this is lemonade

A mindful, grateful, creative life: Life constantly hurls lemons at us. I’m on a mission to make lemonade as best I can, by God’s grace.


Leftovers and a little hello

Hello everyone! I’ve missed this space so much! I’ve been really busy though and in the bid to stay focused, am currently not writing very often as you may have noticed. I was busy in May relaxing at one wedding and then playing wedding planner/organiser for another. Things haven’t stopped since (except the sunshine)!

Even – or rather especially – when one is a little overwhelmed, it is very important to eat properly. I must concede that that’s easier said than done. I prefer a weekly (or even bi-weekly) shop when I’m busy. This has been a bit awkward lately, as my shoulder niggles have also resurfaced, making it unsafe for me to drive and unwise for me to carry heavy loads.

Back to eating well though – my favourite way to achieve this whether or not I’m busy, is with leftovers. Making the effort you’ve made, last that little bit longer. I’ve never thrown food away easily, and eating leftovers is in my blood. I do love changing things up a little though, so here are three recent variations on supper!

Potato Cake from left over roast dinner

Roast chicken dinner turned into cold chicken with potato cake. One of the foods that make me feel cosy, is simple roast chicken eaten straight from the fridge the next day. It’s always so delicious! For the potato cake, I added some wheat germ to the crushed roast potatoes for extra fibre that I can’t do without, diced all the veg and mixed it up. Then I cracked in an egg to bind it all together and squashed it into a cake and fried it in a little oil! Try adding some cumin or curry powder for a new flavour to your roast potatoes!

Potato Cake from left over roast dinner

I always cook too many potatoes when I make a roast dinner. It’s always accidental, but I do love my potatoes, I just can’t help it! I made another more hash-like potato cake when I’d run out of the roast veg, but needed a little something before I cooked supper again. I don’t know about you, but I can’t cook on an empty stomach. I end up eating junk and overfilling my stomach before the main meal!

This is a simple little amalgamation of crushed roast potatoes, with some grated cheese mixed in and an egg cooked in pretty much the same way as above. It turned out crispier as I flattened it out more. I served this indulgent little pre-dinner feast with some nuts. When you know dinner is going to be late, having some proper food early evening means you don’t need to eat too much too late at night. I don’t know about you, but I don’t sleep well on a full stomach.

chicken avocado salad sandwich

And finally (I thought this post was going to be photo-heavy and light on words, but no, I’ve obviously been missing this bloggy lark too much!): the ever versatile sandwich. I’m a Brit after all! 🙂

This sandwich is delicious. It’s based on my favourite chicken salad that I shared with you some time ago. Did I mention I love cold roast chicken? Make that any cold chicken 🙂 And add avocado? Match made in heaven! And yes, in trying this combination, I discovered that coriander can go well with avocado 🙂 And squirt in a smidgen of mayonnaise just to bring the flavours together 🙂

I hope you enjoy these ideas. They are simple, but magical – making them doesn’t take much longer than it would to pierce the lid of a ready meal and stick it in the microwave. They are also satisfying, not just for the taste buds, but for the mind too. A rewarding way to exercise your creative muscles briefly and get near instant yummy results! And you will notice there aren’t that many veggies here. When I’m busy, I try to make sure I’m well stocked on fruit – now that’s real instant food!

What do you do with left overs? I’d be really interested to know 🙂



Tenderloin and Tatties

Tenderloin & TattiesI don’t tend to approach cooking from a cook book. I also don’t approach grocery shopping in a very organised way. I just have a rough kind of routine – a map of my “staples” and vague categories in my head: milk, eggs, bread, bananas, yoghurt, cheese with a variation of vegetables, meats and starch added.

I try to be adventurous, but what I experiment with is usually determined by what I happened upon during my weekly shop and what deals were on. I don’t do markets, even though I walk past a brilliant one on the way to work. By the time I’m done with work, the market is usually being disassembled. I would love to be a better shopper, the kind that has conversations with interesting people along the way, but I’m usually the one that grabs a trolley half an hour before closing time and does a supermarket sweep style manic rush.

Anyway, last week, there was a deal on pork tenderloin. I’ve never eaten it in a restaurant, and it’s not a supermarket mainstay to say the least. I followed a recipe for roasting tenderloin about a year ago, and it came out…dry and chewy. (I’m not blaming the recipe by the way. Me and that recipe didn’t click. I definitely didn’t know what I was doing with it.) Sorry Mr Pig.

Well, the second pork tenderloin came home with me last week. And I used Google again. It showed me this. Remember how I never plan anything? Well, I scrolled down and found about three recipes that I had the rough ingredients for. I then decided on one that seemed the most promising. I wanted to steer clear of roasting this time, and try a different method, thanks Diana!

I served the tenderloin with a big cheesy potato rösti cake.What better way to cook grated potatoes than with lashings of grated cheese? Dinner was a winner. It was yum, I can’t lie. Here is my modified version of the tenderloin recipe and my own delicious rehash of many random experiments with grated potatoes 🙂

Tenderloin & Tatties

Pork Tenderloin Medallions With Mushrooms, Green Beans and Caramelized Onions, served with Cheesy Potato Rösti

Serves 2-3

For the Pork

  • 350g or about 1 pound pork tenderloin
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large onion, sliced into thin wedges
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 150g or about 5 ounces mushrooms, sliced
  • 4 tablespoons flour
  • 10cl or about 1/2 cup wine (I used red)
  • 125ml or about 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • 150g or about 5 ounces green beans

For the rösti

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3-4 medium sized potatoes, grated (I left the skins on)
  • Salt (optional)
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 150g or about 1 cup grated cheese (I used cheddar)

Slice the pork tenderloin into rounds of about 1 inch/2cm thick. Press firmly on them with the heel of your hand to reduce them to about half the thickness. Pat dry with kitchen paper and season with salt and ground pepper.

Put a medium-sized frying pan on a medium heat and drizzle the olive oil into the pan. Spoon half of the grated potato into the pan, spreading and flattening out. Spread the cheese evenly over the base layer of potato and season with salt and pepper (I skipped the salt as cheddar is salty enough for me already). Spread the remaining grated potato over the top and flatten as before so that the cheese is covered. Cook until crispy and browned on the bottom for about 10-15 minutes.

Put another frying pan on a medium heat for about 2 minutes then add half of the olive oil and butter. Fry the onions gently in the pan, stirring continuously until they soften but do not brown. Add the sugar and cook for a further 15 minutes or so as the onions caramelise, remembering to stir. Add the mushrooms and sauté the onions and mushrooms together for another 5 minutes or so. Stir from time to time so that the mushrooms brown evenly. Remove the onion and mushroom mixture to a bowl and set aside.

In the first frying pan, turn the potato rösti over and cook until golden brown on the other side for another 10-15 minutes.

Put the second frying pan back on a medium heat and add the remaining olive oil and butter. Coat the tenderloin rounds in the flour and fry gently for about 3-4 minutes on each side until browned. Add the wine, stock and stir in the onion and mushrooms. Simmer uncovered for about 2 minutes to reduce the liquid a little.

Add the green beans on top of the meat, cover the pan and cook on a low heat for a further 10 minutes.

Dish everything out and tuck right in!

Tenderloin & Tatties

I’ve never tried to write a recipe for a whole meal before – if you try this, please let me know if the instructions work for cooking the tenderloin and potatoes together. Also, I’ve tried to put good equivalences for all the measurements. Thankfully it’s not baking, so little ins and outs should not matter. Any feedback welcome though – I hope you enjoy it!