Baked eggs with Feta & kale

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There's no shortage of farmers markets in London, which is great, but what's really great is that a new one has opened up just minutes from my house, no exaggeration, it's literally around the corner. We go every week - Neil heads to the meat stall and I hunt down the best of the seasons veggies. We've been impressed by the quality and the prices and enjoy being able to talk to the people who grow food for us.

The market began in autumn last year and at times, especially during January, has been quiet and struggling for customers. I'm desperate for this little market to do well, and hope that as spring and summer arrive it will become more popular.

If by any small chance you’re reading this from your home in Clapham or Battersea            then head over to the Lavender Hill Farmers Market, SW11 5UW, 10:00am - 2:00pm every Saturday. You won’t be disappointed.

This week our farmers market haul included free range eggs and organic kale. Kale is hailed as the ultimate superfood and we all know we should be eating it, but why? This fact-bursting article written by Dana from healthyline.com will give you all the info you could possibly want on this delicious leafy green, so go give it a read.

Ingredients: serves two
1 tbsp coconut oil
1 white onion
2 cloves of garlic
1 red chilli
2 large handfuls of kale (I use curly)
1 large handful of spinach
Juice of half a lemon
4 medium free range eggs
50g feta cheese
Handful chopped walnuts
Salt and pepper

Method:
Preheat the oven to 200C. Heat the coconut oil in a good sized frying pan (the type which can also go in the oven) over a medium heat. Finely chop the onion, add to the pan and cook for a few minutes. Next finely chop the garlic and chilli, add to the pan with the onion and mix well. Allow this to cook for a minute.

Turn the pan down to a low heat. Wash the kale then add this to the pan with a small splash of water to create some steam. Cover with a lid and allow the kale to cook for 15 minutes.

Once the kale has cooked remove the lid and add the spinach, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Mix well then place the lid back on for a minute allowing the spinach to cook.

Remove the lid and make four little wells in the pan, cracking an egg into each. Season the eggs with salt and pepper then place the frying pan in the oven and bake until the eggs are firm but the yolks are still runny. This can take 1-5 minutes depending on your oven.

To serve crumble over the feta and chopped walnuts.

cauliflower, SPROUTS and a California checklist

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Having just booked what will be the final stop on our American west coast road trip I think it’s fair to say I’ll be wishing the next few months away with rapid anticipation and excitement. We, my family and I, have been planning this holiday for a while, researching, taking advice and adjusting our route so we can see and appreciate as much as possible. So now that all the accommodation is booked I can focus on the really important stuff – where to eat.

I’ve been compiling a list of restaurants, cafes, juice bars and of course, where to get the best ice cream and coffee. If you know of any useful blogs, books or even have a favourite hang-out anywhere between San Francisco and San Diego then I’d love to hear from you.

Much of our accommodation is through Airbnb, and having never stayed in an Airbnb house before (gasp), I’m also eager to check out the local farmer’s markets and food stores to make the most of our Californian kitchens. Any suggestions for local markets?

This warm salad has been a lunchtime favourite of mine over the past few weeks, mostly eaten in front of my computer screen as I book flights and hire cars. The lightly fried vegetables keep their crunch and fresh taste whilst taking on the flavour of the sage and mustard dressing.

Ingredients: serves 2
Half a cauliflower
120g brussels sprouts
1 tbsp coconut oil
4-5 sage leaves
Salt
Zest and juice of a lemon
2 tsp olive oil
1 tsp mustard
30g feta
¼ cup walnuts
½ pomegranate

Method:
Remove the florets from the cauliflower and place them in a food processor. Pulse until you get a rice-like texture. Rinse and remove the outer leaves on the Brussels sprouts and cut them in half. Place the flat surface of the sprout on a chopping board and thinly slice. You can shred the sprouts in the food processor, but I like to keep them a little thicker by hand slicing – this adds texture to the salad.

Heat the coconut oil in a frying pan on a low/medium heat then add the cauliflower and sprouts and lightly fry for a few minutes. Finely chop the sage leaves and add these to the pan with a good pinch of salt and the lemon zest. Fry for a few more minutes.

To make the dressing mix the mustard, olive oil and lemon juice together.

To serve, place the cauliflower and sprouts on plates or in one large bowl. Drizzle over the dressing and scatter with crumbled feta, roughly chopped walnuts and pomegranate seeds

Celeriac chips with a spicy tahini dip

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There’s not much on offer at my local farmers market this time of year, but what they do have in abundance is celeriac. This ugly duckling of the vegetable world can sometimes go unnoticed as we reach for the leeks, beetroot and last of the seasons apples. But please don’t overlook the humble celeriac, they are affordable, long lasting and so versatile in the kitchen.

I often use celeriac as an alternative to potato, thickening a soup or as a creamy mash topping a shepherds pie. It’s also delicious raw, shredded in a salad and giving a nutty celery like flavour. But best of all, the celeriac makes great chips. I’ve been grazing on this recipe for a few weeks now, usually on a Sunday afternoon whist watching a film as the constant rain keeps falling outside. Teamed up with a spicy sun-dried tomato and tahini dip, these chunky chips are an ideal comfort food.

To make the spicy dip I used some large sun-dried tomatoes I brought whilst on holiday in Italy last year, along with a packet arrabbiata which is an Italian spice blend often used in pasta sauces. Bringing food home as a souvenir is a wonderful way to remember a trip, recreating and reminiscing of the tastes and smells you experienced.

If you wanted to make your own arrabbiata, simply mix together a majority of chilli seeds and flakes with dried basil, dried parsley, garlic and salt.

Ingredients, for the chips:
1 celeriac
1 tbsp melted coconut oil
1 tbsp fresh rosemary
Salt

For the spicy dip:
1/3 cup tahini
5-6 large sun-dried tomatoes
1 tsp arrabbiata
1 tsp cumin
1 garlic clove
2 tsp olive oil
A squeeze of lemon juice
1/2 cup water
Salt to taste  

Method:
Preheat the oven to 200C and bring a saucepan of water to the boil. Peel the celeriac, removing all the green, I find using a paring knife much easier than a peeler as the skin can be quite tough. Chop the celeriac into chunky chips and place them in the boiling water for one-two minutes.

Drain the water and put the chips on a clean kitchen towel and pat dry. Place the chips on a baking tray and cover with the coconut oil. Sprinkle over plenty of salt and the chopped fresh rosemary. Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes until the chips are brown with crispy edges.

For the spicy tomato dip place all the ingredients in a food processor, but only add half the water. Blitz into a smooth dip and add more water if needed. The dip keeps in the fridge for up to a week and is also great with raw carrot sticks.

Baked spiced apple porridge

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As a freelance designer there are days when I can work from home. The perks are getting to wear my slippers all day, listen to Michael Jackson without any objections and having the time to make baked porridge. I check my emails while my breakfast warms in the oven, then enjoy my patiently awaited bowl of oats whist perusing Pinterest, reading the news and generally procrastinating.

We all know how diverse porridge can be, and this recipe is no different. I’ve made versions using grated carrot and orange zest or pear with cacao nibs, both are winning combos. But apple has always been my favourite pairing with porridge, most likely due to a fondness for apple crumble.

This recipe serves four, but can easily be adapted to individual portions - just reduce it’s time in the oven to 18-20 minutes. I tend to add a little more milk when the porridge is in a bowl with some fresh fruit and apple purée.

Ingredients, serves 4:
For the porridge

1 cup oats
1/2 cup sultanas
2 tbsp ground flax
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1 sweet apple, grated (I use pink lady)
2 cups milk (I use oat milk)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

For the topping
1/3 cup pumpkin seeds
1/3 cup sunflower seeds
1/3 cup pecan nuts, roughly chopped
1 tbsp coconut oil, melted

Method:
Preheat the oven to 180C fan. Measure out the oats, sultanas, flax, ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg into a bowl and mix well. Great the apple, skin on, and add this to the dry ingredients. Mix thoroughly before adding the milk and vanilla extract. Spoon the mixture into a baking dish, mine was approximately 22 x 14cm.

For the topping, measure out the seeds and pecans in a bowl and pour over the melted coconut oil. Mix well, then spoon the topping over the porridge, spreading out evenly.
Bake in the centre of the oven for 25-30 minutes until the topping is lightly browned and crunchy.

Mushroom and garlic buckwheat risotto

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Santa brought me a rather lovely sauté pan for Christmas and for it's first outing I couldn't think of anything better than a creamy risotto. This recipe uses buckwheat groats instead of risotto rice, it's gluten free and has a delicate nutty flavour. Much like risotto rice, the buckwheat softens as it absorbs the cooking liquid providing a silky smooth texture.  

After a wonderfully indulgent couple of weeks packed with cheeses, chutneys, roast meats and vegetable gratins, not to mention and abundance of sweet treats, I was in the mood for a simple meal with a few individual strong flavours. This risotto is warming, filling and an easy meal to make on a rainy Sunday afternoon. I’m guilty of enjoying a big bowlful whist sitting on the sofa catching up with the latest episode of Sherlock. 

Wishing you a happy and healthy 2016.

Ingredients: serves two
150g buckwheat groats
1 white onion
3 garlic cloves
Fresh thyme
250ml vegetable stock
1 x 400ml can coconut milk
Juice of half a lemon
150-200g mushrooms (I used a mix of chestnut and shiitake) 
Coconut oil for frying
Salt and pepper
Parmesan cheese (optional)

Method
Heat a knob of coconut oil in a large pan (one that has a lid) on a medium heat. Finely chop the onion and add to the pan. Allow the onion to soften and brown slightly. Finely chop two of the garlic cloves and remove the leaves from 5-6 sprigs of thyme and add both to the pan. Add the buckwheat groats and season with salt and pepper. Mix well and allow the ingredients to sauté for 5 minutes. 

Pour in the vegetable stock and allow to simmer with the lid on for 12 minutes. 

Meanwhile, in a separate frying pan, heat a knob of coconut oil on a medium/high heat. Slice the mushrooms and add to the pan. Take the third garlic clove and crush lightly so it releases its flavour and add this to the pan with the mushrooms. Place in a few sprigs of thyme and fry all together until the mushrooms are soft and golden. 

Add the lemon juice and coconut milk to the buckwheat risotto, stirring on a medium/high heat. Continue stirring for 10-15 minutes until the buckwheat is soft and the mixture is thick and creamy. Add salt and pepper to taste. 

Add half of the mushrooms to the risotto and stir through. Spoon the risotto into two bowls and divide the remaining mushrooms on top of each bowl. Finish with a grating of parmesan cheese.

Fig & cranberry Christmas muffins for Wayfair

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Last month I was asked by Wayfair to contribute a Christmas recipe to their Inspiration blog page. I’ve been familiar with the Wayfair site for a couple of years now, discovering them whist renovating my home. I was thrilled by the request to create a new recipe, so even though it was still November, Michael Bublé was blasting through my speakers and I was in full festive foodie flow.

I enjoy baking with what’s in season and at this time of year it had to be fresh cranberries. I decided to develop a muffin recipe using these sharp and vibrant little bombs and contrast their intense flavour with sweet and gooey figs. The muffin mixture includes cinnamon and ginger bringing together a host of undeniably Christmas flavours.

Refined sugar free, gluten free and full of healthy and natural ingredients, these muffins are a pleasure to bake. They are moist, sweet, sharp and sprinkled with a crunchy topping of oats, walnuts and puffed quinoa. Head over to the Wayfair site for more photos and the full recipe.

Merry Christmas x

Note: I buy my puffed quinoa online. Yes, it is expensive, but a great store cupboard ingredient to use in baking as well as granola and muesli. Go halves on the price with a friend, or like me, your mum.