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Week 22: I'll have the Quesadilla

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Chicken Quesadillas

The tortillas were made using a recipe similar to week 19. The filling consisted of:

  • 2 chicken breasts, sliced.

  • 1 medium onion

  • 2 cloves of garlic

  • 1 leek

  • jerk seasoning.

  • grated cheese

The chicken and vegetables were sliced and fried before being mixed with the seasoning. The tortillas were cooked then sprinkled with grated cheese. A few tablespoons of the filling were spread over the cheese, then a tortilla was put on top.

These were served with the remaining corn muffins which we made a few days ago:

Corn Muffins

We originally made these because we were going to a mexican-themed at a colleagues house. He is a vegan so we thought we should bring something he could eat.

The recipe is based on one we found at allrecipes.com.


  • 1½ tsp cornflour and 2 tbsp water

  • 1 cup yellow cornmeal

  • ½ cup plain flour

  • 2 tbsp baking powder

  • 2 tbsp sugar

  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil

  • 1 cup water

  • ½ tsp salt

  • 2 fresh chillies, finely chopped.


  1. Mix together the cornflour and the 2 tbsp water in a cup. Alternatively for a non-vegan version, use 1 egg.

  2. In a bowl, mix together the dry ingredients and chillies then blend in the oil, water and the cornflour paste.

  3. Spoon into muffin cases and bake in a pre-heated oven (gas mark 8, 230°C) for 10 to 15 minutes.

The resulting muffins were a little dry but they tasted fine and worked well if you ate them with a bowl of chilli and dunked them in the sauce.

Week 21: Pretzels

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The pretzels were made using the same procedure as the bagels, using plain flour instead of multi-seed flour.

After baking, the straight 'pretzel stick' was sprinkled with salt. The traditional 'knot shaped' pretzel was brushed with melted butter and sprinkled with cinnamon sugar.


Otley Country Show

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Some photos from the Otley Agricultural Show.



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Arnside Tower

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These photos were taken during a walk from Arnside, through the woods at Arnside Knott, and over to Arnside Tower. I have seen a few Pele Towers in Northumberland but this was the first one I've seen in the North West.

All the photos were taken using our old Canon compact camera. There seems to be something wrong with it because the photos all have a few dark areas towards the bottom left.


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Week 20: Bagels

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Makes 4 Multiseed mini-bagels:

  • 1 cup of a bread flour with seeds/grains.

  • 1 tsp sugar

  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil or flavoured oil such as pumpkin seed oil.

  • 1 tsp dry yeast

  • just under ½ cup warm water.

Mix the ingredients together and knead for 10 minutes. Divide into 4 and leave to rise for 20 minutes.

Pre heat the oven to gas mark 7. Roll the dough into a sausage and squash the ends together to make a ring. Leave to stand for 20 minutes.

Bring a pan of water to the boil. Boil the bagels for 1 minute each side. If the bagels sink, they will need to be left to rise for longer.

Bake in the middle of the oven for 10 minutes each side.



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A selection of photos from this week - bluebells in the woods and some ducklings and goslings near the lake.


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We already had the cream in the fridge. The meringue and fruit were bought from Asda on our way home from work.


Week 19: Tortillas and beans

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I only posted last week's recipe yesterday (Sunday is a flexible 'floating' day and I've been counting it as either the start or end of a week depending on whether I've cooked anything else new that week).

This week's recipe came from the book Little Red Gooseberries and consists of corn tortillas with a bean and vegetable sauce. As usual, we altered the recipe according to what we had in the kitchen. These quantities serve 4.


Finely chop an assortment of vegetables.

  • 1 red pepper

  • 1 medium onion

  • 1 courgette

  • 1 leek

  • 2 cloves of garlic

Fry gently for a few minutes then add 1 tin of chopped tomatoes. Add herbs and spices:

  • a pinch of dried chilli

  • a pinch of cumin

  • a pinch of mild curry powder

  • 1 bay leaf

  • 1 tbsp chopped parsley.

Simmer until the vegetables have softened then add a drained tin of beans, such as borlotti or kidney beans.


  • 100g wholemeal flour

  • 100g fine cornmeal

  • ½ tsp salt

  • 2 tbs vegetable oil

  • approx 60-100ml of water (The original recipe said 600ml - this must have been a mistake. We had added 150ml and the mixture was too runny. We had to add extra flour to rescue it.)

Put the flour, cornmeal, salt and oil into a bowl. Slowly add the water, stirring all the time. Do not add all the water at once - you might not need the full amount.

Knead the mixture until it is firm.

Divide the dough into 8 portions. Flatten them out and fry them in a lightly oiled pan for 2-3 minutes on each side. Keep the cooked ones warm in a low oven (approx gas mark 1) while the remainder cook.


The vegetable sauce, before the beans were added.

A tortilla being cooked.

The final meal being served, with some cheese crumbled on top.

Vegetable sauce

Frying a tortilla

Tortilla and beans

Week 18: Chewy cookies

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We have made cookies in the past but this was a new recipe so it counts here.

The recipe came from allrecipes.co.uk but we used smarties instead of chocolate chips.

I have reproduced the recipe here for convenience:


  • 250g plain flour

  • 1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 170g unsalted butter, melted

  • 200g dark brown soft sugar

  • 100g caster sugar

  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

  • 1 egg

  • 1 egg yolk

  • 325g chocolate chips (or smarties etc.)


(tweaked slightly from the original)

  1. Preheat the oven to 170 C / Gas mark 3. Grease baking trays or line with parchment.

  2. Sift together the flour, bicarb and salt; set aside.

  3. In a medium bowl, cream together the melted butter, brown sugar and caster sugar until well blended. Beat in the vanilla, egg and egg yolk until light and creamy. Mix in the sifted ingredients until just blended. Stir in the chocolate chips by hand using a wooden spoon.

  4. Drop cookie dough onto the prepared baking trays, with each cookie around 1-2 tablespoons of dough (for smaller cookies, reduce baking time slightly). Do not flatten the dough. Cookies should be about 8cm apart.

  5. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the edges are lightly toasted. Cool on baking trays for a few minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool completely.

spotty cookies

spotty cookies

Frankie and Benny's Pizza

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We ate out at Frankie & Benny's in Coventry tonight. The restaurant was a bit noisy but the food was good. We shared two pizzas: Top - Chicken Caesar Salad. Bottom - Seafood Supreme. Composite of 2 pizzas
The Seafood Supreme had anchovies, prawns and clams. The other pizza was a chicken pizza topped with tomato and lettuce in a caesar dressing. It was unusual to have a dressed salad on top of a pizza - we have often topped a pizza with a strong leafy salad such as rocket or watercress but we'd not thought of using a dressed salad. It was a surprisingly good combination.

Avatar: A 2.5 hour long Roger Dean album cover

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Yesterday we rented a few DVDs, including Avatar. I am currently in the middle of watching the film but here are a thoughts so far.

  • Visually impressive but a lot of it looks like an animated Roger Dean album cover. There are strange shaped rock formations including floating rocks, and flying creatures with marbled multicoloured skin. Some of the designs are almost carbon copies of album art from the 70s.
  • Stunningly unoriginal and highly predictable storyline.
  • Amazingly one-dimensional clichéd characters, including the moron military types who only exist to boss scientists around, and the corporate suit who was lifted straight out of Aliens.

So far then, I'm not impressed. The 'white people bad, blue people good' theme is a bit heavy-handed and gets a bit tiresome at times. I hope the film gets better.

Two hours into the film and I wish they'd hurry things up a bit. The music is getting a bit annoying with its all-too-obvious attempt to manipulate the audience.

I'm glad I didn't pay a fortune to see it in the cinema. We managed to rent 4 DVDs for the cost of 2 of us watching one film at the cinema.

And oh my god, those flying lizard things really have been ripped off Roger Dean artwork. I can't see them without thinking that now. They look much too similar to just be coincidence.

I think the film must nearly be over now. Big battle, lots of explosions, evil white people shooting at those poor blue people who are only trying to defend their way of life... etc... etc...

Final chiché: decisive fight at the end... no surprise who wins.

Lobster Pizza

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We had a frozen lobster which we'd bought from Iceland a few weeks ago. The last time we bought lobster there was barely enough to cover a half-bagel each. There seemed to be slightly more meat in this lobster - it was sufficient for one pizza.

lobster pizza

Other toppings included anchovies and capers. The photo above shows the pizza before the cheese was added. The photo below is the cooked pizza just before eating.

lobster pizza

We recently bought a few tins of chunky crab meat - this is better than the cheaper shredded crab meat but I think it's actually better than the cheap lobster meat, which was a little bit chewy.

(Cross-posted from the Pizza Blog)