Eggs Benedict with smoked salmon

Egg Florentine 2

One of my favourite all time breakfast is a really good Eggs Benedict. Though widely available in many restaurants and countries not all serve it well. A very good eggs benedict for me constitute runny egg yolk, eggs poached to perfection and a freshly made hollandaise sauce that has a smooth and silky texture with a good balance sweet and salty flavour without the vinegar over powering the overall taste. As an alternative to my ham based eggs benedict I also like to use   smoked salmon and in some cases have both. A lovely breakfast to have on a beautiful Saturday morning.

Salmon Egg Florentine

Eggs Benedict Salmon

KITCHEN KIT: Balloon whisk, sauce pan and a bowl

1.  2 eggs
2.  Some water for poaching the egg
3.  3 tbsp. of white wine vinegar
4.  4 slices of good quality smoked salmon
5.  2 English muffins, sliced in halves
6.  Some butter to spread over the muffins (optional)
7.  Dill, chopped for garnish (optional)

For the hollandaise sauce:
8.  2 tsp lemon juice
9.  2 tsp white wine vinegar
10. 3 large egg yolks
11. 130g cold unsalted butter, diced
12. Pinch of Salt and pepper (optional)

The Muffin and Salmon:
1.  Preheat grill to highest temperature, place your English muffin on the grill for 1-2 minutes until lightly golden brown and crisp. Plate, butter and add 2 slices of salmon on top of the muffins.
Poaching the eggs:
2.  On a medium sauce pan over a high heat, bring water to the boil and stir in the white wine vinegar.  Lower the heat and simmer gently. Stir the water and vinegar a few times and slowly slide in the eggs one by one. Cook each eggs for about 3-4 mins. Once cooked remove with a slotted spoon and place on top of the English muffins with ham.

Poached Eggs

The Hollandaise Sauce:
4.  On a sauce pan, over very low heat, whisk your lemon juice and white wine vinegar, add the egg yolks whisking constantly until light and frothy. (the pan should never be too hot for you to touch the sides of it)
5.  Gradually add the butter, whisk constantly until butter has melted.
6.  When the butter has completely melted, turn up the heat to medium-low, whisk continuously until the mixture has thickened.  (If it looks like it might be splitting and the mixture starts to steam, turn off the heat and whisk continuously for a few mins. It is important to keep whisking to prevent it from splitting and to thicken the mixture.)
7.  When the mixture has thickened and is smooth, season with a pinch of salt and pepper and pour over the top of the salmon. Garnish with some chopped dill.

Serve immediately.

Extra Tip: Hollandaise Sauce-to make sure that your sauce does not split, don’t stop whisking until the sauce has thickened. Keep the sauce under very, very low heat. If it is not easy to control the heat, put your mixture on a bowl, place the bowl on a simmering sauce pan with water also under low heat.

Eggs Benedict

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • LinkedIn
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS

4 Nudos Restaurant, Spain


Category: Modern Spanish Restaurant
Cuisine:  Modern, Spanish
Price Range on Average: EUR 15- 20 for a main course and EUR 3-8 for a dessert
Ambiance: Chic and Friendly, Overlooking San Jose’s Marina Bay.
Address: Club Naútico San Jose, Calle del Puerto, s/n, 04118 San José, Almería, Spain
Tel: +33 620 93 81 60
Opening Hours: Tuesday to Sunday 11:30am–6pm, 7:30pm–12am (closed on Mondays)
Last Visited: 2016

FullSizeRender07 IMG_7907 FullSizeRender09FullSizeRender

One of the best seafood restaurants I’ve been to in Spain and in Europe. This small yet lovely restaurant is tucked away at the end corner of the San Jose’s marina bay. Most restaurants in San Jose are located in the main high street and by the sea shore. This is not a restaurant that you can just pass by and notice. This restaurant is secluded and offers a very relaxed, yet sophisticated atmosphere. The waiters are friendly and passionate about their dishes and would happily recommended dishes when asked.
With so many dishes to choose from the menu I was overwhelmed and unsure of what to order. The waiter willingly helped and brought a tray of fish and shell fish, their fresh ‘catch of the day’. He also explained which fish were caught from the sea nearby, which were wild fish, which were farmed and which ones were local to San Jose. Still unable to make a decision and wanting the gigantic scorpion fish, mussels, prawns, squid and clams, the waiter suggested that the Chef would make me a fish stew with all these wonderful seafood ingredients, which I gladly accepted. I was also keen to try their squid ink paella but the waiter informed me that it would be too big for me as my fish stew would certainly fill me up. He was right! The fish stew was more than enough for one person.

FullSizeRender08 FullSizeRender06

I also experienced the same dilemma with my starter and I asked the waiter to recommend their Chef’s favourite dish. He enthusiastically explained why their octopus is famous with their patrons and why I should try it. I was convinced and once again he was right. The octopus was grilled simply to perfection, served with a slightly spiced olive oil and cold olive oil ice-cream! The combination of the hot and sweet octopus with the salty taste of the cold olive oil ice-cream is truly out this this world. It was so heavenly that I’m simply lost for the words to describe it. The waiter warned me that we did not need two starters since the octopus would be enough for two diners. He was right again. I am also glad to have come across waiters that don’t force me to keep ordering more. On the contrary the waiters at 4 Nudos are so keen for their patrons to enjoy the meal that they would happily recommend a dish and stop you from over stuffing yourself. A common occurrence in my world!



We also wanted to try the St.Peter’s fish and the chef explained all the different ways their chef can cook it for us. We simply ask the chef to cook it the way he felt it should be cooked. Once again the fish came out wonderfully. Just slightly dusted in flour, lightly pan fried in olive oil, seasoned with salt, pepper and drizzled with lemon juice. The flesh of the fish was so succulent, it’s as if it swam from the sea straight on to our plates. I must say that my fish stew was well executed too. Every element of the dish complemented each other. The mussels, prawns, squid and octopus were cooked very lightly not over done and rubbery. The scorpion fish was meaty and the sauce was from the broth of the seafood with a hint of paprika and lovely olive oil. I’ve had many fish stews in France, in Spain and other parts of Europe but this certainly is top league.

FullSizeRender05 FullSizeRender10 FullSizeRender11FullSizeRender03

Finally for the grand finale – the dessert. The waiter came out and ask if I loved chocolate, I told him that I loved it so much that I have it at least once every day! He then asked me if I like the combination of a salty and bitter sweet flavour. Once again my answer was: 100% yes. He was happy to hear my response and recommended their 70% bitter sweet Jamaican Chocolate dessert, served with toast, rock salt, pepper and olive oil. This dessert does not sound as impressive as it is. It is a spectacular dessert, with simple high quality ingredients, combined to make perfection by a very highly skilled chef.

4 Nudos offer Michelin starred quality dishes in a more relax and less formal ambiance for half of price you’d pay at Michelin starred restaurant. If you are around or passing by San Jose this is a place that should not miss if you are into excellent food.

FullSizeRender02 FullSizeRender13

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • LinkedIn
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS

Cantonese Congee with Stir Fried Chicken ( 广东粥)


Congee or Chook (粥) is a popular rice porridge in South East Asia which can be eaten for breakfast, lunch or even dinner. Although, widely available across many South East Asian countries, I much prefer the creamy and tasty Macau and Hong Kong version of this popular dish. In Macau and Hong Kong congee is often serve with either beef, chicken, pork, fish or Chinese sausage, along with an accompanying century egg or fried dough stick. Although, congee can be eaten plain by itself too.

Congee is served in many cha chaan teng or tea restaurants in Macau and in Hong Kong. It’s a popular, cheap and comforting dish and is the Chinese equivalent of the Jewish penicillin known as ‘Chicken soup for the soul’. Many Chinese doctor’s recommend this dish to those who are ill, my Mom use to make or buy this dish for me too every time I was ill. Even now in my adult life whenever I feel ill there is nothing else that I’d like to eat than a humble Congee to make me feel warm and better. This heart-warming dish, though simple, is actually not easy to find in Chinese or Asian restaurants in the U.K. or the U.S. and in those that do serves it I would say that the taste is bland. I’ve yet to find a restaurant in the U.K. and U.S. that serves really good Congee packed full of flavour.

The last time I was very ill, I had just got out of the hospital and I craved so badly for a congee so I went to London’s Chinatown and bought takeaway congee. My heart sank as it tasted so bland. Since then I have been on a mission to create a congee recipe that’s as creamy and as packed with flavour as the congee found in Macau and Hong Kong. I’ve come up with two basic chicken congee recipes and this is one of them. I hope you enjoy this recipe, which is my take on a Cantonese Congee. I hope that if you feel ill and have this it will give you strength and a warm comforting feeling and make you feel better. Bon appetite!

Serves: 6 bowls


Chicken Marinade:
1. 1/2 inch of finely sliced ginger
2. 1 clove of garlic, crushed and minced
3. 1 tbsp. of light soy sauce
4. 1 tbsp. of dark soy sauce
5. 2 tbsp. Shaon Xing rice wine
6. 1 chicken breast, diced
7. pinches of corn flour
8. 2 tbsp. oil

For the Congee:
9. 1 litre of chicken stock
10. 1.5 litre of water
11. 1 cup of long grain rice (rinse two or three times, then drained)
12. 1/4 cup of glutinous rice
13. 1/2 tsp. salt
14. 1/2 tsp. ground white pepper

For the Garnish:
15. 1 clove of garlic, sliced and deep fried
16. 1 spring onion, finely chopped
17. 1 tbsp. of roasted peanut
18. a handful of chopped coriander leaves.
19. 1/2 inch of finely sliced ginger (omit if you prefer your congee with less heat)

1. Marinade the chicken for one hour with all the marinade ingredients listed above except for the oil.
2. After one hour, heat a wok over high heat, add 2tbsp. of oil. Once the oil starts to smoke, add your chicken with the marinade into the wok. Stir fry for a 5 minutes or so until the chicken is golden brown and cooked. Set aside.

For the Congee:
2. In a large heavy-bottomed saucepan bring the chicken stock, water, rice and glutinous rice to a boil over low-medium heat. Cook at a lively simmer, stirring occasionally until the mixture is creamy, about 1.5 hour.

Congee 1

For the Garnish:
3. Serve the congee in a bowl, add the stir fried chicken and garnish on top and serve.

Note: You can make the plain congee a few days in advance, stored in a container in the fridge.  Simply bring it to the boil and add your stir fry your chicken when you are ready to eat it.  You can also eat the porridge plain or add any toppings you like.

Congee 3

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • LinkedIn
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS

Ivory on Sunset, Los Angeles

Los Angelese 2

Ivory 1

Category: Los Angeles Restaurant and Bar
Cuisine:  Western, American
Price Range on Average: USD $12- $16 cocktail and main course at USD $35-$100
Ambiance: Chic and Glamorous. Amazing View.
Address:Ivory on Sunset, Mondrian Los Angeles, 8440 Sunset Blvd, West Hollywood, CA 90069, USA
Tel: +1 (323) 848 6000
Opening Hours: Dinner, Sunday-Thursday 5pm-10:30pm and Friday-Saturday 5pm-11:00pm, Breakfast, Everyday 7am-11:30am, Lunch, Everyday 11:30am-5pm, Brunch, Saturday-Sunday 10:30am-3pm,  Cocktail Hour, Monday-Friday 4pm-6pm
Last Visited: 2016

Ivory Los AngelesLos Angeles

Although Ivory serves good food, I love it best for its breath taking views of Los Angeles and for its open space. If you want to see the Los Angeles City landscape over a nice drink in a lovely setting then Ivory is the place for you. The atmosphere is usually busy and certainly very glamorous, usually frequented by celebrities with their agents, film producers and directors. If you want a quiet spot, request for a corner table by the window as I did during my recent visit, you’ll certainly get a very nice view of Los Angeles.  I love taking photographs of city views and often make an effort to take nice shots of the places I visit. Aside from fantastic views, their smoothies are for me the crown jewels. Ivory’s pineapple & mango and strawberry & banana smoothies are both made from sweet fresh fruit; lovely and refreshing perfect for the L.A heat. The best way to spend your Saturday afternoon.

Ivory on Sunset

Pictures by Angelie Torne and

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • LinkedIn
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS

Pâtisserie Duployez


Category: Pâtisserie Shop and Cafe
Cuisine: French Pâtisserie Shop  and Cafe
Price Range on Average: EUR 3-5 per pâtisserie
Ambiance: Chic and simple
Address: 5, rue Désiré Delansorne 62000 Arras, France
Tel: +33 03 21 51 77 18
Opening Hours: Monday – Sunday, 8AM – 7PM
Last Visited: 2016



There is no secret to my life long love affair and obsession with french patisseries. I feel so lucky and humble to have had the opportunity to get to know France so well. To travel in its beautiful cities and regions regularly means I’ve had the privilege to sample the very best tarte au citron meringuée, taste fine aux pommes, macaroons and mille feuille.  I usually travel by train or plane to France but on several occasions, usually on holidays I like to drive and go for a road trip through France. This time around I drove from the UK to France and discovered a real gem. In a very small, quaint town of Arras there lies a lovely, simple and chic Salón de thé. Not quite as chic and grand as the ones you’ll find in Paris but certainly very lovely.



The pâtisseries are immaculate and not to be missed. If you are in Arras or near it and are not sure where to go for tea, this would be the place to go. The pâtisseries and cakes are a work of art. There’s a wide selection to suit every palette.


  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • LinkedIn
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS

Quiche Lorraine Part 2

Quiche 5

I was sitting at a café in Arras and I immediately felt so excited to be back in France again. I’ve always been fond of French patisseries, macaroons and amazing cakes.
Although, I am very adventurous with my food and will happily try anything and experiment on recipes. I do have certain favourites that I just can’t help having so much of. A trip in France is never complete without my usual quiche, croque monsieur and French patisserie for lunch. This is one of my all-time favourite lunch dishes at home and in France.

I do like my quiche warm though and I must admit that I have experimented on over 30 or so different Quiche Lorraine recipes to get to this version. I am sure that in a few years’ time this experimentation will go on. I called this my Quiche Lorraine Part 2 since this is an adaptation of my Quiche Lorraine Part 1 which is also on this blog.

After my bloated quiche disaster, an eggy wobbly quiche that just collapse when you slice them that’s really more of a scrambled egg than a quiche and a burnt pastry quiche that almost went alight. Well, this one finally works without collapsing, setting the smoke alarm in the kitchen off or burning the house down.  I know that I should expand my horizons and learn more about other dishes and experiment on other recipes but having so many failed attempts on a quiche, I am now determined to try and make so many variations of this wonderful quiche that works. I hope you enjoy this one.

Quiche 4

A pan, a knife, a wooden spoon, a rolling pin, a pastry brush, a 23cm pastry tin/silicone mold about 3.5cm deep, baking beans, baking parchment and a whisk.

Serves: 8

1. 500g of shop bought short crust pastry at room temperature. You can also follow my short-crust pastry recipe on this blog to make one.
2. 400ml  crème fraiche
3. 4 large eggs, lightly beaten
4. ¼ tsp. ground black pepper
5. ¼ tsp. salt
6. 1 tbsp. of olive oil.
7. 1 large banana shallot, peeled and finely diced.
8. 5 rashers of streaky bacon, diced
9. 200g. Gruyere cheese, grated

1. Lightly flour your rolling pin and your work surface. Roll out the pastry until it is to a thickness of a£1 coin and then lift into a tin/silicone mold. Gently press the insides of the pastry and trim excess pastry with a knife. Cut a large piece of baking parchment, place this in your pastry case and then add the baking beans.

2. Heat the oven to 200C fan, bake the pastry case blind for 15 minutes until the pastry is crisp and set. Remove from oven and carefully lift the paper and beans out. Return pastry to the oven and cook for another 5 mins or until the base and sides are golden and crisp.

Quiche1 Quiche 5
3. Meanwhile beat the crème fraiche, eggs, ground black pepper and salt in a bowl. Set aside. Next, place a pan on a medium heat, add 1 tbsp. of olive oil and fry the shallot until translucent. Then, add the cooked shallots into your crème fraiche and egg mixture.

4. Using the same pan to cook your shallots,  add your diced bacon until golden and crisp (you do not need to add oil into the pan as the bacon will release its’ own fats).

5. Once cooked, scatter your bacon on your pastry and pour your crème fraiche and egg mixture over. Sprinkle the top with Gruyere cheese and bake in the oven for 35 minutes. Change the setting of your oven to grill and continue to bake for another 5 minutes. This will give your quiche a nice golden colour on top. (if your quiche is still wobbly, put it back for another 5 minutes to bake).

6. Once baked leave the quiche to cool for 10 minutes, this will make sure that the quiche doesn’t fall apart when you sliced them. Serve with a nice rocket salad with French dressing. Bon appetite!


Note: The pastry needs to be at room temperature if its too cold the pastry will crack when you roll it out. Baking beans as I’ve found out in my early days of baking is a necessity, without them baking a pastry blind will give you a dome instead! I also learnt that it’s best to be patient and let your quiche bake for the time it needs to bake, taking the quiche out too soon because of the urgent need to snack will give you scrambled egg instead. Thus my tip will be to be patient with the quiche, it’s worth waiting for.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • LinkedIn
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS

Langer’s Delicatessen-Restaurant, Los Angeles

Langers 1

Category: Restaurant
Cuisine: Delicatessen and Restaurant
Price Range on Average: USD $15 – $20 a sandwich
Ambiance: Classic old school Deli from a 1950s film noir movies, populated by L.A Cops.
Address: 704 South Alvarado, Los Angeles, 90057 California, USA
Tel: +1 213-483-8050
Opening Hours: Monday – Saturday, 8AM – 4PM, closed Sundays and select holidays
Last Visited: 2016

Langers 4

Located across from historic MacArthur Park, Langer’s is a cultural heritage institution in Los Angeles. Founded in 1947, Langer’s Delicatessen and Restaurant has been serving their famous #19 Pastrami, Swiss Cheese and Cole Slaw Russian Dressing for the last 66 years.
Their Pastrami sandwich is truly exceptional. Their #55 – Corned Beef with Cole Slaw and Russian Style Dressing is dish that should not be missed too.

Langers-30 Langers-29  Langers-26 Langers-27 Langers-31 Langers-28
Finally, Langer’s also serves heart-warming boiled Chicken and vegetable soup with Matzo balls and noodles. One of my all time favourite soups. The portions are big but if you have room, have side dishes too. Langer’s also serves comforting chili cheese fries. Personally, being a small person I found that the hot Pastrami or Corned Beef sandwich is more than enough to satisfy my appetite.
Always packed with regulars and a batch of L.A. cops, that makes Langer’s feel like you just step into a scene in a 1950′s film noir movie, this place offers great heart warming dishes and an ambiance. The decor  takes you back in time and reminds me of LA diners of 1950′s. I love Langer’s and certainly a place that I am sure I will keep coming back to. The service is quick, ambiance is fun and the food is great, what else can you ask for? Well there is just one for me – they don’t serve Italian espresso. Just drip-coffee. Which I guess makes it all the more authentic, but if you have a caffeine addiction like me make sure you grab an expresso in the morning before you order #19. Aside from that I would highly recommend Lanager’s to all those who want to try a fantastic hot pastrami sandwich and experience a truly local L.A diner.

Langers 3 Langers 2

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • LinkedIn
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS

All American Fluffy Pancakes


I’ve always love pancakes. As a child I always look forward to fluffy pancakes for breakfast drizzled with real maple syrup. I used to look forward to pancake day and during my recent trip to New York my childhood obsession to pancakes resurfaced when I had this wonderful buttermilk lumberjack pancake at Comfort Diner in 214 East off 45th Street. I then wondered why I haven’t had pancakes in ages. So as soon as I landed in LA the following day I couldn’t resist having pancakes for breakfast again. In LA there’s nowhere better than The Griddle Cafe on Sunset boulevard for the ultimate pancake experience of a life time. An institution in its own right that’s certainly worth a visit when in LA. The Griddle Cafe’s pancakes are the giants of the pancake world. The pancakes are fluffy and tasty and made from buttermilk. Here’s my take on of the ultimate fluffy American pancake. I hope you enjoy it!

A spatula, a crepe frying pan, a whisk, measuring spoons.

Makes: 6 pancakes

1. 150g. plain flour
2. 1 tbsp. baking powder
3. 1/2 tsp. of salt
4. 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
5. 1 tbsp. caster sugar
6. 250 ml. of full fat milk or buttermilk
7. 2 medium size eggs
8. 30g. of unsalted butter (cubed into small pieces)

1. Sift the flour, baking powder, salt, vanilla extract and caster sugar into a large bowl. In a separate bowl whisk the milk and eggs.
2. Pour the milk and egg into the flour mixture and, using a whisk, beat until the batter is smooth.
3. Heat a frying pan over a low heat and add a knob of butter. When it’s melted, add a ladle of batter. When the pancake begins to bubble, turn it over and cook until both sides are golden brown and the pancake has risen to about 1cm (½in) thick.

IMG_7214-1 IMG_7211-1 IMG_7213-1IMG_7216

Serve with real maple syrup, berries and cream.

Note: To make a fluffier pancake substitute the plain flour with self-raising flour. If you do decide to use self-raising flour you still need to use baking powder.


  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • LinkedIn
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS

Pinches Tacos


Category: Restaurant
Cuisine: Mexican, serving tacos, burritos, tortas and taco soup.
Price Range on Average: USD $2.00 - $3.15 a taco
Ambiance: Humble but flavoursome
Address: 8200 W. Sunset Boulevard, West Hollywood CA 90046, California, USA
Tel: +1 323-650-0614
Opening Hours:  Open 7 Days a week, Mon-Wed    9am-Midnight,  Thurs-Sat 9am-3am and on Sundays 9am-10pm
Last Visited: 2016

taco 3

The best taco in L.A!
Pinches tacos is a family run business, with six branches across California. The Anaya family’s mission statement is to provide customers with the best taco experience by using high quality meats and seafood, fresh garden vegetables, hand made tortillas and high quality artisan breads. They found through experience, that keeping things simple is a good recipe for success and happiness.
I certainly couldn’t agree more. They got it just right.

FullSizeRender IMG_5561 tasco1 IMG_7112 IMG_7111
Pinches Tacos is well known with the locals, there is always a stream of people popping by to sit and have a quick meal at Pinches. Cars keeps coming by too to have take away from this humble place that serves amazingly delicious tacos.
Pinches tacos may not be in line with the setting of Ivory or of L.A’s 24/7 Standard restaurant or even the glamour of Chateau Marmont opposite. It is not a place to be seen nor it is about the glamour of L.A. It’s humble and authentic and that’s why I love it so much. Pinches is all about the heart warming, simple and absolutely authentic Mexican food that they serve.
They serve the best pinches tacos and a particular favourite of mine is the Asada taco of grilled angus beef and Carnitas a citrus scented pork best eaten with a homemade cold Horchata drink (a ground rice and cinnamon sweet drink, sometimes also made with almonds).
Although, there are good Mexican tacos at the Central Market in downtown L.A, pinches is still one of my all time favourites. I love the humble setting, friendly service and above all the delicious tacos. It does not matter what time of the day or day of the week I come. The food served has been continuously and consistently been of the same excellent standard. If you happen to be in L.A this is place not to miss for a good authentic Mexican tacos.


  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • LinkedIn
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS

Mango Pudding


Mango pudding is one of the all time favourite pudding in Macau and Hong Kong.From a recent visit to Singapore I found that this is also a popular dessert in Singapore. There are even dessert houses in Singapore with a whole page menu just covering all types of mango desserts, a mango pudding, mango shakes with mango pudding or a mango pudding with sago on top or fresh mango and the list goes on.

There has always been a mango craze in Macau and Hong Kong. When I was living in Macau and Hong Kong I often have this dessert at least once a week. Often mango puddings are also served at dim sum restaurants, even in the U.K. dim sum restaurants serve mango puddings for desert. Having recently indulged in this pudding in Singapore for an entire week. I figured it is about time I learn to make it myself if I am to continue on this crazy mango pudding eating marathon. Unfortunately, in Europe and US it is not easy to get those amazingly ripe, baby and ultra sweet mangoes that you can easily find in the markets of Macau, Hong Kong, Singapore and Thailand. Thus, sadly I had to use tinned mangoes as an alternative. If you can get hold of fresh Thai ripe sweet mangoes do use those instead. They are heavenly.

Here’s my newly created recipe a homage to the ultimate mango pudding! Enjoy!

6 small ramekins, a small sauce pan, a wooden spoon,a measuring jug.

Serves: 6

1. 250g fresh or tinned mangoes, chopped into cubes (preferably fresh mangoes)
2. 200ml double cream
3. 400ml mango juice
4. 50 ml ideal milk also known as evaporated milk
6. gelatine 4 sheets (approximately 5cm squared)
7. 5 tbsp. of caster sugar

1. Place chopped mangoes in the ramekins.

FullSizeRender-14 FullSizeRender-15
2. Place the sauce pan in a hob over low heat, pour over the double cream,mango juice, ideal milk, gelatine sheets and caster sugar. Stir and bring to a simmer until the gelatine has dissolved. Pour the mango pudding mixture into the ramekins. Allow to cool at room temperature for 10 minutes.

FullSizeRender-17 FullSizeRender-20 FullSizeRender-22 IMG_6974 FullSizeRender-21
3. Place the puddings in the fridge for at least 2 hours to set. To serve in a plate out of the ramekins, simply dip the ramekins in hot water for 30 seconds and tip the pudding on a plate.


Serve with chopped fresh mangoes and ideal/evaporated milk.


  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • LinkedIn
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS

Crispy Prawn Balls


Inspired from my recent trip to Taipei, I thought I’d re-create the sumptuous crispy golden prawn balls I had there during my visit. This dish is ever so simple yet tasty and a perfect appetiser to serve at dinner parties. Below are some pictures taken from Taipei 101 where I had these gorgeous crispy prawn balls.

FullSizeRender-3 IMG_6539

Deep fat fryer or a large sauce pan, tongs, food processor, net ladle, absorbent kitchen paper.  A plate, a cling film, a pastry brush and four bowls.

Serves: 4

1. 235g fresh prawns, deveined and chopped
2. 70g fresh pollock filet fish, chopped
3. 2 cloves garlic, crushed and minced
4. 1 tsp. salt
5. 1/4 tsp. ground white pepper
6. 1 tsp. sugar
7. 1/2 tsp. sesame oil
8. 3 tbsp. Shao Xing rice wine
9. 4 tbsp. corn flour
10. 2 tbsp. plain flour

Coating and Frying:
11. 2 tbsp. plain flour
12. 1 egg beaten
13. 8 tbsp. panko bread crumbs
14.800 ml. sunflower oil

To serve:
15. 1 head of baby gem lettuce
16. 50g coriander, chopped
17. 2 spring onions, chopped
18. 4 tbsp. shop- bought- sweet chilli sauce


1. Tip the prawns, fish, garlic, salt, pepper, sugar, sesame oil, rice wine, cornflour and plain flour into a food processor – and blend until all the ingredients are well combined.Take a spoonful of the combined ingredients into your palm and make 14 golfball size balls.Using a pastry brush, brush the plate and the cling film with oil. Place the prawn balls on an oiled plate and cover with a cling film for at least one hour. It is important to oil the plate and the cling film as this will prevent the prawn balls from sticking into the plate and the cling film.

FullSizeRender-2 FullSizeRender-1 FullSizeRender FullSizeRender-6

Coating and Frying:
2. Place the beaten egg, plain flour, panko breadcrumbs on separate bowls. Dip each prawn balls into flour first, then into the egg and finally into the breadcrumbs coating all sides.Heat the vegetable oil in a dee fat fryer or a wok over a medium heat. Drop each prawn balls into the hot oil and deep fry, turning over when golden on one side.The prawns will cook for approximately 4 minutes. It would be best not to cook the prawn balls in 3 or 4 batches this will keep the oil temperature hot and will ensure that all the prawn balls are cooked evenly.

FullSizeRender-5 FullSizeRender-9 FullSizeRender-7 FullSizeRender-8

3. Lift the prawn balls out with a net ladle when golden brown. Drain on absorbent kitchen paper.
Serve with chopped coriander, spring onions, baby gem lettuce and serve straight away with a shop-bought sweet chilli sauce. Alternatively, you can also serve this with a bowl of rice as part of a main course.

IMG_6903 IMG_6904 FullSizeRender-13 IMG_6905



  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • LinkedIn
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS

Randy’s Donut Inglewood, California, USA


Category: Donut Shop
Cuisine: Serving donuts, sandwiches and bagels.
Price Range on Average: USD $0.95 to $2.00 a Donut
Ambiance: Drive-thru only no seating.
Address: Randy’s Donut Shop 805 West Manchester Blvd, Inglewood, CA 90301, USA
Tel: +1 (310) 645-4707
Opening Hours:  24 hours, 7 Days a week
Last Visited: 2016

donut 4  donut 2donut12

Close family, friends, colleagues or even acquaintances can attest for my love or should I accurately say obsessions for macaroon, French patisseries and all sorts of desserts. A trip to Paris or anywhere in France will certainly involve a stop at a French Patisserie shop just so I can have a nice tarte aux pomme, chouquette or tarte aux citron. As my lovely family and friends read this blog, I am sure they will be shaking their heads as they remember the times I’ve dragged them on a very long detour trip just so we can try a patisserie, ice-cream or dessert that I’ve read about somewhere.

Food for me is a pleasure to be shared and enjoyed. Thus, I have made it my mission in life to always take my family and friends along in my food adventures around the world and on many cases experiment my new recipes on them.

donut 7

Aside from my French patisserie obsessions there is also no way I will take a plane back to U.K from Italy without having a creamy, heavenly gelato that just melts away under the Tuscan sun. A trip to Italy is not complete without an ice-cream tour.
Equally, there is no way on earth I will take a flight back to UK from L.A without stopping at Randy’s Donuts. My donut obsession started as a child, unfortunately for my mother who introduced me to donut my addiction to the yummy hollow donut did not diminish as I grew older. In fact, the donut obsession just grew with me. As I was growing up I discovered that there were in fact so much more flavours to choose from and try. My love for donuts therefore continues and my Mom certainly encouraged it or should I say shared those donut moments with me.

donut 10Donut 1

Dunkin Donut’s strawberry and lemon frost were once a favourite when I was 7 years old, then there was the munchkins when I was 9, then came the Spanish churros con chocolate and Krispy Kreme and finally Randy’s donuts.

Randy’s donuts are freshly made every day, the old fashion glaze donuts are nice and hollow in the inside, not too sweet, has a lovely crunch to it and they are not stodgy at all. That means you can have two donuts instead of just having one. An opportunity to try more flavours!

Randy specialises in donuts, it’s what they do best and they are certainly well known for it. There’s always a long queue and there will always be, so be prepared to wait if you do visit. Randy’s donut is just a ‘drive-thru’ establishment so there won’t be a place to sit either. It is a bakery and a landmark building in Inglewood, California, near Los Angeles International Airport. It has a giant donut structure that will be so hard to miss. According to Wikipedia the first Giant Donut was built in 1953 there were 10, though only 4 giant donut structures are left today.


Randy serves a variety of donut flavours that comes in different shapes and sizes. There’s the Texas glazed, raspberry or lemon jelly donuts, long john bar donuts with chocolate and maple syrup and the list goes on and on. Aside from donuts they also sell cookies, bagels, brownies, croissant, coffee, tea, other refreshments and souvenirs for the donut super fans! If you are a donut super fan then I would highly recommend a visit to Randy’s. The gigantic donut structure is so big and visible in the highway that it would be impossible to miss it. When I first saw the giant donut it made me giggle so much that I couldn’t breathe, the donuts at Randy’s are super delicious that it will make your trip certainly worthwhile! Happy donut eating!


donut 8

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • LinkedIn
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS

The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, Santa Monica Boulevard, USA



Category: American Cafe
Cuisine: Serving croissant, donuts, sandwiches and bagels.
Price Range on Average: USD $6 for a coffee
Ambiance: Busy and Friendly
Address: The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, Santa Monica & Beverly Glen, 10401 Santa Monica Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90025, USA
Tel: +1 (310) 234-8411
Opening Hours: Mon- Sun from 5am to 9pm
Last Visited: 2016

IMG_5974 FullSizeRender

I love coffee and tea. In all my travels, I will always try local cafes and tea houses, find the time to visit a specialist coffee and tea shops and won’t hesitate to try local chain cafes too.
Although, I love American Diners, many don’t serve espresso or strong coffee. Five cups of coffee in many American diners will probably be an equivalent of a single Italian espresso shot. The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf is a chain just like Starbucks, Dunkin’Donuts, Costa and so on. If you are just like me, in need of a strong espresso in the morning before you can even function then ‘The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf’ espresso is the place for you. There are many other good independent coffee shop in Santa Monica but if you happen to be having breakfast at a Diner and need to have a good a coffee shot of espresso, The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf is all over town and you can easily find one. They also serve ice blended coffee which in my personal experience taste so much better with an extra espresso shot and a perfect drink for the afternoon heat of Santa Monica beach. There’s also free wifi and the service is always quick and friendly. Open early in the morning from 5am to 9pm a good place to meet friends and enjoy a cup of coffee with a croissant, a brownie, a bagel or all of the above. Enjoy!



  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • LinkedIn
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS

Stracchino Cheese Pizza


Pizza obsessive?  That’s me alright! I had the most unforgettable yet humble Stracchino Pizza from Pizzeria Antica Porta in Florence. It was a simple pizza with a thin and crispy crust, the based was just a basic yet tasty tomato sauce, top with just Stracchino cheese and nothing else…. yet, it was sublime!

It is amazing how a few good quality ingredients can really transform a meal.  Since then, I have been in search of Stracchino cheese in England.  Sadly, despite looking at every imaginable supermarket, Italian delicatessens and specialist Italian supermarkets, to my great disappointment, I’ve had no luck, until…… of all places Lidl had it! While they were having one of their Italian seasons! I have been hunting for this glorious cheese for a year and I could not delay my pizza experiments for a moment now that I have finally found the long awaited Stracchino cheese! I am sure my Mom, relatives and friends who asked me to email them recipe links would be sick by now by the number of pizza recipes I have on my blog. Nevertheless, there can never be too many pizza choices! People do say that if you’re tired of London that you are tired of life.. for me it would be more like.. if you are tired of pizza, pasta and pastries then you are definitely tired of life! If you are a cheese lover as I am, you would not want to miss trying this amazingly creamy cheese.

Stracchino cheese is an Italian cow’s milk cheese, a typical cheese from Lombardy. It has a very delicate and mild flavour. It is so creamy that it just melts in your mouth and is, dare I say it, creamier than dolce latte! Apparently it is also known as crescenza, its name was derived from Lombard ”stracch”, which means “tired”. In my view that means you can never be ‘tired’ of too much Stracchino cheese! So let’s celebrate this glorious cheese and put it in the oven where it can melt away! Let’s begin..

A large bowl, a 10 inch pizza baking pan or any flat baking tray will do as well; a food mixer machine with a dough hook for mixing and kneading, if you haven’t got the machine you can knead the dough by hand instead and mix the ingredients with a wooden spoon.
A tea towel or cling film that has been sprayed with oil.

Ingredients Makes 4 Pizzas (approximately 10 inches in size):

For the pizza dough:
1.  300g strong bread flour
2.  4g fast action yeast
3.  4g fine salt
4.  180ml  warm water
5.  20ml full fat milk
6.  10ml olive oil

For the sauce base:
7.  150ml passata
8.  2tbsp.dried oregano (½ tbsp per pizza)
9.  60g grated parmesan cheese (15g per pizza)
10. 4 pinches of ground black pepper ( a pinch per pizza)
11. 4 pinches of chili flakes
12. 2 tbsp olive oil (½ tbsp per pizza)

For the toppings:
13. 130g mozzarella sliced into chunky pieces
14. 10/12   cherry tomatoes, slice in halves.
15. a handful of fresh Spinach (soaked a couple of minutes in hot water then squeeze out all the liquid).
16. a handful of rocket leaves.
17. 4-6 slices of chorizo slices.
18. 200g. stracchino cheese (yum!)

For the pizza dough:
For a step by step visual guide, you can find this on my previous pizza blog here: “Chorizo and Olives Thin Crust Pizza” 
1. Put the flour into a large bowl; add the yeast on one side of the bowl and the salt directly on the opposite of the yeast (don’t combine the salt and yeast as the salt will kill the yeast and will prevent the dough from rising).
2. Make a well in the middle of the flour, pour in 180ml warm water, 20ml milk and 10m olive oil.  Mix well until you have fairly wet dough.
3. On a well-floured surface, transfer your dough and knead for 8-10 minutes until smooth alternatively mix and knead on a food mixing machine for 5 minutes.
4. After kneading, cover the dough with a tea towel or cling film that has been sprayed with oil, placing the oil side first onto the dough so the dough can rise and does not stick to the cling film. You can now leave the dough to rise for 10-15 minutes to get a thicker pizza base, but if you want a very thin crust you don’t have to leave the dough to rise, you can use it immediately or reduce the rising time to 5 minutes.
5. If you’ve left the dough rise, knead it again for just 1-2 minutes, and then split the dough into 4 balls.
6. On a well-floured surface, place the dough ball, using a rolling-pin roll it until it is very thin as it will rise in the oven.
7. Sprinkle some flour over the pizza baking tray so the dough doesn’t stick to it.

For the sauce base and toppings:
8. Pre-heat oven to 200ºC. Spoon over the passata first on the rolled out pizza dough, then add all the other ‘sauce base’ ingredients listed above.
9. Sprinkle the toppings all over the pizza.
10. Place the pizza in the oven to bake for 8-10 minutes or until crisp.


Making a crispy base pizza:
Spoon over the passata and toppings just before you bake the pizza in the oven, leaving it for more than 5 minutes will make the pizza base less crisp and in some cases soggy.
Storing the dough:
Once you have made the dough and have given it time to rise, tear it into small balls. The ones you don’t want to use immediately wrap in a cling film (air tight) and place in the fridge overnight and use the next day, alternatively you can also freeze them and use when needed.  If you decide to put it in the fridge make sure you knead the dough for a couple of minutes before rolling the dough out to make a pizza base. If you do freeze the dough then you will have to defrost it at room temperature which will probably take 6-8 hours, you will have to knead the dough for a couple of minutes before rolling the dough out to make a pizza base. Do not put it  in a microwave and defrost it. I have tried it and it became like a stress ball that you can throw at the wall and it will bounce backstage you, you definitely can’t roll it out.


  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • LinkedIn
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS

Simple Orecchiette with Broccoli and Asparagus:


This recipe is one created out of left over vegetables. I came home one evening wondering what I can do with some left over  asparagus and tender steam broccoli. I went online looking for some inspirations and found an Orecchiette with Broccoli recipe which originated from Puglia.  I adapted the recipe adding asparagus into this light as spring dish and rather than using a parmesan or pecorino cheese, I used breadcrumbs instead. I love experimenting in the kitchen and this one is one of those experiments that has now become a regular part of my  weekly meal repertoire. It’s easy and quick to make and it’s tasty too.

A large pasta pan, a deep large frying pan, a small sauce pan.

Serves: 2


  • 200g orecchiette pasta
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil for cooking.
  • 2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil to drizzle over and finish the dish.
  • 6 anchovy fillets in oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • ½ tsp. chili flakes
  • 220g tender stem broccoli, chopped into 1inch length.
  • 110g baby asparagus, sliced in halves
  • 2 pinches of salt
  • 2 pinches of ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup of panko breadcrumbs or just breadcrumbs


  1. Cook the orecchiette pasta following pack instructions.
  2. In a small pan, over low heat, dry fry (no oil) the panko-bread crumbs until golden, then set aside.
  3. Meanwhile, heat 2 tbsp. of the olive oil in a pan over a low heat. Add the anchovy fillets, garlic and chili flakes for 3-4 minutes until the anchovies melt into the sauce.
  4. When the pasta has 4-5 mins left before they are cooked, add the broccoli. Then 2 minutes later add the asparagus.
  5. When cooked, drain the pasta and vegetables, reserving ½ a cup of the pasta water, then add to the frying pan with the garlic and anchovies sauce. Stir and cook over a low heat for a further 2 mins. Season with salt and pepper, serve in a plate and then drizzle over some very good quality olive oil. Finally sprinkle over some bread crumbs over the top.

Buon appetito!


If you can get hold of panic bread crumbs, I would highly recommend you use this instead of just regular breadcrumbs as it is crispier in my view which for me is tastier adding that extra crunchy texture to this dish.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • LinkedIn
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS

Sticky Toffee Pudding

Many says that this British Classic dessert was invented by Francis Coulson or Brian Sack of Sharrow Bay Country House Hotel in the Lake District sometime in the 1970s. But no one really knows for sure the origin of this lovely sponge pudding. All I can say is that whoever invented this must have had a sweet tooth just like me. The sugar, cream and butter involved in making this wonderful dessert was certainly a lot! Though, I’d prefer to forget that when I eat my sticky toffee pudding, after all we only live once. I’d rather live my life to the full and have a Sticky Toffee Pudding or two than not have it at all. As once tasted it cannot be forgotten. It is no surprise that this dessert has made it to the top of the charts as one of Britain’s most love loved desserts of all time. I hope you enjoy my newly created recipe! Bon appetite!


A 23cm tin or 8 ramekins. A food mixer, a small pan, a wooden spoon and a silicone spatula.

Serves: 8

To prepare the tin:
1. 20g of unsalted butter
2. 5g of flour

For the Sponge:
3. 70g of soft unsalted butter
4. 170g of demerara sugar
5. 1 tbsp.of golden syrup
6. 2 tbsp. of black treacle
7. 2 large eggs
8. 1 tsp. of vanilla extract
9. 200g of self-raising flour
10. 220g of pitted, dried and chopped dates
11. 300ml of water
12. 1 tbsp. bicarbonate of soda

For the Toffee Sauce:
13. 50g. of muscavado sugar
14. 50g. of demerara sugar
15. 100g. unsalted butter
16. 1 tsp. of vanilla extract
17. 200ml of double cream

To prepare the tin:
1. Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees. Brush the tin with 20g of softened butter and then dust with 5g of flour.


For the Sponge:
2. Cream the butter and sugar together on a slow speed using a food mixer. Gently add the golden syrup, black treacle, eggs and vanilla extract. Mix for 5 minutes on a high speed.
3. After 5 minutes, set the speed to the lowest setting and slowly add the flour. Meanwhile, place your dates and water on a small sauce pan gently bring it to the boil. Then stir in the bicarbonate of soda. Add this into your sponge mixture while it is hot.


4. Continue to mix all the ingredients in your food mixer for another minute. Then, pour this into your prepared tin. Place in the oven for 40-45 minutes until the sponge is set. You can use a cake tester or a knife and insert this at the centre of the sponge to check if it is baked. If the knife comes out clean your sponge is ready, if it comes out wet then it needs more time to bake. If the edges of your sponge starts to burn and yet the middle is still raw and needs further time to bake, cover your sponge with a foil and place it back in the oven to bake until the sponge is baked completely.




5.  The sponge can stick into the tin even when it has been greased with butter and dusted with flour. You can easily take out your sponge out of the tin by dipping your palette knife in a hot water and running it along the insides of your cake tin.
IMG_1008 IMG_1007 IMG_4174




For the Toffee Sauce:
6. Place a small pan in a hob over a low heat, add your butter, sugar and vanilla extract. Once the butter has melted completely add the cream and bring it to the boil. Gently simmer for a couple of minutes until the sauce thickens.



Serve with a vanilla ice cream, with just double cream or custard.


I sometimes add 20g of dates to the Toffee sauce to add more depth into the favour of the sauce and to add texture to it too.
You can also use as an alternative just a plain brown sugar to make the Toffee sauce. I prefer a mix of muscavado and demerara sugar. As the muscavado sugar has stronger molasses taste to it and a stickier consistency in comparison to demerara. I kept the demerara sugar as it does give a lovely toffee, honey flavours.
Freezing: You can freeze the sponge and defrost at room temperature the day you need to use it. You can then heat the sponge in a preheated oven for 15 minutes or for 5 minutes in a microwave. If you do decide to freeze the sponge you will have to wrap it tightly with a cling film and then with a foil.
The toffee sauce can be made 2 days in advance but it does need to be kept in an airtight container and kept in the fridge the whole time. To re-heat the sauce I recommend re-heating on the hob and to give it a very good whisk while heating.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • LinkedIn
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS

Tuscan Ribollita (Reboiled Soup)


Following on my visit in Florence, I have first discovered and tried this humble soup from Trattoria da Roco. Although it doesn’t look so apetising, it is a very comforting, hearty soup that is tasty and filling. I have been making this soup since  cam back from Florence and have tried different ways of making it. I tried using thyme at some point, and added other vegetables to it. The key ingredient is the Tuscan Kale and the beans which I didn’t omit in any of my previous experiments. Recently, to my surprise I discovered that there is an official ‘authentic’ Ribollita recipe issued by the Tuscan Tourist office.  Although, my recipe is not the authentic recipe endorse by the Tuscan authorities it is one of my favourite soup experiments and the stubborn side of myself can’t help but stick to my easier and quicker version. Though, I would certainly try making the authentic recipe the next time I am in Tuscany and can get access to the ‘Tuscan Kale’. The best part in making this soup is that it tastes even better the day after when it is heated. It is no wonder the Italian’s named it Reboiled Soup.

A 5 litre ceramic caserole dish and a wooden spoon.

Serves: 8

1. 6 tbsp of olive oil
2. 65g, diced pancetta
3. 3 cloves of peeled garlic, grated
4. 2 onions, finely chopped
5. 3 celery sticks, finely chopped into little cubes
6. 3 carrots, peeled and finely chopped into little cubes
7. 1 courgette, finely chopped into little cubes
8. 2 bay leaves
9. 2 rosemary sprigs
10.400g chopped tomatoes (from a tin)
11.400g of cannellini beans (from a tin)
12.600ml chicken stock
13. 2 tbsp. of tomato paste
14. 2 slices of a loaf of bread, torn into small pieces.
15. 1/2 tsp of salt
16. 1/2 tsp of ground black pepper
17. 80g of chopped Kale
18. 4 tbsp. of grated parmesan cheese

1. Place the caserole in a medium heat, add 2 tbsp. of olive oil. Fry the garlic, pancetta, onion, rosemary and bay leaves for 5 minutes or until the onions turns translucent. Keep stirring to prevent the garlic from getting burnt.

2. Add the chopped celery, carrots, courgettes and soften for 5 minutes.

3. Add the chopped tomatoes,cannellini bans, chicken stock, tomato paste and season with salt and pepper. Lower the heat (lowest heat possible), stir and cover the casserole for 30-45 minutes, stirring occasionally.

4. After 30-45 minutes, add the bread and kale, stir them in and cover the caserole again. Cooked for another 10 minutes before adding the 3 tbsp. of olive oil.  Season to taste and just before serving garnish the soup with some grated parmesan cheese.

IMG_3961 IMG_3962

That’s it! buon appetito!

You can add more water if you find that the soup is becoming slightly dry. If you do add more water, give the soup a good stir and just let it simmer for a couple of minutes so you do not lose the flavour of the soup.

You can also cook this dish at the lowest possible heat for 24 hours, you need to cover the casserole to ensure that the liquid does not evaporate too much, stirring occasionally to also ensure the vegetables and bread does not get burnt. I find that this dish is actually better the next day when reheated and all the flavours of the vegetables are infused into the soup and bread. This a soup that taste good when reheated which I think could be the reason why they named it ‘reboiled soup’ in Tuscany.


  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • LinkedIn
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS

Trattoria Da Rocco, Firenze Italy


Category: Trattoria (Canteen)
Cuisine: Traditional Italian
Price Range on Average: EUR 12.00 per person starter, main and dessert
Ambiance: Traditional, Rustic Italian Trattoria
Address: Piazza Ghiberti, 50121 Firenze, Italy
Tel: +39 339 296 3055
Opening Hours:Sun – Sat 11:00 am – 3:30 pm
Last Visited: spring of  2014 for lunch

IMG_3943 IMG_3941

I visited Florence (Firenze) in spring time of 2014.  Thousands of tourists visits this amazing city of culture, art, great architecture and food. Finding a good place to eat that is not at the heart and heat of the crowded tourist attraction is hard to find in Florence. It is even harder to find a reasonably price place to eat or to just have a cup of espresso. Florence, although beautiful and is certainly worth visiting is incredibly pricey which is not surprising when millions of tourists would be willing pay a fortune for a cup of espresso.
If you are looking for a simple Italian food, just a step away from the centre of the tourist attractions. Then, the Trattoria Da Rocco is the place for you.
IMG_3934 IMG_3946

This Tratorria offers humble, authentic Tuscan dishes, cooked simply, are tasty and reasonably price. It is located inside the historic covered market of Sant’Ambrogio. The market is frequented both by locals and tourists, fresh fish, seafood, ham, cheese and vegetables are sold here. You can therefore shop and eat at the same site.

Trattoria Da Rocco is popular both for locals and tourists. Hence, you will find that they turn they tables constantly as guests comes and goes. The service is quick and the food is already made at the centre of the restaurant. They simply dish up the food you order and serve it quickly to your table. Although, I have always preferred food cooked to order, I cannot complain when the main course is price at €5 euros. The food is also tasty and the ambiance is busy and lively. It was a memorable place to visit mainly because I’ve had my first Ribollita soup here. A hearty Tuscan soup made with vegetables and bread. I am now obsess with Ribollita and have since tried experimenting different recipes to relive the moment when I first I had it. Other dishes they serve includes pasta with tomato and mozzarella, tripe in tomato sauce, roast beef, roast chicken, baked lasagna and panzanella . This is not a place to experience haute cuisine but a place where you can try something simple and tasty at a reasonably price trattoria that is full of character.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • LinkedIn
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS

La Tagliatella Almería, Spain


Cuisine: Italian
Price Range on Average: EUR 20-25 per person for 3 course meal with soft drinks
Ambiance: Busy and Lively
Address: Rambla Federico Garcia, Lorca 2, 04004, Almeria, Spain
Tel: +34 950 245 424


Opening Hours:
13:00 – 16:30(SUNDAY-THURSDAY)
13:00 – 16:30(FRIDAY-SATURDAY)
20:00 – 0:00(SUNDAY-THURSDAY)
20:00 – 0:00(FRIDAY-SATURDAY)
Last Visited: summer and winter of 2014 for late lunch

The first time I visited Almeria, I arrived during the siesta hours when majority of the shops were closed. I went looking for a restaurant to eat and just stumbled across La Tagliatella restaurant located just by the port of Almeria and at the beginning of the Rambla Federico.


In my travels I would always prefer to try something new, try the local regional food and eat at family ran restaurants.
But after having Spanish food for 5 consecutive days, the thought of a nice pizza for a change was just so tempting to refuse and so I went into this restaurant expecting simple, basic pizza food. But I was surprised and impressed with the extensive menu and the quality of the food they served. Although La Tagliatella is a chain restaurant, it certainly didn’t feel like it is. In fact I didn’t know that it is until I came back into the UK and did some research on them. The service was friendly and accommodating and the pizza were crispy thin and packed full of flavour. Upon arrival, the waitress came over with a nice ricotta puff with a sweet sauce and balsamic dressing, which may sound like a strange combination but it did taste good.



For mains I had the aubergine pizza, perhaps, it is common to have an aubergine pizza but I have not tried it before nor have I seen it in any Italian menus. It was certainly a pleasant surprise to try the Melanzana pizza, made with thinly sliced caramelised aubergine, balsamic vinegar and honey.


The Pepperoni piccante pizza came with humble slices of spicy salami from Calabria with a simple tomato based sauce.



The cream of zucchini soup was rich and comforting.



The cheesecake de La Tagliatella dessert had a lovely spanish twist to it, it was a cheese cake with a ‘Tocino de cielo’ botttom a Spanish egg flan dessert, drizzled with rich caramel sauce.


The two times I’ve visited this place the service and the old have been equally good that I would certainly go back to this restaurant again. It is a restaurant worth a detour and deserve a good review. The value for money was excellent. The atmosphere of the restaurant is also welcoming. On my last two visits the restaurant was packed with local families and I cannot help noticing that people just keep coming into the restaurant. There’s always a queue which is always a good sign for a restaurant.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • LinkedIn
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS

The Stone Grill, Alicante, Spain

Cuisine: Steak House, Authentic Argentinian Steak
Price Range on Average: EUR 20-25 per person for 3 course meal with a glass of good wine
Ambiance: Modern and Fun 
Address: 03189 Campoamor Valencia, Alicante, Spain
Tel: +34 656 61 33 56
Last Visited: 2014 for late lunch 

IMG_1560 IMG_1559 IMG_1533 IMG_1512

If you are looking for an authentic Argentinian steak in Spain, there is no better place to go than “The Hot Stone Grill” restaurant in Alicante.  The steak has been carefully sourced and flown directly from Argentina’s finest beef producers.  The steak in this restaurant truly is remarkable. It is served on an hot stone that is heated to between 280-350 degrees celsius and remains sizzling hot for 50 minutes. There is no way your steak can be over cooked or under done since it is up to you, the diner, to decide how long you’d like your steak to be cooked on your very own “hot lava stone”. It is a fun restaurant visit, as the cooking of the steak lies with the diner, it is an interactive fun night out with your  families and friends. It is a family friendly restaurant, perfect for parties.

IMG_1524 IMG_1523
For those of you who are not keen on beef, they also serve amazing prawns fresh from the coast of Spain and other seafood. They also offer vegetarian dishes that you can also cooked on the ‘hot stone’. If you ever get the chance to visit this restaurant don’t miss out on the steak and the onions cooked with honey on a hot stone. For the finale there is nothing better than ending your night with a lovely sweet home made crema catalan.


  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • LinkedIn
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS

Mercado de San Agustin, Granada, Spain

Plaza de San Agustín, 0
18001 Granada
(located in between Calle San Jeronimo and Calle Gran Via de Colon, near Cathedral de Granada)

Telephone Number: +34 958 27 82 79

Opening Hours: Mon-Sat: 8:00am-2:00pm Sun: Closed

IMG_3473 IMG_3439 IMG_3438

Site to the old Convento de San Agustín or Saint Augustine’s Covent until the 19th century this place is now home to Spain’s amazing local produce. As in many Spanish cities you will find an indoor market right at the heart of the city centre, Madrid’s Mercado de San Miguel is not just famous for the locals but it is where both locals and tourists buy local produce, snacks and have tapas, raciones or drinks. Mercado de San Agustin offers just that, although it is only open until 2pm from Mondays to Saturdays.

IMG_3466 IMG_3465 IMG_3464 IMG_3455IMG_1654 IMG_3470IMG_3469 IMG_3468 IMG_3472 IMG_3471 IMG_3453 IMG_3448 IMG_3445 IMG_3444 IMG_3442
At Mercado de San Agustin you can find fantastic butchers, fishmongers, specialise shops that sells super tasty ham, cheese, olive oil, patisserie and vegetables. You can stop by at this market even just for a nice cup of cortado (coffee) and patisserie and some lovely tapas before you carry on with your food shopping. This market is right at the centre of town, surrounded by restaurants and shops.


  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • LinkedIn
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS

Lemon Drizzle Cake


I love this simple, humble cake. Easy as it may look, I’ve actually had several disastrous lemon cakes in the past. Some too lemony, some too bitter and some even roasted! There have been times when I’ve over zested the lemon and the bitter whites of the lemon ended up in the cake, making it more of a Bitter cake than a Lemon cake! Yikes!

There have also been times when I thought I could get away with not accurately measuring the ingredients. But after all the trials and tribulations and disastrous experiments! Life taught me to be patient. When it comes to baking, precision and lots and lots of patience are prerequisites. Sadly there are no short cuts and no easy ways around it. If you want to enjoy that cake, you have to learn to wait for it to bake and not open the oven door too early!


I love that comforting smell of a cake baking in the oven and I certainly love eating them too. Hence, I learnt to sit still and not get over excited. The last time I got over excited, I’ve made the fatal mistake of having an early peep in the oven only for the whole thing to collapse, within seconds of opening the oven. Forcing me to start from scratch all over again! Lesson learnt. Do not get over excited and open the oven when your cake is baking or when anything is baking, cakes simply don’t like to be rush and for their temperature to fluctuate!

I do not know the origin of lemon cake. It is common in England but it is also in France. I’ve also had Lemon cake in Italy. Although, lemons are first thought to have been grown in Assam, Burma and China I don’t think the Indians, Burmese or Chinese would have made lemon cakes!  Wherever it comes from I hope that everyone gets the chance at least once in their life time to try a lovely lemon drizzle cake.

If baked well, it’s so homely and comforting. As such it is my cake of choice when it comes to friends’ presents and birthdays. The scent of the lemon and the sweetness of the cake bring back that happy homely memories for me and I hope that those of you who eat this cake will also enjoy happy memories of home and comfort.

A loaf tin, pastry brush, baking paper/parchment, spatula, an electric mixer or a balloon whisk, 2 bowls, a sifter and a lemon zester.
Alternatives: you can either use two 17 x 7.5 x 6cm H loaf tin or one 19 x 9 x 6.5cm H loaf tin.

For the lemon sponge:
1. 2 large lemons, zest only (finely grated)
2. 200g softened, unsalted butter
3. 200g caster sugar
4. 3 lightly beaten medium eggs
5. 200g sifted self-raising flour

For the lemon syrup and decoration:
6. 2 lemons, juiced (100ml)
7. 70g icing sugar
8. 1 tsp. of pear sugar/sugar nibs

For the lemon sponge:
1. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
2. Grease a cake tin and line the bases with baking parchment.



3. In a food mixer, cream together the butter, salt, sugar and lemon zest until pale and fluffy.



4. In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs and then add them very little at a time to the creamed butter mixture.

5. Next, fold in the flour into the mixture, mix until well combined and pour the mixture into a lined cake tin.






6. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until well-risen and golden-brown on top. Insert a skewer or a cake tester in the middle of the cake sponge, if the skewer comes out clean and not wet, your cake is done.

7. Remove from the oven and turn the cake out onto a wire cooling rack. Prick the cake all over with a cake tester or a skewer.


For the lemon syrup and decoration:
8. Squeeze the lemon juices into the sugar and gently whisk to dissolve the sugar. Slowly drizzle over the cake, wait for a few moments before pouring over the syrup, so that it all sinks in the cake.





9. Decorate with pearl sugar/sugar nibs and transfer to a wire rack to cool.






  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • LinkedIn
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS

‘Some sort of a kind of a Victoria Sponge’


Aside from enjoying the art of cake eating, baking and cake experimenting. I am also curious about how cakes came about and what makes them special. I’ve read numerous books and blogs to understand what constitute as a perfect cake and how it got its name.

I initially thought that Victoria sponge was created by someone called Victoria. Though, apparently, I couldn’t be more wrong.  It was Queen Victoria who named this cake after herself, she love this cake so much that she named it after herself. It is no secret that she had an incredible sweet tooth. Although it was Anna, the Duchess of Bedfordm, who invented ‘tea time’ it was Queen Victoria who made it a tradition and turned it into an art form, hence the British adoration for afternoon High tea.

By 1885 Queen Victoria was holding formal attire tea parties for her guests and every week royal residencies received a consignment of pastries from the Buckingham Palace kitchens. Different pastries, cakes and sponges were created and named after her during her rein. What makes a traditional Victoria Sponge is however still a mystery to me. Some argue that it must only have strawberry jam, some says jam and cream, while others use butter cream. In my opinion if it tastes good then it must be the way it should be!

I created this recipe recently for my cake club. A friend of mine from work signed me up to our company’s cake club! The cake club consist of cake enthusiasts, we each get an allocated week to bring cakes. Cakes are eaten and reviewed. It’s a fun club to discover new recipes and flavours that I would never have dreamt of combining! And since we are all experimenting on each other. It’s safe to say that whatever the cake looks or tastes like, it’s the learning process that counts in this club. The last time I made this cake it was half burnt, I thought I’d give it another try, completely rewriting the recipe and measurements. I used butter cream as I was not sure how hot it would be in the office and didn’t want the cream to go off. Some of my colleagues told me though that it wasn’t a Victoria sponge because I’d used butter cream. So I named it: ‘Some sort of a kind of a Victoria Sponge’ I hope you enjoy this experiment!


Two 20cm/8in loose-bottomed cake/sponge tins, pastry brush, baking paper/parchment, spatula, an electric mixer or a balloon whisk, 2 bowls, a sifter and a lemon zester.


For the Victoria sponge:
1. 250g unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus some for greasing the cake tins.
2. 250g caster sugar
3. A pinch of fine salt
4. 5 lightly beaten, medium size eggs
5. 250g self-raising flour, plus some for dusting the cake tins
6. 1 lemon (zest only)

For the butter cream filling:
7. 250g softened unsalted butter
8. 200g sieved icing sugar
9. 1 lemon, juice only

For the jam and decoration:
10. A jar of Bonne Maman Raspberry Conserve
11. 200g of fresh raspberries
12. ½ tsp. of silver metallic sugar balls (optional)
13. 1 tsp. of icing sugar, for dusting (optional)

For the Victoria sponge:
1. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
2. Grease and flour two 20cm/8in loose-bottomed cake/sponge tins and line the bases with baking parchment.




3. In a food mixer, cream together the butter, salt, sugar and lemon zest until pale and fluffy.



4. In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs and then add them very little at a time to the creamed butter mixture.

5. Next, fold in the flour into the mixture, mix until well combined and divide the mixture between the two lined cake tins.






6. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until well-risen and golden-brown on top. Insert a skewer or a cake tester in the middle of the cake sponge, if the skewer comes out clean and not wet, your cake is done.



7. Remove from the oven and turn the cakes out onto a wire cooling rack. Peel off the baking parchment and leave them to cool completely.


For the butter cream filling:
8. In a food mixer, cream together the butter, icing sugar and lemon juice.


For the jam and decoration:
9. Once the cake has completely cooled down, simply spread the jam over the 2 sponge cakes.

10. Then add some of the butter cream filling and sandwich the two cakes together.


11. Finally spread over the left over butter cream on top of the cake and add the fresh raspberries on top. You can also decorate the cake with some silver metallic sugar balls and dust the cake with some icing sugar.


  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • LinkedIn
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS

Crema catalan alla Alicia Marcos Ng


I got this recipe from my lovely friend Alicia. Who I must say is a brilliant Thermomix Sales woman!  She doesn’t work for Thermomix but you would assume she does if you meet her.  Before visiting Alicia in her wonderful mansion near Alicante, I had never heard of Thermomix. Dare I say that after 24 hours with her I have to admit that she is right. Thermomix is definitely the gadget to have if you are a keen cook or a professional chef.  As Alicia would say, it does all the cooking for you! and it is so easy to clean too! Hard to believe, I know but I have seen her clean the thing in seconds. My dear friend Alicia is probably the sweetest and most generous person I know. She is so keen for me to learn more about Thermomix and try her delicious experiments, that she quickly knocked up a coconut ice cream and papaya dessert using Thermomix; made a vegetable puree for her adorable cute son Kai; and finally she made Crema Catalan all with her must have Thermomix!

The Crema Catalan she made is a perfect dessert to have after a heavy meal. Her recipe is surprisingly light and the sweetness of the cream is just right. The caramalised sugar on top just adds another layer of sugarary yumminess. The velvety cream and crisp crystalise sugar just makes it so fabulously yummy!

If having Thermomix means having Alicia’s super delicious Crema Catalan on a daily basis, then I guess I really need to start saving up for a Thermomix for Christmas!  Here’s her fantastic Crema Catalan recipe:


Kitchen Kit:
6 ramekins, a blow torch and a Thermomix!

Ingredients (Makes 6 ramekins):
250g eggs
70g  sugar
2 vanilla pods
400ml cream
5-10 g sugar

The Crema catalan:
1. Scrape out the vanilla seeds. Place all the ingredients into your Thermomix metal bowl (except for the 5-10g of sugar).


2. Set your Thermomix to mix all the ingredients at speed number 3 for 1 minute, then at speed number 3 – 90C for 15 minutes and finally at speed number 10 just for 10 seconds.
3. Pour the cream mixture into your ramekins. Place in the fridge for at least 1 hour and let it set.


4. Once set, remove the fridge, sprinkle over some sugar and caramelise the sugar using a super fun blow torch and you’re done!

Buen Provecho!




  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • LinkedIn
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS

Olive Oil Review:


Los Albardinales (Oro del Desierto)
Category: Olive Oil Review
Cuisine: Spanish (well it was in Spain)
Price Range on Average: EUR 7.50-16.00 (per bottle)
Ambiance: Rustic Museum and Restaurant
Address: Oro del Desierto- Ctra. Nacional 340, Km. 474. 04200 Tabernas (Almería), Spain
Tel: +34 950 611 707
Website: and
Last Visited: 2014


Ancient Greeks believed that Olive Trees were gifts from the goddess Athena on the beautiful Greek Island of Crete.  Archeological evidence shows that Olive tree cultivation and the production of olive oil dates back to 5000 BC  and was used for religious ceremonies, for health improvement purpose, for beauty and of course for food. This wonderful, golden, oil has captivated the senses and the palettes of the Ancient Greeks, the Egyptian Pharaohs, the Roman Conquerors, and the Canaanites and now our homes. Thanks to Rafael and his forefathers for continuing to produce olive oil  we can still smell, taste and appreciate olive oil in our homes today. I recently visited Los Albardinales, one of the olive oil producers from the Tabernas Desert of Spain, there I met the wonderful owner Rafael Alonso, whose father and forefathers have long been cultivating the Tabernas desert’s olive trees and producing award winning olive oils. 



He was incredibly enthusiastic and passionate about ’olive oil’ that I felt like a young student again learning about something that is so out of the ordinary. He explained in perfect English how they cultivate the land and how they product the oil. He then went on to tell us about ancient Egyptians and Greeks using olive oil and how he now markets and sells their olive oil in Singapore and UK.


Apparently to my surprise Spain is by far the largest producers of olive oil, producing around 45% of the world olive supply. Italy is however better known for their olive oil as they are simply better at marketing their oil. He did however mention that Italian olive oil is also of excellent quality.



He then generously offered to show us the art of olive oil appreciation – consuming it. Being in love with food, I didn’t need a lot of convincing to try the four different olive oils he presented to us along with nice warm crusty bread. He first asked us to smell each olive oil in a glass and to describe the aromas we can pick up from the glass. The Arbequina oil has an almond and fresh fruit aroma, while Picual has a wonderful scent of a freshly trimmed grass or some may say fresh lettuce aroma.



According to Rafael the level of acidity is also a key factor in choosing a fine olive oil. The lower the acidity levels, the finer the oil with a fruitier taste. He was right in a sense that the olive oil with the least acidity level we tried has the fruitiest aroma and taste.  We then looked at the different colours of the oils, from the lightest to the darkest coloured oil. The lightest oil shows hints of amber the darkest oil had a intensely deep green colour. Finally the taste test: having grown up in Macau where we cook with olive oil on a daily basis, after tasting Rafael’s olive oil I felt as if I had never before tasted olive oil. His olive oil is heavenly. You have not tasted olive oil, until you’ve tried Rafael’s oil. The different oils presented different tastes to the palette; each has its own character, some linger on your pallet longer, other gives a sweeter after taste, while others are more delicate in flavour – perfect for grilled fish.  


They offer five different bottles of olive oil for sale. The first day’s harvest is known as their ‘Limited Edition Oil’, they also sell their award winning Hojiblanca olive oil, my favourite, which has been selected for the Flos Olei in 2013, obtaining 94 out of 100 points. Hojiblanca has an intense fruity apple note aroma and a spicy after taste, perfect with just a loaf of bread.  They also have three other varieties of olive oil with less intense in colour, aroma and flavour but are all of excellent quality. Finally they also sell blended oils from Arbequina, Hojiblanca and Picual varieties, which is good as well. I bought a bottle of each of the olive oils and have been enjoying them one by one since.        


If you are fascinated by a desert landscape and in need of some peace and quiet, yet also want to enjoy an excellent bottle of olive oil, then Los Albardinales is the place for you. If you are anywhere near Almeria, I highly recommend that you visit Los Albardinales. The hospitality and knowledge of the owner is second to none. You’ll not only enjoy the learning experience and the ambiance of his place but you will also have a once in a life time experience tasting one of the world’s finest olive oil.  

Another point to note is that apart from producing and selling olive oil, they also have a B&B and a restaurant. I did not try their restaurant as I was simply too busy with the olive oil. For this reason I’m afraid I can only provide a review of the experience and of the olive oils.


  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • LinkedIn
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS

Pizzeria Antica Porta- Florence, Italy



Pizzeria Antica Porta
Category: Restaurant, Pizzeria
Cuisine: Italian, over 100 pizza to choose from
Price Range on Average: EUR 8.00-10.00 (for a pizza) EUR 20.00 -25.00 (per head for 2 course meal including drinks)
Ambiance: Traditional, Rustic Italian Trattoria
Address: Via Senese, 23, 50124 Firenze, Italy
Tel: +39 055 220527
Last Visited: 2014 for dinner

Located just a few steps away from the City Centre. This amazing Pizzeria offers authentic, crispy, super thin pizza that is so heavenly! This trattoria proudly offers over hundreds of different pizzas.  There’s truffle pizza, classic pizzas such as margherita, for dessert there’s also the chocolate pizza, though not for my taste, I am sure there are those who would love it.

Although, this trattoria offers pasta dishes as well, this is really a place to have a ‘Pizza’.




If you are a pizza fan, this would certainly be a perfect place for you in Florence. The pizzas are reasonably price and for Florence they are a lot cheaper than any other trattorias you will find located in the main city centre. Since it is not in the main tourist centre, the area is less busy and hence it is a more pleasant area to stroll around before or after your meal.


Florence is also known for its ‘tripe’ so I decided to order their “Trippa di baccala con palate” for my starter, which is tripe with salt cod fish and potato cooked in a simple tomato sauce.  The tripe has a melt in your mouth texture, the fish is cooked to perfection and the sweetness of the tomato sauce compliments the saltiness of the cod. Although, this dish was listed on their ‘special dishes for the evening as a main course’ on a hanging blackboard, I requested to have it dish for a starter instead. The waitress told me that I can have any of their dishes anyway I want it. Either as a main or a starter.




For main course, I had one of their pizza recommendations on their menu, which is the ” Stracciatela and buffalo mozzarella pizza in tomato base sauce”. The pizza was incredibly thin, the cheese is rich and creamy, but it did not over power the tomato base sauce. The outer crust of the pizza is so crispy that you can snap it with your fingers. The centre of the pizza on the other hand, is not crispy but softer in texture – yet not soggy. For me this really constitutes the best pizza. The combination of texture and flavours is superb! I loved it so much that I kept dreaming about this pizza for 4 days! Also ordered Vesuvio pizza and must say that it is now one of my favourite pizzas as well! This pizza has slightly spicy pepperoni, sausage meat and a lot of buffalo mozzarella! They once again managed to balance the flavour of the dish by not having too many sausages or pepperoni to over power the buffalo mozzarella and tomato base sauce. Again, if I have the chance to visit Florence again. This would be my first stop, upon landing, Trattoria Antica Porta for a Vesuvio Pizza!


The restaurant itself is not an up market restaurant. It is not the place to be seen or one of those restaurants where people go because of its luxurious ambiance or because it is run by a famous chef. It is a simple, down to earth place, a more relax trattoria where both locals and tourists goes. There are lot of young Italian families that goes to this restaurant as well. I love that this humble place offers one of the best pizza in Florence yet still offers them at reasonable prices and continues to cater not just for the tourist but also for their long standing local customers.  I highly recommend this humble restaurant to anyone visiting or living in Florence! Buon Appetito!

“Arrivederci in cielo Vesuvio”




  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • LinkedIn
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS

Berry Coulis:


A pan and a fine sieve.

1.  300g. Mixed berries
2.  2 tbsp. Caster or Icing sugar
3.  2 tsp. water

Berry Coulis:
1.  In a large pan over high heat, add the berries and cook for 4 minutes.
2.  Then add your caster sugar and continue to cook the berries for a further 2-3 minutes just until the sugar has dissolved.
3.  Transfer the coulis mixture into a food processor and blend until the mixture is smooth, add 1-2 tsp. full of water if you’d like to loosen the mixture a bit.
4.  Strain the coulis through a fine sieve or muslin cloth and set aside to cool. Chill in the fridge until needed.


Serve cold either with a slice of lemon sponge cake,  vanilla ice cream or with yoghurt and honey. Yum!

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • LinkedIn
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS

Pasta con le sarde (Sicilian pasta dish)


This is a simple Sicilian pasta dish that is usually made with sardines, fennel, anchovies and sometimes capers too. My version doesn’t include fennel or capers. You can add them if you want to but I find this simplified version as tasty without them. For me, it is the saltiness of the sardines and anchovies and the sweetness of the golden currants that really makes this dish.

A large pasta pan, a deep large frying pan, a small sauce pan.

Ingredients Serves 2:
150g bucatini pasta
6 tbsp. Olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
4 anchovy fillets, in oil
120g.can boneless sardines in water or oil, drained
1 tbsp strattu or 1 1/2 tbsp tomato purée
30g sultanas, or golden currants
A few strands of saffron
3 pinches of salt
2 pinches of black pepper
1/4 of the starchy water from the boiling pasta water
10cherry tomatoes, halves
10g pine nuts
10g breadcrumbs

Pasta con le sarde:
In a large pan season your water with 1 tbsp. of oil and 2 pinches of salt.Bring the water to a boil, add your pasta and cooked until al dente. (cook according to packet instructions as the pasta’s cooking time varies.)

While your pasta cooks, heat 4 tbsp. of oil in a large pan over a medium heat. Add the onions and fry for 1 minute until softened. Add sardine flakes and the strattu or tomato paste. Stir for a few minutes then add the currants and saffron. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper.Cook gently for 1 minute. Add 1/4 of the starchy water from the boiling pasta water.

Stir in the tomatoes and cook for less than a minute.

Finally, on a separate pan, fry the breadcrumbs and pine nuts with 1 tbsp. of oil over a medium-high heat until they turn golden-brown and crunchy.

Drain the bucatini and mix with the sardine sauce, sprinkle over the pine nuts and breadcrumbs.

Serve immediately.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • LinkedIn
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS

Granny Nelly’s Brownies


What makes a good brownie? Some like it gooey in the middle, some like it fudge like and some like it crunchy on the top. Everyone has their own preferred brownie texture and taste and I think the only way to know what makes a good brownie is to simply enjoy trying them all and experiment with your own sorts of ingredients! This brownie is my 5th brownie experiment,I have tried them with nuts, with broken cookies, with dates, plain and so far I still haven’t made up my mind which ones I love best. I am still in my life long quest searching for the perfect brownie!
It was Gran’s birthday last week and I know how much she loves her chocolate and sweets.So I decided to conduct my brownie experiment number 5 and since I made this for her 95th birthday present, I decided to name it after, ‘Granny Nelly’s Brownies’
The first 4 brownies I made were made with less sugar, less butter or less chocolate. So far my experiments has proven that more butter, sugar and chocolate is needed! This is certainly the richest brownie I’ve made so far. Although, Gran did say that this is more of a chocolate cake than a brownie. Cake or brownie I hope you enjoy as much as we did! :)

A brownie tin, a large baking tray, pastry brush, baking paper, spatula, an electric mixer or a balloon whisk, 2 bowls and a small sauce pan.

1. 200g dark chocolate (at least 70% cocoa), grated or broken into pieces.
2. 50g dark chocolate (at least 70% cocoa), broken into pieces
3. 250g unsalted butter
4. 300g golden caster sugar
5. 3 large eggs and 1 egg yolk, lightly beaten
6. 50g plain flour (old recipe is 60)
7. ½ tsp baking powder
8. 1 tsp vanilla extract
9. 2 pinches of salt
10. 50g good quality cocoa powder (old recipe is 60)
11. 50g pistachio nuts (optional)

1. Pre-heat the oven to 180C, brush your brownie tin with some butter, then line it with a baking paper.

2. Place your 200g of your grated chocolate in a bowl, then set the bowl over a pan of simmering water (making sure that the bottom of the pan doesn’t touch the simmering water). Leave the chocolate to melt, stirring occasionally. Once all the chocolate has melted remove from heat and set aside.You can also melt them in a microwave on low, for 30 seconds.

3. On a separate bowl or a mixing bowl attached to an electric mixer, beat your butter and sugar until light and fluffy, add the chopped chocolate pieces and gently stir to combine with the butter and sugar.




4. Gradually add the beaten eggs on a running electric mixer, do not pour all the beaten eggs in one go, it is best to add them in 3 or 4 stages to ensure it’s thoroughly incorporated before pouring in more of the eggs. Mix the ingredients on a high speed for five minutes until the batter is smoother in texture has increased in volume.

5. Next, gently fold in the melted chocolate, followed by the vanilla extract, flour, baking powder, salt, cocoa powder and pistachio nuts.



6. Spoon the mixture into the brownie tin, and bake for 30 minutes. A few minutes before the brownies finished baking, prepare another baking tray big enough to hold your brownie tray. Pour some cold water over the tray and set aside.







7. To test your brownie if it is baked, insert a skewer in the middle of the brownie, the skewer should come out with some sticky but not runny and raw mixture. If it does come out with runny raw mixture, place it back into the oven for another 3-5 minutes, then test again.








8. When the brownies are ready, remove from the oven and place it in a baking tray with cold water. Leave to cool in the water for an hour before removing the brownie from the baking tray and slicing them. Store in an air-tight container; freeze or eat them all on the same.


Serve by itself of with a yummy Madgascan vanilla ice cream.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • LinkedIn
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS

Bucatini alla carbonara

A large pot, a large bowl and a medium size pan.

For the Carbonara:
1. 1tbsp. butter
2. 2 tbsp. olive oil
3. 200g. Guanciale, diced (alternatively use pancetta or streaky bacon)
4. 2 large eggs
5. 4 tbsp. grated pecorino cheese
6. a pinch of salt
7. a pinch of ground black pepper

For the Pasta:
6. 220g. Bucatini
7. pinch of salt
8. 2 tbsp.oil

For the Carbonara:
1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add the pasta, salt and oil. Cook the pasta aldente following the pasta packet instruction.


2. Place a medium size pan in a medium heat, add 2 tbsp. of oil, followed by the diced guanciale. Cook until crisp and golden. Add a pinch of salt and pepper and add the butter.
3. Drain the pasta and add into the pan with the cooked guanciale. Turn off the heat.

4. In a bowl, whisk the eggs and pecorino cheese. Mix with the freshly cooked pasta and guanciale. The hot  pasta will cook the egg.s




Serve immediately by itself or with some chopped parsley.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • LinkedIn
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS

Tarte Fine aux Pommes


I’ve first discovered these amazing tarts on my first trip to Paris and ever since they came into my life. I’ve longed to eat them at every opportunity that arises! As much as I love pain au chocolat or a freshly baked croissants aux amandes for breakfast, nothing is better for me than a wonderful  Tarte Fine aux Pommes first thing in the morning. Although, many would insist that these should be eaten later in the afternoon or for dessert. I would argue that it is always best to start your morning well. That means wake up early, while half the world is still asleep,  take your time to enjoy the sun and a moment alone with a Tarte Fine aux Pommes! Here’s my take on the wonderful Tarte Fine aux Pommes! Bon appetite!

A rolling pin, a 3 ½ inch cookie cutter (or anything round you can use to cut the pastry), pastry brush, a wooden spoon, a small pan and a tart baking tin (optional)


Ingredients Serves 30:
1. 700g. all butter puff pastry
2. 8 medium size Apples, peeled and sliced into very thin slices ( use Cox or Granny Smith Apples)
3. 1 lemon, zest and juice
4. 2 tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
5. 2 tbsp. light brown sugar
6. 1 tsp. vanilla extract
7. 4 tbsp. apricot jam

Tarte Fine aux Pommes
1. Pre-heat oven to 200C.
2. On well floured work surface, roll your puff pastry. Using a cookie cutter, cut the pastry into small round circles.


3. Line a baking tray with baking parchment/paper, place the pastry circles on top.
4. Place your sliced apples in a bowl and mix with the lemon juice and zest, lay the apples on top of the pastry, dot the apples with some butter, sprinkle over some sugar and place in the oven to bake for 20 minutes.





5. Place a small sauce pan over a low heat. Slowly heat your apricot jam and vanilla extract, once warm brush this onto your cooked apple tarts.


6. Sprinkle over some more brown sugar and place back in the oven to bake for another 3 minutes. If you would like it to caramelise you can set your oven to Grill instead and bake the tarts for 2-3 minutes, you’ll have to keep a constant eye on it to make sure the tart doesn’t burn.




Serve immediately.


  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • LinkedIn
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS

Creme Caramel


Creme caramel is certainly one of my all time favourite classic desserts. It was a childhood favourite and still is. The best part of this dessert is that it is easy to make and comforting to eat.  Although this dessert has made its way into Micheline starred restaurants, to famous french brasseries of Lyon, Bordeaux and Paris, with its the ‘Egg flan’ equivalent being equally famous across Spain’s many fine restaurants. This dessert for me is still best serve at home made by my lovely Mom! who never fails to supply UNLIMITED creme caramel to me and my sister. I love this dessert so much that I often eat this for breakfast -well on the times when I’ve beaten my sister to the fridge first!!


A small sauce pan, a medium size pan, a large bowl, a whisk, a fine sieve, 4 medium size ramekins, a pastry brush and a baking tray.

Ingredients Serves 4:
For the caramel:
1. 2 tbsp. water
2. 125g. golden caster sugar
3. 1 tbsp. unsalted butter (brush your ramekin base with the butter)

For the creme mixture:
3. 500ml. full fat milk
4. 1 tsp vanilla extract  or 1 vanilla pod
5. 2 medium eggs and  3 egg yolks (organic or free range)
6. 125g golden caster sugar

For the caramel:
1. In a small saucepan add your water and sugar, then place the pan on a medium heat. Leave it without stirring, until the sugar has completely dissolved, you can gently shake the pan to make sure the sugar dissolves evenly.  Allow to simmer until the syrup turns into a rich brown caramel colour. This takes around 10 minutes.
2. As soon as the colour turns caramel, immediately remove the pan from the heat.Pour the caramel into 4 (buttered)medium size ramekins, gently shake each ramekins around so the caramel coats the base evenly. Transfer the ramekins to a baking tin and set aside.





For the creme mixture:
5. Pre-heat the oven to 150°C
6. Pour the milk in a saucepan with the vanilla extract and bring it to simmering point for 4-5 minutes.
7. In a large bowl, lightly whisk the eggs and egg yolks with the sugar. Gently pour your hot milk into your eggs and sugar mixture, whisking all the time.


For the final stage of making the creme caramel:
8. Pour your creme mixture through a fine sieve into your ramekins with caramel base.

9. Place the baking tray with the creme filled ramekins in the oven and carefully pour some boiling water in the tray, two-third of the way up the side of the moulds.

10. Finally, bake the creme caramel for 55–60 minutes, until the crème caramels are just set ( you can check if they are set by gently pressing the middle of the creme mixture with your thumb).
11. Once set, remove from the oven and leave to cool, then place in the fridge to chill for at least 1 hour (I prefer mine to chill overnight).

12. To serve, use a knife, soak it in hot water and slide it around the inside edge of the ramekin, place the bottom of the ramekins into a hot water for a couple of seconds and then turn it upside down on to a serving plate.





Bon Appétit!


  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • LinkedIn
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS

Pear, Camembert & Rocket Salad in Raspberry Dressing


Electric whisk, a large bowl, silicone spatula, a small sauce pan and a mini food processor alternatively use a blender.

For the Cheese:
1. 150g. Camembert cheese
2. 300ml. Double Cream

For the Pears:
3. 2 Conference Pears, peeled and sliced into small cubes
4. 1/2tbsp. of Olive oil
5. 1tbsp. Balsamic vinegar
6. 1tsp. Sugar
7. A pinch of Salt
8. A pinch of ground black pepper
9. 70g. Rocket leaves

For the Dressing:
10. 70g. raspberries
11. 1 tbsp. Balsamic vinegar
12. 8 tbsp. Olive oil

For the Cheese:
1. Crumble the Camembert in a large bowl, add the double cream and whisk until the you have a thick ‘whipped cream’ like texture. Pipped the cream cheese on a plate.



For the Pears:
2. Place the pan over a low heat, add the oil, balsamic vinegar, sugar, salt, pepper and pears. Cook over a low heat for 2 minutes.
3. Plate the pears and some of the juices from the pears and sprinkle the rocket salad around the plate.



For the Dressing:
4. Place the raspberries, balsamic vinegar and olive oil into a mini food processor and blend until smooth. Spoon over some of the raspberry dressing over the pears.


Serve Immediately.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • LinkedIn
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS

Morrocan Spiced Oranges

This is a very refreshing dessert. That is so cooling. This dessert doesn’t just compliment Moroccan dishes, it’s also a perfect ending to a rich and heavy meal such as roast and stews.

A medium size bowl.

1. 1 tsp. Orange Flower Blossom (key ingredient for this dessert)
2. 1/4 tsp. Cinnamon powder
3. 1/4 tsp. Water
4. 1/2 tsp. Golden Caster Sugar
5. 4 Oranges, peeled and sliced
6. Fresh Mint leaves, torn into pieces

The Orange Dessert:
1. Place the slice oranges in a bowl, combine all the ingredients listed above and mix them all well.
2. Place the oranges on a plate, cover with a clingfilm and place in the fridge for at least an hour.
3. Finally sprinkle over some torn mint leaves over the oranges before serving.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • LinkedIn
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS

Vegetable Tagine

This is such an easy dish to prepare so please do not be put off with the length of this recipe. Getting all the spices out is the hardest part of this recipe and trying to remember if I have already put every single one of them in! The cooking part on the other hand is super easy. There are days when I feel I’ve had far too many brownies in one day. I’d feel so guilty and decide to have a vegetarian evening. This is what I usually make in one of those evenings!

Tagine, baking tray and a large pan.

Ingredients Serves 4:

For the Roasting:
Spices and Seasoning:
1. 1/2 tsp. Cumin Powder
2. 1/2 tsp. Paprika
3. 1/2 tsp. Ground Cinnamon
4. 1/2 tsp. Ground Coriander
5. 1/2 tsp. Salt
6. 1/2 tsp. Sugar
7. 1/2 tsp. Ground Black Pepper
8. 1/4 tsp. Dried Chilli Flakes

The Vegetables:
9. 1 Aubergine, chopped into large chunks
10. 1 Red Onion, quartered
11. 3 Bell Peppers, deseeded and chopped into large chunks
12. 1 Parsnip, peeled and chopped into large chunks
13. 1 Carrot, peeled and chopped into large chunks
14. 4 tbsp. Olive Oil

For the Frying:
Spices, Seasoning and Fruit:
15. 1/2 tsp. Ground Cinnamon
16. 1/2 tsp. Ground Ginger Powder
17. 1/2 tsp. Dried Parsley
18. 1/2 tsp. Ground Cumin
19. 1/2 tsp. Paprika Powder
20. 1/2 tsp. Ground Coriander
21. 1/2 tsp. Salt
22. 1/4 tsp. Ground Black Pepper
23. 1/4 tsp. Dried Chilli Flakes
24. 3 tbsp. Olive oil
25. 2 tbsp. Runny Honey
26. 70g. Dried Apricots

For the Couscous:
27. 150 g. Couscous
28. 300 ml. Vegetable Stock
29. 15g. Raisins
30. A handful of Coriander leaves, roughly chopped
31. A handful of Almond flakes (approx.5g.)

For the Roasting:
1. Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees.
2. Place all the ‘Roasting Ingredients’ listed above- the spices, the seasoning and the vegetables all in a baking tray. Mix them well to make sure the vegetables are nicely coated with the spices and oil.  Roast in the oven for 45 minutes, stir the vegetables half way through the cooking time.(a bit less if you have very ripe vegetables.)

For the Frying:
3. Place a large pan on a medium heat, add the oil, spices and seasoning. Stir for a minute and then add the honey, followed by the roasted vegetables and their juices. Stir well for 1-2 minutes making sure that the honey coats all the vegetables. Finally stir the apricots in.

For the Couscous:
4. Place the couscous in tagine and add the hot water. Stir in the raisins and cover the tagine for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, sprinkle over the chopped coriander leaves and almond flakes on top of the couscous.

Serve the couscous with the roasted vegetables.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • LinkedIn
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS

Moelleux au chocolat (The very gooey Mini Chocolate Lava Cakes)


I love this dessert! In fact I haven’t met anyone yet who hasn’t fallen madly in love with these gooey little cakes. These cakes are widely available in many brasseries and cafes in France. They are also frequently available in my house-hold due to my serious addiction to these cakes. They are perfect for dinner parties too as they can be prepared a day in advance. They also don’t need to be taken out from the fridge ahead of time before baking, as they need to be bake straight out from the fridge, whilst they are still very cold to get the ‘gooey chocolate lava in the middle’ consistency. Baking the cake cold will make it slower for the heat to penetrate the middle of the cake, making it yummy and gooey!

4 Ramekins oven-proof, a whisk, pastry brush, s small pan and heat-proof bowl.

Ingredients Serves 4:
For the Ramekins:
1. 10g. of softened or melted unsalted butter
2. 10g. cocoa powder

For the Moelleux au chocolat:
3. 85g. Dark Chocolate use at least 70% cocoa and a very good quality chocolate, broken into small pieces
4. 85g. unsalted butter, softened
5. 85g. light brown sugar
6. 43g. of plain flour
7. 3 eggs, lightly beaten
8. 1/2 tsp. of vanilla extract
9. A pinch of fine salt

For the Ramekins:
1. Brush the insides of your ramekins with butter, then coat them with the cocoa powder. Tap them a couple of times to remove any excess cocoa at the bottom of the ramekins. Then set the ramekins aside.



For the Moelleux au chocolat:
2. In a heat proof bowl, add your butter and chocolate, place the bowl in a pan of simmering water (bain marie). Stir the butter and chocolate until melted and well combined. You can also melt them in a microwave on low, for 15 seconds.


3. Next, whisk the eggs with the melted butter and chocolate, then add the vanilla extract, the flour and sugar. Whisk until all the ingredients are well combined.


4. Pour the mixture into your ramekins, cover with a cling film but make sure the cling film does not stick into your cake mixture. Place in the fridge for 2 hours or overnight. The mixture needs to be cold so the centre remains cold when baked making it gooey.


5. When ready to bake, pre-heat your oven to 180C. Bake the cake for 18-20 minutes. The sides of the cake should look crisp, and the cake will look more like a little dome, when poked in the middle the chocolate should pour out like a lava. Run your knife around the edge of the cake to loosen it from the ramekins, making it easier to transfer on a plate.







Serve immediately with madagascan vanilla ice cream or double cream.

Bon appétit!!



  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • LinkedIn
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS

South West France Open Markets

IMG_2025 IMG_2032IMG_1988  IMG_2002 IMG_1944  IMG_2175IMG_1971 IMG_2148 IMG_2176 IMG_2031       IMG_2170 IMG_2178

I adore the French markets!!!! And for me, there is nothing more pleasurable to do than go to an open market first thing in the morning and get the very best, freshest ingredients available from the local farmers, butchers, bakers and fish monger that has spent a lot of time and care cultivating their produced or for bakers I should say ‘mastering the fine art of baking!’  I somehow think that the produced and bread you get in a French open markets are far, far, better than those you get in the supermarkets. I can only assume that is probably because they give their produce loads of love and very tender care! and I particularly love the French markets within the Southwest region of France.IMG_2161 IMG_2004IMG_2160 IMG_2165 IMG_2164IMG_2163 IMG_2162 IMG_2150IMG_2155 IMG_2151IMG_2156 IMG_2174IMG_2173 IMG_2172IMG_2005 IMG_1958

The South West Region of France which the French refers to as simply ‘ Sud-Ouest,’ covers the regions of Aquitaine, Languedoc-Roussillon and Midi-Pyrénées. Not only is this region well adored in France for its’s amazing wine produced but it is also widely known and adored all over the world for it’s amazing wine, brandy and cuisine. The finest wines and brandy are produced in this region; covering several wine-producing areas located inland from, and south of Bordeaux. A total of 16,000 hectares  of vineyards, throughout the Aquitaine region all the way to the west of the Midi-Pyrénées region. This region’s wine history goes all the way back to the Romans who had a flourishing wine trade and were the first to cultivate land in the South West of France, long before the Bordeaux wine vineyards were planted and established.  The Romans believed that ‘wine’ is a necessity and should be made available for everyone to drink, from aristocrats to slaves. To ensure the continued supply and availability of wine for everyone, Roman soldiers and colonists ensures that viticulture and wine production spread to every part of their empire. The profound effect of which, we still see in today’s major winemaking regions in France, Germany, Italy, Portugal and Spain.

IMG_1979 IMG_1985

But as this is not a history or geography lesson I will carry on straight to point the food! South West French cuisine is one of the finest cuisines in the world. Due to it’s geographical location the cuisine benefits from the best of the French and Spanish culinary influences, by the coast the cuisine is celebrated with fresh fish and seafood whereas inland, fresh meat such as  the high quality lamb “Agneau de Pauillac” and cured meats, as well as high quality sheep cheeses, patés, terrines, confits and magret are the french tables favourite! Not the mention the abundance of vegetables, legumes,  freshwater fishes, salt cod that are also widely available in this region and of course, last but not least the famous Armagnac brandy that is only available in Gascony!

IMG_2147 IMG_1975IMG_1974   IMG_1973IMG_2158 IMG_1950  IMG_2179 IMG_1999IMG_2182 IMG_2177

IMG_2171 IMG_2178

The open markets located in the Greater South West of France are not open every day, opening and closing hours varies as well so if you do embark on a gastronomic  adventure as I have done, best check the local tourist office when the markets are open, particularly during Easter or New Year time when most market and shops won’t be open for business. Note that all markets are only open in the morning, everything is close by noon.

IMG_1954 IMG_2017

 IMG_1957 IMG_1966IMG_1961 IMG_1956IMG_1953 IMG_2186IMG_2227  IMG_1967

IMG_2185 IMG_2247

IMG_2183 IMG_2187

Opening Days for just a few of the markets are:

Wednesday- Barbotan and Condom (located in Gers)

Thursday-Eauze and Auch (located in Gers)
Friday-Vic Fezenzac and Lectoure (located in Gers) 
Saturday-Auch (located in Gers) 
Sunday-Mezin (located in Lot and Garonne)

Here are just some of the produced you can expect at a local South West French open markets. It wasn’t just the produced that I found entertaining, the sellers in the market were all so friendly and so eager to share their produce, I couldn’t pass anyone who wouldn’t insist that I try their produce, I was stuffed before I finished my shopping just from all the free samples I have been offered to try; amazing cheeses, fresh oysters, strawberries, bread, olives! It was fantastic!

IMG_1990 IMG_1994IMG_1986 IMG_1997IMG_1993 IMG_1998

What I also found fascinating is the French love and affection for Jeff (he is the lovely white fluffy dog in the pictures), they were all so glued on him and even though he causes trouble every where we go, he seems to be able to get away with it, I was buying some tomatoes turned around and saw Jeff’s head inside a French woman’s shopping bag, he was aiming for the sausages! The lady saw him aiming for her sausages and rather than be annoyed, she gave him a kiss! Jeff and I went to a cafe at the market and the waiters came out to give him some water and the rest of the customers even shared some their food to Jeff!

IMG_2225 IMG_2197

I wasn’t planning to take him with me at the market but he seemed quite sad when I was leaving home, so I decided to take him along for a ride.


Unfortunately though Jeff also didn’t want to sit at the back of the car like any other dogs, he decided to launch himself at me and he and I traveled like this from home all the way to the market and back, that is with his bum on my face! Thanks Jeff!



  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • LinkedIn
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS


Lasagne for me is one of the ultimate comfort food. Lasagne is a labour of love on a plate, as it does takes time to cook and prepare, I hardly make this dish but the few times I have made a lasagne is to either show love or comfort to family or friends. It was one of my favourite dish as a young child and is also now my Mom’s favourite dish. When she came to visit me in England from Macau the first thing she asked me to do was cook lasagne for her soon as she lands and this recipe was created specially for her. I hope you enjoy this too!


A large casserole pan with a lid, a medium size sauce pan and an oven-proof dish.

Ingredients Serves 4:
For the Lasagne filling:
1. 1 tbsp. butter
2. 2 rashers of pancetta, finely chopped
3. 1/4 tsp. cinnamon powder
4. 3 tbsp. olive oil
5. 1 medium onion approximately 150g, finely chopped
6. 2 cloves garlic, crushed or grated
7. 1 carrot, finely chopped
8. 2 celery sticks, finely chopped
9. 1 butternut squash approximately 600g, deseeded and chopped into small cubes
10. 2 bay leaves
11. ¼ tsp. salt
12. ¼ tsp. ground black pepper
13. ¼ tsp. chilli flakes
14. 1 tsp. dried oregano
15. 1 tsp. dried basil leaves
16. 3 sprigs of thyme
17. 1 sprigs of rosemary
18. 3 Sprigs of sage
19. 400g. minced beef
20. 400g. tinned plum tomatoes
21. 2 tbsp. tomato paste
22. 1 tsp. sugar
23. 250ml. full bodied red wine
24. 300ml. beef stock

For the pasta:
25. 400g fresh lasagne sheets

For the Béchamel Sauce:
26. 30g butter
27. 30g flour
28. ½ pint of full fat milk
29. 80g grated mature cheddar cheese (if you are strict Italian feel free to substitute to parmesan)
30. Pinch of salt
31. Pinch of pepper
32. ¼ tsp. nutmeg
33. ½ tsp. fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped
34. 120g mozzarella, sliced into small pieces

For the Lasagne filling: Preheat the oven to 200ºC
1. Fry the 1 tbsp of butter with pancetta and cinnamon in a large pan over medium heat, until golden.
2. Then add 3 tbsp. of olive oil, stir in the onion, garlic, celery, carrot, butternut squash, bay leaves, salt, pepper, chilli flakes and all the herbs, fry for 2-3 minutes.
3. Next, add the beef and cook for about 5 minutes. Stir in the tinned tomatoes, tomato paste, sugar, wine and beef stock, bring to boil.
4. Once it starts to boil, lower the heat (lowest heat possible) and cover the pan with a lid. Allow cooking for 1½ hour, stirring occasionally to ensure that the meat and vegetables does not stick into the pan.






For the Béchamel Sauce:
5. On a small sauce pan over low-medium heat, make your roux; melt butter and stir in the flour, constantly stirring until well combined. Slowly add milk and grated cheese stirring constantly. Season with salt, pepper, nutmeg and parsley. Stop adding milk and remove from heat once the béchamel sauce is thick and smooth.

For the layering of the lasagne:
6. After 1 ½ hour, pre-heat your oven to 200ºC.
7. Lay some sheets of lasagne at the bottom of your lasagne dish, then add a layer of meat, then another layer of lasagne sheet and again meat, repeat the layers, until you reach the top of your dish. Finish it with a layer of lasagne sheets covered with Béchamel sauce.
8. Finally grate some cheddar or Parmesan cheese and place the mozzarella pieces all over your Béchamel sauce. Cook in the preheated oven for 30–35 minutes until golden.







Serve immediately with a lovely salad on the side and finish with a yummy Tiramisu.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • LinkedIn
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS

Jerk Chicken with Spicy Coconut Rice


Although this recipe involves a long list of spices, please don’t be put off making this dish.  It is in fact a very easy dish to make. Measuring and mixing the spices all together is the most time consuming part for this dish.  What I have also recently done is have all the dry spices all measured up and stored in a few small containers. That way, whenever I fancy making this dish, it is a matter of simply adding the liquid ingredients into the spice mix, rub it all to the chicken pieces, leave to marinade for a couple of hours, grill and done. A super easy evening dinner or a weekend lunch!

A grinder or pestle and mortar, 2 ovenproof dishes, a cling film, 2 sauce pans with a lid and a rubber glove.



For the Jerk Chicken:
1. 3 tbsp. olive oil
2. 4 chicken thighs, skin on
3. ½ tbsp. Allspice powder
4. ½ tbsp. ground black peppercorns
5. ½ tbsp. dried chilli flakes
6. ¼ tsp. salt
7. 1 tsp. muscovado sugar
8. 1 tbsp. runny honey
9. 25g.fresh flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
10. 25g.fresh coriander leaves, finely chopped
11. 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped or grated
12. 1 tsp. ginger powder
13. 3 spring onions, finely chopped
14. 1 lime juice and zest
15. 1 scotch bonnet chilli, deseeded and finely chopped (traditionally this is added but if you are not keen on spicy food you can omit this)

For the Spicy Coconut Rice:
16. 2 tbsp. vegetable oil
17. 1/2 onion, finely chopped
18. 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped or grated
19. 410g. long-grain rice
20. ½ tsp. salt
21. 2 pinches of ground black pepper
22. ½ tsp. cayenne pepper
23. ½ tsp. ginger powder
24. 400 ml. chicken stock
25. 400 ml. coconut milk
26. 400g. or 1 tin of Kidney beans, rinsed and drained
27. 1 tsp. thyme leaves
28. 1 whole Scotch bonnet chilli (left whole)

For the Corn:
29. 2 cobs
30. 1 tbsp. lime
31. A pinch of salt
32. A pinch of ground black pepper
33. A pinch of chilli flakes
34. 3 tbsp. butter, melted

For the Jerk Chicken:
1. Spoon over 3 tbsp. of olive oil in an ovenproof dish, place the chicken thighs skin side down first.
2. Next, place the rest of the ingredients listed on the above ‘Jerk Chicken’ recipe in a spice grinder or pestle and mortar, ground or pound all the ingredients for 2-3 minutes until well combined. Then rub this all over the chicken, if you are using Scotch bonnet chili wear a rubber gloves to handle the chili.

IMG_4403 - Version 2

3. Cover the chicken with a cling film and leave to marinate in the fridge for at least 2 hours, preferably overnight.
4. Next, pre-heat oven to 200°C. place the chicken and bake for 30 minutes, turning the chicken a few times to cook well on all sides. After 30 minutes turn the oven to ‘GRILL’ turn the chicken skin side up and finish them off to grill for 5 minutes to get the skin charred.



For the Spicy Coconut Rice:
5. Place your sauce pan over a medium heat, add the onion, garlic and thyme, fry for 2 minutes, then add the rice and fry for 1 minute.


6. Stir the rest of the ingredients listed on the above ‘Spicy Coconut Rice’ recipe. Cover the pan with a lid, reduce the heat to low and allow simmering for 25 minutes until the rice is cooked (check the rice occasionally).

For the Corn:
7. In a small bowl, combine the lime, salt, pepper, chili flakes and melted butter; then set aside your spiced butter mixture.
8. Place your saucepan over a medium heat, add 2 litres of water and bring it to the boil.
9. Once the water is boiling add the corncobs and boil for 10 minutes.
10. Place the corn cobs in an oven proof dish and finish cooking in the oven under the grill for 5 minutes, your corn and your chicken should be grilled in the oven to both finish cooking at the same time.
11. Removed the cooked corn from the oven and brush with the spiced butter mixture all over.

Serve immediately.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • LinkedIn
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS



This lovely canapés are perfect for a dinner parties or movie nights with friends. Quick and easy to prepare and most importantly they can be prepared a day in advance. You can also freeze them and defrost at room temperature before baking them in the oven. You can also put any fillings you want, you can spread the palmiers with some other types of savoury spreads or just with parmesan cheese or even with those addictive ‘Nuttela’ sprinkled with some chopped hazelnut for a crisp texture, you can also simply use icing sugar and deep them in hot chocolate sauce once baked, Yum! Feel free to experiment and above all enjoy the baking and eating process!


A rolling pin, a fine sieve, a pastry brush and a baking tray.

For the pastry:
1. 1 pack ready rolled shop-bought puff pastry if you are in a hurry or just feeling lazy, otherwise you can also make your own pastry by following “All Butter Puff Pastry” instructions on the pastry section of this site.
2. 1 egg, lightly beaten for glazing

For the savoury filling:
3. 4 tbsp. of basil and pine nuts pesto (recipe to make your own pesto: Basil and Pine Nuts Pesto Recipe)
4. 10 sun dried tomatoes, finely chopped
5. 2 pinches of salt
6. 2 pinches of ground black pepper
7. 10g. grated parmesan cheese

For the sweet filling:
8. 2 tbsp.icing sugar
9.  1 tbsp.cinnamon powder
10.  2 tbsp. mini chocolate chips or chocolate nibs pieces


1. On a well-floured work surface, roll the pastry out into a rectangle about 12 x 14in and the thickness of approx.3mm.

2. For Savoury palmiers: Spread the basil and pine nuts pesto, sundried tomatoes, grated parmesan cheese, salt and pepper over the puff pastry.



3. For the Sweet palmiers: Sprinkle the cinnamon powder, icing sugar and chocolate chips over the puff pastry.


4. Take both long edges of the pastry and roll them gently and tightly towards each other to meet in the middle. Brush the centre with some egg so that the two halves stick together.








5. Place into a large baking tray and leave to chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. This will make it easier for you to slice them into smaller pieces.
6. Preheat the oven to 200C.
7. Remove the rolled and filled puff pastry from the fridge and slice it into ½in thick pieces. Lay each pieces flat on the baking tray and brush only the top with a beaten egg.
8. Bake in the oven for 12–15 minutes until they all puffed up and golden-brown.
9. Remove the palmiers from the oven and leave to cool on the baking tray for just a couple of minutes.


Serve immediately.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • LinkedIn
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS

Basil and Pine Nuts Pesto


This versatile sauce can be used in many different dishes; it can be added into pasta, risotto, meat or fish or even just as flavourings for roasted vegetable dishes. You can also be creative with pesto, you can use walnuts instead of pine nuts for instance, use watercress and basil, or spinach for instance. You can also add a squeeze of lemon juice or even lime.

1.  30g. fresh basil leaves
2.  10g. toasted pine nuts
3.  15g. grated parmesan cheese
4.  ½ clove of garlic, peeled and crushed
5.  40ml. of extra virgin olive oil
6.  1 pinch of salt
7.  1 pinch of ground black pepper

The Pesto:
1.  Add the basil, parmesan, garlic, pine nuts, salt and pepper into a food processor.
2.  Whiz all the ingredients together while it is whizzing, gently pour the oil in a steady stream, until the pesto starts to thicken.
3.  When all the ingredients are well combined and the pesto is thick it’s ready. You can now use your pesto for your pasta, bruschetta, pizza, risotto or even just with your toast.


Storing pesto:  You can store your pesto in a jar or any airtight container. Drizzle some olive oil on the top of your pesto, cover with a cling film before sealing your jar or container; this will keep the pesto fresh and green and prevents it from oxidizing and turning brown.
Pesto in an airtight container can be stored in the fridge for a week. You can also store it in a freezer plastic bag, or ice cube bags in the freezer for six months, before using frozen pesto best to thaw it in the fridge.


  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • LinkedIn
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS

Trout en Papillote


Grease proof paper and a large baking tray.

Ingredients Serves 2:
1. 2 trout, gutted and cleaned
2. 1 medium size fennel, sliced
3. 3 sprigs of spring onions, finely chopped
4. 2 lemons (1 lemon zest and 1 sliced)
5. 3 tbsp. Extra virgin olive oil
6. 1/4 tsp. of salt
7. 1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
8. 1 tbsp. of butter (1/2 tbsp. for each trout)
9. 1 medium size potato approx. 230g, peeled, sliced and parboiled for 10 minutes.

For the salad:
10. A handful of rocket leaves
11. 2 tbsp.lemon juice
12. 1 tsp. Dijon mustard
13. 3 pinches of salt
14. 3 1/2 tbsp. Extra-virgin olive oil
15. A handful of roasted pine nuts

For the Trout en Papillote:
1. Preheat the oven to 180C.
2. In a bowl mix the oil, lemon zest, salt and pepper. Rub this all over the trout and inside the cavity.
3. Next, place each trout on a large sheet of greaseproof paper onto a baking tray.
3. Stuff the fish with the fennel and spring onions. Place the potato slices underneath each trout.



4. Dot all over with some of the butter.

5. Now, bring the edges of the greaseproof paper together and fold to form a sealed parcel. Bake in the oven for 10-15 minutes (cooking time would depend on the thickness of the fish). The flesh of the fish should be opaque, if it is translucent you would have to cook it a bit longer, as you are cooking the fish with the skin on just slightly lift the skin to check the flesh of the fish.
6. Once done serve the fish with the juice from the parcel.




For the salad:
7. Mix the lemon juice, mustard, salt and oil. Pour over the rocket leaves and sprinkle over some roasted pine nuts.


Serve the trout with the side salad immediately

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • LinkedIn
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS

Chicken Pilau Rice


An ovenproof deep casserole pan, a griddle pan, a pestle and mortar or spice grinder

Ingredients Serves 8:
1st batch:
1. 3 tbsp. of gee (use butter or vegetable oil as an alternative)
2. 3 cassia bark approx. 3 inches in length
3. 12 cloves
4. 12 cadamom pods
5. 3 bay leaves

2nd batch:
6. 1 tbsp. garlic, grated (approx. 20g)
7. 2 ½ tbsp. ginger, grated (approx. 70g)

3rd batch:
8. 4 medium size onions, finely chopped (approx. 450g)

4th batch:
9. 1 tsp. coriander seeds (grounded or pounded into a powder)
10. 2 tsp. cumin seeds (grounded or pounded into a powder)
11. 1 tsp. nutmeg, finely grated
12. 1 tsp. chilli flakes (for less heat reduce to ½ tsp.)

5th batch:
13. ½ tsp. salt
14. ½ tsp. ground black pepper
15. 200g chicken breast, cut into bite size chunks

6th batch:
16. 1 tsp. tumeric powder
17. 2 medium size tomatoes, deseeded and finely chopped
18. 400g tomato chops (tined or if fresh finely chopped)
19. 500ml of water
20. 2 carrots, peeled and sliced

7th batch:
21. 400g basmati rice
22. 15 curry leaves

For garnish:
23. 6 small red bell pepper
24. A handful of fresh coriander leaves, finely chopped

For the Chicken Pilau:
1. Pre-heat your oven to 180°C. Place your casserole over a medium heat, add all the ingredients listed on ‘batch 1’ cook for 30 seconds to release the flavours of the spcies.

2. Add ‘batch 2’ ingredients into the casserole and cook for 2 minutes.
3. Add ‘batch 3’ ingredient and cook for 15 minutes until the onions has completely softened, stir constantly to prevent the onions from burning and sticking to the pan.
4. Add ‘ batch 4’ ingredients and stir for 1 minute.
5. Next, add ‘batch 5’ ingredients and cook for 5 minutes.

6. Now, add ‘batch 6’ ingredients and lower the heat. Bring it to a gentle simmer and allow simmering for 3 minutes.

7. Finally, add ‘batch 7’ ingredients, stir the rice and curry leaves well. Cover the casserole pan with a lid and place in the oven to cook for 30 minutes. (If you don’t have an oven, you can also cook this in the stove over a very low heat.)











For the garnish:
8. 10 minutes before the ‘chicken pilau’ finish cooking in the oven, place your griddle pan on a high heat, add your peppers and grill on all sides until their skin starts to blacken and becomes softer. Place this on top of your cooked ‘chicken pilau’ along with the chopped coriander leaves.



Serve immediately.


This dish taste as good without the chicken, you can easily replace the chicken with a vegetable of your choice. I also usually serve this dish with my “Aubergine and Cauliflower Spiced Vegetables”. The recipe for this can also be found on this blog:
This dish is easy to prepare and cook. The most time consuming part of making this dish is the chopping of the onions, ginger and garlic but this can easily be avoided if you buy a ready grated garlic, ginger and onions which is available in many Asian super markets across UK in a jar.
Although I always ground my own spices, I appreciate that it can sometimes be too time consuming, if you’re busy and in a hurry you can use ready grounded spices available in little bottles from Waitrose or Sainsbury’s, so you don’t have to pound and ground them yourself.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • LinkedIn
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS



A baking tray, a cling film, a rolling pin, a bread mixer.

1. 510g.strong white bread flour, (500g for the foccacia and 10g for dusting)
2. 2 tsp. of sea salt
3. action yeast
4. 70ml. extra virgin Olive Oil
5. 250ml. warm water
6. A handful of fresh rosemary
7. Oil or butter spray

The Foccacia:
1. Preheat the oven to 200C and dust your baking tray with strong white bread flour.
2. Put the flour into a large bowl or bread mixer, make a well in the middle and add the water and oil. Next, add the salt and add the yeast (the yeast should be right opposite the salt or the salt will kill the yeast)

3. Knead the dough by hand for about 10 minutes or for 5 if using an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook. Poke the dough with a well floured finger and if the indent disappears the dough is ready, if it stays then continue to knead for a couple of minutes longer.


4. Shape the dough into an oval shape.Then place it in a well floured baking tray. Cover the dough loosely with an oiled/buttered cling film, making sure it is airtight. (You can use an oil or butter spray to oil or butter your cling film, this will then prevent the cling film from sticking to the dough.)

5. You can now leave the dough to rise for 45 minutes or until it has doubled in size.

6. After 45 minutes, roll the dough in a well floured work surface into an oval shape, the length and width can be however you want it to be, you can even shape it as squares or small round balls, or in this case I did an oval shape one.


7. Once you have rolled the dough, poke some holes all over the dough, you can use the back of a wooden spoon to do this, or use a well floured finger. Insert some rosemary into the holes, sprinkle some more salt all over the top and bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes. It should rise a bit and have a lovely pale brown colouring all over it.



8. Once baked, place in a baking tray to cool for 3-4 minutes, drizzle with some more olive oil, sprinkle some salt and pepper and serve.



  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • LinkedIn
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS

Smoked salmon canapés


I recently had a dinner party at home and served this canapés, it is quite common to have salmon canapés with a blini base. But as I had loads of short crust pastry after making all sorts of tart, I’ve decided to use short crust pastry as a base for this canapés instead. It gave this canapés a nice crunchy biscuit type base, a great alternative to blini.
A shallow muffin tin, a 2 inch’ cookie cutter, a pastry brush, dried/pastry beans and a foil.

Ingredients Makes 16:

For the pastry base:
1. 320g ready rolled shop-bought, shortcrust pastry if you are in hurry or just feeling lazy. Otherwise you can also make your own puff pastry by following “Savoury Short Crust Pastry” instructions on the pastry section of this site.
2. 20g unsalted butter, softened (for greasing muffin tin)
3. 1 lightly beaten egg, for glazing the pastry

For the salmon mixture:
4. 150g smoked salmon, slice into small pieces
5. 1 lemon, zest and juice
6. 2 pinches of salt
7. 2 pinches of pepper
8. A pinch of cayenne pepper
9. 8 tbsp. of Crème fraîche
10. A handful of fresh flat leaf parsley or dill

For the pastry base:
1. Pre-heat the oven to 200C. Brush your muffin tin with butter.
2. Roll your pastry on a well-floured work surface, cut into small circles. Place the circle pastry into a well greased muffin tin and poke with a fork all over. Place strips of foil on top and add the dried/pastry beans to prevent the pastry from rising. Place in the oven for 10 minutes.
3. Remove pastry from the oven, take off the foil and dried/pastry beans. Brush the pastry with a beaten egg and return in the oven to cook for another 7 minutes or until crisp and baked. Take off from the oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes.








For the salmon mixture:
4. In a bowl, mix the lemon zest, lemon juice, crème fraîche, salt, pepper and cayenne pepper. Spoon over into the pastry cases.
5. Add the salmon on top, garnish with some fresh parsley or dill.

Serve immediately.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • LinkedIn
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS

Chorizo Pork Stew in Tomato Sauce


The combination of pork, chorizo, thyme and bell peppers are heavenly. Although most casserole or stew type dishes are mainly eaten in the autumn or winter season. I find that this Spanish inspired stew is perfectly enjoyable anytime of the year. Serve this with a Cava or a refreshing  2008 Brandal Albariño, D.O. Rías Baixas, Spanish white wine.  Or simply a nice freshly made mint lemonade.

An ovenproof casserole pan

Ingredients Serves 4:

1. 400g pork shoulder, chopped into chunks approx. 3cm
2. 3 tbsp. of Olive oil
3. 100g. picante chorizo, sliced
4. 8 sprigs of thyme, leaves only
5. 1 clove fo garlic, crushed or grated
6. 1 medium size onion, finely chopped
7. 2 bay leaves
8. 1/2 tsp. salt
9. 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
10. 1/2 tsp. paprika (I used picante for extra heat)
11. 1/4 tsp. saffron
12. 170ml. Spanish white wine
13. 1 1/2 tbsp. white wine vinegar
14. 400g.chopped tomatoes or passata
15. 150g. bell peppers, deseeded and chopped (alternatively you can also use roasted bell peppers adding smoky flavours to the dish)
16. 150g. green beans
17. 12 olives

The Chorizo Pork Stew:
1. Pre-heat oven to 150C.
2. Place your casserole pan on a high heat, add 3 tbsp. of olive oil. Once the oil is hot, add the chorizo, thyme, garlic, onion and bay leaves. Fry for 1- minutes.
3. Next add the pork and season with salt, pepper and paprika. Brown the pork on all sides for 4-5 minutes, then add the saffron, white wine, white wine vinegar and chopped tomatoes. Stir all the ingredients well, cover with a lid and simmer for 5 minutes.



4. Now, place the casserole in the oven to cook for 1 1/2 hours. Stir frequently to prevent the meat from sticking into the bottom and sides of the pan. After 1 1/2 hour remove from the oven, stir in the bell peppers, green beans and olives. Return the casserole back into the oven to cook for another 15 minutes.



Serve immediately with a nice crusty bread, saffron rice or cous cous.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • LinkedIn
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS

Tomato and Spinach Dhal


This dish is inspired from my memories of India,  the exotic spices they use in their everyday cooking add depths of flavours in their vegetarian dishes, making it truly a spectacular dish with fire works of flavours! This is just one of the many dishes I was lucky enough to try during my visit.  In Rajasthan, I remembered trying their famous Panchmel Dhal also known as Panchratna Dhal cooked with 5 different types of Dhal, a dish that is not just flavoursome but also very healthy, a perfect source of protein for vegetarians. If I am successful at finding all these 5 different dhal in England I will certainly try and make it at home. For now I hope you will try this dhal recipe instead and hope you enjoy it.

A medium size sauce pan and a frying pan.

Ingredients Serves 2:

For the Dhal Base:
1.  100g red lentils
2.  500ml vegetable stock
3.  3 medium size tomatoes, deseeded and finely chopped
4.  1 small onion, finely chopped
5.  1 tsp. garam masala
6.  ½ tsp. tumeric
7.  ½ tsp. chili flakes
8.  ½ tsp. fine salt
9.  ½ tsp. ground black pepper

For the Accompanying Vegetables:
10. 1 medium size sweet potato approx 350g. , peeled and cut into small cubes
11.  150g spinach leaves

For the Topping:
12. 2 tbsp. of vegetable oil
13. 1 tsp. or clove of garlic, finely grated
14. 1 dried Kashmiri chili
15. 4 curry leaves
16. ½ tsp. cumin seeds
17. ½ tsp. black mustard seeds
18. 1 cinnamon bark approx. 3 inch in length
19. ½ tsp. coriander powder

For Garnish (Optional):
20. A handful of fresh coriander leaves, finely chopped and or fried onions

For the Dhal Base:
1. In a medium size pan, place all the ‘Dhal Base’ ingredients listed above. Allow to simmer for 10 minutes, on a low heat without covering the pan with a lid.

For the Accompanying Vegetables:
2.  After 10 minutes of simmering time, add the sweet potatoes into your Dhal base and continue to simmer for another 10-15 minutes  until the sweet potatoes are cooked. (It is important to ensure that the sweet potatoes are cut into small cubes and of equal size to cook them evenly). Then add the spinach and cooked for just 1 minute.


For the Topping:
3. On a separate frying pan, heat 2 tbsp. of vegetable oil. Add all the ‘Topping’ ingredients listed above and fry for 2 minutes. Pour this over on top of your Dhal and garnish with some fresh coriander leaves.


Serve hot with a nice warm naan or chapati. If you’d like to make your own chapati you can find the recipe on this link: Chapati

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • LinkedIn
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS

Baked Alaska with lemon curd (Omelette norvégienne)


An electric whisk, a big bowl, 2 of 7′inch round baking tin and a 3′ inch cookie cutter

Ingredients Serves 4:

For the Madeira Cake:
1. 75g. unsalted butter
2. 75g. caster sugar
3. 2 medium size eggs. lightly beaten
4. 113g. self raising flour
5. 1/2 lemon, zest only
6. 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
7. 1 tbsp. of full fat milk
8. 2 tbsp. Pousse Rapier (alternatively you can use Grand Marnier or other types of Orange Liqueur)

For the Lemon Curd:
9. 2 small lemon zest and juice.
10. A pinch of salt
11. 50g sugar
12. 50g melted unsalted butter
13. 4 egg yolks

For the Alaska:
14. 4 big scoops of good quality Madagascan vanilla ice cream
15. 65g egg whites
16. 50g caster sugar
17. 1/2 tbsp. lemon juice
18. Pinch of salt
19. 1 tbsp. of Flaked Alomnds

For the Madeira cake:
1. Pre-heat the oven to 180C. Grease and flour your 2 baking tin, line the base with greaseproof paper and grease the paper again.




2. Next, cream the butter and sugar together in a bowl until pale and fluffy. Add the lightly beaten eggs, one at a time, beating the mixture well between each one and adding a tablespoon of the flour with the last egg. This process although time consuming will make sure that your mixture doesn’t curdle.
3. After adding the last egg, mix again for a minute, then gently fold in your lemon zest and 1 tbsp. of milk.




4. Pour your mixture into your baking tin and bake on the middle shelf of the oven for 15-20 minutes, or until golden-brown on top and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
5. Once your cake is baked, remove from the oven and set aside to cool in the tin for 10 minutes, then turn it out on to a wire rack and leave to cool completely. Before brushing it all over with Pousse Rapier. Then finally using a cookie cutter, cut the 4 small cakes.







For the Lemon Curd:
6. Put the lemon zest and juice, salt, sugar and butter into a small saucepan and heat gently until the sugar and butter have melted. Remove from the heat. Leave to cool for a minute, add beaten egg yolks and whisk all together.
7. Turn the pan onto a low heat again, whilst constantly whisking. Once the curd thickens, remove from the heat. Cover with a cling film once cooled, refrigerate for at least an hour, preferably overnight. Once ready for use, spread the lemon curd on each cakes.


For the Alaska:
8. First, Pre-heat the oven to 230C.
9. Place a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top of the lemon curd. Place in the fridge to prevent the ice cream from melting.
10. Then in a clean bowl, add half of the egg whites with the sugar, lemon juice and salt and whisk until soft peaks form.
11. Then add the remaining egg whites, continue whisking until the meringue forms stiff peaks.
12. Spoon the meringue mixture over the ice cream and cake, covering all sides completely. Sprinkle the top with some almonds and bake for 2-3 minutes until the meringue is golden on the top.







Serve immediately.

This dish is fantastic for dinner parties, as it can be prepared in advance. You can make the lemon curd and sponge cake a day before or you can also make everything well in advance and freeze. Once you have covered the cake, lemon curd and ice cream with the meringue it can be frozen in the freezer.  It doesn’t have to be defrosted, to cook it simply place it in a pre-heated oven of 200C to bake for 8-10 minutes until golden all over, bake straight from the freezer.



  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • LinkedIn
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS

Peanut Butter Milk Shake


I love peanut butter milk shake, I also adore peanut butter and chocolate and peanut butter with caramel and ice cream. I even love peanut butter by itself! I think the only other person I know of who loves it more than I do is Charlotte, a friend of mine who is probably the biggest peanut butter fan out there! She and I used to spend our afternoons at work talking about peanut butter chocolates, peanut butter M&Ms and day dream about it until we both feel hungry and annoyed we can’t have it right away!  I have recently discovered a kids paradise near where I live, a shake shop that sells amazing milk shakes, ice cream, sweets and treats for all ages!!

I love going to this shake shop and wouldn’t mind queuing for ages amongst the 4-5 years old just to have my regular Saturday treat ‘ the ultimate peanut butter milk shake’. In one unfortunate Saturdays I couldn’t unfortunately go to my favourite shake shop, so I had to come up with an emergency solution and make it at home instead. Not as good as the Witney Shake Shop peanut butter milk shake, serve with crushed Oreo toppings, but it will do as a Plan B option! Here’s my take on a Plan B Peanut butter milkshake!


A blender


Ingredients Serves 1 (just for me sorry):

1.  300ml full fat milk

2.  4 tbsp. very good vanilla ice cream

3. Reese’s cups (2 packs 6 pieces)

4. 1 tbsp. peanut butter spread

5. A few sprinkles of cocoa powder (optional)


The Peanut Butter Shake:

1. Blend or Blitz all the ingredients except for the cocoa powder for 1 minute and done!


Serve immediately.


  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • LinkedIn
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS



Chapati is a common staple cuisine in India and Pakistan, this unleavened flat bread ‘Chapati’ as it is called in India which means ‘flattened round bread’ can be found all over India, in restaurants, in cafes, in grand hotels and street hawkers sells them too. This is a lovely bread to have with any dish and if you are as terrible as I am using my hands to eat this bread is a saviour! Not only it is useful for scooping food it taste lovely too. I sometimes have this with hummus and sometimes I even use it as a ‘taco like’ shell for a Mexican food. However you eat, I hope you enjoy it!



A frying pan, a food mixer with a dough hook, a large bowl and a rolling pin

Ingredients Serves 2:
1.  300g  chapati flour or wholemeal flour
2.  100ml cold water
3.  a pinch of fine salt
4.  1 tbsp. of gee or butter (for greasing the bowl and to brush the cooked chpati)
5.  4 tbsp. of plain flour for dusting the work surface and rolling the chapatis

The Chapati:
1. Place the flour and salt in a medium bowl, make a well in the middle and slowly pour in the water while mixing to make a dough.
2. Transfer your dough in floured work surface and knead for 8-10 minutes until smooth and elastic, alternatively use a food mixer machine with a dough hook and knead for 5 minutes.

3. Oil a large bowl and transfer your dough, cover with a cling film and leave it to rest for 15 minutes.


4. Now, divide the dough into 6 small balls (small enough to cover it with both of your hands) and roll out each ball on a well-floured work surface as thin as possible.
5. Heat the frying pan over a medium heat (without any oil or gee), once it is very hot cook each chapati, pressing and turning it every now and then. When it begins to puff up, turn it over to cook the other side for another 30 seconds and remove from heat. The cooking time is around 1-2 minutes on both sides or just when it starts to puff up, it should be golden brown in colour.



6. When the chapatis are cooked you can brush it lightly with some gee or butter, it will give it a nice shine and a lovely flavour to it too.


Serve warm.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • LinkedIn
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS