Monthly Archives: March 2013

My Easter themed calzone



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Dining alfresco in Palemo, via Principe Di Belmonte. My calzone is in the symbolic shape of a fish.

Happy Easter!


Light Agar posset with almond and orange blossom

Perfect for Red Nose Day

Perfect for Red Nose Day

The trouble with the British posset or the italian pannacotta is that they are full of cream and sometimes I want a pudding that is a little bit lighter than most. I have been experimenting with Agar Agar lately and – with a bit of trial and error- I managed to get some small successes!

This silky Agar pannacotta with orange blossom water is one of those: A fresh and creamy combination of almond milk, almond butter and orange blossom with the undertones of an oriental pudding ; recalling visions of elaborate flower’s water possets in overflowing banquets such as those described in The Arabian nights.

The story of Sharazad is my bedtime read at the moment and I am deeply enjoying plunging into a language as rich and expressive as a persian carpet…

The recipe itself come from a book on Agar recipes given to me by a kind friend and written by Cléa of Cleacuisine. Agar Agar has many health benefits and is a clever ingredient for anybody conscious of their waistline… I post this for the group of friends who came to cook with me yesterday and all enjoyed the taste of this dessert. Thanks for being so supportive and fun, I had a lovely time sharing tips and novel ingredients with you all!

Ingredients list

  • White almond butter (in health shops), 160g
  • Agave syrup, 10 tsp
  • Rice or almond milk, 400ml
  • Agar Agar powder, 4 small teaspoonful or 4 g
  • Orange blossom water, 2 Tbsp
  • A few drops of bitter almond essence

Mix the almond butter and the agave syrup in a small bowl.

Heat the milk until just below boiling point,then dissolve the agar powder in it and let it simmer for 30 seconds.

Mix in the sweetened almond cream until melted. Add the orange blossom water and a few drops of bitter almond essence to enhance the almond fragrance. This is also the reason why I use almond milk if I can rather than rice milk.

Pour into 6 individual pots or jars. Let it cool and reserve in the fridge until serving time. It is not necessary to take them out of the pans but you can if you wish. For a friends dinner I would probably serve them with a fresh raspberry and passion fruit sauce but that would raise the sugar content and I am so pleased those little desserts are sugar and dairy free I would not want to compromise tonight!

They are heavenly virtuous and that is what I want right now…

Spoon in and have your private Sharazad moment…

View of Istanbul and its port

View of Istanbul and its port

Porridge days – Why not?!

Porridge is a warm, satisfying and healthy breakfast. I always recommend it to  children because oats has so many health benefits. I enjoy it with nuts, dry fruit, a pinch a cinnamon, some seeds and a drop of maple syrup. Seeds are great to give you healthy springtime energy!

A spring time version of an old classic

A spring time version of an old classic

If you are in a bit of a hurry, there is no need to cook it: you can just soak the rolled oats into the same volume of boiling water and let it steep for a few minutes while you prepare your bag. Then just flavour it with anything you fancy and “Bob’s your uncle”!

Other mornings, when you might be a little bit better organised, just cook one cup of porridge in two cups of boiling water for a 5/8 minutes, until it starts swelling and getting creamy. Then put a tiny pinch of salt, a dash of single cream (or soya cream like me) and spoon it out into two bowls. It is better to cook it with water then add the cream when you serve it, I find. If your children still prefer it cooked in milk that’s fine but the Scots always do it in water and it is much surprisingly creamier and better digested that way – try it for yourself!

Add raisins, pine nuts, seeds or just cinnamon and maple syrup. I don’t even bother with the syrup and instead add half a grated apple and some dry raisins for sweetness.

It is the best way to start a day and your tummy will feel grateful and comfy for a long time after it- so no hunger pangs at 11am while you are trying to get this important contract buckled down!..

Quick ingredients list – the obvious ones… for two bowls

  • One cup porridge oats (Quaker Oats or Flahavan’s)
  • Two cup of boiling water
  • Pinch of salt