Meat Free Monday Chilli, Soy, Ginger dressed Halloumi with Herby Cous Cous Salad

Well it’s Monday again, and it’s HOT… I love the Summer, but cannot stay too long in the Sun, I go bright red and it just gets too much for me – I am an English Rose 😉 Hubby would disagree, but I am sticking to it 🤣

A really easy and cost effective Meat Free meal tonight, a Cous Cous salad with grilled Halloumi which has been marinated in Chilli, Soy and Ginger dressing – yum…


I start by taking about 200g raw Cous Cous and cover in boiling Veg stock – Stir though and cover with cling film for 10-15 minutes, till ‘cooked’ though


use a fork to loosen the grains and leave to cool completely.


I finely slice a pack of spring onions, half a deseeded cucumber, a whole pack of fresh coriander and a small bell pepper.


To the Cous Cous add a good glug of olive oil, the zest and juice of a lemon, the chopped Veg and herbs


Stir though and season to taste – cover and leave till ready.


For the Halloumi


cut into thick slices and in a frying pan, heat a tablespoon of Veg oil and heat to medium


lay the Halloumi slices in and cook on each side till golden brown.


I am serveing by spooning out a good portion of the Herby Cous Cous and popping slices of Halloumi on top with additional blob of Aldi Soy, Chilli and Ginger dressing or natural yoghurt with chopped herbs stirred through – Yum.

Bonus lunch portions too 😇

Sunday lunch for late spring – Duck Breast, Pomme Anna and Asparagus

Sunday Lunch for 2, not cool enough for a full on classic British Roast, but too cool for a BBQ.


I am using a pair of Iceland Duck breasts (defrosted) and will make Pomme Anna to go with it, Asparagus .


The Pomme Anna is one of those dishes that looks and tastes amazing, but is pretty simple to make.  I start by preheating the oven to 200, then peel and very finely slice 2 medium potatoes.


Melt some butter (100-125g) and grease 2 small baking dishes, lay the potatoes in the dishes, with a layer of melted butter and seasoning between each layer, I am also adding some thyme for flavour, finish the layers with butter and a dusting of salt and pepper, press down well then into the oven for approx 50-60 minutes till golden and cooked through. You may want to cover with tin foil for the first 30 minutes, then remove, and press down again to brown the top.


In a cold frying pan, lay the defrosted duck breast, skin side down and turn the heat to medium and render down the fat (I keep this duck fat for roast potatoes).


When the skin is crisp and golden, sear off the underside of the breast and pop into the oven for 5-10 minutes and then remove and rest for the same time.

Whilst this is resting, Panfry the Asparagus with butter, salt and pepper.


To serve, remove the crisp buttery potatoes from their dish, slice the duck breast and eat with whatever you fancy.

Perfect for late Spring 😍

I have also made Panna Cotta and Raspberry Coulis for pud – done these before, so here is the eRecipe it also gives a recipe for Polenta Chips which are lush 😜

Smoked Mackerel Pate, Homemade Hummus and Seeded Crackers – Lunchbox luxury

I like to have a few different options for Lunchbox Fillers, I like to keep them healthy but still good value. Over the winter I make these easy Seeded Crackers and soup for lunches, as the weather warms up, I make Dips and Pate to have with these crispy treats. Smoked Mackerel Pate and Hummus are 2 of my favourites.


Smoked Mackerel Pate is really simple to make, mega tasty and great value. I use 2 of the 3 fillets of Aldi’s peppered smoked Mackerel – £1.35 (hubby will have the other with a slice of buttered bread 😉), this is mixed with a pot of cream cheese, a tablespoon of Horseradish sauce, the juice of half a lemon and a little seasoning.


Mix this together On reverse speed 1 (I like it chunky), but you could just mash with a fork till you are happy with the consistency.


Taste and adjust the seasoning


Pop into the fridge in a sealed box till ready.


The hummus is cheap and just lush – the best bit is you can alter the flavours to suit – this is the the way I like it.




Drain a tin of Aldi chickpeas, 33p. I am using the Thermomix, but you can make it with any food processor, a blender or just a fork, it will be chunkier.


To the chickpeas I add a peeled clove of garlic, the juice of half a lemon, a large teaspoon of Tahini and a good glug of olive oil, lightly season with salt and pepper.



I whizz this at speed 4 for 10 seconds, scrape down the bowl and taste – adjust the seasoning to taste and whizz again for a few seconds till,you are happy with it – you may need to add some more olive oil, it depends on what consistency you like.


You can add fresh coriander, or stir through Harrisa or Sweet Chilli sauce, there are recipes for butter bean varieties etc it’s a wonderful dip – and costs pence 👍


The dough for the Crackers is very simple add 150g plain flour, 75g mixed seeds, 25ml olive oil, 175ml boiling water, a pinch of salt and mix together, this will be hot, so I start with a knife, then bring together with my hands.


Pop the ball of dough onto a large sheet of baking parchment and put another in top, flatten out with your hands.


Then, with a rolling pin, roll out as thin as you can.


Remove the top layer of baking parchment and put into a preheated oven (170) for about an hour, then check, it may need another 10 minutes.


When cooled, break into shards, like the trendy restaurants do and put into an airtight box till ready to serve.


Perfect early summer lunch 😊 It looks a bit boring, but it packs a punch in flavour 😋



Cocobay Coconut Rum Cocktails Party practice run

Our darling daughter is 21 next month, we are having a BBQ party for her and her friends, or pre-drinks as she calls it.


Lovely Aldi have send me a bottle of their Cocobay Coconut Rum to try, and it is just perfect for Summer party cocktails I am testing 2 I am only making a glass of each today, but this will be made into big jugs for the party.


Cocobay Mojito –


Take 6 or so mint leaves and pop them in a glass, add a teaspoon of sugar of sugar, the juice of half a lime and with the end of wooden spoon bash together till the mint oil is released into the sugar and lime – it smells delicious.


Add a measure of Cocobay and top up with a third of a glass of crushed ice and top up with soda water – this is so light, refreshing.


Cocobay Cuba Libre


Lets keep it simple, Cocobay Coconut Rum, Lime and cola for each glass a measure of Cocobay


juice of half a lime and top up with crushed ice and cola


These will keep the girls happy whilst we BBQ their food – I’m really looking forward to her ‘Big birthday’ I’m sure I will post more nearer the time 😉


Thanks to Aldi for sending me the Cocobay – it’s delicious and a bargain price for a party.

Fakeaway – Thai Green Chicken curry

Fakeaway night – I found a Thai Green curry kit at Aldi, so thought I would try it out this isn’t a sponsored post – just trying out one of their ever expanding range 😊


I love Thai food, but like alot of us by Thursday, we are flagging and tempted to reach for the takeaway menu – this is a great alternative, takeaway taste, with not too much effort 😉


I am using some of the frozen chicken I posted about Here , a few king Prawns that were left over, diced onion and some frozen green beans – I am adding some fresh lime juice, fresh coriander and some shop bought Naan and poppadoms – add whatever you like.



I took the chicken out of the freezer and defrosted in the fridge overnight (the Planning in meal planning 👍) chop into bite size pieces and gently fry off with a tablespoon of Veg oil and the diced onion, stirring in the premade spice mix from the pack.


Smells great, add the coconut milk from the pack and stir through, cook for 10 minutes till the chicken and prawns are cooked through


A few minutes before serving add some broken up frozen fine beans – I like these still with some bite.


I did add a tin of coconut milk as we like our Thai curries ‘soupy’ – a squeeze of lime, half the chopped coriander.  Prep whatever you are serving with the curry.


Serve with some chopped fresh coriander and a little lime juice – Fantastic Fakeaway for 3 with enough for youngest to take some to work tomorrow 😇

Mussel, Spinach and smoked bacon Gratin Simple Suppers

Typical British weather today, wet and warm – need comfort food, but not too heavy – a delicious Mussel, Smoked Bacon and Spinach Gratin using Aldi frozen shelled mussels (defrosted), smoked bacon lardons, bagged spinach, a Creamy cheese sauce with a crispy Herby cheesy breadcrumb topping 😍 Perfect with a chunk of homemade bread and a glass of chilled white wine 😊

I got the recipe for ‘cooked’ it’s a Hugh Fearnley- Whittingstall Recipe  which, of course I have fiddled with to suit what I have.


I start by making the breadcrumb topping and into my Thermomix bowl, I am chucking the crust of a loaf of bread, roughly torn up, a peeled clove of garlic, salt pepper and 50g of Cheddar, whizz at speed 6 for a few seconds


then I add half a pack of coriander that is looking a bit sad and whizz for a further couple of seconds till ‘breadcrumbs’ – empty this out into a bowl.


Then into the Thermomix bowl add 400ml milk, 40g plain flour, 40g butter, 100g cheddar, a teaspoon of English mustard powder, salt and pepper, cook for 7 minutes, speed 4, heat 90.


Whilst this is on, take a frying pan and fry the smoked bacon, and a small finely diced onion till browning, stir in the mussels, then set aside

in the same pan add the raw spinach and cook till wilted, drain, cool and finely chop.


To the sauce, add the mussel and fried bacon mix and chopped spinach, stir through.


Pop the mix into an ovenproof dish and top with the breadcrumbs – into a preheated oven at 180 to cook for 20-30 minutes till bubbling and golden.


Allow to cool slightly before serving with crusty bread 😍

Fakeaway Mongolian Beef Meal planning and lunches

I have made this before Here and it is a winner, it uses what ever steak you have

I had the Oyster sauce just in case I needed to add to the sauce – I didn’t need it

today I am using frying steak, which was 500g £4 from Iceland.

I am making a larger quantity than normal, as this will also feed Youngest for tomorrows lunch and 2 portions for the freezer for future lunches. So 6 large portions out of £4 of steak isn’t so bad 😉 I,m sure you could stretch it out further if needed.


I start by prepping everything, I am doubling this amount –  slice a whole pack of spring onions, I slice these of the angle, set aside.


Slice the steak, I’m using double what I normally do at 500g, cut against the grain to make it more tender


I pop this into a freezer bag with 2 tablespoons of cornflour and shake to coat, leave for about 10 minutes. This bit is important, it’s called velveting and makes the meat very tender.


In a pan, over a low/medium heat start the sauce, add 2 tablespoons of Veg oil


Add a grated thumb size piece of ginger and a finely grated fat clove of garlic to the pan and gently fry then add 75ml soy sauce and 100ml water before the garlic burns.


Dissolve the 50g brown sugar in the sauce, then raise the heat to about medium and boil the sauce for 2-3 minutes until the sauce thickens. Turn off the heat, and set aside.


In the same pan, add a little veg oil, and fry the steak over a medium hot pan, adding the sliced spring onions as the steak starts to brown.


Then pour the sauce mix back into the pan, stir through it will bubble and thicken.


I’m serving with noodles and I am adding a veg spring roll, as Youngest loves them 😇