Beetroot and pumpernickel stuffing

You know when you make something a bit random on the offchance it’ll be nice but you don’t hold out much hope, and then it turns out to be delicious. BEST FEELING EVER.

This was such a surprise find that I didn’t take photos the first time around. I just  bunged it together and when it came out  tasty I scarfed the lot.

This time I have been a bit more careful so we have pictures. This is honestly one of my favourite creations.


Stuffing mix as the egg goes in

This stuffing mix is very colourful

You will need:

1 medium sized beetroot

1 small onion

180g pumpernickel bread, crumbled

1 egg beaten

25g butter plus a little extra to grease the dish

a tablespoon lemon juice

salt and pepper


  1. Preheat the oven to 180C and grease an ovenproof dish.
  2. Beetroot stained hands

    And my hands are colourful too. (There must be some way to prevent this...)

    Peel and grate the beetroot.

  3. Finely chop the onion and fry in the melted butter in a covered pan over a very low heat until translucent but not browned. If they begin to brown stir and turn the heat down.
  4. Mix all the ingredients  together thoroughly (make sure you get all the butter the onios were fried in) and transfer into the ovenproof dish.
  5. Cover with foil and bake until set. Remove the foil and allow the top to brown.

I serve this with roast chicken (slide a bay leaf under the chicken skin on each breast and thigh, place a quartered onion in the body cavity and salt the skin all over, roast  breast down until the last twenty minutes and breast up to crisp at the end). The  sharpness and subtle flavour of the stuffing aren’t overpowered by the chicken and bring out its meatiness.

Hot stuffing just out of the oven

Hot stuffing just out of the oven

Carrots oven-cooked in molasses glaze



I have been asked to put up more recipes so here’s one.

If you are a veggie you don’t need the bacon but you will need to season with salt and pepper and possibly cover it for the first part of the cooking process.

I suggest adding a pinch or two of paprika as well and/or a tiny dab of marmite.

To serve four:

4 medium/large carrots peeled and cut into large pieces (eg in quarters lengthways thenhalves/thirds )

1 large onion

...and raisins

...and spices and raisins

2 dessert spoons black treacle (molasses)

1/2 teaspoon each: dried ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon
three bay leaves

three cloves

a handful of raisins

8 rashers streaky bacon

a large splash of red wine

1, Preheat the oven to ~200C

Carrots, spices and treacle

...and treacle

2. Slice the onion and place in the bottom of an ovenproof dish with the bay leaves

3. Add peeled and cut carrots

4. Sprinkle over spices and raisins

5. Drizzles over treacle and wine

6. Layer over bacon

7. Put into oven. Cook until it begins to smell good.

8. Remove from oven. Baste with the juices thoroughly and return to oven.

9. Leave another 5-10 mins and repeat.

Covered in bacon and ready for the oven

...and bacon!

10. Repeat until the carrots are cooked through but al dente.

Serve with duck or green lentils or something. I don’t know. I made 1.5 portions and ate it by itself with bulgar and more red wine and it was bloody delicious.


Updated to add pictures kindly sent over by  the lovely Rachel who has made this and liked it.




Ready to eat, served with a glass of red wine

Yum yum yum

Aubergine Fried in Gram Flour

Fried Aubergine

Fried Aubergine

Crispy, salty, melting, soft and ooooh so moreish these were a flash of inspiration that made my little day.

They’re also pretty simple to make so hooray for that!

You will need:

  • 1 aubergine (eggplant)
  • 5-6tbsp gram (chickpea) flour
  • enough oil to coat the bottom of your pan to about 5mm deep
  • salt and pepper to taste (you can also add some ground chili or cumin or whatever you fancy)


Slice the aubergine across into rounds less than 1cm thick.

Mix the salt and pepper in with the gram flour and place in a shallow dish wide enough to fit a slice of aubergine into it flat.

Scrunch a few sheets of paper towel and put these onto your serving plate so the fried pieces have something to drain onto.

Aubergine slices

Aubergine slices

Heat the oil until it is shimmering but not smoking. You can test it with a piece of stale bread which should go brown in 30secs or so.

Place a slice of aubergine into the seasoned gram flour and press down. Turn it over and press down again so it is coated. The natural moisture should be enough to make a light coating stick.

Knock gently on the side of the dish to remove the excess flour and place in the hot oil. Repeat until the pan is full. The slices shouldn’t touch.

When the tops of the slices are changing colour and becoming translucent in places flip the slices over carefully. Don’t splash yourself!

Fry until both sides are golden brown.

Remove shaking to get rid of excess oil. Pat each slice with the paper towel then leave to drain and cool for a few seconds.

Serve as quickly as possible with a hot, sharp tomato salsa or just a wedge of lemon and some salad.


Gram flour is available from lots of Asian and increasingly from mainstream supermarkets. It’s made from ground chickpeas and is use in all sorts of Indian snacks. Too much of it can have a well-known embarrassing leguminous effect so go easy. That said it is great for making all sorts of little fried things like this and may be useful for people with a wheat intolerance. It’s also high protein so vegetarians and low carb dieters may find it a handy product to have around. It does have a specific flavour of its own, somewhat vegetable. Personally I like it but you may prefer to disguise it with lots of garlic and spice. It doesn’t substitute well for wheat flour in all things so check your recipes.

Baked avocados with garlic herb butter

Baked avocados? Baked avocados?

Oh yes. Definitely yes. Very definitely yes.

The idea for these came from the wonderful Leiths Vegetarian Bible by Polly Tyrer.  Her version has garlic herb cheese in it but I am a funny bunny and don’t like cheese. No not even cream cheese. Not even marscapone. I do like garlic butter though, so I took the cooking time and temp and made a new thing.

I must confess I’d had cooked avocados before in Ethiopian stews with chicken. They were delicious but pretty much buried under the flavour of the spices and the fire of the scotch bonnets. This recipe lets them shine and shine they do. They have a flavour a little bit like artichoke but really unlike anything else. What you really notice is the fantastic texture and the very enjoyable sense of eating a genuinely decadent tasting vegetarian dish.

This is also super quick and simple to make.

I’m going to give you a per avocado recipe and you can adapt it for the number of people you have. One avocado will serve one person as a main course or two as a substantial starter.

Garlic, herb and lemon butter

Garlic, herbs, lemon and butter are friends.

You will need:

1 ripe but firm avocado

1 dessert spoon softened butter

1/2 lemon

1 clove garlic

1 sprig each fresh thyme, sage and rosemary

salt and black pepper to taste

Set the oven to 200C/gas mark 6

Grate the zest from the lemon.  Chop the herbs very finely. Crush the garlic into a paste. Mash all of the above into the butter with a pinch of salt and a good grind of pepper.

Avocado fresh out the oven

Avocado fresh out the oven

Halve the avocado, remove the stone and peel.

Smear the avocado and fill the stone hole with the butter mixture. Place the avocado face down on a baking sheet. No need too butter the sheet because as you’ll see the the avocado is well  greased already and won’t stick.

Bake for ten minutes. No longer. Timing is important.

Serve with a wedge of lemon, a side salad and crusty bread. Drizzle the melted butter from the pan over the avocado.

Avocados ready to eat

Creamy, garlicky, herby goodness...

Feel smug that deliciousness is so bloody easy.