½ Courgette – Cut in half ad thinly sliced into strips – Lightly fry
before adding to the pancake mixture
½ Red onion – thinly sliced into half moons - Lightly fry before
adding to the pancake mixture
½ Spring onion – Finely sliced
Good dash of white pepper
Good glug of rapeseed oil
Asian Pickled Cucumber-
½ Cucumber – Thinly sliced into strips
2 Generous glugs of rice wine vinegar
½ Red Birdseye chilli (use a medium one for less heat)- Finely
Sliced- seeds removed for less spice
½ Tsp Palm sugar (regular sugar works too or honey for a healthier
Dash of white pepper
Squeeze of lime juice
Dipping Sauce –
2 Generous glugs of light soy sauce
2 Generous glugs of rice wine vinegar
½ Red Birdseye chilli- Finely sliced
1inch Fresh ginger- Bruised, peeled and finely sliced
Squeeze of lime
-If you prefer it a tad sweeter add ½ tsp of palm or regular sugar
Whisk the eggs and quinoa flour together so there’s no lumps then
add in the rest of the ingredients prepared as per instructions, leaving out
the rapeseed oil. In a griddle or frying pan add the rapeseed oil and heat
until super hot- you can test this by adding a tiny bit of mixture and when
it’s start sizzling it’s ready to go. Cook on a medium to high heat until golden
and crisp on the underside and cook through on the top.
As soon as the pancakes on get the prepared cucumber into the rice
wine vinegar mix and set to one side, ready to serve.
Tip – It’s great to get this made up in advance so that the cucumber
gets a chance to really pickle.
For the dipping sauce, prepare and thoroughly combine in a small
dipping bowl and you’re good to go. Don’t forget to have a taste to make sure
the flavours balance and adjust with soy or rice wine vinegar of necessary.
To start with you’re going
to need somewhere to stay....and I feel like I may well have found the gem of
the city. I’ve stayed here a few times previously taking my sister and her
friends there for her hen do (it was a stylish one) and not only is the
location perfect, the hotel itself is super on the
money. Simple but elegantly and stylishly decked out, we felt right at
home at Banys Orientals. Don’t expect room service but do expect four poster beds
and a minimalist palette of black, white and grey. I was concerned about
returning after six plus years, worrying it may have aged but that really
didn’t seem to be the case. In fact they had added a gorgeous, vibrantly
decorated restaurant on the ground floor which made up for the breakfast room
which was a little dark. The breakfast room served up a delicious array of
sweets and savouries and I think I may have well eaten my favourite (few)
slices of Spanish omelette there. The location leaves you pretty much on the
doorstep of Jaume 1, a ten minute walk to the beach and two steps from the
cobbled, charming streets of the Born district. Whichever way we turned we were
completely spoilt for architecture, charm, amazing bars and restaurants and
felt like we were pretty much in the centre of it all.
The main upshot is that for
the privilege of great accommodation, amazing location and more importantly
being surrounded by so many amazing eateries it costs between £110 and £140 a
night for a double room and only £20/30 more for a suite.
La Flauta – Traditional
Carrer d' Aribau, 23, 08011
Start with somewhere that
serves amazing pinchos (Catalan tapas).. this one came with a double
recommendation from foodie friends I trust. It’s a bit of a trek up past Las Ramblas
and beyond the university but worth the walk. We ate outside but on seeing inside
wished we ate at the bar. This place is bustling with a complete cross section
of people, some that seem to have been visiting the establishment for the
entire 30 years it’s been going and others that like us had been given a tip off. The majority of people were ordering everything from tapas, mains
through to dessert. A favourite looked to be the soft sponge cake with chocolate sauce
poured over it, another a generously sized Crème brûlée. We were too full to try either though! We were under
strict instructions to try the Huevos Cabreaos and were glad we did. Shoestring
fries with spicy tomato sauce topped with two fried eggs which are then mashed
and thoroughly mixed through everything by the waiter at your table. For really
great tapas and an amazing variety go here.
Crazy good, low key Mexican,
open all day serving up a variety of tacos and other Mexican treats. My
favourite were the pork tacos with crackling & homemade chilli coriander
sauce (which you get to add at will). Veggies aren’t forgotten here, as they’re
served up a black bean, sour cream and coriander option.
The enchiladas should
definitely not be missed either but be aware these are pretty generous in size
(we obviously over ordered and managed to pack it all down).
The Guacamole and homemade
nachos aren’t to be missed either, packed full of onion, tomato, chilli and
coriander with plenty of homemade rustic style nachos on the side. This hast to
be the best Guacamole I’ve had in a while.
The drinks list was pretty
strong too, we opted for the Michelada, a homemade blend of tomato juice with
an array of spices topped with your beer of choice and served in a salt rimmed
glass. Think bloody mary but way more refreshing and less heavy.
If you like a low key, buzzy
environment and food and cocktails with bold flavours then this is definitely a
must visit. I’d go back in a flash.
A favourite amongst locals
and mentioned across a fair few blogs this place was packed out the entire
night. In fact way before any other restaurant started to fill up as per
traditional Catalonian eating times. If you’re not strict on sticking to local
cuisine and looking for a place to satisfy your dumpling needs then look no
further. If you’re unable to grab a seat straight away they’ll chalk up your
name and you can head nearby for a drink. They offer a serious selection of
steamed dumplings plus hot and cold main courses and the craft beer offering
was pretty extensive too. Pull up a pew by the bar and catch the chaos.
We loved this place and
would head back in a heartbeat.
Vegetarian or not (and I’m
not) this is a delicious place to eat. Go and be impressed by the twists on
locally sourced dishes. This is a ‘Slow food’ with all ingredients produced on
site or very nearby in their garden. The wine list offers a variation between,
eco, bio and sulphate free and what they recommended was delicious. There was a
core ‘tapas’ style menu but also a more interesting daily, seasonally led menu.
We obviously over ordered from both. All dishes were varied and really well
thought out, this was a real find and a definite treat for my vegetarian man.
With both Asian and Italian influences to be found in broth style dumpling dishes
and purple potato gnocchi. ‘Give Peas a Chance’ was a highlight on the dessert
menu and definitely not to be missed if you’re going to make it through to
Carrer de Jerusalem, 6, 08001
restaurant is NOT to be missed if like me you live for Italian food. I always
have a moment of guilt when I eat outside of the local cuisine when on holiday however
if you mix it up a bit there’ll be a whole load more appreciation for when you
do. Where the city is so multicultural you’ll only be missing out if you bypass
the amazing variation of cuisines and you’ll most definitely be missing out
should you not go directly to Bacaro on arriving. The staff were super friendly
and helpful, the décor low key but authentic feeling. The wine list was great
and the chef especially friendly, even coming out of the kitchen to when talk
us through some additional vegetarian options. That said all of this was way
overshadowed by the food, we ate everything they told us to and loved every
bite. Plus it’s 2 minutes walk from the huge food market Mercat de la Boqueria. Bacaro has it all. Dream venue, dream location and dream food.
Jardi – Seasonal European
Plaça de Sant Josep Oriol, 1, 08002
of my favourite spots in the city. We stumbled upon it and returned several
times throughout our stay, El Jardin is a beautiful, quiet haven hidden away
from the tourist trail, tucked within the historic walls of what was once a
hospital deep within the gothic quarter.Serving up everything from coffees and
pastries through to wine and light lunches. The food was delicious, the salads
super fresh and interesting. The patatas bravas was served with a punchy aioli
and was particularly good as were the aubergine parmagiana and mussels. We
spent hours here, a completely relaxing well catered spot.
7 Portes - Traditional Catalan
Pg. Isabel II, 14, 08003
7 Portes is not just a restaurant it's a Catalan institution. First opened over 175 years ago, 7 Portes is open every day of the year dishing out the very finest in traditional Catalan and Mediterranean from lunchtime to the early hours. I'd advise booking ahead if you're keen to eat at a set time otherwise you can turn up and wait outside on the terrace for a table to come available. We were told an hour but were being ushered towards our table by a waiters in a white tux within 20 minutes. They serve up the best seafood in the city alongside simply presented meat dishes and traditional Catalan stuffed Cannelloni pasta. The real reason to go here though is for the Paella, large enough to share (i had one to myself) they have an extensive dedicated paella menu catering for every craving. You definitely need to plan a visit to 7 Portes when in Barcelona. You may even bump into an celeb or two, the walls are adorned with signatures of famous diners, we spotted the signatures of Robert De Niro, Gabriel G Marquez and Lou Reed.
This dish hast to be one of the
simple, small pleasures you need to enjoy from time to time. For me this is the
perfect brunch or lunch dish on a slow, lazy Sunday. Easy to make and delicious,
fresh and seasonal. Enjoy.
Preparation Time - 5-10 minutes
Cooking Time - 5 minutes
Smoked Salmon – Roughly torn into
Seeded roll or loaf – This one
has poppy seed which worked well – 1 slice/roll per person
Wild Garlic cream Cheese –
Handful of wild garlic – Roughly
Sprinkle of sea salt
Sprinkle of white & freshly
ground black pepper
Squeeze of lemon juice and ¼
250g Cream Cheese
Asparagus & Wild Garlic
8 Stalks of Asparagus (allow 2
per serving) – Ends removed
3 Endives – Ends removed and
leaves left whole
Handful of wild garlic
2 Larges glugs of extra virgin
Squeeze of lemon juice
Sprinkle of sea salt &
freshly ground black pepper
Start by muddling the wild garlic
with a pestle and mortar, add in the seasoning, lemon juice and zest followed
by the cream cheese and thoroughly mix. Lightly toast the bread or sliced rolls
so they’re slightly warm and crisp then generously coat with the cream cheese.
Evenly share the smoked salmon across each portion. Drizzle with extra virgin
olive oil and add a little extra seasoning.
For the salad, add the asparagus
to a non-stick pan and fry on a medium heat with a glug of oil for 2-3 minutes
being careful to not overcook so they remain crisp and fresh. Combine all
ingredients then drizzle the extra virgin olive oil and lemon juice over and stir
so all ingredients are evenly coated. Season and serve up alongside your smoked
salmon and wild garlic cream cheese toastie.
This is one from the book that I made up for my interview with the Times this week...could be more excited.
This is the perfect dish brunch or lunch dish to 'Cook for Company' any day of the week.
Muffin Tinned Huevos Rancheros
Preparation Time – 10 minutes
Cooking Time – 5-10 minutes
Feeds – 4-6
1 Pack of Tortillas - Each tortilla halved
Eggs - Allow one per person - Remove the majority of the egg
150g Pack of Lambs lettuce - Thoroughly washed
80g of Feta cheese - Crumbled
150ml of sour cream
Sprinkle of smoked Paprika
Jalapenos - Options for extra spice
Smoky Spiced Tomatoes Ingredients -
1 Large clove of garlic
400g Tin of good quality tomatoes
1/2 Teaspoon of smoked paprika
1 Sprinkle of oregano
Salt & pepper for seasoning
Cheesy GruyèreSauce Ingredients –
50g of Salted butter
2 Tablespoons of plain flour
1/2 Teaspoon of English mustard
350ml of semi-skimmed milk
Sprinkle of salt and pepper to season
70g of Grated Gruyère
Start by crushing and finely slicing the garlic and add to a medium
sized saucepan along with the tinned tomatoes, smoked paprika, oregano and
seasoning. Leave to cook on a medium heat while preparing the other
For the cheesy Gruyère
sauce start by melting the butter in a small saucepan on a medium/low heat.
Once it's fully melted add the flour and mustard and stir thoroughly until it
forms into a paste. Continue to stir for a minute or so then add the milk
gradually until the paste turns into a thick sauce. Next add the seasoning and
grated cheese and keep stirring until it starts to become a smooth, lump free
sauce. Continue to cook on a medium/low heat until ready to use ensuring you
stir it often enough so it doesn't stick or burn to the bottom of the pan...it
can easily happen.
To create your tortilla nests
first slice your tortillas in half before pressing each half into non-stick
muffin tin tray compartments (Be sure to butter the tin if you don’t have a
non-stick tray). You should be able to do 4-6 per tray. Next add a dollop of
the cheesy sauce followed by an egg yolk (removing the majority of the egg
white so that it doesn't spill over or out of the sides) It's easier to not
overcook your egg this way too. Repeat for each tortilla and cook on 180
degrees Celsius for 5-10 minutes until the tortilla starts to crisp and serve
so that the egg is still runny.
Serve with a garnish of lambs lettuce, a sprinkle of goat’s cheese,
a few dollops of sour cream, jalapenos and as much paprika as you like. Season
with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Roasted Round Courgette, Heirloom Tomatoes,
White Asparagus, Mozzarella & Black Sesame Pesto Platter
Feeds – 4-6
Preparation Time – 5-10 minutes
Cooking Time - 20-25 minutes
1 Round Courgette – Cut into 8 segments
2 Yellow Tomatoes – Each cut into 6 segments
2 Black Tomatoes – Each cut into 6 segments
3 White Asparagus – Cut in half then half again
Good glug of rapeseed oil
Sprinkle of seas salt & black pepper
1 Ball of good quality mozzarella – Roughly
Glug of extra virgin olive oil
NOTE- You can of course use the regular
versions of the tomatoes, courgettes and asparagus, this dish will be equally
Black Sesame Pesto –
1 Clove of garlic
1 Large handful of fresh basil leaves
1 Large handful of Parmesan – Finely grated
1 Large handful of black sesame seeds – Dry roasted
½ Zest of lemon
3-4 Generous glugs of good quality extra virgin olive oil
Garnish- Small handful of parsley (I used curly parsley)
Prepare the vegetable as noted then place on a
baking tray with a glug of rapeseed oil and add the seasoning. Roast on 190
degrees Celsius for 15-20 minutes or until they start to turn golden.
Next prepare the pesto by muddling the garlic,
basil leaves, Parmesan and sesame seeds until you have a smooth paste then add
in the olive oil and thoroughly mix. You can also you use a food processor. I
have a great Cuisinart mini processor that grinds and get the job done in no
Once the vegetables are suitably roasted and
ready to go, serve up on a large platter for everyone to help themselves.
Sprinkle the torn mozzarella over and then add generous dollops of the your
pesto plus an extra glug of extra virgin olive oil and add a few small sprigs
TIP -This is great served up with lightly
toasted sourdough, you can make your own DIY bruschettas.
There is no heartier, more warming or more
comforting a dish than this (unless you’ve packed it into pastry!) If you’re
willing to part with half a bottle of red wine (at least) then you’ll not be
able to get this dish wrong.The
cash you save with the cheap cut of meat can be spent on the wine. For the beef
use the best quality brisket you can find as it’s one of the cheaper cuts
available yet full of flavour. The better the quality the better the flavour. Think
rich, silky gravy with chunks of meat that fall apart plus whole shallots and
chestnut mushrooms. It’s the dream meal.
Feeds - 4-6
Preparation Time – 10
Cooking Time –
650g Brisket - Roughly
chopped into generous bite sized chunks with a thin layer of fat left on each
2 Tbsp plain flour
of sea salt and black and white pepper
Generous glug of
10-15 Baby shallots
– Peeled and left whole
1 Tbsp English
4 Cloves of garlic -
Crushed and roughly chopped
½ Bottle of red
1 Pint beef stock
2 Bay leaves
mushrooms – Left whole
6 Large spring
onions – Ends chopped off and left whole
Handful of parsley
– Roughly chopped
Pack of pitta
bread- Cut in half
Pot of Crème fraîche
Start by chopping
up the brisket and covering the meat with flour and seasoning until all sides of
the meat are well coated. Add to an ovenproof dish with a glug of rapeseed oil
and the shallots. Heat over a medium heat turning until all sides of the meat
are well browned.
Stir in the Dijon
mustard followed by the garlic and cook for another minute or so.
Pour in the red
wine and with a spatula scrape the bottom of the pan until all the hardened
flour disappears and starts to thicken the sauce.
Now pour in the
beef stock, add in the bay leaves, mushrooms and spring onions and cover with
either a lid or foil before transferring to a preheated oven and cook at 180
degrees Celsius for a minimum of 2 hours. I find that around the 3 or 4 hour
mark makes for the perfect bourguignon. Be sure you keep an eye on it and have
a taste every hour or so.
If you’re cooking
it for longer you may need to add a glug of water and if you’re wanting to
leave it in there to slow cook for 4-5 hrs then cook on 160 degree Celsius.
When you’re five minutes from serving,
warm your pitta bread in the oven for 2-3 minutes or until they just start to
turn crisp and golden, chop your parsley and have the crème fraîche at the ready.
Take one large serving of beef bourguignon
and spoon it into your half pitta, followed by a dollop of crème fraîche and a sprinkle
of parsley and you’re good to go…
If you’re lucky enough to have leftovers, try adding tin tomatoes and basil
taking this from bourguignon to Bolognese.
Courgette, Baby Carrot & Endive Salad with a Sweet Maple & Basil Dressing
dishes like this that make me excited to eat, I love tucking into any dish
that’s vibrant and bold in flavour. The key is to use good fresh, ripe produce.
Add a big ball of burrata or mozzarella to really give this dish the edge.
Bring on summer.
Preparation Time -
Cooking Time – 20 mins
Roasted vegetables -
2 round courgettes – Chopped
into segments- 6-8 depending on size
2 Handfuls of baby carrots
2 sprigs of thyme
Glug of rapeseed oil
Seasoning – Sprinkle of sea salt & black pepper
2 Endive – Broken into separate leaves
Handful of fresh radishes – Leave torn off and thoroughly washed
Handful of basil leaves
1 large carrot (I used purple) – Shredded / peeled / spiralized
1 Spring onion – Finley sliced into strips
2 Generous glugs of good quality olive oil
1 Small glug of maple syrup
Good sprinkle of freshly ground black pepper & Sea salt
3 Large basil leaves – Muddled into a paste then added to the
Start by pre heating your oven to 200 degrees Celsius, prepare the
vegetables as noted then place in the oven and roast for around 15-20 minutes,
until they start to golden.
Prepare the salad also as per instructions then transfer to a large
mixing bowl ready to add the dressing to.
For the dressing start by muddling your basil then add all
ingredients to a jar and shake until it’s thoroughly mixed. Have a taste and
adjust seasoning if necessary or add an extra glug of maple syrup for more
Once the vegetable have roasted, add these to the salad then
pourover the dressing and gently
mix so everything gets a good coating.
Note- Only combine the hot roasted veg with the salad if you’re
ready to eat straight away, the same goes with the dressing as you don’t want
the salad to wilt or go soggy.