Homemade Baked Beans

Baked Beans 3

 

I have a thing for baked beans, they were part of the weekly menu rotation when I was growing up, when I was ill my mum could always make me feel better with a bowl of beans with tiny chunks of toast mixed in and now they’re pretty high on my list of comfort foods. Recently an aversion to processed foods and the fact that canned baked beans are ridiculously (and unnecessarily) high in sugar and salt has prompted me to replace this family favourite with a seriously tasty and nutritious alternative.

Baked Beans 4

I searched high and low for a good recipe, but most seemed to add loads of sugar , which was definitely not what I wanted. But then I stumbled upon this one from Vegan Sparkles, no added sugar at all, but absolutely gorgeous!

With the addition of some well placed herbs and spices you really don’t miss the extra salt, and the sweetness of the sugar can be replaced with a combination of sun dried and cherry tomatoes. This recipe is almost as easy as opening a can of normal baked beans, so really there’s no excuse! Served up on some sour dough toast with a fried egg on top you’ve got yourself a fantastic dinner to add to the rotation! (continue reading…)

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Blood Orange and Sesame Salad

Blood orange salad 2

 

After what felt like an endless winter, where the only things that could comfort me on a freezing cold Sunday were mashed potatoes and custard (clearly not together), the sun has finally started to come out from behind the clouds and I’m in the mood for some fresh flavours.

Blood orange salad 3

Basically I need salad. Cool, fresh and crunchy salad, with a gorgeous asian inspired dressing, a little toasted nuttiness and some tangy citrus. Chuck in a few avocado chunks and I’ve found my salad heaven. Plus its another awesome way to make the most of blood orange season, just like this amazing blood orange and campari cake, go on you know you want to!

Blood orange salad 5

I could eat this salad until the cows come home and this weekend I definitely ate more than my fair share. It makes a perfect light lunch and would be an ideal dinner party starter or barbecue side. I think I might throw a chicken breast on the griddle next time I make it, although my brain keeps steering me towards burgers…naughty brain. (continue reading…)

Cheese, Leek and Thyme Toasted Sandwich

Cheese leek toasted sandwich 6

 

Following a couple of moderately disappointing and extremely frustrating baking experiences, that both ended in severe sugar overdoses, I felt that this weekend it was time to move into the realms of savoury comfort food.

There’s something about a toasted cheese sandwich (or grilled cheese if you will) that makes up for the rain, the cold and the grey London skies. This is not so much a recipe as a flavour combination that I really hope you’ll try.

Cheese leek toasted sandwich 5

For today’s exploration of toasted cheese I decided to travel the classic British route of a bracingly mature cheddar, in the form of Lincolnshire Poacher, supplied by the wonderful experts at Neal’s Yard Dairy in Borough Market. To pair with the tangy cheese I chose meltingly sweet leeks, sautéed with a little dried thyme, although if you have fresh that would be even better, and a bit of seasoning.

Sourdough bread

Tangy, melty cheese, sweet, fragrant leeks and crunchy slices of toasted sourdough, what could possibly go wrong? Thankfully, unlike my recent cakes, this sandwich went entirely according to plan and delivered exactly the comfort on a grey Sunday afternoon that I was hoping for. (continue reading…)

Spring Vegetable Quinoa with Feta & Mint

Spring Veg Quinoa 1

Spring is indisputably here, and one of the best thing about it, apart from sunshine, lighter evenings and Game of Thrones, has to be the arrival of spring vegetables and the queen of them all, asparagus. (Yes, asparagus is a girl, and I may have been carried away by the Game of Thrones thing)

Spring Veg Quinoa 2

For me a quinoa salad is just a way of getting as many different vegetables, and usually some feta, onto my plate at the same time as possible, (see also roasted vegetable & feta quinoa) so it’s the obvious accompaniment to the glorious new selection of vegetables. It’s also insanely easy to throw together.

Spring Veg Quinoa 3

Crunchy and spicy radishes, freshly shelled broad beans (do you call these fava beans in the US? My spell check really doesn’t like it!) and chargrilled asparagus mixed through some quinoa and topped with crumbled feta and finely sliced mint leaves. It’s fresh, light and the perfect spring lunch, even better served with a side of mustardy watercress leaves. (continue reading…)

Simple Carrot & Coriander Salad

Carrot coriander salad 1

 

Today’s post is all about simplicity. Sometimes simplicity is the key when it comes to good, wholesome food. Today, with a flight to New York looming in the very near future, I feel the need for something simple and comforting. The combination of carrot and coriander seems like it fits the bill.

Carrot coriander salad 3

 

Crunchy, tangy and refreshing, I scoffed this salad alongside a left over Kale Pesto, Olive and Mozzarella Pizza Roll. The flavours weren’t the best match in the world, but I threw caution to the wind and didn’t regret it. (continue reading…)

Kale Pesto, Olive & Mozzarella Pizza Rolls

Kale Pesto Pizza Rolls 1

Why is it that whenever I try to cut down on my wheat consumption I am assailed with amazing wheat based recipes at every turn! This week it was Joy The Baker and her fabulous pepperoni pizza rolls that got under my skin and wouldn’t let me rest until I’d put my own spin on the recipe.

Kale Pesto Pizza Rolls 2

To justify making these pizza rolls, I decided to fool myself into believing they were healthy by thoroughly injecting them with kale.  I recently discovered the joys of homemade pesto and it turns out that the kale variety, whilst being full of lovely vitamins, tastes incredible. I was worried that without the basil something would be lacking, but the flavour is just as distinctive and works perfectly with the mozzarella and olives.

Kale Pesto Pizza Rolls 3

These pizza rolls are marvellous served warm from the oven, crispy on the outside and super soft and saucy in the middle. And what’s more, they only take about an hour to prepare so you can even whip them up for a quick post-work supper! (continue reading…)

Spiced Duck, Mango & Pomegranate Salad

Duck salad 1

Oh my goodness, spring has, for once, arrived early here in the UK! In celebration of the sunshine I officially declare the commencement of salad season!

Duck salad 2

What better way to kick things off than with this gorgeously spicy and fruity duck salad. To my mind, there are few better combinations in the world than meat and fruit, except perhaps fragrant spices and fruit and this salad provides the very best of both of those combinations.

Duck salad 3

Spicy, crispy skinned duck, cool, juicy mango and crunchy, sweet pomegranate seeds are the main protagonists, accompanied by soft, baby leaf salad, radishes, avocado and the occasional hit of fresh coriander. It’s basically all of my favourite things on one plate and I just can’t get enough of it. (continue reading…)

Apple & Chilli Chutney

Apple & Chilli Chutney 1

Until today, I’d always lived up to my scaredy cat name and been more than a little terrified of making preserves.  It wasn’t so much making the chutney or jam itself, more the whole process of sterilising jars and keeping everything scrupulously clean.  It always seemed like such a palaver and I was sure I’d mess it up, scold myself with boiling water and  produce a preserve that didn’t last five minutes, rendering the whole thing pointless.

Apple & Chilli Chutney 2

But then I discovered that you don’t have to boil your jars for ages in a humungous pan of water, you can actually perform the whole sterilisation process in a dishwasher on the hottest setting! I had to give it a go. All I already had the perfect beginners recipe.

Apple & Chilli Chutney 3

Back in November, I visited my sister in New York and one lunchtime she presented me with a platter of round slices of toasted french bread, smothered in melted cheddar and served up with this chutney on the side. She’d made the chutney to use up a glut of apples from an apple picking trip to upstate New York and I immediately knew this recipe had to go on the blog. However, a lack of glass jars and me constantly forgetting to order them, combined with my preserving phobia, led to a 3 month time lag. (continue reading…)

Spelt Crust, Aubergine, Ricotta & Basil Pizza

Spelt crust pizza 1

Wheat doesn’t like me, not one little bit. Too much wheat and my belly swells into a solid little bowling ball, which ruins the line of a good pencil dress. Graphic, I know, apologies.

Spelt crust pizza 2

So a few months ago I decided to cut back on my wheat consumption,  I’m never going to give it up completely, as frankly a life without cake and biscuits just isn’t worth living, but I figure a little less wheat pasta and bread can only be a good thing.

Spelt crust pizza 3

Whilst biscuits and cakes just aren’t the same in a wheat-free format, there are certain wheaty foodstuffs that can actually be pretty marvellous when you switch out the flour for something a little different, mainly those that involve a bread dough. (continue reading…)

Sesame Crusted Salmon & Sushi Rice Bowl

Sesame salmon 5

Yesterday, at a surprise baby shower (a great success, by the way), I enjoyed the glorious English tradition of afternoon tea, with a slightly less traditional glass of fizz. Feasting on finger sandwiches, scones and clotted cream was an incredibly pleasant way to while away the hours before the long winter night set in. However, after all of that utter decadence my evening meal had to be something well behaved and virtuous.

Sesame salmon 2

When I’m after something tasty but virtuous my mind always turns to Japanese food. I am by no means an expert in this area, I’ve never been to Japan (although I’d love to go, if it didn’t involve being on a plane for a ridiculous amount of time) but I have eaten enough Japanese food to know that I love it!

Sesame salmon 3

This dish is not in any way authentic but it does bring together a few of my favourite flavours and ingredients in a way that is super tasty and incredibly easy to prepare after a hard day of jamming scones into your face. (continue reading…)