Chorizo & jalapeño macaroni cheese

It’s officially comfort food season, and it doesn’t get much more comforting than a bubbling hot bowl of macaroni cheese, does it? Probs not.

I do, however, find that a classic mac & cheese can be a bit one dimensional and get sickly, so I love making this version instead – it’s studded with salty, smoky nuggets of chorizo and spicy, tangy, pickled jalapeños to help to cut through the cheese, plus there’s a breadcrumb topping for a bit of extra texture.

N.B. I’m well aware that everyone has their own feelings on how wet they like their macaroni cheese – some prefer a very oozy, liquid sauce while some prefer a slightly stiffer filling. This one is closer to the latter, (but definitely not dry!) So if you prefer it super oozy, just add a little more milk to your béchamel.

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Spiced baked feta fattoush

If you’re looking for a new summer salad to serve at your next BBQ, gathering, or just for dinner, then look no further. This is my next-level twist on a classic Lebanese fattoush salad, combining the usual chunky veg, fresh herbs, sumac dressing and crunchy pitta chips, but with the addition of toasty, aromatic spices and sumac-sprinkled baked feta to really take it up a notch.

Spiced, baked feta fattoush

Serves 4

Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 20 mins

3 white pitta breads
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp coriander seeds
¼ -½ tsp hot smoked paprika
olive oil
1 x 200g block feta
1 tsp sumac,
plus extra couple pinches for the feta
6 large vine tomatoes
1 cucumber
200g radishes
4 spring onions
½ bunch mint,
leaves picked
½ bunch parsley
1 lemon
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar

Method

  1. Heat your oven to 200/180 fan. While the oven is heating, cut your pitta breads into (roughly 4cm) chunks and spread them over a large baking tray. Lightly crush your cumin and coriander seeds in a pestle & mortar and sprinkle over the pitta chips, along with ¼ tsp of hot smoked paprika (or ½ if you like it hot), plenty of sea salt and a good grind of black pepper.

  2. Line a small baking tray with foil, grease with a tiny bit of olive oil, then top with the block of feta. Drizzle with more olive oil and sprinkle with two pinches of sumac. Bake for 20 mins, but set a timer for ten mins too (as this is when you’ll put your pitta chips in).

  3. Now, to prep the veg: cut the cucumber down the middle lengthways then use a teaspoon to scrape out the seeds. Cut each down the middle lengthways again, then into chunks. Slice your spring onions diagonally. Chop your tomatoes into big chunks, then take the tops of your radishes and cut those into quarters if big, halves if small. Chuck those all into a large salad bowl. Finely chop your herbs and set aside for later.

  4. When your baked feta has been in the oven for ten mins, drizzle your pitta chunks with olive oil and shove those in the oven too (top shelf) to bake for the final 10 mins, until crisp and golden.

  5. While both are in the oven, prep your dressing: in a small bowl, whisk together 4 tbsp olive oil, the juice of a lemon, 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar, 1 tsp sumac, sea salt and pepper.

  6. After 20 mins your feta should be golden round the edges and your pittas should be crisp. Remove from the oven and leave to cool for 10 mins.To serve, toss the veg in dressing, then tip in the pittas and toss again. Taste and season if necessary. Then place the baked feta on the top, ready to break it up with a spoon right before serving.

Roasted cherry tomatoes with whipped ricotta & crispy capers

It’s tomato season hunnies! And when tomatoes are all sweet and juicy and delicious, don’t you just want to eat them ALL THE TIME? ‘Cos I do. I thought beautiful, sweet pops of warm roasted cherry tomatoes would pair beautifully with salty, crispy capers and cold, creamy ricotta, flecked with fresh lemon zest, oregano and parmesan, hence the birth of this dish. It’s a real heavenly combo and a proper taste of summer.

This is a really easy but impressive looking dish which means it’s great for a dinner party starter (served with focaccia for mopping it all up) or as part of a spread at a party or picnic. If you don’t eat it all on the day, the leftovers are great stirred through pasta.

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Warm goat’s cheese salad with shallot vinaigrette

I don’t want to be that kind of w*nker that tells everyone that they spent their year abroad in France, but what can I say, I am that w*nker. I’m a HUGE France fan – its language, its culture and its food. I even have a degree in it (oo la la, right?) And, for me, no trip to France is complete without eating a salade de chevre chaud aka a warm goat’s cheese salad.

This absolute classic is on the menu at pretty much every French restaurant/bistro out there and it’s one of the very few salads I make regularly. It’s SO simple but very effective, mainly because cheese-on-bread, you know?

This recipe is for one person as it’s the kind of thing you make yourself for lunch or a light dinner, but it’s very easily doubled.

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One-pan baked orzo with feta & olives

I love this super easy, one-pot orzo dish – the oregano, lemon, feta and olives really make it sing and give a nice Summery, Greek vibe which we probably all need in our lives right now in the absence of a holiday.

I know it sounds annoying and extra fancy but if you can get your hands on some good quality dried oregano, like proper wild oregano or something like this (it’s amazing), then it really does make a difference to the dried stuff you get in supermarkets. Or you could use fresh and it would sing even more.

OH BTW, where I’ve said 80-100g feta and olives, that’s really down to you. I love things super salty so I go for the full 100g of each but not everyone is as much a salt fiend as me.

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Pulled mushroom tacos with quick corn salsa

Although my black bean & chorizo tacos are a staple at home, I generally try to cook meat-free meals during the week, so I wanted to create an easy, yet satisfying vegetarian taco recipe that people will want to go back to time and time again. Enter my ‘pulled’ portobello mushroom tacos with a super easy, five-ingredient sweetcorn salsa (it uses tinned sweetcorn to save time but, if you want to make it more special, it would work excellently with barbecued or griddled fresh corn). The best bit? The whole meal can be ready in 30 minutes.

I’ve seen several recipes making tacos with shredded or ‘pulled’ oyster mushrooms as a vegan alternative to pulled pork, but as oyster mushrooms still aren’t easily available in all major supermarkets, I decided to use portobello mushrooms instead (inspired by my recipe writer pal Elena Silcock who once did something similar).

P.s – this is vegan-friendly if you omit the feta.

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The best sandwiches in London

Apparently, it’s British Sandwich Week (13-22 May 2021), so I’ve decided to finally share a post that I’ve been meaning to write for about a year, on where to find the best sandwiches in London.

Those who know me know that I love a good sarnie, but that I’m a real snob about them. What I mean is, for me, cold, boxed-up sandwiches from Pret, supermarket meal deals, service stations and the like can get in the bin (unpopular opinion, I know). I only want PROPER sandwiches in my life – sandwiches made with love, care and excellent-quality, homemade bread that are stuffed to the brim with unique, exciting, delicious fillings. So, this is my list of all the places in London where you can find exactly that.

8 of the best sandwiches in London*

*(in my opinion)

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20 minute hot chocolate puddings

We’ve all been there – that moment when dinner is over and the craving for pudding suddenly becomes overwhelming. In these times, a piece of fruit, a biscuit or a few chunks of chocolate just won’t cut it, I want a proper pudding – something hot, comforting and delicious.

Enter my super speedy, gooey, hot chocolate puddings, which are ready in just twenty minutes, from the moment your brain thinks ‘I need pudding’ to the moment these bad boiz are in front of you. So, there’s really no excuse for buying something ready-made.

FYI, these are very rich and gooey (not for the faint-hearted). And if you really want to do things properly, you should top these hot puds with a scoop of cold vanilla ice-cream. You won’t regret it.

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Roasted asparagus & new potato salad with feta yogurt

‘Tis the season! The British asparagus season that is. For me, seeing asparagus in the greengrocers and on restaurant menus is one of the exciting, hopeful signs that summer is on its way (the season runs from late April- June). I was kindly sent a few bunches by the British Asparagus team this week, so I decided to make this recipe, mainly because I had feta in the fridge and thought it would be a good idea. Turns out, it was.

A quick note about the preserved lemon – you don’t necessarily need to buy it especially for this recipe if you don’t think you’ll use it in anything else (because only a very small amount is needed), BUT if you do happen to have some in the fridge, then I highly recommend it as I think it works amazingly with the feta. I use these ones, from Belazu.

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Miso roasted cabbage with chilli honey cashews

Soft, sweet and deliciously charred pointed cabbage pairs perfectly with super savoury, umami miso. I often see miso cabbage as a side on restaurant menus, but I wanted to make a full meal out of it.

On the first recipe test, I served the miso cabbage with just rice, spring onions, coriander and a sprinkling of sesame seeds and it was nice, but I felt it could have done with a little something more.

So, on my second test, I made some super simple honey-chilli cashew nuts to add a bit of sweet-salty-spicy crunch to the dish, and it was delightful. So, what I’m saying is, the cashews are kind of optional, but if you can be bothered, I strongly advise making them, for that extra je ne sais quoi.

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