Shop bought Guacamole makes me very sad, its fresh counterpart is so very easy to make and tastes 100 times better. Once you try this I am sure you will not go back to the slushy mixture you can buy pre-made over freshly made. Health books are awash with the health benefits of avocados, which reportedly are good for you skin, brain eyes and heart and are a good source of unsaturated fat.

Avocados are reported to be a good source of essential fatty acids, potassium, dietary fiber and vitamins.

Ready in: 10 minutes Feeds: 4 People
Effort: Easy Price: £


  • 2 ripe avocados
  • 4 Cherry tomatoes
  • 2 scallions or 4 spring onions – optional
  • 2 garlic cloves chopped finely or ground with a couple of drops olive oil
  • 2 medium ripe limes
  • 1 green Serrano chilli
  • 1 large pinch salt
  • 1 bunch coriander


Top and tail the scallions, and quarter lengthways and cut in three sideways. Sear these on all sides on a hot grill. Remove from heat and let scallion cool before using.

For this recipe it is essential that the avocados are very ripe. If you have bought the avocados and they are quite hard, placing them near bananas is reported to speed up the ripening process.

Halve the avocados and discard stone. Scoop out the flesh into a mortar or a bowl and mash with the pestle or a fork.

Chop the chili and add to taste.

Note: Chilies vary in spiciness so it is always best to taste before you add them to food to avoid over or under spicing.

Juice the limes and add to taste together with the salt and garlic and coriander leaf.

You may add finely chopped coriander stalk, which is strongly flavoured, or use these in soups or salsa verde. If using the scallion, add now. Serve immediately.

Guacamole is best made and served shortly after. If keeping for a few hours or until next day, give a generous squeeze of lime to the surface, cover in cling film and refrigerate.

I often finish the guacamole the day after making it when a dark green film has formed onto the surface, which I just scrape away and use the dip below. Left over guacamole can also be used in a soup.

This can be served with nachos, as a dip or on rye bread with some fish for a healthy lunch.

My Grandmother’s Ham and Olive Savoury Loaf

My grandmother is a great cook and has many lovely French dishes in her repertoire including this delicious and versatile loaf. Each time I have cooked this for a british audience I have had to encourage people to eat it (savoury cake!!?), but once people start, I never have any left over!

My grandmother serves this as a canapé with generous helpings of Champagne* for aperitif at all family gatherings and it is one of my firm favourites.

*For the family champagne favourite treat yourself to a trip to Mutigny in the Champagne region in France and visit the Serge Humbert vineyard where you can buys great Champagne by the case for between 10-16 euros per bottle. This is the champagne we drank at our wedding and have had rave reviews.

Preparation Time: 20 minutes Cooks in: 50 minutes Feeds: 10
Effort: Medium Price: Cheap


  • 250 grams plain flour
  • 4 eggs
  • 200 ml vegetable oil
  • 150 ml dry white wine
  • 1 small glass of vermouth
  • 200 grams green olives, stoned
  • 200 grams smoked ham or gammon slice (thick slice)
  • 150 grams grated gruyere or emmental
  • 10 grams baking powder


Preheat your oven to 200C. Grease or line a medium size loaf tin.
If you are using Gammon, lightly fry, chop and let it cool down completely before using in the recipe.
Mix the flour and whole eggs together until smooth.
Add the oil, the white wine and the vermouth.
Drain the olives well, roughly chop and add to the mix.
Dice the ham or gammon and add to the mix. Ensure this is cooled completely before adding if you cooked this previously.
Add the cheese and mix well with a spatula or a mixer on a low setting.
Lastly mix in the baking powder well with a spatula.

Pour the batter into the loaf tin ensuring you do not fill over to 2/3 the height of the mold. Clean up any spillage so that the loaf rises evenly, and sprinkle a pinch of grated cheese over the loaf. Place in the pre-heated oven and bake for 50 minutes. Insert a skewer to the centre of the loaf and if this comes out clean, your loaf is cooked. Let the loaf cool in the tin and turn out onto a cooling rack. This will be quite dark in colour on the outside and very buttery and yellow inside.

Cake Aux Olives entier
Cake Aux Olives entier

Serving Suggestion:

You can serve this hot or cold. My grandmother likes to serve this by slicing off thick slices and cutting in four, re-heating in a medium oven for 10 minutes and serving or aperitif with bubbly. Guaranteed hit with all. Alternatively it can be served with a light salad or as part of a buffet.

This can be frozen in sections until you are ready to use. Defrost thoroughly before serving.

Champagne Serge Humbert
Champagne Serge Humbert

David’s Pozole: Hominy and Chicken Mexican Soup

Another culinary discovery on our recent trip to Mexico for the wedding of our friends Chris and Amnesty and cooked by David. This is a spicy yet refreshing soup with big juicy bits of chicken and hominy. Hominy is white maize which is bigger and starchier than yellow sweetcorn. In this recipe David used tinned Hominy or Pozole which you can get online and from Mexican specialist stores.

Cooks in: 30 minutes Feeds: 8 people
Effort: Easy Price: ££


  • 1 tin Hominy (3 kg or smaller tin to taste)
  • 400 grams chicken thigh meat, boned and diced
  • 12 dried long red chillies (Chilli De Arbol)
  • 2 garlic cloves finely chopped
  • 1.5 litres Chicken stock
  • 6 limes
  • dried oregano
  • ½ White cabbage, shredded
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
Tin Hominy
Tin Hominy


Using a deep sauté pan or frying pan brown the chicken pieces and garlic. Once browned add the chicken stock and dried chillies (whole), 2 teaspoons dried oregano and bring to a simmer. Once the soup is simmering, drain the hominy and add to the pan together with the juice of 4 limes. Leave on a low heat for 30 minutes.

When ready to serve, add a pinch of oregano to the bottom of the bowl. Serve the soup and add a little shredded cabbage and top with a squeeze of lime juice.

This is a lovely warming soup perfect in any weather and filling yet light and healthy. It is high in protein and dietary fiber. The soup is dairy and gluten free and low in fat and carbohydrate comparatively to most sandwich based lunches or winter warmer type pie dinners yet fully satisfies resident carnivores.


Rosie’s Banana Pancakes

Cooks in: 10 minutes Feeds: 8 Adults and Children
Effort: Easy Price: Cheap

At my friends Amnesty and Chris’ wedding in Mexico, following a very long series of flights, morning after we arrived at this amazing beachfront secluded villa (thank you Amnesty and Chris!!), Rosie made these fantastic beachfront pancakes, washed down with copious coffee and good jokes meeting all new people. What a way to break your jet-lag after getting up early to watch the stunning sunrise!


  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 tablespoons of Sugar
  • 4 teaspoons Baking Powder
  • 1 teaspoons Salt
  • 2 Cups Milk
  • 2 Mashed Banana
  • 4 tablespoons oil


Beat wet ingredients then add to dry and mix with a spatula or hand whisk. Do not over whisk, as the pancakes will spread too much in the pan.

Fry in small batches in a medium pan. Use a non-stick pan and do not add oil to the pan for a good browning of the batter. Fry lightly on both sides to taste. Serve with your garnish of choice. Try Syrup, butter or yogurt for a traditional topping.

For a different flavour combination try blackberry coconut and a few leaves of coriander or strawberries and basil with a honey syrup.

You can add nuts or fruit to the batter to taste. Add blueberries, pecan nuts, walnuts or any to taste.

Sunrise, Cabo San Lucas, Mexico
Sunrise, Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

Rosie’s Mexican Buñuelos

Cooks in: 30 minutes Feeds: 8 Adults and Children
Effort: Easy Price: Cheap

Following some time of inactivity due to lots of travel over Christmas and the beginning of the new year (poor me! unfortunately it seems most of my annual leave has already been used up) I have been rather naughty and not shared the recipes I picked up along the way! So here goes:

From my time in Mexico for the wedding of my two very good friends Chris and Amnesty who got married on a divine beach on the west coast of Mexico in a beautiful villa sleeping 20 we spent some days sharing with the family and friends and cooking for many people. Along the way I shamelessly documented some interesting and tasty recipes made by others including these dainty tasty golden biscuits traditional in Mexico and I am told scandinavia. These are easy to make, stunningly beautiful and definitely worth the calories! Enjoy!

Rosie, thank you for the recipe and the others which you shared.


  • 1 and 1/3 cup of Flour
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • 1 cup beer
  • 1 egg
  • vegetable oil to fry


zest and juice of 1 orange (or half for a large orange).
You do not need to adjust the liquid quantities when doing this.

  • icing sugar to dust OR
  • cinnamon powder and sugar to dust
Bunuelos and Rosette
Bunuelos and Rosette

Note: You can source the irons online from a wide variety of suppliers and from many second hand shops or ironmongers. For online suppliers search “Rosette Irons”. 


Beat the egg and then mix in all wet ingredients and the orange zest if using. Then add and beat lightly into the measured out and combined dry ingredients. Mix until the batter is smooth and lump free. Try not to overbeat the batter.

Heat the oil so that a small drop of batter dropped in it colours and cooks throughout.

Once this has happen, dip the rosette iron into the oil until hot. Dip in the batter pot so that is reaches approximately half way up the side.
Do not coat the iron completely or you will not be able to release the buñuelo once cooked.
Then dip into the oil until golden and release onto a plate. If coating in cinnamon sugar, release straight into the bowl with the mixture in and coat immediately.

If using icing sugar and orange, release the buñuelo onto absorbent kitchen towel, then lightly dust the whole batch with icing sugar.

Repeat until the batter is fully used up. You may use the excess batter to fry as “scraps”, popular with the kids it seems.

For maximum crunch eats shortly after making.

Mackerel Pate

Cooks in: 10 minutes Feeds: 2 Adults
Effort: Easy Price: Cheap

If you dislike Mackerel, this is the perfect dish to change your mind. It is creamy salty and sharp from the lemon with just enough of the substance from the mackerel. Perfect on warm bread. I routinely make this when I have guests coming over in the week after I have been to work because it is an instant hit with all who have tried and is needlessly easy to make.

Together with some Olives, and a plate of cured meats it is a great appetizer to take you back to those scorching holiday lunches where picking at a bit of everything with a lovely glass of rose wine is all you want for your day.


  • 1 packet smoked mackerel (here peppered)
  • 1 tub of plain cream cheese
  • 1-2 white onions
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • Cracked black pepper to taste

mac pate


    • Dice your onion and soften on a low heat in a frying pan with a little oil. Let this cool. You can incorporate this into the rest of the dish once it is warm to the touch but not before. Your onions should be translucent but not browned.
    • Remove mackerel from the packet and peel the skin off starting from the tail. Place them on a chopping board with the back (which you removed the skin from) down. Using a large knife, cut this roughly, and then flake into a serving dish.
    • Add the onions into the dish, retaining the oil in the pan and add the lemon juice. At this stage, add the cream cheese one tablespoon at a time and mix in each time until you have a loose pate consistency. This should be spreadable but thick with the mackerel and onions. Taste the mixture before adding any more cream cheese, then pepper to taste.Note: If you use peppered Mackerel, you will not necessarily need to add pepper.
    • Tidy the sides of your serving dish, cover and refrigerate until serving. Serve with crusty bread and accompaniments as you wish.

I like to serve this from one big dish to share, but you could transfer to individual ramekins to up the pretty factor.

This will keep for a day or two in the fridge, although it usually disappears a lot faster in our house!

Bacon and Leek Carbonara Pasta

Cooks in: 25 minutes Feeds: 4-6 Adults
Effort: Medium Price: Cheap

This is a simple and quick mid-week dinner. It is filling and a lighter (just) carbonara recipe and is very simple.


  • 180 grams pancetta or lardons
  • 1 leek
  • 50 grams of parmesan cheese or other hard cheese
  • 2 egg yolk
  • 200 grams spaghetti or here Fusilli Lunghi
  • cracked black pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1 pinch salt

lardon and leek pasta ingredients


  1. Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil with the pinch of salt and add pasta.
  2. Add oil, pancetta and chopped leek to the pan and fry on a medium heat until leeks have softened, about 10 minutes. Take off the heat and add a pinch of black pepper.
  3. Grate the parmesan into a heat proof bowl and add two tablespoons of water from the pasta’s cooking water. Mix this in until it reaches a paste consistency. Add to the pan with the pancetta and add the egg yolks. Ensure that the pancetta is not too hot when adding this or the egg will split.
  4. Drain the pasta, reserving some water in a jug. Add the pasta to the pan, and mix into the sauce, adding some cooking water to loosen the sauce if necessary.

Serve your midweek meal with a light salad.

Salted Toffee Popcorn

Cooks in: 10 minutes Feeds: 4 Adults or 2 greedy adults
Effort: Easy Price: Cheap

This is a quintessential dinner and movie staple for those cold winter nights when the fridge is bare and effort is unwarranted. Served in a huge mixing bowl for maximum chic.  Best accompanied by a snuggly blanket.


    • 70 gr popping corn
    • 1 tablespoon oil
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 40 gr salted butter
    • 40 gr soft brown sugar
    • 2 tbsp Golden syrup

toffee ingredients in pan


    1. Coat the bottom of a saucepan with oil and add a pinch of salt. Turn on the heat. When the oil is smoking, add the popping corn to coat the bottom of the pan evenly and place lid on pan. While the corn is popping shake periodically to ensure the un-popped kernels reach the bottom and pop!
    2. Put the butter, sugar and syrup in a heavy base saucepan on medium to low heat stirring continuously. Once melted, add salt to taste.
    3. Once all corn is popped, transfer all popcorn to a large mixing bowl and drizzle the toffee on top.
    4. Put on wooly socks and eat immediately.

Very Authentic-ish Paella

Cooks in: 40-45 minutes Feeds: 4-5 Adults
Effort: Medium
Price: Cheap

This is my very authentic Paella recipe born from love of Spanish food on the cheap in my student days. I apologise in advance to my Spanish readers who will likely not recognize the dish, but it is tasty and feeds a lot of people fast. This can be done with any leftover meats and with or without seafood or fish (although if making fish and seafood only I would be inclined to make with fish stock instead of chicken).


  • 200g Paella Rice or any round rice
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 small onions or 1 big chopped
  • 1-2 Chicken drumsticks per person
  • Seafood of your choice (here Prawns and squid)
  • 2 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 small glass of Vermouth white wine (optional)
  • 1 litre warm chicken stock
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 3-5 strands saffron or sachet Paella seasoning
  • sprinkling of chicken spices (I use Jamaican Jerk – shame!)
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree or passata
  • Chorizo to taste – that is a lot for me then please…
  • 1 handful Cherry tomatoes sliced in half
  • 1 x lemon
  • 1 red pepper
  • small bowl of frozen peas
  • Salt to taste

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  1. Put your chicken drumsticks in a ceramic oven dish and coat with the chicken spices. Put in the oven at 200C for 30 minutes.
  2. While the chicken is cooking, chop the onion and mince the garlic. Transfer to wide pan with 2 tablespoons olive oil. Put on medium to low heat until the onion is translucent.
  3. Make up your chicken stock or heat if using fresh stock. Add your rice to coat the pan and turn up the heat to high for 2 minutes stirring with a wooden spoon. Slowly pour in some chicken stock to just coat the rice and turn the heat down. Once the stock is absorbed add more stock, also adding the tomato paste, the vermouth, the saffron or paella seasoning and the paprika. Continue to ladle the stock in until the rice is al dente.
  4. Add your chopped pepper and the chorizo and frozen peas and continue to add liquid to the rice until it is cooked.
  5. Add the cherry tomatoes chopped in half and the seafood you are using and stir in.  Taste and add Salt to taste. (Note: if you are using uncooked seafood, add it in before the tomatoes and add the tomatoes once the seafood has started to cook.)
  6. Remove the chicken from the oven and check it is cooked through. Turn your grill on.
  7. Cut the lemon in wedges lengthways and arrange on top of the rice with the chicken drumsticks. Put the Paella in the oven under the hot grill until the rice on top has started to crisp up, about 5-10 minutes.