Towards the East Feast

I have just realised that I haven’t actually posted since the non-conformist Christmas Pudding – I know a few of you were going to try it this year – did you?  How did you find it?  Yet again, I wasn’t disappointed and maybe that, plus a few extra glasses of wine added a few pounds to my weight but never mind, I enjoyed it, and it will come off again soon enough.

As I really only have one picture of the finished dish I made I thought I would show you the great Christmas present I bought for Mr K.  Some of you may remember me telling you that he was the glory cook in our house.  Well what better present than the obsessive chopping board.  Can you see how great it is – look at how tiny a fine brunoise is – seriously, I’m going to challenge him to that one!

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So, New Year means that I have to be somewhat healthier and get rid of the sluggish feeling of having over-eaten.  We thought that there will be quite a lot of oriental food as we have such a great oriental supermarket reasonably close to us and generally it is very healthy and tasty.  The recipe today was somewhat of an accident.  It was a Friday night, there was literally no food in the house.  When I went to the shop I found some pork mince that was reduced so it had to be that.  Some time ago I posted a recipe for some lovely dumplings – these were delicious, and I know lots of people continue to make them – they double up as a great snack, so initially I was going to make those.  On checking in the freezer there were no dumpling wrappers but I did have a cabbage in the fridge.

I have to apologise for the lack of pictures, this dish was really not supposed to be blogged, but as I carried on adding to it I realised it had serious potential.  So this one is for those of you who can’t get the dumpling wrappers.


You need to make these babies by following the recipe in ‘Disasters and a Dumpling Delight’. Once you have made the dumplings stop and come back here as the following is what I then did:

Mix together 4 tsp miso paste with 4 tsp light soy sauce or to the thickness where you can brush it on the dumplings.  Brush the dumplings with the deliciously sweet and salty mixture and then fry them either on a griddle or in a pan, you can keep basting them with this and turning them until they are beautifully crusty and sticky.

Whilst you are cooking the dumplings cook some rice until only just cooked.  Separate leaves of the cabbage and cut out the thickest part of the stalk and blanch these.

All of the above can be done in advance and left to cook to reassemble and cook later if you want to.


When you want to make these put a spoonful of the rice in the cabbage leaf, then a dumpling, and wrap up the parcel and secure with a skewer or toothpick.  Put these in a steamer for about 5 minutes or until heated through.

When you open these up put on a little more soy and some fresh chilli – they are not delicate little parcels but they are amazingly good.

The miso paste is 5 syns per tsp if you are following Slimming World.  This may seem quite a lot but if you use the full 4 tsp you get a delicious sweetness on the crust and it is well worth it – and remember, this makes loads and loads of dumplings so the actual syns per person is really not many if you make them all into parcels – in fact we were eating them all weekend.


Surely December means Nonconformist Christmas Pud


At the risk of putting some of you off of me rapidly can I just say that I did leave this post until we were in December, which is more than happens for the actual making of the Christmas pudding which is always made on Stir Up Sunday in November and is the last Sunday before Advent.  I took a quick peek at Wiki and apparently 2/3rds of British children have never stirred a Christmas Pudding so I do exactly as my Mum did (and it’s the same bowl) and we all have to be in the house when then pudding is made.  The children do most of the making and then comes the stirring and wishing part.  Hopefully this is building lovely memories for them but I can probably say that the sheer volume of chocolate orange on Christmas morning is probably what builds the memories over Christmas.  Still, I shall continue.  I wanted to tell you about this as there is still time to make it before Christmas and you just leave it in a cool place until Christmas Day.

I used to always made a traditional Christmas Pudding but a few years ago I came across a Nigella recipe for her Nonconformist Christmas Pudding.  A traditional one was ok, but was too heavy and we rarely wanted it after Christmas lunch and then it was forgotten about.  This one is much lighter and a complete alternative.  It also doesn’t have suet so vegetarian’s will be happy.  A Chef one said it was the best Christmas pudding he had ever eaten and my in-laws tell me that it was lovely cold with cheese on Boxing Day.  So, whatever floats your boat folks. I always chop and change this recipe a bit, normally with the fruit or what type of booze is used so do what you like to suit you.

My food processor broke while I was doing this so most of it was hand chopped – pssst, it’s on my christmas list Mr K…


Nonconformist Christmas Pud

  • 300g dried figs
  • 175g dried cranberries
  • 225g currants
  • 150ml brandy
  • 175g unsalted butter
  • 100g breadcrumbs
  • 100g ground almonds
  • 50g cocoa
  • 100g plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 150g dark soft brown sugar
  • 3 small eating apples
  • 3 large eggs
  • 142ml pot sour cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp cardamom
  • 175g dried blueberries

Butter a 2.5 litre pudding basin.

Chop figs in a processor and put in a pan with cranberries, currants and brandy.  Bring to boil and simmer for 10 minutes.  Spoon butter on top of fruit and put lid on, leave it to simmer for another 10 minutes and the butter to melt into it.

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Measure breadcrumbs, almonds, cocoa, flour, baking powder, bicarb and sugar into a bowl.


Quarter and core apples and thrown them into the processor (no need to clean it between blends).  Add them to dry ingredients and then add the dried fruit and butter – now your entire house will smell like Christmas.


Break eggs into a bowl, add sour cream, vanilla and spices – you can do this in the blender again to save on washing up and throw into the bowl with everything else.


Mix all of this together with a wooden spoon once you have put the coins into the mix (we have one coin per person for our family and each throws their own in), each person must take a turn to mix it and make a wish.

Steam this over a pan of water for about 2 hours – my pan isn’t big enough so I put a lid on and wrap the sides in foil but check the water hasn’t boiled dry and top up when it needs it.

You can then store this, covered, in the fridge until Christmas when I steam this for another couple of hours – but steam it for as long as you like, as long as the water isn’t boiling dry it really doesn’t matter.

Then turn it out onto a large serving plate, douse liberally with more booze, vodka is used in our house, set light to it and present to the table. I always always serve this with Cornish clotted cream and homemade brandy butter – hmmm, I’m sure I said this wasn’t rich!

Sorry, no pic of the finished pudding, it’s happily sitting in the fridge awaiting it’s unveiling!

‘Cause we are living in a Vegetarian World


Recently we decided it might be a good idea to eat a bit more vegetarian food.  Mr K is a dedicated carnivore so he did think this might be a bit of a challenge for him.  It was decided, Monday to Thursday vege, weekend fish or meat.

As it turns out it’s not been that tricky and I think it must have seriously helped with dropping a few lbs in my case as otherwise my diet hasn’t changed significantly.

It was as I realised we had exactly the same meals, on the same night for a couple of weeks that this came into action.  This dish, Mr K exclaimed, was the first one that he didn’t actually miss meat in at all.  When questioned he said all the other ones have been nice but had thought ‘that could have been better alongside a steak’ or similar.  So I’m taking that as a compliment, and the children liked it too, always a bonus.

Oh, and middle Miss K made me take a photo of the squash at that angle as ‘it looked like a bum’ giggle giggle!



Blackbean and Squash Chipotle Chilli – serves 4 very hungry adults – syns less than 1 per serving

  • 1 medium red onion, chopped
  • 1 large red pepper, chopped
  • 1 small butternut squash, peeled and chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, pressed or minced
  • 1 tsp hot smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • ½+ tsp chipotle chilli paste (add more bit by bit but be warned this can be very fiery)
  • ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
  • can chopped tomatoes
  • 2 cans black beans, rinsed and drained
  • vegetable stock (either fresh or cube)
  • fresh coriander


Fry off the onion, pepper, butternut squash and garlic in fry light.

Once the onions start turning translucent, turn the heat down. Add all of the spices and canned ingredients, and stir. Cover for about one hour, stirring occasionally. Taste test for spice level and add more chipotle if you wish.

This is cooked when the sauce has thickened and the squash is cooked through.  See Easy!

I served this sprinkled with fresh coriander and with wild rice but Mr K had some tortilla and avocado sprinkled over the top too which he said was delicious.

Celeb Promotion and Scandi Cinnamon Buns

DSC_0500So things took a very exciting turn after my last post.  I tweeted Gizzi Erskine to tell her what a great recipe her Korean Lamb Shoulder was and she retweeted my blog which caused much excitement in my house.  My kids were updating my blog stats oh, about every 3 seconds, and they were watching the numbers tick up and up, oh, the power of celebrity eh, my normal ticking over of views was exceeded significantly and even my best ever 1 day stats were overtaken 3-fold.  Of course I wasn’t the slightest bit excited, honestly!  Well maybe a little, if snatching the phone from 11 year old counts.

Therefore, if you found me from the Gizzi tweet then thanks for following me and welcome, and if you are one of my older followers (in the nicest way possible obviously) then thanks for still being there.

I’m deviating slightly from my normal Slimming World recipe today.  Those of you who read my blog because of that don’t panic, it’s not a permanent thing but just to prove I do actually make food other than the stuff I can adapt to suit my diet.  And we all have to live in the real world don’t we, the odd cake and delicious, irresistible bread comes along and we shouldn’t feel bad for having it.  As Mr K says ‘everything in moderation’, although he always adds ‘including moderation itself’, but let’s not discuss that bit, that’s how I got to the weight I used to be.

I have been on a bit of a roll weightloss wise recently (well for me) and now am only 9 lbs away from target.  I had to go shopping for a dress last week and I have found out I am a size 12 – I want to keep the tag on it so everyone can see, or maybe wear it inside out (that wouldn’t look at all odd would it?), can’t believe I’m nearly there.

So here is one of those delicious breads, it’s similar to a Chelsea bun but very simplisticly it’s without the raisins and including cardamom and perfect with my Hot Chocolate for the Gods.  The children barely let me set them down on the table before they were tucking in with yums and oohs, I’m guessing they went down well.


Scandinavian Cinnamon Buns – makes 16 – 12 syns each

  • 300ml milk
  • 1 tsp cardamom seeds
  • 50g butter
  • 425g plain or strong plain bread flour (I use the bread flour as it makes these a bit lighter and a little chewier)
  • 7g fast action yeast
  • 60g caster sugar
  • pinch salt
  • 1 egg

For filling:

  • 75g soft butter
  • 50g sugar
  • 2 tsp cinnamon


  • 1 beaten egg
  • Sugar, for sprinkling

Put  milk in a pan, add the cardamom seeds and bring to just below the boil. Take off the heat, stir in the butter and leave to infuse until it is just warm.

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Mix together all the dry ingredients in a bowl. When milk is warm rather than hot, make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients and add the egg. Stir in, then strain in the milk and stir together to make a soft dough which comes away from the edge of the bowl.

Tip on to a lightly oiled work surface (you don’t want to add more flour to the mixture) and knead for around 10 minutes – DO NOT add more flour, I promise it will come together.  It’s really good if you have a dough scraper though as it really does stick but the more kneading the better and it is still a little soft when you leave it to rise. Oil the bowl, then return the dough to it. Cover and leave somewhere warm for 30-45 minutes ( I have a bit of a trick here.  As my kitchen is sometimes on the cool side I warm up teatowels in the microwave and wrap them around the bowl, see below, it’s under all of that).  I’m sure Paul Hollywood would have something to say but gorgeous old Blue Eyes isn’t in the kitchen with me so what he doesn’t see won’t hurt him.





Roll the dough out on the lightly floured surface to a rectangle whatever size you want.  Remember, the smaller the rectangle, the less buns you can get from it. Smear the butter out across the dough (use your hands for this), then sprinkle with sugar and then cinnamon being as generous as you like, starting from one of the long edges, roll the dough up tightly like a swiss roll. Cut this into 16 slices.

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Arrange these in tins, evenly spaced out, cover, and leave to prove for about 30 minutes, until the dough springs back when prodded gently.  Brush with eggwash and sprinkle with more sugar.


Meanwhile, heat the oven to 200C/400F/gas mark six. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.

Korean Roast Lamb Shoulder


It’s a Sunday, Autumn has hit with a thump and the clocks have changed – damn you time, it will be dark at 4.30 soon!  It is a season that once it gets going I absolutely adore though, the colours fill me with joy, the 5 squirrels in our garden are taking great pleasure in being trained by the kids.  I call it training very loosely you understand.  It involves long lines of string (we haven’t got any rope handy), these are connected from fences to posts with food on top of them.  None of the children have seen these acrobatics from the squirrels but each time they look the food has disappeared.  They are convinced it’s the squirrels and however many times I say to them it’s probably birds they just look at me and roll their eyes, I mean how could it possibly be?  Fair enough, it keeps them quiet. The only down side to the ‘training’ is that every night I go to shut the chickens in and it feels like I’m in Mission Impossible, I can see the local headline ‘Woman found garrotted by string in garden whilst shutting chickens away for the night’.  What a dull exit from this world, let’s hope they get bored before that happens!

And so to the Korean Roast Lamb, this is a Gizzi Erskine dish from her book ‘Skinny Weeks Weekend Feast’ Book.  I don’t own this book but got this recipe last winter time in a Sunday supplement and as the nights start to draw in and the evenings are cool enough for you to want to light the fire it is a lovely dish.  It’s only now that I’m blogging it I have actually read the text accompanying it to find that this is in her book so I’m definitely off to have a look at the rest of the recipes – I am generally not into buying calorie counting books but fingers crossed they are not the same regurgitated recipes as are in most books – I will report back but am sure that based on her previous recipes they will be inventive and a bit different and hope I can easily work out the syn value for Slimming World.


Korean Roast Lamb Shoulder – serves 8 – 8.5 syns per serving

  • 6 garlic cloves, grated
  • 4 spring onions, finely chopped
  • Thumb size piece of ginger, grated
  • 3 tbsp sesame oil
  • 4 tbsp  white miso paste
  • 2 tbsp gochujang (this is a hot pepper paste which we substitute with Chu Hou Sauce which is mainly soybeans, ginger and garlic when the children are sharing this)
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp mirin
  • 1 x 1 1/2 kg lamb shoulder
  • Seasoning

Mix together garlic, spring onions, ginger, sesame oil, miso, gochujang or Chu Hou sauce, soy sauce and mirin.

Season lamb and smother with the marinade and leave for 2 hours.


Heat oven to 200 degrees C.  Gizzi now browns the lamb on all sides with veg oil, I didn’t do this and put it directly into the oven without browning but do whichever you like but remember to syn the veg oil if you do brown it off.  Put in oven for 30 minutes.

Lower temperature to 170 degrees C and roast for another 3 hours or until the lamb is falling off the bone – this gives you time for a lovely walk while it’s in the oven, or a trip to the pub which is more likely in my house.

Leave the lamb to rest and then slice and pull apart with forks.  Gizzi then serves this in lettuce leaves which is great for Slimming World but my kids demand pancakes so that’s what the picture is of (again, if you use the pancakes (1.5 syns each) and hoisin sauce (2 syns per level tbsp) – syn them).


I serve this with spring onions and cucumber in the lettuce leaves and a steaming bowl of rice and stir fry noodles with vegetables.


Twisted Kedgeree


What a whole bunch of faffing around – I have had issues with positing these photos as there was a WordPress something or other technical going on.  Consequently I kept abandoning this post, huffing, laptop being unceremoniously abandoned on a sofa or coffee table.  Every time I looked at it it was calling me ‘finish this post’ go on, do it’, to no avail.  In the end I had to resort to getting my ‘expert’ to sort it out, so thanks Mr K.

So to my Kedgeree, I would eat it morning, noon and night if I could but the only issue I have ever had is that you can’t really reheat it as the rice dries out a bit too much for me.  And knowing that I can only cook for about a dozen this doesn’t really work in my world.

I thought everyone knew how to make kedgeree but apparently not, several people have asked me what it is when I’m discussing my boring breakfast.  I do love breakfast but my issue is that I just don’t have time and my waistline can’t stand what I actually want,  fresh, hot buttered toast or a lovely bacon sandwich, but alas, normally fruit and yoghurt washed down with plenty of coffee is as exciting as it gets.  I realised after the word kedgeree came up for about the tenth time it could no longer be ignored and I would just have it for dinner instead.  Kedgeree is an Anglo-Indian mash up and the smoked haddock and eggs were added when it was brought over in Colonial times.  I thought why not make a kedgeree with risotto rice instead of plain boiled rice.  After having a look around there are others who do this too so here is such a beautiful dish that you can have at any time of day, I made enough that I got to reheat it for breakfast which is when it is traditionally eaten and it didn’t dry out at all.

I do have to say that I put a little too much fennel in it though so make sure you put the amount I list below and not the quantity I have put in the picture, oops!  And another thing, I can only apologise for the fact that the haddock is dyed – it drives me mad when I can’t find natural dyed smoked haddock but unfortunately the people of the UK apparently still demand this so it’s what there was I’m afraid.



Twisted Kedgeree – Serves as many as you like – syn free on Slimming World

  • Smoked Haddock
  • 1 large shallot, chopped
  • Risotto rice
  • Fish stock
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1/4 tsp chilli powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1 lemon
  • Parsley
  • 3 eggs, hard boiled

Dry fry cumin and fennel seeds until they release their scent, then add turmeric, chilli powder and salt, then grind in pestle and mortar.

Fry off shallot in fry light, add risotto rice and ground spices and gradually add hot stock until all absorbed (follow general instructions here on cooking risotto)

Whilst cooking risotto, boil eggs for 7 minutes, peel and cut into quarters when slightly cooled.

Remove skin, cut fish into pieces and add this to risotto rice about 5 minutes before risotto is cooked.

When risotto and haddock is cooked add the garam masala, eggs and lemon juice to taste and a little extra stock if you need to loosen it up.

Add parsley, stir through and serve as much as you like.

Reheat the next morning for breakfast.

Arancini the Healthy Way

DSC_0079This is one of my all time favourite Friday night dishes.  My K often makes himself a pizza on a Friday so this is the perfect recipe to use up his leftover tomato sauce.  You do have to be a little organised as I always use leftover risotto from the night before too.  To be honest, it’s not really leftover, I’m just greedy so always make way too much but what a perfect way to use it up rather than just re-heating. And as is my normal gluttonous style I also make too many of these, but again that’s perfect.  I am very well known for opening a fridge door and standing and eating things whilst deciding what it is I really want, so to have these in the fridge over the weekend is a life-saver.

I do have an admission with these – as I made the tomato sauce from scratch instead of using Mr K’s, and as Mr K had not arrived back from work with basil I added a bit of bbq spice to the sauce instead of basil – not sure why on earth I would think that an appropriate substitute, but it was rather nice.  I have to say that if Mr K reads this he will say ‘I don’t make my pizza sauce base like that’ whilst looking at me accusingly, so there’s my admission.

The reason these are healthy is purely because I use wholemeal breadcrumbs and they are cooked in the oven.  Technically these should be deep fried so if that’s your bag then go for it, but if you follow Slimming World or are healthy eating then give these a go.

And WOW, 2 blog posts already this week.  Sometimes I can be organised!


Arancini the Healthy Way – serves as many as you fancy – syns 0 (make sure you syn this if you are not using bread and parmesan as HEX A & B)

  • Leftover risotto – see ‘Singing Aida‘ for a great basic risotto

For tomato sauce:

  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • 1 tsp garlic salt
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp sweetener
  • 1 tsp bbq spice mix (optional)
  • 1 can tomatoes, or bottle passata
  • Wholemeal breadcrumbs, blitzed in food processor until fine
  • 2 Eggs

Throw all of the tomato sauce ingredients into a pan and simmer for about 10 minutes until reduced, thickened and everything has cooked through.

Beat the eggs in a bowl

Put breadcrumbs in bowl

Make the chilled risotto into balls (about golf ball size)

Roll these in the eggs, then the breadcrumbs, put on baking parchment, spray with frylight and cook in a 180 degree C oven for about 20-30 minutes or until lovely and brown, turning if necessary.


Serve with rocket and some of the sauce and a sprig of basil on the top (see, the basil did eventually arrive) and a lovely glass of red wine.