Thursday, December 18, 2008


this is a wicked lickle present and the non stick on the pan is really good.

CHRISTMAS DRINKING will make you eat kebabs

as the spirit of the season usually revovles drinking, you may find yourself hunting down a kebab at midnight, once kicked out of the pub. last night this is just what happened to us. so raf, becky and i headed across soho down a few dark alleys to the OPUZ KITCHEN, 27 old compton street, and had ourselves ace kebabs. their halloumi is chunky and firm and deliciously salty, which is just what you need after a few rum and cokes followed by a culminating couple of tequila shots. if you are going to have to devour urban drunk food, it mightest well be really good. go check them out, and make sure you have all the accompanying bits: ketchup, mayonnaise, watery malt vinegar and garlic sauce. enjoy the rotten gluttony!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008


dinner with my lovely school friends in hampstead care of emma. amazing sweet potato tempura; lots of giggling; a dipping sauce that i ended up drinking like miso soup!

Monday, December 1, 2008

CABBAGE & PANCETTA RISOTTO. to allay the ministry

after spending saturday night at the ministry of sound, i've really need good wholesome food today. but i'm not too flush, so have used up an old piece of cabbage, and the perail cheese that's been lurking in the fridge. i bring to you, cabbage and pancetta risotto to ward off a clubbing downfall.

2 shallots
a nob of butter
2 tbsp olive oil
1/4 british cabbage
6 rashers of pancetta
3 handfuls of risotto rice
1 glass of vermouth
500ml hot vegetable stock
90g perail cheese
lots of freshly ground pepper

finely dice the shallots (which really stung my eyes) while the butter and olive oil are melting in a medium pan on a medium heat. add the shallots and fry until they begin turning transparent. meanwhile dice the cabbage and slice the pancetta into 1cm lardons. add these to the pan and fry for a few minutes. then add the rice and fry until it starts browning. turn the heat down to low, and throw in the vermouth, which will sizzle. gradually add the vegetable stock, simmering all the while and attentively mixing and folding. when all the stock has been absorbed but the rice is still quite wet, add the perail and turn the heat off. beat it in thoroughly and place a lid on the pan and leave to sit and melge for 15 minutes. season before dishing up. it'll serve 2 with a misery aftermath.

the only other thing to help me now is EastEnders.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

CHEATING TARTAR SAUCE. for a little hangover

after going out to the royal court to see 'wig out' with alice and her family (a really funny song/dance/tight pants packed play about New York transvestites) i ended up back at the 1965 office with some reprobates drinking cheap red wine til the early hours. i've been pretty hungover all day. so fish has been on my mind. fish with tartar sauce, because i love vinegary foods when i feel like this. so on the way home i picked up some red snapper and made a cheats sauce to go with it. this fish is meaty, and yet flaky and also has a slight smoky scent. it's perfect in fact.

to make a cheating tartar sauce....
finely chop 4 cornichons
and 1 pickled baby onion
and mix with 2 desert spoons of mayonnaise.
grind in lots of black pepper
serve with the fish fried, and the green beans blanched.
yum. i feel better now.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

CELERIAC GRATIN. thanks to Lidl

i was passing lidl yesterday so popped in and bought some british celeriac (an old family favourite, which cost 38p this time), creme fraiche (i don't know why but i always pick some up when i see it) and a round of perail cheese (made with ewe's milk in the Aveyron, France). it was a bit of a ready steady cook moment, and gratin sprang to mind though rather more like a remoulade in flavour. (a cold french salad with mustard, mayonnaise and blanched celeriac.) so here it is, a hot crusted remoulade. salty, crisp, tender and creamy:

a small celeriac
200g creme fraiche
100ml milk
1 desert spoon grainy dijon mustard
a pinch of maldon sea salt
freshly ground pepper
90g perail cheese

set the oven to 180C. peel the outer gnarly bits off the celeriac bulb. make sure you do this fastidiously so that there is no mud in the creases. now, using a mandolin slicer, whip it into fine sheets. layer these into a baking dish. in a measuring jug mix the creme fraiche and milk. then season with mustard and salt and pepper. taste. pour this over the celeriac and then lay slithers of the cheese on top. place in the oven for 40 minutes so that it is crisp and brown on top and sizzling at the sides.

i ate this with some blanched green beans but i think it would be delicious with some poached fish if you fancy that too.

Monday, November 24, 2008


i often wake up on a sunday morning with an itch that needs scratching. that itch is a sunday morning jaunt down to the farmers market and a quick peruse around primark (my favourite place for frilly knickers and cheap socks). so off i went in my rubbish hickupy car, the crowbar. and it just so happened that my dad was visiting the whitten timber yard so we met up for a strongly brewed tea at the Criterion Cafe too. this establishment has some of the finest signage around. we spent half an hour putting the world to rights while the glass in the windows gradually steamed up before us, and all around us the customers feasted on stewed sunday roasts swimming in gravy, and bacon and toast and eggs and beans.

and down the market i bought some ace and wonderfully plain pork sausages from the game and pork stall and also some delicious eggs. we made a perfect sunday breka to go with the papers. it couldn't really be a better way to start the day, along with some of my tomato chutney.

Friday, November 21, 2008


today's been busy. i've decorated 2 cakes, one for my dearest friends Kylie and Bharat, married today, and the other for Carter the Unstoppable Sex Machine. And Lord Smiley was in causing trouble. he did a lovely daffodil arrangement as you can see.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


i've just bought all those made attachments that allow you to pipe icing onto cakes.
there is a danger it could get out of hand.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

ANOTHER NIGHT ON THE TOWN. the cha cha moon and the rest

after pitching up to the social on little portland street for james' far out jazz session, we were hungry for small amounts of tastiness, which is so often the case at 10.30pm in the centre of london. and then there was a whisper in my ear... "meet me at the cha cha moon". so off we went into the drizzly streets with improvisation in our ears. the cha cha moon delivered exactly what was needed. it's almost like tapas. their small but mounded plates are £3.50 and worth every bit: greens with a fermented bean curd sauce (chilli hot); cucumber and noodles; a wonderful mooli salad with bean sprouts (which has converted me to the latter). it was all great and hit the spot. the bill was £21 pounds for two piglets so it's a credit crunching dinner too.
then on to bar rumba for yo majesty who made me want to become a lesbian, rock a boiler suit and generally shake it down. all in all an excellent night out in london town.

Friday, November 14, 2008

ROSA'S CAFE. Hanbury Street, near Spitalfields.

Zahra and i went to Rosa's on Hanbury street (right near Spitalfields market). it was great and really reminded me of new york, where all the meals i ate where honest and true in their ethnicity, but in a stylish surrounding (rather than the harshly light canteen vibes of so many good eateries in London). And the staff are lovely and there's actually a proper drinks menu, and the food was hot and crisp and swift and tasty and punchy and fresh. mint, coriander, dried chillies and peanuts making various dipping sauces with excellent ingredients.

so, we ate.... cod satay with a peanut sauce (the coating on the cod was more like a tempura it was so fine); battered squid salad with a sweet dipping sauce (really fiery); pumpkin and venison curry (which was, i think, full of tamarind, giving a wonderful sweet sour aftertaste); lamb, redcabbage and chilli salad (which was so crunchy i think they must have made it on the way to the table) and jasmine rice.

go and check out rosa's. really do. and you can find more at



Thursday, November 13, 2008


this WHOLE MEAL SOUP is for 2

This soup is absolutely delicious, warming and perfect for when you feel coldy, which is what i've been for the last few weeks. It’s got everything you need for a vulnerable immune system in one bowl: lots of vegetables, liquid, carbohydrate, pure protein and fat. It’ll cost a pittance and make you feel a lot better.

3 spring onions
2 carrots
3 sticks of celery
1 leek
3 garlic cloves
2 tbsp olive oil
1 nob of butter
1 large tomato
1 litre of vegetable stock
1 bouquet garni
4 tbsp white wine vinegar
2 eggs
2 handfuls of riso pasta
freshly ground pepper
Maldon sea salt

Trim and finely slice the spring onions. Then dice the carrots and celery really finely. Slice the leek lengthways into 4 and then slice so that it’s also very small pieces. Finely dice the garlic cloves. Gently warm the olive oil in a medium pan and add the prepared vegetables. Fry lightly for 5 minutes and then add the nob of butter until it melts. Now dice the tomato and add this too. Continue to fry for a few more minutes. Pour over the vegetable stock, add the bouquet garni (if you don’t have one of these to hand, then some sprigs of thyme, and a bay leaf will do fine) and turn up the heat. Simmer for 30 minutes.

Warm a medium pan of water with the vinegar on a high flame. Crack each egg into a separate ramekin at the ready. When the water is beginning to boil, turn it to a medium flame, whisk a whirlpool and gently decant one egg. Then in the other half of the pan, do the same with the second egg. After 1 minute turn the heat off and leave the eggs to stand. Now add the handfuls of riso pasta to the rumbling soup and simmer for a few minutes so that it has plumped up and absorbed some of the tasty stock. Serve the soups and nestle an egg on top of each bowl, well seasoned.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


I had a lovely weekend in Edinburgh. It’s an amazing soaring city, and I’d forgotten just how beautiful and stylish and humorously gentile it is. Each meal we ate was impeccable. The first was a delicious thai on hanover street, Muang Thai, ( where we ate a Scottish beef salad (you could tell the raw ingredients were top notch), chilli scallops (they were so hot that my mouth started talking jibberish), perfect pad thai and a duck curry. It was just what I want from ethnic food. That is, really sophisticated and packed with sour, hot, sweet, and tender sensations. This meal was followed by a Michael Smiley stand up show ( and lots of weather fighting beer around New Town.

My hangover was so intense the next day that we just managed to stumble to my old haunt valvona & crolla (, where I nursed myself on a full Italian fry up including a slice of polenta. They even do coke floats here.

The finale of our Edinburgh escapade was a damn good fish and chips that we spied en route back from the Tracey Emin retrospective (wonderful). D'Alba D'Oro is run by an Italian couple and they sell, on top of the wicked haddock and chips that we merked, many champagnes and cognacs. It’s got a lovely friendly atmosphere and the walls are lathered with booming local reviews. This was the perfect preamble for a live set from The View at Caberet Voltaire (another old haunt from my university jollies) where they larked their way through old and new numbers to a frenzied, fantastically dressed crowd of super-fans.

Go to Edinburgh for 36 hours, and eat brilliant cheap and fun food. I woke up on Monday aged 28, and it couldn’t have been a better place to start the next year of my life.

Thursday, October 16, 2008


these are a real must. when i was in france a few weeks ago, we went mushroom picking. the sheltered wood was wet and warm, just as the mushroom loves, and it made for a jolly afternoon. we could practically see these little stained, yellow, pink and brown friends growing before our eyes.
so in honour of this dreamy afternoon, i made a fresh chanterelle risotto (and cunningly had some proper chicken stock at the ready, complete with fine strands of delicious dripping french chicken meat)

i highly recommend finding wild mushrooms (i sell these dry though, as do many good delis). you can find really nice wild mushrooms in WILD CAPER (brixton market) and also CRUSON (camberwell church street) and if you can bring yourself, i'm sure WHOLEFOODS (kensington high street) would do a fine selection. the flavour is much more various and woody (naturally). and there is something pretty reassuring about having to remove mossy strands from their little delicate stems.

(incase you don't know... fry up a shallot in lots of butter and extra virgin olive oil. then add the wonderful wild mushrooms, and coat. now add the risotto rice, and seal. bit by bit add fresh proper chicken stock. and a wine glass of dry vermouth. when nutty turn the heat off, add another nob of butter, and a few handfuls of peppery rocket. place a lid on the pan for 10 minutes, then heap of loads of parmesan (the good stuff), give it a good whip up with a wooden spoon, and serve with coarsely ground pepper. done)

i'm off to edinburgh on the weekend, and plan to eat the best fried breakfast.... i can't wait.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008


i had such a lovely time along the green lanes recently that i thought i'd make a turkish delight cake. as you can see, it's pretty psychedelic, but has a wonderful wet texture and a scented icing that really is the icing on the cake.


75g 70% chocolate (Aldi do some good ones, that are dead cheap)
110g softened butter
110g golden caster sugar
2 medium free range eggs
110g ground almonds
1/2 tsp baking powder

105g icing sugar
2 tsp rose water
a dash of pink colouring
chocolate hundreds and thousands

break the chocolate up into a heat proof bowl and place in a warming oven to slowly melt and butter a small loose bottomed cake tin. meanwhile beat the butter and sugar so that it becomes light. beat in the eggs and then add the chocolate when it is liquid, beating immediately so that it doesn't melt the cake mix. turn the oven up to 200C. now fold in the ground almonds and baking powder. spatula this out into the buttered cake tin and place in the hot oven for half an hour or until firm to the touch. remove and let it stand in the tin to cool.

to make the icing, sift the icing sugar into a bowl, and then gradually add the rose water, and finally the turbo colouring. when the cake is TOTALLY cool, spoon this over the cake and decorate with hundreds and thousands.

i also made wicked little cheese pastries that you'll be able to see on
i'm off to France on thursday so will have tales of pate and wickedness on my return. x x x

Friday, September 26, 2008


so, our gypsy summer is finally here. crisp fresh mornings which keep inspiring me to bake. as a result, the deli seems to be covered in ridiculously iced and cherried cakes. it's all very gingham. this little cake is perfectly light, not to eggy with a really bitter sweet icing, and the final pop of a creamy hazlenut (and ground hazlenuts in the mix, to make a really wet texture). it's pretty simple too. even Alice (my darling friend who prefers to be catered to) has taken up this wonderfully feminine art, so i think everyone should be baking this wet little number on sunday afternoon, whomever you are...


110g softened butter
110g golden caster sugar
1 beaten egg
2 shots of espresso or the same amount of super strong cafetiere coffee
50g ground hazlenuts
1/2 tsp baking powder
100g self raising flour
100g icing sugar
some whole hazlenuts to decorate

preheat the oven to 170C. lightly butter a small loose bottomed cake tin that's about 18-20cm diameter.
beat together the butter and sugar using a good whisk. then add the beaten egg. this may look curled but don't worry, it'll all work out in the end.
add half of the strong coffee or espresso, the ground hazlenuts, baking powder and flour and throughly mix this all together. it's best to use a big slotted spoon. turn the cake mix out into the buttered cake tin and place in the oven for 40 minutes. then remove to cool.
meanwhile, make the icing by mixing the espresso bit by bit. it should be quite a thick icing, but spoonable. it always loosens more than you think.
when the cake is entirely cold, place it on the plate or stand you intend to serve it on. spread the icing right up to the edge of the cake and plop on the hazlenuts where ever makes you happy.
eat this cake with a nice pot of earl grey for tea, or with a cappuccino first thing. enjoy x

Monday, September 1, 2008


after a rather late night on saturday night, i was in need of some serious soothing.
luckily the shopping was done for me, so i could watch zezi on the tv in peace.
bags of food returned, and i was fed awesome mackerel pate on bread with cooling cucumber.
as i began to feel human, we devised a meal, a la ready steady cook.
a light lamb stew with some chilli, and cumin seeds, lamb, celery and carrot.
the culmination was the sweet potato mash.

4 lamb steaks
some plain flour to coat the meat
2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion
2 tsp whole cumin seeds
4 dried chillis
2 carrots
3 sticks of celery
1 x 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
1 mug of water
1 x 400g tin of chick peas
(next time i'll add a generous handful of parsley at the end)
maldon sea salt
freshly ground pepper

4 sweet potatoes
a knob of butter
maldon sea salt
freshly ground pepper
a handful of fresh mint

preheat the oven to 140C. chop the lamb into chunks and coat in plain flour. heat the oil in a medium pan (which has a matching lid and can go in the oven). when the oil is hot add the meat to brown. meanwhile dice the onion and then after a few minutes add to the pot, with the seasoning. sweat off for a moment. peel the carrots and julienne. clean the celery and dice. now also add these to the pot and sweat for 5 minutes. add the tomatoes and water and bring the pan to the boil. add the lid and place in the slow oven for 1 1/2 hours. during this time, check each half hour and give it a good mix around. add the chickpeas, and turn the heat up to 180C. continue roasting for a further half an hour with the lid off.

for the sweet potatoes, peel and roughly chop into hunks. fully cover with water and bring this to the boil on a high flame. boil until the pink potatoes slip easily off a knife. drain and mash with lots of butter and seasoning. finely slice the mint and whip into the mash. season the stew and serve the whole warm bowl together.

another episode of family guy, and i passed out swiftly after eating this autumnal stew. but next time, i want to fold in a load of parsley.

Friday, August 29, 2008

FRANCAIS JAPONAIS. and dinner with Gido and Gaspard.

another coffee in the Market. it isn't such a tough life really.
then dani and i went over for dinner and G & G's and they made amazing sorbet with fresh berries, and we added a little mint.

for dinner we all cooked a delicious teriyaki sauce, to go with strips of delicious beef, and a noodles salad.
excellent company, in a wicked apartment, great food and wine. it was a perfect end to the parisian foray.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

CHEZ PARIS. with Dani

GALETTES IN Le Marche des Enfants Rouges. this is a beautiful old market with loads of different vegetables and restaurants. wonky pumpkins, tomatoes flecked with green, and garlic smudged over our carrot salad. delicious.

RUE DES ROSIERS. the jewish quarter of the marais. we ate delicious bread, swiped with aubergine pesto, and bought awesome fig cakes.

we are going to eat them later with a white burgundy, morbier, reblochon and chevre frais. can't wait.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008


LEFT TO RIGHT 1. BRAZILIAN COXINHAS (i call them chicken bombs and ate them with my Dad in Harlesden) 2. THE WHOLE SHEBANG with plantain and a delicious clean slaw 3. CARNIVAL DEBRIS 4. JUSTIN, RAF AND TODDLA T

Monday, August 25, 2008

PRESERVE THE SUMMER. new tomato chutney

i love making preserved things and got really into it last summer when i was off work at this time of year with way too much time on my hands. it's so very thrifty and satisfying. and now is the absolute season to buy a box of on the turn fruit or vegetables from the market, and jar them up with spices and tart vinegar and bags of sugar, to last you through the grizzly winter. you can be pretty adventurous.
make sure you start stashing away used jars in order to fill them with the summer's delights. so last week i made a tomato chutney. my lover and i tested it out on saturday morning in sandwiches with the papers: lathered on standard bread with crispy fried bacon and handful of spinach. i must concede it's just perfect: sweet from the sugar and plum tomatoes; full of aromatic preserving spices; and all together juicy and delicious. the flavour is somewhere between a brown sauce and a classic ketchup. making a batch is a great way to spend a sunday afternoon too.

TOMATO CHUTNEY makes 6 or 7 jars. i'm going to make it again to double check all the times and measurements, but this is what i've got so far.

800g onions
2.5k tomatoes
2 chillies
1 pint of malt vinegar
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp ground ginger
2 tsp smooth Dijon mustard
salt & pepper
800g brown sugar

dice onions and sweat in a pan with 3 tbsp of the vinegar for a few minutes. Chop tomatoes into 12 pieces each, roughly chop the chillis complete with seeds, and add both to pot. Sweat with spices and mustard and salt and pepper for one hour.

Now add the sugar and vinegar and simmer on a very low heat for 2 ½ to 3 hours.
Disinfect the jars that you are using by pouring boiling water pouring in to each jar, with a spoon in each to dissipate the heat. Now pour out the water and ladle the chutney into each jar. Seal immediatelyand leave to cool.

the next condiment thing i make is going to be ketchup inspired by jamie oliver... so watch out!

Sunday, August 24, 2008


after an inspirational dinner cooked by my friend Zahra (an awesome array of Moro-esque dishes including a monk fish tagine, perfect spiced rice, crunchy salad, homemade rose water brioche and the best trifle i ever ate) for once in my life, i decided to actually follow a recipe. the brief was spare ribs for Toddla T and Toby. i found a recipe in my favourite of manuals, the australian woman's weekly, and set to it. typically, on arrival i realised i'd forgotten the recipe, so had to ad lib as usual. here's the creation: star anise ribs, pear and chilli salad, and egg fried rice. toddla needs to keep his energy up for his busy DJ merking schedule. this went down a treat, and the noises that came from toby were x rated, which is surely a recommendation.

1 jar of plum sauce
4 tbsp oyster sauce
1 chili
3 whole star anise
1 square inch of grated ginger
1/2 lime
1 tbsp groundnut oil
2 kilos of pork ribs

in a medium saucepan on a low flame, warm together the plum sauce and oyster sauce. finely chop and add the chilli, complete with seeds, peel the ginger and grate. now add these , and the star anise, to the saucepan. when it is hot and fully amalgamated, whisk in the lime juice and groundnut oil. leave the marinade to cool. meanwhile, preheat the oven to 180C. pour the cooled marinade over the ribs, and place in the oven for 20 minutes to half an hour. you may need to remove them a few times to baste and get excited. when they are cooked through, place under a hot grill for a few minutes so that they become dark and caramelized and really sweet.

for the PEAR SALAD, you need....
2 chinese pears
1 chilli
1 or 2 spring onions
a handful of fresh mint
1/2 lime

slice the pears (which smell wonderful) into very fine segments. finely chop the chillis so that they are diced within an inch of their life. slice the spring onions into roundels. shred a handful of mint. combine these four ingredients into a good sized salad bowl and then squeeze over the lime juice.


with this meal under his belt, toddla was ready for 'get loaded on the common', where he dj'd on the main, with serocee. so, everyone was happy.

Thursday, August 21, 2008


clearly i've been absent, due to the fact that i'm writing a cookery book for harpercollins (called SPOONING WITH ROSIE). as soon as i stop testing recipes and editing words for you all, i'll be back. xxxxxx