Sunday, 26 February 2017


Recipe of the week...
... Cinammon n Rhubarb Porridge

Ingredients: 2 bigger or 3 smaller stalks of rhubarb, 1 tablespoon caster sugar, a splash or orange juice, a vanilla pod, a shake of cinammon, 50g porridge oats, a big glug of milk or water, a teaspoon of soft brown sugar.

Time taken: Half an hour

Hi readers,

Hope this finds you well today. Are you having a lovely, lazy start to the day? I hope you are! Are the pyjamas on? Are you under the duvet? Is the kettle yet to be brewed? As I write, readers, it’s a quiet Sunday morning in Sheffield. Looks to be a grey February day outside, and things are cosy inside the ChefBeHere household.

I’m sat in my armchair right now, with a cuppa perched on the arm, and Sunday Brunch on the telly. The house smells of cinnamon (as I’ve just treated myself to a delllicious breakfast, recipe to follow shortly..) and I’ve no plan to stand up anytime soon. No plan to do much of anything today, really.

As it’s Sunday. And it’s been a long week. And I’ve ticked off everything on my To Do list. And, readers, I’m endeavouring to go easy on myself – at least from time to time – to enjoy moments like this where the pace slows. This is a new focus of mine, which has come about as I’ve just this week started reading the book ‘Happy’ by Fearne Cotton.

I’m only a few chapters in (will keep you posted on the rest of the book!) but am really enjoying this new read. It hasn’t been out long I don’t think, a recent release, and in this book Fearne writes about her quest for happiness. As someone who has spent parts of her life feeling blue, this book shares Fearne’s experiences with depression and helps people to find and create happiness in their own lives. A wonderful idea for a book, in my eyes.

So, I’ve started reading ‘Happy’ this week and am getting on really well with it, and enjoying having a good book on the go. And, one of Fearne’s first ideas that she shares in this book, as a tool to live happily, is to keep things simple. I relate to this, readers. Fearne finds that eating good food, stretching her legs, getting fresh air, spending time with her family.. these simple things bring happiness into her life.

And I agree. Do you need much more on a Sunday than a slow-paced day with good food, and friends and family, and stretching your legs and getting some fresh air? I don’t. I don’t think I need anything more than these simple things, in order to happily appreciate a day away from the complicatedness of the week and workings of the world.

So, let’s keep Sunday’s simple. And happy, readers. I hope you all have a happy, simple Sunday ahead. Take things easy and be kind to yourself, and your friends and family. Offer them a brew, maybe? Give them a hug? Say something nice? Do this today.

And – in the spirit of a simple, happy Sunday – perhaps treat yourself to a tasty, warm breakfast? This week I’m sharing with you, readers, a recipe for a simple fruit porridge with a strong flavour. Our recipe of the week, this week, is one for Cinammon n Rhubarb Porridge.

This recipe comes about as I happened upon a photo this week on Instagram, of a pretty pink-looking bowl of porridge, and then later that day I wandered into a farm shop and was met with a large display of local grown rhubarb. I left the shop, rhubarb in hand, and found a recipe online on the Tesco website (read here) for a simple rhubarb porridge to make at home.

This is a recipe for the weekend, readers, as I don’t think many of us have half an hour to spare on a weekday morning for porridge prep. But, on a weekend, if you’re starting the day off leisurely and fancy trying out a new porridge flavour, here’s is a recipe that will knock your socks off. Intrigued, readers?? Then rustle up a bowlful Cinnamon n Rhubarb Porridge in just ten easy steps…

1.     Heat your oven to 180C.
2.     Cut your rhubarb up into chunks and tip it into a shallow baking dish.
3.     Sprinkle with caster sugar and drizzle a little orange juice over the top of your rhubarb.
4.     Then, use a sharp knife to split your vanilla pod lengthways and scrape out the seeds inside. Add both the pod and the seeds to your baking dish, and give everything a bit stir together so that the rhubarb is evenly coated in juice, sugar and vanilla.

5.     Safely transport your baking dish into the oven, and roast for 15 minutes until your rhubarb is soft. Take ten minutes to chillax.
ChefBeHere TopTip: Find something good on the telly and stick the kettle on. See what the weather’s doing and have a look what’s occurring in the news, maybe.
6.     Next, you add your porridge oats to a bowl and shake some cinnamon over them, then pour milk or tap water over your oats, until you’ve about half-filled the bowl.
7.     Give things a stir together, and then pop your bowl in the microwave to heat stirring halfway through.
ChefBeHere Top Tip: You know your porridge is ready when it begins to rise in the bowl. When you see this happening, cancel the microwave and give the porridge a minute to settle back down and cool off.
8.     Carefully remove your porridge from the microwave, lift your rhubarb out of the oven, and turn the oven off.

9.     Spoon your rhubarb into your porridge bowl, taking care to leave the vanilla pod behind in the baking dish, and then give your porridge a good stir to mix in the fruit.
10.  Sprinkle a little brown sugar over the top of your porridge to sweeten, and then tuck in while it’s warm! Enjoy your breakfast.

And that readers, is all there it to it. What do you think? Do you like?? Because, I really do! I love a warm breakfast, and I enjoy taking the time at the weekend to make a special effort and cook up something jazzy in the morning.. and this porridge tastes great! A very tart, zingy, spiced bowl of oats. A treat on the tongue!

Personally, I love it. This is the first time, I think, that I’ve eaten rhubarb at breakfast and I’m really happy it came out well. Wasn’t sure what I was doing with the vanilla pod and wasn’t sure whether I was adding too much or too little with the sugar and cinnamon.. but I needn’t have worried as it turned out fine. And tasted a treat.

Let me know, readers, if you give this recipe a try. I’d love to know whether or not you rate rhubarb as a porridge topping? And whether you got on okay baking the rhubarb in the oven to create a compote – did you have any trouble with this? And then, when you sat down with your bowl of porridge, did you like the taste? Was it a good breakfast?

Share your thoughts on the recipe, readers, and let me know and ideas you have to improve this, perhaps, or put a spin on a rhubarb porridge?? Hope it all goes well for you in the kitchen! And here’s wishing you a simple, happy Sunday.

Simplify safely,


A simple way to start the day

Tuesday, 21 February 2017


Recipe of the week...
... Vegan Bean Burgers!

Ingredients: 400g tin chickpeas or beans, 300g root vegetables, 2 garlic cloves, a splash of oil, 2 slices of bread, some form of herbs and seasoning, and salt and pepper.

Recipe makes: 4 burgers (quite cool – you can actually freeze these burgers uncooked and then bake them from frozen another time – so you potentially could up the quantities of ingredients here and prepare more than 4 burgers... then freeze some for another day!)

Time taken: 1 hour total (half an hour to make and half an hour to bake).

Hi readers,

How’s it going today, with this wonderful life we lead? Are you battling the Tuesday blues and powering ahead with the working week? Or are you necking wine and counting the seconds til Friday 5pm?? Either way – I hope you’re keeping your spirits up and thinking positively!

My Tuesday so far, readers, has actually been one of note. Today is the day that I passed my driving theory test. For real. After a week of patchy Highway Code revision and bleary, late night attempts at practicing hazard perception.. I passed the test and walked out with a certificate in my hand.


Not exactly a fun week of my life spent prepping for the theory test.. but it’s over and done with now! I may never need to know so much about road signs or stopping distances ever again – I can just get on with learning to drive a car. That small thing. Phew.

Today, though, besides passing my theory, I’m having the kind of day where it’s possible I might be invisible. Know what I mean? People have been merrily pushing past me and the traffic lights don’t change for me anymore and my emails go unanswered. You’re familiar with this kind of day, readers, where at times you question whether you died in the night and it’s all been make believe since then? 

That kind of day.

 I want to be the swan that the police have been chasing around in Hampshire today (if you missed this gem, the news story is here). It looks like this fellow’s been having a lark. I don’t necessarily want people to be running after me.. that’s all a bit sinister, I suppose. But to bring a smile to people’s faces and be the star of their show for a day. That would be nice.

One good thing about friends and family is that, whether they love you or hate you at the time, often you’re found starring in their show. I had a fabulous friend up visiting from London this weekend and was most occupied for a couple of days, forcing her to be among squirrels at the Botanic Gardens (“rats with bushy tails”).. showing her Sheffield’s impressive waterway, the River Sheaf (entirely by accident).. taking her out for brunch at the best place in town (Tamper, of course). Was most nice.

If ever you're in Sheffield: Tamper

And we talked and talked and talked and, aside from the many tourist attractions of Sheffield, I guess I was a star in her show this weekend. She, certainly, was the star in my show. With long flowing hair which I long for, and three months of girl gossip, and tales of life living down in the Big Smoke. Sometimes, I think you just need your friends around to make you feel like the Hampshire swan you are. I hope, readers, that you’re thinking of someone now who is that friend you have that DEFINITELY brings out the swan in you. Maybe make plans to meet up with them and star in each other’s shows, sometime soon?

Anyway, readers, I feel I’ve gone off on a tangent. I’m writing to you today to share a wonderful recipe, concocted by myself and Floss this weekend, for Vegan Bean Burgers! This recipe came about totally on the fly – devised by two vegetarians with polar opposite tastes in food. Neither of us really knew what we wanted for tea on Saturday, and we definitely didn’t want anything that the other person wanted… and somehow bean burgers won out.

And we have a winner!

 Want to invite one of your fabulous friends around for tea and cook up a storm?? Here’s how to turn the most basic of ingredients (potentially, even, your moulding veg) into a healthy tea for two – enabling you to clear your cupboards and feed an amigo – in just 15 simple steps…

1.     Heat the oven to 200C.
2.     Peel and roughly chop your root vegetables.
ChefBeHere Top Tip: We used some slightly mouldy carrots that I’ve had in the fridge since December and they worked a treat! Any veg you need to use up – now is the time to do something with them and save them from going to waste. Aside from carrots, you could use butternut squash, potatoes, sweet potatoes or even parsnip in your burgers.
3.     Tip your veg into a pan and boil the kettle, then fill the pan with water and heat for around 20 minutes.
4.     While your veg are boiling, you can be using a grater to grate your slices of bread into breadcrumbs.
5.     You can also use this time to drain and rinse your tin of chickpeas or beans. Tip your chickpeas or beans into a bowl, and season with salt and pepper.
ChefBeHere Top Tip: This recipe presented the perfect opportunity for me to use up a tin of mixed beans, which have been sat in the cupboard for the best part of a year. If you’d prefer to use a specific bean, though, bigger beans such as borlotti, kidney or butterbeans work well.
6.     Either press or finely chop your 2 cloves of garlic, and add to the bowl along with some herbs (such as coriander or Herbes de Provence) and seasoning (such as ground cumin, paprika or chilli flakes).
7.     Use a fork to mash the contents of your bowl into a flavoursome bean paste.
8.     Then, once a stab test show your root veg have softened, take them off the heat and drain away the water.
9.     Leave to cool for a few minutes and then use either a fork or a proper masher, depending on the force required, to mash your vegetables into a pulp.
10.  Add your mashed bean mix to the mashed veg mix, and combine everything together into one big burger mix.
11.  Then, use your spoon to roughly divide the mix into quarters, and roll up your sleeves! Use your hands to roll the mix into four burger-sized balls.

Like so

ChefBeHere Top Tip: After this step, as were feeling quite hungry, me and Floss went off-recipe and decided to fry our burgers in a pan to speed up the cooking process. This was an awful decision. They stuck, they burned, they came apart.. and so then we decided to grill them! What you need to do, readers, is just put them in the oven like the recipe says to do. That is all.
12.  For those of you not careering off-recipe, prepare a baking tray by brushing the tray lightly with cooking oil, to cover.
13.  Roll your burger balls in the breadcrumbs, until they’re evenly coated with crumbs, and then place them on your baking tray and flatten the balls slightly.
14.  Brush the top of each burger with a light coating of cooking oil, and then safely transport your bean burgers into the oven to cook for cook for 20-30 minutes.
ChefBeHere Top Tip: Assess the chaos around you – time to get those dishes done!! Remember to turn your burgers over midway through cooking, so that both sides will brown in the oven. Pour yourself a glass of wine.. you’re almost there now.
15.  Once your burgers are cooked through, smelling great and browned on both sides, then you can carefully remove them from the oven and turn the oven off. Serve them up and tuck in!
ChefBeHere Top Tip: Myself and Floss served our burgers with sweet potato fries and salad – a very tasty combination. Alternatively, you could serve them in burger buns perhaps, with fried onions and houmous to top? Or you could serve your burgers with a rice salad and corn on the cob, and pretend they’ve come straight from the barbecue in summertime?? Anything goes!

Adapted from a BBC Good Food recipe found here.

Floss with food

And that, readers, is all there is to it. A fun, messy, low-skill recipe. One that you can sort on the night while chatting away (glugging wine) – without the need for any preparation in advance and possibly without you even needing to buy ingredients in. What do you think?? If you’ve tried out the recipe – how did it turn out? Did you like these beautiful bean burgers, readers? If you haven’t had a go yet, does this recipe tempt you to try out homemade vegan burgers? Let me know! All your thoughts – fire away with them, readers!

I, for one, thought that these burgers tasted lush. Things were a little stressful in the kitchen, when we (the wine) decided to veer off-recipe and change things up a bit – I wouldn’t advocate doing that at all – but it all came good in the end! We sat down to a really tasty, colourful and healthy tea. And a real plateful! There was no skimping on portions.

There certainly was not

I had a wonderful weekend with Floss, readers, and whether or not you feature vegan bean burgers I do hope that you get to have an equally fab time with one of your friends soon. Don’t hesitate! Anytime now you could be the swan that doesn’t make it to the other side of the motorway.. just saying. Live for the day, every damn day.

Hang in there with the rest of your working week, readers, and high five to anyone that gives this recipe a whirl – wishing you major good luck in the kitchen!!

Mash safely,


Go swan! Run free!