Thursday, 9 July 2020

BROWN SUGAR PECAN BUNS (NO DOUGH MAKING REQUIRED)



These incredibly tasty buns are made with readymade pizza dough (I know, what a life hack right?) so are rustled up with minimum fuss! The end result, eaten straight out of the oven, is pretty next level amazing - crunchy, cinnamon-y and gooey, making them the perfect indulgent dessert for any dinner party!

INGREDIENTS
  • All-purpose flour for the work surface
  • 1 store-bought pizza dough, thawed if frozen (my go-to is from the Northern Dough Co.)
  • 1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup packed dark-brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup pecans, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt

METHOD
  • On a floured work surface, roll dough to a 10-by-18-inch rectangle. 
  • Dot upper two-thirds of dough with 1/2 cup butter and fold dough like a letter. 
  • Roll dough out to a rectangle again. 
  • Refrigerate on a baking sheet until firm, 1 hour (or up to 1 day).
  • Preheat oven to 200 degrees celsius. 
  • In a small bowl, combine sugar, cinnamon, pecans, and salt. 
  • Leaving a 1/2-inch border, dot dough with 3 tablespoons butter and sprinkle with sugar mixture. Starting at a long end, roll up dough like a rolly polly. 
  • Cut crosswise into pieces. 
  • Place each piece, cut side down in a small baking tray.
  • Bake until golden brown and cooked through, 20 to 30 minutes.
  • Immediately invert buns onto a serving platter or baking sheet. 
  • Serve warm.

Tuesday, 7 July 2020

ROAST AUBERGINE, HALLOUMI & BABA GANOUSH TART WITH PRESERVED LEMON, CHILLI, MINT & HONEY DRIZZLE



This puff pastry tart with a Middle Eastern twist may sound a little odd but the final product was without a doubt one of the best things I have rustled up in lockdown times.

Yes, it takes a bit of time and effort to make, the aubergine after all is prepared and used in 3 different ways, as homemade baba ganoush, griddled and roasted, but I promise you is very much worth it.

This tart is a real centrepiece for any picnic, flavourful and filling enough with the addition of cubed halloumi, to please and wow even the most dedicated carnivore.

INGREDIENTS
  • 3 aubergines
  • 5tbsp olive oil
  • 50g tahini
  • A squeeze of lemon juice
  • 1 x 320g rolled sheet of puff pastry
  • 250g halloumi cheese, cut into small cubes and tossed in a little olive oil
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the drizzle
  • 2tbsp olive oil
  • 1tbsp runny honey
  • A handful of mint leaves, shredded
  • 1 red chilli, cut into tiny dice
  • ½ a preserved lemon, flesh discarded, skin cut into tiny dice (you cant it at Waitrose)

METHOD

Preheat the oven to 200°C/fan 180°C/gas 6. Line two baking sheets with baking parchment. Cook one of the aubergines first. Cover your hob around the gas rings with foil to stop it getting filthy.

Ideally, you want to place the aubergine over the gas ring, using tongs, and char it with the open flame until it is completely burnt on the outside and collapsing. If you don’t have a gas hob, grill the aubergine instead.

When it is cool enough to handle, split the aubergine lengthways and scoop the flesh into a bowl, being careful not to get any of the burnt skin in with the flesh. Set aside.

Cut the second aubergine in half horizontally. Cut each chunk into eight vertical wedges (or six if your aubergines are on the skinny side). Toss them in 2tbsp of the olive oil, season well and arrange the wedges on one of the baking sheets, skin-side down.

Roast for 15 minutes, until golden and almost cooked. Heat a griddle pan on the hob. Take the third aubergine and cut it into thin, round slices. Toss them in 2tbsp of the olive oil, season and place the slices on the hot griddle pan, for 3 minutes on each side.

Take the flesh from the first aubergine and strain it through a sieve before placing it on a board and chopping to a rough purée. Place it in a bowl with the tahini, the remaining tbsp of olive oil and a squeeze of lemon juice, and add ½tsp of salt. Mix well and taste, adjusting the seasoning if necessary – it may need more salt.

Open the pastry roll and place it on the second baking sheet. Gently score a line around the pastry, about 2cm (¾in) from the edge, creating a border. Spread the aubergine purée – baba ganoush – over the inner section of the pastry. Lay the circles of griddled aubergine over the baba ganoush and arrange the wedges among the circles. Scatter with the halloumi. Season the tart with salt and pepper, and brush beaten egg over the pastry border. Bake for 25 minutes, or until the border is well risen and golden.

For the drizzle, mix the olive oil and date syrup or honey in a small bowl and add the mint leaves, chilli and preserved lemon. Using a teaspoon, drizzle all over the tart. Serve warm or at room temperature, cut into squares.

Saturday, 4 July 2020

KIMCHI MAC N CHEESE


Ok, hear me out on this one. Kimchi mac n cheese might sound like fusion cooking taken a little too far but honestly this was one of the best things I have ever made.

Why? The tangy spice and crunch from the kimchi works in perfect symbiosis with the creaminess of the cheese, elevating the humble mac n cheese into something quite special here that you won't forget in a hurry. Give this a go, you won't regret it trust me!

PS: I used store bought kimchi on this occasion, but if you have a little time on your hands follow my homemade kimchi recipe which also works a treat and is a super fun little home fermentation project!

Serves 2-3

INGREDIENTS

  • 500g macaroni (or any short pasta)
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon butter or oil
  • 560g kimchi, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon gochugaru (Korean pepper paste which I adore)
  • 2 tablespoons plain flour
  • 2 cups (480ml) milk
  • 1 cup cheddar
  • 1 cup brie
To garnish
  • Spring onion, chopped
  • Roasted sesame seeds

METHOD
  • In a large frying pan fry minced garlic in a little olive oil for about 30 seconds, or until fragrant.
  • Add the chopped kimchi and cook for about 5 minutes on medium heat, stirring frequently to stop the kimchi from burning at the bottom of the pot.
  • Add the flour and stir until you can no longer see any flour in the pot.
  • Slowly pour the milk into the pot, stirring all the while, until well-mixed.
  • Bring the mixture to a simmer and cook for another 5 minutes on low heat.
  • Add the shredded cheese. Melt the cheese, stirring quite frequently.
  • Keep on a low heat while you cook your pasta.
  • Cook the pasta according to the manufacturer's instructions, taking 2 minutes off the recommended cooking time. Drain and add to the kimchi cheese sauce, mixing thoroughly.
  • Add the gochugaru into the sauce.
  • Ladle the macaroni into heat-proof serving bowls (or a big tray).
  • Sprinkle with more.
  • Bake at 180°C or 15-20 minutes, or until the tops are golden brown and bubbly.
  • Garnish with chopped spring onion and roasted sesame seeds and ENJOY!

Tuesday, 30 June 2020

FRESH FIG, DOLCE LATTE & CARAMALISED ONION PUFF PASTRY TART



Sweet, savoury, creamy and complex in it's flavours, this puff pastry tart is a rather impressive picnic centre piece 

It is also surprisingly easy to rustle up and transports really well so that even a little walk to the park and eating it at room (or more like socially distanced outside meet up) temperature won't take away from the wow factor here!

INGREDIENTS
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 large onions, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
  • 3 sprigs rosemary, more for garnish
  • Pinch sugar
  • 1 teaspoon sherry vinegar
  • ¼ cup milk
  • 1 egg
  • Flour for dusting
  • 1 puff pastry sheet
  • 4-5 figs, sliced
  • 120g dolce latte or gorgonzola cheese
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts
  • Good-quality honey for drizzling
METHOD
  • In a large frying pan over medium heat, melt butter with oil.
  • Add onions, rosemary and sugar.
  • Cook, tossing occasionally, until onions are limp and golden brown, 30 to 40 minutes.
  • Stir in the vinegar, scraping any browned bits from bottom of pan.
  • In a small bowl whisk together the milk and egg until smooth.
  • Stir in the onions.
  • Preheat oven to 200 degrees celsius.
  • Line a baking tray with baking paper.
  • On a lightly floured surface, roll out pastry to a 9 by 12-inch rectangle or if pre-rolled simply transfer to tray.
  • Use a fork to spread onion mixture evenly over pastry (let excess egg mixture drip back into bowl), leaving a 1-inch border.
  • Arrange figs, cut-side up, in even rows on onion mixture. 
  • Scatter cheese and pine nuts around the figs.
  • Use a pastry brush to dab edges of tart with egg mixture (if needed whisk another egg for brushing).
  • Gently fold over edges of tart to form a lip and brush with more egg mixture.Bake until pastry is puffed and golden, 25 to 30 minutes.
  • Serve, sprinkled with rosemary and drizzled with honey, if desired, warm or at room temperature.

Monday, 29 June 2020

CARAMELISED BALSAMIC LINGUINE WITH BEETROOT, MUSHROOMS & BURRATA



This unusual pasta dish is a real flavour bomb that only uses minimal butter and no cream.

So easy and quick to make, it not only looks pretty stunning when plated up, but is a real twist on more traditional pasta sauces which usually stick to a more conventional tomato or cream base, and works an absolute treat here.

A new favourite of eating pasta that for sure is added to my regular recipe repertoire.

Serves 2

INGREDIENTS

  • Olive oil
  • 6 cooked beetroots, quartered
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 400g linguine 
  • Butter
  • 250g mushrooms
  • 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup good balsamic vinegar
  • 2-3 tablespoons honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon chilli flakes
  • 1 burrata ball (Waitrose does my favourite supermarket version)
  • Pomegranate seeds

METHOD
  • Preheat the oven to 200 degrees celsius
  • On a baking tray toss together olive oil, the beetroot, thyme, and a good pinch of salt + pepper. Transfer to the oven and roast for 25-30 minutes or until the beets are tender and lightly charred.
  • Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. 
  • Boil the pasta until al dente according to package directions. 
  • Just before draining, reserve 1 cup of the pasta cooking water. 
  • Drain.
  • Melt a generous knob of butter and 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large frying pan over high heat. 
  • Add the mushrooms and cook until they just begin to caramelise on the edges, about 5 minutes. 
  • Add the garlic and cook 30 seconds to 1 minute or until fragrant. 
  • Remove the mushrooms and garlic from the frying pan and place on a plate.
  • To the same pan add the balsamic vinegar, honey and crushed chilli flakes. 
  • Bring to a boil over medium high heat and cook for 5-8 minutes or until the balsamic reduces by about 1/3 and is sticky to touch. 
  • Reduce the heat to low and stir in the pasta, mushrooms and beetroot. 
  • Toss to coat, if the sauce seems too thick, thin it with a little of the pasta cooking water. 
  • Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • Serve the pasta immediately, topped with the torn burrata and pomegranate seeds and enjoy!

Sunday, 28 June 2020

NO GYMS, NO PROBLEMS - GET TO KNOW ACE 360 FITNESS


Unfortunately for the time being it doesn't look like gyms are going to be opening any time soon, Boris more preoccupied with pubs than keeping obesity at bay it appears, which means Zoom workouts will be part of our lives for the time being.

Since lockdown came into force 8 weeks ago I have tried my way across just about every online workout and the one that has really stuck with me is ACE 360 Fitness, the closest thing to a PT you will get, all at a super good price and with probably my favourite trainer out there.

Indeed Alex Castro, the mastermind behind this online workout programme, made up of 3 live hourlong workout sessions a week and two pre-recorded ones, has been my favourite Barry's UK trainer ever since I started going 2 years.

He is the antidote to the "full of himself' body builder type - though no doubt super toned, he is one of the nicest and most genuinely caring people I have come across and a fantastic trainer as well, in fact his classes at Barry's were consistently booked out by regulars who refused to be trained by anyone else but him.

A little sceptical of Instagram and the online world pre-Covid, Alex came up with ACE 360 Fitness when the world needed it the most, and the community he has created around  as well as the consistently high quality workouts him and his team have developed have been a total life saver to me during this very weird and unstructured time.

Indeed what makes this programme so great, is the bespoke approach to the workouts - for £48 a week you can be part of his 4 week long programme in a group with only 5 others, basically providing you with a PT experience without the huge price tag attached. You will need a pair of dumbbells and the willingness to commit to 5 times a week of super solid working out, all led by a coach that never fails to encourage you, even if you are having the most rubbish day worrying about what the future will hold and further support by a Whatsapp group that also becomes somewhat of social net to fall back on.

The gym and workout classes may never return to the "old normal" but that has turned out to not be as bad as I first thought. The fitness scene has changed forever and if you want a unique online workout experience that actually WORKS sign up for ACE 360 Fitness now, you won't regret it.


Tuesday, 23 June 2020

SALMON, AVOCADO & SESAME NOODLES WITH CRISPY SHALLOTS





This elevated noodle salad is just about perfect for higher temperatures and full of fresh flavours so couldn't be more ideal as a dinner choice during the heatwave we are facing this week!

The crispy shallots take a bit of time but are a total game changer and just so good to finish of this bowl of goodness and hundred percent worth the effort. 

Also as long as you have a good local fishmonger your standard fresh salmon should be fine to slice up into sashimi!

INGREDIENTS
  • 2 thinly sliced banana shallots
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 350g rice noodles
  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds, plus more for garnishing
  • 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
  • 2 teaspoons fish sauce
  • 2 teaspoons hot chili oil
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 big skinless salmon filet
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 lime, cut into wedges
  • Soy sauce
  • Chopped coriander 
METHOD
  • Make the shallots: add shallots to saucepan and submerge in the olive oil. Cook on a high heat, stirring occasionally for around 20 minutes or until nice and crispy.
  • Cook the noodles according to the package directions, then drain and rinse them in cold water.
  • Toss the noodles in a medium bowl with the sesame seeds, sesame oil, the fish sauce, and 1 teaspoon of the chili oil. 
  • Season with salt to taste and transfer to a serving plate or bowl.
  • Pat the salmon dry, then use your knife to slice off thin slices that resemble what you get in a sashimi salad at your favorite sushi joint. 
  • Then pit and peel the avocado and slice it up!
  • Arrange the salmon and avocado on top of the noodles, then drizzle with the remaining teaspoon of hot chili oil and as much soy sauce as you feel like. 
  • Garnish with the crispy shallots, toasted sesame seeds and coriander.

Monday, 22 June 2020

CRAB, CHILLI, CORIANDER & ASPARGUS TART


Let's be honest, summer 2020 will be all about upping your picnic game. Even with restaurants on track to re-open on 4th July, social distancing and a lack of al fresco dining options will mean that most social gatherings and eating out occasions will take place in parks, fields or any other sort of green spaces which means now is the time to perfect your picnic foods!

Hearty, easily transportable and delicious, picnic food doesn't have to be just your standard crisps, dips and M&S salads, no, with a little bit of imagination you can impress your friends, at a safe distance, with some great little dishes like this amazing tart, packed with punchy flavours and a real crowd pleaser!

I got the tart ready in the morning of the picnic and baked it while doing a zoom workout so it really couldn't be easier and I have to say it was a real hit with my fellow picnickers! Watch out for more dishes to make picnics a little sophisticated on here, after all we may as well make the new normal a culinary experience!


INGREDIENTS
  • 1x ready made shortcrust pastry sheet
  • For the filling
  • 200g white crab meat
  • 1 bunch of green asparagus 
  • 1 bunch coriander, picked and chopped
  • 1 medium-sized red chilli, sliced (pith and seeds removed, if you prefer less heat)
  • 1lime, zested and juiced

  • For the savoury custard
  • 300g double cream
  • 200g milk
  • 2 whole eggs plus 3 egg yolks
  • Salt and black pepper


METHOD
  • Heat the oven to 190C (170C fan)/375F/gas 5. 
  • Roll out the pastry to 3mm thick and use it to line a greased 25cm tart ring. 
  • Prick the base all over with a fork, line with greaseproof paper and baking beans (I didn't have any so used rice), then blind bake for 16 minutes.
  • Lift out the greaseproof paper and the baking beans, brush the base all over with beaten egg yolk and return to the oven for six minutes more. 
  • Once cooked, remove from the oven, trim the top of the tart and leave to cool. Turn the oven down to 140C (120C fan)/285F/gas 1.
  • Meanwhile, make the custard. 
  • Combine the cream, milk, eggs and egg yolks, and whisk smooth. Pass through a sieve, then season.
  • Spoon the crab, aspargus, coriander and sliced chilli into the tart case. 
  • Stir the lime juice and zest into the custard, pour on top, then return to the oven until the custard is set (I used quite a a high form so the custard took longer to cook but keep checking once 20 minutes have past). 
  • Remove, leave to cool until warm or at room temperature, and serve.




Saturday, 20 June 2020

TRUFFLE & PARMESAN POTATO SCOTCH EGGS




This showstopper might take a bit of time to prep but the end result is SO worth it! Another iconic truffle dish to add to the repertoire...

MAKES 6

INGREDIENTS
  • 600g floury potatoes (such as maris piper), peeled and chopped into chunks
  • 45g parmesan (or vegetarian alternative), grated
  • 2 tsp truffle oil, plus extra to serve
  • Large knob of butter
  • Small handful fresh flatleaf parsley, finely chopped
  • 10 large free-range eggs (4 lightly beaten, 6 left whole in their
  • shells)
  • Plain flour for coating
  • 250g dried breadcrumbs
  • Vegetable oil for deep-frying
  • Sea salt flakes to serve

METHOD
  • Boil the potatoes for 15-20 minutes until tender. 
  • Drain and leave to steam for 2 minutes, then mash with the cheese, truffle oil, butter, parsley and lots of seasoning. 
  • Leave to cool completely.
  • Meanwhile, put the 6 whole eggs in a pan of boiling water and boil for 7 minutes. 
  • Drain, drop into a bowl of ice water,  then peel.
  • Once the mash has cooled, divide it into 6 equal amounts (100g-120g per egg). 
  • Using lightly floured hands, press each piece, one at a time, into a flat disc about the size of your upturned hand. 
  • Put the disc in your palm and put an egg in the middle of it, then wrap the disc around the egg to enclose, making sure there are no gaps or places where the mash is too thin.
  • Once all the eggs are covered, put the flour, 4 beaten eggs and breadcrumbs into separate shallow bowls. 
  • Dip each covered egg first into the flour, then the beaten eggs, then the breadcrumbs, shaking off the excess as you go. 
  • Press the breadcrumbs gently into the eggs using your hands to keep them secure, then dip back into the egg and again into the breadcrumbs, repeating the shaking and pressing.
  • Heat enough vegetable oil in a large saucepan to allow the eggs to be completely submerged – it’s hot enough when a digital thermometer reads 170°C though I slightly winged it by testing if the oil was hot enough by dropping in a tiny bit of leftover mash. 
  • Cook the eggs in batches for 2-3 minutes until crisp and golden, then cut into halves or quarters and serve with sea salt and a drizzle of truffle oil. 
  • The scotch eggs are best eaten warm, but they’re good cold, too (the yolks will stay runny).

Wednesday, 17 June 2020

VEGAN & GLUTEN FREE TAHINI MILLIONAIRE'S SHORTBREAD




As you can tell I am still just a little bit obsessed with tahini and this week I tried adding some to one of my favourite British sweet things - the indulgent millionaire shortbread.

Even better this version is completely gluten free, thanks to a ground almond base AND dairy free with a wonderful "caramel" made from coconut oil, tahini and maple syrup. I have to say the end result here was AMAZING, so good in fact that I couldn't quite believe it was all made with slightly "healthier" ingredients. 

I mean don't get me wrong, this is not like eating celery and still has enough calories to make it more of a treat, but I would make this millionaire's shortbread again based on taste alone - the tahini, ground almond and coconut oil adding another dimension to this classic that made it even more delicious than the more conventional version I have made before

I cannot recommend making these enough even if you are not vegan or in need of something gluten free, trust me on this one!

INGREDIENTS

For the shortbread base:
  • 1 ½ cups ground almonds
  • 3 tablespoons melted coconut oil
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon salt

For the salted tahini caramel:
  • 1/2 cup tahini
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt

For the chocolate layer:
  • 3/4 cup dark chocolate, chopped up (vegan or non vegan)
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • Fancy sea salt, for sprinkling on top

METHOD
  • Preheat oven to 180 degrees celsius. 
  • Line a small baking tray with baking paper
  • In a medium bowl add the almond flour, coconut oil, maple syrup, vanilla extract and salt. 
  • Mix together with a fork until it forms a nice thick crumb texture. 
  • Add to tray and use your fingers to evenly press down into the pan. 
  • Bake for 10 minutes. 
  • Allow crust to cool for 10 minutes before adding caramel.
  • Next make the salted tahini caramel: Add the tahini, maple syrup, coconut oil, vanilla extract and sea salt to a medium pot and place over medium-low heat for approximately 2 minutes, stirring frequently. 
  • Pour over the slightly cooled crust.
  • Place in the freezer for 20-30 minutes.
  • After 30 minutes, make the chocolate layer: Add chopped up chocolate and coconut oil to a microwave safe bowl and microwave on high in 30 second increments, stirring in between until chocolate is completely melted.
  • Pour over the caramel layer and tilt tray side-to-side to evenly distribute the melted chocolate. 
  • Place in fridge for an hour until chocolate is completely hardened and bars are cooled.
  • Remove bars from pan, sprinkle with fancy sea salt and cut into 
  • squares. 
  • Bars should be kept covered in the fridge until ready to serve.

Monday, 15 June 2020

A DRESS WORTH WAITING FOR




This blue dream of a dress was my, so far, only fashion related and in-season purchase since lockdown but oh my this & Other Stories dress did remind me just how fantastic a good outfit can make you feel, as silly as that may sound.

I may not go back to buying as much as I did pre-Covid but I can't wait to have more occasions to dress up for again, mainly for myself. I love clothes, I always have, and wearing this dress served as a reminder to me that a little break from the normal world and how we used to consume, shop and socialise won't change that.

Dress / & Other Stories @ ASOS

Sunday, 14 June 2020

BALSAMIC & MAPLE MARINATED STRAWBERRIES WITH BURRATA & BASIL



This super quick to make starter makes the most of in-season strawberries and the combo of sweet, tangy and creamy is pretty irresistible, plus it looks rather stunning plated up too!


SERVES 2 AS A STARTER

INGREDIENTS
  • 250g strawberries, quartered
  • 2 tbsp good quality balsamic vinegar 
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • A small handful of fresh basil, finely chopped
  • 1x Burrata ball - I swear by Waitrose's wonderful restaurant quality version
METHOD
  • Mix the strawberries in a bowl with the balsamic vinegar, maple syrup, basil and a good pinch each salt and black pepper. Pop in the fridge for 10 minutes.
  • Spoon the strawberries onto a serving platter. 
  • Split the burrata ball, put on the platter, then drizzle any juices left in the bowl over the top. 
  • Grind black pepper over the top and 
scatter with basil leaves to serve.

Saturday, 13 June 2020

SWEET POTATO & BRIE GALETTE





Shortcrust pastry (bought ready made because who needs that extra mess), topped with slow caramelised onions, creamy brie and sliced sweet potato - sounds heavenly, tasted utterly amazing and also looked stunning! Rustled up in less than an hour (including baking time) this galette is sure to impress and features easy get and delicious ingredients! ENOY!

MAKES ONE MEDIUM SIZE GALETTE

INGREDIENTS

  • Olive oil 
  • 2 medium or 1 big yellow onions, halved and sliced
  • 1 medium sweet potatoes, thinly sliced into rounds
  • 1 ready-rolled shortcrust pastry sheet
  • 150g mild brie, thinly sliced
  • 1egg beaten, to glaze


METHOD
  • Heat 2 tbsp of olive oil in a pan then add the onion and a good pinch of salt. 
  • Cook gently for 20-30 minutes or until really soft, golden and caramelised.
  • While the onions are cooking, drop the sweet potatoes into boiling salted water and cook for about 5 minutes or until just tender but still keeping their shape. 
  • Drain in a large colander.Heat the oven to 190C/fan 170C/gas 5. 
  • Unroll the pastry and gently roll to make it square-shaped. 
  • Lay a dinner plate approximately 28cm on top of the pastry and use as a template to cut around. 
  • Put the pastry on a lined baking tray.
  • Spread the onion over the pastry, leaving a 2cm border. 
  • Top the onion with the brie then lay over the sweet potatoes in a neat overlapping pattern. Brush with a little more olive oil then season all over. 
  • Fold the border back over the edges of the sweet potatoes. 
  • Brush the pastry with the beaten egg. 
  • Put in the oven and cook for 35-40 minutes or until the pastry is crisp and golden.
  • ENJOY!

Thursday, 11 June 2020

TUNA NIÇOISE PASTA - A TWIST ON A CLASSIC



I love the French cooking classic that is a tuna niçoise salad but after running a half marathon last Sunday I also fancied a good old bowl of pasta carby goodness so I thought to myself...why not combine the two!

And indeed the end result worked a real treat! A tangy mustardy dressing, slightly warmed through tomatoes, capers, olives and red onions, blanched green beans, cooked to perfection boiled eggs and wonderful seared tuna steak are combined with ribbons of pappardelle pasta, making this a super quick yet impressive and flavour packed dinner, perfect for a warm summer night!

Serves 2

INGREDIENTS
  • 400g pappardelle 
  • 2 small or 1 big fresh tuna steak
  • 100g green beans, trimmed
  • 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 small red onions, finely sliced
  • 4 anchovy fillets, chopped
  • 1 tbsp capers
  • Big handful pitted black olives
  • A handful of fresh torn basil 
  • 3 boiled eggs (I have perfected a gooey yolk by cooking them in boiling water for exactly 6 minutes 30 seconds and then immediately dropping them into ice water)

For the dressing:
  • 3 Tbs. olive oil
  • 2 Tbs. sherry vinegar
  • 2 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • Salt & Pepper

METHOD
  • In a large bowl, whisk 2 Tbs. of the olive oil with the vinegar, mustard, 1/2 tsp. salt, and 1/2 tsp. pepper. Set aside.
  • Cook pappardelle in a saucepan of boiling salted water according to pack instructions. 
  • When the pasta has a few minutes left, add the green beans and cook until both are al dente.
  • Add cooked pasta and green beans to the bowl with the dressing, mixing through thoroughly to prevent the pasta from drying out. 
  • Meanwhile, heat 3 tbsp olive oil in a small frying pan over a medium heat and gently fry the red onion for 5 minutes.
  • Add the anchovy, capers, rinsed, black olives, halved, and the cherry tomatoes, halved. 
  • Warm for 3-4 minutes, then remove from the heat and stir in the lemon juice.
  • Season the tuna on all sides with salt and pepper. In a large saucepan, heat the remaining 1 Tbs. olive oil over high heat until shimmering hot. 
  • Sear the tuna on both sides, about  30seconds per side. 
  • Transfer to a cutting board, tent with foil, and let rest for 5minutes. 
  • Cut crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices.
  • Add the warmed through vegetables to the pasta and dressing and mix. 
  • Divide among bowls and top with the sliced tuna, basil and boiled eggs!