I Was A Guest Chef For Jeanne In The Kitchen!!!

celebrity chefWell today, I had to leave the house in huge Jackie O sunglasses and a wide brimmed floppy hat, to hide from the paparazzi and the autograph hunters. That’s all because I am now a celebrity chef! You may already have seen it for yourself, but in case you didn’t know, Caramel was featured as a guest chef by Jeanne, the creator of A Jeanne in the Kitchen.

Here is the link where you can see Jeanne’s post detailing my recent culinary escapade:


Jeanne is inviting anyone who would like to be featured as a guest chef to get in touch with her – but make sure you have sunglasses and a hat before becoming a celebrity chef – the paparazzi are a nightmare!!

You can make anything you like! I chose a dish I was make for friends – it was a hit, although one of the lads asked where was the meat. That was after he told me he didn’t mind eating vegetarian food for the evening.

Here was my choice:

Leek And Greens Lasagne – a BBC Good Food Recipe!

First of all. the recipe said to make the bechamel sauce. Here are the ingredients required:

1 tbsp olive oil
50g butter
1 bay leaf
rosemary sprig, leaves picked and roughly chopped
1 leeks, finely sliced 
40g plain flour
500ml milk
fresh nutmeg, for grating
75g cheddar, grated
30g parmesan, grated

And these were the instructions to make the sauce:

Heat 1 tbsp oil with the butter over a medium heat. Add the bay leaf, rosemary and finely sliced leek, season and cook for a few mins until the leek has softened
Tip the flour into the pan and cook for 1 min more until the roux smells nutty. Remove from the heat, slowly pour in the milk and whisking out any lumps. Return to the heat and whisk slowly until thick and smooth, about 5 mins. Season well with grated nutmeg, then add cheddar and Parmesan, cooking until they are melted. Set aside.

Next, it is time to make the leek and greens mixture that will make up most of the filling in the lasagne. Here are the ingredients needed:

2 tbsp olive oil
2 garlic cloves, crushed
½ green chilli, sliced
400g mixed green leaves, such as kale, chard and spinach, roughly chopped
100ml dry white wine

I love garlic, so I actually used four garlic cloves instead of two. I could not find chard when I went shopping, so I had to be content with kale and spinach. The wine I chose was a sauvignon blanc.

Here is the method to combine the leek and greens mixture:

Heat 2 tbsp oil over a medium heat and fry the garlic and chilli for a couple of mins until aromatic.
Add the rest of the leeks, season and fry until softened.
Add the mixed greens and season a little more.
Cook the vegetables, stirring, until the greens have wilted, (about 4 mins), then pour in the wine and cook until it evaporates.

Now, I would recommend turning on your oven to pre-heat it. My oven heats up very quickly, but if you have one of those ovens that takes ages to get going, maybe you should turn it on before you do any of the above 😉

Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/ gas 6.

So now we come to the important part – assembling the lasagne! Here are the rest of the ingredients that will be needed for the lasagne:

Olive oil to grease the tin
100g walnuts
280g jar preserved artichoke hearts in oil, drained
100g ricotta
6 dried lasagne sheets

Here some photographs that I took while assembling the lasagne:

And these are the steps the recipe described for assembling the lasagne:

  • Oil a medium roasting tin (about 20cm square)
  • Tip half the greens into the tin.
  • Dot half the walnuts over the top, and nestle in a third of the artichoke hearts. Dot over half the ricotta.
  • Remove the bay leaf from the leek bechamel and pour over a third of it.
  • Top with three lasagne sheets to cover everything in a layer.
  • Repeat the process
  • Cover the top layer of lasagne sheets with the remaining bechamel and artichokes and then scatter over the remaining cheese.

Then of course we need to slip the lasagne into the oven and bake! In the meantime, you have the rest of that bottle of wine to keep you busy.

After 30-40 minutes, it should be golden and bubbling and looking delicious:

Et voila!

It will be scalding hot, so it needs to rest for a good ten minutes before you tuck into it.

For me a lasagne is not really complete without a salad and a hunk or garlic bread:


And of course, the rest of that wine!


Kristian Has Nominated Me For The Sunshine Blogger Award

Back in July, I was nominated for THE SUNSHINE BLOGGER AWARD by our wonderful Kristian, the creator of Tales from the mind of Kristian, as you can see from his post below:




  1. Use the sunshine blogger award logo
  2. Give thanks to the blogger that nominated you – THANK YOU KRISTIAN
  3. Answer the 11 questions given to you
  4. Nominate 11 other bloggers and ask them 11 questions

Question From Kristian

What is your theory on the point of existence?

loving fatherHmm. Why do a couple who are in love decide to have a baby and start a family? Why does someone decide to share the gift of life? I guess some may have their own reasons, but surely a father who wants to start a family is thinking of how wonderful life is and how much he wants to share of all it’s wonder with his child. How much beauty and delight there is. Surely he wants his child to enjoy being alive and to love our beautiful home planet.

family loveIf you have been blessed to have been immersed in an upbringing marked by unselfish love and happiness, and are used to thriving and feeling satisfied and purposeful and secure, the point of existence is not a troubling question. Life should be many many shades of wonderful. It is a beautiful gift. We have been given the perfect home. There is a huge array of satisfying purpose and exciting adventure available. There is endless opportunity to grow inside and develop beautiful qualities. There are beautiful people to forge friendships with and share all the pleasures of life with. That’s what we and our planet were designed for.

child.jpgI am very well aware that many are deprived of what they should have – an upbringing within a safe and secure family life. It hurts to think how many may feel alone and lost and abandoned and let down. Too many are used and abused and robbed of their dignity and of their ability to enjoy life. It just breaks my heart.

But I look forward with eager expectation to major changes so that humans, animals and our planet cannot be devastated – healing on a major scale. Frankly, I feel there are a lot of aspects of the way the world operates today that are not just unacceptable, they are monstrously, grossly inadequate. I saw a news report the other day about “the mental health crises” in primary schools, with an alarming number of young children feeling depressed and despairing.

lifeFor many today – life is just an existence. That has to change. Life will be exquisite and enthralling for everyone breathing. That is what the Giver had in mind – and I am sure he cares diddlysquat for those who have developed a system that crushes people’s sense of hope and enjoyment of the real life He had in mind for us.

But in the future life will be extremely satisfying and rewarding – full or purpose, interesting work, accomplishment, adventure and lots of fun! And that is for everyone – not just those who happened to be born within certain post codes and to have attended private schools.

Do you have a favourite film? What is it?

I have a few favourites, but to be fair, the one that has always held the top spot throughout my life is “The Sound Of Music”.

If you could travel to any place, where would you go?

adelaideAdelaide, Australia – I want to be with Goldfinch always. It was very hard to get on a plane and come back to London. I love him. Enough said.

I have found it really tough since I came back to England. But I am just concentrating on saving money again so I can go back to visit him…maybe in a year’s time. Unless something has changed. Maybe he will have a partner or wife by then. Maybe he will not want me visiting again.

If you could do any job what would it be?

Besides being a live-in housekeeper with my principle being Goldfinch? I really working on construction sites.

But I would like to learn more about gardening and caring for crops. I have earned money as a gardener, but it’s the labour I am being paid for. I have very little knowledge. But I mow lawns, weed flower beds, trim bushes and hoe edges.

My dream would be to research marine creatures, especially whales. But at the moment, gardening is more accessible.

Blue whale

What character trait do you find unattractive?

bad traits.jpg

Arrogance / belligerence / haughtiness / selfish pride – there are many traits that I have a lot of empathy with because we are all imperfect, we all have weaknesses, we all make mistakes. It’s important to have a reasonable amount of self-esteem, but when somebody shows a disgusting self-pride…I want to run a mile from them!

When reading fiction, do you prefer reality or fantasy?

reading as a littlinI think reality. Yes, very much so.

Even as a child I was more drawn to stories that felt real, and were not set in a mystical fantasy land with imaginary creatures. I read an enormous amount as a child, a lot of which was not fiction at all. I loved reading encyclopedias. But when it came to fiction, I think I mostly opted for Enid Blyton’s “The Famous Five”, “The Secret Seven”, “Mallory Towers” etc

What would you like to see on tomorrow mornings newspaper headlines?

peace.jpgAll weapons have vanished. No guns, knives, nuclear weapons, military forces can be found. They have all disappeared into thin air without a trace.

In addition, disease and old age have ended, people have woken up without aches and pains and without any wrinkles.

The air is clean, waterways are pure, all evidence of pollution has faded. The whole planet and it’s creatures are thriving.

paradise newspaperAn announcement has been made that now that all the corrupt and unjust elements of the world have disappeared, it is time for the event we have been longing for since Adam condemned the human race: tomorrow morning, the Resurrection will commence. You will be contacted with the date that your loved ones will be raised to life and invited to one of the newly constructed centres to welcome back and orientate your loved ones, and help to settle them into this wonderful world, where wickedness is a distant memory and we cannot remember the pain of the past.

What advice would you like to give to your ten-year-old self?

  1. cutting hairAlways listen to your Mum and Dad, they are two of the wisest and loveliest people on the planet
  2. Do not try to cut your own hair
  3. School will end eventually – you are just going to have to endure it
  4. You should not spend all your pocket money on sweets
  5. Ask your parents if there is anything you can do besides your usual chores to help out around the house

What song always makes you smile?

Gene Chandler – Duke Of Earl

What television programme would you love to see back on the airwaves?

blue planetI am not particularly fussed about television…but I don’t think I would ever tire of seeing more and more episodes of the BBC’s The Blue Planet. As far as I concerned it should just keep on running all year round. The more we learn about and love our gorgeous planet and it’s creatures, the better. We should be doing a better job of caring for it.

I am fascinated by the ocean and would love to see more and more and more footage of it’s inhabitants – especially blue whales.

Have you ever played a practical joke on someone?

whoopeePerhaps. I am a very caring person, so I would be very reluctant to risk harming or upsetting anyone. But I think I was probably involved in some tame practical jokes years ago. They would not have been my idea because I don’t have those ideas, but I probably did the deed.

I remember the fun we had as eleven year olds on a school trip to Conway Castle near Colwyn Bay in North Wales with a whoopee cushion.

yuck drinkThe only thing I can remember right now is making a drink for a woman who came to visit my mum (she was up to no good I sensed – the woman, not my mum). I was very young, around four or five. That woman was saying nasty things about people. My mum is exquisitely lovely and mild and there was no nastiness about other people in our house. I knew there was something not nice about that woman. I could hear bad words and a meanness in her tone. I put milk, orange juice, tomato ketchup, butter, mouldy cheese I had found in my toy kitchen set, sugar, salt and mixed it all together and gave her the cup to drink. Mum was surprised when I remembered that visit many years later, and she explained who that woman was and why she was complaining about people.

Questions For My Nominees

  • What do you do when the sunshine is out?
  • Did you or do you still have a favourite cartoon character?
  • So do you have a crush on someone right now?
  • What did you do over the weekend (or your days off work)?
  • What was the biggest surprise you ever experienced?
  • What will you be eating for dinner tonight?
  • What makes you frightened or anxious?
  • What’s the last event you dressed up for?
  • When you gaze up at the stars, what kind of thoughts run through your mind?
  • What kind of music do you listen to?
  • Do you find that blogging sometimes distracts from things you ought to be doing – housework, exercise etc? Or do you have a lot of discipline and self-control when it comes to time?

My Nominees