Coming Up Easy

The summer holidays have begun. Pav, the kids nanny left for her vacation. I resisted the urge to cling to her legs screaming don’t go don’t leave me pleaaseeee. I am actually surprised that my children didn’t do exactly that. After the five stages of grief passed, denial, anger, bargaining, depression and then acceptance. I decided to pull myself together and plan the next few weeks around the kids and summer and work and all that stuff. Luckily for me my dance card is getting quite full with invitations to fun things to do with the kids. My lovely friend Uju Mother and Shaker was hosting a bloggers network event at  The National Portrait Gallery. It was a wonderful evening getting to meet fellow bloggers and have a chilled glass of wine in the Late Shift Bar a cool relief from the temperatures outside. I had a glass of wine and chatted to Claire our NPG host while the kids never ceased to find travelling up to the first floor on the imposing escalator and then running down the stairs to have another go, entertaining. Claire filled me in on the summer family friendly activities which sound fab. The kids and I did a family trail finding paintings and then the kids decided that they needed a second dinner! They would not be convinced otherwise.

I am going back, I want to see the Virginia Woolf Exhibition and take a bit more time to see the wonderful BP Portrait Award exhibit.

We left and jumped on the 38 Bus, the kids were demanding Lahmacun. Its a cross between a flatbread and a pizza. Ok its a flatbread pizza, but without the tomato sauce. Right just Imagine a giant fluffy flatbread smothered in minced lamb and spices and then topped with shredded lettuce and saladness then rolled up.  The kids love it, you can buy it in Hackney for less then £2 and its a full meal in itself. Me being me, said ok but I’m not buying it. I want to make it. Big giant protests ensued. Rufus said my lahmacun would be “rubbish” Lola and Tilda tried to make some money from my “challenge” I told them if its not better then Tad’s I will give them donuts for breakfast for a week. Then realised maybe I have shot myself in the foot with that statement!

So I leave you with a few pics and a recipe for Lahmacun. Enjoy!

Visit National Portrait Gallery

National Portrait Gallery is at St Martin’s Place, off Trafalgar Square, WC2H 0NE (Charing Cross tube)

BP Portrait Award runs until September 21, 2014, admission FREE

Virginia Woolf exhibition  runs until October 24, 2014

Late Shift Events  run every Thursday and Friday until 9pm

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Lahmacun

This is not a traditional recipe at all. I totally made this recipe up. It’s somewhere in the ball park I am sure and it’s delicious and thats what really counts. I am lucky to live 5 minutes away from a fabulous Turkish supermarket, so I buy packs of 3 freshly made fluffy flatbreads for 99p. If you can’t find authentic turkish bread then just us flour tortillas, no big deal.

Serves 4 

Ingredients

  • 4 flatbreads (or flour tortillas)
  • 300g mince lamb
  • Half red onion (chopped)
  • 2 cloves garlic (crushed)
  • Stick of cinnamon
  • 2 tsp sumac
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp (or more if you like heat) of chilli flakes or cayenne pepper
  • Handful of cherry tomatoes cut in half
  • A squirt of tomato ketchup
  • Salt and pepper

Garnish with shredded lettuce, or any green you would like, coriander, mint, basil, spring onions…etc

Method

Take you flat breads and if you wish you can warm them up in a very low oven while you make the lamb mixture. In a glug of olive oil, fry your onions over a medium heat until soft. Add the salt and pepper while you are frying the onions. Then add the garlic, stir and add the cinnamon, sumac, coriander, cumin, chilli  and the lamb. Cook and stir until the lamb is no longer raw. Add the tomatoes and ketchup then turn down the heat and cover for 10 mins.  Taste for seasoning and then turn off the heat. Leave it for 10 mins to cool a little. Then spread the lamb mixture equally over the tortillas and sprinkle the garnish of your choice. Roll up and apply to face.

 

 


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Honey Now

First I need to apologise for being an absent blogger! I have not been neglecting my duties deliberately. Circumstances beyond my  control turned my life upside down and backwards for the last few weeks. I cannot tell you how happy I feel to be behind my Mac typing away.  My biggest obstacle appeared when I opened my Mac a few weeks ago to find the screen totally obliterated. After the initial horror and shock,  I then started the interrogation of the under 9s.  It wasn’t pretty. All of them denied all  knowledge of the incident and I for a very very split second wished that there was a 101 number for the immediate sale of your children. My Mac was returned to me on Friday, new screen and the children are no longer allowed to look at it let alone go within 20ft of it.

Luckily I had enough to distract me from my technical woes. I was invited to visit Feast In The Fields. A pop up event at London Fields Brewery. I had a much needed kid free day, so what did I do? I spent the morning making Jamaican patties and poaching a ton of chicken legs and thighs to fry up later. I call them Jamaican loosely.  The pastry was a traditional patty recipe but the filling was sort of more Moroccan influenced. I had quite a lot of veg in the fridge that needed to be used up, potatoes, carrots, onions, spring onions. Threw it all in a dutch pot and seasoned it with cumin, coriander, chilli, cinnamon bark, salt, pepper, sumac. Cooked the veg for 15 mins slowly then added a tablespoon of corn flower and a couple of teaspoons of vegetable bouillon and enough boiling water to make a bit of liquid for everything to braise in.

Armed with my Jaroocan Patties, I met Uju the fabulous Mother and Shaker and owner of Babes About Town and we headed to the brewery. This year seemed a lot busier then last year and it was great to see so many new foodie start ups. I chatted to the guys who just a few weeks ago launched 7 Bridges Deli. These guys smoke their own pastrami and make super stacked Reuben’s with delicious artisan rye and sourdough bread. I had to try some of the local beer. I really rarely drink beer, just a few times a year. I tried the Hackney Hopster and the Unfiltered. Both very distinctive flavours, nothing like that tasteless watery stuff you get on tap at your local. I had a really tough time deciding what to eat, but after sampling some very moreish smoked polish sausages from The Polish Deli London oh and the most fabulous mini canapé like pies from The Square Pie I finally decided to keep with my sort of moroccan theme of the day and try a wrap from Doukan, I was not disappointed. Spicy, juicy chicken with lots of fresh salad and hot spicy sauce.

Uju and the kids and I then spent the rest of the afternoon on London Fields with a bottle of wine and I ran home to finish frying off the buttermilk chicken I had made in the morning, as you do.

I leave you with a few pics. Im busy editing a few videos of Ru and I cooking some of our favourite dishes. I will be posting them shortly. I’m also designing my menus for a pop up restaurant this summer. Exciting times. I will keep you posted.

Have a lovely week!

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If You See Her Say Hello

In the last couple of weeks I have realised that boy children are sort of like well, boy men! I feel  since he turned three he has decided to age mentally by about 20yrs. I have been working a bit more from home in the last week or so and if I even dare to get into a conversation with Pav (his nanny) he literally stands between us and shouts “Stop talking mummy and Pavlina, stop its not funny” Oh and he told Pavlina that he didn’t like it when we talked because we were “talking rubbish” Huh. Well excuse me Mr ‘I have slightly banged my knee and will act like someone has just cut my leg off for about 2 hours’!

I can forgive him though, he is surrounded by women all the time. Poor kid doesn’t stand a chance.  Last week I caught Lola painting his fingernails neon pink and green! Oh and lets just say he can walk in a pair of 4 inch heels like a pro!

Anyway aside from being bossed about and shushed by a three year old. I have had a really varied week or so.

I did a shoot with Phil Sills. His work is amazing and beautiful and I totally enjoyed the challenge of the day (slicing apple seeds in half and wiring them back into the apple). I also went to the last Street Feast with the kids inhaled pulled pork buns courtesy of Lardo. This in turn made me think of ribs, which in turn made me think of the fabulous butcher on Morning Lane. Halal meat and really reasonably priced and good quality meat. Off we tripped straight from Street Feast. Chicken wings and beef ribs were claimed.

I very rarely cook beef ribs. In fact I very rarely cook beef for myself and the kids and if I was to do a rib dish for the kids it would be pork all the time. I have done my research when it comes to short ribs.  Oh yeah Man vs Food…I am slightly addicted (I use the word slightly in the most untrue sense of the word). The trick with beef ribs is to make a rub. Then slow roast them uncovered for about 3 hours on a low heat 150C. Then make a BBQ sauce to coat the ribs when they come out of the oven.

I made a rub consisting of (you can do as you wish I just used what was in the cupboard and there are loads of recipes online). Mustard powder, sugar, dried thyme, smoked paprika, chilli powder, salt and black pepper. Quantities? I used less mustard powder and sugar then the rest of the ingredients…Sorry just taste it and amend if something seems a bit  too strong. You want a savoury sweetish smoky rub. Then coat the ribs and rub into the meat.

You can leave this rub on overnight give it at least an hour to flavour the meat. Chuck in the oven and then in a saucepan put a couple of cups of tomato ketchup, 2 crushed garlic cloves, a tablespoon of chilli flakes, two or three big dashes of worcestershire sauce, a tablespoon of dark brown sugar and a little water to loosen.  Simmer this gently for 20 mins or so. Coat the meat and then devour. Wonderful.

I leave you with some photos of said dish, well actually a photo of Tilda eating ribs. I wasn’t really happy with the photo I took of the ribs. I  also give you  my favourite recipe for Hummus. Make it and you will never buy it again..

Have a great week

Rachelle x

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Hummus

I watched the Ottolenghi Mediterranean Feast episode where he is in Tel Aviv and the amazing hummus which is a million miles away from the dull grey stuff you buy here. My recipe is a kind of inspired by him and that program and as usual slightly improvised by what was at hand. Its good though. You can use dry chickpeas, I am sure purists would be horrified at my use of tinned. Whatever!

 

  • 1 tin of chickpeas (rinsed and drained)
  • 150 g light tahini paste
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon  cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon coriander
  • 100mil of ice cold water
  • 1 teaspoon of ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon of ground coriander
  • t tables spoon of sambal olek
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon of pine kernels (lightly toasted)
  • Fresh coriander finely chopped to garnish (optional)
  • Big fat pinch of sea salt

Directions

Place the chickpeas, tahini paste, lemon juice, cumin, ground coriander, crushed garlic, sea salt in a food processor. Whizz till all is combined into a thick paste. Then with the processor on pour in the water until you get a smooth paste.

Decant into a bowl and spoon the sambal olek on top of the hummus, sprinkle on the pine kernels and coriander then pour over a big glug of olive oil. Squeeze some extra lemon juice on top too if you wish…..I am writing this and now I am going to make it again…Its so good……Enjoy x


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Aside

Quando Quando Quando…..

I feel like its been an eternity since I have put fingers to (very broken) keyboard.  I have had the busiest two weeks with work and kids. I will never complain of course, but wow last week was a perfect storm of all my income streams.  I assisted Lisa with a shoot on Monday then taught a Thai Class on Tuesday and then made a ton of flowers for a wedding at the weekend…

Due to my crazy schedule this week I found myself making really quick suppers, literally chucking things in a pan for the kids. One pot dishes are a saviour in times like this and luckily my kids are always keen to see what concoction mum has thrown together. I made a great chick pea and cabbage dish this week. I know it sounds odd but savoy cabbage shredded and sautéed in olive oil and garlic with a pinch of fennel seeds is divine. I then threw in some chick peas (for carbs mainly) and some chorizo which was knocking about in the back of the fridge. You can use anything really, ham, or bacon would be wonderful too.

I also found myself in auto pilot on my one free day and made some pizza dough. I then threw a tin of tomatoes into a saucepan and reduced them down a little. I spread it on the dough and add whatever is in the fridge. As long as there is cheese you can pretty much make up any kind of topping.  The left over dough (if there is any) can be turned into a flat bread. I just roll it into thin ovals press some caraway seeds on one side. Then put it in a very lightly buttered frying pan and dry fry it for 3 mins on each side then brush with butter. We had them with a lamb tagine, another simple one pot dish.

I leave you with the recipe for the lamb tagine. I also hope you have a wonderful rest of the week.

Rachelle x

 Lamb Tagine

It looks like a ton of ingredients they all just get thrown in the pot. Do omit the dates and the almonds if you wish.

  •  Shoulder of lamb diced  (1kilo)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 medium onions (300 g), finely sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric (=curcuma in French)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon chilli powder
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 375ml chicken stock
  • 250 ml water
  • 85 g seedless dates, halved
  • 60ml honey
  • 80 g blanched almonds, toasted
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh coriander leaves

 

Directions:

  1. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in pan, add lamb in batched, cook, stirring, until browned; drain on absorbent paper.
  2. Heat remaining oil in same pan, add onions, garlic and spices, cook, stirring, until onions are soft.
  3. Return lamb to pan with stock and water, simmer, covered, 1 hour.  Remove lid, simmer about 30 minutes or until mixture is thickened slightly and chicken is tender.  Stir in dates, honey, and nuts; sprinkle with fresh coriander.
  4. Serve over rice or couscous.

 

 

 


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