Sunday, January 26

Cowboys and comfort!

My ABC Food adventure has arrived at C. I was going to delay this until Tuesday but the recipe I have come across is so so good I had to share it - and as the weather is so utterly awful we all need comfort food on such cold days.

 If there was EVER a recipe I would encourage people to try it has got to be this one. Basic good honest spices, no curries as some don't like - a take on a shepherd's pie, but what a take! Absolutely delicious and healthy too, complying with the conditions I set myself and Jon had to like it and I can tell you he wolfed it down.

Last Wednesday at Slimmingworld we were discussing meals we had enjoyed during the week. One of the gals, Carol had made this and her enthusiastic report made me want to try it asap - which I did on Friday. I hope my enthusiasm encourages others to give it a go - you will thank me for it I can tell you. Personally - this is the way forward for pies. Forget shepherds - give me cowboys!

Cowboy Pie! (No cowboys were harmed for this recipe!)

Fry Light (Very low calorie cooking oil/spray
500g pack extra lean mince beef (Vegetarian option could be quorn mince or something similar)
6 spring onions, white bulb thinly sliced and green leaves finely chopped
900g fresh diced carrot and swede
415g can baked beans
300ml beef stock
2tbsp worcestershire sauce
1tsp dried mixed herbs
salt and pepper
2x107g packs instant mash potato cheddar and onion flavour ( I made my own and sprinkled a small amount of cheese on top)
2 eggs, beaten

1) Place a pan sprayed with Fry Light over a medium heat.
Add the minced beef and stir fry for 3 minutes
Then add the white spring onions to the mince and stir fry for a further 2 minutes or until the meat is browned.

2) Add the carrot and swede, baked beans, beef stock, worcestershire sauce and
herbs, then season. Bring to the boil, cover, reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 40 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Mine looked like this.

3) Preheat the grill to medium. Make the mash according to packet instructions or make own.
Add the spring onion greens to the mash with half the egg and beat well. Divide
the mince mixture between 4 ovenproof pie dishes, then spoon over the mash. Roughen up the tops of the pies with a fork, then brush with the remaining egg. I added a sprinkling of cheese.

4) Grill the pies for 3 minutes or until browned.

 I made 3 individual deep dishes approximately 5 inches in diameter and one tin foil double helping  (takeaway container size)

Serve with vegetables. I added salad too.

Friday, January 24

Thursday's walk.

When the roads are icy I tend to wait until afternoon before I take Bing out to the beach. I don't take Freida every day as she gets rather stiff in her back region. I know she would love to go every day but every other day is kinder I think.

Bing can now get two balls in his mouth now!

Wednesday, January 22

Tuesday, January 21

B is for Beef Madras

This is one of my favourite recipe books. Last year, for Mother's Day I made a selection of curries for the family when Jon's mum came for the day. It was a great success - whilst I cooked quite a lot it meant I had sufficient to pack in the freezer for subsequent meals for Jon and I. At Christmas it came to light that it was one of the best meals our godson had tasted. He has his own flat now and enjoys experimenting in the kitchen, so last week for his birthday we bought him this book.

The recipe I followed from the book was for Beef Madras :-

Beef Madras 2.


1 onion chopped

4 cloves 6 cardamon pods

2 fresh chillies (I use Asda frozen)

1 tsp dried ginger

2 garlic cloves peeled and crushed (I use Asda frozen)

2 dried red chillies

1 tbspoon medium curry powder

9oog braising steak – all visible fat removed

2 tsp ground coriander

1 tsp ground cumin

250ml beef stock


Chopped coriander to garnish (I use Asda frozen)


Spray pan with frylight . Add the onions, cloves and cardamom pods. Stir fry for 3-4 minutes.
Add the chillis, ginger, garlic and dried chillis and stirfry for a further 2 minutes.
Add the curry powder and beef chunks and stirfry until meat is sealed.
Add the ground coriander and cumin and stock.
Transfer to oven and cook for a few hours OR transfer to slow cooker and cook all day.
(I cooked it in the Rayburn - all day!)

Serve with rice.

We ate this on Sunday - it was hot.
We had the remainder last night - as always it tasted even better.
The recipe did not contain tomatoes and the liquid I felt was not enough.

There are endless Beef Madras recipes out there which I have been reading, but yesterday whilst shopping I bought

I am going to make a madras curry but will devise my own recipe. The Schwartz recipe contains vinegar - which Jon doesn't like so my recipe will be something like this:-

900g braising steak - all visible fat removed.
1/pint beef stock
1 tin chopped tomatoes
Lots of onions
A couple of tablespoons of Schwartz madras powder

On Rayburn cook initially on hotplate then transfer to oven for rest of the day, checking and adding more liquid if required.

Watch this space.

I am enjoying my cookery adventure as part of my ABC Wednesday contribution, really making me branch out and experiment.

For more ABC fun follow the link in my sidebar.

Saturday, January 18

Crafty matters.

I am full of good when I saw this new magazine I decided to take advantage of the introductory offer. I have a couple of sewing machines and thought this would be the gateway to great projects. After receiving 12 issues I decided to stop my subscription before the price rose....why you may ask? Because I hadn't opened the 12 issues I had received. So today I have opened them all and filed them away. Each issue contains instructions to:-
1. Make a square for a seaside themed quilt.
2. Make a home themed object for the house.
3. Make a gift.
4. Recycle something into a gift/product.
5.Sewing skills
6.Stitch school
7. Templates for the various projects.
As I have 12 issues it would seem I have enough sewing projects to see me through the year. Full instructions come with each of the projects so we'll see how I manage.

I also received various tools of the trade to help me along. The scissors I will keep for my sewing projects - all too often they end up in the general kitchen tat drawer never to be seen again!

I have a lovely sewing box my sister in law bought me years ago - I will dig it out and organise everything.

We wont be doing any further house decorating until after February as we have our holiday to pay for which will use a fair amount of our hard earned money - we only have two bedrooms to decorate which is quite a small project compared to some of the work we have done over the past couple of years. However I am going to beaver away with the de-cluttering and organising of the books and craft materials.....I definitely have sufficient materials to keep me going for the next year so I am setting myself a target of using everything in the house rather than buy anything I am organising for Britain! I feel copious lists coming on!

I was lucky enough to win this book, kindly donated by Maria It is absolutely bursting with ideas which I am going to try. Again, making full use of what we have in the house......and that's quite a lot of stuff!

I am not one for making New Year promises but as the month is panning out I have my cookery challenge and now my organising project to keep me busy - ideal tasks for a wet day....
oh and did I mention I have enrolled on a pottery class?

Watch this space!

Friday, January 17

Fish for Friday.

Thursday was another trip to the beach. A fisherman gave us some mackerel........a very large quantity in fact. Initially to be used as bait, but due to the weather change all fishing was abandoned. I scoured my recipe books for a recipe but came up with in the end I experimented with my own fish pie recipe...

5 mackerel - gutted, filleted and par-cooked.
5 spring onions - chopped.
Frozen garden peas.
1 tub of Quark (fat free soft cheese)
1 large tub of fat free greek style yogurt
4 eggs
Moroccan spices
4 large potatoes
2 low fat laughing cow triangles
10 new potatoes
Grated cheese

5 mackerel - gutted, filleted and par-cooked.
5 spring onions - chopped.
Frozen garden peas.

Place in oven dish

1 tub of Quark (fat free soft cheese)
1 large tub of fat free greek style yogurt
2 eggs
Moroccan spices

Mix together and stir into oven dish above.

Make up some potatoes and mash through. Add 2 beaten eggs and 2 laughing cow low fat cheese triangles. Add boiling water to ensure 'sloppy' texture.

Spread on top of oven dish mixture.
Place sliced new potatoes on top of mashed potato.
Grate cheese on top.
Cook in hot oven until cheese browns.

and serve with salad.

I added beetroot after photo was taken - a definite good addition!

Tuesday, January 14

A is for Adventure.....Cooking Adventure.

ABC Wednesday - Round 14, how time has flown. For this round I am going on an adventure - A cooking adventure. Each week I will cook a recipe I have never cooked before. Conditions of the recipe must be no fancy ingredients I have to travel the globe for, must be healthy and tie in with my Slimming World programme, be the time of food both Jon and I like ie not arty farty and I must have the recipe in my collection of recipe books/slimmingworld magazines.

Over on facebook my longtime blogging pal Crystal Jigsaw has started a new group.
A small, friendly group where we share what we're having for tea (or lunch, brunch, breakfast, supper, and those snacks in between). Lighthearted, fun, informal and a place to dip in and out of whenever the mood takes us. Share recipes and suggestions, tips and advice, but strictly no lecturing on what's good for you and what's not.

So I have decided to link all together - everybody is welcome.
I will also have an independent reviewer - my neighbour Emma. I always pop in to her house when she's at work and let the dogs out for a run and leave her light on as it's dark when she gets in from work - so I will have her tea ready now each Tuesday night.

To kick start the first week then it is A for Analucian meatballs. I looked through a few of my recipe books and whilst there was countless renditions of Avocado(very high in calories) and  Aubergine recipes(Jon doesn't like it)  I found this recipe in the August/September issue of Slimmingworld magazine.

Analucian meatballs


600g pork mince
small handful fresh coriander finely chopped
1 tsp ground cumin,
1 tsp ground coriander,
1 tsp ground nutmeg,
1 tsp ground cinnamon,
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped,
salt and freshly ground black pepper,
small handful fresh flat leaf parsley finely chopped for garnish. 

Note - M&S spice jars are big enough to fit a teaspoon inside to ensure accurate measurement of spices.

Put all except parsley in bowl, season and mix with fingers until well combined. chill for 1 hour. 

Roll into bite size balls and put in frying pan sprayed with fry light over medium heat and stir fry for 6-8 mins until browned all over and cooked through, 

I cooked off a sample and it tasted very nicely spiced.


 Whilst the recipe says to serve with tomato sauce. (Tomato Sauce = 400g passata, 1 tsp smoked paprika, 2 tblsp tomato puree and 1 deseeded finely chopped red pepper, place in pan and bring to boil, reduce heat to low and cook 12-15mins or until pepper has softened. Whizz until smooth and serve with fresh parsley.)

I will be serving mine with this

with lots of extra vegetables.

So, A in my great Adventure is Analucian meatballs. Next week it may well be Baked sardines with potatoes!

Watch this space.
To join in the ABC fun follow the link in my sidebar and if you feel like sharing our fun group on facebook follow the details from Crystal's blog.

Saturday, January 11

For Kay!

I don't need any encouragement to share photographs so as Kay left me a nice comment I dedicate these to her!
Taken this morning, (Saturday) on the beach - as you can see Bing enjoys every minute with his beach buddies.
It was very very cold!


Friday, January 10

The beach today, Friday 10th January & egg update!

“My soul is full of longing for the secret of the sea,
and the heart of the great oceansends a thrilling pulse through me.”

For a change I took my camera along, instead of using my mobile phone. The quality of the photographs is far superior and looking at these images now, I have told myself I will take my camera with me in the future. Yes it's a bit of a faff on, juggling keys, camera, balls etc. but it's well worth it - I will use my pockets to capacity as bags are another issue!

The intense blue of both the sky and sea indicate just how cold it was - but Bing and Freida enjoyed it.

Update on the hen house - Eva has laid another egg today - so it's one every other day so far!
Watch this space!

Wednesday, January 8

Monday, January 6

Zero Eggs

It has been some time since the gals gave us any eggs..... so I have put a group of golf balls inside their shed. I am hoping they will get the urge! Mabel and Eva spotted them this morning!

Watch this space!

Once again a complete alphabet covered in ABC Wednesday - next week we start Round 14!

Saturday, January 4

This week's walks - in pictures.

Thursday...Skinningrove Beach



Friday - Sandsend Beach after Fish and Chips in Whitby

Earlier that morning - a change from the beach. Hummersea Fields.


 Friday - back to the beach.
Bing on his own - Freida having a rest.

Storm damage to the cliffs

Saturday - Beach, Bing and his Buddies