An easy supper we come back to time and time again is these baked eggs with spinach, cream and parmesan. We tend to have all the ingredients at home most of the time, and as far as satisfying supper go, this is a great one.
It doesn’t take long to prepare, is easier than a shakshuka and super yummy! Perfect weeknight fodder, but it feels a little elevated with the cream and parmesan. Also great for brunch or lunch! Similar to oeufs en cocotte, but a little easier to throw together (no hot water!) and in a bigger dish so a bit more substantial.
Baked eggs with spinach, cream and parmesan, serves 2
2 large handfuls baby spinach, washed
1 tbsp butter
100 ml cream
sea salt and black pepper
Add a little butter to a small non-stick frying pan on medium heat. Add the washed spinach and push it around until it has been wilted. If there is a lot of liquid in the pan squeeze the spinach to remove the excess water.
Butter two round gratin dishes with the remaining butter. Divide the spinach between the two dishes. Crack one or two eggs in each. Spoon cream into the dishes, some on top of the eggs. Grate a generous amount of parmesan into the dishes. Finish with a little salt and pepper.
Place in a 180C oven until the whites are almost set (cook for longer if you want them cooked through), approx 5 minutes. Serve with crusty bread.
Macaroni cheese wasn’t something I grew up with. We had pasta bolognese and mamma made a really nice creamy pasta sauce with ham, but macaroni cheese I have discovered myself as an adult. I’ve made baked versions and stovetop versions, and I’ve found them all delicious but a little bit stodgy.
But then I saw a post from Half baked harvest making a very creamy mac ‘n cheese on Instagram that looked great. So with her recipe as a guide (but with a few changes) I made this seriously creamy mac ‘n cheese which has now become my go-to! It’s so quick and easy and verrry comforting!
Seriously creamy three cheese mac ‘n cheese, serves 2
Cook the macaroni al dente in (take 2-3 minutes off the full cooking time on the packet) in a large non-stick saucepan in plenty of salted water on high heat. Reserve a mug of pasta water. Drain the pasta and transfer back into the pan and place it on medium-low heat. Add the milk/cream and Philadelphia, dijon mustard and garlic powder and stir until the Philadelphia has melted. Add the butter, cheddar and parmesan and stir until melted. If the sauce thickens too quickly add a splash of pasta water to loosen it. Just repeat if necessary. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add a little more mustard if needed. When lovely and creamy divide between bowls. Serve with a tangy salad.
If you’ve read the blog for a while you know that pannacotta is one of my go-to puddings. Partly because it’s delicious (duh!) but mainly because it’s so easy to make in advance. You just take it out of the fridge, add toppings if any and off you go.
Many people seem a little scared of making it at home, but with good quality gelatine leaves (I like Dr Oetker’s) it really is super simple and doesn’t take long to make. But it does require some planning as it needs quite a few hours to set in the fridge. At least six (as it needs to cool down first) but I usually make it the day before or the morning of, for a dinner the same day.
This particular pannacotta recipe is an ode to autumn and apples and almost like a deconstructed crumble with a creamy element.
The apples are soft and sweet but with a little acidity and the crumble topping adds crunch and texture. I really enjoyed this and after a few attempts I got it just right.
Vanilla pannacotta with fried apples and oat crumble topping, serves 4
500 ml single cream
1 vanilla pod
50 ml caster sugar
2 gelatin leaves
2 apples (local ones are best), washed, cored and diced
1 tbsp salted butter
1 tbsp golden syrup
1/4 lemon, the juice
tiny pinch of salt
150 ml jumbo oats
1 tbsp salted butter
1 tbsp caster sugar
Make the pannacotta well in advance: Cover the gelatin leaves with cold water in a bowl. Make a cut lengthways in the vanilla pod and add to a saucepan. Add sugar and cream. Bring to the boil and let it simmer for a few minutes while stirring. Remove from heat. Squeeze the excess water out of the gelatin and add to the pan. Stir to dissolve. Divide between four small bowls or glasses, pouring through a sieve . Leave to cool then let them set in the fridge for at least 6 hours.
Remove the pannacottas from the fridge as you prepare the toppings (or make the toppings before dinner and heat up in time for serving, in which case keep the pannacottas refrigerated). In one non-stick frying pan, add 1 tbsp butter on medium heat. Add the apples and allow them to soften. Add the golden syrup when the apples are soft and fry for another 2 minutes. Add the lemon juice and a little salt. Set aside, covered.
In another non-stick saucepan, add 1 tbsp butter on medium heat. Add the oats and toast the oat flakes until golden brown while stirring. Add the sugar and stir to combine.
Divide the apples between the pannacottas and top with the sugary oats.
I came across a recipe for Mexican chipotle rice somewhere a while ago and loved it. I have since lost the recipe but make my own version of chipotle tomato rice and it’s so good to stuff peppers with.
I just love this combination of soft baked peppers, the smoky flavoursome rice and the melted cheddar on top. It’s really good with just a dollop of soured cream and salad but you can also take it one step further and serve it with guacamole (or why not guacamole, soured cream and salsa and some tortilla chips?).
I make this every time we get peppers in our Oddbox, which luckily is quite often! Any leftover rice is great in a chicken fajita bowl or with any protein together with soured cream and vegetables in a bowl. This truly is a weeknight favourite of mine!
Chipotle tomato rice stuffed peppers, serves 4
For the peppers:
4 medium bell peppers, any colour, washed
2 tbsp mild olive oil
salt and peppers
For the rice:
1 tbsp mild olive oil
1 small shallot or 1/2 onion, finely chopped
240 g basmati rice
1 tbsp tomato paste
2-3 tsp chipotle paste (or more if you want more spice and smoke)
Pre-heat the oven to 200C. Cut the peppers in half lengthways and remove the seeds. Pour a little olive oil into an ovenproof dish and place the peppers in it, cut side up. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast the peppers in the oven for 15-20 minutes until the peppers are soft but hasn’t collapsed.
In the meantime, cook the rice by adding olive oil to a frying pan with edges or a large saucepan. Fry the onions or shallots on medium heat until softened. Add the rice and fry for a minute or so until translucent. Add the tomato paste and fry for a few minutes while swirling the rice around with a spatula or wooden spoon. Add the tinned tomatoes and fill the empty tin with water and add that to the pot too. Add the chipotle, stock cube, spices, salt and pepper. Stir properly. Bring to a simmer and cover with a lid for 10-12 minutes (or however long the rice needs to cook). Stir from time to time making sure it doesn’t get too dry. Adjust the heat accordingly or add water if needed. Once cooked season the rice to taste.
Remove the peppers from the oven and pour out any liquid pooled in the peppers. Stuff the peppers with the chipotle rice and scatter with grated cheddar. Put the tray back into the oven for 5-8 minutes or until the cheese has melted. Serve with salad and a dollop of soured cream or guacamole.
November. How did we get here so quickly? It felt like August not long ago and the beginning of September just yesterday. We’ve been back in London fully for a while now and it feels good to not have to pack a bag for a while. To cosy up with candles and blankets at home.
This recipe is September for me, so I missed the cut-off, but with the milder temperatures we have now I think this still works. It’s absolutely delicious and a good way to use up any courgettes (I got some in my vegetable box only yesterday). It’s also a great way to make something comforting with vegetables (something I find hard).
Sometimes when I create a recipe it’s because I use what I have to hand. Other times I dream something up in my head and try to execute it. And most often, it’s a combination of the two.
In this case I had an idea of a creamy orzo pasta with courgette. With lemon, because it’s the obvious pairing and flavour enhancer. But the mascarpone part of the recipe came to me because I had half a packet left in the fridge and I needed to use it up. And it’s the ingredient what made this dish so lovely.
For me, the whole point of orzo is to create something a bit risotto like, but with pasta. It has a different, silkier texture than rice and feels lighter somehow. But the creaminess is important. And mascarpone offers that in the nicest possible way. For me this bowl of courgette and orzo tastes of summer slowly becoming autumn, the trees changing colour, of tanned legs in trousers instead of shorts, of the clearer fresher air that september brings.
Courgette orzo pasta with lemon and mascarpone, serves 2
200 g orzo
1 small shallot, finely chopped
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp olive oil
1 – 1 1/2 medium courgette, cut in half and sliced
1/2 lemon, zest and a little juice
1/2 packet mascarpone
salt and pepper
Cook the orzo al dente in a saucepan. In a non-stick frying pan, heat upp the butter on medium heat and fry the shallots until soft. Don’t let them brown. Remove from the pan. Add the olive oil to the pan and turn the temperature up to medium-high. Add the courgette half moons and fry until soft and a little brown. Take the pan off the heat and add the onions back in. Lower the temperature to medium and place the pan back on the heat. Add the mascarpone and lemon zest, salt and pepper and stir until creamy. Reserve some of the pasta water in a mug and drain the orzo through a sieve. Add the pasta to the courgette mixture and add a little of the pasta water. Stir in a handful of grated parmesan and adjust the seasoning if needed. Spoon the pasta into bowls and sprinkle with some more grated parmesan before serving.
I feel like I finally have time to write on here again. This weekend was the paus button I so very much needed. I feel so lucky to have had such a lovely summer, but we have been on the move quite a lot (Norfolk, London, Sweden, Paris, Norfolk, London, Norfolk and now back in London again) and for some reason, writing blog posts is the first thing to go when I have a lot on. It takes a lot of time, and requires more writing than say Instagram, so although I love it it’s a bigger mountain to climb. But I’m here now and hope I will have time to tackle a lot of the back log this autumn. But if I go quiet on here, you can always pop over to Instagram where I pretty much post every day.
One recipe I really want to share with you before tomato season is truly over for this year, is this simple tomato toast. It’s barely a recipe; more an idea, and a call to really enjoy those last good tomatoes of the season. Because a simple recipe require the ingredients to be good quality. There is little point making this in January with imported tomatoes that have barely seen the sun.
But back to the recipe/idea. When I was little we had a weird and wonderful thing in Sweden; salmon mayonnaise. It came in a tube, was salmon pink and tasted heavenly. I don’t remember it tasting of salmon per se, but it had an umami flavour that paired so well with tomatoes. So I basically grew up eating a version of this open-faced sandwich. Salmon mayonnaise has since been continued in Sweden, but still exists in Finland, so there have been a few rare occasions I have been able to get hold of some.
But this tomato toast is just as good as my childhood version but with readily available ingredients.
It’s my favourite lunch from August to October and the flavours are so so good together I think anyone who likes tomatoes will love this!
Tomato toast, serves 2
2 slices good bread, toasted (flimsy white bread is discouraged here)
2 tbsp Hellmann’s mayonnaise
3-4 ripe tomatoes, washed, dried and at room temperature, thinly sliced with a serrated knife
a small bunch chives, finely chopped
salt and pepper
Let the toasted bread cool a little before spreading a very thin layer of butter on top. Spread a thicker layer of mayonnaise on top. Arrange the tomato slices on the toasts, as closely together as possible. Sprinkle with chives, a good pinch of sea salt and freshly ground pepper. Enjoy!
It all started with the Huevos Rancheros. That’s how I discovered the joy that is deep-fried corn tortillas. But be aware, not all corn tortillas are created equal. I bought some small ones from a popular brand recently and for some reason they don’t crisp up in the oil. Like, at all. No idea why, but if it doesn’t work once, don’t give up, just try different tortillas!
I hadn’t realised that it was so easy to make tostadas! The crispy fried tortillas are just utterly delicious and a great vehicle for various toppings. Last summer I was very much in the mood for the combination of crab meat, avocado and gochujang mayonnaise and they were a delight! I made them when we were in Norfolk and fresh local (delicious!) crab was readily available and we actually had them as a main course instead of a starter, but they would also be a great way to start off any tex-mex feast!
Crab Tostadas with Avocado and Gochujang Mayonnaise, serves 2
2 large corn tortillas
500 ml vegetable oil
100 ml crab meat
1 avocado, peeled and sliced
1 small bunch coriander
2-3 spring onions, thinly sliced at an angle
1/2 lime cut into 3 wedges
100 ml good quality mayonnaise
1-2 tsp gochujang paste
salt and pepper
Heat up the vegetable oil in a large frying pan with tall sides or a saucepan large enough to fit the corn tortillas. Heat the oil to 180C. Fry the tortillas one at the time in the oil until crispy and golden on both sides (turn if needed). It only takes a few minutes. Leave to drain on kitchen towel.
Mix the mayonnaise with the gochujang paste and a little salt in a bowl. Prepare the vegetables. Place your tostadas on plates and start layering. Start the the avocado, then crab, mayonnaise, spring onions and coriander. Sprinkle over a little salt and pepper. Squeeze one of the lime wedges over both plates and serve with more lime.
Even before my boyfriend and I lived together I would spend most weekends at his flat and obviously cook a lot in his kitchen. One day looking through the cupboards for something useful I spotted a chocolate fondue set, complete with chocolate and marshmallows. It had never been used but he knew it had been there a long time so I made sure to use fresh chocolate and marshmallows for our first chocolate fondue. I also added some crispy things like little waffles and wafer rolls to dip, and of course strawberries.
We’ve made it a few times since, and I thought it was the perfect pudding on Valentine’s Day with heart shaped marshmallows (yes, I’m a sucker for things like that)!
It’s actually vey easy to make the chocolate sauce, and as to what to dip – you decide, but I recommend a few different textures and flavours, and definitely something fruity and sharp to cut through all the sweetness. I have listed the dippers we had below and although I love them all I highly recommend the butter crisps.
Chocolate fondue, serves 4
150 g dark chocolate (approx 60% cacao), roughly chopped
50 g milk chocolate, roughly chopped
125 ml single cream
a tiny pinch of sea salt
Jules Destooper butter crisp waffles
Heat up the cream until almost boiling in a non-stick saucepan. Once hot, take it off the hob and add the chocolate. Leave it for a minute or so to melt before stirring well. Add the salt and mix again. Pour into a chocolate fondue pot and serve straight away with a selection of things to dip.
The first time I met my boyfriend’s sister we were invited over for lunch and she and her husband served a lovely roast chicken, a big salad, a large bowl of chips and lots of condiments. It was so effortless but so delicious and that was definitely my inspiration here!
This was actually our supper on Valentine’s Day as it fell on a Monday this year, and I knew I would be tired after a busy work day. But I thought an easy roast chicken, chips and a nice salad was the perfect balance of delicious but low effort in the kitchen. Especially since we had a starter and pudding too, although also of the effortless variety. But I did make a batch of homemade mayonnaise to go with it, because homemade mayonnaise and any storebought variety (even Hellmann’s which I love!) are miles apart. The homemade version is a lot runnier, silkier and doesn’t have that eggy smell to it. I was absolutely inspired by a recent dinner at Bibendum Oyster Bar where I had the Pierre Koffmann fries (they were excellent!!) and homemade mayonnaise and it was definitely the only time I have received a bowl of good mayonnaise to go with my chips in a restaurant. It was so so good and I haven’t stopped thinking about it since. Granted, Sainsbury’s oven chips where not even half as nice as the Pierre Koffmann fries, but it was still delicious!
Although I often make skin-on oven fries, I sometimes cook chips or fries straight from the freezer and with the addition of some extra oil and a longer cooking time, they come out super crispy and nice. And it saves me cutting a lot of potatoes. I also don’t have a fryer so I’m not even remotely aiming for the perfect fries until I have one in my possession.
The chicken (a small one, I find them juicier) I spatchcocked before cooking, as it both cuts down on cooking time, but it also makes it easier to carve afterwards and gives you a bit more control while cooking as it’s easier to cook it evenly. Before cooking I smothered it with a homemade (very easy to throw together) herb butter and seasoned it well.
Roast chicken, chips and salad with homemade mayonnaise, serves 2
1 small chicken, spatchcocked and trimmed (I cut off excess skin and fat), rinsed and patted dry
50 g softened butter
lemon zest from half a lemon
2 tsp of chopped herbs such as parsley, thyme and rosemary (dried works too)
salt and pepper
2 servings frozen readymade fries
1-2 tbsp mild olive oil
salt and pepper
1 egg yolk, at room temperature
1/2 tsp white wine vinegar
1/2 tsp dijon mustard
125-175 ml neutral oil (such as sunflower, groundnut, warm-pressed rapeseed oil or vegetable oil)
1/2 lemon, juice only
table salt and pepper
a nice green salad
Pre-heat the oven to 200C. Mix the herbs, lemon zest and salt and pepper with the butter in a small bowl.
Place the chicken on a cutting board and make incisions in the skin at the top of the breasts with a small knife. Run your finger underneath the skin to create a pocket over the breasts. Fill these pockets with some of the herb butter, patting it down so it’s flat and covers the breasts. Make small incisions on each leg and cover with butter. Smother the rest of the butter all over the chicken with your hands. Wash hands and season well. Roast the chicken until golden brown and juices runs clear. The cooking time depends on the size of your chicken and your oven, but somewhere between 30-50 minutes.
Add the fries to a roasting tin. Drizzle with oil and season. Stir well with a spoon or spatula so that the fries are evenly coated with oil. Cook at the same time as the chicken until golden brown and crispy. They will cook faster than the chicken, 15-20 minutes, so either put them in later or take them out when ready and re-heat before serving.
Either make the mayonnaise beforehand and cover it or make it while the chicken is roasting. Add the egg yolk, vinegar and mustard to a mixing bowl. Beat to combine with a whisk. Slowly slowly add the oil drop by drop to start with while whisking. Once the sauce is getting thicker, add the oil in a steady trickle instead, while whisking continuously. Add a little lemon juice to loosen if it feels too thick. Season with table salt and pepper and the lemon until you have a delicious mayonnaise.
Once cooked let the chicken rest for 5 minutes on a warm (not hot plate) and a piece of tin foil loosely covering it. (You want the steam to be able to escape so that the chicken skin stays crispy). Don’t wrap the chicken, approach it more like a roof.
Cut the chicken into smaller pieces and serve with the fries, homemade mayonnaise and salad.
I have made so many versions of this starter over the years but this is how I like it best. It’s super easy, just an assembly job really, but oh, so delicious!
We all know burrata is delicious. Especially paired with tomatoes. And basil. But take it one step further and substitute the fresh basil (although I use some for garnish) with fresh (this is important, it has to be fresh pesto, either store-bought – you find it by the fresh pasta and sauces – or homemade) pesto. It has more flavour, more texture and makes it feel more like a proper dish than just tomatoes and burrata together.
Although this is pretty much the only building blocks, I share a few tricks in the below recipe to elevate these flavours as much as possible.
But I also recommend bread of some kind. Either a crusty baguette or a chewy ciabatta or sourdough, or of course, crisp crostini.
Burrata with tomatoes, pesto and olive oil, serves 2
125 g burrata, removed from the fridge an hour before serving
100 g cherry tomatoes, rinsed and halved
2-3 tsp fresh pesto
a good quality extra virgin olive oil
sea salt (I like Maldon) and black pepper
a wedge of lemon
Place the burrata in a shallow bowl or on a platter. Arrange the tomatoes around it. Add salt and pepper. Add the pesto to a little bowl and add a tbsp or so of olive oil to loosen it so you can drizzle it. Stir with a teaspoon and drizzle the pesto oil mixture over the burrata and tomatoes. Squeeze over lemon juice. Decorate with basil leaves. Add a little more salt and pepper. And just before bringing it to the table, drizzle with more of the olive oil. Serve with bread or crostini.