Red onion, olive and cheese tart (20 mins prep/15 mins cooking)

red onion olive tart

I love ready-rolled puff pastry because it is so simple to use and create something impressive with.  This tart consists of caramelised red onions with black olives and cheese (either feta or goats cheese) and is scrumptious.  My carnivorous boyfriend added some chopped chorizo to his share.  Last night we ate it alongside a green salad and tonight we’ll have it with some peas and broad beans.  As well as for dinner, I was thinking that the tart would make great party food chopped up in to small squares and piled on to a plate!  Plus any leftover caramelised onion mixture could be kept in the fridge and used to accompany meat and cheese.

Create your own tart using pretty much any combination of already cooked veg/already cooked sausages/cheese (manchego cheese also works well).

For an alternative antipasti tart recipe click here:

Ingredients (serves 4-6 as a main)

Olive oil

3 red onions, roughly chopped

2 tbsp soft light brown sugar/light muscovado sugar

2 tbsp balsamic vinegar

375g ready-rolled puff pastry

100g feta or goats cheese, crumbled

175g pitted black olives, chopped in half

Heat oven to 220 degrees/gas mark 7. Heat the oil in a frying pan, then gently fry the onions for about 10-15 mins until golden and soft. Add the sugar and balsamic vinegar, then cook for a further 5 mins until the juices are reduced and syrupy.

Unroll the puff pastry onto a baking tray. Score a line a finger-width in from the edge all the way around, then cover the middle with the onion mix. Scatter the cheese and olives over. Season and drizzle the olive oil over the topping.

Bake for 15 mins or until the pastry is risen and golden and the base is crisp.

Recipe from


Spring bird feed to make with kids

Okay, so this is not for human consumption. But it is food and makes a great kids activity, especially if you need to use leftover scraps! Once it is finished they get to watch the birds peck away at it outside.

fir cone bird feed

fir cone bird feed

You can either fill old yoghurt pots with the bird feed and leave it to set or push it in to the cracks of a fir cone. The ‘recipe’ is from a great book called My First Nature Book that is full of activity ideas and is available very cheaply second hand on Amazon

bird feed kids

bird feed kids


6og cooking fat (I used lard)
If using a yoghurt pot – birdseeds for rolling (you can get mixed seeds cheaply from supermarkets)

125g of any of these kitchen scraps:

Porridge oats
Brown breadcrumbs
Leftover cooked vegetables
Cooked rice
Grated cheese

1. Mix the scraps together in a bowl .

2. Melt the lard then pour it in to the bowl with the scraps (my child was able to do this once the lard had cooled a little).  Stir everything together.

3. If using a yoghurt pot, spoon the mixture in so it is squashed down and then push a Y shaped twig in the middle and leave to set.  Once set pull the bird feed out of the yoghurt pot by the twig (cutting around the edge of the pot first with a knife if this helps), roll it in some birdseed and hang it by the twig using string. Or, if using a fir cone, push the mixture in to the cracks then hang by the top using string.

Vietnamese salmon noodle soup

vietnamese salmon noodle soup

I made this soup yesterday for my boyfriend and his parents and they loved it.  I don’t think they were just being polite as they had seconds!  It’s ready in 25 minutes and only requires one pan so less washing up.  It would work nicely with other fish too, especially trout.  We ate it with some bread to mop up the broth, and some broccoli roast with sesame oil and sesame seeds. Delicious!  Serves 4 and is from


1 litre veg or chicken stock (e.g. Oxo)

2 tsp Thai red curry paste

100g noodles (any type should work)

150g sliced mushrooms

125g baby corn, chopped

2 skinless salmon fillets or 3 skinless trout fillets, chopped in to bite size chunks

Juice 2 limes

1 tbsp soy sauce

Pinch brown sugar

Small bunch coriander, chopped

Pour the stock into a large pan, bring to the boil, then stir in the curry paste. Add the noodles and cook for 3 minutes short of the required time (some noodles only take 3 mins in which case you can put the mushrooms, corn and fish in at the same time).  Tip in the mushrooms and corn and cook for 2 mins more.  Add the salmon/trout to the pan and cook for 3 mins or until cooked through. Remove from the heat and stir in the lime juice, soy sauce and a pinch of sugar. Ladle into 4 bowls and sprinkle over the coriander just before you serve.

Corn quesadillas

easy quick corn quesadillas
This is a great, quick family recipe that kids (and adults!) are sure to like. It takes about 10 minutes to prepare plus a few minutes to grill. I ate them with some homemade guacamole (mash avocado with a little garlic, lemon juice and olive oil and for extra flavour add some chopped spring onions, fresh coriander or chilli if you like).

Speaking of kids, listen out for a spring bird feed recipe, that you can prepare and hang out in the garden. I am planning on making it and posting it on the blog this week if my 2 year old can sit still for long enough..!

Ingredients (serves 4)

1 tbsp oil
1 small red onion, finely chopped
1 red pepper, finely chopped
1 x 198g tin sweetcorn
1 tbsp runny honey
Jar of mild salsa
Optional – 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
150g cheese
4 – 5 flour tortillas (you can get wholemeal ones for a healthier version)

Heat the oil in a pan and fry the onion and pepper for a few minutes until softened. Add the sweetcorn, honey, balsamic vinegar if using, the salsa and fry for a few more minutes. Spread each tortilla with the mixture and sprinkle on some cheese (ensuring you keep some aside) then roll them up. Put them on a baking tray then sprinkle over the remaining cheese. Grill until the cheese is melted and the tortillas are a little brown and crispy on top. Alternatively you can cook them in the oven on the highest setting until done.

Recipe from Annabel Karmel’s Mummy and Me Cookbook