Tuesday 31 March 2015

Greek slow roasted lamb

Easter really seems to have snuck up on us this year!  Wow can't believe its almost here and I haven't bought or made a single thing.  I always have all good intentions on making it a crafty one entertaining the kids with wonderful crafts.  This year I thought perhaps making a bright orange and yellow pom pom garland to hang in our beautiful Magnolia tree (which is about to pop with joy) or even just painting some boiled eggs.  Alas we have done nothing but the one thing you can always rely on is this slow cooked recipe for your Easter lunch roast.  Why not make your beautiful spring lamb the Greek way this year and slow cook it for a flawless and very delicious result!



You will need:
  • 1 Leg of lamb (shoulder would also be very succulent and delicious)
  • 6 cloves of garlic
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 lemons
  • Origano
  • Potatoes for roasties
  • 1 bunch of fresh mint
  • 1 glug of good quality olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon of cider vinegar
For the Roast:
  • Peel the garlic and slice larger cloves in half length ways
  • Make little incisions into the leg of the meat and insert the garlic cloves with your fingers deep into the meat.
  • Rub olive oil all over the lamb, season with salt, pepper, generous amounts of Origano and the juice of 2 lemons.
  • Add a little water to the bottom of the tray and cover with foil tightly so that no liquid or steam can escape.
  • Roast at 150 degrees for 5-6 hours minimum, if you have more time it can go for longer and will be even more tender.
  • The meat should just fall off the bone and its better to pull this apart than try slice it.  Always ensure there is water in the tray.
For the mint sauce
  •  Finely chop the mint and mix together with olive oil, cider vinegar and a pinch of salt.
For the roast potatoes
  • I love placing a couple potatoes in with the lamb so they become soft and soak up all the juice
  • The balance par boil and roast as normal on a separate tray.


Tuesday 25 November 2014

Christmas cocktails


Here are a few festive drinks to add a little sparkle to your little black book of entertaining.  They are velvety, spiced just right and deliciously decadent... They certainly have what it takes to replace a dessert, and that's how I like to serve them.

So where did the inspiration come from?  I recently was lucky enough to be invited to a bloggers event in Cardiff.  The aim to get bloggers blogging about Nespresso and Currys (appliance store here in the UK).  It was a fantastic day hosted by Waterloo Tea (an amazing little coffee shop with the most divine food and selection of artisan teas - Bristol needs one of you.) and organized by the very cool and eclectic Joe Blogs.

Coming from a marketing background I was intrigued to see how this type of marketing would excite and deliver.  Excite and deliver they sure did.  Take a room full of creative people armed with SLR's and smartphones, get them high on Nespresso and let them play with the beautifully designed machines, show them how to mix the most delicious coffee cocktails and try to teach them how to make a heart out of foam in the latte art... Its no wonder everyone started setting the world of social media alight.  It was a huge success and great way to spend a gloomy Sunday afternoon.  This type of event yields a far greater return (in excess of 3 double page spreads) to the brand and is a very effective way of advertising. 

So here they are, the cocktails demonstrated to us by the Mixologist who did Lady Gaga's 30th Birthday bash.

Toblerone, Baileys and Coffee

Coffee Martini w Cointreau and Cinnamon 


Ginger Iced Latte


Toblerone Baileys Coffee
  • 1 1/2 shot baileys
  • 1 1/2 shot kaluha
  • 3 shots milk
  • 1 shot coffee
  • Put ice in the mixer and shake
  • Grate the Toblerone over the cocktail and garnish with a piece of chocolate on the glass

Coffee and Orange Martini

  • 1 shot vodka
  • 1/2 shot Cointreau
  • 1 shot Kahlua
  • 1 shot nespresso
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • Put ice in the mixer and shake

Ginger Iced Mocca
  • 4 shot milk
  • 1 shot coffee
  • melted chocolate
  • ginger 1/4 tsp


Tuesday 11 November 2014

prawn sushi salad with wasabi dressing

As I sit here on a true autumn, gloomy day reminiscing about the warmth of summer and the great one we've just had....(aaaah).  I'm drawn to those in the southern hemisphere, you lucky fish, you've got it all to come...This recipe is for you all and by far one of my favourites' of this summer.
I found this recipe in the Sainsbury's magazine which I have to say is my fix for Taste Magazine in South Africa.  It's packed with delicious recipes that are fool proof and turn out every time.  I would have never thought to use soy sauce over a salad but it works and it works damn well.  Try it.  The wasabi adds a real kick (which I love) but sensitive folk may need to add slightly less.  The original recipe had sushi rice and cut up seaweed sheets in which also sound divine if you were after more of a meal.


You will need:
  • 1 packed ready cooked and peeled prawns (not shrimps)
  • 1 Avo
  • 1 bag of mixed leaves
  • 1/2 cucumber sliced
  • 5 radishes, sliced with skin on
  • sprinkling of sesame seeds (black and white)
  • 1 large carrot, finely grated
  • 1 bunch of flat leaf parsley
  • 3 spring onions, sliced at an angle

For the dressing:
  • 1 tsp wasabi paste
  • 3 Tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp dark soy sauce
  • 1 tsp toasted sesame oil (or olive oil)

1) Prepare all the salad ingredients on a platter on the bed of leaves/lettuce.
2) Mix all the ingredients for the dressing together and pour over the salad.

Tuesday 28 October 2014

Poached pears, almond brittle & salted caramel


I do love this time of year the nights are drawing in, the clocks have changed which I have to say is not so simple with two little kiddies and the forced 5am start pretty draining.  However with so many  festivities to look forward to and the build up to Christmas, I really do love getting cosy in the winter.  I mean what's not to love... hearty stews, mulled wine, lazy Sunday roasts, twinkling lights and soft woolly things... 

I'm also always torn with what to blog about as readers in the Southern Hemisphere are getting ready for summer.  So as I sit here with a glass of Baileys on ice (don't mind if I do) all my friends and family in South Africa are gathering for BBQ's and salads.  With this in mind I plan to recap a few of my favourite recipes I discovered this summer so do look out for them in future posts, there are some real winners such as prawn and avo sushi salad and chocolate and raspberry fridge cake. 

As for this pear cake, well there is a little story behind this creation.  My initial concept was to make a delicate seasonal dessert using pears seeing as they are in abundance at the moment.  The idea was to coat the poached pears with salted caramel sauce and almond brittle.  Sounds good right.  Well, when it came to plating up the dessert the photos just didn't do it any justice and flavours just seemed a little lost.   I had  some leftover vanilla sponge cake in the freezer from my kids party which I quickly defrosted and layered with the pears, fresh cream, brittle and sauce....OMG a combination made in heaven.....



You will need:
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 100g whole almonds
Put sugar and almonds in a pan and the sugar will start to melt.  Take off the heat once all the sugar has dissolved and pour onto a lined tray with baking paper.  Allow to cool.  It will become hard and brittle.  Crush with a pestle and mortar.
Salted caramel sauce
  • 80ml water
  • 250g sugar
  • 120ml double thick cream
  • 25g unsalted butter
  • pinch of good quality sea salt
Place the sugar and water in a pan and bring to boil, make sure all the sugar has dissolved.  Take off the heat, pour in the cream and whisk in the butter and salt.  If its a little runny, place it in the fridge or freezer and allow to set once cooled.
Sponge cake
  • 100g butter melted
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 180g flour
  • 1/4 + 1 1/2 Tbs milk warmed
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • vanilla essence
Grease two baking tins.  Beat eggs and sugar till thick and creamy, approx. 7 mins.  Whisk in butter and milk.  Stir in flour and baking powder.  Bake at 180 degrees for 30 mins. 
Poached pears
  • 3 Pears
  • cinnamon
  • 3 Tbs sugar
Peel the pears carefully leaving the stalk on.  Place in a pan and cover with boling water.  Bring to boil, add sugar and cinnamon and allow to poach for approx. 20 mins.  Take pears out, allow to cool and slice for cake.

Tuesday 5 August 2014

Spicy mango salsa in tortilla cups

I stumbled upon these at a recent wellness day I attended.  It was packed with everything girly.  I'm talking beauty, fashion, gifts, cakes and cooking of course.

I have the lady demonstrating her gadgets to thank for this recipe.  She was working with a hand held food processor, a pretty versatile little thing.  Which as it turns out I had sitting in my cupboard all along, which I had never used.  I guess my qualm with the gadget was it only cut things one way...which for me was unacceptable as I feel sometimes food needs to be prepared differently in order to give it a little 'jenesequa'.  However for this recipe its the perfect tool for the job.  Since rediscovering it, I now use it for chopping herbs, onions and lots more and its the one gadget I can't live without (that is because I don't have an electrical food processor). Take a look at it here.

As for the tortilla cups, they are revolutionary, I love them.  Ideal for kids.  I fill them with all sorts of fillings for my 3 year old.  She loves them with cottage cheese, cherry tomatoes and ham and would love this salsa without the chilli of course.

They also make great canap├ęs or snacks and I've been waiting to host the next dinner party to fill them with all sorts of deliciousness (mascarpone and fig preserve).

You will need:

  • 4 Tortilla wraps
  • 5 vine ripen plum tomatoes
  • 1 red onion
  • 1 chilli
  • a few sprigs of Coriander
  • 1 ripe mango
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 Tbs red wine vinegar
Tortilla cups
1) Cut a cross in each tortilla creating 4 little squares out of each tortilla.  I cut all the round edges straight.

2) Place the small square tortilla in a muffin tray and push down to create the cup.  Place in the pre-heated oven 180 degrees for 5 - 10 minutes.  Keep an eye on them as they don't need long as burn easily.

Spicy Mango Salsa
1) Using a food processor or knife finely chop the onion, mango, tomatoes and chilli together.

2) Chop a few sprigs of coriander and add them to the salsa

3) Season with salt and pepper and a tablespoon of vinegar and spoon into your tortilla cups.

Tuesday 13 May 2014

balsamic roasted tomatoes and chorizo lasagne

As I sit here blogging about a light summery deconstructed lasagne, I can't help think I should be uploading a warm stew with this 'wonderful' weather we've been experiencing of late.  The truth is, it is Spring, it is going to get warmer, and when it does this is a simple dish to pull out the bag.
I roasted the tomatoes with rosemary in balsamic vinegar and to be honest you could just leave the dish as vegetarian dish with just that, it's yum, or add some fried chorizo for a real twist. 
I'm a big fan of simple that looks impressive, and this is just that!


You will need:
  • lasagne sheets
  • packet of mini plum/cherry tomatoes
  • chorizo
  • balsamic vinegar
  • sprig of Rosemary
  • bunch of fresh basil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • parmesan
1) Place tomatoes, rosemary, chorizo in a dish.  Pour over the balsamic vinegar just to coat each tomato and roast in pre-heated oven 180degrees for approx. 15-20 mins or until the tomatoes start to burst.
2) Place lasagne sheets in a pot of boiling water and cook for approx. 7 mins or until soft and flimsy.  You will need a big pot to ensure the sheets don't stick together, keep moving them around and separating if needs be.
3) Place cooked lasagne sheet on a place and form a S shape, layer with roasted tomatoes and chorizo in between each layer.  Grate some parmesan over and season to taste.
4) Pour any left over juices from the roast dish over the pasta and serve with a chilled glass of white wine.


Tuesday 15 April 2014

tomato and marinated fennel salad

This came about by pure luck.  I was raiding the fridge for some lunch inspiration today.  I had intended on making a tuna salad when I came across these beautiful heirloom tomatoes.  I didn't buy them so it was a lovely surprise.  They obviously found their way back after a weekend away with friends where we each took turns cooking a meal.  Somehow they were packed in my bags.  I love the fact they were.  They were so pretty I had to get out my camera.  I sliced them up and mixed them with a fennel bulb which I marinated in vinegar.  It was a combination perfect for summer.  I wanted to add another element of colour so grated some radishes with little pink tufts of flavour.  The radish and the fennel are a match made in heaven. 



  • Assorted tomatoes
  • 1 fennel bulb
  • 3 spring onions
  • 4 grated radishes
  • feta cheese
  • white wine vinegar
  • olive oil
1) Slice the fennel and pour vinegar over so that it just covers the fennel, season with salt and pepper and leave for 30 mins.
2) Slice the tomatoes, spring onions, and sprinkle over the crumbled feta and radishes.  Add  the fennel.
3)  Season with olive oil and the remaining vinegar from the fennel.