California Girl living in London, working model, practicing wife to a Pie Loving Husband, trying not to eat myself out of the day job. 

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Thursday
Apr242014

Feasting with Tonia Buxton

The Mediterranean diet is a beautiful example of centuries old healthy eating. Rich in seasonal vegetables and fruit, olive oil, natural yogurt, whole grains, nuts, fresh seafood and poultry, and even red wine, it celebrates whole ingredients and eating fresh in the most simply delicious way. See, eating clean has been at our fingertips all along. We just needed to remind ourselves. 

So, when Total Greek Yogurt asked me to come along to join TV Cook Tonia Buxton for a Greek Easter masterclass at La Cucina Caldesi Cookery School, I just couldn’t refuse adding a few Mediterranean secrets to my cooking repertoire. They kindly sent us all home with a few tubs of yogurt and all Tonia’s recipes from the day, which, of course, I just have to share with you. This menu would make an awesome alternative to the Sunday lunch, especially now that we might be able to eat al fresco. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

 

Greek Sea Bream Fillets with Olives, Capers, Lemon & Yogurt Tahini Sauce

Serves: 2 or 4 as a starter/meze
Ingredients
4 sea bream fillets (or seabass) 
2 tbsp olive oil 
1 clove garlic, thinly sliced
25g pine nuts 
12 Greek green olives (takistès if possible)
1 tablespoon of capers
Juice of 1 lemon 
½ x 15g pack fresh coriander, chopped 
For the Tahini Yoghurt Sauce
1 large tbsp Total Greek Yoghurt 
1 heaped tablespoon of wholemeal Tahini paste,
1 clove garlic, crushed 
1 large pinch sea salt
Juice of 1 lemon
Cold water to slacken, if needed
Method
1. Lightly season the sea bream fillets.
2. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a non-stick frying pan, then add the fillets skin-side down. Cook for 2-3 minutes or until the skin is crisp and golden brown. 
3. Turn over and cook for a further 1-2 minutes, until the flesh is opaque and just cooked through. Remove from the pan and place on warmed serving plates.
4. Add the remaining tablespoon of oil to the pan and cook the garlic and pine nuts for 1 minute, until they start to lightly brown. Add the olives and capers and sauté for a further minute.
5. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the lemon juice. Let it bubble for a minute then sprinkle in the coriander. 
6. Mix the yoghurt sauce ingredients tofether.
7. Spoon the sauce over the fish and serve immediately.
Greek Lamb Pattie Tray Bake
Serves: 4
Ingredients
100g TOTAL Greek Yoghurt 
100g fresh wholemeal breadcrumbs 
400g lamb mince 
1 egg, beaten
1 tsp ground cumin 
4 red onions (2 finely chopped, 2 cut into wedges) 
Large handful mint, chopped 
4  waxy new potatoes, ie charlottes cut into wedges 
4 courgettes, halved & quartered lengthways 
250g pack midi tomatoes on the vine 
2 unwaxed lemons cut into 6 wedges each 
4 tbsp olive oil
100g feta cheese, crumbled 
Method
1. Heat the oven to 200°C / 180°C Fan / Gas Mark 6. 
2. Put the breadcrumbs, the lamb mince, egg, plenty of seasoning and cumin in a bowl. 
3. Add the chopped onion and sprinkle in half the chopped mint. Give everything a good mix and shape into 8 patties. 
4. Lightly oil a large, shallow roasting tray and add the patties.
5. Place the onion wedges on the tray around the lamb patties with the potatoes, courgettes and tomatoes. Drizzle with olive oil and season. Bake for around 40 minutes, turning & basting everything once halfway, until the lamb is cooked though and the vegetables are tender. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with the feta and remaining mint.
6. Serve with a Greek Salad and tahini sauce.
My favorite discovery was working with Anari Cheese to make Anarocrema. Anari Cheese is a naturally low fat by-product of halloumi. A goat’s cheese, this mild soft cheese has the texture of cottage and combines beautifully with honey and fruit for the creamiest of the puddings without the indulgent guilts. What’s not to like. 
Anarocrema
Serves: 8
Ingredients:
5 sheets of filo pastry 
Olive oil to brush 
1 kg unsalted Anari Cheese (or ricotta cheese)
750g Total Greek Yoghurt  
Toppings 
½ glass (125g) caster sugar 
1 small Greek coffee cup (50ml) of rosewater 
OR
3 tsp ground cinnamon
3 tbsp honey 
OR
3 tbsp honey
½ glass of orange blossom water
PLUS (all or just what you fancy)
1 glass halved walnuts 
1 glass chopped pistachio nuts 
1 glass of fresh raspberries 
Chopped strawberries
Method
1. Cut the 5 sheets of filo pastry in half to make 10 sheets. Place each stack side by side on a baking tray brushing between each sheet with some oil. Bake in a preheated oven (150°C / Fan 130°C / Gas Mark 2) for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. Cool then crush into flakes.
2. Place the Anari cheese in a bowl, breaking down with a fork. Add the Greek yoghurt & your preferred flavouring.
3. Cover the bowl and pop in the fridge for 10-15 minutes to firm up.
4. You need a pretty glass bowl to assemble the dessert, or single sundae glasses.
5. First, scatter half the filo pastry into the base of the dish, then dollop in some of the cream mixture, layer some nuts & fruit & repeat.
Many Thanks to @TotalGreek & @ToniaBuxton  
AND @satureyes for the Photography!

Thursday
Apr172014

What's Your Perfect Breakfast?

 

Aw breakfast. It’s by far my favourite meal of the day and arguably one of the most important. For me, most breakfasts consist of poached eggs on rye or homemade granola. I’m also a big fan of the post am workout smoothie and if feeling indulgent it, has to be pancakes with warmed maple syrup. Because I find there is a distinct correlations between what I put into my body and how I feel, the aim is always clean.

The good people at Jordans Cereals are asking:  

This week, I want to highlight My Sunshine Bircher. With all this sunshine, dare I saw, spring has arrived and I can’t help but day dream about the warm days of summer ahead. This Sunshine Birchers is that summer time feeling in a bowl and probably how I will be starting my day for the next week. I made a really big batch. With organic probiotic yoghurt with a blend of oats, shredded apple, coconut, mango, pomegranate kernel and passion fruit topping, it’s simple clean deliciousness. 
My Sunshine Bircher
 
Serves 2
Ingredients:
200g organic whole rolled oats
400g apple juice (pear or rhubarb work just as well)
100g probiotic natural yogurt 
1 large or 2 small apples, grated
2 heaping tbsp shredded unsweetened coconut
145g mango, chopped
100g pomegranate kernel
2 passion fruits, scoop out the edible seeds 
Method:
1) In a big bowl or container, soak the oats and coconut in the apple juice and store sealed in the fridge for a couple of hours, but best is overnight.
2) When you are ready to eat the Bircher, prepare your fruit salad by gently combining the mango pomegranate and passion fruit, set to one side. Then grate the apple and add this to the soaked oats together with the yoghurt. Top with the fruit salad, give a good mix and spoon into bowls ready to eat.

Tuesday
Apr152014

A Radishing Salad to Welcome Spring

Stop the Presses, radishes are now in season!

Ok, maybe not the most exciting news, but there are a lot of them around at the mo and, as far as I am concerned, these peppery little beauties don’t get enough plate time. They are rich in folic acid and potassium and are a good source of vitamin B6, magnesium, riboflavin, and calcium. Packed full of flavour and delicious raw, the simple radish is worth exploring this time of year. 

This Radishing Salad is just another example of how eating healthly doesn’t have to mean sacrificing flavour. You eat this salad with your eyes as much as your mouth, it’s a beauty.


Radishing Salad

Serves 4

preptime 20min

Ingredients:

  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tbsp agave nectar or honey
  • juice and zest of 2 lemons
  • 2 tbsp champagne vinegar or white wine vinegar
  • ½ cup Arbequina olive oil or other fruity olive oil
  • 1 cougrette, sliced into thin coins
  • 150g mixed radishes and beets, sliced into thin coins
  • 1 Shallots, sliced into thin coins
  • 1 cup fresh hers (such as thyme, basil, oregano)
  • 1 cup Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, finely grated
  • 1 small chilli

 Method:

  1. First make your lemon vinaigrette. In a small mixing bowl combine garlic, honey, lemon juice, and vinegar and process with a hand blender. With the blender running, drizzle in olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and put aside.
  2. Combine the sliced (with a Mandoline, if your have it) courgette, radishes, beets, and shallots in a large mixing bowl. Season with salt and pepper and dress with lemon vinaigrette.
  3. Finish salad by adding the lemon zest, herbs and a generous sprinkling of cheese and a pinch of your chilli. Serve immediately.

We're having ours with two medium rare ribeyes. 

 

Thursday
Apr102014

Eating My Way Through Manhattan (Part 2)

Still, hungry for more mouthwatering Manhattan spots? 

 
Next has to be the The Park and Rosemary in the West Village:
While the boys, snuck out to The Spotted Pig for a few testosterone fueled beverages and celebrated blue cheese burgers. My sisters and I had a very rare night out together. We first went to The Park for drinks to celebrate Lindsay’s engagement. Sitting in The Park's beautiful atrium sipping champagne and catching up was very special indeed. I’m a sucker for trees and sparkly fairy lights. The bar is a beauty and the high ceilings give the place a sense of grandeur you wouldn't expect from the street. The food is supposed to match the ambiance, but we didn’t eat there so I can’t report back.
However, after we finished the champagne, the three of us hopped into a cab and headed to the West Village to Rosemary’s for a late dinner. Guys, this place is fabulous. It’s New York does country kitchen décor and had me a soon as I walked through the door. Relaxed, welcoming and very cool. Their Costolette Pork Ribs are not to be missed. The meat is so succulent that the bones are left clean with just of fork. We paired it with Eggplant Caponata, Radish in Thyme, Rosemary Focaccia, and Warm Olive, which sounds weird but after trying them, I don’t really know why olives would be served another way. With a herb garden on the roof, this place is worth the trip alone and is the kind of place I fantasise running one day. 
 

David Burke Kitchen was recommended to us by friends of ours that used to live in New York as a fabulous date place. So, we booked it for our anniversary dinner, but to be honest, we were both so zonked from the holiday antics that we didn’t really appreciate it. The setting is very sleek and modern and the menu really pushes the gourmet boundaries. I could have ordered anything on the menu. I can highly recommend the fried oysters and tuna and salmon tartare. Both are extraordinary and I look forward to going back one day to get the proper indulgent experience. 
 

I had been craving pizza all week. So, on our final night, Megs found La Lanterna di Vittorio in Greenwich Village and what a funky find. This is how Italian is supposed to be. Tightly packed, thick accents, mafia looking types huddled around corner tables in pinstripe three price suits. Lots of red wine and the heavenly smell of baking bread. It has a jazz bar in the basement and is probably the only place in New York that doesn't offer gluten free, but the food is so good, no one cares. Megs and I split a tomatoes and goats cheese salad and their Formaggi pizza. Mike had a massive calzone with Canadian bacon, caramelised onions and capriono. No one mention the obvious healthy eating breach. Some nights the rules have to go out the window to enjoy the moment! 
 
I loved trying all these wonderful restaurants. It's absolute brilliant and I feel incredibly fortunate to have been able to enjoy what was on offer. Trying a new wonderful place is an absolute joy for me. So, this many insuch a short period mays seem a glutinous amount of fun, but hey, it was a holiday and there was a lot to celebrate.
 
If you are planning a trip to the Big Apple, a few no foodie related bits we got up to while we're over there and would highly recommend; Comedy Cellar, walked The Highline, Trapeze School, 16 Handles for a load of fro-yo, 9/11 memorial is open and peacefully profound; rent bikes and cycle around Central Park, walk the Brooklyn Bridge, and of course, a bit of shopping... I mean, it's New York, it would almost be criminal not too!


Aww, back to reality and off to castings for me.

 

 

Monday
Apr072014

Eating My Way Through Manhattan (Part 1)

Hi friends,
I wasn’t able to post anything last week because I was happily munching my way through Manhattan. We jumped across the pond for a little break to see the family, to celebrate an engagement and our fourth wedding anniversary. We packed a lot in but it was worth the flight.
We ate really well while in New York and I thought I’d share some of my edible highlights with you. 
Friedmen’s at the Chelsea Market for Breakfast:
First of all, Chelsea Market is any foodie’s heaven, whether you want rare spices or proper Italian pasta, grain free sushi or entire raw eateries and of course, bakeries producing cupcakes too beautiful to eat. If let loose, I could spend hours and probably all my money in there.
 
Freidmen’s was a perfect place to start our Saturday. Cosy and sweet, it offers a easy break from the market madness. The gluten free blueberry pancakes are incredible. The fact we ordered them for the table to share was my first mistake. Yum. Their egg white scramble packed full of veggies and crispy hashbrowns on the side feels like a cheat meal. The inhouse raseberry jam and bottomless coffee finishes off a perfect breakfast for me. The Husband had their B.E.L.T. sandwhich, which is now firmly his favourite breakfast… move over Full English, the boy prefers American breakfasts. 

The Standard was beautiful way to kick off our New York nightlife. A simply stunning restaurant. As my sister put it, ‘it’s a place to be seen,’ but not in a wanky kind of way. In the bar, we sipped espresso martinis to keep the jet lag at bay. Vanilla vodka and espresso is a beautiful combination.  Their ‘west side’ Penny Drop of vodka, house made ginger cordial, lime juice and ginger beer, is also very good. We had the rib eye… obviously, medium rare with skinny fries. For me, it was perfection though the husband complained it was a little salty. Just ask to be put in the main dinning room when you make your reservation.
It’s beer garden with Ping-Pong tables, foosball, and proper steins seems like the perfect place for a decent session with mates.
Our Sunday started late. My sister, Megs, our host and tour guilde extraordinaire, ensured us that on the weekends, New Yorkers don’t start anything before noon. So, after cracking the curtains and clearing our eyes, we headed to the Lower East Side just to check out Babycakes before meeting friends for brunch. Babycakes is one of the first all natural, gluten, dairy and sugar free vegan bakeries to open their doors and make waves…. They do donuts. Despite being on our way to brunch, I had to try one. Dominique Ansel can keep their Cronut. I’ll have one of Babycakes’ creations instead and there is no need to queue. The agave brownies are devine, just try not to eat the box in one sitting. Oppsie. 

With a heavy nod to the prohibition era, Beauty & Essex’s pawnshop front holds very glamorous secret.  By far, the most decadent place I’ve ever been for breakfast and it’s not just the décor, the food matches. Granted not the best name for the English types, but the mimosas flow and even at 12pm on a Sunday, it somehow all seems accpectable to order a bottle and throw on your heels. Chef Chris Santos’ creations will have you turning your nose up at any ordinary eggs benedict going forward. Try the Mini Pressed Cubanos or the Reuben Toast. This place is not to be missed. 
Food aside, the highlight for me was definitely sitting courtside watching my youngest sister dance for the Nets. The girl hooked us up! I’m not sure we’ll every get floor seats again, but we loved being so close to the action and watching the girls perform was spectacular. No offence to the basketball players, but these professional dancers are so underrated. The Brooklynettes are amazing and stole the show (for me)!
Prior to the game we met the family at Madiba in Brooklyn for some classic South African cuisine. My mother, who is a tough foodie judge, loved her Bobotie and we were all surprised to see a chicken curry in a Bunny Chow on the menu. You can also pick up Ouma Rusks, chutney, NikNaks, and some pretty good South African wine. 
Still hungry? Part Two is going Live on Thursday.
Till then…I’ll be at the gym working this off ;)