Wednesday, 16 May 2018

Basque Scrambled Eggs

There's so many recipes and breakfast ideas I feel I'm spoilt for choice. I'm trying to eat much more eggs in my diet especially for breakfast so I'm always on the look out for recipe inspiration. This recipe is incredibly easy and takes the average scrambled eggs to another level. The chorizo is full of flavour and the peppers added a crunchy flavour.

Serves 4 -6
3-4 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 large red pepper, deseeded and chopped
1 large green pepper, deseeded and chopped
55g chorizo sausage, sliced thinly, outer casing removed if preferred
35g butter
10 large eggs, lightly beaten
salt and pepper
4-6 thick sliced country style bread, toasted to serve.


Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large heavy-based frying pan over medium heat. Add the onion and peppers and cook for 5 minutes or until the vegetables are softened but not browned. Add the tomatoes and heat through. Transfer to a heatproof plate and keep warm in a preheated low oven.
Add another tablespoon of oil to the frying pan. Add the chorizo to the reserved vegetables.
Add a little extra olive oil, if necessary, to bring it back to 2 tablespoons. Add the butter and let it melt. Season the eggs with salt and pepper then add to the frying pan and scramble until cooked to the desired degree of firmness. Return the vegetables to the pan and stir through. Serve immediately with hot toast.

Saturday, 24 March 2018

Gingerbread pancakes with Parma ham & maple syrup

This dish is really the ideal lazy weekend brunch. I love a good pancake and enjoy trying different varieties and flavour combinations. These pancakes remind me of American pancakes as they are associated with a bacon topping. Well, this recipe from Lorraine Pascale Fast, Fresh & Easy has a kick of ginger which adds a warm flavour and is topped with Italian parma ham. A quick, yet special breakfast to enjoy.

The recipe for these gorgeous pancakes can be found on the link.

Sunday, 7 January 2018

Feeling Green Hangover Helper

I wasn't hungover when I made this juice, I can assure you. But what I wanted was a green juice which had a caffeine kick and one which would make me feel a little more alive first thing on a cold money. What I found was this refreshing and nutritious green juice from my much loved 1000 juices book. A great way to start the week. 

1 white tea bag
175ml very hot boiling water
2 green apples, quartered
75g piece cucumber
50g fresh spinach
15g fresh mint leaves
1/4 lemon
2tbsp honey
2 sprigs of mint

Put the tea bag in a teapot or heatproof jug. Steep in the hot water for 5 minutes. Remove tea bag; leave to cool.
Process all the ingredients except the honey and mint sprigs through the juice extractor. Pour into 2 glasses, sweeten with the honey and serve immediately garnished with a sprig of mint.

Makes 2 glasses.

Wednesday, 22 November 2017

Fig, Orange & Walnut Loaf

Very few smells can evoke sense of my childhood, comfort and home then a cake baking in the oven. When I bake, I'm more than likely to bake a cake more than other baked goods. It's just that cake are so warming and comforting to me and easy to make. 
There are some cracking cake recipes and other wonderful bakes in Honey and Co: The Baking Book.  I recently purchased this book and was inspired by the flavour combinations, strong Middle Eastern flavours (as expected) and bakes to satisfy you at any time of the day. I've made a few bakes from this book, but I couldn't help but sharing this recipe: easy to make, great flavours and incredibly moreish. The loaf isn't the prettiest but is sure tastes good. 

120g whole milk
120g honey
40 unsalted butter
75g caster sugar
75g light brown soft sugar
230g self-raising flour
1/2 tsp salt
75g walnuts, roughly chopped
75g dried figs cut in 4 pieces
75g candied orange peel
1 egg
30g demerara sugar to sprinkle

Preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan/ gas mark 4. Butter a 1kg loaf tin and line with a sheet of baking parchment to cover the base and long slides, allowing a little overhang so that this can used to help lift the loaf out later.

Warm the milk honey, butter, caster sugar and light brown sugar together in a large saucepan until the sugars have dissolved and the mixture is just starting to boil. Remove the heat and stir in the flour, spice and salt. Mix in the walnuts, quartered figs and candied orange peel, then add the egg and combine thoroughly before transferring the batter to the lined tin. Smooth the top and sprinkle with the demerara sugar.

Bake in the centre of the oven for about 30 minutes, then turn the tin around for an even bake and leave for 30 minutes. At this stage it should still be a soft to the touch, but stable and with a lovely thick crust. You can't really test this cake with a toothpick as it contains so much fruit, but if you push down a little with the tip of your finger in the centre and it doesn't sink, remove from the oven. If you feel there is still quite a bit of softness here, bake for another 10 minutes, but do take it out after that. Allow to cool in the tin.

Sere with butter and orange marmalade, it keeps well for a couple of weeks in an airtight container.


Saturday, 22 July 2017

Review of Sharing Plates by Luke Mangan

As many of you know, I love cookbooks. When I'm thinking of purchasing or reviewing a new cookbook, I always consider books that specialise in a specific subject, or new chefs which challenge me with creating more adventurous dishes. What really appealed to me about one of the latest addition to my ever expanding cookbook collection is Sharing Plates: For Brunch, Lunch and Dinner with Friends by Luke Mangan. Currently on sale for £15.90 on Amazon, but can be brought slightly cheaper on other online book stores. I really enjoy cooking feasts and tapas/mezze style dishes to feast on, so the idea of a cookbook dedicated to recipes to share really appealed to me. The author is an Australian chef who owns a number of restaurants. The authors professional chef background is evident throughout this cookery book. I would say that this cookery book is more for the accomplished cook. Because of the theme of Sharing Plates, a lot of the recipes take some time to make, but the flavour combinations and innovative recipes make up for the fact that the recipes take a little longer than the average. 

There are a number of chapters in this book and there is a recipe for any time of the day. Any cookbook which features a chapter on breakfast is a winner for me.
  • Breakfast and Brunch, recipes to try include : Quail Eggs Benedict with Chilli Kale on Mini Muffins, Pancetta & Onion tarts with Asparagus, Buffalo Mozzarella & Honey Thyme Dressing, Smoked Ham, Tomato, Creamed Chard & Gruyere Toasties and the recipe featured Shakshuka with Spinach Parathas. 
  • Bread - lovely looking recipes include: Potato, Caramelised Onion, Fig, Gorgonzola and Grilled Raddicchio Pizzas, Truffled Mushroom & Pecorina Flatbreads and Fruit and Nut bread. 
  • Snacks and Salads - recipe to try include Samosas of Curried Pumpkin & Feta with Mint & Lime yogurt, Salad of Roasted Pumpkin, Chorizo, Chickpeas, Quinoa & Blue Cheese and Honey & Oregano Haloumi with Fig with Golden Beets, Dandelion & Walnuts. 
  • Oyster & Sashimi, recipes to try include - Oysters in Chickpea Batter with Smoky Eggplant & Tzatski and Kingfish Sashimi with nam jim, lime leaf, Coconut Yoghurt & Toasted Jasmine Rice. 
  • Fish and Shellfish - standout recipes include: Salt Cod Croquettes with Piccalilli, Milk Buns with Lobster & Vietnamese Slaw, Seared Scallops with Padron Peppers, fresh Cheese, Romesco & Chorizo Jam and Grilled Chorizo & Octopus with Piquillo Peppers & Apple & Ginger Puree. 
  • Meat - lovely looking recipes include: Moroccan Lamb Cutlets with Raisin & Caper Puree, Broccolini & Hazelnuts,  Beef Short Ribs with Pedra Ximenez roasted red onion and carrot & Cumin Puree and Thai Beef Koftas in Lettuce Cups with Coconut Sauce.
  • Poultry - recipes to try include: Duck Prosciutto with Sliced Peach, Toasted Walnuts & Elderflower Dressing, Chicken Garam Masala with Raita & Tomato & Onion Salad and Salt and Sugar-Cured Duck Breast with Sichuan Pepper, Turnip & Tamarillo Glaze. 
  • Sweet - Stand out recipes include: Salted Chocolate Honeycomb, Pistachio & Chocolate Cake with Red Wine & Coffee-Braised Quince, Mini Pistachio Creme Brûlée Tarts and Bounty Bars.

Recipe for Shakshuka and Spinach Parathas
One of my favourite brunch dishes, the Middle Eastern favourite is served with Moerish spinach Parathas. 
For the Shakshua
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
1/2 onion, finely diced
5 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 red chilli, finely diced
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons sweet paprika
400g tin crushed tomatoes
6 large free-range eggs
1/4 bunch flat leaf (Italian) parsley, leaves only, chopped
1/4 bunch dil, leaves only chopped. 

For the spinach parathas
325g plain flour
1 egg
1 tablespoom extra virgin olive oil
250g spinach, blanched
3 tablespoon plain yogurt
2 large garlic cloves peeled 
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric 
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon chilli powder
vegetable oil, for greasing

Method for Shakshuka
Heat the olive oil in a frying pan over a medium heat. Add the onion and cook for 3-4 minutes, until soft and translucent. Stir in the garlic, capsicum, chilli, cumin and paprika and continue to cook for 2-3 minutes. Add the tomatoes and reduce the heat to low. Simmer for 10 minutes, until the mixture has thickened slightly. Season to taste.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 180C (350F). Place the mixture in an ovenproof dish and onto a baking tray. Using a serving spoon to make six small wells, then crack an egg into each well. 
Cover the dish with a plate or foil. Transfer the tray to the oven and bake for 10-12 minutes, until the eggs are just set. 

Method for Spinach Parathas 
Combine the flour, egg ad olive oil in a bowl, mixing well. Place the spinach, yoghurt, garlic, salt and spiced in a blender. Whiz to a smooth paste, adding a little water if necessary, then add to the flour mixture and mix to form a medium-firm dough. You may need to add some water.
Shape the dough into a ball, then rub a few drops of vegetable oil on the top to stop the dough drying out. Cover and rest for 15-20 minutes in a warm place. 
Heat a tava pan, cast-iron pan or skillet over medium heat. Knead the dough on a floured surface for 2-3 minutes. Divide into golf ball sized portions roughly 80g each. Roll one portion at a time into a smooth ball and flatten it out with your palms on a clean bench. Smear each piece of dough with a little vegetable oil.
Stretch one piece of dough out from the sides until it is four times its original size. Fold back into the centre from all the corners, to make a round 13-15 cm (5-6 inch diameter) paratha. Repeat with the remaining dough balls.
One at a time, place a paratha onto the pan and cook over low heat until bubbles appear. Flip it over and cook 1-2 minutes. Lightly brush more oil on top, then flip it over again and cook for another minute. Transfer to a plate and cover with a clean towel to keep warm, while cooking the remaining parathas. 
The parathas are best served warm. They can be reheated by wrapping in foil and warming in a 180C oven for 5 minutes. 

Many thanks to Murdoch books for this cookery book. 

Monday, 8 May 2017

Island Granola

This is the sort of breakfast, which gives me the get up, and go. My Island Granola brings a little sunshine and warmth to your morning breakfast; the combination of spices, dried fruits and nuts makes for a delectable and exquisite breakfast. Homemade granola is far superior in taste compared to shop brought packets and I’ll let you in with a secret: once you make your own granola, you will never go back to shop brought, that’s what happened to me. Granola is actually quite easy to make and if you get chance, do make my jumble berry compote, especially when the berries are in season. Island granola served with jumble berry compote, is my preferred accompaniment, the combination of Jamaican flavours with English fruits is how many of my recipes are Jamaican-English mash up dishes.

You will need a large mixing bowl, a large oven tin or foil.

Makes 600g Serves 5-6 people
400g rolled porridge oats
200g mixed dried fruits and nuts (raisins, apricots, banana chips & Brazil nuts)
3 tablespoon oil vegetable oil
1tsp vanilla extract
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon all spice
60g dark brown sugar
4 tablespoon maple syrup or honey or golden syrup
Drizzle of vegetable oil for greasing the oven tin.

For the jumbleberry and lemon compote.
500g mixed berries (raspberry, strawberry and blueberry)
6tbsp caster sugar
½ lemon

Preheat the oven to gas mark 3. Mix all the ingredients in a large mixing bowl, ensuring the oats are covered with the maple syrup vanilla extract and oil until thoroughly combined. Lightly grease a baking sheet (or foil) place in the oven tin. Add the grana in the oven tin and place the trays in the middle of the oven, stir every 10 minutes or so, as this will ensure the granola will be golden throughout. Leave the granola to cool and store in an airtight container. The Tropical granola should last a month.

For the jumbleberry compote
Place the mixed berries and sugar in a saucepan. Add the juice of ½ lemon in the pan.
Simmer the fruits for around 8 minutes or until the syrup can coat the back of a spoon.
Leave the compote to cool, and then serve with the granola.

The compote can be kept for up to 3 days when stored in an airtight jar/container in the fridge.


Monday, 20 March 2017

Smashed Banana Pancakes

I fancied something tropical and healthy for breakfast but not something boring. I'm trying to eat more protein based dishes as I find that protein based dishes keeps me going for longer. I never associated pancakes with being good for you, but I found a recipe that combines both sweet and is protein based from Caribbean Modern. I'm a big supporter of anything Caribbean and I loved the tropical and sunshine feel to these pancakes. I topped mine with a drizzle of golden syrup and dates, which combined with the bananas made a welcoming change for the usual breakfast fare.

Serves 4-6
Makes about 8-12 pancakes
Time: 10 minutes prep & 20 minutes cooking.

25g self-raising four, sifted
1/2 tsp baking powder 
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tbsp cocoa nibs or chocolate chips
pinch sea salt
4 large, overripe bananas, roughly mashed with a fork
1 tbsp maple syrup
3 small free-range eggs, beaten
2 tbsp natural yogurt
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3 free-range egg whites
pinch of cream of tartar
virgin coconut oil, for frying,

In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, cinnamon, cocoa nibs (or chocolate chips) and salt until well combined. 
Place the smashed banana in a separate, large bowl, along with the maple syrup, then stir in the flour mixture then the beaten eggs, yoghurt and vanilla extract until well combined.
In a separate  bowl, whisk the egg whites with a pinch of cream of tartar until soft peaks remain when the whisk is removed.
Mix a quarter of the egg whites into the banana mixture then gently fold in the remainder.
In a large frying pan, on a medium heat, a tablespoon of coconut oil, tilting the pan to ensure the oil covers the base. Ladle out a little of the batter (about 4-5 tablespoons) and tilt around the pan so that the batter forms roughly a 10cm pancakes. Cook until the pancake is golden and dry underneath, about 30 seconds to a minute, then flip over and cook for a further 30 seconds to a minute, until the pancake is cooked through. Repeat with the remaining bate and serve immediately with a topping of your choice. 



Friday, 13 January 2017

Sally Lunn French Toast

I visited Bath last year as I was on a mission to visit new cities in the UK. I discovered the infamous Sally Lunn, the infamous original Bath Bun located in one of the oldest houses in Bath, was a joy. I brought a few Sally Lunn buns to take home with me and to store in my freezer for when the occasion arose. I discovered a lovely recipe for French toast using the enriched brioche bun which was perfect for a luxurious breakfast. If you are unable to make the Sally Lunn loaf from scratch, you can use brioche bread. You can eat the French Toast on its own or do like me and top with warmed fruits, the choice of mine being sharron fruit and pomegranate seeds. 

Sally Lunn Loaf
Makes one 25cm (10inch) ring cake, to slice as desired.
235ml lukewarm milk
1tsp caster sugar
1 tbsp dried active yeast
540g plain flour
95g caster sugar
1tsp sat
3 large eggs, light beaten
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
120ml warm water
110g unsalted butter.

Grease the tube pan or ring mould liberally with butter
Stir the milk, sugar and yeast together in a large jug an leave to stand for 5 minutes.
Whisk the flour, caster sugar and salt together in a large bowl and stir in the eggs, bicarbonate of soda and warm water until well blended. Add the yeast mixture and the melted butter and stir until well incoportated.
Scrape the batter into the prepared tube pan or ring mould and cover with cling film. Let the doughy batter rise in a warm place, such as an airing cupboard or near a radiator, for 45 minutes - 1 hour until it has doubled in size.
Preheat the oven to 200C (400F), gas mark 6.
Carefully put the pan into the oven, making sure not to move the dough about too much or knock the air bubbles out of it. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on a wire rack for 30 minutes before serving.

For the Sally Lunn French Toast
Serves 4
8 sliced of Sally Lunn Loaf or brioche or thickly sliced white bread
2 large eggs
115ml whole milk
115ml single cream
pinch of salt
1 tbsp caster sugar
1tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp ground cinnamon
30g unsalted butter

Place four slices of Sally Lunn or other bread in a baking dish.
In a bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, cream, sat, sugar, vanilla and cinnamon.
Pour half the liquid mixture over the four Sally Lunn slices in the baking dish. Allow to soak in.
Melt half the butter in a frying pan on a medium heat.
Put the soggy Sally Lunn slices in the hot frying pan and cook until golden brown on each side. Repeat the steps above with the remaining four slices of Sally Lunn and rest of the egg and cream mixture.


Monday, 28 November 2016

Spanish Tomato Breakfast Toast

Hardly a recipe and is something you can quickly through together, I really wanted to share a breakfast that I''ve been eaten most this month: Spanish Tomato Breakfast Toast. You have probably seen some snaps on my Instagram, but there is something moerish about about the tomato and garlic  on top of warm toasted bread. My only rule for this, is to let the tomatoes stand for the required time, as ice cold tomotates on toast is not good. I also like this breakfast as it's good for you, Shelina Permalloo, winner of Masterchef, who also lost an amazing 3 stone, states that this recipe is 140 calories per serving. Wonderful.

3 plum tomatoes
1 small garlic clove, peeled
1 tbsp olive oil
pinch of salt 
2 sliced pumpernickel bread (I used bog standard brown) bread

Finely chop the tomatoes and garlic and place in a bowl. Stir in the olive il and salt, then leave to stand for around 15 minutes. Drain off some of the excess juice from the tomato mixture before you serve it.

Warm or toast the bread slices, top with the tomato mixture and eat straight away.


Wednesday, 16 November 2016

Ackee and Bacon Tart revisited

Ackee and Bacon Tart
Ackee, the plump yellow fruit with black seeds, which tastes similar to scrambeled eggs is the national fruit of Jamaica. It also is one half of the national dish “Ackee and Saltfish”. Although ackee is a fruit, it is primarily eaten in savoury dishes and must be cooked before eating. Ackee only grows 
in warmer climates so I have always eaten tinned ackee, but that’s ok, the plump yellow fruit still tastes wonderful, whether it’s from a tin or not.

 My nan would often cook my sister and I, Ackee and Saltfish, or Ackee & Bacon for a quick and easy evening meal. In this dish, I combine my love for ackee and bacon with my love of pastry, in particular tarts to create this wonderful breakfast tart. Depending upon my mood, I will have a slice of my ackee and bacon tart with a dollop of ketchup, or garlic mushrooms.

Ackee and Bacon tart
Preparation time 20 minutes
Cooking time 40 minutes
Number of servings 6

You will need
A frying pan, measuring jug, whisk and a 28cm fluted loose bottom flan tin.

For the pastry
1 ready to roll shortcrust packet

For the filling
1 tbsp vegetable oil
155g bacon lardons
1 red pepper, stems removed, thinly sliced
1 yellow pepper, stems removed, thinly sliced
1 green pepper, stems removed, thinly sliced
2 spring onions, thinly sliced.
300g creme fraiche
3 eggs, lightly beaten
75g medium cheddar cheese.
1 tin (280g) of ackee

Preheat the oven to gas mark 6, place the pastry in the tin, trimming off the excess, line the tin with the baking parchment and fill with dried pulses. Bake on the top shelf for 15 minutes, remove the dried pulses and bake for a further 5 minutes.

Whilst the pastry is blind baking, pour the oil in the frying pan and cook the bacon lardons, sliced peppers and spring onions for around 8 minutes.

Pour 300ml crème fraiche, eggs and 30g of the cheese in a measuring jug and whisk. Open the tin of ackee, drain the water from the tin and set aside. 

Once the pastry has blind baked, remove from the oven, scatterthe bacon, peppers, spring onions, ackee and pour over the egg - creme fraiche mixture. Finally, sprinkle the remaining cheese on top of the tart. Place the tart in the oven and bake for 35-40 minutes or until the filling no longer wobbles.  Leave to rest for 5 minutes before slicing to wedges.

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