Ma Po Tofu - Chinese Spicy Pork and Tofu Dish

Now this dish is hot, spicy and in our opinion, totally delicious. There are so many different recipes for Ma Po Tofu, each one varying on the amount of peppercorns used and some using chilli powder and spicy bean paste.  Some using only chilli powder.

Ma Po Tofu
So, after studying several different recipes this is what I came up with. 

Creamy Chicken and Leek with a Pastry Top and Crushed Potatoes - Diet Food?

If you're on a diet but fancy eating a pie this is the way to have less pastry!
You can control the amount of pastry you eat by serving a just a couple of pastry shapes instead of eating a whole pies worth.
Crushed potatoes have no butter or milk added and so are less calories than mashed potato.....not quite the same as mash but please, try to use your imagination!
And, if you're in a hurry cooking the pastry separately speeds up pie making and is a lot less messing about.
 So, if this body of mine is to be seen in a bikini this summer holiday then something has to happen and fast!

Sausage and Pepper Casserole for the Slow Cooker

Another 'make it up as you go along experiment' of mine - Jan's Sausage and pepper slow cooker recipe!  Of course you can cook this in a casserole dish in the oven if you wish - for a lot less time though, obviously.

Sausage and Pepper Casserole

Sausages and mash with a lovely rich tomatoey, sweet peppery sauce.
Remember bell peppers are not spicy, just sweet, so this is ideal for kids and it's perfect for freezing too.


Harrods of London - The Food Hall

Harrods is Britain's most famous store and possibly the most famous store in the world.  So after my trip to Borough Market with one day travel card in hand I was off again on the underground to catch a tube to Knightsbridge.

Harrods Food Hall

Once at Knightsbridge, just follow the way out sign that says Brompton Road and when you get to the top of the stairs you'll be right next to an entrance to Harrods.  I realise there are a lot of photos here, but I don't think you'll find them boring.

A Trip to London's Famous Borough Market

So, there I was in London and with just over four hours till my train, my first thought was Borough Market here I come!  After turning right out of Carnaby Street and a short walk down Regents Street there I was at Oxford Street station.  I headed straight for the ticket booth and £6.60 got me an underground ticket for zones 1 and 2 - all you really need to have a great time in London and to see the major sights.  

You need London Bridge station and when you come out (following the signs for Borough High Street) you'll see it to the left a bit, but more or less opposite the station entrance - simples!
After my trip to the market I was straight back on the London underground and off to Harrods.
I love Harrods - see my post on Harrods Food Hall.  No trip to London is complete without a visit to see how the over half live!........Boston Terrier puppies were for sale in their pet department for a mere £2500........Oh how the other half live ah?

Here are a few pictures (in no particular order) of the famous Borough Market:
As you will see a fantastic range of fresh produce, fish, meat and more.  There's not much you won't find at this market in the way of food - all sorts of weird and wonderful things to be found.

Borough Market Peppers and Herbs

Borough Market Butchers Counter

Borough Market Tomates

Borough Market Oranges

Borough Market Wine

Borough Market Butchers

Borough Market Menu

Borough Market Fish Stall

Borough Market Fish

Borough Market Fruit and Veg

Borough Market Juice Bar

Borough Market Lettuces

Borough Market

Borough Market Mulled Wine Seller

Borough Market Olives

Borough Market Veg

In December Borough Market is open every day, including Sundays, until Christmas Eve.
But for the rest of the year they are open Monday to Saturday.  On Monday and Tuesday, not all of the traders are present, but there is still plenty of choice.  The full market is in operation Wednesday to Saturday. Click here to find a list of opening times.

Team Wholegrain 2011 with Nestlé Cereal

Last Thursday I was very kindly invited along to London to meet Team Wholegrain 2011
 Now in its third year, Nestle Team Whole Grain adds rugby World Cup champion and Celebrity Masterchef winner Matt Dawson. He joins the experienced team of TV and radio presenter Zoe Ball, Olympic rowing champion Greg Searle and independent nutritionist Juliette Kellow.
  Unfortunately Greg couldn't be there, but it was great to meet the others. I had a good chat with Matt and he tells me I really am eating the wrong thing for breakfast (toast made with white bread)!  He's right, and so as of last Friday, I'm now on Shredded wheat!
Team Whole Grain 2011 will be bringing some fun new recipes that not only taste great, but will brighten up dinner tables around the country, as well as giving the nation’s busy families some wholesome goodness.
Encouraging kids to take an interest in the kitchen in an exciting and engaging way, a series of seasonal food art recipes have been created by food artist Prudence Staite. Brought together by Nestlé Cereals, Team Whole Grain is calling for mums and kids to have some family fun in the kitchen by recreating the exciting recipes, which will be available for download on the newly relaunched website ( or to watch via podcast.
  Here are some photos of the event and the fantastic things you can make with cereal! So why not create one of our celebrities’ favourite food art recipes?  
Click on the pictures for a link to each recipe.
Be your own rugby hero by creating Matt’s rugby ball.
 Or say ‘I love you’ to someone special with Zoe’s favourite bunch of flowers. 
 Greg Searle loves making his Golden Nugget treasure chest with his kids.
 Or why not have the kids bouncing around with Juliette Kellow’s Easter bunny.
I will attempt to make the bunny very soon - but I'm a bit concenred than mine won't look half as good as this one!
 Other designs include a Spring sheep, St Valentine’s chocolate lollipops, Rudolf the red nosed reindeer and following on from the success of the ‘busy bee’ recipe last year, you can now make a home for them with the Shredded Wheat Bitesize Summer beehive.
 And finally here's me with Matt Dawson:
And Zoe Ball
Thank you to Ryan for inviting me along and of course to and Team Wholegrain.  *All food photos courtesy of Team Wholegrain.

Sesame Prawn Toasts - nice and easy to make

 It will soon be Chinese New Year and everyone likes sesame prawn toasts!  This year, by the way, it's the year of the Rabbit.
 Way better than any of those pre-made supermarket ones you can get and really easy to do too.

Cod Tray Bake with Potatoes Bacon and Onions

I needed to use up some potatoes, tomatoes and bacon and felt the need to eat fish (as you do) now and then.  All that was missing from Jan's tray bake was some fish.  So, after a quick trip to Tesco it was on with the dinner!
  You then just need a baking tray and a frying pan and you're on a roll.
One easy meal - sorted.

Ham Mushroom and Mascarpone Pasta Melt

Prosciutto (ham) with mushroom and Mascarpone - a perfect topping for some nicely cooked pasta.  Yes, this is another of my Marks and Spencer copy cat meals.
 Now there's no real recipe to this and it's perfect for students, mums or indeed anyone with either no time to cook.  Or, if you just simply can't be bothered fussing to cook.


Farmhouse Breakfast Week 2011

Did you know that the 23rd to the 29th of January it's Farmhouse Breakfast week?  What better way to start the day and 'Shake Up Your Wake Up' with 'proper' bacon from Denhay Farm.
 Breakfast as we all know, is the most important meal of the day.  Now sadly, we don't all have time to cook a full English every morning.  Also it has to be said it's not the healthiest breakfast option.  However, once a week, say on a lazy Saturday, I say it has to be good for you.  Even a little fried bread wont hurt you!  I have to tell you I ate the lot of the breakfast you see in the picture above - but, I wasn't hungry all day so there was no snacking which has to be a good thing!
Using good quality sausages and bacon help the keep the fat content down.  
I used Denhay Farm dry cured 'spoilt pig' bacon and there was none of that horrid water you find when cooking some bacon.  Oh and I love the name 'spoilt pig'!  
Farmhouse Breakfast Week is an annual campaign run by the HGCA  which has been running since the year 2000. The aim of the campaign is to raise awareness of the benefits of eating a healthy breakfast and demonstrate the variety on offer. 
Here are a few facts about breakfast:
* Breakfast eaters tend to be slimmer than breakfast skippers.
    * Eating breakfast can aid concentration and mental performance at work and at school.
    * It provides you with the nutrients and energy needed for an active lifestyle.
    * Research shows that breakfast eaters are less depressed and have lower levels of stress than breakfast skippers.

To get involved in Farmhouse Breakfast Week and to find out more then visit Shake up your wake up!
Thank you to Nickie and Denhay farm for sending me some lovely bacon to try.

Cod Mornay - Easy One Dish Recipe for Cod with Cheese Sauce

A nice colourful dish of cod, potato and spinach. Spinach, just so you don't feel quite as bad about eating the yummy cheese sauce and crunchy crumb topping! Cod Mornay or cod with cheese sauce whatever you fancy calling it is delicious.

Cod Mornay

Serves 2 very greedy people or 4 not so greedy, you will need:
350g Cod loin
180g of Spinach
2 large Maris Piper potatoes – sliced very thinly using a Mandolin
3 shallots – finely diced
1 bay leaf
3 black peppercorns
250ml milk
50g of butter
Salt and pepper
Pinch of nutmeg
You'll also need 1 slice of bread whizzed up into breadcrumbs


Wishing Everyone a Very Happy 2011

I'd like to wish all the readers of this blog and all the very best for 2011

 A Very Happy New Year to you and your families, love from Jan xx
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