Date Archives September 2012

The Crabiest Crab Cakes


Ok, so crab cakes should theoretically taste of crab right? Good. Due to the high expense of this tasty and humble crustacean, crab and similarly fish cakes, are often bulked up with cheap fillers like breadcrumbs or mashed potato. However, if you can close your eyes while you’re paying, then these will be worth the make! Makes 4, serves 2 (but 2  is plenty as they are rich enough)

  • 200g mixed crab meat (half brown; half white)
  • Grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 tbsp chopped chives and parsley
  • Salt and pepper
  • Handful breadcrumbs
  • Plain flour
  • 1 egg, beaten
  1. Mix the crab meat, lemon and herbs together in a bowl with lots of freshly ground black pepper and some salt.
  2. Form into 4 round patties and chill in the fridge for about 30 minutes
  3. Place the flour, egg and breadcrumbs on 3 plates. Roll each crab cake in first the flour, egg and finally breadcrumbs. Return to the fridge and rest for 30 more minutes
  4. When ready to cook, heat a knob of butter and 1tbsp of olive oil in a medium high heat frying pan. Fry for about 4 minutes on each side or until golden and crisp!

I served mine with an avocado and tomato salsa and homemade mayonnaise!


Barbeque Chicken and an Italian Stuffed Flatbread


Balmy summer evenings and a seduceable glowing barbeque like this evening, consistently bring out this beauty of a recipe and reinforce my opinion that Jamie Oliver, is in fact, descended from God! Ok…….this may be taking it a little far, but this cheeky barbeque marinade from ‘Jamie at Home’, is without doubt my most favourite and not a summer goes by that we don’t devour this, with smiles and sticky faces. Its great for coating a leg of lamb, rack of pork ribs or, in our case, a spatchcoked chicken- its devine. Served alongside a fresh, cleansing coleslaw and a cry-worthy Italian stuffed bread, supper is done and dusted……


  • 1 heaped tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 tbsp fennel seeds
  • 5 cloves
  • bunch of fresh thyme, leaves picked
  • bunch of fresh rosemary, leaves picked
  • zest and juice of 1 orange
  • 1 bulb garlic, crushed
  • 4 heaped tsp sweet smoked paprika
  • 6 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 130ml tomato ketchup
  • 8 tbsp olive oil
  • 10 bay leaves
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 spatchcoked chicken or your chosen meat
  1. Grind the cumin, fennel seeds and cloves in a pestle and mortar with some salt and pepper.
  2. Chop the thyme and rosemary leaves and combine with the orange zest, juice and garlic and place into a large bowl with the spices. Mix together.
  3. Add the rest of the your ingredients and mix thoroughly.
  4. Now add your chosen meat and coat completely with the marinade to cover all the surfaces. Cover with cling film and leave in the fridge to marinade for as long as possible or at least an hour.
  5. When ready to cook, preheat the oven to 180°C. Cover the chicken with foil and roast for about 1 hour to cook the majority of it and release the juices. Finally, finish the cooking on the barbeque, which will crisp the skin and the outside and give a crunchy texture. Use the excess marinade to baste the chicken as it cooks.


This flatbread is absolutely delicious. I filled mine with a rich, punchy blue cheese but any good melter does the job. A (and I stress- good quality) buffalo mozzarella is stringy and mild or a personal favourite for its meltworthy quality, taleggio is tasty and gooey but here I have used a blue cheese which is just down-right decadent and rich. It was a little overpowering if I’m honest but it makes a lovely alternative to a hunk of filling, stodgy bread as it is lighter, crispier and doesn’t steal the show from the main event- the chicken (did I mention is was amazing yet…………?)

  • 200g strong white bread flour
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 150g cheese, taleggio, buffalo mozzarella, blue cheese or any other good quality melting cheese
  • Flaky maldon salt
  • 1 sprig of rosemary, leaves picked
  1. Sieve the flour into a large bowl and add the oil, a pinch of salt and 100ml of warm water.
  2. Mix with a spoon or fork until combined into a smooth dough (you may need a splash more water depending on your flour). Form into a smooth ball and place in a bowl, cover with cling film and leave for 30 minutes
  3. Then, knead the dough for a few minutes until elastic and smooth. Divide into two and place back in the bowl to rest for 15 minutes, covered.
  4. Preheat the oven to 225°C . Roll one half of the dough as thinly as possible (a couple of mm) into a large circle and place on a lined baking tray. Grate the cheese over the top and a pinch salt if you want.


  5. Roll out the other halve of the dough to the same size and place over the cheese. Pinch the edges together to seal in the cheese.
  6. Scatter the top with salt, rosemary and a drizzle of oil. Make a couple of slits in the top to let out the steam.image
  7. Bake for 25 minutes until crisp and golden. You may need to check the underneath of the bread to check it is crispy towards the end. If not, return to the oven directly onto the racks without the tray for a few minutes.

Finally, a lovely tangy coleslaw. Any, in fact, will do but I however got carried away and opted for a lovely Thai infused/Asian Slaw which- I know, I know, does not go ideally with a barbeque chicken and an Italian, cheesy bread, but, all the same, our hungry stomaches didn’t protest too much….



  • ½ a red cabbage
  • 4 carrots
  • 2 spring onions
  • 1 bunch coriander
  • 1 handful of salted peanuts


  • 8 tbsp lime juice
  • Zest from 1 lime
  • 6 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp sesame seed oil
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 good pinches of brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp freshly grated ginger
  • 1 garlic clove, grated
  • 1 fresh red chilli, finely chopped
  • 1 large bunch of chopped basil and coriander leaves
  1. Using the shredding attachment on a food processor, shred the cabbage and carrots, separately, then combine in a large bowl.
  2. Slice and finely chop the spring onions and add to the cabbage mix and add a handful of chopped coriander.
  3. To make the dressing, mix together all the ingredients in a jam jar and shake thoroughly together until combined. When ready to serve the salad, coat the cabbage in the dressing and top with the salted peanuts.
  4. Serve!

Goose egg- Mint Ice Cream


This sounds weird but really I just had some boisterous goose eggs knocking around the kitchen. This recipe, courteous of Skye Gyngell, calls for 6 egg yolks, so I replaced 4 of them with 2 large goose yolks. This ice cream has a refreshing and cleansing flavour which is not too sweet. Laced with ribbons of our garden mint which was in desperate need of a a ‘hair’ cut, this is a perfect summery ice cream alone of with something fruity….


Custard Base

  • 600ml whole milk
  • 1 vanilla pod, split ans seeds scarped out
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 100g caster sugar

Mint flavour

  • 220g caster sugar
  • 500ml water
  • bunch mint
  1. For the base, pour the milk into a pan and add the vanilla seeds from the pod. Warm gently and bring to the a simmer and then remove from the heat and set aside to infuse for 20 minutes.
  2. Whisk the egg yolks and sugar together until pale and thick. Reheat the infused milk and then slowly pour over the yolks, whisking continuously to prevent it scrambling. Return the smooth mixture to the pan, and over a very low heat, stir with a wooden spoon. Stir all the time until it is thick enough to coat the back of the spoon and leave a mark when you run your finger over it. Keep the heat low or the mixture will curdle.
  3. When thickened, remove from the heat, sieve and leave to cool.
  4. For the mint flavour, put the sugar and water in a pan and dissolve on a medium heat. Add half the mint and bring to the boil. Then simmer on a lower heat for 15 minutes to infuse, then leave to cool. When cool, remove the mint.
  5. Add ¼ of this mint syrup to the cooled custard base. The rest can be used as a cordial or in other recipes.
  6. Pour the custard into an ice-cream maker and churn until thick and silky, about 30 minutes for most. If you don’t have an ice cream maker, transfer the mixture to the freezer for a few hours. Then, put it into a food processor and pulse a few times or manually whisk to prevent ice crystals forming in the custard. Return to the freezer again. Repeat this process a couple of times to prevent the ice forming before allowing to completely solidify.
  7. Chop the rest of the mint finely, and add to the ice cream before placing into a container and freezing until solid!

Roasted allotment salad with Balsamic Pearls


If you grow your own produce then maybe you can relate to this time of bountiful year on the allotment. The vegetables are literally elbowing each other with they’re knobbly roots to fight for the glorious prospect of supplying our busy kitchen. Beetroot, sugar snaps, runner beans, courgettes, potatoes and tomatoes seem to have smuggled the odd protein shake or steroid supplement and are bursting to be eaten…we can’t do it quick enough. So tonight, I went vegetarian again. A roasted salad.


I recently found these little balsamic gems in Waitrose and just had to try them! They’re like dinky diminutive drops of balsamic caviar which burst in your mouth with ever bite! Topped over this beetroot salad……..amazing!


  • 4 raw beetroot washed and chopped into chunks
  • 7 small carrots, whole
  • 1 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 2 whole garlic cloves
  • Small bunch of thyme, leaves picked
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • 150g goats cheese, crumbled
  • 2 tbsp mixed seeds, pumpkin, sunflower
  • Small bunch of chopped mint leaves
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Balsamic caviar (optional)
  1. Preheat the oven to 190°C. Mix the beetroot and whole carrots in a roasting tin and coat in the cumin seeds, thyme leaves, plenty of olive oil and seasoning. Add the whole garlic cloves.
  2. Roast, turning every so often for 45-50 minutes until the veg are soft and caramelised at the edges.
  3. Meanwhile, toast the seeds in a dry frying pan until they are fragrant and begin to pop. Chop the mint leaves.
  4. When the vegetables are ready, remove from the oven. Take the garlic cloves and squeeze the soft, sweet pulp into a pestle and mortar. Add a teaspoon of balsamic vinegar, a good glug of extra virgin olive oil and some seasoning and bash until blended into a paste. Coat the warm vegetables in this dressing.
  5. Crumble over the goats cheese, seeds and mint leaves and serve, scattered with a few teaspoons of balsamic caviar if you like!

Homemade Peanut Butter


I love the challenge, purity and righteousness of making the majority of the food I eat from scratch. I tackle my own breads and jams, ice creams and cereals. Homemade food is, without doubt, healthier for you as it avoids all the preservatives and additives that processed food contains. So many people are worried about too much fat or salt in their diet but in reality, we need fat and salts and it is only a concern if you have a large amount of processed foods. Its far better to have a small amount of full fat butter than a reduced fat, ‘diet’ alternative which are instead, filled with preservatives and stabilizers that- yes may reduce the calories- but are full of other ingredients. This brought me to thinking, as I made my peanut butter cookies…..why aren’t I making my own peanut butter?

Peanut butter is one of those essentials that should theoretically, just include………..peanuts?! However, if you look on the ingredients list of many jars there is often more to it? This recipe will prove to you that all you need is peanuts (and some salt and spices). The oil-packed, protein rich and creamy little nuts make a smooth and silky peanut butter with not a drop of dairy in sight!


  • 300g (roughly or 2 large handfuls) roasted unsalted peanuts
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • Pinch of fine salt
  1. Place the peanuts (reserving a handful if you are ultimately wanting a crunchy peanut butter) in a food processor. Process for 1 minute.
  2. Add the cinnamon and salt.
  3. Process for about 5 more minutes continually, until the oils are released and the peanut butter is smooth, shiny and tempting! Continue processing longer for a smoother texture, up to 10 minutes…..?



Meanwhile crush the reserved handful of peanuts is required. Add to the final peanut butter and place in a sterilized jar.image

This can also be done with a range of nuts like hazelnuts, walnuts or pistachios. It would also be lovely with pumpkin seeds!