Simple mushroom soup

25g butter

250g closed cup mushrooms, sliced

1 clove garlic, crushed

1/4 tsp salt

Pepper to taste

200ml white wine

400ml vegetable stock

100ml double cream

– Melt the butter in a medium sized pan. Add a small splash of olive oil to stop it catching.

– Add the mushrooms, garlic, salt and pepper. Cook until soft and browned.

– Add the white wine and vegetable stock.

– Blend with a stick blender until your desired level of smooth. (I like bits in my soup but if you want a totally smooth soup you’ll need to decant into a liquidiser and blend in that then resume cooking.)

– Bring the soup to a boil then turn down to a simmer.

– Add the cream and heat gently until the edges are bubbling.

– Serve hot with bread and butter.

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Filed under Basic, Easy, Gluten Free, quick, Starters

Japanese Simmered Pumpkin (Kabocha no nimono)

1/2 Japanese pumpkin (kabocha)

3 tbsp sugar

1/2 tsp salt

2 tbsp mirin

1 tbsp soy sauce

– Deseed the pumpkin and roughly peel (leave some bits of peel there). Chop into large chunks.

– Place skin side down in a large pan and just cover with water. Bring to a boil.

– Add the sugar and salt and simmer on a low heat until the liquid is half reduced.

– Add the mirin and soy sauce and continue to simmer until the liquid is reduced in half again.

– Either serve warm or leave to cool completely.

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Filed under Dairy Free, Easy, Japanese, Mains, Sides

Pommes Anna Recipe

For a dish that bears my name this took me an embarrassingly long time to get right. I would have potatoes swimming in butter or too crisp to eat without worrying about your fillings. These little stacked Pommes Anna finally hit that sweet spot between buttery and crispy and look fab for what is actually minimal effort. You can do a lot of the prep beforehand in assembling the stacks in the muffin tin if you want to prepare these in advance and then just pop them in the oven when ready so good for dinner parties!

6-8 new potatoes (waxy)

125g unsalted butter

1 clove garlic, crushed

1/2 tsp sea salt

Cracked black pepper

Fresh thyme sprigs

– Heat the oven to gas mark 6.

– Use a mandolin or very sharp knife to slice the potatoes into 1/8” slices. Put in a small mixing bowl.

– Melt the butter in a small saucepan.

– Brush the insides of six muffin tins with melted butter.

– Place a small sprig of thyme in the bottom of each muffin cup.

– Add the garlic to the melted butter and remove the leaves from the remaining thyme sprigs and add those too.

– Gently heat until fragrant.

– Pour the butter over the potatoes. Add salt and pepper to season and toss gently.

– Place the sliced potatoes carefully in the muffin tins. You want to arrange them so that they will look good when turned out. Press down firmly in the centre.

– Pour the remaining butter over the potatoes.

– Cover the muffin tray with foil and bake in the oven for 35 minutes.

– Place a large oven dish over the muffin tin and carefully flip over so that the potato stacks come out intact. If any fall apart you can push them back into shape.

– Place the oven dish back in the oven and bake for another 10 minutes until the stacks look nice and crispy on the edges.

– Serve hot.

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Filed under Moderately easy, Sides

Japanese Egg Salad Sandwich

From time to time I find myself craving the food I had in Japan. Sometimes it’s the simplest of things, like this Japanese egg salad sandwich. Because even though you’d think there isn’t much wiggle room in how to make egg salad you’d be amazed what a difference a few little tweaks make. I think the biggest difference is that the egg is mashed, not chopped and the mayonnaise must by kewpie for a truly authentic taste. The pinch of salt adds that little je ne sais quoi that makes this run of the mill sandwich spectacularly moreish!

For one sandwich:

2 hard boiled eggs

2tbsp kewpie Japanese mayonnaise

Pinch of salt

Soft salted butter

Two slices white bread

– Put the eggs, mayonnaise and salt in a bowl and mash with a fork until there are no large chunks. You could even use a food processor to get it even smoother (some conbini do) but I prefer a little texture.

– Spread the bread with butter and add the egg mix. This should be a well filled sandwich! (Though factors such as egg size and bread size will affect it, you may find this makes two less well filed sandwiches if using smaller bread.)

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Filed under Basic, Easy, Japanese, quick

Pavlova Recipe

4 egg whites

250g caster sugar

1 tsp cornflour

1 tsp white (wine) vinegar

600ml cream

6 tbsp icing sugar

Assorted summer fruits

– Heat the oven to gas mark 4/180°C and live and baking tray.

– In a clean glass bowl whisk the egg whites until full and satiny.

– Add the sugar a spoonful at a time, continuing to whisk until the mixture is stiff and shiny.

– Fold in the cornflour and vinegar.

– Scoop our onto the prepared tray and smooth to create a well in the centre.

– Put the baking tray in the oven and immediately turn the temperature down to gas mark 2/140°C.

– Bake for an hour and a half. Leave to cool in the oven, if using an electric oven open the door a bit.

– When the meringue is cooled prepare your fruit.

– Add the cream and icing sugar to a large mixing bowl and whisk until stiff.

– Split the cream in half and stir chopped fruits through one half.

– Spread the cream with fruit over the meringue.

– Top the fruity cream with the remaining whipped cream. (Doing this means that you get a clean, white topping with no bleed through from the fruits. Feel free to skip this design if you prefer.)

– Decorate the top with good looking fruits.

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Filed under Desserts, Moderately easy

Japanese Potato Salad

You will need Japanese Kewpie mayonnaise for this to taste right but it’s easy to get hold of, either a local Asian supermarket or Amazon will sort you out! I would also advise the chunkiest ham you can get, either go for trimmings or bake a ham joint and use some in this.

2 large floury potatoes

1/2 small tin Sweetcorn, drained

100g ham, chopped

1/2 medium carrot, julienned

1” cucumber, very finely sliced

6 tbsp kewpie mayonnaise

Pinch of salt

– Peel and chop up your potatoes and boil in a large pan of salted water for 20 minutes. Drain and return to the pan, let them air dry for 5 minutes.

– Mash the potatoes until smooth.

– Add your other ingredients and give a good stir through. Eyeball it, if you feel you want different proportions go for it! Alter it to your taste.

– Voila! It’s a Japanese Potato salad!

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Filed under Easy, Japanese, Sides

Childhood Risotto

Thus named because this is the risotto that we had throughout my childhood in the week following a roast chicken dinner as a good way to use up leftovers… it still is!

Serves 4

3 tbsp olive oil
25g butter
2 cloves garlic, crushed
250g arborio rice
150ml white wine

700ml hot chicken stock (make it from the roast chicken carcass if possible)

Leftover cooked chicken (I use the two thighs)

~8 mushrooms, quartered

1 cup frozen peas

100g cold water prawns

1tbsp lemon juice
small knob of butter

– Heat the oven to gas mark 4/180°C.
– Melt the butter, with the olive oil, in a large, deep casserole dish with a lid until just bubbling and foaming.
– Add the garlic and cook on a medium heat for 1 minute.
– Add the rice and cook for about 1 minute, stiring well.
– Add the wine and cook, stiring until the liquid is absorbed.
– Add the hot chicken stock and stir.

– Add the clocked chicken, frozen peas, mushrooms and prawns and give a good stir.

– Add the lemon juice and stir.
– Put the lid on and put the casserole dish and out it in the oven for 35 minutes.

– Remove from the oven give it a good stir and check the rice is to your taste, if it is too al dente (hard) then put it back in for another 5 minutes.

– Add the knob of butter and leave to sit for 5 minutes to melt before storing through and serving.

When I was little I would add soy sauce to it but as I grew older I would add Parmesan and creme fraiche, follow your own taste buds

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Filed under Easy, Gluten Free, Mains

Rhubarb, Strawberry and Orange Crumble

2 stalks rhubarb

~ 6 large strawberries

4 tbsp granulated sugar

Zest of half an orange

100g plain flour

75g light brown sugar

30g porridge oats

Pinch salt

50g butter

– Cut the rhubarb and strawberries into chunks and place in an oven proof dish.

– Zest the orange over the dish and sprinkle with granulated sugar.

– In a small bowl mix the remaining ingredients. Rub together until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs.

– Sprinkle the crumble mix over the fruit.

– Bake at 200°/Gas 6 for 30 minutes until the fruit is bubbling and the topping browned.

– Leave to stand to cool for five minutes before eating. (Boiling sugar is hot!)

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Nigella’s Vegan Chocolate Cake

Posting this here in case the original recipe ever goes away. This is the best chocolate cake ever! Super simple and quick to make and the fact that it’s vegan is just a bonus!

  • 225 g plain flour
  • 1½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1½ tsp instant espresso powder
  • 75 g cocoa
  • 300 g soft dark brown sugar
  • 375 ml hot water from a recently boiled kettle
  • 75 g coconut oil
  • 1½ tsp cider vinegar or white wine vinegar

– Heat the oven to gas mark 4/180°C.

– Grease and dust the inside of a Bundt tin with cocoa powder. (Or silicone round ‘tin’ or mini Bundt tins)

– Combine the flour, bicarb, salt, espresso powder and cocoa powder in a mixing bowl. Make sure there are no lumps.

– Mix the sugar, water, coconut oil and vinegar in a large jug. Again, make sure there are no lumps.

– Combine the wet and dry ingredients. Mix thoroughly and, you guessed it, make sure there are no lumps! Dry bits of flour love to hide!

– Pour the mixture into your prepared tin.

– Bake in the middle of the oven for 30-35 minutes. The centre of the cake should not wobble when it is done.

– Leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes then carefully invert on a wire rack to cool completely. Do not leave in the tin or it is liable to crumble when removing from the tin.

– Ice with a basic chocolate ganache when totally cool. I use 1 part oat cream to two parts dark chocolate for a vegan ganache. Raspberry buttercream is also an excellent icing.

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Easy Garlic Flatbread Recipe

An easy 20 minute flatbread recipe. This is gorgeous, light and fluffy and ready in just 20 minutes!

250g self raising flour

200g Greek yogurt

1/2 tsp baking powder

1 tbsp nigella seeds

Pinch salt

20g butter

1 clove crushed garlic

1/4 tsp dried parsley

– Mix the flour, yogurt, baking powder, nigella seeds and salt in a bowl until a soft dough is formed.

– If possible leave to rest for 20 minutes.

– Divide into four.

– Press or roll into circles.

– Cook on a hot griddle for 1-2 minutes on each side.

– Melt the butter and mix with the garlic and parsley.

-When the flatbreads ad cooked take off the griddle and brush with melted butter on each side.

– Devour!

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