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How to make the ultimate chip butty.

Collaborative Post

Winner winner, chip-butty dinner

“Daaad! What’s for dinner?”, the kids yell from the other room. It’s been a long, busy day and you’re just not up to cooking a full-on meal. You’ve no energy left. You’re up for something with minimal effort; a good measure of comfort food. Pizza? Nah. Stir fry? Nah. Chip butty? Now who could resist? Surely a winner for the whole family, right? And quite frankly, what tantalises the tastebuds more than a satisfying chip butty in crusty soft bread, coated with lashings of your favourite sauce? Your mouth is watering at the thought. And the best part is that it takes no more than 10 minutes to prepare and around half-an-hour to cook (depending on how well done you like your chips). Yes, winner winner, chip butty dinner it is.

Getting started

Okay, it’s time to get to work and dig out the spuds, get the oven on, track down those herbs and spices and that loaf of bread. Let’s make this a chip butty to remember.

Starting with the potatoes. Give them a good rinse and peel them. If the kids have a particularly sweet tooth (and which kids don’t?), throw a few sweet potatoes into the mix. As well as bringing some brightness to their butty, they’re brimming full of key vitamins, including A, C, E and K. They also cook faster than white potatoes too, which means you’ll be tucking in in no time.

Now, how do you like your chips – a little chunky? Chop them about a finger-width wide. Want a bit of fun? Chop them into shapes – the kids will love them. Or carve them into letters to spell out your kids’ names; they’ll love the personal touch. If the kids love veggies and you have some spare, carrot and parsnip chips taste great and will add an earthy, flavour-packed sweetness to the butty.

If French fries are more your style and you are short of time but are still craving a great butty, get yourself a pack of McCain’s French Fries and the kids will never know the difference. You can still add the herbs, garlic and spices to make the butty one to remember.

It’s now time to get the oven on and up to temperature. Gas Mark 6 or 200°C should do the trick.

Before they’re oven ready, you’ll need to par-boil the potatoes for around 5 minutes (slightly longer if chunky) in boiling water. Once the potatoes are par-boiled, strain and dab slightly with kitchen roll, then place on the tray and drizzle a little cooking oil over them. They’re now oven ready.

If chips are too bland for the kids, why not spice things up a little before popping in the oven? Those herbs in the cupboard? Give them a whirl. Sprinkle on mixed herbs – oregano, rosemary or garlic granules. Even a subtle shake of chilli powder will add extra heat and spice to give your butty an extra kick. Yummy.

Cooking the chips

Don’t forget to set the timer for 35 minutes because those beauties will cook quickly. Once in the oven, don’t forget to check your chips every 10 minutes or so. Give them a gentle shake a few times to ensure they cook well on all sides.

They’re almost done. The house is filled with the aroma of chips!

The butty

Now to the bread: some like it firm; some like it soft. Choose the kids’ favourite bread and mix things up a little. Try a half wholemeal and half white, or if adventurous try a baguette and see who has the longest bite. Tiger bread is great and chopping it into inch-thick slices makes the butty a monster meal ­ wait until you sink your teeth into that beauty!

Don’t forget the condiments; will it be ketchup, brown sauce, mayonnaise, or malt vinegar? Or a bit of everything? Have them close to hand and apply liberally.

It’s now time to butter the bread choosing your favourite spread; be generous and make sure it covers the bread. Or if you’re feeling creative, drizzle over a little olive oil instead, adding a delicious fresh, zingy flavour.

Scatter the chips on your bread, leaving the butty open to spell out the kids’ names in chips, this way you’ll be the best dad!

Winner winner, time for dinner!

Now time to tuck into your delicious feast. Enjoy the greatest chip butty ever made!

If your chips weren’t a winner, why not nip out and try McCain’s French Fries, cooked from frozen and oven ready in 14-16 minutes ­ your kids will never know the difference!

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Pressure Cooker: Tomato, Cucumber and Rice Soup

Choose to have your soup chunky or smooth.  It’s all up to you.

Pressure Cooker: Tomato, Cucumber and Rice Soup

Lesley Smith
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Course Soup
Servings 4 -8


  • 200 g Leek chopped
  • 100 g Rice uncooked and washed
  • 300 g Cucumber peeled and chopped
  • 2 Teaspoons Salt
  • Tin Butter Beans drained
  • 2 Tins Tomatoes
  • 1 Teaspoon Ground Ginger
  • 2 Chicken Stock Pots or Stock Cubes
  • 2 Tablespoons Rapeseed or Vegetable Oil
  • 1 Litre Water
  • Optional for blending up to 300ml Semi Skimmed Milk


  • Sauté the leek with the vegetable oil. I use an Instant Pot, so use the sauté function, however it cooks fairly quickly, so keep an eye to make sure the leeks don't burn.

  • Add salt, broad beans and chicken stock pots to the sautéed Leeks. Mix continually with a wooden spoon for about a minute.

  • Add the rest of the ingredients to the pressure cooker, and use the soup function, or cook on high pressure for 30 minutes.

  • When ready to serve, choose to leave chunky, or blend until smooth. The soup will become very thick as it is blended, and you can optionally add more water or semi skimmed milk, a little at a time until it reaches your desired consistency.

  • Serve with crustless bread and butter.


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High Protein Strawberry and Avocado Puree

High Protein Strawberry and Avocado Puree is suitable for those choosing a high protein diet, or the elderly where there is a need to get protein rich food in their diet, and where they cannot chew or swallow solid food. With 12g of carbs in each 120g recipe, there is also 163 calories per portion, and is a high calorie food.

Note:  This post contains an affiliate link.  These are marked by an asterisk next to them.  If you buy anything from using these links, I will receive an ambassador commission, which lets me keep this blog running.  The price is not altered for you in any way.  

As a Froothie Ambassador, I used my new Optimum VAC2 Air Vacuum Blender * to make this soup.  It does need a suitable blender for making soup this way, but with my one, the soup was smooth and very rich, despite being loaded with sweetcorn, which is usually very difficult to blend.  Read my review, or find out how to get one for yourself here. 

High Protein Strawberry and Avocado Puree

Lesley Smith
4 from 1 vote
Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Course High Protein / Puree
Servings 4 x Servings
Calories 163 kcal


  • 400 g Strawberries hulled and chopped.
  • 200 g Avocado peeled and diced.
  • 2 Heaped Spoons Strawberry Protein Powder.
  • 1 Tablespoon Water.


  • Add all your ingredients to the mixer.

  • Blend for 30 seconds.

  • Pour into small glasses or dishes and put into fridge for 2 hours.


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Blender Tomato & Sweetcorn Soup

This tomato soup is speedy, fills all those tomato soup boxes, and with only a few minutes in the blender, there is a piping hot bowl of soup.  To make raw soup, it does need food that is suitable for blending and not leaving a bitter aftertaste in the way that the onion family does, but it makes for a fabulously speed option when needed, especially when you have someone like my mum living at home, who pretty much has soup every day, and sometimes multiple times a day.

Note:  This post contains an affiliate link.  These are marked by an asterisk next to them.  If you buy anything from using these links, I will receive an ambassador commission, which lets me keep this blog running.  The price is not altered for you in any way.  

As a Froothie Ambassador, I used my new Optimum VAC2 Air Vacuum Blender * to make this soup.  It does need a suitable blender for making soup this way, but with my one, the soup was smooth and very rich, despite being loaded with sweetcorn, which is usually very difficult to blend.  Read my review, or find out how to get one for yourself here. 

Raw Tomato and Sweetcorn Soup


  • 2 Tins Chopped Tomatoes (800g)
  • 1 Tin Sweetcorn (300g)
  • Teaspoon Salt
  • Teaspoon Ginger
  • Teaspoon Mixed Spice
  • Up to 200ml Double Cream (Optional)


I use the Optimum VAC2 Air Vacuum Blender.  This is a very simple recipe that needs very little preparation at all.

Step 1

Add ingredients to the blender.

Step 2

Choose the soup setting which blends for around 6 minutes.

Step 3

Serve with fresh bread and butter.

Find out more about the Optimum VAC2 Air Vacuum Blender on the Froothie website *

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Raw Strawberry and Banana Ice Cream Recipe

Note:  This post contains an affiliate link.  These are marked by an asterisk next to them.  If you buy anything from using these links, I will receive an ambassador commission, which lets me keep this blog running.  The price is not altered for you in any way.  

As a Froothie Ambassador, I used my new Optimum VAC2 Air Vacuum Blender * to make this ice cream.  It does need a very efficient blender to be able to pound frozen fruit together well, in a way that leaves us with creamy ice cream.  Read my review, or find out how to get one for yourself here. 

I’ve tried making ice cream like this several times, and once had a wee gadget that did the job, but broke very quickly.  It just was not powerful enough to pulverise the frozen fruit on a regular basis.  I’ve found that adding banana to any fruit, gives it the taste of ice cream, and sometimes a little avocado thrown in can help as well.

Raw Strawberry and Banana Ice Cream Recipe 


  • 350g Frozen Strawberries (optional – remove the green stems before freezing)
  • 250g Frozen Banana (peel the banana, and slice before freezing)
  • Optional – 4 drops of Madagascan Vanilla Essence


I use the Optimum VAC2 Air Vacuum Blender.  This is a very simple recipe that needs very little preparation at all.

Step 1

Mix the strawberries and bananas and add the optional vanilla essence if desired.

Step 2

Add the fruit to the blender jug.

Step 3

Do not choose a vacuum setting for this, as you will need to use the tamper tool to push the fruit down the jug while blending.  Use the pulse function for 30 second increments, until you achieve the consistency you desire.

Step 4

Add the ice cream to a bowl, or a tub for putting in the freezer.  To use from the freezer, leave out for 10 – 30 minutes, then stir well to achieve the ice-cream texture.

Step 5

Serve with chopped nuts, flaked almonds or chopped dates.

Find out more about the Optimum VAC2 Air Vacuum Blender on the Froothie website *

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Authentic Massaman Thai Curry Recipe from Chef Sanguan Parr at Nipa Thai

Songkran is the annual festival which takes place over three days during the traditional Thai New Year, this year falling on Friday 13 – Sunday 15 April 2018.  Throughout Thailand there are celebrations, festivities and plenty of food; all culminating in a momentous country-wide water fight!

In the run up to Songkran, Sanguan Parr, Head Chef at Nipa Thai in London, has shared her recipe for Massaman Gai (Yellow Thai Chicken Curry). A popular but classic recipe from the Southern region of Thailand, the curry is simple to make but guaranteed to impress – the perfect dish for your Songkran celebrations!

Recipe: Authentic Massaman Thai Curry

Author: Head Chef Sanguan Parr at Nipa Thai

Ingredients (to serve four):

  • 2 Chicken breasts
  • 600ml Coconut Milk
  • 2 tbsp Roasted Peanuts
  • 5 Small Onions; sliced
  • 4 Medium Potatoes; cubed
  • 3 tbsp Massaman Curry Paste
  • 2 tbsp Fish Sauce
  • 3 tbsp Palm Sugar
  • 3 tbsp Tamarind Juice
  • 3 Bay Leaves
  • 1 piece Roasted Cinnamon; 1cm long
  • 5 Roasted Cardamom Pods
  • 1 tbsp Vegetable Oil


Step 1: Cut the chicken into chunks, around 2 inches in length.

Step 2: In a wok, heat the vegetable oil, curry paste and 200ml of coconut milk. Keep stirring over a low heat until fragrant.

Step 3: Add the chicken to the wok, turning frequently so all the meat is covered in sauce.

Step 4: Pour in the remaining 400ml of coconut milk and simmer gently for 5 minutes.

Step 5: Add the cubed potatoes, roasted peanuts, onions, fish sauce, palm sugar, tamarind juice, bay leaves, cardamom and cinnamon. Keep over a low heat to simmer until all the ingredients are tender.

Step 6: Remove from the heat and serve with steamed white rice.

Throughout Songkran 2018, Nipa Thai will be offering its traditional menu. Nipa Thai is open from 5pm-10.30pm, Monday-Sunday.

Nipa Thai, Royal Lancaster London, Lancaster Terrace, London W2 2TY

Tel: 020 7551 6000 or

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Roasted Spiralised Carrot & Feta Salad

Now we’re past the most depressing day of the year, why not have a look at one of the recipes from Aldi, to brighten up the rest of the month.  In the past, I’ve never been much for spiralising, but it does look very good in pictures and on plates.  Happy January.


Roasted Spiralised Carrot & Feta Salad

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 8 minutes
Total Time 18 minutes
Course Mains


  • 2 Courgettes washed and trimmed
  • 2 Carrots trimmed and peeled
  • 2 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
  • Freshly ground Salt and Black Pepper
  • 100 g Feta Cheese crumbled
  • 50 g Walnut Pieces
  • 1 tbsp Fresh Parsley chopped


  • Pre-heat the oven to 200°C/Fan 180°C/425°/Gas Mark 6.

  • Spiralise the courgettes and carrots using the ‘thin spiral cone’.

  • Place in a bowl and add the oil, vinegar and seasoning and mix well.

  • Spread the vegetables onto a large (or 2 smaller) baking tray and roast for around 7-8 minutes, stirring a couple of times.

  • Meanwhile, toast the walnuts in a dry pan, stirring frequently to prevent burning, then tip onto a plate to cool.

  • Remove the vegetables from the oven and place in a serving bowl.

  • Sprinkle over the cheese, walnuts and finally the parsley.

  • Delicious served as a light lunch or as an accompaniment to grilled meats or fish.


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Olive Oil Buyers Guide by Jamie’s Italian

This is a Collaborative Post.

Deciding which olive oil to buy isn’t always an easy thing to do.  I know I’ve spent time looking at labels and trying to decide which is the best option for me.  In the past, I’ve always tended to go with Extra Virgin Olive Oil, just because it sounded better, but even I know that’s a naive way to make a decision on food ingredients.  I found this infographic intriguing, mostly because it is giving us the information we need, to check on the quality of an oil for ourselves.

I now know that for baking and frying, I’ve been using the wrong oil….which I knew for myself, as I wasn’t happy with it and had switched to Rapeseed for frying, but Extra Virgin for salad dressings, but now I’m keen to try Light Olive Oil for myself for bread making and Pure Olive Oil for frying.  If I’m honest, I had no idea, at all, that Oils had such a large range of flavour options.  I’d be keen to know which brands sit at which taste level.

I’d always presumed that Italy was the largest producer of Olive Oil for us, here in the UK, so it was a bit of a surprise to find out that it’s actually Spain.

Enjoy, and I hope this helps you as much as it has me.

The full infographic which was created by Jamie’s Italian, is a beautifully crafted visual guide to Olive Oil, that not only gives the different types of oil, but also suggestions on cooking and doing the tasting for ourselves.



From Visually.






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Natural Remedies to get rid of a sore throat, including Ginger Tea and Honey Toddy.

You know that feeling when you wake up, with a rattly throat and every swallow feels like broken glass searing down your gullet?  You instantly know you have some sort of a bug or two, or possibly the dreaded Strep throat, caused by the group A streptococcus bacteria.  What do you do now?

Although most sore throats are caused by colds and we can treat ourselves at home, if your throat seems to be Strep throat, see a GP.  Strep throat is contagious, and children are more at risk.  Breathing can be affected and diagnosis requires a throat swab.

For the rest of us, and our gritty sore throat caused by generally being unwell or having a cold, it’s a case of working through the options until we feel better.

Let’s not be shy here.  A sore throat can hurt like the devil, and then some, with every mouthful of saliva causing dread to fill our boots, as we know we have to swallow it.  In the past, I’ve found myself gargling milk, just for the soothing sensation for a few seconds, and there are some natural remedies we can try at home, to get rid of a sore throat.

I’ve spent several decades listening to the elder women in  my family, so I thought it was about time to share their remedies before I forget them.

1 – Salt Water Gargle

This has always been my  mother’s go to.  Every time I’ve been ill, I used to get the evil eye and pointed towards a glass and salt bottle.  Now with her, it wasn’t some scientific salt to water ratio.  She just grabbed a pinch, added it to boiled water and let it cool.    I have dread memories of the gargle and avoided it like the plague, but that’s not to say it was a daft remedy, as loads of people report that it does indeed work for them.  Who am I to argue with that?  This is pretty much what we do, usually every couple of hours or so.

Salt Water Gargle Recipe

  • Add 1 level teaspoon of salt to a small glass of water.
  • Stir until dissolved.
  • Gargle the liquid for sixty seconds if possible, or a minimum of 30 seconds.
  • Spit out the water once you have finished gargling.  Do not swallow.

2 – Honey Toddy 

This one belongs to my grandmother.  She’d add a tot of whisky and make it a whisky toddy though.  My mum, not liking the taste of alcohol, always preferred it without the tipple added.  I’m never quite sure how drinking something that burns on the way down could soothe a sore throat myself.

Ok, for the honey, it is said to help fight infection and help with pain relief, and the sweetness also helps make things taste better.  Check with a doctor or nurse before giving to children.

Honey Toddy Recipe

  • 100ml water which has been boiled and allowed to cool slightly.
  • Add one tablespoon of honey to the water and let it dissolve.
  • 1 slice fresh lemon as garnish and drink.

3 – Ginger Root Tea

This is nothing to do with my family, but as a spice with antibacterial and anti-inflmmatory properties, it might help a sore throat.   You can buy ginger tea ready made, or you can make it yourself as it’s so easy to do.

Ginger Root Tea Recipe

  • Peel a couple of inches of fresh root ginger and add to a pan.
  • Top up with a couple of mugs of fresh water.
  • Bring to boil and let simmer for 10 – 20 minutes, depending on how strong you like your tea.
  • Remove from the heat and add honey and either half a lemon or lime squeezed into the liquid.
  • Stir and drink the fluid.
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Soup Maker Recipe: Root Veg with Mushroom Soup

Mixing mushroom with any soup is always a hit or miss.  The colour of this soup was more muddy than it looks in the picture.  The colour seems to be very photogenic with a flash gun, but although muddy colour due to the mixture of green and orange, it was pretty tasty.

Soup Maker Recipe: Root Veg with Mushroom Soup

Lesley Smith
4 from 1 vote
Course Soup Maker
Cuisine Soup


  • 200 g Carrots peeled and sliced.
  • 200 g Potatoes peeled and cubed.
  • 150 g Onion chopped.
  • 50 g Leek chopped.
  • 50 g Asparagus chopped.
  • 50 g Mushrooms chopped.
  • 30 ml Olive oil.
  • 1 Garlic Clove Crushed.
  • Pinch Black Pepper.
  • Pinch White Pepper.
  • Pinch Chilli Powder.
  • Pinch Paprika.
  • 2 Vegetable Stock Cubes.


  • Saute your onions and leek with the oil, garlic, black pepper, white pepper, chilli powder and paprika.

  • Add the rest of your ingredients to the pot.

  • Fill the soup maker to the maximum level with water, making sure it fills above your minimum and below your maximum level. Stir well to ensure nothing is stuck to the bottom of your pot.

  • Ensure the lid is on properly.

  • Choose the smooth setting for your soup. If you make it in a pot, simply cook the soup and use a blender to smooth.


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Soup Maker Recipe: Potato and Apple Soup with Nigella Seeds

Potato and Apple are just the right blend of sweet for me, in a soup.  Apple goes with just about anything I find, and is an easy fruit add for picky eaters.

Soup Maker Recipe: Potato and Apple Soup with Nigella Seeds

Lesley Smith
4.67 from 3 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Soup
Cuisine Soup Maker
Servings 4 -6 Bowls


  • 260 g Chopped Leek & Onion
  • 280 g Peeled and Chopped Potato
  • 130 g Peeled and Chopped Apple
  • 50 g Asparagus Spears
  • 30 ml Oil
  • 2 Vegetable Stock Cubes
  • 1 Teaspoon Salt
  • 1 Clove Garlic Crushed
  • 1.5 Teaspoon Nigella Seeds
  • Water
  • 150 ml Milk


  • Add leek, onion, oil, crumbled vegetable stock cubes and garlic clove to the soupmaker and saute until the leek is soft.

  • Add the potato, apple, nigella seeds, salt, and asparagus spears to the pot, and top up the pot to above the minimum and below the maximum levels with water. Keep back a pinch of Nigella Seeds for decoration

  • Mix well with a wooden spoon.

  • Make sure your lid is on properly.

  • Choose the smooth setting.

  • Add the milk to the pot once the soup had finished cooking.
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Spicy Thai Cauliflower Soup – Vegan Friendly

Guest post with recipe developed by Nicky Corbishley, the founder of Kitchen Sanctuary blog.

Nicky is also brand ambassador for NEFF, after winning the Cookaholic competition last year, and is currently helping gathering true and passionate cookaholics around the country to enter this year’s competition.  This is his second recipe to feature on my blog.

Neff is currently looking for new entrants to this years competition at:

The Spicy Thai Cauliflower soup is actually vegan so a flavoursome option for vegetarians and vegans.

Spicy Thai cauliflower, coconut and lime soup

A deliciously spicy soup to warm you up from the inside. It’s vegan too!

Serves: 4


  • 1 large cauliflower, broken into florets
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 medium onions, peeled and chopped
  • 2 medium red chillies, chopped (remove and discard the seeds if you don’t like it too hot)
  • 1 x 3cm piece of ginger, peeled and chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped
  • 1 tsp lemongrass paste
  • 1 heaped tbsp of fresh coriander stalks (save the leaves for garnishing)
  • 1 ½ tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp tamarind paste
  • ½ tsp cumin
  • ½ tsp paprika
  • 1 x 400ml tin coconut milk (full fat)
  • 300ml vegetable stock
  • 1 tbsp Chinese rice wine
  • 1 tbsp light brown muscovado sugar
  • Juice of one lime


  1. Preheat your oven to 180°C. Place the cauliflower florets on a large baking tray.
  2. Place 2 tablespoons of the oil, half of the chopped onions, the chillies, ginger, garlic, lemongrass paste, coriander stalks, turmeric, tamarind paste, cumin and paprika in a food processor, and pulse until you get a thick paste.
  3. Spoon half of the paste onto the cauliflower florets, and rub the paste in using your hands.
  4. Place the cauliflower in the oven and roast for 20-25 minutes until golden brown.
  5. Meanwhile heat the remaining oil in a large saucepan. Add the remaining chopped onions and fry for 5 minutes on a medium heat until softened. Add in the remaining curry paste and fry for a further minute.
  6. Add the roasted cauliflower to the pan (save a few florets for garnishing) along with the coconut milk, stock, rice wine and sugar. Bring to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes, then turn off the heat.
  7. Carefully blend the soup in the pan using a stick blender.
  8. Divide the soup between four bowls and garnish with the reserved cauliflower, coriander leaves and some finely chopped chillies.