Homemade Food, Recipes

Did someone say macaroni cheese?

When thanksgiving was approaching I was given the job of making the macaroni cheese for an American independence day celebration event, as a Brit did I really master this American dish?

It is difficult to get the perfect concoction for a simple dish, so I began with 3 versions of macaroni cheese as a trial.

I made a basic sauce for all three of these dishes;

  • melt 100g salted butter at a medium heat
  • add 3 tablespoons of flour, or until a roux is made (smooth brown sludge).
  • slowly add and stir in approx 250ml of milk and continue to stir until smooth
  • add 250g of fresh grated cheddar and stir until smooth
  • season to tastemacncheese23

In the picture above:

Top: The basic sauce combined with cooked pieces of chorizo mixed with cooked macaroni cheese and sprinkled with the herbed breadcrumbs.

Middle: Added 250g of grated red Leicester cheese to the basic sauce, coated the cooked macaroni pasta with this. Sprinkled with breadcrumbs seasoned with sage and rosemary herbs.

Bottom: Cooked macaroni pasta mixed with the basic sauce and added pancetta pieces which was also drizzled over the top then baked.

All cooked for 30 – 35 minutes in the oven at 180 degrees Celsius.

The meaty ones were most popular, but the one with the red Leicester cheese added some extra maturity and the crunchy topping was a total winner. For the final macaroni cheese recipe I took this in to account:


I used the basic sauce recipe but increased the quantities by 2.5 times, used extra mature cheddar, extra mature red Leicester and added pancetta.

Finally added a bread crumb topping with sage, rosemary, salt and pepper.


There were no complaints!


Homemade Food, Recipes

15 Minute Low Fat Garlic Mushroom Pasta

Fancy having pasta for dinner but want to keep it low fat, low calorie but filling and nutritious? This is the recipe for you!! Approximately this tasty dish is 306 calories per serving and makes enough for 2!

What do I need?

1 cal olive oil spray

250g chestnut mushrooms

200g spaghetti

half a bag of baby spinach

400g chopped tomatoes

1 teaspoon tomato pesto

handful of parsley leaves

3 cloves of garlic

1 red onion

salt and pepper to taste

parmesan (optional)

What do I do?

  1. Boil a large saucepan of water and add 4 grinds of salt and 4 sprays of olive oil, add the pasta once bubbling. Follow packet instructions for timing and set your timer.

  2. Heat a small frying pan with 5 sprays of olive oil 

  3. Chop the onion, garlic and mushrooms and pop in pan on a medium – high heat and cook until the mushrooms have browned.

  4. Stir in the pesto and add in the chopped tomatoes, bring the temperature down to low – medium, simmer and add herbs, salt and pepper.

  5. Empty half a bag of spinach on top of the sauce and pop the lid on, turn heat down to low until the spinach has wilted.

  6. Drain the pasta and pop back into the saucepan, pour the sauce into the pasta saucepan and tear the parsley as stirring into the pasta.

Voila you’re done, serve up, sprinkle on some parmesan if you so wish and enjoy!!


Garlic Mushroom Pasta.. YUM!


Homemade Food, Recipes

Deep South Cajun Salmon in 10 minutes

Forget about Salmons high calorie count – this fish is insanely good for you, it is full of protein (good for bone density), omega 3 fatty acids for brain function, cardiovascular benefits like reducing inflammation and full of vitamin D. Salmon provides a great source of Selenium which is a mineral that works as an antioxidant in the body which prevents cell damage and keeps immune system and your thyroid working well!

I found this recipe in a friends cookery book, but for the life of me cannot remember what it was called – I searched Cajun Salmon and there were 100s of similar recipes therefore this is my take on what I remembered from the recipe and works really well with lots of health benefits plus makes for a great 10 minute dish, whether it is for lunch or for a post gym din din.

What makes it deep south Cajun Salmon?  I found this delicious spice when looking for a regular Cajun spice, which you can still use. This spice also tastes great on sweet potato wedges.

Cajun Salmon

For two people:

2 Salmon Fillets          Olive Oil      8 Cherry Tomatoes    Half a Cucumber    1 Lemon

2 Tbsp of Cajun Spice     1 Avocado   1 tin of sweetcorn    1 Tbsp Red Wine Vinegar

Handful of Cashew Nuts     Handful of Fresh Coriander       4 Spring Onions

  • Marinate Salmon in the Cajun spice & a couple Tbsp’s of olive oil in a bowl.
  • Heat up a frying pan and pop in the salmon, 4 minutes approx on each side.
  • Meanwhile chop the cucumber, tomatoes, spring onions, coriander, drained sweetcorn and mix in a bowl with the red wine vinegar, adding chopped avocado last.
  • Serve the salmon on a bed of the salad, with a slice of lemon and decorate with a small handful of cashew nuts & it is ready to eat!

You can bulk up the meal with some bulgar wheat, put desired amount in a bowl with boiling water, and cover with tea towel. Every 60g = 300ml water. Once water has soaked in to the wheat add a splash of olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste and mix with salad ingredients.

Personally the Cajun spice is enough for me, but you can add a chilli paste, fresh chilli or chilli flakes if you like something spicier.

There you have it easy peasy Cajun Spiced Salmon.

*Hyperlinks are for information purposes only and are not affiliate links

Breakfast Ideas, Homemade Food, Recipes

10 minute “jazzed up” Banana Bread Cupcakes!

This is going to be quite straight to the point recipe (not too much babbling) – banana bread is a great choice of snack for a boost or to have as a breakfast as keeps you full and gives you energy!

This recipe is not just your average banana bread, I jazzed it up a little from the original recipe I used. This makes 24 cupcakes or 1 loaf cake.


For cupcakes: A cupcake tray, cupcake cases, mixing bowl, small bowl, tablespoon, teaspoon, mixing spoon, fork, knife, measuring jug.

For loaf cake: A loaf tin, greaseproof paper, a extra lump of butter, mixing bowl, small bowl, tablespoon, teaspoon, mixing spoon, fork, knife, measuring jug.


110g of unsalted butter

225g of  caster sugar

4 ripe bananas

Cinammon (optional)

2 eggs

85ml of buttermilk or normal milk with a tsp of lemon juice

1 tsp of vanilla essence

1 tsp of baking soda

285g of plain flour

 A pinch of salt


Pre heat oven to 180 Celsius.

Combine softened butter with sugar until there are no lumps of sugar left / light and fluffy. Put this mixture to one side.

Mash up the 4 ripe bananas with the back of a fork. Add a shake of cinnamon if using into the bananas.

In the creamed sugar and butter mixture, add the vanilla essence, milk, eggs and stir then add the bananas.

Then fold in the flour, baking soda, salt and extra cinnamon (optional).

Either then line cupcake tin with cupcake cases and spoon in mixture to fill half of each case. Pop in the oven for 20 – 25 minutes.

Or line loaf tin with greaseproof paper and grease with extra butter and pour mixture in evenly. Pop in the oven for 1 hour.

To identify that the banana bread is cooked insert a knife into the cake and if it comes out clean it is cooked!

Leave this to cool for a few minutes and then transfer to wire rack and then serve.

Or store in an air tight container for up to 2 days!

Hope you make amazing banana bread & if you do don’t forget to tag me in pictures on social media! @natbat91x

The original recipe is from BBC good food: http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/bananabread_85720

Food, Homemade Food, Uncategorized

Healthy, easy (but just as good) Pancakes!!

Pancake day has come and gone but who says we can’t have pancakes everyday?!? This recipe is so versatile and you can have it as a delicious breakfast, brunch or snack.

Equipment: You need a bowl, a fork, a pan and a spatula or a food blender.

Food wise you need 1 small (preferably ripe) banana, 40g porridge oats (7.5 level tablespoons), lump of butter or coconut oil and 1 egg, then any toppings you love such as berries & maple syrup as a healthier option or you could grill some bacon or add a drizzle of chocolate sauce!! Yum.

Lazy way: You could throw all the ingredients: banana, oats and egg into a food processor until smooth. *There is nothing wrong with being lazy.  Then follow on from step 4 in the Manual way.

Manual way:
1. Mash up the banana using the back of fork, it doesn’t need to be perfectly smooth.
2. Add the egg and whisk together.
3. Next add the porridge oats and stir together. Add extras: 1 tsp cinnamon/protein powder.
4. Heat up the frying pan to a medium heat and melt some butter or coconut oil (1 teaspoon).
5. Spoon 2 tablespoons of mixture per pancake into the pan.
6. The pancakes should take about 2 minutes to cook on each side but this will vary based on your cooker.

This recipe should whip up 6-8 small tasty pancakes & then you can pop them on a plate and sprinkle your ingredients all over the top and voila!

In case you want to know 6 small pancakes (not including toppings) are approximately 360 calories. 

Screen Shot 2017-03-13 at 21.53.21

Hope you enjoy your pancakes with a cup of tea or coffee & tag me in any instagram posts I’d love to see your creations @natbat91x 


Food, Health Foods, Homemade Food, Recipes

Easy & Delicious Homemade Granola

Easy & Delicious Homemade Granola

Today I experimented with making home made granola; which turned out to be pretty easy and quick to make as well as being extremely tasty! I am not much of a granola eater as I tend to find boxed granola difficult to stomach as it can be quite dry, this recipe is super gooey and tastes delish with some fresh berries and yoghurt on top!

It is relatively healthy, with it being low in saturated fats and adds up to about 103 calories per serving, this recipe makes approximately 30 servings & should be thrown out if not eaten within 30 days – keep in an air tight container!

All you need equipment wise is a bowl, weighing scales, foil and a oven dish!


  • 300g rolled oats
  • 100g dried cranberries/raisins
  • 50g nuts – I used a mix bag of pecans and walnuts
  • 100g almond shavings
  • 50g sunflower seeds
  • 2 tsp of coconut oil
  • 125ml of maple syrup
  • 125ml of honey
  • 8 squares of dairy milk chocolate (optional)

You can really make this recipe your own by adding anything you may have in the cupboard, nuts or dried fruit, I added the chocolate to make it more a treat to eat!


Pre heat the oven to 180 degrees and weigh out all the ingredients in one bowl and gently mix the ingredients together! Line a medium sized oven proof dish with foil and decant the mixture into the dish and spread evenly; finally pop in the oven for 10-15 minutes, make sure to check it in the last 5 minutes until slightly golden on the top.

Once cooked, remove from oven dish and leave on a wire rack or plate until it cools down, then it is ready to eat – store in a air tight container and you are good to go!

I entered the quantities of these ingredients (mostly bought from Sainsburys) into the My Fitness Pal app and generated some nutritional information which may be helpful:

Calories: 103 based on 30 servings

Total Fat: 3.8g   Saturated: 0.9g   Polyunsaturated: 1.3g   Monounsaturated: 1.3g

Sodium: 4.4mg

Potassium: 47.7mg

Total Carbs: 14.6g   Dietary fibre: 1.2g   Sugars: 7.5g

Protein: 2.1g

Disclaimer: I found the recipe on BBC good food & made it my own by adding and changing around a couple of the ingredients.

Thank you for reading, hope you enjoy the recipe !

Follow me @natbat91x on instagram for yummy foodie pics & @natbat91x for Twitter..!



Food, Homemade Food, recipe, Recipe Ideas

Comfort Foods: Go Go Gnocchi


This recipe is one of two recipes that is my absolute go to meal if I want to eat something delicious, easy, carby, cheesy and more interesting; as much as I love a good ole mac ‘n’ cheese, which is an excellent go to if all you have in your house is pasta, cheddar, milk and flour!

Ever since I started making “Go go gnocchi” a few months ago, I have had so many questions about how to make it and I am always the over sharing type and want to feed you up as much as I feed up my family and I.

This is an absolutely great meal to make in large quantities for dinner parties or meals for the week!! At the end of this post I also recommend some gorgeous wines that go with the dish too.

Go go Gnocchi

Gnocchi is such an understated potato/pasta and when I tell my friends that you can make a gorgeous crunchy and creamy dish out of gnocchi they are like how??? “It always ends up a soggy potato dumpling”

Equipment: 1 large pan, 1 medium sized frying pan, 1 spatula/stirring spoon, chopping board, knife and a wine glass (with wine in it).

Ingredients: Generously serves 4 people.

Obviously you can change these up based on your preferences and amount of people you are cooking for.

2 x 500g packets of gnocchi

2 x punnets of chestnut mushrooms

1 red onion

2 cloves garlic

130g pancetta

Two tablespoons of olive oil

175ml of water or 175ml of white wine (and a glass for yourself)

2 handfuls of frozen peas (optional)

300ml Creme Fraiche (half fat)

75g of parmesan or cheddar for a sweeter taste.


  1. Heat up a large  non stick frying pan and when it is hot, dry fry the whole packet of pancetta (approx 7 mins).
  2. Meanwhile chop up the onion and the garlic into fine pieces and heat up the second frying pan with both tbsps of olive oil. Then add the onion into the same pan as the pancetta and give a good stir.
  3. Whilst the onion cooks in the smokey bacon flavours, prepare the mushrooms, to do this wipe the mushrooms with kitchen towel and chop into slices and when ready pop in with the onion and pancetta and leave to cook (approx 8 mins).                     *You can wash the mushrooms in water, but wiping with kitchen paper keeps the flavour.
  4. Whilst you’ve been doing step 3 your second pan should be sizzling hot – pop both packets of gnocchi into the pan and keep on a high heat, make sure to keep turning the gnocchi pieces gently to avoid burning. *If your pan isn’t big enough for 2 packets add it in batches.
  5. Once your mushrooms look browned add the garlic, after 1 minute add the 175ml of water or 175ml of wine, bring down to a medium – low heat and pop the lid on to leave the sauce to thicken (approx 10mins). In the last 2 minutes add your frozen peas.
  6. Meanwhile keep gently turning the gnocchi until light brown and start grating the parmesan into a bowl.
  7. Once  pan fried gnocchi is ready add to the mushroom and pancetta sauce, give a good stir, bring down to a low heat and add the creme fraiche and remember to keep stirring. This is the part where you can season to taste with salt and pepper.
  8. Finally when you are ready to serve put half the bowl of parmesan into the sauce and stir, leaving a little to sprinkle on top. Then serve!

Voila! Fini!

This seems like a complicated recipe but once you have the hang of this 2 pot gnocchi dish it is easy peasy! It is not the healthiest of meals but I find if you use minimal oil (dry fry), use half fat creme fraiche and if you add the frozen peas it adds something a little “healthy” to the meal!

Enjoy with a sprinkle of parmesan and a glass of white wine, I like it with a Viognier or a Chablis! However it does also go great with a red wine, I’d recommend Nero di Troia a delicious indulgence from Puglia.

Thank you for reading!

Happy Cooking

Love Natalie x