Monday, 29 June 2020

Spaghetti Carbonara

Spaghetti Carbonara

  • Spaghetti (enough for 4 people)
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 200g diced pancetta or bacon lardons
  • 200ml double cream
  • 50g grated Parmesan cheese with extra for serving
  • 1/2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Small handful of chopped parsley

Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil and cook the pasta until al dente.  Whilst the pasta is cooking, heat the oil in a small frying pan and fry the pancetta and garlic until the pancetta is slightly crispy.  In a bowl, whisk together the cream, egg yolks, cheese and a pinch of salt and a few grinds of black pepper.

Once the pasta has cooked, reserve a small amount of the cooking water, drain the pasta then return to the pan with the reserved water, stir through the pancetta and cream mixture until the spaghetti is evenly coated, you can add more cream if you want more of a creamier sauce.  
Plate up, sprinkle over some of the parsley along with some Parmesan and a few grinds of black pepper and enjoy.

I’m a huge fan of quick and tasty recipes and this one ticks those boxes.  Youngest child said they didn’t like carbonara so they had spaghetti and meatballs but when this was served they soon changed their mind and ditched the meatballs and tucked into this!  I hope you enjoy as much as we did.

Wednesday, 17 June 2020

Cinnamon Rolls

Cinnamon Rolls

  • 300g self-raising flour
  • 2 tbsp caster sugar
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 70g butter
  • Butter, melted, plus extra for greasing
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 130ml milk, plus extra for glazing
Filling ingredients
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 55g light brown soft sugar
  • 2 tbsp caster sugar
  • 40g Butter, melted
Icing ingredients
  • 50g icing sugar
  • 3 tbsp warm water 

Heat oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas 4. Grease a 20cm loose-bottomed cake tin and line the bottom with baking parchment. Mix the flour, caster sugar and cinnamon together with a pinch of salt in a bowl. Whisk the butter, egg yolks and milk together and combine with the dry ingredients to make a soft dough. Turn out onto a floured surface and roll out to a rectangle, about 30 x 25cm.

Mix the filling ingredients together. Spread evenly over the dough then roll it up lengthways, like a Swiss roll, to form a log. Using a sharp knife, cut the dough into 8 even slices and place into the prepared tin. Brush with extra milk and bake for 30-35 mins or until golden brown. Remove from the oven and leave to cool for 5 mins before removing from the tin.

Sift the icing sugar into a bowl, add the water and stir until you reach a runny consistency, add more water if required.  Drizzle the icing over the rolls. Serve warm or cold.

Who doesn’t like a cinnamon roll, these are a great teatime treat to make with the kids, but you don’t need to have kids to enjoy them!  Feel free to pop a glace cherry on top of you have some to hand.

Friday, 15 May 2020

End of Week Soup

End of Week Soup

If you have any veggies that you need to use up at the end of the week, make a fresh batch of soup, blitz it up and any young ones in the household won’t even realise it’s packed full of veg!  This is how end of week soup came about.  

Add a good splash of olive oil to a large pan, heat then add the chopped veg and cook for around 10 minutes, pour in a litre of vegetable stock (or enough to cover the veg) season with salt, and pepper, tablespoon of tomato purée, good few glugs of Worcestershire sauce and let it simmer for around an hour or so until the veg has softened, blitz with a stick blender and enjoy!  

I used red onion, radishes, garlic, carrots, celery, green pepper, broccoli and a large handful of red lentils, this recipe is packed full of vitamins, minerals and fibre and will give your system a much needed boost and is a good way of getting most of your 5 a day in one hit.  You can add any herbs you may have, dry or fresh, I added a good pinch of chilli flakes for a little bit of heat.  You won’t need to add too much salt as the stock cubes contain salt so you don’t want to overdo it.  Literally you can add any veg to this soup, if it can be blitzed stick it in.  

Given how cheap it is to buy vegetables this recipe certainly won’t break the bank.  I generally find that it will make enough to make 8 servings and it will keep in the fridge for a few days or you can divide it up and freeze it.

Mark's top tip

When cutting up chillis, once you have finished, rub a small amount of olive oil into your hands, this will help dissolve the chilli, then wash thoroughly using soap and water, this will save you from any chilli burn, no more stinging eyes or worse! 

Saturday, 4 April 2020

Banana Bread

Banana Bread

  • 2 eggs
  • 125g melted unsalted butter
  • 250g self raising flour
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp runny honey
  • 50g castor sugar
  • 3 ripe bananas
  • Shot of espresso coffee

Break the bananas up and place into a food processor and blitz until broken down.  Add the remaining ingredients and blitz until everything is mixed through.

Grease a loaf tin with some olive oil then dust lightly with flour.  Preheat your oven to 180 degrees (fan assisted), leave an oven tray in there so it warms up.  Tip the loaf mixture into the tin and place into the oven on top of the tray and bake for around 40-45 minutes until cooked through (check by inserting a skewer, if it comes out clean it’s cooked).

I can’t believe how quick it was to actually make the mixture!  Obviously if the loaf is going to be eaten by children then leave out the coffee, you can add a couple of tablespoons of apple juice instead.  Whilst I didn’t have any, you can add chocolate chips or chopped nuts to the mixture to make it just that bit more indulgent.

Sunday, 8 March 2020

Bao Buns with Pork Belly

Bao Buns with Pork Belly
  • Pack of bao buns
  • Crispy chilli pork belly
  • 1/4 cucumber
  • 4 radishes, thinly sliced
  • 2 spring onions
  • Sweet chilli dipping sauce

Cook the pork belly according to packet instructions.  The pork I used was from The Juicy Meat Company, cut into handy bite sized pieces so no need to shred.  Whilst the pork is cooking, slice the cucumber and spring onions into thin strips, as the buns are not large you don’t want big chunky bits of vegetable, keep it fine. 

I found these bao buns in Marks & Spencer, a pack of 6 costs £2 and takes a minute to heat in the microwave.  Whilst at some stage I will make my own, for the price and convenience these are hard to beat.  Once the pork has cooked and you’ve warmed your buns, divide the pork between the buns, top with the radish, cucumber and spring onion, a drizzle of sweet chilli sauce and get stuck in!

I’m all for cooking from scratch but sometimes it’s nice to cheat when you don’t have the time.  The buns are little fluffy clouds of doughy goodness, the pork, which I purchased from Ocado, was packed full of flavour, not overly spicy so if you don’t like heat don’t be put off, go on, make it, trust me, you won’t be disappointed.

Sunday, 1 March 2020

Fennel Salami, Artichoke and Drop Pepper Flatbreads

Fennel Salami, Artichoke and Drop Pepper Flatbreads
  • 2 flatbreads
  • Bag grated mozzarella
  • Few tablespoons mayo
  • 2 tsp mustard
  • Large handful rocket
  • 1/2 red pepper, finely sliced
  • 1/2 red onion finely sliced
  • Handful of sliced black olives
  • Jar of artichoke hearts
  • Fennel salami, thinly sliced

Preheat your oven to 180 degrees.  Divide the mayo and mustard on top of each of the flatbreads, using the back of a spoon, smooth it all around the flatbread, top each one with half the mozzarella and the remaining ingredients (excluding the rocket).  Place onto two baking trays and place in the oven for around 10 minutes, until the cheese has melted.  Plate up, sprinkle over the rocket and a drizzle of your favourite salad dressing and enjoy.

This is yet another quick and easy recipe.  I have mainly posted this to give a shout out to Calcot Farm Produce who we bought the salami from at the recent Haywards Heath Producers Market.  

This is great sausage, the fennel really lifts the flavour and was perfect with this dish, if you can, I def recommend buying some, you won’t regret it!  Obviously you can use whatever you lay your hands on, but this salami really makes it so give it a go.

Tuesday, 25 February 2020

Chickpea, Lentil and Curly Kale Curry

Chickpea, Lentil and Curly Kale Curry 
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 red onion, finely chopped (reserve a few slices to garnish)
  • 3 cloves minced garlic
  • Thumb sized piece of grated ginger
  • 1 tin chopped tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp tomato purée
  • 1 tin coconut milk
  • 1 tin drained chickpeas
  • 100g red lentils
  • 2 small chillies, thinly sliced (seeds removed)
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 3 tsp medium curry powder
  • Small pack of coriander, finely chop the stalks and the leaves but keep separate
  • Two large handfuls of curly kale (remove any pieces of stalk)

Heat the oil in a large frying pan, add the onions, spices, 1 chopped chilli, garlic, ginger and the coriander stalks, fry for around 5 minutes (add a splash of water if it gets dry), then add the chickpeas and a pinch of salt and fry for another couple of minutes.  Add the tomato purée, coconut milk, tinned tomatoes, lentils and curly kale and simmer for around 30-40 minutes.  Garnish with the reserved red onion, chilli and chopped coriander and serve with boiled rice.

This is a wonderful vegan recipe, as ever you can adjust the spice levels to suit your tastebuds, we didn’t find this too hot but it is packed full of flavour, I hope you enjoy.

Saturday, 15 February 2020

Haywards Heath Producers Market

We do love a market and to find out our good friends Jo and Jason had set up their very own producers market, local to us in Hayward’s Heath was amazing news.  They are huge supporters of Sussex producers and makers so this is an ideal avenue for them to showcase the delights that are on offer within a close footprint of Haywards Heath.

Jo - founder of the Haywards Heath Producers Market
Jo's vegan and vegetarian rolls

Cheese and Onion rolls by Jo

The market is on the 4th Saturday of every month between 9-2 at St.Wilfreds Centenary Hall, Haywards Heath, it is an indoor market so no worries if the weather is a bit dismal and it’s free entry.

See their Facebook page for full details - Haywards Heath Producers Market

This was our first opportunity to pop along and we weren’t disappointed.  A few stall holders had been unable to make it however there was still a good array of local producers showcasing their wares, gin, boozy sorbet, pies, cakes, sausages, charcuterie, butchery, scotch eggs (both savoury and sweet!), honey and eggs.  The market is growing month on month and the next event promises over 20 stalls, I can’t wait!

Mialls Brilliantly Boozy Sorbet was a hit - we bought a tub of the Passion Fruit Martini, which tastes amazing!

So many to choose from!

We soon took this one home!
Learn more at

Harrys Sausages from Brighton. Producer of artisan sausages made in small batches and gluten free

Harry's Sausages!

Harrys Scotch Eggs

These are Harry's Sicilian Scotch Eggs. 

Nice spicy kick on the Sicilian - pork with chilly, fennel and garlic, coated in smoked paprika and garlic pepper

Harry's Sausage Cake with a spicy coated pastry
Learn more at Harrys Sausages 

Al the Pie Man. Hot water crust pork pies

Shortcrust pies

Shortcrust pies

Lola - one of the most popular pies, containing pork, bacon, mature cheddar and marmite jelly
Learn more at Al the Pieman

Tory's Cafe in the Park, Victoria Park, Haywards Heath

Tory's brownies

Tory's cakes

Tory's cakes
Learn more at Tory's Cafe

Calcot Farm
Delicios hand-made chorizo from Calcot Farm

Charcuterie from Calcot Farm. We bought the Fennel one - so tasty!
Learn more about Calcot Farm

Fresh local honey from Sussex Bee Farm
Learn more about Sussex Bee Farm

Lush organic free range eggs from Grassington Farm
Learn more about Grassington Farm

Generation 11 Distillers Gin producers.Fabulous flavours such as Grapefruit Sussex Dry Gin and Orange and Cardoman
Learn more about Generation Distillers

Saturday, 25 January 2020

Masala Omelette

Masala Omelette
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 red onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 red pepper, finely chopped
  • 2 small tomatoes, deseeded and cut into small pieces
  • 2 red chillies, finely chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • Small handful of coriander, finely chopped
  • Handful of grated cheddar
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1/2 tsp mild curry powder
  • 1/2 tsp Garam masala
  • Salt and pepper

Heat the oil in a frying pan, add the red onion, pepper, garlic and chilli, fry for several minutes, add the curry powder and garam masala, stir through the vegetables and fry for a further couple of minutes.  Add a few grinds of freshly ground pepper and a pinch of salt to the beaten eggs and pour into the frying pan.  Cook the omelette mix for 5 minutes or so until the mixture starts to set, top with the cheese and tomatoes and cook for a further couple of minutes or so until the cheese starts to melt, sprinkle over the coriander and serve.

Having recently visited India one of our favourite breakfasts was the masala omelette, so now we are home I thought I would recreate it and boy am I glad I did, even if I do say so myself, my version has a lot more flavour, go figure!  As with any heat based recipe you can modify the chilli level to suit your tastebuds.  A quick, easy and oh so tasty recipe, hope you enjoy as much as we did.