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August 2014 Archives

cooking babaganoosh with herbed yoghurt and walnuts

August 22, 2014

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This is a really nice way to enjoy babaganoosh. Rather than just using it for scooping up with bread, make it part of a kind of middle eastern salad of sorts.

My babaganoosh recipe is here

The rest is just decoration:

Macerated red onion. Finely slice a red onion, and pour red wine or white wine vinegar over, leave for about half an hour

Toast some walnuts

Mix yoghurt or labne with some chopped mint, parsley, or whatever soft herbs you have. Season and add a little olive oil.

Layer the babaganoosh, yoghurt and pickled red onion, then sprinkle the walnuts and mint over. Would be really nice with lamb.

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cooking tarta de santiago (flourless almond cake)

August 19, 2014


This is an old school Galician almond cake. I think it’s invention was in the Middle Ages. The translation is cake of St James and it’s normally quite a religious looking confection, with it’s cross of St. James stencilled over the top in icing sugar. You can bake the filling in pastry, or have it as a cake, as it is here.

I choose to forgo the sugar cross, but apart from that the recipe is pretty true to the original. Oh except I swap almond essence for vanilla, because I think satan himself may have invented almond essence, horrible stuff.

This cake is flourless, so get stuck in if you’re gluten-free. It has a lovely sticky, nutty, cloudy crumb.

I like to serve it with macerated strawberries and thick cream. And amen, it’s delish.

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Make it!

- 250g whole almonds, blitzed in a processor until you get rubble-like almond flour

- 6 organic eggs, separated

- 250g caster sugar

- the zest of 1 orange

- the zest of 1 lemon

- 4 drops of vanilla extract

plus butter for greasing, flour for dusting, icing sugar for dusting

Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas4.

Butter and flour a 25cm diameter cake tin or line it with a paper cake liner. Traditionally this cake should be quite flat and wide, but I prefer a less wide tin because I like the stickiness you get from a taller cake).

Beat the yolks and sugar until they are pale and paint-like in consistency, so you can’t feel any sugar grains left. Add the orange zest, lemon zest and vanilla extract and ground almonds. Mix well.

Whisk the egg whites in a super clean mixer (wipe a lemon in the bowl to get rid of any grease) until really stiff. Fold through the almond mixture in two parts. The almond mix is quite thick, so you’ll have to work the egg whites in a lightly as you can. You should end up with a really voluptuous batter.

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Pour into your cake tin and bake for about 40mins. Leave to cool before turning out, and dust with icing sugar

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Once you’ve turned it out, turn it the other way over, so you get a nice even surface for dusting



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cooking quick aubergine parmigiana

August 17, 2014

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Most of the stuff I cook is like this — simple and vegetable based. Many dishes can be deconstructed (forgive the horrible word).

You just have to make sure they are properly seasoned and that the cheese is melted, not cooked, which turns mozzarella into rubber. For two, slice up one aub.

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Fry to colour

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Bake in a single layer with mozzarella and Parmesan

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You want to just melt the mozarella, so they only need about 15mins in the oven on 180

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Make a simple tomato sauce

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Toast some seasoned breadcrumbs in a little olive oil and grated garlic, just so they’re coloured. I got this ruddy great sack in Sicily, have a feeling it’s going to last years

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And layer up on the plate. Nice with salad, bread etc

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cooking pork n beans

August 16, 2014

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Don’t often cook pork because I’m not keen on very porky pork if you get me? Some pork tastes overly piggy, and perhaps it’s my Jewish roots reining me in, but I like my pork toned down a little.

Pork tenderloin isn’t very porky — it’s a milky, lean cut and a dream to cook. You just roll it in salt and peppery spices, pan fry on all sides, put it in the oven for about 15mins, then slice. Pork can take a lot of seasoning and spice.

I’m not going to insult anyones intelligence with including a recipe here, because I’m not saying this is even worthy of one, think of this as a chummy suggestion.

I rolled my pork in Chinese 5 spice and laid it on garlicky green beans, carrot ribbons and crushed peanuts. Quick and tasty it was.

Variations I think would be good for the spice rub and, errrr, mattress (you can’t say bed, it’s no longer 1997):

Chilli flakes and smoked paprika on stewed chickpeas

Crushed cumin and coriander seeds on Indian slaw

Fennel seed and dried rosemary with olive oil and butterbean mash

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Oh also, you could just salt and pepper it and have it on remoulade, that’s a gooden too :)


cooking victoria plum pudding

August 11, 2014

Tis the season to buy Victoria plums.


But if the ones you’ve bought are anything like the ones I bought this weekend, they’re a bit watery and sour. Good for nothing but stewing and topping with sponge. Which is exactly what this recipe is. Plum sponge - I like the way is sounds. Kind of olde Englishe. You can imagine a Tudor wench serving it up. Make it in a basin and spoon it out, then had with pouring cream.

This sounds wintery I know, but it’s hellish light. The plums don’t have shittonnes of sugar in, and the sponge is made with 00’ flour so it’s like eating a hot cloud.


Victoria Plum Pudding (serves 4)

Prep. Time: 15mins ** **Cooking Time: 30mins

  • a reasonable amount of plums, stoned and halved (sorry, didn’t weigh them at the time, maybe a pound or so)
  • 1 stem ginger (the stuff in syrup) grated
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 100g flour (I used 00)
  • 100g butter
  • 1 egg, beaten

Make it:

  • Butter a pudding basin and pre-heat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas4.
  • Stew the plums and ginger with a tbsp of sugar for 5 mins in a pan, until the juices start to leak out
  • Beat the butter and sugar until fluffy. The more you beat, the fluffier it gets.
  • Add a whole egg, beat in.
  • Fold in flour and add a tbsp of milk.
  • Place the plums in your buttered basin, spoon batter over the top. Bake for about 45mins or until the cake’s risen and is golden.