Category Archives: quick meals

Spiced cauliflower with Bill’s ginger pachadi

Part of the flowering greens family, which also includes  “regular”, tenderstem and purple sprouting broccoli and romanesco, cauliflower is available pretty much all year round but at its best in winter.

Although delicious and popular, there are more ways to prepare cauliflower than covered with a cheesy bechamel sauce.

Try adding lightly cooked cauliflower florets to macaroni cheese next time, or bake sprinkled with a mixture of wholemeal breadcrumbs and Parmesan.

When buying, look for caulis with white, tight heads; avoid if discoloured or if they smell strongly.

Cook all varieties as lightly as possible to avoid the unpleasant sulphurous smell and to retain nutrients.

Brown basmati rice is rich in vitamin B and has a low GL (glycemic load) score which means that the energy is released slowly into the bloodstream to help keep your blood sugar levels even.

Broccoli contains substances called sulphurophanes, which have been shown to help remove liver toxins and support the immune system. The combination of ginger, in the recipe below, and the cauliflower is packed with antioxidants.

Sesame seeds are a good source of omega-6 fats and, toasted, have a delicious nutty flavour.

In the delicious and easy recipe below I have used ginger pachadi from Bill’s Produce Store to add an exotic touch to cauliflower.


Pachadis are spice mixtures, popular in South India: use them like I have done here, to flavour vegetables, mix into natural yoghurt and use as a dip or marinade for meat or fish.

This meal, which is really quick to prepare and can be on the table in minutes, serves 2 as a wholesome, vegetarian main course.

This is what you need:

2 generous handfuls of cauliflower florets, cut into bite-size pieces

1 heaped tbsp of Bill’s ginger pachadi

2 tsp turmeric dissolved in 100ml of hot water

1/2 tsp chilli flakes

juice of 1/2 a lime

1 tbsp toasted sesame seeds (toast in a dry, hot frying pan until seeds begin to pop + colour – watch closely as they can burn quickly!)

1 tbsp sunflower oil

2 large free-range hen (or try duck for a wonderfully rich, creamier taste) eggs

half a small bunch of coriander

wholegrain basmati rice, cooked according to the instructions on the packet

This is what you do:

  1. heat the oil in a non-stick frying pan over medium heat
  2. add the cauliflower florets and stir-fry for 2 minutes
  3. add the chilli flakes and ginger pachadi and stir in to mix
  4. add the hot water with turmeric  and lime juice
  5. simmer for 2 minutes; the liquid will almost disappear
  6. in the meantime, break the eggs in a bowl and beat lightly
  7. pour the eggs into the cauliflower mixture, stirring around for 30 seconds or so until the eggs scramble
  8. sprinkle with a ltlle bit of sea salt, chopped coriander + sesame seeds
  9. eat immediately – with the wholegrain basmati rice

Bon appetit!

Monique x



Dinner menu w/c 27th of September


Baked chicken thighs with roast tomatoes, Puy lentils and salsa verde


Rose harissa griddled salmon, Persian spiced pilaf, runner beans and minted yoghurt


Chilli tofu, sweet potato & broccoli soba noodle stir fry with toasted sesame seeds


Sticky lemongrass & turkey patties, basmati rice and sugar snap peas


Baked cod cheeks with spinach, tapenade & tomatoes, service with Roseval potatoes


Aromatic chicken with apricots, couscous and courgettes


Baked pancakes with chestnut mushrooms + Gruyère,  little gem salad


Rigatoni with Chianti baked beef meatballs, rocket & Parmesan salad


Honey roast chicken, lemon + rosemary potatoes, wilted greens with horseradish

Dinner menu w/c 13th of September


Spiced baked chicken thighs with preserved lemon yoghurt, runner beans and basmati rice


Sausages and lentils with wilted spinach and sweet & sour figs


Seabass fillets in “crazy water”, served with butterbean mash


Butternut squash, tomato and spinach curry, basmati rice and toasted almonds


Salt cod + sweet potato fish cakes with a red pepper sauce, little gem lettuce salad 


Baked buttermilk chicken fillets with a herb crust, creamy honey and mustard sauce, broccoli and Charlotte potatoes


Tagliatelle with Chianti baked Aberdeen Angus steak meatballs, rocket  + Parmesan salad

Classic comfort food: smoked haddock au gratin

Now that the nights are definitely chillier but the days still sunny and warm, my cooking these last few weeks has been nudging towards light  but warm comfort food.

Smoked haddock and cream are natural bed fellows and the crusted brown bits around the outside of the gratin dish are one of life’s small pleasures.

Please do buy undyed, line-caught fish, from a sustainable source.

The haddock is an excellent low-fat source of protein and iodine, a trace mineral needed for healthy functioning of the thyroid gland and the production of thyroid hormones. The spinach provides a useful amount of antioxidants, including vitamins C and E.

 Nutritional analysis







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Serves 2

This is what you need:

350g undyed smoked haddock

225g spinach, washed and woody stalks removed

4 tbsp half fat creme fraiche

pinch of cayenne pepper

couple of gratings of fresh nutmeg

2 tsp Dijon mustard

1 tbsp lemon juice

4 tbsp freshly grated Parmesan

4 tbsp breadcrumbs

black pepper

butter to grease the gratin dish

This is what you do:

  1. pre-heat the oven to 190C/gas mark 5
  2. remove the skin from the haddock; make a small cut at the tail end so that you can grip the skin
  3. and then just pull the skin off in one movement!
  4. check the fillet for small bones – which, if left behind, can really spoil the eating quality and pleasure of this dish
  5. butter an ovenproof gratin dish
  6. quickly wilt the spinach in a large pan over high heat with a drop of water and the lid clamped on
  7. drain in a colander, squeezing it with your hands to get the water out
  8. drape the spinach over the bottom of the gratin dish
  9. place the fish on top
  10. whisk the cream, spices, mustard, lemon and grated Parmesan
  11. pour evenly over the fish
  12. scatter with the breadcrumbs, season with pepper and dot with a few scrapes of butter
  13. bake for 20-25 mins of until the fish is cooked through and the crumbs are nicely golden; the cream will be bubbling and starting to catch the edges of the gratin dish
  14. serve with some boiled potatoes or a simple green salad

I am feeling cosy just writing this …



Dinner menu w/c 16th of August


Jerk chicken skewers with coconut basmati rice, peas & beans


Baked plaice with tapenade, wilted spinach & tomatoes, served with rice


Baked buttermilk chicken with a herb crust, creamy mustard sauce, runner  beans and Charlotte potatoes


Rose harissa beef fillet, Persian spiced pilaf and sugar snap peas


Italian sausages with roast red onions, capers and soft polenta


Chermoula pollack fillets with roast sweet peppers, lemon & mint couscous


Sticky lemon & ginger chicken, Cosmati rice and tenderstem broccoli

Dinner menu w/c 26th of July


Crab cakes with red pepper dressing, Charlotte potatoes and a watercress salad


Sticky lemon & ginger chicken, basmati rice and stringless green beans


Spiced lamb meatballs, coconut rice ‘n beans, pilli-pilli sauce


Courgette, sweetcorn & gram flour fritters with a tangy tomato sauce, wholegrain rice


Baked salmon fillets, spiced lentils with wilted spinach, minted yoghurt