Updated: My Perfected Rhubarb Crumble

Anyone else excited about rhubarb right now?! I just love it (you’ll find lots of lovely recipes here) and as it’s still cold out (it snowed earlier in the week!) I thought it best to start this rhubarb season with a warming crumble. It was also the perfect opportunity to improve on the recipe a little; to make it perfect!

All I did was to reduce the sugar a little and substitute some brown sugar for caster sugar to let the rhubarb flavour come through more, and it made such a difference! It was yummy before but now it’s *chef’s kiss*.

My perfected rhubarb crumble, serves 4

ca 250 g rhubarb, washed and cut into smaller pieces

60 g caster sugar (to balance the acidity from the rhubarb)

Crumble:

100 g softened butter

200 g plain flour

65 g soft brown sugar

70 g caster sugar

1 tsp baking powder

Butter an ovenproof dish. Place the rhubarb pieces in the bottom. Scatter the sugar on top. Combine the ingredients for the crumble in a mixing bowl using a wooden fork. Pour on top of the rhubarb. Place in 175C oven for about 30 minutes or until the fruit is soft and the top golden brown. Serve with double cream, custard or ice cream.

Recipe: Burrata with Slow-Roasted Tomatoes and Wild Garlic Pesto

One of my favourite foods is undoubtedly burrata. It’s just so creamy and delicious and a nice weekend treat. But, it’s also the easiest thing to use for a lovely starter. When you have burrata you don’t have to work so hard with the rest; just make sure it goes well together.

So for a lovely spring time starter a few weekends ago I made minimal work. Apart from taking the burrata out of the fridge an hour ahead of eating I really didn’t do much; my appliances did all the work for me. The oven slow roasted the cherry tomatoes until jammy and sweet and the food processor made a really delicious wild garlic pesto to smother the burrata with. Add to that some bread and Bob’s your uncle.

Burrata with slow-roasted tomatoes and wild garlic pesto, serves 2

1 x 150g burrata

150 g cherry tomatoes

mild olive oil

1 tsp oregano or herbes de Provence

salt and pepper

1 batch wild garlic pesto

grassy olive oil for drizzling

salt and pepper

bread to serve

Preheat the oven to 150C. Wash and halve the tomatoes. Place them in an oven-proof dish and drizzle with mild olive oil. Add the herbs, salt and pepper and mix to coat. Place in oven for approx 1 hour.

Take the burrata out of the fridge an hour before it’s needed. Make the pesto.

To assemble, place the burrata on a deep plate, place the tomatoes around the burrata and dollop the pesto on top. Drizzle with a grassy olive oil and add salt and pepper. Serve with bread.

Recipe: Easter Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Buttercream

No Easter without chocolate, am I right?! So for the Easter cake this year I made sure it was super chocolatey! I used my go-to chocolate cake recipe (courtesy of mamma and granny) but made it gluten-free (so we could share it with friends) just substituting plain flour with Doves Farm gluten-free flour blend. For the filling I made a chocolate buttercream with both melted chocolate and cocoa and it was so delicious I will definitely make it again and again.

Chocolate cake, serves 10

600 ml (480 g) caster sugar

500 ml (300 g) plain flour 

6 tbsp cocoa

4 tsp vanilla

4 tsp baking powder

200 g melted butter

4 eggs

300 ml just-boiled water

1 batch chocolate buttercream – recipe below

Decorations:

2 bags Cadbury mini eggs

1 Lindt milk chocolate bunny

Pre-heat the oven to 175C, butter and two springforms and line the bottoms with baking parchment. Mix sugar, flour, cocoa and baking powder in a large bowl. Add melted butter, vanilla, egg and water and combine. Divide the batter between the tins and bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Leave to cool completely.

Chocolate buttercream

100 g dark chocolate, chopped

300 g softened salted butter

400 ml icing sugar, sifted

2 tbsp cocoa, sifted

1 tsp vanilla

approx 2 tsp lemon juice

Melt 2/3 of the chocolate in a Bain Marie until melted. Add the remaining chocolate and stir until melted. Set aside.

Make sure the butter is really soft. Add it to a large mixing bowl and add the sifted icing sugar. Beat together with an electric whisk until well incorporated. Add the cocoa and vanilla and incorporate. Add the melted chocolate and beat well until well incorporated. Season to taste with lemon juice to cut through the richness.

Assembly 

Remove the cakes from the tins and remove the baking parchment. Place one cake round upside down on the cake plate and cover with half the buttercream. Place the next cake round on top and cover with the rest of the buttercream. Decorate with mini eggs and chocolate bunny.

Recipe: Baked Vacherin Mont d’Or with Sherry

We only managed one baked Vacherin night this Mont d’Or season but it was a good one! I didn’t have any opened white wine so used a dry sherry instead and it worked so well, I wanted to share it here. I skipped the garlic as I don’t think it’s needed so it’s super simple to make.

Last year we learnt how amazing the baked cheese was together with cold (not fridge-cold, but cooled after cooking) new potatoes (a bit like raclette) so those were a must have. We also had bread which is a given, and I like something crusty like a baguette to give a bit of a contrast to the soft melted cheese texture wise. (I love it the most when it’s starting to cool down slightly and coats the bread or potatoes with a thick layer of cheese.) Charcuterie is also a must for me and I wan’t something with acidity as well so cleanse the palate in between. We had radishes and cornichons, but crispy apple slices or small pickled onions work well too.

I’m salivating as I’m writing this, and am already looking forward to the next Vacherin season (December-March) but I’m also very ready for spring and summer right now. It’s already wild garlic season and I cannot WAIT for the British asparagus to come up!

Baked Vacherin Mont d’Or, serves 2

1 Vacherin Mont d’Or cheese 450-500 g, at room temperature

60 ml dry sherry

Preheat the oven to 180ºC. Unwrap the cheese from any plastic and place on a baking sheet. Make a few slits in the top and pour in the sherry. Bake until melted and hot, approximately 30-45 minutes. Serve with a platter of nice things to dip into the cheese such as cooked cooled new potatoes, sliced baguette, charcuterie, radishes and cornichons.

Recipe: Warm Butternut Squash, Pitta Chip and Halloumi Salad

Isn’t it crazy how quickly time flies, even in a pandemic?! We’ve been in lockdown for two months now (two dark and grey winter months I might add), but time has still flown by. I don’t understand how, but it has both positive and negative aspects. Positive in the way that time is moving on and therefore this too shall pass. But negative in the way that it feels like we’ve all lost a whole year of our lives. So many things have been put on hold and there is no certainly when we will see our loved ones again…

But I digress. The reason I brought up the time aspect is that as time moves on, so does the seasons. And I really must tell you about this wonderful winter salad recipe before winter is well and truly over. The recipe is courtesy of Deb Perelman of Smitten Kitchen (one of my favourite food blogs that I have followed for years) and it’s basically a way for her to trick her children into eating vegetables for dinner. But, it works just as well on vegetable adverse adults!

We both loved it and the leftovers re-heat really well! It’s definitely the pitta and halloumi that makes it so delicious but the red onion play a big part too, so don’t miss those out!

Warm butternut squash, pitta chip and halloumi salad, serves 4

Adapted from Deb Perelman’s recipe (I substituted cabbage for kale).

5 tbsp olive oil

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

1 1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp Aleppo pepper

1 red onion, cut into wedges

1 butternut squash, halved seeds removed and sliced 1,5 cm thick

1-2 white pitta breads, cut into triangular pieces

1 packet halloumi, sliced

4 stems of kale, leaves only

2 tbsp apple cider vinegar (or lemon juice)

1 1/2 tsp sumac

mint sprigs for serving (optional)

Preheat oven to 220°C. Coat a rimmed baking sheet with 1 tbsp oil. Mix garlic, salt, Aleppo pepper and 3 tbsp oil in a large bowl. Add onion and squash and toss to coat. Spread out on the prepared baking sheet and roast until squash is browned underneath, approx 30 minutes.

Toss pitta, halloumi and kale and remaining 1 tbsp oil in a bowl. Scatter over the squash and onions, then turn vegetables over with a large spatula. Roast until squash is fork-tender and onion, pitta, and Halloumi are browned in spots, 10-15minutes. Remove from oven and drizzle with vinegar (or lemon juice). Top with sumac and mint.

Recipe: Green Tortilla Pizza

You already know how much I like a tortilla pizza for a speedy weeknight supper, but last weekend I made some green ones (literally and figuratively!) for lunch and they were so good I immediately wanted to share the recipe. And write it down for my own sake too, as it really was a winning combination and such a satisfying lunch!

An added bonus is that I have finally found a good use for green peppers (my least favourite pepper) and they taste great here, so now you know what to do with all those green peppers that come in the mixed packets. For me, they’re always left after I have used the red, yellow and orange ones.

Green tortilla pizzas, serves 2

Two medium flour tortillas

2 tbsp creme fraiche

2 handfuls grated cheddar

1 small courgette, sliced

1 medium green pepper, cut into thin strips

2 spring onions, sliced

2 large handfuls fresh spinach

a drizzle of olive oil

salt and pepper

1 batch green tahini yoghurt dressing

Place the two tortillas on a baking tray. Spread the creme fraiche onto the tortilla and scatter with cheddar. Add a little salt and pepper before adding the vegetables with the spinach and spring onions on top. Add more salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil. Bake in 220C oven for 5-10 minutes. Add a few spoonfuls of green tahini yoghurt dressing to each pizza and serve.

Recipe: Tarragon Chicken

One of my go-to dishes of 2020 was this easy and delicious tarragon chicken. Initially inspired by Nigella’s recipe but I have now made so many changes to her version that I need to write down my own recipe.

The biggest difference between her recipe and mine is the cut of chicken we use. I know chicken breast is the traditional option here, but I prefer chicken thigh fillets and they become so juicy and delicious I wouldn’t make this any other way!

What I love about this dish is that it’s quick to make (like 15-20 minutes with no prep) but still feels elevated. It would be perfect for date night or even a dinner party (remember those?). Or why not a summer’s lunch with cold rosé and a green salad or asparagus instead of the broccoli?!

Tarragon chicken, serves 2

4-5 chicken thigh fillets

2 tbsp mild olive oil

1 tsp dried tarragon

100 ml dry white wine

1/2 tsp salt

120 ml double cream

2 tsp dried tarragon

salt and pepper

Pour the oil into a medium saucepan. Heat to medium temperature and add 1 tsp tarragon. Cook for a minute then add the chicken thigh fillets, smooth side down on top of the tarragon. Cook for 5 minutes, then turn the chicken and add the wine and salt. Lower the temperature to a simmer and put a lid on the pan. Cook for another 10 minutes. Check with a knife to see that the thicken is cooked through, then remove to a plate and let rest while you finish the sauce. Turn the heat up to medium-high and add the cream and 2 tsp tarragon to the pan. Let it thicken slightly and adjust the seasoning. Serve with buttery rice and broccoli.

Recipe: Rösti with Prawns, Creme Fraiche, Lemon and Dill

Friday night supper.

For me, it’s in a category all of its own. In between weeknight food that I want to be healthy, nutritious, quick(ish) to cook and relatively cheap. And weekend food that I like to be more elaborate and interesting, and a celebration of time off from work.

As Friday night sits between those two categories; after a work day (and week!) but before a long Saturday lie-in, I definitely want something quick and easy, but also something nicer and more exciting than weeknight food. Enter this classic Scandi dish: crispy rösti with prawns, creme fraiche, lemon and dill.

All you need to do is grate potatoes and fry them until crispy in plenty of butter, drain some prawns and assemble with some creme fraiche, lemon and fresh dill on plates. Preferably with a glass of wine in hand already!

Rösti with prawns, creme fraiche, lemon and dill, serves 2

4 medium sized firm potatoes, such as Maris Piper, peeled

2-4 tbsp salted butter

2 tbsp mild olive oil

salt and pepper

approx 100 ml full fat creme fraiche

1/2 lemon, cut into wedges

200 g fresh Atlantic prawns, drained

bunch of dill, chopped

Start by adding some butter and a little oil to a frying pan and heat it to medium-high. Grate two potatoes (using a regular grater, rotary grater or Moulinex or a food processor. Add the grated potatoes to the pan shaping it like a thick pancake. Pat down with a spatula, season generously and wait for it to brown. Fry until golden brown on both sides, adding butter and oil as needed, and the potatoes are cooked through, approx 8-12 minutes. Keep warm on a plate or in the oven while you repeat the process with a second rösti.

Place the röstis on a plate each. Add creme fraiche, and prawns. Season well and and scatter with dill. Place a lemon wedge on each plate and squeeze some lemon over before serving with the remaning wedges.

Recipe: The Famous THE DIP!

We may not be entertaining very much at the moment, but I think we should all practice making this addictive dip until we can, so when the lockdown lifts and we’re free to see a few people again, we know what to make. Because I imagine that first little gathering will be a bit stressful and shaky for many of us, mainly because we will be so happy and eager to see our friends or family again but also because we’ll be out of practice cooking for more than our household.

So start with something simple, yet utterly delicious (i.e. this dip!) and stick to something you’ve made many times for the next dish. Because the last thing we want when we can finally see our friends again is to be stuck in the kitchen.

While you practice making it though, it will brighten your evenings at home. It’s the maximum dividend for a very small investment of labour. I love it with a selection of pitta chips (homemade or store-bought) and crudités.

The original recipe is by Alison Roman (of salted butter chocolate chunk shortbread cookie fame!) and as many of her amazing recipes, it broke the internet (hence the famous in the title of this post). I totally recommend buying her cookbooks for more of her incredible recipes – I just love her style of cooking!

Labneh dip with sizzled spring onions and chilli, aka The dip, serves 6

Adapted from Alison Roman’s recipe.

180 ml olive oil

4 spring onions, white and light green parts, thinly sliced

1 tsp chilli flakes

2 tbsp finely chopped fresh coriander (leaves and tender stems) or chives, plus more for garnish

sea salt

 freshly ground black pepper

475 ml labneh (or full-fat Greek yogurt or sour cream)

2 tbsp fresh lemon juice

Heat the olive oil, spring onions, chilli flakes and coriander in a small pot over medium-low heat. Cook, swirling occasionally, until the scallions and red-pepper flakes start to visually and audibly sizzle and frizzle and turn the oil a bright, fiery orange. Remove from the heat, and let cool enough to taste without burning your mouth, then season with salt and pepper.

Combine the labneh and lemon juice in a medium bowl, and season with salt and pepper. Spoon into a serving bowl and swirl in the sizzled scallion mixture. Top with extra coriander, if you like.

Recipe: Mushroom Carpaccio with Burrata and Crostini

While we’re patiently waiting for spring and tomato season, or as I prefer to call it; TOMATO AND BURRATA season, because there is no better combination of flavours ever, I have another easy burrata recipe to share. One that is as simple as slicing a tomato and tear a burrata into chunks. Well almost.

It’s a completely different flavour profile with earthy but fresh mushrooms, grassy olive oil and some lemon to brighten it all up, paired with that delicious creamy burrata. Serve with or on top of crostini for more texture.

Mushroom carpaccio with burrata and crostini, serves 2 as a starter

Inspiration from Systrarna Eisenman.

For the crostini:

1 small baguette

2 tbsp olive oil

For the carpaccio:

1 small burrata, at room temperature, torn into chunks

100 g button mushrooms, as fresh as possible

small bunch of parsley or chives, finely chopped

a drizzle of grassy olive oil

1/2 lemon, the juice

salt and pepper

Slice the baguette thinly. Place on a baking tray and drizzle with olive oil. Place in a 180C oven until golden brown, 10-15 minutes. Leave to cool.

Wash, pat dry and trim the mushrooms, then slice them as thinly as possible. Arrange on a plate or platter either underneath or on top of the burrata. Scatter with herbs, drizzle with lemon juice and olive oil. Add salt and pepper. Serve the crostini on the side.