Traditional Trifle – No jelly

  • abt 2 tablespoons butter
  • 750g dessert apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced
  • punnet of blueberries or blackberries
  • 100g soft sugar either brown or natural
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon or to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 2 packets trifle sponges, broken apart
  • 300g packet toffee sauce
  • 100g pecans broken or chopped
  • 500g custard either good quality vanilla or homemade
  • 500 g whipping cream, whipped

melt butter in a large frying pan, add the apple slices and saute until slightly softened. Add sugar, freshly ground cinnamon and freshly grated nutmeg, Cook until apples are almost tender, add the blueberries or blackberries, total 10 to 15 minutes. Allow this to cool

Arrange broken sponge pieces in the bottom of a trifle bowl, spoon over a quarter of the apple mixture, including juices, drizzle with toffee sauce, sprinkle with nuts, then cover with custard and the whipped cream, continue the layers ending with a layer of whipped cream.

Chill in the fridge for at least 1 hour before serving.

Just before serving drizzle with toffee sauce and nuts

My Mothers Sausage Meat Risotto

One of my siblings (I don’t know which) decided that they did not like sausage-meat. Odd since we all liked sausages and or chipolatas but there is no accounting for dislikes or perceived dislikes.

Sausage meat was relatively cheap and, given the fact that there was only my fathers Royal Naval pay coming in, mum would clearly be seeking cheap nutritional meals for the family.

Sausage-meat risotto was born. It became a firm favourite with us all. Doesn’t risotto sound far more exciting than spicy sausage-meat?


1/2 tbspn cooking oil, should be just enough to moisten the pan as the sausage meat will add its own fat (I use olive oil)

1 onion, finely chopped

¾ lb Sausage meat, best quality you can afford, I use the local butchers

1 tbspn tomato purée

2 tspns of mixed herbs

4oz mushrooms (optional)

curry powder, strength and amount depends on personal taste. But I use about 2 tabspns

tin of tomatoes, chopped

black pepper

1 egg beaten (optional)


Heat oil gently in a heavy bottomed frying pan, add chopped onion and cook until onion is soft but not coloured. Crumble the sausage-meat in to the pan and fry gently for about 5 mins, add the tomato purée, the mixed herbs. If using the mushrooms add them now. Stir everything together and continue cooking until the sausage-meat browns. Stir in the curry powder, add the chopped tomatoes. Simmer for 15 mins, add black pepper, check seasoning, add more curry powder if you like your food more spicy. Cook for further 5 mins: if the sauce needs thickening add the beaten egg, stir and cook through for 5 mins. Serve piping hot with crusty bread, or rice or just on it’s own.

Chicken Casserole

Serves up to 8


2oz butter + a little extra
1 onion chopped
6 rasher of bacon preferably smoked, rind removed and bacon diced
250g mushrooms sliced (if using tiny button mushrooms leave whole)
1 medium chicken cut into joints (If you use a whole chicken you should have 8 joints) or preprepared joints -thighs and or breast for the number people you wish to serve)
chicken stock (or if no stock a can of condensed chicken soup and 1 can of water)
1 tspn of English mustard powder
1 tabspn of flour
¼ pint milk (optional)
fresh ground black pepper
2 bay leaves


Pre-heat oven to Gas 4 180C

Melt butter in heavy bottomed frying pan, add chopped onion and diced bacon. Cook gently for about 5 mins: onions need to be soft but not browned. Transfer to casserole dish large enough to hold chicken with room to spare.
Cook mushrooms in frying pan and cook on low heat in the pan juices. Place cooked mushrooms into the casserole with the onions and bacon.
Brown the chicken joints in the same frying pan: if necessary add extra butter to pan.
Transfer browned chicken to casserole dish.
Using mustard powder and flour make a roux with the pan juices, adding stock (or soup) and milk (if using) to make thickish sauce. Season with black pepper.
Pour over chicken and vegetables, if necessary add more stock to ensure chicken etc is covered. Tuck the bay leaves into the mixture.
Place in oven and cook for about an hour or until cooked. Check sauce half way through cooking: correct seasoning and thicken if necessary.

Serve with creamy mashed potatoes, rice and vegetables.

Childhood favourites

I may be wrong, but I think everyone has favourite foods or meals from their childhood, certainly I do. These meals have become my comfort foods – some are not too bad for the waist-line. Others? Well let’s just say they really should be kept for treats.

My husband always says that his mother wasn’t the greatest cook, she says the same. She was always leaving something on the stove whilst she went to see to the frogs in the pond or watch the birds in the garden. However, no-one can make a shepherds pie as good as hers. His other childhood favourite is toad in the hole.

On the other hand, my mother was a very good cook and it is from her I learnt to cook. Her Chicken casserole is up there with my top ten of favourites, along with Oxtail stew (in my opinion the best and most unctuous stew ever). Spam fritters, come to that cheese and onion fritters. Mashed potato (ultimate comfort food). Fried slice topped with runny egg yolk and masses of fried mushrooms.

Then being taken to restaurants by my first true love expanded my food horizons: Chateaubriand, Tournedo Rossini, Scampi Provençal, and er Wine.

But I digress; here are a few of my childhood favourites, which I am pleased to say my OH also enjoys

Chicken casserole  – Warning I am reliably informed that this is addictive.

Sausage Meat Risotto


Why recipes here?

Some might think it odd to find recipes on this site. After all I’ve said this is about my progress to full recovery so what have recipes to do with that?

To put this in to perspective: I find cooking relaxing and always have. I think this is probably because if you want to produce something that looks good and tastes good you have to concentrate. Of course it could be partly because I have cooked almost for as long as I can remember or maybe it is also my nurturing instinct.

I was a Brownie and then a Girl Guide and I took all the cookery, hostess, needlework, home making and first aid type badges I could. I know this would seem very sexist by some but it was what I enjoyed. Just as well as my father was a typical MCP and although mum never, ever expected me to take over on Mothering Sunday (or her birthday or Boxing Day) dad certainly did! So as the eldest daughter in a family of 5 children, giving mum a rest generally fell to me.
For a while, when I was very ill, I lost all interest in cooking and food, in fact I was unable to cook.

Yes I could heat things up but was not able to create and adapt recipes. I actually for the first time ever burnt a saucepan and had to throw it away!

In some respects it’s a wonder that I do enjoy cooking and creating food as much as I do.

You will find here a selection of ‘my’ recipes. I hope you enjoy reading about them and / or trying them for your self and your loved ones.

No Mayo, vinegar or anything Yucky

Childhood Favourites

No Mayo, vinegar or anything yucky!

Growing up in a family of 5 children you get used to any number of food dislikes and for catering for different tastes; Sunday morning breakfast was often a cooked breakfast of eggs, bacon, fried slice, mushrooms and tomatoes.

Sounds easy? One sibling did not like the yolk of the egg, one didn’t like the white, one didn’t like fresh tomatoes and another didn’t like tinned tomatoes (makes the fried slice soggy), the one who didn’t like the yolk (or was it the one who didn’t like the white?) originally loved mushrooms, but managed to eat so many of them on one occasion that she no longer liked them! How my mother kept her patience with us I know not, but she did!

I then married a man who didn’t like mayonnaise or vinegar. However the list did not and does not stop there. It includes anything that might have vinegar in, or look like mayonnaise, salad cream, mustard, olives, capers, anchovies, seafood, fruit with meat, the taste of sweet and sour combinations, goats cheese, Philadelphia cream cheese, blue cheese, sour cream, oxtail, liver, kidney, lamb (too fatty?) anything with a bone in or skin on, no chicken drumsticks, all visible fat to be removed (I know!). I have managed to introduce mushrooms, chicken thighs, cooked feta, celeriac and lamb – yes it can be cooked and not be greasy. He still prefers carrots cooked in a stew but at least he will eat them.

You might think this would mean that we had a fairly bland diet, but no what it actually meant was that I found new ways of cooking favourite meals. Dislike is the mother of invention as far as my cooking was concerned.

Beetroot in cheese sauce

I came across this recipe some years ago and originally dismissed it out of hand as it had caraway seeds as an ingredient.

Now, here’s one of those odd dislikes, I have never liked caraway seeds (my mother used to make lovely fairy cakes, only problem as far as I was concerned were the caraway seeds – those cakes lasted a lot longer than the fruit ones or even the plain cakes), however, give me a drink that tastes of aniseed and I am very happy!

Anyway, back to the beetroot: this vegetable happens to be one of my favourite and is very good for you so I decided to try the recipe without using the offending ingredient, if you can ignore the pink colour of the cheese sauce you are in for a treat!

Cooked Beetroot
grated mature hard cheese such as cheddar
plain flour
white pepper freshly ground – black pepper will work just as well

make your cheese sauce
slice the beetroot
place beetroot in oven proof dish
pour cheese sauce over the beetroot
place dish in oven heated to 180c (fan)

Serve as a side dish or as a light supper with crusty bread.