This Week in Short: Baking and Breakouts

Baking recipes

Oh dear, I seem to have over-indulged this week… Something which is confirmed by the big zit on my chin and the fact that my jeans feel uncomfortably tight! It’s been a week of baking and sweet treats which has been fabulous but I’m REALLY feeling the urge to eat some salad and squeeze some juice now! Pass the fruit bowl please!


Recipe: Blackberry and Red Onion Chutney

Blackberry and red onion chutney

You may remember I was wondering what to do with the blackberries I’d picked last week? Well, I found this recipe for blackberry and red onion chutney and thought I’d give it a try. Just make sure you keep your windows closed if you make it, otherwise you’ll get a kitchen full of wasps!!!


  • 500g blackberries
  • 140g caster sugar
  • 140g red onions, sliced
  • 1 tsp chopped fresh root ginger
  • 2 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 150ml red wine vinegar

Sterilize some jars (this amount made filled 2 jam jars for me). The easiest way to do this is to wash them on a high heat in the dishwasher and fill them with hot chutney straight out of the dishwasher.

Combine all the ingredients, except the vinegar, in a large saucepan. Stir mixture over medium heat until the blackberries burst. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Add the vinegar and allow the mixture to simmer uncovered for 10 mins. Cool, transfer to a sterilised jar and seal immediately.

This chutney is best if stored for a few months before eating, otherwise the taste of the vinegar will be much stronger.


I adapted my recipe from the original recipe here

From Cave to Kitchen: The History of the Oven

It’s easy to take your oven for granted – even as an avid cook. However, when you stop and consider where it came from it has a suprisingly long and significant history.

Before people learnt to cook, human life was very primitive. Rather than the social and creative activity that we recognize today, eating was an act of survival and most of life centered around it. Controlled fire was to change everything and as man discovered the nutritional benefits of cooked food, they were able to develop all aspects of modern life on earth.

Did you know, historians think that cooked food kick-started civilization? Just imagine it, a sentient species nurtured by their love of good grub – a passion that remains resolute in the modern day!

Whilst this blog depicts my food obsessions, today I’m celebrating the vital instrument that brings my favourite dishes together. To the oven, we salute you, and to Leisure, we thank you for making this awesome little e-book (and for stoking my ambition to one day own a range cooker!)

Cave to Kitchen - click to turn page

Anniversary dinner…

Dino Prosecco

It was our 11th wedding anniversary this week (don’t ask me, I have no idea where all those years have gone!). I cooked our go-to occasion meal: individual Boeuf en Coute which my husband always asks for every birthday and special occasion. I’ll get round to posting the recipe for that soon, but not tonight…

I cooked the anniversary dinner and my hubby brought 2 bottles of bubbly plus a gorgeous bunch of roses. Lucky me! He bought a bottle of Mumm champagne (very nice) but the real revelation was the bottle of ‘Dino’ Prosecco. He bought it as bit of a joke (his name is Dino) but it turned out to be so much nicer than champagne – fresh, crisp and incredibly gluggable!

The hand painted wine glasses were an anniversary present from my mum and dad and are by Lolita – aren’t they beautiful? The heart-shaped slate mat was something I couldn’t resist from Waitrose. I know it’s twee to have everything heart-shaped, but I love it (see what I did there…?)

Italian Meatballs in Tomato Sauce

Italian Meatballs in Tomato Sauce

This isn’t the prettiest recipe I’ve ever featured, but it’s defnitely tasty! It’s another one from the Hairy Dieters recipe book.  I made the meatballs with lean minced beef and to be honest I prefer my lamb Cypriot meatball recipe, but this is good too… Plus, it was loved by 7 year olds and adults alike and it was healthy and low-fat, so what’s not to love?

Serves 4


  • 500g lean beef mince (less than 10% fat)
  • 1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 medium carrot, peeled and finely grated
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1 tsp oil
  • freshly ground black pepper

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Good friends and good coffee

Emma Bridgewater mugs and crockery

What could be nicer than good friends and tea (or coffee) at the weekend? Perhaps some gorgeous Emma Bridgewater mugs and crockery to drink them from..?

Emma Bridgewater mugs and crockery

Oven baked chicken recipe

Oven baked chicken

It’s been a bit hot for cooking in the oven recently, I’ve been doing most of my cooking on the barbecue. Today however I had a small disaster. Even though it’s 32 degrees outside I’ve had to use the oven (and make my house even hotter) because I ran out of barbecue charcoal! 

Now my whole house feels like an oven, but at least we all have happy full tummies! Where’s that chilled bottle of wine..?


  • 8 chicken thighs
  • 1 red pepper
  • 4 large tomatoes
  • 2 onions
  • 4 tbsp Nandos hot peri peri marinade (there are lots of different marinades in this range, pick the right level of spice for you!)
  • 2 tbsp natural yoghurt
  • Fresh chives (you could also use parsley, coriander or basil if you prefer)