Category Archives: Savoury Dishes

#cookfromthebooks Week 4


Time is flying by, and after a hectic week of shuttling and collecting my OH to the airport and children to their relevant hobbies, it was lovely to be invited out to friends for a ‘Burns night‘ celebration.  Our wonderful hosts ‘Scottish Juan & Maria‘ always celebrate Burns in style.  Black ties and killer heels were worn, roaring log fire and whisky cocktails greeted us.Burns night celebrations. Thistles decorated the table, along with obligatory tartan.  Cock-a-leekie, haggis, neeps & tatties and creamy cranachan and shortbread, was a fitting feast for the occasion.  Wine and whisky flowed and flowed some more .  Poetry was recited, and our accents became more colloquial as our tongues loosened. A fabulous evening, and an even more fabulous sore head the next morn ! :/

Taking into account that most of my next day, was in a blurr…note to self *say no to whisky* , I needed to create something, comforting, easy, full of flavour and take-away stylee for this weeks #Cookfromthebooks challenge.The faithful Hairy Bikers, came up trumps with their ‘Mums know best’ cookbook, a collection of over a 100 mouthwatering, classic recipes gathered from Mums all across the UK. Family favourites, Sunday dinners, sweet treats and our chosen supper form Picnic Fayre.  The book is well photographed and recipes are easy to follow, with tips and short memoirs from the chosen mums.

Hairy Biker's Mums know best.

Our dishes this week, were Sticky ginger and soy chicken wings, spinach, carrot & potato pakoras and Chana chat.

The wings were wonderful, I used drumsticks too, a little more meat on the bone, and easier to pick-up and eat.

The Pakoras were described as some of the best they’d ever tasted, they were not wrong, delicious ! I made 12 huge pakoras and adjusted the ingredients to suit what I had, added a little more spice and could be bothered (fragile head remember) to prepare.


Big handful of fresh spinach chopped.

2 carrots grated.

2 large potatoes julienned, or very thinly sliced.

2 onions finely sliced.

Chick pea flour.

1 tsp salt

1 tsp dried chillies

1 tsp turmeric

1 tbsp cumin seeds

Oil for frying

  • Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl, adding enough chick pea flour to coat.  Add a little lukewarm water at a time until you create a thick paste.  You need to be able to mould the mixture together so it will hold when frying.
  • Using a deep fat fryer or carefully heat oil in a large saucepan, take a large dessert spoonful of the mixture and shape with your hands, carefully lower into the oil.  You will need to do this in batches.
  • The pakoras will take about 4-5minutes to cook, turning crispy and golden brown.
  • They can be kept warm on a plate until serving, or once cooled can be frozen and reheated when needed.


Chana Chat, Pakoras and sticky wings.

Together with the wings, we served the pakoras with a refreshing and vibrant, Chana Chat, an Indian yoghurt and chickpea salad.  To the recipe I added fresh mint and coriander and pomegranate, which gave a very fresh and zingy salad, cutting through the richness of the pakoras.


250 g Natural or greek yoghurt

100ml milk

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp dried red chillies

1 tsp garam masala

2 tomatoes diced

1/2 cucumber diced

1 red onion chopped finely

1 jar 400g chickpeas, drained and rinsed

handful of mint & coriander chopped


  • Whisk yoghurt and milk together, add salt, chillies and masala.
  • Add tomatoes, cucumber , onions and chickpeas and mix well.
  • Gently stir in fresh herbs and the pomegranate .

Family Rating 8/10 for me 10/10, but average vote bought down by the kids, they don’t rate chickpeas 😉


If you would like to join in this years challenge of #cookfromthebooks I would be delighted :) Just add the hashtag #cookfromthebooks and add the logo below & link to this site.

#cookfromthebooks cooking challenge 2014

#cookfromthebooks Week 3


I’m really enjoying my #Cookfromthebooks challenge and the family are enjoying the results too – everybody’s happy.  I do find it hard to just pick one recipe, from one book, maybe that will change as the year progresses.  I relish time spent browsing through my cookery books, especially on days when I’m fasting (I’m on the 5:2 well 6:1 most weeks as I’m maintaining 🙂 ) I find browsing recipes on my low cal days , a sort of control testing and I can dream about plates to come !!

So onto this weeks choices, a chilled Saturday night supper & lazy Sunday luncheon by the roaring fire, temperatures have dropped in the mountains and we needed comfort & warming up.

On to Saturday night – Spiced mushroom and chickpea burgers – taken from Sam Stern’s Get Cooking.  Sam wrote his books as a teenager with a passion for cooking.  I recommend his books for any cook starting out,  perfect for students going off to Uni, to learn some dishes, that are not quite the norm, which pack a punch of flavour.  Sam describes the ingredients and recipes in a youthful and fun way . I like to include a couple of meat free days into the week, for cost and health reasons, so a tasty veggie burger would win all-round.

Sam Sterns Get Cooking book reveiw


These burgers are similar to falafel, but a little more robust, even a hardcore meat eater would be satisfied .  I chose to serve ours with wraps and salad, and a greek yoghurt and mango chutney dressing.

MAKES 6 – We decided in the wraps they would be better made smaller so easier to fold .

Olive oil for frying

2 onions, finely chopped

2 cloves,garlic crushed

dried chilli

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp ground coriander

1/4 tsp turmeric

1 tsp lemon grass paste

250g of chestnut mushrooms

juice of a lime

1 x 400g jar of chickpeas, rinsed

handful of fresh breadcrumbs

dash of tabasco

handful of fresh chopped coriander

plain flour for shaping

Mushroom and chickpea burgers

  • Gently fry onions and garlic in the olive oil until soft.
  • Add, chilli,cumin.coriander, turmeric & lemon grass cook for 3 mins.
  • Add mushroom and lime cook for 5 mins, & season.
  • Tip into a large bowl.
  • Blitz chickpeas in a food processor or crush with fork until broken, add to the bowl.
  • Add breadcrumbs, tabasco, fresh coriander and salt & pepper.
  • Flour your hands and shape the mixture into burger shape.
  • Chill burgers in the fridge for 1/2.
  • Fry in batches for 3-4 mins on each side in olive oil until golden.
  • Serve in warmed buns or wraps 🙂

TIP : I chopped onion, mushrooms and garlic in a food processor to get a uniformed chop, this helped the mixture bind too.


Instead of the normal winter roast for our Sunday lunch, I decided on finger lickin’ ribs, and Oh boy they were just that, perfect comfort, sharing food.  The recipe was taken from one of my favourite books Marie Claire’s Seasonal Kitchen, a perfect coffee table book, with breathtaking and mouthwatering photography, and recipes displayed in seasons.  Clear and precise recipes and some unusual twists.

marie claire seasonal kitchen


These ribs had the most delicious marinade that they sat in overnight, thus tenderizing the meat and allowing the ribs to bathe in flavour.

250 ml soy sauce

175 g golden syrup

4 tbsp balsamic vinegar

4 tbsp tomato puree

zest & juice of 1 orange

1 tbsp mustard powder

1 tbsp grated fresh ginger

1/2 tsp ground cumin

1/2 tsp chilli powder

1 bay leaf

2 racks of trimmed ribs

Delicious ribs recipe from La Rosilla

Probably the bestests ribs 😉

  • Put all the ingredients except ribs, into a saucepan mix well & bring to the boil, stirring so it doesn’t stick.
  • Sit the ribs in a shallow dish and pour over the marinade, leave preferably over night.
  • Line a ceramic baking dish with parchment, it saves a sticky mess when cleaning up 😉
  • Arrange ribs in the dish and pour over any remaining marinade.
  • bake for 15 mins, then turn the ribs and bake for 15 more mins.
  • Allow to stand for 5 minutes.

We served our ribs, with creamy mash, green beans dressed in garlic and the most wonderful purple carrots roasted with caraway and pink peppercorns.

purple carrotsFAMILY RATING 10/10



If you would like to join in this years challenge of #cookfromthebooks I would be delighted :) Just add the hashtag #cookfromthebooks and add the logo below & link to this site.

#cookfromthebooks cooking challenge 2014

#cookfromthebooks week 2


This weeks #cookfromthebooks recipe was taken and adapted from the book ‘Perfect host’ by Felicity Cloake, recipes for feeding people and having fun.  Some great easy to follow recipes, ideas and hosting suggestions for whatever type of gathering you may choose, from friends round for tea, student food or gala dinners.  Clear instructions, but the book personally I feel could benefit from more photos of completed dishes – A picture sells a thousand recipes 😉

Perfect Host by Felicity Cloake

The dish I chose was Savoy cabbage and bacon gratin.  A delicious accompaniment to our favourite griddled lamb cutlets with mint.  A speedy and comforting Saturday supper, in front of the fire.

My adaptation, included reducing the cream content and not blanching the cabbage, slightly cutting time & calories 😉


Savoy cabbage and bacon gratin

Not my best food photo, but we were eating by candle and firelight (romantic) and we were ravenous to get stuck in 😉

Serves 4


Salt & pepper

1/2 large savoy cabbage, shredded

a little olive oil

1 onion, finely sliced

200g chopped bacon or pancetta

200ml double cream

1 tbsp wholegrain mustard

50 g fresh breadcrumbs

15 g parmesan


  • In a large pan, saute the onion until soft and golden
  • add the bacon bits and fry until quite crispy
  • mix cream with mustard and add to pan
  • stir in cabbage & season with s & P
  • tip into a large baking dish, cover with foil and bake for 30 mins
  • remove foil, sprinkle breadcrumbs and parmesan over, season and bake until golden.



I think this will become a regular at La Rosilla on casual weekends, think it would be tasty to add on the side some roasted or griddled tomatoes with herbs to cut through the richness.

* a tip for breadcrumbs – I keep a bag of breadcrumbs that I whizz up from all the odds and ends of bread I make, and use straight from the freezer, a handful at a time – Great for gratins, and home made stuffings.


If you would like to join in this years challenge of #cookfromthebooks I would be delighted :) Just add the hashtag #cookfromthebooks and add the logo below & link to this site.

#cookfromthebooks cooking challenge 2014

#Cookfromthebooks Week 1


Saturday night arrived and the familiar, family questions of ‘What’s for supper Mum’ were being heard…’Something new’ I replied.

So I begin my personal challenge for the year #cookfromthebooks.

This weeks recipe book picked, was the delightful, artistic and beautifully written Apples for Jam by Tessa Kiros.

Apples for jam by Tessa Kiros

I actually picked 2 recipes this week, to make a complete family supper.  All the ingredients I had in the cupboards or fridge and both dishes could be prepared simply, which was a bonus after a hard but satisfying day, building new fencing on the mountain for our ponies new paddock.

I adapted the recipes, as I do 😉 just to add other dimensions and what I had in stock.

The first Pumpkin Pizza.


Not an ordinary pizza, by using pumpkin as the base instead of dough, you get a sweet and unctuous taste.


1 small pumpkin – I used a butternut squash very thinly sliced lengthways. (some care needed here, use a very sharp knife)

1 onion, finely sliced.

1 jar of passata – I used ‘frito’

1 ball of buffalo mozzarella

handful of grated strong cheddar


olive oil.

Here’s how …

  • drizzle OO in base of oven proof baking dish, layer the pumpkin, seasoning as you go.
  • spread the passata over pumpkin, and bake in oven for 40 mins.
  • tear up mozzarella and sprinkle on-top of dish with cheddar
  • sprinkle over oregano and bake for 10 more mins until bubbling.



Recipe 2, Chicken escalopes with tomatoes and capers.

Chicken escalopes with toms and capers recipe.

Fresh and vibrant tasting, with piquancy from the capers.


4 chicken fillets

plain flour for dusting

handful of cherry toms

glug of white wine

3 cloves of garlic peeled and bashed but left whole

tbs of capers drained & rinsed.

tbs of chopped fresh parsley

olive oil

Here’s how….

  • dust the chicken fillets with flour
  • heat a little OO in large frying pan
  • add garlic and tomatoes, saute until tomatoes start to pucker
  • remove toms to a warm plate
  • add chicken to pan and fry until golden on both sides, watch the garlic so it doesn’t burn
  • add the wine to the pan let bubble, put toms back in
  • sprinkle with parsley season and add capers
  • put a lid on and take pan off heat and let stand for a few mins, before serving.




If you would like to join in this years challenge of #cookfromthebooks I would be delighted 🙂 Just add the hashtag #cookfromthebooks and add the logo below & link to this site.

#cookfromthebooks cooking challenge 2014

Ruby Pomegranates !


As every year, I’m always delighted when the first Pomegranate is ready or ‘Granada’ as they are called in Spain.  They hang dripping from the trees on the mountains. some splitting with their over ripeness, giving a sneaky peak to their ruby-red jewel’s inside.

I use them as much as I can when in season, Pom Raita, Pom Punch, Pom Cous Cous , This year I created a lush salad with other fruit  and herbs in season, Poms, watermelon, feta, rockets, nuts and local jamon and olives delish !

Pomiliicious Salad

Pomiliicious Salad

I also went about creating my first Pomegranate Molasses, an ingredient that I use a great deal in Middle Eastern cooking, but surprisingly have never been able to find locally , the results were fabulous.  Now I have the ruby spectacular syrup to take me through the winter months.  I also jarred cute bottles for friends for ‘C’ just can’t say the word yet, I hope they’re not reading !!



Gather as many Poms as you can.


Slice in half.

Slice in half.

Juice the poms.

Juice the poms.

Pomegranate juice, 20 poms makes about 1.5 litres !!

Pomegranate juice, 20 poms makes about 1.5 litres !!

Put the juice in a pan, with 2 tbs of sugar and a juice of a lemon, bring to the boil and then simmer uncovered to reduce to a thick pouring consistency, then bottle.  Will keep in the fridge for several months.

Bottle of ruby nectar Pomegranate Molasses.

Bottles of ruby nectar
Pomegranate Molasses.




Gluts glorious gluts..


It was a slow start to the vegetable harvest this year’ but eventually nature got going and we have enjoyed a mountain of wonderful fruits and veggies that we are still picking daily as and when we need them, fresh green beans, courgettes, tomatoes and herbs to pep up all kinds of dishes.

The star crop this years has been our Aubergines, which we devour guilty as ‘Berenjenas fritas’ a light battered aubergine slice, drizzled with cane honey, DELISH.  Roasted and whizzed into Baba ganoush, chopped and braised for caponata, but a new dish I’ve created is a mixture of two our our family household favourites, with a few changes here and there, to make it a little healthier on the waistband .

Mousakka and Lasangne turns into LaRosaka *spin on La Rosilla, get it !!

laroska recipe


Ingredients are flexible and quantities adjust according to suit, serves 6 happily with yummy leftovers

  • 1kg Mince beef
  • 2 onions finely chopped
  • 5 carrots chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic chopped
  • Olive oil

In a large pan sauté the carrots, onions and garlic until softened not browned.

Add mince and stir well until browned.

  • 2 bay leaves
  • Sprig fresh thyme
  • Dried oregano

Add herbs and stir

  • Large tin of chopped toms
  • 1 beef stock cube in 300 ml boiling water
  • 250 gramms of chopped mushrooms
  • Glass of red wine

Add Toms, stock and wine, bring up to boil and simmer gently, add lots of salt and freshly ground black pepper.

  • 3 Aubergines sliced lengthways

Place the sliced aubergines on a grill pan and spray with olive oil, grill until browned on both sides about 5 mins.

  • 500ml of semi skimmed milk
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 onion chopped in quarters

Put milk, bay leaf and onion in saucepan and simmer gently, for 5 mins then take off heat to let flavours infuse.

  • 3 tbsp of corn flour
  • Milk

Mix cornflour with milk until dissolved.

Remove bay leaf and onion from milk in pan and add cornflour mix, heat gently until sauce thickens.

Set aside.


In a large baking dish, put a layer of meat mix, then a layer of aubergines, season and add some more dried oregano, now a layer of white sauce…Repeat.  Finishing with a layer of white sauce.

  • Handful of freshly grated parmesan
  • 1 large tomato thinly sliced

Layer the sliced tomato on top of the white sauce, then sprinkle the whole dish with parmesan.

Bake in a hot oven for 30 mins, until bubbling and golden.  Serve with green salad, or fresh beans and hot crusty bread to mop up the sauce.

You could add, courgettes and peppers to your sauce too, and celery with you carrotts at the beginning..just experiment.

A smile in the rain.


Apparently this is the last of it, so my own ‘Weddar‘ man my OH keeps telling me – The rain that is.  Come on sunshine pop your hat on !

Walking up our mountain track this morning we couldn’t see a hand in front of us, let alone our view to die for.  It was eerie, not raining but we were in the clouds.  Then the clouds turned to rain.  Trying to look on the bright side, and I was already damp from the mist, and went on a little jaunt around the land, to see what was enjoying the weather and soaking it up.

To my delight my beloved fig tree’s leaves as I thought on first glance were growing as I looked, but also on its old wood branches for the first time ever, it is full of ‘Brevas’ .  Brevas are the 1st crop of figs on a tree, my tree has never produced them before and after 8 years, it is now rewarding me – So I won’t have to wait until late summer for my normal fruitful crop to indulge in the food of the gods 🙂

Brevas first crop figs.

I smiled in the rain.

My favourite fig recipe.

Squash & za’atar soup


Wet day, start of the week – something wholesome needed ….SOUP.

This must be one of the easiest soups to make…

Butternut & za’atar soup.

1 whole butternut squash – cut into chunks, do not peel.

2 x onions cut into wedges

1 ltr veg stock

Juice of an orange

sprinkle of Za’atar

sprinkle of cumin seeds

Olive oil

freshly ground salt & pepper

Roasting butternut squash

On a baking tray, put the squash & onion drizzle with Olive oil, and sprinkle with Za’atar. cumin , salt & pepper, roast for 30 – 45 mins in oven 180 c.

Once roasted, put in a saucepan add veg stock, and blend skin & all  – add orange juice, adjust seasoning, heat through gently.

To serve, I like to add a handful of rocket leaves, a dollop of Greek yoghurt and a slice of lemon to squeeze.

Squash & za'atar soup

*Za’atar is a Middle eastern spice mix – each family often have their own recipe but most include, sesame seeds, salt, oregano, thyme & sumac .

It is also lovely mixed with Olive oil & vinegar for a salad dressing, or sprinkled on hot bread drizzled with olive oil.




Daily bread.


I don’t think I could ever give up carbs, I love my daily bread too much, and I think if it’s full of natural goodness that’s good enough for me  – and how could you eat a bowl of homemade soup, without dunking ?, I know I can’t .

For many years I have made bread, a simple act that creates one of life’s pleasures, and one of life’s coveted aromas – The scent of freshly baked bread – hhhhmmmm.  Yes some days, it doesn’t fit into the agenda, I’m not a bread maker machine kind of a gal, I like to take life’s frustrations out on my dough, it takes the knock much better than me 😉

But for those  who just can’t wait for a double rise, or who don’t have the patience for 10 – 15 mins kneading, don’t worry you can still have a loaf – and soda bread should become your friend ready in the time it takes to mix, and bake in the oven – on the table in 30 minutes.

At the week end I was eager to try some of my new products on offer from La Rosilla Organic wholemeal flour & poppy seeds.  I had a little helper in the kitchen, who too was eager to mix, spoon & shape.

So this week-ends loaf was Carrot & Walnut soda bread with a poppy seed topping.

Kitchen helper

La Rosilla kitchen helper.

Carrot & Walnut Soda Bread with poppy seeds.

Heat oven to 175 c.

500 Grams Wholemeal organic flour

2 tsp of bircarb soda

1 tsp salt

2 tsp brown sugar

Natural yoghurt approx 4 small 125g pots (enough to make a soft dough)

Mix all the above ingredients together by hand or with a mixer, to make a soft dough.

Add 2 grated carrots and a handful of walnuts, knead until all combined, if too sticky just add more flour.

Turn out onto a floured surface and shape into a round dome.

Carrot & Walnut soda bread recipe

Place on a baking sheet, and score the top with a sharp knife, into portions about 8.

Sprinkle over poppy seeds and bake in the oven until risen and golden, about 30 – 40 mins.

Eat warm straight from the oven – lovely too toasted the next day.

Carrot, walnut Soda bread recipe

Recipe time – Roasted fennel


It seems an ages since I’ve posted a recipe, I think throughout December , people call for traditional tastes and family favourites, I know I do.  But recently I’ve been craving something different, to tantalize my taste-buds – My recent visit to the local market, did the trick, and one of my favorite vegetables was sat on the stall in all it’s glory – Fennel !

Fennel plant botanical

Fennel is wonderful , with the whole of the plant , seeds, bulb & foliage being used for many things, from culinary to medicinal.  It has a an aniseed flavour, and sliced in salads it gives a fresh and vibrant taste, slowly roasted it becomes sweet & tender.fennel seed
This recipe is easy to make, and a great supper accompaniment to roasted meat or chicken.


Roasted Fennel Recipe

2 Bulbs of fennel sliced through the core into chunks

Place in a baking dish

Drizzle with olive oil & balsamic vinegar

3 garlic cloves peeled & sliced and sprinkled over fennel

Crush a few pink peppercorns and sprinkle over

2 tbsp of fresh thyme sprinkled over

add a dash of balsamic vinegar, and sprinkle with rock salt

Bake in a hot oven for approx 45 mins until beginning to caramelise and become tender.

The dish is perfect like this, but you can add a handful of grated parmesan or your favourite cheese, and pop back in the oven for 5-10 mins to gratinise.

Roasted cheese fennel