Butternut squash and tomato gratin with Coconut Milk


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A gratin based on coconut milk adds a difference to this dish. Perfect for most root vegetables such as pumpkin, celeriac, or sweet potato instead of butternut squash if you prefer. The coconut milk in the mix adds a delicious creamy but less indulgent hit. Try with a sprinkle of toasted cuimin seeds for an extra hit of flavour.


Butternut squash & Tomato gratin
Serves 4-6
1 large butternut squash
1lb plum tomatoes, halved
3 medium red onions sliced finely
4 tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper
A little soft light brown sugar (optional)
150ml double cream
400 ml tin coconut milk
30g grated Parmesan

Oven at 190°C
Peel and de-seed the squash and cut it into slices.
Put into a large roasting tin along with the halved plum tomatoes.
Tip over the olive oil and season well.
If the tomatoes are a bit tart, sprinkle a small amount of light brown sugar on them.
Roast for about 10 minutes then add the red onion
Continue to roast for a further 10 minutes, then transfer the vegetables to a gratin dish.
Season, then pour over the coconut milk and cream mixture and sprinkle on the cheese.
Put the dish back in the oven for another 40 minutes, or until the vegetables are cooked and the gratin is bubbling and golden. Periodically during the cooking, use a fish slice to press down the vegetables under the cream mixture.
This is delicious as a side with Chicken or topped with a few eggs for a delicious supper.

butter nut squash and tomato gratin

squash & tomato gratin IV

Coconut and Butternut squash Soup with Yeasted Bread Rolls


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OO&L Soup and Bread

OO&L Bread Rolls

These little rolls are a bit like Brioche only with less butter and more eggs. They take a bit of time but in my world, are totally worth it. I was raised on bread and lots of it, My husband is always amazed that I seem to do quite well on it and I’m always trying different recipes. The knead, wait, knead a bit more is easy if you are spending the day at home. Oh, and the soup is delicious too! :-)

Yeasted Brioche Rolls
2 tsp. dry yeast
7 fl oz water
1 lb strong white flour
2 tbsp honey
2 eggs beaten
2oz unsalted butter melted
2tsp poppy seeds to decorate

Sprinkle the yeast into the water, leave until foamy, about 10 minutes.
Mix the flour and salt together in a bowl, make a well in the centre and pour in the yeasted water.
Draw in enough of the flour into the water to form a soft paste
Cover the bowl with a tea towel and leave to sponge and rise about 20 minutes
Add the honey, the beaten eggs and melted butter
Mix in the rest of the flour from the sides to form a soft dough
Put the dough into a buttered bowl, turning to coat evenly with the butter
Cover with a tea towel and leave to rise until doubled in size about 2 hours
Knock back and leave it rest for about 1o minutes
Divide the dough into 12 equal pieces and chafe to form nice rounds
Place on a buttered baking sheet or into small brioche tins and cover with a team towel.
Prove until doubled in size about 45 minutes
Brush with egg glaze and sprinkle with poppy seeds and sea salt
Bake in the oven until a lovely golden brown colour and sounds hollow when tapped underneath – about 15 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.

Coconut and Butternut squash soup
Heart healthy coconut oil and milk add a delicious nutty creaminess to this soup. Can also be topped with some Sriracha or Harissa if you would like to add a bit of heat.

Serves 6-8
3 tbsp Coconut Oil
1 butter nut squash peeled and chopped
1 large onion sliced
2 garlic cloves peeled chopped and mashed
1 tbsp fresh ginger finely chopped
1 ltr vegetable stock
1 can coconut milk – I use Thai gold

Heat the coconut oil in a large saucepan.
Add the butter nut squash, onion, garlic and ginger, stir and season well.
Cover and cook on a medium heat until the vegetables soften, about 10 minutes
Stir in the coconut milk and the stock.
Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer until the vegetables are fully cooked
Blend the soup until smooth, taste and adjust the seasoning if needed.
Serve topped with fresh chopped coriander.

Hot and Spicy Chicken Noodle Soup


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The wind raged and howled around the house but we did not get it as bad as our southern cousins. Eva had to join us in the bed she was scared by the noise of the wind which ‘Sounds really cross’.
Cross indeed it was – this soup helped forget about it: comforting, hot, spicy, sour and sweet. Left over chicken works perfectly if you have it to hand. Full of the goodness of all the vegetables and fueling enough for an evening meal.

OO&L Spicy Chicken Noodle Soup

Serves 4

1 ltr chicken or vegetable stock
2 boneless, skinless chicken breast about 6oz each
100g rice noodles
1 medium sweet potato peeled and cut in a medium dice
1 small head of broccoli cut to bite size florets
1 medium onion finely sliced
1 tbsp good quality curry paste
1 tbsp tomato puree
2 tbsp rapeseed oil
2 spring onions, shredded
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp fish sauce
a handful of coriander chopped and a sprinkle for the top

Pour the stock into a pan and add the chicken, ginger and garlic. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat, partly cover and simmer for 20 mins, until the chicken is tender.
Remove the chicken to a board and shred into bite-size pieces
Heat the rapeseed oil over a medium heat, add the sweet potato dice, broccoli and onion and mix to cover with the oil. Season well and sweat gently for about 5 minutes.
Add the curry paste, tomato puree and cook out stirring well for about 3 minutes.
Add the stock and cook until the vegetables until almost tender.
Return the chicken to the stock with the noodles, half the spring onions and the coriander.
Simmer for 3-4 mins until the noodles are tender.
Season with fish sauce and soy sauce, taste and adjust as needed,
Ladle into bowls and scatter over the remaining spring onions.

Show your Love ♥ Coconut & Lemon Cake with Glazed blueberries


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OO&L Coconut Blueberry Cake II

love letters

My daughter is getting very hyped about St Valentine’s day – she is currently focusing on making her teacher a card, a card for Niall from One Direction (God help me, she is only 5) and a cake for her daddy. I haven’t the heart to break it to her that Daddy is not that keen on eating too much cake. I have also been told that it is OK to buy her a little teddy or bunny – ‘just something small for me’.

Victoria sponge was the first cake I ever learnt to make. I still love it and you really cant fail with this cake as long as you use soft butter and don’t overmix. Its extra special with the glazed blueberries, which make a great addition to most desserts especially a cheesecake or apple tart. The healthy part of this cake is to bring it into work and show your workmakes how much you love them and only eat one slice yourself!

4 free-range eggs
8oz caster sugar
8oz self-raising flour or self-raising gluten free flour blend
2 tsp baking powder
8oz unsalted soft butter
2 oz dessicated coconut
jam or lemon curd to serve

Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4.
Grease and line 2 x 20cm/8in sandwich tins
Break the eggs into a large mixing bowl, then add the sugar, flour, baking powder and soft butter.
Mix everything together until well combined- it is easiest with an electric hand mixer
The finished mixture should be of a soft ‘dropping’ consistency – it should fall off a spoon easily.
Divide the mixture evenly between the tins and gently smooth the surface of the cakes.
Place the tins on the middle shelf of the oven and bake for 25 minutes.
Check them after 20 minutes.
The cakes are done when they’re golden-brown and coming away from the edge of the tins.
Remove them from the oven and set aside to cool in their tins for a few minutes then run a palette knife around the inside edge of the tin and carefully turn the cakes out onto a cooling rack.
Set aside to cool completely.
To assemble the cake, place one cake half onto a plate and spread it with plenty of jam or lemon curd.Top with some more lemon curd and cover with dessicated coconut.
Serve with the blueberries and tell you’re other half you love them.

Glazed Blueberries
2 tubs blueberries – about 400g
2 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp water
1 tbsp cassis if you have it
zest of half a lemon

Heat a pan to medium and tip in the blueberries,
Sprinkle over the sugar and shake the pan
Add the water and cassis if you are using it and swirl the pan to make a glaze

OO&L Coconut Blueberry Cake

Braised Beef Cheeks – Sunday comfort food


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OO&L Braised Beef Cheeks

Delicious falling apart beef, good value and really tasty comfort food for a cold day.

Its been a while since I posted something new as it is so hard to take a decent photo during the winter. I’m coming home and it’s dark, getting up and its dark and there is no decent light to try and get the shot. Using the flash makes the food look surprised and all orange so I just don’t bother…. (try it and see how surprised your food looks!)

Serves 4-6
4 beef cheeks
4 tbsp olive oil
2 bay leafs
sea salt and pepper
few thyme and rosemary sprigs
1 wine glass ruby port
2 glasses red wine
1 ltr good quality beef stock

Trim any silver off the cheeks and season really well
Heat the oil in pan and fry the cheeks on each side until caramelised
Remove to a plate and set aside
Add the wine and port to a large pot and bring to a bubble
Cook until reduced slightly and the alcohol is burned off
Add the stock the bay leaf, thyme and rosemary and add the cheeks to the liquid
Cover with a cartouche of greaseproof paper, bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to a gentle simmer and cook for about 3-4 hours until really tender and falling apart.
(Feel free to do this in a slow cooker if you have one – about half the time).
When the cheeks are cooked, remove from the liquid and shred apart .
Reduce the liquid until a thick shiny sauce
Season to taste, return the meat to the sauce, bring up to heat and serve with creamy mash


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