Tag Archives: cook

Genoa and Cinque Terre

A selection of photos from Genoa and Cinque Terre, summer 2012. No effects or colour enhancers used.

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And me..eating pizza of course

And me..eating pizza of course

 

All photographs copyright EatNowTalkLater © 2013. All rights reserved.

Summer Breakfasts

My six week holiday is coming to an end as I go back to work on Monday (and become a student again!) I have had such a brilliant holiday and seen so many friends, so thank you to everyone! I have surprised myself with how busy I’ve been, and so I have to apologise to all my followers for disappearing from Eat Now Talk Later recently. I’m sorry!

But now I’m back! It’s really hard to get back into blogging when you get out the habit and I wasn’t really sure where to start! So I’m just starting with a few photos of some of my favourite breakfasts from this summer.

Those of you who know me well, know I am NOT a morning person. I treasure my sleep greatly so I always resent the mornings. But, if you invite me out to brunch, I suddenly become all sociable! Ooh I do love a cooked breakfast!

Apologies for the quality of these photos, they were taken on my phone. 

Huevos rancheros at Banners, Crouch End. A lovely brunch with my darling friend Dasha. In the background you see gingerbread pancakes with bacon and eggs.

Toasted bagel with wilted spinach and a poached egg. Homemade brunch with my sister Danya-Zohar.

Birthday pancakes I made for Mr L, topped with nutella and banana.

Birthday pancakes for Mr L, this one with cottage cheese and honey.

Okay, I admit it. I love houmous and baked beans together!

Aubergine and Feta Tarts with a Tamarind Drizzle

Even though tamarind is usually used in asian cooking, I’ve used it here in a Mediterranean style tart. I really like the sweet and  tangy flavour and thought it would be perfect with cheese. I love all these ingredients separately but I’ve never used them together before.

As you may already know I love puff pastry for being delicious, easy to use, and amazingly versatile. It’s works so well with Mediterranean ingredients and especially cheese. I have previously posted a recipe for Mozzarella and Pesto tarts on puff pastry.

This is a simple recipe that makes a perfect starter or light lunch. Serve with a salad and some sliced meats.

Aubergine and Feta Tarts with a Tamarind Drizzle

Start to finish time: 45 minutes
Serves: 2

Ingredients

150g ready rolled puff pastry
1 aubergine, sliced about 5 mm thick
1 tbsp olive oil
4 tbsp tomato puree
4 tsp  garlic oil
100g feta cheese
a few basil leaves

Salt & Pepper

For the drizzle:
1 tbsp tamarind paste
3 tsp sugar
1 tsp honey
a few drops of lemon

1. Preheat your oven to 200 degrees.

2. Lay the sliced aubergine over kitchen paper and sprinkle each slice with salt. Leave for a few minutes and then dab with more kitchen roll. Turn each slice over and do the same on the other side. Move the slices to an oven tray and drizzle with olive oil. Oven cook for 5 minutes on each side. If they start to crisp, remove from the oven.

3. Whack the oven up to 220 degrees. Cut the ready rolled puff pastry into 4 of your desired shape. Move to an oiled tray and put 1 tbsp of tomato puree and 1 tsp of garlic oil on each one. Spread with the back of a teaspoon.

4. Layer the cooked aubergine next, and then crumble the feta cheese on top. Sprinkle with black pepper and then finish with a few basil leaves torn over the top.

5. Oven cook for 10 minutes or until the pastry is golden and has risen.

6. In a bowl, add about 1 tbsp of boiled water to the tamarind paste and stir until it has all mixed. Add the sugar and honey and then put it in the microwave for about 30 seconds. Stir in the lemon juice.

7.  When the tarts are golden and puffed, take them out the oven and drizzle the tamarind over them.

Serve hot or cold with a salad.

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Penne Funghi (and Hanukkah)

Hanukkah starts tomorrow, and many people know that Jews traditionally eat oily foods like doughnuts and potato latkes (a potato pancake made from grated potato and onion). I’m sure we will see many delicious recipes for latkes this week!

Hanukkah celebrates the miracle of the oil that burned for eight days when the Maccabees rededicated the holy Temple in Jerusalem after their victory over the Syrian-Greeks. Fried foods like potato pancakes (“latkas” in Yiddish and “livivot” in Hebrew) and doughnuts (“sufganiyot” in Hebrew) are traditional Hanukkah treats because they are cooked in oil and remind us of the miracle of the holiday. From: http://judaism.about.com/od/holidays/a/Hanukkah-Food-Traditions.htm

Another tradition which I had completely forgotten about (until my sister reminded me at our Christmukka themed food club evening) is that Jews often eat dairy at Hanukkah.

Dairy foods did not become popular on Hanukkah until the Middle Ages. The custom of eating things like cheese, cheesecake and blintzes emerged from the story of Judith. According to legend, Judith was a great beauty who saved her village from the Babylonians. The Babylonian army was besieging her village, when Judith charmed her way into the enemy camp with a basket of cheese and wine. She brought the food to the enemy general, Holofernes, who consumed increasing amounts of wine along with the cheese. (According to the story, the cheese was very salty, hence making Holoferenes very thirsty.) When Holofernes eventually became drunk and passed out, Judith beheaded him with his sword and brought his head back to the village in her basket. When the Babylonians discovered that their leader had been slain, they left. In this way Judith saved her people and eventually it became traditional to eat dairy foods in honor of her bravery. From: http://judaism.about.com/od/holidays/a/Hanukkah-Food-Traditions.htm

I personally think this tradition is all wrong and really we should be drinking more wine to remember Judith on Hanukkah! Oh well, there’s always Purim! (On the festival of Purim, Jews are supposed to get drunk.)

At Hanukkah, lots of Jews will eat their dairy in the form of cheesecake, or cottage cheese on their latkes, yum! Here is how I will be eating my dairy this year; it ties in with my pasta obsession and my love for savoury foods.

As you may have realised, I’m a big fan of easy, quick recipes. This is also a super simple and cheap recipe and works really well as part of a ‘pot luck’ dinner or buffet style lunch. And of course, it’s totally kosher. If you’re in a real rush you could get the pasta on as soon as the garlic is cooked. Make sure you give the mushrooms enough time to cook though. I personally don’t like half-cooked mushrooms as I think they can be a bit slimy that way and it gives them a bad reputation!

Penne Funghi

Takes: 35 minutes
Serves: 4

Ingredients:
300g penne pasta (or your favourite pasta)
100g button mushrooms, sliced
4 large cloves garlic, sliced
1/2 tsp dried tarragon
1/2 tsp dried oregano
25g butter
3 tbsps olive oil
3 tbsps soft cream cheese

salt & pepper

1. Heat the butter and oil in a pan on a low heat. When melted, add the garlic and about 2 minutes later, the mushrooms.

2. Soften the mushrooms for about 10 minutes or until they are all cooked and soft and covered in the garlicy butter. Then add the herbs, and some salt and pepper, stir and continue to cook on a low heat. If the sauce starts to dry out, add a little water.

3. In a separate pan, boil your pasta in the usual way for about 12 minutes or the time stated on the packet.

4. About 2 minutes before the pasta is ready add the cream cheese to the mushrooms and stir though until melted. Taste and add more salt and pepper if necessary.

5. As soon as your pasta is sieved, stir in the sauce and serve hot!

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I would like to, once again, enter this recipe to Pasta Presto Nights, hosted by Ruth. The next post PPN will be in 2012!

Cookies and Cream Fudge Brownies


Mmm what’s better than a delicious chocolate brownie warm from the oven and a glass of milk?

As it’s the last day of chocolate week, here’s my contribution! This is a yummy brownie I made recently with Oreo biscuits, from Lorraine Pascale’s cookbook ‘Baking Made Easy’. I bought this cookbook straight after watching her BBC series last year and I’ve tried many of the recipes. Baking is really the only type of cooking that I do follow recipes and hers are very simple and easy. I’m pretty confident with my cooking normally, I like to experiment with different ingredients and make up new dishes, but I would never do that with baking because it really is a complicated science and I wouldn’t know where to start. I can’t wait to try her new wheat free peanut butter brownie recipe.

This cookies and cream brownie recipe is nice and easy, and I like the use of oreos instead of nuts. However, I really need to invest in an electric whisk to speed things up! I tend to use less sugar than the 165g stated because I don’t like them too sweet. They always turn out delicious! Chewy and soft on the inside and crunchy on the outside. I recommend eating them straight from the oven with a glass of cold milk!

If you have a foolproof brownie recipe I’d love to hear from you! Also, if you recommend any other recipes from this book let me know.

Calories don’t count on my birthday

Last week was my 24th birthday. I usually think birthdays have a compulsory anticlimactic feeling, and tend to think it was over too quickly, and I didn’t even get to eat much cake/get enough attention/lounge around in my pjs. However this year, I can truly say that my birthday was a brilliant day and I enjoyed every minute of it!

When I woke up, the first thing I thought about was what to have for breakfast; bran flakes, I thought. And then I remembered, calories don’t count on my birthday! So my usual morning calorie mathematics and bowl of bran flakes were out the window and the carb overload began!

The day went like this: onion bagels in the morning, followed by pizza and fried zucchini at lunch, and then foodie heaven for dinner.

I met my family for lunch at l’artista in Golders Green, North London. It is an Italian restaurant, and is truly Italian all the way through. The food is great and the staff are slightly crazy, loud Italians! You cannot miss it if you are in Golders Green, just follow the scent of frying garlic!

I hadn’t been to l’artista for ages, and would usually pick a new restaurant to try out for my birthday. But this year I felt like going back to our classic family-outing restaurant. When my sisters and I were growing up, we loved to go out to eat. However, my parents kept these outings to 5 times a year; once on each of our birthdays. We very rarely broke this cycle, unlike now, when I have to stop myself from eating out more than once a week! So the smell of frying garlic and pizza outside l’artista has always had very sentimental and happy memories for me.

Anyway, we sat down for lunch and gave our orders to the very Italian waiter. My half-Italian dad likes to order in Italian which always makes me very proud! Being my birthday, I can have whatever I want! So I order a Fiorentina pizza (spinach and egg), but clearly the egg yolk is the best bit so I ask to have two eggs! Because I can.

We also order a tricolore salad and some fried courgettes/zucchini to share. ‘Do you remember how we always used to come here?’ I asked my family, smiling.’Why did we always come to the same place?’ My parents thought about it for a minute. ‘Because you three all loved Italian food, and the food is good, decently priced, near home and best of all they do the birthday thing!’ Oh yes! The birthday thing! If it is your birthday all the waiters/waitresses bang on drums and other loud musical instruments and sing you happy birthday! As a child, this is a great moment of pure birthday attention!

As our lunch came to an end, my dad started to get restless about needing to get to work. He started the tapping the leg and following the waiter with your eyes dance, trying to get the bill. ‘Come on’ he muttered. My mum responded with ‘Shh, we haven’t done the birthday thing yet!’ Haha, subtle. I thought they meant they hadn’t even asked for it yet, and I thought about it and about my dad needing to get to work and I said, ‘You know what? I think I’m getting a bit old for that anyway, don’t worry about it’. And just as I finished my sentence, the lights went down, the music came on, the drums came out and the waiters started singing along to the loud ‘happy birthday’ music and clapping, and the whole room turned to look at me and started clapping! I loved it! I’m definitely not too old after all!

After lunch I went shopping and then came home in time for my surprise dinner from my boyfriend, Lewis. I believe that even Gordon Ramsey would have no criticism of this meal. It was so perfectly designed, executed, and presented, I was absolutely in FOODIE HEAVEN.

My favourite dish was home made ravioli with fresh crab and chilli prawn filling covered with courgette and tomato, and tiger prawns. It was delicious.

And then came the weekend which did not disappoint. Especially as my baker sister Danya was  in charge of my birthday cake. And boy did she impress me! She made two types of cupcakes, lemon and mocha and decorated them all beautifully and professionally. Needless to say there is NONE left!

All in all it was a great birthday.

However today is no longer my birthday, and therefore calories do count, and I’m back on the bran flakes…

Sweet Potato Chicken Pie

One of my favourite things to cook is chicken pie. You can add whatever vegetables and herbs you like and make it different every time. It’s cheap to make, and, although a bit time consuming, not very difficult.

Tonight I am making my chicken pie with leek and sweet potato. For a kosher version, simply use margerine instead of butter, glaze with an egg, and exclude the cream. Use dairy free pastry or make your own. Puff or shortcrust. It works just as well.

Although I’m uploading my recipe, I’d like you to read it with a pinch of salt! I’m not the sort of person that follows recipes strictly, and so I tend to make things up as I’m cooking. I consider recipes to be inspiration rather than instructions. Therefore I’d like you to feel free to do the same. Don’t like tarragon? Don’t add it. Don’t like leek? Change it to mushroom. You get the picture…

Chicken Pie with Leek and Sweet Potato

Start to finish time:  1 hr 30 mins
Serves: 3 people

25g cooking butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 skinless chicken breasts
1 large or 2 medium white onions
1/2 red onion
2 large garlic cloves
1 large leek
1 large sweet potato
200ml chicken stock
1 tsp dried parsley or a bunch of fresh parsley
1/4 tsp paprika
2 bay leaves
1 tsp dried tarragon
1 tsp dried thyme or a fresh bunch
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 glass of white wine
100ml cream
Ready rolled puff pastry
2 tablespoons of plain/cornflour
salt & pepper
milk/egg to glaze

Preheat the oven to 180.

Thinly slice all the onion and garlic. Heat a pan with the oil and butter and when hot, add the onion, then a few minutes later the garlic.  Gently fry on a low heat for a few minutes. In the meantime, wash and slice the leeks. Rings are fine as they cook away anyway. Stir in the leek and cook it all until soft. Keep stirring. If you want to add other vegetables such as mushroom now is the time.

Cut the chicken to evenly sized cubes and add to the pot. Give it a stir and then add all the herbs, salt and pepper. Cook for 5 minutes.

Add the wine and stock or 200ml water and 1 chicken stock cube. I like Kallo organic stock cubes.

Cook with the lid on for about 15 minutes and stir every so often.

In the meantime prepare the pasty. If you have ready rolled puff pastry all you need to do is put the dish over it and cut around it. If you have roll it yourself pastry then flour your clean worktop and rolling pin, and roll it out to about 8mm thick. Then shape it on the dish.

I definitely do not have time to make my own pastry.

If you prefer the kind of pie with pastry all around, buy ready rolled shortcrust pastry. Butter the dish first, and then put pastry on the bottom and around the sides. Then blind bake it for about 15 mins, or while the pot is simmering.

Add the sweet potato, evenly cubed 2x2cm. Stir in and cook for a few minutes.

Lastly, slowly add the cream and stir in. Make sure it is on a low heat. If the mixture is too runny, add about 2 tablespoons of flour making sure to add a little at a time and mix it in to avoid lumps.

The mixture is almost ready. Taste it! If it tastes good but something is missing, you can add a teaspoon of white wine vinegar, and more salt/pepper/stock. Remove the bay leaves and thyme stalks.

When it is the right thickness, add the mixture to your pot and drape the pastry on top. If you have any leftover pastry, cut out leaf shapes and place on top. Glaze the pastry with milk or egg, and pop it in the middle of the oven.


Open a bottle of wine and sit back for 30 minutes or until the pastry is perfectly puffed and golden.

Enjoy!

If you try my recipe I’d love to hear from you about how it went! Also feel free to ask questions if something isn’t clear.