Friday, 3 April 2015

Bacon & Tomato Breakfast Cake

Breakfast is my favourite meal of the day so the more excuses I have to eat breakfast foods morning, noon and night the happier I will be.

If you know you will be enjoying a night out on the town and these savory cakes can be made the day before and cooked when needed, making them the perfect lazy brunch for those of us that might be feeling slightly fragile the morning after.

  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 200g (1 cup) bacon lardons (you can use bacon rashers, gamon or pancetta as an alternative)
  • 500g (2 cups) stiff mashed potatoes
  • 2 diced plum tomatoes, deseeded
  • 1 tablespoon chopped chives
  • flour for shaping
  • 30g butter
  • 1 or 2 eggs per person


  • Heat 1/2 tablespoon of oil in a frying pan and fry the bacon until brown. Set aside and pat dry with kitchen paper.
  • Place the mashed potato into a large mixing bowl with the tomatoes chives and bacon, season to taste and mix well.
  • Lightly flour a work surface and shape to mixture into either 4 large or 6 medium sized cakes. Place on a floured tray and refrigerate for 15 minutes.
  • Heat the remaining oil in the frying pan and fry the cakes for 2 minutes on each side or until nicely crisp and browned and hot.
  • Serve topped with a poached egg (or fried) and a side of beans, maybe treat yourself to some gorgeous fresh bread as well to mop up that egg yolk.

Monday, 30 March 2015

Triple Chocolate Chip & Caramel Cookies

One of my favourite parts of my job is taking my bakes in for my colleagues to enjoy, and these cookies are guaranteed to satisfy, assuming that I haven't eaten them all by then! They are everything that you expect from a cookie and more, the crispy edge, gooey centre the flavor of white, milk and dark chocolate melting together in your mouth. So many times I find cookies can become boring quickly but with the pinch of salt cutting through the sweetness of the caramel and chocolate they keep me coming back for more.

If you're going to follow any advice from this recipe let it be this; REFRIGERATE YOUR COOKIE DOUGH FOR AT LEAST 1 HOUR BEFORE BAKING!!!!

The butter in your mixture needs to be super cold when in goes in the oven, the longer you leave it the better the texture and flavour will turn out.

  • 175g (1 cup) brown sugar
  • 165g (3/4) caster sugar
  • 150g (2/3 cup) unsalted butter
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • 225g (1 1/2 cups) plain flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 100g milk chocolate chips
  • 100g white chocolate chips
  • 100g dark chocolate chips
  • 1 packet of rolo chocolates cut in half
This really is as satisfying as it looks.

  • Place the brown and caster sugar in a bowl with the butter and vanilla extract and beat for 8-10 minutes until the mixture is pale and fluffy. Add the egg and beat until well combined.. Add the flour salt and baking powder and mix to form a dough. Fold in the chocolate chips.
  • Roll 1 tablespoon of cookie dough into a ball and place on a lightly floured surface or greased baking tray and flatten down slightly whilst making a deeper indent in the centre for the rolo to be placed. Place 1 half of a rolo in the centre of each cookie, take another tablespoon of cookie dough and place on top forming a "lid" on each cookie. 
  • Place the cookies in the fridge to chill for a minimum of 1 hour, but overnight is ideal.
  • Preheat the oven to 160C (325F). Bake for 10-12 minutes, until the edges are golden. The cookies will still be soft in the centre so allow to cool on the tray before moving them.

Sunday, 29 March 2015

Mint Chocolate Ice Cream

My kitchen is full of gadgets that I never make the most out of. I've had an ice cream machine for at least 15 years and I must have used it about 4 times in those years. I've made a rather belated New Years Resolution to rediscover those less used kitchen gadgets.

This recipe is by The Icecreamists, creators of the infamous breast milk ice cream and will make 500ml of ice cream, and don't worry, this recipe uses milk of the cow variety.


  • 250ml (1 cup) full fat milk
  • 125ml (1/2 cup) double cream
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 88g (1/3 cup) caster sugar
  • 150g (2/3 cup) dark chocolate fondant mints e.g After Eights


  • Pour the milk and cream into a large saucepan and heat gently, stirring occasionally, until the mixture begins to steam.
  • Meanwhile, whisk the egg yolks in a heatproof bowl and add the sugar until the mixture is pale and slightly fluffy. Slowly pour the hot milk into the egg mixture, whisk continuously to prevent the eggs from scrambling. Return the mixture to the saucepan and stir frequently over a low heat until the mixture thickens and coats the back of a wooden spoon.
  • Pour the mixture back into the bowl and set aside to cook to room temperature. This will take about 30 minutes, or to speed up the process place the bowl in a sink half filled with cold water and ice. Never place the hot mixture in the fridge.
  • Whilst the mixture is cooling melt 120g (1/2 cup) of the chocolate mints in a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water.
  • Once the ice cream mixture is cooled add the melted chocolate mints and blend with a stick blender. Refrigerate until the mixture is 4C (39F), this will take a minimum of 6 hours.
  • Pour the mixture into an ice cream machine and churn according to the manufacturer's instructions.

TIP If you don't have an ice cream machine place the mixture in a freezer proof container, cover with a lid and place in the freezer for 50 minutes. Remove from the freezer and whisk to remove any ice crystals, place back into the freezer for 2-3 hours, removing it every 30 minutes to whisk. Finally leave until completely frozen.

  • When the churning is complete roughly chop the remaining chocolate mints and fold them into the ice cream.
  • Place the ice cream into a freezer proof container and freeze until it reaches the desired consistency.

Saturday, 28 March 2015

Strawberry & Passionfruit Pavlova

Spring is definitely on it's way and there is no better way to welcome in the warmer weather than with this pavlova. (I hope I'm not speaking too soon regarding the weather).

Meringues can take a long time to cook and need even longer to cool so make sure you leave enough time to make this. I made the mistake of making my meringue on a Sunday afternoon when I needed the oven immediately after to make my Sunday roast. This meant that my meringue cooled to quickly, causing it to crack.
You can make the meringue the day before and store it overnight in an airtight container and top it with the cream and fruit on the day of use.

This recipe has been adapted from Donna Hay's "Classic Pavlova".

  • 150ml egg white (approx 4 egg whites)
  • 220g (1 cup) caster sugar
  • 250ml (1 cup) double cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • pulp from 2 passion fruits 
  • 200g strawberries
  • optional: food colouring paste
  • Preheat the oven to 150C (300F). Place the egg whites in an electric mixer of a large bowl and whisk the egg whites until the form stiff peaks. Add the sugar gradually 1 tablespoon at a time. Wait at least 10 seconds in-between each spoonful. Once all of the sugar is added continue to whisk until the meringue mix is smooth and glossy.
TIP To check that the meringue is thoroughly whisked, rub a small amount in-between your thumb and forefinger, it shouuld feel smooth to the touch. If you can feel small grains of sugar in the meringue continue whisking.
  • Spoon the meringue onto a lined baking tray so that it form an 18cm (7 inch) circle. Turn the oven temperature down to 120C (250F) and bake for 1 hour 30 minutes (DO NOT OPEN THE OVEN DOOR FOR THE FIRST 45MINUTES OF COOKING!)
  • After the allotted cooking time switch off the oven and leave the meringue to cool completely inside the oven. 
TIP  If your meringue cools too quickly this is when cracks will form (like mine). 

  • Once the meringue has cooled place the cream and vanilla extract in a bowl and whisk, until it forms soft peaks. At this point you can use a pallete knife or the handle end of a spoon to cut a tiny amount of food colouring paste through the cream forming a ripple effect.
  • Place the cream ontop of the meringue along with the strawberries and passionfruit.
  • Devour immediately.

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Maple & Cinnamon Granola

Since coming back from America I've been trying, and failing, to get on the healthy eating band wagon. There's something about those sweet, sugary, subtly spicy flavours that is just so addictive. This recipe definitely satisfies those sugary cravings and because it is packed full of oats, nuts and seeds leaves me feeling full after only a small bowl. 

The beauty of this recipe is that if you don't like a particular ingredient you can substitute it for an alternative or leave it out completely.

  • 125ml (1/2 cup) maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ginger
  • 300g (1 1/4cups) oats
  • 100g (1/3 cup) flaked almonds
  • 50g (1/4 cup) pumpkin seeds
  • 4 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • 100g( 1/3 cup) sultanas
  • Preheat the oven to 150C 300F and line a baking tray with parchment.
  • Mix the syrup, honey, oil and vanilla extract in a large bowl with the cinnamon and ginger. Add he oats, almonds, and pumpkin and sesame seeds and mix until well combined. Pour onto the baking tray and bake for 15 minutes
  • Remove from the oven and mix in the sultanas. Place back in oven for another 15 minutes.
  • When the mixture is golden brown remove from the oven and leave to cool (it will become crisp and crunchy once cooled).
  • Store in an airtight container.

One of my favourite things about granola is, like your ability to play around with the ingredients, I enjoy eating it in so many different ways. On it's own with milk, with Greek yogurt and fruit compote or just grab a handful and shove it in! 

I eat it for any given meal of the day, and sometimes in-between, and I don't even like sultanas, but after 15 minutes in the oven they become even more sweet and so deliciously chewy I can't resist. It will keep for over 2 weeks in an air tight container, but I can't guarantee that it will last that long.

Sunday, 22 March 2015

Summer Spatchcock Chicken

The sun has started breaking through and slightly warmer weather leaves me wanting an alternative to a traditional British Sunday lunch.

I finally decided to try spatchcocking a chicken after years of fearing that I might muck it up, and vegetarians beware, whilst the process is simple it is one of the more gruesome food preps there is.


  • 1 whole chicken
  • 60ml (1/4 cup) red wine vinegar
  • 60ml (1/4 cup) olive oil
  • 3 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 sprig of fresh rosemary
  • salt and pepper


  • Begin by spatchcocking the chicken. Remove the chicken from the packaging and remove any strings that may be holding the legs together. Turn the chicken over so that it is breast side down and it's legs are facing towards you. Using sharp scissors cut closely along either side of the backbone and remove.
  • Flip the chicken over so that it is now breast side up and press down firmly, flattening the chicken.
  • Place the vinegar, olive oil, garlic, oregano and rosemary into a bowl and mix until well combined.
  • With the chicken in a roasting pan cover with the mixure, and rub in ensuring that the chicken is well coated. 
  • Leave the chicken to marinadefor 1-2 hours. Preheat the oven to 200C (400F). Place the chicken in the hot oven and roast allowing 20-25 minutes per 500g. Spoon the juices over the chicken every 20-30 minutes.

    e.g. a 2 kilo chicken will need 1hour 20 minutes - 1hour 40 minutes
  • Make sure the chicken is cooked through before serving.

With some salad and new potatoes, I think this will be a firm favourite meal.

Monday, 16 March 2015

Beetroot & Horseradish Soup

We all know that soups are a healthy and filling meal, but can so often taste and look pretty boring. Not only is this soup the prettiest you will ever lay your eyes on, it is by far the tastiest soup you will ever try (and I say this as someone who didn't like beetroot for 25 years).


  • 1 white onion
  • 1 small potato
  • 2 large parsnips
  • 1 litre of vegetable stock (I like to use Swiss vegetable Bullion powder)
  • 3 large beetroot diced
  • 7 tablespoons of sour cream
  • a pinch of ground ginger 
  • 2 tablespoons of horseradish cream
  • seasoning to taste
  • rocket (arugula) leaves for garnishing


  • Heat the onion over a medium heat in a large saucepan until softened.
  • Add the potato and parsnips and cover with the vegetable stock. Bring to the boil and simmer for 15 minutes or until the vegetables are soft.
  • Place the beetroot in the pan and blitz the mixture until smooth (I like to precook the beetroot as it helps give the soup a bright vivid pink colour). Because of the structure of beetroot don't expect the soup to be as smooth as other vegetable soups.
  • Add the sour cream, ginger and horseradish and mix until incorporated. 
  • Season to taste and serve hot, topped with a small rocket nest.



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