Chicken Chow Mein

I absolutely love this recipe as it can be adapted to use up almost any vegetable in the kitchen: instead of using bok choy, sugar snap peas could be used or green beans, cabbage, spinach or broccoli. Prawns instead of chicken. Make it a little more ‘tangy’ by adding some crushed chilli flakes or a little more Sriracha. The noodles could be fresh or dried – egg or ramen or even spiralized vegetables. The list is endless.

This is a quick 20 minute recipe which can be cooked in just one pan. Leftovers will keep perfectly in the fridge and will quickly stir-fry for another meal.

Cooking the chicken thighs underneath the weight of a large pan stops them spitting, but also produces the wonderful crispy skin which adds so much to the flavour.



Vegetables cut ready for use

250g fresh rice noodles (or noodles of choice)
1 cup bean sprouts
2 boneless skin-on chicken thighs
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 teaspoon grated ginger
1 cup shredded bok choy (or mixed cabbage)
½ cup carrot matchsticks
1 green pepper, cut into thin slices
Bunch of Spring onions, cut into thin lengths
Sea salt and pepper to taste
Toasted sesame seeds


2 tablespoons oyster sauce (gluten free)
3 tablespoons tamari
1 teaspoon honey
1 tablespoon arrowroot
2 teaspoons sesame oil
1 teaspoon rice wine
Good pinch of ground black pepper
2 teaspoons Sriracha


Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large wok or fry pan and place the chicken thighs, skin side down in the pan. Cover with a sheet of baking parchment and rest a heavy saucepan on top of them. Leave on a medium/high heat for three to four minutes or until the skin is browned and crispy. Turn over and continue cooking until done. Remove from pan;  allow to sit for a few minutes then cut into slices with a sharp knife.   Leave to one side.

Make the sauce by whisking all the ingredients together.   If the sauce seems a little thick, add a dash of water.

Add the chopped garlic and grated ginger to the fat in the pan and saute for about 1 minute.  Add the bok choy, carrot sticks, green pepper and onions and cook, tossing frequently, for 1 to 2 minutes until lightly cooked but still crispy.  Season then add the noodles and beansprouts and toss well.  Pour the sauce over the vegetables and add the chicken. Toss well for another minute until heated through and the sauce is mixed in well.

Pile into bowls and top with toasted sesame seeds.

Delicious Chicken Chow Mein

Ring the changes with shredded beef, prawns or meat of choice.   Make this a vegetarian meal by using just vegetables.

NB:  All photographs used in this blog have been taken by me, and are of food I have prepared and served myself.

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Broccoli Rice

I read an interesting article in the newspaper earlier this week about broccoli and the healthiest way to eat it.  As I had a large head of broccoli in my fridge I decided to experiment with it as I was cooking Sticky Salmon for our meal in the evening and instead of making Coconut Rice as was usual, I used the broccoli, a small wedge of red cabbage which happened to be left-over, some onions, garlic and a handful of flaked almonds.

The result was absolutely delicious and so tasty.  The rice was full of flavours and perfectly complimented the sticky, spicy salmon.  The cabbage was still a little crispy and there were a few slightly crunchy pieces of broccoli which I hadn’t chopped as small, but the taste of broccoli shone through and really lifted the rice.  This dish will most definitely be made again, and quite soon.

Chopped broccoli and red cabbage

Chopping broccoli into 2mm pieces and letting them ‘sit’ for 90 minutes before gently stir-frying increases their sulforaphane levels by 2.8 times, research suggests.   Previous studies show the compound sulforaphane helps to maintain people’s blood sugar levels and may even have anti-cancer properties.   Although unclear exactly why this occurs, researchers from Zhejiang University in China believe waiting before cooking chopped broccoli may allow sulforaphane to ‘develop’.    They add 30 minutes of sitting time may be sufficient.    It is important to chop broccoli as sulforaphane can only be absorbed if the vegetable is ‘damaged’. 

Full article in the Daily Mail

INGREDIENTS: to serve 2 to 4
2 onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
Handful of flaked almonds
Large head of Broccoli, finely chopped
¼ wedge of red cabbage, finely sliced
Cooked Basmati Rice
Olive oil or coconut oil (or oil of choice)


Leave the finely chopped Broccoli to sit for about 90 minutes.

Heat a little oil in a large wok and add the onions and garlic. Stir fry over a high heat tossing them continuously until translucent and starting to brown.

Add a handful of flaked almonds together with the broccoli and red cabbage. Stir fry quickly, tossing to make sure the almonds don’t burn.  Cook for about 1 minute.


Add the cooked rice and mix well, tossing until the rice is heated through.

Serve with Sticky Salmon and a little of the left-over marinade which can be heated in a saucepan, simmered until thick.

Broccoli Fried Rice

NB:  All photographs used in this blog have been taken by me, and are of food I have prepared and served myself.

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Been quiet for a while…….

I’ve definitely been quiet for a while now and have posted very few recipes on my blog.

Last August, we made the decision to move permanently from the mainland to our beloved Isle of Wight and we put things in motion to sell our home in Camberley.

Strangely enough, the first consideration was our tortoise, Tolly. He is almost my age (rising 70) and hibernates underground every year, emerging late February bleary eyed to welcome a new Spring.    I’ve had him for over 40 years so he really is a member of our family.  Our problem was that if he started to hibernate early, we would never find him as he goes so deep that we cannot dig him out. This was solved almost immediately when we realised two of our friends already had 22 tortoises and they would never notice one more!   Tolly must have thought he had died and gone to heaven when he arrived at his new home late August. He straight away shoved all the males out of the way and had his way with most of the ladies. We won’t need to worry about him having to hibernate in a large wooden crate as I think he will sleep his way through winter.

Tolly meeting some of his new friends

They say moving house is one of the top stressors of all time so we decided to try and reduce this a bit by selling our house in Camberley and moving into our friend’s “shed” before trying to find a new home!   It really is called The Shed but it is so warm and comfortable and snug that it is great.  Not only does it have beautiful views, but a lovely log burner to keep us warm on cold days.

View from our “Shed”


Mishka and Joseph

Our two cats settled in immediately and straight away told the resident 4 cats (through the windows) that the shed was ‘theirs’ and totally off limits for the duration of their stay. To see this huge black cat called Freddy backing away from the window whilst my tiny little fur ball Mishka stands with her front feet on the glass is quite hilarious.


Unfortunately with the majority of my furniture in storage, I have a very limited range of cooking utensils, pots and pans so I’m keeping my cooking to tried and trusted favourite meals and delicious salads. I did manage to cook an enormous Ham at Christmas with the most delicious glaze of cranberry and orange but it took over an hour to come to a simmer! Tasted great though once boiled and roasted and didn’t last long when shared with friends.

We are in the process of buying a beautiful new home just five miles from where we are staying and only ten minutes walk from a little village and sandy beach. Unfortunately the process of buying or selling a property in this country always seems to take forever but we hope to be moved in for Spring.   Our new home has a walled garden and has raised beds which will be ideal for my new collection of fresh herbs.  I can’t wait.

I have so many recipes waiting to be tried out; five new cookbooks all of which look amazing and I hope to be back up and cooking new things in the not too distant future and sharing them with all of you.



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Sardine Bread (Omega Paleo Bread)

I was amazed when I saw the recipe for this bread which included a tin of sardines.  Sardines are one of the highest sources of essential omega-3 fatty acids and even if you don’t like sardines, this bread really does go down a treat and I can’t wait to try it out on my grandkids when they next come up.

I served it with sliced mozzarella and baby tomatoes and my husband loved it.  It’s moist, tasty and makes a really lovely lunch or snack.  It’s also perfect for serving with a bowlful of soup.

I have to thank Assunta of Nourishing Lola and Sage for inventing this delicious bread for her two little girls, and for sharing the recipe.

6 eggs
106g can Sardines in Olive oil (my can was 120g so I drained a little oil off)
2 tablespoons ghee or softened butter
¾ cup Tapioca starch (flour)
¼ cup Psyllium husk
½ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons mixed dried herbs
1 tablespoon chia seeds
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon raw apple cider vinegar


Line a bread tin with parchment.  The base of mine was 20cm x 9cm and this was perfect.

In a food processor, blitz the eggs, sardines (with oil) and butter or ghee until well combined.

Add the dry ingredients plus the apple cider vinegar and mix until well incorporated.

Pour into the lined baking tin and bake at 180°C for approximately 35 minutes or until cooked through.   Leave the bread, covered with a clean tea towel, to sit for about 30 minutes before turning out and slicing.

Lovely moist Omega Bread

Serve with tomato and mozzarella, avocado or your favourite choice of savoury topping.

Topped with tomato and mozzarella

NB:  All photographs used in this blog have been taken by me, and are of food I have prepared and served myself.

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Traditional Christmas Cake (Gluten-Free)

My husband does really well on his gluten-free diet and doesn’t stray as he has learned from experience of just how dire the consequences are.  Anyone who has a gluten intolerance will understand this.  One small slip can lead to a week of great discomfort and pain.

Just occasionally, however, at times like Christmas, he really does miss the traditional fare and a couple of years ago he attended two functions with buffet food where there was not a single item he could eat.   I now always send him with a supply of Christmas goodies which are gluten and refined sugar free.

Last year, I managed to find a recipe for some delicious mince pies, a Christmas Mince Slab Pie and a fantastic one for a Christmas Pudding which made his day.

I was so pleased therefore when I spotted this Traditional Christmas Cake recipe from Ceri Jones and the same evening, I had the fruit soaking ready for baking the next day.

This amazing cake is made from all natural ingredients and is gluten-free as it uses ground almonds and buckwheat flour; uses molasses and unrefined sugar and is truly decadent.
Many thanks to Ceri Jones of Natural Kitchen Adventures for sharing this superb recipe. The only alteration I made was that I used brandy instead of amaretto; everything else I had in the store cupboard and fruit bowl.

450g currants
175g sultanas
175g raisins
50g dried cranberries (make sure they are not sweetened)
50g dried apricots, diced
100mls amaretto (I used brandy)
100g ground almonds
100g buckwheat flour
25g tapioca flour
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon grated nutmeg
½ teaspoon ground mixed spice
175g coconut palm sugar
4 large eggs
1 tablespoon molasses, warmed
225g unsalted butter
50g chopped almonds
Zest of 1 orange and 1 lemon
To top the cake:
50g whole blanched almonds

Place the dried fruit in a large bowl and pour over the brandy.  Mix well and cover with either cling film or a tea towel and leave overnight.

Line the base and sides of a 20cm cake tin with baking parchment.

Easy way to line a baking tin

Preheat oven to 140°C

Sift the flours, spices and salt together then add the eggs, warmed molasses and butter. Beat with an electric whisk until smooth. Fold in the dried fruit mixture, chopped nuts and grated orange and lemon zest.

Transfer the mixture to the prepared cake tin; smooth the top and decorate with the whole blanched almonds.

Cut out a circle of parchment with a small hole in the middle (about the size of a 50p piece) and place this over the top of the cake.

Bake in the oven (lowest shelf) for 4 hours. The cake will be done when it feels springy to touch.   Cool in the tin for 30 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack. Cool fully before covering and storing.

NB:  All photographs used in this blog have been taken by me, and are of food I have prepared and served myself.

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Salmon and Avocado Sushi Rolls / Sushi Rice and Flaked (Tinned) Tuna Rolls

I had rarely attempted sushi or Nori rolls before and my rolling skills definitely need practice!    However, these delicious little morsels were delightful and I have since made them quite a few times using a sushi mat which makes rolling quite a bit easier and tidier.

We love these rolls either on their own, as a starter, or even as a main meal.  They keep well in the fridge for a day or two but are really at their best on the day made when the nori sheet isn’t soggy.


3  Nori Sheets
5 to 6oz cooked salmon, flaked
1/3 red pepper, cut into thin strips
½ avocado, cut into thin strips
Chunk of cucumber, cut into thin strips
2 spring onions, cut into thin strips
2 tablespoons homemade mayonnaise
1 tablespoon Sriracha
1 teaspoon sesame seeds (optional)
Coconut Aminos or Tamari for dipping


Place a nori sheet on a cutting board (or sushi mat) shiny side down making sure it can be rolled away from you.

I find it easier to have everything ready in small bowls before I start assembling the rolls.


Add 1/3 of the salmon along the nori sheet, top with some pepper, cucumber, avocado and spring onion.

Drizzle on mayonnaise and sriracha.


Roll up the nori sheet carefully, wetting the end so that it will stick together.

With a sharp knive, cut into bite-sized pieces, sprinkle with sesame seeds if using,  and serve with either coconut aminos or tamari.

My first attempt so rolling wasn’t too good

Keep in the fridge until used.

I first saw the idea for these rolls on EatDrinkPaleo.

Another variation we love uses sushi rice, tinned tuna flaked, pepper, onion, homemade mayo and lots of Sriracha.

My rolling is improving!

NB:  All photographs used in this blog have been taken by me, and are of food I have prepared and served myself.

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Carrot Cake

Slice of Carrot Cake

There are not many people who don’t like to enjoy a slice of cake along with their cup of coffee or tea.

This carrot cake, completely gluten and refined sugar free, is absolutely perfect and very simple to make.

Beautifully moist, full of carrots and nuts and sweetened with dates, it keeps well in an airtight container.


INGREDIENTS:  for approximately 12 slices

320g grated carrots
80g dates, finely chopped
3 large eggs
150g coconut oil, melted
Zest of 1 orange
1 heaped teaspoon ground mixed spice
1 level teaspoon cinnamon
160g buckwheat flour
120g unsweetened desiccated coconut (plus extra for sprinkling on top)
1 tablespoon gluten-free baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
120g chopped walnuts

Chop walnuts


Line an 8” round cake tin with parchment paper. Heat oven to 150°C.

Place the carrots, dates, eggs, oil and orange zest in a food processor and pulse until mixed.

Add the rest of the ingredients except the walnuts and blitz until well combined. Stir in the walnuts.

Pour into the prepared cake tin and bake in the centre of the oven for 60 to 75 minutes or until a knife inserted into the centre comes out clean.   During the last five minutes of baking, sprinkle the top with a little extra desiccated coconut.

Leave in the tin for a few minutes before turning out on to a wire rack to cool.

Deliciously moist carrot cake

Recipe slighted adapted from one in the Daily Mail.

NB:  All photographs used in this blog have been taken by me, and are of food I have prepared and served myself.

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Bang Bang Chicken with a Mango and Cucumber Salad

Although this recipe looks like it has quite a few steps, by doing it in stages, it is fairly straight-forward.  I marinated my chicken overnight, made the sauce in the morning, made my salad before cooking the chicken and everything came together beautifully.

This is a dish full of wonderful flavours – another winner from Irena Macri of EatDrinkPaleo and one which we really enjoyed.  I had a pack of 6 chicken thighs so increased the amount of marinade and sauce and the meal served for two days.  The second day we had the chicken cold and it was still delicious.

As Irena states, this is not the original version of Bang Bang Chicken but a paleo one which she has perfected and it really is tasty.  The mango and cucumber salad beautifully offsets the crispy and spicy chicken and creamy sauce.   I love the tapioca slurry which gives the chicken a super crispy finish.  I also served sliced sugarsnap peas – barely dipped into boiling water so they were still lovely and crispy.


For the chicken:
4 skinless, boneless chicken thighs
1 teaspoon white or black pepper
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon mild/medium curry powder
1.5 teaspoons onion powder
1.5 teaspoons garlic powder

For the slurry:
3 tablespoons tapioca starch
1 tablespoon coconut flour
¼ cup almond or coconut milk (or water could be used)

For the Sauce:
1 teaspoon coconut oil
½ small brown onion, diced
½ long red chilli, finely sliced
¼ teaspoon salt
1 clove garlic, finely sliced
3 tablespoons almond butter (I used cashew butter and it was delicious)
2 tablespoons coconut aminos or Tamari
2 tablespoons honey or maple syrup
3 tablespoons coconut yoghurt or cream
¼ cup water
Juice of ½ lime

For the Salad:
1 or 2 heads of baby gem lettuce, shredded
½ cucumber, sliced into thin strips
1 large (or two small) carrots sliced into thin matchsticks
½ yellow pepper, thinly sliced into strips
1 small mango, sliced into thin strips
¼ cup finely sliced spring onions
Juice of ½ lime
Pinch of sea salt
Drizzle of olive oil


Cut the chicken thighs into manageable pieces.  Mix together all of the spices and sprinkle over the chicken.   Massage the spices into the chicken with your hands to make sure they are evenly distributed  . Leave in the fridge for at least an hour, or preferably overnight to marinate.   Make sure to bring out of the fridge ten to fifteen minutes before cooking.

Make the sauce (this can be made in advance and warmed just before use).   Add the teaspoon of coconut oil to a small saucepan with the onion, garlic, chilli and salt and sauté for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring a few times.   Add the rest of the ingredients and stir through until melted and well combined.  Transfer the sauce to a Nutribullet or blender and blitz until smooth.   Store in the fridge until needed.   Reheat before use, adding a little water if too thick.

Make the salad before starting to cook the chicken.   Simply toss all ingredients in a bowl or serving dish;  drizzle with lime juice, sprinkle with salt and drizzle with olive oil.

Make the slurry by whisking together all the ingredients in a bowl.  Add the marinated chicken and mix until evenly coated.


Heat 2 tablespoons of coconut oil in a large pan or skillet.  Once hot, add the chicken pieces one by one making sure there is room around each.   Cook for a few minutes on each side until just cooked and still juicy (depending on the size of your chicken pieces, this will take 2-3 minutes on each side or up to 5 minutes). Keep the first batch warm whilst you cook the rest.


Serve the chicken sprinkled with a few sliced spring onions, with the salad and sauce on the side, with an optional serving of steamed sugar snap peas.

Bang Bang Chicken (Paleo) with a Mango and Cucumber Salad and a side of Sugar Snap Peas

NB:  All photographs used in this blog have been taken by me, and are of food I have prepared and served myself.

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Vietnamese Noodle Salad

This is a really lovely salad to serve alongside chicken, meat or fish.   Alternatively, it is very tasty eaten on its own.   I quite like adding shredded chicken (the remains of a roast) to the salad and leaving everyone to just help themselves.    A main meal in one bowl!

Depending on what you have in the fridge, this salad can be made using shredded lettuce, red or green cabbage, red onions or any fresh herbs such as basil or Thai basil.


12 oz thin rice noodles or similar
2 carrots, shredded
1 cucumber, seeded and shredded
6 spring onions, thinly sliced
1 ½ cups fresh bean sprouts
1/3 cup fresh coriander, roughly chopped
½ cup fish sauce
½ cup seasoned rice vinegar
3 tablespoons coconut sugar
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
¼ teaspoon crushed chilli flakes
½ cup edamame beans
½ pepper (orange, yellow, red or green) thinly sliced
1 lime (optional)


Cover the noodles with boiling water and leave to soften for 3 to 4 minutes. Rinse under cold running water and drain well before placing in a large bowl.

Add the shredded carrots, cucumber, bean sprouts, coriander, edamame beans, pepper and half of the onions to the noodles.

In a separate bowl mix together the fish sauce, rice vinegar, sugar, garlic and chilli flakes.

Pour ¾ of the dressing over the salad and toss to coat.   Add a squeeze of lime juice if desired.

Serve sprinkled with the remaining sliced onions.  Add the remaining dressing if desired.

Vietnamese Noodle Salad

This salad keeps well in the fridge overnight.

Original recipe by Heidi from FoodieCrush

NB:  All photographs used in this blog have been taken by me, and are of food I have prepared and served myself.

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Quick and Simple Homemade Mayonnaise

I really didn’t think this mayo recipe would work when I saw it on the Healthy Foodie – or perhaps I would end up with something not particularly pleasant.  How wrong I was!

This is the most perfect creamy mayonnaise and SO quick and easy to make.

I used a screw-top jar which doubled up as the airtight container to store it in.  A spoonful of wholegrain mustard is our preferred flavouring but almost anything could be used from fresh herbs or garlic, to chilli flakes or pepper.  It is just as delicious plain with no added flavourings.  Substituting some of the LIGHT olive oil with avocado, macadamia or walnut oil also changes the flavour slightly.  Play around and see which one suits you most.


1 whole large or extra-large organic egg at room temperature
1 cup LIGHT olive oil
Juice of ½ lemon (2 to 3 teaspoons) or apple cider vinegar
Pinch of sea salt
Teaspoon of Dijon or Wholegrain mustard (optional)
Garlic or herbs (optional as different flavours)
Tall glass jar into which a stick blender will fit


Break the egg into the jar.

Add the lemon juice (or ACV), salt and your chosen flavourings if using).


Pour in the olive oil and leave to settle for a few minutes.

Put the stick blender to the bottom of the jar and power on for about 20 seconds without moving it.  Slowly raise the blender to incorporate all the oil.

Perfect creamy Mayonnaise in just over 20 seconds

This amazing mayo will keep in the fridge for two weeks in an airtight container.  Ours tends not to last that long!

NB:  All the photographs used in this blog have been taken by me, and are of food I have prepared and served myself.


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