Those of you who know me know that burgers are right up there on my scale of favourite foods of all times. I have to admit that very often I wish I loved celery sticks that little bit more, but unfortunately I don't - so that's that. I therefore continue to cook up a burger and potato wedges meal on a regular basis and am no stranger to many of London's favourite burger joints. 
There is nothing better than a freshly barbecued beef burger, made of seriously good minced meat, held between a floury, soft bun (recipe here) and topped with aged cheddar or monterey jack. *swoon*

I never seize to try and find a healthier version of the classic burger and have to say that more often than not I fail miserably. The other week we decided to give this chicken and bacon burger a try and believe it or not... it was well good! The secret is the lovely smokey pancetta you add to your minced chicken breast and the light and slightly green tasting avocado mayo. I highly recommend you try this!

COOKS 30-45mins 


  •  400g minced chicken breast (if you have a food processor you can buy diced chicken breast chunks and whizz them)
  • 70g diced pancetta
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 fresh chili, finely chopped
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp thyme
  • 1 very ripe avocado
  • juice of half a lemon
  • 3tbsp mayonnaise (replace with creme legere if you want to go super healthy)
  • 4 soft white burger buns
  • 50g rocket
  • 4 medium size sweet potatoes, cut into wedges
  • salt and pepper to season
  • soft burger buns to serve

  1. Place the chicken mince, pancetta, onion, garlic, egg, chili, thyme, a pinch of salt and some black pepper in a large bowl and combine thoroughly, ideally using your hands. (Make sure you wash your hands thoroughly afterwards.)
  2. Pre-heat the oven to 180˚C. Combine your potato wedges with some olive oil and a generous amount of salt and pepper until the potatoes are well coated. Scatter on a baking tray and place in the pre-heated oven for 30-40 minutes.
  3. Heat some olive oil in a large frying pan. Shape four burger patties out of the minced meat and once the oil is very hot fry for approximately 7 minutes on each side. Your burgers are done when golden brown on the outside, juices run clear and no pink meat remains.
  4. Mash your avocado and mayo together using a fork. Once smooth add the lemon juice and season with salt and pepper.
  5. Cut your buns in half and toast lightly. Pile some rocket on the base of each bun and sit a chicken burger on top. Spoon over the avocado mayo and serve alongside the sweet potato wedges.
This is another perfect spring/summer barbecue meal (once that spring finally arrives and the rain decides it's done its thing) and absolutely divine with some ice cold beer.


Recipe taken from Waitrose and adapted by Etta. 


Let's talk about baking for a minute (and I don't mean baking cakes or cupcakes or anything like that). I mean serious baking, using yeast and strong flour and kneading and basically making bread.
Yep... it petrifies me... I have absolutely no clue how long to knead or leave stuff to rise and often end up with dry hard breads. 

Maybe I am a little intimidated by the fact that my mum bakes the most amazing breads ever. Literally high class bakery stuff. But she is pretty strong and she can knead that dough for hours if must be. I on the other hand, more often than not, get tired after five minutes and give up. 

But, because I like a challenge and because I now have a kitchen machine who can do all the nasty kneading work for me I have decided to give this whole thing another go and make soft bread rolls for my beloved bacon butties and beef burgers. Oh boy was I successful this time... these bread rolls were fluffy, floury, light...perfect. They take a little time to prep but you can easily make loads and just freeze them. Seriously they make supermarket bought buns looks soooo sad.

So here it goes. :)

MAKES 12 rolls
COOKS 20mins  
  • 600g strong bread flour
  • 120ml hot water
  • 300ml cold semi-skimmed milk
    (you want the water and milk to be warm once combined. Approximately 37˚C)
  • 1½ tsp salt
  • 4tbsp vegetable or rapeseed oil
  • 1 sachet fast action dried yeast (7g)

  1. Put the flour in the bowl, add the salt and mix with a spoon, then add the yeast and mix again. Pour in the oil and water/milk mix and combine with the spoon until the ingredients are mixed together roughly. (The only reason why it's better to combine everything with a spoon first is that it prevents the flour going everywhere when using a mixer)
  2. Mix with the food mixer on a low setting using the dough hook for 5 minutes. Then give your dough a rest for a few minutes and mix for a further 5 minutes. Scrape it out of the bowl and bring together into a ball on a floured board. Make sure you don't add too much flour.
  3. Add about 1tsp of oil into the now empty mixer bowl, put the dough back and rub with the oil. Cover the bowl with a tea towel or plastic bag, put it in a warm place and forget about it for 1 hour or so. Rising your dough can take more or less time, depending on the temperature of your room. An hour is a general guideline. You want your dough to double in size.
    TIP: If you don't have a mixer you can, of course, make this all by hand. To start off with, your dough will be a sticky mess, but it is important you persevere and continue scraping and kneading for a good 10 minutes (and no less) until your dough has turned into a nice silky texture.
  4. After your mixture has risen to double, take it out of the bowl and knead on a floured surface for approximately 30 seconds. Roll the dough into a long sausage shape and divide into 12 equal sized portions, using a scraper or knife. Flatten and shape the rolls to approximately 12mm diameter and 10mm thickness. 
  5. Place your rolls on a lightly floured baking tray and dust with a small amount of flour. Set aside and leave to rise to double. This will take between 30mins - 1 hour.
  6. Pre-heat your oven to 180˚C. Once risen bake the rolls in the hot oven for 20 minutes until light golden and hollow sounding.
  7. Leave to cool and enjoy with crispy bacon or a lovely burger patty and pop any remaining rolls into a freezer bag and freeze for whenever needed.
I know it's a fairly lengthy process but soooo worth it.


This lovely recipe was taken from Local Food Heroes and adapted by Etta.


I must admit Risotto is probably one of my favourite meals to cook. Fairly simple, the creamy rice goes so well with whatever you wish to pair it with. My absolute autumn/winter favourites are mushroom & bacon and butternut squash risottos. But because it's spring now (yep believe it or not it actually is spring!) I have decided to go for a lighter option and experiment with my ingredients a little - and the lemon and spinach risotto was born. I was surprised how the aroma of the lemon zest and the acidity of the juice lightened a usually fairly heavy dish and made it a great spring/summer meal. 
Perfect for dinner parties or for next day lunches. 

COOKS 30-45mins 


  • 300g arborio rice
  • 750ml vegetable or chicken stock
  • small knob of butter, about the size of your thumb
  • 1 large glass of white wine
  • 2 sticks of celery, finely chopped
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced or finely chopped
  • 250g fresh spinach
  • 2 lemons,  zest and juice
  • two handfuls of grated pecorino
  • salt and pepper to season
  1. Pre-heat some olive oil in a large pot. Fry the onions, garlic and celery for a few minutes until they start to soften. Add the butter and stir. Once melted mix in the rice. Stir until coated with the olive oil and butter and fry until the rice starts to go translucent.
  2. Add the wine and cook until it has reduced to about half, then add some of the stock (so that the rice is just coated) and keep stirring. It's important that you stir your risotto a lot at the beginning, as this releases the starch from the rice and allows for a beautiful, creamy gravy.
  3. Leave your rice and stock to simmer over a low to medium heat for approximately 20 minutes, checking it frequently and topping up with stock when needed. 
  4. After approximately 25 minutes give your rice a try. If it's almost done, add the lemon and spinach and give it a good stir. 
  5. Cook for a further 5 minutes, then add 3/4 of your cheese, season to taste, stir and set aside. Make sure you give your risotto a 5-10 minute rest. The heat from the pot will continue cooking the rice and any remaining liquid will merge nicely with the rice.
Serve with the remaining cheese and an ice cold glass of white wine. 

Happy spring!


We all love a good curry... this much is fact. Whether it is a Vindaloo, Korma or Chicken Tikka though, really is a matter of personal taste.
When I was a kid my dad used to make lovely, fragrant chicken curries, which had stewed for hours to create a thick, aromatic curry sauce, juicy chunks of chicken breast and creamy potatoes.
Just like my dad has adapted the curries of his childhood and made them his own... so have I.

I have no idea whether this curry is similar to any traditional ones, all I know is, it's yum. - I used chunks of stewing lamb for this particular curry, because I think that it's unique, strong flavours lend themselves beautifully to this spicy dish. Feel free to use chicken or beef if you aren't a great lover of lamb though.

COOKS 2hrs


  • 500g stewing lamb, cut into chunks
  • 250ml chopped tomatoes
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 500ml beef or lamb stock
  • 150g frozen peas
  • 2 medium size potatoes, peeled and sliced
  • 1-2 fresh chili, finely chopped (depending on how hot you want it)
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced or finely chopped
  • 10 curry leaves
  • piece of fresh ginger the size of your thumb, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 tsp chilli flakes
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 2 tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tsp ground coriander seeds
  • rapeseed oil
  • salt and pepper to season
Steamed rice, plain naan and lime pickle to serve.

  1. In a small bowl mix your chili, garlic, chopped ginger and dried spiced (apart from the curry leaves) with the tomato paste and a little oil to make a smooth paste.
  2. In a large saucepan heat a little oil. Once hot, fry your spices and curry leaves over a medium heat for a few minutes. This helps release all the aroma and natural oil and rounds the flavours nicely.
  3. Add the onion and fry with the spices for a couple of minutes until soft. Turn up the heat and add the lamb. Fry until the meat is well sealed, brown on all sides and coated in the spiced oil.
  4. Now mix in the chopped tomatoes and simmer over a medium heat for approximately 10 minutes, then pour in the stock. Give it a good stir and cover with a lid.
  5. Cook your curry for about 1 hour over a low to medium heat, stirring occasionally to stop from sticking. If the liquid reduces down too much add a little water.
  6. After 1 hour add the potatoes and simmer for a further 30-45 minutes. The potatoes will help thicken the gravy. You are aiming for a thick and glossy curry. 
  7. Mix in the peas, season to taste and cook for a few more minutes until the peas are warmed through.
And that's it. It takes a little while to cook but requires hardly any attention and is absolutely divine.
Serve over steamed rice with some naan and lime pickle and of course an ice cold glass of beer.



What do you feed two hungry blokes who spent all afternoon lugging around heavy fridges? - Yep, that’s right, meatballs.

I know that pretty much every supermarket now sells ready made meatballs… for about quadruple the price of a pack of minced meat. Now seriously, why would you do that to yourself. Just buy some good quality minced meat (whatever you fancy: beef, pork, lamb or turkey) and season it the way you like.

Meatballs are dead easy to make and pretty versatile when it comes to finding suitable sides. The obvious solution would be to make meatballs and spaghetti but I decided to try something different. So I cooked up some simple, fragrant lemon and thyme rice and roast veg to accompany my beef meatballs. Make a bit more and take to work for lunch the next day.

COOKS 45 mins



For the meatballs
  • 500g lean beef mince (you can use any type of mince)
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped or crushed
  • a handful of chopped parsley
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp chilli flakes
  • 1 tsp salt
  • pepper to season
  • 1 tsp plain flour 

For the tomato sauce
  • 1 tin chopped tomatoes
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • a handful of chopped basil
  • 1 small glass of red wine
  • 3 sprigs of thyme, leaves only
  • salt and pepper to season 

For the roast veg
  • 1 courgette, sliced
  • 2 tomatoes, quartered
  • 1 pepper, sliced
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 sprigs of thyme
  • olive oil 

For the rice (the secret is to measure your rice by volume and not weight!)
  • 280ml white rice
  • 560ml chicken stock
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 4 sprigs of thyme, leaves only

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180˚C.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together all your meatball ingredients. I use my hands, because it allows for a better mix. Sprinkle some flour on a large plate or baking tray. Wet your hands with some warm water and form 24 meatballs, by rolling the minced meat mixture between your hands. Set aside. Wash your hands thoroughly afterwards.
  3. Fry your onions in some olive oil for a few minutes until soft. Add the wine and cook until the wine has reduced to half. Mix in the chopped tomatoes and simmer for 20 minutes.
  4. Place your vegetables on a baking tray, drizzle with some olive oil, season with salt and pepper and scatter the sprigs of thyme on top. Cook in the pre-heated oven for 30 minutes.
  5. Heat some olive oil in a separate pan. Fry your meatballs for approximately 3 minutes on each side, until brown. Add the basil and thyme to the tomato sauce and give it a good stir before placing your meatballs on top of the sauce. Cover with a lid and cook for approximately 20 minutes on a low - medium heat (giving it a stir every now and then).
  6. Add your rice to a saucepan and cover with just boiled chicken stock. Cover with a lid and simmer at a medium heat for 15 minutes, giving it a gentle stir every now and then to avoid sticking. Don’t be tempted to add more water, as this will make your rice go soggy (yep, I made that mistake and had to start all over again :( ) - When done, stir in the lemon juice and thyme leaves. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and set aside for 10 minutes. The kitchen towel will absorb all the steam and give you lovely fluffy rice.
And that’s it - serve your meatballs and tomato sauce with the lemony rice and sweet roast veg and a nice glass of strong red wine.