Go To Kale/Quinoa Salad

So there's some serious snow on the ground here.... fortunately my roommate and I are well stocked and are using our snow days to watch as many Oscar nominated films as possible, drink prosecco, play board games, and eat all the cheese. We figured we might be snowed in for a while, so stocked up before the storm and have since made hummus, veggie pizza, a kale, sweet potato, & goat cheese tart, mushroom soup, and three different kinds of pesto (because you can never have too much pesto). 

While all our snow cooking adventures have been fun, it's also nice to have easy fallbacks to make when you feel the need to eat healthily and/or make something quick and simple. Enter the kale/quinoa salad. It's incredibly basic (in every sense of the word) but I love it. 


The kale is raw but the lemon and warm quinoa help relax the leaves so they have a soft texture but keep their fresh flavor. I often make this on Sunday and then take it for lunch throughout the week (it keeps for about a week in the fridge and can be eaten warm or cold). I'll add a dollop of yogurt to this salad or eat it on top of a roasted sweet potato. If I wasn't allergic to eggs, I would probably add a fried egg and call it dinner. 


Rinse and cook the quinoa in a small pan. While the quinoa cooks, tear and wash the kale. In a large bowl, massage the lemon juice into the kale. Finely dice the red onion. 

Add quinoa and red onion to the bowl of kale. Crumble in the goat cheese, pour in the balsamic vinegar and olive oil, and season generously with salt and pepper. Mix vigorously. 


1 cup quinoa 

1 bunch kale

1 small red onion 

1/3 log goat cheese

juice from 1 lemon

good splash of balsamic vinegar 

olive oil 

salt & pepper

Acorn Squash with Almond Sage Pesto


First, important life update, I got some gloves. I think they were meant for boys, but my hands are so small they work great for me. Now not only am I equipped to survive the chilly weather, I'll also be able to make a zillion snowballs on Friday, if we actually do finally get some snow (eeeeeeee)!!  


In the meantime, here's a toasty little winter dish that hits all the right spots. It's kinda fancy, supremely easy, and extra super delicious. I made it one night when I couldn't be bothered going to the grocery store, so had to use things we had lying around the house, plus some sage from the back garden. My roommate and I ate it with farro and it was incredible. I've since made it so many times I've used up all my home grown sage and have been begrudgingly buying sage at the grocery store. 

We usually eat this with some sort of grain (dressed with a little olive oil and lemon) but it works great on it's own as a snack. I bet it would also work well on the side of some chicken or atop a large bowl of pasta? There's a slightly high pesto to squash ratio in this recipe because I really like this pesto (and usually end up eating half of it on crackers while I wait for the squash to cook). 


Preheat the oven to 420F. Cut the squash into segments and remove seeds. In a baking dish, mix the squash with olive oil, maple syrup, balsamic vinegar and season with salt & pepper.

Roast squash in the oven for 30 - 40 minutes or until tender, turning half way through. 

In a small pan on a medium heat, gently toast the almonds. In a food processor, blend the sage, toasted almonds, pecorino, and lemon juice. Pour in the olive oil as you blend. Season with salt & pepper to taste. 



acorn squash

drizzle of maple syrup 

drizzle of balsamic vinegar

1 cup fresh sage

juice from 1 lemon

1/2 cup almonds

1/4 cup grated pecorino/parmesan

1/4 cup olive oil (plus some for the squash)

salt & pepper


Almond Milk and Honey

Sometimes things work out great and sometimes.... they don't. Whether it's the cold weather (but not a single flake of snow), a string of bad dates, or too much wine on a weeknight that's getting me down, this month needs as much warm comforting cheer as possible. 

But I'm also a million pounds heavier than I was before the Christmas holidays, so I need warm comforting things that will make me feel good about my life choices. Enter almond milk. Or any nut milk really. Despite being super easy to make, I always feel strangely accomplished when I make it (even if all I do after is sit on the floor with my roommate and hide from life). 


The recipe for all nut milks is generally the same. Soak some nuts, blend 'em, and strain. But you can add different sweeteners/flavors depending on your taste preference. It's not always cost effective, but you can use the the ground nuts in baking and, believe me, the taste difference between fresh and store bought almond milk is astronomical. 


Soak the almonds in water over night. Pit and chop the date. Drain the almonds and blend with 3 cups fresh water, date, and salt.

Once mixture is smooth, strain with a sieve or cheesecloth. Heat the milk (on the stove top or in the microwave). Stir in the honey and add the cinnamon stick. Enjoy. 


1 cup raw almonds

3 cups water

1 date 

pinch of salt

drizzle of honey 

cinnamon stick (optional)


Saffron Yogurt with Spinach and Pine Nuts


In my ongoing quest to find savory breakfasts that don't include egg, I've decided it's okay to eat yogurt on toast in the morning. Especially if that yogurt is served warm with spinach, nuts, and saffron. To be fair, you could eat this at any time of day, but it's quick to whip up and involves lots of energy foods so makes for a nice start to the day (and to the year). Hi 2016!    

I'm back at work now and winter has finally arrived in Washington, which means I need a balance between warm cozy foods to keep me alive and healthy January foods to keep me from exploding from all the extra cheese and booze I consumed over the last two weeks. I also need to invest in gloves (how do I not own any gloves)? 


Warm yogurt may seem a little odd, but the saffron makes it almost more like a sauce that goes with the spinach... think of this dish like a tart deconstructed creamed spinach. Or is that weird? Maybe just think of it like a delicious warm winter breakfast. 


Steep the saffron in 3 tbsps warm water and let sit for 5 mins. Remove threads and mix the saffron water into the yogurt. Season lightly with salt.  

Wash and roughly tear/chop the spinach. Heat olive oil in a frying pan and cook the spinach. Once cooked, season with lemon juice, salt and pepper. In a small frying pan, gently toast the pine nuts. 

To assemble, spread yogurt on a plate, top with spinach and pine nuts. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

(The dish can be eaten at any temperature, but I usually microwave it for 30 seconds before spooning it onto hot buttered toast). 



2 small bunches of spinach 

1/2 cup greek yogurt

few threads of saffron

handful of pine nuts

juice from 1 lemon

olive oil 

salt & pepper



Tomato Pearl Barley Risotto

It's the weird period between Christmas and New Year's Eve where most of my diet is made up of sparkling wine, left over salmon, and cheese (plus I don't want to get too adventurous or virtuous in the kitchen just yet). I'm back in Scotland where it's wet and chilly and all I want to do is eat cosy food in front of a fire, watching endless episodes of Made in Chelsea. 


This tomato barley risotto is perfect for cold, lazy nights. It's much less hassle than normal risotto but just as warm and comforting. It's a really quick week night dinner but you can also make a big batch on Sunday and snack it on all week (which I often do). 

It's a fairly simple dish that you can dress up as you like. I add a splash of sherry and a dollop of créme fraîche to mine, but these are optional. You could skip the cheese and butter to make it vegan (maybe add a sprinkle of horseradish or sumac to deepen the flavor)? Of course, you could always add more cheese and butter too....


Dice onion and garlic. Heat butter in a large sauce pan on a medium high heat, add onion, then garlic. Sauté and add thyme leaves, paprika, coriander, chili flakes, oregano, and salt & pepper.

Add pearl barley and stir everything together. Deglaze the pan with sherry and allow alcohol to burn off. Add tomatoes (then rinse the can with some water and add that too). Add vegetable stock then reduce heat and simmer until the barley is cooked through (approx. 30 minutes). Stir constantly to stop the risotto sticking to the pan. 

Once cooked, remove from heat. Add lemon zest and juice, créme fraîche, and most of the parmesan. Taste and adjust seasoning. Spoon the risotto into bowls, garnish with a couple of thyme leaves and sprinkle with the rest of the parmesan. 


1 cup pearl barley

1 can diced tomatoes 

2 cups vegetable stock

1 onion 

2 garlic cloves

1 lemon

knob of butter

handful of grated parmesan 

a dollop of créme fraîche

good slash of sherry 

couple sprigs of thyme

pinch of paprika

pinch of coriander

pinch of chili flakes

pinch of oregano

salt & pepper

Roasted Potatoes with Herb Yogurt Dip


It wouldn't be (British) Christmas without roasted potatoes. They're crispy golden nuggets of love and I could eat an entire plate of them (which I almost did the moment I'd finished making this recipe...) I head home to Edinburgh tonight, so yesterday I got in the Christmas spirit by drinking an entire bottle of wine and making roast potatoes. I really should've spent the time packing but OH WELL. 


Since I wasn't making a full roast dinner yesterday, I didn't have any gravy to go with the potatoes, so I had to improvise. And, you know what they say, when you're out of gravy.... use yogurt? Okay, maybe no one says that, but they should because my yogurt, herb, créme fraîche concoction was delicious and the creamy dip went excellently with the crispy potatoes. 

For the fluffiest potatoes, you boil 'em and then shake 'em in a pot with some fat. Since my roommate and I have a jar of bacon fat in our fridge (yup), I used a dollop of bacon fat in this recipe but olive oil works great too. Goose or duck fat also work nicely. These are pretty classic tatties, but feel free to spice them up with a little paprika? Or you could finish the whole dish off with some sumac or za'ater? 


Preheat the oven to 450F. Peel and quarter the potatoes. Fill a pot with water, add the potatoes and a pinch of salt, bring to a boil. Boil the potatoes for 10 - 20 minutes or until they just begin to soften.

Drain the pot and add a dollop of bacon fat. Put a lid on the pot and shake vigorously so all the potatoes get coated in fat. Place the potatoes on a roasting tray and season with salt and pepper.

Roast in the oven until golden and crispy (approx. 45 mins), turning every 15 minutes or so. 

For the dip, finely chop the herbs, then mix all the ingredients together. Adjust the flavors to your liking and drizzle with additional olive oil to serve. 

Stuff for the Tatties 

yukon gold potatoes

olive oil/bacon fat

salt & pepper


Stuff for the Dip

big dollop of yogurt

big dollop of créme fraîche

small handful of dill 

few springs of rosemary 

juice from 1/2 a lemon 

olive oil 

salt & pepper