Baked Potatoes are pretty high up there when it comes to the ultimate comfort foods. They're also very synonymous of cheap student dinners, stuffed with gooey, disgusting, processed ingredients that take you that little bit closer to your coronary arteries exploding. I do love them though, almost as much as I am really, really trying so hard to eat healthy at the moment. So here is where the sweet potato comes in and the greek yoghurt and the smoked mackerel and a luurvly side salad.
Guys, this dish might sound odd but seriously, it's such a treat for your taste buds. You've gotta try it!

COOKS 30mins

  • 2 large sweet potatoes
  • 300g greek yoghurt (get the real stuff, no "greek style" rubbish. You won't regret it, the creaminess makes all the difference)
  • 2tbsp creamed horseradish
  • 2 smoked mackerels, flaked
  • a handful of chopped chives
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper
For the salad:
  • 2 handfulls watercress
  • a few radishes finely sliced
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • little drizzle of honey
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  1. Pre-heat your oven to 180˚C. 
  2. Wash the sweet potatoes and place on a baking tray. Slightly prick with a knife all over. Drizzle with plenty of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Make sure your potatoes are well coated in the oil on all sides. Place in the oven and bake for half an hour or until soft and cooked through.
  3. Spoon the greek yoghurt into a large bowl and mix with the horseradish. Add the mackerel and 2/3 of the chives. Combine well until all ingredients are well mixed. Season to taste with salt and pepper. 
  4. For the salad, put the olive oil, honey and lemon juice alongside a little salt and pepper into a small jar. Close the lid and shake until the dressing resembles a smooth emulsion. Drizzle over the salad ingredients.
  5. Once the potatoes are cooked, cut in half stopping approximately 3/4 way down. Push the two sides apart and spoon in the yoghurt/mackerel mix and sprinkle with the remaining chives. 
You can use any smoked fish if you don't like mackerel or try slices of roast beef on top of the yoghurt/horseradish mix. Mmmmm...



I have to admit that for ages I haven't been too keen on the thought of Panzanella. Bits of stale bread in a tomato salad... errm I don't think so.
I can't really remember what it was that ultimately made me try it, I guess it must have been curiosity or lack of ideas what to have for dinner. Oh and I am soooo glad I did.

Not only is a Panzanella a great way to use up yesterday's bread, but the crunchy croutons soak up all the lovely flavours while still staying crunchy. Originally this salad only contains tomatoes and onions and possibly some cucumber but who needs to stick to originals. You can literally go crazy. We ended up adding warm asparagus, soft boiled quails eggs and buffalo mozarella. The perfect late summer dinner.

COOKS 15mins

  • 1/2 loaf of yesterday's bread (we used a crusty wholewheat bread), cut into chunks
  • 4 large tomatoes, cut into squares (make sure to use ripe, sweet tomatoes)
  • 2 spring onions, roughly chopped
  • bunch of asparagus, cut into bite size chunks
  • 1/3 cucumber, sliced
  • two handfuls rocket
  • 6 quails eggs
  • 1 buffalo mozarella, torn into bite size bits
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • 3tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 2tbsp balsamico and a little extra to sprinkle
  • dried herbs (such as thyme or oregano) 
  • salt and pepper to season
  1. Pre-heat your oven to 180˚C. 
  2. Put the bread in a baking tray and drizzle with plenty of olive oil and season with salt, pepper and the dried herbs. Toss (ideally using your hands) until the bread is well coated. Place in the pre-heated oven and bake for 10-15 minutes  (tossing occasionally) until golden and crunchy.
  3. Add the quails eggs to a saucepan of boiling water and cook for 2 1/2 minutes for soft boiled eggs. Once done, peel, half and set aside.
  4. Heat some olive oil in a frying pan and cook the asparagus for 5 minutes until cooked but still crunchy. Season with salt and pepper.
  5. In a large salad bowl mix, together the tomatoes, spring onions, cucumber, asparagus, mozarella, bread and rocket. Add the red wine vinegar, balsamico and plenty of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Using your hands mix thoroughly, giving the ingredients a slight squeeze every now and then. 
  6. Once well combined set aside and leave to rest for 10 minutes or so (this is optional but will definitely improve the flavour of your dish.
  7. Top with the quails eggs and drizzle with a little balsamico.
This dish goes really well with a crisp white wine or a nice cold glass of Prosecco.



It's time again… for cakies of course.
Another bosses' birthday was more than an excuse to get the butter, sugar and eggs out and make little goodies of deliciousness.
I made simple lemon drizzle cupcakes this time round. They're perfect with a nice cup of tea, as a picnic or BBQ dessert and the ideal little cake for summer. The oozy lemon curd centre and fragrant sprig of lemon thyme just add that extra little something to it.
Oh and you can get this done in under half an hour. Just amazing :)

MAKES 10-12
COOKS 15-20mins

  • 100g self raising flour
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 100g soft butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1tsp vanilla essence
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 1tbsp poppy seeds
  • lemon curd
  • 50g icing sugar
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • a few lemon thyme sprigs

  1. Preheat the oven to 180˚C and line a cupcake tin with 12 small or 10 medium liners.
  2. Beat the sugar and butter together until pale and fluffy. Mix in the vanilla essence and the eggs, one at a time until well combined. 
  3. Fold in the flour, a third at a time until your batter is smooth and silky. Then mix in the poppy seeds.
  4. Spoon half the mixture into the cupcake tin and then top with 1/2-1 tsp of lemon curd. Finish off by filling up the paper liners with the remaining batter.
  5. Bake in the preheated oven for 15-17 minutes or until your cakes are golden brown and a cocktail stick comes out clean when inserted.
  6. Once done, place on a wire rack and leave to cool for 15-30 minutes.
  7. Mix the icing sugar and lemon juice until you have a smooth paste.
  8. Brush the icing over the cupcakes and top with a small sprig of lemon thyme.
And that's it... so simple and so yummy. Best consumed with, of course, a nice cuppa.



My diet has been atrocious lately... with moving, being away, working late and not having the car to go shopping, we've literally been scoffing on pasta, pizza and take-aways. So I started freaking out a little the other day craving something healthier, that wasn't salad. After a little rummage in the kitchen cupboard and some research on the good old internet, I found this incredibly scrumptious red lentil and date stew.
I have to admit, I wasn't convinced to start off with. Lentils never look very appetising and I wasn't sure about the cumin, date and mint combination. It was sooooo tasty.
You can sprinkle some pomegranate over the stew at the end or just enjoy it with the mint. Up to you...

So here it goes:

COOKS 30-45mins

    • 300g split red lentils (rinsed)
    • 1tbsp cumin
    • 3tbsp tamarind paste
    • 900ml vegetable stock (if you're using stock cubes, use two)
    • 1 onion, finely diced
    • 1 garlic clove, crushed
    • 5cm piece ginger, grated
    • 2 bay leaves
    • 100g dates, finely chopped 
    • 1tbsp olive oil

    • watercress with a simple olive oil and lime dressing
    • toasted flat bread
    • fresh mint, chopped
    • pomegranate seeds (optional)
    1. Heat up a dry pan and roast your cumin seeds until fragrant (make sure you don't burn them though). Grind in a pestle and mortar and set aside.
    2. Heat the olive oil in a pot and fry the onions and garlic for approximately 5 minutes, until soft.
    3. Add the ginger and cook for a couple more minutes. 
    4. Mix in the lentils, cumin, bay leaves and stock and stir in the tamarind paste.
    5. Bring to the boil and then turn down the heat, leaving to simmer for 30 minutes or until the lentils are tender. Make sure you stir the stew occasionally.
    6. Five minutes before the end stir in the dates.
    7. Serve with the watercress salad and flatbreads and sprinkle with the pomegranate and mint.
    This dish goes particularly well with mint tea (warm in winter and iced in summer)


    Recipe by Simon Rimmer and adapted by Etta.


    The other weekend we took a road-trip to the Cotwolds for a friend's wedding. After incessant, torrential rains we were blessed with one of the first sunshine weekends of the year.
    We stayed in a quaint little cottage, down the steepest, narrowest hill this world's ever seen and everyone knew we were Londoners, when we walked around with our iPhones in the air, desperately trying to get reception. Without success!

    Our trip was everything you'd imagine a mini-holiday in the English countryside to be, there were cows, chickens, crazy farmers and a beautiful vast landscape. Oh and the food...the food was just fabulous. We had a delicious three course meal at the Ragged Cot in Minchinhampton, which lasted for hours and included Scallops, Steak (of course), Duck and tons of other little things of deliciousness. We got eggs from the local farm, bread from the local bakery, had red wine by the fire and everything just tasted like it should.

    The wedding was beautiful, with lots of drink, good food and laughter. I wore ridiculously high, blindingly yellow heels, which were the most unsuitable choice of footwear for a countryside wedding ever and I would do it all over again. By the end of the night we were all sozzled (me more than everyone else) and ended up drinking more champagne and dancing barefoot to Chelsea Dagger - my all time favourite song to dance to.

    Hungover but happy and relaxed we went for a little drive through the neighbouring towns the next morning, had real Cotswolds ice-cream, took pictures of the cows on the golf course and finally went back home to start another week of work the following day.

    Mini-breaks are all you need sometimes, especially when life is full of moving stress and busy days at work.

    Have you had a long weekend away recently? Any good places you can suggest?