Butternut Cheesecake

Butternut cheesecake

This recipe was born from one for pumpkin cheesecake given to me a while ago. I’d been wanting to try it for ages and decided that dessert for a Sunday lunch with friends and family was the perfect opportunity.

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Quiche with a Potato Crust

Cooked quiche

Quiche is one of my favourite go-to dishes when I need to take something savoury to a get-together. It’s light and yet still filling, and so incredibly versatile since you can put just about anything in it: spinach and feta, chicken and mushroom, roasted butternut and bacon, courgette and sweetcorn, sweet potato and goats’ cheese (a combo I tasted just the other day), and the list goes on and on…

Aside from whatever other ingredients I might have on hand, I almost always use sautéed onion (sometimes caramelised) and cheese/s of some description, which give the quiche a kind of luxurious feel (that’s the best way I can describe it). You can also use all cream or all milk if you prefer or if that’s what you have in your fridge. Obviously the more cream and less milk you use, the richer it will be.

Usually I make shortcrust pastry for the base, often with some proportion of whole-wheat flour in it, but recently I experimented with potato slices instead, which worked really well. It’s a great alternative if you prefer not to use or can’t manage wheat.

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Courgette-Feta Crumpets

Courgette-feta crumpet ready to eat

Normally when you think of pancakes or crumpets (the South African version of American ‘pancakes’, which are different from French ‘crêpes’ and also different from English ’crumpets’ – I know, it’s very confusing!), it tends to bring up images of a tea-time treat that’s a bit starchy and usually served with jam and cream. And those are certainly delicious, no doubt about it.

These crumpets are completely different though, more like very light fritters – savoury and fluffy, and a different and interesting way to prepare vegetables. You can eat them as a snack on their own, have them as a side dish with meat or make them the main part of a light meal and just add a salad or something to round it out.

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Tip: Using Left-overs

Herb salad with left-over spinach, beetroot and cranberry White Rock
Herb salad with left-over spinach, beetroot and cranberry White Rock

I get weirdly excited when I can use up a bunch of left-overs or small quantities of fresh food that were just a little more than I needed for the original dish. In fact, I often buy/cook more than I need so I can actually create left-overs and then use them in something else.

Examples of left-overs could be meat or chicken from a roast, rice, grilled veggies like sweet peppers, onions or aubergines, the dregs of a can of sweetcorn, the last bits of cheese, the end of a packet of mushrooms or baby spinach, or the last spoon of cream cheese. Obviously the key with many of these ingredients is not to leave them too long before you use them, and definitely sniff them beforehand! Continue reading

Lemony Spinach and Potato Frittata

Frittata ready to eat

Eggs are such a handy go-to ingredient when you want a quick, satisfying and high-protein meal that will keep you going for a while. A frittata is one of my favourite ways of cooking eggs as it has all those qualities, plus it’s a great way of using up left-overs.

What makes this version slightly different is the optional squeeze of lemon juice, the idea of which popped into my head literally as I was busy cooking it. The potato seems to hold the lemony taste, which lifts the whole dish. Continue reading

Mexican Beans

Mexican beans with nachos and 'guacamole'

This is a really delicious, warming and filling dish which is perfect for winter evenings. It’s pretty healthy, and it can be served in so many ways: just plain or with cheese melted on top; on toast; with poached or fried eggs on top; as a side dish with meat – it goes particularly well with sausages; or in true Mexican fashion, with nachos and a simple ‘guacamole’, which is my personal favourite. Continue reading

Cheese Sauce

Cheese sauce is another one of those most versatile recipes that you can use in so many different ways – in lasagne, moussaka, cauliflower cheese, welsh rarebit, as a sauce for meat or other veg, as a base for a soufflé, and the list goes on… (Watch this space for some of those recipes, by the way.)

You can also leave out the cheese completely and just use it as a plain white sauce, or flavour the white sauce in many different ways e.g. add more mustard to make a mustard sauce, or fresh soft herbs like parsley and basil, or sautéed mushrooms, or tomato paste, and again, the list goes on… Continue reading