Lemon and basil baked sea bass

Lemon and basil baked sea bass

DSC_0137Fish is an absolute dream for days when you want something quick without compromising on healthy. In some ways its the ultimate fast food. I usually cook it with chilli flakes but I had a basil plant on my window sill and I decided to try something new.

To make baked sea bass you will need

1 sea bass fillet per person (or more if you’re hungry)

Olive oil

1/2 handful basil leaves

1/2 a lemon

Salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Place the fish skin side down in a roasting tray (or similar). Drizzle over olive oil, squeeze over the lemon juice, then slice the lemon half and place over the fish. Tear over the basil and season with salt and pepper. Bake for approximately 15 minutes or until the fish filled turns opaque and white.

DSC_0133I served the seabass with orzo pasta and peas, but this recipe is incredibly versatile and goes well with literally anything.

Chicken and ham filo pie

Chicken and ham filo pie

There’s nothing more comforting on a colder day than a homemade pie. There’s just something about the hearty filling and crisp pastry which makes it a favourite in our household (and across Yorkshire). Filo pastry makes this slightly lighter and less calorific than your average pie without compromising on the pie. I had to bat D’s hands away when I was photographing this as he kept stealing pieces of filo pastry to eat. Chicken pies are also a great way to use up leftover cooked chicken and to use cheaper bits of meal, I tend to use boneless chicken thighs in pies are the meat doesn’t dry out during cooking.

To make a filo pie you will need:

Approx 6 sheets of filo pastry

20g butter

6-8 filleted chicken thighs, cut into small pieces

1-2 handfuls leftover chicken (optional)

A large handful of cooked ham

1 onion, diced

2 leeks, sliced

1 clove garlic, crushed

Half a head of brocoli

200ml chicken stock

1/2 glass white wine

2 sprigs rosemary

Salt and pepper

1 large teaspoon low fat crème fraîche

Fry your onion, garlic and leeks on a medium heat until soft. Add your chicken, salt and pepper and cook for about 5 minutes until the chicken starts to look pretty much cooked. Add the ham, stock, wine and rosemary and cook for a further 10 minutes on a low to medium heat. Cut your brocoli into small pieces and cook for about 2 minutes (too much longer and it will be squishy in the pie). Take the filling off the heat and stir through the crème fraîche.

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During this time preheat your oven to 180°C. Put your pie filling into a pie dish. To top your pie brush a thin layer of butter over your filo pastry, then scrunch up the pastry so that it partially covers the pie. Repeat until the whole pie is covered.

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Bake for about 15 to 20 minutes. Here is my pie baking in my brand new oven! (Major household appliance excitement!)

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Once the pastry looks crispy and golden remove from the oven and serve. This pie is extremely pretty and doesn’t take too long. Perfect for those nights when you want to make a bit of effort, but you also sort of want to sit in your slippers watching tv.

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What’s your favourite kind of pie?

One for all you students – 5 ways to feel like you’re winning the toastie game

One for all you students – 5 ways to feel like you’re winning the toastie game

DSC_0110No word of a lie, toasties are still one of my favourite fast foods. During my university career I ate countless toasties due to my sheer love of cheese in all forms. My poison of choice: cheddar cheese, mushrooms and mayonnaise on brown bread. Anyway, here are a few suggestions of what you may have in your cupboards to liven up your mealtimes (a true toastie fan knows they can be eaten around the clock). Obviously ingredients can be substituted and I’ve tried to keep realistic with ingredients. I know student loans only stretch so far.

  1. Make your own tuna melt. I personally never use a full can of tuna in one go, so this is a great way to use up any leftovers. Mix your tuna with a bit of mayonnaise (I usually use light mayo) and season with salt and pepper. Add to any cheese you like.
  2. Use up leftover pasta sauce or enchilada sauce by adding it to a toastie with mozzarella or other mild cheese. A great way to save money and reduce food waste.
  3. If you have 1/2 avocado, sliced avocado, chilli sauce and cheese is dreamy.
  4. Cooked chicken, pesto and strong cheddar (or feta cheese). Mediterranean vibes, even when its raining, you’re sitting in your pyjamas and you have an essay to write.
  5. Try a dessert toastie. If you want to pretend to be healthy banana and Nutella (because of the fruit), otherwise marshmallow and chocolate button is the one. Especially handy to know if your flatmate has had a horrible day and needs cheering up.

If you’re a student returning to university soon, or you’re a Fresher this year have a great year. Even if you aren’t a student, you just love toasted sandwiches; I hope you enjoy these easy ideas to make one of the most simple snacks even more dreamy.

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If you’re in the area visit Jervaulx Abbey Tea Rooms

If you’re in the area visit Jervaulx Abbey Tea Rooms

IMG_0613Over the bank holiday my parents and I took a trip to visit my Grandma F. My Grandmother is one of the people who I inherited a love of baking and food from (along with my parents and my Grandma P). She also shares my appreciation for a really good place to drink tea or coffee and eat sandwiches and cake. So a trip to Jervaulx Abbey Tea Rooms was suggested. Jervaulx Abbey is a 12th Century Abbey in East Witton, a village near Ripon. The Abbey and Tea Rooms are owned by the same family and there is a farm shop based on the tea rooms premises. Most of the produce is made on the premises or locally sourced; my mum heard one of girls working in the tea rooms tell another customer that her father grows the raspberries and spends time putting them into stuff made for the cafe or farm shop.

Anyway, the tea rooms are peaceful, my grandma uses a hearing aid and its sometimes a struggle for her to hear when there is a lot of background noise, so it was nice not worrying that she couldn’t hear what we were saying. The food is decent here, I had the loveliest ploughman’s lunch made with locally made Wensleydale, ham and pickles. Everything had a relaxed feel and the Yorkshire Dales provided the perfect backdrop to it all (although to be fair the Dales are so beautiful they provide a pretty amazing backdrop to most things).

To summarise, the Jervaulx Abbey Tea Rooms are the perfect place for lunch, coffee and cake or afternoon tea if you happen to be the slightest bit peckish and in the area. I also managed to get a picture of what the Abbey would have looked like in its prime. Next time I’ll have to get a proper look around the Abbey (which is possibly just an excuse to go back for cake next time!)

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Why you should nominate me for the 2015 Cosmopolitan Blog Awards

Why you should nominate me for the 2015 Cosmopolitan Blog Awards

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Slightly later than usual the nominations for the Cosmopolitan Blog Awards 2015 have opened. I was shortlisted to these awards in 2013 and it was a huge honour and remains one of the biggest achievements for me. In 2013 being shortlisted came at a pretty low point in my life, my long term relationship was crumbling and my self confidence was on the floor. But the opportunities that came with being shortlisted; especially given the low number of followers I had at the time provided a distraction and helped make me feel that I was clever and could be me, even when I felt that my world was being turned upside down. (I also wholeheartedly thank my amazing parents, brother and my friends for cheering me up and making me smile A LOT).

Anyway, since then my life has got a whole lot more lovely. Through a shared interest in writing; I met D and moved in with him. Which means I now no longer house share and I am no longer that annoying housemate who makes cakes late into the night and hogs all the pans in the kitchen. I suppose what I’m trying to say is that the nominations and subsequent shortlisting meant a lot to me then and the continued support from everyone still astounds me. It still gives me a thrill when people post comments, or I get a new follow on here.

I am aware the direction of my blog has changed somewhat since 2013. I feel like it has gone from “lets see the maximum number of cakes I can make in a week” to “busy woman throws ingredients together to feed herself and partner”. But to be honest, the pride I feel more posting recipes I know might inspire other busy women (and men) to do their own ad hoc cooking is greater now. Plus when I do bake I enjoy it all the more for feeling like it’s a treat, or like I am giving somebody a great birthday cake.

So in summary, it would mean the absolute world to me if anyone could nominate me by clicking here., but if I don’t make it to the finals all the support I have been given has been the most wonderful blessing and I can’t imagine where I’d have been without it.