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BBC GOOD FOOD SHOW WINTER 2015

Come join me to get all the inspiration you need for a delicious festive season, at the BBC Good Food Show Winter. On Sunday 29 November, I will be creating healthy seasonal dishes throughout the show. Plus, catch me on the Interview Stage as I discuss tips and secrets behind my new book In the mood for healthy food, then come to the WHSmith stand to get your very own copy signed by me.

It is the ultimate food lovers day out! Plus you can save 20%* on tickets- simply quote TL20 when booking to claim.

Find out more about the event and book tickets click here.GF_WINTER_2015

Terms & Conditions

*20% off valid on Adult and Over 65s Advance tickets (excluding VIP) purchased before 29.11.15. Standard Supertheatre seat included, subject to availability. Upgrade to a gold seat for £3 extra. Not all celebrities appear on all days at all shows, check website for details. The BBC Good Food Shows are organised and presented by River Street Events.

PORTUGUESE PAELLA

It’s been a few weeks since I returned from a fabulous holiday to the Algarve in Portugal with my family. We stayed in a lovely villa close to the sea and some great markets. In my opinion staying in a villa is the best type of summer holiday choice as it’s a brilliant way of getting to cook with some delicious local ingredients. You also have the option of sitting down and enjoying a meal in the comfort of our own villa, at a time that suits rather than rushing about to get a table in the local restaurant during the busy summer period.

Of course, holidays should be about relaxing, so when it comes to the actual cooking, simple to prepare dishes are essential, keeping time in the kitchen to a minimum. I have recently written some holiday food recipes for James Villa Holidays that you can look at and also cook along to some video recipes in your own home or on holiday.

However the below recipe is something I made on holiday for the family. Paella is a traditional Spanish recipe but the range of seafood in Portugal was fantastic I decided to give it a go. I added a Portuguese twist to an original recipe and the end results were delicious. Piri Piri is a spicy seasoning used widely in Portugal and I added a good pinch to the paella which gave some heat! We were also very excited by the size of the tiger prawns out there so I cooked a couple separately and added them at the end. They were so meaty and sweet.

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serves 4

2 tbsp olive oil

1 onion, chopped

2 cloves of garlic, crushed

100g chorizo, chopped

1 red pepper, sliced

300g paella rice

1 large glass of white wine (about 250ml)

a large pinch of saffron strands

1 heaped tsp Piri Piri seasoning

1 litre hot fish or chicken stock

500g clams, cleaned

8-12 raw prawns

100g frozen peas, defrosted

2 very large tiger prawns, butterflied

few sprigs of fresh oregano, leaves roughly chopped

1 lemon, cut into wedges

Heat the olive oil in a paella pan or a very large frying pan. Add the onion, garlic, chorizo and red pepper, and sauté until the onion has softened.

Stir in the rice for a minute or so until it is coated in the oil, then add the wine, saffron, piri and enough stock to cover the rice (about two-thirds of the measured quantity). Stir well and bring to a simmer. Allow to gently cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent the rice sticking to the bottom of the pan. Add some more of the stock if it is being absorbed too quickly.

Stir in the clams, 8-10 prawns, peas and season with salt and pepper. Pour over the remaining stock, cover tightly with foil and leave to gently cook over a low heat for about 10–15 minutes, until the rice is tender and the seafood is cooked through (the clam shells should be open).

Meanwhile heat a drop of oil in a separate pan. Add the very large prawns and fry until cooled through and opened up.

Sprinkle the oregano over the paella and place the lemon wedges and butterflied large prawns on top and serve.

PS…

To clean the clams, wash well under cold running water, discarding any open shells that don’t close when tapped. It is also worth remembering that any shells that haven’t opened once the paella is cooked, should be discarded.

 

INCREDIBLE CHIA

INCREDIBLE CHIA SEEDS

 

If you’re not yet familiar with chia seeds, then it’s well and truly time for youFullSizeRender (1)

to get to know about these tiny little balls of goodness as they are among the

healthiest foods on the planet. They’re the size of poppyseeds and come in

either black/grey or white. They can be easily be found in health food shops

(numerous supermarkets sell them, too), and their popularity is increasing all

the time.

 

origins

Chia seeds originate from a flowering plant in the mint family called Salvia hispanica that is native to Mexico and Guatamela, and they are said to have been the food of choice of the Aztecs and Mayans back in the day due to their ability to provide sustainable energy. In fact chia is the ancient Mayan word for ‘strength’, and a single tablespoon would keep them going for 24 hours!

 

nutrition

Don’t be fooled by their size – these tiny seeds pack a powerful, nutritional punch. As well as providing energy, they are ridiculously high in fibre, omega-3 fats, protein and antioxidants. They are low in calories, classed as a ‘whole-grain’ and are naturally gluten free. One recommended daily serving is only 1 tbsp (15g/.oz), which is incredibly easy to include into your daily diet.

 

uses of chia

The seeds taste pretty bland alone, so you should add them to other things, such as cereals, yogurt, salads, and veggie or rice dishes. Stir them into soups, porridge and stews, blend them into smoothies or add to your baking, such as bread, cakes and muffins. The thing about chia seeds that amazes me the most is that they absorb so much liquid (12 times their weight) and can therefore be used to thicken sauces, make puddings and used as a substitute for eggs in pretty much most recipes.

When mixed with liquid the seeds plump up, forming a gel layer around each seed, which then acts as a binder in the same way eggs do. To create an egg substitute, simply mix 1 tablespoon chia seeds with 3 tablespoons water or other liquid such as milk or juice. Leave to soak for about 5-10 minutes until you have a gloopy

gel equivalent to one whole beaten egg. Each 1 tablespoon of chia seed is equivalent to one egg, so increase quantities of chia seed and liquid

according to your recipe. It’s worth pointing out that once made, chia seeds

still retain a slightly crunchy texture when in gel form. For many recipes this is just fine, such as in baking, but you can grind the seeds in a blender

or coffee grinder before mixing with liquid for a smoother end result. This is particularly useful when making puddings or sauces.

 

Recipe inspiration

My latest cookbook In the mood for Healthy Food is out mid July and contains many recipes using Chia seeds such as Chia Seed Flapjacks, Beef and Quinoa meatballs, Raspberry Chia Jam. However here is a sneak peek of a versatile salad dressing which uses chia seeds to create a creamy texture.

 

Lemon Chia Caesar Salad Dressing…

This is great to use as a salad dressing with crunchy Cos lettuce, crunchy baked bread croutons and some shavings of Parmesan cheese. It also works really well as a dip for crudites or to toss into cooked new potatoes for a very tasty

potato salad. Place 3 tablespoons lemon juice, 2 tablespoons

chia seeds, 3 tablespoons avocado or extra virgin olive oil, 1 anchovy fillet, 1 small peeled garlic clove, 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard and 1 teaspoon honey in a blender and blitz until smooth. Check for seasoning and add salt and pepper to taste.

Serves 4.

 

For more recipe inspiration like this, check out my new book…

cover shot thumbnail       IN THE MOOD FOR HEALTHY FOOD

Available from Nourish Books in July 2015

PIZZA NIGHT

Homemade pizza is a fantastic thing to make in your own kitchen. It’s simple, it never gets boring as you can have a different topping every time you make it. Kids love getting involved (you can guarantee they’ll always want strange ingredients on top). It tastes delicious hot out of the oven or even cold the next day. I love making it for weekend lunches or better still, for a Friday night in whilst watching a film with the kids (with plenty of popcorn and icecream to follow).

So, to turn your kitchen into the best local pizzeria around, do not fear, you don’t any special equipment, like a wood burning stove or need to be a champion dough thrower. All you need is a basic dough and simple tomato sauce recipe and you can go from there. Pizzas can be made any shape, all you need is a baking tray or pizza stone if you have one.

I have suggested a number of toppings to serve in your pizzeria, you can of course try your own (keep hold of the numerous menus that no-doubt come through your letterbox if you ever need any inspiration).

 

BASIC PIZZA DOUGH

Don’t let the long method put you off – it really is very simple…

Makes about 4 medium sized pizzas (about 28cm diameter), or 12 small calzone.

FinishedPizza.jpg

500g strong white bread flour

2tsp salt 300ml warm water

1 x 7g sachet fast-action dried yeast

1tsp caster sugar

2tbsp extra virgin olive oil

 

FLAVOURS TO ADD TO THE DOUGH

1 tsp dried chilli flakes

A large handful of finely grated parmesan

2tsp dried or 2tbsp chopped fresh herbs (basil, oregano, parsley, thyme, marjoram, rosemary)

1-2tbsp finely chopped sun-dried tomatoes

1-2tbsp finely chopped olives

METHOD

Stage 1: sieve the flour and salt into a large bowl, or onto a clean work surface, and make a well in the middle. Mix the yeast, sugar and olive oil into the warm water and leave for 5 minutes, then pour into the flour well. Using a fork, bring the flour in gradually from the sides and swirl it into the liquid until it all comes together. With floured hands, knead on a work surface until you have a smooth, springy dough – 5-10 minutes. Additional flavours (see list above) should be added to the dough when you are kneading. Place the ball of dough in a large flour-dusted bowl and sprinkle the top with more flour. Cover the bowl with a damp cloth and place in a warm place for about 11⁄2 hours, until the dough has doubled in size.

Stage 2: once it has risen, knead the dough on a floured surface, knocking out the air. The dough can now be used straight away or wrapped in clingfilm and stored in the fridge until the next day, or frozen.

Stage 3: divide the dough into servings, keeping it covered with a damp tea towel. Roll one at a time on a floured surface to about 5mm thick and sit on an oiled and flour-dusted baking sheet, then leave for 10-15 minutes, before adding the topping. Preheat the oven to 220°C/200°C fan/ gas 7. Evenly spread some tomato sauce on the top of the pizza and then add your toppings. Season and drizzle over extra virgin olive oil, then place in the oven to cook for 10 minutes.

PS…

Raw pizza dough can be wrapped well in cling film at the end of stage 2 and frozen for 1 month, alternatively if you have the space, you can shape it into pizza bases (or dough balls), layer up between pieces of greaseproof paper and freeze until needed. Defrost at room temperature before adding your topping and baking.

 

TOPPING SUGGESTIONS (see below for simple tomato pizza sauce)

Simple tomato and mozzarella is always a winner (scatter torn pieces of half a ball of mozzarella over your tomato sauce), but why not customise each pizza? Here are just a few suggestions to add to a basic tomato and mozzarella pizza:

Parma ham, artichoke, black olives and basil leaves (pictured above). Arrange all the ingredients, except the basil, on top of the pizza and cook. Top with basil.

Cooked prawns, anchovies, capers, olives and chilli flakes. Arrange over the top and scatter with parsley when cooked.

Ham, rocket and parmesan. Scatter rocket over the top of your parmesan and ham-topped pizza just before serving.

Four cheeses. Use a combination of mozzarella, parmesan, dolcelate and gruyere to top the pizza before cooking.

Spinach, egg and pinenut. Top with wilted spinach leaves, pinenuts and thinly sliced red onion, then break an egg into the middle just before baking.

 

SIMPLE TOMATO SAUCE

TomatoSauceMix2.jpg

Makes enough for 8 pizzas

2 tbsp olive oil

1 onion, finely chopped

3-4 cloves of garlic, crushed

1 bay leaf

1 tsp dried oregano

2 x 400g tins of chopped tomatoes

2 tbsp tomato purée

1 small handful of torn or chopped basil leaves

 

Heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan and gently cook the onion and garlic for about 8 minutes until they are softened but not coloured.

 

Add the bay leaf, oregano, tinned tomatoes and tomato puree, and simmer over a low heat for 20 minutes until you have a rich thick sauce.

 

Add the basil, season with salt and pepper and then remove the bay leaf.

 

PS…

The finished sauce can be used straight away or left to cool and stored, covered in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. It can also be divided into smaller portions and kept in the freezer.

 

Photography: Gareth Morgans

BIRMINGHAM’S NEXT TOP MODEL IS A TART

BIRMINGHAM’S NEXT TOP MODEL IS A TART

They say the way to a person’s heart is through their stomach and Rita Patel of Birmingham created a stylish and tasty strawberry and blueberry tart that would make anyone’s heart melt!

Rita was judged to be the overall winner of Appletiser’s ‘beautiful food’ competition where keen home-chefs from around the country entered photos of their skillfully styled dishes.  The huge variety of photos were posted on the Appletiser Facebook Page (www.facebook.com/appletiser) for public voting, before being paraded in front of the Appletiser judging panel, which included myself. We all agreed that Rita’s tart should be awarded Top Food Model status.

Lucky Rita wins £500 and ‘food fame’ as I will give her delicious tart a food style make-over at a top London photo shoot.  The photographs will be used for a future Appletiser promotion – so all very exciting for Rita.

I really enjoyed working on the appletiser competition as it was a fun way of showcasing and celebrating how we Brits love our food.  After all, we more often than not tend to ‘eat with our eyes’.  It was exciting to see what’s being served behind closed kitchen doors, and it seems that we have a growing number of budding home-chefs. Thanks Appletiser and Phipps Pr for the opportunity, and of course, well done Rita.

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The Gorgeous Kitchen

Next time you are flying from or travelling through London Heathrow’s Terminal 2, then please do come and visit this stunning restaurant and room with a view. Order some of my recipes from our innovative menu’s using fresh, seasonal produce or relax with a drink at our stylish bar.