Tag Archives: cooking

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!

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Cheat’s Tiramisu

Oh, you know I love a quick, easy and delicious dessert! This is definitely all of those things.

It is not a completely authentic tiramisu recipe, but it is so effortless, so quick, and so tasty! I created it because I wanted to use up some leftover mascarpone, but I’m so glad that it worked out well because I will without doubt be whipping this up in a flash next time I need a quick treat!

You will need some shot glasses or very small ramekins. I think it looks best served in glass so you can see the beautiful coffee biscuits and creamy layers.

Cheat’s Tiramisu

Makes 4 mini portions

Takes around 15-20 minutes, plus chilling time.

Ingredients:

120g mascarpone
2 tbsp creme fraiche or double cream
5 sponge fingers
3 shots espresso coffee
2 tbsp cocoa powder and extra for sprinkling
2 tbsp icing sugar

1. Mix the cocoa powder with a 1/4 cup of boiling water, and stir until the powder has completely dissolved. Add the coffee, and if you have any you can add a little marsala wine too (don’t worry if you don’t have any).

2. Cut the sponge fingers into 4 quarters, and soak in the coffee-chocolate for 5 minutes.

3. Mix the mascarpone with the creme fraiche or cream and stir in the icing sugar. You can add more sugar if you like it really sweet.

4. Start layering the glasses. First put a teaspoon of creamy cheese, then a sponge quarter, and keep layering until you fill the glass. Smooth over the top with some cheese, and then decorate with a sprinkle of cocoa.

Chill in the fridge for at least 30 mins before serving. (A couple of hours is better.)

Buon appetito! Enjoy!

Jazzed-up Brown Rice

We all know that whole grains are supposed to be good for us. Brown rice is healthy, filling, and slowly releases energy compared with white rice. Personally, though, I don’t normally like it! Even though I love lots of healthy foods, brown rice is not one of my favourites.

So, last week I came up with a way of making it a bit more tasty, by adding nutty, sweet and herby flavours. I still kept it healthy, but it was a big improvement from plain brown rice! This rice has a crunch from the seeds, a soft sweetness from the squash and a wonderful fragrance.

If, like me, you’re not a huge fan of brown rice, then try this recipe and let me know what you think. I will definitely be making it again!

Brown Rice With Roasted Butternut Squash, Seeds and Herbs

Start to finish time: 1 hour
Serves: 2

Ingredients:

1 medium butternut squash
1/2 cup brown rice
big bunch of fresh parsley, chopped
1/2 vegetable stock cube
3 tbsp mixed seeds (any combination of your favourite seeds, e.g. pumpkin, sunflower, sesame)
garlic oil

Salt & Pepper

1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees. Halve the round part of the squash and drizzle with garlic oil, a pinch of salt and pepper. No need to peel! Roast for a total of 40 minutes or until soft.

2. Peel and cube the long part of the squash and also drizzle with olive oil, a pinch of salt and pepper. Allow the larger squash to roast for about 20 minutes and then add the cubes to the oven.

3. Wash the rice and throw away the water. Then add the cooking water, stock cube and half your chopped parsley. stir and then cook as per the packet. Start cooking the rice when you add the cubed squash to the oven.

4. In a separate pan, toast the seeds for a couple of minutes or until they start to brown.

5. By the time the rice is cooked, the squash should be perfectly roasted and vice versa! Mix the remaining fresh parsley, toasted seeds, and cubed squash into the rice.

6. Add salt & pepper to taste. Serve in the larger part of the roasted squash!

Enjoy!

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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The Perfect Weekend Breakfast

Homemade hash browns, poached egg and grilled tomatoes, with a cup of Yorkshire Tea. 🙂 What more could you want?

I have to give full credit to my boyfriend for cooking this delicious breakfast. If you’ve ever been lucky enough to have a meal cooked by Mr L, you will understand the waiting, hunger, and anticipation that accompanies the delight of the meal. He whizzes about in the kitchen, creating enticing smells, bangs and crashes. I wait and wait and occasionally peep in to the kitchen to see what’s happening; and widen my eyes and bite my lip watching the pile of washing up grow!

Eventually, it’s ready! And it is always a marvellous delicious treat, more than worth the wait!

I could compare the feeling to the scene in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang when the children are waiting while the dad is crashing about in his room fixing up the old battered car. Days and days go by, and eventually a new, shiny, colourful, amazing flying car comes out!

Okay, so breakfast was not quite that dramatic! But, still you get the picture. Yum yum!

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.