Roasted pumpkin soup

I may have just invented my favourite soup yet! Roasted pumpkin soup but with some great additions that make it totally wow.

I had a pumpkin leftover from Halloween that needed using up so I decided to cut it into pieces and roast it whilst I thought about what to do. In all honesty I’m not a huge fan of pumpkin as it is sweet so I started to come up with ideas on how to use my it. I needed savoury so decided on bacon and just as it was about to whizz in the machine I had the brainwave of adding some of Anjum Anand fabulous chutnis from The Spice Tailor range. Her Tomato, garlic and chilli chutney would add just the right oomph to my soup.

It did. I am really pleased with how it turned out and added a few black pepper croutons to the top before serving.

Roasted pumpkin, bacon and tomato chilli soup.

Roasted pumpkin, bacon and tomato chilli soup
A delicious spicy hot soup to warm you in the cold autumn and winter
Recipe type: soup
Cuisine: British
  • 1 large pumpkin
  • oil spray
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 300g chopped bacon - fried
  • 1.5 l chicken stock
  • 1 tbsp tomato, garlic and chilli chutni (The Spice Tailor range)
  1. Cut the pumpkin in half, half again and then quarters. Scoop out the seeds and pith, place the slices in a roasting tin and spray with oil, add a few peeled cloves of garlic to the pan, place in a hot oven (180C) and roast for half an hour.
  2. Allow to cool.
  3. Cut away the flesh and add to your soup maker. Add all of the other ingredients and switch on the smooth setting.
  4. Once completed the cycle serve with black pepper croutons.
  5. If not using a soup maker, add all the ingredients to a pan and simmer for 20 minutes. Blitz and serve
roasted pumpkin soup

beef casserole kids cooking

Cooking just got a whole lot tastier and easier with the new OXO #HerbsandMore range, little pots of fabulous flavour that add a bit of verve to all your cooking. OXO sent us the range for us to have a go at and said they were so simple to use even the kids could do it. So we put them to the test and we had a lot of fun.

Beef and Ale casserole recipe – the making

Beef and Ale casserole recipe

Like I said loads of fun and dad said the best casserole he’s tasted yet. It would also be perfect for batch cooking find out more on Frugal Family

5.0 from 3 reviews
Beef and Ale casserole with OXO #HerbsandMore
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
A super quick and simple recipe for the most delicious beef and ale casserole
Cuisine: English
Serves: 4
  • 3 tbsp seasoned flour
  • 500g diced beef
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 250 g chopped mushrooms
  • 2 onions finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 150 ml good ale
  • 300g beef stock
  • 1 x Rosemary and Red wine Herbs & More
  1. To make the seasoned flour: Place circa 3 tbsp of plain flour in a pot, add a mixture of herbs and spices and mix. this time I added mustard powder, cayenne pepper, onion salt, black onion seeds, asafoetida, fleur de sel with grilled spices.
  2. Add the beef to the seasoned flour and coat on all sides.
  3. Heat the olive oil in a frying pan and brown the beef, put to one side.
  4. Add the mushrooms to the pan and fry for 2 minutes, add the onions and fry until softened.
  5. Add the balsamic vinegar to the pan. Transfer all to a casserole dish.
  6. Add the stock and the ale. Add the Herbs & More pot to the casserole and stir well.
  7. Cook in a slow cooker on high for 4 hours, on low for 8 hours.
  8. Cook in the oven 160C for about 2 hours

Chicken and vegetable risotto

But that’s not all, the girls took to cooking extremely well so one lunch time we made a Chicken and vegetable risotto with the Lemon and Thyme flavour pot.

chicken and vegetable risotto



Another time we made a delicious lasagna using the Rosemary and red wine pot. It was really tasty.

lasagna with oxo

We’ve been adding them to all our favourite recipes

Fish and Roasted Vegetables with Roast garlic and parsley, Fish Pie with Tarragaon and chive. Cottage Pie

Vegetables will never taste bland again. Take a look at the many recipes on the OXO Herbs & More page

The OXO Herbs & More chefs at work

lasagna kids cooking

The sky’s the limit so have a go yourself. Tonight I’m making a Chicken, Ham and leek pie and I shall  be adding a Lemon and thyme flavour pot to the mix too.

Disclosure: This post is in collaboration with BritMums and OXO, I have been compensated for my time. All opinions my own.


Princes hamper

If you think producing a quick delicious fish dish is difficult Princes are out to prove you wrong and to do so they sent me a hamper of their products and asked me to get cooking with them, so I did.

There was the time my sister in law popped over with my niece and nephew and I prepared baguettes with a tuna mayo filling that everyone was happy with plus it took minutes to get ready. I particularly like this idea as I always have a can of tuna or two kicking around in the cupboard and I always have some mayo in the fridge because I am addicted to the stuff.

On this occasion, to keep the kids happy I kept them plain but if you do like to liven up a baguette then this recipe fave of mine is good

Mari’s tuna baguette

Makes 2
1 tin of tuna – in brine is better as less oily
1 tbsp mayonnaise light
2 anchovies chopped finely
1/2 tsp capers
1/4 cucumber diced
black pepper
1 small baguette

Drain the tuna and place in a bowl, add the mayonnaise and all the other ingredients, mix well together.

We tried quite a few different things in the hamper and one of our favourites were the tins of mackerel, there is a delicious Moroccan spice one that is simply perfect to eat on crusty bread like the tomato mackerel fillets shown below

Princes mackerel fillets


I had a go at various pasta dishes here is a very delicious and simple recipe to try out.

Tuna, courgette and asparagus pasta


1 x 160 can Princes Tuna chunks – hold back 2 tbsp olive oil
175g pasta – short pasta works better
1 clove garlic chopped finely
85g asparagus hard stalk removed and then cut in half
1 small courgette sliced diagonally
2 tbsp creme fraiche
2 tbsp chopped parsley and basil
25g parmesan
  1. Cook the pasta in boiling salted water, drain and set aside. Adding a drop of olive oil to the water whilst cooking will prevent it sticking together once drained.
  2. Boil the asparagus and courgettes for 3 – 4 minutes, drain and set aside
  3. Heat the olive oil saved from the tuna tin in a large pan, add the garlic and cook gently for 1 minute. Add the asparagus and courgette and cooked pasta and toss gently.
  4. Add the creme friache to the pasta, and stir through the chopped herbs.
  5. Stir through the chunks of tuna, add black pepper and serve
  6. Sprinkle parmesan cheese on top

We also made a Tuna in tomato sauce variation which can be seen in the pictures below. The girls loved it. Plus a salmon and vegetable pasta. For plenty more ideas on how to use the Princes products visit their recipe page

Fish are a lean, healthy source of protein. The oily kinds such as salmon, tuna, sardines, contain omega-3 fats which are especially good for healthy hearts and brains.

Princes food

Disclosure: I was sent a hamper of Princes products for the purpose of this post.


bernard matthews

You know those days when you are rushed off your feet and for every step you take forwards you then take two back? The result is come evening you are bushed and yes there’s still dinner to cook for the family. Groan! All I want to do is sit down and relax.

Today was one of those days – actually trash that sentence, this week has been one of those weeks so far, all Go! Go! Go! After an entire day working, run for the school pick up, run back home I have a half hour turn around before we head out of the door for ballet lessons and when we are finally back home the girls are shattered. They are tired, hungry and grumpy.

Well now I have found an ‘exit jail for free’ card. A get out clause that will keep the entire family happy. All of them.

What’s my secret?

Bernard Matthews

Keeping something quick, easy and delicious in the freezer. Some frozen breaded turkey ideas. What’s more the meal I have in mind is so simple to prepare that with a watchful eye I let the girls get dinner for us and they had so much fun.

Believe it or not, as tired as they are they still like to ‘cook’ their meal.

Bernard Matthews have come up with #BootifulMeals and I suggest you take a walk past your supermarket freezer section as I picked up some Mini Turkey Kievs that husband raved about. I brought home some frozen numbers which highly amused the girls and prompted a bit of maths whilst eating their dinner. The dinosaurs were cause for much conversation and dino noises at that meal – all dad I hasten to mention.

Bernard Matthews products may be considered by some to be processed food butthey are plain British turkey with practically no hidden extras. All turkey is locally sourced in the UK and with no added colours, flavourings or preservatives. It is coated in a wholemeal blend crumb.

bernard matthews

Disclosure: This post is brought to you in collaboration with BritMums and Bernard Matthews. I have been compensated but all opinions are my own.

Crispy seed topped fish pie recipe

There’s something about a classic fish pie recipe that appeals to the cosy loving part of me and it’s one of the first recipes I learnt when stepping out into the Big Wide World. Over the years I have altered it and chopped and changed some ingredients but the most recent version I topped with seeds and we were all really pleased with the results.

The seeds add texture and flavour to the topping not to mention important nutrients.

This fish pie follows the classical basic recipe but then I added a few ingredients to make it even more special and I’d love to know your thoughts, here’s what the mixture looks like prior to adding the mash

fish pie filling


Fish pie recipe with a crispy seed topping


1 kg fish ( cod, smoked haddock)
250g prawns
1 onion
100g french beans chopped into bite size pieces
500g baby spinach

White sauce
25g butter
25g flour
500 ml milk
1 heaped tsp English mustard
Mash topping
1 kg potatoes
25g butter
drop of milk or cream

50g breadcrumbs
50 g mixed seeds (sunflower, pumpkin, pine nuts etc)


  1. Preheat the oven to 200 C.
  2. Peel and cut the potatoes into small pieces and put on to boil until soft. Drain add the butter and drop of milk and mash. Put to one side
  3. Cut the mixed fish into bite size chunks and add to the casserole
  4. Finely chop the onion and sautè until soft and golden, add to the casserole
  5. Add the prawns, chopped French beans and baby spinach to the casserole, mix well.
  6. Make the microwave white pouring sauce
  7. Place butter in a large jug in the microwave and melt on high for 30 – 40 seconds Stir in the flour to make a roux. add the milk gradually stirring continuously until well combined. Cook on high for 2 mins. Stir and cook on high for 3 minutes. Continue stirring and cooking 1 minute at a time, sauce should coat the back of a spoon but watch out it doesn’t boil over!
  8. Add the mustard to the sauce and pour over the fish mix in the casserole ensuring it’s well mixed in.
  9. Spread the mash evenly over the top of the fish. Add a pattern with a spoon of fork.
  10. Sprinkle over the breadcrumbs and the seeds and place in the oven at 200C for 30 – 40 minutes


Frozen peas can be added to the fish mixture.
Cheese can be added to the mash topping.
Can be made in advance and kept in the fridge before cooking.
Can be frozen.

See also Fish Pie with a pesto crispy topping