Courgette Puffs


…. with Mixed Leaf Salad

Quick, easy and meat-free recipe from 30 Minute Cookbook

Whether you call them zucchini or courgettes, these puffs will make a marvelous meal.

According to the recipe, preparation time is 5 minutes and cooking time 6 minutes – Sounds good to me 🙂



(serves 2-3)

450g/1lb courgettes
75g/3oz. fresh white breadcrumbs
1 egg
pinch of cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon of chopped fresh mint
oil for deep frying
1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
200g/7oz. mixed salad leaves
salt and ground black pepper


1. Top and tail the courgettes. Coarsely grate them and put them into a colander. Squeeze out the excess water and put the courgettes into a bowl.

2. Add the white breadcrumbs, egg, cayenne pepper and chopped fresh mint, with salt and pepper to taste. Mix well with a spoon or clean hands.

3. Shape the mixture into balls about the size of walnuts.

4. Heat the oil for deep frying to 180C, or when a cube of bread, when added to the oil, browns in 30-40 seconds.

5. Deep fry the courgette balls in batches for 2 minutes. Drain on kitchen paper.

6. Whisk the vinegar and olive oil together and season well.

7. Put the salad leaves in a bowl and pour over the vinegar and oil dressing. Toss lightly to coat the leaves evenly.

8. Add the courgette puffs and toss lightly together. Serve at once while the courgette puffs are still crisp.

Bon Appetit!

Linda x


Pasta with Spring Vegetables


This is another speedy recipe – 20 minutes to prepare and cook. (Found in 30 Minute Cookbook)

NB: Leeks aren’t always available but I think perhaps mild spring onions would work well.

Strong onions may be a little overwhelming.


(serves 4)

115g/4oz. broccoli florets
115g/4oz. baby leeks
225g/8oz. asparagus, trimmed
115g/4oz. frozen peas
1 small fennel bulb
1 shallot, chopped
40g/1.5oz. butter
3 tablespoons chopped fresh mixed herbs, such as parsley, thyme and sage.
300mls/half a pint of double cream
350g/12oz. dried penne pasta
salt and ground black pepper
freshly grated parmesan cheese to serve.


1. Divide the broccoli florets into tiny sprigs. Cut the asparagus and leeks diagonally into 5cm (2in) lengths. Trim the fennel bulb and cut into wedges.

2. Cook the vegetables in boiling salted water until just tender. Remove with a slotted spoon and keep hot.

3. Melt the butter in a separate pan, add the chopped shallot and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened but not browned.

4. Stir in the herbs and cream and cook for a few minutes until slightly thickened.

5. Meanwhile, cook the pasta in boiling salted water until just tender. Drain well and add to the sauce with the vegetables.

6. Toss gently and season with black pepper.

7. Serve the pasta at once with a generous sprinkling of freshly grated parmesan.

Bon Appetit!

Linda x

P.S. Growing fresh herbs at home is so easy and will save you tons of cash. Check out the popular herb books here



Rocky Road Cookies



Another not-so-healthy recipe but a delicious afternoon tea treat. Copied from ‘Cookies Galore’




(makes 20)

225g. plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
125g. butter
100g. sugar
1 egg
half a teaspoon of vanilla extract

For the topping:
50g. mini marshmallows
75g. chopped walnuts
50g. plain chocolate

1. Preheat oven to 180C/ Gas mark 4. Lightly grease two baking sheets.

2. Sift the flour and baking powder together in a mixing bowl. In a separate bowl, cream the butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy. Beat in the egg and vanilla, then work in the flour mixture to form a soft dough.

3. Take small amounts of the dough, each about the size of a walnut and roll into balls. Space well apart on the baking sheets and flatten slightly. Bake until just golden, about 12 minutes.

4. Remove from oven and reduce oven heat to 160C/ Gas mark 3.

5. To make the topping: mix together the marshmallows and walnuts. Then melt the chocolate in a bowl set over a saucepan of gently simmering water, making sure the base of the bowl is not touching the water. Spread a little chocolate on top of each cookie and top with the marshmallows and nut mixture.

6. Return the cookies to the reduced heat oven and bake for 1-2 minutes until marshmallow softens.

7. Cool on the baking sheets for 2-3 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

8. Drizzle or pipe the remaining chocolate over the cookies.

Bon Appetit!

Linda Gray x

P.S. This downloadable book is a great start to creating your own Afternoon Tea fit for royalty! Choose your favourite supplier

Afternoon Tea

Amazon US , Amazon UK , Barnes & Noble , iTunes , Kobo , Google Play , Payhip ,

Walnut Tart



I really shouldn’t be putting this up – it definitely doesn’t come under the ‘healthy living’ theme!

But honestly this looks so delicious I couldn’t resist sharing. Lots of sugar eggs and calories but what a treat for afternoon tea this weekend.

Found the recipe in a book called ‘Grandma’s 500 recipes’.



400g./ 14oz. dark brown sugar
200g. / 7oz. golden syrup
200g. / 7oz. butter
2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
6 large eggs, beaten
300g. /10-11oz walnut halves

For the pastry:

150g. / 5.5oz. butter, cubed and chilled
300g. / 10.5oz. plain (all purpose) flour

1. First make the pastry; Rub the butter into the flour until it resembles breadcrumbs. Then add just enough cold water to bind the mixture together into a pliable dough.

2. Roll out the pastry on a floured surface and use it to line a large rectangular tart dish. Chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.

3. Preheat the oven to 180F (160Fan) or Gas mark 4.

4. Put the sugar, golden syrup, butter and vanilla extract in a saucepan and stir it over a low heat to dissolve the sugar.

5. Leave to cool for at least 10 minutes then beat in the eggs.

6. Pour the mixture into the pastry case and arrange the walnut halves on top. Bake for 45-50 minutes.

Bon Appetit!

Linda x

P.S. There’s a  handy little download with lots of afternoon tea ideas over on The Good Life page.  Treat yourself to a Sunday afternoon garden party!.


Sesame Glazed Asparagus


Found this in a tiny little recipe book called

‘Creative Recipes for Spices’
I love asparagus and must try this as soon as I can find some sesame seeds and oil!

(Serves 4)

500g. (1lb) asparagus
60g. (2oz.) butter
6 spring onions, thinly sliced diagonally
Finely grated rind of half a small lemon
1 tablespoon lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste
Pinch of cayenne pepper
1-2 tablespoons sesame seeds, lightly toasted
1 teaspoon sesame oil
Lemon slices and sprigs of flat leaved parsley to garnish

1. Cut off woody part at base of asparagus then cut spears diagonally into 3 or 4 equal pieces
2. Put into a saucepan with enough salted boiling water to cover. Simmer, covered, for 8-10 minutes or until just tender. Drain well.
3. In a large frying pan, melt butter and fry spring onions gently for about one minute.
4. Add lemon rind and juice, then stir in asparagus. Toss lightly together over a gentle heat until heated through.
5. Season with salt, pepper and cayenne
6. Turn onto a warmed serving plate and sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds and sesame oil.
7. Garnish with lemon slices and parsley. Serve hot

Bon Appetit!
Linda x

Buckwheat Noodles with Goat’s Cheese


Love trying out some of the recipes in ’30 minute Cookbook’ by Jenni Fleetwood (published 2005)

This one takes around 15 minutes to prepare and cook.




(serves 4)

350g. (12oz) buckwheat noodles

50g (2oz) butter

2 finely chopped garlic cloves

4 shallots, peeled and sliced

75g. (3oz) roughly chopped lightly roasted hazelnuts

Large handful of rocket leaves

175g. (6oz) goat’s cheese

Salt and ground pepper


  1. Bring a large saucepan of lightly salted water to the boil and add the noodles. Cook until just tender.
  2. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a large frying pan. Add the garlic and shallots and cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring all the time until shallots are soft. Don’t let the garlic brown.
  3. Drain the noodles well. Add the hazelnuts to the pan and fry for about one mnute. Add the rocket leaves and, when they start to wilt, toss in the noodles and heat through.
  4. Season with salt and pepper. Crumble in the goat’s cheese and serve immediately.

Bon Appetit!

Linda x

P.S. I just found a new edition of this book on Amazon (UK)


Book Description:

This title offers over 220 delicious dishes you can cook in less than half an hour, including:

10-minute recipes: speedy snacks, fast pasta and delicious, and swift salads;

20-minute dishes: super soups, easy meat recipes and fabulous fish; and,

30-minute meals: easy appetizers, quick curries and dashing desserts. Rustle up delectable dishes in minutes from Melting Cheese Dip and Asparagus with Tarragon Butter to Pork in Sweet-and-Sour Sauce and Salmon with Green Peppercorns.

This title features step-by-step photographs throughout that help speed up every stage of the preparation and cooking process. 30 Minute Cookbook


Zucchini Alert!


When you have a good crop of zucchini (courgettes) it’s easy to get bored with them, so get some recipe ideas down now before your bumper crop takes over!

And if you’re not growing them but always wonder how to make them more interesting, same applies 🙂

I found this idea in a huge recipe book called ‘Cooking for Today’ published about 30 years ago.



Spaghetti with Courgette Sauce

(serves 4-6)


400g. (14oz) spaghetti

1 clove of garlic

1 tablespoon of oil

15g. (½ oz.) butter

For the sauce:

1 onion

1 clove garlic

450g. (1lb) small courgettes/zucchini

4-5 tablespoons oil

2 tablespoons of chopped fresh mixed herbs

125mls (4fl.oz) whipping cream

1 beefsteak tomato

Salt and Pepper


First make the sauce:

  1. Peel and chop the onion and garlic
  2. Top and tail the courgettes and cut into matchsticks.
  3. Heat the oil in a pan and add the chopped onion, garlic and courgette matchsticks. Cook for about 3 minutes, stirring all the time.
  4. Mix in the herbs and the cream and season with salt and pepper.
  5. Pour boiling water over the tomato. Drain and peel.
  6. Cut tomato in half, remove the seeds and dice the flesh.
  7. Stir diced tomato into the courgette mix and keep hot in the pan.

And now the spaghetti….

  1. Peel and chop the remaining garlic clove.
  2. Cook the spaghetti in plenty of salted boiling water, adding the garlic and oil, for about ten minutes, or until tender but still slightly al dente
  3. Drain, refresh quickly with cold water and drain well.
  4. Rinse and dry the pan. Melt the butter in it and return the spaghetti to the pan. Shake to coat well and serve topped with hot courgette sauce.

NB: Other pasta shapes can be used but you may have to adjust cooking times – there should be suggested cooking times on the packet.

Bon Appetit!

Linda x

P.S. If you’re really a zucchini fan, you may like this recipe book ….


Zucchini Cookbook: Family Zucchini Recipe Book with Tasty and Easy Zucchini Recipes (Zucchini Tastes)

Do you love zucchini? This third zucchini cookbook was written to help you to cook easy and healthy zucchini recipes.

This zucchini recipe book includes zucchini recipes, such as:

– Inspiralized Zucchini Salads
– Zucchini Soups
– Zucchini Hot Dishes

With this zucchini book you will:
– Enjoy various zucchini recipes

– Learn how to prepare delicious zucchini dishes

– Cook zucchini dishes for a whole family

– Start healthy zucchini diet

Available at Amazon UK

Herb or Spice?


Is it a Herb or is it a Spice?

The difference between herbs and spices is simply the part of the plant used.

The leaves and flowers of a plant are generally regarded as the herbs, while the seeds, roots, stigmas and even the bark are considered to be spices.

For many thousands of years, herbs have been considered magical plants – humans have used them for millennia as food and as medicine. Those whho knew what to do with herbs were sometimes treated with suspicion and sometimes revered.

Spices, on the other hand, were shrouded in mystery until recent times – their exotic nature and origins were mythologized by the spice traders over the centuries to keep the prices as high as possible.

in our present information-packed world we can have it all, and growing herbs and spices at home is one of the most satisfying projects anyone can take on.

The wonderful taste of herbs and spices can encourage even the most jaded palate to enjoy good food again. And the more good food we eat the less we want the stuff that is not so good for us!  ( extract from Herbs & Spices Herbs and Healing  )



Herb Growing Kit

Found this fabulous herb gift pack at Thompson & Morgan UK

The kit features five unique packets of seeds allowing you to grow Rocket Salad, Basil Sweet Garden, Parsley Moss Curled, Coriander (leaf) to Garlic Chives.

Basil Sweet Green is an interesting alternative to traditional sweet basil, this variety has hints of mint and clove.

The packet of Parsley Moss Curled Seeds produces tightly curled, rich green leaved parsley that is ideal for using as a garnish or for adding to soups and sauces.

Garlic Chives, also known as Chinese chives, differ from traditional chives, they bare flat leaves and a delicate mild garlic flavour, making an excellent addition to salads, stews, fish, egg and meat dishes.

The Coriander Seeds (Leaf) provide an extremely quick growing herb that is particularly popular in Asian Cuisine, it bares aromatic leaves that can really add flavour to a dish.

Rocket Salad is a leader in the salad market for its peppery flavour, this is the perfect contrast to other salad leaves.

Simply soak the peat disks provided in water, they expand to roughly seven times their original size, crumble it into the peat starter growing pots and add the seeds. There are even handy garden tips to instruct you on how to grow and care for your new colourful crops, maximizing your potential yield.
This kit contains:
1 x Packet of Rocket Salad Seeds
1 x Packet of Basil Sweet Green Seeds
1 x Packet of Parsley Moss Curled Seeds
1 x Packet of Coriander (leaf) Seeds
1 x Packet of Garlic Chive Seeds
1 x Pair of Garden Snips
5 x Starter Growing Peat Pots
5 x Plant Markers
5 x Peat Growing Plugs

Treat someone you love to this gorgeous gift (UK delivery only) Herb Kit

Happy Herb Gardening!
Linda x





Classic recipe to satisfy that chocolate moment 🙂 Found in ‘The Chocolate Book’ published about 30 years ago!





8oz (225g) soft brown sugar
2oz (50g) unsweetened cocoa powder, sieved
3oz (75g) self raising flour
2 eggs
2 tablespoons (30ml) milk
4oz (125g) butter, melted
2oz (50g) walnuts, finely chopped
2oz (50g) raisins, chopped

4oz (125g) plain chocolate
1 tablespoon (15ml) black coffee

Walnut halves

1. Preheat oven Gas mark 4 (180F)
2. Prepare a 7in x 11in (18cm x 28cm)tin – grease and base-line
3. Mix together the sugar, flour and cocoa powder
4. Beat together the eggs and milk. Stir into the flour mixture, together with the butter, walnuts and raisins
5. Spread into prepared tin and bake in pre-heated oven for 30 minutes.
6. Cool then melt chocolate and coffee together and spread over cake
7. Decorate with walnut halves and cut into squares when cool.

Bon Appetit!

Linda x





Inside Out Games


With school holidays looming, there will be plenty of opportunities to play, have fun and enjoy tons of quality time with the kids, especially if we have a warm dry summer this year – fingers crossed 🙂

Family days out can get expensive and you can’t always rely on the weather being on your side – especially in UK=style climates.

But with a little planning and a little cash, if any, big fun can be had by everyone of every age.

If casting your mind back and replicating games of yesteryear isn’t an option for you, pop over to google and do a quick search for outside or traditional games. I remember loving bean bags as a kid and of course you can buy them on Amazon. These are colourful and fun….



First-Play original Beanbags
size 15cm x 10cm. sold as a pack of 12 assorted colours.


I’m not sure about the fillings though. Apparently commercial bean bags are filled with plastic granules which isn’t a great idea if you’re going completely plastic-free but the other way would be to make them yourself and two-thirds to three-quarters fill them with rice or lentils. Then you’re using food which could be considered wasteful and they will have to be stored in an animal-free zone.

Hmm, as I’ve been promoting non-plastic toys, I’m tempted to go for making them myself – still trying to work out a filling alternative but may just go for rice for now.

Use bean bags to
*play catch – easier for little hands to hold on to
*target practice – throw onto the steps of a small ladder or into a bucket in the centre of the lawn
*have a juggling competition – for those aspiring to circus skills

And if there aren’t any breakables indoors, bean bags can be played with inside as well as out.

Have fun!
Linda x

P.S. Just in case of rain, grab this quick download so entertaining can be an indoor joy as well – actually the games in this little book can all be played outside as well



Indoor Family Games

Choose from your favourite book shop

Amazon US , Amazon UK , Barnes & Noble , iTunes , Kobo , Google Play , Payhip , Etsy Books ,