Fast Easy Food with Lorraine Pascale

To be honest I only bought the book ‘Fast, Fresh and Easy Food’ because it was reduced to £3.00 in a sale.

I have occasionally watched Lorraine Pascale on TV – she does make cooking look easy, so it was good to give some of her recipes ‘a try’.

As always, to really try out a recipe book, I used it every day for a week and everything I tried was simple to make. Most of the ingredients were already in the pantry although those I had to purchase were easily obtained and all in one shopping trip (otherwise we know what happens – go into the store for one item, come away with a basket load!)

I made Main dishes only – although the chapter on Canapes and Cocktails looked so delicious I nearly throw a party (still might)

The Sri Lankan Chicken Curry with Coconut and Cashew Rice was really quick to make. I used the minimum recommended spices and it was ‘warm’ so if you like your food Hot I would suggest using the maximum suggested.

Baked Jerk Chicken with Pineapple Salsa was another tasty dish – and attractive on the table (Below)

The Chicken Apple Cider Casserole required very little effort, although I guess I should rename mine as I used the chicken stock option rather than the cider – it was very tasty.

Tarragon Pork with Creamy Mustard Mushroom Sauce was again simple to make. I felt it needed a green veg otherwise the plate looked bland. I used stock rather than white wine – think the wine would have added more depth but as I didn’t have a bottle of wine open the stock had to do.

Tapenade Crusted Cod on a bed of Crunchy Ciabatta, Tomato and Basil – I thought the tapenade would over power the fish but it didn’t, I used an olive pandaluz bread as I had no Ciabatta. It was all very tasty and simple to cook.

The Buttered Fish with Roasted Ginger Butternut Squash was very enjoyable even though I changed a few ingredients – I did not have any pancetta so used smoked streaky bacon instead, if I had neither I would have used smoked turkey rashers or simply used smoked rapeseed oil as I think the aim was to introduce a ‘smokiness’ to the dish. I had some leftover fine beans and courgettes so used them instead of the peas. I used fish already in the freezer – one cod, one halibut and both cooked well. Think it all worked – no one complained 


The Warm Salmon and Lentils with Chorizo was very simple and easy to make. A good mid week supper.

Butternut and Sweet Potato Lasagne was not so simple to organise – there were many steps to this dish so I made it earlier in the day, and I made two so one could be frozen (have since eaten it and it was just as good)

Overall the instructions were easy to follow, I found the added ‘Hints & Tips’ useful. Many of the recipes survived changes in ingredients which always encourages me. This cookbook is definitely staying on my kitchen shelf.



A Trip to see Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

We recently went to the Palace Theatre in London to see ‘Harry Potter and the Cursed Child’. The play is in two parts with the option to see both parts on the same day or on two consecutive days. As we live in the north of England we selected to see them on the same day, although if we lived in London I think seeing them on separate days would have given a breathing space to ‘digest’ the production.

No ‘spoilers’ even though I know that the scripts are available in book form through bookshops. Just to say that the production was truly magic. How stage settings and scenes were changed, and events portrayed was inspirational and I found that I was watching the actors behaviour and the scenery rather than involving myself in the plot.

Although I did not miss out as the storytelling and scene ‘props’ are intertwined (if you know what I mean)

There is a two-hour break between Parts 1 and 2 so we headed over to nearby ChinaTown for dinner. We have eaten regularly at The Imperial China and knew we would enjoy a traditional Chinese meal (and be served quickly – a bonus) It seemed that this was also popular with other members of the audience and we enjoyed short conversations of the ‘plot so far’ with fellow diners.

We also shared out efforts to obtain tickets. This is not as straight forward as contacting the Box Office or TicketMaster. Tickets are released only at certain times so ensuring your name is on the mailing list is the first step. Having the time to sign in and sit waiting is the next – we were on our third attempt when we managed to buy the tickets. I had not appreciated the level of demand so was not prepared on my first attempt. The second attempt, despite signing in with plenty of time, was also unsuccessful as I had to abandon my place in the queue after waiting well over an hour. The third time we were lucky – both by purchasing tickets and because I did so within the first hour, although I had allocated the whole day just in case! Follow the link for further information and guidance.

Despite the trials and tribulations purchasing tickets we all agreed it had been worth the effort and walked back for Part 2.