Picnic Food – Cheese and Onion Pasties!



Now given that I am always going on about picnics, I thought I would share with you the sort of food I sometimes make for a picnic.

Himself and the youngest both take sandwiches for lunch each day, so at the weekends I like add a bit of variation to their diet if possible. These pasties are ideal for picnics and are very filling.

You can also vary the fillings, I added ham to himself’s and made it a different shape so I knew which was which 😉.

I am not really sure what has happened to this photograph, the pasty looks burned but it wasn’t.  I have included the recipe for pastry but of course you could buy it ready made.



225g plain flour

100g butter

Pinch of salt

Approximately 30ml cold water

Or a packet of ready made pastry

1 egg mixed with 1 tablespoon of milk to make an egg wash


1 glug of olive oil

1 white onion

1 sprig of thyme (optional)

Pinch of white pepper

150g  cheddar cheese grated (I used 50g smoked cheddar because I had some left over)

Ham (optional – quantity to your taste)


1. Make the pastry first by either popping all the dry ingredients in a food processor.


2. Pulse until the mix resembles breadcrumbs.


3. Then add the water a little at a time until it comes together.


4. Place it in cling film in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. Don’t miss this stage out because it will be much easier to work with if chilled.

5. While it’s chilling, you can prepare the filling. Sauté the onions, adding thyme if using and white pepper,  until they go translucent but then carry on until the liquid around them has dried up. Leave to cool.


6. Pre heat the oven to 220 degrees.

7. After 30 minutes, assemble the pasties by rolling out the pastry. I use a cereal bowl to cut out the circles.

8. Add onion, cheese and ham (if using ) to one side of the circle.

9. Use the egg wash around the outside of the circle, then fold the pastry over to make a half circle. Use a fork to press around the matching edges to seal the pasty and cover the outside with the egg wash.

10. Repeat until all the ingredients are used up and bake for about 20 minutes until browned.


image image


Have a lovely day!


Spinach and Cream Cheese Lasagna – slow cooker style!



We had picnic plans for Saturday so, on Good Friday I thought I would try to make a lasagna in the slow cooker, so it would be ready for when we got home on Saturday evening.

I have seen various recipes on the internet but ricotta isn’t terribly popular in this house, so I thought I would just wing it. Thankfully, it turned out well!

You literally just build the lasagna and let the slow cooker do the work – perfect!



Olive oil to grease the inside of the slow cooker pot

I  bottle of tomato pasta sauce or passata – I made my own*

450g approximately of spinach – washed

400g cream cheese

1 teaspoon freshly grated  nutmeg

500g dried sheets of lasagna sheets – you may not use them all

100g mature cheddar cheese or mozzarella


1. Grease the inside of your slow cooker dish – you will thank me afterwards!

2. Place a thin layer of  the tomato pasta sauce on the bottom of the dish

3. Add a generous layer of spinach and add random spoonfuls of cream cheese to the layer

4. Add about a 1/4 teaspoon of freshly grated nutmeg to sprinkled over the spinach and cover with pasta sheets, don’t worry about overlapping, it doesn’t matter

5.  Repeat until you have used up all the ingredients, finish with a layer of pasta and sprinkle the grated cheddar or mozzarella on top

6. Place in the slow cooker and cook on low for about 4 hours, serve with garlic bread and salad




* To make tomato pasta sauce:


1 tablespoon of olive oil

1 onion

1 clove of garlic – crushed

1 tin of chopped tomatoes

250g vegetable stock

1 teaspoon of oregano

1 teaspoon Basil

1/2 teaspoon sugar


1. Soften the onion and garlic in the olive oil for a couple of minutes

2. Add tin of chopped tomatoes, stock, herbs and sugar

3. Simmer for about 5 – 10 minutes until it reduces slightly

4. Taste to check for seasoning




Crustless Quiche



A couple of weeks ago, I mentioned that I was going to try to recreate a pie that myself and Miss Glade had enjoyed on Mother’s Day.

This is my version, a Crustless Quiche. It is actually a bit of a staple in this house but this is the first time that I have added broccoli, it’s another of those versatile dishes that you can make with any seasonal vegetables.

I think it is best served piping hot with new, buttered potatoes and a crisp salad. Oh! a bit like the one in the picture.

Delicious and as always, minimal effort!



1 tablespoon of olive oil

1 chopped onion

1 head of broccoli prepared into spears

I red pepper cut into chunks

4 eggs beaten

100mls milk

200g  grated strong mature cheddar

1 teaspoon of chives


1. Pre heat the over to 160 degrees.

2.  Heat the olive oil and sweat the onions until they are quite dry.

3. Add the broccoli and keep it moving so it doesn’t catch the bottom of the pan.

4. Add the red pepper and keep all the vegetables moving for about 5 minutes.

5. Add the beaten eggs, milk and chives to the pan and sprinkle on the cheese.

6. Transfer to an oven proof dish and bake in the oven for 30-35 minutes until the top is browned and the liquid has been absorbed.

7. Serve immediately.





Have a lovely day!




Spicy Orange Cake!


I absolutely love mixed spice and think it is sad that it is usually only popular at  Christmas. I  use it whenever I can, for example a good spoonful gets added to my Carrot cake with Orange Frosting.

Last week I wanted a spicy but sweet cake and looked through my cupboards to see what I had in. This gorgeous creation was the result. The orange flavour really shines through.

I chose the rub in method because it is so simple to do and you don’t need any equipment except your fingers.  I hope that if you think you can’t bake, you might just give this a go.

It keeps for a couple of days if stored in an airtight container.  I was delighted with the outcome.


225g self raising flour

pinch of salt

1 teaspoon of mixed spice

100g butter

100g sugar

175g sultanas

Grated rind of 1 orange

2 eggs

2 tablespoons of freshly squeezed orange juice


1. Heat the oven to 180 degrees and line or grease an 18cm cake tin.

2. Mix flour, salt and mixed spice together,  rub in butter until it resembles breadcrumbs.

3. Stir in the sugar, sultanas and grated orange rind.

4. Beat together eggs and orange juice then add to the other ingredients.

5.  Beat together until soft.

6. Add to prepared tin and bake for about 50 minutes.

Enjoy x










Brownies with…………..White Choc Chunks!

Less wandering today and back to baking! image As you know I believe that anything can be improved by adding chocolate. That even includes Chocolate Brownies! Big chunks of white chocolate are added to this recipe and baked into the gooey goodness. Lovely!

For a longtime, I have been on quest to find the perfect Brownie recipe, it’s been a nightmare for my family having to try each of them ;). This recipe is a combination of many. I don’t do the fussy melting the chocolate over the boiling water thing, you still can, but honestly it’s fine in the microwave as long as you just do it in short bursts.

These are simple to make and you end up with a perfect fudgy Brownie!


200g dark chocolate

170g salted butter

3 eggs

200g soft brown sugar

110g plain flour

1 teaspoon of baking powder

1\2 teaspoon of instant coffee dissolved in a teaspoon of warm water

100g white chocolate


1. Break the dark chocolate up into a heatproof bowl with the butter.

2. Microwave the chocolate and butter in short burst of no more that 30   seconds until the chocolate is just melted. I find 3 lots of 30 seconds is fine. When you stir everything together briskly, the rest of the butter will melt in – or you can melt them together in a heatproof bowl over a pan of boiling water.

3.Pre heat the oven to 180 degrees and line a square tin.

4. While the mixture cools to room temperature, weigh out the rest of the ingredients.

5. Add the sugar, eggs, flour, baking powder and coffee to the cool butter/chocolate mix and fold it together until its all incorporated.

6. Use a rolling pin to bash the white chocolate into chunks whilst still in its packet (less to tidy up).

7. Gentle fold the white chocolate chunks into the mixture.

8. Bake for 30 minutes – the top should have a papery, cracked look – 30 minutes should do it anymore and you might not get the fudgy centre.

9. Cool on a wire tray.

Enjoy! Tip – I always try to make it at least a day before I need it because the long you can leave it, the more fudgy the centre should be.


On my Five on Friday post I mentioned Global Scouse Day was on Saturday.

It caused a bit of interest and the thing about Scouse for those who are not local is, that everyone seems to do it differently. Although that said, the majority do end up looking very similar. Twitter was very busy on Saturday with people tweeting their pictures.

My two recipes are very similar and I did them on Saturday in the slow cooker. The quantities are very approximate and you can really use whatever vegetables you have. To clarify, this is my recipe not necessarily the right one!!! and I make it with beef but some make it with lamb, which is correct? Well, that is the source of regular debate in this part of the world.


2 leeks peeled and sliced

3 Carrots peeled and sliced into quite large chunks about 2cm long

1/2 swede peeled and cubed into large chunks about 2cm long

1 1/2kg potatoes peeled and cubed into large chunks or washed if using new

4 table spoons of dried barley and peas soaked overnight and then washed

500g beef/Lamb cubed and browned or 1 tin of butterbeans for the vegetarian option

2 litres of beef/Lamb stock or vegetable stock

A small bunch of thymes

3 bay leaves

1 generous teaspoon of marmite – my secret ingredient


For both pop everything into the slow cooker and cook on low for eight hours

The Barley and pea combination will thicken the gravy

Serve with just white no need to Knead crusty bread, the recipe can be found here and beetroot or pickled cabbage – that’s another debate!


No need to knead bread…………….. Yes really!


This is cheese and chive bread that I made recently.

It really is the easiest bread I have ever made. It is one of those recipes where there is a lot of alchemy involved and really as long as you follow the simple instructions, you just have to trust it will be ok.

I have also made a rosemary, chive and thyme loaf, a plain white one and a mix of wholemeal and white and, they were all as good as each other.

But the very best thing about it is that it makes the house smell delicious for very little effort!

The recipe came from Janet who writes at Simply So Good and can be found here. She has pictures every step of the way and it is definitely worth having a go.

The English version (because Janet does it in American cups) of the main four ingredients are:

400g Strong bread flour

½ teaspoon of dried yeast

1 teaspoon of sea salt

300ml tepid water

To make it cheese and chive, I added:

50g strong cheddar cheese

1 teaspoon of dried chives

There you are soft, chewy, fresh bread!


*Tip: Add 200mls of kettle hot water to 100mls of tap cold water and viola, tepid water!