Beans and Egg on Toast – the Bear’s favourite homecoming meal.

The Bear travels a lot.

All over the world. And wherever he travels  he eats. He has a great time sampling different foods and styles of cooking but whenever he gets back from his travels he always asks for one thing in particular. I would and could cook him anything at all, no matter how involved or time consuming, because I am so pleased that he is home again….. and all he ever wants is his favourite.

I think it happens to us all when you have been away from home for too long. All you want is something that is inextricably tied to memories of home, something that can only be made at home… you’d never be able to get a restaurant to make it for you. They could try but they’d never get it right. Restaurants are fine… they are great in some cases but eating out every night? After a while you need something simple. Once when I had been travelling round the south of India for weeks, eating the most delicious food and learning to make dal, I was preparing to come home and all I could think about was my mother’s cooking.  In an internet cafe in Bangalore (this was only a few years ago but BlackBerry’s weren’t on the market yet) I emailed work and asked the lovely Lolly to phone my Mum and tell her I was on my way back and to please make fish pie for my homecoming! And when I eventually got back, there it was, delicious and perfect and exactly what I needed after so long away.

Homecoming food should be comfort food. It should make you feel surrounded with love. It shouldn’t be – it can’t be – challenging, it has to be familiar.

So that’s what he gets.

And what is it? It’s beans on toast with a fried egg. But, like the advert says, it’s not just ANY beans on toast with a fried egg… it’s the Bear’s Beans on toast with a fried egg!

There are specific ingredients, though, that make this special. It wouldn’t be the same if I used supermarket bread, no matter what premium range it came from. It wouldn’t be the same if I used any old beans and just plonked them on the toast. And it certainly wouldn’t be the same if I used ordinary eggs and just fried them any old way.

The bread has to be made by me and it has to be No-Knead Bread because that not only tastes good but it has the perfect texture. It doesn’t dissolve when you pour the beans over it. Go and follow that link for a step by step look at making it. I have to start it the day before I need it but that’s good, when I start the bread I know my Bear will be home soon.

Those eggs? They are the gorgeous free range eggs from our local farm shop. Free range makes such a difference and the quality of their eggs reflects this. They are large with golden yolks and taste simply delicious.

And the beans? Well, they just HAVE to be Heinz.

So far so good.

And now to start it. The thing about beans is that they can – even the best of them – be a bit watery. We don’t like that. We like them heated gently and slowly till they become rich and thick.

….. and with a knob of butter added to them to make them taste even better.

The bread has to be cut thick, but not too thick and toasted

…..before being spread with salted Normandy butter

…. and piled high with beans. See how thick they are? How tasty they are too…..

The eggs are cooked in oil with some chilli oil poured in (ohhhh… how good that makes the eggs taste. Just a bit of a bite to them!)

And then you put the eggs on top.

It really is delicious. The yolk spills out and mixes with the beans and the toast mops up all the delicious dribbles.

It still needs just one extra thing though for the ultimate, homecoming comfort food….Heinz tomato sauce……

And that’s why you can’t get that in a restaurant. 

There are so many specifics and the biggest of them all is that the cook has to make a tomato sauce heart over the top.

Perfect homecoming food that says welcome back and come on in, you’ve been missed.


It was really hard trying to think what to call this post. The original recipe called it Tomato Pudding and I just didn’t think that really described it.

I’d bought the book, “First Ladies Cook Book – favourite recipes of all the Presidents of the United States” while we were on a weekend break in the north

One of the recipes in there was, apparently, a favourite of Dwight D. Eisenhower (34th President, from January 20, 1953 – January 20, 1961) and was called Tomato Pudding. Doesn’t sound attractive does it?

The recipe, as it was written didn’t sound that interesting either:

Tomato Pudding.

1  10-ounce can of tomato puree, 1/4 teaspoon of salt, 1 cup of white bread, cut into 1 inch cubes, 1/4 cup boiling water, 1/4 cup of melted butter and 6 tablespoons of light brown sugar.

Add sugar and salt to the tomato puree and water and boil for 5 minutes. Place bread cubes in a casserole. Pour melted butter over them Add the tomato mixture. bake uncovered for 30 minutes at 375 degrees F. Serve with quail or roasted meats.

So, a President of the United States of America, thought this was the bees-knees? And served it as a delicacy at State Dinners?  Bread and tomato?

But I could see that there was potential here… I thought at the time that the recipe was overheavy on sugar and just using puree would make the bread a rather solid block, so something was needed to lighten things up. I would, perhaps, use chopped tomatoes so there would be a difference of texture within the dish and then I needed to think what would be best served with it.

My brother makes sure that my freezer always has some game in it and I often roast a little pheasant or other bit of game, so a dish that would work alongside a roast morsel of something or other would be good.

You often find pheasant served with croutons or fried bread and I was thinking of this tomato pudding as working along those lines.

And this is what I came up with.

I had some crusty bread… I sliced about half a loaf and then cubed it. This filled a large square baking dish.

The original recipe asked for melted butter to be poured over the bread cubes but I thought if I replaced that with a drizzle of oil that would lighten it and make it a healthier option. If I used chilli oil then that would add a subtle bite to the whole dish. Chilli oil doesn’t overwhelm you with the taste of chilli, but rather comes in as a subtle afterburn, a tingle really, just enough to give things a bit of bite and interest. Even if you don’t like chillies, you should try it at least once. You will probably be very pleasantly surprised.

The original recipe used tomato puree and diluted it with water and added a huge amount of sugar.  But in the interests of dragging this dish into the 21st century and making it slightly more healthy for us….

 …I thought that chopped plum tomatoes would lighten the texture, giving it a bit of interest, so that it wasn’t just solid tomato paste covered bread.

And not sugar to sweeten things, but port. 

If the original recipe used tomato puree, that seems to me to be a rather solid substance so the water would be necessary. Using chopped tomatoes means there’s more liquid there so you wouldn’t need to add too much port.

 That would add another level of flavour (and don’t worry, any alcohol would evaporate in the cooking, so any children eating it won’t end up rolling drunk)

Port is sweet and I had a bottle that needed using up. If you don’t have any, use water and add some sugar… but I don’t think you need to add the original 6 tablespoons.

Stir it round and cook it down a bit.

Just boil it down gently until it reduces a bit.

Then, pour it over the bread cubes.

And just because I have been cutting back on  all sorts of things to make this a healthier, tastier dish, I thought a few knobs of butter on the top would help it cook and get a lovely crispy top.

I put it into the oven, alongside some pheasant to serve with it, at 175 degrees C  for 30 minutes.

And what was it like?

Really rather good. A crunchy, savoury top and a meltingly tomatoey middle. The contrasts of textures was appealling and the taste was excellent.

I think there’s room for improvement – maybe add some garlic to the tomatoes? – but served with a little pheasant leg and breast it really was rather delicious. I shall make it again to serve with roast pork and maybe add some chopped apples to it to break up the texture even more. There’s all sorts of tweaks I can think of with this.

Using half a loaf of bread (the staler the better, I think) a tin of chopped tomatoes, a dash of oil and a slurp or so of port (if you want to add it) you have a very quick and easy side dish that costs coppers.

So, Dwight D. Eisenhower, thanks for the idea. If it was good enough to be served in the White House in the 1950’s, then with a bit of tweaking it is good enough to be served in our house today.

An Accidental Soup…..Chickpea and Chorizo

It’s so unfair… this is the lovely, long  Easter weekend and we were planning to go North for a family get-together and I have a rotten cold. I can’t think straight, my tonsils are swollen, my chest is rattling and I feel like death warmed up. We can’t go home and inflict this on everyone so we are staying put.

I haven’t got much in to cook with because we were going to be away and, besides, I don’t really want to cook anything long and involved. I want quick and easy.  The weather is awful and we need to be warmed through.

When I go to the larder to see what there is, I have soup in mind. That would be easy to swallow and it would be good for me. Soup is always good for you when you have a cold or are under the weather… the steaming goodness opens everything up and makes you feel like you are in the land of the living again.

I find some tinned chickpeas on the shelf and in the fridge, I know there’s some chorizo. I can make soup with that, I think…..

I can picture it in my mind.. almost taste it…. hot and soothing, creamy smooth chickpeas with lovely chorizo slices to spike it up a bit….

So, I chop the onion and start to cook it

Next, I open the can and rinse the chickpeas…. that’s essential as I hate that gloopy stuff that collects round them in the tin. I know it is just the chickpea starch but it needs rinsing off. That and the briney stuff the chickpeas are in. If there’s flavour to be added, it will be me doing it, not the tin.

So, stir the chickpeas round to get them coated in the oniony juices and bits of onion (this is going to be the quickest soup ever as the chickpeas are cooked – all you have to cook, really, is the onion)

I want some smokey heat  in the soup, so a good heaped teaspoon of sweet smoked paprika will give a certain depth to it.

Stir it in and watch the colour change to a cheering golden glow

Add a pint or so of water and some stock granules

And then… well, this is when cooking while marginally delerious takes you down an unexpected culinary road……

I was thinking, in my slightly befuddled way, that chickpeas were lovely but if I added , say, ground almonds it would give a lovely rich dimension….thickening things. and adding flavour.

So I reached for one of my storage jars (which the eagle eyed amongst you may recognise as coffee jars… waste not want not, I say, and they are excellent to put dried goods in. Thing is, I never label them because I can see what’s in them. I wash them and peel the label off and then use them again. It keeps my larder looking neat and as all the jars are the same size they can be stacked on top of one another. Good thinking, eh?)

See? Looks like ground almonds.

Except it was fine polenta! I realised after I had poured some in that I had used the last of the ground almonds a couple of weeks ago….

Well, there was nothing for it but to carry on. I added some more water and stirred it round to cook it.

A good old whizz with the blender turned it all into a golden, silky soup. I tasted it to see if the seasoning needed any adjustment. I had to get the Bear to check as I couldn’t really be trusted because of my cold. A pinch of Maldon salt and it was judged to be pretty good.

The chorizo needed slicing

and adding to the soup – a few minutes to cook through was all they needed… and that was it.

From start to finish (including the three or four minutes where I stared at the polenta jar in puzzlement) that took about twenty minutes.

All I had to do was swirl some chilli oil over the top and add an extra few wafer thin slices of chorizo and there it was.

The prettiest bowl of soup. Golden yellow and glowing. Tasting absolutely delicious!

Sometimes you discover things by accident and you are really glad you did.

That soup was rich and tasty and my poor, sore throat felt soothed by it. I felt happier than I did when I started to make it.. .. and all that golden goodness filled me and relaxed me so I went back to bed and snoozed through the afternoon.

 And, do you know what? I will make it again and the next time I will deliberately add polenta.

Crushed potatoes

Working full time is, as most of you will know, a pretty tiring business.

Working as a temp in an office is actually not that lucrative, so there’s always a fine line to be drawn between saving money and making things taste good.

This cold, dark winter seems longer than usual and it affects everyone’s mood. We get up in the dark, go to work in the dark and come home in the dark. If it’s not snowing then it’s raining or just bone-chillingly cold. The street lights come on mid afternoon and the freezing fog just hangs about.

I feel permanently exhausted and everything seems so much effort. Even cooking – my great joy – seems to be suffering. I want to come home and do the minimum…. the minimum, that is, until I have to eat it. I want something to cheer me up and make me feel marginally more special than a cold, dark and miserable Thursday warrants.

The answer is, of course, make something that takes the least effort imaginable, in the shortest time, with the loveliest taste.

When your mood is low then the thing to do is to get some potatoes… life always seems better when spuds are involved

The answer, therefore, is….. crushed and roasted (sort of) potatoes.

You’d be happy, I take it, with something that takes less than half an hour to make and serve? Some of those packet meal things take 40 minutes.. so something fresh and easy would be better? Surely?

So, you get some potatoes, peel them and cut them into manageable pieces… put them in a microwavable bowl with a sprinkle of salt and some water.

Put the oven on at 180 degrees.

Cover it with a plate and cook on high power for 6 or 7  minutes. (I say cover it with a plate because that is quicker and more economical than covering it with cling film and then throwing it out. Besides, that’s what I always do)

That’s just enough to mainly cook them but them still to keep their shape. Jab them with a knife to check there’s give in them.

Drain the spuds and put them on an oven tray… and get out your potato masher.

(Funnily enough, when I make mashed potato I won’t use the masher, I always use a potato ricer to make sure the mash is as smooth as can be. The masher is, however, perfect for part crushing the potatoes)

Now, don’t go mad. You aren’t mashing… you are bashing.

The potatoes need to be broken down around the edges… not flat, just bashed about.

Drizzle oil over it… garlic oil is good… as is chilli oil if you want your potatoes to have a bit of a bite … then shove them in the oven on a top shelf for ten minutes or so.

See how the littler bits have gone golden and crispy?

And the bigger bits have crisped up round the outside?

And there you have it… perfect to serve with (as I did) some roast lamb…. or maybe left over sausages, heated through, or maybe some roast chicken.

Sometimes, it is just enough to have a bowl of potatoes.

That really did take just about 30 minutes to make. 

And it really did take the edge off a bad day.

Spicy Oxtail and the bump on the head

Yesterday was a work day and I was up before 6 as usual. I got up, showered, dried my hair and got ready for work and was out of the door by 7.25. I didn’t go to work though.

Instead, I spent the day here

stretched out on the sofa, wrapped in a blanket, with an ice pack on my head.

Why? Well, I got out of the main doors of our apartments and slid along the black ice to my car. The pavements were like a skating rink and I thought things were bad, but at least it wasn’t snowing heavily.

I scraped the ice from the windows and waited till the car  was warmed up before setting off. The car (a huge and heavy old diesel, but excellent in bad weather) was slipping a bit… but at least I was moving. I got to the corner where we turn to go down the hill and saw cars sliding down sideways in the ice. Our grit ran out days ago and despite the best efforts of us all to keep the hill clear, there’s only so much we can do.

This was getting ridiculous and I thought that the best thing to do would be to put the car back and get the bus into work.

Turned out that the buses were cancelled. Our neighbours were all standing around and we watched the more foolish young ones try to drive up the hill to get out … the snow was whirling round and their cars were sliding backwards. One of the neighbours said the road had been closed to stop accidents and that the cars were being turned round.

So, being a good neighbour I went to see if they needed help pushing – the Bear and I had been out over the weekend to help and with just a couple of people helping, the cars can get moving again. Once it was clear maybe the roads would be better and we could all get out. Great idea, eh?

Except I stepped on black ice.  My feet soared upwards and I fell backwards cracking down on my head on the pavement. I lay there completely stunned until a really lovely neighbour picked his way across the ice to haul me up. That was it for me. I made it back home to show the Bear what a stupid thing I’d done.

I have a huge egg sized bump on the back of my head and all I wanted to do was to sit still with a bag of ice on the back of my head. I just lay there feeling very sorry for myself while the weather got worse outside. The snow had been thawing and the grass clearing  but now it was back with a vengeance.

Just as well, then, that I had started making the oxtail I had planned for tonight and the last thing I did before setting off was to turn on the slow cooker.

I’d been thinking about cooking the oxtail I had in the freezer and I wanted to do something different with it. I was thinking of a sharper taste to it than the normal beefy gravy and vegetables …… so at 11pm the night before,I started getting things ready.

That beautiful oxtail was only £1.98.

As with any slow cooked meat, you need to sear it, browning the outsides before you put it in the  pot. This is not just for cosmetic reasons, because the brown outside is so much more appealing, but because the slightly caramelised burt brown bits add to the flavour of the gravy.

While that was searing, I chopped an onion and put half of that in the base of the slow cooker pot.

A few cloves of garlic would be great with the flavours I was planning…….

The oxtail pieces went in on top of the onion, then the rest of the onion went on top

Then three dessertspoonfuls of hoisin sauce, with some ginger .. I was using a tube because, with all the bad weather, I hadn’t gone shopping much and I was running low on fresh ingredients.

I put in some Lea and Perrins to sharpen it slightly – a good shake of it, all over the top

and one of those lovely chillies from the chilli oil jar.

Some water and some stock granules to make sure there was enough liquid in there and that, as they say, was that.

OK so it was a bit late to be searing meat but I knew that all I had to do in the morning was turn it on.  I would get the Bear (who was to be working at home) to put in some cubed sweet potato at some point in the afternoon.

Still, it had only taken me ten minutes to get that ready so I couldn’t complain.

And how glad I was that I did it. I really couldn’t have managed to sort anything out after that bang on the head. I just lay there, listening to the occasional gloop and bubble sound from the slow cooker and breathin in  the spicy, meaty smell as it cooked.

I did manage to peel a sweet potato

and cube it, before putting it in on top of the half cooked oxtails, before going back to lie on the sofa.

And that was delicious. A jacket potato on the side was perfect to soak up the gravy.

We ate it at about 7 pm and it was a lovely mix of sweetness, sharpness and meatiness. You wouldn’t have particularly known that it was a mixture of hoisin and Worcestershire sauce but it did make a really lovely gravy.

All that from one oxtail, one sweet potato and one onion. Bargain!

Tomato Rice Soup

I remember when I was younger, before I learnt how to cook, I used to think it was perfectly sensible to open a can of soup. I really had no idea how easy it was to make soup, nor how much tastier it could be.

I grew up in the decades that considered the launching on the market of a frozen, crispy pancake for frying at home to be a pretty exciting development. When I was  young, most families didn’t think it strange  to have cans of soup and there was nothing finer in our young eyes than having cream of tomato soup.

On Sunday nights my brother and sister and I would get things ready for school the next day and, as a treat, we could have supper while we watched television… now that WAS a treat. For every other meal, we ate in the dining room, at the table and television was banned.

Because we had had the traditional Sunday lunch – either at home, or at our grandparents, a two hour drive away across the North Yorkshire Moors – we would have a light, later supper than normal.

Imagine how exciting it was for the three of us to sit down to watch “Planet of the Apes” while Ma heated the tomato soup and spread Ritz Crackers with Philadelphia Cream Cheese and topped them with thin slices of hard boiled egg……. remember those egg slicers?  Sophisticated, huh?

Of course in those days, I was a skinny kid, with knock knees…….. anything was sophisticated.

But how we loved those Sunday night suppers.

I was thinking about the tomato soup and how deliciously rich and tasty it was and how sometimes, as a variation,  we would have tomato rice soup and I thought that maybe I could try making my own version. If I made it myself I would know exactly what went into it and I’d be able to keep an eye on it for the calorie count… with a bit of imaginative taste tweaking I could keep it low calorie….

Tomato soup needs tomatoes

A couple of onions, 200g of  long grain rice, some stock… oh and remember the chilli oil I made? Those chillies have really powered up the oil they are loitering in and have softened beautifully – I shall have a chilli or two from there……… and to soften it all and make it rich and creamy?

Some coconut milk powder – now this is a brilliant store cupboard ingredient. A spoonful added to spicy food gives a lovely smooth richness… and if chillies are involved, it calms down the heat and adds another dimension to the taste.

Get a large pan – this will make maybe 4 litres – and heat a spoonful of oil. I used the chilli oil and I put in two of the soft chillies.

Putting the chillies in at the start means they don’t frighten you with ferocious burning tastes.. the cooking softens their fire. If you are giving this to children, miss out the chillies and just use ordinary oil.

Peel and roughly chop the onion and add it to the oil to soften – don’t have the heat too high, you want the onions to soften gently until they are translucent, not sizzle till they are golden and crispy.

Put in two cans of Italian plum tomatoes – I really like the Napolina ones (and not just because they were on offer in the supermarket)

Rinse out the cans with water and add two litres of water with a couple of stock cubes, stir it round and let it bubble gently.

See how it gets thicker and a richer red?

You’ll know if it is ready for blitzing smooth because those onions that you chopped will be tender if you take a bit out to check.

I have a stick blender and it truly is one of the greatest kitchen gadgets you can get. If you haven’t got one, make sure it is next on your list of things to get – it really does make life so simple. Use whatever you have to whizz that soup base into a smooth and lucious pan of scarlet goodness.

Then, pour in 200g of long grain rice and stir round.

And remember the coconut milk powder? Mix a tablespoon or so in a jug with some cold water, little by little, mixing it smooth so you have maybe a quarter of a pint, and then pour it in.

Stir everything round and let it come back to a gentle boil.

The rice will cook in the tomato soup and thicken it brilliantly.

You might want to add some more water if you think it is too thick. I put in another pint jug full.

(Yes, I know I have been talking about litres but it was the old glass Pyrex jug that was nearest. And we all do it… I don’t think we Brits have quite grasped metric. Ingredients have to be sold in metric measurements but babies come in pounds and ounces. Make of that what you will)

Check the taste and see if it is what you want. You might want to add a pinch of salt or maybe a pinch of stock granules.

Now for the good news. I sat with a pen and some paper and tried to add up all the calories – 700 or so for the rice. 145 for the coconut milk, 190 for two cans of tomatoes, 120 for the oil… a 120 or so for the onions..and then I looked at the huge pan, full of soup…. there was well over 5 litres there.  Less than 300 calories a litre!

How simple was that? Low in fat, high in taste. Quick to do.

Enough for us to take flasks to work for the next couple of days. And have some to share with friends.

If you were to have a really big mug full of it you would still be under 300 calories…

So, there I was at work… with a hot mug full of tomato rice soup… thick and tasty, rich and tomatoey. Still on my diet.

And still, just as I was all those years ago, staring at a screen in front of me. Except this time I wasn’t watching “Planet of the Apes”


Chilli Oil

I know we only have a very small balcony and it is incredibly windy up at the top of our building,but I have managed to grow things up here.

This year the chillies have been fantastic and even though it is now getting towards the end of November there were still chillies ripening

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It really was time I did something with them before they spoiled on the plant.

I have a whole load of them ready to be stuffed with cheese and wrapped with bacon but even I, with my chilli addiction, can’t eat that many.

One of the other things I do is make chilli oil, using vegetable oil, so that I can cook with it. It just gives a little nip of something to whatever I am frying. And, oh, the difference it makes to a fried egg!

Of course, it also means that you have chillies available to cook with – softened, admittedly, due to their immersion in oil, but at least you have some.


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So, harvest the chillies…..

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Aren’t they beautiful? On a cold and wet November day they really are a bright spot.

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Put them in a bowl and pour boiling water over them and squoosh them about for a few seconds then drain them

It helps to slash them so they will sink in the oil…. just remember if you do this that you must be careful with your fingers afterwards.

I know everyone always says this… and I know that everyone usually forgets and then gets a shock when they stick their fingers somewhere. Well, I have said it so don’t complain when you rub your eyes.

Put your chillies in a jar and pour oil over them

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And that’s it.

You’ll be surprised how quickly the oil takes on the essence of chilli and very pleased with how many things you can add use the oil in…..a spoonful when you are making mayonnaise, for example, really sparks it up.  And it is, you’ll probably agree, a particularly pretty jar to have in your kitchen.

What more can you ask for – a multitasking end product? Useful AND pretty.

Pumpkin Soup

After gouging out the seeds and making snacks of them the other day, I really had to get a move on with  the rest of the pumpkin and thought pumpkin soup would be the answer. Besides I wanted to make a Jack O’Lantern with it, ready for Halloween.

(When I was young, in the far North of England, we never saw a pumpkin and instead carved lanterns from turnips!)

Still, civilisation has advanced since then and even in the Grim North, pumpkins are freely available now. I started by scooping out the flesh

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There was a fair amount of flesh in there

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I thought that the best way of dealing with it was to roast it first to deepen the flavour. I sprinkled it with chilli oil, salt and paprika ….

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That went into an oven at 175 degrees and while that was roasting I started on the soup base. Onions, of course, a clove of garlic, a little bit of chopped dried chilli

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After the onion had softened in some oil and some stock, the pumpkin was browning nicely

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The dark bits were caramellised and sweet, the rest of it was soft and golden… perfect. That could now go into the pan with the softened onions

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Stir it round and watch it all sink into a lovely, soft mess of pumpkin and onion. Now you can add some more stock to thin it down… maybe some milk or, remember I told you about adding dried milk? That doesn’t add extra fluid but does add extra taste.

Then stick in your hand blender (surely one of the greatest inventions ever? This is my Dualit which I would hate to be without and that we got as a wedding present. Thanks B&T!)

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See how the colour changes? Lightens as it becomes smooth and silky?

And that’s it.

Serve it in a bowl, with a swirl of chilli oil to spike it up a bit and a lovely fresh baked roll to go with it….

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And at the end of it… I still had the pumpkin and a sharp knife. Happy Halloween!

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Roasted pumpkin seeds

As it is getting towards Halloween you see pumpkins everywhere, in every farm shop and greengrocer.

I thought that I would make pumpkin soup this week and then the Bear had the brilliant idea of also making our own roasted pumpkin seeds to have as a snack. They are full of fibre, high in protein and anti oxidants so they are, actually, a health food… despite tasting absolutely delicious.

First of all, get your pumpkin!                               Beans and belly pork 036

Cut it open ……

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 and start scooping out those seeds! They are your bonus – you’re making soup with the flesh and what you would have discarded you are now going to make into tasty little bites. Put the oven on to preheat at about 150 degrees

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 You need to scrape the fibres off

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And then give them a good rinse under the tap because they are very slippery and the gloopy bits rinse away easily enough

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Put them on a clean tea towel and rub them dry… well, you won’t be able to do that but you can get a lot of moisture off them

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You need to think about how you want to flavour the seeds – I fancied spicy ones and looked to see what was in the cupboards that I could use. I regularly make chilli oil by popping chillies into a bottle and topping it up with grapeseed or sunflower oil. It’s not particularly hot but it just adds a hint of heat. Worcestershire sauce would be nice too and I also found some Jerk Seasoning which I thought would just fit the bill as a flavouring dust to help crisp things up

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The oven should now be hot, so get a baking tray and put one of those silicon sheets on…. or cover it with tin foil, sprinkle that with the oil, pour on the pumpkin seeds, add a teaspoon or so of Worcestshire Sauce,  salt and then shake that Jerk Seasoning over the whole lot.

Roasted pumpkin seeds 020 Into the oven with it and that’s where it will stay for the next 15 – 30 minutes.

You need to keep checking though and stirring them round because they can burn easily but you’ll see them turn a lovely toasty colour. Put them onto some kitchen towel to absorb any extra oil

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Let them cool  and then serve those crunchy morsels up. If you served them with a glass of wine, I reckon you’d be hitting every health button there was!

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There you have it – tasty snacks from the stuff you would otherwise throw away. I think we deserve medals for being so creative and cost concious. Cheers!