Old Fashioned Gingerbread

Christmas means plenty of gingerbread – gingerbread men, gingerbread house… I’ve always wanted to make a gingerbread cake, as I like the flavours in there more so than Christmas pudding, and wanted a scrumptious gingerbread-like dessert to wrap up Christmas dinner.

This year, I found the favourite old fashioned gingerbread recipe and decided to adapt it by reducing the sweetness and doubling the spice, and also adding a layer of mascarpone cream icing on top. The result? Delicious! The cream and gingerbread taste worked really well together! Continue reading “Old Fashioned Gingerbread”


Ken Hom’s Fragrant Prawn Curry Recipe

This week, I had some pre-prepped prawns and mixed seafood left in the fridge, and most of the other ingredients needed in this recipe (such as chopped garlic, chillies, ginger, coriander, madras curry paste, spicy bean paste, soya sauce and Shaoxing rice wine) are all part of my spice cupboard/standard fridge stock, I decided to try this recipe. The recipe is from Ken Hom’s My Kitchen Table: 100 Quick Stir-fry Recipes. You can find the full Fragrant Prawn Curry recipe in Google Books. Continue reading “Ken Hom’s Fragrant Prawn Curry Recipe”

Chocolate Chip Biscuits (Gocciole)

In Italy, biscuits are an easy snack, like everywhere else in the world. But they are also an essential when it comes to consuming breakfast at home. Together with the famous combination of jam croissant and cappuccino, biscuits dipped in caffe latte are the definition of what Italians eat in the morning. In London I had it easy, and especially in the North-East, where the Turkish shops have a marvellous variety of Italian products on their shelves.

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Asian honey and butter bread recipe – a simple dessert

This honey and butter bread is quite commonly found in Korean and some other Asian cafes, and doesn’t require any actual bread baking (although it does require a few minutes in the oven). The core ingredients are – yes – honey and butter. The ideal bread to use is milk bread, but you can make it with ordinary sliced bread as well. I’m using half brown and white bread here for an easy and healthier option.

The prep work only takes about 2 minutes, and then it’s a quick 10 minutes in the oven before it’s ready to serve as a dessert or a sweet pick-me-up.


2-3 thick slices of bread
2 tbsps of clear honey
A few slices of unsalted butter
Dash of cinamon
Whipped cream
Chocolate sauce

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First Time Making: Miso Aubergines

I often have lunch at a small Japanese restaurant on Brewer Street called Kulu Kulu. In one of their colourful bowls, they serve this delicious aubergine dish. I like it so much that even after the first bowl, every time another one comes around on the conveyer belt, it’s so tempting to go for seconds! This vegan friendly dish is rather simple, but getting the right combination of flavours is not as simple (I learned the hard way) as it seems. I will try and share the learnings gleaned from my first attempt, for which I took inspiration from this Japan Centre recipe. Continue reading “First Time Making: Miso Aubergines”

First time making: spiced apple juice

It’s finally the festive season, and this year, I needed a non-alcoholic mulled wine or cider alternative (after all, Christmas is all about minced pies and mulled wine). I’ve looked through the Jamie Oliver incredible mulled cider recipe and the Nigella mulled cider recipe, and have taken the spices I like best out of the two for this spiced apple juice recipe. Oh, and of course, as there’s already plenty of sugar in the juice, there’s hardly any need to add sugar in there.

I’ve always loved mulled wine and ciders with bits of fruit in the pan, so I’ve included chunks and apple and clementines as well.

This takes about 5 minutes to prep and will serve however many people who will be able to drink a litre of spiced apple juice. As this is made from juice, it’s perfect for children and your designated driver.


1 litre of apple juice
1/2 apple
2 clementines
1 stick of cinnamon
3 cloves
2 fresh bay leaves (optional)
2 tbsps of honey

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Thanksgiving recipe – a Sardinian take (pudda prena a sa sarda)

This traditional Sardinian recipe will be a great alternative to your classic Thanksgiving roast. Instead of being cooked in the oven, this bird is boiled, instead of giving you turkey sandwiches as leftovers, this will give you succulent tender meat to add to your salads and a rich stock for your risottos, soups or meat stews. It brings me so many childhood memories because this is the Sunday dish my grandma used to prepare for the family. Like she would have done, I used a nice corn fed rampant chicken: my butcher cleaned it for me so it was ready to stuff. I would have needed the inside organs for the stuffing, but they were not included in the purchase, so I bought some chicken hearts separately. Another must-have ingredient is lard: according to all my family, it is the very ingredient that keeps the stuffing together and gives it the right texture. But worry not, just like I did, you will be able to find it at the supermarket.

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First time making: homemade apple and plum jam with cardamom

Now that my two jars of strawberry jam are nearly empty, it’s time to make a new batch – with apples and plums. I wanted to try something less runny this time, and as it’s the pectin that makes jam set, I decided to try a recipe with plums (a fruit that features on the high pectin list). Then I found this delicious-looking plum and apple jam, as well as this beautiful French apple jam recipe, so decided to combine the two and make an apple and plum jam with cardamom.

For the apple variety, I picked Gala, as it’s generally good for apple sauces: it’s sweet, got a good texture and isn’t too “watery”.

PLEASE NOTE: I thought it’d make 2 x 500ml jars of jam, but it turned out that there was only enough for 1 jar, so in the future, I won’t be scaling down the recipe in this way.

250g flavouring plums (4 plums)
250g Gala apples (2 apples)
1 cardamom pod

300g jam sugar
100g cane sugar

150ml water

You’ll also need: a potato masher and 1 jam jar (500ml).

Apple_Plum_Jam_1 I scaled down the sugar slightly, as the apple and plum varieties already seemed quite sweet to me. By the original recipe, you should use 450g sugar. Also, just because I’m paranoid (and there was still some left over), I’m using a mix of jam sugar, which contains pectin, and normal sugar. In theory, the plum will provide enough natural pectin, so you can use normal white sugar here. Continue reading “First time making: homemade apple and plum jam with cardamom”


Classic pesto recipe

Let’s admit it, who hasn’t bought pesto in the shops? I did so many times… I understand many people think it is a complicated sauce to make, but actually it is super easy and a lot nicer when made with fresh ingredients. Recently, I had the opportunity to grow my own basil in the garden and therefore I took advantage to finally try to make fresh pesto. The result was so light and tasty I don’t think those pots at the supermarket or at the local deli will ever tempt me again.
When tackling Italian recipes, if I don’t have one stolen from mamma’s notebook, Giallo Zafferano is my absolute bible, they always get the right measurements and they don’t keep extra tips to themselves: so I followed their recipe, but instead of doing the pesto the old fashion way (with pestle and mortar), which would have taken me 20 minutes, I have used a hand blender, spending about ten minutes (if not less) to get my very own pot of pesto!
50 gr basil leaves (note that to get the real thing as a result, you should try and find basil with longer rather than large leaves, the real Genoese basil)
1 garlic clove (but if you are feeling brave, or your partner is, you can put more)
6 tbsp of Parmigiano Reggiano
2 tbsp of Pecorino cheese
1 pinch of salt
100 ml of extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp of pine nuts

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