Friday, 15 December 2017


Potatoes… The starchy staple universal to most cuisines, the carby companion versatile enough to suit mashing, Pomme Purée-ing (not a word) roasting, boiling, baking, frying, fondant-ing (again, not a word) but the instant kind?… now that’s a different story. Other than with school dinners aged five years old, dolloped upon a beige tray with an ice cream scoop, I cannot remember a time that I’ve actually eaten instant mash. When I make my own mash I stick to the classically French principle of the same amount of fat to potato, resulting in a sloppy, creamy, buttery velouté style potato worlds apart from the gluey instant kind. It does however, take an hour of my time and serious mashing which involves blood (never been efficient with a peeler) sweat (mashing is more challenging than my treadmill sprints) and tears (because I've peeled my finger and it hurts) the result? A luxurious mash worth every bit of pain.

So, recently, when invited to an event centred around instant mashed potato from American based company, Idahoan, I was dubious but accepted by invitation with curiosity. A huge household name in America but recently launched into the UK, they promise that with a unique dehydration method, the dried spuds maintain their very best qualities, ensuring a fluffy and homemade tasting mash. I wasn’t convinced, but with MasterChef finalists Billy and Jack cooking up a storm using the Idahoan products, I couldn’t resist the opportunity to have my head turned. What’s more, I can safely say I was VERY IMPRESSED.

The evening was set out as an Idahoan Challenge, whereby some of Billy and Jack’s dishes contained Idahoan and the others were made with ‘real’ mashed spuds. We were then asked to guess which we thought contained which. I thought it would be simple to tell a distinction, oh how wrong I was and guessed just two correctly – testament to how good Idahoan truly is! Not only was the food delicious, but Idahoan's team were fantastic hosts as were Billy and Jack who got involved and ensured to introduce every dish at the table. 

Here’s the menu:

Croquettes (one of my absolute faves, wolfed them down too quickly and forgot a picture!), one cheese one with the delectably spicy N’Duja

Crab Gnocci and Sea herbs (DELISH)

Pressed potato, Three Cheese Sauce, Onion and Truffle

Cottage Pie (with slow braised beef and super creamy mash on top)

Southern-fried Quail, Potato Biscuit, Maple Syrup
Honey Potato Cake, Figs, Yoghurt Sorbet, Honeycomb

White Chocolate Potato Truffles (still tasty even if they didn’t set enough!)  

It was pretty impossible to tell, any that I got right was down to luck and guessing. It was eye opening to see what can be done with dehydrated  potatoes. Forever more i'll make sure I have packets of Idahoan in my cupboards for when time is tight but comfort food is non-negotiable, the roasted garlic is particular fave of mine! 

As well as the mash, Idahoan also offer a Cheesy Oven bake and a Gratin Dauphinois. For each you just add milk and water and pop in the oven, only taking half an hour! We tasted all the products after Billy and Jack’s menu and even without being cooked into special dishes they were genuinely fantastic. I’m not claiming that you’ll never make mash again, but mid-week after a day of hellish client meetings and in desperate need for comfort food, Idahoan would be super atop a shepherd’s pie or for making speedy fishcakes. Failing that, stick in some herby Cumberland sausages, mix up some Idahoan mash and pour over lashings of onion gravy! 

In fact, the other night I mixed the classic mash with cream, truffle oil and Parmesan and bakes in the oven to serve alongside a pie and it was superb. Lump free, smooth potato  that you genuinely would not have known came from dried potato flakes. 

I was lucky enough to be given some extra Idahoan mash and bakes to use at home, but I urge you to head to your local supermarket to grab a pack for yourself and try it out! (Tesco/ASDA/Morrisons/Ocado/Sainsbury's all have it) The mash comes in classic, roasted garlic, cheddar cheese, butter and herb or buttery so there’s something for every craving!


Thursday, 23 November 2017


Friends coming over? No clue what to prepare food wise? So often, if friends or family are popping over for a feast or dinner party, it's so easy to stick to classics such as a Chilli Con Carne or Spag Bol, both of which are delicious in their own right, but don't push the boat out for creating a scrumptious feast that your guests have potentially never eaten.

As you're probably aware, street food has kicked-off over the last five years, especially in London, with more and more restaurants adopting a shabby chic vibe and a street food style menu. For that - we have to thank our overseas counterparts - with Asian countries in particular doing street food serious well.

For this meal, we're heading to Korea. I recently tried Bao buns from Yum Bun at a street food market and it was love at first bite. Pillow soft steams buns hug gloriously rich slow cooked meat (usually pork belly) covered in sauce and extra morsels (spring onions, peanuts, crispy onions).

For my Korean feast, the Bao bun or 'Hirata' bun takes centre stage. I've made these before myself and it takes a lot of effort, so instead, buy them from your local Chinese supermarket! You also need a steamer to cook them in, authentic bamboo steamers can be purchased from Ebay for about £10. Rather than pork belly, we're using slow cooked pork shoulder, which falls apart after 6-8 hours of cooking and lots of extras to make your buns super special. Chicken is on offer too, with the quickest marinade alongside home-made pickles and a delicious take on Nasi Goreng, using sweet potato noodles and friend crispy eggs.

It's easier than you think, I promise! Give it a go! The quantities below will be suitable for between 4-6 people to feast on.


- 5kg pork shoulder 
- 400ml light soy sauce 
2 tbsp sesame oil
- 100 ml light soy sauce 
- 3 tbsp runny honey 
- 2 star anise 
- 1 cinnamon stick 
- 2 tbsp five space
- 300 ml chicken stock 


- Place your pork into a slow cooker or casserole dish.
- Coat the pork in the honey and then the five spice. 
- Add the rest of the liquid ingredients and pop in the star anise and cinnamon
- The pork needs to be covered in liquid, if it isn't, add enough water to just cover the meat. 
- Cook in the oven for 5-7 hours at 130-140 degrees Celsius, depending on how hot your oven is. When the meat is ready, it will literally fall apart when a fork is pressed to it. Pull all the meet apart and drizzle some of the cooking liquor over it to keep it moist and most importantly, delicious. 


- 3 to 4 breasts depending on number of guests
- 4 tbsp onion granules 
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp runny honey 
-100 ml soy sauce 

-  Place the chicken in a freezer bag  and cover with a tea towel. Bash with a rolling pin to flatten and tenderise the meat. 
- Add all the ingredients to the bag and mix together to ensure the chicken is completely coated. 
- Mix together so the chicken is coated cook in an over at 180 degrees celcius for 12-15 minutes or until cooked through. 
- Served chopped up finely, to fit into the buns well. 


Sweet potato noodles are actually made from the sweet potato starch. They have a very smooth texture and see through appearance. Buy them online or from your local Chinese supermarket. If you can't get hold of them, any fine noodles work well. 

- 3 nests of noodles
- 100ml chicken stock
- 4 spring onions, chopped
2 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 green chilli, roughly chopped
 - 1 tbsp sesame oil
- 1 tbsp of rice vinegar
-1 egg per person
- Siracha sauce (Korean chilli sauce)

- Cook your noodles for five minutes in boiling water. When soft, place in a bowl of cold water to remove excess starch.
- When cool, add all of the ingredients to the noodles, cover and let stand.
- Just before you serve your feast, the eggs need to be cooked. For that, heat some sesame oil in a pan, and crack in one egg at a time. They need to be cooked quickly, but on a hot heat to ensure that they become crispy but maintain a runny yolk.
- pour your noodles into a dish, placing the eggs on top. Drizzle over some chilli sauce and a sprinkle of coriander before serving.


- Half a cucumber, chopped finely into half moon shapes
- One red onion, finely sliced
- Rice vinegar
- Sesame oil
- Sugar

- Creating home made pickles could not be easier! Place your vegetables into separate bowls. Onto each add 3 tbsp on vinegar.
- for the onions, add 1 tsp of sugar and 2 tsp of sugar to the cucumber.
- Finally add 1 tsp of sesame oil to each and let stand for around an hour. They are then ready!

- Place your buns into a steamer for around 10 minutes.
- Serve when they are warm and fluffy!


- I like to serve chopped spring onion, beansprouts and peanuts so that people can build their own buns alongside the pickles.

- Its also great to serve a sauce of mayonnaise mixed with Sriracha sauce and peanut butter mixed with soy sauce.

Give this hands on feast a go over the party season. I know there seems to be a lot of reading above, but honestly it is so worth it. The tastes are flavorsome, rich and delicious and there is nothing better than letting people build up their own meals, to suit their own taste buds. 


Friday, 20 October 2017


Let's face it, the humble Spaghetti Bolognese is a true family favourite, go to mid-week meal and first time cooking venture when you're 17 and looking to win the affection of your crush. With 670 million portions being consumed in Britain each year, i'm looking to give you a few tried and tested tips that will make you create your tastiest Bolognese to date.

Admittedly, not all the additions below are truly authentic, for that you need to stick to a combination of veal and pork mince, chicken liver, red wine and passata, but what I can promise is that if you follow my tips, you won't be reverted to jarred Bolognese sauces any more. 
  •  Never use onion as the base alone. Finely chop and sweat off a combination of red onion, carrot celery and green pepper. The mix creates a sweet yet savory depth that you don't get with onion alone.
  • To the veg add smoked Pancetta, including fat. It creates superior flavour and adds moisture.
  • Combine beef and pork mince. Pork is fattier and softer than beef mince, the result is a melt in the mouth, pillowy texture.
  • Don't be shy of herbs - oregano, bay leaves and Thyme all go into mine. 
  • Use half a bottle of red wine, as well as your canned tomatoes/passata. The depth of flavour is undeniable. 
  • Add two teaspoons of sugar. You won't make a sweet sauce, but you will intensify the flavours by contradicting the sharpness of the wine and tomatoes. 
  • Add a tablesoon of smoked water. Yes I do mean smoked water! It's my favourite find of 2015, adds a rich savoury flavour to any dish and makes the meat feel like its been simmering for days. My go-to is Halen-Mon, the smokiest water I ever did smell. 

  • NEVER cook for any less than two and a half hours. Let that meat soak up all those flavours. Treat it like a slow cooked stew. The best Bolognese sauces cook for 4-5 hours on a very low heat. 
  • Finally, add a tablesoon of olive oil and a shed load of black pepper to your spaghetti, for silky smoothness and authentic Italian flavour. 
  • ENJOY! With a glass of red, crusty bread rubbed with fresh garlic and drizzled with olive oil, slippers and a roaring fire, (optional, yet pivotal). 

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Getting Cheesy with Västerbottensost this summer

J'ADORE LE FROMAGE. Or jag älskar ost in Swedish. As a massive foodie, i'm always excited to get my hands on something new and with the Scandi scene becoming ever more popular in terms of both cuisine and interior design, the chance to cook with this famous Scandinavian 'King of Cheese' was a must.

So how does it taste I hear you fromage fanatics cry? In a word: Delicious. In a few words: moorish and salty with a subtle sharpness which likens a good, mature Parmesan. Aged for 14 months develops of a real hearty character, which gives it that 'once you start you just can't stop' trait.

Now that summer is upon us, I urge you to whip up one of the following recipes to lug along to your Prosecco fuelled picnics or alfresco feasts lazing within a quintessentially English garden. You'll be sipping on a crisp Sauvignon whilst introducing a taste of Scandinavia to your summer rendezvous(I hope i'm suitably painting the picture for you). Or if you're entertaining with a BBQ at home, the below recipes make a perfect treat amongst all the bangers and burgers typically on offer. Västerbottensost is available from Waitrose and I promise, it's pretty special. Get your hands on some before everyone gets a taste for it and bask in it's savoury glory throughout the summer months.

The recipes below are ideal for entertaining and have been co-created with famous Swedish chef Filip Fasten, allowing you to show off your culinary talents with some gentle guidance from a master! The cheese pie is an absolute MUST.

Västerbottensost cheese pie with fried onions

For the pastry:

125 grams of butter
300g of flour
2 tablespoons of water

Heat the oven to 200°c.
Mix together the butter, flour and water and roll it out to a thin dough. Put it in a pie dish with a detachable bottom, then let it cool in the fridge for about 30 minutes. Notch it with a fork and pre-bake it for 10 minutes. Let it cool off. While it cools, fry off your onions until soft.

For the filling:

4oog of grated Västerbottensost cheese
200ml of cream
100ml milk
200ml of fried onions
A grating of nutmeg
Pinch of salt

Put the onions on the bottom of the pie. Mix the remaining ingredients together and pour it in the pie dish. Bake in the middle of the oven for about 25-30 minutes until firm. Top it off with some wild herbs if you fancy and enjoy!

Wild herbs that could be used:

Wood sorrel

If you're a fish lover give the following recipe a bash. It's offers a very authentically Scandi dish to really give a taste of Sweden. Perfect on a BBQ spread. 

Potatoes Gratin with Whitefish Roe and Chive

Swedish traditional potatoes are usually boiled and accompanied by herring, but this recipe offers a twist one the classic, using oven baked potatoes. Absolutely delicious, easy to make and to be enjoyed by all.

1 kg washed fresh potatoes
200g Västerbottensost cheese, grated
200g parsley
200ml canola oil
200ml sour cream
50g whitefish roe
2 onions (sliced)
1 handful of dill
50g chive

 Turn on the grill.

Heat the canola oil to 60-70°c.

Place the parsley in a mixer, mix until it’s a smooth paste together with the oil, place the paste in a strainer with a coffee filter.

Boil the potatoes in salted water until they’re semi soft.

Place the potatoes on an oven tray. Make the cheese into small balls and place a cheese ball on each potato.

Bake in the oven until the cheese is melted and slightly crusted.

Mix the whitefish roe, sour cream and the parsley oil.

Top the potatoes with the roe mixture, picked parsley, dill and sliced onion. Finish off by crumbling down bits of Västerbottensost cheese and black pepper.


Thursday, 10 December 2015


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With the festive season upon us, time is of the essence. Finding an hour to prepare dinner, keep healthy before the Christmas feasting and reduce your food bills so you can flourish your family with gifts can seem like a hard task. No fear, all you need is to utilise ingredients which are often neglected.

So for this recipe, all hail the broad bean! Firm in texture, super filling and the perfect balance of fibre and protein, they make an ideal base for a mid-week supper. Mildly sweet in flavour, they also carry stronger flavours well, just as your regular carby option might. We're also using a frozen bag of them, as if this recipe wasn't convenient enough!

This recipe is low carb, healthily balanced and quite frankly, delicious. Give it a go this week. 


1 large cup of  frozen broad beans 
1 clove garlic, chopped.
1/2 a courgette, sliced
1 tbsp Bouillon powder
2 eggs 
2 rashers of smoked bacon/pancetta, finely chopped
3 sundried tomatoes, chopped. 
40g of Stilton 
sprinkle of Parmesan
Squeeze of lemon juice 
Olive oil 

1)  Bring a pan of water to the boil, and add the vegetable bouillon. When dissolved add your broad beans and let simmer for around five minutes.
2) Meanwhile, in a pan heat a table spoon of olive oil and add your chopped bacon. 
3) give it a couple of minutes to crisp before adding in your courgettes. When they start to soften, season and add the garlic to the pan, cooking for a further two minutes on a gentle heat. 
4) At this point you need to soft boil your eggs. Place both eggs in a pan of gently boiling water and cook for five minutes, to leave your yolk runny. When your five minutes is up, run under cold water before peeling. 
5) When your beans are done, add them to the pan with the bacon and courgettes and leave on the lowest heat, Drizzle over a splash of olive oil, salt, pepper and squeeze of lemon juice. Mix together. 
6) Crumble in your Stilton so it melts and covers the beans. 
7) Place your beans on a plate and grate over a good nugget of Parmesan, 
8) Finally, peel your eggs, and place on top of your bean mixture, making a slice to let the yolk cover the beans. 
9) Enjoy with a big glass of fruity Sauvignon and an open fire to keep your tootsies toasty! 


Sunday, 29 November 2015

Dinner Post #5 Italian Herby Pork Meatballs with Tomato and Red Wine Sauce

It is no secret that Italian food is my ultimate love. It's delicious, and when cooked properly, Italian recipes can really provide a healthy and wholesome meal, with undeniable flavour. There is no denying that spaghetti and meatballs is a traditional staple of Italian cooking, though traditionally beef or veal is used, or more typically of northern Italian cooking, a mixture of both pork and beef. Through experimentation, I have tested turkey, beef, pork and a mixture of both pork and beef. The pig comes out on top. Why? Because it carries herby flavours so well and has enough fat content to create tender melt in the mouth delights.

 Turkey, for me, is at the bottom of the table. Dieters and health advisors love it, because it is virtually fat free and full of protein. That is all well and good, BUT why are we all so terrified of fat? In a non complex explanation, fat is INCREDIBLE at filling you up.

 It increases and maintains satiety levels more efficiently than carbohydrates, keeping you fuller for longer. It is also fantastic for increasing metabolism. Humans require fat in their diet to survive, and therefore when a fat free diet is implemented, the metabolism slows down because you haven't given it enough to work off. Humans have always consumed animal fat, and our bodies are wired to accept that fat content. Obviously eating copious amounts of saturated fats, and processed fats can be dangerous to health, but it is not unhealthy to consume fats in moderation.

All hail the lard! Don't be scared of fats, ironically, in moderation, they won't make you fat.

So, back to the balls. I have used pork mince because it makes the softest, crumbliest balls you could hope for.

Ingredients makes (6-8 balls)

for the meatballs:

1 pack of pork mince 
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed 
1 tbsp smoked paprika 
1 tbsp tomato ketchup 
1 tbsp oregano 
6 sprigs of rosemary, 3 with leaves removed and finely chopped, and 3 broken in half 
salt and pepper 
2 large handfuls of breadcrumbs 
1 egg yolk 
2 tsp dried, mixed herbs 

for the tomato sauce:

1 tin chopped tomatoes 
120ml red wine 
1 onion, finely chopped
handful of fresh basil, chopped 
2 tsp of oregano
200 ml red wine 
2 coves of garlic, peeled and chopped 
2 tsp sugar 
1 tbsp tomato puree
50ml water 


For the meatballs:

1) Preheat the oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Grease a baking tray with olive oil.
2) In a bowl add all of the ingredients, apart from the rosemary which is left as sprigs. 
3) Mix everything together thoroughly with your hands until combined. Add salt and pepper.
4) Roll the mince into balls, there should be between 6 and 8 depending on how big you want them, and place on the baking tray. 
5) Using the remaining sprigs of rosemary, spike each of the meatballs with a rosemary, as shown in the photo above. 
7) Place in the oven for 20 minutes, or until the meatballs are golden.

For the sauce:

1) Whilst the meatballs are in the oven, heat a glug of olive oil in a frying pan on a medium heat.
2) Add the onion and sweat for a couple of minutes until soft. 
3) Pour in the wine, and allow to reduce for round 2 minutes. Once the wine has reduced, add the rest of the ingredients other than the basil. Add salt and pepper and stir together.
4) Let the sauce simmer, until the meatballs are cooked. 
5) When the meatballs are ready, carefully add them into the same pan as the tomato sauce, and let everything cook together for 5 minutes. Add in the basil a the last minute and stir through the sauce. 
6) Serve the meatballs with good quality spaghetti or linguine and a sprinkling of Parmesan if you wish. 


Thursday, 29 October 2015

Foodie Fun Post #1 Lewisham Model Market

Do you love a night of combining concoctions of exciting food and drink along with music? Let's face it who wouldn't. In that case - get to a model market.

My partner and I went to one in Lewisham on a Friday night, and I certainly wasn't disappointed.

The model market consists of a variety of different micro diners in an abandoned outdoor market, all selling exciting street food, and dangerously delicious cocktails (pardon my alliteration, but it's true). If that isn't enough to persuade you that the street feast model market is the place to be, let me tell you about the atmosphere. People turn up in their drones, and it really is a diverse mix of people. From Shoreditch 'trendies' to 50 year old hippies, everyone is out for a good time. Music plays all night, and as it gets dark the whole place is lit up. It feels almost as though you're abroad, with dim lighting flooding the nooks and crannies of quirky food diners and bars. 

If you really wanted a good night, you could sample food from each of the following stalls Breddos Tacos, Cheeky Italian, Dogtown Hotdogs, Hank’s Po’ Boys, Killer Tomato, Mama’s Jerk, Rola Wala, Sambal Shiok, SE Brownie Bar, SmokeStak BBQ and Yum Bun. For drinks there is Rotary Cocktail, Craft Beer Bar, Slushy Bar, Rum Shack and Winyl. When we went however, we stuck to Yum Bun, Cheeky Italian, SE Brownie Bar and Rola Wala. Pictures and descriptions below, but I urge you to give it a go! 


Sticky pork belly, spring onion and cucumber with hoi sin sauce, and tempura king prawns with coriander salsa verde and yuzu mayonnaise, all encased in super soft dim sum style buns. 
The prawn was my preference, but perhaps that is due to my biased obsession with seafood! 


I think if I ultimately had to chose, Italian would be my favourite type of food. I love it when it's really authentic, I can't stand Italian American food. To my sheer delight, the model market had a brilliant, authentic Italian. There were huge pork loins slow roasting until the meat just fell apart, Italian sausages, cured meats, cheeses, anti pasti and a variety of other treats. Following much deliberation, I opted for a huge slab of rosemary focaccia stuffed to the brim with slow roasted porchetta, caramelised onions, and rocket. The meat was the most delicious pork i've eaten. In fact the whole thing was pretty special. Can't wait to go back and sample some more of their delights. 


Fantastic Indian street food. Rola Wala provided mini naan breads topped with yummy spiced delights both meat friends and veggie friendly. Each topping was as delicious as the last, and it was the sort of food you feel sad about when it comes to a devastating end. I'll let the pictures do the talking, the flavours were as vibrant as the colours. 

GO TO THE MODEL MARKET! GO! It's brilliant, exciting and delicious, and only a fiver to get in. Winner winner chicken dinner (or whatever dinner, because the choice is multiple) 

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