It’s Mother’s day and though she isn’t with us any more, I made my Mum’s signature dish, Pavlova. She wasn’t a fantastic cook, but she made a mean Pavlova. I didn’t ever get her recipe. So if you have a loved one who makes something you adore, remember to spend the time with them and get them to teach you how to make it. Food is one of the best ways to keep a little bit of that person with you.
Meringue has always been my culinary nemisis. I’ve struggled to make a decent one for years and I think I’ve cracked it thanks to the sainted Mary Berry (this is her recipe) .
I’ve used the traditional strawberries, but you can use any fruit you prefer.
This is a real crowd plesser, and is also a delicious gluten free dessert. Don’t panic if the meringue cracks, the topping will hide this, and the marshmallowy centre is a nice contrast to the crunchy exterior.
You can make the meringue the day before (keep in an airtight box) and decorate just before serving.
For the meringue
6 Egg whites
350 Grams Sugar
1 Tsp cornflour
1 Tbsp Vinegar
250 ml Whipping or double cream
Berries or other fruit to decorate
Pre heat your oven to 150 degrees (Celsius)
Add your egg whites to the bowl of your mixer and at a high speed until it reaches firm peaks
Continue mix and add the sugar a spoonful at a time, then add the cornflour and vinegar (which should be mixed together before adding to the meringue mix
Draw a circle on a sheet of parchment paper and put a small dab of meringue on the corners of a baking sheet before laying the parchment on top (this helps keep it in place)
Spoon your meringue on the circle you drew on the parchment (I like to keep meringue a quite tall, but you can go for a slightly flatter wider one if you prefer)
Place in the oven, and lower the heat to 140 degrees, bake for 1 hour, then the oven off and open the oven door slightly. Leave the meringue in the oven until it is entirely cold
Just before you are due serve, top with whipped cream and strawberries
Vegans and those with gluten intolerances often draw the short straw when it comes to desserts. These lovely little Brownies are really chocolatety and don’t make you feel like you’re missing a thing.
A friend told me about these after she saw the recipe online, so apologies if I’m not giving credit to whoever came up with recipe, but she couldn’t remember the site.
With only 3 ingredients these are great to knock up from stuff you have in the cupboards. Because I hate food waste, I always freeze over ripe bananas if I’m not going to eat them. Freeze them whole with their skin on, and they’re perfect for using in recipes like this or banana bread
3 Ripe bananas (mashed)
120 Grams Peanut butter
50 Grams Cocoa powder
Preheat your oven to 180 degrees (Celsius)
In a large bowl, mash the banana, then add the cocoa powder and peanut butter and mix until thoroughly combined
Line a 6 in x 6 in tin with baking parchment.
Transfer the Brownie mix to the lined tin and spread evenly.
My friend Mags has been raving about this recipe for ages. We both have a serious bread addiction and this recipe is from a slimming club site. So when she shared the recipe I had to make it. If you’ve ever had Irish wheaten bread this is similar in taste.
It takes two minutes to knock together, can be enjoyed by those who have issues with gluten and is pretty cheap to make. If you want something to keep kids busy this also something to do with them on a rainy afternoon and the will be super pleased with themselves.
It’s not the lightest fluffiest bread, but it is packed full of fibre and perfect served with cheese and chutney or buttered along side soup. I topped mine with some pumpkin seeds for a bit of crunch, but you can also sprinkle with porridge oats.
180 Grams Porridge oats
1 Tsp Salt
1 Tsp Bicarbonate of Soda (baking soda)
Preheat your oven to 180 degrees (Celsius). Grease a load tin, you can also line it with baking parchment if want to (but I just greased the tin really well and it was fine)
Mix the yoghurt, salt and baking soda together, before stirring in the porridge oats
In a separate bowl, crack the egg and whisk with a fork until light and fluffy. Stir into the porridge mix and stir until we’ll combined
Transfer the mix into the loaf tin and bake for 50 minutes. Test with a tooth pick, when it comes out clean it’s ready.
I love a hearty breakfast, and this is quick enough for a weekday breakfast but you might prefer to save it for the weekend as it makes a great brunch/lunch dish.
I have shown quantities per person, so just up the amounts based on how many people you’re cooking for. I know we don’t usually use herbs at breakfast time, but the coriander and mint really make this delicious (I love picking this from my window box). This meal has plenty of fibre and protein and will fuel you for a good part of the day. If you are gluten free, you can swap the wholemeal tortilla for corn tortilla (just make sure to check the label, to ensure they are GF)
Ingredients (per person)
1 Wholemeal torilla
1/2 Avocado (diced)
6 Cherry tomatoes (halved)
1 Spring onion/scallion (finely sliced)
1 Tbsp Mint (finely chopped)
1 Tbsp Coriander (finely chopped)
100 Grams Canned black beans
Chilli powder – according to taste
1 Tsp Oil
Heat oil in a small pan, crack both eggs into the pan (I like to add a little water and cover with a lid so they steam fry, but feel free to cook the eggs your preferred way)
While your eggs are cooking, slice the vegetables and herbs. Place the tortilla on a plate
Place your eggs on top of the tortilla, and use the same pan to warm through the black beans
Scatter the vegetables, herbs and heated black beans, across the tortilla and eggs and sprinkle with chilli powder (or sliced fresh chillies if you prefer) according to how spicy you like your food.
Classic dauphinoise potatoes are loaded with cream and sometimes cheese, and are one of my favourite things to eat.
The first time I made this I had spuds but no cream, so these were basically an experiment. But it was a really yummy one. It’s also nice to mess with the classics sometimes.
I could eat a massive bowl of this on its own, but it’s works really well as a side dish to marinated tempeh or chicken or fish if you’re a carnivore. This is full of creamy, garlicy, chilli gorgeousness.
Left overs are also great heated up with a fried egg on top.
400ml Tin of Coconut mik
3-4 Cloves of Garlic (minced)
1Tsp Chilli flakes
1 Tsp Ground ginger
Preheat your oven to 180 degrees (Celsius)
Peel and slice your potatoes as finely possible. Some people use a mandolin, but I’ve never been able to use one without cutting myself, I just use a kitchen knife
Add the coconut milk, garlic and spices to a saucepan and heat over a gentle heat, add the sliced potatoes and simmer very gently for 10 minutes
Line a baking dish with parchment paper (you don’t have to this, but it does make it easier to clean the dish afterwards)
Add the potatoes to the dish and spread evenly before putting in oven for 40-45 minutes. Test with a fork to make sure the potatoes are soft
Food is one of the best ways to nurture people but also remember those who we loved.
We are in the middle of the Jewish holiday of Hanukah. I’m not Jewish, but my much loved sister in law Bobra Fyne was. She was great at describing the customs surrounding the holiday and was a brilliant story teller (she was one of my favourite people in the world).
She also shared my family’s love of carbs and was an amazing cook, and so I made these as a way to remember her.
This is a simple recipe from Claudia Roden’s The Book of Jewish Food. While grating the potato is a bit of a faff the results are delicious served the traditional accompaniments of sour cream or apple sauce. Similar to a potato rosti, they can be served as an appetiser or side dish.
1 Tsp Salt
Oil for frying
Peel and grate the potatoes, rinse in cold water to remove the starch.
Drain in a colander. Depending on the type of potatoes you use, you might need to put the grated potatoes in a clean tea towel and squeeze out the excess liquid. Transfer to a large bowl
Lightly beat the eggs with the salt and add to the potatoes. Mix until combined
In a large pan, add just enough oil to cover the base and heat over a medium heat
Add a tablespoon of the potato mixture to the pan at a time and flatten slightly so they cook evenly, (they should be thin enough to make sure you don’t have raw potato in the middle)
When brown, turn with a spatula and cook until brown on he other side
My brother made this soup for me and I loved it. He only gave me the recipe on condition of a name check, so thanks Michael.
This is proper comfort food, and while the recipe is Vegan friendly it’s a really hearty stick to your ribs meal in a bowl.
400 Gram Tin of cannelini beans
2 Stalks of celery (fine chopped)
2 Carrots (grated)
1 Onion (finely chopped)
1 Vegetable stock cube (or tablespoon of buillion powder)
2 Cloves of garlic (crushed or very finely chopped)
1 Tbsp Oil
500 ml Boiling water
Add the oil to a deep sauce pan and heat over a medium heat
Add the onion and fry gently for 5 minutes until the onion softens but doesn’t colour
Then add the carrot and celery and cook gently for an other 10 minutes
Stir in the garlic and beans (including half the water they came in), crumble in the stock cube, add the boiling water and stir well. Check the seasoning and add salt and pepper if you feel it needs it
Simmer for 10-15 minutes until the the vegetables are soft and then serve with crusty bread
There are countless versions of Jollof Rice and Chicken across Africa and the Caribbean. The are many reasons why it’s so popular, it’s quick and easy to make, it’s a one pot dish that can feed a family cheaply, and most importantly it’s really delicious.
I mean, tender chicken and really well flavoured rice with vegetables, where could you go wrong. This is also a great dish for using up odd bits of vegetables you have in the fridge
4 Large chicken thighs or 8 small ones (I use the ones with the bone in, as I think it keeps the chicken tender)
1 Tbsp Oil
2 Red peppers (cut into 1-2cm pieces)
1 Onion (cut into 1-2cm pieces)
1Tbsp Tomato puree
400 Gram Tin of chopped tomatoes
1 Red chilli pepper (finely chopped) or 1 tsp chilli powder
1 Tsp Smoked paprika
3 x Cloves of garlic (finely chopped)
Thumb sized piece of ginger (grated, I always keep ginger in the freezer. It stops it going to waste and it’s easier to grate)
250 ml Vegetable/chicken stock (I used a stock cube to make it)
325 Gram Long grain rice, dry weight (I use basmati, but other types are fine)
2 Tbsp Chopped coriander (optional)
Heat the oil in a large flat bottom pan. When hot, add the chicken thighs and seal on both sides
Add the vegetables and tomato puree to the pan and cook for 5 minutes
Add the remaining ingredients to the pan and cover with a lid. Bring to the boil and then reduce to a gentle simmer for 15-20 minutes, adding more water if the rice dries out before it’s cooked
Check the chicken is cooked through and the rice is soft
Do you ever get a bit over zealous when shopping and have stuff hanging about the fridge that you forget about. I do this more often than I should. I recently found a tub of cherry tomatoes that I had forgotten about and were starting to go a bit soft. I decided to cook these long and slow and they tasted fantastic.
I used these as a side dish, but they would be fantastic stirred into some freshly cooked pasta, or served cold in salads or on some crusty bread with some soft cheese. These are every bit as tasty as sun-dried tomatoes. I made quite a small batch of these (because it was a small tub of tomatoes), but I’m definitely going to make bigger batches next time. These can live in your fridge for 3- 4 days in an air tight jar.
250 Grams Cherry tomatoes (halved)
1 Tbsp Olive oil
1/2 Tsp salt
2 Cloves of garlic (roughly chopped)
3-4 Sprigs of thyme or 1/2 Tsp dried thyme
Preheat your oven to 180 degrees
Place all the ingredients on a baking sheet and mix well to ensure the tomatoes are coated in the oil. Bake for 20 minutes
Reduce the heat to 140 degrees and cook for a further 30-40 minutes, until the tomatoes start to look wizened up and starting to char