Where The Wild Things Are


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So the other night, Jamie said “Why don’t you Molly’s Kitchen that?”. I pointed out that we had eaten the evidence. Luckily for me, we had a glut of the wonder ingredient: duh duh durrrrrr WILD GARLIC. So. Time for a Molly’s Kitchen recipe, or rather two. I think both myself and Siobhann have been busy just eating the evidence. And that’s no bad thing.


Back to the recipe. The wild garlic arrived by chance because I have a friend who’s mother-in-law is lucky enough to have her own woodland, and apparently more wild garlic than she could ever possibly need. Each spring I tell myself to get my foraging eyes on and be on the look-out for the stuff. Then time passes and I haven’t so much as googled what it looks like, let alone where to find it.

This spring I not only get a sack-full of leaves, but also some bulbs that I’m splitting with my neighbour (although I haven’t actually handed hers over yet as I’m already worried that I don’t have enough). Cultivating wild garlic may seem like an oxymoron, but who knows when I’ll next be able to get my hands on the stuff. If you have blessed woodland, let me know. Apparently it grows alongside bluebells, so unbeknownst to me there’s most likely tons of the stuff at the top of the lane.

So, the three nights ago we had a spring chicken casserole with wild garlic (which I did not take note of what I was doing nor did I photograph), last night we had wild garlic soup, and tonight, I had spring chicken casserole with wild garlic. Who knows what tomorrow will bring, but I’ll be very sad when the wild window finally comes to a close.

Oh, and for those that don’t like garlic (Father). It’s very, very, very subtle. It’s like spinach. And yes, both recipes are very similar. And yet I want the same again tomorrow.


Wild Garlic Soup

1 medium onion, diced

2 or 3 medium sized potatoes, quartered and boiled

2 bay leaves

1 sprig of thyme

Glug of white wine

1.5 litres of good chicken stock

1 tsp dijon mustard

3 or 4 big handfuls of wild garlic leaves, roughly chopped

1 dollop of crème fraîche

1 tblsp tarragon

1 tblsp flat leaf parsley

Squeeze of lemon

Melt a blob of butter in a large saucepan, slowly cook the onion for ten or so minutes. Add the potatoes, bay, thyme, white wine, mustard, seasoning and stock and simmer for twenty minutes. Add the wild garlic and the tarragon and parsley and cook until wilted. Blitz with a hand blender. Add the cream,  and lemon and season to taste.

Serve with bread.


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Chicken Casserole with Cabbage and Wild Garlic

1 medium onion, diced

2 chicken breasts, chopped

1 tspn seasoned flour

Half a pointed cabbage, sliced

2 bay leaves

1 sprig of thyme

Glug of white wine

750ml of good chicken stock

1 tsp dijon mustard

3 or 4 big handfuls of wild garlic leaves, roughly chopped

1 big dollop of crème fraîche

1 tblsp tarragon

1 tblsp flat leaf parsley

Juice of half a lemon

Fry the onion in butter in a large lidded casserole, add the floured chicken pieces to brown (but don’t cook all the way through). Add the stock, wine, bay, thyme, mustard, seasoning and stock. Simmer with lid on for about an hour and a half. Then add the cabbage. Simmer without lid for five minutes, add the garlic leaves, cream, tarragon, parsley and lemon. Season to taste. Serve with buttery mash.


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Shortbread Shells With Shimmering Pearls


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This is quite the mouthful. In both senses. My final time doing cooking week at preschool, as soon my little Mole shall be going to school. This term is all about water, so I wanted to continue on this theme. And as Molly loves picking up shells on the beach, I thought this would be a rather nice idea. I was rather worried about the fragility of the shortbread shells, but bar one little boys’ crushing, they all held together beautifully. I used edible shimmer in pink for the interior pink butter icing, and a silvery shimmer for the white fondant icing pearl itself. When Molly and I baked the biscuits the day before, and tested one out, afterwards she gave me a big hug and said it was such a good idea, and that it looked beautiful. Luckily they taste damn fine as well.


The shell I used for the mould was one of the many that we have lying around. It was nice and big and had lovely ridges.

Shortbread Shells – Makes 20 (you’ll need two per shell, so 10 in total). Although I did two batches, so 40 or 20 complete shells.

125g unsalted butter

55g caster sugar

180g plain flour

Few drops of vanilla extract

Few drops of natural pink food colouring


Heat the oven to 190. Lay baking paper on several baking trays. Cream the butter and sugar. Stir in the flour. Turn out onto a work surface to bring together. Remove a large knob, add the food colouring to this and mix in. Re-introduce this lump into the main dough, and knead over a few times to mix in a marble-effect way. Then roll into small balls, and press into the cling-film lined shell. Remove from shell, place on the baking paper. Press in (preferably with little fingers) to make the edge of the shell crenulated. Once finished with first batch place in fridge for 15 minutes, whilst you make the second batch. Bake in oven for 10 minutes (or until just turning golden). Cool on a wire rack.

Pink Butter Icing – for the interior of the shells

250g icing sugar

125g unsalted butter

1 / 2 tblsp milk

Few drops of natural pink food colouring

Sift icing sugar into a bowl and mix with the butter until smooth. Add the milk until a spreadable consistency.

Fondant Icing – for the pearls

250g icing sugar

4 – 6 drops water (bit more if using the next day to get the shimmer to stick)


To Assemble

With a teaspoon, spread the pink butter icing onto one of the shells, then sprinkle with some pink edible shimmer. Then tear a small piece of fondant icing off, roll into a ball, then roll over some silvery shimmer. Place pearl at front of shell and place upper shell on top. Look. Think. Eat.

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Homemade Hobnobs



Abel’s down for an unexpected angry nap. We’re due at best friend Ben’s house (fifteen minutes ago), and so decided to google ‘homemade hobnobs’. Always like to take something (last time think it was petrol station Kinder Surprises), preferably homemade. Never tried or even thought about doing these homemade, but will definitely again. Very easy, and absolutely delicious. Could even pass for healthy on the never-ending quest for a preschool approved healthy snack (oats count right?). Am volunteering at preschool for cooking week on Friday, and might do these, although am quite keen to do hedgehog rolls with the kids, as think that’ll be more fun / dangerous / different.


Molly now thinks that taking photos is what we do, so she’s been documenting every step on her camera too – plus, we’ve been working on spelling on the blackboard. Amazing what you can fit in when the boy’s asleep (Monday it was a stone wall)… Anyway, best go wake the poor lad…


Homemade Crunchy Hobnobs – makes about 25

150g self raising flour

150g caster sugar

120g rolled oats

1 level teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

150g butter

1 large dessertspoon golden syrup

Pinch of salt

½ tspn vanilla extract


Pre-heat oven to 180c. Mix the flour, sugar, oats and bicarb in a mixing bowl. Melt the butter in a saucepan, adding the golden syrup. Once melted, stir in the vanilla (off the hob), then pour over the dry ingredients. Mix together with the salt (I used my hands a bit at the end), then mould into balls and place on the baking tray. Bake for 10 minutes (or until smelling delicious and looking golden). Transfer to wire rack. Eat. Eat. Eat.



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It was recently Molly’s birthday (we’ve still got the bunting and balloons to prove it and I don’t think we’ll be allowed to remove them until Christmas), and like last year, we held a party at the local village hall. Anyway, it was stressful. I even had party food nightmares. I didn’t before exams, but this obviously weighed more heavily on my sub-conscious. The party was a success of course (it’s hard to fail as children will enjoy anything with balloons, games and cake), despite me making several children cry with my overly lupine ‘What’s The Time Mr Wolf’. The food was fine, but what I did like, was that Siobhann insisted on bringing some beautiful cucumber sandwiches. This small (or large Siobhann, don’t know tricksy they were to produce) gesture, helped me relax about the food. So, when my friend Eveline said she was having a party for her son, I offered to help do some food. Eveline asked if I’d mind making scones, and I was happy to give them a go. I’m not a scone connoisseur, I know some people (namely Jamie’s Auntie Jill) can become almost evangelical in their quest for the perfect scone, but these were easy, they tasted great and I was rather pleased I’d learned something new. I had mine with crème fraîche and homemade (by Ben) chilli jam. Yum. Eveline had been having similar pre-party anxiety dreams, so I hope my gesture had a similar affect to Siobhann’s.


Scones  – Makes 8 (you’ll need a scone cutter to get the scalloped edges)

350g self raising flour

Pinch of salt

1 tsp baking powder

85g butter, cut into cubes

3 tbsp golden castor sugar

175ml milk

1 tsp vanilla extract

Squeeze of lemon juice

Beaten egg, to glaze

Pre-heat oven to 220c. Tip the flour into a large bowl with the salt and baking powder, then mix. Add the butter, then rub in with your fingers until the mix looks like fine crumbs. Stir in the sugar.

Put the milk into a jug and heat in the microwave for about 30 seconds until warm, but not hot. Add the vanilla and lemon juice; set aside for a moment. Put a baking sheet in the oven.

Make a well in the dry mix, then add the liquid and combine it quickly with a cutlery knife (you don’t want the dough to get too warm). Scatter some flour onto the work surface and tip the dough out. Dredge the dough and your hands with a little more flour, then fold the dough over 2-3 times until it’s a little smoother. Pat into a round about 4cm deep.

Take a 5cm cutter and dip it into some flour. Plunge into the dough, then repeat until you have four scones. By this point you’ll probably need to press what’s left of the dough back into a round to cut out another four. Brush the tops with beaten egg, then carefully place onto the hot baking tray.

Bake for 6 – 8 minutes or until risen and golden on the top. Eat as soon as possible.

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Boxing Day Vincigrassi


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Oh dear god, I just had to jump online and get this out in the ether. I NEED to share it before any of your leftover ham and turkey goes to waste on anything other than this dish. STOP with the ham and eggs, no no NO to turkey pie. STEP AWAY from the Coronation Turkey.

You need to make Vincigrassi.

A mouthful of heavenYou will die and go to heaven and it will forever be your boxing day supper. I promise. And, in fact, for those that don’t really LIKE ham and turkey and suffer through it, this experience may well transform things for you.

I have to confess, firstly, to yet more recipe theft on a grand scale. In fact, Molly’s Uncle Harry cooked this for us last night.  I helped a bit by drinking Champagne on the side lines and throwing in helpful snippets of advice about bechamel etc but otherwise my role was Supreme Appreciator, Photo Taker, thence Recipe Thief.

Vincigrassi is like lasagne but with ceps and parma ham. What’s wonderful about it is its sheer simplicity. Effectively, you make a bitching bechamel sauce and mix mushrooms, pieces of thinly sliced ham and turkey into it with some truffle paste. You then layer lasagne sheets with this mix, dotting each layer with butter and a grating of parmesan. Finish with a drizzle of truffle paste or oil**

Needless to say, it’s very rich. Helpfully, we had an Italian speaker on hand who translated Vincigrassi as “conquer the fat”.

Go Forth And Conquer the Fat my friends.

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Boxing Day Vincigrassi

This is Uncle Harry’s version of Boxing Day Vinci Grassi. Forgive the inexact nature. It started with how much ham and turkey we had to hand (about two handfuls combined). The quantity of bechamel grew from the contents. So you will need to use a fair amount of own judgement for quantities but it’s virtually impossible to screw this one up, partly because even when loose and ‘sloppy’ (as ours was), it’s completely divine…

Ingredients: A cup-ish of dried mushrooms (or fresh, but precook), handful of leftover ham and handful of turkey, milk/cream/butter/flour for the Bechamel sauce, white truffle paste or oil, about 10 fresh lasagne sheets (ideally home-made of course otherwise bought), fresh parsley.

Method:Pre-soak a cup of dried porcini mushrooms. In the meantime, slice the turkey and ham. Add the ham and turkey to a bowl, then the soaked mushrooms and the juice. Add half of teaspoon of truffle paste, stir to combine, and leave to ‘meddle’ while you get on with the bechamel sauce.

For the bechamel, melt about 200g of butter on a low-ish heat, add flour to create a roux. Ensure you let the flour cook to expand before adding full fat milk and cream. When you have what you consider to be enough to ‘hold’ the ham/turkey/mushroom mixture, take off the heat, cool slightly and add to the bowl with meat and mushrooms.

In a large lasagnae dish, layer accordingly. Pasta sheets, bechamel mixture. Between each layer, dot with butter and a fine grating of parmesan. finish with a layer of lasagne sheets, smother with bechemel sauce without the meat (simply drained onto a spoon from the mixture), parmesan, some butter, and a few dots of truffle paste. Bake for about 40 minutes at 180 degrees c, or until pasta is cooked and the top is nicely browned and delicious.

** Re: the truffle paste or oil – it’s pretty widely available – I just checked and Ocado (UK shopping delivery etailer) sell it for about £7 for a small jar. But that jar will last for ages.. this dish fed 10 people and only used a teaspoon of truffle paste and the flavour came through beautifully.

Bouillabasse. Sort of.


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Well, it’s been a while.  I could regale you with tales of alien kidnappings, that stint in jail, how I was trapped in a giant ice block for, well, months now BUT SURVIVED thanks to that thing where if you get really cold you don’t die like Mary Mastiantonia in The Abyss. But I won’t. Just too hectic for a food blog. Suffice it to say, I’m glad to be alive and I’m enjoying life with Tom and the girls (yes, we have two now) in the new house post-rennovation (oh yes, we’re in).

So anyway,  it was ‘date night’ a couple of Friday’s ago. We’re supposed to go out on a date night but sometimes we subvert the rule and decide it would just be cheaper, more practical and, let’s face it, a whole lot more delicious if we just stayed in and cooked. And we’re also trying to clear the freezer for a new meat delivery which I will no doubt come back to at some stage (assuming no more ice-block incidents).  We had some fish stock that needed using up. Not just any old stock – stock created from the shells and heads of wild, fresh river crayfish. Even frozen it had a gorgeous rich tone to it and we’ve been waiting for the right moment to use it.

And Bouillabasse it was. Well, sort of. Not exactly authentic. More like a ‘fisherman’s stew’. As usual, whenever I’m doing something for the the first time, I google endlessly to research every which way of doing it. In the end, partly from sheer internet-meandering-induced exhaustion, but mostly because I love it, I came back to a family recipe on Tom’s side. It’s how I first encountered Bouillabasse and feels like the original. A “proper” Bouillabasse is terribly specific and involves cooking it on the dock IN MARSEILLE to the tune of Mermaids singing at dawn and uses revolting-sounding things like eels and “dog fish”. The soup base is blended and the fish is served on the side. In just about all versions, a rouille with baguette is served. We were true to this at least.

So, here’s our version and it’s very simple. A gorgeous broth of fish stock, fennel, onion, tomatoes, saffron and flavoured with bay and orange strands and whatever fish looked good at the van on Wednesday, poached within. Because we had the stock in the freezer already, the whole thing felt effortless and delightful. The homemade rouille was outstanding. All washed down with a gorgeous bottle of Pouilly Fume.

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Fish Stock: We simply boiled up a load of lobster shells and and heads with fennel, onion, carrot, bay leaf and some old parsley from the fridge. Simmered for one hour in the pressure cooker (outstanding for creating intense flavour), strained, frozen. Bosh.


Soften 1 onion,1 carrot,1 leek, 1/2 fennel in olive oil.  Add the flesh of 1 chopped beef tomato, a few strands of saffron, a bay leaf and orange peel (a few strands).

Add another glug of olive oil and bring to the boil then pour boiling fish stock onto the mixture, stirring for a couple of minutes.  The reason to add boiling stock is because it has the effect of thickening the soup and making it sort of emulsify.

Then add the fish. Be sure to do this in stages. So as not to overcook. I had some nice, dense cod (I know, but I live in a landlocked county and you’ve got to get what you can), some mussels and cockles, squid and a few prawns. I added them in that order and took the soup of the heat as soon as the squid turned white and the prawns, pink.


Now this is more of an authentic Marseille recipe, adapted from a recipe on the website beyond.fr. You basically take a lump of bread and mix it with chili, garlic, oil, egg yoke…

In a pestle and mortar crush a chopped/de-seeded small chili, a few cloves of garlic, some sea salt and a generous glug of olive oil. You’re aiming to create a thick paste.

Then, get a large handful of bread and crumble it up (or make breadcrumbs in a whizzer). Add a small spoonful of the broth to the bread and create a tight ball, squeezing out any liquid. Then, add your paste to a largish bowl and pop the bread ball in with the egg yoke. Whisk like buggery, all the while adding olive oil,  til you get the consistency of shop-bought mayonnaise or rouille. Needless to say, unless you have at least three arms, or are particularly good with your feet, it’s helpful to have a second person for this part. We served the rouille in a small dish with bread on the side. A really delicious recipe and much easier to pull together than it sounds (especially once you recover from the bread-ball part. That was a surprise to me).

Orange and Ginger Stained Glass Window Biscuits


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So I signed up to Molly’s preschool cooking week again, as apparently they only had one other mother that had volunteered. I also knew that my Auntie Maureen would be staying with us, and so would be able to look after, Abel. As it’s the run-up to Christmas I thought I’d try my hand at these beautiful little biscuits. I first saw them when my friend Sukey made a batch, which were stunning. I thought it wise to make the dough the night before, and just leave the bashing of the sweets and cutting out of the biscuits for the children. And thank god I did. It was chaos. It was loud. The sweets didn’t break up (subsequently at home I grind / bash them in a heavy pestle and mortar), and we ended up whacking them with a rolling pin on the preschool floor for fear of breaking the tables. The children of course loved it, and the biscuits actually came out as they should.

The next batch I did was for the tree. I normally decorate the tree with Pepparkakor, but felt like a change this year. They’re prettier as they catch the light, and the ones that broke when Molly placed on the tree had to be devoured of course.


The Biscuits – Makes 36 Little Biscuits (I still have half the dough in the fridge)

Sunflower oil, for greasing

175g plain flour

1 tsp ground ginger

1 tsp orange extract

100g butter, cut into chunks

50g golden caster sugar

1tbsp milk

9 fruit-flavoured boiled sweets (I used 3 different colours, with 3 sweets each)

Line two baking tins with greased baking paper. Pre-heat the oven to 180c. With your hands rub the butter, flour, ginger and orange extract until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add the sugar and milk and mix. On a floured surface lightly knead until the dough is smooth. Cover with cling-film and put in the fridge for half an hour (if left any longer i.e. overnight, remove from the fridge for at least half an hour before you need to use it).

Flour the work surface again, then roll out to about £1 coin in thickness. Cut out festive shapes, and then either using a smaller cutter of the same shape (shall have to invest in some next year), or just using a knife (I did Christmas trees, and then triangles within them), cut out a hole for the window. Move to baking sheets, whilst poking a hole (with a chopstick) at the top for the thread to hang them from the tree.

Next bash the sweets. I advise bashing them in a pestle and mortar. In the end I gave up with the sweet rappers. Be warned if you don’t use them immediately the shards will fuse together.

Next sprinkle the sweet crumbs into the holes until level with the biscuits.

Bake for 8-10 minutes until just golden.

Leave to cool on the baking paper. Then carefully slide off with spatula. With a needle and thread tie a loop. Eat or hang or both.

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Barbecued Pheasant, Spicy Roast Potatoes and Fattoush


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Another wintry barbecue. Hoorah! There’s no reason not to cook outside just because it’s a damp and dreary November night. If we can stand around a bonfire with sparklers, then it’s just as fun standing round a barbecue listening to the sizzling meat of a heavily spiced spatchcock pheasant. I also paraffined up some ‘Swedish Log Fires’ to try and see better (or actually just to set fire to more stuff). Swedish log fires are great. All they are are logs, that you cut a cross into with a chainsaw, then start a fire in the middle, and they burn like an enormous candle. Apparently they’re good for cooking on too as you can just place a pan on top.


Anyway, back to the dinner. We had a pheasant. We had potatoes and leek from the allotment. We also had the desire for something hot and smoky, so rather than go down the classic French routewe thought we’d spice this bird up rather like Siobhann had some months before with her poussin. Jamie took a quick lesson in spatchcocking, and I lit the fires. Hoorah!

The fattoush happened towards the end of the planning stage as we realised that although it was a damp November night, we needed something zesty and fresh to counter-balance the smokeyness. A fattoush is a Lebanese salad, often consisting of strips of cucumber, stale flatbread, olives, coriander and tomatoes. It’s often sprinkled with sumac or za’atar, but we were all out. That’s what happens when you move to the country.

So, having googled spatchcocking (you basically turn the bird onto the breasts and remove the backbone, butterflying the bird and then stick some water soaked kebab sticks diagonally through it to hold the shape); the bird was prepared. The marinade was harissa, and as we didn’t have enough solely red chillies, we used both red and green. Again there appears to be many versions of harissa, and you can also buy it ready-made. It’s basically chilli, garlic and caraway seeds. We used:


5 fresh chillies

1 tsp caraway seeds

1 tsp paprika

2 garlic cloves

Good pinch of salt

Handful of coriander, chopped

50ml olive oil

You then smear it all over the bird and marinade for at least 6 hours or even overnight. When it comes to the barbecuing, just cook and wait ‘til you can’t wait any longer before you devour it there and then. I.e. you want it to be blackened and the limbs to be falling off.

Fattoush (or our version given the ingredients at hand)

½ cucumber sliced lengthways, discarding overly seedy bits

Handful of green olives, sliced

8 cherry tomatoes, quartered

Few baby rocket and lettuce leaves

Handful of coriander, roughly chopped

Handful of parsley, roughly chopped

1 pitta, sliced in half lengthways, brushed with melted butter on both sides, baked in medium heated oven until crisp

The Dressing

1 clove of garlic, smashed up with pinch of salt

Few good glugs of olive oil

Juice of half a lemon

Throw into a bowl, and toss.

The Potatoes

4 largeish potatoes, cubed and par-boiled

1 leek, chopped

3 rashers of smoky bacon, finely chopped

5 or 6 cloves of garlic

Sprinkling of paprika and cayenne

Get roasting pan hot (190c), and throw in the above. Toss every twenty minutes or so. Cook until golden (just less than an hour).

To Serve:

Some good dollops of greek yoghurt.

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More Chocolatey Chip Cookies


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So this is now our everyday cookie. It’s become more chocolatey, obviously. It’s also terribly forgiving.


I offered to take part in cooking week at Molly’s preschool, and decided to do this recipe as it’s easy, and I figured I was bound to win the kids round with chocolate. I knew it would be a bit frantic, as I had Abel in tow and there’d be a dozen or so 3 year olds, all equally overly excited. What I hadn’t bargained for was no scales. Turns out, although baking is always deemed to be an exact science, it doesn’t really matter that much. I used a large spoon to guess ounces, and divvied up the mix to each child’s bowl, then reconstituting post-licking at the end; and the cookies still turned out well. So, would highly recommend this as a fool-proof, fail-safe, but also deliciously yummy cookie recipe. I always have at least 200g of chocolate chips. Obligatory incentive to make it to the end of the recipe.

We also did this with Molly’s ‘best-friend-Ben’ and the not-so-baby-Tom. Went down a treat.

The Recipe

– makes about 12 large cookies


  • 100g/4oz/1 stick softened butter
  • 75g/3oz/ 1/3 cup caster sugar
  • 50g/2oz/ 1/3 cup light muscovado sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 150g/5oz/1 cup self raising flour
  • 2 tsp cocoa powder
  • Pinch of cinnamon powder
  • 120g/4 oz/ 1/2 cup plain chocolate chips



  1. Preheat the oven to 190 C/Fan 170/ Gas 5
  2. Lightly grease 2 baking trays or use greaseproof paper.
  3. Put soft butter (I melt mine in the bowl as the oven warms) and sugars into a mixing bowl and beat until evenly blended. Add vanilla extract to beaten egg then slowly add to butter and sugar mix with a bit of the flour, beating well between each addition.
  4. Mix in the flour and cinnamon, then cocoa; then fold in the chocolate chips.
  5. Spoon large teaspoons of mixture onto the prepared baking trays leaving room for the cookies to spread.
  6. Bake in pre-heated oven for 8-10 minutes. We like them gooey, so do 8 minutes.
  7. Leave cookies to cool on the baking tray for a few minutes (but not too long or they stick) then transfer to wire racks.


Eat with milk or tea or whisky. Yum.


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Overgrown Courgette, Sweet Red Onion and Chorizo Soup


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For anyone that’s ever grown courgettes, and then gone away for a week or two, then you’ll know about the beasts that can exist under those spiky leaves. We’d been to Portugal, and extended our stay at my parents as we needed another holiday after the holiday. So, two weeks later and when I next went to the allotment I was met with the beast. I quickly twisted him off (so as to encourage more suitably sized courgettes to grow), and then forgot about him for a couple of days.

And then tonight’s dinner occurred.


I was going to do some kind of thai prawn thing (sorry cats), but then I was re-acquainted with the beast. As it’s home-grown I really didn’t want to let it sit unattended for any longer, and knew that given its size and watery nature, it needed to be made into soup. Soup was fine by me, given the rainy wind-swept start to the day where I’d been struggling with a broken umbrella, trying desperately not to stab Abel in the eye with it.

Fighting a cold, I needed some added heat, so it has some kick. The chorizo crisps really set it off. I made the soup in advance whilst Abel slept off the umbrella ordeal and Molly worked on her artwork. Even had time to make bread, and the stock from scratch (forgot to buy stock). Phew. Light the fire.

The Stock

Few unsightly carrots

Half a leek

Onion, peeled and chopped in half

Half a dozen peppercorns

2 bay leaves

Sprig of parsley

Few sprigs of thyme

1 litre of water

Simmer for at least an hour, then strain.

The Soup

Chunk of chorizo (inch thick, two inches in diameter), finely chopped

4 red onions finely sliced

1 huge courgette / small marrow, diced

1 litre vegetable stock

Glug of cider vinegar

100ml whole milk

Bunch of coriander, chopped

Pinch of cayenne pepper


To Serve:

Hot homemade bread or baguette

Chorizo crisps (thin slices of chorizo fried in a dry frying pan)

Greek yoghurt

Melt a large knob of butter in a large saucepan, fry the chorizo until just smokey and browning. Remove from pan. Add another knob of butter and on a low heat sweat down the onions with a teaspoon of golden caster sugar. Fry until caramelised. Then remove. Add another knob of butter; fry the courgettes on high heat until a lot of water has come out. Then blitz, adding the vinegar and stock as you go. Next return to heat, pour in the milk, and either keep ‘til ready to eat or continue by adding the cayenne pepper, seasoning and lastly coriander. Serve piping hot with the bread and chorizo crisps and perhaps a dollop of Greek yoghurt.

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