“Cauliflower Cake” from “Plenty More”

IMG_6420Maureen: I’ve been intrigued by this recipe for as long as I’ve had the book. It’s cauliflower cake for Meat Free Monday today.

Nicholas (11): What? Cake made of cauliflower? That sounds strange.

Maureen: It’s not actually cake like we think of cake. It’s more of a frittata, with lots of eggs, cheese and some cauliflower thrown in for good measure. What do you think?

Andrew (15): The flavour combination is interesting.

Maureen: Is that good interesting? Or bad interesting?

Andrew (considering): It’s good interesting, actually. I like it.

Tim: I’m not so sure about the texture.

Maureen: What do you mean?

Tim: It seems a bit strange.

Maureen: Does that mean you don’t like it?

Tim: If you made it, I would eat it, but I wouldn’t ask for you to make it, if you see what I mean.

Maureen: Hardly a ringing endorsement. What do you think Nicholas?

Nicholas: I’m with Dad. I’m not so sure about it.

Maureen: I like it. I’m with Andrew. I think it’s interesting. But then again, I am a big cauliflower fan, so maybe that’s part of it. So it’s a mixed result tonight.

If you would like to make this yourself, click through this link to find the recipe in the Guardian. I’m with Ottolenghi when he says it’s even better the next day. I just had some for lunch and it was delicious. 


“Cauliflower Cake” from “Plenty More”

“Courgette Omelette with Pinenuts, Herbs and Sumac” from “The Moro Cookbook”

IMG_6254Maureen: Meat Free Monday and its triumphant return.

Tim: We had a few weeks off, didn’t we.

Maureen: A few, but that was really down to it being Christmas and the endless parade of guests we had in December.

Tim: So what’s this? It smells good.

Maureen: It’s a courgette omelette.

Tim: It smells good.

Maureen: I think the lovely Ottolenghi has a lot to answer for. This book is old– it was first published 14 years ago– but when you read through it now, they give loads of explanations for ingredients that now are commonplace, which I think is mostly down to Ottolenghi.

Tim: Like what?

Maureen: Sumac is a perfect example. We have a full supply of sumac on our spice shelf, thanks to Ottolenghi. But in this book, they feel compelled to provide an entire paragraph and illustration about it. Do you like it, though?

Tim: I do.

Maureen: Me too. I will make this again.

“Courgette Omelette with Pinenuts, Herbs and Sumac” from “The Moro Cookbook”

“Asparagus and Poached Egg Salad” from “Bill’s Italian Food”

Anna: I feel very virtuous eating this.

Peter: It is very summery for sure.


Anna: I thought it would be a wonderful way to celebrate the asparagus that’s in season right now. Louis helped me chose the asparagus at the greengrocer.

Peter: We can do the pee experiment in the morning….

Anna: Really I should have made this in Aldeburgh last week with all that amazing local asparagus kicking around but we weren’t so virtuous with our fish and chips. I made an extra poached egg each as I didn’t think it would be substantial enough for dinner otherwise. I think we should have asparagus like this every year!

“Asparagus and Poached Egg Salad” from “Bill’s Italian Food”

“Turkish Poached Eggs with Spinach and Yogurt” from “A Change of Appetite”

Oh wow! If I close my eyes I could be in Turkey. Seriously. I think it’s the garlicky yoghurt. And the foaming butter drizzled over the eggs. This tastes so indulgent and not at all healthy. But the recipe is from this book so it MUST be healthy! In which case I will be making it again. Weekend brunches. Yum, yum, yum.

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“Turkish Poached Eggs with Spinach and Yogurt” from “A Change of Appetite”

“Spinach, Bacon and Gruyere Frittata” from “Rachel’s Everyday Kitchen”

CBAMFritataMaureen: Meat Free Monday!

Andrew (14): Well, not really. Isn’t there bacon in this?

Maureen: Yes, there is. If I was really faithful to Meat Free Monday I would have substituted red pepper for the bacon, but I didn’t. I just can’t turn down bacon.

Nicholas (10): I’m glad you put in the bacon, but why did you have to put in the spinach? You know how I feel about spinach?

Maureen: Yes, I do know that, which is why I showed you the recipe for approval before I made it. Spinach is in the title! It’s hard to miss!

Nicholas: But I missed it, and now I have to eat around it.

Maureen: Why eat around it? Why not just eat it? I love spinach.

Andrew: Come on, Nicholas, this is really good. Give it a try.

Maureen: Yes, I like it too. It was quick, we had most of the ingredients on hand, and, it’s delicious. As a bonus, you can have bacon sandwiches for breakfast tomorrow because I bought too much bacon.

Andrew: Bacon Sandwiches For The Win!

“Spinach, Bacon and Gruyere Frittata” from “Rachel’s Everyday Kitchen”

“Oeuf en Cocotte a l’Estragon” from “The Skinny French Kitchen”

I made this for my lunch today because I was pretty sure that if I served it up for dinner, there would be a minor revolt on my hands. Or, as a friend recently posted on Facebook with a picture of a big beautiful salad: “Better bring my wine to the table because I know everyone else will be whining too.”

This is essentially baked eggs with cream and tarragon and almonds scattered on top. Yum.


The skinny tip is to use a smaller ramekin in which to cook the egg and the cream. I wasn’t sure, however, what qualified as “smaller”, so I used my usual ramekin. I didn’t think my small one would be able to hold the egg and the cream without it spilling over.

It was, in a word, divine. It couldn’t have been more simple: a medium-sized egg swimming in a small amount of chicken stock and cream with bits of tarragon thrown in for good measure.

Will I make it again? You bet. Would I make it for the family? Probably not. I don’t want to have to bring my wine to the table for the whining.

“Oeuf en Cocotte a l’Estragon” from “The Skinny French Kitchen”

“Pork Loin with Parma Ham & Oregano” and “Spinach baked with Ricotta & Nutmeg” from “Nigellissima””

Anna: I’m sorry we’re eating a bit later than I planned. The crackling took a lot longer than I thought it would.

Judy: But it was delicious and we could nibble on it while we waited for the main course. I have been very careful not to crack my teeth.

Anna: I also have another confession, which is that I’ve screwed up the spinach. In my head I thought we needed marscapone, which I had already. So I’ve had to use it rather than ricotta, which I don’t have. I think it’s going to be very runny.

Judy: I like undercooked eggs.

John: It looks set to me.

Anna: I guess it has set, it just isn’t quite what it should be.

Judy: Well it’s delicious and goes with the pork perfectly. No carbs required!

Anna: This pork is very good isn’t it?

Judy: It’s delicious! The flavours are so fresh. I can tasted the garlic and the oregano. Wonderful! John, you will have to get me this cookbook for my birthday.

“Pork Loin with Parma Ham & Oregano” and “Spinach baked with Ricotta & Nutmeg” from “Nigellissima””

“Spinach, Leek and Courgette Frittata” from “Food”

Anna: This is a man-sized frittata. Proper portions, that’s what we like in the this household.

Peter: Definitely a proper lunch this.

Anna: That will be the 5 eggs and loads of veg. And lots of feta too! Yum yum. As Maureen would agree, anything with feta is delicious.

Peter: And you’re telling me that it’s healthy too, because of the vegetables?

Anna: Yes, the veg cancels out all the fat from the eggs and cheese. Win win!

Peter: Let’s have this again please.

Anna: You’re on.



“Spinach, Leek and Courgette Frittata” from “Food”

“Botham Burger” from “The Return of the Naked Chef”

Andrew (12): Nom, nom, nom.

Maureen: That’s your new favourite saying, isn’t it?

Andrew: It’s a great word to use when you’re eating something good.

Maureen: Like this?

Andrew: Like this. These are really good burgers.

Nicholas (8): Yes, I think so too.

Maureen: I liked them because they were easy. I could get them all made, with Nicholas helping, in no time at all. I also liked them better than “The Family Meal” burgers because it had more interesting spices added, whereas the other ones were just mince.

Andrew: Were the crisps part of the recipe?

Maureen: Unlike in The Family Meal, no. I just added them in because I knew you would like them.

Nicholas: We do like them, thanks.

Continue reading ““Botham Burger” from “The Return of the Naked Chef””

“Botham Burger” from “The Return of the Naked Chef”

“Huevos Rancheros” and “Quesadillas” from “Easy Meals”

Maureen (as the boys gobble up the quesadillas): Try the eggs, which are called huevos rancheros in Spanish.

Andrew (12): Hmm. (tries it) Yum!

Nicholas (8) (pushes the eggs around his plate): I’m not sure.

Andrew: Look! I’ve finished mine!

Maureen: Nicholas, you have to try them before you know if you’ll like them. (Nicholas tries the eggs). Do you like them?

Nicholas: Yes.

Continue reading ““Huevos Rancheros” and “Quesadillas” from “Easy Meals””

“Huevos Rancheros” and “Quesadillas” from “Easy Meals”