So you’ve got a little bit of time, and you’d like to make some bread. You love sourdough, but everyone talks about these mysterious ‘sourdough starters’ and you don’t have one of those.

Well, fear not! It is actually very simple to make a sourdough starter, and Chris Young, author of Slow Dough: Real Bread is here to talk you through it. All you’ll need is a bit of patience.

A plastic container with a lid is convenient for storage because if your starter gets frisky, the lid
will simply pop off, whereas a glass jar with a screwtop or metal clip seal could crack or shatter. The amount of flour you use isn’t important so we’ve started small, as instructions that tell you to throw portions of your starter away just seem wasteful. Please keep to the 1:1 ratio, though.

Daily: days one to five (ish)

30g/1oz/3½ tbsp rye flour

30g/1oz/2 tbsp water (at about 20°C/68ºF)

On each of the first five days, put equal amounts of flour and water into your container, mix, close and leave at room temperature (about 20°C/68°F) for 24 hours between each addition.

For the first few days, the mixture might seem lifeless and could smell vinegary or even a bit “off”. Don’t worry about this, as it should soon start bubbling and the smell will develop into something yeasty and maybe even floral. 

Day six (ish)

Once your starter is bubbling up nicely, you can use some to bake a loaf of Real Bread. Typically, this might be anything from four to seven days after you started, but could take a little longer. If it’s not bubbling by day six, keep repeating the daily flour and water addition until it is. Don’t worry if you end up with a layer of brownish liquid. This is just gravity working its magic and is normal. Either stir it back into your starter or pour it off. If your starter hasn’t been used for a while, the second option is probably better as the liquid (sometimes known as “hooch”) will have started to become alcoholic, which can slow the starter down and may also lead to less desirable flavours in your bread.

Caring for Your Starter

• Each time you use some of the starter, simply replace with an equivalent quantity of flour and water – this is usually known as feeding or refreshing. You also need to refresh on the day before a baking session.

• When refreshing, feel free to experiment with different ratios and total amounts of flour to water: a looser starter will ferment more quickly than a stiff one; refreshing more often or adding a large refreshment will dilute the taste and acidity.

• It’s a living thing (well, technically billions of living things) so get to know it. The acidity, flavour, aromas and speed at which starters work vary, so learn what’s normal for yours.

• Give it a name. You can’t call yourself a proper sourdough nut if you don’t – though I know some people strongly disagree with me on this one!

• Forget it. Unlike other members of your household, your starter will be forgiving of neglect. Though it will be happy to help you bake bread once a week or even daily, your starter can be left untouched at the back for the refrigerator for weeks or even months. The yeast and bacteria populations will decline over time but enough will live on in a dormant state. The longer you leave it, the longer it’ll take to “wake up” though and it might need a few days of refreshments before it’s up to full vigour.

• Unless you are using your starter every single day, keep it in the fridge, which will slow it down and reduce the frequency at which you need to refresh it. You just need to remember to take it out and refresh it the day before you intend to make a loaf.


To Convert Your Starter to Wheat

Although you can use the rye starter for wheat breads, you might prefer to convert it by replacing the rye flour in refreshments with wheat flour (white or wholemeal/wholewheat) until it is all wheat. Alternatively, you can use wheat flour from the word go: again, wholemeal/wholewheat will give you a better chance of success. Whether you keep separate rye, white wheat, wholemeal/wholegrain wheat, and even other starters on the go, or just one, is up to you.

Slow Dough: Real Bread is available now as an ebook or in hardback

Whether you’re taking part in Veganuary and looking for inspiration, or have been eating plant-based for ages and just want to freshen up your weekday menu, we’ve got some great books for you to check out.


Rose Elliot’s Complete Vegan 

Rose Elliot has been at the forefront of vegan and vegetarian food writing for over 35 years. In this book,
Rose gives readers a masterclass on vegan cookery, with over 150 recipes from basics including vegan milks, butters, cheeses and creams to breakfasts, labor-light midweek mains, spectacular dishes for entertaining and delicious desserts and baked goods.

The recipes range from the comforting and familiar like Vegan Macaroni Cheese to more exotic fare, such as a fragrant Aubergine Pilaf Cake. Following a vegan diet doesn’t mean missing out on your favourite foods!


Virtually Vegan

This modern collection unlocks a whole host of inspirational vegan dishes – with delicious suggestions of meat and dairy variations to add in the later stages for those who want it.

Try a classic breakfast of Vegeree (eggs optional), master the ultimate lentil and ale pie, or enjoy the flavours of a niÇoise salad (with or without fish). And with a dedicated, dairy-free baking section, learn how to make sweet treats that everyone can enjoy.

With over 120 delicious, flexible recipes, from Sort of Sushi to Almost Paella, rice pudding to pavlova, discover how easy it is to eat vegan (or not!) whenever you want.


The Best Gluten Free & Dairy Free Baking Recipes 


Grace Cheetham reveals how to perfect the art of baking without gluten and dairy. Try your hand at Thyme Biscuits or Olive & Rosemary Foccacia for a delicious snack, make a quick Fig, Rosemary & Olive Pizza for friends and family, or go for full-on indulgence and bake Chocolate & Beet Cake, Fondant Fancies or Passion Fruit & Coconut Cheesecake (or all three!)


You’ll find straightforward instructions carefully worked out to keep cakes moist, pastries and pies in once piece, and cookies with just the right amount of crunch. Grace offers up a whole host of delicious treats so that you don’t have to give up on one of life’s greatest pleasures.

From steaming to stir frying, deep-frying to braising and even smoking, I Love My Wok will show you exactly how versatile the wok really is. Showcasing over 100 delicious and nutritious recipes for all occasions, Nicola Graimes shows how one pan really can do it all.

To showcase these fantastic recipes we have chosen just three of our favourite recipes…

Golden Purses

Serves: 4, Prep Time: 15 minutes, Cooking Time: 25 minutes


1 tbsp. sunflower oil (plus extra for deep-frying

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

5 spring onions/scallions, finely chopped

5cm/2in piece of fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped

250g/9oz minced/ground chicken

2 tsp. Chinese rice wine or dry sherry

20 wonton wrappers

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Sweet chilli sauce, for dipping



  1. Heat a wok until hot. Add 1 tablespoon of oil, then the garlic, spring onions, ginger and chicken and stir-fry for 4 minutes until cooked through.


  1. Pour in the soy sauce and wine and cook, stirring for a further minute or until all the liquid has evaporated. Season to taste with salt and pepper.


  1. Place one wonton wrapper on a flat surface, keeping the others covered with a damp cloth. Put a tablespoon of the chicken filling in the middle of the wrapper. Brush the wrapper with a little water, then gather the sides up around the filling and pinch together to make a bag, enclosing the filling. Set on one side, covered with a damp cloth. Repeat with remaining wrappers and filling.


  1. Heat enough oil in the wok to deep-fry the filled wontons. When the oil is hot enough to brown a day-old cube of bread in 35 seconds, add 3-4 wontons and cook for 1-2 minutes until golden. Repeat with the remaining wonton.


  1. Serve immediately with sweet chilli sauce, for dipping.



Yakisoba Noodles

Serves: 4

Prep Time: 15 minutes

(plus 1 hour marinating time)

Cooking Time: 25 minutes




350g/12oz firm tofu, drained, patted dry and cubed

250g/9oz dried ramen noodles

2 tbsp. rice vinegar

1 tbsp. tomato ketchup

2 tbsp. vegetarian ‘oyster’ sauce

1 tsp. soft light brown sugar

1 tbsp. sunflower oil, plus extra for greasing

1 tbsp. sesame oil

5cm/2in piece of fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped

1 red pepper, sliced

1 carrot, sliced diagonally

2 courgettes/ zucchini, slice diagonally

250g/ 9oz Chinese leaves, shredded

6 spring onions/scallions, white and green parts separated, sliced diagonally

Handful of toasted sesame seeds


For the marinade:

3tbsp Japanese soy sauce

3 cloves garlic, finely chopped

2 tbsp. sweet chili sauce

3 tbsp. mirin



  1. Mix together all the marinade ingredients in a dish. Add the tofu and stir to coat. Leave for 1 hour, turning the tofu occasionally. Drain, reserving the marinade for later.


  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/ 350°F/ Gas 4. Put the tofu on a lightly oiled baking sheet and roast in the oven for 20 minutes, turning halfway, until crisp and golden.


  1. Meanwhile, cook the noodles following the packet instructions. Rinse, refresh under cold running water and set on one side. Mix together the rice vinegar, ketchup, oyster sauce and sugar in a small bowl and set on one side.


  1. Heat a wok until hot. Add the oils, then toss in the ginger, red pepper and carrot and stir-fry for 1 minute. Add the courgette/ zucchini, Chinese leaves and the white part of the spring onions/scallions and stir-fry for another 2 minutes.


  1. Mix the rice vinegar mixture and the reserved marinade together and add to the wok with the cooked noodles. Toss over a medium heat until combined and heated through, then serve with the tofu, sesame seeds and the green part of the spring onions/scallions sprinkled over the top.


Crispy Pork Balls with Spinach

Serves: 4, Prep Time: 20 minutes, plus 30 minutes chilling, Cooking Time: 20 minutes



500g/ 1lb 2oz. lean pork fillets, roughly chopped

2 birds eye chillies, deseeded and thinly sliced

5cm/2in piece of fresh ginger, peeled and chopped

Handful of fresh coriander/cilantro leaves, roughly chopped

2 sticks lemongrass, peeled and finely chopped

4 spring onions/scallions, chopped

4 tbsp. groundnut oil

3 cloves garlic, finely chopped

2 tsp. mustard seeds

½ tsp. chilli powder

500g/ 1lb 2 oz. fresh spinach, tough stalks removed

4 tbsp. Chinese rice wine or dry sherry

3 tbsp. light soy sauce

1 tsp. sugar

Juice of 2 limes

Salt and freshly ground black pepper.



  1. Put the pork, bird’s eye chillies, ginger, coriander/cilantro leaves, lemongrass and spring onions/scallions in a food processor and process to form a coarse paste. Season to taste with salt and pepper, then form into 16 walnut-sized balls and chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.


  1. Heat half the oil in a wok and fry the pork balls, four at a time, for 4 minutes, turning occasionally, until golden. Add more oil if necessary before cooking the next batch and keep the cooked balls warm while cooking the remainder.


  1. Wipe the wok clean; pour in the remaining oil and heat. Add the garlic and mustard seeds and stir-fry for 30 seconds, then add the chilli powder, spinach, rice wine, soy sauce and sugar. Stir-fry for 2 minutes, then add the lime juice. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve, topped with the warm pork balls.


Nicola Graimes is an award-winning cookery writer and former editor of Vegetarian Living magazine. She has written more than 20 books, including The Top 100 Recipes for a Healthy Lunchbox, The Big Book of Wok, The Big Book of Low-Carb Recipes, Veggienomics, The New Vegetarian Kitchen (that was chosen as one of OFM‘s Top 50 Cookbooks of the Year) and The Part-Time Vegetarian for Nourish.


‘I Love My Wok’ is available to buy from the 17th August 2017 from Nourish.

Matcha is the fine green tea powder, packed with antioxidants, that’s taking the world by storm! It’s combination of endless health benefits, and delicious subtle flavours is quickly making this miracle ingredient a staple for foodies around the world. From smoothies to salads, main meals to munchies, there’s more to matcha than just another cup of tea. So to help you discover how you can pack your diet with the power of green tea, we’ve selected three of our favourite recipes from Joanna Farrow’s Meet Your Matcha.

Kedgeree with Matcha Butter
This is a recipe for matcha lovers everywhere! Serve the matcha butter atop the hot veggie rice so it melts in deliciously.

Serves: 4, prep: 10 minutes, cook: 25 minutes

250g/9oz/1 1/4 cups brown
or white basmati rice
4 medium eggs
10 cardamom pods
65g/2 1/2oz/1/4 cup softened
slightly salted butter
1 tsp matcha
1 bunch of spring onions/
scallions, thinly sliced
100g/3 1/2oz/3/4 cup petits
pois or baby broad beans,
thawed if frozen
3 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
1/2 tsp ground tumeric
sea salt and freshly ground black
lime wedges, to serve



  1. Cook rice in plenty of boiling, lightly salted water for 10-15 minutes or until tender. Lower the eggs into a separate pan of gently simmering water and cook for 7 minutes. Drain the rice and eggs. Peel away the shells from the eggs. Crush the cardamom pods using a pestle and mortar. Pick out and discard the empty pods and lightly crush the seeds.
  2. Beat 40g (1 1/2oz) of the butter in a small bowl with the matcha. Heat the remaining butter in a frying pan and gently fry the spring onions/scallions for 2 minutes. Stir in the rice, peas or beans, cardamom, parsley, turmeric and a little salt and pepper, and mix well over a gentle heat for 3 minutes.
  3. Quarter the eggs, add to the pan and cook for a further 2-3 minutes to heat through. Transfer to warmed serving plates and spoon the matcha butter on top. Serve with lime wedges.

TIP! Nothing brings out the rich matcha flavour quite like butter. Any leftover matcha butter is lovely spread on toast, used for topping baked potatoes or stirred into rice. It’s definitely worth making double the quantity.


Rack of Lamb with Matcha and Pistachio Crust
Pretty pistachios and matcha make a crispy crust for simple roast lamb. Serve with traditional roast potatoes or buttered, steamed baby potatoes and a side of seasonal greens.

Serves: 2-3, prep: 10 minutes, cook: 30 minutes

25g/1oz/2 tbsp butter
2 shallots, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1/2 tsp finely chopped fresh
25g/1oz/1/4 cup pistachio
nuts, skinned if liked (see tip)
25g/1oz white bread, torn
into pieces
1 tsp matcha
sea salt and freshly ground
black pepper
1 French-trimmed rack of
lamb, 6-7 ribs
150ml/5fl oz/2/3 cup of
lamb stock
100ml/3fl oz/scant 1/2 cup
red wine
1 tbsp light muscovado/
brown sugar


  1. Preheat the over to 220C/425F/gas 7. Melt the butter in a small saucepan and gently fry the shallots, garlic and  rosemary for 2 minutes.
  2. Blend the pistachio nuts and bread in a food processor until finely ground. Add the matcha, the shallot mixture and a little salt and pepper, and blend to combine.
  3. Place the lamb in a small roasting pan, skinned side up, and pack the matcha mixture on top. Roast for 25 minutes if you prefer your lamb still pink in the middle, or an extra 10 minutes for well done. Transfer to a board and keep warm while you make the gravy.
  4. Add the stock, wine and sugar to the roasting pan,and bring to the boil, stirring. Boil for a few minutes until slightly reduced. Carve the lamb between the ribs and serve with the gravy.

TIP! Skinning pistachio nuts isn’t essential, but it does bring out their emerald greeness! Place the nuts in a bowl, cover with boiling water and let stand for 30 seconds. Rinse and drain. Rub between paper towels to loosen the skins, peeling away any that remain with your fingers.


Dairy-Free Green Tea Popsicles
For vegans as well as those avoiding dairy products, these popsicles have a great milky consistency and plenty of flavour. They are the perfect green tea treat for lazing on a summer’s afternoon – or as a good-for-you dessert. 

Makes: 8-10 popsicles, prep: 5 minutes, plus freezing

1 ripe banana
1 1/2tsp matcha
350g/12oz/1 1/3 cups
dairy free coconut yoghurt
100g/3 1/2oz/scant 1/2 cup
agave nectar or coconut
blossom nectar
100ml/3 1/2fl oz/scant
1/2 cup oat or rice milk
1 tbsp lemon juice








  1. Break the banana into pieces and add to a food processor. Add the matcha and blend to form a smooth puree.
  2. Add the yogurt, agave nectar or coconut blossom nectar, milk and lemon juice, and blend again until completely smooth, scraping down any mixture that clings to the side of the bowl.
  3. Transfer to a jug and pour into ice-cream moulds. You’ll probably have enough mixture to fill 8-10 moulds. Push a wooden lolly/ice cream stick down into the middle of each and freeze for several hours until firm.
  4. To serve, run the moulds under hot water until you’re able to pull the lollies out of the mould

Enjoy your matcha inspired dishes and take comfort in the knowledge that not only are you eating delicious food, but you’re also loading your body with anti-oxidising goodness!


Joanna Farrow is a food writer and stylist with a flair for food that does you good. She has worked as a freelance writer for several food magazines including BBC Good Food. Her previous books include Great British Bake Off: Bake It Better, 30-minute Vegetarian, Good Fast Family Food and Ready Steady Cook for Kids. Joanna’s new book Meet Your Matcha is available now. For further information visit her website.


This recipe is extracted from Vegetarian Food for Healthy Kids by Nicola Graimes.

Savoury scones/biscuits make a good alternative to the usual sandwich and these have been pimped up with the addition of cheese, apple and linseeds/flaxseeds. Spread them with butter or, to make them more filling, split in half and fill with cream cheese and slices of cucumber. To make a sweet version, leave out the cheese and stir in 2 tablespoons sugar instead.

Makes: 8
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 25 minutes

200g/7oz/1½ cups self-raising wholemeal flour, plus extra for dusting
½ tsp baking powder
1 tbsp ground linseeds/flaxseeds
50g/1¾oz/3½ tbsp chilled butter, cubed
1 apple, with skin, cored and grated
90g/3¼oz mature/sharp Cheddar cheese, grated
100ml/3½fl oz/scant ½ cup milk, plus extra for brushing


  1. Preheat the oven to 220°C/425°F/Gas 7. Line a baking sheet with baking parchment.
  2. Sift the flour and baking powder into a mixing bowl, adding any bran left in the sieve/fine-mesh strainer. Stir in the linseeds/flaxseeds.
  3. Using your fingertips, lightly rub the butter into the flour mixture until it resembles coarse breadcrumbs. Stir in the apple and Cheddar. Gradually, stir in the milk using a fork, then bring the dough together with your hands.
  4. Press out the dough on a lightly floured work surface, about 2.5cm/1in thick. Using a 4.5cm/1¾in cutter, stamp out 8 rounds.
  5. Place them on the prepared baking sheet and brush the tops with milk. Bake for 20–25 minutes until risen and
    golden. Transfer to a wire rack and serve warm or leave to cool completely.


Nicola Graimes
Vegetarian Food for Healthy Kids
£12.99, available from Nourish Books


This recipe of pistou from the book Top 100 Low-Carb Recipes by Nicola Graimes is a new take on the traditional soupe au pistou which is a specialty from the south of France, Provence to be exact and eaten in the summer months.

Low Carb Recipe 1


1 tbsp olive oil

1 leek, sliced

1 small carrot, finely chopped

1 stick celery, finely chopped

3 green beans, thinly sliced

700ml/11⁄4 pints/3 cups vegetable stock

150ml/5fl oz/2⁄3 cup pasta

1 bay leaf

30g/1oz/1⁄2 cup whole-wheat conchigliette (small shells) pasta

30g/1oz/1⁄2 cup canned cannellini beans, rinsed

sprig of fresh rosemary

salt and freshly ground black pepper

a few shavings of Parmesan, to serve

1 tbsp pesto, to serve


  • Heat the oil in a large saucepan and add the leek. Cook over a medium heat for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until tender. Add the carrot, celery and green beans and cook for a further 5 minutes.
  • Pour in the stock and pasta and add the bay leaf, stir well. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, half-covered, for 15 minutes. Remove the bay leaf and using a hand-blender or food processor, semi-purée the vegetables.
  • Return the bay leaf to the soup, add the pasta, cannellini beans, and rosemary and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat slightly and cook for 10 minutes or until the pasta is tender. You may need to add some extra stock or water if the soup seems too thick. Remove the bay leaf and rosemary and season to taste.
  • Divide between 2 bowls. Serve with the Parmesan shavings and a spoonful of pesto.

Top 100 Low-Carb Recipes

Nicola Graimes

Top 100 Low-Carb Recipes

£5.99, available from Nourish Books

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Water kefir from The Supercharged Green Juice & Smoothie Diet by Christine Bailey is simple to make and an effective way to support your gut health and give your immune system a boost as well. By blending in fruit and supercharged foods you create an amazing, healthy, fizzy smoothie.

Supercharged Diet 2



zest and juice of 1 lime

80g/2 ¾ oz fresh or frozen pineapple, chopped

1 tbsp lucuma powder

250ml/9fl oz/1 cup water kefir

1 tsp tocotrienols or oil of 1 vitamin

E capsule, plus the squeezed capsule

1 tsp probiotic powder

1 tsp manuka or raw honey, or coconut sugar

4 ice cubes


  • Put all the ingredients, except the ice, into a blender or food processor and blend until smooth and creamy.
  • Add the ice and blend to create a slushy drink.
  • Serve immediately.

Supercharged Green Juice & Smoothie Diet

Christine Bailey

The Supercharged Green Juice & Smoothie Diet

£10.99, available from Nourish Books

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Rich with coriander and watercress, and with fruity highlights, this intensely green smoothie from the book The Supercharged Green Juice & Smoothie Diet by Christine Bailey packs quite a punch. It will keep your body clean and help to remove toxins and waste material – a great smoothie to include in a detox or cleansing programme. Freezing the banana keeps the taste fresh and light.

Supercharged Diet 1



1 small banana

¼ tsp chlorella powder

¼ tsp wheatgrass powder

1 tsp ground flaxseed

1 small handful of coriander leaves

1 small handful of watercress leaves

¼ mango, peeled and chopped

100ml/3½fl oz/generous

1/3 cup coconut water or water


  • Chop the banana and put it into a freezer bag.
  • Exclude all the air, then seal and freeze overnight or until solid.
  • Put the banana into a blender or food processor and add the remaining ingredients.
  • Blend until smooth and creamy.
  • Serve immediately.

Supercharged Green

Christine Bailey

The Supercharged Green Juice & Smoothie Diet

£10.99, available from Nourish Books

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Our Associate Publicist Jillian reviews the Sea Bass With Spiced Caramelized Onion Rice’s recipe, taken from Bethany Kehdy’s The Jewelled Kitchen. This fragrant dish called seeyadeeyeh is a family favourite. It was handed down to Bethany’s  Aunt Amale by her grandmother, finally making its way into Bethany’s repertoire. The author’s grandmother grew up along the coast of Batroun where her family’s picturesque restaurant, Jammal, still stands overlooking the water grottos where she once swam. This recipe is a homage to her sea-loving soul.

Sarka Babicka


Serves: 4

Preparation time: 20 minutes

Cooking time: 50 minutes


whole sea bass, about 500g/1lb 2oz, cleaned and scaled

120ml/4 floz/½ cup sunflower oil

4 onions, thinly sliced

2 tbsp ground cumin

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp ground allspice

200g/7oz/1 cup medium-grain rice

2 tbsp pine nuts

2 tbsp olive oil

3 tbsp finely chopped parsley leaves (optional)

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

lemon wedges, to serve

Tarator (see page 220), to serve


  • Cut off the fish head and season it with salt. Set aside the remaining fish. Heat the sunflower oil in a heavy-based frying pan over a medium heat. When the oil begins to sizzle, add the fish head and fry for about 5 minutes on each side. Remove the fish head and set aside.

JK Blog post prep

  • Add the onions to the pan and fry for about 5 minutes until golden, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat and transfer the onions to a plate lined with paper towels. Spread three-quarters of the drained onions evenly across the base of a heavy-based saucepan. Place the pan over a low heat, add the fish head and cover with 500ml/17fl oz/ generous 2 cups water. Add the cumin, cinnamon and allspice, and season to taste with salt. Cover, increase the heat to medium-high and bring to the boil, then remove the fish head and reserve.
  • Add the rice to the pan, reduce the heat to low and cook, covered, for about 30 minutes or until the rice is tender and the water has been absorbed.
  • Preheat the oven to 200˚C/400˚F/Gas 6. Meanwhile, toast the pine nuts in a heavy-based pan over a medium heat for 1–2 minutes until golden and fragrant, shaking the pan often.
  • Put the uncooked fish in a baking dish, season to taste with salt and pepper and drizzle with the olive oil. Bake for 20 minutes or until the fish flakes easily when pushed with a fork. Divide the fish into four equal portions.
  • Transfer the cooked rice to a dish, stand the fish head in the centre, if you like, and arrange the fish portions on top of the rice. Add the remaining caramelized onions and the toasted pine nuts to the dish.
  • Sprinkle with parsley and serve the dish with the lemon wedges and Tarator.

Our Associate Publicist Jillian reviews this delicious recipe:

JK blog final

In my excitement at this week’s publication of The Jewelled Kitchen, I wanted to celebrate by making one of Bethany’s delightful dishes for a dinner party.

To complement the hot summer weather in London right now I decided to go for something light and fresh, and this fish dish felt the like perfect match. I especially liked that Bethany describes it as an ‘homage to her [grandmother’s] sea-loving soul’- thoughts of the sea, breezy and refreshing, felt like the right thing to channel on a sticky summer night!

Unfortunately I was unable to source a whole sea bass at my local Co-Op across from the tube station, so I settled for salmon instead, and made it alongside the moreish caramelized onion rice.

The rice took no time to cook, and was easily made at the same time as the fish. While both were cooking away I got to work on caramelizing the onions and toasting the pine nuts. The two ingredients go together perfectly- the nuts all toasty with their depth of flavour, and the onions sweet and rich. The golden brown colour that both reach when cooked match each other perfectly in this sumptuous dish. I mixed the onions and pine nuts into the rice, and sprinkled with chopped parsley to add a pop of freshness and colour to the dish, and the colours and flavours mingled beautifully- deep brown and bright green, and rich flavours offset by bursts of brightness.

I served the rice alongside my salmon substitute, as well as some asparagus sautéed in butter, garlic, and lemon. With a glass of crisp white wine on the side, this made for a delectable summer soiree meal.

Jewelled Kitchen

Bethany Kehdy
The Jewelled Kitchen
£14.99, available from Nourish Books





These little cakes from the book Healthy Speedy Suppers by Katriona MacGregor are free of gluten and dairy if you’re sensitive to either. The quinoa gives them a firm, nutty texture, which is delicious with the fresh herbs and courgette/zucchini. Dipped in a little garlic mayonnaise, chilli jam or tomato chutney, they’re wonderful.

Healthy Speedy Recipe 2


Serves: 4


140g/5oz/1 cup quinoa

300g/10 ½ oz courgette/zucchini, grated

3 spring onions/scallions, sliced

1 garlic clove, crushed handful of mint leaves, shredded handful of parsley leaves, chopped

10 sun-dried tomatoes, chopped juice of ½ lemon

55g/2oz/ ½ cup cornflour/cornstarch

1 egg

rapeseed/canola oil, for frying

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

garlic mayonnaise, chilli jam or tomato chutney, to serve

green salad, to serve


  • Tip the quinoa into a small saucepan and cover with 300ml/10 ½ fl oz/ 1 ¼ cups of cold water. Bring to the boil, cover with a lid and cook for about 5 minutes until all the water has been absorbed and the quinoa is cooked. Turn out into a bowl and leave to one side to cool.
  • Meanwhile, place the grated courgette/zucchini in the bowl of a food processor with the spring onions/scallions, garlic, mint, parsley, sun-dried tomatoes, lemon juice and cornflour/cornstarch. Crack the egg straight into the mixture, add the quinoa, and season with salt and pepper. Blend for about 30 seconds to mix the ingredients thoroughly and to form a thick paste. Tip the mixture out into a bowl and taste to check the seasoning.
  • Heat about 5mm/1/4 in rapeseed/canola oil in a large frying pan until the oil is hot enough to sizzle loudly when you drop in a tiny bit of the courgette/ zucchini mixture.
  • Drop a heaped tablespoon of the mixture into the hot oil, flattening slightly with the back of the spoon to form round patties. Repeat until you have 3–4 cakes in the pan at the same time, or as many as your pan will fit comfortably, with room to turn.
  • After 3–4 minutes the underside of the cakes should be nicely golden and holding their shape. Gently flip them over and cook until the second side is golden. Lift the cakes out of the oil onto some paper towels and keep warm. Repeat until all of the mixture has been used; you should end up with 12–14 cakes.
  • Serve the cakes warm with green salad and your choice of dip.

Part-time variation:

  • To make a very quick garlic mayonnaise or aioli, add 2 crushed garlic cloves to 4 tbsp good-quality mayonnaise along with a squeeze of lemon juice. Season with freshly ground black pepper and, if needed, a little sea salt.

Healthy Speedy Suppers

Katriona MacGregor

Healthy Speedy Suppers

£16.99, available from Nourish Books

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Summer and the Mediterranean go together like eggs and bacon (or just butter and eggs if you’re vegetarian) and here I’ve selected 6 of my favourite sun-soaked recipes that are light, vibrant and delicious. Bring them and friends together to make for a memorable lazy Eastern Mediterranean inspired lunch or late-evening alfresco gathering. Pop the arak open and enjoy.

Spinach & Labneh Dip
Booranis are a variety of yogurt-based dishes that are served as sides in Iran. They are cousins of mutabal, where yogurt is used instead of tahini. You can use any kind of green or vegetable instead of the spinach.

Serves: 4
Preparation time: 25 minutes, plus draining and chilling the yogurt and making the advieh, and the saffron liquid (optional)
Cooking time: 15 minutes

2 tbsp sunflower oil
2 small shallots, finely chopped
1 onion, thinly sliced (optional)
300g/10 oz spinach leaves
a pinch of Advieh 1
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
200ml/7fl oz/heaped  cup Greek yogurt or Labneh Dip (see page 221) a squeeze of lemon juice
1 tsp Saffron Liquid (optional)
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
warm Thin Flatbread or Toasted Triangles, to serve


1- Heat half the oil in a heavy-based frying pan over a medium heat. Add the shallots and fry for 8–10 minutes until soft and lightly golden. Transfer to a plate and set aside. Add the remaining oil to the pan and cook the sliced onion, if using, until golden and crispy. Set aside.

2- Meanwhile, put the spinach in a large saucepan and pour in 1l/35fl oz/4¹⁄³ cups boiling water. Cover and cook over a high heat for
1–2 minutes until it wilts. Rinse under cold running water, then drain well and squeeze firmly with the back of a spoon to extract as much liquid as you can.

3- Chop the spinach finely and add to the shallots. Add the advieh and garlic and season to taste with salt and pepper. Mix well and return the pan to a medium heat. Stir well, cooking for a further 2 minutes, then remove from the heat and leave to cool.

4- Position a colander over a bowl, and line the colander with two fine muslin cloths. Tip the yogurt in, join the sides of the cloth to create a pouch, and close by creating a tight knot. Squeeze the pouch and then leave it to sit in the colander as the whey drains for 10–15 minutes while the spinach cools. Discard the whey. Alternatively, if you have Labneh Dip on hand, you can use that.

5- Once the spinach mixture has cooled, transfer to a serving dish and mix in the yogurt. Add a squeeze of lemon juice, then taste and adjust the seasoning, if necessary. Put in the refrigerator for 1 hour to chill. Drizzle with saffron liquid and sprinkle with caramelized onion, if using. Serve extremely cold with warm Thin Flatbread.
Fattoush saladSarka Babicka
Fattoush is a bread salad that has become synonymous with the Middle East. It’s a good choice when you want to use up some soon-to-expire vegetables and stale bread. Bread holds a symbolic, almost revered, status in the Middle East. Growing up, I learnt that if I found a piece on the floor I should pick it up, kiss it and place it somewhere it would be appreciated. “Bread and penny never wasted”: the idea is to make use of what is available and in season. Here is one of the many versions I’ve made over time.

Serves: 4
Preparation time: 10 minutes, plus making the toasted triangles

4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for serving
juice of 1  lemons
200g/7oz mixed green leaves
2 tomatoes, cut into thin wedges
2 small red onions, thinly sliced
100g/3 oz/1 cup radishes, thinly sliced
100g/3 oz/1 cup cucumber, halved lengthways and thinly sliced
2 tbsp finely chopped dill leaves
a small handful of parsley leaves
4 tsp sumac
75g/2 oz/5 tbsp pomegranate seeds (see page 216)
115g/4oz/⁄ cup feta cheese, crumbled
1 recipe quantity Toasted Triangles (see page 49)
1 ripe avocado
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
lemon wedges, to serve

1- To make the dressing, put the olive oil and most of the lemon juice in a mixing bowl and whisk together well. Adjust the sourness by adding  more lemon juice, if you like. (Note that the sumac will add a tang to the salad, so it’s best to err on the side of caution first and adjust the zing of the salad once it has all been dressed.) Season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside.

2-Put the mixed leaves, tomatoes, red onions, radishes, cucumber, dill and parsley in a serving bowl and drizzle over the dressing. Toss well, then sprinkle with the sumac, pomegranate seeds, feta and toasted triangles.

3-Cut the avocado in half, remove the pit and scoop out and dice the flesh, then add to the salad and gently toss again. Taste and adjust the seasoning, if necessary. Divide among four bowls and serve with lemon wedges and some extra olive oil.

Mussels in ArakSarka Babicka
Arak, very much the national drink in Lebanon, is nicknamed the “milk of lions”, most probably because when mixed with water to serve, it turns a milky white, but also because it was drunk by men, sometimes in the mornings, to show off their strength and masculinity. Arak is not traditionally used for cooking, but it works wonderfully in this dish, which has a double hit of anise from the Arak (use Pernod if you prefer) and tarragon. The flavour mellows nicely, leaving behind only the slightest hint of anise.

Serves: 4
Preparation time: 25 minutes
Cooking time: 12 minutes

2kg/4lb 8oz fresh mussels
45g/1 oz/3 tablespoons salted butter
2 shallots, very finely chopped
200ml/7fl oz/scant 1 cup Arak or Pernod
200ml/7fl oz/scant 1 cup
dry white wine
2 tomatoes, very finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 bay leaf
juice of 1lemons
3 tbsp tarragon leaves, finely chopped, plus extra for sprinkling
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
warm Arabic Bread (see page 217) or Potato Matchsticks (see page 218), to serve


1- Wash the mussels under cold running water, pulling off any beards from the shells (this should be done with a gentle pull in the direction of the “hinge”). Only do this just before cooking as this process can injure/kill the mussel, which is why some may not open after cooking. Scrape off any barnacles using the back of a sharp knife and discard any open mussels that don’t close when given a tap on the work surface.

2- Melt the butter in a large, deep, heavy-based pan over a medium–low heat, add the shallots and cover and sweat for about 3–4 minutes until soft and translucent. Pour in the Arak and wine and add the tomatoes, garlic, bay leaf, lemon juice, tarragon, and salt and pepper to taste, then stir and simmer for about 2 minutes until reduced by half. Taste and adjust the seasoning if needed.

3- Add 120ml/4fl oz/½ cup water if you find the broth too reduced, then add the mussels. Cover and cook for 3–4 minutes, shaking the pan gently until all the mussels have opened. Don’t overcook mussels, as they turn dry and tough. Discard any mussels that have not opened. Sprinkle with extra tarragon and serve with warm Arabic Bread or Potato Matchsticks.

Veiled Sea Bass with a Spicy SurpriseSarka Babicka
The inspiration for “veiling” these sea bass came from chef Greg Malouf, who “veils” quails using vine leaves. As I had an excess of bottled vine leaves, and a few sea bass defrosting, it seemed appropriate to marry them. The vine leaves lock the moisture in as the fish is steamed and they also lend a very subtle sweetness. If using fresh vine leaves, blanch them in boiling water for a minute, or until pliable.

Serves: 4
Preparation time: 20 minutes, plus making the preserved lemon
Cooking time: 25 minutes

1 handful of parsley leaves
1 handful of coriander/cilantro leaves
2 tbsp finely chopped dill leaves
1 tbsp peeled and roughly chopped root ginger
1 mild red chilli, deseeded and roughly chopped
1 wedge of Preserved Lemon (see page 212), rind rinsed and roughly chopped
8 garlic cloves, crushed with the blade of a knife
tsp ground cumin
6 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for greasing
4 sea bass, about 1.3kg/3lb in total, scaled and gutted
12 large bottled vine leaves, rinsed
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Couscous, to serve
lemon wedges, to serve


1- Preheat the oven to 190˚C/375˚F/Gas 5 and lightly grease a baking sheet with oil. Put the parsley, coriander/cilantro, dill, ginger, chilli, preserved lemon, garlic and cumin in a blender and pulse several times until you’ve made a rough paste, stopping to scrape the sides down as needed. Pour in 4 tablespoons of the oil and pulse once more to combine. Spoon the mixture into the fish cavities.

2- Season the sea bass with salt and pepper and rub with the remaining oil. Wrap each sea bass with 3 vine leaves, starting at the head and working all the way down, but leaving the tail exposed. Put the fish, seam-side down, on the baking sheet and bake for 20–25 minutes, depending on the size of the fish (the general rule is 7 minutes cooking time per 2.5cm/1in measured at the thickest part of the fish), until the fish is tender and cooked through. Serve with Couscous and lemon wedges.

Teta’s Smokey Musaqa’aSarka Babicka
The word moussaka, applied to the famous Greek dish, doesn’t actually have any meaning in the Greek language. Instead, it’s thought the dish came to Greece by way of the Phoenicians and then took on French influences (hence the béchamel sauce). Meaning “cold” or “chilled” in Arabic, musaqa’a is a humble vegetarian stew that is best served at room temperature.

Serves: 4
Preparation time: 30 minutes, plus soaking the chickpeas (optional)
Cooking time: 1 hour 5 minutes, plus cooking the chickpeas until they are just tender (optional)

1kg/2lb 4oz aubergines/eggplants
120ml/4fl oz/  cup olive oil
1kg/2lb 4oz beefsteak tomatoes
2 tbsp sunflower oil
1 onion, thinly sliced into rings
3 garlic cloves, crushed with the blade of a knife
125g/4 z/heaped  up dried chickpeas, soaked overnight and cooked until tender (see page 215), or 250g/9oz/heaped 1 cups canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed
tsp ground allspice
1 tbsp tomato purée/paste (optional)
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

To serve
Greek yogurt
mint leaves (optional)
Arabic Bread (optional, see page 217)
Vermicelli Rice (optional, see page 215)

1- Preheat the oven to 200˚C/400˚C/Gas 6. Partially skin the aubergines/eggplants, leaving strips of skin about 2.5cm/1in wide, then cut them lengthways into 2cm/¾in slices. Brush the slices on both sides with
6 tablespoons of the olive oil (or more or less, as preferred) and place in a 20 x 15cm/8 x 6in baking dish, overlapping as necessary. Sprinkle with a little salt and bake in the oven for about 20 minutes or until soft. Alternatively, preheat the grill/broiler to medium-high and grill/broil the prepared slices for about 5 minutes on each side or until softened and lightly browned. Transfer to a plate and set aside.

2- Core the tomatoes and score the bottoms with a sharp knife. Put them in a heatproof bowl. Pour over enough boiling water to cover and leave for 1 minute, or until the skins begin to peel. Drain the tomatoes and plunge into cold water to stop them cooking, then peel off the skins and discard. Cut the tomatoes in half, scoop out and discard the seeds, then slice the tomatoes into 5mm/¼in thick slices.

3-Heat the sunflower oil in a heavy-based saucepan over a medium heat. Add the onion and garlic, then cover and sweat for 4–5 minutes, stirring often, until translucent. Add the tomato slices and chickpeas in layers, seasoning each layer with a pinch of allspice, salt and pepper. Cover with about 250ml/9fl oz/generous 1 cup water. If the tomatoes are not a rich red colour, then add the tomato purée/paste for more depth of flavour and colour. Cover the pan and bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to low and leave to simmer for 20 minutes.

4- Add the cooked aubergine/eggplant slices on top of the stew in layers, overlapping if necessary. Gently press them down just enough so that they are lightly covered by the tomato broth. Cover and cook for another 20 minutes. Remove from the heat, uncover and leave to cool down to room temperature. Serve with the yogurt and with mint for sprinkling, Arabic Bread and Vermicelli Rice, if you like.

Wild Orchid Ice Cream in Filo cups
Salep flour, which gives this ice cream its light and elastic consistency, is milled from the dried tubers of a species of wild orchid found in the Anatolian plateau. These tubers apparently resemble the testicles of a fox, and this gave the flour its name! It’s widely thought to be an aphrodisiac.

Serves: 6
Preparation time: 40 minutes, plus freezing
Cooking time: 15 minutes

700ml/24fl oz/2 cups whole milk
2 tsp salep flour or cornflour/cornstarch
tsp mastic powder or about
2 small mastic tears ground using
a pestle and mortar, or xanthan gum
175g/6oz/scant 1 cup caster/superfine sugar
1 tsp rosewater
2 tbsp roughly chopped shelled unsalted pistachios, plus extra for sprinkling
3 sheets of filo/phyllo pastry
40g/1 oz/3 tbsp butter
dried edible rose petals, to decorate (optional)

1- Pour 350ml/12fl oz/1½ cups of the milk into a small mixing bowl, add the salep flour and mastic powder and stir to dissolve.
2-Place a large pan over a medium heat, add the remaining milk and the sugar and whisk well to dissolve. Bring the mixture to the boil, then gradually pour the salep and milk mixture into the hot milk as you continue to whisk vigorously, gently simmering the mixture over a low heat for 5 minutes. Make sure the mixture does not rise up in the pan and then overflow.
3- Remove the pan from the heat and mix in the rosewater and pistachios. Transfer to a freezer-safe mixing bowl and leave to cool completely, then chill in the refrigerator.
4-Once the mixture has chilled, transfer to the freezer for 45 minutes, then remove and whisk well to break up all the ice crystals while incorporating as much air as possible to yield a creamier, fluffier end result. Return to the freezer for 30 minutes, then remove and repeat the process again, breaking up all the ice crystals that have developed. Repeat two or three more times until completely frozen. This should take about 8 hours. You may find that your whisk can no longer do the job as the ice cream hardens, in which case a spatula is a good substitute.
5-Preheat the oven to 180˚C/350˚F/Gas 4. Remove the sheets of pastry from their packaging and cover them with a damp dish towel.
6-Melt the butter in a small saucepan and lightly brush six cups of a muffin pan with some of it. Brush one pastry sheet with more melted butter, add another layer on top, brush that one with butter and then repeat with the final layer. Slice the stack into six 15 x 13cm/6 x 5in rectangles, then gently press these rectangles into the greased muffin pan so that they form cup shapes.
7-Bake in the oven for 6–8 minutes or until golden brown. Lift the pastry cups out of the pan and leave to cool. Fill each cup with a scoop of ice cream and sprinkle with pistachios and dried rose petals, if you like.

Jewelled Kitchen

Bethany Kehdy
The Jewelled Kitchen
£14.99, available from Nourish Books


This recipe from Healthy Speedy Suppers by Katriona MacGregor, was given to the author by her good friend and fellow cook, Bella Thomas-Ferrand, it sings of indulgent Italian eating, both with its classic flavours and ease of preparation. A friendly greengrocer will find you figs, but failing that, good supermarkets have them out of season. After a few days in the fruit bowl and the help of sticky balsamic caramel they will be delicious. If sourdough isn’t available then any good-quality crusty loaf will work, the chewier and more rustic the better.


Serves: 4


6 tbsp balsamic vinegar

2 tbsp brown sugar

8 ripe figs

2 tbsp pine nuts

8 slices of sourdough bread

2 garlic cloves, peeled

extra virgin olive oil, for drizzling

8 slices of prosciutto

100g/3 ½ oz Gorgonzola cheese, crumbled

handful of rocket/arugula

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


  • Pour the vinegar into a small pan, add the brown sugar and heat gently. Once the sugar has dissolved, turn the heat up and simmer rapidly until the liquid is reduced and syrupy.
  • Slice the figs into quarters, vertically through their stalks, and place cut side down in the balsamic syrup. Cook over a medium heat, with the syrup bubbling, for 1–2 minutes, then turn the fig quarters, spooning the liquid over the figs. Remove the figs to a small plate, then boil the remaining syrup until reduced to a thick glaze.
  • Meanwhile, toast the pine nuts in a small frying pan for 1–2 minutes until lightly coloured, then leave to one side. Toast the sourdough on both sides using a griddle/grill pan or alternatively under a grill/broiler. Rub the garlic cloves over the toasted bread, then drizzle with olive oil.
  • While the bread is still warm, top each slice with 2 slices of prosciutto, followed by the caramelized figs, Gorgonzola and a drizzle of both the balsamic glaze and some more extra virgin olive oil. Scatter over the rocket/arugula and pine nuts and grind over some salt and pepper.

Healthy Speedy Suppers

Katriona MacGregor
Healthy Speedy Suppers
£16.99, available from Nourish Books




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