Tuesday 29 March 2011

Quinoa Challenge

I think Quinoa is great. My friend Marnie came over yesterday and had never heard of it, but I think I won her over with a chicken curry and quinoa. 
Pronounced "Keen-wah", this South American Superfood is a complete protein. It's gluten free, high in magnesium and iron and its tasty and easy to cook.
My challenge for a week was to swap rice and potatoes for Quinoa in my meals, every meal was a success so should probably now ween myself off it, before I can't look at the stuff again!
 Quinoa Curry..
 Chilli con carne and quinoa...
 Spicy shredded chicken and quinoa..
 Chilli, ginger and garlic prawns with quinoa...
And this last pic is my copy cat version of a Marks and Spencer's Salad. I've never had such a good salad from a supermarket and could easily eat it every day of the week so I recreated and it was just as delicious and slightly cheaper I suppose! 
It's full of flavour which may be due to the long list of ingredients. Quinoa, pearl barley, cucumber, red rice, chickpeas, mixed sprouts, sultanas, blueberries, mango and a lemon and basil dressing.

Oh and last year whilst on an Ayurvedic yoga retreat I tried Quinoa porridge, that was good too, this really is a superfood. Super and versatile. 

Monday 28 March 2011


There are only so many times I can blog about Cupcakes but I'm still making plenty of orders and the light on today's batch moved me to snap them, a beautiful but sinister light contrast.

Sunday 27 March 2011

Bill Granger's Breakfast Bars

I love Bill Granger.
Bill and I both walk around our kitchens barefoot, we both loved Japanese food and we both studied art before we got into food. I've always thought we would be good together and his books have never failed to entertain me.
However, although his breakfast bars were tasty, I have made better tasting and better textured bars before and would prefer to give you those recipes instead. I wouldn't say he's let me down here, it's just, I've had better. Sorry Bill xx

Monday 21 March 2011

Ottolenghi Caramelised Garlic Tart

This tart is worth peeling 3 heads of garlic for. Eat it whilst it's still warm with a glass of wine and a big bowl of salad. Thumbs up Yotam, this tart is special.

You can use any type of goat’s cheese but mixing some hard and some soft gives a great balance of textures.
500 g pack of puff pastry, defrosted
3 heads garlic, peeled
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
220 ml water
1 tbsp caster sugar
1 tbsp chopped herbs: rosemary and thyme
120 g soft goat’s cheese
120 g hard goat’s cheese
3 eggs
200 g crème fraiche
Salt and pepper
Preheat the oven to 180 C. Roll out the puff pastry so that it lines the base and sides of a 28cm tart tin. If you have the time, stick it in the fridge for 20 minutes or so to rest. Then, prick the base with a fork and line the pastry with greaseproof paper and dried beans or rice. Blind bake (ie bake the base partly before filling) for 25 minutes, then carefully remove the paper and beans and put back in the oven for another five minutes so that the base dries out. Set them aside to cool.
Sweat the whole garlic cloves in the olive oil over a very gentle heat for 10 minutes. Don’t allow them to colour. Turn up the heat and add the balsamic vinegar, the water and sugar. Simmer gently for 10 minutes, then add the herbs and season with salt and pepper. Most of the liquid needs to evaporate and the cloves should be well coated in a dark, caramel-type thick glaze.
Scatter the cheeses on to the base of the pastry. Then scatter the garlic cloves and any balsamic juices on top. Arrange the cloves so that they are evenly distributed. Whisk the eggs and crème fraiche and pour the mix on top. Bake the tart on a baking tray (so that it’s easier to transport) at 160 C for about 35 minutes or until the mixture looks as though it has just set. There’s not that much liquid in this recipe so it does cook quickly. Allow to cool slightly before slicing and serving with a big salad.

Friday 11 March 2011

Prayers with Japan

Prayers are with everyone in Japan tonight, for the hundreds that didn't make it, the missing, for everyone affected.

Wednesday 9 March 2011

News of the World cake

Lots of soft sponge, raspberry jam ...
..and my response to Hokusai's Great Wave, in icing no less..

Tuesday 8 March 2011

Sourcream pancakes, bananas and maple syrup

 Concentrate not on what you'll give up tomorrow but on what you will top your pancakes with today. 
Do you have pancakes for brekkie or after work? I have been invited to my friend Beth's for pancakes tonight so not quite sure what I'm doing cooking them for breakfast but then again these were American style and tonight will probably be English...well Crêpes. Couldn't tell you which I prefer. 

Anyway, it's been a couple of hours since I made them but somehow the flat still smells like pancakes. If someone else has made them for you this morning, I bet that's amazing. Waking up all sleepy to the dreamy smell of browning butter and fresh pancakes. Ok enough already. 

You may already have a favourite pancake recipe but if you like a slightly sour hint in your batter to balance out the sweetness of whatever you top them with then try mine, I've tweaked it quite a bit over the last year but this is, to me, pancake perfection.

1 medium egg
100ml runny plain yogurt
100ml creme fraiche
splash of milk
1 tsp vanilla extract

130g flour
40g caster sugar
1 tsp of baking powder
40g melted salted butter

Sift dry ingredients together into a bowl.
In another bowl, whisk wet ingredients together.
Make a well in the flour mix and combine all the wet mix.
(the mix should be thick but should fall off a spoon, so add milk accordingly little by little if need be)
Heat a frying pan or crêpe pan and add a little butter until it foams.
Now add pancake mix into a round shape and leave until little bubbles appear through the mix, then flip with a spatula and plate up in a stack.

I did add a little cocoa powder to the mix to try a chocolate pancake and then thought it would be fun to pipe shapes into each pancake once in the pan. Mucho fun.

You can add anything to date butter to raspberries to baked peaches, the possibilities as they say, are endless.

Monday 7 March 2011

Green Papaya Salad 'Som Tam'

Quick and easy Thai salad for you. I've been so busy this past week last night I was in bed by 8.30pm and tonight I may follow suit. So I am VERY sorry for not updating my blog in over a week. Off to Spain again on Thursday so let's see how much I can blog in the next few days.
 Serves 2
1 green papaya (unripe)
1 fresh red chilli
3 tomatoes
handful of peanuts or cashews, toasted
coriander and basil
spring onions
long beans (if you can get them) cut into inch pieces

1 clove crushed garlic
juice of 2 limes
1 tsp of fish sauce
1 tsp of runny honey or agave syrup
soy sauce to taste
pinch of sea salt

Shred the papaya with a really sharp knife, I find grating it will turn it to mush.
Slice the tomatoes lenthways into 6 and finely chop the chillies and spring onions. 
Add all the ingredients but the nuts to a bowl and then make the dressing in a separate bowl. This has really got to be to your taste. 

Season and garnish with sliced chilli and toasted nuts.