"No love sincerer than the love of food"

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Currywurst – the way to my man’s heart

Whilst milling around our local branch of Aldi last Sunday B came upon a packet of Bratwurst.  I was not overly impressed by the look of the Photo 24-04-2013 20 56 28chunky shrink wrapped German sausages,  but the sight of them seemed to send B into a tail-spin of excitement.

B has developed a fondness for all things Germanic having visited both Cologne and Berlin in the last year or two and part of the appeal seems to centre round the popular street food – currywurst.

With pleading eyes B begged for a reprieve from our daily diet of rocket, parmesan shavings, puy lentils and black turtle beans.  He wanted Currywurst and more than that he wanted it with chips.  How bad could it be?  I agreed and his eyes twinkled – it was akin to telling a child they could have Happy Meals every day of the week.

So what is the big deal about Currywurst?

Well the Germans seem to like it, that’s for sure – over 800 million currywurst are sold every year in Germany.

It was invented in 1949 by Herta Heuwer in Berlin after she obtained  curry powder, Worcester sauce and ketchup from British soldiers. She mixed these ingredients with other spices and poured it over grilled pork sausage. She went on to sell her snack on a street stand in Berlin where it became popular with construction workers rebuilding the city.  It is now sold all Photo 24-04-2013 20 35 02over Germany but in Berlin you can pick one up on virtually every corner, served with chips of course.

My favourite currywurst fact proves beyond all doubt that Currywurst is indeed a German national treasure:  the Volkswagen plant at Wolfsberg has its own butchery producing 3.5 million Currywursts a year, serving 1.6m employees.  Wowzer!

So …. I had the sausage and I had the chips and a little browsing online furnished me with a recipe for the sauce.

Recipe for Currywurst sauce

460 ml of ketchup, generous tablespoon of medium curry powder, tablespoon of smoked paprika, scant tablespoon of sugar, medium onion minced, dash of oil

Bratwurst sausages (as many as you fancy eating)

Chips (you have to have the chips)


Cook the onion for a few minutes in the oil then add the ketchup,  curry powder, paprika and sugar, simmer for about 15 minutes whilst you cook your Bratwurst and chips.

Cut the bratwurst into chunks (very important apparently ) and smother with the saucePhoto 24-04-2013 20 33 32

Serve with chips and a good German beer


Well to be honest I am surprised that there was enough sauce to go onto the Bratwurst as I couldn’t stop eating spoonfuls of it during cooking .  Its hard to belive that a few simple cupboard staples can result in such a rich and utterly scrummy sauce.  I absolutely loved it and think  that everybody should try it at least once.

The Bratwurst was from ALDI who are of course German so not surprised that they lived up to expectations.  Don’t often shop in ALDI but will be dipping in for Bratwurst in the future.

We accompanied our traditional German fayre with a German bier called Bitburger (available in 500ml bottles from Sainsbury) for that authentic Berliner experience.

The whole meal was delish and could only have been improved perhaps by serving it in a little cardboard carton rather than a plate.  It is street food and it felt a little odd eating it from Denby (I never understand those who transfer their fish supper onto their best china!)

Guten Appetit!

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An Alternative Lunch Box

In these austere times you will no longer find me in the queue in Pret eyeing up a deluxe bento box and a lemon cheesecake pot.  These days I trot off to work sporting a spotty lunch bag containing all the goodies I need for the day – prepared by my own fair hand that very morning.

Sandwiches are of course a lunch box staple and few would disagree that with an endless choice of fillings they are tasty and simple to prepare. Sarnies day after day can get a bit on the tedious side however and so I like to mix it up a bit with easy to prepare lunchbox alternatives.

Here are some of my favourites, why not give them a try and get out of your cheese and pickle rut!


I absolutely love couscous, partly because I am lazy and it is stupidly simple to prepare but mostly because it compliments some of my favourite flavours.  This has to be one of my favourite lunch box meals.  I often make it with left over chicken from the night before and if there is no chicken kicking about then I have also substituted  it for either avocado or tinned tuna.cous cous

Measurements are a bit vague and you can add a pinch more of this and a splash more of that depending on your own tastes.

Make couscous  according to pack instructions ( I often do this the night before and pop it into the fridge)

In the morning add the following to your cous cous (based on cous cous for two people) :  handful of pine nuts, juice of one lemon, generous glug of olive oil, nice pinch of cayenne, teaspoon of cumin, half teaspoon of cinnamon, handful of sultanas, shredded chicken and some chopped mint if you have some.

Mix it all up and pop it straight into your lunch box – honestly it takes 5 minutes.


When I’m making dinner I will sometimes pop some chunks of Mediterranean  veg into a roasting tin along with AUBERGINEgarlic and a decent splash of olive oil,  so that I can throw this lovely lunch together the following morning. Aubergine, red onion, courgette, peppers – any combo of these vegetables will do.

Make your cous cous according to packet instructions and roast your chosen veg – chopped up into good-sized chunks –  with some garlic and a generous splash of olive oil until they are gloriously sweet and sticky. Once roasted and cooled, pop into the fridge. ( I do all of this the night before)

In the morning add some chopped basil,  juice of half a lemon,  a handful of chopped olives and a good glug of olive oil to your cous cous, mix it all together and top with the beautifully roasted vegetables.


Okay okay so this is technically a sandwich of sorts but I am including it because it is super-duper tasty.  It is my take on coronation chicken.

Left over roast chicken or a couple of roast chicken fillets cut into smallish chunks, flesh from half a mango cut into small chunks, 2 spring onions, about 2 tbs of mayonnaise and one tbs of natural yogurt, a hearty pinch of curry powder (half teaspoon)

Mix well and serve in mini pitta’s with a bit of rocket to green it up a bit


I am new to cold beans.  For most of my life the concept has seemed plain odd,  and besides beans  have a weird texture – like chewing material. BEANS At least that is what I used to think.  Oddly I tried them a couple of years ago and now can’t get enough of them.  This is a simple tasty bean recipe that I often make for our lunch boxes.  You might have gathered by now that I adore food with a bit of a kick so no surprise then that there is and element of spice involved.

Tin of mixed salad beans in water, juice of a lemon, half teaspoon of cumin and a pinch of cayenne pepper, half an onion very finely chopped, the obligatory glug of olive oil, a small handful of coriander chopped. 

Mix all the ingredients together and either serve next to some tinned tuna or mix the tinned tuna up with the rest of the bean extravaganza.

As ever my own recipes are a little vague on the measurement front but these are simple throw together concoctions which can cope with variance here and there.

I am always looking for new ideas for lunches so if you have a sarnie alternative that you love – let me know?  I will give it a whirl.

photo credit: <a href=””>Mahesh Telkar</a> via <a href=””>photopin</a> <a href=””>cc</a>

photo credit: <a href=”“>ルーク.チャン.チャン</a> via <a href=””>photopin</a> <a href=””>cc</a>

photo credit: <a href=””>kugel</a> via <a href=””>photopin</a> <a href=””>cc</a>

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Easy ‘Peasy’ Pasta

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Last week I resolved to use a new recipe from my  “foodie magazine” on each day of the week.   Day one was salmon and noodles which was a wee bit bland and day two’s lentil and ham creation left B gagging (though I didn’t think it was that bad at all) .  On day three B was rocking and keening  at the idea of another meal from this particular arsenal so I thought it wise to ditch the pasta recipe that I had planned and make one up instead.

The result was  ‘Easy Peasy Pasta’ which was deemed so tasty that I thought it might be nice to share it with you.  it is stupidly simple, very flavoursome and looks the part.

Great for a midweek dinner when you are pushed for time but want something to hit the taste spot!

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Spaghetti for two people (125g)

One pack of lardons (100g)

A cup of frozen peas ( I used petite pois because they are a wee bit sweeter)

A small tub of low fat crème fraiche (300 ml)

Dash of lemon juice

100g of Grana Padano grated

Clove of garlic


Pop your pasta on to cook then get on with making the sauce

Splash a tabelspoon of olive oil into a pan and add the lardons and garlic –  cook over a medium heat for around five minutes

Add the cup of frozen peas and a dash of lemon juice and cook for around 5 minutes

Lob in the tub of creme fraiche and season with lots  of lovely black pepper (so tempted to say freshly milled !)

Add in the grated cheese, reserving some for sprinkling on top of the finished dish

Warm the sauce through, taking care not to boil

Drain the pasta, stir in the sauce

Serve with a large glass of white wine – ta da!

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Eating Northumberland

On Thursday the Grumbling Tummy ensemble headed down to Northumberland to spend some time with the lovely Pettinger-Thomson’s who were holidaying for a week in Embleton.  The PT’s are brilliant at sharing their  holidays with us and food and wine always plays a starring role in proceedings.

The weary travellers arrived at 6 on Thursday to the welcome call of “cheese straws anyone” from Senior PT,  who has a  penchant for these buttery treats.  Cheese straws down the hatch, followed by a much welcomed glass of red and it was time to get the kiddy’s  to bed and tuck into the feast being prepared.

I am a strictly one pot cook who flaps at the idea of juggling timings of several dishes.  Cat, chief cook of the PT brigade is however the queen of cooking many dishes at once and producing an array of scrumptious dibbley-dabs.  The whole kitchen was bathed in the aroma of exotic spices as Cat nonchalantly cooked up an Indian feast.

Photo 28-03-2013 20 35 40Using a lethal Delia/Jamie combo we were treated to two different types of rice, home-make vegetable pakora, chicken and chickpea korma, red onion salad, chappatis and naan bread.    It was to quote the youngsters “amazeballs”.  Spicy, zingy and moreish!  The pakora had some surprise hunks of chilli lying in wait to blow your head off but that was brilliant too and there was plenty of the red stuff to dilute any spice shocks we encountered.

Photo 28-03-2013 20 34 44 Photo 28-03-2013 20 35 20

After staying up till 2am putting the world to rights over far to many glasses of red wine with Cat, I was what one might call crispy the next day, otherwise known as hungover to buggery!  Food was going to be a kill or cure experiment.  Following a bracing walk along Embleton beach we found ourselves in Seahouses which is a slightly faded wee Northumberland coastal town.  Extreme temperatures mixed with tiny tots led us to the indoor play area, much to the horror of senior PT!  Soon however there was happy faces all round as we sipped hot chocolate and watched our mad children throw themselves around the soft play area.  Too hungover to move we decided to stay in the indoor play emporium to eat.  This may surprise you considering my horror of food in soft play areas but this was an entirely different proposition.  You see,  it was owned by the same folk that had the fish and chip shop next door and guess what the soft play menu consisted of?  Result!

Three fish and chips and one scampi and chips set things right for the weary troops.  I had the scampi which was crisp and golden on the outside and all roasty toasty and soft on the inside, with oodles of tartar sauce to dip.  The chips weren’t the crispiest but I was hungover so they were a gastronomical delight as far as I was concerned.Photo 29-03-2013 13 24 36

A quick look at the beautiful Bamburgh Castle and it was time to bid farewell to the PTs.  We had only travelled a few miles however when we felt the need to stop off once again for re-fuelling.  This time in a tiny and rather odd little farm tearoom called ‘The Oxford’.  It was off the beaten track and the sunny conservatory was empty but for one lovely local couple.  This little tearoom was a gem – tea served in lovely big flowery pots and a limited but tasty choice of sweet and savoury treats all made on the premises, using produce from the farm.  Millionaires Shortbread for me which hit the spot and a rather  impressive meringue and ice-cream with a strawberry coulis for B.

We were so impressed with the beauty of Northumberland that we are looking at going back in September for a week of  beaches and gastronomic pleasure!