Whizz Bang Pizza Sauce

Late night at work, home late, everyone tired.

Pizza bases pulled out of the freezer the night before.

No pizza sauce left in the freezer, damn and blast!

Quick sauce needed!

This is a job for Super-Blender (vitamix)!

Throw everything in.




Pizza in a flash.

Happy tummies.

Off to bed!


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Blender Pizza Sauce
A slurpilicious pizza sauce with a bit of a kick made in seconds in a blender. Use what you need and freeze the rest. Then just pop it in the fridge the night before you need it. Bish, Bash, Bosh!
  • 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • 2-3 garlic cloves
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 tbsp tomato puree
  • 1 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • ½ -1 tsp chilli powder
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • a good grinding of salt and black pepper
1. Gather your ingredients.2. Whizz in a blender until smooth.3. Spoon onto your pizza bases.4. Add toppings.5. Bake.6. Enjoy!
Total time:
Yield: 1 large batch

Something to spread the sauce on:

Deep Pan Pizza Base
Perfect Pizza Dough
Wholemeal and Onion Pizza Dough

Quick Pizza Bases

  1. Naan bread
  2. Pitta Bread
  3. Flour Tortillas
  4. Baguette
  5. Toasted Rolls
  6. English Muffins
  7. Crumpets


Scottish Tattie, Neep and Carrot Soup

Scottish Tattie, Neep and Carrot Soup in a white bowl served with crusty bread

Autumn is approaching and it's cooling down here in Scotland. I've held off putting the heating on as long as I possibly could, but now I admit defeat and I'm putting it on for a wee while at the coldest points of the day and making some Scottish tattie, neep and carrot soup.

Last week we were away on a family holiday, first to log cabins in Comrie, in the Southern Highlands of Scotland, then on to a new hotel on the west coast of Scotland, right on the beach.

We had a great week and the weather was glorious. We had 20 degrees temperatures, but now it has dipped to 14 degrees and you can really feel the difference.

Here are a few of our holiday snaps, first from our log cabin in Comrie:

Riverside Log Cabins, Comrie

These log cabins are right in the woods beside a stream. They are basic but clean and have everything you could need. The kitchens are very well stocked and it's a good area for walks.

Riverside Log Cabins, Comrie

Stream beside Riverside Log Cabins, Comrie

boy playing in a Scottish steam


Woodland Bay Hotel, Girvan

Next are a few photos from the second half of our trip to the Woodland Bay Hotel outside Girvan on the West Coast of Scotland. It's the white building you can see in the background, which has stables beside the hotel. We've been hear a few times and can highly recommend it. The rooms are modern and very clean and the food in the hotel is really good.

Beach on West coast of Scotland near Girvan

Beach  and rocks on West coast of Scotland near Girvan

toddler building sandcastles

sand castle on the beach 

Back home and making soup

So we're home again, our holiday is over and the temperatures have dipped. 

It's time for making soup to serve with with crusty bread slathered with butter.

I picked up some vegetables from a farm shop on the way home and made us a big pot of Tattie, Neep and Carrot soup or by it's more common name Potato, Turnip and Carrot Soup. 

Scottish Tattie, Neep & Carrot Soup

This is a traditional Scottish soup, the type my mum made when I was growing up. It's a hearty bowl of soup full of chunky vegetables that will warm you right up and well as making sure you get some of your 5-a-day. 



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A chunky filling (tattie) potato, (neep) turnip and carrot soup, perfect for cold Scottish winters. Scottish turnips are also called swede in England and Rutabaga in the US. #scottishsoup #vegetablesoup #scottishrecipes #lowcaloriesoup #chunkysoup #carrotsoup #turnipsoup #swedesoup #52dietsoup #vegansoup #vegetariansoup

What are neeps?

The neep is something I should explain.

Neep is the Scottish name for a turnip and even more confusing we have a nickname for it too, the tumshie.

In English we call it a turnip, however just to confuse matters, down south in England they call these hardy winter vegetables swede and  in America they call these yellow flesh beasts rutabaga.

Whatever the name it is big and gutsy and brings a lot of flavour to a pot of soup.

Do try it, it's healthy, filling, low in calories, kind on your budget and absolutely delicious.



Calories and Nutrition in Tatties, Neep & Carrot Soup

There are 204 calories in 6 large portions and 153 calories in 8 standard servings. It is high in dietary fibre, high in potassium and contains iron and calcium.

It's the perfect filling soup if you are watching your weight or on a calorie controlled diet like the 5:2 diet.



Scottish soup, soup, chunky soup, neep soup, tattie soup, carrot soup, vegetable soup, winter soup, vegan soup, vegetarian soup, chunky soup, low calorie soup, low fat soup, traditional Scottish soup, Scottish recipes, Scottish recipe
lunch, dinner
Scottish, vegan, vegetarian
Yield: 6-8
Scottish Tattie, Neep and Carrot Soup

Scottish Tattie, Neep and Carrot Soup

A chunky filling (tattie) potato, (neep) turnip and carrot soup, perfect for cold Scottish winters. Scottish turnips are also called swede in England and Rutabaga in the US.
prep time: 10 minscook time: 40 minstotal time: 50 mins


  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 6 carrots, chopped
  • 1 large turnip, chopped
  • 4 medium potatoes, chopped
  • a handful of fresh parsley, chopped
  • 3 pints/1.7 litres/7 cups vegetable stock, add more if you think it needs it
  • a good grinding of salt and black pepper


  1. In a large pot, saute the onion and garlic in olive oil until soft and translucent.
  2. Add the carrots and cook gently for a few minutes, then add the turnip and potatoes.
  3. Add the stock, bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer, cover with a lid and leave to cook gently for 30-40 minutes until the soup is lovely and thick and the vegetables are tender. 
  4. Add the fresh herbs and season with salt and pepper.
  5. Serve with crusty bread.
  6. Enjoy!


Calories and nutrition are shown for 8 portions.
fat (grams)
sat. fat (grams)
carbs (grams)
protein (grams)
sugar (grams)
Created using The Recipes Generator

I priced this recipe with supermarket ingredients and own brand stock cubes. The cost is for a pot of this soup is £2.06, that's just 34p per serving for 6 servings.

1 tbsp olive oil = 5p
1 onion = 16p
1 clove garlic = 3p
6 carrots = 36p 
1 turnip = 50p
4 potatoes = 52p
handful parsley (half bag) = 35p
3 value stock cubes = 9p

= £2.06

Berry Custard Shake

My latest smoothie concoction is this Berry Custard Shake.

Isn't it pretty?

I like to make us smoothies most days. I don't always manage, but I do try. It's a great way of topping up Cooper's five-a-day and he does so love them. Graham and I enjoy them too, but this one wasn't for Graham's vegan sensibilities as it has dairy custard and milk in it. I could have made him one with Alpro soya custard and soy milk, but he wasn't around, so he totally missed out. Shhhhhhh! don't tell him!

This luxurious concoction is full of strawberries, raspberries, custard, milk, flax seeds and cherry concentrate.

The cherry concentrate is from CherryActive and I have been adding it to a lot of our smoothies. It's lovely stuff and you only need a splash for a fresh cherry taste. Great when you think how short cherry season is and how expensive they are. Here is some blurb about it:

100% concentrated Montmorency cherry juice with no added preservatives. The gorgeous taste of Montmorency cherries! Each 210ml bottle typically made from the concentrated juice of over 650 Montmorency cherries. A 210ml bottle makes two litres of diluted juice (mix 30ml concentrate into half a pint of fresh water). Alternatively, add to natural yoghurt, smoothies or as a mixer.

10% off for my readers at CherryActive until 14 October 2013, just add the code JACQUELINE10 at the checkout.

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Berry Custard Shake
A slurpilicious shake of strawberries, raspberries and cherries.
  • 400g strawberries
  • 200g raspberries
  • 200g ready-made custard
  • 300ml milk
  • 2 tsp flaxseeds (linseeds)
  • 1 tsp cherry concentrate
  • a tray of ice cubes
1. Hull the strawberries.2. Add all the ingredients to a blender and whizz until smooth. If your blender isn't strong enough to whizz up ice, then just add it to the glasses before serving.3. Enjoy!
Total time:
Yield: Makes 6 glasses

Disclosure: BerryActive kindly sent me some cherry concentrate to try. I was not expected to write a positive review and any opinions expressed are my own.

Cheesey Bean Wraps with a Kick of Spice

I recently learned how to make my own flour tortillas, using a kit I got from Mexgrocer. I used a press, but you can just roll them out thinly. They are really quick and easy to make.

I use tortillas quite a lot for lunch wraps and serve them with my veggie chilli, but the first thing I wanted to make when I made my own tortillas was cheesey bean wraps.

You see I've been craving them for a while. Tesco used to sell a 3 Bean Wrap that I loved, in fact the only Tesco sandwich that was worth buying, but of course it came off the shelves the same way the roasted vegetables on sun-dried tomato bread and the mushroom and horseradish did. I don't know why Tesco persist in selling such foul sandwiches when they got it so right with these.

The original 3 Bean Wrap wasn't spicy, but I wanted mine to have a kick, so I added some Smoked Chilli Paste to my mayonnaise.

I picked up a sample jar of this gorgeous paste when I was down in London at Food Blogger Connect in July. This stuff is gorgeous! The paste can be added to so many dishes and they also sell a spicy mayonnaise and spicy honey which I also loved. I've just found out you can buy it on Amazon, but you could just add your favourite spices.

My wraps were delicious!

   related - Leftover Bolognaise Quesadillas   

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Cheesey Bean Wraps
An easy, but delicious filling for tortillas with a kick of spice.
  • 100g extra mature cheddar
  • 50g black beans
  • 50g kidney beans
  • 50g sweetcorn
  • 4 tbsp mayonnaise
  • ¼ tsp smoked chilli paste, or chilli powder
  • a good grinding of black pepper
  • a good handful of rocket (arugula) leaves, or other salad leaves
  • 3 - 4 flour tortillas
1. Grate the cheddar in a large bowl.2. Add the beans and mix through.3. In a small bowl mix the spices into the mayonnaise, then mix through the bean mixture.4. Season with black pepper and mix again.5. Lay salad leaves on each tortilla, them top with the cheesey bean mixture, roll and scoff!6. Enjoy
Total time:
Yield: Enough for 3-4 wraps

Homemade Flour Tortillas

Shop bought tortillas come in two varieties as far as I am concerned, cheap ones that are nasty and expensive tortillas that are pretty good. I always spend more and buy the good ones. I hate a claggy tortilla.

I love flour tortillas filled with salad leaves, chilli, sour cream and grated cheddar. I love them filled with roast vegetables, mozzarella and salad leaves and I love them filled with cheesey beans.

I thought it was about time I tried making my own tortillas. I make my own chapatis, so how hard could it be?

Actually super easy!

I was lucky enough to be sent a tortilla kit by Mex Grocer.

Mex grocer is a fabulous site for all things Mexican. I was rather excited when I stumbled across it and was so pleased when they agreed to send me their Tortilla Making Kit to try. The kit contained 1 gorgeous red Aluminium 15cm Tortilla Press made in Mexico, 1kg of Authentic Masa Harina (corn flour) and 1 Tortilla Warmer.

I made the dough in minutes, then left it to rest for a while, before rolling it into little balls and flattening them out in the press. You could use a rolling pin, but the press is much more fun and results in a lovely thin and even tortilla.

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Homemade Flour Tortillas
An easy recipe for authentic Mexican flour tortillas.
  • 330ml hot tap water
  • 250g masa harina (Maseca) tortilla flour
  • a pinch of salt
1. Put the masa harina into a bowl. Add a pinch of salt if you like, but this is not traditional. Make a well and start adding the water, mixing with your fingers until you have soft pliable dough that is not sticky. The amount of water may vary according to humidity etc, so add more if you feel it will take it.2. Cover the dough and let sit until cool, about 15 minutes.3. Work the dough. If the dough looks dry or cracks when you press it add a little cool water until it is the texture of soft cookie dough.4. Make into 10-12 walnut sized balls.5. Use a tortilla press or roll out (3mm depth) into a circle between 2 sheets of plastic wrap.6. To cook the tortilla, heat a dry skillet over medium high heat and gently place the tortilla on it. When the edges start to dry out (about 15 seconds) turn the tortilla over and cook for around 45 seconds. There should be little brown speckles. Turn the tortilla once more and cook for a further 15 seconds, the tortilla should puff up. If it doesn’t, don’t worry, it will taste just as good but may be a little heavier.7. Place in a clean tea towel to keep warm until they all have been made. They will keep warm for a bout an hour like this. To reheat place the tea cloth with the tortillas over a steamer and steam for 15 minutes.
Total time:
Yield: Makes 10-12 tortillas

Disclosure: Mex Grocery sent me a tortilla kit to review. I was not required to write a positive review and any opinions expressed are my own.

Warm Dressed Noodle Salad


They're such fun to eat. A bit messy, but who cares about that?

Graham loves noodles with stir fried vegetables, coated in soy sauce and topped with lots of cashews.

Cooper and I prefer my Peanutty Vegetable Noodles as we find the soy sauce too salty on it's own and we're both peanut butter nutters!

What do you like on your noodles?

I wonder if I'll get some pasta suggestions in answer to that question? Have you noticed that in the US pasta is often called noodles, but here in the UK we reserve the term noodle for Asian style dishes and pasta for Italian dishes?

Anyway, there was a bit of a gap in my repertoire. I've never made a noodle salad. Pasta salad yes, noodle salad no.

The Barefoot Contessa

It probably would have taken me long enough to get around to it, but I was channel hopping one afternoon and came across Ina Garten (The Barefoot Contessa) making a noodle salad. I just caught her talking about her dressing, so I made a mental note of some of the flavours she used and vowed to make one soon.

It could have been one of those recipes that I never get around to making. I have a lot of those, but this one must have inspired me because I made it the next day and it was gorgeous!

I like egg noodles, but as hubby is vegan I opted for rice noodles on this occasion, so we could all enjoy it.

I do hope you try it.

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Warm Dressed Noodle Salad

A warm noodle salad with the most heavenly Asian style dressing.
  • a splash of rapeseed oil
  • 1 large carrot, cut into small batons
  • ½ large red pepper, cut into strips
  • 6 spring onions (scallions)
  • 100g sugar snap peas, sliced in half lengthwise
  • 100g freshly podded peas (frozen would do)
  • 300g rice noodles
  • 250ml/1 cup sunflower oil
  • 125ml/½ cup white wine vinegar
  • 125ml/½ cup soy sauce
  • 3 tbsp crunchy peanut butter
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • a good grinding of black pepper
1. Soak the noodles in warm water for a few minutes to soften them, then drain and pop into a large bowl.2. Blanch the carrot batons for a few minutes, to take the bite out of them. 3. Heat the rapeseed oil in a wok, then when it's really hot add the carrots, spring onions and sugar snap peas and cook for a couple of minutes before adding the peppers and fresh peas. Give it another couple of minutes then add to the bowl with the noodles and mix well.4. In another bowl whisk up all the dressing ingredients, then pour over the noodles and mix well before serving.5. Enjoy!Notes: If I had some, I would have added some sesame seeds to my noodle salad, but that is optional.
Total time:
Yield: Serves 4

If you like noodles you may also want to try my peanutty vegetable noodles. They are perfect for a quick midweek dinner and so, so tasty. Go on, you know you want to!

Creamy Avocado and Goats Cheese Sandwiches

I've quite gone off sandwiches. For lunch at work these last few weeks I've just been having some smoked applewood cheese on oatcakes, light laughing cow on ryvita and the occasional baked potato with beans.

On my 5:2 fast days I've been skipping lunch altogether and just putting in some computer time away from the staff room.

It's funny how much my fast days have changed. I used to have breakfast, then a nibble at lunchtime and soup at night, then it changed to ryvita at lunch and a meal at night and now I have just given up on eating completely during the day, opting for a couple of low cal hot chocolates and lots of water during the day and then a proper hearty meal at night.


I can't tell you why I've gone off them. I can tell you I get scunnered with things quite easily if I have them too often. That's probably what happened, too many cheese and pickle or cheese and beetroot sandwiches and now I can't bear the thought.

So there I was, day off and staring at a loaf of bread.

This sandwich would have to be a bit special if I was going to enjoy it and as far away from a standard cheese and pickle sandwich as possible.

I looked in the fridge and had a think.

Tender baby spinach (although any salad leaf would do), spring onions, avocado, fresh crumbly goats cheese, balsamic glaze and black pepper.

Mmmmmm! I did it!

What's your favourite sandwich filling?

My top 5 sandwiches:
  1. Falafel, Hummus & Carrot Bagels
  2. Mushroom, Horseradish and Spinach Sandwiches
  3. Halloumi and Balsamic Onion Toasties
  4. Creamy Avocado and Goats Cheese Sandwiches
  5. Banana and Peanut Butter Sandwiches

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Creamy Avocado & Goats Cheese Sandwich

A luxurious, but simple sandwich that's guaranteed to beat the sandwich blues.
  • 2 slices wholemeal bread
  • a handful of tender baby spinach or other salad leaves
  • 2 spring onions, sliced
  • 1 small ripe avocado, sliced and tossed in a little lemon juice
  • 30-50g goats cheese
  • a drizzle of balsamic glaze
  • a good grinding of black pepper
1. I didn't spread my bread with butter, but you can if you want to.2. Top the first slice with spinach leaves and spring onions.3. Next add the avocado slices.4. Crumble on the goats cheese.4. Drizzle some balsamic glaze over the top of your filling and season with black pepper.5. Top with the other slice of bread, cut in half and enjoy!
Total time:
Yield: Makes 1 sandwich


No Croutons Required - Seasonal Winners

The August No Croutons Required challenge called for seasonal soups and salads.

We received some fabulous entries and it was hard to choose a winner.

Voting carried on through the month and it was close, but in the end we were left with two clear winners.

Janet from Taste Space who gave us her stunning Peach and Hemp Salad with a Creamy Balsamic Hummus Dressing and Brittany from Brittany Cooks who brought us an equally stunning Tahini-Dressed Zucchini and Green Bean Salad.

Have a look at the photos. Droolworthy aren't they?

Congratulations Janet and Brittany and thank you to everyone who took part.

Peach and Hemp Salad with a Creamy Balsamic Hummus Dressing

Tahini-Dressed Zucchini and Green Bean Salad

Head over to Lisa's Kitchen later today, where Lisa will be announcing the next No Croutons Required challenge.
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