Quick Sausage casserole with tomato and chickpeas

This lovely casserole recipe comes from Delicious Magazine’s November issue.  And it’s divine!  The recipe makes enough for four portions – if you’re like me and feeding one, it made a great heated up dinner on the first working day of the week. It can also be frozen.


  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 6 British sausages cut into chunks (I went for Toulouse sausages)
  • 2 onions, sliced
  • 2 garlic gloves, crushed
  • 4 fresh thyme sprigs
  • 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • 200ml chicken stock
  • 2x 400g tins chick peas, drained and rinsed
  • 200g baby / young spinach
  • Squeeze fresh lemon juice


  1. Heat the oil in a frying pan or cast iron casserole dish and brown all over, turning occasionally.  Set aside on a plate.
  2. Turn the heat down to medium and fry the onions for about 8 to 10 minutes until soft.  Add the garlic and thyme, lower the heat and cook for a further two minutes.
  3. Add the chopped tomatoes and chicken stock to the pan with the sausages and chickpeas.  Stir well and bring everything to a gentle simmer.  Cook for 15 minutes until the sauce has reduced and slightly thickened.
  4. You can place the spinach in a colander and pour a kettleful of boiling water over it, or simply mix the spinach into the mix as I did.

It’s very filling and super tasty!

Oh, and if you haven’t already learnt this: to soften onions without burning them, place a lid on the pan – it works wonders 🙂



Super Weekday Lunchbox

During the week I don’t have time to take leisurely lunches and I try to save money where I can (most of the time…) by making my own lunches.  This usually involves some preparation on Sundays.

Some weeks, particularly now it’s colder, it will be soups and others, I’ll go for a hearty salad.  This week I’ve got a pretty nutritious salad and thinking about Monday’s lunch is making my mouth water!

There’s plenty of ingredients but a lot of the main parts can be prepared in advance and it takes about five to ten minutes to combine your salad the night before.


(listed below per salad / lunch)

  • Small handful of baby spinach
  • Small handful of rocket
  • 1 tbsp fresh chopped parsley
  • 4 baby plum tomatoes
  • 1/2 roasted red pepper
  • 3 to 4 cooked broccoli tender stems or florets
  • 2 tbsp cooked quinoa
  • Meat from one roasted chicken thigh
  • 6 to 8 fine slices chorizo
  • 1 tsp aioli to serve
  • 1 large helping of autumn slaw (see recipe here)


Combine and enjoy your lunch!


A few points on this salad:

  • Chicken: you could go for breast but personally I think thigh meat is much juicier and has more flavour. Plus, it’s cheaper.  I also remove the skin after cooking and throw that away (as much as I occasionally love chicken skin).
  • I always combine this salad with some kind of homemade slaw.
  • Make ahead: cooked chicken keeps for a few days, as does the slaw you pair your salad with.  Depending on how much time I have, I will roast my own red peppers in advance (or just buy bottled).




Autumn slaw

Cabbage is one of my favourite vegetables!  It’s versatile to use in different meals and a great source of vitamins C, K and B6.  It’s been a staple of my diet for years in many forms, and I love that nearly every salad and meal from Leon restaurants has a variety of slaw on the side.  In fact, their first cookbook, Ingredients and Recipes, has four slaw recipes, all very tasty!

The recipe below is adapted from the current Leon slaw in their restaurants.  During autumn and winter I normally make a big batch of slaw to keep in the fridge for a few days munching.


  • 1/2 Savoy cabbage thinly sliced
  • 1/2 white cabbage thinly sliced
  • 1/2 purple cabbage thinly sliced
  • 1 cup of cooked peas
  • Squeeze of fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp of each: sesame seeds, sunflower seeds and linseed
  • Dash of olive oil
  • Salt and pepper



Throw it all together in a big bowl and mix with your hands, it’s much easier and you’ll get an even spread of the ingredients.

This keeps for about four days in the fridge. Enjoy as a side to all dishes for four days – yum!




Nutella Cheesecake

I’ve never had much success with cheesecake, but I thought I’d give it one more go with Nigella Lawson’s Nutella cheesecake. And success!



250 grams digestive biscuits
75 grams soft unsalted butter
1 x 400 grams jar nutella (at room temperature)
100 grams chopped toasted hazelnuts
500 grams cream cheese (at room temperature)
60 grams icing sugar (sifted)


Break the digestives into the bowl of a processor, add the butter and a 15ml tablespoon of Nutella, and blitz until it starts to clump. Add 25g/3 tablespoons of the hazelnuts and continue to pulse until you have a damp, sandy mixture.

Tip into a 23cm/9inch round springform and press into the base either using your hands or the back of a spoon. Place in the fridge to chill.

Beat the cream cheese and icing sugar until smooth and then add the remaining Nutella to the cream cheese mixture, and continue beating until combined.


Take the springform out of the fridge and carefully smooth the Nutella mixture over the base. Scatter the remaining chopped hazelnuts on top to cover and place the tin in the fridge for at least four hours or overnight.


Serve straight from the fridge for best results.

Best part? It’s no bake!


One of my main struggles is getting a solid base that doesn’t fall apart when the cake is set.  This time I took my wooden meat tenderiser and carefully banged the biscuit base. And it worked great!