A simple meal with delicious and cosy flavours. This one pan recipe is a great kitchen de-stresser, it just requires a little work at the beginning then pop it into the oven to do the rest. The rice is easily fluffed up with a fork and the peas and leaks give a mellow sweet flavour. Cooking the chicken on top of the rice allows the steam given off the ability to create a succulent and moist chicken packed with flavour. It is also as important to remove the lid halfway through cooking so that the chicken skin can crisp up, after all who wants damp soggy chicken skin?

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I came up with this recipe for a vegan friend, I love the cake so much that it replaced the regular version of it I used to make. I think its always good to a few recipes that are universally appealing gluten free, dairy free or vegan. I like to serve everyone the same thing regardless of dietary needs. People can be so sceptical of vegan meals or bakes, automatically thinking they are inferior simply because they are vegan, when this is not the case. I have found that all the vegan cakes I have come up with have had a fantastic light crumb.  Everyone loves this cake whether vegan or not.

The cake is light, fluffy and moist and so tender. The frosting is a doddle to make and is very easy to work with it makes icing a cake almost easy. One important thing to note is that the coconut cream or coconut milk must be kept in the fridge until required this will help it separate and the liquid part to sink to the bottom and the firm part stay at the top. I prefer to use coconut cream as you get more solid mass to liquid but either will work. Sometime depending on how much coconut solids I get I may need to add a teaspoon or two of the liquid to make the frosting more spreadable and get that glossy smooth texture.

I hope you enjoy this recipe.

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Overnight Oats
Overnight Oats

Toad in the hole is among one of my favourite cosy and comforting meals. It’s easy and quick. The oven does most of the work, it is a dish I do when I need cosyness and it is for this reason I came up with the easy simplified onion gravy. When I need the comforting, this dish instils I do not want to be standing over the stove for 20 – 30 minutes making an onion gravy, so since the oven is on anyways I put it to use a caramelise my onions in a pan with beef stock and vermouth meaning that I only have to thicken the gravy on the hob for a few minutes and slip off the onion skin and roughly but finely chop the sweet caramelised onions.

You can of course use red wine in place of the vermouth but, I always have a bottle of vermouth in the kitchen it prevents me needing to open a bottle of wine every time I need some.

Serve with mashed potatoes and peas for the ultimate comforting experience.

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Croissant Breakfast Bake

I do like something with a bit of sweetness to it for a late breakfast on the weekends and this is one I love. I use stale croissants that I steep in a sweet vanilla eggy mixture and what you get after 35 minutes in the oven is a kitchen full of sweet bready aroma and a croissant bake that has a donut like flavour studded with tart berries and crunchy flaked almonds on top. I also love the bits of croissant that stick out they crisp up in the oven.

This is also a fab make ahead breakfast for a large crowd double or triple the recipe. The night before, make it up and stick in the fridge, next morning pop it into the oven for a no stress breakfast. The only downside I have when it comes to this is when I make it the night before it often ends up a midnight snack. Willpower fails me and I almost always give in. I hope you enjoy.

Croissant Breakfast Bake
Buttermilk Pancakes with maple syrup

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I do love breakfast, especially on those mornings where I can take my time not that you will need much time to make this breakfast.

It consists of soft oozy poached egg on a bed of creamy smashed avocado with a confetti of warm chorizo sprinkled over and drizzled with a chilli butter sauce.

There are a few things to keep in mind when poaching eggs. Make sure you use the freshest eggs you can, or they will have lots of stringy fluffy bits (not that, that is the end of the world). Use a fridge cold egg and use either lemon juice or vinegar in the water to help the whites set. It is also a good idea to swirl the water before you slip in the egg which will make the egg while swirl around the yolk giving you a rounder poached egg. Make sure the water doesn’t boil as this can break the egg up and will cook the yolk very quickly and make it hard and, in my opinion, make it a disappointment. Finally, if you are after a perfect poached egg it is worth cracking your egg into a tea strainer and allowing the water part to drip through the strainer. It is this watery part that goes stringy and fluffy.

What are your favourite breakfast recipes? Comment below and let me know.

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Sausage and sweet potato hash
Sausage & Sweet Potato Hash

This is the sort of meal I want after a good gym session. Easy & Quick. It is loosely based on a pesto but contains no fat, instead using the starchy water the pasta has cooked in to combine and blitz into a sauce. I do often sprinkle some toasted pine nuts or flaked almonds on top but have found that the combination of whole-wheat fusilli and the caramelization from the stir-fried broccoli add a nutty flavour to the dish.

By the time the pasta has cooked the chicken and broccoli should have cooked through so its only a matter of making the sauce which takes no time at all.

The nights are drawing in, cold dark evenings and we are firmly in the season of the pumpkin. My Autumnal cake started life out as a warmly spiced pumpkin cake but did require a lot of work. Thankfully however, I discovered cans of pumpkin puree, unfortunately though this has become increasing more difficult to come across. So now I use mostly butternut squash or sweet potato as puree for this cake. Whenever I’m using the oven, I stick a few potatoes in a tin in a hot oven for an hour with skin and all on and they roast within giving you a tender flesh that can be turned into a puree by simply pulverising it with a fork. I do these two or three times a week meaning I have a stash of cooked sweet potato in the fridge at anytime ready to be turned into any number of good things. Bags of frozen cubed butternut squash are great for this as well and take less time in the oven and can be broke down as well with a fork once cooked.

I do love a fancy cake tin, they can give you a very ornate highly decorative finish to a cake with no work. You can cook this cake in a plain loaf tin, grease with butter then fit with baking parchment. Another great option is a Bundt tin, just remember with these highly decorative tins they must be oiled well to prevent the cake sticking. You can use oil, non-stick baking spray or oil and flower to prevent it sticking. If you have pumpkin from your Halloween carving this is a fantastic use for them. It would seem like complete madness to just throw it away.

It is important to let your cake sit for 10 – 15 minutes when it comes out of the oven to cool slightly before turning out onto a rack to cool completely. This will give the cake a chance to firm up slightly and reduce the chances of it tearing as you unmould.

It seemed very appropriate that the Autumnal cake be sprinkled with thyme. Thyme is by far my favourite herb and its deep woodsy scent highlights the orange in the cake and brings everything together. The icing itself adds a slight sweetness to the cake but more importantly acts as a glue to stick the thyme leaves to the cake.

Eggs in Purgatory

Eggs in Purgatory are as you might have guessed from the photo and name are eggs that are poached in a fiery tomato sauce. These aren’t the most photographic eggs in the world but what they lack in appearance they certainly make up for in flavour. As a quick shortcut here, I use spicy Chorizo sausage to impart a lot of flavour with very little work. You can if you want things a lot milder use a sweet smoky paprika chorizo instead of a spicy one and adjust heat level with dried chilli flakes and you can also cut out the meat factor altogether by removing the sausage and using just the chilli, garlic, tomatoes and sea salt which is tasty enough.

 I most often make these when I get in and am famished and need something quick. The whole dish from beginning to end only take about 8 minutes. It is so good with hunks of good bread to dip in and scoop out the fiery sauce and runny eggs with. Sourdough, flatbreads or any other favourite will do.

I absolutely love doing the sort of food that involves lots having plates and bowls dotted over the table filled with picky things, when I have friends over. It is relaxing and cosy and always helps when you have a crowd, if you’re not sure about what your guests like and don’t like this helps as rather than having to leave things on their plate, they can simply just not put it on there in the first place. It also is a major bonus that everything is such a doddle to make. I use the oven to cook the fish as it leaves me free to get on with everything else, saving time even though it is a longer cooking method.

You can use any firm white fish for these tacos’ hake, cod or haddock. Prawns would also be great here.

Another great addition as a side dish is my crunchy salad with golden ginger dressing you can find the recipe here and if you really want to impress make your own flatbread for a more toothsome chew than the corn tortillas with my Nigella flatbreads

These are the best most chocolaty, gooey and fudgy brownies They are no more difficult to make than that of those that come from a box but have a much superior taste.