Archive | September, 2018

Chermoula Chicken

28 Sep

This is an excellent traybake-style recipe from Rosie Sykes new cookbook The Sunday Night Book. With prep that is front ended and could easily be organised in advance the most demanding part is making the aromatic chermoula paste and then you’re ready to rock.


The North African chermoula is a blend of toasted spices and fresh ingredients which means the end result is fragrant and delicious. I used a pestle and mortar, which is always satisfying, but a food processor would work too. After prepping your paste just combine with chicken thighs (bone in or out), red onions and new potatoes and then leave covered to marinade in the fridge until you’re ready to cook or pop in the oven.

Serve with flatbreads or rice. This recipe gives three good-sized portions and like most marinated meats it is even tastier the next day in a wrap or flatbread.


You will need;

10 chicken thighs, skin on
12 new potatoes, halved lengthways
2 red onions, cut into wedges
12 baby plum tomatoes, halved
1 cup of water

Chermoula paste
1 tsp cumin seeds, briefly toasted
Half a lemon
A good handful of flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped
A good handful of coriander, roughly chopped
3 garlic cloves, crushed
Half a red chilli, chopped
1 tsp smoked paprika
Half tsp salt
6 tbsp light olive oil


  • If cooking straightaway preheat your oven to 190 oC/ Gas mark 5
  • Allow your toasted cumin seeds to cool and then roughly chop to reduce the size a bit, pre-pestle action
  • Juice the lemon and then finely chop the remaining skin and flesh
  • Now smash/blend all the marinade ingredients together except the chopped lemon.
  • Once it starts to look like a paste add your chopped lemon (keep 1tsp back for later) and the salt
  • Keep bashing/blitzing and slowly adding the olive oil until you have a loose smooth paste.
  • Place your chicken, onions, and potatoes in a roasting tray, sprinkle with salt and the remaining lemon and then massage the paste into the mix making sure the thighs have good coating.
  • Arrange the ingredients so they nestle alongside one another, making sure the chicken thighs are skin side up.
  • Pour a cup of water around your artfully arranged chicken and veg and roast for half an hour.
  • Check what’s happening at this point and move everything about a bit, if it looks a little dry add some more water.
  • Scatter the tomatoes over the mixture and then return to the oven for 20 minutes more.
  • You know you’re done when the chicken is crispy and the potatoes are cooked through and there is a sizzling sauce around everything.
  • Re the sauce, if you want more than is left, remove the chicken and veg to a warm plate and add a little boiling water to your roasting tin. Over a low heat whisk to get all the yummy caramelised bits together to create a delicious sauce to pour over your chicken.
  • Finally scatter a few roughly torn coriander leaves over the top before you scoop up the crisp fragrant chicken, spiced potatoes and sweet onions with a warm flatbread.






Romanos meet marinade

11 Sep

Sexy Roman peppers are often sweeter than your average pepper and lend themselves brilliantly to roasting and marinating. This simple recipe from Yotam Ottolenghi’s, Ottolenghi The Cookbook, offers big flavours with just a few ingredients.

Romano peppers 1

Romanos ready for roasting

Combining fresh herbs, garlic, oil and vinegar the warm peppers bathe in the marinade for a couple of hours resulting in a fantastic lunch or starter. The creamy mozzarella can be omitted to make this a vegan dish. Serve with focaccia or rustic style bread (the crusts are great for soaking up all the herb flavoured juices).



Allow 1 Romano pepper per person.

This recipe serves 6

You will need

  • 6 Romano peppers
  • 120ml olive oil
  • Small handful of parsley and coriander, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 3 tbsp cider vinegar
  • 200g mozzarella
  • Salt and pepper


  • Preheat your even to 180oC
  • Arrange the peppers in a roasting tin and drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper.
  • Roast the peppers for roughly 10 minutes
  • While the peppers roast in the oven prepare your marinade
  • Chop parsley and coriander (reserving a small amount to garnish at the end) add olive oil and vinegar and crushed garlic to a shallow dish
  • When the peppers are cooked place them in the marinade, taking care to spoon the liquid over the peppers
  • Cover the bowl with a plate or cloth and leave to marinade for 1-2 hours
  • When you’re ready to serve them arrange on a plate and roughly tear the mozzarella over the top.
  • Spoon the remaining dressing over the peppers and mozzarella.
  • Sprinkle the remaining herbs over the top and serve with crusty bread, essential for all those delicious juices.

Apple cinnamon compote

9 Sep

Apples are a staple in our house but there always seems to be a few which end up lurking at the bottom of the fruit bowl uneaten. They can’t help it, they just aren’t as pretty as the others. Rather than let them go to apple heaven unfulfilled I slice and bake them (skin on) with a little maple or agave syrup and cinnamon. They don’t take long and with the addition of some dried cranberries, soaked just enough to soften, they are delicious as a topping on yoghurt or porridge. Plus you get two of your five-a-day (or is it eight now?) in before lunch.

If you like, get fancy and add in some toasted nuts or seeds for extra texture but I tend to be a compote purist and don’t like messing with the simplicity of these four ingredients.

compote 2

You will need:

  • 3 or 4 apples (don’t worry if they are a little overripe or bruised) cut into wedges and lightly dressed with lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp agave or maple syrup
  • A sprinkle of cinnamon
  • A handful of dried cranberries soaked in a little hot water and drained.


  • Preheat your oven to 160oC
  • Arrange your apple wedges on a small baking tray tray or dish
  • Squeeze the lemon over the apples
  • Combine with the syrup
  • Sprinkle on the cinammon
  • Bake for 20-25 minutes (keep an eye on them so they don’t disintegrate)
  • Whilst they cook soak your cranberries in hot water for 20 minutes
  • Drain you cranberries.
  • Spoon the apples and cranberries over your yoghurt or warm porridge, delicious!

A fish pie for Autumn

8 Sep

There is a change in the air and the apples that were on my tree are now windfalls. With crisp mornings and dark nights coming closer it’s time to pull out the comfort recipes which will cosy up your evenings.

This fish pie, based on a Jamie Oliver recipe, is simple to make and combines both fresh fish, and lots of great vegetables so you can be guilt free. However you could add cream to your béchamel sauce and extra cheese to your topping if you are not worried about the calories!

I used cod, smoked haddock and salmon but whatever you have available works, prawns, pollack, or trout will be delicious in any combo. Some supermarkets sell a fresh fish pie mix which is perfect for this recipe. If time is limited feel free to cheat on the mash and use a pre-prepped root/sweet potato mash.

The beauty of this dish is that it’s choc full of veggies so you don’t need any other accompaniments.


Salmon and haddock with crumbled feta, spinach, peas and a dill béchamel

Serves 4

You will need:

  • 400/500g mixed fresh fish, chopped into large chunks
  • 300g fresh spinach, roughly chopped
  • 100g fresh or frozen peas (defrosted if frozen)
  • 1tbsp fresh dill, roughly chopped
  • 75g feta cheese, crumbled
  • 1 pint milk semi or full fat
  • 25g butter
  • 25g plain flour
  • 1tsp wholegrain mustard
  • 750g mixed root vegetables eg. sweet potato, carrot, peeled, diced, boiled in salted water and mashed
  • salt & pepper


  • Preheat your oven to 180 oC
  • Butter your pie dish
  • Peel, dice, and boil your root vegetables in salted water, cook till tender and then mash till smooth, leave to cool
  • Arrange your cubed fish along the bottom of the dish
  • To make your béchamel; melt the butter in a small saucepan, add your flour and, using a wooden spoon, combine to make a roux (this is almost like a dough) keep it moving and cook gently until opaque.
    Gradually stir in your milk, get ready to switch to a whisk as the sauce will thicken quickly and the goal is something smooth and velvety.
    Once you have added all your milk season the sauce and stir in half your dill and the mustard, leave to cool
  • Add the spinach and peas to the béchamel sauce and spoon over your fish
  • Crumble half the feta cheese over your sauce base
  • Carefully spoon on the mash, crumble the remaining feta over the top and then bake for 30-40 minutes or until golden on top and bubbling at the sides.
  • Garnish with the remaining dill and serve.

Sweet potato mash fish pie with crumbled feta

Academy Espresso Bar

6 Sep

On the edge of Barry’s growing bayside community, Academy Espresso Bar is the perfect fit for this new district. Housed in the historic Pumphouse it blends eclectic style with the industrial heritage of the building. The space is calm and contemporary, the staff friendly and attentive with their signature t’s stating WORK HARD and be nice to people!


By day Academy serve excellent coffee and brunch, with the ubiquitous but delicious, sourdough and avocado a menu staple. The crowd are a relaxed mix of dog walkers and gym goers (Snap fitness is on the doorstep), mums, dads, kids and workers.

By night Academy has a very different vibe, more urban bar than suburban coffee house. It hosts a variety of excellent pop-up street food vendors on the terrace to accompany their craft beer and cocktail selection. This collaboration offers an ever-changing menu alongside the artisan platters that Academy’s kitchen serve from Thursday to Saturday night. Rocking an inspiring range of tattoos the night crew are excellent hosts for a top evening. There’s even a regular event for live music fans.

Like many non-central bars and restaurants Academy opens 7 days a week as a coffee house, and as a bar/eatery Thursday to Saturday till 11pm. Academy have managed to get the right blend between coffee shop and bar, with the addition of pop ups their offering is kept fresh, fun and different, worth a visit wherever you are in the capital.

For info on openings and events check out Academy Espresso Bar


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