Pork Loin with Parma Ham and Sage

My take on the traditional Italian recipe, Saltimbocca. Pork loin with sage, wrapped in parma ham and cooked in white wine and chicken stock.

Saltimbocca is a dish traditionally eaten in Italy, Spain, Greece and Southern Switzerland. It was traditionally made using veal. However, over time the recipe has been adapted to use other meats such as chicken, turkey and pork¹.

I was inspired to make a pork version after buying something similar ready-to-cook from Marks & Spencer, which I enjoyed. It’s so simple to prepare, theres really no need to buy something ready-made. I also make this recipe using turkey breast steaks instead of the pork loin which works really well too.

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Roasted carrot and swede mash

carrot swede mash side

My mother-in-law makes brilliant carrot and swede mash and for a while I’ve been trying to emulate it. I always failed. No matter what I tried it just lacked the level of flavour she could get.

Masterchef to the rescue

Then just before Christmas I was watching an episode of Masterchef: The Professionals and one of the contestants was making mashed potatoes. Rather than boiling the potatoes before mashing them, he roasted them. Apparently this gives them more flavour. It gave me an idea. If you can increase the flavour in mashed potatoes by roasting, then surely the same approach would work for carrot and swede.

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Cottage Pie

Cottage pie recipe

The great thing about this cottage pie recipe is that it’s so flexible. This is my favourite way to make it, but if I’ve got different vegetables to use up in the fridge then I’ll happily chuck those in instead.

The other great thing is that it’s packed full of healthy vegetables, so gives you two of your five-a-day. Serve it with lots of peas (as I like to do) then you’re up to three.

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Basic Pizza Dough

Pizza dough recipe

One of the meals that it’s guaranteed will always disappear from my boys’ plates is pizza (unless of course it’s experimental pizza with a cauliflower crust – that didn’t go down well at all!).
They also enjoy joining in with making the pizza – “helping” to knead to dough, spreading the tomato, sprinkling…

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Apple Crumble Flapjacks


When I first started Charlotte’s Lively Kitchen it was very much my project. Something I worked on when my husband (he’s called Jon by the way) was at work, and the boys were busy doing other things.

However over Christmas, during his holidays, Jon started showing a bit more interest. Then a couple of weeks ago he announced the he wanted to have a go a creating a new recipe – apple crumble flapjacks.

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Homemade custard

Proper homemade custard and apple crumble flapjack

Before I started cooking regularly I always thought that it was difficult to make custard. That if I attempted it I’d end up with something lumpy, with a slimy skin on top.

However, as with pretty much everything I thought was difficult to make, it turns out it’s actually really easy. There’s just one simple rule to follow – you have to give it your full attention. No attempting to cook the rest of dinner, looking after your children or cleaning up. When it comes to custard, it’s all or nothing.

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How to poach an egg

How to poach an egg runny

When I first decided to try poaching an egg I searched online to find how I should go about it. I (wrongly) assumed that something as simple as poaching an egg would have a very standard method, and I was surprised at the wide array of possible approaches I could use. After lots of googling and some trial and error, I found that the method outlined below works best for me.

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Banana and Almond Breakfast Smoothie

I admitted in my recent recipe for american pancakes that I’m pretty lazy when it comes to breakfast and usually settle for a nice bowl of Cheerios. However, a few weeks ago I decided that this had to stop and I had to become more adventurous with my breakfast efforts. There was three main reasons for this…

I have a tendency to get bored eating the same things day in day out. I need variety in my food and I wasn’t getting it.
I write recipes. Eating the same thing every day for breakfast was simply a wasted opportunity to play with food and come up with new ideas.

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Chicken and Sweet Potato Curry

Chicken and sweet potato curry recipe

When it comes to healthy eating, I’m not perfect. Ask the regular mums at my local parent and toddler group and they’ll tell you that despite my best intentions I’ll usually end up sneaking a slice (or two) of cake to go with my coffee.

I try and make up for this accidental cake eating by making my dinners as healthy as possible – low calorie, and packed full of extra vegetables. Having small children, I also feel a responsibility to feed them healthy dinners to help them grow up big and strong and hopefully not too fussy (a battle I may be loosing with the little one, although I’m still fighting).

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Yorkshire Puddings

When I was growing up, there was an unwritten rule in my household that yorkshire puddings were only made to go with roast beef.

As I’ve grown up I’ve realised that that’s absolute nonsense and they can go with pretty much everything. I’ll often eat them with roast turkey or sausage and mash (or just by themselves as a snack!).

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