Mini cherry clafoutis recipe

I can only eat cherries when they’re cooked.  It’s a sad part of oral allergy syndrome, associated with hay fever and causes itchy mouth, throat, lips and weirdly….ears. Once cooked, the allergens in the cherries break down and become inactive.  I also see the same effect with kiwi and nectarine but the list could get longer.  Being a self confessed foodie, this scares me slightly! I absolutely love cherries and luckily I can eat them cooked in a lovely dessert but I treasure my memories when I could eat cherries off the trees in the mountains in Morocco. 

So here is where the cherry clafoutis comes in. A wonderful French dessert that is so simple and I added a slight Christmas feel with cinnamon and nutmeg. The only catch for me is that I could only handle the cherries with gloves or else my hands become itchy too.

This makes 4 ramekins worth.

Ingredients

  • Approximately 30 cherries – halved and pitted
  • 1/2 cup of whole milk
  • 2 1/2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 full egg and 2 egg yolks
  • 1 1/2 tsp of vanilla essence
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/4 cup of flour
  • 1/2 tsp of cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsb of nutmeg

Recipe

  1. Turn oven to 180C
  2. Whisk the eggs, salt, vanilla, salt, flour, milk, cinnamon and nutmeg for around 5 minutes until mixture thickens
  3. Butter the inside of 4 ramekins and set in a baking tray 
  4. Add 2 tbsps of custard mixture to each ramekin. This is to create a solid custard bases.
  5. Cook for 5 minutes and then spread the cherry halves between the 4 ramekins and sprinkle a little sugar over the cherries.
  6. Add the rest of the custard mixture to the ramekins and cook for 25 minutes.
  7. Once cooked, wait to cook and as an option, sprinkle some icing sugar over the top.

Lovely to eat hot, lovely to eat cold!

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Scallops, chorizo and pea purée recipe

I love the flavours of scallop and chorizo and peas just give a lovely contrast, especially with mint!

Ingredients

  • King scallops – as many as you would like to serve but I had 6
  • 100g of chorizo chopped into 1cm pieces
  • 100g of peas
  • Mint leaves

That’s literally all the ingredients apart from salt and pepper and water!

Recipe

  1. I’m a firm believer in the microwave to keep vegetables fresh and green so, add peas to a microwave friendly dish with  some water, not too much! Cover with cling film and poke a hole in to release steam. Microwave on high for about 4 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, add chopped chorizo to a frying pan on high heat with no oil needed. Keep stirring to prevent burning and then once crispy but not black, move this to a plate including all the lovely chorizo oil.
  3. Remove peas from the microwave and drain to remove water.
  4. Blend peas with some mint with a hand blender. How much mint is up to you! Add salt and pepper and if you like things a little spicy feel free to add some dried chilli flakes.
  5. Now to the scallops. If you manage to get king scallops in the shell, then remove the scallop from the shell by removing the muscle that keeps it attached. Then remove the orange roe.
  6. Reuse the frying pan you cooked the chorizo in and make sure it’s still hot!  Sprinkle salt and pepper on scallops and then sear in pan for 2 minutes each side.
  7. Place some of the scallops on the shells on the plate and serve up with chorizo, pea and mint purée and drizzle some of the chorizo oil over everything.

I served this with some pea sprouts but leeks would be lovely here too.  Enjoy!

Ichiryu Ramen Noodles

Ichiryu – Japanese Ramen

After following Ichiryu on Instagram for a while, I finally managed to get a chance to go and try it for myself.

I love all things Asian, and an authentic ramen with udon noodles, just hits the spot.  Unfortunately, this place only came about after I left working in the area, otherwise I probably would have worked my way through the menu!

The place was quaint and I had a look around and saw that a lot of the clientele were Asian and potentially Japanese.  So I hope this was a sign of a good bowl of noodle soup!

Three of us shared some gyozas and then we ordered our ramen.  One had the house special ‘Niku Beef’ which was sukiyaki beef with egg, fishcake, with extra additions in a tsuyu bonito soup.  I was assured this was delicious!  I opted for a favourite of mine ‘Tonkotsu’ with BBQ pork, egg, mushrooms and a tonkotsu pork soup and then we had a slight mix up.

A friend ordered the ‘Prawn Tempura’ ramen but instead was served the vegetarian ‘Kimichi Jjigae’ which was accidentally put on our table.  It took a while to try and flag someone down to point out the mistake and since it takes 10-15 mins wait for this, we wanted to get it to the right person.  Alas, it was too late and the person on the next table had to wait for another one.  We also had the prawn ramen on our table, but no-one can manage two bowls!

I’d definitely like to try more from this place as a ramen is always soothing for me and I do tend to get my ramen and pho cravings!

Barrafina – Spanish tapas

My Mum and I had tickets to a show near Drury Lane in London and I thought this would be a good opportunity to find somewhere nice to eat.

After a quick google, I realised that a branch of Barrafina was close by and since it topped Time Out’s top 100 restaurants in London, I had to explore this option!

Opening at 5.30 on a Sunday, and arriving soon after having had a very light lunch, we were greeted with a few stools at a bar surrounding the kitchen.  No more than 20 I’d say?  No reservations here, so I knew we would have to come early to be able to get in and out before our show.  Service was impeccable!  So quick and efficient and great choices on the menu with ever-changing specials.

We opted for two glasses of El Circo red wine and then we were walked through the specials and the standard menu as most of it is in the original Spanish terms.  We ended up ordering: purple stemmed broccoli cooked with chili, portobello croquettes, anchovies with aioli, Iberico ham, courgette flower stuffed with goat’s cheese and drizzled with honey, olives and some pan con tomate.  Perfect amount so that we didn’t feel stuffed but we did get jealous looking at other options we didn’t order!

To end the meal, I ordered a simple scoop of vanilla ice cream, but I think it might have ended up being the nougat variety…but it was still delicious.

The meal didn’t break the bank, was quick and utterly delicious and would recommend if you need a quick fix before the theatre!  They also have branches in Soho and near Charing Cross too.

Beetroot chocolate brownie recipe

I know what you’re thinking…beetroot?  Keep reading though! Every week at work we take it in turns to prepare cake Friday for the rest of the team.  It’s not always cake, sometimes doughnuts or ice cream sneak in, but I was determined to bake something for my next turn.

When you have to cater for gluten allergy, no dairy and no nuts…that can be tricky. Enter beetroot brownie. I was a bit sceptical but it was moist and lovely and I kept the secret ingredient quiet until everyone had had a bite!

Gluten free, vegan beetroot chocolate brownie
Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp ground/milled flax seed
  • 1/2 cup melted dairy free butter (or coconut oil)
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 3/4 cup gluten free flour
  • 2 medium sized beetroot – grated (already prepared not raw)
  • Vegan chocolate chips or pieces of vegan chocolate bar (optional)

Recipe

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C and line a rectangular baking tray with baking paper.
  2. Prepare ‘flax eggs’, this is a replacement for eggs by mixing flax with water. One egg = 1 tbsp flax and 2.5 tbsp water. For this recipe you need to replace 2 eggs, so you need 2 tbsp flax and 5 tbsp water and set aside in the fridge for at least 15 minutes.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, add melted butter (or coconut oil), sugar, maple syrup and vanilla and then whisk. It’s much better, easier and quicker if you have an electric whisk!
  4. Add the flax eggs replacement and whisk again.
  5. Add baking powder, cocoa powder and sea salt and whisk.
  6. Add the grated beetroot in a bit at a time and whisk again. The idea is to give it a rich texture but so you can’t tell a difference in flavour.
  7. Add gluten free flour and fold gently with a spoon or spatula.
  8. Add chocolate chips or broken pieces on top randomly.
  9. Spread out evenly in baking tray and cook for 17-25 mins.
  10. Check that it’s cooked by taking a sharp knife and poking in the centre of the brownie tray. If it’s clean it’s good to go…if not, then cook a little longer.

Voila! Gluten free, dairy free, nut free delicious beetroot chocolate brownies!

Bimbimbap at Spoon Tree

This is one of my favourite little hidden places in the City of London: Spoon Tree.  An authentic little Korean place which tries new tactics to draw customers in.  From loyalty cards to new types of snacks and treats.  I tend to go for one thing only though, just because I always crave it.  Beef bulgogi bimbimbap with brown rice (lot’s of bs in this sentence!) and then carrot, spinach, bean sprouts, red cabbage, turnip and onion with chili sauce on top!

It’s getting really cold in London so this definitely does the trick! Korean food is quite “in” right now, with lots of places in and around Soho and of course, New Malden, which offers plenty of options and plenty of Asian food stores.

I’m also obsessed with Aloe drinks, in the same way that I’m obsessed with Bubble Tea (maybe something to do with the bits?) and I love mango, so this works well for me for a filling and nutritious lunch!

Soho Joe’s – Wagyu Burger 

After visiting San Sebastian this summer, I was keen to hunt out a good wagyu burger.  I’d experienced a great wagyu slider there and it melted in the mouth and caused me to have dreams about trying it again!

So when I saw an Instagram post from someone in London showing one for £10 at Soho Joe’s…I had to go!

The experience was a little strange.  There was no online booking and you had a phone a mobile number, where the person struggled to understand my name and once we were there, no-one explained that we had to order at the bar and after 15 minutes we flaggfed someone down who explained this to us.  But it was still happy hour so we made the most of that. And then came our Welsh wagyu burger.

Don’t get me wrong, it was good…just not great and not how I remembered it in San Sebastian. It could have done with a bit more seasoning.  So I’m still on the hunt for a GREAT wagyu burger in London!  If anyone has any recommendations, let me know!

Pumpkin & Chicken stew

Pumpkin and chicken stew recipe

Halloween may be over, but think about all the wasted pumpkins or cheap ones left in the shops.  Full of vitamin A to stop the ageing process and good for your skin too.

This is my third and final pumpkin recipe of the season and this stew is perfect for the changing seasons, as Winter gets closer and it’s really easy to make! This makes around 2-3 portions but feel free to increase to make more!

Ingredients:

  • 2 chicken breasts – chunk size pieces
  • 1/2 a medium pumpkin
  • 1 pint of chicken stock
  • 1 tin of sweetcorn
  • 1/2 a jar of jalapeños (couldn’t find fresh ones!)
  • 2 garlic cloves chopped
  • 1/2 onion chopped
  • 1/2 leek sliced
  • 3 tbsp plain flour
  • 1 tsp chilli powder
  • 2 tsp cumin powder
  • Olive oil
  • Salt & pepper
  • A handful of coriander roughly chopped
  1. This first step is the same as the pumpkin hummus recipe:
    Slice the top of the pumpkin and cut pumpkin in half. You can either cut into sections and roast in the oven at 220C for 30 mins with a bit of olive oil or put in a microwave friendly bowl with a little water and steam in a microwave. If you choose the microwave, then cook for 20-30 mins on medium until soft but not mushy.
  2. Scoop the flesh off the skin in chunks.
  3. Use a large pot and sprinkle some olive oil and toss in cumin, chilli, salt and pepper to toast a little.
  4. Throw the chicken in and brown this for some colour for about 5-10 mins.
  5. Add the onion, garlic and leek and cook for 5-10mins
  6. Add the chicken stock and feel free to add some more water if you don’t think this is enough.
  7. Bring this the the boil and let it simmer for about 20 mins.  Feel free again to add more water if you need to.
  8. Add in the flour to thicken the mixture and add in the jalapeños.  I like my food spicy, so I added quite a few, but this is up to you!  Also add in the sweetcorn.
  9. Remember to taste and add more salt and pepper if you need to.

And that’s it! Perfect warming stew and great to re-heat too.

You can mix it up a little with some sour cream, chilli flakes and whatever other vegetables you have in the house. Enjoy!