In partnership with Debenhams
A gluten-free spin on one of everyone’s favourite cakes, Coffee and Walnut. As well as rice flour and walnuts, sweet potato is included for extra moistness and sweetness. Top with the silky marscapone frosting (I dare you not to eat at least half while the cake bakes!) or leave naked for an Espresso version.
I recently had the pleasure of baking for a wedding between two very special people, and their honoured guest.
Of course almost all weddings are special and wonderful occasions (and this one was personally very special as my wonderful husband had the honour of conducting the service). But this one by its very nature was one I will never forget.
It was a wedding that would not have taken place without the Anthony Nolan donor register, the world’s first register to match bone marrow donors with people in need.
The honoured guest was the bride’s 28 year-old bone marrow donor. Continue reading
In partnership with Circulon
Turmeric, black pepper and healthy fats are best friends when it comes to nutrient bioavailability to the body. You may already use this almost magical combination in something like my Spiced Golden Turmeric Milk, but here it is used with naturally gluten-free chickpea flour (besan/gram) to make crisp-edged filling farinata (savory pancakes). Top with whatever you fancy, but we like this combination with smoked salmon and raw veggies. It gets an extra fillip of tang and nutrition from the turmeric and lemon dressing. Vegetarians and vegans, sub out the salmon for avocado. Breakfast, brunch, lunch or a light supper – farinatas are always welcome.
The batter makes about six 8-inch pancakes (two each is a good serving), and the batter keeps for about 48 hours in the refrigerator.
Daily I reach into the drawer below my hob and rummage through a messy pile of six skillets, of varying size and decrepitude, usually pulling out whichever is on top. I don’t know about you, but most of the time when cooking I use a frying pan just to fry off onions or other vegetables, then decant everything into a dish to go in the oven, or into a bigger pot.
Frying pans are work horses of the kitchen, but never seem to get the love of, say, a food processor or power blender. However, for awhile now I have not only been making a meal in a frying pan, but sometimes even eating out of it too! Continue reading
A green and healthy homage to that fruity, sweet American confection, the Orange Julius. Kale, matcha green tea powder, optional hormone-balancing and immune-boosting maca powder, and a few other good-for-you foods are blended with the usual vanilla and orange. A 21st century interpretation of a 1920s drink easily made in your blender for a nutritious breakfast, snack or post-workout drink.
I remember as a teenager being very fond of Orange Julius. For those of you unfamiliar with this brand, the main product used to be a rather iconic milky orange drink called, wait for it, the Orange Julius. No trip to the mall was complete without a brimming cup of it – as well as a fat, soft pretzel for good measure. I was quite skinny so managed to get away with it! Back in the olden days (in the 1970s and 80s) I think it was just orange but, looking on their website, they have all kinds of new-fangled fruity flavours. But like all favourite things in youth there’s a sting in the tail. Or rather, a helluva lot of sugary calories. And egg white powder. Ugh. Continue reading
Comfort food + baking = chocolate brownies. It’s a simple equation that even the most maths phobic person can get their head around. Black beans, dates and chaga send you to the top of the class. This is the perfect recipe whether you like fudgy brownies or cakey brownies. Win-win! Gluten-free, refined sugar-free, and with an immune-boosting, energising optional shot of chaga.
Looking back on your life, can you honestly say that you’ve had enough brownies?
Good brownies, I mean. Brownies that when eaten compel you, possibly embarrassingly so, to close your eyes and sigh with pleasure.
Maybe your favourite brownie defies ladylike eating, the first bite giving way to serious liquid chocolate aaahhhs and risk of special-blouse ruination. Or perhaps you prefer a more business-like, cake-like, brownie that can be eaten without fear of sacrificing your outfit and lipgloss.
We all have our favourite type of brownie, but generally they fall into two camps – fudgy or cakey. If we are exceedingly lucky we clock this preference early in life, thus avoiding one of the most profound but common food disappointments of our age – the “meh” brownie. You eye it up on the upended wooden crate at the posh coffee shop/lab, perhaps not convinced. But it is a brownie, so must be tried at the very least. Continue reading
If you thought pho was for restaurants or weekend stove duty, think again. This vegan, vegetable-filled soup is made in the time it takes for a takeaway delivery. Use the recommended edamame noodles for even more filling protein. Make double the stock and freeze some for another time. You’ll be glad that you did.
The first time I ate Vietnamese food, made by Vietnamese chefs, was about five or six years ago in London. I know it’s not “proper” proper, but I believe it was probably as authentic as we would get without flying nearly 7,000 miles. Less tiring. And cooler, too.
Me being me I researched this two-hour slot in our schedule in excruciating detail. Actually all London meals were thoroughly planned: menus were downloaded, recommendations elicited on Twitter, walking directions and Tube stations and stops were memorised. But when we got to where I had carefully selected, it was shut for a funeral. You can’t be mad about that of course, but we were left standing there, the tables, chairs and menus all tantalisingly on view through the lacy curtain, our stomachs ready for spicy slurpy food. I might have knocked my head against the door in a childish way.🙂 Continue reading
Cheesy Garden Vegetable & Herb Muffins – my nutritious, versatile lunchbox and healthy snack recipe. A perfect protein and fiber-packed mini-meal for traveling, too.
I know I don’t really post “child-friendly” recipes all that often, much less label them as such. However, after making these tender, vegetable-packed muffins I realised that they would be perfect tucked into a lunchbox.
Or nibbled for breakfast.
Or munched alongside a lunchtime bowl of soup.
Definitely a stop-gap, mid-afternoon snack at the desk to prevent keyboard slump.
You get the idea. Versatile. Continue reading
I almost had to laugh when Katie asked me to do a guest post on my best mid-week meal preparation tips. I don’t consider myself much of a meal planner; my brain is too scatter-shot and my tastes too immediate to be a true planner. I am also a contrarian. Give me a list and I will scorn it. Or lose it. Basically I am a toddler who can cook a bit.
However, on reflection, despite my protestations to be otherwise, I am a bit of a planner. I like order. I like calm. I like a checklist, but I don’t like sticking to one. Like a toddler I want to break free of your hand and chase a balloon, or a squirrel. Or in the case of food, yeah I will get the vegetables in for a minestrone on Tuesday, but on the day itself I want to slurp a curry.
Thinking rather more deeply about this than I really ought, I realise that I have quite a few strategies – I just don’t label them as such. I certainly don’t just wing it. Winging it means hunger-induced bad decisions: bought pizzas, takeaways. Or uninspiring but nutritious scrambled eggs or beans on toast (which my husband loves). But mostly I make all meals from scratch – breakfast, lunch and dinner.
So how, if I am not a planner, does this happen? Continue reading
I’ll give you no claims as to authenticity, but I will say that this vegan take on Turkey’s version of pizza is flipping delicious, and perfect for a quick supper.
Here I’ve used a wholemeal Turkish-style flatbread from the supermarket to top with fresh and quickly sauteed ingredients so that you can have dinner on the table in less than 20 minutes. By all means make it a bit more authentic by using lamb mince (or even naturally-lean turkey mince), but this vegan version fooled my family into eating a not so popular (in our house anyway) vegan ingredient and asking for more. Result! Continue reading
The best-dressed salads, steamed and roasted vegetables, pasta and even nachos are all wearing homemade ranch dressing: It ain’t an American classic for nothing. Add jalapeno, chipotle, roasted garlic or finely minced kimchi to up the ante.
You know the saying, “Manners maketh man”? Well, it is my firm belief that dressings maketh salad. This might not be strictly true, but dressings and sauces can certainly be deal-breakers.
Dressings and sauces are the pearl necklace, Louboutins, or Hermes scarf to a simple salad. Or they should be. It’s that just-so accoutrement that if got wrong ruins the whole look – or taste, but if spot-on is dead-right. And not showy about it. Plain iceberg with a fab homemade dressing will always beat a fancy plate of heritage this and thats dressed with emulsifier- and thickener-filled shop bought. Always.
Making your own dressing or sauce – this one does double duty – is the ultimate in culinary control. Which I like. Compare a shop-bought hollandaise with a homemade one. Or a strident yet weirdly sweet jar pasta sauce with your own, stirred-with-love effort. No comparison. Dressings are even easier. And have just as much impact. Get that acid to oil balance just right and you have a friend for life. The 3:1 ratio of oil to acid is where good dressings begin. Continue reading
The love child of Middle Eastern shakshuka and good old Italian fat-bomb, Eggplant Parm. But healthier, obvs. PS This MUST be served with garlic bread.
What is your first proper food memory? Mine is not the vague memory of being fed by my mother from a melamine plate decorated with fairytale mushrooms and fairies. Nor is it when I theatrically upended a full bowl of spaghetti onto my head. In a restaurant (I had wanted mashed potatoes). My first real food memory is from my grandparent’s garden.
I remember it deeply – almost viscerally – because of the smell: damp red earth steaming in the sudden sun after a rain shower. I must have been about two or three, and we had gone into the orderly mid-summer garden, with its even rows of towering, waving sweetcorn, sprawling scrolls of watermelon vines and squashes, climbing beans of purple, green and cream, to pluck just-ripe tomatoes for our dinner.
My Mimi taught me not to yank the warm, slightly prickly fruit from the plant, but to pinch above where it joins the vine so as to bring the aroma of the plant into the house. I learned from an early age that the aroma that we all love about tomatoes – the earthy, herbaceous, raw green notes prized as a scent in perfume making – is from the stem itself. The humble stem. I learned by her side that tomatoes are best just picked and eaten sliced with a dime store knife, served on a plain china plate, adorned with only a pinch of salt. Later, much later, I elaborated this to a dribble of best olive oil. I think she might have used olive oil for earaches only. This was in Tennessee, after all. Continue reading