Cooking Ideas & Recipes by Joana Reis

November 28, 2013
by Joana

Lemon Drizzle Cake Recipe

Living in Dalston, I like to visit the Ridley Road Market for fruit, vegetables and eggs. There is a stall that has amazingly fresh farms eggs, I always use their eggs in my baking.

I had some eggs left over this week so I made this really easy and super moist Lemon Drizzle cake.

I took the leftovers to work and it was gone within seconds, they must have liked it :)

Lemon Drizzle Cake

Ingredients for the Lemon Drizzle cake:

  • 170g sifted self-rising flour
  • 170g caster sugar
  • 170g of salted butter
  • 3 large eggs
  • Zest and juice of 2 large lemons
  • 150g icing sugar

Method for the Lemon Drizzle Cake:

  1. Preheat the oven to 1180°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4.
  2. Grease a 2lb/900g loaf tin with butter then flour
  3. Beat the butter by hand until creamy and then add the sugar.
  4. In a separate bowl, beat the 3 eggs. Add the eggs in two stages to the butter and sugar mixture. Mix well after each addition.
  5. Add the zest of the two lemons, mix until well combined.
  6. Sift the flour in; carefully mix by hand until well combined or you can’t see any flour lumps.

    Sift the flour and mix well

  7. Pour the mixture to the tin. Bake for 35 minutes or until when inserting a skewer comes out clean.
  8. While the cake is baking make the lemon glaze. Mix juice of the two lemons with the 150g of icing sugar, stir until smooth.
  9. When the cake is baked, use a skewer to poke holes all over the cake. Make sure you go all the way down to the bottom of the cake. Pour the lemon glaze all over the cake.

    Lemon glaze

  10. Let the cake cool in the tin as it’s a very moist cake.
  11. Eat when cold (if you can wait that long)

November 17, 2013
by Joana

The Lazy Hostess Book Review

The Lazy Hostess Book

I have recently been given the lazy hostess book to review, the book is a step by step guide on how to entertain your friends on a budget. The book has various sections, starting with tips on how to be a hostess, party planning, lots of cocktail and party snacks recipes and even how to get rid of your guests at the end of the night.

The book is great as a secret santa or as a Christmas gift to a friend, the book is a little american but expect jokes and tag lines like “Get FROCKED – a frock is a dress with a little bit of diva in it”, “Pizza its a lot like sex, when its good its really good, when its bad its still pretty good” and “Forego French fizz for sparkling wine. Its all about living a champagne lifestyle on a Budweiser budget”.

One of the cocktail party recipes that I really liked is the Devilish Daiquiri. Having recently holidaying in Cuba we had Cuban white rum to use so this was the perfect cocktail. Also, the best thing about the book is that it has both single and party pitcher measures for each cocktail.

How to make the Devilish daiquiri:

Single Serve:

  • 50ml of white rum
  • 25 ml of lime juice
  • 15 ml of simple syrup (combine 225g of sugar with 250ml of water. Bring to a boil, stir to dissolve the sugar. Refrigerate in a sealed container)
  • ice cubes

Pour the rum, lime juice and simple syrup into a cocktail shaker half filled with ice. Shake well and strain into a chilled glass.

Party Pitchers

  • 1 x 750ml bottle of white rum
  • 375ml of lime juice
  • 225ml simple syrup
  • 225ml chilled water

Combine all ingredients in a pitcher and stir well. Cover and keep in the fridge.

The Devilish Daiquiri

Happy Cocktailing!

November 11, 2013
by Joana

Salted Cod and Cream Pie Recipe (Bacalhau com Natas)

Bacalhau com Natas is basically salted cod and cream pie, similar to English fish pie but without the mash and the only fish used is salted cod. Salted cod is nowadays available in specialist shops or international supermarkets.

The reason that portuguese people like myself use salted cod is because we can’t get fresh cod as it only lives in cold countries. Cod is probably the most popular fish in Portugal, we even eat it for Christmas dinner.

This is one of my favourite Portuguese dishes, it always reminds me of growing up in Portugal. Its also a really good hearty dish, perfect for winter nights.

Bacalhau com Natas

Ingredients for the Salted Cod and Cream Pie:

  • 2 good sized fillets of salted cod / a pack 400g.
  • 6dl of milk
  • 2 onions
  • Splash of olive oil
  • 2 tbsp of plain flour
  • 500g of potatoes
  • salt, pepper and nutmeg to season
  • 200ml of cream
  • 100g of grated cheese

Method for the Bacalhau com Natas:

  1. Soak the cod in a bowl of water overnight, changing the water a couple of times. This is to remove the excess salt on the cod.
  2. Boil the cod in a pan with the milk. When cooked, drain the cod (make sure you keep the milk as we are going to use it later). In a separate bowl pull apart the cod in small pieces / chunks. Use your hands here as its quicker.

    Boil the salted cod in milk

  3. Preheat the oven to the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4.
  4. Slice both onions in thin slices and fry them in a pan with a splash of olive oil.
  5. While the onions are frying, peel and cut your potatoes into small squares. Then fry these chunks in vegetable oil until they are golden brown.
  6. When the potatoes are fried, line a plate with kitchen towel and place the potatoes. This is to remove any excess oil they may have.
  7. When the onions are cooked, they should be a light yellow colour. Add the cod and fry for a few minutes.
  8. Sprinkle the 2 tbsp of plain flour, and add the milk used earlier to cook with the cod in the pan. Let the consistency thick a little by frying for around 3 minutes. Stir every now and again.

    Sprinkle the flour and add the milk. Then let the mixture thicken

  9. Add the potatoes to the cod and season with salt, pepper and nutmeg.
  10. Place the mixture in an oven proof ceramic dish, add the cream and sprinkle the grated cheese on top.

    Sprinkle with grated cheese and take to the oven

  11. Place it all in the preheated oven and cook until the cheese has melted, or crispy and golden on top.
  12. Serve with a side salad and your all done!


October 7, 2013
by Joana

Belazu Product Review

I have been sent some goodies by the lovely people at belazu to try and see what I think. This was very exciting as someone that uses sauces a lot for a quick mid-week pasta dish or to add a little bit of pesto to a lunch pasta salad.

Belazu sauces

They sent me two moroccan sauces, tomato and smoked paprika and a red pepper and rose harissa. My favourite was the tomato and smoked paprika, being a Mediterranean girl myself I use those flavours in my everyday cooking. I used this sauce to spice up our pasta bolognese and we both loved it, you can always serve it with coucous or rice.

The red pepper and rose harissa, I had with mackerel as the sauce is great with oily fish. The red pepper and rose balance the nicely heat of the chilli, perfect to spread over a nicely oven roasted mackerel or sardine.

The tomato and paprika paste and the coriander and cumin were delicious with filled pasta or a little addition to a pasta salad. Alternatively, add a spoonful to your everyday tomato sauce to add lots of flavour, this will take your otherwise boring tomato sauce to a tasty pasta sauce.

August 31, 2013
by Joana

Handpicked Foodstore Product Review

The handpicked food store sells a range of delicious range of British produced products. Their products are perfect for foodie’s like myself that are looking for great quality local products. Everything is ethically sourced from artisan producers, perfect for treats, gifts and self-indulgence.

The lovely people of Handpicked foodstore sent me a package containing Casa de l’Oli Extra Virgin Olive oil, Ouse Valley Cloe Apple and Gin Jelly and Capreolus Dorset Air-Dried Sirloin of Beef. When the packaged arrived, I was so impressed how beautifully and carefully wrapped everything is, it also comes in a gorgeous box that you can reuse.

Handpickedfoodstore package

The olive oil is smooth and full of flavour, I used it to dip in homemade bread before a family dinner and to cook with. The quality of this olive oil is amazing and it gives lots of flavour to any dish. I will definitely be buying this olive oil again.

Olive Oil

The Air-dried beef was delicious, it was finely cut and full of flavour, I used it in a salad instead of Parma Ham and it worked perfectly. Drizzle a little bit of olive oil or lemon to bring out the flavour.

Air-dried beef

The Apple and Gin jelly is a little sour, but it is great with game meats or in stews to add a little more flavour.

Apple and Gin Jelly

If you want to have a look at all of their delicious products visit the handpicked foodstore site, its a foodies heaven.