Sunday, 27 July 2008

Smoked Mackerel Kedgeree

I always entertained ideas of making kedgeree, it fits with my penchant for decadent brunches. In the end we ended up making this for dinner, but there was enough left for a suitably indulgent breakfast the next day. Using smoked mackerel slightly more sustainable take on the classic smoked haddock variety. I also thought it might be fun/nicer to have a fried egg on top instead of chopped boiled egg in the rice. I also added some broad beans from my veg box to up the vegetable content.


Serves 2

1 onion
50g butter
1 red chilli, finely chopped
2tsp curry powder
1tsp cumin seeds
1 mugful rice
2 mugfuls vegetable stock
2-3 fillets smoked mackerel
2 eggs
½ bunch parsley, chopped

Fry the onion in the butter and a little oil until soft, add the spices and chilli and fry for a few minutes more. Add the rice and stir to coat in all the aromatic juices. add the juices, bring to the boil, cover and simmer for 10mins until all the liquid is absorbed. Then turn off the heat and allow to stand for 5mins, fork through, add the smoked mackerel and parsley and season to taste. You could soft boil the eggs, poach them or fry to add to each plate. Read more...

Wednesday, 23 July 2008

Scallops with Lentils and Roasted Tomato

Mmmm, yes more decadent eating. This was a mesh of lots of recipes that I saw, mostly including bacon, so I adjusted them a little bit. In fact, the sweetness of the roasted tomatoes goes really sweet scallops. If you're not feeling so flash, I think this would go really well with haloumi instead.

Another method of roasting tomatoes that I'm considering trying too, is to preheat the oven to 170°C, prepare the tomatoes as below, put them in the oven, immediately turn it off and leave them overnight so they end up like those sunblush tomatoes you can get. you could make loads this way and then keep them in jar covered in oil until needed.

Serves 4

250g cheery tomatoes, halved
150g puy lentils
12 scallops
½ lemon
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tsp thyme (dried or fresh)
1 pinch brown sugar
100g rocket

Put the cherry tomatoes in a roasting tray with enough space to be slightly spread out. Add seasoning, a sprinkle of brown sugar, ½ the garlic, thyme and a drizzle of olive oil. Mix well and place in an oven at 150°C for 1hour.

Meanwhile cover the lentils in water, bring to the boil and boil rapidly for 10mins, now simmer for 35mins until soft. Drain and dress with plenty of seasoning, the garlic, olive oil and spritz of lemon juice.

To cook the scallops, season and drizzle with a little oil. Get a pan really hot and sear the scallops on either side for a few mins.

To assemble, add a large spoon of lentils to the plate, add a handful of roasted tomatoes and some rocket leaves, now place four scallops on top drizzle with oil and feel proud of yourself. Read more...

Tuesday, 22 July 2008

Blackberry and Limoncello Trifle

Oh my god. This is seriously my favourite dessert in the whole world. I cannot begin to describe the joy of eating this. My friend Jamie gave me a bottle of limoncello, a key ingredient in this recipe a few weeks ago and since then I've been dreaming of this trifle.

This is of course, based on a Nigella recipe and naturally Jamie introduced me to it, but now I can't remember who decided to change the trifle sponges for brioche, but either way, this only adds to amazingness.

This time I also decided to change the recipe further and use half double cream, half mascarpone. The only real disadvantage with this recipe is that the ingredients are pretty pricey. Seen as though I bought most of the ingredients in Waitrose, I couldn't bring myself to spend all that money on mascarpone. Plus, I think the double cream adds a lightness to the rich intense mascarpone.

As with most Nigella recipes, this makes a loooot, but it actually improves with age, so I wouldn't worry about making the whole batch, the leftovers can often be the best part. the picture is of an individual trifle that i made, mostly because I found these dinky dessert glasses. Otherwise I've been dreaming of this trifle dish


1 loaf brioche
200g blackcurrant jam
750g blackberries
1 200g packet amaretti biscuits, blended to a rubble
250ml limoncello
juice ½ lemon
100g sugar
2 x 250g mascarpone
½ pint double cream

Using half the jam, make sandwiches with the brioche, cut in half and squish into the bottom of your trifle dish. Sprinkle over half the amaretti biscuits and drizzle over 150ml of the limoncello.

Add the lemon juice, remaining jam and blackberries to a pan, simmer gently until for a minute or so until the juices start running. Now pour this over the liquer drenched brioche.

Whisk the double cream until its in stiff peaks and set aside. Now whisk the mascarpone with the sugar until smooth, slowly whisk in the remaining 100ml limoncello, then fold in the double cream. Dollop this delightful mixture on top of the berries. Now cover with clingfilm and allow to chill for at least 4 hours or overnight so that the flavours can mingle. Take the dish out of the fridge about 30mins before you want to eat and sprinkle over the remaining amaretti biscuits.

Try not to eat it all yourself....


Sunday, 20 July 2008

Crab and Chilli Linguine

I've been wanting to make this for ages, and last weekend we decided to indulge in a bit of yuppie food buying with the rest of the YPs on Lorsdship was all local fishmongers and organic greengrocers. Anyway it was definitely worth it, this is absolutely delicious, some lemon, garlic and chili go really well with the crab and lots of parsley makes this a lovely fresh dish. A fennel and rocket salad goes perfectly with this.

serves 4

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 red chilli, finely chopped
2 dressed crabs
125ml olive oil
1 lemon, juice and zest
500g linguine
1 bunch parsley, chopped

Mix the garlic, chilli, lemon juice and zest with the olive oil. Add the crab and some seasoning, mix well and set aside. Meanwhile cook the pasta in plenty of boiling water. Once cooked, mix well with the crab and add the parsley. Add more lmeon juice or seasoning as necessary. Read more...

Saturday, 19 July 2008

Custard Tarts

So I finally got round to recreating the amazing custard tarts I had a few weeks ago, having spent the interim time thinking about them a lot. Turns out they're pretty easy to make especially if you buy the pastry. Using cornflour in the custard, not only thickens the custard but stabilises the mixture so its much less likely to split. I baked these in a cupcake tray and then transferred them to the paper cases afterwards mostly because they looked pretty...

These are pretty standard portugese tarts, in looking for a recipe, the flavourings varied a little, I went for vanilla and nutmeg but some use orange zest and cinnamon which I wasn't so convinced about.


Makes 16 tarts

3 egg yolks
115g caster sugar
2 tbsp cornflour
250ml single cream
150ml milk
2 tsp vanilla extract
pinch grated nutmeg
300g puff pastry

Whisk the egg yolks, cornflour and sugar in a pan until smooth, slowly add the milk and cream. Heat over a low heat, stirring fairly continuously until the mixture has come to the boil and thickened. Take off the heat and stir in the vanilla and nutmeg. Cover with clingfilm, making sure the clingfilm touches the surface of the custard to prevent a skin forming and set aside to cool.

Meanwhile roll the puff pastry out to a rectangle about 1cm thick, roll up along the short side into a sausage and cut into 16 1cm rounds. Take each round and roll out flat to about 10cm diameter. Press the pastry rounds into the cupcake tin. Spoon the cooled custard into the pastry cases and grate a little nutmeg on top. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the pastry and custard are golden. Read more...

Friday, 18 July 2008

Simple Tomato Sauce with Basil Oil

This was another staring in the fridge moment, or rather my friend Rose was, we decided to make a fresh tomato sauce, I suggested a raw one but she didn't agree. Anyway, with some lazy chopping we decided to try blending it and came up with lovely sauce. Some red pepper that needed to be used up added some sweetness and I made the basil oil to utilise some limp basil I had. We also threw some capers in a the end, just because we love them.

This is really good for using up tomatoes that have past their best. Make as much of this as you can and you can keep the leftover sauce in a jar in the fridge.


1 onion, chopped
1 red pepper, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
250g tomatoes, roughly chopped
1tbsp capers
Couple sprigs of thyme

Basil Oil
1 small bunch basil
1 clove garlic
3 tbsp olive oil

Blend all the ingredients for the basil oil and set aside. Fry the onion and pepper in olive oil for 5mins until softened, add the garlic and cook for 1 minute more. Add the tomatoes and thyme and season well. turn the heat down and leave for 15-20mins until the water has evaporated and the sauce has thickened. Take off the heat and blend (carefully! Make sure the sauce doesn't splash everywhere...). Serve with pasta and drizzle the basil oil over. Read more...

Tuesday, 15 July 2008

Mars Bar Rice Krispie Cakes

Rice krispie cakes were always my favourite thing about cake sales at school. Mars bar rice krispie cakes are really a whole other level of fudgy joy. My friend Jamie, the original baking goddess introduced me to these and now I would never make any different. Its as easy as making normal rice krispie cakes, just melt the mars bars with a little butter and stir in enough rice krispies so that they are evenly coated, allow to cool and try not to eat them all! Read more...

Saturday, 12 July 2008

Broad Bean Pesto

Mmm... more broad beans in my veg box and this is the perfect way to use them, as usual you can always substitute frozen broad beans.

This is a lighter version of your classic pesto, I didn't use pine nuts, but some toasted and sprinkled on top would be a welcome addition. I also had some lovely tomatoes that I chopped up and added to the tomato for my lunch the next day, making it even lighter (and marginally more healthy.)


Serves 2

200g penne
150g cooked broad beans (remove the skins for a brighter green colour)
½ bunch basil
50g grated parmesan (I cheated and used strong cheddar)
3 tbsp olive oil
1 clove garlic

Cook the pasta in plenty of boiling water. Meanwhile, blend all the pesto ingredients and season to taste. Stir through the cooked pasta and add a cooking water to loosen up the pesto if necessary. Read more...

Thursday, 10 July 2008

Easy Butternut Squash soup

Another soup recipe, but this one is amazing! We literally roasted lots of veg in various spices and blended them up with some vegetable stock (made with a stock cube). Hey presto! Spicy butternut squash soup!


2 onions, red are better but white is fine
1 butternut squash, about 1kg in size
3 cloves garlic, smashed
olive oil
1tsp cumin
1tsp ground coriander
1 red chilli finely chopped or 1tsp chilli flakes
600ml vegetable stock

Peel the onion and cut into eighths, peel the squash and cut into small chunks. Spread these onto a baking tray and drizzle liberally with oil, now add the spices, chilli and garlic and stir to coat evenly. Roast in a hot oven (200°C) for 30-45mins, turning occasionally until the squash is soft and turning golden. Remove the garlic and scrape everything else into a blender, add the stock and blend for at least 2mins or until the soup is completely smooth, you may need to add some water to loosen it and season to taste. Serve with yoghurt and lots of bread and butter. Read more...

Tuesday, 8 July 2008

Beetroot Soup

Mmm yet another delicious use for beetroot and possibly one of my favourites. The lime juice and vodka are a must (a traditional addition to Russian Borscht), they cut through the sweet earthiness of the beetroot, spring onion adds some texture and yoghurt is just nice in most things. Plus, how amazing is the colour?

As usual with beetroot, wash all utensils as soon as possible to prevent staining. I've given all the vegetables in whole amounts as no one wants to be weighing them out, use whatever you have and adjust the amount of water you add accordingly.

Beetroot Soup


1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
3 medium carrots, diced
4 medium sized beetroots
¼ chilli, chopped
2 tsp bouillon powder (or a vegetable stock cube, crumbled)
1 lime
100ml vodka
To serve:
plenty of yoghurt
1 bunch spring onions, finely chopped

Trim the beetroots, place in a pan, cover and simmer for about 45mins or until the beets are tender. Drain and reserve the cooking water. When the beets are cool, slip off the skin and dice. Fry the onion and carrot in a little oil for 5mins, add the garlic and chilli and fry for 2mins more. Add the beetroot and crumbled stock cube, stir thoroughly. Now add the reserve water from the beetroot, enough to just cover the vegetables. Bring to a boil and gently simmer for 10mins. Blend the soup, be careful not to splash the soup everywhere! Add more water if necessary depending on how chunky you like it and check for seasoning. When you're ready to serve, heat the soup and add the juice of the lime and the vodka. Serve with a judicious blob of yoghurt and a sprinkling of spring onions (and maybe a bib...) Read more...

Monday, 7 July 2008

Gooey Chocolate Pudding

These are possibly the easiest dessert you could make, yet they still offer everything you could want in a sweet treat. Rich intense chocolate pudding with a gooey centre. The only difficult part is cooking the fondants, but even then its not that stressful as its fine to slightly undercook them, you just end up with more goo in the centre. Of course these need to be eaten with double cream, or ice cream, or maybe custard?

If you don't have ramekins, you can make this is in one large dish instead, but cook it for longer.


Makes 4 fondants

100g dark chocolate
100g butter
2 eggs
100g caster sugar
2tbsp flour

Melt the chocolate and butter. Meanwhile whisk the eggs and suagar together, whisk in the melted chocoalte and then the flour. transfer to 4 greased ramekins. Bake at 180°C for 12-15mins until the top feels frim but still soft underneath. Read more...

Saturday, 5 July 2008

Broad Bean Pilaf

I made this with fresh broad beans, but they are another vegetable like the pea that freeze well, so this is just as good with frozen broad beans. I had this with the Mackerel Salad below, but this would be good with curry too.


1 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1tsp cumin seeds
1tsp ground coriander
300g broad beans
1 mugful basmati rice
2 mugfuls stock
50g toasted flaked almonds

Fry the onion in a little oil until soft. Add the garlic, cumin and coriander, fry for 1min. Add the broad beans and rice, stir to coat in the spices. Add the stock, bring to the boil, cover and simmer gently for 10mins until the stock is absorbed. Turn of the heat, cover and leave to stand for 10mins. Sprinkle over the flaked almonds to serve. Read more...

Chai Spiced Prawns

I love my job, I got to cook this to include in the monthly newsletter I've been making for Hampstead Tea. The idea was to marinade prawns in Chai tea, and its actually really good, the chai tea really adds a deep and spicy flavour. Obviously you should only use Hampstead Biochai tea, it really is superior to anything else I've tried, but then again, I'm probably a bit biased.... Either way I ended up eating A LOT of this once I'd taken this picture!

Click here for the recipe

Friday, 4 July 2008

Toptable Treat

I wanted to branch and try some of the lovely restaurants in London that I'm always going on about. I tried toptable on a reccomendation and found The Rivington Bar and Grill, in Greenwich, owned by the same people as The Ivy and full of lovely local food. With Toptable we got 50% off food, which is of course a great deal, but in retrospect probably made me a bit reckless, hence I ordered a whole lobster! What the heck, it was worth it! The scallops were also divine, as was the simple tomato salad I started with amongst other things... Maybe I'll be booking more things on Toptable.


Wednesday, 2 July 2008

Mackerel and Beetroot Salad

Faced with the mountain of beetroot building up I made this salad. I love beetroot, it goes really well with sharp salty cheeses like feta or goats cheese, but the sweet, earthy beetroot goes surprisingly well with the oily mackerel. I was lucky in that I had all the lovely organic vegetables from my veg box, having said that this would still be pretty tasty with the pre-cooked beetroot you can get.

When handling beetroot, the thing to remember is to wash your hands and any utensils straight away otherwise they will stain.

Mackerel and Beetroot Salad

4 fillets mackerel
1tsp dried or fresh thyme
½ lemon
125g cherry tomatoes, quartered
2 handfuls spinach, sliced
2 medium sized beetroot
1 clove garlic, finely chopped

Boil the whole beetroot for 40-45mins until soft. Drain, allow to cool and cut into thin wedges. Season and drizzle with some olive oil and lemon juice. Drizzle the mackerel fillets with olive oil, season well and sprinkle over the dried thyme. Get a frying pan really hot, fry the mackerel for a couple of mins on each side, when cooked, remove and squeeze over some lemon juice. To assemble the salad, mix the vegetables and place the fish on top.


Tuesday, 1 July 2008

The Florence

Another post on The Florence in Brixton/Herne Hill if only to mention the MASSIVE yorkshire puddings, look at the this beast! After initial scepticism on my part, it has to be said the roast dinner (including the yorkshire pudding) was pretty good. This also reminded me that I must try a Nigella recipe where she fills a massive yorkshire pudding with whipped cream and maple syrup for pudding. Amazing. Read more...

Pasta with Spiced Chickpeas

A somewhat unorthodox flavour combination of chickpeas spiced with cumin, cinnamon and turmeric, combined with tomato, flaked almonds, parsley and er... pasta, but it works all the same. Don't skip any of the ingredients in this, they're all pretty essential. This is based on a recipe from Accidental Vegetarian, a fabulous book by Simon Rimmer, incidentally, if you're ever in Manchester, you must go to his amazing restaurant Greens (ignore the terrible website, but remember to book), possibly my favourite restaurant of all time.

Serves 2
3 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
½ red chilli, finely chopped
4 tomatoes chopped
1tsp ground cinnamon
1tsp ground cumin
½tsp ground coriander
pinch turmeric
3tbsp flaked almonds
½ can chickpeas
bunch fresh parsley chopped
200g spaghetti

Cook the pasta in plenty of salted boiling water. Meanwhile toast the almonds in a large frying pan until golden (be careful they don't burn!). Remove the almonds and add the oil, fry the onions, garlic and chilli until softened, add the chickpeas and spices, stir thorughly and fry for a minute or so more, add the tomatoes, turn the heat down and cook for 15-20mins until the tomatoes have broken down, you may need to add a little water as they cook. This is all down to personal preference, cook the sauce for less time if you'd like a fresher tomato taste.
Add the pasta, flaked almonds and parsley (possibly reserving some almonds and parsley for garnish), stir throuoghly and eat! Read more...