Wednesday, 19 January 2022

SUPER SPEEDY LEEK CACIO E PEPE


What better thing to do in my bid to be "healthier" this January than to add leeks to one of the most yummy, iconic and speedy to rustle up pasta dishes, cacio e Pepe! 

Sautéed leeks work a treat as addition to this magical cheese, pasta water and pepper sauce and though super simple in terms of ingredients this pasta wins in terms of creaminess and flavour! 

The perfect weekday supper after a cold and long working day.

SERVES 2

INGREDIENTS
  • 60g butter
  • 1 x 500g pack leeks, trimmed and sliced
  • 400g linguine or spaghetti
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 tsp black peppercorns, finely crushed using a pestle and mortar, plus extra to serve
  • 90g pecorino or Parmesan, finely grated - use vegetarian cheese if required

METHOD
  • Heat the butter in a large, deep frying pan and cook the leeks over a low heat, covered, for 6-8 minutes until softened.
  • While the leeks are cooking, boil the pasta according to pack instructions. 
  • Drain over a large bowl to reserve the cooking water.
  • Return to the leeks; stir in the garlic and black pepper and cook for 2 minutes until fragrant, then add 150ml of the pasta cooking water. 
  • Toss together briefly, then evenly scatter over the grated cheese. 
  • Don’t stir but wait for the cheese to melt; about 1 minute. 
  • Once melted, add the drained pasta and stir well to coat. Add a little more pasta water if needed to loosen the sauce.
  • Divide between bowls and serve immediately with extra black pepper ground over the top.

Tuesday, 11 January 2022

MOROCCAN VEGGIE TAGINE WITH HARISSA & PAN FRIED ALMONDS


This vegan tagine is the perfect healthy January dinner that still packs a punch! 

It's both comforting and full of nutritious veg, finished off with a wonderful mix of spices which elevated this one pot wonder into quite the bowl of comfort food with minimal kitchen mess to clean up after!

Even better the tagine comes to topped with briefly fried luscious almonds and a good helping of spicy harissa paste! 

Indeed, this recipe proves once and for all that healthy cooking doesn't have to mean boring flavours! 

Serves 2 

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 large onions, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves , peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1½ tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • ¼ tsp saffron threads 
  • 600g winter squash or sweet potato, peeled and cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 head of cauliflower, chopped into florets
  • 400g baby turnips, quartered or halved if on the large side
  • 500ml vegetable stock
  • 300g soft prunes
  • 1 preserved lemon, skin only, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp butter or oil (if you want to keep it Vegan)
  • 50g blanched almonds
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 50g green olives, pitted
  • 1 x 400g tin chickpeas, drained 
  • 1 small bunch fresh coriander
  • Harissa, to serve
  • Greek yogurt (optional)
METHOD
  • Heat the oil in a large, heavy-based sauce pan for which you have a lid over a medium heat, then fry the onions until soft and translucent. 
  • Stir in the garlic and spices, and cook for another couple of minutes, until you can smell the spices.
  • Add the squash, cauliflower and turnips, then stir in the vegetable stock, scraping the bottom of the pan to clean it.
  • Add the prunes and preserved lemon skin, bring to a simmer, then cover. 
  • Turn the heat right down and leave to simmer for 30-40 minutes, until the vegetables are soft.
  • Meanwhile, fry the almonds in the butter or oil until golden, then set aside. 
  • Stir the honey, olives and chickpeas into the pan, taste and season if necessary, then roughly chop the coriander and scatter over the top along with the almonds.
  • Top with the optional yogurt and spicy harissa

Thursday, 6 January 2022

GOATS CHEESE & BARLEY RISOTTO WITH WINTER GREENS

 

This goats cheese and barley risotto with winter greens is THE perfect January dinner if you ask me! 

Why? Well it's packed with the seasonal veg all our bodies have been craving post Christmas indulgence, yet still manages to be proper comfort food.

It is also super filling thanks to the barley AND a tiny bit naughty because we all know melted cheese is a quite literally a life essential to make it through the cold winter months.

A real joy to eat, especially after a long, cold and dark January day!

SERVES 2-3

INGREDIENTS
  • Light olive oil or vegetable oil for frying
  • 1 savoy cabbage, cut into quarters
  • 300g brussels sprouts, halved if large
  • 1 onion, finely sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 100g pearl barley
  • 3 tbsp plain flour
  • 200ml white wine
  • 400ml whole milk
  • 100g sun-dried tomatoes, drained
  • 100g taleggio cheese (or vegetarian alternative)
  • 100g goat’s cheese
  • Bunch fresh basil, roughly chopped
  • 50g vegetarian parmesan-style cheese

METHOD

  • In a large flameproof casserole or ovenproof saucepan, heat a glug of oil over a high heat, then sear the cabbage and sprouts until browned all over (about 3 minutes). 
  • Set aside.
  • Reduce the heat, add the onion, then fry gently for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until softening. 
  • Add the garlic and pearl barley, then stir for 2-3 minutes.
  • Stir in the flour and cook for a minute, then pour in the wine. 
  • Turn up the heat and bubble for a minute, stirring with a wooden spoon. 
  • Reduce the heat and add the milk, then simmer for 15-20 minutes, stirring every so often, until the sauce thickens and the barley softens.
  • Heat the oven to 220°C. 
  • Add the sun-dried tomatoes, taleggio and goat’s cheese. 
  • Stir for 5 minutes until the cheese has melted, then stir in the basil. 
  • Arrange the cabbage pieces and sprouts on top. 
  • Grate over the hard cheese and bake for 20-25 minutes until golden.
  • ENJOY!

Tuesday, 4 January 2022

MY FAVOURITE CHRISTMAS DINNER RECIPES (WHICH ALSO MAKE A MEAN ROAST)


I did a LOT of cooking over the Christmas period (thankfully I also had a mother at my flat that may despise cooking but is excellent in doing the cleaning up after) and also managed to rustle up a whole vegetarian friendly Christmas dinner with all the trimmings!

Ok, ok hear me out before you say "OMG I CAN'T SEE ANY MORE CHRISTMAS FOODS FOR ANOTHER 360 DAYS AT LEAST!.

Let's be real: it's going to be cold and dark and miserable outside for quite some time and what is there better to do on a Winter Sunday than stay in, make a proper roast dinner and wrap up in front of the telly with or without a glass of wine if you are on the Dry Jan vibes, especially if the roast comes with a Stella and veg heavy twist! Trust me on this one!

MUSHROOM & CHESTNUT WELLINGTON

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 medium red onion (150g) peeled, cut in half lengthways and sliced
  • 1 ½ tbsp olive oil divided
  • 1 tsp sea salt divided
  • ½ tsp freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 300 g chestnut/brown mushrooms, sliced
  • 4 cloves of garlic minced
  • 1 tbsp fresh chopped tarragon
  • 100 g cooked chestnuts (approx ¾ cup)
  • 100 g baby spinach ( approx 3 ⅓ cups)
  • 3 tbsp fine breadcrumbs
  • 1 x 320g sheet of puff pastry
  • 1 medium egg beaten
METHOD
  • Preheat the oven to 190C.
  • Line a baking tray with parchment paper.
  • Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a frying pan. 
  • Add the onions with ¼ teaspoon of sea salt and cook over medium heat until soft. 
  • At least 15 minutes. 20 - 25 minutes if you have more time.
  • Once soft add 1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar and stir well until the liquid evaporates.
  • Remove to a large mixing bowl and leave to cool.
  • Heat 1 tablespoon of butter in a large sauté pan. 
  • Add the mushrooms and cook until they are soft and they have released their juices. 
  • Add 4 minced cloves of garlic and 1 tablespoon of chopped tarragon. 
  • Stir well and cook for a minute or two.
  • Crumble the chestnuts into the pan and mix well. 
  • Remove this mixture to the mixing bowl with the red onions and leave to cool.
  • Heat ½ a tablespoon of olive oil in a pan, add the spinach and cook until wilted.
  • Drain and squeeze as much liquid out of the spinach as you can. Transfer to a chopping board then roughly chop.
  • Add the chopped spinach to the mixing bowl with the mushrooms.
  • Add 3 tablespoons of fine breadcrumbs along with ¼ teaspoon of salt and ¼ teaspoon of freshly cracked black pepper to the mixing bowl. Mix everything together well.
  • Roll out the puff pastry.
  • Add the mushroom filling along the centre of the pastry and using clean hands shape into a sausage shape.
  • Turn one side of the pastry over the mushroom mixture, brush the egg wash then turn the other side over. Use a fork to seal the pastry. 
  • Fold up the ends of the wellington and again use a fork to see them.
  • Carefully turn the welling over so the seal is on the bottom. 
  • Using a very sharp knife score diamonds in your pastry. 
  • Start by scoring diagonal line in one direction along the whole wellington then repeat in the opposite direction.
  • Brush the whole wellington in egg wash, remembering to do the sides too.
  • Bake in the oven for 30 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown and the pastry is completely cooked.
  • Remove from the oven and leave to cool slightly before transferring to a serving dish or board.

THE BEST EVER CAULI CHEESE 

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 large (about 1kg) Cauliflower , broken into large florets
  • 1 tbsp olive oil 
  • 75g butter 
  • 4 tbsp plain flour 
  • 400ml whole milk 
  • 400ml double cream 
  • 150g mature cheddar, grated
  • A good grating nutmeg 
METHOD
  • Heat the oven to 220c.
  • Put the cauliflower florets into a bowl and toss with the olive oil and plenty of seasoning. 
  • Tip out onto a large baking tray, ensuring each floret has space around it. 
  • Roast for 20-25 minutes until lightly charred and tender to the point of a knife. 
  • Cool slightly. Turn down the oven to 200c.
  • Put the butter into a pan over a medium heat and, once melted and foaming, add the plain flour. 
  • Cook, while stirring, for 5 minutes until the butter turns a deep golden brown. 
  • Put the milk and cream into a measuring jug.
  • Turn the heat to low and splash in a few tbsp of the milk mixture and whisk vigorously. 
  • It will form a thick paste that might look a little split but will come back together eventually. 
  • Keep adding the milk, 2-3 tbsp at a time, whisking vigorously all the time, only adding more milk once fully absorbed and the sauce is thick. 
  • Once all of the milk and cream are in, you will have a smooth sauce. 
  • Simmer gently, while regularly whisking, for 15 minutes to cook out the flour and thicken the sauce some Remove from the heat and stir through the cheddar, grate in the nutmeg and season well.
  • Put the cauliflower florets into a deep baking dish then pour over the sauce. 
  • Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes or until the top is charred, bubbling and golden

GARLIC & HERBS ROAST POTATOES A LA RENÉE (INSPIRED BY A TRUE BRIT AND GREAT FRIEND)

INGREDIENTS
  • Maris piper potatoes (a few per person+ a couple extra)
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Small bunch fresh sage leaves and fresh rosemary, chopped
  • Salt and pepper
  • Plenty of garlic cloves, left whole

METHOD
  • Preheat the oven to 180°c.
  • Peel the potatoes, cut in half and par boil for 12-15 minutes in salted boiling water.
  • Meanwhile, add good glug of olive oil to an oven proof dish and place in to the oven.
  • Once the potatoes have par boiled, drain and leave to steam in the colander for a few minutes. 
  • Give the potatoes a good shake in the colander so that the outer edges break up a little and become beautifully fluffy.
  • Take the dish of hot oil out of the oven.
  • Carefully pour the potatoes into dish and turn until they are coated with the oil. 
  • Season with good quality salt (pink Himalayan or Malden sea salt work a treat), cracked black pepper and add the garlic and herbs.
  • Roast in the oven for 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes.
  • Remove from the oven, by this point they should be turning beautifully golden brown but they can still be improved to be extra delicious.
  • Turn each potato over. 
  • Put them back into the oven for another 20-30 minutes or until perfectly golden brown and crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside.

ROAST CARROTS & BRUSSEL SPROUTS WITH POMEGRANATE SEEDS

INGREDIENTS
  • 200g brussel sprouts, trimmed
  • 400g chanteay carrots
  • Pomegranate seeds to top
METHOD
  • Preheat oven to 200c.
  • Add carrots and Brussel sprouts to a baking tray and toss in olive oil.
  • Roast in the oven for 25 minutes, tossing the veg half way through
  • Take out of the oven, add to serving dish and top with pomegranate seeds

AND SERVE WITH PLENTY OFGRAVY!

Wednesday, 29 December 2021

MY TOP TEN RECIPES OF 2021

Congrats to us all are due, we’ve just about made it through 2021 in one piece! 

And OH BOY, it was once again not the easiest of years due to the big C taking centre stage and ruining everyone’s plans in ever new and annoying guises (we really could have done without Omicron TBH).

My coping mechanism was spending plenty of time in the kitchen, cooking, sipping wine and trialling new recipes and quite honestly this, alongside my gym classes, was really what kept me semi sane so it feels only right to share my ten favourite recipes of the year with you!

Let’s hope there will be plenty of more cooking in 2022, perhaps without the Covid angst this time!


SONS + DAUGHTERS ICONIC EGG SALAD & TRUFFLE CRISPS SANDWICH 


WHITE ASPARAGUS RISOTTO WITH STRAWBERRIES 

Wednesday, 22 December 2021

SAFFRON, MARZIPAN & RUM BUNS


These festive, Swedish inspired buns are all kinds of amazing, their dough scented with saffron and filled with a moist and fragrant mix of marzipan, rum, more saffron and butter.

Baking these beauties also happens to be the perfect way to spend a festive day now that we are all back to avoiding the outside world (I KNOW, SIGH) but trust me with these buns, they will even get the biggest 2201 gringe in a Christmassy mood and that is even before trying them because BOY are they good!!

Get baking, stay positive and stay healthy this Christmas! I will be cooking and baking all the way to get a little light relief from the outside world in the most tasty of ways.

MAKES LOADS!


INGREDIENTS

Yeast dough:
  • 500 ml lukewarm milk (2 cups)
  • a generous pinch of saffron threads*
  • 50 g fresh yeast (or use 2 sachets of instant yeast)
  • 0.5 tsp salt
  • 150 g caster sugar
  • 150 g unsalted butter, softened
  • 200 g cream cheese, softened
  • 1 kg of all-purpose flour

Filling:
  • 100 g unsalted butter, softened
  • 200 g marzipan, grated
  • 3 Tbsp dark rum
  • a generous pinch of saffron threads

To finish:
  • Egg-wash made with 1 egg and 1 Tbsp water
  • Sugar pearls

METHOD
  • Heat the milk, pour into a large mixing bowl. 
  • Add the saffron and let it infuse and cool for a while. 
  • The milk should be 37 C at the end.
  • Crumble the yeast into the milk. 
  • Add salt, sugar and most of the flour. 
  • Then knead in the soft butter and cream cheese and the rest of the flour. 
  • Knead until the dough doesn't stick to the bowl any longer. 
  • Cover and let rise until doubled in size - you need to do that in a warm and draught-free place.
  • (Meanwhile, cover the baking tray with a parchment paper and pre-heat the oven to 220 C).
  • Prepare the filling. 
  • Grate the marzipan coarsely. 
  • Mix saffron strands with the rum and let infuse for 5-10 minutes. 
  • Melt butter in a small saucepan, add the marzipan and then the saffron-infused rum.
  • Heat gently, stirring, until combined.Remove from the heat.
  • Gently knead the yeast dough and divide into two. 
  • Roll both on a lightly floured surface into a large rectangle, about 5 mm (1/4''). 
  • Spread half of the marzipan mixture onto the dough and roll tightly, starting from the longer edge.
  • Repeat with the other dough.
  • Cut into 3-4 cm rolls (about 1,5 inches) and place onto a baking tray. (If you wish, you can let them rise again for 20-30 minutes). 
  • Brush with the egg-wash and sprinkle with pearl sugar.
  • Bake for 15-20 minutes, until lovely golden brown. 
  • Let cool under a clean kitchen towel - this helps them stay soft.

Tuesday, 7 December 2021

APPLE & CINNAMON BUNS WITH BROWNED BUTTER MAPLE ICING


I will never love baking as much as I love cooking but I have become somewhat more confident in my baking abilities this year (better to practise letting dough rise correctly than COVID doom scrolling) which meant I finally took on the task of making my own cinnamon buns from scratch! 

And not just any old, boring cinnamon buns. OH NO! These are next level cinnamons buns, filled with apple chunks and topped with the most amazing browned butter and maple syrup icing. 

MY GOD that doesn't only sound amazing but the end result tasted totally out of this world and I actually found them pretty easy to make! 

Yes, you will have to invest a bit of time (I spent a leisurely Sunday afternoon hiding from the cold in the kitchen rustling these up) as the dough will need rise and rest twice but the process is fun, not too tricky and so rewarding considering the wow factor buns you will end up with! 

Best enjoyed warm but equally good cold and just so damn delicious!

One of the best things I have made this year and this is saying a lot considering how much I have baked, cooked, chopped and pickled in 2021!

INGREDIENTS

DOUGH
  • 1 cup warm milk
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 1 tablespoon soft brown sugar
  • 4 tablespoons salted butter, at room temperature
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3 1/2 -4 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

APPLE FILLING
  • 1/2 cup soft brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 6 tablespoons salted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 red apples, chopped

BROWNED BUTTER MAPLE ICING
  • 4 tablespoons salted butter, at room temperature
  • 6 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 2-3 cups icing sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanila extract

METHOD
  • Combine the milk, yeast, and brown sugar in a bowl. 
  • Let sit 5-10 minutes, until bubbly on top. 
  • Add the butter, eggs, 3 1/2 cups flour, and salt. 
  • Using your hands, mix until the flour is completely incorporated, about 4-5 minutes. 
  • If the dough is still sticky, add the additional 1/2 cup flour, adding more as needed until the dough is smooth to touch.
  • Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for 1 hour or until doubled in size.
  • 3Meanwhile, mix the filling. In a bowl, combine the brown sugar, sugar, and cinnamon. 
  • Butter a 9×13 inch baking dish.
  • Punch the dough down and roll out onto a lightly floured surface, creating a large rectangle.
  • Spread the butter evenly over the dough. 
  • Sprinkle on the apples and cinnamon sugar. 
  • Starting with the long edge closest to you, roll the dough into a log, keeping it tight as you go. 
  • When you reach the edge, pinch along the edge to seal. 
  • Using a sharp knife, cut into 12-15 rolls. 
  • Place the rolls into the prepared baking dish. 
  • Cover with plastic wrap and let rise 20-30 minutes.
  • Preheat the oven to 180° C. 
  • Bake the rolls for 25 to 30 minutes, or until golden brown.
  • Meanwhile, make the icing. 
  • Add the butter to a pot set over medium heat.
  • Allow the butter to brown lightly until it smells toasted, about 2-3 minutes. 
  • Remove from the heat. 
  • To a bowl with the cream cheese in it, whisk in the maple syrup, powdered sugar, vanilla, and a pinch of salt. 
  • Spread the icing over the warm rolls. 
  • Serve and enjoy!


Thursday, 2 December 2021

GERMAN STYLE LEBKUCHEN (GINGERBREAD) WITH WHITE CHOCOLATE GLACE


I am desperately trying to keep the pre-Christmas excitement and spirit alive, despite a little voice in the back of my head constantly telling me that it could be another Christmas ruined by Covid, and one way to do so is of course some good old festive baking to banish the negativity away and fill ones house with the most wonderful smell! 

Making these little lebkuchen (a sort of German spiced gingerbread cakes), coated in white chocolate, proved an excellent evening activity, super easy and quick to make, and the end result tasted not only like a little bit of my German childhood but quite literally like Christmas in a pleasing little cake! Perfect to as gift but also perfect to consume in big quantities yourself because hey we've all earned early Christmas treats this year!

INGREDIENTS

For the Lebkuchen

  • 200g runny honey
  • 85g butter
  • 200g plain flour
  • 100g round almonds
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp ground allspice 
  • ½ tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 tbsp cocoa powder
  • ½ unwaxed orange, finely grated zest and juiced
  • pinch salt
For the chocolate glaze

200g white chocolate, roughly chopped

METHOD
  • Preheat the oven to 200C.
  • Line two baking trays with baking paper.
  • Heat the honey and butter in a small saucepan over a low heat until melted. 
  • Tip into a large mixing bowl and put in the fridge for 5 minutes.
  • Remove the honey-butter mixture from the fridge and sieve in the remaining ingredients, stirring to combine. (The mixture will be sticky.) 
  • Return to the fridge for about 1 hour, or until completely cold. 
  • With damp hands, break off pieces of the dough and roll into balls slightly smaller than a golf ball. Transfer to the baking trays and flatten down slightly, leaving enough space between each lebkuchen to spread during cooking. 
  • Bake for 15 minutes, or until the lebkuchen has risen and are firm to the touch. 
  • Set aside to cool slightly on the baking trays, before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
  • To make the chocolate glaze, melt half the chocolate in a small heatproof bowl over a simmering saucepan of water, making sure the base of the bowl doesn’t touch the water. 
  • When the chocolate has almost melted, take the pan off the heat and add the remaining chocolate. 
  • Stir until all the chocolate has melted. 
  • Dip one side of the lebkuchen into the chocolate and return to the wire rack, chocolate side up, to set.
  • Leave to set to completely and enjoy!

Tuesday, 30 November 2021

THE MOST AMAZING APPLE, BRIE & ONION TART WITH CRANBERRY SAUCE


There are a lot of things to be worried about at the moment and questions on everyone's mind to which non of us really have the answers to. 

How bad is this new mutant strain? Will Christmas be cancelled AGAIN? Will Covid ever go away? I especially hate uncertainty and not being able to make plans so in order to cling on to my sanity somehow and not think too much or too negatively how the next few weeks could pan out I reverted to what I love doing the most: COOKING! Which is why last Friday I got making on this incredible tart!

Indeed this apple, brie and onion tart is allll kinds of amazing- sweet and savoury, packed with flavour, beautiful to look at and best of all a joy to make! It's proper cold weather comfort food and will hopefully offer you, as it did for me, a little moment of foodie happiness, a brief escape from the weird times we are living in at the moment.

SERVES 2

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 sheet ready-rolled all-butter puff pastry 
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 large onions , halved and sliced
  • 2 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • small bunch of thyme , leaves picked, plus a few sprigs to serve
  • 1 red eating apple
  • 100g cranberry sauce 
  • 175g brie 

METHOD
  • Heat oven to 180C.
  • Unroll the pastry sheet onto a large baking tray (leave it on the paper from the pack). If the edges are not straight, trim them with a sharp knife. 
  • Score a border, about 1cm in from the edge. 
  • Score a criss-cross pattern over the central piece of pastry (this will prevent it from rising too much) and around the border, if you like. 
  • Bake for 15 mins.
  • Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large pan. 
  • Add the onions and cook for 10-15 mins until softened and starting to caramelise. Stir in the vinegar, bubble for 1 min more, then add the Dijon mustard and thyme, season well and set aside. 
  • Slice the apple thinly.The pastry should be puffed and starting to colour. 
  • Push down the centre, then spread over the onions. 
  • Add blobs of cranberry sauce, then top with the apple slices and brie, overlapping them to cover the tart. Add a few more thyme sprigs, drizzle with a little oil, then put back in the oven for a further 25 mins until the cheese is bubbling and the apple slices are soft. 
  • Serve warm or cold.

Thursday, 25 November 2021

INDIAN INSPIRED SPICY BUTTER SALMON


I am not usually a massive fan of Indian food (I blame a particularly bad case of food poisoning a few years ago for this aversion) but this fragrant butter salmon is alllll kids of amazing, especially the wonderful spice marinade in which the salmon gets pan fried in! Perfect for the sort of evening when you want comfort food but want to stay on the healthy side!

Serves 2 

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 Skinless Salmon Fillets
  • 4 Garlic Clove 
  • 2 tbsp Fresh Ginger 
  • 3 tsp Garam Masala 
  • 2 tsp Ground Cumin 
  • 1 tsp Ground Turmeric 
  • 2 tbsp Olive Oil 
  • 3 tbsp Butter 
  • 1 Yellow Onion 
  • 400 g Diced Tomatoes 
  • 1 Tin Coconut Milk 

TO SERVE
  • Rice 
  • Handful Fresh Coriander 
  • Naan Bread 
  • Pomegranate Seeds
  • Salt & Pepper to taste

METHOD
  • Peel and finely dice ginger, onions, and garlic cloves. 
  • Rinse salmon in cold water and pat dry. 
  • Wash the coriander, shake dry and chop.
  • In a bowl, toss together half of the crushed garlic cloves, 1 tablespoon ginger, 2 teaspoon garam masala, 1 teaspoon cumin, ½ teaspoon turmeric, salt and pepper. 
  • Add salmon fillets in a bowl and gently drizzle over olive oil and coat the salmon well with spice mixture. Let sit 5-10 minutes.
  • In the meantime, cook the rice in a saucepan with salted water according to package instructions.
  • To the larger skillet, add chopped onion and cook 5 minutes, until softened. 
  • Add 2 tablespoons butter, remaining crushed garlic cloves and ginger, 1 tablespoon garam masala, 1 teaspoon cumin, ½ teaspoon turmeric. 
  • Season with salt and pepper. 
  • Cook until very fragrant, about 5 minutes. 
  • Add the diced tomatoes and continue cooking for another 3-4 minutes.
  • Reduce the heat to low. 
  • Add coconut milk. 
  • Stir to combine, bring the sauce to a simmer, cook 5 minutes or until the sauce thickens slightly. Stir in 1 tablespoon butter. 
  • Remove from the heat and stir in the cilantro. 
  • Season with salt and pepper.
  • While the sauce is cooking prepare the salmon, heat the oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. 
  • Add the salmon and cook on both sides until JUST cooked through, about 3-4 minutes. 
  • Serve the salmon and sauce over bowls of rice with hot naan and garnish with more coriander and sprinkle over pomegranate seeds.

Thursday, 18 November 2021

PASTA ALLA NORMA OTTOLENGHI STYLE


My gosh! It has very much been a hectic couple of weeks that felt like Pre-covid times in terms of work, social engagements and life admin so sadly my cooking and restaurant reviewing had to be put a little on the back burner. I did however make the most AMAZING pasta alla norma, that iconic Italian pasta dish which makes elevates the humble aubergine to the star of the show, which I simple HAD to share with you in the meantime! It's the sort of dinner that is fun and easy to make but tastes like a million dollars and hey we can all do with that!

Serves 2

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 Aubergines
  • 120ml Olive Oil
  • 5 Garlic Cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1-2 mild dried chillies
  • 2 x 400g tins of Plum Tomatoes
  • 5 large Oregano Sprigs
  • 1 tsp Caster Sugar
  • 500g Spaghetti
  • 45g ricotta salata (a saltier, more grumbly version of ricotta which is SO good - I found it at foodie haven Eataly)
  • 20g Basil Leaves, torn
  • Salt & Black Pepper

METHOD
  • Preheat the oven to 220c.
  • Using a peeler and working from top to bottom of each aubergine, shave off long alternating strips of peel so that they look striped, like zebras. 
  • Cut widthways into 1cm thick slices and place in a bowl with 75ml of oil, 3/4 teaspoon of salt and a generous grind of paper. 
  • Mix well, then spread out on two large baking paper-lined trays. 
  • Roast for 30-35 minutes, until dark golden-brown. 
  • Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.
  • Put 2 tablespoons of oil into a frying pan or pot and place on a medium high heat. 
  • Add the garlic and chillies and fry for 1-2 minutes, stirring constantly, until the garlic is golden brown (but not burnt!). 
  • Add the tinned tomatoes, oregano, sugar, 1/2 teaspoon salt and a grind of pepper. 
  • Reduce the heat to medium low and cook for 10 minutes, until the sauce is thick.
  • Remove the oregano sprigs and stir in the aubergine. 
  • Set aside.
  • Cook the pasta according to packet instructions and once al dente, drain and retain some cooking water.
  • Add the spaghetti to the sauce and mix well, adding two thirds of the pecorino and basil, add a few tablespoons of the cooking water if the sauce has become too thick.
  • Divide between two bowls, then top with the remaining pecorino and basil.

Thursday, 11 November 2021

SACHER TORTE TRAY BAKE





Another week, another mate's birthday! And this time I rustled up a real cake classic, the super rich, super chocolatey, super indulgent Sacher torte! Well not quite, I am a decent baker but I am no future 'Great British Bake Off' contestant so I made a slightly simplified, yet no less tasty tray bake version! 

You still get the light, chocolatey sponge (thanks to a soft meringue mixed through the dough), a layer of apricot jam and of course the glossy dark chocolate ganache topping but there is zero hassle of cutting a cake in half or tempering the chocolate, in face I had this done and dusted, ready to surprise my friend with in a couple of hours on a Thursday evening. 

Even better the end result was super tasty, even for me who usually really doesn't love chocolate based sponges!

A tray that is sophisticated and will impress a crowd, no one needs to know it is super easy and quick to make ;)

INGREDIENTS

  • 200g semi dark chocolate (I went for 54% cocoa)
  • 6 eggs separated
  • 2 cups plus 1 tablespoon (300 g) all-purpose flour
  • 2 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 14 tablespoons (200 g) butter room temperature
  • 2 ¾ cups (300 g) powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 
  • 1 cup (250 ml) milk room temperature
  • About 1 generous cup (300 g) apricot jam (ideally seedless)
CHOCOLATE GANACHE
  • 14 tablespoons (7 ounces or 200 g) butter cubed
  • 300g semi dark chocolate, chopped
  • 1 ½ tablespoons oil

METHOD
  • Preheat oven to 170°C. 
  • Grease 40x32 cm baking tray with butter.
  • For the cake: beat egg whites until stiff peaks form, set aside. 
  • In a separate bowl, stir together flour, baking powder and salt and set aside. 
  • In a large mixing bowl, beat eggs yolks, butter, powdered sugar and vanilla until fluffy. 
  • Alternately add melted chocolate, milk and the flour mixture and beat on low speed to combine. 
  • Fold in one-third of the beaten egg whites, then fold in the rest of the egg whites.
  • Spread batter in prepared pan and bake for about 25 minutes. 
  • Test for doneness with a wooden toothpick. 
  • Cool completely in pan on a wire rack.
  • For the ganache: melt butter and chocolate in a double boiler or in one-minute intervals in the microwave. Stir until completely smooth. 
  • Stir in oil. 
  • Chill ganache until slightly thickened.
  • Gently heat the jam to thin it. 
  • Spread jam over cooled cake. 
  • Spread chocolate ganache over the jam and allow it to set before cutting cake.
  •  Stored at room temperature, cake bars will stay fresh for 2-3 days, in the refrigerator for up to one week.