Nectarine, Goat’s Cheese and Caramelised Onion Galette

Even though the skies are grey and the rain is persistent, this is high summer! Nectarines are at their best at the moment. This savoury galette is just the thing for a summer dinner served with a crisp, green salad. The contrast between the sweetness of the nectarines and spicy sharpness of the chutney elevates this galette to something very special. I did change the pastry in the original recipe ( from puff to a wholemeal short crust with lemon thyme. I also didn’t have as much chutney as I thought I had, so I ended up using some mango chutney as well. The final change was lemon thyme instead of thyme, just because I love lemon thyme.   The result is a decadent, intriguing and ever so pretty show- stopper.


For the pastry

  • 150g plain flour
  • 100g wholemeal flour
  • 1 tsp fine salt
  • 150g unsalted butter
  • 1 egg beaten
  • 1 tbsp milk
  • 1 tablespoon lemon thyme

For the filling

  • 150ml full fat crème fraiche
  • 125g vegetarian soft goat’s cheese, crumbled
  • juice of ½ lemon
  • 2 tsp chopped lemon thyme, plus extra to garnish
  • 2 ripe nectarines
  • 150g caramelised onion chutney
  • 1 egg, beaten
  1. Sift flour and salt into a large bowl, rub in the butter with your fingertips until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add the lemon thyme. Make a well in the centre and add the egg and milk. Use fingertips to mix the ingredients to make a dough. Turn pastry out onto a floured surface and knead two to three times. Cover with cling film and chill for 30 minutes.
  2. Place a large baking tray into the oven and preheat to 200°C, fan 180°C, gas 6. Roll the pastry on a floured work surface and use a rolling pin to roll out to a 30cm circle (use an upturned plate to guide you). Transfer to a large sheet of baking paper.
  3. Mix the crème fraiche, goat’s cheese, lemon juice and lemon thyme together, mashing with a fork to break up the lumps of cheese. Season generously.
  4. Cut the nectarines in half, removing the stones, then slice into thin wedges.
  5. Spread the goat’s cheese mixture over the tart, leaving a 4-5cm border around the edge. Use a teaspoon to drop dollops of onion chutney over the cheese. Arrange the nectarine slices on top and season again.
  6. Fold over the pastry edges, so it overlaps the filling slightly. Lift the baking paper; slide the tart onto the hot tray (keep the baking paper under the tart).
  7. Brush the exposed pastry with the egg, then bake for 35-40 minutes, until the crust is golden and crisp. Sprinkle with the extra thyme, if using, and serve.

Middle Eastern Mezze

Group shot

For this New Year’s Eve, I wanted something light after the obligatory Christmas over indulgence, but still luxurious and decadent. When I saw Greg Malouf’s New Year’s Eve Middle Eastern Mezze menu in the December 2015 edition of Sainsbury’s magazine, I was immediately drawn to the jewel colour of the pomegranate and the warmth of the oranges. Being a vegetarian, I didn’t make the Lamb kibbeh, but there was more than enough variety without it. I also added some hummus, mini pitas and olives, just for the sake of it. The beauty of this meal is that it is perfect for any time of year, not just New Year’s Eve.

Mezze for 8 (I used just under half the ingredients in each recipe)

Teta’s pie

Citrus and fennel salad with almond-cherry goats’ cheese balls

Preserved lemon guacamole

Celeriac with tahini and raisins

Toasted Quinoa with coriander, lime and crunchy butternut squash

Layered Christmas curd and Christmas spice biscuits


Teta’s Pie

This can be made a day in advance. 365 Calories per serving

Teta's pie solo


1x500g pack trimmed leeks, well washed and finely sliced

75g butter

1 onion, finely diced

1 x 80g pack watercress, roughly chopped

1 tsp dried mint

½ tsp nutmeg, freshly grated

1 x 200g pack feta cheese, crumbled

50g Grana Padano cheese, finely grated

2 medium eggs, lightly beaten

100g unsalted butter, melted

1 x 220g pack filo pastry

1 tsp smoked paprika, thyme and garlic spice blend



  • Bring a large saucepan of lightly salted water to the boil. Add the leeks and poach for 3-5 minutes or until tender and drain well.
  • Melt the butter in a large frying pan and gently sauté the onion for around 8-10 minutes, or until soft and translucent. Add the leeks to the pan, together with the watercress, dried mint and nutmeg. Continue cooking until the watercress is wilted.
  • Add the cheeses and ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper. Taste and season with salt if needed. With the heat on low, tip in the eggs and stir gently; they will just thicken the mixture. Tip onto a large plate to cool before assembling the pie.
  • When ready to bake your pie, preheat the oven to 180⁰C/160⁰C fan/ Gas 4. Brush a rectangular baking tin (around 25cm x 30cm x 4cm) with melted butter.
  • Lay 8 sheets of the filo in the tin, brushing each with melted butter as you go. Add the filling and smooth it over evenly. Top with the remaining 4 sheets of pastry, again brushing with butter as you go. Use a serrated knife to score the pie through the top layer of pastry into 16 portions. Sprinkle over the spice blend, and then bake for 50-60 minutes or until golden brown and crisp. Serve warm.


Citrus and fennel salad with almond-cherry goats’ cheese balls

The goats’ cheese balls can be made a day ahead.

336 Calories per serving

Citrus and fennel salad



For the almond-cherry goats’ cheese balls

75g almonds, skins on

25g unsalted butter

25g dried cherries, finely chopped

For the salad

4 oranges

2 red grapefruit

2 heads of white or red chicory

2 medium fennel bulbs, finely sliced

2 shallots finely sliced (I used red onion)

1 x 70g pack wild rocket (I used kale)

2 tablespoons tarragon leaves

4 tablespoons chopped flat leaf parsley

Seeds of 1 pomegranate

For the pomegranate dressing

1 tablespoon pomegranate molasses

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

½ teaspoon thyme leaves

6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil


  • To make the almond-cherry goats’ cheese balls, roast the almonds in a dry frying pan for a few minutes. Chop almonds in a food processor to the consistency of coarse breadcrumbs. Heat the butter in a frying pan and fry the almonds and cherries for about 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Drain on kitchen paper and leave to cool.
  • Roll the goats’ cheese into small balls, and then roll carefully in the cold almond-cherry mixture so they are evenly coated. Set aside in the fridge on a covered plate until needed.
  • To make the salad, use a very sharp knife to cut off the peel from the oranges and the grapefruit, taking care to remove all the pith. Hold the fruit over a large bowl to catch the juice, and then slice each segment out of its skin into the bowl.
  • Combine 75ml of the citrus juice with the dressing ingredients in a small bowl and whisk together. Adjust the seasoning to your liking and set aside.
  • When ready to serve, drain any extra juice from the citrus segments and discard, then add the remaining salad ingredients, other than the pomegranate seeds, to the bowl and pour in enough dressing to coat lightly. Mix everything together and gently tip onto a serving platter. Tuck in the goats’ cheese balls in among the salad, then scatter on the pomegranate seeds and serve straight away.


Preserved lemon guacamole

Prepare up to 4 hours ahead. Cover and Chill.

96 Calories per serving

Preserved lemon guacamole


2 medium vine-ripened tomatoes, deseeded and cut into small pieces

½ small red onion, very finely chopped

2 green chillies, deseeded and chopped

1 x 31g pack coriander, leaves chopped

1 preserved lemon, rind only, finely chopped

2 garlic cloves, crushed with ½ teaspoon salt

Juice of 2 limes

2 ripe large avocados

Extra-virgin olive oil and sumac, to serve



  • In a large mixing bowl, combine the tomato, onion, chilli, coriander and preserved lemon. Whisk the crushed garlic into the lime juice and add to the bowl. Dice the avocado into small cubes, add to the bowl and mix everything together gently, then taste and adjust the seasoning to your liking.
  • Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with sumac.


 Celeriac with tahini and raisins

This can be made a few hours ahead, cover and chill. Stir through before serving.

285 Calories per serving

Celeriac solo


125ml cloudy apple juice

125g raisins

1 small celeriac (about 400g)

4 large gherkins (about 125g), finely chopped

1 x 28g pack flat-leaf parsley, leaves chopped

200ml mayonnaise

4 tablespoons tahini, well-stirred

Juice of ½ a lemon



  • Bring the apple juice to the boil in a small saucepan, then pour onto the raisins in a bowl; set aside for at least 5 minutes.
  • Peel the celeriac and finely shred it. Use a food processor or a mandolin.
  • Drain the raisins, reserving the juice. Add them to the celeriac, together with the chopped gherkins and parsley.
  • Mix the mayonnaise with the tahini and reserved apple juice. Add the lemon juice bit by bit until you like the balance of nutty tartness in the dressing. Dollop it onto the celeriac and toss everything together well, season to taste.

Toasted Quinoa with coriander, lime and crunchy butternut squash

You can cook the quinoa the day before, cover and chill. Fry the squash up to 2 hours ahead. Combine the quinoa and salad ingredients up to 2 hours ahead, but add the fried squash just before serving.

196 Calories per serving

Quinoa solo



200g quinoa

700ml vegetable stock or water

300g peeled squash, coarsely grated

Vegetable oil, for frying (about 1.5 litres)

1 tsp ground cumin

6 spring onions, trimmed and finely sliced

8 cherry tomatoes on the vine, diced

1 tsp smoked paprika, thyme and garlic spice blend

1 x 31g pack coriander, leaves shredded

For the lime-sumac dressing

Juice of 1 lime

4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

2 tsp sumac

1 tsp ground cumin


  • Heat a saucepan and toast the quinoa for 2-3 minutes, stirring to ensure it colours evenly. Add the stock or water. Bring to the boil. Simmer for 20 minutes or until al dente. Tip into a sieve and set aside.
  • Squeeze the grated squash in a tea towel to extract as much moisture as you can.
  • Pour a 3cm depth of vegetable oil into a large, deep pan and heat until it starts to shimmer. Add the squash to the oil and cook for 4-5 minutes over a medium heat, moving it constantly to ensure it colours evenly. Lift out with a draining spoon and shake the excess oil then put the squash onto kitchen paper. You may have to cook the squash in batches. Sprinkle with cumin and set aside.
  • To make the dressing, whisk the ingredients together, season to taste and then set aside.
  • Tip the quinoa into a serving bowl and toss through the spring onions, tomatoes, and spice blend. Add the dressing and stir well. Mix in the herbs and top with the fried squash just before serving.

 Layered Christmas curd and Christmas spice biscuits

Christmas dessert

This is basically a free style recipe which I ‘borrowed’ from my mum. It’s perfect for when you want something sweet at the end of a meal, but you want it to be light. It’s also great if you have spent hours in the kitchen preparing the main course and you just can’t face a full on complex dessert. You can change the flavours of the curd to suit your taste. You can also substitute the crème fraiche for yoghurt or sour cream. For the biscuit layer, amoretti, ginger snaps, digestives can all be used. For this dessert, I used Fortnum and Mason’s Christmas spice range which included both the curd and biscuits. I served mine in a sherry tumbler, but a shot glass or wine glass would also look good.


4 teaspoons Christmas curd

3 x Christmas spice biscuits

4 tablespoons half fat crème fraiche

Gold edible stars


  • Mix the curd and the crème fraiche. Taste to see if you are happy with the level of creaminess and flavour, adjust accordingly.
  • Put the biscuits in a bag and smash with a rolling pin to form crumbs.
  • In your serving glass, put in a teaspoon of the crumbs, then a teaspoon of the curd mixture. Repeat until the glass is full.
  • I finished with a layer of the curd and sprinkled some golden edible stars on the top.


Pickled Pear, Lentil and Goat’s Cheese Salad


This is fast becoming one of my all-time favourite salads. What first attracted me to this recipe was the colour of the pears; I think they look amazing. So this was the salad I made when my mum and dad came for a fleeting visit, and they loved it. The ingredients are simple, flavoursome and marry together so well. The recipe is from Rachel Khoo’s, My Kitchen Notebook. In the original, she uses blue cheese which I like, but not everyone is a fan. My parents really enjoy goat’s cheese which works extremely well, so I used it in this version of the salad. I’ve also made it with feta which is also delicious. You don’t need to use a salad dressing as the pears are quite juicy and sharp. If you really wanted, you could drizzle a little of the pickling liquid over, but I don’t think it needs it. A nice addition to this is a handful of pan roasted walnuts or pecans sprinkled over the top.

Preparation time: 15 minutes,  resting time: overnight,  cooking time: 1 hour


250ml water

250ml red wine vinegar 150g caster sugar

4 firm pears, peeled but with stems on

4 small beetroot, peeled and cut into 2cm cubes

200g Puy lentils

100g cheese: choose from goat’s cheese, feta, gorgonzola or other blue cheese

1 handful of watercress

2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

Pinch of sea salt pinch and freshly ground pepper




  • Put the water, vinegar and sugar in a medium saucepan and bring to a gentle simmer over a low heat. Stir to dissolve the sugar, then add the pears and beetroot. Cut a piece of baking paper/parchment larger than the diameter of the pan, crumple it up, and cut a hole or slit in the centre. Place in contact with the liquid and let some seep through to keep the paper in place. Cover and simmer gently over low heat for 1 hour.
  •  Remove from the heat and transfer the pears, beetroot, and all the liquid to a lidded container. Set aside until it cools to room temperature, then put in the refrigerator to pickle overnight.
  •  When ready to serve, cook the lentils following the package instructions, then drain.
  • Transfer the pears to a cutting board and the beetroot to a bowl (discard the liquid or save it for up to 1 week for pickling something else).
  • Toss the lentils with the beetroot, then crumble the cheese into small chunks and add to the bowl. Divide the mixture among four salad plates.
  • Cut each pear in half and place them on the serving plate, with a little watercress.
  • Drizzle with the oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.