Archive for November, 2012

Tortilla de Patata!

Oh what miserable day! Grey skies, rain that penetrates deep into your soul and a hefty wind….. What better than to stand in a warm kitchen, cooking food? Apart from the fact that I cannot eat what I’ve cooked, but others can! And on today’s menu is Tortilla de patata and meatballs in a chili sauce (the latter from a can). The meatballs were home-made though….

You need:

  • 6-7 medium potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 2 onions, finely chopped – I also added a clove of garlic
  • 2-3 large eggs
  • 2-3 cups of olive oil for pan frying
  • Salt & pepper to taste


In a large, heavy, non-stick frying pan, heat the olive oil on medium high heat. Carefully place the potato and onion mixture into the frying pan, spreading them evenly over the surface. The oil should almost cover the potatoes. You may need to turn down the heat slightly, so the potatoes do not burn.

Remove from pan and pour the mix through a colander for a few minutes to allow the oil to drain.

While the mixture is draining, crack the eggs into a small mixing bowl and beat by hand with a whisk or fork. Pour into the potato onion mixture. Mix together with a large spoon.

Pour 1-2 tbsp of olive oil into the pan and heat on medium heat. When hot enough stir the potato-onion mixture once more in the bowl and pour into the pan, spreading evenly. Allow the egg to cook around the edges. Then, using a spatula, carefully lift up one side of the tortilla to check if the egg has slightly browned. The inside of the mixture should not be completely cooked and the egg will still be runny on top and in middle.

When the mixture has browned on the bottom, you are ready to turn it over to cook the other side. Carefully carry the frying pan to a sink. Place a large dinner plate upside down over the frying pan to cover top. With one hand on the frying pan handle and the other on top of the plate to hold it steady, quickly turn the frying pan over and the tortilla will fall onto the plate.



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Just one of those Saturdays, with chores and a quick coffee and catch up with Andrew’s oldest daughter Lacey, before heading off to Tesco for the week’s shop. Chicken fajita’s for dinner, early night and then off to Salisbury. And soon, a few days in Norway with my bestest girls. Can’t wait!

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Carrot, orange & ginger soup

Well, I can honestly say there hasn’t been much cooking going on this week – apart from the stew.  I’ve been too ill and have been eating stuff I shouldn’t. Nice bread with butter, unlimited amounts of cereal, cinnamon cake and not nearly enough fruit & veg’s.

My favourite things to eat when suffering from Manflu is toast with marmite, chicken soup with noodles, spring onions, ginger, garlic and green chili. Another tried and tested favourite of mine is carrot, orange and ginger soup, good for flu and hangovers….

Here’s how:

  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 3 medium carrots, peeled and finely sliced
  • 340ml water

Place in a large pan, bring to the boil and simmer for 15 minutes, until the carrots are soft.

  • 5cm root ginger, peeled and finely grated

Gather all the bits into your hand and squeeze the juice. Discard the ginger fiber

  • 340ml water
  • Zest of ½ orange
  • Juice of 1 orange
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Add to the pan, bring back to the boil and simmer for another 10 minutes.

Remove from the heat. Blend in a food processor or liquidizer until smooth. Reheat and serve with chopped chives as garnish.

Serves two people.

Picture to follow.

Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.

Ludwig van Beethoven

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Much Ado…. About stew

Westbourne House’s stew expert was not convinced by my mixed beef and lamb stew attempt… Why beef & lamb, you ask? Well, I didn’t have enough of either meats and I find that lamb can sometimes be a bit overpowering.

I made a marinade of non alcoholic beer, rosemary, garlic and pepper and left the meat in the fridge for 24 hours.

You need:

  • 500g stewing lamb & 500g stewing beef, roughly diced
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 small handful of fresh rosemary, leaves picked
  • 2 heaped tablespoons flour
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 red onion, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 8 field mushrooms, torn in half
  • 4 carrots, diced  or a handful baby carrots, scrubbed
  • ½ small Swede, peeled and diced
  • 1 parsnip, peeled and diced
  • A couple of small potatoes, whole
  • 1 dessertspoon Marmite
  • 550ml beer
  • 565ml stock, preferably organic


Preheat your oven to 180ºC/350ºF/gas 4. Put your meat into a bowl and season well with a good pinch of salt and pepper. Finely chop your rosemary leaves and add to the bowl with the flour. Mix around so that the meat is completely covered. Fry the meat in a couple of tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil in a hot casserole-type pan – do this in batches so the pieces get a nice bit of colour, then remove from the pan and put to one side.

Turn the heat down, then fry your onion, mushrooms and carrots for about 5 minutes until softened and slightly coloured. Add the meat back to the pan along with the parsnip, swede, potatoes, Marmite, beer and stock. Bring to the boil and simmer for 20 minutes.
Place a lid on and stick in the oven. Cook for around an hour, or until the meat falls apart.

Try this : Gremolata

Finely chop some flat-leaf parsley, a clove of garlic and the zest from 1 or 2 lemons (or oranges) . Mix this up, sprinkle over the top of your stew and stir in. Fantastic!

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November sniffles…..

….calls for lamb stew. To follow!

In the meanwhile – why not enjoy some Autumnal pictures….

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And now – Lemsip

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Chilli con carne (and carrot, pomegranat and mint salad)

There are so many different recipes for this heart-warming dish, and the one below is one I’ve stolen from Jamie Oliver.  I like the fact that he is using chick peas in the dish as well as red kidney beans, although I replaced the kidney beans with Frijoles Negro Beans. I suppose a mix of all three would be even better!

I’ve never followed a recipe when making chilli con carne before, but I strongly recommend it.

You need:

2 medium onions
2 cloves of garlic
2 medium carrots
2 sticks of celery
2 red peppers

Olive oil (frylight will simply not do)
1 heaped teaspoon chilli powder
1 heaped teaspoon ground cumin
1 heaped teaspoon ground cinnamon
Sea salt & freshly ground black pepper

400g tinned chickpeas
200g tinned red kidney beans
200g tinned frijoles negro beans
400g tinned chopped tomatoes
500g good quality minced beef

1 small bunch of fresh coriander
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 lime & 1 green chilli


  • Peel and finely chop the onions, garlic, carrots and celery.
  • Halve the red peppers, remove the stalks and seeds and roughly chop.
  •  Place your casserole-type pan on a medium high heat  and add 2 lugs of olive oil and all your chopped vegetables.
  • Then add the chilli powder, cumin and cinnamon with a good pinch of salt and pepper.

Stir every 30 seconds for around 7 minutes until softened and lightly coloured.

  • Add the drained chickpeas; drained kidney beans and the tinned tomatoes.
  • Then add the minced beef, breaking any larger chunks up with a wooden spoon.

Fill one of the empty tomato tins with water and pour this into the pan.

  • Finely chop the washed coriander stalks and stir in.
  • Add the balsamic vinegar and season with a good pinch of salt and pepper

Bring to the boil and turn the heat down to a simmer with a lid slightly askew for about an hour, stirring every now and again to stop it catching.

Serve with rice, natural yoghurt and garnish with coriander leaves, wedges of lime and sliced green chilli for extra heat.


Also really nice and refreshing is a grated carrot, mint and pomegranat salad, with the zest and juice of a lime, lemon or a splash of orange juice.

When you stop doing things for fun, you might as well be dead

– Hemingway

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Last night saw Guy Fawkes Night aka Bonfire Night and this night is celebrated across England, Scotland, Wales and Ulster to commemorate the failed gunpowder plot by Guy Fawkes to blow up the Houses of Parliament in 1605. This is celebrated with bonfires, fireworks, and at Westbourne House, not in-line with any tradition; we decided to send up Chinese lanterns instead, with wishes written on them. Andrew wished for world peace and that Kyle would come back to him and his family. I also wished for world peace and for Obama to win the election. Not sure what Paige wished for, as I didn’t get to sneak a peek 😉

Traditional food on Bonfire night is Bonfire Toffee, and bangers and mash (really??)  but we had neither. Fajita with minced meat for dinner, and hot chocolate to defrost icy fingers before we all curled up on the sofa to watch a few episodes of Modern Family….

Tonight… Weighing at Slimming World group and I fear I’ve not lost any weight this week.




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