Tag: lime

Lime Scones & my last book launch event in Washington D.C.

Eat In My Kitchen book launch

When we left our hotel in New York in the early morning it was still dark and I was too tired to realize that my Eat In My Kitchen book tour would soon come to an end. But after six weeks of being on the road in Europe and the US, I was somehow ready to close one of the most exciting chapters of my life in America’s capital, in Washington D.C.

We celebrated the birth of my first cookbook with true feasts, in Berlin, Malta, London, New York, and Washington and there are no words to describe how I felt during this trip. It made me the happiest and – after a few weeks – the most tired person at the same time. To be able to write and publish a book, to travel and share my thoughts about these pages filled with my recipes makes me very thankful – and humble. I didn’t know what to expect when my book was published on the 4th October, I didn’t know if people would like or reject it. I just tried my best to create a collection of recipes that someone who loves cooking would pick up for inspiration. To see all the love, support, and positive response that this book keeps getting, is more than I ever dreamed of. I met so many incredible food-loving people at all my book launch events, we discussed with each other, we ate and drank Maltese wine together, and we gathered around the table, just like we do in my own kitchen. People keep asking me which event I enjoyed the most, but I can’t even answer this question. Each celebration was unique, each of them was filled with countless magic moments, each event made my heart stop and jump, out of anxiety and pure happiness. Each celebration is a huge gift to my life.

Eat In My Kitchen book launch

 

Lime Scones

Washington felt a bit like the calm after the storm (please keep in mind that it was the week before the sobering elections!). New York is restless and that’s how we felt, but in D.C. we got treated to the relaxing amenities of the wonderful Kimpton Mason & Rook Hotel and a luxuriously elegant room. We also had more time than expected, so we decided to jump on the hotel’s bikes to ride to the Embassy of Malta in Washington and meet the ambassador, Clive Agius, the generous host of the last Eat In My Kitchen book launch event. It was only a quick visit to the embassy before we drove on – this time in the ambassador’s car – to his private residence where our celebration was going to take place the next day. When I saw his house from afar, I knew that we had yet another unforgettable launch ahead of us.

The ambassador’s house is located in a picturesque residential area a little outside the center. The quiet streets lined with old trees, their leaves painted in gold, orange, and red, it was an Indian summer’s dream, almost too beautiful to be true. The house could have been straight from a fairytale, I couldn’t help but think of Little Red Riding Hood. The coziest cottage, warm and welcoming, just like Mr. Agius’ lovely family who shared their home with us. Mrs. Agius was so kind to let me use her kitchen to prepare the dishes for our big night and Vs Adass, the sweetest man who’s been the residence’s indispensable helping hand for two decades, assisted me. It was the only launch where I cooked and it went more smoothly than expected.

That night we treated ourselves to a scrumptious dinner at Le Diplomate, a relaxed French style Brasserie serving classics of exquisite quality. A glass of Champagne, clams, burger (the best in town), and a nice bottle of wine from Crozes Hermitage made us forget about the struggles that you face once in while when you’re on a book tour. It was heavenly. My culinary highlight was the bread served with our meal. Homemade sourdough bread, baguette, and a fruit and nut loaf that were so good that I ordered a bunch of them for the next day’s book launch.

Lime Scones

One of the breakfast treats I enjoyed during my stay in D.C. inspired me to share today’s recipe. It was a wonderfully crumbly, fragrant lemon scone. In my recipe, I replaced the lemon with lime and added vanilla. It’s one of the best scones I ever made, delicious for breakfast and perfectly fitting for my Sunday teatime.

My last book launch event was the most intimate of all of them. We sat at the fireplace, it was warm and cozy, a glass of wine in our hands, and we spoke about food. First, we picked up on our tradition of having a talk between me and my interviewer – my boyfriend took on this role that night – and then we moved on to an open discussion. And Washington, you impressed me, your people like to talk and ask questions! In no other city was I asked so much about my book, but also about food in general, I loved it. Thank you for welcoming us with open arms, thank you for your curiosity!

Eat In My Kitchen book launch

 

Eat In My Kitchen book launch

This night wouldn’t have been possible without the generous support of Clive Agius and his lovely wife and daughters. Thank you so much for sharing your home with us and our guests. Thank you Karl Chetcuti and Meridiana Wine Estate for filling our glasses, Marisa Dobson for helping me organize our event, and Corinne Thompson for capturing all the beautiful moments in your pictures.

So, the Eat In My Kitchen book is out and it made it onto several Best Cookbooks of Fall 2016 lists (New York Times, InStyle US, Epicurious), you can see all the reviews here. I’m happy, relieved, and I’ll definitely need some time to process all the excitement that came over my life in the past few months. The best place to do this is my kitchen in Berlin and in Malta. I want to get back to my routine, my normal life. I hope you had fun joining my book tour here on the blog and on Instagram and Facebook. My post-book tour life will bring back recipes and posts from my kitchen, very relaxed, and a slower pace.

Eat In My Kitchen book launch

 

Lime Scones

Lime Scones

Makes 6 scones

plain flour 260g / 2 cups
granulated sugar 2 tablespoons
cream of tartar 2 teaspoons
baking soda 1 teaspoon
fine sea salt 3/4 teaspoon
freshly grated lime zest 1 1/2 tablespoons, plus 1 teaspoon for the topping
unsalted butter, cold, 60g / 1/4 cup
freshly squeezed lime juice 2 tablespoons
milk a bit less than 120ml / 1/2 cup
vanilla bean, split in half and scraped, 1/2
organic egg, lightly beaten, to glaze, 1

crème fraîche, clotted cream, or butter, for serving

Preheat the oven to 220°C / 425°F (conventional setting) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, cream of tartar, baking soda, salt, and lime zest. Add the butter and use a knife to cut it into the flour until there are just small pieces left. Quickly rub the butter into the flour with your fingers until combined.

Add the lime juice to a measuring cup and fill with milk until it measures 120ml / 1/2 cup. Add the vanilla seeds and whisk quickly. Add to the flour mixture and, using a large spoon, mix until just combined.

Scrape the dough onto a floured kitchen counter, dust your hands with flour, and flatten the dough until it’s about 2 1/2cm / 1″ thick. Using a 6 1/2cm / 2 1/2″ round cookie cutter, cut out 6 scones, reshape the dough for the last 2. Transfer to the lined baking sheet, brush the tops with the egg wash, and bake for about 10 minutes or until golden and risen. Sprinkle with additional lime zest (optional). Enjoy preferably warm with crème fraîche, clotted cream, or butter.

Eat In My Kitchen book launch

 

Eat In My Kitchen book launch

 

Eat In My Kitchen book launch

 

Eat In My Kitchen book launch

 

Eat In My Kitchen book launch

 

Eat In My Kitchen book launch

 

Eat In My Kitchen book launch

 

Eat In My Kitchen book launch

 

Eat In My Kitchen book launch

 

Eat In My Kitchen book launch

 

Eat In My Kitchen book launch

 

Eat In My Kitchen book launch

 

Eat In My Kitchen book launch

 

Eat In My Kitchen book launch

Elderflower Lime Cake

Elderflower Lime Cake

Whenever I ride around the city on my bike at the moment I feel wrapped in the sweetest smelling cloud of elderflower, black locust (acacia), and chestnut flowers. I don’t know if it’s me – maybe I’m more sensitive this year – but as soon as I open my kitchen window in the morning until I close it at night, I’m mesmerized by the smell of early summer.

A week ago, we went on one of our Saturday escapes to the countryside. This time we chose Beelitz, outside Berlin, to spend a day far from noise and distraction. I wrote about this area two years ago, it’s a picturesque village surrounded by fields and dense woods and it’s famous for Germany’s best asparagus (you can see the pictures here). Last time we went a little earlier, in May, the asparagus fields were still covered in foil (white asparagus grows in the dark), but now, in June, the scene looks completely different. What used to grow under ground is now a filigree green plant blowing in a gentle breeze. White asparagus season in the forest of Beelitz is over.

After our 2 hour bike ride through forest and fields we deserved a break and enjoyed tender asparagus with Hollandaise sauce at a secluded restaurant, called Landgasthof Rieben. We chatted with the owner and learned that you can only grow asparagus on the same field for 7 years, then it needs a break, also for 7 years. The magic number.

One of the flowers that smell most captivating right now, are elderflowers and their season is almost over too. I love to use their sticky syrup for refreshing Hugo cocktails (you find the recipe in the link for the syrup), or to make caramelized onions or chicken taste even sweeter. But using it for baked sweets, is one of the best ways to enjoy elderflower on a Sunday afternoon. I baked a simple loaf cake intensely flavoured with lime, pricked the surface, and poured a wonderfully fragrant syrup made of lime juice and elderflower over the warm cake. Sometimes, these simple cakes are the best!

Elderflower Lime Cake

 

Elderflower Lime Cake

Elderflower Lime Cake

Serves 4 to 6

For the cake

plain flour 210 g / 1 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons
cornstarch 70 g / 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons
baking powder 3 teaspoons
fine sea salt 1/4 teaspoon
butter, at room temperature, 180g / 3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon
granulated sugar 180g / 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons
organic eggs 3
freshly grated lime zest 2 tablespoons
freshly squeezed lime juice 3 tablespoons
buttermilk 90ml / 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon

For the syrup

elderflower syrup 100ml / 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon
freshly squeezed lime juice 3 tablespoons

For the topping

a few elderflowers (optional)

Preheat the oven to 160°C / 325°F (preferably convection setting). Butter a 23 x 10 cm / 9 x 4-inch loaf pan.

For the cake, in a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, and salt. In a second large bowl, beat the butter and sugar for a few minutes or until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, incorporating each egg before adding the next one, and beat for 2 to 3 minutes or until light and creamy. Add the lime zest and juice and beat for 1 minute. With a wooden spoon, fold about 1/3 of the flour mixture gently into the batter, followed by 1/3 of the buttermilk. Repeat with the remaining flour mixture and buttermilk, folding just until combined. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 50 minutes (slightly longer if using a conventional oven) or until golden on top. If you insert a skewer in the center of the cake, it should come out clean. Let the cake cool in the pan for a few minutes before turning it out onto a wire rack.

For the syrup, in a small saucepan, bring the elderflower syrup and lime juice to the boil and cook for 1 minute over high heat.

Prick the warm cake all over with a skewer and slowly pour the elderflower-lime syrup over the top. Decorate with elderflowers just before serving.

Elderflower Lime Cake

 

Elderflower Lime Cake

 

elderflowerlimecake7

 

elderflowerlimecake9

Green Minestrone with Lime-Arugula Meatballs

Green Minestrone with Lime-Arugula Meatballs

Sometimes I am asked by a reader to come up with a certain recipe. Quite often it’s a dish connected to a childhood memory of theirs, a food experience saved many years ago, and now they’re hoping to find this specific flavour again. But it’s a tricky thing, it’s almost impossible to relive something as an adult and expect the same satisfaction that we felt back then when we were young.

I used to love Dutch coconut sheets for breakfast, which is as weird as it sounds. This is compressed dessicated coconut, pressed into thin sheets and, to make it even more appealing, they were either pink or pale white. I was obsessed with them. After a culinary break from this delicacy, I tried them again years later and I was so disappointed. But there’s another Dutch classic, which still lives up to my memories, and I enjoy it with the biggest passion whenever I pull it out of my oven: sticky honey cake.

At the end of this winter, I got asked to share a traditional German hot chocolate recipe, which my reader, who lives in the US, connects with the time he spent in Germany as a child. Somehow, I never felt in the mood for it, and my hot chocolate is also a rather simple creation made of milk, unsweetened cocoa powder, and ground cinnamon and cardamom, which is not a traditional German take on this drink. I’m sorry, I’ll try to write about it next winter.

But last week, someone dropped a comment on Instagram, telling me that I haven’t made a soup in a long time – and this person was right! She lives in Asia and asked for a soup that she can have with her morning rice. I don’t think that someone who lives in Asia, needs a German girl to tell her how to make a fragrant broth with ginger, spices, and lemon grass, so I thought about something that I could share from my background. Our summers spent in Malta made me fall for minestrone, and when I cook this warming soup with just green vegetables – like fresh beans, peas, and zucchini – it tastes like spring. To turn it into a full lunch, I add tiny meatballs refined with lots of chopped arugula and lemon zest. The strong aroma of the citrus fruit reminds me of the Mediterranean but at the same time, it adds the same lemony freshness that you know from a clear broth made with ginger. Enjoy!

Green Minestrone with Lime-Arugula Meatballs

 

Green Minestrone with Lime-Arugula Meatballs

Green Minestrone with Lime-Arugula Meatballs

Serves 2-4

For the meatballs

ground beef 400g / 14 ounces
fresh arugula leaves, finely chopped (with a knife or in a blender), 1 large handful / 50g
zest of 1 lime (1 heaping teaspoon)
garlic, crushed, 2 cloves
fine sea salt 1 teaspoon
a generous amount ground pepper

For the soup

olive oil
garlic, cut in half, 1 clove
green vegetables (a mix of trimmed green beans, peas, and zucchini), beans and peas cut into bite size pieces, about 350g / 12 ounces
vegetable broth, hot, 1l / 4 1/4 cups
freshly squeezed lime juice 1 tablespoon
bay leaf 1
fine sea salt
ground pepper

For the topping

ramp leaves, thinly sliced, 2
and/ or
spring onion, thinly sliced, 1

For the meatballs, in a large bowl, combine the ground beef, chopped arugula, lime zest, garlic, salt, and pepper and mix until well combined. Wet your hands and form the mixture into tiny meatballs.

For the soup, in a large saucepan, heat a splash of olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for about 1 minute. Add the vegetables, stir, and cook for 1 minute. Add the broth, lime juice, and bay leaf, season with salt and pepper to taste, and bring to the boil. Add the meatballs and bring to the boil again. Reduce the heat to medium, cover with a lid, and simmer for 4 minutes. Split 1 meatball to check if it’s done. Season the soup with salt, pepper, and additional lime juice to taste.

Serve the soup in deep bowls, sprinkled with ramps and / or spring onion, and enjoy warm.

Green Minestrone with Lime-Arugula Meatballs

 

Green Minestrone with Lime-Arugula Meatballs

 

Green Minestrone with Lime-Arugula Meatballs

 

Green Minestrone with Lime-Arugula Meatballs

 

greenminestronelimemeatballs7

 

greenminestronelimemeatballs13

Peruvian Ceviche and my love of the sea

Peruvian Ceviche

What I love the most about Malta – besides the wonderful people around us – is the sea. I can sit on one of the rocky beaches for hours staring at the sparkling shades of blue, the salty air in my nose and the the next seafood meal on my mind. Although I’m quite obsessed with snorkeling – I feel a great fascination for the beautiful wonders of Malta’s amazing underwater life, I can’t help but think about food when I’m close to the sea. We went to the fish market in Marsaxlokk as soon as we arrived and I couldn’t resist filling the cooling box with the freshest tuna, swordfish, calamari, Cipullazza (scorpion fish) and sea bream.

The fisherman’s wife at one of the stands made us try a selection of raw fish as I was on a mission. I’ve been wanting to make Peruvian ceviche for months and I decided that there’s no better place for my culinary experiment than Malta with its daily catches from the sea. Ceviche is a traditional Peruvian dish made with raw fish marinated in lime juice for a few minutes. Although the citrus fruit’s acid creates a chemical process similar to cooking I still wanted to use the freshest fish possible. I also felt that it would be appropriate to taste it raw first to approve the taste of my choice of fish. So we were right in the middle of the market, surrounded by lots of people and the most beautiful seafood offered on large tables when my experiment started. I just thought of sushi when I put one thin slice of fish after the other into my mouth. It felt a bit strange, especially after my fish-stand-lady told me that she would never eat raw fish. She had a mischievous smile on her face, but I trusted and survived.

I’ve never been to Peru so I decided to ask a woman for help who has lived in Lima for years, she’s a passionate connoisseur and food writer. I met Sheila through eat in my kitchen, she is one of my blog’s earliest readers and joined me on this journey with great support. We’ve never met in person but we felt a connection immediately through the universal language of food. My Peruvian lady is originally from Chicago but she dug deeply into her new home’s kitchen culture. I knew that I was in the right hands when I asked her for a recipe – and I wasn’t mistaken. Her directions led to the most delicious ceviche on our table in Malta, it was surprisingly quick and easy. And yes, lime juice kind of cooks the fish, I couldn’t believe it when I saw (and tasted) it! Sheila recommended flounder but I went for Accola (Maltese amberjack) which was my favourite at my raw fish tasting session. I also added some lime zest which isn’t usually done in Peru but I love the slightly flowery flavour it adds to the fish. It was quite an exciting kitchen experience but most importantly: my new seafood discovery made the most delicious lunch!

Peruvian Ceviche

We also had a couple visitors to the island in the past few weeks. My mother decided to hop over for a spontaneous long weekend which we celebrated befittingly. We enjoyed a Maltese champagne picnic with the fantastic Cassar de Malte at a promenade in Valletta before we headed over to a new restaurant find – the Italian Scoglitti right at the sea. They treated us to a huge local Pagell (red snapper) in sea salt crust after we had already enjoyed octopus with potatoes, swordfish carpaccio and pulpetti tal-Makku (white bait pulpetti) along with Meridiana‘s white Isis wine. It was a feast finished with Maltese Mqaret (date sweets) – the delicious recipe will follow soon!

Another one of my most beloved seafood restaurants on the islands is Rew Rew at Mgarr ix-Xini in Gozo. Noel creates very pure dishes, honest simplicity, always cooked to perfection. We went to the little hidden bay a couple times this summer to enjoy local prawns from the BBQ, fried sardines and makku, grouper ravioli and Bazooka (deep sea snapper). Holly, my editor from New York, joined us on one of these visits and she was more than impressed.

I love the sea and all these wonderful frutti di mare, it’s a gem we have to protect and treat with respect!

This recipe has been featured by Food52!

Peruvian Ceviche

Sheila’s Peruvian Ceviche

Serves 4-6.

firm, white fish (such as flounder, sea bass or amberjack) 280g / 10oz
medium sized red onion, quartered, thinly sliced, 1/2
red aji límo (Peruvian habaneros), thinly sliced, 1/4 (to taste)
yellow aji límo, thinly sliced, 1/4 (to taste)
organic limes, zest and juice, 3
fine sea salt

Cut the fish into 1cm / 1/2″ pieces. Lay the fish in a large sieve, rinse quickly with cold water, drain and dry with kitchen paper.

Pour the lime juice in a deep bowl, add the fish, toss it around and marinate for 2 1/2 minutes. Take the fish out with a slotted ladle and divide between plates. Garnish with onion and aji límo and sprinkle with salt and lime zest (optionally) to taste.

You can serve ceviche with cooked corn, sweet potatoes and lettuce.

Thank you Sheila!

Peruvian Ceviche

 

Peruvian Ceviche

 

Peruvian Ceviche

 

Peruvian Ceviche

 

Peruvian Ceviche

 

Peruvian Ceviche

 

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meet in your kitchen | Hemsley + Hemsley’s Raw Avocado Lime Cheesecake

Avocado Lime Cheesecake

These two ladies are a true force of nature! If you ever have the chance to be in a room together with the charmingly gorgeous Jasmine and Melissa Hemsley, prepare yourself for a wave of energy. I met the two sisters at one of their delicious workshops at The Store Kitchen at Soho House in Berlin and I was equally impressed by their natural beauty and their skills in the kitchen. With infectious smiles and their experienced hands at the chopping block, they prepared one scrumptious treat after the other: smoothies, salads, courgetti with bolognese (the sisters’ famous zucchini spaghetti) and a divine raw avocado cheesecake dessert. I sat, listened and savoured!

The Hemsley sisters started their careers in different fields before they took over the food world with their concept of no gluten, no grains and no sugar but with lots of taste and pleasure. While Jasmine worked as a model for over 15 years her younger sister Melissa traveled the world as a fashion consultant. Due to their busy lifestyles both women had a strong interest in a diet that would do their bodies good rather than stressing them even more. Their holistic concept convinced many food lovers, it started off with friends who asked for consultancy and cooking classes before the sister’s blog and family business Hemsley + Hemsley was born in 2010. As contributors for Vogue UK and The Guardian, the two recipe developers, cooks and food consultants also became responsible for the catering of several celebrities. Nothing could stop them anymore, their popularity grew rapidly. Their first cookbook, The Art of Eating Well published in fall 2014, is a bestseller packed with lots of inspiring recipes and we chose one of them to share with you: the addictive Avocado Lime Cheesecake, raw, vegan and unbelievably delicious!

The pictures of the Hemsley sisters and the avocado dessert in glasses (served at Soho House Berlin) are by Nick Hopper.

Avocado Lime Cheesecake

 

Avocado Lime Cheesecake

Avocado Lime Cheesecake

Serves 12

For the base
pecans (or sunflower seeds) 125g /4 1/2oz
desiccated coconut 45g / 1 1/2oz
cacao nibs 70g / 2 1/2oz
pitted dates (approx. 32) 185g / 6 1/2oz
coconut oil, melted and at room temperature, 3 tablespoons

For the filling
avocado flesh (from approx. 5 medium-large avocados) 560g / 1 pound 2 1/2oz
lime juice (roughly 8 to 10 limes) 200ml / 7fl oz (I used 100ml / 3 1/2fl oz)
coconut oil, melted and at room temperature, 175ml / 6fl oz
1 tsp lime zest
honey 190g / 6 3/4oz (I used 100g / 3 1/2oz)

Preheat the oven to 150°C/300°F/gas mark 2.

Place the pecans and desiccated coconut on a baking-tray lined with baking-paper. Place in the oven for seven to eight minutes, until toasted. Transfer the pecans to a food processor and add the rest of the base ingredients. Blend until the mixture is crumbly (don’t let it go completely smooth) and holds together when pinched.

Line the base and sides of an 18cm (7″) ( mine was 20cm / 8″) round cake tin with baking-paper and tip in the base mixture. Press this down firmly and evenly with the back of a spoon, ensuring it is neat and flat where it meets the tin. Transfer the tin to the fridge while you prepare the filling.

Place all of the ingredients for the filling into the food processor and blend until the mixture is completely smooth and silky. Check for taste – add more lime juice, zest or honey according to preference, but it’s best to keep this deliciously tangy. Remove the cake tin from the fridge and pour the filling over the base. Cover the tin, using a plate or cling film, and return it to the fridge for a few hours or overnight.

To serve, run a knife between the tin and the cake and carefully push the base up from the bottom. Transfer to a plate and serve immediately.

Avocado Lime Cheesecake

Before you started your family business Hemsley + Hemsley in 2010, you worked as a model and as a fashion/ brand manager. How did this transition into the food business come about? What moved you to make this step?

Jasmine: Yes, I was working full-time as a model from the age of 19. I was fascinated by the many different ideas surrounding health and nutrition, from paleo to low-fat, juice cleansing and many other ideologies, and began to develop and grow the Hemsley + Hemsley way of eating through research, study and self-practice whilst sharing tips and tricks with friends and family. Mel, who worked as a footwear brand manager and later in marketing and promotion for gastropubs and bars, caught the cooking bug and helped spread the word.

Melissa: We didn’t intentionally ‘launch’ the business – it came about organically. As people reached out to us for help with their digestion and relationship with food, we suddenly found ourselves working as wellness coaches and private chefs. Providing a bespoke service for these clients, we’d clear out their cupboards, fill up their fridges and freezers and show them how to cook our recipes. The results where so positive, they felt better – happier, healthier and more energized. Back then we didn’t have a name, so our clients called us their ‘food fairies’ and from the first week we had a waiting list as everybody recommended us to their friends, families and colleagues.

You seem to complement each others strengths perfectly. What are the advantages of working so closely with your sister? What are your roles, how do you deal with disagreements between the two of you when it comes to your business?

Jasmine: We always said it would be great to have a family business, making the food we all want to eat, food that keeps us happy and energised and be able to share it with everybody. The business has evolved naturally and we now work in areas that we love the most. When it comes to recipes, my sweet tooth means I usually mastermind the puddings and desserts, while Mel is the queen of knock-out curries and one pot dishes. My partner Nick is the third wheel to Hemsley + Hemsley – the man behind the scenes taking all the photos and running the back end of the business.

Melissa: As with all small businesses, you have to roll up your sleeves and get involved. Luckily everyday is different at H+H – cooking, meetings, recipe developments, lots of room for creativity and also plenty of time to work alone and remotely from laptops so we aren’t on each others space the whole time. And when it comes back to just being family we find it remarkably easy to switch off!

Who is your biggest inspiration in the kitchen? What are your culinary roots?

Jasmine: We’ve both always loved good home-cooked food from early on thanks to our Filipina mum being wonderful and inspiring in the kitchen. She would make use of everything we had – definitely where our frugal streak comes from – and each meal was made with great care and attention.

Melissa: Growing up, the more we tuned into how our bodies were really feeling, the more we realised the relationship between food and good health. Being the youngest I lucked out as mum and Jasmine used to do all the cooking and all I had to do was lay the table. As I got older I realised that it was so hard to eat nourishing foods without truly taking charge of it yourself. I realised that if I wanted to eat the same good food I’d have to start putting into practise what I’d absorbed over the years of being around mum, Jaz and all our aunties!

You’re big fans of bone broth, how did this start and why does it have such an important role in your food concept?

Bone broth will always be at the heart of our philosophy and intrinsic to everything we do. We love it because it’s a champion all rounder, packed with protein, vitamins, minerals, collagen and keratin – all the building blocks for healthy digestion and glowing skin. Easy to make, frugal and tasty, this ‘liquid gold’ is supremely versatile and a must in anyone’s recipe repertoire! Wellness begins from within and good digestion is key – bone broth is an easy to digest source of protein for very little money. At home, we always have broth on the go or a batch in the freezer. You can throw any leftovers in like shredded chicken, roast veggies, yesterday’s salad and swirl through some pesto or miso for a quick soup. We also use it to steam up some quinoa, as the base for sauces, soups, stews and to simply drink it warm from a mug.

How did you develop your holistic food concept, did you work together with food/ health consultants or did you follow your own experiences?

We’ve been developing and growing the Hemsley + Hemsley way of eating for almost ten years through research, study and self-practice. We really tuned in and focused on what made us feel good despite whatever was going on in the media about what you should and shouldn’t be eating. Our philosophy and nutritional ideals take you back to basics with a focus on provenance and digestion. People love our style of cooking and are always intrigued as to how food this tasty could possibly be good for you.

How do you develop new recipes?

We are constantly inspired by our travels when experiencing new cuisines as well as by our readers and client’s who often request Hemsley + Hemsley reworked versions of their favourite foods.

What was the first dish you cooked on your own, what is your first cooking memory?

Jasmine: My mum would make a big soup instead of a Sunday roast, using up all the leftovers from the fridge. I started off cooking one-pot dishes and they are still a Hemsley + Hemsley staple now – a lot of our recipes are simple, quick and frugal dishes which begin with a base of homemade bone broth and can be adapted and added to in order to make use of leftovers.

Melissa: I remember making the perfect creamy scrambled eggs with my mum…lots of butter and a slow-cook.

What are your favourite places to buy and enjoy food in London?

Jasmine: We’ve just discovered Sea Containers (Seamus Mullen) on the Southbank which is stunningly beautiful and the food is incredible with views of the Thames. While we’re over that way, we love Borough Market for fresh produce and The Ginger Pig for delicious, organic meat.

Melissa: For eating out I love Brunswick House in Vauxhall, Elliots in Borough Market, Rochelle’s Canteen in Shoreditch (it’s hidden from the street in a converted school) and Paradise in Kensal Rise (where I used to work).

You shared your Avocado Lime Cheesecake recipe on eat in my kitchen, how did you develop this delicious vegan cheesecake?

People always tell us that our recipes don’t taste healthy and we pride ourselves on coming up with upgraded versions of takeaways, comfort foods and the nostalgia-inducing dishes that our clients, friends, families and followers love best from their childhoods. Keeping texture and flavour in mind, we made clever use of whole foods such as skin-boosting avocado and zesty lime to reinvent this classic and give it the Hemsley + Hemsley stamp of approval. The Avocado Lime Cheesecake is a raw, New York-style cheesecake packed full of goodness. The smooth creamy lime sits atop a nutty, chocolate base with a hint of coconut. It’s tasty, filling and good for you!

If you could choose one person to cook a meal for you, who and what would it be? 

Jasmine: Keith Floyd, cooking up a Bouillabaisse in the South of France and enjoying it with plenty of wine in the sunshine. I bet it’d be an afternoon to remember!

Melissa: Rather than have her cook for me, I’d want to cook for the legendary Madhur Jaffrey, probably something like our Chicken Curry and Cauliflower Rice so that she could critique it!

You’re going to have ten friends over for a spontaneous dinner, what will be on the table?

Don’t be fooled, these 3 course menus are so easy! And people always tell us they cant believe that it’s healthy food when it tastes that good:

Jasmine: Starter: Baked Chicken Liver Mousse and Carrot and Flax Crackers  
Main Course: Fish Pie with Celeriac Mash and a side of Garlic Lemon Green Beans
Dessert: Instant Berry and Coconut Ice Cream

Melissa: Starter: Cucumber Maki Crab Rolls  
Main Course: Courgette and Aubergine Curry and a side of Cauliflower Rice  
Dessert: Pistachio, Fig and Goat’s Cheese Trifle

What was your childhood’s culinary favourite and what is it now?

Jasmine: I’ve always had a sweet tooth so it would have to be chocolate brownies. I almost cried the first day I made our Black Bean Brownies and they came out perfectly – fudgy, rich and delicious. They’re now one of our most popular sweet treats from our book The Art of Eating Well; and best of all, they’re free from any processed nasties!

Melissa: Spaghetti Bolognese was one of my favourites growing up and it still is now, except we call it Beef Ragu with Courgetti. Made with the Hemsley Spiralizer, we enjoy the sauce atop a bed of spiralized courgette which we call courgetti and fill the sauce with extra grated carrot and courgette as well as highly nutritious chicken livers if we have any. It’s hearty, warming comfort food that’s perfect with a glass of red wine.

Do you prefer to cook on your own or together with others?

Jasmine: I love to cook with family and friends, it’s always a great way to catch-up and I love seeing how other people do things in the kitchen.

Melissa: I like to have the music on and cook by myself sometimes, as it’s one of the ways I love to unwind, just in the kitchen at home. Saying that, I also love getting together with friends over a glass of wine and have us all chopping away in the kitchen together.

Which meals do you prefer, improvised or planned?

Jasmine: I’m the queen of leftovers so I love getting experimental – it’s a great way to discover new recipes and more often than not you’ll be pleasantly surprised with what you can rustle up.

Melissa: The spontaneous ones that come out of leftovers in the fridge, they’re always the best!

Which meal would you never cook again?

Jasmine: Lactose fermented herring – yes I tried to make fermented fish myself! It’s not something I will be repeating anytime soon, I think I’ll stick to sauerkraut, kimchi and other fermented veg to get my probiotic fix!

Melissa: I can’t think of any one but have definitely recipe tested recipes before that ended up being really complicated so I wouldn’t bother with those again, no matter how tasty. We spend a lot of time experimenting while recipe developing to come up with meals that are simple, delicious and nutritious, so if it’s complicated, it doesn’t make the cut.

Thank you Jasmine and Melissa!

Avocado Lime Cheesecake

 

Avocado Lime Cheesecake

 

Avocado Lime Avocado Lime Cheesecake

 

Avocado Lime Cheesecake

 

Avocado Lime Cheesecake

 

Avocado Lime Cheesecake

 

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