Ras el Hanout, Hummus & Caramelised Onion Stuffed Sweet Potatoes + EXCITING ANNOUNCEMENT

Ras el Hanout stuffed sweet potatoes
I go in and out of phases of shopping for the same, one particular ingredient, purely due to a complete, utter obsession. You know how it is… dinner seems incomplete without it, and not grabbing a couple off the shelves every supermarket shop feels like your cheating on your best friend.

– Hummus for one… I don’t even know what to snack with if that’s not in the fridge right now. You can’t have crackers by themselves…
– Did someone mention avocado? I know this is the most classic, basic thing one could eat… but what other ingredient could I throw into almost every meal and get that wonderfully creamy and buttery sensation… your right, avocado is the one and only.
– Sweet potato… an instant staple. The obsession has been going on a strong year now (showing no signs of stopping), and without it stored safely by my side in the kitchen, those ‘chuck together whatever you have for dinner’ nights would be far more empty it. Thank-you sweet potato, I am forever in your debt.

Ras el Hanout stuffed sweet potatoes
So, let’s combine one oldie obsession with a newie. (NB – BIG ANNOUNCEMENT APPROACHING).
Amongst doing some research for the cookbook i’m writing (oops there it is!) I came across a new favourite ingredient: ras el hanout paste. (Shall we back track a bit here? Sure thing.)
My LONG silence, and poor posting schedule is because i’ve been working on my first cookbook with Hardie Grant! It’s a lunch one, all about re-invigorating that midday meal break – ain’t no soggy creased sandwiches in sight!
Bit excited? Me too! How many times can one say the word surreal? Many many more.
More info to come, but it’s coming out in February so before you know it, it could be in your hot little hands!

Anyways – back on track! Ras el Hanout roasted sweet potatoes, with an added bonus of hummus, and cous cous (unintentional rhyming), sweetness from caramelised onions and a little bit of toasted pita on the side for good measure. Everybody wins. And more ras el hanout and sweet potatoes will be seen in the book! Stay tuned groovy people.

RAS EL HANOUT, HUMMUS & CARAMALISED ONIONS & STUFFED SWEET POTATOES
serves 2-3

Ingredients
2 sweet potatoes, halved
4 1/2 tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 ras el hanout paste
70g cous cous
100ml boiling water
1/2 tsp ground cumin
20g almonds, roughly chopped
1 tbsp pumpkin seeds
parsley & feta to garnish
hummus and pita to serve
salt to season

Caramalised Onions:
2 tbsp olive oil
2 red onions, sliced
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar

Ingredients
1. Preheat the oven to 200 C/ 400 F/ Gas mark 6. Coat the sweet potatoes in 2 tbsp of the olive oil and a generous pinch of salt. Stir together the raw el hanout and 2 tbsp oil and spread over the sweet potatoes. Roast in the oven for 25-30 minutes or until caramelised and tender.
2. In a medium frypan, heat the oil over low heat. Add the onions and cook for 10 minutes or until softened and turning lightly golden, tossing the pan regularly (resisting the urge to turn up the heat). Stir in the sugar and balsamic and cook for a further 5 minutes or until the onions are caramalised.
3. In a small bowl, pour in the cous cous and top with the boiling water, 1/2 tbsp remaining oil, cumin, and a pinch of salt. Cover and leave for 5 minutes or until all the water is absorbed. Fluff with a fork, and add more seasoning and olive oil if necessary.
4. To serve, cut a lengthways slit into the sweet potatoes, slightly open and fill with the cous cous, and caramalised onions. Garnish with feta, parsley, almonds, pumpkin seeds, and serve alongside hummus and toasted pita.

Thanks for stopping by!

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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!

spaghetti
ROASTED TOMATOS WITH OREGANO & GARLIC BREADCRUMB SPAGHETTI

Ingredients
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

Method
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!

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Miso Mushroom Noodle Soup

miso mushroom noodle soup
Winter.

Some of ya love it. Some of ya firmly dislike it (I thought hate was a bit of a strong word…)

Coming from a gal whose Winter doesn’t normally get anything near or below zero, I’m currently kinda a fan of it. (But I’ll give you my full review and feelings about it after the cold has settled in in January… apparently I’m in for a bit of a cold surprise…)
Call me crazy! But there’s nothing better than the excuse of a cold wet day to stay in doors, cook, read (and binge watch series.. who am I kidding..) and enjoy the sweet sport of doing absolutely nothing.
In the wise words of Jack Johnson “Can’t you see that it’s just raining? Ain’t no need to go outside”.
Preach it bruddaaa ^^

And amidst the cold (and recently having a legit ‘nose blocking cold’) my tummy always crys out for the warm comforts of soup. The stuff that ‘sticks to your lungs’ and gives you the feeling you’ve just had a heater put inside you (in the least wierd way possible… hmm totally forget is said that…)

miso mushroom noodle soup
The other not-so-perks of Winter include when your boiler breaks so you have no hot water or heating for the weekend… I’ve seen warmer days…. BUT thanks to my mass stock up of this Miso Mushroom Noodle Soup I was kept in good spirits!
(Supported by the fact I chilled.. but not literally… in another nearby heated flat in the company of curry…. oh yah Lamb Korma)

This soup is the answer to all your cold winter problems.
It’s got that broth sort of vibe with my pal Miso paste, combined with a tone of immune boosting ginger, veggies (mushrooms you are my hero) and noodles … cause noodles make everything better… along with a good garnish of coriander.
So it’s light and hearty all in one! Sorta an oxymoron… but you’ll totally get what I mean when you eat it.. in the wonderful coziness of your own abode… warming the cockles of your heart.
Ahhh bliss!!
Just what you need to solve the Winter confusion and shock when it starts to get at 3.30pm… yah.. I’m still adjusting… what even is sunlight these days??

MISO MUSHROOM NOODLE SOUP
serves 4

Ingredients
20g porcini mushrooms (in 1/2 cup boiling water)
2 tbsp olive oil
4 cloves garlic, diced
4 cm piece ginger, grated
300g button mushrooms, sliced
1 1/2 litre vegetable stock
5 tbsp miso paste
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 x 150g wok ready noodles
3/4 cabbage, finely sliced
80g snow peas
1 cup bean sprouts
1 chilli, finely sliced, half for soup and other half to garnish
1/2 cup coriander, plus more to garnish

Method
1. Pour boiling water over the porcini mushrooms in a small bowl and set aside. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat, and stir in the garlic and ginger for a minute or until nice and aromatic. Add the mushrooms and continue to cook until soft.
2. Add the stock to the pot, then stir in the miso paste, soy sauce and bring to the boil. Add the porcini mushrooms and noodles and cook for a further minute, until the noodles are warmed through. Stir in the cabbage, snow peas, sprouts and chilli. Cover and turn down the heat for the veggies to slightly cook (will only take a minute or so).
3. Serve with an extra garnish of chilli and coriander. Enjoy!

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