Category Archives: Food

Ottolenghi’s Roasted Butternut Squash with Burnt Aubergine and Pomegranate Molasses

For my sister’s wedding back home recently, my dad and I were asked to do a lot of the food ‘catering’ for their casual reception. The theme of the food we made? Pretty much an Ottolenghi feast! Yep I pretty much have my whole family hooked on Ottolenghi’s food and his recipes get discussed and trailed all the time. This Roasted Butternut Squash with burnt aubergine and pomegranate molasses was one of my faves we made that day. Soft, sweet squash scattered with crunchy toasted seeds and nuts, accompanied by a smokey aubergine sauce is pure genius. The aubergine is charred until wrinkly and often bursting – the smoky flesh then scraped and combined with natural yoghurt, parsley, garlic, lemon juice and that sticky, fragrant molasses. Great sweet and sour flavours and contrasting textures

“Butternut squash has softer skin than other pumpkins and is therefore easier to prepare. For us it is almost a staple. Butternut’s mild sweetness and firm flesh make it suitable to go alongside most main courses, but also to serve on its own as a vegetarian centrepiece.” – Yotam Ottolenghi

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Roasted Butternut Squash with Burnt Aubergine and Pomegranate Molasses

1 large butternut squash
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp green, unsalted pumpkin seeds
1 tbsp sunflower seeds
1 tbsp black sesame seeds
1 tsp nigella seeds
10g sliced almonds
basil leaves, to serve
sea salt, freshly ground black pepper

1 medium aubergine
150g Greek yoghurt (I used plain 0% Fage Greek yoghurt)
2 tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 tbsp pomegranate molasses
3 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed

Preheat oven to 220C. Trim the top and the bottom of the pumpkin and cut in half lengthways. Scoop out the seeds and cut each half into 3cm wedges. Cut each wedge into pieces about 5-7cm long. Place the pumpkin wedges on a roasting tray lined with baking paper, brush each wedge with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt and black pepper. Roast for 30 minutes or until they feel just tender. Remove from the oven and let cool.

Reduce the oven temperature to 180C. Mix together all seeds and almonds and scatter on a roasting tray. Toast for 5-8 minutes or until slightly brown and fragrant (be careful not to burn them!)

For the sauce, either put the aubergine directly onto a gas hob flame, turning occasionally, for 10-15 minutes, until the skin is dried and cracked and the aubergine smells smoky. You can also do this by putting the aubergine under a hot grill. The aubergine often bursts I find, but this is fine. Just be careful not to lose that flesh! It needs to be very soft inside. Make a long cut through the aubergine and scoop the flesh from the aubergine and discard the skin. Drain the flesh in a colander for ten minutes, then chop roughly and combine with the yoghurt, oil, pomegranate molasses, lemon juice, garlic, parsley and season with extra salt and pepper if you wish.

Place the butternut on a serving plate, sprinkle with the seed mix, fresh basil leaves and serve with the aubergine sauce.

Recipe from Ottolenghi, The Cookbook (link)

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This recipe is one of Ottolenghi’s most simple ones and I urge you to try it! Whether you make this to enjoy at home (as a delicious main vegetarian meal or as a side dish) or bring it to a bbq/dinner party, this recipe works beautifully because the sauce can be made ahead of time and the squash can be served at room temperature.

The dip is also a real winner because it is so delicious that you will want to serve it with everything, from pita bread to crudités. Promise me you’ll try it?

4 Comments | Posted in 80/20 Diet, Food, Lifestyle, Recipe

Italian Baked Eggs

One of the days when I was on holiday in Italy a few weeks back, turned out to be Father’s day! Now normally (seeing I haven’t lived in the same country as my parents for over 12 years) I can’t do much on this day – in person- to treat my dad, but as we were on holiday together I promised that I would cook breakfast in bed for him that day. My plan was to make Italian Baked Eggs (because when in Rome, uhh I mean Italy) as I’d seen on Pinterest. But I had to adapt my plans a little bit when I realised that our little Tuscan apartment didn’t have an oven.  But I didn’t let that throw me off and just made my Italian Baked Eggs on the stove which worked perfectly! It was a lovely day so instead of dad having breakfast in bed, we all enjoyed it together on the terrace. This is a great breakfast, brunch, lunch or even dinner recipe for a small group of people and is very easy to prepare. Let me show you how!

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Italian Baked Eggs

(serves 2-3)

Olive oil
1 can (330ml) of crushed or chopped tomatoes
5 large eggs
1 large onion
2 cloves of garlic
small bunch of fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
and about 2 tablespoons of grated Parmesan cheese
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Bread to serve


Finely chop the onion and garlic and saute with some olive oil in a large fry/skillet pan on medium heat until browned and soft. Add the can off chopped tomatoes, some salt & pepper, the shredded Parmesan cheese and some chopped basil leaves. Keep some of the leaves to throw on in the end. Then simmer this for about 5 minutes until the tomatoes have reduced into a slightly thicker (and amazing smelling) sauce. Now create some spaces in the sauce for your eggs. Crack them open and gently tip them into the sauce-gaps. Now cover with lid and allow the eggs the cook to your own runny-ness preference, I personally like my eggs to ooooze delicious yellow egg yolk! This would take about 5 minutes I say but keep an eye on them so they don’t overcook (or under cook for that matter). You’ll know when they are done if you just give them a little prod – the eggs whites should be solid and the egg yolk is allowed to jiggle a little! Just before you take them off the stove, sprinkle with the shredded Parmesan, shredded basil leaves and some more salt & pepper to season. Then serve immediately – I like to serve mine straight from the pan – with warm toasted bread for dipping!

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Yummmm! This recipe is actually quite similar to my favourite Shakshuka dish (recipe here) but then Italian style! Dad loved the breakfast and it was a great way to start our day in Tuscany. We headed out for sight seeing feeling full and happy :)

6 Comments | Posted in Brunch, Food, Lifestyle, Recipe

No Carb Lunch – Broccoli Bread

After my pasta, bread and all things delicious ‘binge’ in Italy I decided to try and focus on being a bit more low-carb then usual for a few weeks. Just to get me back into a healthy balanced diet once again and feeling good. At the moment I am eating a large fruit salad with greek yoghurt for breakfast, salads or sashimi for lunch and for dinner a form of protein with loads of vegetables. You can read some of my favourite healthy low carb dinner examples here, here and here. I do this about 4-5 days a week and the other days I ‘cheat’ here and there to ensure I don’t go crazy ;) I love food too much to deny myself things all the time and that doesn’t work anyway – the 80/20 diet is the one and only ‘diet’ for me.

Anyway recently I discovered this great new lunch option in London called Plan Bread, who claim to offer the healthiest sandwiches in London. They basically create sandwiches with delicious fillings using UK’s lowest calorie, lowest carbohydrate bread which is made from broccoli! I know, carb-free broccoli bread sounds questionable, but this actually tastes absolutely amazing and it’s very filling.  Here are some of the sandwiches I ordered recently (£4.50 each and free delivery).

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So how do they make their broccoli bread? Well they don’t give their secret recipe away but this is what they say about their low-carb bread:

“The broccoli flour is the most important component. We take our broccoli florets we cook them for only a couple of minutes to retain as many nutrients as possible. These are then drained and carefully dehydrated to remove some of the water. The resulting broccoli florets are then combined with some gluten free fibre as well as some fresh herbs and milled to a flour. This flour is the main constituent of the bread. From this point we proceed in a similar way to a standard bread recipe but we omit yeast so that bloating problems are avoided. Air natural gets in the the mix during kneading and mixing. There is some added egg white and a small amount of soft cheese to boost the protein content and help with the texture and moisture. Hence the bread is not suitable for people who have intolerance or dietary preferences that include any of the ingredients mentioned. We then choose our sandwich fillings appropriately to compliment the broccoli bread.”

Pretty clever isn’t it? I have so far tried the Moroccan Falafel and Houmous, Smoked Salmon & Taramasalata, Shredded Beef & Soy Sauce and Roast Chicken & Bacon with guacamole sandwiches. All were super tasty and kept me full all afternoon! Check out their full range of sandwiches (incl. nutritional stats) HERE.

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For you London healthy people out there, I urge you to give this broccoli bread by Plan Bread a go! So if you want to try it – I can offer you a 20% discount on any order you place for the rest of July. All you need to do is go to, chose the sandwiches that you like and enter the promotional code dutchessroz at the checkout. I’m curious to know what you think of this new healthy lunch option! Do let me know :)

2 Comments | Posted in 80/20 Diet, Food, Healthy, Lifestyle

Crisp Salmon, Lychee, Coriander and Chilli Salad

I love going to Granger & Co in Notting Hill for brunch, lunch or dinner because Bill Granger’s food is fresh, simple, pretty healthy and delicious.  After a recent lunch there I decided to browse Pinterest in the search of good Bill Granger recipes and I came across many, including this one. I made his Crisp Salmon, Lychee, Coriander and Chilli Salad the other day and oh wowie it’s good!!

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Crisp Salmon, Lychee, Coriander and Chilli Salad

Ingredients (serves 4):
4 tablespoons fish sauce
3 teaspoon caster sugar
4 skinless salmon fillets (about 180g each)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
300g snow peas, sliced in strips on the diagonal
1 large cucumber, thinly sliced
20 fresh lychees, peeled and de-seeded (or a 565g tin of lychees, drained)
handful of coriander leaves
1 long red chilli, de-seeded and julienned
1/2 a small red onion, sliced thinly
2 tablespoons lime juice
2 tablespoons fish sauce, extra

Marinate the salmon fillets in the fish sauce and 2 teaspoons of the caster sugar.  Cover and place in fridge for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, make the salad. Arrange the sliced snow peas, cucumber, lychees, coriander, chilli and red onion on a large platter. Heat some olive oil in a large frying pan or grill pan over a medium-high heat. Add the salmon and cook for 3 minutes, then turn and cook for 2 minutes on the other side. For the dressing mix the lime juice and extra fish sauce together with remaining teaspoon of caster sugar. Taste and adjust accordingly, so it makes a nice balance between sweet, sharp, salty and hot and then drizzle over the salad. Break up the salmon and scatter over the salad and serve straight away.

Original recipe from Bill Granger’s book ‘Bill’s Everyday Asian’.

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This salad is the perfect combination of sweet, salty and hot and great to enjoy in the garden in summer – that’s what I did anyway. It only takes minutes to prepare so makes it a great quick mid-week dinner or lunch and it’s healthy too. What do you think of these flavour combinations, keen to try it?

Leave a comment | Posted in 80/20 Diet, Food, Lifestyle, Recipe

Tapas Brindisa London Bridge

Brindisa is a bit on an institution when it comes to Tapas in London. After 16 years of wholesaling the best ingredients and products at Borough Market they opened their first restaurant Brindisa Tapas London Bridge in 2004.

 “The start up of the tapas business began when I invited Mark Hix, a Brindisa customer since 1989 and good friend, to view the Borough market site I was being offered by the Borough Market Trust. Between us in seconds we could visualise a tapas bar.”

And since opening Brindisa Tapas London Bridge, they have spread their wings around London opening Casa Brindisa South Kensington, Tapas Brindisa Soho and Tramontana Brindisa in Shoreditch. I am a big fan of spanish food and tapas but had never made it to any of the Brindisa restaurants before. Then our office moved to Southwark, which meant London Borough market and Tapas Brindisa London Bridge was now only a short walk from my office. So recently when I had a friday lunch date with a good friend/colleague we decided on the, always busy, Tapas Brindisa by Borough Markets.

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They don’t take reservations and usually the place is pretty busy but we decided to be patient and just grab a drink at the bar while we waited, and wooohoo within about 15 minutes we managed to score a table inside.

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Now onto the food, the important part! We ordered a mix of little tapas plates to share. Are you ready?

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First up the Cecina Salad which is Smoked Cured Beef with chunks of (manchego) Goats Cheese (£7.00). This was probably one of my favourite dishes, the beef was so tasty and the flavours combined each other perfectly. Think we pretty much licked that plate clean.

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Grilled Smoked Chorizo on toast with rocket and piquillo pepper (£6.60). Delicious but wasn’t quite what I was expecting or craving. I love chorizo and we couldn’t decide between the several chorizo dishes and ended up picking this one from the menu. I liked it, but didn’t loooooove it and think I would have preferred simple grilled or cooked in red wine chorizo. Next time!

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Deep fried Monte Enebro, handmade goats cheese with orange blossom honey (£7.60). I love a goats cheese and honey combination (it makes a delicious open sandwich!) and this tapas was quite rich but totally hit the spot. Oh and the red bits are not bacon (now that would have been extra naughty, but tasty) but crisp beetroot.

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Galician style octopus with baby potatoes, olive oil and paprika (£9.75) and of course a plate of Padron Peppers (£5.70) had to be part of our tapas selection. I love these smokey and salty grilled peppers, they are the best!

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And last but not least, some Croquetas de Jamon, cured ham croquettes (£6.90). They were perfectly crisp and crunchy and yummy and soft on the inside. After all these little plates – actually think they are quite well sized for the price – we were pretty stuffed but could have easily not returned to work and enjoyed some wine in the sun and get that holiday feeling after all this delicious spanish food. But nope we did have to go back to work but having this as a local restaurant is definitely not a bad thing.  Have you been to any of the Brindisa restaurants in London before?

Tapas Brindisa London Bridge
18-20 Southwark Street
London SE1 1TJ

Leave a comment | Posted in Food, Lifestyle, London, Restaurants