Round- up of WHB#216

WHB 4 years.jpgThis week’s Weekend Herb Blogging (WHB) is at Maninas! Started by Kalyn, and now run by Haalo, this event has been running for the impressive 4 years now! Here’s the round-up for WHB#216. Enjoy!


The entries are listed alphabetically according to the main ingredient.





baby spinach


baby spinach salad with toasted hazelnuts, pear and parmesan ~ by Winnie at Healthy Green Kitchen (USA) 




bamboo shoots

Braised bamboo shoots ~ by Kit from Kit’s Chow (Canada)



blood orange

insalata finocchi e arancefennel & blood orange salad ~ by Cinzia at Cindystar (Italy)






broccoli and basil pesto with capers and anchovies pasta ~ by Maninas from Maninas: Food Matters (UK)





Celery Jam

celery jam ~ by Graziana at Erbe in Cucina (Italy)




cheese puffs with gruyere ~ Dhanggit at Dhanggit’s Kitchen (France)




fennel two ways: fresh and baked ~ by Rachel at Crispy Cook (USA)





Cannellini Bean and Kale Soup with Ham and Sherry Vinegar

Cannellini Bean and Kale Soup with Ham and Sherry Vinegar ~ by Kalyn from Kalyn’s Kitchen (USA)




leek (& potato)

potato and leek soup

leek and potato soup ~ by Nate and Annie at House of Annie (Malaysia)





Pan-grilled Lemongrass Chicken ~ by Alice at Bits of Taste (Malaysia)




rosemary-infused bourguignonne of chestnuts, mushrooms and roasted garlic ~ by Mangocheeks at Allotment 2 Kitchen (Scotland, UK)




Greek Tomato Tarts with Kefalotiri and fresh Rocket ~ by Nina at My Easy Cooking (South Africa)






watercress pesto© by Haalo

Watercress pesto ~ by Haalo from Cook Almost Anything (Australia)



Thank you all for taking part!

Our next host will be Anna from Anna’s Cool Finds.

WHB #216 at Maninas!

This week I’m hosting Weekend Herb Blogging (WHB) from Monday 11 Jan till Sunday 17 Jan. Started by Kalyn, and now run by Haalo, this even has been running for the impressive 4 years now!


WHB 4 years.jpg


Please send me your entries featuring your favourite herbs, plants, veggies, or flowers of the week by:

3 pm Sunday – Utah Time
10 pm Sunday – London Time
9 am Monday – Melbourne (Aus) Time
You can use this
converter to find out the corresponding time in your location.

My e-mail address is: maninas DOT wordpress AT yahoo DOT co DOT uk.

To send me your entry, please include the following in your email:

  • Your Name
  • Your Blog Name/URL
  • Your Post URL
  • Your Location
  • Attach a photo (please check here for specific host requirements)

Here’s where you can find the rules if you’d like to take part, and here’s where you can find out who’s hosting the next WHB.

I look forward to your entries! :D


My mum’s tomato sauce OR Mamin sug od pomidora


Today, I’d like to share the recipe for my favourite tomato sauce with you – my mum’s tomato sauce. This sauce is THE tomato sauce for me – I adore it! Over the years I’ve learnt to like and prepare the more minimalist (onion, garlic, tomato, basil) versions, but this is the tomato sauce I grew up with. You will notice that it is very different from Italian versions. The onions are browned (rather than cooked until translucent), together with carrot, and pepper. Garlic is added together with tomatoes (rather than with onions), and parsley and leaf of celery are used instead of basil.

Parsley (Petroselinum crispum) is a very important herb in Croatian, especially in Dalmatian cooking. It’s practically ubiquitous! We use it in meat and vegetable sauces, sprinkle it (together with garlic) over grilled fish – everywhere really! I’m submitting this post to Kalyn for the Weekend Herb Blogging event!

I must admit that this post is long overdue. The sauce was made during the summer, as a part of our zimnica, or winter foods, when the tomatoes were at their best. I had some issues with my posting photos plus slow Internet connection so I’m posting it only now. Unfortunately, the tomato season is finished here… If you can find them, plum tomatoes make a really nice thick sauce.

The pot you see below has the capacity of 9 litres! We make 2 or three of those! We always make a huge batch and freeze it for the winter. We use it with pasta, with polenta (it works really well! it’s one of my mum’s favourite dishes), or to make tomato risotto (simply add rice, and cook it in the sauce. I like to top it with yogurt.) Also, this is the sauce we use to make Stuffed Peppers (punjene paprike). Please note that you may need to scale up or down the recipe for the sauce, depending on how many peppers you’re making (details in the stuffed peppers post).



My mum’s tomato sauce OR Mamin sug od pomidora


SOURCE: Mum’s recipe


COOKING TIME: 30 – 40 min

CUISINE: Croatian

SERVES: 4 – 6



Vegetable or olive oil

2 – 3 onions, finely chopped

2 large carrots, grated

2 yellow or red peppers, chopped

1 kg tomatoes, chopped

1/2 bulb of garlic

Fresh Parsley, chopped

Fresh leaf of celery, chopped

Salt, pepper




1. Fry the onions, grated carrots and peppers until light to medium brown (but not burnt). Please don’t skip this step, it’s very important for the flavour of the dish.

2. Add tomatoes, garlic, leaf of celery and parsley.

3. Season to taste and add a little sugar. (I always add a little sugar when I’m cooking with tomatoes. This offsets the sourness of the tomatoes.)

4. Cook until the vegetables are soft, and colour of the sauce turns from bright red to a orange and red. Reduce the sauce to desired thickness.

5. Process the sauce so it becomes smooth. My mother uses a special kitchen gadget for this, but I’m not sure what the word is in English – perhaps tomato press or something like that. (Asked the hubby – he doesn’t know either) The gadget is used to process tomato sauce specifically. It looks like a type of grinder, you pour in the tomato sauce, turn the handle; out comes the smooth sauce, and in stays the tomato peel. That way there is no need to peel the tomatoes before cooking! Perfect!



Serve with pasta, with polenta, or make a risotto by adding some risotto rice to the sauce, and cooking it in the sauce. Don’t forget to stir often! 🙂 I like this risotto with a bit of yogurt on top.


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Tuna with a Twist

Yet another spontaneous post! This is my version of the old favourite – tuna & mayo sandwich! Delicious! Yes, I know that tuna sandwiches are normally not very exciting, but I simply loved this version with fresh basil and lemon juice, that I had to share it with you! So simple, and yet so wonderful! My other motive: making a note of it, in case my memory fails me, which happens often these days…

Pille from nami-nami, one of my favourite bloggers, is hosting this week’s Weekend Herb Blogging, a fantastic event started by Kalyn of Kalyn’s Kitchen. I’m sending this entry over to Pille, with a photo of my beautiful basil (see below). Basil was recently voted the most popular herb of the 2nd year of Weekend Herb Blogging! Click here for round-up of this event!



Tuna & Mayo Sandwich with Basil, Lemon and Black Pepper


SOURCE: momentary inspiration, own recipe



SERVES: 1 – 2


4 slices of wholemeal bread, or any other that you fancy

1 tin of tuna

2 tsp mayonnaise, 3 if you dare (or add a little yogurt)

a few leaves of basil

a squirt of lemon juice

black pepper


  • Mix tuna and mayonnaise in a bowl.
  • Divide the mixture between two slices of bread.
  • Sprinkle the bread and tuna mixture with fresh basil leaves, freshly ground black pepper and squirt some lemon over it. That’s that!


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My First Beef and Ale Pie

… is simmering on the hob right now. Can you smell it? There’s a fantastic aroma of beef, ale and mushrooms, with notes of Worcestershire sauce, emanating from the kitchen! Yes, this is my first beef and ale pie. No, it’s actually my first pie ever! …. Oooops actually – no. I did make a shepherd’s pie once or twice, very successfully, if I may add! It was delicious! 🙂 However, I’ve never made a pie with pastry, my own pastry. This is what I’m attempting to do now – make my own pie pastry, as well as the pie filling!

I must admit I was feeling pretty nervous before attempting it. Yes, I like pie, but what else do I know about it, apart from that? – Well, absolutely nothing! But, married to a Brit, I was bound to have to learn how to make one! Plus, it’s his birthday soon, so it’s time to be a good wife – for once! he he! It will make a nice surprise – hopefully!

As for my pie, so far, so good! The filling is simmering happily on the hob, smelling and tasting delicious! I guess the pastry will be the real challenge, since I know I can make a stew (for god’s sake!)! So because it tastes good, I decided to share the recipe with you. The photos will come later, together with my final verdict. I’ll also let you know about my fortunes with pastry making.

The recipe comes from The Dairy Book of British Food, but I adapted it slightly. I’m using a recipe for steak and kidney pie, minus the kidney. Not because I don’t like/won’t cook kidney, but simply because I don’t have any!

The book I’m using has over 400 recipes for every occasion. It contains chapters on regional food, describing the local dishes and produce, and lists annual food fairs and festivals. This recipe comes from the North of England, where the food is “based on dishes suitable for a hard-working community living in a bracing climate” (pg. 56). According the my book, oysters were originally used to flavour the dish, instead of mushrooms, which were the more expensive ingredient at the time. Times have changed considerably, definitely! I would love to know when the dish was first made.

Here’s the recipe! Stay tuned for pastry cronicles, pics and verdicts!

At the moment, it has a lovely dark brown hue and some gorgeous thick gravy that tastes delicious! Perfect for dipping bread in! – Did I say anything about dipping bread? Shhh, don’t tell my husband!

Actually, the recipe is coming later! The time has come – to make the wretched pastry!

Update 2o October: See below for verdict!



Beef and Ale Pie



SOURCE: adapted from The Dairy Book of British Food

PREPARATION TIME: 5 min for the filling, 10 – 20* min for the pastry

COOKING TIME: about 1h 30 min for the filling, + 30 – 45 min for the whole pie

CUISINE: British – a dish from the North

SERVES: 3 – 4 



For the filling:

15 g flour

500 g diced beef

1 tbsp butter

1 large onion

1 clove of garlic

85 g mushrooms (I used chestnut mushrooms) (See note 1)

200 ml beef stock (See note 2)

200 ml brown ale (I used Theakston Old Peculiar)

1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce (See note 3)

1 tbsp tomato puree (See note 4)

1 bay leaf

1 sprig of fresh thyme (or 1/2 tsp dried thyme)


For the pastry:

200 g flour

100 g butter, chilled and diced




Making the filling: :

  •  Sieve and season the flour. Toss the beef in the flour, shake the excess and set aside.

  • Fry the onion, garlic and mushrooms in the butter, until the onions become translucent.

  • Add the beef, and brown.

  • Add all the other ingredients, and simmer gently for about 1 h 15 min. I used too much stock, so I had to leave it uncovered to reduce the liquid. The filling needs to be fairly dry, otherwise it will leak.

Making the pastry:

  • Sieve the flour and stir in diced butter. Rub the butter and flour until the mixture starts resembling to fine bread crumbs. Then, add 60 ml of cold water to form a dough. Mix until the dough is formed.

  • Divide the pastry in to two parts – one smaller and the other larger. Roll them out to fit your pie dish on a lightly floured surface. Rub flour into your rolling pin** to stop the dough from sticking to it.

Assembling the pie:

  • Roll the larger piece of dough gently on your rolling pin, and carry it over to your pie dish. Unroll the pastry over the pie dish, and put the dough inside the dish. Gently press the edges for the pastry to fit the dish.
  • Spoon the pie filling inside the dough.
  • Take a little water and brush the edge of the pastry. Then, put the ‘lid’, i.e. the other piece of dough, on top, and press lightly to seal the edges.
  • If you have some leftover dough, make some shapes and stick them on top of the lid. I had loads of dough left, and I made some leaves.
  • Brush the surface with a little milk. This gives the pie a lovely glaze.
  • Put in the oven at 200 C (Gas mark 6 / 400 F) for 30 – 45 min. That’s it! We’re having it with some mashed potatoes, parsnips, boiled carrots and peas!

* Probably less if you know what you’re doing, so that’s unlike me!

** Shame on you all you dirty-minded people! Like me… ehm…  


Our eclectic dinner. With beers of course!




Delicious! Both hot and cold. We both loved it! And…. I managed to produce a perfectly edible, functional pastry that didn’t leak, didn’t break, and it did taste good! Wow! – And it was so easy! I really loved the golden colour of the pastry!

 I amazed myself completely! I really thought making n’ rolling the pastry would be more difficult, but it really wasn’t! It was very easy and fairly quick to make. Rubbing flour and butter is a little tedious, but it was well worth it! I’m not a pastry wimp anymore! Yeay! Ok, maybe a bit, but definitely less so than before! 😀

I’ll be making this again, so here are a few cooking notes.


1. You can use a bit more mushrooms if you want it more mushroomy. If you like it meaty, like I do, don’t!

2. I think I used too much stock. It was rather watery to start with, but of course, after 1.30 h of cooking, it reduced nicely. Next time I’ll replace some of the stock with more ale! 😉

3. Can do with a bit more Worcestershire sauce.

4. Definitely less tomato puree – 1/2 tbsp next time. Perhaps even less, or none. You see, I like my pies meaty! However, if you’re making the filling as a stew only, then it’s fine.

– It’s quite filling, so bear that in mind!


Make the filling only and serve it as a stew!



I’m sending this post over to Susan at Well-seasoned Cook who is hosting this week’s Weekend Herb Blogging! This recipe features thyme and bay leaf, both of which I grow myself!



Other British recipes on this blog:


Date and nut loaf


Rhubarb Crumble







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