No Croutons Required - The Winner, September 2008

And the winner is ......................

Srimathi over at Few Minute Wonders. Srimathi made us a feast for our eyes and mouths. A salad of nectarine, blueberries, raspberries, pear, grapes and an orange. Pretty spectacular and all topped of with a salt, paprika and honey topping.

Congratulations Srimathi!

If you would like to participate in next month's challenge, visit Lisa's Kitchen for details.

Veggie Sausage Rolls

I decided to put a vegetarian twist on that old British party favourite, sausage rolls and boy they were good. I've remembered why everyone loves sausage rolls. They are really easy to make too.

Veggie Sausage Rolls


1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 stalk of celery, finely chopped
2 large field mushrooms, finely chopped
2 tsp dried thyme
4 sundried tomatoes
½ cup of salted peanuts
3 tsp vegetarian worcestershire sauce
1 slice wholemeal bread
3 eggs, whisked
black pepper


  1. Heat the oven to 200c fan 180c gas 6 and place greaseproof paper over two baking trays.
  2. Fry the onion, garlic and celery in the olive oil until softened, then add the mushrooms and thyme. Cook for a few minutes before adding the tomatoes and worcestershire sauce. Season the mixture with black pepper. You can season with salt at this point too, but only if you are adding unsalted nuts.
  3. Whizz the bread into breadcrumbs before adding the mushroom mix and peanuts. Pulse until combined and then pour in two of the whisked eggs to bind the mixture.
  4. Roll out the puff pastry on a lightly floured surface until quite thin, just bigger than a sheet of A4 paper. Slice the pastry into 3 lengths. Lay a long strip of the filling down the middle of each length. Brush down the sides with egg and then roll the pastry over the filling, leaving the join underneath. Cut into the desired lengths and brush with egg.
  5. Place the sausage rolls on the baking trays, leaving a space in between each one. Bake for about 20 minutes, until the pastry is golden.

No Croutons Required - September Roundup

The Fruit Edition

This month’s challenge was to make a soup or salad and add some fruit. The soup or salad could be a starter, main course or a dessert.

Here are this month’s entries, enjoy!

Fruit: Apple

Val from More Than Burnt Toast is first up with a Autumn Broccoli & Apple Salad. It sounds great! Broccoli is not something I would usually add to a salad, but this salad has convinced me that I should! Fabulous photo too Val :)
(BC, Canada)

Fruit: Pear

Next up is a Pear Salad from Ohio Mom over at Cooking in Cleveland. Baby salad leaves, pears, parmesan, walnut and lemon juice, Mmmmmm :P
(Cleveland, Ohio, US)

Fruit: Jackfruit & Lychees

We can have some dessert now! A Tropical Fruit Cocktail Salad, courtesy of Wandering Chopsticks. I have never had a fruit salad quite like this one. I hadn’t even heard of jackfruit before. Apparently it tastes a bit like pineapple. Thank you for something a bit different WC :)
(Southern California, US)

Fruit: Nectarine, Blueberries, Raspberries, Pear, Grapes & Orange

The next entry is a colour fest! Spicy Fruit Salad Yummy Yummy made by Srimathi over at Few Minute Wonders. A nectarine, blueberries, raspberries, pear, grapes and an orange all coated in a spicy topping and served with sherbet berry rainbow ice cream. Definitely yummy, yummy!
(San Diego, US)

Fruit: Tomatoes, Avocado, Orange & Lime

Nathan over at House of Annie got his gas grill out to grill some corn and Corno di Toro heirloom sweet peppers for this colourful Chopped Mexican Salad. Nathan coated the salad in a beautifully fruity dressing of garlic, honey orange lime and cumin. Lovely!
(San Jose, US)

Fruit: Apples

I decided to make a soup for my entry. I added apples to my onion soup, which was a great move and really tasty. I just grated them straight in. I didn’t even bother peeling them. On the second day, I added a little splosh of cream to the soup and it was even better. So here it is, Onion, Celery & Apple Soup.
(not in vote)
(Dundee, Scotland)

Fruit: Cherries

Pink Bites (isn’t that a great name) over at Pink Bites made us Hungarian Sour Cherry Soup. How beautiful is this soup? It is just so pink! Cherries, cinnamon and soured cream. A gorgeous combination of flavours, make up this cherry soup, which is best served chilled. Mmmmmm, I can just taste the cinnamon through it :)
(Seattle, US)

Fruit: Blueberries, Melon, Lemon

We are heading over to Washington State for the next entry. Alexa has made us a Blueberry Melon Salad with Yogurt Maple Dressing. Alexa is the Artsy Foodie and I encourage you to go over and visit her gorgeous blog. She has the most brilliant banner, not to mention this tasty fruit salad.
(Washington, US)

Fruit: Watermelon

Shaula from Your Mileage May Vary is travelling the world with Neil, in their mini cooper, but still manages to make some lovely food. For this challenge, Shaula made us a Savoury Watermelon Salad with Orange Oil.
(Various, The World)

Fruit: Apples

Autumn has arrived in the UK and Lysy over at Munchkin Mail has made us a English Apple & Leek Soup. Lysy was inspired to make this soup after making a visit to Riverford Farm in Devon where she bought their new book the Riverford Farm Cookbook, which has been put together to inspire the buyers of organic vegetable boxes. It certainly inspired Lysy. Her soup sounds quite delicious!
(Warwickshire, UK)

Fruit: Grapefruit

Next up is my best buddy and fellow host Lisa over at Lisa’s Kitchen. Lisa has dished us up Ricki’s Radish & Grapefruit Salad. This salad was originally created by the lovely Ricki over at Diet Dessert & Dogs. Lisa loved it so much that she immediately bookmarked it and recreated it for our challenge. It does look good. Thanks Lisa!
(not in vote)
(London, Canada)

Fruit: Chillies, Pineapple, Pear, Lime & Apple

Anna over at Morsels And Musings made this spicy salad for an impromtu dinner party. Rujak (Spicy Tamarind Fruit Salad. This is a popular Indonesian dish, which is eaten as an afternoon snack. Anna learned to make this dish while in Bali.
(Sydney, Australia)

Fruit: Apples

We have a newbie up next. Tigerfish over at Teczcape – An Escape to Food has made us a beautiful pink Red Cabbage Apple Salad. Simple, beautiful and tasty! Thank you Tigerfish :)
(California, US)

Fruit: Lemon

Jane over at Procrastinators Progress has made us a Greek Lemon Rice Soup. Jane’s favourite Greek restaurant closed down recently, so she decided to pay tribute to the restaurant by recreating her favourite dish from the menu. This tangy, lemony soup was served as a refreshing starter. Hey, who needs restaurants when you can eat food like this at Jane’s house. Invite us over please Jane!
(Glasgow, Scotland)

Fruit: Avocado, Mango & Lime

Lucy over at Nourish Me has come up trumps again. This time with a Smoked Tofu Salad. Smoked tofu, avocado mango and rocket, beautifully arranged and drizzled with a fruity dressing. Go over and have a look at the recipe, just don’t ask Lucy how she was dressed while she was making this salad. I am looking down at myself now, snap Lucy!
(Melbourne, Australia)

Fruit: White Peach, Oranges & Apples

Next up we have a dessert soup from Chow Vegan. I was very excited when I saw this Chilled White Peach Soup. White peach, orange juice, apple juice and mint, blended and sweetened. Can you imagine being served this on a hot summer’s day, to end a delicious meal? Gorgeous!
(SF Bay Area, US)

Fruit: Strawberries, Raspberries, Peaches, Passion Fruit

Johanna over at Green Gourmet Giraffe has made us a lip-smacking Spring Strawberry Soup. It is one I will be trying soon. I can taste it now, delicious! Strawberries, raspberries, peaches and passion fruit. Mmmmm! :P
(Melbourne, Australia)

Fruit: Pears

Next up is a savoury and sweet soup, but definitely one for the main course. It is a Pear & Parsnip Soup made by the fair maiden Ricki over at Diet, Dessert & Dogs. She had a surplus of pears and so came up with this tasty soup. It is our gain, I am thinking :)
(Toronto, Canada)

Fruit: Apples & Dates

Our last entry is a Apple & Quinoa Salad with Purslane, courtesy of Trisha over at The Zest: Cooking Like I Mean It If you don’t know what purslane looks like, go over and have a look at Trisha’s blog. I had heard of purslane, but didn’t have a clue what it looked like.

Trisha was the winner of last month’s No Crouton’s Required. The topic was dressings and Trisha made us a gorgeous Blueberry Vinaigrette.
Phoenix, US)

A fabulous line-up, I am sure you will agree! If you can decide on a favourite, then cast your vote in the voting panel to the right. The winner will be announced at the end of the month.

Good luck everyone!

Fruit: Bluberries

I have a last minute addition. A beautiful Blueberry Soup made by the ever talented Wendy over at A Wee Bit of Cooking. To the blueberry soup she added a cardamon pod and a cinnamon stick. This must have been one tasty soup and I just love that moomin mug!

(Inverness, Scotland)

Wendy was one of the first to make her soup for the challenge, so it is entirely my fault that I missed her out, while making my list. I do apologise Wendy.

Please note that Wendy's bluberry soup is available for the vote, beneath the original voting poll.

Passionate Cooks Wanted - UK

Are you a talented cook who is looking for that big break? Are you fiercely proud of your county and want to see it go all the way? Do you want to learn from some of the country’s finest chefs?

If the answer to these three questions is yes – then read on!

ITV Productions is looking for contestants to take part in a brand new, day-time cookery series called Taste the Nation. If you have a passion for food and want to represent your county in a national cookery knock-out, then this is the show for you.

But it gets better, you will be mentored and masterclassed by one of the Nation’s finest celebrity chefs and your cookery skills will be pushed to their max. You will also be judged by some of the country’s fiercest critics so this show is not for the faint hearted!

You can be an amateur or professional – but have one thing in common your talents in the kitchen could impress a celebrity chef.

We will be filming the series from November 2008 to February 2009. If you are not the one then perhaps you might come into contact with just the sort of people we want to find!

Please register your details on our phone line 09011 986 986 or email clearly stating your name, county and daytime contact number.

Terms and Conditions

You must be 16 years or older to apply. Calls cost 10p per call from BT landlines. Calls from other networks may be higher and from mobiles will be considerably more. Callers must be 16 or over. Lines close on Thursday 20th November 2008 at midday. Calls made after closing time won’t be counted, but may still be charged. We cannot guarantee that all applicants will be called back. Terms & conditions at

Woman's Best Friend

I would like to introduce you to one of my bestest friends in the whole world (as I used to say when I was about 6)- Elmo.

I spent some time in the garden with Elmo this afternoon, soaking up a few rare rays of sun. I couldn't resist taking some photos of him, he is just so cute!

It has been a bit of a poor week, food wise, with just soup and some simple everyday dishes making an appearance, but I did made some veggie sausages rolls today, using mushrooms, which turned out great. I will be posting about them later.

Hope you all had a good weekend :)

Onion, Celery & Apple Soup

Onion, Celery & Apple Soup

a glug of olive oil
a knob of butter
4 onions, thinly sliced
6 spring onions, sliced
3 stalks of celery, sliced
3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
3 medium potatoes, diced
2 tart green apples, grated
1 cup cider
4 cups vegetable stock
1 handful chives, chopped
2 tsp dries thyme
1/2 to 1 tsp chilli powder
salt & freshly ground black pepper

Gently and slowly, cook down the onions, spring onions, celery and garlic for 40 minutes over a low heat. Add the potatoes and cider and cook for another few minutes. Add the stock and thyme and bring to the boil. Simmer the soup for 30 minutes and then whizz the soup before adding the chives and seasoning.

Serve the soup with Gruyere topped bruschetta.

I am serving up this soup, on this wet day in Scotland for this month's No Crouton's Required Challenge.

If you would like to join in this month's challenge, just make a soup soup or salad and add some fruit. Your soup or salad could be a starter, main course or a dessert.

Entries must be in by the 20th of September. The rules are here. Hope you join us this month :)

Green Apple Fruit Cake

I've had this recipe for a long time, but I don't know where it came from. I didn't take note of where I got my recipes before I started blogging, so it is anybody's guess where it came from really. I adjusted the spices and fruit and measured the ingredients out in cups, to save time and I have to say that this is one great cake.

Green Apple Fruit Cake

200g butter, softened
200g/ 1 ¼ cups demerara sugar
3 eggs, beaten
1 tbsp black treacle
200g/ 2 ½ cups self-raising flour, sieved
2 tsp mixed spice
2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp baking powder
2 eating apples , grated (I used Granny Smith's)
300g/ 2 cups mixed dried fruit

Heat the oven to 180c/ fan 160f/ gas 4. Line a 8 inch round cake tin with greaseproof paper or a greaseproof liner.

Beat together the butter, sugar, treacle, eggs, treacle, flour, baking powder and spices until the mixture is pale and thick. I popped my mixture in my food processor.

Fold in the fruit and spoon the batter into the cake tin. Bake for around bake for 1 hour and 10 to 15 minutes until the cake is golden brown. Do the skewer test. If it comes out clean it is ready. I have made this cake 3 times and the timing has been a little different each time. This could be to do with how big the apples are. If you are using a 9 inch tin, you won't need to cook it quite so long.

Leave to cool slightly in the tin and then move onto a wire rack to continue cooling.

12/11/10 Just a quick update!

I had to come back two years on and say that is my dad and husband's favourite cake. I make it regularly and you just can't beat it. Everyone who tries it loves it. So if you are visiting, I urge you to have a go. You will love it too. Once you try this you just don't need another fruitcake recipe.


No Croutons Required - The Fruit Edition

It's my turn to host No Croutons Required.

This month I would like you to make a soup or salad and add some fruit.

Your soup or salad could be a starter, main course or a dessert. I have added dessert as a suggestion because I love fruit salad and a cold fruit soup would be a gorgeous end to a meal, don't you think?

I can't wait to see how creative you are with this one!

If you would like to join in the challenge, email me at, with a link to your post, photo and details before the 20th September 2008. The challenge rules are here.


Congratulations to Trisha over at The Zest, who made a zingy Blueberry Vinaigrette and won the August challenge which was hosted by Lisa.

You can have a look at the final line-up of dressings here.
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