Banana and Oatmeal Loaf


I’m back and I’m on a roll. Here’s a scrummy banana and oatmeal cake I made last week from a recipe from Joy the Baker. I used olive oil instead of canola oil, cos I don’t have any, in fact I don’t even know what canola oil is!

Have I mentioned how utterly amazing Joy is before?! Well she is, so go look at her blog. But be sure to come back here too!

Someone else who is stupendously talented is my sister Rachel who has just won her first ever poetry slam. Check out her poetry, she’s ace. Well done Rach!

OK, that’s it for now. I’m going to my first Pampered Chef party tonight, so I’ll let you know how it goes.




Filed under Baking, Family, Food

There’s Only One Thing Better Than Food…

…and that’s free food!

I did a friend a favour a couple of days ago -I didn’t expect anything in return but ended up leaving with two big bags of fresh veg from her friend’s allotment. Result.

So I bought some lamb chops yesterday and was ready to make a mega cheapo Lancashire Hotpot using my free courgette, potatoes and turnips. That was until I cut into the turnip, and it turned out to be a beetroot! Oops! Anyway, here it is:

Put some lamb chops in the bottom of a casserole dish then layer with thinly sliced potatoes, then a layer of chopped courgette and green beans. Season the veg with salt, pepper and mixed herbs (I would have used rosemary but didn’t have any). Repeat the layers ending with a layer of potatoes. Pour over a pint of beef stock (only stock I had!), add a bouqet garni, brush the top with melted butter and season. Bung it in the oven for 2.5 hours on 170 C, then remove the lid and cook for another 30 mins on 220 C. Remove the bouqet garni and devour the hotpot in true Lancashire style, with a flat cap on and a whippet by your side. Yum.

Now I just need to know what to do with the beetroot!

P.S. WordPress doesn’t recognise the word ‘courgette’! Grrr it’s a bloomin British zucchini! Rant over.

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Filed under Baking, Food, Recipes

Seville – Part I


Have you missed me?!

Sorry for the lack of updates but I’ve been away on my hols to the lovely Andalucian city of Seville in Southern Spain. I got back on Friday, and I’ve been bursting to tell you all about it but I’ve been mega busy all week. In fact, I could do with another holiday!

Anyways, here’s the highlights of my stay in beautiful (and very HOT) Sevilla:

First there was the flight. I haven’t flown much and the last time was about 7 years ago so I was a bit nervous. It didn’t help that we were flying with Ryanair, the airline everyone loves to hate. However, let me just say, Ryanair are ace. Yes, you heard me right, nothing wrong with them whatsoever. Contrary to reports, you don’t have to pay to use the loo (not yet anyway), there are no hidden charges (just stick to the baggage rules people and you’ll have no problems!), and the aircraft itself was comfortable. Not luxury, but it’s a budget airline, what do you expect!?! OK rant over.

Flying itself was fine. I still hate taking off and landing but the rest was OK, if a little boring.

Fred liked it though:

When we touched down in Seville, we were hit by the immense heat. On the day we arrived it was 39 degrees C! If you don’t think you can handle those kind of temps, don’t go in July. It was unbearable at times, especially as visiting Seville involves a lot of walking around but you’ll be fine as long as you stay smart and stay indoors between 2pm and 5.30pm. Have a siesta, everyone else does. Oh and stay hydrated!

On the first night, we decided to have dinner (tea) at a tapas bar I’d seen on Tripadvisor, Vineria San Telmo. I asked the receptionist at the hotel to book a table for us and asked if 8pm was too early. She laughed. It was way too early. In Spain they eat much later than us, so we ignored our hunger pangs for a bit longer and opted for 9pm.

We were still quite lonely eating at 9pm, 9.30pm seems to be when people start to arrive, but at least we got quick service! The food was delish!

This is a tapa of pork with jamon (cured ham, a big thing in Seville) and some home-made crisp things. You could get each meal in a tapa (small), demi racion (half portion) and racion (full portion) size. We got 1 demi racion and two tapas and two cokes which came to about 14 euros I think. This was the best restaurant we visited in Seville, both in terms of the quality of the food and value for money. I wish we’d gone back every day, but we wanted to try a few places out.

OK, now for the sights:

This is the view from the Giralda, including a good view of the bullring. There was a bullfight on while we were there, but we decided against going.

Here’s a bit of a blurry picture of the Cathedral, where the tomb of Christopher Columbus lies. Wowsers, it was a beautiful building.

Here’s a pic of the baths within the Alcazar. I told you Seville was beautiful.

I might have to wait a while but I’m already thinking about my next holiday. So let me know where your favourite holiday destination is (whether you’ve been there or not) and what makes it special.

Hasta Luego!


Filed under Food, Uncategorized

Lemon Self-Saucing Pudding

I’ve just received my free copy of Olive magazine. Here’s the details to get your copy if you’re interested. I’m not certain that this offer is still available so please don’t hold me responsible if it isn’t!

There’s loads of lovely recipes in this month – but the one that jumped out at me was the Lemon self-saucing pudding. I love lemon flavoured puddings, and I’ve not made a dessert in a while so I thought I’d give it a go. I thought it might be tricky as it is a bit souffle-like but it is super easy. And super yummy. Here it is…

And here is the gooey lemon curd bit underneath..

The recipe says use a food processor, which I don’t have, but elbow grease will suffice. Also, you may have noticed that I forgot to dust it withe the icing sugar. That’s ’cause I’m too greedy to wait. I’ve just eaten mine with single cream but it’s so tasty I may have to go back for seconds, or even thirds. Or I may just polish the whole thing off. OH is out, he’ll never know..


Filed under Baking, Food, Mr Pavlova, Recipes

The World Cup Is Over (for England, anyway)

So the World Cup is over. Yes, there may be two weeks to go but as far as England are concerned it’s over. Sigh.

And so my World Cup themed food must also come to an end. I meant to update after each game but I have been struck down by a particularly awful case of the sniffles and haven’t had the energy to blog so here’s a quick update.

England Vs Slovenia

I was a bit lost when it came to Slovenian food but thankfully my friend Zowie came to the rescue. Zowie is one of my bestest friends. She also happens to be a strict vegetarian. However, she’s the kind of ace vegetarian who doesn’t snarl when I order a double cheeseburger and who suggests yummy recipes like Goulash.

I changed the recipe a bit but I’m feeling too lazy to write it out so if anyone wants my recipe specifically then please ask. Here’s how it turned out:

It was yum, but the way I made it, it was quite liquidy, a bit soupy. I’m not sure if it’s meant to be more stewy than soupy but it tasted good and we ate it with bread to soak up some of the liquid.

England Vs Germany

As I was all bunged up with a cold last night I could not be bothered cooking (I was going to make fancy potato pancakes with sausages as well, honest) so the OH did Frankfurters. Bit of a cop out I know. And we had to eat the German food, after Germany had thrashed us 4-1(2)!

Ah well, there’s always the tennis.

And so, as I was sofa-bound most the of the weekend, I’ve had chance to do a lot of crafting. Inspired by my new favourite blog Ruffles and Stuff, I decided to give one of my dull cardigans a makeover. For the tutorial, click here.

Here’s my boring old cardy before…

And after…

I shortened the sleeves, added a lacy trim, then added some buttons I’d covered in fabric. It was a pain in the bum to make. I’m not a very patient or methodical crafter. Once I’d attached the buttons, I tried to fasten the top and realised the buttons were too big for the buttonholes. So I took a pair of scissors to the buttonholes. I don’t recommend this kind of botched approach but it suits me. So, it may only last a few days before it falls apart but until then, I have a lovely new top!


Filed under Baking, Food, Mr Pavlova, Recipes, Sewing

England vs Algeria aka Lamb Tagine with Flatbreads

Yesterday England played Algeria, so continuing with my World Cup food theme I needed to make an Algerian dish. I decided on lamb tagine, which may be more Moroccan but hey, they’re both in North Africa and I’m sure they eat it in Algeria too. My sister gave me a rough idea of how to make it but I also had a look online for a few recipes as I’d never made it before. I didn’t find any recipes which I fancied so I used this one as a guide but changed it quite a bit to my liking. I love courgettes so that was used as my main veg, I also put in dried apricots as advised by my big sis, and I’m glad I did as they were so yummy, they just melt in your mouth when they’re cooked. Here’s the recipe:

Olive oil

3 courgettes, chopped

5 garlic cloves, crushed

1 onion, diced

Some fresh ginger, grated

3tsp ground cinnamon

3tsp ground cumin

Salt and pepper

Some lamb (I bought a half shoulder, removed the fat and cut it into chunks)

2 tbsp tomato puree

3 tins chopped tomatoes

3-4 tbsp honey

Some dried apricots

Some raisins

As usual, I didn’t weigh/count everything (I ain’t counting raisins for nobody, sorry) so here’s a pic to give you a rough idea of quantities, if you’re the picky type.

First I fried the onions, ginger, garlic, cumin, cinnamon, salt and pepper in olive oil for a few mins, then added the meat for a few more mins. Then I put this, plus all the remaining ingredients in a casserole dish. I then added a bit of boiling water to the pan used for the onions etc as the spices had stuck to the bottom. Using a wooden spoon, I loosed the spices and added this liquid to the casserole dish. I then put the lid on and put it into an oven (preheated to 160 C) for about 2 hours. For the last hour, I removed the lid, as advised by Rachel Allen.

To go with this I made flatbreads, again an idea my sister gave me. For this, I thought I’d better follow a recipe so I used this one. I was surprised how easy they are to make and quick. Next time, I might try putting cheese on them or make flatbread pizza. Everything tastes better with cheese. Mmm.

The food was great, the tagine was lovely and sweet (maybe a little too sweet, a bit less honey next time) and there’s enough for tonight’s tea, and maybe even tomorrow’s. So overall, the meal was a great success, shame I can’t say the same about the football 😦


Filed under Baking, Family, Food, Mr Pavlova, Recipes

Rudding Park Hotel and The World Cup

As promised, although a little late , here are some food pics from our recent stay at Rudding Park Hotel in Follifoot (part of Harrogate, Yorkshire).

The hotel was lovely – they even took our bags to our room – I felt well posh! 🙂

They had a driving range in the grounds so we booked in there before dinner. I was incredibly bad, but the OH was pretty good – let’s hope that’s the only thing he shares with Tiger Woods!

Some people might think it’s a little odd that I take pictures of my food, and well yeah it probably is but food is a big part of the experience whenever I go anywhere and so I like to keep those memories, just as I would take photos of the places we visited and the things we’d seen.

So, you might have noticed that the World Cup has started. I’ve got my inflatable England hands ready, face painted and I’ve even made some red and white bunting for the window.  Strangely, the OH has even decided to back the England team, despite the fact that he’s Welsh. Funny that.

Anyway, for me this is just another excuse to make yummy food. So, on Saturday, as England were playing USA (we didn’t lose yey!) we decided to make USA themed food. We had burgers with sweet potato wedges and real strawberry milkshakes – yum.

I intend to do the same based on every team England face in the competition. I’m really looking forward to Friday when we play Algeria! Slovenia, on the other hand, any ideas?!?!


Filed under Baking, Food, Mr Pavlova, Sewing