Posted in cooking

The Prodigal Blogger

I really am so bad at this blogging thing. I’ve just struggled to find the time to write recently it tends to take up a lot of time planning a wedding! And to be fair I haven’t really been eating much interesting food, having to stand up in front of all your friends and family in a fabulous white dress tends to put the kibosh on delicious food, and sends you down a road of salad and reduced carbs, which I imagine is even less interesting to read about than it is to eat.

However – it’s now May, the deed is done, I am officially Mrs Gem, which is crazy – but we had an absolutely amazing day, celebrating with all our family and friends

Mr and Mrs Gem
Mr and Mrs Gem
So we had a minimoon in the Lake District where we ate some of the most incredible food which got me more inspired than I have been in a long while to start cooking again. One thing that we tried for the first time in the Lake District was fried Polenta and this is the inspiration for my first dish back on the blog.

Beef and Ricotta Burger with sun-dried tomato relish and beaded Polenta fries 


This meal was really inspired by the Polenta canapés we had on our Minimoon, they were served deep-fried with truffle mayonnaise. I wanted to create a Friday night dinner so nothing too posh, but still a bit of a treat after a long first week back at work after the wedding and minimoon.

Polenta Fries

You will need:

Ready made Polenta (or you can make it from scratch but for a Polenta virgin this was easy to use), 1 whisked egg, fine bread crumbs,

Dead easy to make:

Simply cut the Polenta into fries (as chunky or skinny as you like – I went chunky), dunk each fry in the egg and then coat with bread crumbs.


When they are all breaded, shallow fry in olive oil for 2-3 minutes on each side until they are golden brown and a bit crispy.


They are mega yummy! I did not attempt my own truffle mayo – but they are really really good dipped in Aioli.

Ricotta Burgers

You will need:

Minced beef, ricotta, spring onion, salt and pepper to taste

Again dead easy to make:

Mix the mince with the ricotta – you want roughly half the amount of ricotta as you have beef, and add the spring onions and salt and pepper.


Shape into generous burger patties and stick in the fridge until you are ready to use them.


To cook simply fry in a little olive oil for 6-8 minutes on both side. The ricotta goes a little bit caramelised and you get a fabulous, moist (apologies if that word makes you wince, I hate it too but its late and I can’t think of another word that means the same thing) burger.


Sun-dried Tomato Relish

You will need:

Sun-dried tomatoes, some form of wine vinegar – the recipe called for sherry vinegar but I didn’t have any so I used white wine vinegar and it tasted just fine, salt and pepper

Literally the most easy thing to make:

Chop the sun-dried tomatoes, mix with a bit of the oil from the tomato jar, add white wine vinegar and season to taste.


Serve on top of your burger

The recipe for the burgers and relish comes from Nigel Slater’s Eat – which is probably one of the favourite books on my cook book shelf at the moment. I love it because unlike some cookbooks you don’t need an ingredients list that’s as long as your arm, you don’t need to make a trip to a specialist supermarket and you don’t need to spend an awful lot of money. It’s all about simplicity, a few great ingredients, a few simple instructions that even Mr Gem could follow and a delicious end product – what more could you ask for?!

And that is it, a simple start to ease myself back in, but delicious all the same.




Mum, wife, marketing bod. Wine, fizz, gin, chocolate and book lover. Secret eater and snack hider. Home cook and amateur blogger. Embracing the new challenge of cooking new and tasty dishes whilst getting a boisterous baby boy bathed and bedded and keeping a hangry tired husband distracted til tea time!

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