The cooking Journal

Posts in 'Recipes'

Wake up your work force!
With the average worker losing 11 days of productivity each year due to tiredness, isn’t it time to eat yourself fit and energetic again.

At 6.30am when you are dreading the busy rush hour commute you are more than likely turn to a strong cup of coffee and a sugary bowl of cereal to start your day. STOP! This is probably the worst thing you can do! Foods that are high in sugar are great for an initial energy boost, but as the sugar rush starts to fade you will find your energy will come crashing down.

So try perking up your morning porridge with this delicious recipe!

Our tried and tested breakfast porridge is perfect for filling you up and giving you the energy you need to get you through to lunch.

Share this recipe with a work colleague today and give them the wakeup call they need!

Carrot cake Porridge
Ingredients (serves 2)
100g oats
100g carrots
1 apple
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1 teaspoon maple syrup or honey
150ml milk
50g raisins
2 tablespoons of yoghurt a handful of walnuts or pecans
1. Start by soaking the oats in boiling water, in a small pan; pour the water about 1cm above the oats.
2. Now peel the carrots and then grate the carrot and apple separately and set aside. Once the oats have absorbed the water, add the cinnamon, carrot, apple, nutmeg, ginger, salt, maple syrup, raisins, and the almond milk.
3. Stir the ingredients, and cook on a low heat until the mixture thickens and becomes creamy. Once you get your desired consistency and the carrot pieces have softened, remove from the heat.
4. Serve in two bowls, topping with a splash of honey, a blob of yogurt and a handful of chopped nuts.

Nutritional Tips: Did you know Ginger has many health benefits; it is a highly effective digestive aid and carminative ingredient. By increasing the production of digestive fluids and saliva, ginger helps to relieve flatulence, indigestion as well as stomach cramps. Ginger is also anti-bacterial and an anti-inflammatory, easing pain in inflamed joints or arthritic conditions.

Preparation tips: Soak the oats in the ingredients and milk and place in the fridge before you go to bed, then pick up the recipe from No3 in the morning. The oats will be more nutritious from having soaked overnight, and the flavours will be more intense and creamy.
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Samosas of a Christmas kind
Use any filling, even a sweet one, left over Christmas pudding is a good one served with brandy cream!



2 tbsp rapeseed oil

2 cinnamon sticks + 2 cardamom +4 cloves

1 tsp cumin seeds

1 tsp fennel seeds

1 tsp fresh green chillies or chilli flakes

2 tsp garlic

1 small onion finely chopped – optional

½ tsp salt or to taste

¼ tsp black pepper

3 tbsp. lemon juice

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp ground coriander

½ tsp ground cinnamon

Any leftover shredded meat off the bone, chicken, lamb, duck etc…

Left over roast potatoes, parsnips or carrots – chopped up but not mushes (we don’t like mushy)

40g garden peas or a handful to add colour

Handful fresh coriander – finely chopped

2or 3 stalks spring onions, not left overs J sliced thinly 1 inch


30 strips of pastry


Cooking Instructions:

  1. Heat the oil in a deep pan, add the whole spices, lower the heat to very low and add the cumin & fennel seeds, garlic and chillies.  Sauté for a minute, careful so not to burn the garlic.

  2. Add the onions if adding and sauté for 5 minutes until lightly brown then add the spices (ensuring the heat is very low, so not to burn them.)

  3. Now add the shredded meat and vegetables. Turn up the heat and stir fry for 4-5 minutes until all the flavours are melded together.

  4. Stir in the drained garden peas and make sure all the liquid from the lemon juice has evaporated and the mixture is dry so that the samosa pastry doesn’t become soggy when wrapping.

  5. Remove from the heat, garnish with fresh coriander and the spring onions.

  1. Turn the mixture out onto a wide-open plate to cool as quickly as possible.

  2. Once the mixture has cooled down.

  3. Fill the samosas as described below or watch our video to perfect your technique.


Filling the samosas:

  1. Start by making a flour paste (edible glue) to bind the samosas together. Mix flour and water in a bowl until it is pancake consistency.

  2. Now separate pastry one slice at a time covering the pastry you are not using with a slightly damp cloth. Create pocket as shown in our YouTube tutorial and fill. Be sure to seal all the edges to prevent leaking whilst frying.

  3. Heat oil to deep fry and slowly slide the samosas into the oil at the sides, cook for 1.5 minutes on either side or until golden brown.

  4. Remove from oil onto absorbent paper to drain any oil and serve.


Cooks Hint 1: Don’t be afraid to be generous with the ‘edible glue’ as it will dry out like the pastry and stop the samosa from opening in the cooking process.

Cooks Hint 2: Be careful the oil is not too hot as it will brown the samosas without heating the filling sufficiently.

Cooks Hint 3: The samosas can be frozen flat on a tray once made but before frying.


Caution: Allow the samosas to cool for a moment or two before serving as they are too hot to eat straight away.


Cranberry Sauce Dip

1 jar of cranberry sauce

1 tsp chilli flakes

2 tbsp. lemon juice

2 tsp roasted ground cumin


Mix it all up and use as a dip for your delicious turkey samosas!

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Roasted Brussels with Pancetta & Parmesan cheese
Love them or hate them Brussels sprouts are an essential part of the festive season, and for too long they've had a poorly deserved reputation.  The problem is they've been boiled!  And not just boiled, but for way too long, shameful in my opinion, little wonder they are so intensely disliked.

So I'm on a mission to find a dozen different ways to cooks Brussels that are enjoyed, and every year I create a new recipe to tempt you with. I hope you'll enjoy this one.


1 kg Brussels sprouts, washed

1 tbsp Oil

¼ tsp sea salt flakes

¼ tsp black pepper

250g diced pancetta

5 Whole garlic cloves with skin on

3-4 sage leaves

2 tbsp parmesan cheese 

Cooking Instructions:

  1. Pre heat the oven to 180º C /gas mark 4

  2. Take the washed sprouts and remove any outer leaves, trim any excess on the base. Leave the sprouts whole, but put a small cross in the base to allow the flavours to be absorbed into the centre of the sprouts.  If the sprouts are large then cut in half.  Roughly dry the sprouts with kitchen towel paper to ensure they don’t get soggy in the oven.

  3. Now transfer the Brussels into a baking tray. Add the garlic cloves, sage leaves, 1 tbsp of oil and sprinkle with sea salt and black pepper. Give them a shake to ensure the spouts are coated in oil.

  4. Add the pancetta cubes to the tray and roast in the preheated oven for about 20 minutes or until the sprouts start to brown on the outside but are not burnt. Test the sprouts to check if they are cooked, they should be firm and crispy, if not, cook for another 5 minutes.

  5. Remove from the oven dust with grated parmesan cheese and return to the oven for 2-3 minutes. Then serve immediately.

Cooks Tips: Be careful not to overcook the sprouts, in order to retain their texture and mineral value, the soggier they are the more bitter they can taste.

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Yummy Almond & Orange Cake
This delicious cake was brought into our kitchen by the lovely Jean Cox when she attended our Spanish Tapas cookery class. It was a delightful surprise which I shared with the entire class with a nice cup of tea after lunch, a rare treat indeed - Thank you Jean.  I thought the cake was excellent and a relatively easy recipe, so I thought I’d share it with you all.


50g Plain flour

225g caster sugar

250g Ground Almonds

250g butter – room temperature

1 tsp baking powder

1 tbsp grated orange zest

4 free range eggs

80 ml Freshly squeezed orange

60g brown sugar

1 tbsp marmalade

Handful of sliced almonds toasted

 Cooking Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180º C/gas mark 4 and butter a 20cm cake tin.

  2. Sift the flour, baking powder and caster sugar, and add the ground almonds.

  3. Whisk the butter and orange zest together in a bowl until pale, and then add the eggs one at a time.

  4. Fold in the dry ingredients with a metal spoon, then pour the mixture into the buttered cake tin.

  5. Fold in the dry ingredients with a metal spoon, then pour the mixture into the buttered cake tin.

  6. Bake for 45 minutes or until cooked.

To make the Syrup

  1. Make the syrup by boiling the orange juice and brown sugar together in a pan until slightly reduced. Take off the heat and leave to cool.

  2. Once the cake is cooled, prick several times with a skewer to the base and pour on the cooled syrup.

  3. Leave the cake to cool completely before brushing on a little marmalade and sprinkling it with a few toasted, sliced almonds.

This cake is lovely served with orange segments marinated in a generous splash of whisky and a little demerara sugar.

This recipe originates from Michel-Roux-Jr.  Image taken from Michel-Roux
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Pumpkin Cake - This one is a must!
If you’ re going to be carving out the flesh of a pumpkin this Halloween then I think I might have a recipe for you.  I know the idea of having vegetables for pudding freaks us Brits out a little; The carrot cake took a while to catch on but hey ….  It’s available in most good tea shops these days and I can equally vouch for the courgette cake.  I have recently experimented with beetroot for brownies which I have to say were surprising delicious and healthy and purple!

I think you should give this pumpkin cake a go….  It is a really smart way of using up the pumpkin flesh.  Pumpkins are highly autumnal and colourful and can take  a range of spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, paprika and sage.

I admit that pumpkin is a little watery and stringy at times, and almost lack depth of flavour.  However this makes it excellent for a pudding/dessert or soup.

Look out for the culinary type – often labelled as such.  And the trick is the roast the pumpkin in its skin, then when it’s cooked to de-skin it. Dice the flesh and then let it sit and drain in a colander for a couple of hours.  Alternatively at this time of year its easy to find the pumpkin puree (libby's pumpkin puree is available in Waitrose/Tesco's and other supermarkets).

This Pumpkin cake recipe is donated to us by the very lovely Margaret Knox - Co organiser of the Buckinghamshire Branch of the Clandestine Cake Club - she is an amazing baker and I have enjoyed some very delicious well justified calories.

Pumpkin Cake - By Margaret Knox

This is a great autumnal cake and it sneaks in a bit of your 5 a day.  You can use fresh pumpkin but if you are pushed for time then a tin of pumpkin puree is a great option.

You don’t have to have fancy Bundt tin to make this cake a 20cm loose bottom tin will also work

You can serve this cake with cream or top it with cream cheese frosting.


250ml vegetable oil

3 eggs

400g pumpkin puree

1 tsp vanilla extract

425g golden caster sugar

1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

1 tsp mixed spice

1tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp ground ginger

Pinch of salt

25g sultanas (optional)

Icing sugar for dusting


  1. Preheat oven to 160f/180c/gas 4

  2. Grease and line your tin

  3. Beat together the oil, eggs, vanilla and the pumpkin this can be done very quickly with an electric whisk.

  4. Sift the flour, sugar, bicarb, spices and salt.  Gently stir this into the pumpkin mix until just combined.  Stir in the sultanas if using.

  5. Pour the cake mixture into the prepared tin bake in the oven on the lower shelf for approximately an hour.  To check if it’s ready insert a skewer in the middle and if it comes out clean it’s ready.

  6. Leave the cake to cool in the tin for 5 mins before turning out and leaving to cool completely

  7. Place on a plate and sprinkle with icing sugar

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