Homity pie


Homity pie is a traditional open pie made with pastry, potatoes and cheese and it is satisfying, cheap and filling!  My recipe is based on one by lovefoodhatewaste.com, so also uses apples, but instead of using bacon I have added garlic for extra flavour.  The pastry (my second ever attempt!) is genuinely easy to make but a bit fiddly to roll out and line the tin.  It worked fine though and looked appealingly homemade!

Allow 30 mins prep/20-30 mins cooking and top off with grilling if you need to.  The pie is brilliant eaten warm or cut in to wedges for a picnic!


As well as leftover potatoes you could also use up parsnips, carrots, broccoli or squash.  You could use blue cheese or goats cheese instead of cheddar and apples instead of pears.  Other alternative ingredients include bacon, ham, cooked chicken, chorizo, smoked haddock, smoked tofu or mushrooms.  For extra flavour try fresh herbs or a teaspoon of Dijon mustard (I will definitely add mustard next time!)  The pie can be frozen in portions then defrosted overnight in the fridge.

There are lots more useful recipes and waste-saving tips on lovefoodhatewaste.com.

Homity pie (serves 4-8 people)

150g plain flour
75ml sunflower oil (or vegetable oil)
50ml cold water
Salt and pepper
2 large potatoes, diced and cooked (don’t bother peeling – could also use parsnips/carrots)
1 onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 large apple, chopped (don’t bother peeling)
75ml milk
100g (3oz) cheese, grated
1 egg, lightly beaten

Mix the flour, oil, water and a pinch of salt into a dough. Cover and refrigerate for 15 minutes. Then sprinkle with flour and roll out to ½ cm (¼in) thick, to line a lightly oiled or non-stick cake or baking tin.  Ensure you have enough spare to line the sides.
Meanwhile, add a dash of oil to a pan, add the onions, and stir regularly until they start to brown (about 7 mins). Add the garlic, apples and potatoes and cook a further 3-4 minutes, still stirring regularly.  Now add the milk, ¾ of the cheese, a little salt and pepper, stir for 1 minute then mix in the egg and put the mixture into the pastry-lined baking tin.
Top with the rest of the grated cheese and bake for 20-30 minutes in a preheated oven  at 180°C/Gas 6 until golden brown.  Top off under the grill to further brown the cheese if necessary.  Eat!


Fuss-free Easter eggs


Yesterday I tried out this little Easter egg recipe from http://www.carnation.co.uk.  You just blitz (or grate) shop-bought Madeira cake, mix with Carnation tinned chocolate sauce, make the mixture in to balls, roll them in sprinkles and refrigerate for 30 mins (or overnight). Hello Easter eggs!


You could push lolly sticks in to the Easter eggs if you fancy, but they are perfectly fine without.  Don’t expect perfect balls – expect slightly clumsy looking homemade charm!   This is a nice recipe to make with kids, although mine were too comfortable on the sofa…

Happy Easter!

Fuss-free Easter eggs (makes approx 25 smallish eggs )

300g Carnation chocolate filling and topping

400g Madeira cake


Break up the Madeira cake and tip into a food processor. Blend until you have fine crumbs, or grate the cake on a fine grater. Tip into a large bowl, then spoon in the Carnation Chocolate filling and topping gradually and mix with a spoon until combined.

Pour your decorating sprinkles in to a small bowl.  Roll the cake mixture into round balls and then roll in the sprinkles until evenly covered.

Press a lolly pop stick or skewer into each coated ball if you fancy.  Refrigerate the balls/lollies for 30 minutes or until they are firm to touch (overnight is fine).  Enjoy over Easter!

Easy Easter tea bread

Re-blogging this post seeing as Easter weekend 2016 is nearly here!


easy tea bread nigella lawson

Thank you Nigella for this easy tea bread recipe, which makes a nice alternative to all that Easter chocolate!  It is a bit like fruit cake, with the moistness of currants, marmalade and tea, and is particularly good with butter.  Soak the mixed dried fruit the night before if you can, to get them really plump, then it only takes 5 minutes to mix all the ingredients together before baking.  Accompanying cup of tea is essential.  Happy Easter!


1 mug cold tea (no milk)

8oz (225g) mixed dried fruit (if you don’t like peel just use sultanas and currants)

8oz (225g) self-raising flour

4oz (125g) caster sugar

1 large egg, lightly beaten

2 tbsp orange marmalade

Grease a loaf tin.  Preheat oven to 180 degrees/gas mark 4.

Place the fruit in a small bowl and pour the cold tea over the top.  Soak overnight if possible, or until the fruit swells.  In a bowl combine the flour…

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Hummingbird cake (fruity deliciousness)


Hummingbird cake originates from the American South and has apparently been passed down many generations.   It is totally delicious and straightforward to make (trust me on this – I have never made a complicated cake and don’t plan to!)  The main flavours are the pineapple, banana (which are both blitzed to a puree before mixing with the other cake ingredients), pecan nuts and a touch of cinnamon.  There is icing in the middle and on top, with lemon zest for extra flavour.  The whole ensemble is fruity, moist and creamy.  I attempted to make a pecan brittle for the top which failed so let’s just call it sugared pecans – they were still good and looked pretty!  I also made a big cake then cut it in half but you could make two smaller cakes to sandwich together instead.

Allow about 2 hours in total (15 mins prep, one hour cooking, 15 mins icing and a little time in the fridge).  Lasts a few days in the fridge.


Hummingbird cake (serves two greedy people and many more with self control)

For the cake mixture

250g plain flour

250g caster sugar

1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

Pinch of salt

200ml oil e.g. vegetable oil/sunflower oil/olive oil

2 eggs

250g drained canned pineapple (200g pureed in a food processor and 50g in little chunks)

2 medium sized bananas, pureed in a food processor or mashed

100g pecan nuts

1 tsp vanilla essence

1 tsp ground cinnamon

For the icing

200g soft cheese

100g butter, softened

400g icing sugar

1 tsp vanilla essence

Zest of 1/2 lime or lemon

Optional – for the sugared pecans

Small handful roughly chopped pecans

Sugar and a splash of water

Preheat the oven to gas mark 4/180 degrees.

Mix together the flour, sugar, bicarbonate of soda and salt.  In another bowl mix together the oil, eggs, pureed pineapple and banana, pecans, vanilla essence and cinnamon.  Add the flour mixture and mix everything together well.  Pour the mixture in to two greased (with butter) small-medium cake tins (if making two cakes to sandwich together) or a large cake tin (if cutting the cake in half horizontally once cooked).  Cook the cake/s for about an hour, until golden brown on top and a knife inserted comes out clean (check after 40 minutes then every 5-10 minutes thereafter).  Once cooled, and if cooking just one cake, use a sharp knife to cut the cake in half horizontally (a bread knife works well).  Remove the top half by placing a plate on top for support.

To make the icing mix or blend the soft cheese, butter, icing sugar, vanilla essence and lime or lemon zest until fairly thick and smooth.  Spoon and spread the icing on to the middle of the cake (ensuring it is cooled!) and on top.  Don’t worry if it runs down the sides a little – just put the whole thing in the fridge asap to help it set quicker.

If making sugared pecans, pour a generous amount of sugar in a pan with a splash of water and once combined and loosening up add the pecans until coated.  Pour out quickly to cool then sprinkle on to the top of the cake (breaking in to smaller bits if need be).  Eat more than you intended.


30 min salmon, fennel and pea risotto


This salmon, fennel and pea risotto is fresh and lovely and best of all it is made in one pot and ready in 30 mins.  I was inspired to try it when watching Mary Berry on TV, but instead of using rice I used orzo.  Orzo is pasta that is the same size and shape as rice but cooks more quickly.  You can buy it in big supermarkets and international shops.

The fresh flavours of the fennel, peas and lemon juice combined with the salmon and the creamy orzo and creme fraiche is deeply satisfying and perfect for spring (I saw some blossom today so it is definitely spring).  For an alternative and very popular orzo dish check out this orzo and courgette bake recipe https://katielovescooking.wordpress.com/2014/02/04/orzo-and-courgette-bake-20-mins-prep30-mins-cooking/.

Salmon, fennel and pea risotto (serves 4)

1 small fennel, finely chopped

1 clove garlic, crushed

200g orzo pasta

Vegetable stock (I like OXO as it crumbles easily)

Large handful peas

250g salmon fillets, chopped in to chunks

1 tbsp creme fraiche

1/2 small lemon

Small handful fresh parsley and/or fresh tarragon, finely chopped (or just use 1 tsp dried herbs)

Handful parmesan

Pour some oil into a large frying pan over a medium heat. Add the fennel and fry for about 5 minutes, or until softened, stirring often. Add the garlic and orzo and fry for 1 minute, stirring constantly, until the orzo is coated in the oil.
Pour in some vegetable stock (made using hot water from a kettle and a stock cube), enough to just cover the mixture. Simmer and keep adding a little more stock and stirring regularly, so the orzo gradually absorbs the water. Wait until the stock is almost fully absorbed before adding more. Do this for around for 15–20 minutes, until the orzo is moist and very nearly cooked.  Add the peas, juice of the lemon, salmon slices, creme fraiche, herbs and parmesan.  Keep stirring until the salmon is cooked through, about 7 mins.  Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve immediately, sprinkled with extra parmesan if you fancy.

Cooking with kids – Prawn toasts


I recently took the kids to a Chinese cafe to try out some Chinese food – the only thing they ate was rice and prawn toasts, which they LOVED.  We simplified an already straightforward sounding BBC recipe and tried making them at home: using a food processor you blitz prawns, cornflour, an egg white, garlic and spring onion, spread the mixture on bread, press on to sesame seeds then fry.  They are crunchy, delicious and authentic tasting!

My kids were ‘busy playing batpowder’ (whatever that means) so only helped a little – cutting bread in to (vague) triangle shapes and operating the food processor.


I strongly believe every second counts when ‘cooking with kids’ – somedays they might want to get really involved, other days they give just 10 seconds of their time and other days completely refuse.  But it is all experience and it is good for them to see the process!


You could prepare the prawn paste in advance if you want to save time later, and store any leftovers in the fridge.  Allow around 25 minutes to make the prawn toasts, depending on how much the kids get involved (or not!)  The toasts are great with sweet chilli sauce, for dipping.  We ate them with strawberries, a bit of an odd combination but we like both so why not.


Prawn toasts (serves 4 as a snack or part of a meal)

4 pieces of bread, crusts removed

1/2 cup of cooked prawns i.e. pink!

2 spring onions (white bit only)

1/2 clove garlic

1/2 white of an egg

Dessert spoon of cornflour

Sesame seeds

For frying – vegetable or sunflower oil

Put all the ingredients apart from the sesame seeds and oil in a food processor and blend until they are a paste.  Cut each piece of bread in to four triangles.  Spread the prawn mixture on to one side of each of the bread triangles and press down.  Fill a wide bowl or plate with sesame seeds and press each triangle in to it, so a layer of sesame seeds stick to the prawn paste.

Fill a saucepan with around 1/2 inch of sunflower or vegetable oil and once hot (but not smoking) plop in the breads for about 30 seconds on the plain side and around 1 minute on the prawn and sesame side until deep golden (this will vary a little so use your own judgement).  Use a slotted spoon to turn them over if you have one, otherwise a tablespoon will work (just make sure any excess oil drips off after they are cooked!)  Eat.