Slow cooked Chinese beef

Another I’ve had my eye on for a while. I will do this in the slow cooker.

750g braising beef cut into pieces

1 bunch spring onions

3 cloves garlic

root ginger, thumb sized, grated

2 sliced red chillies

2 tsp Chinese 5-spice

1 star anise

2 tbsp. brown sugar

4 tbsp. dry sherry (or rice wine)

2 tbsp. soy sauce

shredded greens and rice to serve

360 calories without rice


Put the ingredients in the slow cooker with 200ml water (save a little spring onion and chilli)

Cook on low all day

To thicken the sauce, boil on hob for a bit

Sprinkle the rest of the spring onion and chilli and serve with rice and greens


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Broccoli and blue cheese gnocchi

Untried recipe from an Olive magazine I’m about to shred! Serves 4, 473 cals

500g pack gnocchi

1 head broccoli

150g blue cheese (sliced, ideally creamy like dolcelatte)

1 x 150ml pot single cream

50g grated cheese


Boil the broccoli in boiling water for 3-4 mins

Cook the gnocchi in the same water (with broccoli removed) for whatever time packet says

Mix the cheese, cream and 1/2 the parmesan and season with pepper

Mix sauce, gnocchi and broccoli and pour into an ovenproof dish

Put the rest of the cheese on top and bake for 15-20 mins

Serve with a salad


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Pulled beef ragu

This is loads more expensive than the average spag bol, and didn’t go down so well with the kids, but Chris really liked it and it was a really nice change. Bought the brisket when it was reduced, otherwise feel like it would be too expensive, although it does make 6-8 portions. The original recipe is from Good Food magazine, but I did it in the slow cooker

1kg brisket (think mine was a fair bit smaller, hence only 6 portions)

2 onions

4 garlic cloves (or some garlic powder)

5 carrots

250ml red wine (I didn’t have this, which was a shame)

2 cans tomatoes

2tbsp tomato puree

4 bay leaves (I used basil and oregano instead)

75g pasta per portion


put the tomatoes, herbs and chopped veg (everything except pasta and meat) in slow cooker and mix up (obviously chop the onions and carrots)

place the brisket in the middle and cook on low all day

Pour the whole lot into a pan and cook on high for a bit to make the sauce thicken up

Shred the meat with 2 forks

Eat with the cooked pasta

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Ginger and fennel bitter chocolate thins

These will also be featuring at a party or as a present in the near future!

250g dark chocolate

30g butter

3 tsp golden syrup

2 balls ginger, finely chopped

3 tsp fennel seeds, crushed


Melt the chocolate over boiling water

Stir in the other ingredients

Pour onto a tray lined with greaseproof paper and smooth into a thin layer

Chill then cut into neat squares (or even easier, break into shards!!!)


Be careful, makes 24, 68 cals each!!!

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Chocolate vanilla torte

This looks amazing… but may reduce quantities unless having a huge party. Serves 12, 392 cals and 30g fat per portion!


500g dark chocolate

550g whipping cream

2 tsp vanilla extract

cocoa powder to dust

Melt the chocolate and leave to cool a little

Whisk the cream and vanilla extract until it forms soft peaks.

Stir in half the melted chocolate

Fold in the rest

Pour into a clingfilm lined round tin

Sculpt the top into waves using a knife

Chill for a few hours

Dust with cocoa

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Ginger, pecan and rum brownies

I’m chucking out my oldest Olive magazines (well shredding them for Bob) so expect a load of untested recipes I fancy trying… Thinking of doing these for my bake sale next weekend 🙂

250g plain chocolate

250g butter

5 eggs

350g dark muscovado sugar

1-2 tbsp. rum

150g plain flour

125g pecans

4 pieces stem ginger (from a jar)


Melt chocolate and butter together in a bowl over boiling water

Cool a little

Whisk the eggs and sugar with an electric whisk for about 5 mins until thick

Whisk in the chocolate and butter mix and the rum

Fold in the flour

Fold in the pecans and ginger

Pour into a lined greased tin

Bake for 25 mins, until a little gooey inside


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Buckwheat pancakes

These are good! Based on a Good Food recipe. Could alter the spice to make savoury…

4tbsp caster sugar (actually, I forgot this!)

140g buckwheat flour

85g SR flour

2 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp bicarb

3 eggs

280ml milk, soured with lemon juice (do this 5 mins before you need it)


Mix together the dry ingredients

Beat in the eggs

Gradually whisk in the soured milk

Fry in spray oil- these are thicker American-style pancakes so place spoonfuls of batter in the pan, don’t try to pour it!




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Blueberry pancakes

We’ve been making these for years- Chris pointed out we made them a lot more when we were fatter so probably best we don’t make too many! Delicious for pancake day or weekend breakfast!

  • 200g self-raising flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 egg
  • 300ml milk
  • knob butter plus some for frying
  • 150g pack of blueberries

Put the dry ingredients and some salt into a bowl

Beat the egg and milk together

Add these to the dry ingredients and beat

Melt the butter and beat in

Add the blueberries


These are small pancakes. Place spoonfuls of batter into a pan of melted butter (and a bit of oil to stop the butter burning) and fry until bubbles appear. Then turn over

Serve alone or with maple syrup


Original recipe is from Good Food

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easy brownies

Chosen by Samantha from her book (Cathryn Dresser, Let’s Bake) these are way easier than my normal recipe but taste great!

125g butter

100g dark chocolate

275g caster sugar

1/2 tsp vanilla (not essential)

2 eggs, beaten

50g SR flour

25g plain flour

2 tbsp. cocoa


Melt the chocolate

Beat the butter, sugar and vanilla together until creamy

Add the eggs beating between additions

Add the flours and cocoa

Stir in the chocolate until all combined

Put into a lined greased tin and bake at 180 for 35-40 mins

Will form a light crust when ready but still be soft in the middle

Leave in the tin for about 20 mins before chopping

I made 16 small pieces from this

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Sweet pea and prawn pasta shells

An easy lunch dish that we always have the ingredients for! Comes from Jamie Oliver (or apparently his wife)

Serves 4

320g pasta

4 cloves garlic (or some powder)

1 fresh red chilli (or some dried)

200g frozen cooked prawns (I used 1 bag of Morrisons value, and defrosted them the night before)

200g frozen peas

1 tbsp. tomato puree

30 g cheese

1 pack cherry tomatoes, chopped in half


Cook the pasta

Slice the garlic and chilli and fry on a medium heat

Stir in the prawns, tomatoes, peas and tomato puree

Add a couple of cups of pasta cooking water and simmer slowly on a low heat- it should boil down a bit

Add the pasta to the sauce when cooked, and grate on the cheese

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