Thursday, 30 December 2010

Spicy popcorn

This is a great snack if you have friends over because it takes no time at all to make. It has almost no fat (use olive oil instead of butter) but is full of flavour.


popcorn kernels
knob of butter or olive oil
about 1 tsp each of paprika powder, garam masala, ground coriander and chili powder
salt to taste

Heat the butter or oil in a pan and add the spices. Let simmer for a bit to release the flavours but don´t burn. Make the popcorn according to instructions on the packaging and drizzle the spice-oil/butter on top when still hot and mix well.

Wednesday, 29 December 2010

New Year canapés

So this is probably one of the more unusual posts as this should be a vegetarian blog, well, not intentionally but as I happen to be a vegetarian it kind of worked out to be one. Anyway, I still post these images as it´s more about the presentation than the food (so no recipe...). You could do this with any kind of food really: cheese sticks or chocolate truffles for example. We made the little flag cocktail sticks with some gold and silver paper with interesting prints or textures and some tooth picks. Very simple and cute.

To go with the theme of gold and silver we made some mini bunting flags with the same paper.

For drinks we infused more vodka (same recipe as in the spiced pear and apple martini) but used vanilla pods instead of cinnamon and cloves. Leave in for about 4 day. Then mix with cranberry juice and rose water and serve in tumblers on ice or in coups with a sugar rim would be great, too.

Monday, 27 December 2010

Spiced apple and pear martini

I really like mulled cider but if you´re looking for a cocktail version of it this recipe is great. Apple and pear are always a great combination and with festive spices like cinnamon and cloves quite right for the season.


cinnamon sticks
apple juice
pear juice

To make spiced vodka infuse the alcohol with a couple of cloves and 1-2 cinnamon sticks. Leave in the bottle for a couple of days so make this in advance. Then mix apple and pear juice and add to the spiced vodka in a pitcher. Serve on ice or just chilled.

Saturday, 25 December 2010

Cranberry chutney

I always associate cranberries with Christmas and this recipe is very easy and delicious and I had to share it with you: Merry Christmas to everyone!


300g cranberries
1 pear
1 tbsp ground spice
1 tsp grated ginger
1 medium onion
200g demerara sugar
1 orange (zest and juice)
300ml red wine vinegar
good pinch of salt

Chop up the onion and the pear and grate the ginger. Add all ingredients to a wide pot and bring to boil, reduce heat and let simmer for about 45 minutes. Sterilise your glass jars and fill with the hot chutney. Great with stilton and crackers or spread it on puff pastry and top with brie, then bake in the oven for about 15 min. Yum!

Thursday, 23 December 2010


We have been making a selection of treats over the last days: marzipan with rose flavour and pistachios coated in dark chocolate and topped with gold leaf; ginger truffles; chili and dark chocolate; little snowballs with white chocolate, vanilla and coconut and pistachio masala truffles. They will now be put in gold foil petit four cases, placed in gift boxes, wrapped up and given to our loved ones for Christmas.
For a basic recipe for truffles please check out my recipe post from August and then feel free to experiment.

Monday, 20 December 2010

Colour lovers: Winter wonderland

Based on cool greys and icy blue and green this palette is comprised of cold colours on the chromatic circle with blue as the coldest colour. Green can be neutral but when mixed with blue to turquise or sea green it is a cold colour. Black and white are neither cold nor hot but in practice have a cold effect. Check out the palette at colourlovers

Sunday, 12 December 2010

Coconut and pistachio macaroons

This is a great recipe if you need to use up all the egg whites that will be left over from the other cookie recipes. Traditionally you use dessicated coconut but I tried chopped pistachios and mixed nuts with a hint of cinnamon and they were delicious too so feel free to experiment with this fairly basic recipe.


3 egg whites
125g caster sugar
200g dessicated coconut
pinch of salt
lemon juice

Preheat the oven to 175 degrees and line a baking tray with greaseproof paper. In a bowl whisk up the egg whites until it forms peaks. Add the sugar, salt and lemon juice and whisk some more. Fold under the dessicated coconut. With two tea spoons form little heaps and place on the baking paper. Bake in the oven for about 15 min, depending on size.

Tuesday, 7 December 2010


Christmas decorations in a shop window on Columbia Road and the first snow for this year.

Tuesday, 30 November 2010


I will try to post more cookie recipes this week as I am getting into the spirit now. It is snowing outside and the Christmas lights are on everywhere. Vanillekipferl is another classic German cookie recipe and my absolute favourite! It is basically a crumbly almond short crust pastry in the shape of a crescent and dusted with vanilla icing sugar. They keep well in a cookie tin and get actually better over time.


125g sugar
200g butter
250g flour
200g ground almonds
3 egg yolks
2 Tbsp vanilla sugar
pinch of salt

7-8 Tbsp caster sugar
7-8 Tbsp icing sugar
1 Tbsp vanilla sugar

In a bowl sift the flour and add the ground almonds, sugar, vanilla sugar, salt and the egg yolks. Cut the cold butter into small cubes and add. MIx all ingredients together and knead the dough until all ingredients are blended but be careful not too over-work it. Wrap the dough in cling film and chill in the fridge for half an hour. Preheat the oven to 200°. Line a baking tray with grease proof paper and shape your cookies to little crescents, then bake for about 10 min depending on the size. Let them cool for a bit. Mix the caster sugar, icing sugar and the vanilla sugar in a bowl and roll the hand warm cookies in the mixture so they will be coated evenly.

Sunday, 28 November 2010


This is a classic German cookie recipe that would usually be passed through a meat grinder with a special attachment for cookies. In lack of such we tried a piping bag instead but the dough is very dense and it just wouldn't work... Anyhow, we decided to just roll mini sausages and then do all sorts of shapes. Tastes equally nice ; ) Here's the recipe:


250g unsalted butter
180g icing sugar
3 egg yolks
125g ground hazelnuts
375g flour
1 lemon
1 pinch of salt
100g dark chocolate

In a bowl sift the flour and icing sugar. Add the hazelnuts, the zest of 1 lemon and the egg yolks. Cut the cold butter into small cubes and add. MIx all ingredients together and knead the dough until all ingredients are blended but be careful not too over-work it. Wrap the dough in cling film and chill in the fridge for half an hour. Preheat the oven to 175°-200°. Line a baking tray with grease proof paper and shape your cookies, then bake for about 10-15 min. When cooled down dip one end in melted chocolate.

Thursday, 18 November 2010

Colour lovers: smooth caramel

This is a slightly lighter version of the salted caramel one. Think caramel and cream toffees, meringue, toasted marshmallows and crème brûlée. Check out the palette at colourlovers

Sunday, 14 November 2010


Chestnuts are in season now and great in sweet or savoury dishes, roasted or cooked. Try it in a mushroom risotto or a Mont Blanc dessert.

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Plum frangipane tart

This is a classic French almond tart and the perfect birthday cake for my friend Fleur. Happy Birthday again!


sweet pastry base
150g ground almond
150g butter
150g granulated sugar
50g flour
2 eggs
4-6 tbsp amaretto
vanilla pod
8-10 plums

Preheat the oven to 175 degrees and blind bake the sweet pastry base. Beat the butter with a hand mixer and add the ground almonds and sugar until well combined. Add the eggs one at a time and the amaretto. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla pod and fold in. Spread the frangipane on the base. Cut the plums in slices and arrange in circles. Bake for about an hour.

Monday, 8 November 2010

Orange semolina cake


grated zest of 1 orange
100g caster sugar
50ml vegetable oil
3 large eggs
5 tbsp milk
3 tbsp orange flower water
225g semolina
3 tsp baking powder
115g ground almonds
for the syrup
1 orange
375 ml water
250g caster sugar
2 tbsp orange flower water

Preheat the oven to 175°C. In a saucepan heat the sugar, water and 4 strips of orange peel. Stir until the sugar has dissolved and allow to bubble for 15 min to make a syrup. Let cool down and add juice of the orange and orange flower water. Cut the candied orange peel into small strips and set a side to use as decoration later.
Beat together the sugar, oil and orange zest. Beat in the eggs, followed by the milk and orange flower water. Pour into a baking dish and bake for 20 min until it's golden. Allow to rest for 5-10 min, then cut. Prick the top and slowly pour over the syrup, allow to be soaked up and absorbed into the cake. Decorate with toasted almond slices and the candied orange peel.

Saturday, 6 November 2010

Colour lovers: salted caramel

This palette is a tribute to my lovely colleague Lisa who is currently addicted to delicious 70% dark chocolate with sea salt. Hmmmmm...
It's all about contrast in colours (cold and warm) and flavours (sweet and salty). Check out the palette at colourlovers

Friday, 5 November 2010

Thursday, 4 November 2010

Colour lovers: squash and pumpkins

I am still fascinated with the autumnal colours. The colours of the pumpkins and squash that are available in supermarkets and my local farmers market are amazing and inspired this palette: yellow squash, gourd, pumpkin, petit pan and butternut squash. Did you know that even zucchini/courgette is part of the squash family? Check out the palette at colourlovers

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Fig and goats cheese tart

This recipe is for 4-6 mini tarts but you can easily make a large tart by doubling the quantities and baking for longer.


short crust pastry
1 egg
1 tbs sour cream
50gr mild goats cheese
1 shalott
50ml milk
2-3 figs
salt and pepper
fresh thyme

Pre-heat the oven to 180C. Roll out the pastry and blind bake the shells. Let cool for a bit. Combine the egg, sour cream, milk and goats cheese. Finely chop the shalott and the thyme and add to the mixture. Season with salt and pepper. Pour into the pastry shells. Half the figs and place in the centre of the tart. Bake for 15 min or until set and golden in colour.

Monday, 1 November 2010

Apple stilton salad

This salad is a classic combination but the presentation is inspired by a recipe from Donna Hay magazine that I absolutely love for its fantastic photography. A variation of this could be pear and stilton with chicory with the pear sliced similarly to this recipe.


1 apple per person
handful walnuts
mixed salad leaves
walnut oil
sherry vinegar
salt and pepper

Sunday, 24 October 2010

Sloe gin cocktails

It's weekend and what better way to celebrate the weekend than with a cocktail or two in some great company. The fruity drink also doubles up as a dessert because it's made with raspberry sorbet. Serve in chilled glasses with a sugar rim and orange peel.


for 4-6 coupes:
1/2 cup apple juice
2 cups raspberry sorbet
juice of 2 limes
1/4 cup sloe gin
1/4 cup cointreau
1/4 cup tonic water
sugar to taste


The days are getting shorter and colder now. Brrrrrrr...

Saturday, 23 October 2010

Chocolate macaroons

This is my first attempt in making macaroons and I am quite pleased with the result though not all of this batch turned out consistently perfect. Made with just three ingredients it is still technically challening. These ones are chocolate filled with a dark chocolate ganache flavoured with rum and spices. They would be a great treat for Christmas, too.


140g ground almonds
275g icing sugar
25g cocoa powder
4 egg whites

For the filling:
100ml double cream
100g dark chocolate
1 tbsp rum
1 tsp mixed spices (cinnamon, cardamon, allspice)

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Blend the ground almonds, icing sugar and cocoa powder until very fine. In a separate bowl beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form and fold under the mix. Place into a piping bag and pipe 3cm circles onto a baking tray lined with grease proof paper. Let rest for 15-30 min. Place in the oven and bake for 8-10 min with the door slightly ajar. Leave to cool. For the ganache heat the cream, the rum and the spices and pour over the chopped chocolate. Stir until the mixture is velvety smooth. Spread the filling onto one macaroon, then sandwich with another macaroon.

Monday, 18 October 2010

Colour lovers: leaf peeping

I always love the autumnal colours with the leaves changing from green to red, yellow and gold to shades of brown. This is due to the pigment chlorophyll decreasing when the daylight hours shorten and temperatures cool.
Carotenoids are present in leaves the whole year round, but their orange-yellow colors are usually masked by chlorophyll. The reds and purples come from another group of pigments called anthocyanins. Unlike the carotenoids, these pigments are not present in the leaf throughout the growing season, but are actively produced towards the end of summer. Check out the palette at colourlovers

Sunday, 17 October 2010

Pumpkin pie

This week was Canadian Thanksgiving. It's occurring on the second Monday in October and is an annual holiday to give thanks at the close of the harvest season. In the United States Thanksgiving Day is currently celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November and has been an annual tradition since 1863.


sweet pastry base
500g pumpkin, peeled and cubed
2 tbs rum
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
125ml single cream
1 egg
100g sugar
pinch of salt

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees. Peel and cube the pumpkin and place on a baking tray. Cover with foil and leave in the oven for 40 minutes. Set aside to cool slightly. Blind bake the sweet pastry and prepare the filling by processing the pumpkin and adding the other ingredients. Pour in the filling and bake for about an hour at 170 degrees until set. Serve warm with whipped cream.

Sunday, 3 October 2010

Vegan banana walnut brownies

This is a quick and easy recipe for brownies and without eggs and milk vegan too.


1 1/2 cups self-raising flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 cup soy milk
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup sunflower oil
1 ripe banana
150g dark chocolate (70% cocoa)
hand full chopped walnuts
1 vanilla pod
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground spice
pinch of salt

Preheat the oven to 175 degrees. Chop the chocolate and mix with the flour, baking powder, sugar and spices. In another bowl mix the water, soy milk and oil. Add to the other ingredients. Mush the banana and to the mix as well as the walnuts. Bake for 15 minutes, or until the top looks dry. Serve warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Thursday, 30 September 2010

Colour lovers: spice route

The colours of dry spices: turmeric, cumin, fenugreek, cardamom and garam masala. These spices are slightly bitter, sweet, peppery or earthy warm. Turmeric itself can be used to make fabric dye but fades quickly with exposure to sunlight. Check out the palette at colourlovers

Tuesday, 21 September 2010


Dates, sunflowers and Spanish tapas.

Sunday, 19 September 2010

Update from my garden: tomatoes

These are probably the last tomatoes for this year. We harvested even the green ones and made green tomato chutney with them. Thanks for the idea Denise!


1kg green tomatoes
4-5 chillies
fresh root ginger
200g crisp apples
300g shallots
2 tsp salt
200g light brown sugar
1/2 pint malt vinegar

Chop tomatoes, shallots and apples roughly and ginger and chillies finely. Place all the ingredients in a deep pot and bring to the boil until the sugar has dissolved, and simmer for about another half and hour until desired consistency is reached. Pour into warmed sterilised jars, cover and label.

Saturday, 18 September 2010

Colour lovers: Spanish tapas

This palette uses earthy tones like ochre, terracotta and burnt orange. According to legend the tapas tradition began when king Alfonso X of Castile recovered from an illness by drinking wine with small dishes between meals. After regaining his health, the king ordered that taverns would not be allowed to serve wine to customers unless it was accompanied by a small snack or "tapa" (tapar "to cover").
Common Spanish tapas include Tortilla Española, Patatas bravas and Chorizo al vino and lend their names to colours in this palette.
Check out the palette at colourlovers

Friday, 17 September 2010

Update from my garden: chillies

Apache chili peppers are are relatively mild when still light green but once they've matured to glossy red can be very hot...

Tuesday, 7 September 2010


Québec, Canada.

Monday, 30 August 2010

Colour lovers: architectural

Cool colours like concrete and steel combined with warm wood and brick combined with neutral glass in this architectural colour palette.
Check out the palette at colourlovers

Saturday, 28 August 2010

Update from my garden: tomatoes

This is a selection of tomatoes we planted this year: German Orange Strawberry, Green Zebra, Black Seaman, Garden Pearl, Yellow Perfection and Moneymaker. Love the colours!