Tag Archives: rosemary

Red Onion & Rosemary Bread




I couldn’t decide what kind of bread to make so just made up a basic bread dough while I mulled it over in my mind palace and came up with this bread bad boy. Boom.


400g strong white bread flour
7g instant yeast
7g salt
250ml lukewarm water
1 large red onion
1 garlic clove
small handful of rosemary sprigs
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp soft brown sugar


Begin by making the simple bread dough. In a large bowl, weigh out the flour, salt and yeast – remembering to keep the salt and yeast on opposite sides. Mix in half the water with your hands, add the rest in smaller amounts until you get a soft, workable consistency.

Tip out onto a lightly oiled surface and knead for 5-10 minutes until elastic and smooth. Place in a large oiled bowl then place the bowl inside a plastic bag and leave to rise in a warm place for 1-3 hours or until the dough has doubled in size.

Meanwhile, slice the red onion into your preferred shape (I went for small, thin slices) and gently fry in 1 tbsp olive oil, with a crushed garlic clove and finely chopped rosemary for about 5 minutes, until softened. Throw in the balsamic vinegar and sugar and fry for a further minute.

When the bread has proved, tip out onto a lightly oiled surface and gently knead in the onion mixture. You might need a little more bread flour to offset the extra moisture. When the onion is evenly distributed, roughly shape into a rectangle and place in a deep, rectangular tray. Place the tray in a plastic bag and leave to prove once again in a warm place for around an hour.

Brush with about 1 tbsp olive oil before baking at 180-200°C/360-390°F/gas mark 4-6 for around 20-25 minutes until brown and hollow-sounding when tapped.

Enjoy with cheese, chutney or dipped in oil and balsamic vinegar. Scoffscoffscoff.


Roasted Squash & Blue Cheese Risotto


For some reason risotto has never really appealed to me. This recipe has made me change my mind. And look, two posts in two days! Shocking.

Serves 4-5, or 2 with plenty of leftovers!


1 medium-large butternut squash, cubed (2cm)
1 large onion, diced
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
300g risotto rice
1.2l vegetable stock
150ml white wine
100-150g blue cheese (we used Danish Blue)
few sprigs of rosemary
1 cup of peas
salt, pepper, basil, oregano


Heat the oven to (200°C/400°F/gas mark 6). Coat the bottom of a roasting tin with some oil, couple of sprigs of rosemary and a sprinkling of black pepper. Add the butternut squash and turn over to coat. Stick in for 20 minutes or so, giving a good shufty every now and again.

Meanwhile heat up a tablespoon of oil in a deep pan. Gently soften the onions for a few minutes before adding the garlic. Stir often so that the onions do not brown. Add the rice and stir well, the rice needs to just gently heat up before you can add the liquid. Stick the kettle on to boil and make up the vegetable stock. After 2 minutes, add the wine – stir well to allow the rice to soak it all up. As the pan dries out somewhat, add a small amount of the stock (around 100-200mls at a time). Wait for the liquid to be nearly all soaked up then add another 100-200ml.

Keep adding stock like this and stir frequently. After half the stock has been added, throw in the herbs. After around 20 minutes, check to see if the rice is soft. Turn off the oven, take out the butternut squash and mash half, returning the other half to the oven to keep warm. Stir in the mashed butternut squash, peas, most of the cheese and heat thorough – you may need a drop more water depending on how saucy you like your risottos. If the rice needs a bit more time to cook, carry on adding small amounts of hot water until cooked, before adding the squash, peas and cheese. Don’t be afraid of adding more water if necessary – it’s really important not to let the risotto boil dry.

Serve in a bowl with a few cubes of butternut squash and crumble over the rest of the cheese. Enjoy your warming winter grub!

Picture to follow…!


Onion & Cider Soup with Stilton


This is a great soup taken pretty much straight from the BBC Food website (a fantastic resource if you’ve never used it – also check out BBC GoodFood). Very simple, reasonably quick, damn tasty and quite a bit lighter than the much-vaunted French Onion soup.

Serves 3-4


4 medium onions, 3 diced, 1 sliced
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 large baking potato, cut into 2cm cubes
250ml cider
white wine vinegar
few sprigs fresh thyme (or a pinch of dried)
3 bay leaves
handful fresh rosemary, finely chopped
1 litre stock
salt and pepper


Heat a big old glob of butter in a large saucepan, add the 3 diced onions, a good twist of salt and pepper and sweat over a low heat for 10 minutes. Add the garlic, rosemary and thyme and continue to sweat for a further 5 minutes.

Add a glug of white wine vinegar, the bay leaves and pour in the cider (I doubt you’ll be able to find a 250ml bottle so I guess you’ll just have to drink the rest!). Increase the heat and reduce by half before adding the stock and potato. Keep on a simmer until the potato is cooked through.

Meanwhile heat a little more butter in a frying pan and once melted added the sliced onion, a little salt and pepper. Fry up over a medium heat until starting to golden. Crumble in a little of the stilton, give a good stir and fry for a further 2-3 minutes. Turn off the hob but leave the frying pan on it while you use a stick-blender to zhuzzzhhh up the soup.

Serve the soup in bowls (bowls, for soup – what is this craziness?!) topped with fried cheesy onions and a further crumbling of stilton. Enjoy with friends – I dare you not to eat the whole lot!



Rosemary-Skewered Jacket Potato


Or alternatively The Most Inventive Thing I’ve Ever Done In The Kitchen. And I didn’t use ginger. I didn’t even use chilli…!


1 baking potato
6-8 stalks of fresh rosemary

Tomato Ragu

1 small onion, chopped
1 garlic glove, finely chopped
8 cherry tomatoes, cut in half
1 tbsp tomato purée
balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper


Preheat the oven to 220oC/425oF/Gas Mark 7. With a sharp knife, carefully cut slits all the way through the potato in a semi-regular pattern.

Optional: Spread a little rock salt on a plate, wet the skin of the potato and roll in the salt. Apparently this helps draw moisture out of the skin so it gets super-crispy.

Put the baked potato in the microwave on the highest setting for approximately 5-6 minutes. Remove when the potato gives under a little pressure from your hand – but be careful, it will be hot!

Leave the potato to cool on the side. Fetch your rosemary sticks and use a knife to carefully whittle down the ends to sharper points – this makes for easier insertion…*snigger*. Once your potato is cool enough, poke the rosemary stalks through the pre-cut slits until it comes out the other side. If you have any bit sticking way out of the potato, cut them off and save them or insert them in another slit, otherwise they’ll just crisp up in the oven and be horrid. Once done your potato should look something like this:











Put your potato into the oven for 30-40 minutes, until a nice crispy skin has formed. Be careful, leaving it too long will lead to a dried out interior – I’m sure you all know your ovens best so just cook as you would a normal jacket potato. Meanwhile make up your ragu.

Heat a little olive oil in a saucepan and add the onion and garlic. Sweat for 6 minutes before adding a glug of balsamic vinegar. After a further couple of minutes add your tomatoes, tomato purée, a really good twist of pepper and a good pinch of salt. At this stage I also threw in the “leaves” of rosemary that came from cutting my rosemary stalks. Lower the heat, cover and stir occasionally. If anything starts to stick to the bottom of the pan, add a drop of water, stir and recover. Cook for approximately 15 minutes then remove the lid and reduce sauce to a really thick, sticky, gooey, gloopy, pan of wonderment.

Remove the potato from the oven – remember hot! Tadaa:











Cut open gently – you could remove the rosemary stalks if you want to but I chose to leave mine in and eat around them. Slather your potato with lashing of butter and top with the ragu. Simple yet damn delicious.


tasty ragu

Ficelles [Thin Baguettes]


Ficelles are thin baguettes. They are absolutely gorgeous, extremely light and a wonderful accompaniment to soup! This recipe comes from Paul Hollywood’s excellent How To Bake, a book well worth investing in – there are so many recipes Whale & I want to make from it, everything is so tempting.

Mr Hollywood suggests using a mixer for this dough, however I used my hands and found it to be a very enjoyable dough to work with, even for a fairly novice breadmaker as myself! They’re relatively quick and painless to make (and even quicker to eat!)


250g strong white flour
200ml tepid water
5g fast-action yeast
5g salt
1 tbsp olive oil

Suggested toppings

Rosemary & Basil
Chilli Flakes & Cracked Black Pepper
Simple Sea Salt


Line a square/rectangular 2-3 litre plastic tub with oil – a standard Tupperware lunch-sized box will do the trick!

Sieve the flour into a bowl – I find using a heavy bottomed bowl makes working the dough easier – if it sticks it doesn’t tend to pick the bowl up so readily. Add the salt to one side of the flour and the yeast to the other.

Add the water approximately 30-40mls at a time. Use your hand as a dough hook, mixing the dough together. Once each 30/40ml of liquid has been absorbed, knead for a few minutes before adding the next amount of water. This process took me approximately 20-25 minutes, but the dough was quite flexible (if a little sticky at times) and easily workable. Alternatively use a dough hook at medium speed for 8-10 minutes.

Once all the water is incorporated you should have a soft, stretchy dough. Add the olive oil and incorporate as before, using your hand like a dough hook. I found I was able to knead entirely with one hand, whilst using the other to steady the bowl and I’m only little! This gives you the advantage of having at least one clean hand if you ever need to do something urgent, like answering the phone!

After 5 or so minutes working in the oil tip the dough into the oiled container, add the lid (though don’t press it shut) and leave for at least an hour. I left mine for approximately 2 hours, just on a work surface and it quadrupled in size!

Meanwhile line two baking trays with parchment. Once your dough has at least doubled, tip out onto a floured work surface but don’t knock back – you want to treat it as gently as possible to keep its airy texture. Add a little flour to the top of the dough too.

Pull out into a rough rectangle approximately 10cm by 20-25cm. Mr Hollywood suggests cutting along the long edge, however, from experience, I think it would be easier to cut along the short edge as the dough has a tendency to adhere to itself. Cut each strip at approximately 2-3cm width and gently stretch out each strip lengthways a little before placing on the baking trays. Make slight indentations all along with your finger, drizzle over a little olive oil and add your topping of choice.

Once all on the trays, cover with clingfilm and leave for a further half hour. Meanwhile preheat the over to 220oC/425oF/Gas Mark 7. Place the ficelles in the middle and cook for 10-15 minutes until golden brown. Like I said, serve with soup and try not to scoff the whole batch in one go!


Caramelized Carrot & Ginger Soup


This is a very similar recipe to the Spiced Parsnip soup from January, which I guess shows the versatility of the recipe for accommodating various root vegetables! It’s a brilliant way to use up a bag of carrots when you can see they’re “on the turn”.

Serves 5-6.


800-1000g carrots, chopped into 1cm cubes (roughly)
800ml vegetable stock
2 medium onions , finely chopped
3-4 cloves garlic, diced
squeeze of golden syrup
2 tsp ground coriander
2 tsp dried rosemary
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp cumin seeds, roughly crushed
½ tsp chilli powder
2-3 tsp ready minced ginger (if being lazy like me!)/1 5cm pieces fresh ginger, grated
plenty of salt’n’pepper


Heat a small amount of oil in a large saucepan/deep frying pan. Add the onions, carrots and a good squeeze of golden syrup and stir to coat everything. Caramelize over a medium-high heat*, stirring every so often, for approximately 10 minutes. Mix up the spices and add to the pan, along with the garlic and ginger.

Make up the stock and if anything starts to stick too vehemently to the pan, pour in a little and stir/scrape off. After 5 or so more minutes cooking and stirring add the rest of the stock. Bring to the boil then reduce to a simmer and add a lid. Cook for approx. 20 minutes and check the carrots to see whether they are soft enough to blend/zhuzzhh.

When the carrots are soft blend/zhuzzh with a stick blender/zhuzzher. Obviously the longer and harder you blend, the smoother the soup. I’m not one for adding cream/mascarpone or whatnot to soup as I feel it somewhat undermines the health aspect, but I’m sure you could easily add some.

Serve with freshly baked ficelles (or bake-in-the-oven baguettes if you don’t have time!)

*Ideally I would have roasted the carrots and onions in the oil/golden syrup/spices for approximately 45 minutes at 200oC/400oF/Gas 6, however the oven I had access to was not working so this was not possible!


Pork, Pear & Parsnip Roast


Fruit should not just be reserved for dessert.

I won’t lie, this is a little faffy – it was kind of on the hop and I haven’t really had a chance to perfect the method I’m afraid…if anyone has any ideas as to how to streamline it I would love to hear them! Having said that, for a roast this is pretty quick…

Serves 4-6


4 pork tenderloin steaks (approx. 700g), cut width-ways into strips – about 5 or 6 per steak
2 large parsnips, cut into wedges
2 large carrots, cut into wedges
3 large potatoes, cut into wedges
2 large onions, cut into wedges
3 large pears, cut into – you guessed it- wedges!
couple of handfuls of apricots


2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
thumb-sized piece of ginger, finely chopped
100ml cider (roughly)
juice of 1 lemon
good glug of oil
good slug of golden syrup
handful fresh rosemary leaves, roughly chopped
handful fresh thyme leaves, roughly chopped
2 bay leaves, gently crushed
salt and pepper


Chop everything first – vegetables then meat, just to be safe. This is where having a couple of assistants comes in very handy – so if you’re cooking for a group get them to earn their grub! Parboil the carrots, parsnips and potato for about 10 minutes, until they’re slightly tender (basically just make sure you don’t turn them to mush).

Preheat the oven to 200oC/400oF/gas mark 6. Get a couple of oven trays or large roasting trays out and put them in an easily accessible place. Mix up all the marinade ingredients (don’t throw away your lemon skins!) in a large bowl. Put a large frying pan on a high heat. Toss the pork in the marinade, give it a good rub around with your hands (just wash them afterwards, a’ight) and add to the frying pan. Seal the outside of the meat, turn the pieces over every now and again to make sure you get every side. You may need to do this in batches – add the sealed meat to one of the trays and repeat.

Repeat the process – marinade then frying pan – for the pears and onions, about 5 minutes should do it. Again, depending on the size of your saucepan you may need to do this in batches.

Drain your vegetables and add to the remaining marinade with the apricots. Give a good shufty then divide everything up evenly over the roasting trays. Pour over any left over marinade, another glug of oil, a good few twists of pepper, the bay leaves and the lemon skins, give one final shufty and put in the oven for about 20-25 minutes.

After 20-25 minutes, take out the trays, give a good shufty, return to the oven and turn up to 220oC/425oF/gas mark 7 for a final 10-15 minutes. Take out and serve – succulent meat, caramelised fruit, roast vegetables all in one incredible ensemble.

Sorry, no picture – couldn’t stop myself from getting stuck in!