Toad in the hole from scratch

I followed BBC Good housekeeping magazines recipe for this. Vegetarians and vegans forgive me, you could use vegetarian sausages, but the batter needed eggs….

I used seven frozen sausages

2 eggs

1 small onion, sliced

Accompanying vegetables, potato, carrot and broccoli.

140 grams of self raising flour (I didn’t check which sort I needed)

Milk to add to the batter mix.

I oiled a dish and baked the sausages with some sliced onion for twenty minutes. In the meantime I put the flour in a bowl, made a dent in it and added the eggs stirring with a fork till it was all mixed together. Then I slowly poured in and mixed milk into the batter so it was like thick double cream.

I poured the batter over the part cooked sausages, and returned them to the oven on gas mark 8 because my cooker does not get very hot. I checked them over the next twenty minutes but I still managed to burn the batter a bit. I also think I should have added more milk so that it would have been moister. I chopped the vegetables up small so I boiled them on the hob for twenty minutes. Finally I added gravy granules to some of the vegetable water to pour over the meal.

I’ve never made this before, but it was something my mother made for our evening meals. I’m glad I tried. I will try and remember to make this again.

Winter stew

I just made a vegetarian stew for dinner. I could have made Staffordshire Lobby which is a beef based stew, lobbing all sorts of things into the pot. But I used a meat substitute, Quorn pieces.

Basically I put two small chopped potatoes, two small sliced carrots and half a sweet potato, peeled and sliced, into a pan and covered them in boiling water. I let them simmer for a few minutes, then chopped up a small red onion, chopped some slices off a cabbage (about a sixth of it) and two sticks of celery sliced up. Then I added half a pack of Quorn and a couple of teaspoons of Lazy Garlic. I let everything simmer for about twenty minutes. Then I added a couple of vegetable stock cubes. Let it cook for a few more minutes before serving with a hunk of brown bread and vegetable spread. I didn’t add salt, but if you do add it on top of the stew when you serve, that way it sits on the food and doesn’t get absorbed into it. That means you don’t eat too much salt. You can also add pepper at the end.

Prawn and Quorn curry

A quick curry using vegetables and a small amount of Quorn pieces and prawns.


One jar of curry sauce, chose your favourite. I got tikka massala. One onion, one sweet pepper, a handful of button mushrooms, a big handful of washed baby spinach, about a quarter of a bag of Quorn pieces and a small packet of kingprawns (or small prawns). A packet of microwaveable rice.


Defrost the Quorn in the microwave if you have one. Peel and chop the onion. Put in a frying pan in oil and start to fry. Roughly chop the pepper and add to the pan. Chop the mushrooms and add. Put the Quorn and prawns in. Finally stir in the baby spinach, add the packet of rice and pour the curry sauce over the mix. Cook on a low heat with a lid on for about twenty minutes. Make sure the curry is thoroughly cooked before serving.

Serves two or three as a main meal.


I wanted to make Chow-mein and I had a packet of sauce. But my bean sprouts had gone soggy with having problems with my fridge. So I made something up.

I sliced some aubergine, red onion, broccoli, kale, pak-choi and red pepper and stir fried it all together. Then I added a tin of green lentils for carbs and cut up what was left of a roast chicken, mainly breast, then added the chow-mein sauce and cooked it for about fifteen minutes. I have no idea if this is the correct method but it tasted OK.

Using up pears

I have lots of pears off our tree, they were hard but are slowly softening. But they have been bruised by falling off the tree and a couple went mouldy. They are tasty and quite sweet. What to do with them?

I cut off the bad bits then chopped up the pears into small pieces. Then I put them in a saucepan and added a little boiling water from the kettle. I added half a tablespoonful of splenda sweetner because it tastes like sugar. I put the pears on a low heat to simmer and soften. Then I made up some powdered custard with about three quarters of a pint of milk. In the meantime I was stirring and crushing the pears till they were soft and cooked. Finally I dished out the pears. I crumbled a couple of digestive biscuits over them to add texture and crunch. Lastly I ladeled the custard over the fruit and biscuits (a bit like a deconstructed pear crumble I think). The result was hot and tasty on a cool autumn afternoon.

Green peppers?

These were green when I put them in the fridge a week ago. Most of the pack still are, but these look like they have caught fire! I hope they won’t be too hot, I’ve incorporated them into a curry. The plate is Burleigh ware from Middleport pottery in Stoke on Trent, Staffordshire. The photo cheered me up because of the bright colours.

can anyone tell me?

As an experiment I cooked a portion of meatballs alfornio in the oven ( gas mark 7, 35 minutes) and king prawn linguini (5 minutes in the microwave). Both were cooked at the same time but I put the microwave food in when the oven food was almost cooked, so they were both piping hot.

My question to the scientific minded out there is, which used the most energy? My guess is the gas oven cooked meal. But I don’t know? What is the ratio between the two? If I want to save money, which is the best? Answers please…..


I was cooking an evening meal and decided to open a bottle of rosé brut wine to go with it. It was very warm in the kitchen, but I didn’t think much about it as I took the wine out of the fridge. I peeled off the foil round the neck and loosened the wire around the cork. Then I had to check the food, stir it, add herbs. Suddenly…


The cork had come flying out of the bottle, wine started to bubble out of the bottle all over the kitchen counter. I had to mop it up. I think about a quarter of the bottle was gone! It just shows how hot it was. Next time the wine is staying in the fridge till the food is ready!

Pestle and motar

This is a lovely ceramic pestle and mortar I bought at a craft Market a few years ago. I was crushing some garlic for a chilli last night and decided to use this instead of my garlic press which falls apart every time I try and crush more than one clove of garlic.

But thinking about it there are a couple of coincidences linked with it. Last Monday I was wearing a mortar board. Not much of a coincidence, but then after our meal I did a quick crossword clue ‘pounding tool, used with a mortar’? Of course I got the answer

Strawberries and cream on pancakes

I had some strawberries in the fridge but they started to go mouldy so I cut off the bad bits and chopped them up. I made pancakes with two cups of self raising flour, three eggs and milk to make a thickish batter. I let it rest in the fridge and whipped some cream.

If you heat a frying pan with oil in it till its hot you get better pancakes. Pour off any excess oil to reuse after cooking your first pancake. Swirl the batter round the pan to get it level. If you watch, as the batter cooks the top of it will start to bubble and dry out. You can see its setting as it cooks. I use a spatula to turn it over. When cooked add cream and chopped strawberries. I used sweetner rather than sugar and would have used lemon juice if I had any in.