Coleslaw with char siu sauce - chinese bbq Sauce

Lee Kum Kee Char Siu Coleslaw

Coleslaw with char siu sauce

I have to admit I’m ambivalent about coleslaw.   Offer me a spoonful of ready-made bought coleslaw swimming in a gloopy white dressing and I’ll almost certainly refuse.  On the other hand, if it’s homemade and the vegetables are lightly coated in mayonnaise but still clearly visible and identifiable, then it’ll be a different story altogether.

Coleslaw is a perfect side dish for a barbecue and so when I was asked if I would like to take part in the Lee Kum Kee Summer Carnival and create a perfect dish for a barbecue using some of their sauces I was happy to take part.    I was sent samples of Lee Kum Kee Chiu Chow Chilli Oil, Premium Oyster Sauce and Oriental Sesame Dressing as well as Char Siu Sauce.

Lee Kum Kee sauces

For me, when I think of barbecues the first thing I always think of is burgers and I was quite tempted to just go down that old familiar route.   After all,  the Char Siu Sauce mixed with beef mince made a tasty juicy burger.   Fortunately I decided to play around with the sauces a little more.

My lovely husband is always telling me that barbecue sauce goes well with coleslaw.   Although he isn’t talking about Chinese barbecue sauce, I thought why not try a traditional coleslaw but with Asian bbq flavours instead?  I added just enough of the Char sui Chinese bbq sauce to the coleslaw to give it that lovely Chinese bbq flavour and even added some to a burger too!   A double dose of Char Siu flavour.

Char siu coleslaw

Even though I don’t eat a lot of creamy dressings on salads I loved the flavours and from now on, it may not only be my husband who reaches for the bbq sauce whenever we have coleslaw.

If you’d like to take part in the Lee Kum Kee Summer carnival and barbecue your way to Asia then head over to and play a short matching game to win.   There are prizes every week including cooking classes, supermarket vouchers and cookbooks plus one lucky winner really will bbq their way to Asia by winning return tickets for 2 to Hong Kong.

Homemade burger with char siu coleslaw

Ingredients – Serves 4 as a side dish

120g grated carrot

100g finely sliced white cabbage

80g finely sliced red cabbage

1 red onion, finely sliced

80g mayonnaise

2tsp char sui sauce

How to Make Char Siu Coleslaw

  1. Mix all the vegetables together with the mayonnaise.

  2. Add the char sui sauce. Add 1.5 tsp then taste and add an extra half teaspoon if required.

Coleslaw with char siu Chinese bbq sauce

I am linking this to Tasty Tuesdays at Honest Mum and Recipe of the Week at A Mummy Too.

Tasty TuesdaysRecipe of the wEek

Disclosure: I was sent the sauces for free to try but the opinions and recipe are my own.


Gooseberry Cobbler

Recipe Redux: Gooseberry Cobbler

Gooseberry Cobbler

I grew up on a farm and each year in summer my dad would pick lots of the gooseberries that grew in the hedgerows.   My mum would then turn these sour little fruits into delicious pies, crumbles and sponge puddings.

After I moved away from home I didn’t eat gooseberries for a long time but last year I picked some at our local pick your own farm, Garsons.  It was lovely to taste the flavours of my childhood again, but the gooseberry season doesn’t last long and since then I’ve had to wait all year to pick gooseberries again.  But now I have and it’s been worth the wait.

Gooseberry season has also very conveniently coincided with this month’s Recipe Redux.  The theme for July is Fresh from the Garden and we have been challenged to create a recipe using seasonal fruits or vegetables.


I considered making a light gooseberry yoghurt fool but the warm desserts of my childhood were what I was really wanting to eat.   Hot desserts can be quite heavy but I’ve managed to create this relatively light gooseberry cobbler that still feels like comfort food.

The gooseberries at the bottom of the cobbler are still sharp but just sweet enough to enjoy.   The topping of the cobbler is moist and scone-like.   It’s not the prettiest dessert but it’s easy to make, even while looking after 2 demanding young children and managing to entertain them at the same time.

Gooseberries can vary a lot in sweetness so be careful when adding the sugar.   You’ll need a little sugar but you don’t want the gooseberries to loose their lovely sharp edge. Of course, if you can’t get hold of gooseberries then you can make a delicious cobbler with any other stewed fruit.   Rhubarb is one of my favourites but apples and plums are great too.

gooseberry cobbler 2

Ingredients – serves 9

500g gooseberries

50g sugar


150g self-raising flour

1/2 tsp baking powder

1 tbsp sugar

50g butter, cubed

80ml milk (I used semi-skimmed)

1 egg

How to Make Gooseberry Cobbler

  1. Wash the gooseberries and snip off the ends.   I just used my nails but you could use a small pair of scissors.

  2. Put the gooseberries in a saucepan with a dash of water and a little sugar.    Be careful not to add too much as you can always add a little more after stewing them for a short time.  Bring the pan to the boil and let it cook for a couple of minutes.  Taste the gooseberries and add a little more sugar if necessary.

  3. Transfer the gooseberries to a greased ovenproof dish.

  4. Put the flour, baking powder and sugar in a bowl.  Rub the butter in with your fingers.

  5. In another smaller bowl or jug, beat the egg and add the milk.   Then pour this mixture into the bowl with the flour. Stir until it is just combined and then drop spoonfuls of the mixture onto the top of the gooseberries.

  6. Bake for 20-25 minutes at 180C.   Let it cool slightly and then serve warm.

gooseberry cobbler

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crispy green bean fries

Green Bean Fries

Green bean fries - deep fried green beans in a spicy batter

Vegetables are supposed to be healthy right?  Green beans are definitely healthy.   So how about green bean fries?   Well, it may not be the healthiest way to eat green beans, possibly even one of the least healthy, but I promise you it is one the tastiest ways to eat your greens.

These green bean fries are actually my Secret Recipe Club pick for July.  My assignment was to pick a recipe to make from the Pintertest Kitchen.  The Pintertest Kitchen is a blog written by Allison, her sister Jessica and mother Sharon.  The idea is that they test out recipes found online, mainly through Pinterest and then let us know if they really are worth making. This recipe was one of Allison’s and actually resulted from a mistake when following another recipe.   The result was so good that that’s the way it’s stayed.  Well, almost.

I had to make a few changes as I couldn’t find any cornmeal so decided to use chickpea flour instead.  After all, it goes well in onion bhajis.   Of course, I could have chosen another recipe but there was something about green bean fries that meant I just had to make them.

The cayenne pepper in the batter makes the fries really delicious and although they didn’t turn out to be quite as crispy as I wanted (maybe I put too many in the pan at once or the oil wasn’t quite hot enough), they were really tasty and my husband and I both ate twice as many green beans as we normally would – there were none leftover!

So, if you’re looking for another blog to read and like the sound of these green beans as well as some of the other tempting recipes such as pizza pinwheels and crisp and creamy fillo chicken  packets then do take a look at the Pintertest Kitchen.

crispy green bean fries

Ingredients – serves 2 (but could stretch to 3)

Oil for deep frying

220g green beans

100ml buttermilk

70g chickpea (gram) flour

1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

How to Make Green Bean Fries

  1. Heat the oil as it needs to be really hot before you start cooking.

  2. Mix together the buttermilk, chickpea flour and cayenne pepper to make a paste.  Drop a little into the oil to check the oil is hot enough.  It should rise to the top and sizzle.

  3. Dip the green beans into the batter and then drop them in the hot oil.  Cook them in batches.

  4. Take the beans out once they have browned.  Put them on kitchen paper to soak up any excess oil before eating them while they are still hot.

chimichurri peas

Chimichurri Peas

Chimichurri Peas

We were having steak for dinner and I made a quick chimichurri sauce to serve with the steaks.   I wasn’t intending to blog about it.    After all, I’ve made a chimichurri sauce before, although quite a different one using coriander.

This time it was a more traditional chimichurri sauce using parsley and oregano.    As usual I made a little too much and surprisingly it didn’t all get eaten up, despite how good it was, even just eaten by itself off the spoon.

The next day I had some peas leftover as well and I stirred the chimichurri sauce into the peas.   It went together perfectly.   The sharpness of the vinegar with the freshness of the parsley really complements the sweetness of the peas.

Of course, you could serve the sauce with steak as I did the first night we had it.    You could also bulk it out and make it into a main meal salad by adding some halloumi and maybe some salad leaves too.   Some crusty bread to mop up all the sauce would also go well.   I have to admit,  I didn’t have any bread and was forced to lick the plate.


Cooked peas

30g parsley

2 garlic cloves

1/2 tsp red pepper flakes

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

2 tbsp white wine vinegar

1 tsp dried oregano

How to Make Chimichurri Peas 

1.Put all the ingredients except the peas into a food processor.   Blend until you get a sauce.   Add a little extra oil or vinegar to get the right consistency.

2.Mix the chimichurri sauce into the peas.   Add as much or as little as you like.

I am linking this to Eat Your Greens hosted by Allotment 2 Kitchen, Tasty Tuesdays at Honest Mum and #RecipeoftheWeek at A Mummy Too.

Eat Your GreensTasty TuesdaysRecipe of the wEek


Buttermilk, banana and blueberry soup or smoothie

Banana and Blueberry Soup

Banana and Blueberry Soup or smoothie with buttermilk

This banana and blueberry soup must be one of the quickest recipes I’ve ever made.   Quick in 2 senses: As long as the banana has been frozen in advance, it only takes a minute to prepare.  I also had no plans to make this at the beginning of the day.   I had ripe bananas and buttermilk that needed to be used up so I was thinking of making a banana bread.

However, even an easy banana bread takes a little effort so when I came across the ‘Summer’ theme for this month’s Super Soup hosted by Jo’s Kitchen I was immediately inspired by her rhubarb and strawberry soup and decided to have a go at my own fruit soup.

In went the ripe bananas and the buttermilk and as I also had a lot of blueberries at home, I decided they would go well too.   And they did.

But I couldn’t help wonder why call it a soup and not a smoothie?   Well, I tried to search for the answer wondering if a fruit soup needed the fruit, or at least some of it, to be cooked in some way first but it actually seems that the difference is as simple as how it is served.   Basically, a smoothie comes in a glass and a soup is served in a bowl.    There may also be a few pieces of unblended fruit in a soup that would be difficult to drink.

Well, after looking into the differences I decided that Master Spice could drink some as a smoothie and so I put some in a Nom Nom Kids Reusable Food Pouch and it was clearly a hit.   I may be forced to make more soups/smoothies over the next few weeks!

Banana and blueberry soup or smoothie

Ingredients – Serves 2-4

2 bananas

100g blueberries

200ml buttermilk

How to Make Banana and Blueberry Soup

  1. Slice the banana and freeze for a couple of hours.
  2. Put the banana, blueberries and buttermilk in a blender and blend to make a thick liquid.
  3. Serve in bowls with a few extra blueberries to garnish.   If you’re not serving it immediately, keep it chilled in the fridge.

Super Soup






cauliflower leaf stir fry (2)

Cauliflower Leaf and Chicken Stir Fry

cauliflower leaf and chicken stir fry

Are you guilty of buying a cauliflower and then throwing away half of it when you take off the outside leaves?  Have you even thought to eat the cauliflower leaves?

Well, until now I’d just thrown them away without thinking.   I don’t even know why I suddenly wondered about whether they would be tasty too. But for some reason I did and that’s how I ended up with this quick and easy meal.

Cabbage is quite a common stir fry ingredient and the cauliflower leaves are very similar when cooked in this way.   Cooking mellows the strong flavour a little and adding a strong sauce complements it well.    It may look like I haven’t added much black bean sauce but the brand I used is very strong and salty and after adding too much when I last used it, I am using it frugally now.   You may well need to add more if using a different brand.

If you’re wondering about other ways to eat cauliflower leaves, they have quite a strong cabbagy flavour and I liked them in a salad too.  However, my husband wasn’t keen and claimed I had cauliflower breath afterwards so although they are tasty, you may not want to eat them on a date night.

Ingredients – Serves 2

200g chicken, sliced into strips

Small piece of ginger, diced

1 tsp black bean sauce (I used a very strong sauce but you may need a little more depending on the brand you use)

1 tbsp rice wine vinegar

About 4 large cauliflower leaves, sliced into thin strips

1 bok choi

5 mushrooms, sliced

How to Make Cauliflower Leaf and Chicken Stir Fry

  1. Put a little oil in a wok and when it is hot, add the chicken.   Stir fry until it is almost cooked and then add the ginger, vinegar and black bean sauce.

  2. Stir well and then add the vegetables plus a dash of water if the pan is too dry.    Cook for another couple of minutes until everything is cooked through.  Serve with rice.

I am linking this to Extra Veg, hosted by Fuss Free Flavours and on alternate months by Utterly Scrummy.  I am also linking to Credit Crunch Munch, hosted this month by Jen’s Food and run by Fuss Free Flavours and Fab Food 4 All.

Extra Veg

Credit Crunch Munch






vegetarian Mexican bean salad in a kilner jar

Mexican Salad in a Kilner Jar

Mexican kilner jar saladI don’t consider making food look good to be one of my strengths.   Making tasty food is more (I hope) where my talents lie.   However, when I was asked if I would like to take part in a competition to present something tasty in a Kilner jar, I was tempted.  Kilner jars have become incredibly popular recently, not just for canning and preserving food, but for presenting sweets, soups, drinks, desserts, salads and probably many more things.

Initially I was considering making a trifle.  I thought I could make it look good in the jar, but I very much doubted I’d be able to get it out of the jar and still make it look good.  I soon moved on from that idea.   At least for now.

I then started thinking about salads and decided on this colourful Mexican bean salad.  It may not be the most original thing to fill the jar with, but it was very very tasty.

You can make this Mexican salad in advance and then turn it out of the jar to serve.  I used a 1 litre jar and it was big enough to serve 2 people generously but could serve up to 4 as a side salad.   It’s important to add the dressing to the jar first and then put crunchy vegetables in first that won’t go soggy in the dressing.    The lettuce and herbs should go at the top so they don’t get crushed.  Before serving you can turn the jar upside down for 5 minutes so the dressing runs down and coats all the vegetables.

If you’d like a more fiery salad, add a little sliced chilli pepper or some jalapenos to the jar as well as the hot sauce.   Or if you’d like a non-vegetarian salad, a little roasted chicken would go well too.

If you’d like more ideas, foodie or otherwise, for what to do with a Kilner jar, then have a look at Think Money’s Jam J-Art site.

vegetarian Mexican bean salad in a kilner jar

Ingredients – Serves 2-4

Juice of 1 lime

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 tsp hot sauce

1/2 red pepper, diced

1/4 cucumber, diced

2 tbsp sweetcorn

1/2 small red onion, sliced

1/2 avocado, cut into large chunks

1 large tomato, diced

2 tbsp red kidney beans

2 tbsp  coriander (cilantro), chopped

2 tbsp iceberg lettuce, sliced

How to Make Mexican Kilner Jar Salad

  1. Layer all the ingredients into the jar in the order given above.

  2. Before serving, turn the jar upside down so the dressing covers all the ingredients.

  3. Turn the salad out onto a plate.

vegetarian Mexican bean salad in a kilner jar


lamb stir fry with chapatis

‘Lamb. Tasty Easy Fun’ Campaign Launch and my Tasty Easy Lamb Stir Fry Recipe

Cyrus Todiwala demontrating how to cook lamb at Lamb Tasty Easy Fun campaign launch

Last week I was invited to the launch of a new campaign:  Lamb. Tasty Easy Fun at Cafe Spice Namaste in London.   Not only did I learn a lot about lamb, but I ate some of the tastiest lamb dishes I’d eaten in a long time.  Thank you Cyrus Todiwala for some amazing food.IMG_6872

The campaign aims to encourage younger consumers in the UK, Ireland, France, Belgium, Germany and Denmark to consider lamb as an everyday meat to buy and cook with regularly.   It doesn’t only have to be a roasted lamb joint with mint sauce on a Sunday.   It is a versatile meat that can be enjoyed at any time and cooked in many IMG_6875different ways.  Of course it can be slow cooked but you can also cook a quick steak, cutlets or a stir fry too. And of course lamb mince is great for burgers, mince and koftas.

As we enjoyed canapes Jane Ritchie-Smith from AHDB (Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board) introduced the campaign, highlighting the quality and sustainability of lamb.   Unlike some animals, sheep do not need quality land to survive on.  They often thrive on hillsides and the type of land that would be unsuitable for any other type of agriculture or farming and therefore make an important contribution to the economy in rural areas.


John Kirkpatrick, a sheep producer then talked briefly about sheep farming, followed by Cyrus Todiwala demonstrating some lamb dishes and talking about the way lamb is used in his restaurant, Cafe Spice Namaste.  As he likes to support smaller independent sheep producers and I grew up on a farm with sheep, I was impressed by his approach.


As I mentioned above, I was especially impressed by the food. There were a variety of lamb canapes – Kadduk Sheek Kavaabs, barbecue lamb breast fingers and diced lamb with chilli, garlic and cinnamon.  I was feeling well fed before the meal even started!

There was then a starter of lamb cutlets and liver and IMG_6888sweetbread samosas.   I don’t often eat offal but I could have eaten a lot of those samosas!   The next course was a lamb burger stuffed with chilli, cheese and garlic.   The final lamb course was a lamb curry with the most amazing coconut stir fried green vegetables and lamb rice. Finally at the end there was one lamb free course – kulfi and stewed figs.IMG_6901


After all that lamb you might think I’d never want to eat lamb again in my life  but I came away inspired to add my own twist on some of my favourite dishes of the evening.  I make a lot of stir fries but usually with chicken.  I don’t think I’ve ever cooked a lamb stir fry until now but as the message of the campaign was that lamb can be a great meat to cook with everyday at home, I felt it was only fitting I created my own quick easy and tasty lamb dish.   I love lamb with spices but if you’re not confident blending lots of spices together you can make something just as delicious using a spice blend or just 2 or 3 individual spices.   This lamb stir fry simply uses garam masala, a common Indian spice blend plus a little cayenne pepper for extra heat.  It’s super quick to prepare, especially if you miss out step 1, and really tasty too.   I’ll definitely be making it again.

Lamb stir fry

Ingredients – Serves 2

3 garlic cloves, finely diced

Small knob of fresh ginger, finely diced

1 red chilli pepper, sliced

2 lamb steaks

1 tsp garam masala

1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

2 tbsp chopped fresh coriander (cilantro)

How to Make Lamb stir fry

1. If you have time, put the lamb in the freezer for 30 minutes before beginning the cooking.  This will make it easier to cut into strips.

2. Slice the lamb into strips.   Remove any hard bits of fat.

3. Heat a little oil in a wok or frying pan.   Add the garlic, ginger and chilli pepper.  Stir fry for 1-2 minutes.

4. Add the lamb, garam masala and cayenne pepper.   Stir fry for a couple of minutes until the lamb is just cooked.   Stir in the chopped fresh herbs at the end.

5. Serve the stir fry wrapped in chapatis with lettuce, tomato and cucumber.

lamb stir fry with chapatis

You can find out more about the campaign at and also follow them on Twitter @TastyEasyLamb or Facebook Tasty Easy Lamb



The Cheese Market - Tunworth, a Camembert-like British cheese

Baked Tunworth and Review of The Cheese Market

Tunworth cheese studded with garlic and rosemary, ready for baking

Recently I was asked if I would like to review a Cheese from The Cheese Market, who sell artisan, specialist and luxury cheeses online.   Well, I love cheese so I was delighted to be able to choose something new to try.

There are a huge range of cheeses on their website from individual cheeses to hampers to even cheese wedding cakes.   There’s also something to suit every type of cheese lover: those who like French cheeses, those who like the traditional British cheeses and even those who like a fiery kick to their cheeses.

I could have just chosen a rather special Cheddar or Red Leicester but I wanted to pick something I’d never tried before.   I came across Tunworth, a Camembert-like soft cows cheese made in Hampshire, which has twice been Supreme Champion at the British Cheese Awards, as well as winning gold at the World Cheese Awards last year and I knew that I had found the cheese I wanted to try.

Apparently Raymond Blanc has described Tunworth as, ‘the best Camembert in the world’ and that he likes to bake it with chilli, garlic and rosemary.   Well, although I love chilllies, I felt that might be adding a little too much so I just stuck with rosemary and garlic for my baked Tunworth.   I spiked the top of the cheese with a knife a few times and pushed in a few rosemary leaves and a couple of cloves of garlic cloves cut in half and that was it.

The only issue I had was that the box the Tunworth came in was slightly broken at the side and so some of the cheese flowed out across the baking tray as it was in the oven.   Next time I might line the inside of the box with foil to stop that happening.   Even so, it wasn’t wasted.  I poured the molten cheese from the baking tray into a ramekin so we could dip the bread in that too.

It is quite rich to eat cheese baked in this way so you’ll probably feel like eating something light afterwards.  For us it made an easy Saturday lunch with salad and bread, followed by fruit.     The Tunworth may have been rich but it was lovely, smooth and creamy and not too strong.   I’d definitely enjoy it for lunch again.

You can buy Tunworth online from The Cheese Market for £6.95.

Baked Tunworth

Ingredients – Serves 4

250g Tunworth cheese

2 garlic cloves, sliced in half

A few rosemary leaves

How to Make Baked Tunworth

1. Unwrap the cheese from its packaging and then place it back into the wooden box.   Make a few cuts on top of the cheese and push in the sliced garlic and rosemary leaves.

2. Bake in the oven at 180C for about 15 minutes.

watermelon, feta and basil salad

Watermelon, Feta and Basil Salad

Watermelon feta and basil salad

This month I have been trying to eat healthily and even started running again so when I picked my Secret Recipe Club assignment from the blog, Cheesecurd in Paradise, I immediately went to look at the savoury recipes.  As I think of myself more as a savoury cook than a sweet one, I was delighted there was so much choice and so many recipes were tempting me.  I especially liked the sound of a lot of Ashley’s slow cooker recipes such as the Slowcooker Thai Peanut Beef but in the end I opted for the Watermelon, Feta and Basil Salad.   

I’ve been wanting to make a watermelon salad for a long time but somehow never have.   I’ve seen a lot of slightly different versions but what I liked about this one was the simplicity and the squeeze of lime.   It’s a perfect match for the salty feta and the sweet melon.

I just ate this for lunch one day but it would be a great salad to have on a hot day, eaten outside in the garden, maybe with a barbecue.


1/4 medium-sized watermelon, diced

50g feta cheese

About 8 basil leaves, chopped

Juice of 1/2 lime

How to Make Watermelon, Feta and Basil Salad

1. Mix all the ingredients and add a little extra lime juice if it’s needed.

2. Chill in the fridge until you’re ready to serve.

To see what other Secret Recipe Club participants have made, click on the link below: