Deviled Eggs for Cinco de Mayo

One of the wonderful things about living in the United States is that there’s almost always a celebration going on. Today as you know is Cinco de Mayo. This is not the Mexican version of Independence Day as I had at first believed, but a victory celebration by Mexican soldiers over the French at the Battle of Puebla in 1862.

I’ve never met anyone who didn’t like Mexican food, it’s full of flavor, down to earth and at its best, mouthwateringly good. I’m not entirely sure how authentically Mexican “deviled eggs” are but the guacamole filling surely fits the bill as I understand it originated with the Aztecs – you can’t get more authentic than that. This guacamole “fully charged” with plenty of cilantro, jalapeno pepper, red onion, tomato and drenched in lime juice. Whip up a batch of these and party with a tequila cocktail! Happy Cinco de Mayo.

Deviled Eggs for Cinco de Mayo.

6  hard boiled eggs
2 avocadoes,
2 limes, juice and zest
1 medium tomato, diced
1 small green jalapeno pepper, diced
A generous cup of cilantro, finely chopped
1/4 of a red onion, very finely chopped
1-2 teaspoons best quality mayonnaise


1. Cut the eggs in half length wise. Gently remove the yolks and place in a bowl with the avocado flesh, lime zest and juice, tomato, cilantro, red onion and mayo.

2. Mash well, taste and add salt and pepper to taste.

3. Fill the eggs whites with the guacamole mixture, top with fresh cilantro, squeeze over some lime juice, reach for your tequila cocktail and enjoy.

roasted chicken lavender

Roast Chicken with Lavender and Honey

Lavender, honey, lemon and thyme is an intoxicating combination. Their fragrance seems to take all drama out of the day, you can almost make believe you’re in the warm sunny Mediterranean. Roast chicken is perhaps the most comforting of all home cooked meals, combine it with these ingredients and you have a very special offering. This recipe is an adaptation of one by Rachel Khoo of The Little Paris Kitchen. It’s lovely, it makes you feel happy and turns the ordinary into extraordinary. Do try it. Culinary lavender seems to be available pretty easily these days, I found mine in Target!

Roast Chicken with Lavender and Honey.
adapted from a recipe by Rachel Khoo

1 4lb chicken, organic if possible
1 lemon
2 tablespoons culinary lavender
1/3 cup runny honey
A generous handful of fresh thyme
1 garlic bulb


Heat the oven to 375 F

In a bowl mix together the honey, lavender, juice and zest of 1/2 a lemon.

Dry your chicken and place in a roasting pan. Rub the marinade all over the chicken, give it a nice massage. Stuff the chicken with a 1/4 of a lemon and a few cloves of the garlic bulb.

Sprinkle over a few fresh thyme leaves, tuck the rest of the lemon and garlic bulb around the chicken. Place in the oven and roast for approximately an hour to an hour and a quarter basting frequently. If the top of the chicken is browning too quickly place some aluminum foil over the top.

When the chicken is fully cooked, remove from the oven.   Cover with foil, allow to rest for 10-15 minutes. Remove to a platter and serve.

strawberry crostata

Strawberry Crostata

When I think of a crostata I automatically think of the word “rustic.” Which is a good word as my interpretation is “don’t worry, it absolutely doesn’t have to be perfect, no pressure!” 
I like this, my day becomes so much more manageable without the added pressure of a perfect pie crust. Just roll it out, ladle on the fruit giving no particular thought to its arrangement and fold over the edges in a haphazard fashion. It’s sort of kindergarten pie making. The outcome is almost always a delight, a gorgeous slice of buttery pastry dripping with a sweet fruity filling – happiness.

Strawberry Crostata.

For the filling:

3 1/2 cups strawberries, hulled and cut in half
Zest and juice of a lemon
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-2 tablespoon all purpose flour

For the pastry:

1 1/3 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
Pinch of salt
1 heaped teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 large egg
1-2 tablespoons ice water
1 stick unsalted  butter (diced and very cold)
1 egg for egg wash


Heat the oven to 357  F.

First make the pastry. Combine the flour, sugar, salt, baking powder and lemon zest in the bowl of a food processor with a steel blade. Pulse about 10 times to combine.

Add the cubes of butter a couple at a time and pulse until the mixture looks like large breadcrumbs.

In a measuring jug lightly whisk together the egg and water. With the motor running pour the liquid into the flour and process until the mixture just comes together. If the mixture is too dry add another tablespoon of water.

Turn out onto a floured surface and very lightly and quickly knead for a few seconds. Place onto a sheet of plastic wrap, shape into a disc, wrap it up well and place in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.

While the pastry is resting, hull the strawberries.

Mix them together with the lemon zest, juice, vanilla extract, toss with the flour.

Roll out the pastry on a floured surface to an approximate 10 inch round. Carefully lift the pastry round onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a slipat mat.

Place the strawberries in the middle of the pastry.

Fold the outside edges in all the way around. Chill for 30 minutes. Paint the outside pastry edge with an egg wash and place in the oven for approximately 45-50 minutes or until it’s gloriously golden.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool for about 15-20 minutes. Serve with ice cream or whipped cream.


How to Cook a Steak on the Stove Top

Nothing could be simpler than to cook a steak on the stove top. If you have a grill pan now’s the time to use it, if not, you don’t need one. A frying pan or skillet will work perfectly. This is absolutely foolproof, it will melt in your mouth and only takes about 10 minutes to make start to finish. Strip steak is wonderful for this, it’s not cheap but as you know, you shouldn’t actually be eating a lot of red meat so when you do it seems fitting to splurge. If you can find it buy grass fed. I don’t really eat anything with it but a pat of herb butter smeared on the top doesn’t hurt.

Steak on the Stove.

1 Strip Steak for each person
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
Sea salt
Dried oregano


1. Dry you steaks and trim them of all the fat.

2. Smear them with olive oil, then liberally sprinkle with salt, pepper and oregano.

3. Heat your grill pan or skillet on a high heat until hot. Make sure the pan is dry, don’t add any oil, as it will smoke.

4. Lay the steaks in the pan but don’t overcrowd them or they won’t brown.

5. Depending on how thick your steaks are cook for 4 minutes, then flip them over, turn down the heat a little and cook for another 3-4 minutes.

6. Remove the steaks from the pan and cover tightly with aluminium foil. Allow the steaks to rest for 5 minutes. Slice and serve.


Berry Tarts

What could be sweeter than an individual berry tart, this is a quick and easy version of the French fruit tart. The filling is a heavenly mix of whipped cream, lemon curd and vanilla instead of the heavier traditional filling of creme anglaise. Of course use your favorite berries – mine are raspberries which I feel complement the lemon nicely. Although the pastry is very easy to make, if you just don’t have the time or have a bit of a mental block about pastry (as I do about yeast) you could always use a store bought roll out variety – nobody needs to be the wiser. On the other hand if you didn’t want to use store bought lemon curd you could make your own, which although time consuming, is wonderfully delicious. Here is a fabulous lemon curd recipe from the BBC and also here from Carmen Rose’s Mi Cocina.

For the pastry:

2 sticks of unsalted butter (diced and cold)
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon zest of lemon
1/2 cup iced water with a dash of vanilla extract.

For the filling:

1 small store bought jar of lemon curd (or homemade)
8 oz heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-2 tablespoons confectioners sugar
2 pints fresh raspberries

1. To make the pastry, combine the flour, sugar and lemon zest in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until the ingredients are combined.

2. Add the diced butter a couple of cubes at a time and pulse until the mixture looks like course breadcrumbs.

3.  Pour the iced vanilla water slowly into the flour mixture and process until it clumps together. You may not need all the water, go slowly.

4. Take the dough out of the processor and place onto a couple of sheets of plastic wrap, bring the dough together gently and shape into a disc. Wrap in the plastic wrap and place in the fridge for at least an hour.

5. Heat the oven to 350 F.

6. While the pastry is chilling flour and butter your tart pans, you could use one large one or multiple small ones.

7. Take the pastry out of the fridge and roll out on a floured surface. Cut out discs and line the tart pans. Pick well with a fork making sure you don’t pierce right the way through the tarts.

8. Place some greased aluminum foil on top of the pastry and fill with baking beans. Bake blind for approximately 30 minutes. Remove from the oven, remove the baking beans and aluminum foil and return to the oven for a further 5 – 10 minutes or until just turning a light golden color. (If you are using one large tart pan adjust the baking times accordingly).  Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely.

9. Whip the heavy cream together with 1 tablespoon of confectioner’s sugar and vanilla extract. Gently fold in three quarters of the lemon curd.

10.  Spread the remainder of the lemon curd on the bottom of the tart shells. Fill with the lemony cream mixture. Arrange the raspberries on top and dust with the rest of the confectioner’s sugar.

lemon posset

Lemon Posset

I was fortunate enough to taste this sublime dessert at The Three Horseshoes Pub at Elsted, West Sussex when I was visiting my family in England. Deep in the depths of the idyllic English countryside we enjoyed a lovely fireside dinner. It was a very special evening but when I tasted this dessert I was practically swooning. I’ve done my very best to recreate this old fashioned British classic and judging by my family’s reaction (they polished it off in no time) I think I’ve come pretty close.


Possets are old English fare, they date back to the 1600s when they where used as medicinal drinks to treat fevers and colds. King Charles I was apparently given a posset to drink when he was feeling unwell, although it didn’t do him too much good in the long run as he was eventually beheaded, poor chap. But on to happier fare – now possets are more mousse like and so entirely happily delicious.

It’s so easy to make it’s almost ridiculous. It’s amazing to me just how delicious a dessert can be with minimum effort and such a short list of ingredients. It’s perfect for summer, sprinkle a few of your favorite berries over the top or do as my husband suggested, add some granola and a drizzle of honey – delicious!

Lemon Posset

  • 2 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Zest and juice of a lemon
  • A handful of fresh berries


1. Bring cream and sugar to boil over medium-high heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Boil for approximately 3 minutes, stirring constantly.

2. Remove from heat. Stir in lemon juice and zest, cool for approximately 10-15 minutes.

3. Stir mixture again and divide among  ramekins. Cover the possets with cling film and place in the fridge until set, at least 4 hours or overnight.

4. To serve scatter a few berries over the top of each posset and serve.

chocolate smoothie

Chocolate Super Food Smoothie

Fasten your seat belts. This is a power smoothie. After sipping on this you will feel as if your inner turbo power has been turned up full pelt. It’s fabulous. I stepped out of my comfort zone at the health food store the other day and purchased some Raw Cacao Powder and some Raw Cacao Nibs. I’ve always thought of chocolate as a super food, however even though Cadbury’s Milk Chocolate may taste super I don’t really think it does your body (or the shape of it) much good. So I decided to go to the very source of chocolate – the raw cacao and I struck gold. Admittedly I did sweeten the smoothie with a dash of agave nectar but this is the very definition of powerful good. I went from feeling exhausted to fully charged but not in the jittery caffeinated way I know so well – this was a much more even and long lasting energy.

Rather like a soup you can mix and match your ingredients depending on what you have available. I used almond milk as a base, but coconut, hemp, soy or regular cows milk would work wonderfully. I added half an avocado as I’m a firm believer in “an avocado a day keeps the doctor away.” I offer up my recipe but be creative, perhaps a dollop of almond butter would add a welcome nutty flavor. If you can get your hands on the cacao powder and nibs I strongly recommend them.


1 cup almond milk

1 tablespoon raw cacao powder

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 avocado

1 tablespoon protein powder

1 teaspoon (or to taste) agave nectar

1/2 banana (optional)

1/4 cup goji berries

A handful of ice cubes


Place all the ingredients into the blender and blitz until smooth. Pour into a glass and top with cacao nibs. Enjoy!

chocolate smoothie



Every summer we enjoy pesto made with herbs from garden. Today we had a mixture of sorrel, mint and parsley picked two minutes before it was blitzed in the good processor with the other ingredients and it was divine. All produce from the garden tastes so much fresher and more delicious than store bought but there’s something so special when it’s still warm from the sun and radiates its scent. Almost any herbs will do, it’s fun to experiment. I made sage pesto the other day and it was wonderful.

I don’t think I’ll ever buy store bought again! It’s so easy to make and freezes very well, my plan is to make plenty while the sun shines and stash it away in the freezer for the long, cold, dreary winter. This of course can be drizzled on chicken, fish or steak as you desire, although I like a large dollop straight from the jar on some crusty 7 grain bread .



1/2 cup, packed, fresh sorrel leaves . remove the stems

1/4 cup. packed, fresh mint

1/4 cup, packed fresh parsley

1 garlic clove

1/4 cup walnuts

1/3 cup Parmesan

Zest of lemon

1 cup extra virgin olive oil

Pinch of sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


1. Place the sorrel, mint, parsley, garlic, Parmesan, walnuts and lemon zest in the bowl of a food processor,

2. Blitz thoroughly.

3. With the motor running add the olive oil in a steady stream until fully emulsified.

4. Add the salt and pepper to taste.

5. Pour into a glass jar and fasten the lid tightly.  This will keep in the fridge for 1 week.

shrimp with lemons

Shrimp with Lemons, Mint and Feta

The flavors of this dish are meant for summer dining. It’s quick and easy to prepare, all it needs as accompaniment is a lovely loaf of artisanal bread, olive oil and a glass of chilled white wine. Heaven. There’s something so refreshingly delicious about the combination of lemon and mint and the feta adds a little creamy taste. If you’re looking for an extra depth of deliciousness add pat of butter to the pan. Have plenty of napkins ready and don’t be shy to lick your fingers.


1 1/b cleaned, jumbo shrimp

Olive oil

2 cloves garlic, crushed

1 zest and juice of a lemon

1/3 cup white wine

Pinch of red pepper flakes

Freshly ground black pepper and sea salt

About 1-1 1/2 cups fresh mint

To Serve:

1/2 cup good quality feta

1 baguette or artisan bread of your choice

extra virgin olive oil for drizzling over the bread


1. Dry the shrimp with paper towels, sprinkle with freshly ground black pepper, a pinch of sea salt and red pepper flakes.

2. Heat 1-2 tablespoons of olive in large skillet, add the shrimp and saute until pink and just cooked through. Take care not to overcook.

3. Transfer the shrimp to a platter and cover with aluminum foil to rest.

4. Add the garlic and saute for a minute or two, then add the wine zest and juice of the lemon. Turn up the heat and deglaze the pan.

5. After about 2 minutes pour the liquid over the shrimp.

6. Squeeze over the juice of another lemon and scatter over the mint and feta.

7. Serve with the bread, more feta and olive oil.

shrimp with lemons



Chilled pea, mint and coconut soup

Soup is the perfect food don’t you think? It doesn’t matter if it’s 100 degrees (my car temperature read 108 this afternoon!) or minus 10, soup is generally the answer to everything. The only difference being that in the summer I serve it nice and chilled. This is delicious, fully vegetarian, has tons of flavor and is very satisfying. Mint and pea is such a British combination, there was always both in the garden when I was growing up and we made soup all the time. This is the updated version using coconut milk instead of stock which takes it to a whole new level. I actually licked the bowl. It’s fun to decorate with edible flowers such as pansies or nasturtiums for a touch of whimsy.

Chilled Pea, Mint and Coconut Soup – adapted from Green Kitchen Stories.


1 tablespoon coconut oil

1 onion, finely chopped

2 stick of celery, finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, crushed

Pinch of salt and pepper

2 cups fresh or frozen peas

1, 14 oz can organic coconut milk

1 cup fresh mint


  1. Heat the coconut milk in a medium saucepan. Add the onion and celery, sprinkle over the salt and pepper, sauté until translucent, about 8-10 minutes on a low heat.
  2. Add the garlic and sauté for a further 2-3 minutes.
  3. Add the coconut milk and stock, bring to the boil. Turn down the heat and simmer for about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat.
  4. Add the peas and mint.  Allow to sit for 5 minutes then blend.
  5. Can be served warm or chilled.