Blog Posts by Jo Romero

  • Mother’s Day: Treat your Mum to a special afternoon tea at home

    Expert food blogger Jo Romero reveals how to make a sandwich selection, banana cake and scones for Mothering Sunday

    Although an elegant afternoon tea at a posh restaurant or hotel can be expensive, you can make one at home for a fraction of the price. Treat Mum this Mother’s Day to these extra special home-made treats.

    Sandwich selection

    Afternoon tea isn’t complete without a selection of sandwiches, and these are both pretty and inexpensive to make. Each recipe makes 8 small portions (2 whole sandwiches) but adjust quantities to suit the numbers you’re feeding.

    Treat your mum to this homemade sandwich selection this Mother's Day © Jo RomeroTreat your mum to this homemade sandwich selection this Mother's Day © Jo RomeroStilton, tomato and walnut
    Spread a little mayonnaise on four slices of granary wholemeal bread. Crumble a slice of  Stilton over two of the slices. Next, chop a handful of walnut halves, scattering on top of the cheese and then top with 8 small tomato slices. Top with the other slice of bread, cut off the crusts, and then cut crossways into eight squares.

    Egg, bacon and chives

    Shell a large, hard-boiled egg and mash lightly with a fork. When cooled, stir in a heaped tablespoon of mayonnaise and season with black pepper. Next, grill four rashers

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  • 11 Delicious Hot Chocolate Recipes Guaranteed To Warm You Up

    Sea salted, white chocolate, even dairy free - winter warmers for those days when you need a proper hug in a mug

    Slow Cooker Hot Chocolate

    [The Foodie Teen][The Foodie Teen]

    This beautiful slow cooker hot chocolate recipe from The Foodie Teen is paleo and vegan and cooks in the slow cooker (yes you read that right). You just whisk it all together and it’ll cook in a few hours. No dairy, no refined sugar - and it uses raw cacao. So it’s pretty healthy and guilt-free. Hurray!

    Hot Chocolate with Sea Salt Whipped Cream
    [Adventures in Cooking][Adventures in Cooking]

    Eva from the blog Adventures in Cooking created this luxurious hot chocolate with sea salt whipped cream after enjoying an incredible hot chocolate drink in Spain. She got home, tried to recreate it and ended up with this. “Yep,” she writes, “I put chocolate in the whipped cream too, and it was AMAZING.”  And the sea salt? “The hot chocolate slowly melted the bottom of the whipped cream island and made the whole drink slightly salty.” Sounds delicious.

    Super Simple Nutella Hot Chocolate
    [The Sugar Hit][The Sugar Hit]

    Nutella hot chocolate is something to be celebrated - and this one even more so because it’s really simple to make. The recipe comes from

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  • How To Make The Perfect Poached, Scrambled, Fried Or Boiled Egg

    How do you like your eggs in the morning? Chefs give us their top tips on how to hone your egg making skills

    Fed up with stringy, watery poached eggs? Rubbery, chewy scrambled eggs? To celebrate Breakfast Week this week, we asked chefs all around the UK to reveal their secrets to the perfectly cooked egg. Best get the toast on…

    Boiled Eggs

    [Jo Romero][Jo Romero]

    There’s an art to the perfect runny boiled egg. Get the timing just half a minute wrong and you could end up pointlessly stabbing (rather than dipping) your toast soldiers into the solid yolk.

    And what about trying to peel a boiled egg? Ever end up peeling great chunks of egg white off, with the shell?

    Yep, we’ve been there too. Good job our chefs are ready to offer their advice. Urban Rajah, Indian chef and author, says:

    “For the perfect runny boiled egg, boil enough water in a small pan until it reaches a rolling boil. Now pop in a room temperature medium/large egg and cook for one minute. Remove the pan from the heat and leave to stand in the water for 3 minutes. Crack open, dust with some harissa flakes and dip in those toast soldiers.”

    And Matthew

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  • 10 Meals You Can Make With a Pack of Mince

    It's cheap, quick to cook and versatile. So step away from the spaghetti bolognese and try one of these instead

    MInce. It’s cheaper than a lot of other cuts of meat, and extremely versatile. Need some weeknight meal inspiration? Then check out this list, which proves there’s definitely more to mince than Spag Bol and Shepherd’s Pie…

    Dirty Rice

    [Creole Contessa][Creole Contessa]

    Yep, so this doesn’t sound very appetising, but it’s actually lovely. Dirty rice is a Creole dish where rice is cooked with meat - which often includes chopped offal - along with vegetables like onions and peppers and seasoned with herbs and spices. This version of Dirty Rice comes from the blog Creole Contessa and it uses turkey mince, although she says you could use pork or chicken mince instead, if you like.

    Cheeseburger Egg Rolls
    [Divian Conner][Divian Conner]

    So these Bacon Cheeseburger Eggrolls are a bit different. They were created by Divian Conner and they’re kind of like a spring roll with a cheeseburger filling. After stuffing them with beef, seasonings and cheese, if frying them is a step too far for you, you can always cook them in the oven.

    Lamb Pitas
    [Vodka and Biscuits][Vodka and Biscuits]

    “This was one hell of a

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  • Healthy Winter Warmer Recipes

    Just because you're trying to be good doesn't mean you can't have a hearty meal

    OK, so we’ve overindulged over Christmas, and probably eaten a few too many mince pies. Now it’s time to get back on track. But you can still enjoy comforting, winter food that’s healthy. Check out these meals that you’ll look forward to after a long, cold day.

    Protein-Packed Roasted Tomato Soup

    [Jo Romero][Jo Romero]

    This soup has a creamy texture, but it’s completely dairy-free. The creaminess comes from a handful of cannellini beans, which are blended up with the roasted tomatoes, giving a protein boost at the same time. Serves 4.

    12 medium-sized tomatoes
    olive oil, for drizzling
    pinch of salt and pepper
    1 onion, peeled and chopped
    2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
    100ml vegetable stock
    large handful of cannellini beans, from a tin
    handful of fresh basil leaves

    [Jo Romero][Jo Romero]

    First, preheat your oven to gas mark 6/200ºC and quarter the tomatoes. Place them in a roasting dish and sprinkle with salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil. Slide them into the oven until they’re sizzling and lightly roasted - about

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  • Delicious Gluten-Free Vegetable Alternatives To Pasta

    If you’re looking for natural alternatives to pasta and noodles in your favourite dishes, why not try veggies?

    Lamb and Butternut Squash Lasagne
    Butternut squash, if sliced thinly, makes a great alternative to lasagne sheets - and you up your vitamin intake at the same time. Like most lasagnes, it’s best left to settle for a bit after it comes out of the oven, before slicing and serving. Serves 4-6

    [Jo Romero][Jo Romero]

    400g minced lamb
    500g of your favourite tomato-based pasta sauce
    pinch of dried rosemary
    handful of spinach leaves
    half a medium butternut squash, peeled
    500ml crème fraîche
    80g Parmesan or Grana Padano cheese, finely grated

    First, fry the mince in a pan until browned - you probably won’t need any oil as minced lamb can be quite fatty. If necessary, drain the fat off before adding the tomato sauce and rosemary. Simmer until the lamb is fully cooked and the sauce is hot. Turn off the heat and stir in the spinach leaves. Put to one side.

    [Jo Romero][Jo Romero]

    Using a potato peeler, peel thin strips off the butternut squash half until it’s all used up. Open the tub of crème fraîche and stir in all but a couple of

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  • Christmas Dinner Meals Ready In Under An Hour

    You don’t have to spend all Christmas Day roasting a gigantic turkey - why not cook one of these recipes that’ll be on the table in an hour.

    Chestnut and Spinach Stuffed Turkey Breast

    [Jo Romero][Jo Romero]

    These turkey breast fillets take just 40 minutes to cook - and the preparation’s easy. They’re stuffed with chestnuts and spinach and then wrapped in bacon. Beautiful either hot straight out of the oven or sliced, cold from the fridge with a good spoonful of cranberry sauce. Serves 2 large portions (just increase quantities to make more if you need to).

    2 turkey breast fillets
    6 rashers streaky bacon (smoked or unsmoked, your choice)
    1 tbsp olive oil or cooking fat of your choice
    6 chestnuts, cooked and peeled (I’ve used them from a pack)
    1 clove of garlic, chopped
    40g fresh spinach

    [Jo Romero][Jo Romero]

    First, make the stuffing. Add the olive oil or other cooking fat to a frying pan. Quickly chop the chestnuts into small pieces and add them to the pan, along with the garlic and spinach leaves. Allow everything to cook down and the spinach to wilt - it’ll take just 2-3 minutes - and then turn off the heat and leave to cool completely.

    While that’s cooling

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  • 4 Tasty Salad Recipes to See You Through The Winter

    Just becuase the temperatures have dropped doesn't mean you have to give salad the heave ho

    Think salads are just for summer evenings? Then think again. Throw together some leaves, seasonal ingredients and warming flavours and you’ve got yourself a beautiful, nutritious winter meal.

    Roasted Butternut, Stilton and Toasted Pecan Salad with Maple Dressing

    [Jo Romero][Jo Romero]

    There are a lot of contrasts in this salad - crunchy and creamy, sweet and savoury, hot and cold… and it only takes just over half an hour to put it together. Don’t skip the maple dressing - it works beautifully with the cheese and the roasted butternut pieces. Serves 2.

    For the salad:
    a handful of pecan nuts
    half a small butternut squash, peeled, deseeded and chopped into approx 2cm chunks
    pinch of salt
    1-2 tbsp olive oil
    2-3 large handfuls of rocket leaves
    1 thick slice Stilton cheese

    For the dressing:
    1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
    2 tbsp maple syrup
    2 tsp white wine vinegar
    pinch of salt

    [Jo Romero][Jo Romero]

    First, heat the oven up to gas mark 6/200ºC and line a baking sheet with foil. Scatter over the pecan nuts and slide into the hot oven

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  • Eight Easy Slow Cooker Recipes

    Mac and cheese, roast lamb and smoky BBQ ribs - it's time to dust off the ol' slow cooker and get cooking

    A slow cooker is a wonderful thing. You set it all up before you go out and come home to find dinner cooked for you. But slow cooker meals aren’t always fuss (and washing up) free, with all that browning, chopping and frying you need to do beforehand. Here are eight truly effortless slow cooker dishes for you to try. Mac and Cheese, anyone?

    BBQ Ribs

    [Jo Romero][Jo Romero]

    One of the easiest slow cooker dishes to make and probably one of the most satisfying. And there’s hardly any preparation either. First, thickly slice an onion and scatter it all over the base of your slow cooker’s crockpot. Next, clatter in your pork ribs - they’re cheap, too - before rubbing over your favourite barbecue sauce and replacing the lid. Cook on high until the meat starts to fall off the bone - about 4-5 hours should do it. You can eat them as they are, or give them a quick blast in a hot oven to caramelise the sauce and crispen up the ribs. Beautiful with coleslaw.

    Chicken Stew
    [Sweet Peas and Saffron][Sweet Peas and Saffron]

    You want to make a slow cooker chicken stew. But is

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  • Eight Of The Best Recipes For Your Leftover Bread

    With millions of us throwing away bread every day, it's time to great creative with those leftover loaves

    According to research by Love Food Hate Waste, in the UK we throw away around 24 million slices of bread every single day. As well as creating a huge pile of wasted food, that’s also a fair bit of our money we’re chucking away as well. Make your loaf go further with these recipe ideas for using up your leftover bread…

    Crispy Fried Chicken

    [Jo Romero][Jo Romero]

    Or prawns. Or fish. Or mozzarella cheese. Blitz a chunk of leftover stale bread in a food processor and add a few chopped herbs or spices or a spoonful of grated hard cheese, like Parmesan or Grana Padano. Dip your chosen food into a little plain flour, shake off the excess and then dip into beaten egg. Then, coat with the breadcrumbs and fry or oven bake until golden and cooked through. Turn an ordinary chicken breast into milanesas, kievs or cut pieces of fish into strips and make home-made fish fingers. Don’t forget you can always freeze breadcrumbs in a zip-lock bag if you know you won’t use them straight away.

    [The Wanderlust Kitchen][The Wanderlust Kitchen]

    The name makes it sound

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