Friday, 31 October 2014

Warm Carrot and Feta Salad

The transitional weather from summer to autumn, is annoying enough for choosing what to wear, but choosing what to eat is almost a nightmare, too cold for light salads, and too hot for soups and stews. I still adore salads, but shoving cold lettuce down, when the throat is at risk to harassment, from the incoming colds and flu's, it not pleasant. So, rather than eat sandwiches, which make me feel "meh", i have been making this warm salad which is incredibly delicious, but still healthier than resorting to sandwiches.

Feel free to switch up the roasted veg and cheese to whatever takes your fancy. I think squash/pumpkin would also work fine,and beetroot would work really nicely with the feta.To accompany different vegetables feel free to switch up the spices, i think chili flakes would work nicely with the squash/pumpkin. 

Serve as a light starter, with pitta bread. Or serve as a side itself, or part of a casual lunch spread with other salads,dips and nibbles.


Approx 750g carrots
4 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp cumin seeds, lightly toasted in a dry frying pan and then ground
2 tbsp pine nuts, lightly toasted
75g feta
1 tbsp chopped mint
Extra virgin olive oil for drizzling

1. Peel, trim and slice the carrots in half lengthwise
2. Toss in olive oil and roast for about 50 mins in preheated oven of 180°c, or until they are tender, slightly brown and have a caramelized appearance
3. Lightly mash, and mix with the ground cumin
4. Spread on serving plate 
5. Sprinkle with pine nuts, cheese, and herbs
6. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil.

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Blackcurrant, Chocolate and Almond Cake

Last year, when we moved house i was particularly exited as we had several blackcurrant bushes, in the garden. I love blackcurrants, and will always pick them out of the frozen fruit mix, before anything else. My first proper taste of them cooked, without any other fruit,i owe to my aunt who also has several blackcurrant bushes, had cooked them up with a little sugar and served with cream. yum. and yep I'm drooling right now, just thinking about it. 
If your not lucky enough to possess a blackcurrant bush, then making this might be quite difficult.  I find it annoying that blackcurrants aren't sold separately either fresh or frozen, like most other berries. When in season a good market might have them, but your safest bet if you live in the UK it buying them from this website here, which sells frozen blackcurrants all year round, and fresh when in season.
The pairing of the chocolate and the blackcurrants, works well as the slight bitterness from the chocolate works well with the sharpness of the blackcurrants married happily with the nuttiness and sweetness from the almonds.Serve warm with a blob of thick cream or cool until firm, then serve as afternoon tea.


175g butter, plus extra for extra for greasing
175g caster sugar
3 medium eggs
1 tbsp plain flour
1/2 tsp natural vanilla extract
175g ground almonds
75g good quality dark chocolate, chocolate
100g blackcurrants (weighed without stalks)
icing sugar, to dust

1. preheat oven to 180 °c / gas 4. 
2. grease and line, the bottom and the sides, of large loose bottom cake tin
3. beat butter and sugar together, until light and fluffy
4. gradually beat in eggs, one at a time. (If it threatens to curdle, add the flour)
5. beat in the vanilla extract
6. fold in the almonds and flour (if you haven't already) 
7.stir in the chopped chocolate
8.pour the mixture in the tin
9. sprinkle on the blackcurrants, gently press into the mixture
10.bake for around 40 mins until the cake has puffed up slightly and is golden brown on top
11. leave to cool for 30 mins, remove from the tin and dust with icing sugar
12. serve either warm or cool.