Wednesday 24 March 2010


The best dinner in the wide world

Falafel is a Middle Eastern dish made from spiced chickpeas. It is traditionally deep fried but in this recipe I just pop them in the oven to bake. It saves on a lot of fat and stops them being greasy. We served with tortilla wraps, a yogurt sauce called tzatziki (recipe also below), shredded iceberg lettuce and sliced tomatoes. AMAZING.


For the falafel:
1 tin chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 onion
3 large cloves garlic
1 avocado
1 heaped tsp ground cumin
1 tsp fresh red chilli, deseeded and chopped
1 heaped tsp dried coriander leaf (or fresh if you have it)
Good pinch of salt and pepper

For the tzatziki (yogurt sauce):
Couple of tablespoons of natural yogurt (low-fat works best as it's a thinner consistency)
A few inches of cucumber, grated
1 clove garlic, grated
About a tablespoon of lemon juice

- Preheat the oven to 160 degrees (180 for a conventional oven).
- Into a food processor, chuck the chickpeas, onion, garlic and avocado and blitz well. Add the cumin, chilli, salt and pepper and mix well. My food processor is on the blink so I use a little mini chopper and then combine all the ingredients in a bowl; works just as well.
- The mix will be quite wet at this stage. Taste the mixture for seasoning and add more cumin or chilli as desired.
- Divide the mixture into 8 and form gently into balls.
- Transfer the balls to a greased baking tray or a muffin tin (I use the latter as it keeps the shape quite well) and bake in the oven for 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, make the tzatziki by mixing together all the ingredients. Taste as you go and adjust the garlic/ lemon quantities to your taste. Go easy on the garlic at first as it is very hot when raw. This yogurt sauce adds moisture to the dish and cools down any unwanted heat from the chilli.
- Once the falafel is cooked, dish up with some salad and either wraps or pitta bread for a mega amazing feast.

Monday 22 March 2010

Apple & blueberry cake

A lovely moist, sweet cake for afternoon tea

I got a fantastic cookbook from the Good Housekeeping range with a beautiful array of sweet recipes to try. This is my first baking effort from the book and it turned out wonderfully; the cake was almost better the next day rather than going stale. Be warned that the dough takes quite a bit of work to pack around the fruit as it is frightfully sticky, but keep flouring your hands as you work and it gets a lot easier.


- 4 oz butter, chilled and diced
- 8 oz self-raising flour, sifted
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 6 oz granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs, beaten
- 2 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and sliced
- A punnet of blueberries


- Preheat the oven to 160 degrees (fan oven), then line and grease an 8 inch baking tin.
- Put the flour and salt in a large mixing bowl, add the diced butter and rub it into the flour until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.
- Add 4.5 oz of the sugar with the beaten eggs and stir well until it comes together into a sticky dough.
- Using well-floured hands, take half the mixture and press it into the base of the baking tin.
- Layer the sliced apples and blueberries evenly over the surface, setting aside a few blueberries for the top of the cake.
- Sprinkle the fruit layer with the remaining 1.5 oz sugar then press the remaining dough (again with well-floured hands) over the top.
- Add the remaining blueberries and push them down slightly into the cake.
- Bake for 40 minutes until the cake has risen and is firm to the touch; a skewer should come out clean.
- Cool in the tin for 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack.

Friday 5 March 2010


Zingy, yummy, healthy and easy

Tabbouleh is a Middle Eastern dish which is traditionally made with bulgar wheat. Here I have used quinoa instead but have otherwise kept it as it should be. This is really filling and a great choice for carbs.

- 1 cup quinoa
- 2 tomatoes, deseeded and chopped
- 4 spring onions, finely sliced
- 1 red onion, finely chopped
- Handful fresh parsley, chopped
- 2 handfuls fresh mint, chopped
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Juice of 1/2 lemon
- Salt, pepper


- Cook the quinoa in double its volume of boiling water (lid on) for 15 minutes until it has absorbed all the water and is soft and tender. Transfer to a shallow dish to cool.
- While the quinoa is still warm, douse it with the lemon juice, olive oil and a really generous pinch of salt.
- Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well. Serve at room temperature.


Crunchy, tasty and healthy; the perfect side dish


1/2 a head of white cabbage
2 carrots
2 sticks of celery
1 tablespoon mayonaisse
1 tablespoon natural yogurt
Juice of 1/2 lemon

- Finely shred the cabbage, grate the carrot and slice the celery. Place them in a big bowl together.
- Mix together the mayo, yogurt and lemon juice and add to the vegetables. Mix well and taste; add more lemon juice if desired, or some salt if preferred.
- Serve as part of a salad platter or on the side of your dinner.