Bacon and cheese puffs (#thebreakfastclub)

In honour of #thebreakfastclub being live, instead of simply virtual, today I though I would choose a brunch recipe for this weeks #fridayfeasts  It's naughty but nice! (If  you don't know what I am talking about when I say #thebreakfastclub, it's an early week day group on twitter 6.45-8, a positive hug in a mug)

This is a very very simple slap it altogether recipe that can't really go wrong!


1 packet of puff pastry (Or make your own if you have time, a whole lot of time)
3 rashers of back bacon
Chedder cheese - I haven't put an amount here deliberately, it is a to your taste moment, I only use a thin slice per puff, lets say a 1mm thick slice, but what you use is up to you. Brie could be used instead of Chedder too
1 beaten eegg (for egg wash)


Pre heat oven to Gas 5/ 200'c

1 Roll out puff pastry to about 2mm thick, try and make it as rectangular as you can

2 Cut into 6 smaller rectangles

3 Slice each piece of bacon in half across the middle and then place a piece in the middle of each

4 Top with a thin slice of cheese

5 Fold over one corner to sit pointy end on top of the bacon, egg wash the top of the point and fold over the other side to meet it and press down firmly (see photograph) egg wash the rest of the pastry that is showing.

6 For a veggie alternative omit bacon and replace with thinly sliced tomato or mushrooms

7 pop them into the oven for approx10-15 mins until golden brown

8 Can be eaten cold, but nicer warm

9 Obviously if you aree feeding children or a group of people just roll the pastry thiner, cut the rectangles smaller and chop the bacon into as many pieces as you need

10 Enjoy, and let me know how you get on, and any other suggestions or recipe requests

Banana Bread ( #thebreakfastclub )

Banana Bread

This is a lovely tasty to way to use up ripe bananas, is a great healthy lunch box treat and has even stood in for my breakfast on a very rushed day. I works well with normal self raising flour, but also works well with gluten free flour, the squishy bananas disguise the dry texture that you sometimes get when baking with gluten free flours. It keeps well, and even freezes :)


450g Ripe bananas (About 5 large ones)
2 eggs beaten
150g Sugar (Briown or white)
100g Sultanans
200g Gluen free plain flour (Or you can use same amount of normal white flour if gluten free isn't required)
2 tsp baking powder


Preheat oven to gas4 or 180'c
Line a loaf tin

Mash bananas in a large bowl

Add all other ingredients and mix well to make sure there are no pockets of unmixed flour

Pop into the baking tin and bake in the oven for about 1.5 hours, if after an hour you feel it is browning too much loosly cover the top with a piece of tin foil

It improves with keeping, but never lasts long enough in our house to really test the theory

Oh Souper, I love soups

Dear Tom

I am really pleased to be able to help you out with soups,  (or hopefully help you out) Soups, stews or a combination of the above stoups, are a favourite of mine.

They can be simple and quick and smell so lovely when cooking. They can be full of creams and butters or the opposite and be a tasty diet food too... They can be packed with expensive ingredients or can make a bulk budget meal. Heat up at home and pop into a thermos flask and they can be a lunch on the go food too.

I ALWAYS use the same stock in all of my soups, The Marigold, Swiss vegetable bouillon powder, it is veggie, gluten free, yeast free and is a great base for all soups, and a good way to start.
But where to begin, where to begin???

One of my Christmas presents was The River Cottage Veg everyday cookbook, and I made one of the soup recipes from there, how about you give that a try? It's an tasty one, would be a filling one to take to work and is so easy that you couldn't go wrong..

Pearl Barley Broth (Page160 for anyone with the book) and if you don't have it, I recommend it!

 I simplified it a little when I made it, so here is my version


Knob butter
2 onions, finely chopped)
1 bay leaf
A few thyme leaves (1 small tsp dried thyme, or even mixed herbs)
1 stick celery finely chopped
1 carrot finely chopped
1 parsnip finely chopped
pinch each of ground coriander, cayenne pepper and nutmeg
100g pearl barley (rinsed)
1.5 litres of vegetable stock
A small handful of chopped parsley (I didn't bother with this bit but might in the summer when its growing well)
Salt and pepper


Heat the butter in a large pan and gently cook the onions, bay leaf and thyme, for about 15 mins until soft and translucent

Add celery, carrot and parsnip and cook for a further 5 minutes

Stir in the spices

Add pearl barley, pour in the stock and simmer for half an hour (Mine took a little longer than this)
Here in HFW book it says add salt, but actually mine was a little salty so maybe skip this and add at the end if needed

I served mine with croutons, yummy, Cut some bread into 2cm cubes and gently fry in veg oil then drain on kitchen paper to make them crispy not oily, lovely (I cook them like this with garlic too for tomato soups)

Anyway, give that a go and let me know how you get on.

Yours, souper optimistic,


P.s Hugh FW book can be found on the river cottage website

It is £12.50 and worth it :0)

Soup me up

Dear Ruth,

The decorations are down, the leftovers vanquished, Christmas is finally over.

All of a sudden the red, oranges, and warm yellow lights of winter have given way to grey. It may not be cold, but it feels it.

And of course, cooking isn't just for Christmas. One mega meal has not transformed me, as I discovered this first week back to work. Old habits are creeping in. Laziness and kitchen uselessness to name but two.

Your tutoring skills gave me motivation in December and I was wondering..? Would you be able to teach me a thing or two about making soup? People always say it's easy. But so is opening a can of Heinz...

Yours with a bread roll


Gluten and Dairy Free Blueberry and Chocolate Brownies

I have a son who is dairy and wheat intolerant, so experiment quite a lot to find him tasty things to bake. I thought I would share this recipe with you as it was very tasty.


150g Plain Chocolate, chopped (The really dark variety I used had no dairy in it)
120ml/4 floz sunlower oil
215g/7.5 oz light muscovado sugar, or soft brown sugar
2 eggs
65g/ 2.5 oz Gluten free plain flour ( I used Doves)
2 tsp baking powder ( Or you could just use gluten free self raising flour in the above step)
4 tbsps Coco Powder
Small punnett (about 150g) blueberries  ( I expect you'd need less if frozen because they may give off more liquid)


1. Preheat the oven to gas 4 / 180'c and line a shallow baking tin (Mine measured 30cmx20cm max)

2. Melt your chocolate in a bowl over a pan of hot water

3. With a whisk beat together the eggs, oil, sugar in a large bowl

4. Stir in the melted chocolate, then beat completely mixed

5. Sift in the flour, baking powder and coco powder, mix well

6. Gently fold in the blueberries. The mixture will be quite stiff, don't worry, as the blueberries cook they loosen the mixture.

7. Tip into the prepared tin and cook for about 40-45 minutes, it will look crispy, possibly cracked, on top when it is cooked

8. Leave to cool in the tin for 10 mins before transfering to a cooling rack

9. Enjoy, but be aware, they are messy and moreish

10. If you get chance please let me know how you get on with the recipe

Mmmm, tasty

The finished product


Dear Tom

Well done

You seem to have done really well, are you pleased?

How were the stress levels? I hope your family were impressed....

It was a shame about the Yorkshire puddings, butt i guess you can't always have it all.

Cooking looks harder than it is I think, I mean it is really a matter of common sense and a good dollop of confidence, with a helping of good recipes on the side and perhaps a sauce of skill on the side.

A Christmas dinner is a rather big place to start, but now that you have that completed then cooking anything else should be easy!

That said, maybe if you want to continue learning then with more time on our hands we should go back to basics?

Yours, optimistically,


P.s You can thank the Pagans for the timing of the winter festival!  Thank the Christians for adopting the festival to celebrate the birth of Jesus. Thank the Victorians for all the frivolities. And thank God for Jesus