Wednesday, 14 April 2021

Thai week - Spring rolls, chocolate lava cakes, Thai Curry and lemon poppy cakes

 On Monday we made Thai spring rolls with a Peanut dipping sauce

As a dessert we made little chocolate lava cakes in a coffee cup. It was so good that on Monday I made them again when we had friends in the garden.  After so much chocolates I thought we'd try to change the recipe a bit and make lemon poppy steam cakes. We used home made lemon essence we made it last year and tasted beautifully lemony.

The Thai Curry we had with rice was quick and easy. Rather than using chicken breasts I used mushrooms which worked out very well.

Sunday, 11 April 2021

making some sauces for the week's zoom sessions

 As this week I will be attempting some Thai food, I had to make some sauces (as I don't want to buy them specially for one recipe) 

Fist I made peanut butter, using one cup of salted roasted peanuts, 1 tbsp of maple syrup and some oil.

Then this sriracha sauce

As we had some sriacha sauce left over, I decided to make a tomato soup and added the left over of the sauce into the soup.

Saturday, 10 April 2021

Back again after the Easter Break: Planning a Thai week

 Looking through lots of lovely recipes this week, I found these that would work well (I think) for our From spade to plate sessions.

On Monday  I was thinking of these Thai spring rolls with a Thai peanut dipping sauce

On Wednesday evening  I am planning to make

Monday, 29 March 2021

Vegan Teriyaki Noodles

 Today was a little intimidating with Manami tuning in. She makes

at home, but rather kneading them by hand, she says she puts the dough in a plastic bag and then kneads is with her feet by walking over the bag for 15 minutes approx.   It is a good alternative work out either way. 150-200 times kneading by hand or a 15 minutes walk!

Anyway the Noodles came out really well and will make it again no doubt

The Vegan Teriyaki recipes  was a basic recipe,  in future I will look for more ingredients to go with these noodles

Monday, 15 March 2021

Cannelloni with pear and blue cheese salad

The allotment has lots of spinach and broccoli at the moment, so wanted to make something 'new' with it.

When I found  Cannelloni stuffed spinach almonds  (recipe from Cordon vert by Colin Spencer’s) Page 43  I thought it would be a nice change.

I also had a pear left in the fridge, so a quick, tasty Pear blue cheese and walnut salad was made with the lambs lettuce that is growing really well this year.

Saturday, 27 February 2021

Plans for this week's zoom meeting

 Although I am leaving it a bit late, I hope people have time to get their ingredients before tomorrow and Wednesday. The weather has been so nice off late that I have spent most of my time in the allotment.

I have started sowing peas, onions, leeks, celery, celeriac and yesterday some mini munch cucumbers.

This week I am planning a meal I have not tried before Lemon Roast vegetbles with yogurt tahini and pomegranate and as a desert a lemon mousse (from Book 2)

On Wednesday we will make Bami Goreng.

Sunday, 21 February 2021

Mushroom and spinach pasta

 As this week I am inviting students from  St Johns' college to join our zoom meeting, I wanted to try a quick and easy pasta dish with home made pasta without a machine. ( as not everyone has one)

We made this mushroom and spinach dish, it turned out well and had a big group join in.

Dear Karina

Hi, thanks for the session today.
I made a pasta for four people together and ate it as a lunch.
It was so delicious and everyone liked the fresh pasta more than the dried one!
Thank you very much.

Best wishes 

Monday, 15 February 2021

Sweet and Sour chinese vegetables and Chickpea flour tofu

 Today we made Sweet and Sour Chinese vegetables from the 2nd cook book

We also made the Chickpea flour tofu also called Burmese Tofu and had it on a bed of rice.

Wednesday, 10 February 2021

Mushroom and Pea Risotto with Orange, Halloumi and spinach Salad

Over the last years we made risotto with leeks, peas, kale and broadbeans. They all turned out well, but took a little time to make as we needed to 'feed' the rice little by little with stock.

This easy Mushroom and Pea risotto  recipe has some short cuts, which made it super simple to make and VERY tasty.

In future I will use this technique again and add the vegetables that are available in the allotment at the time of cooking.

I suppose we could easily have had a simple salad to go with this,  but as I had some oranges and some spinach that needed eating, we made some Halloumi, orang and Spinach Salad to go with it.

Halloumi, orange and spinach salad

Mushroom and Pea Risotto

Bella's ready steady cook creation

Thursday, 4 February 2021

Thai curry and a mushroom risotto today


On Monday  Thai Curry (carrot, onion, coconut milk and peanuts)   although I make my noodles myself before hand, you may want to either buy noodles or rice, whatever you enjoy more.

On Wednesday am planning to make a mushroom risotto 
for the risotto, I just use the mushrooms I have.
In addition we will make this Halloumi, Carrot and Orange Salad

Monday, 1 February 2021

Lemon curd, lemon puffs and Cheese, 'bacon' and leek tarts

 I bought a box of puff pastry and looked for recipes to use the whole sheet up. No waste and only use the oven once.

First we made the 'mushroom bacon' to go onto the savoury tart. Cheese, Pesto and 'Bacon’ tart

I then made the puff pastry cases and filled them with the lemon curd that I had made yesterday as it was properly cooled and set.   lemon curdLemon Curd Tarts

The lemon curd was made at the end, so I can use it to go into yoghurt or go onto my toast.

 A surprise visit from Holland where Gwen and Emma took this picture of me explaining how to make my mother's favourite Lemon Curd

Friday, 29 January 2021

Spinach and Potato curry with batter flat bread

 As an evening meal we made the Sag Aloo recipe from book 3. Although here is another recipe that might work. 

As I had 1/2 a can of coconut milk left from Monday's from spade to plate, it was a great way to use it up.

The flat bread that we made was more of a pancake. No need to roll it out. It did puff up and was a fun alternative. Not sure if I would make it again if the normal flatbread ingredients are around.

Monday, 25 January 2021

Not much in the allotment at the moment, but still some delicious meals

 This week I had to be creative as at this time of the year there is not much and with this week's heavy frost even less to harvest.

With this in mind, the Spinach Orzo turned out really well. This quick and delicious meal was a real winner.  We did make enough for 3 hungry mouths so after all was tidied up, I had a walk in the sunshine (very slippery under foot though) to give June a taster

As I had a can of tomato in my cupboard, we turned it into a creamy tomato soup that we had as an evening meal in the end.

Today's from Spade to Plate. One-Pan orzo with Spinach and Feta (and pinenuts as suggested by Julie) The end result....? A gorgeous lunch, made with input of 6 of us. The 2 ingredient tomato soup was quick and tasty.

Carmen Maria Renwick

suggestion to serve with a parmesan topping was genius. All in all, another lovely cooking session.

Wednesday, 20 January 2021

Wednesday 20th January Zoom session - Festive warm brussels sprouts salad with 'mushroom bacon'

      For tonight's dinner:we made this  Warm brussels sprouts salad  and mushroom bacon

It was extremely easy to make, I did not use the oven and fried the brussels sprouts and mushrooms instead.

We had plenty of  time to have a chat, and have found out that Brussels sprouts were available in the USA, Finland and the UK!

It was lovely to see Meghan and Ying and look forward to seeing them again next week.

We had this 'salad' with quinoa and liked it so much that tomorrow I will be making it again.

Sunday, 20 December 2020

Cashew nut loaf, potato croquettes, halloumi and orange salad and a mincepie star.

Many years ago, my friend Pat gave me this Cashew nut loaf recipe as my first ever vegetarian Christmas meal. We all liked it, veggies and meat eater alike, so thought to share it with you too. I have included it into my 4th from Spade to Plate book, that is getting well on the way.


1 chopped onion

Oil from the sun dried tomatoes

200g ground cashew nuts

12 finely cut sun dried tomatoes

1 can of chopped peeled tomatoes

Rind of lemon

1 spoon of fresh basil

1 egg

Salt and pepper

1 packet of puff pastry


  1. Fry the onion in the sun-dried tomato oil
  2. Add the can of chopped and peeled tomatoes and leave until the juices have evaporated, then remove from heat
  3. Add chopped sun-dried tomatoes, lemon, nuts, basil, salt and pepper and most of the egg (keep some behind to put over the puff pastry)
  4. Mix together thoroughly and put in a loaf tin
  5. Bake in over at 180ºC for 45 mins
  6. Let it cool down completely.
  7. Roll out the puff pastry large enough to wrap around the loaf.  
  8. Then if you feel in the mood to do some fancy decorative skill, do that now. Haha Glaze the pastry with the left over egg.
  9. Put back in the oven until the puff pastry is golden brown and puffed up. (about 20 minutes)
Pear Shaped Potato croquettes

Although they are easy to make they take more than one and a half hour for chilling so something to be aware off. We won't be able to do the whole recipe in our 40 minutes Zoom session


600 g floury potatoes, peeled and chopped

1 egg

1 egg yolk

60g parmesan grated

2 tablespoons chopped parsley

plain flour for coating

1 egg lightly beaten (extra)

1 cup dry breadcrumbs

2-3 strands raw spaghetti


  1. Boil the potatoes and turn into mash potatoes, include the eggs, egg yolks, parmesan, parsley until soft, while the potatoes are still hot.
  2. Divide into 12 portions, put on a tray, cover and put in the fridge for at least 1 hour.
  3. Shape the potato portions into small pear shapes and coat each in the flour, egg and then the breadcrumbs
  4. Break the spaghetti into small lengths and insert one piece into the top of each pear shape to represent a stalk
  5. Put back into the fridge to firm up.
  6. Then put in the oven until golden brown around 20 minutes.
  7. Serve hot or warm
We also made the Halloumi, carrot and orange salad. A fresh and tasty salad that went well with the Nutloaf and potato croquettes.

For dessert we made a mincep ie star which we had with a lovely cup of Chai.

Merry Christmas to you all.

Saturday, 19 December 2020

Christmas coffee morning - Book launch

Over the last few weeks,  have been finishing my 4th From Spade to Plate recipe book. Lovely to see these pictures from 2 years ago when we launched the first book .

Today was such an exciting day as it was the launch of the first From Spade to Plate cookbook.
It was lovely to see how much my friends enjoyed them, even though we have already spotted a few mistakes!  So the 2nd edition will be in the making.

I made some hot apple Christmas juice, with puff pastry mince pies, anise biscotti and an amazing strawberry Christmas star. To be honest I was surprised myself. Here is the link on how to make it.
The anise biscotti are included in the cookbook.

Spinach Christmas tree

A week ago in 2018  we had another lovely young chef. Isadora (aged 4) came with her mother Lu to show off her cooking skills. She was so helpful and made the From Spade to Plate cooking activity so different.

A few weeks ago, I promised to make marmalade with the group, as it is so easy (as we use Mamade) and quick and not something we could have for lunch.


we made a Spinach Christmas tree to go with the Soup

We went into the garden to harvest the carrots to make a simple but delicious Carrot Soup 
We added potatoes, (peeled by Isadora)   carrots, an onion to the pan, covered it with stock and after 20 minutes when the vegetables were soft, we pureed it into a lovely soup. This time we did not have bread with the soup but these lovely looking and delicious tasting Spinach, cheesey bread sticks.  With the left over pastry and spinach mix we made some savoury 'tortolini' shaped puffs. Easy to eat and very tasty with the soup.