Tag Archives: london

Kuri & Quinoa Porridge

October 31, 2014

This month I worked on a recipe for the lovely ladies at The Pressery. If you aren’t familiar with them, they supply London with gorgeous, all natural almond milk. It make using almond milk accessible and easy in my daily routine since I don’t make it myself. Typically it goes into smoothies, but since fall and winter aren’t great for fresh fruit and berries, I wanted to find a way to keep using it in my morning routine. 


The recipe below has been the stand out favorite –  a lovely autumnal breakfast; warm, comforting and deeply flavorful. It is gluten & dairy free and uses only natural sugar from the sultanas. I start this the night before – when using kuri squash to top salads or accompany a risotto – reserve around 200 grams for the mornings breakfast. I really like the savory element that the salt, black pepper & olive oil lend the breakfast. 


The same is true for the quinoa – soak it over night (add a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar to the water) and in the morning drain and rinse before cooking. It makes nutty fluffy quinoa and cuts down cooking time. 

I have been experimenting with other grains for breakfast such as amaranth & millet but the quinoa has been my favorite
Serves 2 – 4 
You will need:
200g roasted Kuri squash cut into chunks. 
1 cup quinoa soaked over night (if not soaked in water, anticipate needing more almond milk during cooking. rinsed & drained)
2 cups almond milk (1/2 cup reserved for serving)
1/4 tsp fresh ground cinnamon 
1/4 tsp of vanilla paste 
1/4 cup sultanas 
1 small apple washed & chopped into small pieces.
handful each of shredded coconut, pumpkin seeds & chopped raw walnuts 
****
Place a medium sized sauce pan over moderate heat & toast the cinnamon until fragrant. Next, add chopped apple & stir to combine, about 2 minutes. Then add the rinsed quinoa and toast for another 2 minutes. Add the kuri squash & sultanas, stir to combine and quickly add 1 1/2 cups of almond milk  & 1/4 tsp vanilla – bring to a quick boil and reduce the heat to low. Cook until quinoa is the desired tenderness, stirring occasionally – approx 10 – 15 minutes. 
Keep an eye on the mixture while it cooks as you may need to add a bit more almond milk. 
Spoon porridge into individuals bowls and pour a bit of the remaining almond milk over each, making sure it is equally divided. Top with some of the shredded coconut, pumpkin sees & chopped walnuts. If desired, drizzle with a bit of maple syrup. 

Quick Blackberry Jam

September 3, 2014

There are blackberries abound here in London. Along the riverbanks, lining the footpaths, twirling and twining in the underbrush. And, they are ripe and ready for the picking. 


I have been walking around the city with my eyes to the edges, the peripheral view, scouting & taking stock. Last weekend I hit the jackpot – a brier of blackberries in beautiful sunny spot with big juicy, perfectly formed berries laden on the vines. 
I find it remarkable just how many things grow here, flower and produce fruit. It is so pleasant to see apples, pears and plums dangling from the tips of branches hanging above concrete, iron and brick. It is a simple pleasure but softens the hard corners of such a big city. 

Making small batch jams are great because they are the perfect place to play and experiment with flavors without requiring large amounts of time or ingredients. So, I wanted to share this recipe as more of a guideline, a jumping off point for flavors. This is a quickly made jam or compote using honey, sugar & vinegar as the preservatives. I chose rich dark spices to compliment the sweet deep flavor of the berries and fresh thyme to elevate the brightness of the fruit. The jam brings a little of the city’s bounty to my table and is delicious spread on thick slices of toast, stirred through a breakfast porridge or topping yogurt. It is equally delightful dolloped over a scoop of vanilla ice cream, served alongside a creamy goats cheese or paired with a nutty gruyere. It should keep nicely in an airtight container in the fridge for 7-10 days. 





Blackberry Jam


4 pints of wild blackberries (washed and picked through) 
1 small black cardamom pod 
peel from 1/2 medium orange, excluding white pith  
3 or 4 sprigs of fresh thyme
3 tbsp red wine vinegar 
1 tsp salt
1/4 c honey (more or less to your taste)
1/2 C water


place the water, orange peel & black cardamom pod in a large sauce pan.  Bring it up to a brisk simmer and once there, sir in the honey until dissolved. 

Then add the blackberries, salt & thyme. Bring the mixture up to a boil and add the red wine vinegar. Boil for 3 minutes more, then reduce to a simmer. 

Simmer down until most of the liquid is absorbed & has reached your desired thickness. It should coat the back of a spoon quite thickly. I like mine on the thick side. 30-45 mins should do the trick. 

Keep an eye on the pot, you don’t want the berries to break down too much – it is nice to have some fully formed for great texture. Remember, it will thicken as it cools. 

Remove the cardamom & thyme sprigs, place in an airtight jar and store in the fridge for about a week. 

broad bean summer salad & a trip to the seaside

August 4, 2014

I am finding a feeling of connectedness to England through the food – not that that should come as any surprise – and more specifically the produce. England’s offerings are impressive and yet simple. Berries, pears and apples grow wild here, yours for the picking. Beans, courgettes and tomatoes have ushered in a summer style of eating that is raw, clean, and simple.
 London seems to play everything close to the chest. I have really had to work hard here to discover the good markets, butchers, fish mongers and spice stalls, but I am finding them! – finally.  
A good part of this summer has been about the broad bean (favas as they would be called at home). Their bright green color and tender creamy texture is so easy to love. They have gone into risottos, been made into spreads and hummus, but my favorite has been this simple salad. 
Simple has been some what of a theme around here. Both of us are working hectic full-time jobs that required late hours and long days. Weekends have been precious and, in an effort to maximize those two days we have been taking simple, easy going excursions to some of Britain’s seaside towns. 

They are the perfect getaway. Accessible by train, cups of coffee in the morning, a late breakfast in a new city & home to bed after dinner. 
Brighton was a recent day trip – nostalgic, slightly faded beach front and a vibrant little town waiting just up the hill. 

Up the hill from a sleepy beach front is a young, lively town full of winding streets, outdoor markets, shops and restaurants. 
Sitting for a while to take it all in – live music being played and big inviting picnic tables on which to sit, rich second cups coffee. Poking through shops and keeping an eye out for the perfect lunch spot – it was a carefree & easy day & just as summer should be 

for the salad
serves 2
about 1 1/2 cups of blanched, shelled broad beans
1 very small red onion or shallot 
3 tablespoons of muscat vinegar 
1 small head of romanesco broken into very small pieces 
3 or 4 strips of lemon peel, cut very finely into strips 
2 big handfuls of pea shoots – or other micro greens
10 or so small – medium mint leaves 
10 or so sprigs of flat leaf parsley 
olive oil (i used a beautiful orange infused oil – go for one that has sweet floral notes)
the freshest ricotta 
salt & pepper 


chop an extra small red onion (or shallot) very finely, just cover with muscat vinegar and set to the side 

peal and blanch the broad beans (there is something nearly therapeutic in this task). after blanching, i like to remove the tough light green outer pod to reveal the gorgeous colors you see below. 
break apart the romanesco into very small pieces – they are sweet and crunchy and raw in this salad – 

assemble the pea shoots, romaesco, lemon zest fronds, broad beans, flat leaf parsley &  mint leaves on each of the plates. 

into the onion mixture add a pinch of salt and whisk in the olive oil. 

dollop on your ricotta, as much or as little as you like really and then drizzle the entire salad with the dressing. 
finish with a few grinds of black pepper 

Winter Couscous Salad

March 5, 2014

Six months since the last post, and it feels like it has flown.

2013 was a crazy year, a trans-continental move, a wedding, styling my first cookbook, getting settled in this big new city. It was a whirlwind, although fun. 2014 has already been more grounded and I feel like I am finding my stride here.
There have been lots of new things to discover and lots to adapt to. One of the biggest changes has been the food. In San Francisco we shopped the farmers market every Saturday and had some of the worlds freshest, most diverse and beautiful produce within easy reach. In London I have struggled to find such variety and quality and our diets have become more seasonal. But, being a New England-er by birth, many of the option available to me here aren’t so very different from the foods I grew up with. 

Nuts, whole grains, dried fruits and hearty root vegetables have been staples and I have been playing a lot in the kitchen with different flavors and combinations. The exposure to more middle eastern flavors and cooking has a been a welcome new experience. I have been carrying this cookbook with me everywhere. 
This Winter Couscous Salad has also been making quite a few appearances at our table. Its great on its own or with some winter greens in the bottom of a bowl. It also works well as a side with chicken or lamb. I have been roasting up baby cauliflowers I found at the market, but thick roasted slices of full sized cauliflower works too.  

Winter Couscous Salad

Large couscous (2 cups dry). I used whole wheat here but any will do. 
1 lemon  – slice off two round slices  
3 cloves garlic (crushed)
1 bay leaf
2 cups stock
cinnamon (half a stick or 1/4 teaspoon if using ground)
Olive oil 
walnuts (1/2 cup) toasted – throw them in with the cauliflower for about 8 mins.
parsley – aprox 1/2 cup, chopped.  
feta cheese (100 grams) cut into 1/2″ cubes
green olives – 100 grams. sliced in half. The olives I use are stuffed with orange peel 
salt & pepper
Cauliflower or other protein.
If using cauliflower,
slice a medium head laterally from top to bottom in 4 slices. toss with olive oil, salt & pepper roast on a baking sheet at 350/180 until tender (aprox 20 mins) flip halfway through. Add walnuts (aprox 8 mins) at the end to toast. 
For the salad:
Put tbsp of olive oil in a heavy bottom sauce pan.
Drop in cinnamon – toast for 30 seconds or until fragrant
add 3 crushed garlic cloves and lemon slices & bay leaf – toast for another 30 seconds
Add couscous and toast over medium high heat until lightly browned. Add 1.5 cups of stock and reduce heat to medium low. Simmer until done, you may need to add more stock. I leave a very little bit unabsorbed to keep couscous from drying out in the salad. But drain if too much liquid remains 
Discard the lemon slices, cinnamon stick, bay leaf & garlic cloves. Let the couscous cool 
Mix in feta, olives, walnuts & parsley. Squeeze remaining lemon juice over the mixture and fresh cracked black pepper. Mix well.
Serve with cauliflower on the side. 
serves 4.