Date Archives August 2022

Raw Date & Cashew Energy Bars


et’s be honest, energy bars are a real hot topic these days and a bit of a buzz word. Millennial’s all leading such ‘busy’ lives, being on-the-go and needing said energy! There are some great brands out there, most trying hard to keep ingredients lists to a minimum but they can get pricey. So, if you’ve got a blender then chuck everything below inside and make your own! These are really tasty and you can play around a bit with the ingredients depending on your tastes.

My athlete of a husband is adventuring off to Scotland for a 4 day cycling voyage from Carlisle to Glasgow so made these to help fuel his assertive legs. Good luck!

Makes 8 large bars or about 24 small ‘bites’

  • 400g pitted dates
  • 200g cashew nuts
  • 100g salted peanuts (Optional. I like the salt but you can use 300g cashew or 100g of another nut)
  • 4 tbsp cocoa powder (dark)
  • 1 tbsp nut butter of choice
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp vanilla
  1. Blend everything in a food processor until the nuts are in tiny pieces
  2. Add 1 tbsp of cold water and blend again. The mixture should start to stick together. Add another splash of cold water until it blends into a nice ‘dough’.
  3. Line a 20 x 20cm baking tray with parchment.
  4. Tip the mixture into the tray and press into the tin.
  5. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
  6. When ready to slice, makes sure its really cold – i put mine in the freeze for an hour or so before cutting (don’t let it get rock hard though!). Slices into bars.

Spicy Meat Gumbo


y word. I’m quite ashamed I’ve never shared this recipe before. According to the date scribbled in the front page of this cookbook, I received Jamie-O’s ‘America’ in 2009.

Dear Jess, To a future “Masterchef”! Happy Christmas 2009. All our love Mum & Dad xxx

I wonder if the quotation marks were intentional or ironic…I am my own interpretation of a Masterchef !

Anyway, I made this spicy meat gumbo back when I was at school for group of friends and it was incredible. Shamefully I then forgot about it until recently when I threw it together for some friends. I think my husband fell in love with me all over again to be honest. Its become a dish we can’t believe we’ve lived without! I haven’t changed much to the original version, which I’ll happily admit you’ll find in “Jamie’s America”. page 97, Louisianna.

Serves 4 (hungry adults)

Serve with – fluffy rice or toasted sourdough for mopping

  • 6-8 chicken pieces on the bone (I used 3 thighs and 3 drumsticks but they were small).
  • 250g fresh chorizo (fresh here meaning uncooked. This is the game changer so don’t go for the cured chorizo ring – for example, these are ideal), thickly sliced.
  • 4 rashers of smoked bacon, chopped
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 red pepper, chopped
  • 1 yellow pepper, chopped
  • 2 sticks celery, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 500g (or 2 large) sweet potatoes, chopped
  • 3 tbsp plain flour
  • 1 heaped tsp smoked paprika
  • Sprig thyme, leave picked
  • Sprig rosemary, leaves picked
  • 1 chicken stock cube
  • Spring onions – chopped to serve
  • Coriander – chopped to serve
  1. Preheat the oven to 180 and get yourself a large casserole dish.
  2. Heat the casserole dish to a medium heat over the hob and add a splash of olive oil. Season the chicken pieces and brown on all sides for only about 5 minutes.
  3. Add the chopped chorizo and brown for a few minutes with the chicken.
  4. Remove the meat from the pan and set aside keeping all the lovely juices in the pan.
  5. Turn the heat down a bit and add the onion, celery, peppers and seasoning and gently soften for about 8 minutes or so until soft.
  6. Add the garlic, paprika, thyme and rosemary and stir well for a few minutes.
  7. Add the flour and coat all the vegetables in it. The flour will absorb all the lovely juices. You can now cook this gently for a few minutes as everything goes nice and golden brown. Careful it doesn’t stick.
  8. Add the potatoes, chicken and chorizo back into the casserole dish and mix.
  9. Add the stock cube and then add enough boiling water to just cover the chicken so it is all submerged and can cook nicely.
  10. Bake in the oven, lid off, for about 45 minutes to 1 hour until the chicken is starting to fall off the bone and the sauce is thick.
  11. When ready, use some tongs to remove the chicken pieces out the dish. Use some forks to tear the hot meat from the bones on a chopped board and add the meat back into the stew. Discard the bones.
  12. Stir through some of the chopped spring onions and coriander and scatter over the rest.

Serve with some steaming fluffy rice or some big chucks of fresh bread to mop up the juices!

Peach, balsamic & heirloom tomato salad


y sister and I enjoyed a version of this salad on our holidays in Greece and it’s been with us nostalgically since. I’ve sadly forgotten whether it had little cubes of salty pancetta or crumbled feta cheese in it but what I do know is that peaches and balsamic were a hit. A very valid excuse to return and I hope that little Greek taverna is still tucked away in the port of Sivota awaiting our us…

Promise me you won’t dare think about making this salad with out of season tomatoes or peaches in Winter. Its a summer salad where only juicy fresh tomatoes will do – preferably from your bounteous allotment if you are so lucky to have one! I hold no accountability for anyone making this in November and complaining about the lack of flavour…

Serves 2 (as a main / large side)

  • 2-3 large tomatoes (gorgeous ripe heritage / heirloom tomatoes look prettier here, taste amazing and make the salad interesting. Try some yellow or green ones as well as your usual red)
  • 200g cherry tomatoes
  • 1 shallot
  • 2 ripe peaches / nectarines
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • Handful of salad leaves e.g. rocket, watercress, lambs lettuce
  • Handful basil leaves
  • Balsamic glaze
  • Flaky salt and black pepper
  • *Optional cheeses – a salty element works fantastically in this salad and a cheese is ideal.  I actually made this with fried halloumi the night before. Think about adding cubed fried halloumi pieces, crumbled feta, goats cheese, shaved parmesan or a big bulging burrata!
  1. Cut the cherry tomatoes in half and place in a bowl. Chop the shallot in half and then into fine half moon slices and add to the tomatoes. Sprinkle over a generous pinch of flaky salt and cracked black pepper (the salt will draw out the juices so don’t be shy here with the seasoning). Add the red wine vinegar, stir and leave to sit for 10 minutes or so.
  2. Slice your large tomatoes into rounds or big chunks – however you like. Mix up the shapes for added texture and interest!
  3. Next, slice the peaches/nectarines into chunky slices.
  4. Get a large serving plate or bowl and add your leaves. Scatter over your sliced tomatoes and peaches/nectarines and season well. Toss in your cherry tomato-shallot mixture with the juices.
  5. Give everything a good and gentle toss together and then rip over the basil leaves.
  6. If using cheese, add this now.
  7. Drizzle over your balsamic glaze and serve!

Spiced Chicken Kebabs, Nutty Pilau Rice & Coriander Chutney


unny July summers in London are dreamy. Spontaneous midweek BBQs are my favourite. We needed something fresh and light but without compromising on flavour. Stylish rice with golden spiced nuts aside creamy marinaded chicken kebabs dressed with a punchy coriander chutney hit the spot.

Courtesy of Delia Smith and her eve r incredible Summer Cookbook.

Serves 2

Chicken Kebabs

  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 1 small tsp coriander seeds
  • 1 small tsp cumin seeds
  • 5 cardamon pods
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tbsp grated fresh ginger
  • 140ml plain yoghurt
  • salt and pepper
  • 1-2 gloves garlic, crushed
  1. Heat a frying pan on a high heat and toast the cumin & coriander seeds and cardamon pods. Grind in a pestle and mortar.
  2. Add to a large bowl with the turmeric, ginger, salt and pepper, garlic and yoghurt and mix well.
  3. Chop the chicken breast into large bite sized pieces and mix with the marinade.
  4. Leave in the fridge overnight if you can for maximum flavour.
  5. When ready to cook, pre-soak some kebab sticks in water before threading on your chicken pieces. You can add other ingredients between pieces e.g. onion, peppers etc.
  6. Once ready to cook, preheat your grill or BBQ and cook for about 8 minutes on each side or until just cooked.

Pilau Rice

  • 4 oz brown basmati rice
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 50g nuts – mix of pine, cashew and pistachio
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp coriander seeds
  • 3-5 cardamon pods
  • 1 large (or 2 small) shallots, finely chopped
  1. Heat a frying pan on a high heat and toast the cumin & coriander seeds and cardamon pods. Grind in a pestle and mortar.
  2. Heat a little olive oil in a pan and gently fry the shallots until soft and translucent. Add the ground spices and the nuts and toast until the nuts get a slight browning on the sides.
  3. Add the cinnamon stick, rice and enough water just to cover.
  4. Bring to a gentle simmer, and simmer gently until just cooked.
  5. Drain, remove the cinnamon stick and serve!

Coriander Chutney

  • 30g coriander
  • 1 green chilli
  • 1 garlic clove
  • Pinch sugar
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • Extra virgin oil to taste
  1. Blend all together in a good nutri-bullet or blitzed. Adjust with oil / cold water to thin and salt and pepper for taste.