the most delicious cookies ever

(they are cranberry and white chocolate but sure you could go wild with variations)

Ladies and gentlemen of the internet, I am here to tell you there is no need for you to do drugs or search for legal highs, because these cookies right here are the epitome of awesome. I have had the recipe saved for almost 3 years waiting for the perfect time to make them and because I thought browning butter would be a faff. It was a faff, but that was no excuse for not having more of these cookies in my life and the lives of my loved ones. Go forth and multiply, cookie-deliciousness…

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(makes 40ish)

260g unsalted butter
200g (1 cup) brown sugar
100g (1/2 cup) white sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
325g (2.5 cups) flour
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/2 tsp salt (think of all the salt you saved in the butter)
1 cup dried cranberries
100g white chocolate chips

  1. The night before you are going to make these, heat the butter over medium heat. Stir constantly. It will start bubbling away. Keep stirring and heating until it turns light brown and smells slightly toasted. Take off the heat (be careful it doesn’t burn) and pour into a container to cool overnight at room temperature until solid.
  2. The next day, cream the butter and sugars until fluffy. Beat in the eggs one by one, scraping the sides, then add vanilla.
  3. Whisk the four, bicarbonate of soda, and salt.
  4. Stir the flour into the butter mix until combined, then fold in the cranberries and white chocolate.
  5. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper. Place heaping tsps of batter onto the tray and flatten slightly.
  6. Bake for 8-10 minutes at 180oC until lightly golden on the edges. Slide the parchment paper onto a wire rack to allow the cookies to cool. Die of a food coma.


tarte aux fraises (strawberry tart)

Tesco apparently didn’t get the memo that strawberry season was June (or maybe the strawberries just hadn’t got the memo that summer was meant to have been in June). So when I saw 2kg of strawberries reduced to £1.80, I just had to get them. And then to stop them wasting away, I just had to make a strawberry tart. No other thing for it. Didn’t hear any objections from my new colleagues or flatmates I have to say…

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The recipe I used for this said that it made enough for a 24cm tarte – I think their dough must have been rolled really thick, as I got 2 out of it. They also said it was for 6 people, and I think mine fed about 16 servings… But the recipe was French, so they clearly know what they are talking about and you should feel free to split between 6 if you so desire!

2 egg yolks
70g sugar
30-50ml water
250g flour
125g butter, diced

  1. Whisk the yolks and sugar until they turn pale. Whisk in a little water to loosen the mixture.
  2. With your fingers, mix the flour and butter until they form breadcrumbs, with the butter all absorbed.
  3. Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture, and use a knife to incorporate the two.
  4. Form into a ball (or two) and roll out then place in your cake pans. Prick the base with a fork, then bake for 20-25 minutes at 180oC (I didn’t use baking beans as the dough was already so heavy, but you can if you’d like).

crème pâtissière
300ml milk
1 egg (+ 1 of the egg whites from above)
40g flour
50g sugar
few drops vanilla extract

  1. While the base is cooking, hull and chop your strawberries, then prepare the cream.
  2. Bring the milk and vanilla to the boil.
  3. Whisk the egg and sugar until reasonably stiff, then whisk in the flour.
  4. Pour in the boiling milk, whisking well, then pour back into the saucepan and heat again, whisking constantly.  Remove from the heat when it comes to the boil.
  5. Pour the cream over the tart and arrange your strawberries on top.



I was visiting a friend in Mannheim and she suggested one day that we have these gnocchi-like things as a quick and easy luncheon. Given their absence in Glaswegian shops, their re-creation wasn’t quite so straightforward, but they are sufficiently tasty that they are worth a wee bit of effort to make! Serve with apple compote or sauerkraut (sadly, again both are more readily available in Baden-Wurttemburg), or anything else you can think of!

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(serves 4-5, or half for 2-3)

500g potatoes, peeled, boiled, and mashed very well
2 eggs
150-200g flour (+ extra for kneading)
Few pinches of salt
1 pinch nutmeg

  1. Knead the mashed potatoes into a dough with the rest of the ingredients.
  2. Bring a salted pot of water to  a rolling boil. Flour your surface well.
  3. Roll dough into long finger-thick strips, squeezing so they have tips at both ends.
  4. Drop into the boiling water for about 5 minutes until they float.
  5. Fry (I added some onions at this point) and serve.


pearl barley risotto recipe


From being something I picked up on a whim at the Whole Foods section of Tesco, pearl barley and I have come a long way. Cheap, tasty, and just plain interesting.

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(serves 3-4)

30g unsalted butter
2 tbsp olive oil
2 onions (or shallots), diced
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
200g pearl barley
4 thyme sprigs
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1 bay leaf
1 tsp lemon juice
pinch chilli flakes
700ml hot vegetable stock
400g can chopped tomatoes
300ml passata
3 tbsp tomato purée
handful cherry tomatoes
(optional: cream cheese to taste)

  1. Heat the butter and oil in a large pan. Soften the onion for 8-10 minutes, then add the garlic for a further 2.
  2. Stir in the barley and herbs and cook for 1 minute. Add stock, chopped tomatoes, lemon juice, passata, tomato purée, and a teaspoon of salt. Stir to combine Bring to the boil and simmer for 45 minutes, stirring frequently.
  3. Add the cherry tomatoes and cook for 5-10 more minutes, until the pearl barley is ready. Turn off heat and, if desired, stir in cream cheese.

beetroot houmous

A tasty dip, and does well in the using-up-vacuum-beetroot stakes if you’ve been intrigued enough to try the beetroot-chocolate-balls posted a few weeks ago. It does make a lot, though apparently can be frozen – I’ve got  a chunk in my freezer just now and was thinking of playing around with it for bean-burger-patty type things. You’ll hear from me if that works out; otherwise we can just pretend I never said anything, ok?

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250g beetroot (vacuum-packed surely? but boil the raw stuff if you want…), roughly chopped
400g can chickpeas, drained
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 tbsp ground cumin
1 tsp salt
Pepper to taste

  1. Blend everything together in a food processor or with a hand blender.
  2. Serve swirled with a little yoghurt, some toasted cumin seeds, and some crusty bread.



beetroot chocolate fridge balls

So I’ve been lax with my blog-posting for a while, mainly because I’ve gone on a paleo journey that eschews all artificial forms of applying heat to food and consists mainly of shooting a passing woolly mammoth with a hand-carved bow and arrow.

Or maybe not.

But I was intrigued by this recipe for  “protein balls”, and they were tasty – just watch out because the longer you leave them the longer they actually taste like beetroot, which I found odd in a dessert.

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75g (2/3 cup) rolled oats
1 cooked, cooled beetroot (about 75g)
125g (1/2 cup) peanut butter
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon skimmed milk powder or protein powder
Coconut, cocoa powder, milled linseeds etc… for rolling

  1. In a food processor, whiz the oats until they are fine. Add all other ingredients and combine. Roll into teaspoon-sized balls, roll in coconut, cocoa etc… and store in the refrigerator or freezer.


imam bayildi (veggie stuffed aubergines)

I’ve come across some dodgy undercooked aubergines in my day, and always got slightly weirded out by instructions telling you to salt them to take the bitterness out first. And maybe one day I’ll find a recipe for cooking them that doesn’t involve a fair whack more oil than seems healthy, but in the mean time these taste so good that I don’t really care.

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(serves 2 as meals, or 4 as starter)

2 aubergines
1 large onion, finely sliced vertically
1 red pepper, chopped and seeded
3 large tomatoes, skinned and chopped
6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
Bunch fresh parsley, finely chopped
150ml olive oil
4 tbsp water
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp sugar

  1. Halve the aubergines lengthways. Sprinkle with salt and leave for 10 minutes. Rinse off the salt and juices, pat dry and place the halves side by side, flesh side up, in a wide saucepan.
  2. Mix the onion, tomatoes, pepper, garlic and herbs in a bowl with 1 tsp salt and a little of the oil.
  3. Carefully pile the mixture on top of each halved aubergine until all the flesh is covered.
  4. Mix the rest of the oil with the water, lemon juice, and sugar and pour it over and around. Cover the pan and cook gently over a low heat for 1 1/2-2 hours.
  5. Baste occasionally with the oil, pushing the onion and tomato mixture down into the halves as they cook. The aubergines should end up soft and flat, sitting in a golden, slightly caramelised pool of oil.
  6. Drain off the oil and serve cold – keeps in the fridge for a couple of days.


rosemary pearl barley/sweet potato salad


Not the most inspiring of pictures, peut-etre, but them’s the apples. Or in this case, sweet potatoes. Now that I bought pearl barley, it needs to be used up…

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(serves 3-4)

1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, peeled and finely chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
½ red chilli, de-seeded and finely chopped
1 sprig of rosemary (or 1 tsp dried)
175g pearl barley
2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 3cm slices
100g green beans (pref fresh, but frozen work)1tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
2tsp runny honey
1tsp wholegrain mustard

  1. Heat the oil in a large pan and fry the onion, garlic, chilli and rosemary for 5 minutes until soft.
  2. Add the barley and 600ml boiling water. Simmer uncovered for 15 minutes, then add the sweet potatoes and simmer for a further 10 minutes, then add the beans and simmer for a further 5 minutes, until all is cooked.
  3. Whisk the vinegar, honey, and mustard together and pour over. Chill until ready to serve.

spicy coconut squash curry


There doesn’t seem to be an end to all of the things that can be made with squash… this was a particularly tasty curry.

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(serves 4)

2 tbsp sunflower oil
2 red onions, thinly sliced
2 cl garlic, diced
1 small red chilli, finely chopped
1 red pepper, cut into short strips
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp garam masala
1 medium butternut squash, peeled, deseeded, and rough cut into 2cm cubes
2 handfuls cherry tomatoes, halved
Handful raisins
400ml coconut milk
1/2 tbsp lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste

  1. Heat the oil in a large pan and soften the onions for about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, chilli, and red pepper and cook for a further 5 minutes.
  2. Add the coriander and garam masala and stir for a minute, then add the squash and tomatoes. Cook for a further 5 mintues.
  3. Add the coconut milk and raisins and simmer, partially covered, for 20 minutes or until the squash is tender. Add water if necessary.
  4. Add the lemon juice and season. Enjoy with rice or naan.


dark double chocolate salted caramel fridge pie

This post goes out to anyone that hasn’t eaten chocolate in the past 40+ days… Happy Easter tomorrow, everyone! “For while we were still helpless, at the appointed moment, Christ died for the ungodly. For rarely will someone die for a just person—though for a good person perhaps someone might even dare to die.But God proves His own love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us! Much more then, since we have now been declared righteous by His blood,we will be saved through Him from wrath. For if, while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, then how much more, having been reconciled, will we be saved by His life! And not only that, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ. We have now received this reconciliation through Him.”

Now I feel slightly flippant talking about chocolate. But God is the creator of all good things which I think definitely includes this delicious dessert!

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(serves 10-12)


1 pack (about 300g) chocolate cream / bourbon biscuits
1 tbsp cocoa
125g + 125g butter
150g brown sugar
75ml + 250ml double cream, room temperature
300g dark chocolate chips (or bars broken up)
salt for sprinkling

  1. Crush the biscuits, and melt 125g of the butter then stir in. Press into a deep spring-form or removable-bottom pan, pushing up the sides to make it hollow in the middle. Put in fridge or freezer for 15-30 minutes.
  2. Melt the remaining butter and sugar in a small saucepan, whisking constantly, until it comes to boil. When it’s bubbling, keep whisking for 1 minute then remove from the heat, and slowly whisk in 75ml of cream.
  3. Cool caramel about 15 minutes then pour into the pie crust. Freeze or fridge for 30-45 minutes.
  4. Make the ganache: heat the remaining cream in a pan until almost boiling. Remove from heat and add the chocolate. Leave for a few minutes then stir until all the chocolate has melted.
  5. Pour the chocolate over the caramel and smooth out the top to evenly distribute the chocolate. Refrigerate until ready to serve – just before serving, sprinkle with sea salt.