I absolutely love dessert. Love is probably an understatement now that I think of it…there is a reason I became a pastry chef. I’ve always had a knack for baking, and a slight obsession when it comes to finishing off a meal with a little something sweet, even if its a piece of dark chocolate. I’ve been known to whip up late night banana breads, lemon drizzle loaves and of course granola, only to subject my (thankfully willing) family and friends to its temptation.
When I was conjuring up the idea of a dessert for this feature, I had my mind (and stomach) set on pannacotta. Traditionally made with a cream base, I set out to the challenge of making a slightly healthier version using yoghurt. I’m not going to lie, it took several attempts, a couple kitchen disasters, and kilos of different types of yoghurt to get it just right. In the end, I realized the best texture came from a mix of whole milk and full fat plain yoghurt. The texture was perfect. It was creamy yet light and combined with the crunchy crumble and tart syrup, it would be the perfect sweet ending to any dinner. The nice part about this particular dessert is that it has to be made ahead, so it’s a no stress pudding that will be sure to impress any guest.
By request, I was asked to share the recipe that was printed in Jamie Oliver Magazine a couple months back, so here it is!
3.5 leaves of gelatin
250ml whole milk
50g caster sugar
1 vanilla bean, split lengthways and seeds removed
250g plain natural yoghurt
50g pomegranate seeds
200 ml pomegranate juice
2 tsp. cornflour
10g caster sugar
10g ground almonds
10g cold butter
To make the pannacotta, first soak the gelatin leaves in cold water for at least 5 minutes, until they have bloomed and are soft to the touch.
Meanwhile, gently heat the milk, sugar and vanilla in a saucepan over a low- medium heat until it begins to steam. Take off the heat, squeeze the excess water out of the gelatin and add to the milk, whisking until dissolved. Add the yoghurt to the pan and whisk again until combined. Fill four 160ml dariole moulds three- quarters of the way up and refrigerate overnight to set.
For the syrup, combine the sugar and pomegranate juice in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat slightly and cook for 6-8 minutes, until the mixture has reduced by a third. In a small bowl, combine the cornflour with a couple of tablespoons of the pomegranate liquid, whisking to combine. Return to the pan and whisk over a low heat until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Allow to cool completely.
To make your crumble, preheat the oven to 180C/gas 4. Combine the butter, ground almonds, flour, and butter in a small bowl. Rub the mixture together with your fingers until it resembles crumbs. Spread it over a parchment lined baking tray and pop in the oven for 10 minutes. Give it a stir now and then, until deep golden and crisp. Set aside to cool.
To serve the pannacotta, remove them from the moulds. To do this, dip the base of the mould in warm water for 3 seconds while gently pressing with your fingers. This may take a couple of attempts. Invert the mould over your hand until it has come free, and then carefully transfer to a plate.
Garnish each with a couple spoonfuls of the syrup, the crumble, and a pinch of pomegranate seeds. Serve immediately.
It all began with a pie. Actually six pies, but really it was that simple, I was hooked from the first slice.
My launch into the wonderful world of recipe writing began with testing recipes until I was blue in the face. My first batch of testing an American pie feature took place in the most inspiring kitchen I’ve ever stepped foot in. I had never known a world of equally passionate foodies existed. I was in complete awe, and honestly nervous as I recall lugging groceries half way across the city in a small black carry-on suitcase to the pristine kitchens at the magazine headquarters.
It was later that day, while constructing a twist on the proverbial s’more with layers of luscious homemade marshmallow, I knew I truly loved to cook and that I was in this for the long haul.
I’ve since tested hundreds of recipes that have made it into magazines and cookbooks. I’ve probably consumed kilos of butter (not complaining), narrowly missed multiple kitchen mishaps and worked with the most supportive and inspiring colleagues in the industry.
Now a couple years on, I have slowly begun the transition into the development of my own recipes. Seeing the creative process from beginning to end has resurrected my passion for food and cooking. It’s a challenge in its own right, carefully crafting a recipe that is well balanced and delicious, and I’m no expert, but I like to think I’ve got a knack for it.
I wanted to share one of my favourite recipes I developed. Recently published, my lemon pomegranate loaf actually came to be by accident, which as history in baking has it, many great recipes have resulted from. It’s light, fluffy crumbed texture contrasts beautifully with the juicy, sour seeds and tangy syrup. Not to mention the gorgeous jeweled surface that beckons for an afternoon slice. It’s quick, simple, and practically guilt-free and I swear it will become a staple in your baking repertoire.
Lemon Pomegranate Loaf
190g Plain flour
20g Ground almonds
2tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
200g caster sugar
2 (100g) medium eggs
2 (10g) lemons, zested
15g (one half) lemon, juice
175g plain greek style yoghurt, plus extra to serve
60ml coconut oil, melted and cooled
1/2tsp vanilla extract
150g Pomegranate seeds, to garnish
Preheat the oven to 170C. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, ground almonds, and baking powder.
In a large bowl, combine the sugar and eggs and whisk until pale and thickened. Add the lemon zest, lemon juice, yoghurt, coconut oil and whisk to combine. Add the flour, ground almonds, baking powder and salt. Using a spatula, fold the dry ingredients into the wet ones, careful not to overmix.
Pour into a 900g loaf tin lined with parchment paper. Scatter 50g of the pomegranate seeds down the center, this helps to prevent it from rising too much in the middle so you can decorate the cake. Bake for 50 minutes until golden brown and a skewer comes out clean.
Once you remove the cake from the oven, immediately pour 4 tbsp of the glaze overtop and scatter the remaining 100g of pomegranate seeds. Allow the cake to cool for 30 minutes in the tin. Then remove the cake from the tin and place on a wire rack. Allow to cool for another 10 minutes before pouring a couple more tablespoons of the remaining glaze onto the cake to give it a nice sheen. Cool completely before serving with a dollop of yoghurt and remaining syrup.
250ml Pomegranate Juice
Place the pomegranate juice and sugar in a saucepan over a medium high heat. Bring to the boil and cook for 5 minutes until slightly reduced. Remove from the heat and add a couple of tablespoons to the cornflour, whisking to combine. Pour the cornflour mixture back into the saucepan with the remaining juice and cook over a low heat for 2 minutes until thickened, whisking continuously. Transfer to a bowl and allow to cool completely.
The procrastination has finally ended! Welcome to my new blog.
The past couple of years have been a whirlwind. Now getting comfortable in my fourth year as a Londoner, it’s difficult to not look back and reflect over what my time in this wonderful city has done to me. I conquered great fears of the unknown ( freelancer’s you know what I’m talking about), as well as accomplishing a few dream goals: Cooking school (check!), Pastry Chef at Ottolenghi (check!), and publishing work for a few chefs that I grew up aspiring to work alongside (check! check!). But this, I hope, is only the beginning.
My passion for food began many, many years ago when as a child I was inspired by both my grandmother’s ability to cook meals for large family gatherings. I grew up on ladles filled of comforting chicken noodle soup, plush potato cheese pierogies and light and airy pascki (jam filled doughnuts). One of my grandmothers’ had a large garden in their backyard abundantly filled with apple trees, raspberry bushes and every kind of vegetable under the sun. Growing up in surroundings such as these teaches you a lot about food, not only to respect where it comes from but also how impactful on the livelihood of a family it can be. Needless to say, I was spoiled with the richness from my food filled childhood and this eventually pushed me out of my comfort zone in my mid twenties to explore a life outside the bubble I had conformed to. So thank you Bubi and Babcia.
Starting a career in food was an intimidating challenge, but one that my gut instinct told me I had to at least try. I now feel extremely fortunate to do what I love, and all of my experiences have brought me to where I am today. Out of all the things I do, cooking for others is still the most rewarding and that’s where this blog comes in. Cooking at home for me is not only a distraction from the daily grind, but a chance to test out new recipes and use new flavours that are less common in my day to day job. This blog will be a collaboration of recipes and food stories, ones that I hope will inspire you (at home, yes you) to take a break from your reality and escape into the wonderful world of creating food and feeding other people.
So sit back, read, enjoy, and hopefully dust off those kitchen utensils for use in the near future.
P.S. Granola Recipe ( by request) coming up soon!
This dish came to be a couple month’s back when I was working on a very special project ( soon to be released!). The shoot lasted a couple of weeks, and from the get go we decided to keep team lunches in house as its the healthier, and frankly better tasting option to takeaway. One of the dishes on the project was an absolutely stunning kabocha squash roasted with maple and spices which is where I took my inspiration for this salad from. Kabocha squash, also known as Japanese pumpkin are very large, around 2-3 pounds in weight, so naturally there was some leftover to make a delicious lunch. The sweet and almost nutty squash was a perfect match with the tahini yoghurt sauce and lots of fresh herbs. This was one of those kitchen sink salads, use whatever you can find in the fridge, cross your fingers and hope for the best. Turns out, spontaneity in cooking actually works and this salad was a complete winner!
If you can’t find a kobocha squash, substitute with a butternut squash which is equally sweet and perfect for roasting.
Roasted Squash Salad
500g Kabocha squash, washed and cut into 5cm pieces
3 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp ground cumin
1 tbsp ground coriander
2 tbsp maple syrup
50g fresh coriander, roughly chopped
50g fresh parsley, roughly chopped
50g fresh mint, roughly chopped
3tbsp sesame seeds, toasted
salt and pepper, to taste
200g plain greek yoghurt
1 lemon juiced and zest
1 clove garlic, crushed
1. Preheat the oven to 180C. Place the squash into a large bowl along with the olive oil, spices and maple syrup tossing to coat. Spread onto the baking sheet and roast for 40-45 minutes until tender and beginning to caramelize.
2. in a small bowl, whisk together the tahini paste with 4 tbsp of water until smooth. Whisk in the yoghurt, lemon juice and garlic. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.
3. Spoon some of the yoghurt onto a large platter, place some of the roasted squash on top and garnish with the fresh herbs, sesame seeds and a drizzle of olive oil.