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Sunday, 24 July 2011

Crab, Smoked Paprika & Lime Crostini

This crostino makes a great starter or light lunch, and it is a nice change from the usual mayo-lemon-crab combination. The smoked paprika works perfectly with the "limey" mayo, encasing the crab in a creamy, rich sauce, the whole thing sitting on a bed of crunchy bread and fresh salad leaves.

Pennette Pasta with Fresh Crab, Plum Tomatoes & Chilli

Crab is in season and I found a beautiful specimen on display on the counter at my fishmonger's, having arrived fresh from Devon on the same morning. A tip on crab: if you can, buy a whole one and pick the meat out yourself, as you will end up with infinitely more delicious white meat than if you'd buy a dressed crab. Sure, it involves a little effort, however for only £10 a whole crab gave me a massive bowl of white crabmeat, which generously serves four people.

Monday, 18 July 2011

Baked Chicken & Aubergine Curry

This recipe is from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's "Everyday" cookbook. However, the original version did not include vegetables, while I added okra to mine the very first time I made it, and aubergines this time around.  I instantly liked the idea of a baked curry dish as it leaves more room on the stove to cook the accompaniments, and the sauce tastes more intense. I advise you to make this a few hours before serving it and to let it rest, so that it develops more flavour; then re-heat in the oven when you are ready to sit down to dinner.

Sunday, 10 July 2011


One of the most popular Italian desserts,  tiramisú means "pick me up",  due to the many energising ingredients that make this pudding.  Eggs, sugar, coffee and liqueur will reinvigorate you with a boost of calories and stimulants that would keep you going for a while. Next time you need to power through a studying session or need to prep all night for a work presentation, swap your Redbull with a bowl of tiramisú - there are less chemicals and the taste is a thousand times better ;-)

Saturday, 9 July 2011

Thai Green Chicken Curry

It's fragrant, aromatic, hot and totally delicious. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you...the Thai green chicken curry! You can of course make it with ready-made bought curry paste, however I am yet to find one that beats the freshly made stuff. True, it takes a trip to the large supermarket or an Asian food shop to buy the necessary ingredients (I must confess I am lucky enough to live near a Thai deli), however once you have them all in front of you, it takes 5 minutes to make the paste. And your kitchen will smell fantastic!

Orecchiette Pasta with Tomatoes, Olives and Rocket

We could call this the offspring of a peppery bowl of rocket salad and a tomato sauce pasta dish, who met on a warm summer evening and produced this tasty supper :-) There are so few ingredients here, you need the best tomatoes, olives and rocket you can find, as they all have to contribute with intense, bold flavours. I chose orecchiette (a pasta shape typical from the Puglia region in Italy, which translates as "little ears") because their concave conformation is ideal to receive this thick sauce, and keep it in their little pockets, ready to explode in your mouth.

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Smoked Eel Paté

Forget smoked salmon, smoked eel is the daddy! It makes the most incredible, delicately flavoured paté, of an attractive pale pink. I bought mine from London Borough Market, but any fishmonger worth its salt should be able to track it down for you, if you order it in advance. Not the cheapest item on the menu, but this paté is so rich that a little goes a long way, and after all, precious things come in little packages.

Chocolate Cake

Chocolate cake, i.e. pure pleasure served on a plate. There are many variations out there, but for me it has to be a soft, moist sponge covered in thick, luscious chocolate icing. Only use the best dark chocolate you can find for this; Divine or Green & Blacks never disappoint.

Monday, 7 February 2011

Steak with Peppercorn Sauce & French Fries

This is such a gastropub classic and one of my all time favourites. Nothing says "special treat" like a medium-rare steak bathed in spicy peppercorn sauce and accompanied by thin, crisp french fries. A glass of wine wouldn't go amiss, either. You know the old saying: "steak and red wine, and you'll be fine". I couldn't agree more! Make sure you use the best meat you can afford. I used rump steak, obtained from a outdoor-reared, organically fed Red Devon cow, hung for four weeks (produced by my boyfriend's mum farm, luckily enough for me!).