Today the sun shone, sun cream was rife and the ice tray in the freezer is empty. Tonight I craved a summer salad, something that didn't take more than twenty minutes to put together and had a sweet, fresh edge. May I present my discovery.
SPINACH, BLUEBERRY AND CUCUMBER COUS COUS
WITH LEMON HUMMUS
peeled and cut into rounds
Zest of 2
FOR THE HUMMUS
1 tin chick
4 tbsp. tahini
Juice of 2 lemons
2-3 tbsp. cold
1 / Drain
the chickpeas and rinse under cold water. Empty into a food processor with the
tahini, garlic, lemon juice, salt and water. Whiz to a smooth paste, adding a
little water until you reach your desired consistency. Set aside while you make
2/ Toast the
cous cous by simply putting a heavy based frying pan on the heat and add the cous
cous. Toss them around the pan until they start to turn golden, about 4-5
minutes. Remove from the heat and add the hot stock. There will be steam and
fury. Leave the cous cous to soak up the liquid off the heat for a few minutes,
stirring once or twice to ensure the stock is evenly distributed.
3/ Empty the cous cous into a bowl and the spinach leaves, cucumber,
lemon zest and blueberries (keeping back a few blueberries and lemon zest for
garnish). Add the olive oil and combine well. Empty onto a plate and top with
the reserved blueberries and lemon zest.
4/ Serve your fresh salad with a bowlful of hummus.
Rhubarb and Custard Cake Salted
pistachio crumb Yoghurt ice cream
Coffee & Chocolate
My first solo pop up in conjunction with Wiston Estate Wines happened a week or so ago. Sixteen people, a glorious regency style flat overlooking the sea and a four course menu.
It was a success! The condensed milk & coffee pops and elderflower syrup jars were my highlights. My guests were diverse and gorgeous, the sparkling wine was exceptional and it made me want to do a regular thing!
I keep hearing about the ease in which people switch from dairy to no dairy, sugar to no-sugar and carb to no-carb and I'm a little curious. Is it really that easy to change a life time of gluttonous tendencies by simply installing a painfully white kitchen and following American blogs?
Perhaps by just switching a few classic carb recipes for healthy alternatives my body might forget about my love of bread, pasta and pizza? I'd say it is worth a shot.
They say courgette spaghetti will not leave you wanting: it is as filling as it's 00 flour partner and just as delicious. Well I've developed this recipe which is absolutely delicious and yes, I'd say, just as filling.
SPAGHETTI WITH ROASTED TOMATOES, BASIL AND GARLIC
150g cherry tomatoes
4 cloves garlic, sliced
1 small red chilli, deseeded and
1 tbsp olive oil
50g sunflower seeds
2 large Courgettes, (The longer
1 egg yolk
1 tbsb thick Greek yoghurt
A handful of basil, roughly
Plenty of salt & pepper
1/ Preheat the oven to 200C, fan
180C, gas 6. Cut half of the cherry tomatoes in half, and leave the rest whole.
Empty the tomatoes, sliced garlic and chilli into a small roasting tin and
drizzle over the olive oil. Shake well to coat and place in the preheated oven
for 20 minutes.
2/ Meanwhile toast your sunflower
seeds. Simply empty the seeds into a dry frying pan and cook over a medium heat
for 3-4 minutes, swirling the pan regularly. Remove from the heat once the
seeds have taken on some colour.
3/ Make your courgette spaghetti.
Lay a box grater on its side and grate the length of the courgette into long
worms. Try not to be firm, I’ve found a loose grip makes this easier.
4/ Bring a medium saucepan of
water to the boil and add the courgette strips. Cook for 2-3 minutes before
draining really well in a colander, gently squeezing any excess water away with
the back of a spoon. Return to the pan and stir through the egg yolk followed
by the tablespoon of yoghurt. Season well.
5/ Stir 2/3rds of the roasted
tomato mixture and half of the seeds into the courgettes and divide between two
plates. Top with the remaining tomatoes, toasted sunflower seeds, fresh basil
and a good grating of black pepper. Serve straightaway.
The keen eyed amongst you will notice I've developed a bit of a thing for vegetable cakes. It might be a combination of a two year old who doesn't eat their greens and an interest in reducing my butter intake (the vegetable's role is often to replace the fat, you see.)
I've made headway with developing a few recipes of my own but I've discovered it is House of Cuckoo that are really shaking the vegetable cake world. Veg that don't have much personality of their own become a backdrop to intriguing and seriously delicious flavours: celeriac & ginger, cauliflower & lemon, butternut squash & almond.
Started by two friends in 2011, House of Cuckoo, and it's eye catching packaging, is growing in stature. They are now available at lots of Waitrose's store for a fiver a box which is cheaper than a bottle of wine and surely more interesting?
These are ideal for those of us with a worryingly sweet tooth & high cholesterol or, simply, an unhealthy love of cake.
Forced rhubarb has been available since January, grown in dark forcing sheds, where the very pink shoots grow rapidly in their desperate search for light. This slightly unnatural season is coming to an end and the more gentle, outdoor crop is just arriving. The experts say, though not quite as beautiful, the taste is superior. My kind in-laws donated fifty percent of their harvest and so this afternoon, I made cake. Rhubarb, ginger & lemon cake. Perfection, especially if enjoyed warm with a blob of thick yoghurt.
Rhubarb & Ginger Cake
Makes 1 x 22cm cake
150g salted butter, at room temperature
150g golden caster sugar, plus 2 tbsp
2 medium eggs
200g ground almonds
Zest or 1 lemon
2 balls stem ginger, roughly chopped
100g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
350g rhubarb, trimmed and cut into 4cm lengths (cut in half lengthways first if very fat)
Stem ginger syrup for drizzling
1/ Preheat the oven 180°C, fan 160°C, gas 4. Grease a 22cm springform tin and line the base and sides with baking paper.
Put the butter and sugar in a bowl and cream together with an electric whisk until pale and fluffy.
2/ Whisk in the eggs one at a time until creamy. Add the ground almonds, lemon zest and ginger. Sift over the flour and baking powder and mix well.
3/ Spoon half the mixture into the tin, carefully spreading it right to the edges. Arrange just under half the rhubarb on top, keeping it away from the edges of the tin. Sprinkle over 1 tablespoon of the extra sugar.
4/ Spoon over the rest of the cake mixture, then spread it to cover the rhubarb. Arrange the rest of the rhubarb on top, in a circle, filling in any gaps (keeping it away from the edges). Scatter over the brown sugar.
5/ Bake for 1 hour until golden, cover with a tent of foil and bake for another 10-15 minutes until firm to the touch in the middle. Remove from the oven and allow to sit for 5 minutes before drizzling over a few teaspoons of the stem ginger syrup.