MALIBU, California

MALIBU, California

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

TGGD Szechuan Eggplant,Orange-lime glazed carrots with hazelnuts,couscous with pistachio meats, daal..PHOTOS & Tips

Tri-colored steamed quinoa, black, gold & white with cumin, turmeric and peas for the Szechuan Eggplant

Szechuan Eggplant..very spicy

orange-lime glazed carrots with hazelnuts and almonds

Steamed wholewheat couscous with cinnamon, and turmeric & pistachio meats
I am slowly working my way through all my great vegetables and have made some great Indian inspired soups with yellow and orange split beans/peas..the orange daal is a spicy blend of garam masala and curry powder, with tomatoes and onions with garlic..hearty yet light and tasty.
The Yellow split pea with zucchini has undertones of "citrus" from the ground coriander and turmeric, this is another wonderful soup without any heat..both are finished with fresh coriander greens and flowers.
I also made use of my own grown tomatoes and made a tomato onion soup, blended with coconut milk and added fresh basil form the garden.

The vegetables for roasting are being done the same was as mentioned in The Great Granny Diet..tomatoes, button mushrooms, garnet yams, parsnips, green bell pepper, onions, white corn on the cob, and will be cooked in the morning, as will the whole wheat couscous

I have baked the eggplant for the Szechuan sauce rather than fry to cut down on the oil and will be serving it with a mixed tangerine and lime juice..the sauce is heavy with hot peppers and fresh ginger, this also comes with steamed gold quinoa.

I have made a great sauce for whole wheat gnocchi See TGGD 1 gallon recipe
fresh fennel root and artichoke hearts, finished with avocado oil and Spanish green olives.
Strong and deep flavored sauces don't need cheese to improve their quality and make ideal Vegan dishes.

Tonight I am making all butter- oatmeal, dried cranberry, toasted pecan, roasted almond and dark chocolate, whole wheat cookies

 We are headed for a mini heatwave temps are going to be in 80f-triple digits, tomorrow I am off to Palm Springs where it is expected to be hot and spicy foods work well in hot  weather!

soaked and drained yellow split peas for the soup

soaked and drained orange split peas..daal

spicy daal  - side view

spicy daal topped with cilantro flowers

yellow split pea & zucchini soup with cilantro greens
The gnocchi sauce

the fennel-artichoke sauce for gnocchi ... side on

own grown tomato soup with purple basil and coconut milk
the fennel-artichoke sauce for the gnocchi

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Preventing Food Borne illness and keep produce fresher TGGD


Fresh carrots and cilantro

Fresh Greens

Keeping all your produce healthy before cooking, is the most important task.
Nothing annoys me more than these TV chefs who pull out an unopened  brand name bag of salad greens & empty into a salad bowl and then dress.

So many people last year were sickened (worldwide) by so called triple washed baby spinach.
To prevent food borne illness at home see TGGD

Also when you go to a Farmers market check the areas for workers hand washing...making sure they have germicidal soap and fresh towels.

From my experience not many places.
In the summer months as the thermometer rises, more bacteria thrives.

Thursdays Menu includes:

Fresh tomato and onion bisque
Yellow lentil and zucchini soup
Spicy daal ( orange lentil) soup

Whole wheat gnocchi with a tomato, fresh fennel and green olive sauce
Spicy Szechuan eggplant with steamed quinoa
Oregano-cumin crusted roast vegetables with whole wheat couscous

Chopped salad with a citrus dressing
Orange glazed carrots with hazelnuts
Rice and greens pilau with garlic

own grown bean sprouts..adzuki, black eyed pea, chickpea, lentils, mung beans, green peas.
Cranberry & walnut  oatmeal cookies

I will post more  info and photographs be continued white potatoes, garnet yams, parsnips, purple beets

left to right..white button mushrooms, sweet white corn, vine grown tomatoes

left to right, field curly kale, Italian eggplant,  Italian zucchini,  broccoli, white zucchini ( also called Mexican squash)

Monday, May 28, 2012


It was during a dinner party in London in 1986, that a certain guest was  "beside herself" when the titled hostess announced my plans to go to America the following year..."But why, the highest standing person you can cook for would be their President?", "Why would you choose to leave us?", I tried to explain I was only coming for a holiday......flash forward to Los Angeles March 1988, I was invited by Bullocks Wilshire to cater for the Duke and Duchess of York's first American tour, Luncheon Hat Party in their LA Store, a wonderful 1929 Art Deco building.
In fact I catered for the whole event at their store, part of UK/LA  A Celebration of British Design.

The morning of the royal arrival we had to cater to the world's press, & everyone was scrutinized by the FBI; I was going to be in the royal line-up as I was catering the event...156 people for a luncheon featuring amongst other things, poached salmon and a dessert of blueberries, strawberries and raspberries; some of the journalists wanted to interview the manageress of the restaurant, and the manager of the store etc.
It was only  Richard Rouilard of The  Los Angeles Herald Examiner, who bothered to interview  me (apparently many people in LA said they "knew" the royal couple).
The royal couple were running late, so as many of the special guests walked into the dining room, I (in my chef's whites) and the British Consul were left standing.

Suddenly the doors opened and a hasty Duke and Duchess of York where escorted through the doors towards the restaurant, meeting the British Consul who then escorted the couple... and then giving me a "double take", the Duchess, left Prince Andrew's side, came over to me and said "What on Earth are you doing here John?" I explained I was there to cook the lunch she ran into the dining room where everyone had stood up to welcome the couple and brought Prince Andrew back out to meet me; introducing me to him she said " We are guaranteed a great lunch John has cooked for me before".
We all shook hands, and (her then) HRH Sarah and I did a bit of chatting, as the worlds press cameras went mad, the couple went into Lunch; then all the journalists came to interview me but I explained I had a luncheon to prepare.

The next day it was reported that I was London's hottest new chef.
I have known Sarah for over 30 years....all my blogs will be about what brought me  to UK/LA background and wonderful catering experiences world wide.


I have always loved split pea soup...being raised in the North of England, it was a staple on our dining table and we ate it at east once a week, and no I never got  tired of it.
In those days it was made with a base of pig's feet..times however have changed and now I am mainly a vegetarian and certainly don't eat pig's feet any more....they are not easily available in LA stores anyway.
Here is an idea for a dish that came out of my desire for a New England Clam chowder type dish without the milk and cream or the clams...(I am lactose intolerant so milk is out but cream and butter do NOT contain lactose.. check with cartons of sour cream that it is 100% cream and no added milk and enjoy again the great taste on baked potatoes...just a tip, also LIVE plain yogurt is OK too as long as it is 100% live and no added starches or fillers)

The following 2 soups I love in sour dough bread bowls, and have included "how -to" in the first recipe, you can serve both in soupbowls instead:

This is a recipe for green split pea soup
 ....makes a great summer lunch/supper dish  with some good cheeses or  a green salad..without the guilt.
serves 4-6
1 cup dried split peas
6 cups vegetable stock
2 bay leaves
2tbsp grape seed oil
3 medium carrots chopped
1 large onion chopped
3 celery ribs ( stalks) also chopped
1/2 cup pearl barley
1/4 cup chopped fresh mint
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 cup frozen peas
1/4 tsp salt (maybe more when finished cooking)
zest & juice of one lemon
 small sour dough bread rounds (these will act as the bowls)

Wash and rinse the split peas well ( if you wish you can soak them for an hour, this will decrease cooking time)
once washed the peas will stick together so don't wash and rinse until you are ready to use them.

1) In a large, lidded sauce pan add the oil and  continue as in GGD for soup making

2)  Add the hot stock and bring to a boil, add the washed and rinsed split peas, salt  & bay leaves.
Bring back to a boil then turn down to rolling simmer, cover and cook for about 20 mins.

3) Add the washed and rinsed pearl barley and cook for a further 30 mins, slowly allowing the peas to break up and the barley to swell..skimming off the fat and debris that rises to the top of the soup..the soup should thicken up ( also this soup will thicken up as it cools down)

4) While the soup is simmering cut the tops off the sour dough rounds and remove the white bread to form a bowl.
 Bake the bowls in a 350f oven for about 20 mins, remove from oven when crisp.

5) Check the soup for seasoning adding salt and ground white pepper, and the zest and juice of the lemon, chopped herbs, & the defrosted frozen peas.

6) Serve the warm soup in the hot bread bowls and enjoy.

additions can be:
fresh sweetcorn
chopped garlic
chopped cilantro
red pepper flakes or chipotle peppers
tempeh & tempeh bakon
zucchini ( especially good in summer)
bell pepper & lime ( goes well with cilantro instead of mint and lemon)
potato chips..(great added as a topping in place of croutons)

a totally fat free soup can be made by bringing the stock to a rolling boil, adding the vegetables, and rinsed split peas and bay leaves, and continuing as recipe from #2)

You can experiment with this soup and just "make it your own" as long as you keep the base the same..even replacing the split green peas with split Fava beans..I am not sure about using the smaller split yellow peas as the proportions will differ,-split green  peas are higher in starch.

If you do not like barley you can substitute peeled high starch potatoes and adjust the recipe to suit.

Fresh super sweet white sweetcorn is back in the stores.
 I was very surprised when I first came to Southern California that people clamored for white corn ( and white peaches) as I always thought white corn was animal feed and the yellow corn the best, how wrong I was.
The white corn is super sweet and can easily be eaten raw, off the cob.
Most people cook it too long, if the kernels have become opaque then the white corn is over cooked.

It is best to cook it. almost like broccoli al dente, that way the sweetness remains and  it tastes freshest.

This is a recipe for corn chowder, and is best when corn is in season..please don't use canned or frozen for this recipe, you will not get the best results
serves 4-6

5* ears of  white corn (3* cups niblets) on the cob ( you can also use fresh in season yellow or calico - white and yellow hi-brid mix)

 2 tbsp vegetable margarine or unsalted butter
1 medium onion diced

2 small leeks sliced
3 ribs celery chopped
4 medium Russet ( high starch)potatoes, peeled and cubed
3 red skinned or Yukon gold potatoes ( waxy potatoes), washed not peeled & cut dice

1/4 tsp salt (check seasoning before serving and add more if necessary)
ground white pepper
1 cup coconut milk
3 cups rice milk ( or nut milk..NOT soy milk)
1/4 cup chopped celery and parsley

1) "Shuck" - remove  the corn from the cobs but keep the cobs..there is no easy way of doing this without it flying everywhere ...yes there are expensive gadgets but I prefer to use a sharp paring knife and drag it along the cob, it is OK to leave some corn on the cob as the cobs will make the stock.

2) Place the shucked cobs in 5 cups water and bring to boil and reduce by half.
Remove the cobs and add 3 cups of rice milk, bring to  high simmer.

3) In a large saucepan heat the margarine and add the chopped vegetables, including the Russet but NOT the Red or Yukon gold Potatoes.
cook as in GGD add the hot stock-milk, salt & pepper and bring to a slow boil, cook for  20 mins.

4) Then add the other unpeeled potatoes, bring back to boil & continue cooking for 15 mins 

5) Add the shucked corn kernels.. Bring back to a boil then simmer for  10 mins..the Russets should have broken down and be thickening the soup..skim off any scum that has risen to the top of the soup.

6) Add the coconut milk & the chopped celery and parsley mix.

7) Check seasoning and serve warm in bread or soup bowls.

Additions as for the Pea soup above.

I do not like adding flour or corn starch to any of my soups, I prefer them to taste and "feel natural" to the palate..I hope you enjoy

fresh lime/lemon juice & zest


fresh mint

dried split green peas, high starch

pearl barley..barley with outer coating/bran removed

Friday, May 25, 2012

Oatmeal cookie and Brioche type tart pastry for the roasted vegetable rustic tarts

Both of these recipes take time..but then again good baking does


The crispy thin oatmeal cookies ( makes 24-30 cookies)
( 1 cup US measurements = 8ozs dry weight)
( try and use as much organic produce as possible)

1 1/2 cups tightly packed  brown sugar
1/2 cup castor sugar/white sugar
1 1/2 cups unsalted butter or margarine (sunflower seed margarine makes a very thin cookies as it is softer when at room temperature)

Blend together at high speed until white and light, scrape down bowl and add
 2 large eggs, one at a time,mixing well, scrape down bowl.
Add 2-4 tsp vanilla (optional) flavoring

Add 1 cup whole wheat flour, with 1 tsp baking soda (whenever using brown sugar in any baking recipe it is best to use baking soda, and it should be aluminum -free) stir in well and then add

 3 cups old fashioned rolled oats/oatmeal ( do not use quick cook as this will result in a cake like textured cookie)..stir in well, the mix will be wet,
add 1 cup of nuts
1/2 cup raisins, chopped dried fruit or chocolate chips.
Mix well, and scrape down bowl.

place  2 tbsp  ( per cookie) on a parchment lined cookie sheet,( again the mix should be wet, not firm) press down with tines of a fork until about 1/2 inch high, space 2 inches apart ( parchment is a must as these will spread and stick to any other surface, foil is a no no).
I usually bake 6 cookies per half sheet pan

bake for 10 mins in middle shelf of oven and then for another 5-10 mins on top shelf of oven, until golden, caramel brown. This works well with 2 cookies sheets per time.
remove from oven and cool on tray for about 10 mins then remove to cooling wire and cool on parchment.
They will be soft and tender when warm..allow to cool completely before packing
Packaged when cooled and crisped up

Scraping down between "mix in's" is very important..don't overlook this

I make 4 dozen of these cookies every week

flattened down and ready for baking


The whole wheat "brioche" tart dough..
.this is for the free-form roasted vegetable tarts, & the prep takes 2 days, it has to rest overnight to improve the texture and flavors.

for 1 tart shell

1 cup wholewheat flour
1/2 ground flax seed meal ( or another 1/2 cup whole wheat flour)
1 large egg at room temp.
4tbsp unsalted butter/or vegetable margarine
1/4 cup warm water
1 tsp active dry yeast
1/4 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp sea salt

in a large mixing bowl, slowly break the fat into the flours & salt, and mix until it forms "crumbs".
Mix the dried yeast with the warm water and sugar, and allow to "foam".

Add the foamed yeast mix plus beaten egg to the flour/fat mix and slowly bring together, beat slowly to mix in.
Using hands form into a smooth ball and cover with a cloth to allow it to prove for about an hour at room temp( or until it doubles it's size).
Beat the dough down (knock back) and place in a  sealed, floured plastic bag and leave in fridge overnight.
The day you  wish to use the dough, remove from fridge and place in a clean bowl, cover with a clean towel and allow to prove for another hour until it has risen and is active, roll out on a floured board until it is 1/4 inch thick,( either circle or square depending on your use) place on a parchment lined cookie sheet and allow a further 30  mins before filling, egg washing and
 baking in a pre heated 400f oven for 30-45 mins until golden brown.
Remove from oven and leave on cookie sheet, and spray with olive oil.

after 30 mins remove from tray and put on wire rack to cool ..serve at room temperature and slice like a pie

after first rise and before overnight resting

add cheese or nut butter mix(for lactose intolerant) on base before adding the roasted vegetables

cooled........ fully cooked
before baking

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Cucumber-Lemon Soup!! Delivery UP

I am busy prepping for my delivery today the menu is:
Beet Borscht made with apple juice, cinnamon and white wine.
Potato and onion soup with coconut cream.
Lemon-cucumber-fennel chilled soup..(except for the boiled eggs, which will act a  thickener along with coconut milk.... this is a totally raw soup).

A black bean and corn salad with chipotle dressing, blue corn chips and romaine hearts.

Roasted curried vegetable free-form tarts..with a whole wheat and flax seed yeasted dough..yams, yellow potatoes, sugar plum tomatoes, Spanish onion, beets, eggplant, with a nut butter cream.

Bell peppers stuffed with eggplant, garlic, tomato and quinoa ..scented with cumin and fresh mint in a tomato-cinnamon sauce..(Similar to the ones I made in Kuwait City) be finished at client's home

Streusel pineapple-strawberry cake.

English toffee-walnut whole wheat oatmeal  thin and crispy cookies.

Mixed bean and micro sprouts.


 market buys, washed and air dried

the root vegetables for roasting for the tarts

the eggplant, raisins, pine nut and tomato filling for the peppers
the filling with the steamed quinoa added, mix well then lay on a cookie sheet to dry out

the roasted vegetables before adding the roasted eggplants and the tomatoes..marinate overnight and bake in pies

the pepper filling with quinoa drying out
cookies waiting to be baked..a very moist mix made with sunflower seed margarine

previous 2 the cookies are baked..they come out wafer thin and crisp up as they cool
The cooking dish for the stuffed peppers, olive oiled, then add chopped red onion, tomatoes and fresh oregano, place stuffed peppers over top and bake in pre heated ( pre-heat for 25 mins) oven 375f covered for 30 mins
when stuffing vegetables it is a good trick to par-boil/blanche the vegetables so the results will be fully cooked and tender
The quinoa-eggplant stuffed peppers with added fresh mint leaves
The fabulous blended cucumber-lemon soup..dairy free and uncooked...topped with extra virgin olive oil
Chipotle seasoned black bean and roasted corn salad
The roasted vegetable tart before baking
The baked roasted vegetable tart...a cross between a calzone and a pizza with a brioche whole wheat-flax seed meal crust
The baked fresh pineapple-strawberry streusel cake
before baking

 the whole wheat-flax yeast dough for the tart, after first rise, "knock back" and refrigerate 24 hours to develop flavors..