Tuesday, 21 April 2015


My Big Slim Greek Omelette
Time Taken: 20 minutes.
Ingredients: 3 eggs, a splash of skimmed milk, a splosh of oil, 1 red pepper, 70g feta cheese (1/3 of a block), and a dozen black olives.
Hi readers,
You know the phrase, ‘The sun will come out… tomorrow!’? Well the sun has come out in Newcastle!! Today we’ve had gloooorious sunshine and warm rays baaaathing us in summer here. For the North-East of England today has been STUPENDOUS. Utterly wonderful.
Do I have a mobile phone yet 6 days after the last one fell in the loo?
No, I don’t.
Am I even CLOSE to sorting out my replacement phone?
Probably not, no.
Do I care today?
Not really, readers. HELL NO.
And all because of the Sun. It’s magic! Today, the campus of Newcastle Uni’s been crawling with students in their shorts and flipflops. Laid out on any available patch of grass. With sunglasses and ice creams. And I was there as one of them! My presentation group at uni had the inspired idea to hold our afternoon meeting on a lawn by the Student’s Union, and I left all my phone woes behind this afternoon to sunbathe with the girls. Best time ever.
How has your day been, readers?? Has the sun been shining inside and out? Have you sung a little song? A small skip in your step? Freckles on your nose? The good times are coming! SUMMER SUMMER TIME. Readers, sit back and unwind and tuck into some proper healthy nosh this summer. Includingggg… My Big Slim Greek Omelette!
For all the bikini-dieting, ball-gown-squeezing, healthy-attituding women of the world: I give you a new tasty Mediterranean recipe to try out at dinnertime! This recipe is a really delicious, light option for your evening meal, which includes 2 of your 5 a day and no carbs along the way. Plus, it’s packed with protein and terrifically filling. And you only need one pan. Win!
Tempted to try My Big Slim Greek Omelette? Here’s how you do in just 10 easy steps…
1. Fish a dozen black olives out of their jar.
2. Use a sharp knife to dice up your red pepper and to chop your feta cheese into small cubes.
3. Heat a little oil in a frying pan over a medium heat.
ChefBeHere Top Tip: You need enough oil to cover the base of the pan when you tip your oil around, but not much more or your omelette might be greasy.
4. Add your diced pepper to the pan and leave to soften for 5 minutes.
5. Meanwhile, crack 3 eggs into a cup and add a splash of skimmed milk along with them.
6. Use a fork to vigorously stir together the contents of your cup, until they’re well mixed.
7. Turn on the grill to heat and then tip your eggy-milky mix into the frying pan along with your pepper.
8. Leave to cook for 5 minutes over a medium heat, until the mix at the edges of your pan starts to look like omelette.
9. Sprinkle your olives and cheese over the omelette and it (still in your frying pan) under the grill for 5 minutes.
ChefBeHere Top Tip: Try to leave the handle of the frying pan so that it sticks out of the grill. This way it won’t be hot when you go to touch it.
10. When your omelette looks cooked on top, take it out from under the grill and use a spatula to shimmy your omelette from the frying pan onto a warmed plate, folding it over in half as you do. Tuck in!
And here we have... My Big Slim Greek Omelette
So, this omelette may not be a looker but it tasted wonderful for my tea today, readers, and went perfectly with the sun shining through the window. I’m not saying we won’t all be tucking into pizza and cake sometime this summer, because I’M SURE that we will. But some days you just want something a little summery, right? And I think omelette makes a top answer to the grumbling in your belly! Never thought to put olives and feta in an omelette? Well, now’s the time!
Readers, hit me up with your thoughts on My Big Skinny Greek Omelette. Does the recipe work when you try it out? Does the omelette taste good in your books? Does this suit a summers evening? Is it just the recipe you’ve been looking for? I’m interested to hear!
And waiting on your feedback. :) Nah I’m off dancing around my room! But I wish you all luck throwing together My Big Slim Greek Omelette. And whatever the weather does, keep carrying summer around with you inside! AAAND put your bloody phone down. You don’t need it in your hand so much! I’m learning this.
Sunbathe safely everyone,

Monday, 20 April 2015


Coffee Cupcakes
Time taken: 1 ½ hours
FOR THE CUPCAKES - 140g caster sugar, 140g butter, 3 eggs, 140g self-raising flour, strong espresso (2 tablespoons of instant coffee mixed with 2 tablespoons of water).
FOR THE BUTTERCREAM ICING – 500g icing sugar, 250g butter, 2 tbsp water,  weak espresso (1 tablespoon of instant coffee mixed with 2 tablespoons of water).

Hi readers,
So it’s Monday. Again. And not a great start to the week for me!! How was your Monday morning?? A grind? Bearable? Tolerable? Not bad? Ok? Fabulouso? I hope you had a better Monday morning than me! Readers, you survived and that’s all that counts.
For me, Monday today started with flatmates scrambling about to get dressed for our shocker of an 8-9am Tesco food delivery slot. Not for in the future – this is far too early. Then my Monday morning descended into fraught correspondence with my parents and my student insurance company. Long story short, readers, I dropped my phone in the loo last Wednesday and haven’t had a phone since. That’s 5 whole days now.
And I’m getting nowhere trying to sort out the situation! My insurance took the claim and passed it on to a terrible local company who don’t respond to emails, who keep trying to call me (ON WHAT PHONE??) and who haven’t yet managed to even collect my wee-soaked broken phone. When they eventually do it has to get to them, then be inspected, then a decision made about what to do about it. I’m not going to have a phone for daaaaaaaaaaaays still!
Literally, it’s such a frustrating situation to be in. At first breaking your phone is quite liberating! No apps and no junk emails to keep checking on. No missing half of a TV show, or missing the view on a bus, because the stupid phone in your face is blocking your view. No ringing or pinging or updates. Just… independence and blissful ignorance of what other people are up to.
But then, after so long, I think you get fed up. I certainly have! Being without a phone gets quite lonely, readers. Plus, it’s really awkward and a little unsafe when you’re on-the-go as you’ve no way to contact anyone. And you can’t talk to mum and dad. Which makes me sad.
So, with tragic phone-gate developments going on, I had a pretty shit Monday morning. But I hope that you didn’t!! And you know what? Regardless of the quality of your Monday morning… just bake it out! Always bake. And bake some more!
This evening the Baking Society at Newcastle Uni are having a Bake Off competition which I’m very excited for. Me and my flatmate Dr Davies are entering a batch of Coffee Cupcakes which we’ve baked this lunchtime and we’ve got our fingers crossed that they taste good and we get through to Round 2! Cross your fingers for us!
So this recipe is based upon an online BBC recipe which you can take a look at HERE.
Want to learn how to bake your own Coffee Cupcakes in just ten easy steps? Here’s how…
1. Preheat your oven to 170˚C and line 2 bun trays with 18 little fairy cake cases.
2. Beat the sugar with the butter until light and creamy.
3. Beat in the eggs, one by one, adding 1 tbsp flour at the same time.
4. Beat in the rest of the flour along with the strong espresso.
5. Spoon your mix evenly into the fairy cake cases and bake for 17 minutes.
ChefBeHere Top Tip: Swap the trays around with 5 minutes to go so that your cakes bake evenly!
6. Leave your cupcakes to cool on a wire rack for 20 minutes.
7. To make your buttercream icing, add all of the buttercream ingredients to a bowl.
8. Beat your ingredients well for a few minutes until they come together to form a smooth mix, which is light and fluffy.
9. Either use a knife to spread icing over each cupcake or (if you have one) crack out a piping bag and neatly pipe icing over your cupcakes.
10. Finally, decorate your cupcakes! Coffee beans or chocolate sprinkles make a fitting decoration. Or maybe M&Ms or Magic Stars?? Be creative!
And then you’ll have a wonderful batch of cupcakes.
Just like these…

Readers, Mondays call for baking. And fun! With our Coffee Cupcakes, I baked the buns and then Dr Davies took charge of icing. Dr Davies is a BIG FAN of a piping nozzle. So we shared the fun. :) And so can you! Why not bake with a friend? Or your special someone?? Or someone who definitely needs cheering up? Share the fun!
And let me know what you think of coffee cupcakes. :) In my ChefBeHereing opinion, readers, these babies are cute, tasty and super moreish! What do you think?? Feeling the love for Coffee Cupcakes?
Good luck for the rest of your Monday. Stay strong, readers.
And bake safely,


Monday, 13 April 2015


Med Bread
Time taken: From start to finish – 2 ½ hours (Half an hour; then an hour’s break; then half an hour; then another hour’s break; then the bread bakes for half an hour).
Ingredients: 500g white bread flour, 300ml warm water, 1 teaspoon of salt, 1 teaspoon of sugar, 1 pack of dried yeast, 4 tablespoons of oil, 1 onion, 2 peppers, 2 tablespoons of dried mixed herbs, & either an egg or a splash of milk for the glaze.

Hi readers,
So I have journeyed back to Newcastle for my final term of university (tears galore!) and I’m launching my final few weeks of student living! Such a strange thought!! And with the big rush of final exams and essays ahead… it’s very daunting. Oh to be back home. Walking the dog and having a lie in some days and watching the telly with a wine in an evening. Easter break seems so long ago already. And I only left home yesterday. I'm missing home A LOT.
Plus, it is noticeably colder in Newcastle than in Sheffield. I’m not joking – 2 ½ hours on the train and today’s been one big BRRRRRRR. It’s nippy! To the North East I say… what the hell?? What is going on?? What?! It’s not WINTER. Not anymore. Not on my watch. Readers, I left the house today wearing shades, with a hoody rather than a coat, and this was a terrible mistake.
So how's your Monday been?? Better? Than shivering and paying rent and collecting missed parcels. I know it’s Monday, and that’s never good, but you’ve got to have had a better time today than me! What’s been your silver lining of today? Give it a think. Just a little shimmer of silver there must be one! Silver liiiiiiiining.
I think mine COULD BE listening to the song ‘Tea & Toast’ by Lucy Spraggan. I picked this up from my cousin while I’ve been down in Sheffield of late. She listens to it in the kitchen and it’s reminding me of family and home. A feel good tune for sure.
Another pick me up today? Has been homemade bread. This was something I decided to have whirl at before I left Newcastle in March. BASICALLY I had time and not a lot of company before I left, and peppers to eat up. So I was inspired to bake an exotic bread! I looked up a recipe online and set to work with much gusto, then froze the loaf to eat when I got back again (best foresight ever). You can check out the original of the recipe that I used HERE.
Here, readers, is how to bake Med Bread in just twelve easy steps…
1. Measure your flour, water, salt, sugar, yeast and 2 tablespoons of oil into a mixing bowl, and stir until they begin to come together to form a dough.
2. Lightly flour your hands and your work surface, and knead your ball of dough for ten minutes.
ChefBeHere Top Tip: If you don’t know what kneading is then check out Youtube. The internet has everything… even bread baking tutorials! Be sure to use some proper elbow grease.
3. After ten minutes, pop your ball of dough back into the mixing bowl and cover with cling film. Leave this to prove now for 1 ½ hours.
4. Take your peppers and your onion and use a sharp knife to dice these into small pieces. Wash your dishes and then take a break for an hour! Listen to some good music.
5. When your bread has quarter of an hour left to prove, heat your oven to 200˚C. Pop your diced pepper into a small ovenproof dish and coat with a splash of oil. Roast in the oven for 10 minutes until they just start to colour.
6. Meanwhile, heat a little oil in a frying pan. Add your diced onion to the pan and fry for 5 minutes until it just starts to colour.
ChefBeHere Top Tip: Prod that onion! Keep it moving around the pan the whole time so that it cooks and softens, but doesn’t burn.
7. Safely take your pepper out of the oven (turning this off) and take your onion off the heat (you can turn that off, too).

8. It’s time to ‘knock back’ your dough! Lightly flour your work surface again and take the dough out of the bowl. Fold your dough repeatedly in on itself using the heels of your hands, until it's smooth and all the air is knocked out of it. Pound your bread on the kitchen top.
9. Knead the pepper and onion into the dough, along with 2 tablespoons of dried mixed herbs.
10. Generously grease a loaf tin and then shape your dough into a rectangle about the size of the tin. Pop it in and leave to prove for another hour somewhere warm.
... After.
11. Ten minutes in advance, turn your oven on again to heat to 200˚C.When fully proved, safely transport your loaf into the centre of your oven to bake for half an hour, until the loaf is firm and golden brown.
ChefBeHere Top Tip: Half way through the bake, brush your loaf with a little milk or egg so that it becomes crispy on top.
12. When it’s finished baking take your loaf out of the oven. Pop it out of its tin and onto a wire cooling rack, to cool for at least half an hour before slicing your bread up to eat!
ChefBeHere Top Tip: When you take your loaf out of the oven, test that it’s cooked by tapping it on the bottom – it should sound hollow.
And there you have it… a homemade Med Bread loaf.
Readers, I’m not going to lie, baking bread is a tough haul. Like it takes SO loooooooong. And I’m such an impatient person. I got seriously bored and fed up along the way. Slumped by my radiator watching it rise. I quite grew to resent this loaf of bread, with all its proving and its kneading and whatever else. Baking bread is no joke.

Don’t get me wrong – there’s no reason to watch your bread rise. You watching it does not affect whether or not the bread rises, readers. Not one bit. I spent a lot of time watching TV, too, as well as the bread. So you can have a life as well as baking bread! Don’t let me put you off trying this recipe. Not one bit. But, readers, be warned you need to be committed to make this happen. And have a good few hours you can spend about the house. And an iron will.
But I did it! And the bread is loooooovely! Very light and fluffy and flavoursome. And with peppers! I can’t say I’ve eaten bread with peppers before, readers, but I hope that I do again. No to baking it (never again) but a firm yes to eating it. Because Med Bread tastes delicious! Homemade bread is always a winner in my books and so peppers just make this loaf extra special. And healthy! This loaf tastes like a dream. A savoury Mediterranean-but-homely-like-Sheffield bread dream, readers.
So I’m no expert on home baking bread, but I’d hazard a guess that this loaf rose high and baked proper. It freezes fine and tastes good. So… thumbs up? Give it a try! Readers, if there are any of you feeling motivated right now to bake your own bread then I say DO IT. You’ll love the sense of achievement and (hopefully) the bread, too! Give this a shot and let me know what you think of the recipe! Am I right? Is it a good ‘un? Is Med bread a hit with anyone beyond me??
And Tuesday is always a better day. Sleep on it.
Bake safely,

Friday, 10 April 2015


Lemon n Poppy Seed Banana Cake

Time taken: 1 ½ hours
Ingredients: 2 tablespoons of milk, 2 tablespoons of honey, 100ml of vegetable oil, 2 bananas, 2 eggs, 2 teaspoons of lemon juice (or the juice of 1 lemon), 1 teaspoon of baking powder, 225 grams of self-raising flour, 25 grams of poppy seeds, & a few blobs of lemon curd.

Hi readers,
As I type, Sheffield is enjoying its fifth or sixth consecutive day of gloooooorious sunshine. Literally, readers, it’s been amazing. Total bliss. I very rarely get lucky with the sun. I usually hear about it afterwards once I’ve emerged from a 9 hour shift at work, but just this once it’s timed its appearance perfectly for my Easter break from uni! And I couldn’t be happier.
Tuesday? I was sunburned. Very much so. 2/3 hours in the garden with my iPod was all it took, and my friends and family were sort of alarmed. Wednesday? My sunburn had developed overnight. Dress shopping with my mum in Meadowhall was painful, and shop assistants were definitely alarmed. Yesterday? We met up with my grandma for afternoon tea (jolly spiffing) and, not wanting to alarm her, I threw on some unseasonal clothes to cover up the sunburn.
But TODAY? It’s almost definitely faded to tan. For real. So I’m back out in the sunnnnnnn and loving life. Readers, are you loving life?? Please say so. I hope you’re alllllll LOVING LIFE. Like sooo so much. Life’s for living and LOVING EVERY MINUTE.
Today, I said ta-ra to my mum as she’s off on a caravan holiday and I was like “CYA WHEN I’VE FINISHED UNI”. How incredibly weird is that??? We’ve almost finished! WEEEIRD. And then, once we’re all clear, comes the freedom, money, exciting times… all for me, please! Send ‘em on over.
For now though, and potentially for the last time (!!), I face the task of gathering my shit together and heading back up to the Toon for uni. Today’s bake came about, readers, because ALWAYS whenever I visit home healthy foods and vegetarian options pack out the fridges and the cupboards. And this is lovely. Very sweet of the fam. But I can never, ever eat it all. Never. And I hate waste! Remember the film Wall-E? Hmm.
So, today, I saw my dad’s fruit bowl was packed out with bananas. All a quality shade of brown (like me). And so I thought, right, Banana Bread. But then I thought nooo! Let’s get jazzy. And SO, as my dad’s a lover of all things lemon, I decided to try to blend together my classic Banana Bread with THE timeless Lemon n Poppy Seed Cake. And a wonder was born.
Here’s how to bake together one Lemon n Poppy Seed Banana Cake, in just ten easy steps…
1. Heat your oven to 180˚C. Grease either a loaf tin or a deep cake tin, and line with baking paper.
2. Measure 2 tablespoons of milk, 2 tablespoons of honey and 100ml of vegetable oil into a mixing bowl.
3. Peel 2 bananas onto a plate, and then take a fork and mash them to smithereens. Add your mashed banana to the mixing bowl.
4. Crack 2 eggs into your bowl, and then add 2 teaspoons of lemon juice (or the juice of 1 lemon) along with 1 teaspoon of baking powder.
5. Weigh out 225 grams of self-raising flour and chuck this into your bowl, on top of everything else.
6. Use a wooden spoon to mix all of your ingredients together until you have a smooth-ish cake mix.
7. Sprinkle around 25 grams of poppy seeds into your bowl, and stir into the cake mix.
8. Tip half of your mix into the greased tin. Spoon a few blobs of lemon curd about on top, and then tip the second half of your cake mix into the tin and smooth the surface of the mix using your spoon.
9. Safely transport your tin into the oven to bake for 1 hour, or until risen and golden. You’ll know your cake is baked when a knife jabbed into its centre comes out clean.
10. Run this knife around the edge of the cake to loosen it from its tin, and then tip out onto a wire rack. Peel off the baking paper and turn your cake the right way up. Leave to cool for at least 20 minutes, before you slice and munch your cake!

Easy peasy Lemon n Poppy Seed Banana Cake :)
Readers, this is a definite chuck-it-all-in-one-bowl affair. The best kind of recipe! And this recipe WORKS. So, my cake came out a tad well done on top, because I’d shelved it too close to the top of the oven. I recommend you leave your cake a lot of room to rise. And rise it will. But, other than the minor singe, this cake baked perfectly well! It rose, it turned a good colour, it baked to the centre. And it came out of the tin like a dream. Sounds too good to be true? Well it isn’t.
Readers, I was SORT OF nervous about how this cake would come out because:
A … I should have been using butter but didn’t have any. Oil was a risky substitute.
B … I also didn’t have sugar and so subbed honey in place of this. Very risky indeed.
And C … It’s a lot of flavours in one cake. A lottalotta them.
But, readers, I’ve tried some Lemon n Poppy Seed Cake and It. Tastes. Good. Like, quite like banana bread, but then when you hit any lemon curd it suddenly becomes lemon cake! That’s my best description. It’s little odd a blend, maybe, but SO MOIST. A roaring success, I think. At least in my books. And the Father Bear's  given this cake a glowing review! Readers, if the fam had a better use for brown bananas then they simply weren’t quick enough. And I doubt it.
What do you think? Have I tempted you?? Surely, taking two great cakes and fusing them into one is an inspired idea! Right? Or are you not convinced about Lemon Poppy Seed Banana Cake? Share your thoughts with me, readers. Otherwise, I’m calling this a triumph both for using things up and for subbing key ingredients!
Readers? Get your bake on, go on.

And experiment safely,