Soft Goats cheese and Macadamia Tortellini – When tomatoes invade…

“PASTA!!” 
― Hidekaz Himaruya, Hetalia: Axis Powers

Soft Goats cheese and Macadamia Tortellini

I rarely ever buy pasta in restaurants, since principally; it can be made so easily at home for just a fraction of its dine out cost…It always seems like such a shame to spend money on pasta that could otherwise have been a giant made-for-you pizza, or just something else that’s not so easily ‘home-makeable’.

However, if this ricotta and spinach filled pasta were somehow listed on a restaurant menu, then I would have truly no choice but to snap it up in heartbeat …

Soft Goats cheese and Macadamia Tortellini Soft Goats cheese and Macadamia Tortellini

And could you blame me?

…#Madformacadamias

Except: there is no restaurant around here anyway would be able to re-create this kind of deliciousness…this plate represents a whole new level of personalized, pasta paradise…

Soft Goats cheese and Macadamia Tortellini

I am already a dedicated sucker for any dish that is amazing purely because of the way that the ingredients have been thrown together. And like so, a no fuss, 15 minute dinner with absolutely zero prep after one seriously long day= exactly my kind of thing.

“The promise of carbohydrates makes me deeply emotional.” 
― Katie GraykowskiPerfect Summer

Soft Goats cheese and Macadamia Tortellini

Maybe I cheated, and maybe I didn’t – But I get pasta points for the imagination anyway; Italy has gone nuts…

Soft Goats cheese and Macadamia Tortellini

And P.S: one single block of Goats cheese is worth a thousand and one words in itself:

Soft Goats cheese and Macadamia Tortellini

And macadamia nuts are 100% the cherry on top:

Soft Goats cheese and Macadamia Tortellini

I can’t really write up a recipe for this post. I mean, the tortellini was pre-packaged and the (jar) sauce was far from being homemade and fresh – but I do feel that this leaves lots of pockets for taste enhancement with future attempts! Meanwhile, the emphasis here is meant to be on the sheer blend of crunchy, salted macadamias with the creamy goat’s cheese and, of course, – the basil-based and starchy, tomato goodness laying within…

Soft Goats cheese and Macadamia Tortellini

And also, can you believe that I met a guy who was afraid of tomatoes earlier today? He had a funny way of expressing his fear too. The whole conundrum went something like this:

Table 17 ordered poached eggs on toast; but table 17 didn’t realize that poached eggs are served with a complimentary tomato…

Table 17’s order then arrives at table 17, but Mr 17’s eyes bulge at the sight of the juicy red, freshly grilled tomato accompanying his yolks and toast. Ahem -Table 17 didn’t warn me of his lil phobia…Next thing, Table 17 is squirming in his booth as the plate nears him; he begins to explicitly freak out. By the time table 17’s breakfast has hit the table, Mr 17 shrieks “Get rid of them! Remove them! I hate tomatoes!” His hands were in the air and his face was becoming increasingly desperate –

“I HAD NO IDEA THAT THIS DISH CAME WITH TOMATOES!” Before long, he finally calmed down and was welcomed back to reality with a tomato-less plate of egg (served by a confused me) – because apparently, you can’t just appreciate the culinary gesture by leaving the poor old tomato aside in silence…Table 17 turned out to be one baffling bundle of amusement.

What is life without tomatoes? No pasta, no pizza, no ketchup…no tomato. With anything! Without tomatoes, this macadamia dish wouldn’t be able to look so photogenic…

Tomato love <3

Soft Goats cheese and Macadamia Tortellini Soft Goats cheese and Macadamia Tortellini

The bottom line is that: Nuts added to filled pasta = a match made in heaven. This taste satisfaction can be enhanced with heaps of creamy coats cheese; a nice tomato sauce and, perhaps some spinach if your fridge is (still) screaming at you to get rid of it…Imagine the possibilities with other cheeses, nuts and veg…I also feel like this could work nicely with a pesto/pesto cream cheese in lieu of the tomato sauce! (Food for thought if you have issues like Mr 17).

Soft Goats cheese and Macadamia Tortellini

Try it soon! It takes literally 10-15 minutes to make, if not less. And if you don’t like nuts (or tomatoes), then you are missing out big time…

Have a great week!

P.S. I have the most immense carrot cake recipe coming soon! Check out my instagram for a sneak peak ;) #tripledecker – I am so excited to share it with you all!

Tash x

Sundays are for…. Cinnamon French toast with Vanilla Ricotta

“Bread, milk and butter are of venerable antiquity. They taste of the morning of the world.”
– Leigh Hunt, The Seer

Cinnamon French toast with Vanilla Ricotta

As idyllic as a ‘Sunday brunch’ out in town may have sounded, we all knew that it was unlikely to happen under any circumstances this weekend, given that my Saturday night crash was so not ready to brave central London for something hot, creamy and maple-syrupy…

But even so, it doesn’t really matter much when your very own, home-made brunch looks far better than anything that the city’s brunch scene could have offered you anyway

Cinnamon French toast with Vanilla Ricotta

… And didn’t even need to make a trek to France, either – Double bonus.

I am £10 (ish) up, and I have a brand new recipe to add to my easy breakfast repertoire. The triple bonus was being able to eat in my PJ’s and not have to worry about brushing my hair. Home kitchens are truly wondrous things…

Cinnamon French toast with Vanilla Ricotta

French toast is for mornings when even your last resort/10 minute pancake skills simply can’t pull themselves together… Sundays aren’t for reluctance. But I do know 5 things that Sundays are for…

  1. Silence – London tube trains. I already have to face these things every other morning before dawn. Only special Sundays require a tube effort. Sundays (off of work) are for quietness, chirping birds and fresh air while everyone else is still asleep (there are perks of being a naturally early riser hehe).  There is also absolutely no 4:56am (precisely) alarm to be heard. Bliss.
  2. Natural light. Turn the energy savers off and let the sunshine in. I’d like lots of low, golden yellow sunshine please. If not, then hazy daylight and some milky breakfast tea will do. This is another reason to avoid the tube system at all costs.
  3. Slow mornings – Reading, catching up on photo’s, and browsing YouTube undisturbed…in the present moment, any space of time where I can zone out without needing to be somewhere in the ‘next hour’ = a well treasured luxury.
  4. Indecision. A sunny Sunday on yet another 28 degree day. What to do, what to do? I don’t even need to make a decision because it’s Sunday, and there is no work to do and, I can do anything so I am happy.Sunday in a nutshell.
  5. Hands down – Sundays are for sweet and buttery Cinnamon French toast a la this...

Cinnamon French toast with Vanilla Ricotta Cinnamon French toast with Vanilla Ricotta Cinnamon French toast with Vanilla Ricotta

Question: Why do Nokia windows mobile phones insist on playing dead whenever they need to update? Aside from the fact that the battery won’t be removed unless 9.5 finger nails are forced to snap off and bleed in the process; I’ve lost count of the amount of mornings where I’ve woken up to an unresponsive phone that thinks it is funny to die and dismiss the alarms that I’ve come to rely on…at least this happened today and not earlier on in the week! Silly phone.

I’m also really missing my long walks! However, being on your feet for 10 hours a day, 5 times a week with early starts and walks to/from tube stations means that any time out is appreciated way more from a big chair with a mug of hot tea. I guess days off are for battling against rest vs running…

And lastly, I can’t believe that August is merely a few days away. It feels like it was only yesterday that I said the same thing about July...This is kind of sad. In August I’ll be thinking “Second year of university starts next month”. Gulp. Where the hell did that 4 month break fly away to? It is going to be so weird transitioning back from full time work to full time studying.  I’ll be shifting from running around all day and talking non-stop, to writing essays and sitting still all day…the thought alone makes me feel restless!

August is exciting though; August marks my birthday (petty much an entire year after the 19 buzz has worn off of everybody else my age…), my one year anniversary at work, being a bridesmaid for a family wedding, Emma coming home from summer school/work, and August means that Emma and I’s dream week in the Caribbean should be be drawing a lot nearer – we are so excited! I still can’t believe that my best friend is 1/3 of the way towards being a full-time teacher now…

Indeed, I shall forever be the time-keeper (counting time) and the queen of leftover berries and eggy-ing-up soft bread – I mean it, this is my new hobby:

Cinnamon French toast with Vanilla Ricotta

Perfection has been reached…

Cinnamon French toast with Vanilla Ricotta

Ingredients (serves 2)

  • -          4 slices of bread, sliced.
  • -          4 small eggs/2 large eggs.
  • -          2/3 C milk.
  • -          1 tablespoon vanilla (and another few drops for the ricotta).
  • -          Lots and lots of cinnamon.
  • -          2 tbsp brown sugar
  • -          Icing sugar for dusting
  • -          Berries for berry-liciousness.
  • -          Maple syrup for drizzling.
  • -          ½ C ricotta cheese.-
  • -          1 Tablespoon salted butter for frying.
  1. Heat the butter in a skillet/pan on hig.
  2. In a bowl, whip together the egg, milk, 1 tbsp vanilla, cinnamon, and brown sugar.
  3. Dip the bread into the mixture piece by piece and fry them in batches, flipping in order to brown both sides.
  4. Once done, place on a warm plate and repeat for the rest of the bread.
  5. Top with extra cinnamon, berries and oodles of maple syrup, icing sugar + the superb, creamy sweet vanilla ricotta…

Vanilla Ricotta:

  1. Mix the ½C ricotta with 2-4 tsp of icing sugar, (depending on how sweet you like it), and then whip them together – Don’t forget to add a drop or two of vanilla! Use it to top the French toast.

But don’t get me wrong; although Sundays are for maple syrup and French toast – there is no way that maple syrup and French toast are reserved for Sunday’s. I can see them coming in really handy for Monday morning pick-me up’s too!

The final step here = Enjoy! Have a chilled out Sunday.

Tash x

Cinnamon French toast with Vanilla Ricotta Cinnamon French toast with Vanilla Ricotta Cinnamon French toast with Vanilla Ricotta

La Gelatiera London – South bank and Sunsets…

“Forget art. Put your trust in ice cream.”
― Charles Baxter, The Feast of Love

So, Southbank; we meet again?

La Gelatiera  London – South bank and Sunsets...gelato

Friday afternoon has finally swung around, and yet again, the time has come to go and get lost in the miniature weekend maze that continues to be Southbank Real Food festival…

The air smelt grassy and wet. That freak thunderstorm sure caught everybody off guard… raindrops lingered everywhere, the floor was glassed by sheets of water, and the sky was bland and grey -threatening to open its heavens for downpour round 2… (Londoners, back me up here – that rainstorm was truly immense….

It would have been easy to make a bolt for the station home – but following a chance encounter with Nathan from the wonderful ‘La Gelatiera’ earlier on in the day…A trip across the market for some real + delicious gelato sounded like it was well in order…

Hm, I wonder what this could be…?

La Gelatiera  London – South bank and Sunsets...gelato

The lovely Nathan happily introduced both me and my manager (Michael) to La Gelatiera’s ‘in a nutshell’ collection of creamy Italian gelatos, which are sourced from a far wider range of delicious heaps at at their gelato base over in Covent Garden… What can I say? Gelato clearly brings people together.

La Gelatiera  London – South bank and Sunsets...gelato La Gelatiera  London – South bank and Sunsets...gelato

It appears that the capacity of their market stall doesn’t do their range of “London’s finest Italian” + “100% natural” gelato collection justice at all…take ‘Vanilla Marinara’ or ‘Cornish blue and walnuts’ and ‘Japanese black sesame’ as my word for it! La Gelatiera has brought these medleys into one fine existence…

La Gelatiera  London – South bank and Sunsets...gelato

Meanwhile, their ‘Honey, rosemary, and orange zest” flavour is meticulously described as being a “Rich and creamy, fresh tasting ice cream with the aroma of a Mediterranean summer country garden…”

Love struck is a blatant under statement right now.

La Gelatiera  London – South bank and Sunsets...gelato La Gelatiera  London – South bank and Sunsets...gelato

I really need to take a trip down to their Covent Garden branch… Their website alone is making me drool in reminiscence of those still Italian summer nights when we would roam the streets of Rome…nothing but 4 girls on the hunt for the city’s best gelato to end our perfect night on a sweet and creamy high…Could the home alternative really be as close as La Gelatiera?!

It is already a well known perk of gelato; that it is actually lower in fat, yet also creamier than even the silkiest and most luxurious English ice cream. Your favourite ice cream may rank as silver, but quality gelato = true gold.

This was the thick and creamy, melt in your mouth­ kind of gelato that struck the perfect balance between richness and ribbon…

La Gelatiera  London – South bank and Sunsets...gelato La Gelatiera  London – South bank and Sunsets...gelato

We tried 3 amazing and entirely contrasting flavours; chocolate, pistachio (my favourite!) and the softest yet zingiest mango ever…Only La Gelatiera would let these taste characteristics co-exist. We both loved it greatly.

I also love how La Gelatiera offer a nice, well priced range of small-large servings; from £1 to £5 to suit both tastes and stomach. Their menu full of patisseries, waffles and cakes are something that I am also so excited to try the next time I am in the area! This is 100% MY kind of place and I am so grateful that we met Nathan today and were lured into the sweet world of Artisan London Gelato…

In their own words:

“We have created more than 80 flavours of gelato and sorbets since opening. Contact us for the whole list”.

80. I repeat – EIGHTY. Eighty…now that is a lot of gelato bliss…

If you are around Southbank this weekend, then make sure you don’t miss them at the Real Food festival where you can say hey to Nathan! And either way, definitely do head down to their Covent Garden Gelato shop for a taste of Artisan Authenticity and deliciousness (although I will be upset with anyone who makes it down there before me).

Is anybody else craving some (a lot) of ice cream right now?

La Gelatiera  London – South bank and Sunsets...gelato

And…here are some pics of the repeat sunset that I had to go and snap with my camera the night after the first clear, perfect night where I had neglected my camera in favour of a hands free evening walk…Pretty! <3 Summer. Fields of gold comes to mind. England has a lot to offer in the summertime…I hate to think about how many corners of this beautiful country go incessantly unseen on evenings like this; where routine life consumes the majority of us and nature shrinks away like the sun going down behind the hills…

IMG_3224 - Copy IMG_3144 - Copy IMG_3227 - Copy fields of gold sunset london IMG_3163 - Copy IMG_3238 - Copy

“If I could lick the sunset, I’ll bet it would taste like Neapolitan ice cream” ― Jarod Kintz, At even one penny, this book would be overpriced. In fact, free is too expensive, because you’d still waste time by reading it.

Have a great weekend!

Tash x

“…Stop pacing the aisles and counting the miles. Instead, climb more mountains, eat more ice cream, go barefoot oftener, swim more rivers, watch more sunsets, laugh more and cry less. Life must be lived as we go along. ” 
― Robert J. Hastings, Tinyburg Tales

http://www.lagelatiera.co.uk/

Layered Almond Madeira cake with Fresh Peaches and Vanilla Buttercream

“There was a mood of magic and frenzy to the room. Crystalline swirls of sugar and flour still lingered in the air like kite tails. And then there was the smell of… hope – the kind of smell that brought people home.”
― Sarah Addison Allen, The Girl Who Chased the Moon

Layered Almond Madeira cake with Fresh Peaches and Vanilla Buttercream

The freedom to wake up and just decide that you’d like to start baking in your pyjamas has to be one of the greatest ever gifts that ‘days off of work’ have ever brought…

Layered Almond Madeira cake with Fresh Peaches and Vanilla Buttercream

Although these days off could come around a little more often than they actually do (sad face), sometimes when you wake up; the morning summer sunshine will dance on the kitchen walls and enchant you with fresh morning glory. And then you suddenly have the urge to use some vanilla and prepare something buttery with love…Yester-morning was definitely time for a long + slow, therapeutic baking session…

Layered Almond Madeira cake with Fresh Peaches and Vanilla Buttercream

Everything about this cake was magical; The layers, the sweet buttery icing, the deep cross section…and the sheer precision that went into carving out the perfect slice…

Layered Almond Madeira cake with Fresh Peaches and Vanilla Buttercream

A picture speaks a thousand and one words; and my sugar headache says nothing. My head is probably cursing me – this cake is majorly addictive…

Layered Almond Madeira cake with Fresh Peaches and Vanilla Buttercream

And I’ve got to admit that I kind of miss my two little brothers. If they were home then they would have demolished the entire thing in a single evening. Maybe I can freeze them some, would that work? It’s less than a week until they are home and I am no longer an ‘only child’! <3

Nevertheless, it was super sunny and the sky shone. This summer bliss was made extra lovely when one of my best friends came round for some afternoon tea and a good catch-up – Joanna rescued me from this potential cake coma and helped me to get rid of some. Then we (she) baked Nutella brownies; and then the whole house smelled like a chocolate-y, hazelnut oblivion. It was so nice to stay in for once and catch up without having to be out somewhere… (which we usually love, love, love to do!). Home-made cake and milky tea in your own garden is an experience that is rarely ever beaten. Ever:

Layered Almond Madeira cake with Fresh Peaches and Vanilla Buttercream Layered Almond Madeira cake with Fresh Peaches and Vanilla Buttercream

The blissfulness of the day was multiplied by ten – until we decided to eat both the brownies and some leftover pizza after a good portion of the peach cake…the brownies were left there, kind of upset that we had let them down so quickly. Being so besotted with your baked goods leads to a love hate relationship. One minute, you can’t face another slice ever again in your life. But come 12 hours later? You just do it all over again for breakfast. Sweet…

Layered Almond Madeira cake with Fresh Peaches and Vanilla Buttercream

The day had evolved into a breezy + orange summer evening. We went to a pretty nature reserve near my house and watched the sun go down in the fields. It was lovely. Except, this happened to be the one time that I took walk without my camera; and by sods law, the sunset just had to be among the prettiest that I have ever seen…

Although I don’t permanently feel like I need to photograph everything – when the sky is so pretty, and sun is an glowing orange ball in the pink sky – spewing its low rays everywhere…It physically hurts to sit back and watch it; knowing that the moment can never be captured properly or seen again…I think that a lot of photographers feel like kind of ‘wasted opportunity’ when they can’t snap something? It’s kind of like a feeling of grief for the sunset that can never be shared…Does anyone else experience this? Or am I way too emotional about sunsets? But either way, next time – the camera comes with me…

There is a life after sunsets however. There is a life of cake:

Layered Almond Madeira cake with Fresh Peaches and Vanilla Buttercream Layered Almond Madeira cake with Fresh Peaches and Vanilla Buttercream Layered Almond Madeira cake with Fresh Peaches and Vanilla Buttercream Layered Almond Madeira cake with Fresh Peaches and Vanilla Buttercream

Ah, yes! Back to the Madeira cake: it is/was absolutely perfect! It had both vanilla and almond essence, and is not overly sweet by itself (although the butter-cream is pretty sugar dense). The cake has the perfect balance of moisture to crumb; and firmness to soft. It makes a great sandwich for both the butter-cream and raspberry jam.

Layered Almond Madeira cake with Fresh Peaches and Vanilla Buttercream Layered Almond Madeira cake with Fresh Peaches and Vanilla Buttercream

The butter-cream was also intentionally thick + plentiful – there is no way that you need to put on a much as I did (sugar coma alert), but the combination of the thick butter-cream with the sweet jam and the silky peaches, in addition to every other layer of the almond Madeira is truly decadent…and any of you with helpless sweet tooth’s would go crazy for buttercream as dreamy as this…it is irresistible. Buttercream is my number 1 preference.

Layered Almond Madeira cake with Fresh Peaches and Vanilla Buttercream

I was more than happy to make a visit to my lovely next door neighbors as well; I rung the doorbell whilst holding up 2 huge slabs of this jammy-cake on a pretty plate…sharing is caring, and they were delighted too!

This cake is rather impressive. (Given that you can frost a little more neatly than I can…) It is high and well stacked. The layers are colorful, and it would make a stunning addition to any dinner party, BBQ or birthday. It is a medley of beautiful summer flavors, sandwiched inside a traditional base with a twist that everyone is always sucker for – vanilla jam sponge…

 

This cake is the real deal. It is light, cakey and sweet, but dense in flavor without being stodgy or overly filling…you will have to restrain yourself from going back for more…

Just look at that cross section…

Layered Almond Madeira cake with Fresh Peaches and Vanilla Buttercream

It is also super easy! And this is especially so if you were to bake it using 3 different cake tins – the cooking time is dramatically shorter than if you were to use a single pan – and there is also no cutting required. Instead, the cakes are just ready to butter-up, slather and stack in just 1, 2, 3…

<3

Ingredients for the cake (makes one 24cm cake tin/or 3 x 24cm thin cake bases for stacking):

  • 2 ¾ C white flour
  • 1 C salted butter, softened (always use real butter).
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 2 C white sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tbsp french almond essence
  • 1 C evaporated milk
  • 5 whole medium eggs, 2 yolks.
  1. Combine the flour and baking powder in one bowl and set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, cream the butter and sugar. In a new bowl. Add the vanilla and almond essence.
  3. Next, add the eggs + yolks, stirring them in. Do not overbeat the mixture.
  4. Finally, mix the bowls of dry + wet ingredients together in 3 separate attempts. With each mix, add 1/3 of the evaporated milk. Repeat this 3 times until the batter has incorporated everything into a single bowl.
  5. Divide the batter between 2/3 cake pans and bake at 180 degrees (fan oven) for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean. Remember that this cake willcook very fast and will very easily burn (especially if split between 3 layers), so do keep an eye on it – it is definitely best when it is golden and moist!
  6. Leave to cool in the oven for 10 minutes, before removing it and cooling on a wire rack for at least an hour before frosting it.

Frosting + Filling Ingredients

(The following amounts will ice 3 layers and the top of the cake – but not the sides of the cake. If you wish to ice the entire cake as I have shown in some of the pictures, then double these amounts – and there will be some left over).

  • 1C salted, softened butter
  • 2.5 C icing sugar (other recipes were telling me 3-4 cups?! But I didn’t dare add this much – it would be inedible/oversweet!)
  • 2 tbsp evaporated milk
  • 1 tbsp vanilla essence
  • Raspberry conserve + peeled + skinned fresh peaches.
  1. Whip these ingredients together until they form stiff peaks and begin to resemble the buttercream icing if your dreams….(it will smoothen out more the longer that you whip it for)
  2. Make the evaporated milk your final addition – adding it according to the texture of the icing.
  3. Definitely have a taste of it with a clean spoon before you go and frost the cake with it!
  4. Get your layers lined up…figure out which sides you’d like to spread with jam and which you’d like to buttercream. I went for a symmetrical pattern of jam, peaches, jam – and buttercream after each, but it’s up to you how you would like to do it!
  5. Frost the cake! You really can’t go wrong with it. Palette knife + buttercream; spread it anywhere and everywhere…

Voila:

Layered Almond Madeira cake with Fresh Peaches and Vanilla Buttercream Layered Almond Madeira cake with Fresh Peaches and Vanilla Buttercream Layered Almond Madeira cake with Fresh Peaches and Vanilla Buttercream

Yummy.

I have eaten so much cake.

I need to go on a serious cake detox. This peach beauty is just too good to resist.

But who am I kidding?

I already have tomorrows breakfast, lunch, and dinner sorted …

Joanna’s famous brownies will also be making an appearance on here very soon!

Has anyone ever baked with peaches before? What is your favorite kind of cake to eat buttercream with?

 The measuring and mixing always smoothed out her thinking processes – nothing was as calming as creaming butter – and when the kitchen was warm from the oven overheating and the smell of baking chocolate, she took final stock of where she’d been and where she was going. Everything was fine.” ― Jennifer Crusie, Maybe This Time

Have a great week everybody! And TGIF! (tomorrow…!!)

Tash x

Layered Almond Madeira cake with Fresh Peaches and Vanilla Buttercream

 

Summer Peach and Caramelized Vegetable Pizza

“Pizza makes me think that anything is possible…” –Henry Rollins

Summer Peach and Caramelized Vegetable Pizza

The next time that somebody asks me: “where did you have the best pizza that you have ever eaten?” I will no longer need to reminisce over all of the lakeside pizzerias consumed on my 2 week Italian adventure…

Summer Peach and Caramelized Vegetable Pizza

Because he best pizza that I have ever has officially been experienced…right here at home.

Prego…

Summer Peach and Caramelized Vegetable Pizza

Summer Peach and Caramelized Vegetable Pizza

Can you believe that this marvellous looking pizza was born out of my own kitchen…My own! I am radiant with pride. From dust to dough; and from dough to delicious…this pizza is box free and dirt cheap! I currently have all of the flour stains on my shirt to prove that I really made it, too.

But what’s even more crazy, is that typical Tash completely forgot to buy both passata AND yeast -(which pretty much remain two of the most necessary pizza ingredients to date) – yet, this pizza still managed to rival a rich standard of total perfection?!  Here, I will be giving you the recipe for the yeast version that I had originally intended to use, but I will also add the cheeky baking powder edition that actually saved me on this one…#Iloveitwhenamiraclecomestogether.

Summer Peach and Caramelized Vegetable Pizza Summer Peach and Caramelized Vegetable Pizza

I was amazed for the rest of the entire evening. The house smelt like a culinary, Italian wonderland. And now, every time I open the fridge, there sits a (huge) intact pizza, staring back at me and crying out because it so badly wants to be today’s breakfast…

Summer Peach and Caramelized Vegetable Pizza Summer Peach and Caramelized Vegetable Pizza

And although the kitchen later looked like it had been targeted by madmen with flour bombs – the sweet smell of Mediterranean herbs and vegetables basking in films of olive oil in the oven was becoming mouth wateringly heavenly…I can’t let my tornado-like way of baking ruin my future destiny with home-made pizzas. I cannot wait to do this all. Over. Again….very frequently for the rest of my life…

Summer Peach and Caramelized Vegetable Pizza

It also kind of killed me to take decent pictures. All I wanted to do was grab the pizza with 2 hands; pull apart the cheesy middle and to let the smooth, olive oiled tomatoes intensity every succulent bite of pepper and greens…but instead, I let the stomach rumbling reign as I snapped away in haste…I knew I would regret it if I didn’t…

“If I didn’t blog about it – it didn’t happen” – Tania.

But man, looking back, there sure was a lot of everything on here…

Summer Peach and Caramelized Vegetable Pizza Summer Peach and Caramelized Vegetable Pizza

Furthermore, this pizza simply had to involve peaches in some way, shape, or form…I don’t really know why, but peaches are summery; and I love all of peaches, summer and pizza – so surely this couldn’t go wrong? I didn’t question the taste. I just knew that sliced peaches baked onto pizza dough would create exactly the flavours that I was vouching for – so I just rolled with it and embraced the craving, before throwing on some leafy green spinach to round everything out…

This was the best. Idea. Ever.  Like, ever. You don’t actually know the true potential of ‘combination’ until you have done a YOLO on a custom designed pizza of your own… 

Summer Peach and Caramelized Vegetable Pizza

I really didn’t think that this kind of delicious success would even be possible – never in my wildest dreams. In fact, I waited hesitantly for the thing to bake, whilst being 86.7% ready to finish off the last 2 slices of stale Hovis with some pre-cut slices of cheddar cheese for dinner instead – (I’ve had too many esteem crushing disasters with dough in the past….

When I first started out to make these, I still believed that only the world’s best cooks could make create something which so  was visually appealing and truly yummy at the same time. I am a perfectionist – good food needs good pictures. My pizza was confidence was zero. I had no yeast or base, but I went for it anyway (I needed pizza!) – but the results were utterly superb: 

Summer Peach and Caramelized Vegetable Pizza Summer Peach and Caramelized Vegetable Pizza Summer Peach and Caramelized Vegetable Pizza

This pizza makes me so proud. This pizza makes me feel like anything is possible –my new motto is: if in doubt…try it out. 

Good things come from doing something new!

And hey, I also appear to be getting better at math…

(Pizza + peaches) + Sunshine = Happiness.

Summer Peach and Caramelized Vegetable Pizza

Let’s double the pride.

This is a new take on the 1+1 = 2 analogy – no calculator needed.

This was pizza was definitely the best-made decision of the week. I would marry it if I could.

But how years have passed – void of home-made pizza? The thought of this number makes me so sad; a figure I don’t want to regress on…

My mum always said that one should never eat out anything that could be made better at home…Restaurant pizza was my full-time, eat out hobby – I mean, Prezzo has been my favourite Italian restaurant for years… Eating pizza out was a treat –something which could truly not be made at home…a £10 pizza was a regular necessity…But this is no more. It would be pretty damn difficult for any restaurant to out-dothe freshly baked beauty that joined me for dinner this evening…

I am officially converted to team home-made pizza.

And on top of that; I feel like I have been semi born again….

Home-made pizza is definitely good for the soul, – and who could argue with the mountain load of veggies that you can cram so easily onto it?! There is one colourful vitamin fest happening right here:

(Makes 2 large pizzas, serves 4).

For the dough:

  • 2 ½ C flour
  • 1 C warm water (45* C)
  • 2 tbsp Olive oil
  • ¾ Tbsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1-3/4 tbsp dry active yeast.
  1. In a large bowl, dissolve the yeast + brown sugar – leave to sit for 10 minutes.
  2. Stir in the salt, pepper + oil, and then the flour.
  3. Turn out the dough onto a well floured surface and knead it until it is no longer sticky.
  4. Put the dough into an oiled bowl + cover it – come back in an hour, after which it should have risen and doubled in size.
  5. Punch the dough to form 2 tight balls. Leave to sit for a minute before rolling out to make 2 crusts. Leave to stand for 10-20 minutes to rise before adding the toppings and baking in a pre-heated oven at 200C* for 20-25 minutes (see below).

Summer Peach and Caramelized Vegetable Pizza

(My actual dough was basically 2 ½ cups of flour mixed with 1C warm water and 3 tsp baking powder + the salt, pepper and oil) I kneaded it immediately and didn’t wait for it to rise – it came out pretty good! A little firmer than most crusts and quite dense, but nevertheless tasty and fresh! (I like dense bread). Next time though, I will 100% have yeast on hand and I will follow the recipe that I had meant to the first time. I still swear that this is the best pizza that I have ever eaten though…

For the topping:

  • 1/2 medium Jar of pomodoro/bolognese pasta sauce – This may be cheating (big time) – but I had no passata, or chopped tomatoes (why did I decide to make a pizza, again?) But the sauce was incredible!! It created such a fruity and sweet flavour – it really thickened the topping…it was flavourful, sweet and rich…the flavour was already there. I prefer to use brands without any added sweeteners or preservatives. Mix in some extra tomato puree if you prefer to ‘naturalize’ the flavour a bit. I highly recommend this if you have no passata on hand; it truly adds another dimension of flavour to the pizza! – It’s a familiar taste used in a way that you haven’t really tried before, which turns out great!
  • Extra sprinkles of basil, parsley, thyme, oregano and black/white pepper…
  • Caramelized onions (roasted/sautéd ahead of time) + other toppings. Go crazy. Add anything and everything. I even added some artichokes that had been coated in olive oil and herbs…fabulous! Don’t forget your olives, extra tomatoes, spinach and peaches!
  • Compulsory olive oil for drizzling.
  • Kilo’s and kilo’s of mozzarella. 
  1. Spread the sauce over the pizza base, you may/may not have some left over – but just use as much as you would like. (I like loads).
  2. Sprinkle on the herbs…
  3. Heap on the veg + meat as desired…
  4. Throw on the mozzarella. Make mountains.
  5. Drizzle on some extra olive oil and some dried chillis if you are into them (highly recommended).
  6. Bake in a pre-heated oven at 200C* for 20-25 minutes. When the crust has turned golden and the veggies are caramelized, it is done.
  7. Admire the sight….
  8. Add extra olive oil and perhaps some balsamic (It’s all good for you!)
  9. Stand in awe.
  10. Look at the clock – it shouldn’t even be an hour from start to finish.
  11. Decide to never order pizza from out again.

Summer Peach and Caramelized Vegetable Pizza Summer Peach and Caramelized Vegetable Pizza Summer Peach and Caramelized Vegetable Pizza

This pizza = summer.

I am craving some more now (but luckily, my home alone self still has at least 2 days worth of leftovers in the fridge…)

London is currently heating up for another 28 degree day! Yippee! I am looking forward to reading some of my new fiction purchases in the garden later! (Courtesy of Amazon).

Is anyone else a fan of home-made pizza? Do you have any hints/tips for the crust? Or even some topping suggestions? I am still so new to this!

Or more importantly, I should ask: What is your favourite kind of pizza?

Have a great week, and don’t forget to make room for this pizza on at least one night (or three!) this week!

Summer Peach and Caramelized Vegetable Pizza

Summer Peach and Caramelized Vegetable Pizza Summer Peach and Caramelized Vegetable Pizza

Tash x

Apricot-glazed sweet potato and goats cheese salad with caramelized balsamic beets.

Perhaps I am finally turning into a (part-time) salad girl after all?

Apricot-glazed sweet potato and goats cheese salad with caramelized balsamic beets.

A salad without salad = my kind of salad.

Apricot-glazed sweet potato and goats cheese salad with caramelized balsamic beets.

Therefore…A warm, sweet, starchy and lettuce free salad topped with a kilo of goats cheese = my firmed favourite kind of “salad”. This is the flexitarian in me coming out…

Rich and soft goat’s cheese meets fluffiness and juice; beets do serious business in balsamic; and a medley of world spices work together to raise the taste resolution here immensely…

Apricot-glazed sweet potato and goats cheese salad with caramelized balsamic beets.

I admit that I didn’t really know what I was doing; however I have heard that the best cook is an empty stomach…so I rolled with this motto and just threw everything in in the name of intuition…

Apricot-glazed sweet potato and goats cheese salad with caramelized balsamic beets.

I present to you: Perfection:

“Tomatoes and oregano make it Italian; wine and tarragon make it French. Sour cream makes it Russian; whilst lemon and cinnamon make it Greek. Soy sauce make it Chinese…and, garlic? Garlic makes it good” –Alice may Brock.

(This is the taste buds talking).

What even is this dish then? You decide.

Apricot-glazed sweet potato and goats cheese salad with caramelized balsamic beets.

Although there are greens in this salad – they have been sautéed, salted, and seasoned with extra virgin olive oil and spruced up with Mediterranean spices. There is no iceberg, rocket nor any species of mainstream salad veg anywhere to be found, but we are using seasonal produce in an equally ethical way anyway…

“The garden suggests that there might be a place where we can meet nature halfway”—Michael Pollan

greens

I also think that I mentioned in a recent post about how goats cheese is my number 1 new love…It is so thick, crumbly, spreadable and densely creamy all at the same time; there is simply nothing comparable to it! I have also been shocked by its versatility… (I will soon be sharing the goat’s cheese smoothie with you! –And yes, you read that right; there are clearly no limits to our love).

Goat’s cheese adds both texture and taste to anything; be it sweet or savoury. I can also think of a bunch of autumn/fall recipes that would turn weak-kneed at the prospect of goat’s cheese!  – Just think of all of those pumpkin dishes which could marry it too!

I very rarely find a combination that I truly fall head over heels in love with –since ingredients always seem to be more than open for substitution, but here? – Everything was just right…

Right now, it would actually pain me to switch something up. Although I wouldn’t mind adding something a little more…perhaps a drizzle of maple syrup or some extra pumpkin/glazed baby carrots and seasoned bulgur wheat.

I have stars in my eyes.

Apricot-glazed sweet potato and goats cheese salad with caramelized balsamic beets. Apricot-glazed sweet potato and goats cheese salad with caramelized balsamic beets.

Despite being a vegetarian dish, this salad brings with it a sensational feeling of satiety and fullness. The wholesomeness of the sweet potato, combined with the richness of the goats cheese and the delicate film of olive oil truly warms your inside and fills every patch of hunger inside…the optional pumpkin seeds add an unexpected crunch, a few extra nutrients and a bit of aesthetics for the photo.

Do I need to convince you any more that I really, really enjoyed this, and that you should too?

Goats cheese, sweet potato, greens and beets carry a certain ‘theme’ to theme…Like, they create the image of a certain type of salad which you just know you would love if they are your kind of things…Take no risk. Do it. Now:

Ingredients (serves 2):

  • 2 bunches of spring greens, chopped.
  • 1 Medium, chopped red onion.
  • Olive oil for frying.
  • 1 clove of crushed garlic.
  • Sprinkles of salt, pepper, parsley, oregano, basil, mixed spice, thyme and sage…none of these are incredibly over powering; so just literally go according to your taste buds or try ½ -1 teaspoon of each.
  • Large sweet potato, diced + cooked.
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • 2 cooked, medium beets, chopped.
  • 2 tbsp apricot conserve.
  • Goat’s cheese!! (Tonnes of it).

onion Apricot-glazed sweet potato and goats cheese salad with caramelized balsamic beets.

Method:

  1. Fry the beets in the balsamic and some salt on high heat until they are caramelized (2-3 mins), then set aside.
  2. Fry the onions + garlic in the spices, adding the seasonal greens once they start to turn clear. Sauté for a few minutes, adding the beets.
  3. Microwave the apricot conserve so that it melts, before using it to coat the sweet potato. Add this to the pan.
  4. Remove from heat once cooked through and the vegetables are tender but not quite wilted.
  5. Serve between 2 plates, adding the goats cheese and pumpkins seeds to suit your liking.
  6. Make up a name for this beautiful dish…before repeating for 3 dinners in a row…
  7. Enjoy!

Yum! I hope you enjoyed this as much as I did. If there’s something that sounds weird in the recipe, I apologise! I was just really having fun with throwing everything and anything together on the spot…

Apricot-glazed sweet potato and goats cheese salad with caramelized balsamic beets.Apricot-glazed sweet potato and goats cheese salad with caramelized balsamic beets.Apricot-glazed sweet potato and goats cheese salad with caramelized balsamic beets.

I have also learnt 5 hours of sleep for 3 nights straight is not a good way to go about 10 hour days on ones feet…extreme irritability and heavy reluctance to do anything becomes a recurring way of life. The eye bags have also been on a roll this week…This morning is another 5am wakeup. I tried to have a go at writing this up last night – but my batteries were drained and refused to co-operate after yet another long day in waitress world. At least it is not thundering and pelting down rain outside (The skies of London were insanely lit up last week).

It feels weird to say ‘last week’ is it Monday already?! That’s a good thing over here. I haven’t had a day off for 5 days now. Monday = Friday in the waitressing world (this week, at least) – TGIM. But that said, London tube trains on the earliest hours of a Monday are always freaky…there is a strange sense of ‘dead dawn’ lingering in the air…and the early morning commuters are always a little more scary/stare a lot more than the 9am ones…

Even though I TGIM, I am getting a little upset by the subtle drawing back of the days – it is only July, but already, the mornings are getting brighter 15 minutes later than I prefer them to, and the evenings are hazier by around 7pm… June contains the longest days of the year, but it has already been and gone! I don’t know how I am going to cope without the abundance of natural lighting for food pictures after autumn has begun to set in…Season change = grief.

My mum is currently away at the moment. Before she left the country, she sent me the cutest text – something that only a mum could ever remember to do whilst she is excited to go off on her travels…she reminded me that some long life milk is always “behind the door or opposite the dishwasher” if we need anyway…. <3 It’s the little things…

Happy Monday! Have a great week! – And remember to try out some goats cheese in a salad without the salad!

IMG_1963 - Copy

Tash x

Bacon, Fried Eggs & Bubble and Squeak: Canteen at the Royal Festival Hall

Could this possibly be the best bacon, fried eggs & bubble and squeak dish in London?

Canteen london the royal festival hall bacon fried egg bubble and squeak

Wake up; see the London eye and smell the wholesome brunch wafting out of here…

Canteen london the royal festival hall bacon fried egg bubble and squeak

The Royal Festival Hall branch of Canteen definitely knows how to flatter its Clarence Court eggs…

Canteen london the royal festival hall bacon fried egg bubble and squeak

What do you get when golden potato becomes paired with some fresh sizzling bacon? And when these sunny-side yolks waste absolutely no time springing into action…?

Action shot:

Canteen london the royal festival hall bacon fried egg bubble and squeak

…There are very few other words for this.

But breakfast is served! (And all day, too!)

With 2 other branches dotted around some of the most accessible locations in London (Spitalfields + Canary Wharf – Canteen on Southbank offers some of the heartiest, and most pure English breakfasts in the city…

Currently standing as one of the most popular items on the menu; the bacon, fried eggs and bubble and squeak here is cooked to a traditional standard of perfection…

Canteen london the royal festival hall bacon fried egg bubble and squeak

I am not even a savoury break-faster, nor the biggest fan of bacon. But canteen totally overwhelms one with a temptation to try comfort food in delicious new setting!

Other breakfast/brunch options include the ‘full works’ with some extra baked beans or black pudding, a selection of chapter-thick bacon butties and chunky sausages. That is in addition to a variety of sweets like: scotch pancakes with banana, or granola with stewed fruits…all served with thick Greek yogurt and the some fruity, syrupy drizzles…the eggs Benedict/royale dishes here are famous for their rich homemade hollandaise. Even the raspberry jam and Seville orange marmalade at Canteen 100% home-made – such a treat when served with real butter on a toasted English muffin, or on fresh granary bread and almond croissants…(Un-pictured).

In addition, the Union hand roasted coffee that they serve here with organic milk will also promise you a good day ahead too…

Canteen london the royal festival hall bacon fried egg bubble and squeak coffee

The restaurant is modern and spacious, whilst the windows are big.  At 9am on a Saturday morning, Canteen at the Royal Festival Hall is a haven of calamity before the city gets going for noon. I cannot speak for the other 2 branches; but the Royal Festival Hall brunch is so central and large! There is plenty of room with comfy booths and a rainbow of freshly squeezed juices (Carrot, orange, apple and lemonade!)

They also say that you shouldn’t eat out what you can make at home…but you simply cannot make Canteen’s eggs at home. You need to get some of your own – freshly cooked to order, and enjoyed out in the hazy delight of some morning sunshine…don’t forget to bring a good book or a laptop! (free Wi-fi!).

These yolks were too good to not expose in a world where sharing = caring…

Canteen london the royal festival hall bacon fried egg bubble and squeak

And I for one, care a lot about excellent eggs and fluffy, fried potato…It is pretty hard to find a solid, breakfast/brunch place in central London with wide variety, good portions and decent prices. The only restaurant that I could compare the food to would be the Breakfast Club, however the BC is much more of an American style ‘diner’/shack, rather than a cafe-restaurant hybrid with a varied mix of comfort food and quality coffees (even if the BC’S pancakes and cream will forever remain second to none)

- But overall, the big breakfasts at Canteen are highly recommended!

Canteen london the royal festival hall bacon fried egg bubble and squeak Canteen london the royal festival hall bacon fried egg bubble and squeak breakfast menu

Take a look @ http://www.canteen.co.uk/

*Once again, all views expressed are my own opinion; and I am not gaining anything from Canteen London in exchange for my thoughts. (This is a recommendation post, and not a review).

Have a lovely Sunday and enjoy the sunshine!

Tash x

Eat ‘n’ Mess meets Southbank – Cakes, cakes and, even more…CAKE!

“All sorrows in life stem from the lack of cake”. ― C. JoyBell.

Eat ‘N’ Mess has found me… (And by all means, bow down to this amazing name…)

Allow me to me explain…

Eat 'n' mess cakes, london

On a 28 degree summer day in London city; there is simply no scene that beats that of the Real Food Market – Southbank’s weekend BBQ . Here, the world becomes a single plate; paella, flatbreads, stews, bruschetta and mezze take over the terrace; the air is smoky and smells proper Mexican, too…  Meanwhile, chunky farm fresh patties are being paired with fluffy white buns on a back to back basis for hours on end. Drool.

Can you resist a brick sized brownie? That giant stack of choco-rich, molten slabs glistening in the sunlight is incomparable to none…

Or would you prefer some coffee and fudge? Could you even handle a Baileys cheesecake on a day like this? Let’s see!

And there are crepes here too…(!!)

The Real Food Market London Southbank

One utterly experiences ‘decision or die’, here.

However, amidst the meaty sizzles and worldwide delights, a square shaped haven lures me in with its sweet, sweet whispers…boasting a peaceful contrast to the hustle and bustle surrounding it…What could this be?

Eat 'n' mess cakes, london

If what you see is what you get, then tell me: what do you get if all that you see is perfection?

Eat ‘N’ Mess = the answer you are looking for!

P.S, my cake today was better than yours…

Eat 'n' mess cakes, london

Meet Danielle Rumblelow! This, is the lovely lady behind Eat N Mess – a beautiful little treats company specializing in GF/DF cakes, cupcakes and other baked goodies…

Eat 'n' mess cakes, london - danielle rumblelow

Featuring delicate cupcakes, cookies, red velvets, and frosted nutty delights (amongst dozens of other treats), Eat N Mess has mastered the art of sophistication. In my own (to be taken seriously) cake hunting experiences, very few cake connoisseurs have actually managed to achieve the perfect balance of simplicity versus variety that every cake enthusiast craves…

Eat 'n' mess cakes, london

But Danielle? Oh, Danielle definitely has…Read on…

Danielle’s creations will make your heart both flutter and pound at the same time. You actually have to choose between these perfect slices of heaven…*flutter and pound*Eat 'n' mess cakes, london

But there is no pressure here – you are free to savour the sight and select wisely! These beauties are 100% baked with love – a percentage proven accurate after having had a chat with the one and only lady herself…

Having been busy making and baking since she was 4, Danielle is an expert with cake and immaculate presentation…you cannot argue with her modest passion for all things homemade with love…Danielle is also a confident a whiz with substitution and its guarantee… On Eat N Mess’s website, she says that although it is “risky” to challenge customers to tell the difference between GF cakes and the regulars…she does so anyway, and too right! I can’t exactly remember what I bought (let’s blame my blind + un-pictured hunger) – but it turned out to gluten free?! – A divine combination of cheesecake, fruit and coconut…crumby, creamy and light…the texture was perfect and I had zero memory of that it was GF whilst I was enjoying it! Danielle knows exactly what she is doing here…

Eat 'n' mess cakes, london

Aside from being very friendly and super warm + welcoming, Danielle has always loved baking… (A recipe for trust) Today, Danielle doesn’t just want to package up the purchases and let you browse on, because instead – she is proud of her brand and more than happy to have a chat about her cakes whilst you continue to eye up the remaining creamy creations… I was lucky enough to chat with her about the background to Eat ‘N’ Mess; she is a genuine home-baker, and I personally reckon that this is what makes her cakes taste so damn good!

Eat 'n' mess cakes, london

(You can read much about her, and Eat ‘N’ Mess here…)

Over all, I couldn’t imagine a more friendly face for such a divine cake company! I am so glad that I got my cake fix for the day (24 hours without cake do not exist), in addition to meeting such a wonderful baker too! I am so looking forward to seeing her out and about with Eat ‘N’ Mess over the next few weekends at the Real Food Market! The pictures speak louder than words:

So, on the next weekend that you find yourself craving some Southbank cake mania…definitely do stop by the Real Food Market and hunt down Danielle’s little piece of paradise! Furthermore, if you don’t happen to live in London, then by all means get a coach, train or aeroplane down here ASAP…

* It is only because of my great experience with Eat ‘N’ Mess that I am so happy to share these mouth watering pictures from today’s blissfully sunny Saturday with you – I am not affiliated with the brand, and nor am I being sponsored to write this. All opinions and recommendations are genuinely my own – I am just a girl who likes cake. A lot.

London eye southbank

Pop down in time for Sunday!

“All sorrows in life stem from the lack of cake. If you had your own cake, you wouldn’t bother trying to take away the other person’s cake! And, if the cake you had were beautiful enough, you wouldn’t bother trying to melt the icing on that other person’s cake! And if you always had a very beautiful cake that was always beautiful enough, then you would have a smile on your face all the time and wouldn’t even care if other people were enjoying their own cakes! Because you’d be enjoying yours, too! Therefore, I hereby decree that all sorrows can be fixed by many beautiful cakes… Bake a cake!” 

― C. JoyBell

Tash x

Berries and breakfast – starring: peanut butter, cinnamon, and sunshine

“It is heaven to be the first one up, and free to eat breakfast all alone…” ― Katharine Hepburn, The Making of The African Queen.

Berries & peanut butter – Breakfast with cinnamon granola and sunshine. Warning: This is another quote heavy post. I am really starting to embrace my quote addiction; a quote speaks a thousand words and pictures… My tutor would kill me right now if he could, though. He spent this entire year trying to restrain me from always thinking that it is okay to replace entire paragraphs with a quote, or two…or three. But even though it may be true – quotes can easily hinder ‘original thought’ when they are over-referred to, they remain among some of the greatest triggers for inspiration…

“Life consists of thoughts. The better your thoughts, the more beautiful your life will be.”  ― Vikrant Parsai

But moving swiftly on; Fresh berries meet dried berries; meanwhile, peanut butter does its usual thing on top of the yogurty, breakfast granola heap…peanut butter = the reigning king of breakfast: Berries & peanut butter – Breakfast with cinnamon granola and sunshine. I wake up craving peanut butter – every, single. day. It is a genetic weakness – peanut butter is in my blood. Most normal people manage to make do with granola that doesn’t need this extra swirly nuttiness draped over the top…join the club. Berries & peanut butter – Breakfast with cinnamon granola and sunshine. Breakfast is so peaceful, and early mornings are so refreshing. When you live in a city like London, you only realize how quiet the world can be when the sun has just risen; when there are no cars on the roads and the city’s background noise has temporarily abandoned the city…By the time your milky tea has gone cold and the radio turns on, you can sense that you are no longer alone – everybody else is awake too, only sleepier than you. Berries & peanut butter – Breakfast with cinnamon granola and sunshine. I am also loving these pink tea towels! The soft checkers and stripes create the perfect background. They create the illusion of a crispy and fresh early morning, even though this couldn’t be further from the sticky + humid reality that is currently smothering London… Berries & peanut butter – Breakfast with cinnamon granola and sunshine. &&&, I found another quote; it seems like Susan Branch is a breakfast fanatic too:

I love to use my prettiest table settings – crocheted placemats with lace-edged napkins and old hammered silver. And whether you are inside in front of a fire, candles burning brightly on a wintery day – or outside on a patio enjoying the morning sun – whether you are having a group of friends and family, a quiet little brunch for two, or an even quieter little brunch just for yourself, breakfast can set the mood and pace of the whole day. Susan Branch, Days from the Heart of the Home

Descriptions like that can only come from the morning meditation which only a good breakfast and a decent dose natural light can provide you with…Let’s photograph to our hearts content, good breakfast lighting only occurs for ¼ of the year, after-all… Berries & peanut butter – Breakfast with cinnamon granola and sunshine. Breakfast is so important every day; but more so on days when you are going to be constantly surrounded by other people. Breakfast – or simply an early morning before everybody else is rushing around re-charges the very last bit of your batteries. It is hard to say goodbye to the silence when it is finally time to get ready and snap of out the scene… Berries & peanut butter – Breakfast with cinnamon granola and sunshine. How many of us have longggggggg days ahead? Berries & peanut butter – Breakfast with cinnamon granola and sunshine. I have 11-11. A light breakfast would be most inexcusable..

“Sometimes a girl needs more than Special K with Red Berries in the morning. – This qualifies as one of those mornings.”  ― Stephanie Julian, By Private Invitation

Berries & peanut butter – Breakfast with cinnamon granola and sunshine. Berries & peanut butter – Breakfast with cinnamon granola and sunshine. Berries & peanut butter – Breakfast with cinnamon granola and sunshine. Tash x

Nutty sweet potato & goats cheese mango mélange

“It was so rich and exotic that I was seduced into taking one bite, and then another… I needed to chase these flavours back to their original source…”
 Ruth Reichl

Nutty sweet potato & goats cheese mango mélange

Hm…

Goat’s cheese is my new obsession; I can remember exactly when this love first started…

It was Autumn 2013.The staff menu at work suddenly started to include a beetroot and rocket salad; all tossed together with some divinely creamy goats cheese, and hazelnuts too…Although there was probably other stuff in there as well… emphasis remains 100% on the goat’s cheese.

Nonetheless, goat’s cheese, beetroot, and hazelnuts have been one of my favourite combinations of all time ever since then; the texture of the crunchy, earthy nuttiness of hazels complements the silkiness of the cheese. The beetroot acts as a pillow between the two, softening each bite and subtly adding touches of its juicy, gentle sweetness…

<3

However, tonight, I substituted sweet potato into this winning trio since we had no beets…

Nutty sweet potato & goats cheese mango mélange

…The results were b-e-a-u-t-i-f-u-l-. Dessert-like, and effortlessly enchanting:

Nutty sweet potato & goats cheese mango mélange

The sweet potato fluffs up the texture by a million, and the sweetness is perfect – natural, just right. Thanks to the heat of the cooked potato, the goat’s cheese spreads itself across each wedge of steamy sweet potato. The wedge becomes frosted with ribbons of nutty cream. I kid you not; it tastes like a pumpkin style cheesecake…or a dense carrot cake with the world’s greatest frosting (do not skimp on the three spice).

This quote seems relevant now:

“Dessert without cheese is like a beauty with only one eye”
― Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin

And wait… there is also the glistening mango chutney, which drizzled itself on top and stayed there, like an idle, weak-kneed, fruity jelly surrendering itself to the dish. It spilled down the sides and found its way into the sweet-tater gaps. Hazelnuts, goats cheese, sweet potato and mango chutney? = Heaven. Let’s not forget about the cashews either – creaminess enhanced.

Nutty sweet potato & goats cheese mango mélange

This decadence is ready in 5 minutes (or 7 if you don’t like sweet potato skin). It is a stack of super foods; it is both dinner and an indulgence at the same time…

And all you need is:

  1. A cooked sweet potato
  2. Goats cheese (in excess is good)
  3. Hazelnuts, cashews.
  4. Mango chutney (or some salty apricot jam?)
  5. Three spice, salt + pepper.

The fun is in simply dumping them together; and embracing the freedom to arrange them in whatever way takes your fancy. Choose your ratios wisely. I like excess everything; create your own!  The final taste will not be compromised by the presentation (although it does look pretty perfect, doesn’t it?).

Gourmet in comfort.

Nutty sweet potato & goats cheese mango mélange

This is one of the tastiest things I’ve eaten all year – maybe ever?  It is everything in one; if you have never tried goat’s cheese before (like me until I was EIGHTEEN) then you need to make some room in your life (and fridge) for your new love – the addiction is that strong.

I can’t wait to totally exploit this dish come autumn though, the three spices might feel a little more at home in the fall…

But even though it truly does tastes like cheesecake…I have to go back on that 2nd quote, because it has just been totally overridden…

“The only way cheese is dessert is when it’s followed by the word cake.”
― Michele Gorman, Single in the City

#Priorities.

Let’s leave it there, and just enjoy this delicious mess for dinner instead; and we will let cheesecake be cheesecake whilst we trace these flavours “back to their source…”

Nutty sweet potato & goats cheese mango mélange

Tash x