Helen and Bosh day 8 – Mini Pizza Tarts

Book picture

I had a day off yesterday because I had a long working day. I ate the rest of the spaghetti from Sunday for my dinner. Jus-Rol now do a gluten free puff pastry and it is vegan too! It doesn’t puff up as much as the regular pastry but it does the job when you can’t be bothered to make it. I don’t know if this has fewer than a regular pizza but it was just as tasty and a great idea for a midweek meal with some salad. I’m not a fan of cherry tomatoes so I put mushrooms on instead as there are already sun-dried tomatoes on it.





My version

Skill level required: 4/10
Washing up generated: 10/10 baking tray, small bowl, chopping board and utensils
Portion size: 7/10
Tastiness: 9/10
Will I make it again? Yes when I can’t be faffed to make pizza bases.


Helen and Bosh day 7 – Quick Puttanesca Spaghetti

Picture in the book

One week in already! Quick and easy to make and tasty too although next time I would use tinned tomatoes rather than passata for the texture. I added some mushrooms for extra bulk and flavour. Total cooking and preparation time was about 30 mins so ideal when you are short of time.





Skill level required: 3/10
Washing up generated: 8/10 2 saucepans, colander, chopping board and utensils
Portion size: 8/10
Tastiness: 8/10
Will I make it again? Yes.

Helen and Bosh day 6 – Mini Chilli Bowls

Book picture

Last week I discovered Old El Paso now do a gluten free fajita kit so I could make these properly! I like the idea of making the cups with the tortillas, so much easier than rolling them! The whole thing took just over half an hour to make, so good if you are hungry but when I make chilli I like it to cook for a long time to allow the flavours to develop.

I used cumin seeds rather than ground and added them with the chilli, garlic and coriander der stalks. I always cook the onions for a bit on their own first to allow them to soften. I noticed that I am now adapting the recipes a bit more – a habit of mine. I see them as a guide but then I have loads of experience and know what works best. The chilli was very sweet and not very spicy. I’m not sure why that was – maybe the passata? I would probably use tinned tomatoes instead next time. I liked the idea of putting the coriander stalks in the dish – better than throwing them away. Had a bit of guacamole left from the day before too – bonus!

Skill level required: 3/10
Washing up generated: 8/10  2 saucepans, sieve, muffin tin, chopping board and utensils
Portion size: 8/10
Tastiness: 6/10
Will I make it again? Will do the tortilla bowls again but use my own chilli recipe. I prefer something substantial with lots of vegetables.

Helen and Bosh day 5 – Sticky Shiitake Mushrooms

Picture in book

These were good! Thick tasty sauce and quick to prepare. You could probably use any type of mushrooms because the sauce has a lot of flavour. I had a mixture as I didn’t enough shiitake so I added some woodland mushrooms. Total preparation and cooking time was about 30 minutes and no fancy equipment needed.




Finished article


Skill level required: 1/10
Washing up generated: 10/10 wok, saucepan, bowl, chopping board and utensils
Portion size: 9/10
Tastiness: 10/10
Will I make it again? Definitely

Helen and Bosh day 4 – Curry-Crusted Sweet Potatoes

Book picture

Very filling – I couldn’t eat a whole one! It was tasty but there was a lot of desiccated coconut. The curry paste was quite crumbly and didn’t stick to the potato but it was wrapped in foil so it didn’t really matter. The paste didn’t taste of curry because there is not a lot of spice in it but it was flavourful. Total cooking and preparation time was about an hour because you can make the paste while the potato is baking.

I have read a lot about how they do food pictures to make them look more appetising – you don’t want to know! I don’t think it is cooked in this picture so don’t be disheartened if your meal looks nothing like the one in the book.

They also assume you have a food processor. I do because I am a keen cook but many people don’t.


How it actually turned out. Olives are in my side salad!


Skill level required: 4/10
Washing up generated: 8/10 food processor, oven tray, chopping board & utensils
Portion size: 11/10
Tastiness: 8/10
Will I make it again? Probably but with less coconut and more spices.

Helen and Bosh day 3 – Guacaroni

Picture in the book

Yum! I had the rest of the pho for my dinner tonight, it was better the 2nd day as the flavours had had time to develop and the mushrooms had softened.

Guacaroni (or guacasilli in my case as it’s hard to find gluten free macaroni) is very tasty. I have made it for my lunch tomorrow as per their suggestion but had to taste a sample. I’ve always loved guacamole and it is so simple to make, just make sure your avocado is really ripe. I used ordinary tomato as I am not keen on cherry tomatoes and that is what is used traditionally in guacamole. No fancy equipment required for this one either, just a saucepan and a bowl.


How it turned out.

Skill level required: 1/10
Washing up generated: 10/10 saucepan, sieve, measuring jug, chopping board, citrus juicer, utensils
Portion size: 10/10
Tastiness: 10/10
Will I make it again? Definitely, so easy and no recipe required next time.



Listen to the Teacher

A little poem what I wrote this afternoon while reflecting that yesterday I was swimming in the sea with a seagull and today I am sitting in a concrete box.

Listen to the Teacher

Sitting in a concrete box
Looking out the window at the trees and hills
People walking their dogs

What are we doing?
What is the lesson outcome?
We belong out there, not in here

All the Growth Mindset
All the Wellbeing Policies
Are not going to knock down those walls

I breathe in the stale air
Reconditioned and pumped around the building
‘Don’t open the windows until the LED is lit’

There will be consequences
If you dare to be different
If you don’t conform to our dress policy
If you have the wrong haircut

You see we don’t do different
But we do have a ‘diversity policy’
You make us feel uneasy
We might have to face the truth of what we have done
To our children
To you

You were once unstoppable
But now your dreams have been quashed
By a head stuffed full of facts

We don’t care what you want
You are here to consume
To keep our system going
And I am your teacher.

4.15pm 22/1/19 ©Helen Pengelly

Helen and Bosh day 2 – Mushroom Pho

Picture in the book

This was better, I have a favourite recipe that is very similar. I thought there was a misprint for a while when it said 15cm piece of fresh ginger! Surely they meant 1.5? I stuck to the recipe though and it turned out it was just for the stock and didn’t end up in the finished soup. I should have said yesterday I usually put more garlic in recipes than it says. 2 cloves for 3 servings (if you do half measures in this case). Serving size adequate but the quantities given would only serve 4 if you are really hungry.

This really was a one-pot meal unlike the carbonara yesterday. If I come across another recipe using the cashew cream I will make a big batch of it and freeze portions to save time.

Interesting combination of flavours, especially with the freshly squeezed orange juice. One thing I would do differently if I made this again is slice the mushrooms for the second part of the recipe as they were a bit rubbery in the finished soup. Flavour was quite delicate, I would add a bit of miso if you want a more hearty flavour. All in all not bad.

My finished result

Skill level required: 4/10
Washing up generated: 8/10 saucepan, sieve, measuring jug, chopping board, citrus juicer, utensils
Portion size: 7/10
Tastiness: 6/10
Will I make it again? Quite likely, but with my own revisions as above.

Helen and Bosh day 1 – Creamy Carbonara

Picture in the book

A friend of mine bought me the Bosh cookbook for Christmas. I have been cooking for about 50 years – scary! I am a volunteer cook at retreat centres where the food is all vegan. I am regularly told that my food is the best people have had on a retreat so I do think I have some talent! I did consider becoming a chef when I was young but didn’t want to have to touch dead flesh. I didn’t like meat as a kid, and although I have been told I liked fish when I was small, I haven’t eaten any seafood – other than by mistake – in my living memory. Apart from once when I went to a dinner party and my ex husband didn’t tell them I didn’t eat fish. It was all fish and I didn’t have the heart to tell them! I was violently sick on the way home so maybe my body is telling me something.
I finally gave up eating meat in 2015 and at home I am completely vegan. I try to be vegan as much as possible when out and about but being coeliac adds extra complications. It is getting much easier but cakes are my downfall! I have always loved vegetables – I used to swap my meat for the other kids’ cabbage when I was at school.
Well back to Bosh – so to speak. As a busy coach I don’t always plan meals as much as I would like and tend to throw things together. Cooking has always been a creative outlet for me. But as the title of this blog implies I am always looking for ways to simplify my life. Now all my sons have left home I don’t have to worry about what anyone else wants to eat, I can please myself. Rather than have the added pressure of looking through the book and deciding what to cook I decided I would work through it a la Julie and Julia. I have no affiliation with the company. I went shopping today for the first 6 days and it was quite nice not having to think too much when I made my list!
The first recipe in the book is a Creamy Carbonara. I am going to rate the recipes out of 10 under the following headings:

Skill level required: 7/10
Washing up generated: 2/10 bowl, liquidiser, 2saucepans, colander, oven tray, chopping board + utensils
Portion size: 6/10
Tastiness: 7/10
Cooking time: 45 mins + 15 mins preparation & marinading time
Will I make it again? Probably not


What it actually turned out like.

The recipe says serves 4 – I made half quantities so I’d have some for lunch tomorrow. Portion size was small – I had one and a half. It was quite tasty but not worth all the fiddliness and the amount of washing up generated for a midweek meal. The cashew cream is yum.