Category Archives: Recipes

Woolton Pie

No, M'Lord, that's where I wash me smalls!

Woolton Pie was created in 1941 at The Savoy Hotel in London and was named after Lord Woolton who was head of The Ministry of Food.

It can be made with just about any vegetables that you have to hand; fresh bought, leftovers, odds and ends, roasted veg, frozen mixed veg. – the decision is yours.  This recipe is about as Wartime Housewife as it gets, using all the elements of  leftovers, using what you have in the fridge or cupboard, and is very, very cheap.

The basic elements are:
Mixed vegetables
A sauce
A topping of pastry, crumble or potatoes – mashed or sliced


A deep-sided pie dish or casserole

*   Mixed vegetables cut into similar shapes if possible eg julienne strips or cubes
*   White sauce flavoured with cheese or herbs or both (see HERE for recipe)
*   A quantity of shortcrust pastry OR mashed potato OR sliced potatoes
OR savoury crumble mix (see HERE for crumble recipe)
*   Beaten egg to glaze pastry or grated cheese and butter for the potatoes

Pre-heat the oven to 375 / 5 / 190
If using fresh vegetables, steam them very lightly until they are just cooked
Put the vegetables into the dish
Pour over the sauce
Top with mash, sliced potatoes, crumble mixture or pastry
Top potatoes with grated cheese or brush the pastry with beaten egg
Bake in the oven until whichever top you’ve used is golden brown



Filed under Food, Leftovers, Nutrition & Sensible Eating, Recipes, Storecupboard

I ran out of time…

I believe I may be very cute indeed

I had such a lovely post lined up for you today but the day ran away with my.  I spent all morning working on … well working on something, then I spent an hour doing paperwork, followed by lunch (Boy the Elder is still on half term) then some work on the post.  Except that I have just taken delivery of a new vacuum cleaner which needed building, which BTE did with great skill, so I had to try it out as I haven’t been able to vacuum for two weeks. In the middle of that I got a ‘phone call from a friend who was trying to organise a meeting point for the children to do some Halloween stuff, except that Boy the Younger had Cubs first and I had to sort out some stuff for him so he could get his IT badge and then I remembered that I needed another pumpkin to make a big pot of soup for us all.  But the pumpkins were all gorn so I had to use a butternut squash which took twice as long because Boy the Elder wanted it to make another lantern. I was going to write the article when BTY got home from school and then, while he was at cubs, make the soup.  Except that Cubs was cancelled at the last minute so we had to re-arrange the entertainment and abandon the article in favour of the soup.  By the time we got back it was time for ‘Doc Martin’ and now I have a splitting headache and I’m afraid I shall have to retire to my bed.


However, if you click on the link above, you will find three recipes for pumpkin as you’re bound to have some left or be able to pick up some post-Halloween bargains.


Filed under Children, Food, Leftovers, Life in general, Recipes, Seasonal

Bread Pudding recipe with Suet

I have had a few requests for a wartime recipe for Bread Pudding which uses suet, so here it is.
As it is a wartime recipe, you’ll find it’s a little lighter on the fruit and sugar than my earlier recipe, but there is a war on… somewhere.
This recipe serves 6 apparently

I'm afraid I don't have a photograph of this particular bread pudding, so here is a picture of Princess Margaret for you to enjoy instead


1 x medium bowl
1 x ovenproof dish or a basin for steaming

8oz / 250g stale bread
a little cold water
2oz / 60g grated suet
1oz / 30g sugar
1 tablespoon marmalade
2oz / 60g dried fruit
1 egg
Milk to mix
a little ground cinnamon

Put the bread into the basin and add the water
Leave for 15 minutes then squeeze dry with your hands – discard the liquid
Put the bread back into the bowl and add all the other ingredients
Add milk a little at a time until you achieve a sticky consistency
Grease the dish or bowl
If baking, put the dish into an oven preheated to 140 / 1 / 275
Bake for 1 ½ hours
If steaming, steam for 2 hours
Remove from the oven or steamer and allow to rest and cool for 15 minutes
Serve with custard or cream
If there is a war on, you might consider condensed milk as an alternative


Filed under Food, Leftovers, Recipes, Storecupboard

The Fastest Cheesecake in the West

Yes, there is such thing as an emergency cheesecake, sometimes cheesecake is the only thing that will do.  Such it was on Saturday night – we wanted cheesecake and we wanted it fast.  You can use anything you have to flavour or decorate it; grated lemon or orange rind, grated chocolate, tinned fruit, fresh fruit, ginger, even a little peppermint then decorate it with After Eights.

If you don’t have a mini-chopper, biscuits can be crumbed by putting them in a sealed plastic bag and assaulting them with a rolling pin. You could write the name of your least favourite politician on the bag before you start thumping it.  You get everything here – recipes, therapy…

This is how I made it using things I had in the cupboard.


1 x 7” flan dish
1 x mini chopper
1 x electric whisk
1 x medium saucepan

3oz / 90g butter
4oz / 120g digestive or ginger biscuits – reduced to breadcrumbs in the mini chopper
8oz / 240g cream cheese
¼ pint / 150ml double cream – whipped
1 egg white – whisked to soft peaks
2oz icing sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
Something nice to put on the top.  I had nothing so I used a bit of raspberry sauce although jam or cranberry would have worked as well

Melt the butter in a saucepan
Add the pulverised biscuits and blend well
Grease the flan dish and press the crumb mixture firmly into the bottom
Place in the fridge to chill
Fold the icing sugar gently into the egg whites
Fold the cream gently into that, then
Fold the cream cheese and vanilla extract gently into that
Spoon the cheese mixture onto the flan base
Decorate the top if you have anything
Return to the fridge until needed

Total time from fridge to gaping maw – 15 minutes


Filed under Food, Leftovers, Recipes, Storecupboard

Seafood in Dill Cream Sauce with Black Spaghetti

I found a packet of black spaghetti in my excellent local farm shop, and I pounced upon it with great enthusiasm.  Black pasta is dyed with squid ink which gives it a very faint fishy flavour, an ideal and dramatic complement to a fish sauce.

I wanted to use crayfish for this recipe but there was none to be found, nor lobster neither, which would have been a lovely treat, so I settled for king prawns instead which is still a treat.

This dish needs to be served really freshly cooked so that nothing goes soggy,  so prepare the ingredients before you start cooking.


Seafood in cream dill sauce with black spaghetti

1 x large pan for the spaghetti
1 x medium pan for the sauce
1 x small pan for the courgettes

8-10oz / 240-300g Black Spaghetti
2oz / 60g Butter
1 x small onion – finely chopped
2 cloves garlic – finely chopped
2 small Courgettes – cut into fine Julienne strips (skin on for colour and texture)
4 floz / 125ml White wine
4floz / 125ml Cream
3 ½ oz/ 100g Cream Cheese
½ tablespoon fresh Dill – finely chopped
4-6oz / 120-180g Prawns / crayfish / lobster – cooked

Cook the spaghetti as per instructions – probably about ten minutes
Melt the butter in the small pan
Add the courgettes and cook briefly until just cooked through.
Drain the butter off into the medium saucepan and keep the courgettes warm
Add the onion and garlic and cook on a medium heat until just soft
Add the wine and cook on a high heat to reduce down just slightly
Add the cream and whisk for one minute
Add the cream cheese and dill and whisk for one minute
Add the shellfish and courgettes and cook until everything is hot
Season to taste and serve on top of the hot, black spaghetti


Filed under Entertaining, Food, Recipes

Joy of Soup

Red Winter Soup

One of the lovely things about the darker nights and colder weather is that home-made soup is on the menu more often.

Tonight we had Red Winter Soup which packed full of Vitamin C to help ward off colds.

In our local Co-op this morning I found four tins of Chestnut Puree in the bargain bucket for only 34p each so I bought them all for future use in Chestnut and Bacon Soup

Pea and Ham Soup

With root vegetables becoming seasonally cheaper, lovely lentil and vegetable soups can be recycled for days.
Make a huge pot and on Day 1 cook some chops or chicken pieces in it.  On Day 2 add some sausages and on Day 3 eat it on its own with good bread and a chunk of decent cheese.

Raid your local butcher or delicatessen and ask them for ham bones for hearty Pea and Ham Soup.

There are still patches of new nettles out there

And of course, let us not forget that Halloween is coming up.  Don’t just carve pumpkins, scoop out the flesh and use it for Pumpkin Soup.

And the beauty is that most soup can be made from Storecupboard Ingredients!   Put Soup into the ‘Search’ box for more souper recipes.


Filed under Food, Leftovers, Nutrition & Sensible Eating, Recipes, Seasonal, Storecupboard

A delicious Sausage Stew

This is a recipe for a delicious, nutritious, easy and cheap sausage stew which is just the job for warming you up on a chilly day.  This recipe serves 6 easily and uses storecupboard ingredients.  If, as in my case, there are only 2 or 3 of you, eat the stew with the sausages on day one, then eat the rest the next day either on its own with bread and cheese or add some lamb chops, chicken legs or bits of black pudding.


1 x large saucepan or casserole dish suitable for the hob
1 x chopping board
1 x vegetable peeler

a little oil
8 good sausages
1 medium onion – chopped
1 small swede or half a big one – peeled & cubed
3 medium parsnips – peeled & cubed
3 medium carrots – chopped into chunks
2 medium potatoes – chopped into chunks (I leave the skins on)
1 can of chopped tomatoes
1 pint of stock – I made half beef and half chicken
1 heaped tablespoon of tomato puree
1 tablespoon mixed herbs
1 flat tablespoon paprika
1 tin of baked beans
seasoning to taste

Heat the oil in a saucepan
Add the sausages and cooked until nicely browned
Add the onions and soften a little, adding a bit more oil if necessary
Add all the other ingredients except the baked beans
Cook on a low heat until the vegetables have softened, stirring occasionally (probably about ½ hour to 40 minutes)
Add the baked beans and cook for a further five minutes
Serve in big bowls


Filed under Food, Leftovers, Recipes, Seasonal, Storecupboard

Black Pudding Salad with Redcurrant Sauce

I love black pudding and I’m always interested in using traditional ingredients in interesting ways.  This is what I had for my dinner on Saturday night.  It would also make a tasty starter with only one slice of black pud and less salad.


1 x frying pan
1 small bowl or small pan
1 teaspoon or set of measuring spoons

a little oil
2 slices of black pudding
1 egg
1 good handful of rocket or other dark green, slightly bitter salad leaves
2 heaped teaspoons of redcurrant jelly
a little water
2 teaspoons of lime juice
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar

Place the salad leaves neatly on a plate
Place the redcurrant jelly into the pan and warm it until it has gone liquid (or use a bowl and a microwave)
Add the lime juice and balsamic vinegar to the pan and stir it in well
Add a little water to make a thick-ish pouring consistency
Fry the egg and the black pudding over a medium heat (I like the yolk to stay a bit runny)
Place the slices of black pudding on top of the salad leaves
Place the fried egg on top of the black pudding
Either drizzle the redcurrant sauce over the whole thing or leave it in a little dish to dip into

I then spoiled the whole thing by finishing off with a bowl of butterscotch Angel Delight with chopped up banana in it.  Took me right back to college days it did.


Filed under Food, Recipes

The Household Sale: More bakings than takings

After the excitement of the reunion, Sunday saw the Household Sale in which I attempted to shed the unwanted portion of my possessions.  The dining room was full and I hoiked it over to the village hall, where I was joined by my friend Mrs Lincoln-Park who was also attempting to purge, and my sister-in-law Mrs Grable who is a wizard with a tea pot.

It was unfortunate that the only day I could possibly hold the sale was a beautiful summer’s day which just happened to coincide with the Wimbledon final.  All I can say is that a small profit was made which is better than nothing.  The Heart Foundation and Help the Aged’s shops have also been re-stocked.  Sadly, many things had to go to the tip because no-one will take electricals because they haven’t been PAT tested or toys without a CE stamp.

Regulation Village Hall tea set

Great Bowden also chose that afternoon to have a power cut and Boy the Elder was swiftly dispatched to fetch a couple of camping stoves which I keep for just such an emergency and we were only deprived of a brew for half an hour.  I was about to start a chorus of ‘It’s a long way to Tipperary’ when electricity was thankfully restored.   On the bright side, I was pleased to be introduced to the writer of Liberal England who was both charming and younger than I expected.

I spent most of Friday afternoon baking for the stampeding hordes of bargain hunters and consequently I will not need to bake again until the end of the week.  Boy the Younger’s school also benefited by a batch of Banana & Branflake Muffins and a small tin of fairy cakes.

This is what I made:

26 x Banana & Branflake Muffins

26 x Banana & Walnut Fairy Cakes

18 x Sponge Fairy Cakes 

1 x large Rich Chocolate Cake

1 x large Malted Cinnamon Cake

These were iced or filled with a triple quantity of Mock Cream

I was also given a batch of Eccles Cakes and I must remember to post this recipe because it’s so quick and simple and an Eccles Cake is a thing of beauty.  I’ve just realised I’ve already given you the recipe for Eccles Cakes – find it HERE.

Actually, I’m feeling quite peckish….

Walnuts are good brain food, bananas are full of potassium, ergo these cakes are health food


Filed under Food, Recipes

Home-Made Ice Lollies

Home-made ice lollies are Fab! and can be as ordinary or as fancy as you like.  I bought a lolly mould some years ago which makes eight lollies and the moulds have little lids which you shove the sticks through.  They are easy to clean and I use the sticks again and again.

Chocolate & Banana Angel Delight awaits the moment when it will become...

At the end of the summer, shops often have loads of lolly moulds on sale.  A few years ago, a local farmer had a batch of misshapen strawberries going begging and it happened to coincide with a sale in Sainsburys and I bought ten packs of lolly moulds for about a fiver and made strawberry lollies for my sons’ school.

You don’t even need a lolly mould, plastic cups can work just as well and you can still rinse them out and use them again and again.  Save lolly sticks from when you buy ready-made lollies and you can use them for your own brand.
If you use a plastic cup, freeze the lolly until it is firm slush, then put the stick in.

If you want to make batches of lollies, gets some food bags with tie seals, take the lollies out of the moulds, seal them into individual bags and pop them back in the freezer.  This way you can use up gluts of fruit or take advantage of special offers in the shops.

Allow a minimum of three hours for them to freeze.

There are lots of things you can use to make lollies:-

... an out of focus but nonetheless delicious Ice Lolly!

Pure fruit juice
Undiluted squash or cordial
Angel Delight / Instant Whip/ or whatever your shop calls an instant, whipped dessert made with milk
Ice cream mix
Pureed fruit
Pureed fruit mixed with cream
Fizzy drinks
Condensed milk

And you make them look more interesting by layering the contents:-

Fill the containers half or a third full and freeze them
When they’re frozen, add the next layer and so on
If you’re using Angel Delight, chose two different colours and just put one in first and the next one straight on top then freeze them
Why not try a jelly base, then fruit puree, then Angel Delight then dip it in cream for a frozen ‘Trifle’ on a stick
Add chocolate drops or little bits of chopped fruit or nuts
If you’re really clever, put the lolly moulds at an angle so it freezes on the diagonal
Stuff a piece of flake or chocolate near the middle, allowing room for the stick (this works particularly well with the creamy ice lollies)

And the final touch:-

When you pull them out of the mould you can:-
Dip the ends in sugar strands, chopped nuts, chocolate sprinkles, hundreds and thousands etc
Leave them to melt just a tiny bit and roll the whole thing in sprinkles
Dip them in cream or melted chocolate which will freeze immediately

Suck on a frozen trifle or strawberries and cream whilst watching Wimbledon!


Filed under Children, Food, Recipes

White Fish cooked with Humous

It’s all fish with me at the moment.  This recipe is really quick and tasty and full of chickpea goodness.  You can use any firm, white fish – I used Whiting because it was on special offer in Waitrose and I happened to have half a tub of humous leftover from yesterday’s lunch.  I’m afraid we had troughed it down before I remembered I should have photographed it.  Next time.


1 x frying pan

1 good knob of butter (approx 2oz / 60g)
White fish fillets
Lemon Juice
1 tablespoon of fresh chopped parsley (1/2 tablespoon of dried)
Salt & Pepper

Melt the butter in the frying pan over a medium heat
Place the fish fillets in the pan
Sprinkle the fish fillets liberally with lemon juice
Sprinkle over the parsley
Give each fillet a good twist of salt and pepper
Smear 1 generous tablespoon of humous over each fillet
Cook the fish over a medium heat, turning occasionally
When the fish is cooked through add a couple of tablespoons of cream to the pan
Cook for a further 3 or 4 minutes until the sauce has thickened
Put the fish onto warmed plates, spoon the sauce over and serve with new potatoes and crisp vegetables


Filed under Food, Leftovers, Nutrition & Sensible Eating, Recipes

Banana Splits – and make ’em sticky! (with home made toffee sauce)

A banana split is a lovely pudding and you can make them as simple or exotic as you like.  The essential ingredients are a banana, some vanilla ice cream and some sauce, but you could add whipped cream, other fruit such as strawberries, raspberries or peaches and there isn’t a pudding on earth that isn’t enhanced by the judicious application of chocolate sprinkles or hundred and thousands.

Better still, you can make super fast toffee or chocolate fudge sauce in a few minutes in the microwave, out of storecupboard ingredients.   You can make it in a saucepan, but why give yourself the washing up?

It has fruit in therefore it's health food


1 x jug
1 x microwave

1 x big knob of butter
2 generous tablespoons golden syrup
Cocoa (chocolate version only)

Melt the butter in the jug
Add the golden syrup and mix well
If you’re using cocoa, bung that in now as well
Place in the microwave on full power for 4 minutes
Remove and stir vigorously
If it’s starting to thicken take it out
If it’s still very runny give it another blast for 2 minutes
You can serve it immediately or
you can leave it for 10 minutes and it will thicken up still more
When the jug is empty fill it with cold water immediately to make it easier to wash up
Pour it attractively over your banana split and decorate as you see fit


Filed under Food, Recipes, Storecupboard

Boy the Younger’s Chocolate Cake

Boy the Younger had been on at me to let him make a cake for ages and, as Boy the Elder had been away at Scout Camp for the weekend, it was deemed to be the perfect time to bake something lovely for his return.

I developed this recipe some years ago and I believe it to be the best chocolate cake recipe ever.  It’s really sticky and rich and stays moist for ages It’s also fantastic if you’re making a cake in a particular shape for a special occasion as it doesn’t crumble and holds its shape well.  I have used it make an engagement cake like the one in the picture (with the original recipe post) and also to make a Yoda cake and this fiercesome dragon.

Try the recipe here.

I'm chocolatey I am


Filed under Children, Food, Recipes, Storecupboard

Chicken and Fruit Curry

The last in my trilogy of fruity recipes – it’s amazing what can be triggered by a special offer on mangoes.

I love curries as long as they’re not too spicy and I remember a friend of mine used to make a delicious one using fruit but we have lost touch and I was unable to ask her for the recipe.  So I made it up and, though I say it myself, it was a triumph.  If you don’t like coconut milk, you could use cream but the coconut isn’t overwhelming, it just gives a lovely, background taste.  This makes four very generous portions.


1 medium pan or frying pan
1 x medium pan with a lid
1 x large pan for the rice

4oz / 120g butter
a little oil to stop the butter browning
3 x chicken breasts – chopped
2 x great dollops of mild curry paste (I used Patak’s and it was perfect)
1 large onion – chopped
1 x medium or 2 small apples – peeled, cored and chopped into chunks
1 x mango – peeled and chopped into chunks
1 large or 2 small bananas – peeled and thickly sliced
1 handful of sultanas
½ pint / 300ml coconut milk

Melt 2ox / 60g of the butter in the medium pan or frying pan and add a little oil
Cook the chopped chicken until it is nicely browned
Add the curry paste, cook for about 1 minute then set aside
Melt the remaining 2oz / 60g butter in a pan
Add the onion and cook until soft
Add the remaining fruit and cook over a medium heat for about 5 minutes
Stir in the coconut milk, bring to the boil and cook, stirring, for about 1 minute
Turn down the heat and add the chicken with the curry paste
Cover the pan and leave to simmer gently
Put the rice on to cook and they should be ready at the same time


Filed under Food, Recipes

Fruity, Nutty Apple Cake

I told you it would be fruity.  You weren’t expecting more stuff about bras and pants were you?  Shame on you.

This delicious cake is very filling and you can use a variety of fruit.  The cake pictured was made with apples, sultanas and raisins, but I have also made it with  a mixture of other dried fruit such as apricots, blueberries, prunes, dates and cranberries.  You could also vary the nuts, walnuts, pecans, almonds – be wild and free.

Serve it on its own or with a dollop of cream, crème fraiche or marscapone for a serious teatime treat.  Just remember: it’s full of fruit so it must be health food.


1 x medium bowl
1 x large mixing bowl
1 x 8” / 20cm cake tin – ideally loose bottomed (who isn’t?)
1 x medium saucepan
1 x grater

3oz / 90g mixed dried fruit – chopped if necessary
2oz / 60g butter
5oz / 150g white sugar
2oz / 60g dark brown sugar
1 apple – peeled, cored and chopped
1 tablespoon grated orange rind
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 eggs
5oz / 150g plain (all purpose) flour
¼ tsp baking powder
½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
½ teaspoon cinnamon
4oz / 120g pecan nuts – chopped

Preheat the oven to 180 / 350 / 4
Grease and flour the cake tin
Put the dried fruit in a bowl and pour in some boiling water until the fruit is just covered
Leave it to soak for about 5 minutes then drain off any water
Melt the butter in the saucepan and stir in the white and brown sugar
Cook on a low heat for about a minute, stirring
Remove from the heat
Add the apple, orange rind and vanilla
Beat in the eggs
Sift in the flour, baking powder, bicarb and cinnamon
Stir in the soaked fruit and nuts
Stir in the apple, orange rind and vanilla and mix everything together well
Put the mixture into the cake tin and bake for approximately 50 minutes
If the top starts to brown too soon, cover the tin with a bit of tin foil and return to the oven
Leave to cool on a wire rack and serve warm or cold


Filed under Food, Recipes, Slider