I am 3 months into cookery school and everything has gone very quiet. Things have gone quiet because:
- I have quickly realised that most things I thought I knew about cooking were wrong
- I therefore realised I shouldn’t be telling others how to cook
- After cooking all day the last thing I want to do when I get home is chop a bloody onion
- I am working three nights a week doing important things such as hanging people’s coats, and therefore do not have much time to think up recipes which I will later realise are wrong.
That said, here’s a recipe. It is from Suitcase Magazine again, I wrote it for them in October. It is short and sweet, Enjoy.
Tomatoes are pretty much a staple in most British diets, however the tendency to buy cheaper imported supermarket strains deny the humble tomato of its true glory! We have one month left of British tomato season and I think it is high time we give these fanciful fruits the attention they deserve. This simple recipe celebrates the variety of the tomato and the benefit of buying fresh, seasonal and local produce.
This Heritage tomato Caprese Salad is enough to convert any tomatophobe! The variety of the Heritage tomatoes really highlights the different flavours and textures to each tomato. Orange tomatoes tend to be sweeter, whereas the Purple tomatoes taste almost meaty in their intensity and depth of flavour. The variety of colours makes for a beautiful dish and a great starter for any dinner party. When making a simple salad like a Caprese, with very few ingredients, it is essential to season really well, to bring out the different flavours. Here we have chosen to use a Piranska Solni Cvet Fleur de Sel salt, which is subtle and almost sweet in flavour due to its completely natural production method.
Heritage Tomato Caprese Salad
- 8-10 Heritage tomatoes
- 1 ball mozzarella
- 5g fresh basil
- Pepper to season
- Piranska Solni Cvet salt to season
- Cut the tomatoes into slices, making sure to differentiate in size so as to add texture.
- Tear the mozzarella ball into small chunks and place on top of the tomatoes.
- Tear the basil in your hand and sprinkle over the dish.
- Season using good quality salt (only season just before eating to avoid extracting the water from the tomatoes).
- Drizzle with olive oil.
Photos credited to the wonderful Issy Croker
Reality has struck, the summer is over. This past month has been a complete whirlwind – I have completed an internship at the Quo Vadis, Barrafina and Fino restuarant group, I have managed to get three recipes published online for Suitcase Magazine, and I have started my training at Leiths Cookery School. I have only been at Leiths for 3 days, but they have been incredible. I am so excited for all the food knowledge that is going to be thrown at me over the next 9 months, and am praying that I will come out the other end with all my fingers still attached! Having had all this experience within the last month has convinced me that I have chosen the right industry to work in, however I’m more confused than ever about what exact career path I will take.
Another great journey I have embarked on in the last month has been getting my new bike – Frank. It would be fair to say that cycling doesn’t exactly come naturally to me. I have almost fallen into the canal several times, and am constantly being shouted at passers by and other cyclists for doing something or other wrong. However, through my terrible driving skills, I have learnt to zone out these abusive chants, honks and screams, and focus on getting to my destination in one piece. Frank seems to be in one piece, and hasn’t been stolen yet. I will keep you posted.
This is one of the house boats I almost crashed into.
Working with the girls at Suitcase Magazine was a lot of fun, and it was brilliant having my food photographed by the wonderful Issy Croker! Here is the recipe I wrote for them, along with some of the photographs for you to enjoy. If you want to read the whole article, then click here! (Yes I know I am getting a bit carried away with all of the links..)
- 320g ready-made puff pastry sheet
- 4 figs, halved
- 150g Gorgonzola
- 1 egg, whisked
- 2 sprigs rosemary
- 8 tsp honey
- Salt and pepper to season
- 100g walnuts, crushed
Recipe: (makes 8 tarts)
- Preheat oven to 180˚c.
- Roll out the pastry onto a floured surface.
- With a knife, cut circles out of the pastry, around 10cm in diameter.
- Mould together any excess pastry and roll out with a rolling pin to make more tart bases.
- Next, with the back of a knife, draw a 2cm border around the edge of each tart base.
- With your finger or a brush, apply water to the edge of the tarts, and fold the border inwards to create a doubled border.
- Again with your finger or a brush apply the whisked egg around your new border. This will make it go nice and golden brown in the oven.
- With a fork, make 4-5 pricks in the base of each tart.
- Put the tarts on some baking parchment and bake in the oven for 7 minutes.
- After 7 minutes, take the tarts out of the oven and add the rest of the ingredients; first the gorgonzola, then the figs, honey, rosemary, and walnuts.
- Bake in the oven for an additional 8 minutes and your tarts will be ready to eat!
I am writing this post begrudgingly on Yom Kippur – the Jewish day of Atonement, where all practising, or particularly guilty Jews, spend the day attending synagogue, making some sort of commitment to try harder next year (however far fetched this may be) and fasting. So, naturally, on a day where I am supposed to stop eating so as not to be distracted by food whilst concentrating on prayer, I find myself sitting in bed, obsessively writing down recipe ideas and searching for inspiration for my next meal.
I have also bided my time by creating a twitter account. I spent Thursday at a John Lewis Cole and Mason event in Hackney, where I was able to meet some great people who shared the same passion for food as I do. Two people in particular, Poppy Loves and Chef Rachel Green, told me to stop being in denial and to embrace social media! I’m still enjoying not having Facebook, but have opened my eyes to the opportunities twitter will give me to publicise my recipes and get some much desired feedback from the public!
This recipe is something I learnt on holiday with a friend. It is her go to summer lunch dish, as it is so simple and can be chopped and changed depending on what’s in the fridge. Much simpler than the art of befriending the local donkey. Merde.
- 100ml Creme Fraiche
- Puff pastry
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- Olive Oil to drizzle
- 1 ball Mozzarella
- a handful of grated Parmesan
- 2 sprigs fresh Rosemary
- 1 tbsp Pine nuts
- 2 Cloves Garlic, chopped
- 1 Garlic bulb
- In a frying pan lightly fry the two cloves of garlic on a low heat so they don’t burn.
- Scoop the fried garlic out leaving the oil in the pan, and mix into the Creme Fraiche.
- Using the same oil you used with the garlic, lightly fry the rosemary sprigs.
- Role out your puff pizza base on a floured surface into whichever shape you want – you can buy them ready rolled in a circular shape.
- Cut a 1 inch border around the edge of the pastry so that the edges puff up when heated, and prick the base with a fork several times to create air holes.
- Spread the Creme Fraiche and garlic mixture within the border, and cover with sliced mozzarella, parmesan, and any extra dollops of the Creme Fraiche.
- Sprinkle the garlic cloves from the bulb and the rosemary and oil from the pan over the top of the pizza, and place in the oven at 350°F/175°C for 20 minutes.
- Just before you take the pizza out, gently toast the pine nuts over a low heat for 3 minutes, remember to stir regularly.
- When the Pizza is ready, take out the oven and sprinkle with the pine nuts. Enjoy!
With the enduring heat of the summer (yes I am aware most of my posts revolve around the possibility of catching some rays) I have been busy in the kitchen cooking up light healthy meals which I can pop into a tupperware and enjoy in the park. I am lucky enough to live within walking distance of Primrose Hill. On sunny days the park is full of people, like myself, enjoying picnics and kicking a ball around. Just kidding – I’m completely malcoordinated! Unfortunately, I am rarely able to actually sit and enjoy my picnics, as I always feel obliged to bring my dog, and he in no way understands the clear difference between human food and dog food. Last time I attempted a picnic I made the mistake of letting the dog off the lead before getting out the food. The second my back was turned he was off like a shot. I ran after him desperately shouting his name, much to the amusement of my friends and other park-goers, but alas, I was not fast enough. I caught up with him looking very pleased for himself, having just enjoyed a smoked salmon bagel at the expense of a very shocked young girl. To my horror, as I got closer, I realised that this girl was a few years below me at my school, and was not amused. After apologising profusely and trying to appear to publicly scold the dog, I walked back to my friends – my head bowed and my (hypothetical) tail between my legs – his head covered in cream cheese and tail wagging. Suffice to say I now no longer let the dog off the lead on sunny days in the park…
- Juice of one Lemon
- Courgette (Zucchini) 400g
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- Feta 50-100g
- Pomegranate Seeds 50-100g
One of my favourite dishes to make during the summer is this Courgette, Feta and Pomegranate Salad. First I slice the courgettes and marinate them in lemon juice, olive oil, and salt and pepper for 10-20 minutes. I then grill the courgette for a few minutes on each side, so that it has a lovely chargrilled flavour with black lines from the perforated pan. When the courgette is done, I put it in a dish and sprinkle it with the feta and pomegranate seeds. It is extremely simple to make, and tastes extra fresh with the lemon marinade. It is great to eat straight away, but also lovely to eat whilst cold as a side dish. The colours of the different ingredients really make the dish pop, and turns something simple into something special!
After two glorious weeks of holiday, family, weddings, and stuffing my face in the USA, I returned back to the UK to an insane heat wave. I am now completely resigned to the fact that I am one of those annoying people who complains when it’s too cold, and then complains when it’s too hot. I am also one of the extremely rare people in the world who does not like Ice Cream, and am forced to suffer in silence every time the dulcet tones of an Ice Cream truck entice my hot and sweaty friends to be instantly, if not momentarily, relieved from the persistent sun. So after two weeks of huffing and puffing around London, opening and closing windows only to let flies in and out, I came up with a solution. Ice Lollies!
Admittedly I haven’t eaten or made Ice Lollies for a good 15 years, but I decided to give it a go, and they went down a storm! I won’t pretend that anyone needs to be taught how to make an Ice Lolly, but if you do want to spice things up, try adding pieces of chopped up fruit to the equation! The fruit makes for both great aesthetics and taste.
All in all, the Ice Lollies did the trick and were an extremely refreshing break from this crazy London sun!
Summer is upon us and I am free from commitment for what I realise will probably be the last time in my life. I have received my degree results and have no commitments for the next two months, which feels unusual but liberating. Cooking has yet again been put on hold as I am enjoying my freedom on holiday in America. Celebrating the 4th July as a Brit in the States was ironic yet enjoyable and educational (however in hindsight I wish I hadn’t stumbled across the televised national hotdog eating competition…). I have been eating my way through New York, Las Vegas and now California, learning more and more every bite I take.
The foodie highlights of my trip so far have been catching and eating fresh clams, and making Ceviche with my relatives in Greenport, NY (the Clams didn’t go into the Ceviche!). I have also loved mooching around the various cookery stores – the Americans seem to have a gadget for everything, from watermelon cutters, and pineapple corers to electric egg cookers and strawberry hullers! Needless to say most of these tools are the kind that sit unused in the kitchen cupboard until being gift-wrapped and passed on to an unassuming friend.
Although Ceviche can by no means be described as an affordable student meal, it was delicious, so I am going to post the recipe anyway!
- 2 Red or Orange Chillies
- 1/2 Red Onion
- 1lb Sea Bass
- 1lb Striped Bass
- 10 Limes
- 1 Lemon
- 1 Orange
- 2 Mangos
- Salt and Pepper to taste
Ceviche is extremely easy to make. First, finely chop the Red Onion and the Chillies, and roughly chop or tear the coriander leaves. For the fish, it is imperative that it is extremely fresh. I was lucky enough to be on the sea surrounded by flapping fish. I love Sea Bass Ceviche, but lots of white fish are suitable, as well as some shellfish such as Scallops and Prawns.
During my work experience at The Underground Cookery School over the Christmas holidays, I learned how to properly fillet and prepare a fish, so I was very excited to practise my new skills! When you prepare and cut the fish make sure that you get rid of any bones, and cut each piece to a similar size. I also like to trim the fish to get rid of any dark meat. Cut the fish into small slices, about 2×1 inches in size. If the pieces of fish are too large, they will take a long time to cook in the acid. Once the fish is cut, add it to the other ingredients, and cover with the juice from the limes, orange and lemon. The juices should completely cover the fish. I like to add the zest from a few limes too. Place the mixture in the fridge, and it should take around 1 hour to cook in the acid from the citrus fruits. When the fish is cooked through, season to taste and add the diced mango, and you’re ready to go! Enjoy eating the Ceviche with either crackers or tortilla chips.
This dish has become a staple in my house, and for good reason too! I first made it when we were living in Venice, and inhaling Bruschetta daily like it was going out of fashion. In an attempt to change things up a bit, I added some Brie to the normal Bruschetta mix, and stirred in some pasta to make a pasta salad. The empty bowls spoke for themselves!
I have experimented with lots of different types of pasta, and think that Orzo is the perfect match. Orzo is a type of pasta which is shaped like a large grain of rice – it is great in salads and in soups! I usually make this dish when I’m in a rush and want a quick fix, so Orzo is great as it takes very little time to cook, and can be shoveled up with a spoon and finished off in minutes!
- 300g Cherry tomatoes
- 300g Orzo
- 4 tbsp Olive Oil
- 70g Brie
- 2 Cloves Crushed Garlic
- 15g Basil
- Seasoning to Taste
The recipe is extremely simple. First, put the brie in the freezer, and boil the water for your pasta, salting it generously. When the water is boiling add the Orzo. Chop the tomatoes into quarters and place in a bowl with the crushed Garlic, Salt, Pepper and Olive Oil. Tear the basil and add to the mixture. Take the Brie from the freezer and it should be hard enough to cut with ease. Dice the Brie and add it to the mixture. The Orzo should now be cooked – drain the water and let it stand for a few minutes. Add the orzo to the Tomato mixture and voila! This dish serves two – Enjoy!