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)
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.
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
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.
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
300 ml just-boiled water
1 batch chocolate buttercream – recipe below
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
As this third UK lockdown coincides with the beginning of a new year, I’ve been trying to cook a bit differently during the weeks. More vegetables (I have subscribed to a vegetable box), less meat and a bit healthier. But also more variety; trying new dishes and recipes.
One of my latest discoveries is this green tahini yoghurt, which goes with absolutely anything! I initially made it for our veggie rice bowls but I’ve also used it with fritters and lots of different leftovers.
It’s the perfect healthy sauce and dressing option to keep in your fridge! It’s fresh and herby, but has depth and a bit of a kick from the garlic. I just love it!
Our veggie bowls were nice too, but really just a clear out of the vegetable drawer so I won’t give you a recipe. But I can give you a formula for what I think a good veggie rice bowl should contain to make it interesting and delicious!
Green tahini yoghurt, one batch
1 150 ml pot Greek yoghurt (not fat free)
1 tbsp olive oil
1 garlic clove
1-2 tbsp water
2-3 tsp lemon juice
1 tbsp tahini
1 small bunch of coriander, stems included
plenty of salt and a bit of pepper
Mix all the ingredients together using a stick blender or a food processor. Season to taste with salt and pepper and lemon juice. Keeps in the fridge for up to a week.
Veggie rice bowl formula
1 portion rice per person
at least five types of vegetables, some fresh, some roasted and some pickled (think different textures but flavours that go together)
add some lemon or lime juice
serve with a sauce or dressing
garnish with something interesting like crispy fried onions, fresh herbs, seeds, nuts etc
There are so many aspects of a roast chicken supper that I like. That the golden roasted bird with herbs, lemon and butter pairs fantastically well with dauphinoise potatoes and is a real joy to eat is of course number one. But it’s also extremely satisfying that I can make stock from the bones to use for soup or stews. And that I can use leftovers for both sandwiches and (at least) another supper! You really can stretch a chicken quite far, especially if you’re frugal with the leftovers and use with pasta, as I explained in this post.
Like that recipe, this one came about in the usual manner; while creating a dish using leftover chicken and what else I had to hand at that time. In this case mushrooms and spring onions. The result, so good I wanted to share it with the world!
Creamy chicken and mushrooms pasta with spring onions, serves 2
250 g spaghetti
100 g chestnut mushrooms, sliced
1 tbsp butter
1 garlic clove, grated or finely chopped
150 ml cream
1 tbsp lemon juice
1-2 tbsp tomato paste
150 g leftover roast chicken, torn into bite size pieces
3 spring onions, sliced
approx 100 ml pasta water
salt and pepper
Cook the spaghetti al dente according to the instructions on the packet. Melt the butter in a large frying pan and fry the mushrooms until golden brown on medium-high heat. Season. Lower the heat to medium and add the garlic. After a minute or so add the cream and stir while it thickens. Add lemon juice and tomato paste and stir to combine. Add the chicken and half of the spring onions. Add the cooked pasta and some pasta water and using tongs or a wooden fork, move the pasta so the sauce thickens. Once each strand of spaghetti has a nice coating of sauce remove from the heat. Season to taste with salt and peppar. Add grated parmesan and the remaining spring onion and serve.
I made these at the beginning of the first lockdown, and although my largest bowl was barely large enough to hold the full batch, they gave me so much joy those few weeks in solitude.
The recipe calls for a whole 36 hours of rest in the fridge, which was really difficult for this impatient cook to adhere to, so I made sure to bake the dough after a few hours of rest, after 24 hours and finally after 36 hours. All in the name of research, of course. And this highly scientific empirical study showed that the dough that had rested the longest in the fridge indeed made the best cookie. So have patience, my friends!
Also in the name of research, I made sure to microwave a few balls of cookie dough until gooey and heavenly and ate with vanilla ice cream. Highly recommend!
Please note that the recipe below has been halved, to easier fit our medium sized mixing bowls. Just double it if you want the full batch. I would recommend making two smaller batches though – easier on the arms (when mixing) and on the tummy, as these are really difficult to resist!
A final tip; instead of baking them all immediately, I froze a few dough balls and kept in my freezer for when I wanted still warm cookies (is there anything better than those bits of melted chocolate?!) straight from the oven, which I have to admit was quite often…
The ABSOLUTE best chocolate chip cookies, makes about 20 cookies
Mix flour, bicarb, baking powder and salt together in a bowl.
In another bowl, cream butter and sugars together until very light, about 5 minutes. Add the egg and mix well. Stir in the vanilla. Add the dry ingredients bit by bit while stirring. Add the chocolate and mix well. Press cling film against the dough and refrigerate for 24-36 hours.
To bake, pre-heat the oven to 175C. Line a baking tray with parchment paper. Use an ice cream scoop to scoop dough onto the baking sheet, pressing down on chocolate pieces sticking up. Sprinkle lightly with sea salt and bake until golden brown but still soft, 18-20 minutes. Leave to cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes.