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Savvy shopping, seasonal eating and thrifty recipes. Spend less on groceries and enjoy better tasting, easy to prepare meals your friends and family will love – all on a budget.

Monday, 6 June 2016

Quick and Easy Vegetarian Nachos

My family and I adore mature cheddar cheese, it almost always features on our grocery shopping list and is such a handy ingredient to have on hand.  From Macaroni Cheese to Cheese Toasties, there are a wide range of scrumptious recipes using it.  

I was asked to share our favourite recipe using delicious Cathedral City Mature Cheddar, and immediately thought of Quick and Easy Nachos.  With a layer of melted cheese amongst delicious corn chips and other ingredients, along with a topping of grated cheese which melts and becomes crispy at the edges, Nachos are one of our favourite speedy suppers.  


Quick and Easy Nachos are a delicious quick fix dinner on busy nights, or when you're tired and need a meal with very little preparation time that is guaranteed to please.  It always goes down very well in our house, and is a fab supper or lunch when we have other children visiting.

Cathedral City have come up with some fun "Cheese Rules", which ones apply to you?

Bubbling cheese must on no account be allowed to go unwitnessed.

The bit of cheese that’s too awkward to grate must immediately be eaten.

Crispy bits are irresistible, absolutely no effort should be made to resist them.

You might feel guilty after multiple visits to the cheese board. Do not.

If you burn yourself on melted cheese, you will make a big fuss about it.


These Nachos have delicious bubbling and melted cheese, as well as crispy bits so multiple "Cheese Rules" apply, especially if I have sneaked a bit of cheese that was too awkward to grate. 


Quick and Easy Nachos

2 or 3 spring onions, white and green parts, finely sliced
2 peppers, finely diced, any colour will do
325g tin sweetcorn, drained
1 tin chilli beans
300g cherry tomatoes, quartered
200g pack tortilla chips
150g grated mature cheddar cheese, or more if you fancy

Mix the spring onions, peppers, sweetcorn, chilli beans and tomatoes together in a bowl.  Put half of the of tortilla chips, in a single layer, into the bottom of a large ovenproof dish.  Dollop with around half the vegetable and bean mixture then top with a good handful of grated cheddar.  Repeat the process until all the chips, vegetable mixture and cheese have been used up.  Preheat your oven to 200C/180C Fan/400F/Gas Mark 6 and bake the nachos in the oven for 10 - 15 minutes until the cheese is melted and bubbling and everything has heated through.  Serve with a side salad, soured cream, and roughly diced avocado.  


Cathedral City – the nation’s favourite cheddar – have conducted research that has cemented the UK’s reputation as a nation of cheese lovers, as it reveals that we would rather forgo our beloved social media than give up cheese and can’t get through the week without enjoying it regularly.

As a nation, we spend over 20 hours a week onlineii, but today’s study has found that we would give it all up for the love of cheese - with more than one in five (21%) loving cheese more than social media. In fact, our love is so ‘grate’ a whopping 41% say they can’t go more than four days without cheese, and two thirds of us (66%) always make sure we have cheese in the house to satisfy our cravings!

The study has also helped Cathedral City discover the secret formula for the nation’s favourite mealtime. According to the findings, to enjoy a perfect meal we should:

- Eat at home
- Invite family and partners to a sit down meal
- Take your time
- Switch from the sweet stuff
- And make it a Saturday

Cathedral City has also uncovered the nine types of cheese lovers that can be found in the UK. With traits spanning the Ultimate Cheese Worshiper – the most hard-core of cheese lovers – to the Passionate Cheese Lover who would pick cheese over their partner every time, take the quiz on Cathedral City’s Facebook page and discover which type you are.

Love cheese? Welcome to the club! 

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Sunday, 5 June 2016

Meatfree Mushroom Pasties and Stuffed Mushrooms

I was delighted to be asked to develop recipes to show how delicious and versatile mushrooms are.  I really like mushrooms, as does my 13yo daughter, however the rest of my family sometimes need a bit of convincing.  All the more reason for me to create a delicious dish that is simply to tasty to refuse.

I decided to use Chestnut Mushrooms in my recipes, which are suitable for a picnic or dinner on a busy weeknight.  Both recipes can be prepared ahead of time then cooked when you are ready to eat, great for busy families or for when the opportunity strikes for an impromptu picnic.  Mushrooms are not only a delicious, they are a great source of protein and vitamins, low fat, filling, and very economical.  I've added another couple of servings of vegetables to the pasties so they are packed with hidden goodness. 


Stuffed Mushrooms

These are perfect delicious little morsels to serve with drinks or as part of a picnic.  Quick and easy to prepare and cook, they are scrumptious and full of flavour.

10 chestnut mushrooms
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese, or vegetarian equivalent
1/2 cup ricotta
1 Tblsp fresh chives, finely sliced

Mix the parmesan, ricotta and chives together and gently fill each mushroom cup. Place into an ovenproof dish and bake at 200C/180C Fan/400F/Gas Mark 6 for 10 - 15 minutes.


Meatfree Mushroom Pasties

Even the mushroom sceptics in our household enjoyed these pasties, packed with vegetables and flavour, they are certainly not a poor imitation of traditional pasties.

1 Tblsp oil
2 onions, finely diced
200g turnip, peeled and grated
150g parsnip, peeled and grated
200g mushrooms, finely chopped
100g cheddar, finely grated
1 Tblsp wholegrain mustard
salt and pepper
500g puff pastry

Put the oil, onions, mushrooms and grated vegetables into a large saucepan.  Cook over a moderate heat for about 15 - 10 minutes until the vegetables have softened and any water released from the vegetables has evaporated.

Leave the mixture to cool.  I refrigerated the mixture overnight which allowed the flavour to develop.  When you are ready to make the pasties, add the grated cheese, mustard and seasoning to the filling and mix to combine.

Roll out the pastry to the thickness of a £1 coin, about 3mm or 1/8 of an inch.  Cut into rectangles 10cm x 15cm or 4 inches x 6 inches.  Put a tablespoon or two of filling on the lower half of the rectangle then fold the top half over.  Seal by pressing the edges with a fork.  Put the pasties on to a baking tray lined with baking paper and ensure each pasty has a couple of small holes in the top to let steam escape.  

Brush the pasties with a little milk or beaten egg to glaze, then bake in an oven preheated to 200C/180C Fan/400F/Gas Mark 6 for 25 minutes.  The pasties should be golden.  Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes before serving.  You can freeze any cooked pasties that you are not going to be eating that day. 


For more recipes, news and information, please visit Just Add Mushrooms.  Check them out on Twitter and Facebook too.

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