Pesto and Tomato Bites and Bacon and Chedder Straws

2 in one post, I only took 1 picture so here are both recipes in one :b

I made these both for our family Christmas Eve party, everyone seemed to love them, and my dad is slightly crazy about them!

The pesto squares are my own recipe, and the bacon straws are a wonderful Lorraine Pascale recipe, find at :

Pesto Squares (makes about 20)

1 jar or a good amount of homemade pesto

20 cherry tomatos, sliced in half

1 block of ready made puff pastry

100g chedder, grated

1 egg, to brush

1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees. Roll out the puff pastry to about 1 cm thick

2. Cut into equal squares

3. Place squares on baking tray and prick the centres with a fork to stop them puffing up

4. Spoon 1 tsp of pesto onto each square and spread it around, then top with the cherry tomatoes. Sprinkle the cheese on the top.

5. Bake for 15-20 mins or until golden.


Salmon and sweet potato fish cakes

I love these fish cakes. The recipe is from Lorraine Pascale’s Home Cooking Made Easy programme or book. Honestly lovely when served in a warm pitta bread, makes me smile.


  • 500ml vegetable or fish stock
  • 400g sweet potato, peeled and diced (about 3 smallish ones)
  • 200-250g¬†salmon¬†or trout fillets, skin removed and each one cut in half
  • Large pinch of paprika
  • Squeeze of lime juice
  • 1 bunch of fresh chives, finely chopped
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • Oil for shallow frying or oiling
  • 1 lime cut into quarters to garnish (optional)
  • 1 egg lightly beaten
  • 100g dried breadcrumbs
The fishcakes can be either shallow fried in a little oil for 2-3 minutes over a medium heat or baked in a pre-heated oven for  20-30 minutes at 180c/160c fan/Gas 4

  1. Pour the stock into a saute pan and bring to the boil.  Add the sweet potato chunks and fish and cover with a lid.  Cook for about 10 minutes (although this may vary according to the thickness of the fish) until the sweet potato and salmon are cooked.
  2. Take the pan off the heat and drain well into a colander, then return the fish and sweet potato back to the pan, add the paprika, lime juice, chives, salt and pepper and the beaten egg, then mash.
  3. Divide the mixture into four to six and then shape into fishcake shapes.
  4. For the coating, put the egg in one bowl and the breadcrumbs in another.  Dip a fish cake into the egg, spooning the egg all over to ensure it is completely covered then dip it in the breadcrumbs.  Repeat with the other fish cakes.
  5. If you are going to shallow fry then, refrigerate for an hour first to allow them to keep their shape when cooked.  Shallow fry in a little oil for 2-3 minutes over a medium heat.
  6. If you are baking them, they can go straight on to a very lightly oiled baking tray and into the oven for 20-30 minutes.

Mint Lamb Burgers

Today I made dinner, Mint Lamb Burgers with lemon sour cream dip and pea shot and baby leave salad. Really tasty.

None of my amounts are fixed so feel free to add or leave out anything

Serves 5 with 2 left overs that can be frozen.

You will need:

800g minced lamb

A few mint leaves

1 1/2 lemons, squeezed

Salt and pepper

Dried chilli flakes

1 teaspoon mint sauce

1 very small onion or shallot (optional), chopped

Flour, for dusting

5 burger buns

1 bag mixed pea shoot and baby leaves salad, or make your own with pea shoots and baby leaves

200ml Sour cream

1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius. Put the Lamb, Mint, Mint Sauce, Onion, the juice of half a lemon, Salt, Pepper and a pinch of chilli flakes into a large bowl and squidge it with your fingers until the mixture stays together.

2. Dust a chopping board or work surface with flour and empty the contents of the bowl, roll into a log shape, and slice evenly into 6 or 7 rounds.

3. Dust each one with flour and arrange on a baking tray. Bake for about 25 minutes or until the burgers are slightly browned on top.

4. To make the lemon sour cream, squeeze half a lemon into a bowl and add the sour cream. Season to taste.

5. Wash the salad and toss it in lemon juice and chilli flakes.

I made up this recipe although it is based on other ideas.