Saturday, October 8, 2016

Octopus and bocconcini salad

The smell of Spring in the air and some warmer weather have made my mind turn to salads. This one was one pulled together from ingredients on hand.  The pickled octopus I had was in a dressing which I used.  If you want to add another or more dressing add one of your choice.


210 gr bocconcini
3 tomatoes
1 Lebanese cucumber
150 gr grilled baby octopus
2 small carrots
1/2 green pepper


Drain the bocconcini, cut in half and place in salad bowl
Wash the tomatoes, cut in wedges and add to the cheese
Slice the cucumber lengthwise and then crosswise and add to bowl
Peel and slice carrots and add
Cut and seed pepper, cut into bite size strips and add
Add baby octopus and its dressing .
Serves two

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Chia, tahini and kefir

Chia, tahini and kefir indeed, but also currants, dried figs and raspberries are combined in this delicious breakfast.  Yes, you have to have a bit of forethought and prepare it the night before.  But the five minutes preparation the night before is well worth the effort. 

This is another breakfast in my series of "Breakfasts without Bread" for those of my friends who believe that there cannot be breakfast without bread! The amounts, where specified, are for one serve. The photo above is of the breakfast ready to eat, and that below was taken just after the ingredients had been put together.



2 dessertspoons chia seeds
2 tsp tahini
2 dried figs


Place the chia seeds in a bowl for an individual serving
Add the tahini and stir to combine well
Chop figs roughly and add
Pour on enough kefir to fill the bowl
Stir to combine, making sure the chia is not in a pocket
Top with a few raspberries (frozen or fresh)
Sprinkle with currants
Place in the refrigerator overnight

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Salmon pie

Earlier in the year when I was doing a FutureLearn course, I experimented with making a couple of Elizabethan vegetable pies. This time I decided to experiment by making a pie which contained salmon as well as vegetables and using verjuice as before and Dijonaise rather than butter. This pie didn't have the richness from the butter but the more delicate flavours allowed the salmon to be tasted more.



250 gr salmon fillet with skin
1 carrot
2 cauliflower flowers
2 handfuls frozen baby peas
2 tbs verjuice
1 tbs Dijonnaise
Puff pastry


Preheat the oven to 180c
Remove the pastry to thaw to room temperature if frozen
Chop the carrots as you wish and add to baking dish
Break the cauliflower into florets and add
Add the Dijonnaise and stir
Microwave the carrot and cauliflower for 1 minute (or steam lightly)
Make space in the middle and place the salmon fillet there
Add frozen peas
Pour over verjuice
Cover the pie dish with a sheet of puff pastry and decorate as desired
Pierce the top in a few places
Cook in the oven for 45 minutes

Bocconcini and cannellini salad

With a feeling that Spring will be here soon and that I need to stop eating heavy wintry foods, I put together this delicious salad for lunch the other day. The key ingredients are the cannellini beans and the bocconcini. The bocconcini which were fresh and delicious provided a soft touch to the palate in contrast to the beans.  And, of course, the basil, ginger and garlic added some of my favourite flavours to the mix.


210 gr bocconcini
400 gr cannellini beans
10 cherry tomatoes
1.5 Lebanese cucumbers
1/2 red pepper
Fresh basil to taste
2 tsp ginger
2 cloves garlic


Drain the bocconcini and place in a salad bowl
Drain the cannellini and add
Halve the cherry tomatoes and add
Roughly chop the red pepper and cucumbers as you wish and add
Peel and crush the garlic and ginger and add
Chop the basil and add
Toss to combine thoroughly and consume.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Potatoes and garlic roasted in truffle oil

My nephew often gives me interesting little treats to cook with. When I am wondering what to cook and how, casting my eye around often provides a solution. It certainly did last night when I was thinking about roasting potatoes and saw the truffle oil.  It was all very simple, but I loved the outcome.


Garlic cloves
Truffle oil
Rosemary sprigs


Preheat oven to 200c
Chop potatoes into eighths
Arrange in oven dish
Separate garlic cloves but do not peel
Place in dish with potatoes
Pour on truffle oil
With your hands ensure that the vegetables are covered in oil
Place high in the oven for 45 minutes, stirring halfway through
Add sprigs of rosemary and return to the oven for another 20 minutes.

Monday, August 1, 2016

Seskoulopitta/Σεσκουλόπιττα with ginger and black sesame

This is an old, old favourite just tweaked slightly to cater for the misery that is a headcold. Sometimes I include  the thick white stalks of the σέσκουλο/silverbeet.  Sometimes I don't.  This time I did. I normally include spring onions but this time I thought the silverbeet stalks would provide quite a bit of bulk, so I didn't use spring onions.  And the real difference? Well, I added lashings of fresh root ginger to help fight my cold.  And also because I love the taste of fresh ginger and I felt like some. What is there not to relish about this combination of so many of my favourite flavours!


1/2 bunch of silverbeet
375 gr ricotta
200gr fetta
2 handfuls grated Parmesan
1 egg
1/2 tsp Sambal oelek
2 garlic cloves
3 tsp fresh ginger
Phyllo pastry
Olive oil
Black sesame seeds


Preheat the oven to 180c
Roughly chop the silverbeet, including the thick white stalks
Place the silverbeet in a steamer
Peel and crush the garlic and add
Add Sambal oelek
Chop and crush the ginger root and add
Steam on the stovetop until soft stirring occasionally
Meanwhile place the ricotta in a bowl
Crumble the fetta by hand on top and add a couple of handfuls of grated Parmesan (or to taste)
Add the egg and stir to combine
When the vegetables are cooked add to the mixture and combine well
Using a pastry brush and olive oil line the bottom of a baking dish with about six layers of phyllo taking care to oil well between each layer
Add the cheese and vegetable mixture to the phyllo
Fold the phyllo over the mixture and cover with several layers of phyllo brushing with oil between each layer
Fold in the edges and oil the top layer
Sprinkle with black sesame seeds
With a sharp knife cut the top of the pie into desired portions. DO NOT cut through the bottom of the pie
Cook for 45 minutes in 180c oven until top is crisp and golden
Leave to rest for 2-3 minutes after cooking
Then with a sharp knife cut the portions through to the bottom of the pie
Serve with salad or vegetables..

Friday, July 22, 2016

Barley soup for George IV #FLRoyalFood

This final recipe for my FutureLearn course is actually from Week 4, not Week 5.  For some reason in my local area there was a dearth of barley when I went looking for it initially - just an empty space on the shelves! The soup is essentially barley and beef stock and some greens and seasonings. We know from preserved menus that this is something that George IV ate when he was confined to his rooms at Kew Palace and only allowed to eat with a spoon.


I added spring onions and baby bok choi for the onion and greens, and pepper, garlic and ginger for the seasonings.  The original recipe suggested adding a handful of raisins, but I added dried grapes which probably did not have such a strong flavour. And the verdict?  Well, it could certainly be eaten with a spoon and it was fairly solid and nourishing. It tasted pleasantly enough, but I think I would prefer some stronger tasting greens and perhaps more ginger or chilli.  But I guess it was meant to be invalid food.



1 litre beef stock
250 gr pearl barley
4 spring onions
1 head baby bok choi
2 cloves garlic
2 tsp crushed ginger
Handful dried grapes


Place the stock in a large pan suitable for making soup
Add the barley to the cold stock and bring to a boil
Reduce to a simmer and continue cooking for 45-60 minutes until stock is reduced and barley tender
Meanwhile chop the sping onions and bok choi
Crush the garlic and ginger
Remove the grapes from their stalks
Add the greens, garlic, ginger and grapes to the soup mixture
Grind some pepper on top
Stir to combine and simmer until the vegetables are cooked.
Serve with a spoon.


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