Favourite Instagram - Miso Roasted Brussels Sprouts

I wrote this recipe for Tesco and I wasn't expecting to love it so - there is a limit to how good brussels sprouts can taste, right?! Well actually no, these were epic. Festive, slightly crispy and somewhat worryingly salty, everything you'd hope for in a Christmas side. 



1 x 500g bag of Tesco brussels sprouts, trimmed
3 heaped tsp. Tesco miso paste
40g Tesco English unsalted butter
1 tbsp. olive oil
1. Preheat the oven to 180oc, Fan 160 Gas mark 4
2. Bring a large pan of salted boiling water to the boil and add your brussels sprouts. Cook for 4-5 minutes until tender when a knife is inserted.
3. Meanwhile melt the butter in a small saucepan over a medium heat. Once melted remove from the heat and add the miso paste, mix together with a spoon until incorporated.
4. In a roasting tin toss together the Brussel sprouts, olive oil and butter miso mixture.
5. Roast for 15-20 minutes until tender and browned. Serve as a side or nibble.


The Best Sausage Rolls

Just about nothing can compete with the sausage roll and absolutely nothing can compete with a homemade version. This recipe uses a quick flaky puff that blows the store bought version out of the water. Apricots, shallots and sage embellish the sausage meat and a sweet sticky apple glaze brings everything together. Fit for a party or a pregnancy craving (not mine!)


Prep time – 1 hour + resting
Cook time – 40 minutes
Makes 6 large sausage rolls

For the pastry
150g salted butter, frozen
220g plain flour
A pinch of salt
5-6 tbsp cold water
For the sausage rolls
1 tbsp. olive oil
2 shallots, finely chopped
1 tbsp. of sage, chopped
500g free range sausage meat
15g dried apricots, roughly chopped
1 small cox apple, grated
For the glaze
100ml Cawston apple juice
50g light brown sugar
1 tsp. of fennel seeds, to garnish

1. Begin by making the flaky pastry. Empty the flour into a large bowl. Remove the frozen butter from the freezer (being careful not to touch it with your hands as this will melt it) and grate the butter on top of the flour, using the coarse side of a grater. Add a pinch of salt.  Using a palette knife distribute the butter amongst the flour. Sprinkle 3 tbsp. cold water into the bowl and begin to mix the pastry together using the palette knife, adding a little more water if needed. Bring the pastry together with your hands, avoiding handling it too much and shape into a flat disc.  Wrap  in cling film and place in the fridge for 45 minutes.
2. Now, make the filling for the sausage rolls. Heat the olive oil in a medium sized pan, on a low heat and gently fry the shallots for 10 minutes. Stir through the sage and cook for a further 2 minutes. Set aside to cool slightly. Empty the sausage meat into a large mixing bowl and add the shallots, apricots and grated apple. Season well and mix until well combined..
3. Prepare the glaze by simply placing the Cawston juice and light brown sugar in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer. Reduce the liquid by half and allow to gently bubble for 4-5 minutes until the sauce has become syrupy.
4. Remove the chilled pastry from the fridge and roll, on a floured surface, to a large rectangle. Trim the sides to 23cm x 30cm and then divide the pastry into two long lengths, each 35cm x 15cm. Divide the sausage meat in two and shape into two long ‘sausages’. Place in the center of each pasty length and brush the edges of the pastry with apple syrup. Fold the pastry over the sausage meat to cover, trim with a sharp knife and cut each length of pasty into 3. There should be 6 sausage rolls in total. Gently press the join of the pastry with a fork to secure.
5. Place the sausage rolls on a waxed paper on a baking sheet and place in the freezer for 30 minutes to chill completely. The pastry will cook best from frozen.
6. Preheat the oven to 200C, fan 180C, gas mark 6.

7. Remove the sausage rolls from the freezer and brush with the apple syrup. Sprinkle over with fennel seeds and cook for 20-25 minutes, until puffed up and golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Serve.


My Favourite Instagram Shot - My boy

Moving slightly away from the food focus but this is my boy, all streamline and living the festive spirit. We were off to a fundraising dinner to gather hard cash for refugees in the hope that they might see some light this Christmas. 


Salted Caramel Ice Cream Cake

There is ice cream, there is cake and then there are ice cream cakes. They feel extravagant, terrifyingly decadent and worthy of only the best of celebrations. Enjoy (and I'm talking to you Catriona). 


Prep Time – 35 minutes + 3 hours freezing
Cook Time – 45 minutes
Serves 8-10

75g Cocoa powder
4 medium eggs
1 tsp. Vanilla extract
300g Self-raising flour
2 tsp. Baking powder
400g Caster sugar
50ml Sunflower oil
250g Unsalted butter, very soft, plus extra for greasing
1 x 500ml Tub Judes Salted Caramel Ice Cream
100ml Double Cream
1 tsp. Vanilla extract
1 tbsp. Unsalted butter
100g Dark chocolate
A selection of dried fruits, including apricots, pecans, dates and glace cherries.

You will also need 3 x 23cm cake tins

1. Begin by allowing the tub of ice cream to soften slightly. Line one of your cake tins with cling film and empty the ice cream into the tin. Using a spatula, level out the ice cream and place in the freezer to re-freeze.
2. Next, make the cakes.  Preheat the oven to 180oc, fan 160oc, gas 4. Grease the remaining 2 x 23cm round cake tins and line with baking parchment.
3. In a bowl, mix the cocoa powder with 200ml boiling water and stir until smooth. In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs with the vanilla extract and 90ml water until combined, then set aside.
4. In another bowl, sift the flour with the baking powder and caster sugar. Add the cocoa mixture and the oil and butter. Beat for 1 minute using an electric hand mixer. Gradually add the egg mixture, whisking well after each addition. Divide the mixture between the 2 cake tins. Bake for 40-45 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in to the cakes comes out clean, Leave to cool in the tins for 10 minutes, then cool completely on a wire rack.
5. For the chocolate ganache, gently heat the cream, vanilla extract, butter and chocolate in a heavy-based pan. Remove the pan from the heat and whisk the mixture until smooth and thickened.
6. When you are ready to assemble the cakes, simply remove the ice cream ‘disc’ from the freezer. Unwrap and place on top of one of the cooled cakes. Top with the remaining cake. Spread the ganache icing on top of your cake and decorate with a pile of dried fruit. Just before going to the table, use a palate knife to smooth off the edges and make the ice cream flush with the cake.

7. Eat straightaway.


This Week's Favourite Instagram Shot.

I'm excited to tell you that development for my new book has begun in earnest. I'm spending my evenings trawling through recipe books and eating out whenever funds and babysitters allow. I'm going to keep the subject a little under wraps for the next few months but just to say, there might be a slow cooked pork belly with fennel, cider, butter beans and shallots. Here is a shot of my first, completed recipe. Deep breath and bring on the next five months. 


Roasted Pumpkin with Freekeh, Chestnut, Feta & Parsley

The change in Seasons between the warm summer and dusky autumn always seems the starkest of the four. Long days are squeezed into seemingly shorter hours, coldness bites and our menus shift from vibrant citrus to a russet palette. 

We’ve had change in our home. My husband has abandoned his long, disheartening commute in favour of working closer to home so we have him for a more minutes in each day. Even these relatively few moments lift the atmosphere and make the days feel simpler for me; I’m able to indulge in food a little more easily and have verve enough to cook for us all.

My youngest baby seems only to eat orange food at the moment so he is in heaven with October’s bounty of carrots, squash and pumpkin, I feel like I’m roasting them every day. So this recipe is an ode to him, though I’m not sure what he would make of parsley and freekah. 

This salad is a flawless, auburn Autumnal number. Sweet pumpkin and chestnuts with sour feta and plenty of fresh parsley. I’ve used a gorgeous blue pumpkin; they have a robust flavour and a sweet sticky texture ideal for roasting. And Meet Freekeh – the Middle Eastern grain that is stacked full of protein, very easy to make and has an unusual smoky taste when cooked (once picked, the wheat is roasted over fire to burn away the husks). It is becoming widely available and worth seeking out. But don’t panic if you can’t find it, use cous cous or barley.

We ate this for dinner with nothing more than a glass of water and a bar of dark chocolate for pudding. I hope you all enjoy it.


SERVES – 4-6

1 medium pumpkin, peeled and sliced into crescents
2 tbsp olive oil
½ tsp dried chilli flakes
50g Freekeh (alternatively cous cous or barley)
1 onion, sliced
180g Merchant Gormet Whole Chestnuts, roughly chopped
1 tbsp rosemary, roughly chopped
100g Feta, crumbled
A handful of Parsley, leaves picked
2 tbsp. olive oil

1 clove garlic, crushed
1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1 tsp Dijon mustard

1. Preheat the oven to 200C, fan 180C, gas 6. 
2. Arrange the pumpkin on two baking trays. Drizzle the 1 tbsp. olive oil over the crescents and gently coat before sprinkling over the chilli flakes. Roast in the hot oven for 30-35 minutes or until the crescents begin to caramelize. Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly.
3. Bring a medium pot of water to boil and add the freekeh. Bring back to a boil, then cover the pot and reduce the heat to low. Simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the grains are al dente. Drain excess water and set aside.
4. Meanwhile, heat the remaining oil in large frying pan over a high heat. Add the sliced onion and fry for 2-3 minutes, until softened before stirring through the chestnuts and rosemary. Continue to cook for a further 3-4 minutes.
5. Get your dressing ready by whisking (or vigorously shaking) the crushed garlic, olive oil, balsamic vinegar and dijon mustard. Taste and adjust according to your pallet, this is the moment to trust your own opinion.
6. Place the squash crescents in a large mixing bowl and add the freekeh, fried onion and chestnuts. Add the parsley leaves and half the crumbled feta. Pour over the dressing and very gently, mix with your hands until the ingredients are combined.
7. Arrange the salad on a platter, season with salt and black pepper and garnish with the remaining crumbled feta and a few extra parsley leaves.