Love food Sweet stuff

Banana peanut butter cake

Both bananas and peanut butter are akin to marmite – you either love them or hate them. I love peanut butter, and particularly love this combination. An old favourite toast sandwich of mine is peanut butter, honey and banana. It is a full-on sandwich, particularly recommended for when you’re really hungry.

The same peanut butter and banana combo in a cake is a also a winner. With a cream cheese and peanut butter icing to boot, I have full cake happiness.

Recipe link

Love food Salads

Spelt & squash salad

While many of us are pretty bored with winter by now (although we have passed the shortest day of the year – yippee), I am still able to share with you another salad recipe using veg that hasn’t been flown half way across the world.

The recipe link is below but you really don’t have to be a slave to every ingredient. As I can’t grow basil and parsley in the winter I left that out; I swapped the goats cheese for feta; and the spinach can be swapped out for kale. If you do use kale, massage the dressing into the kale before mixing everything together.

Recipe link

Love food Main event

Caramelised garlic tart

This recipe introduced me to caramelised garlic – a new and rather special taste. Everything else in this tart is as you would expect (cheese, squash, eggs etc) but raised to a new level by the garlic. Congratulations and thank you to the Hemsley sisters.

Link to recipe.

For some, this tart also has the added advantage of being gluten free.


  • Prepare your garlic, pastry base and roast squash ahead of time – the day before is ideal
  • Substitute feta for the goats cheese if preferred
  • I don’t bother rolling out the pastry but distribute small pieces around the tin then mould it into the case; I also don’t use all the pastry as I find it is too thick.
  • Any left overs freeze well.

Love food Main event Other Vegan

Carrot pancakes

These are not really pancakes as you and I know them but more of a fritter. They are an amazing combination of flavours with an Indian vibe. The recipe is one by Maria Ella and genuinely very easy to make. I have served them exactly as Maria suggests for a classy looking starter but most commonly have them together with salads or other veg sides for a main course. I often make a double batch of these and freeze them. They reheat brilliantly in the oven, defrosted or straight from frozen.

One more feather in the cap of these wonderful carrot panackes/fritters is that they are totally vegan.

Recipe link

Love food Salads

Red cabbage, carrot & smoked almonds

As I promised last week, here is another winter salad for you to try out. This one comes from Nigel Slater’s Greenfeast book: autumn, winter. Winter can feel quite long and tedious, none more so than this year, so I am very pleased to have this book for fresh new ideas that use seasonal vegetables. This salad has a bit of a Scandi feel with the pickled onion and sour cream. It keeps pretty well in the fridge for a few days, good for lunches.

When you take a look at the recipe on the link below and compare it with mine you’ll notice it looks a little different. This I think that this is due to food photography not truthfully following the recipe instructions. In the official photography, the soured cream has not been folded into the salad. The photo may look better but I don’t like this playing with the truth. It’s like air brushing but for food.

Recipe link


When making this recipe you may find the pickled flavour a little strong so I recommend starting with half of the 4 tablespoons pickling liquor when making the dressing. Add the rest a little at a time to allow you to check the taste as you go – and stop when the flavour is just right for you.

Love food Salads

Roast carrot salad

My latest food challenge is to build up a collection of salads which are primarily made with vegetables and fruits that are readily available in the European winter (apologies to my overseas readers). I’ll add more recipes over the coming weeks but to remind you, already published recipes include winter apple, squash and kale salad; red cabbage & edamame salad; and grated salad.

Today’s salad is from Ottolenghi’s latest book, Flavour (page 187), together with Ixta Belfrage. It’s easy, tasty and can easily be made in advance. I halved the carrots but made up the whole chamoy as I thought it would be hard to half and Ottolenghi (oh great one) suggested it would keep in the fridge for a week, to be used for more salad or as a condiment to accompany roast veg.


  • Preheat oven to 240C (fan)
  • In a large bowl mix the carrots with the oil, maple syrup, 1.25 tsps of salt & a good grind of pepper. Spread out as much as possible on a baking tin, lined with baking paper . If necessary spread out onto two trays to make sure they’re not crowded. Roast for 18 mins – the carrots should be browned but still have a bite.
  • Meanwhile, blitz the chamoy ingredients with 1/4 tsp salt in a spice grinder or mini food processor.
  • As soon as the carrots are roasted, transfer to a large bowl with the chamoy mix and leave for 20 mins for the flavours o develop.
  • Mix the carrots, herbs and apricots and transfer to your serving dish. Finish with the almonds, lime and a good drizzle of olive oil.

Chilli cheese toast

It is a rare Sunday that we don’t have eggs for lunch/brunch. We’ve built up a wide repertoire of different egg recipes, such as shakshuka, kimchi grains with egg and of course the standard avo and poached eggs. This recipe is a fairly new one for us, it is an Indian take on the traditional British Welsh Rarebit, with an egg on top. The egg can of course be omitted, it is just as good.

Recipe (serves 2)

  • 1 tsp butter
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 2 thick slices bread
  • 100g mature cheddar, grated
  • 2 tsp English mustard
  • 1-2 green finger chillies
  • Coriander or spring onions chopped
  • 3 large eggs
  • tomato ketchup or other sauce to serve


  • Melt 1 tsp of butter in a non-stick frying pan and fry the onions until soft. Don’t let them brown. Set aside to cool.
  • In a bowl mix together 1 egg, grated cheese, chilli, coriander/spring onion, mustard and cooled onions.
  • Lightly toast both sides of your bread
  • Spread the cheese mixture over your toast and place under a grill until bubbling and with some golden spots.
  • As the cheese goes into the grill fry your eggs
  • Tomato ketchup is apparently the sauce of choice for this snack in India. I’m not a ketchup fan but for those that are I am told by others in my house that ketchup really does compliment this dish..
Love food Salads Vegan

Winter apple, squash & kale salad

I like this salad for its ability to be a meal in itself, great for a weekday lunch. Brownie points are earned too for being environmentally friendly, if making in the autumn all the main ingredients can be made with those grown in Britain.

The full recipe can be found on BBC Goodfood and below are a few tips from me.

  • You can cook the squash and apple in the evening before you need this, while you have your oven on anyway. The croutons can also be cooled in advance on a separate tray. If you do cook them in advance then I recommend warming them through again in the oven for 10 mins or so before eating, or at least take them out of the fridge an hour before eating.
  • The hazelnuts can be cooked in the oven as well but keep checking every few minutes so as not to burn them
  • Massage the dressing into the kale for a few minutes before adding all the other ingredients. This will soften the kale a little making it easier, and more pleasant to eat.
Love food Other Vegan

Romesco soup

In my last food post I mentioned one of the joys of winter being a lovely bowl of soup. Here is my first soup of the season. It is courtesy of the Minimalist Baker site, one which we have found to have very reliable recipes.

For this recipe, take note that you will need to roast your peppers, garlic and almonds a little while before you want to make the soup. The peppers will need to cool down sufficiently so you can peel the skin from them. When I’m organised I will do this the day before. Everything after that is very simple indeed. I put the peppers and the garlic in one dish to roast and the almonds in another. The almonds will come out of the oven first, then the garlic and then finally the peppers.

To smash the chickpeas, I put them all into the soup pan whole and then use a potato masher to crush them a bit.

For some ideas of breads/muffins to accompany the soup, take a look at some of my blog posts, including cornbread and feta and nigella seed muffins.

Love London

Mayfair sculpture trail

We may have missed the Mayfair Art weekend but happily the sculpture trail established as part of the weekend will be available until the end of October.

The area has some permanent sculptures on display, such as Lawrence Holofcener’s bronze sculpture of Franklin D Roosevelt and Winston Churchill sitting on a bench on Bond Street. Until 31 October, 13 temporary sculptures have been installed for the sculpture trail.

You can follow and listen to a curated tour via the Smartify app/site.