Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Clementine and Ginger Cake Trifle

This recipe was commissioned by The Trustees of Borough Market. Recipe, styling and photography by me: 

A real show stopper- this will go down a treat on Christmas day!

 For any Christmas pudding haters out there, this trifle is a nice alternative and, with its flavours of clementine and ginger, still feels just as festive and celebratory. I’ve used the delicious ginger cake from Bread Ahead Bakery and beautiful cinnamon honey from Field and Flower, which makes this recipe really very easy. I’ve chosen to prepare it in one huge trifle dish to make it a great centre piece for any party, but it works in individual glasses just as well. Top it with whatever you like - crushed ginger biscuits and crystallised ginger works well - and for a bit of colour and pizazz, you can bejewel it with glistening pomegranate seeds and red currants.

For one large trifle, serving 10 people:

500g Ginger cake
4 tbsp Sherry
8 Clementines
750ml Orange juice (about 8 oranges)
8 Gelatine leaves
500g Mascarpone
500g Greek yogurt
Cinnamon honey
Zest of one orange
250g Double cream
Handful of pomegranate seeds for decoration
Handful of ginger biscuits, crushed
Handful crystallised ginger, chopped

  1. Start off by making your orange jelly. Heat the orange juice in a pan until nearly boiling. Soak the gelatine in cold water and leave for 5 minutes until softened. Take the pan off the heat, squeeze out the water from your gelatine and stir it into the heated orange juice. Leave the mixture to cool a little.
  2. Meanwhile cut the ginger cake into 2cm cubes. Place at bottom of your trifle dish and press down a bit to ensure it’s nice and snug. Drizzle the sherry over the cake.
  3. Peel the clementines, removing as much of the white pith as you can whilst keeping the fruit whole. Slice 1cm slices across the fruit to give you disks of clementine. Lay the slices on top of your ginger cake base. Try to make sure that there is no sponge visible, as the fruit will act as a barrier to prevent the jelly mixture from just soaking straight into the sponge. Place some slices upright against the glass to create a fantastic retro look.
  4. Carefully pour the jelly over your ginger cake and fruit. If you find that the clementines start floating out of place, pour in just a little of the jelly to start with, and allow that to set in the fridge, before pouring in the rest. This will ensure that your beautifully arranged clementines stay in place. Leave in the fridge until the jelly is set (usually about 5 hours).
  5. When the jelly is set, beat together the mascarpone and Greek yogurt until smooth and add cinnamon honey and orange zest to taste.  Chill again until this has solidified slightly.

If you feel you want to give your trifle a bit more height (and this is optional depending on how full your trifle bowl is at this point!), whip the double cream to soft peaks and spoon on top of your trifle. Chill until serving time, when you can sprinkle with your chosen toppings - in this instance crushed ginger biscuits, crystallised ginger and pomegranate seeds.

This recipe was commissioned by The Trustees of Borough Market. Recipe, styling and photography by msyelf. 

Monday, 7 November 2016

Autumn Comforts: Butternut Squash

There's something wonderfully comforting about butternut squash. From its slightly sweet flavour and soft texture, to its beautiful sunset orange hue, it is the perfect ingredient to be cooking with at Autumn time. It's worth noting that you should be a little careful with other squash varieties- some of these beautiful Gourds we are seeing popping up at markets  at the moment are often only decorative, and not very nice to eat, though very pretty to look at. You're always safe with a butternut squash though, and it's got lots of beautiful flesh to give. It's also a great carrier for flavour. In the two recipes below I have paired it firstly with sage, a mellow and aromatic herb that I love to use in pasta dishes, and secondly with chilli, which gives my butternut soup a fabulous kick.

Top Top: When deseeding the butternut squash don't throw the seeds away- these little gems are delicious when roasted and a high source of fibre, plant-based protein and vitamins. Give them a wash and remove any bits of squash. Allow to dry on some kitchen towel. Place in a roasting tin with a little olive oil, salt and if you like a bit of spice, try sprinkling some hot smoked paprika on too. Roast at 180C for around 20-25 minutes, until they are a dark nutty brown colour. Sprinkle on salad or soups, or just enjoy as a snack. Waste Not Want Not!

Pretty little things squash seeds, and good for you too

Roasted butternut squash seeds with olive oil, salt and hot smoked paprika

Rigatoni with Butternut Squash, Sage and Feta

Serves 4

A perfect mid-week supper, this dish is high in the ease and comfort factor. I have chosen Rigatoni pasta in this recipe, simply because I like the satisfying bite that these big tubes of pasta give the dish. Any pasta would work of course, but I prefer to opt for varieties you can scoop up with a spoon alone, like Penne, Conchilglie (shells) or Orecchiette, simply because I like to be able to sit on the sofa with a big bowl full and eat it with minimal effort.

300g Rigatoni pasta or similar
1 large butternut squash, peeled, deseeded and chopped into bite size pieces
Large bunch of sage leaves, large stalks removed and chopped (fresh sage is best, but dried will work)
Olive oil
Knob of butter
1 large red onion, sliced
1 large clove garlic, finely chopped
1 red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped (optional- if you like a little spice) 
Large bunch of spinach
150g feta cheese 

1. Preheat oven to 200C. Place the butternut squash in a roasting tray, and sprinkle generously with half your chopped sage, and salt and pepper. Drizzle with olive oil, give it a good shake so it's all lightly coated in the oil, sage and seasoning. Roast in the oven for 25-30 minutes, giving it another shake mid-way through, until the squash is soft throughout and starting to going crisp on the outside.

2. Cook the Rigatoni in salted boiling water, according to pack instructions (usually 10-12 mins)

3. Meanwhile in a large pan, Melt the butter, and gently fry the onion in it until soft and beginning to caramelize. When they are soft and sticky, add the garlic, the rest of the chopped sage, and red chilli and fry for a couple of minutes till softened, adding more butter or olive oil if needed.

4. Next add the spinach to the pan and allow to wilt for a few minutes. Add your cooked rigatoni and butternut squash to the pan and gently fold to coat the pasta and ensure it's all mixed nicely. If the sauce is looking a little dry, just add a drizzle more olive oil and a knob of butter. Check the seasoning and add salt and pepper to taste (bear in mind the feta is salty, so don't go over board).

5. Place in serving bowls and crumble feta over generously. Enjoy with a good film and glass of red wine- bliss!

Butternut Squash and Chilli Soup

This soup is a great winter warmer, and it's a good idea to make a big saucepan-full on a weekend, and freeze it in batches, so you can dig it out whenever suits for a fuss-free dinner or a hearty office lunch. The amount of liquid needed in this recipe depends entirely on the size of the squash you start with, and on how thick you like your soup- the bigger the squash the more liquid you will need. I suggest you start with the amount I have recommended here, blitz it up, see how it looks, then adjust the liquid levels by adding extra stock, hot water or a drop of milk.

1 large butternut squash, peeled, deseeded and chopped into large cubes
Olive oil
2 onions, chopped
1 large clove of garlic, chopped
1 red chilli, finely chopped
900ml veg stock
4 tbsp creme fraiche

1. Preheat oven to 200C. Place the butternut squash in a roasting tin, sprinkle with salt and pepper, drizzle with olive oil and roast for around 30 mins, giving it a shake up/turn half way through, until it is soft and starting to go crisp at the edges.

2. Melt the butter in a large saucepan, and gently fry the onions until soft. Add the garlic and ¾ of the red chilli and fry for a few minutes until soft.

3. Tip the roasted squash back in the pan, add the stock and creme fraiche and give it a good stir. Use a stick blender to blend your soup, or pour into a liquidizer and blitz until smooth. If the soup is too thick, you can add a little more veg stock, hot water, or even a drop of milk to get it to your desired consistency.

4. Give it a taste, and add seasoning accordingly. Serve hot with a dollop of creme fraiche, a sprinkle of chopped chilli, and some of the roasted squash seeds (see Top Tip at the top of blog post).

Crème fraiche going in.....

Monday, 11 July 2016

A Day Trip to Orford, Suffolk

Last Saturday I visited Orford, a very pretty little Suffolk coastal town. Aside from getting some gloriously fresh sea air and the odd precious glimmer of sunshine, our day turned out to be pretty food-orientated - the absolute best kind of day!

What nicer place to sit and read a book?

A pretty wisteria-draped doorway spotted along the way

We started off with breakfast in the form of the most delicious freshly baked pastries and Monmouth coffee at the somewhat iconic Pump Street Bakery. From the outside, Pump Street Bakery looks like your standard Suffolk-pink chocolate-box town house. But to the side of the building, just above the door, you'll see the swirly and rather lovely sign painted onto the shell-pink wall, behind which lies a cosy, top-notch bakery.

Pretty as a picture, Pump Street Bakery

Aswell as buying a stash of baked goodies to take home for later (when in Rome...), we had a breakfast fit for a King, sharing sweet and sticky cinnamon buns, the most delicious buttery almond croissants, and a bear claw (an almond paste filled pastry which is shaped a little like a bear claw, hence the name). There's not all that much space to move inside the bakery, and as you'd expect it's a busy and bustling little place, but we managed to grab a table outside. My advice- get there as early as you can bear to. They also do more extensive cooked breakfasts- I saw a rather substantial and heavenly looking bacon and avocado bap floating past to a nearby table, so if you're in Orford, this is definitely your breakfast spot (and possibly lunch and afternoon tea too!)

Freshly baked goodies at Pump Street bakery

Decisions, decisions.....

But first, Coffee- a perfect flat white to perk me up

A soft and sticky cinnamon bun, devoured within minutes

An almond paste-filled bear claw

Honestly, everything you buy from this bakery will be top-draw. We took chocolate brownies back home for later, which we kept in the fridge- a cardinal sin some might say, but actually I would recommend doing this, as eaten cold they became even more chewy and fudgy. We also bought baguettes, a ham sandwich and some of there Pump Street Bakery chocolate to take home (yes, they make incredible chocolate too, which is mixed with excess bread crumbs- sounds weird, but trust me it delicious). We were officially out of control and living some kind of carb-filled dream!

Make sure you don't miss their beautiful bean-to-bar chocolate range too, what a lovely present it would make

Goodies to take home

After breakfast we went for a long walk along the sea wall, to burn off some of that pastry (it's all about balance guys..), before heading to our lunch venue, The Butley Orford Oysterage. With a name like that I knew I was going to like it before I'd even set foot in it.

As unpretentious from the outside as it is on inside in terms of decor, service and food, The Butley Orford Oyster serves up some seriously comforting home-style cooking. It is primarily a fish restaurant (so not the place to take your veggie mates), but if you like your portions big and your flavours strong, then this is the place for you. I'm talking hot and bubbling fish pies straight out of the oven, a giant fillet of cod, simply grilled and smothered in parsley sauce, and of course the most deliciously plump oysters, home-grown in their own oyster beds nearby, and seriously some of the best I've had. They also have an off-site smokehouse, where they smoke their own trout, mackerel, salmon, cods roes and more, all of which is served up in the restaurant. The desserts too were simple but good. A selection of fruit sorbets was a nice palate cleanser, and a slice of warm chocolate and almond cake with pistachio ice-cream was the perfect sweet treat to end on. The interior is informal and humble, and almost cafeteria-like. I don't mean that in a negative way, I just mean that the interior won't wow. But when the food is this good, who cares!

A humble starter- smoked mackerel pate and hot toast

Grilled prawns, simple and delightful

The Butley Oyster legendary fish pie

About as unpretentious and as delicious as it gets

Because every good meal ends with warm chocolate and almond cake with pistachio ice-cream

Hopefully this review of my day trip to Orford will inspire some of you to visit this great little town with plenty to shout about. In summer particularly it's a great destination to get some fresh sea air and jolly good food too. I know I'll certainly be revisiting!  

Monday, 9 May 2016

A Hope & Glory Afternoon Tea

As a Born and Bred Brit, I'm a sucker for a good and proper brew. If I've had a bad day, nothing lifts my mood more than refreshingly hot and clean cup of tea. So I was really chuffed when the lovely folk over at Hope & Glory Teas ( sent me a few samples of their delicious premium Organic, Fairtrade British teas. And what a treat they are too!

With four main collections (Maharajah, Maharani, Rajah and Rani) which range from your standard but essential English breakfast, through to a light and fresh Jasmine Green, a moreish Chai blend, and the rather beautiful Red Velvet tisane, there is something for everyone within this range. A personal favourite of mine was the Peppermint tea, part of the Maharani collection, which really packed a punch and invigorated the senses- the perfect Monday morning head cleanser! The Darjeeling tea would also be a top pick for me- it paired perfectly with my scones, clotted cream and raspberry jam, cutting through the richness of them, for a truly wonderful, proper British afternoon tea.

Beautifully delicate in flavour, these teas come in both loose leaf form and lovely little muslin tea bags too for convenience. And with such gorgeously patriotic pillar-box red packaging, what lovely gifts these teas would make too.

Thank you Hope & Glory for sharing your lovely teas with me!

Monday, 11 April 2016

Styling for 'Market Life' magazine with Ursula Ferrigno and John Holdship

I worked with chef Ursula Ferrigno and photographer John Holdship recently on a 'Market Life' magazine shoot for Borough market ( Ursula runs Books for Cooks cookery courses in London ( ), and as well as teaching at the prestigious Leiths School of Food and Wine, she also has many books to her name (Bringing Italy Home, A Gourmet Guide to Oil and Vinegar, Ursula Ferrigno's Complete Italian Cookery Course to name but a few). She is incredibly passionate, and her excitement for food, teaching cooking and life in general is totally infectious, so it's always a real joy to spend the day with her.

Ursula had written a recipe for a beautifully simple french dish, a tian. John did a stunning job as always of photographing this rustic dish, and I assisted with the styling of it, using old crates and pieces of wood that we borrowed from Borough Market traders. It turned out to be one of my favourite shoots we've done for the Market Life magazine actually. There's something so beautifully simple about the dish itself and the final photographs, so I think everyone was pleased with the outcome!

Recipe: Ursula Ferrigno
Photography: John Holdship
Styling: Georgie Hodgson

Sunday, 21 February 2016

A Borough Market Feast, 'Market Life' Magazine shoot

Recently I worked with Eco-chef Tom Hunt, the brains behind Poco restaurant (, and incredible photographer John Holdship (, to create this beautiful alfresco lunch party right in the centre of Borough Market. This was for a photo shoot for the Borough Market magazine, 'Market Life' ( . As well as assisting Tom in the kitchen, I was the stylist for this shoot, so I sourced all props and decorations from Topham street prop house (, which I would highly recommend- the girls there are lovely! Here are some of the images from the shoot (there are so many beautiful images to choose from it was difficult to decide which to upload), but for the full article and recipes, please see the latest issue of Market Life magazine.

It was a great to meet and work with Tom, whose creativity and energy is absolutely infectious. And as always, it was brilliant to work with John, who has taught me a great deal about photography and styling since I started working with him. I am constantly in awe as to how he can always take a fabulous shot, even when we are working with next to no light and in limited conditions- he's a true genius!

Photography: John Holdship
Recipes: Tom Hunt
Styling: Georgie Hodgson

Cornish Yarg and Nettle Tart

Clementine and purple sprouting salad

Rhubarb and hibiscus pavlova caused a stir...

A proper market barrel always makes for a good backdrop.

Tom and I adding the finishing touches to the table. 

Celeriac remoulade with burnt butter

Blood orange mimosas injected some nice colour into the table

Winter griddled venison and green sauce

Cheers! What a pretty lunch. 

Sunday, 7 February 2016

Food Styling the front cover of Good Things Magazine

I am pleased to be able to show you all the July/August front cover of Good Things Magazine, food styling by myself, photography by Vladimir Studenic (, and Art direction by Alice Griffiths. The recipe was barbecued hoisin and cola ribs. One thing I will say is that it's quite tricky to make juicy, sticky, giant pork ribs look pretty! But it was a good challenge for me, and they tasted delicious. Just the thing after a long day in the kitchen!