Cherry Cola Ham, Sticky Balsamic Onions and Coleslaw

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Quick post of some food I made over the Easter weekend, I’ve got loads of preparation to do for my next two weeks of lessons at work and also have another deadline that needs some serious brain power so I’ll try to keep this short. 

Anyway, I had heard of this Cherry Cola Ham before, I think I may have seen Nigella Lawson do it some time and then I heard AThriftyMrs tweeting about how amazing hers was so I wanted to have a go.  I did a bit of research, well I surfed the net, and then came up with my own adaption and this is how it goes:


A small half a gammon joint (clearly you can go bigger, I don’t have too many mouths to feed)

A big bottle of Cherry Cola

Half an onion

2 Tablespoons of cherry jam

A heaped teaspoon or two of smoked paprika

2 capfuls of red wine vinegar


Soak your ham/gammon for a an hour or two then drain and then fill pot with water and bring to the boil. Then drain again. This helps get rid of excess salt.  Then put ham back in pot, add half an onion and a big bottle of cherry coke, you might need more if you use a bigger joint, but I’m sure you could top up with water.  For my little ham, I just simmered the joint for about an hour and a quarter then left to sit for a further 15 min.  Whilst the ham was sitting I pre heated my oven to 220 degrees, lined a tray with foil (trust me you’ll thank me when you do the washing up) and mixed together the jam, vinegar and paprika. 

I then took the ham out of the pan, put it on the tray and removed the rind.  I scored the fat in a criss cross, diagonal diamond pattern then smothered on the glaze.  Then cook in the oven for about 15 min.  Take out and leave to cool and serve with salads, new potatoes (we had Jersey Royals, the onions pictured, the coleslaw and some salad leaves and tomatoes.  Delish!

Right that’s all for now, I might post the onion recipe later but I have got to do some work!

Enjoy the rest of your Bank Holiday, roll on the next one!!


Breaded Fish and Tartare Sauce

Happy Good Friday readers!

So like a good girl I’m obeying the fish on Friday rule, despite the fact I had ham for breakfast and left over meatballs for lunch, I prepared a good old fish supper for dinner tonight. 

The version I did was totally gluten free and my other diners who are not coeliacs were non the wiser.  However this can be done just as easily using normal breadcrumbs, I don’t like to discriminate see! 

I had great plans to serve the fish with home made potato wedges and some posh mushy peas but after a long sunny day of parks and shops (I got a little carried away on the summer wardrobe expedition, shhh don’t tell anyone) I decided to keep it simple and serve it up with some oven chips and traditional marrow fat peas (see almost a proper chip shop dinner!).


Cod fillet portions, skinned

Breadcrumbs ( I have started keeping a stash in the freezer ready for things like this, any time your bread is beginning to get a bit stale just whizz them up in a blender and bag em up and pop in the freeezer, you  can pretty much use them from frozen and that way they are always there)

An egg

A couple of tablespoons of plain flour (gf for me)

Salt and pepper

For the tartare sauce (makes a little pot ful):

2 tablespoons of mayonnaise, shop bought or home made you decide

5 mini gherkins/cornichons

A teaspoon of capers

A handful of parsley


For the fish:

Lay out three dishes or plates.  One for the flour (add some salt and pepper), one for the egg lightly whisked and one for the breadcrumbs.  Portion your fish then flour, egg and breadcrumb and set aside until your ready.  I did mine this afternoon and popped in the fridge until dinner time just to save extra hassle.

When you fish is coated, shallow fry in a hot pan with about half a cm of oil in.  It really depends on how big your fish is, mine took about 3 min each side and I finished it off in a hot oven whilst the chips were cooking for a couple of min.

For the tartare sauce:

Finely chop the parsley.  Chop the the capers and gherkins fairly small and then add them and the herbs to the mayo and stir.  Easy peasy and much better than that hideous stuff you get in sachets or bottles.  You can add a bit of chopped egg if you wish as well.

Happy Easter!

Sticky Chinese Spiced Drumsticks and Celeriac and Beetroot Remoulade

The sun has come out and I’m feeling all summer-y and that my dear readers means barbecue type foods (even though we don’t have a garden 😦 ) and salads.  These drumsticks have got to be my best yet, spiced with five spice, ginger, garlic and other chinese condiments and then glazed with a sweet chilli sauce, these are moreish little numbers that can’t fail to be loved.  The remoulade is a classic salad dish using the not so summery vegetables of celeriac and beetroot, but they were there in the green grocers so I wanted to use them. 

For the drumsticks:

7 chicken drumsticks (average packet from the supermarket)

A heaped teaspoon of five spice powder

An inch of ginger, grated

2 garlic cloves, grated or crushed

A tablespoon of sesame oil

A good slosh of soy sauce (I used Tamari because it’s gluten free)

Sweet chilli sauce


Slash your chicken drumsticks so that they cook through thoroughly and the marinade penetrates the meat.

Mix all the ingredients together except for the chilli sauce and rub over the chicken.  Marinade for as long as you’ve got, the longer the better, mine spent the afternoon in the fridge. 

Pre-heat an oven to about 200 degrees.  Lay your marinated drumsticks on a tray and cook for 20/25 min.  Then drizzle slather your drumsticks with sweet chilli sauce, return to the oven for 10 more minutes.  Serve hot, cold or warm with whatever you like but remoulade below goes very nicely.

Celeriac and Beetroot Remoulade

Serves about 2/3 people


A quarter of a large celeriac

A medium sized beetroot

A heaped tablespoon of mayo

A heaped tablespoon of creme fraiche

Half a teaspoon of Dijon mustard, more if you like it

Salt and pepper

Lemon juice

A small handful of parsley, finely chopped


Peel and cut your veg into match stick sized pieces.  Make sure you put the celeriac into a bowl of water with lemon juice to keep it white.  Drain the celeriac and add beetroot.  Mix your mayo and creme fraiche, mustard and seasoning, adjust if necessary.  Squeeze in some lemon juice to loosen the sauce.  Add the veg to the dressing and mix to coat.  Add chopped parsley and stir, you could add chopped gherkins and capers but I didn’t have any. Put in the fridge for an hour or so to let the flavours combine. 

Serve with your cooled drumsticks or other cold meats and salads.


Norfolk Asparagus in a Balsamic Dressing

I saw some English asparagus in my local green grocers this morning at a bargain price so I couldn’t resist and bought some.  I was trying to decide what would be the best way to serve it, I love it with a poached egg, or with hollandaise but in the end settled for the method below.  This is a really easy starter or light lunch dish, I had mine for lunch.


Asparagus (a bunch or 2 depending on how many people your feeding and what for, I ate a whole bunch for lunch)

Balsamic vinegar (try and use the good stuff if you can)

Olive oil

Salt and pepper



Wash and trim your asparagus, I favour the snapping technique where you bend the asparagus about an inch from the bottom and let it break where the woody bit ends.  Heat your griddle, I used my old trusty George Forman (I had great plans one year to griddle all my food to get healthy but now it’s mostly used for toasted sandwiches). 

Mix together your balsamic, oil and seasoning.  I haven’t given measurements but for a dressing it’s usually 3 to 1, oil to vinegar but I like to just guess and then taste it. 

Griddle your asparagus for 2/3 minutes until cooked, you want it still fairly crunchy.  Dress the asparagus in the vinaigrette then transfer to a plate and top with shavings of parmesan (use a potato peeler).

To bulk this up for lunch I served mine with some Parma ham that was reduced in Sainsbury’s.


p.s. look at these lovely dandelions we picked in the park this morning, think summer is back on its way again!

Gnocchi with a Tomato and Basil Sauce

I think it was Annie from Annies Supper Club who was tweeting about her gnocchi the other day and I was like, yeah that sounds good I must have a go.  So I roughly followed a recipe from Practical Cookery.  This book is great, it’s one of the books catering students are advised to buy when doing their NVQs and it’s perfect for looking up classic recipe formats and ratios.  I halved the recipe and exchanged the plain flour for gluten free plain flour to suit me. 

Serves 2

for the gnocchi:

50g flour (gf for me)

150g of mashed potato

1 egg (well actually about 2/3s of an egg, I just scooped out a bit of the white before mixing

salt and pepper

a small handful of parsley, chopped


First cook your potato, I nuked mine in the microwave, wasn’t sure how much would be 150g cooked so I cooked a large jacket, you could bake or boil it, and then weighed it afterwards.  Microwaving or baking is best because it dries out the potato but you can boil or steam if you wish. 

Mix the mash with the flour, seasoning and herbs.  Mix the egg and stir into the mixture, you might want to get your hand in and combine until in a soft dough.  Break off small pieces and roll into walnut sized balls. Gently flatten balls with a fork. 

Then poach gently in boiling water until they rise to the surface.  Drain and set aside until you’ve made your sauce.

I then made a simple tomato sauce the recipe is the same as the one I used for meatballs in an earlier post so go check it out if you want to.  Once the sauce was ready I put in my gnocchi and warmed through.  Then chucked in a handful of chopped basil, stirred through and served with some grated parmesan. 

Ha ha, I made pasta!!

Sea Bream and Samphire Take 2 – Thai Style


I had a fillet of sea bream and a handful of samphire left over from yesterday’s dish so I decided to make a little lunch Thai style.  This is another super simple recipe that was delicious.

Serves 1


A fillet of sea bream

A handful of samphire

A small handful of dried flat rice noodles

Thai green curry paste (this was a quick lunch, so I used shop bought and tinkered with it)

A teaspoon of palm sugar

A sprinkle of fish sauce

A good squeeze or two of lemon (lime would be better, I didn’t have any)

Half a tin of coconut milk

A little oil for frying


Soak the noodles and the samphire in boiled water, every noodle is different but I like to do this and then repeat with freshly boiled water after a couple of minutes to ensure the noodles are softened.  Leave these to soak. 

Make the sauce first, fry about 3 teaspoonfuls of green curry paste in a little oil for about a minute, then add coconut milk, simmer gently for a couple of minutes, taste, then add the fish sauce, lemon/lime juice, palm sugar to taste.  (I always find I have to tinker with the shop bought pastes in order to get a brighter more authentic flavour) Set the sauce aside. 

Heat a frying pan until hot.  Coat your fish in oil.  Place fish skin side down in pan and hold for a minute or so to ensure the fish cooks flat and the skin goes crisp.  Fry skin side for 2/3 min then flip for a min or so depending on size of fillet.  Place fish to one side.  Add sauce to pan (you might not need all of it) then add noodles and samphire, simmer briefly so everything is hot and coated in the green curry sauce.  Pour noodle and samphire mix into shallow serving bowl and top with fish.  If you want to be really fancy sprinkle a little chopped coriander on the top and shout ‘da da!’ when you present the finished dish to it’s diner (this may involve talking to yourself).

Sea Bream and Samphire with a Garlic and Parsley Butter

I had a little trip to Borough Market today and on my travels I picked up a couple of ingredients I had heard of but hadn’t tried before, at least haven’t cooked before anyway.  Samphire is something I’m always on the look out for as I love the sound of it and when I saw it today in one of the fruit and veg stands I grabbed a couple of handfuls for this dinner.  Now I knew I really needed a bit of fish and after browsing round the fishmongers I saw a nice Sea Bream, not a fish I’ve cooked or eaten before so I thought, why not. 

This dish was really simple to make and sooo tasty.

For 1


A sea bream fillet

A handful of samphire

A clove of garlic

A small handful of parsley

A little oil

About half a tablespoon of butter or there abouts

Lemon wedge to serve


Finely chop your parsley and garlic, set to one side.  Rub the fish fillet with olive oil, set to the side.  Boil the kettle.  Heat frying pan.  Rinse samphire and pop into pot.  Pour over boiling water and leave to sit as you cook the fish, I wanted to keep this fairly crunchy if you want it softer, boil it for a min or so.  Put the fish skin side down into the hot pan, hold the fish down for a min to ensure the whole side stays flat and goes crispy.  Cook for a couple of minutes depending on size of fish then flip when skin side is golden and crispy.  Drain your samphire and plate.  Place fish along side and keep warm in the oven.  Throw chopped garlic into hot pan from fish, add butter, let foam and fry for a few seconds then add parsley, stir and then pout over fish and samphire. 

No need for seasoning with this as the samphire is so salty.  Serve with a couple of lemon wedges if you like.  Enjoy…