Everyone has several foods that, if presented with an evening solo, they would make in a greedy fashion and gobble down unseen, yes?
This is my combination of guilty pleasures all put together into the one recipe. Of the many things I loved about visiting New York a few years ago was that you could find mac n’ cheese on the menu EVERYWHERE. It was wonderful! I have a hard time going past this if I see it on the menu, even though there are plenty more adventurous options that I would enjoy. I just can’t say no.
These pancakes are perfect for an at-home brunch. They’re easy to make ahead. Whizz up some cauliflower, cook the macaroni and prepare the simple batter. They could also be easily frozen for another more chaotic night when you are caught at home by yourself, and a lazy and indulgent dinner is needed.
Cauliflower mac 'n' cheese pancakes
- 1 ½ cups cauliflower, riced (just whizz in a food processor raw)
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 2 eggs
- 240ml milk
- 60g butter, melted
- 100g macaroni pasta, cooked
- 1 cup cheddar cheese, grated
- 1 spring onion, sliced
- Handful fresh parsley, chopped
- Mix riced cauliflower, baking powder and salt together.
- Whisk together eggs, milk and melted butter.
- Combine wet and dry ingredients.
- Stir through the cooked pasta and cheese.
- Heat a frying pan on medium heat and spray a thin layer of oil over the base.
- Ladle out ¼ cup of the pancake batter at a time into the frying pan. Cook on one side for approx. 3 mins or until bubbles form over the top of the pancake.
- Flip and cook for 1-2 mins on the other side.
- Serve pancakes with spring onion and parsley.
I have always been a Francophile. Ever since I can remember. Perhaps it all began with the children’s TV series Madeleine. I remember watching episodes when I was young, soaking in the faux French accents and absorbing the cartoonish Parisian landmarks.
In school I learnt French as a second language, all the way up to university. Since, I have visited France several times. I especially love French food. My birthday celebration this year involved dining at a French restaurant.
To me, a quiche is the epitome of my childhood ideal of ‘French cuisine’. I have grown very fond of making a quiche in recent years, and once you have the hang of the pastry and timings, it is actually very simple to make one from scratch. And the flavour combinations are endless!
Gardens are rife with lemons this time of year, and I wanted to hero it in my quiche recipe. This quiche is deliciously lemony and tangy, with some smoked salmon thrown in there for good measure. I am loving this milder weather and think this is the perfect light dinner for early Spring evenings, and could even be enough motivation to contemplate an outdoor picnic!
For the pastry:
- 240g plain flour
- 160g unsalted butter, softened
- ¼ cup water
For the filling:
- 1-2 lemons, sliced
- 100g smoked salmon for cooking
- 200g crème fraiche
- 3 eggs
- 1 tbs capers
- Zest of one lemon
- Juice of one lemon
- To make the pastry, beat the butter and flour together in a mixer using a dough attachment. Add just enough water to bring the pastry together into a ball. As soon as the pastry comes together, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 20 mins or until needed.
- Preheat the oven to 200° Celsius. Grease a quiche flan with spray oil.
- Take the pastry out of the fridge, and sprinkle the worktop with flour. Roll out the pastry until it is big enough to cover the base of the quiche flan. Line the flan with pastry and trim the edges. Weigh down the pastry with baking paper and baking beads, and blind bake the pastry case for 20 mins in the oven.
- To make the filling, whisk the eggs and crème fraiche together. Season, and add capers, lemon zest and juice. Stir to combine.
- Remove the pastry from the oven and lower the heat to 160° Celsius. Remove the baking beads and baking paper. Line the pastry case with an even layer of the smoked salmon, and pour in the egg filling.
- Bake in the oven for 20 mins. Add lemon slices on top of the half-set filling decoratively. Continue to bake for about another 10 mins or until filling is set.
When I was at school, I overdid it with the sandwiches. Particularly the combination of ham, lettuce and mayo. I just have difficulty getting excited about a sandwich for lunch. So I like to look for other options.
I like to make batches of savoury muffins on the weekend for my work lunches (or at the moment, for my hectic weekday lunches with a baby who needs lunch too). They’re easy to heat up, filling and so moreish.
I have taken inspiration from Stephanie Alexander’s recipe for Allan and Michele’s Asian-inspired Pumpkin Soup from her wonderful cookbook The Cook’s Companion and turned it into muffin form. They have just the slightest hint of curry, and are super light and fluffy. They’re the perfect texture, not too dry or crumbly and they keep well for several days in an airtight container in the fridge. Or, if you’re feeling exceptionally organised, you could freeze them for a busy day.
And they’re so easy to make! So get cracking! If you’re feeling like a sweet muffin, why not go ahead and check out my Custard and sultana muffins.
- 225g plain flour
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 225ml milk
- 2 eggs
- 115g vegetable oil
- 1 tbs Thai curry paste, red or green
- 400g pumpkin, peeled and chopped into 2cm cubes
- 30g mix of pepitas and sunflower seeds
- Preheat oven to 180° Celsius. Grease a muffin tray with spray oil.
- Steam the pumpkin until tender (about 10-15 mins) and mash with a potato masher until smooth.
- Combine the flour, salt and baking powder in a medium bowl.
- Combine the milk, eggs, oil, curry paste and pumpkin in a separate bowl. Whisk to mix thoroughly.
- Combine all of the ingredients together. Spoon the mixture into the muffin tray. Sprinkle the muffins with the pepitas and sunflower seeds.
- Bake muffins in the oven for 30 mins or until golden on top. You will know that they are done when a skewer will come out clean when tested.
Winter is the season for homemade soup. I have fond memories of growing up eating soup for lunch at the weekends. Minestrone, pumpkin, and pea & ham were the family favourites.
For this soup, I experimented with a new discovery for me: fennel. I had never made soup with it before, and as it was in season, I thought I’d experiment.
This soup balances the aniseed flavour of the fennel with the sweetness of the apple for a light but flavoursome meal. It goes well with garlic bread, and a garnish of sour cream.
I like to make extra portions of soup and freeze them for future weekend lunches. This time around, it came in handy for our first weekend getaway as a new family. With one night away and a little 4 month old in tow, we decided to book accommodation that had a kitchen and self-cater for dinner. And my fennel and apple soup was just the thing! Frozen, it was easy to pack into the car. And super easy to heat up in an unfamiliar kitchen. Yum! Hot, warming, homemade soup. Minimal effort for a cosy holiday dinner.
- ½ leek, finely sliced
- 20g butter
- 2 fennels, sliced
- 3 apples, diced
- 1-2 tbs plain flour
- 1 litre chicken stock
- Fennel fronds, to serve
- Greek style plain yoghurt, to serve
- Fry leek in butter in a large heavy-bottomed saucepan on a medium heat until soft.
- Add fennel and apples and fry for 3 mins.
- Add flour, and stir to form a roux with butter on the base of the pan.
- Add chicken stock and 1 litre of water and bring to the boil.
- Simmer soup until vegetables are softened, about 20 minutes.
- Puree soup with a stick blender until smooth.
- Serve topped with fennel fronds and a dollop of yoghurt.