Whipped Feta with Slow Roasted Tomatoes (or, celebrating with a big plate of cheese)

I have been in London for 4 entire years. 4 years since I quit uni, went home for one week then got a job in a grotty pub in Clapham on a whim and had to move before I even had time to think it through. In those 4 years I’ve lived in Peckham, Tooting and Islington with a total of 6 flatmates. I have had 5 jobs, seen over 200 shows, breathed really very little clean air and only had one major breakdown. I’ve seen the giraffes at London Zoo, the dinosaurs in Crystal Palace, that really awesome Pangolin in the Natural History Museum and the goths in Camden Town. I’ve been to talks about feminism, cooking classes in the Docklands and down a path of singing trees in Kew Gardens. I’ve stood at the top of St. Paul’s and spent hours trying not to catch the eyes of strangers half a mile underground; been to meetings at the BBC and carried industrial bags of popcorn around the various universities in the East End. 

…and things are, well, good. Great, sometimes. I feel settled and comfortable and if you plopped me down somewhere in zones 1 – 6 I could probably find a bus home. I’ve lived here longer than I lived in Edinburgh, and even though I still pine for Scotland a little bit, I almost can’t imagine leaving London. 

So I’ve been celebrating, sort of. I think with comfort, safety and security – all things I have somehow found in this chaotic jumble of a city – comes the ability to explore a bit and try new things. Cooking new things, wandering around and finding new corners and new neighbourhoods. When celebrating and when trying new things you can’t really do better than finding a fresh way to prepare a shedload of cheese.

I recently signed up the Domestic Sluttery newsletter and it is GREAT. In the last week I have received a recipe for Tunnocks Tea Cake fudge and a history of women’s involvement in the creation of the periodic table. It’s a really lovely thing to get in your inbox each day. 

So this recipe – which is rich, creamy, salty and absolutely delicious – is pretty much just a recipe nicked from them, with a few modifications to method (I hate cleaning the food processor) and quantity. When I saw it pop into my inbox, I needed to make it – it sounded so simple but so luxurious, and it absolutely is. Whether dolloped onto pasta animals – as pictured here – or drizzled over toast, it is delicious. 

Slow Roasted Vegetables with Whipped Feta
Serves 2
Roasted veg, massive plate of cheese.
Write a review
Print
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
1 hr 30 min
Total Time
1 hr 40 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
1 hr 30 min
Total Time
1 hr 40 min
For the Whipped Feta
  1. 200g greek yoghurt
  2. 300g feta
  3. Juice of half a lemon
  4. 1 crushed clove of garlic
For the vegetables
  1. A punnet of cherry tomatoes
  2. 4 red peppers, deseeded, destalked and cut in half
  3. 1 onion, cut into quarters or eighths
  4. A good shake of chilli flakes
  5. A few drizzles of the best olive oil you can get
Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 180°C. Lay the cut peppers, the onion and the tomatoes on a tray. Drizzle over the olive oil, sprinkle on the chilli flakes and maybe a few grinds of pepper (add salt, too, if you like - but go easy, the whipped feta will be salty as). Mix everything up with your hands to make sure everything is coated in the oil. Put in the oven, and roast for about an hour.
  2. Towards the end of your roasting time, combine all the ingredients for the whipped feta in a bowl (add some pepper, too) - I whisked and whisked and whisked, and though it clumped a bit after a while I got a mostly smooth texture I was happy with. DS does this in a blender which would also be fine.
  3. Sort out whatever you are serving this with - make some toast, cook some pasta, prepare a cheese funnel etc.
  4. Remove the vegetables from the oven, put them over your additional serving bits, dollop on the whipped feta in massive quantities. Add coriander if you want.
Adapted from Domestic Sluttery
Adapted from Domestic Sluttery
Doughs and Don'ts http://www.doughsanddonts.com/

Courgette Noodles with Oil, Olives and Runner Beans (or, the start of spiralizing)

Courgette Noodles_Title

It was my birthday on Monday. I turned 24. 

24 is no big deal, the calm before the storm of the 25 quarter-century landmark. For a day that’s really no big deal, I was lucky to have a lovely day with lovely people and, importantly, really good food. 

First, there was breakfast at the Battersea branch of The Breakfast Club. I had Huevos Al Benny, which is muffins and poached eggs with other brilliant things like chorizo and hollandaise and spinach and it was good. I also had a salted caramel milkshake which is something I think everyone should have on their birthday. Then there was a rousing game of Jurassic crazy golf, followed by a trip to a pub that involved a burger oozing with the juiciest, most luscious pulled pork and kimchi and ahhhhh it was good. 

Anyway. Also for my birthday, my parents sent me a small handheld spiralizer. Spiralizers are something I regard with some suspicion, like quinoa or drinking kale, because let’s be honest here: pasta is delicious. I am all about the gluten and carbohydrates. I do not think courgettes or sweet potatoes can substitute for pasta. 

But I might just be a convert.

Courgette Noodles_Spiralized

Let’s stay honest: courgettes and sweet potatoes in long thin shapes aren’t fooling anyone, they don’t taste like pasta. They are not a substitute; keep the pasta and keep the carbs and keep that comfort in your life. But, courgettes and sweet potatoes are delicious in their own right, and it’s pleasing to cut them into long thin strands and smother them in other delicious things. So, the spiralizer wins. It helps make tasty food.

Here’s something I stumbled upon while playing with spiralized courgettes. It’s kind of an amalgamation of This and This.  But with courgette noodles. 

Courgette Noodles with Oil, Olives and Runner Beans
Serves 2
A good starting point for spiralizing (or, at least where I started).
Write a review
Print
Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
30 min
Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
30 min
Ingredients
  1. 2 courgettes, spiralized
  2. 3 tbsp olive oil
  3. 4 cloves garlic, minced
  4. Generous handful runner beans (I used 2/3 of a fresh pack from Sainsburys), halved lengthways
  5. 1 cup olives, halved (I used kalamata from a jar)
  6. Zest of 1 lemon
Instructions
  1. Bring some water to the boil. Once boiling, add the runner beans and cook for 2 minutes or until they are an intense bright green. Drain, set aside.
  2. Over a medium heat, heat 2 tbsps of the oil in a pan until it shimmers.
  3. Add the garlic and lemon zest and garlic and fry for a little while until fragrant. Add the courgette noodles, and fry for a short while, keeping them moving, until warmed through*.
  4. Turn off the heat, add the beans to the noodles, as well as the last tbsp of olive oil, the olives and a few good grinds of black pepper. Give it a stir to combine and serve.
Notes
  1. *I don't think you actually *need* to warm the courgette but I don't know that I like cold courgette.
Doughs and Don'ts http://www.doughsanddonts.com/

Raspberry, Goat’s Cheese and Walnut Salad (or, an alternative to cake)

Raspeberry, Goats Cheese and Walnut Salad
Last weekend I went to York with my mum. From Friday to Sunday we ate nothing apart from cake. Actually we did have paella before the first round of cake, and chips at one point…

But ultimately it was all about cake. A lot of cake. We basically went away only to eat cake. Here is the four cakes we ate between us in a single (short) sitting:

Bettys Tea Room

Oh and there was an ice cream sundae with brown bread ice cream and toffee.
If ever you’re in York I thoroughly recommend a trip to Betty’s. And that you buy several fat rascals to take away with you to help with withdrawal symptoms.

Now I am not someone who counts calories. Or who is generally even that fussed. I am mostly about things tasting good. But even I have a limit. So, on Monday night, back in my own house, it was definitely a day for a salad.

Weighed down by weekend cake and tiredness it needed to be a quick one. Armed with a discount punnet of raspberries and a deep, possibly unusual obsession with both goat’s cheese and balsamic vinegar, I set to work. And, speedily, a salad did happen.

It was good.

(it was not as good as four cakes from Betty’s in York)

Raspberry, Goats Cheese and Walnut Salad

Raspberry, Goat's Cheese and Walnut Salad
Serves 3
Quick, simple, tasty. Not as good as cake.
Write a review
Print
Prep Time
15 min
Total Time
10 min
Prep Time
15 min
Total Time
10 min
For the dressing
  1. 1/2 cup raspberries
  2. 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  3. 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  4. 1 tbsp honey
For the salad
  1. 6 - 8 cups salad leaves (I used baby spinach, watercress and rocket)
  2. 1 1/2 cup walnuts
  3. 1 cup soft goat's cheese, crumbled
Instructions
  1. For the dressing, put all the dressing ingredients in a bowl and mash together.*
  2. In another bowl, combine salad leaves, walnuts and goat's cheese.
  3. Pour the dressing over everything. Serve.
Notes
  1. *could be done in a blender for smoothness, but I was not interested in washing up a blender.
Doughs and Don'ts http://www.doughsanddonts.com/