The Ultimate Falafel Bowl

Saturday, 16 July 2016

I think my favourite thing about a falafel bowl is the built in excuse to eat a lot, and I mean a lot, of food in one go. There's something about gorging on so many different ingredients and elements that makes falafel bowls feel like an indulgence, when really they're pretty angelic as it goes. I don't know, I just like the fact I can eat a bowl of food with over 8 components and still be totally justified to go in for a mug brownie after. That's my kind of food.

And I know it's a pretty bold claim, saying this recipe is for the ultimate falafel bowl, but I have a get-out clause. I encourage, in fact I urge you to customise this recipe exactly to your taste. No a fan of radishes? Grate a beetroot in there! Love an avo? Go ahead and slice one up in there - heck, mash it into guacamole why don't you. You see, I can call this the ultimate falafel bowl because I have complete confidence in you to make it the ultimate falafel bowl. And my components are a great place to start. But build on them! Customise them! Rock the bowl trend for all it's worth! If you're feeling stuck for inspiration, I've listed some other component suggestions below.

For The Ultimate Falafel Bowl you will need (serves 2): 

For the falafel (makes double the quantity needed to serve)
1x 400g tin chickpeas, drained
2x big bunches of fresh soft herbs such as parsley, coriander, basil, dill etc
1 green chilli
1/2 lemon, juice
2 cloves garlic, peeled
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander 
2 tbsp flour
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp olive oil

For the bowl
handful of spinach
100g halloumi, sliced
1/4 red cabbage
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
2 carrots, peeled into ribbons
handful of cherry tomatoes, halved
handful of radishes, sliced
bunch of parsley or any other soft fresh herb
2 tbsp Greek yoghurt
olive oil
salt and pepper 

Other optional components:
Roasted sweet potato/cauliflower/carrots
Grated beetroot
Avocado sliced/mashed/mixed up into a killer guacamole 
Roasted chickpeas


1. Begin by preheating your oven to 190c. Place all the ingredients for the falafel into a food processor and blitz until smooth. Roll the mixture into about 20 walnut-sized balls and place on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Bake for 18 minutes, turning halfway through, until firm. You will only need half of the falafel to serve, you can put the rest the fridge or freezer for another day. 

2. Heat a pan with a dash of oil and fry the halloumi until golden brown (approximately for 5 minutes on each side). 

3. Toss the red cabbage together with the red wine vinegar so it's lightly pickled.

4. Assemble the bowls starting with the spinach on the bottom and building up with 4-5 falafel, a few slices of halloumi, the tomatoes, radishes, carrot ribbons, pickled cabbage and a handful of fresh herbs.

5. Finish with a dollop of Greek yoghurt, a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkling of sea salt and pepper. 

6. Serve with a spritz of lemon juice over the lot. 

My Favourite Spaghetti and Meatballs Recipe

Thursday, 16 June 2016

I once watched a television programme with Nigella Lawson where she said, 'I like to pretend I'm Italian'. Well, Nigella, so do I. I like to pretend I'm Italian because I identify with the food - simple and delicious and made to share. Break bread, drink wine, eat spaghetti, fill your heart and stomach joy. Italian, and pasta more specifically, is my comfort food and food is my identity. Really it's little wonder why I identified with Nigella and why I carried that sentence, from an obscure show I'd caught on the TV, with me for years after the credits rolled.

And I find, to eat good spaghetti and meatballs is to eat, and live, well regardless of my British passport. Even the cooking process makes my heart happy. The baritone spit of a nearly-boiling, slow-cooked crock pot of tomato sauce, the rush of steam from freshly drained, silky spaghetti and the curls of Parmesan cheese falling and instantly melting on meatballs, piled high into bowls.

So it's frustrating to make bad meatballs and I've made terrible meatballs in the past. Loose, bland and underwhelming. And until recently, I had resigned myself to the fact that delicious piles of soft, herbed meatballs cooked in rich tomato sauce and piled high onto steaming heaps of pasta only existed in Disney movies and the very depths of Italy. But with some trial and error, and combining a few recipes together along with some of my own tricks, I've created my favourite spaghetti and meatballs recipe yet. We've been known to eat this dish, every Saturday night for 3 weeks in a row because for us, this recipe is utter comfort. I hope it is for you to.

To make My Favourite Spaghetti and Meatballs (serves 2):

For the slow-cooked tomato sauce:
2x 400g tinned plum tomatoes
1 onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 tbsp tomato puree
1 bay leaf
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried oregano
2 tsp brown sugar
2 tsp balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper to taste

For the meatballs:
250g lean minced beef (or 50/50 beef mince and pork mince)
1/2 onion, finely chopped
1 small garlic clove, finely chopped
60ml milk
50g breadcrumbs
15g Parmesan cheese, grated
small handful parsley, finely chopped
small egg, beaten
sea salt

Spaghetti and grated Parmesan cheese to serve

  1. To make the tomato sauce, crush the tinned plum tomatoes into a slow cooker crock pot. Add in the rest of the tomato sauce ingredients, mix together and cook on low for 6 hours. You can make the sauce in advance and keep it in the fridge, or freeze it. Plus, with these quantities you'll only use half of the tomato sauce, so can use the rest another day.
  2. To make the meatballs begin by combining the milk and breadcrumbs in a small bowl and set aside.
  3. Whisk together the egg, parsley, Parmesan and a pinch of sea salt. Then add in the meat, onions and garlic and combine with your fingers.
  4. Then add the soaked breadcrumbs and combine with the meat mixture. Make sure the breadcrumbs are thoroughly mixed in, but do not overwork the meat. 
  5. Place half of the tomato sauce made into a large frying pan or skillet and put on a low heat and then roll the meat mixture into 14 walnut-sized meatballs. 
  6. Nestle the meatballs into the bubbling sauce and cover and cook for 30-35 minutes, turning the meatballs half way.
  7. Cook the spaghetti according to packet instructions and serve with plenty of Parmesan when the meatballs are cooked through.  

Eating Our Way Through Street Feast: Hawker House

Sunday, 5 June 2016

We'd been planning our trip to Hawker House for just under a month. I'd been sending Jack pictures of fat, succulent ribs charred and glistening; filthy stacks of nachos, nestled under slow-cooked brisket and bedecked with sour cream and hot and sharp jalapeƱos; and Willy Wonka-esque ice creams, topped with torched, fluffy marshmallow.

It happened to be a coincidence that on the Friday evening when we wandered our way east, bellies groaning in anticipation, London had also decided to roll out the most delicious of Summer evenings. We decided to enjoy the soft air and take the 45 minute walk from our flat near Borough Market to Canada Water. I wore open-toed sandals and Jack went without a jacket. Small, but very resolute, gestures to begin our Summer in the capital.

Hawker House is one of Street Feast's four locations. Under the huge roof of a car park, a collection of vendors specialising in particular cuisines - or hell, just really owning one very specific dish - grill, fry, flip and stir up paper dishes of stripped-back, simple but absolutely sumptuous street food and share it with hundreds of people over the evening. The venue fills up, and quickly, and the place jumps with atmosphere, sways with eager queues and buzzes with the satisfied hum of punters sinking their teeth into one delicious dish after another. Fires are lit, beers are poured and London starts its Summer in the utmost of style.

We tried as much as we possibly could. Starting with Smokestak Pork Ribs (the best I have ever, and I mean ever, had. I couldn't even bring myself to pause for a picture), Nachos from Club Mexicana, Bang Bang Shrimp from Prawnography, tender Steak, chips and gravy from Meat Hook and Hot Chocolate topped with blazed marshmallow and liquid-nitrogen mixed Sticky Toffee Pudding from Chin Chin Labs. We could've dined happily on the ribs alone, and if you go, you must buy them for the sake of your happiness. Sit down and eat them, slowly, by candlelight. Roll your eyes with an oh-my-god-how-good-are-these-ribs expression at the stranger sitting next to you. If they've had them, they'll get it.

Our evening was a haze. Of food and heat and too much beer. We took the tube home, suffering from first-wear-of-the-summer sandal blisters. I was asleep before 10.30pm, tipsy on food and happiness and the second beer. I think you can tell I recommend this place. Take your friends, take your lover, take your parents. Go, eat your fill, be happy.

Lottie Loves

Friday, 29 April 2016

Instagram of the week: How cute is my neighbourhood, though? Answer: ADORABLE.

1. Hi - here's a recipe for Pizza Rolls. Shall we crack on?

2. Looking for your next read? This website tells you which book to read next based on the last book you finished.

3. Mini chocolate chip cookie baked doughnuts. I need these, like right now.

4. Tracy's tips on keeping creativity alive. I love her thoughts on 'Document the Process'.

5. This Pastel Hexagon Tile Cake DIY is super cute. I want to try it out.

6. Wedding season is nearly upon us people. Loved this piece from Emily - The 9 Most Common Wedding Questions I Get.

7. Oh my WORD - I'm obsessed with Disturbed's cover of The Sound of Silence. Really just can't get over it. What do you think?

8. On the topic of music, did you catch Birdie's live lounge last week. Both her live version of Wild Horses and her cover of Fast Car were spine-tingling and made me cry.

9. Aaand on the topic of crying - I wept at Eye in the Sky and the thought it would be the last time I'd see Alan Rickman star in a film. It was also a really thought-provoking film, I'd recommend it. 

10. Finally, because all long weekends need them, 6 French Toast Recipes To Step Up Your Brunch Game.

Have a happy weekend, friends! x

Date Day in London: The Mae Deli and a Hyde Park Ramble

Sunday, 24 April 2016

Sometimes a date day in London can be a bit overwhelming.

What to do? The theatre? A museum? One of the bazillion restaurants? With so much choice comes the pressure to HAVE FUN because we're in LONDON and IF WE CAN'T HAVE FUN HERE CAN WE EVER?!?! (Sorry for all the caps, but such choice can put on just weeny bit of pressure, right?). To avoid organised, pressure-induced FUN, Jack and I like to keep date days in London simple.

We love a little window shop, a spot of lunch and long ramble talking about whether or not Jon Snow is dead (we say no way hose, by the way). Last month it was my turn to choose the lunch spot and I plumped for Deliciously Ella's The Mae Deli, which I'd wanted to try out for aaaages. After I assured Jack they sold brownies there, he was on board too. Come along for our date day below. Spoiler alert - there's alottta food.

If you want to replicate this date day youself, I suggest starting your date on Regent or Oxford Street with a window shop (and treating yourself to a little summin' summin' from The Body Shop, I reckon) before making you way to lunch and Hyde Park.

The Mae Deli, tucked away behind Oxford Street, is all sorts of super cute. Full of mason jars, blackboards, exposed brick and fresh flowers it's an instagrammer's dream. But it's also, reassuringly, packed making it a food lover's haven too.

We arrived at about 12.30pm and it was buzzing, but luckily we were seated straight away. Jack got to ordering whilst I, well I took photos of the place from top to toe.

But let's get to the nitty gritty - food. We both went for the Mae Bowl (a combination of four different dishes of your choice), but Jack plumped purely for cold dishes whilst I had a hot dish too.
The choice is massive and it takes some will to just choose four dishes. Heres what we went for, pictured below - Mexican style roasted veg, maple roasted sweet potatoes, falafel, grilled broccoli beansprout salad, beans and salsa verde, quinoa salad and thai green curry!
Our winner? The broccoli! So delicious. And the maple-roasted sweet potatoes that we've been recreating at home ever since.

We were both fit to burst after those mega bowls plus smoothies (my green one was delicious, but Jack's peanut butter a little disappointing. Better made with a load ice cream, I reckon). However, I'd promised Jack brownies so we nabbed a Peanut Fudge Slice (on the left), and marched off to Hyde Park in an attempt to walk off our mega lunch.

I love spending time outdoors and sometimes in London it's tricky to find a patch of fresh air. Luckily, Hyde Park is a great place to stretch your legs and conveniently located in the middle of the city. We took to the grass with a spring in our step.

Jack made room for the brownie of course, and I had a nibble too. Super fudgy, so very dense and crazy filling. Clever Deliciously Ella, how do you do it? And that was that! Followed by a nap on the sofa it was pretty much our perfect day.

Take selfies and be merry, kids. And happy dating!

Lottie Loves

Sunday, 17 April 2016

Instagram of the week: You can't beat an easy weekend breakfast, with extra maple syrup ofc. 

1. Hi pals! Shall we all have this Smoky White Bean Shakshuka for breakfast eeeerryday?
2. Love podcasts? Try one of these 4 episodes for some mega inspiration. 

3. Not sure where to start with smoothies? Check out this Layering Guide to a Better Smoothie

6. This 20 Minute Basil Cashew Chicken recipe looks like it could be an absolute winner. 

7. Live in a match box? These Small Space Secret Storage Ideas might be super helpful. 

8. This Pear and almond frangipane tart looks just so lovely.

9. Looking to give your blog a bit of TLC? Check out these 5 Things To Do For Blog Maintenance

10. Um? Can I just live in one these, pls. 7 Magical Airbnb Treehouses To Stay In

Have a happy weekend, friends! x


Wednesday, 13 April 2016

Hi friends! Hasn't March been busy? Packed with Easter, and Mother's Day and the start of Spring to boot. Here's what I've been up to over the past month. What have you been doing? 

Reading: Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari and I loved it! It's a book that demands attention and your engagement, but it really is fascinating. If you're at all interested in the history and development of humans, then read this book.

Watching: 10 Cloverfield Lane - just a little bit terrifying, I nearly pinched Jack's nipple off at one point because it was just so intense. John Goodman is brilliant, I love him more with every film. Midnight Special - this was an Odeon Screen Unseen film. The idea is you buy a ticket for a fiver and go and see a secret film. It was syfy-ish, but cool to watch a genre of film we don't often go for. Song of the Sea - my goodness this film. It's my new favourite animated film by a mile. Just gorgeous, GORGEOUS animation, sweet characters and a magical storyline. It was nominated for an Oscar a couple of years ago and by jove it should've won (side note: apparently I say by jove now). House of Cards - this was a binge-watch. We watched the whole series in less than a week. I don't think it was quite as good as the last series, but it's still a whole load of Underwood goodness and I can't say no to that. Plus Masterchef - because well, John and Greg are mega babes.

Eating: Hot Cross Buns, Easter Eggs and a lot of falafel. It feels like Easter was an age ago now, but I'm still working through my Easter eggs. Poor effort, I know. I've also been working on a green, super herby falafel recipe that Jack and I are loving at the moment. We usually serve with mashed avocado, grated carrot, red cabbage and beetroot, halloumi, sumac yoghurt and spinach. It's pretty damn delish, I hope the recipe is coming to the blog soon.

Visiting: family! All over the shop. We've hardly been in London over the past month and have spent every weekend away from home. It's been so lovely to visit everyone and get in a load of cuddles, laughs and meals together, but we're looking forward to a quiet weekend in a couple of weeks.

Deciding: To get a Fitbit. We'd pondered on the idea for a while, but I'm naturally just a liiiittle bit thrifty. Then we saw my sister, who had just bought one and we were sold. And I'm so glad we got them. It's been brilliant to track how much exercise I'm doing a day and it's encouraging Jack and I to go outside and enjoy the lighter evenings with a run round the park or a game of tennis. If you're undecided, all can say is take the plunge!

Making: strides with my novel. I've been tooing and frowing with my protagonist, but I've finally decided on the direction I want to take her. Now just to dedicate some time to writing the thing.

Struggling: to make time for weekly blogging. I'm sorry! It's been a hectic, hectic month. I'm trying to get my blogging schedule under control and write more posts in advance. I have so many recipes I'm loving at the moment anw ant to share. I will get round to it. Promise, boo.

Trying: to perfect a nighttime routine. I've recently encorporated 10 minutes of yoga before bed time and a seriously dedicated moisterising routine (I've nearly run out of my Emma Hardie though, pray for me). It seems to be helping me get a better night sleep and I'm enjoyingthe methodical, calming process.

Wearing: Less layers! How gorgeous is this weather? However I've realised my Spring wardrobe is just my summer wardrobe with tights. I realise this is a ridiculous first world probelm, but I'm craving some light trousers, cute tops and some sassy sandals.

Loving: The lighter evenings. This means I take at least five photos on my walk home and annoy all the busy commuters trying to get places. Sorry, guys, I get distracted by all the pretty.

Wanting: a little more time at home. We're such home birds its strange to be out of our little nest so often. We're hoping this next month will be a little calmer. Now if all our friends and family could just move down the road, that would be fab.

Saying: Hi my name's Lottie and I'm a writing mentor. Yup, that's right. I'm training to be a writing mentor for a group in Hoxton. I'm super excited to be working with children again and diving into some creative writing sessions. Hurrah!

Have a great April guys!
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