Strawberries and Chicken

The boy, when asked what he would like for his birthday dinner, raised his eyes to the sky and thought long and hard. In fact he thought for so long I left the room to put the coffee on. He followed me shortly to announce. “Strawberries and chicken, mummy!”

Right ok, well after a little teasing out of the details, we both agreed the chicken would be fried, and the strawberries would be in the cake. Thank god!

It is a tradition in my house for birthday meals to be full of “Crappy kids food”. I hold my nose and buy all the things which are pretty much banned from my house, sweets, crisps, white bread, you get my drift. However this young boy requested fried chicken, mac n cheese, and a strawberry cake.

Whenever things are a bit wobbly in the family, arguments, disappointment, sadness. I usually resort to my staple comfort recipes. It is amazing how a big plate of fried chicken can bring a smile to a sulky child’s face, or help an angry sibling, calm down and ask for another hot and crispy piece of chicken.

The fried chicken and mac n cheese are a no brainer for me to make. The strawberry cake however took a bit of thought. In the end I used a simple recipe for vanilla cake, and sweetened some cream with icing sugar then added the strawberry pieces, English of course.

I leave you with my vanilla cake recipe and a few photos of said feast.

Happy birthday Rufus!

Strawberry Rufus Cake

This is a simple sponge cake, super easy to make and goes perfectly with a cup of tea, or a glass of Prosecco.


  • 175g (6oz) softened butter.
  • 175g (6oz) caster sugar.
  • 3 large eggs.
  • 175g (6oz) self-raising flour, sifted.
  • 1tsp baking powder.
  • 1tsp vanilla extract.
  • pinch of salt.

For the Filling

  • Small tub of double cream
  • 2 tablespoons of icing sugar
  • Couple of drops of vanilla extract
  • Strawberry Jam
  • Tub of strawberries


Cream the sugar and butter together until light and pale. In a separate bowl sift the flour and mix in the baking powder and salt. Beat an egg into the butter sugar mixture, then gently fold in a third of the flour mixture. Repeat until you have mixed in all the flour and eggs.

Take two 8inch cake tins and line them with parchment paper. Pour in the cake mixture and put in a 180C oven for 20 mins or until the cake is lightly browned and pulling away from the edges of the tin.

Leave to cool while you whip together the cream and icing sugar and vanilla, until the cream is thick and spreadable.

When the cakes are cool take them out of their tins and spread the strawberry jam onto the top of one cake, then add a layer of cream and a layer of strawberry pieces. Place the second cake on top and add another layer of cream and strawberries.

Lovely x

Makings Of You

Weekday meals are sometimes, not always, a total argh! I sometimes find myself thinking about what on earth I am going to feed these kids for supper as I am throwing them out of the car at the school gates and driving to wherever my work has taken me that day. I have pretty much given up asking Rufus or Tilda in the car on the way to school as their stock answers are “Sushi!” (Tilda) or “Duck and pancakes” (Ru). Now far be it for me to quash the culinary musings of my 6 and 9 year olds but even I am not up to making Sushi and Pekinging a duck after 4pm on a Wednesday.

Hence my recipe Chicken in a Pot. Oh yes its the antithesis of the children’s demands yet just as delicious and also means I just chuck everything in a pot and leave to simmer while I run around the flat, dealing with the usual end of the day dramas and chaos. Feel free to call it something a bit more glam like, Chicken a la Pot de Stock.

Chicken in a Pot

This is a staple in my house. It’s perfect on a week day when I have rushed home from work having picked up the kids. It is my favourite kind of cooking, throw everything into a stockpot and leave alone for an hour or so.


 As you can see, this is more of a guide then a recipe

  • 1 whole free range chicken
  • 2 sticks of cinnamon
  • A selection of chopped veg, carrots, onions, kale, or greens, tomatoes Pretty much whatever you wish to add that is handy in your veg box
  • A few cloves of garlic, peeled, left whole
  • A sprinkle of spices, I used sumac, mustard powder, chilli powder
  • A teaspoon of black peppercorns
  • A big pinch of Maldon sea salt
  • Chicken stock (enough to cover the chicken just over halfway)

Place all the ingredients in a stockpot, place on a medium high heat until the stock begins to gently boil. Lower the heat to low and put on the lid. Leave for half an hour then turn the chicken over and give the veg a little stir. The chicken should be cooked within an hour.

Place a fork between the leg and the body of the chicken and if you can pull the flesh off easily then the bird is cooked. Turn off the heat and leave to rest for 15 minutes

You can fork the chicken apart and serve this with a ton of buttery mash or some rice.

Ain’t Nobody

It’s been a while since I have sat at this keyboard. A symptom of what is going on in my life at the moment.  I have recently been diagnosed with MS which completely came from nowhere. One day I was fine – the next day my legs were a bit weird. Within a week I was having trouble walking!

Now there is never, ever a good time to be diagnosed with MS and I was in the middle of designing and installing flowers for two pretty big weddings. Luckily for me, I have a boyfriend who fought for me to be seen and treated as soon as humanely possible and at the moment I am pretty much symptom free. The weddings went really well and as long as I didn’t have to sprint anywhere, no one would have known.

When something like this happens, it takes ages to come to terms with not only the diagnosis but also the realisation or the fear, that suddenly people will treat me differently. I thought that if people knew, then I would no longer be hired. As a self employed mother of three, that is a pretty scary thought.

After much soul searching I just thought fuck it! I am not the first person to be diagnosed with this. I am pretty much ok, just residual numbness in my feet and somedays my legs feel weird but right now, I am ok. Its nothing to be ashamed of and I refuse to allow it to define me.

Another reason why I have been so tardy in updating my lovely blog is that for the last few months my staple diet has been pretty much mackerel and rocket! I could fill a book with all the different ways to cook and prepare mackerel. I figure that maybe the few readers that I have may soon get fed up with yet another mackerel recipe! Apparently oily fish is the way forward when you have a neurological disease. Rufus the 6 year old is the only one who seems to join me in my latest food obsession. His favourite breakfast is smoked mackerel with a scotch egg, from Lidl of course.

I promise not to leave it so long between posts and for now I leave you with my recipe for Banoffi Pie. I made this because the kids were complaining that I never make puddings any more. I told them I was trying to be healthy because well you know, I have MS!

“Well you don’t have to eat it mum” said Lola. Bloody hell the sympathy vote lasted about 3 days in my house.

I found Mary Berry’s recipe online and she makes the base from ginger biscuits. Sorry Mary but no, just no. It has to be digestives. She also put the bananas on top of the cream. I put mine underneath.  Please feel free to put your bananas wherever you see fit,

I leave you a few photos of a not at all low fat lasagne and even more unhealthy Nachos, which are becoming a Saturday night staple in my house.

Banoffi Pie

This is based on Mary Berry’s recipe. Its incredibly indulgent, not for the faint hearted.


  • 65g (2 ½ oz) butter
  • 175g (6 oz) digestive biscuits, crushed


  • 100g (4 oz) butter
  • 100g (4 oz) light muscovado sugar
  • 2 x 397g (14 oz) cans condensed milk


  • 300ml (1/2 pint) double cream
  • 1 large banana
  • a little lemon juice
  • a little grated milk or plain chocolate


  1. FOR THE BASE: melt the butter in a small pan, remove from the heat and stir in the crushed biscuits. Mix well, then spread the mixture over the base and sides of a 23cm (9 inch) loose-bottomed fluted flan tin, pressing the mixture with a metal spoon to make it firm.
  2. FOR THE FILLING: measure the butter and light muscovado sugar into a roomy non-stick pan. Heat gently until the sugar had dissolved, add the condensed milk and stir with a flat ended wooden spatula, stirring continuously and evenly for about 5 minutes or until the mixture is a golden toffee colour and thick – watch like a hawk as it burns easily. Turn into the prepared crumb crust case and leave to cool and set.
  3. FOR THE TOPPING: slice the bananas and coat with a little lemon juice to stop them from discolouring. Layer them over the cold toffee. Whip the double cream until it just holds its shape and spread evenly over the bananas and cold toffee mixture, dust the whole pie with grated chocolate. Lift on to a flat plate and remove the ring. Serve very chilled.