Tuesday, 28 March 2017 - , , , , , , , 2 comments

RECIPE : Warm Sumac Salmon with Rocket, Sweet Pickled Cucumber and Pomegranate Salad

This stunningly beautiful dish is an exotic and exciting fusion of flavours, textures and visual delights. The soft tones of pink and green compliment each other to the extent that it really has to be appreciated before consumption!
The soft, warm, citrusy salmon sits on a bed of sweet, crunchy pickled cucumber and peppery rocket, whilst the pomegranate seeds pop on the roof of your mouth releasing a sweet, tangy juice.
At 7sp/6pp/approx.350kcal, its a lovely lunch or light supper dish.


You will need:(per portion)

One 130g salmon fillet
Sumac (see post; CUPBOARD LOVE:SUMAC)
Fresh rocket leaves
Pickled cucumber(See post; RECIPE:Pickled Vegetables served with Chargrilled Beef)
Half a fresh pomegranate
Chopped fresh herbs- parsley, chives etc
Black Pepper
Lime juice


 Place some greaseproof paper onto a piece of foil and spray with a little Frylight sunflower oil. Pop the salmon fillet on the paper and sprinkle liberally with sumac and freshly chopped parsley, or any seasoning of your choice. Finish with some freshly ground black pepper and a squeeze of lime juice.
Wrap the salmon in the foil making a secure parcel. Bake for 15-20 minutes at 190 degrees centigrade.


While the salmon is baking, make up the salad. Arrange a generous handful of rocket into the serving bowl. Slice the pickled cucumber into slender chunks and de-seed the pomegranate.
I always use Nigella's method; Cut the pomegranate in half. Put the cut side of the fruit into the palm of your hand and hit the outside of the fruit quite firmly with a wooden spoon over a bowl. The seeds fall through your fingers into the bowl leaving the inedible parts in your hand to be discarded.


Once cooked, remove the salmon from the oven and allow to cool a little. Gently break the salmon by hand into large, chunky flakes on top of the salad. Sprinkle on some more sumac (the flavour is more pungent uncooked).
Dress the salad with some of the sweet pickled cucumber marinade. Add some more freshly chopped herbs and top with the pomegranate seeds. 


Simply divine.



If you don't have any homemade pickled cucumber, don't be tempted to use shop-bought ones as they are far too strong and acidic. Just slice or julienne some fresh cucumber and toss in some chinese rice wine vinegar sweetened with some artificial sweetener and seasoned with white pepper.

Wednesday, 22 March 2017 - , , , , , , 2 comments

MOTHER'S DAY : Blueberry, Vanilla & Lavender Cakes with Rose Creme Fraiche

I came up with this pretty little tea time treat especially for Mother's Day.
It's very simple to make, so you can really go to town on the decorations.


These fat-free sponge cakes are fantastic- the way they are baked means that the delicious blueberry filling is incorporated into the cakes.
I've added some vanilla and lavender to give a sweet floral hint...then made a rose-flavoured creme fraiche to serve with them.
It's Springtime on a plate, scattered with edible rose petals.


This works out to an unbelievable 4sp/2pp/approx.130kcal per portion-this includes a cake and a portion of creme fraiche.
(Two portions is 8sp/5pp/260kcal)


YOU WILL NEED : (Makes 4 servings)

1 medium egg
25g caster sugar
25g self-raising flour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 tablespoon edible lavender
(I bought mine in the herb/spice section at Waitrose)
100g blueberries


120g reduced fat creme fraiche
2-3 teaspoons rose essence
2-3 teaspoons artificial granular sweetener
Edible dried rose petals
(I bought these in Waitrose too!)
12 fresh raspberries


Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas4

Choose a muffin tray or one like this that will make 8 individual-sized cakes.
(You need 2 per finished cake).
Cupcake cases will work too if you don't have a tray. Mist with Frylight oil to prevent sticking.

Distribute the blueberries evenly, forming a flat layer on the base of each shape.

Whisk the egg and sugar together. An electric hand whisk is best for this. It will take a few minutes and needs to increase in volume by 3 or 4 times.

You will know when it is ready because the mixture will become pale and frothy. When you lift the whisk out it should leave a light trail.

Sift the flour into the bowl. Add the lavender and vanilla extract.

Fold in the flour very gently using a metal spoon so that you don't knock out all the air you created with the whisk. Make sure the flour is incorporated well.

Distribute the cake mixture equally between each portion. You only need a small amount just to cover the blueberries.

Pop into the preheated oven.
Bake for 15-20 minutes. This will vary according to whether you have used a metal muffin tray, paper cases or a silicone mould so check carefully. The cakes should be golden and firm to touch when cooked. They will be quite flat on top.
Leave to cool slightly in the tray.

While the cakes are cooling, mix the rose essence and sweetener into the creme fraiche. Play around with the flavours until they suit your personal taste.

Once cooled, run a knife around the edge of the cakes and lift out carefully. The blueberries will be very soft underneath.

Pop each one sponge-side down on a wire cooling rack.

Any little remnants of blueberry that get left behind can be scooped out and popped back onto the cakes. 

I just love these vibrant purples and pinks that form! The smell is warm, fruity and vanilla-laden...home baking at its best.


To Serve

If you like my little extra touches, cut some pretty string to decorate the cakes.
(They will hold together beautifully on their own if you don't want to use string).

I have a real thing for vintage plates and teacups too-especially mis-matched ones, where each person has a different collection of patterns and colours.
This kind of theme lends itself well to Mothers Day. I'm very lucky as I've inherited all sorts of vintage china from my great aunt. I really treasure them and use them all the time.

Put one cake fruit-side-up onto your serving plate on top of the string.

Place a second one on top fruit-side-down.
This makes your little mini self-filled cake!

Tie a bow around the cake with the string.

If you're feeling really decadent, you could thread a fresh flower through the bow to finish. If you make these later in the year, you could add a sprig of fresh lavender instead to continue the flavour theme.

Now take some fresh raspberries and place 3  in the base of each of your bowls or teacups.

Divide the rose creme fraiche equally between each portion (30g each). Dollop on top of the raspberries then sprinkle with a few dried rose petals.

Finally scatter a few more rose petals onto the plate.
Serve as a delicious, healthy alternative to a cream tea-so feminine and fun.


A token of love.



If you don't like the floral elements, or find it hard to get hold of the ingredients, just use some lemon zest, poppy seeds, orange essence, lemon curd-whatever appeals to you.


You could put the flavoured creme fraiche inside the cakes between the layers of blueberries, instead of serving on the side.


You could multiply this recipe and make two large cakes to sandwich together.
(You could still tie string around individual slices!)


This would be a lovely Valentines idea too.