Thursday, 3 September 2015

Marinated Buffalo Mozzarella with Tomatoes

This mozzarella dish was recommended to me by a friend and as I've been growing tomatoes I thought I'd try it and I have to say it's delicious. With lovely sun ripened tomatoes this dish is so so good.

Marinated Buffalo Mozzarella with Tomatoes (from Plenty by Yotam Ottolenghi)
(Serves 4 as a starter)

250g buffalo mozzarella
2 ripe medium tomatoes

For the marinade:
1/2 tsp fennel seeds
grated zest 1 lemon
15 basil leaves, shredded
2 tsp chopped oregano
2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp rapeseed oil
1 garlic clove, crushed
salt and pepper

Scatter the fennel seeds in a small frying pan and dry-roast until they begin to pop. Transfer to a pestle and mortar and crush roughly. Place the crushed seeds in a small bowl and add the remaining marinade ingredients.

Break the mozzarella roughly with your hands. Smear it with the marinade and set aside for 15-30 mins.

To serve, cut the tomatoes into wedges and plate along with the marinated mozzarella. Drizzle with extra olive oil and serve.

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

Meal Planning Monday

So I did write this yesterday and got so carried away with cooking that I never got around to posting! Despite the rubbish weather over the weekend I did manage to have a barbecue on Saturday lunchtime, I made halloumi skewers with cherry tomatoes, corn on the cob and barbecue flatbread, it was delicious.

On Saturday afternoon I also took part in a Flashmob in Wood Street, Walthamstow. It was Michael Jackson themed as it would have been his 57th birthday on Saturday. It was so much fun and I came out of it feeling on top of the world.

I am not doing much this week, which is good for the first week back at school! I have pilates on Thursday and then next weekend I am going to Vauxhall City Farm on Saturday and then having some friends over for lunch on Sunday.

Daring Cooks
Chicken Fesenjan with Rice

Smoked Salmon Pasta Salad

Meatball Wrap
Thai Chicken Laksa (15 Min Meals)

Cheese and Pickle Sandwich with Crisps


Mackerel Nachos

Friends for lunch 

Sourdough Bread

In Walthamstow there is a starter going round that had 100 year origins, it even has it's own Facebook page. I got some and have been carefully feeding it. When I was in Warkworth we had a go at making sourdough bread with it. The first go went a bit wrong and ended up burnt, we put the oven on the wrong setting, so I had a second go, which was much more successful. It didn't rise all that much but it was tasty.

Sourdough Bread (from Leiths Baking Bible)
(Makes 1 loaf)
170g sourdough starter
55ml warm water
1 tbsp clear honey
170g strong plain flour
55g rye or wholemeal flour
1 tsp salt

Place the starter into a bowl and stir in the water and honey. Sift the flours together, then add enough flour to make a soft but not sticky dough.

Knead for 10 mins by hand or for 5 mins by machine. Place in a oiled bowl, cover with oiled cling film and leave to rise until doubled in size, this will take about 8 hours.

Knock back the dough and knead for 1 min. Return to the oiled bowl, cover with oiled cling film and rise until doubled in size about 3 hours.

Sprinkle with salt and knead to knock back for about 2 mins. Cover the dough with cling film and let the dough rest for 10 mins. Line a 20cm basket or bowl with a heavily floured tea towel.

Shap the dough into a smooth round and place in the basket or bowl. Cover with oiled cling film and let prove until nearly doubled in size.

Meanwhile preheat the oven to 225C. Place a pizza stone in the centre of the oven.

When the dough is ready to bake, remove the stone from the oven and sprinkle it liberally with flour. Carefully turn the dough on to the stone, then slash the top.

Place the dough into the oven, then pour a cup of cold water into a tray in the bottom of the oven to create a steamy environment. Bake for 35-40 mins or until the loaf is well browned and sounds hollow when tapped underneath. Trabsfer to a wire rack and leave to cool for 1 hour before slicing.

Sprinkle the salt over the dough

Sunday, 30 August 2015

Jumbleberry Crumble

For pudding I made a berry crumble. I used a mixture or loganberries and blueberries from my garden, blackberries from Walthamstow Marshes and strawberries from the supermarket as I never get a very good crop of strawberries. This was delicious, I love a crumble and the mixture before I baked it looked so pretty, just like jewels.

Jumbleberry Crumble (from Good Food Magazine July 2014)
(Serves 6)

100g plain flour
50g rolled oats
100g butter, cut into cubes
50g golden caster sugar

For the fruit filling:
900g mixed berries and currants, such as strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, redcurrants or blackcurrants
50g caster sugar
1½ tbsp cornflour

Heat oven to 200C. Put the flour, oats, butter and sugar in a bowl, squash together with your fingers into a crumble texture.

Meanwhile, put the berries, sugar and cornflour in a large pan. Stir together and set over a medium heat. Cook until the berries just start to release their juices. Transfer to an ovenproof baking dish.

Sprinkle the crumble topping over the fruit, and bake in the oven for 30-40 mins until bubbling and golden. Leave for 5 mins before serving with ice cream or custard.

Friday, 28 August 2015


As an appetizer when people arrived I served hummus with carrots from the garden.

Hummus (from Leiths Cookery Bible)
(Serves 4)

1 400g tin chickpeas, drained keeping the liquid
salt and pepper
1 tsp ground cumin
2 cloves garlic, crushed
juice 1 lemon
4 tbsp olive oil
pinch cayenne pepper

Put the chickpeas into a food processor. Whizz and add the remaining ingredients. Add enough of the chickpea juice to produce a soft cream. Serve.

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Caramelised Red Onion and Rocket Tartlets

I had some friends over for lunch a couple of weeks ago and I made these lovely quiches along with a variety of salads. They were a bit of a faff to make with layering up the filo but they were well worth it. Very tasty.

Caramelised Red Onion and Rocket Tartlets (from The Times)
(Serves 4)

1 large red onion
20g butter
2 tsp olive oil
1 large egg
150ml double cream
salt and pepper
15g rocket leaves
25g Parmesan cheese, grated
25g cheddar cheese, grated

For the pastry cases
25g butter, melted
2-3 large sheets shop bought filo
4 tsp thyme leaves

Finely slice the onion. Heat the butter and oil in a large, non-stick frying pan until the butter has melted. Add the onion slices and fry over a medium-low heat for about 15 mins, stirring occasionally, until soft and caramelised. Remove the onion, drain on kitchen towel and set aside to cool. Preheat the oven to 190C.

Prepare the filo pastry cases: brush a little of the melted butter in the hollows of a Yorkshire pudding tin. Using a sharp knife, cut 16 squares, measuring 11cm x 11cm, from the filo sheets. Layer 4 filo squares per hole, each at an angle to the previous squares, brushing melted butter and sprinkling thyme over each layer. Scrunch up the pastry edges to add a bit of height.

In a small bowl, beat the egg, then stir in the cream and salt and pepper. Roughly chop the rocket, setting aside a few leaves for garnish. In a separate bowl, combine the two cheeses.

Carefully spoon the onion into the pastry cases. Scatter over half the cheese and the chopped rocket. Pour in the egg mixtuire, then top with the rest of the cheese.

Bake for 15-20 mins or until the filling is just set and starting to turn golden brown at the edges. Remove from the tin and serve warm.

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Meal Planning Monday

I wasn't going to do a meal plan this week what with the tube strikes and one thing and another, but the strike has been called off and I have a better idea of what is happening this week. I still haven't figured out Friday's lunch but as I'm not staying at home on Thursday night I might treat myself to something yummy for lunch around work on Friday.

Chicken and Mayo Sandwich with Crisps 
Out at Pizza Express

Get fed at work
Seren's Prawn Cakes with Steamed Buns

Cheese and Onion Quiche and Salad


Beetroot and Goat's Cheese Pizza

Wild Rabbit with Broad Beans and Bacon

Mexican Mackerel Nachos
Cajun Steak with Smoky Baked Beans (15 Min Meals)

Orange and Coriander Marinated Salmon

This was the other main course I made for my friends. My Mum had made it a few weeks before and said it was absolutely delicious and she was right, this is a fantastic cold salmon dish, which packs a lot of flavour.

Orange and Coriander Marinated Salmon (from Nick Nairn's Top 100 Salmon Recipes)
(Serves 4)

150ml olive oil
4 salmon fillets, skinned
1 tbsp coriander seeds
6 spring onions, shredded
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 red chillies, seeded and sliced
3 bay leaves
2 tbsp chopped coriander
finely pared rind and juice 1 orange
3 tbsp dry white wine
3 tbsp white wine vinegar
salt and pepper

Wipe a non-stick frying pan with a little olive oil and fry the salmon fillets for 2-3 mins on each side until just cooked through. Remove from the pan and lay in a single layer in a non-metallic dish.

Wipe out the pan again until clean and dry-fry the coriander seeds until they begin to release their aroma. Tip out of the pan and lightly crush.

Mix the coriander seeds with all the other ingredients and pour over the salmon. Cover with cling film and leave to marinate in the fridge for at least 12 hours. Serve the salmon fillets at room temperature with a couple of tbsp of marinade.

Monday, 24 August 2015

Lime and Sumac Halloumi Kebabs

To go with the flatbreads I made some halloumi kebabs. I also added courgettes but they didn't cook properly, so I would stick to just tomatoes, which were from the garden, burst and were wonderfully sweet. There is also an onion relish to with the kebabs which I want to try.

Lime and Sumac Halloumi (from The Sunday Times Magazine)
(Serves 4)

2 250g pack halloumi, cut into 2cm pieces
250g cherry tomatoes
1 tbsp sumac
juice and zest 1 lime
2 tbsp sesame seeds

Put the halloumi pieces into a bowl with the tomatoes, sumac, lime zest, juice of half the lime and the sesame seeds. Mix with your hands and leave to let the flavours mingle.

Heat the barbecue or griddle pan and thread the tomatoes and halloumi onto skewers.

Once your barbecue has died down form a very fierce heat, add the kebabs and cook for 2 mins on each side. Spoon the halloumi and tomatoes onto the flatbreads and serve.

Sunday, 23 August 2015

Summer Food Happenings

As I haven't done a Meal Planning Monday for a little while, I thought I'd just do a post of some of the interesting things I have eaten this summer!

I tried over the summer to go out for lunch one day a week, primarily to try out some of the places in Soho that I've been wanting to try for ages.

First off we have a Biskie from Cutter and Squidge. This one is Mango and White Chocolate and it was really good.


Then I tried Bunnychow in Soho, it's a South African restaurant that specialises in, well, Bunnychow, which are a small loaf ofbread filled with stew or curry. I had the Durban Bunny, which is a mutton curry in a grainy loaf with coleslaw. I loved the curry soaked bread.


For pudding that day I headed to Crosstown Doughnuts. I went for one of their summer special doughnuts a peach and nectarine crumble doughnut. It was delicious and really tasted of the summer fruits.

I then tried Walthamstow Market for lunch and stopped at Yummy Falafel on the Market. I went for a falafel wrap with halloumi, with spicy potatoes, pickles, red cabbage, tomato and lettuce.

This is what it looked like inside:


I would totally recommend the wrap, it was delicious and only £3.
For dinner one night before the theatre I went to La Porchettaon Stroud Green Road in Finsbury Park. I shared a Garlic Bread with my Father, which is topped with tomato and full of garlic and one of the best things I have ever eaten.

Then I had a Calzone Vedura, which I found a bit big and it had way too much cheese. Plus it seemed to major on artichokes and not much other veg. I could have done with some tomato sauce inside the pizza as well as outside.


After the barbecue I had in my garden we had a cream tea. My friend Rhainnon made the scones and I made the jam and we had clotted cream!

I went back to Yummy Falafel last week to eat with some marinated mozzarella. It is usually £1 for 4 but as they were a bit flat she chucked an extra one in! I also got the pickles and red cabbage from the stall.

I bought a new small camping gas barbecue when we were in Warkworth, and I thought I'd have a go and grill some red mullet fresh from Borough Market that morning. However, the barbecue didn't work, so I grilled it instead and served it with sweetcorn picked fresh from the garden minutes before, marinated mozzarella and tomato, samphire, rosemary and olive oil bread and salad. The red mullet was fantastic, lovely and fresh.

Today we toddled off to South Bank to watch a filming of The Great British Bake Off: An Extra Slice. Unfortunately we didn't arrive early enough to get in, so we went to the National Theatre foyer and shared the bakes that we had brought with us. I made Baked Apple Dumplings, which rather exploded in the oven!

My friend made Pumpkin Tiramisu which was very tasty.

So that's my food filled summer! Back to work tomorrow and no Meal Plan because I can't quite get my head around what's happening with the tube strike.