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Thursday, 19 November 2009

What a topping idea

Boy o boy, the dude who invented pizza must be rolling in his grave right now. Looks so wrong but tastes so right.

For my friend Nat's birthday (who you may remember from this post) we had a ladies night in with lots of good conversation, pizza and red wine. Perfecto!

Appetite for Destruction Guns n' Roses

Monday, 2 November 2009

Post-Halloween gloopy soup

Mental note: don't use sticky Charlotte potatoes for Potato and Leek soup, tastes great but ends up looking like a beige Ghostbusters slime

Thursday, 24 September 2009

Leaf to Root eating

When I was little, my dad told me that every grain of rice I left on my plate would be a spot on my face when I was older. As a result, I have developed an obsessive aversion to throwing away food.
Very little went to waste in our household, any leftovers would be used for dinner the next day, and our fridge was always full of little dishes covered in cling film...and if you take a peek in my fridge today, it's still the same.

I'm now not embarrassed to admit this because this week experts have been saying that our wastage is now pushing up food prices in the developing world. So now I'm not just a tightarse just a concerned citizen of the earth.

Concerned Citizen Chew's tips to do your bit:

- Use your freezer. If you don't think you're going to get around to eating that bag of carrots, steam or boil them and freeze them for another day. Same goes with fruit - berries can be frozen straight and cooked or used in a smoothie for another day. Other fruit can pipped or cored then stewed to be eaten with ice cream or used in a crumble. Or if you are super organinsed, buy up big and spend a couple of hours cooking up a big batch of soup, curry or pasta sauce to be frozen.

- Make stock. Tired looking veg and scraps can be thrown into a pot and boiled up for a lovely stock which can make a risotto sing. Don't forget to throw in the rind from Parmesan cheese into the stock pot too.

- Plan your shopping. Have a quick think about how much cooking you will be doing at home for the week. Not much point in buying a weeks worth of veg if you'll only be home one or two nights to actually cook it

- One bad apple can spoil the barrel. Remove bad bits of fruit or veg and the rest of the bag/bunch will last a bit longer

- Change the water your tofu sits in and it will last much longer

This risotto takes twice as long as normal risotto, so it's one you might want to attempt when you aren't in a starving rush. It is definitely worth the wait though, the earthy beetroot pairs very nicely with the graininess and bouncey texture of the barley - and the colour is quite spectacular. If barley isn't your thing you can use good old Aborio rice and shorten the cooking time to 20 minutes. Serves 4.

What you need
2 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
350g pearl barley
1.5 litres vegetable stock, hot
1 bunch of baby beets with stalks or if you can't get this you could use fresh beets with a few handfuls chard or spinach to replace the beetroot leaves
optional garnish: a chunk of goats cheese or fetta

The do
Wash the beetroot thoroughly. Grate the beetroot and chop up the leaves into 4 cm pieces.
Heat the olive oil in a medium pan over a medium-low heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook gently, stirring occasionally, for a few minutes, until softened. Add the pearl barley and grated beetroot and cook for 1 minute.
Add a quarter of the stock to the pan and simmer, stirring every now and then, until all the stock has been absorbed. Barley doesn't need as much TLC as aborio rice so you can do other things and come back to it every now and then. Add another quarter of the stock and continue in this way until all the stock is absorbed – it should take about 40 minutes for the barley to be tender but still al dente. Add the stalky bits and cook for about 5 minutes, then stir in the leaf. Cook for a few minutes until wilted and dark green. If you have it, serve with a sharp crumbly goats cheese or feta sprinkled on top.

Greetings From Michigan: The Great Lakes State Sufjan Stevens

Friday, 18 September 2009

Stop press

This post has nothing to do with food, but I just want to say a quick bye bye to the newspaper that I worked very hard to help start up. Make sure you grab your last copy today!

In other news...illustrator/designer for hire. Please email

Monday, 10 August 2009

Chew of Greengages

We just spent a blissful weekend in Bath - warm sun, blue skies and fine, fine foods. I have discovered a new favourite past time too... hanging around in Denise's front garden under the greengage tree with my legs in the sun eating greengages and napping.

We also christened Denise's new ice cream maker with an incredibly rich chocolate ice cream from David Leibovitz's book The Perfect Scoop, which has some crazy flavour combinations like orange and sichuan pepper (we weren't game enough to try that one). We added some fresh cherries at the end to give it an extra edge, but could only manage small amounts at a time as each spoonful brought us closer to an ice cold coronary.

And of course a visit to Bath isn't complete without a visit to the Fine Cheese Co. This time I was very restrained and came away a chunk of Le Gruyère Premier Cru, aged in caves for 14 months, and celebrity cheese Little Wallop made by Alex James - washed in cider brandy and beautifully wrapped in vine leaves, I loved the oozy bits on the outer edges. While you're there grab a loaf of bread and butternut squash ravioli - best pasta I've had from a packet.

Friday, 7 August 2009

4pm is cupcake 'o' clock

A woman just arrived in our reception at work with a big basket full of glittering cupcakes for sale. This lemon and poppy seed number is just the little pick-me-up a girl needs after a hell week on a dragging friday afternoon.

Tuesday, 4 August 2009

The Lake District: Currying flavour

Curry night: Lauren and Theo

Whooo! A most excellent hearty curry banquet complete with specialist beers (Cobra). A rare treat to be able to indulge in Indian cuisine without feeling like I've eaten my body weight in ghee and MSG.

Pumpkin & Apple Curry (serves 4)
What you need

Vegetable Oil
large onion
500g of pumpkin/squash, cubed
800g of baking potatoes, cubed
1 large cooking apple, cubed
2 tsp curry paste
1 tsp turmeric
root ginger (2.5cm)
bay leaves
500 ml vegetable stock

The do
Heat oil in pan. Add onion and brown.
Add chilli, curry paste, turmeric, ginger, bay leaves, apple, pumpkin, potato to pan.
Immediately after add vegetable stock.
Bring to boil and then simmer for 20 minutes until cooked.
Serve with fromage frais or yoghurt.

Easy Tofu Curry (serves 4)
What you need
good swig of vegetable oil
Tofu, diced
Seasonal veg - I like to use broccoli & green beans
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp ground coriander
2 tsp mild curry powder
2 medium fresh green chillies, thinly sliced
5 cm chunk of ginger, grated
2 onions
1 can tomatoes
1 can coconut milk (use light coconut milk if you want a healthier option)

The do
Start by browning the tofu pieces in a pan until brown.
In another pan, heat the oil and add your spices and ginger.
Fry for a few minutes, then add the onions and fresh chilli.
Cook for another 5 minutes then add the tofu and tomatoes.
Simmer for 10-15 minutes then add your favourite veg (broccoli and beans are yum!)
Finally, add the coconut milk and simmer for a final 5 minutes.
Season and serve with basmati rice, raita, mango chutney and fresh tomato salad.

Fresh Tomato Salad (serves 4)
What you need
6 medium tomatoes, diced
Small onion, thinly sliced
Fresh Coriander
Juice of fresh lemon

The do
Combine the ingredients and season with lemon juice to taste

Sung Tongs Animal Collective

Saturday, 1 August 2009

4.34pm Afternoon tea break

My most favourite food in the world at the moment...Ottolenghi's Cherry bread and butter pudding yummmmmeeerrrggggghhhhhhhhh

Wednesday, 29 July 2009

Dalston Mill

Check out this brilliant instillation on at the moment in Dalston as part of the Barbican's Radical Nature: Art and Architecture exhibition - a fully operational bread mill and wheat field where you can bake your own bread or see a theatre show. Fun fun fun!

Monday, 27 July 2009

The Lake District: Quichey quichey ya ya da da

Quiche night: Kim, Fi and Oli

The hours before dinner have been blissful with the gang either in the lounge room or front garden enjoying some reading time with a nice cold beer. It's so quiet all you can hear the babbling of the brook running through the back of the house and the song of woodland birds. Then suddenly...


The fire alarm is going berserk. I race up to our bedroom to find Jasmine still sound asleep (I swear, once that girl actually gets to sleep not even a death metal band turned up to 11 can wake her)
I look out the window and there is smoke streaming out from the kitchen windows below. While the techies in our group try to figure out the code to turn the alarm off, everyone else races around the building opening windows and fanning the air with whatever comes to hand. I head down into ground zero - site of the burning quiche - and find Kim in the kitchen enjoying a fine glass of red, a picture of detached calm amid the chaos...

At some point the peace and quiet was restored, the smoke cleared and we enjoyed a delicious spread then played petanque until the midges and mosquitoes chased us back indoors.

Leek and Stilton quiche (from BBC food)

What you need
2 tbsp vegetable oil
25g/1oz butter
350g/12oz onions, finely sliced
675g/1lb leeks, shanks only, sliced
2 garlic cloves, crushed or finely chopped
2tsp soft thyme leaves
1 tsp caster sugar
1 tbsp plain flour
3 eggs
290ml/½ pint double cream
100g/4oz Stilton cheese, cubed
2 tbsp fresh grated parmesan
300g/12oz short crust pastry

The do
1. Line a 25cm/10in flan tin or dish with the pastry. Place in the refrigerator to chill.
2. Heat the oil and the butter in a pan until melted. Add the onions, leeks, sugar, garlic and thyme and cook gently until they have started to turn golden brown and are soft. Allow to cool slightly. Fold in the flour and add seasoning.
3. Beat the eggs and cream together and add to the onion mix. Fold in half the parmesan and the Stilton cheese.
4. Spoon the mixture into the flan case and sprinkle with the remaining parmesan. Bake in a preheated oven at 190C/375F/Gas 5 for about 50 minutes until golden brown and set.

Spinach, mushroom and ricotta quiche with sauteed spinach (from BBC food)

What you need
For the quiche
butter, for greasing
400g/14oz ready-made shortcrust pastry
350g/12oz flat mushrooms
3 sprigs thyme, leaves only
2 tbsp olive oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper
500g/1lb 2oz baby spinach leaves
freshly grated nutmeg, to taste
salt and freshly ground black pepper
250g/9oz ricotta cheese
1 tbsp grainy mustard
3 free-range egg yolks
300ml/11fl oz double cream
salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the spinach
25g/1oz butter
1 garlic clove, lightly crushed
500g/1lb 2oz baby spinach leaves
salt and freshly ground black pepper

The do
1. Preheat the oven to 180C/465F/Gas 4.
2. Grease a 25cm/10in loose-bottomed tart tin with butter.
3. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the pastry to line the tart tin. Cover with cling film and place into the fridge to chill for 15 minutes.
4. Remove the pastry tart case from the fridge, cover with greaseproof paper and fill with baking beans. Transfer to the oven and bake blind for 10-15 minutes.
5. Remove the beans and greaseproof paper and return the tart case to the oven to bake for a further 3-5 minutes, until golden and just cooked.
6. Turn the oven temperature up to 200C/400F/Gas 6.
7. Meanwhile, place the mushrooms onto a baking tray, sprinkle over the thyme, drizzle over one tablespoon of the olive oil and season well with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Place into the oven to bake for 5-6 minutes, or until the mushrooms are beginning to soften. Remove and set aside.
8. Heat a large frying pan until hot and add the remaining one tablespoon of olive oil and the spinach and cover with a lid. Cook until the spinach has just wilted, then remove from the pan and drain.
9. Season the spinach well with freshly grated nutmeg and salt and freshly ground black pepper.
10. Place the ricotta into a bowl. Add the grainy mustard, season, to taste, with salt and freshly ground black pepper and mix well.
11. Spoon the mustard and ricotta mixture into the bottom of the tart case, top with the wilted spinach, and carefully place the roasted mushrooms on top.
12. Place the egg yolks and cream into a bowl, season well with salt and freshly ground black pepper and whisk together. Pour the egg mixture into the tart case.
13. Transfer to the oven to bake for 40 minutes, or until golden-brown and bubbling. Remove and cool slightly before serving.
14. For the sautéed spinach, heat a frying pan until hot. Add the butter and swirl the garlic clove around to flavour the oil.
15. Remove the garlic clove, add the spinach and sauté until wilted down. Season, to taste, with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
16. To serve, cut slices of quiche and place onto plates with a spoonful of sautéed spinach alongside.

Burning down the house Talking Heads

Sunday, 26 July 2009

I will not munch on your poussin

Australia, England... same language, same sort of culture, so why sometimes are things so bloody difficult? What, when you see poussin on a Sunday roast menu otherwise written entirely in English, might you think? No, not a fish, not a Russian president, not a vegetable, not a saucy vagina, a WHOLE FUCKING CHICKEN.

I didn't know that before three this afternoon. Now I do.

Thanks to the lovely bloke at Royal Inn on the Park who sweetly reversed my order after he arrived at the table and I almost freaked out as badly as the first time I ever saw steak tartare.

Why not just call it chicken, yeah?

Sunday market bonanza

The Lake District: The Old Mill

This is my second attempt at this post - frustratingly, the first one went AWOL - and so I don't lose the will to blog I've decided to break it up into parts, which is probably better anyway.

Earlier this month we escaped the "killer heatwave" and spent a week up North with some good mates living in a house, a very big house (with turrets!) in the country.

Why? To celebrate Kelly's 29th and Carter's (more significant) 40th birthday. If Carters had had his way we probably would have been forced to wear medieval costume for the whole week, but unfortunately there was limited luggage space.

We split into teams and took turns cooking dinner which is what the next few posts will be about...

Tuesday, 21 July 2009

The saturday ramble

My mate Kirsty K and I have totally embraced the English pastime of rambling. Not so much walking poles and maps wrapped in plastic as the joy of taking a very long stroll to a country pub for dinner.

One Saturday a little while back we took a train to Guildford in Hampshire then ambled through field, farm and forest to Liss. We enjoyed a halfway break at the Hawkley Arms getting smashed on the local cider but feared a come down deep in the woods so took the precaution of carrying four more pints in milk bottles to tide us over till we reached the next pub. Part two of the ramble was a bit woozy then but still remarkably beautiful; bright yellow canola fields and wooded tracks carpeted with pretty and pungent baby shoots of wild garlic.

When we finally got to Liss some seven hours after we set off, we were dozy and starving. I can't remember the name of the pub we stumbled into but the food was brilliant (in our experience the country pub kitchen can be a bit hit and miss if it is open at all). In that moment, a big bowl of mushrooms in a cheesy, mustardy, creamy sauce topped with buttery crumbs was the best thing I ever ate.

Monday, 22 June 2009

A sticky situation

Getting up this morning was easy because I knew there was a home-baked brioche in the breadbox calling out my name. While I was waiting for the toaster to do its work I came to the sudden realisation that we were out of jam. Another frantic rummage in the fridge yielded one of those little pots of jam you get in fancy hotels. Yippeee!
Now that breakfast has been saved, I'm thinking about where that pot of jam came from...did I bring it home from a holiday somewhere? Am I turning into my grandma? Arrrgghhhhh!!

Sunday, 21 June 2009

Today I baked...

...a brioche.
So goddamn delicious!

Saturday, 13 June 2009

Oink oink

If you're in town tomorrow between 12-6pm head over to Brick Lane for the annual Art Car Boot Fair and grab yourself one of these cute little swine flu piggies made by Guy. Mmmm, pinky, lemony goodness...

Friday, 12 June 2009

Yellow raspberries

Do these exist in nature or is it some weird genetic experiment? These yellow raspberries were surprisingly sweeter than their red counterpart - their yellowness made my brain think they would be super sour. We enjoyed them with some vanilla ice cream but they were also lovely on their own.

Monday, 1 June 2009

An anniversary lasagne

Yesterday we celebrated our first year of marriage by making a lasagne and watching Flight of the Conchords while Jasmine slept. A good test for any relationship is how long you can last in a small hot kitchen together and I think after living together for a few years we may have finally mastered it, sort of.

I haven't attempted a lasagne since I dropped the one Adam and I made about a year ago, so this time I was VERY careful when taking it out of the oven.

Anniversary lasagne

What you need
1 jar of good quality tomato pasta sauce
1 eggplant, sliced 5mm thin
2 red capsicums
2 courgettes, sliced 5mm thin
1 bunch chopped, cooked and drained spinach
1 bunch asparagus
Adam's homemade pasta dough (we used 500g of '00' flour and 5 medium eggs)
1 mozzarella ball
mature cheddar cheese
handful of pine nuts

The do
Heat up a griddle pan until super hot, and grill the veg - if you don't have a griddle pan a fry pan will also do the trick. Set aside.
Roll out the pasta into sheets with the pasta machine until you get to the number 4 setting. Cut the sheets to size and cook two at a time for a few minutes in a big pot of salted boiling water. Fish out with tongs and throw into a big bowl of cold water.
In a 30cmx20cm baking dish, pressing each layer down firmly as you go:
- spread a thin layer of the tomato sauce
- then a layer of pasta
- courgette and half of the spinach
- layer of pasta
- tomato sauce
- eggplant
- layer of pasta
- capsicum and the rest of the spinach
- layer of pasta
- asparagus
then cover with grated mature cheddar cheese and mozzarella. Sprinkle pine nuts on top. Season with salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil. Dollop on some of the tomato sauce.
Bake in oven for about 45 minutes or until heated through and brown on top. Serve with rocket leaves dressed with a little balsamic and olive oil.

1.30pm Procrastination + Green & Black's almond chocolate

Thursday, 28 May 2009

Fasta pasta

With all the projectile vomit and poo in our house these days, there hasn't been much time or inclination for cooking. Sadly our frozen food supply has run out and the novelty of take-out has worn off - so I've ventured into the kitchen and whipped this up in about 10 minutes, which is almost as quick as picking up the phone and ordering a margarita pizza - and it's much healthier too.

What you need
2 portions of thin spaghetti (I used Barilla no 3 spaghetti)
200g ricotta
Half a lemon
2 handfuls of cooked lentils
1 big bunch of spinach
2 cloves garlic thinly sliced
olive oil

The do
Put the pasta on the boil as per instructions. Chop the spinach. In a large shallow pan on medium/high heat , stir-fry the spinach, lentils and the garlic until the spinach wilts, then take off the heat. By now the pasta should be done. Drain and add pasta to the spinach mixture, toss and add a few good lugs of olive oil. Crumble ricotta over the top and squeeze lemon juice over the whole mixture. Season with a little lemon zest, salt and pepper.

Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Getting clucky

In the spirit of the recession and all, I only tend to cook things these days which also make a tasty lunch the next day. One of my favourite leftover lunches is Spanish tortilla, which really is just as good cold as it is freshly cooked - and better reason to whip one up than being given a box of freshly laid eggs by my workmate Mike, who has a collection of chickens in his yard which he is extremely fond of – the leader of the pack is called Jasmine.

The eggs were from a variety of different types of chicken and as a result were really unique shapes and colours – some had two pointy ends and others were almost round – and they all had amazing bright yellow yolks. You really can tell the difference between a home-laid egg from a pampered chicken and a free range supermarket one…

I’ve made this tortilla based on a bbc good food recipe – but as per usual, couldn’t resist making a few little tweaks here and there.


The do

You’ll need about 6 eggs, broken into a bowl and mixed together with a fork

Cook the potatoes – I par boiled mine, pre-sliced, because I’m impatient. Excellent tip: when cooking potatoes in cubes or slices, add a drop or two of vinegar to the water and the potatoes won’t crumble or break once their cooked, they’ll go firm on the outside and keep their shape perfectly.

Grill the red peppers – I grilled them whole for a few minutes until the skin had gone black. Once they’ve cooled down you can peel the skin off really easily and chopped them into strips.

Throw the peppers and potatoes and some parsley in a frying pan along with a fistful of chopped parsley and pour over the eggs. I like putting some halved cherry tomatoes on the top as well.

Cook for 5-10 minutes on the hob, then crumble some feta on the top and place the whole pan under the grill. Grill for 5-10 minutes or until the top is golden and the middle is no longer wobbly.

Serve with a pile of rocket, and look forward to a couple of delicious slices for lunch the next day…

Sunday, 5 April 2009

14.40 kings cross, lunch with kelly at camino

Vegetariano platter - spinach croquettes, antipasto toast and patatas bravas all on a plate for only 5 clams. Fabulousio!

Monday, 23 March 2009


To celebrate the birth of Jasmine Tabitha Viola Carter-Chew, Nestle have started making Jasmine tea Kit Kats!
Jasmine (above) is mad as hell that she hasn't got any teeth to try one. How frustrating. Looks like her parents will have to eat them all...
Big love and thanks to Denise and Robbie for sending us the delicious Kit Kat booty all the way from Kamakura xx

Baby bootcamp at University College Hospital

Vegetable stroganoff and apple and blackcurrant pie

A few days after the birth of the delightful little Miss Jasmine T, we were readmitted back into hospital because she lost 12% of her birth weight as a result of being more interested in sleeping than eating (can you imagine? A child of mine?!)
The poor little possum had to have a feeding tube shoved up her 3-day-old nose, and when I saw the food on offer I wished they would do the same for me.
Luckily, I managed to avoid eating a single morsel thanks to my lovely friends who bought in a delicious array of very edible food. Also a big thanks to my amazing husband for helping me through the sleep deprivation and for bringing me a big fresh fruit salad every morning.

Cauliflower cheese (with parsley garnish)

Vegetable herb soup and Parisienne potatoes with, err, not sure

Broccoli and chipped potatoes and sticky toffee pudding

Tomato omelette and chips

Vegetable chili and date sponge with custard

I'm genuinely shocked that this is the food they serve to sick people in hospitals. How on earth does anyone ever get better eating this stuff??


So I've finished up at work and the nesting instinct has kicked in big time. When I'm not wolfing down cakes and chocolate, I'm reorganising the kitchen cupboards, cleaning out the oven and making frozen dinners. All the pregnancy books say to do this, and I think it's probably a good idea. I decide to make my favourite pumpkin curry and two easy soups, which I know will provide comfort in times of no sleep and stress.


What you need
2 big butternut squash
peanut oil (olive oil is OK too)
1 big tbsp mustard seeds
4 cloves garlic, crushed
bunch of basil
1 can of coconut milk
sesame oil

The do
Chop the pumpkin into large chunks (I prefer to leave the skin on because it adds a nutty quality and helps the pumpkin keep its shape).
Pour a good lug of peanut oil into a baking tray and toss the pumpkin until well coated, season with a decent sprinkling of salt then roast for around 30-45 minutes until browned and soft. Remove from oven and set aside.
In a wide pot or deep fry pan, heat a few tablespoons of peanut oil on a medium to high heat, and add a tablespoon of mustard seeds. When they start popping, add the garlic, fry for a minute, then empty the contents of the baking tray into the pan. Continue frying on medium heat for a few minutes, taking care not to manhandle the pumpkin too much as it will break down a lot as it cooks. Add the can of coconut and turn the heat down to a simmer. Add sea salt to taste. Cook until desired consistency is reached; if it is too thick add some boiling water. Stir through a bunch of ripped basil leaves and a drizzle of sesame oil. Serve with rice or roti. You can also add crushed peanuts on top for textural difference.


What you need
1 bag of frozen peas (approx 800-900g)
a handful of mint
1 onion chopped
2 teaspoons of marigold bouillon powder
1 tablespoon double cream (omit for dairy-free option)

The do
In a pot, fry onions for a few minutes in some olive oil. Empty peas into the pot, add water until just covered and add stock powder. Bring to boil, then simmer for 5-10 minutes. Turn heat off. Add mint and walnuts and blitz in the blender. Stir in the cream (you can leave this out if you like) add salt and pepper to taste.


What you need
1 kg of carrots, chopped in 2cm chunks
1 tablespoon coriander
2 teaspoons cumin
2 onions, diced
2 teaspoons of marigold bouillon powder

The do
Fry the onions in a pot with some olive oil for 3 minutes then add the spices and fry on low heat for 1 minute. Throw in the carrots and add boiling water until carrots are just covered. Add stock powder. Slow boil until carrots are soft then blitz with hand blender or blender. Serve with fresh coriander on top.