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.

serves 2-3

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

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!


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!


Chocolate & Peanut Butter Swiss Roll

Chocolate & Peanut Butter Swiss Roll
For being a logical minded person, I have a surprisingly big love and appreciation for creativity.
I think there can be a balance between logicality and creativity, where you are logically creative… or visa versa, is this another nature vs nurture debate i don’t know about?

Now working as a baker, I get the ultimate chance to practice and develop my creative ideas and let them flow in food!! (is it the dream or what). Getting a chance to play with flavours and how to put them in different desserts. Dabbling in sugar. Tinkering with chocolate. Pottering about with flour. (stop while you’re ahead bec)

Chocolate & Peanut Butter Swiss Roll

So when it comes to my days off, and still all I can think about doing is cranking up the oven, and bringing my butter to room temp (too bake with… nothing else) and maybe watching my decent weeks worth of tv…. and perhaps not leaving the house… except to go the shops to buy more chocolate… and maybe splash on MORE kitchen equipment (MAN, my bank account hates me). After channeling so much energy into new recipes and ideas, it seemed even more therapeutic to just kick back this time, and let the recipe do to the talking, and let the whisk do what it does, and let me lick the spatula… and the whole bowl without offending any Health and Safety regulations.

I was so in the mood for chocolate it was insane. The moment a ganache glazed anything crossed my gaze I was a goner.
Plus that weekend I completely doused myself in peanut butter by having the crazed freakshake (peanut butter flavoured…) so naturally I just wanted more…

This swiss roll is indulgent, salty, sweet and rich in all the right places.
I’m going to say it’s chocolate craving perfect, if I dare.

recipe by Kamran from the Sophisticated Gourmet


60g all-purpose flour
50g unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted, plus more for dusting
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
4 large eggs plus 1 egg yolk, at room temperature
Pinch of fine-grain sea salt
125g granulated white sugar
55g unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
Powdered sugar for dusting (optional)

Peanut Butter Cream Cheese Mousse:
115g cream cheese, at room temperature
160g peanut butter (try to stick to a commercial brand because oil won’t separate out)
30g unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
100g powdered sugar
Pinch of fine-grain sea salt
Pinch of nutmeg
120 ml heavy whipping cream (double cream)

Peanut Brittle: (optional; refer to headnotes for substitute)
200g granulated white sugar
100g salted peanuts

Chocolate Ganache:
170g chopped dark chocolate (54 to 70 percent cacao)
180ml heavy whipping cream (double cream)
1/2 teaspoon light corn syrup/ golden syrup / light agave nectar

1. Preheat the oven to 450F / 230C. Grease the bottom and sides of a 9-by-13-in / 23-by-33-cm baking pan and line with parchment paper. Grease the top of the parchment and dust the pan with cocoa powder; tap out the excess.
In a medium bow, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, and baking powder. Set aside.
2. In a large bowl using a handheld mixer or in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whisk together the eggs, egg yolk, and salt on high speed until thick and doubled in volume, about 3 minutes.
3. With the mixer still on, steadily stream in all the granulated sugar; continue mixing on high speed for another 3 minutes, or until the mixture is light in color and thick in consistency, and leaves a trail when the whisk is dipped in and lifted out. To also check if the mixture is done, press a dot of the mixture between your thumb and forefinger; you shouldn’t be able to feel granules of sugar in the mixture
4. With a spatula gently fold in the cocoa flour mixture until just incorporated. Stream the butter down the side of the bowl, carefully stirring just to bring everything together.
5. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and gradually tilt the pan back and forth so the mixture levels out and evenly spread into the corners.
6. Bake for 7 to 10 minutes, or until the cake begins to pull away from the edges of the pan, the cake is springy to the touch, and the cake tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean or with a few crumbs attached.
7. While the cake bakes, evenly dust a clean tea towel (it should be longer than the pan) with cocoa powder. Once the cake is baked, run a thin knife along the sides of the pan, then invert the cake onto the prepared towel. Carefully loosen and peel off the parchment from the bottom of the warm cake. Working quickly, make a cut 1-in / 2.5cm in from one of the shorter edges, being sure not to cut more than halfway through (this will allow the cake to roll neatly). Lightly dust the top of the cake with more cocoa powder.
8. Firmly, but gently, roll up the warm cake from the cut end, including the tea towel in the roll, and leave the cake to cool completely, for around 1 hour in the fridge.
9. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 220C for the Peanut Brittle and prepare the Peanut Butter Cream Cheese Mousse by using an electric beater to whisk the cream until stiff peaks form. Scrape the whipped cream into a smaller bowl, and set aside.
In the same bowl, beat the cream cheese until smooth. Beat in the peanut butter, then the butter and the vanilla extract. Turning down the mixture to low, beat in the icing sugar, salt and ground nutmeg. Thoroughly stir in 1/3 of the whipped cream then gently fold in the remaining. Cover and leave to chill in the fridge.
10. Now make the Peanut Brittle by lining a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper, and evenly sprinkle in the sugar. Bake for 10-15 minutes, or until all the sugar is melted and golden. Once immediately out of the oven, carefully sprinkle over the chopped peanuts, and allow to cool completely before casually breaking into pieces.
11. Now make the Chocolate Ganache by putting the chocolate in a medium heatproof bowl. In a small saucepan over medium heat, bring the heavy cream to a light simmer. Remove the pan from the heat and pour the cream over the chocolate. Let the mixture sit for a minute, then add in the corn syrup and stir until smooth. Set aside.
12. Now to decorate! Once the cake is cool, gently unroll it and evenly spread the mousse onto the cake, leaving a 1/2-in / 12mm border all around. Re-roll the cake and place the cake on a clean cooling rack, over a sheet of parchment paper. Evenly pour the ganache onto the cake, use a spatula or knife to help spread it out. Allow the chocolate to drip off onto the parchment. Decorate the cake with the shards of peanut brittle, and put in the fridge to chill for 1 hour. Then cut and enjoy!


Thanks for stopping by!