Love food Vegan

Farinata topped with pesto & roasted vegetables

I made this dish for lunch last weekend. It is one of those dishes that combines great taste with simplicity. It helps to plan a little ahead by roasting your vegetables when you already have the oven one for something else. The veg can be used for this dish at room temperature or warmed through in the microwave.

Another reason for me loving this dish was it gave me the opportunity to use some of the pesto I had in the freezer made during the summer when basil was in abundance.

I’ve marked this as vegan but this will depend on the ingredients of your pesto.

Recipe for 2:

  • 60 g gram flour
  • chopped rosemary
  • pesto
  • capers
  • rocket or kale
  • Roasted mixed veg eg red onion, peppers, squash

Preparing the pancake:

  • This is best made at least 30 minutes ahead but can be made the night before using and left in the fridge
  • Combine the gram flour, 1 tbsp olive oil and 1 tsp salt
  • Gradually whisk in 100 ml warm water to form a smooth batter
  • Stir in the chopped rosemary

Cook the pancakes & assembly

  • If using kale (a more sustainable option in the winter): wash the kale and in a bowl massage with a good amount of lemon juice and salt to soften.
  • To cook the pancakes, heat some oil in a small frying/pancake pan over a medium high heat
  • Add half the pancake mixture spreading out to create a thin, 15-20cm pancake. Cook for 2/3 minutes until browned on the underside, flip over and cook the other side. Repeat with the rest of the mixture
  • Spread some pesto over the bottom of each pancake, pile on the veg and finally top with the kale.
  • Optional extra: if you have some spare pesto, mix into some olive oil to drizzle all over the veg & kale topping.
  • Finish with a handful of capers scattered over the dish.
  • Feel free to play around with this recipe to make it your own eg maybe add some roasted nuts or shaved parmesan. Get creative.

Love food Vegan

Chaat masala chickpea and polenta chips

From my latest Ottolenghi book, Ottolenghi Test Kitchen – Shelf Love – these vegan ‘chips’ are very tasty. They can be made a few days in advance which gives them additional points from my point of view. I generally aim to have a few items that can be made ahead when planning meals.

The vegan chickpea mayo is worth taking a note of for any time you need vegan mayo. It is very good. You will be left with most of the tin of chickpeas but they can just be added to a salad.

Love London

London Square Open Gardens Weekend

This annual event is back this weekend June 11-12. Run by the London Gardens Trust, the weekend is all about visiting gardens of all types – private gardens, community allotments, rooftop gardens and everything in between.

Tickets are £20 per person. For a whole day’s access to many gardens you wouldn’t have access to, as well as helping this great charity, I think it’s not a bad way to spend £20. Find out more info here.

Love food Main event Uncategorized Vegan

Polenta with tomatoes and/or mushrooms

It’s been a while I know but I haven’t forgotten you, I got busy (aka started working again after the pandemic!) and then out of the habit.

For my first offering for a while I am giving you two options of the same dish which you can mix and match. The first is for a cheesy polenta with a tomato topping and a second version which is a vegan polenta with oyster mushrooms and tomatoes topping. Both are very good indeed. In both cases the toppings can be made in advance. The polenta is very quick to make and indeed is best made just before you want to eat it so it is still soft.

The polenta is easily re-sized for a single portion if you’re cooking for one. You can keep the toppings at the recipe quantities or just make half on your own as they’re both so delicious you will happily eat again with another accompaniment.

Cheesy polenta with a tomato sauce

Vegan polenta with oyster mushrooms and tomato sauce

Love London

Sculpture in the City

I love sculpture and just to prove it, I see that the last time I posted something about London it was also about a sculpture event. I’m hoping that 2021 may be more fruitful for London outings, even if many of you are in reality desperate to leave London!

Now for Sculpture in the City... the is the 10th annual sculpture exhibition that takes place in the heart of the square mile. It comprises an eclectic mix of sculptures so everyone should find something to pique their interest.

I haven’t yet been to the newly opened Eatly right outside Liverpool Street station but I have it on good recommendation (Liora) that it is an essential stop if you are in the City. It is an Italian food emporium – shopping, restaurants, bars and even pasta making classes.

Breads, muffins etc Love food

Wild garlic scones

The first sign of spring is daffodils and the second sign is wild garlic. We are blessed in Mill Hill with an abundance of freely available wild garlic. There are so many different ways to use it – pesto, wild garlic and quinoa cakes, simply wilted through with new potatoes or my very favourite – these wild garlic and cheesy scones.

Recipe link

The scones make a good accompaniment to soup or can be eaten on their own as a savoury tea with cream cheese and smoked salmon. Oh and they freeze brilliantly.

Love food Salads

Kale, halloumi & crispy pitta salad

This is my new favourite salad. No one element is on its own special but as a combo it just works. Everything but the haloumi can be made in advance, the night before, or first thing in the morning so it makes a great weekday lunch.

The other thing I love about this salad is that there are no out of season fruits or vegetables in it. It won’t be long now though until spring will bring asparagus and rhubarb among others. Most excitingly, we can soon forage for wild garlic.

Recipe link

Love food Other

Coconut braised potatoes

I recently tried a new recipe from a favourite book – Maria Elia’s The Modern Vegetarian – Coconut braised potatoes. If Thai flavours are your thing then this is for you. This dish was a perfect match for our fish goujons.

I’m going to give you the recipe as it is, however, I have each time only used one tin of 450 ml of coconut milk but kept the quantities of everything else the same. You can of course adjust the quantity of chilli and ginger to suit your own taste. This is not a recipe you have to be exact, go with what suits you.

The pic here is before the dish was cooked. Once cooked, it will thicken and caramelise. Not so great for photographing but a truly scrummy side dish.


  1. 1 tbsp veg oil
  2. 2 shallots, peeled and finely chopped
  3. 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  4. 1 red chilli, deseeded & finelty chopped
  5. 1.5 cm fresh ginger, grated
  6. 30g coriander – chop roots and leaves separately
  7. 700 ml unsweetened coconut milk
  8. 500g baby potatoes, halved lengthways
  9. 2 tbsps Thai sweet chilli sauce
  10. 1 tbsp soya sauce
  11. 2 tbsp Thai basil, chopped (optional)


  • Preheat oven to 190 C
  • Heat oil in a saucepan, then add shallots, garlic, chilli and ginger. Cook for 1 min
  • Add chopped coriander roots to the pan, cook until softened
  • Add coconut milk, potatoes, sweet chilli & soya sauce.
  • Stir and bring to the boil. Pour into a roasting tin or ovenproof dish & cook in the oven for about 50 mins until the potatoes are tender. The dish will darken a little in the oven
  • Stir through the basil and coriander (if using) and enjoy this delicious dish.
Love food Sweet stuff

Blood orange cake

Blood oranges are in season. Like anything that has a relatively short season (think rhubarb, artichokes and asparagus) I get quite excited and make sure I make the most of them while they are here. For the most part, that means simply eating these wonderfully red coloured oranges as they are. I am more than happy though to give up a few of my oranges for this rather delicious cake.

I have made it in a bundt tin, just because it looks fabulous – and that’s what the recipe suggested! I don’t imagine though that many of you have this particular tin but that wouldn’t be a reason not to make it – any cake tin will do. Consider whether you need to adjust your quantities to fit your tin if using a loaf tin, or a small round tin.

Recipe link for you to try

Love food Main event

Creamed corn peppers

Ottolenghi has done it again and scored a hit on our dinner table. For anyone put off by the mere mention of Ottolenghi (all those ingredients!!!), this is a pretty simple recipe – both in the making and the list of ingredients. I promise you there is nothing that you will need to hunt for, everything can be found in any major supermarket.

Having followed Ottolenghi’s suggestion of roast potatoes, my recommendation is to serve them with a side of green veg or salad, or a selection if you like. But each pepper is fairly substantial and so I would keep my sides a bit lighter next time I make it.

Recipe link

We were so excited to dig into this new dish that I forgot to add the garnish of pickled jalapenos when I took the original photo below. Each pepper looked so much better with the garnish as per the picture above but I thought I would share my original photo with you here so you can see what they looked like in my dish. The pickled jalapenos are not just for looks, they taste great too. Of course, I skipped the coriander garnish though – evil stuff.