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.        

Friday 18 December 2020

Testing for the recipe book - crepes, biscuits and a pumpkin soup

Those were the days. This weekend  2 years ago, Andrea came to help figure out how to publish the cookery book and came with a Pumpkin so we decided to turn this one into .... Pumpkin Soup. To be honest our 5 spice recipe in which we normally use butternut squash, would have been much better. So won't give the recipe we used as it was a little mediocre.  Use the Butternut squash and 5 spice recipe instead substituting a pumpkin.

In addition we made some Christmas biscuits, three different types. The Honey jumbles, we changed into heart shapes, The thumb print  biscuits and the puff pastries christmas trees came out well and were quick and easy to make.

For the Christmas trees, take a pre-rolled sheet of puff pastry, sprinkle with the cinnamon and sugar, cut a 1 cm strip from the short side of the sheet and layer over it self, zig zagging and reducing the width, resembling a Christmas tree. Pierce a cocktail stick through the top to the bottom and follow the rest of the recipe.

Whilst all this was being made we tested the Cheese ball share and tear bread. I prepared the bread dough before hand to speed things up. We used a mature Cheddar cheese to put inside but think a blue cheese might have been nice too.  Apart from it tasting so lovely, it looked attractive too (even though I say it myself)

Simone was in charge of the Crêpes Suzette and turned this basic ingredients into a scrumptious desert. We used  hot melted butter and Marmalade to make the sauce, to pour over the crêpes but for those who like a tipple, a little orange liqueur added to this sauce would be very nice too.

Lu, Asako, Sayaka, Simone and I worked hard to fit in so many lovely recipes in just 2 hours, the end result was well worth it though.

Monday 7 December 2020

Brussels Sprout soup with a Camembert Snowflake

Having had some leftover Brussels sprouts, we turned them into a delicious Brussels Sprout Soup.

It was quick and easy to make, a great standbye recipe for the days after Christmas dinner.

As a sharing plate idea  I showed how to make the Camembert Snowflake.  For those of you who might like to make it but are not ready to eat it and you want to wait for a larger group of people to share it during the festive season. You can make the whole dish beforehand and freeze instead of putting it in the oven. Bring it out of the freezer a few hours before you want to put it in the oven, and you have yourself you Merry little Christmas.

Thursday 3 December 2020

Mushroom Bourguignonne with Mash potatoes and a chocolate raspberry Roll

 Unfortunately I did not manage the time as well as I should have as about 1 minute before the end of the cooking time, our Zoom call was cut short.

However, it was lovely to see Melendra, Meghan and Bella who joined me in the cooking session. 

It was a little ambitious to make 3 dishes in a 60cm x 50cm space (plus hob space). By the time we were finished, the area behind the camera was like a bombshell had hit it. The food however tasted very moorish. 

 The Mushroom Bourguignon went well with the mash potatoes.

 The chocolate roll came out well. I added a layer of raspberry jam on top of  the sweetened cream cheese. Due to being slightly rushed, the roll had not cooled down enough to put in the filling, so the cream cheese started to melt. Next time, make sure the cake is totally cooled down before you add the filling.

Other than that.  Great recipe for winter nights and the chocolate roll went well with a cup of coffee.

This one will end up in the next Zoom Cookery book!