Sunday, 1 June 2014


***I now mainly write at and would love for you to come and join me over there***

Welcome to Sarah's Kitchen Diary

I love everything about food and use this blog as a place where I talk about recipes, places I've been and products I've tried.

To help you find your way around I've tried to gather posts under six main headings.  

Here you will find all my recipes for everyday eating healthily. I've always been interested in cooking, baking and creating but in recent years have become increasingly interested in eating for health. For me this means avoiding processed food and chemicals, buying organic where possible and choosing lean protein, vegetables first, with some fruit, nuts and grains. 

Here you will find all my recipes for Treat Days.

Whilst I try to eat healthy 'clean' food most of the time I still do enjoy an occasional treat. For me this involves eating well for the majority of the week with 1-2 treat meals a week. On these I prefer to make my own treats or eat a quality restaurants so that I know what has gone into the meals. 

Here you will find all my posts about restaurants and recipes I have found on my travels some further away and some closer to home. I also have a few posts about cooking classes I have attended.

Here you will find posts with reviews of various products.

I often get offers of products to try in return for a review on this site. I only say yes when I believe in the product and sometimes also will post reviews of products I've bought and love. 
 Tips and My Free Recipe Book 

 This page is used to collect all of my too hints and tips and will shortly be home to my very first recipe book. Best of all it will be free! 

 If you do want to contact me then you can find all of my details on this page. I love to here from you and questions, comments, suggestions are all welcome.

Along the side of this screen you can also see shortcuts to recipes using key words, a search functionality, popular posts and much more.

Finally a little request from me. If you like what you read on my blog please do leave a comment and also let me know how you get on if you try any of my recipes.

Monday, 5 May 2014

A Rather Interesting Tomato Salad

When I'm on holiday I love to go to the supermarket and buy a random selection of tomatoes, the uglier the better! I learnt this tip from a family friend when we were on holiday in Spain as children. The ugly ones really did taste the best! When the ingredients are great you don't need to do much with them, the simpler the better really. 

Now it's a bit early in the season for really good tomatoes, but I had been given some Red Wine Vinegar with Cassis and had some tomatoes that were pretty tasty so I left them out in the sun to warm up (I always think they're better that way) and decided to make a tomato salad. I'd heard that blackcurrants went well with mint and tomatoes. I couldn't get any of the actual fruits but the vinegar certainly made me want to try that combo! Very refreshing and summery. Perfect for a sunny bank holiday weekend. 


1/2 tbsp olive or rapeseed oil 
A spring of mint
100g tomatoes (preferable a mixture of varieties) 

1. Start with the dressing. Mix together the oil, vinegar and mint. If the leaves are small enough you can leave them whole. Mix well. 

2. Slice the tomatoes into chunks and add to the dressing
3. Season to taste and toss the tomatoes in the dressing. 


Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Jamaica Style Pineapple

I had friends coming over for dinner. The main was fairly substantial so I wanted the dessert to be fresh and light. I love pineapple and have been a big fan of Jamie Oliver's pineapple with mint for years so I decided on this gem. Some restaurants might call it a carpaccio of pineapple but this always confuses me as I think of carpaccio as thin slices of raw beef or maybe tuna. Sometimes after a BBQ I like to serve grilled pineapple and I think this dressing would work brilliantly.

In common with Jamie Oliver's it's super simple. In contrast it isn't one for children!

1. Slice a sweet ripe pineapple in very thin slices. This one had a relatively soft core so I decided to leave it in but you could remove it.
2. Arrange the slices on a pretty plate.
3. In a bowl mix the zest and juice of one lime with 1 tbsp of dark rum, 1 tsp dark soft brown sugar, 1/2 tsp of grated ginger and pink peppercorns to taste. I used 1/3rd of one of these Knorr flavour pots. I tend to prefer fresh ingredients but these do seem to pack a punch.

4. Put the dressing into a little bowl with the pineapple. That's it. Super simple!


Thursday, 27 March 2014

Wine, wine, beautiful wine!

So one of the few decadences I'm not intolerant to is wine. As long as its only one glass (that means a large one right?) and it's not a sweet wine it's fine. So I've embraced this fact and gone on a bit of a wine mission. 

I went to a lovely wine tasting at my local independent wine shop Park + Bridge. It was great in more ways than the obvious, having someone to discuss the wine with made all the difference in making a choice that suited my palate and it had the added plus of getting chatting to some of the people who live in the area (something that any Londoners will know is rare!). 

At £10+ a bottle though wine from Park + Bridge is definitely for a more occasional bottle. 

This was my favourite. It tasted like a hug. 

A couple of the £5 or less Waitrose range have been perfectly drinkable, but in the lower price range the wine that really stood out for me was this Sauvignon Blanc from Aldi. Light but still fruity and flavoursome. I was impressed! 

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Lime and coconut macaroons...great treat and healthy to boot!

Wow, wow, wow. I'm going to keep this short and sweet (excuse the pun) I've only just made these but they were so great I had to post straight away. In the search for gf and dairy free treats I remembered the old fashioned coconut macaroons that my nan used to love and decided to give them a go with the updated twist of lime. They taste great, very pleased with the chewy but crisp texture and the lime zing lifts them perfectly. The best surprise though was that I checked the nutritional value and they're perfect for a healthy treat too! 80 cals, low in carb and high in protein and fibre with moderate healthy fat from the coconut. They'd make a great gift for a friend on a diet. Pile 5-6 up and tie with a pretty bow. 

So here goes:


Makes 9

100g unsweetened shredded/desiccated dried coconut 
2 large egg whites 
1 tbsp coconut sugar or soft dark brown sugar or your choice of sweetener (the state are based on sugar) 
1 lime (or two if they aren't very juicy!) 


Pre-heat the oven to 180C

1. Place the egg whites in a bowl and add the sugar. Beat well until incorporated. 
2. Add the coconut, zest and juice of the lime and stir until fully combined
3. Form the mixture into 9 rough balls and flatten onto a greased baking sheet 
4. Bake for 15-20 mins until golden brown


Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Cheese and wine pairings

Now I love cheese and wine pairings and the lovely people at Aldi were kind enough to send me these to review. They have paired up with Master of Wine Sarah Jane Evans to create some cheese and wine combos. 

Now as mentioned I unfortunately am on a pretty restricted diet so I had to ensure the torture of watching my other half tuck in! I did have a tiny mouthful, all in the name of research of course ;) 

The Wensleydale with cranberries was delightful, one of my favourite cheeses and beautifully crumbly and went well with the richness of the Fletchers Ruby Port. Perfect for the Christmas table! 

My other half enjoyed the garlic and herb cheddar and said that the crisp Chardonnay was a good match. I thought it would be nice used to stuff a chicken breast before wrapping in pancetta. 

They are in store now in time for Christmas. 


Thursday, 5 December 2013

Alternative Christmas Day

It's no secret that I love Christmas but I can find that some years work and life take over and I don't get into the festivities early enough and don't make the most of Christmas spirit. I also find that most years the last few weekends running up to Christmas are spent running around the country visiting people and dropping off presents, to then spend Christmas Day just with family and not spending enough quality time with close friends. As enjoyable this is, by the time I make it to Christmas Day, I'm exhausted! So this year I decided to bring the mountain to Mohammad and start the festivities nice and early to get me in the spirit! 

So on the 1st December I hosted a full Christmas Day for my close friends and their children. Having 20+, including 5 little people, in my relatively small house was total chaos but we all had a fab time and I think it might have to become a new tradition. We all shared out the responsibilities so I only cooked the main meal, people brought starters, nibbles, puddings, chocolates and drinks with them. The day started with breakfast from 'Christmas Eve' and then more people started to arrive so we soon moved on to presents followed by Christmas lunch and an afternoon of Christmas films. We were all so busy enjoying ourselves we never got onto the board games!

I love traditions and as I get older I'm finding more and more I like to create my own, so maybe this will become a regular thing!

So the main event was of course the turkey. I used Nigella Lawson's brining method, after trying this for the first time about 5 years ago I'd never cook a turkey again without brining it. From this point on I just co the turkey in the way my nan and mum did when we were growing up. In the bottom of the roasting tin I put 6 chopped onions, the orange segments from the brine and a glass of water (normally I'd use wine but unfortunately at the moment I can't have alcohol). I then placed the turkey, breast side up, on top of the onions and carefully prised the turkey skin away from each breast. As I needed it to be dairy free I used lard but you can also use butter. You need a whole block of your chosen fat - 250g - mixed with plenty of chopped herbs, seasoning and orange and lemon zest (garlic too if you wish). I used thyme, parsley, sage and rosemary. Carefully push the herb lard/butter under the skin on top of each breast and spread out as best you can. Add additional seasoning sprinkled all over the skin of the turkey and drizzle with oil.

Cover the whole roasting tin with tin foil and put it into a hot oven pre-heated to 240 C, after 10 minutes turn the overnight down to 180C and cook the turkey according to the butcher/packages instructions (this will vary according to size and type of turkey (eg Kelly's Bronze tend to need less time). You can baste the turkey with the juices from the tin every 30 mins or so, but be carefully to carefully reseal the foil. About 30 minutes before it is due to be cooked remove the foil to allow the skin to crisp up. The turkey is cooked when the juices run clear, particularly from the leg/thigh which will taken longer to cook than the breast. Cover the turkey in tin foil and clean tea towels and allow to rest.

I also cooked a gammon. Again I brined this using the same brining recipe I used for the turkey above and then cooked it according to this recipe from Nigella. If I do say so myself it was delicious! I was very pleased to have leftovers that's for sure. I left the garlic and onion out of the cooking water as I'm not able to eat these at the moment.

This was served with spiced red cabbage, roasted root vegetables with sausages, braised bacon brussel sprouts (without the basil), the best ever roast potatoes, cranberry sauce and stuffing made by scooping the onions that cooked under the turkey into a frying pan, adding some additional sage and a packet of Paxo's sage and onion stuffing, you could easily make your own with bread crumbs but this is how my nan always made it and old habits die hard!

As I'm fairly limited in what I can eat at the moment I roasted a few of the carrots and parsnips separately for me and cooked some kale as I can't eat cabbage and sprouts. Instead of gravy I just had a little homemade chicken stock poured over my meat. A good low FODMAP alternative for those who are limited.

For pudding we had a massive selection, unfortunately I don't have a photo of everything
- a profiterole wreath filled with cream and served with a toffee sauce
- a banoffee pie
- Tom Kerridge's bread and butter pudding
- alternative mince pies
- Christmas cookies