Roasted Tomatoes, with Oregano & Garlic Breadcrumb Spaghetti

Spring Spaghetti
Since moving to London, (and maybe the fact of becoming an ‘adult’ contributes…) the pace and complexity of life has sky rocketed. Always somewhere to be, something new to buy, some trending news hitting social media. Mondays blur to a Friday and the seasons quickly switch at the blink of an eye. (side note… it’s almost May… feel free to freak out over this with me).

So when there’s a day off work inviting me in, promising a sleep in and big warm hugs from the duvet, the temptation to slow down and flow with the mood of the day is too enticing. A Skype call home is made over a slowly made fried eggs (avocado totally not optional), and the day only really begins when I get out of my pyjamas (the only reason being to go and buy food).

spring spaghetti
With the sun making a gladly received appearance, (and my tummy craving the comfort of pasta) a light and Spring suiting rendition is devised as I plan the ingredients (and promise myself second servings).
Simplicity is what makes this pasta truly special. For once, (on my behalf) it’s not drenched in sauce or inundated with lashings of parmesan (guilty), instead, the ingredients, are each strong and true in their own right, (and if you can, buy these ingredients as top quality as you can from farmers markets or green grocers for the best results – you’ll definitely taste the difference!)

I find there’s something about cooking Italian inspired dishes that feels nostalgic and consoling. It feels good for the soul. It’s real, and doesn’t skip on flavour or honesty. It makes you want to invite loved ones round for a feast to share in the small and good things. (Just one of the many philosophical thoughts cooking pasta can bring about).

Photographing over the allure of the garlic and oregano breadcrumbs and sweet smelling roasted tomatoes, self control was tested beyond belief, but luckily for me, this recipes serves 4, so I could slurp up the spaghetti as I took the shots. Win!
The ultimate day off. Slow, simple, and spaghetti. Dare I add another ‘S’ and say Spring!


400g cherry tomatoes
6 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper
400g spaghetti
80g pancetta, roughly sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 slices stale bread (ciabatta or sourdough work well), torn into rough breadcrumbs
1/2 tbsp dried oregano
1 tbsp fresh oregano, chopped finely
90g rocket leaves
Juice of 2 lemons (plus extra wedges to serve)
fresh basil, chilli flakes, and grated parmesan to garnish

1. Preheat the oven to 150C. Place the tomatoes on a lined roasting tray, and coat in 2 tbsp of the oil and seasoning. Roast for 20 minutes or until tomatoes look like they are about to burst.
2. Meanwhile, cook the spaghetti in a medium saucepan of salted boiling water and cook to al dente. Drain under cold water and lightly toss in 2 tbsp of olive oil and set aside.
3. Heat a medium fry pan over medium heat, and fry the pancetta until crispy. Pour on top of the pasta. Then heat the remaining olive oil in the same frypan (using those delicious pancetta oils to cook in), and cook the garlic for 1 minute, then add the breadcrumbs,  and the dried and fresh oregano. Cook for around 4 minutes or until the breadcrumbs are crispy and fragrant. Toss the breadcrumbs, and rocket into the pasta mixture and squeeze over the lemon juice. (If the pasta seems a bit dry, drizzle over a bit more olive oil. If in doubt, olive oil. Always).
4. Serve with a generous garnish of basil, a grating of parmesan and a pinch of chill flakes.

Thanks for stopping by!


Hazelnut & Cocoa Cake with Pomegranate

Hazelnut Cocoa Cake with Pomegranate
(actually kidding, am I the only one that feels like this year has actually soared by?! And call me crazy… but it doesn’t even feel like christmas cause it feels like we should be in October right now…. this. is. maddddddnessss.)

There are many a things this Christmas loving kid IS SO EXCITED FOR THIS MONTH!:
(pre-note: there will be many capitals this post due to elevated levels of happiness due to christmas fever)
– fairy lights… SO MANY FAIRY LIGHTS = cozy & festive heaven
– buying a ridiculous 3D knit to wear all day errey day with pride
– the impending promise of A WHOLE LOT OF CHRISTMAS FOOD (hullo roasts, gingerbread… and a tone of hot chocolate – but let’s be honest, I have that all year round)
– and pretty much being all cozy, christmasy and cute and crossing every finger that we might get a white chrismtas… gal can dream…

It’s funny, this time of the year, I have serious problems maintaining any level of normality and having a ‘cool & calm’ air about me. FORGET IT, SANTA IS COMING.

… Hence… baking a cake the other day and being way to overally keen to photograph and EAT it that I put the cream on early…. and… well… it melted all over the cake…
BUT HEY! Sort of took on the vibe of a creamy cake… which my tastebuds really didn’t mind at all! Just an excuse to eat the whole cake quicker anyway… such. a. pity.

Hazelnut Cocoa Cake with Pomegranate
Anyway, so the cake I am talking about, IS in fact the cake pictured, hence only 2, not as nice pics, BUT it was so mega scrummmy and yummy in my tummy that I just wanted to share it with you anyway.


Ahh. Someone stop me.

This cake is mega super duper easy with the simple melt and stir method (no mixer required) and has that toasted hazelnut flavour we love with a subtle chocolate flavour hit, a burst of pomegranate and creaminess.. well obviously from the cream 😛
It’s got a flourless cake sorta vibe (it almost is flourless actually) and is super moist … and surprisingly easy to consume lots off…
The cake has no raising agents, so depending on the tin you cook it in, it will of course, be flatter than other cakes your used to, but makes it perfect for joozing up with cream, pomegranates and more toasted hazelnuts. It would even be perfect for a multiple layered cake!


recipe adapted from Izy Hossack’s ‘Swedish Chocolate Cake’ (pg 148) from her cookbook ‘Top with Cinnamon’

135g salted butter
20g cocoa powder
350g granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
90g ground toasted hazelnuts
50g plain flour
3 eggs

to serve:
icing sugar for dusting
200g double cream
1/2 pomegranate worth of seeds
toasted hazelnuts, roughly chopped

1. Preheat the oven to 180C. Line, grease and flour an 18cm springform tin.
2. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan, then remove from the heat and stir in the rest of the ingredients. Pour the mixture into the prepared cake tin and bake for 20-30 minutes – it should be set around the edges but still gooey in the middle.
3. Leave the cake to cool in the tin for around 20 minutes, then run a butter knife around the edge to loosen the cake and carefully remove from the tin. While the cake is cooling whip the cream.
4. To serve, dust the cake with icing sugar and top with cream, pomegranates and remaining hazelnuts.


Summer Berry & Thyme Jam ~ Gifts from Afar

summer berry and thyme jam
Let’s all be honest.. one of the best things about birthdays and Christmas is the gifts
I know we all wish we were better people (well I do) that say we wake up on the mornings of these occasions and think of anything BUT gifts… but then I’d be lying…

BUT don’t worry! It ain’t all gifts for me… but also the fun and joy of giving gifts to others.
And oh the absolute satisfaction and excitement you get when you pick out the perfect present for someone that you just can’t wait to give. THAT’S the good gift feeling.
(and crossing every finger that they won’t have to put their actor hat on and pretend to love it when we all know, they’re just hoping the gift receipt is somewhere tucked in there so you can return it… oh the honesty hurts)

As a lover of gift giving (and gift receiving.. cause… duh.. i’m not a robot) I always try to make sure I add a personal touch to make sure the receiver really knows how much a value them. (man I could go all levels of deep here).
I love the large tangible sort of gifts, that aren’t necessarily too expensive, but speak a volume of words of memories and understanding of what the other likes.

summer berry and thyme jam
So you can understand my enthusiasm when a family members birthday pops up on the calendar! Ooo boy it’s time to impress.
This time, it was Dad’s birthday. An absolute crack-up and a foodie fiend with a sweet tooth just like me. (thanks for that dad by the way.) So when it came time to get a present, there’s nothing that seemed more obvious and special…

To back track a little, if I mayyyyy;
Ever since we were little tackers, eating croissants for lunch was a sunday tradition. ALWAYS accompanied with jam. Without a doubt. I mean the thought of a plain croissant was simply ludicrous! And as always, Dad (like myself) believed in the firm philosophy of having croissants WITH our jam. (just like he has his vegemite on toast… but that’s another story…).
About a year ago, I made a huge batch of jam (I’m talking a good gang of jars) which dad single handedly finished polished off himself. Not even breaking a sweat. Please, give the man a challenge.

So coming up to his birthday I thought, let’s replenish the jam supply and give him something he loves, and a little flashback to me cooking right beside him while we’re on opposite sides of the earth.
Something we both enjoy the simple pleasures of.

You guessed it…. JAM!
Jam for the man!

summer berry and thyme jam
Also, man, I love getting gifts in the post. The whole anticipation of receiving a parcel is also half the fun of the surprise! Oh the joy when I see something waiting at the door! It’s like unwrapping a present times 2! Gotta love a little mystery.

So, this was just like the joy I had when Kylee Newton’s book ‘The Modern Preserver’ arrived in the mail!
And how much more serendipitous does it get when I use one of her jam recipes as a gift to send back in the post!
Coincidence? I think not.

If you haven’t picked up a copy of Kylee’s beautiful cookbook then this is the perfect time! (after all it tis the gift giving season).  And nothing says homemade with love more than a lovingly made preserve wonderfully based around seasonal produce and the waste-not want-not mantra. With beautiful pictures and recipes for any level of preserver this is a little gift guide gold mine. Get round it yo. Kylee you’re a legend!

There’s nothing quite like homemade jam. And once you make it from scratch… I warn you, you’ll never stop. (But don’t worry, your neighbours and gift receivers will love you for it).

recipe by Kylee Newton ‘The Modern Preserver’

1.5kg mixed berries (strawberries – halved , blackberries, raspberries)
20ml water
70ml lemon juice (around 1 large lemon)
900g jam/caster sugar
2 tbsp fresh thyme leaves (or the recipe calls for lemon thyme although this wasn’t available at the time)

You will need:
Plates in the freezer for wrinkle test
Sterilised jam jars

1. Put the berries in a large pan with the water and soften for 10 minutes on a moderate heat.
2. Add the lemon juice and sugar, stirring to dissolve the sugar then bring it to the boil at around 104C, stirring intermittently, for a further 20 minutes. Use the wrinkle test*, as needed, to check when it has reached a soft setting point.
3. When it is ready, take off the heat, skim off any scum from the surface and stir through the thyme leaves.
4. Leave to sit for 5 minutes then ladle into warm, dry sterilised jars and seal.

Keep unopened for up to 6 months. Once opened, refrigerate and eat within 4-6 weeks.

*To do the wrinkle test, place a small plate in the freezer at the beginning of making the jam, then when ready to test, take the jam off the heat and place a small teaspoon of jam on the plate, leave to stand for a minute or so. Then push the blob of jam with your finger, and if it wrinkles the jam is done, if not leave on the heat for another 3-5 minutes until the jam wrinkles.

Thanks for stopping by!