Cold Kitchen

They say the kitchen is the heart of the home. One doesn’t often consider a heart to be cold, but in the case of our kitchen, it is chilly, especially on the feet. When you have to wear shoes or thick slippers just to walk into your kitchen no matter what time of year, then you know you have a problem.

I can remember all the way back to my grandmother’s kitchen. It was always warm with the smell of just baked bread which came from the oven almost daily. It wasn’t fancy, it didn’t have huge amounts of counterspace, but it was warm. And it was the best place on Earth to be some days.

Not so my kitchen. We finally got to the point where we called an insulation contractor. ( And what he said really opened our eyes.

Our home is about 90 years old and we learned that our kitchen was originally a sleeping porch. Which meant that there really wasn’t anything under the floors of our kitchen other than dirt. Sure, it looked good from the outside and the joists were sturdy so there was really no alert to us that we were walking over raw earth. No wonder our feet were always cold. There was the tile, there was a subfloor, there were joists, and then a lot of air and then dirt. And not a lot of air to boot. About 12 inches or so.

It was a huge job that required a delicate hand. Fortunately, our contractor had a slight gentleman who could shimmy on his back underneath the kitchen (after an opening was created) and apply insulation via spraying a foam-like substance under the floor boards and between the joists. That was all it took…although it took a few hours due to the inconvenience of the narrow space.

The good news is that now we can walk on a room temperature floor instead of one that is chilled from below. Our kitchen is the warm heart of the home we always thought it should be and we have solved the mystery of cold feet in our house.  Warm bread and warm feet.  Ahhh.  Heaven.

Strawberry Desserts

Health Benefits of Strawberries in your Cabinetry

Nutritionally the strawberry contains vitamin B and C, lots of potassium, iron and fibre. At around 30 calories a strawberry, they can be eaten freely.

Buying Strawberries

 Local grown strawberries are often the best as they are fresh. Take a quick look to make sure there are no moldy ones in the container. Eat them on the day you buy them, or store them in the refrigerator for up to 2 days as after this they start to degenerate. Don’t serve strawberries straight from the fridge, but allow them to reach room temperature. Ripe strawberries are so delicious they need only be accompanied by a little cream, sugar or perhaps some creme fraiche, followed by a glass of champagne. If you are looking for different strawberry dessert recipes or want to be a little more adventurous, then why not try strawberries dipped in chocolate, easy to make and great for entertaining or picnics.

Strawberry Dessert Recipes – Strawberry Ice Cream

Serves 6 Ingredients

  • 300ml or 1 1/4 cups creamy milk
  • 1 vanilla pod
  • 3 large eggs
  • 225g or 2 cups strawberry juice
  • 75g or 3/4 cup of icing sugar
  • 300ml or 1 1/4 cup double cream
  • a few sliced strawberries to serve

Method 1. With the vanilla pod bring the milk to boil. 2. Once the milk is boiling take it off the heat and let it sit with the vanilla pod for 30 minutes. 3. Pour the milk through a strain to remove the vanilla pod. 4. Pour the milk into a bowl with the eggs and, with an electric whisk, mix together. 5. Pour the milk and egg back into the pan and heat slowly until it forms a thick custard. 6. Pour the custard into a bowl and allow it to cool. 7. Now using the electric whisk, again mix the cream until it stands in peaks. 8. Fold the custard, strawberry juice, icing sugar and cream together. 9. Using an ice cream maker, churn the mix for 30 minutes until the mixture holds its shape. 10. If you don’t have an ice cream maker use an electric whisk until the mixture holds its shape, then pop it into the freezer for an hour and use the electric whisk again. Repeat several times until the ice cream is firm to touch. 11. Pour into a freezer container and freeze until firm to touch. 12. Serve with a few slices of fresh strawberries. recipe courtesy of Design First Builders.

Strawberry Dessert Recipes

Delicious Pumpkin Pie

There are many health benefits in pumpkins which are low in calories and high in nutrients, full of fibre, vitamin C, vitamin E, and potassium. Vitamin C is well known for its properties in supporting the immune system.
Vitamin E is an antioxidant which helps protect our skin from sun damage and cancer.
Potassium helps to give us strong bones, lots of energy and controls blood pressure.


The pumpkin is easy to cook by boiling for about 20 minutes. After cooking, serve it mashed with salt and pepper. Small pumpkins can be baked in the oven and served with butter and maple syrup.


One of the best selling points of the pumpkin is you can store it in a cool place for up to a month or if refrigerated up to three months. Buy smaller pumpkins which are for cooking rather than for using as decoration, they should feel firm to touch with nice clear skins.


Cut your pumpkin into manageable pieces before peeling them and de-seeding.

Fresh Pumpkin Pie Recipe

Pre heat oven 190c, 375F, Gas 5 Serves 4-6

  • 20cm pie dish
  • 200g frozen short crust pastry
  • 450g fresh pumpkin flesh
  • half teaspoon of salt
  • 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon of ground ginger
  • half teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • 75g brown sugar
  • 3 beaten eggs
  • 150ml milk
  • 2 tablespoons of sherry

The Pastry

1. Roll out the pastry so that it is quite thin and will line the pie dish – base and sides. Leave a little for decorating.
2.Place some greesproof paper on the pastry and pour uncooked macaroni on top
3. Bake blind in an oven of 190C, 375F, Gas 5 for 15 minutes. 4.When cooked remove the paper and macaroni

The Filling

3. Puree the pumpkin flesh before mixing it with the salt, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg.
4. Beat the eggs and mix with the sugar, milk and sherry.
5. Mix the pumpkin flesh mix with the egg mix.
6. Pour into the cooked pastry pie dish.


7. Cut out the shape of a pumpkin from the left-over pastry and place it on the top of the pie.
8. Bake your fresh pumpkin pie


Spicy Vegetarian Couscous

Recipe for Couscous – Spicy Veggie Couscous

Ingredients serves 4

  • 3tbs olive oil
  • 1 onion
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1tsp tomato puree
  • 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1tsp ground coriander
  • 1tsp ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 cups of cauliflower florets
  • 225g baby carrots
  • 1 red pepper
  • 4 beefsteak tomatoes
  • 225g courgettes
  • 400g chick peas
  • 3tbls coriander
  • sand pepper to season
  • 2 1/2 cups of couscous
  • 2tbls butter or margarine

Slice the peppers, tomatoes and courgettes. Cook the onion and garlic until they are soft in a sauce pan with a little of the olive oil. Add the tomato puree, turmeric, cayenne and coriander and cook for another two or three minutes. Add the cauliflower, baby carrots and sliced peppers. Fill the pan with enough water so that the vegetables are covered. Cook for about 5 minutes. Add the sliced courgettes, tomatoes and chick peas to the pan. Allow to simmer for about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Our method of cooking couscous

  • 1 1/2 cups of water to 1 cup of dry couscous
  • 1/2 tsp of salt for every dry cup of couscous
  • a little butter

Put all the ingredients into a pan of boiling water and stir to mix the butter and salt into the couscous. Put the lid on the pan and remove from the heat. Allow the couscous to steam for about 10 minutes. Spoon the couscous onto plates and then pile the vegetable dish on top. Serve immediately and enjoy your recipe for couscous.

Breakfast Trifle

Breakfast Trifle Recipe

Breakfast Porridge and Prune Trifle

Serves 2 You will need: 2 tall dessert glasses Ingredients

  • 8 strawberries – halved
  • 200g natural low fat live yoghurt
  • 50g porridge oats
  • 50g dried chopped prunes
  • 1tsp of honey

1. Mix the yoghurt with the honey.
2. Mix the porridge oats with the yoghurt.
3. Take two dessert glasses and layer half the strawberries into the bottom of each.
4. Now take half the prunes and make a layer on top of the strawberries.
5. Take half the yogurt mix and pour on top of the fruit. Repeat steps 3, 4 and 5 once more. Decorate the top with two strawberry halves.
Serve immediately.

Breakfast Fruit Salad Trifle

Serves 2 You will need 2 tall dessert glasses Ingredients

  • 2 bananas
  • 12 seedless black grapes
  • 2 strawberries
  • 150g muesli
  • 200g low fat natural live yogurt
  • 1tsp honey

Mix the yogurt and honey together.
Mix the yogurt and honey with the muesli. 1.Chop the bananas into slices.
2. Cut the grapes in half.
3. Make a layer of half of the banana at the bottom of both dessert glasses.
4. Place a layer of 3 black grapes on top of the banana layer in each dessert glass.
5. Pour the muesli and yogurt mix on top. Now repeat steps 3 and 4, before topping with one strawberry cut in half. I hope you have enjoyed this breakfast trifle recipe.

Using your Kitchen Wisely

Enzymes, Vitamins and Minerals
Fruit and vegetables are brimming over with fibre, vital enzymes, vitamins and minerals – all of which are vital for our good health. A healthy diet will give your skin and hair a glow and your eyes a sparkle : great reasons to make more of your greens.

Five A Day
We are all being told to eat five fruits and vegetables every day. Sometimes this can be hard especially if you are not fond of your fruit and veg. Using our fruit and vegetable recipes are an excellent way to achieve this. Make a smoothie for breakfast, a chicken salad for lunch, and apple pie made with fresh apples for dessert. Does this sound good to you? 

Cooking and Baking
Have you tried making a banana cake or carrot cake – not only healthy but yummy? Have you tried cabbage rolls or roasted asparagus or homemade mushroom soup recipes? Find out how to cook mushrooms and spinach or how to pickle mangoes. Cooking with fruit and vegetables is anything but boring. Working Mums
A lot of mums are working today but this doesn’t mean that your child needs to live out of a packet or a jar. Our home-made fruit and vegetable recipes are easy and a lot of them are very quick. Make recipes in batches and freeze them, so they are easily available. Home Cooking
If you cook your own food you know exactly what has gone into it and you know how fresh and healthy it is. A lot of shop bought foods are full of chemicals and colorings which make children in particular hyper and sometime ill. Babies and young children grow at such a rate that they need a diet which is rich in nutrients and vitamins. I love easy to make meals, cakes and desserts and I love fruit and vegetables which is why I have tried to find simple recipes which are easy to follow, and are ones that I enjoy making myself. Fruit and vegetables are at the core of many recipes, many of which are healthy and some which are just wickedly deliciously unhealthy. The next time you hear the words, “What’s for dinner” it won’t be hard to answer. Go on, make cooking a pleasure and not a chore with our healthy fruit and vegetable recipes