The Larder at Butler’s Retreat

Butler's Retreat

One of our favourite local lunchtime haunts is The Larder at Butler’s Retreat. It’s a lovely café located in a 19th Century barn that was refurbished a few years ago. They’ve got a reasonably-sized menu that’s packed with lip-smackingly good dishes and caters for most dietary needs. As it’s the husband’s birthday weekend (kind of) we thought we’d treat ourselves. Continue reading

Dairy-free risotto

springtime risotto

If a finalist on Masterchef declared they were about to attempt a dairy-free risotto, John and Gregg would probably be muttering something along the lines of: ‘Dairy-free risotto. Are they mad?’

Risotto appears to have been the nemesis of many a Masterchef contestant across the globe, but the husband seems to have mastered the art and got a bit huffy when I suggested that, I, instead of him, would attempt to cook Anna Jones’, butter and cheese free, Springtime wild garlic and lemon risotto. (I promise I’ll cook from a wider variety of books next week – it’s just Anna’s book is REALLY good.) Continue reading

Jamie’s butternut squash and cauliflower curry

Jamie's vegetable rogan josh

When someone tells me that I can cook a tasty meal and have it on the table within 30 minutes, it makes my heart sing. So, it’s no surprise that I’m a fully fledged member of the Jamie’s 30 Minute Meals brigade.

While the book isn’t home to an abundance of vegetarian meals, Mr Oliver’s vegetable Rogan Josh is one of them. It’s also one meal the vegetable hating toddler actually likes, despite the presence of cauliflower, spinach and butternut squash. Continue reading

Getting the toddler to eat carrots

Toddler with carrot

It’s no mean feat getting your once vegetable munching toddler back onto the good stuff once they’ve deemed every veg under the sun as ‘yucky’ – even peas. I thought every child LOVED peas. Apparently not!

I’m all for ‘hiding’ veg in pasta sauces – I do it all the time – but I wanted to get the defiant vegetable eater tucking into his five a day in their original form. After a surprisingly unbroken night’s sleep – not only will he not eat his veg, the toddler also likes to wander into our bedroom at some ungodly hour and watch me sleep, until I wake up with a start and put him back to bed – I hit on a plan. Continue reading

Lemony lentil soup

lemony lentil soup

It’s been one of those weeks – and it’s only Wednesday. The husband and myself have been fighting off colds since the weekend and the toddler was sent home from nursery with conjunctivitis. Joy!

Come lunchtime today I thought perhaps a big bowl of homemade soup would sort us all out. Looking for inspiration I returned to my new guilty pleasure, Anna Jones’ a modern way to eat. She’s got an array of delicious soups to choose from, and they all look as if they would make a week like ours melt away in one spoonful. Continue reading

Mee goreng

mee goreng

While Yotam Ottolenghi is predominantly known for his Mediterranean and Middle Eastern flavours, he also does some pretty good Asian dishes too. One of our favourites is a vegetarian Malay dish (again from Plenty) called mee goreng.

It’s a noodle dish, flavoured with coriander, cumin and a chilli paste called sambal oelek. A couple of years ago the husband and I would buy up jars of the stuff whenever we saw them, but it seems to be more widely available now. Continue reading

Fat Tuesday

pancake day

It’s Pancake Day again, which means one thing. I’ve stepped out of the kitchen and left the whisking and tossing to the husband and toddler. After much mixing, a burning smell and a lot of messing around trying to get a decent picture, here’s the result.

pancake day

The verdict from the toddler: ‘Yummy.’ Of course!

Prawn biryani

prawn biryani

Some recipes don’t photograph as good as they taste, and this delicious prawn biryani proves the point. It’s taken from the market kitchen cookbook  – a programme that I’ve never watched but the book was given to me by the mother-in-law and it’s got some pretty tasty recipes in it.

This particular curry is a non-conventional biryani from the very beautiful Anjum Anand. She states in the book ‘traditionally biryani is a baked dish, but this recipe is all prepared on the hob.’ So, having fired up the oven to the obligatory gas mark 5, it’s quickly turned off again in favour of the hob. Continue reading