Pretend like there’s no world outside


There’s nothing I like more than a glut of bananas. I arrived home after a visit to the Chap to find four lovely, blemished bananas waiting patiently in my fruit bowl. Their brown spots told me that action was required sooner rather than later. My first thought, naturally, was Happy Dance muffins, but alas, my store cupboard holds no eggs. As I’m still sticking with a slim budget this month, I would have to use what I already had in stock. Cue a rifle through the kitchen cupboards. No eggs, no problem.

I know bananas can be used as an egg substitute in vegan cookery, so I decided if it was good enough for vegans, it would be good enough for me. I did slightly contradict this by adding cows’ milk, but there you go. I also added protein powder because I’ve started running regularly again and my body needs all the protein it can get.




Banana Protein Pancakes

(Makes around 15 small pancakes)

1 very ripe banana, mashed

75g Doves gluten free flour

25g pea protein isolate

1/2 tsp Doves gluten free baking powder

200ml organic skimmed milk


Mash the banana in a large bowl. Sift in the flour, protein powder and baking powder and combine with the banana. Add milk and whisk with a fork to make a thick batter. Add spoonfulls of the mixture to a hot pancake pan. They are ready to flip when there is no longer any liquid on the surface.




I ate them all and it was glorious! I served mine with a little (read: a lot) of honey drizzled on top and a large mug of tea on the side. It was a perfect Sunday lunch for me. Do let me know if you like the recipe or if you give them a go.


PS Who knows the song that my title is derived from? It’s not a tricky one 🙂



Rebecca’s Recipes: Sweet Potato and Lentil Curry

It was mid-morning on Saturday. A late breakfast meant that lunch was some way off in the distance, but I still wanted to be in the kitchen. I planned to bake. But to start my kitchen adventure, I made a batch of one of my favourite meals. I make Sweet Potato Curry normally once a fortnight. Most of the time, I add red lentils, but I have been known to add a can of chickpeas instead. The wonderful thing about this dish is its available options. I always add an additional vegetable to the sweet potato base. Most of the time, it’s either carrot or parsnip. For this batch, I added finely sliced broccoli stalk. I aim for no food wastage in this house! Plus, I think the stalk has the strongest taste, in a good way. It takes a fair amount of cooking though, which is why I sliced it thinly.

This made three portions for my freezer drawer. I would imagine it would serve two for dinner.



1 onion, chopped

1 sweet potato, diced

1 broccoli stalk, finely sliced

2tsp curry paste (I use Patak’s Tikka Masala paste)

500ml vegetable stock

60g red split lentils


1) Sweat the onion until it is soft.

2) Turn up the heat and add the other vegetables. Keep stirring on the high heat until the vegetables take on some colour.

3) Add the curry paste and stir through.

4) Add the stock and bring to the boil.

5) Add the red split lentil, turn heat down to a simmer. Cover and cook for 20 minutes.


Whilst my curry was bubbling away nicely, I was browsing through a recipe book. My housemate entered the kitchen and asked if I was baking. I said I was thinking about making rock buns.

“Well, I’ve got some brown bananas upstairs if you can make use of them.”

Naturally, I nearly bit her hand off. The rock buns will have to wait for another day, because there is only one thing to make when your housemate hands you four, perfectly good, very ripe bananas – Happy Dance Muffins!


It was pleasant to spend a couple of hours pottering around the kitchen. It was also good to see the culmination of my efforts. The freezer drawer is looking very healthy now I must say. The same can’t be said for the cake tin. The muffins seem to be disappearing rapidly, but the smile on my face isn’t going anywhere. Banana muffins make me too happy!


Do let me know if you try out either recipe, I’d love to hear your feedback.

Baking inspiration

I have been reading Sue’s new blog, 365 days – £365, with keen interest. The way she has used various ingredients to her advantage has been inspirational. This weekend, I was treating myself to a restful Sunday, after spending most of Saturday catching up with University-related stuff. I felt inclined to rifle through my cupboards and see what I could create. It started with an egg.


A further rummage in the cupboards and in the fridge later, and I had just enough flour, milk, sugar and butter to create this tray of delights . . .


As you can see, I couldn’t resist the role of quality control. I was quite proud of these cute little gluten-free cupcakes. They tasted great fresh from the oven, but they did get a little bit dry. More experimentation required!

I had a small amount of flour left, another 100g of butter and as much sugar as I needed. We keep a house store of sugar in our baking cupboard. Yes, we have a baking cupboard. Yes, we are a house of girly-girls.

But alas, no more eggs.

There was still a recipe to be had though. After a flick through my Marguerite Patten’s Wartime Cookery book, the recipe for Eggless Sponge was uncovered. I made a Syrup Sponge Pudding with the few handfuls of ingredients I had.


Honestly, a bowlful of warm sponge, topped with some reduced custard that I’d bought the day before, was the best pudding I’ve had in a long time. It took a pinch of ingenuity to make, but my goodness, the results were more than satisfactory. For me, it just shows the joy that can be found in simple cooking with humble ingredients. Delicious!

Classic, with a twist.

I adore the cuisine that comes along with winter. The change in the temperature has stirred a shift in my kitchen. I love hearty stews that fill the whole house with scent. Or cradling a hot bowl of porridge in the morning, topped with sweet-spiced apple sauce – delicious! Up near the top on my list of cold weather food has got to be cottage pie. I’m a big believer in mashed potato for this time of year (read: all the time throughout the year).

My version is piggy pie; pork mince being the twist in the tale. This is a recipe I often return to, and I had just the right ingredients that needed using up. I made the base layer as you do, adding a little of this and a bit of that.



The topping was mashed sweet potato, as that is what I had in the cupboard. It doesn’t need milk and butter in the same way you would treat regular potato, it is better without the additions. I added a little grated cheddar on top, and a couple of slices of tomatoes I saved from lunch time.


I may not see eye to eye with Frugal Queen regarding Christmas, but she has hit the nail on the head with portion size. I have known to be a terrible glutton on occasions. But half of this dish, served with a generous amount of peas and spinach, was a lovely meal for me. Besides, the brownie I enjoyed later on filled any remaining gaps. I find home cooking fills the heart as well as the stomach, particularly this time of year (read: yes, I mean all the time).

Rebecca’s Recipes: Mama’s Brownies

Recipes that have been passed down through the generations are often tried and tested favourites. My mother is very good at baking. Some might even call her a master of the art. Even when I threw down the gauntlet of being gluten-free, she performed majestically to create the best gluten-free Swiss roll I have ever tasted. That’s right, she made gluten-free cake batter ROLL. Cake-making alchemy at its finest.

I am a novice compared to my mother, but I do have a few tricks up my sleeve. I will admit to learning most of them from her though. I’m here to share a recipe that flew from her recipe book to mine, taking the gluten free route. Chocolate brownies. Just saying that prompts a goofy grin from almost everyone. I couldn’t wait to road test my new scales – which work like a dream by the way. Plus, I bought a block of dark chocolate for my sweetie ration just for such a baking occasion.

(Side note, I haven’t had any other sweeties outside of my ration so far this month. I think this is worth a mention, as sweets were always my downfall in previous rationing challenges. I have had crisps on occasions; does anyone know the rationing value of this snack? Thanks!)


DSCN2276My baking uniform is not complete with my CK apron and obligatory fluffy slippers.

            I have been doing a serious amount of writing today to make up for yesterday’s awol behaviour. I took a baking break just after lunch. These are motivational brownies, trust me.

Gluten-free brownies


110g butter

110g dark or plain chocolate

225g caster sugar

2 eggs

Splash of milk

110g GF plain flour (I use Doves Farm)

½ tsp GF baking powder (again, Doves Farm)


Preheat the oven to 180°C. Line a rectangular tin with baking parchment.

Melt the butter and chocolate together using the Bain Marie method (saucepan and hot water – you got it.)

Combine the sugar, flour and baking powder in a large bowl.

Whisk the eggs together with a fork and add the milk.

Add the eggs to the flour mix, then the melted chocolate. Stir to make your brownie batter.

Pour into the tin and bake for 20 – 25 minutes. I like my brownies on the gooey side (who doesn’t?) so I took mine out after 22mins.



I do hope you enjoy the recipe. I shall put the link with the others on my “Rebecca’s Recipes” page. Please let me know if you try it out, I’d love to hear what you think.

Sunday dinner

You thought I’d forgotten about my blogging commitment, didn’t you? Well, I suppose it is an unusually late posting for me, but I have good reason. I have only just enjoyed the delights that emerged from my slow cooker. The best things take time and this dish was certainly worth the wait. It has all the ingredients of a traditional Sunday dinner (one such tradition I’ve never been involved in), but a cheaper version.

I picked up a winter vegetable selection box at Aldi on Friday, the majority of which was peeled, diced and sent straight to the pot. That was shortly followed by a chicken leg quarter, then gluten-free stock, sage and pepper.



Nine hours later, with the scent of chicken driving me crazy, I dived in. I love how my slow cooker makes everything so flavourful. Because the produce has got the time to relax and simmer gently, everything always tastes good. The meal is beautifully frugal too.


Veggies: (£1.49 for total box, but still have an onion and a few carrots left) £1.10

1 chicken leg quarter 58p

Stock and seasonings 20p

Total cost: £1.88. I’ve had dinner tonight, I’ve got three portions ready for the freezer and the remaining chickeney-liquid will be enjoyed as broth tomorrow lunchtime. So, five portions = 38p per portion.


I feel I deserve a frugal pat on the back for this meal. Long may the thriftiness continue!

Balance: £65 to last 27 days (another no spend day – hurrah!)


The photo below looks like an ordinary grocery haul. In some senses, it is. But I did not part with one penny to obtain this food. It came from the generosity of the chap.

He is off on another jolly holiday and had to clear the fridge before departing. I was there, hessian bag in hand, ready to rescue anything I could. I came home with a real bounty. Thank you my love! I hope you have a wonderful trip.


Broccoli, double cream, strawberries, Free From bread, avocados, eggs, apples, carrots, red onion, limes, lemon, clementines, light cream cheese, cherry tomatoes

            Now, onto the exciting matter of what I can concoct with my table laden with ingredients. All of the foodstuffs are things I like. Some regularly form part of my weekly shop, some of them I rarely buy. This is either because they are out of reach of my budget, or are not akin to my chosen lifestyle – here’s looking at you double cream! But nothing will be wasted on my watch.

This gift has come at the right time, as I have recently been re-reading Kitchen Diaries II. I have written about Nigel Slater’s wonderful book in an earlier post. His intuitive way of cooking, displayed in the book and on the recent television programme, is a style I wish to emulate. With unusual (to me) ingredients, some store cupboard staples and a little bit of risk taking, I should be able to feed myself this week on a minimal budget. I say minimal rather than nothing, as this Storyteller needs to purchase milk for idea-inducing tea.

By looking at the picture, I’m seeing some broccoli stirred with some cream cheese and herbs to make a lovely baked potato topping. Strawberries and cream will merge to create a decadent pudding. The lime and one avocado, along with a dash of chilli powder with make a cheat’s guacamole to be spread on toast. I can see those ripe cherry tomatoes finding their way to my pasta bowl. The possibilities have left me salivating. What would you make with these ingredients?

Due to my hours at work today, I shall be able to visit the supermarkets just as they whip out the yellow stickers. Fingers crossed that M&S will come up trumps and I’ll be able to get my hands on a couple of items that will bulk out the free food. If I come home this evening with salmon, I shall feel very lucky indeed.

This post has combined my three greatest passions. My chap, my handsome man and his bottomless kindness. Food; I adore every aspect about it and I can’t wait to start cooking up a storm. And being able to write about my culinary adventures on this very blog. It’s nice to start the week feeling content. Now, to the kitchen!

The difference between dreaming and doing.

In my life, I read a lot. For my chosen University degree, reading is essential, both fact and fiction. I have my nose in a book constantly. If not a book then it’s a magazine, a paper or even articles on the internet. I love to read and I always have, it’s part of the reason I want to be a writer. The genre I find myself diving into most is recipe books. I flick through at least one recipe book a day, and I have acquired a fair collection. I drool over certain recipes, add post it notes here and there and imagine what I could cook.


But that is not the primary function of a recipe book. They inspire, yes, but you are then meant to waltz off into the kitchen and create your own culinary delights. There has been no waltzing. Despite all of my research, I don’t often use my recipe books for their designed purpose.

It’s the same with cookery shows. I know and love them all, Nigel Slater and The Hairy Bikers being favourites. I watch various cooks and chefs concoct marvellous dishes (often using basic ingredients) and my mind is off on a wander. I could do that, I always think. Just a quick trip to Sainsbury’s and I’d be off. But I don’t. I stay in and end up making all of the dishes that I’m used to.


I have my restrictions by the bucketful. The fact that I’m on a student budget makes some ingredients out of my reach. My gluten intolerance makes some recipes unachievable. And, most of all, I live in a shared house that naturally has a shared kitchen. I have half a freezer drawer, one box in the fridge, one cupboard and the top drawer of a filing cabinet that I’ve nicknamed my “pantry”. I long to have a kitchen of my own, someday.

But I’ve shouldn’t be waiting for someday. I’ve made the executive decision to utilize the combined power of my recipe books. I’m cutting off the restrictions with my paring knife and bolding stepping into the kitchen, wooden spoon aloft. Yes, cooking for one person is tricky, but “leftovers” has become a fashionable word and I can make use of the freezer space I have. It’s time to shake things up on the kitchen front.


The buzz word I keep getting from my books, and the TV shows in particular, is quality. It doesn’t matter what cuisine you’re cooking, technique you’re using or dish you’re preparing, good ingredients is always the starting point. Quality food is at the pinnacle of enjoyment of food. My meat, eggs and the majority of my fruit and veg all come from the Farmer’s Market, so quality is assured. I shall retain this ethic as I begin my quest into the realm of gastronomy. I think a large dose of luck would be most welcome.

Thank you for all the lovely likes I recieved for my Triple Chocolate Cookies recipe. I was delighted when Tumblr told me I had a record number of visitors 😀 I will be sure to post more recipes!