"No love sincerer than the love of food"


Shamed Blogger Fails Own Challenge


Last year I issued the challenge to cook a new recipe from a different cookbook in each week of 2013.   It was a response to the realisation that I had more cookbooks than I could shake a stick at,  with many of them remaining pristine – never having fulfilled their destiny.

I was ever so chuffed when some fellow bloggers and friends agreed to join me in my quest,  and to be honest it seemed simple enough to achieve.  Sadly this was not the case and  today my head is hung in shame as I realise that I have cooked a total of 24 brand new recipes for my challenge,  and with the best will in the world I am not going to hastily cook up another 28  before the end of the year.  It is an epic fail for the Grumbling Tummy.

Why was it so bloody hard?  Well trite as it may sound,  life just got in the way.  There were family illnesses to contend with, sheer forgetfulness came into play and then there was the diet.  As part of the ongoing effort to achieve the body beautiful I tried a variety of weird and wonderful diets this year, all which got in the way of my creative cooking quest. Lets face it, sometimes there are just not enough hours in the day to make time for doing things that we really enjoy.

I shall refrain from issuing any public challenges this year but do intend to spend a lot more time on the blog in 2014 and what’s more a shiny new format could be on the cards.

I am also pleased to report that after a long hiatus I have stepped down from my high horse regarding ‘too many damned recipe books’ and started to lust after some new titles.  Gino De Campo’s  ‘Italian Escape’ and  whatever book comes out to accompany the fabulous new Yotam Ottolenghi series top my list.

What the hell,  can you ever really have too many recipe books?

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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.


Nuts about Curried Pasta Salad

Photo 07-06-2013 18 11 33

I decided to take part in this months Pasta Please challenge hosted by Lavender and Lovage on a whim. Unlike lots of the food bloggers I avidly follow, I  am not adept at creating wonderful recipes from scratch, but I am a decent tweaker and if I find a basic recipe I like then I am happy to tamper with it to make it my own.

This challenge was to create a pasta dish using nuts.  Pesto was the obvious choice but I decided to go out on a limb with a curried pasta salad with lovely sweet cashew nuts.  After finding a suitable recipe to mess around with on the BBC Good Food site (never fails me) I set about making something to serve to the girls in my book group that evening.  I say book group but we normally forget to mention the book until just before we head off home and this week most people hadn’t actually bothered to read the book!  Wine and gossip my friends, that’s all it is.

A few fellow food bloggers seemed sceptical about the curried pasta salad concept but I held firm.  I love curry, I love pasta, I love nuts – it would be fine ….  surely.

I am delighted to say that it was a big hit with the girls who gobbled it all up and asked for the recipe.  It had quite a nice after-burn with the crunchy celery, cucumber and nuts working brilliantly with the dish.

Girls gobbling up the pasta

Girls gobbling up the pasta



  • 225g pasta – I used penne but I guess swirly pasta (technical term)  or bows would be just as nice
  • 4 tbsp light mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons of curry powder ( perhaps add one then taste and add more if you need to)
  • 150g pot natural yogurt
  • juice ½ lemon
  • 2 tbsp hot mango chutney (I discovered this in ALDI, it is rather hot, feel free to use normal mango chutney)
  • 50g sultanas
  • 15g pack coriander, chopped
  • ½ cucumber, deseeded and diced
  • 2 celery sticks, diced
  • Great big handful of cashew nuts!


  • Cook the pasta al dente, drain and stir in a little olive oil then cool ( I find the olive oil keeps the pasta from sticking together)
  • In a bowl add the yogurt, mayonnaise, lemon juice and mango chutney and mix well
  • When the pasta is cooled add the sauce and all of the other ingredients
  • Sprinkle over a little more coriander and serve

pasta please


Rhubarb Ice Cream with Lemon Spiced Biscuits – Recipes for Life Challenge

I  was recently impressed by a desert of  chocolate brownie and rhubarb ice cream at  Rufflets Hotel in St Andrews and had already talked idly about trying to replicate the fresh creamy ice cream myself.

Then as luck would have it Vanesther over at Bangers & Mash issued her May ‘Recipes for Life Challenge’ which called for entrants to get creative with rhubarb – a golden opportunity!

So what is the Recipe For Life challenge all about?  Each month Bangers & Mash issue three seasonal ingredients with which to create a (hopefully)  fabulous dish.  May’s ingredients are rhubarb, lemon and spice.  The best recipes entered will be included in a new charity cookbook to be published by SWALLOW later this year.  Swallow is a charity supporting adults with learning disabilities.

Swallow – a Somerset based charity

My challenge entry is Rhubarb Ice Cream with Lemon Spiced Biscuits.

I am an ice cream making virgin and therefore I am not entirely sure how technically correct my method is but it was certainly simple and tasty.

Prior to freezing this mixture tastes like a sumptuous version of  rhubarb fool; it is actually a miracle that any of the mixture made it as ice cream as every 15 minute stirring trip to the freezer resulted in large spoonfuls finding their way into my gaping maw!

The little biscuits are adapted from a Rachel Allen recipe.  They complimented the ice cream perfectly.


Ice Cream


  • 3 cups sliced fresh  rhubarb
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 cup double cream 


  • Place rhubarb in a baking dish. Sprinkle with sugar. Cover and bake at  for 30-40 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Cool slightly.
  • Process in batches in a blender or food processor. Transfer to a bowl; cover and refrigerate until chilled.
  • Stir in lemon juice. In a bowl, beat cream until stiff peaks form. Gradually fold into rhubarb mixture.
  • Transfer to a shallow freezer container. Freeze, uncovered, for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes. Cover and freeze overnight.

Lemon Spice Biscuits


  • 175g plain wholemeal flour
  • 50g caster sugar
  • zest of lemon
  • Teaspoon of cinnamon
  • 110g butter


  • Rub the butter and flour together with your fingers
  • Add the sugar, spice and lemon
  • Work the mixture into a stiff dough
  • Roll out and cut biscuits (around 1/2 cm)
  • Bake for around 8 minutes or until lovely and golden


Launch of the 2013 Recipe Book Challenge

medium_360603368 (1)How many recipe books do you own?  10, 20, 30, 40 or more?  I have 75 recipe books languishing on my bookshelf and a few on active service in the kitchen.  I only recently got the collection down to 75 following the ruthless cull of 2011 when a number of books were re-homed.   I love recipe books and despite telling myself every year that I do not need more, by Christmas time I crumble and another recipe book hits the shelf.  This year it was Jamie’s 15 minute meals.

Another question for you.  How many recipe books do you regularly use?  For sometime I have been using only two books with any regularity  – ‘Everyday Veg’ from the wonderful Hugh Fearnley Whittingstal and Nigel Slater’s ‘The 30 Minute Cook’.  These books are well-thumbed and splattered with a good variety of ingredients.  However far too many recipe books on my shelf could be removed, wrapped and gifted with the recipient being none the wiser, so pristine and untouched are they.  Jamie’s Dinners, Jamie’s Italy and Rick Stein’s French Odyssey are just a few examples of my collection of unsullied books.

It’s not only celebrity chefs who make it onto my bookshelves.  There are books dedicated to Greek, Italian, French, Scottish, Moroccan and Indian food; speciality books for the healthy heart, the follower of the low GI diet (rather too many of them!) and the detox enthusiast; books with ideas for your organic veg box; baking books (despite the fact that I don’t really bake), chutney books and the list goes on, and on, and on….


I have decided to make these recipe books work for their space on my shelf and have set myself a challenge.  In 2013 I will choose a different recipe book every single week and cook a recipe from that book that I have never attempted before. In a day or two there will be a new page on this blog dedicated to the challenge so you can see what I am cooking up each week.

52 weeks, 52 cookbooks, 52 new recipes  – I am up for the challenge.  How about you?

After telling my good friend Nicola at she has decided to join in as has the mum of another friend.  Why don’t you try it too.  I would genuinely be interested to hear about the new recipes that you try out.

I have just randomly picked out the book which will feature in week one of the challenge.  It is called ‘The Best Traditional Recipes of Greek Cooking’. The recipe I will attempt is Pita me Kyma – translated as Minced Meat Pie.  How hard can it be?

Have a fantastic New Year and if you do accept the challenge I wish you luck.