Category Archives: Food

Quinoa Kugel

What else is a North London housewife just back from Peru going to cook?


  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ medium onion, finely chopped with garlic if liked
  • ½ cup quinoa
  • 1 ¼ cups water
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 pound cauliflower (1/2 medium head), broken into florets
  • 1 cup low-fat cottage cheese
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 scant teaspoon cumin seeds, lightly toasted and crushed
  • Freshly ground pepper


  1. Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a medium saucepan and add the onion. Cook, stirring, until just about tender, 3 to 5 minutes, and add the quinoa. Cook, stirring, for another 2 to 3 minutes, until the quinoa begins to smell toasty and the onion is tender. Add the water and salt to taste and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce the heat and simmer 15 to 20 minutes, until the quinoa is tender and the grains display a threadlike spiral. If any water remains in the pot, drain the quinoa through a strainer, then return to the pot. Place a dish towel over the pot, then return the lid and let sit undisturbed for 10 to 15 minutes
  2. Meanwhile, steam the cauliflower over 1 inch of boiling water for 10 minutes, or until tender. Remove from the heat
  3. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and oil a 2-quart baking dish or gratin
  4. Finely chop the steamed cauliflower, either with a chef’s knife or using a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Place in a large mixing bowl. In a food processor fitted with the steel blade, purée the cottage cheese until smooth. Add the eggs and process until the mixture is smooth. Add salt (I suggest about 1/2 teaspoon), pepper and the cumin seeds and mix together. Scrape into the bowl with the cauliflower. Add the quinoa and stir everything together. Scrape into the oiled baking dish. Drizzle the remaining oil over the top and place in the oven
  5. Bake 35 to 40 minutes, until the top is lightly browned. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for at least 15 minutes before serving. Serve warm or at room temperature, cut into squares or wedges

White Pizza

This is an Ottolenghi recipe, though there are plenty out there. It makes two pizzas, to serve two as a main course with a salad, or four as a snack, though after the recent trip to Peru I tired it with purple potatoes, less “white” but aside from that perfectly lovely. He used anchovies in place of the artichokes, but I’d consider swapping in some dried tomatoes also – the white really just means no tomato sauce.

For the dough
200g strong white bread flour, plus a little extra for dusting
1 tsp fast-action dried yeast
1 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for greasing
Salt and black pepper
120ml lukewarm water

For the topping
180g new potatoes, finely sliced (unpeeled) on a mandolin
3 tbsp olive oil
200g mascarpone
40g pecorino, finely shaved
4 artichoke heads, finely chopped
8 sage leaves, finely chopped
Finely grated zest of 2 lemons (you need 2 tsp worth)
50g spring onions, trimmed and sliced thinly at an angle

Put the flour and yeast in a large bowl with a tablespoon of oil and half a teaspoon of salt. Stir to combine, then pour in the water and use a spatula to bring the mixture together until combined.

Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled worktop and, with lightly oiled hands, knead for five minutes, until soft and elastic. (You may need to add a little more oil if the dough starts to stick to the surface.) Divide the dough in half and transfer both pieces to a large oven tray lined with greaseproof paper, spaced well apart. Cover with a clean and slightly damp tea towel, then leave to rise in a warm place for 40 minutes. The dough should almost double in size.

Heat the oven to its highest setting, 250C or thereabouts: you want it red hot.

While the dough is rising, get on with the topping. In a small bowl, toss the potato slices with a tablespoon of oil, an eighth of a teaspoon of salt and a good grind of pepper. Transfer the potatoes to a large oven tray lined with greaseproof paper – the tray needs to be big enough for the slices to lie flat and spaced apart – then roast for seven minutes, until golden brown. Remove from the oven and set aside.

In a small bowl, mix the mascarpone, pecorino, artichokes, sage and lemon zest with a good grind of pepper.

Grease two large oven trays with olive oil, and lightly flour a work surface. Working with one piece of dough at a time, roll the dough into two 30cm x 20cm rectangles, then carefully transfer to each of the trays.

Spread the mascarpone mix evenly over both pizza bases, leaving a 2cm border around the edges. Sprinkle the spring onions on top, then add a layer of potatoes. Drizzle a tablespoon of oil over each pizza and bake for nine minutes (switch the pizzas around halfway through, so they both get a turn at the top of the oven), until the edges are crisp and golden. Scatter with a generous grind of pepper and serve warm with a green salad.

Mushroom ceviche

We tried this made with oyster mushrooms in Peru – a real hit and ideal for a starter or extended to make one of a group of salads

Serve either in a bowl or glass or as a topping for toasted bread. Don’t use much hot pepper — just enough to give the ceviche a little heat.

Make Ahead: The mushrooms need to be refrigerated in the marinade overnight.

Mushroom Ceviche – a delicious meatless appetizer!

The flavors in these marinated mushrooms are what you would expect to taste when enjoying ceviche, only without the seafood.

Mushroom Ceviche – a delicious meatless appetizer!
  • 2 roasted garlic cloves
  • 1lb oz  mushrooms, sliced thin
  • 1 small red onion, sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper, finely diced
  • 2/3 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1 tbsp chopped coriander leaf
  • 1/4 teaspoon honey (or agave for vegan)
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped jalapeno
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper

In a cast iron skillet, roast 2 garlic cloves until brown on each side.  Mash the garlic and place in a large bowl with the mushrooms, red onion and bell peppers.


In a medium bowl, combine the remaining ingredients, whisk well then pour over mushrooms. Cover and refrigerate at least a few hours, or overnight.

Cucumber Salad

The cucumber can be grilled/barbecued or left fresh. If the former, you’ll need to eat it within the hour else it will discolour.

Yotam Ottolenghi’s grilled cucumber with chilli and ginger.

Serve just as they are, alongside a main, or with roast potatoes or sweet potatoes topped with a dollop of creme fraiche. Serves six as a side dish.

2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
1½ tbsp lime juice
2 tbsp sunflower oil
3cm piece fresh ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
Flaked sea salt
1 small garlic clove, peeled
2 cucumbers
2 large mild red chillies, cut in half lengthways and deseeded
5g mint leaves, roughly torn
5g coriander leaves, roughly chopped
½ tsp nigella seeds

For the dressing, whisk the vinegar, lime juice and oil in a small bowl. Put the ginger in a mortar with a teaspoon of salt, then crush to a paste. Add the garlic and pound again, until you have a coarse paste. Scrape the garlic and ginger into the dressing bowl and stir to combine.

Cut each cucumber in half widthways, then cut each half lengthways. If serving fresh just scoop out the fleshy centre before cutting into quarters and then slices. If grilling, cut into quarters, lay the cucumber pieces on a very hot barbecue or griddle pan, and grill for four minutes a side (ie, 12 minutes in total), until they have visible char marks all over. Leave to cool slightly, then cut into 0.5cm-thick slices.

Put the cucumbers in a large bowl with a quarter-teaspoon of salt and combine with three-quarters of the dressing, then set aside for 10 minutes while you cook the chillies.

Grill/barbecue the chillies  for two minutes on each side until they get dark char marks. Leave to cool slightly, then cut into very thin slices, and mix with cucumbers and two-thirds of the herbs.

Use a large spoon to transfer the cucumbers and chillies to a platter, leaving behind most of the liquid (this can now be discarded). Drizzle the remaining dressing on top, scatter over the nigella seeds and remaining herbs, and serve.

Cucumber Pickle

A basic pickle recipe from Melissa Clark in the NYT.


  • 1 pound Kirby cucumbers
  • 2 tablespoons coarse kosher salt
  • 3 large sprigs fresh dill
  • ¼ cup light brown sugar
  • cup cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons coriander seeds
  • ½ teaspoon black peppercorns
  • ¼ teaspoon allspice berries


  1. Trim ends from cucumbers and slice into 1/4-inch-thick rounds. In a colander set over a plate, toss them with salt. Refrigerate, uncovered, for 2 hours. Drain and transfer cucumbers and dill to a bowl.
  2. In a small saucepan, combine sugar, vinegar, coriander, peppercorns and allspice. Bring to a boil and cook until sugar dissolves. Pour hot liquid over cucumbers and toss well. Let stand, tossing every 10 minutes, for 30 minutes. Transfer to an airtight jar and refrigerate for up to 1 week.

Broccoli Salad With Garlic and Sesame

Makes 6 to 8 side-dish servings or more as a starter


  • 1 ½ tablespoons cider wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt rough crushed, more to taste
  • 2 heads broccoli, 1 pound each, cut into small bite-size florets
  • ¾ cup (about 200ml) extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 fat garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 teaspoons cumin seeds
  • Large pinch crushed red chilli flakes.


  1. In a large bowl, stir together the vinegar and salt. Add broccoli and toss to combine.
  2. In a large skillet, heat olive oil until hot, but not smoking. Add garlic and cumin and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in sesame oil and pepper flakes. Pour mixture over broccoli and toss well. Let sit for at least 1 hour at room temperature, and up to 48 (chill it if you want to keep it for more than 2 hours). Adjust seasonings (it may need more salt) and serve.

This is good after 2 hours, better after 24 hours and still edible if you have any left, after 48 hours. The broccoli gets slightly softer with time but retains some bite.

Quick Brazilian Cheese Rolls Pao de Queijo

Makes 16
Literally translates to “bread of cheese”…how can that not be delicious? Quick, easy, and fantastic every time.
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup sunflower oil
  • 1 cup tapioca flour (sometimes labeled tapioca starch) no substitutions
  • 1/2 tsp  salt
  • 1/4 cup grated cheddar cheese* (preferably medium or sharp)
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • Optional: extra cheese to sprinkle on top and any herbs/flavorings you’d like to add such as rosemary and or garlic powder,
  1. Preheat oven to 200C. Place egg, milk, oil, tapioca flour, and salt in blender and blend until smooth. Add cheeses and pulse 2 times. Immediately pour batter into a mini muffin tin (if your muffin tin isn’t non-stick, spray lightly with non-stick spray first), filling each well about 3/4 full, or just slightly less. If desired (and I recommend), sprinkle a bit of parmesan cheese on top and/or a tiny sprinkle of kosher salt.
  2. Bake for 15-20 minutes until puffed and golden. Remove from oven and cool for a few minutes before removing rolls from pan. Serve warm.
  1. You can play around with the cheese.
  2. Keep in mind, these actually don’t re-heat well, so I recommend making and eating fresh.

Roast pepper and Bean salad

The ingredients:

  • 4 red peppers, innards removed and heads sliced into a lid
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 20g basil, chopped
  • 20g parsley, chopped
  • 10g mint, chopped
  • 2 tsp dijon mustard
  • 100ml olive oil
  • 40g cornichon, chopped
  • 1 tbsp cider vinegar
  • 400g tin cannlline or similar beans
  • 1 cup (or thereabouts) couscous/bulghur wheat or similar grain
  • Optional: stock cube/lemon/lime juice to flavour the grain

The recipe:

Set the oven at 200C/gas mark 6. Place 4 large peppers in a small roasting tin, trickle them generously with about 4 tbsp of olive oil, bake for 30 minutes, turn them over if required to colour

Using a blender, mix together 20g each of basil and parsley, 10g of mint leaves, 2 tsp of Dijon mustard and 100ml of olive oil. Turn the machine off then stir in 40g of chopped cornichons and 1 tbsp of sherry vinegar.

Boil some water and add to the couscous/bulghur wheat to cook. Add a stock cube or a squirt of lemon juice to favour if required.

Drain a 400g can of cannellini beans, then rinse and add them to the peppers, tossing them in the juices and oil in the roasting tin.

Return the beans and peppers to the oven for a further 15 minutes until the beans are hot and the peppers soft, sweet and their skins slightly blackened.

Serve the peppers with the beans and couscous in a large communal dish at warm to room temperature with the green sauce as dressing.

I like the way the beans cook in the roasting tin, becoming almost crunchy, but sometimes I cook them inside the peppers instead. Cut the peppers in half and roast them, fill the halves with a mixture of beans and couscous  and return to the oven.

Roasted red pepper with cannellini beans and blended herbs

Asparagus and Halloumi Salad

It’s dry and, by UK standards, quite a hot start to the Summer so a salad seems a reasonable way to go. With halloumi, the salad needs to be served quite quickly else the cheese tends to go squeaky. Because the cheese is salty, be careful with the seasoning of the dressing.



  • 1 large spring onion, finely diced, about 2 tablespoons
  • 3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • Salt to taste
  • Generous pinch of cayenne
  • 1 tablespoon grated ginger
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil


  • 1 pound asparagus
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 fat green chilli, thinly sliced (optional)
  • ½ cup roasted hazelnuts, crushed
  • halloumi cheese,  sliced
  • 1 large lime, halved
  • Basil, mint and coriander leaves, about 1/2 cup total


  1. To make the vinaigrette, put shallots in a small bowl. Add vinegar, sugar, mustard, salt and cayenne and let steep for 5 minutes. Add ginger and garlic, then whisk in sesame oil and vegetable oil. Taste and adjust seasoning.
  2. Bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil. Snap off the tough end of each asparagus spear, then cut each spear into 2-inch lengths. Cut thicker pieces in half lengthwise as necessary so all cut pieces are approximately the same size. Place asparagus pieces into boiling water and cook for 1 minute. Drain and cool under running water. Blot dry.
  3. Griddle the halloumi on a ridged pan until nicely charred and ready to serve.
  4. To make the salad, put asparagus in a salad bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Add chilli, if using, and crushed nuts. Dress with half the vinaigrette and toss to coat.
  5. Arrange dressed asparagus on a platter or on individual plates. Scatter halloumi over the asparagus. Drizzle a little more vinaigrette over the salad and give it a good squeeze of lime. Garnish with basil, mint and coriander leaves and serve immediately.

Roast Cauliflower Salad

Roast cauliflower is apparently trendy. Who knew? Always partial to a bit of cauliflower cheese, I tend to enjoy roast cauliflower in a salad rather than on it’s own. So first roast your cauliflower…

Serves 4
1 large cauliflower, about 1kg
Fine salt
50g butter, softened
2 tbsp olive oil & 1 tbsp harissa

For the salad (optional)
4 hard boiled eggs
75g hazelnuts, roasted and crushed as a topping


For the lemon tahini dressing
1/3 cup tahini
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/2 tsp cumin & 1/4 tsp cayenne & salt to taste
about 1/4 cup water to make an emulsion

Trim the leaves of the cauliflower, if necessary, so the top of the white part is exposed and level the base so it sits flat. Heat the oven to 240C. Bring to the boil a large pan of water with 1 tbsp fine salt per litre dissolved in it, then lower in the cauliflower, stem-side down. Bring to the boil again and cook for eight minutes, turning once if necessary, then drain and leave to dry in a colander, florets-side down, for 10 minutes.

Beat the oil into the butter and harissa. Rub all over the cauliflower and season, then roast on a baking tray for 20 to 30 minutes until well browned, basting occasionally. It should be be soft but not soggy. Allow to cool if using for the salad.

Meanwhile, make the dressing by combining all ingredients in a screw top jar except the water and shake. Add enough water to make the right consistency

Combine the cauliflower and eggs. Drizzle on the dressing and sprinkle the crushed nuts on top.

All about me!