Romesco Sauce

A long time ago now, I had the immense privilege of working with one of the greatest Italian chefs on the London culinary circuit at the time – Carla Tomasi. Carla’s style was authentically Italian and one that I’ve attempted to adopt in my own cooking – simple, rustic and stripped to the bone.

Although this recipe for romesco sauce isn’t Italian, it was one of my favourites from Carla’s extensive repertoire and should make a great addition to your own. Romesco sauce is a traditional Catalan sauce that exists in infinite variations. This version is simplicity itself to prepare and consists of 4 main ingredients – roasted peppers, roasted garlic, roasted almonds and roasted chillies plus olive oil, balsamic vinegar and seasoning. It works well as an accompaniment to roasted vegetables, spread over fried aubergine slices or a slice of sourdough bread or on its own.


2 red peppers
2 red chillies
1 bulb of garlic, split in half
60g whole almonds
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
0.5 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper


Pre-heat the oven to 200C

Put the peppers, chillies, garlic, and almonds on a baking tray and place in oven for 20 – 25 minutes. Remove from oven. Place the peppers in a bowl, cover with cling film and allow to cool. In the meantime peel and de-seed the chillies and squeeze the cloves from the garlic bulbs. Remove the peppers from the bowl, peel, de-seed and roughly chop.

Place the almonds in the bowl of a food processor and blend until coarsely chopped. Add the remaining ingredients and blend using short pulses until a thick sauce is formed. Adjust the seasoning.

Potato and Spinach Spanakopita

I think I either need to work on my photography skills or my blog layout: after, cropping and tweaking the picture above, I m a little dissatisfied with the outcome… I feel it fails to do justice to the actual dish. The thing is though, I cook food with the sole intention of feeding myself, family and friends and, at the end of the process, have little time for the fine styling required for photography.

Anyway, this is a dish I’ve been cooking for as long as I’ve taken cooking seriously. It originated from a recipe in Lindsey Bareham’s In Praise of the Potato and over time has been adapted to make a hearty and flavourful vegan main.


Serves 6 – 8

1 onion finely chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed and minced
6 medium potatoes cut into 1cm dice
1 teaspoon ground coriander
0.5 teaspoon ground cumin
1.5 teaspoon ground turmeric
juice of 1 lemon
1.5kg spinach
2 cups of mint leaves, coarsely chopped
1 cup dill, coarsely chopped

1 packet filo pastry ( I used a hand rolled Turkish brand which is thicker and makes a deeper crispier crust.)

6 tablespoons olive relish ( You can use shop bought tapenade but I’ll post my own recipe some time soon.)
Extra virgin olive oil.
salt and pepper to taste


In a large skillet, sweat the garlic and onion until clear and translucent. Add the spices and continue cooking for another minute. Add the diced potatoes and lemon juice and cook until the potatoes are tender and fall off the point of a knife when pierced – add a little water if needed to finish the cooking but ensure all liquid has evaporated before assembling the spanakopita.

In a large saucepan, sweat down the spinach, add the chopped herbs and cook for another 2 or 3 minutes. Drain the spinach in a colander, refresh, allow to cool and gently squeeze out any excess water. Roughly chop the spinach if necessary and mix in with the cooked potatoes -season with salt and pepper and set to one side whilst preparing the filo case.

Pre-heat the oven to 160C

Oil a suitably sized baking dish and line with the first layer of filo pastry, overlapping the sides of the dish. Brush with the olive relish – add some extra virgin olive oil if you are finding it difficult to spread the relish across the surface of the pastry. Repeat to build up 3 or 4 layers of pastry.

Depending on how much overlapping pastry you have, either fold over the sheets or create a crust using additional filo – repeating the process of brushing olive relish between the layers.Brush the top layer of pastry with olive oil only

Bake for 30 minutes or until the crust is golden and the filling is hot.

This dish can be served hot or cold and goes well with a beetroot salad, a salad of baby tomatoes and mint or a cannellini bean salad.

Cauliflower & Artichoke Salad

Another, “What’s in the fridge?” recipe…


1 head cauliflower, cut into florets and blanche
1/2 head romensco broccoli, cut into florets and blanche
5 or 6 good quality baby artichokes, cut into 1/2 centimetre dice 
2 hard boiled eggs, cut into 1/2 centimetre dice 
1 shallot finely chopped
1 tablespoon capers, rinsed and drained
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 teaspoons whole grain mustard 
1 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley
sea salt
black pepper


Combine all of the prepared ingredients in a suitable bowl and fold in the mayonnaise and whole grain mustard. Season to taste with salt and pepper and garnish with chopped flat-leaf parsley.

For a vegan alternative leave out the boiled eggs and dress with either a vegan mayonnaise or a simple olive oil, lemon juice and mustard dressing.



Baby Carrot, Padrón Pepper and Lime Salad

Sometimes you open the fridge door and you’re confronted with ingredients you really need to use up…

I’d been shopping at Borough Market the other day and amongst the items I brought home  was a large leafy bunch of baby carrots. I had intended making a salad with them for a dinner we were having with friends on Friday evening but in the end I ran out of time and inspiration. So the carrots sat in the fridge over the weekend, only to prick my conscience on Monday morning.

It just so happened that amongst the other items I had lurking in the cool box were some padrón peppers, bought on a whim from Lidl, and some radishes… this is the dish I came up with.


1 bunch of fresh baby carrots, peeled
8 padrón peppers, sliced including seeds
3 tablespoons good quality olive oil
Juice of 1 lime
4 breakfast radishes, very thinly sliced
1 teaspoon black sesame seeds
1 tablespoon chopped coriander
sea salt
black pepper


Pre-heat oven to 160C

Place the peeled carrots, lime juice, olive oil and sliced padrón peppers in a in an appropriately sized baking dish, season with sea salt and cracked black pepper. Toss the ingredients together so the carrots are coated with the dressing. Cover baking dish with foil and bake in oven for 35-40 minutes or until the carrots are tender but still al dente.

Allow carrots to cool and cut to desired size. Add sliced radish, chopped coriander and black sesame seed. Adjust seasoning with additional lime juice, salt and pepper.