 8 September 2016

Celebration Cake

For those of you who know me well, you will know that I absolutely love baking! From cupcakes to brownies etc. But there is one friend out there that seems to know me very well indeed, as this friend asked me to make her wedding cake. When she first asked me I felt disbelief, yet honoured that she wanted to entrust me with one of the main components of her big day. After discussing the style of cake which her and her husband to be desired, I took the leap and said YES. Fortunately for me neither of them wanted a traditional wedding cake covered in fondant icing with decadent handmade flowers. So the research for a naked wedding cake began. The research consisted of looking through plenty of pretty cakes on Pinterest- making my mouth water in the process. And browsing the web and cookery books to find a suitable recipe. It was certain that the cake was to be decorated with plenty of seasonal berries and fresh flowers. I now needed to find a cake recipe that was simple enough to follow and produce a big enough and sturdy enough wedding cake. This is when I came across Frances Quinn’s "Summer's Day Wedding Cake". I am not certain how many times I read over this recipe prior to making it but let’s say it always seemed be open in my web browser. Approximately four months prior to the wedding I decided to produce a sample of the cake for Naomi, Ben and family to try. This is when adjustments to the recipe began in order to make it more “me” and to also cater to a large group of taste buds.
Adjustments made:
  1. The tiers to the cake were to contain less lemon zest due to using…
  2. Homemade lemon curd instead of shop bought- a lot more lemony and zingy!
  3. The stock syrup was not going to contain mint
  4. The cakes would be 30cm, 22cm and 14cm in diameter
  5. Two cakes would be made to form the top tier.

So I went ahead and made one with less lemon zest and homemade lemon curd to go between the layers along with the mascarpone. The practice run was a success, the cake mix was quick and easy, it baked evenly and a beautiful golden brown. Also as the cake recipe contains ground almonds in addition to flour it created a sturdy sponge along with keeping it moist due to the natural oils from the almonds. I am not going to lie, it definitely went down a treat and this was before adding the seasonal berries.

As the wedding day gradually approached I began to worry. I would sit in front of my computer screen simply staring at the cake recipe with butterflies dancing in my stomach. But I had to pull myself together and get organised. So I created myself a ‘to do’ list for the week leading up to the wedding day. This consisted of shopping, baking, lemon curd making, slicing, assembling and decorating. The fantastic thing about this cake recipe is that I was able to start baking tiers three days to prior due to the fact that it keeps perfectly fresh double wrapped in cling film and in an airtight container (extra precaution).
Top tip: If you are baking the cake in a traditional oven at home I would suggest that you bake each cake one at a time as this ensures an even bake. Due to the cake being naked you want each tier to be the same shade. This is a lengthy process as it requires a lot of waiting around however it is worth the final result.
Also the stock syrup could be made a few days ahead too. The lemon curd was made by my wonder woman Mum the day before the wedding. I felt like I could sit back, relax and put my feet up. Yet the worse part was to come- slicing each cake in half and mounting them to form one wedding cake. On the day of the wedding I rose early and got a strong cuppa in me to calm my nerves. It makes me laugh now that I felt so nervous but I wonder how Naomi and Ben were feeling at this point in time. I mean they were the ones getting married!

Top tip: To slice a cake in half you will need a ruler, toothpicks and a long sharp knife. First step is to trim off any cake from the top so that you have a flat even surface. Then measure the depth of the cake to find the halfway point, insert toothpicks at the halfway point around the cake. Use the toothpicks to slide your knife along, start by running the knife all the way around the cake along the tooth picks, gradually moving it through the cake. This should ensure that the cake is cut evenly in half.

When it comes to assembling a cake of this size it is important that you:
  • Have everything prepared and ready to hand
  • Give yourself plenty of time as rushing leads to silly mistakes
  • Remember to insert straws into each size tier with a little sticking out as this will give support to the cake
  • Place a thin cake board between each size tier as this will also provide support but will enable you to dismount the cake easily for cutting
  • And finally have an awesome support team in place, to keep you calm and reassure you.
And with a huge sigh of relief, it was done, I had done it! Yet, throughout the whole ceremony I kept thinking to myself “I hope it is still standing!”
I would not have been able to do this without my beautiful Mum and boyfriend- thank you! I also want to thank Ben and Naomi for trusting and believing in me, it was such an honour to make your wedding cake. So there we have it, I can now say that I have made a wedding cake, I still cannot believe it.

If you would like to have a go at recreating this cake for a special occasion and have any questions please feel free to ask. I will try to give you as many tips and pointers as possible.

Lemon Curd

This lemon curd recipe is foolproof, it is from one of my Mum’s old recipe books entitled “Jams and Preserves” she has been using this recipe for as long as I can remember. There is nothing more comforting than eating homemade lemon curd on warm toasted bread. This is the recipe that was used to make the lemon curd for the wedding cake. It is definitely worth having a go at making  as it is so simple but tastes 100% better than shop bought curd.

Makes: 4x250g jars

  • Heavy based saucepan
  • Large glass bowl
  • Fine sieve
  • Glass jars
  • Spoon/ladle

  • 3 large lemons, rind and juice
  • 250g unsalted butter
  • 500g caster sugar
  • 5 large eggs, beaten

  1. In a saucepan bring water to a simmer, place the bowl on top and use as a ‘bain marie’
  2. Place the lemon juice, rind, butter and sugar in the bowl, melt until fully combined
  3. Gradually sieve in the eggs, making sure to mix at the same time
  4. Once all of the egg has been sieved leave the mixture to thicken, stirring occasionally
  5. The curd will be ready once it is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon
  6. Ladle the curd into sterilised jars and firmly close the lids
  7. The curd will keep up to 3 months in the fridge unopened and lasts 1-2 weeks once opened.

Top tip: How to sterilise jars; Preheat the oven to 120 degrees Celsius. Meanwhile, wash the jars in hot soapy water to remove any undesired smells or labels. Once washed place the jars in the oven and leave until they are fully dry. Et voila, your jars are ready to use for curds, jams, chutneys etc.