Sunday, June 17, 2018

Splendid Brownies

Everyone is our household is a big fan of brownies (in fact it is very hard to find people out there who dislike those magical squares right?). 
A vegan, gluten free, refined sugar free version of the most desired sweet thing, seemed like a very bad idea at the time I found this recipe. Replacing flour with black beans? All the 'what the hell' bells started ringing. 
Also in theory I can't bake, mostly because I find it very hard to follow any recipe without adding something or leaving something out. Well in this case, I was able to tick this box too!
So I made a few changes to the initial recipe. Instead of pumpkin puree I used avocados and we had no vegan chocolate at home so I used some very bitter choc chips. It gave the brownies  a twisted erm... twist. 

1 can of black beans rinsed and drained. 
1 tablespoon of white vinegar ( I used apple cider vinegar instead)
2 small ripe avocados  
  • 3 tablespoons of melted and cooled coconut oil 
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract ( I didn't have this so left it out) 
  • 80ml date syrup 
  • 150g gluten free oats 
  • 1 teaspoon of baking soda  
  • 100g of cocoa powder 
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt 
  • a handful of vegan dark chocolate chips and a handful more for the top. 
Preheat the oven to gas mark 5 and grease a square brownie pan. Put all ingredients in the food processor apart from the choc chips. Process until in becomes really smooth. Fold in the choc. 
Pour the mix in to the baking pan and top it with the rest of the choc chips. Bake for 30-40 minutes. Remove from the oven and let it cool for 20 minutes. The last thing is very important and the hardest instruction to follow as by this time the smell has brought everyone in the kitchen. 
Cut and eat!!! 

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Incredible Fish Pie

There is nothing better than a piece of fish pie with some peppery rocket salad on the side and a glass of cold white wine on a rainy evening. It will serve you and three more.  

1kg floury potatoes
50g butter
Splash of milk
500ml fish stock
100ml good quality white wine, you can drink the rest
Small bunch of parsley, separated into leaves and stalks
350g white fish fillets and / or salmon
350g smoked white fish
200g small peeled prawns
50g plain flour
200ml double cream
Handful of breadcrumbs (optional) 
Preheat the oven to 180C. Peel the potatoes and cut into evenly sized chunks. Put in a large pan, cover with cold water, add a generous pinch of salt, and bring to the boil. Simmer for about 20 minutes, until tender. Drain, and allow to sit in the colander for a few minutes, then mash until smooth, and beat in the butter and a splash of milk. Season well and set aside.
Put the fish stock, wine and parsley stalks into a large pan, and bring to a simmer. Add the fish, and simmer for five minutes, then lift out, remove the skins if any, and cut into large chunks. Discard the parsley stalks.
Melt the butter in a medium pan over a lowish heat, and then stir in the flour. Cook, stirring, for a couple of minutes, being careful not to let it brown. Gradually stir in the stock. Bring to the boil, then simmer for about 20 minutes.
Take the sauce off the heat, stir in the double cream, parsley leaves and season. Add the fish and prawns and toss to coat.
Put the seafood and sauce into a baking dish and top with the mashed potato. Bake for 20 minutes, then sprinkle over the breadcrumbs if you decide to use them and bake for a further 15, until the top is golden.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Slow Cooker Moroccan chicken Stew

I got some wonderful presents this Christmas. One of them was a slow cooker. I wish I had this three years ago when my son was a newborn and cooking was a luxury but I am glad I finally have one. It is great to use overnight when a busy day comes or when lots of people are coming over and time for other preparations is needed. This recipe serves four to six people. 
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 2 tsp turmeric
  • 1 1/2 tsp ginger
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 5 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, diced
  • 1 medium sweet potato, cubed
  • 2 medium carrots, sliced
  • 5 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 1/4 cup crushed tomatoes
  • 1 cup water
yogurt (optional) 
In a large pan, preheat olive oil over medium high heat.
Add onion, sauté until beginning to soften about 2-3 minutes.
Meanwhile, coat diced chicken bit by bit in spice mixture.
Add chicken to pan and brown - about 4-5 minutes.
Add garlic, sweet potato, carrots and remaining spice mixture. 
Cook for 2 minutes.
Place chicken and vegetables into slow cooker.
Add crushed tomato and water to the pan you cooked the vegetables and chicken in. 
Stir to loosen up brown bits on bottom of the pan.
Dump liquid into slow cooker.
Cook on low heat for five hours. 
Obviously this can be cooked in a normal pot for just an hour. 
Serve with rice and some greek yogurt on the side. 

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

The turkey dish: an alternative guide to Merry Christmas

Christmas overrated or not is the best time for good food. To be honest as long as I don't have to cook on Christmas eve or day, which I find very stressful, I am fine and happy enough to eat for ten people. And beat my boyfriend in Monopoly. And watch 'It's A Wonderful Life'. And other cliches. 
This year I decided to cook for my friends before they go away for the holiday season. So last night I tried this stir fry dish, which was actually simple and tasty. Not very Christmassy but hey, the turkey was there and the mulled wine put everyone in a ho ho ho mood anyway. 
It also means I can just do the drinking during the festive preparations, since I have paid my dues. 


  • 1 small onion finely chopped
  • 300g turkey breast 
  • 5cm piece of root ginger, chopped (or 1 teaspoon ground ginger)
  • 5 tablespoons soy sauce (no salt necessary, soy sauce will do the job)
  • 50g mange tout, green beans or sugar snaps
  • 50g bamboo shoots
  • 80g broccoli in florets 
  • 50g baby corn 
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 2 cloves garlic, pressed
  • 3 slices of pineapple, preferably fresh, diced
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 150g fresh bean sprouts
50g cashew nuts
sesame seeds (optional) 

  • Wash, dry and slice the turkey evenly.
  • For the marinade, mix ginger with 2 tablespoons soy sauce, salt, pepper and garlic. Roll the turkey in the marinade, leave in the fridge for an hour.
  • Heat the oil in a large frying pan or wok and fry the onion and the turkey briefly. Stir in the pineapple chunks.
  • Add the bean sprouts, broccoli, cashew nuts and the rest of the vegetables to the pan and cook, stirring continuously.
  • Add the remaining soy sauce and pepper to taste. Toss one last time and serve. Sesame seeds can be added too. 
  • Can be accompanied by rice or noodles. (Optional) 

Friday, August 16, 2013


Or else Italian Rice Balls.

Tried them for the first time years ago in Italy and again last week at the new Arancini Brothers restaurant in Dalston, which made me experiment with a couple of recipes at home. The conclusion was that -as almost always- keeping it simple, is the key to a satisfying result.  
For 24 balls: 
2 eggs 
30g grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon dried parsley
freshly ground black pepper
150g uncooked white rice
100g dried bread crumbs (for gluten free version use gluten free bread)
olive oil 
In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, cheese, parsley, pepper, and salt. Cover and refrigerate while proceeding to the next step.
Pour water and 1 teaspoon salt into a large saucepan and bring to a boil. Stir in rice and reduce heat to low. Cook rice until water is almost absorbed, stirring frequently. Remove from heat and slowly pour in egg mixture, stirring rapidly to prevent egg from scrambling. Allow rice mixture to cool for 1 hour. 
Pour bread crumbs into a pile on one end of a cutting board. Dampen hands and roll rice mixture into one inch balls, then coat each one with bread crumbs. 
In a small, deep skillet, heat olive oil to 175 degrees C. Remember that it should have enough oil to completely cover rice balls. Fry six rice balls at a time, turning as needed to ensure even browning. Drain on paper towels and serve warm. Perfect with spicy tomato sauce, putanesca, garlic mayonnaise.

Tuesday, August 06, 2013

Prawn and Samphire Risotto

Samphire is only available from May to August and is naturally very salty as it grows by the sea. Combined with prawns or other sea food, it brings a soft sea flavour to your table. Crack open a bottle of fine white wine and enjoy this simple, easy, special risotto.

600gm large cooked prawns
80gm washed and trimmed Samphire 
50gm butter 
3 shallots finely chopped 
l litre fish stock 
50ml white wine 
2 garlic cloves crushed 
250gm of Arborio rice 
30gm freshly grated parmesan cheese  
50ml single cream or plain yoghurt

Add a bit of the butter to a pan and heat gently then add the shallots, garlic and cook very gently for about ten minutes. 
Add the rice and stir until all the grains are coated then add half the stock and close the lid. Stir gently and cook for about 15 minutes, then pour in the wine and stir again until it has all been absorbed. Add a rest of the stock and prawns and continue stirring until all the liquids have been absorbed, usually another 10-15 minutes. Add the samphire in the end and cook it in the mix for about 2 minutes. At the very end and when the heat is very low or even completely switched off add the cream/ yoghurt. Serve immediately with parmesan on top.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Garlic Potatoes With Juniper Berries

Strong flavoured roasted potatoes, great to serve with wild rice, chicken, asparagus or just with yoghurt on the side. 

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons dried juniper berries, lightly crushed
8 large garlic cloves
600g tiny new potatoes
You will also need the juice of one medium lemon, coarse-grain sea salt and black pepper, finely chopped fresh oregano to serve. 

Heat the oven to 180 c (gas mark 4).
Pour the olive oil into a heavy shallow baking dish large enough to hold the potatoes in a single layer. Sprinkle the juniper berries over the oil and place the dish in an oven for a few minutes to warm.
Trim off the stem ends of the garlic cloves and rub off any feathery outer skin.
Place the potatoes and garlic in the warm dish and roll them in the olive oil to lightly coat.
Bake 10 minutes and roll the potatoes and garlic in the olive oil once more.
Reduce the oven temperature to 150c (gas mark 2) and bake uncovered for 50 minutes or until the potatoes are just tender.
Roll the potatoes in the olive oil to coat once more and transfer to a warm platter.
Sprinkle with the lemon juice, salt and pepper, and oregano.
Serve hot or warm, with toast, meat or rice if desired.