Thursday, 13 August 2015

I've now made this blog part of my brand new website, so for loads of new recipes, reviews and travel tips go to
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Saturday, 4 July 2015

Top 10 Favourite Cook Books (That you need to have in your collection)

Top 10 Favourite Cook Books (That you need to have in your collection)

As a huge cookery book enthusiastic/hoarder/collector I wanted to put together a list of some of my favourites that I’ve collected over the years. Some are recent, some not so recent and some super ancient. The excitement and pleasure I get every time I pick up these books can’t be beaten. I’m forever editing and adding titles to my Amazon wish list and I’m constantly trying to find new spots round the house to store them (the 4 kitchen shelves are jam packed as are the shelves in my bedroom and I now have a stack by my bed that I like to peruse at night that is as tall as me!) It now feels like I’m having to smuggle in new books due to lack of room in the house and they are beginning to slightly take over. If you have the same addiction I’d love to hear what books are currently topping your favourites list. It’s been a hard call but I think this is where my top 10 are currently sitting. I’m aware I’ve left out a load of strong contenders, Polpo, Jerusalem, The Two Greedy Italians, A Girl and Her Greens, the list goes on (I’ve also got Gizzie Erskines’s Healthy Appetite on it’s way to me as we speak). I’m sure on a different day they’d be up there also but for now here’s where I’m at....

To see my full list go to the website - AnnaBarnettCooks.Com

Sunday, 24 May 2015


Mega Mushroom Burger

Feeds 4
Preparation Time – 15 minutes
Chilling time -30 minutes
Cooking Time - 20

Ingredients –
Burgers -
4 Cloves of garlic – Skins left on and roasted in foil
Glug of rapeseed oil
2 large Portobello mushrooms – Very finely diced
½ Red onion – Finely diced
5 Dates – Stones removed – Roughly chopped
Sprinkle of sea salt
Generous sprinkle of white and black pepper
1 Cup of mixed grains (pearl barley, black and brown rice - part cooked rice so they only take 10 mins) – Cooked
½ Cup of breadcrumbs / or dry smash (dry potato flakes)
Handful of parsley – Very finely chopped
2 Tbsp Capers – Very finely chopped

 Sticky Roasted Pepper & Sunblushed Tomato Cheats Chutney-
3 Red peppers – Charred over a flame and peeled (you can also cheat and get the ones pre charred in a jar) – Finely slice into thin loops
6-7 Sunblushed tomatoes – Finely sliced
Sprinkle of sea salt
Sprinkle of white & freshly ground black pepper
2 Generous glugs of white wine vinegar
2-3 Tsp of soft brown sugar (white caster sugar also works) / Alternatively add in 3-5 dates, stones removed and roughly chopped – this will offer a non refined sugar alternative

4 Buns of your choice / Ciabatta also works well
3 Ripe tomatoes – Finely Sliced
½ Red onion – Finely sliced
Red Cabbage (Optional) – Finely shredded
Lettuce leaves (optional) Allow 1 per bun
Camembert - (or vegetarian alternative)

Instructions –
Begin by placing the whole cloves of garlic (still in their skins) in kitchen foil and place in the oven for 10-15 minutes on 190 degrees Celsius and roast until soft, sweet and squidgy.
In a frying pan add the oil, mushrooms, red onions, chopped dates and seasoning, allow to cook over a medium-low heat for 4-5 minutes then increase the heat for a further minute or two. While you’re cooking the mushrooms boil the kettle and cook the mixed grains over a high heat for 10 minutes until cooked then drain.  Once the grains are cooked add to the mushroom mix along with the potato flakes or breadcrumbs and stir until combined. Remove from the heat and add in the chopped parsley and capers. Allow to cool for five or so minutes then make into even sized patties/ burgers, place on a baking tray and cover in cling film. Place in the fridge for at least 30 minutes to cool ==- this will help them hold their shape and stay together.
When you’re ready to cook them remove the Clingfilm and place in the oven on 190 degrees Celsius for 15-20 minutes. 3 minutes before taking them out add a lump of camembert, mature cheddar or even blue cheese and allow to melt.

For the cheats chutney, combine all ingredients in a small pan and heat over a medium to low heat, until it reduces and turns sticky, this should take around 5 or so minutes.

Saturday, 23 May 2015

The Times Magazine

Check out this amazing bit of press in todays Times Magazine, Food special.
Super amazing to be stood amongst Deliciously Ella, Tess Ward & Tart London.

Make Sure You Keep An Eye On The New Website...Loads Of Great New Stuff Going Up Every Day...

Date Caponata


This is my version of the traditional Sicilian aubergine and vegetable stew. Typical serve as a warm side dish or served cold as an antipasto which means it keeps really well if you want to make a big batch and serve it across several meals. This is such a delicious dish packed full of so many flavours, leave it overnight and it only gets better! I’ve used dates instead of adding refined sugar and if anything it only improves the dish, adding raisins is also an option.

Feeds 6-8
Preparation Time – 5-10 minutes
Cooking Time – 35-40 minutes

Ingredients -
3 Medium sized aubergines/eggplant – Roughly diced
7 Cloves of garlic – Keep 5 in their skin
3-4 Good glugs of rapeseed oil
Generous sprinkle of sea salt & black & white pepper
Glug of olive oil
1 red onion – Diced
3 Stalks of celery
1 red pepper – Center removed plus seeds and roughly chopped into chunks
5 Medjool dates- Stones removed and roughly torn
2 Tbsp Tomato puree
2 Generous glugs of red wine vinegar
Splash of water
50g / Handful of black olives – Stones removes, roughly chopped (if using the Crespo saltier version include less salt when seasoning)
40g Capers – Roughly chopped
Generous handful of parsley – Roughly chopped
Generous handful of basil – Roughly chopped
Small handful of pine nuts – Lightly toasted

Instructions –
Begin by preheating your oven to 200 degrees Celsius then add the roughly chopped aubergine plus 5 cloves of garlic (still in their skin) to a baking tray with a generous glug of rapeseed oil, coating all sides and season. Roast until they soften and start to darken around the edges, this should take around 12-15 minutes.

In a large pan over a medium heat add a glug of olive oil plus the diced onion, celery, 2 cloves of garlic (crushed and roughly chopped), the chopped red pepper and torn dates. Sweat for 5-6 minutes until the vegetables soften and begin to caramalise, next add in the tomato puree, red wine vinegar, olives and a splash of water plus a good sprinkle of black and white pepper, cover with a lid and allow to cook over a medium to low heat adding additional water if necessary. Once the aubergine is ready add to the pan with everything else and mix thoroughly. Cover again and cook for another 5 or so minutes then add in half the chopped parsley, capers and basil. Stir thoroughly, taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. Transfer to a serving bowl or spread a generous layer over toasted sourdough and sprinkle over the remaining capers, basil and parsley along with the lightly toasted pine nuts and one final drizzle of olive oil or extra virgin olive oil if you have it.

Spanish Tomato Bread

This dish is absolutely all about rustic, simple, good quality ingredients. I can guarantee that there are few simple pleasures in life that are as good as this. Try it and you’ll never look back…or serve up a bit of bread any other way.

Spanish Tomato Bread

Feeds 4-6
Preparation Time – 2 minutes
Cooking Time – 5 minutes

Ingredients –
2 Ciabattas – Cut in half lengthways and toasted until golden and crisp
1 Large clove of garlic
1 Large very ripe (deep red) tomato – Cut in half, horizontally
Generous drizzle of extra virgin olive oil
Sprinkle of sea salt

Instructions –
Begin by slicing the ciabatta horizontally and then oven baking (if not already pre-cooked) or grilling until crisp and golden. This should only take 2-3 minutes so be careful not to burn.
Once the ciabatta’s toasted take one half of the garlic and rub over the toasted side of the bread and do the same with the sliced tomato. The soft tomato will take to break down and coat the toast with it’s juices. Finish off with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and a sprinkle of salt. Repeat across all your bread and serve immediately.


Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Asian Eats EAST London

Asian Eats EAST
Having lived in Hackney for a fair few years now (coming up to 12!) I can safely say that there’s always been a lack of great Asian food. We have several Vietnamese restaurants in the area but I’m not 100% won over by these, despite loyally returning to check for any improvements over the years, I’m forever dreaming of an amazing Thai or Japanese (specifically dumplings) restaurant. It seems that finally my prayers have been answered (well in half measures as these are only pop-ups so not quite permanent residents to the area) but on trying them I’ll most definitely be making the most out of having new neighbours.
Act Quickly…My Neighbours the Dumplings currently have just two weeks left in their current residence on Wilton Way. They’re on the hunt for a new venue but just in case you can, you should get down there ASAP and eat the entire menu. What I loved was the perfect combination of the low key, laid back, NYC vibes that this place has going on. The staff were super friendly (and that’s not a given in East London) the music was on the money (think Rolling Stones and Bowie) and the dumpling options and spicy papaya salad were incredible. If only their residency was lasting a little longer…

Som Saa, currently in residence at Climpson Arch just off London Fields is a complete feast of flavours, championing regional Northern Thai dishes. This place has got it nailed (we waited over an hour and half, so get there early). If you do have to wait make sure you try the fermented pork off the snacking menu, A steal at only £4. As the warmth of summer comes, enjoy the outside table area where Prosecco is on tap and delicious Thai inspired fragrant cocktail concoctions flow freely. The deep fried sea bass seemed to be a favourite amongst the packed out communal dining room however we opted for the Northern style pork belly curry, in fact we had the vegetarian version as well with sweet potato, the Papaya Salad and the Long Aubergine Salad which were suitably spicy. I also tried the grilled chicken leg which came highly recommended by fellow diners and didn’t fail to impress. I have to say we couldn’t rave enough about the food… fresh, bold flavours, they weren’t afraid to remain faithful to a good level of spice which I’m always a fan of. I’ll be returning this week!

Monday, 18 May 2015

Sweet Potato Cheese Pie

As far as vegetarian pies go this one really rates highly. Mega simple to pull together and totally delicious to eat. Despite being a pie it’s not a classic winter warmer and although works well with a large serving of gravy it can be equally as good with a side of buttered greens or salad. Think of this more as a spring/summer pie and get baking ASAP.

Sweet Potato Cheese Pie

Feeds - 6-8
Preparation Time – 15 -20 minute
Cooking Time – 20-25 minutes

Ingredients –
1 Pack pre-made shortcrust pastry
Knob of butter
2 Large sweet potatoes – Peeled and chopped into medium sized chunks and boiled until soft
2 Spring onions – Finely sliced (including green ends)
100g Feta – Roughly crumbled
1 Cup of frozen peas
100g Mature cheddar – Roughly chopped into 1cm chunks
Generous sprinkle rock salt
Generous sprinkle of white and black pepper
Handful Taragon – Roughly chopped
1 Free range egg – Whisked for egg wash

Instructions –
Begin by boiling a pan of water and adding your peeled and roughly cubed sweet potato to it, add a small pinch of salt and boil for around 8-10 minutes or until soft. Next roll out your shortcrust pastry making sure you have enough for both the base of the pie and the lid. When rolling out the lid sprinkle some tarragon leaves on your work surface plus some freshly ground black pepper and place the pastry over it, continuing to roll so the herbs stick into the pastry. Set to one side and take a non-stick pie dish and coat with an extra layer of butter just to make sure the pastry won’t stick. Place the pastry into the dish leaving plenty hanging over the edges of the dish as the pastry will shrink a little when cooked.
For the filling combine the cooked sweet potato (mashing it first and seasoning it) with the spring onions, crumbled feta, frozen peas, chunks of cheddar, seasoning and tarragon, gently combining making sure it’s evenly seasoned.  Be  careful to not over crumble the feta (you’ll taste it more if you get bigger bits)! Next transfer the filling into the pie dish and coat the edges of the pastry with the egg wash (whisked egg) then place the lid on top, pressing the edges together with your fingers or a fork sealing the pie.
With a knife make a small cut in the middle of the pastry right down to the bottom of the dish then coat the lid with the egg wash and you’re good to go.
Place in a preheated oven on 190 degrees Celsius and cook for 15-20 minutes or until the pastry turns golden. The sweet potato should still be warm when adding it so it shouldn’t take too long to cook.
TIP - This pie is also great served the next day and can be frozen if you’ve made too much.
Serve with Gravy and extra greens.


Friday, 15 May 2015


Finally the book is now out there for everyone to buy, read and cook from. I was lucky enough to have the gorgeous Shoreditch house host the book launch, after spending a (long) day in their kitchens cooking and prepping all the dishes from 'Wednesday' in the book the pros took over while I beautified and played host for the evening.
So grateful to everyone for coming and helping me celebrate it's release. Massive thanks to Mr Henry Holland, Nick Grimshaw & Erika Thomas for the DJ skills, Gizzi for popping along with one half of the Hemsley sisters, the lovely Anna Jones and amazing food stylist Emily Ezekiel plus a surprise visit from the Fabulous Baker Brothers Tom & Henry Herbert. 
Not to mention Iain Graham who styled the book plus all the press peeps that have written about the book and of course the mates that have eaten most of what's in the book.

Here's a load of pics of me holding the book with various people ...
Hope you've got your copy and if not BUY IT HERE-

Monday, 11 May 2015

Meat Free Monday - Mega Quick Bean & Herb Risotto

Green Beans, Fresh Oregano & Parsley Risotto with Truffle Oil

This was one of those dishes that came together on the spur of the moment through emptying out the last few bits I had in the fridge. I used up some leftover herbs and beans and managed to pull off a delicious, indulgent dinner and one where my boyfriend felt totally guilty for all the hard work and effort I’d put into it…little does he know it was no bother at all! I added in the black beans as they’re a good source of protein which vegetarians can sometimes struggle to get. I aim to include some form of protein in most veggies meals I cook,  sometimes only eating vegetables doesn't quite cut it.

Feeds 4
Preparation Time 5-10 minutes
Cooking Time – 15-20 minutes

Ingredients –
Large knob of butter (Around 40g)
Sprinkle of sea salt & black pepper
1 White onion – Finely diced
2 Cloves of garlic - Crushed and finely sliced
2 Bay leaves
400g Risotto rice -
Glug of white wine
2.5 Liters of vegetable stock (good quality can make all the difference)
Handful of green beans - Ends removed and finely chopped
1 Can of black beans – Rinsed before adding
Handful of oregano leaves – Finely chopped
Handful of curly parsley – Finely chopped (flat leaf works too)
Knob of butter
50g of Parmesan (or vegetarian substitute) –Finely grated
Drizzle of truffle oil (optional)

Instructions –
Start by adding the butter to a large pan over a medium heat, once melted add in the diced onion, garlic, dry rice, bay leaf and season. Stir for a few minutes so all the rice is evenly coated in the butter (be careful not to allow the rice or onion to brown). Increase the heat and pour in the white wine and stir some more, allow to boil for a minute or two then pour in the stock a glug at a time, continuously stirring and ensuring it doesn't stick. Once the rice has cooked through (ideally you want it still a little crisp) add in the black and green beans plus the fresh herbs and stir thoroughly cooking for a further minute or so. Just before you serve add a small knob of butter and Parmesan/veggie alternative (I left out the Parmesan but it’s great to have with) and stir. Check the seasoning and adjust as necessary. If you like truffle oil treat yourself to a drizzle before getting stuck in.
TIP - If at any point the risotto becomes too thick or dry just add some more stock or a splash of water

Sunday, 10 May 2015

Wonton Feast

This is the perfect excuse to bring everyone together and get everyone in the kitchen concocting their own wontons. If you’ve got bits of veg hanging around or leftover meat, guaranteed you can transform it into a super exciting filling. You can use the below ideas as suggestions of what flavours work well together or you can swap out the meat and fish to make it totally vegetarian. It’s a great way to use up whatever you have left in the fridge

Wonton Feast

Feeds 4-6
Preparation Time – 20-30 minutes
Cooking Time -5-10 minutes
Ingredients –

Edamame, Kaffir Lime, Coriander & Red Chilli

2 Handfuls of edamame – Beans removed and blitzed
½ Kaffir lime leaf – Finely sliced/blitzed
¼ Red birdseye chilli – Finely sliced / blitzed
1 Tsp of coriander – Finely chopped
Small glug of light soy sauce

Mushroom & Garlic
2 Handfuls of chestnut mushrooms (or whatever you have to hand) – Washed and finely diced/ blitzed
1 large clove of garlic- Crushed and finely sliced
Glug of light soy sauce
¼ Red birdseye chilli

Sweet Potato, Chive & Chilli

½ Regular size sweet potato – Peeled and boiled until soft
Glug of light soy sauce
Glug of sesame oil
1 Tbsp of chives – Finely chopped
1Tsp Coriander – Finely chopped
Generous sprinkle of white pepper

Tofu Sriracha-

Plain tofu – Finely diced
Generous glug light soy sauce
Generous glug of sesame oil
1 Tsp of Sriracha sauce
1 Tbsp chives – Finely chopped
1 Tbsp of coriander leaves – Finely sliced
Very generous sprinkle of white pepper

Pork, Chive & Chilli
1 Handful / 200g of minced pork
Generous glug light soy sauce
Generous glug of sesame oil
1 Tbsp chives – Finely chopped
¼ Red birdeye chilli – Finely chopped
1inch Ginger – Peeled and finely grated
1 Clove of garlic – Crushed and finely sliced
1 Tbsp of coriander leaves – Finely sliced
1 Tbsp of coriander roots – Finely sliced
Very generous sprinkle of white pepper

Salmon, Chive Ginger & Chilli

Around 200g of salmon fillet – Finely diced (skin removed and left uncooked)
1 Tbsp of chives – Finely chopped
½ inch Ginger –Peeled and finely grated
¼ Red birdseye chilli
Generous sprinkle of white pepper
Good glug of light soy sauce

2 packs of wonton papers – you need around 30-40
1 Egg - Whisked

Instructions –
Prepare ingredients as per instructions in the ingredients list, thoroughly combine and ensure that everything is chopped up as finely as possible. You don’t want to end up with a mouthful of just garlic or ginger and want to make sure that each wonton or teaspoon of mixture contains all the flavours.
Boil a large pan of water (make sure your steamer sits snugly over the pan so no steam escapes) We used a bamboo steamer but a regular metal one works just as well.

 Take your ready made wonton papers and add teaspoon of whichever filling you want to the centre, then with a pastry brush or your fingers take the whisked egg and apply a light coat around all edges of the wonton paper, next bring all corners to the centre and make sure you don’t leave any gaps to the filling. Once your waters boiling place the wonton into the steamer, (not allowing them to touch) and steam for 4-5 minutes (allow 5 for meat)  ensure that no steam is escaping when steaming. If you like your wontons crispy you can also shallow fry in a centimetre of oil for 3-4 minutes or lightly brush with oil or egg wash and grill for 4-5 minutes on a medium heat. Steaming is definitely my preference though.

Friday, 8 May 2015

Friday Night is CURRY NIGHT

Black Bean & Mixed Onion Jalfrazi with Roasted Courgettes, Brown Rice & Red Cabbage Pickled Eggs
If you get cravings for spice like I do then this will really hit the spot. It’s also a much healthier alternative to a takeaway and although the paste can seem like a pain to make, you can cheat it and blend in a food processor which saves on time and won’t leave your arm aching. This hast to be a favourite dish when it comes to curry night and this definitely won’t disappoint.

Feeds 4-6
Preparation Time – 10 minutes
Cooking Time – 35-40 minutes

Ingredients –

For the paste add the following to a pestle and mortar -
2 Tsp cumin seeds – Lightly toasted
1 Tsp coriander seeds – Lightly roasted
1 Tsp Fenugreek seeds – Lightly roasted
2inch Ginger –Finely grated
2 Cloves of garlic – Peeled, crushed
Generous pinch of sea salt
1 Small green chilli (remove the seeds for less spice, leave for more)
1 Tbsp Coriander roots (washed)
1Tsp turmeric
1 Tsp Garam Masala
1 Tsp of Chilli powder
Big squeeze of tomato puree
Glug of groundnut oil

Curry Ingredients –
Glug of groundnut oil
1 Red onion – Cut in half then thirds
1 White Onion  – Cut in half then thirds
3 Ripe tomatoes – Roughly cut into segments
1 Tin of tomatoes
3 Round (or regular) courgettes – Sliced into segments

Brown rice –Allow 75g  per serving- Cook as per instructions

Garnishes -
Handful of coriander – Roughly chopped
2 Spring onions – Finely sliced (green end included)
Jar of pickled red cabbage
3 Free Range Eggs – Boiled and left in the pickled juice from the cabbage
1 Red Chilli – Finely sliced

Instructions –
Start by slicing the courgette and roasting in the oven on 190 degrees Celsius with a glug of groundnut oil and a sprinkle of salt. Roast until they start to crisp up. This should take around 15-20 minutes.

Next get the paste made – Start by adding all dry seeds to a frying pan and allow to lightly roast for between 30 seconds and a minute, you should really start to smell them once they start to heat up. Transfer to your pestle and mortar or food processor and muddle/blitz until they become a powder. Next add in the ginger, garlic, chilli, coriander roots and pinch of sea salt and muddle/blitz again until you have a smooth paste start to form. Finally finish it off by adding in the spices followed by the tomato puree and oil.

NOTE – You can store this in an air tight jar for 2-3 days if you don’t want to use straight away.
Once your paste is ready add a glug of groundnut oil to a large pan and add in the onions, fry over a medium to high heat for a minute or so then add in your curry paste and gently cook off for a few minutes. Next add in the fresh tomatoes (saving one to add in just before you serve) pour in the tinned tomatoes and allow to cook for around 20-30 minutes on a medium heat. Add in the courgettes once everything is cooked or just before you’re about to serve.
Cook the rice as per instructions timing it so it’s ready when alongside the curry.

For the garnishes boil the eggs for around 4 minutes so they’re hard boiled before peeling and allowing  to cool. Next place in a bowl of the vinegar from the red cabbage leaving for as long as possible to ensure they take the colour in. Be sure to turn them if they’re not completely covered and so the colouring is even. Prepare the remaining garnishes as noted, roughly or finely slicing and sprinkle over when serving.

For more recipes go to my brand new website -