Date Archives August 2013

Blackcurrant Bran Breakfast Muffin




I hate the way recipes for these types of muffins seem to stress them as being ‘healthy’ breakfast muffins- they’re not healthy (note the sugar and oil content) but they are great for breakfast once in a while! They’re fantastic devoured warm, fresh from the oven if you’re organised or satisfying a spontaneous lazy craving on a Sunday morning. Alternatively, leave to cool and then toast/grill and slather with trowel-fulls of creamy salted butter. Have I got your attention yet?

NOTE: The recipe was lovely but quite oily, next time I may reduce the oil content to about 200ml but if anyone does in the meantime, let me know how they taste!

Makes 18 man muffins

  • 100g bran
  • 300ml milk
  • 300g self raising flour
  • 2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 3 eggs
  • 160g caster sugar
  • 85g muscovado sugar
  • 300ml sunflower oil
  • 200g blackcurrants (or blueberries)
  • 1-2 tbsp demerara sugar
  1. Preheat the oven to 170°C and line a muffin tray.
  2. Pour the milk over the bran and leave in a bowl to soak (when I first wrote that step, I wrote ‘brain’…..don’t do that).
  3. Whisk the eggs and sugar together in a large bowl and then incorporate the oil until combined.
  4. Into this, sieve the flour, bicarb and baking powder and fold in gently but don’t overmix. Leaving the odd lump of flour is fine. Lightly fold in the bran (I just wrote ‘brain’ again…) and milk mixture and lastly add the blackcurrants and mix until just combined.
  5. Spoon generously into the muffin cases, sprinkle each with a little demerara sugar and bake for 25 minutes until golden and cooked. Once cooked, leave to cool on a wire rack to firm up a little before serving warm with an optional scoop of cooling vanilla bean ice cream or a spicy cinnamon infused mascarpone cream dolloped on the side. These are also dreamy cooled and then toasted for breakfast and smothered in salted butter.


An evening off duty and a Spanish Roast





Recently, I had the rare and deliciously appreciated privilege of being cooked dinner. With the responsibility of hosting and feeding guests stripped from my meddling hands, there was no way I could creep into the kitchen even for a quick stir of a bubbling pot. Instead, I was forced to sit back al fresco in the sun and enjoy a chilled glass of bubbly with some great appreciating company. And the food was quite simply delicious. I always love eating at other people houses as I get inspiration for flavours and ideas to try myself. A feast of grilled and sweetly glazed Spanish chorizo was first to grace the table followed by 2 lovingly handmade loaves of fluffy focaccia and an olive laced ciabatta with a glistening pool of olive oil for dipping. With enough chicken, BBQ ribs and salad to feed us hungry guests, we devoured it with pleasure! Thanks Chef Tipping!

Inspired by that dangerously moreish chorizo I was eager to try it. Come Sunday, a Spanish- style roast chicken feast was on the cards. Roasted chicken with gremolata, glazed chorizo, and some spicy roasted potatoes went down a treat in the balmy weather. Hands down my favourite gem of a recipe was Jeff’s grilled chorizo so this one comes courtesy of him!


Serves 4


  • 1 roasted chicken
  • Handful of flat-leaf parsley
  • ½ garlic clove
  • Zest of 1 small lemon
  1. For the gremolata, chop the garlic finely and grate over the lemon zest. Chop the parsley finely too and then add together with the garlic and lemon and chop together to combine.
  2. Add a pinch of salt and pepper and then use to scatter over your freshly roasted, succulent chicken.


  • 500g potatoes
  • 1-2 tbsp tomato puree
  • ½ tsp smoked paprika
  • Olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, skinned and crushed
  • ½ lemon, juice
  • Handful parsley
  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C . Mix the tomato puree, paprika, seasoning and about 1-2 tbsp of olive oil in a bowl.
  2. Cut the potatoes into small chunks about 2-3cm in size and cover with the dressing.
  3. Place in a lined roasting tray with the garlic and roast for 40 minutes until soft, a little crisp and cooked, turning every now and then
  4. When ready to serve, squeeze over the lemon and scatter with the parsley


  • 1 wheel or a few sausages of raw cooking chorizo (I used the ‘Unearthed’ range. The better quality the better it will taste. I stress that this should be ‘cooking’ chorizo that is raw and not the cured kind)
  • 1-2 tbsp Membrillo quince paste
  1. Place the chorizo on a lined baking tray
  2. Grill for about 8-10 minutes until cooked and golden brown or bake.
  3. Give the quince paste a mix to loosen it and spread evenly over the grilled chorizo. Grill again for a few more minutes until the paste has ‘melted’ over the chorizo and formed a delicious crust. Add more if you like.
  4. Slice into chunks and enjoy with your roast.


Caribbean Rice Salad

Today is ‘forage in the pantry’s’ 1st Birthday! It been a delicious year of cooking and blogging. Looking back on my first entry, ’The Best…Peanut Butter Cookies’, I feel compelled to make something peanut infused! However, with all this fantastic hot weather we’ve been enjoying and with today being yet another scorcher, the cleansing flavours of the Caribbean seem appropriate. Cold rice salads are totally underrated as rice is normally associated with curries and hot meals. This delicious one comes courtesy of Ottolenghi- the salad king. I always eat brown wild rice or Camargue as its healthier and full of flavour and adds a welcome component to a meal. This salad definitely needs the Camargue rice as it adds colour and an amazing nutty flavour. Even cooking it infuses the kitchen with its tasty aroma. Don’t use white rice here as it just won’t work….on any level.

While this is devoured, its time to crack on with a proper birthday cake…..

Serves 4-5 easily (Adapted from Ottolenghi’s Plenty)

  • 150g Camargue rice
  • 100g wild brown rice
  • Bunch of basil, shredded
  • Bunch of mint leaves, shredded
  • Bunch of coriander, shredded
  • 1 red pepper, sliced thinly
  • 2 spring onions, sliced
  • 1 fresh red chilli, chopped (seeds and all if you like it hot)
  • Zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • Juice ½ lime
  • 1 mango, cubed into 2cm dice
  • 60g roasted salted peanuts
  • 50g desiccated coconut
  • Salt
  • 1-2 tbsp oil
  1. Boil the rice for about 20 minutes until cooked. Drain and spread out onto a large plate to cool.
  2. Mix all the other ingredients in a large bowl apart from the lemon and lime juice and the oil.
  3. When the rice is cool, add to the other ingredients and gently toss together until combined. Squeeze over the lemon and lime juice and add enough oil to moisten the salad to your liking- I only added about 1 tbsp but add more if you like.

Note: This would be lovely with my Asian Salmon recipe!