Nearly everyone and everything says that autumn has arrived: my flame-red Virginia Creeper climbing up the garage; the carpet of crispy oak leaves on my sad excuse for a lawn; excitable foodies on Instagram going pumpkin latte-mad; pull-out newspaper supplements with food porn shots of, yup, pumpkins.
So I’m finding this warm weather really confusing. The shops are full of pumpkin this and that (actual pumpkins, pies, candy, costumes…), cosy sweaters and furry boots. But I’m not quite feeling it. Our recent week in the Lake District was like summer and now, packing for Tokyo (I will have been away three days when you read this), I’m rolling up linen t-shirts and packing open-toed shoes. When is autumn going to arrive?? Continue reading
Before the brambles completely go, I thought I would slip this under the seasonal food wire. No sweet breakfast in autumn can be truly complete without something darkly juicy mixed in. And freshly foraged brambles (small wild blackberries) fit the bill nicely.
Right now I am in the Lake District of England, reviewing a cottage for cottages.com, and mostly we are driving and walking to places with great food and even better views.
Stunning views everywhere you look – The Lake District, England
On many of our walks, vines filled with tiny jewel-like brambles reach out with thorny paws begging to be picked. So I know they are still around. But if not, frozen berries of any hue will do. I have also added frozen sour cherries to amp the flavour and nutrition credentials, so feel free to do similarly. Continue reading
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