Friday, 28 September 2012

Kitchen Crushes 11.0

Skandinavian design wins it again.  This amazing home in stockholm is via skandia maklärna - A beautifully designed home and kitchen - I want to live here, don't you?

I'm always coveting Yotam Ottolenghi's recipes from his amazing book Plenty. And here's just another delicious Thai fusion Vegetarian and Gluten Free dish to inspire your tastebuds.  Soba Noodles with Mango and Aubergene.

This week I was dreaming that I was back here when I saw this photograph.  This is the Bay of Islands in the North Island of New Zealand.  The town below is Paihia, and it's beautiful. I visited here in 2009 and wanted to stay forever.  We caught Snapper fish on a fishing trip, took it back to the shore and the baked it on the BBQ fresh and simply with garlic and lemon and some freshly cracked pepper.  When something's as fresh as that, there's no need to add anything else.  Perfect.

I visited Bath last weekend with my Mother and we visited the new Cafe in their newly rennovated Waitrose.  Look at the cups!  Aren't they cute.  That's my Green Tea right there and Mum and I shared some toasties.   Perfect after an exhausting morning shopping!

Have a great weekend everybody!

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Chicago Style Hot Dogs

Get your tools ready

Sometimes I get the urge to travel (I get this urge about every 20 seconds or so during the day).  It’s something I caught long ago when I went travelling and, those who have travelled, will know what I’m getting at here.  Apparently, it’s called the travel-bug.

Anyway, travelling, apart from seeing nice places and meeting nice people, it also introduces you to lots of new, tasty food and drink. 

I’ve never been to Chicago, but my new found Blogger friend and recipe swap guru, Shelly from the blog Vegetarian Ventures lives very near to Chicago and in our latest recipe swap-shop she has encouraged me to give a traditional Chicago style hot dog a go. 

As you can imagine, my arm didn’t need much twisting.  I’d had a hot dog in New York when I visited there and it was really something special – so at the idea of making some Chicago style ones, my tastebuds were jumping up and down and doing a disco dance.

Apart from being absolutely scrumptious, they were so fun to make!  (A great idea to make with kids).  The pickled cornichons (a bit like a gherkin) were very tasty too (and a new discovery for me) and those, mixed with the mustard mayo, the burger relish, tomatos, celery stalks, onion.  Wow…. You’ve got to try them to see exactly what I mean.


Hot dog / finger rolls
Cornichons (pickled in jar)
Tomato and Pepper relish (I used Bransons)
Mustard Mayo (I used Bransons)
A few slices of onion (I used red onion)
A few slices of tomato.
A few sprigs of celery leaves (do you always discard the leaves? Don’t, they’re great to eat!)
A small grating of white cabbage (don’t worry if you don’t have this, it was an added extra I had!)
Hot dog sausages; whatever you like, Pork, Chicken or Beef.  I used some vegetarian Tofu style ones which were delicious!
Cooking spray or vegetable oil


- Heat up the sausages how you like them cooked – boil in water, BBQ, heat over a frying pan – the choice is your’s.

- Cut open the finger rolls and lightly spray or brush with oil.

- Open-side face down, press the roll into the griddle pan or BBQ and toast up the inside.

- Then place the hot dog inside.

- Squirt with the mustard

- Spread one side of the roll with Burger relish

- Line up some of the sliced tomatos on top

- On the bottom side of the roll, line up some sliced Cornichons.

- Sprinkle some of the white cabbage and celery stalks on top.

- Then lay on some of the onion.

- Give a final squirt of mustard mayo.

- Grab it with both hands, and enjoy a tasty Chicago style hot dog! 

Try it and imagine you’ve taken a trip to Chicago for the weekend and have just grabbed a traditional hot dog from a street vendor.  Yum.

Thanks again Shelly!  Check out the dish she made from my recipe swap earlier in the week - it looks incredible, you have to try it this autumn/fall.

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

A whole lot of anticipation for Wholefoods...

The new store will look similar to the London Piccadilly Wholefoods...

Whole Foods Market, the natural and organic grocery store, will open its first store outside of London in Cheltenham in November 2012.

I’m so excited, I’m making my shopping list already...avocados, mangos, quinoa, sushi, cupcakes, tofu, veggie juice, roasted fresh chicken....(I think I’m more excited than I was about the Spice Girls performing at the closing Olympic Ceremony actually, and that takes some beating).

Situated on the Gallagher Retail Park on the Tewkesbury Road, the new store will be a food and beauty store that redefines what you would think of as a supermarket.

The way I describe a Wholefoods store to people who haven’t experienced one is that it’s like Disneyland for food lovers. 

I love that the new store will be a place for parents and children to hang-out and learn all about how to lead a healthy lifestyle, learn some new cookery skills and take home some great local food.  Outside, parents can chat over coffee (weather permitting in the UK!) and inside; breakfast, lunch and dinner will be served up by Wholefoods chefs, demonstrating new food ideas in the demo kitchen.  

I’ll be taking my best friend (who has recently given birth to two amazing twins) because organic food brands such as Ella’s Kitchen and Plum Baby will be on shelf alongside natural nappy brands and skincare brands including Mama Mio and Blossom & Bloom.

Are you excited yet?  I hope so!  Wholefoods will inspire you and show you how to live the healthy lifestyle you’re always dreaming of, so get ready for something amazing.  What are you looking forward to most about the new Wholefoods store?

To keep up to date with the latest news about the store, follow @wfm_Cheltenham on Twitter or ‘like’ Whole Foods Market Cheltenham on Facebook. 

Friday, 14 September 2012

Baked Dippy Eggs with Supergreens

The weekend's coming! Great excuse for brunch.  This is my new favourite way to eat eggs.  Are you making the yummy sound yet?


Baked Dippy Eggs with Supergreens

2 small ramekins
2 eggs
a knob of butter
A handful of spinach
4 Asparagus Spears (pre-cooked in some boiling water)
2 tablespoons cream
salt and pepper
Parmesan cheese – small amount for grating.

Pre heat the oven to 170 degrees

- Butter both the ramekins

- Spread a few spinach leaves at the bottom of each ramekin (you can put quite a few as they wilt down into almost nothing, so even if it looks a lot, it won’t be).

- Chop the Asparagus spears into 1 inch long pieces and discard the thick ‘woody’ stalk of the Asparagus spear.

- Lay the Asparagus pieces neatly over the top of the spinach.

- Spoon a tablespoon of cream over each spinach and asparagus mixture

- Carefully break one egg over each ramekin.

- Salt and pepper to taste.

- Pop into a preheated oven for 15 – 20 minutes depending upon how runny you like the egg.  Make sure the white is cooked.

- Take out of the oven and grate over a little Parmesan.

Cut toast into slices (Soldiers) and dip in and enjoy.

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

I saw this and thought of you...

How much do you love these bowls?

This much!

I saw these in the Cath Kidson store and it was love at first sight.  I had to share them with you.

I moved house this week and I'm eyeing up some new thing to put in my kitchen.  These bowls are a bit smaller than a breakfast cereal bowl size, but still perfect for some sticky Jasmine rice to accompany a tasty Thai stirfry.  Or maybe a few pieces of fruit.

Cheers Cath!

While I unpack, there's not a lot of cooking taking place - so here's some things to share that I came across this week to inspire you and your family into making some tasty dishes!

Got leftover food?  Make these tasty dishes with your leftovers!

Got a child that won't eat vegetables?  Ways to get them to eat their greens here!

... Talking about getting kids to eat their greens - I always remember watching Popeye when I was a youngster and thinking how cool he was to eat spinach and be so strong (let's just ignore the fact that he used to puff away on a big cigar!)

I'm sure that's why I love spinach so much now as an adult, because I ate it as a child.  My mum used to give it to me with chedder cheese melted on top and it's so so tasty just like that.  I've always eaten heaps of the stuff and I swear it's given me good health and great skin - just stir spinach leaves into currys, stirfrys and sandwiches.  Yum!  Or, better still, put it in my baked eggs with asparagus recipe coming tomorrow (just one of the last things I rustled up in my old kitchen before moving house).

Thursday, 6 September 2012

Vegetarian :: Bitesize

Another Vegetarian fare is here again - as supplied by the tasty Vegetarian Ventures host Shelly!

This dish can be an awesome appetizer or just a bunch of bitesize snacks to munch on when hungar pangs strike!

The original recipe that Shelly gave me to try was for Fried Green Tomatos.  Sadly in the UK, green tomatos are about as rare as they come - they're harder tomatos and the over-ripe ones we get in the UK are just too mushy for this recipe to work, so I needed to find a vegetable that would provide the same kind of thing, but firmer.  TA DA - Courgettes/Zuchinnis win again!

Worked perfectly.


Fried Green Tomatoes (swapped the tommies to Courgettes/Zuchinnis because the UK hasn’t appreciated green tomatos yet and can only get squidgy over-ripe ones!)

1 Medium courgette/zuchinni cut into thin slices approx 1cm thick
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup milk or buttermilk
1 egg
1/3 cup cornmeal
1/2 cup fine dry bread crumbs
1/4 cup peanut oil or other vegetable oil

1 Cut unpeeled courgette/zuchinni into slices. Sprinkle slices with salt. Let slices stand for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, place in separate shallow bowls: the flour and Cajun seasoning (if using), buttermilk/or milk and egg, and bread crumbs and cornmeal.

2 Heat the oil in a skillet on medium heat. Beat the egg and the buttermilk/or milk together.

/ Dip slices in the flour-seasoning mix,
// then buttermilk-egg mixture,
 /// then the cornmeal-bread crumb mix. In the skillet,
 …….(it’s like a production line!)

When the oil is hot enough...
....fry half of the coated tomato (or zuchinni) slices at a time, for 3-5 minutes on each side or until brown. Set the cooked tomatoes on paper towels to drain.

Serve with hummus, cream cheese and chive, or a tomato salsa – dip and enjoy!

Thank you Shelly, you're too awesome! :D

Check out all the delicious vegetarian recipes and more on Vegetarian Ventures - Shelly inspires me everyday with her creative modern take on vegetarian food on her blog - check her out!