Baked Camembert

For all my cheese lovers, here is a treat for you. This super easy oven-baked recipe melts the camembert into a hot cheesy dip. Scoop it up with some fresh toasted baguette and add some caramelized onion chutney for a heavenly bite.

Ok let’s not ignore the elephant in the room… we all know that Camembert stinks and if you leave it in your fridge for one day the smell takes over your whole kitchen BUUUUUUT its deep and rich flavour makes it all worth it and the funky smell disappears when you bake it.

It makes the perfect weekend night splurge for two or you can have it as a starter for four. It’s incredibly easy to make and will definitely impress your guests. I also love to serve it on my cheese boards but I have noticed that no one pays attention to the other cheese options when there is a baked Camembert around.

Have you tried this before? What did you think?  Let me know in the comments below, Bon Shabétit!

Baked Camembert

Cheesy, gooey oven baked cheese that's ready in less than 20 minutes.
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 25 mins
Course Appetizer
Servings 2 or if you really want to fight for it... 4

Ingredients
  

  • 250 g Camembert
  • 1 tsp dried Thyme - You can use fresh as well
  • 1 Garlic clove
  • 1 tbsp Honey
  • 1 tsp Olive oil

Serve

  • Caramalized Red Onion Chutney
  • Fresh Baguette - Or your preference

Instructions
 

  • Heat oven to 200C.
  • Unwrap the cheese and put it back in the wooden box with a non-stick paper (optional).
  • Slash the cheese and cut the garlic and squeeze them in.
  • Top it up with some dried thyme and sprinkle some honey and olive oil on it.
  • Bake it in the middle of the oven for approximately 20 min. 
  • Serve with fresh toasted bread and some caramalized onion chutney.
Keyword Baked Cheese, Hot, Starter

 

 

Halloumi Burger

So, let’s talk about halloumi. It’s a semihard cheese with salty and tangy flavour and has a spongy texture. I have to admit… I wasn’t really a fan of it due to its rubbery texture. Not that I refused to eat it – I just preferred to eat other things compared to my friends that would choose a restaurant purely because the word ‘halloumi’ was on the menu.

But this last year I have tried to give it another go. Why? Because you can have a ready meal in just 10 minutes and who doesn’t love that? But also, I’ve learned that if you serve halloumi with certain vegetables and dips – they can take over with their moisture and tenderness (in this case the honey sautéed onion and pepper and the tzatziki dip) – so that it overpowers halloumi’s rubbery texture.

Anyways, hope you enjoy this burger and let me know if you know of any good halloumi recipes. Bon Shabétit!

 

Ingredients

225g halloumi
1 red pepper
1 red onion
Romaine lettuce, 2 lettuce sheets for each burger
3 tsp honey
1 tsp garlic powder
salt and pepper
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp butter
burger buns
1 tsp chili flakes

 

Tzatziki
3 dl Greek yoghurt
1 garlic clove, minced
1/3 of a cucumber, grated
salt

 

Method

  • Slice the halloumi (I sliced it in 3 as I was serving it for 3 people but you can slice it in 2 if you are making it for yourself).
  • Slice the onion and peppers and sauté it in an oiled pan over medium-heat. Add salt and pepper and garlic powder. Once the vegetables have gone soft – add the honey and let it cook for another 1-2 minutes. Pour it over in a bowl.
  • For the tzatziki – just mixed the yoghurt, grated cucumber (also make sure you press firmly to strain any water), minced garlic and salt after taste.
  • Fry the halloumi in the same pan as the onion/pepper mixture and add some butter so it’s frying up in it nicely.
  • Take your burger bun and neatly stack all the ingredients and top it up with some chilli flakes if you want before you serve.

 

Shakshuka

This is a very easy vegetarian one-skillet dish of eggs poached in smoky vegetable-laden tomato sauce.

It’s popular across the Middle East and North Africa and works perfectly for breakfast or a late brunch.

I love this dish because it’s simple yet bold with flavours and spices so if you fancy something warm, quick and filling to eat – Shakshuka is the dish for you. Bon Shabétit!

 

Ingredients

3-4 eggs
1 pepper
1 onion
1 garlic clove
2 tbsp tomato puree
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp cinnamon
salt
pepper
1 can of chopped tomatoes (400g)
5 small-ish potatoes, chopped
handful of parsley/coriander, chopped
40 g feta cheese, sprinkled
8 tbsp Greek yoghurt

 

Method

  • Heat oil in a pan and fry the small chopped potatoes with 1 tsp turmeric and a pinch of salt.
  • In the meantime, chop the pepper, garlic and onion.
  • Once the potatoes are done, put it aside in a bowl and fry the onion and pepper mixture in the same pan.
  • One they are cooked, add the potatoes and season it with pepper, smoked paprika, cumin and cinnamon.
  • Pour in the can of chopped tomatoes and add the tomato puree. Season with salt and pepper – if needed.
  • Use your spoon to make small wells in the pan and crack the egg into each ‘hole’.
  • Put the pan in the oven (190 degrees) and let it cook for 5-7 minutes.
  • Garnish with chopped parsley, feta and yoghurt.

 

Mango Salsa

This is a ridiculously easy recipe and it taste like it has been prepared for a lifetime.

Not only is it colourful but it’s so tasteful that your tongue will do a jarabe tapatio with each bite. Jarabe Tapatio is the Mexican national dance if you didn’t know. Neither did I… but it turns out cha cha is Cuban so couldn’t write that down as that would go against my authentic researching *cough* skills.

Let me know if you liked it and most importantly WHAT you ate it with. I like to eat my salsa with spicy prawn tacos. Also before you do anything else… google ‘that one Mexican song’, ok did you do it? Good, now play the first song that comes up. There you go the mood is set señoras y señores… Buen Shabetito. 

Ingredients

1 ripe mango

One red onion, chopped

Bunch of fresh Coriander, chopped

1 large lime, juiced

1 red chili, chopped

2/3 teaspoon salt, to taste

Method

  1. Chop everything in whatever size you like (except the lime) and add it to a serving ball.
  2. Drizzle the lime juice and add the salt and mix it well. Leave it in the fridge for 15 min and serve it with a taco of your choice. 


Baked Feta

Feta is by far my favourite cheese in the entire world. I love it so much and I pretty much always have it in the fridge. There’s so many different things you can do with it and baking it in the oven is one of them. If you haven’t already tried it, please go and do it as soon as possible because it’s just so tasty.

The good thing with this ‘appetizer’ is that there is no specific recipe you need to follow.  You can just add whatever you like and then bake it in the oven. 

I like to add tomatoes. I pretty much always find a way of adding tomatoes in my food because it doesn’t feel quite complete otherwise. But unfortunately, I’m aware that a lot of people out there do not share this love with me *cough* you’re crazy *cough* – so you can add something else such as paprika or onions.

But if you are going to go ahead with tomatoes – make sure you have cherry tomatoes as any other tomatoes will only turn it to a watery mess.

The important step here is the balsamico. It was actually my sister that suggested that I should add it and it truly made a difference. Before, I only added olive oil and honey but the balsamico gives it a syrupy sweetness that gives the dish a fresh and exciting taste. Bon Shabétit!

Ingredients

1 packet of feta (200g)
8 cherry tomatoes
1 clove of garlic
olive oil
honey 
Crema di balsamico
dried parsley
garlic powder
sea salt
pepper
chili flakes

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees.
  2. Chop the tomatoes in half and place them in an oven-proof dish. Crush the fresh garlic and mix it on top of the tomatoes. Sprinkle the spices and olive oil on top and place the feta on top of the tomatoes. Add spiced again and drizzle some balsamico and honey on top.
  3. Bake for 17 minutes. Serve immediately with bread, salad or crackers.

Honey-glazed Sweet Potato Fries

When I get the choice to choose a portion of fries as a side to my meal it will – A L W A Y S – be sweet potato fries. I think I was first introduced to glazed sweet potato fries one time at a Caribbean restaurant.  The glazy sweetness combined with the perfect amount of salt made the fries taste like heaven.

And since that day no combo of fries have tasted as delicious. I’m pretty sure they glazed it with golden syrup but I love to glaze mine with honey. I also like the idea of ‘fake’ deep-fried fries, which basically means you add breadcrumbs to the fries to give an extra crispy effect but don’t actually deep fry the potatoes as you bake them in oven. 

I love the combo of sweet, salty and spicy and if you love it too, then this is the recipe for you.

Ingredients

1 sweet potato, cut into long thin slices
1 tbsp honey
1 tsp chili flakes
2 tsp parsley
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp salt
3 table spoons olive oil
1 ½ garlic powder
1 tbsp golden breadcrumbs

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 200 C.
  2. Cut the Sweet potato into small thin slices
  3. Mix olive oil, breadcrumbs, chili flakes, parsley, honey, garlic powder, pepper and salt in a bowl. Add the potatoes and mix well.
  4. Bake in oven for 35-40 minutes, flip it after 20 minutes.

Stuffed Peppers

Stuffed peppers or as I like to call them – Mary Poppins bag. Ok I have never called them that but that’s what they remind me of – stuffed with endless of magic and necessities in life.

I think this has been my best stuffing to date and it’s all because of the cinnamon. The mixture was so tasty and had so much flavour – I was almost ready to ditch the peppers and eat it plain.

This is one of those throw what you have in the fridge type of recipes. Use my portions and ingredients as guidelines but definitely feel free to experiment.

Ingredients

4 big peppers
3 dl rice
250g minced meat
1 big yellow onion, chopped
7-8 medium sized mushrooms
3 cloves garlic, crushed
a bunch of coriander, chopped
3 handfuls of spinach
1 tablespoon butter
2 teaspoon turmeric
3 teaspoons chilli flakes
4 teaspoons cinnamon
1 tablespoon parsley
2 teaspoons cumin
4 tablespoons cheddar cheese
salt after taste
pepper after taste

For sauce

1 vegetable stock
4 tablespoons boiled water
2 teaspoon tomato purée
3 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon paprika
1 tablespoon chopped coriander

Method

  1. Heat the oven to 200°C
  2. Cook your rice and put it aside.
  3. Cook the mushroom in a pan and add 1 tablespoon butter and 1 clove of crushed garlic and 1 pinch of salt. Once the water has evaporated, and the mushroom has start to soften – add the spinach and cook and stir until the it’s wilted.
  4. Fry the chopped onion in another pan and add turmeric, chili flakes, 2 cloves of chopped garlic, parsley and some salt and pepper. After one minute, add the meat and let it stir-fry over high heat for 5 minutes. As soon as the meat is getting its brown colour, add the cinnamon and the cumin. Let it cook for another 2 minutes and leave it aside.
  5. Take a little pot and add the boiled water, vegetable stock, tomato pure and olive oil. Stir it until it becomes an even mixture and then add the spices. Let it cook for 1 minute and then add the chopped coriander. Leave it to cook for additional 3-4 minutes on medium high heat.
  6. Prep the peppers by cutting a ‘lid’. Mix the meat, mushroom/spinach mix, chopped coriander and the rice in a big bowl.
  7. Stuff the filling into the peppers with a help of a spoon and leave some space of the shredded cheddar cheese on top. Pour the sauce over the peppers and then put on their lids.
  8. Cover the baking tray with a foil and leave it in the oven for around 25 minutes. Remove the foil and leave it for another 10ish minutes.
  9. Serve the peppers with some side salad.

Chestnut Mushrooms and Truffle Oil Pasta

If you look up truffle on the online dictionary, this is the description you’ll get ‘a strong-smelling underground fungus that resembles an irregular, rough-skinned potato, growing chiefly in broadleaved woodland on calcareous soils’

I mean, with that description, anyone would be doomed. But not truffle, instead it has such posh reputation that even Victoria Beckham would have been knocked off from the pedestal. 

I’m aware that a lot of people find the taste of it… bold and strong. But my god, if you train your taste buds, this dish will become the poshest thing you have eaten and it will cost you around £5.

Obviously, I’m not talking about the actual truffle (though… I wish) but instead I need to take the next best thing which is truffle oil. It is a cheaper substitute for truffles, which enhance the flavour and aroma of truffle. I’m aware that most of these oils do not contain actual truffle. The first ever truffle oil I bought was from Lidl’s ‘deluxe range’ which was surprisingly very good. I quickly learned that not all truffle oils will taste the same (hinting at the truffle oil I have in the picture below…). I was expecting the flava flava foo and all I got was foo. So, make sure you get one that has a lot of aroma otherwise you will just end up pouring half of the bottle just to get some flavour.

Ingredients:

250g Chestnut mushrooms
300g spaghetti
salt after taste
pepper after taste
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp chili flakes
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 medium large yellow onion, chopped
bunch flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped
3-4 tbsp truffle oil 
2 tbsp butter
grated parmesan, to serve

Method:

  1. Cook pasta according to the package, strain and before you set it aside add little bit of truffle oil and stir around.
  2. Preheat a pan over medium heat, add around 2 tbsp truffle oil and 1 tbsp butter. Add onion, garlic and turmeric. 
  3. Add mushrooms, chili flakes and another tbsp butter. Salt and pepper after taste. Sauté mushrooms until cooked. 
  4. Add parsley and 1-2 tbsp truffle oil. Let it cook for 2 minutes.
  5. Add pasta and stir well.
  6. When serving, add Parmesan and some fresh parsley for garnish.


Spicy sweet potato and chickpea curry

This is a vegetarian curry that is one of my favourites mainly because hellooo…  SWEET POTATO! I love it because it hits that perfect spot between spicy and smooth all in one bite.

It takes around 50 minutes to make but it is so worth it. I always tend to make more of this curry so I get around 5-6 portions and it will cover some of my lunch boxes for the week.

I prefer to eat this curry with rice but you can eat it with a side of anything really… couscous, quinoa, bread… just plain… you name it.

Ingredients:

  • Olive oil
  • 1 big onion, chopped
  • 2 medium sized sweet potatoes, chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1 x 400g tin chickpeas
  • 1 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • 200g crème fraiche
  • 3 tbsp tomato puree
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 2-3 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp chili flakes
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 4 tsp dry parsley
  • Water, if needed
  • salt after taste
  • pepper after taste

Method:

  1. Boil water in a kettle. Chop the sweet potatoes in small cube forms and put them in a big saucepan and fill the pot with the boiled water. Add a dash of salt and boil it about 10 minutes or until the potato is somewhat tender (you can check this by piercing it with a knife in the centre of the potato).
  2. Chop the onion and the garlic and heat a large saucepan and add the oil with turmeric, chili flakes and cumin. Add garlic and onion and cook for 5 minutes until the onion is soft and translucent. 
  3. Drain and rinse the chickpeas, together with the chopped tomatoes and sweet potato mix it in the pan. Add some water – if the potatoes are not covered with sauce. Salt and pepper after taste. Let it simmer for 10-12 minutes while occasionally mixing everything together. 
  4. Add the tomato puree (+ more water if needed), chili powder, parsley and the crème fraiche and cover with a lid. Let it simmer over a medium low heat, with occasional stirring around 20 minutes. 
  5. Meanwhile, cook the rice according to the packet instructions.
  6. I Advise that you taste the curry and season it after taste, you want more spice – you’re welcome to add more. I usually add an additional tsp of cumin and chili flakes because I just can’t get enough of it.
  7. Serve it with some fresh parsley, or chopped red onion and a splash of Greek yoghurt on top.

Bon Shabétit xx

Honey and Tomato spaghetti

I guess it wouldn’t be right if my first recipe didn’t have the word ‘tomato’ in it.

Everyone that knows me, is aware of my ridiculous and almost obsessive love for tomatoes. I don’t know when or how it started but what I do know is that it is an essential ingredient in my kitchen. Maybe it’s the umami or maybe it’s the juiciness, whatever it is… I absolutely love it. 

This pasta dish is very simple and quick to make which says a lot because I’m not the quickest person you can find in the kitchen. I would like to say that it’s because I like to take my time but others might argue and say that I’m just a tinyyy bit slower than the average…

Two things that might stand out in this recipe from the other tomato sauces out there is the honey and tomato puree. I can’t emphasise the importance of the tomato puree in this recipe so please don’t use a can of chopped tomatoes. After years of observing my mom making her own tomato sauce, I have learned that tomato puree is the key to making the sauce both richer and colourful. As it is concentrated it will give the pasta sauce an intensity and body that is just deliciously good. And the honey –  well you just have to trust me on this.

Ingredients:

  • 450g uncooked spaghetti 
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 onion, chopped 
  • 7-8 cherry tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped 
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tbsp tomato puree
  • 2 tbsp boiled water
  • 3 tsp honey
  • 1 tsp ketchup
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp chili flakes
  • salt after taste 
  • pepper after taste 
  • a little Parmesan (Parmigiano Reggiano), to serve

Method:

  1. Cook spaghetti according to packet instructions.
  2. Peel and finely chop the onion and garlic, do the same with the fresh parsley (but save some for garnish). Cut the cherry tomatoes in half, then roughly chop them.
  3. Put a saucepan on a medium heat and add 2 tablespoons of olive oil and 1 teaspoon of turmeric and add the onion and garlic, then cook for around 5 minutes or until soft and lightly golden.
  4. Add the chopped tomatoes and add another 2 tablespoons of olive oil.
  5. After one minute, season with a tiny pinch of salt and pepper and 1 teaspoon chili flakes (or add more if you like to have it spicier), then continue cooking for around 3 minutes. 
  6. Add 3 tablespoons of tomato puree and add boiled water and butter, stir until an even paste.
  7. Add the chopped parsley, and 1 teaspoon ketchup and 2 teaspoons full of honey, continue cooking for 6-7 minutes.
  8. Once the pasta is done, drain in colander over the sink and tip the spaghetti in to the pot.
  9. Stir the spaghetti into the tomato sauce for around a minute or so, add a little water or olive oil if it needs to loosen. 
  10. VOILÁ! Now serve it with little bit of Parmesan (LOOOL is there even such thing as ‘little’ parmesan). Also remember to garnish your plate with some fresh parsley to make it extra pretty and insta-worthy.

Bon Shabétit xx