Courgette and Chickpea Tahini Salad

This delicious salad has a simple tahini base I use for a variety of vegetable dishes and is always popular, especially in the summer when we just want to relax outside with a glass of beer or wine or in my case a G & T! This salad is simple, delicious and takes no time at all on these extraordinary summer days. Look out for more variations over the next few weeks and lets enjoy all that tahini brings to the party.

TOP TIPS:
Double the quantities for a crowd.
Use dairy free and vegan substitutes for everyone to share

Recipe
Serves 4

Equipment
Baking tray

INGREDIENTS:
olive oil
400g tin chickpeas rinsed and drained
1 cup sweety drop red peppers
1 large courgette shredded
3 tbsp yoghurt
1 1/2 tbsp tahini
1 -2 tbsp lemon juice
3 cloves garlic minced
1 tbsp sweet roasted paprika
1/2 tbs fresh thyme leaves
salt and pepper to taste

METHOD:
Toss the rinsed chickpeas in olive oil, paprika and salt and pepper and roast on a baking tray in a preheated oven 180 Fan for 20-30 minutes till browned and crispy. Allow to cool.
Mix the yoghurt, tahini, salt and pepper seasoning, garlic and lemon juice till fully combined and spoon onto a platter. Layer the shredded raw courgette, roasted chickpeas and peppers onto the creamy base. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with fresh thyme leaves. Serve with fresh pita bread.

Eat and enjoy!

Grilled Peach Panzanella

Panzanella or ‘panmole’ is a Tuscan and Umbrian chopped salad of soaked stale bread, onions and tomatoes usually dressed with an oil and vinegar dressing and often including fresh basil. There are lots of variations and I often base mine on what’s in the fridge at the time so this is my Grilled Peach Panzanella version but you can use nectarines too or add some burrata for a complete meal. I don’t claim it to be authentic but it is delicious and once again shows how you can turn around leftovers and claim success with a wonderful dish.

TOP TIPS:
Double the quantities for a crowd.

Recipe
Serves 2-4

Equipment
Baking sheet

INGREDIENTS:
olive oil
400 – 500g ripe tomatoes assorted sizes.
(Cut large ones in quarters and half the smaller ones)
300g leftover stale bread cut or torn into chunks
1 shallot finely chopped
100ml olive oil
50 ml red wine vinegar
juice of half a lemon
1/2 cup black olives pitted or sliced
1/2 cup sweety drop red peppers
large handful of basil leaves (I used greek basil and some micro cress)
1 gem lettuce washed, leaves separated
1 handful of rocket leaves
1 large ripe peach grilled and sliced
salt and pepper to taste

METHOD:
Preheat oven to 160 Fan. Toss bread chunks in a generous gluten of olive oil and lay flat on a baking sheet. Season and ake for around 15 mins till golden and crisp. Mix olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper seasoning, chopped shallot and lemon juice – shake in a recycled jar to ensure it is well mixed. Mix the tomatoes, peppers and olives and some of the basil leaves (chopped if they are large leaves) with the vinaigrette . Lay the green leaves on a plate and then layer the bread and tomato mix alternately on top. Sprinkle with some more basil leaves and a drizzle of olive oil and serve up sunshine on a plate.


Eat and enjoy!

Spicy BBQ Potato Skewers

Potato Skewers are a great BBQ and roasting side for summer outdoor eating and are perfect for a crowd. I’ve smothered these in a spicy herby mustard dressing before grilling either on the BBQ or in the oven and they are also great with dips or drizzled with Chimichurri. This recipe is an easy peasy people pleaser that is easy on the pocket and suitable for all dietary requirements, unless of course you are off the carbs! You can also change the sauce up with you favourite chipotle or BBQ seasoning as its so versatile and easy cooking needs flexibility at all times.

TOP TIPS:
Double the quantities for a crowd.
Use dairy free and vegan substitutes for everyone to share

Recipe
Serves 4 – 8

Equipment
Skewers

INGREDIENTS:
500g baby new potatoes
2 generous tbsp mayonnaise
2 generous tsps dijon mustard
1 tsp olive oil plus extra for greasing
3 cloves garlic minced
1 tbsp zatar
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 cup finely chopped parsley
salt and pepper to taste

METHOD:
Boil or steam the potatoes till cooked but firm. Allow to cool and dry completely. Mix all the ingredients except the parsley until fully combined. Skewers the potatoes and brush generously with the sauce. Grill on a barbecue, home grill or in the oven till browned and crispy. Sprinkle with parsley and some extra salt to taste and serve with all your grilled cuts, salads and dips.

Eat and enjoy!

Creamy Garlic Mushroom Fusilli Lunghi

Creamy Garlic Mushroom Fusilli Lunch with My Crunchy Green Tomato Salad is just the best supper for these balmy summer nights. I can never make enough as everyone wants a second helping but it’s an easy dish with few ingredients and versatile enough to be both vegan, parve and lactose free. I prefer a dollop of mascarpone and a cup of pasta water to get a silky creamy sauce but you can use cream or just add parmesan and pasta water – whatever you prefer or have to hand. A little love when you cook your mushrooms and you will be eating delicious in no time at all.

TOP TIPS:
Double the quantities for a crowd.
Use dried herbs if fresh are not available
Use dairy free and vegan substitutes for everyone to share

Recipe
Serves 4

Equipment
Large Saucepan or Dutch Oven

INGREDIENTS:
olive oil as required
1 large tbsp butter or dairy free alternative
325g Fusilli Lunghi pasta or linguine
450g sliced chestnut mushrooms
1/3 cup dried porcini mushrooms soaked in some hot water
2 shallots or a medium to large onion finely chopped
1/2 cup chicken or vegetable/vegan stock
3-4 cloves garlic minced
1 cup finely chopped parsley
2 tsp finely chopped fresh thyme
25-30g parmesan plus more for serving if you wish
80g mascarpone or dairy free alternative
salt and pepper to taste


METHOD:
Cook the pasta according to the instructions and remove a cup of the pasta water before draining and setting aside.
Heat a generous glug of olive oil in your pan and brown and season the mushrooms in two batches – don’t cram in the mushrooms to avoid steaming. Season to taste and then remove the mushrooms and set aside. Add the butter and 2 tbsp olive oil and fry the onions gently till they soften and then add the minced garlic and cook through for a couple more minutes. Add the cooked mushrooms and stock, or if you prefer some white wine, and simmer for 5 mins until the liquid is reduced. Add the mascarpone and half the parsley, the thyme and season to taste. Add the pasta water and the pasta and stir and simmer briefly till you are happy wit the consistency of the sauce. You can add more mascarpone or stock if you prefer a heavier sauce. Finally add some more parsley and the parmesan and stir in and sprinkle with the remaining parsley before serving with a simple green salad or my Green Tomato Salad with pangrattato and Nigella seeds for a special supper.

Eat and enjoy!

Raspberry Ripple Brioche Custard Pudding

My Raspberry Ripple Brioche Custard Pudding is my take on a Bread and Butter Pudding made this time with leftover Brioche burger buns and raspberry compote leftover from a batch I made earlier. “Waste not want not” has made a truly fabulous dessert that is rich and creamy with a sharp sweet edge that is simply delicious. I love it when simple everyday ingredients and what’s in the cupboard transforms itself into something truly wonderful – that is when you know there is always magic to be had in the kitchen and right now with prices soaring inexpensive is not a dirty word but an opportunity to be creative and enjoy some great food..

TOP TIPS:
Use all ingredients at room temperature for best results
Use dairy free and gluten free options for everyone to share

Recipe
Serves 6-8

Equipment
Approx 7.5″ x 9.5″ ovenproof dish buttered/greased
or 11″ round ovenproof dish

INGREDIENTS:
4 brioche burger buns or similar sliced
50g butter melted
2 -3 tbsp demerara sugar
150ml raspberry compote (you ca use store bought but allow for extra sweetness)

Custard
600 ml milk
150ml double cream
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract

METHOD:
Brush the brioche slices with the melted butter and arrange in the greased dish. Drop the compote in and around the brioche at random to create the ripple effect when baked.
To make the custard put all the ingredients into a bowl or stand mixer and whisk together till well blended. Pour the custard over the brioche and press down gently. Sprinkle the pudding with the demerara sugar and place in the fridge for a minimum of 30 minutes but you can prepare a few hours well ahead.
Preheat the oven to 160 Fan and bake for approximate 40 mins until golden.
Serve warm with cream or ice cream.

Eat and enjoy!

Easy Chocolate Fudge Cake

Everyone loves a Chocolate Fudge Cake and there are countless recipes claiming to be the best. I’m not going to do that here but I can say this is one of the easiest. I’m a great believer in taking the simplest route to delicious and very often we don’t have hours to create the ultimate recipe. What we do need is for a solid recipe that delivers great taste every time and that can be forgiving if we don’t have the experience or cooking skills of others and I think you will be pleased with the results of this delightful and very satisfying chocolate cake. For an even better result warm it slightly before serving with vanilla ice cream for a perfect dessert that I think is hard to resist.

TOP TIPS:
Use all ingredients at room temperature for best results
Use dairy free and gluten free flour options for everyone to share

Recipe
Serves 8 – 10

Equipment
2 Parchment greased and lined 20cm round sandwich tins
Stand mixer or electric beaters

INGREDIENTS:
125g dark chocolate chopped
300 ml milk
125g butter
125g light brown sugar
2 eggs separated
1/2 tsp baking powder
250g self raising flour
sprinkle chocolate flakes or chips or crushed nuts to decorate

Chocolate Fudge Icing
50g butter
3 tbsp milk
250g icing sugar sifted
2 tbsp cocoa powder sifted

METHOD:
Preheat the oven to 160 Fan.
Place the chocolate and 4 tablespoons of milk in a saucepan and heat gently, stirring till melted. Stir in the reminding milk and set aside when melted.
Beat the butter and sugar till light and fluffy and add the egg yolk one at a time till combined.
Add the flour and baking powder to the creamed mixture with three quarters of the chocolate milk and beat until smooth. Stir in the remaining chocolate milk.
Whisk the egg whites till stiff and fold 1 tablespoon into the mixture to lighten and then carefully fold in the rest.
Divide into the two prepared tins and bake for approximately 35-38 minutes till a skewer test comes out clean or the cakes spring back when lightly pressed. Leave to rest in the tins on a rack for a few minutes and then turn out to cool completely on a wire rack.
For the icing place the butter and milk in a small pan and heat gently until melted. Add the icing sugar and cocoa powder and heat until glossy stirring all the time. To cool for the filling stir often to prevent a skin forming.
Use one third of the cooled icing to sandwich the cakes together. Reheat the remaining icing gently to thin it slightly and the pour over the cake to cover completely. Decorate with either flaked chocolate or as I did with a mixture of fudge and chocolate sprinkles.

Eat and enjoy!

My Boozy Coffee Sandwich Cake

My Boozy Coffee Sandwich Cake has a good shot of whisky and another generous shot of Baileys Irish Liqueur to take it up the next level. I used an Irish whiskey in the cake and Chocolate Baileys in the buttercream for this treat but whatever brand or type you use will be good. Glayva is another alternative that I have used but either way this boozy element will make your cake delicious and it looks gorgeous too. Let me know if you like it!

TOP TIPS:
Use all ingredients at room temperature for best results
Use dairy free and gluten free flour options for everyone to share

Recipe
Serves 8 – 10

Equipment
2 Parchment greased and lined 20cm round sandwich tins
Stand mixer or electric beaters

INGREDIENTS:
250g butter
150g golden caster sugar
100g light brown sugar
1/2 tsp baking powder
4 eggs
270g self raising flour sifted
3 tbsp coffee granules
3 tbsp hot boiling water
2 tbsp whiskey

Buttercream
100g butter
250g icing sugar sifted (add more or less if required)
3 tbsp Baileys or preferred liqueur

Icing
60g milk plus extra if required
1 1/2 tbsps coffee
300g icing sugar

METHOD:
Preheat the oven to 160 Fan.
Beat the butter and both sugars till light and fluffy for a minimum of 5 minutes
Mix the coffee and whisky to the boiling water and set aside.
Add the eggs to the butter mixture one at a time till fully incorporated. Fold in the sifted flour and baking powder and then fold in the coffee mixture till blended.
Divide into the two prepared tins and bake for approximately 30-35 minutes till a skewer test comes out clean. Leave to rest in the tins on a rack for 5 minutes and then turn out to cool completely.
For the buttercream beat the butter and add the icing sugar. Beat till light and fluffy and then add the Baileys liqueur and beat again till incorporated.
For the icing heat the milk till boiling and then add the icing sugar and coffee. Stir till a smooth icing is formed with a dropping consistency. If it is too stiff add a little milk to loosen and if too loose add some extra sugar.
To assemble the cake place on a rack on a tray or sheet of paper and spread the buttercream on one of the cakes and top with the second cake. There may be some icing and/or buttercream over to decorate how you wish.
Pour the icing over the top of the cake and either spread just on the top or let it drizzle down the sides.

Eat and enjoy!

Chocolate Profiteroles

My Chocolate Profiteroles to celebrate World Chocolate Day and honour our favourite sweet treat in all its forms. When my parents were first able to take us out for dinner at a restaurant this would have been a special occasion and more often than not my choice for dessert would be profiteroles or cheesecake. I still love them both to this day and of course you can buy then ready made from the supermarket but profiteroles are actually quite easy to make and are so satisfying on every level from achieving the choux puff pastry and scoffing the cream filled and chocolate sauce covered results. Some like the chocolate sauce dark and bitter, others smooth and sweet, but no matter what your flavour preference join me in taking a bite of this wonderful creation.

TOP TIPS:
Use all ingredients at room temperature for best results
Use dairy free options for everyone to share

Recipe
Serves 4
Makes around 16 profiteroles

Equipment
1 or 2 Parchment lined baking tray
Saucepan

INGREDIENTS:
Choux Pastry
50g butter
150 ml water
65g plain flour sifted
2 eggs beaten

Filling
180ml double cream, whipped
1-2 tbsp icing sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract

Chocolate Sauce
175g plain chocolate
150ml water
1 tsp coffee powder or a shot of expresso coffee
125g caster sugar

METHOD:
Preheat the oven to 200 Fan.
Melt the butter in a small pan, add the water and bring to the boil. Add all the flour and beat vigorously until the mixture leaves the side of the saucepan. Cool, then add the beat eggs a little a a time beating vigorously till combined. Put the mixture into a piping bag with a 1/2 round nozzle and pile small mounds onto a dampened lined baking sheet.
Bake in the preheated oven for 10 minutes and then lower to 170 Fan and bake for a further 20 -25 minutes until golden. Slit the puffs in the side with a sharp knife and cool on a wire rack.
For the sauce place the chocolate and 2 tbsp of the water and the coffee in a small pan and heat till melted. Add the remaining water and the sugar heat gently till dissolved and simmer on a low light for a further 10 minutes. Leave to cool.
For the filling fold the sugar and vanilla into the cream and pipe or spoon a little into each profiterole. Pile on a serving dish and pour over the chocolate sauce to serve.

Eat and enjoy!

Marinated London Broil

Marinated London Broil was my last cook in New York recently before we flew home to Blighty and I served it simply with fresh asparagus in olive oil, lemon and sea salt. This American invention has little to do with my home town but is usually a cut of flank steak or similar marinated overnight and then seared on the grill or under the “broiler” as the say stateside for 4- 5 minutes each side to serve medium rare and keep tender. This cut should not be over cooked but rested and is great served thinly sliced as I did here or simply with a salad, chips or in a crust baguette with mustard.
Soooooo delicious!

TOP TIPS:
Remove the meat at less 30 minutes before cooking.
Double the quantities of marinade depending on size of meat.

Recipe
Serves 2-4

Equipment
Grill or oven

INGREDIENTS:
For the Marinade:
1/2 cup soy sauce
1 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoons minced garlic
1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
1 teaspoons brown sugar
1kg flank or skirt steak or London Broil cut

METHOD:
In a large bowl, whisk together all of the marinade ingredients until completely combined. Pour marinade into a large zip-top plastic bag and add meat, squeeze out any air and seal the bag. Massage the meat in the bag and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight. When marinated remove drain the marinade and grill for 3-4 minutes each side. The specific time will vary depending on the size and thickness of your steak, so use an instant-read thermometer to know when your meat is done. Transfer meat to a cutting board and let it stand 10 minutes. Cut the meat diagonally across the grain into thin slices and serve.
Eat and enjoy!

Jamaica Ginger Loaf

I used to love this cake as a kid and my mother always made it without icing and sliced and spread it with cold butter. I don’t know if that was just her thing that became mine and but it is very rich so you may prefer to omit the icing although I love this slightly spiced ginger buttercream which makes it even more delicious. Fortunately it’s not a difficult cake to bake as most of the recipes I post so it makes a perfect weekend treat that everyone will love.

TOP TIPS:
Use dairy free options for the same results and everyone can share!

Recipe
Serves 8 or more

Equipment
Parchment greased and lined 2lb loaf tin

INGREDIENTS:
200g plain flour
100g butter
100g golden syrup
1 tsp bicarbonate soda
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp cinnamon
140g treacle
80ml milk
2 eggs
100g dark brown sugar
50g crystallised ginger finely chopped
toasted almond slivers or chopped crystallised ginger for decoration

Buttercream Ingredients
100g butter
375g icing sugar
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp vanilla extract
1- 2 tbsp milk depending on consistency

METHOD:
Preheat the oven to 160 Fan.
Mix all the dry ingredients in a bowl. Put the syrup, treacle, butter and sugar into a saucepan over a low to medium heat and stir until all the ingredients have melted together. Pour the syrup into the middle of the dry ingredients and stir from the middle to make a batter. Add and stir in the chopped ginger. Beat the eggs with the milk and stir in. Pour the mixture into the loaf pan and bake for approximately 45 minutes or until a skewer test comes out clean. Leave to cool in the pan for 10 minutes and then cool on a rack.

For the buttercream mix the butter and sugar till light and fluffy. Add the icing sugar and ginger and when combined add the vanilla extract and milk. If the mix is too soft add some extra sugar and if the mix is too firm add a little milk. Ice the cake once cooled and sprinkle generously with the decoration of your choice.


Eat and enjoy!

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