My ‘everything’ tomato sauce

Before I started tinkering with tinned tomatoes and ‘finding my own way’ with recipes, I tried loads of different tomato pasta sauce recipes, but I’ve pretty much sworn by this one for a couple of years.

It’s quick, cheap and easy, goes with anything and can be adapted to your tastes. It’s also easily doubled and doesn’t require puree or vegetable stock like some recipes I’ve previously tried.

Chuck in some chopped pepper (frozen or fresh), courgettes or mushrooms after your onions are softened but before adding the chopped tomatoes and heat for a couple of minutes as an extra way of getting your five a day.

I have this with pasta (brilliant for a packed lunch) or on top of fish – particularly those frozen fillets you can get. If you’re not going with the fresh ingredients, this can be made entirely from store cupboard essentials

Frankie’s simple tomato sauce (makes two generous portions)

You will need…

  • Tin of chopped tomatoes
  • Dried basil or mixed herbs (if you’ve got fresh, go for it)
  • One small red onion (chopped finely)
  • A few fat cloves of garlic, crushed (adjust to taste – I’m a garlic fiend)
  • Chilli powder or half a chopped red chilli (it’s properly spicey if you go fresh, so I tend to use powder – so convenient!)
  • A generous handful of sliced black olives
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Red wine (optional)
  • Pinch of salt
  • Large pinch of sugar
  • A couple tablespoons olive oil


  • Heat the oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat. When it’s warmed through, add the onion and the garlic. Heat until softened. Add the fresh chilli if you’re using it.
  • If you have red wine to hand, pour a generous slug of it into the pan and then heat until absorbed. Repeat with the balsamic vinegar.
  • Add chilli powder if using it and heat for a further minute.
  • Add the chopped tomatoes, olives, sugar, salt and herbs. Heat for five minutes or until excess water from the tomatoes has reduced.
  • Serve with fresh basil and feta (depending on what you’re having it with)

I’ll be releasing a Touchcast video about this soon – for more recipe ideas, check out my Touchcast channel


Frankie’s fish pie

I was recently sent this fish pie recipe by one of the listeners of my Amazing Radio show.

I decided to have a go at the recipe, (which was rather adventurous for my usually fish-adverse culinary habits), but gave it a bit of a twist by exchanging and/or omitting a few of the ingredients.

Here’s what you’ll need:

500g white fish (I used pollock), 2 hardboiled eggs, couple handfuls of frozen peas (defrosted), sachet of cheese sauce (powder mix), couple cloves of garlic, couple of bay leaves, 300g milk (plus a dash more for mashing), 800g sweet potatoes, salt and pepper for seasoning.

Gently simmer chopped garlic, bay leaves, 300ml milk and the fish in a large pan for 15mins. Add a knob of butter if desired
Strain out the milk mixture and keep handy. Break fish into small pieces once cool enough to handle. Remove the bay leaves.
Mix the cheese sauce sachet with the milk mixture before adding in the fish, peas and chopped hardboiled eggs and pouring into a dish for baking. Season with salt and pepper

Peel, chop and boil sweet potatoes for 15 minutes before mashing with a dash of milk
Top the baking dish and mix with the sweet potato mash. Sprinkle on a little cheese if desired and season with salt and pepper

Bake in a preheated oven for 180 degrees for 40 minutes or until suitably golden

..And then Serve! (I’m rubbish at final serving pictures). I’d recommend serving with a side of steamed broccoli and spinach.

Thanks to Ade for the original recipe!

Step-by-step: Frankie’s chocolate raisin cheesecake

I’m obsessed with chocolate raisins…

I had intended on making a reliably delicious double chocolate cheesecake for Sunday dinner  but disaster struck when the dark chocolate burned in the microwave… I decided to ‘change things up’ a bit by adding a couple of handfuls of raisins and giving the cake an extra chocolate kick with a layer of cocoa dusting.

So here’s some easy step-by-step instructions incase you fancy treating yourself sometime soon! You will need a packet of digestive biscuits, 300g chocolate, cocoa powder (for dusting), a couple of handfuls of raisins, 200g mascapone cheese, 300g cream cheese and butter.

Take one happy assistant and ask him to crush 175g of digestive biccies
Melt 50g of butter and mix with the finely crushed biscuit crumbs
Push the biscuit and butter mix into a loose-bottomed cake tin
Mix 300g cream cheese with 200g mascapone cheese
Gently melt 300g milk chocolate over a pan of simmering water
Mix the melted chocolate with the creamy cheese mixture
Add a couple of handfulls of raisins
Top the biscuit base with the chocolate mixture
Lightly dust the cheesecake with cocoa powder and pop the cheesecake in the fridge for at least 2-3 hours to set, or chill overnight
Enjoy your chocolate raisin cheesecake!

I think I might be making this again, don’t you?