No Knead Bread



3 cups bread flour (I like Harvest King bread flour)

1/4 teaspoon instant yeast

| teaspoon fine table salt (or 3/4 tablespoon of kosher salt)

1 1/2 cups warm water

Covered pot (five-quart or larger cast iron, Pyrex, ceramic, enamel...something that can go into a 450F oven.


1. Mix dough: The night before, combine all ingredients in a big bowl with a wooden spoon until the dough just comes together. It will be a shaggy, doughy mess. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit 12-20 hours on countertop.


2. Shape & preheat: The dough will now be wet, sticky and bubbly. With a wet spatula, dump the dough on a floured surface. Fold ends of dough over a few times with the spatula and nudge it into a ball shape. You can use your hands if you like, just keep your hands wet so that the dough does not stick. Place a large sheet of parchment paper on counter. Plop your dough onto parchment paper. Lift parchment paper up with dough and place into a large bowl. Cover bowl with a towel. Let it nap for 2 hours. When you've got about a half hour left, slip your covered pot into the oven and preheat to 450F.

3. Bake: Your dough should have doubled in size. Remove pot from oven. Grab the ends of the parchment paper and lift entire wobbly dough blob out of bowl into pot. Doesn't matter which way it lands. Shake to even dough out. Cover. Bake 30 minutes. Uncover, bake another 15-20 minutes or until the crust is beautifully golden and middle of loaf is 210F. Remove and let cool on wired rack. If not eating right away, you can re-crisp crust in 350F oven for 10 minutes. Best way to eat it? Smear a warm slice with some good butter. ENJOY!



I like to keep my guacamole to a rough chop rather than blending to a paste and like to serve it with Tostitos Multi-Grain Tortilla chips.

  • 3 large or 5 small ripe avocados (chopped)
  • 1 blackened tomato or about 6-8 cherry tomatoes (with skin on and chopped)
  • 1 jalapeno pepper (diced finely, seeds and pith removed)
  • 2 tbsp chives (chopped) or 2-3 spring onions (chopped) – your choice
  • Generous Handful of cilantro (roughly chopped leaves and upper stalks)
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • Cumin to taste
  • Smoked Paprika (just a dash)
  • Black pepper
  • Juice of 1/2 lime (keep one slice of lime aside for presentation)

To hasten avocado from pit, clean outside of avocado, cut with a knife completely around avocado. Hold avocado in both hands and twist. Should come apart. Then cut again into quarters and it should just come away from pit.


Then to blacken tomato (and do this quickly as you don’t want to cook the tomato, only blacken the skin), hold with stainless steel tongs over a gas flame or, if you have a chestnut roaster or a barbeque vegetable holder (with holes), you can place over a flame. I prefer Sapori or cherry tomatoes because you get more blackened skin throughout the guacamole.  Once skin is blackened, remove from heat immediately, chop tomato. If tomatoes have a lot of moisture, then place in sieve to get rid of the watery juice.


Place chopped tomatoes into avocado, and then combine the rest of ingredients. The above measurements are guidelines, but add to taste.


If not serving immediately, place at least 1 whole avocado pit in with the guacamole. Cover with saran wrap, placing saran wrap right on top of guacamole to prevent air from getting in. This will help keep guacamole from  turning brown, but if you can try to make just before serving.



Adapted from The Barefoot Contessa's Rosemary White Bean Soup 


2 cans of white kidney beans
4 cups sliced yellow onions (3 onions)
¼ cup good olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 large branch fresh rosemary (6 to 7 inches)   
2 qt. chicken stock
1 bay leaf
2 tsp. kosher salt
½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper


In a large stockpot over low to medium heat, sauté the onions with the olive oil until the onions are translucent, 10 to 15 minutes. Add the garlic and cook over low heat for 3 more minutes.

Add the drained white beans, rosemary, chicken stock, and bay leaf. Cover, bring to a boil, and simmer for 30 to 40 minutes, until the beans are very soft. Remove the rosemary branch and the bay leaf.

Pass the soup through the coarsest blade of a food mill, or place in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade and pulse until coarsely puréed.

Return the soup to the pot to reheat and add salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot.

My Cauliflower and Leek Soup

3 tablespoons light olive oil
3 large leeks (white and pale green parts only), halved lengthwise,  thinly sliced (about 4 1/2 cups) 
1 large cauliflower, lightly steamed (optional to steam)
4 1/2 cups (or more) chicken stock or canned low-salt broth (or use vegetable broth for vegetarian)
Salt & pepper to taste after blended.

*use butter in place of olive oil if no dairy restrictions 

Heat olive oil over medium heat. Add leeks; stir to coat with oil. Cover saucepan; cook until leeks are tender, stirring often, about 10 minutes. Add steamed cauliflower. Add 4 1/2 cups stock. Bring to boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until vegetables are very tender, about 30 minutes.

Puree soup in batches in processor until smooth. Return to saucepan. Thin with additional stock if soup is too thick. Season with salt and pepper. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate.) Bring soup to simmer. Ladle into bowls. Garnish with chives and serve.

Kale Salad


This salad not only tastes fresh and delicious, it looks beautiful on your table.


1 fresh bunch of kale (washed, larger stocks removed, and then sliced very thinly, as in cabbage for coleslaw).

1 lemon (zest and juice)

Olive Oil

Fresh parmesan-reggiano (grated)


White balsamic vinegar (optional).


Wash and prepare the kale, place in serving bowl. Grate the zest of the lemon, then cut in half and squeeze the juice of the lemon over the kale. Pour enough olive oil (start with 2 tbsp.) over the kale, a crack of pepper, and toss to coat. When ready to serve the salad, sprinkle the freshly grated cheese over the top and give another quick toss. Enjoy!


Authentic Middle Eastern Hummus (Chummus)


"Authentic chummus is very different and SO much tastier than it's American counterpart. This chummus is creamy and delicate in taste rather than overpowered with garlic or thick and pasty. It is eaten warm, fresh, and as a whole meal spread out in a dish and drizzled with fresh olive oil. It is scooped up with pita, raw onion slices, or just a fork. Try NOT to use canned chickpeas (garbanzo beans)!" Simone, we agree. Tried and tasted many times - definitely the best!



  • 3 cups dry garbanzo beans, soaked overnight
  • pinch baking soda (optional)
  • 3/4 cup tahini paste
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • ¼ - ½  cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  •  salt to taste
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, for drizzling
  • Sprinkle of smoked paprika

Or small amount with canned beans:

1 can garbanzo beans (Cedar)
1 tbsp tahini paste
2 tbsp olive oil (more once blending)
2 tbsp lemon juice (more as blending)
½ tsp cumin only
½ tsp salt
sprinkle of smoked paprika



Rinse the garbanzo beans and and place in a pot. Fill with enough water to cover by at least 1 inch. Add baking soda, if using. Bring to a boil and then simmer over medium heat until the beans are very soft, 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

  1. Drain the beans, reserving some of the water to use later (you will need). Reserve a small handful of the whole beans for a garnish. Transfer the rest to a blender or if you have a hand blender, a large bowl. Blend the beans until smooth, adding 1/2 cup of olive oil gradually. Add some of the reserved water if needed to help it blend. Add the tahini and blend in along with the lemon juice. Season with cumin and salt.
  2. Spread the hummus into a flat serving dish and garnish with the reserved beans and a drizzle of olive oil
  3. FYI this chummus freezes very well:)

*again from



Grandma's Slow Cooker
Vegetarian Chili
(8 servings)

We've made this ALOT, and it's always a crowd pleaser, and so EASY to make and serve for a crowd. If you don't have a slow cooker, you can prepare it stovetop, then throw the pot into a preheated 325F oven for a couple of hours to simmer. The recipe set out here is only for 8 servings, but if you use this link to the "allrecipes" site, you can put in the number of servings required and it will calculate the ingredients for you. Great idea if you want to make extra to freeze for another dinner or two. How great is that?


1 (19 ounce) can black bean soup
1 (15 ounce) can kidney beans, rinsed & drained
1 (15 ounce) can garbanzo beans, rinsed & drained
1 (16 ounce) can vegetarian baked beans
1 (14.5 ounce) can chopped tomatoes in puree
1 (15 ounce) cans whole kernel corn, drained
1 onion
1 green bell pepper, chopped (we prefer red pepper )
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 carrot, chopped or grated
1 tablespoon chili powder (or to taste)
1 tablespoon dried parsley
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon dried basil
1 teaspoon cumin (we added this)
small bunch of cilantro (we added this)


1. In a slow cooker, combine all ingredients into slow cooker. Cook for at least 2 hours on high.

*from Photo also taken from


Oxtail Stew

30 mins to 1 hour preparation time
Over 2 hours cooking time
Serves 5-6

A really rich oxtail stew which really makes the most of this economical cut of meat. Perfect with mashed potato.


1.3kg/3lb oxtail, cut into chunky pieces (ask your butcher to do this for you)

3 tbsp plain flour

salt and freshly ground black pepper

3–4 tbsp sunflower oil

2 medium onions, sliced

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

2 medium carrots, diced

2 celery stalks, diced

4–5 sprigs fresh thyme (or ½ tsp dried thyme)

2 bay leaves

300ml/½pint red wine

500ml/18fl oz beef stock

2 tbsp tomato purée

1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley, to serve (optional)

Preparation method

  1. Preheat the oven to 150C/300F/Gas 2.

  2. Wash the oxtail pieces and pat dry with kitchen paper. Trim off as much excess fat as possible. Put the flour in a freezer bag and season well with salt and pepper. Put half the oxtail pieces into the seasoned flour, toss well to coat then put aside on a plate. Repeat with the remaining oxtail pieces.

  3. Heat two tablespoons of the oil in a large non-stick frying pan. Brown the oxtail over a medium heat for about 10 minutes, turning every now and then, until dark brown all over. You may need to add extra oil if the pan looks dry at any point during the browning step. Put the browned oxtail into a flameproof casserole dish. (You may need to do this in batches.)

  4. Return the frying pan to a low heat and add the onions, garlic, carrots and celery. Add a little extra oil if necessary. Cook gently for 10 minutes, or until softened and lightly browned, stirring occasionally.

  5. Tip the vegetables on top of the beef and add the thyme and bay leaves. Stir in the wine, beef stock and tomato purée. Season with salt and pepper, put the casserole on the heat and bring to a gentle simmer. Cover the casserole dish with a lid and cook in the centre of the oven for 3 hours. Stir after 1½ hours, turning the oxtail in the sauce.

  6. After 3 hours, the meat should be falling off the bones and the sauce should be thick. Remove the casserole dish from the oven and transfer the oxtail pieces to a plate, set aside and keep warm.

  7. Skim any fat that has pooled on the surface of the sauce.

  8. Divide the oxtail pieces between six warmed plates and spoon over the sauce. Sprinkle with the chopped parsley (if using) and serve with mashed potato and fresh vegetables.