22 March 09

salad1

Creamy Butternut Squash and Butter Bean Salad

I was inspired to make this salad after visiting Ottolenghi in Notting Hill. If you have ever had the opportunity to visit any of the Ottolenghi shops you are seriously spoilt for choice. As soon as you enter the premises the produce literally spills from the counters, it’s fantastic everything in abundance.  I dare you to walk in an Ottolenghi and not feel inspired to go home that day and cook up a storm.

This delicious creamy butternut squash and butter beans salad makes a perfect main meal or a hearty side dish. Mashing half the roasted butternut squash gives the salad the creamy texture alongside the giant butter beans and the crunchy texture is added by the toasted butternut squash seeds. I love the smoky roasted flavours of the butternut and the Romano peppers. It’s a rather romantic dish, one I would feel good about serving to loved ones.

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20 March 09

fabien21

Buttermilk Pudding with Blood Oranges

When I received an invitation to spend a morning in the pastry section of Rocco Forte’s Brown’s Hotel in Mayfair with head pastry chef Fabien Ecuvillon I was delighted. Fabien is a very good friend of mine; we have known each other for sometime. I like to listen to Fabien as he knows what he’s talking about and I know that I will learn a thing or two.
While I was there Tony has turned out 360 miniature scones for the afternoon tea. Vernon baked a few apple cheesecakes and made a batch of individual Yorkshire Rhubarb pies.  The rest was a blur as they all move so fast, I have about 300 blurry photos of them all dashing about. I had a great morning and felt privileged to be there, as I have not been in a pastry kitchen of that calibre for quite some time.

Fabien has made

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18 March 09

bread13

Farmhouse White Loaf

Baking bread is nothing new to me. My aunt lives on a farm and bakes bread everyday. As a child I loved visiting the farm, one of the very familiar aromas on the farm was the freshly baked bread.

My mother and uncle used to flip coins to decide who should have the crusty first slice of the warm baked bread. It used to make us laugh as mum used to get quite upset if she did not win . Those where the good old days with pleasurable memories.

In January of this year I went to Bath to participate in a one day bread baking course at The Bertinet Kitchen. After watching a video clip on the Internet of Richard Bertinet passionately demonstrating how bread should be baked, I thought that I could learn a thing or two from this master baker. Yes I was right, Richard is full

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17 March 09

clam_chowder

Saffron Clam and Corn Chowder

I love spring, today is a bright and sunny day, a bit chilly but its great as long as its sunny. I even noticed the daffodils popping up everywhere. The signs of spring signify the awakening of a new year and makes me happy. As a small celebratory token I made this delicious saffron clam and corn chowder.

The name is a bit clunky and you perhaps expect a chunky broth; but I thought why not tame the butch name with this elegant and dainty version. It’s a pretty dish, perfect as a starter for mothers day.

This pretty saffron clam and corn chowder reminds me of the daffodils standing proud under the trees on the village green. It’s not just pleasurable to the eye as the corn soup is packed with flavour and nicely finished with a tiny kiss of saffron. I also love the textures the crispness of

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