Risotto is just the best isn't it? It's delicious and creamy and versatile and the best thing ever when you don't know what to cook one evening. The downside of it is, it only tastes nice when fresh. The next day it turns into gloopy stodge. Well and that's where these babies come in. Arancini...(little oranges) these crispy rice balls originate from Sicily and are traditionally filled with ragú, tomato sauce, mozzarella or peas. The perfect snack or light dinner option.

We filled our arancini with a Gorgonzola dolce, rolled in golden breadcrumbs and served alongside a mixed salad. I am generally not a big fan of fried food and traditionally arancini are deep fried. We went for the compromise option. We first shallow fried for golden crispiness and then oven baked to finish off. This was a delicious dinner option, vegetarian and no leftovers. Result!

What's your favourite arancini filling?


MAKES 8 (of course this depends on the amount of risotto you've got left over)
COOKS 20mins

  • Leftover risotto (you can use this or this recipe)
  • filling of your choice: bolognese, mozarella, tomatoes, gorgonzola...
  • breadcrumbs
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • olive oil

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 190˚C. 
  2. Heat some olive oil in a large frying pan.
  3. Lightly wet your hands and scoop up some of the leftover risotto rice into your hand. Flatten until it covers the palm of your hand. 
  4. Place a cube of cheese or a teaspoon of sauce filling in the centre of the rice disc. Close your hand and start gently rolling the rice until it forms the shape of a ball, encasing your filling (be careful not to squeeze it to hard when using a sauce filling as it may squidge out).
  5. Dip in the beaten egg, then roll in the breadcrumbs. 
  6. Fry the risotto balls for about 3 minutes on each side until golden brown. I flattened them a little (they looked a bit like fishcakes) so they would fry more evenly.
  7. Place on some kitchen roll to soak up any oil. 
  8. Once all the arancini have been fried, place on a baking tray and bake in the pre-heated oven for 10-15 minutes or until evenly golden and warmed through.
Enjoy with a side salad tossed in a simple dressing of lemon and olive oil. Arancini are even better eaten the next day, at room temperature using your hands, like proper street-food.


Last week was pretty weird. Life's felt pretty manic without it actually being crazy busy. Our lounge is still a building site, our telly is sat in the dining room and we have built a little fort of blankets and cushions under the dining table where we chill out after dinner (because our chairs are so damn uncomfortable). I have been trying really hard to stick to our reduced meat intake resolution and have sort of been succeeding. The other day we made this lovely puy lentil and pear salad which was full of wintery, earthy flavours. And then it went downhill and I ended up being so lazy that every day for the past five days we've had ready cooked pasta or went out. Yep!
But let's not talk about that. Back to the lovely lentil winter salad. Here it is:

COOKS 30mins

    •    200g puy lentils
    •    750ml vegetable stock
    •    1 sprig thyme
    •    2 ready cooked beetroots, cut into cubes
    •    1/2 aubergine, cut into cubes
    •    4 chestnut mushrooms, sliced
    •    1 red onion sliced
    •    1 garlic clove, minced
    •    1/2 firm pear, cut into cubes
    •    4 tbsp balsamico
    •    2tbsp red wine
    •    1 tsp brown sugar
    •    olive oil
    •    salt and pepper to season

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180˚C.
  2. Rinse the lentils, place in a medium size saucepan, cover with the stock and simmer on a medium to high heat for 25-30 minutes or until tender.
  3. Place the aubergine on a baking tray, season with salt and pepper and drizzle with a little olive oil and bake in the pre-heated oven for 20-25 minutes turning half way through.
  4. Preheat a little olive oil in a pan, add the onions and sauté for a few minutes until they start to soften, then add the mushrooms and the garlic and season with salt and pepper. Cook until the mushrooms are soft and start to brown. Set aside.
  5. Wipe the pan clean and add a little olive oil. Pan fry the pears until golden and caramelised on all sides.
  6. Once the lentils are cooked mixed them with the mushrooms and aubergine and top with the cubed beetroot and pan-fried pears.
  7. In a small saucepan heat the balsamico, sugar and wine and quickly bring to the boil. Simmer for a minute or so until the mix resembles a syrup. Drizzle over your salad and top with a little drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.
  8. This is the perfect, super healthy winter dish. Delicious. This would go particularly well with warm apple or pear cider. :) 


This weekend is almost gone. There's been lots of snow, we had lovely dinner with old friends, ate more bacon jam (I'll share the recipe soon), used our juicer and tried baked grapefruit for the first time (very yum)! And now we're off for a walk in the snow. Happy Sunday everyone!

COOKS 20mins

  • 1 grapefruit, halved
  • brown sugar
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180˚C.
  2. Place the grapefruit on a baking tray, flesh side up. Generously sprinkle with brown sugar until covered.
  3. Bake for 15-20mins until the sugar has melted and the edge of the grapefruit starts to brown.
  4. Leave to cool for couple of minutes then devour.



One of our new years resolutions is to eat less meat. Everyone knows what a great meat lover I am and I do not see that changing (ever).  However, I have been reading quite a bit about meat production lately and have realised that eating meat four days a week is just not cool. It's bad for the environment, the meat we buy from the supermarkets is pumped full of additives, medication and water and not to mention the way the poor animals are being treated. We have also noticed that most of the meat we get from the supermarkets just doesn't taste that great. So what's the point.

So here comes the veggie challenge. My aim is to only cook two meat dishes a week and keep it strictly vegetarian for the rest of the week. This is a serious challenge for me. I find it incredibly hard to be creative with main courses, without using any meat at all (yep not even bacon or chorizo). I am also hoping that this challenge will reduce our weekly shopping bill, allow us to prepare lots of lovely dishes that are in season and live a little healthier. And for those days that we do have meat we will try and use suppliers such as the East London Steak Company and Able and Cole or the occasional Marks' purchase. While they are a tiny bit more expensive than your usual supermarkets they are definitely worth it. Have you got any other suggestions for good meat suppliers in London?

Here's my first attempt at making a full veggie meal this year. Portobello mushroom and halloumi burgers with sweet potato chips. The wine bit comes from this lovely recipe and definitely works wonders. Even the boys loved it.

So here it goes!

COOKS 20-30mins

  • 4 large portobello mushrooms, stems removed
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 tsp wholegrain mustard
  • 2 sprigs of thyme, leaves removed
  • 3tbsp red wine
  • a dash of Worcetershire Sauce
  • a dash of Olive Oil
  • 250g halloumi, cut into 1/2 cm slices
  • 4 wholewheat buns, toasted just before serving
  • 2-3 medium size to large sweet potatoes, cut into chip size chunks
  • lettuce, tomatoes, onions and tomato relish to serve
  • salt and pepper

  1. Pre-heat your oven to 180˚C.
  2. Mix the garlic, thyme, wine, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, olive oil and some salt and pepper in a bowl. Place the mushrooms, top down, on a baking tray and drizzle with the wine/garlic mix. 
  3. Place the sweet potato chips on another baking tray, drizzle with a little olive oil and season with plenty of salt and pepper. Make sure you only put a little olive oil on your chips to avoid sogginess.
  4. Put both trays in the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes until your chips are done. Flip the chips half way through.
  5. Once your your mushrooms and chips have been in the oven for about 10 minutes, heat a little olive oil in frying pan. Once hot fry your halloumi for a couple of minutes on each side until brown. Make sure the halloumi is still hot when serving as it goes rubbery when cold.
  6. Place your mushroom on a toasted bun, top with the halloumi and veg of choice and add the tomato relish/ketchup/mayo... and enjoy!!!
This is seriously yummy stuff and goes really well with an ice cold lager.


Believe it or not, I have already broken two of my new years resolutions: eat less meat and eat out less. But hey ho, it's early days and we are all allowed to make mistakes.

Mat was in town the other day and we decided to enjoy a nice evening out after work. We are both big fans of French bistro cuisine and since being taken there for Monday morning breakfast meetings with work, Côte has been our go to restaurant for a tasty and affordable steak frites and a glass of vino. Not only is it affordable (especially if you go for the lunch and early evening menu) but the portions are more than reasonable, everything is cooked to perfection and the atmosphere is pleasant and relaxing.

For starters we had ham and celeriac slaw and calamari with homemade tartar which were all delicious. The ham was tender and flavoursome and the slaw creamy and earthy making the perfect combo. I love calamari and have to say these were pretty high up there on my list of favourite starters: soft in the centre, crispy on the outside, sprinkled with a little garlic and parsley and served alongside a creamy and tangy tartar and, most importantly, a wedge of lemon.

For mains it had to be steak frites. We are not talking about a fancy ribeye or sirloin steak - this is simple cheap food and at £13.90 for three courses you can't expect an expensive cut of meat.
The steak frites are prepared like you'd expect them to be at any bistro in France. The meat is first beaten in order to even out and flatten the surface, then griddled for literally seconds and served with a slice of herb butter and the perfect crispy fries. That's it, no salad or any other fancy garnishes. Pure flavour!

For pudding we just had a very simple apple tart and vanilla ice cream (very yum, but nothing special) and a creme brulée (which Mat said was so creamy and yummy and the caramel so intense it almost tasted like coffee).

And that's that. We've probably been at Côte for dinner about four times now and it has always been very good. They have other branches all around - but I can only vouch for the one at Kensington Court. Rating 7.0/10 (I would rate it higher but unfortunately the wine wasn't very good and our waiter slightly creepy)

Anyone else been before? What did you think?



Early evening three course menu for two, including a bottle of wine and 12.5% service charge £49.90. 

47 Kensington Court,
London, W8 5DA
+44 (0)20 7938 4147


Beef Ho Fun is one of my ultimate comfort foods to go to.
The squidgy, soft noodles and the salty beef that has that slightly charred flavour which only a really hot wok can give you. If you ask me I am a dry ho fun kind of girl. I have never been a big fan of ho fun in black bean sauce or any sauce for that matter. For me it's all about a splash of soy and oyster sauce. Just enough to coat everything.
We always have rice sticks in the house, for those evenings when you just can't be bothered to cook up anything complicated or don't have enough in the fridge. Ho fun is so versatile, you can use any kind of veg or meat as long as you have the soy sauce, the oyster sauce and some garlic.

The best thing about this is you can use leftover roast beef, roast chicken, roast pork or any other meat. (I see a leftover trend happening here ;))

I blogged a ho fun recipe a little while back, where we just used sirloin steak, peppers, mushrooms, spinach and onions. This time round we went for leftover roast beef, spring onions and courgette. Delicious, either way!

Hope you are all enjoying the first few days of the new year and have stuck to all your resolutions so far (I haven't :P)

Lots of love,

COOK 15 mins

  • 200g rice sticks (cooked to instructions - make sure to keep a bit of the water in the pot if you are cooking your noodles in advance, as they will stick otherwise. I usually start cooking them when I start making the beef, so everything is done at the same time)
  • 250g beef steak or any leftover roast meat (at room temperature), sliced
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 1 3cm piece of ginger, peeled and finely sliced
  • 1 courgette, sliced
  • 3 spring onions, sliced
  • 3 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 2 tbsp of light soy sauce
  • a dash of dark soy sauce (optional - for colour)
  • 25ml shaoxing wine (optional)
  • rapeseed or vegetable oil
  • Sesame oil to serve (optional)

  1. Heat some rapeseed or vegetable oil in a wok or large pan until very hot.
  2. Add the beef and fry until it starts to brown. It is very important that your wok is hot and the meat not cold, otherwise it will start to stew. 
  3. The meat might start to catch a little (which is good - that's where all the flavour is). Add the shaoxing wine to deglaze the wok and try to scrape off any brown bits using a spatula. If you're not using wine just add a splash of water.
  4. After a couple of minutes add the oyster sauce and stir until the meat is coated. Add the soy sauce, ginger, garlic and vegetables and fry for about five minutes.
  5. Now mix in your noodles and keep stirring until everything is well combined, and the noddles are covered in the sauce. If it’s still too dry for you add a bit more soy sauce.
  6. Serve hot with a drizzle of sesame oil and chili sauce.
Enjoy with a nice cup of green tea or a light lager.


Christmas is the time when your house is full of leftovers and by the time the New Year arrives you simply can't bare the sight of turkey sandwiches and mince pies anymore. We discovered this delicious pie last year and have decided to make it a yearly tradition to help us use up all those leftovers.

We add the Christmas Eve ham, Christmas dinner bird and any leftover brussel sprouts or other veg. It makes the most delicious meal and tastes that little bit different every year depending on what you add. Oh and of course you can have this pie any time of the year. If you don't have a left over bird just use chicken thigh fillets instead. Cut them into bite size chunks and pan fry with some olive oil salt and pepper.


COOKS 1.5hrs

  • 2 rashers of smokey bacon, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 bunch of fresh thyme, leaves removed
  • olive oil
  • a generous knob of butter
  • 1.5 kg leeks, washed and trimmed; chop the white bits into chunks and finely slice the green bits
  • leftover veg: brussel sprouts, savoy cabbage... (optional)
  • leftover stuffing (optional)
  • salt and black pepper
  • 800-1kg of Christmas meat (roast turkey, duck, goose, ham...)
  • 2 heaped tablespoons plain flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 2 pints turkey, chicken, goose, duck... or veg stock (I am a strong believer in using every bit of your bird and homemade stock is the best)
  • 2 tablespoons of creme fraiche
  • 500g packet of puff pastry
  • 12 jarred or vac packed chestnuts (already roasted and peeled)
  • 2 sprigs of fresh sage, leaves picked
  • 1 egg, beaten

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180˚C. Add the butter and a little olive oil to a large saucepan over a medium to high heat. Add the bacon and thyme and fry for a couple of minutes. Add all your leeks and fry for about 3 minutes until they are well coated with the butter. Season with a little salt and pepper and then pop the lid on. Turn the heat down to low to medium and leave the leeks to cook for about 30 minutes, stirring every 5-10 minutes to make sure they don't catch. 
  2. When your leeks are ready add the meat and leftover veg and stir (you can also add some stuffing at this point if you have any left over).
  3. Add the flour, mix it in well then pour in your stock and stir again. Add the creme fraiche, turn up the heat and bring everything to the boil. Taste for seasoning and then turn the heat off.
  4. Pour the mixture into a fairly large sieve over a saucepan and let the gravy drip into the pan. You can leave it to do its thing while rolling out your pastry.
  5. Get a deep baking dish ready (approx. 22 x 30cm). Dust a clean surface and roll out your puff pastry so it is about twice the size of your dish. Crumble the chestnuts over half the pastry then top with the sage leaves. Fold the other half of the pastry on top and roll everything carefully until you have a pretty equal rectangle that is big enough to cover your tray.
  6. Check most of the juices from your leek mixture have dripped into the saucepan. If not give everything a little stir until there is hardly any juices left in the sieve.
  7. Spoon the leek mixture into the baking tray and distribute evenly. Lay the pastry on top and tuck the ends under then gently score the pastry diagonally with your knife. Season your beaten egg with a little salt then brush the pastry with it. Bake the pie for 35-40 minutes or until the pastry is puffed up and golden brown.
  8. Once the pie is almost done, re-heat your gravy and serve the pie with some savoy cabbage or peas tossed in butter and seasoned with salt, pepper, lemon and some crushed garlic.
This is literally one of the best pies I have ever had. A must try!!!

Recipe by Jamie Oliver and adapted by Etta.