Pork, Rice & Bean One-pot

I’m afraid that there is no picture for this one, however, it is a quick and tasty meal that I thought I’d share. We have a big bag of pork chops in the freezer. Usually I slow-cook them with apples and onions, but I was getting a bit bored of that, so I searched all my recipes and recipe books for something a bit different. This is from an old American cook-book my Mum got for me from a charity shop, that occasionally has these amazing gems in. Here’s how it goes:

4 pork chops

1/2 small onion, diced

4 oz rice

1 can kidney beans, drained

salt, pepper, cayenne & garlic to taste

3/4 pt water

Brown the chops in a frying pan, I’d say about 2 minutes each side. Lift them out and put them on some paper towel to drain the fat off. In a large, heavy bottomed pan (pressure cooker works well!) mix the remaining ingredients, then place the chops on top. Bring to the boil, stir, cover and lower the heat. Cook for 20 – 25 minutes, or until the rice is cooked and most of the liquid is absorbed.

There you have it, the rice has the most amazing flavour from the seasoning and the pork. As this is a 4-portion meal, we had leftovers, so I chopped the pork into chunks, added chunks of pineapple, and a little water, heated it all in a saucepan and served. Yummy 🙂 Just as good 2nd time around!


Man-sized pizza


The other day Hubby was home before me and he made pizza 🙂 Home-made pizza is the best, as you can put whatever toppings you like on it. If we have shop-bought pizza, Hubby always puts extra cheese on it as he complains they really don’t put enough on! My favourite home-made topping is ham and pineapple, but you can do whatever your heart desires. Sometimes we do half pepperoni and half ham and pineapple, that way we can have the best of both worlds! Here’s how he did it.

For the dough:

7 oz plain white flour

1/4 tsp salt

1 tsp baking powder

1 1/2 oz margarine

1 tbsp oil

1 egg

3 fl oz milk

In a bowl, stir together the flour, salt and baking powder. Rub in the butter. Make a well in the centre and add the oil, egg and milk. Stir until it forms a soft dough. Turn out the dough onto a well floured surface and knead for about 30 seconds. Roll out to fit your oiled baking tray, we use a regular rectangular one. Place the dough on the sheet and stretch out into the corners, turning up the edges slightly. Now top with tomato based sauce and your choice of topping. We used half a jar of pasta sauce, a few sliced tomatoes, then scattered half a packet of ham (sliced up) and half a fresh pineapple (cut into chunks, tinned works perfectly well too) on top. Over that we put sliced mozzarella and grated cheddar. Bake for 20 – 25 minutes at 220°C. If you are generous with the toppings this should serve 4, we usually eat half and have the rest the next day. What could be better than home-made pizza 2 days running??

Easy Cheese-Free Cheesecake


Ok, yesterday I had a real scatterbrained moment, and ended up with this little beauty, which actually has no right to being called a cheesecake, but as that is what I was planning to make in the first place, that is what it it. Except it has no cheese in it. Which is a bad thing really, because cheese is the best thing in the world. Or one of the best, something like that. Just think about it for a moment, where would we be without cheese? I’d be out of a job for one! Can you tell it’s Friday, and that I’ve been working the last 12 days?

Right, so here’s what happened. After I made the Raspberry White Chocolate Cheesecake the other week, I have had about two-thirds of a packet of digestive biscuits sitting in the tin, just kind of existing. We don’t eat digestive biscuits, they’re not really exciting enough. So I found a really nice recipe for Raspberry Cheesecake Slices, which I printed yesterday with the intention of trying out. When I read through the list of ingredients, I noticed I needed 5 tbsp of lemon juice. I have run out of lemon juice. So I have digestive biscuits, raspberries that are looking a little sad (they have been in the fridge for a week and no-one has been paying them any attention, it’s enough to make the brightest, happiest raspberry a little depressed) and no lemon juice. The other obvious option was to make a proper cheesecake, as I have cream cheese, but I had no whipping cream. So I thought for a bit, and looked through the cupboards, and came up with an interesting alternative.

5 oz crushed digestive biscuits

5 tbsp melted butter

1 pt milk

2 – 3 tbsp sugar

1 packet vanilla blancmange

a generous handful of raspberries

Mix the biscuit crumbs (either put them in a food processor, or tie them in a plastic bag, and hand them to a man or child with instructions to bash them with a rolling pin) with the melted butter, and press into the bottom of a loose-bottomed or springform tin. Mix up the blancmange as according to the instructions (heat the milk, reserving a couple of spoonfuls to mix the blancmange powder and sugar into a paste. When the milk is hot, pour it over the paste and mix well, then return to the saucepan, bring to the boil and cook for 1 – 2 minutes, stirring well). Allow it to cool before mixing in the raspberries. Give it a good stir, it doesn’t matter if the berries get slightly mashed. Pour the raspberry blancmange over the biscuit base and put it in the fridge to set, about 6 hours. Keep it in the fridge in an airtight container if it isn’t all eaten straight away.

And here’s the really scatterbrained bit… I opened the fridge to put the finished product in to cool, and there was a carton of whipping cream. DOH!! I could have made a real cheesecake after all!!


Jam Swiss Roll

Apologies for the long silence, the pas week or so has been a teensy bit busy. This week I have practically been working full-time, as we were sheep-clipping on Monday and Wednesday. I got about 3 hours free on Tuesday afternoon, and I had great plans for cleaning the house from top to bottom, catching up on laundry and washing up, and generally tidying. Ever since we obtained my brother’s sofa, all our books have been stacked behind said sofa, waiting until we work out how to rearrange the house. I decided that the first job was to try and put all the books away. I planned to put them in alphabetical order by author, as we do have quite a few. 3 hours later…


And I am only up to T. When Hubby came home he said he didn’t like it because they are all a bit higgledy piggledy, all different sizes sat next to each other. So I will have to arrange them by genre instead. That’s a job for another day I think!

So here’s a cake I made earlier… last week to be exact. It’s pretty simple, the only fiddly part is rolling it up at the end, but as long as you’re quick and do it while it’s still warm it should go without a hitch.


3 large eggs

4 1/2 oz sugar

3 oz self raising flour

about 1/2 a jar of jam, warmed

Whisk the eggs and sugar until they are thick. Fold in the sieved flour. If necessary, add a little hot water to allow the mixture to flow. If it’s too thick, it won’t spread out in the pan. Line a Swiss Roll tin (a deep baking tray) with greaseproof paper and pour in the mixture. Tip the tin so that the mixture spreads evenly over the bottom. Bake for 8 – 10 minutes at 200ºC. While the cake is in the oven, cut a sheet of greaseproof a little longer than the length of the cake tin, and sprinkle sugar over it. As soon as the cake comes out of the oven, turn it out onto the sugared paper and remove the paper it was baked in. Working quickly, spread the warm jam over the whole surface of the cake. If you wait to long it will not roll up very well. Now comes the tricky part. Carefully, using the sheet of greaseproof to help, lift up one end of the cake and roll it fairly tightly to the jam. Now continue rolling all the way, keeping it tight.

Macaroni Cheese with Ratatouille


Macaroni cheese is the ultimate quick and easy, I-forgot-to-get-anything-out-of-the-freezer comfort food. Ratatouille is a great way of using up all those odd and ends of veg in your fridge. It also goes well with macaroni cheese, jazzes it up a little. I just went through my fridge and pulled out all the stuff I thought would go well in it, so it is not your traditional ratatouille, but feel free to experiment or leave things out if you don’t happen to have them.

1 onion

2 cloves of garlic

2 – 3 carrots

1 courgette (I forgot to put this in, scatterbrainedidiot)

asparagus, about 8 trimmed spears (it needed using up)

a carton/tin of chopped tomatoes (you can use fresh if you prefer)

If you have a heavy-bottomed frying pan with a lid, that would be perfect. I don’t, so I used a regular frying pan. Start by dicing the onion and frying it over medium heat. Add the garlic, either crushed or finely chopped. Let the onion brown before adding diced carrots, courgette and asparagus. Pour the tomatoes in and give it a stir. Let it bubble away on a medium low heat until the harder veg (carrots and courgette) are soft and cooked through.SONY DSC

While that’s simmering, make the macaroni cheese.

Dried pasta

Cheese (about 6 oz)

Plain flour


½ pint milk

Cook the pasta according to the instructions, or just boil it until it’s edible, whichever you prefer. Generally work on 3 – 4 oz per person. While that is coating your hob with starchy water which is a nightmare to clean off, start on the cheese sauce. You can weigh the flour and margarine out, but I like an easy life, so I just grab a teaspoon and put 2 heaped teaspoons of margarine into a saucepan, and melt it over medium heat. When it’s melted, add 2 heaped teaspoons of flour and whisk it into a stiff ball. Veeeery slowly, a little at a time, add the milk, mixing really well between additions to prevent lumps. Once all the milk is in, turn up the heat a little, stirring frequently, until it thickens. Add the cheese, mix it until it melts, and remove from the heat. Drain the pasta, pour the sauce over the pasta and mix so all the pasta is coated, and serve.