Papoutsakia – Meat Free Monday -Baked Aubergine

Vegetarian Papoutsakia is simply Baked Aubergine stuffed with onion, pepppers, Courgettes in a delicious cinnamon spiced tomato sauce, topped with cheese,  Papoutsakia Roughly translates as ‘Little Shoes’ you can see why 🤣 When foods this good who needs meat.


I start by peeling and dicing a medium onion, 2 fat garlic cloves, and gently frying in a little olive oil, salt and pepper,


as they start to soften, add a chopped medium bell pepper, I am using yellow as that’s what I have it, but whatever you have got. I finely dice a medium Courgette and add to the pot.


When these have cooked down a little, add a good squirt of tomato purée, a teaspoon of ground cinnamon, the same of cumin and dried oregano, stir through.


Then add a tin of chopped tomatoes, a splash of balsamic vinegar, stir through, cook till thick and unctuous.


Whilst the sauce is reducing, cut an Aubergine in half lengthways, score the white flesh and drizzle with olive oil, season well.


Pop these into an ovenproof tray and into a hot oven (200) for 20-30 minutes till soft but still holding their shape.


Add the tomato mix to the sunken flesh of the Aubergine (use a spoon to press down if not sunken) top with torn Mozzarella and Parmesan, a drizzle of olive oil a sprinkle of Oregano and back into the oven for another 10 minutes till soft, golden and bubbling.

IMG_4581Serve with a side salad and a large glass of chilled wine 😉



Super Salad Bowl Eat the Rainbow 🌈

I love a good salad, they shouldn’t be a flimsy, namby, pamby salad, they should be MEGA 😊

Tonight we have a version of a Cob Salad, the only difference is that I haven’t chopped it all into equal sizes.


Eggs – Just Hard boiled and Quartered


Chicken – plain cooked, sliced chicken breast


Crispy Smoked Streaky Bacon – For a decent crispy bacon it needs to be Streaky, the fat renders down beautifully under a hot grill, left to cool it is crumbled over the salad 🤤


For the Salad Veg, I am using Home grown salad leaves, Iceburg Lettuce, Red Cabbage, bell pepper, cucumber, celery, Advacado,  sweetcorn, tomatoes with some shaved Parmesan


A blue cheese dressing and we are good to go – no one would be hungry after that lot eaten in the garden 👍

Hubby and Youngest will have a roll with theirs if they would like it.

Pud will be strawberries and cream, if we can fit it in 😉

Party Time… 🍸🍹

Just a brief one today, we have been busy getting stuff sorted for the party – I don’t think the queen has this much fuss – I know it’s self inflicted, no sympathy required 😋


Hubby is on garden duty, the gazebo is up, chairs and tables ready to positioned, electric is available for the DJ boyfriend- neighbors have been warned/invited – thankfully  sadly this will all be over by 10pm at the latest 🤣🤣


I have been baking, which is lovely on the hottest day of the years so far 🌋

As I said yesterday I use Nigella’s cupcake recipe, it’s simple and tastes great


for 24 cupcakes I mixed 250g unsalted butter with 250g sugar and a blob of vanilla bean paste, till light and fluffy, add 4 eggs, one at a time to the mix, then add 250g of self raising flour about 1/4 at a time – add a little milk till the mixture is ‘dropping constantly.


Spoon into the cases, don’t overfill them, half to 3/4 full is enough

IMG_4100Into a preheated oven (200) for 15 minutes, then leave to cool.


I made the icing sugar yesterday, the buttercream icing is simple, add 250g unsalted butter to the mixing bowl with a small blob of vanilla bean paste, beat till pale, then carefully add 500g of icing sugar, a bit at a time so it doesn’t look like a snow storm in the kitchen.  You can colour this at this point – I am making 2 batches, one natural, one pale pink.


Spoon you icing into a large icing bag, with a star nozzle at the end, in today’s heat I popped this into the fridge for 20 minutes to firm a little.

IMG_4106I start with a blob of icing in the middle of each cake, and with a continuous swirl.

Decorate to suit – these are truly easy to make and look lovely, even if I do say so myself – great fun to make with kids 🤗


The salads are finished off.


The watermelon sliced and plated.


The cakes arranged.


Cocktails are go…


Hubby is Grill King


Lets Party……….



Summer Lovin… self body shaming

I have merrily putting away my winter clothes and getting out my summer ones – it’s one of the things I like about getting older, you care less about fashion and care more about what suits you, so the clothes you invest in can last years

However – I have found one small, or not so small issue- either tiny house elves have been busy altering all of my summer wardrobe or I have got fat (fatter) – a good deal of my summer clothes are very errmmm – snug…

Today I read a sign, which said ‘Now it is summer, please dress for the body you have, not the body you want!’ It accompanied some less than flattering shots of ladies and gents who were exposing more flesh than they intended too.


I have to face facts – I either have to win the lottery and buy myself some tasteful and elegant ‘fat clothes’ or loose a stone or 2 and have access to my current wardrobe 😳

The issue is I LOVE food, if I am not making it, I am thinking about it, buying it or planning it.

The fact is, don’t use what I put in, I used to run everyday, I hated it, but it was required for the work I did, so I did it – now, being part time and flying a desk for a living, the most exercise I get is going to make a coffee….. but I haven’t cut back on what I eat – so I have 2 choices

  1.  Eat less 😭
  2.  Move more 😏

I think option 2 will be better in the long run, not that I will ever do a long run – maybe a medium walk…..

So, to those of you that have endured my ramblings to this point, I am promising to myself, witnessed by you, that I will walk a minimum of 2 miles each day, to start with and see if I can fit into some of my clothes before I have to put them away again in the autumn – here goes 😋


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 😇