Home-made lamb burgers and sweet potato fries

Last weekend Tom informed me that there would be lots of very important football taking place today but that his best friend, and usual drinking-while-watching-football-buddy, wasn’t available – what was he going to do? I offered my services as a replacement drinking partner and suggested we made a day of it, making something to eat that was tasty and suitable for watching sport and getting in some beers. He was pretty keen, although my claims throughout that I could do a much better job at scoring goals and comments on the players’ hairstyles probably weren’t what he wanted!

Anyhow, as this is a baking/foodie blog, I shall get back to the cooking aspect of the day. We decided to make Hugh Fearnley’s lamb burgers with a mint yoghurt dip, fresh salad, sweet potato fries and home-made mayo (also from Hugh’s everyday cookbook).

 preparing to stack our burgers! 

I found the sweet potato fries recipe while surfing on pinterest. I had pinned the photo of the fries to my food board so went back to see where the picture was pinned from. gimme some Oven is a great foodie blog with really cool photos, and this is where I found the sweet potato fries recipe. It was really easy to follow and they came out nicely, crispy on the outside and fluffy in the middle – perfect! For the coating on the fries I used leftover spices from Tom’s burgers, so my fries had paprika, cayenne pepper, szechuan pepper, coriander seeds, cumin seeds, fennel seeds and cinnamon on them but like the recipe says you can always mix this up and try out new combinations!

This meal was really tasty, and was the perfect partner for beer and football – thank you Tom for making such delicious burgers!

Sausage Pastry Plait

Sitting in my hot and stuffy office today my plans of a sausage hot pot for dinner did not seem as appealing as it had done the night before. As I’d got the sausages out of the freezer I needed to think of something else to cook for dinner and my thoughts turned to the idea of making a sausage pastry plait and serve it simply with some fresh salad.

This is a great meal to cook if you don’t have much time to spend on dinner or you don’t feel like cooking too much, and it’s super tasty too!

I know this is a baking blog, and I might be scorned for not making my own fresh pastry, but for a quick tasty dinner midweek ready to roll pastry is just so much easier and tastes just as good!

I gently fried some finely chopped onion in a little oil until they turned golden and soft. In a bowl I peeled the sausage skin off the sausages and put all the sausage meat in a mixing bowl. I combined the meat together, added the cooked onions and some sage. (Alternatively, if you have time or prefer, you can get sausage meat from the butchers, but I already had sausages in the fridge!)

Once the sausage meat, herbs and onions are combined, roll out the pastry and line the sausage mix down the middle of the pastry lengthways. To plait the pastry, simply make cuts from the edge of the pastry towards the meat along the length of the pastry sheet and then alternately layer the pastry strips across the meat at an angle.

Bake in the oven at 200 degrees for 20 minutes and then turn the temperature down to 150 and bake for another 15-20 minutes until it is crisp and golden brown.


Serve slices of the plait with salad either hot or cold, or hot with chips or maybe with some potato salad and rice salad – delicious!

Victoria Sponge with Cream

A friend from work is sadly leaving us on Monday so, as has become the norm, I am baking a cake for her. I had planned on trying a new recipe for white chocolate cake, but when I checked back for the ingredients I also read the reviews and they were pretty poor so I have reverted to an age-old classic – Victoria Sponge.

Named for Queen Victoria who enjoyed a slice of sponge cake with her afternoon tea, the Victoria Sponge is, according to the Women’s Institute, a two layer sponge cake sandwiched together with raspberry jam and dusted with caster sugar. My Victoria Sponge however is sandwiched together with strawberry or raspberry jam and whipped double cream. I then dust it with icing sugar as I find this stays on the cake better than caster sugar.

So, while I may never win the best Victoria Sponge award when the WI are judging, I think my way of doing it is more tasty!

I used my favourite victoria sponge recipe from, yep you guessed it, The Great British Bake Off cookbook and then simply whipped some double cream with a hand-held electric whisk and added some strawberry jam – delicious!

Chewy Cranberry Cookies

I have a friend visiting from back home this afternoon for a cup of tea and a good old catch up. What better to go with a cuppa, than freshly made cookies! Having not really prepared what kind of cookies I would make, I had to do a bit of scouting around in the kitchen cupboards and my baking drawer. I found a packet of cranberries in the cupboard – so cranberry cookies they will be.

I searched on WordPress for biscuit recipes and found this one courtesy of Chill Out Chicken . I substituted the cranberries for the chocolate chips but followed the rest of the recipe as is. I liked the use of half caster sugar and half soft brown sugar – this gives the cookies a deliciously chewy texture when they’re baked.

The only thing I would change when I next make these cookies would be to have something tart or citrusy in them to cut through the sweetness of the brown sugar – maybe adding some lemon or lime juice to the mix or some chunks of ginger. On the other hand, you could make the cookies even more indulgent and half dip them in melted white or dark chocolate, enjoy!