Friday 1 May 2015

16 – Nigella Lawson, Nigella Bites – Cooking the Books


Starter:   Halloumi with Chilli

Main:      Salmon with Greens and Shitake Mushrooms

Dessert:  Orange Breakfast Muffins

Nigella Bites

What did the cheese say when he looked in the mirror?

Hallo – me

Anyway, if you’ve got a better cheese joke, then feel free to comment it below! Sure there’s one about a bear in a tree, hiding donkeys, and so on and so forth!

This week was Nigella’s turn. Everything always looks so delicious when she cooks and I’ve never bought or used Halloumi before. The main was chosen simply because I have much salmon available after buying it half price from Tesco and filleting myself – why not have a go? It’s not a difficult as it sounds, I promise, and you get so many fillets which you can cut to whichever size you’d like.

Starter: Halloumi with Chilli

Easiness: 10/10

Taste: 7/10

Make again: 5/10

Cheats & Changes: none


I used a block of Halloumi, 1tbsp extra virgin olive oil and 1tbsp finely chopped red chilli without seeds. Slice the cheese into the thickness of a pound coin. Pop into a hot, dry frying pan and leave to turn golden. Flip so each side is evenly cooked. Meanwhile, combine the chilli and oil. As soon as the slices of cheese are ready, serve on a plate and pour the chilli oil over. Serve immediately while hot.

This last part was where we went wrong. Mine were cooked, drizzled and ready but my husband wasn’t! Therefore, when it came to the eating, the cheese was rather hard and squeaked on the teeth! I’d advise immediate eating in future.



Easiness: 9/10

Taste: 8/10

Make again: 8/10 Very quick and simple

Cheats & Changes: I didn’t have any soy, the main flavouring, but thought it would work well with some Hoi Sin marinade I had in the cupboard, which it did. I added green and purple mange tout too.


The recipe for this is stupidly easy. Fry or grill the salmon, remove from pan and keep warm. Throw your pak choi, Asian greens, stalks and sliced shiitake mushrooms into the pan with a splash of soy sauce to taste. Now, there’s usually a bottle of this hiding, with a sticky lid and sticky base at the back of the cupboard in our house, but this night, it wasn’t to be so. So I improvised and used a similar jar of hoi sin marinade instead! First I marinated the salmon with that and some grated ginger (keep pieces in the freezer and grate straight from there!) then followed the recipe, throwing in some green and purple mange tout that was left in the bottom of the fridge too.

If you’ve got greens and salmon, it’s a really quick dinner. Noodles would be an lovely extra addition to bulk it out a bit more. The flavours I used worked well, but see no reason it wouldn’t be nearly as tasty with the soy, a grating of ginger and a sprinkle of lime.


Easiness: 8/10

Taste: 9/10

Make again: 9/10

Cheats & Changes: I used clementines, also mainly plain flour as I didn’t have enough s.r. flour, so added extra bicarb. Used OJ from concentrate, not freshly squeezed as suggested!

I know, I know…I’ve made it for dessert, but it’s name suggests a breakfast item. Well, yes. It’s cakey, muffiny, and hot with custard for pudding would be perfect. Nigella, however, eats hers warm from the oven, torn open and slathered with butter and jam. I don’t know how she does it, I really don’t! I did have mine for breakfast, gently warmed in the microwave, but I decided they probably already had enough calories without me decadently adding any more!


75g unsalted butter

250g s.r. flour

25g ground almonds

1/2 tsp bicarb of soda

1 tsp baking powder

75g caster sugar

zest 1 orange

100ml orange juice

100ml full fat ilk

1 egg


Preheat oven to 200 degrees c.

Melt the butter and set aside. Tip flour, almonds, bicarb, baking powder, sugar and zest into a large bowl. In a jug, pour the OJ, milk, egg and cooled melted butter. Whisk a little to combine. Pour the liquid ingredients into the powders. mixing with a fork. Don’t be tempted to do this in a processor, KitchenAid, or with an electric mixer…just combine with a fork until the flour is only just mixed in. It should be a little lumpy and never overworked! Spoon into the muffin cases and bake for 20 mins. Voila!


They really were good, and perfect to take into work for breakfast with a cup of coffee once you’re there. (Oh yes, I may have added chocolate chips to some of them by accident – the packet sort of spilled out of my hand into the mixture!)

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Merlotti x

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