Spicy satsuma & maple Dutch baby

in Breakfast, Taste -

This irresistibly delicious, sugar and dairy-free spicy satsuma & maple Dutch baby is sure to become your new favourite weekend breakfast.

Spicy satsuma & maple Dutch baby

After just sharing these impossibly chocolaty, fragrant brownies, I’m back to playing with the irresistible mandarin family. At the moment, as it always happens around this time of year, there is an exceeding abundance of citrus in my kitchen. While lemons and limes are favourites throughout the year, come December I’m drawn to other beautiful citrus as well and buy them time and time again. I don’t particularly crave eating them raw (I often find them too acidic) but I love everything else: their colour, fragrance and how they can transform almost every dish they are added to into a wintery wonder: like this sweet & salty hearty salad or them gooey brownies– and how lovely would they be added to this dried fruit & nut couscous?

Spicy satsuma & maple Dutch baby

So a few days back, walking hungrily into the kitchen on a snowy, perfectly wintery Sunday morning, I was only too aware of two things: I was making a Dutch baby and satsumas would somehow be involved. Almond milk, thick amber maple syrup, lots of cinnamon, a pinch of ground cloves and another of nutmeg, eggs and citrus, of course: a whole satsuma zested and half a lemon too. Vegetable oil in a hot pan, 15 minutes in the even hotter oven, done. So very wintery, so appropriate for these lovely flame-coloured beauties. Some smooth mascarpone of the side, a couple drizzles or more of maple and crunchy walnuts dipped in honey and we have ourselves a breakfast feast exactly fir for the season.

Spicy satsuma & maple Dutch baby

Spicy satsuma & maple Dutch baby

WHAT

3 large eggs, at room temperature

2 tablespoons maple syrup

1 cup almond  milk, at room temperature

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 small satsuma, zest only

1/2 lemon, zest only

3/4 tablespoons ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

130g all purpose flour

a pinch of salt

2 additional tablespoons vegetable oil

to serve: 

1/2 cup softened mascarpone

additional maple syrup

satsumas

HOW

  1. Preheat the oven to 250ºC with a medium sized cast iron skillet or frying pan in it.
  2. Place the eggs, maple and almond milk in a blender and blend until frothy and combined. Add the oil, zests, spices and blend again. Finally, add the flour and salt and incorporate by running the blender one last time.
  3. By now the pan should be very hot, so remove carefully from the oven and add the remaining two tablespoons of vegetable oil; swirl it around so it coats the pan and quickly pour in the batter.
  4. Immediately place back in the oven and bake until the center is cooked and the edges are golden brown and puffed, about 15′.
  5. Carefully remove from the oven and serve straight away with ample maple syrup, mascarpone and satsumas.

 

 

Cinnamon, clove & clementine dark chocolate brownies

in Desserts, Taste -

These gooey cinnamon, clove & clementine dark chocolate brownies have a subtle Christmas fragrance and an irresistible texture.

Cinnamon, clove & clementine dark chocolate brownies

After an almost three-month hiatus from baking, boy am I glad to be back! I thought I hadn’t missed it, but I realised how mistaken I was with the first batch of brownies that came out of the oven: the kitchen was hot and smelled like kitchens really should, the brownies were set, but also soft and almost bubbly and I was content. You can never really go wrong with brownies and these came out dizzyingly fragrant and impossibly gooey: filled with almost two bars of dark chocolate, cinnamon, cloves & clementine zest, perfectly seasonal and appropriately festive.

Indeed, you can’t go wrong with brownies and these are definitely a festive winner, made in partnership with Home Run. I’ve enjoyed their excellent services time and time again and perhaps you should too? You could get all the ingredients for these beauties within the hour. Not bad, especially for this time of the year. Not bad at all. [READ MORE]

Cauliflower, spinach & hazelnut salad with peanut butter dressing

in Savoury, Small bites, Taste -

Filled with so many colours and textures, this cauliflower, spinach & hazelnut salad with peanut butter dressing is perfect for the holiday season. 

Cauliflower, spinach & hazelnut salad with peanut butter dressing

I’ve been thinking about holiday meals a lot these past couple of weeks; ’tis the season I suppose, for gatherings, big or small, and tables filled with dishes reflecting seasonal colours, a celebratory mood and family or other traditions. There’s so much to enjoy during the colder months, so many beautiful ingredients, some discrete yet always reliable and others filled with wild colour and irresistible flavours. Cauliflower I feel is often left in the shadows, what with its pale skin and less than desirable cooking aromas; somehow though, it’s always been dear to my heart, much like a beautiful blank canvas, inviting and welcoming all at once. So when Blas Y Tir sent beautiful bundles of it, I could not wait to play around with the crunchy, snow white beauty. I’d already had very fond memories from working with their chubby, delicious spring potatoes and mixing them with fresh greens and smoked salmon, I was sure their winter produce would be qually satisfying, both to work with and to savour. [READ MORE]

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in Desserts, Taste -

Celebrating one of the season’s stunners fruits in one simple dish: red wine & grape molasses poached pears with mascarpone, cinnamon & cloves.

Red wine & grape molasses poached pears with mascarpone

I didn’t always love pears; up until recently, apples, all kinds of them, always took centre stage come autumn and winter. Pears were always in hand none the less, since every time I’d bite into one’s juicy, sweet flesh I’d think that they really were quite special. Yet, I never though ‘Damn, I wish I had a pear now’, nor would I excitedly reach for one when in need of a sweet, fresh bite or a quick snack. This year though, I somehow found myself hopelessly attracted to them. I can’t recall how it happened, nor is it really essential to trace down that first spark. Since they first appeared in markets, I’ve been buying them in heavy rotation and enjoying them on their own or incorporated into various dishes. In thick, steaming hot quinoa or oats with maple syrup and a dollop of almond butter, sitting pretty on a cheese platter or dunked in melting Camembert, or cut in thick slices and topped with Maldon salt flakes and a drizzle of honey- they’ve become a true favourite of the season. [READ MORE]

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in Savoury, Taste -

This barley salad with orange, fennel & black olives is great both as a refreshing side dish or a light main for those hectic pre-holiday days. 

Barley salad with orange, fennel & black olives

It happens almost every year, around the same time: before the holidays, just when the weather starts getting wintery and the lists of things to do a little longer, as the light each day fades a little earlier. It happens and I am now almost at peace with the almost bizarre combination of feeling at once exhausted and filled with energy. I find myself under the covers often before 11pm, barely able to read more than a page (even though I have this in hand and it is pure pleasure), yet most mornings I get up excitedly, well rested and impatient. There’s meals to plan and gifts to be considered (thought I wait till the 1st of December to do any holiday shopping), cards to be made and outfits to be put together for upcoming festivities. I love all of the above and that too, that weird and exhausting and exhilarating amalgam of  energy and slumber. [READ MORE]

Leek & pink peppercorn risotto

in Savoury, Taste -

As simple and flavourful as it gets, this leek & pink peppercorn risotto is both humble & festive and perfect for winter’s gloomy days.

Leek & pink peppercorn risotto

Lately, more than usual, I am drawn to one pot dishes, filled with all sorts of autumnal and early winter treats: pumpkins, rough dark green leaves, apples & pears, thick chunks of meat and heaps of spices; I’ve made hearty pies and stews, roasted vegetables with their skin on in big trays paired with just olive oil and big bunches of fresh herbs; I’ve filled sweet potatoes with crunchy beans and melted cheese. Even breakfast is heartier and more rustic, with steaming bowls of almond milk oats, sweet raisins and crunchy nuts. Winter is all about staying in, keeping warm and enjoying all things simple, is it not? Comfort food, a glass or two of good, fragrant wine and meals ending with a sweet satisfying bite- they all make the season worth celebrating, other festivities aside. The mere thought of enjoying these simple comforts is such a good fortune, and one I try not to take for granted. [READ MORE]

Brown butter & hazelnut apple cake

in Desserts, Taste -

This brown butter & hazelnut apple cake is a variation of the one my mom’s recipes: simple, unapologetically straightforward and perfect for fall.

Brown butter & hazelnut apple cake

Enamoured as I am with apples, every autumn they are appear on our table frequently and in different ways: roughly chopped, tossed with dried fruit, toasted nuts and folded into creamy oatmeal; sliced thinly or turned into a jam, topping thick slices of toasted bread, along with tahini and sweet honey; cut in big chunks and added last to cider chicken stews; mixed with pears and spices to fill buttery dough for pies. I have experimented with many different recipes in the last couple of years, yet my favourite by far is my mom’s apple cake. The main reason is possibly nostalgia and missing her and my dad a little too much; but it’s also the flavour, simple, straightforward and utterly satisfying, as well as its rustic looks, with thick apple slices, which she cuts in a hurry on her worn wood cutting board. [READ MORE]

Very addictive homemade chilli oil

in Small bites, Taste -

This very addictive homemade chilli oil is my favourite recipe from Jeremy Pang’s Hong Kong Diner. I LOVE IT with eggs & avocado!

Very addictive homemade chilli oil

I’ve had a soft spot for this book even before it came out- see, the contributing author is Adrienne Katz Kennedy, one of my favourite ladies, mama & cook extraordinaire and vital part of School of Wok for some time now. And of course, I had also experienced first hand the cooking of super chef Jeremy Pang, as all as his generous involvement in the community – so it was a no brainer really. Still, when I got the book, it really blew me away: flicking through the pages, Hong Kong and its vibrant, multicoloured, intense food scene comes to life: there’s street snacks you want to have a passionate love affair with (I tried the pork chop crusty rolls at the book’s launch and I was instantly hooked), dumpling and baos galore (all beautifully photographed by Kris Kirkham), noodle & rice pots you’ll want to burry your head in (I can’t wait to try the steamed rice one with Chinese sausage & salted egg) and lots of sides and extras. [READ MORE]

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in Savoury, Taste -

Warming, spicy and subtly sweet, this carrot soup with buttermilk & grape molasses  is perfect for these first chilly fall days (and nights).

I don’t know this for a fact, but I’m quite certain that my mom’s favourite fall and winter dish to make and serve is soup. Hers have always been and still are always seasonal, colourful and filled with flavours; layers of flavours, which would linger on the tongue and stay with you long after the meal was finished. Some were chunky: with soft root vegetables and maybe chunks of fish or veal, in perfect proportion with the aromatic broth made with simple seasoning and fresh herbs. Others, velvety smooth, usually finished off with lots of freshly ground black pepper and possibly a trickle of the best, fruitiest olive oil. They were served hot, alongside torn thick dark bread and oftentimes, black wrinkled olives and crumbly feta cheese- two usual staples in the family table. [READ MORE]

Apple, blackberry & cinnamon jam

in Breakfast, Desserts, Taste -

This apple, blackberry & cinnamon jam is thick, as sweet as it should and has made me fall in love with apples all over again! 

Apple, blackberry & cinnamon jam

Ever since I moved to London, every autumn, without fail, I find my self in awe of all the apple varieties available: there’s small, sour ones, with light pink and green flesh; and bigger ones, very sweet and very pink; shinny green apples, crunchy and juicy, perfectly sour and refreshing; and then others, large and brownish, with a subtle sweetness which reminds me of pears. One is truly spoilt for choice and one is hopelessly enamoured every year, all over again.

I buy large quantities and I slice and sometimes peel and eat at least one a day; I freeze for smoothies and grate for spicy oatmeal; they’re added in cakes and pies, often alongside juicy, blushing pears, or eaten hungrily, on the spot, with just a drizzle of tahini and another of honey. They’re set aside to be used in warming stews, with sprigs of rosemary or tarragon and sweet potatoes, or even added to buttery mash for a touch of sweetness. Autumn is for apples, every year, and every year I am without fail hell-bent on celebrating apples as I should: often, repeatedly, enthusiastically, hungrily. [READ MORE]