#52 recipes: 17-21


Otolenghi's harissa and confit garlic potatoes from Simple
I mentioned the roasted cauliflower dish I made for my blogger girls in the previous #52recipes instalment and the next three dishes are part of the same spread. Oh my gosh these are one of my favourite things in the whole book. I'm obsessed with Harissa at the moment. It seems to make everything taste so much better, giving it a fantastic spicy, garlicky kick. The potatoes could have been crispier which was my fault for being too impatient but were absolutely fine as they were!

Ottolenghi's two bean and two lime salad from Simple
I served this with roast chicken and the zesty lime really went well with the citrusy chicken. I made a boo boo and used freeze dried kaffir lime leaves which Ottolenghi said not to do. It was still tasty but I think it would be even more delicious with fresh. Ottolenghi just does side dishes so well and they're always my favourite recipes from his books. I seem to have misplaced so many of my pictures as couldn't find this one!


Ottolenghi's crushed courgettes from Simple
I love a courgette and especially loved them like this. It tasted very summery, so fresh and light. I think it was the mixture of mint, dill and thyme. The portion wasn't very big though for four people so I would double it to make sure everyone can enjoy it! Picture taken from Michelle's blog.


Rachel Allen's date and banana loaf from Home Baking
I'm always in the market for a new banana loaf recipe and the stars aligned when I had some brown bananas in my fruit bowl and half a packet of dates leftover in the larder. The dates help to give the cake a subtle caramelised flavour. A great upgrade on a banana cake recipe.


Diana Henry's greens on toast with chilli, feta, sunflower seeds and a poached egg from Simple
At the weekend I like to make more of an effort for breakfast rather than my normal every day cereal. We had some feta and kale left over in the fridge so this was the perfect brunch to use them up. While it was a little effort, it was well worth it. I loved the saltiness of the feta paired with the kale. Who knew kale on toast would be so delicious!
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What I've been cooking #9: Dining in by Alison Roman

I first found out about Alison Roman through my fellow cookbook addict Hannah. Alison has been called the 'American Nigella' and has food columns for Bon Appetite and NY Times online. She's well known for her viral recipes which go berserk on Instagram. The famous stew and cookies are just two of them. Her first cookbook Dining In is very much geared towards home cooks who want something simple yet delicious to rustle up in the kitchen. Over the last few months I've found the book a joy to use and its fast become one of my favourites. Some of the veggie sides have taken a hell of a lot longer than expected and we have had to have them separately to the main course. I think the timing may be a little off. I find this sometimes when a cook is translated from its American origins into a book for a British audience. But 90% of everything I have cooked has been utterly delicious. The viral cookies I mentioned above were absolutely delicious and by far the best cookie recipe I have ever made. Dining in will be a book I'll continue to use in high rotation in the future and I can't wait for her second book Nothing Fancy to be released.


Cocoa banana bread
I think banana bread is a cake I make the most. I always have blackened bananas in the house dying out to be recreating into a delicious moreish cake. I usually add chocolate chips for my sweet tooth but this was the first time that I added coco powder. In return you get such a deep, rich, dense cake that really hits the spot. The sprinkled sugar on top is a game changer and something I'm always going to do to every banana bread recipe in the future.


Salted butter and chocolate chunk shortbread
Ah the viral cookies! Cookies are something I struggle with, I always tend to overcook them. These are frozen for two hours which makes them easy to cut into rounds. They're rolled in sugar to give them a tasty crunch. A sprinkle of sea salt on the top before cookie is what really makes them special. They are more like a shortbread rather than a cookie. I don't think I'll ever use any other chocolate chunk cookie recipe again!


Honey yogurt pound cake with raspberries
I only had a quarter of the raspberries needed to make then but needed to use them up so YOLO! It would have been so much better with the right amount of raspberries but it was pretty delicious regardless. I love cakes with yogurt, they always taste so light. The honest added a lovely sweet addition.

Vinegar roasted beetroot with spring onion and yogurt
This recipe was a bit a disaster. I'm not sure if I didn't cut the beetroot into small enough chunks but it look nearly three hours to cook! I was doing the recipe for dinner guests and ended having to do emergency peas because the chicken was already done. We had the beetroot the next day cold. It was really good but the effort it took it make it wasn't really worth it.


Crispy smashed potatoes with fried onion and parsley
I LOVED these. They could have done with being cooked for a bit longer to crisp up more but I was getting impatient with dinner. There's just something about fried onions with potatoes that sings to me. Such a great combination. I would definitely make these again.

Blistered green beans with creamy tahini and fresh hot sauce
No picture of these because I've cheated a bit and not actually cooked these. My boyfriend cooked them instead but I did taste test them! I don't think I've ever eaten as much yogurt as I have when I'm cooking recipes from this book. Alison loves yogurt! Yogurt and tahini is such an addictive combination and I could eat it every day. The nuttiness of the tahini and freshness of then Greek yogurt is perfection. I think this veggie dish was a bit of a faff so one to save for the weekend I think.


Baked eggs with crushed chickpeas, chorizo and breadcrumbs
There's a running joke about chickpeas on our house. My boyfriend isn't much of a fan but I still always try to feed them to him, to try and change his mind. I've been looking for the perfect recipe to convert him and this is it! He absolutely loved it and said he preferred to the traditional shakshuka we normally have. The chorizo was the star of this dish and went perfectly with the slightly crispy chickpeas. I can't wait to make this again!

Steamed artichokes with salted garlic butter
This was a complete and utter disaster. I don't know if it was me or the recipe but it all went terribly wrong. I got some artichokes in my Abel & Cole box and was pretty excited as I'd never cooked them before. Well it was completely ruined and we ended up throwing them away! They just never steamed. I keep adding more and more water but yet nothing was happening. I think they were on then hob for around 2.5 hours. Won't be attempting to steam artichokes again any time soon!


Spicy, garlicky white beans
I cooked these to go along some left over BBQ meat we had in the fridge following an afternoon hosting. I wanted something I could easily put together in my hangover state and didn't have to leave the house for ingredients. This ticked every box! For something so simple it was great. It hardly took any time at all and is a great option for a non-carby side to meat.
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#52recipes: 11-16


If you want to keep up with my recipe challenge on Instagram, check out my highlights where I've been posting everything I've been trying. I'd love to know what you've been cooking recently for some inspiration! You can see that from what I'm posting about, just how obsessed I am with Diana Henry's cookbook Simple. It is such an incredible book and I've loved everything I've made. It's definitely become my go-to book in the kitchen.


Diana Henry's chicken, cauliflower and parmesan bake from Simple
The first thing I cooked from Diana Henry's Simple was this traybake. For something so simple, it was unbelievably delicious. Definitely one for a weekday meal as it's nice and quick. You simply bung everything in a roasting dish then leave it alone in the oven to cook. I'm rarely make the same thing twice but this is good enough that I'm going to add it my monthly rotation!


Ottolenghi's honey, thyme and yogurt cheese cake from Simple
Loved the combination of thyme and honey but feel it needed a bit longer in the fridge to set. I'd recommend to leave it overnight if you make it. The hobnob biscuit base was a game changer and I'm going to use it in my future cheesecakes. So much nicer than the normal digestive biscuit.


Diana Henry's spiced Turkish chicken from Simple
Another Diana recipe that I LOVED. If I'm going to cook meat at home, chicken thighs are one of my favourite pieces to cook. They taste so flavoursome and are really the best part of the chicken in my opinion. The spice blend of this dish was so delicious. I served it with my signature salt and pepper wedges along with the salsa Diana recommends.


Gouda, spring onion and spinach quiche (loosely based on a Mary Berry recipe)
Quiche is one of my favourite ways to use up veg. It's the ideal summer dish in my opinion. I base it on a Mary Berry recipe which allows for lots of chopping and changing depending on what you have on hand. I had some gouda in the fridge and I think it might have become my favourite cheese to use in a quiche. It was fab! I suppose using basically a whole block helped...



Diana Henry's Huevos Roots from Simple
Gosh I'm still so obsessed with this book and can't wait until her next one comes out. This is a dish we've made quite a few times now when we don't want to go shopping. All you need is paprika, eggs and potatoes - three staples we always have in the house at any time. It's a dish that will work well for breakfast, lunch or dinner. A true all-rounder!

Ottolenghi's whole roasted cauliflower with green Tahini sauce from Simple
I did this dish when I hosted a Sunday roast for my blogger girls. Who knew a simple green tahini sauce could be so addictive! This was absolutely delicious and the whole cauliflower was a great showpiece for the middle of the table. It's one I'm going to keep on making for when I'm entertaining.
(Picture taken from Michelle's blog)
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#52 recipes: number 11-15


I feel like I'm on a roll now with my recipe challenge and really am enjoying it. I'm still not pushing myself too far out of my comfort zone but I am trying lots of different cuisines. I really want to try my hand at making different types of bread. I just need a weekend free - it's been pretty hectic of late!


Spiced cherry tomato pasta from Simple
If done well, you can't go wrong with a simple tomato pasta sauce. This was slow cooked which really helped to add to the flavours. It was really easy to do and was pure comfort food. It's one that is best to wait until British tomatoes are in season as they can sometimes taste a bit watery if not.  I'm not quite sure if this tomato sauce is 'the one' though. I'm still looking for my perfect recipe!


Mange tout and baby sweetcorn Laksa from Veggie Lean in 15
We ate a lot of laksa in Malaysia and this recipe really didn't do much for us at all. It was a really simplified recipe and I think perhaps Laksa is one that should be done right and authentically in order for it to taste amazing. There can be no shortcuts! It didn't really have much flavour and tasted quite bland. In fact I wasn't too impressed with this cookbook again and think it might be one for the charity shop.


Gorganzola, sage and walnut tagliatelle by Rachel Roddy
I'm a frequent reader of Rachel's column in the Guardian and this pasta dish is the first thing I've attempted from it. It definitely won't be the last. I used it with some spring onion tagliatelle that had been sitting in the larder from a spontaneous trip to the Aldi middle aisle. I adored the salty richness the gorgonzola added to the dish and the crunch of the walnuts. It's not a combination I would ever have thought up myself but it all worked so well together. I'd definitely try it again! But next time I'd add a bit more cheese.


Lemon and buttermilk pound cake by Diana Henry
This is the best lemon cake I've ever made. It was so moist and the lemon flavour was out of this world. Exactly how a lemon cake should be! It was really simple to make and just confirmed to me how much I love anything Diana Henry does. I think I'd happily just cook her recipes for the rest of my life.


Spiced apple cake from Simple
This smelt and tasted exactly like Christmas thanks to the cinnamon. I think this is the best Ottolenghi bake I've done so far and it' s such a crowd pleaser. Make sure you use a big cake tin as it rises a far bit. The first time it spilled all over the oven, This is a cake I can see myself making time and time again.
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What I've been cooking #8: Simple by Diana Henry


I feel like Diana Henry is one of the most underrated food writers out there. Hardly anyone I talk to, who isn't an avid collector of cookbooks like me, just hasn't heard of her, which is a complete shame. Simple is the first cookbook I've cooked from and I've fallen head over heels for her. Simple isn't about quick meals that will get on the table in 30 minutes flat on a weekday. It's about subtle, simple flavours that really help to elevate a dish. Nothing I've tried has been too difficult, the recipes are pretty simple yet create such an explosion of flavours. I don't think I've had a dud one and would quit happily cook out of this book for the rest of the year. Some of the ingredients are slightly harder to track down in the supermarket, you won't find the in Aldi. But I wouldn't put this down as a criticism, I quite like the thrill of finding a new ingredient, to me, when I'm least expecting it in a random little deli or shop. This book is definitely going to be so well loved and I can see myself cooking from it for many years to come.


Rhubarb and raspberry crumble cake
The perks of living a five minutes from your best friend is being able to raid their rhubarb patch! I ran out of almonds so it looks a bit bare on the crumble but despite that it was delicious. The cake was really easy to make and took no time at all. I loved the raspberries and rhubarb together - such a great combination.


Chicken parmesan and cauliflower bake
This was the first dish I tried and what an introduction! I adore traybakes as they couldn't be more simple and they always come out making you feel like a Queen with your shit together. The addition of parmesan to this was a game charger. Just when you think you've had chicken every single way... I will definitely be making this again, it's perfect for midweek.


Spiced Turkish chicken with parsley and tomato salsa
I am obsessed with chicken thighs. We have been trying to really reduce our meat consumption and have only been eating it once or twice a week. We've been trying out all the local butchers, choosing to invest in a decent piece of meat rather than buying from a supermarket. Chicken thighs taste absolutely delicious, they have so much flavour. The salsa really made this dish, it tasted so fresh and cooling against the slightly spicy chicken. I could have eaten it with a spoon! Paired it with salt and pepper homemade wedges, it was a lovely dinner as the weather started getting warmer.


Lemon and parsley orzo
This was incredibly quick to make - I think it might have taken me less than 20 minutes! Orzo is a fairly new discovery and I'm quick becoming a fan. I think it needs a touch more stock to cook it but other than that it was pretty much flawless. It tasted really summery because of the zesty lemon yet stodgy enough to be eaten on a gloomy day. I think it might become a weekday favourite!


Huevos Rotos
Translated to broken eggs, this brunch dish didn't quite go to plan. I didn't use a big enough frying pan so the eggs didn't cook quick enough as they didn't touch the bottom. I ended up having to finish it off under the grill so it became more of an frittata. Despite it not quite going to plan this was absolutely delicious. The paprika-spiced potatoes were seriously addictive and it was so simple to make. A real store cupboard meal!


Eggs with child, olive oil, eggs, feta and seeds
We really struggle to use up a huge bag of kale when we buy one - is anyone else like this? So this recipe was perfect for finally using it up. It was really quick to make and the only thing that took too long was poaching the eggs. The salty feta went perfectly with the fried greens and I loved the crunch the seeds added to it. A great brunch to try out at the weekend.

Lamb chops with walnut, chilli and honey salsa verde
Sadly I've lost my photo for this! I'm not too much of a chop fan but I think that was because I'd only ever had ones from the supermarket. We took a special trip to a butchers to buy some chops and they were a revelation. I will never buy them from a supermarket again! The salsa has a good kick to it and really elevated the meat. I served it with salt and pepper potato wedges and crispy kale because you have to have some carbs in there!


Berries and melon in elderflower syrup
These were extremely sweet! I think they may have even been a bit too sweet for me... The syrup was pretty simple to make but the sheer amount of sugar made my teeth hurt. You certainly couldn't eat too much of it!
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#52recipes - number 6-10

My 52 recipes challenge for 2019 is still going strong, here are some more dishes I've tried my hand out this year.

Mediterranean tart from Veggie Lean in 15 by The Body Coach
We've done The Body Coach programme before and had success on it. But it's really expensive to follow due to the sheer amount of meat. We've cut out meat Monday to Friday and started to only buy one nice piece of meat from the butchers as a treat. I was pretty excited to try this book but it was a bit of a disappointment. Everything just tasted a little bland. This tart was ok, I loved all the roasted veg but it could have done with more seasoning to give it more oomph. It was a great option with some salad for weekday lunches though. I don't think I'll be rushing to make this one again. I also have no idea what I have done with the picture this but it is featured in my Instagram highlights.


Peas with roasted shallots from BBC Good Food
I had some friends round for Sunday roasted and one of his favourite vegetables is peas. They went on the menu but I wanted to jazz them up a bit and found this recipe on Good Food. They were tasty but they didn't wow me. I don't think I'd go to the effort of making them again. You just can't beat simple buttered peas!


Roast cabbage with tarragon and pecorino from Ottolenghi Simple
This was delicious! I don't think I've had a dud from Simple yet and I've tried about a dozen recipes. I didn't have pecorino in my fridge so used parmesan instead - it still turned out great. This side dish got the most comments at the roast dinner and is definitely something I would make again.


Biscoff layer cake from Jane's Patisserie
Decorating cakes is not my strong point and I wish I had more patience. But alas patience is not my strong point. This year I'm keen to up my baking game and stumbled across Jane's blog. Oh my god, it is pure indulgence and has fast turned into one of my favourite baking blogs. I'm obsessed with Biscoff so knew I had to make this cake. It was delicious, such a beast of a cake. I'll definitely make it again if I had a special occasion coming up as it's a LOT of cake.


Bengali egg curry from Fresh India
I really cannot stop cooking from Fresh India. I was intrigued by this dish as I would never have though to have egg curry. I was pleasantly surprised! It was really cooks, the sauce had a good kick to it and the eggs made it really filling. Definitely one to add to my list of things to make again!
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What I've been cooking #7: Fresh India by Meera Sodha


I don't know how I found out about Fresh India but I'm pretty sure I found out about it from the vegetarian cookbook queen Charlotte. She loves a cookbook like me and always cooks such delicious looking meals. It's not a secret that I own a LOT of pictures but this one is in my top three. I absolutely adore it! Fresh India is probably the best Indian cookbook I've ever used and I love reading Meera's anecdotes with each recipe. It's so lovely to hear the inspiration behind everything and learn all about her family. I've adored every single recipe I've tried and know it's going to be a staple in my kitchen for many years to come. I haven't had any trouble finding any of her ingredients in the supermarket which is a plus. Here's what I have cooked so far!

P.S I can't wait to be able to start taking pictures in natural light again - these hurt my poor eyes!

Chana Saag (pictured below with the samosas)
Hands down my absolute favourite dish. I very rarely cook the same thing twice but we have this at least twice a month. It's so simple to make and tastes banging, even better the next day. It's one of those dishes that can be made entire from store cupboard essentials if you keep frozen spinach in the freezer. We like to serve it with naan breads.


Leek, pea and mint samosas
I hosted a curry night last year and decided to take on far too much as usual. One of my dishes was these samosas. I didn't cook them for long enough but the curries were ready and I didn't want them to get cold. Next time I'll be more organised. These were a bit fiddly but well worth the effort. The filling was great and tasted really fresh thanks to the mint. I'd definitely bake these again if I was doing a special dinner. They're a bit too much of a faff to do midweek for me!


Savoy cabbage, black kale and potato subji
I cooked this up one Sunday to have as lunches throughout the week. It's a great dish to have as lunches as it's really tasty to be eaten cold if you don't have a microwave. I struggled to find black kale in Aldi so just made do with normal kale. Another one that I will most definitely make again.

Aubergine and pea curry
Nearly everyone I've talked to regarding this book has recommended that I needed to cook this recipe asap. So I cooked it up for my lunches and realised just why everyone has recommended it! I love aubergine in a curry anyway so this was always going to be a winner for me. It tasted a bit like it should be used as a samosa filling - which isn't a bad thing! There's a ongoing theme going on in this book as this is yet another one I'll definitely make again.


Bengali coconut dal
This was the first ever Dal I made and I never knew it was so easy! I really enjoyed it and it made great leftovers. Something I always look for in recipes! Next time I would mash up the lentils so it isn't as chunky. Personally I prefer my days to be a bit more smooth.


Pistachio and almond cake with saffron icing
I made a mistake and poured water into the icing so it went extremely runny but it was nothing a few hours in the fridge couldn't sort out. I really loved the subtle flavours in this and it made a nice change for the standard drizzles I keep baking. It was really simple to make which makes it perfect for a lazy Sunday afternoon of baking.


Bengali-in-the-cupboard egg curry
The texture was a little weird for me at first but I soon got over that and now have been converted to egg curry. I love recipes that are made up of store cupboard essentials and this one fitted the bill perfectly. I cooked the sauce one Sunday night and kept it in the fridge. It was so easy to heat up in a pan while I boiled a few eggs during the week. I love a midweek dinner that takes less than 10 minutes to throw together!
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#52recipes - numbers 1-5


So I mentioned earlier on in the years that my New Years resolution is to try 52 new recipes this year to help make me more adventurous in the kitchen and finally use those hundreds of cookbooks I have collected over the years. I said I would blog about them every time I had achieved five so here we are! I have mostly been cooking from Meera Sodha's Fresh India book and I'm obsessed. We're trying to eat more vegetarian food and for me, I find curries one of the most flavoursome ways to make vegetables taste good and not feel like I'm missing out by cutting meat out. So what have I rustled up in the kitchen so far?


1. BBC Food's Sage and Onion Stuffing Balls
My best friend did us Beef Wellington on New Years Day. I had some left over sausage meat in the fridge from Christmas so decided to attempt stuffing balls for the first time. They were so easy and so tasty! I'll never buy shop bought ones again.


2. Bengali Coconut Dahl from Fresh India
I've recently discovered an Indian/Caribbean mini supermarket in my town and have been obsessed with it. I've never seen so many types of lentils before! As a result I've been making a few dahls because I kinda went overboard with the lentil buying. I really enjoyed the hint of coconut and this made the perfect winter warmer dinner. It tasted even better the next day when we had the leftovers for lunch. Definitely one I'm going to make again.


3. Sally's Baking Addiction Brown Butter Sugar Cookies
I've made these twice now but the second time wasn't as good because I got distracted and left them in the oven so long. They tasted more like biscuits rather than cookies that time! I love Sally's blog, I could read it for hours. I was scrolling one day and realised I had all the ingredients in the house for these cookies so decided to take the plunge and attempt my first recipe. They spread more than I like but they tasted exactly like Millie's Cookies. They're very sweet thanks to the insane amount of sugar. But they're also very addictive!


4. Savoy Cabbage, Black Kale and Potato Subji from Fresh India
We've been after some lunch ideas for work other than a sandwich so I gave this one a whirl. This dry curry makes the perfect packed lunch! I really like potatoes in a curry, although to be fair I really like potatoes in any form. This was delicious to eat cold and warmed up in the microwave. I felt really good eating it thanks to the cabbage and the kale. Definitely felt like I was upping my vegetable intake! I'll make this one again for sure.


5. Aubergine and Pea Curry from Fresh India
Aubergines are one my favourite vegetables but Connor isn't as keen as me so I don't to eat them that often. We struggled to find some aubergines in Aldi so went to the grocers near our house. It turns out there is a shortage of them so we have to pay £7 for four. Not the cheapest curry I've ever made! I was hoping it would be worth the money and it was! We had it with naans for dinner then the leftovers for lunch the next day. I really enjoyed it and it reminded me of a samosa filling which isn't a bad thing!
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A 2019 cooking challenge: 52 new recipes in 52 weeks


This year I spent a lot more time in the kitchen and realised that it really is my happy place. I love being about to switch off on a Sunday afternoon and lose myself in cooking something delicious. One of my goals this year was to start using my cookbooks enough and I certainly did that. But I mainly rotated around five books which is silly considering I now have around 200 sitting around. I found recipes, especially baking recipes, I loved and did them numerous times. Now there's nothing wrong with that but I want to push myself and stop being afraid of it going wrong.


So this year I am going to try 52 different recipes which works out one a week. A pretty doable challenge if you ask me! They can be from books, blogs or newspapers. Just a recipe that has tickled my fancy. I have literally hundreds bookmarked and have tried maybe one or two. I want to be a lot more adventurous and try and improve my knowledge of the kitchen. Bread is my top choice for something I want to ace next year.

I'll be blogging about it on here to keep me in check. I think I'll be writing a new blog post each time I complete around five which will hopefully equal around one a post a month. As nothing really counts until it's been posted on social media, I'll also be popping each recipe up on my Instagram alongside the hashtag #52recipes so be sure to follow along. 

Wish me luck!

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