Tag Archives: carrots

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

Garden Update 2

From the pot to the pot in 5 minutes

Today I had the pleasure of harvesting the first of my carrots which were grown in pots.  I didn’t have as much time as I would have liked to prepare my garden properly for vegetables earlier in the year, but I did manage to get in a few rows of onions and potatoes, one row of cabbages and a few pots of carrots.

I inherited my garden with a small raised bed and I got very excited until I discovered that it was just a large lump of clay with a couple of old railway sleepers round the edge.  Hence the spuds which are starting to break the soil up a little.  My onions are now in and waiting to be plaited into a neat hanging thingy; they are so crisp and full of flavour they make me weep.  Oh hang on…. But joking apart they really are lovely onions.

I planted my potatoes much too close together which made them difficult to earth up and they completely overshadowed my cabbages and I forgot about them until about two months ago.  Consequently, the cabbages got a bit sluggy and the last but one has bolted, but the others were all nicely tight-headed and delicious.

As I mentioned earlier, the soil in my garden is very heavy clay and therefore completely unsuitable for carrots.  If you attempt to plant carrots in clay, all you will get is clumps of fanged, knobbly monstrosities which are neither use nor ornament, unless they grown into amusingly genital shapes, but even this has limited entertainment when the family is crying out for Sunday lunch! 

I didn’t have time to organise different areas of soil, or to improve all the soil in time for planting, so I did my old trick of planting in large plastic pots.  I made a mix of half compost and half sharp sand and filled three giant pots with it.  I then carefully and thinly sowed carrot seed as per the instructions on the packet and left them to it.  I’ve just had my first crop and I can’t tell you how delicious they were and you can’t get any fresher than taking them out of the ground and into the pot five minutes later.  Do try growing things in pots if you don’t have much garden – you will be amazed at what you can achieve.

Vis a vis the other things I planted, I had a grand total of ten tomatoes, the neighbour’s horse ate the pumpkin plant and the pepper just stared at me very hard as I walked past, but did nothing.

I have grander plans for the garden next year.  As my landlord stole half my garden, there is no longer any need for the badly made and un-membraned gravel path that cuts across what remains of my lawn.  I shall remove it, use the wooden planks to edge the front flower bed, move the pathetic box plants to in front of the fence, where hopefully they will eventually form a nice hedge.  I will then be left with a decent, vaguely rectangular lawn which will be easier to mow.

I can then move the tatty sleeper edged bed, which is at the moment full of mint, and use the remaining sleeper to extend the vegetable patch.  With hard work and a following wind I may even have room for the garden swing which I bought and promised to put up for the boys two years ago.

This is not as much work as it sounds and, to be honest, I far prefer diggin’, choppin’ and ‘ackin’ work to poncing about with plants.  The Aged Parent can do that – it’ll keep her joints supple.

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Filed under Food, Plants, The Garden

WH’s own Fish Pie

I was astounded to note the other day that I have never given you my top notch recipe for fish pie.  Weep no longer. 

I like to have a mixture of fish in a fish pie – white, oily and a bit of shellfish, but see what’s on offer at the fishmonger or use what you have in the freezer/larder. Don’t be afraid of adding tinned fish such as mackerel as long as it’s in brine or oil.   Also you can chuck in any nice leftovers such as peas, peppers, bits of courgette.  Go wild.


1 x large casserole dish suitable for hob and oven
1 x large saucepan
1 x grater
1 x potato masher

1 ½ lb / 720g assorted fish – cod, haddock, tuna, prawns, basa, trout etc cut into medium chunks
1 large or 2 medium carrots – grated
1 small tin of sweetcorn
1 medium onion – finely chopped
5oz / 150g butter
4oz / 120g wholemeal flour (or 4 really heaped tablespoons)
1 pint / 600ml milk
1 pinch mustard power / ¼  teaspoon ready made mustard
1 x bayleaf
1 sprig fresh parsley – finely chopped or 1 tblspn dried parsley
2lb / 1kg potatoes
4oz / 120g of hard cheese – grated

Pre-heat the oven to 190 / 375 / 5
Melt 4oz / 120g of the butter in the casserole over a medium heat
Add the onion and cook until soft and translucent
Remove from the heat and stir in the flour and mustard
Stirring continually in a figure of eight, gradually add the milk
Return to the heat and, still stirring, add the bayleaf and parsley – it should all be thickening nicely
Add the fish, carrots and sweetcorn
Season as you wish
Cover the pan and leave on a very low heat while you’re making the mash
Peel the potatoes and cut into chunks and boil in some water until just soft
Drain and mash with the remaining butter
Remove the fish mixture from the heat and pile the mashed potatoes on top
Sprinkle grated cheese on the top
Place in the oven for about half an hour until golden brown on top
Serve with an assortment of vegetables


Filed under Food, Recipes

Spicy Parsnip Soup

We haven’t had a recipe for a while so I thought I’d share my supper with you.  This recipe serves 6 and is very filling.   Remember that soup freezes well (probably just by leaving it outside the back door at the moment) so consider making a double quantity and popping it in the freezer for an instant, warming treat for another time.

Also remember that spicy vegetables are rather good for the liver.  I know mine needs help…

I was going to talk to you very seriously about the iniquities of socks , but I’m rather tired so I’ll leave that for another day.   I have Opinions about socks so keep your eyes peeled.


1 x large pan
1 x vegetable peeler
1 x hand blender

Ingredients: *mostly storecupboard
3oz / 90g butter
2 medium onions – chopped
2lb parsnips – peeled and cubed
1 tsp coriander
1 tsp cumin (freshly ground if poss but from the jar is fine)
½ tsp turmeric
1 ½ pints of chicken or vegetable stock *
¼ pint double cream *

Melt the butter in the pan
Add the onions, parsnips and spices and cook until the parsnips are softening (+/- 10 mins)
Add the stock and bring to the boil
Turn down the heat and simmer for about 20 minutes or until the parsnips are soft enough to puree
Allow to cool slightly then puree with the hand blender
Stir in the cream
Serve with crusty, seedy bread

* If you have no cream, use ¾ pint of stock and ¾ pint of milk

Also, if you don’t have the full amount of parsnips, a few carrots can added quite happily.  In fact, for variation and excitement, carrots can be substituted entirely, but try parsnips first.


Filed under Food, Recipes

A Red Winter Soup to keep out the chills

This soup is full of vegetables and herbs that are blood cleansing, immune system boosting, low fat  and full of vitamin C.  Like most soups, it is quick and easy to make and it uses predominantly storecupboard ingredients.  I would not recommend that people with arthritis eat too much of this, as it is quite acidic; tomatoes and peppers are well known to exacerbate arthritis.

Red Winter Soup 19.10.091 x large saucepan
1 x medium saucepan
1 x stick blender
1 x chopping board
1 x wooden spoon

1 oz / 30g butter
1 medium red onion – finely chopped
1 red pepper – finely chopped
2 large carrots – sliced
1 tin chopped tomatoes
8oz / 240g  red lentils – cooked according to the instructions on the pack
1 pint / 600ml chicken stock (vegetable stock if you prefer)
1 tspn paprika
1 tspn turmeric
½ tspn cumin
A little cream to swirl on top if you like

Melt the butter in the large pan on a medium heat
Add the onion and pepper and cook until soft but not browned
Add all the other ingredients and bring to the boil
Turn down the heat and simmer until the carrots are soft.
Puree with the blender.
Serve with a swirl of cream and nice bread

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

Soup Beautiful Sooooop

Soup 1

Soup is a wonderful thing.  Not only is it cheap and nutritious but you can make soup out of almost anything and it can be a marvellous way of using up left-overs.  It is also an excellent and sneaky method of concealing vegetables that your children claim not to like.  My younger son resolutely refuses to eat peppers but hide red peppers in a red coloured soup and he will invariably have a second bowlful.  Served with nice bread and perhaps a bit of cheese, a pot of soup will feed a family comfortably, fill you up more than you might think and cost next to nothing.  Also, the great thing about soup is that you can get away with vegetables that are a  little older.  If you shop at the end of the day or first thing on Monday morning, there are often fantastic bargains to be had in the reduced sections.  At the weekend I bought a 3lb bag of carrots for 20p, a bag of onions for 30p and some mixed peppers for 30p.  Together with some lentils, a pot of Lentil, Carrot and Red Pepper Soup cost about 50p and provided me and boys with a hearty supper two nights running.  Any remainder can be put in tubs and stored in the freezer (taking care to label the tubs so you know what you’re eating later).  Plastic Chinese takeaway tubs make perfect portion containers.  It also means that when you’re feeling too tired to cook, you always have a nourishing meal in the freezer which can be ready in a few minutes without resorting to something you might regret.

The basic ingredients for soup are stock, a little oil or butter, an onion and whatever else you want to put in.  It really is as simple as that.  I would recommend making your own stock when possible but Chicken or vegetable Oxo cubes do the job just as well and can always be kept in the cupboard (see future blogs for basic essential storecupboard ingredients). A stick blender is also your friend here and a basic one can be bought from Argos and elsewhere for as little as £4.89.  The great thing about soup is that you can make it how YOU like it – thick or thin, plain or spicy according to taste. 

Lentil, Carrot & Red Pepper  Soup

 This soup is packed full of Vitamin C and protein, so good for everyone!

1 onion – finely chopped *
1 tablespoon of oil *
1 knob of butter *
(4oz) 120g red lentils – cooked as per instructions on the packet *
2 large carrots – finely sliced
1 red pepper – finely sliced
1 x 400g tin of chopped tomatoes *
1 pint stock (approx) – vegetable or chicken *
1 heaped teaspoon of dried parsley *
1 flat teaspoon of coriander powder *
Salt and pepper to taste *

Put the oil and butter into a large pan on a moderate heat (oil stops the butter from burning).  When melted, add the onion and cook for five minutes or until translucent.  Add the carrots, pepper and tomatoes, then add the cooked lentils.  Add the stock a bit at a time, stirring as you do it.  Add the parsley and coriander.  Cook on a low simmer for about 20 minutes or until the carrots are completely soft.  Blend to a puree with your stick blender.  If you need a little extra stock to make it thinner, then pour it in a bit at a time until it reaches the desired consistency.  Season to taste.

Serve with tasty bread and perhaps a nice bit of cheddar

* Denotes compulsory store cupboard ingredients.  I will expand on this in a future blog.

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