Warm up in a miners’ cottage in Northumberland

It was cold, blustery and rainy when Jamie and I arrived at this romantic inn on the North Pennine Moors, so perfect conditions for cosying up under a blanket by a roaring fire…

Lord crew arms Northumberland

‘There’s a roll top bath in the bedroom!’
I screeched excitedly as I climbed the dainty spiral staircase in our beautiful miners’ cottage, deep in the Northumbrian landscape. Split over two levels, the cottage is one of two miners’ suites on offer at the Lord Crewe Arms and it
is the epitome of country chic. It feels contemporary but authentic, decorated with a subtle balance of old and new. The bed is big and stacked with luxurious feather pillows, the lighting warm and the cosy window seats invite you to look out across the square at the honey-coloured bricks of Blanchland village
The Lord Crewe Arms is a former 12th-century abbot’s guest house and one of the oldest hotels in the country. Nestled in the rolling North Pennine Moors and founded as a priory in 1165, it was built to house the monks and abbots of Blanchland Abbey before Lord Crewe bought it in the 1700s. With an authentic medieval charm, stone-flagged floors, 12 bedrooms and wibbly-wobbly corridors, it’s the perfect romantic countryside getaway for couples who enjoy fresh air and good, old-fashioned hearty fare.
A river runs through the middle of the  village, which is surrounded by woods and breathtaking moorland. Ideal for outdoor-lovers, the hotel is well-equipped with free bikes, maps, routes, wellingtons, compasses and even a drying room – although, admittedly, our walking boots didn’t see much action.
Instead, I found myself sporting a towelling robe with a homemade shortbread biscuit clamped between my teeth and running a bath at two in the afternoon, while my other half was busy lighting the wood burner and enjoying countless espressos from the Nespresso machine. Clearly, we were both prepared to
do everything but walk this weekend – it was raining, after all.

After a mid-afternoon snooze, we were finally prepared to face the rain and walk over to the main house and down into the Crypt bar to wet our whistles before dinner. The Crypt is a medieval vaulted chamber where you can sample the hotel’s own brew, as well as other Northumbrian ales, wines, Highland whisky and a Geordie cocktail or three. Packed with locals chattering by warm candlelight, the pub is the heart of the hotel and community.
Cheeks flushed, we drifted up to the Bishop’s dining room, where we indulged in seasonal dishes, such as pan-fried Scottish scallops with spiced carrots and pork belly; grilled lamb chops with braised shoulder and cabbage, and plaice with a spiced brown shrimp butter, washed down with some very reasonably priced wines. Somehow, we found room for the most delicious raspberry Bakewell pudding, served with clotted cream. It was unlike any Bakewell pudding we had ever had, and a great way to round off our romantic getaway. In fact, we were so wrapped up in the cosy ambience of the Lord Crewe Arms, we hardly noticed getting drenched on the walk back to our cottage.

A 30-minute drive away is the beautiful, bustling Roman village of Corbridge. Wander along the picturesque high street and enjoy dipping in and out of the independent shops, historic pubs and tea rooms. Originally a supply base for Roman troops and home to the oldest handwritten documents in Britain, plus Roman armour and trinkets, Corbridge is the perfect pit stop to discover what life was like as a soldier on Hadrian’s Wall.

Double rooms, with breakfast, from £147 until 28 February 2019, then from £157 until 28 May 2019. lordcrewarmsblanchland.co.uk

For more information visit lordcrewarmsblanchland.co.uk


Middle Eastern foul (ful) soup

Middle Eastern foul (ful) soup

OK, so I’m using the word ‘foul’ loosely, as this soup doesn’t resemble a traditional Middle Eastern foul at all – but in my defence, Sainsbury’s don’t sell fava beans and I wanted to make it more of a soup than a dip. so sue me. Please don’t sue me, I haven’t got any money. It’s January, and all I have is a can of chickpeas and a rather stale mince pie that I am currently eating. Happy New Year, everyone!

Middle Eastern foul (ful) soup
Serves 2 / hands on time 25 mins / total time 30 mins / V Vn* Df Gf
1 tsp rapeseed oil
1 large white onion, thinly sliced
500ml weak veg stock (I use ½ a vegetable Knorr stock pot)
1 tsp sea salt flakes
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
1 can chickpeas or fava beans if you can get them
2 eggs
Handful parsley, finely chopped
½ lemon, juiced
Extra virgin olive oil to serve
Pickled turnips, sliced to serve (optional) – See TIP
2 pita bread to serve (optional)
Tahini dressing:
1 tbs tahini
½ lemon, juiced
1 tbs boiling water
Pinch of salt

TIP: Pickled turnips are notoriously hard to find, I went to my local Mediterranean supermarket in Kentish town but you can buy them here. Alternatively, leave it out altogether or substitute for pickled red cabbage.

Make it vegan: Forgo the boiled eggs.

1. Add the oil to a heavy bottomed pot over a medium heat. Peel and slice the onion thinly and place all but a handful in the pot along with a tsp of salt and sauté for 5-7 minutes or until the onions start to soften – add a dash of water to the pan from time to time to help the onions steam.
2. Add the the cumin and the coriander and cook off the spices for a further 2 minutes before adding the weak vegetable stock. Up the heat and bring to the boil before adding the chickpeas or fava beans. Reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
3. Meanwhile in a small saucepan, boil the 2 eggs (these need to hard boil so no need to time them, simply leave them bubbling away).
4. To make the tahini dressing, combine all the ingredients in a small bowl and mix until combined and put to one side. Finely chop the fresh parsley.
5. After 10 minutes, take the onion and bean broth off the heat, pop the lid on and put to one side. Drain the boiling water off the eggs and give them a good burst of cold water until they are cool enough to handle and peel.
6. To assemble your soup, divide the broth into bowls and top with sliced boiled eggs, pickled turnips, fresh parsley, raw onion slices and a good drizzle of tahini dressing and extra virgin olive oil.

Middle Eastern foul (ful) soup

If you’ve had a go at making any of my recipes, I’d love to hear from you. Follow me now @corrieheale and tag your recipe pictures using #corriesrabbitfood.

V – Vegetarian.    Vn – Vegan’s forgo the eggs     Df – Dairy free
Gf – I use Knorr vegetable stock pots because they are gluten free but other stock pots/cubes may not be.

Spiced easy-peeler marmalade

Spiced easy-peeler marmalade

Nothing puts you more in the Christmas spirit, than making your very own Christmas marmalade. Zesty, sweet and with a touch of festive spice, this crowd pleasing jam makes the perfect Christmas gift to palm off on your relatives – now if that isn’t a cost saving no brainer, I don’t know what is.
Personally, I like to keep the majority of it for myself and eat it on toast smothered on top of mascarpone (yes mascarpone)  – don’t knock it until you’ve try it. Merry Christmas! 🎄🎄🎄
For more edible gift ideas, check out my salted sultana rum fudge, vanilla shortbreadsoftly spiced lebkuchens or last years offering, mini peppermint creams.

TIP: If making as a gift, I recommend using four 250ml jars and doubling up the recipe. Make in batches. 

Spiced easy-peeler marmalade
Makes 500ml / hands on time 30 mins / total time 1 hr 30 mins + cooling /  V Vn Gf Df  
You’ll need: Clean jar/jars, small food processor (optional) 
500g easy peelers, scrubbed – 1 extra to stuff with cloves
Juice of 1 lemon
450ml water
2 cinnamon sticks
8 cloves – stick in a spears easy peeler
8 cardamom pots, pierced with knife (be careful not to split open the pods as you don’t want the seeds to fall out)
2 star anise
250g granulated sugar

1. Start by giving your easy-peelers a bit of a scubas under warm water to remove any wax and slice off the storks. Cut each clementine into quarters and blitz roughly in a food processor for a few seconds (be careful not to over blitz, as you want your jam to have a bit of texture). If you don’t have a food processor, simply chop the easy-peelers into roughly 1cm pieces.
2. Add the easy peelers to a heavy bottomed saucepan along with the lemon juice and the water. Give it a good stir to combine before adding the cinnamon sticks, star anise, pierced cardamom and bring to the boil. Meanwhile, take the spare easy-peeler and insert the cloves into it before submerging it in the liquid.
3. Once boiling, turn down the heat and simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally – this will make your house smell lovely and festive.
If sterilising jars this is a good time to preheat an oven to 220°C/200°C fan/425°F/gas mark 7. Wash the jars and the lids in hot soapy water and give them a good rinse. Place straight onto a baking tray lined with baking paper (there is no need to dry the jars first, place the on the tray wet). Once the oven is hot, bake the jars for 15 minutes before removing and setting to one side. 
4. Carefully fish out all the spices and discard before adding the sugar. Once the sugar has dissolved, turn up the heat a bit and stir continually for 10 minutes (be careful not to have the heat too high or the marmalade might start spitting at you).
5. Once the marmalade has thickened and looks nice and glossy, pour straight into your prepared jars and seal with lids immediately. Leave to cool before storing in the fridge and use within 1 month. Keep refrigerated.

Spiced easy-peeler marmalade

If you’ve had a go at making any of my recipes, I’d love to hear from you. Follow me now @corrieheale and tag your recipe pictures using #corriesrabbitfood.

Crunchy garlic & herb chickpeas

Crunchy garlic & herb chickpeas

This week, me and my garlic and herb chickpeas went on live radio! I know, right? Me and my pal Alun from Pomora drove to deepest darkest Essex in his rather flashy sports car. I say flashy, because his hazard lights were stuck on and flashed all the way up the M25. Anyway, Alun was invited on Phoenix Fm to talk all things olive oil and I was invited to well… actually, I wasn’t really sure why I was there. I just thought I was bringing the refreshments, but turns out, the show’s host Karin actually wanted to talk to me about my little old blog. So, that’s what I did – as well as down olive oil like sambuca and constantly correct Karin every time she called me Corrine – which happened more than once… So, if you fancy a laugh and want to hear what my voice sounds like (it’s much more baritone and Fearne Cotton than I realised) then click on my giant face below or here – my interview is about 43 minutes in.
Oh, and here’s the recipe for the crunchy garlic and herb chickpeas I made for the occasion along with my banana breadsmoky bean wraps and pea and mint pesto. Annoyingly crunchy for radio but perfect for watching a boxset with, these deliciously salty chickpeas make the perfect healthy snack.

Also, if you’d like to get your hand on some of Alun’s delicious Pomora olive oils, click here for a special discount.

Crunchy garlic & herb chickpeas
Serves 2 as a snack / hands on time 10 mins / total time 45 mins + 2 hours drying time /
V Vn Gf Df
You’ll need:
Kitchen roll, baking paper, 1-2 non-stick baking trays
1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 tsp extra virgin olive oil (I like to use flavoured oils so for this recipe I used Pomora rosemary flavoured oil
½ tsp garlic powder
½ tsp oregano
½ tsp dried Parsley
½ sea salt flakes

TIP: This recipe is easily doubled up but you will require 2 baking trays.

  1. Preheat an oven to 200°C/180°C fan/400F/gas mark 6 and put the baking tray/trays in the oven to warm up. Rinse the chickpeas thoroughly before draining and patting dry with kitchen roll.
  2. Carefully remove the hot trays from the oven, line with baking paper and evenly scatter the chickpeas onto the trays. Roast in the oven for 10 minutes before giving them their first shake. Return to the oven for a further 10 minutes, Meanwhile, mix up your flavour ingredients in a small bowl and prepare a larger bowl for the chickpeas.
  3. Remove from the oven (keep the oven on) and pour into the larger bowl along with the oil. Give them a good stir to ensure the chickpeas are well coated before adding the seasoning. Mix well before returning to the baking tray/trays and roasting for a further 10 minutes.
  4. Give the chickpeas another shake and roast for a final 10 minutes before turning the oven off but leaving the chickpeas in. Leave the chickpeas to dry out in the cooling oven for a couple of hours – this will give your chickpeas an extra crunchy texture. Once cool, store in an airtight container for up to a week.

Crunchy garlic & herb chickpeas

If you’ve had a go at making any of my recipes, I’d love to hear from you. Follow me now @corrieheale and tag your recipe pictures using #corriesrabbitfood.

V– Vegetarian.    Vn– Vegan.    Gf – Gluten free    Df– Dairy free

Bang bang cauliflower bites

Bang bang cauliflower bites

Now, it has to be said, I’m not a huge fan of cauliflower. This can be problematic – especially these days, as it seems to have become the go-to vegetarian dish in most restaurants. Whole-roasted, salt-baked, deep-fried, curried, pickled, pureed, battered and sliced into steaks, cauliflower is thrust upon my plate at any given moment. So, allow me to thrust my bang-bang cauliflower bites onto yours and see how you like it – I like it very much.

Bang bang cauliflower bites
Serves 2 as a starter or makes 1 tray of canapés / hands on time 15 mins / total time 45 mins / V Vn Df 🌶🌶
You’ll need: Non-stick baking tray and cocktail sticks (if serving as canapés)
1 medium cauliflower, cut into florets (roughly 550g)
1 tbs extra virgin olive oil
2 tbs sweet chilli sauce, I use Blue Dragon 
1 ½ tsp Sriracha + extra for serving
Juice of ½  a lime
½ tsp sea salt flakes
2 handfuls panko breadcrumbs
½ tsp smoked paprika
Small handful of fresh coriander to serve (optional) 

1. Preheat an oven to 220°C/200°C fan/425°F/gas mark 7. Prepare the cauliflower by removing the leaves and the stalk (cauliflower leaves are delicious and great in a stir fry, so don’t feel you need to bin them). Pull apart the florets and chop the larger florets in half or into smaller bitesize pieces.
2. In a large bowl, whisk together the olive oil, chilli sauce, Sriracha and the juice of half a lime until combined. Add the cauliflower florets and stir until well coated.
3. On a large plate, add panko breadcrumbs and sprinkle with smoked paprika. Give it a stir before spooning over half the coated florets. Turn the cauliflower over in the breadcrumbs until each is well coated and place on a non-stick baking tray or a tray lined with baking paper. Repeat this process with the remaining cauliflower and bake in the oven for 30 minutes.
4. Serve immediately sprinkled with freshly chopped coriander and a small bowl of Sriracha for dipping.
5. If you’re making canapés, skew each floret with a cocktail stick and serve along side a dipping bowl of Sriracha for your guests to enjoy.

Bang bang cauliflower bites

If you’ve had a go at making any of my recipes, I’d love to hear from you. Follow me now @corrieheale and tag your recipe pictures using #corriesrabbitfood.

V– Vegetarian      Vn– Vegan      Df– Dairy free    🌶🌶 – Medium hot

Dashing through the snow in Avoriaz

Bag brimming with cold remedies and tissues, I plonked myself grumpily on the bus to sniffle and wind my way up the mountain from Geneva to Avoriaz. Turns out, a bit Alpine air was just what the doctor ordered.

Photography: ©Oreli.b

I don’t remember my Dad’s long-johns being quite so tight under my salopettes, but then it has been almost 10 years since I skied the French Alps and never in a resort quite as special as Avoriaz. With a bag brimming with cold remedies and tissues, I plonked myself on the transfer bus to sniffle and wind my way up the mountain from Geneva to Avoriaz – how typical that I should get a cold the minute I left the office! Situated on a sloping shelf above the long-established Morzine, Avoriaz is a purpose-built resort and like nothing I have visited before – and I have skied my fair share of the French Alps.
Entirely free of cars, this ski-in ski-out resort relies rather charmingly on horse-drawn sleighs and snow cats to transfer people and luggage to one of the many luxury apartments. Even through my medicinal haze, I was struck by the architecture. Each building looks as though it’s incorporated into the landscape, creating a harmonious and unique terrain. I shuffled out of the cold evening air into our toasty VIP chalet.


Abandoning my suitcase, I instinctively followed the sweet smell of roast lamb and pumpkin (a far cry from my sad airport sandwich) to the spacious open-plan living and dining area. Here we dined on an elegant meal of oysters, roast pumpkin risotto and succulent lamb loin with puréed Jerusalem artichokes, pea purée and broad bean salad. It all looked like it had come straight out of the MasterChef kitchen. Just when I thought I was fit to burst, the chalet staff served cheesecake mousse with cinnamon crumb, blueberry compote and apple – all of which I planned to burn off on the slopes the following day. After dinner, I crashed on the eight-seater sofa and basked in front of the fire with panoramic views of the setting sun with a glass of port for company.
The chalet’s interior was a contemporary combination of pine with accents of black leather and grey furnishing along with sheepskin rugs and faux fur cushions. Giant arctic animal prints donned the walls along with a few other quirky touches, such as a hanging mountain goat sculpture and fluffy pompoms secured under big bell jars. My room was cold-recovery heaven with a generously sized bed, flat-screen television, private balcony and luxury bathroom complete with underfloor heating and black Block Buster tiles and black grouting – I’ve never stayed anywhere as stylish and my Instagram account took a heavy hit of pictures.

I woke feeling horrendous; bunged up and miserable. I was in no mood to get out of bed let alone ski down a mountain! But after a filling breakfast of slow-roasted tomatoes on toast with feta and poached eggs, I gallantly pulled on my ski boots and got out into the fresh Alpine air. It was just what the doctor ordered.
The resort itself was designed to make it easier for guests to get from A to B on their skis – there’s nothing worse than having to lug your skis a kilometre in ski boots. Skiing out of the chalet directly to a lift is a luxury that I’ve not experienced in a long time and really makes all the difference. In addition to hundreds of kilometres of beautiful pistes to enjoy, Avoriaz is on the main lift circuit of the Portes du Soleil, which gives you the opportunity to ski into Champéry in Switzerland for a quick hot chocolate and a brandy…or maybe that’s just what I found myself doing! Three days of skiing later and my slightly aching body is back on the sleigh, being pulled along by a beautiful horse. I look up at the innovative architecture one last time and take a deep breath in when I realise my nose is no longer blocked – when did that happen? Maybe all I needed was a touch of fresh air all along – and it doesn’t get much fresher than the crisp air at Avoriaz.

Photography credits:
©Oreli.b, ©Loïc Bouchet and ©Matthieu_Vitré and Corrie Heale

VIP Chalets’ Beluga chalet has 5 bedrooms (sleeping 10-14 guests). Prices from £1,369- £2,969 per person for seven nights, based on two people sharing a room (unless stated otherwise), and includes return flights from London Stansted, transfers and catering. For all booking enquiries, visit vip-chalets.com or call 020 8875 1957.

For more information visit avoriaz.com

If you enjoyed my travel review, I’d love to hear from you. Follow me now @corrieheale and tag your recipe pictures using #corriesrabbitfood.


Treacle soda bread

Treacle soda bread

Not really one for making bread, I surprised myself with this one.
The story begins in Season, a restaurant run by Jamie’s friend Gilly in Finsbury Park. Complimentary soda bread is swiftly brought to our table, where the situation quickly escalates. Dark, rich and slightly bittersweet, this beautiful cakey bread is so divine we start squabbling over it and jabbing butter knives at each other. I stare solemnly at the plate of crumbs, hoping it will replenish itself. It doesn’t. Just as I start to debate how acceptable it would be to lick the crumbs off the plate, Gilly whips it away and replaces it with a bowl of big juicy olives.
“What on Earth was that bread and where did you get it from?” I ask, in an offhandish way, trying not to sound too desperate.
“Oh, we make it,” Gilly replies casually. “It’s treacle soda bread – good, right?”
“Right,” I say, still eyeing up the crumbs on the plate still in his hand.

So, for the next week, I dip and dive out of whole-food shops, delis and supermarkets in an attempt to find something remotely similar with zero success. There’s only one thing for it – I’m going to have to make it myself. Oh, the horror!
I don’t know why I’m so scared of making bread. It’s not like I haven’t done it before, it just always seems to take so long – I’m quite an inpatient person.
The good news is, though, soda bread doesn’t require yeast – so no waiting around for it to rise, bingo! It also doesn’t require kneading – bonus! All you have to do is mix the ingredients together, pour it onto a baking tray, bake it, and voila – bread has happened! It was so delicious, I ate half the loaf by myself before freezing it in slices and toasting it everyday for my lunches. I’ve already made this recipe twice and plan on making it every weekend for the rest of my days! We’ll see how long that lasts…

Treacle soda bread
Makes 1 loaf / Hands on time 10 mins / Total time 40 mins + cooling / V  
200g plain flour
250g plain wholemeal flour
55g rolled oats, extra for topping
1 tsp sea salt flakes
1 tsp bicarbonate soda
2 tbs treacle
1 tbs runny honey
350ml semi-skimmed milk
1 tbs lemon juice

TIP: Soda bread doesn’t store well, so consume on the day of baking or enjoy toasted the day after. I recommend slicing up the whole loaf and freezing it to extend its life considerably. See bottom of the page for freezing instructions.

TIP:  If your’e not keen on the idea of treacle, simply leave it out altogether – although it is worth trying. 

1. Preheat an oven to 220°C/200°C fan/425°F/gas mark 7 and line with a layer of baking paper. Dust with wholemeal flour and put to one side.
2. In a large mixing bowl, measure out the dry ingredients, mix together and make a well in the centre. Put to one side.
3. Measure out 350ml of semi-skimmed milk in a jug and add the honey and treacle straight into it. Beat with a hand whisk until the honey and treacle have been incorporated (it will clump together on the whisk and it will seem impossible but trust me, 2 minutes of elbow grease and it will have almost fully incorporated, persevere).
3. Quickly whisk the lemon juice into the milk and quickly pour into the flour well – doing this quickly prevents the milk from curdling. Using a metal butter knife, stir the mixture until just combined (you’ll want to work quickly, as soon as the wet mixture hits the dry the bicarbonate of soda will be activated).
4. Pour the mixture out into the centre of your lined baking tray – the mixture will be quite wet but don’t worry, this is normal. Wet a large knife and mark into quarters (wetting the knife prevents the dough sticking to it), cutting deeply through the loaf. Dust the top with a small handful of oats.
5. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes. Once baked, leave to cool on the baking tray for 20 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack. Once fully cooled, slice and enjoy with lashings of butter. Soda bread doesn’t last very long so I recommend freezing as soon as possible or consuming within 24 hours.

Treacle soda bread

V – Vegetarian
– Once cooled, slice and freeze in a sealed freezer bag or wrap in a few layers of clingfilm. Freeze for up to 3 months.

If you’ve had a go at making any of my recipes, I’d love to hear from you. Follow me now @corrieheale and tag your recipe pictures using #corriesrabbitfood.

Turkish eggs on pita

Turkish eggs with pita

This is an oldie but a goodie, and a recipe I’ve been making most weekends for the past four years. Partly because it’s my boyfriend favourite and partly because it’s cheap as chips – which is good, as I seem to have misplaced all my money. Either that, or I’ve spent it on simply breathing in this overpriced town… and Celine Dion tickets. I mean, what’s the point in living in London if you can’t afford a Friday night Deliveroo? #middleclassproblems. Oh well, at least I’ll get nice and thin, especially if we get a no-deal Brexit. Come on Boris, do it for halloumi!

Turkish eggs on pita
Serves 1 / Hands on time 10 mins / Total time 10 mins /
You’ll  need:
Non-stick frying pan preferably with a lid 
Spray rapeseed oil
2 eggs
1 brown pita bread
3 tbs Greek yogurt
Small handful fresh mint, chopped
Small handful of fresh dill, chopped
¼ tsp smoked paprika
Pinch of chilli flakes
1 tsp garlic extra virgin olive oil (if you don’t have garlic oil simply grate half a garlic clove into the yogurt and use regular extra virgin olive oil)
3 pickled chillies, stalks removed (optional) 

TIP: This is a great way to use up Greek yogurt you have left over from another recipe. 

1. Roughly chop the mint and the dill and put to one side. In a small bowl, add the yogurt and season with salt. If not using garlic oil, stir the grated garlic straight into the yogurt.
2. Spray a small non-stick frying pan with rapeseed oil and place over a medium heat and allow the oil to heat up for a couple of minutes. Crack in the eggs and fry until you have set whites and runny yolks – to make sure my eggs are perfectly set, I like to put the lid on the pan for the last minute to allow the steam to cook the top part of the eggs.
3. Meanwhile toast the pitta and using a knife, butterfly open on a plate. Add the yogurt to the centre of the bread and spread it out using the back of a spoon. Top with the fried eggs and liberally sprinkle over the herbs, smoked paprika and the chilli flakes. Remove the stalks from the pickled chillies, arrange them on top and drizzle over the garlic or extra virgin olive oil.

Turkish eggs with pita

If you’ve had a go at making any of my recipes, I’d love to hear from you. Follow me now @corrieheale and tag your recipe pictures using #corriesrabbitfood.

V – Vegetarian

Roasted pumpkin & garlic soup

Roasted pumpkin & garlic soup

I thought I was getting paid last Friday. I woke up early and eagerly checked my bank balance, expecting that horrible tiny minus to have vanished in front of my funds. But wait, it was still there – what the hell? I needed to pick up my dry cleaning and buy some tights that didn’t have holes in the crotch – I pity anyone whose had to walk behind me up on an escalator in recent weeks.
“Nah, we get paid Monday, babe,” Libby says, in her lovely Australian lilt.
“Monday?! I could be dead by then!” I say dramatically, as I pull an oat cake out of my bag and angrily chomp on it – so dry.
“Well, there’s usually food to take home here on a Friday, so fill your boots,” she says lazily, as she spins her chair away from me and back to her computer – she’s bored of me now.
Covered in oat-cake crumbs and feeling upset that I wouldn’t be having my pay-day pizza treat, I wait for the kitchen to announce ‘the trolley’. Every Friday in my office, any produce that hasn’t been used in the cooking of, or the testing of, recipes gets laid out on ‘the trolley’ for the office folks to take home – ie, me. It tends to consist mainly of vegetables and fresh herbs, but occasionally there’s the odd bit of sausage or a tub of yoghurt. But, of course, I was in then loo when the trolley was announced, so all that was left was an entire pumpkin and a pot of clotted cream – no one wants to carry home a pumpkin on the tube, it seems.
But these are desperate times and I needed me some dinner, so I decided the lug the damn thing home, chop it up, roast it and blitz it into a delicious soup. Maybe I won’t die after all? I then raided my kitchen cupboards for all the ingredients I needed to makes scones to go with my clotted cream and dined like a king all weekend. Maybe pay day can wait until Monday after all.

Roasted pumpkin & garlic soup with kale and feta
Serves 4 or 6 as a starter / Hands on time 30 mins / Total time 1hr 5 min / V Gf 
You’ll need: A food processor or hand blender
1.4kg pumpkin, sliced into big wedges and deseeded
2 tbs olive oil
Handful fresh sage leaves
4-5 large garlic cloves, pressed slightly using the back of a knife to break open the skins
1 large onion, roughly chopped
25g butter
1.25 litres vegetable stock, I use 2 Knorr stock pots
2 handfuls of kale
200g feta, crumbled

1. Preheat an oven to 200°C/180°C fan/400F/gas mark 6. De-seed and slice the pumpkin into large wedges and evenly space them out onto 2 baking trays lined with baking paper (you can peel the pumpkin if you wish but if the skin is particularity tough, remove with a knife after roasting). Season well with salt and pepper and add the pressed garlic cloves still in their skins – this stops them from burning. Sprinkle with a handful of fresh sage leaves and drizzle both trays with olive oil. Give it a good shake and a toss and roast in the oven for 30 mins.
2. After 30 mins, give the pumpkin a little shake in the oven and continue to cook for a further 10-15 minutes until soft. Meanwhile, peel and chop the onion and add to a large cooking pot with the butter. Season with salt and cook with the lid on over a low to medium heat, stirring frequently until softened.
3. Remove the pumpkin from the oven and leave to cool for a few minutes. Squeeze the garlic cloves out of their skins carefully with your fingers or with the back of a knife and into the onions – discard the skins. To remove the pumpkin skin, I use a fork to pin down the segment with one hand and slice around the edge with a knife in the other. Dispose of the skins.
4. By now the onions should be nice and soft so add the roasted pumpkin to the pot along with the stock and a good crack of salt and pepper. Simmer for 15 minutes.
5. Finally blitz well in a food processor or with a hand blender until smooth and creamy in texture. If serving topped with kale and feta, cover the soup to keep it warm and steam or boil the kale for a few minutes before diving the soup into bowls and topping with the kale and crumbled feta.

Roasted pumpkin & garlic soup

If you’ve had a go at making any of my recipes, I’d love to hear from you. Follow me now @corrieheale and tag your recipe pictures using #corriesrabbitfood.

– Vegetarian
Gf – I use Knorr vegetable stock pots because they are gluten free but other stock pots/cubes may not be. Always check the label. Please substitute wholewheat pasta for a gluten free alternative.
 The soup is suitable for home freezing once cooled. Consume within 3 months.

Whipped feta & avocado on toast

Whipped feta and avocado dip

This is a recipe I have stolen from my dearest friend and ex-housemate Isabelle – aka my wife. I lived with her longer than any of my previous boyfriends, so feel she deserves ‘wife’ status. She peeled me off the floor when I was drunk, made me many a jacket potato with cheese and beans and hid a small plastic head amongst my possessions on a weekly, sometimes daily, basis. (See images below.)
Although our marriage had to end after I met a boy and moved in with him, we did have three wonderful years together in a very awful flat in Camden – the day we moved in, we both cried – good times. Anyway, nowadays you can still find me dossing around her new house in my pyjamas, necking wine and eating everything in her cupboards – some things never change. However, she has started making this rather tasty breakfast for me after heavy nights of horror films and Grease 2 singalongs. This whipped feta and avocado on toast is so delicious, I may have to invite her to come live with us again. The more the merrier ,right? Just me, Jamie, Isabelle and ‘the head’ – which is currently in my possession after she planted it on me during my last visit – watch out Isabelle, he’s coming for you…

Whipped feta and avocado on toast
Serves 2 / Hands on time 5 mins / Total time 5 mins / V Gf*
You’ll need: A food processor
1 ripe avocado, skin and stone removed
100g vegetarain feta
2 sprigs of mint, leaves removed
Salt and pepper
2 tsp extra virgin olive oil, extra for drizzling
Toast to serve

1. Start by adding the feta to a blender and blitzing until it resembles breadcrumbs. Add the mint leaves and blitz again until combined. Finally add the avocado, extra virgin olive oil and season well with salt and pepper. Blitz again until you have a smooth creamy consistency.
2. Serve immediately spread generously on toast and drizzled with extra virgin olive oil. Breakfast of kings!

Whipped feta and avocado dip

If you’ve had a go at making any of my recipes, I’d love to hear from you. Follow me now @corrieheale and tag your recipe pictures using #corriesrabbitfood.

V – Vegetarian.    Gf – Gluten free: Serve with gluten free bread.