Category Archives: Lifestyle

Ottolenghi SIMPLE Cookbook – Pappardelle with rose harissa, black olives and capers

I have been a fan of Ottolenghi’s food for such a long time, and my love for his recipes have been documented here on the blog many times. For some of my favourite go-to Ottolenghi recipes click here, here or here

Anyway, so when his latest cookbook SIMPLE launched last year, I, of course, was one of those keen beans that placed a pre-order straight away. I then finally got my hot little hands on it in September last year and I was bursting with excitement. I mean, Ottolenghi’s food but a simpler version of it? Yes, please!

The tag line for SIMPLE is “Everything you love about Ottolenghi, made simple.” The dishes in the cookbook are all SIMPLE in at least one (but very often more than one) way: 

S – short on time: less than 30 minutes 
I – 10 ingredients or less
M – make ahead
P – pantry 
L – lazy
E – easier than you think

Now, I have to admit that initially I was a bit disappointed and it took me months to actually cook something from SIMPLE. I think I had envisaged simple weeknight meals Ottolenghi style – but no that wasn’t quite the vibe of the book. Yes, it’s simpler (and fewer ingredients) than his previous books but I’d say it’s still not a 1-2-3 and voila dinner is on the table kind of book. So, I had it sitting on my bookshelf (getting a bit dusty) and it was a friend of mine who actually inspired me to pick it up again and try some of the recipes. And once I tried one recipe, oh boy was I sold! I am now slowly making my way through the book and am loving all the recipes so much.  

And now that I’ve tried a few, I have realised they were a bit easier than I originally thought but still (for me) more dinner party or sunday night kind of cooking – just so I have the time to prepare properly and treat myself to some of these delicious dishes. One of the recipes I wanted to share with you all was the ‘Pappardelle with rose harissa, black olives, and capers’.

It’s not your usual kind of Italian pasta because it’s a spicy, rich and a middle eastern twist on pasta but it’s so good. Oh, and you definitely need the yoghurt with it to balance all the flavours perfectly. I highly recommend making this and I’d love to know your thoughts once you’ve made it! 

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Be a bit more Dutch with HEMA!

Dutch retail institution HEMA launched their 7th UK store on Monday and I was there to help them celebrate and talk to people about what makes HEMA so great. I realise that many of you may have never heard of HEMA, so let me start by telling you a bit more about them.

To me, HEMA is one of the most iconic Dutch brands out there and I grew up with it living in the Netherlands. They have actually been around since 1926 and are celebrating their 90th anniversary this year, which is quite something don’t you think? HEMA is known for its high quality, expert designs and affordable prices for everyday essentials – and I love the concept that they design & make all of their all their products (which range from beauty, food, stationery, kids and homeware) in Amsterdam. People often describe HEMA as the Dutch IKEA or Tiger Tiger but I think the quality and range available in products for items like clothing, beauty, home and food is so much better than either of those brands.

Like I said, I’ve known HEMA all my life growing up in the Netherlands. So when they were launching their new London Euston Station store and asked me to be an expert on the night on all things food for this event I couldn’t be more excited. I was asked to select and display products that I have a personal connection with and which bring the dutch foodie traditions to life. Didn’t my table look full of incredible treats? So let me tell you guys also a bit more about my #HEMAhacks and knowledge on how to eat like the Dutch.

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Spinach Salad with Strawberries, Avocado, Blue Cheese and a Poppyseed Dressing

It’s summer, which means BBQ season so it’s vital to have a winning salad recipe in your repertoire. This Spinach Salad with Strawberries, Avocado, Blue Cheese and a Poppyseed Dressing is one of my summer-go-to salads to bring to a party or to serve as a simple but tasty side salad with some meat. You can throw it together in minutes and the mix of the sweet strawberries with the blue cheese and the refreshing dressing is a match made in heaven. Quick tip; if you’re taking this to a BBQ or party – just keep the dressing in a cup or container and pour it over the salad just before serving so the spinach doesn’t go all soggy!

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Mazi London

Mazi has been one of my favourite spots in Notting Hill for quite some time now so it’s terrible really that I haven’t even featured it on here! I recently visited this lovely greek restaurant again when my parents were in town so took some quick snap shots of our dinner to show you. Mazi has been around since 2012 and is located in one of the cutest areas in Notting Hill, tucked away behind Notting Hill Gate in Hillgate Village; where the streets are filled with cute little colourful houses. An instagramers dream let me tell you ;)

However, Mazi isn’t your traditional greek restaurant because they say they take inspiration from the traditional greek table but reinvent them with a modern twist. I fell in love with this hidden gem years ago and have been back many times since. Every dish is delicious, the interior and vibe has a lovely relaxed cosy feel (and they have an amazing back courtyard in summer where you can eat al fresco!) and the service is always friendly and efficient. 

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