Category Archives: Little Lady Eats At Home

Courgette & Aubergine Curry

The Art of Eating Well arrived on the same day as my first Riverford veg box. I was excited by both, so decided to create a slightly tweaked Hemsley & Hemsley recipe to make room for my extra veggies.

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The result? A sweet, aromatic medley of vegetables that was the perfect antidote to the blisteringly cold weather. So here is my version of Jasmine and Melissa’s recipe – one I’ll make word for word when there’s less veg in town.

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Serves 2 (with yummy leftovers for lunch the next day)

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil (or coconut oil if you’re as good as the girls)
  • 1 red onion, sliced
  • 1 thumb sized piece of root ginger, grated
  • 3 large garlic clothes, diced
  • 1 large leek, chopped
  • 1 large aubergine, chopped into chunks
  • 3 large tomatoes, quartered
  • 1 large purple carrot, diced (thank you Riverford)
  • 1 large courgette, diced
  • 4 Portobello mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 lime (grated zest and juice)
  • 1 tsp maple syrup
  • a handful of chopped fresh herbs (I could only get parsley, which tasted lovely)
  • 1/4 litre of vegetable stock
  • 1 tin of coconut milk

Method

  • Heat the oil in a large pan and lightly fry the garlic, leaks, mushrooms and onion until soft
  • Add the diced carrot, coconut milk and vegetable stock and stir well
  • After six minutes, add the aubergine and stir
  • After ten minutes, add the tomato courgette and lime zest
  • After six minutes, add the maple syrup, lime juice and fresh herbs
  • Serve in a bowl with a scattering of herbs and toasted cashew nuts

Cooking with Rachel Khoo

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Ever since I watched the first episode of The Little Paris Kitchen in 2012, I’ve been a fan of Rachel Khoo. I admired her brave decision to leave her job, friends and family in London to become a chef in Paris. I also loved her quirky style and amazing ability to make the most of a kitchen so tiny, you’d struggle to boil an egg in it, let alone cook dinner for the world’s smallest restaurant (which also happened to be in her sitting room).

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Fast forward two years and she’s published four cookbooks (two French, two English), landed herself a column in the Evening Standard and made two successful TV series, with not one, but two new shows due to start tomorrow night (details below). As you can probably tell, I’m a little bit in awe of this lady, so you can imagine my answer when invited to join a group of bloggers to cook with Rachel Khoo on Thursday night.

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We had a brilliant evening, making two Swedish dishes taken from Rachel’s new show -Spatzle and Smörgåstårta (three days on and I still can’t pronounce either). Rachel was exactly as I expected her to be – vivacious, funny, very pretty and not afraid to speak her mind, despite the backlash it might ensue. She’s also extremely passionate about food, making you want to rush home and spend the weekend cooking dish after dish in your very own London kitchen.

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And so, without further ado, here’s a little video so you can see what we got up to on the night…

 

Rachel’s new shows – Rachel Khoo’s Kitchen Notebook: London and Rachel Khoo’s Kitchen Notebook: Cosmopolitan Cook – both start on Monday 9th June at 9pm and 9.30pm on the Good Food Channel (Sky 247 or Virgin 260). Bon appétit!

Yotam Ottolenghi’s Crunchy Pappardelle

When The Boyfriend gave me Ottolenghi’s book Plenty for my birthday, he promised to make one dish for supper. Four months on, we finally sat down to Yotam’s Crunchy Pappardelle, which was definitely worth the wait.

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Fresh, lemony and fragrant, it was the perfect summer dish and one I’d urge you all to try. So, if you’re not lucky enough to own Yotam’s beautiful book, here’s how you make this lovely recipe (with a few hints and tips from yours truly).

Serves two

Ingredients

  • 50ml olive oil
  • 250g button mushrooms, halved (we used 200g, which was plenty – mind the pun)
  • 100ml white wine
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 thyme sprigs, leaves picked & chopped (we couldn’t get any fresh thyme, so use dried – not as fragrant, but did the job)
  • 1/2 tsp caster sugar
  • 150ml double cream
  • Grated zest of one lemon (we also added the juice of half a lemon)
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 3 tbsp chopped parsley
  • 20g panko breadcrumbs (crisp, Japanese breadcrumbs, but it’s fine to use the bog standard British type – ours came from M&S)
  • 250g Tenderstem or purple sprouting broccoli (again, we had 200g, which was more than enough)
  • 250g pappardelle (fresh or dried)
  • Salt and black pepper

Method

  • Heat the oil in a large saucepan and sauté the mushrooms until they start to take on a lovely golden colour
  • Add the wine, bay leaf, thyme and sugar
  • Bring to the boil, reduce the liquid to a third
  • Add the cream, plenty of salt and pepper
  • Once happy with the flavour, put the lid on to keep the mixture warm and leave to one side
  • In a bowl, mix the lemon zest, garlic and parsley
  • In a pan, toast the breadcrumbs until crisp and golden (this doesn’t take long and no, you don’t need oil or butter)
  • Add the breadcrumbs to the lemon, garlic and parsley mix and leave to one side
  • Tear off any leaves from the broccoli and cut into 6cm long pieces
  • Blanch the broccoli in boiling salted water for 2mins before draining the water
  • Cook the pasta in plenty of boiling, salted water
  • When the pasta’s almost ready, add the broccoli to the cream sauce and reheat, adding a little of the pasta water (do this slowly as you don’t want to dilute the flavour)
  • Drain the pappardelle and add the cream sauce and half the parsley mix
  • Divide the pasta between two bowls and sprinkle the rest of the parsley mix on top
  • Serve immediately

Delia’s Tiger Prawn Risotto

I’m a big fan of Delia Smith, so was sad to see her blasted in the media last week. It was outdated to criticise her fellow celebrity chefs for making food ‘theatre’ and producing programmes that put fear into cooking, but let’s not forget, Delia’s a traditional cook with traditional values. She’s not molecular Heston, scary Marcus Wareing or spoon licking Nigella. 

So to remind you why we love the queen of boiled eggs, here’s my favourite, ever so slightly amended, Delia recipe – the failsafe, absolutely delicious, Tiger Prawn Risotto.

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Serves 4 (generously)

Ingredients

  • 350g of cooked and peeled tiger prawns (defrosted if frozen)
  • 350g arborio risotto rice
  • 4 cans of Baxter’s Luxury Lobster Bisque
  • 80g butter
  • 2 medium onions, peeled and finely chopped
  • 150ml dry sherry
  • 100g finely grated Gruyere
  • 4 tbsp whipping cream
  • Salt and pepper
  • Mixed salad leaves to serve

Method

  • Place a large baking dish in the oven to pre-heat at 150°C
  • In a large saucepan, melt the butter and, over a medium heat, sauté the onion for 7-8 minutes until soft
  • Stir in the rice so it gets a good coating of butter
  • Pour in the lobster bisque, sherry and season
  • Give the mixture a stir and bring it to simmering point before pouring the whole lot into the piping hot baking dish
  • Return to the oven and cook, uncovered, for 35 minutes
  • When the time is up, take out of the oven, give it a stir and taste the rice. If the rice is too al dente, return to the oven for another 5-10 minutes, adding a little vegetable stock if needed
  • Pre-heat the grill on its highest setting
  • When the rice is as you like it, take the dish out of the oven and stir in the prawns
  • Next, drizzle the cream on top, scatter the Gruyere and place under the grill for 2-3 minutes until the cheese is golden brown and bubbling
  • Serve straight away with a side salad

Simple Sicilian Salad

I admit, my title is a little misleading. This isn’t a typical Sicilian recipe, but it is a simple salad that we made for lunch in Sicily, using Sicilian ingredients. I hadn’t eaten watermelon with prosciutto before, but the sweet refreshing flavour of the fruit did a great job cutting through the saltiness of the meat and made an interesting pairing to the Mozzarella. Plus, I’ve just read watermelon is actually related to cucumber, so no surprise that they sit happily together too!

Serves 2

Ingredients

  • 1 half moon slice of watermelon (about 2 cm thick)
  • 1/2 ball of fresh mozzarella
  • Ten slices of prosciutto or Parma ham
  • Half a cucumber (home grown is best)
  • A drizzle of olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

Method

  • Start by tearing the slices of meat in half and arranging it on a plate in little bundles
  • Chop the mozzarella into bite sized chunks and place around the meat
  • Slice the cucumber and again, add it to the plate. Repeat with the watermelon
  • Finish with a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkling of salt and pepper
  • If you want to beef up the salad, add some leaves, such as rocket (below)

Lemon Drizzle Cake

I’m not going to lie, when my friend J asked me to bake a cake for her wedding, I felt surprised and a little overwhelmed. I mean, I may think I’m a bit of a culinary queen, but make a wedding cake, was she mad?! Luckily, the only mad one was me, as it turned out my cake would join numerous other sweet things on a table during the reception.

So, I decided to make my mum’s Lemon Drizzle Cake, which with a little self-PR during the wedding, went down a treat with the guests (she says smugly).

Ingredients

  • 4oz soft margarine
  • 6oz caster sugar
  • 6oz self raising flour
  • 1tsp baking powder
  • 2 eggs
  • Grated rind of a lemon
  • 4 tblsp milk
  • 6 oz icing sugar
  • 1/2 juice of a lemon

Method

  • Pre heat the oven to 170°C
  • Line a loaf tin with baking parchment
  • Aside from the icing sugar and lemon juice, put all other ingredients in a bowl and beat well
  • Pour the mixture into the loaf tin and bake for one hour (check it after 50 minutes in case you have a quick oven!)
  • Whilst the cake is cooking, make the topping by mixing the icing sugar with the lemon juice until there are no lumps
  • When cooked, remove the cake from the oven
  • Whilst the cake is still hot and still in its tin, make holes in the top with a skewer
  • Pour the topping over the cake so it drips down through the holes
  • Eat once cooled with a cup of tea (it was champagne in our case), or freeze and defrost when needed

Nigel Slater’s Mushroom Tart

It’s Sunday night. The rain is falling…again. And, Murray has just lost to Federer in the Wimbledon finals. If you’re anything like me, these three slightly depressing things will make you turn to food, such as Nigel Slater’s wonderfully simple mushroom tart.

Taken from one of his first books The 30 Minute Cook, this recipe is the reason why you should always have puff pastry in the freezer, a pack of mushrooms on your shopping list, parsley growing in your garden, garlic in the cupboard and butter in a dish. Yes, just five ingredients result in delicious comfort food that makes sunday nights, rain and Murray’s loss a thing of the past.

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 500g mushrooms (I would go for portobello or chestnut)
  • 100g soften butter
  • 4 cloves of garlic, sliced
  • 4 tablespoons of chopped parsley
  • 350g defrosted puff pastry

Method

  • Preheat the oven to 220°C
  • Cut the mushrooms into bite sized chunks
  • Mix the butter with the garlic
  • Fry the mushrooms in a pan with half the garlic butter
  • Stir in the parsley
  • On a lightly floured surface, roll out the pastry into a rectangle
  • Place the pastry on a baking sheet
  • Using a knife, score a smaller rectangle 1 1/2 inches from the edge of the pastry
  • Fill the innermost rectangle with the mushroom mixture
  • Place in the oven and bake for 15minutes
  • Take out the oven and dot the remaining butter over the mushrooms and pastry rim
  • Put back in the oven for 5-7minutes until the pastry is golden
  • Serve straight from the oven with some salad (I went for rocket drizzled with balsamic vinegar and sprinkled with parmesan)