Tag Archives: ottolenghi

Parmesan & Poppy Seed Biscuits

parmesan poppy seed biscuits

Light, crispy, salty & crunchy – the perfect accompaniment to drinks

When I was little, before I discovered shopping and boys and all the other infinitely important distractions of adult life, one of my favourite things to do was help my Mum out with drinks and dinner parties. Actually, who am I kidding? It’s still one of my favourite things: the selection of ingredients and writing up lists, laying out platters and plating up dishes to make the food look as pretty and enticing as possible.

If you’ve ever wondered where to find me at a party, the kitchen is usually the best place to start. Continue reading

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White Chocolate & Toasted Macadamia Brownies

chocolate_brownies

Take these out of the oven while still slightly wobbly for the perfect squidgey centre

If there’s one thing I admire more than a brilliant baker, it’s a brilliant baker who is also a wonderful cook. While that’s not to say there aren’t a number of people, professionals or otherwise, who are talented at both, baking and cooking involve some fundamental differences in attitude and approach to ingredients and how they are used.

While a chef is generally constrained only by his or her creativity, throwing together ingredients and experimenting with pinches of this and splashes of that, a baker’s art is somewhat restricted by the confines of science: a cake will only rise with the right ratio of fat, sugar and flour; accuracy is key; and following a recipe to the word is important to achieve the right results. Of course baking can still be creative, and cooking is full of scientific detail, but moving seamlessly from one to the other is not always as simple as it might seem. Continue reading

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Crème Brûlée with Pistachio Nut Butter & Pistachio Shortbread

creme_brulee

Creamy crème brûlée with a shiny crackly crust

Dessert, for me, is all about decadence. While a main meal tends to provide sustenance in addition to satisfaction, pudding provides an opportunity for sheer indulgence. You’re hardly going to get your five-a-day from chocolate, cream, sugar or any combination thereof, but that’s not really the point. What it fails to do for your health, dessert doubles for your happiness.

And what could be more decadent than a dessert that requires its very own bit of kitchen equipment?  Continue reading

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Flourless chocolate mousse cake

chocolate_mousse_cake

Ottolenghi's chocolate mousse cake

How do you like your chocolate cake? Dense and fudgey? Moist and crumbly? Dark and bitter, or sweet and sinful?

I couldn’t pick a favourite. Anyone who reads this blog will know that I have a slight obsession with chocolate. And cake. While I have a couple of fall-back favourites up my sleeve (see Little Black Dress Chocolate Cake and Simple Chocolate Birthday Cake), I’m always on the lookout for new and delicious ways to indulge in my favourite ingredient. Which is why I just had to try this incredible flourless chocolate mousse cake. Taken from the Ottolenghi cookbook, it essentially promises two cakes in one; the bottom layer cooked longer for a firm, cakey texture, while the top layer remains lighter and more mousse-like. Continue reading

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Ottolenghi’s Swiss Bircher Muesli

delicious_creamy_bircher_muesli

Inspired by the beautiful light mornings that have arrived with the clocks going forwards, I’ve been getting up early to go to Beautcamp Pilates before work. After such a virtuous start to the day I want to put something good into my body, but at the same time, the early morning workout means I’m pretty hungry by the time I get around to eating breakfast.

blackberries_blueberriesBircher Muesli is the perfect solution. Invented by Swiss doctor Maximilien Bircher-Benner for his patients in the late nineteenth century, this is the perfect morning sustenance, and totally versatile depending on the fruits, nuts and seeds you have to hand that day. Dr. Bircher revolutionized the eating habits of his era by advocating fresh fruit, vegetables and nuts over meat, white bread and other refined produce, and I guarantee that when you try this recipe you’ll be overcome with a certain feeling of smug virtuosity.

The recipe here is adapted from a Yottam Ottolenghi recipe I found in The Guardian. I love Ottolenghi’s experimental yet unpretentious use of ingredients, and this recipe is no exception. A slight departure from my beloved breads and toasts, but incredibly delicious nonetheless.

Swiss Bircher Muesli (adapted from Ottolenghi’s recipe)
Serves 2

100g rolled oats or oat mixture (I used Rude Health’s 5 grain mix, Morning Glory)
120ml cold milk
40ml cloudy apple juice
80g natural yoghurt
1/2 an apple (Braeburn or Granny Smith)
20g honey or maple syrup
Juice of 1/2  a lime
Dash vanilla essence
30g chopped walnuts or pistachios
30g raisins
Dried cranberries & pistachios to decorate

Pour the oats into a bowl and cover with milk and apple juice. Leave to rest in the fridge for at least 10 minutes (I do it just before I go to bed so that by morning the oats have absorbed all the liquid to become soft and delicious).

When ready to serve grate in the apple, and stir in the yoghurt, honey or maple syrup, lime juice, vanilla essence, fruit and nuts. Stir, transfer to serving bowls and scatter with additional toppings.

This is such an adaptable recipe. It would be delicious with banana, pomegranate, fresh berries, stewed peaches, plums or rhubarb, different nuts and seeds or even chocolate and a splash of alcohol for the ultimate indulgence. After all, you can’t be virtuous all the time.

bircher_muesli_with_berries

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