Recipe: Creamy & Cheesy Cauliflower Sauce

This sauce has been a revelation for me. I bookmarked the Pinch of Yum recipe YEARS ago, but finally gotten around to trying it  few months back. I was feeling slightly worse for wear on the run up to exams, wanted something comforting for lunch, something filling but that wouldn’t have me in need of a lie down after eating. This fitted the bill perfectly.

If you didn’t know it had cauliflower in it, you’d be forgiven for thinking it was just an ‘ordinary’ cheesy white sauce. There is perhaps a hint of nutty roasted-cauli taste, but so little that I’ve managed to feed this to cauliflower haters with no problems whatsoever. It’s reasonably low in calories (compared to my usual recipe!) yet tastes so indulgent and rich. It freezes far better than a traditional white sauce, making it perfect for study day lunches. Tossed with a good pasta, stirred into rice or even thinned down into a soup (I like to use chicken stock to do so) it’s become a firm favourite.

I’ve even used it to make what turned out to be a pretty awesome cauliflower cheese – add to roasted cauliflower, top with extra cheese then grill until golden. Perfection without all the calories!

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Recipe (makes around 6 portions)

  • 6 large cloves garlic, sliced
  • 1 large knob of butter
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 2 cauliflowers, split into medium-size florets
  • 75g grated parmesan (or other cheese of your choice), finely grated
  • 1/2 cup milk (more to taste)

Toss the cauliflower with the oil, season with salt and pepper, then roast at 200C for around 20 minutes, or until very lightly charred and fork-tender. Meanwhile slowly cook the garlic in butter over a slow eat until soft – don’t let it brown or it will taste bitter. You could also add some fresh herbs to the pan – rosemary is particularly good!

Pop the cauliflower, parmesan, garlic and buttery juices (discard any herbs) into a blender and whizz until smooth, gradually adding the milk until you have your desired consistency. Chill until ready to use. I find this sauce keeps well in the fridge for a couple of days, or in the freezer for a good long while.

Enjoy stirred into tasty for a comforting meal without the guilt! Next time I make this I’m planning to try it as a base for a white pizza…

What’s your current favourite recipe?

Lifestyle: Eating Out on a Budget

I love food. It goes without saying really, given that I run a food blog, but I live to eat. To me food isn’t just a fuel so I can get on with my life, it’s one of my genuine pleasures and I get so much out of a good bite to eat. Whether it’s a perfectly cooked steak, gorgeously runny egg, exotically spiced curry or even a comforting roast dinner, a good meal to me is the fastest way to my heart.

Prioritize Spending

This is generally how we “afford” most of our meals out and expensive cooking ingredients. Yes, we don’t see the problem in shelling out upwards of £100 on a meal for two (or more, especially now I’m out of university). However as a couple neither of us are into nights out, and nor have we ever been.

I personally would never dream of spending more than £10 on an evening of drinks, whilst I know friends, colleagues and family who wouldn’t think twice at spending £50, £100 or even more. And that’s absolutely fine. They enjoy a  night out. I see a tray of shots as a fancy dish I could be eating. It’s each to their own, and I put my eating out more highly than alcohol.

Eat Mid-Week

Quite a few restaurants will sneakily put their prices up Friday-Sunday – midweek meals are generally the cheapest. There will also often be special deals which are just too good to miss. Putney Pies does a deal on a Tuesday which makes it a lot more affordable!

Purchase Discounted Vouchers

As well as popping restaurant vouchers on your Christmas and birthday wishlist, you can also pick them up at a discounted price on Zeek*. Whilst the savings aren’t massive, you can easily save anything up to 10% by purchasing  restaurant vouchers using the app. It’s mainly chains on offer, though I do love Bella Italia’s courgette and chicken pasta!

If you know where you’re off to, getting a small amount of money off a voucher can make all the difference. You can generally treat it as a giftcard too, meaning it can be used alongside other discounts. Double win in my books!

Visit “Cheap” Restaurants

Cheap doesn’t have to be McDonalds, or a soggy fridge-cold sandwich from Tesco! Whether it’s tacos at Wahaca (the two of us can generally eat for around £25 including churros) or pizza at the Dynamo, there’s a lot of reallllyyyy good places to eat that won’t break the bank. A little time spent searching means we’ve got a bank of cheaper restaurants that we really want to try – have a looksie on Time Out for inspiration!

Utilise Lunch-time Offers

Dining in pricier restaurants is, for us, only usually possible at lunch times. Case in point is when we took a trip to Pollen Street Social earlier in the year. It’s a pricey restaurant (main courses start at around £35 and the portions aren’t *huge*), but with a three-course lunch offering at £37 it’s a lot more reasonable than it seems at first. We actually purchased a lunch voucher in advance, and so only paid for teas/coffee on the day – and we’re still treated to both appetizers and petit-four too. Definitely worth it if you want a real treat without completely blowing the budget!

Steer Clear of Alcohol

I love me a glass of wine as much as the next person – but it’s pricey. I’ve been to many a restaurant where the cheapest bottle isn’t far off our weekly food budget, so it’s quite rare that we’ll indulge. I’ll avoid soft drinks too – I’d far sooner spend an extra £10 on starters rather than a glass of lemonade! Tap water all the way here…

Keep An Eye Out for Soft Lauches

A soft launch is a chance for new restaurants to test their menu, kitchen and staff before they are officially open. Sure, the service might but a bit hit-and-miss but the food is usually delish and you can get a decent discount – up to 50% is normal. I’ve used hot-dinners.com in the past to see what’s popping up!

*I was gifted a small amount of Zeek credit in exchange for a post, although all opinions (and other tips) are my own!

What are your tips for eating out on a budget? 

Recipe: Super Easy Peanut Butter Fudge

Yep, peanut butter fudge. It’s as glorious as it sounds. Rich and sweet, with a salty bite and the occasional crunch of a peanut mixed in with the smooth melting texture of a classic fudge.

It’s also ridiculously easy to make and hugely addictive to eat – two factors which are extremely dangerous given that I’ll be having wedding dress fittings in the next few months. I wonder if they can make the waist elasticated…?!

Back onto the point. This really is a doddle to make. There’s no measuring the precise temperature of the mix, no boiling for hours on end. A quick mix, a slow melt, rapid boil, more mixing and then time to set. In fact, the most complex part of the recipe is (to me) lining the tin! I told you it was easy…

So easy, in fact, I’m almost embarrassed I’ve never made fudge before and was actually rather scared when Lucy at the Ginger Whisk Cooking School told me I was going to be making it. I’ll be reviewing the class I took with her in more detail soon, but this recipe is based on hers (in her new book!) and it’s an absolute cracker!

Recipe (made roughly 15 decent sized chunks)

  • 50g unsalted butter
  • 200g soft brown sugar
  • 50g whole milk
  • 100g peanut butter (the cheapest brands work well – both myself and Lucy used Sainsburys Basics with sucess)
  • 120g icing sugar

This amount of mix fits nicely in a ‘takeaway container’ (aka those microwaveable plastic containers than are always so useful!) so line one well with greaseproof paper.

Pop the butter, brown sugar and milk into a warm pan and warm over a very low heat, stirring, until all of the sugar is dissolved. Once the mix is no longer gritty you can increase the heat. Boiling for 1 minute gives a softer fudge which I prefer, whilst anything longer up to 3 minutes will give a crumblier, more ‘tablet’ style that’s equally as delicious.

After boiling, remove from the heat and stir in the peanut butter until combined. Beat in the icing sugar (you should beat until the mix is nice and smooth) before pouring into the prepared tin, levelling the top and leaving to cool. Slice into squares and enjoy!

In this photos I sprinkle the molten mix with freeze-dried raspberries before cooling (pressing them in slightly and singing my fingers in the process). Absolutely delicious as they added a sharp kick that broke up the richness, reminding me of the somewhat classic ‘peanut butter and jelly’ combination. You could just as easily keep the fudge plain or, as I plan to for Christmas presents, drizzle with chocolate. Because chocolate.

Have you ever made fudge? Did you expect it to be so easy?!

Recipe: Caramelized Onion, Rocket & Goat’s Cheese Pasta

I can never resist a pasta dish – and when it’s creamy and cheesy then so much the better.

Of course, this dish isn’t the healthiest but damn, it’s so worth it! The sauce is creamy and rich, with the goat’s cheese flavour shining through. The onions are sweet and soft, enhanced with thyme, honey and balsamic. There’s a crunch from some walnuts, some freshness and bite from the rocket.

It’s a comforting bowl, best enjoyed wrapped up in a blanket. It’s perfect for hygge Autumnal evenings!

Recipe (serves 2 generously)

  • a knob of butter
  • 2 red onion, finely sliced
  • 1 of clove garlic, crushed (but left fairly whole)
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves (or 1/2 tsp dried)
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp Co-op runny honey
  • 150g pasta – we loved it with farfelle
  • 2-3 teaspoons of soft goat’s cheese
  • 1 bag of fresh rocket
  • a small handful of walnuts, chopped

Melt the butter in a large  frying pan, add the sliced red onion, and fry over a medium heat for 3-4 minutes. Add the garlic and thyme and reduce the heat to low before cooking for 10 mins, stirring occasionally. The onions should be very soft, but not brown. Fish out the garlic clove and discard.

Add the balsamic vinegar and honey and continue cooking over a low heat whilst you cook the pasta. If the onions start to stick, add a spoon of pasta water. Drain the cooked pasta, reserve a mug of cooking water, and add the pasta to the onions. Season well with pepper, then stir through the goat’s cheese – add water gradually if the sauce is too thick.

Serve on a bed of rocket, sprinkle with the walnuts, and enjoy!

What’s your favourite pasta dish?

Life: A Foodie Weekend in Suffolk

Booked as a post-exam relaxing break, this wasn’t planned to be a foodie weekend. Obviously as massive lovers of good food we’d earmarked a restaurant or two we wanted to try, but we’d overlooked the fact that Suffolk is a county producing so much yummy stuff.  Every single thing we ate over the weekend was delicious, everything seemingly fresh and local. We found some real gems and I couldn’t help but share!

Our base for the weekend was the absolutely gorgeous Five Acre Barn, just down the road from Aldeburgh. Newly opened, it manages to combine modern with cosy perfectly. Think polished concrete floors, with fully-controllable under-floor heating. Think plywood, but combined with soft and luxurious bedding and blankets. The bath was an utter delight, and the bed so insanely comfortable I genuinely had to be restrained to avoid stealing the pillow. Bruce and David were the perfect hosts (and Ruby the Visla of course!), with Bruce’s breakfasts being the best B&B ones I’ve eaten. Creamy scrambled eggs, huge full English’s and a gorgeous hollandaise were all on the menu over the weekend.

Dinner on our first night was a recommendation from my parents – Sutherland House in Southwold. A little pricey than others in the area, we still spent less than £80 on a three-course (plus amuse-bouche) meal with wine for the non-driver (#winning). I enjoyed the best scallops I can remember, served with a glorious combo of pork belly, black pudding, apple and cauliflower. I stayed on the fish-theme with my main, ordering the Parmesan Crusted Salmon with Potato Soufflé. The salmon was a tad overcooked (possibly a victim of the massive portion), though the soufflé was a revelation and something W is going to recreate for me next date night! W was equally impressed with his meal, though admittedly we were both slightly put off by the serving of frozen grapes with his cheese board (both a fan of frozen grapes, but not at the expense of cold cheese) I finished with a perfect chocolate fondant, then fell asleep on the way back to the B&B…

The next day was spent exploring. We wandered aimlessly around the streets and beaches of Aldeburgh and Thorpeness, popping into local delicatessens and drinking apple juice pressed before our very eyes. We’d heard mention of “amazing doughnuts” over breakfast (it’s communal dining at Five Acre, a concept I loved). Obviously those two words were enough to encourage a drive over to Orford.

I want to live in Orford.

Orford is a tiny village, so picturesque. Full of old cottages with plants snaking up the walls, surrounded by gorgeous countryside and the peaceful quay. It’s also home to some of the best foodie spots I’ve had the pleasure of visiting. There’s highly recommended pubs and restaurants, there’s the award-winning smoking house. But the star of the show is Pump Street Bakery. I’ll be posting a full review in the next few weeks, but if you’re in the area? Go. We drove back the next day so we could take bits home with us!

That night we’d had a bit of a fail with booking a table at the closest pub, so instead ate Fish & Chips in the dark on the beach. Every bit as romantic as it sounds – until you get the tell-tale drip from your nose that vinegar and cold air seems to cause!

Some local cider (and a bag of Peanut M&Ms) in bed, then I slept for longer than ever before. Bliss.

Reluctantly checking out, we detoured back to Orford to load up the car with as much as we could, before heading to Southwold. The weather let us down, with the wind so strong the pier was closed and our ears ached. We spent far too long in the Adnams shop, purchasing their own gin. We explored local galleries, picked up some Suffolk Salami (fortunately this is available in Wholefoods, as Sainsbury’s own is no longer cutting it for me…). We lunched at Fifty One Cafe, where my Smoked Haddock Gratin hit the spot perfectly. Warming and comforting, plenty of cheese, and a really tasty beetroot salad (and 4 cups of tea!) to accompany. W’s Celeriac Soup was also hugely enjoyed.

With that, we started the long journey home – it took us two hours to get from near Canary Wharf to Putney (just under 10 miles!) so we were glad of the Pump Street Doughnuts we’d bought!

Suffolk was such a delightful county, and one I really wish we’d visited sooner. We know we’ll definitely be back!

Have you ever visit Suffolk? Where do you think is best for foodies in the UK?

Food: Chinese Knives, Shiitake Wontons, 1400+ Meals & Tackling Food-Waste with Wok For 1000

So, this could quite possibly be the quickest I’ve *ever* typed up a post, edited photos and got it live on the blog. I guess that pretty much sums up how awesome my Tuesday was!

Having kindly been invited to volunteer as part of Wok for 1000, I was expecting to spend my day perhaps washing up, maybe doing a spot of pan-stirring, possibly some onion slicing. The reality, however, was completely different. Sure I sliced a lot of onions, and I *think* I stirred a pan at one point. I didn’t do any washing up, I ate some delicious food, I taught some knife skills (and practised my first-aid when said teaching didn’t quite go to plan). Under the watchful eye of the school of wok‘s Jeremy Pang, who is as utterly as adorable in real life as I had imagined, 200 volunteers donned (paper) chef hats (plastic) aprons and crowded into Borough Market this morning for a cause that is particularly close to my heart.

Food Waste is something I’m passionate about. Read: I loathe it. It makes me sick with anger to think about the ridiculous amounts of food that households in this country throw away, let alone restaurants, shops, office canteens. There’s very often nothing wrong with said food, and there’s so many people who would be unbelievably grateful for it. When it’s for a homeless shelter, or donated to the elderly struggling to survive on a basic pension, or to replace a (let’s face it) substandard hospital meal, all of this food could come in so useful. This is where Plan Zheroes come in. Their aim is to eradicate food waste in London  by connecting businesses with excess food to charities in need of food. Kinda like Tinder for leftovers (the kind of Tinder I could appreciate!).

Wok for 1000 not only aims at promoting both Plan Zheroes and their supported charities, but also at beating hunger across the city. The aim was to prep, cook and deliver 1000 meals to those in need – and not only did we achieve this, but we smashed through the target. At final count before I left, the meals were counted at roughly 1400. For just a few hours work, a few leftover ingredients, that’s amazing. Just think about what we could achieve if more people took these ‘waste’ ingredients and transformed them into a meal for their community.

Throughout the day we were treated to demos by Jeremy himself, including a tutorial on how to hold and use the (frankly terrifying) knives used in Chinese cooking. The result is that they are surprisingly easy to use, the knives I currently own are far too blunt, and I want one in my life. I demonstrated my chopping skills, only to have someone copy me and promptly slice their finger. Whoops. We made a ridiculous number of wontons (well in excess of the 4000 we were aiming for). With a combo of veggie and pork ones, it was the deep-fried shiitake mushroom ones that completely took my heart. So, so good.

Oh, and I finally got to meet Erica (who is every bit as lovely as her amazing hair colour makes her seem), and she shared her well-honed Wonton-shaping knowledge with me. If that isn’t worth getting rather cold for, I don’t know what is…

I learnt new skills, got to share some of my own skills (if not successfully), I got to see the pure gratitude in people’s eyes when they received our food, and I got to eat some rather delicious noms myself. Thank you Jeremy, School of Wok and Plan Zheroes for such an empowering day!

How do you think we could continue to tackle food waste?

Recipe: Banana Nutella Muffins

I’m pretty sure this was one of the first recipes I posted on this blog – it was my study-snack of choice during my first year of university (and I’m pretty sure it was what originally bribed Libby to be friends with me!). Banana and Nutella is a flavour combo that will never, ever get old and it’s a personal favourite of mine.

I’ve tweaked my original recipe slightly here, reducing the sugar

Moist banana muffins, made a tad sturdier than a standard banana bread with the addition of oats. A generous amount of Nutella swirled through. Hazelnuts sprinkled on top for crunch (and to add Instagram-appeal, let’s not lie). There is simply nothing better than these – and they are so, so easy! Okay, so spooning nutella onto banana slices and transporting to mouth is *slightly* easier, but trust me on this. You will be thankful for the tiny bit of extra effort you put in when you first bite into one of these. Particularly if it’s still warm from the oven…

Recipe (makes 12, I scaled down for these photos)

  • 200g plain flour
  • 30g oats
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 100g sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 110g butter, melted
  • 3 large very ripe/brown bananas
  • 3-4 tbsp Nutella
  • 2 tbsp chopped hazelnuts

In one bowl combine the flour, oats, baking powder, cinnamon and sugar. In another combine the eggs, melted (then cooled) butter, and bananas (mashed until slightly lumpy). Add the dry mix to the wet mix and quickly stir through – you want it to be just combined, though a few lumps are absolutely fine.

Divide most of the mixture between 12 muffin holes (lined with cases) – each one should be about two-thirds full. Melt the nutella slightly, either in a microwave or in a small bowl suspended in a larger bowl of warm water. Blob a teaspoon of nutella into each muffin, hen top each equally with the remaining batter. Swirl the muffin/nutella together slightly using a cocktail stick, then bake at 180C for around 20 minutes. Try to let them cool before eating – or at very least be careful not to burn your fingers…

Perhaps the best thing about this recipe is the smell whilst these muffins are baking. The flat smelled irresistible! That smell of banana bread baking (which is quite possibly the best baking smell ever anyway) with a hint of nutella filled both our flat, and the communal hallway. Sorry neighbours!

What’s your favourite muffin flavour combo? 

Restaurant Review: Mother LDN, Battersea

If you know me, you’ll know I LOVE a good pizza. I mean, what’s not to love?! Yummy filling carbs, hot melted cheese, endless topping combos. Anyone who doesn’t enjoy pizza is highly suspicious if you ask me…

Rather a long time ago now we headed over to try a new pizza joint over in Battersea. The first UK restaurant from the rather trendy Danish chain, it’s set under the train-tracks in what is supposedly an up and coming area. I’m not a fan of the area, finding it bland and soulless, and indeed I’m clearly not the only one – the restaurant was pretty empty for a Friday night.

It could be the rather strange and wacky pizza topping combos putting people off. Sure, there’s the usual Margherita, but there’s also Nick Says It’s Good (mozzarella, cauliflower, green olives, anchovies, capers, chili, pecorino cheese) and David Says It’s Even Better (tomato, mozzarella, spicy spring broccoli and soft salame). Perhaps not a family friendly restaurant, and with a massive bar and drinks offering I get the impression they were hoping to be drawing bigger and more exuberant crowds anyway.

But onto the pizzas.

Out of a choice of 3 (!) tomato-free pizzas, I couldn’t resist the lure of cheesy carbs on carbs and so promptly placed an order for Burning Love. Made up of mozzarella, potatoes, fried onions, and røget spæk this pizza was insanely rich and decadent. In fact, I’m pretty sure this one wins the title of the first pizza I’ve admitted complete defeat over with a quarter still to go. The potatoes are well cooked, just soft enough to add creaminess, but with enough bite to prevent the whole pizza from being soggy. The onions added much needed sweetness. The cheese was plentiful, stringy and tasty. If anything, I’d say the spæk (ham) was almost unnecessary.

The pizza dough is made with saltwater, supposedly resulting in a tastier and healthier base than usual. Whilst I have no idea whether the healthier claim is true, I can say the base was certainly more flavourful that others I’ve tried. However it also had quite an odd texture – noticeably drier (though not crisp) than other sourdough pizzas. A few weeks on and I still can’t decide whether or not I liked it…

W’s pizza (something involving lots of tomatoes and the same spæk) seemed to go down well – it disappeared rather quickly, although like me he was unsure about the base. And it’s all about that base…

There was nothing *wrong* with Mother LDN, nothing at all. But equally it wasn’t as special as I was hoping for. The pizzas weren’t particularly memorable, the atmosphere a little flat, the service slow. Sure, it was tasty (but show me bread, cheese and potatoes thrown together that aren’t tasty!) but I wouldn’t rush back. That said, I have several VERY good pizza places virtually on my doorstep…

Have you visited Mother LDN? Where’s your favourite pizza restaurant?

Lifestyle: Happy (Fortnightly) Things #27

I can’t quite believe how quickly this year has gone – how on earth is it the end of October tomorrow? The shops have Christmas decorations all set up, my gift-shopping list is written and my bank account is quietly sobbing in anticipation. As much as I’m a fan of Christmas, this time of year always fills me with a mild sense of panic as there’s just so much to do…

That said, a lot of this past fortnight has involved lazy and cozy evenings, snuggling with a blanket and a good book. Some comfort food, maybe a film. It’s been good, wonderfully restorative and exactly what I needed…

 photo Happy Things 2_zpstx894dal.png

  1. Spending a morning at the Ginger Whisk Cookery School. Not only was Lucy absolutely delightful and the perfect host, we made a whole host of sweet goodies. I learnt how to temper chocolate, make fudge and turn homemade gifts into Instagrammable parcels. Highly recommended!
  2. Absolutely perfecting my tomato-free bolognese. Adding a pinch of citric acid takes the recipe up to a whole new level.
  3. Yummy lunchboxes. I’ve been playing around with mix-and-match salads – a combo of grated carrot, couscous, tahini and lemon was my favourite last week!
  4. Finally having a dining table AND a set of chairs. I’ll have to do an updated flat tour asap!
  5. Picking up a few bottles of a very nice red wine. I felt so grown up!
  6. Fireworks. I just love watching them.
  7. Surviving being ‘attacked’ by a frog. I was walking through the grounds of our flat after a few drinks, down quite a dark and damp path. Suddenly something is jumping up at my leg. Safe to say I screamed more than a little…
  8. The Lemon Drizzle Nakd Bars have been in my work canteen lately. I find them pretty irresistible.
  9. Whipping up a Vietnamese-inspired Caramelised Pork Noodle Bowl. Authentic it was not, but it was certainly delicious!
  10. Making my own sweet chilli sauce to go with the above. Though it made my eyes run for days…

What’s made you happy lately?

Recipe: Chicken Fesenjan (Walnut & Pomegranate Stew)

Okay, this just happens to be the best thing I have cooked. EVER. It’s the perfect comfort food for when the nights are cooling down and drawing in!

I had originally bookmarked Amy’s recipe well over a year ago, and then when clearing out my bookmarks I re-found it. Weirdly I had most of the ingredients in the cupboard (trust me, pomegranate molasses isn’t usually on the shelf!) so decided to give it a go – and it’s become a firm favourite. It’s not one for a weeknight as it does take a while, and requires pretty frequent attention, but it’s so worth it for a Saturday night treat. Deeply aromatic and intensely savoury, it’s just so yum!

The soft chicken and onions melt in the mouth, and are covered in a thick and glossy sauce. It’s a simple enough ingredients list, not exactly complicated to make, but the results are stunning. The sauce in particular is so, so tasty – toasty from the walnuts, sour from the molasses with just a hint of sweetness. I’ve added some fragrance and spice to the original recipe to give it more depth of flavour which really works, and cut down on the amount of sugar found because I really don’t think it needed it.

This could also be easily made vegan – the sauce was divine with the cauliflower, so I’d be tempted to miss out the chicken, use a suitable stock and just have that!

Recipe (served 2 greedy people, easily scaled up)

  • 75g walnuts
  • 25g butter
  • 4 skinless and boneless chicken thighs
  • 1-2 white onions, sliced
  • 200ml chicken stock
  • 1 bay leaf (dried or fresh)
  • 1/2 tsp runny honey, or more to taste
  • 3 tbsp pomegranate molasses
  • 1 teaspoon tumeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon each of ground coriander and nutmeg
  • 2-3 tbsp fresh pomegranate seeds

First up, toast your walnuts and allow to cool. I spread mine out on a baking tray and roasted for 10 minutes at 200C (stirring every couple of minutes) until they smelt nutty. Once cool, blitz in a food processor until breadcrumb-like.

Melt half of the butter and fry the chicken thighs over a high heat until golden. Set aside, lower the heat, add the rest of the butter, and gently fry the onions for five or soft minutes until softened. Add the chicken back to the back along with the stock, pop the lid on the pan and simmer for 30 minutes.

Add the ground walnuts to the pan gradually, stirring well until smooth. Stir in the bay, honey, molasses, and spices, then allow to cook on a very low heat (I used the ‘2’ setting on our temperamental electric hob) for around an hour. You’ll need to stir every five or so minutes to stop the mix from catching on the bottom. Once it’s done the sauce will be rich in flavour – taste and adjust for seasoning and sweetness. We preferred ours slightly more sour, but add more honey if you like. Garnish with the pomegranate seeds before serving.

We served this with brown rice and roasted Za’atar cauliflower (toss cauli in oil, salt and pepper, roast for 15 mins, drizzle with a little balsamic and za’atar, add the cauliflower leaves and then roast for another 10-15 minutes until tender and lightly charred). Sprinkled with some pomegranate seeds for another texture, burst of freshness and (let’s be honest here) to make this dish more Instagrammable and you’ve got my current favourite meal.

What’s your go-to comfort food meal?