warm tomato & feta salad

Although we are currently in our winter season, which normally calls for all things slow cooked and piping hot, i still have a big love for a good salad as a healthy dinner option or as a side to a good piece of protein.
This salad, served warm, is a very delicious alternative to normal salads and pairs well with red meat, chicken or fish.
A great addition to this dish is toasted butter & garlic ciabatta or sour dough slices, making it a delicious, light meal on its own.

Easy, simple, fresh, delicious.

ingredients | serves 4-6 | easy
2T olive oil
300g-400g vine tomatoes or rosa tomatoes
4 rounds feta cheese, halved
150g green beans
handful fresh basil leaves
1t dried basil
3 sprigs thyme, leaves only
3T balsamic vinegar
2 red onions, roughly chopped
6 garlic cloves, peeled & halved
1/2t salt
good grind of black pepper

how to
Preheat the oven to 190 degrees C.
Place the tomatoes and red onion into a roasting tray and drizzle with the olive oil. Toss to coat.
Nestle the feta rounds in and amongst the tomatoes & onions. Add the thyme leaves, dried basil, garlic, balsamic, salt & pepper and gently coat everything using your hands.
Place the tray into the preheated oven and roast for about 15-18 minutes.
Meanwhile, blanch the green beans.
Prepare an icy bath with water and ice. Set aside.
Bring a pot of salted water to the boil. Immerse the beans into the water and cook for about three minutes. Remove the beans from the simmering water and into the ice bath to cool.
Remove and drain on kitchen towel paper.
Add the beans to the tray and continue to roast the salad for a further five minutes or until the tomatoes have popped.

Garnish the salad with the fresh basil leaves and serve warm.

From my kitchen to yours, with love x





beef brisket

This cut is most definitely one of the least tender cuts of beef but when braised or slowly roasted (low & slow) it is rendered soft and has the most incredible flavour!
I was lucky enough to get a very large piece of brisket from my local butcher. A whole 4.6kg of brisket! So I portioned it, wrapped it and placed it in my freezer for a next occasion. One piece, however, was on my dining table last night. And it was sublime! The warm earthy flavours of the spices it was marinated in worked well with the skillet potato & sweet potato and, of course, was the perfect meal for a chilly winters evening.
The low and slow method is very important here so give it the full four hours as per my recipe. You will not regret it.
I also requested my butcher to remove the bone, which was ideal when slicing the meat.

ingredients | serves 4 | easy
1.3kg beef brisket, bone removed
Olive oil
2t paprika
2t ground coriander
2t mustard powder
1t garlic powder
1/4t salt
1/2t black pepper
1 onion, peeled and roughly chopped
1 large carrot, roughly chopped
2T brown sugar
2T tomato paste
3 garlic cloves, whole
3 bay leaves
1.5C red wine
chicken stock (about 2 cups depending on the size of your roasting tray)
corn flour if necessary

how to
In a bowl, mix together the paprika, coriander, mustard powder & garlic powder. Drizzle about three tablespoons olive oil over the brisket and gently rub it into the meat on all sides.
Tip the spice marinade onto the brisket and rub it in using your hands, covering the meat on all sides. Cover with clingfilm and refrigerate for one hour.
Remove the meat from the fridge and leave to come up to room temperature.
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C.
Heat oil in a large oven proof skillet or tray big enough to hold the brisket. Brown the brisket on all sides, about five minutes per side. Remove the brisket and set aside.
Add a knob of butter to the same skillet without wiping it clean. Sauté the onion for about two minutes. Add the carrot and cook for one minute, stirring.
Add the tomato paste & brown sugar to the skillet and cook the mixture for about three minutes, caramelising the onion & carrot. Add the garlic, stir through and then deglaze the pan with the red wine. Leave to simmer for about three minutes. Add the bay leaves, salt & black pepper. Now pour the chicken stock around the brisket, just more than halfway up.
Tightly wrap the skillet with tin foil or cover with a tight fitting lid.
Place into the oven and roast for 4 hours.
Once cooked, leave to rest for about ten minutes, loosely covered with tinfoil. Meanwhile, using an immersion blender, blitz the stock and vegetable mixture and then strain through a sieve into a sauce pot.
Bring the mixture to the boil and then to a medium simmer. Taste and season. Thicken with corn flour if needed. (Two teaspoons corn four with two teaspoons water.).
Using a serrated knife, slice the brisket flat, against the grain.

Serve with skillet vegetables and couscous or roasted root vegetables.

From my kitchen to yours, with love x




leftover chicken & veg packed pocket pies

It is hard cooking for two (and a little 1 year old) and not have any leftovers. Especially with dishes like roasts. In our industry we waste nothing and so i recycled the chicken meat for these lovely, tasty puff pies. They are so easy to make and are a great way to sneak vegetables in for the kids.
These pocket pies freeze really well so i usually make a whole batch, freeze them, and then bag them for later use. Simply pop them into a hot oven straight from the freezer and you have a great lunch or light dinner when time is of the essence. The size of the pies depends on yourself. I used a fairly small tea saucer to cut out my rounds but you can use a side plate or any other round mould.
Grated cheese is another ingredient that works well in these pies although i did not add it this time.

ingredients | makes about 10 – 12 | easy
2C chicken, deboned and roughly chopped
2T olive oil
2T butter, & extra if needed
1 onion, chopped
1t crushed garlic
2 medium zucchini, grated
1 large carrot, grated
2C mushrooms, sliced
1C frozen peas & corn mix
2T flour
1C chicken stock
1/4C cream
5 sprigs thyme, leaves only
salt to taste
black pepper
2 rolls puff pastry, thawed
1 egg, beaten
flour for dusting

how to do it
In a large skillet, heat olive oil & butter and sauté the onion until it has a nice gloss and is almost tender. Add the sliced mushrooms the pan & an extra tablespoon of butter. Cook for about five minutes. Add the garlic and cook for a minute, while stirring.
Add the grated carrot & zucchini and cook for about two minutes. Stir the flour through the mixture, cook for one minute and pour the stock into the skillet.
Allow the mixture to simmer for about five minutes until reduced and thickened. Add the chopped chicken and fresh thyme, stir it through and cook for a further five minutes.
Pour the cream into the skillet and add the pea & corn mix. Stir and cook for five minutes more. Season with salt & pepper.

You don’t want a very wet mixture so ensure you cook and simmer the mixture enough to allow the juices to evaporate.

Set the mixture aside to cool to room temperature.

Meanwhile, place the first batch of pastry on a lightly floured surface. Roll the pastry out, extending it by about 2 – 3cm on each side. Using a small plate, cut out circles and place it onto a floured baking tray.
Repeat this until you have used all of the pastry.
Now spoon the mixture onto the centre of each pastry round, taking care not to overfill the pastry. Lightly brush the egg around the edges and press one side down on the other side.
Press a fork into flour and gently press around the edges of the pastry to seal the pocket.
Using a sharp knife, make little incisions in the top of the pastry to allow steam to escape while it bakes.
Brush the pocket pies with the beaten egg and place the tray into the freezer. Freeze overnight. You can bag the pies and mark it with the date and ingredients.
Once ready to use the pies, heat the oven to 180 degrees C. Place the pies into the hot oven on a baking tray and bake until the pastry is beautifully crispy and browned.
Serve the pies with a garden salad and homemade mayonnaise.

From my kitchen to yours, with love x


creamy paprika & tomato chicken thighs

For this dish i used skinless, boneless chicken thighs, which was perfect as it soaked up all the beautiful flavours while cooking .
Paprika adds such amazing flavour to food! Here it gave an amazing earthy flavour to the food that complimented the tartness of the tomato beautifully.
I served this with a side of fragrant Jasmin rice and buttered green beans.
If you are on a tight schedule then this recipe is perfect for you!

ingredients | serves 4 | easy
3T olive oil
1T butter
deboned, skinless chicken thighs
1 onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, chopped or sliced
2t paprika
5 thyme sprigs, leaves only
dried mixed herbs
dried oregano
2 medium carrots, grated
200ml chicken stock
100ml cream
1 can chopped tomato
fresh parsley, roughly chopped
1/2t salt
black pepper

Heat olive oil & butter on a medium heat. Sauté the onion until glossy, about 4 minutes. Carefully drop the chicken thighs into the skillet and brown on all sides. Add the paprika, thyme, oregano, mixed herbs & grated carrots, stir through and cook for about three minutes. Pour the chicken stock into the skillet, turn the heat down to a gentle simmer and reduce by about half.
Add the chopped tomato, stir through and cook for about two minutes.
Pour the cream into the skillet and leave to simmer on a low heat for about five minutes until thickened.

Season with salt and black pepper. Taste and adjust seasoning.
Garnish with freshly chopped parsley.

From my kitchen to yours, with love x



nutella croissants

Puff pastry is one of those ingredients that i always have in my freezer. The store bought kind is perfect and fairly inexpensive. This buttery, flaky pastry is perfect for almost any sweet or savoury dish, from pies to galettes, pinwheels and tarts, there are so many options!
Breakfast is an important part of my day and I like to keep it interesting. These little croissants are so simple to make and can be made the night before and simply popped into the oven the next morning.
This may not be the healthiest of breakfast options but it sure is tasty and the kids will love it!! Everything in moderation, of course.

Ingredients | serves 4 | easy
2 rolls puff pastry, thawed
Nutella spread (almost 1 cup)
1 Egg, beaten
1T milk

Method
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C. Grease a baking tray with cooking spray.
Lightly flour the work surface and spread out the pastry. Roll the pastry out to ensure it is flat, smooth & even.
Using a sharp knife or pizza cutter, cut the pastry into three large rectangles. Then cut each rectangle into two long triangles. Each pastry sheet should give you 6 triangles.
Place a spoonful of Nutella on the widest end of the triangle and then spread it along the pastry, leaving a small border untouched.
Beginning at the wide end of the triangle, gently roll the pastry into a croissant shape,
Carefully place the croissants onto the baking tray and lightly tuck in the edges, forming the shape of a “U”.

Repeat this with the second sheet of pastry.
Beat the egg and milk together and lightly brush the top of the croissants.
Place the tray into the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes, until the pastry is beautifully golden and crisp.
Serve warm.

From my kitchen to yours, with love x