Archives for category: Conscious eating

Spent the last 20 minutes writing up making this soup

Then I don’t know what I did but it’s gone… The post and the healthy verdant green spinach soup…


Will feed 4 adults or a family of 2 adults and 3 children.

1 Pork steak
2 Carrots
2 Celery Sticks
1 Courgette
3 Garlic cloves
500ml Chicken stock
1 Mug of White Basmati Rice

Spice mix

1 Tablespoon Raisins
1 Tablespoon Cashew nuts (raw not roasted)
1 Teaspoon flaked Almonds
1 Teaspoon Cumin
1 Teaspoon Coriander
1 Teaspoon Mixed Spices
1/4 Teaspoon Black Pepper
1/4 Teaspoon Cinnamon

1 Teaspoon Rapeseed oil

Set the oven to 200 degrees centigrade.

Chop the vegetables. Heat the chicken stock to a boiling roll add all the vegetables and the garlic. Cover with a lid and reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook for 10 minutes.

Place all the Spice mix in an oven proof dish and mix well. Smells good. Add the oil and mix. Place in the hot oven for 5 minutes.
Remove from the oven and mix in the rice. Add the vegetables from the stock, layer them on top of the rice. Then using the same cup or mug measure 1 and a half mugs of stock into the oven dish. Curl the pork steak onto the top of the dish. Season with salt and pepper and place in the oven for 30 minutes. Cover with tinfoil and bake for another 10 minutes.

The seasoning is tasty rather then spicy. The pork succulent.
Serve with green salad and cucumber slices.


Half a red cabbage
2 eating apples cored and cubed
1 red onion
100 gms of fresh cranberries
250 mls turkey stock (use chicken or vegetable stock if no turkey stock unavailable)
small glass of mulled wine optional can be replaced with read wine or just leave it out
¼ teaspoon of fennel seeds
Bunch of fresh thyme

Oven 180 C.

Thinly slice the red cabbage, chop the onion and cube the apple. Then layer it into the dish add the stock, herbs and put it into the oven. The fennel adds a slightly different flavour at this time of year which I think works very well with the dish and turkey.

If you are cooking a turkey put it in the same oven 30 minutes before the bird is schedule to be finished cooking. If there is no room in the oven this dish can also be simmered slowly in a pot on top of the cooker hob.
Check 10 minutes to end of cooking and stir – sometimes when I make this I include 2 cloves of crushed garlic at this stage but its an extra the dish does not really need. I include it at this cooking point the flavour is fresher.

My Cookmakebake festive baked red cabbage  and cranberries dish reheats really well the next day which means you can cook it a day ahead or its a great one for left overs. Plus yeah I like it in a turkey sandwich too!

Its very easy to make this a vegetarian option by not using turkey stock.

Note: There is no fat or oil used in the recipe, it does n’t need it.

The apples in this recipe were from the bottom of the fruit bowl, a great way to use em up! But I think apples and red cabbage are a match made for each other. Don’t peel the apples the extra dietary fibre is useful in the diet at this time of year.  

For 2 people:

2 fillets Monkfish
2 Garlic cloves
1 Lemon
Fresh Ginger
2 Scallions
1 Teaspoon of rapeseed oil
2 Tablespoons of stock (fish or vegetable)
2 Teaspoons of Oyster Sauce

Cut the fillets in half. place in a shallow bowl. Roughly chop the garlic, slice the ginger and scatter over the fish. Squeeze a half a lemon over the fish and season with salt and 4 grist’s of pepper. Scatter the scallions over the fish. Leave to marinate.

Put a pot on the hob and heat the oil till its very hot.

Mix the fish in the marinade. Place the fish pieces in the oil and seal them.

Add the marinade. Stir and place the lid on. Heat up the stock and add it after 4 minutes. Stir in the oyster sauce, place the lid back on and cook for another 4 minutes.

Depending on the thickness of the fish they should be cooked.
I served this with rice, steamed green beans and side salad.

Sorry no photo it was devoured too fast by my husband.

cookmakebake 'MAKE'

a different sort of vegetable salad side dish

a small red onion

1  a yellow pepper

3 large juicy plump tomatoes

3 stalks of celery

1 garlic clove

Juice of half a lemon

¼ teaspoon of hot mustard

a glug of Irish rapeseed oil (okay use Olive oil if you need to)

1 tablespoon Capers (optional)

1 green chilli (optional)



A pinch of hot paprika

Take the bowl you are going to serve the salad, chop the garlic clove in half and run it around the bowl, it adds a hint of garlic and is a wonderful technique to add an extra layer of flavour.
Chop the onion finely and place it in the bowl season it with salt and pepper, mix and add the lemon juice.  this wilts the onion slightly. Add the mustard and mix.
Chop the yellow pepper and celery finely add to bowl.
Keep the tomatoes  large add to bowl. Pour the glug of rapeseed oil over the salad – sparingly it does not need much.

Chop the chilly finely add to bowl and use as much as you want. I liked this salad with a kick.

Add the capers to bowl. If you are using salted ones wash them and dry them off on kitchen paper.

Mix and leave to sit. Sprinkle the paprika over it before you bring it to the table and toss nce again before serving.

I made this to accompany crab claws and some left over monkfish that was served cold. I had a little mature cheddar on the side too. It was delicious and think it would go great with BBQ meat, roast chicken and steak too.

I suppose it is an unconventional way to make a salad dressing making it in the bowl as you go along. But it works and I will make this again.

Hope you try it, if you do let me know what you like about it.

Happy making!

Saturday morning I got up wanting something tasty and different for breakfast. I mean really different.

I had cooked myself some lovely short grain brown rice the night before and put an extra portion in the fridge. I thought yes some nutty brown rice and egg like a stir fired rice but no eggs did not appeal. Tofu did. The plainness of tofu oft deters me but I love that it is like a blank canvas and it holds flavours well. I had not cooked with the delicious nutty Happy Heart Rapeseed oil, I had been savouring it in an unheated state. But I reckoned the tofu would pick up the flavour well and compliment the nutty rice.

So I sliced up the tofu and marinated it for about ten minutes in soya sauce, lemon juice, sambal (an Indonesian shop bought hot salty chilli condiment) and then I added a surprising element marmalade.

I heated the oil in a small frying pan, the smell of the rapeseed oil filled the kitchen, when it was good an hot I placed the tofu slices in to fry them. They quickly browned and I turned them over adding the rice then gently mixing so as not to brake up the tofu. I added the marinade and cooked it off. Two sliced scallions were added at the end. The result a surprisingly delicious tofu and twice cooked rice.

Red pepper rice and salmon is an easy and surprisingly delicious all in one pot dish for a mid week diner.

Serves 4

1 medium onion
1 large garlic clove
1 large red pepper
Olive oil
1 teaspoon paprika
2 teaspoons dried thyme
1 teaspoon parsley
1 Bay leaf
Basmati rice (1 mug of rice x 1.5 mugs water)
4 slices of salmon (can be frozen)
2 stalks of celery
Squeeze of lemon juice.

Slice the onion. Heat the olive oil in the pan and add the onions and reduce the heat to soften them, add the garlic and stir. Slice the pepper and add it also. Continue to sauté the vegetables. Add the rice and mix well. Stir in the paprika and thyme. Measure out the water for the rice and add to the pot. Turn up the heat.  Sprinkle the dried parsley over pot and stir for the last time, add the bay leaf. Cook for five minutes and reduce heat right down to a bare simmer.

Add the four fillets of fish. These can be marinated or straight from the freezer.

Dice the celery and put in on top of the fish. Cook for another 5 minutes then turn the pot off but leave it on the ring for an additional 8 minutes. Both the fish and the rice should be cooked. Finish off with a squeeze of lemon juice.

This is surprisingly filling. Note no salt in the rice the flavours carry it without the dish needing salt.

It would benefit from a light crisp salad with a simple lemon dressing.

Out of a family of five what are the chances of everyone liking the thing that you make for dinner? I find myself in danger of only cooking a few dishes that everyone eats. Even when the narrow margin of ‘everyone eats this’ is observed the retort “I don’t like that any more” is enough to crush the cooks soul [mine] under the weight of the dishes pilled up and the extra effort that has been made to cook, make or bake dinner.

So what do I do? Son #3 seven years clearly announces “I don’t like lasagna” as I finish the layers and am about to put the dish in the oven! He has been off his food lately. I know there is a lump of bacon left in the fridge. I remember a great Nigella Lawson Pizza Rustica in ‘How to be a Domestic Goddess’ that I have made before and he has enjoyed. But will it be left on the plate?
Have you experienced this? How do you deal with the different foodie preferences in your house?

Son#1 who is now in fully fledged teenage mode started an interesting discussion a few weeks ago

what if we had to pay Mum for dinner?

We had some discussion on menus and what all three of them would like to see on their ‘pay Mum for dinner’.  Perhaps I need to raise that conversation again.

This beetroot relish can be served to spice up a salad or a main meal. I like it served as a salad in it’s own right and it is rather good with pecans.

1 medium beetroot
1 small red onion
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
pinch of salt

Peel the beetroot I prefer to do this with a small sharp knife. Using a large toothed grater grate the beetroot. Or chop into small pieces.
Finely chop the onion.
Mix all the ingredients together and leave for at least twenty minutes to let the flavours mingle.
Serve as a side dish and allow people to help themselves  or pile on top of a green salad to add… well a kick.
You can add more cayenne pepper to suit your pallet.

This year I have discovered I like beetroot raw rather then vinegared or cooked. But I am the only one who likes it in our house.

Beetroot is said to have very positive effects on the blood and other health inducing properties.

I’m starting this blog with the intention to share delicious things to cook, make and bake. I hope you’ll enjoy it. I’ve contemplated this blog for good on a year and have resisted it.
But today I realise that it is a must and I need to sign up for conscious eating. I need to feel inspired. I need to motivate myself to have an authentic relationship with food.
The inspiration to blog exists in

  • sharing good healthy things to eat
  • takin’ responsibility for my askew eating patterns [yes i know what thats about]
  • feedin my children and husband healthy nutritious food without it costing a fortune in cash, food miles or time.
  • the balance between work, domestic bliss, exercise and fun time

I’m a good cook I can make food from left overs, bake cakes, bread although I am slightly challenged when it comes to yeast.  But I am not overly fond of it.
I read cookery books like novels, I like to tweak and alter recipes. I love good food and aspire to grow my own veg and have hens, possibly a pig but that could be pushing it as I often have an aversion to meat.

I’d love to set up a cookery book swap, publish a cookery book and themed recipe novel.

But right now I just wanna start this blog, reconnect with what my body needs to eat, get a healthy relationship with food and my BMI, get back into yoga and exercise.

All good yet here I am sitting on the sofa eating a packet of Go Tan Java’s which are spicy Indonesian Crackers drinking a bottle of Yellow Hammer Shiraz.

I have been using food as an unhealthy alternative to exercise, dealing with stress and well some other stuff…
While I love eating my excess weight does not feel good. I don’t exercise enough to keep my weight in check so I have piled on the pounds in this year. Its uncomfortable and needs to go in reverse. I am hoping conscious eating will help me tune into a healthier me.
I refuse to own a weighing scales but am terrified to get weighed and really face up to my BMI which would tell me I am morbidly obese.
So in an effort to get real… here it is the cookmakebake blog.