All posts filed under: Cooking

IMG_9799

Wild Garlic Pesto (aka the Joy of Spring) [Recipe]

Wild garlic pesto does feel a cliché but when it is so delicious, why shouldn’t it be? Wild garlic, if you haven’t cooked with it yet, is a broad garlic flavoured leaf, slightly sour, and fantastic with anything creamy, cheesy and it is the best pal for the humble spud. It grows abundantly in the shade, white flours sprouting out in clusters on elegant stems, leaping towards the sunshine. It is wild garlic season here, but near me we mainly have three cornered leek (often confused for wild garlic), which is too grassy for pesto. I tried to source some proper wild garlic, I cried out for secret sources – I WON’T TELL ANYONE, I SWEAR! – but no joy, I failed. I am deeply impatient, and I had a visceral need for the stuff. Praise the internet for intervening and saving my brain and wild garlic free larder, a very kind twitter friend sent me some in the post, and I have been playing with it ever since. Wild garlic pesto is made in …

egyptian-falafel-recipe-eatlikeagirl

Egyptian Style Falafel with Lemon Tahini Dressing [Recipe]

I love me some beans, I can’t get enough of them. It shocks people often to discover that I used to be vegetarian (WHAT?!), but you know, I was worried about industrial farming (I still am), and my degree studies were in physiology, including anatomy, which involved human dissection. Yes, HUMAN dissection. I went home one evening after an anatomy dissection, cooked some chicken and thought that it all looked too similar, the flesh and the fibres (sorry, but it is true), my stomach turned and that was that, for a long while. Then as the farmers market movement took hold properly, and people and even supermarkets started to become more concerned about meat and meat sourcing, I came back on board. These years of vegetarianism taught me a lot. I explored pulses, vegetables, herbs and spice. I learned how to add flavour without adding meat, and I resurrected my university nutrition studies to ensure that I was eating nutritionally balanced meals. I studied more, I learned about new and exciting ways that I could …

Buckwheat and Hazelnut Banana Bread (Gluten and Dairy Free Recipe)

Buckwheat and Hazelnut Banana Bread [Gluten & Dairy Free Recipe]

It was one of those mornings. I was out of eggs – what, how could I let that happen?! – and out of coffee beans. I was staring glumly at a bag of Moomin coffee, a hasty Helsinki airport purchase, and wondering how nasty that might be and what I could have for breakfast. On my counter were some very brown bananas, barely a patch of yellow left. I had some buckwheat flour, but not a lot, and a bag of hazelnuts. I thought I might try a new take on banana bread. It is worth buying bananas and letting them go really brown to make banana bread and pancakes. This is when they are at their best for cooking, rich and syrupy sweet. I never do this intentionally. I buy bananas and let them sit on the side. I feel guilty when I see them every day. I worry about waste, and then eventually they go completely brown, and they become banana bread or pancakes. I love the flavour of buckwheat, I use it …

IMG_8094

Hummus with Paprika Cauliflower & Almonds [Recipe]

One for the veggies? No! One for all of us. This was one of those things that came together randomly in a helter skelter way, and I am so glad that it did.  When I was in France recently I bought some dried chickpeas from a farmer at the market. I cooked half of them last week, and they were so lovely. Great texture and taste, and even though they were dried, they were fresh, if you know what I mean? The cooked until plump and with bite. I was thrilled with them and saved the rest of my stash for this week. 

[caption id="attachment_20439" align="aligncenter" width="840"] 'Nduja and Carmelised Onion Ragu with Eggs (Recipe)[/caption]

‘Nduja Ragu with Eggs for a Perfect Brunch [Recipe]

I never did love ketchup. I know everyone does. It is said to be the perfect combination of sweet, sour, salty and savoury, and tomatoes are one of my favourite ingredients, but I just find ketchup to be wanting, and something that is used to blanket other flavours not actually add to the dish. The flavour profile feels a bit two dimensional and dull to me, so I don’t have it in my pantry. Not out of snobbery, I love proper Asian instant noodles and all sorts of other things. I love good eating, and that comes in many forms, I am completely open when it comes to this.

1-IMG_5908

Hummus Kawarma with Lemon Sauce [Recipe]

You have to make this, this weekend. No dilly dallying, you won’t regret it, Hummus Kawarma is a wonderful thing. Creamy thick hummus topped with pops of aromatic spiced and flavouful neck of lamb, finished with a garlic-lemon-parsley-chilli dressing (lemon sauce). Hummus is so lovely when you cook it at home, it is worth the time planning and paying attention to the small details in this terrific recipe from Yotam Ottolenghi & Sami Tamimi’s book Jerusalem. Jerusalem is a must for any passionate home cook, rammed with wonderful recipes and gorgeous photography all from their home city. It is one of those books that demands dreamy browsing.

Spiced Chickpeas with Cauliflower, Red Pepper and Kale

Spiced Chickpeas with Cauliflower, Red Pepper & Kale [Recipe]

Sometimes the world is with you, and sometimes it is not. Equally sometimes your fridge is with you, and sometimes it is not. Sometimes your fridge can be a nasty twisted beast. Last week when I came home from France to discover that my fridge had been off all weekend, well that was a moment where my fridge was being a poison troll. Today, when I shuffled through it and put together the makings of lunch, it was definitely trying to make amends. In university a friend used to call me MacGyver, not because I sported an awesome mullet or because I had impressive skills where I could construct something brilliant, unexpected and absolutely required at that instant in time with just a piece of chewing gum and any-other-thing, but because she believed that I could tackle a kitchen with hardly anything in it and make something good to eat. I have always loved a cupboard forage and it is exactly this MacGyver skill level that brought lunch to my door this lunchtime.

Cauliflower Cous Cous with Chicken, Carrot, Cabbage & Almonds

Cauliflower Cous Cous with Chicken, Carrot, Cabbage & Almonds (In Partnership with BRITA)

This post is the second in a sponsored series that I am working on with BRITA as part of their Better with BRITA campaign. I explore recipes that use BRITA filtered water as a key ingredient, in this instance a healthy and nutritious one pot dish based on cauliflower cous cous.  Not only is this a healthy and nutritious one pot dish, it is also speedy and very flexible. It is a frugal dish also, a perfect dish for using up the ends of veg that are lurking in your fridge. Combining lots of different flavours and textures makes this dish even better.  The base of it is a cous cous, well, kind of. It is a cauliflower cous cous, fond of dieters of all descriptions. I love cauliflower, it is so good raw, unbeatable with cheese and perfect with spice. It is great roasted whole, steamed in florets, and superb when blitzed in a food processor into a rice or cous cous. I am not generally a fan of veg a sa substitute for carbs, but this …

Tuna cooked in Aromatics, a local fish soup from the sea gypsy culture in Sabah, Malaysian Borneo

Cooking in Sabah: Two Healthy Sea Gypsy Recipes (Fish Soup & a Fish Salad)

Visiting Sabah, I was excited as always about the food and the peculiarities that would be offered by the region and the local cooking. Sabah is tucked away in Borneo, caressing the sea, but it has a lot of rainforest and cultivated land too. On the coast there are what are referred to locally as sea gypsies, living in wooden houses on stilts in the sea by the coast. Originating from Indonesia and the Philippines, they do have their own local food culture, and I found a chef who teaches it, Fortunato Lowel, at the Mango Garden Restaurant.

Salt & Pepper Tofu Recipe

Salt & Pepper Tofu and Unplanned Meanderings on Existence

I woke this morning feeling so tired but quite chirpy. I want to start the week well. It could be that spring is coming and I can feel it in my bones, and see it in the sky. Maybe it is the lovely weekend that I just spent in Lapland, the people I met, and the huskies, reindeer and general gorgeousness. Lately, I am increasingly aware of time, how precious it is, and how much I want to do. Our lives are in our hands, right? It sounds so simple, but like all simple things, it can be difficult to realise and implement. The last 18 months have presented many challenges and I have felt overwhelmed and swept away at times. My Dad passing away, of course, this takes time to absorb and heal. The mammoth project that Project: Bacon turned out to be (my bacon opus is nearly there now, I am very pleased to reveal), and my responsibilities to my wonderful backers has been a huge part of this. I feel each disappointment …

Buckwheat Pancakes with Plums, Almonds and Honey

Buckwheat Pancakes with Plums, Almonds and Honey

Is it too soon for another pancake recipe? No, it is Pancake Tuesday, right? Right. It also feels only right to share a recipe for those who can’t have gluten or dairy – this recipe is gluten free and that can be adapted to be dairy free. These pancakes are made with buckwheat (as Breton crepes are), which despite its name is not a wheat, it is actually in the same family as rhubarb. I adore the flavour, deep and nutty, and the gently softened plums as a fresh plum compote, sweetened and sticky with honey, and toasted almonds provide syrupy sweetness and bite. I use milk, but substitutes work perfectly (I like almond milk for theses), and coconut oil is a perfect substitute for butter, or any vegetable oil,

1-IMG_9769

Pancakes with Chocolate Orange Chantilly & Oranges (In Partnership with BRITA)

This post is part of a sponsored series that I am working on with BRITA as part of their Better with BRITA campaign. I explored recipes that use BRITA filtered water as a key ingredient, in this instance a lovely water based chocolate ganache or chantilly. We are all familiar with chocolate ganache, the cream and chocolate based gorgeousness that forms the basis of truffles, amongst other things. Did you ever think about making a ganache with water? Hervé This, a physical chemist with a passion for food did in his book Molecular Gastronomy, Exploring the Science of Flavour. He named it chocolate chantilly, but it is equally a ganache or a mousse. Magic! Adding water to chocolate can make it seize and make it very unpleasant, however, This discovered a technique where you can emulsify chocolate with water, and shared the quantities that can make this work. Now, many chocolatiers use this technique to make water ganaches and vegan chocolate truffles. I love a bit of kitchen geekery, and so I enjoyed played around with …

Chocolate & Cardamom Mousse

Chocolate & Cardamom Mousse [Recipe]

It has been a little while since I posted a recipe. I have been floored with a proper flu, a real one, the kind of illness where you can’t raise your head from your pillow or leave your bed. I could feel that something wasn’t right in Lyon. I felt weak, tired and at times quite faint. My temperature was high, I felt exhausted and I couldn’t understand it. Then I came home and – BAM – that was it. I was knocked out and in bed for 5 solid days. Still wheezy and coughing near constantly, and on the move since (I have just returned from 4 days filming in lovely Abruzzo – more on that soon), it is only today that I have felt well enough to start properly working again at my desk. Before I fell ill I had worked on a number of recipes, recipes that are perfect for cosy nights in and indulgence. I don’t care for Valentine’s Day but I appreciate that some of you might, and I certainly feel …

Buckwheat Waffles with Rhubarb, Apple & Candied Hazelnuts

Buckwheat Waffles with Rhubarb, Apple & Candied Hazelnuts [Recipe]

Good morning? Is it safe to come out? I have been in hiding, taking an enforced break, so that I could catch up with everything else (work, book writing, the small matter of publishing a book myself), for it was all becoming a bit overwhelming, and I was losing sight of myself. But I am back now, and I am not very good at taking breaks anyway. My break actually turned out to be an intensive whirlwind of writing, cooking and planning; plotting travels too, and lots to share here. Mainly in my pjs, but you can forgive me that. And maybe you are guilty of wanting that for yourself?  I wanted to just indulge myself this morning, and write forever about Australia. One of my favourite places to visit, but not just me, the Economist listed four Australian cities in the Top 10 best places to live. I could easily live there, maybe even move in the morning for a bit, but London’s tentacles tend to keep me here. I love London, but you …

Beluga Lentil & Egg Salad with Home Made Salad Cream [RECIPE]

Beluga Lentil & Egg Salad with Home Made Salad Cream [Recipe]

I fell off a wagon that I wasn’t even properly on this evening. You could say that I tripped. On an innocent wander to the shop, I spied some curious lentil crisps, all bagged into nice tidy individual portions, so you know, they assume that we can all behave. I never buy six bags of anything like this, as I have no restraint when it comes to bags of crispy things, be they innocently low calorie or proper actual and delicious crisps. But I can’t resist something new, especially lentils masquerading as crisps. I had to try them. You see I have a problem with crisps, and this has nothing to do with January. This is a commitment that I had to make to myself years ago, the only wagon I hop on, the NO-6-PACKS-OF-CRISPS-WAGON, and I fell off it today. Spectacularly. I inhaled that six pack of crispy intensity in 45 minutes. Guilty bag after guilty bag. I put them away, I took them out again. Eventually, I gave up, surrendered, finished the lot, …

Potato & Leek Soup with Bacon & Kale

Recipe: Potato and Leek Soup with Bacon and Kale

I have quite a few Christmas recipes up my sleeve, but lets take a break from the chocolate, the alcohol and the spice, and think about a comfortable Christmas lunch for the days before and after the crazy indulgent one. I am thinking soup, and who doesn’t love soup? Nourishing and soothing, soup is what I reach for when I am ill, or when I need comfort. Oh, and toasted sandwiches too.

1-IMG_7964

Salted Caramel Chocolate Truffles

I wondered about sharing these photos, I really did. I had to rush them before dashing to the airport, and I risked it, and got up at 6am to make them, because I really wanted to share this recipe with you. It is perfect for Christmas. Stress free and it takes a little care but otherwise, just fine, anyone can make these. Of course life and work intervened, and I was too busy in Germany and too tired at the end of every day to do any decent writing. So, here it is now. But then the photos, I can’t help but think they look like I dug up some mushrooms and then coated them in fine soil. I can’t worry about this though, isn’t it much better that you get the recipe? And maybe a little reassuring to see that, yeah, you can make truffles, and they might look a little rough, but hey! They are still delicious. There aren’t enough hours in the day and there is plenty of other bothersome things, I …

Salted Caramel (Perfect as a Sauce, on Toast, or Just Eating With a Spoon)

Christmas is on its way, there is no longer any denying it. I am woefully under prepared, as is my form. I just paid through the nose for my flight home this year for a start, which eats into every other Christmas budget. I guess all of the other ex pats must be very organised this year. After that, there is not a child in the house washed, as we would say at home. (Calm down dear, I haven’t had any children since my last missive, it merely means there is nothing organised and we can’t even see where organised might be, over the horizon). However, I have some recipes to share that will help you be a bit more organised for Xmas, and that will make me feel a lot better. A good place to start is a lovely salted caramel, and it is something that every cook should have in their armoury besides. It is so easy, as long as you watch over it, as it will burn as soon as you stop …

Beef Cheek Chilli

Beef cheek chilli is a gorgeous dish. Tender, robust and sublimely yielding, once you do the initial work, it basically cooks itself. The best bit? It is a relatively cheap cut of meat, and has a wonderful deep flavour and texture. Winner. You will find yourself buying this instead of steak for dishes like this, I promise you. When I first started making chilli, I would make it using minced beef, and yes this is fine, but once I started to experiment with other meat cuts like shin and cheek, I could see that a chilli has much more potential than the one that I was making. Then there are chillies to think about. I used to make beef chilli with whatever chilli I had, then I progressed to smoky punchy chipotle, and then, with an appetite for more and a geeky drive beneath it, I decided to explore different chilli combinations. Then I could see what all the fuss with chilli was about. Layers of chilli playing with the beef, enhancing it, some bringing searing heat, …

Chicken Rendang (In Partnership with Le Creuset)

This post was sponsored by Le Creuset. They asked me to write a one pot recipe and to choose one of their pots to cook it in. I fancied something spiced,  slow cooked and full of character,  so I settled on a rendang inspired by my travels to Malaysia. I chose a shallow pot that would aid evaporation, caramelisation and intensification of the sauce  (a 30cm shallow casserole, in lovely Marseille blue).  I have been to Malaysia twice in the past year, to the tip of it in Langkawi, and the bottom, Sabah, Borneo. I love it there for many reasons. The monkeys (who can resist?), the rainforests and the gorgeous seas, the sandy beaches and the mangrove trees. Best of all is the food, seasoned with punchy aromatics and a little spice. Where India has spices, Malysia has aroma – galangal, lime leaves, lemongrass, lots of fresh turmeric – and slow cooked tender meats, bright fish, with sometimes funky undertones from fermented fish. For this project, I settled on a chicken (ayam) rendang, the perfect food for a …