"No love sincerer than the love of food"

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This variation on a pizza has become a firm favourite in the Grumbling Tummy household.  It is slightly healthier and lighter than a regular pizza as well as being super duper quick to make.   I make it on days when I have dragged myself to the gym and have neither the time or energy to make anything complex yet I am craving something supremely tasty.

I have always stubbornly stuck to the same topping but would love to hear your alternatives.


INGREDIENTS – serves 2

2 soft tortilla wraps, 6 tablespoons of passata, 6/8 slices of Parma ham, 10 pitted black olives, 2 small handfuls of rocket, ball of mozzarella, 50g of parmesan, spray oil



I take the oven shelf right out and line it with baking paper (do not use foil) on the kitchen counter

Pop the tortillas on top and spray lightly with the oil

Spread 2tbs of passata on each tortilla

Add 3/4 slices of parma ham to each tortilla

Split the cheese between the two tortillas

Pop on 5 olives per portion

Put in the oven (pre heated to 180) for around 15/20 minutes

Once ready put the rocket on top and serve


NOTE: If you do use foil you will spend a frustrating 10 minutes trying to peel your pizza away unscathed and it might be a bit soggy in places.  Use the baking paper and it will slippety-slide off like a dream and the tortilla will be lovely and crispy.

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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



Nuts about Curried Pasta Salad

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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

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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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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!


Loaves and Fishes

baked AlaskaThere have been 5 main loves in my dad’s life to date –  his family, his “wee dug”,  the North Sea, Michael Schumacher and food.

You could say that food was in his blood.  His Father Jimmy was a baker with his own shop in the fishing village of Pittenweem, both sons were trained  in the family business. Dad didn’t follow the floury career path in the end but the skills he learned stayed with him and fuelled his life-long passion for food.

Instead of loaves Dad concentrated on fishes,  trawling the North Sea every week for most of his working life.  Although  no gourmet he was a naturally good cook and was in charge of  keeping the hungry crews he sailed with over the years happy with wholesome and simple dishes such as mince and tatties, cullen skink and skirlie.

skirlieRecipe for Skirlie (great with a chicken dinner or with mince and tatties).  Melt 50g of butter and add a finely chopped up onion.  Cook till the onion is soft.  Add in 175g of oatmeal and season well.  Cook on the hob for about 15 minutes and away ye’ go.

Mum and I did not eat fish! I  didn’t like fish simply because my mum didn’t like fish (makes sense when you are 6).  A  fisherman’s family who won’t eat fish –  it really was ludicrous. I did like fish fingers but they didn’t count.  They were a banned substance in the Taylor household amid many tales of fish eyes and guts. Dad did finally get me on board so to speak with a simple version of Cullen Skink.

Dad’s easy Smoked Fish in Milk – Pop a piece of smoked fish  in a dish, cover with milk, add some onion slices, a knob of butter and a wee bit of tomato. Cook in the microwave  and serve up with lots of fluffy white bread to soak up the juices.  Simple and satisfying. Sometimes we added a potato or some grated cheese!  It was a flexible affair.

Like most homes in the 70’s and 80’s tastes were pretty simple – roast beef and yorkshire puddings, mince and tatties, steak, chips and onion rings, stews (I am sure it was the same in your house).  Sole Veronique was not a family staple,  but it was what mum and I decided to  prepare in a bid to impress Dad one Saturday evening.  His reaction was a bit like Peter Kay’s Garlic Bread sketch.  You know the one,  Garlic ……….. and Bread!!!  Same scene Fish… and Grapes… and Wine!!!   Not a raging success but as cooking entered celebrityville, Dad did embrace the new and it became our new shared interest.

Baking was where he really excelled.  He was and is an avid fan of all things sweet as it rather evident from his substantial girth.  You don’t get to be on first name terms with the staff of Fisher & Donaldsons for no reason!

He is most well-known for his shortbread, little round beauties dusted in sugar. Hard to stick to one or two and brilliant dunked in your tea.  He has always been a bit Machiavellian with his baking in my opinion.  Is taking shortbread to the reception staff in the Doctor’s surgery, the traffic wardens who walk the streets of St Andrews and the ladies who work in the bank a form of bribery? You decide!

shortbreadDads Shortbread Recipe.  4 0z butter, 2 0z sugar, 5oz flour, 1 oz semolina.  Cream butter and sugar together until light, fork through the flour and semolina.  Draw the mixture together with your fingers to make a dough. Roll out and cut into rounds.  Prick all over with a fork and put in an oven at 170 for 40 minutes or until the colour of pale straw.

He is the only person I personally know who has successfully made Baked Alaska.  Cue another Peter Kay moment  –  Ice Cream …. in the oven.  What’s that all about?  It was as I remember gorgeous but not something I would be brave enough to contemplate making even now.  Hats off to Mr Taylor for impressing us with this remarkable feat.

Even when things did go wrong on the baking front it was often so very right.  My love of toffee stems from his attempt to make tablet.  We never did get tablet but we did get a tray of amazingly gooey toffee.  Much better than tablet in my opinion and probably why I can’t pass a packet of Thornton’s special toffee to this day.

On most weekends we  trooped off to either St Andrews or Kirkcaldy  when I was a kid. Both of which were home to The Pancake Place..  The Pancake Place was a sweet tooth haven.  I believe there were savoury options available but my family swiftly bypassed them, tucking into sizeable american style pancakes with our favourite teeth rotting toppings.  Lemon and sugar for mum, maple syrup and cream for dad and chocolate sauce with nuts and cream for me. We loved these pancakes so much that Dad mastered making even bigger versions at home.  We would have them on a Saturday night with lashings of maple syrup and too much cream whilst watching Dusty Bin (3-2-1).  The pancakes became legendary!

I could write a book of memories of my Dads cooking and baking and probably a sequel on my Granny who was a demon baker.  But I will stop here …. for now!

Unfortunately Dad can no longer bake which is sad (though my hips give a sigh of relief) so it is nice to remember all the fabulous “tasty bites” he is famous for.

I am not a baker, principally because I am also a sugar addict and I eat EVERYTHING that I bake.  But perhaps I ought to at least try to keep the family skill alive and haul out the Kenwood Chef he gave me recently to give it a go.  Wish me luck!

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2013 Recipe Challenge – Courgette and Feta Pie

innerdsI thought as it was the fist week of my challenge it was worthy of a blog.  Most weeks however I will just pop my progress onto the Challenge Page of the site.

This first week’s recipe was taken from a book called “The Best Traditional Recipes of Greek Cooking”. This particular book has been chilling out on the book shelf for no  less than ten years.  It was actually bought by BC when he visited Santorini with my predecessor (pulls childish petulant face).  I do love Greek food but flicking through this book has been the furthest I have got …  until now.

My original intention was to cook a lamb mince-pie but the method was a bit vague and to be honest I couldn’t work out what the hell to do with the semolina!  So decided instead to embark on a simple Courgette and Feta pie, made even more simple by the fact that it is not really a pie – no pastry involved.  This would be more accurately be described as a baked  fritatta. It was very simple – easy as pie you might say.

This is how simple it was:  saute  a few sliced courgettes and a few chopped up spring onions in a ludicrous amount of olive oil ( I know olive oil is healthy … but that much of any oil is questionable! ). Beat up three eggs and mix in a pack of feta (crumbled) and a whole bunch of chopped parsley.  Mix in the courgettes and onions, pour into a non stick tin and pop in a medium oven for about an hour.finished pie

I was nervous and there was a nice pizza lined up on the subs bench, but thankfully that was not necessary as the ‘non’ pie was delicious. As I mentioned, it is similar to a fritatta,  however baking really intensifies the flavours and the feta oozes beautifully through the egg.  I served it with olives, rocket, Hugh Fearnley Wittingstall’s Roast Honey Tomatoes and some simple roasted peppers. It was a resounding success and is now on the rota of  “cheap n’ simple meals” that make it into my weekly meal plans.

The last slice was popped into  a Tupperware tub with some salad and taken with me to work for lunch the following day. Served cold this pie was even better, making it a brilliant option for lunch boxes and picnics.

I know that on week one Nicola from cooked up Pheasant, what did you do?  It’s not to late to join in.

In week 2 BC chooses the dish from Jamie’s American book.  More on that next week but I am praying to God it is not the Beer Butt Chicken!!

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Spicy Bean Quesadilla

As easy as it is tasty

As easy as it is tasty

Don’t you sometimes yearn for something to eat at the end of the day which sets your taste buds tingling?  Yet more often than not you have neither the time or the energy to muster a masterpiece.

My Spicy Bean Quesadillas score very high on taste and don’t entail slaving over a stove – hot or otherwise.

My hardest days of the week are those spent running around after my lovely but ever so demanding wee girl.  It is on these days, when I am virtually on my knees by 6 o’clock, that this recipe comes to my rescue.  A once-a-week favourite at The Grumbling Tummy HQ.

It started life as ‘Refried Bean Fold Over’ from my well-thumbed copy of  Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall’s superb  ‘River Cottage Veg Everyday’.  Although the original recipe was perfectly lovely, I have tweaked and twisted it a fair bit along the way.  Hugh used pinto beans, has no lime juice or coriander in his recipe.  I guess most importantly,  he does not give his recipe the quesadilla  treatment.

Big thanks to Hugh for giving me all the nuts and bolts of this fantastic spicy treat.

So without further ado here is the recipe:


One red onion, 3 good-sized tomatoes halved,  a large can of beans  –  Hugh uses pinto beans but I often opt for Kidney beans –  both nice, a good handful of chopped coriander, couple of cloves of garlic, half  a red chilli,  the juice of half a lime,  a pinch of cayenne pepper, soft tortilla wraps (6), cheese ( as much as you like really), sour Cream


Chop and fry the onion until soft

Add the garlic and the chilli 

Life is not too short to grate a tomato

Life is not too short to grate a tomato

After a few minutes take off the heat and grate the flesh of the tomatoes straight into the cooking pot – discarding the skins.  Life may be too short to stuff a mushroom but it is not too short to grate a tomato, so don’t be tempted to chop rather than grate.  It takes seconds! Return to the heat and cook for a few minutes until the juices thicken a little then add in your drained beans and the juice of half a limeGet a tattie masher and mush it all up – I like to leave it a bit chunky but this is personal tasteAdd a pinch of cayenne and the chopped coriander and stir

Spoon this  lovely spicy bean mixture onto the three wraps and smother with grated cheese.

Pop another wrap on top and then shallow fry for a few minutes on each side until browned and crispy.

Serve with salad and sour cream.


4 Good Things

Having just watched the first  in the series of Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall’s  “3 Good Things”,  I felt inspired to share a recipe with you that uses not three but four of my favourite ingredients to make a Grumbling Tummy classic: chorizo, onions, lentils and red wine.

The official title of this dish is “Lentils with red wine and Chorizo” and it has become one of my favourite dishes to make when I have people coming round for lunch.  It is simple, earthy and ridiculously tasty.

Amongst close family and friends this dish is also affectionately known as “disgusting brown sludge” – charming!  On first serving this dish to BC he pronounced that it looked “disgusting” before delving in, finishing it and asking for seconds.  Just goes to show that looks aren’t everything.  Another friend  thought disgusting was going a bit far but did agree that it looked rather like “brown sludge” – again this was before tucking in and proclaiming it an outstanding success. And so the moniker was born.

I made this hearty one pot on Friday for friends who joined myself and BC on our anniversary/birthday weekend to St Andrews.  The entire Grumbling Tummy contingent coming down with their first winter cold cast a slight cloud over our long anticipated get away .  Taste buds were compromised and this dish packed the flavour filled punch that was needed.

If you fancy trying Lentils with Chorizo and Red Wine  AKA “Disgusting Brown Sludge” then here is how to do it (serves between 4 and 6 depending on how hungry you are!)

The Ingredients:
4 onions, 2 leeks, fresh thyme, 300g lentils (puy or green), around 350g of cooked chorizo chopped up, 1 litre of chicken stock, 2 very generous glasses of red wine and a handful of chopped parsley.

The Method:
Slice 4 onions and 2 leeks
Gently fry the onions and leeks with a little olive oil and a couple of cloves of garlic crushed
When nice and soft add in the chorizo, wine, stock and the fresh thyme
Simmer away for around an hour – keep tasting to make sure your lentils still have some bite and have not turned to moosh.
Add the parsley and serve with lots of crusty bread and salad.

The original recipe came from but I have tweaked it quite a bit. I have doubled up the chorizo as I found the original recipe a little bland for my taste. I also tend to add the chorizo in near the get go so that the juices penetrate the whole dish, then I cook it for twice as long as the original recipe suggests.

Give it a bash and let me know what you think.