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.

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.