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This rose scented chocolate mousse is rich and creamy, and actually good for you! Instead of cream the mousse is made with avocados, which give a thick creamy texture and also make this dessert dairy-free, much lower in saturated fat and loaded with antioxidants and omegas. As for the chocolate – well. providing you use a high cocoa solid chocolate (such as 70%) you will be obtaining less sugar and even more antioxidants, iron and magnesium than other types of chocolate. In my book that makes this delicious dessert completely guilt-free!

The recipe is taken from my latest cookbook IN THE MOOD FOR HEALTHY FOOD.

Check out the video below to see just how easy these little beauties are to make…

Preparation time: 15 minutes plus 2 hours chilling

Serves 4-8


75g/2 ½ oz dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids), roughly chopped

3 egg whites

3 tbsp agave syrup

1 ripe small-medium avocado, peeled and stone removed

¼ tsp rosewater, plus extra to taste

1 tbsp pistachio nuts, roughly chopped

pinch of dried rose petals (optional)


Gently melt the chocolate either in a bowl set over a pan of simmering water, or on a low heat in the microwave. Once melted, leave to cool to room temperature.

In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites until they form soft peaks. Add the agave and whisk until they form firm peaks.

Blend the avocado and rosewater with a hand blender until completely smooth then mix into the chocolate. If you the avocado isn’t smooth enough, you can press it through a sieve using a spatula to remove any lumps. Mix in one spoon of the egg whites to loosen then gently fold in the rest.

Spoon into glasses/dishes, such as espresso cups for mini puds or ramekins for larger ones. Chill in the fridge for about 2 hours, then scatter with chopped pistachios and rose petals to serve.

Recipe taken from In the Mood for Healthy Food

With thanks to Etan Ilfeld for producing the video.

Valentine’s Breakfast Treat – Baked Eggs with Smoked Salmon

Treat your loved one to a Valentine’s breakfast treat this weekend.

Easy to prepare and delicious served with a toasted muffin, add a splash of Tabasco for a kick. If you want to make this into more of a brunch recipe, the addition of some wilted spinach and/or sautéed sliced mushrooms at the bottom of the dishes are delicious.


Makes:  2 (can easily be increased to make more)

Ready to bake...

Ready to bake…

Preparation time: 5 minutes

Cooking time: 12 minutes

















2-4 slices ham or smoked salmon

2 eggs

2 tbsp cream

2 tsp chopped chives (optional)

1 tbsp finely grated parmesan

Toasted and buttered English muffins or toast



Pre-heat the oven to 220C/425F/gas 7.

Grease two individual small ovenproof dishes such as ramekins with butter. If you don’t have any dishes, a deep muffin tin with do. Place in the ham or smoked salmon, pushing it down into the edges to create a bowl shape. Break an egg into each one, then pour over the cream.

Season with salt and pepper, scatter over the chives (if using) and finish with the cheese. Place in the oven for 12 minutes, until the egg white is only just set and the yolk is still runny. It will continue to cook once removed from the oven so don’t be tempted to leave them in the oven too long if you still want a runny yolk.

Remove from the oven and serve either in the dishes or turned out, with toasted buttered muffins or toast.


If you want to swap the smoked salmon for ham, it doesn’t matter what type however Parma ham is particularly delicious.



Pan-fried Chimichurri Steak

A tangy South American sauce for steak, this makes a delicious Saturday night treat, especially served with chips. A 2cm/3⁄4in thick steak takes about 5 minutes for medium-rare if it was at room temperature before cooking and the pan is really hot. Leftover sauce will keep for a few days in the fridge to serve with grilled, roast or fried chicken or fish. You can also use it as a marinade or toss it into cooked vegetables.

MAKES 2 adult portions PREPARATION TIME 10 minutes COOKING TIME 5 minutes

A drizzle of oil
2 good-quality steaks, whichever cut you prefer, such as rib-eye, rump, sirloin or fillet, left at room temperature for about 30 minutes before cooking
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley leaves 1 tsp fresh oregano leaves
2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
A pinch of dried chilli flakes

1⁄2 recipe quantity Oven-baked Chips (see below)
Roasted vine tomatoes (optional)

1 To make the chimichurri sauce, put the parsley, oregano and garlic in a small food processor or blender and whizz until finely chopped, then stir in the extra virgin olive oil, red wine vinegar and chilli flakes. Season with salt and pepper and leave to one side until ready to serve.

2 To cook the steaks, put a griddle or large frying pan over a high heat and leave to become super-hot, then add a trickle of oil. If the steaks are at all wet, pat them dry with kitchen paper, then season generously with salt and pepper. As soon as the oil is smoking hot, put the steaks into
the pan. Cook for about 11⁄2 minutes, then flip over, cooking for a further minute or so, then flip over every minute until the steaks are cooked to your liking. If there is a thick piece of fat around the edge of the steak, use a pair of tongs to hold the steak vertically in the pan to brown the fat.

3 Remove the steaks from the pan and leave in a warm place to rest for at least 5 minutes. Serve the steaks with any resting juices poured over, and spoon some chimichurri sauce on top. Serve with oven-baked chips and roasted vine tomatoes, if you like.

Recipes by Liverpool John Moores University Students

This year I was invited to be involved in one of the modules at my old university, John Moores in Liverpool. The module was Media and Food as part of the Home Economics BA (hons) degree, which is what I did many moons ago!

This module was designed for students to develop an understanding of the food media and the specialist skills and techniques required to prepare and present food to the media.

The students were asked to write recipes and a magazine article on one of the three following themes.

Midweek Family Meals

Desk-Top Lunch Recipes

Batch Cooking Recipes

I was lucky enough to sample most of the delicious dishes and view the work. I was really impressed and a huge amount of effort had been put into them all. Following are three examples of the recipes written by students.

Alex Armstrong – Squid Ink Pancakes, Basmati Rice and Fresh Salmon


350g Basmati Rice

100g Shallots – Finely Diced

2 Fish Stock Cubes

100ml White Wine

300g Fresh Salmon

20g Dill

4 Cloves Garlic – Crushed

100ml Double Cream

100g Grated Parmesan Cheese

140g Soya Beans

Pinch of Salt and Pepper


350g Basmati Rice

100g Shallots – Finely Diced

2 Fish Stock Cubes

100ml White Wine

300g Fresh Salmon

20g Dill

4 Cloves Garlic – Crushed

100ml Double Cream

100g Grated Parmesan Cheese

140g Soya Beans

Pinch of Salt and Pepper

Pancake Batter

Makes 12 pancakes

110g Plain Flour

1 Egg Yolk

1 Egg

290ml Milk

2 Sachets Squid Ink

6g Salt

160ml Sunflower Oil

1 Sift the flour into a large bowl with the salt. Make a well in the centre, add the egg and egg yolk. Pour the milk on to the eggs. Using a whisk, slowly mix the eggs and milk together, drawing in the flour from the edges. When all the flour is incorporated beat quickly to remove any lumps. If any lumps remain use a hand blender to whisk the mixture for a couple of minutes. Add the sachet of squid ink, mix well into the pancake batter. Pour the mixture into a jug, cover with cling film and set aside for ½ hour.

2 Wrap the salmon in tin foil on a tray and bake in the oven for 10mins or until just tender (to test, gently prise the flesh apart with a fork – if it flakes easily it is ready).Place in a warming oven until needed.  You can freeze the salmon at this point if you want to save some for later.

3 Add the fish stock cube to the 500ml of water and the rice, bring to the boil. Simmer for 10 minutes or until tender.  Drain the rice, place in a medium sized dish, cover and keep warm.

4 Cook the soya beans in lightly salted boiling water and simmer until just tender. Add to the rice and keep warm.

5 Next gently fry the shallots and garlic until soft but not brown in a tablespoonful of sunflower oil. Add the wine and simmer for 1 minute.  Now add this to the rice and soya beans, plus the grated parmesan cheese, dill and the double cream.

6 Finally add the cooked salmon. Try not to break it up too much when mixing. Keep warm.

This filling should have a creamy texture. If not add a little hot water.  If you wish you can freeze the filling at this point.

Using a non- stick frying pan, wipe the pan with a tablespoon of oil and place on a medium heat.

When the pan is hot, pour enough batter to just coat the bottom of the pan; if there is excess pour this back into the remaining uncooked batter.  Cook one side of the pancake for 1-2 minutes or until the bottom of the pancake is turning a golden brown colour. Flip the pancake over and do the same on the other side; when finished place on a plate and put into a warm oven. Wipe the frying pan again with 1 to 2 tablespoons of sunflower oil, place over the heat until hot and then repeat the procedure again.  Cover with tinfoil and keep warm in an oven. At this point, you can wrap the pancakes in clingfilm and freeze them. The pancakes can be kept in the freezer for up to four weeks.

Place 2-3 tablespoons of the rice and salmon filling down the middle of the pancakes and fold over the edges to make a cylinder shape and place on a warm serving dish.  Do the same with the rest of the filling and pancakes. Serve with a dressed rocket salad and fresh white wine. The great thing is it only costs  £1.85 per person.

By Alex Armstrong

Antonia Morgan – Moroccan Bean Stew with Cous Cous and Feta Cheese

Serves 2                                         10 minutes prep/15minutes cooking


150g Cous cous.

Vegetable Stock cube

Tin of mixed beans and a tin of chickpeas

60g Feta cheese

Two Red Peppers/One Red Onion

125g Mushrooms

3 cloves Garlic/one green Chilli

200g  Passatta

Fresh Ginger (grated tablespoon)

2 tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce.

Turmeric, Paprika. Cumin.       (Teaspoon of each)

Olive oil/Coriander


Wash hands and pre-heat the oven to gas mark 4/180oC/fan oven 160oC.

Cut two peppers in half and deseed. Cover in a tablespoon olive oil and salt and pepper. Put the peppers on a baking tray so the hollow part is facing down and put in the oven.

Slice mushrooms into chunky pieces and dice red onion finely and add to a frying pan on a medium heat with two tablespoons of olive oil. Whilst these are frying off crush three cloves of garlic into the frying pan and two tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce. Lower the heat down now and let the sauce and garlic coat the mushrooms and onion.

Check on the peppers you want them to look glossy and the skin bubbling from the surface. If they are done then remove but if not leave them for an extra five minutes and then check again.

Put the cous cous in glass bowl, fill a jug of boiling hot water (250ml) and add the stock cube and let it dissolve. Pour into the bowl till it’s about 2cm above the dried cous cous .Cover with Clingfilm.

Add the tin of mixed beans and chickpeas to a separate pan. Add one green sliced chilli (deseeded).One teaspoon each of cumin, turmeric and paprika. Grate one tablespoon of fresh ginger and add this to the pan with 200g of passatta and season with salt and pepper.

Add the cooked mushrooms and red onion to the pan of beans and chickpeas. Stir so all the ingredients are mixed through then heat on a medium heat for 5 minutes. Now taste .Check for seasoning, balance of spices. If it’s too spicy add some more passata if it’s not spicy enough add more paprika, cumin and turmeric. (It is down to your own personal taste)

Simmer on low for a further 5 minutes. Chop the feta cheese into cubes and chop the coriander. Leaving some full leaves to garnish.

Take red peppers out of oven they should now be ready to take the skins off. (I pat them with a damp cloth so they are easier to handle)Removing the skin is simple the skins naturally rise from the pepper when roasted. When skins are removed chop pepper up in to bite size chunks and add to bean mix.

Mix cous cous with a fork to make fluffy. Spoon cous cous into your lunchbox and top the bean sauce on top making sure the cous cous is still visible to the eye. Add the feta cheese on top and the chopped coriander.

By Antonia Morgan

Yiannis Toumbas – Gorgeous Rich Chocolate Praline Cake

SERVES 12-15 • PREP 1 hour • COOK 20 min

For the confident cook

Approximately Total Cost £8.04 Cost per portion 67p (12 portions)


3 eggs

95g sugar

70g flour

25g cocoa

5ml vanilla essence


145ml milk

1 egg

16g corn flour

26g sugar

5ml Vanilla Essence


150g sugar

150ml water

5ml Tia Maria Liqueur


450g double Cream

250g Dark chocolate chopped (57-60% cocoa solids)

20g Brown Sugar

20g Unsalted Butter

100g hazelnut and cocoa sweet spread


100g Dark Chocolate chopped

150ml Single Cream



Preheat the oven to 180°C/fan 160°C/gas4. Line with greaseproof paper a 20cm/8˝ spring form/cake tin. In a bowl whisk the eggs, sugar and vanilla until creamy and fluffy.

Then fold in the sieved flour and sieved cocoa.

Pour the mixture into the cake tin and bake for 15-20 minutes or until a fine skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean.

When the sponge cake cool down, cut it in two slices.



Put the milk into a saucepan and heat gently, stirring occasionally. Meanwhile in a bowl mix the egg, the corn flour, sugar and vanilla essence.   As soon as the milk boils, stir in the corn flour mixture and boil again the milk mixture stirring continuously.

As soon as the cream boils, remove from heat, pour it in a bowl and cover with cling film to avoid the creation of skin.


Put the water with sugar into a saucepan, stir well and heat gently.

As soon as syrup boils, remove from heat stir in the liqueur and let to cool down.


Pour the 250ml of double cream in a sauce pan in medium heat and bring into boil.

As soon as the cream boils remove it from heat and stir in the chocolate and the brown sugar until it become one homogenised mixture.

Live it little time to chill and stir in the butter and hazelnut and cocoa sweet spread.

Then whisk the pastry cream for a few seconds with an electric mixer, pour in the rest (200ml) double cream and then whisk them until fluffy. Don’t over whisk! Then stir this cream in the chocolate cream mixture until become homogenized but not over mix to avoid cream from curdling.

CHOCOLATE SAUCE (Make it just before you will decorate the cake)

Pour the single cream in a sauce pan and bring to boil in medium heat.

As soon as the cream boils remove it from heat and stir in the chocolate until it become a homogenized mixture.


In a spring form put one slice of sponge cake sprinkle with the half of the syrup, pour the half chocolate praline cream, and then repeat once.

Put it in the freezer to chill for at least 2 hours. Then remove spring form, decorate with chocolate sauce and use your imagination for the rest.

It can be refrigerated up to 2 months. If it will be kept frozen, 4 hours after that will freeze, remove from form and rub with cling film.

! If you use it from freezer, take it out at least 3 hours before serving  decorate immediately and leave it to defrost in the refrigerator.

Hits & Tips

The lactose tolerant can make this recipe too but with some modifications. In the place of butter they can use margarine, in the place of milk double/single cream they can easily be replaced with soy products (soy milk and soy cream) or any other vegetable products. Be careful with hazelnut and cocoa spread because most of them contain milk so buy one without milk.

You can add whatever liqueur or brandy you like in the syrup (some ideas that fit perfectly are crème de cocoa, orange brandy, cherry liqueur). The liqueur or brandy that you will use will specify the after taste of your dessert.

Chocolate decorations you can find in this site:

It’s easier to remove cake from the cake tin when you warm the tin exactly before removing the cake. This can be achieved with the help of a hair dryer or with a burner.

The last stage of the cake where you whisk the patisserie cream with the double cream may vary from country to country. In other countries where dairy cream is different or there is not double cream (for example Greece) and there is other kinds of dairy cream, whisk the dairy cream alone and fold it in the chocolate mixture lastly and very carefully to avoid curding.

Always read the whole recipe before starting to make it.

You can make this cake with whatever chocolate you like (milk, white and dark chocolate) – The same stands for sauce too.

In the cream you can add crushed roasted hazelnuts or almonds. You can put some berries too.

Sponge Cake – If your mixer is not good enough and if you can’t whisk the eggs like in the photo,

then add 1tsp Baking Powder in the flour and fold in the eggs mixture.

By Yiannis Toumbas

British Asparagus

We are well and truly into the British Asparagus season (a culinary calendar highlight, running form May-June). Known as ‘The Miracle Vegetable’ because it contains vitamins A, C and E, folic acid, fibre, iron, prebiotics and potassium – it’s great for our immune systems, hearts, skin, hair, nails and apparently our love lives (it contains some other magic that I won’t even attempt to try and explain).

In addition to asparagus being fantastic for your mind, body and soul, it’s also really versatile when it comes to cooking. You can boil it (very lightly, then serve it coated in butter), you can bake it, sauté it, deep-fry it, griddle it…the list is endless.

The downside to this delicious ingredient is that the season is short lived, so without further ado, why not try asparagus, tomato and brie tarts – perfect for a quick lunch or a starter as part of a dinner party? Or asparagus and crab linguine with lemon, chilli and basil – this is a favourite in our house for a Friday night dinner, enjoyed with a nice bottle of white wine? Or asparagus tempura – delicious for starters and pre-dinner nibbles? Or finally asparagus, parma ham and soft-boiled egg salad – a perfect summery supper where the asparagus is griddled giving it a mild smokey flavour? Whichever you choose (I suggest them all overt the next few weeks) they are all fantastic and simple to do.

Now, before you dash off down to the shop to grab the ingredients, I have a few things to look out for when buying your asparagus: avoid any stems that are discoloured, scarred or wrinkled – go for the nice bright green bundles, don’t go for any stalks that are turning slimy at the tips and make sure the tips/buds are tightly knit.

If you want to find out more about British asparagus, visit

Enjoy and happy asparagus season.


Makes 4

375g ready rolled puff pastry

4 heaped teaspoons of sun-dried tomato paste

1 egg yolk mixed with 1 tbsp milk (egg wash)

2 bunches of asparagus

1 tbsp olive oil

Around 200g French Brie, thinly sliced

Pre-heat the oven to 220C/200C fan ovens/gas 7

Unroll the pastry and cut it into 4 individual rectangles. Sit them on an oiled baking sheet and then score a border of about 5mm around the edge of each one. Prick the pastry several times with a fork inside the border.

Place a heaped teaspoon of the sun-dried tomato paste in the middle of each piece of pastry and spread evenly over the surface.

Trim the asparagus to fit within the pastry border, and then toss it in the olive oil to coat lightly. Season with salt and pepper. Sit in an even row on top the sun-dried tomato paste. Brush the pastry borders with the egg wash and place in the oven for 8 minutes.

After the 8 minutes is up, the slices of brie can be sat on top of the asparagus. Return the tarts to the oven for a further 2 minutes or so, until the puff pastry is golden and the brie has just melted on top of the asparagus.

Remove from the oven and serve hot or cold.


These tarts are delicious served with a simple salad of rocket leaves, toasted pinenuts and red onion, tossed in lemon juice and extra virgin olive oil.


Serves 2 as a main course or 4 as a starter

200-300g linguine

3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 bunch of asparagus (check 1 bunch weight)

1 red chilli, seeded and sliced

2 cloves of garlic, finely sliced

3 ripe tomatoes, quartered, de-seeded and diced

100g white crab meat, fresh or frozen

Grated zest and juice of ½ lemon

1 small bunch of basil leaves, finely sliced

Bring a saucepan of salted water to the boil and cook the linguine until al dente.

Meanwhile, heat 2 tbsp of the olive oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat. Cut the asparagus into smaller pieces, about 3-4cm long. Add to the pan, along with the chilli and garlic, and fry for about 3-4 minutes until the asparagus is becoming tender.

Increase the heat and add the diced tomatoes to the pan. Fry for just a minute or so before adding the crab meat, lemon zest and lemon juice. Toss around until the crab is heated through. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper before tossing with the cooked linguine, basil and the remaining 1 tbsp olive oil. Serve straight away.


This can also be served as a cold pasta salad. Use some penne rather than linguine and leave to cool. Add the basil once cool.


Serves 4 as a starter, side dish or snack

Sunflower or vegetable oil, for deep-frying

50g plain flour, plus 3 tablespoons extra for dusting

1 teaspoon cornflour

100ml chilled sparkling or soda water

2 bunches of asparagus

For the dipping sauce

Half a red chilli, seeds removed and finely chopped

2 tbsp rice wine vinegar

1 small clove of garlic, peeled and crushed

2 tsp caster sugar

1 tsp freshly grated root ginger

2 tsp chopped coriander

To prepare the dipping sauce, simply mix all of the ingredients together and leave for about 30 minutes for all of the flavours to infuse.

Pour enough oil into a wok, large pan or deep-fat fryer to come halfway up the pan. If you have a thermometer, heat to 180ºC.  If not, check the oil is at the right temperature by dropping in a 2 to 3cm cube of bread. It should be golden and crisp in just 1 minute.

Place the flour, cornflour and good pinch of salt in a bowl and mix in the soda water with a chopstick or the handle of a wooden spoon until it is just combined. The mixture should be thin and slightly lumpy, which will give you a lovely crisp batter.

When the oil is ready, trim the ends off the asparagus, rinse under the tap, dust in the 3 tablespoons of flour, and then briefly dip into the batter. Drop straight into the oil, a few at a time, for just 1 to 2 minutes until pale golden and crisp.

Drain on kitchen paper and serve straight away with a dish of dipping sauce.


A quick alternative to the dipping sauce recipe is to simple serve a dish of soy sauce to dip the tempura into.


Serves 4

1 tbsp red wine vinegar

2 tsp runny honey

1 tsp Dijon or wholegrain mustard

4 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for drizzling

400g Jersey royal potatoes

4 free-range or organic eggs

2 bunches of Asparagus

8 slices of parma ham

1 bunch of spring onions, thinly sliced

½ punnet salad cress

First of all, make the dressing and keep to one side. Place the red wine vinegar, honey and mustard in a small bowl and gradually whisk in the olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.

Cut the potatoes in half or quarters of they are particularly large and cook in boiling salted water for about 10 minutes, or until tender.

While the potatoes are cooking, bring a medium saucepan of water to the boil. Place in the eggs, and bring back to the boil. Cook for 7 minutes before draining the eggs from the water and running under cold water for a couple of minutes to stop them cooking further. Remove from the water and then remove the shells.

Pre-heat a griddle pan. Trim the ends off the asparagus and toss in a little olive oil. Place on the grill pan and cook for about 5 minutes until they are tender and have a few grill lines marking them. You may need to do this in a couple of batches depending on the size of your pan.

To cook the parma ham, tear or cut each piece into thick strips and also cook on the griddle pan until golden and crisp.

Arrange the warm potatoes, asparagus, parma ham, spring onions, and salad cress onto plates. Cut the eggs into quarters and sit on top of the salad. Whisk the dressing to combine, if it has separated, and then drizzle over the plates of salad. Serve straight away.

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  Packed full of festive spices, stem ginger and ginger wine this rich and fruity Christmas cake is a real treat. This recipe was originally featured in a feature I did for Waitrose Food magazine November 2015.  Makes 1 X 25cm round cake   700g mixed currants, raisins and sultanas 200g soft dried apricots, quartered […]

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.