Tag Archives: Olive oil

Mezze feast for a party: Our little House party

Chez Marcelle, London. Great Meze

Chez Marcelle, London. Great Meze

Last night we had a party at home for the first time in ages, it was really nice to have had people over and host a get together. It was great to have people over and see everyone again, some we have not seen in ages. We had a good time with a great bunch of people and I think as always it went well.

We did quite a bit of preparation for the evening, thinking about different foods and cocktails to make. It can be a bit difficult thinking what to serve at a party, do you go with chips and dips and a few ready-made bits and bob’s, sausage rolls and stuff? There’s nothing wrong with those and they can be really nice, but we wanted to serve something a bit different and make something ourselves. I was also thinking that people would be expecting a few homemade dishes after having read this blog and seeing all the things we cook up for ourselves. After showing them off on a weekly basis it would be a bit mean not to cook for people.

After a bit of uming and ahing we decided to pull out the good old go to book, ‘Feast’ by Nigella Lawson and throw together a selection from two of her party menus. Most of the things we made were from the Mezze feast for 10-20 with one added from the Microfeast to Megafeast. We followed this up with a white chocolate cake from the Peggy Porschen book (Hana also knocked up a couple of cocktails from this book, one alcoholic and once non-alcoholic)

I am going to try to share these recipes with you and I thought I’d start with the simplest to make, the Goats cheese and Walnut dip. This one was criminally easy to make in just a few short steps. It’s what I love about the recipes from the Nigella book, they often look and taste really complicated and like they took an age to make whilst actually being quite simple to prepare (a very good secret!).

Cover of "Feast: Food to Celebrate Life"

Cover of Feast: Food to Celebrate Life

Goats cheese and walnut dip

Adapted from ‘Feast’ by Nigella Lawson


2 Spring Onions, finely chopped,
large handful of Basil leaves,
75g chopped Walnuts,
250g Goats Cheese (free of rind)
1 clove Garlic
3-5tbsp Olive Oil*
(the original recipe calls for garlic infused oil, as I didn’t have this I used a clove of garlic in the mix and normal olive oil).


goat cheese crumbles

Prepare all the ingredients as above, you don’t need to be to fussy when chopping the Spring Onions, they will go in the blender with everything else.

Blend the Walnuts first so they get broken down, I didn’t do this a paid a bit later! Add in the Spring Onions and the Basil and blitz again.

What I didn’t do, but would recommend,  is adding the Goats cheese in stages. I added it all in one go, it stuck up the blender and made it take much longer to blitz.

Finally as you are processing the dip pour in the olive oil. I have said 3-5tbsp as it depends upon the consistency of dip you like, add less if you want a thicker paste.

Serve with some warmed sliced pita bread, yummy!


Filed under Party food

Soup recipe: Spicy Chorizo and Red Lentil

 Soup: Spicy Chorizo and Red Lentil

Damn. The sun came out at the weekend. I know I should be happy that spring is finally here but it means I’ve ended up being a bit late to the party for sharing this recipe. The winter and the bad weather were dragging on so long that I thought that when I got around to posting this recipe it would still be cold and wintry outside, so a big bowl of warming soup would be just the ticket. It’s a lesson in getting myself a bit more organised when it comes to posting and make sure I get things up when they still make sense to. That said I loved this soup, and like lots of soups it is really easy to make in just a few simple steps.

I found this recipe whilst browsing through the BBC Good Food site, follow the like to the original recipe. What I liked about this recipe was that it just takes a handful of ingredients which I usually have lying around in the cupboards and a in few easy steps and you have a big bowl of flavoursome warming soup. The only thing with making soup at the moment is that our stick blender is still missing, the bottom wizzy bit went walkabout ages ago and hasn’t been seen since, and we have to use the proper big blender. This means letting the soup (or anything else) cool down a bit before blitzing it, so in effect you are reheating it, meaning you can’t do it again later or tomorrow.

Red lentil and chorizo soup (Photo: russellskitchen)

Red lentil and chorizo soup (Photo: russellskitchen)

Well that just means I have to eat it all at once and as this is such a tasty meal that’s not a problem. I served it with some bread and I think that’s always the way to go with soups. Having made it before if I made it again I’d add some dried chilli flakes to give it a bit more of a kick, because I love the spicy. I also added a bit of extra garlic which I add to almost everything I cook, it is supposed to be good for you!

Please let me know if you try this out and feel free to share your favourite soup’s with me!

Red lentil and chorizo soup.

Frying chorizo (Photo: russellskitchen)

Frying chorizo (Photo: russellskitchen)

Ingredients for 4 servings

1 tbsp olive oil , plus extra for drizzling
200g cooking chorizo , peeled and diced
1 large onion , chopped
2 carrots , chopped
pinch of cumin seeds
5 garlic cloves , chopped
1 tsp smoked paprika , plus extra for sprinkling
pinch of golden caster sugar
small splash red wine vinegar
250g red lentils
2 x 400g cans chopped tomato
850ml chicken stock
plain yogurt , to serve

Optional – 2 tsp dried chilli flakes

Red lentil soup with Chorizo (Photo: russellskitchen)

Red lentil soup with Chorizo (Photo: russellskitchen)

2 cloves of garlic


Prepare all the ingredients and have them to hand. Heat the oil in a large pan. Add the chorizo and garlic cook until crisp and it has released its oil. Remove with a to a bowl and set aside.

In the same pan (keeping the oil’s) Fry the onion, carrots and cumin seeds for 8-10 mins until soft and glistening.

Add the garlic and fry for 1 min more. Scatter over the sugar and paprika, cook for 1 min, then splash in the vinegar. Simmer for a moment, then stir in the lentils, and pour over the tomatoes and chicken stock, stir,

Red lentil and chorizo soup (Photo: russellskitchen)

Red lentil and chorizo soup (Photo: russellskitchen)

then simmer for around 30 mins or until the lentils are tender.

Blitz with a stick blender until smooth-ish but still chunky (or allow to cool then wizz in a blender).

Serve scattered with a drizzle of yogurt, the fried choriz and a sprinkling of paprika.


Filed under Soups, Winter Warmers

Potato & Savoy cabbage soup with bacon

Potato & Savoy cabbage soup with bacon

Potato & Savoy cabbage soup with bacon

The calender has turned over to October and Autumn is defiantly here. It’s getting colder, wetter and altogether not so nice. It’s time for some winter warmer recipes to fuel us all through the winter and this Potato, Cabbage & Bacon Soup hits the spot. I don’t often make soups, I always think they are harder to do or more time consuming than they can be, especially if you are using a blender to whiz them up.

On a wet evening last week I was defiantly in the mood for a big warming bowl of soup. I was also in the mood for something which was quick to cook and didn’t take too much effort. I have been quite busy in the past few week, I am still enjoying my internship and it is already paying off with me getting some freelance work. Its taken away a lot of the stress of the early part of the year but it has made me supper busy, though I am enjoying all of it and aside from bring in some much needed cash it is giving me some great experience for the future. So I have not been cooking or posting as much as usual the past couple of weeks but hopefully I am starting to get into the swing of it and will soon be back to whipping up tasty treats.

I was looking around online to find a Potato, Cabbage and Bacon Soup recipe and ended up throwing this one together from a few placesIts so quick and easy to make and really health as its chopped full of vegetables that its one of those recipes which could easily become a firm household favorite.

Potato, Cabbage and Bacon Soup. 

serves 4 as a starter or 2 hungry people as a main course

Prep time 10 minutes

Cooking time 20 minutes.


1 Onion
1 Carrot
1 Celery stick
2 cloves of Garlic
1 tbsp Olive oil
550g floury Potatoes , new potatoes work really well
1l low salt Vegetable stock
1 pack low fat Bacon
a half a medium Cabbage



Finely chop the Onion, Carrot, Celery and Garlic. Heat the Olive Oil over a medium heat in a large saucepan. Wash the new potatoes and roughly chop them. Add the vegetables and Potatoes, heat through then reduce the heat to a gentle simmer. Gently cook for about 5 mins until starting to soften, then add the stock, turn up the heat and bring to the boil. Simmer for 5 mins more, or until all the vegetables are tender.

While the soup is cooking, grill the bacon until crisp and drain any fat from it. Shred the cabbage, and add to the soup. After another 3 minutes remove from the heat.

Whizz the soup in the food processor until smooth, then season to taste, I just added some cracked black pepper and serve scattered with the bacon and some crusty bread. Yum!

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Filed under Soups