Fig crumble

Both my husband and I love figs, so it was a no brainer for me to use them for my crumble when I wanted a change to the usual apple or rhubarb options. I also thought it might be fun to make individual pots, rather than one large crumble. I think the individual pots also ‘smarten’ them us, and are a perfect way of serving this kind of food if you’re hosting a dinner party. I serve my crumbles with thick custard, and personally I think my recipe still makes the best custard I’ve ever had (click here for recipe).

makes 4
12 figs
4 tsp caster sugar
75g self- raising or plain flour
50g butter (+ a small piece to butter the cooking dish / pots)
25g light brown muscovado sugar
25g chopped walnuts

1. Preheat the oven to 180°C / 355°F (fan).

2. Cut the figs into bite-size pieces. It think cutting them into quarters lengthwise, and then halving all those pieces make them perfect size. Place the pieces into buttered individual pots, or a larger dish if making one, bigger size. Sprinkle over the caster sugar.

3. Make the crumble topping. Self-raising flour will give you more puffy topping, and plain flour a more crumbly one. Place the flour, butter and muscovado sugar together, and massage together with your hands, until it’s all mixed together and a crumbly texture.

4. Cover the figs with the crumble topping mixture.


5. Chop the walnuts, and sprinkle on top of the crumble.


6. Bake for 30 minutes.


Luxury mac and cheese

As I’ve recently been on a lighter diet, I found this ultimate comfort food very rich and filling. It’s not for faint hearted or those even contemplating on a low calorie meal. This would have to be for your cheat day, I didn’t even bother counting the calories (= ignorance is bliss sometimes). This recipe makes a big batch, for those who have read my posts before know that for certain type of food I like making a big amount at one go. This recipe will probably serve about 10 people. This is a more luxurious version of a standard, simple mac and cheese. During baking the smell is indicating it might be very cheesy, however, surprisingly it actually isn’t.

500g uncooked macaroni
200g bacon lardons
2 medium onions, finely chopped
100g butter (+ a small piece to butter the oven dish)
100g plain flour
1tsp Dijon Mustard
1.2 litres full fat milk
100ml double cream
2 bay leaves
1tsp ground nutmeg
1tbsp ground black pepper
400g extra mature cheddar cheese
75g light breadcrumbs
80g grated Parmesan cheese

1. Cook the macaroni to be al dente (still with a little bite to it), and drain well.


2. Melt the butter in a large pan, on a low heat. Add the flour, and mix together. Cook, stirring, for about a minute, then add the mustard. Remove from the heat, and little by little, add milk, whisking the mixture together. Add the cream and bay leaves.

3. Heat the mixture, stirring regularly. I use this period for grating the cheese, however you have to remember to keep an eye on the mixture, and stir or whisk it occasionally. Once the mixture thickens, remove from heat, and remove the bay leaves.


4. Add the cheddar cheese, and mix until melted. Then add the nutmeg and black pepper, and mix. Also add the cooked macaroni and mix together.


5. Fry the finely chopped onions and bacon in a frying pan, and mix into the macaroni and cheese.

6. Heat the oven to 180°C / 355°F (fan). Smear your oven dish with a little butter, and put the mac and cheese mixture into the dish.


7. Mix the breadcrumb and Parmesan cheese together, and coat the mac and cheese with the mixture. Bake for 30 minutes.


Pumpkin soup

I’m currently experimenting with soups, trying to make one pretty much every week, whilst keeping it interesting at the same time. It’s probably no surprise that being a Halloween week, I’ve made pumpkin soup today. I don’t normally use pumpkin in cooking much at all, so it’s actually nice that I have as the soup is lovely!  The consistency of my soup is quite like that of  velouté, velvety and smooth. If you would like yours thicker, I would just reduce the amount of the liquids in my recipe.

2 onions, finely chopped
splash of olive oil
1 pumpkin (mine was 1,8kg)
1 litre of vegetable stock (I mix Bouillon powder with water)
2dl double cream
pumpkin seeds
pea shoots

1. Peel, deseed and chop the pumpkin.

2. Heat the oil, then cook onions for 5 minutes until soft. Add the pumpkin and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

3. Add the stock, and after bringing it to boil simmer for 10 minutes. Add the cream, and season with salt and pepper.

4. After cooling the soup down a little bit, puree it in a blender.

5. Re-heat if needed, drizzle some olive oil on top and serve with some pumpkin seeds and pea shoots.

Squid and chorizo salad

This wonderful salad is full of flavour and content. The dried chickpeas need to soaked for 8 hours so this dish will need some pre cooking planning, but apart from that is quite a simple food to make, with not a lot of actual cooking involved.

2dl dried chickpeas
400g squid
1 chorizo sausage (about 60g)
8 plum tomatoes
1 fresh small green chilli
2 cloves of garlic
1 spring onion
2 leaves of romaine heart lettuce
25g fresh parsley
juice of one lemon (or 2tbsp)
6 tbsp olive oil

1. Generously cover the chickpeas with cold water for 8 hours. After the soaking time, drain. Place in a pot, cover with fresh water and bring to boil. Simmer for 40 minutes.

2. Whilst the chickpeas are boiling, chop the ingredients for the salad base. Cut the tomatoes into quarters. Deseed and finely chop the chilli, and also finely chop the garlic cloves, spring onion and parsley. Cut the romaine heart lettuce into thin strips. Mix together, and add the lemon juice and half of the olive oil. Season with a little bit of salt and pepper. Place in the fridge. Once the chickpeas are cooked, drain and let cool.

3. Cut the body pouch of the squids open, and score the inside into diamond shapes. Then cut the squid into bite size pieces.


4. Heat the remaining half of the oil in a frying pan, and put the squid pieces in the scored size up. Fry for about 30 seconds, then turn over and fry for another 30 seconds. You may need to do this is two-three batches. Season with a little bit of salt and pepper, and set aside.

5. Chop the chorizo into small pieces. Fry in the pan for couple of minutes, then add the squid and fry for another minute.

6. Add the cooled chickpeas to the salad base, and mix together. Plate the salad, and add the squid and chorizo on top.

Mixed bean cassoulet

I’m not entirely sure what the true, authentic way of making bean cassoulet is, but the good thing with any this type of food is that you can easily make it your own. You can go from vegetarian version to a hearty, meaty one, or anything in between. This is what I went for this time, using my homemade chicken stock (click here for recipe), and I’m already looking forward to the next time, to make one perhaps with sausage. I would categorise this dish as hearty winter meal. I’ve never been a big bean lover, but this dish is a great introduction to tasty ways of cooking them, and my husband loves this dish. One thing that requires some organisation with this is soaking the dried beans beforehand, but otherwise the steps to making this food are pretty simple. I use a 10 bean mix of black eyed beans, black turtle beans, butter beans, haricot beans, lima beans, pinto beans, red kidney beans, rose cocoa beans, alubia beans and mung beans.

500g dried mixed beans
2 medium sized carrots, finely chopped
1 celery stick, finely chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
handful of fresh basil leaves, finely chopped
3 sprigs of fresh thyme
3 bay leaves
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
2 tsp paprika powder
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 can of chopped tomatoes
4 dl chicken stock
dash of vegetable oil

1. Place the beans in a bowl, cover with cold water and soak for 12 hours. After the soaking time, drain. Place in a pot, cover with fresh water. Bring to boil, and on high setting boil for 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to simmer, and boil for 1 hour 20 minutes.

2. Preheat the oven to 180°C / 360°F.

3. Place the oil, carrots, celery, onion, garlic, bay leaves and thyme in a casserole dish. Fry on the hob for about 5 minutes, stirring, until onions start getting softer.

4. Place all the remaining ingredients in and mix everything together thoroughly. Cover with a lid, and place in the oven. Bake for 35 minutes.


Cheese soufflé with bacon crumb

I’ve been wanting to attempt making soufflé for quite a long time, and finally thought it was time. I thought it might be a interesting change to my usual soft boiled breakfast eggs, and to give a bit more of a breakfast feel, top it with bacon crumb. I was relieved that my soufflés rose. My husband was worried the cheese would be too overpowering, however that luckily wasn’t the case. Depending on the size of your ramekins, this recipe could make 3-4.

15g butter

15g flour

150ml milk

35g finely grated gruyere cheese

1/2 tsp mustard powder

pinch or two ground white pepper

1 egg yolk

3 egg whites

1/4 tsp lemon juice



fine breadcrumbs, about 1 tbsp in each ramekin

2-3 thin bacon rashers

1. Grill the bacon slices in the oven at medium setting for about 10-12 minutes, turning once. Let it cool, and crumble very finely.


2. Preheat the oven to 150°C (fan) / 300°F, keeping the oven tray in during the heating.

3. Butter the ramekins (easiest way is to put a small piece of butter in a kitchen tissue, and wipe the ramekins with that by hand. Pour the breadcrumbs in the ramekins, and turn them around until all surfaces are coated.


4. Warm the milk in a pot. In another pot, melt the butter, add the flour and mix together. Little by little, pour the milk in, whisking together until smooth. Add the cheese and mustard powder, mix well and cook for few minutes, stirring. Remove from the heat and allow to cool a little bit.


5. Whisk the egg whites and lemon juice until fluffy and peaks form.


6. Whisk the egg yolk to the slightly cooled mixture, and season with white pepper. Add a third of the egg whites, and whisk into the mixture. After this, fold the remaining egg whites in carefully, using a large spoon or spatula.


7. Pour the mixture into the ramekins, fill them about 3/4 to the capacity. Place the ramekins on the warmed oven tray, and bake for about 15 minutes. Don’t open the oven door during the baking. Once baked, sprinkle the bacon crumb on top.


Restaurant review: Texture, London

The quality range seems to be very vast in the group of restaurants that have 1 Michelin star. My husband and I have thought this many times in the past, and within the last few weeks have dined at a 1 star restaurant that was definitely at the lower end of the 1 star places we’ve been to, and one that was at the top end of all the 1 star restaurants. The difference between the two restaurants is so big that I’m not sure how they can both have the same rating.

We decided to go for the fish tasting menu with matching wines. Texture is a Scandinavian restaurant, and we were surprised by a fusion of Scandinavian and Asian flavours. One would think these two to be too far from each other, to be successfully joined together, but it indeed works together very well! What is also interesting is that the restaurant doesn’t use butter or cream for their cooking.

We arrived 20 minutes early for our booking, which was the first seating, and were pleased to be welcomed in. We had our champagne aperitif, as well as nibbles at the bar, whilst waiting for the restaurant service to begin. This was at bonus to the place, because some places don’t let you in until the first seating starts, which is especially annoying if it’s raining.


The menu started with a wonderful beetroot soup, which was earthy and sweet, with a velvety consistency. It was paired with Henriot Demi Sec champagne, which complimented the food very well. on it’s own, the sweetness of the champagne was very present, however when had together with the food it didn’t seem sweet at all.


Next course of salmon was a delight, and the best course of the menu for my husband. Salmon can often be overcooked, but this one was cooked exactly how it should be, very moist and pink inside. It was served with oscietra caviar, slightly mustard flavoured sauce, sorrel, perfectly thin rye bread and very well pickled cucumber. All the flavours worked very well, served with mild flavoured Italian Garlider 2016 Sylvaner.


Next dish of scallop had flavours of coconut, kaffir lime and lemongrass. They were skillfully used, and weren’t overpowering the dish. one thing my husband didn’t like was fresh coriander, that had been used. It seems a lot of restaurants these days use fresh coriander as a garnish to a lot of their plates, even though it has a strong, overpowering taste. The South African FMC 2016 Chenin Blanc served with this dish was a big hit with both my husband and I. Even though this wine is a little bit more complex, with slight oakiness, and you might wonder how it could possible go with the flavor combinations of the dish, the wine complimented the dish well, as well as being a delight to drink on it’s own.


Cod was cooked very well, the piece was very meaty and flaky. I think cod is quite a boring and tasteless fish, so it needs interesting accompaniments. It was served with avocado, brandade, tomatoes which were prepared very nicely, and chorizo. There was also a little bit of potato mash under the fish, and some cannellini beans. I think the fish was hidden under a lot of ingredients, and plating could’ve perhaps been a bit more refined for this dish. I also think that the beans didn’t seem necessary. Wine pairing with this dish was Italian 2012 Pinot Noir Montalcino. I’ve had Pinot Noir served with monkfish before, but not with cod. The wine didn’t overpower the cod, and suited all the ingredients in the dish.


I wasn’t too keen on the taste of the pre dessert palate cleanser. It was clean but dull flavoured, however I would’ve liked a bit more freshness and sharpness from it.


There were elements I really liked in the dessert, and also some I wasn’t too sure about. The skyr pannacotta was nice, and I loved the nectarines, I thought these were the star of this dish. The ice-cream for me didn’t have much flavor. Wine served with the dessert was German 2013 Frühlingsplätzchen Riesling Auslese, which was a sweeter Riesling, however not too syrupy and sweet like some dessert wines might be.


Rating: ★★★★☆