Archive for the ‘Easy Recipes.’ Category

There’s Dumplings ….. and There’s Chinese Dumplings …. .

Don’t you just love dumplings?  Made with self-raising flour, suet and water, they taste so good but, if you’re like me and get weighed every day, there’s a limit to how often you can enjoy these little treasures.

Well, if you are like me, Chinese dumplings could be an amazing find.

I saw it on Saturday morning television.  These dumplings are simply plain flour and water.  You need to measure your flour as capacity (fluid measure) so as to get exactly half that amount in water (I measured what read as 300 ml. of flour and 150 ml. of water) and then simply mix them together to form a pastry-like substance.

The idea s to cut off strips of pastry to shape into little balls (a little smaller than golf balls) in the palm of your hand.  Now flatten the ball and roll it out very thinly, until (their recommendation) it is so thin that you can almost read a newspaper through it.  I was a little nervous, so rolled out my pastry until it was the same thickness as for making pies or pasties.

You place some kind of mixture into the middle of these rounds and then bring the edges together to seal up like a pasty.  My mixture (I was only experimenting!) consisted of the meat from one cooked pork chop, which I cut into small pieces, finely-cut onion and garlic, a little finely-cut lemon rind, twenty or so halved sultanas, a teaspoon of curry paste (to persuade my husband that trying something different could be a good experience ….) and a teaspoon of soy sauce, just to add a little liquid. This made eight Chinese dumplings but, had I rolled the pastry out thinly, the same mixture might have made as many as twenty smaller and thinner versions.

These little treasures are then dropped into a saucepan of boiling water and boiled for about fifteen to twenty minutes.  Alternatively, I could have placed them in a frying pan of boiling water which reached only halfway up the dumplings, so placing the lid on the pan created a steaming effect as well.

And they’re ready to eat.                                       Chinese Dumplings

I didn’t serve them with anything flash, as it was purely an experiment but I have to say that, the day after, I am still excited by the flavour.  And with no fat added!  I think I might make a stir-fry to go with them, the next time they’re on the menu.

As the traditional dumpling mixture can also be baked in the oven, I don’t know how these fat-less dumplings will fair there but I am most certainly going to find out.

Over to you …..

Recipe 30 – Cherry Tomato Upside-Down Tarts

Easy Recipes.

Also posted under Savoury.

Cherry Tomato Upside Down Tarts.

A good chance to get the goodness of tomatoes, onions, olive oil and vinegar into you.


25 g. butter

1 tbsp. oil

1 tbsp. tomato puree

1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar

450 g. cherry tomatoes, halved

1/4 small onion, cut very finely.

375 g. puff pastry.


HARD PART –  nothing hard about this one ( well, that’s if you have bought the already-prepared pastry).

Set the oven to gas mark 6, or 400F / 220C.

How to make it:-

Heat the butter and oil, then add the finely-cut onion, allowing it to cook for only a couple of minutes.

Add the tomato puree and the balsamic vinegar, then add the cherry tomatoes, cooking for a few minutes, until any excess liquid has been reduced.

Cut some greaseproof paper into little squares or rounds to line the individual sockets in a 12-hole cake tray and then add a little of the tomato mixture into each of them, until you have run out of mixture.

 Roll out the pastry and use a cake cutter to cut enough pastry circles for your awaiting mixture.

Place a pastry circle gently on top of the mixture and apply only a small amount of pressure to encourage the circle to sink in the middle.

Bake in the oven for about 25 minutes or until the pastry is nicely browned.

Allow the tarts to cool before trying to remove them, or you may end up with a sticky mess (been there, done it and worn the teeshirt!)

See the photo as proof!

(There was a little pastry left over, so I made a couple of ‘fancies’ for the dog.)

They are so tasty and wonderful for a n’no fuss’ starter to any meal.  Unfortunatley, by the time I had carried the drinks to the table, my husband had eaten them all!


Recipe 29 – Cherry Tomato Bread and Butter Pudding

Easy Recipes.

Cherry Tomato Bread and Butter Pudding.

Also posted under Savoury.

Tomatoes are so good for you, so pack them in where you can!


1 oz. butter, softened

1 garlic clove, crushed

5 or 6 slices of sale bread

20 cherry tomatoes

2 ozs. ham, roughly chopped, or some slithers of fried bacon

500 ml / 18 fl. ozs. milk

3 eggs

50 g. / 2 ozs. cheddar cheese, grated.


HARD PART – nothing hard about this one!

Set the oven to gas mark 4, or 180F / 160C.

How to make it:-

Mix the margarine and the crushed garlic and use a little of this to grease an appropriately-sized casserole dish.

 Butter the bread slices with the remaining garlic butter and cut each slice in half diagonally.  Place these half slices into the casserole dish, overlapping them, then tuck the half tomatoes and ham around these slices.

 Whisk the eggs and milk together and season with salt, pepper and any other herb that takes your fancy (I opt for rosemary).  Pour the liquid over the bread, push the top layer of bread into the liquid and then allow to stand for about ten minutes.

 Scatter the grated cheese over the top of the mixture and then bake in the oven for 35 to 40 minutes…You will know it is ready when it is set and the cheese has turned golden brown.

Serve with salad or chips!

Oh, yum yum! 



Recipe 28 – Corned Beef Pasta or Corned Beef Curry with Rice (just shove it all in there ….!)

I’ve decided that it is best to forget about all the famous chefs and their equally famous recipe books and for good reason.  When they choose the ingredients for a recipe, you quite often find that you have to run up a petrol bill in hunt of the ‘not on the shelf in my supermarket’ ingredients and that therefore takes the fun out of making that particular dish.

 So why not invent your own?  In truth, that is what my husband has been doing now for twelve years.  That ‘twelve’ relates to when I met him and, it has to be said, he quickly got sick of my normal dish of ‘divorced mother always on the run’ crisp sandwiches.  He started with a very nice burnt stir-fry and progressed from there.  Now, he shoves all sorts into the pan and we enjoy some beautiful meals.

Like pasta …. . 


 When we prepare pasta, I must have the raw onion in there but then my fella does all the rest of the choosing.  I’ve found banana in there, plus raisins, slithers of lemon peel (a must in tasty food), sardines, black pudding (yum yum), marmalade (yep, marmalade), honey, apple. pineapple, walnuts, almonds, sweetcorn, garlic etc., all of which will have been brought together with a little oil in a frying pan and a couple of tomatoes which will provide the liquid for the cooking process.  Instead of a tin of sardines, we’re now into putting a half a tin of corned beef (for two people, you don’t need the full tin) in there. Then there is the usual ingredient you would expect to be in a pasta meal … like pasta, yeah?  Bind all of those ingredients together with either fresh cream, natural yogurt, or mayonnaise and then mix your boiled and drained pasta into it. When it’s ready to serve, don’t forget the Parmesan! 

I haven’t prepared this in my normal recipe style because hey, if you can shove what you like in there, who am I to say what the ingredients are?

Corned Beef Curry with Rice.

You’ve guessed!  Make the mixture exactly the same as above but add a little bit of curry paste, or a spice like garam masala.

I have found that the best way to make rice is to put your chosen quantity  into a saucepan and add enough cold water to rise about one inch above the rice.  Bring to the  boil and then cover the pan with kitchen foil and then its own lid, to make a perfect seal.  Boil for only up to one minute more and then switch off the heat.  Fifteen minutes later, the rice should have cooked in its own steam and be beautifully fluffy.  If it isn’t quite cooked to your likeness, simply add a little bit of water (about a half a cup), bring to the boil again, put both lids on, then switch off again,  allowing the rice to steam a little longer.  This way, the rice is separate and fluffy every time.

Mmmmm … .

Doesn’t that rice look gorgeous?


Recipe 27 – Bread and Butter Pudding!

Easy Recipes.

 Also posted under Sweet.

Bread and Butter Pudding.

No real goodness to brag about but to die for!


For four or five people:-

Six slices of bread and jam, with margarine going on first (one or two day old bread is better).

3 ozs. / 75 g. of raisins or sultanas.

250 ml. / a little under ½ pint of milk.

3 ozs. / 75 g. of sugar.

3 large eggs.

½ tsp. of vanilla extract.

150 ml. / ¼ pint of single cream.

HARD PART –  nothing hard about this one.

Set the oven to 160C / 320 F / Gas 3.

How to make it:-

Cut each slice of bread and jam into triangles and then make a layer of bread in the base of a small (2 ½ pint) ovenproof dish.  Follow this with a sprinkling of raisins / sultanas and repeat the layers, finishing with a bread layer. 

Bring the milk almost to boiling point then stir in the sugar and put to one side. 

Whip the eggs, cream and vanilla extract together and then add the milk mixture and stir thoroughly.  Pour this combined liquid over the bread, making sure that all the bread is dampened.  Now press the bread mixture down with the flat of your hand, to make sure that all of the bread soaks up all of the liquid.  Let the prepared pudding stand for ten minutes or so.

This pudding dish is then to be placed into a bigger dish or roasting pan, so that you can add boiling water to the bigger container.  Fill the bigger container with enough water to rise halfway up the smaller dish.  Now lift the prepared dishes into the oven.

The pudding will take about 45 minutes to cook through and an indication that it is ready will be that the top of the pudding is turning brown.









Oh wow!  This pudding tastes so good and it keeps wonderfully well in a sealed lunch box in the fridge.  Two days later, it tastes just as good as when it was freshly baked.



Recipe 26 – Chicken and Potato Layer – with Gruyere Cheese!

Easy Recipes.

Also posted under Savoury.

Chicken and Potato Layer.

A good mix of meat, potato, onion and herbs!


For two people:-

Six potatoes, peeled and sliced into 1/3 inch thick slices.

2 chicken breasts, already cooked and cut into small strips.

A small onion, cut into small pieces.

1 tbsp. of oil.

A little rosemary or thyme.

About a teacup of cream – single or double.

4 ozs. of grated Gruyere cheese.

HARD PART –  nothing hard about this one.

Set the oven to gas mark 4, or 200F / 150C.

How to make it:-

Boil the potato slices for about ten minutes, until they are cooked but don’t break easily.

Now fry the onion pieces very gently in the oil.  Now add the cream, the chosen herbs and the cooked chicken pieces and give a good stir, heating through for only a couple of minutes.

Grease a shallow casserole dish and cover the bottom with half the potato slices.  Now add all of the chicken mixture and then the rest of the potatoes.

Sprinkle the cheese over the top of the potatoes and place in the oven for about twenty minutes, until the cheese has melted and is golden brown in colour.

Mmmmm …. .

This dish is so gorgeous and, when I made it for friends at the weekend, I served it with some oven-cooked vegetables, though it could have been enjoyed just as much with a lettuce, prepared the Spanish way, with slithers of onion, and a little salt, vinegar and olive oil.

Unfortunately, we were busy talking and the food looked so good, that we simply tucked into it without me taking any photographs.  Be patient please – I’ll make it again soon!


Recipe 25 – Bean Feast – Wow! A Dish to Die For!

Easy Recipes.

 Also posted under Savoury.

Bean Feast.

What with beans, tomatoes, onions, mushrooms, this is a dish packed with goodness!


For two people:-

2 medium onions, sliced into rings

4 big tomatoes, quartered

I tin of butter beans, drained

1 tin of kidney beans, drained

8 big mushrooms, thickly sliced

2 tbsps. tomato sauce

1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce

3 ozs. cheese, either cream cheese or hard cheese cut into small pieces.

3 tbsps. cream

2 tbsps. oil.

 HARD PART –  Nothing – this one is just so easy! Just makes sure you don’t get you tsp. (teaspoon) mixed up with your tbsp. (tablespoon)!

Set the oven to gas mark 5, or 375F / 190C.

How to make it:-

Fry the onion rings in oil, until they are golden in colour and almost fully cooked.

Place the fried onions slices and all of the other ingredients into a casserole dish and give everything a good stir.

Cover the casserole with a lid or with tin foil and cook in the oven for about 30 minutes.


Beat that for simplicity but also beat that for a wholesome dish and, if the kids won’t eat it on its own, add a few hot dog sausages, making sure that they get mixed into the mixture and there you go!

 If you do want to have meat with the dish, try bacon, ham or why not add some cooked chicken?  For vegetarians, either make a bigger quantity or serve with boiled rice.


Mmmmm. ….. .