Quick mushroom port sauce

It’s Friday night – wahay. It’s been a great week. Five peeps have moved into their new homes today, all financially protected.

Tonight I have bought prepared partridge for dinner and am going to jazz it up with a quick mushroom port sauce. This is literally five minutes to prep and cook


  • 1 shallot sliced
  • 6 mushrooms sliced
  • 1 cup port
  • 2 tbs single cream

I pan fried the partridge in garlic butter before putting in the oven to roast.

In the same pan I stir fried gently one sliced shallot and 6 sliced. mushrooms

Once the onions were soft I added I cup of port Boiled this until it reduced by half then added 2tbs single cream.

Stirred through them served with partridge. Yum


  • Whatever meat you are serving this with use the pan which you’ve used to brown the meat
  • If vegetarian use vegetable oil and a clove of garlic crushed to fry shallots and mushrooms

Spiced roasted carrot and parsnip soup

35 years ago, I had the pleasure of living in Scotland, Stirling to be precise. Such a beautiful place. Our house looked over the Dumyat Ochil Hills and Wallace Monument. It was however very cold in the winter This is when I created the ‘Soup Season’ October to the end of April. Comforting and warming hmmm …..


1kg carrots

500g parsnips

1/2 head of celery

1 large potato

2 large white onions

1tbs ground cumin

1tbs ground coriander

1tbs curry powder

1 1/2 pints good chicken stock

Salt and pepper to taste

2oz garlic butter

2 tbs olive oil

100 ml single cream


  • Heat oven to 200oC
  • Chop all veg and put in non metallic bowl
  • Drizzle olive oil over the veg and chop the garlic butter into them
  • Pour 50ml of water over veg

  • microwave on full power for 15 mins
  • Transfer onto a roasting tin and sprinkle spices over. Mix. Roast for further 15 mins.

  • Transfer into a pan and add stock
  • Bring to the boil then simmer for 15 mins
  • Test that the veg are soft by inserting a knife
  • Blitz in a blender and when smooth return to the pan
  • Taste and adjust seasoning if required. I added a further tablespoon of curry powder.
  • Stir in cream and serve

Christmas Mincemeat – ahh the smells of Christmas

There is nothing better than home made mince pies but sometimes there are just not enough hours to make the mincemeat. This is a very quick recipe to prepare. It takes 3 hours to cook but you can get on with other things whilst that happens.

You will need:

6 1lb sterilised jars

6 wax discs


  • 12 oz raisins
  • 8 oz sultanas
  • 8 oz currents
  • 6 oz American dried cranberries
  • 8 oz chopped candied peel
  • 4 oz flaked almonds
  • 2 oz chopped walnuts
  • Juice and zest of 2 large lemons
  • Juice and zest of 2 large oranges
  • 1 x 240g box of shredded suet
  • 4 tsp mixed ground spice
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 12 oz dark brown soft sugar
  • 1 large Bramley cooking apple
  • 6 tbs Cointreau
  • 3 tbs apple brandy


  • In a bowl place all dry ingredients including just the zest of lemons and oranges, but not the apple.
    Juice the lemons and oranges and add 3 tbs Cointreau
    Pour The liquid and mix into the dry ingredients. Don’t worry about bits of pulp but do ensure there are no pips transferred.
    Quarter and core the apple but leave the skin, then finely slice the apple and chop into chunks. Do one quarter at a time.

    Add to rest of ingredients until all the apple is combined mixing really well after each addition
    Mix really well – for up to a minute then put in a very cool place, fridge ideal if you have room, and leave overnight for the flavours to infuse

Oh how I wish you could smell this. I took the bowl into my friend and said humour me – just smell this. He reacted perfectly- ‘oh wow Christmas in a bowl!’

Next day

  • Transfer into oven proof dish and pop in the oven for 3 hours at 160oC

I repeat – if you could only smell this – wow

  • Leave to cool, giving the mixture a good stair every now and again
  • When cool stir in remaining Cointreau and apple brandy
  • Pack into jars, label and leave for a couple of weeks to mature
  • Then use as you wish


  1. The reason I leave the apple until the end is this. Once an apple flesh is exposed to the air it oxidises and goes brown. By mixing it straight into the mixture which already contains the lemon juice this helps it to retain its colour

Leftovers – white and milk chocolate bread and butter pudding

If I have a free weekend I always plan on vegging in-front of the telly watching cooking programmes, currently completely addicted to Ree Drummond The Pioneer Woman. My plans very rarely work lol.

When I was young I always fantasised about marrying a farmer – for no other reason than having a farmhouse kitchen; aga and huge farmhouse kitchen table; which would have course always have a freshly cooked gammon and home made chutney and bread adorning it. It all stems from my childhood friendship with Mary Stevenson who’s family going back three generations lived and worked on the farm. I did get to drive tractors and collect hens eggs – but in reality it would have never worked. I’m totally rubbish at the early mornings.

I hate wasting food. I really appreciate I am extremely fortunate and can afford to feed myself and family well. There are many not so fortunate and reliant on help such as The Foodbanks. When there are people in such dire straights for such a basic need; food, it is criminal to me to throw food away.

This bread is 4 days old and not fit for consumption, some may say, certainly not for sandwiches but definitely is for bread and butter pudding.

The ingredients I have used are:

1/2 stale ciabatta loaf


Cup white chocolate drops

I bar milk chocolate in pieces

Grated zest of orange

4 large eggs

100ml single cream

100ml full fat milk

2 tbs caster sugar

1tsp vanilla bean paste


  • Slice bread

  • Butter each slice on one side

  • Layer in oven proof dish with orange zest and both chocolates

  • Keep layering until all bread used up
  • In a large jug whisk eggs, milk, cream and vanilla till all combined and very runny
  • Pour over bread mixture. Gently press down to ensure all bread is covered then set aside for an hour

  • Bake at 160oC for 25-30 mins until golden brown

Oh yum. Serve with clotted cream, ice cream, or custard. Oh let me at it

Quick honey roast veg

During the week I work very long hours so evening meal prep has to be quick. I don’t like to eat convenience foods and very rarely do Last night I baked two pieces of salmon, which had been marinated in sweet chilli oil and popped this roasted veg dish in the oven to cook for 25 mins. So in half an hour of walking through my front door I had prepped and cooked a very nourishing meal.


For 2 people

  • 1 large sweet potato cubed – small
  • 1/4 butter nut squash cubed – small
  • 4 mini courgette 1/2″ pieces
  • 1 banana shallot thinly sliced
  • 2 large tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large tablespoon runny honey
  • 1 large tablespoon sweet vinegar**

** what I mean by sweet vinegar is the flavoured ones you can now buy. I used orange, lemon and ginger

  • Pop all veg into an oven proof dish pour olive oil over and mix
  • Pop in oven at 200 and roast for 15 minutes
  • Pour over vinegar – mix
  • Pour over honey – mix
  • Return to the oven for a further 10 minutes
  • Take out of oven and give one final mix, then serve

  • Working lunch – crab mushroom and cheese omelette

    Ok so on the busiest day of the week the Gas man is booked in to service the boiler. Of course he can’t call 15 mins beforehand so I can just pop home! Meetings therefore are at a rearranged, venue – home.

    My lunchtime meeting is with a chap who has travelled a fair way so I’ve offered him a ‘quick’ lunch – crab mushroom and cheese omelette


    1 large bulb spring onion

    Half a red pepper half a yellow pepper

    6 chestnut mushrooms

    6 shiitake mushrooms

    1 pot of half and half crab meat

    1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese

    1/2 cup grated mozzarella cheese

    3 large eggs

    Salt and pepper to taste

    Olive oil

    • Chop the veg

    • In a fry pan add a little olive oil and gently fry onions for 3 mins then add remaining veg and fry for further 3 mins.

    You don’t want to over cook at this stage as the veg will cook further in the omelette

    • Take veg off heat and keep to one side it a warmed dish
    • Mix in crab meat

    • Whisk the eggs together and season with salt and pepper.
    • Don’t have the pan too hot. In the same pan as you cooked the veg add a little more oil and add the egg mixture.
    • Cook for one minute then stir the egg mixture round a little It will go lumpy but ensure the uncooked mixture hits the bottom of the pan
    • Then on half the omelette add the filling
    • On top of filling sprinkle the cheese
    • Flip the egg part over the filling and cook for a further minute on each side

    Then pour your visitor a glass of dry white wine and tuck in …..