Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Boozy Mincemeat and Marzipan Puff

So I have relented on the word 'Puff' following my recent strudel post. I’ve decided it doesn't have to mean that I have indeed baked dragons (or worse!) and as this was a folded filo parcel kinda pudding puff it shall remain, as it really wasn't strudel like. Well sort of but not really. Maybe I need to invent a new word, something catchy like Strupuff or Puffdel perhaps? Yeah, me neither.

Anyway I digress, this was one of those emergency puddings after realising I had half a packet of Filo pastry leftover from baking the strudel, which kinda needed eating 24 hours earlier but a quick sniff and visual check I deemed it was fine, fortunately I had wrapped it in damp paper towel which had kept it moist enough too, as filo is rather evil and dries out so fast! Whilst I had already made a cake for the impending family visit that evening, they are all good eaters and I thought they wouldn’t mind an extra pudding or two! I did joke it was my gigantic size cheffy man size trio of desserts!! I think with my boyfriend being away at the time I was missing cooking for two and it was lovely to have my dad and brother over to feed! 

The pudding was purely made up as I went along throwing nice things together quickly– the marzipan was leftover in the fridge from when I made the GBBO Swedish Princess tortlettes, the beloved Polish cocoa is always in the store-cupboard and the mincemeat was from a half opened jar at some point earlier this year... I do like a recipe that uses up odds n sods! Oh and the brandy was ‘borrowed’ from my dearest’s special imported bottle from South Africa…shh!

Serves 4:


210g mincemeat
70g marzipan, roughly chopped into ½ cm chunks
10g cocoa powder
2 tbsp brandy
50g butter, melted
4 sheets filo pastry
2 tbsp icing sugar


Pre-heat oven to 210o.

On a larger sheet of foil or parchment paper, lay out a sheet of filo at  a landscape angle and brush with melted butter, repeat with the remaining 3 sheets, to form a thick rectangle.

Combine the mincemeat, cocoa, marzipan and brandy until nicely mixed. Spoon the filling down the middle of the pastry, leaving an inch from the ends. 

Fold up the left and right sides inwards, brush the top half of the filo with butter, fold up the bottom half and gently tease over the top sheet to overlap. 

Brush liberally with butter and sprinkle over half the icing sugar. Place on a lined baking tray and bake for about 25-30 minutes or until golden and crispy, dust with remaining icing sugar and serve sliced up with lashings of hot custard.

Overall the pudding was very highly received - the slightly boozy, fruity nutty and chocolately filling inside crisp buttery sweet pastry was heavenly and its a definite 'keeper' of a recipe!

It’s also really quite acceptable the next day too cold if you have a spare piece!

As this lush puff used up all sorts of odds n ends I am sending it over to the December No Waste Food Challenge at Elizabeth's Kitchen Diary. Over the year I have really enjoyed taking part and hosting challenges and gained some amazing recipes along the way! Bring on 2015!!

Monday, 22 December 2014

My Christmas Fridge - Random Recipes #46

This December, Belleau Kitchen's Random Recipes challenge has taken its usual twist, last year I bared my Larder to the world...and this year its the Christmas fridge!! We actually have two fridges, this is our main one in the photo and we have a slightly antiquated on the blink drinks fridge which is upstairs.. its a split level flat if that helps it make more sense... Anyway the Kitchen fridge is quite big and it was rather difficult to take a photo, due to space issues where I was taking the image! The other tenant pulled up outside the window and almost caught me taking the photo, wedged up against his fridge, I am not sure how I would quite explain it to him!!

Now whilst the food was definitely all for December dining, we don't actually have a 'Christmas fridge as such, as we are catering only part of the big meals (yes plural, there is Christmas day with Dad and boxing day with Mum!) and so I have taken a picture after last weeks big food re-stock everything shop, as the rest of its time due to occasional bursts of strict meal planning its quite baren looking, B actually remarked how full it was for one! I do feel slightly ashamed how many jars there are but I am a pickle addict and there is plenty of them!

Despite it being last weeks photo, its not hugely dis-similar tonight - there are chestnut mushrooms awaiting their Spicy Mushroom and Bean Sausage rolls fate, creme fraiche awaiting its contribution to the Boxing day chicken liver pate and lovely free range eggs to make a South African Milktart, in honour of my South African boyfriend. We also have some rather lush smoked salmon I ordered direct from a smokery up north awaiting its devouring on Christmas Eve!

Whatever you make, do and decide this Christmas try to relax, enjoy the time spent with loved ones and I wish you all succulent Turkeys - or nut roasts and I hope Santa treats you well!

Have you bared your fridge soul yet? Don't be shy!

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

My Christmas Food and Drink Guide

Over the past couple of months I have been sent a variety of items, as well as purchasing a fair few items myself and I have put together a mini food and drink guide to help you navigate through the Festive season! There is so much choice it can be hard to choose sometimes and please every guest but hopefully my ideas can give you some last minute inspiration!

Christmas day for us has to involve cheese - normally a nice ripe creamy Brie, some punchy Stilton and a good bodied cheddar and just as important as the cheese are the crackers! This year we have these lovely Peter's Yard Artisan Crispbreads - they are as the name suggests, crispy and wholesome. Also they come in their own little card trays, perfect to place straight on the table!

Every Christmas, my dad without fail brings me a box of Chocolate Florentines from Aldi and they normally last about an hour after being opened! We have been enjoying these florentines for many years now - perfect bite sized nutty clusters with milk, dark and white chocolate coatings! I remember shortly before properly dating my boyfriend giving him a box of these for Christmas - must of worked some magic as we started dating not long after and two years on we are still going strong!

Now the next food you will have to dust off your apron and make - but this Christmas we shall be enjoying as a nibble some of my Spicy Mushroom and Bean Sausage rolls - they are relatively easy to knock up and reheat beautifully, perfect to make ahead and keep on standby!

Next up was an item that was also in a recent giveaway on my blog - a gorgeous golden Ferrero Rocher Pyramid - I have been so good not eating a single one from my kit - its easy to build even if you are technically challenged like moi and even easier to pick a lovely little cluster off its shelves to happily nibble on! I can't wait to put this on the table at Christmas - though I do wonder how long 60 Ferrero Rocher will actually last us......

Now after all those lovely nibbles you will probably be thirsty and I have a couple of drinks and cocktail ideas for you to enjoy!

For all those drivers and non-drinkers, there is a lovely, refreshing Cloudy Lemonade made by Cracker Drinks Co - its zingy and has no added sugar, welcome after all the chocolate treats! Its made with concentrated fruit juices, water and pressed lemon juice and is found within the ambient drinks aisle, rrp at £1.50. Also if fridge space is at breaking point due to its secure packaging and reseable cap its ideal to store on the windowsill/ doorstep/ patio etc!

Next up if you are fancying something naughty but trying to be healthy is my Blissful Blueberry Cocktail -  I used Blueberry Active concentrate to make them, it appears quite pricey at first glance but a little goes a long way, plus its choc full of goodness. I have been on a bit of a health kick over the past few months, trying to cram in extra vitamins after a rough few months both physically and mentally due to the ongoing diagnosis of Fibromyalgia and I feel a lot better for it. Though it is Christmas so a little tipple is most allowed too!

Makes two Cocktails  leave the vodka out for a non-alcoholic option

½ tbsp Blueberry Active concentrate
2 tbsp blueberry vodka
350ml lemonade
Fresh Blueberries to garnish
Lots of ice

Place the Blueberry Active concentrate in a large beaker or measuring jug, swirl together with the vodka using a long spoon, top up with lemonade. Fill glasses with ice and pour over the mixture, garnishing with a few extra berries and a straw.

Last but not by any means least, it would not be a celebration time without some wine! With white wine I am quite fussy particular - I can't bear sweet wine, am not overly fond of the pinot grapes and I really do like Chardonnay, especially the Australian ones. 

I like a nice body, slightly dry and not to overpowering and recently I tried out Hardys 2013 Chardonnay and I think its one of my favourite white wines I've had this year! Its slightly oaky body and delicate vanilla notes complemented the particular risotto I made that evening (a recipe to follow!) and its definitely on the list for wine to buy for Boxing day and our potential three bird roast as I think it will suit perfectly! 

Wishing you all a very Merry (but drink responsibly) Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Disclaimer: I received no payment for items included in my guide and all opinions are my own.

Sunday, 14 December 2014

Bacon and Cheese Tart

My boyfriend was away on holiday recently visiting his family in South Africa and I found myself alone with a packet of shortcrust pastry on its use by date... Obviously dangerous times cooking for one to be alone with so much pastry, however thanks to calling over to one of besties at work as to whether she would like some planned bacon and cheese tart for her lunch, to which was a yes (and an eventual can I have the recipe please as her hubby liked it too) another friend-colleague also overhead and agreed it sounded rather nice and so two pieces were instantly ‘sold’ and I only had to eat two portions myself…such hardship…!

Its quite a frugal tart meat wise, I used half a packet of ready chopped bacon trimmings so its relatively faff free too! Whilst I cook from scratch this damn cold weather plays havoc with my joints so a little less chopping is welcome! Also the cheese was the end part of a piece bought yellow stickered and the sour cream was leftover too from our beloved soured cream bundt cake, so it was great not to have the guilt of two cakes in one week, plus a good fridge raid too!

The pictures are not great as I didn't expect to like it so much but you get the idea of it!

*You will need a ready rolled shortcrust pastry sheet if you are lazy like me, or measure home made accordingly*


1x ready rolled shortcrust pastry sheet
300g cooked chopped up bacon trim, fat removed
4 large eggs
1 tsp dried oregano
75g soured cream
30g double Gloucester cheese.
2 tbsp tomato puree

Bring the pastry to room temperature if you are organised (If not spend a few minutes massaging the cracks with cold water!), gently roll out the sheet, and measure to 26cm, trimming off the excess centimetres. (Makes excellent mini jam tarts for pudding)

Gently lower the pastry sheet into a square baking dish – roughly 8 inch pan, using your fingers to mould the pastry corners.

Brush the tomato puree over the pastry base and sprinkle over the bacon pieces

Beat the eggs, ½ the cheese, oregano and soured cream, season with Salt and pepper. Pour over the prepared base, sprinkle over the remaining cheese and bake for 35-45 minutes or until cooked through and golden. 

The tart was really tasty served hot, with sweet potato mash and some fried romano peppers (5 for a £1 in one of the grocers near my dad!) but also worked well cold too the next day for lunch and would be ideal for a buffet style dinner too!

As my tart is very frugal, using ready chopped bacon trim (88p a packet!) plus cheese scraps - you could use any old cheese really - it would be ideal for a quick Christmas time supper or part of your boxing day buffet, without breaking the piggy bank - I have sent my tart over to this months Credit Crunch munch, from Fuss Free Flavours and Fab Food 4 All:

Monday, 8 December 2014

A Fabulous Ferrero Rocher Giveaway! 08/12/14

I can't believe 8 days has passed already! What a week of fabulous competitions, its been I think my busiest on record and I am so grateful to all the Pr companies that made it possible! I've worked really hard to bring you an amazing range of gifts and I hope you will come to my blog again too!

My show stopping finale is a gorgeous Ferrero Rocher Pyramid! It holds a whopping 60 Ferrero Rocher's and is a real celebration item, perfect for Christmas festivities! It only takes a few moments to assemble the little tower, however it does require a lot of willpower not to eat them all!!

Ferrero Rocher have an amazing range of Christmas treats this year - from the above gorgeous gold glittery Pyramid, to cute stars to hang on your Christmas tree containing either the regular (and loved!) Fererro Rocher or my other favourite coconuty Raffaello treats:

Or if you fancy something a little more exotic you can also buy a Ferrero Golden Gallery - containing ones we know and a few new treats too - including Cappuchino, Mon Cheri and Nougat!

So how do you fancy having a pyramid of Ferrero Rocher adorning your Christmas table this year? Simply enter my easy Rafflecopter form and good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

**T&C’s – Competition open to UK mainland addresses only. Your prize is non exchangeable and will be sent directly from the company stated above. I will contact the winner within 24 hours, if no response within 5 days the competition will be re-drawn and a new winner will be chosen.**

Sunday, 7 December 2014

Win a 500 Cupcakes Recipe Book 07/12/2014

So December and impending Christmas festivities is really all about indulging – and what could be more indulgent than an icing laden cupcake? I like some icing, not too much but not too little, and of course it must taste as good as it looks! My icing skills are certainly not professional in any shape or form but with a little guidance and hard to find patience I can achieve good things! I have finally purchased a pack of modelling tools in the sale so it might improve with time!

At Christmas time we always have my mum’s gorgeous light fruit cake and mum knows fully well that without it we would most likely disown her or perhaps sell the concert tickets I have bought for her, shh! However not everyone sadly loves fruit cake but there are lots more cakes, of all shapes sizes you can enjoy too! From show stopping tiered wonderlands to petite fairy buns there is something for everyone – and nothing is more controversial than the humble cupcake! For some of my friends they shy away in horror at the thought of one, the rest would probably devour it and not come up for air during its quick death!

To coincide with the launch of the 500 Cupcakes recipe book by Apple press, which has been written by Fergal Connolly and Judith Fertig, I have a copy of the book to giveaway to one lucky cupcake loving reader!

This chunky little book is full of inspiration and a range of exciting bakes and even more exciting toppings to play with and have some fun along the way too! There are even some savoury cupcakes - how about a Basil Pesto Cupcake? Not quite sure but sounds intriguing.......!

Where do you stand on cupcakes? Love or hate? If you are in camp love why not enter my competition to win your very own copy of 500 Cupcakes! All you need to do is enter the easy rafflecopter competition below and tell me what your most memorable cupcake was!

**T&C’s – Competition open to UK mainland addresses only. Your prize is non exchangeable and will be sent directly from the company stated above. I will contact the winner within 24 hours, if no response within 5 days the competition will be re-drawn and a new winner will be chosen.**

Saturday, 6 December 2014

A Spicy Giveaway 06/12/2014 **NOW CLOSED**

Now some of you will know from last years bare your cupboards from Belleau Kitchen I am er, a bit of a spice hoarder, well nothing has changed during 2014 and when a new company approached me recently offering some intriguing sounding spice mix called Basaar I really could not say no! 

Basaar is a completely alien word to me, despite cooking a variety of cuisines its a word that doesn't roll off my tongue with an air of talking like I know what I am talking about, and I do love a new challenge! 

Borrowing a little text from Sharma Spices to help explain Basaar:- 

"Our Original Basaar has been used as a spice powder for over 50 years. It is all hand-made and compromises of ingredients of the highest-quality. The fiery kick bought out from its zest is somewhat absent from the average spice rack. 

This product is only available via Sharma Spices as it is our own, unique blend of spice. Although we cannot give out our family formula, we can promise flavour you have never experienced before. The spices originate from the Punjab region in South-East Asia, an area world renowned for its affection and distinction in spices; we are confident we have perfected a method for the ultimate spice lover. "

So do you covet new spices too? If so and you fancy trying out some of Sharma Spices Basaar mix you could win 500g Sharma Spice Original Basaar to play with!

All you need to do is enter via my easy Rafflecopter form and answer a very simple question!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, 5 December 2014

Better with Brita Giveaway - 05/12/2014

We live in a particularly hard water area and after moving to our current flat I found that the tap water tasted rather nasty but after growing fed up of lugging back expensive bottles of mineral water, not to mention a little concerned over how many we were going through and throwing away, we eventually grew used to the taste of tap water providing its chilled down….

Then along came our gorgeous bright pink fuschia Brita Marella filter and now we have lovely tasting, clear and freshly filtered water, no lugging heavy bottles, no landfill with the empty bottles and its so easy to use! Though it has a different lid to one I had many years ago and the lid pops up rather than just sticking it under the tap and the water flow pushes it down, and I got soaked on the first filling oops! I have learned my lesson now!

The Marella jug is a sturdy design and yet slim enough to fit in the fridge door on most standard fridges – we have, erm, two fridges and it fits our main larder style one easily but it’s a bit of a squeeze in the under counter one. To filter the water quickly and efficiently the jug takes patented MAXTRA cartridges which have filtration technology that reduces limescale and impurities which can impair on taste in your drinking water.

I will be featuring Brita filtered water in some upcoming recipes but for now I have a Brita Marella filter, in a choice of your colour to giveaway! Though I can of course highly recommend fuschia ;-)

To enter the competition simply complete the rafflecopter form below and let me know if you use filtered water, and why! Easy as that!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

**T&C’s – Competition open to UK mainland addresses only. Your prize is non exchangeable and will be sent directly from the company stated above. I will contact the winner within 24 hours, if no response within 5 days the competition will be re-drawn and a new winner will be chosen.**

Thursday, 4 December 2014

Win a copy of The Freedom Food Celebrity Recipe Collection 04/12/2014 **NOW CLOSED**

Its now halfway through my mega giveaway week but I still have a few gems! Today I bring you a fabulous cookery book called 'The Freedom Food Celebrity Recipe Collection’ featuring recipes from chefs including Jamie Oliver, Mary Berry and Thomasina Miers.

Whilst I am certainly no celebrity chef I have worked this year with Freedom Food, in particular creating this gorgeous Zesty lime and coriander chicken using a whole Freedom Food endorsed chicken, which I wrote about back in September:

Freedom food is important to me, it ensures that the fish and meat we eat is from higher welfare farms who comply with strict RSPCA standards. To give you more inspiration I have a copy of this lovely cookbook to giveaway to one lucky reader!

To enter the competition simply complete the rafflecopter form below and let me know if you buy Freedom Food endorsed and why!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

**T&C’s – Competition open to UK mainland addresses only. Your prize is non exchangeable and will be sent directly from Anne's Kitchen. I will contact the winner within 24 hours, if no response within 5 days the competition will be re-drawn and a new winner will be chosen.**

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Vegan Baking Adventures with Marmalade and Sweet Potatoes...

Recently I was set a little challenge.. well a last minute game changing challenge even to make some cakes for my friends Animal charity stall – and the twist in that they needed to be Vegan! Now dairy free is easy, I make plenty with with oil or butter substitutes without breaking a sweat but eggless? The glue that binds the ingredients lovingly and makes them rise? That’s a whole new story to be written! I have once made some vegan muffins but I repeat the once part, they just didn’t do it for me. By some miracle, a little googling, an hour slowly losing the will to live in the shop trying to find the egg replacer stuff with no help from customer services - apparently it was in stock but the aisle was upstairs but upstairs is clothing etc so in other words no idea whatsoever, and eventually finding it myself in the racking above the special diets section, on tippytoes trying to grab the box I somehow pulled it off – it was not easy but I am quite proud that both cakes were most edible and didn’t lack in any areas flavour wise at all!

The first cake was made fairly on track with the base recipe for a sweet potato spice cake, though we made an alternative topping using some scary dairy less cream cheese (note do not sniff it!), icing sugar, marmalade and a little vanilla, oh and something new to me in being vegetable shortening, and a little vegan margarine. I have a unique selection of ingredients right now to use! The icing was a little runnier than I would of liked slicing it up but it did stay on mostly so that’s the main part! Overall the spicing of the cake was so tasty – fragrant clove, cinnamon and ginger worked in a glorious harmony together. Even the weird smelling frosting was rather tasty, resembling the slightly sour creamy like topping you get on carrot cake. The sprinkling of crystallized ginger and crunchy toasted hazlenuts finished it off perfectly.

The plan:

The Finished cake:

Second up was a really gorgeously moist chocolate orange and marmalade cake, topped with a gooey chocolate frosting I made with a little of the marmalade, some icing sugar, a squeeze of orange juice, the zest and a dash of cocoa powder. The marmalade was sent to me by Robertson's in a special edition Paddington Bear jar - I love marmalade and the jar vanished fast!

The sponge itself was adapted from a Nigella storecupboard chocolate cake recipe, which I jazzed up with my favourite Polish dark cocoa powder, half a fresh orange juiced and a scary new item to me known as egg replacer, mentioned at the top of this post! Somehow the magic worked and produced a gooey, almost brownie like chocolate orange heaven! I honestly feel like converting to camp no egg now it was so good! I will make it again, measuring this time what I did and post the recipe in full for you to enjoy!

So any tips out there for first time Vegan bakers? Its definitely something I will explore further and hopefully share my journey with you!

Godiva stocking Giveaway - 03/12/2014 **NOW CLOSED**

When I was little I have fond memories of waking up on Christmas morning to find a stocking (or a carrier bag in latter years!) filled with treats, hung just inside my bedroom on the old fashioned towel rail to explore! It usually had a net of chocolate coins, wrapped in their glitzy gold foil, a traditional Clementine and a few small toys to play with. I will have to ask my parents if there was anything else as I can't quite remember that far back!

Of course the main event of the stockings contents was of course the chocolate and now I am sadly a grown up I don’t tend to get given a stocking by Santa (I obviously must have been far too naughty!) but this year I have been given this gorgeous festively red knitted Christmas stocking from luxury chocolate makers Godiva! It has a beautiful gold Poinsettia design and you can reuse it next year too!

Inside the Godiva Christmas stocking its stuffed with a selection of limited edition Milk, Dark and White chocolates, all in festive designs and retails at £17. Needless to say as much as chocolate coins wrapped in foil still warm my heart, the luxury Godiva chocolates are a hell of a lot more tastier!

Picture remains the property of Anne's Kitchen

So have you been naughty or nice this year? I have a spare Godiva Christmas stocking to giveaway to one very nice reader! Simply enter my easy rafflecopter competition below to win this gorgeous stocking and let me know if you have been nice this year and why you should receive one!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

With thanks to Luxx PR

**T&C’s – Competition open to UK mainland addresses only. Your prize is non exchangeable and will be sent directly from the company stated above. I will contact the winner within 24 hours, if no response within 5 days the competition will be re-drawn and a new winner will be chosen.**

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Getting sweet with Baru – a Marshmallowy Giveaway! 02/12/2014 **NOW CLOSED**

On the second day of Christmas Baru will send to you… a wonderful gift pack especially created just for my readers! Your luxury pack will have the following treats inside waiting for you to salivate over:

  • A tub of Swirly Chocolate Powder with Marshmallows
  • A tub of Spicy Chai Latte
  • A box of Fleur de Sel Caramel Marshmallows (54g)
This Christmas you can find Baru’s new delectable and contemporary confectionery range, available from Waitrose in the UK. Its made in Belgium I have been working so hard to test their treats for you and we loved the Baru ‘Fleur de sel caramel’ marshmallows best

TheFleur de sel caramel’ are soft pillowly vanilla scented marshmallows contain a little sweet caramel nugget with a sniffle of sea salt and are encased under a crispy dark chocolate shell, snuggled up in its own little wrapper. The slightly bitter dark chocolate flavoured lingered pleasantly on my tongue and left me wanting more!

However… if you are not so fond of the dark chocolate, don’t worry – Baru do Milk chocolate coated marshmallows too! Also in the range are their instant hot drinks – I have been sampling their Chai Latte lately, which is most welcome on these cold wintery nights! Its got a little hint of spice and whilst it says to stir into hot milk I have been lazy and used hot water and it still tastes delicious!

There is something about a sweet being individually wrapped that appeals, its makes a treat even more special. Baru’s little gift boxes containing four marshmallows rrp at £2.99 and make an ideal stocking filler or little treat to give to a loved one this Christmas.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

**T&C’s – Competition open to UK mainland addresses only. Your prize is non exchangeable and will be sent directly from the company stated above. I will contact the winner within 24 hours, if no response within 5 days the competition will be re-drawn and a new winner will be chosen.**

Monday, 1 December 2014

A Healthy Start to December with a Juicy giveaway! 01/12/2014 **NOW CLOSED**

I am so excited this is my first blog post, on the 1st of December and it’s the start of a mega giveaway on Anne’s Kitchen! To kick it all off the lovely people from Bella Housewares have given me a fantastic juicer to help get you healthy after all the festivities have passed and you know its fruit o clock and not chocolate o clock!

For me juicing is a complete new experience – I will be honest in that I am not the biggest fruit juice consumer and always water mine down – when ever people offer me soft drinks I normally reply ‘just to colour the water only’! However juicing has intrigued me, especially as my health the past few years has been a little up and down and whether a bit more fresh fruit might help things... plus having freshly juiced drinks surely has to be healthy and will boost my 5 a day intake! Despite my no juice declaration I do admittedly quite like some of the freshly squeezed on the market by certain brands but they are a treat item as they can be quite expensive to buy! Hopefully by making at home it will hopefully turn an indulgence into a more regular treat!

When my box containing my Bella Whole Fruit Juicer arrived it was a little daunting but once unpacked I thought yeah we can do this…once of course I figure out which bit goes where of course! I was a little saddened that you can’t juice bananas, they are one of my favourites but there is still lots of other fruit you can use. I just need to decide what to make, and I must admit the cocktail recipes in the pamphlet sound rather tempting....

So do you fancy making your own fresh juices? Simply enter my easy rafflecopter competition below to win this amazing Bella Whole Fruit Juicer and let me know what your favourite juice is!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

**T&C’s – Competition open to UK mainland addresses only. Your prize is non exchangeable and will be sent directly from the company stated above. I will contact the winner within 24 hours, if no response within 5 days the competition will be re-drawn and a new winner will be chosen.**

Sunday, 30 November 2014

Leek and Potato Soup with Chorizo crumbs and Cheese croutons

With the nights drawing in and not only chilly starts but chilly nights too I do declare soup season officially open! I always enjoy making soup, there is something so nourishing and rewarding about it! I must admit I have no real memories of ever really eating leek and potato soup, its certainly the first time I have made it but I had some leeks going spare and I had bought a giant bag of potatoes going cheap and it sort of called out to me to make it!

Whilst the soup was lovely on its own…. do make the tiny extra bit of effort to make the topping too! The cheesy topped croutons are a doddle to make and the sweet smoky spicy chorizo pieces add a nice little extra bite! The soup reheats very well too the following day for lunch! I packed up a little container with the extra croutons and chorizo pieces and got some admiring looks in the works kitchen whilst assembling!

Makes 4 servings


2 large leeks, trimmed and finely sliced
2 medium white potatoes, diced. I.e. maris piper variety
20g butter
800ml vegetable stock (1 heaped tsp marigold bouillon powder)
300ml milk
70g picante chorizo
2 slices wholemeal bread
2 tbsp finely grated Parmesan
Flavoured olive oil

Halve the chorizo lengthways and then slice each half lengthways again, finely slice so you have nice little thin quarters.

Heat a large deep saucepan and fry the chorizo for a couple of minutes to release the lovely oil but not burning the chorizo, scoop out into a bowl. Add the butter to the saucepan (and remaining chorizo oil), then fry the leeks for 4-5 minutes until softened, stir in the potato chunks and cover, reduce the temperature and gently cook them without browning for 10-15 minutes or until just softening. Add the stock, milk and stir well and re-cover, gently bubble away for 25-30 minutes or until the potatoes are soft.

Meanwhile, remove the crusts from the bread and brush with the oil on both sides, use a sharp knife to slice into little triangles. Keeping the triangles close together grate a thin layer of parmesan over the top, place on a baking tray and cook in a medium hot oven until crispy and lightly golden.

Blend the soup until smooth and serve in bowls, top with a couple of cheesy triangles and sprinkle over a few of the chorizo pieces.

A comfort hug in a bowl.

Sunday, 23 November 2014

Turkey, Pecan and Cranberry Strudel

Trying to come up with this dishes name was initially easy in my planning process but after actually making it did Strudel still fit the bill I wondered? Strudels tend to be more of the sweet variety but in a restaurant for lunch the other week I had a roasted vegetable and goats cheese one so I think I can happily borrow the name for this occasion! I did momentarily consider the word puff that makes me just think of dragon's which is obviously just plainly wrong! Plus it might be rather tricky catching one....

When it comes to leftovers, I really do enjoy making them into something new and always relish the challenge! With Christmas approaching faster than Santa's sleigh it is most probable you might just have quite a few leftovers from the big meal to play with - and Sainsbury's asked me to create something using leftover Turkey. Now Turkey leftovers and Christmas makes me think of turkey curry and boxing day, something a bit of a joke nowadays - yes it does make a rather nice curry but there is so much more you can do with it too! Its usually a very lean meat, and whilst most people go for the white breast meat I am much more fond of the slightly gamier tasting brown meat, usually the thighs or legs and chances are you might have that in particular leftover, though this dish would work well with either so don't worry too much if its only a small joint like a crown you have leftovers from.

Whilst I may fold the pastry a little differently next time, overall it was a great success and I really enjoyed having our pre-Christmas dinner last Sunday complete with fairy lights! My strudel was a great use of leftovers - the cranberry sauce left from who know's when and a handful of pecan nuts added a tasty crunch to the mixture too! You could probably use walnuts equally well if that's what you have leftover instead. The sweet, slightly tangy cranberry with the lovely pecan crunch and sweet turkey meat was really tasty, definitely a keeper of a recipe!

Turkey, Pecan and Cranberry Strudel

Serves 3-4 adults, fairly easy


200g cooked brown Turkey meat, shredded
50g butter
100g cranberry sauce
50g pecan nuts
6 sheets of filo pastry, by Sainsbury's
30g plain flour
30g unsalted butter
200ml milk
1 tbsp poppyseeds
Salt and pepper to taste

Pre-heat the oven to 190o.

Place the pecans on a heavy baking sheet, cook for about 5 minutes until lightly toasted - do not forget - they burn super fast (as I found out the hard way!) remove from the oven and lightly break up into smaller chunks.

In a medium sized saucepan, melt the butter, add the flour and whisk together thoroughly, slowly add the milk bit by bit to form a thick roux, until all combined and simmer for about 5 minutes or until it coats the back of the spoon well. Remove from the heat and season with salt and pepper and stir through the turkey.

In a small pan melt the butter and keep warm.

Unroll the filo sheets gently, place one on a flexible baking sheet or parchment paper in a rectangular shape, brush with butter thinly all over, repeat with a further three sheets. You need to work fast as filo dries out fast - if needed dampen some kitchen paper and place on top of the open sheets.

With the prepared pastry, spoon over the prepared turkey mixture down the middle, allowing an inch gap on the sides. Spoon over the cranberry sauce, butter the exposed pastry and place a new filo sheet over the top, pressing out any air gently. Repeat with a further sheet over the top.

Fold up the opposite ends, inwards, brushing again with butter to seal. Using sharp scissors, make horizontal slashes about an inch apart but not through to the filling, and brush again with butter. Fold up the slashed pieces of filo in an alternate pattern. Cover liberally with remaining butter and sprinkle over the poppyseeds.

Lifting the sheet onto a heavy based baking tray, bake for about 30-35 minutes or until the pastry is crisp and golden. My oven is questionable as to its temperature but you want a fairly hot oven!

Slice into portions and serve with roasted baby potatoes and a green vegetable medley, I sauteed leeks with courgettes and it went very well together! Oh and lots of gravy!

With thanks to Sainsbury's who provided vouchers to cover my time and ingredients.

As I used up some neglected cranberry sauce, leftover Turkey meat and the last few pecans I am sending my festive recipe over to Elizabeth's Kitchen Diary's No Waste Food Challenge which is being held by Slice Off Me this November!

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Herby Black Eyed Beans

Sometimes, when deciding what to make as a side dish that doesn't involve either pasta, rice or potatoes it can get a little overwhelming or puzzling. Afterall I also have polenta, Kaska grains, bulgur wheat, couscous, toasted couscous and various tins of beans at any one time to choose from!   And this is where tinned beans are magic friends! I was a bit of a latecomer to tinned beans, I really disliked baked beans growing up, and thanks to my mum thought I didn’t like kidney beans either (yes I was that fussy fellow diner picking those red beans out, sorry, beans, please forgive me!) but a chance eating out of politeness at a family gathering I realised actually they are rather nice, and indeed edible and I started exploring things with beans… quite often they are just part of the fabric of a recipe – take chilli con carne as a prime example or within the spicy bean burgers I often make, with sweet potato but its not often they are a side dish in their own right – times are a’changin and beans are getting a new lease of life!

Black eyed beans were a random purchase, I think they had various beans & pulses on offer at 4 tins for one whole pound and I stumbled across the b-e-b’s and vaguely remembered that I thought I liked them, and I most definitely do! They are nicely creamy, savoury and overall very versatile bean. Definitely hoarding material friendly!

I loved this dish – in fact we both did and its something that will be on my repertoire of quick and tasty side dishes! The creamy beans, fragrant hints of mint and earthiness from the cumin, plus a little green chilli zing made for a very pleasant meal!

This works really well as part of a mezze type affair, served warm.

1 x 400g tin Black eyed Beans, drained
2 large salad tomatoes, quartered
½ red onion finely sliced
½ tsp dried mint
½ tsp cumin seed
½ green chilli, finely chopped
1 tbsp olive oil
Water, to loosen

Greek yoghurt with a squeeze of lime if you have some, to serve

In a shallow frying pan, heat the oil and fry the onion until lightly golden. Stir in the chilli, tomatoes, cumin, mint, reduce the heat and gently poke around for about 5 minutes or until the tomato chunks are starting to go squishy. Add a little water if its getting too dry but not enough to flood the pans contents either! Stir through the beans and gently cook, covered for a further ten minutes to fully heat through the beans and keeping the mixture moist. Stir occasionally, allowing the tomato to break down into the mixture.

Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Serve on the side of something nice and add a dollop of lime streaked yoghurt on top. 

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Veggie Secret Sausage Kebabs

Whilst I can make a perfectly decent barbecue sauce, I was trying to have a raid on the numerous jars collecting in the fridge (there is one full shelf and stragglers in the door and lurking on other shelves! I really am trying harder to use them up!) and I stumbled across a neglected opened jar of Opies Smoked Garlic BBQ Sauce I think my dad had originally bought over back in the summer – it’s a really tasty sauce and had me scheming as to how I would use it up....

In the meantime I was sent some veggie friendly sausages – now in the past the thought of a veggie sausage had me running to the hills as I had never found a decent one and I've been subjected to some pretty insipid non-beast’s along the way! Whilst I have mastered a veggie sausage roll with excellent they are not actually sausage shaped or suitable to cook on the grill and this is where my Secret Sausages stepped in! Reading the blurb off the back of the packet I tried, they hare 90% less fat, 50% of the calories and 35% less salt vs a regular sausage. Oh and 3 sausages count as 1 of your 5 a day too! Sounding like a health food right? All quite impressive indeed….

…But how do they actually compare vs a pork versions you may wonder? Okay so succulent meaty pork they are not but in their own right they held their shape well after being diced up and cooked, had a pleasant, slightly coarse texture that resembled the nice vegetables inside, not some mashed pulp of gawd knows what! Whilst they were not exactly very exciting on their own, flavour wise, livened up with the bbq sauce they worked a treat and would be a very acceptable vegetarian offering say for example at a bbq or a family gathering. I do cook mostly from scratch but I am only human and use a handful of cheat ingredients for when time is short and these are definitely something that’s handy to keep in the freezer on standby!

This particular packet of Secret Sausage's were Rosemary and Garlic, and they are made with green beans, mixed peppers, rice and rosemary, plus garlic of course! They are vegetarian society approved product as well as being gluten free so are suitable for special diets.

6 Rosemary & Garlic Secret Sausages
½ a large courgette
1 medium red pepper
BBQ sauce, to glaze - about 1 cup
Spray oil, to cook

Makes 4-6 kebabs

Using a sharp knife cut each sausage into 3 equal pieces. Halve the courgette length way's and again so you have four long quarters. Slice into 1 cm chunks.

De-seed the pepper and cut into half inch squares.

Thread alternate pieces of courgette, sausage and pepper onto the kebabs. Spray with oil and grill for about five minutes, brush over the bbq sauce and cook for a further five minutes, turn the kebabs over, grill lightly before glazing again until cooked through – about 5 minutes.

Serve with my herby beans (my next post) or a nice salad or as we are now winter mash is perfectly acceptable!

As I finally used up the last of my neglected jar of Barbecue sauce I have entered my Kebab's into Elizabeth's Kitchen Diary's No Waste Food Challenge which is being held by Slice Off Me this November!

Disclaimer: I was sent a variety of Secret Sausage's for review. I recevied no payment for this and all images, text and opinions remain the property of Anne's Kitchen.

Monday, 10 November 2014

Meal Planning Monday

Last week simply flew by! We stuck to some of the plan but with B's man flu and being generally exhausted from sofa surfing a lot of the dinners became quicker versions. Tuesday's Cauliflower tart failed at the first hurdle as I realised upon taking the pastry out of the fridge it was puff and not shortcrust. And B turned his nose up at the idea anyway so we had cauliflower cheese instead and I had fortunately picked up some pork mince reduced, so I added some Jerk seasoning and made little pasties instead with the pastry. I think B was actually secretly delighted by this impromptu meal as I got meekly told 'we never have pie'!

This week I am determined to clear some cupboard space, I actually bought a new vegetable tiered thingy yesterday to keep in our larder aka Narnia to store excess tins! Do not let me buy tomatoes this side of Christmas, I seem to have accidentally hoarded them!! How normal is it to have 15 tins of chopped tomatoes, a large jar of passata, 3 cartons of chilli & pepper passata? Anyone else guilty?

I have made this weeks plan but also have spare a packet of mushrooms and a lot of new potatoes. Most likely one of the meals will change or will be lots of soup made for lunches! Tonight's meatball spaghetti is using up half a pack of sausage meat leftover from the recent sausage roll festival here!

Sausage Meatball Spaghetti 
Aubergine katsu curry, courgettes and noodles 
Chorizo, leek and squash hash with poached eggs 
Tuna pasta bake 
Thai Chicken wing broth or naughty takeaway

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Spicy Mushroom & Bean Sausage rolls

Now calling these ‘sausage’ is a bit misleading as there's no Pork in them and the term parcels implies something much larger and I can’t think of anything smaller than rolls. Plus I was making alongside their meatier counterparts so I decided to keep the ‘sausage’ part…you understand I am sure what I am waffling on about!

I have never made a veggie version of sausage rolls before, see I am actually rather fond of properly made pork ones when not in veggie phase but some bought outside of home are often rather questionable in their quality and after trying a truly awful, dry and claggy vegetarian sausage roll from a health food shop, it was time to embark on my own.. plus I was making these prior to going to see my wonderful auntie in the west country, who also by chance is a vegetarian so I thought she wouldn’t mind at all being a guinea pig! So I lovingly made these up from scratch, parcelled up and took them for a road trip!

Considering they are my first ever attempt at a veggie friendly sausage roll, I am super happy with them, plus everyone loved them! The spicing was perfect – hints of chilli, cinnamon and more from the Baharat seasoning, which was randomly picked up last year on holiday in Jersey, the filling texture was chunky but still fine enough to munch without pulling half the filling out and the vegetables all complemented each other very well. Wrapped in a loving puff pastry blanket what more you can want?

This will make enough for 13 generous cocktail sized sausage rolls – simply double up the filling to use the whole pastry sheet up!


1 puff pastry ready rolled sheet, halved down the middle to form two long rectangles (do this whilst still rolled! Mine was bought from Sainsbury's)
200g chestnut mushrooms, roughly chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
½ red onion, finely chopped
½ red romano pepper, diced
1 medium carrot, coarsely grated
100g cooked black eyed beans
1.5tsp baharat seasoning
1 egg, beaten
Poppyseeds, to decorate


Heat 1 tsp of oil in a pan, gently cook the onion until softened, stir through the mushrooms, carrot and pepper, and cook for about 10 minutes, sweating them down – be careful not to burn them, stir through the garlic, baharat, and the beans and heat through, press down lightly to gently mash the beans, season to taste with salt and pepper – the mixture should be fairly dry looking and well mixed. Remove from the heat and allow to cool down.

Pre-heat the oven to I would approximate at about 200o - my oven has been on the blink for some time (and housing company apparently deny) so mine was 240o on the dial..

Open out the pastry sheet, brush the top and bottom halves with the beaten egg. Arrange the cooled mixture down the middle keeping it well together, to form a long sausage, pat down to form a column of sorts. 

Gently pull up the bottom half of the pastry over the mixture, brush the top with more egg and pull up the top side, gently teasing over – you want about a centimetre or so of overlap. Brush all over with egg and sprinkle with poppyseed's. Gently press the knife almost through to the bottom to form slices, on the nice sheet they provide with the pastry.

Bake for about 25-30 minutes or until the pastry has puffed up and cooked through. Allow to cool on the tray for ten minutes before transferring to a wire rack.

Serve warm. If they get the chance to cool that far! They can also be reheated in a warm oven for about 10-15 minutes. Oh and they travel well too! 

Perfect for picnics, late brunches..snacks and light lunches too! Pretty much no excuse needed really.

I am sending these over to Treat Petite for November held by Cakeyboi and this months host The Baking Explorer - as mentioned above I made these with my Auntie T in my mind - all through my up's, down's and frankly inside out stages she has been my rock and its lovely to say thank you in the best way I know how - baking something that tastes great!

My veggie rolls are perfect for all the family - and for the great Family Foodies challenge, which has gone Vegetarian for November and so I have sent them over to the lovely hosts Eat Your Veg and Bangers & Mash

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