Gooey Date Bars

This is my interpretation of a recipe I came across on the Money Saving Expert site.

I intend for these to be a post gym snack.



20cm x 20cm Baking Tin

250ml Water

200g Dates

180g Plain Flour

1/2 Tsp Bicarbonate of Soda

180g Soft Brown Sugar

200g Porridge Oats

180g Butter


Cook the dates in the water over a low heat until the water is evaporated and you have soft, sticky dates.

Add all the other dried ingredients (sifted) into a large mixing bowl and then add the butter and mix together (it will be quick sticky/wet).

Add the date mix and combine well.

Press down the mixture into the lined tin and then bake in the oven for around about 50 minutes on Gas Mark 5, or until a skewer comes out clean.

Leave to cool and then cut into 16 squares.

These are so good that when I had one I went to The Boy and said ‘I feel sorry for you not liking dates, as these are great!’


Store Cupboard Granola (Batch Cooking)

This was inspired by a recipe in Eat Smart by Niomi Smart, which I currently have out on loan from the Library.

This recipe relegated from my cupboards my seeds, walnuts and cranberries which has freed up a lot of space.


60ml Coconut Oil

125ml Agave Nectar

200g Porridge Oats

260g of mixed nuts, I used walnuts and pecans

60g Mixed Seeds (or seeds of your choice)

120g Dried Fruit, I used Cranberries and Prunes


Heat the oil and agave nectar together until melted, then set aside.

Add the nuts to a food processor and pulse until you have ‘chopped’ them into a mix of sizes.

Add the oats, nuts and seeds to a bowl and then pour over the oil/nectar mix, mix together.

Baked in the oven on Gas Mark 3 for 40 minutes/until golden and toasted.

Add the dried fruit and mix together.

Look at your depleted cupboards, smile and think ‘I need to go shopping’.


Batch Cooking My Work Lunches: Red Lentil and Coconut Soup

It’s been a while since I’ve been able to batch cook.

(Ok, that is not strictly true, I made 2 portions of a swede, cabbage, onion, carrot and pea soup earlier this week, but for various reasons it smelt and tasted bad, we all make mistakes).

I have decided to use up what I have in my cupboards, perhaps inspired by being stuck at home due to the snow, and I decided to tackle a bag of lentils I bought in 2017. Probably mid 2017.

I had a quick look on BBC Good Food for ideas and made this.

Note: I have divided it into 4 potions, but I think it would have been better as 3, but maybe I am greedy (I am greedy).


150g Red Split Lentils

1 Tbsp Chopped Ginger (I used frozen)

2 Gloves Garlic (I used 2 tsp of lazy garlic)

1 lovely sized tsp of Turmeric (There ain’t no party like a Turmeric party)

1.2l Vegetable Stock.

1/2 Onion, or 2 handfuls of Frozen Onion

3 ‘clumps’ (technical term, obviously) of Frozen Spinach

400ml Can of Light Coconut Milk


Add the lentils, turmeric, ginger and garlic to a large pan and then add the stock.

Bring to the boil and then simmer for about 15 minutes, until the lentils are soft.

Add the coconut milk, mix and then add the frozen vegetables and simmer until cooked.

Lean over the saucepan and smell your delicious soup.

When The Boy suggests you assign your coloured soup mugs to certain days of the week – e.g. Red = Monday, scoff at him, but actually think it’s a good idea.

(What colour would you guys assign to each day?)

(I would have Red = Monday, Pink = Tuesday, Green = Wednesday and Blue = Thursday)

(They only had 4 colours in the shop, poor Friday).



Cheapskate Puttanesca

Hi everyone,

In a bid to use up my stores I discovered a tin of plum tomatoes that expired in September. Knowing that I have the house to myself tonight I decided to make a puttanesca sauce, but wanted to do it on the cheap.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t usually look for reasons to not eat anchovies and capers, but after introducing sardines to my diet back in the summer (when I realised how cheap they are) I noticed they had an extremely similar taste to anchovies, but are generally half the price.

Next time you make a puttanesca sauce, why not give sardines a go? A tin is 33p in Lidl (I am now obsessed with Lidl).


A Tale of Two Biscuits: Spiced Christmas Cookies

I tried to make gingerbread, and this is what happened the first time I made it today:


So, just like the Boy was when I told him I made gingerbread, you’ll be wondering what the hell that is.

I don’t really make biscuits. And I was going half on remembering how I made gingerbread when I went to visit my sister and her kids, and half on a recipe in Sam Stern’s Student Cookbook for fiery ginger biscuits.

I also ran out of baking parchment and decided that the cookies would all be fine on the same baking tray.

Instead they all melded into a big gingery blob, and since they had no semblance of the original Christmas Cookie Cutter shapes I had carefully cut them into, well I just started tearing them into little pieces until they resembled kindling.

They were delicious, but I knew I needed to go back to the recipe and tweak it. The dough was far too sticky and couldn’t be saved. So I had a second go at them.


They turned out better.

This is not a recipe for Gingerbread, because gingerbread typically involves an egg, and these didn’t. These are very spicy ‘ginger influenced’ biscuits that can be cut into the shape of gingerbread men, if you wish.

These are very spicy, so if you have a cold then chow down as these will definitely clear your sinuses. You may want to adjust the measurements to something that is more reasonable, but I say it’s Christmas, go bold.


3 tsp Ground Ginger

1 tsp Cinnamon

0.5 tsp Mixed Spice

1.5 tsp Bicarbonate of Soda

150g Self Raising Flour

75g Butter, diced

3.5 balls of Stem Ginger, cut into tiny diced pieces

60g Soft Light Brown Sugar

2 Tbl sp Molasses*

1 Tbl sp Golden Syrup

*You can use either all Golden Syrup, or honey, or anything really, I just wanted to use up my molasses.


Sieve the ginger, cinnamon, mixed spice, bicarbonate soda and flour into a mixing bowl. Add the butter pieces and mix with hands until it resembles fine breadcrumbs.

Add the molasses, sugar and the diced stem ginger, and combine with a fork. It may be at this stage you will have to add the golden syrup, but go carefully. You want a dough that is combined and mixed well and soft, but not sticky, otherwise it will be a nightmare and you will end up with this:


Either cut into whimsical festive shapes, or roll into little balls and flatten. Place across two lined baking trays and bake at Gas Mark 5 for 10-15 minutes.



Mystery Squash Curry

So you know the squashes I picked up on OLIO this week? Well, it inspired me to add some stray items I had in my cupboards that I wasn’t going to use, and funnily enough one of them was picked up by the squash lady. And she said that the striped squash would be very sweet taste wise.

To remind you here is a picture of the squashes I picked up.


I decided that the best thing to do with them was to turn them into a curry.

They are very sweet as well, they smelt a bit like melon when I was cutting them.

Anyway, the curry was absolutely lovely.



2 tablespoons Ginger Garlic Paste

1 teaspoon Mild Curry Powder

1 teaspoon Turmeric

1 teaspoon Garam Masala

1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon

1 Onion

1 Carrot, diced

2 small Squashes (or 1 large), diced

400g tin of Chickpeas

400g tin of Coconut Milk

400g tin of Chopped Tomatoes

400ml Vegetable Stock (optional)

A little Rapeseed Oil


Make a cheats curry paste with the ginger garlic paste and spices.

Start to cook the onion in the rapeseed oil. When covered in oil and cooking lightly add the curry paste and mix with the onion.

Add the rest of the vegetables and then the coconut milk, the stock (if using) and chopped tomatoes. Bring to the boil, and then simmer until the vegetables are cooked.


Realise you now have a ton of curry and will be eating it for the next week.

Add ‘make best curry in the world’ to your to do list, so you can cross it off, because this was a mighty achievement.


The Rum ‘n’ Coke Tropical Cake


Last night whilst waiting for the boy to get his butt to bed I was flicking through/salivating over the recipes in Matt Tebbutt’s ‘Guilty Pleasures: Your Favourite Sweet and Savoury Indulgences in 130 Easy Recipes’.¬†

I had been thinking about doing something with a free fridge pack of pineapple I was given in a Morrison’s food delivery, and wanted to combine it with rum (after the success of my Banana, Date and Rum Bake )

Plus, as usual, I had a million bananas in the fruit bowl that needed eating.

Matt Tebbutt’s book is great, full of new and interesting ideas, and it got the cogs in my brain thinking about what delights I could combine in this recipe. Why stop at rum when I could add coke to the mix as well?

I didn’t add dried fruit to this as I go a bit heavy on dried fruit but feel free to add some, but I recommend soaking in rum for a little while first.


50ml Rum (You will definitely taste this, as I am half pirate I can handle it)

50ml Coke (I used coke zero because it is what we had to hand, feel free to use any type and brand you like)

3 ripe bananas

220g Pineapple chunks, cut into small pieces

200g self raising flour

2 eggs

70g Demerara sugar


Preheat oven to gas mark 5 and grease a cake tin. (I used a 22cm one)

Place the cut pineapple chunks in a bowl and pour over the rum and coke. Give a little stir.

Mash up the bananas and mix in the bowl making sure everything is combined.

Add the sugar, flour and eggs and mix all together.

Place in your lined/greased cake tin and bake for 50mins or until a skewer comes out clean.

Immediately text the boy telling him he can take the leftovers into work so you are not tempted to eat it all.


I was thinking of maybe doing a coke and stem ginger icing, but decided to leave it plain this time, next time I make this maybe I will.