09 4 / 2013
Very recently, I have become a huge brunch fan. Although it’s fun to go out for brunch, I really prefer making it at home and it opens up a whole new side of cooking I have never really dabbled in. Sure I can make eggs, but god there are so many versatile ways to make them for brunch! Fritattas are on the heartier side, so they’re perfect for crowds and even better for hangovers. I’ve made several varieties so far, but this one has to be my favourite. If you’re not a hot sauce lover I bet good money this will convert you.
For the fritatta you will need:
1 potato, cut into small cubes
1 onion, diced
1 red pepper, cut into small cubes
About 1 cup of chorizo, cut into small cubes (halved and sliced lengthwise)
Splash of milk
Salt & Pepper
1/4-1/2 cup grated cheese (I like cheddar, but use whatever you had lying around)
Sliced tomato tomato, green onions, avocado or other toppings of your choice
Handful of arugala/rocket
Sriracha or any other kind of hot sauce
Preheat the oven to 350° F (180° C)
Heat the oil over medium-low heat. Drizzle in some olive oil, enough to coat the pan. Add the potato and cook, turning occasionally for about 15 minutes. If they start to brown or burn too quickly, lower the heat.
You want the potatoes to be golden brown.
Meanwhile, get the onions, red pepper and chorizo ready.
Once the potatoes are browned and a knife can easily pierce a potato with little resistance, add in the onions, stirring until softened, about five minutes.
Add in the chorizo and the red pepper and cook for another two minutes.
Turn off the heat. Combine the eggs with the milk, whisking to break up the yolks.
Season the eggs with pepper and a little salt. The chorizo is quite salty so you don’t need much!
Pour the egg mixture over the pan of chorizo and potatoes.
Bake in the oven until puffed and the egg doesn’t move when you shake the pan, about ten to fifteen minutes. Make sure to watch closely after ten minutes as you don’t want to overcook.
Remove the pan from the oven and turn off the oven. Top with the cheese and place back in the oven for 1-2 minutes, until the cheese is melted.
Remove the frittata from the oven. This is where you can get creative and add toppings of your choice. I love the colour and peppery bite of rocket, but also like adding avocado and tomatoes sometimes as well.
Cut into portions and serve! The fritatta is best out of the oven, but can be eaten the following day. This recipe serves four.
19 3 / 2013
I am one of the few who openly admits my love of Baileys. I only drink it in coffee; it makes a really nice after dinner drink or breakfast treat on special occasions. I wanted to make something special for St. Patrick’s Day this year and thought- a little Baileys in the dessert, a little Baileys in my coffee cup! I’m not a huge cupcake fan, but oh my god these are insane. I will definitely be making these year round- if only as an excuse to buy a bottle of my biggest guilty pleasure.
For the cupcakes you will need:
1 1/4 cups flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup buttermilk (or milk mixed with 1 tsp. of lemon juice, shaken)
3 tablespoons of Baileys (or other coffee liquor)
For the frosting you will need:
1 stick (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter at room temperature
1 tsp. brewed coffee
3 tablespoons Baileys
2-3 cups powdered sugar, sifted
Preheat the oven to 350° F (175° C)
Combine the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. Whisk or sift the ingredients together until thoroughly combined.
Next, combine the egg, sugar and vegetable oil in a large mixing bowl.
In intervals, add 1/3 of the dry ingredients, followed by 1/3 of the buttermilk, stirring after each addition. Continue until all the ingredients are used up.
Add in the Baileys.
Pour the batter evenly into greased cupcake tins lined with cupcake liners. They should be a little over 3/4 of the way full.
Bake the cupcakes for approximately 18-20 minutes, until a cake tester or a toothpick comes out clean.
Allow the cupcakes to cool for about 20 minutes in the tin before releasing, using the help of a butter knife.
For the frosting, beat the butter using a wooden spoon or an electric mixture until light and fluffy, about two minutes. Add in the cooled coffee, Baileys and powdered sugar. Depending on the texture, you want, use about 2-3 cups of powdered sugar (the more sugar you add, the thicker the frosting will be).
Spread frosting over the cupcakes as liberally as you like. In the spirit of St. Patrick’s Day, I sprinkled each cupcake with some green crystals.
04 3 / 2013
I am one of those people who think appetizers are an integral part of a meal. Especially when you’re dining with friends at someone’s house, it’s a nice way to prolong the meal by having a glass of wine and a few nibbles before sitting down for dinner. My issue however, is that I often overdo it on the appetizers. I have yet to find the elegant balance of the ‘teaser’ course- though I’m seriously working on it.
I was at a dinner party at my mom’s friends’ house over Christmas and was served the most delicious gougère-esq morsel with a glass of champagne. Rather than being on the verge of satisfaction before even sitting down to dinner, I was wonderfully hungry!
Last weekend I made parmesan and black pepper biscotti to serve before dinner. These are delicious, and everyone finished their plate at dinner. I will say however, that this recipe makes a lot. Which was a plus for company, as I sent everyone home with lots of extras, and who doesn’t like having something to take home? Especially after a little too much wine!
For the biscotti you will need:
1 1/2 tablespoons of whole black pepper corns, coarsely ground
4 cups of all purpose flour, plus extra for dusting
2 teaspoons of baking powder
2 teaspoons of salt
2 1/4 cups of grated parmesan
1 1/2 cups of cold unsalted butter cut into cubes
4 large eggs
1 cup of whole milk
Preheat the oven to 350° F (175° C)
Whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and 1 tablespoon of ground black pepper in a large bowl.
Add in two cups of grated parmesan cheese.
Next, add in the cold butter using your fingertips or a food processor until the mixture resembles coarse meal.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs with the milk. Add to the flour mixture.
Using a fork or clean hands, combine the ingredients until a soft dough forms.
Turn the dough onto a floured surface and cut into quarters. Shape into slightly flattened 12 inch logs.
Whisk the remaining egg with a tablespoon of water and brush over the logs. Sprinkle with the remaining parmesan cheese and pepper.
Bake for about 30 minutes, until the logs are golden and firm. Allow to cool, and reduce oven temperature to 300° F (150° C).
Once the logs have cooled, using a serrated knife, slice the logs into 1/2 inch slices on the diagonal.
Lay the slices on a baking sheet and bake in the oven for 35-40 minutes, turning once until crisp and golden.
Allow the cooked biscotti to cool, then serve warm or store in a sealed container for up to two weeks.
Perfect with a glass of wine!
13 1 / 2013
Keeping with the detox-oriented nature of January, I thought I better do a post about something healthy. Most people hear kale and think of bunny rabbits and California hippies, but in fact there are some really great recipes out there for kale and I think it adds an interesting spin to salads. This recipe comes from 101 Cookbooks, the bible for healthy cooking. Although it is incredibly healthy, it actually tastes really good. The farro and almonds add great texture and what doesn’t avocado make ten times better?
For the salad you will need:
3 cups of loosely packed kale, washed, trimmed and stalks removed
1 cup of farro, cooked according to package directions
4-5 carrots, very thinly sliced
1 small bulb of fennel, very thinly sliced
1 avocado, cut into cubes
1/4 cup toasted almond flakes
For the dressing, you will need:
3-4 scallions, washed
Juice of half a lemon
Big pinch of kosher salt & black pepper
1 tbsp. honey
2 tbsp. avocado
1/3 cup olive oil
Toast the almond flakes over medium-low heat, about 5 minutes or until lightly browned
Thinly slice the carrots and fennel using a mandoline or a very sharp knife.
First make the dressing. In a food processor, combine the scallions, lemon juice, avocado, honey, salt, pepper and olive oil.
Puree until combined, then taste for seasoning. Add more salt, pepper or lemon juice if necessary. The dressing should be quite punchy to coat all the vegetables.
In a large bowl, pour the dressing over the kale and toss to combine.
Add the carrots and the fennel
And toss everything together, making sure the vegetables are evenly coated in the dressing.
Add the farro…
And stir everything together.
Top with the toasted almonds.
This salad was so surprisingly good I was eating it out of the mixing bowl, too impatient to use proper cutlery. This makes a lot, so be prepared for lots of good packed lunches.
01 1 / 2013
Happy New Year! This year, we threw a dinner party at my house at home to celebrate New Year’s Eve. There’s nothing cosier than slow cooked meat- walking into a house that’s warm and smells good can really make you feel at home, and that’s my favorite vibe for a dinner party, even one that’s on the fancy side. This recipe came from the new Food 52 cookbook and although it’s a bit time consuming, it’s totally worth all the effort. Additionally, it takes ribs and ragu, two things not typically associated with elegance, and makes them really upscale. This recipe serves 8-10, so be prepared for a lot of meat.
For this recipe, you will need:
1 ounce of dried porcini mushrooms
About 6-8 pounds short ribs
Salt and pepper
1 large onion, diced
2 carrots, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon anchovy paste
1 bottle of red wine
1 can fire roasted tomatoes
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
3-4 dashes Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon chopped thyme, rosemary
1 tsp dried oregano
3 bay leaves
4-5 cups of chicken stock
For the gremolata, you will need:
1-2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 cup of chopped parsley
Grated zest of one lemon
Salt, pepper, and olive oil
Thoroughly salt and pepper the ribs
Pour boiling water over the mushrooms to soften, and let them sit for about 10 minutes
Chop all the other ingredients in advance so you have everything ready to go
Once the mushrooms have softened, chop those as well
Pour some olive oil in a big pot and brown the ribs in batches over medium high heat, about two minutes on each side.
This will take some time…
…And you will have a lot of ribs. But that’s good!
Pour out most of the fat left over from the ribs, leaving about a tablespoon behind. Saute the onions, celery and carrots for about 7 minutes. Add the garlic and saute until fragrant.
Add the tomato paste and the anchovy paste, stirring vigorously to coat the vegetables.
Next, add in the tomatoes…
Followed by the mustard
The rosemary, thyme and oregano
The worcestershire sauce
And the ever-important wine.
Add the ribs back into the pot…
And pour over enough chicken stock to cover. Bring to a boil, then add the bay leaves.
Take off the heat, cover with aluminium foil and refrigerate overnight.
The next step is a bit gross, but you’ll be thankful you did it. After the ribs have been in the fridge, remove all of the fat that will have solidified on the surface. Spoon off and discard.
Remove the meat from the bones and discard any large bits of fat. Set the saved meat aside, and save the bones for stock.
Like I said, you will have a lot of meat.
Remove the bay leaves from the liquid and discard. Puree the liquid. (Note: this step is optional, I was giving a fancy dinner so wanted it a bit more refined, but leaving out this step will not affect the flavour.)
Reduce the sauce until it’s thickened, about a half hour over medium heat.
Add the meat back into the liquid and stir.
For the gremolata, combine the prepared ingredients and let sit at room temperature.
When you’re ready to serve, reheat the ragu over medium-low heat and prepare the polenta according to package directions.
To plate, add a scoop of the ragu over the polenta. Top with the gremolata.
01 1 / 2013
I love making cake. There’s something so satisfying about icing a cake, not to mention it’s pretty much the epitome of domestic bliss. I’ve never made flourless chocolate cake, but I have a friend who is gluten-free come for dinner so it seemed like the perfect opportunity. Besides whipping the egg whites, the recipe is incredibly easy and straight forward.
For the cake you will need:
1/2 lb unsweetened chocolate
1/2 lb buttersweeet chocolate
1/2 lb butter, room temperature
9 egg yolks
8 egg whites
3/4 cup of sugar
Preheat the oven to 350° F and butter a 9 inch spring-foam cake pan.
Chop the chocolate into chunks and melt with the butter in 30 second intervals in the microwave. It’s really important you do not burn the chocolate otherwise you have to start over.
Once it’s completely melted, set the chocolate aside to cool
Combine the egg yolks with the sugar and beat on high for about 3 minutes until pale yellow and fluffy.
Once the chocolate has cooled, slowly add it to the sugar-egg yolk mixture with the mixture on slow speed.
Using a whisk attachment or biceps of steel, beat the egg whites until they form glossy peaks.
Carefully and quickly fold in the egg whites to the chocolate mixture.
Fold until combined.
Pour the batter into the buttered cake pan and bake for about 25 minutes.
Allow the cake to cool then remove the sides from the pan.
Dust with confectioners sugar and serve topped with sweetened whipped cream.
01 1 / 2013
I have little time for unadventurous eaters, and I myself am a testament that you should always try everything at least once. I used to shy away from offal until I tried foie gras- oh my GOD. Ever since, I’ve been dying to make my own. This recipe is so easy and great for company. Definitely not an everyday food, but perfect for special occasions. I was a little weirded out handling the livers (okay a lot) but I used to be almost unable to wash a chicken, now I can butcher one!
For the paté, you will need:
1 pound of chicken livers, large veins removed
2 shallots, thinly sliced
2 sticks of butter, chilled
1/3 cup sherry
Salt and pepper
Heat 3 tablespoons of butter over medium heat until it bubbles. Add the sliced shallots and saute until softened, about 5 minutes. Make sure they don’t crisp or burn.
Add the chicken livers to the pan and saute until they’re cooked through, about 7 minutes.
Once the livers are cooked through, add the sherry and saute until the liquid is reduced by half.
Transfer the mixture to a food processor and puree until smooth.
With the food processor running, add the cold butter one tablespoon at a time.
Whiz until the mixture is smooth.
Empty the mixture into a large ramekin or several small ones. Refrigerate for about an hour until the pate has set. When you’re ready to serve, sprinkle with coarse salt.
We made broiche to serve toasted with the pate, however table crackers are just as good.
10 11 / 2012
November is here and the holiday season is upon us! Cold weather really makes me want to bake and I’m always on the lookout for new and exciting recipes to have on hand for the holidays. I’m a bit of a cookie monster, but tend to shy away from delicate, fussy recipes, especially since they’re harder to transport and give to friends. Cashew butter cookies are a great alternative to peanut butter cookies and who do you know that doesn’t love cashews? This recipe makes a lot (surprise surprise), I had enough for a dinner party for eight, and leftovers to take into work. A total crowd pleaser, unique but really easy to make.
For the cookies, you will need:
2 cups of roasted, unsalted cashews
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 1/4 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup granulated sugar, plus a little extra
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 350° F (175° C)
In a medium bowl, sift the flour and salt together. Set aside.
Coarsely chops 1/2 cup of the cashews. Set aside.
Puree the remaining cashews with the vegetable oil in a food processor until smooth. This should take about 5 minutes. Set aside and allow to cool.
Combine the butter, cashew butter, and both sugars in a large mixing bowl.
Add in the egg, then the vanilla.
Next add in the flour/salt mixture and stir until incorporated.
Add in half the reserved chopped cashews.
Wrap the dough in parchment or cling film and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
After 30 minutes in the refrigerator, line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Using two small spoons, drop the dough onto the parchment in uniform balls. Use your hands to shape them if necessary.
Using a fork dipped in warm water, make two crosses on the cookies, vertical and horizontal.
Sprinkle with the remaining cashews and some granulated sugar.
Bake for fifteen minutes, rotating the baking sheets after 8 minutes. The cookies should be golden and slightly crisp at the edges. If you want a crisper cookie, bake for a minute or two extra.
The cookies will keep for about three days in tupperware…
And taste amazing with a cup of tea or in an ice cream sandwich. I can’t help myself!
24 10 / 2012
A lot of my friends are good cooks; a few of them are great cooks. My friend Abby has a style of cooking that I really admire- she doesn’t overthink things. She prepares simple, delicious food that is simultaneously adventurous yet traditional. Abby is studying medicine in Edinburgh, and I recently went to visit her up in Scotland for a long weekend. I arrived at 6pm on a train from London and headed to Abby’s where she was cooking dinner for 10…after being in the hospital all day! Needless to say, I was impressed! She served bruschetta (she had made the tomato topping earlier) followed by slow cooked lamb over pasta that she had put in the crock-pot that morning. What preparation! Now I’m not a huge fan of lamb, but this dish was a turning point for me. The lamb was tender and infused with earthy stock, vegetables and red wine. Served over pasta, it was the perfect dish to serve on a cold Scottish night with lots of red wine and great company.
Shortly after my trip up north, I invited some friends for a mid-week dinner to replicate Abby’s lamb. I put everything in the slow cooker before heading to work, taking about a total of 15 minutes if you prep the vegetables the night before. Not only is it relatively cheap, it’s also incredibly easy, and who doesn’t love coming home to an aromatic house smelling of supper? The slow cooker is a great way to entertain for the masses, or have guests over for a mid-week dinner.
For the slow cooked lamb, you will need:
500 grams of lamb neck filet, cut into large chunks (note: you can also use lamb shanks or shoulder and it will be equally delicious)
1 large onion, finely chopped
4 cloves of garlic, minced
2 carrots, diced
2 stalks of celery, diced
50 g pancetta, diced
1 teaspoon chili flakes
3 tablespoons rosemary, minced
1 can chopped tomatoes
1 cup red wine
1 cup chicken or beef stock
Salt & Pepper
Pappardelle or tagliatelle pasta
Fresh parsley, chopped
Dust the lamb with flour, salt and pepper. The easiest, most mess-free way to do this is in a plastic bag.
Heat vegetable oil in a large saute pan over medium heat, and brown the lamb for about 2 minutes on each side.
When the lamb is browned on all sides (make sure to not to cook through) add the lamb to the slow cooker.
Using the same pan, add a little more vegetable oil, followed by the onion, carrots, celery and garlic.
Saute for a few minutes, then add in the pancetta.
Add in the chili flakes…
Followed by the rosemary. Saute, stirring often, for about five minutes.
Then add the mixture to the slow cooker.
Add in the canned tomatoes…
The ever-important red wine…
And the stock. Lightly toss everything together, turn on the slow cooker to low heat and cover. Leave for 8 hours.
When you are ready to eat, cook the pasta according to package directions, making sure it’s al dente. Add the slow cooked lamb and the sauce to the cooked pasta, tossing to combine. Top with fresh parsley and serve.
I served this with crusty baguette and a simple green salad- easy, cozy and unbelievably delicious! Perfect for a cold autumn day.
28 9 / 2012
My sister is a great cook but it’s her baking that I go nuts over. When I was away at boarding school she would make these scones for me to take back after a long weekend and they’ve been in my repertoire every since. This recipe makes A LOT. I gave scones to pretty much every person I saw within a 24 hour period, including taking some to work, and there were still some leftover! Absolutely delicious though, and a recipe I return to again and again. Don’t skip the glaze- it’s crack.
For the scones, you will need:
3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup oats (quick cooking is preferable), plus extra for sprinkling
2 tbsp baking powder
2 tbsp granulated sugar
1 lb cold, unsalted butter (4 sticks)
1/2 cup of buttermilk (or 1/2 cup of milk mixed with squeeze of lemon or tsp of vinegar)
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
4 eggs, plus 1 egg mixed with 1 tsp of water for egg wash
For the glaze, you will need:
1 1/4 cup confectioner’s sugar
1/2 cup of pure maple syrup
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 400° F (205° C)
Combine the flours, oatmeal, baking powder, sugar, and salt in a food processor or standing mixture.
Add in the cold butter, cut into small cubes. Pulse the mixture until it is in pea-sized pieces. I had to do this in batches, my food processor wasn’t big enough!
Add in the eggs, maple syrup and buttermilk, making sure it is all combined, but being careful not to overmix.
The dough will be sticky. If it feels like it’s warmed up a bit, put it in the freezer for five minutes. Remember, the trick to really good scones is really cold dough!
On a floured surface dump the dough and make sure it comes together and all the ingredients look combined. Using floured hands and a floured rolling pin (or vodka bottle) roll the dough to about 3 inches thick.
Using a cutter, glass or ramekin, cut the dough into rounds and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
Top with the egg wash.
Bake in the oven for about 20-25 minutes, until the scones are puffed and golden. Allow the scones to cool for five minutes while you make the glaze.
Combine the confectioner’s sugar, maple syrup and vanilla extract with a whisk and pour over the scones. The warmer the scones, the thinner the glaze will be.
Sprinkle with some remaining oats and serve. The scones will keep in an airtight container for about two days, though truly best the same day.