Love Your Cookbooks with Life on Hushabye Farm

I love my cookbooks, LOVE them! I have quite a few, I take them out, I read them, I make mental notes of the dishes I’m going to cook, put them back on the shelf; take them out and  look at them again, make a mental note of how many of the children will eat the dishes and put them back on the shelf…again. I do LOVE my cookbooks however, my children reckon they are my most prized possessions, after them of course!

I have often wondered am I the only one who positively adores her precious cookbooks, though seldom uses them, until I read this post from the lovely Elizabeth over at Life on  Hushabye Farm; Elizabeth has invited her fellow bloggers to join her and #LoveYourCookbooks, simply pick a dish from two cookbooks, serve it up to your family and blog the results.

The first dish I cooked was from Neven Maguire’s, The Nation’s Favourite Food Fast. The children gifted me this book at Christmas and this is the first recipe I have cooked from it, though I have many earmarked! I am giving the recipe as it is in the book, however I did adapt it to feed 7 of us. WP_20150420_004

Salmon Burgers with Roasted Red Pepper Salsa

  • 550g (1¼lb) Salmon Fillet, skinned and boned
  • 2 Spring Onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 heaped tbsp. Dijon Mustard
  • 2 tsp Sesame Seeds
  • 1 tblsp seasoned Flour (I used ground almonds)
  • 4 slices Sourdough Bread (I used ciabatta)
  • 4 Little Gem lettuce leaves (I used mixed salad leaves)
  • Handful of fresh coriander sprigs
  • Lime wedges, to serve

For the Roasted Red Pepper Salsa

  • 2 Roasted Red Peppers, finely diced (from a jar is fine)
  • 2 plum tomatoes, seeded and finely chopped (I used baby plum tomatoes)
  • Finely grated rind of 1 lemon
  • 2 tblsp sweet chilli sauce (I used 1 tbsp. of Sriracha, which is a hot chilli sauce)
  • 1 tblsp rapeseed oil
  • 1 tblsp chopped fresh coriander
  • 1 tblsp shredded fresh basil sea salt & freshly ground black pepper


  1. Using a sharp knife cut away any brown bits from the salmon fillet, then finely chop.
  2. Place in a bowl, then stir in the spring onions, mustard and sesame seeds. Season to taste.
  3. Divide into 4 portions, then using slightly wetted hands, shape into patties. Dust the patties in the flour, shaking off any excess. Place in the fridge for 10 minutes to firm up.
  4. Meanwhile, make the roasted red pepper salsa. Place the red peppers in a bowl and stir in the tomatoes, lemon rind, sweet chilli sauce, oil and herbs. Season to taste and set aside at room temperature to allow the flavours to develop.
  5. Heat a large non-stick frying pan over a medium heat. Add the olive oil to the frying pan and then add the salmon burgers. Cook for 3-4 minutes on each side, until lightly golden but still slightly pink in the centre. Be careful not to overcook them or they will quickly become dry. Set aside.
  6. Meanwhile, heat a griddle pan until smoking hot. Add the slices of sourdough bread and chargrill for 1-2 minutes on each side, until nicely marked. WP_20150417_011
  7. Arrange on warmed plates and top with Little Gem lettuce leaves and the burgers. Spoon over the roasted red pepper salsa, then scatter over the coriander sprigs and serve with lime wedges

These fish cakes were scrummy and we all thoroughly enjoyed them, apart from Jack, who is my resident fussy eater, that’s a whole other post! The salsa was really fresh and full of flavour, we had some left over and  used it on salad sandwiches for the next days lunch….delicious! The fishcakes are handy in that they can be made ahead and kept in the fridge too, everyone agreed that they would have them again. Good result!


The Second Dish



The next dish I cooked was Mushy Roast Garlic & Cherry Tomato Pasta from Donal Skehan’s first book Good Mood Food. We’re big fans of Donal’s in the Simply Homemade home, Chloe & Caoimhe love both his shows and  books, we went to see his show, Kitchen Hero Live last November, they loved it. I like his style of cooking, his use of good, wholesome ingredients and producing dishes that don’t cost a fortune; always a winner in my book.Pasta is a favourite among the children, all five of them eat it, though again Jack is a reluctant customer when it comes to having his mixed with anything, however, I will continue to persevere with him. This is actually a dish that I have made before, but it’s so long ago the girls couldn’t actually remember having it!!
Ingredients-Serves 4
250g/9oz wholewheat penne
1 large bulb of garlic
1 punnet of cherry tomatoes
1 large red onion
1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons of olive oil
A good pinch of sea salt and ground black pepper
A large handful of grated Parmesan cheese
An extra glug of olive oil


1. Preheat the oven to 200°C/GM 6.

2. Slice the top off the bulb of garlic so that almost all the cloves are exposed and place the garlic in a large roasting tray.

3. Prepare the cherry tomatoes by slicing them in half. Put them into the roasting tray. Prepare the red onion by peeling and slicing into quarters, place alongside the tomatoes and set aside.

4. In a separate bowl, mix together the balsamic vinegar and olive oil and pour  the mix over the tomatoes, the red onion and garlic bulb, ensuring everything is well coated. Sprinkle the tomatoes, garlic and onion with a good pinch of sea salt and black pepper. Roast in the oven for 30–35 minutes or until the tomatoes have reduced to half their size.

5. While the garlic, tomatoes and onion are roasting, bring a medium-sized pot of water to the boil and cook the pasta according to the packet instructions. Drain the pasta and set aside.

6. When the tomatoes, garlic and onion are cooked, remove from the oven and, using a fork, carefully push out the garlic WP_20150420_002cloves from their skins and mash all the ingredients together until you have a thick mushy sauce. Tumble the cooked pasta into the roasting tray and add the parmesan cheese and an extra glug of olive oil. Toss everything together until the pasta is evenly coated.

This was as gorgeous as I remembered and so simple to throw together, we had clean plates all round, (except for Jack, who refused to even try it!) and requests from Chloe & Caoimhe to have it on a regular basis!Had it been a competition between the two dishes, this Pasta Dish has won by a mile!


This post is part of the #LoveYourCookbooks linky by Life on Hushabye Farm, check it out and join in here.


5 thoughts on “Love Your Cookbooks with Life on Hushabye Farm

  1. Wow Nicola…both dishes look great! I will definitely be giving these a go. Thank you so much for taking part and linking x

  2. Wow Nicola, both dishes look great and I will definitely be trying them! Thank you so much for taking part and linking x

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.