31 January 2012

To train or not to train that is the question

Born To Die By Lana Del Ray

Twitter can be addictive, and sometimes I tweet a celebrity here and there, you know just in case they would like a recipe I have posted on my blog. However yesterday I had a tweeting debate with a TV chef, as I thought their tweet was a bit outlandish. I’m not going to mention any names or drop hints; this is a clean post, and not a personal attack. Everyone is entitled to his or her opinion, I replied what I could, in a robust and polite manner, and this post is about my opinion.
In essence, our debate raised the question: should a cook be on TV or publish a book, if they do not have a culinary qualification? 
During our tweeting, what made me sad the chef tweeted, that there are people on TV who can’t cook. Now let’s take into consideration that some people learn from experience, passion and practice, and they can still teach from what they have seen. Jamie Oliver only did a home economics course at school: he is a brilliant example of an inspirational character that has taught us without making food sound scientific, he reaches out and speaks to us the way we like. The proof of the pudding is in the eating. 
Anjali Pathak told me, ‘food is an industry where there is plenty to go around, and what cooks, chefs and contestants are aiming for is get people to cook great food’. I’m not an expert in the TV industry just yet, but as a viewer I watch food programmes because they inform as well as entertain and engage me. If I wanted to be taught about any topic, I would go research online, get a book or study a course. 
What I’ve learnt is that you can teach someone something, but if they don’t have a passion for it, then it’s wasted. 
The question at heart is what makes anyone professional at something? When I finished university, a question my uncle asked me was 'do you want to take the experience route or study further’, this is one of the questions that many graduates are faced with. 
The chef in question and I have come from different backgrounds; they went to a chef school, and I have not (and cannot afford to). The fact that they went to a well renowned school is amazing, and it has boosted their profile. The experiences and lessons from what I’m doing, is good enough, you should know I keep it real on this blog.  
Let’s face it, I haven’t got a huge amount of followers on Twitter or Facebook, but everything takes time, and I still have hope. I am pursuing my passion and seeing where it will lead me, and if it doesn’t blossom into what I want, then at least I can say I gave it my best shot. I am also being experimental and not following a traditional route. For example, on this blog I have posted:
·         a poem – I tried it, I now realise it’s not my thing;
·         images from a photo shoot – I tried it, loved it, doing it again; and
·         reviews – I like eating out, but not writing about it.
I have also worked for food PR companies – I stopped that a long time ago, as I don’t want the blog to turn away from its focus. I also plan to publish videos on my blog – I love being in front of the camera, and showing quick and easy dishes in this format. 
I will keep on trying different things and learn to work my way up, because that’s what I am all about.  
As with any industry there is the business side, and anyone who is anyone is competition, which is a shame in the food world, as I mentioned earlier we are ultimately trying to do the same thing. These days, my foodie contacts are widening, I am networking more and I’ve found that some people will help, while others don’t have the time. That’s cool, and yes, that’s reality. I feel disappointed that a TV chef has this sort of opinion, because as long as you think, breathe and worship food, going to chef school or even working, as a kitchen assistant shouldn’t matter. If you get a lucky break, then grab it with both hands. 
Unfortunately some have worked, and paid for a course, and then found out that someone else just needed to take fewer steps, and got to a position they really wanted. To be cut throat – that’s life. At the end of the day, everyone has a different path to take, just don’t take it personally. 
What I’ve learnt is that if you want something, you go for it, and not think about what other people think, or if they will follow, or believe in you. If you don’t get who you want to follow, or support you: then that’s their problem, there is plenty of love and appreciation elsewhere. 
The main thing is, you have to believe in yourself. My cousins get very embarrassed when I say this to them, it only sounds good when it’s said in a film.

29 January 2012

Curried Vegetable Pie with Chapati Lid




♬ Ryan Keen

Watch out for this guy he is going to be BIG.

I have taken the British classic, and simply curry -fied it.

No shortcrust pastry in sight, only a chapati for a lid.

No creme fraiche or gravy to be seen, only thick spicy tomato sauce.

Quite clever on my behalf actually. the idea jumped out at me when I ran out of plain flour!

What's great about this lid is, it doesn't have to be totally round, no butter involved, takes 20 minutes to bake, and it tastes great.

Recipe for 6 servings:


10 Okra
1 Butternut squash (peeled and diced)
8 Chestnut mushrooms
1 Leek
1 small sweet potato
2 Garlic cloves, crushed and chopped finely.
Small piece of ginger (about 1 tsp when chopped finely)
1 small red chilli deseeded and finely chopped.
1 tsp turmeric 
1 tsp garam masala 
1 tsp paprika 
1 tsp ground cumin powder
1 tsp ground coriander powder
1 tsp chilli powder
400ml Passata
50ml water
2 tsp corn flour
Fresh coriander
Vegetable Oil
1tsp nigella seeds
1tsp cumin seeds
1tsp mustard seeds

Chapati Dough:

2 cups of chapati flour
1 cup water

Any cup size will do, I used a standard mug. 


: Preheat oven to 150°c, a slightly low temperature, as this dough bakes quick.

: Making the dough: pour half the water on the flour, and using your hands knead slowly. Add more water, if it's not coming together: knead until soft and elastic, then keep to one side, at room temperature.
: Chop all the vegetables, making sure they are roughly the same size.
Okra can get sticky, but remember they are good for you!
: In a large pot, add 1 tbsp of vegetable oil and the seeds.
: Once they start to sizzle, tip in the garlic, ginger and chilli.
: Time to make the paste, and get the oven fan on, or open a window.
: Add the turmeric, ground cumin, coriander, chilli, garam masala and paprika.
: After 30 seconds, add the leek and stir.
:  Incorporate each vegetable separately and stir, this way they are all covered in spice.
: Pour in the passata and water.
: Simmer for 20 minutes, then taste, if you think it needs salt and pepper go ahead.
: Add the cornflour and stir through, leave for a further 5 minutes then turn off.

: Lightly flour the surface and rolling pin with chapati flour, and roll the dough out.
:  Pick up with both hands and flip over, maybe two or three times, so you can feel the thickness is equal.

: Pour filling in your pie dish, sprinkle some coriander then cover with lid. You don't need to brush the pie dish with egg, to make the lid stick. Fold any excess dough, to make a nice decoration round the edges, and prick in the middle a few times. Creating holes in this lid, is very important.

: Bake for 20 minutes until the sides are golden brown, and the centre rises a bit.
Chapatis normally take less than 3 minutes on a tawa (an Indian cooking implement), or griddle pan, so this needs a bit more time as heat is not directly on the dough.

Serve with sweet potato mash, natural yoghurt or salad.

 Let me know if you have tried chapati as a lid on another dish, I'm on a creative roll and might  use this dough with other dishes in the week.

Have a great meal.


Favourite Song:

ê 'Thankyou' By Ryan Keen

28 January 2012

Chorizo and Egg Brunch

♬'Jukebox' By JLS

That's right, starting my day off with JLS and a high protein breakfast.


JLS are pretty cool!


My trainer gave me a lecture yesterday, on how much sugar I am consuming. The bells started ringing in my ears, as he said 'Mita it's veg and fruit NOT fruit and veg!'.

That's why I had this for breakfast, the only ingredient that had to be cooked was the egg, everything else was slapped on the plate.

I've always rambled on about how important breakfast is, and I have blogged so much about fruit. This blog is green, so why haven't I embraced it? 
Time to go raw and worship the veggies.

Adjusting a diet and exercise regime can be a hassle, but it's all about strategy. I was dipping in and out of fitness and food phases all the time, and this was due to moods and change of lifestyle, consistency was what I was lacking. Slowly but surely everything is looking better in 2012.

Anyway let me share this easy breakfast, for all you gym fanatics:

 Recipe for 1
If vegetarian, substitute the chorizo with cooked mushrooms or raw asparagus.


1 egg
Wholemeal bread
Sunflower seeds
Pine nuts
Black Pepper
Tabasco sauce


: Fill a small saucepan half way with water, let it boil. Crack an egg in the middle of the boiling water, be careful of your fingers. Boil for 3 minutes.
: Place one slice of bread on a plate, add small pieces of mozzarella, then rocket, seeds, and sliced chorizo.
: Finally use a slotted spoon, and put the poached egg on top of the chorizo.
: Splash a bit of Tabasco sauce, and finally add black pepper.


Have a great Saturday.x

27 January 2012

Princess Cake


My first attempt turned out pretty well, considering I gave myself a few hours to assemble the girl together. 

Her hair and accessories is something similar to my style, as my hair always looks like I'm going to the gym, I wear bold pretty dresses, combined with quirky jewellery!

Made for Barbie's Pink Party, not officially Barbie's birthday, but a great excuse for a massive play date, and get the kids hyped up after school. Also I told the girls it was Barbie's sister on the cake, I couldn't find a blonde doll!

The little girls loved the cake, because it was pink, had smarties all over it, and she was reaching out to them! 

Everything was pink themed:

Pink ham in sandwiches
Pink bunting
Pink fairy lights
Princess/pink dresses
Each child bought their Barbie.
Red (slightly pink) grapes
Pink icing and sprinkles to decorate fairy cakes, can't find a photo because they got eaten so quickly!

The filling was a rich brown sugary sponge cake, then covered in royal pink icing, edible gold, and pink smarties.
Since this party had a pink theme, I decided to donate a lovely portion of the costs to Cancer Research UK for breast cancer awareness.

I love it, and would do it all over again. Next time she will look even more stunning, with a well planned out dress and accessories.

My creative and inspirational hands are ready for the next project, and most definitely a cake decorating course.


Chicken Parmigiana PIZZA

'The Con' By Tegan and Sara

One of the albums, that remind me of my time in Australia.


Munching and working my way through a punnet of strawberries as I type this, and noticed my compulsive blogging behaviour is no longer daily, or even that frequent in the week.
Not sure how that occurred, this week has been choc -full of other crazy stuff happening, including one of my videos getting closer to being completed. Super excited about marketing this, keep your eyes peeled.

Yesterday was Australia day, before that was Burns night, before that was Chinese New Year and National Pie Day. Seriously, food plays a key role in everything! It is a tool to welcome and bring family, friends and cultures together, how wonderful. 
 When I get a few minutes I'm going to jot all these events down, and maybe put some meal ideas together for a book...

Back to Australia Day:

When living and getting fat in Melbourne, one of my favourite dishes was chicken parmigiana, which is originally Italian. I loved schnitzel too, and I don't know where that originated from: but both dishes, Australians like a lot.

I decided on parmigiana for dinner yesterday, however as I did my weekend food shop I picked up a packet of ready made pizza bases. Yes I do like food shortcuts once in a while!
As soon as I got home, I turned the oven and radio one, and started to prep for my baked chicken parmigiana, but I stared at the pizza bases - then at the mozzarella, then back to the bases.

Jo Whiley was discussing suitable songs for Australia day, then suddenly I thought....

*Why not put the parmigiana, all on a pizza?!

▶ Recipe for 2 pizza bases


2 pizza bases
4 chicken thighs
Tomato puree
2 eggs
1 garlic clove
Olive oil


Preheat oven 150°c, grease a large baking tray. Or you could place the base directly on the shelf, this depends on what brand you decide for the bases.
: Cut the meat from the thighs and discard bones (or keep to make stock). Chicken breast could work too, I prefer thighs because they don't have a dry texture once cooked.
: Use breadcrumbs, crushed garlic and parmesan to marinade chicken.
: In a small frying pan, add a bit of olive oil and fry the chicken for five minutes.
: Meanwhile, spread tomato puree on your bases and sprinkle oregano.
: Once the chicken is done, place equally on each base.

 : Use torn mozzarella and put on top of the chicken.
: Season with salt and pepper, and add more parmesan over the pizza.
:  Half way through your base cooking time, crack an egg in the middle and then put back to bake for the other half.

Once base is done, and egg is white and settled (shake baking tray to check if egg is still), take out and add a bit more parmesan.


Favourite Song:

ê 'Back In Your Head' By Tegan and Sara

*P.S I did not invent the idea of putting parmigiana on a pizza.

22 January 2012

Chicken and Chorizo Pasta Bake

♬ '21' By Adele

Not sure what possessed me to play this album, I kept on reminiscing about last Christmas and how I was scoring pretty high on singstar! She has got a hell of a voice on her, honestly I was running low on breath when I was trying to hit the high and low notes. Maybe when my videos get online you could get a sneak preview.

 Maybe not, I wouldn't put anyone through that!

Apart from Adele's beautiful voice, all I heard and read about was today's football matches. If you get to escape from watching a match, or have it on in the background, and need to get food sorted, try this lovely dish. Also if your partner is a big meat eater, they shouldn't complain about the aroma this dish gives off.

One more tiny factor...

You have to invest in this:

Pomodori d' oro plum tomatoes (plum tomatoes of the colour yellow).

These tomatoes were imported from Campania, which made me eek, and put the red can of plum tomatoes down.

Recipe to serve 4


4 chicken thighs
1 large chorizo sausage, cut in thick slices.
400g can of Pomodori d'oro plum tomatoes
1 garlic clove, crushed and chopped.
1 sprig of fresh thyme, strip the leaves from the stem, run two fingers down stalk, top to bottom.
1 sliced, sweet red Italian pepper.
10 closed cup mushrooms, chopped finely.
300g wholemeal pasta
300ml water
1 small red chilli deseeded and cut in half.
Olive oil
Fresh parsley


Preheat the oven 180°c.

: In the order I have listed, place all the ingredients (apart from parsley) in a large oven dish. 
: Bake for 40 minutes.
: Sprinkle parsley when ready to serve.


The yellow sauce was a great choice, red tomatoes would work too but not have the sweet and 'wow' presentation this has. Plus red tomatoes get a lot of praise, try something different.

Did you notice no cheese in this recipe?
Trust me, this dish doesn't need it.

Favourite Song:

ê'Set Fire To The Rain' By Adele

Enjoy the rest of your Sunday.xx

21 January 2012

Chai and Blueberry Muffins

♬'At Last' By Etta James

On a baking frenzy again, I think it's time I started to look into opening up a quirky bakery!

Ah yes the muffin, an easy mixture and so diverse in flavour, because any sort of ingredient can be added, to create a mammoth snack next to a cup of tea.

This afternoon I wanted to put the tea essence in the muffin! So I added a teaspoon of my mums home made chai masala, and they taste so good. One more thing - I forgot to add eggs, but to my surprise these turned out fine! The 200g of flour and milk helped to bind the mixture instead.

Give it a go...

Recipe for 6 large muffins.
Grease tin well.
No need for cases.


200g (7oz) gluten free and wheat free plain flour
100g (3.50z) caster sugar
110g (3.8oz) butter
1 tsp baking powder
100ml milk (you can use soya milk too)
1 tsp chai masala (or rip open a chai teabag, throw away the bag and use the chai part)
  • 125g (4½oz) blueberries, or equivalent in frozen blueberries

  • Method:

: Preheat oven 160°c.
: Rub in the butter, sugar, and flour until breadcrumbs.
: Pour in the milk and fold mixture with a knife.
: Stir in the blueberries, chai powder and baking powder.
: Scoop generous amounts in the baking tin.
: Bake for 30 minutes and then test a muffin in the middle row with a knife. If the knife comes out clean, they are done.

Perfect for breakfast or when you wake up from a nap.

Eggy Brioche with Beans

♬ 'At Last' By Etta James

You know what?

I'm glad January is nearly over, bring on February when questions about life, and standing on the bathroom scales have been cut down to a minimum. Seriously some of last years actions have been slapping me in the face this month! No more dwelling just have to get on with 2012, boxercise more and eat less chocolate. I suppose what doesn't help was drinking gin for a stupid amount of time and eating lamb yesterday, and yes I'm paying for it today - head is sore and brain feels slower than usual. Never again.

Try dipping a brioche slice into an egg mixture for an indulgent start to the weekend, I know, I know as if a brioche doesn't have enough butter and eggs! This will cure the sore head: that's if a gin and tonic was your best mate last night.



2 eggs
4 slices of brioche
Dash of milk


: Beat the eggs, pour in a splash of milk.
: In a small frying pan, add a tiny bit of butter.
: Once butter has melted, dip one piece of brioche into the egg mixture and place slowly in the frying pan.
: After 30 seconds flip over, and fry the other side for the same amount of time.


Serve with beans, or with a sweet partner - berries.

Favourite Song:

ê'At Last' and ' I Just Want To Make Love To You' By Etta James

19 January 2012

Flourless Snickers Style Cakes

'Jazzie's Groove' By Soul II Soul

Ever fancied a cake with no flour, just chocolate and eggs? Well, today's your lucky day, turn your back on flour, and look for the following ingredients.
Personally, the texture of this cake beats a brownie, that's how moreish the texture is. 

Recipe for 12 cupcakes


200g Green and Blacks 70% chocolate (7oz)
160g butter chopped (5.5oz)
 5 eggs separated
100g ground almonds (3.6oz)
165g golden caster sugar (5.8oz)

160g caster sugar
2 tbsp water

100g peanuts


Preheat oven to 160°c

: Grease the cupcake tray with baking spray or butter.
: In a large bowl over a pot of simmering hot water, add the chocolate and butter.
: When this has completely melted (takes a while), take off the heat and stir in the ground almonds, egg yolks and HALF the sugar.
: Meanwhile whisk the egg whites until glossy, they should form peaks. Fold in the other of the sugar.
: Pour the egg white mixture into the chocolate and fold until combined.
 : Fill each hole, nearly up to the top, if using a large muffin tin, this recipe makes 6.
: Bake for 30 minutes, do not bake for any longer, test with a knife in a cake from the middle row. If the knife comes out clear with a few crumbs, they are done.
: Let them cool.
: For the caramel, heat the sugar on a medium heat in a heavy base pot.
: Once the sides start to brown, start stirring (for about 10 minutes) until it has thoroughly melted. Then make sure your hands are covered with a tea towel and pour in water. 
: Keep on stirring and be careful of spluttering sugar, keep on stirring until there are no lumps.
: Put a few peanuts on top and spoon over caramel.


A soft and crunchy cupcake with a Snickers twist.
Flourless is the way forward.

Favourite Song:

ê 'Back to Life (However Do You Want Me)' By Soul II Soul