I’m quite excited as I’ve seen a great house to buy.  Me and my partner need to get on the housing ladder … but want a project… to be creative …. and make a bit of money to buy a place that really suits us for a long term home.  We’ve looked at a few  houses and have only instantly fallen for two, one of which we lost.  And then I saw this house, not a pretty house… but there was something about it.  It made me want to know  more about it, and having looked at it we instantly knew ‘this was the place’.  A great refurb project but to enjoy doing it and make it a home, but with a view to sell it within two years and make a bit of of money to move on somewhere else.  My other half is a builder… so free knowledge, skill and labour !  Makes the project cheaper but gives us a new life. For years in rented accommodation we could only talk and dream of refurbishing the home we lived in and didn’t own, so we couldn’t ever pursue our dreams. Having put in an offer on this house we have seen, and having had it accepted, we wanted to find out more about the house, and have found out some really interesting facts.. makes it even more a project. I have been researching the history from when it was built (1899).  We had thought it was built in 1903, making it Edwardian (although we initially thought it was a 1920s house when we first saw it).  However, in the process of our buying it, legal documents have shown it to be Late Victorian, and this is such an interesting period in history with regard to house design and interior design and history in general.  We can’t wait to put the character back into the house with a modern twist, respecting the social influences and design of era. Really excited. I’m not posting any pictures yet, because we haven’t exchanged contracts yet and I don’t want to tempt fate by getting too excited.  Watch this space.. I hope to blog about this quirky house in the months to come!  🙂


A Simple and Chilled to Make Sunday Lunch – Oven Bag Roasted Chicken and Vegetables, Beer Batter Yorkshire Pudding and a Fresh Fruit Salad and Creme Fraiche

My other half usually cooks the Sunday Roast every other week.  However, today he was working and preparation of the Sunday meal rested on my shoulders!  As I work full time Monday to Friday, I often begrudge spending too much time in the kitchen over the weekend, especially when I also have to spend one of those precious weekend days doing the food shopping, and all that goes with that!  Today was one of those days – I wanted to prepare a tasty meal, but not a full blown Sunday Roast involving time in preparing, cooking, serving it up and dealing with all the dishes afterwards!

My idea was to cook the chicken and vegetables in oven roasting bags and to serve with Yorkshire Pudding and gravy, followed by a Fresh Fruit Salad with Creme Fraiche …. and so the plan emerged…. This is so simple … the prepared chicken and vegetables are both popped in the oven at the same time – the chicken for 1 1/2 hours and the veg for 2 hours. 

The chicken is removed from the oven and rested for half and hour while waiting for the vegetables to finish cooking for half an hour.  While they are cooking, quickly knock up the Fresh Fruit Salad, Yorkshire Pudding batter and gravy. 

So, now…. the chicken has been removed and rested, the vegetables are removed half an hour later and kept warm in the bag.  Turn the oven up and cook the Beer Batter Yorkshire Pudding and warm the gravy……  All will then be ready to serve and enjoy.  

So, here’s how it’s done……

Firstly, preheat the oven to 180 degrees centigrade Fan Oven  (or 190 degrees for other ovens)

Oven bag Roasted Vegetables (Nutritious, simple to cook and incredibly tasty) – pop in the oven at the same time as the chicken.



4 Medium Carrots – each carrot cut into four large sticks (I used organic carrots)

2 trimmed Leeks cut into large 3 inch pieces (raggy green parts cut off and discarded)

1 large Red Onion skinned and cut into 8 wedges

6 medium red skinned potatoes, peeled and each cut into quarters (I used Rooster potatoes http://albertbartlett.co.uk/potatoes/ )

2 large cloves of Garlic (crushed, skinned and each cut in half)

1 large handful of Greens trimmed and chopped into large pieces (or cabbage of any type)

1/4 cup of olive oil

4 large glugs of Worcestershire Sauce (I used Lea and Perrins)

1 dessertspoon of runny Honey

Freshly ground Sea Salt and Black Pepper

1 Baco Easy Roast Oven Bag (Medium)


Place the prepared potato, carrot, onion, garlic, leek and cabbage into a large bowl.  In a cup or jug, combine the olive oil, Worcestershire Sauce, Honey, salt and pepper.  Pour over the prepared vegetables in the bowl and then tip the veg mix into an oven bag, and place on a roasting tray (ensuring that as much as possible the vegetables are in a flat layer).  Tie the end of the bag with the nylon tie (provided in the Baco Oven Bag packet) – ensuring there is air in the bag to allow air flow and snip 2.5cm off the corner of the bag to allow steam to escape.  Place the roasting tray in the preheated oven for 2 hours. Half way through cooking turn the bag over on the other side to ensure the charring of both sides of the vegetables.

Succulent Oven Bag Roasted Free Range Chicken  (saves on mess in your oven and seals in the flavours for succulence)


1.5kg Free Range Chicken (I used a Free Range Chicken from Aldi https://www.aldi.co.uk)

2 thin slices of Lemon

2 Garlic Cloves (crushed, skinned and each cut in half)

2 Tablespoons White Wine (I used Sauvignon Blanc, a bottle of which I was slurping at whilst cooking!)

Freshly Ground Sea Salt and Black Pepper

A few knobs of salted Butter at room temperature (I used Anchor butter http://www.anchordairy.co.uk/)

1 Baco Easy Roast Oven Bag (Medium) http://www.baco.co.uk/products/product_19.shtml


Pop the Garlic cloves into the cavity of the chicken, along with the White Wine, Lemon slices and the tip of a teaspoon each of  the sea salt and black pepper.  Smear the surface of the chicken with a knob or two of the butter and then randomly place around 6 small knobs of butter over the chicken.  Place the oven bag on a roasting tray and pop the chicken into the oven bag (ensuring there is air in the bag) and tie loosely with a  nylon tie provided with the oven bags (Baco Easy Roast Oven Bags).  Snip about 2.5cm off one corner of the oven bag to allow steam to escape.  Put the roasting tray into the oven (at the same time as the vegetables) for approximately 1 1/2 hours until golden brown and cooked.  After 1 1/2 hours, or when cooked, remove from the oven and carefully take the chicken out of the oven bag and put on a board to rest. Reserve the meat juices left in the roasting bag and put into a small pan ready to make gravy.

While waiting for the chicken and veg to cook…..

……prepare the Fresh Fruit Salad, Yorkshire Pudding batter and Gravy.  This should only take twenty minutes and, when done, will allow you 1 Hour and Ten Minutes to relax and chill – taking in the delicious and comforting aroma of the chicken and vegetables roasting.  Time to have a bath/shower, make a phonecall to family, watch TV, take the dog for a walk, or have a snooze.. whatever you feel like doing on your Sunday – day of rest.

When the chicken and vegetables are removed from the oven (chicken resting, vegetables being kept warm, fruit salad chilling in the fridge)… cook the Yorkshire Pudding batter and warm the Gravy  

Preheat oven to 220 degrees centigrade – for the Yorkshire Pudding

Beer Batter Yorkshire Pudding  (adapted from a Delia Smith recipe)



3oz (75g) Plain Flour

1 Egg

3 fl oz (75ml) Milk (I used organic semi-skimmed)

2 fl oz (55ml) Beer (I used Carlsberg lager)

2 tablespoons Vegetable Oil

Freshly ground Sea Salt and Black Pepper

Place the flour in a bowl and stir through with a whisk to break down the lumps.  Make a well in the centre, break the Egg into it and beat, incorporating the Flour into it.  Beat in the Milk a little at a time, followed by the Beer a little at a time.  Season with salt and pepper.  Then whisk (I used an electric whisk) until smooth and bubbles appear on the surface. 


Put the oil in a 11 x 7 inches (28 x 18 cm) roasting tin and heat in the oven for about ten minutes.  Pour the batter into the sizzling hot oil in the roasting tin and cook for 20-25 minutes until risen and golden brown.  This recipe only uses one egg and the pudding will not rise massively … but it does produce a very tasty Yorkshire Pudding – the type that you can use to spread butter and jam on as a snack the next day – IF there’s any left!!



Gently warm the reserved chicken meat juices in the pan.  Add a large glug of white wine, freshly ground sea salt and black pepper, a sprinkling of dried Parsley and dried Thyme.  Add 4 – 5 teaspoons of chicken gravy granules, stir in and bring gently the boil and simmer for five minutes.


Zingy Fresh Fruit Salad served with Creme Fraiche


About 10 Strawberries halved

1 Pink Lady Apple cored and cut into 1 inch chunks

1 other type of apple cored and cut into 1 inch chunks (I used a dessert apple off my apple tree)

2 Satsumas – peeled, segmented and segments cut in half

20 seedless Green Grapes and 20 seedless Red Grapes (each cut in half)

1 Banana – sliced

1 large orange (half of it sliced into 4 slices, rind removed and each slice cut into 6 pieces.  The second half reserved to juice)

Juice of 1/2 Lemon

Place the prepared fruit into a large bowl.  Squeeze over the juice of the reserved half of Orange and the juice of half a lemon.  Mix gently through the fruit.  Serve in individual bowls with a dollop of Creme Fraiche.

This zingy Fruit Salad is a superb finish to this meal and really tops it off. 


AND NOW THE MEAL CAN BE SERVED – hand carved chicken slices, with roasted vegetables, a slice of Yorkshire Pudding and drizzled generously with the chicken and white wine gravy.  Finishing off with zingy Fresh Fruit Salad served with a dollop of Creme Fraiche…. DELICIOUS and so simple to do.  Meal enjoyed, of course, with a large glass of white wine – I had Sauvignon Blanc…!