Spring Rolls

So I made these a year ago and then promptly forgot I had ever done such a thing. Bizarrely last week Felix said, remember when you made spring rolls, and I was all, NEVER! Then, serendipitously I fell upon the very post where I talked about them.

Start of spring rolls for #everyfuckingnight
Start of spring rolls for #everyfuckingnight

These are easily vegetarian – just omit the chicken mince (derr) – or turned into a pork version by using pork instead of chicken mince (double derr).

Yes, rolling 40 spring rolls is painful but this is where having 100 kids becomes useful. Sure they might not look perfect (there are spring roll perfectionists who insist they must be tighly and very evenly rolled – no hanging over the edges – so they don’t absorb too much oil) but I only shallow fry them and they sure turned out a treat.

Chicken spring rolls for #everyfuckingnight!
Chicken spring rolls for #everyfuckingnight!
Spring Rolls with cucumber dipping sauce
Sensational spring rolls you can have with meat or vego
For the spring rolls
  • 10-15 shitake mushrooms, stems removed, thinly sliced
  • 100g rice vermicelli noodles
  • 500g chicken or pork mince (optional)
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 carrots, peeled and julienned
  • 4-5 Chinese wombok cabbage leaves, finely shredded
  • 2 tsp oyster sauce
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
For the cucumber dipping sauce
  • 160 ml water
  • 120 ml white vinegar
  • 100 g caster sugar
  • 1 to 1½ large telegraph cucumber
  • 1 red chilli (optional)
  1. Cover the noodles with boiling water and sit for 6 minutes or until soft
  2. Drain really really well - you want to try and avoid a soggy filling
  3. Combine all the vegetable ingredients in a large bowl - mix it all together, have a taste, add some more mushrooms or carrot or cabbage if needed/desired
  4. Heat a wok, add a dash of oil and then fry the mince until browned and any liquid that cooks out of it has evaporated
  5. Add all the vegetables and sauces and stir until well combined and cooked through
  6. Let it cool a bit until it's easy to handle
  7. Take a spring roll sheet and then follow the instructions on the packet! (how's that for methodology!) There are also great you tube clips off it if needed.
  8. Heat about 1cm of oil in a frypan then cook in batches over a mod-high heat - they will only take about 3-4 mins
For the cucumber dipping sauce
  1. Bring the water, vinegar and sugar to the boil and the sugar has dissolved, remove from the heat
  2. Cut the cucumber lengthways and scrape out the flesh the cut up into small dice
  3. Combine and leave to cool.

Balsamic glazed beetroots

A wonderful way to cook beets for a salad or on their own.

I think beetroots are one of those divisive vegetables, like brussel sprouts and cauliflower. If you like them you love them, if you don’t like them they are the food of the devil.

Mum planted beetroots this winter for reasons I’m not sure of, primarily because she doesn’t eat them. And I must confess that as I saw them growing I thought, what the hell am I going to do with all those beets.

Then this book entered my life. I’d already bought Food52’s baking book from which I want to make every single recipe (the magic espresso brownies are amazing) so I held out high hopes for Genius Recipes. It’s premise is 100 legendary recipes for chefs, cooks, bloggers and cookbook authors and it does not disappoint.

So #everyfuckingnight might be tacos for the boys, but I'm making a beetroot, goats cheese and walnut salad for me!
So #everyfuckingnight might be tacos for the boys, but I’m making a beetroot, goats cheese and walnut salad for me!

So, this week’s Tuesday #everyfuckingnight was tacos which I just can’t come at. Mum had picked me about 8 of the beetroots and my plan was hatched.

What I loved about this recipe was its simplicity. My beets didn’t take as long as the recipe said, probably due to their size, but I just sped the process up and they worked an absolute treat. Mine also turned out a more deep maroon than that black purple we expect from beetroots but again, probably due to the variety that we’d grown.

So look, follow what’s below, but trust your gut. You can lift the lid during the simmering stage and check their done-ness, muck around with the heat when reducing the liquid to a consistency you like. It can be more saucy or more syrupy, just make sure you do leave enough to coat the beets and any leaves you add to them.


The recipe says to add the beetroot leaves at the end but these fall into the category of kale for me and taste like balls so I’d sooner mix through some baby English spinach leaves and rocket than that metallic nonsense.

Finally, I took a little punt based on Maggie Beer in her remarkable tome Maggie’s Harvest  and at the very end added a little more butter, some dijon (about 1/4-1/2tsp), balsamic and more finely chopped fresh tarragon just to liven the flavours.

It’s all really quite straightforward with the result being a complete show-pony of a dish. Giddyup!

Home grown balsamic glazed beetroots w/goats cheese, walnuts and tarragon. #everyfuckingnight #fancylike <- total showpony
Home grown balsamic glazed beetroots w/goats cheese, walnuts and tarragon. #everyfuckingnight #fancylike <- total showpony

Balsamic glazed beetroots
A fabulous preparation of beetroots to then use in a salad or on their own.
  • 4-5 fresh beetroots, trimmed and scrubbed and cut into quarters or sixths, depending on size (I used 8 smallish ones)
  • 1 medium sized red onion, sliced into crescents
  • 3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 sprigs of fresh tarragon, finely chopped
  • salt and freshly cracked pepper
  • thumbnail sized nob of butter
  • ¼-1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • dash balsamic vinegar
  • more freshly chopped thyme
for the salad
  • greens (I like using rocket)
  • goats cheese
  • walnuts, toasted
  1. Put everything into a heavy based fry pan (you want the beetroots to be relatively tightly packed in a single layer)
  2. Pour in enough water to just cover the beetroots
  3. Bring to the boil
  4. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 25 minutes (feel free to check as time passes as they might cook more quickly, depending on their size) or until the beets are nearly tender (I judge this as when you stick in a skewer there's still a bit of resistance
  5. Raise the heat again and boil uncovered until the liquid has reduced right down to a syrup and the beetroots are tender
  6. If you're going the optional extra, make a little space inbetween the beets, add the extra ingredients and mix until dissolved/melted, then toss through the whole dish
  7. Season with the salt and pepper
  8. Serve tossed with the salad greens, dot over little pieces of the goats cheese and sprinkle with walnuts
  9. Add some wedges of pear if their in season or you really want to be fancy
  10. Eat!


Steamed coconut buns

Quick and easy steamed buns to serve with pork or stir-fries

The first time I saw this recipe I refused to believe it was so easy. It comes from Jamie Oliver’s 15 minute meals book and I’ve used it time and time again. He creates a great chicken dim sum recipe with them but the buns were a bigger hit than the chicken in my house. There’s a great cucumber pickle he served with it though which I’ve put below.

Check out my buns
Check out my buns

The main thing to remember with these is to not over mix them. Jamie does it in a food processor (for speed basically) but I generally do it by hand because washing a food processor is a bastard of a thing I actively try to avoid.

Think of it  – loosely – like a scone dough. Bring it together, form a log, portion it and voila!

Dongpo (think slow cooked in soy) pork w/steamed buns for #everyfuckingnight
Dongpo (think slow cooked in soy) pork w/steamed buns for #everyfuckingnight

Steamed coconut buns
Fantastic Chinese steamed buns
Cuisine: Chinese
  • 1 400g tin coconut milk
  • 2 heaped cans full of SR flour
  • Good pinch of salt
  1. Tip the coconut milk into a bowl
  2. Add the flour and salt and bring together into a dough
  3. Tip onto a floured benchtop, roll into a log, then break into 8 even pieces
  4. Place each piece into a muffin case and put them into a bamboo steamer, they should be quite snug
  5. Put a wok over high heat and fill about 10cm deep with water, bring to the boil
  6. Put the steamer over the top of the water and cook for 10 minutes

Quick cucumber pickle
A quick cucumber pickle which brightens any meal!
  • 1 telegraph cucumber (or 2 Lebanese cucumbers)
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp rice wine vinegar (or white vinegar)
  1. Peel the cucumber into long strips using a vegetable peeler or slice very thinly
  2. Mix with the soy and vinegar
  3. THAT'S IT!


Zucchini gratin

A beautiful bake of zucchini, rice and cheese

Sometimes you make something that forces you to slow down. For me that normally involves baking and I love it. You can’t rush yeast, a cake needs time, dough wants methodical kneading, pastry asks for, well, everything.

So I saw this recipe on Smitten Kitchen and while I am not the greatest fan of zucchini I needed to make it instantly. What I didn’t realise was it was going to force me to go slow and follow a number of steps. I am, in reality, a much more ‘bung it all in and hope for the best’ cook.

Salting the zucchini
Salting the zucchini

It’s based on a Julia Child recipe and while I own her voluminous Mastering the Art of French Cooking Volumes 1 and 2 I have never cooked from them. So I was, in effect, uninitiated.

You have no choice but to slow down but I was making it for dinner so didn’t want to slow down and got a bit cranky with the whole thing. Salting zucchinis, par-boiling rice, slowly sweating off onions, it doesn’t sound like much but for a weeknight #everyfuckingnight it was frustrating.

Stupidly labour and saucepan intensive zucchini gratin ready for the oven
Stupidly labour and saucepan intensive zucchini gratin ready for the oven

But dagnammit it tasted out of this world which annoyed me even more (and everyone except Felix inhaled it). So my advice is definitely make it but go into it with patience, a willingness to wash up a lot and the knowledge you will be handsomely rewarded.

Voila! Zucchini gratin for #everyfuckingnight (and probably never again).
Voila! Zucchini gratin for #everyfuckingnight (and probably never again).

Zucchini gratin
  • 1.1kg zucchini
  • 1½ tsp of salt
  • ½ cup white rice
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 3 tblsp olive oil
  • 2 large cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 tblsp plain flour
  • Milk, as needed, although broth of your choice would work just fine
  • ⅔ cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
  • Salt and pepper
  • Butter
  1. Preheat oven to 200C and put your oven rack in the top third of your oven
Prepare the zucchini
  1. Halve lengthwise, and if seeds are particularly large, core them out. Grate using a food processor unless you're a masochist and want to do it by hand
  2. Place in a colander set over a bowl. Toss with kosher salt then let drain (according to Julia Child for 5 minutes). I weighted it and drained it for 30 minutes. Don't throw the liquid away
  3. Squeeze a little bit out and taste it. If it's really overly salty (mine was) rinse it under the tap and squeeze out (this water you don't save).
  4. Squeeze all of the zucchini in handfuls collecting the juices into the bowl of drained liquid. You really want to squeeze it out so you don't have soggy gratin.
Prepare rice
  1. Bring to the boil for just 5 minutes then drain and set aside.
Prepare the rest
  1. In a large frying pan, cook the onions slowly in 3 tablespoons oil for 8 to 10 minutes until tender and translucent.
  2. Raise heat slightly and stir several minutes until very lightly browned.
  3. Stir in the grated and dried zucchini and garlic and cook for about 5 minutes
  4. Sprinkle in the flour, stir over moderate heat for 2 minutes, and remove from heat.
Assemble dish
  1. Measure the drained liquid from the zucchini. You want 2½ cups. I got that exactly (skill!) but if you don't add some milk to make up the difference.
  2. Stir into zucchini-onion mixture, return pan to stove over medium-high heat and bring to a simmer, stirring.
  3. Remove from heat and stir in the rice and all but 2 tablespoons cheese (I added all the cheese then sprinkled extra over the top because, cheese.
  4. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed.
  5. Pour into a baking dish, sprinkle over more cheese and dot with butter
  6. Bake for 30 minutes (if it's browning too quickly cover with foil then uncover again for the last 5 minutes.



Twice baked potatoes

One of my greatest failings as a parent is that I have produced children who don’t like mashed potato. How is that even possible? I mean potato, unholy amounts of butter and milk with plenty of salt and pepper, what is not to love. So, when I made these for #everyfuckingnight I was pretty nervous I’d be left eating them for days, but I totally tricked them with bacon, sourcream and cheese! Huzzah!

I based mine on a Pioneer Woman‘s recipe but used violently less butter and completely forgot to add the milk. I also didn’t have/couldn’t find the potatoes on steroids PW used.

While I’ve put some measures in this I strongly advise you to trust yourself and go largely by sight. PW used 8 super big potatoes, I used 6 smaller mid sized ones, probably about a kilo? So look, That’s what I did and they worked a treat.

Twice baked potatoes about to go back in the oven.
Twice baked potatoes about to go back in the oven.


Twice baked potatoes
Potatoes mashed with bacon, sour cream and cheese. Get onto it.
  • 5-6 mid sized potatoes (ideally use much bigger ones and follow PW's recipe linked to above)
  • oil
  • 4-6 slices streaky bacon, or 3-4 traditional rashers
  • 1 tbsp butter, I really think it's optional
  • about 125g or heaped ½cup sour cream, I just used a large tablespoon and used about ½ a 30ml tub
  • good pinch of salt and cracked pepper
  • 2 good handfuls of grated cheese
  • 2 spring onions, finely sliced
  1. Preheat your oven to 200C
  2. Rub potatoes with oil, place on baking tray and bake for 45 minutes or until they're soft on the inside and the skins are slightly crisp
  3. While they're cooking, fry the bacon
  4. Place the bacon, sour cream, butter and seasonings in a bowl
  5. Once the potatoes are cooked, hold them in a tea-towel and cut down through the middle lengthways
  6. Scoop the potato into the bowl with the bacon and sour cream, don't be too precious here, just try not to scoop through the skin
  7. Use a masher and mash up the potato and bacon
  8. Stir in one good handful of cheese and the spring onions
  9. Spoon back into the potato skins, now, when I did this I had two potato skins left over, just so you know the same might happen to you
  10. Put back on the baking tray, sprinkle over more cheese and pop back in the oven
  11. Bake for 15 minutes until the cheese is all melty and golden


Twice baked potatoes
Twice baked potatoes


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