Ever since we bought Ottolenghi's Jerusalem a few months ago we've been addicted to the flavours and smells of the Middle East. I absolutely love the combination of acidity from lemons and yoghurt, sweetness from dried fruit and nuts and the aromas of all those beautiful spices.

Last week we thought it was time for another Middle Eastern culinary adventure and sort of invented this minced lamb and couscous dish. Absolutely delicious and perfect to take to work the next day.


COOKS 20mins

  • 200g couscous
  • 400g minced lamb
  • 1 onion, finely sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • a handful of cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 1/3 cucumber, diced
  • 3tbsp currants, soaked in hot water
  • 8 dried apricots, cut into small dices
  • small handfull of mint, finely chopped
  • 3tsp ground cumin
  • 2tsp sweet paprika
  • 2tsp cinnamon
  • 1tsp all spice
  • 1tsp ground cardamom
  • 1 red chilli, finely diced
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree
  • juice of two lemons
  • 1tbsp pine kernels
  • olive oil 
  • salt and pepper
  • tahini to drizzle (optional)

  1. Pre-heat a little olive oil in a large frying pan and fry the onions until soft.
  2. Place the couscous into a large bowl, add 3/4 teaspoon of salt and just cover with boiling water (by approx. 0.5cm). Cover with a plate or lid and set aside.
  3. In a dry pan toast the pine kernels until brown (make sure to take them off once they're brown as they burn so quickly).
  4. Once the onions are soft, make a paste out of the cumin, paprika, cinnamon, all spice, cardamom, chilli, garlic and tomato puree and add to the onions. Fry for a couple of minutes until all is well combined and the aromas start to be released. Add the lamb and fry until brown and cooked all the way through. Season to taste with salt and pepper. 
  5. Mix the currants and apricots into the lamb and give it a good stir. 
  6. Once the couscous has absorbed all the water fluff it up with a fork. Add the tomatoes, cucumber, mint and lamb (including all the juices). Then dress with the lemon juice and a generous amount of olive oil.
  7. Serve drizzled with a little tahini (this is optional and make sure you only use a little because it can get bitter) and topped with some mint and the toasted pine kernels.
This is really nice alongside a sweet glass of Moroccan mint tea. 


You've probably noticed that we've got a bit of a thing for the old lentil. They seem to sneak into every other dish I cook (here, here, here and here). No wonder, considering that lentils have always been a staple in my family. This was mainly in the shape of a stew, with big chunks of smoked bacon, root vegetables and a dash of vinegar, which my mum or nan would put on in the morning, leave to simmer all day and we'd have for dinner. This is still one of my favourite meals ever.
Mat and I seem to have made lentils a household staple in our own way and have become great fans of warm lentil salads, particularly during the colder months.
And although it is the end of May, it has been freezing around here. Well, and what better thing to have to warm the soul and body than another warm lentil salad. This one hints at warm summer days with the use of grilled courgette and asparagus, tangy feta and a zingy lemon and olive oil dressing.

What's the ultimate staple in your house?
COOKS 30 mins

  • 200g puy lentils, rinsed
  • 2 sprigs of thyme
  • 8 green asparagus stalks
  • 2 small-medium courgettes, thinly sliced (you can also buy grilled courgettes in olive oil from the deli counter if you can't be bothered to cook them from scratch)
  • 150g greek feta, crumbled
  • a large handful of cherry tomatoes, halved
  • olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove crushed
  • 2 lemons juiced
  • salt and pepper
  • a few leaves of fresh oregano, finely chopped

  1. Cover the lentils with cold water, add the thyme and a teaspoon of salt (you can vary the amount of salt used depending on your personal preference). Bring to the boil and simmer for 25-30 minutes until the lentil are tender. Drain, remove the thyme and set aside.
  2. Brush the courgette and asparagus with some olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Pre-heat a griddle pan over a high heat. Once hot, cook the veggies for a few minutes on each side (approximately 5 minutes). Note: Of course, if you've got a barbecue going, wack it on there and it'll taste even better. Once cooked add to a large bowl and combine with the feta, garlic, lemon juice, chopped oregano and about 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and mix.
  3. Serve the lentils topped with the veggie cheese mix and cherry tomatoes and enjoy warm or cold.


Happy Tuesday y'all! How was your weekend? Ours was calm, pretty boring on the culinary side of things and filled with tending to a very poorly (food-poisoned) boy. Yep, you remember me mentioning this pub  here - bad, bad, bad! So our dinners mainly consisted of boiled rice & ham, congee & ham and dry toast.

Yesterday was a little better and we decided to be a bit more adventurous - so roast veggie and chicken salad it was. Sometimes it's the simple things that are the yummiest.

Hope you enjoy!

COOKS 35-45mins

  • 8 chicken thigh fillets, fat trimmed off
  • 1 red pepper, de-seeded and sliced into strips
  • 1 sweet potato, cut into thin wedges
  • 2 carrots, cut into battons
  • 2 spring onions, cut into battons
  • 1 punnet of chestnut mushrooms, quartered
  • 1 garlic clove (crushed)
  • 1 small head of red romano lettuce, cut into bite size bits
  • 100 g cherry tomatoes, halved
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 3tbsp balsamico
  • 1tsp honey
  • 1tsp English mustard
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 200˚C. Season the chicken with plenty of salt and pepper and drizzle with some olive oil and place on a baking tray.
  2. Mix together all the veggies and garlic in a large bowl and toss with salt, pepper and a generous glug of olive oil.
  3. Place the chicken and veggies in the oven and cook for 35-45 minutes until the chicken is cooked and all juices run clear and the vegetables are soft and started to brown on the edges.
  4. In a lidded jar combine the balsamico, mustard, honey, a little salt and pepper and about 3-4 tbsp of olive oil. Close the lid firmly and shake-a-shake-shake until everything is well combined and has started to turn into a thick emulsion.
  5. Once everything is cooked, slice the chicken. Place the lettuce and tomatoes on plates, top with the roast veggies, drizzle with the vinaigrette and top with the meat. Done! Simple and healthy. Enjoy!!


Do you ever get a wave of wanderlust, when you really, really want to visit new places around the world?

While I am a real homey I very often find myself thinking about how I would like to go to New York or Sydney or San Francisco or Tokyo... the list is endless. And then I realise, guiltily, that I have hardly seen any of the areas that surround me.

Living in a small town in Kent, in the suburbs of London was once not an option for me (yep I wanted to be bang in the centre of the bustling city... at all times) and nowadays I am grateful for the after work calm I return to every evening. But I also take living in such a nice area of England for granted, often forgetting how lovely the countryside around us is.

So with the intention to enjoy the great outdoors a little more, to exercise our 9-5-office-bound-bodies and to explore a little, we grabbed our Guide to the South East of England and ventured to Box Hill in the Surrey Hills.

If you've never been, you should definitely give it a try. Maybe don't walk the whole 8.5k (or more like 12k because we got lost ;)) but follow the Box Hill hike signs. The views are amazing, you end up finding little treasures every now and then and the mix of open fields, hidden mansions, a derelict folly and forests gives you plenty to ooh and aah over.

In the end we got pretty lost and our legs ached so much (yes this walk is mainly uphill) and we were about to starve, so we never actually made it to Box Hill, or more like missed the turning (sad face). But we saw it from below and it was pretty!

Unfortunately the day ended in the world's most awful, overpriced pub lunch ever. Absolute disgrace! (Try and avoid the Stepping Stones if you can)

We might try Richmond next. Do you know any good walking routes in and around London you can recommend?

^ Fed Up


Lately I've been in a bit of a "ugh I can't be bothered" mood - that includes tidying, food shopping, paying bills and cooking as well (yes you heard right, I can't be bothered to cook). So we ended up going out a lot or ordering take away and just generally spending too much money where we shouldn't.

Yesterday I was craving something comforting, that didn't take too long to cook and required one pot (yes because the washing up is piling up as well). We all know how much I love a squidgy flat rice noodle - pad thai, ho fun you name it, I love it.

So yesterday I grabbed as many ingredients as possible from the fridge (more stuff that needs using up) threw it all into the wok and the Turkey and Peanut "Pad Thai" was born. Why the inverted commas - well because strictly this isn't a pad thai as described by Wikipedia, but it does almost taste like one.

Here's the recipe and I am off to think about how I can make another "no effort" dinner tonight.

Hope you enjoy!

COOKS 25mins

  • 300g flat rice noodles, soaked (or the straight to wok packet version)
  • 500g turkey mince
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves crushed
  • 1 bulb of pak choi, chopped
  • 8 chestnut mushrooms, chopped
  • 150g green beans, roughly chopped
  • 2 limes, juiced
  • 3tbsp crunchy peanut butter
  • 1tbsp fish sauce
  • 3tbsp soy sauce (+more to season)
  • vegetable oil (rapeseed or canola)
  • finely sliced spring onion, lime wedges and sraracha to serve
  1. Add the oil to a wok. Once hot add the onions and sautee until soft. 
  2. Add the garlic and mince and fry some more until the meat is cooked and starts to brown. 
  3. Mix in the mushrooms, fish sauce, half the lime juice and soy sauce and cook until the liquid has reduced a little. Add the green beans cook for a few minutes and then add the pak choi.
  4. Once the veggies are almost cooked, let down the peanut butter with a little hot water and then add to the wok. Stir everything well, add the noodles and mix some more until everything is well combined and coated. Stir in the rest of the lime juice, taste for seasoning and add some more soy sauce if needed.
  5. Top with the sliced spring onion, some sraracha and the lime wedges.
This is comfort food at its best. 


My fridge is FULL of opened, half used up stuff that needs eating. I'm a bit like that when it comes to anything - I'll buy a new shampoo and open it before I've used up the old one or start a carton of juice before the opened ones done. Yes, and then the old stuff often gets forgotten and needs to be gotten rid of. Bad, bad habits! And don't you worry, I do get told off for this on a regular basis.

So yesterday we just went through our fridge and veggie cupboard, picked up all half eaten packets and stray potatoes and made an amazingly wonderful warm summer salad.
There were roast potatoes, tomatoes, asparagus, eggs, goats cheese prosciutto and a tangy mustard dressing. I might have to have this again tomorrow...

Dinners like these make me happy. It's all about using up what's in your kitchen and putting together a lovely salad, soup or stew. So before you run to the supermarket to spend money on more ingredients, have a look in your kitchen cupboard first, I am sure there are at least a couple of yummy meals just waiting to be made.

COOKS 30-40mins

  • 4 medium size potatoes, peeled and quartered
  • 4 small tomatoes, quartered
  • 9 stalks of asparagus
  • 4 slices of prosciutto crudo (such as parma or serrano)
  • 3 tbsp soft goats cheese, crumbled
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp dijon mustard
  • 1tsp white wine vinegar
  • olive oil
  • sea salt and pepper to season

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 190˚C. Place the potatoes on a baking tray and generously season with sea salt and pepper. Drizzle with some olive oil and toss everything so the potatoes are evenly coated. Cook in the oven for 30-40 minutes until the potatoes are brown and cooked through.
  2. After the potatoes have been cooking for 15 minutes, add the tomato quarters to the baking tray and cook for the remaining time.
  3. Bring some salty water to the boil. Add the asparagus and eggs (yep both at the same time) and cook for 6-7 minutes until the asparagus is tender, but still firm. 
  4. Peel the eggs and quarter.
  5. In a small jar combine the mustard, vinegar and a generous amount of olive oil (4-5tbsps) and shake vigorously until you are left with a smooth vinaigrette.
  6. Serve the potatoes, topped with the tomatoes, asparagus, eggs, goats cheese and the prosciutto (torn into bite size bits). Drizzle with a bit of the vinaigrette and enjoy with a large glass of Gin and Tonic.  


Happy Thursday all. It's once again been a while. I really need to make this blogging business a more regular occurrence and get organised (which is hard when you are the world's most unorganised person ... ever).

I've got a right old treat for you today. This one was one of those dinners where you plan a meal, go shopping and then realise you are missing half the ingredients. (Did I mention I was unorganised?) So then you go and rummage through your fridge and kitchen cupboards searching for substitutes, all the while thinking - this is going to be a disaster (especially because you've got guests over :-O)

It could have been - a true disaster. Substituting taragon with basil and using cheap golden breadcrumbs from a packet rather than fresh ones isn't a good start. Well and then I didn't have any chips or salad to accompany the chicken and ended up making broad beans with goats cheese and a sweet potato mash. Flavour overload!?

But it was good... like really good... and I am going to shut up about what a disaster it could've been now and share the recipe!

Happy cooking everyone!

COOKS 30-40mins


For the chicken:
  • 4 chicken breasts
  • a handful of basil, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp dijon mustard
  • approx. two handfuls of fresh breadcrumbs (or the golden ones from the packet), the amount of this depends on the size of your chicken breasts.
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
For the broad beans:
  • 200g frozen broad beans
  • 125g soft goats cheese
  • 125g greek yoghurt
  • a handful of your favourite herbs (parsley, chives, dill, mint...) finely chopped
For the sweet potato mash:
  • 2 large sweet potatoes, quartered
  • 1 large red chilli, finely chopped
  • 1 small potato, halved
  • 1 lime
  • 50g feta, crumbled
  • salt and pepper
  • olive oil

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 190˚C. Wrap the chicken in some cling film and bash with a rolling pin or bottom of a jar to flatten, then remove the cling film. 
  2. Mix the mustard, basil and minced garlic into a smooth paste and add a drizzle of olive oil. Spread evenly over the chicken breasts, then roll the coated meat in the bread crumbs. I used a small amount of bread crumbs at a time and kept topping up the plate when needed. 
  3. Arrange the breaded chicken breasts on a baking tray and drizzle or spray with a little olive oil. Place in the pre-heated oven and bake for 30 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through and all juices run clear.
  4. Place the sweet potato and potato into a medium-large microwavable dish. Place half a lime in the middle and cover with cling film (make sure you use microwavable cling film). Microwave on high for 15 minutes. Once done remove the cling film and squeeze any remaining juice from the lime (careful it's hot). 
  5. Using a fork work the potatoes mixing them together and crushing them at the same time. Season with sea salt and black pepper. Add the juice of the second lime half, the chilli and the crumbled feta. One last mix and you're ready to go. At this stage you can sprinkle some coriander on top if you wish. 
  6. Add the broad beans to a pan of boiling, lightly salted water and cook for 3 minutes until defrosted and warmed through. Drain and cool down with cold water.
  7. Whisk together the goats cheese and yoghurt until smooth and fluffy. Add the broad beans (crushing them a little while mixing) and the herbs. Stir everything together thoroughly, season with salt and pepper and a drizzle of olive oil.
And your ready to dish up. Hope you enjoy!