3 in 1 Pancakes


It’s pancake day.. and funnily enough National Scouse Day too. Living in Liverpool, Scouse is a big thing here…. But today we are just doing all things pancake…. Three ways in fact: Sweet Pancakes, Spinach pancakes and Pancakes you can toss.

I only ever used to make pancakes on Shrove Tuesday because you have to and we only ever had them with lemon and sugar. Fresh lemon though not Jif…can you still get those yellow plastic squeezy bottles shaped like a lemon these days?

Once I had kids I found myself making pancakes all the time.. for special breakfasts (crepes and nutella), for easy lunches (pancakes with ham and cheese), for quick dinners (spinach pancakes) and for simple puddings (pancakes with bananas and caramel sauce).

Spinach pancakes have been in my life for over 10 years…. my friend Emma told me about them.. and her sister in law Sally told her. They are a brilliant way to get your kids eating healthy greens without realising it. It doesn’t matter that the pancakes are green… kids love these and they actually ask for these as a special request dinner… so you can imagine that pretty soon every mum in the toddler group was churning out these little green babies for their toddlers to munch on…my kids still love these now

After a few disasterous pancake tossing sessions with the kids, where the poor pancake was in shreds before everyone had even had a turn…I came up with the recipe for pancakes you can toss. A really thick batter makes a super duper toss resistant pancake that you can play with for hours. These ones are obviously not for eating… they end up all over the place and tend to pick up dust!!

Pancakes are very easy and they are really quick to make.

What do you need to know:

  1. The first pancakes always go a bit wrong.. something to do with seasoning the pan, pan not quite hot enough yet.. butter not quite melted…who knows but everyone agrees.. the first pancake usually goes wrong – so if yours is not quite as crisp as you want.. move onto pancake two.. we all do… someone will still eat it!
  2. The pan needs to be nice and hot
  3. Only lightly grease the pan and pour off any excess butter or the pancake will go for a swim instead of crisping up
  4. Only use enough batter to coat the bottom of the pan in a thin layer.. not too thick

And that’s it..

This recipe is for 3 pancakes from one mix: Spinach pancakes, Sweet pancakes and Pancakes you can toss.

What you need

12oz plain flour

3 eggs

900ml milk

butter to cook


2oz extra flour

2 nuggets of frozen spinach

1 tbsp oil

grated cheese

What to do:

Put the flour in a bowl.

Add the eggs

Then whisk in the milk until it’s like double cream

Divide the mixture into 3 bowls.

Leave one as it is – this is the sweet pancake mix

Add 2oz more flour and a tbsp oil to one

And mix until very thick

This is the pancakes you can toss mixture

Then defrost 2 nuggets of spinach in a bowl of boiling water for a few minutes

Add to the bowl

And blitz with a handblender until green and smooth (no bits)

Now you can start cooking.

Melt a knob of butter in a non stick frying pan

Pour off any excess butter into a cup and add a ladleful of batter to coat the bottom of the pan

Leave it to cook for a few minutes until golden and flip over

Add some grated cheese

Roll up and serve

For the sweet pancakes, it’s the same process and you can just wipe out the pan to remove any cheese before cooking them.

Squeeze over lemon or lime and sprinkle on sugar

The Pancakes to toss are cooked in the same way but as the batter is thicker they look different in the pan.

Cook for a few minutes until golden as before and flip over

Put in a cold pan and let the kids go crazy tossing these as high as they can. The thickness means they don’t break as easily and can be used to play great games like pancake pan toss.

What you’ve never heard of it… well just get two people with two pans on either side of the kitchen. Chuck the pancake to each other catching it in your pan…. so much fun. The pancake will hit the ceiling, land on heads, get lost on the top of the fridge and will generally take a beating…

Let me know what you think via the comments and if you make it tag a photo #sixmixtricks on instagram

Love Livs



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Caramel sauce


This caramel sauce is so easy to make and it will last for an age in the fridge. It’s the perfect staple for pulling out to pour over pancakes, waffles, ice-cream or porridge. You can use it to make a toffee apple crumble (see separate post) or millionaires shortbread and it’s absolutely amazing swirled into Greek yoghurt for a quick and very satisfying dessert.

There’s no messing around with sugar thermometers, all you need is a saucepan.  While most caramel sauce recipes contain a lot of butter and cream, this one doesn’t, which means it’s low fat, and so you don’t even have to feel that guilty about having it.

It settles as it sits, so just give it a stir each time you want to use it or sneak a spoonful.

What you need

2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp cornflour
150ml golden syrup
150ml milk
4oz brown sugar

What to do

Put everything together in a medium saucepan. It won’t look very appetizing at this point but don’t worry about that.

Heat gently, stirring occasionally, until the butter is melted and everything has combined together.

Turn up the heat and boil for a few minutes until large bubbles appear on the surface

Pour into a container. It will still look a bit runny at this point but again don’t worry it thickens as it cools in the fridge.

 Cover with clingfilm and keep in the fridge for a long time.

Let me know what you think via the comments and if you make it tag a photo #sixmixtricks on instagram.

Love Livs


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Toffee apple crumble


We don’t usually eat pudding during the week, we just have yoghurt and/or fruit.  So at the weekend I really look forward to making a nice pudding to enjoy after the Sunday dinner. My absolute favourite pudding is an apple crumble. Toffee apple crumble to be specific. It’s simple but perfect. The tart fruit and sweet sauce bubble up around the crispy crumble topping as they cook giving it lovely chewy caramelised edges. Whether you serve it with a proper vanilla custard or ice-cream, its a great British classic for a reason.

This is a really quick and easy way to make an apple crumble. There’s no peeling involved and the crumble is mixed together in one bowl. I don;t mind the peel but if you want you can peel the apple first, it just takes longer.

What you need:

4oz flour

2oz butter

2oz brown sugar

a handful of oats

a handful of flaked almonds

1lb apples

juice of a lemon

caramel sauce (see separate post)

What to do:

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees.

Cut open the apples, de-core them, cut into chunks and place in an ovendish.

Squeeze over lemon juice to stop them going brown and then spoon over caramel sauce

Put the flour, sugar, oats, almonds and butter into a bowl

Rub together using your fingertips until it looks like crumbs

Sprinkle over the apples

Bake for 30 minutes until golden

Serve with custard (see separate post) or ice-cream.

Let me know what you think via the comments and if you make it tag a photo #sixmixtricks on instagram

Love Livs


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Beef Rendang


I had some friends coming round for a catch up – dinner at the weekend and as I hadn’t seen them for a while I wanted to do something special but had no time to prepare. I knew we were going to be out all day so what did I do to solve this problem – I turned to my trusty slow cooker.

The slow cooker is the solver of all ‘no time to cook anything’ problems. Bung something in, in the morning, and come back later to a delicious dinner that has practically cooked itself.

I whipped up this sensational Indonesian beef rendang which took only a few minutes to prep and then left it to simmer away all day while I was out ferrying kids around and buying sofas.

I love curry pastes and use them all the time because you don’t need to mess about trying to source lots of authentic herbs and spices to replicate a traditional dish. You can buy Thai, Jerk, Indian and this Rendang paste. They contain everything you need to get that characteristic flavour with nothing more than some store cupboard stock and a tin of coconut milk. They last for ages too. One jar will make about 3 curries.

I got back with an hour to go until my guests were arriving. So I threw together a simple starter – a Gado Gado (Indonesian mix -mix) salad with some peanut dressing made from a jar of satay sauce and made some yoghurt flatbread (separate post) to serve with a bought coconut dip and some pickles. I serve the curry on a pile of jasmine rice – basmati rice cooked in jasmine tea for a delicate authentic Indonesian taste. It all looked really impressive but was really no trouble at all to do.

What you need:

2 tbsp oil

2 tbsp flour

300ml beef stock

300ml coconut milk

1lb stewing steak

1 onion, peeled and finely chopped

2 garlic cloves peeled and chopped

a knob of ginger peeled and grated

3 tbsp rendang curry paste

a handful of chopped coriander

What to do

Heat the oil in a pan and fry the onion, garlic and ginger for a few minutes until softened

Add the beef and cook for a few minutes to brown

Add the flour and curry paste. Cook for a minute

Then stir in the stock and coconut milk

It looks a bit beige at this point but that’s alright. Fear not, as it cooks slowly all day it will darken, the flavours will develop and the spices will split the oil in the sauce giving it that lovely authentic curry sauce look.

Add in a handful of coriander (I used frozen) and some freshly chopped spring onions.

Leave to cook on high all day or at least 4 hours.

To make the jasmine rice, follow the recipe for egg fried rice (separate post) but use jasmine tea instead of water to cook the rice in and leave out the egg.

Let me know what you think via the comments and if you make it tag a photo #sixmixtricks on instagram

Love Livs


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Steak bearnaise and chilli cheesy fries


If you are looking a quick and easy recipe for a special celebration with ultimate wow factor, steak bearnaise is the one you need.

Steak frites is a classic French bistro dish. Serve it with a delicious buttery tarragon-flavoured bearnaise sauce and some pan fried greens on the side and you’ve got the makings of a wonderful meal that you can whip up with very little effort. Both the steaks and the sauce take only minutes to cook, side by side on the hob, and the frites can be done in the oven without any hassle at all.

This probably my desert island dish – it’s so good.

What you need

3 egg yolks

150ml butter (150g)

1 tbsp white wine vinegar

1 tsp dried tarragon

2 steaks (rump or sirloin are good)

2 baking potatoes

2oz grated cheddar cheese

1 red chilli, sliced finely into rings

a handful of fresh oregano


What to do

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees.

Cut the potatoes into thin sticks (skin on) and lay in a single layer in a roasting tin. Drizzle with oil and toss to coat. Bake for 25 minutes, turning half way until golden and crispy. Sprinkle over the cheese and sliced chilli and bake for another 5 minutes until the cheese has melted. Finish with a sprinkle of fresh herbs

Heat some oil in a pan, season the steaks with salt and pepper and pan fry for 5 minutes on each side until golden. I cut into the end of the steak with a sharp knife to see how well done it is inside (because I can’t stand a bloody steak but you can do it to your liking).

Quarter fill a small saucepan with boiling water, place a heatproof bowl over the top and get the water simmering gently. Add the egg yolks, vinegar, tarragon and butter to the bowl and whisk for a few minutes until the butter has melted and the sauce has thickened. Turn off the heat. The sauce will happily keep warm over the pan of water until the steaks are ready.

Serve the steak with the frites and a drizzle of sauce on top. You can do pan fried greens or a simple green salad to go with it.

Let me know what you think via the comments and if you make it tag a photo #sixmixtricks on instagram.

Love Livs



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French toast with rhubarb and blood orange compote


Beautiful pink forced rhubarb in February is such a welcome sight after the stark winter months. It serves as a reminder that despite the cold weather and dark days… good things are on the way.

I love the story of how forced rhubarb is grown and harvested. It’s so romantic – a love story in itself. The Rhubarb triangle is an area of land in Yorkshire famous for producing early forced rhubarb because it’s wet cold winters provide the perfect growing conditions for Siberian-born rhubarb. The plants spend two years in the fields soaking up the sun and are then transported to forcing sheds where they are grown in warm, dark conditions. The carbohydrates stored in the plants roots from their days in the sun are transformed into glucose giving rhubarb it’s characteristic sweet and sour taste. The crimson stalks are harvested by pickers at midnight by candlelight as exposure to light would stop the growth.

This recipe for French toast with rhubarb and blood orange compote makes the perfect spring breakfast.

You will need:

3 eggs

150ml milk

4 slices of thick cut bread

250g rhubarb

juice of a blood orange

2oz brown sugar

To make it:

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees.

Cut the rhubarb into chunks and put in an oven dish.

Sprinkle with sugar and squeeze over the orange juice

Bake for 15 minutes until soft.

Pour into a container

Mix the eggs and milk together in a shallow bowl until combined.

Dip thick slices of bread into the custard mixture until soaked. Add a knob of butter to a non stick frying pan and put the bread slices in

Cook for a few minutes on each side until golden.

Serve the toast with a dollop of rhubarb compote and creme fraiche on top and finish with a drizzle of honey.

Let me know what you think via the comments and if you make it tag a photo #sixmixtricks on instagram

Love Livs





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Huevos Rancheros


I love to mark the weekend with a special breakfast and this Mexican recipe is one of my favourites. It’s just eggs poached in a tasty tomato sauce loaded up with onion, garlic, herbs and chillies. But when you serve it delicious toppings: grated cheese, sour cream, crushed tortilla chips and warm some corn tortillas to scoop it up, it becomes something much more. Try it, you won’t be disappointed.

What you need:

2 tbsp oil

1 tbsp cornmeal

300ml tomato passata

300ml chicken stock

1 onion peeled and finely chopped

2 garlic cloves peeled and finely chopped

4 eggs

freshly chopped parsley

What to do:

Heat the oil in a pan, add the onion and garlic and cook for a few minutes until softened

Add the cornmeal

Stir into a sort of paste

Measure out the chicken stock and tomato passata

Then add to the pan along with freshly chopped parsley

Leave to simmer for 10 minutes until thickened.

Crack in 4 eggs

And cook with the lid on for 5 minutes until set. Then finish with some more chopped parsley and season with salt & pepper.

Prepare the toppings to sprinkle on top

Pan fry corn tortillas in a little oil until golden for scooping

Then serve



Let me know what you think via the comments and if you make it tag a photo #sixmixtricks on instagram

Love Livs


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Cookie Dough


When it comes to sweet treats I’m firmly in the Roald Dahl and Mary Poppins camp – Treats are essential to life (Roald Dahl) and A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down (Mary Poppins).

You won’t find me on any sugar free diets. Everything in moderation of course but life wouldn’t be worth living without a cookie or two.

Chocolate cookies are a huge favourite in our house. I love them because there’s nothing like whipping a batch of these to take to on the school pick up to put a big smile on my kids faces.

You can make the dough ahead of time and keep it in the fridge for up to a month. Then, you can become mum/dad/husband/wife/boyfriend/girlfriend of the year by suddenly presenting the family with warm cookies and milk at bedtime.

You can also use the cookie dough to make your own cookie dough ice-cream for weekend movie nights by mixing chunks of it into a tub of vanilla ice-cream.

What you need:

8oz self raising flour

4oz butter

4oz white sugar

4oz brown sugar

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla

200g chocolate, cut into chunks

What you do:

Soften the butter in the microwave for 30 seconds and beat in both sugars until creamy

Add the eggs and vanilla and beat in until combined

Add the flour and mix in

Chop the chocolate

Add it in

And stir it in

Chill for 15 minutes or up to a week. Try not to return to fridge to eat spoonfuls!!!!

When you want some cookies, preheat the oven to 200 degrees, line a tray with baking paper, grab some of the dough, shape into balls and place on the tray with space in between

Bake for 10 minutes


Let me know what you think via the comments and if you make it tag a photo #sixmixtricks on instagram

Love Livs


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Egg Fried Rice


This is  a staple dish in our house. I just love rice. If I had to choose between pasta, potatoes and rice…. rice it would be.  Although this recipe is for egg fried rice, you would use the same recipe to make ordinary rice, just leave out the egg and peas.

I usually make egg fried rice as a side dish but it’s also a great recipe to know for a quick simple dinner too. It’s a balanced meal in 15 minutes.

This is not strictly egg fried rice, it’s more like rice with fried egg in it but I prefer it this way because then the rice stays soft and fluffy.

It was my dad who taught me how to cook rice using the absorption method i.e. you end up with no water left in the pan…. just lovely cooked rice. He used to go all out putting a damp tea-towel over to the top of the pan to help it to steam…. I don’t. This is a very simple method using a very simple pan.

Rice can go horribly wrong but it won’t as long as you use the right rice.  Cheap rice = broken kernels = stodge. Good rice is a bit more expensive but it’s worth the extra money to avoid having to wash the rice a hundred times to remove all the excess starch and still ending up with your rice all stuck together. To get fluffy separated grains of rice, you need to use good rice, it’s as simple as that. Tilda is a good make, Amira is another.

What you need:

3 eggs
75ml milk
300ml basmati rice
600ml boiling water
a handful of frozen peas (&/or sweetcorn)

What to do:

Coat the bottom of a large pan (with a lid) with oil

Measure out the rice

Add it to the pan and stir to coat in the oil

Measure out the water

And add it to the pan

Bring the water to the boil, then turn down the heat to the lowest setting, put on the lid (if your lid doesn’t have a steam hole in it – put it three quarters over and leave a gap for the steam to escape and simmer for 15 minutes.

Then add a few knobs of butter

While that cooks:

Heat a knob of butter in non stick frying pan until melted

Mix the eggs and milk together in a bowl until combined

and pour into the pan.

Let it cook for a minute and then start pulling the egg in from the edges to the centre

until it’s all set. It should take about 2 minutes in all.

Microwave the peas and sweetcorn for 3 minutes

and add to the pan.

Stir to combine and serve.

Let me know what you think via the comments and if you make it tag a photo #sixmixtricks on instagram

Love Livs


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This has to be one of my all time favourite dinners. It’s easy to make, it tastes good, it’s very comforting and it can be used for both everyday and entertaining. I often rely on this dish when I’ve got a crowd coming for a get together because you can make a huge amount and it can be prepared advance. It’s also a great recipe for doing a big bulk batch to freeze so that you’ve got something delicious to pull out and re heat on those nights when you’re tired and can’t be bothered cooking.

You can do a quick pan version which is ready in 30 minutes or you can bung it in the slow cooker and let it simmer away all day (my favourite). It’s better slow cooked and even better reheated the next day when all the flavours have had a chance to develop. Chilli is generally made with minced beef but a mix of beef and pork is good and I like to do a turkey mince version because it’s healthier. Sometimes I make my own tomato sauce and sometimes I don’t. You can use tinned beans or you can soak dried beans overnight. It doesn’t matter which beans either: red kidney beans (for a bowl of red), pinto beans (cowboys favourite) or black beans (for black bean chilli. You can do an all-bean chilli and leave out the meat for vegetarians. You can keep it mild with just the taco seasoning or you can add in extra fresh finely chopped chillies at the end.

The point is, this dish is very versatile. It can be dead easy or super special. It’s up to you.

The best bit about chilli for me is all the yummy toppings that go with it. That’s what makes it taste so good. You’ve got to have some creamy guacamole, some cool sour cream, fresh coriander, a squeeze of zesty lime, finely chopped red onion or spring onion, lots of grated cheese and some crushed tortilla chips on top. And you need a big mound of buttery basmati rice to pile it on (see separate post)

What you need:

2 tbsp rapeseed oil
2 tbsp cornmeal
300ml tomato sauce
300ml water
1lb minced beef
a tin of beans (red kidney, black or pinto)
1 onion, peeled and finely chopped
1 red pepper, deseeded and finely chopped
2 celery sticks, finely chopped
2 tsp taco seasoning
a handful of fresh coriander, finely chopped

What to do:

Put the oil in a pan, add the beef, onion, peppers and celery and cook for a few minutes until golden brown.

Add the taco seasoning

Then the cornmeal

Then the tomato sauce and water

Then the beans

Then fresh coriander

Then let it simmer for 30 minutes or slow cook all day.

Serve in a bowl it with a pile of rice and a selection of toppings.

Let me know what you think and if you make it tag a photo #sixmixtricks on instagram

Love Livs


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