The Red Folder


What’s the difference between Muesli and Granola? The answer is grainy.

Quite often found jostling for the same supermarket shelf space, what is the difference between these two cereals? The difference between muesli and granola is simple. While both are an assembly of pure grains, fruit, seeds and nuts, muesli is eaten in its raw form and is usually soaked in milk or other liquid. Granola is mixed with oil and a sweetener and baked before we eat it.  It can be eaten with or without any liquid. The other point of difference it that my family will eat granola by the handful while the muesli sits woefully untouched in the cupboard.  No amount of yoghurt, fruit or honey will make my children eat it. Aviary Photo_130968819121782045.pngMy husband does so grudgingly in an attempt to fill his body with the antioxidants and vitamins A and C contained in the fruit. Nuts bring protein and omega-3 oils to the table and we all know grains provide rich carbohydrates, B vitamins, iron and fiber. Unless you are intolerant.  It also stops me nagging him.  The problem I have is that most of what is out there to buy is very expensive and overly sweet, containing more sugar and salt than I would like.  The answer, of course, is to make it yourself.  This prospect has always seemed so drudgingly boring and I have dipped in and out of various recipes all too much time for too little result. Then I had a moment.  I sighed inwardly and tried yet another recipe, the result was spectacular and I quickly wrote it’s secrets down and put into my red folder.  I have adapted it to suit our tastes, you can start here and do the same

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The Red Folder


Red Folder Recipe- Baklava

I think I have found it, the ultimate Baklava recipe

Where I used to live in London there was a thriving greek community and from a corner shop, the owners’ mum would sell tiny, aromatic and sweet, diamond filo pastry mouthfuls of heaven, straight from the baking tin.  I discovered later that the men used to sit at the back drinking black coffee and smoking waiting for the tray to come out of the oven as eagerly as I did.  I used to beg for the recipe and she would always shake her head no and say that if she told me I would not buy from her!  Of course, I know how to make Baklava but I could never capture that taste from London E17.P1110768 (2)

If I see Baklava in a cafe I will always try a piece, I do this with lemon tarts too, but that is another recipe.  Then a friend of a friend of a friend said, “try this”, and handed me a photocopy of a handwritten  list of ingredients and instructions. It is the closest thing I have made so far, so I popped it in the red folder and marked it E17 Baklava.  It is  toothache-sweet, and uses more sugar than I would use in three months, so I usually make a hybrid of the school cookbook version and the E17.  I leave you both here.  Be warned cut into small pieces, but you will keep going back to the tin. Continue reading “The Red Folder”


cropped-cocktail-header1.jpgMai Tai

Would the real Mai Tai please make yourself known!

I enjoy the flavours of both orange and almond and use white rum in many drinks, so I could never reconcile the involuntary shudder, accompanying a stick your tongue out NO, whenever I was asked if I wanted to try a mai tai.  I first tried this cocktail somewhere hot, at a beach bar, sometime in my early twenties.  Clearly, I do not recall the details but I was left with a vivid recollection, that this was an overly sweet and alcohol tasting drink, never to be repeated.  There are many versions out there.

A happy accident then, that one balmy night, at a trendy cocktail bar in London’s Covent Garden, I sipped a friend’s drink and told the barman, with absolute confidence, that I would have what my friend was drinking.  “A mai tai, right,” he said, reaching under the counter for his shaker.  “No”,  I replied, “one… of…. those”, slowing my speech down and pointing to the drink, as he was obviously slow on the uptake.  “Yes”, my friend confirmed, “a mai tai”.  The barman raised his eyebrows and I was forever hooked. Continue reading “Cocktails”


cropped-p1110068.jpgBlue Bayou Baby.

You must try this long drink.  It is refreshing and spectacularly blue.  I have always drunk it with gin, as I was taught to make it this way.  I have included a vodka based frozen drink, which is just as yummy and deserves a mention.Blue Bayou

  • 30ml gin
  • 15ml galliano
  • 15ml dry vermouth (Martini)
  • 15ml blue curacao
  • lemonade
  • Slice of lemon, lime or mint to garnishP1100883

Fill your cocktail shaker with ice.  Add everything except the lemonade mint and lemon and shake until the outside of the shaker is frosty and cold.  Pour into any tall glass and top with lemonade, add the ice from the shaker and garnish as you like.

 Curacoa is made from the Lahara fruit, actually quite bitter with a distinctly orange flavor.  It is actually a colorless liqueur.  The blue is for show, you can find it in green and red too if you fancy.

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