Goats’ Cheese and Spinach Tortilla

This isn’t so much a recipe as a suggestion. An idea. Inspiration. I know you know how to make this. Whether you call it a tortilla, or a frittata, or an omelette, or ‘miscellaneous egg dish’, you can cook this. But I find that sometimes you just cannot think of anything to cook. You know there has to be a meal. You know you have to make it. But what? Name some meals. Any ideas? Anything? And you can’t think of a single thing that people eat. Or maybe that’s just me when I’m tired.


Anyway, this is an excellent thing to cook. It can feed a group of people, or, if you are solo or one of a pair, you can keep the slices and they make excellent and re-heatable leftovers. You can put whatever odds and ends you have in the fridge in it. You can make it in twenty minutes. It’s very suitable on its own for breakfast – heated up or eaten on the hoof. It’s a perfect lunch and can be very easily transported to work, if that’s your jam. And it’s a satisfying dinner, served with salad or extra vegetables or a hunk of bread if you so choose. Sometimes, meals can just be simple.



Obviously you can add whatever you want to this, skipping out the meat if that’s not your thing, throwing in extra vegetables that are kicking around the fridge, or topping it with other cheeses. You do not have to know what you are doing.


3 tbsp olive oil
a knob of butter
400g little potatoes, unpeeled and sliced (baby new potatoes, Jersey Royals, Anya… anything like that)
1 onion, sliced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
leaves of 1 thyme sprig, finely chopped
leaves of 1 rosemary sprig, finely chopped
Pinch of paprika
Pinch of sea salt
150g chorizo, sliced
handful of fresh parsley, finely chopped
200g spinach, chopped
8 large eggs, whisked
small log of goats cheese, sliced


  1. Heat your oven to 160C/140C fan/ gas 3. In your largest ovenproof frying pan – ideally non-stick – melt your butter and heat your oil on a medium heat. Then pop your potatoes, onion and garlic in, and begin to gently cook them. After a minute, add the thyme, rosemary, paprika, and salt, and stir everything together. Let it cook for a minute, then add your chorizo. Put a lid on your pan (if it doesn’t have a lid put a baking tray or something over it), and let everything sweat gently for five minutes
  2. When everything is soft, add your parsley and spinach, and stir to wilt the spinach. Take the pan off the heat and add your eggs. Stir together until everything is evenly distributed.  Lay your slices of goats’ cheese on top of the egg mixture.
  3. Put your pan in the oven for around 10-15 minutes, or until the egg is cooked through. If you like, you can give it a minute or two under the grill to bronze the top. Let it sit for five minutes before turning it out and slicing it.

Goats’ Cheese Stuffed Chicken with Bacon and Thyme

Full disclosure: it took me ages to come up with a proper name for this recipe, because at home we call it ‘chicken-y bacon-y goats’ cheese-y thing’. At least once a month, when I’m stuck for any original ideas regarding what to make for dinner, I will turn to James and say ‘Chicken-y bacon-y goats’ cheese-y thing?’ and he’ll say ‘Works for me’, and that will be that. I have stated before that I think chicken and goats’ cheese make excellent bedfellows. Also: goat cheese; goat’s cheese; goats’ cheese. I go with the latter because I think it denotes milk from multiple goats, which seems to make the most sense, but who knows? Also, well done if you got to the end of this paragraph without falling asleep.


I have been making this recipe, or some variation of it, for years. There are lots of versions of ‘chicken breast stuffed with some sort of cheese and wrapped in some sort of meat’ recipes on the internet, so this certainly isn’t an original concept, but this is how I make it.

James and I are by no means vegetarians, but we’ve been eating less meat recently, having it as a treat rather than a staple of every meal. This means a recipe like this is now something of a luxury, rather than a standard weeknight dinner, and it’s made me rather fond of it – hence it suddenly popping up on this blog.


You may think that stuffing chicken with something and wrapping it in something else seems like kind of a tricky faff, but it’s far easier than it perhaps sounds and it only takes ten minutes to put together. I am kind of lazy about this sort of thing and I don’t find it too onerous. The chicken also goes well with most grains, potatoes, salads, and greens, so it’s pretty versatile in that you can serve it with whatever you have knocking about.


Notes:  This recipe will feed four, assuming you make a side dish, or you can do what James and I often do and eat two pieces of chicken for dinner and have the other two the next day. Also, all quantities are easily halved.

The side dish in the pictures is a lentil salad type deal that I often make. It is very, very simple so I haven’t included the recipe, but let me know if you have a desperate yearning to know what is in it.


4 garlic cloves
handful fresh thyme
handful of tomatoes (optional)
4 chicken breasts
200g soft goats’ cheese
1 pack streaky bacon
olive oil


  1. Preheat oven to 210C/190C fan/gas 5. Grab some sort of roasting dish or tray. Roughly chop your thyme, crush your garlic, and set both aside. If you’re using tomatoes, cut them in half or into quarters (depending on size) and chuck them in your roasting tray.
  2. Lay your chicken breasts flat, and cut a slit into the side of each, trying not to cut them in half completely. Cram about a quarter of your goats’ cheese into each chicken breast, then wrap each up tightly in streaky bacon – you need about three rashers for each. Lay them in your tray, directly on top of the tomatoes if using.
  3. Rub each piece of chicken with crushed garlic, and sprinkle with thyme. Season with plenty of pepper – you can use a little salt too if you like but I usually don’t, because bacon is inherently salty. Drizzle the whole thing with a little olive oil, then bake for 25-30 minutes until the meat is cooked through, the bacon is crispy, and the garlic is golden. Serve with a drizzle of the juices from the pan.

Goats’ Cheese and Sun-dried Tomato Scones

The observant amongst you may have noticed that goats’ cheese has made several appearances on this blog. That is because it is possibly my favourite type of cheese (although choosing a favourite cheese feels rather like choosing a favourite child, and as I typed that last I was already starting to feel guilty about Stilton, halloumi, and St Jude) and it features fairly heavily in my cooking. Chicken stuffed with goats’ cheese and wrapped in bacon, shallot and goats’ cheese tart tatin, and raspberry goats’ cheese brownies are all regular fixtures around here. I would happily eat the stuff every day if I could.


Oddly though, I misguidedly disliked goats’ cheese as a young child. I vividly remember helping my mother put together some bruschetta for a party at around the age of ten or eleven, and her becoming cross with me when I insisted I didn’t like goats’ cheese.

‘Of course you like goats’ cheese’, she’d admonished. ‘And I don’t want you becoming one of those picky kids that whines about trying new things all the time’.

I didn’t become one of the picky kids, partly because I don’t think my mother would have stood for it. One of the many gifts my parents gave me was to let me (or force me) to eat a wide range of foods throughout my childhood and teenage years. Thus I was lucky enough to be spared the deep fear and mistrust engendered by anything both edible and unfamiliar that I saw in many of my peers when I reached university, and began to be wholly responsible for feeding myself for the first time. It’s kind of hard to justify being fussy about cheese when you’re used to seeing your mother eat an entire fish head, eyes included (and savoured).


So, in a brief foray into savoury baking, I bring you these goats’ cheese, sun-dried tomato, and thyme scones. They are quick and easy to make, and feel slightly less indulgent that the classic scone-jam-clotted cream triumvirate (one of my favourite things in the world, by the way), and could be reasonably appropriate for breakfast, or for lunch with some salad. Or some extra cheese, for good measure.

Notes: If you are one of those people who does not enjoy goats’ cheese (I mean, you’re wrong, but okay) then you could substitute grated cheddar or crumbled feta.

This recipe should make eight to ten standard scones, depending on your cutter size.


140g self-raising flour
140g wholemeal flour
1 tsp baking powder
50g cold butter, cut into small pieces
80g goats’ cheese, crumbled
15-20 sun-dried tomatoes, roughly chopped
2 tsp finely chopped fresh thyme
1 large egg
salt and pepper
2 tbsp plain/Greek yoghurt
4 tbsp milk


  1. Heat your oven to 190/170 fan/gas 5. In a large bowl, mix both flours and baking powder, then rub in the butter until it reaches breadcrumb stage. Stir in 1/2 (40g) of the crumbled goats’ cheese. In a jug, mix together the other 40g of the goats’ cheese, the sun-dried tomatoes, the thyme, the egg, a good pinch of salt and a few grinds of pepper, the yoghurt, and the milk until combined. Make a well in your flour mix and pour in your wet mix, then mix quickly with a cutlery knife, using your hands at the end to briefly knead the dough together – don’t overwork it or your scones will be heavy.
  2. Working quickly, pat the dough out into a rough 2cm thick round on a lightly floured surface. Stamp out as many scones as you can, using a cutter (or a glass if you don’t have a cutter to hand). Be careful not to twist the cutter as you remove it from each scone as this can impede the rise. Gather the scraps of dough, then repeat the cutting until all the dough is used – the scones from the reshaped dough will be a bit rougher and won’t rise as high, but will still be delicious.
  3. Put all your scones on a baking sheet and finish by brushing with milk or sprinkling with wholemeal flour, if you like. Bake for 12-15 minutes until golden, firm on the outside, and easy to pull apart at the ‘waist’. .

Roast Chicken, Apricot, and Goats’ Cheese Salad with Pesto

I hadn’t actually cooked a full roast by myself until I got to university. In my second year, I lived in a beaten-down student house with four friends, and had the run of the shabby old kitchen. The gas oven there was horrific – old and unreliable with uneven heat and prone to turning itself off for no particular reason – but the great thing about roasting huge lumps of meat is that they’re not too precious about things like consistent oven temperature.

My best friend, Annis, and I once decided to host a pre-Christmas dinner there before everyone went home for the holidays. We walked up the road to the supermarket and bought so much stuff that we had to take the trolley back to the house with us because we had no hope of carrying it otherwise. In the end, there were seventeen people crammed into our little house, eating food off whatever random assortment of china, plastic, and paper plates we could find and drinking very cheap wine. We tried to make it look Christmassy.


The humble roast chicken is still my favourite. Yes, beef and pork and lamb are all special and delicious, but for me, you can’t beat roast chicken. It’s cheap, easy, and customisable. Everyone likes it (um, except vegetarians – sorry guys), whereas I have friends who object to beef, pork, and lamb. Best of all: leftovers. I always buy a bigger chicken than we need, to ensure that when we’ve eaten I get to pick the carcass clean (oddly satisfying) and fill a Tupperware box full of delicious meat for the next day.

A cold roast chicken sandwich is a glorious thing – lightly toasted fresh bread, a little bit of garlic mayo, salad leaves, maybe some bacon, and piled high with cold roast chicken. But this time, I fancied a change.


In defiance of the spectacularly non-existent summer we’ve had, I’ve made a light, summery salad, perfect for outdoor gatherings or long, lazy suppers on warm, light evenings. I mean, yes, in reality we ate this on the sofa under a blanket with the central heating on, but never mind. The salad still had that summery spirit I was hoping for.


Notes: I’ve made enough here to feed two people, but you can easily multiply it as needed. The quantities are pretty flexible – really, just use your common sense and base it on how much of everything you have lying around.

I’ve made the pesto from scratch here, because I think it tastes so much nicer and in a salad where pesto is a key ingredient it seemed worth it to me. But the pre-made stuff in a jar will do too if you’re pushed for time. I always do it by eye and it’s a very forgiving thing to make, so don’t worry too much about quantities.


200g cold roast chicken, torn into bite-size pieces
100g soft goats’ cheese, torn into lumps
4 apricots, stoned and halved
salad leaves of your choosing – here, I’ve used one of those mixed bags of watercress, spinach, and rocket

for the pesto (if making it from scratch) 

1 large handful of basil leaves
1 small handful grated parmesan
1 small handful toasted pine nuts
juice of 1 lemon
1 garlic glove, crushed
6 tbsp good olive oil (or thereabouts)
salt and pepper


  1. If you’re making the pesto, do this first. Put all of your ingredients in a food processor and blitz until you have a glorious green paste. If it isn’t loose enough, add more oil. Taste it. Does it need more lemon? Cheese? Salt? Adjust accordingly, then set aside.
  2. Heat a grill pan on the hob until very hot. Brush your apricot halves with olive oil on both sides, and lay them cut-side down in the pan. Grill for two minutes, then flip. You should have the beginnings of a charred bar pattern – if you want it darker then leave them for three minutes per side. If you don’t have a grill pan, you can do this under a grill in the oven.
  3. Assemble your salad. If you want this done prettily on a serving platter for a gathering, start with your leaves, and then place the apricots, chicken, and goats’ cheese on top and drizzle with the pesto. If you’re not fussed about presentation, whack it all in a bowl and give it a good mix. It will still taste great.

Prosciutto, Pesto, and Goats’ Cheese Soda Bread – Bake Off Bake Along Week 3

‘This is one of the trickiest challenges we’ve ever had’, said Paul.

Aaaaand that was me out of the show-stopper. I can barely make bread, let alone make a lion’s face out of bread.

Thank god for soda bread, eh? Essentially a free-form, savoury cake. My bet is that I will be one of many people making soda bread this week. I’ll try a show-stopper at some point, promise. Just not when it involves yeast.


Full disclosure: I did also actually try to make baguettes. I used Master Hollywood’s recipe, and I was really doubtful that it was going to work from the start, hence why I knocked up a soda bread during one prove of the baguette dough as insurance. I’m sure the recipe wasn’t at fault – the problem is that I’m really not set up for bread-making. I mean, let’s take a look, shall we?

  • ‘Lightly oil a 2-3 litre square plastic container…’ – fallen at the first hurdle, don’t have one of those.
  • ‘Put the flour, salt and yeast into the bowl of a mixer fitted with a dough hook…’ – oh, how I long for a mixer, but don’t have one of those, let alone with a dough hook.
  • ‘Put each tray inside a clean plastic bag…’ – those dough bags they have on the show look really useful, but I don’t have any of those.
  • ‘Slash each one 3 times along its length on the diagonal, using a razor blade or a very sharp knife…’ – turns out that I have neither a sharp enough knife to slice dough without dragging it, nor a kitchen razor blade.
  • This recipe doesn’t even mention the couche linen to tuck the baguettes up in to prove, but that would have also been really useful if I’d had it, which I didn’t.

I know, I know, a bad baker blames her lack of tools. I am the first to admit that I also don’t know what I am doing, which can’t have helped. I don’t know quite what happened, but although the first prove seemed to go fine, the baguettes actually got smaller on the second prove and collapsed and shrunk into themselves after only half an hour. I mean, I baked them anyway, but they came out more like large breadsticks than baguettes.


So, here we have soda bread instead. To be clear, I am aware that this looks absolutely horrific. A real mess. But it tasted really good, so I got over the fact that it looked a total state fairly quickly. See that quarter chunk cut out of the loaf in the first photo? I literally ate all of that as soon as I had finished photographing it. I only meant to cut off a little corner to try it, and one thing led to another, and before I knew it I had devoured the lot like a starving wolf.

I took the instructions from the show to heart, you see: soda bread shouldn’t be kneaded too much; it should be crumbly; the texture shouldn’t be like normal bread. Who knew?! (I know, I know, loads of people. But not me). As you can see, my soda bread is pretty damn crumbly, so… success?

Source: Since Alvin’s soda bread was so highly praised, I figured that I couldn’t go too far wrong if I started off with his recipe as a base.

Notes: I made my own pesto for this, because it’s really easy and much more delicious than the stuff in jars. That said, it all gets mixed into the bread dough so it probably doesn’t make a great deal of difference – if you have a jar kicking about, do use that.

The darker bits on top of this bread that look a bit burnt are actually just where I drizzled some pesto over the top of the loaf before cooking and it went dark quickly, but those bits tasted great even though they looked rubbish.

I ate this warm and spread with salted butter and I loved it. I particularly loved how easy it was, and how adaptable. You could pretty much make this with whatever odds you had in the fridge. Bit of meat, bit of cheese, some herbs, and you’re sorted.


450g plain flour
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp table salt
40g cold butter, diced
80g prosciutto, torn
200g log of goats’ cheese, cut into disks
100g (or thereabouts) pesto, fresh or from a jar
300ml buttermilk
1 tbsp butter, melted


  1. Heat your oven to 200C/ 180C fan/ gas 6, and line a baking tray with parchment or a mat. In your largest mixing bowl, sieve together your flour, bicarbonate of soda, and salt. Rub the butter in with your fingertips – I found that there was so little butter compared to flour that it never got quite to the ‘breadcrumb’ stage, but just keep going until you can’t feel the cold smoothness of the butter between your fingers any more.
  2. Reserve a couple of chunks of both the prosciutto and the goats cheese for the topping, and then add the remaining prosciutto and goats cheese to the flour mix, along with all the pesto. Give it a mix to disperse it.
  3. Mix your buttermilk with 25ml of water to thin it slightly, then make a well in your flour mix and add 3/4 of the buttermilk. Stir the mixture with a butter knife until it comes together into a shaggy, slightly sticky dough. Add more buttermilk if it feels dry and won’t hold together.
  4. Tip your dough out onto your baking sheet and shape it into a round-ish loaf. Dust it with flour and score the top in a cross shape deeply with a sharp knife – I found a bread knife best for this. Pop your remaining prosciutto and goats’ cheese on top. Bake for 40-50 minutes. When it’s done, put it on a wire rack and brush with melted butter.

The original recipe tells you to let it cool before eating it, but I thought it was best warm. Plus I am impatient and greedy, so…


Raspberry & Goats’ Cheese Brownies

I should have started writing a blog years ago. Literally, years ago. And the reason I didn’t is pretty stupid: I felt intimidated.

I’m a big reader of blogs, you see – I like nosing into other people’s lives and kitchens – so I am fully aware of the vast, huge, mountainous variety of things to read out there. It seems like every second person has a blog nowaways, and you can find one on almost any conceivable subject. There are thousands upon thousands of UK food blogs. I felt that if I started one of my own, I would just be shouting into the void. I always told myself that my cooking would never be as good as the others, my photographs never as polished, my writing never as engaging. I don’t think of myself as a creative person at all. And nobody would ever read it, so what would be the point?

I would look at all the of wonderful, talented, established food bloggers that I admire, and know that I could never get to that stage. It seemed to me that I should have started back in 2006, when food blogs were becoming ‘a thing’ for the first time. ‘I’m such an idiot!’ I would tell myself, ‘I could have done hundreds of posts by now! I could have archives! I could feel like I know what I am doing!’

I really never feel like I know what I am doing.


Eventually, I managed to convince myself that everyone has to start somewhere, and that it’s likely that all those people I admire probably used to feel like they were shouting into the void too. James always tells me that the idea is not to focus on what everyone else is doing, but to focus on doing your own thing as well as you can and recognising that you might have something the person next to you doesn’t. Of course, he’s much wiser than I am, and got his act together re: creative output many years ago.

That all sort of clumsily brings me on to these brownies.


Source: The recipe is from Faith Durand, and can be found on The Kitchn website, here. Faith Durand is one of those intimidatingly amazing people who I really admire (this is her career! She makes a living out of this! Have you seen that website?!), and I love her recipes. Of course, she’s American, so naturally I’ve had to convert the recipe because ounces and cups mean nothing to me. I’ve tweaked it very mildly in the process, but this is still hers.

Notes: These brownies actually taste better if you let them sit and eat them the next day. If you can manage that, though, you’re a better person than I. They also do very well frozen, and can be eaten cold.

Goats’ cheese and chocolate might sound weird, but I promise you, it’s perfection. If you are serving them to people who might raise eyebrows, just call them ‘raspberry cheesecake brownies’ and tell them what’s in them afterwards. Or don’t.


125g raspberries, lightly crushed with a fork
2 tbsp kirsch, or crème de cassis, or whatver vaguely alcoholic red liqueur you have lying about
285g dark chocolate (70% or higher)
170g unsalted butter
125ml whole milk
400g caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 large eggs
130g plain flour
¼ tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt

for the topping

225g goat’s cheese
110g full-fat cream cheese
30g unsalted butter
1 egg
50g sugar
1 tsp almond extract
Freeze dried raspberries, to decorate (optional)


  1. First, place your chocolate and butter in a bowl over a pan of simmering water to melt. I always put this on first because it usually unexpectedly takes ages.
  2. Heat the oven to 180C/ 160c fan/gas mark 4. Grease and line a brownie pan – I use a rectangular 30cm x 20cm one for everything. Lining the pan will make it far easier to get the brownies out later. Mix your liqueur with your raspberries and set it aside in a bowl to marinate.
  3. Your chocolate and butter should now be well on the way to melting. When it has, remove it from the heat and stir in the milk, and then let it cool for about five minutes. Then mix your sugar and vanilla into the chocolate mixture, and add your eggs one by one. Sift in the flour, baking powder, and salt, and fold until smooth. Chuck around half of the raspberries into the brownie mixture, stir, and spread it evenly into your pan.
  4. Now make the topping. I do this in a bowl with an electric hand whisk. Beat the goats’ cheese, cream cheese, butter, egg, sugar, and almond extract together until combined. Fold in the reserved raspberries – you don’t want them fully incorporated because you want the swirly ripple effect. Use a regular spoon to dollop the cheesecake mixture onto the top of the brownie mixture, then use a skewer or a knife to swirl it around until it looks marbled.
  5. Bake it for twenty minutes, then check it. You’re looking for the brownies to be just barely set in the middle, but starting to very lightly brown and crack around the outsides. It might take up the half an hour, depending on your oven and the size of your pan. As soon as you take them out of thee oven, sprinkle the freeze dried raspberry pieces over the top, if using. Leave to cool and set.