Thursday, 31 March 2011

Beetroot and ginger soup

2 cooked beetroots, 1 sweet potato, fresh ginger, vegetable stock, orange zest, black pepper

coconut milk 

1) peel and finely chop the beetroot, sweet potato and ginger and add into a hot pan with a knob of butter.

2) Grate orange zest, stir and pour in the vegetable stock

3) Simmer on a low heat until the vegetables are soft and parse through a sieve until the mixture is smooth.

4) This is gorgeous with a splash of coconut milk to cut the heat - personally I like mine the hotter the better so lots of ginger and black pepper to bring out the heat of the cooked beetroot.

Saturday, 26 March 2011

Potato salad

10 exquisa potatoes, courgette, dill, pine nuts

4 eggs, lemon juice/white wine vinegar, salt, pepper, 1 pint oil (olive or vegetable - I'm using basil today) 

1) Prick the potatoes (you could use new potatoes but try to get exquisa, they're absolutely gorgeous) and cook in hot, salted water for 20 minutes.

2) Grate half a courgette into a mixing bowl, add the dill and pine nuts and stir through with a drizzle of basil oil. Set aside for the flavours to mature whilst the potatoes cook.

3) To make your own mayonnaise - separate 4 egg yolks from the whites (discard the whites) and put in a large clean bowl to whisk (or use the whisk attachment on your blender if you have one). Add the lemon juice/vinegar, salt and pepper and whisk thoroughly, adding the oil ONE DROP at a time until the mayonnaise is thick and glossy. You don't have to use all the oil - I like it quite thick but if it's too thick you can always add a little warm water to thin it back down again.

3) When the potatoes are done strain in a collander and run cold water over them until they are still warm, but not hot. Slice in half.

4) Add the potatoes to the courgette, dill and pine nuts and stir, adding the mayonnaise one spoonfull at a time.

5) Serve warm or leave to cool and eat later.

Thursday, 24 March 2011

Spinach frittata

Spinach, halloumi, old bread, 2 eggs, olive oil
I recently shared a recipe using La Brea olive loaf - this recipe calls for old bread which is almost stale. When I get to the end of a loaf of bread and just have the crusts left I always toss them in the blender to make breadcrumbs and freeze them to use later. In this case the breadcrumbs are made of stunning ciabatta bread with chunks of olive in but regular bread will do!

1) Pop your breadcrumbs, a few handfulls of fresh spinach leaves, 2 eggs and some grated halloumi into your blender. Blitz for a few seconds.

2) Heat a tiny drizzle of oil in a frying pan and using something to form the mixture (a biscuit cutter is ideal) - pack it down tightly and sizzle for 30 seconds.

3) Flip over and sizzle the other side for 30 seconds and pop into a hot oven for 3 or 4 minutes. The Frittata will keep its shape but be soft and gooey on the inside - this is also not unhealthy despite being fried because the liquid in the spinach will repel the oil rather than soak it up.

4) I think this is served perfectly as a small snack with some freshly sliced tomato and hummus

Monday, 21 March 2011

Mexican mole

Quorn Mince, 1 white onion, dark chocolate, tomato puree, mixed beans, red wine, cumin, coriander, cayenne pepper, olive oil
1) Melt 4 squares of dark chocolate in a pan (I used some chilli and lime chocolate from BonBon to give this some extra heat) and add 1 finely chopped white onion and a glug of olive oil

2) When the onions have just begin to soften add the packet of Quorn mince (you could use some cooked, drained beef mince if you are not a vegetarian) and stir thoroughly until the chocolate has coated the onions and beef.

3) Add in 2 tablespoons of tomato puree, a teaspoon of Cayenne pepper and a teaspoon of chopped coriander. Stir thoroughly and add in a glug of red wine.

4) Add in the mixed beans - red kidney beans, pinto beans, cannellini beans and haricot beans (Tesco sell "taco beans", 2 cans of which are perfect) and stir well

5) Add salt, tomato puree and chopped chillis to taste

Serving suggestion: I served this on top of a baked sweet potato with some 200,000 Scoville Mexican cheese (spicy goodness!) but this is a really versatile dish - try it in a taco stuffed with lettuce, cucumber, soured cream and grated cheese, with rice, with nachos or in a burrito with salsa and guacamole.
I also like to bake it in the oven topped with sweet potato mash, or layered with sliced potatoes.

Friday, 18 March 2011

Spinach and goats cheese cannelloni

Cannelloni tubes, spinach leaves, goats cheese, nutmeg, cheddar, passata tomatoes, oregano, basil, parsley, basil oil, garlic
1) Put the spinach leaves and goats cheese into a blender along with half a freshly grated nutmeg (don't buy powdered nutmeg, it tastes of dust. Grate it yourself - it's worth it!) and blitz.

2) Stuff the spinach mixture into the cannelloni tubes and rest in an ovenproof dish

3) Sautee some crushed garlic in basil oil, add a splash of red wine and then stir in the passata. Simmer, adding salt and black pepper to taste.

4) At the last minute stir in the parsley, basil and oregano and pour the sauce over the cannelloni tubes.

5) Top with grated cheddar and cover the dish with foil.

6) Bake covered for 15 minutes and then a further 10 with the foil removed so that the cheese bubbles

7) I served this with a rocket, watercress and pine nut salad.

*special tip* for a non-vegetarian twist, wrap a slice of bacon around each tube for a mouthwateringly different dish.

Thursday, 17 March 2011

Asparagus hollandaise

4 eggs, white wine vinegar, lemon juice, butter, pine nuts, asparagus, rocket, watercress, brie
1) To make hollandaise sauce separate 3 egg yolks from the whites, discard the whites and beat the yolks. 

2) Mix 1 tablespoon of white wine vinegar with 1 tablespoon of lemon juice and heat. Whisk the hot mixture into the egg yolks in a steady stream and continue to whisk until the mixture is smooth.

3) Melt 4oz of butter in a pan on a low heat and pour the egg yolk mixture into the pan in a slow stream whilst continuing to whisk. As the sauce begins to thicken take it off the heat and whisk until thick and glossy.

4) Asparagus can be boiled, steamed or grilled - personally I prefer to grill it for 2-3 minutes, it has a beautiful colour, crunchy texture and doesn't dry out

5) Assemble the salad - rocket leaves and watercress, layers of sliced brie (I used Coeur De Lyon - brie should always be French and this has a wonderful honeyed flavour), then the asparagus topped with hollandaise and pine nuts.

Rose tzatziki

1/2 cucumber, 4 roses, 150ml Greek yoghurt, Himalayan pink sea salt
Serves: 4 Preparation: 5 minutes

One of my favourite things about Eastern cuisine, is the important of scent. The fragrance of the spices, fruits, herbs and flowers is vital to the flavour experience and rose is a wonderfully exotic flavour. This simple dip is a wonderful accompaniment to roast meats, as a salad dressing or just to dunk bread or crudites into.

Peel the cucumber and blitz in your blender

2) Deadhead the roses, remove the petals and taking care to wash them thoroughly, pat them dry and add to the blender. If using dried rose petals, these will rehydrate in the yoghurt if you allow them to soak for 3 or 4 minutes first.

3) Mix with Greek yoghurt (and lemon juice to taste if you wish) and serve sprinkled with a little freshly ground pink sea salt. This is perfect with toasted pitta.

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Moroccan spiced pastries

1 Potato, 1 carrot, spinach, feta, sultanas, Quorn chicken-style pieces, cumin, onion powder, cinnamon, turmeric, cumin, black pepper, coriander, butter, Jus-Rol™ puff pastry 
1) Ordinarily I make my own pastry but it was 2 for 1 on Jus-Rol™ in Tesco so I cheated today. To make puff pastry yourself - I swear by Gordon Ramsey's recipe.

2) Peel and cube the potatoes and carrots and parboil them in a pan for 10 minutes

3) Grind cumin, turmeric, coriander, black peppercorns, onion powder and cinnamon in a mortar and pestle, melt a tablespoon of butter in a mixing bowl and stir in the spices. 

4) Roughly chop the spinach leaves and stir them into the spiced butter along with the sultanas and Quorn chicken pieces.

5) Strain the parboiled potatoes and carrots and add to the other ingredients.

6) Cut strips of pastry and spoon the mixture into the centre. Top with feta and roll the pastry over, pinching the ends together to seal the parcel.

7) Dust with flour and bake in the oven for 20 minutes.

8) Serve - these go perfectly with hummus!


400g chickpeas (dried or canned), 1 bulb garlic, olive oil/Greek yoghurt, lemon juice, sesame seeds (you can use sesame oil or tahini but personally I find them too bitter and prefer the texture of sesame seeds).

Hummus, ah hummus. One of the great wonders of the food world.

So delicious and versatile that I have not the words to describe my love for it.
1) If you are using dried chickpeas leave them to soak in cold water for a minimum of 6 hours (ideally 10-12) and cook them for 1 1/2 hours, changing the water frequently to avoid a bitter aftertaste.

2) If using canned chickpeas drain them and rinse well. It's entirely your choice whether you shell the chickpeas first - personally I prefer the texture with them shelled and find the process (pinching gently then shucking) very soothing! 

3) Roast the entire bulb of garlic in the oven at 200 degrees for 20 minutes. Squeeze the garlic puree gently from the cloves into a mortar and pestle/food processor.

4) Place your chickpeas into your blender or mortar and pestle and pulse thoroughly, drizzling olive oil through until the desired texture has been reached. If you would prefer to make this lower in fat, you can use Greek yoghurt in place of olive oil.

5) Flavour to taste with lemon juice, tahini/sesame oil/sesame seeds and season with salt and a pinch of smoked paprika. Stir through and serve or store in the fridge.

Savoury strawberries

Strawberries, cream cheese, balsamic vinegar

If your strawberries have been kept in the fridge then make sure you let them sit out until they're at room temperature. Eating them chilled would be like keeping chocolate in the fridge - the flavour and texture is completely compromised. It's also worth investing in a good quality balsamic vinegar - always originating from Modena this will be a little thicker like a light syrup.

1) Slice the top from your strawberry and stand it on this new flat surface.
Cut the strawberry into three, lengthways.

2) Spread cream cheese on the inside of the two outer edges of each strawberry and reassemble them like a sandwich

3) Drizzle with balsamic vinegar and serve

Eggs Florentine

4 eggs, white wine vinegar, lemon juice, spinach leaves, bread, butter
1) To make hollandaise sauce separate 3 egg yolks from the whites, discard the whites and beat the yolks. 

2) Mix 1 tablespoon of white wine vinegar with 1 tablespoon of lemon juice and heat. Whisk the hot mixture into the egg yolks in a steady stream and continue to whisk until the mixture is smooth.

3) Melt 4oz of butter in a pan on a low heat and pour the egg yolk mixture into the pan in a slow stream whilst continuing to whisk. As the sauce begins to thicken take it off the heat and whisk until thick and glossy.

4) To poach an egg, bring a pan of water to a rolling boil and add a glug of white wine vinegar. Crack an egg into a dish without breaking the yolk and have it to hand along with a large spoon or ladle. Stir the water rapidly to create a vortex and then drop the egg into the centre of the vortex.
Scoop it out almost immediately - if the water is whirling fast enough it will have some integrity to the shape rather than resemble an octopus!

1) Serve the egg on a bed of spinach with bread or toast and a generous dollop of hollandaise.

Monday, 14 March 2011

Carrot and kiwi soup

6 carrots, 1 butternut squash, 1 sweet potato, 1 parsnip, 2 garlic cloves, 1 pint vegetable stock, sage, 6 kiwi fruit, basil oil, brandy, brown sugar
Optional - to garnish
grated cheddar
1) Crush 2 cloves of garlic and sautee in basil oil for 1 minute before adding a shot of brandy and a teaspoon of brown muscovado sugar to caramelise the garlic

2) Peel and cube the carrots, parsnip, squash and sweet potato and add into the pan along with a pint of vegetable stock and the chopped sage

3) Simmer for 20 minutes before separating the vegetables from the liquid and pureeing. Pass the puree through a sieve for a smooth liquid and add back into the pan of liquid along with the sliced kiwi

4) After 10 minutes puree a final time and serve with grated cheddar for contrast

Spinach, tomato and halloumi omelette

3 eggs, halloumi, spinach leaves, oregano, baby plum tomatoes, salt, pepper, butter
1) Whisk 3 eggs in a bowl and stir in a pinch of salt, black pepper and oregano

2) Melt a knob of butter in a skillet or frying pan and add in the spinach

3) Slice the tomatoes and halloumi and add into the pan

4) Pour over the eggs and cook until the edges begin to bubble

5) Work a spatula around the edges of the pan so the eggs don't crisp and then pop the pan under the grill until the top is cooked equally to the bottom

Tomato, mozarella and pesto bruschetta

Bread (I used La Brea olive loaf but you could use baguette or ciabatta), cherry tomatoes, buffalo mozarella, basil leaves, basil oil, parmigiano, lemon juice, pine nuts, balsamic glaze, salt, 1 clove garlic  
1) To make the pesto - finely slice a good handful of fresh basil leaves and add to a mortar bowl. Sautee 1 clove of garlic in basil oil and add to the mortar bowl along with a pinch of salt and a handful of pine nuts.
Grind thoroughly, adding lemon juice, basil oil and parmeggian to taste.

1) Slice the bread, tomatoes and mozarella - please note that mozarella should be served slightly above room temperature so that it's soft and melts in your mouth. Never serve it cold from the fridge, it's not supposed to resemble rubber! Buffalo mozarella is also vastly superior to cow's.

1) Spread the bread with pesto, layer mozarella and tomatoes on the top and bake in the oven for 5 minutes

1) Drizzle with balsamic glaze and serve hot or cold

Tomato and basil soup

Plum tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, basil leaves, 1 white onion, salt, balsamic vinegar,  vegetable stock, basil oil and tomato puree, paprika, muscovado sugar.
Serving suggestion
inside a crusty bread roll
1) Finely dice 1 white onion and sautee in basil oil with a teaspoon of tomato puree

2) Slice the top from the plum tomatoes, halve and add into the pan along with 1 pint of vegetable stock

3) Season with salt, a teaspoon of muscovado sugar and some smoked paprika

4) Strain the pulped tomatoes and onions from the liquid with a sieve and puree the onions and tomatoes

5) Pass the pureed onions and tomatoes through a sieve with a wooden spoon, leaving a smooth liquid.

6) Add back into the pan along with the chopped basil and simmer for a further 10 minutes

7) Serving suggestion - hollow out a crusty bread roll and pour the soup into it

Pea and parmigiano soup

1 can of marrowfat peas per person, 1 garlic clove, a tablespoon of grated parmigiano, dill
Optional - to garnish
double cream, black pepper
1) Sautee 1 crushed clove of garlic in a little butter or olive oil, stir in freshly chopped dill and then add the tin of marrowfat peas (including the liquid).

1) Simmer on the stove for 10 minutes before pureeing.

1) Stir in the parmeggian

1) Serve drizzled with cream and freshly ground black pepper

Roast pepper & goats cheese soup

3 red bell peppers per person, goat's cheese, passata tomatoes, balsamic vinegar, basil oil, fresh basil leaves, black pepper
Optional - to garnish
Croutons, creme fraiche
1) Core and slice your bell peppers, brush with basil oil and roast in the oven for 20 minutes

2) Puree the peppers, adding 1/4 pint of passata tomatoes and a little water until it has reached the desired consistency

3) Simmer for 20 minutes, adding freshly chopped basil

4) Stir in chunks of goat's cheese and add a teaspoon of balsamic vinegar

5) Serve with croutons and creme fraiche

Cinnamon, apple and parsnip soup

1 Pint of water, grated cinnamon, 3 parsnips, two pears, four apples, honey/maple syrup, red wine, black peppercorns, rosemary.

Optional - to garnish
1 cinnamon stick
double cream

1) Peel the parsnips, apples and pears, remove the cores from the fruit and slice.

2) Bring to the boil one pint of water in your pan. Add the fruit and vegetables along with the ground cinnamon, finely chopped rosemary and 1 glass of red wine.

3) Cook until the fruit is soft, then separate from the liquid with a colander and puree in a blender. Gradually add the water back into the puree until the soup reaches the desired consistency.

4) Flavour with a good dollop of honey or maple syrup, season with freshly ground black pepper and serve.

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