Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Purple & White Sprouting Broccoli with Toasted Almonds

This is so straightforward, I can barely even call it a recipe. There's just no need to mess with such a gloriously fresh and seasonal ingredient, so I say keep it simple and let the wonderful flavour of the sprouting broccoli shine through. Rather excitingly, I found white sprouting broccoli on sale at Borough Market, though I imagine that it won't have hit the supermarkets just yet, so if you can't find white, just use the more widely available purple variety.

Photography by Casey Lazonick, Prop styling by Cynthia Blackett, Food styling and recipe by myself. 


1 bunch purple sprouting broccoli
1 bunch white sprouting broccoli
150g flaked almonds, toasted till golden brown in a dry frying pan
juice of half a lemon
olive oil
salt & pepper

1. Fill a large lidded saucepan with water and bring to the boil. Add a good pinch of salt. Slice any especially large broccoli florets in half length ways so they are all roughly the same size. Plunge the broccoli into the boiling water and cook for 2-3 mins, until it is slightly softened but still very aldente, and hasn't lost all of it's purple colour (the purple colour fades to dark green rapidly when cooked, but visually it's nice to retain some of that purple if you can, so don't over cook).

2. Drain the broccoli and add to a a big bowl. Drizzle with olive oil and the lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper, and give it a toss around, coating the broccoli thoroughly.

3. This can be served warm or cold. When you are ready to serve, just scatter the toasted almonds over the top and voila!

Monday, 10 April 2017

Easter Egg Florentines with Cacao Nibs (A Borough Market Comission)

In this recipe I’ve given my favourite teatime treat, Florentines, a fun Easter twist. These make lovely gifts, presented in a little nest-like Easter basket or box. They are also great fun for kids to help decorate and are perfect to take to any school Easter fair.

You will need a small egg-shaped cookie cutter, which you can buy from many cookware shops or off the internet. A couple of fine nozzle piping bags are also handy for the chocolate decoration.

50g butter
50g demerara sugar
50g golden syrup
50g plain flour
25g glacé cherries, chopped
25g candied peel, finely chopped
25g almonds, finely chopped
25g pistachios, finely chopped
25g cacao nibs

To decorate:
200g dark chocolate drops (70% cocoa solids)
200g white chocolate drops

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C and line a baking tray with parchment paper.

  1. Heat the butter, sugar and golden syrup in a pan gently, until the butter has melted. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the flour, chopped fruit and nuts and the cacao nibs until combined.

  1. Place heaped teaspoons of the mixture onto the lined baking tray. It’s best to do this in small batches of around 5 Florentines at a time, as when they come out of the oven you need to act fast to cut them with your egg-shaped cutter while the mixture is still hot and soft.

  1. Bake for 8-10 minutes, until golden brown. Remove from the oven and use your cutter to press firmly onto the biscuits to create Easter egg shapes. A sharp knife is useful to help you trim away the edges and a small plate popped on top of your cutter will allow you to press down firmly without hurting your hands.    

  1. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Repeat the process until you’ve used all your mixture up.

  1. Once cooled, you can think about the decoration. Melt your chocolate in the microwave or in a bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Once melted, decorate as you please. Use a piping bag to create the dots and lines, or alternatively just spread your chocolate on or drizzle it over the biscuits.

Top Tip:

Chocolatier Louise Anderson from Rabot 1745 in Borough Market gave me a great tip on how to temper dark chocolate without a thermometer. Melt two thirds of your pack of chocolate drops in a bowl over a saucepan of simmering water (make sure you don’t get any water in with the chocolate as this will make it go grainy). Do not stir. When you can see that it has nearly melted, then you can stir gently until smooth and entirely melted. Remove your bowl of chocolate from the heat, place on a dish cloth to absorb any water on the bottom of the bowl and add the remaining third of your pack of chocolate drops. Stir in gently until completely melted. To test, dab a little chocolate to your bottom lip - it should be slightly cooler than your body temperature.