Bonus: The Valentine’s Day lunchbox.

Because Jon is working tonight, but he still deserves that extra special treatment. If anything, he deserves it all the more for working so hard! 🙂

The Best Lamb Burger Recipe

Sweet Hearts Jam Tarts and Brazils to snack on.

For dinner a heart-shaped lamb burger; mushroom, spinach and garlic fry; heart mushrooms cooked in lamb fat; beans, for some carbs; carrots, beets and courgette as hearts too.

Plus a bowl of turkey and sausage stew for his lunch, which was not pictured because it was still cooking when I did the photos.

He mostly wants to stay lower carb than usual, but not VLC, so plenty of veg to balance out the sweet things.

Who said cute bento (lunch) boxes were just for Japanese moms and girlfriends?


For help starting out homemaking, check out The ESSENTIAL Beginner Homemaker’s Guide. For help budgeting all your everday and not-so-everyday essentials, from food to transport to clothes, check out On A Budget: The good homemaker’s guide to economizing.

Wonderful Wednesday Wok. Patatas Bravas and Veg Mash.

So, for yesterday’s wok Jon got roast chicken and some of the sweet bread with a little butter, but he needed some veggies on the side. So here’s what I made.

Recipe 1: Patatas Bravas.

Not quite the Spanish ones, but nice fried anyway. Oven-cook them for full effect.


-1 500-600g/17.6-21.2oz cold baked potato

-1.5 tbsp olive oil

-1/2tsp paprika

-1/4tsp salt

-1/4tsp pepper


-chopping board and knife

-frying pan and spatula


1: Chop the potato into cubes.

2: Pour the oil into the pan and put onto gas mark 3/6.

3: Add the potatoes and gently stir them until they begin to brown.

4: Add the spices.

5: Continue cooking and stirring until the potatoes are coated and golden.


Recipe 2: Vegetable Mash.

An excellent way to get more root veggies in and serve a lower-carb mash with dinner.


-200g/7oz swede

-1 medium parsnip

-1 small carrot

-100ml/3.5floz thick cream

-25g/0.9oz salted butter

-1/2tsp pepper


-chopping board and knife


-potato masher


1: Chop the vegetables up reasonably small.

2: Boil them until tender.

3: Mash with the cream and pepper.

4: Serve with butter over it.



Recipe Corner. WWW and Seeded Burgers.

Phew! Between traveling on Monday, general business yesterday and gardening today, it’s taken forever to get to writing this. On the other hand, the first update photos of the garden and the finished sewing-project will be up soon. So yay!

As promised, I have added the measurements in ounces and fluid ounces and the temperature in Fahrenheit (rounded to the nearest 5).

Recipe 1: Seeded Burgers.

These are the ones I made for Dad and I for a lunch. I used some seed packs he got, that sounded nice. They’re here, but I can’t find anywhere actually still selling them. If you find anywhere that still stocks them, then please tell me because they were awesome. I used a Thai mix for half the mince and an Italian mix for the other half. Both were good, but could have done with a bit of a boost in terms of flavouring.


-500g/17.6oz mince

-1 Thai seed packet

-1 Italian seed packet


-mixing bowl

-oven tray


Nice and simple.

1: Pre-heat the grill or oven at 180C/355F.

2: Divide the mince in half. Evenly mix one seed packet into each half. Possibly add some more seasoning to them.

3: Divide each half into two normal burgers or three small burgers.

4: Cook at 180C/355F for 25min.


5: Serve as you wish. We had ours in crusty rolls with salad, and then with chips later.





Recipe 2: Mixed Fish Pie.

A far easier fish pie than the smoked haddock one, but just as satisfying, and probably a lot easier to feed to fussy mouths.


-900-1000g/31.7-35.3oz mixed fish (we used a 350g cheap pollock-based mix, a 250g pricier fresh mix and two tins of tuna chunks)

-600-700g/21.2-24.7oz potato

-300-400/10.5-14.1flozml milk

-75g/2.6oz butter

-30-50g/1-1.8oz rice flour




-onion powder

-smoked paprika

-Thai spice mix



-frying pan

-baking tray




1: Boil and drain the potatoes. Mash them with 1/3rd of the butter. Put to one side.

2: Dice the fish and fry it in a little butter with salt, pepper and some Thai spices.

3: Once the fish is entirely cooked, remove it from the liquid it released and the butter and place it in the baking tray.

4: Take the pan with the water and butter in it. Add the milk, the last of the butter and put the mix back on the heat.

5: Stirring continually, sift in the flour.

6: Once the sauce has thickened, add a lot of pepper and some salt. Pour it over the fish.

7: If necessary, reheat the potatoes a bit.

8: Mash-in the smoked paprika, onion powder and some salt.

9: Pile over the fish.

10: Pre-heat the oven at 150C/300F.

11: Cook at 150C/300F for 45min.

12: If necessary, raise the temperature to 200C/390F near the end, to brown the potato.


Recipe 3: Banana Bread.

We had a reasonable number of overripe and near-overripe bananas, so I decided this would be our “pudding” food for the next few days. Also, using Gari means it’s lower in carbs, which makes it easier on my body.


-4 overripe bananas

-200-300g/7-10.6oz Gari

-300-500ml/10.5-17.6floz milk

-30-50g/1-1.8oz raisins

-2 eggs


-mixing bowl


-cake/tart trays


1: Mash the bananas into a pulp with a fork.

2: Mash in the flour.

3: Add the milk. Mix thoroughly and allow ten to twenty minutes for the flour to absorb the milk.

4: Stir again. Mix in the eggs and raisins.

5: Preheat the oven to 150C/300F.

6: Cook banana bread at 150C/300F for 1h, or until a fork comes out clean.


And the fish pie and banana bread are what Jon had for lunch today. In his words, the banana bread is “very nice”, but he can only have “a bit of it in one go”. Still, if he enjoys it then it’s a success. 🙂



Tomorrow I will definitely post the finished essay on the unexpected experiences of being a housekeeper and soon there will be an update on the garden and a post on my hand-made bag with a plan for making your own, if you think it’s cute and/or useful. I’m starting to find hand-sewing really therapeutic. Whenever I’m stressed or bored or my hands are a bit shakey from too much caffeine, or spending too long in the garden, sewing calms me right down.

Anyhow, TTFN and happy hunting!

Recipes. WWW and Mince Sauce.

I had it with rice, Dad had it with pasta, I didn’t follow a recipe and I’m not Italian, so it’s a “mince sauce”.

Also, apologies about the lateness of the wok and lack of photos. We were kind of busy, what with me leaving for the South later that day and Jon heading off to work as usual.

First: to prepare a jar of beans.


-200-300g of dried pulses

-250ml boiling water

-2tbsp salt

-1tsp paprika




1: Soak the legumes in cold water.

2: Add them to the jar.

3: Make sure the jar is only 1/2-2/3 full of beans.

4: Add the boiling water, salt and paprika. Fill to the brim.

5: Seal the jar as quickly and strongly as possible. Shake.

6: Leave for at least 2 days, at most 1 month.

Recipe 1: Hellmince Stew.


-750g hellmince

-500-600g potatoes

-3 large carrots

-5 small onions

-1 can/200-300g peas

-1 jar of soaked yellow peas and beans

-800-1000g tomato

-1tsp mustard



-mixed herbs


-chopping board and knife

-large pot

-stirring spoon


1: Slice the potatoes, carrots and onions.

2: Place the potatoes and legumes in the pot.

3: Cover with water and bring to the boil.

4: Add the tomato, carrots, onion and mince.

5: Stir it all in and make sure it’s covered.

6: Simmer for 20min. Add the herbs and spices.

7: Cook on a very low heat for another 45-65min.

[8: Jon likes to add curry powder to his, but I like mine plain.]

Recipe 2: Mince Sauce for pasta or rice.


-500g lean mince

-3 medium-large onions

-400g tomato

-1 tin/200g tomato concentrate/paste

-2 small carrots

-6-10 cherry tomatoes

-2 tbsp butter

-1tbsp garlic olive oil

-4 tbsp Italian seasoning




-deep pan

-stirring spoon


1: Finely dice the onion. Pan-fry in butter.

2: When the onion is clear, add the mince, salt and pepper. Slice the cherry tomatoes in half and add them too.

3: Stir until the mince is browned. Add the Italian seasoning.

4: Chop the carrots, add the carrots and tomatoes.

5: Simmer for 20min.

6: Add some water, the tomato concentrate/puree and the garlic oil.

7: Stir-in well. Simmer for 25min.

8: Serve hot over rice or pasta.



So there’s the Wonderful Wednesday Wok dinner and the sauce I made for Dad. I will be adding the Wok pudding (spelt-based apple pie) next week, when I have the photos.

Until later, TTFN and happy hunting.

Wonderful Wednesday Wok. Roast Dinner.

Yes, a roast dinner for a packed lunch. Yes, at the end of the month. A few of his more budget-limited co-workers were shocked.



-1 chicken

-600g potatoes

-4 onions

-4 large carrots

-400g peeled plum tomatoes

-400g carton chopped tomatoes

-200g green peas

-200g yellow peas

-200g rice flour

-butter as needed

-salt, pepper, onion powder, paprika, chives, mint, mixed herbs


-chopping board and knife

-mixing bowl

-1 deep baking tray

-1 roasting tray

-1 cupcake tray


1: Place the chicken in the roasting tray. Ours was nice plain, but you may want to flavour it. If so, undo the tie and separate the skin of the neck down through the breast and put the seasonings there before retying.

2: Slice the potatoes up and surround the chicken with them.

3: Place in the oven at 150C for 2h.


4: Chop up the carrots and onions. Place in the deep tray with the peas and mix in the tomato.

5: Add some extra water and salt, mixed herbs and paprika. Cover with foil.

6: Place in the oven alongside the meat for 1h, 30min.


7: Take 100g of rice flour and 50g of butter.

8: Mix them alongside mint, chives, onion powder, smoked paprika and salt.

9: Spoon the mix into the cupcake tray and bake with chicken for 15min or grill at gasmark 5 for 10min.


10: When the chicken is done, pour the fat into a mixing bowl.

11: Add about 200ml of boiling water.

12: Sift and stir in the rice flour until thick.

13: Add salt, pepper and a few herbs.



The finished meal:



And here it is as a packed lunch. A chicken breast, some potatoes and a piece of stuffing with gravy drizzled on top and the veg.


Wonderful Wednesday Wok. Stir-fry, Meatloaf, Oats.

I finally seem to be getting somewhere with that painting. It’s redone and currently being framed so I can take it to the gallery. Fingers crossed, I’ll be able to sell it.

The chicken run and coop are also almost entirely dusted and scrubbed. Next the fungicide and the wood-sealer and then it’ll be ready to set up.


Now, onto the WWW. This week I decided to make him several of his favourites. He enjoyed the meatloaf, despite the fact we were using hellmince in it, so he got some of that for his meat. He likes beansprouts and peppers, so I made him a spicy vegetable stir-fry to go with it. Some potatoes for extra starch. And, as he likes oats a lot too, I made him some oat-based biscuits, pretty much flapjacks. True love is making someone delicious food they love which you can’t share because it would make you ill and being happy they’ve got delicious food they love. :p


So, three recipes again.

Recipe 1: Meatloaf.


This recipe will work with even mince from less appreciated cuts, that’s fairly flavourless or that has minced offal mixed in for a micronutrient boost.


-500-800g of fatty mince

-6 eggs

-2 peppers

-1 large onion

-4 tbsp flour (any kind)

-paprika, salt, pepper, herbs, onion powder and chilli to taste


-baking tray



1: Put the mince in the tray. Don’t bother to grease it, it should do this itself. Take a fork. Smash the raw mince until it’s more of a paste than a mince.

2: Finely dice the pepper and onion. Mix them into the mince.

3: Add the eggs one by one and stir them in until the mass is even and thick.

4: Add the spices and stir them in.

5: Slowly sift the flour in, pausing to stir so no lumps are formed.

6: If the mix is still stiff to stir, add another egg, melted butter or water.

7: Pre-heat the oven at 200C.

8: Place the meatloaf in the oven (perhaps with a few small potatoes to bake around the side) for 15min.

9: Turn the heat down to 180C and cook the meatloaf for a further 40min.

10: Leave to rest for a few before slicing and serving.


Recipe 2: Spicy Stir-Fry.


When I first mentioned that I was making a stir-fry for the Wednesday Wok, Jon was disappointed. He commented that a “vegetable stir-fry doesn’t sound like it has much meat in it”. He warmed up to the idea when I mentioned the meat was going in separately. He also likes beansprouts a lot, so I got them for him and wanted to use them yesterday.


-1 medium-size carrot

-1 pepper

-1 small onion

-150-200g beansprouts

-10g butter

-1tsp chinese 5 spice

-2tsp mixed herbs

-paprika, chilli, salt, pepper and thyme to taste


-1 large wok or frying pan


-cutting board and knife

-vegetable peeler


1: The only proper way to stir-fry carrots is to slice them finely. If you don’t have a fancy-named tool like a spiralizer or a saladshooter, then you can just use your standard hand-held potato peeler. Slice the carrot as though you were peeling it to the core. If the bits are too long, you can always shorten them by chopping them next.

2: Slice the pepper and onion into long thin strips.

3: Heat the butter in the wok/pan and add the stronger spices.

4: Add the sliced vegetables and cook on a high heat (Gas Mark 6) for 5min.

5: Lower the heat a little (Gas Mark 4 or 5) and add the beansprouts, 5 spice and herbs.

6: Cook for a further five minutes before removing the wok/pan off the heat.


Recipe 3: Chocolate Oaty Bites.


Jon likes oats. A lot. So I asked him what he’d want in a sort of flapjack. The answer was: honey, chocolate, maybe seeds and eggs if I could. Sadly, the heat at which I was working the mix meant no eggs, but the rest went in just fine.


-300g porridge oats

-1 cup warm water

-4 tbsp honey

-40g dark chocolate

-75g mixed seeds


-mixing pot


-baking tray


1: Mix the oats with the warm water until a sort of chunky porridge has been made.

2: Stir-in the honey.

3: Crush the chocolate into small pieces.

4: Stir-in the chocolate and seeds.

5: Grease the baking-tray.

6: Either spread the mix out on the tray to be cut up later for square flapjacks, place it into round cupcake trays for round snacks or serve it onto the tray in tablespoonfuls to make small biscuit-like pieces.

7: Bake at 150C for 30-40min.

8: Leave to cool before eating.


And that’s what Jon got for lunch today. 🙂