Detox Days – the Beginning

Re-training your taste buds to be excited about what is often referred to as “Rabbit food”can be very challenging… Take Me for example – if the food is not fatty, meaty, gooey and lush, don’t even talk to me about it, let alone make me eat it! But a time comes (let me get that rant out of the way again) when you have to watch what you put in your body and very unfortunately for me that time is NOW! Luckily the healthy food movement is massive right now and if one wants to eat good, one can truly do and also enjoy it! All you need to do is turn on the telly – thank you Jamie Oliver! or open a foodie magazine and you are on your way to a better, healthier lifestyle.I do have my reservations though – don’t get me wrong – I am very

Fat Sunday

I honestly am one of those people (it runs in the family, totally NOT my fault) that starts a Diet with a capital “D”every Monday…..and is already off the wagon, latest come Thursday. Friday I’m already on full swing; “who cares how I look, I love food far, far, far too much to give it up”, easing myself into dreaming of what goodies I’m gonna put on the table over the weekend. But this time I’m gonna do it! (hah, you have to see the look I gave myself…) There are so many programs on telly lately about eating well while eating healthy, and although I am a very greedy bugger when it comes to food, I am also getting on in years and have to start being sensible in terms of what I shove in my gob on daily basis….or so they tell me (my arse and my expanding

Tart Queen

Tarts are my new obsession! I’ve been stuck in the kitchen for the last 2 weeks filling pastry cases with an array of weird and wonderful savoury combinations and just can not get enough of trying new flavours. The latest one – baked fennel, shallot and pear – I’m particularly fond (and proud) of, so thought I’d share it with you Tarts are great filling little treats to eat on the go or take to friends for lunch or a picnic (indoors from now on, English Summer is a long gone memory…) Best eaten as soon as they come out of the oven but will also keep for a few days in the fridge. Pop your head in every hour or so, warm up or enjoy cold till the whole batch has disappeared! Here are a few of my fav’s from the week, before I get to the recipe of

Runner on top!

I’m forever oven baking veggies. Reason? Obviously veg are good for you (so they tell me) and that’s pretty much the only way you’ll catch me eating a plateful, but also roasting brings out the best out of vegetables – their natural sweetness, which helps develop their taste way better than any other cooking method. Added bonus; the aroma that fills your home is absolutely divine. Anyone walking in instantly turns into a slivering, wide eyed kid. Yup, the smell takes you home I have a go to, simple but effective “marinade” to any old veg that get in front of my eyes (and into my oven) and trust me, it works every time: 1 tsp Sea salt 1 tsp crushed Rainbow peppercorns, 4-5 sprigs fresh Thyme Pinch of Chilli flakes 1 tsp Cumin seeds 4-5 tbsp Rapeseed oil 1 tbsp Honey + 1 tsp Balsamic vinegar reduction for drizzling halfway

Leftovers rule! Chic on a Morocco trip

I am still in a mood to talk about leftovers and all the fabulous dishes you can create with odd bits of “scraps”. Today I’m unleashing my “little” brother into the kitchen to take yesterdays pulled chicken on a Moroccan trip (dare not think about the state he will leave it in, but hey, all great cooks have quirks! He requires an army of cleaners to follow his every move!) I can see he’s dragged out pretty much everything.. including the kitchen sink, but let’s follow closely and see what happens; I know that smirk and it usually spells Let’s see, that’s an impressive ingredient list! Yesterdays pulled chicken, speck, chorizo, red and yellow onion, garlic, lemon, capers, anchovies, tomato & herb sauce, ginger paste, parsley, chives, Harissa, cumin seeds, Moroccan rope petal salt, tortillas and a pot of greek set yoghurt (hiding behind the scenes) He starts by

Leftovers rule! The mighty Lasagna.

In the last post I talked about cooking and freezing sauces and stocks for later use, easing your “cook load” and managing food waste better. In this one I’d like to tell you about my love affair with leftovers. Yes leftovers – sounds almost like a dirty word…. I come from a rather frugal cooking background and my gran (especially) never, ever threw cooked food away. She would come up with all sorts of concoctions, time and time again, until everything was used up to the last bite. It stuck in my memory that at the very end (3 or 4 chain-meals later, she was very inventive!) the scraps of the final meal would inevitably end up in a breakfast omelet. “Eggs are the perfect vessel, she’d say, you can never go wrong with eggs” I have to admit, some of the tastiest meals I’ve had as a child and

Back to basics – hearty tomato sauce

A lot of recipes require a seriously good foundation that you can build on, Be it a rich stock, a fragrant spice mix or a flavorsome sauce, a “base” is something you cannot go without and will need time and time again. I am in habit of frequently creating and cooking bases in large batches, then portioning and freezing for when needed. My freezer looks like a cabinet out of a chemistry lab; filled to the brink with clear plastic bags containing all sorts of colorful liquids. I find it much easier to freeze in zip-up bags rather than in boxes – first of all I can more or less see what’s inside (labeling is still a must though, even if only for time’s keep) second, separating into smaller portions works so much better – you only defrost what you need (have you ever tried to break off half a

Crispy chilli beef me up

Living in London for so many years has made me very lazy and well accustomed to the ease of obtaining take out food. There is a vast array of cuisines, from the comfortably familiar to the wildly exotic, right on your doorstep. And they all deliver – it’s the norm! You are never further than a forty minute gap from hungry to satisfied. Living in a small Cornish town is a different story altogether… I love the laid back, much much slower paste of life and the relaxing “forever on holiday” feel. I love shopping local and bringing home fab quality seasonal, Cornish grown, reared or caught produce. The only downside is that if you are in a lazy, mid-week, it’s raining outside mood and fancy a take-out, you have to put on your jogging shoes and go get it yourself… Problem is I usually get my cravings (wrongly) at

Herby burgers

There is so much to be said about making your own burgers! Ones you’ve tried, nothing can ever make you go back to buying pre-made, supermarket “God knows what’s in them”, melt and “halve-their-size-on-the-barbie” cardboard tasting generic patties. You can experiment with flavours, textures, smells…the combinations are endless and the rewards massive. Add spices, go OTT with veggies, crack an egg in, chop a mountain of herbs..go wild! It is essential to start with seriously good quality mince with a medium-high fat content. The fat will give you a juicy patty, no doubt about that! I usually go half pure red meat (beef or venison fillet) and half pork (neck or even belly) I love mincing the meat myself but if time is of an essence, I choose cuts at the butchers and get them to mince them for me on-site. That way I know exactly what goes in everyone’s

Planning for a lazy weekend….

For the first time in a long while I am about to have a lazy, me-an-baby-daughter weekend! No work, no guests, no trips planned…and the weather promises to be pleasant enough..perfect! We can get outa bed after 10, make pancakes, lounge about sofa bound and watch back to back Peppa Pig for two days solid! (if you’ve got a toddler you’d understand….Peppa is well addictive!) And for me, lazing around the house always involves serious snacking. I’ve got a massive “cheese” tooth and a block of beautify matured Spanish Manchego has been eyeing me from the fridge for the last couple of days, eager to come out and play. “Lightbulb” moment….I can see a tasty treat shaping up right in front of my eyes… Most of my recipes evolve like this; I see an ingredient that takes my fancy and start searching (either in my kitchen or in the shops )