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2018-04-26T07:41:32.183Z
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I’ve been making different versions of hot cross buns each year – last year it was bagels, the year before that a HCB loaf. I also made Earl Grey & Orange ones for Waitrose a few years ago! This year I went with another English classic to hybridise them with, Chelsea buns, which are my dad’s fave.

Chelsea buns are pretty much an English version of a cinnamon roll – a yeasted dough rolled very thinly, covered with butter and caster sugar and currants, rolled into tight swirls and baked all nestled together. I’ve had a few buns from bakeries in London before and usually there’s little to no spice involved here! I think the key feature of a good bun though is having thin layers of dough which you can satisfyingly unreel as you eat, like a little ritual. To achieve this effect, I laminated the dough with some filling inside before rolling up, giving me a croissant-like bun.

The ‘hot cross’ aspect here is brought in by using mixed spice in the dough and filling along with cinnamon and mixed dried fruits (which includes currants, candied lemon and orange peel). Usually a hot cross bun has...

Thanks to Food Network UK for sponsoring this post and to you guys for supporting me!

At uni for the past two years I’ve been lucky enough to live with two friends from my course – we all study Food Science & Nutrition. I assumed, going into this course, that all the other people I’d be studying with would be as interested in cooking as I am, but it’s become abundantly clear this is not the case, haha. Fortunately, my mates are definitely on the same level of interest as me, so we’ve made some pretty epic meals together. We are also OBSESSED with cooking TV shows.

Their favourite is Chopped because it’s the most ridiculously dramatic cooking show. Although I do find that show hilarious, I prefer the uhh.. traditional-style cooking shows, like re-runs of Nigella. My absolute fave though is Ina Garten – I’ve been watching ‘Barefoot Contessa: Back to Basics’ on Food Network recently where she cooks up an array of simple, accessible recipes. It’s one of the most beautifully filmed shows and her recipes are so good – especially in this series because it’s all about easy recipes which are my priority at uni, really. A cool fact I didn’t realise until talking to someone the other day is that Ina Garten actually used to work...

Although I consistently love tomato sauce on pizza, I do like to have a few alternatives up my sleeve to keep pizza night interesting. Some previous faves have been basil pesto (obvs because are you even a student if you don’t like pesto??) and blended sweetcorn (inspo from Homeslice in London!).

When flicking through my good friend Eva’s new cookbook, First We Eat*, the title of this recipe immediately caught my eye. Creamy roasted garlic sauce, eh??? I like all of those words… As I read through the recipe I realised it was almost like a super cheesy pesto – two WHOLE HEADS of garlic get roasted until soft and sticky, blended with a shit load of parmesan, olive oil and some other bits to make a creamy, tangy sauce. (N.B. another delicious way to use this is to stir a spoonful into some cooked veg. We did this with green beans and it was sooo good. I imagine it would be incredible in mashed potatoes too). On baking, the sauce bubbles and oozes making a sort of pimped-up garlic bread. There are carrot ribbons too, piled high, which slump down into sweet, al-dente slivers.

In the book, Eva uses a garlic sourdough for the...

If you’re not familiar with Yorkshire pudding, let me quickly explain. Although it’s a ‘pudding’ this is neither a dessert nor a viscous custard. A simple batter, very similar to the one used for crepes but more eggy, poured into scalding hot beef dripping in a muffin tin. You pour it, it sizzles, they bake, they puff. They’re similar to choux pastry in the theatrical, airy size they achieve in the oven but are much quicker to make. People in the US might recognise them as a wider, more bowl-like popover or a miniature ‘Dutch baby’ pancake. Their purpose is pure and simple: the carby accompaniment to your Sunday roast (they’re excellent for mopping up gravy).

So in a way, they’re one of the many iterations of a pancake. That’s why a couple of weeks ago when the stars aligned and my birthday + pancake day coincided (best day ever), I decided a huge Yorkshire pudding was going to feature for my dinner. As I’m mostly vegetarian now I don’t have the roast situation going on in my life any more so I had to come up with something else savoury to do. I’d made a socca pizza before so I was like BAM – Yorkshire pudding pizza. Pretty simple really.

I baked the batter in an oven-proof frying pan, topped with sauce...

Is there one dessert that you will always order if it’s on a menu? For me, it’s always molten chocolate cakes (especially if there’s a scoop of vanilla ice cream involved). After having them once in a restaurant when I was younger, I became hell bent on finding a recipe to make them at home. After trying quite a few out I settled on my favourite – Delia Smith’s recipe. It makes 8 puds so I’d usually quarter it to bake two for me and a friend as a quick dessert.

I hadn’t made them in a while until someone sent me a message on instagram asking if I had a veganised version. I told them I didn’t but that I’d get to work trying it out. With the recent discovery of aquafaba (chickpea water) which can mimic egg whites extremely well, I thought they might be useful! After 4 different versions I finally managed to make my ideal recipe. This makes 2 smallish cakes (when they were larger I’d end up feeling a bit sick after eating them as they’re so rich. That said, if you know you’ll want big’uns you can always double the recipe!) which are perfect for dessert for Valentine’s day… or just...

 

Taco night is THE BEST. It’s one of my go-to ‘clear-the-fridge’ meals. Get some veg in there, cook up any kind of beans or lentils and a quick salsa or dressing.

This lovely combo of turmeric-roasted cauliflower and simple refried beans is from Sonja and Alex’s (of A Couple Cooks) new cookbook, Pretty Simple Cooking*. It’s a beautiful book packed full of everyday vegetarian recipes (perfect for my uni meal planning!). When I was on their podcast last year, we realised how closely our food philosophies aligned (i.e. no faddy diets, no ‘quick fix’ crap. Just delicious, vibrant FOOD!) – so if you’re into that vibe, definitely check out their new cookbook (and mine* ) for some accessibly healthy recipes.


Back to tacos – their original recipe included a chipotle aioli but since chipotles in adobo are v difficult to find in the UK, I subbed my favourite smoky paprika yogurt to drizzle on instead! And look, I know the ingredients list looks long on here but it’s mostly spices & pantry basics, so these are truly very simple to prepare.

Roasted Cauliflower & Black Bean Tacos serves 2 Excerpted from A...

 

From living in Leeds for the best part of 3 years now, I’ve come to deeply appreciate the beauty that is forced rhubarb thanks to easy access to the Rhubarb Triangle.

It pops up at the market, gloriously pink with those yellowy, shrunken leaves in contrast. It comes juuust in time to save me from the inevitable boredom of eating apples for the past few months.

£1.50 a lb. Every time I tell my dad this he sends me a crying emoji (in London its about 5x this price). I bundle it up in my rucksack – each stalk is so long that it doesn’t *quite* fit so I carry it home with the leaves poking out the top, peeking over my shoulder.

There’s so much you can do with this stuff – my favourite being to roast it with sugar & vanilla to keep in the fridge for spooning over porridge. I have a habit of buying it en masse and chopping it up to freeze for later. Here I snuggled pieces into an almond spiked cake batter and sprinkled it with glittering sugar and flaked almonds. It’s a perfect tea-time snack as is (OR...

Gingerbread is one of those cookies that I’m always ‘meh’ about when I think of it. Each year I inevitably end up making some to turn into a gingerbread house (or this year, a Christmas tree made of stacked gingerbread stars!). Every time I end up snacking on the dough scraps and nibbling bits of baked rejected gingerbread. And every time I’m like ‘hmm this is actually pretty delicious’.

This year I deviated a bit from the regular gingerbread recipe, adding cardamom into the dough too. Adding cardamom into spiced bakes is something I’ve become accustomed to after eating many Swedish cardamom buns this year. If you’re a cardamom hater though, there’s no harm in leaving it out. Dipping the gingerbread in a lemon glaze, a trick I learnt a few years ago from Carey is something I also LOVE to do. That acidic coating on the spicy gingerbread is an amazing pairing and takes the cookies from ‘yeah it’s quite nice’ to ‘OMG GIMME MORE’. My favourite thing though is how it crackles once dry making making them look all frosty!

As Williams Sonoma is finally coming to the...

I’m hoooome! Back in London for Christmas break and I’m extremely relieved to be able to chill out for a bit. This has been an all-consuming semester so far. I said to my boyfriend last week ‘I can see now why people drop out in third year. I never understood before but I do now’. It was inevitable that this would be the most challenging year, surprisingly not academically, but mentally. It’s my final year of education after 15 years and I’m so close to being done which is a bit terrifying. I’ve also had less and less time this year for creative release which has always been my respite from academia (hence the existence of this blog). Having my ‘separate food life’ on the side of school has what has prevented me from having stress breakdowns before so it’s an essential part of what keeps me sane.

Now I’ve got a month “off” (that’s in quotes because I still have to revise for exams and work on my research project) so that means I can get back into the kitchen a bit more. Christmas is...

**Thanks to Schwartz for sponsoring this post!**

I’m a big fan of using vegetables in dessert. I mean, I now eye roll when people do the whole ‘well it’s got vegetables in it so I can eat it for breakfast right!? ha ha ha’. Mate, if you want to eat cake for breakfast, you do you. Don’t need to justify it!! I’m all on board the cake train. What I DO like about the vegetable addition is that a) it sometimes can bring a different aspect of flavour or colour to the cake, making it more interesting to eat b) its a GREAT way to use up a hell of a lot of veg at once e.g. if you have a bag of carrots starting to look a biiiit sad, turn em into cake instead of chucking them! and c) they often also bring moisture to recipes which can make things all fluffy and soft – it’s also why usually they’re not used in cookies cos who on earth wants a fluffy cookie?

You may think a parsnip cake sounds like a strange idea, but if you think about carrot or courgette cake, there’s not much difference. Parsnips are another slightly sweet vegetable with a mild flavour – in fact we...

 

Thanks to Heritage Breeds for sponsoring this post!

Choux pastry is one of those things which is just hella delicious but I always forget about it as a fancy dessert option. The main times I’ve made it have been for large family gatherings and for my GCSE food tech project in which I made choux bun/cupcake hybrids which looked like swans once a week for 2 months (..don’t even ask). I think they’re a bit like soufflés in how they seem really fancy and difficult to make but they’re actually not too hard if you’ve got the right tricks!

If you’ve never made choux pastry before, the method will seem a little weird. We boil butter and water in a pot, dump in flour and stir stir stir it up until you get a ball of doughy mixture. While it’s still warm, we then slowly beat in some eggies – I was using the Heritage Breeds Royal Legbar eggs from well-cared for chickens (look at those gorgeous blue shells *insert heart eye emoji*) for their high quality and rich flavour. You’ve gotta work the arm muscles here guys and...

Did you know that I used to hate salads? I just didn’t see the point of eating a bowl of leaves which a) didn’t taste of anything and b) didn’t fill you up. It’s not surprising this was my view as the only time I’d tried it was at school where ‘salad’ meant a bowl of iceberg lettuce – no dressing, no additions. Literally just the worst leaf you could possibly use in an undressed salad too. Bleugh.

Now, don’t worry, I’ve had many a delicious salad since (with dressing! hooray!) which have of course converted me.

 

A few summers ago I was in New York for a while when I did an internship at Food52. I had a lot of time on my hands, a lotta places I wanted to go (eat) and luckily, so many internet friends to meet up with! On one very hot morning I took the subway over to Brooklyn and visited Hetty of Arthur Street Kitchen who had just moved to the neighbourhood from Australia. She is an amazing salad wizard who has authored 2 salad-themed cookbooks which...

Continuing on from a recent post’s theme of me being ill, I had planned to make these pumpkin ricotta pancakes a few weekends ago when my friend came to visit me in Leeds. That was when I came down with the flu so instead of pancakes she made me a Lemsip and I managed to force myself to eat some toast. Man, losing your appetite and then sense of taste is a major bummer

I finally had enough time to make these just for myself – bonus cos then I kept the leftovers in the fridge and had pancakes for breakfast for the next few days B).  It’s quite nice on the weekend as my housemates don’t usually come downstairs until midday so I’ve got my own peaceful Sunday ritual. Listening to a podcast – usually Don’t Salt My Game – and making my breakfast which I can eat slowly without the stress of rushing out the door to lectures.

These pumpkin ricotta pancakes are a definite weekend-only venture as they require whisking egg whites. I know, it’s a pain in the arse but it does make the these nice and thick whilst also being super...

Brunch food has gotta be my favourite – I’m always looking for new places to check out in London and Leeds and I’m part of an instagram brunch club for god’s sake. That said, it can get a bit spenny going out for brunch, especially a bottomless brunch (which I’ve only had once a few months ago and I don’t know if I’ve recovered yet. So. Much. Prosecco.). Luckily, brunch food is also probably some of the easiest to make yourself! I know I’m crap at poaching eggs so I usually skip those types of recipes and go straight for pancakes (duh) and baked eggies!

When I’ve got eggs as the main component of a meal I feel it’s essential to use very fresh, superior quality ones. I find I can really taste the difference and oh, those deep golden yolks are just so gorgeous too. Here I’ve used Copper Marans eggs from Heritage Breeds whose chickens are looked after well and are free to roam on grassy pastures, just as they should be!

This recipe is almost like a green alternative to shakshuka. Cos don’t get...

So I was meant to post this recipe about 2 weeks ago, then I ended up getting the flu which turned into LARYNGITIS so I was basically sleeping all week. (Side note: losing my voice for a week made me realise how hard it is to live your life when you can’t speak. Like calling up a GP to make an appointment? Not an option. I ended up carrying a notepad into the surgery with me so I could make an appointment because I could barely even whisper. Nightmare). Then I had to catch up with all the uni I’d missed plus prepare for a group presentation we had on Friday. And now we’re here, a fortnight later, with these heavenly bites.

I remember the first time I’d made millionaire’s shortbread. It’s quite an easy recipe to make so it was one of the first things I’d made from a recipe I’d found myself. I’d taken the cookbook out of my school library and photocopied a bunch of things I wanted to make. After trying the shortbread out they became a favourite of mine and my brother’s for a while.

I hadn’t made them again in years but you know when you just get a very strong craving for something...

I’m always looking for quick meals to cook up – either for an afternoon when I have enough time to pop back from uni to have lunch or on a busy evening. This is a 15-minute meal you can throw together so easily it’s almost unbelievable! That crispy sage really takes it to the next level imo.

I made the recipe as I’ve been working with Cyber Aware to bring attention to the importance of updating your software and apps. I know how annoying it can be to not be able to use your phone or laptop but if you resist that urge to press the ‘update later’ button you can spend that tech-free 15 minutes making this recipe as your tech updates! Below, I’ve got the recipe written out or a video embedded so you can follow whichever you want.

 

Mushroom & Sage Butter Gnocchi 200 g potato gnocchi 2 tbsp refined olive oil a handful sage leaves 200 g chestnut mushrooms, sliced 2 cloves garlic, crushed 2 tbsp unsalted butter parmesan cheese (shaved) salt and black pepper Bring a large pot of water to the boil. Add the potato gnocchi and cook for 2-3 minutes. Drain the gnocchi and leave them in the colander. Return the pot to the heat.  With the pot on a medium-high heat, add the olive oil. Once hot, add the sage leaves and cook until...

Our third year house in Leeds is finally starting to feel a bit more like ‘home’. I ordered some plants to liven up my room a bit – btw eBay seems to be the best place to buy some cool house plants if you need to (way cheaper than those flower delivery companies or trendy plant shops). I was listening to a podcast (‘Suprisingly Awesome’ if you wanna know) recently about the house plant business – apparently there are companies who professionally furnish offices with house plants! They rent the plants out, replace them if they die and choose the right plants for the space. Sounds a bit more sophisticated than how I chose my plants – by knowing the name of ONE (monstera obvs) and then searching through ebay shops which sold them for other plants to buy. I’ve ended up with a string of pearls succulent, a string of hearts plant and a prayer plant! …I really hope they survive the Northern winter..

I’ve also baked a few of times now – some bread, millionaire’s shortbread and THESE rolls. I feel like baking cinnamon rolls is like christening a house haha. They’re just the epitome of comfort for me and probably my favourite baked good. I was gonna add ground cardamom to the dough too...

Back to uni now means back to cooking for myself on the reg which, I have to say, I’m excited about. It was great to have a break from the obligatory cooking over the summer to regain some brain space for new recipes. I do enjoy the relaxing nature of coming back from lectures and being able to linger around in the kitchen, sipping on tea, listening to a podcast and cooking something delicious.

Given that I should be cooking dinner right now (I have to get some butternut squash into the oven, pronto) I’ll keep this post short and sweet! Quesadillas are always a crowd pleaser and are an easy thing to make for dinner when you need something comfort-foody and filling – cos who doesn’t want a pimped up cheese toastie for dinner eh?

Sweet Potato, Red Onion and Lentil Quesadillas 2 medium sweet potatoes (~500g total, peeled) 1 tbsp olive oil 2 red onions (sliced 5mm thick) salt 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar 1 400g can green lentils, drained 2 tsp ground cumin ½ tsp chilli flakes (or more/less if you want) juice of ½ a lemon large handful of coriander (roughly chopped) 200 g cheddar cheese (grated) 4 large wholemeal tortillas Greek yogurt (to serve) Bring a medium pot of water to the boil. Cut the sweet potatoes into medium chunks and add to the pot. Bring back up to the boil then leave to simmer for 10...

September crept up on me this year, partially because we had a VERY hot few days in the UK recently so I was blissfully unaware that summer is coming to an end. Uni starts in a few weeks and I’m internally starting to panic about the fact that I only have 1 year left of education. I’m partially excited to finish and start being a *real* person but also, like everyone else, pretty terrified about that too.

This is the cake-form of my denial that summer is ending and that reality will hit soon when I return to Leeds. It features a fresh strawberry buttercream and elderflower cordial – can’t get more summery than THAT. As I find layer cakes endlessly frustrating to make, I decided to go sheet cake style here. They’re very easy to make and decorate so are much better for my level of patience!

Strawberries are definitely something that taste best in season. But as we’re cooking them down into a jam for the frosting here, using slightly crappy strawberries (or frozen ones!) is definitely a good option.

I just got back from Italy and it was THE BEST. Even though we almost melted in the 40+ degree heat (global warming is very scary) and got attacked by mosquitos I was still one of my favourite places I’ve ever visited. I’m very excited to go back sometime and see more of it…so so much more! I only got to see Florence this time so there are many more places to visit and a LOT more food to be eaten.

I think my favourite aspect of visiting Italy, apart from the amazing food, was the fact that I just weirdly slotted in. I’ve always felt slightly out of place in the UK – I’m short, have slightly olive-y skin and thick wavy hair thanks to my half-Italian genetics. In Italy though I obviously just looked like one of the gang which is kind of comforting when you’re travelling in a new country.

ANYWAY that has absolutely nothing to do with this recipe at all because this is a post about chilaquiles from the gorgeous book, One Part Plant, by Jessica Murnane! All the recipes in...