Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Kerrygold and Rachel Allen Launch Community Cookbook

I have just found out about a new Community Cookbook that some you foodies might like to get involved with. It's a great way of getting your recipes noticed by one of the top UK chefs, and indeed the rest of the UK should you be chosen! To find out more read below:

Kerrygold and Rachel Allen Launch Community Cookbook

 Kerrygold, the Irish butter brand, has teamed up with top Irish Chef, Rachel Allen, to produce the very first Kerrygold Community Cookbook. Kerrygold is inviting cooking enthusiasts across the UK to be part of it by submitting their best-loved recipes, be they old family favourites or original flashes of culinary inspiration, to their Facebook page at or by emailing

Rachel will be personally selecting her favourite entries to be included alongside a collection of her own recipes exclusively developed for Kerrygold, and the recip-e-book will be available to download for free online.

Rachel Allen comments;
“It will be really hard to pick the winners, but I’ll have loads of fun trying out what will no doubt be a delicious array of food.  If you’d like your recipe to be in the running, don’t forget to submit it to the Kerrygold UK Facebook page!”

Recipes can be entered at the Kerrygold Facebook page up until the 28th August 2011. Using the Cookbook application entrants simply need to provide details of their chosen recipe and describe why they love the dish.

Successful recipes chosen by the judging panel will feature in the Kerrygold Community Cookbook alongside some special recipes from Rachel herself. 

Here is a Rachel Allen recipe the Vegetarian and I cannot wait to try out. It might help to get those recipe ideas flowing too.

Ginger and honey snaps:

Ginger Honey Snaps

Makes about 20 cookies

Rachel’s quote:  ‘Honey loves the gentle heat of ginger and with a few mild spices these cookies are the ideal companion to coffee or tea.  I have used Kerrygold Honey Spread as a convenient cheat for adding both honey and butter.’


·   225g (8oz) self-raising flour

·   100g (3 ½ oz) caster sugar, plus 1 tbsp extra for sprinkling

·   125g (4 ½ oz) Kerrygold Honey Spread

·   2 tsp bicarbonate of soda

·   1 tsp ground ginger

·   1 tsp mixed spice

·   ½ tsp ground cinnamon

·   Kerrygold butter, for greasing

·   Pinch of salt


1.       Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°f/Gas mark 4

2.       Grease a large baking tray with Kerrygold butter.

3.       Sift the flour, bicarbonate of soda, salt and spices into a large bowl, add the 100g sugar and mix well.  Add the Kerrygold Honey Spread and, using your fingertips, rub it into the flour until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.

4.       Then use your hands to mould the mixture into a dough.

5.       Sprinkle the 1 tablespoon of caster sugar over a plate. 

6.       Using floured hands, roll the dough into small balls, then roll in the caster sugar and place on the greased baking tray about 5cm (2in) apart.  Flatten down with the back of a damp fork and bake in the oven for 10-12 minutes or until they are medium brown.  If the cookies are too dark, they will taste bitter.
7.       Leave on the baking tray for 2 minutes before carefully transferring to a wire rack to cool.

Friday, 22 July 2011

Vanessa's Yummy Fish Korma

Happy Eating

Last night the tables finally turned and I was invited to my very good friend and ex-housemate Vanessa's house for dinner. I refused to help out (although I was pushed into making the rice) and enjoyed poppadoms with mango chutney to start and a tasty Fish Korma with naan bread and rice for the main. I can't tell you how she made the fish korma (perhaps Vanessa will share with us??) but there was definitely a mix of haddock, cod and mackerel fillets in there and it was delicious.

Poppadoms and Mango Chutney
Vanessa's Fish Korma

Yummy Fish Korma
Naan Selection
For being such a good dog, special guest little Sally was given a fishy treat too...

Sally Dog

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Mallorcan rice

Mallorcan Rice

The Spanish have many rice dishes, paella being the most popular and renowned. This delicate Mallorcan rice dish is full of varied textures and works well both as a light lunch with salad or as a side dish. I served it with a juicy Mallorca oven-baked fish/aubergine dish.
Serves 2
½ litre vegetable stock                 
200 g long grain rice (100g per person)
2 potatoes, peeled, diced
4 cloves garlic, peeled, lightly crushed
2 tomatoes, halved
Handful, Chickpeas from a tin (if using dried, soak over-night before cooking)
Sea salt and black pepper

Heat oven to 200 degrees.
Fry garlic and potatoes in a little olive oil, until slightly soft. Add the halved tomatoes, chickpeas and rice and continue frying for a few minutes, stirring occasionally. Pour over the boiling stock, stir together and transfer to an oven dish. Bake covered for approx 18 minutes.

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Mallorcan Tumbet

France has Ratatouille, Bulgaria has Turlu Guvec and Mallorca has Tumbet.
Each dish is a slightly different variation of the other but each version is simply made, allowing the natural juices of the vegetables to mix together.
Local Vegetables

You will need to put a bit of time aside for the Mallorca Tumbet as it involves frying all the ingredients separately before baking in the oven. To pass the time, it's always good to have a companion. I was joined by Señor Oveja (Mr Sheep) who popped his head through the window to sample the tantalizing dish!
Señor Oveja

I find Mallorcan cookery can sometimes be quite oily so I try to use as little oil as I can. If you have one, use a spray to lightly spray the pan with olive oil before frying or pour in as little as possible and spread evenly.

Tumbet is the perfect accompaniment to a lovely lamb chop or a simple fried egg.
I opted for the vegetarian dish this evening as the eggs in Mallorca are extremely fresh and flavoursome.

Serves: 1 vegetarian, 1 meat-eater
2 large potatoes (preferably mallorca) peeled, sliced
1 green bell pepper, deseeded and sliced
1 red pepper, deseeded and sliced
1 aubergine, sliced – salted, drained on kitchen paper
I courgette, sliced
6 tomatoes, chopped
4 garlic cloves, chopped
Sea salt and black pepper to taste
1tsp cayenne pepper
Handful fresh herbs or 1 tbsp mix of dried herbs – parsley, oregano, thyme, rosemary
For the sauce, cook all ingredients in a little olive oil for 30 minutes. Season to taste and add a little water to keep the sauce moist throughout.
Pre-heat oven to 200 degrees.
Meanwhile, fry all the Tumbet ingredients separately in a very small amount of olive oil for approx 6 minutes each, turning halfway.
Layer a dish with each of the Tumbet ingredients.
Push tomato sauce through a colander, discarding skins and pour over layered vegetables. Bake covered for 30 minutes.

Tumbet is a great dish on its own but sometimes I serve it with:

V: a fried egg
M: a lamb chop 

Mallorcan Tumbet with Fried Egg

Monday, 18 July 2011

A Week in Mallorca Without The Vegetarian

Campari Soda a la Playa
To begin my week without The Vegetarian in Deia, Mallorca I enjoyed a Campari Soda (which became my daily afternoon drink on the beach) and a shared plate of Mariscos a la Plancha - Grilled Seafood from the fish restaurant at la Cala, Deia. This was a great way to test what was on offer and to help towards any decision making needed later in the week!

Mariscos a la Plancha
Clockwise from top left;
Langoustine -  Lobster- sweet fishy aroma with real depth
Gambas - King prawn - the freshest and most delicious I have tasted
Denton- Red Porgy -  delicate and light
Calamares - Squid - fresh, light, chewy, grilled to perfection
Rape - Monkfish -  chewy, meaty, dry, flavoursome  like a lobster
Chunk of lemon - fresh from a tree and picked that morning
Espada - Swordfish - steak of fish, light but filling fish steak, slightly oily
Cap roig - Scorpion fish- ugly red face, delicate cheeks, chewy flesh

All the fish was fresh from the sea and cooked to perfection. Perhaps 4 people could have shared the platter but after our 2 hour walk across the mountains we happily devoured the lot between two.

Ensalada Mixta
We were sure we couldn't touch the salad but that disappeared too and was a light refreshing end to the meal. Luckily we had another walk up the mountains to make us feel fit and ready for supper!

Mallorcan Flores

Llewelyn Feeding The Donkeys
One day we got up extra early and walked accross the mountains from Deia to Soller. It would have taken 4 hours but we bumped into my friend Llewelyn half way. After a coffee at his casita, he insisted we collect some veg from his terrace and have a taste test with the local donkey and its foal! We discovered that they like carrots but don't like green beans.

Mallorcan Brick-work

My Favourite Mallorcan Flower

After hours and hours of walking in the sun, we were starving and ready for a much deserved Paella de Marisocs and glass of Cava at one of the oldest restaurants in Soller - Es Canys.

Paella de Mariscos
Paella de Mariscos
A trip to Mallorca wouldn't be the same without a jug of Sangria...

Sangria a la Playa
...and of course, more Calamares a la Plancha.

Calamares a la Plancha

Friday, 8 July 2011

Angela Hartnett's - A Taste of Home Book Launch

Angela Hartnett's - A Taste of Home
On Wednesday I went to the book launch of Angela Hartnett’s - A Taste of Home. As 'the best loved and most successful female chef in the UK today', it was bound to be a foodtastic filled evening. And it certainly was, the simple menu really did make us feel as though we were in her kitchen eating. We got to sample:

Broccoli, Feta, Tomato and Red Onion Salad

A Selection of Italian Cured Meats

Penne Bolognese
Rocket, Parmesan and Beef Salad
Sweet Potato, Chorizo and Fennel Salad

Date Cake

The favourite of the night for me was the sweet potato chorizo, fennel and chorizo dish, which was served in a cute mini saucepan with a mini fork.
It was light and extremely flavoursome and worked really well even though it was served at room temperature (I haven't really considered eating cold sweet potato before, but I liked it!).

Chorizo Dish in Mini Saucepan with Mini Fork
As the executive chef of Angela Hartnett at the Whitechapel Gallery dining, the Whitechapel gallery was the perfect setting for her book launch. The atmosphere was buzzing and the setting was inspiring.

The Whitechapel Gallery

The Whitechapel Gallery

The Whitechapel Gallery
Angela Hartnett's Speach
Angela Hartnett’s - A Taste of Home is full of easy to make recipes for the amateur chef to create at home. Angela simply states that 'Cooking is more about sharing good meals with friends than showing off.' The simple recipes inside make cooking fun, not stressful and encourage the reader to source ingredients, which includes leftovers!

From the book the recipe’s I look forward to making most are the prawn mango and fennel salad, linguine with red mullet capers and lemon, cauliflower with tomatoes and olives, shepherds pie (as I haven't had one of these in a while), wild mushroom tart and the honey baked oranges with rosemary.

At the event we were luckily enough to get Angela to sign our book. Marcus Wareing, Chef at The Berkeley, was near by and Angela insisted he signed it too.

The Double-Signed Book!
At the end of the event I caught a lovely looking gentlemen sneaking a few homemade break sticks into his briefcase on his way out... It made me laugh, but they were very tasty indeed, and I almost followed his lead!

Homemade Breadsticks

Saturday, 2 July 2011

Panzanella Salad

Panzanella Salad

Panzanella Salad with Anchovy Fillets
I was up early this morning and have already prepared my lunch – a panzanella salad. This is a rustic, Italian salad from Tuscany made with a base of day old, crusty bread, fresh tomatoes and cucumber. It can be made in advance as the longer you leave it, the more intense the flavour becomes as the bread soaks up more and more of the dressing. Panzanella salad epitomises the essence of Italian cooking, which is simple, flavoursome food made from basic or staple ingredients.

6 tomatoes, cubed
½ cucumber, seeds removed and cubed
1tbsp capers
Italian bread, toasted and torn into bite size pieces

1tsp red wine vinegar
4tsp olive oil
Sea salt and black pepper
1 garlic clove, minced

V: A few jarred artichokes
M: A few Anchovy fillets

Mix the dressing ingredients together. Taste and check it’s the right measurements for you.

Toss together the salad ingredients and pour over the dressing.

The longer you leave the salad before serving, the more intense the flavours become.

Our First Tomato

Today, the Vegetarian and I are proud parents of our first tomato! We intend to share this for breakfast with some tasty Burford Brown eggs.

Burford Brown Eggs with a Rich Yummy Orange Yolk

Friday, 1 July 2011

Italian parsley and garlic sauce: Lightly Smoked Aubergine or Fish

Lightly Smoked Aubergine
Lightly Smoked Aubergine with Feta
Cod Fillet with Parsley and Garlic Sauce
What do you serve the vegetarian when you want to eat fish? When I eat fish I often serve the Vegetarian this aubergine dish as the texture of the aubergine, when grilled until black and then the skin removed, is similar to fish and it has a slight smoky taste. I also find the way is looks and is eaten, by slightly tearing the aubergine apart, is also a similar technique to eating fish. As an extra treat I often crumble a little cheese over the top of the aubergine. Feta is the Vegetarians favourite as it adds a salty taste and a new texture to the dish.

Serves: 1 Vegetarian, 1 Pescatarian

V: 1 large aubergine, a small chunk of feta cheese. 
P: 1 Fish fillet, Sea Bream or Sea bass are my favourite but I was too late at the fish monger and had to get cod this time. 1-2 cloves of garlic Handful, parsley leaves, finely chopped Extra virgin olive oil Sea salt and black pepper Lemon juice, to taste
Gently heat the garlic and parsley in a little olive oil and set aside. Re-heat again just before serving.

V: Slice indentations into the aubergine skin and place under a grill for approx 30minutes, turning it every 5-7 minutes. The skin will be a dark colour and the aubergine should eventually feel soft but not too collapsed inside. Transfer to a plate and leave to cool slightly before removing the skin with a knife (the fun and satisfying task). 
Drizzle with the parsley and garlic sauce, a squeeze of lemon and crumble over a little feta before serving.  

P: With a knife gently remove the scales from the skin of the fish and use your fingers to test the skin is smooth. Slice a few indentations into the skin and gently rub with a little olive oil.  Heat a non-stick frying pan until really hot and place the fillet if fish skin side down. Use your fingers or a spoon to gently hold it in place for 30 seconds. Turn the heat to medium and leave to cook through for 5 minutes or until the fish has almost completely cooked through- you will notice this by the colour changing. When there is only a small amount of transparent flesh left quickly turn over the fish for 10 seconds. 

Drizzle with the parsley and garlic sauce and a squeeze of lemon before serving.
Serve with Italian Roasted Potato Slices and asparagus.

Italian Roasted Potato Slices

Italian Roasted Potato Slices

Here is a recipe for crispy Italian potato slices with a cheeky cheesy finish.


2 large russet potatoes, scrubbed and sliced into ¼-inch slices
Olive oil
Handful of a mix of Italian herbs like basil, oregano,rosemary, thyme, marjoram, all finely chopped
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Cunk of Parmesan, or equivalent, finely grated

Heat the oven to 450 degrees – Yes, 450 degrees!
Brush a large baking sheet with olive oil until lightly covered.

In a large bowl, toss the potato slices in a little olive oil and evenly cover with the Italian herbs and seasoning.

Spread potatoes in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet.

Roast for 10 minutes. Using a spatula, stir up potatoes so they don’t stick as they continue to cook. Bake for another 10 minutes or until lightly browned and tender.

Sprinkle the Parmesan cheese evenly over the potatoes and continue to cook for 5 minutes more.