Chocolate eating bunny and chick

IMG_0364  IMG_0362 IMG_0361 CPC Easter bunnyIMG_0363


Raspberry and apple crumble (review)

CPC Apple and raspberry crumble

In my mind there is nothing better than a hot, fresh from the oven dessert, especially on cold, snowy Spring days. I’m currently doing a Healthy Eating course and there are some great desserts on the menus.  This one is a winner with my kiddo who likes it with a small scoop of icecream (bang there goes the healthy eating but gets her to eat fruit so I’m OK with that).

It’s so easy to make that there is no excuse not to give it a go.

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Apple and Raspberry Crumble

Serves 4


  • 2 large eating apples (or 3 small eating apples)
  • 100g / 4 oz frozen raspberries (can use any frozen berries. This time round, I used frozen forest fruits)
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 40g / 1.5 oz margarine
  • 75g / 3 oz wholemeal self raising flour
  • 40g / 1.5 oz demerara sugar
  • 50g / 2 oz rolled oats or oatmeal
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon powder (not part of recipe but added by me. Mixed spice would work well too)



  • Heat the oven to 180°C / 350 °F / gas mark 5.
  • Peel, core and slice apples, and mix with raspberries.
  • Place apples and raspberries in an ovenproof dish and sprinkle with tbsp of water.
  • Rub margarine into flour; mix in sugar, oats and cinnamon.
  • Sprinkle on top of the fruit mixture and press with a fork.
  • Bake for approximately 30 minutes or until golden brown

Spanish stuffed peppers (review)


Another quick post. Asda sell some great little cookbooks that aren’t very expensive. I have one called Tapas 100 everyday recipes which a Spanish mate who used to work in a tapas bar told me about.

This week, we tried the stuffed peppers which were very good with a side of  garlic mushrooms, oven roasted potatoes and grilled tomatoes. The only change I would make for the future would be to use smaller peppers (the ones we had were HUGE) and roast for a little longer so they begin to lose that crunch and take on roasted in sweetness.


  • 90ml olive oil plus little extra for rubbing on peppers
  • 2 onions finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 140g Spanish short grain rice (I just normal rice)
  • 55g raisins
  • 55g pine kernels
  • 40g chopped parsley
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree dissolved in 750ml water
  • 6 red, yellow or green peppers (or a mix)
  • Salt and pepper


  • Pre-heat oven to 200 degrees / gas mark 6
  • Heat oil in a shallow, heavy based flame proofed casserole dish. Add the onions and cook for 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for a further 2 minutes until onion is soft but not brown.
  • Stir in rice, raisins and pine kernels until all are coated in the oil , then add half the parsley and salt and pepper to taste. Stir in the tomato puree mixture and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, shaking the casserole dish frequently, for 20 minutes, or until the rice is tender, the liquid is absorbed and small holes appear on the surface. Watch carefully because raisins can catch and burn. Stir in the remaining parsley, then cool slightly.
  • While the rice is simmering, cut the top off each pepper and reserve. Remove the core and seeds from each pepper.
  • Divide the stuffing equally between the peppers. Use wooden cocktail sticks to secure the tops back into place. Lightly rub each pepper with olive oil and arrange in a single layer in an ovenproof dish. Bake in the pre-heated oven for 30 minutes, or until peppers are tender. Serve the peppers hot or cool to room temperature.

Home made paneer (curds and whey)

That little Miss Muffet knew a thing or two having a bowl of curds and whey. But if I was her, I’d have discarded the whey and just made use of the yummy curds. Curds are what Indian people called paneer and is used for both savoury and sweet dishes. It’s been years since I made my own paneer which is a sign of pure and utter laziness as it’s so very simple to make*.

I had a surplus of semi-skimmed milk (thanks to an online shop I had forgotten about and had added a huge amount of milk to!). With a bag of fresh baby spinach in the fridge, I wanted to make saag paneer.


  • 6 pints semi-skimmed milk
  • 1-2 tablespoons white vinegar or fresh lemon juice


  • Put the milk into a heavy based pan and bring to the boil. Keep stirring to ensure the milk does not stick or burn as this will ruin the taste of the paneer
  • It had boiled when the surface of the milk makes a mound
  • Take the pan off the heat
  • Add the vinegar or lemon juice a little at a time until the milk separates. (I ended up using almost a whole unwaxed lemon – turns out fresh lemon is not as acidic. So if you have an older lemon, or are using vinegar then you won’t need too much)
  • The separation is pretty obvious so if the whey still looks milk, keep going with the vinegar/juice
  • The next stage involves removing the curds from the whey – put a muslin or J-cloth over a large bowl then pour the mixture in to strain the whey out. Bring the edges of the cloth together and squeeze. Now put a weight on and leave for an hour or more to squeeze even more liquid out.

This recipe yielded 262g of paneer from 6 pints of milk. I believe that full fat milk would produce more curds.  I’d probably left the weighing a bit long as the paneer was hard. It can also happen if you use lemon juice rather than vinegar. I would not squeeze as much to use the paneer to make a dessert (like rasmalia….oooooh RASMALAI).

I cut the paneer into cubes and fried in a shallow pan a little bit before added to my saag paneer. All in all, a very easy ingredient to use.

Milk in pan  DSC01784 DSC01785 IMG_0346

*My most distinct memory of making paneer was when we lived temporarily in East Barnet. Mum was ill  and would only live for a few months more. We lived in a maisonette with the most racist man living above us who regularly slashed our car tyres – doubly painful when we had to rush mum to hospital appointments. That day was lovely and sunny. I used the home made paneer to make a delicious rasmalai. Years on, now in my frozen Scottish kitchen I’m making paneer again, still thinking of Mum but very happy that with my daughter and husband I’ll do not have to deal with slashed tyres. Happy days.

White bean dip (review)

White bean dip Dip with carrots and pita

I made this White bean dip the other day and it was delicious – very garlicky thanks to the 2 fat cloves I added*. The best thing…this dip only takes about 3 minutes to prepare – I didn’t have Italian parsley so just used the curled parsley growing on my window sill. Next time I make it I will get a stronger parsley and put in less garlic.

I had it with toasted pita bread and carrots for lunch one day, and as part of a huge falafel meal for dinner the following night (with fresh salad, carrots, humous, tzatziki and Cauldron Moroccan falafel bites). Don’t you love it when food is easy and takes no time at all but tastes so great?!

*Spanish garlic – the cloves are much bigger and fresher than the Chinese garlic that most superstores sell now.

Romanian apple cake (review)

Romania apple cake

A quick post today about Romanian apple cake…not a cake made from Romanian apples it turns out but delicious cake from Romania. Using 3 cooking apples makes a huge batch so I sent most of it off with my husband to share with his work colleagues. We were still left with loads and luckily even 5 days later the cake is nice and moist. Changes I made:

  • I shredded the apples as my kiddo would not like big apple chunks – shouldn’t have bothered as she refused to try it. Her loss though as it was delicious.
  • I used light muscavado sugar which is why my version is dark and only had 250g which made it sweet enough.
  • I didn’t put in any walnuts