Thymary Chicken & Couscous alla Peperonata

This vibrant dish is a collaboration of a classic Italian side dish peperonata and a rosemary & thyme infused chicken leg. Mixing the peperonata together with the couscous gives the side dish a new dimension. I find this dish a joy to cook and serve to my friends and family. When a dish can simply lift ones mood with not only it's beautiful flavours, but it's attractive colours, you know you have a winner...

Serves 4
-For the Couscous alla Peperonata
200g couscous
1 chicken stock cube
2 garlic cloves, finely sliced
3 red peppers
black kalamata olives
extra virgin olive oil

-For the Thymary Chicken Legs
4 chicken legs
1 lemon
4 garlic cloves
olive oil

1) Preheat the oven to 220C/ 430F/ gas mark 7. And preheat the grill/broil to the highest setting.
2) Dry the red peppers and rub them with olive oil and grill/broil until mostly charred, all over. Then let them cool.
3) In a oven proof tray add the chicken legs and  4 crushed garlic cloves, chopped rosemary and thyme, salt and black pepper. Rub everything together with some olive oil, making sure all the chicken is covered. Then grate a little lemon zest over the legs and pour half the lemon juice. Place in the preheated oven for 40/45 minutes, until the skin is crisp and golden. 
4) Meanwhile slice the chargrilled peppers lenghways and add them to a pan with olive oil and sliced garlic, on a medium heat. Stir gently, making sure not to break up the peppers. Add the black olives, parsley, salt and pepper. And gently stir again and cook for 5 minutes.

At this stage the peperonata could also be served on its own.
 5) In a large heat proof mixing bowl, add the couscous and crumble the stock cube over it. Add salt and black pepper, with a sprinkle of chopped parsley. Add enough boiling water to cover the couscous about 1cm high. Give it a little stir and cover with cling film for 5 minutes.
6) Fluff the couscous with a fork and add the peperonata and stir again with a fork, making sure everything is well combined.
7) Dress some rocket leaves with a little lemon juice and extra virgin olive oil and plate the thymary chicken and couscous.
8) Smile. And enjoy....

 *Cook's Tip: You can refrigerant the couscous alla peperonata and mix in some rocket leaves & small mozzarella pieces and voilĂ , it's transformed into a vibrant couscous salad. Even more of a reason to smile...


Lamb Biryani

One of the joys and advantages of living in London is the diverse amount of cultures and cuisine that come with them. I’ll never forget the excitement I had as I went to friend’s houses, after school and watch their mothers prepare dishes from such colourful and pungent spices. Indian cuisine, as well as others, has definitely become a prominent part in my culinary influence...

Serves 5/6
4 onions
6 garlic cloves, sliced
8 cm ginger, peeled and grated
750g lamb shoulder, cut into 4cm cubes
1/2 tsp saffron strands
1 tsp cardamom seeds
2 blade mace
6 green cardamom
2 black cardamom
1 tsp chilli powder
5 cm cinnamon stick
5 cloves
2 dried bay leaves
1 tbsp garam masala
3 green chilli, deseeded and sliced
200 ml Greek yogurt
coriander/ cilantro
groundnut oil
Salted Butter
450g basmati rice

1) In a small bowl add the saffron strands with 2 tbsps of hot water and a small knob of butter. Stir until the butter melts and the colour from the saffron has released and set aside.
2) Finely slice 2 onions and place them on some kitchen towel and sprinkle some salt to release their moisture and leave them for 20mins.
3) Meanwhile, using a pestle and mortar, pound the blade mace and cardamom seeds into a fine powder and set this aside also.
4) Squeeze all the excess moisture from the sliced onions and deep fry them in a small pan until they have become golden and drain them on kitchen towel and set aside. 
5) Put half of the fried onions into a food processor with 4 tbsps of hot water and make a puree.
6) In a mixing bowl add the diced lamb and the grated ginger, sliced garlic, chilli powder and onion puree and mix altogether until all the meat is coated. And leave to marinate for 1 hour.
7) Dice the remaining 2 onions and put them in a pan with 6 tbsps of groundnut oil and place on a medium heat for 5 mins, until the onions have soften but not coloured. Then add the cinnamon stick, green cardamoms, black cardamoms, cloves and bay leaf and fry for 30 seconds, until you have a warm aroma.
8) Add the lamb, with all its marinade, and the garam masala, green chilli's and yogurt. Give it a good stir, cover and leave to simmer for 45 mins, turning occasionally.
9) Meanwhile, rinse the rice alternating from hot and cold water, until the water runs clear. Fill with cold water and leave to soak for 20 mins.
10) Preheat the oven to 160C/ 320F/ gas mark 3.
11) Drain the rice and add hot water and bring to the boil for only 5 mins, then drain, so the rice is only half-cooked.
12) In a oven proof pan, put half of the hot meat and cover with half of the rice. Add half of the finely sliced coriander, the pounded blade mace and cardamom seeds and half of the leftover fried onions. 
13) Repeat the process, by putting the rest of the meat mixture and cover that with the rest of the rice. Sprinkle the rest of the pounded blade mace, coriander and fried onions. Then spoon over the saffron liquid in random swirls and add small knobs of butter all around the top. Place a cut out greaseproof circle on top and cover with the lid. Bake for 45mins.


Indian 16 Jar Set- Save 10%  


Tiramisu della Nonna

This idealistic Italian dessert may be quite popular but it resonates special memories of my Nonna (grandmother) and I.  I have an abundant amount of memories of my Nonna and I cooking and laughing in the kitchen and making this classic dessert still reminds me of those times as a little girl.

Serves 6
1 vanilla pod or 1tsp vanilla extract
3 egg yolks
250g mascarpone
50g caster sugar
250ml lightly whipped double cream
2 tbsp rum
2 tbsp Tia Maria
350ml strong fresh coffee, cooled
350g sponge fingers, such as Savoiardi
2-3 tbsp cocoa powder

1) Slit the vanilla pod length ways, if using, and scrape the seeds with the tip of the knife.
2) Fill a pan half way with water and bring to a simmering boil. In a heat proof bowl add the egg yolks, caster sugar and vanilla seeds or extract and whisk over the slow simmering water.  Whisk until thick and creamy and the mixture is ready when a trail of foam forms as you lift the whisk.
3) Remove from the heat and leave to cool. Once cooled add the mascarpone and fold in the whipped cream and set aside.
4)  Mix the coffee with the rum and Tia Maria. Dunk the Savoiardi or sponge fingers quickly into the coffee, making sure that they are completely immersed. Note: if using sponge fingers leave in the coffee for only 1 second, or they will turn soggy. Arrange the biscuits in a single layer in a serving bowl and spoon over half the cream mixture.
5)  Repeat this process with another layer of dunked biscuits and another layer of cream. Sift over the cocoa powder in a even layer. Cover and refrigerate for at least 3 hours.



Fusilli alla Cacciatore

This recipe has a lot of elements to it, not only is it inexpensive to make but it is very versatile. You could simply make the sauce and leave the chicken on the bone and serve it with rice, or, you can change the basil for parsley and you'll have a completely diffrerent sensation. I personally tend to use more basil in the winter and more parsley in the summer, especially when it comes to tomato sauces.

Serves 4/5
4 garlic cloves, sliced
2 red peppers, 2cm slices
Olive oil
4 chicken thighs, with skin & bone
2x 400g Plum Tomato tins
500g Fusilli pasta
170g Mozzarella bocconcini
Black Olives

1) Preheat the oven to 220C/ 430F/ gas mark 7.
2) In an oven proof casserole pan, add 1tbsp of olive oil on a medium high heat and add the chicken thighs skin faced down. Leave to sear for 4/5 minutes until slightly golden and do the same for the other side and set it aside on a plate.
3) In the same pan, add 2tbsp of olive oil and add the sliced garlic cloves. After a minute add the sliced red pepper and cover for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally until the peppers has softened slightly.
4) Then add the plum tomatoes and seasoning to taste, stir well and leave to cook, covered, for 15 minutes.
5) Finely slice the basil, stalks only and add them and the black olives to the sauce, stir well and place the chicken thighs, skin face up, on top of the sauce, leaving the skins uncovered by the sauce.  Cover with the lid and place in the oven for 40/45 minutes.
6) Once the chicken to cooked, remove it from the pan and shred the meat from the bone. Dispose of the bones and add the meat back in the sauce with the rest of the basil and stir well and leave to rest. 7) Meanwhile, following the instructions on the pasta and cook accordingly.
8) Add the drained fusilli and the mozzarella to the sauce and stir enough to let the mozzarella melt. Serve immediately.


Mini Chocolate Pithiviers

My original memory for these mini chocolate pithiviers originates from a romantic stroll with my partner. These heavenly pastries were displayed so temptingly in a Parisian patisserie and we both had to try one.  After hunting down the recipe and making them various times, the memory never fades. Perfect with a hot drink, or a cold glass of milk, whichever takes your fancy...

Make 4 Pithiviers
50g roughly chopped dark chocolate
100g roasted almonds, preferably with skins off
100g golden caster sugar
40g salted butter
1 tbsp cocoa powder
3 egg yolks, 1 whisked with 1tbsp of water for glazing
1 tbsp dark rum
2 x ready rolled puff pastry

1) Heat the oven to 200C/ 390F/ gas mark 6.
2) To make the filling, whizz the chocolate, almonds, sugar and cocoa powder together in a blender until it becomes a fine crumb texture.Then add the butter, egg yolks and rum until it forms into a paste.
3) Cut eight 9cms circles from the pastry and lay 4 circles on a baking tray with baking parchment. Divide the filling into 4 circles and place on each pastry circle, making sure to leave a 1cm gap all around. Then brush the gap with the egg mixture and place the other pastry circles on top and enclose each pastry by pinching the two layers. Leave to rest in the fridge for 10-20mins.
4) After cooling, lightly score the pastry's with a knife in swirly patterns and brush them with the remaining egg mixture. Bake for 20-25mins until golden and puffed.



Tiger Prawn Stir Fry

Serves 4
500g Raw Tiger Prawns
2 Red Peppers
5 Spring Onions
A Broccoli Crown
2cms piece of Ginger
4 Garlic Cloves
1 Red Chilli (add to your preference)
Ground Nut Oil
Light & Dark Soy Sauce
Toasted Sesame Seed Oil
Rice Wine Vinegar
Chinese Cooking Wine Shaohsing Style

1)Prepare by chopping the broccoli into florets, slice the red peppers, and chop the ginger, garlic and chilli.
2) Heat a work at a medium high and add the ground nut oil. Wait for it to smoke, then add the chopped garlic cloves, ginger and chilli. Leave on the heat for 1 minute.
3) Follow that quickly with the broccoli florets and sliced red pepper. At this point add 1 tablespoon of sesame seed oil, 2 tablespoon's of dark soy sauce, 3 tablespoon's of light soy sauce. Leave to cook for 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
4) Meanwhile chop the spring onions and add the prawns to the wok. Add the rice wine vinegar and the Chinese cooking wine. Cook for 5 minutes.
5) In a small bowl add 2 tsp of cornflour and 4tsp of cold water and mix well, until it turn into a smooth runny paste. Add this to the wok and stir well, in no time the sauce will thicken and coat everything. Leave to cook for another 3/4 minutes.
6) Add the chopped spring onions to the wok but leave a handful for garnishing. Serve with Jasmine Rice.



Hello. My name is Luna.
I'm extremely excited to have found a sanctuary where I can share recipes which have been passed down to me and recipes which I have come across during my life...
Every week I'll be postings new recipes, which I hope, will be of use...