The Family

Me - Mum and wife, part time PA, small time collector of vintage china , amateur singer and actress, cross-stitcher, cook and cake baker.

Hubby - Dad and husband, computer fixer, dress maker, Lego builder, tenor and fez wearer. Loves his food except celery and basil.

DD - pre- teen daughter, bright, beautiful, talented, sporty, kind, honest, loving and funny. Knows what she likes and what she doesn't but tastes are getting wider as she gets older.

Wednesday, 26 December 2012

Christmas food

Ok, so life is getting in the way of blogging & really there was no chance I was going to remember to blog about Christmas dinner.

However, we do currently have a house full of all our favourite foods including masses of turkey!

Yesterday we ate an enormous roast dinner and today we had probably my favourite thing - leftovers!

Specifically cold turkey, chips & honey coated bacon & sausages (which I forgot to cook yesterday!). It was delicious

We're now looking forward to a big family day on Friday with a rolling buffer provided by yours truly - the centrepiece of which will be my now legendary slow roast pork.

Hopefully I'll get round to posting more about but who knows!

Merry Christmas!

Friday, 23 November 2012

Superman cake!

This is the birthday cake I made for my 3yo nephew

He loved it & I'm very proud of it

Monday, 5 November 2012

Green Thai Curry

A while ago, on Twitter, my lovely friend Lily posted a link to this recipe

I tried it at the weekend and it was delicious

Light, fragrant and tasty and just as easy to prepare as Lily said!

This is definitely a keeper!!

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Veggie meals


I'm back. Sorry I've been so busy blogging has fallen by the wayside a bit

Anyway, just a quick update for you

After a request from DD we are now eating at least one vegetarian meal a week (as well as fish on Fridays). I still need to spend some time going through and looking at recipes to make sure that vegetarian doesn't just mean cheese and pastry!!

In the meantime we have tried Linda McCartney's Deep Country Pies which were lovely and Sainsburys Cheese and Onion crispbakes which we all liked

So... We're trying but I want to make more effort to cook veggie from scratch. Any recipes or hints would be gratefully received!

Monday, 15 October 2012

70th Birthday Cake

Here's the cake I made for my Mum's husband's 70th birthday this week

Six months to make & the 50-odd guests demolished it in five minutes!!

Sunday, 23 September 2012

Test Match Special

This is an old family favourite of Corned Beef Hash & Rice Pudding

It was named Test Match Special by my Grandfather as he could get it all ready & in the oven at 11am so he could watch the cricket & when the teams went into lunch at 1pm it would be ready!!

It feels like a cheat to describe such a simple recipe but here goes

Cook some potatoes, then mash them & add a tin of corned beef I add a little grated cheese as well. Put it into an ovenproof dish

Now for the rice pudding. In a ovenproof bowl I put 2 tablespoons of pudding rice, 2 tablespoons of caster sugar, 1 pint of full cream milk & a dash of vanilla extract

Put both dishes in the oven (rice pudding underneath) and cook for 2 hours at gas mark 3 (170C)


Beef with pasta & blue cheese

This is one of my left overs meals.

It's very simple & very tasty!

All I do is make a cheese sauce using double cream & whichever blue cheese is on offer (this time it was Shropshire Blue) with a bit of strong Cheddar thrown in!

I then add some of the cold leftover beef to the sauce to warm it through & cook the pasta

Then add the pasta to the sauce & the beef and serve!

Friday, 21 September 2012

Roast Beef & leftovers

Oh well I'm getting a bit behind with blogging & I keep forgetting to take photos!

Never mind though so here we go again. Whenever we have a Sunday Roast I use the leftovers to make dinner for the rest of the week

This week we had a beef joint so this was my menu plan

Sunday - roast beef & all the trimmings
Monday - cow in a hole (like toad but using beef not sausages)
Tuesday - beef with pasta in a creamy blue cheese sauce
Wednesday - for speed's sake it was pasties & mashed potatoes
Thursday - beef stir fry with honey & soy sauce
Friday - breaded haddock, mash & peas

I'll post some recipes & pictures later (where I remembered to take them that is!)

Saturday, 1 September 2012

Saturday Lunch




That is all



Created by my gorgeous Husband

Friday, 31 August 2012

Home made meatballs

I made meatballs for dinner yesterday.  I use Nigella's recipe from Nigella Bites for these but replaced the beef/pork with turkey.

I also find that adding garlic to the meatballs is overpowering so I just leave it out.


500g minced turkey
3 tablespons of semolina
2 tablespoons of grated parmesan
1 egg
pinch of salt
good grind of black pepper


  • Bung all ingredients in a bowl and mix together
  • Form the meatballs by rolling small amounts of the mix in your hands (approx 1 teaspoon but don't measure)
  • Place the meatballs on a plate or baking tray lined with cling film and chill in fridge for at least 30 minutes before cooking.
  • I cook these by adding them to the tomato sauce which is cooking on the hob - partially cover with a lid and leave to simmer for at least 20 minutes - don't stir as this will make the meatballs break up
  • After 20 minutes I check if the meatballs are cooked by cutting one open
  • Eat
  • Enjoy
I use my homemade tomato sauce to cook these

I found that making this quantity gave me 97 meatballs so I cooked 33 (11 each!) for dinner last night and froze the rest in two separate batches so I have some ready for next time.

I served them with rice and very nice they were too!

    My Tomato Sauce

    I use this tomato sauce as the basis for a lot of dishes - especially spag bol, meatballs and lasagne.


    1 tin/pack/jar of chopped tomatoes
    Splash of milk or double cream
    Splash of soy sauce
    Splash of red wine
    Pinch of salt
    Pinch of sugar
    Herbs (basil, oregano, parsley etc) to taste
    Few crushed dried chillis if you like


    • I whizz the tomatoes through my magic bullet to make a smoother base (like passata but a lot cheaper!)
    • Pour this in a pan and heat gently
    • Add other ingredients to taste
    • I like my sauces quite thick so I let it reduce quite a lot
    • Eat 
    • Enjoy

    You can make the sauce and then add the meat (as I do for meatballs and cook the meatballs in the sauce) or put the meat in first and then add the sauce (as I do for spage bol)

    Friday, 24 August 2012

    Birthday Cake

    This is the cake that yesterday's sugar roses were for

    It's my Gran's birthday next week & we're having a little gathering for her & I am providing the cake

    I am very pleased with how it has turned out. It's a Victoria Sponge under the icing

    Thursday, 23 August 2012

    Not exactly Jane Asher...

    But not bad for my first attempt at sugar roses

    I'm very pleased with how they have turned out

    Finished cake will be posted tomorrow

    Tuesday, 21 August 2012

    Chicken Disaster

    Well just to prove not all my ideas work - tonight's meal went a bit wrong

    Started off fine - frying the chicken breasts in olive oil & a little butter, then added a splash of white wine - still fine, then a drizzle of honey & some double cream - still fine - all things I've done before and have worked perfectly into a lovely creamy sauce.

    Taste test, needs a little something so I go for one of my usual fail safes - a dash of soy sauce. So far so good...

    Put the rice on & leave the sauce to reduce.

    That's where it all went wrong.

    Left it a bit too long & it caramelised a bit too much!!



    I mean burnt


    I tried everything I could think of to rescue the sauce but in the end had to give up & just have the chicken with rice & no sauce

    It was ok but not as good as it should have been

    Sunday, 19 August 2012

    Update & weekly menu

    Oh dear, I've been a bit rubbish at this blogging malarkey for a week or so.

    Hoping to get back into the swing of things soon - got a birthday cake to make this week so that will get posted

    Can't promise to post every day this week but here is our planned menu.

    Daughter is staying with Grandparents again so just meals for two

    Sunday - out for lunch when we met Grandparents so nothing planned

    Monday - Bacon & Spinach pasta

    Tuesday - something with chicken but I don't know what yet!

    Wednesday - non starter as Husband has late meeting & it's rehearsal night

    Thursday - Baked potatoes & sausages (weather permitting)

    Friday - possible pay day treat

    Ok - so it's a bit haphazard but that's the general plan

    Back soon

    Tuesday, 7 August 2012

    Meatballs with tomato sauce & rice

    This recipe uses my all purpose tomato sauce which I use for everything - bolognese, lasagne & this meatball dish.

    I'm going to blog the sauce recipe separately - so watch this space!

    Anyway - I often make my own meatballs but these are Asda's sweet chilli beef meatballs which I love

    Once the sauce is ready I add the meatballs & let them cook in the sauce for about 20 minutes - as they cook they infuse the sauce with some of the chilli flavour

    Serve with rice & enjoy

    Top with grated cheese if you like

    Monday, 6 August 2012

    Spinach and Bacon Pasta

    This is a delicious & very quick dish

    All I do is cut up some bacon into small pieces & fry it in a little olive oil while boiling water to cook the pasta

    I usually use fresh pasta as it cooks quicker but dried works just as well!

    Once the bacon is cooked and the pasta is cooking (depending on whether fresh or dried) I add a bag of baby spinach to the bacon and wilt it

    Then add some grated Parmesan, Grana Padano or Cheddar (personal choice - all work well) to the bacon and spinach mix

    Drain the pasta once cooked then toss the bacon and spinach with the pasta and serve

    I find it doesn't need any salt but a little black pepper is very nice. Add more grated cheese on top if you like

    Saturday, 4 August 2012

    Saturday night treat

    DD is away on a sleepover tonight & Husband cooked one of my favourite meals for me

    Steak & chips with corn on the cob


    Thursday, 2 August 2012

    Leftover slow roast pork

    Using the leftover pork from the weekend & the left over gravy I made individual pies for us all

    I really like making individual portions of things - I think it makes meals seem a bit more special!

    All I did was warm the shredded pork in a pan, add the gravy & warm through

    I then added a splash of double cream & some soy sauce.

    Whilst this was simmering I rolled out a piece of puff pastry & cut it to fit my pie dishes

    I then split the meat & sauce between the three dishes, topped with pastry, brushed with milk, added a couple of air holes & decorated with Russian Doll cookie cutter pastry shapes

    The pies then went in the oven at 200C for 30 minutes

    I served this with mashed potatoes (should have peas too but I'd run out from frozen peas!)

    Monday, 30 July 2012

    Raspberry Ripple Cheesecake

    I made this cheesecake to follow the Slow Roast Marmalade Pork

    I found the recipe here

    I was really pleased with how easy it was to make and how exactly it tasted like raspberry ripple ice cream!

     125g melted butter
    250g digestives

    300g frozen raspberries
    60g icing sugar

    1tsp vanilla extract
    Zest of 1 lemon
    450g cream cheese
    225g caster sugar
    400g double cream

    • Line a loose bottomed 20cm diameter tin with cling film or greaseproof paper
    • Crush the biscuit to crumbs - I use the rolling pin method
    • Mix the crumbs with the melted butter
    • Press into the tin and chill 
    • To make the raspberry puree, put the raspberries and icing sugar in a pan and gently heat for about 10 minutes until liquid, then push through a sieve to remove seeds
    • Mix the cream cheese, lemon zest and vanilla
    • Whip the cream to soft peaks and fold in with the cream cheese mix
    • Spread 3/4 of the cream cheese mix on top of the biscuit base, then blob on half of the puree
    • Spread the rest of the cream cheese on top and pour more puree on the top and swirl.
    • Chill until set
    • Eat 
    • Enjoy
    This was the first time I had made this and next time I try to spread the puree more evenly through the layers of cream cheese as the ripple effect was only evident on top.

    I did have some puree left over which I put in a jug and allowed people to add more if they wanted.

    I made it on Friday to eat on Sunday and it was really lovely.

    Slow Roast Marmalade Pork

    This is a gorgeous recipe that I found in a Sainsbury's magazine.

    It is a Jamie Oliver recipe and I have made it several times over the two years I have had it.

    I can't find a link to the original recipe so am posting it here from the magazine

    Serves 8-10 (with leftovers if you're lucky!!)

    1 x 5.5kg neck end of shoulder of pork or 2 x 1.75kg boneless pork shoulder joints
    Olive oil
    1/2 x 340g jar good quality fine shred orange marmalade
    freshly ground black pepper
    sea salt


    • Pre heat oven to Gas Mark 4/180C
    • Place the pork in a large roasting tray and score the skin (I get my butcher Mr Pargiter to do this for me)
    • Drizzle over the olive oil and rub in
    • Season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
    • Roast for about 5 hours or until pork is tender and shreds easily
    • Remove from oven
    • Mix the marmalade with a teaspoon of black pepper and spoon this all over the pork
    • Put the pork back in the oven for another 30 minutes or so until it golden and glazed
    • Remove from oven and let it rest for at least 30 minutes covered loosely with foil
    • When ready to serve shred the pork and the crackling, drizzle over some of the sticky juices and serve on a large platter.

    That is the original recipe, I now cook it slightly differently, in that I have the oven at 100C and cook the meat for 12 hours, then I turn it up to 200C for 30 minutes before adding the glaze.  I also add a few chili flakes to the glaze

    I have done this both for buffets and for a Sunday roast and each time it has been very well received and demolished - sometimes I have leftovers sometimes I don't!

    I made this for a Sunday lunch with Husband, DD, Mum, her Husband and my Best Friend yesterday and again they all loved it and I do have leftovers so am trying to decide how best to use them up

    Watch this space...

    Chocolate Fudge Cake

    This is a recipe that my Mum, my sister and I have all been baking for years.

    I have it as an email as I know my sister has the original recipe card - so apologies if it is your recipe and I have not credited it.

    This is also DD's favourite cake so I made it for her coming home from the Grandparents


    175g/6oz butter or marg
    175g/6oz caster sugar
    1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
    2 eggs
    200g/7oz plain flour
    50g/2oz cocoa powder
    2 tsps bicarbonate of soda
    1/4 tsp of salt
    175ml/6fl oz milk

    50g/2oz softened butter or marg
    2 tbsp cocoa powder
    3/4 tsp instant coffee granules
    1/2 tsp vanilla extract
    1 egg
    275g/10oz icing sugar

    • Pre heat oven to Gas mark 4 (180C)
    • Grease and line 2 loose bottomed sandwich tins (7 inch diamter)
    • Cream butter and sugar until blended
    • Add vanilla extract
    • Add eggs, one at a time beating until fluffy
    • Sift flour, cocoa, bicarb and salt into a bowl and add to creamed mixture
    • Slowly add milk, beating until smooth
    • Pour into tins, making sure each tin is even
    • Bake for approx 30 minutes or until done
    • Leave to cool in tin for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely

    For the frosting
    • Combine butter, cocoa and instant coffee
    • Add vanilla, egg and icing sugar
    • Beat until smooth
    • Use some of the frosting to sandwich the two cakes together before covering with the rest of the frosting
    • Eat
    • Enjoy 

    Thursday, 26 July 2012

    Unusual Week!

    Thought I should explain the absence of posts over the last few days!

    Well, it's school holidays and DD is away staying with Grandparents for the week - which usually means Husband and I get to eat things she doesn't really like BUT I am performing in an Open Air production of The Tempest this week which means that after work and before going to the park/theatre there isn't very much time to eat plus it has been so hot I can't be bothered sweating over the cooker before performing!

    Our meals this week have included bacon butties and late night chips!

    However I am now off work for the rest of the week so have a bit more time and should be able to cook again!

    Stay tuned....

    Sunday, 22 July 2012

    Chicken Quesadillas

    Another Mexican special from the Husband tonight.

    Again using the Old El Paso kit which we buy when they are on special offer wherever we happen to be shopping that week!

    Friday, 20 July 2012

    Fishy Friday

    Sainsbury's Salmon, ginger & chilli fishcakes with mashed potatoes & peas tonight

    These fishcakes are very tasty - I sometimes find fishcakes bland bit these are well spiced with a nice crunchy coating

    Pineapple Loaf Cake

    Did I mention that I also make cakes?

    This is one I make a lot - it originally came from Bella Magazine & the torn out page is getting quite tatty

    It's a lovely cake & very moist


    11oz self raising flour
    5oz butter (cubed)
    5oz caster sugar
    6oz sultanas
    1 small tin of pineapple rings - keep the juice
    2 medium eggs (beaten)


    • Preheat oven to 180C/Gas mark 4 
    • Grease and line a 2lb loaf tin
    • Sift flour into a bowl, add the butter and rub in until the mix resembles fine breadcrumbs
    • Stir in the sugar
    • Pat pineapple dry and cut into small pieces
    • Toss with the sultanas and add to the flourand mix well
    • Add eggs and pineapple juice and mix really well
    • Spoon into prepared tin and put in oven
    • Bake for 1hr 15 minutes (approx) 
    • Check after 45 minutes and put foil over the top if it is getting too brown
    • Leave to cool in tin for 10 minutes once it is cooked
    • Then cool on a wire rack
    • Eat
    • Enjoy!

    Thursday, 19 July 2012

    Quick meal!

    Tonight had to be a very quick meal due to an early rehearsal call for me.

    Although I try to always cook from fresh ingredients I occasionally use the Birds Eye Southern Fried Crispy Chicken - they're nice & spicy which we all like & cook quickly

    I serve these with peas & mashed potatoes

    I make my mash with boiled potatoes (obviously!) with a little butter & cheese. If I have some in I will add a little double cream too

    Tuesday, 17 July 2012

    Menu Change

    Today required a menu change as DD went to her friend's for dinner.

    Rather than us eat a meal which she really likes without her & due to limited time we decided to opt for sausage & what we call "Daddy chips" (as opposed to Chippy chips because he makes the best chips ever)

    The trick is to use a deep fat fryer, beef dripping & cook twice

    Very nice they are too

    Monday, 16 July 2012

    Spaghetti Carbonara

    Freely adapted over time from a Delia Smith recipe


    150ml double cream
    2 eggs
    4 rashers unsmoked bacon
    125g (approx) Parmesan or Grana Padano cheese


    • Slice the bacon into small pieces and fry 
    • Whisk the eggs, cream and some of the cheese
    • Cook the spaghetti
    • Once the spaghetti is cooked drain it and return to the hot pan (but off the heat), add the sauce and stir
    • Put the spaghetti and sauce onto plates and then add the cooked bacon on top* with more cheese.

    *The idea of adding the bacon seperately came about because DD doesn't like the bacon but she does like the cheese sauce

    This takes about 15 minutes to make and serves the 3 of us - you can adjust quantities as you prefer.

    Sunday, 15 July 2012

    Chicken Enchiladas

    Made by Husband using the Old El Paso kit, served with sour cream, guacamole & tortilla chips.


    Weekly Menu

    I'll try and blog our weekly menu ahead of time!

    Saturday - I went to a party so Husband and DD ate pizza
    Sunday - Husband is cooking Chicken Enchiladas
    Monday - Spaghetti Carbonara
    Tuesday - Southern Fried Chicken, mashed potatoes and peas
    Wednesday - ususal problem - compounded by my acting as Stage Manager for a school play and not being home all day
    Thursday - Chicken stir fry and rice
    Friday - Fish cakes, mashed potatoes and peas

    Recipes and photos will hopefully follow daily!

    Likes & Dislikes

    I've tried 3 different ways of writing this post & it's just too much of a list!

    Rather than list everything we DO like I'm just going to highlight a few things we really don't like.

    Me - tomatoes, bananas, peppers, mushrooms, celery and I'm allergic to apples

    Husband - basil, pesto, celery

    DD - anything greasy like sausages, cooked veg (much prefers them raw), baked potatoes, risotto, couscous, fruit cake and she's allergic to kiwi.

    Thinking about it, I'm sure there's a few more but I'll add to the list as this blog progresses!

    Saturday, 14 July 2012

    General information

    I thought it might be useful if I told you the sort of things we generally like to eat.

    Our weekly menus do tend to follow a pattern - we have a pasta based meal at least once a week (often Mondays), we eat rice probably once or twice a week and potatoes - often mashed as this is DD's current favourite way of eating them.  We eat fish on Fridays - yes partly down to my Catholic background, but also partly because we should!

    We eat quite a lot of chicken in different ways. I try to use turkey mince not beef because anything too greasy seems to upset DD's stomach at the moment and this has brought some challenges.

    We like spicy food - especially Indian and Mexican.

    My Husband makes the best chips ever - no he really does.

    Thursday tends to be the day I cook something that takes a little longer as it's my day off and I have more time.

    Just as an example this is our menu from this last week.

    Saturday - pizza
    Sunday - chicken fajitas
    Monday - Spag Bol
    Tuesday - Southern Fried chicken, mash and peas
    Wednesday -
    Thursday - Turkey meatballs in tomato sauce with rice
    Friday - Chippy Tea

    Wednesday is blank because it is a difficult day for us - I'm at work, DD has Choir rehearsals starting at 5:45pm and then we all have rehearsals starting at 7:30pm. There isn't time for us to eat together so DD will have her dinner before Choir and Hubby and I will eat (usually just a sandwich) later - to allow for this we both eat bigger lunches at work that day.

    I think it is really important for families to eat together - though I know it's not posible for all families. It is possible for us and so we do it.

    Friday, 13 July 2012

    Chippy Tea!

    Start as I mean to go on!

    It was a Chippy tea and it was delicious!

    The Prologue

    Hello, I've been thinking about this for a while and people keep telling me I should take the plunge into blogging after tweeting regularly about what I feed my family.

    I'm not going to describe myself as "just" anything because I am a lot of things - wife, mum, sister, daughter, friend, auntie, PA, singer, actress, cook and baker to name but a few!

    I'm neither a Domestic Goddess or a Yummy Mummy - I am ME.

    I'm married to a wonderful man, who also cooks but as I work part time and closer to home, I tend to cook during the week because that is what works for us.  He washes up and DD sets and clears the table!

    We meal plan to save money, time and reduce waste. I prefer to cook meals from scratch because I can control what is in them but if you want to use a jar of sauce - go for it - I don't care!

    I tweet a lot, but not only about food.  I have tweeted about our meals under #1joint3people5meals and #3cleanplates, which is where the name for this blog has come from (though frankly I'm surprised no one else has used it before!)

    I will make an effort to use #3cleanplates regularly to make it easier to keep track of things.

    It strikes me as somewhat ironic that I am starting a food blog on the day we'll be having a Chippy Tea but hey - that's life!

    I will always credit where I get recipes from and link when I can - but I am not the most technical of people so please bear with me!

    I'm just sharing what works for us - nothing more.