Cannellini Bean Salad

I really like the Cirio Cannellini Beans that come in the Tetra Recart™ pack. As well as using them in cooking I also use them for salads.

This is a simple fresh tasting salad.

I add to the beans, some finely diced red onion, diced cucumber and then I dress the bean salad with salt, pepper, white wine vinegar, and olive oil.

If I have some, then I will add some finely chopped coriander as well.

Some variations I have made, include replacing the white wine vinegar with fresh lemon juice.

Another variation is to add some cheese, I have used crumbled feta cheese. A different cheese I have used is fried halloumi. In both these cases I reduce or eliminate the salt from the salads as both of these cheeses are quite salty.

Pasta Bolognaise

Image by PublicDomainPictures from Pixabay

This is my go to quick dinner recipe. Well, I say quick, it does take some time. 

When writing this I did wonder if I had written up the recipe before. Well, I hadn’t written my recent bolognaise cooking, but had published a recipe back in March 2008. Looking at this post I realised I had posted a bolognese (note the different spelling) recipe in November 2022.

Those two recipes are very similar, but I have changed how I cook bolognaise, so here is my recent version of the bolognaise.

This serves four people.

      • 500g minced beef, I try and get 5% fat mince, otherwise the end result can be a bit greasy. If you do buy the mince with the higher fat content, I would suggest after browning the mince to drain some of the excess fat or oil from the pan before adding the vegetables.
      • Splash of olive oil
      • One onion, diced
      • One carrot finely diced. The carrot is there to add some veg to the dish as well as flavour.
      • One red pepper, diced, sometimes I only use half a red pepper.
      • Handful of mushrooms, chopped.
      • Splash of balsamic vinegar
      • Knorr chicken stock pot, sometimes I use the beef stock pot.
      • Beef stock cube.
      • Dried Italian herbs
      • Tin of tomatoes, puréed, sometimes I use a jar of passata.
      • Tomato purée.
      • Garlic purée

I usually use a large pan with a lid, for cooking this dish. I heat the pan add the splash of olive oil and then brown off the mince until it is all done. If you have excess fat in the pan then drain the cooked mince and discard the excess oil and fat, then add the mince back to the pan.

Add the onion, carrot, and pepper. You can add extra vegetables at this point, or extra pepper. I have sometimes added courgettes or sweet potato. If you really like it, you could add celery I guess, I wouldn’t.

After a few minutes add the mushrooms.

Once the onion is soft and cooked, add the tin of tomatoes, the herbs, the tomato purée and the balsamic vinegar.

Cook for at least 30 minutes on a low heat. The plan is for all the flavours to infuse and for the beef mince to be cooked and tender.

Serve with spaghetti or a pasta of your choice. Add freshly grated Parmesan to taste, garnish with freshly topped parsley.

I did a variation adding a topping of pan fried pancetta and mushrooms to my dish. Just to be different!

Cooked Red Cabbage

red cabage
Image by eurippon from Pixabay

For Sunday lunch I cooked some red cabbage. I didn’t have all the ingredients in the house for my festive red cabbage recipe, so I did a variation of it.


knob of butter
2 tbsp olive oil
1 red onion, finely sliced or chopped
1 x 500g (or half a) red cabbage, shredded finely using a food processor (white core discarded) or with a knife.
2 tbsp Balsamic vinegar
splash of red wine
1 tsp ground cinnamon
3 tbsp soft brown sugar
1 apple, peeled, cored and diced

2 tsp cranberry sauce


Heat the butter and oil in a lidded saucepan. When hot, add the onion and fry gently until softened. Stir in the cinnamon and season. Add the cabbage and fry for 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally, until glossy. Stir in the sugar, apples and Balsamic vinegar, cranberry sauce, add a splash of red wine. Cover with a lid and let it cook gently for 30 minutes.

If you aren’t using the cranberry sauce, taste the cabbage and add a little more sugar if it’s too tart for your taste.

Borlotti Beans

I make this dish quite often, sometimes as a main meal, usually as an accompaniment.

In large frying pan, cook off some diced pancetta with a splash of oil.

When the bacon has been rendered and is browned add some diced red onion, diced peppers, and diced mushrooms. Cook on a low heat until the peppers and onions have softened. The mushrooms are there for flavour.

To the softened onions and peppers, add a spoonful of plain flour. Stir in.

I then add a Knorr chicken stock pot, some garlic puree, and dried herbs.

To this mix I add some water. I then let this cook for about thirty minutes. The key is to thicken the sauce.

I really like the Cirio Borlotti Beans that come in the Tetra Recart™ pack. These are ready to use and once added to the pan, they just need heating through.

If I am doing a main course, I may add a second pack of pulses, sometimes lentils, or cannellini beans.

Other variations are to remove the bacon and use a vegetable stock to make this a vegetarian (or vegan) dish. Sometimes instead of chicken stock, I use a deep rich beef stock, I also use some tomato puree when using beef stock.

You could add some protein, roasted or pan fried duck, slow roasted pork belly or grilled chicken, all work well with the beans. Other times I have added some sausages, I quite like the Polish hunters’ sausage you can get at most supermarkets.

Gluten Free Fruit Pancakes

This is a quick and simple method to make small fruit fluffy pancakes. 

I take a cup of self-raising gluten free flour, a cup of milk, one egg, a large spoon of sugar and some vanilla essence. For regular flat pancakes, I would normally use plain flour.

Whisk the ingredients together until you have a smooth batter.

Add some finely chopped strawberries and halved raspberries. I use about two to three strawberries and six raspberries for the batter.

I have a specialist small pancake pan which I can use for cooking these. I brush the pan with some sunflower oil and spoon (not too much) of the batter into the pan. They will spread and expand, so I try not to fill the gaps in the pan and let the batter expand to fill the space. Cook one side and then the other.

You have to take care to ensure that the pancakes cook all the way through, but isn’t overdone (or even burnt) on the surface. I do find turning them can be quite messy, so be careful. My method is two spoons, one to get under the edge of the pancake, and the other to ensure it stays in place. The second spoon usually gets quite messy.

Serve with syrup.

You can of course omit the fruit to have fluffy pancakes.

Gluten Free White Chocolate Cookies


I have a recipe for gluten free white chocolate cookies which I have been using for a few years now which works really well.

I adapted it from a recipe I had, which didn’t work so well, so I made a few changes.

85g of unsalted butter
100g of light brown sugar
30g of caster sugar
1 teaspoon of vanilla essence
200g of gluten free plain flour
75g of white chocolate chips
1 large egg

Preheat the oven to 180℃ and line two baking trays with baking parchment.

Add the butter to a heat-proof mixing bowl. Melt the butter in a microwave for approx 50 seconds, until just liquid. Ensure it has fully melted. I find that slicing the butter into thin slices speeds up the process.

I once tried melting the butter in a pan, but the butter was too hot so the white chocolate chips I added later then melted. It’s important that the butter isn’t too hot.

Add the brown sugar and caster sugar to the warm butter, stir well.

Now the add the vanilla essence and the egg. Sometimes, depending on the size of the eggs, I replace the single large egg, with two egg yolks.

Mix into a smooth batter consistency.

Sift the plain gluten free flour into the batter and combine into a soft shiny cookie dough. I use to add xanthan gum, but have found it isn’t always necessary.

Add the white chocolate chips

Spoon the dough into small balls onto the baking trays.

Put them into the oven to bake for 10-12 minutes.

They are ready when they are starting to brown slightly but will still be very soft. Leave them on the tray to cool for five to ten minutes before transferring carefully to a wire rack to cool.

This recipe makes about twelve cookies.

Homemade bean dish

I originally called this dish a cassoulet. However I didn’t think it was an authentic cassoulet, so checked for a definition of what a cassoulet is.

Cassoulet is a rich, slow-cooked stew originating in southern France. The food writer Elizabeth David described it as “that sumptuous amalgamation of haricot beans, sausage, pork, mutton and preserved goose, aromatically spiced with garlic and herbs”.

Yup, what I cooked wasn’t a cassoulet. I didn’t use haricot beans, mutton or goose, and didn’t slow cook it either. Maybe something to try at another time.

I did though make a dish with beans, pork belly, and Polish sausage. 

In a large deep frying pan, I have a lovely large pan I got at IKEA which is ideal for this.

I added a splash of olive oil to which I added some pancetta. After cooking this for a while I added chopped garlic, with diced red onion, peppers and mushrooms.

I cooked the pancetta, onions, peppers, and mushrooms until the onions and pepper were softened. I then added some flour, stock, and some tomato puree. I cooked this for a while (ten minutes) before adding some sliced Polish sausage and some cooked pork belly chunks. The pork belly I had slow roasted in the oven for an hour.

After ten more minute I added two packs of beans, one cannellini, and one borlotti. As they are already cooked I was just warming the beans through.

I served this with some roasted potatoes and cooked vegetables.

Homemade Mexico City Nachos

Having really enjoyed the Mexico City Nachos from Wahaca, I have now been making this dish quite often myself.

Homemade Mexico City Nachos

I used some tinned black beans, I also had some other mixed beans and sweetcorn. To this I added some tortilla chips, and then dressed the dish with guacamole, sour cream, grated cheese, a tomato salsa, Mexican cheese dip, and some homemade pickled red onion. I added some freshly chopped coriander as a garnish.

It was a really nice and fresh dish, and was a good but slightly different version of the dish I had in London.

Homemade Mexico City Nachos

Having really enjoyed the Mexico City Nachos from Wahaca, I have now been making this dish quite often myself.

Homemade Mexico City Nachos

I used some tinned black beans, to this I added some tortilla chips, and then dressed the dish with chopped fresh red pepper, avocado, guacamole, sour cream, grated cheese, a homemade tomato salsa, and some homemade pickled red onion.

It was a really nice and fresh dish, and was a good copy of the dish I had in London.

Made some paella

I made and cooked a paella, or a Spanish inspired rice dish.


I diced an onion and a pointed red pepper.  In a hot large frying pan, I put some olive oil and I cooked off bacon lardons, and some diced chorizo.  I then added the diced onion and pepper. When this was softened, I added some sliced mushroom. Once this was stirred in I added 250g of paella rice.

To this I added some paella seasoning, paella seasoning, Carmencita Paellero Paella Spice Mix.

This is according to the description the number one selling spice mix in Spain.

I ensured that the rice was coated I added a splash of sherry. I then added some chicken stock and water. Stirred once and left it to cook.

I added some more water as it cooked.

Before serving I added some cooked sliced chorizo, freshly chopped parsley, and some chunks of lemon.

I served this with some freshly cooked fish and salad.