Tuesday, 31 May 2011


Shakshuka is a North African dish consisting of eggs baked in a tomato sauce with peppers, onions and spices, to be served with a big chunk of bread and an empty stomach.

Perfecto brunch time fare at home, to leave you feeling fully sated. It's extremely well deserved when one has been able to wake up leisurely, perhaps partake in a little light exercise, and is ready at the kitchen table with the weekend papers...This was my scenario, as was having nothing left in the fridge except for these ingredients. I had been playing supermarket sweep at my local market that weekend so I had what seemed like hundreds of tomatoes, mushrooms and courgettes etc, so I actually had made a ratatouille the night before with added aubergine, onion and plenty of spices such as cumin, chilli and coriander. A really great way to use up ingredients. Just pop in an ovenproof dish or individual pan, crack an egg over the top and bake in a low heat until the egg is just set.

Ottolenghi does a great Shakshuka recipe that you can wip up fresh...

Thursday, 26 May 2011

paschal lamb

I don't know about you, but I went a little doolally over the double bank holiday weekend. Too much time, sugar and celebration sometimes isn't good for one. I'm glad that wedding fever is firmly off our radar (except for following Kate's vanishing waistline or Pippa's derriere) and chocolate eating can be left for depression. Phew!

Heston's Roast leg of lamb
Needless to say, you don't have to wait until Easter again to gnaw on a good old lamb leg with some flavoursome accompaniments, any Sunday will do! Some dare to say that they find lamb too lamb'ish in taste (I might mention that it's not meant to taste of beef) but I find it always deliciously juicy and moreish and a welcome treat away from the usuals. So sip a glass of Beaujolais and get cooking.

The brain, memory and senses are a wonderful thing. This picture is making me salivate a wee bit, so I'm hoping you feel the same, otherwise I'm just a greedy f***er! Once again this is Mr Heston Blumenthal for Waitrose. Such an easy, simple recipe so it doesn't need re-writing. Everything you need is all there!

Our lamb was beautifully paired with a warm potato puttanesca and a pea, broad bean and edamame bean salad (both of which were found in the Telegraph Magazine).

Thursday, 19 May 2011

colourful notes

Beetroot, orange, red onion and olive salad
I love colour. I need some more colour in my life. Most importantly, I need colour on my plate. This is a very unlikely pairing. Beetroot? Orange? Onion? Olive? Mint? Individually. Delightful. Together? You might say 'not in a thousand years' as Somerset Maugham famously quoted in 'The Alien Corn.' However, these sweet and zingy ingredients bode very well together indeed and they look ever so pretty don't they?

'Sweetest taboo' by Sade happened to be humming in the background. I'd forgotten this treasure. These musical notes seem to be a perfect match of depth, colour and simplicity to this salad.

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

heston's scotch eggs

If you have the time to put a little bit of effort in, then these are extremely worthwhile and actually effortless. They make great picnic food and are especially fun to eat as a picnic in front of the television to watch the Royal Wedding. In one room, 3 of us eagerly watching and waiting, eyes peeled on the television. In another, food preparation well underway. It's the best thing Waitrose have ever done employing Heston and Delia. I usually get annoyed by Blumenthal's science'esque approach but his Waitrose recipe cards are brilliant. Egg and sausage meat, a match made in heaven and let's face it, we all like a bit of rough. There's enough fancy on the tv for one day.  

Thank you Imi for creating. Full description and details can be found on image at bottom of this post or on the Waitrose website.

Get those eggs boiled how you want them. Best a little bit runny, but we had them just done. Are you ready to get your hands all up in some sausage meat? If not, then this might not be the recipe for you. Either get stuck in or rally up some helpers. You are going to have to get those fingers sticky mixing all the ingredients together and forming perfect little patties. Once the eggs are cool and the patties have been chilled, you can begin to wrap those slippery little ovals into the meat, until they are all tucked in and sealed. Then it's a case of forming a little assembly line. Seasoned flour. Roll. Beaten egg. Roll. Breadcrumbs. Roll.

Friday, 6 May 2011

sweet tooth

I do have a sweet tooth. It used to be a lot worse. For a while I would have a slice of chocolate cake for breakfast in the school holidays, meticulously sliding my fork through the icing, horizontally and then vertically like a garden rake through grass. I'm rather disappointed that as I grow older my tastes are yearning for savoury. Boo.

My mother is very talented in the kitchen. I have mentioned it before, and you will be hearing it again and again. I am very lucky to have had this all my life. She whipped up quite a few stunners for the family over Easter.

I like going home. Mostly for this reason.

Catherine's chocolate cake with plum and Earl Grey ice-cream

the princess and the pea

Ok, so there is no Princess. But. I do adore peas! So much so, that as a 12 year old, I would sometimes eat a big bowl of peas with a dollop of Heinz ketchup as a snack (I know...classy eh?!). People tend to think of these bright little fellas as boring, but don't dumb them down. The pea can be dressed up, just like anything else. They weren't included in a Fairy Tale for nothing. Frozen peas generally have more goodness locked in, just be careful not to overcook them. Here is a different take on Bruschetta (I'm holding my breath, hoping you're all saying it correctly).