Wednesday 19 May 2021


This intriguing sounding fusion recipe, by the never not inspiring Yotam Ottolenghi, had been on my 'to cook' list for a while but when I stumbled across saffron pasta at new foodie haven Eataly by Liverpool Street station I simply had to finally make it! 

Mainly because the original recipe calls for making your own saffron tagliatelle from scratch and with me yet to invest in a pasta making machine but also too committed to sticking to a recipe to use plain tagliatelle (which would work actually just fine here) I had been holding off making this until saffron scented linguine and me would finally cross paths and INDEED WE DID!

For Ottolenghi standards this dish is whipped up easily and quickly but the end result is full of wonderful textures (particularly the crispy chipotle shallots are a game changer), fresh and zingy flavours and ingredients that on paper shouldn't work together but create a rather outstanding and unusual pasta main.

Will make again.


  • 400g saffron linguine (though normal tagliatelle or linguine will do too)
  • 50ml olive oil, plus 2 tbsp extra to serve
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 3 tbsp parsley, finely chopped, plus 1 tbsp extra to serve
  • 60g parmesan, finely grated 
  • 120g ricotta
  • ½ tsp saffron threads, soaked in 75ml boiling water for 1 hour

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 3-4 shallots, peeled, very thinly sliced (use a mandoline, ideally) and rings separated
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • ¾ tsp coriander seeds
  • ¾ tsp cumin seeds
  • ½ tsp chipotle flakes 
  • ¼ tsp salt

  • 2 green chillies, cut into thin rounds
  • 2 tbsp rice vinegar
  • ½ tsp caster sugar¼ tsp salt

  • Heat the oil in a large frying pan on a high flame, then add all the shallot ingredients and fry for seven minutes; use a spatula to separate the rings as they cook. 
  • Turn the heat to medium-low, cook for six minutes more, until caramelised and a deep golden brown, then transfer to a plate lined with baking paper and spread the shallots out – they’ll be a bit sticky, but will crisp up a little as they cool.
  • Mix all the ingredients for the pickled green chillies in a small bowl.
  • Put 50ml oil, the garlic and a quarter-teaspoon of salt in a large saute pan on a medium-high heat, fry gently for two minutes, then turn off the heat.
  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. 
  • Add the pasta and cook until al dente, then drain; reserve 140ml of the cooking water.
  • Tip the hot pasta into the garlic pan and turn the heat to medium-high. 
  • Add the reserved pasta water, the saffron and its water, the parsley and lots of pepper, and toss. 
  • Add the parmesan bit by bit, tossing as it melts, for two to three minutes.
  • Transfer the pasta to the serving bowls and dot with ricotta. 
  • Top with the shallots, pickled chillies, a teaspoon and a half of the pickling liquid, the last of the parsley and a good grind of pepper, and serve at once.

Tuesday 18 May 2021


I told you my white asparagus obsession is not over yet and BOY this is one of the best dishes I have cooked, ever. 

It is literally the full essence and flavour of the white asparagus translated into a risotto, with sliced strawberries on top adding that unbeatable sweet / savoury combo that will tantalise your taste buds. 

What really makes this risotto so special is the way that every bit of the asparagus spear is used to flavour the risotto. 

A lot of the asparagus risotto recipes I found online were based on your classic veg / chicken stock risotto with  a splash of wine, the asparagus pretty much simply stirred through at the end and not realllyyyyyy flavouring the risotto in an impactful way.

Well not with this recipe! Yes, it takes a little more effort but WOW it makes it restaurant quality good, plus it works as well with green asparagus as with white so use the produce you can find!

The stalky ends of the asparagus, which are usually binned, are cooked in boiling water for 40 minutes to create a super fragrant asparagus stock, used here instead of your standard stock, to slowly cook your risotto rice, while a hand full of the cut up spears (of course preserving the precious tips as final garnish), are par boiled for a few minutes before being blitzed with a little cooking water into a silky puree. 

The puree gets then stirred into the cooked rice alongside a good helping of parmesan and butter before the final dish is topped with the rest of the remaining asparagus tips (steamed or par boiled to keep a good crunch), the sliced strawberries and a little thyme. 

It looks stunning and tastes like the pure essence of the star ingredient, achieved via the stock, puree and fresh asparagus on top. This is a dish that will wow and that is worth the labour of love that goes into it, trust me!

Serves 2-3


  • 750g of white asparagus (green will do too), peeled, ends cut of but kept for the stock
  • vegetable oil, for frying
  • 1 white onion, diced
  • 300g of carnaroli risotto rice, or arborio rice
  • 200ml of white wine
  • 100g of butter
  • 50g of parmesan
  • Salt
  • 15g strawberries 
  • Fresh thyme 

  • Begin by making a quick asparagus stock using up the woody stalks, which usually would get thrown away. 
  • Snap off the woody ends and place in a pan with a litre of water and a pinch of salt. 
  • Bring to the boil and leave to simmer for 40 minutes, then remove the asparagus with a slotted spoon and keep the liquid warm
  • 10 minutes before the stock is ready, heat a drizzle of vegetable oil in a large pan and add the onions and garlic with a pinch of salt. 
  • Cook until soft and translucent (about 5 minutes)
  • Add the rice and stir for a few minutes until it starts to toast a little. 
  • Add the white wine and stir until it has evaporated
  • Add ladles of warm asparagus stock one by one, each time letting the rice absorb the stock before adding the next. 
  • Stir regularly to release the starch from the rice, which is what gives you a creamy risotto
  • As the risotto is cooking, chop off the asparagus tips to be about 5cm long and set aside. 
  • Divide the stalks into 2 equal piles (keeping all tips to one side).
  • Cook one pile of the asparagus in salted boiling water for 3-4 minutes
  • When the asparagus is soft, drain and reserve some of the cooking water. Place in a blender and blitz to a smooth puree, adding back in some of the cooking water if needed
  • Taste the rice and when it is cooked just al dente you can stir in the purée and the sliced asparagus stalks, keeping some spears to use as garnish.
  • Taste and season with salt, pepper.
  • Beat in the butter and Parmesan, place a lid on the pan and leave off the heat to rest for 5 minutes.
  • Steam your asparagus tips in the microwave for a couple of minutes (or pan fry if using green asparagus).
  • Serve up the risotto and top with asparagus tips, sliced strawberries and some fresh thyme.

Wednesday 12 May 2021


I love pimping up a classic Mac n cheese and this Tex Mex inspired seafood version works an absolute treat! 

It may sound a little unusual but cajun spiced prawns, white crab and a paprika spiced creamy cheese sauce with condensed milk, as extra indulgent touch, transform this Mac n cheese into somewhat of a showstopper dish.

Even better, you can get the dish pretty much prepped to be oven ready which makes it ideal for a dinner party - more time for drinking and chatting with the humans you haven't seen for the last year and less stressing in the kitchen!

I even go as far as using a disposable bbq metal trays here to minimise the washing up after! We've spent enough time cooking for one, now it's time to eat well and and enjoy hosting ;)

Serves 3-4


  • 400g uncooked prawns
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil 
  • 1-2 Tbsp cajun seasoning (I used this mix)
  • Pinch of Salt 
  • Pinch of freshly ground black pepper

  • 500g macaroni or similar type of pasta
  • 400g uncooked prawns 
  • 2 tins of white crab meat (I got mine at Waitrose)
  • ¼ cup dried basil
  • 1 cup whole milk 
  • 2  cups lighter condensed milk 
  • 1 tsp Paprika
  • ¼ tsp Cayenne Pepper
  • Salt 
  • 2 large eggs, beaten 
  • 4 cups mature cheddar cheese, grated 
  • 2 cups mild cheddar cheese, grated 
  • 2 cups gouda cheese, grated

  • Heat a large frying pan over medium heat. 
  • In a medium bowl, add prawns, olive oil, cajun seasoning, and a pinch of salt and pepper and toss to combine and coat the prawns.
  • Once frying pan is hot, add prawns and cook, stirring constantly until shrimp is pink, 4-6 minutes. 
  • Set aside.
  • Preheat oven to 180C. 
  • Lightly butter a baking tray and set aside.
  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. 
  • Add macaroni and cook until al dente (look at package directions to see how long it takes). 
  • Do not overcook.
  • Drain well and transfer cooked pasta to a large bowl. 
  • Mix in Cajun shrimp, crab chunks and basil. 
  • Set aside.
  • In a large bowl, add milk and evaporated milk and whisk to combine. 
  • Add paprika, cayenne, salt and pepper and whisk to combine. 
  • Taste the milk and adjust the seasonings to your liking.
  • Once you're satisfied with the taste, add the eggs and beat until mixture is combined.
  • Set aside 1 cup of the mature cheddar cheese and ½ cup of the gouda. 
  • Add the remaining cheese to the milk mixture and stir to combine.
  • Pour cheese mixture into macaroni and stir to combine. 
  • Pour mixture into prepared baking tray. 
  • Top with reserved cheeses.
  •  Sprinkle more basil, paprika, salt, pepper and Cajun seasoning on top.
  • Bake for 45-55 minutes or until top is golden. 
  • Remove from oven and let it sit for about 25-30 minutes to set before serving.

Monday 10 May 2021



These blondies are pretty out of this world. Fudgy, filled with white chocolate chunks and speckled with desiccated they are already top notch but the browned butter takes them to the next level, adding a wonderfully nutty note. 

They do take a good 45 minutes to bake but the dough is mixed up in mere minutes and boy are they worth every minute involved in making them.

I ate so many the day after I had baked them that I felt slightly sick but there were ZERO regrets. 

One of the best things I have baked and a total crowd pleaser.


  • 225g unsalted butter
  • 360g white chocolate, chopped into 1-2cm chunks (my go to cooking chocolate is this one from Waitrose)
  • 3 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 300g light soft brown sugar
  • 250g plain flour
  • 1½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp fine sea salt
  • 100g desiccated coconut, plus extra for sprinkling

  • Preheat the oven to 180°C, fan 160°C, gas 4. 
  • Line the base and sides of a 20cm square brownie tin with baking paper.
  • Melt the butter in a pan, then allow to bubble gently, swirling the pan occasionally until it begins to turn brown and smell nutty – about 5 minutes, but watch it closely so it doesn’t burn. 
  • Meanwhile, tip 180g of the white chocolate into a large mixing bowl. 
  • When the butter is browned, remove from the heat and pour onto the chocolate. 
  • Stir to melt.
  • Leave to cool for 15 minutes, then gradually beat in the eggs, vanilla and sugar with a wooden spoon until combined. 
  • Sift over the flour, baking powder and salt then add the coconut and fold in until combined. 
  • Fold in the remaining 180g white chocolate chunks.
  • Scrape into the prepared tin, top with some more coconut and bake for 40-45 minutes until golden brown on top, crisp at the edges and just set. 
  • Blondies should be squidgy in the centre, so be careful not to over-bake.
  • Leave to cool completely before removing from the tin (they may sink a little in the middle) then cut into squares to serve.

Thursday 6 May 2021


I told you my asparagus obsession is not close to being over and this gratin is all kinds of amazing. A cheesy sauce, with an extra kick from balsamic vinegar, nutmeg and a dash of mustard, gets poured over sliced up, boiled potatoes and steamed asparagus (I used a mix of white and green here but you do you) before being topped with more grated cheese and popped into the oven. 

A total one baking tray dinner that is delicious, filling and another yummy way to make the most of asparagus while it is in season!


  • 800g boiled potatoes
  • Salt
  • 600g asparagus (I did a mix of green and white asparagus)
  • 200g creme fraiche
  • 200g double cream
  • 1 tbsp mustard
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • A squeeze of fresh lemon juice
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 150g gruyere (grated) + more for topping
  • Pepper
  • Nutmeg
  • Fresh chives, sliced 

  • Wash the potatoes, then boil them in salted water until cooked through (about 20-25 mins).
  • In the meantime snap the woody ends off your asparagus and if using white asparagus don't forget to give them a peel as well.
  • Steam the prepped asparagus in the microwave for a couple of minutes so it's cooked but has retained a crunch.
  • For the sauce combine the creme fraiche, double cream, mustard, balsamic vinegar and lemon juice in a bowl.
  • Peel and chop your garlic and add to the mix.
  • Add the grated cheese and give the sauce a good mix before adding nutmeg, salt and pepper to taste.
  • Pre-heat your oven to 200 celsius.
  • Let the potatoes cool down a bit before slicing them into thick rounds (I left their skins on but feel free to peel the potatoes).
  • Add the potato rounds to your baking tray and top with a layer of the cheese sauce.
  • Spread the asparagus evenly on top of the potatoes and add the rest of the cheese sauce.
  • Add some grated cheese on top and your gratin is ready for the oven!
  • Bake for 25-30 minutes until golden brown on top. 
  • Top with sliced chives and serve with a green salad!

Tuesday 4 May 2021


My white asparagus obsession continues and THANK GOD it is getting increasingly easy to find it in London. Indeed recently I have spotted it at Borough Market, the brand new foodie haven Eataly (a must visit for any foodie out there in any case since it opened its doors last week), a few fancy delis and Whole Foods. 

Yes, it is still a real treat (the kilo price can be eye-wateringly high) but white asparagus for me is a real seasonal culinary treat and a total must-try for anyone that enjoys the more readily available green asparagus. 

This starter especially elevates the white asparagus into something quite outstanding. Pan fried rather than boiled or steamed, it retains a wonderful crunch and works an absolute treat when combined with caramelised peaches (erm WOW), fresh basil, burrata and a good drizzle of balsamic reduction. 

I have made a few burrata starter concoctions in my time but this one was by far my favourite and the most wonderful way to intro anyone to white asparagus! BUT if you can't get your hands on any, British in season green asparagus will of course also do the trick!

My recipe for an equally amazing asparagus & potato gratin will follow later this week, don't you worry!


  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
  • 250g white asparagus (or green), ends trimmed then peeled, making sure you don't touch the tips
  • 3 peaches, cut into quarters
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 2tbsp honey
  • Bunch of basil
  • 2 Burrata balls
  • A good helping of balsamic reduction
  • Heat 1tbsp of olive oil in a large frying pan on a medium heat.
  • Peel your asparagus, then cut into chunks, making sure you keep the tips intact.
  • Add chopped onion, garlic and asparagus to the pan and sauté for 6-8 minutes.
  • Season with salt and pepper.
  • In the meantime wash your peaches, remove the core and cut into quarters.
  • Using another pan, heat up the honey until it starts to caramelise on a medium-high heat.
  • Add the quartered peaches to the pan and fry until golden and caramelised around the edges.
  • Serve your caramelised peaches and sautéed asparagus on a bed of fresh basil, centred around the balls of burrata and topped with a drizzle of balsamic reduction.