Thursday, 2 April 2015

Day 43


This traditional salad from the Middle East is one of our staples during the summer. Since it's a sunny day outside I thought I would finish my Lent recipes with this recipe.


200g bulgar wheat

350ml boiling water

450g tomatoes (chopped)

1/2 cucumber (diced)

3-4 spring onions

For the dressing

3 tbsps olive oil

3 tbsps lemon juice

2 tbsps fresh mint

4 tbsps fresh parsley

1 clove garlic (crushed)


1. Put the bulgar wheat in a large bowl and pour on the boiling water. Leave for 15-20 minutes.

2. Mix together the ingredients for the dressing and pour over the soaked bulgar wheat. Fold in lightly with a spoon.

3. Leave to marinade for 2 hours.

4. Add the spring onions, tomatoes and cucumber and serve.

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Day 42

God's Kitchels

This is a recipe that goes back to the 14th century and has it's origins in Suffolk (although there is an equivalent in Coventry called God Cakes). It's a very simple recipe and was traditionally made by children for their parents either at Easter or the New Year. They are triangles of puff pastry with a mincemeat filling. The corners are supposed to represent the Holy Trinity. This recipe uses a jar of mincemeat. If you want a good recipe for homemade recipe then I use Mary Berry's recipe here.


225g puff pastry

110g mincemeat

1 egg white (beaten)

2 tsp rum or brandy (optional)

Caster sugar


1. Pre-heat oven to 220°C.

2. Thinly roll out the pastry thinly on a lightly floured surface.

3. Cut into 10cm squares, cut each square in half on the diagonal to produce two triangles.

4. Mix the mincemeat with the rum or brandy (if used).

5. Place a spoonful of mincemeat on one half of the triangles.

6. Cover each with another triangle, moisten the edges with a little water and pressing firmly down to seal.

7. Brush with the beaten egg white, cut three small slits in each with a very sharp knife and sprinkle with caster sugar.

8. Place on a greased baking sheet.

9. Bake for 15 minutes or until well risen and golden.

10. Cool on a wire rack and eat as fresh as possible.

Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Day 41

Turnip 'Risotto' (Serves 4 as main course)

I've often thought that the turnip gets a bit a raw deal. This dish comes from Simple Italian Cooking by Mario Batali and turns this neglected vegetable into the star of the show.


500ml vegetable stock

90ml olive oil

1 medium red onion (finely diced)

700g turnips (peeled and diced into 4-5mm pieces)

30g unsalted butter

20g Parmesan (grated)

Small handful of parsley leaves



1. Heat the stock to a simmer and keep hot. Warm the olive oil in a heavy-bottomed frying pan. Toss in the onion and heat for about 10 minutes.

2. Add the turnips and cook for 2 minutes.

3. Ladle in some of the stock and cook until absorbed, stirring occasionally. Continue until the stock added (about 10-15 minutes).

4. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in the butter and Parmesan. 

5. Remove from heat, scatter with chopped parsley leaves and serve.

Monday, 30 March 2015

Day 40

 Huevos Rancheros

I do like the occasional cooked breakfast, especially if I feel I need a bit of a kick to get me going. This is a delicious Mexican dish that can be eaten at any time. It's just that I've had it for breakfast and it was lovely.


1 tbsp olive oil

1 onion (chopped)

1 green pepper (deseeded and sliced)

1 garlic clove (sliced)

½ tsp crushed chilli flakes

2 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes

salt and black pepper

6 eggs

100g feta cheese or Greek-style cheese (crumbled)


1. Heat a wide, heavy-based pan over a medium heat. Add the olive oil and, once hot, gently fry the onion with a pinch of salt until softened and translucent. Add the green pepper, cover with a lid and gently fry for further five minutes, or until soft.

2. Once the pepper is softened, add the garlic. Cook for two minutes, then sprinkle in the chilli flakes and add the chopped tomatoes. Season with a little salt and pepper and cook over a medium-low heat for 10-15 minutes, or until the sauce is rich and flavoursome. Taste and adjust the seasoning as necessary.

3. Make six wells in the tomato mixture and break an egg into each. Cover the pan and cook gently over a low heat for 3-4 minutes, or until the whites are set (cook for a further 2-3 minutes if you like your yolks set).

4. Sprinkle with cheese and serve. 

This dish goes well with flatbreads like pitta bread or Naans.

Sunday, 29 March 2015

Day 39

Apple, Oat and Pecan Bars (Makes 12)

I've been reading Michael Pollan's Food Rules: An Eater's Manual. At it's core are three simple rules: eat natural food, not too much and mostly plants. Outside of that there are lots of other guidelines for eating well without being too faddy or obsessive. One of them was that if you have to east snacks between meals then it's probably best to eat ones that you've made yourself. This is one of my favourites.


2 eating apples (cored, roughly chopped but not peeled)

150g butter (softened)

150g soft brown sugar

50g porridge oats

2 eggs

200g self-raising flour

50g pecans (plus 12 for topping)


1. Preheat the oven to 180C. Grease the sides of a Swiss roll tin (23 x 30cm) with butter and line the base with baking paper.

2. Place the apples in a food processor and briefly pulse until in small bits (or just cut into very small bits with a knife/herb chopper).

3. Pour apples into a bowl. Add the sugar and butter and cream together until well mixed. Add rest of the ingredients and mix well.

4. Tip the mixture into the tin and place the pecans put aside on top in an even grid.

5. Bake for 25-30 minutes until risen and golden. Remove from oven to leave to cool completely.

6. When cool, cut into 12 bars (each with a pecan on top) and remove from tin.

Saturday, 28 March 2015

Day 38

Traditional Scottish Shortbread

A few weeks ago I was flipping through the cookbooks in my local Oxfam shop when I came across this.

It was only 49p so it joined my ever-growing shelf of cookbooks. This is the first recipe I made from it.


50g caster sugar

125g unsalted butter (softened)

150g plain flour

25g fine semolina

Caster sugar for dusting


1. Cream together the butter and sugar until pale, light and fluffy.

2. Stir in the flour and semolina using a fork. 

3. Press the mixture into an 18cm sandwich tin. Smooth the surface and then prick the surface with a fork. Sprinkle with caster sugar.

4. Bake at 160C for about an hour. It should be pale but just starting to colour. 

5. Cool in the tin and then cut into 8 wedges. Turn out onto a wire rack to cool.

Friday, 27 March 2015

Day 37

Norfolk Vinegar Cake

This is a local recipe for a simple fruit cake. There are no eggs as traditionally it was made when hens were not laying. It keeps of about a week and improves in flavour all the time.


225g butter (softened)

450g flour

225g sugar

225g raisins 

225g sultanas

250ml milk

2 tbsps wine or cider vinegar

1 tsp of bicarbonate of soda mixed with 1 tbsp of milk


1. Rub the butter and flour together so that it resembles breadcrumbs.

2. Then mix in the sugar and the fruit.

3. Put the milk in a large bowl and add the vinegar. Pour in the bicarbonate/milk mixture carefully and mix together.

4. Pour into a greased 23cm (9 inch) cake tin,

5. Bake for 30 minutes at 180C. Reduce the heat to 150C and bake for another 1 1/4 hours. Cover the top of the cake with foil if it starts to darken.