Steak and Beetroot Salad


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This week’s post is a perfect winter salad. Fresh but robust. It combines the wintery flavours of roasted beetroot and peppery steak with fresh baby spinach leaves.

Steak, Spinach and Roasted Beetroot SaladSteak and Beetroot Salad

  • Preheat the oven to 170C
  • Peel and chop the beetroot into halves
  • Add to a baking tray and season with sea salt (works well with sea salt infused with chilli), fresh lemon thyme and unpeeled garlic cloves
  • Bake for 1hr 25 mins, turning every 25 minutes
  • Just before the beetroot is ready, season the rump steak with salt, pepper and olive oil
  • Heat a frying pan on full heat and when very hot add the steak. I generally, cook mine for two minutes on both sides depending on the thickness
  • Take out the steak and rest for at least the same amount of time as it cooked for. Then slice into strips
  • Meanwhile wash the baby spinach and add to a bowl. Add 1/2 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar and mix through. Then add the the roasted beetroot, garlic (take out of their skins) and steak

Steak, Spinach and Roasted Beetroot SaladOn Friday I took a rather adventurous walk from Waterloo to London Bridge in the snow. These are some of the pictures I took of the snowy southbank. London was deserted, providing an eerie feeling on the walk along the river Thames. Despite the freezing conditions, you can’t doubt the magical quality London has, even when the snow has set in.

london and snow


Paprika Roasted Chickpeas


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This week’s post is a fantastic bar snack. Easy to make and sure to impress, it works well with beer, cocktails or even as a substitute to popcorn. Smoked paprika provides a warming heat and combined with the crispy shell makes this snack incredibly addictive!

Healthy Bar Snacks

Paprika Roasted Chickpeas

  • Preheat the oven to 150C
  • Drain a tin of chickpeas and rinse thoroughly
  • Empty the chickpeas into a bowl
  • You will notice that the chickpeas have a skin on. I prefer to remove these and have found the best technique is to gently pinch/roll the individual chickpea between your finger and thumb
  • Place the skinned chickpeas in a clean bowl
  • Add 1 tablespoon of smoked paprika, generous pinch of rock salt, twist of black pepper and 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • Mix well and pour on to a baking tray. Make sure the chickpeas are spread evenly
  • Place in the oven for around 30 minutes, checking and turning regularly
  • The chickpeas should take around 30 minutes to cook and be crispy throughout

Healthy Bar Snacks RecipesI recently visited Tate Modern, UK’s leading modern art collection housed in an old power plant on the Southbank. Highlights included visiting the Tate Tanks, a space of performance art located in converted underground oil tanks as well as the William Klein and Daido Moriyama photographic exhibition.

One of my favorite bars in London is located on level 6, with stunning views over the City of London and Thames, it’s hard to find a better place to enjoy a glass of something! Do you have a favourite bar with a view?

William Klein, William Kendrige, Tate Tanks

Gluten Free Chocolate Nut Biscotti


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I’ve been munching my way through buckets of Christmas nuts, but I still have a small mountain remaining. With this in mind, I set about making a tasty gluten free nutty treat. I am using pistachios and almonds but you could use others. This recipe is easy to make, keeps well and so satisfying.
Gluten Free Chocolate Nut Biscotti

  • Preheat the oven to 180C and grease and oven tray
  • If using whole pistachios, shell and remove the outer skin, by placing the nuts in a tupperwear and shaking vigorously to produce 1/2 cup worth.
  • Whisk 220g caster sugar with two eggs, add 250g sifted gluten free plain flour, one teaspoon baking powder, one tablespoon cocoa powder and stir
  • Add the shelled pistachios and half a cup of flaked almonds and mix gently
  • Flour a surface and leaving 1/4 of the mixture aside, roll the remaining mixture into a roll and flatten gently. Do the same with the remaining portion but place on the top, to form a squarish pyramid
  • Bake for thirty minutes then cool for 15 minutes. Using a bread knife cut diagonally and place slices on a non-greased tray
  • Reduce over to 150C and cook for 20 minutes, turning halfway
  • Reduce the oven to 150C

On New Year’s Day I had a long stroll through muddy Hampstead Heath. The dogs all looked like half pints of Guinness and everyone was wearing their wellies.

hampstead heathAfter getting back into the warm, what was needed was a strong cup of tea and some gluten free chocolate nut biscotti!

Chilli Beetroot Thins


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I love vegetable crisps, but in my circle there is always a race to the beetroot ones, expertly dodging the parsnip, carrot and potato crisps, hoping that the others don’t notice! Something needed to be done, and so the recipe below solves the squabbles.

Beetroot crisps

Chilli Beetroot Thins – enough for a small sharing bowl

  • Preheat oven to 200C
  • Peel one beetroot and thinly slice
  • Using paper towel remove excess moisture. Then add to a bowl with a a teaspoon of olive oil, rock salt and chilli flakes
  • In a single layer place on a baking tray for 40 minutes. Check and turn halfway through the cooking time

Beetroot crisps recipeI love the vibrancy of beetroot. It looks stunning raw as well as cooked. Although always a chore to clean my hands after cooking, it’s always worth it. Below are some other vibrant red colour samples.

Red Theme

Gluten Free Corn Cakes


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I was having a lazy day, the rain was falling hard and I had nothing to eat. I was left in a quandary. Thankfully, staring longingly at my cupboards really does pay off. I managed to find a hidden jar of sweet corn, some sweet chilli dipping sauce and an egg. Combined with some spices and rice flour, gluten free corn cakes rescued me from stepping outside into the wet weather.

Gluten Free Corn Cakes Recipe

Gluten Free Corn Cakes – makes twelve

  • In a bowl combine one egg with 1/2 cup of rice flour
  • Add 1 teaspoon of ground cumin, 1 teaspoon of curry powder, 1 teaspoon of salt and 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder to the bowl. Finally add 1/2 cup of water and mix into a batter
  • Drain one tin of corn (275g) and add to the batter, mixing well
  • Heat groundnut oil in a small frying pan
  • When hot add a tablespoon of mixture to the pan and cook on both sides until golden brown
  • Best served with sweet chilli dipping sauce

Gluten Free Corn CakesThe crispness of the sweet corn works beautifully with the chilli dipping sauce. When London finally stopped raining, I took this snap of Tower bridge:

Tower Hill, London

Fresh Orange Jelly with Lime Cream


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It feels like the run up to Christmas goes hand in hand with the enormous consumption of oranges, clementines and tangerines. I can’t resist making this fantastic and fun dessert. The freshness of the orange compliments the zingy lime cream perfectly.  It’s particularly great after a heavy main course.

Orange Juice Jelly with Lime CreamFresh Orange Jelly with Lime Cream

  • Start by juicing 5 large oranges to produce 400ml of fresh orange juice
  • Strain for pips and pulp
  • Add 100ml of the orange juice to a pan with 2tsp of powdered gelatine and stand for five minutes
  • Add 2 tbsp of caster sugar and heat on a low heat until dissolved. Watch carefully!
  • Turn off the heat and add the remaining orange juice. Stir
  • Pour into dishes and cool to room temperature
  • Move to the fridge until set – around 2hrs

This recipe reminds me of the many orange trees scattered around Spain, particularly in Andalusia.

toledo, malaga and sevilla

Homemade Mayonnaise with White Asparagus and Bonito Tuna


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This week I have had a few days away from the office. I put it to good use, dealing with all those tasks that I’ve had on my to do list for months, including sorting through my photo album. I came across photos from a short trip to Lille, France and my last minute supermarket dash before boarding the eurostar for St Pancras. I was desperate to find some white asparagus, which I can’t seem to find in London.

Homemade Mayonnaise, white asparagus and bonito tuna recipeHomemade Mayonnaise with White Asparagus and Bonito Tuna

  • Combine two egg yolks with a pinch of salt and 1 teaspoon of dijon mustard
  • Carefully whisking, add a small amount of olive oil until combined. Repeat this process until 1/4 cup of olive oil is incorporated
  • To serve, add the drained white asparagus, bonito tuna and mayonnaise to a plate and dig in!

mayonnaise recipeI am finally using my last jar of white asparagus. I am pairing it with another foreign supermarket ingredient – bonito del norte tuna. The homemade mayonnaise acts as a perfect joiner for the sweetness of the white asparagus and the richness of the tuna.

Lille, FranceDo you search foreign supermarkets for missing ingredients? What’s on your list?

Spiced Red Lentil Soup


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I had an accident.  I was aiming to make dhal but instead my cooking metamorphised into spiced red lentil soup. I have no regrets, it was delicious and I have been eating it non stop. The warming soup is perfect for acclimatising to winter (see my previous post regarding season denial).

Spiced Red Lentil Soup Recipe

Spiced Red Lentil Soup

  • In a pan with boiling water, add one cup of red lentils. Cooked until ready, about 15 minutes
  • In the meantime, chop one onion and add to a frying pan with oil (I used groundnut but you could use olive oil) on low heat.
  • Once the onion has softened add 1 teaspoon of ground cumin, 1 teaspoon of ground coriander, 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric and 1 teaspoon of curry powder
  • Season with salt and pepper and continue to cook on a low heat
  • Once the red lentils are ready, drain and add to the frying pan. Stir through and add 1 cup of vegetable stock to the pan
  • After five minutes take off the heat and serve. I like mine with papads but poppadoms or chapatis also work well.

Spiced Red Lentil Soup RecipeRecent images of autumn leaves taken on my way to work.

Raspberry and Kiwi Pavlova


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This week I’m in denial. Even though in London we are approaching winter, I still can’t believe summer has passed. This is probably due to this years ‘summer’ being non existent in the UK. All week I have been eating summery meals – from delicate salads to ice cream. This week’s post is one of summers ultimate desserts, a raspberry and kiwi pavlova. Designed for two to share it’s perfect for anytime of the year.

raspberry and kiwi pavlova recipeRaspberry and Kiwi Pavlova

  • Preheat the oven to 140C. Using baking paper, create the circle template and turn over. I tend to draw two 18cm circles which will give me two pavlovas (two generous portions) and enough mixture to make half a dozen small pavlova bites. However, you can make a giant pavlova for six based on a 24cm diameter circle
  • To make the basic meringue, start by whisking 4 egg whites/8 tablespoons of egg white in a bowl.
  • Once the mixture has turned into hard peaks add 115g caster sugar and mix until a thick glossy mixture
  • In a separate dish mix 1 tablespoon of cornflour with 1 tablespoon of white wine vinegar until well combined.
  • Then add a further 115g caster sugar, a teaspoon of vanilla bean paste and the cornflour mixture to the bowl and combine.
  • Carefully spoon the mixture on to the baking paper. Start by creating a base and then build up the mixture around the sides
  • Place in the oven for 30 minutes on 140C and then reduced to 120C for another 30 minutes. Turn off the oven and leave for another 30 minutes before taking out.
  • To assemble, spoon extra thick double cream/whipping cream on to the top of the pavlova. Add raspberries and kiwis and serve.

I have tried to keep the recipe as simple as possible. You can add flavours to the cream or make a fruit syrup but I find this too sweet for me.

raspberry and kiwi pavlovaI know I have to say goodbye to summer, time to embrace the remaining autumn colours and enjoy rustic heart warming meals, but today I just need to remember the brightness of summer.