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Category Archives: writing

Foods that Help with Mental Health

I was asked to compile lists of foods that can help with symptoms associated with Anxiety, Concentration and Stress. And after almost three months I ended up with the the one below. Initially the list was like an encyclopaedia so I looked at repeat ingredients with multiple properties.

To use, just look at the symptoms you may have and if you do know what is deficient then look at the ingredient list and making a dish from those ingredients ( there are recipes on this blog to help).

10 Beers

A few years ago I decided to begin writing a book of my adventures in the British Army. Beginning with Day 1. It’s a working progress so any feedback is a great reason to continue ( or not!!).

Quail & Smoked Haddock Scotch Egg

Quail Scotch Egg ( 6 portions).
6 Quails Eggs ( Soft boiled for 90seconds & chilled then carefully shelled)
300g natural Scottish Smoked Haddock
2 Egg yolks
Pinch of white pepper
Blitz haddock and yolks in a food processor until smooth and season with pepper only.
Divide into 6 balls and flatten in the palm of your hand ( handy tip is to keep hands oiled or wet) wrap each patty carefully around a quails egg and roll into an egg shape and chill.
Take a small dish of plain flour season with a little celery salt and cayenne.
Beat an egg with a little milk
Whizz up some fresh breadcrumbs.
Take each chilled egg and roll in the flour shake off the excess and dip into the egg mix coating well then finally into the breadcrumbs.
Deep fry for 2-3 minutes rolling with a spoon in the oil then drain well and enjoy. Can be served with a light creamy curry sauce and a spring onion risotto.

Obesity, Malnutrition & Dementia in 21st Century Britain

Here is a hypothetical question, if everyone in the U.K. was healthy and ate a well balanced diet would it solve the problems our NHS and Care Sector services are facing ?

My personal simple answer is always going to be no.

The rise in the levels of obesity in Britain is worrying to the point that it is affecting future generations, you can still be overweight and malnourished. Our ever dependent need for processed and readily available junk food is a huge part of the problem. People don’t want to wait anymore they want immediate satisfaction; from messaging a friend and wanting an answer, to their eating and drinking needs. We live in a “I want, I want,” world of  instant gratification.

The studies into Dementia over the last decade have taken clinical leaps and bounds to find not only a cure but how to slow its progress and make it more comfortable to live with for sufferers and families affected.

For me and my alchemist mind I believe with better Food & Hydration we can all help each other. The 1st step is to teach the youngest generation that preparing, cooking and eating the correct foods are beneficial to us. There is a lower chance of developing Alzheimer’s if your diet is balanced from an early age, creating your own tastes as you get older, sharing your abilities with friends.

I have devised many recipes with dementia in mind and the associated symptoms. Blending a few simple ingredients and applying the correct cooking process and timings the most insecure amateur can produce beautiful dishes. I mentioned timings, these are critical to retaining as much nutrients, vitamins and hydration in a recipe to complement the flavours.

We are all familiar with the fact that good food can help the healing process if someone is either ill or in hospital. My wish would be for every single person in the UK to have a PPP ( Personal Patient Profile) in this day and age of everyone knowing each other’s business how simple would it be to have people’s food likes and dislikes along with allergens on a profile kept and adjusted all through a persons life that travels with their NHS records.

If we could cut post theatre hospital stays by one day in every major hospital the length and breadth of Britain the savings would be jaw dropping. To achieve this we would have to reinstate chefs into hospital kitchens, preparing fresh food and serving happy patients. Imagine the  scenario, you have just come round from an operation or procedure and after being reassured and made comfortable you are presented a familiar favourite meal ( chosen from your PPP) that initial feeling of comfort and familiarity can help with healing and in the long term saving money. Generating new jobs and careers for generations to come. Hospital food services must be conducted in-house and an internal central purchasing department set up so ensure best procurement.

The Care Sector has already begun to record people’s profiles and even in an area where budgets are tight it is possible to achieve. The secret is to ensure this spreads to hospitals, schools, nurseries and places where meals are supplied. The rise in dementia cases means our approach to diets and feeding has to adapt. We have sufferers who have no interest in food and others who could eat all day long, one could lead to malnutrition and the other to an obese resident. Concentrating on those that don’t want to eat or drink is paramount as food can stimulate certain parts of the brain that may reduce stress, anxiety and help with sleep. Below is a link to an extensive list of foods to help certain symptoms. If you look for what you think is the problem with a resident/patient look at the corresponding list of ingredients to make a nutritious dish, a lot of the ingredients are repeated to cut costs.

The obesity epidemic in my opinion is down to a few factors, the main one being an access to junk food, packed with sugars ( man made and processed) and trans fats, stir this up with limited exercise and you have a recipe made in hell. The public have been blinded with choice but very rarely are we encouraged to get back to basics. Giving school children basic cooking lessons will hopefully lead to them wanting to expand their library of dishes and take this food journey throughout their lives. If more people shop for ingredients the less they will use fast food outlets and shops will react better to public buying power. We all at some stage copy others and with a healthier regime it could catch on. Already chefs visit schools and businesses to demonstrate their cooking and maybe that influence will be the catalyst for a healthier lifestyle. Take the first of many steps by telling yourself that you can do this, a little self belief and my personal favourite having a smaller plate.

Finally the rise in malnutrition throughout the UK has seen a significant increase, whether this is because of a lack of money, bad diet or just not knowing how to cook a simple meal. The time it takes to drive to your favourite fast food joint you could shop for fresh ingredients and make the equivalent at home, enjoying yourself, having family time and even saving a few quid into the bargain. Malnutrition doesn’t just mean someone is skinny it means they are mal nourished, not getting the correct share of proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins and nutrients to lead a healthy life, so someone that is seriously overweight can still be malnourished.

We all have a responsibility, whether it’s to yourself or others are reliant on your assistance. Put the boot on the other foot, if you were poorly and in need of help how would you want to be treated. It’s a simple answer……..

Smoked Bacon & Jalapeño Fouetté Souffle

Smoked Bacon & Jalapeño Fouetté Souffle

Ingredients for 4 servings.50g unsalted butter with an extra knob to grease ramekins.

25g breadcrumbs

50g plain flour

300ml semi skimmed milk

4 medium eggs separated

100g Jalapeño Fouetté

4 Rashers of dry cured streaky bacon.


Heat oven to 200C/fan 180C/gas 6 and place a baking sheet on the middle shelf. Butter 4 x 10cm ramekins generously, lime the sides of each ramekin with a rasher of the bacon and sprinkle a little of the breadcrumbs into the base of each.

In a pan, melt the butter over a medium heat; stir in the flour . Cook, stirring, for 1 min. Take off the heat and gradually stir in the milk, mixing it in thoroughly before adding more. Return to the heat and stir continuously until very thick (around 10 mins). Transfer to a bowl and allow to cool. Crack the eggs, placing the whites into a clean bowl and stirring the yolks into the sauce. Stir in Fouetté and season.

Use a clean whisk to beat the egg whites until peaks form that just hold their shape (electric is best as it will make the job much quicker). Then take a metal spoon and gently fold in the whipped whites into the white sauce.

Spoon the mixture into each ramekin then run the edge of your thumb around the edge to create a clean edge, this ensures the soufflé rises above the rim and doesn’t stick. Place on the baking sheet and bake for 8-10 mins until the top is golden and risen and has a slight wobble. Serve immediately.

Kedgeree Scotch Egg

Kedgeree Scotch Egg

The idea for a Kedgeree Scotch Egg has been rattling about inside my head for ages. So a couple of months ago I put the idea on paper and then the menu where I was working. The uptake was amazing with people who expected a piece of poached haddock with rice a boiled egg and some sort of curry sauce and got my creation.

Ingredients:- 6 portions

6 Soft boiled Quails eggs ( into boiling salted water for just over a minute then removed and plunged into iced water till completely cold)

500g skinless natural smoked haddock. Chop roughly and place in food processor and blend for 20 seconds, add a whole egg and a little white pepper and blend some more, add about 50-70ml double cream and blend again for 5 seconds. Chill for 1 hour in a fridge.

3 separate bowls containing the following. Bowl 1:- 150g fresh white breadcrumbs. Bowl 2:- 1 beaten egg with the same amount of milk beaten into it. Bowl 3:- 100g plain flour.


1. Taking great care, tap each each egg then gently roll and peel off the shell ( give a gentle wash to remove any bits of shell and dry on kitchen paper).

2. Divide the fish mousse into 6 and with slightly wet hands place a ball in the middle of your hand and flatten, place an egg in the middle and bring up all the edges completely sealing the egg. Roll gently until you get a smooth ball.

3. Roll each egg into the flour and gently shake off any excess, now dip into the egg mix ensuring an even cover then into the breadcrumbs, giving a gentle squeeze to make sure they adhere. Chill in fridge.

4. In a small saucepan add 50g butter with 30g finely chopped shallots and cook over a gentle heat without colouring. Add 2 teaspoons of mild curry powder and cook for a couple of minutes slowly add 150ml of either chicken or vegetable stock, cook for 15mins over a gentle rolling heat add 50ml of double cream and strain through a fine sieve.

To serve:-

Heat a deep fat fryer to 180oC.

Place the eggs in the basket and fry for 3-4 minutes occasionally gently shaking the basket to ensure an even colour. Drain and allow to rest on kitchen paper.

You can use a multitude of bases ( I used an onion risotto) or wilted spinach.

Take a warm bowl or plate and pace either a large spoonful of risotto or seasoned spinach in the middle, place the egg on top. With the warm curry sauce gently whisk in a few knobs of butter then drizzle around the egg. Garnish with some finely chopped chives.


Witch or Torbay Sole

this flat one eyed deep sea fish is not the most popular of the flatfish family but still has great taste. They tend to be smaller in size but try to get one that weighs about 500 grams. This recipe suits the fish perfectly and is a twist on a classic where a compound butter is slid under the flesh and baked in the oven.

Cafe De Paris Butter

100g unsalted butter

1tspn medium curry powder

1 egg yolk

1 tspn of both chopped gherkin and capers

1 tspn chopped coriander

1/2 banana shallot, finely chopped

Splash of olive oil.


Heat a small saucepan and add the olive oil and shallot, sweat until translucent and transfer to a food processor add the remaining ingredients and blitz on pulse. Remove and transfer to a sheet of cling film then roll into a sausage shape then chill for at least 2 hours.

To prepare your Witch trim the tail and skirt with some sharp scissors but leave the head on. With a sharp knife make an incision down the lateral line, slide your knife either side of the spine making pockets in either side. With your scissors clip the spine in 3 parts ensuring it is broken but not splitting the flesh underneath. 

Take the butter from the fridge and cut some slices, placing at least 2 in each side.

Preheat your oven to 200oC, grease a baking sheet and lay the fish on top, gently oil the top skin and place in the oven, it should take no more than 10-12 minutes, remove from the oven and transfer to a plate, slide a fork just underneath the dark skin and roll the fork removing the skin. Enjoy with new season potatoes and a green salad.

Neep Soufflé ( Burns Night)

50g cold turnip purée ( seasoned with pepper only)
2 Egg White ( Whipped till stiff peaks)
20g plain flour
20g salted butter ( extra melted butter for greasing ramekins)
25ml milk
Preheat your oven to 200oC
Take 2 large or 4 small ramekins and brush with melted butter ( do upward strokes as this helps the soufflé rise) and chill.
In a small sauce pan melt the butter and add the butter, then the flour, Cook over a low heat for a few minutes and slowly add the milk, optional pinch of nutmeg can be added.
Remove from the heat and add the cold Neep purée mixing well, allow to cool. check seasoning.
Take 1/3 of the whipped egg whites and mix well into the Neep mix, add this to the remainder of the whites and fold in gently.
Fill the ramekins, levelling off with a palette knife and take your thumb round the edge.
Place on a baking sheet and into the top of the oven for 10-12 minutes
Serve immediately and enjoy with Haggis and a whole grain whisky mustard cream sauce.

Zappoli ( Doughnuts)

Ive had this recipe on my phone for ages and then a friend had something similar in a restaurstickant in Ohio of all places and wondered how they were made, so being the recipe geek that I am i sent it to him and thought I should share it here, so here goes, I hope you enjoy

1 vanilla bean
1/2 cup sugar, plus 3 tablespoons
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
1 stick butter
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup water
1 cup all-purpose flour
4 eggs
Olive oil, for frying

Cut open the vanilla bean lengthwise. Using the back of a knife, scrape along the inside of the vanilla bean to collect the seeds. Scrape vanilla bean seeds into a small bowl. Add the 1/2 cup sugar and cinnamon and stir to combine. Set aside.

In a medium saucepan combine the butter, salt, 3 tablespoons of sugar, and water over medium heat. Bring to a boil. Take pan off the heat and stir in the flour. Return pan to the heat and stir continuously until mixture forms a ball, about 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer the flour mixture to a medium bowl. Using an electric hand mixer on low speed, add eggs, 1 at a time, incorporating each egg completely before adding the next. Beat until smooth. If not frying immediately, cover with plastic wrap and reserve in the refrigerator.

Meanwhile, pour enough oil into a large frying pan to reach a depth of 2 inches. Heat the oil over medium heat until a deep-fry thermometer registers 375 degrees F.

Using a small ice-cream scooper or 2 small spoons, carefully drop about a tablespoon of the dough into the hot olive oil, frying in batches. Turn the zeppole once or twice, cooking until golden and puffed up, about 5 minutes. Drain on paper towels. Toss with cinnamon-sugar. Arrange on a platter and serve immediately.

Bread Sauce & Pancetta Soufflé

Bread Sauce & Pancetta Soufflé.