Crispy Baked Chicken

This is my favorite way to eat boneless chicken breast! It’s flavorful, juicy and easy.

Crispy Baked Chicken

Here is what you will need:

2 Eggs Beaten
3-4 Boneless Chicken Breasts
3 Tablespoon Canola Oil
1/2 Cup of Flour
1 Sprig Fresh Rosemary (Chopped)
1 Sprig of Fresh Thyme (Chopped)
1 Cup of Italian Bread Crumbs
1 Cup of Panko Bread Crumbs
Salt and Pepper

Set your oven to 400F degrees.
Put foil on a baking sheet and set aside.
Next, pound each breast on both sides to help tenderize it.

In a small bowl, beat your eggs and set aside. In a medium bowl, combine your Flour, Rosemary, Thyme, Panko Bread Crumbs, Salt and Pepper and Italian Bread Crumbs. Mix thoroughly. Now, on your stove top, heat your frying pan with a medium-high flame and add the Canola Oil.

Assuming your pan is nice and hot, take each breast and dip it into the egg mixture, then immediately in the bread crumb mixture and straight into your frying pan.

Fry the breasts on each side for about 5-7 minutes.

It depends how brown you like it. Once each breast is browned, place them on your baking sheet and throw in the oven for 20 minutes.

I either serve this with a salad or I mix Mayonnaise and Dijon Mustard for a dipping sauce.


Poached Pears


, , , , , , , , , , , ,

Poached Pears

Joy and her family came to England for a visit and so the two of us were able to cook together again – what joy! We invited some friends over for a dinner party and we made a new dessert neither of us had made before. Whilst in the local supermarket looking for raspberries that turned out to be way too expensive we thought why not try poached pears… So we gave it a go and the result was pretty good, we were both stunned by how easy and yummy these treats turned out.

Here is what you need:

Poached pears
6 Pears (we had six guests)
4 Juiced Oranges
Enough water to fill ¾ of a pot
1 Orange’s rind
2 Anise stars
2 Cups Sugar
3 Cloves
1 Cinnamon stick
1 Vanilla pod

Vanilla syrup

1 1/2 Cups of Sugar
4 Cups of Water
1 Vanilla pod

Poaching the pears

Peel the pears. Slice the vanilla pod down the middle and scrape the seed out the pod add with all other ingredients into a big pot and then add the pears and bring to a boil. Once it boils reduce the heat, cover and let it simmer for 20 minutes. Remove the pears from the pot and place to one side. If you find there is too much water for the size of your pot then reduce the amount.

For a nice presentation, you can place the pear on top of a tablespoon of melted chocolate or nutella. This helps keep the pear in place on the plate or bowl.

Vanilla syrup

For the vanilla syrup combine all ingredients in a small saucepan on medium heat. Stir constantly until sugar is dissolved and it thickens. You could use the water that the pears were cooked in instead of using water.

Pour over pears and serve.

Mel and Joy

Rhubarb Crumble


, , , , , , , ,

Individual Rhubarb Crumble

I work on Lower Marsh, a fantastic little street hidden behind the imposing Waterloo Station. If you’re ever in London it’s definitely one of those hidden gems that’s worth a visit.

The local fruit and veg guy, Dave had a pound of rhubarb for 90p so I though I’d try making rhubarb crumble. I used honey instead of sugar for the rhubarb.

What you need:
4 sticks/ 1 pound of rhubarb
4 tbsp honey
4 tbsp water
2 tps cinnamon

For the crumble:
100g flour
80g brown sugar
50g butter
(optional crushed walnuts and cinnamon)

Heat your oven to 180C.
Cut your rhubarb into small chunks or small slices. I cut them into slices as I made small separate crumbles and thought they would look prettier, but this is really up to you. If you are making one big crumble then place your rhubarb in the oven dish you will be using to make the crumble. Add the honey, water and cinnamon and mix all together. Place in oven for 20 – 30 minutes, check every 10 minutes and stir if necessary. It is ready when they are tender and soft.


When choosing what oven dish to use make sure not to use one that’s too big as the rhubarb shrinks as it cooks so you want it to be stacked up quite high.

For the crumble
In a bowl place the flour, cut up butter and sugar, and rub all the ingredients together until the mixture has a crumb like texture. You can add in cinnamon, crushed walnuts or any other (dry) ingredients you fancy trying. You will probably have some crumble left-over, it is perfect for freezing and takes minutes to reuse once removed from the freezer for any future crumbles you fancy making.

Once the rhubarb is ready place the oven dish you want your rhubarb crumble to be cooked in. Then sprinkle the crumble over. How much you sprinkle is really up to you.

Sprinkle the crumble

Place your dish in the oven for 30 minutes – it’s ready when the crumble takes on a golden colour. Serve hot or cold with a drizzle of fresh cream or custard.


Pasta carbonara – with pancetta or salmon


, , , , , , ,

This is another recipe that my husband makes. YUM!

Pasta carbonara – with pancetta or salmon

It is a variation of the traditional carbonara but that’s why I like it.

Here is what you need:
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil Pancetta (cut up into pieces)
Spaghetti (boxed is better than fresh)
3 Eggs
1 cup of Parmesan
2 Tablespoons Heavy Cream
1 Shallot
2 Cloves of Garlic (chopped)
Parsley (chopped)
2 Teaspoons Black Pepper

Get your pasta going because you will use the pasta water later. Put oil into a pan on medium heat. Add your pancetta, you want it to be slightly crispy. After about 5 minutes, once some of the fat has rendered, add your garlic and shallot. Turn your heat down stirring occasionally. Drain your pasta and set aside 1/3 cup of the water. Whisk your eggs, black pepper and the pasta water. Keep whisking and add the Parmesan cheese and cream. Toss the pasta in the pancetta/garlic/shallot pan and then mix in the egg mixture with some parsley. You can sprinkle more cheese on top if you like!

And for a bit of a variation Mel uses cooked or smoked salmon instead of pancetta. Great for a vegetarian option.



Pinto Bean Burger with Avocado Salsa


, , , , , ,

Pinto Bean Burger with Avocado Salsa

I am not  a huge fan of black beans but I wanted to try making a bean burger. I decided to use Pinto Beans instead and it was simple and delicious!

Here is what you need:

For Avocado Salsa:
1 Avocado
1-2 Tablespoons of Salsa (you decide)

Avocado salsa

Once you spoon out the avocado, add 1 or 2 tablespoons of salsa and mix.

For Bean Burger:
1 15 oz can of Pinto Beans (drained and rinsed)
2-3 cloves of garlic (minced)
1 Teaspoon of Cumin
Salt and Pepper to taste
1/4 Cup of Corn
1/4 Cup of Breadcrumbs
1/3 of a Medium Onion (minced)
Fresh Parsley or Cilantro (use what you have)
1/2 Cup White Cheddar Cheese (shredded)

Smash the beans with a fork and then add the remaining ingredients. Stir well but not too much. You want your burgers to be chunky and irregularly shaped.

I cooked them two ways:

If you want your bean burger to be on the dry side, bake them on a cookie sheet for 10 minutes at 400 degrees. If you want them slightly moist, pan fry them for 3-4 minutes on each side.

Pinto Bean Burger with Avocado Salsa

Top with a generous amount of cheese on each burger and add your Avocado Salsa. Enjoy!

Baby Food: I baked a burger for my 1 year old daughter. Once it was done, I mashed it in a tablespoon of rice and added a tablespoon of avocado and 1 tablespoon of pureed carrot. She LOVED it!


Chocolate and Hazelnut cake


, , , , ,

Chocolate and Hazelnut cake

It was my friend Emma’s birthday at work and so I decided to make a chocolate cake I have been making since I was a kid. You can never really fail, unless you over-cook it. It turned out pretty good and everyone gobbled it down, so here it is:

Prep time: 20mins
Cooking time: 25 – 30mins at 180C

For the cake you will need:
200g dark chocolate (mine was 76% cocoa)
100g of hazelnuts (whole)
150g granulated sugar
150g butter
100g raising flour
4 eggs
1 tsp baking soda

For the ganache you will need:
100g dark chocolate
50g icing sugar
50g butter

Before you do anything turn your oven onto 180C. You will need two big bowls. Take your eggs and separate into the two bowls the yolks and the whites. Add the sugar to the yolks and whisk until it takes on a creamy colour (this will only take a minute or two).

Now you need to melt your chocolate and butter together. You can do this in a bain-marie but I like to cheat and use the microwave. Break up the chocolate in a bowl and the cut up the butter and place on top of the chocolate, add a tablespoon of water. Put in the microwave at medium heat for a minute. Check the chocolate, if it isn’t fully melted put it a back in for a while longer. Be careful not to leave it to long as it can easily burn if it goes past its melted form.

Once the chocolate and butter are melted make sure the mixture isn’t hot when you add it to the yolks and sugar (otherwise it will cook the eggs).  With a whisk mix all ingredients together.

Put the flour in a small bowl and add to it the baking soda. Make sure they are well mixed together and then add them to your cake mixture. Use a wooden spoon to incorporate the flour and then use the whisk to properly mix. Add the hazelnuts, though they are not a must have.

Now come the egg whites, you need to whisk them until you can literally turn the bowl upside down over your head without them falling out. This should take about 5 minutes. Then you need to use a wooden spoon to fold the egg whites into your cake mixture. This is so you don’t lose the air you have created with the whites, this will ensure you cake rises and is light.

Put the cake mixture in a not stick proof cake tin and place in the oven for 25 minutes if you like it a little gooey in the middle or 35 minutes if not.

Remove the cake from the oven and de-mold. Once it has cooled you can turn to your ganache.

Melt the chocolate and butter as you did previously. Then add to it the icing sugar and make sure the three ingredients are well mixed together. Now you can cover your cake with the ganache.

Fell free to add anything else to the top of your cake for decoration, or just leave it simple.

This is a definite success.


Restaurant – Galicia Mar in Lloret de Mar


, , , , ,

Seafood platter - Galicia Mar

To launch the new restaurant section of our blog I’ve got a wonderful experience to share about a fantastic restaurant on the Costa Brava.

Alexis and I went to Barcelona to visit my brother who lives there and we decided to go and spend two nights at Lloret de Mar in Costa Brava. It’s only an hour bus ride away from Barcelona so very easy to get to. We went end of March so got an incredible deal on a 4 star hotel on the beach front at only 35 euros a night.

Being by the beach I wanted to eat some seafood and found a restaurant only five minute walk away called Galicia Mar.

We weren’t sure what it was going to be like but as we strolled up to the restaurant through the window I spotted a huge platter of seafood that two women were sharing. Now that was what I wanted to eat! We went in and were seated by a lovely waiter and ordered the platter. Whilst we waited the owner and head chef came over to our table and asked how we were, he joked about a photo of himself on the wall with an enormous lobster – I can’t remember how many kilos he said it was but it was huge.

The platter arrived and at 41 euros it wasn’t disappointing – we had half a lobster, clams, mussles, prawns, langoustines and about 4 different types of fish. I was stuffed!

Once finished the chef came and asked us how we had found the platter – and after a bit more banter he whispered something to the waiter. 10 seconds later he arrived with a bottle of cava – for our hotel room he said. I had been trying to speak to him in my broken Spanish and so my immediate thought was – ‘oups did I order this without realising…’ We asked for the bill and double checked and to our surprise it was indeed a gift to us.

If you are ever in Lloret de Mar you definitely need to pay this restaurant a visit.


Live Below the Line – Lentil and Tuna Salad


, , , , , ,

Live Below the Line - Lentil and tuna salad

Total cost: £2.55
For 10 people = 25.5p each.

If you are taking part in Live Below the Line you should really consider making this salad. I organised a Live Below the Line lunch for Christian Aid and it went down a treat, people were amazed how little it cost and how yummy it was.

The costing is for 10 people as this could feed a family over 2 days who are living below the Line.

What you need:

500g green lentils: 95p
1 can of tuna: 49p
3 tomatoes: 42p
4 eggs:  40p
½ red onion: 9p
Salt & pepper: 5p
Olive oil and Vinegar: 15p

Cook the lentils for about 30 minutes or as directed on the packet. Once they are cooked wait for them to cool. Boil your eggs, cut the tomatoes into small pieces and the red onion into small slices.

In a bowl put the lentils and add to them the tuna, chopped tomatoes and sliced red onion and cut eggs. Add 1 tbsp of vinegar and 2 tbsp of olive oil and add salt and pepper (add more depending on taste). Mix everything together.


Lamb shank with a twist


, , , , , , , ,

Lamb shank

On Friday evening I went to Greensmith’s where there’s a great butcher. They have really good meat and it’s not over-priced. I decided to get some lamb shank and on Saturday we hade a nice roast. This is usually cooked with red wine but we didn’t have any, so I improvised. This is what I love about cooking, trying out new things, not knowing if it’ll work and when it does feeling proud of my new creation. Now I’m not saying my strange mixture is better than using red wine but it sure is a cheaper version and tastes pretty good.

What you need:
1 lamb shank per person
(the following amounts are for 2 lamb shanks)
2 sliced red onions
2 garlic cloves
4 tbs soy sauce
2 tbs red vinegar
1 tbs honey
Herbs – I used rosemary and sage
1/2 cup of beef stock
1 tsp olive oil

Heat your oven to 200C
Cut you garlic in two and make holes in the lamb and put your garlic in the holes. Do the same with some rosemary twigs (2 per lamb shank). With some string tie your herbs together – to make a bouquet garni – they will be easier to remove.

I used a normal cooking pot but if you can use anything with a lid that can go in the oven. Put the pot on the hob and add the olive oil, then add the lamb and brown every side. Then add the onions until they start to brown.

Lamb shank

Reduce the heat and add the soy sauce, vinegar, honey, beef stock and bouquet garni. Keep on the hob until the liquid boils, making sure everything is mixed well. Remove from the hob and cover with the lid and place in the oven for 2 hours (if they are large 2h30m). Check the meat half way through.

Remove your pot from the oven and remove your bouquet garni and the rosemary from the lamb. If you want your sauce to be nice and clear (a little messy) you can use a colander to drain the sauce through into a bowl, then pick out and bits of herbs then add the onions to your sauce.

We had yummy cheesy mashed potatoes with this. It all went down a treat and was really easy to make.

Place you lamb shank on some mashed potatoes and pour the sauce over it. Very yummy!


Roasted Vegetable Soup


, , , , , , , , ,

This soup is so easy and delicious!

Here is what you need:

1 Potato (Peeled)
1 Carrot (Peeled)
1 Red Pepper
1 Onion
Olive Oil
Chicken Broth
Marscapone Cheese
Salt & Pepper

Preheat your oven to 400F degrees (about 200C).

Simply chop the vegetables into big chunks and place on a baking sheet.
Generously drizzle olive oil over all of your vegetables. Sprinkle Salt and Pepper as well.
Roast for about 40 minutes. I would start checking on them after 30 minutes.

Roasted Vegetables

Discard any burnt areas and throw them in a blender with about a 1/2 cup of chicken broth.
Blend and add a 1/4 cup of Marscapone Cheese.

This is when you decide on what consistency you want. Add more chicken broth if necessary.

Roasted Vegetable Soup