Veggie picnic snacks!

My friend Agnes and I have been busy perfecting these snacks for our first veggie picnic food stall at Auntie Maureen’s Gourmet Food Fair at The Bell pub in Walthamstow this Saturday 29th June (details here: and We are lovingly serving veggie scotch eggs, spinach and chilli bites and caramelised onion, feta and olive tarts. Please see below for the recipes! And come along if you are in the area : )

veggie scotch eggs

Veggie scotch eggs

We are rather proud of these moreish scotch eggs. They took several attempts to get the delicate leek, herb and lemon flavour right and are perfect picnic fodder! If you don’t have a deep fat fryer you can simply fry them in a frying pan.

Ingredients (makes 6)

7 eggs, 6 of them hard boiled and one beaten
1 leek, chopped
190g fresh white breadcrumbs
Zest of 1/2 lemon
50g shredded veg suet
2 tsp fresh parsley, chopped
1 heaped tsp fresh sage, chopped
2/3 tsp dried mixed herbs
1 heaped tsp Dijon mustard
Salt and pepper
Sunflower/vegetable oil

Peel the hard boiled eggs and toss in the flour. Fry the leeks in the oil for a few minutes until softened then mix with 115g of the breadcrumbs, the lemon zest, suet, herbs, mustard and seasoning. If the mixture is a bit dry add a little water. Shape the mixture around the eggs, then toss in to the beaten egg and then the remaining breadcrumbs.

If using a deep fat fryer, pour in enough oil to fill it one-third capacity and heat to a temperature of 190 degrees C. Fry the eggs three at a time for about 2 – 3 minutes until brown. If you don’t have a deep fat fryer you can deep fry them in a saucepan or, alternatively shallow fry, turning the balls frequently to brown on every side. They are best eaten on the day.

red onion feta olive tart

Caramelised onion, feta and olive tarts

These are lovely tarts which contain the rich, caramelised crunch of the onions, creamy saltiness of the feta and bite of the olives. They are made using shop-bought puff pastry which is easy and delicious. Any leftover caramelised onion mixture could be kept in the fridge and used to accompany meat and cheese.

Ingredients (serves 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 green or black olives, chopped in half

Heat oven to 220 degrees C/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. Alternatively, to make individual tarts, unroll the sheet and use a knife to cut it into six equal sized rectangles. Score a line a finger-width in from the edge all the way around each tart.

Scatter the cheese and olives over. Season and drizzle the olive oil over the topping. Bake for 20-25 mins or until the pastry is risen and golden and the base is crisp.

spinach chilli balls

Spinach and chilli bites

The great things about these bites– moist balls of spinach with garlic, parmesan and a chilli kick – is that they are so versatile. You could have them on their own as a bite sized snack, on top of some pasta (with fried leeks and lemon zest perhaps) or with salad in a pitta, as an alternative to falafel.

Ingredients (makes 10)

500g spinach leaves, washed
2 eggs, beaten
4 shakes ground nutmeg
1 garlic clove, crushed
110g fresh white breadcrumbs
50g parmesan, grated
1 fresh red chilli, finely chopped
Salt and pepper
Olive oil

Blanch the spinach leaves in a pan of salted, boiling water for 1-2 minutes, then drain well and refresh in cold water. Using your hands, squeeze out as much water from the blanched spinach leaves as possible, then finely chop. Transfer the spinach to a bowl then stir in the beaten eggs, nutmeg, garlic, breadcrumbs, parmesan and chilli. Season to taste, with salt and black pepper. Mix well until the mixture binds together, adding more breadcrumbs or more water, as necessary.

Roll the spinach mixture into golf-sized balls (or smaller if you fancy!) and cover the base of a frying pan in a thin film of olive oil. Heat gently over a medium heat then add the spinach balls, in batches if necessary, and fry for a few minutes on each side, or until crisp and golden-brown all over. Repeat the process with the remaining spinach balls. Alternatively you could deep-fat fry at 150 degrees C for a couple of minutes for a really even coating.


Eton mess ice cream (no ice cream maker required!)

eton mess ice cream

How could I resist trying out this recipe? Eton mess has always seemed like the ultimate British summer dessert, and here it is in a different and more refreshing form – ice-cream! And for once you don’t need to posses an ice-cream maker. It takes about 25 minutes to make and is then frozen overnight.

This recipe got me thinking that whipping cream and condensed milk could be used as a basic ice-cream recipe, and then all sorts of deliciousness could be added e.g. pecan nuts/honeycomb. I will be trying out some ideas!

For an equally simple yet tasty mango ice cream recipe click here:

Ingredients for Eton mess ice cream (makes 8 – 10 servings)
800g strawberries, hulled, plus extra to serve
3 tbsp icing sugar
1 x 300ml tub whipping cream
1 x 397g tin condensed milk
100g meringues, crumbled

Puree the strawberries with the icing sugar in the food processor. In a large bowl, whisk the cream and condensed milk together to form soft peaks. Stir in 2/3 of the strawberry puree and the crumbled meringues. Tip the mixture into a large container (e.g. freezer box), then drizzle the remaining strawberry puree on top. Freeze the ice cream overnight. It will keep for a few weeks in the freezer.

Recipe from Sainsburys magazine

Kids meal – ranch style sausage and veg kebabs

ranch style kebabs kids snack

My fussy boy likes this. He always gets excited about ‘lunch on a stick’ and food with a tasty bbq coating (even if there are vegetables underneath!) I made these kebabs with frankfurter sausages (you can get meat or veggie versions), potatoes and carrots. They would also work with boiled sweet potato or lightly fried mushrooms and onions. You could add cheddar or halloumi cheese too (don’t grill the cheddar though, obviously..)

The kebabs take about 25 mins to make, and you can prepare the mixture in advance then you only need to grill them for a few minutes before eating. Hope your kids like it!

For further ideas for kids meals/snacks check out this category on the right hand side of the blog.


Potatoes, chopped in to bite size chunks
Carrots, sliced
Frankfurter sausages
Shop-bought bbq sauce

Boil the potatoes and sausages for about 10 minutes (or according to the packet instructions), adding the carrots about 5 minutes in, until cooked but not too soft. Drain, chop the sausages and mix a little bbq sauce in with everything (only use a little as it has a strong flavour). Slide alternate veg and sausages on to a kebab stick (or thin straw if you have none) then grill for a few minutes until lightly browned. Mix some mayonnaise and bbq sauce together in a bowl as a dip if you fancy.

My feta and green veg summer lasagne

feta veg lasagne

Well I am back from camping and eating chips, battered fish and chocolate and so am craving fresh veg..! This lasagne is really, really lovely and packed with green veg and creamy feta cheese. The mint and lemon zest give it an unmistakably summery flavour (I am using lemon zest lots at the moment with pasta and green veg) and it is topped with asparagus, which is in season at the moment. If you want to save time and effort then buy shop-bought white sauce for the topping.

As this recipe is quite rich it should be eaten with a simple green or tomato salad. It makes about 8 portions so I normally freeze half of it for later. If any of the veg and feta sauce is left it goes equally well with other types of pasta e.g. penne, or a baked jacket or sweet potato. Allow about 45 mins preparation and 50 mins cooking time.

For my alternative tomato sauce based veggie lasagne recipe (15 years in the perfecting!) click here:

Ingredients for feta and green veg summer lasagne

3 cloves crushed garlic
Half a 30g tin anvhovies, chopped
Load of asparagus, tips left intact and rest chopped
4 spring onions, chopped
Few handfuls peas
Few handfuls spinach
300ml single cream
Bunch of fresh mint, chopped
Grated zest of 1/2 a lemon
2 blocks of feta
Bit of veg stock if necessary (I used Veg oxo cubes in boiled water)
Lasagne sheets

For the white sauce (or just use shop-bought white sauce)
Knob butter
tbsp plain flour
Handful grated cheddar cheese/parmesan

Preheat the oven to gas mark 6/190 degrees.

Fry the garlic, anchovies, asparagus (leaving tips aside) and spring onions in oil for a few minutes then add the peas and spinach and continue frying for a few minutes. Add the cream, mint, lemon zest and feta and continue cooking/stirring for a few minutes. Add a little veg stock if you think it needs more liquid. Add salt (not much as feta is naturally salty) and pepper.

To make the white sauce for the topping, melt the butter in a saucepan on a low heat then add the flour until it is like a thick paste. Slowly and gradually add the milk until it has a creamy sauce like consistency. Lightly season with salt and pepper. Alternatively just use shop-bought white sauce.

Put half of the veg and feta mixture in a large oven proof dish, cover with lasagne sheets, then put in the second half of the mixture and the rest of the lasagne sheets. Top with the white sauce, a sprinkling of parmesan or grated cheddar and the asparagus tips. Cook the lasagne for approx 50 mins, until the topping is golden brown and a knife slides easily in.

Back soon!

I’m off camping for a week. My plan is to do a little al fresco cooking on the camping stove but with two boys to look after that might be a bit ambitious. My friend Agnes and I are also busy working on our veggie picnic snacks for our first ever food stall at the Appetite Festival Gourmet Food Fair in East London (details here!/photo.php?fbid=487426631329386&set=oa.282631805207107&type=1&theater). We will have veggie scotch eggs, spinach balls and caramelised onion, olive and feta tarts. It is both scary and exciting!

Blog wise I will be trying a few new recipes soon, including eton mess ice cream (no ice cream maker required), a mezze spread for friends, ranch style potato kebabs for kids and a refreshing summer drinks special. They will of course be blogged if they are worthy! See you soon.

Most excellent masala scrambled eggs

Masala scrambled eggs

Apparently this is a popular street food snack in India. And a recipe that I decided to try following a delicious brunch at the cafe in Victoria Park in Hackney. If you ever happen to be nearby I’d recommend it as their food is bloody lovely, a mixture of British and authentic Indian dishes in a big, bright cafe. I had to ask the guy who worked there what went in to this dish and he was kind enough to share the ingredients with me! It takes about 20 minutes in total and is great as an alternative breakfast/brunch/hangover cure, full of gentle and comforting Indian flavours.

For another alternative breakfast see this previous post And look out for a chilli cheese on toast recipe coming soon!

Ingredients (serves 2)

1 medium sized tomato, chopped
1/2 green chilli, finely chopped
Small bit of fresh ginger, chopped
1/2 clove garlic, crushed/chopped
1/4 small onion, chopped
Handful coriander, chopped
1/2 tsp turmeric
4 eggs, briefly beaten and seasoned with salt and pepper

Heat some oil in a pan and add all the ingredients apart from the turmeric and eggs. Heat for approx 2 mins. Add the turmeric then after about 30 seconds add the eggs. Gently move them around for approx 5 minutes, until they are cooked and a little glossy. Eat on toast!