Kale, ricotta & chorizo rosti

Posted in: Featured, S, SF, Uncategorized, V, WF

Kicking off the long promised Kale-fest (briefly interrupted by Valentine’s and Pancake Day) with a crowd pleasing brunch. Yes, healthy comfort food does exist. This recipe’s hearty and indulgent, yet packed with antioxidants, Vitamins C, A and K and cholesterol lowering goodness. Hail the Kale!

Crispy and robust, kale’s a natural bed fellow for rosti. Poached egg and avocado are a match made in heaven with the smokey chorizo, and the chickpea flour make these a gluten-free option packed with goodness. Veggies, you can drop the chorizo – the lemon ricotta and smokey paprika are already bursting with flavour. I also love these as a light supper with hung yoghurt and chimichurri. Note: you just use enough coconut oil to keep the rosti from sticking, no deep frying!


Makes 14 fritters


150g chickpea flour
½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp sea salt
½ tsp turmeric (for gut health)
1 good tsp smoked paprika
3 lemons, juice of all, zest of 1
150g curly kale
100g ricotta
80g chorizo – I like the thin ‘cooking chorizos’
150 ml water
1 tbsp coconut (or olive) oil, for frying


Chop chorizo into mini pieces, approx. 1cm cubed. Pre-heat frying pan, drop in chorizo pieces and dry fry for a couple of minutes, or until crispy. Remove from the heat and set aside.

Mix ricotta with lemon zest and set aside. Sift flour, salt and spices into a large bowl. In stages, add juice of 2 lemons (retain the third for serving) and 150ml water. Beat into a thick batter, removing any lumps.

Add in the kale and mix with your hands – much quicker for breaking down the kale. You’ll also find the chunkier stalks pretty much pop out so you don’t need to painstakingly pick through removing them beforehand. I eat the smaller bits, Dolly (dog) eats the chunks. Really.

Heat a little coconut oil in a frying pan on a medium flame and dollop in 1 dsp of mix per fritter. You’ll need to press down lightly, ensuring there are no holes but don’t worry about a perfect edge; you’re going for rostis.

Fry for 2 mins on one side, or until reddish brown and 1 minute on the reverse. Don’t touch or move in between or they’ll mush as opposed to crisp.

Squeeze over the remaining lemon juice and eat right away. Ideal for instant suppers or snacks, you’re mix will keep in the fridge for up to a week.


Spring lamb with apricots & chilli

Posted in: DF, S, SF, WF

Happy Easter! Here’s something savoury to wash down all your chocolate eggs. After much tweaking, I think this tagine has a perfect balance of agrodolce: Tangy, clean lime, coriander and tamarind working wonders against the sweet, sticky apricots and meaty lamb. Don’t be put off by the mega ingredients list, it’s largely comprised of Storehouse items, and one pot recipes always get my vote for being faff free. It’s also a dinner party winner that tastes even better on day two.

Spring lamb with apricots & chilli

Serves 6


500g lamb leg or shoulder, diced to 1 inch pieces, removing the fat.
1 tsp cumin, ground or seeds
2 tsp coriander seeds, ground
3 tsp mustard seeds
4 tsp garam masala from the Larder or shop bought

1 tbsp olive oil
3 red onions, peeled and chopped
2 inch piece ginger, peeled and chopped
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1 chilli, finely chopped (seeds included)
3 tsp tamarind
1 bunch coriander (leaves and stalks), chopped

1 ltr chicken or veg stock (I like Marigold bouillon)
1 x 400g tin quality plum or chopped tomatoes
1/2 tsp turmeric
150g prunes, pitted
100g dried apricots
1 tbsp tamari, soy sauce or good pinch sea salt
2 limes, juice of


Marinate the meat in the spices for 2 hrs, or ideally, overnight.

In a large, heavy based pan, heat olive oil till starts to smoke and add meat to brown. Set aside and fry onions and ginger until soft, aprox 5 mins. Add garlic, chilli, tamarind and coriander stalks (keep leaves aside for later) and fry for a further 5 mins.

Add stock, tomatoes and turmeric and bring to the boil. Follow with lamb and apricots, turn down the heat, cover and cook 30 mins.

Stir to unstick, add remaining ingredients and simmer gently with the lid off for 45 mins. Test for seasoning (you want a balance of sweet, salt and tang) and serve.

Best with yellow split peas, polenta mash or brown rice, a dollop of Labneh (from the Larder) and fresh coriander. Bulgar wheat with a drizzle of Lemon oil is a safe bet if the others float your boat.

Tip: It’s important to add turmeric later in the cooking process so as not to burn off its health benefits, of which there are multitudes!

For reasons this is a recipe your insides will love as much as your tastebuds, check out Seasonal Seducer Lamb.

Zesty Fish Pie

Posted in: S, SF, WF

In light of the almost sub-zero temperatures, I’ve deviated from the Tortilla plan to a fish pie feast. Because who doesn’t love a (tangy and creamy, chunky and cheesy) fish pie? This recipe feeds 8 – 10 and doesn’t skimp on the fish, so you can bribe your friends to visit and still have left overs for Sunday. Seasonal, cosy comfort: perfect winter week-end sharing.

Fish Pie Pots Wholesome Seduction

Feeds 10


5 eggs
2 lemons, juice and zest
1.4kg potatoes: Rooster or Maris Piper both good for mashing
600g Pollack, filleted bones and skin removed
200g smoked haddock, filleted, bones and skin removed
340ml milk: I swap between soya and cow’s and no-one notices.
20g butter
3 tbsp flour: plain or rice
2 tsp Dijon mustard
60g low fat cream cheese
2 tbsp olive oil
1 dsp wholegrain mustard
250g tiger pawns
5 scallops – optional
2 tbsp parsley, chopped
120g mature cheddar, grated

Fish Pie Wholesome Seduction

Fish pie calls for a bit of pan juggling. Don’t stress about timings, it all goes into the oven at the end so there’s no roast dinner co-ordination called for.


  1. Put eggs to simmer in a pan of cold water that just covers them. From the point the water begins to boil, set the timer for 6 mins.
  2. Pat fish (not shellfish) with lemon zest and put to one side.
  3. Peel potatoes and set to boil with pinch of salt.
  4. Remove the eggs and stand in cold water.
  5. Lightly poach fish in milk then turn off heat.
  6. Meanwhile, melt butter in a pan and stir in flour, slowly add milk from fish pan to make the white sauce. Add Dijon mustard and stir continuously until the sauce begins to bubble and thicken. Remove from the heat and set aside. You’ll have a little milk left over, should you need it for the mash.
  7. Pre-heat oven to 180°C and grease baking dish.
  8. Drain potatoes and return pan to a low heat to dry off – See my Mash not Smash tips for perfect creamed tatties.
  9. Add low fat cream cheese, olive oil, wholegrain mustard salt and pepper and mash. A lot. Then whisk with a fork to get lots of air in, giving you fluffy, creamy mash heaven. You may want to add the retained milk from earlier. If not, discard.
  10. Peel boiled eggs and cut into quarters. Mix with fish, shellfish and white sauce and pour into baking dish. Make sure your fish isn’t swimming in liquid, or you’ll end up with a sloppy pie.
  11. Top with mash, then grated cheese and bake in oven for 30 mins, until cheese has started to brown and sauce begins to erupt around the edges.

Zesty Winter Fish Pie Wholesome Seduction

Serve with green salad. Crunchy freshness with creamy pie.

PP: 385 Kcals Protein 29.5g  Carbs 32.8g OWS 2.6g  Fat 16.1g Sat Fat 7.4g Salt 1.2g


Mash not Smash

Posted in: SF, V, WF

On making my faithful old fish pie recipe, it occurred to me that perhaps my mash checklist could be considered more meticulous than most. In my defence, Root was essentially a mashed potato shop. Kind of. And my Granny was a beef farming Scot: we love our mince and tatties. Even my non cooking uncle felt compelled to bark instructions at me on the need for endless mashing and whisking as I sweated over his Aga. So, here’s my step by step guide on perfect mashed tatties.

Feeds 6 (or 4 farmer portions)

1kg potatoes: Rooster tend to lump less; and Maris Piper, a safe, readily available bet.
60g low fat cream cheese
3-4 tbsp olive oil
100ml warm, full fat milk (or cream if you prefer). I often drop all together.
Salt, lots of
Freshly ground black pepper


  1. Peel potatoes and cut to similarly proportioned pieces. Quartering is generally a fair guide.
  2. Place in a large pan and just cover with cold water. Set to boil gently.
  3. After approx. 20 mins, test with a knife. You want soft right through, though not disintigrating.
  4. Drain off water and return pan to the lowest heat, ensuring all water evaporates. Dry potatoes are key if you want a fluffy, non-Smash, mash.
  5. Keeping the pan on the heat, start to mash. When you think you’re finished, go round again, working to remove all the lumps.
  6. Add cream cheese, salt and pepper and whisk with a fork.
  7. Add olive oil and milk (if using) and whisk until you feel the need to remove layers of clothing from having burned more calories than in a spin class.
  8. Taste, season, add more oil or milk if needs be. Whisk and test again.
  9. Ta dahhh!

Add wholegrain mustard, chives (added to hot milk then whisked through), lemon or frozen peas – they’ll de-frost in seconds. Potatoes go with everything so you can’t go far wrong.

Swapping the Rooster for new potatoes, skins on, and adding rosemary sea salt is my all-time favourite. Top with salmon and poached egg. Trust me. 

Note: Potatoes love salt and fat. There are times when no-one’s any the wiser if we cut out or swap the ‘baddies’, and there are times when food partners need to be respected, however waist expanding. So speeketh the Scot.

PP (6): 218 kcals Protein 3.7g Carbs 28.8g OwS 1g Fat 10.6g Sat fat 3.8g Salt 0.9g

PP (4): 328 kcals Protein 5.6g Carbs 43.3g OwS 1.5g Fat 15.9g Sat fat 5.6g Salt 1.4g


Quinoa, feta, rocket & toasted seed salad

Posted in: S, SF, V, WF

I hesitated over another salad recipe, but your requests aren’t to be ignored, and this may be our last chance to bank immune boosting ingredients before hitting mince pie debauchery.

This is my fail-safe dish that I never seem to tire of; post yoga or alcohol, it somehow always hits the spot. It’s the contrast of complete protein grain quinoa, against the peppery rocket; crunchy seeds against creamy feta. Popping, salty, nuttiness. Quinoa, feta & toasted seed salad, wholesomeseduction

Feeds 6



160g mixed leaves, including rocket
100g cooked quinoa
100g cooked puy lentils
150g peas (frozen & de-frosted also good)
80g sun dried or roasted tomatoes, chopped
80g feta, chopped
150ml vinaigrette
4 tbsp toasted seeds


  1. Place leaves in serving dish and top with quinoa, lentils, peas, tomatoes and feta, in that order.
  2. Drizzle over vinaigrette and top with toasted seeds.
  3. Serve as a main dish or side salad. I often add a dollop of hummus or garam masala roasted chicken – super easy, watch this space. 

Papa Garcia’s tortilla (tor-tee-ya) / Spanish omelette next week, carb lovers!

180g PP: Kcals 248  Protein 9g  Carbs 16g  OwS 3g   Fat 17g  Sat. fat 4g   Salt 0.5g 


Tomato & parmesan pesto

Posted in: LF, S, SF, WF

Serves 20 (1 dsp per person)

Despairing of UK tomatoes outside of summer (utterly devoid of flavour), I’ve accidentally come up with a solution, which has since become a permanent feature in my fridge. And miraculously, it’s only 39 calories per serving. Taking on board your unerring requests for quick, healthier dishes for people who “don’t cook”, I’m spreading the joy.


500g cherry tomatoes
10 sun dried tomatoes
20g parmesan, chopped
2 anchovies, chopped
1 tbsp basil leaves
1 tbsp olive oil
Sea salt & black pepper


  1. Blitz all ingredients in a blender. That’s it.
  2. Store in the fridge for up to 3 days or freeze. We do 50/50.

Drizzle over fish, chicken or salad; dollop on sweet corn fritters; stir through pasta, or use as a marinade. Basically, anywhere you’d use tomatoes.

Tip: mix with natural yoghurt or crème fraiche for a lighter, creamier option.

39 KCALS PROTEIN 0.8g  FAT 3.5g  SAT FAT 0.6g  CARB 1g OwS  0.9g  Salt 0.2g


Roast banana, bacon, maple syrup & sweet corn fritters

Posted in: S, WF

Not exactly a recipe, more of a sharing of love, and another way to use my September sweet corn fritter recipe. Sunday brunch comfort, borderline excess, and food Jenga. I’m relying on you having a modicum of kitchen nouse, it really is very easy.

roast banana & fritters Wholesome Seduction

Set bacon to grill – you can also omit the meat, there’s plenty going on without it. Meanwhile roast bananas as per the instructions in the Recipes page and set aside in warm oven. While the fritters are frying, mix creme fraiche or yoghurt with a drop of vanilla extract and maybe some maple syrup, depending on the sweetness of your tooth.

Then layer: fritter, bacon, maple syrup, creme fraiche, banana. I used 3 fritters. Because I’m a glutton. And it looked impressive. 2 is plenty.

Curb-side Cuisine, my EP Magazine feature article

Posted in: Featured, Reviews

Street food has gone way beyond lukewarm chips and cardiac arrest kebabs. In fact, our global love affair with bin top dining appears only set to blossom. American Slider bars, churros huts and oyster shacks worthy of a Michelin star now grace everything from luxury festivals to car parks. The less salubrious the back street, the more kudos, it would seem; anything to be considered vaguely underground, guerrilla or pop-up.


Instead of pouring gargantuan wads of cash into premiums, rents and rates, street concepts can be set up relatively speaking, with little capital outlay and reasonable pitch fees. Consequently, the mobile dining craze is increasingly a labour of love, not to mention bambinos. Passionate cooks armed with inspiration from their Gap Year, fresh faced Michelin trained chefs and multi-cultural Britain at its best: recipes as Amma made them.


No doubt in part due to our globe-trotting nature, we Brits are more discerning than ever when it comes to our fuel, shunning sugar strand sculptures and biblically proportioned menus in favour of simple, fuss free food done well. A shift that is evident beyond the tarmac: Burger & Lobster, Byron and Mooli’s are profiting from the pared down trend. Mark Hix recently opened Tramshed, serving nothing but chicken or steak, and Shoreditch’s Chicken Shop is the brainchild of Nick Jones. Think Soho House meets KFC.

In the same ‘Too Kool for Skool’ vein, websites and glossy marketing are being shunned in favour of less static and more interactive blogs and Twitter. And the resulting word of mouth can spread like wild fire. Lucky Chip, Pitt Cue Co. and Meat Liquor started out as two-man vans, only to be propelled into The Fashionista Restaurants To Do List as a result of their Twitter fame. Oh, and the Hereford Steer beef and Dalston Tommy K, of course.

KOGI BBQ VAN @kogibbq
Where it all began. Roy Choi launched his Mexican and Korean BBQ genius in the US. Fans, more vans and social media followed. There was no going back.

BEATBOX KITCHEN @beatboxkitchen
Rashid brought the US food truck craze to Oz.

MEAT WAGON to MEAT LIQUOR @themeatwagonuk
Yianni would pitch up his Peckham Meat Wagon and only then tweet his location. Brave? The Twitter love and consequent word of mouth proved so strong, queues were guaranteed around each South East London block. Chicken Cottage must have been up in arms. Two years on and the queues have moved to the back of Bond Street. Yianni may have taken on an exorbitant W1 lease, but he’s remained firmly on the no-booking policy bandwagon. Sorry.


PATTY & BUN @pattyandbunjoe
Yup, another burger van – with triple cooked chips. Patty & Bun link with Street Kitchen to create gourmet pop-up clusters.

STREET KITCHEN @streetkitchen
Jun Tanaka and Mark Jankel of Pearl and Notting Hill Brasserie led the way with their British Bistro airstream and remain at the forefront, fuelling the City and London 2012. #CelebrityChefVan #100%BritishProduce #MichelinGourmet #AirstreamStyle #FoodToGo

CHURROS GARCIA @churrosgarcia1
Spanish doughnuts and chocolate dipping heaven. No relation, but just as Abuela made them all the same.

The genuine article. Pani puri and samosa chaat, just as you find them in India. Minus the Imodium.

GREEN GOAT FOOD @greengoatfood Sustainable fish worthy of starched white table cloths and a hefty price tag. In a box for a fiver.

So what does this mean for retailers and food service? Take inspiration from the one or two-man operations discussed and have some fun. We live in the cultural melting pot that is Britain, do we not? Some of my favourite and simplest recipes have been passed on by families from my travels, by colleagues, by grannies or through my own Hispano-Celtic heritage. Some of the most coin-worthy café menus I’ve created have come from said list. I guarantee there’s a wealth of portable dining on your payroll.

Don’t get hung up on costumes or theme days. Most street concepts are little more than a sheltered table, two giant pots, even bigger personalities and a stack of eco-friendly take-away boxes. With smearing, wrapping and packing at lightening speed – sellers, take note!


To be clear however, life is a beauty pageant – gastronorms of slop won’t fly. Street vendors and retailers increasingly showcase offers worthy of an art gallery. If the food is the real deal, it will speak (and smell) for itself. When all is said and done, you’re bringing nourishment and relief to the working day, enjoy it. If you feel a burning desire to promote your pop-ups via Twitter, so much the better.

This article first appeared in the October issue of EP Business in Hospitality. View the online version here: www.epmagazine.co.uk/curb-side-cuisine/

Sweet-corn fritters, 2 ways

Posted in: DF, LF, SF, V, WF

Sweet corn fritters are fast becoming the new sourdough toast of coffee shops. Both sweet and savoury, we like to serve them as a DIY brunch for everyone to dig in and help them-selves: Bacon, guacamole and salsa or crème fraiche, maple syrup and berries. Smiley, happy people.


Makes 10 fritters



2 fresh corn on the cob, kernels removed
2 large eggs
1 tbsp rice flour
½ tbsp polenta
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp garam masala
¼ tsp sea salt
Freshly ground Black pepper
Vegetable oil for frying – coconut oil is delicious, and good for gut health!



  1. Mix all ingredients except the sweet corn and 1 egg, together in a bowl.
  2. Add sweet corn and mix.
  3. Whisk egg white only of the retained egg and fold into mix thoroughly.
  4. Heat 1 tbsp oil in a frying pan on a medium to high heat. Dollop 1 tbsp of mix per fritter into the hot oil.
  5. Cook on a medium to high heat for 2 mins on the first side and 1 min on the second. Or until browned.
  6. Serve immediately or keep warm in a pre-heated oven.

You can also make the mixture in advance and keep in the fridge or freezer. Ideal for a fuss free Sunday breakfast or last minute supper.

Tip: Swapping the rice flour and polenta quantities around gives you a yellower, denser fritter. We prefer the higher rice flour option as it maintains a lighter texture.

Pao de Queijo (Brazilian Cheese Bread)

Posted in: SF, Uncategorized, V, WF

30 balls
150ml milk
75ml sunflower oil
Pinch sea salt
250g tapioca flour or starch
1 egg
125g of parmesan, grated

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 . In a pan, bring the milk, oil and salt to the boil.
  2. Remove from the heat and add the tapioca flour. Mix well with a wooden spoon and allow to cool slightly.
  3. Transfer mixture to a bowl, add the eggs and knead well.
  4. Add the grated cheese and keep kneading until the dough is smooth.
  5. Grease your hands with oil and roll into small balls – 1 tbsp per ball.
  6. Place the balls on a baking tray greased with oil or lined with baking paper and cook in oven for 20 mins or until brown.

Serve warm as they are or with dips. Salsa, cream cheese or even Dulce de Leche all work. We love the caramel against the salty parmesan. See below.

Tapioca flour can be found in most Asian shops and most supermarket World Food aisles. Or so we’re told.

Roberta’s tips on Dulce de Leche Pao de Queijo:
With your hands (not a knife) break the balls slightly, taking care not to split  into two halves. Pour in a teaspoon of Dulce de Leche. Eat whole.