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Recipes We’ve Actually Used {On Repeat}

Author: Charlotte O'Shea

I have a confession. I buy recipe books because they look nice on my kitchen open shelving but sometimes I don’t even bother to open them until months after purchase. And even then I have a flick through, admire the pictures and think to myself “Bloody hell, who has the time to create that

I know, what a waste.

I thought I would share a few links to recipes and the associated books I do actually make the effort to cook as well as some of the team’s favourites. I’m hoping you will share some of your most loved savoury and sweet dishes in the comments box below. And I promise this feature isn’t just for the selfish reason of giving me a kick up the (lazy) arse (although it might be a bit) but I hope that you too will be inspired to try a few new delicious ideas.

One of my most recent finds is Joe Wicks’s Super Sauce from his Cooking For Family And Friends book. It’s essentially a load of vegetables, tomatoes and herbs that makes a really useful addition to pasta or chicken. It’s not the quickest of recipes but the amount you make is substantial so we always freeze some. I would say one batch is enough for 8 people. My daughter Mabel loves it – and it means she’s getting a decent portion of her 5-a-day without even realising it.

A long term winter warmer favourite is Nigella’s lamb rapid ragu. As the name suggests it’s quick and easy, I usually serve it with rice or taglietelle. In fact Nigella’s Express book is on oldie but a goody. I also make Nigella’s Happiness soup for cold Autumnal lunchtimes.

Lottie often makes both the Baked Tarka Dahl with cauliflower and split peas and the Smoky Veggie Chilli from Jamie Oliver’s Super Food Family Classics book. Packed full of good-for-you ingredients and majorly tasty apparently.

In fact Mr Oliver is very popular indeed, Amy loves his Spicy Cajun Chicken With Smashed Sweet Potato and I’ve previously made his Pasta Pesto both from the 15 Minute Meals book.

I think the entire team is looking forward to investing in Jamie Oliver’s 5 ingredients – Quick & Easy Food, it sounds amazing. Maybe even too good to be true?!

For the ultimate sweet treat I love Mary Berry’s Banoffi Pie. No it’s not going to do your waistline any favours but it is pretty special in the dessert stakes.

Do let me know what culinary delights you’ll be whipping up tonight and over the weekend, I’m going to endeavour to make something too, promise!

Purveyor of short shorts. Make-up junkie. Hopes to grow old disgracefully.
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35 thoughts on “Recipes We’ve Actually Used {On Repeat}

  1. Just bought the Nigella book… Β£3.20 – bargain! Another Jamie fan here. Save with Jamie and Ministry of Food are both brilliant. The former is is sections (chicken, beef, veg etc) and has a main recipe at the front of the section (e.g. roast beef) and then recipes for the leftovers. Ministry of Food has lots of basic recipes for those learning to cook so it’s really straightforward with no fancy ingredients. How long until dinner?!

  2. Yes get the new Jamie – it is amazing! I’ve cooked loads from there! Also they are good bases if you wanted to add extra ingredients to jujz it up a bit! I love this cookbook!

  3. A current favourite of ours is a Joe Wicks, Cashew curry – we make it with either prawns or chicken and often throw in some green beans / mushrooms / other random veg as well. But it’s pretty easy and really tasty. It also makes loads of extra sauce (when cooking it for two people) so I normally freeze some and have it easily to hand when we want it next time around! x

  4. I’m a decent cook so good a throwing something together with whatever is in front of me. I make Jamie Oliver’s 7 veg sauce by the batch and use it for anything that needs a tomato based sauce. Bought the 5 ingredients book last week (half price in Waterstones) but haven’t made anything from it so far!

  5. Deliciously Ella’s bean chili- I bulk it up a bit more by putting in all sorts of beans (what’s in the cupboard!) but the flavour is incredible. I’d never thought to put miso and apple cider vinegar in a chili! Plus it’s super healthy so smug points (also means I can load up on the grated cheese on top!)

    1. Ellie I’ll have to try this, I’ve only ever really tired to make Deliciously Ella’s sweet things and have always been a bit disappointed (my palette is clearly used to ALL the sugar) x

  6. I’m a big fan of the Nigella Express book and, as Sarah has mentioned above, I think Jamie’s Ministry of Food is by far his best family cookbook. Love the casseroles in it, as well as the chopped salads and salmon tikka. The prawn and sweet potato red curry from Nigella’s book is a favourite in our house too.

    I’m not a big baker but snickerdoodles are a fab family bake and so easy to make with kids – Martha from GBBO has a recipe. You just bung the ingredients into a food processor, give them a whiz, roll in sugar and cinnamon and hey presto! Even I can do that. πŸ˜‰

    1. Nigella’s snickerdoodles are addictive! Also her blondies. Oats, white chocolate and condensed milk. Half of it is eaten before I even bake them… πŸ™‚

  7. One of my bug bears with Jamie is that there always seems to be SO many ingredients, so I am so happy he has bought out his new one! I am all for quick dinners that I can quickly russel up after a long day at work. I am also wanting to invest in The Roasting Tin by Rukmini Iyer! x

    1. Sarah I think that’s why I tend to avoid a lot of Jamie’s stuff that other people seem to love, I’m really looking forward to this 5 ingredient book x

  8. I really rate the Joe Wicks books as well, I have three of his (cookbook addict as well Charlotte!) and use them a lot in the week as they really are quick and easy, sort of 15 minutes meals. The bonus is they are generally nutritious/healthy as well.

  9. I’ll have to look up that sauce Charlotte.
    Ever since P was weaning I’ve always made up a big batch of emergency pasta sauce to keep in the freezer. Its usually a couple of baked butternut squash blended with tinned toms, whatever veg I can hide in it and some garlic.

    I make this curry a lot. Its pretty quick to make and I can cheat using a supermarket curry paste. This weeks version was thai massaman.

    1. I used to make a half decent curry Lou but haven’t for years, this sounds fairly straight forward to I’ll give it a whirl, thanks for the link! x

  10. A book we use a lot is the recipe book by Innocent (the smoothie company). It is aimed at getting your children to eat more veg, we don’t have children so not sure why I have it but we use the recipes a lot! There is a great recipe for oven baked butternut squash risotto!

      1. It is an amazing book! It is called Hungry (just had to check!).
        Thank you! It is a chocolate and marshmallow bar (my husband’s favourite!) x

  11. I love a good cook book πŸ™‚ and whilst they do mostly sit on my shelf looking pretty I do occasionally get them out for inspiration.

    As a veggie the bulk of my collection is aimed at cooking without meat, but particular faves are River Cottage Veg Everyday (can’t remember specific recipes, but I’ve cooked a fair few) and Jamie Oliver’s 15 min meals (originally bought for my husband who regularly takes 45 mins to cook these…). From the last I really recommend the mexican rice soup, it’s really easy, and delicious, and you don’t necessarily need the extras with it, though they do elevate it to something special if you can be bothered.

    I’m also a subscriber to delicious. magazine, and usually find at least one thing a month that I absolutely have to try. From them I have discovered poppadom nachos, an absolutely amazing apple, onion and cheese galette and halloumi in breadcrumbs. As well as occasional twists on some standards.

    Mostly though I just take a look what’s in the fridge and see what I can come up with!

    1. Rebecca I have considered subscribing to a magazine, but then I wonder if I would just flick through and not bother with that either – I really need to sort my life out (!) but the galette sounds delicious x

      1. I decided to subscribe last year after I realised I’d bought a copy three months in a row… having always treated myself to the Christmas editions of that and the BBC Good Food magazine in the past. (I had so many ways to cook for Christmas and not one decent summer recipe!)

        I do get a lot of pleasure out of reading about food, so I decided that even if I didn’t actually cook something from each issue it was still worth it – and I find I do actually read it. But if that’s not the case, then yes, it probably isn’t worth it – much like the vintage fashion/lifestyle magazine I am also subscribed to and really should cancel.

  12. We’ve been using the Ella’s Kitchen Easy Family Cookbook this summer and the recipes we’ve made so far have been really good … obviously aimed at children, but we’ve all enjoyed them!!!

  13. I found by accident, Jamie Oliver’s Vegan Chili – the addition of roasted sweet potatoes is amazing! made it for some vegan friends, and now it’s in my weekly meal rotation, delish!
    Also a fan of Joe Wicks – his baked cod risotto is so filling and so simple to make (I now only ever make risotto in the oven, instead of stirring and faffing for 45 mins!)
    For meat eaters, try Aldi’s venison meatballs – add any tomatoey/veg sauce and have with pasta. Really yummy and feels like a treat.
    I do default to fishcakes or fillets and chips from the freezer most Fridays, and now I have sussed out how to make my own minty mushy peas I can at least feel like I’ve put some effort in!
    I only ever cook a roast a la Jamie Oliver’s Ministry of Food, and ALWAYS make his gravy – you think it might be a faff but actually really easy and sooooooo worth it.
    Love finding recommended recipes, definitely going to give the JO’s 7 veg sauce a bash.

  14. I would highly recommend Mary Berry’s Mediterranean All in One Chicken recipe – so easy to prep (even with a baby and a toddler at your knees!) it all goes in together and it’s delicious. Loved by all of the family, it’s a favourite we often return to.

    I have millions of cookbooks but also rarely use them, so lately I’ve started writing out the recipes I do make and keeping them in a recipe box so I have it to turn to for tried and tested inspiration in a hurry!

  15. I can highly recommed the Half Baked Harvest blog by Tieghan Gerard ( She’s also released her first book too, which I’m hoping to buy soon.

    The incredible photography is what attracted me to Tieghan’s blog originally, but I now go back to it (time and time again) for the unusual, but delicious, flavour combos. She uses very seasonal ingredients, which I’m a big fan of and if you follow her on Instagram, every Sunday (I think) she puts out a weekly meal plan – packed with inspiration for the week ahead!

    I’ve made these ‘Quick Balsamic Fig Roasted Tomato and Burrata Cheese Tarts’ throughout the summer for dinner parties and they’ve always been a hit:

    These croissants also make for THE most amazing brunch:

    I’ve only recently discovered this other blog, The Londoner, but this travelling noodle soup ( was delicious and super easy! Though designed to be a quick office lunch, I made it as an evening meal and it was satisfying while feeling very healthy.

    1. Laura – I went through & looked at your recommendation & the recipes look so nice on the half baked harvest. Thank you πŸ™‚

  16. The River Cottage Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall books are all really good but I especially like the vegetable one and there’s also the Three Good Things book which is good if you get put off with lots of ingredients. The other cook books I find myself reaching to time and time again are the leon ones, there’s a good selection of wholesome meals that can be made in batch!

  17. I recommend John Whaite’s book Perfect Plates in 5 ingredients. Unlike a lot of recipe books (I’m looking at you here Jamie!) it doesn’t ask for lots of store cupboard essentials. The sticky black sesame chicken is a go-to, as are a few of the cooked breakfast dishes.

  18. Two of my favourite recipes this time of year are Deliciously Ella’s Bean Stew: super quick & you can bulk out with more beans or add sausages or chorizo plus batch cook & freeze portions.
    The other is Nigel Slater’s Butternut Squash soup; there’s almost no waste as he uses the peel to make crisps and again you can batch cook & freeze or use any leftover soup to make a butternut squash risotto later in the week πŸ‘ŒπŸ»

  19. Oh the new Jamie book is brilliant, we’ve cooked about 5 recipes so far and all have been yummy. Quick and tasty just what this mama of two needs.

    The Nigel Slater Eat book is also great for quick and easy ideas.


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