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a new england culinary festival

September 22, 2016

cottagefarm-krissyosheaphotography-2016-13cottagefarm-krissyosheaphotography-2016-5

cottagefarm-krissyosheaphotography-2016-4This past weekend I had the pleasure of attending the 2016 WGBH Food & Wine Festival. A Boston based 4 day event filled to the brim with the promise of live music, toothsome bites, local and global libations, cheeses and a veritable assortment of cooking demonstrations.cottagefarm-krissyosheaphotography-2016-12It was a lovely surprise to be invited by Wolf Gourmet to partake in this annual food-centric festival.  With a tent full of amazing local restaurants, breweries, cheesemonger, ice-cream makers and vintners, I knew it was going to be a day of ineffable culinary delights

After quite literally stopping to smell the roses, I made my way into the  Artisan Taste tent. Row after row of tasty little bites and a veritable collection of beverages were laid out in long inviting lines down the tent. cottagefarm-krissyosheaphotography-2016-6cottagefarm-krissyosheaphotography-2016-1My first stop to the Wolf Gourmet & Fine Cooking table where I picked up the two latest copies of the magazine and ogled the elegant cookware on display. Simple clean beautiful stainless steel lines …. need i say more?

There was truly a profusion of talent under this particular roof! I  diligently worked my way up and down there aisles looking, smelling, chatting and or course tasting! So many wonderful and creative treats but, a few standouts. One an exquisitely crafted spoonful of creamy uni panacotta, fresh local welfleet oyster and delicate ikura from Ben Steigers of Pabu Izakaya. It showcased all the sweet briny goodness of the Welfeets and the texture of the panacotta was out of this world and was so unexpected! I’ve never had anything like it. I had two on Saturday, in the name of research!cottagefarm-krissyosheaphotography-2016-10The other wildly unexpected treat was the FOMU icecream. I’m not normally one for icecream but the nondairy no sugar added pitch intrigued me. I’m rather glad it did as the Tahitian Vanilla with toasted walnuts was a showstopper. And FOMU have a shop locally – danger!cottagefarm-krissyosheaphotography-2016-9cottagefarm-krissyosheaphotography-2016-2The other highlight for me were the cooking demonstrations.  Throughout the day, and with the assistance of the aforementioned Wolf Gourment cookware, chefs taught and cooked for engaged audiences. I loved this backbone of the event allowing those of us attending to really participate with the chefs and learn more about their methods and ideas. Truly inspiring and a really fabulous addition to the event.

All in all a wonderful day out and one I hope to attend again next year!cottagefarm-krissyosheaphotography-2016-7

this post is sponsored by wolf gourmet. all opinions are my own

The Long Way Home

October 19, 2015

Yoga has become a huge part of my life, almost every day either begins or ends with a practice and through it, I have established a sense of rhythm. This personal rhythm has a liquid like quality, mercurial even, for it is ever moving, changing adapting to the particulars. In yoga, each pose prepares us, our bodies to move into the next pose. 

I am, we are, leaving London. 


London has meant more to me than I could have anticipated when I landed here, in a snow storm on April Fools in 2013. It has been an incredible personal journey that I was neither searching for nor expecting to find. In hind sight, this caught me very much off guard and I wont lie, I struggled. 
I struggled to maintain my sense of self, my understanding of who I thought I was in the absence of my community and where I fit into this new city. I went through an array of emotion ranging from anger and frustration to deep sadness to love and appreciation. What I believed to be a negative I understand now to be only positive. Part of this comes from the moment when I realized something, something so utterly simple; I have the power and possibility of choice in every situation. This seemingly simple, tiny notion has given me access to a different perspective on the world around me and a deeper understanding of  my true foundations. These rudimentary foundations have not changed so much as strengthened, softened and solidified in all the right ways. 
This chapter has not been a solitary one, and so many people along the way have stepped in, have stepped up to help me. They have helped me find the cracks in the walls where the light was coming through and I am truly grateful. But I also realized that community is there if you simply open yourself to the possibility and allow yourself to receive the generosity of others instead of closing yourself off. 


Jen wrote a beautiful piece about her experience and decision to leave London here. Her image of a house built but never lived in resonates very deeply with me. In ways London, the force of a city this size, with this many lives makes you confront your weaknesses head on and prove to yourself the possibility of things you thought impossible. 



And now on to the why. 
Why are we leaving this big, brutal, romantic, wonderful city? 

The easy answers are because our lease is up, because we are far from families, because we are restless. But of course its more complicated than that. 
In my dreams I could always hear an echo of the soil. It would seep in and saturate the backs of my eyelids at night, flooding through me but then, at some point the echo died away. Perhaps I even willed it away, purposely stopped dreaming all together so as to block out the sound, the reverberating call of the landscape of my memory. 
Recently thought, like a spring which has changed its course, gone under ground, the echo suddenly bubbled up through the surface again. Making a pool in my dreams once again where I could see my reflection and leaving its pebbly residue behind. 
We have been on the road now for ten years, setting up lives, houses, communities in cities with no real intention of staying or settling. We have never had any clear plan either, we have simply stayed on until an unseen force has called for change and we answered with a move. It was exactly how I always wanted to live my life … 
I wanted to concentrate on growing, stretching and unfurling as many leaves as possible to catch up and soak in every drop of the world as it fell upon me. I feel now happily saturated, heavy at the top, bending under the weight and it seems the moment to strengthen the base. The time to put roots down deep into the dirt to support those far reaching branches. And I cant help thinking that maybe this is what home looks like, the parts beneath the surface which keep us grounded, rooted and supported so that we can project those beautiful leaves further out into the world – 
In ten years I have never asked myself what home really looks like but recently I have found it is one of the only things I am able to think about. After sitting with this thought, searching my thoughts, asking friends, talking with Sean, home has started to look like the grasses and stonewalls, blueberry bushes and apple trees and reaching white birches of my childhood.  
I never imaged that I would find home there. I think I may have even  purposely fought it off, not wanting to believe that I would circle back, but now I hear the echo of the soil and not just in my dreams.  


Wanderlust hasn’t released its grip however and our craving for adventure has not dampened only the feeling for a more permanent base has strengthened. So on November 1st, we will say our farewells (I don’t believe in good-byes) to London and take the long way home. Transition is never uncomplicated and it is not something I have done well in the past. Rushing through, overlooking, dismissing the process of transition – but this time I am intent on giving it the focus and attention it deserves because I know that there is some good meat here with much to be learned.  

An so this place, this pose has prepared me to move into the next place, the next pose.  
As yoga has taught me, this next pose will not be forever and inevitably another pose will follow. 


Apple Oat Bran Muffins

October 2, 2015

 The moon these past few nights has truly been something; bright gentle light which seems to ignite the air itself 

I have repeatedly, happily, been stirred from sleep by its glow. I awake bathed in its peaceful still light as it pushes its way over the wall of the back garden and into the room. 
It is truly something to awake to moonlight, none of the sleepiness of dawn, it feels filled with both strenght and fragility. I am conscious that these very magical few moments are a gift and a fleeting one at that.  But oh the energy. When I awake, I feel as if I’m being propelled by Selene herself, having hitched a ride on the back of her chariot. 

Magic seems possible in these few strange hours between sleep and waking. 
Throwing on robe and slippers I make my way through the deep blue darkness to the kitchen. I do not stumble as I know my kitchen  by the feel of things, each in their place. I go, moving through this in-between darkness, as if existing in two worlds ~


And so I start the day with making – 

What I have been making also feels a bit of a departure; breakfast foods. Not something I am normally that interested in. Typically I have a bowl of yogurt with a few berries and maybe a sprinkle of some sort of muesli I’ve made up during the week. 
Nothing fancy, nothing elaborate but filling and it feels like a good start to the day. 

But this moon – its making everything feel different. Even the weather in London has been amazing; beautiful and reliable. As if the moon’s coming so near earth has brought a new rhythm and something has shifted. This change feels like it should be acknowledged, celebrated in some small way.
And for whatever reason, that small celebration has taken the form of muffins, for breakfast! what next.. 
Admittedly these muffins are also partially inspired by the fact that I somehow ended up with two huge bags of oat bran in my pantry. Not an ingredient I am in the regular habit of using either. 

These muffins aren’t big extravagant things mind you. They are sweetened only with the fruit and nuts baked inside and are quite textural as they are made with oat bran only.  You could use seeds or other nuts instead of the hazelnuts and pear, raisins or dates wouldn’t seem amiss in them either. But the point is that they feel nourishing and subtly luxuriant for a week day breakfast. 

I have been enjoying them with big mugs of milky deeply steeped early grey tea (I know some of you likely just flinched when I said I put milk in my earl grey, not a regular habit but the flavor combination is really doing it for me at the moment) straight from the oven so they are still warm. The come together quickly and while they bake,  I have been sitting and enjoying the moon as it arches across the sky before giving way some pretty incredible sunrises. 

I’m enjoying this time to be a dreamer. 

Apple Oat Bran Muffins 


2.5 cups of oat bran
2 tsp baking powder
1.5 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ginger 
1tsp salt
1.5 tsp ground nutmeg 
60g (4 Tbsp) butter
2 eggs
280ml buttermilk 
1tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cups chopped hazelnuts
3 smallish medium apples peeled and diced (should equal about 2 cups of 1/4′ pieces) 


preheat oven to 200c/400f 


mix together the oat bran, baking powder, spices and salt. Then work butter through with your fingertips until it is the consistency of course sand. 


lightly beat the egg add to it the buttermilk and vanilla and combine. 


lightly flour apple pieces so they distribute more evenly, only if desired. 


quickly mix through the apples and nuts and immediately spoon the mixture into a generously greased and floured 12x muffin tin. Bake 25/30 minutes or until they are browned on top and bottom and a knife inserted comes out clean 


let cool in the pan for 5 minutes and then transfer to a cooling rack 




*my oven is a very poor one and it takes about 35 minutes for them to cook through so you may need to adjust your cooking time for your oven. 





A Country Lunch: Beetroot Tart & Seasonal Kale Salad

September 24, 2015

Yesterday, the first day of autumn, was bright and clear – a huge blue sky, fluffy white wisps of fast moving clouds and strong sunshine. However it is evident from the chilly breezes coming through the open window that the sunshine isn’t quite strong enough to completely erase the the snap in the air.  Summer has succeeded once more to Autumn in that epic aged old battle. 


This day last week, a similar sort of sunshine with a similar sort of air wrapped around me as I stood on a small patch of tall grass, in a gully between a very high old brick wall and a line of thick hedge, every inch of me wrapped up in a white protective suite as I waited for Louise to open the top of the smallish white house-shaped beehive in front of us.


I had the pleasure of attending a gathering at Deans Court, a nearly 600 year old estate set within the charming village of Wimborne.  This gathering, ‘Honey & Harvest’ was a true celebration of the efforts of the year and indeed the efforts of many over many hundreds of years before. The history of such things, the legacy of the land and the efforts of those who work to ensure its success is not lost on me and truthfully only enriches the experiences and deepens my appreciations. 

Deans Court, it is idyllic in all the ways you imagine the country to be, should be. It is nothing short of an oasis. The stately old home sits at the heart of it all but somehow does not overshadow the  charming outbuildings, cottages, a store and cafe and wonderfully English gardens. Indeed, perhaps my most favorite of all, a veritable Eden encircled by serpentine brick walls, which have seen their share of of seasons. On these walls grow various espalier trained fruit trees in in the middle all manner of vegetables, flowers and fruits. 


Guests gathered around an enormous table, lavishly dressed in linen, voluptuous autumnal flowers and foliage foraged from the grounds and gardens. The glassware sparkled in the early afternoon sunlight an simple but elegant white plates graced each setting. 
Ali, William & Lottie, our hosts for the day, each gave wonderful descriptions of the life and history of Deans Court before a seemingly endless array of dishes were passed around. Each dish inspired by and made with ingredients produced on the farm – all manor of orchard fruit; pear, plums and apples, eggs, kales in various shades, leeks, tomatoes, potatoes, herbs and perhaps best of all roast figs straight from the fig trees inside the walled kitchen garden. 

The recipes for this post are inspired and adapted from a few of the dishes prepared by Julia at Deans Court for the spectacular country lunch. I can think of no better way to showcase the flavors of the season than simple straightforward dishes which capture the bounty and richness of the harvest season. 

For the tart, I have adapted the recipe for spelt crust from the plum galette to work here – I like the rustic texture and nutty tones it lends to dish. I also substituted buttermilk for the cream – its not as lush as the cream would be but its still delightful and a lot lighter. If you wanted a complete meal, a dessert wouldn’t go a miss here as this tart is quite light and the kale salad hints at the sweetness of fruit but goes in a more savory direction – 
Baked apples or crumble with a few blackberries thrown in or a few beautifully executed types of local cheeses and a small glass of fortified wine if you are serving this as an evening meal perhaps. 

Beetroot & Goats Cheese Tart 
inspired by Julia from Deans Court
adapted from a recipe by Valli Little

For the Pastry
200g spelt flour
100g cold unsalted butter
1 tsp fresh thyme leaves 
1/2 tsp or about 20 grinds from a pepper mill of black pepper
3 Tbsp ice cold water

Fort the Tart
400g (ish) beetroot
2 red onions
60 ml unfiltered apple cider vinegar
2 tsp thyme leves + a few extra sprigs for serving 
1 tbsp caster sugar 
150g goats cheese 
2 eggs, lightly beaten
150ml buttermilk 
1/4 tsp freshly ground nutmeg 
1/4 tsp ground corriander 
3 tbsp olive oil

prepare beetroot and pastry crust 

for the beetroot – place trimmed, scrubbed beets in a pan of cold water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a gentle simmer and cook until beetroot is fork tender – this will depend on the size and age of the beets your are using – when beets are easily pierced by a fork through to the center. Remove from heat and let stand at least 15 minutes. When cool enough to handle, peel under cold water and dice into 1/4 pieces  – set aside 

for the pastry – 
in a large bowl mix together flour, thyme & black pepper. Either with a food processor or with your fingers rub in the butter until the mixture resembles corse bread crumbs. Make a small well in the middle of the dry mixture and slowly dribble in the iced water a little at a time until the dough comes together in a loose ball. Be very careful not to overwork the dough 
Pat it into a disc shape, wrap in parchment paper and chill for 30 minutes. Lightly grease a 30cm loose bottom tart pan.
On a lighly floured work surface, roll out the dough, about 5mm (just shy of 1/4in) in thickness – line the tart pan and cut away any excess from the edges. Then chill again for 15min 

Assemble the Tart
preheat oven to 180°C

Line chilled pastry shell with parchment paper and pastry weights and bake for 10 mins. Then, remove weights and paper and bake an additional 5 minutes or until dry. 

Heat olive oil in a pan then add the onions, thinly sliced and 1 tsp salt, cook covered, stirring occasionally until softened, aprox 8 minutes. Add the vinegar and sugar to the mixture and cook aprox 3 minutes. Then add the chopped beetroot & 1 tsp thyme leaves and stir to combine. Cook and additional 3 minutes until the mixture has thickened and liquid has reduced. 

Spread mixture over the tart shell and crumble goats cheese over the top. In another bowl whist together the egg, buttermilk, nutmeg & coriander. Pour over the beetroot mixture and top with the remaining 1tsp thyme leaves 

Bake aprox 35 minutes or until set. Serve warm or cold but keep chilled if making ahead 

Kale Salad with pickled Onion & Pear 

1 large bunch of Lacinato Kale 
1 large firm pear
1/2 red onion, pickled 
1/4 cup tasted hazel nuts or cobnuts if in season, cut in half 
Juice from half a lemon
1/4 cup unfiltered apple cider vinegar
3 Tbsp good quality olive oil
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground coriander
1/4 tsp cinnamon 
1/4 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp black pepper
pinch of cayenne pepper 

For the pickled red onion 
place 1/2 red onion thinly sliced in wedges from top to root in a nonreactive bowl sprinkle with 2 tsp of salt and let it stand 10 minutes. Then cover with red wine vinegar and 1/2 tsp sugar. Let stand at least an hour or place in a jar overnight 

Wash kale and remove the thick center rib. Rough chop into 3 inch pieces and set aside 
In a large bowl, mix the spices and add the cider vinegar. Whisk in the olive oil until emulsified. Add Kale to dressing and massage until the kale begins to break down and soften a bit. Let it stand while 

Top and tail the pear, cut in half, core, then slice thinly and toss with lemon juice and a sprinkle of salt. Add this to the kale mixture and top everything with the toasted hazelnuts jut before serving so they stay crunchy 
taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper if needed. 


Serve a slice of the tart with a portion of the salad. 


Plum & Thyme Galette with Spelt Pastry

September 10, 2015

I think many of you would likely agree when I say that, I love being in the kitchen. Standing in the kitchen just feels good, right. I love the ritual of washing hands, putting on a clean apron and setting about what ever it is with purpose. I will happily spend all day there working away, listening to music or pod casts with my camera at the ready.

There are many reason why this room appeals to me, not least of which is its openness to possibility. I love it early in the morning when I am making my first cup of coffee and I love it on those warm evenings with the windows wide open and a gentle breeze stirring as I cook. It is a room where magic can happen. A room where people seem to gather as if seduced by some ancient attraction to heat and fire. In my kitchen laughter happens, serious discussions happen, bottles of wine are opened and savored, food is prepared, tasted, shared, memories exchanged.  There is a tiny black stool in my kitchen which has traveled with me to several apartments, countries and continents. Inevitably if someone is in the house they will end up sitting on this short little stool in my narrow galley kitchen – 


But also my kitchen is a space of mediation, for me alone. I can practice, think, breathe and explore. I might be making a dish I have made so many times before that the act of preparing it has nearly become ritual. I might be trying to recreate the flavors of something I had while traveling, working to bring back my memory of that place. Or, I could just be experimenting- prodding, needling at some ideas in my head. I love thinking about how things might, would, could fit together, work to create harmony and something new. Sewing bits of one recipe into another is possibly my most favorite type of work in the kitchen. 



This recipe for a plum and thyme galette with spelt crust was born from an afternoon of this sort. Plums in England are beautiful this time of year -they transition from late summer into the autumn and seem to gain an intensity and sweetness when other produce like tomato and eggplant seem to wane. It is not a sweet dessert and lies somewhere closer to a savory – serve it with a little creme fresh for something even more decadent.


The spelt crust is flaky and light but needs to be handled with a bit more care than normal pastry crust – its is crumbly at times and delicate. Make sure you let it chill properly and take care when rolling it out. Its has such a wonderful texture thought, its worth a tiny bit of extra attention. 


Plum & Thyme Galette with Spelt Pastry


For the Crust 
315g spelt flour 
185g unsalted or lightly salted cold butter
1/3c ice water (likely you will only need around 2 tbsp)
1/2 tsp raw granulated sugar
1/2 tsp fine salt 


For the Filling 
500g fresh plums, pitted stoned and sliced into 1/4″ slices 
4 large thyme sprigs, de-stemmed 
3 tbsp good quality olive oil 
2 tbsp of dark brown sugar
1 tbsp spelt flour 
1/4 tsp each of freshly grated cinnamon and nutmeg 
2tbsp fresh whole milk


Preheat your oven to 190c / 375f


combine the flour, sugar, salt and mix. Cut butter into small 1/4 cubes. Scatter butter cubes over the flour mixture and rub together with your finger tips to combined – it should be the texture of a very course sand – a few larger pieces are ok. Then make a small well at the center of the dough and slowly add cold water, mixing well as you go until the dough just comes together into a soft ball. *you will likely need only around 2-3 tbsp of the water but its good to have extra on hand in case. Once the dough is just combined, tip it out onto a flowered work surface and gently form into a disc. Then wrap it tightly in parchment paper and a clean dish towel and refrigerate – at least 1hour but up to 24. R
Remove from refrigerator aprox 20 minutes before you plan to roll it out. 


While your dough chills 
prepare the plums and add them to a large bowl with the thyme, sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg. Toss gently to combine and then add the olive oil. Toss well and sprinkle with the flour bit by bit until it is well combined. 


Roll out your pastry onto a cool,  lightly floured work surface. Working from the middle of the dough gently roll out into a disc shape, taking care that is the same thickness throughout. It should be around 15-18 inches. Then, transfer the dough with the help of the rolling pin and lay it out on a parchment lined baking pan. Add the plum mixture, taking care to drain off any excess juice/oil and spoon on top of the crust. There should be about 1.5/2″ between the fruit and the edge of the galette. 
 Starting from one side, gently fold over the edges of the dough to form a pretty boarder around the fruit. 
Gently brush the pastry with the whole milk. 


Bake approximately 30 minutes, turning the baking sheet around once. The crust should be browned and the fruit soft. Timing may vary based on your oven


enjoy! 

Pickled Summer Strawberries

July 29, 2015

At the weekend, I set out in what can only be described as the most torrential rain of the summer. I was off to the Tate Modern to see the Agnes Martin retrospective. Having purchased tickets weeks ago – rains, winds nor floods were going to stop me and it was worth to every soggy-toed minute. Her work, which I had never seen in person – blew me away. 


It is ethereal but grounded –  it demands attention but also captivates – enveloping you as you stand in front of each uniform square canvas with its seductive textured whites and luminescent heavily brush stroked colors. 
Her work is painstakingly precise but achingly flawed – its this human element that gripped me more than anything – the perception of perfection but the reality of the imperfect, the bowed hand drawn lines and such. 


On the opening wall were are few words of Martin’s – “beauty is the mystery of life. it is not just in the eye. it is in the mind. it is our positive response to life”



This recipe is about preserving the beauty of summer for just a little bit longer – capturing the strawberries in their best moment, their sweetest – most beautiful – and savoring it for a little longer. Preserving is as much about the moment and the perception of perfection as it is about finding the beauty in the newly created.  These pickles have a personality of their own, the sweetness comes through of course but that subtle acidity from the vinegar and a bit of unexpected tang from the peppercorns compound the flavor of the berry so that it truly becomes something else. 
Of course I will advocate for using ingredients in the moment, but as you know, sometimes in summer especially, there are just too many materials peaking at exactly the same moment. This recipe is intended to preserve the flavors for a little longer but also prevent anything going to waste. 


I have been using the pickled strawberries, and the gorgeous deep pink pickling liquid in a variety of ways. I invite you to create your own flavors with them too.

I whipped a little ricotta with some salt and olive oil and spread it on rye, then I topped it with the sliced pickled strawberries, toasted walnuts and some fresh basil, chives and a drizzle of honey. 


I have also mixed the strawberries in with some fresh spinach, cold quinoa, almonds, blueberries and herbs for a lovely salad. 


Drizzle the liquid over yogurt in the morning or muesli  – the color against the white is heavenly – and reminds me of one of Martin’s paintings with is stark white background and glowy pink stripes. 


– enjoy

 Pickled Strawberries 

675 grams strawberries, washed & hulled
1 cup water
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
2 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
3 strips of lemon peal
20 coriander seeds
20 pink peppercorns 
3 green cardamom pods, crushed
In a sauce pan over low heat,  lightly toast the cardamom, peppercorns and coriander seeds until fragrant (about 2 mins).

Then add the water, vinegars, sugar salt and lemon peel to the pan and bring to a light simmer over medium low heat. Stir until sugar has dissolved and ingredients have combined.  Then add strawberries to the pan, hull side down and simmer 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat and let the mixture cool. Place strawberries and liquid into a clean, lidded storage jar and store the refrigerator overnight. 
They will keep in the fridge for about 5 days or so. 



Olive Oil Cake with Bay & Orange

January 22, 2015

This is a cake to linger over. 
The kind of cake I would make if my dearest girlfriends were in town. The entire afternoon would be spent around the table, deep in delicious conversation, with cup after cup of tea and a slice of this cake.  

The table itself doesn’t really matter, only that there is one. It could be smartly dressed in the crispest white linen, delicate sea foam colored tea cups and glimmers of gold and glass. 

Or it could have nothing of the sort, bare well worn, well loved wood, the softest washed linen napkins and handmade grey mugs with chunky handles, perfect for holding. 


This cake is comfortable in any setting. 


It sticks to the roof of your mouth in the most delightful, not too sweet way. Better than the way peanut butter does; with more elegance. The subtle bay infused olive oil is the backbone of this recipe. 
Its the sticky bit, the rich bit. 
And as your tongue moves to the roof of your mouth, your nose picks up the aroma of the bay. The orange is there too, vibrant but not loud. Its doesn’t compete with the bay or the olive oil. The three are harmonious. 


It is unfussy this cake. In this recipe it has an icing glaze, but it needn’t. It is made in a fancy bunt pan because I wanted to use one but could just as easily be made in a loaf pan. The most important part is infusing the olive oil, everything else just falls into place. 
I combined some of this recipe with some from here. Both recipes are lovely on their own and I would recommend trying each. I must say, I wouldn’t mind having both writers to tea either.


I use a fruity, medium bodied olive oil because I want to taste it in the cake but still want the bay to come through. 
I very gently heat the olive oil. If it gets too hot it will begin to bitter and lose some of its richness. It should be warm to the touch, but not hot. A minutes or so on the heat is all really. Then drop in the bay leaves, 3 or 4, fresh if possible and keep warming over a very low heat until the aroma of the bay hits your nose. Leave on the heat about 5 minutes more, taking care that it does not get too hot. Then remove from the heat and let it stand, 2 hours as a minimum but better overnight. 
You can make a bit extra if you like and use it to drizzle over salads or a goats cheese. Its not a bad thing to have on hand. 



Olive Oil Cake with Bay & Orange

10 bay leaves 
80ml fruity medium bodied olive oil (infused with 3 or 4 bay leaves as above)
150g white flour
50g ground almonds
200g golden caster sugar 
3/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
2 eggs 
50ml cointreau 
zest from half a medium orange 
juice from 1 orange 


For the Icing
100 grams icing sugar
1 tbsp cointreau 
3 tsp of almond milk (or regular milk)


Preheat the oven to 180 (350F) degrees 
Grease and flour your pan carefully. 


In a bowl sift together dry ingredients: flour, almonds, sugar and baking powder. 
Then in a small bowl gently beat the eggs together with the salt. Tip into the dry mixture along with the olive oil, cointreau, zest and juice from the orange. Gently stir to combine, making sure the batter is free from any lumps. 


Pour batter in to your greased and floured baking pan. Top the batter with the remaining bay leaves. Bake in the middle of the oven for about 1 hour depending on your pan. When a tester is inserted, it should come out clean. 


When the cake is done, remove it from the oven and turn it over onto a cooling rack. Let it cool completely before icing. 


For the icing, combine the sugar with the almond milk and cointreau. Stir well to combine, again making sure there are no lumps. With a spoon drizzle as much or little of the icing down over the top of the cake as you like. 

Kale & White Bean Soup

January 14, 2015

I love catching snippets of other peoples stories. I often find the words of strangers floating over the air and past my ears. Sometimes they are wickedly funny, and sometimes tender. They can be heartbreaking too and deeply relateable. 
I wouldn’t call it eves-dropping. I’m not leaning in close to hear a bit of juicy gossip or craning my neck to get a good look at the person on the phone. Its more passive than that, more like receiving a gift. A gift because it makes the individuals I am sharing the space with seem more real and just simply less like, the masses. 


Often, these little soundbites are good enough that I don’t want to let them pass by and so jot them hastily down. And every once in a while, I feel like I was meant to hear those words. That I was standing or walking past in that exact moment to hear that exact phrase. 
The other day it happen. As I was gazing out of the window at the London skyline: gherkin, shard, cheese grater … on a seemingly deserted train into Waterloo I heard, as if from nowhere, “Do you face into the wind?”


Do you know that feeling?When you stand, arms glued to your side, ridged as a board, bald faced with the wind whipping past your ears so fast its dizzying and all you can do is just brace. 


It stuck with me, I didn’t even need to write it down. I just kept repeating it over and over to myself. All day, and the next – turning it over, smoothing it down, wearing it away – until it shone. 

This recipe for Kale & White Bean Soup is for those days where you feel like you have spent the entirety of it facing into the wind. 
I have made it possibly hundreds of time – I don’t measure anything, I don’t count or figure, I just do. And in doing, is has become less of a recipe and more like a salve. 
It is a soup to warm the belly, clear away the cobwebs and bring you back into your self. The cumin and vinegar are the important parts really. You could use anything on hand otherwise (cabbage if not kale, kidneys if not cannellini, faro instead of potato) but below is my preferred ingredient list.










Kale & White Bean Soup


serves 4(ish)


1 large bunch of lacianto kale, chopped
1 16oz can cannellini beans
3 medium potatoes, chopped into 1/4 pieces (preferably scrubbed with skin on)
4 cups good quality stock
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 large onion
2 cloves garlic 
2 tsp cumin 
knob of ghee (or butter or evoo)
salt & pepper to taste 














In a large stock pot saute chopped onion in the ghee over low heat until soft and transparent. Add minced garlic and cook a few minutes more. Add in the cumin and toast until fragrant. Pour in the red wine vinegar. Cook until liquid is reduced by half and then add in the chopped potato. Saute a few minutes more stirring to coat the potatoes in the butter and vinegar mixture. Add the stock and bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until potatoes are tender and nearly cooked. Then add the kale, cannellini beans and salt & pepper to taste. 
Simmer until kale is tender and potatoes are cooked through. 

Serve topped with a slice or two of parmigiano reggiano, a drizzle of olive oil & crusty bread. 

Winter Citrus Salad

January 5, 2015

This salad is inspired by my many winters spent in California. The citrus fruits there are excellent this time of year but in truth they are the world over and that makes this salad very transferable. The sharp bright flavor of the grapefruit and orange is a welcome contrast to many of the heavier dishes of the season. 
The avocado and the roasted garlic in the dressing are grounding and lend earthiness to the dish. It would not be amiss on the table alongside smoked salmon, cream cheese and a dark rye bread. It also pairs quite nicely with fizzy prosecco. 


I quick pickle red onion often and usually have some on hand. It keeps well in the fridge for a few days. It is a more mellow accompaniment to salads or on top of chili. One small red onion makes quite a lot. Add a few ice cubes to a bowl, a heaping tablespoon of red wine vinegar, good pinch of salt, a couple of tablespoons of sugar and cold water. Swish ingredients together, add thinly sliced onion, I run mine over the mandolin and let is sit for at least 2 hours before using. Leftovers can be stored with some of the liquid in a jar in the fridge.  

Winter Citrus Salad
serves 4

1 large orange
1 large of each red, white and pink grapefruits
2 ripe Hass avocados or 1 larger one.
1 heaping table spoon of pickled red onion slices

For the dressing:
juice of one lime
2 tsp honey
1 medium sized clove of roasted garlic, smashed.
1/2 tsp salt
scant pinch of red chili pepper
1/8 cup of olive oil

To make the dressing
Combine the lime juice, honey, garlic, salt and chili. Stir to combine until the garlic is mostly mixed through. Then slowly whisk in the olive until emulsified.

To prepare the salad
cut the top and bottom of the orange and grapefruits to just expose the flesh. Standing each on end, moving the knife in a vertical direction, cut away the skin and pith until only the flesh is left on the fruit. Then turn each on its side and cut into 1/4 thick round slices.
Next slice the avocado in half an remove the pit, then cut into 1/4 thick slices and remove the skin.

Arrange the grapefruit & orange slices on a plater alternating with some of the avocado slices. Top with a few of the pickled red onion slices and pour over the dressing, serve immediately.

Seeded Rye Bread

December 3, 2014

I find a change of scenery can sometimes spark a renewed interest in the familiar. This recipe for Seeded Rye Bread was born out of a trip to Copenhagen and an instant love for the gorgeous Rugbrod I encountered on my visit there.  

The city of Copenhagen is full of amazing design to look at, open friendly people to chat to and some of the most beautifully plated and oh so delicious food I have had to date. I loved that many places lavished dishes with visual attention and created unique visual compositions but  when the flavors hit my palette there was a welcome familiarity of flavors. Of the restaurants and cafes we visited, there was a consistent focus on whole, healthy foods which I was also very excited to find. I particularly loved Grod, Coffee Curators & Host.

Many places served up thick slices of Rugbrod with various dishes. It is a dark hearty fermented style loaf bread. Scattered through the bread are nuts and seeds of various types and a gorgeous crisp top crust. I found it particularly satisfying dunked into a hot bowl of soup during one of my lunches. But is also conjured up thoughts of an old familiar recipe for Irish brown bread and I begin thinking about marrying different aspects of the breads together. 






The resulting bread comes together quickly even though there many ingredients. I prefer to measure the ingredients by weight as I find it the most efficient and accurate method. 
It is also preferable to bake the bread in two small loaf tins. It is dense and the baking times are more accurate when using 4″ x 8″ loaf pans. Grease them well on the bottom and sides. 


7oz dark rye flour
2oz self raising white flour
2oz oat bran
2oz porridge flakes 
2oz sesame seeds
2oz pumpkin seeds
2oz sunflower seeds plus a handful to sprinkle on top of the bread
15 hazle nuts halved 
1 1/2 teaspoons bread soda
1 tsp salt
1 tsp brown sugar
1 egg beaten 
285ml butter milk 
285ml of plain natural yogurt 


Mix dry ingredients together in a bowl to combine. In a separate bowl, lightly beat egg then add buttermilk and yogurt. Stir to combine. Slowly combine wet into dry mix. IT will be quite thick and sticky but be sure to stir well so that there are no pockets of dry ingredients at the bottom of the bowl. If the mix needs more moisture add a tablespoon or two more yogurt. 


Pour equally divided mixture into the two greased loaf tins. Sprinkle remaining sunflower seed on top of each and gently pat into the mixture. 


Bake at 200 celsius/400 fahrenheit for 1h 15m – 1h 30m (depending on your oven temperature or until a tester stick comes out clean.  After 45 take the tins out of the oven an cover with foil. Then return to bake for the remaining time.