Instead of a starter when I have people over I like to serve nibbles… it takes the pressure off in that I don’t have to make lots of things plus if dinner runs late people don’t go hungry.

I served some really bright green olives, sourdough bread, mozzarella and some beautiful figs.

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Before the main event and my new favourite thing… risotto!

You need;
2 pints stock (chicken, or vegetable) note that if you don’t have fresh buy the best cubes you can find
2 tbsp olive oil
knob of butter
1 large onion, peeled and finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
½ head celery, trimmed and finely chopped
400g risotto rice
2 wine glasses dry white wine
1 small butternut squash, cut into bite sized cubes
salt and freshly ground black pepper
70g butter + more for sage leaves
handful of fresh sage
115g freshly grated Parmesan cheese
150g mascarpone cheese to serve

So…

1. You need to roast the squash pieces first, peel and cut your squash and put in the oven for 30-40 minutes, coat in a little olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

2. Heat the stock.

3. Put the oil and butter in a saucepan, add the onion and garlic and cook very slowly for about 15 minutes without colouring… This is called a soffrito. You want everything to go translucent.

4. Then add the rice and very briefly lightly fry until the edges go a little translucent. Add the wine and keep stirring – it will smell fantastic.

5. Once the wine has cooked into the rice, add your first ladle of hot stock and a good pinch of salt. Turn down the heat to a simmer so the rice doesn’t cook too quickly on the outside.

6. Keep adding ladlefuls of stock, stirring and massaging the creamy starch out of the rice, allowing each ladleful to be absorbed before adding the next. This will take around 15 minutes.

7. Taste the rice to check if it’s cooked. If not, carry on adding stock until the rice is soft but with a slight bite.

8. When the rice is nearly cooked, and just before you add the final ladleful of stock, stir in the butternut squash. Remove from the heat and add the butter, and parmesan.

Season now to your taste…

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Put a lid on the pan and allow to sit for 2 minutes so it gets all creamy. Meanwhile quickly heat up a big knob of butter and fry your sage leaves until it starts to brown.

Serve your risotto with the sage leaves on top and add a cool dollop of mascarpone on top, let it melt into the hot rice… its amazing trust me.

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I served this with a beautiful kale salad, which I will have to share with you soon!

 And my second favourite thing about having friends to dinner? Leftovers! Figs and mozzarella and honey. Yum.

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Breakfast Tacos…

January 15, 2013

Not a recipe, but a breakfast idea…

These are so quick and easy and something a bit different for a weekend breakfast, or a lunch.

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For 2 people you need;
4 corn/flour tortillas
4 eggs
salsa – I made mine with a few tomatoes, red onion, chilli and plenty of coriander
sweetcorn
cheese
sour cream

 

All you need to do is warm your tortilla’s and prepare your salsa in advance, then scramble your eggs and cook.

Add the salsa and corn to the eggs when they are just cooked, then put into your tortilla, add a little sprinkle of grated cheese then dollop some sour cream on top.

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Amazing breakfast and so so quick! 

 

A new favourite in my house. I ate two.

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Hot Sweet Potato Bowl

December 17, 2012

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This dinner was inspired by Sarah Yates at House in the Hills… and is my new favourite.

It’s so delicious and so healthy, and also very filling!

This is the way I had it but you could throw in whatever veggies/salad you have…

You need – for one;
1 sweet potato
1/2 an avocado, chopped
5 cherry tomatoes, halved
1 lime
1 small bunch coriander
1 dollop creme fraiche
plus sea salt and black pepper and ground cumin

1. Roast your sweet potato, coat the skin in a little olive oil and sea salt and pop in a medium to high oven for an hour… this is approximate as the time and temperature will fully depend on the size of your potato… just keep your eye on it after about half an hour.
Wait till the skin in nice and crispy and the inside is fluffy, then sprinkle some cumin on the inside and season.

2. Put your potato in a bowl and cut open then cube it inside the skin, add the cubed avocado, tomatoes and coriander, then zest some of the lime and squeeze a little of the juice over before adding the creme fraiche.

Season some more and enjoy!

I made double and took some to lunch the next day, it was really good as a cold salad as well.

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This is a new staple in my house. I have already made it twice and that Kale salad… third time is on tonight. 

 

Stacked with ‘super foods’ this meal is so full of goodness that you feel it when you’re eating. I swear.

For 2 people you need;
2 salmon fillets
1 red chilli, chopped
1 lime
1 inch piece fresh ginger, grated
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp fish sauce (or salt)
1/2 tsp sugar

250g kale, finely chopped
2 small-medium sweet potatoes, chopped into bite size chunks
3 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 shallot, finely chopped
parmesan chunks to taste (c. 100g)

1. Roast for sweet potato chunks in some olive oil, salt and pepper for about 20-30 minutes at 200c.

2. Mix your marinades, first the kale; olive oil, red wine vinegar and the shallots and mix well with the kale and coat it using your hands. This ‘cooks the kale’.
Then the salmon, the chilli, lime, ginger, soy, fish sauce and sugar, put to one side.

3. When the potatoes are about halfway done, and if your salmon has a nice skin on it fry them in a non stick pan briefly to crisp this up, I love crispy skin but hate it soggy! Then transfer to some foil and pour over the marinade and bake for 6-7 minutes (or more if needed)

4. Mix the potatoes with the kale and add the parmesan chunks – made them thinnish slices but thick enough you can bite them and taste the cheese. Serve with the salmon, with the extra marinade poured over.

Recipes for the Kale Salad and Salmon the (adapted) from Refinery 29

Mushroom Risotto

October 9, 2012

Many of you probably know how to make risotto… I never really made it before. Its my husbands thing, he does it so well I never tried.

So when I went to the Square Food Foundation and learnt how to make it from a top chef… It was a surprise how easy it was… I know I know everyone says this.

They taught us little chef tricks; how to slice an onion really small and tips on how to make a risotto really great, and how important it is not to brown your onions.

So for a really amazing mushroom risotto you need;
2 pints stock (chicken, or vegetable) note that if you don’t have fresh buy the best cubes you can find
2 tbsp olive oil
knob of butter
1 large onion, peeled and finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
½ head celery, trimmed and finely chopped
400g risotto rice
2 wine glasses dry white wine
100g sliced mushrooms – I used a mix of exotic mushrooms but chestnut would also work
salt and freshly ground black pepper
70g butter
115g freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Heat the stock.

Melt a knob of butter in a pan and add the mushrooms and the leaves from a couple of sprigs of thyme. Cook over a gentle heat, stirring until the mushrooms soften and turn golden. Stir in 1 chopped clove of garlic and cook for a further minute and put to one side.

Put the oil and butter in a saucepan, add the onion, garlic and celery and cook very slowly for about 15 minutes without colouring… This is called a soffrito. You want everything to go translucent.

Then add the rice and very briefly lightly fry until the edges go a little translucent. Add the wine and keep stirring – it will smell fantastic.

Once the wine has cooked into the rice, add your first ladle of hot stock and a good pinch of salt. Turn down the heat to a simmer so the rice doesn’t cook too quickly on the outside.

Keep adding ladlefuls of stock, stirring and massaging the creamy starch out of the rice, allowing each ladleful to be absorbed before adding the next. This will take around 15 minutes.

Taste the rice to check if it’s cooked. If not, carry on adding stock until the rice is soft but with a slight bite.

When the rice is nearly cooked, and just before you add the final ladleful of stock, stir in the mushrooms. Remove from the heat and add the butter, parmesan and 1 tbsp of  mascapone if you like.

Season now to your taste…

Put a lid on the pan and allow to sit for 2 minutes so it gets all creamy. Then eat!

This is now my favourite thing to make and I have already made a few different risottos, and I am now going to make sure I always have risotto rice in the house.

Tower of Power Breakfast

September 7, 2012

This recipe is not my own, I so wish it was.

I saw this on one of the many many food blogs I read, but one of my go to for awesome healthy food; My New Roots not only are the recipes healthy Sarah tells you why each ingredient is good for you… meaning you gain knowledge every time you cook with her recipes.

You can see the full recipe and photographs here

We needed fuel for a day of painting so I thought this was a great opportunity to make this…

My slightly simplified version… 

For 3-4 you need:
2 large sweet potatoes
2 large red onions
spinach ( a big handful for each person)
cherry tomatoes (5-6 per person)
seat salt
black pepper
olive oil
1 egg per person
brown sugar
dried chilli flakes

1. Slice up your sweet potato and roast in the oven at around 220c for 20-30 minutes, making the edges go crispy and ensuring that the larger pieces are cooked through
At the same time saute your onions, slowly, add a little sugar for some extra sweetness.

2. Add some olive oil to a small saucepan and chuck in the tomatoes, put on a low heat and pop the lid on and cook until they are bursting. Watch these don’t burn, this will take 10-15 minutes but do it as slowly as possible.

When these bits are all done, Sarah suggests putting them all in a baking tray in the oven to keep warm… good thinking!

3. Saute your spinach in the same pan you did the onions, this will take 1-2 minutes… pop to one side while you poach your eggs the pile it up and enjoy…

Season with salt and pepper and chilli flakes if you have them!

Very filling and so good…

It’s a little faffy but very easy… try it at the weekend when you have plenty of time. 

One more final honeymoon post…

A simple American diner.

I loved this place. I made it my mission to eat at as many diners as possible so most days we found one in the AM had amazing breakfasts of eggs or pancakes and coffee before skipping lunch because we were so full.

We found Lori’s on our first night in San Francisco, being just around the corner from our hotel… 

This one was a proper 24 hour diner so being late isn’t a problem.

I love the tiled floor and red leather stools… but we took a booth. I love booths. 

 I ordered a banana milkshake to drink… it was more like dessert. Had a cherry and everything.

I went for the classic burger with sautéed onions and cheddar with sweet potato fries…

Amazing. 

While my Husband went for another American classic of fried chicken and coleslaw with french fries.

It all rocked.

I love junk food I think. 

I love the movie star posters… a classic 50’s diner.

Lori’s Diner – we went to the one in the theatre district near union square but there are a few