Chicken Katsu – Storecupboard edition.

7 Apr

I adore chicken katsu, not the curry, i have never liked the chip shop style curry sauce that you often find served under the guise of katsu curry but love the sweet, tangy oil slick like sauce soaked up by crispy crumb, succulent meat and well cooked rice that you get with a good, plain katsu.

When i discovered that i could make this at home in less than half an hour i couldn’t believe it, especially when i also realised i didn’t have to put a bra on and leave the house, anything that requires me to not have to go out alway gets a thumbs up from me. Of course the downside is there is a a bit of washing up to do after, as there always is when you apply crumb to meat…but you didn’t have to put a bra on, remember? You’re still winning.

I am not going to lie and say this is in anyway authentic but its hot, sweet, spicy, comforting and makes enough for lunch the next day if you can manage to not snaffle the lot in one sitting. I always make enough rice for one more as the leftovers are worth it.

You will need:

For the meat;

Chicken thigh (deboned), breast/ pork loin – 1 per person
Garlic powder (if you have it)
2 beaten eggs
Panko crumbs (if you have them) or regular breadcrumbs*

For the sauce;

80ml (1/3 cup) ketchup (any cheap stuff will do)
60ml (1/4 cup) Soy sauce
50g (1/4 cup) sugar
2 teaspoons worcester sauce
1/4 teaspoon white pepper (if you have it, cracked black is fine)
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper or a chopped chilli


Rice (1/2 cup per person plus extra for lunch)
Spring onion


Put your rice in the saucepan, add boiling water from the kettle to just above the rice, bring to ht boil on the hob, pop on the lid then turn the heat off when the water is on a rolling boil. DON’T TOUCH THE RICE.

Put your meat into a freezer back and bash with a rolling pin until flat, get your frying pan warmed up with a little oil on a medium heat and dup your meat into the flour, then egg, then breadcrumb.

Lay flat in the frying pan and keep an eye on it else you crumb will burn and your meat won’t cook. Once one side is nice and cripsy and golden brown (texture like sun) flip it over. Whilst the second side is cooking, add all your sauce ingredients together and cook on a medium heat making it sure it doesn’t burn at the bottom.

Once your chicken is cooked pop it out of the frying pan and cut into strips on a chopping board. Now you may take the lid off the rice, add some garden peas and chopped spring onions if you have any, give it a good stir through until the peas have defrosted.

I usually serve the rice first, chicken on top and then a light coating of the sauce, a little goes a long way and remember you can always add more sauce but you can’t take it away.


I at my dinner before i got around to taking a photo so here is tomorrows lunch instead!

Also I DID A VINE!!!


Its pretty terrible but i enjoyed the process

*DO NOT THROW OUT STALE BREAD AND BUY BREADCRUMBS – It makes me cross! Chuck it in a freezer bag and freeze it until you have need then you just just need to either grate it or whizz it up in a processor if you have one for free coating.

Veg boxes, vitamins to your door!

25 Mar

I bleat on a lot about getting to your local greengrocers for cheaper, higher quality fruit and veg than your supermarket can offer you but i am also no stranger to living somewhere that hasn’t got a local place to go. That coupled with working or studying full time and not wanting to spend your weekends battling with the crowds on the high street, getting fruit and veg into the kitchen and onto your plate can seem like a real chore.

Lucky for me that i stumbled across a veg delivery business that runs entirely on Facebook! I was getting my boxes from Riverford but was disappointed with the constant sales calls and the lack of bang for your buck some weeks. I had tried other, local boxes too but you needed to go and pick those up from drop points and laziness wins out every time where i am concerned. The Bristol Veg Box run by Lee and his partner Hannah offers great variety at incredibly reasonable prices directly to your door.

I have found a small veg box keeps a household of 2 – 3 running quite happily for a week or so and it always comes with your seasonal staples as well as a ton of extras should you require them. Personally i always get a dozen eggs (beautifully fresh and free range) and this week went for 500g of cheese, cheaper than Tesco at only £4.00 per 500g (£8 per kg / Tesco price £14.29 per Kg) and it wonderfully mature and made on a North Somerset Farm. They also have offers on each week and are happy to pick up extra bits if you need them (i have asked them in the past for bags of onions, peppers and chillies for my chutneys and more recently rhubarb for some jam i made).

Personally, i have found this service a Godsend and, as sad as it sounds, there is always an element of excitement on a Wednesday night when i get home to find my veg box outside and seeing what i have this week! Prices start at £5.00 for a Single person/OAP Veg Box which includes potatoes, 3 types of Veg, 3 types of Salad and 2 types of Fruit. (enough for 1 person) which i think you will agree is AMAZING value for money.

Large box

Definitely worth buying a box from them to see what i mean! Mention this blog if you read and decide to book a box!

Review – Small Bar, Bristol

18 Mar

Well as i eat out at least once a week i thought i would throw my hat into the ring and do the odd review as well as the crafting and cooking. Lets face it, who can actually be bothered to cook EVERY night?

Last night myself and my partner headed around to Small Bar on Kings Street in Bristol to sample the delights of their new, permanent kitchen fixture. Small Bar have had a good few pop up eateries through the doors since they opened but have decided to stick with something a bit more long term and have headed down the BBQ root. I was particularly intrigued firstly because i sort of know the chef and had been chatting with him on a boozy night out about the menu and secondly because everyone is doing BBQ, some better than others (worth looking up how Gas and Co on Whiteladies Road are fairing, which is pretty badly!).


I have to say i was not disappointed, all sandwiches are £6.50 each with the choice of a Turkey Club, Pulled shoulder of pork with chipotle, a veal french dipped beef number and a veggie haggis burger.

We both went for the pork shoulder and went for two sides, the handcut fries and the fried chillies and pickles in an IPA batter.

I will say the portions are ENORMOUS and having two sides to share was actually greedy! Te pork was beautifully cooked, generously put with a lovely, creamy coleslaw and lashings of BBQ sauce betwixt two pieces of multigrain Hobbs House bread. The fries were beautifully seasoned and the pickles were to die for, light batter, not greasy with a few hot ones to get the blood pumping.


My only criticism would be that the pork didn’t have much of a chilli kick but that is more than catered for with the choice of three chilli sauces that come with your condiments. I was only brave enough to try the milder of the three and the death chilli one came with a warning from the server. I would suggest try before you use, don’t ruin your meal!


Definitely worth a visit, the meal cost us £18 between us plus drinks (Small Bar being well famed for its incredible selection of craft beers).

BBV’s homemade bacon

16 Mar

Eating frugally can sometimes be a struggle if you haven’t the luxury of a freezer. Before i moved out of my bedsit i had an ice box above my fridge which would, at a push, hold a box of chicken dippers and a bag of peas. This lead to many an expensive week having to buy fresh and the tedium of eating the same thing for three or four meals because it won’t keep in the fridge. Luckily, with the human being the forward thinking species it is, we cracked preserving meat a very long time ago and from this we have the internets favourite, bacon.


Now bacon for me is a weekend treat, but i have never been blown away by it. Yes it tastes nice, carries the taste of sauce well, seasons as well as improves many a dish but really, if i’m being honest, i actually prefer a sausage. However my interest in the Sunday morning staple was piqued when i was handed the cooking book Pig by Johnnie Mountain . Inside there is a recipie for curing your own bacon just using your fridge and a cooling rack. It uses pork belly which you can still pick up pretty cheaply from the supermarket, sea salt, sugar and maple syrup. The cost of the ingredients seems a lot but i got at least three or four weekends worth of bacon and plenty of lardons for other meals. Far more than you would get from a £3 packet of water pumped, dyed bacon from your local shop.

Lardons and bacon

This recipie uses maple syrup which i happened to have but is expensive, either nick someone else’s or leave it out if you can’t afford it. Sunday is a good day to kick off the bacon process as you should, in theory have bacon ready to go for the following Sunday.


You will need:

1KG of pork belly, skin still on
150g of course sea salt
2 tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp maple syrup

Put the pork belly on a chopping board and pat it dry with kitchen paper. Mix together the salt, sugar and maple syrup and rub this all over the pork making sure you get into all the crevices (imagine you are giving it a salty bed bath). Transfer the meat into a resealable freezer bag and tip in any remaining salt on the chopping board. Squeeze out as much air as you can and seal it tightly.

But the bag in a non metallic dish or on a plate and pop it at the bottom of the fridge and leave for five days. You must turn it over once a day.

After the five days rinse the bacon (i forgot and it was SO SALTY!), dry with kitchen towel and place on a rack covered with a clean tea towel in a cool, dry area. I put mine on top of the chest freezer by a window and leave for 24 hours at least, longer if you prefer.

Once dried, slice the bacon with a very sharp knife.

Ketchup, ketchup always ketchup

Adapted from the fabulous Pig from Johnnie Mountain

A very Bristol, St Patricks Day treat

15 Mar

As and English person i love jumping on a boozy bandwagon and St Patrick’s day has got to be the biggest one of all. I am, apparently, 1/16 Irish, barely a drop of it in me, but my partner is Northern Irish and that is good enough for me to throw together some Paddy Day themed treats to line the stomach and get the party started.

I decided on something with stout because stout and chocolate is one of the best pairings of food and drink out there, however, why on earth would i use Guinness when Bristol has some of the best breweries in the country? A wonder down Gloucester Road took me to where after a short perusal of their fine beer selection i chose the Ultimate Stout from the Bristol Beer Factory. Its beautifully dark and chocolaty and a far more interesting addition to my baking then a boring old can of Guinness (controversial maybe!).

Here are two recipies for you, one is a bit more wallet friendly as it it only uses powdered cocoa but both are fairly cheap to make if you shop frugally and have been keeping that store cupboard stocked up!!

Moist, chocolaty and full of stout…

Stout brownie with whiskey maple glaze

You will need:
For the brownie:

235ml stout
300g 75% dark chocolate, chopped
225g unsalted butter
340g sugar (I used half dark brown and half caster sugar)
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
100g all-purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoons salt

For the whiskey caramel glaze:

110g sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons butter
2 shots of whiskey (about 60ml, i used a beautiful maple whiskey from Independent Spirit of Bath)
1 tablespoon Guinness reduction (from brownies)
100 icing sugar
1-2 tablespoons double cream
1/2 teaspoon sea salt

For Brownies:
Preheat oven to 170°. Line an 8×8 baking pan with baking paper, set aside.

Bring stout to a boil in a small sauce pan; cook until reduced to about a third of its volume, the is will take about 10 minutes. Once reduced, put to one side to cool down. Make sure you keep about a tablespoon separately for the glaze.

Stir chocolate and butter in a medium heat-proof bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water until melted and smooth. Make sure the water does not touch the bowl else your chocolate will separate.

Whisk the sugar, eggs, and vanilla in a large bowl to blend. Gradually whisk in chocolate mixture, then the stout from pan. Fold in flour and salt and pour batter into prepared pan.

Bake the brownies until surface begins to crack and a tester inserted into center comes out with a few moist crumbs attached, 45-60 minutes, mine took an entire hour yours may take less. Bake for 40 minutes and ten keep checking every five minutes or so.

Transfer pan to a wire rack and let cool for at least 20 minutes. Using parchment overhang, lift brownie from pan and let cool completely.

For Glaze:
Make sure you have all your ingredients ready, you may end up burning the mix.

Combine sugar and 2 tablespoons water in a dry, heavy saucepan over moderate heat, stir until the sugar dissolves- then leave it to cook for a few minutes.

Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until sugar is melted into a deep amber color.

Remove from heat and carefully add the butter and whisk quickly until combined.

Carefully add the whiskey, stout reduction and salt (caramel will bubble and seize up). Cook over moderately low heat, stirring, until caramel is smooth.

Cool sauce to warm.

Add the powdered sugar and beat until thick and creamy. Gradually add milk to thin out a bit if desired.

Pour glaze over cooled brownies and let set in the fridge for 30 minutes.

When bars are completely cooled, cut into bars and serve.


Adapted from

Stout cupcakes

You will need:

For the cupcakes:
235ml stout
225g unsalted butter
100 unsweetened cocoa powder
250 plain flour
450g sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
7 tablespoons sour cream

Combine the butter and stout in a small saucepan over medium heat until the butter melts. Add cocoa powder and whisk until smooth. Remove from heat and set aside.

Combine the flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Mix together with a whisk. In a bowl combine the eggs and sour cream. Beat just until combined. Add the beer mixture to the eggs and beat again, just until combined. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients until combined.

Fill cupcake liners about 2/3 full with batter. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean – about 20 minutes for my oven. Let cool in the pan for about 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

I didn’t make frosting for these as, well i can’t pipe to save my life so opted for an understated cocoa and icing sugar dusting. There is, of course, a ton of frosting ideas out there, should you require them.

Adapted from


Marvellous Marmalade

8 Feb

Holy Scooby snacks its Seville Orange season which means marmalade, marmalade, marmalade! The Seville orange isn’t too great for eating raw but boil those babies up with some sugar and you have yourself a sweet, bitter spread that isn’t just for toast and Paddington Bears sandwiches, use it on duck, in cakes, as a glaze for veg, anything you damn well please. If you want some you need to be quick though, they are only in season from December to Feb so get your backside down to the greengrocers, and if you don’t have one, head to your local Tesco, they are selling 1K bags which are perfect for the following recipie (but keep it independent if you can, i insist!).

You will need:

- 1.25kg/2lb 12oz Seville oranges
- 1.5kg/3lb 5oz granulated sugar
- Muslin material
- String
- 6 – 8 jam jars


-Give those oranges a scrub and pop them into a large pan, with 4 pints of water. Bring them to the boil then leave them to simmer for an hour until they are soft and squidgy. Measure out your liquid and pour out anything over 3 pints, top up with more water if you are short and put back into your big pot.

-Take them out and let them cool, whilst you are waiting, preheat the oven to 140C/275F/Gas and wash the jars well in warm soapy water then rinse thoroughly under running water. Leave the jars and lids to dry, upside down, in the oven. Place a few saucers in the freezer to chill (these will be used to test if the cooked marmalade has reached setting point).

-Chop each orange into quarters, scrape out the pulp and pips and put that into a bowl. Chop the peel into strips, totally up to you how thick and put into a separate bowl. Make a bag with your muslin, put in the pulp and pips and tie it up with your string. Pop that into your pan along with the sugar and the peel and turn the heat on low, stir until the sugar is dissolved

-Crank up the heat so the mixture continues on a rolling boil, skim off any of the scum that its the top and give the mixture a stir now and then so you don’t catch the peel at the bottom.

-After 15 minutes grab your plate from the freezer, take some of the liquid and pour it onto the plate. After a few seconds push your finger into the marmalade, if it wrinkles, its ready if not, keep up the cooking and test again every ten minutes or so. It can take anything up to half an hour or more but you want it to set.

-Once ready pour into your sterilised jars and seal. The marmalade will set further as it cools. DON’T TOUCH IT. Top tip, pour the marmalade into a measuring jug first then into the jars, watch out for even shred distribution.

Pyramid of preserve

Made too much? Give this amazing Nigella marmalade pudding a go, super easy and super tasty

My attempt

Der Butterkuchen Ist Gut

23 Jan

Some of you will be pleased to know i haven’t fallen off the edge of the earth but have instead been growing and reducing my chutney empire over the Christmas period. It was wonderful running a moderately successful mini business but with a full time job, a period of heartache and my poor house-mates choking on the vinegar fumes every time they entered the living room i have decided to wind it down till maybe after the spring where i can concentrate on summery, picnic themed condiments. If you have any ideas or requests, do let me know. For the next few months i will be back on the crafting so watch this space for an updated Etsy shop.

So moving on to January it has been announced a good friend will be uprooting herself and moving to Cardiff to be with her beau. Whilst i wish them all the best of luck i will be looking forward to stealing her on weekends for brunches and wine times. To honor her leaving i Googled “German cake” (she is a German!) and came up with Butterkuchen. Sadly, the night i was supposed to go over i was struck down with a headache so she never even got the damn thing but i will be baking another next week for her to take to Wales.

Das cake

This cake has been described as “very German” and “great with coffee”, its not very sweet apart from the topping which runs thorough and marbles the sponge which is as exciting to find as that vein of caramel in a pot of Ben and Jerry’s Phishfood.

Das cake ist

This is the sort of cake you make on a quiet Friday night to enjoy on a Saturday brunch time, but you can make and eat it whenever you like, i’m not your mother!

You will need;

2 Sachets of dried, active bread yeast (if you want to use a different type feel free but you will have to look up the differences in strengths, times and weights, best to just get a packet from the supermarket)
120ml warm water
175ml milk
100g caster sugar
1 tsp salt
110g butter
500g plain flour
3 eggs
110g butter (not a misprint, you need to lots)
200g caster sugar
1tsp cinnmon

Butter a 20/30cm tin or similar and set aside. Then in a small bowl out in the water, scatter in the yeast and mix and leave on the side until it goes foamy and creamy (and smells wicked).

Put the milk, 100g sugar, salt and 110g butter into a small saucepan and heat until everything dissolves, melts and combines then leave again on the side to cool until lukewarm. Add the yeast to this and give it a little stir. If it is too hot you will murder the yeast and it won’t work. Be patient young grasshopper.

In a big mixing bowl put in the flour, eggs and yeast mixture and mix it gently until smooth and blended to perfection. Pour into your prepared cake tin and let it rise in a warm place for about 45 mins to an hour. Watch your yeasty dough grow with a sense of pride. Set your oven to 190c/Gas mark 5 to warm up.

In another bowl mix up the second lot of 110g butter, 200g sugar and cinnamon until combine and sprinkle/crumble over the top of your cake evenly. Pop it in the oven for about 30mins depending on the tin you have used (i only had a big cake tin so it took me about 50 mins, checking with a chopstick to see if it was cooked all the way through). The top should go golden and syrupy.


Das cake ist so gut


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