Monday, 8 December 2014

Rich Chocolate and Almond Torte

There is so much more to this torte than meets the eye. Yes, it's seriously tasty and rich, it's also gluten free. It is easy to make and keeps well, so you can make it a few days in advance.
You don't taste almonds, they are there more for texture, it's truffle like inside and squidgy.
Recipe below. I couldn't recommend cooking with Lindt 70% chocolate enough.

250g dark chocolate
250g unsalted butter
6 large eggs, separated
125g caster sugar
50g ground almonds
pinch of salt
1 tsp of vanilla paste

Ganache (if required)

150g dark chocolate
150g double cream

Beat egg yolks with sugar until pale and fluffy.
Pour into cooled melted chocolate and butter.  Add ground almonds, a pinch of salt and vanilla and stir through.
Whisk egg whites until soft peak stage and stir in a third thoroughly.  Now use a large metal spoon to lightly fold in the rest of the egg whites until just combined.
Pour into a lined and greased 23cm tin and bake for 25 minutes on 170C fan.It can have a slight wobble in the middle as it will continue to cook in the tin after you take it out of the oven.
Leave to cool in tin, then, dust with cocoa or cover in ganache.

Chop the chocolate into small pieces and put it in a large bowl.
Gently heat the cream on the hob to the slightest simmer and take it off just before it bubbles/boils.
Pour the cream over the chocolate and let it sit for 30 seconds. Whisk with a balloon whisk until combined and glossy. At this stage, pour over the cake for a smooth finish, or leave to cool and thicken and spread on later. 

I like mine with Kirsch cherries or with warm berry compote, both with creme fraiche.

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Crab, chilli and Kale wholemeal pasta

Crab, chilli and kale pasta

My family have been staying with me. They came over for my book launch, stayed a little while and then flew back off to sunny Spain, yesterday. I miss their company already, and I miss cooking for a crowd.
Making a speech at my book launch, being heckled by my dad

I've been putting proper meals, (unassisted), on the table since I was 10 and pre-internet would find my inspiration from the bookshelf or the telly. I found one of the first books my Mum bought me when I was a child, called 'Lemons' it's a funny little book that I cooked from often, because it was mine. Lemons are always in my fruit bowl, and find their way into most of my cooking. 

I enjoyed this pasta dish I made last week immensely, so jotted down quantities to pop it on here. I think everyone else did, we had just had a family row so it was hard to tell if we were all so lost in the deliciousness of our pasta or all needed a break from talking, but there was a brief moment of silence. One of the many reasons I like cooking for my family is that everyone eats everything. No one asks what's for dinner, they sit, they comment, they mumble, they eat.

Serves 4

5 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp dried chilli flakes
25g flat leaf parsley, chopped
1 lemon, zest and juice
150g cavalo nero/kale
50g parmesan, freshly grated
300g fresh, white crab meat
500g wholemeal spaghetti 
spoon of creme fraiche or cream 

Bring a pan of salted water to the boil and add the pasta. Time it, checking after 9 minutes but it will need a couple longer.
In a small frying pan, add 3tbsp of the oil, chilli, lemon zest and cook for a couple of minutes on a medium heat. Add the juice and the crab meat and turn off the heat. 

In a separate, larger frying pan, on a pretty high heat add the kale and a big splash of water. Cook for 5 minutes of so, and when the water has evaporated, add 2 tbsp of olive oil to crisp up the kale. It will brown in places, that's what you want,it will taste like crispy seaweed!

Drain your pasta, add the flavoured oil and crab, stir in most of the Parmesan and then the kale. Finish with extra Parmesan, a dollop of creme fraiche, and pepper. 


Tuesday, 11 November 2014

PRESS Cleanse Project

PRESS produce cold-pressed juices. They asked me if I wanted to do the "Press Cleanse Project" 

If you know me, I may be the last person you expect to try this.
If you follow me on instagram, you’ll see I’m obsessed with cooking, sharing and eating food.
When I had a café, I remember a regular customer saying to me one morning ‘every time I see you, Milli, you have something in your mouth’
She was right.
We made the same batch of notorious brownies every single day, month after month, yet I would always taste them for quality control.

So, I was being sent 24 juices for the next 3 days. You can imagine I was nervous.

My brother asked if I had gradually been reducing my calorie intake in preparation. He couldn’t have been more wrong. I was to start the cleanse the Monday after a weekend away for a friend’s wedding where I experienced true Irish hospitality.
In 4 days I had 2 generous home cooked dinners, 2 Ulster Fries with fried potato bread, a 3 course wedding meal, fish and chips, a wedding buffet breakfast and an Indian takeaway.  If there was ever a time that I was in need of cleanse, it was now.

Most people have asked if I enjoyed it and if I cheated and if I lost weight.
Here is a brief summary of how I found my 3 days.

Sunday night
A big, shiny insulated ‘press’ box arrives with 24 beautifully packaged cold pressed juices. It was exciting reading which each one was, there is a calendar to tick off each juice and a healthy info sheet. I clear a couple of shelves and put them in order. I then eat dinner, slowly and appreciatively!

You must start with a chlorophyll juice. This was my least favourite, kind of tastes pondy, but no fear, the juices get more delicious as the day unfolds and there are two juices a day which are ‘milks’ that satisfy your sweet tooth cravings. One tastes just like a chocolate milk they sell for kids in Spain.
The first day isn’t bad at all and I go to bed satisfied with no tummy rumbles.

I got hungry at midday on Tuesday. Last Tuesday winter came overnight and I was freezing. I cheated ever so slightly and made myself a miso broth (no solids) to warm myself and surpress my salt craving. The rest of the day was fine until my brother made the mother of all club sandwiches in front of me, followed by a delicious looking stirfry in the evening. I resisted and once again went to bed happy.

By now, you know you can do it. I felt so much lighter by Wednesday and my skin was looking not only clear of any blemish but positively gleaming, I kid you not. Although I didn’t feel I had any more energy per se, I did feel healthier and my eyes were really bright.
By the third day, I missed crunching something. I had ONE sheet of grilled nori.
I’m only being honest here, I needed something to put between my teeth, I was having a stressful time with work and it was the only thing I could think of that would almost dissolve on my tongue and not require much digesting. Also, it’s seaweed, gotta be good for you.  I was listening to my body.

There was pie. Strangely enough, I felt sad when I couldn't reach for a juice in the morning.

So all in all, I would totally do it again…probably before Christmas, or maybe after all the excess and indulgence of Christmas.
I noted a few pros and cons below

It’s exciting receiving the delivery.
You don’t have to think about what to buy or cook in the next three days.
I have a vitamix. My neighbours and I could enjoy three days without the sounds of a power drill every day to make my own juices.
No washing up!
You FEEL healthy
No bloating
I don’t own scales but I did measure around my thigh and waist.
I lost 2 inches around my waist and 1inch around my thigh in three days.
There's an excuse not to go to the gym for a few days, because heavy exercise is discouraged.
The most interesting and important thing for me was the realization that I eat too much and too regularly. I can survive on less, and I will make an effort to.
I eat too much salt. I don’t need salt on everything, all day (another breakthrough)
I didn’t miss the caffeine or alcohol at all – result!

It’s hard to drink cold juices from the fridge when the weather has turned like this. Try and drink herbal, non-caffeinated teas to warm yourself from the inside. There was a lovely Apple and lemon juice, which has warming properties with the pressed ginger.
When I told press this feedback, they recommended warming the leches slightly. What a treat.
I am pretty social and will meet for drinks or eat out a fair bit throughout the week. My job also involves cooking food most days, so that was torture. Pick three days where you have no social engagements in the diary!

PRESS is a wonderfully friendly company, who will support you through the cleanse if need be. There are 3 tiers of cleanses, so they will start you off on an easy going one if you are new to all this.
When I told them how much I loved the cleanse and how friends were asking how I got on, they gave me a code so readers can get a discount! It’s the best value, quality juice cleanse on the market so with the discount, it’s a no brainer. 
Your 10% discount code: millicleanseproject
Press website 

you can also find them at
6 Denman Street,

Press will be giving out free juices in Piccadilly 8am-10am this Thursday in exchange for a follow on their instagram or twitter!
Give it a go and let me know how you get on! 

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Olive night with José Pizarro

A couple of weeks back, I was asked if I fancied an evening cooking with Jose Pizarro.
I've written on this blog before about José, and how I admire him both as a chef and just a ruddy good person, and sure enough, (not long after we were stuffing olives with anchovies) he was cycling around India for 4 days for Action Against Hunger. Hero.


I first met José a couple of years back, at his eponymous restaurant 'Pizarro'. He's achieved so much since and still finds time to cycle India, appear on the telly and teach the sherry boozed of us how to cook with olives. 

Nic (from sous chef) and I, sipped and chopped and chatted our way through so many tasty treats that night. There were two major revelations for me.
1. Stuffing your own pitted olives with anchovies. I don't like how mushy anchovies get in shop bought olives, so these tasted a million times better and I'll be doing it again. 
2. Shaved cheese (I think it was manchego) in a spinach salad with a little sherry vinegar dressing, cor that was good. These were only side dishes to the main events which were Chorizo, Olive and Chicken Stew and Serrano ham wrapped monkfish, stuffed with anchovy and olive tapenade.
There was one recipe I really wanted to try the next day and that was marinated olives. They take a minute to make and they are simply wonderful. 
'Olives Isabel' – (José's mother)

75g black olives, 75g turning colour olives, 75g manzanilla olives, 2 whole garlic skins removed, grated zest of an orange, 2 tbsp olive oil, 1 bay leaf, 1/3tsp chilli flakes, 1/4 ts black peppercorns roughly chopped

Mix and refrigerate over night. Bring to room temperature before eating.  
--> for more ideas

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Afternoon tea Supperclub 25th October

The Great British Bake Off may have ended for another year, but don’t despair. Milk & Sugar are here to bring the Bake Off to your table, with an indulgent selection of British treats!

Come join me and Vic on the river, in Putney, eat cake, bring your own booze. 
More info, and to book go here

Here's a couple of pics from our last tea..


Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Party-perfect Bites

Hi Everyone, I've written my first cookbook!

It's called Party-Perfect Bites, it's out tomorrow and I can't believe I haven't mentioned it on here yet! I'm always being asked for my recipes when I cater events, so here it is, over 100 tasty canapé ideas. The book goes around the world starting with the Med...

North African and Middle Eastern
The Americas  
then there's the best bit, 
Sweet Bites

There are 50 dairy free recipes, over 40 vegetarian and I lost count of how many are gluten free
I've popped some images (photographer by my super talented pal Helen Cathcart) below so you can have a sneak peek at some of the recipes. It's crazy to see my awkward little face on the jacket with my name under 'author and food stylist', I can't wait for my publisher to send my copy over. 
Pre orders are important because it assures book sellers that I’ve written a book that people are excited about and want to buy, so they will stock it in lots of shops. If you think you may like a copy, please head over to amazon, where you can buy it for the discounted price of £12 (25% off) or it will be stocked in shops on the high street such as Waterstones very soon! 
I hope you will be cooking from the book in time for your Christmas entertaining and invite me round.
Love Milli x 

Pre-order your copy here

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Spanish Supper Club!

I'm hosting a Spanish Supperclub in London! THIS WEEKEND! Saturday and Sunday.
I'm going to make lots of delicious tapas, including these croquetas, then this Paella and some delicious desserts. There will be sherry and Malaga wine, I'm off to the Atarazanas Market now, to stock up on
Manchego and olives and to taste some Iberico hams and bring the best back to you!
If you'd like to come, its £35 per head and you can book a ticket here

I'm off to do this (that's sweet Malaga wine btw) See you in London.