Wednesday, 30 January 2008


1 Blue Dragon Sweet & Sour Stir Fry Sauce sachet
50g Blue Dragon bamboo shoots
225g skinless chicken
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon dry sherry
1 egg
1 tablespoon cornflour
1 red pepper
1 handful baby sweetcorn
1 handful mange tout
1 leek
1 red onion

Dice the chicken into 1 cm cubes. Add the salt and sherry and marinate the chicken for 30 minutes.

Make a batter by mixing together the egg and cornflour.

Trim and deseed the pepper and cut into thin strips. Cut the leek into 1 cm sections. Chop the onion and the bamboo shoots into 1 cm slices.

Coat the chicken in the batter and heat the oil in a frying pan. Pour in the chicken and stir-fry gently over a high heat for 2 ½ minutes. Add the bamboo shoots and continue to stir-fry for 30 seconds. Remove the chicken and bamboo shoots and set aside.

Replace the frying pan over the heat and add the pepper, leek and onion. Stir-fry for 1 minute. Then add the chicken, bamboo shoots and Blue Dragon Sweet & Sour Stir Fry Sauce. After a few quick stirs transfer to heated serving plates and serve.

Cooking time: 10 mins

This dish is great served as a family meal with Blue Dragon Medium Egg Noodles and a glass of crisp Riesling.


· 90g raw macadamia whole and halves
· 200g marshmallows
· ½ cup glaze cherries, chopped
· ¼ cup desiccated coconut (optional)
· 500g chocolate

Toss together the macadamias, marshmallows, cherries and coconut and scatter over the base of a lined lamington tin.

Melt the chocolate in a double saucepan or in a microwave and pour evenly over the top, smoothing the top.

Refrigerate until set, then cut into pieces with a hot sharp knife.

Store in a sealed container in a cool place or the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.


· 275g (10oz) plain flour
· 15ml (1tbsp) baking powder
· 85g (3oz) Country Life Lighter Spreadable, melted
· 15ml (1tbsp) caster sugar
· 100g (3½oz) reduced-fat mature cheese
· 275g (10oz) peeled and grated butternut squash or pumpkin
· 30ml (2tbsp) freshly snipped chives
· 2 eggs
· 175ml (6floz) semi-skimmed milk
· 30ml (2tbsp) pumpkin seeds

1. Preheat the oven to 375°F, 190°C, gas mark 5. Line a muffin tin with 10 paper muffin cases. In a large bowl, sift together the flour and baking powder.

2. Stir the sugar, cheese, butternut squash or pumpkin and chives into the flour mixture and mix well.

3. In another bowl, beat together the eggs, milk and melted Country Life Lighter Spreadable and pour over the dry ingredients. Stir until just combined, the batter will be lumpy. Fill the muffin cases, then sprinkle the tops with the pumpkin seeds. Bake for 20-25 minutes until risen and firm. Delicious eaten warm or cold.

Makes: 10 muffins
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes

Cook’s tip: Any remaining muffins can be stored in an airtight container for 2-3 days.

Kitchen Cleaning Tips from Merry Maids

Follow Merry Maids top tips for cleaning the most used room in your home:
1. Begin with a de-clutter, tidy away or place for recycling newspapers, magazines, bottles etc, wash, dry and put away dirty dishes. Empty waste bins. Take down curtains, valances and blinds to wash or have cleaned according to the manufacturer's directions.
This will clear out the clutter and dirty dishes, and give you room to do the actual intense cleaning projects.

2. With a hi-duster remove cobwebs and dust down the ceiling and corners of walls. Determine if the walls have dirty spots that need cleaning away.
Spot wash, remembering air vents, doorknobs, doors, light plates and sockets. Walls will likely need to be washed more often in this room than in others. You may not have noticed finger marks, pet or food splashes on walls and tiles. Take your intense cleaning time now to clean the grease, grime, and spilled food from your walls.

3. Dust and clean all pictures, photographs and ornaments on walls.
Be careful when cleaning framed pictures and photographs. Never spray cleanser or water onto the frame. The liquid can seep behind the glass and damage the pictures. Instead lightly wet a clean cloth to wipe the frame and glass.

4. Dust and clean light fittings.
Take down any light fixtures and gently wash and dry them before replacing. You may need to use a gentle cleanser like washing up liquid.

5. Dust and wash window frames, corners and window sills. Wash the inside and outside of the windows.

6. Apply oven cleaner to the oven and clean the refrigerator.
Leave the windows in the kitchen open to avoid any overpowering smell. Don't forget to vacuum the coils of your UNPLUGGED refrigerator if it is free standing. This is a great time to sweep or vacuum, then mop underneath it too if you can find some help to move it. Be careful of scratching your floor.

7. While the oven cleaner works, begin sorting through the freezer and refrigerator.
Throw out any expired food, mostly empty containers, and items that you bought and never used. Put the stuff to keep on the counter. Take out the refrigerator shelves and drawers. Wash them down, being careful with glass shelves. Wipe down the entire inside of the refrigerator and freezer before replacing shelves and food. Wipe down and clean out the oven according to the directions on the oven cleaner.

8. Take the knobs, pan rings and spill catchers off of the hob.
Follow your hob/oven owner’s manual for information on proper cleaning methods for your model. (The one you carefully filed, when you bought them, just for an occasion like this.) Some hobs lift up to allow easy access to spills and crumbs. Wipe down the entire hob and oven.

9. Wipe down and clean the toaster, kettle and other small appliances.
Wipe down and clean the microwave. Unplug all appliances first. If the spills in the microwave are fossilized, try a water-filled cup to boiling in the microwave. The steam should help loosen the gunk. If the microwave smells, boil lemon juice. Don’t forget to wash the turntable.

10. Clean out kitchen cabinets.
Take out anything that isn’t being used on a regular basis. Reorganize and wash down the insides and outsides of cabinets. Reline if needed.

11. Run the dishwasher empty.
Try adding vinegar or baking soda to the empty dishwasher before running it. If your dishwasher has a food trap in the bottom, clean it out. Wash down the outside of the dishwasher.

12. Wash down the countertops in your kitchen.
Don’t forget wall tiles and backsplashes.

13. Wipe down and clean out any drawers.
This is a great time to install drawer dividers to better organise your kitchen drawers.

14. Wash down the sink. If you have a food disposal now is the time to pour baking soda with warm water and/or a lemon peel down the disposal to freshen the drain. Put ice cubes through the disposal to sharpen the blades.

15. Sweep or vacuum and mop the floors.
Don't forget skirting boards. One of the best ways to get a floor REALLY clean is to use a clean cloth or towel while on your hands and knees.

1. Gather all of your supplies together. Merry Maids carry all their supplies in a handy tote tray. Trying to sort through the pantry cabinet for your oven cleaner might make you frustrated enough to de-clutter the cabinet. It's easy to forget what your initial goal was.

2. Reward yourself by ordering in for dinner tonight. Forbid anyone to touch your spotless kitchen at least until breakfast the next morning. Any longer is probably cruel, but they can handle it overnight.

3. Listen to the radio or your favourite lively CD as you work. The time will pass a lot more quickly if you have an enjoyable atmosphere. If anyone objects, offer to let them have a turn with the stereo and the cleaning.

What You Need:
· Hi-duster (preferably with a long handle)
· Step-ladder
· Cleaning cloths
· Small bucket with handle
· Sponges
· Vacuum with attachment
· All-purpose cleanser, washing up liquid, or mild cleanser of choice
· Oven Cleaner
· Shelf or cabinet liner and drawer dividers
· Brush, mop and bucket or towel

Thursday, 24 January 2008


250g/10 oz pancake mix (for example Greens)*
110g/4 oz sweetened desiccated coconut
1 egg, whisked
2 tbsp Lyle’s Golden Syrup
350ml milk
200g/8 oz can of crushed pineapple
vegetable oil, for frying
crème fraiche or plain yoghurt for serving

* Or you can make your own with 150g plain flour, 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda, pinch salt, 55g caster sugar, 1 beaten egg, 200ml milk and a squeeze of lemon juice.

In a large bowl combine the pancake mix, coconut, egg, milk and crushed pineapple together to make the batter. Heat the oil in a large frying pan, under a medium heat. Pour a rounded tablespoon of batter onto the hot pan and flatten slightly.

Fry the batter for 1-2 minutes and when it starts to bubble, turn over to reveal a crisp and golden side. Cook for a further 1-2 mins and set aside in a warm place. Finish making the rest of the batter in the same way.

To serve, stack up 3-4 pancakes per person, drizzle with Lyle’s Golden Syrup and top with a dollop of crème fraiche. Delicious served with fruit salad.

Makes: 16 small pancakes
Prep time: 5 mins
Cook time: 10 mins


• 1 pint of milk
• A stick of cinnamon (4 inches long)
• 12 blanched and sliced almonds
• The thin rind of 1 lemon
• Sugar to taste
• 3 eggs
• Allinson wholemeal bread
• 2 oz. of butter

1. Boil the milk with sugar, cinnamon, and almonds; remove the cinnamon, let the milk cool a little, and then add carefully the eggs well beaten.

2. Pour the mixture into a wide rather shallow pie-dish.

3. Butter slices of bread on both sides, and cover the pie-dish with these; the bread should be free from crust, and entirely cover the milk.

4. Bake in a moderate oven for about 45 minutes.

This recipe is taken from Dr Thomas Allinson controversial but popular Medical Essays.

Thursday, 17 January 2008


25g Anchor Lighter Spreadable
1 courgette, sliced
1 small aubergine thinly sliced
6 cherry tomatoes
½ red peppers, deseeded and cut into thick chunks
Whole-wheat pasta

Heat the butter in a griddle pan and lightly grill the courgette, aubergine, cherry tomatoes and red peppers.

Alternatively, place all vegetables under the grill and drizzle with butter.

In a separate pot prepare the pasta. Mix all ingredients together to form a pasta salad and top with fresh basil.

Serves 2
Preparation time: 30mins


100g (4oz) self-raising Flour
50g (2oz) whole-wheat Flour
5ml (1 tsp) baking powder
100g (4oz) golden caster sugar
1 banana, mashed & chopped
100g (4oz) blueberries
150ml (1/4pt) semi skimmed milk
50g (2oz) Anchor Lighter Spreadable, melted
1 egg, medium

Preheat the oven to 200°C, 400°F, Gas Mark 6.

Mix together in a large bowl the flours, baking powder, sugar and fruit.

Add the milk, melted Anchor Lighter Spreadable and egg, gently stir together but don’t beat.

Spoon the mixture into standard sized cake cases and fill well – almost to the top!

Bake until well-risen & golden brown – dust with icing sugar if you wish and eat warm!!!

Makes approx 15

Thursday, 10 January 2008


12 shallots, peeled and left whole
2 tbsp olive oil
8 beetroot, cooked
4 small goats cheese crottins
2 large handfuls mixed leaves – rocket, lambs lettuce, baby spinach, chard, watercress

For the dressing:
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
1 tsp wholegrain mustard
½ tsp caster sugar

Preheat the oven to 200°C, 400°F, Gas Mark 6.

Place the shallots in a roasting tin, drizzle with the olive oil and season well with sea salt and black pepper. Roast in the preheated oven for 20 minutes until softened and starting to brown. Cut the beetroot into wedges and add to the roasting tin. Return to the oven for a further 10 – 15 minutes, until the vegetables are golden and caramelised.

Halve the goats cheeses and place cut side up under the grill. Grill for 2 minutes or until browned and bubbling.

Make the dressing by whisking all the ingredients together. Arrange the salad leaves on 4 plates and scatter over the warm roasted vegetables. Drizzle with the dressing and top with the grilled goats cheese.

Serves 4

Thursday, 3 January 2008


200g / 7oz Yeo Valley Organic Greek Yogurt
1 mango
Half a fresh pineapple
100g / 4oz porridge oats
50g / 2oz hazelnuts, chopped
50g / 2oz flaked almonds
1 tbsp olive oil or coconut oil
1 tbsp ground flaxseed

First make the topping. Preheat the oven to 180°C, gas mark 4.

Place the oats and nuts in a bowl and mix thoroughly.

Add the oil and toss to coat.

Spread the mixture out on a baking tray and toast in the oven for 10 minutes stirring from time to time until the mixture is lightly golden.

Remove from the heat and cool. Add the flaxseed. This can be stored in an airtight container for 2-3 days.

To make the smoothie. Peel and chop the fruit and blend in a food processor with the yogurt until smooth. If you wish to thin the mixture add a little fresh organic juice.

Add half of the oat mixture to the smoothie and blend again until smooth.

Pour the smoothie into a glass three quarters full then top with the rest of the oat mixture. Best eaten with a spoon.

Preparation time: 40 minutes
Serves: 4

In the Goddess Spotlight

“So much food goes to waste every year during this season so here are some brilliant tips and clever ideas to be less wasteful and help save the environment!”

• Chestnuts are highly perishable because of their low fat content. To keep them fresh enough to use for a week or so, put them in a plastic bag in the salad drawer of the fridge. Freeze those you don’t wish to eat now.
• If you don’t want to make soup the next day, freeze the Turkey carcass and make stock at some later point.
• Stir a handful of chopped nuts and dried fruits into leftover mincemeat, and then use to fill cored apples or halved, cored pears. Dot with butter; add a splash of fruit juice and bake until tender.
• Pile leftover smoked salmon onto toasted bagels spread with cream cheese and sprinkle with lemon juice and black pepper.
• Add leftover smoked salmon to scrambled eggs and pile onto toasted muffins or toast.
• If you have accidentally overcooked the Brussel sprouts or have masses leftover, puree in a food processor with some crème fraiche and serve as a puree. Also possible to freeze for later.
• If you have got leftover yoghurt, stir sugar, cinnamon and ground saffron into it and serve as a light dessert after spicy foods such as curries.
• If you have lots of leftover broccoli, add a little milk to make a puree. Serves as a sauce for fish or chicken or as an original vegetable. It tastes creamy and isn’t fattening.
• If you have over whipped the cream when making trifle, rescue it by adding a little unwhipped cream or milk and a pinch of sugar.