Wednesday, 27 January 2021

COFFEE NICE CREAM BITES


I am not a big banana fan, in fact you can literally chase me with banana bread and I can't actually recall the last time I ate a banana BUT on the hunt for a slightly healthier yet delicious weekend dessert I couldn't help but be intrigued by the idea of nice cream. 

What is this nice cream? It is simply frozen banana and a bit of milk blended together, here with some coffee added for extra omph, with the end result that gets pretty close to normal ice cream but without the sugar and all that double cream! 

Indeed I was impressed with the flavour and creamy texture, not too heavy on the banana when balanced with the coffee, and liked it even more after the bites were dipped in dark and white chocolate, maybe making this a bit naughtier but still a pretty great and relatively good for you dessert that made me re-think my hatred of bananas (a little bit at least). 


INGREDIENTS

  • 4 large bananas 
  • 3 tbsp instant coffee (I went for a vanilla flavour one)
  • ½ cup milk
  • 120g dark chocolate
  • 120g white chocolate

  • Serving suggestion:
  • Salt flakes, to garnish


METHOD

  • Peel the bananas and cut into rounds. 
  • Add the banana rounds to a resealable bag and freeze until solid. 
  • Line a medium-square 20cm x 20cm baking tray with baking paper, allowing the paper to hang over the sides slightly. 
  • Add the frozen bananas, coffee and milk to a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. 
  • Pour the banana mixture into the baking dish and smooth out with a spatula. 
  • Freeze for overnight, or until set. 
  • Break your chocolate into smaller chunks and add to a microwave-safe bowl. 
  • Microwave for 15-second intervals, until melted. 
  • When the banana nice cream has set, remove the tray from the freezer and use the baking paper to lift the nice cream slab out of the dish. Cut into 2cm x 2cm cubes. 
  • Work quickly to dip the nice cream cubes into the melted chocolate, using a fork to lift them out and place them onto a baking tray lined with baking paper. 
  • Sprinkle with salt flakes to garnish. 
  • Repeat with all the nice cream bites. 
  • Place in the freezer and allow to freeze until set. 
  • Remove from the freezer 5 minutes before serving and ENJOY! 

Monday, 25 January 2021

SESAME SEARED TUNA POKE BOWL WITH MISO & KIMCHI SAUCE


After a cheese and heavy carb filled weekend (how can I ever forget that deep dish pizza), I was ready for an attempt at something a little more wholesome and you can't get more nutrient packed yet delicious than my version of the very versatile Poke bowl! 

Of course feel free to adapt the veggie and fruit to suit your taste - I love mushrooms and broccoli and add them whenever possible. I also love the sweet tang from chunks of ripe, diced mangos, contrasting with the spicy sauce, and am a big fan of the fresh crunch from sliced radishes but again chop and change according to what you like and have in the fridge! 

The real wow element indeed in any case is the show-stopping and rather addictive Miso and Kimchi sauce, which you will want to pour on just about anything, while a quickly made sesame oil, miso and rice vinegar sauce lends itself perfectly for quickly stir frying your chosen veg in. 

Make sure to get yourself a nice, good quality piece of tuna and DO NOT overcook it, you want that wonderful just about seared end result that makes the tuna so spectacular. If you want to go super light and low cal use cauliflower "rice" or leaves as base for the bowl or go more classic with some cooked rice or soba noodles! 

It's a fun dish to make, looks amazing and makes you feel even more amazing after eating it! Real sunshine, nutrient packed food we all can do with during these rather lethargic times.

Serves 2 (with plenty of the amazing Kimchi Miso sauce leftover for another day!(

INGREDIENTS

Kimchi Miso Sauce
  • 1 tablespoons freshly grated ginger
  • 1 clove of garlic, roughly chopped
  • 3 spring onions, roughly chopped (white and pale green parts only)
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (add more for a bit more heat)
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons low sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons white miso
  • 1/4 cup kimchi, roughly chopped
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons water (more to thin if need be)
Miso Sesame Sauce
  • 2 tbsp sesame oil
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp white miso
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
Bowl Toppings
  • 2 cups mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 heads of bok choi, individual leaves torn from the stem, briefly steamed in the microwave
  • 2 cups of broccoli florets, briefly steamed in the microwave
  • Handful of radishes, thinly sliced
  • 2 cups cooked white rice, cooked
  • Cup of ripe mangos, diced
  • 1 avocado, 1/2 per person, thinly sliced
Tuna
  • 2 fresh fillets of tuna
  • Olive oil
  • Black + white sesame seeds

METHOD
  • Prepare the Miso and Kimchi sauce by combing all the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth and creamy. 
  • Taste for seasonings, adjust as needed and set aside.
  • Prepare your veggies, rice and toppings, then whisk the ingredients together for your Miso sesame sauce.
  • Coat your pieces of tuna in the sesame seeds and season with a bit of salt. 
  • Set aside.
  • Add stir fry veggies one by one (I like to keep the different types of veg apart because of differing cooking times and as it looks neater) to a frying pan and cook them over med-high heat with a splash of the Miso sesame sauce until cooked but still crunchy. 
  • Add more sauce as needed and set sautéed veg aside until bowl assembly and repeat until all your veg is done!
  • Meanwhile, heat olive/coconut oil over high heat in a small frying pan. 
  • Once oil starts to smoke, add tuna fillet (one at a time) to the pan, cooking for 45 seconds each side (time this on your phone or a kitchen timer). 
  • You basically want to get a good sear on either side and then lightly cook the ends. 
  • Remove from heat and cut into thin slices against the grain with a very sharp knife.
  • Add your rice to each bowl, then your stir fry veggies, fresh veggies and mango chunks. 
  • Top with tuna slices and lashings of the Miso and Kimchi sauce.
  • Garnish with sesame seeds and enjoy!

Thursday, 21 January 2021

CHRISSY TEIGEN'S FRENCH ONION SOUP WITH CROISSANT CROUTONS

 

I am always a little dubious about the skills and credentials of a celebrity cook, more known for being a celebrity than being a legit recipe developer, but whilst hunting for a recipe for a French onion soup, caused by a moment of 'Fernweh' and missing Paris with its fabulous bistros, I couldn't help but be intrigued by Chrissy Teigen's indulgent sounding version of this comfort food classic. 

Indeed inventive additions like soya sauce in the broth and over the the top croissant croutons instead of your standard baguette ones quickly dispelled my initial reservation and on a particular grey and rainy Saturday night I made my own version and wow it did not disappoint! 

A real game changer here were Oxo's vegan "beef" flavoured stock cubes (available at Sainsbury's and Waitrose) which tasted so rich and beef like that I couldn't quite believe they were fully vegan, enabling a non meat eater to still achieve that wonderfully rich broth an onion soup is all about. 

Onions are slow cooked, don't rush this step, red wine injected for further flavour until the broth gets added, and everything simmers for a good 45 minutes, yes, not a quick dinner but so worth taken the time for. 

The final bowl comes with lashings of grated and melted Gruyere cheese and buttery chunks of croissants croutons, croissants cut into bite sized pieces and quickly crisped up in the oven before they adorn the top of the soup. 

Sophisticated yet like a hug in a dish and honestly the best onion soup I have had in my life, even when compared to those I had Paris, so I eat my words and indeed your soup Ms Teigen, you are a damn fine cook, celebrity or not!

Serves 2 as main course

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 5 Tablespoons Butter
  • 10 Cups Thinly Sliced Onions
  • 5 Thyme Springs, Tied Into A Bundle With Kitchen Twine
  • 8 Cloves Garlic, Thinly Sliced
  • 2 Tablespoon All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 ¼ Cups Dry Red Wine
  • 6 Cups Beef Broth (or the amazing Vegan alternative I used)
  • 1 ½ Tablespoon Soy Sauce
  • Kosher Salt
  • 2 Large Croissants, Cut Into 1 ½ Inch Cubes
  • 2 cups grated Gruyère 

METHOD
  • Heat the oil and 5 tablespoons of butter in a big saucepan on high heat till melted. 
  • Add your thinly sliced onions and thyme bundle and cook. 
  • Stir often for about 15 minutes until the onions are still light in color and begin to shrink. 
  • Reduce the heat to medium-low and add the thinly sliced garlic. 
  • Cook another 20 minutes (give or take), stirring often, until the onions are a deep golden color and tender. Watch the color more than the clock. 
  • If you noticed some onions are browning more than others, stir more frequently. 
  • You want all your onions to be an even golden brown.
  • Next, add the 2 tablespoons of flour and stir until it coats all the onions for about 3 minutes, until they have a dull appearance. 
  • Now ADD THE WINE! 
  • Increase the heat to medium and bring to a boil. 
  • Cook the onions for about 5 minutes until they are purple and almost all the wine has evaporated. 
  • Take out the thyme bundle and throw it away. 
  • Add your beef broth, soy sauce (DON’T skip this ingredient), and 1 teaspoon of salt. 
  • Bring to a boil over high heat then reduce heat to a gentle simmer. 
  • Continue to simmer until the soup has thickened and the onions are no longer purple, about 45 minutes. Season with salt to taste.
  • Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celsius.
  • Spread out the croissant pieces on a baking sheet and bake for about 7 minutes until golden. Remove from oven and crank up your grill. 
  • Arrange your soup bowls on a baking tray. 
  • Add a handful of Gruyère cheese to the the bottom of each soup bowl. 
  • Ladle soup over cheese and add your croissant. 
  • Top off with more grated cheese. 
  • Grill until cheese is bubbly about 3 or 4 minutes. 
  • Now sit down and enjoy the best soup of your life.

Tuesday, 19 January 2021

REAL DEAL CHICAGO DEEP DISH CHEESE & TOMATO PIZZA!


This pizza is NOT your standard Italian kind and I was a little dubious about the idea of a sort of pizza "pie" where the cheese comes first and is then topped with a tomato sauce but OMG this was total cheesy, comfort food heaven and a real Friday dinner treat while restaurants remain closed and we are all a bit over takeaways.

I usually buy ready made pizza dough but here dared to make it from scratch (particularly as this dough stands out with its addition of cornflour) and found it surprisingly easy to do! 

Make sure you leave yourself enough time for the rising process and extra butter lamination step which will make the dough extra bouncy and light, and don't you dare to cheat on the tomato sauce, it's a real delight, again made from scratch and simmered leisurely for a good 20 minutes to really let all flavours develop.

Ok, maybe it is a bit extra of an effort to make for a simple pizza but then again when am I next likely to make it to the States for a bit of pizza pie action, so may as well make it at home in the meantime and really who won't be cheered up by a cheesy, tomatoey, carby slice of goodness to brighten up even the most bleak of lockdown days.

Makes 2 deep dish pizzas (you will need two cake tins to make them at the same time)

INGREDIENTS

PIZZA DOUGH

PIZZA SAUCE
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped white onion
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

ASSEMBLY
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 cups grated mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese


METHOD

TO MAKE THE PIZZA DOUGH
  • In a bowl combine the flour, cornmeal, yeast, sugar and salt and give it a quick whisk. 
  • Melt 3 tablespoons of the butter and add it, along with the warm water, to the dry ingredients. 
  • Leave the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter on the counter to soften.
  • Mix with your hands until the dough starts to come together, then knead for 4 to 5 minutes until the dough is smooth.
  • Drizzle a little olive oil into a large, clean bowl, then transfer the dough to the bowl and give it a turn to coat it in the oil so it doesn't dry out. 
  • Cover tightly with plastic wrap, and let the dough rise in a warm place for about 1 hour, until nearly doubled in size.
  • When the dough has risen, roll it into a 15x12-inch rectangle on a clean work surface using a rolling pin. Spread the remaining 4 tablespoons of softened butter evenly over the dough.
  • Roll the dough into a tight cylinder and pinch the edges together. 
  • With the seam side down, flatten the dough into an 18x4-inch rectangle, then slice it in half crosswise with a sharp knife or pastry cutter. 
  • Fold each portion of the dough over itself into thirds, then pinch the seams together to shape into two balls.
  • Return the balls of dough to the oiled bowl, cover tightly with plastic wrap again, and allow to rise in the refrigerator for another 45 minutes, until almost doubled in size again.

    TO MAKE THE PIZZA SAUCE
  • In a saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. 
  • Add the onion and sauté for 5-7 minutes, until softened. 
  • Add the garlic and sauté for another 30 seconds, until fragrant.
  • Add the crushed tomatoes, oregano, bay leaf, salt, pepper and sugar and stir to combine. 
  • Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 15-20 minutes until slightly thickened and reduced to about 2 1/2 cups.
  • Remove from heat and stir in the chopped basil and olive oil. 
  • Season with additional salt & pepper, to taste.


ASSEMBLE AND BAKE
  • Preheat oven to 220 degrees celsius. 
  • Divide 4 tablespoons of olive oil between two 9-inch cake pans, coating the bottoms and sides well.
  • Roll out each ball of dough on a lightly floured surface. 
  • They should make roughly 13-inch discs about 1/4 inch thick.
  • Transfer the pizza dough to the prepared cake pans, lightly pressing it into the corners and up the sides.
  • Fill each pizza crust with 2 cups of the shredded mozzarella, then add any additional toppings like sausage or vegetables, if you want. 
  • Finish each pizza with 1 1/4 cups of the pizza sauce spread over the cheese layer and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
  • Bake for 20 to 30 minutes, until the crust is golden brown. 
  • Remove from the oven and allow the pizzas to rest for 10 minutes before slicing and serving.

Thursday, 14 January 2021

OTTOLENGHI'S HOMEMADE BIANG BIANG NOODLES WITH CHILLI OIL & TAHINI SOYA SAUCE

 

This is not a recipe to make in a rush. It will take a good afternoon to prep, some nerve wrecking minutes to pull the noodles and most likely a lengthy visit to a well stocked supermarket to find some of the more unusual ingredients used by Ottolenghi in this belter of a recipe BUT trust me on this one, it's totally worth the effort, especially as you end having made and hand-pulled (!) your own noodles! 

Instructions and the length of the ingredients list may sound daunting but actually it's all very doable if you go step by step and WOW the final bowl of noodles is a simple flavour explosion - silky noodles, the most incredible homemade chilli oil and a banger of a tahini soya sauce, it's a dish you won't forget in a hurry and which you would easily devour without a question at one of Ottolenghi's famous restaurants.

Your noodles do not have to end up looking perfect to taste the part but I actually didn't find making them too hard after watching this little tutorial video by a recipe developer at Ottolenghi and overall I found the whole process of creating these noodles from just flour, water and salt incredibly fascinating!

Admittedly, without the time we are forced to have on our hands right now I probably would have never tried making this but I am so glad I dared to approach a recipe that no doubt intimidated me a little because the end result was so, so good! 

Give this a go, I promise you will nail it.

Serves 2

INGREDIENTS


FOR THE NOODLES
  • 300g plain flour
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 150g water (measure the water rather than trust liquid measurement, it's about being precise here)

FOR THE CHILLI OIL
  • 150ml sunflower oil
  • 1 banana shallot, peeled and finely chopped 
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
  • 10g fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated
  • ½ red chilli, finely chopped
  • 1 whole star anise
  • 1 tbsp red bell pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp chilli flakes
  • 1½ tsp Szechuan peppercorns, roughly crushed (got these at Waitrose)
  • 1½ tsp tomato paste
  • 1 tsp black sesame seeds
  • 1 tsp sesame seeds
  • Salt

FOR THE TAHINI & SOYA SAUCE

  • 60g tahini (mixed very well, to combine the solids and fat)
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1½ tbsp maple syrup
  • 1½ tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 tbsp water

TO SERVE
  • 2 spring onions, trimmed and julienned
  • ½ large cucumber, halved lengthways, seeds scooped out and discarded, flesh cut into 1½cm dice
  • 1½ tbsp sesame seeds, toasted


METHOD
  • For the noodles, mix the flour and salt in a bowl, then very slowly pour in the water, stirring with a chopstick the whole time, until the mix comes together into a dough – it will look on the dry side once all the water has been added, but don’t be tempted to add any more.
  • Transfer to a work surface and knead for about five minutes, until the dough comes together into a shaggy ball. 
  • You’ll need to use some muscle here, because it will be quite tough. 
  • Cover with a tea towel and leave to rest for 10 minutes.
  • After the dough has rested, knead again vigorously for 10 minutes, until it’s very smooth: it should by now have the texture of Play-Doh and, if you poke it, the indentation should remain, rather than spring back. Cover again with a tea towel and rest for another 10 minutes.
  • Grease a big plate with plenty of vegetable oil. 
  • Cut the dough into eight equal pieces of about 55g each, then roll each piece into a sausage and place on the greased plate. 
  • Cover with cling-film and leave to rest at room temperature for two to three hours.
  • Meanwhile, make the chilli oil. 
  • Heat two tablespoons of sunflower oil in a small saucepan on a medium-high heat, add the next eight ingredients and a quarter-teaspoon of salt, turn down the heat to medium and fry very gently for five minutes, stirring often, until the shallot is soft. 
  • Add the tomato paste and all the sesame seeds, and cook for another two minutes. 
  • Stir in the remaining 120ml oil, reduce the heat to low and simmer very gently for 20 minutes – if the oil starts to bubble at all, take it off the heat for a minute, to cool down. 
  • Turn off the heat and leave to cool and infuse for at least an hour.
  • For the tahini soy sauce, whisk all the ingredients in a bowl until very smooth.
  • Once the dough has rested, flatten each sausage into a rectangle: grease a work surface, then, working with one piece at a time, use a rolling pin to roll the dough sausage into a 16cm x 8cm rectangle. Use a chopstick to make an indent across the middle of the rectangle - this will be your “ripping line” later. Repeat with the other seven dough sausages, then leave to rest for 10 minutes.
  • Put a large spoonful each of the numbing oil and tahini soy sauce into two serving bowls and put to one side.
  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. 
  • Meanwhile, and again working with one piece of dough at a time, take both ends of the dough rectangle between your thumb and fingers of each hand, and start to pull slowly and gently, until you feel there is no more tension left. 
  • Still holding both ends, slap the noodle down on the work surface about five times, gently stretching it out more as you go.
  • Lower the now stretched noodle on to the work surface, then, using the indent you made earlier, tear it in half lengthways to form a large, closed loop. 
  • Drop the noodle straight into the pan of boiling water, and cook for about a minute, or until it floats to the top.
  • Repeat with the remaining pieces of dough, adding them to the water as they’re stretched and ripped. Drain the cooked noodles well, then transfer them to the serving bowls.
  • Use chopsticks to mix the noodles with the oil and sauces, adding more of each to taste. 
  • Top with the spring onion, cucumber and sesame seeds, and serve with more soy sauce drizzled on top.

Wednesday, 13 January 2021

DIY JAPANESE OKONOMIYAKI (SAVOURY PANCAKE ON FRIED YAKISOBA NOODLES)


Ok, disclaimer first - this recipe requires a visit to an excellently stocked Japanese or Asian supermarket as well as the time and patience to find the slightly random and to normal western cooking unknown ingredients. Then again what else is there to do at the moment than go to the supermarket, so why not make it a bit more fun than the standard trip to the Sainsbury's down the road!

I found everything at the Japan Centre, which is located in the deserted ghost-town like part of central London that used to be buzzing Soho, and I did end up spending a little extravagantly on all the fancy imported ingredients (powdered seaweed anyone?!) but then once again what else is there left to do in full bleak lockdown than spent money on good food and good drinks, especially as I have always wanted to make Okonomiyaki at home!

For those unfamiliar, an Okonomiyaki is made from seasoned flour, cabbage, various fresh meats and vegetables, mixed together and cooked in a frying pan just like a pancake.

The version I made then gets flipped over onto some grilled yakisoba noodles and everything gets topped with lashings of sticky Okonomiyaki sauce, the rather addictive special Japanese Kewpie mayo (made with only the yolks, opposed to Western mayonnaise which typically uses the whole egg and which results in an almost custard-like texture of the Japanese version), "dancing" bonito flakes (simmered, smoked and fermented skipjack tuna flakes which will appear to move when hitting the hot pancake), finely ground seaweed (aonori) and pickled ginger!

It takes a bit of practise flipping your creation and I would recommend having two spatulas handy, I didn't and had to literally air flip the pancake onto the noodles which was quite nerve-racking, but overall making your own Okonomiyaki is a super fun and tasty way to have a Japanese inspired dinner and my end result came pretty close to the ones I have enjoyed at authentic Japanese joints in the past. 

My dream trip of a lifetime to Tokyo may have to remain a dream for the foreseeable future but with a little fantasy, my plate of Okonomiyaki did offer a brief escape from everyday mundanity right now.

Serves 1 for a generous main course


INGREDIENTS

TOPPINGS
  • Meat / seafood toppings of your choice- I went for 150g king prawns but you could also go for pre-cooked bacon rashers

TO SERVE

METHOD

  • Mix the okonomiyaki flour and the water together and set aside.
  • Chop the cabbage and spring onion into fine pieces and add to batter mix.
  • Add the egg and mix until everything is evenly combined. 
  • Take care not to over-mix, or this will result in a tough and chewy pancake.
  • Heat up a frying pan or hotplate with a little oil on medium high heat. 
  • Pour the okonomiyaki batter into a round pancake shape in the centre of the pan. 
  • Cook the pancake for 3-4 minutes until the bottom is light brown.
  • Meanwhile fry up your yakisoba noodles in another pan, ready to flip the pancake on to these when cooking the other side.
  • Once the bottom of the pancake is cooked, add any toppings to the top and flip over the yakisoba noddles to finish cooking. 
  • Do not press down with a spatula or the pancake will not be light and fluffy. Cook for a further 3-4 minutes and remove from the pan when finished.
  • Smother with lashings of okonomiyaki sauce and mayonnaise, sprinkle with bonito flakes, aonori seaweed and a portion of pickled ginger.

Monday, 11 January 2021

CARAMELISED SHALLOT & CHEDDAR TARTE TATIN


This was my very first attempt at a tarte tatin and this savoury version not only looked the part with wonderfully caramelised shallots, topped with melting sharp cheddar and lots of fresh herbs, but was also surprisingly easy to make, thanks to one of my favourite lockdown staple ingredient, the humble ready made puff pastry sheet! 

A great vegetarian main course, served best with some truffled mascarpone, rockets and a drizzle of balsamic reduction.

INGREDIENTS

  • 75g butter
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme, finely chopped
  • ½ tbsp rosemary, fine chopped
  • ½ tbsp sage, finely chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 900g round shallots, peeled, left whole then halved top stem trimmed
  • ½ tbsp salt
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp port or sweet red wine
  • 100g mature cheddar, grated
  • 1 sheet ready rolled puff pastry 
  • A handful of fresh thyme to garnish

METHOD

  • Preheat your oven to 200 degrees celsius
  • Place the butter in a frying pan, suitable to be used in the oven. 
  • Melt over a low/ medium heat then add in the garlic and chopped herbs. 
  • Keep the heat low to ensure the butter does not burn.
  • Arrange the shallots cut side down in the pan, in a circular pattern. 
  • Season with salt and fry for 10-15 minutes, over a medium heat until caramelised and softened on the side in tact with the pan.
  • Add the balsamic vinegar and port / red wine to the pan and cook for a further 5 minutes until reduced and syrupy.
  • Scatter the cheese over the shallots and then place the puff pastry over the pan, completely cover the shallots and tuck the pastry in at the sides, trimming down any access dough
  • Place in the preheated oven and bake for 20- 25 minutes.
  • Allow to cool in the pan slightly for approximately 5 minutes. 
  • Place a large plate over the top of the pan and turn it over to remove the tarte from the pan.
  • Garnish with fresh thyme and serve immediately.

Thursday, 7 January 2021

LOCKDOWN 2.0 SURVIVAL GUIDE

PART 1: KEEP FIT WITH GRNDHOUSE

I am a total gym class junkie and dreaded the prospect of exercising at home when lockdown 1.0 hit, in fact it was the thing I was initial the most worried about, my working out routine playing a big part in maintaining my mental health.

However as we have learnt in the last year, humans tend to adapt quickly and get inventive when faced with challenges.

In the fitness industry that meant going online, of course not being able to run face to face classes.

I won’t lie, I tried just about every online / Zoom / IG live workout going, as addition to my daily runs, and not all of them were great, much like an IRL class so much of it being about the trainer and their style of training.

Eventually I found my dream team, two former Barry’s Bootcamp trainers, Connor Minney and Jay Copley, who ran their own independent online workout programmes, which kept me sane when everything else seemed uncertain in 2020.

These guys are as good as you will get in the fitness game, so I knew it was only going to be a matter of time until they outgrew the daily workouts filmed in their respective living rooms, which is why I was so delighted when they announced the launch of GRNDHOUSE.

Not that it’s only Connor and Jay on board at GRNDHOUSE. Made up of a trainer team of 6, this fitness power house includes the BEST trainers I came across at Barry’s and with the best I mean world class in their training style, ability to motivate and willingness to push you to your limits, and the mix of their personalties (special shoutout to Nik and Louis who I was also a regular with at Barry’s), makes this a world class online platform that I am very glad to be joining right at the beginning. Trust me on this one, if you want to stay fit during lockdown I cannot recommend joining enough.

Why? Well for £25 a month you get a 7 day a week workout plan, every day with a different trainer and different banging playlist. It’s a plan which has been programmed to perfection, pushing you to the absolute limits on some days, improving your mobilities on other, and on certain days focusing on one particular area (leg day anyone?!) to solidly improve your stamina, muscle memory and fitness in no time if you commit. 

Production and branding of the whole enterprise couldn’t be more on point and I cannot help but be a little proud of what these guys have built for themselves since leaving Barry’s.

Eventually they are looking to run their own real life classes and I am 100% there for that, but for now I know GRNDHOUSE will keep me sane and offer me the routine I will need in the next few tough weeks and months.

All you need is a pair of dumbbells and a commitment to join the grind, I’ll see you there.

Monday, 4 January 2021

SPICY VEGETABLE MISO RAMEN NOODLE SOUP WITH CHILLI ROAST SALMON



Anyone else utterly sick of the sight and taste of beige foods, cheese and chocolate? 

I mean, yes, overindulging is all fun and games during Christmas but by day 2 of those lost days between Christmas and NYE my body was literally screaming for nutrients, and after a takeaway and carb filled New Year's Day, I knew some healthy cooking was more than in order for me for the foreseeable future.

 So get ready for a lockdown January, brightened up a little, I hope, with some healthy yet tasty recipe inspiration from me! 

Starting off with this veg packed ramen noodle soup, topped with all the healthy fats from a juicy salmon fillet on top and lots of other good things from a warming and spicy miso broth. 

This is food for the soul to make up for the sins of the last few weeks and to help us get through which will, no doubt, be a rather bleak first month of what will hopefully be an altogether more cheerful 2021 (here is hoping).

SERVES TWO


INGREDIENTS

CHILLI ROAST SALMON & SHIITAKE MUSHROOMS
  • 2 boneless salmon fillets (skins on)
  • 150g shitaake mushrooms, stems removed, sliced 
  • 2 tablespoons Soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 2 teaspoons garlic chilli sauce 


MISO BROTH

  • 6 cups vegetable broth
  • 3 tablespoons white miso paste
  • 1/2 teaspoon hondashi granules or more to taste (optional, if you have a good Asian supermarket near you) 
  • 2 baby bok choy – sliced thin, lengthwise 
  • 100g brussel sprouts, halved
  • 150g broccoli florets
  • Good handful of beansprouts
  • 4 spring onions, sliced
  • 300g ramen noodles, cooked according to instructions

GARNISHES

  • 2 eggs ( boiled for 6 minutes for gooey centre)
  • 1 Nori sheet, cut into thin, short strips


METHOD
  • Preheat oven to 250 degree celsius
  • Stir the soy sauce, honey, sesame oil and chilli sauce together in a small bowl. 
  • Brush the marinade over both sides of salmon and shiitake mushrooms and place on a baking paper lined baking sheet.
  • Cook for about 8-9 minutes or until salmon is cooked to your liking. 
  • Set aside.
  • Next cook the noodles and make the broth 
  • Bring the stock to a simmer in a big pot. 
  • Add the white miso paste, hondashi and stir until combined. 
  • Add all your veg (apart from the beansprouts) and bring to a boil until everything is just cooked. 
  • Keep at a very low simmer and add the beansprouts.
  • Divide the noodles among two bowls. 
  • Top with the salmon and shiitake mushrooms.
  • Arrange bok choy around the noodles and ladle the flavorful broth and other vegetable on top.
  • Garnish with soft boiled eggs and nori strips
  • Serve with chopsticks and a spoon
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