Chocolate and Coconut Macaroon Tart

Rich, chewy and chocolatey

Does rich unctuous chocolate ganache, sitting on a crispy chewy macaroon base sound good, yep it sounded good to me too.

This recipe is super simple, and has only 5 ingredients. It’s also gluten free, so it’s perfect if you’re cooking for friends. Delicious served along ice cream as a dessert, but I enjoy it with a cup of strong coffee.

Serves 8

Ingredients

300 Grams Dessicated coconut

1/2 Tsp salt

350 ml Condensed milk

300 Grams Dark chocolate

250 ml Double cream

I couldn’t wait to let it cool before trying some, because it smelled so good

Method

  • Combine the condensed milk, salt and coconut in a bowl and mix well
  • Grease a 24cm round springform cake tin
  • Empty the coconut mixture into the tin. With the back of a spoon, press the coconut into the of the tin and up about 4cm at the sides of the tin
  • Bake in an oven preheated to 200 degrees for 15-20 minutes, until golden brown
Allow the base to cool before removing the springform
  • While the base is cooling, heat cream until just before boiling
  • Break the chocolate into small pieces in a bowl and pour the hot cream on top. Whisk the chocolate and cream together until the chocolate has totally melted
  • When the base is cool top with the chocolate mixture and set aside to cool completely (I couldn’t wait, but you might have more self control)

Burrito Pie

This is one of those brilliant comfort food dishes that you can make ahead and let it sit in the fridge for a couple of days. This also freezes brilliantly.

The original version of this dish was really meat heavy, so I tweaked it to add more vegetables to make it a bit healthier. Even with less meat it’s still really satisfying.

Burrito Pie

Serves 6

Ingredients

250 Grams Minced beef

100 Grams Mushrooms

1 Onion

1 Red pepper

400 Gram Can refried beans (these are really expensive, so usually I blitz a can of kidney beans along with a few àtablespoons of vegetable stock in a blender, which costs about a third of the price

2 x 400 Gram Cans of chopped tomatoes

100 Ml Vegetable stock

150 Grams Sweetcorn

125 Grams Black olives

1Tsp Ground Cumin

1Tsp Chilli flakes

1Tsp Salt

3 Cloves of garlic (minced)

1Tbsp Tomato Puree

Handful of chopped coriander

150 Grams Grated cheese (I used cheddar because this is what I had, but you can use which ever cheese you prefer)

6 Flour tortillas

Method

  1. Fry the minced beef, and when brown add the chopped onions, peppers, tomato puree and mushrooms, cook until tender.
  2. Add the beans, sweetcorn, olives, chopped tomatoes, vegetable stock, salt, chilli flakes, garlic and cumin
  3. Simmer over a medium heat for 15-20 minutes, until this mixture has thickened
  4. Preheat your oven to 200 degrees, and line an 8 inch spring form cake tin with parchment paper
  5. When the burrito mixture has thickened add the chopped coriander and check the seasoning
  6. Put enough burrito mix to cover a thin layer in the base of the tin. Add a tortilla and top with another layer of the burrito mix and sprinkle with grated cheese.
  7. Continue until you have used up all the mix and cheese. Bake for 30 minutes, and allow to sit in the tin for another 10 minutes before cutting. Serve with sour cream and salad

Saag Paneer

Saag Paneer

Eating low carb is becoming increasingly popular. While I’ve never met a carb I didn’t like, I tried this recipe for a friend who shuns my beloved carbs. I have to say this is really tasty and satisfying (it’s even nicer with a naan bread on the side).

If you haven’t tried paneer before, you can find it in most supermarkets. It’s a semi firm Indian cheese that takes on a nutty flavour when fried (fried cheese, what’s not to love).

Serves 2 as a main or 4 people as a side dish

Ingredients

500 Gram bag of frozen spinach

200 Grams Paneer

25 Grams Butter/Ghee

3 Cloves of garlic (finely chopped)

Thumb sized piece of ginger (grated)

1 Green chilli pepper (finely chopped)

1 Tsp Dried tumeric

1 Tbsp Garam Masala (curry powder)

Method

  1. Defrost the spinach, and squeeze out as much excess water as you can
  2. In a large frying pan,over a medium heat, melt the butter
  3. Add the paneer to the pan and fry until it turns golden brown, stirring occasionally to make sure its brown on all sides
  4. Remove the paneer from the pan and add the ginger, garlic and chilli for a few minutes
  5. Add the Tumeric, garam masala and spinach and cook for a further 5 minutes
  6. Add the paneer to pan, stir well and cook for 2 more minutes before serving

Home Made Harissa Paste

Harisss Paste

I love harissa, it’s fantastically versatile and can be made for a fraction of the price of the pre made brands. Visit your local Asian supermarket to buy your spices, and this will be even cheaper.

Harissa is great smeared on chicken or lamb before cooking. It’s also delicious mixed with yoghurt and drizzled over roast vegetables, or mixed with mayonnaise to add some zing to toasted sandwiches or burgers. This traditional Moroccan paste makes any tagine come alive.

This recipe will make a large jar of harissa paste that will live quite happily in your fridge for several weeks, or you can share with a friend. It also makes a nice gift for anyone who’s a foodie. This is quite firey, so use with care at first.

Spice Mix

Ingredients

120 Grams Chilli flakes

1 Tsp Carraway seeds

1 Tsp Coriander Seeds

1 Tbsp Cumin Seeds

1 Tsp Salt

4 Cloves of garlic

3 Tbsp Olive oil

Method

  1. Cover the chilli flakes with boiling water, and soak for 30 minutes before draining through a sieve.
  2. In a dry frying pan toast the cumin, coriander, and carraway seeds until you smell the spices. You can grind these with a pestle and motar. I don’t have one, so I used the end of a rolling pin which worked well
  3. In a food processor, combine all the ingredients and whizz until the paste start to look smooth
  4. Transfer to a clean jar and keep in the fridge for up to 4 weeks

Feta Scrambled Eggs

Feta Scrambled Eggs

This makes a really tasty weekend breakfast dish, when you’re feeling a little hung over and needing something to get you feeling human again. It’s also great for a quick lunch, or if you get in from work and want to make something that will be ready in 5 minutes. This along with some hot buttered toast is my weekend happy place.

Serves 2

Ingredients

1 Tbsp. Olive Oil

4 x Eggs

100 grams Feta Cheese (most supermarkets sell “salad cheese” which is essentially the same thing but cheaper)

Salt and pepper

Egg and feta mixed together

You can add extras like chopped olives, or spring onions/scallions or chives, but it’s also delicious just as it is.

Serves 2

Method

  1. Heat the oil in a frying pan.
  2. Cut the Feta in into 1cm chunks
  3. Crack 4 eggs into a bowl and whisk.
  4. Add eggs, and feta, and stir the mixture as the eggs scramble, season with salt and pepper
  5. When the eggs are cooked to your liking serve up with toast, (this is also delicious with crispy bacon if you’re a meat eater)

Ditch the Diet Chicken Pie

I know what you’re thinking, big woo chicken pie, but trust me this is delicious. Yes, there is a lot of wine and cream, but it also has a lot of vegetables (in my mind that sort of balances it out).

This is a pie to make when you have plenty of people to feed, and it is really satisfying. Serve it with salad in the Summer, or if you’re making it in colder weather it’s fantastic with buttery mashed potatoes and greens. I used shop bought pastry (there I’ve said it, and I’m not even sorry, sometimes life is just too short)

Rich and unctuous, you’re definitely going to want a big slice if this.

Serves 6-8

Ingredients

1 Sheet ready made short crust pastry (you can also use puff pastry if you prefer_

500 Grams Butternut squash

2 Tbsps Vegetable oil

500 Grams Chicken thighs (bones and skins removed)

2 Red peppers

1 Green pepper

2 Sticks of celery

150 Grams Green beans

150 Grams Sweet Corn

Half bottle of white wine ( this was the amount of wine I had hanging around the kitchen, you can reduce this, or remove it and add 250 ml of chicken stock if you would rather not use wine)

2 Tsps Dijon mustard

1 Egg

2 Tbsp Sesame seeds (optional)

Salt and Pepper

The pie filling is so delicious, you’ll have to stop yourself eating it all before you top it with pastry.

Method

  1. Chop the butternut squash into 3-4cm chunks add to a baking tray and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil before baking for 20 mins in an oven preheated to 200 degree
  2. While the butternut squash is roasting, chop your chicken, peppers, celery, and onion into 3-4 cm pieces (I like the filing fairly chunky)
  3. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large pan, and on a high heat cook your chicken until its sealed. Remove the chicken from the pan, reduce the heat and add the onions, peppers and celery and cook for 5 minutes
  4. Add the green beans, corn, butternut squash and chicken to the pan and add the white wine
  5. Cook on a high heat for 5 minutes until the alcohol has burned of the wine (you can tell this by having a could sniff of the pan, and if it doesn’t make your nose tingle the alcohol has burned off)
  6. Now add the cream and mustard and stir well, it will seem like there is a lot of liquid, but trust me if you continue to cook over a medium heat for another 15 minutes it will thicken into a really delicious sauce
  7. Once the sauce has thickened check the seasoning and add salt and pepper if you think it needs it. Transfer the contents of the pan into a large baking dish, and allow to cool
  8. When the pie filling is cool, pre-heat your oven to 180 degrees and drape your sheet of pastry over the filling. Brush with a beaten egg to get a nice glaze. I also sprinkled mine with sesame seeds because I love them, but don’t stress if you don’t have them, the pie will still be delicious. Cook for 25-30 minutes until the pastry is a deep golden brown

Ugandan Rolex

A friend randomly asked me one day if I had ever tried a Ugandan Rolex. I have to say I was a bit taken back. If I’m totally truthful I was afraid it was one of those weird sex things you read about in the urban dictionary. Turns out it was quite innocent, and I apparently have a filthy mind.

A Ugandan Rolex is a super quick and tasty vegetarian street food from Uganda, and Rolex bits comes from rolled eggs. Fresh vegetables cooked in a thin omelette and wrapped in chapati, it’s that simple. The ingredients are mixed up in a cup before frying (street vendors don’t have the time or work space for multiple bowls and utensils). This really is fuel for the whole day.

All the ingredients are mixed in a large mug.

So you now you know, if someone offers you a Ugandan Rolex you don’t need to looked shocked or possibly disappointed!

Serves 1

Ingredients

1 Chapati

1 Tbsp Cabbage (finely chopped)

1 Tbsp Grated carrot

1 Tbsp Tomato (finely chopped, I had cherry tomatoes in the fridge, but regular tomatoes work just as well)

1 Tbsp Onion (finely chopped, I used scallions/spring onions, but either works well as long as they’re finely sliced)

1 Tbsp Vegetable Oil

2 Large eggs

Make a thin omlettein a large flat bottomed pan.

Method

  1. Heat the oil in a large frying pan
  2. Add the vegetables to a large mug, and crack in 2 eggs and stir
  3. Pour the eggs and vegetables into the pan, and cook until set on one side
  4. Carefully turn the egg mixture and cook for a minute on the other side (if it breaks don’t worry, it’s getting wrapped up anyway)
  5. Top with a chapati, and turn out on to a plate before wrapping it up tightly and scoffing