Date Archives December 2018

Butterbean ‘Hummus’ with Broccoli, garlic, almonds & chilli


ne of the bonus’ for both me and my family & friends is that a cookery book is always a well received gift. Especially if its Middle Eastern inspired. My latest addition is both extremely enlightening and beautifully and factually written! ‘The Jewelled Table’  by Bethany Kehdy.

Having claimed a Middle Eastern ‘style’ to my own food with a heavy twist from almost everywhere, it was interesting to learn some truths about some of the dishes that are now such staples in our UK diets. Hummus most notably. 

  1. ‘Hummus’ means ‘chickpeas’. Hence why this recipe isn’t technically hummus but simply steals the tahini and lemon juice components that make our traditional hummus.
  2. No one country owns hummus. Thus, I think its OK to cook it with your own interpretation.


hilst I adore Bethany’s recipes, I’m never one to simply follow and obey. That and I had less time on my hands than a few of her hummus’ called for so I adapted. Mainly from her recommendation to use dried chickpeas. I’ve found a fantastic brand (Napolina) which I will always use so sadly I am a little to lazy to follow this hearty advise.

I’ve have interpreted her ‘Mock hummus’ and added a few bits of my own. I’ve also topped it with the topping from another recipe (‘Butter Hummus’). But admittedly, the delicious and inspiring toppings in this book will make you simply want to create and heat upon a pot of supermarket…’hummus’? 

I hope you’re not confused about hummus. 

Adapted from ‘Mock Hummus, The Jewelled Table’.

Serves 2 (as a side)


  • 1 can butter beans, drained.
  • 1-2 garlic cloves
  • 2-3 tbsp tahini
  • 1-2 lemons, juice
  • 1 tbsp spice mix (see tip below). Equally you could use any spices you feel like.
  • Salt and pepper

  1. Blend the butter beans, tahini, juice of 1 lemon, spices and seasoning in a processor until smooth. 
  2. Taste and adjust seasoning or add more lemon if needed.
  3. Transfer to a shallow serving bowl and keep at room temperature.

Braised Broccoli

  • Tenderstem broccoli
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 1/2 red chilli, sliced
  • Handful flaked almonds
  • 3 sundried tomatoes, drained and sliced thinly
  • 1 handful parsley, chopped


  1. Heat a frying pan on medium high and add a splash of rapeseed oil. Stri fry the broccoli for about 5-8 minutes until beginning to cook and crisp.
  2. Add the garlic and chilli and reduce the heat to medium. Cook until just beginning to turn golden (careful not to burn the garlic)
  3. Add the flaked almonds and fry until golden.
  4. Remove from the heat and stir in the herbs and the tomatoes.
  5. Elegantly place on top of the hummus and serve immediately.

I served mine with fired halloumi and some warm flatbreads for dipping!


TIP: Spice mix: Made by toasting all whole spices in a hot frying pan until fragrant. Then grind in a pestle and mortar. (The cinnamon can be removed and any empty cardamon pods) 1tbsp of each fennel; cumin; coriander; fenugreek; black/yellow mustard seed; 1 cinnamon stick; 3 cardamon pods; 1 star anise 

Crab Risotto, Seaweed Crumb & Pol Roger


here sadly aren’t many evenings where I indulge in crab and Pol Roger…yet. But if ever an occasion called for such an elaborate and indulgent feast then moving into your first house (flat) purchase with the love of your life surely has to be one. I candidly think this wasn’t quite fancy enough. However, we still don’t have a dining table so the pennies are pinched (from tomorrow).

I’m been saving this glamorous bottle of Champagne for a few years now. Just waiting on the perfect occasion for celebrations and now seemed the perfect time. A classic Champagne only pairs well with greasy, oily and most popularly, deep fried nibbles but being on day 1 in this new kitchen, I opted for a packet of Sainsbury’s chilli coated peanuts. I mentioned that table…

With little energy left to work out the mechanics of the new oven, a hob only, one pot dinner was looking appealing. Deep, rich crab in an oozy, buttery risotto with plenty of zesty lemon was a treat. Topped with some crispy breadcrumbs seasoned with seaweed salt for an extra dimension.

TIPS: For tips on making risottos, please see my tips here.

Serves 2

Crab Risotto

  • 2 large handfuls risotto rice (usually one large one per person)
  • 1 white onion, finely chopped
  • 1 large garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 1 large glass dry white wine
  • 1 1/2 pints chicken stock (hot)
  • Approx 50g parmesan, finely grated
  • 40g unsalted butter, diced
  • 1 lemon, juice and zest
  • 1 packet asparagus spears
  • 200g mixed white and brown crab meat (I use two packets of this 50/50 one from Waitrose)
  • Chives, chopped to serve

Seaweed Crumb

  • 2 slices brown bread
  • Seaweed salt (I use this from Cornish)
  1. Start by making the breadcrumbs to get them out the way. Blitz the bread slices in a food processor until fine. Heat a small frying pan with a little splash of rapeseed/plain flavoured oil on a medium-high heat. Once hot add the breadcrumbs with a big pinch or two of the seaweed salt and fry until golden and crisp. Drain on kitchen towel and set aside with the chives to serve later. Once cool, add half the zest of the lemon.
  2. To begin the risotto, make sure you have a large pot on hob, keeping warm on a low heat with your chicken stock ready at hand.
  3. Heat a large high sided frying pan/ saucepan or (my preference) a Le Cresout pot on a medium heat. Add a splash of oil and a knob of the butter.
  4. Once melted and bubbling, gently sauté the onion until soft and translucent. Add the garlic and gently fry for a few minutes. Season with salt and cracked black pepper.
  5. Turn up the heat and add the rice, mixing continuously to stop it sticking. Cook on a hot heat until the grains are starting to turn translucent.
  6. Turn the heat down to a gentle simmer and add the white wine. Simmer to reduce.
  7. Now, begin the stock addition process. The rice should be cooked in about 15 minutes, with the gentle addition of ladles of your hot stock continuously. Ensure you stir throughout and add more liquid as the mixture absorbs the stock. Don’t let it dry out. You may need more/less stock, don’t worry about the measurements. The above is a guide.
  8. After 15 minutes taste the grains. They should have a slight bite to them but be a few minutes away from cooked. The remaining time will cook this out.
  9. At this stage, ensure the consistency is ‘oozy’. By that I mean NOT dry and will fall front he spoon. Add the asparagus spears, the crab and stir to combine. Taste and season if needed. heat for 2 minutes.
  10. Once heated through, add the juice of the lemon, the remaining zest, the cubed butter, 3/4 of the chopped chives and the parmesan. Put a lid on the risotto and remove from, the heat. Let it sit for 3 minutes or so while you get the dishes and finishing touches sorted.
  11. If you can, preheat some bowls. When ready to serve, mix the melted buttery-cheese into the risotto to combine. If its thickened up, add some more hot water just to loosen – it should ooze on the flat like porridge.
  12. Spoon into bowl and top with the rest of the chives, and a good handful of crispy breadcrumbs.
  13. Devour with Pol Roger if you’re celebrating.

Pheasant, braised lentils, parsnip puree


his recipe opitimises Autumn and seasonal eating. I’m in dangerous territory of sounding like we make a regular event of it, but my more manly other half spent last weekend trekking the Wiltshire countryside surrounded by more tweed than the Queen’s wardrobe and enough flatcaps to make Prince Philip smile. Long story short, if you can’t invisage this little gathering, he went on a shoot day and…you guessed it… brought home some pheasants!

This time of year is a great time to start indulging in warming comfort food and eating what the seasons dictate. I heard pheasant, my stomach thought, bacon, parsnips, chestnuts and all things festive.


o out came the trusty Le Creuset for what might be, its last outing in this Putney kitchen. As you’ve probably not noticed, I’ve not been as active as I have been this past year. Having spent the past year arranging our membership into the first time buyers club, we are finally nearly there. Touching distance. Packing distance. But just enough time for one more roast before my faithful kitchen that has served me so well these past years in London, gets packed away and upgraded to a new humble abode. 

WINE: We were feeling a little like we’d overindulged in the alcohol that night, but this would have been lovely with a Pinot Noir.

Serves 2

  • 1 whole pheasant, gutted and plucked
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 4 rashes or smoked, streak bacon OR 1 small pun net lardons
  • 1 bunch thyme, leaves picked
  • Handful of dried mixed mushrooms
  • 1 glass dry white wine
  • 500ml chicken stock
  • 4oz Puy lentils
  • 2 parsnips
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 200ml milk
  • Beurre manie – 1 knob of butter, mashed into a paste with 1 tsp flour. Use at the end for thickening the sauce without creating lumps. The butter will also add a gloss.
  • Steamed greens – kale, savoy cabbage etc (opional)
  1. Start by preheating the oven to 200. In a large heavy based casserole dish, heat a knob of butter and some oil. Season the pheasant and then brown the whole bird on all sides until its looking golden and the skin is crisping. Remove to a plate and set aside.
  2. Turn to heat down to a medium level and add the chopped onion and fry quickly until beginning to soften.
  3. Add the bacon/lardons and cook for a few minutes.
  4. Finally, add the garlic and thyme and cook gently for just a few more minutes.
  5. Turn up the heat, add the wine to deglaze the pan. Gentle simmer to reduce the alcohol.
  6. Add the pheasant back to the pan, chuck in the dried mushrooms and then add a good 200ml or so of the hot chicken stock.
  7. Place in the oven for 50minutes or so until cooked through. Baste a few times during cooking. 
  8. When the bird has been in for about 30 minutes, start on the lentils. Simmer in the remaining chicken stock for about 18 minutes until just tender but with a definite crunch.
  9. Once the pheasant has cooked, remove onto a plate to rest. Pop the casserole dish back onto the hob and simmer the juices and roasted ingredients. Add the lentil (liquid and all) and simmer to combine. Simmer until reduced. Then add the beurre manie and cook out until beginning to thicken and turn glossy.
  10. Serve with steamed greens like kale or savoy cabbage

Parsnip Puree

  1. Peel and roughly chop the parsnips.
  2. Add to a saucepan with about 200ml milk and then top up with water until covered.
  3. Add a few whole peppercorns from your grinder if you can OR a good pinch of cracked black pepper.
  4. Add the bay leaf
  5. Simmer (watching as the milk has a tendency to over boil) for about 10 minutes or until they are very tender but not waterlogged. 
  6. Once the pheasant is at its resting stage, you’re ready to make the puree.
  7. Remove the parsnips from the liquid which you need to reserve.
  8. Add to a processor with seasoning, a good splash of reserved milk and a knob of butter. Blend to get the desired consistency adding more milk if needed (You can also use a masher).