Winging it weaning.

So things have got messy! I’m not talking about the kind of messy that involves too much booze on a night out, stumbling home via a filthy kebab and going to bed with the words “well that got messy” still on your lips as you pass out. No, this is a kind of messy I am new to. Weaning a 6 month old baby.

Thankfully, the six month old in question is my daughter. She clearly got the greedy genes from both her parents and she is LOVING IT! Except mashed potato, she is NOT loving that.

I’m not going to try and be all Annabel Karmel on this, but I’ve had a few DMs asking about the recipes for some of the purées I’ve done. I can’t really call boiling some cubes of apple in water, mushing it all up and putting it in a jam jar a recipe, but I have done a lentil thing that Tilly loves and (with a bit of curry powder and turmeric wouldn’t make an entirely terrible dhal).

So here is a quick lentil purée recipe if you want to try this on your little one. I put the lentils into a separate bowl of water to partially cook as they take a lot longer to cook. So by adding them when they are already half cooked you don’t have to boil the vegetables to death and therefore, I hope, you preserve more of the nutrients than you would if you cooked it all together. I may be totally wrong, but I’ll give it a go.

75g dried red lentils

½ Courgette

2 tomatoes

1 small onion

¼ tsp sunflower / veg / light olive oil

175ml water

  • Boil the kettle
  • Rinse your lentils under running water for about a minute
  • Place the lentils in a bowl, cover them with boiling water and let them sit in the water while you do the veggies
  • Dice up the onion and courgette
  • Heat up a little oil in a pan (I used a tiny non-stick milk pan because I’m too lazy to wash up anything bigger at the moment)
  • Gently sweat onion, adding the courgette after a minute or so
  • While this is happening, the tomatoes need to be skinned and deseeded. Score a cross on the bottom of each tomato and pour boiling water over them, the skin should then peel off really easily. Remove the seeds as well and roughly chop
  • Drain the lentils and add them to the courgette and onion along with the tomatoes and 175ml water
  • Put the lid on and let the mix bubble gently for 10 minutes, stirring often until the lentils are soft.
  • Take your stick blender and blend the lot until it’s a thick purée
  • Place the puree into an ice cube tray or baby food portion thing (I only had an ice cube tray when I made this, I have since bought something that makes bigger portion sizes) and freeze. 
  • Once frozen, take the cubes out of the tray and bag them up – be sure to label the bag otherwise you’ll have bags of unidentifiable purees, which is fine until you try and mix lentil puree with strawberry puree – not sure that’ll be a success.
  • When you want to use it, just put your chosen cubes of frozen puree  (I quite often mix up my purees, cauliflower puree seems to go with almost anything) into a microwave safe pot and microwave until it is defrosted and warm – two minutes will probably do it – stirring halfway through

PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE make sure the mixture is cool enough before you feed to your baby. I find the best way to do this is when it’s on the spoon, touch the mix to my lips before giving it to Tilly. It should feel warm but NOT hot.

So, there we are, my first weaning recipe. Let me know if
this is helpful and if you would like any more…

Old School Parma Ham wrapped Chicken

What weather! We spent most of the Easter weekend on the Isle of Wight. Tilly’s first time on the ferry, on the beach and in the sea – we dipped her toes, briefly – we’re not total barbarians! The post I did about fresh air a few months ago rang very true this weekend. We spent pretty much all of Friday and Saturday outside on the beach or walking along the seafront, Tilly had a whale of a time. Consequently, after her bath she fell asleep within about 1/2 a second of finishing her milk and didn’t even stir when Mummy and Daddy came to bed hours later after one, maybe five more glasses of wine than were absolutely necessary!

After such an overindulgent weekend it has been decreed that we are going to have a week (let’s see how long this actually lasts) of no carbs for dinner. My husband decided this yesterday as we sat in the Great Return traffic heading back to London.

So here is a fairly quick chicken recipe we had last night with a massive platter of green veggies instead of the usual massive dollop of 50/50 mashed potato I’d usually serve as well.

Serves 2 / prep time 20 mins / cooking time 35 mins

2 x chicken breasts (skinless)

6 x fresh sage leaves (if you don’t have them they are more for show really and don’t add a huge amount to the dish)

6 x slices Parma Ham

50g Feta cheese

5 sprigs of fresh parsley finely chopped

10 or so slices of sun-blushed tomatoes (if you use sun-dried only use 5)

1 small finely grated garlic clove finely grated (or 1/2 tsp garlic paste if you can’t be bothered to chop the garlic)

1 tsp tomato puree

50ml white wine / rose (whichever is open)

Black Pepper

  • Pre-heat the oven to 190 degrees
  • Finely chop the parsley, sun-blushed tomatoes and garlic and mix them in a bowl thoroughly with the feta, tomato puree. Season with a grind or two of black pepper. Set aside for a moment while you prepare the chicken
  • Place the chicken breast onto a board with (what would be) the skin side down. Using a sharp knife carefully open them out a bit at the thin end and using the tip of the knife create a little pocket in the thick end. So you are sort of butterflying them but not because you’re not flattening them totally as you’re leaving a little pocket – does that make sense?
  • Then place the tomatoey feta mix onto each opened chicken breast, pushing some into the pocket at the thick end
  • On a separate board lay out two sets of three Parma Ham slices each with three sage leaves on them
  • Carefully close the chicken around the stuffing mix and place it onto the Parma Ham and wrap. You can secure with a cocktail stick if you want to, I don’t have any so couldn’t, although the Parma Ham will hold it together pretty well
  • Place into an oven proof dish (I used foil on mine as I was paranoid it would stick)
  • Pour the wine into the dish so there is a little puddle around the chicken. The ham will keep the moisture inside the chicken, but this just makes extra sure you don’t have a dry breast/ No-one wants that, let’s face it!
  • Pop in the oven for 35 minutes
  • You can either serve straight away or pour the chickeny, winey, hammy liquid into a saucepan and reduce it down for 5 minutes then serve

I’ll do a separate ‘recipe’ for the greenery plate, although I’m not sure I can call it a recipe as it is mega simple, but really effective. Four of your five a day on one plate.

Another Salmon Dinner

Is it weird that being up, showered, breakfasted and ready for the day at weekends before 9am, is still taking some getting used to? Before Tilly came along, unless we had something planned, it was very rare that my husband and I managed anything productive before midday at weekends. I should add that I don’t regret that or indeed consider it a waste of time. My job involved a lot of people, planning and excitement about client’s events, and I tended to spend my time rushing around like a whirling dervish. So I used to relish my quiet weekends. Some Sundays I wouldn’t even move from the sofa let alone go to the pub or socialize. Sundays are for resting, relaxing and recharging before another whirlwind week.

Now the weekend consists of trying not to hit the bottle too hard on Friday and / or Saturday evenings to ensure that we can function first thing to get Tilly up and fed. Breakfast for her happens in our bed. It means we can all have a lazy, cosy start to the day, regardless of the time. And our days are full of walks as well as getting out and about, a far far cry from the Netflix box set done in a day days of pre-parenthood!

Onto the food. It’s only when writing up these recipes that I realise I should probably expand my fish repertoire, get out of my comfort zone and cook something that isn’t salmon. This was considerably more tasty than I thought it would be. So here it is.

Serves 2 and takes around 30-40 minutes to prepare and cook.

2 x fillets of salmon
A small bunch of fresh mint, thyme & parsley
Juice of half a lemon
15g Room temperature butter
100ml white wine

For the pea purée
250g frozen petit pois
Small handful of fresh mint
Small knob of butter
Pinch of salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp Double Cream (optional)

  • Pre-heat the oven to 190 degrees and boil a kettle of water (I know it’s a bit Jamie’s “15-minute meal mindset” bollocks, but it is useful for this recipe)
  • Place the two salmon fillets, skin side down into an ovenproof dish
  • As with the other salmon dish I cooked, if you’re having potatoes with it then best to put these on now, before the salmon goes in the oven
  • Finely chop the mint, thyme and parsley and mix together with the butter and lemon juice
  • Gently squidge the herby butter mixture onto each salmon fillet – not too hard or you’ll squash the fillet
  • Pour the wine around the salmon, but not on top
  • Place into the oven for 10 – 15 minutes


  • While the salmon is cooking, pour some boiling water into a small saucepan with your peas and a pinch of salt and bring back to the boil
  • Once the peas are floating in the boiling water, they are done. Drain them and keep about 80ml of the cooking water – the easiest way to do this without measuring it is to pour the peas into a sieve above a sink and then put the sieve back over the saucepan and you will collect the last bits of the cooking water.
  • Add the peas back into the saucepan with the cooking water, mint, butter and the cream if you’re using it
  • Blend the mixture – either in a blender if you’re making this for lots of people or just with a stick blender in the saucepan
  • Take your salmon out of the oven and serve – don’t forget the potatoes
  • Take 25 pictures of your meal, maybe a few more if the person you cooked it for is getting impatient, just because. Post it on Instagram and tell me how lovely it is 😉

It’s only another bloomin’ salad!

It happened again yesterday. My rebel 5 month old daughter got kicked out of the creche. I’m using the term ‘kicked out’ with a bit of poetic license. The reality is much less dramatic. We arrived at the gym and off I tottered to my spin class followed by ‘express abs’ – a 15 minute torture session in the middle of the gym where everyone can see the post spin sweat and exhaustion take its toll as we attempt feeble planks while silently praying for it to be over. Ten minutes into ab hell, the tanoy wurred into action and we all heard ‘will the parent of Ottilie please report to the creche’. Oh no, I had to leave the class early….. Although the ab session, I’m pretty sure, is better than being summoned to the creche because your baby has been screaming for 20 minutes and they’ve given up. I don’t blame them to be honest, she’d got herself fully worked up and was screaming at a new volume I didn’t know she had in her! It took forever to calm her down and by the time I’d made it out of the gym was cooing and smiling widely at me! Not cool Tilly, not cool!

After all that we went for a long walk to see if I could get her to have a decent afternoon nap, without the use of a dummy (more on that another time – you lucky reader you). It worked, with the aid of a music box playlist. Thank the Lord for Spotify playlists!

Here is another easy peasy salad that I made when i got back. You can make in about 5 minutes. It has no carbs too, so is almost saintly on the healthy scale! Serves 1.


1 x Avocado

1 x Red Pepper

1 x Baby Gem Lettuce

A few Sun-dried tomatoes

3 mint leaves finely chopped

Parmesan

If you have a handful of  chicken / slow-cooked gammon chuck that in too

A cap full of red wine vinegar

1 tbsp extra virgin oil

IMG_0851

  • Chop up all the ingredients and chuck them in a bowl
  • Drizzle over the olive oil and the red wine vinegar
  • Grate over as much Parmesan as you can before the guilt sets in

It’s not rocket science and, let’s face it, it’s not going to get me a book deal. But it is going to stop me eating toast for breakfast AND lunch. It also stops me reaching into the beige section of the cupboard and grabbing Supernoodles (yes, they are wrong on all levels but I LOVE them) or snacking on super salty crisps. These simple salad for one are part of my top-secret-keep-myself-sane-and-happy-while-on-mat-leave-project.

I hope they come in useful for anyone else currently on mat leave, trying to keep it together with a small baby and figuring out how the hell to eat something nutritious that doesn’t taste like cardboard and can be made with minimal ingredients, fuss and time! 

Super Salmon Supper

As I sit here at 5:43am hiding out of sight in my daughter’s nursery waiting for the ‘granular’ white noise to kick in I thought I might as well get on with another blog post. This is the 3rd time since just before 5am that I have CRAWLED into the nursery carefully given her the dummy while hiding below sight, waited for her breathing to slow to sleepy breathing and CRAWLED out. The things we do to get our babies to sleep just that little bit longer.
I try to plan our dinners for the week the Saturday or Sunday before. I do this for a number of reasons, the biggest being that I am not the quickest decision maker and when faced with the question of “What do you fancy for dinner?” I will invariably have the answer of “I don’t mind” only to remember that I DO actually mind as I reject fifteen different suggestions. So each weekend I write up a blackboard of the following week’s menu. There are a couple of recipes that I have in my arsenal that are really good space fillers. You know – the ones that are quick and simple enough that don’t need to have your brain massively in gear to get them done. If you get the measurements a bit off as well it doesn’t matter much as you’ll probably just get a bit of extra sauce – which is a win in my book. 

I first had this dish in Champéry in Switzerland in 1996 (I think). It was cooked by a Canadian chalet girl called Vic. My mother tells me it was done with mayonnaise and not crème fraiche though. The idea of cooked mayonnaise doesn’t really appeal to me I’ll be honest so I’ve been cooking it this way since I moved to London and learnt to fend for myself back in 2006.
Keep it simple and serve it with green beans and some new potatoes – it’s Jersey Royal season – go on, treat yourself. Also – I don’t know about your Sainsbury’s (I assume it’s across the board) the size of their own salmon fillets has now got so ridiculously small that 2 fillets are now pretty much the width of what one fillet used to be. Brexit presumably. Waitrose and Tesco still have normal size fillets as does the actual fish counter in Sains. If you can, try and get those as you’ll still be hungry if you have one of Sainsbury’s pre-packaged fillets and you shouldn’t have to fork out to by 2 packets. First world problems – I know. It’s not a looker of a dish and I don’t have it all plated up, but it is delicious – I promise!

2 x salmon fillets (skin on is best)
2 heaped tbsp crème fraiche
1 heaped tsp wholegrain mustard 
A squeeze of lemon juice (around 1/2tsp)
Salt & Pepper

  • Pre-heat your oven to 180 degrees
  • If you’re having potatoes with this get them cooking first (they will take longer to cook than the salmon)
  • Mix the crème fraiche, mustard and lemon juice together in a bowl
  • Line a baking sheet with foil and place the salmon fillets, skin side down onto the foil
  • Carefully cover the top of each fillet with the crème fraiche mixture 
  • Place into the oven for 10 minutes 
  • While the salmon is in the oven cook whatever green veg you’re having with it and, theoretically anyway, it’ll all be ready at the same time.

Chickpea salad of dreams

I had great fun finally making use of my @amodernwife Instagram stories over the weekend. It’s the ideal platform for those delirious evenings that happen from time to time when your baby is asleep and after what seems like the longest day / week (Tilly’s going through Leap 4 – if you know, you know) you hit the wine. Not in an irresponsible parenting way, obvs. I just had a couple of giddy evenings dancing around the kitchen of the little cottage we rented high on life and chardonnay listening to some fantastic Spotify playlists on the fancy speaker. The music was so bad (EPIC, it was EPIC) that my husband had to move to a different room, except to pop his head in every now and then to ask if I realised, I was dancing in the kitchen on my own. Yes, I did. And Yes, it was awesome. The best bit, if you do go a bit overboard with the wine and consequently the Instagram stories are a little odd, they are only up for 24 hours. What’s not to love?!

The Hasselback potatoes I put on my Insta stories with little giffs of David Hasselhoff on each of them and the Baywatch soundtrack was a defining moment in Instagram history, I think. If you missed it, I’ll probably put it on ‘the grid’ (yes I just used that phrase) later this week.

Back to reality, here is a super easy, really cheap salad that I had for lunch yesterday. It can be whipped together in the 3 ½ minutes that you end up having when you think your child is asleep for a good half an hour more. I love this salad but can only really have it on my own as my husband would rather eat his own shoe leather than have this many chickpeas in one dish.

1 x 215g tin of chickpeas (drained)

1/3 cucumber

A small handful of fresh mint

75g feta cheese

2 tbsp good olive oil

1 cap full of red wine vinegar (or white wine or cyder vinegar – whichever you have)

A handful of shredded chicken (optional – it was in my fridge and needed eating)

Freshly ground black pepper

  • Chop up the mint leaves and the cucumber (peel it if you’re one of the anti-cucumber skin brigade)
  • Chuck them into the salad bowl along with the chickpeas and chicken (if you’re using it)
  • Crumble to feta on top
  • Drizzle the olive oil over everything and add the red wine vinegar
  • Season with black pepper, you shouldn’t need any salt as the feta is quite salty already
  • Stir everything around and dig in

Quick, cheap and easy to prepare. More importantly it’s easy to eat with one hand (or with a spoon) if you have a baby who thinks daytime sleeping is for wimps and being put down is sooooo last month.

The drizzling olive oil I’m using at the moment is Carapelli cold pressed organic oil from Italy, via Sainsbury’s at £6.50 a bottle. I am working my way through the ‘high street’ olive oils at the moment. The number of good extra virgin oils available is getting better and better each year.

Magazine Rifle

I think it’s finally happened. My brain has completely turned to mush. I must have got my laptop out, switched it on and sat down in front of it to write a blog post about fifteen times. Every time, I sit there and fall into an internet wormhole of Instagram and Amazon. Or I just sit there admiring pictures of Ottilie on my fancy new iPhone X; the portrait function makes Tilly look even more cute!

Consequently, the list of blog posts I have to write is getting longer and longer. Good news if I was ever worrying about a lack of material, bad news if you are already bored of these rambling introductions.

I have begun a little project. Nothing earth shattering you understand. But it will free up the entire bottom drawer of the beautiful antique desk I am currently sitting at, which is pretty useful indeed. What, I hear you ask, have I got stashed in the bottom drawer of my desk?  Back copies of Olive and Good Food Magazine (yes, my life does revolve around food that much). I used to have a subscription and kept the copies until I’d gone through them and torn out the recipes to use. Below is a picture of the recipe holder I have all the recipes in from some of the backcopies. I can confirm that not one of these recipes has been cooked.

So for the next 25 or so weeks, at least 3 of our meals will be taken from an issue of either Good Food or Olive. An additional recipe will be chosen from the recipes already cut out.

If they are successful I can keep the recipes and use them again, if not they go in the recycling. At the end of each week the magazine goes in the recycling.

A thrilling endeavour, I’m sure you’ll agree. Well, actually, so far it’s been rather good. We’re on week two. Last week we used Good Food from October 2011. We had curried cauliflower florets, a tandoori chicken thing and a sausage casserole. The cauli and the chicken were nice, but I probably won’t bother with those again. But the sausage thing (that I obviously forgot to take a picture of) will definately be done again as it was lush.

Whilst not the most groundbreaking thing in life, this little project is breaking the monotiny of menu planning using the same old dishes and gives me a perfect opportinity to try new dishes out and widen my cooking portfolio!

How not to bake a whole cauliflower…

Well this is weird. Here I am, out of bed, showered, breakfasted and at my desk before 8.30am (well it was when I sat down). Ottilie’s got a cold which meant she snuffled and slept her way through most of yesterday and I assumed that would mean a terrible night’s sleep. But no. She slept from midnight through til 6.30am!!!! I woke up with my husband’s alarm and panicked, thinking the monitor had broken and she’d been screaming for hours, but she was still happily snoozing snottily. Consequently – I feel pretty champion today.

A world away from the black dog I just couldn’t shift yesterday. It’s ridiculous, I’m the one going on about fresh air and how it’s a gamechanger, yet on a beautiful Monday while I have builders and the house is a dusty mess; I’m the one who can’t bring herself to leave the house until the middle of the afternoon. I CHOSE to do the ironing, I faffed around and moved some piles of paper around all because I couldn’t face the outside world. It never fails to baffle and scare me what one or two too many nights with too little sleep will do to you – regardless how used to it I am by now.

Anyway, on a lighter note, last week I decided to attempt what should be a pretty easy thing of baking a whole cauliflower. Oh how wrong I was. That’s not to say it isn’t easy, I just totally ballsed it up.

How NOT to do it is below.

  • Carefully stir into a bowl of some Greek Yoghurt a delicate mix of spices that you have actually measured out for the huge success this recipe is going to be
  • Don’t bother to cook the spices in oil beforehand or anything – they’ll be lovely raw right??
  • Trim the cauli of it’s green leaves and gouge out its core.
  • Don’t bother to steam it, the Greek Yoghurt will cook it through – whatever
  • Plonk it on an oven tray and carefully paint the whole thing with your raw spice and yoghurt mix. Place in the fridge and forget about it until dinner time
  • Open fridge, realise you really should have covered the cauliflower so the whole fridge stinks of curry for a week
  • Read an online recipe that tells you to steam the cauliflower. Attempt a half-arsed steaming attempt in the oven with a puddle of water in the bottom of the baking tin (it doesn’t work)
  • Bake the Cauli for as long as you can stand it. Serve with some DELCIOUS fried shallot bits that you’ve sprinkled on top. By doing that you have almost litterally polished a turd.
  • Take one bite and realise the entire thing is raw, has the acrid taste of raw spices and all the moisture from the greek yoghurt has been lost into the heat of the oven and not into the cauli.

Fresh Air Fanatic

This is an apology. From us new Mums to our parents. I’m sorry for kicking and screaming when you sent us outside to play. I’m sorry for the whines of ‘do we have toooo?’ And the stamps of ‘I hate you, it’s so unfair’ when you kept us outside helping with the gardening for entire Saturday afternoons in the middle of winter. And the whinging that we just wanted to play one more game of Bamboozle on teletext or watch Philip Schofield and Gordon the Gofer in the broom cupboard (that sounds a bit wrong).

I get it now.

At the ripe old age of 34 I have finally discovered the benefits of fresh air. I now really understand how fresh air can almost make or break a day for me and Ottilie.

I reached a low point in my hormones, emotions, tiredness etc on New Year’s Day this year when Ottilie (who was about 7 weeks old) hadn’t slept or fed well for a few days and we were both exhausted and I was too frightened to leave the house in case she started screaming and I couldn’t feed her or there was nowhere to change her. So by New Years Day I was a mess. I just couldn’t function. I sobbed while making breakfast, I couldn’t hold a conversation with my husband without crying. I wept in the shower. For no reason that I could understand. I felt like I was wading through treacle, the simplest task seemed almost impossible ask. And I just couldn’t see how, in any way, things would get better. My husband offered to take Tilly for a long walk while I had some time to myself. So I took myself to the cinema, I’ve not been to the cinema since 2013!

I don’t think I can class this as a high point in my life, sniffling and silently crying at 4 o’clock on New Years Day on my own in a cinema surrounded by families watching Mary Poppins.

Anyway, long story short I messaged one of my new mum friends while sitting through the seemingly endless pre-film adverts. And she suggested a walk to talk through stuff.

We did two, maybe three rounds of Wandsworth Park the next day and I felt like a totally different person. I slept well. Tilly slept well. Tilly fed better because I felt better. It was like a cloud had been lifted off my shoulders.

My New Years resolutions were set. To go for a walk at least 5 days a week and to make sure I walked 10,000 steps a day, 7 days a week. I have stuck to that pretty much since then.

Come rain or shine I will take myself and Tilly out for a walk. Even if it’s Baltic and blowing dogs off leads, we’ll trudge round a park for 20 minutes. But most days we’ll be out walking for an hour or two. Especially as Tilly is awake for longer now, it seems to stimulate her mind as she loves looking up at the trees and sky from her pram, and consequently sleeps better at night.

Right now as I write this I am suffering the consequences of no walk today (Tilly is asleep thankfully). But it’s 1am and i can’t sleep. I can’t switch off. I’m dreading the next feed. I know I’ll be shattered in the morning, so instead of trying to sleep again I have lain here fretting about stuff for over an hour. I just feel really crap and I fully put it down to a lack of fresh air.

Tomorrow will be better. I have a busy day that involves a lovely long afternoon walk!

Bit of a step away from the usual blogging style but I wanted to attempt the odd different subject from time to time. Let me know what you think or if you think i should just stick to food!!

Courgette and Halloumi Fritters

We’ve all got that item in the fridge for emergencies. It’s the item that pretty much never goes off. Theoretically easy to cook and will make an easy dinner. My Mum always has a tub of Elmlea in her fridge that can be whipped out at a moment’s notice and a vat of creamy comforting pasta with plenty of bacon and chopped up vegetables can be made on a quiet cosy Sunday evening. I’ve tried to keep a tub of cream in the fridge for just such emergencies, unfortunately I succumb to the desire for a carbonara far too quickly, so it never hangs around long. Yes, I know you shouldn’t put cream in a carbonara. So instead, we have a block of Halloumi.

Last week my Thursday evening plans got cancelled. By plans – I mean a spin class and by cancelled I mean, none of my NCT mum tum friends were going to go. There was no way I was going to go to my first spin class since 2017 on my own. So I pretended not to notice the spare bikes on the booking page and told myself it was fully booked! This did mean that Jim wasn’t going to have the homemade Lasagne portion in the freezer and that I was going to have to come up with something pretty jolly delicious to make up for it.

It wasn’t actually a total disaster. If you don’t have a spiraliser you can grate the courgettes or use a peeler to make ribbons.

Serves 2

3 Courgettes

1 tsp fine salt

1 x 250g block of halloumi

2 x eggs

10-15 fresh mint leaves

1 tbsp Ricotta (optional – I had some leftover from a something else)

A pinch of nutmeg

Serve with pan-fried asparagus & tomatoes

  • Spiralize (or grate) the courgettes and place in a sieve over a bowl. Sprinkle with the salt and leave weighted down for 20 minutes or so until some of the water has drained out of them – I didn’t do this bit because I couldn’t be bothered and the fritters I made were almost impossible to turn over as there was so much water coming out of the courgettes
  • Once this has happened – quickly rinse the salt off courgettes in water and place them on some kitchen towel for a few moments
  • Place the courgettes into a bowl and grate in the halloumi
  • Finely chop the mint leaves and add to the bowl of courgettes along with the nutmeg, two eggs and ricotta if you’re using it
  • Mix it all together so all the ingredients are combined
  • Season with black pepper. You shouldn’t need to add any salt as the halloumi is quite salty already
  • Heat up the oven to 100 degrees and prepare an ovenproof dish with a layer of tin foil or greaseproof paper for the fritters
  • Over a medium and in a non-stick frying pan, place a dollop about the size of a small muffin in the pan and squish it down a bit, so it resembles a patty
  • After a few minutes using a fish slice turn the fritter over. Don’t be tempted to turn it too soon otherwise it’ll all apart like this lovely specimen
  • Once browned on both sides (it’ll take around 5 minutes on each side) place each done fritter in the oven proof dish and keep warm in the oven
  • Once they are all done, keep the pan warm and place the asparagus tips in with about 50ml of water – this helps them cook through instead of just charring on the outside. once the water has evaporated off add the tomatoes and some salt & pepper until the asparagus are cooked through and the tomatoes are beginning to fall apart
  • Serve and bask in the reflected delicious carbless dinner you’ve made in about 20 minutes (except the salting bit)