A simple but beautiful Kladdkaka chocolate cake, gluten free and perfect for sharing with friends and family for lunch or supper. Adorn it with berries and serve it with cream for an extra indulgent twist.Read More
Enjoy these mini cauliflower and spelt pizzas with all your favourite toppings. And best of all, they're completely gluten free!Read More
I love the colours and flavours of this wonderful Hokkaido Pumpkin Soup. Dress it up with some roasted pumpkin seeds and a drizzle of pumpkin oil and you have a stylish autumnal supper for all the family :)Read More
Panzanella has been the taste of my summer. Garlanded with the ripest of peaches, tomatoes and avocadoes, on a bed of the most delicious ciabatta and scattered with torn mozarella and parmaham rosettes. A wonderful base recipe for you to create your own personalised panzanella!Read More
The great thing about living in London (and one of my favourites) is that we're so close to amazing cafes, shops and restaurants within a stone's throw of us. It's perfect if you run out of some ingredient, fancy popping out for a drink with friends and we walk everywhere. The cafe culture has certainly given us fantastic eateries, delis and patisseries!
We have a cafe close to us which is the place for meeting up with friends for a cuppa and enjoying some of their freshly baked goods. But as much as I enjoy eating their wares, it always inspires me to want to make my own versions at home. One of my lunchtime favourites is the Spinach and Feta Roll and now I've created a homemade version, I can see it frequenting my kitchen on a regular basis :)
This little roll is super tasty and is filled with a mixture of spinach and feta, rolled in a blanket of puff pastry and then topped with eggwash, parmesan and fennel. They are simple to make but are delicious and you can have them freshly baked on your table in next to no time. I've never been a fan of aniseed but the fennel really does add a lovely twist to these and with the parmesan, a perfect crisp exterior to the little rolls.
We start by making the filling. I use frozen spinach and cook it in a small saucepan with a couple of tablespoons of water for around 5 minutes or until the spinach fully defrosts. Then we need to remove some of the water, so it's placed in a sieve and the water squeezed out by pressing the spinach against the sieve sides with the back of a spoon. Once we've removed most of the water, the spinach goes into a small bowl. The chopped feta is added and mashed together with the spinach using a fork. You're not looking for a puree consistency, but for it to be combined with small chunks of feta remaining. Next we season with a dash of nutmeg and a little salt and pepper.
Once the filling is ready, we unwrap our puff pastry and lay it on a lightly floured work surface. The pastry needs to be cut in half horizontally to make two rectangles (each rectangle will make two rolls) and then half of the filling is laid half-way down, in a line horizontally across the first rectangle. The pastry is rolled up from the bottom side to the top to make a long sausage roll and then sealed with eggwash. This is then repeated with the second piece of pastry.
Finally we brush the tops of the rolls with egg wash and then grate parmesan across the surface and sprinkle fennel seeds on top. They're popped into the oven for around 15-20 minutes. Once they're out of the oven, the rolls can be cut in half to make four rolls for sharing (or you can eat one long roll if you're really hungry!)
When we all lead such busy lives, it's nice to be able to treat yourself to a tasty lunch which doesn't take too much time to prepare but which has lots of amazing flavours and is freshly baked.
And if you're working away from home, the rolls can also be made the previous day ready for you to take with you.
Nothing's better than one of these rolls on the run!
Spinach & Feta Rolls
Makes 4 rolls (1 roll per person)
- 200G FROZEN SPINACH
- 120G FETA, CRUMBLED INTO PIECES
- 320G PUFF PASTRY
- 1 TSP NUTMEG
- SALT AND PEPPER (for seasoning)
- 1 EGG, LIGHTLY BEATEN (this is the eggwash)
- 2 TBSP FENNEL SEEDS
- 2 TBSP PARMESAN, GRATED
- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees (fan)
- Place the frozen spinach into a small saucepan with a couple of tablespoons of water and heat on a medium heat until the spinach is completely defrosted
- Transfer the spinach to a sieve and using a fork, press the spinach against the sides of the sieve to remove as much water as possible
- Put the spinach in a small bowl and add the crumbled feta cheese
- Add the nutmeg, salt and pepper to taste and then combine them with a fork -- you're looking for the ingredients to be combined but not over-mixed as you don't want a puree consistency
- Remove your puff pastry from the fridge
- Lay it on a lightly floured board with the long sides at the top and bottom of your board
- Cut the pastry in half down the middle from left to right so you have two pieces of pastry
- Half-way down each piece of pastry, spread a line of filling evenly from left to right
- Roll each piece of pastry from top to bottom so you have a long sausage roll and then seal the pastry with a line of eggwash
- Brush the top of each roll all over with eggwash, then grate parmesan across the surface and then sprinkle the fennel seeds on top
- Place on baking paper on baking trays and then bake for around 15-18 mins -- when they're ready the tops should be a lovely golden brown
- Remove from the oven and eat immediately -- or allow to cool and eat the next day :)
Do you ever walk into a cafe and see the wonderful display of cakes and muffins and think, "I could make that?" I'm always wondering how I could make the things I see every day and have been wanting to try crustless quiches for some time. So today I got to rustling them up for my lunch. Think of them as a crustless quiche or eggy muffin -- they're a cross between the two, I think.
They can be made with the ingredients you yourself love or whatever you have to hand. I wanted to make mine from broccoli, ricotta and feta as the main flavours. The mixture takes ten minutes to make and then they bake for thirty minutes in the oven so are super quick to turn around. They are perfect for a simple supper served with a salad or a lingering brunch with friends. I was so in love with them, I just ate two, but sssshhh -- just our little secret!
Experiments often don't work out the way you want the first time, but these are perfectly delicious. I only made three but have scaled up the mixture below to make six. You can make as many as you like but work with one egg per muffin and scale accordingly. I started by cutting the broccoli into tiny florets and put them in the base of the muffin holes -- when they're cut so small they cook perfectly and come out lovely and tender. Then the egg mixture is made with egg and ricotta, whisked until they're smooth and then seasoned with a little salt and pepper to taste. On top of the broccoli, I put some crumbled feta and the poured over the egg mixture. Then on the surface of them, I gently placed a few more pieces of feta and a couple of dollops more of ricotta -- and sprinkled them with chives. They bake for thirty minutes and arrive from the oven all lofty and puffed up. They quickly deflate which is no problem as these are quiches and not soufflés and I served mine warm from the oven.
I'm often eating scraps for lunch whilst everyone is away at school and work and it's sometimes difficult to feel inspired.
When these are so simple to make and with so few ingredients, it's not difficult to give yourself a treat now and again, is it?
Broccoli and Feta Crustless Quiche
Makes 6 muffin quiches
- 6 EGGS
- 270G RICOTTA CHEESE
- 180G FETA CHEESE
- 120G BROCCOLI (broken into tiny florets)
- CHIVES (chopped, to taste)
- SALT & PEPPER (to taste)
- Preheat the oven to 170 degrees (fan)
- Whisk the eggs and 240g of the ricotta in a bowl until smooth -- place the remaining ricotta to one side
- Season with salt and pepper
- Place the small pieces of broccoli in the bottom of each muffin hole
- Crumble 120g of the feta evenly in each muffin hole on top of the broccoli -- place the remaining 60g to one side
- Pour the egg mixture evenly into muffin cavity
- Gently place the remaining ricotta and feta on the surface of each muffin
- Place gently into the oven and bake for 30 minutes
- The muffins should be golden brown and well risen
- Eat immediately :)
I love having dinner parties. I also love going out for dinner, but I think there's something very special about inviting friends into your home and planning a menu they'll enjoy, then cooking it for them.
I am totally up for designing complicated menus (like making chocolate soufflés to order after the main course) but I think there's a lot to be said about taking the time to really enjoy the company of your friends. And that takes a menu where at least a couple of courses can be planned and prepped in advance so that they just require baking time when your friends are with you.
I was looking for vegetarian inspiration and came across this wonderful Twice Baked Roquefort Soufflé which I've only made once before (and that was more moons ago than I care to think of) from Delia Smith's Vegetarian Collection. What I love about it is that it can be prepped 24 hours in advance with its first bake and then finished in the oven 30 mins before it's due to be served. And it still retains its soufflé appearance and texture. Delia also has a goat's cheese version too.
The process of preparing it requires working at speed. I really recommend when making this that you have all your ingredients weighed out separately so you can just reach for this or that as required. You don't have time to be weighing out ingredients or crumbling roquefort once you've started. But the process is straightforward as long as you follow the timings below. Although the oven timings should work, keep an eye on the soufflés as they approach the end of the cooking period as they easily burn. The resulting consistency should be firm on the outside and slightly soft and velvety in the middle.
I promise you that if you want to wow your guests with something as special as a soufflé, this is a brilliant recipe for you. The hard work is all done in advance and the stress of trying to pull together something as seemingly complicated as a soufflé when your friends arrive and are chatting away with you is completely removed.
The light texture and resulting soufflé is every bit as good as the best restaurants.
You will be a masterchef in your own home :)
Twice Baked Roquefort Soufflés
from Delia Smith's Vegetarian Collection
- 4 LARGE EGGS, SEPARATED
- 175G ROQUEFORT, CRUMBLED
- 225ML MILK
- 5MM ONION SLICE
- 1 BAY LEAF
- PINCH OF NUTMEG
- 6 WHOLE BLACK PEPPERCORNS
- 1 TBSP BUTTER (for greasing the ramekins)
- 40G BUTTER
- 40G PLAIN FLOUR
- 150ML DOUBLE CREAM
- SPRIGS OF WATERCRESS TO GARNISH
- 4 RAMEKINS (4cm deep x 7.5cm diameter, lightly buttered)
- REGULAR BAKING TRAY
- 5CM DEEP BAKING TRAY OR DISH (this will hold 6 ramekins and be filled with 1cm water)
- STANDALONE MIXER OR WHISK
- Pre-heat the oven to 160 degrees (fan)
- Lightly grease the ramekins with the butter
- Separate the eggs and measure out all of the ingredients so you're ready to go
- Place the milk, onion slice, bay leaf, nutmeg and peppercorns in a saucepan and heat over a medium heat until it just reaches simmering point (you don't want this to boil so do keep an eye on it)
- Strain the milk mixture into a jug and put to one side
- Rinse out the saucepan and then melt the butter in it
- Add the flour until it becomes a paste and then cook it for 3 minutes until it becomes a light straw colour
- Whisking all the time, slowly add the milk mixture until the sauce is thick - at this time the mixture should cleanly leave the sides of the saucepan as you stir it
- Lightly season with salt and pepper and take the heat down to the lowest setting on your stove
- Cook for 2 minutes, stirring gently
- Remove from the heat and leave it to cool for 3 minutes
- Beat in the egg yolks one at a time until they're all combined
- Stir in 110g crumbled roquefort into the mixture until it's mostly melted
- In a standalone mixer, whisk the egg whites until they reach soft peak
- Stir in one spoonful of the egg whites to loosen the mixture
- Then gently fold in the rest of egg whites
- Boil your kettle
- Divide the mixture evenly amongst the 6 ramekins
- Place them on the baking tray that's 5cm deep and place this onto a shelf in the oven
- Pour boiling water into the bottom of the baking tray until the water is 1cm deep
- Bake for 20 minutes until lightly golden
- Once baked, remove them to a cooling rack
- When they're almost cool, run a knife around the edge of each ramekin and gently loosen and remove each soufflé from its dish
- Place the soufflés on a lightly oiled baking tray and cover with clingfilm
- They can now be kept in the fridge for up to 24 hours
- When you're ready to serve them, pre-heat the oven to 160 degrees (fan)
- Place the remaining crumbled roquefort evenly on the top of each soufflé
- Bake them in the oven for 30 minutes, during which time they should rise again
- When they're ready, remove from the oven and spoon the double cream over the top of the soufflés and place back in the oven for 2 minutes
- Remove from the oven, place on watercress garnish and serve immediately (they will deflate after a few minutes)
- Wow your guests with your wonderful savoury soufflé, freshly baked :)
Have you ever been out to a restaurant and wondered how easy it would be to make something you're eating yourself? I constantly do! We were out with friends a couple of months back eating dim sum and had a discussion about how easy it would be to make the delicious Chinese Pork Buns we were enjoying at the time. And I committed to have a go myself :)
Shall I now let you into a little secret? Having thought they would be completely tricky to make, they're actually pretty simple. And yummy. And the satisfaction from making them yourself... I did cheat a little though. I was chatting to our local butcher the other day about how to make the meat filling and he convinced me that I should invest in a jar of ready-made Char Siu Sauce (I used the Lee Kum Kee brand as it was available in my local supermarket). I um'd and ah'd about not making it myself, but I wanted to see how successful the process was first - and actually the sauce is so delicious that I would definitely use it again!
The start of the process is preparing the meat. I used 300g pork loins and marinaded them with the sauce for an hour (a lot of recipes suggest overnight so you could also do this if you prefer). Then I popped them in the oven and cooked them for around 25 mins. When they were cooked I smothered them in more of the marinade (I swear if you try this stuff, you'll want to use as much as possible!) and left it to cool down. Then cut it into cubes. You can do this the day before. When I came to use the meat, I felt it still a little chunky so I blitzed it in the food processor for 30 seconds to break it down a little more and the texture was perfect for these buns.
The making of the dough is pretty simple. There are recipes with yeast but I decided to work with one from taste.com.au which makes the dough from flour, baking powder, caster sugar, salt, water and vegetable oil. All very simple and after mixing together the dry ingredients, you add the water and oil and stir them together until you have a sticky dough. Knead this for around 5 mins on a lightly floured surface and you have your lovely bun dough. It needs to be refrigerated for an hour and then it's ready to use.
When you come to make your buns, the dough should make around 10 average size buns so I worked out the total weight and then calculated how much dough each required to make 10 of them. Then you want to lightly flour the surface and roll each dough portion out to a 12cm round. The dough of the first buns I steamed were a little thick so do try to roll them out as thinly as possible. The buns also dry out quickly so cover them with cling film whilst you roll out the others. Place a dollop of meat in the middle of the circle and then pull up the sides to make the bun, pinching the dough at the top.
I steamed my pork buns with a bamboo steamer. One of these over a pan filled with 1/3 boiling water and cook them for around 15 mins. As my meat was pre-cooked I didn't have to worry about it being cooked properly, but you want to ensure that the buns are fully cooked by inserting a bamboo skewer in the middle which should come out clean.
These buns take a little more effort than buying them ready-made, but they really are delicious and you can flavour them however you like. I used a lot of the Char Sui Sauce as I really loved the flavour of it and of course, you can use any meat or vegetables you like in them.
So next time, you're thinking of a chinese meal, these will go perfectly with your stir fry, beef in black bean sauce or egg fried rice! They are also very filling so would be great for a family meal too. A little more preparation required but well worth the effort and I think pretty impressive too :)
Chinese Pork Buns Make 10 (adapted from taste.com.au)
- 300G PORK LOIN
- 1 JAR OF CHAR SUI SAUCE
- 250G PLAIN FLOUR
- 2½ TSP BAKING POWDER
- 55G CASTER SUGAR
- PINCH OF SALT
- 1 TSP SALT
- 118 ML WARM WATER
- 2 TBSP VEGETABLE OIL
- Prepare the pork loin by marinating it in 3 tbsp of the Char Sui Sauce from 1 hour to 24 hours (at your discretion) and then cooking it according to its weight
- When it's cooked, chop it into small pieces and mix through another 2 tbsp Char Sui Sauce (if you want finer pieces of meat, which I recommend, blitz it for 30 seconds in the food processor)
- To make the dough, sift the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, sugar and salt) in a bowl
- Gradually add the oil mixed with warm water, stirring it until you have a soft dough
- Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth
- Wrap in cling film for at least an hour
- When you're ready to make the pork buns, divide the dough into 10 portions
- Roll each portion out to a 12cam round, making sure to roll this as thinly as possible
- Place a heaped teaspoon of meat into the centre of the round
- Pull up the sides of the round until you have formed a little bun and then pinch the dough on top to seal the bun
- Fill a saucepan with 1/3 water and bring this to the boil
- Place the buns in a bamboo steamer lined with baking paper over the saucepan of boiling water (make sure the water doesn't touch the steamer)
- Cook for 15 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean
- Keep warm whilst you make the other buns and then enjoy them fresh, warm and tasty :)