Lamb, Courgette and Aubergine Casserole


1 large white onion, chopped

3 garlic cloves, crushed

4 courgettes (zucchini), cut in different shapes

1 large aubergine, sliced in rings

1/2 a kilo of lamb cut into chunks

4 fresh tomatoes cut in quarters

tomato puree

salt and pepper

500 mls chicken stock

A small glass of wine

Olive oil to cook

A little butter


Fry the onions and garlic in olive oil.  Then a tablespoon of tomato purée.  Add the chicken stock and glass of wine.  Leave to simmer whilst you prepare the meat.  In a frying pan, seal the meat in olive oil and butter.  When brown on the outside, add to the other pan and turn the heat to medium for half an hour.  Then add the courgettes, tomatoes and aubergines.  Continue cooking for 20 minutes or so.  I sometimes add oregano or sesame seeds.  Nice served with plain white rice and a mixed salad.






Leftover chicken

Bought a large roast chicken and there is plenty leftover?  What to do with it?




1 onion peeled and sliced in half and then into thin slices

The chicken taken off the bone and sliced into pieces

A little olive oil and spoon of butter to fry

Salt and black pepper

Half a tub of crème fraiche

3 tablespoons of green pesto sauce

A small glass of white wine and a splash or two of water

Fresh tagliatelle


Fry the onion in the olive oil and butter for about 5 minutes over a medium heat until golden and soft.  Add the cooked chicken, seasoning, crème fraiche, pesto sauce and stir thoroughly.  Add the white wine and a little water if the sauce is too thick.  Simmer for about 15 minutes to let the flavours combine.

Meanwhile fill a large pan with salted water for the tagliatelle….I add a little oil to the water and use fresh pasta, rather than dry, but it is a personal thing.  Cook according to the instructions on the packet and then drain.

The chicken carcass can be put in a pan with water, seasoning and herbs to make chicken stock.

A to Z of Cats-Russian Blue


The Russian Blue breed are a sweet tempered, elegant cat. They are intelligent and suitable for most cat lovers, being very sociable animals. There are quite a few breeders in the UK, so finding a kitten should be fairly easy. Expect to pay around £400 to £500.

A new kitten might be a little timid when first introduced to you and your home. It’s best to provide food and water, plus a litter tray of course and eventually they will seek you out for a cuddle and affection. They do become very attached to their owners. They normally get on well with other cats and dogs. Breeders say it’s rare for them to scratch or bite.

As the name suggests, Russian Blues have beautiful silvery-blue fur which is velvety and easy to groom. It’s short, thick but fine with a dense undercoat. An occasional brush with a soft brush would be a good idea. They have vivid almond-shaped green eyes. The wedge-shaped head is topped with large, pointed ears. The body is long and graceful with long legs, a long, tapering tail. They have small oval paws. Their lifespan is about 15 years, although it wouldn’t be unusual to reach the late teens. They are not prone to illness and don’t have many health issues. They can appear to be staring into space or like they had one vodka too many.

It is thought that the Russian Blue was first shipped to the UK back in 1860 by British sailors returning from the Russian port of Archangel, so they were known as Archangel cats. The cats boarded the ships with the sailors and went all over Europe.

Russian Blacks and Russian Whites have been cropping up in litters for years and were first officially bred in the UK in the early 1960s. The GCCF has given preliminary recognition to these cats, which are identical, except for their colour, to Russian Blues.

Beef Stroganoff


Beef Stroganoff

1 onion peeled, cut in half and sliced
A knob of butter and tablespoon of oil to fry
1 fillet steak per person cut into thin strips
A few sliced baby mushrooms
A pinch of dried herbs to your taste…I used herbes provencal
Fresh flat leaf parsley to garnish
Double cream or low fat creme fraiche for weight watchers
A splash of brandy
Salt and black pepper to taste

Melt the butter with the oil in a large saucepan
Gently sweat down the onions
Add the mushrooms and sauté for 5 minutes, followed by the steak for a further 5 minutes
Meanwhile add the dried herbs if using, brandy and finally the cream

Serve with white Uncle Ben’s rice or any long grain rice
Garnish with freshly chopped parsley

The photo was taken before adding the cream

Is Tai Chi for you?

In order to help get more movement in my recovering broken shoulder and arm, I had my first Tai Chi lesson a week ago.

I got lost and turned up 5 minutes late. I saw a teacher facing people standing perfectly still and listening to him. This went on for another 5 minutes and the teacher called me as he could see me through the glass door. He asked if I would like to join them and I briefly explained about my shoulder and jumped right in after taking off my coat. There was just one movement I couldn’t manage which involved hanging the right arm out at shoulder level with the wrist facing down. He said if I imagine doing it with my eyes closed, eventually the body will follow. Hey ho.

I wore my double air Nike trainers, whereas plimsolls would probably be more suitable for the foot swivels, so as not to damage knees.

Been there, got the

I don’t feel I can do my physio today as my poor arm has been through a lot the last couple of days. I definitely hope to go to more Tai Chi. My knee hurt a little, but hopefully, it will strengthen the muscles around the knee. Normally after exercise I feel exhausted, but I caught sight of my eyes in the toilet mirror and they were all sparkly. I felt invigorated.

Yesterday, I returned for my second lesson. It involved the same moves plus breathing techniques but best of all balancing on one leg and walking properly to make falls less likely. I feel it’s helping to make my shoulder more flexible. Some people felt incredibly hot after the session and I must say it’s incredibly relaxing. I don’t suppose it is for everybody as it is somewhat slow, but in my opinion a good way to get fit after an illness or accident.

Chicken and pea risotto


1 onion finely chopped

2 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped

A chicken breast for each person, cut into slices

A sprinkle of oregano and basil

2 bay leaves

Small tea cup of peas (asparagus is nice when in season)

Salt and pepper to taste

500 mls chicken stock

A good drop of white wine

A knob of butter and olive oil to cook

Padano cheese, grated into slivers with a potato peeler


Melt the butter and olive oil in a large frying pan.  Gently fry the onions and garlic for a few minutes before adding the chicken pieces.  When the chicken is sealed, add the rice, peas, seasoning and dried herbs.  Stir everything to mix well.  With a ladle, add the chicken stock slowly one or two ladles at a time.  When the stock is finished, add the wine.  Continue to stir occasionally and if it needs more liquid add a little water in the same way.  Take a spoon out to check if the rice is cooked.  It shouldn’t be mushy.

Side 1

I made a side of courgettes (zucchini), cubed with sliced mushrooms in a little olive oil, butter, teaspoon of turmeric, salt and pepper with a little lemon juice.

Side 2

A large bowl of mixed salad

Avocado spring salad