Thursday 29 September 2011


Jesus, it's a job n a half shelling broad beans, but boy is it worth it, one of my favourite things to top a bit of crostini. I love a lunch of crostini as much as plate of it for dinner with a big glass of chilled wine, and today it was so hot in London, according to the papers, hotter than the Bahamas today. You do have to eat it pretty quick though to prevent the sog, but a good alternative is the old puff. Just roll out some puff pastry and top with courgette, tomatoes, mozzarella, anything you like and once cool it will stay crispy for a good while. Back to Spain tomorrow, happy me.

Thursday 22 September 2011

Moroccan spiced leg of lamb

You can bone your leg of lamb yourself or ask your butcher to do it for you, either way, keep the bones! Roast them in a hot oven with some veggies and then pop in a pan and cover with water and simmer until you have a beautiful lamb stock.
Twist a small knife whilst stabbing small incisions into the lamb, rub in the spice mix and insert rosemary or thyme, and slivers of garlic into the holes. The spice mix I made was..
2tsp cinnamon
1/2tsp ground cloves
1/2tsp ground fennel seeds
1tsp cayenne pepper
2tsp smoked paprika
3tsp salt
1tsp black pepper
I then rubbed the inside and bottom with rose harissa, about 1tbsp as I think it burns if left on top.
Tuck in any loose ends, and tie some string around the lamb to keep it tight. I popped some sliced onions, carrots and a little oil under the lamb and a drizzle of oil on the lamb itself.
Grate a few bulbs of garlic, and a sprinkle any leftover spice mix with your herbs and oil and toss your veggies in. Red onions, butternut squash, carrots, potatoes, parsnips..
Pop the lamb in the oven at 200C for 20 minutes before turning it down to 180C to cook for another 40. This is based on 1.8kilo of boned meat. The veggies can go on the tray under the lamb. Add a little maple syrup and a squeeze of lemon for the last 10 mins on the veggies! It's now SO important to rest the meat, covered in foil for at least 15 minutes.
As usual, my favourite bit is the left overs the next day... where's the pitta!?

Monday 19 September 2011

Painting week

I've just finished a month cooking in Spain, I'm home and it's as if I've entered a new season overnight. No point in being miserable about the leaves falling and the nights drawing in, I'm making a beef and Guiness stew today and whats there not to like about a steamy meaty casserole? I've got my slow cooker back on the counter and a new trashy cosy two piece tracksuit on. Below are my wonderful group of watercolour artists I've been cooking for, the cute thank you card they made me and a beautiful bouquet of flowers, I was chuffed. Painting week recipes to follow...

Sunday 18 September 2011

Vietnamese noodles

You've seen me roll these up before, here's the same recipe let loose plus a load of crunchy toasted peanuts.

Monday 12 September 2011

An easy baked Cheesecake recipe

Cheesecake. It is my brothers favourite dessert and as he stood over me in the kitchen watching me make this one, he told me that nothing I have made him before even counts... that this cheesecake stands alone and is what I would be judged on from now on. I got to say, this is a bit daunting as I don't like cheesecake. Well, come on, I'll eat it and I have done, I've even been to the Cheesecake Factory in New York with my sister. Oh god, what a place. They have things like Glamburgers and a skinnylicious menu, not to mention 50 different cheesecakes to choose from, need I say more? euk. I remember Kyoko asking the waiter which cheesecake contained the most chocolate, I was appalled at what came to the table. Kyoko's eyes lit up. For me, it's just the last thing I would order off a menu, I just think there are better things out there to waste your calories on and get your thighs rubbing. However, I took all this into account and embarked on my own made up recipe and I gotta say, it worked pretty well and I got a pat on the back from Cameron and our guests and a request for a repeat
So, here's what I did..
16 digestive biscuits
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
120g butter unsalted
85g caster sugar
2 tsp golden syrup
1 lemon
585g cream cheese
4 eggs
(frozen berries or fresh if you want to make a compote)
In a food processor, blitz your biccies and then add melted butter and golden syrup
Whisk the cheese, eggs, vanilla, sugar, lemon juice and zest together
Press crumbs into a lined springform tin with the back of a spoon
Pour mix on top of the base and bake in an oven at 170C for 15 minutes and then turn down to 150C for 20 mins..then turn off your oven and leave the cheesecake in for another 10 minutes, this is to stop it cracking (should have a faint wobble in the middle)
It must cool in the fridge for 3 hours before serving. Oh, and I made a sort of compote from a pack of frozen berries, lemon juice and sugar simmered together and then cooled in the fridge, thats kinda what makes it.

Friday 9 September 2011

Chilli night

Chilli night last night. One of my all time favourite dinners (I'm sure you've picked up on this) Last night I served it in Chicken bricks, thought they looked quite cool.

Wednesday 7 September 2011

Dearest Carnivores

The guys at Westin Gourmet thought you lovely readers may like to become one of only 100 gourmet food testers of their fine meat and cheeses. I would love it if some of you got through!

 Just follow the link and add your details.

Tuesday 6 September 2011

Squid ink spaghetti with prawns, squid and peas

Today was a scorcher. Having spent the last hour before my lunch break standing over a vat of caramel and coming out into the midday heat, I hurriedly headed for the pool, got naked, and dived in. It was the most incredible feeling EVER, and no, there was no one about! That gave me the energy to find my bikini and a shady spot to ponder various things. Mainly on my mind is the boyfriend, who, three weeks into my time out here in Spain, I am missing very much. I tend to annoy him by taking photos whilst cooking together, saying things like "don't mix that yet, I wanna take a picture!" and he thinks it's funny to stick his thumb up in front of the lens, I could make a collection of photographs of out of focus food with a big thumbs up in the foreground, grrrr. Anyway, I remembered this dish we cooked last time he was out here in Spain with me. It may look a bit odd, but it was delicious, it was a copy I suppose of something Mum and I had in Enoteca once, such simple but rich flavours that look uncomplicated on the plate.


Sunday 4 September 2011

Gluten Free Pear Cake

I was cooking and baking for a few coeliacs last week. This cake was a little thrown together from some left over pears from a pud a night before and I made the recipe up based on a sponge but it was very good actually, especially eaten warm out the oven. 

225g caster sugar
175g of rice flour
1 heaped tbsp corn flour
50g ground almonds
4 eggs
poached pears cut into pieces  (in sweet wine, citrus peel and brown sugar)
225g unsalted butter
1tsp baking powder (gf)