An All Time Family Favourite

Sometimes finding food that we can all eat is a struggle but tonight’s meal is hands down a complete winner! Fish Taco’s with homemade Guacamole. I often make this for us and each time James remarks ‘this is definitely one of my favourite dinners’ and tonight I topped it off with a triple chocolate cookie ice-cream sandwich!!!!

I was at home with Toby today but had to make a trip to the supermarket and when I can I make the trip across town to Waitrose as they stock some ingredients that I like to have in the cupboard that other supermarkets do not. They have these great Battered Haddock Fish Fingers, perfect for fish tacos, they are in the frozen section which means they keep really well at home and can always be pulled out when I need them. I’m all for creating recipes that have shortcuts for weeknight dinners. Time is precious and when I have more of it I will explore battering my own haddock pieces but for now make life simple! They also stock coconut and black pepper mini tortilla wraps that I like to hold the taco goodness but I also use mini plain tortilla wraps for this and Tesco do their own in the Mexican section. My last cheat is a smoked chilli mayonnaise that I find in Sainsbury’s and Waitrose called Gran Luchito, it’s a smoked chilli mayo and its so tasty, a great dipping sauce for other dishes.

And finally, the cookies!!! Triple chocolate cookies that are fun and simple to make, you need good quality ingredients to get the best flavour out of them. Waitrose stock milk chocolate and white chocolate chunks in their baking section that are perfect and time saving, otherwise using bars of chocolate that you chop up is a good alternative. One ingredient that I always have in my cupboard that I use in nearly all my baking is the Nielson-Massey vanilla extract, it tastes amazing! A little pricey but you get a lot for your money, steer clear of the vanilla essence as it doesn’t add an amazing flavour to your baking.

I have many baking goodies to share with you so keep checking back or sign up to the blog and get updates when I post new recipes and life snippets.

Fish Tacos

Serves 4

12 Haddock Fish Fingers (Tesco do some haddock goujons in their refrigerated fish section, they work well too just a little smaller)

6 Tomatoes (Cut tomatoes in half and scoop seeds out with a spoon. Flatten tomato skin and dice.)

1 Red onion (Finely dice)

½ A Lime

Bunch of fresh Coriander (finely chop, this can be used for guacamole too)

Sea Salt

Ground Black Pepper

2 Baby Gem Lettuce

Gran Luchito Mayonnaise

12 Mini Tortilla Wrap

Pre heat oven according to fish finger guidance and place fish fingers in the oven

Place tomatoes, onion, 1 tablespoon of coriander, ½ a lime juice into a bowl and mix, season with salt and pepper to taste. Cut base off lettuce and pull each lettuce leaf apart and wash, dry with paper towel and set to one side. Take a small frying pan turn the heat to full on hob and allow pan to heat up. When the fish has 2 minutes left begin to toast tortilla wraps one at a time in the frying pan. They need 10 seconds each side.

Now begin to build your taco. Take a toasted tortilla wrap and spread a teaspoon of chilli mayonnaise over it, now place a lettuce leaf  and your fish finger on the top finishing off with a tablespoon of your tomato and red onion mixture. Repeat this until you have built all tacos.

Homemade Guacamole

2 Ripe Avocados (Dice avocados, mash one and keep the other diced avocado.)

1 Small Red Onion (Finely Dice)

1 Clove of garlic (Mince garlic)

1 Red Chilli(Very finely chop)

2 Limes (

Chopped Fresh Coriander

Sea Salt

Ground Black Pepper

Place 1 mashed avocado in a bowl add garlic, red onion, red chilli, juice of 2 limes and mash together with a folk. Now add coriander to taste (some may like more others may like none at all!) and 1 diced avocado, mix well. Finally season to taste with sea salt and ground black pepper.

Dollop on your fish tacos and enjoy!!! Best to make this while your fish fingers are cooking.

Oh yeah! Triple Chocolate Cookie Ice Cream Sandwich

Makes 20 large cookies and 40 small

225g Unsalted Butter (at room temperature)

1 cup light brown sugar (packed)

1 cup caster sugar

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

2 extra-large eggs at room temperature

2/3 cup good unsweetened cocoa

2 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

200g Milk Chocolate chunks

200g White Chocolate chunks

1/4 Cup of milk if mixture is too thick.

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C. Cream the butter and both sugars until light and fluffy in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or by hand. Add the vanilla, then the eggs, 1 at a time, and mix well. Add the cocoa and mix again. Sift together the flour, baking soda, and salt and add to the chocolate with the mixer on low speed until just combined. Fold in all chocolate chunks. Drop the dough on a baking sheet lined with grease proof paper, using a 1 3/4-inch ice cream scoop or a rounded tablespoon. Dampen your hands and flatten the dough slightly. Bake for exactly 12 minutes (the cookies will seem underdone). Remove from the oven and let cool slightly on the pan, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Now here’s the cheat, you’ve made your cookies so the effort was there now turn one cookie upside down place a scoop of Haagen-Dazs (or any ice-cream you love!) Cookies and Cream ice-cream and place another cookie on the top and squash down until ice-cream hits the edge of the cookie.

I have no words, heaven in a cookie sandwich!!

Much Love

George xx

Tonight’s Dinner

So here is a wonderful recipe that was scoffed for tonight’s dinner. Roast Chicken with Lemon & Thyme served with Creamy Parmesan Polenta & Roasted Italian Vegetables.

Like many of my recipes I’m inspired by a wonderful American cook that I have followed for many years, Ina Garten also known as the Barefoot Contessa. Her recipes are my go to and the family always love them! However they are often tweaked not because they aren’t already amazing but because I enjoy experimenting adding a little less or little more of something or switching ingredients because I just don’t have them at home and with little time on my hands and not wanting to make another trip to the supermarket I have discovered my own way.  I do my best to use up what we have but I must confess my biggest challenge with my cooking is food wastage, I can’t bare it! I have such a hectic life with my nurses training and running Olivia around to after school activities while entertaining an enthusiastic three year old (Toby) that cooking from scratch is not always an option. Over the years I have discovered ways to make tasty dinners that don’t take hours to prepare and can use up what I have at home.

I spent the day at home today studying so I managed to start early on this one and as I had a whole chicken to use I decided why not roast it even on a Wednesday and gave it a twist with a side of creamy Parmesan polenta and roasted veggies, I used what I had in the veg draw. Dinner inspiration often comes from what I have kicking about in the cupboards I rarely plan a week of meals but always have the go to ingredients for family favourites that I know can be kept and thrown together.

Roast chicken is a firm Sunday dinner favourite but It took a few attempts to find the right way to cook it. I have gone through many chickens trying to discover the best way. I find keeping it simple with little fuss but maximum flavour gives the best results. Firstly where possible buy the best chicken you can. I have a wonderful local butchers the next village over who are always incredibly helpful and from what I’m told the meat tastes fab too. I have a confession, I’m not a meat eater! I cook it most days for the family but have spent the best part of my life living without it in my diet. James guides me when it comes to the final verdict and the brutal honesty from the whole brood always helps! Anyway this was a huge hit this evening and I hope you will all have ago when you have chance.

Roast Chicken with Lemon & Thyme

serves 4-6

 1 (4lb) Whole Chicken

1 Lemon, quatered

8 sprigs of Thyme

1 Yellow Onion halved and slice 1/4 inch thick

Good Olive Oil

Fresh ground black pepper

Sea Salt 

Preheat Oven 220 C  (425 F)

Place two quarters of the lemon, 2 sprigs of thyme (pulled apart to cover base of pan under the chicken) and onion onto base of roasting tin. Take the chicken and place on top of prepared base. Pat chicken dry with kitchen role to take away moisture allowing the skin to roast. Pop the left over lemon and thyme into cavity of chicken. Brush olive oil over chicken making sure it had an even covering. (I use my hands for this) Sprinkle well with salt and pepper. Place in the oven and cook for 1 hour 15 minutes until the juices run clear (check this between the thigh and the leg) Cover the roasting tin with foil and rest chicken for at least 15 minutes before serving.

I rested my chicken for 50 minutes and it was still piping hot when we dished up.

Roasted Italian Vegetables

Serves 4-6

1 Red Pepper

1 Yellow Pepper

1 Green Pepper

1 Red Onion

3 Celery sticks

2 Courgettes

2 large carrots

4 Cloves of Garlic (minced)

1 1/2 teaspoons of dried Oregano

Ground Black Pepper

Sea Salt

Good Olive Oil (1/2 a cup)

15 Sweet Cherry Tomatoes 

10 Basil leaves (sliced thinly)

Preheat oven 230 C (450 F)

Place all chopped vegetable (1 inch diced) onto baking tray with garlic, oregano, 1 tablespoon of salt and 1 1/2 teaspoons of black pepper. Toss all ingredients together until evenly coated. If there is too much on one pan use two so they do not steam but roast. Roast in the oven for 30 minutes After 15 minutes add the tomatoes to the vegetables and leave to roast for the remaining time. Check after 25 minutes as all ovens may vary and cook quicker.

Once roasted take out and set to one side.

Creamy Parmasan Polenta

All Ina!! Serves 4-6

6 Cups of Chicken Stock ( I used Vegetable)

3 Cloves of Garlic (minced)

1 1/2 Cups of Polenta

Sea Salt

Ground Black Pepper

1 1/2 Cups of freshly grated Parmasan ( Waitrose do a great vegetarian hard cheese that tastes similar)

6 tablesppons of Creme Fraiche ( I used half fat)

Combine garlic and stock in large pan and bring to the boil. Add the polenta whisking as you do making sure there are no lumps. Switch to a wooden spoon and add 1 1/2 tablespoons of salt and 2 teaspoons of pepper and simmer polenta over a medium heat until thickened (make sure you are scraping bottom of the pan as you are stirring as you do not want it to catch). Depending on what polenta your have bought depends on the time needed. Once thickened take off the heat and ass the Parmasan crime fraiche and stir until combined. Taste and check seasoning. For more indulgence add 3 tablespoons of unsalted butter to polenta ( I left out and it tasted wonderful just as it was). Serve immediately in a large brown.

Take roasted veggies and place on the top of the polenta. Sprinkle basil over the vegetables.

Now serve and enjoy!!

Much Love

George xx

Where to start….

Where to start! I’m a mum, wife, sister, daughter, aunt, friend, nurse, charity project founder along with my wonderful sisters and food fanatic and doing my best to fit it all in. Working mum’s, wives, girlfriends and women everywhere, I salute you! Life at times is hard, overwhelming, joyful and a whole lot more and I plan on sharing it all!

How do we manage the never ending list of demands thrown our way? Family, work, study and general life lessons continue to surprise me and jump out when I least expect them creating new, exciting and sometimes terrifying challenges! I’m a crazy busy woman fighting the battles of growing older, busier and further stretched more than I have ever been before navigating my way through a hectic world and honestly I haven’t found the balance that I hear all too often I need to find.

I have wanted to start this blog for such a long time but needed a moment to begin. When I first mentioned it to my husband his response was “when will you fit that in?” I simply replied “I’ll manage!” A phrase I use often as I’m sure many of you do too! I must add that he also encouraged it, as he always does and for that I love him even more!

I’ve found my moment ladies! I hope what I share with you relates in some way or another. Enjoy recipes, life stories and general chit chat with me. “Manage” with me ladies!

Much Love

George xx