Tuesday, August 14, 2012


Muffins, the first thing I think of when making this dish is the different flavour combinations. Your combo can be as simple or complex as you like. From Sicilian Lemon and Poppy seed muffins to Triple Chocolate to Date and Walnut muffins. Everybody has a favourite muffin and this is my favourite recipe to make for my family. This recipe was inspired by my brothers cravings for sweet things. So, instead of making those gigantic American muffins that you can't fit into your mouth. I created a 'mini- muffin' aka mouthfuls of heaven. This particular recipe can make around 17-18 mini muffins. My brother challenged me to make a 'double batch of this recipe, which is around 36 muffins and he actually ate them all.

My delectable  muffins are irresistible to anyone, especially to my brothers.


  • 200g Plain flour
  • 2tsp baking powder
  • 2 eggs
  • 120g caster sugar
  • 100ml of vegetable oil
  • 250ml of semi-skimmed milk
  • 100g of dark chocolate chips
  • 100g of white chocolate chips
  • 1 punnet of raspberries
  • 2 tsp of vanilla extract
1.Preheat the oven to 200C or Gas mark 6.  In a medium bowl, sift your flour and baking powder and add your caster sugar and mix.

2.  In another bowl, combine your eggs, vanilla extract, oil and milk. Whisk all the wet ingredients together until smooth.

3. Make a well in your dry ingredients bowl and pour in your wet ingredients. Use a spatula to fold in the mixture or a whisk to create a smooth texture. Now in a small bowl, pour in your chocolate chips and a small handful of flour and quickly mix. This prevents the chocolate from sinking to the bottom.
4.   Now remove any excess flour from your chocolate by using a sift. Add your chocolate to your muffin mixture.  Prepare your muffin tin by rubbing a little butter around the moulds. However, if you have rubber moulds like me, you do not need to rub butter around the moulds.

5. Now, with a tablespoon place a small amount of your mixture into the mould and place 1 raspberry in the middle. Then place another tablespoon and repeat for the other moulds.

6. Bake for 20 mins and cool for 15mins in their moulds.

Enjoy and happy baking!!!
Please leave any comments or questions you might have on any post you see.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Chocolate brownies

Everyone in the world has eaten them. They are full of intense chocolaty goodness, fudgy on the inside and slightly crunchy on the outside. The gooiness of a brownie makes this dish stand out on the confectioner's shelf. Everyone has their own version of this recipe but my recipe include some extra goodies that take it up to another level of yumminess. In any brownie recipe, you must use a good quality dark chocolate, 60-70% cocoa solids to achieve that intense flavour. But, if it is easier you can use dark chocolate buttons or dark chocolate chips to make it easier.

 This recipe was inspired by my brothers cravings, once in a while they crave for something sweet and full of chocolate. This recipe fulfills their sugary craving and leaves them wanting more.

Brownie rules
1. Melt your chocolate slowly on a double boiler
2. You must use 60-70% dark chocolate to achieve perfection.
3. Taste a little bit of the raw brownie mix to see if it is sweet enough.
4. Do not add too many extra 'goodies' like fruits or nuts, just add the maximum of 2 ingredients.
5. Do not over cook your brownies or otherwise it will be dry.
6. Allow the brownies to cool down in the tray.

1. Preheat the oven to 180C. Grease your small baking tray by rubbing a little butter around the pan.

2. In a small bowl place 200g of chopped dark chocolate and 100g of unsalted butter. Place on a double boiler to melt slowly.

3. Once the chocolate and butter has melt, allow to cool to room temperature. Place to one side.

4. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together 2 eggs and 125g of  dark muscovado sugar until light and fluffy.
5. Now with a spatula lightly fold the chocolate mixture into your egg mixture until smooth. Then sift through 100g of plain flour, 1 tsp of baking powder and 1 tbsp of cocoa powder. Fold in all the dry ingredients, until smooth.

6. Add a small handful of flaked almonds or dried fruit into your brownie mix.

7. Pour your brownie mix into your prepared tray and bake for 30 minutes or until the top is slightly cracked. Enjoy!!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Viva la Pizza

Pizza. The world's favourite Italian dish, but you might be thinking it's easier to order it than make it yourself. Now, I am here to tell you, you do not need to be an Italian pizza chef or have a  wood burning pizza oven to make an amazing pizza. I have five rules with pizza:

1. The dough must be made the night before
2. The toppings must be of high quality
3. The tomato sauce must be made from scratch
4. The oven must be at the highest temperature when cooking your pizza.
5. Do not overload your pizza to avoid sogginess.

Every 'traditional' pizza chef will tell you to never over-load your pizza with toppings and sauce. They are right, you should try and put 3 or 4 toppings to avoid the pizza being soggy. I remember making this dish with my brothers when I was younger, my mum would make the dough and let us make our own creation. Then after feasting on our creations everyone would have bloated stomachs and the facial expression of 'no more or I will explode'. Every bite you take is a reward for all the hard work you have put into making the pizza.  I have slightly changed my mums dough recipe to create an even crispier base.


1. For the dough: in a large bowl sieve 450g white bread flour and 2tbsp of olive oil and 1 tsp of white sugar. Then place 4 tsp of dried active yeast on one side of your bowl and 1 tsp of salt on the other half. Now make a well in your bowl and place 300ml of lukewarm water.

2. Mix together until it form a rough dough, this takes around 3 mins. Now, slowly add 100ml of lukewarm water to the dough with a wooden spoon. Your dough should be really sticky. Place on a heavily floured worktop and knead for 5-8 mins.
3. Once the dough is kneaded place in a bowl and cover it with a dish towel and allow to prove overnight in a warm area.

4. For the sauce: in a medium saucepan, saute 3 cloves of chopped garlic and 1 diced red onion, until golden brown. Now add 5 freshly chopped tomatoes and cook for 3 mins on a medium heat. To season add 1 tbsp of fresh/dried oregano, 2 tsp of sugar, a pinch of salt and pepper and mix. Allow to cook for 4-5 mins and stir occasionally. Now add 2 tbsp of tomato puree and a handful of roughly chopped basil and cook for a further 2 mins. Season to taste and allow to cool.

5. Preheat your oven to 220C and place your baking tray in to heat up.
6. Roll out your dough.Place your dough on a lightly floured worktop  and roll into a  long sausage shape. This recipe makes 10 pizzas, divide your dough into 10 pieces and flour them.

7. Now lightly flour your worktop and your rolling pin and roll out the dough until its 1-2cm thick. Do not worry if the dough is not circular, it does not matter. Place on your hot baking tray. Repeat step 7 to make the other pizzas.

8. Now, smear 1-2 tbsp of your cold tomato sauce across your pizza and place your toppings. Some fresh basil, parma ham, mozzarella, artichokes et.c Once you have chosen your toppings, bake for 15-20 mins.

9. Once the pizza is cooked, garnish with some fresh basil leaves and enjoy!!

Bon Appetito!!!

Thursday, July 5, 2012


Everyone has seen this bread either in Italian sandwich bars as a sandwich stuffed with salty parma ham and mozzarella or sold in a packet of four in supermarkets. For the people, who have not seen Ciabatta before its a slightly long Italian bread with some air holes. It is incredibly addictive once you have tried it! This bread is a 'vehicle' for many indulgent snacks like bruchettas topped with creamy indulgent mozzarella cheese and a tomato and basil salsa. This bread can be used in any dish you want. Like my other bread recipes, it is similar to how I make foccacia, except you don't use as much oil in the recipe. This recipe can be made in 2 hours or if you want the perfect ciabatta, allow the dough to rest overnight. This give the dough time to prove slowly, which mean more flavour.  
My family love this recipe, it gives them a break from foccacia. This recipe was inspired by brothers, they wanted a bread that has the same flavour as foccacia but not as oily. So I created a recipe that had the same flavour but not as oily. I hope you enjoy making this recipe as I have creating it.

1. In a large bowl, sift 450g of strong white bread flour and add 2 tsp of salt on one side of the bowl and 3 tsp of instant yeast on the other side of the bowl. Make sure the yeast and salt are not near each other. Salt touching yeast = death of yeast!! Then add 2tsp of sugar, 30ml of olive oil and 2 tbsp of dried or fresh oregano.

2. In the same bowl add 300ml of lukewarm water and mix with a wooden spoon until the dough come together, it will take around 3-4 mins.

3. Then slowly add 100ml of water into the dough, a little bit at a time until the dough has absorbed it. Now at this stage the dough is really sticky. Place 50-60g of strong white bread flour on your worktop and place your dough on it.

4. Heavy flour your hand and knead the dough for 5 mins. If the dough keeps sticking flour your worktop with a little bit of flour,but not too much. After kneading, place the dough in a bowl and allow to prove for 1 hour in a warm place.

5. After an hour place back on a heavily floured worktop and divide it into eight pieces.

6. Then shape your dough into a long rectangle and slightly stretch it. This will give you the air bubbles. Place on a baking tray and repeat.

7. After you have shaped your loaves, allow to rest for 25 mins.
8. Preheat your oven to 220C and bake for 30 mins or until golden brown. Allow to cool for 10 mins on a wire rack. Enjoy!!!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Chocolate Mousse

As the French call it 'Mousse au Chocolat', everyone's guilty sweet treat that nobody will admit themselves. This recipe sends you to dessert heaven, the richness from the mousse to the pungent and sweet cream to the sharp raspberries create a glorious sensation on your palate. The traditional French recipe, it should be light and airy that coats your palate with a smooth, rich texture of chocolate. My recipe contain all the elements of the 'french' recipe but I have included some extra goodie to make it even more indulgent. Like Whisky cream and fresh raspberries.

This recipe is inspired by my brother, he loves sweet desserts from crumbles to chiffon cakes to tart tatins. He has a sweet tooth and he calls me the 'Willy Wonka' of desserts. I made this dish for his birthday and he said its so rich that you can only eat half of it.

1. Place 200g of dark chocolate(min 70%) in a small bowl and place over a saucepan of boiling water. This is called a 'bainmarie' or a double boiler. Now make sure your bowl is not touching the water. Allow to melt slowly on a low heat. Once the chocolate has melted, leave it to the side to cool.
2. In a clean bowl, whip 7 floz of double cream with 1 tbsp of caster sugar until soft peaks form. Leave to the side.
3  Separate 4 whole eggs, place your egg yolks into the chocolate mixture whisk quickly. Make sure the chocolate is cooled, so that the egg yolks do not scramble. Place your whites carefully in a large bowl and add a pinch of salt. Whisk the egg whites with an electric whisk or by hand until stiff peaks form. Once the whites are doubling in size slowly add 2 tbsp of caster sugar. Leave to the side.
4. In the cream bowl, pour your chocolate and egg mixture and fold the mixture with a spatula or a large metal spoon, until the mixture is smooth.
5. Now add 1/3 of your egg whites to the mixture and fold gently into the chocolate. Then add another third of your mixture and fold. Then repeat for the final third. Make sure that the egg whites are fully incorporated into the chocolate and fold the mixture slowly, making sure that you don't destroy the bubbles from the egg whites.
6. Place in chilled glasses and allow the mixture to set in the fridge for 1 hour.
7. To garnish the mousse, whisk 6 tsp of double cream until soft peaks form and add 4 tsp of whisky and 1 tbsp of icing sugar. Place on top of the mousse with some fresh raspberries.
8. Take it out of the fridge 5 mins before eating it to enjoy all the textures.


Spinach and Ricotta Cannelloni

Vegetarian dishes. Now I know what you are thinking, vegetarian recipes are full of heavy starches, salads and carrot sticks. But, once in a while its refreshing break from eating meat. This recipe is a favourite in my family and it satisfies all your cravings for something cheesy, soft and yummy. The contrasting textures of the gooie cheese, to the soft perfectly cooked tubes of pasta to the indulgent filling that is surrounded by a fluffy, fresh sweet tomato sauce. Its making my stomach gurgle now. This recipe is a 'classic' Italian recipe but with my own twist. I have injected even more vegetables to make it healthy and taste even more delicious.

The filling can be adapted to any filling you like. I have chosen to fill my cannelloni with spinach, ricotta and pine nuts. But, you can replace the spinach with mushrooms to make it substantial.  Let your imagination take over.

This recipe includes 3 components that you must get right:
  • a fluffy tomato sauce
  • a rich filling that is seasoned to perfection
  • perfectly cooked cannelloni tubes

1. Tomato sauce: In a large deep pan, on a medium heat pour 2tbsp of olive oil and allow it to heat up for 2 mins.
2. Then sautee 1 diced onion and 3 cloves of diced garlic until golden. Stir with a wooden spoon and add 1 finely diced celery stick and 2 diced carrots and stir. Stir continuously until the mixture is slightly golden and turn down the heat.
3. Now finely dice  14 to 16 fresh vine tomatoes to your garlic and onion mixture. You must use vine tomatoes to give you that authentic 'taste' of Italy. Let the mixture to come to the boil for 5-6 mins and stir gently.
4. Season with 3tbsp of sugar, 1 tsp of cracked black pepper, 1tsp of salt and 100g of finely chopped green olives. Mix the seasonings into the sauce with a wooden spoon.
5. Add 1 finely diced red pepper and a large handful of freshly chopped basil. Season to taste. Now, to thicken the sauce add 2 tbsp of tomato puree and mix. Taste the sauce and re-season if needed you want a symphony of balance from the freshness of the tomatoes with a hint of sweetness to the metallic zing of basil.
6. Take the sauce off the heat and allow to cool.
7. The filling: Firstly wash your spinach and drain in a colander. In a medium pan, on a medium heat place your spinach in the pan and stir continuous until it is cooked. Now, place your spinach in the bowl and remove the excess juice from the spinach(use a tea towel).
8.  In the bowl add 1 tub of ricotta cheese, toasted pine nuts, 1/2tsp of salt, a pinch of pepper and 1/2tsp of freshly grated nutmeg. Mix together with a spoon. There is your filling. Place to the side.
9. Preheat your oven to 200C.
10. In a large baking tray, place 3 large ladle spoons of tomato sauce and spread around the pan.
11. Then start filling the canneloni tube with your spinach ricotta mixture and line the up side by side, until the pan the covered. Now place 3 ladle spoons of tomato sauce over your first level and spread it across the other tubes.
12. Repeat step 10. You are only making 2 levels. On the second level place the rest of your sauce to cover everything. Then place some sprigs of basil and some grated mozzarella cheese on the top.
13. Bake at 200C for 45-50 mins or until the pasta is cooked.
Enjoy with freshly grated parmesan cheese.  

Friday, June 22, 2012

Chocolate chewy cookies

Every person has their own recipe for this sweet treat and my recipe is even better. This recipe was inspired by my brothers and their craving for sweet things. The texture of a 'perfect' cookie should be crunchy and golden on the outside and chewy and sweet on the inside. Personally,the main problem with every cookie recipe is the quantity of butter is too much to create a crunchy cookie. So, I have changed the quantities to make it healthier. I have included a variety of ingredients that make it even more delicious, from bitter dark chocolate to slightly toasted nutty almonds to chewy soft dried cranberries. Once you have taken one bite, there is no going back.

The aroma from these cookies, make them addictive! The smell of warm chocolate and toasted almonds mesmerise all your senses. Once you have made them, they will not survive the night.

1. In a large bowl, place 85g of cubed unsalted butter and 100g of caster sugar. Cream the mixture with a whisk, until it is pale. Then add 1 egg, 1 tsp of cinnamon, 50g of muscavado sugar and 2 tbsp of sunflower oil. Mix until smooth.
2. Then sieve 200g of plain flour and 1/2tsp of baking powder into your butter mixture. Mix the ingredients together until it forms a dough. At this point, you might assume that there is not enough flour because the mixture is quite sticky. However, this is the texture you are aiming for.
3. Now add a small handful of rolled oats, 50g of chopped dark chocolate, 30g of raisins and dried cranberries and a large handful of toasted almonds.
4. Roughly mix with your hands until the ingredients are incorporated into the dough.
5. Preheat the oven to 200C and prepare a heavy baking tray.
6. Place 1tbsp of your cookie dough into your hands and roll into a ball. Then flatten with the palm of your hand and place on the baking tray. Repeat step 6.
7. Make sure your cookies are spread apart so that they have room to grow. Once you have placed your cookies on a baking tray bake the cookies at 200C for 15 mins or until golden around the edges.
8. Once the cookies are cooked place them carefully on a wire rack by using a spatula.
9. Allow them to cool for 10 mins. This gives the cookies time to get that crunchy exterior and allow the inside to become chewy and delicious.

10. Enjoy with a strawberry smoothie, its the perfect combination and the most satisfying midnight snack!!


Gorge day

Once in a while, me and my older brother have gorge days. Basically it is a day where I create a dish that satisfies our craving for something cheesy, crispy and crunchy. My solution is Calzones. Now, before thinking about the classic one, this is completely different. It includes a variety of meats, vegetables and antipasti. The beauty of a calzone is you can adapt the recipe for the ingredients you like. Treat your calzone as a blank canvas and you are the culinary artist creating a master piece. But with this art, you can eat it!! It is absolutely genius and so satisfying at the same time. If you are on a diet plan I would avoid adding lots of meat and replace it with vegetables.

The 'Calzone' rules:
1. The dough must be thin and crispy
2. The tomato sauce must be made from fresh tomatoes and include lots of herbs
3. The ingredients must be of high quality
4. Raw meats like chicken must be cooked before placed in the calzone
5. Include lots of fresh herbs like basil, oregano or rosemary
6. Make sure your oven is hot.
7. Never add ricotta cheese or cottage cheese, it is unpleasant on your palate.
These rules must be followed if you want the end product to be perfect.
1. The dough, combine 450g of white bread flour, 14g of fast action yeast, 30ml of olive oil, 1tbsp of oregano, 1 1/2 tsp of salt and 300 ml of lukewarm water. Mix in a bowl until it forms a dough like form. Then slowly add 100ml of water into the dough while mixing.
2. Your dough now is really wet and sticky. Place on a heavily floured board and knead for 6 mins. After kneading place the dough back in the bowl and allow to prove for 1 hour in a warm room.
3. After proving punch the dough back down and allow to prove again for 1 hour. Or leave it to the side until needed.
4. Tomato sauce, place 2 tbsp of olive oil in a medium saucepan on a medium heat. Then add 2 cloves of chopped garlic and 1 large diced onion. Saute the mixture until slightly golden. Add 5 diced fresh tomatoes and allow to cook for 2 mins mixing with a wooden spoon.
5. Add 1tbsp of salt, 1tbsp of oregano, 1/2tsp of ground black pepper and a pinch of sugar. Stir in the seasonings and taste. You want a balance of sweetness against freshness.
6. Allow the sauce to cook for 5-6 mins to concentrate the flavours. 
7. Once the sauce is cooked place the sauce in a bowl to cool down. Taste and adjust the seasoning if needed. Leave to the side.
8. Place all your antipasti in bowls and place to the side.
9. Roll out your dough: Firstly, preheat your oven to 220C and get a heavy baking tray out ready to place your calzones on. Now place your dough on a lightly floured board and divide into 13 pieces. Roll out your dough until it looks like a pizza, it should be 1 1/2 cm thick. Then place on the baking tray and place 1-2 tbsp of your tomato sauce, lightly spread it all around the dough.
10. Then on one half of the pizza dough, place your toppings, e.g mozzarella cheese, parma ham, antipasti. Its your choice. Once you have placed your topping on one half of the pizza dough. Fold the other half over to create like a pasty or parcel. Seal the ends of the dough by pressing down with your fingers. Repeat steps 9 and 10 to make more calzones
11. Bake for 30 mins or until crispy and golden.
12. Serve with some of your tomato sauce and a bowl of fresh zesty salad to refresh your palate.  Enjoy!!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Portuguese egg custard tart

Basically, it's egg custard tart with a cinnamon, orange and nutmeg puff pastry. Its that type of recipe that you would devour in a second but wouldn't dare make yourself. From the crisp puff pastry that is layered with so much butter your heart stops beating. That encases a rich, luxurious custard that seduces your palate to have another bite.

This recipe was inspired by my mum, she loves intricate pastries like this recipe with her cup of tea. I try and make my own pastries, so that I can control the amount of fat in the recipe. I have adapted the 'authentic' recipe to make it a bit healthier for my mum but I have not sacrificed any of the 'true'  flavours. Which is important to me!!
Everyone says puff pastry is really hard to make, but its not! Its really quick and a million times tastier than the shop's version.


1. First of all start with your puff pastry, measure out 225g of plain flour and sieve in a large bowl. Then add 187g of cold cubed unsalted butter and gently rub with your fingertips, until the butter is coating the flour.

2. Add 3floz of cold water and roughly mix with your hands or a wooden spoon until the dough has come together.

3. Place the dough on a lightly floured board and roll the dough out until 1-2 cm thick.

4. Now, place a bit more flour on your rolling pin and fold a third of the dough into the middle and the other third into the middle and roll out again.

5. Repeat step 4 four times, this gives you the layers of pastry that makes its crispy and yummy.

6. Then place in clingfilm and rest in the fridge for 30-1hour or overnight if possible.

7. While the pastry is resting, now its time to make the custard. In a bowl whisk 3 egg yolks and 1 1/2 oz of caster sugar, until pale and smooth. Then add 7 fl oz of double cream and whisk.

8. Place your raw custard in a saucepan and gently heat up to blood temperature. This takes 3-4 mins, use a wooden spoon to stop the bottom of the mixture from sticking.

9. Once the mixture is warm place in the fridge and allow to cool down.
10. Back to the pastry, place on a lightly floured work surface and unfold the dough. Place a generous amount of cinnamon sugar (1tsp of cinnamon and 3tbsp of caster sugar), 1 orange zested and 1 tsp of nutmeg.

11. Now, roll your pastry to create a log like shape.(look at the picture)

12. With a sharp knife slice 2 cm of pastry and roll out until thin.
13. Place in a oiled muffin tin and blind bake for 15-20 mins or until lightly golden at 220C.

14. Take out your 'baking beans' or the thing you have used to push the pastry down. Bake for a further 20-25 mins or until golden and crisp.

15. Turn the oven down to 120C and place your custard in the pastry cups. Bake for 30-35 mins or until the egg mixture is set.

16. Once the tarts are ready, place 1 tsp of caster sugar on top of the custard and place under the grill for 2-3 mins to get a crunchy, caramel topping.

17. Allow to cool on a wire rack for 15-20 mins, the best time to eat them is when they are cold. If you eat them straight away, I won't judge you! Enjoy!!!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012



 Italian. This cuisine is a popular choice in my family from tagliatelle to bolognese, its offers a variety of Mediterranean flavours and deliciousness. Lasagna is always made in my family with the leftover meat sauce from yesterdays spaghetti. Or as my brother calls it 'meat porridge' that makes bubbles. In my recipe, it contains layers of yummyness of oregano, basil, salty notes from the olives, sweet notes from the tomatoes and meaty notes. Trust me once you have eaten one bite, forget about your 'slimming diet'!!
The diverse flavours dance around your palate and coat your tongue in the most glorious sauce you have ever tasted in your life!!

This particular recipe was inspired by my brother, he loves Italian food and this dish leaves him full for 4 hours and satisfies his monster appetite!!! This recipe is different from the other lasagna recipes, due to the fact that I add secret goodies to make the flavours pop in your mouth.


1. For the meat sauce, in a deep pan on a medium heat saute 4 cloves of finely diced garlic and 1 finely diced onion in 2 tbsp of olive oil. Sweat the onion and garlic until slightly brown.

2. Then add your mincemeat and break it up using your wooden spoon. Turn the heat up to high and cook until meat is dark brown. This takes 5-6 mins continuously stirring with a wooden spoon.

3. Then turn the heat down to low and add 4 medium fresh diced tomatoes, 1 diced carrot and 1 diced celery. Stir the meat mixture and add 1tsp of oregano, a sprinkle of pepper, 3-4 small mushrooms or 1 huge mushroom diced and 1/2 a chicken stock cube.

4. Allow the mixture to cook for 2-3 mins, then add 1 1/2 cans of chopped tomatoes and stir.

5. Reduce the sauce by half, this mean cook the sauce down to intensify the tomato flavour. This takes 5-10 mins.

6.  Now take the sauce off the heat and re-season the sauce with oregano, pepper, freshly chopped basil, olives and sun-blushed tomatoes chopped. I call this the tea bag stage, all the glorious flavours soak into the meat goodness.

7. Leave the sauce to the side and allow to cool.

Uncooked Lasagna
8. Now the white sauce, combine 2 pints of milk with 1tbsp of butter, a sprinkle of salt, pepper and sugar in a pot and bring to the boil. Once the milk mixture is lightly boiling thicken with 1-2tbsp of cornstarch mixed with water. Continuously mixing with a whisk to avoid lumps.

9. Once the sauce has thicken taste and re-season if necessary.

10. Leave to one side.

11. Assemble your lasagna now. Place 2-3 generous spoonfuls of meat sauce at the bottom of your baking dish, then place 3-4 lasagna sheets side by side. Then place 3 more spoonfuls on top. repeat the process until you have 4 levels of pasta. Or it's up to you on the how much pasta you want.

12. Then pour over your white over your pasta evenly to cover everything. Add grated cheese over the top.

13. Preheat the oven to 180C and bake for 20-30 mins or until the pasta is cooked.

14. Serve with some avocado and orange salad or simple green salad. 

This sauce can be used for a number of pasta dishes, if you want to be more healthy add more vegetables like spinach or peppers. Trust me once you have tasted your creation, you will never want to buy a ready meal again. Enjoy J

Monday, June 11, 2012

Apple crumble

"Me want want crumblesies in my belly."

That is what my brother says to me every Sunday when I am preparing dinner. Every person in the world has their own version of this classic. However, mine is extra tasty and it is always finished!!

The way I make my crumble is a short method. When I say short, my mum says it takes me an hour because I like to fiddle with my ingredients. This recipe I developed from my mum's recipe when I was 8 years old. The basics of a crumble is simple: flour, butter and sugar. As I got older, I started experimenting with the topping adding desiccated coconut which is absolutely yummy, it makes the topping so crispy. My brothers blamed me that I was the reason they were gaining weight.  So then I had to create a topping that was crispy but not so fattening, by adding whole oats, almonds and brown sugar, it creates a glorious topping without the guilt. But, if you want the ultimate crumble topping just add a little bit of 'dessicated coconut', you only live once.

This is my 'much more' apple crumble recipe:

1. First of all, wash and core 4 apples. Any variety is ok just make sure its not soft. Then chop your apples roughly and place in a saucepan with 1 tsp of cinnamon, 1 zest of lemon, 2 tbsp of caster sugar and 3-4 tbsp of water.

2. Cook until the apples are soft on a medium heat and keep tasting for that balance of sweetness against a 'zing' from the lemon zest. Then thicken with some flour and water aka 'homemade glue'  until the sauce is thick and yummy.

3. Place your cooked mixture into your baking dish and allow to cool for 5-10 mins.

4. In a bowl combine 3 tbsp flour, 1 1/2 tbsp of unsalted butter and 1 tsp of cinnamon and lightly flake the mixture together. When the butter is mixed in with the flour, now its time to add the sweet 'goodies', add 4tbsp of whole oats, 5 tbsp of flaked almonds and 1 1/2 tbsp of brown sugar and mix.

5. Taste a little bit of your topping and re adjust the seasoning if needed more sugar, or more oats.

6. Then crumble your mixture over the cooled apples and drizzle 1 tbsp of honey.

7. Bake the crumble at 220C for 20 mins or until golden brown. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream.

Trust me if when you put this in front of someone, they will be licking their bowl clean and saying 'much more crumble, much more!'

Olive bread

Olive bread

Anybody can make bread, it's a fact. Combine some flour, water, yeast and some oil or butter and voilá you have made your bread. Every baker you talk to says that bread is a science, which is true but the truth is you just need confidence and lots of practice.

This recipe I created was based on a normal bread dough but I  have changed some parts of the recipe to put my own twist on it. Olive bread should be encasing a mountain salty olives and surrounded by a crunchy crust that encases that fresh bread smell. All you bakers out there know what I am talking about, that earthy smell of victory that your dough has succeeded.

The recipe was inspired by my brothers, they love it when I make Focaccia but now they want something different. Surprise, surprise!! I had to create a recipe that had the same textures like a Focaccia but a dough that they could just munch on. When this bread comes out of the oven, it fills the house up with the unique 'bread scent' . Which to me is like a Mexican wave for success.


1.Measure on a weighing scale 450g of strong white bread and sieve into a deep bowl. Add 2tbsp of soft unsalted butter, 2tsp of salt, 2 sachets of yeast and 300ml of warm water.

2. Stir the mixture with a wooden spoon until it forms a dough. Then measure out 100ml of water and slowly add to the dough a little at a time, until you have used all the water. Then mix for 5 mins.  Make sure you add all the water this help create a variety of air hole or bread bubbles to make it really light.

3. The texture of the dough at this point is really sticky and weird for a bread dough. Now, remove your wooden spoon and spread some flour on your worktop ready for kneading.

4. Knead the dough for 8 mins and keep flouring your worktop if the dough sticks. Oil your Kneading is done by using the palm of your hand and pushing the dough away from you and then you fold it over and repeat the process. (at this point you can add olives(130g), sundried tomatoes(100g), cheese(100g))

5. Once kneaded place back into your bowl with a tea towel covering it and allow to prove for 1 hour in a warm place.

6. Once the dough has doubled in size, cut the dough in half and make the dough a circle and flatten it. After that, with a sharp knife make a cross on top of your bread.(This makes the bread look fancy and professional) Then place on a heavy baking tray and prove for 1 hour in a warm place.

7.Preheat the oven to 220°C.After 1 hour slowly peel off your tea towel from the bread and bake for 30 mins or until golden brown.

8. Once the bread is cooked allow to rest for 10-15 mins on a wirerack. My theory with bread is you allow it to rest, to get perfect result. Enjoy J

This recipe can be altered to meet your craving needs from different flavour combinations from sundried tomatoes,to fresh herbs, to crispy bacon with blue cheese but please don't go crazy. Sometimes, with bread the simplest  flavour combo is the one you keep making and making over and over again.

I made 2 loaves yesterday and now they are gone! When something is that good they will not stop eating it !

Thursday, June 7, 2012



My dad always says to me,

'When are you going to make Fortucchi again?'

Then I respond by saying, 'For the last time, it's called Foccacia!!!'  This  recipe inspired my passion for bread making, because the whole process is relaxing and the end result is so delicious and glorious. This is a type of recipe that you will do over and over again because it's so addictive and yummy! My brothers always ask me to create a new flavour combination everytime that I make it. At one point, I was making one fresh everyday!!
The trick with bread making is practice, practice, practice! I know it's a cliché but it's true. From my own personal experience of making bread, once you know what a 'perfect dough' feels like, then you can play  around with the flavours and the quantities.
The recipe I created is different from other recipe, due to the fact that I have increased the amount of water and decreased the amount of flour. This creates a sticky dough, which feels weird but once cooked it is airy, and it floats away on your palate.


1.Measure on a weighing scale 450g of strong white bread and sieve into a deep bowl. Add 2tbsp of extra virgin olive oil, 1tbsp of oregano(this can be changed to fresh herbs like basil or rosemary, make sure you finely chop them.)2tsp of salt, 2 sachets of yeast and 300ml of lukewarm water.

2. Stir the mixture with a wooden spoon until it forms a dough. Then measure out 100ml of water and slowly add to the dough a little at a time, until you have used all the water. Then mix for 5 mins.  Make sure you add all the water this help create a variety of air hole or bread bubbles to make it really light.

3. The texture of the dough at this point is really sticky and weird for a bread dough. Now, remove your wooden spoon and use your hands to stretch the dough for 5 mins.

5. Now, place some olive oil on your clean work top and place your dough on the table. Oil your hands and knead for 5 mins. Kneading is done by using the palm of your hand and pushing the dough away from you and then you fold it over and repeat the process. (at this point you can add olives(130g), sun dried tomatoes(100g), cheese(100g))

6. Once kneaded place back into your bowl with a tea towel covering it and allow to prove for 20mins or doubled in size.

7. When the bread is proving, prepare your toppings: in this recipe I have used garlic and Parmesan cheese. Finely dice the garlic and grate your cheese over the garlic and mix together. Leave to one side.

8. Get a large baking tray and place 3-4tbsp of olive oil at the bottom of the tray. Place your dough and stretch it until it touches all the corners of the tray. Then allow it to prove for 1 hour in a warm place.

9.Preheat the oven to 220°C.After 1 hour slowly peel off your tea towel from the bread and delicately scatter your toppings on top of the dough. Then drizzle generously with olive oil.

10. Bake at 220°C for 20mins.

11. Once the bread is cooked allow to rest for 10-15 mins. Trust me it's worth the wait. Serve with antipasti or eat on its own. Enjoy!!!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Garlic Bread

Garlic bread before it goes into a hot oven
Garlic bread

This recipe is inspired by brothers, with every pasta dish we have, there has to be a tray of hot garlic bread.  Everytime, I make this recipe my brother always tells me 'much more garlic bread much more'. The crispy, crunchy bread and the oozing glorious garlic butter, with a hint of chives. The flavours and textures dance around on your palate.

Now, I know what you are thinking!! It’s so much easier to buy it than to make it. I know trust me. However, it’s really easy to make and 10 times more yummy.
First of all, the issue of garlic, I know it smells and stays on your hands forever. But I love it! You can call me French if you want. However,the sensation of garlic on your palate is like an explosion of sweetness verses gust.
Everyone makes the mistake with garlic bread not to season it with a little sugar to balance out the flavour.  The sugar allows the garlic to mellow out and become not too pungent and overbearing.

This is how I make my garlic bread:
Place 3-4 cloves of garlic in a small blender, with milk, sugar, and 1tsp of salt and a dash of pepper. Right now you are making like a cold garlic puree. Blitz until smooth and add 3tbsp of soft butter and oregano or fresh chives, is even better. Then adjust the season by putting a little bit of the mixture on your finger and tasting it. I know its sound really disgusting but if you want the balance right, you must do it.  Then cut your small baguette into slices, and place your butter inbetween the slices. Bake at 240C for 10-15mins and serve hot. Enjoy!!!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

My Special Tagliatelle

My special tagliatelle

Every recipe in this blog is my own version of a classic dish. This particular recipe offers more flavours that excite your taste buds. Its so glorious, every bite coats your palate with salty, sweet and tangy sensations.

This dish is my own interpretation on pasta carbonara, which is a white sauce pasta dish. Also, I have added some special goodies that make it extra delicious.

  • 2 rashers of smoked bacon (make sure its good quality pork)
  •   3 cloves of garlic
  •    1 diced onion
  • 3-4 sliced mushrooms
  • 100g of sliced black olives
  • 100g of sun blushed tomatoes/slow roasted tomatoes
  • 1 sliced red pepper
  • 200g of tagliatelle
  • 1 egg
  • 6 tbsp of double cream
  • Pepper and salt to season
  • Extra virgin olive oil

1.       Firstly,  boil some water in a large pan, for the pasta. Once the water has started to boil add your pasta and cook for 7-10 mins or until it is al dente. Then strain your pasta into a collider and place back into the pan. Add 1-2 tbsp of olive oil to stop the pasta from sticking together. Leave to one side.

2.        On your chopping board, finely dice your onion and garlic and place in a bowl.

3.       Then finely slice lengthways your peppers, mushrooms, black olives and sun blushed tomatoes. Place all the ingredients in a bowl and leave to one side.

4.       Then, clean your board and your knife and chop your bacon finely and place in a bowl.

5.        On a medium heat, heat 2-3tbsp of olive oil in a thick bottom saucepan for 2 mins. Add your bacon and sauté until palely golden then add your onions and garlic. Cook the bacon mixture until it turns a golden brown colour. Stir continuously.

6.       After the bacon is golden, add your peppers, mushrooms, olives and sun blushed tomatoes and cook for 3 mins. At this point, add a couple tbsp of water to remove the goodness at the bottom of the pan. Stir once or twice and reduce the heat to low.

7.   While the goodies are cooking. In a small bowl, crack one egg and mix it with some cream until smooth. Season with pepper.  There is your sauce. Leave it to the side.

8.       Now, go and check at your mixture of goodies and season with a dash of pepper and some oregano. Taste to season again to suit your palate.

9.  Then combine the pasta with the mixture and mix, until the pasta is slightly warm.

10.   Take the pan off the heat and add your white sauce to the pan. With two wooden spoons gently mix the pasta, in order the sauce coats the pasta. The existing heat will cook the egg sauce.

11.    Place the pan back on the heat for 1-2 mins.

12.   Serve straight away with some parmesan. Enjoy!!

The slow roasted tomatoes/sun blushed tomatoes, black olives, a good quality streaky bacon;,mushrooms, red peppers and parsley to garnish. I call the filling the goodies. In my mind I think you should have 40% pasta to 60% goodies. My brothers love this dish and they always ask for more.