Gilding in a Dark Hole…

My divorce papers arrived.  Not the final thing, the initial draft thing, that you have to approve and then send back. It’s so weird, cause divorce is so very opposite marriage. Ok, I know that sounded ridiculous, I think I mean that the actual process is as opposite as can be. Why do you have to have a lawyer? Can you divorce without one? Don’t get me wrong, my lawyer is really nice and friendly and helpful. Yet the fact he exists in this departure is so odd to me. We didn’t need one to get married. Do I feel like I have failed miserably? Fuck I don’t know! I pretty much don’t know anything at the moment.

Well actually thats not strictly speaking true. I know I am totally in love with Ottolenghi’s new book Jerusalem. I made his recipe for Baba Ganoush. Divine, garlicky and sweet and addictive. I also made the roast chicken with pernod and fennel and clementine dish. It sounds like an odd combination but bloody hell its delicious! You see even in the midst of intense angst and insecurity I can still manage to create a meal…thank god for cooking, if it wasn’t for the simple fact that I am obsessed by all things culinary, I would be wandering the streets licking window panes………

Anyway…Mussels are in season at the moment and my kids eat them like sweets. They are so cheap and easy to prepare. I think a lot of people find shellfish daunting. There is no need to be intimidated by such a small creature (even though I must admit I totally freaked out when I found a jellyish coral thing attached to one). Anyway, Moules and Frites were mainlined 2 days in a row at my house. Lola totally adores them and has requested that I take her to Belgo’s for her birthday lunch. Fine by me…

I leave you my recipe for mussels and home made herby chips. I also leave you some pics from a days work Gilding at The Eye Company. Its a skill I learnt at college and I did some gilding work professionally after graduating. Its fiddly but totally therapeutic.

Happy New Year and lots of love

Rachelle x

Silver leaf before burnishing

After burnishing….

Saw these and had to take a pic Baby Pakchoi

Blackening aubergines for Ottolenghi’s Baba Ganoush


Mussels with Home Made Chips

This is a really simple recipe and pretty much fast food. Mussels are cheap, around £3.50 per KG. They are good for you and bloody delicious. I just do a simple white wine (a good white wine) stock with garlic and onion bit of parsley. They take about 10mins to clean. Just run them under cold water and take a small paring knife, or just use your fingers and pull the ‘beard’ the little ropey bit from the side of the mussel. If they are open or broken, discard. Thats it. Keep them in cold water until you are ready to drain and cook them. The chips are new potatoes, or Maris Pipers, not peeled just cut in half then each half cut into 2 or 3 slices, through into a baking sheet with olive oil, salt pepper and some herbs, I had some thyme and rosemary in my pots so used that. Delicious and simple. If you felt a bit posh you can make a simple garlic alioli to go with the chips..yum.

Serves 3 or 2 hungry people


  • 1kg Mussels (washed and debearded)
  • 2 cloves of garlic (minced)
  • 1 onion (chopped)
  • Small glass of white wine
  • Knob of butter
  • Handful of Parsley (chopped)
  • Salt and Pepper


40mins before you want to eat throw the potatoes in the oven (200C Method above)

In a deep saucepan on a medium heat melt the butter then add the chopped onions, let them cook gently for 5 mins, throw a pinch of salt in to stop them catching. Add the garlic when the onions are translucent and soft, cook for 2 mins then throw in your mussels. Toss them around in the butter and onions. Add the glass of wine and stir again then season with a bit of salt and pepper and put the lid on).

Cook for 5 mins until the mussels have opened and released their liquor. Add the chopped parsley, serve with home chips and mayo…deevine. x









Gone are the days…

At some point this week I might have said, “Gone are the days when I was happy”. Maybe for a brief moment the combination of exhaustion and emotional upheaval may have made me say such a thing. I have had a permanent knot in my stomach for a week or so now. All very handy for keeping slim though not so handy when you are cooking everyday for work and also for three phenomenal little eaters.  Those three mouths to feed have been the only reason I have managed to push aside the dramatic thoughts and keep on going.

Anyway navel gazing and worry has never been part of my philosophy.  You won’t get away with it in our house.  I was in a particularly difficult mood a few days ago. After telling Lola to sort her room out for the fourth time, she just rolled her eyes at me and said “God mum you are soooo shouty…I’m not deaf you know and also….what are you wearing?”  OK I was dressed in a very special outfit, I cant even begin to describe it, but lets say a lot of clashing colours and a hand made tank top were involved. It was a very fair comment!.

Its been a pretty quiet week or so work wise. I am preparing to write a column on Thanksgiving for next months edition of Fashion Affair Magazine and testing lots of recipes. Im feeling a Mexican inspired Thanksgiving may occur. I want to make a Mole so badly but can’t find my dried chilli anywhere. How weird they have all disappeared. Ho hum a trip to the Cool Chile Company is in order.

I made the most fabulous lemon meringue pie this week. Its a recipe that my mother always used from Better Homes and Gardens Cook Book. But I find its not lemony enough so I up the lemon juice and the cornstarch. My first attempt without adding more cornstarch was a bit of a runny disaster. It all got eaten though.

After making a filo pie on the Fabulous Baker Brothers. I was inspired to make a chicken, mushroom and leak filo pie. Filo pastry is fiddly but worth it and I love the  home made look of the pie.

I leave you with a my recipe for Lemon Meringue Pie and I wish you a happy rest of the week.

Love Rachelle x

Collard Greens

Thai Curry

Cinnamon Danish

Lemon Meringue Pie

Lemony and yummy!


For the Pastry

  • 1half cups plain flour
  • half teaspoon salt
  • half cup of butter
  • 4 to 5 tablespoons cold water
Put all the ingredients together and whiz in a food processor until they form a ball. A few short pulses should do it. Cling and put in the fridge for half hour.
Turn the oven on to 170 C.
Roll out the pastry and line a 9 inch pie dish with the pastry. Trim the edges and using a fork prick the pastry all over to stop it rising when you bake it. Line the raw pastry with greaseproof or foil and then fill the pie with baking beans (I use dried kidney beans).  Bake for 15mins and then remove the beans put back in the oven for another 6 mins or until the pastry is golden.
Remove and turn the oven up to 180C
For the Pie filling
  • 1half cups sugar
  • 9 tablespoons of cornstarch
  • Dash salt
  • 3 beaten egg yolks
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • juice 1 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 baked 9 inch pastry shell
  • 3 egg whites
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 6 tablespoons sugar
In a saucepan, combine 1 half cups of sugar, the cornstarch and the salt. Stir in water.
Bring to boiling over medium heat and cook stirring constantly, till thick, about 5 mins.
Remove from heat, stir small amount of hot mixture in the egg yolks, then return to remaining mixture in pan.  Bring to a boil and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat.
Add lemon peel and butter. Slowly stir in lemon juice. Cool to lukewarm.  Pour into cooled baked pastry shell.
Beat egg whites with 1 teaspoon lemon juice until soft peaks form. Gradually add 6 tablespoons of sugar. Beating until stiff.
Spread meringue over filling. sealing in edges of pastry to avoid shrinking.  Bake in moderate oven, 180C for 12 to 15 mins or until the meringue is golden brown.  Cool before eating.