Monday, 20 August 2012

Goats cheese bites


Goats cheese, old bread, sesame seeds, poppyseed, 1 egg 
Preparation: 5 minutes

Sometimes in this life, one needs a treat. A little bit of something indulgent that can be prepared quickly and be repented for later. This is one such recipe.
And it is entirely toothsome - a molten mouthful of rich, tangy goats cheese surrounded by a crisp, crunchy shell. It can be eaten alone or dunked into a sweet chilli dip or salsa. I also happen to think these make excellent croutons for soup or salad. The best goats cheese to use, is a relatively slim tube within a rind, as it keeps its shape better when cooked - though rolling a ball of soft goats cheese also works well.

1) Pulse the old bread into crumbs into a blender, and stir in the poppyseeds and sesame seeds.

2) Slice the goats cheese, or roll into balls if using rindless and dip into a dish of beaten egg.

3) Dip the goats cheese into the breadcrumb mixture and ensure that it is evenly covered.

4) Fry for 2-3 minutes in a pan of hot oil, or deep fat fryer until the breadcrumbs are golden brown. Serve immediately.

Friday, 10 August 2012

Avocado linguine


Linguine, 1 avocado, baby plum tomatoes, vintage cheddar or parmigiano 
Serves: 2 Preparation: 10 minutes

For bringing this recipe into your lives, I would bet my shiny red Doc Martin boots that you will feel compelled to forever love, adore and shower me with gifts - such as your first born children. It is not only quick, cheap and healthy - it is also stunningly, inconceivably delicious. Think thick, smooth, creamy, buttery textured avocado, the fresh sharp sweetness of tomato and the rich tang of cheddar. This is quite simply stunning.

1) Put the linguine on to boil in hot salted water for 8 - 10 minutes.

2) Halve the avocado around the stone and twist it apart. Remove the stone and scoop the avocado flesh from the shell. Add to a blender and blitz thoroughly.

3) Halve your baby plum tomatoes and place under the grill for 5 minutes.

4) Stir the grated cheddar or parmeggian into the sauce - this shouldn't need any seasoning so it's great for those on low-sodium diets or children. If you don't eat cheese, then do season the avocado with salt and pepper.

5) Strain the pasta and stir into the avocado. Serve immediately with the grilled tomatoes.

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Chocolate Guinness cake


1 bottle Guinness, 250g unsalted
 butter, 300ml soured cream, 2 cups cocoa powder, 4 cups plain flour, 3 cups sugar, 1 tbsp baking soda, 4 eggs, 400g cream cheese, 1 cup icing sugar. 
Serves: 12 preparation: 1 hour

If you think my banana loaf is moist, then you've seen nothing yet! This chocolate cake is the loamiest of all my creations - a big, thick slice of malty chocolate topped with a sinfully thick, rich cream cheese frosting. I dare you not to love it.

1) Melt the butter in a pan and whisk in the Guinness. Take off the heat and set aside to cool.

2) Sift the flour, chocolate, sugar and baking soda into one bowl, and beat the eggs and soured cream with the buttery Guinness mixture and then slowly beat the dry ingredients with the wet.

3) Bake in the oven for 40-45 minutes at 180 degrees, then set aside to cool.

4) Beat together the cream cheese and icing sugar until completely incorporated.

5) When the cake has completely cooled, prize it carefully from the cake tin and slather the cream cheese frosting onto the top. I prefer the frosting to be set in the fridge for at least an hour, but you can eat this immediately.

Quinoa & aubergine salad


1 cup Quinoa, 1 aubergine, 1 bell pepper, 4 baby plum tomatoes, paprika, kamalata olives, salt, rapeseed oil
Serves: 2 Preparation: 30 minutes

I love aubergines, simply love them. They soak up flavour like majestic sponges and when cooked well, just melt in your mouth. This salad can be served hot or cold and is simply fabulous.

1) Remove the top and core from a bell pepper and shake out the seeds. Slice finely, drizzle with a little rapeseed oil and roast in the oven along with the baby plum tomatoes for 20 minutes.

2) Slice your aubergines and lay the slices in a colander. Sprinkle salt on the aubergines and set aside.

3) Soak the quinoa for 5 minutes and rinse well in a sieve. Depending on where you buy it, it naturally has an acrid coating called saponin which you don't want flavouring your food!

4) Cover the quinoa in salted water and bring to the boil for about 15 minutes, stir continually as it soaks up the water and fluffs up, then remove from the heat and set aside to cool

5) The salt will have drawn the bitter liquid from the aubergines, rinse the liquid, pat the aubergines dry and brush with rapeseed oil. Dry fry in a very hot pan for about 5 minutes per slice, turning frequently. When the aubergines are ready the skin will have turned violet and the flesh will have darkened in colour and become meltingly soft.

6) Stir the tomatoes and peppers into the quinoa, seasoning well with salt, black pepper and paprika. I also like to add some finely diced black kamalata olives but this is entirely to taste.

7) Layer the aubergine and quinoa mixture using a circle mould, pressing each layer firmly. Serve hot or cold.

Quinoa & cucumber salad with watermelon vinaigrette


Quinoa, watermelon, mint, red wine vinegar, rapeseed oil, cucumber
Preparation: 15 minutes

This salad is magnificent in its simplicity, but utterly delicious. Watermelon vinaigrette represents everything that is wonderful about summer to me - fresh, sweet and tangy. It's quick to prepare and really brings quinoa to life.

1) Soak the quinoa for 5 minutes and rinse well in a sieve. Depending on where you buy it, it naturally has an acrid coating called saponin which you don't want flavouring your food!

2) Cover the quinoa in salted water and bring to the boil for about 15 minutes, stir continually as it soaks up the water and fluffs up, then remove from the heat and set aside to cool

3) Juice the watermelon if you have a press juicer, or crush it in a jug with a pestle and pass through a sieve to release a smooth juice. Mix about 100ml watermelon juice to a tablespoon of red wine vinegar and a tablespoon of rapeseed oil. Add chopped mine and stir through the quinoa. 
Add chunks of cucumber and serve!

Pancakes - chestnut, leek, pear & cheddar


1 cup plain flour, 1 tbsp baking

 powder, 2 eggs, 1/2 cup chestnut puree, 1/2 cup milk, 1 pear,
cheddar, 1 leek, butter
Serves: 4 Preparation: 40 minutes

I adore making pancakes. There's something so soothing about the ritualistic rolling of batter in a pan, and whilst traditional pancake batter is perfectly lovely - I can't help but love to experiment. Some of my favourites have been rose and pistachio and banana.

1) Whisk the eggs with the milk, chestnut puree and pour over the dry ingredients, whisking until they are combined. Leave the batter to rest for at least 30 minutes and then stir through

2) To make the filling, peel the pear and slice the flesh from the core. Dice it, along with the leek and sautee in a little butter until soft.

3) Heat a non-stick frying pan until very hot, then add a little butter. Pour in one ladle of batter (if you want crepes, quickly turn the pan off the heat to coat the base evenly with the batter, then return to the hob) and cook for about one minute, until the base is lightly browned. I like to use a spatula or palette knife to just loosen the edges of the pancake - once the air gets under it you will find it does not stick to the pan but slide about which helps it to flip!

4) Flip over the pancake (if you have a clumsy wrist, slide the pancake onto a plate, then tip the pan over the plate and turn it upside down. No one will ever know!

5) Once the pancake has cooked on both sides, stuff with the leek and pears mixture, and crumbled cheddar.

Friday, 3 August 2012

Pasta with lamb & mint pesto


Linguine, 400g lamb mince, 20g mint,
5g parsley, 5g pea shoots,
olive oil, 1 garlic clove, lemon,
2 tbsp parmigiano, 5g walnuts.
Serves: 4 Preparation: 20 minutes

First of all, apologies for the dreadful quality of the photo but I had no light due to Impending Construction Of New Kitchen. You'll also notice that I have controversially used pasta shells instead of a linguine... this is again due to Kitchen mayhem - I was using up what little stocks I had left!
Despite the tragic image before you, I can assure you that mint pesto tastes incredible, and that it's the perfect partner for lamb mince.
Despite being fanatical about preparing pesto properly (in a mortar and pestle), I have no compunctions about getting creative with it. I've shared recipes for pistachio pesto, olive pesto, pistou (almond), sage pesto and walnut pesto... so it was only a matter of time before the mint came out. Give it a try!

1) Put the pasta on to boil in hot salted water for 10 minutes and strain.

2) To make the pesto - add the mint, parsley and pea shoot leaves to a mortar and pestle and grind to a fine pulp. Add a crushed garlic clove to the mortar bowl along with a pinch of salt and the chopped walnuts. Grind thoroughly, adding a squeeze of lemon juice, olive oil and the parmeggian.

3) Fry off the mince and drain away the fat, toss with the pasta and mint pesto and serve.

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Quinoa burgers


1 cup quinoa, 1 leek, cheddar,
1 egg, 1/2 courgette, butter
Serves: 4 preparation: 30 minutes

I've been working on a number of fritters and burgers recently for those with intolerances and this quinoa burger turned out beautifully. So much so that I ate two last night and considered making more. Little piggy...
Quinoa is cooked like a cereal, but is technically a seed. It's high in lovely amino acids like lysine and a good source of calcium, phosphorus, and iron. Plus... it's yummy. I often eat it like a porridge but it makes a great burger too. Give this fabulous leek and cheddar mixture a try.

1) Soak the quinoa for 5 minutes and rinse well in a sieve. Depending on where you buy it, it naturally has an acrid coating called saponin which you don't want flavouring your food!

2) Cover the quinoa in salted water and bring to the boil for about 15 minutes, stir continually as it soaks up the water and fluffs up, then remove from the heat.

3) Chop the leek and grate the courgette before sizzling in a little butter. Add the quinoa and stir through before setting aside to cool.

4) Whisk an egg and stir through the quinoa mixture, then cut small cubes of cheddar and stir through the mixture.

5) Form patties with your hands or by pressing into a circle mould, then bake in the oven for 10 - 15 minutes at 180 degrees.

Red rice burgers


1 cup Red rice, 1 bell pepper,
white onion, 1/2 tsp cumin,
1/2 tsp coriander, 1/2 tsp
cinnamon, 1/2 tsp chilli powder,
butter, 1 garlic clove, 1 egg
Serves: 4 Preparation: 1 hour

I went to London as a teenager on a theatre trip with some school friends, and on the final night, I ordered a brown rice burger for dinner. It was the first time I'd ever had one and to this day it remains one of the most delicious things I have ever eaten. It took me 14 years to dare to recreate it (with my own spin, naturally) as I was worried that it would never live up to the glorious burger of my memory. I'm pleased to say that this spicy, juicy burger is even better. Give it a try.

1) Cover the rice with salted boiling water and, stirring frequently, simmer for 30 minutes, adding more water if necessary.

2) Remove the core and seeds from a bell pepper and finely dice it. Peel and finely dice a white onion, and crush a clove of garlic.

3) Fry off the onion in a little butter, then add the pepper and garlic along with the spices and sizzle on a low heat for 20 minutes until completely soft.

4) Add the cooked rice, straining off any remaining water in the pan and stir to incorporate. Set aside to cool just enough for you to be able to handle the mixture.

5) Whisk an egg and stir into the rice, then form patties with your hands, or by pressing into a circle mould. Bake in the oven for 10 minutes at 200 degrees and serve with salad and the condiments of your choice in a bread bap.

Beetroot, apple & cheddar fritters


Beetroot, apple, rice flour/
polenta, eggs, cheddar, poppy
seeds, sesame seeds
Preparation: 40 minutes

Fritters are traditionally a sort of savoury doughnut, but thin like a pancake full of stuff, but like potato cakes - I like to make mine a bit thicker. Beetroot and apple are a fabulous and virtuous combination, and cheddar goes perfectly with both so this crispy yet juicy fritter with a melting centre makes and excellent vegetarian version of a burger, and by using rice flour or polenta it's great for those with intolerances too!.

1) Wash the beetroot and slice off the stalks and leaves. Roast in the oven for 30 minutes. Carefully peel the beetroot with the nick of a knife, then once it's cool, grate into a bowl.

2) Peel and core the apple, then grate the apple into the beetroot. Add the polenta/rice flour a little at a time along with the poppy and sesame seeds, until the mixture is a little more dry.

3) Whisk an egg and stir into the mixture.

4) Form a patty around a chunk of cheddar and drop onto a lightly oiled pan. Sizzle for 2-3 minutes on each side then serve, or bake in the oven for 5-8 minutes.

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