"No love sincerer than the love of food"

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Have your Risotto and eat it

Photo 25-07-2013 20 45 26Photo 25-07-2013 20 26 29I was more than a little sceptical about a recipe for risotto for under 500 calories a portion. How could you possibly achieve that gorgeous silky texture without ushering in items forbidden to dieters. In short I thought it would taste decidedly sub standard but decided to give it at least one chance.

This recipe is from a little book called ‘101 Healthy Eats’ and despite the rules around such things I am going to risk being sued by giving you the recipe in full (renegade food blogger).

I actually cheated a tiny little bit as there is no butter in this recipe at all. Some tweaks for the sake of my health are acceptable but I found it impossible to cope with the idea of a butterless risotto and so I shamelessly hiked my calories up a notch by adding in some of the yellow stuff. You can follow my lead or stick to the rules (humbug).

Well clearly it was a winner otherwise it would not have found its way onto my blog. It still has all the satisfaction from carefully and patiently tending a risotto but seems a little simpler and quicker than some other recipes I have followed. Lemon and peas deliver a light and refreshing combination, perfect for summer. At grumbling tummy HQ we have had this two weeks in a row with a call for a third from the bloke in the back row. So without any further ado, here is how it is done.

Lemon And Pea Risotto (470 calories for those who don’t cheat)

Big knob of butter
200g of risotto rice
850ml vegetable stock
50g frozen garden peas
75g parmesan cheese grated
Juice and zest of a lemon


My top tip for a risotto is measure out all the ingredients before you start and have them to hand and heat up your stock on the lowest heat with ladle at the ready.

Chuck in the knob of butter and melt in a large saucepan (medium heat)
Add in the rice and stir continuously for a minute
Add one ladleful of the stock and stir until absorbed
Reduce the heat and add the stock one ladle at a time making sure the liquid is absorbed before adding the next ladle – this takes around 20 minutes.
Risotto should now be silky and moist with a little bite in the middle
remove pan from the heat and stir in the peas, parmesan and lemon juice
Sprinkle grated lemon zest and a little parmesan over and serve immediately (risotto waits for no man)

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Chorizo and Bean Stew



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On Saturday The Scotsman proclaimed that the heat wave was set to continue and today the front page tells me that it’s all over – as of now!  Well despite being completely decked out in pastel shades and strappy shoes I have to admit that  it is a little on the chilly side now,  so I reckon it is time to cook up something a little more warming than a salad.


This is a really simple and tasty  stew which is packed with flavour from chorizo, paprika and coriander.  It is hard to beat the tantalising smell of garlic, onions and chorizo sizzling in a pan – one of life’s culinary pleasures.

This rustic stew is fantastic served with hunks of crusty bread and butter and a large glass of red wine.






One red onion sliced


Tablespoon of olive oil


2 cloves of garlic crushed


170g  chorizo cut into coins


300g chopped tomatoes


tablespoon chopped coriander


300g of mixed beans (I used a tin of three bean salad in water)


1 heaped teaspoon of paprika






Heat the oil in a pot


Add in the sliced onion, garlic and chorizo and cook for around 5 minutes on a medium heat


Add in the paprika, tomatoes and beans and simmer for around 20 minutes (add a little water if it seems too dry)


Add the coriander just before serving


Serve with crusty bread and a  big glass of wine


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Looking out at Bamburgh Beach

Looking out at Bamburgh Beach

Before we even made it to Northumberland I was grumbling about the weather forecast and regretting opting for a domestic holiday rather than heading to the sun soaked shores of France.  But weather is as we know an unpredictable beast and it decided to prove the forecasters wrong – temperatures soared as the sun put his hat firmly on his shiny yellow head for the entire week.

It was an idyllic British holiday – miles of unspoilt sandy beaches, rock pools, coastal walks, glorious castles, market towns and of course lots of food.

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Before any holiday  I  leave no stone unturned when researching where and what to eat in the area and by the time we set off I was armed with a list of restaurants, pubs, farm shops and th that I wanted to visit.


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Our first foodie experience came half an hour North of our final destination.  Chainbridge Honey Farm is a flourishing family business which was established by bee keeping advisor William Selby Robson in 1948.  Specialising in natural honey products you can buy everything from honeycombs to beeswax candles. They have a number of vintage vehicles on site and one of them is an old London bus, housing their cafe.  This was such an unusual and charming place to stop for coffee and cake and set the holiday on a good foodie footing right from the get go.  From the  lovely selection of cakes, many with a honey theme of course, I decided on an iced honey sponge cake served with a honeyed latte.  It was delicious and just a little on the moreish side and I do plan to start adding a dash of honey to my lattes in future – an interesting and flavoursome idea.

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I first read about this pub in a Guardian article which described it thus:

“Crustaceans are hauled from the bay to the pub kitchen while fish comes from neighbouring harbours and meat from nearby Alnwick. The attached microbrewery produces Ship Hot Ale, Sandcastles at Dawn and Dolly Day Dream”

This pub was at the very top of my list and we headed there half-way through the holiday on a gloriously sunny if slightly breezy day.  After spending a fantastic time messing around on the sand dunes we walked a few yards to the pub – what a setting!

The Ship Inn is a simple airy pub with sand dusting the wooden floors, sturdy wooden tables and chairs, great beers on tap and a few dogs.  All their food is cooked fresh to order, using local suppliers wherever possible.  Despite the seaside setting and the crustaceans being hauled from the bay, we both opted for Lamb Kofta with pitta bread.  The lamb came from nearby Peelham Farm (sustainable & organic)  in the Borders and was to die for – It really was a beautiful thing.  Moist seasoned lamb, a zingy light yogurt and mint sauce and a salad as fresh as fresh could be.  Little Grumbling Tummy ate a solitary piece of apple from her amazing kids platter which included pitta bread, apple and cheeses  – we hoovered up the rest – yum!

If you are in Northumberland you must go to this pub – it has absolutely everything right


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Famous Crab Sandwiches – that was all it took to pop this pub based in the tiny village of Craster on my list.  To work up an appetite we first walked the coastal trail from Craster to Dunstanburough Castle and back – a half hour walk for normal folks but about an hour and a half when walking with an easily distracted three year old.  It is a stunningly beautiful walk and perfect for kids.

The Jolly Fisherman is a tastefully refurbished pub with tradition and character at its heart. All the original charm is retained in this historic pub with stone flagged floors, low beamed ceilings and comfortable seating. The highlight of this pub on a sunny day is the upper level which boasts a wall of windows looking out onto the sea.  Outside you will find one of the best beer gardens in Northumberland.

I chose the ‘famous’ crab sandwiches and Mr GT chose crab on toast with sweetcorn chowder on the side.  We ordered fresh cod Goujon from the kiddies menu for mini GT.  I have a confession – I have never tasted crab before – EVER!  I found the sandwiches delicious and Senior GT’s crab on toast was fantastic.  Not a fan of sweetcorn I was surprised at how much I enjoyed tasting the creamy chowder.  One of the highlights for me was actually the wee one’s cod Goujons.  They were so fresh and so perfectly cooked and dipped in a lovely fresh mayonnaise – yum! I mostly hate that she doesn’t eat much (at all) but sometimes it doesn’t feel so bad!


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The Bunker is where you go when it rains or in our case where we went to meet up with friends who had two little ones.  A crazy Golf and Soft area are indeed an unlikely venue for what I consider to be the best fish and chips in Seahouses.  Yes we tried Pinnacles, applauded by the Hairy Bikers as the best fish and chip shop in the North East, but we found it lacking.  This has it all with the added benefit of happy (otherwise engaged) children.  In the soft play cafe you can order from the extensive menu from the chippy next door.  This is the second time that we have been here and indulged in enormous portions of fish and chips and it won’t be the last.  I am not a big white fish eater but I adore scampi and so that is what I chose ( I had scampi three times in one week).  Crisp on the outside, toasty hot and soft but not sloppy on the inside, plenty of tartare sauce  and lemon for squeezing and perfectly cooked chips – heaven on a plate.

Call us mad but we are off to Seahouses again at the end of August.  I plan to revisit all of these venues plus some new discoveries.  Can’t wait to taste more of this fantastic part of the world

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Lime Curd Ice Cream Indulgence

lime curd ice cream

As you know I recently took on a challenge set by the folks at Mackays to come up with recipes incorporating their lovely jam.   But it doesn’t stop at jam, oh no, I got my mitts on their delectable curds as well.  Lemon curd has been a favourite of mine since childhood but I have not had much to do with its cousin Lime Curd.

The first challenge was to keep enough of the lime curd for this recipe as it seemed to go down very well on toast for the whole family.  I managed to salvage most of the jar to try my hand at adapting an ice cream recipe by Nigella Lawson.

This is not a recipe for anybody who gives a monkeys about the current state of their arteries, this is hard core indulgence.


It was, as so many of the recipes I attempt are, very easy. It is almost impossible not to help yourself to several dollops of condensed milk along the way which is just an added bonus as far as I am concerned.  condensed milk could surely corrupt the most upright of healthy citizens – evil and inspired in equal measures.

I miraculously managed to keep this ice cream in the freezer until a girls lunch chez Grumbling Tummy.  It is extremely tasty and extremely rich. We had it with strawberries which was perfect as you only need a little of this ice cream to satisfy your sweet tooth.



  • 300ml double cream
  • 200g condensed milk
  • 140g  Mackays lime curd


  1. Whisk the cream and condensed milk until it forms soft peaks
  2. Gently mix in the lime curd – aiming for a ripple effect
  3. Pour/spoon into a container
  4. Freeze for at least 4 hours

mackays jam logo


Mackays are a family run business, started by the Mackay brothers in 1938.  The family still  stay true to their traditional values, using steam heated copper pans.  The soft fruit that they use hails from Scottish fruit farms whilst the famous oranges from Seville make their fantastic marmalade.


My Highland Show


A week has gone by since I donned my wellies (just in case) and headed off to the Royal Highland Show, searching for a festoon of foodie delights.

Shamefully by-passing many of the wonderful things the show has to offer,  we headed straight for the food hall.  Only one stall  stopped me in my tracks en route and that was the Rocpool restaurant from Inverness, who were serving scallops and Mediterranean cous cous.  The aroma was divine and it was only the fear of peaking too early that stopped me from tucking in.

The Food Hall at the Highland show is busy, noisy and brilliant.  Lovely husband agreed to take the mini grumbling tummy on an adventure for an hour to give me time to try & buy to my heart’s content.  The timer was on and posh supermarket sweep began.

great glen game

First stop was Great Glen Game    Great Glen Game sustainably source wild venison from estates located in the Great Glen.   I have tasted their products before and admit to being a  bit of a fan.  After trying out their venison chorizo, venison salami and a venison & pork mix salami, I settled on a packet of the latter and the beginnings of my Highland Show tasting dinner was born.

essential sauces

Sharing space with Great Glen Game was Grantown and Spey based company Essential Sauces who were flogging their spectacularly wonderful range of tomato based sauces. These guys blend the freshest tomatoes, chillies, garlic, ginger and lemongrass and make them into a variety of spicy sauces ideal for dipping or marinading.  Unable to choose I bought three bottles.  Spicy Ketchup which has a wicked Scotch Bonnet kick,  Special Ketchup which is similar but with a gingery warmth and finally the Saucy Chutney which is as it says a lovely date and apple chutney in a sauce form.   Its been a week since the show and I have used the spicy ketchup as a dip on quite a few occasions – it went very well with my lamb koftas.


it wasn’t long before I was accosted by the smell of freshly cooked  sausages.  Heck sausages are made by the Yorkshire based Keeble family and they are bloody tasty.  They have eight products including ‘chicken Italia’,  ‘Pork and Proud’ and ‘Smoky Chorizo Style’ and I had to try a few  …. really quite a few before settling on smoky Chorizo.  They are a  sausage to be reckoned with and were devoured back at base with a bowl of hot buttery cous cous which complimented them perfectly.  I am told that you can buy these in Tesco and even if you are not a Tesco shopper these sausages are worthy of a special trip.

best lunch

Time for a bite to eat.  This was easy!  I headed straight for the stall selling hand dived Islay scallops on a black pudding roll.  I don’t need to say anything about this.  Check out the picture, it says it all.


I have a bit of a thing for flavoured oils for drizzling and dipping and was delighted to come across two stands which ticked all of the oily boxes .  Mackintosh of Glendendaveny and Gusto who are based in Leith.

mackintosh ofglendevanay

Extra Virgin “cold pressed” rapeseed oil  from Mackintosh of Glendaveny is grown, pressed and bottled on their farm in Aberdeenshire.  There are lots of health benefits to rape seed oil which is great but to be honest I would buy it even if it had the health properties of a doughnut – it is very tasty stuff.  After spending far too long dipping wee bits of bread in a multitude of flavoured oils including chilli and ginger – I elected for a lemon infused oil.  I often use olive oil and lemon juice as a simple salad dressing and this seemed like a sensible short cut.  I used this oil a few days ago when hosting a girls lunch and it got the thumbs up all round – I do declare that it can bring any salad to life.

Gusto lovingly makes a selection of dressings, aromatic oils and specialist vinegars using local Scottish ingredients. I didn’t need another oil did I?  Probably not but I couldn’t resist their chilli oil which had a real kick.  So far I have drizzled it on hummus and dipped half a blooming loaf in it.  It really is yummy and has a multitude of uses.


My Highland Show tasting dinner had lost focus – oils, sauces,  venison salami – I needed bread to bring it back on track.  Mhor Bread based in Callander was my next stop.  Mhor  makes “artisan bread at affordable prices”,  I actually think they are a wee bit pricey but the bread is hand-made using flour milled from Scotland and besides that  it tastes pretty good.  There are so many varieties to choose from but I settled on a sour-dough which was used to dip into my various oily acquisitions later that evening.

Organic Blend

Last but not least, one the stars of my Highland Show …. drum roll!  The Organic Blending Company  Their product is just so damned clever.  The blends look like jars of dried herbs and spices which is pretty much what they are.  You can use these blended herbs and spices for marinading, cooking and the like  BUT that was not the clever part.  The stand displayed small pots of  mayonnaise which each had a teaspoon of blend mixed in to make a tasty dip.  So simple, so clever and honestly so tasty.  I ate my bodyweight in bread sticks dipped in a mix of mayo, yogurt and Italian Herbs and Spices Blend that night.  I love this concept of an instant and easy dip.

So with a full tummy and an empty wallet we emerged from the food hall of the Royal Highland show and made our weary way home.

We love you Royal Highland Show – see you next year

neave at show