XmasScraps and NoelByHJ

Leftover mash = Pomme Duchesse

Leftover mash = Pomme Duchesse

Christmas is around the corner!

I have been asked by a media Co to come up with few ideas on how leftovers could be used after the big Christmas dinner… I thought you might be interested too!

You know? After you have emptied you bank account and slaved in the kitchen to cook for 20 people (15 of which you only see when there is a family party with serious food).

After they’ve gone, you are out of pocket but, what can you create with that left over mash, leg of turkey, roast potatoes for your household?

How about a little “chuck-all-In” turkey and vegetables stir fry served with some pomme dauphine or duchesse? How about a turkey & roast potato stew with coconut milk? The one I could wait to eat was the Brioche & Turkey sandwich… couldn’t resist. Didn’t want salad in it, used coriander… yum!

I won’t tell you what I’ll be doing with the leftover Christmas pudding and cheese board. You’ll just have to check in later using XmasScraps in the search box. On twitter it will be #XmasScraps.

Turkey & coriander scraps = Brioche sandwich!

Turkey & coriander scraps = Brioche sandwich!

For my next show on Croydon radio next Saturday, I am looking at doing a simples dinner for 2…

If you are on a budget you are not going to decide to invite the world and its children round to yours are you? Don’t do like the Jones, your purse ain’t just not full enough.

So as a couples who has made an effort to save a bit for this special Christmas dinner, it is not about overeating, but making sure that every single mouthful is fully enjoyed. There might not be gifts, but food will square that off! It is called contentment!

The menu might have salmon, pate, lobster (from Iceland or Lidl not sure yet), maybe some wine? Not a fan of fizzy, so champagne is off the menu. I am doing it á la Française… Oh and there will be a yule log… Just because I cannot understand the British Christmas pudding.

During the show, you will get to hear a bit about how the French celebrate the food is all special and dinner is after midnight mass… Christmas day is just the follow up to the night before and people eat lighter. The hashtag for my Christmas show on Croydon radio will be #NoelByHJ. Use it on twitter and in the search box to find all related recipes.

Do check-in in a few days to see how much it will cost.

Joyeux Noël! x


Turkish food… Let’s do it!

Just a skip and a hop from Africa

Just a skip and a hop from Africa

We are back this Saturday on Croydon Radio with a Turkish menu. Turkey was all over the front pages today with the elections… ahah…

It is fascinating how much I discover with the challenges that this show brings to my plate.

When I started to look at the Turkish menu it was just because a colleague brought in two weeks ago a really beautiful and colourful scarf that her mother in law had handmade for her.

Turkish Kilim rug

Turkish Kilim rug

The scarf reminded me of few of the random handmade tribal items I had seen among

old Medaillon-Uschak

old Medaillon-Uschak

some o auction list I had seen while working as a handmade Persian rugs auction coordinator.

I had never considered eating or cooking Turkish food event though I get a lot of my ingredients from their shops… and there are many in Croydon.

I have discovered quiet a lot looking into this… It is almost as if Turkish food does not have its own identity. The Turkish cuisine according to what I have read takes on flavours from almost all the countries surrounding it including Northern Africa just a boat crossing away.

You will find in its flavours Mediterranean, northern African and East Asian hints… So, imagine having a menu reminding you of Greek cuisine, topped with Moroccan and Iranian cuisine in one menu and you can almost imagine what it might look and taste like…

It is with that in mind that I will be offering you my interpretation of the Turkish cuisine… I really hope that you will be available to tune it and hear what I came up with!

Do Post your comment while we will on air on Croydon radio this Saturday from 4pm. It is a 3 course Turkish meal! Don’t miss it! x

Every  related tweets will be posted with #TurkishByHJ

An this is What I came up with: A meze for starters (vegan),  Kıymalı Fasulye and to finish a Baklava served with a redbbush, cinnamon & orange tea.

Turkish set by HJ

Turkish set by HJ

The yogurt knitters set… AKA Vegan 3 course

Borrowed logo!

Borrowed logo!

Hear the radio show here on Croydon Radio.


This month I’d like to treat you to 3 course vegan meal… My favourite. See, I am not always a fan of meat and having had health concerns in the past I often eat meat and dairy free meals. I am very much against battery farming and especially the over-production/consumption for some meats in particular in this country.

Cooking meat & dairy free does require a bit of creativity at times and frankly what tends to be presented in some mags or vegan restaurants aren’t often appealing. To see some of my musings, go see my vegan blog http://www.all-vegan.blogspot.co.uk… scroll down to see some of my most exciting combos.

One myth I’d like to dispel also is that, Quinoa is not that outlandish! That barley is a great alternative to rice and that NOT ALL vegans are “sandal wearing nuts eating yogurt knitters”… So, stop hating and explore before earning the right to put vegan advocates down.

PS: not all of them are militant nutters either.

Hope you will tune in to discover what I’ll be cooking.

It is all about encouraging you to eat what you like, but removing or replacing the animal related elements. By reducing the meat and dairy consumption, you will reduce some health risks, reduce the over-production of some meat related products and also discover that there is a lot more out there to explore in terms of food. You don’t have time? Put down the box set…

You will also get to discover the health values in some of the ingredients used.

See you on Saturday 5th from 4pm on Croydon Radio.



PS: I am only a part-time vegan and full time lazy chewer. Oh, did I mention God botherer?

Have a great week!

Update: Hope you manage to tune in to the show. This is what the food looks like… Find the recipe for the starter, main and dessert here. Do post a comment!

Vegetable cakes with beetroot dip, creamy Barsotto & vegan brownie with Banana & Peach ice cream

Vegetable cakes with beetroot dip, creamy Barsotto & vegan brownie with Banana & Peach ice cream

Next, a foodbank menu

Hi All, we are back this week with Tom C. on Croydon radio at 4pm.

The menu on Saturday 6th June will be a 3 course meal with a food bank food parcel.

As you would know if you are a food bank user, from time to time, you will in your parcel receive stuff that you won’t know what to do with. You won’t always have tins of food that you are familiar with and the idea here is to use some of those food items in the way that you already know how.

What's in a parcel?

What’s in a parcel?

For example, some people would assume that crumble can only be made with apples or rhubarb. Now imagine that you have only been given tins of apricots and they have been collecting dust in the cupboard because you don’t know what else to do with them.

What would you do with a tin of asparagus if you found it in your food parcel?

Now cooking has no real rules unless, you are baking… Am here to help people know that celery was never meant to be eaten just as a stick. So if you like crumble desserts, you can make them with any fruit you like. If you like soups do them with any vegetables. Just don’t overdo it on sugar or fat or over eat. If you are at home, allow yourself to fail… no one is watching! Have fun, just don’t waste!

So, next Saturday we are in a family gathering situation where we are dusting off the tins we have been collecting because we had no idea what to do with them.

The menu is as follows:

Starters: Asparagus and spinach soup with homemade croutons

Mains: Marrow fat peas ratatouille with a side of herby new potatoes

Dessert: Individual apricot crumble pots topped with roasted desiccated coconut and custard

Hope the menu sounds interesting enough for you to tune in and hear about it… and of course Tom will be tasting all of it!

Starter, main, dessert... Enjoy!

Starter, main, dessert… Enjoy!

See you next week and if you have any question or ingredient you are struggling to use from your food parcel, let me know.

Have a great week!

Listen to the foodbank menu show from here. For more foodbank related recipes, download The Bank Cook recipes collection here.

The Bank Cook Book

The Bank Cook Book

About the Mexican menu

Mexican-No Tacos!

Mexican-No Tacos!

Hi! Hopefully you would have read the previous post by the time you got here. Mexican food was suggested by one of our listeners on Croydon Radio… Read about it here.

I tried to make it as authentic as possible. In most parts of the world like Asia, Africa, India or Latin America, the use of pre-prepared

Collecting the corn kernels

Collecting the corn kernels

ingredients can be seen as un-authentic. So, where necessary, spices will be grinded at home, the corn kernels will be remove from the cob at home if necessary, the beans will be bought dry, soaked and cooked in house if the dinner requires it.

That way, the ingredients have better value for money and deliver the most authentic taste, consistency and texture.

Here in Europe, it can be cheaper to buy the tin of corn or beans as they are better value for money, but with no control over the texture.

Funnily enough in the places above mentioned, buying tinned or frozen could be considered a luxury while here in Europe it is the basics.

So, in my Mexican menu, I have used the dry black beans that I have

Dry black beans

Dry black beans

soaked for 24hrs and boiled for 1hr to obtain a just-right texture. I have used black beans, but they aren’t as easy to find in tins so, feel free to use the kidney beans available in all supermarkets… Those can easily turn in to mush I don’t use them that much.

For the corn, I used fresh corn on the cob and shaved the kernels off myself. The best alternative would be the frozen corn rather than tinned sweet corn.

The rest of the components and ingredients for this menu can be found everywhere.

The Mexican menu I came up with and is as follows:

The starter is completely suitable for vegans and the cracker cup can be made from a foodbank parcel content.

For vegans, replace the chicken with large mushrooms or shiitake mushrooms which are chewier.

If using foodbanks parcels, replace the plantain with tinned potatoes, use tinned kidney beans, carrots & tomatoes.

Those flakes ARE HOT! really!

Those flakes ARE HOT! really!

Visit Croydon Radio website to hear me talk about the menu… Don’t forget to suggest something for the next show and leave some comments below!

Thank you for checking in!

See you next month!

Don’t forget. If you are a foodbank user, you can find more specifically created recipes on http://thebankcook.com/about/. Download the recipe collection here.

If you are Vegan, check out my vegan creations on http://all-vegan.blogspot.co.uk/


Valentine dinner – Intro

dinner 1 cost £2.60 or less

dinner 1 cost £2.60 or less

For my first ever show on Croydon Radio as a contributor, I chose to be generous by creating a 3-couse meal for 4 for £10.00.

The reason I made it for 4 was that, being Valentine day, a not-so-well off couple could cook dinner and invite their jobless grown up son or daughter & companion to share the dinner. I tried to cover here the cost, community and conviviality.

The menu is as follows:

  1. Starter – Smoked Oyster salad – recipe & cost here
  2. Main – Fusilli, tomato sauce & meatballs – recipe & cost here
  3. Dessert – Apple tart & Chocolate sauce – recipe & cost here
  4. and for drinks Pomegranate juice (0.99p) topped with flavoured fizzy water (0.39p).

To see the full recipe and cost for each course, please click on the link.

The related show was broadcasted on Croydon Radio on Saturday 14th February 2015. To listen again, please click on this link.

Thank you for checking in! See you next time.