Honey & Co is a joy. There’s a really, really good reason why everyone wows about it and why it won the Observer Food Monthly Awards 2013 Best Newcomer. Step inside and the place exudes passion and happiness. They call it love. “12 years in the making, [Honey & Co] is a labour of nothing but love and an extension of our home. The food we cook is the food we grew up on and also the food we grew to love, our moms’ and aunties’ food, the street food we always crave, the food we tried at our friends’ houses, sometimes, things we only heard about or imagined, and most of all, the things we miss from our childhood.”
The husband and wife team (who met working in an Italian restaurant in Tel Aviv) have serious credentials. They grew up in Israel and travelled to London. She worked as the Head of Pastry at Ottolenghi and then Executive Head Chef at Nopi and he as Head Chef at Ottolenghi. Their flavours are of Israel and the Middle East – think pistachios, honeyed hazelnuts, rose water, roasted fig, merguese sausage. There’s a casualness to the presentation but, in the small, whitewashed cafe, it works. And somehow even magnifies the brilliance of the food and the cooking.
I’ve been for breakfast a couple of times. The first time was over a year ago, when it was easy to get a seat(!) They didn’t have anything on the menu that was gluten-free and dairy-free but, without hesitation, they cooked something up. I was served a completely delicious, enticingly fragrant herb omelette.
Then I went again recently and had the Sabich – aubergine, tahini and egg. Oh my it was good. Creamy from the tahini and soft melting flavours from the roasted aubergine. A simple recipe that comes together deliciously.
Now I’ve had a taster with the Breakfasts, I need to go back for Lunch, Tea (to try the gluten-free cakes) and then Dinner (especially for the Flourless Chocolate Slice with Prunes in Whiskey & Salted Caramel)!
Honey & Co is at 25a Warren Street, London W1T 5LZ.
I’ve had a bag of amaranth sitting in my kitchen cupboard for a while now, so I thought it was time to use it. Like quinoa, amaranth is a true superfood, but unlike quinoa, it hasn’t started to become mainstream – people generally haven’t heard of it and don’t know how to use it. Amaranth dates back about 8,000 years and was a staple part of the diet for the Aztecs in Mexico. Although it’s a grain, it’s a fantastic source of non-meat, complete protein (it is about 15% protein), along with complex carbs and fibre. Packed with nutrients, too, especially calcium and iron, as well as vitamins A, B6, C, folate and riboflavin, and phytochemicals that are great for boosting the immune system and reducing blood pressure and high cholesterol.
You can cook amaranth exactly like quinoa (simmer in boiling water or stock until tender and the water has been absorbed, or toast the grains and then simmer). And, just like quinoa, it’s incredibly easy to incorporate into your diet – use it instead of couscous or rice and add fruit, nuts, herbs or spices to flavour it. Here I’ve used it to make the stuffing for the aubergines – and I’ve made a dish with layers of flavours. You can take it back by leaving out the fruity bit (the sultanas) and/or the cheesy bit, leaving just the harissa, lemon and herbs, or you can add the whole caboodle. Either way, it’s delicious!
gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, seed-free
Serves 4 Preparation time 15 minutes Cooking time 50 minutes
- 4 aubergines, halved lengthways
- 2 tbsp harissa paste
- 300g/10½oz/1½ cups amaranth
- 100g/3½oz/heaped ¾ cup sultanas (optional)
- 600ml/21fl oz/scant 2½ cups gluten-free and dairy-free vegetable stock
- juice of 2 lemons
- 2 handfuls finely chopped mint leaves
- 2 large handfuls finely chopped coriander leaves
- 8 spring onions, white part finely sliced
- 200g/7oz dairy-free cheese, crumbled or grated (optional)
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- salad, to serve
- Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas 4. Using a sharp knife, score the flesh of the aubergines with a diagonal crisscross pattern, making sure not to pierce the skin. Put the aubergine halves on baking trays and spread the harissa paste evenly over. Bake for 40 minutes until tender.
- Meanwhile, put the amaranth in a fine sieve and rinse well under cold running water. Transfer to a saucepan, add the sultanas, if using, and pour over the stock. Bring to the boil, then turn the heat down, cover with a lid and leave to simmer for 15–20 minutes until the amaranth is tender and the water has been absorbed.
- Transfer to a large mixing bowl and add the lemon juice, herbs, spring onions, and add the dairy-free cheese, if using. Mix together thoroughly and season lightly with salt and pepper.
- When the aubergines have cooked, remove from the oven and carefully scoop most of the flesh out of the aubergines, leaving a layer of flesh next to the skins. Mash the flesh, then add to the amaranth mixture, and mix in thoroughly. Spoon the mixture into the aubergine cases and bake for a further 10 minutes. Serve hot with salad, if you like.
Most people think of buckwheat pancakes when they think of buckwheat – made with buckwheat flour. But the grain itself (totally gluten-free) is a fantastic addition to your storecupboard. It is highly nutritious (full of magnesium, B-vitamins, rutin which helps circulation and all eight essential amino acids) and in particular it’s great in terms of your blood-sugar balance. Don’t be put off by the nutty taste of buckwheat, though. As this recipe shows, it can be delicious if you mix it with strong, fresh flavours. Here I’ve added sweet roasted veggies, and fresh, tangy lemon and mint. Serve this as a main course, with a salad, for a delicious dinner – and it makes a brilliant meal for your lunchbox, too.
gluten-free, wheat-free, dairy-free, yeast-free, nut-free, seed-free, egg-free
Serves 4 Preparation time 10 minutes Cooking time 20 minutes
- 6 tbsp olive oil
- 2 aubergines, diced
- 2 red peppers, deseeded and cut into strips
- 1 onion, cut into 16 pieces
- 200g/7oz buckwheat
- 240g/8½oz/scant 2¼ cups tinned butter beans, drained and rinsed
- juice of 1 lemon
- 1 large handful chopped mint leaves
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas 4. Put the aubergine and peppers onto 3 separate baking trays and drizzle 2½ tablespoons of oil over. Bake for 10 minutes, then add the onion and drizzle ½ tablespoon of oil over. Bake for a further 10 minutes until tender and slightly browned. Remove from the oven and transfer to a large serving dish.
- Meanwhile, wash the buckwheat thoroughly, put in a saucepan and pour over 400ml/14fl oz/scant 1⅔ cups cold water. Bring to the boil over a high heat then turn the heat down to low and leave to simmer for about 6 minutes until softened, scimming off the scum with a flat metal spoon. Remove the pan from the heat and leave to stand for 10–15 minutes until all the water has been absorbed and the buckwheat is soft, but not mushy. Rinse thoroughly with boiling water and transfer to the serving dish with the roasted vegetables.
- In a small jug, mix together the lemon juice and the remaining 3 tablespoons of oil and season lightly. Add the butter beans to the serving dish and pour over the dressing. Mix thoroughly, then add the mint leaves and mix gently. Serve either warm or cold.
Full of the flavours of the Mediterranean, this recipe transports you to sun-drenched Italy! As someone who has been intolerant to gluten and dairy for many, many years, I’ve generally stayed away from Italian food, thinking that it’s mainly based around pasta, pizza and a lot of cheese. But when we went to Tuscany recently, I discovered that real Italian food is a wonderfully, all-embracing cuisine. Of course there’s pasta and pizza and of course there are many different cheese showcased throughout the menus. But there’s also a delicious range of recipes that create little bites of heaven with vegetables, meat, fish and fruit, as well. In Tuscany I gained enormous respect for the way Italians work with local produce and hope that this (dairy-free) Italian-style recipe does the cuisine justice.
gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free, seed-free, citrus-free
Serves 4 Preparation time 10 minutes Cooking time 35 minutes
- 60g/2¼oz basil leaves
- 30g/1oz/scant ¼ cup pine nuts
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 50g/1¾oz dairy-free cheese
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 2 large aubergines, sliced widthways and ends removed
- 3–4 tbsp olive oil
- 6 large tomatoes, sliced and ends removed
- 200g/7oz dairy-free soya cheese, cut into small square-shaped slices
- 1 large, ripe avocado
- a few basil leaves, to serve
- Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas 4 and put the aubergine slices onto a baking tray. Drizzle over the oil and bake for 20 minutes until tender.
- Meanwhile, make the pesto. Heat a large heavy-based frying pan over a medium heat. Add the pine nuts and dry-fry until just starting to turn golden. Remove from the heat and leave to cool. Wash the basil and pat dry in a clean kitchen towel. Put the pine nuts, basil, garlic and dairy-free cheese into a food processor and blitz. With the motor running, pour the oil until a thick, dense sauce forms.
- When the aubergines have cooked, put a slice of tomato on top of each aubergine slice. Then put a small dollop of the pesto sauce on top and cover with a slice of dairy-free cheese.
- Return to the oven and bake for about 15 minutes until the dairy-free cheese is starting to turn golden. Remove from the oven.
- To make the stacks, put one pile of aubergine/tomato/pesto/dairy-free cheese on top of another, on a serving plate, using the smaller piles to put on top of the larger ones. Press the stacks down slightly to anchor them. This will make about 12 stacks.
- Cut the avocado into quarters and remove the skins and stone. Slice each quarter into thirds and half each slice. Top the stacks with a couple of pieces of avocado each and sprinkle the basil over. Serve hot or cold.
I love baking – when I open the door of the oven and take out the finished result, it feels like I’ve created something wonderful. This tart is taken from my new book Simply Gluten-Free & Dairy-Free which is going to be published on 1 April. This might look hard – but it’s actually incredibly simple to make. You just make the pastry case, then fill it with a mixture of baked aubergine and sun-dried tomato paste, and cover it with chopped tomatoes and basil. You can even make this ahead of time – the pastry dough can be made up to a couple of days before and stored in the fridge, or stored in the freezer for up to 3 months. And you can make the aubergine filling and store this in the fridge for a couple of days, too. Simple and utterly stunning!
gluten-free, dairy-free, yeast-free, nut-free, citrus-free
Serves 4 Preparation time 20 minutes, plus 30 minutes chilling the pastry Cooking time 1 hour 5 minutes
- dairy-free margarine, for greasing
- 2 aubergines
- 100g/3½oz sun-dried tomato paste
- 6–7 tomatoes, sliced and end pieces discarded
- 12 cherry tomatoes, cut in half lengthways
- 1 small handful of basil leaves, finely chopped
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 potato, peeled and cut into large chunks
- 100g/3½oz/heaped ½ cup rice flour, plus extra for dusting
- 40g/1½oz/heaped ¹⁄₃ cup gram flour
- 40g/1½oz/scant ¹⁄₃ cup maize flour
- ½ tsp sea salt, crushed, plus extra to season
- 1 tsp xanthan gum
- 125g/4½oz chilled dairy-free margarine, diced, plus extra for greasing
- 1 large egg, beaten
- To make the pastry, put the potato in a saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to the boil over a high heat, then turn the heat down to medium and simmer, covered, for 15 minutes or until tender. Drain, then mash until smooth.
- Sift the flours, salt and xanthan gum into the bowl of a food processor. Add the dairy-free margarine and blend until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs, then add the mashed potato and blend for a few seconds until mixed in. Add the egg and blend for 20–30 seconds until the mixture comes away from the sides of the bowl and forms a sticky dough. There should be a little extra moisture at the base of the bowl. If it is too dry, gradually blend in 1–2 tablespoons chilled water. If it is too sticky, add a little rice flour.
- Shape the pastry into a ball, wrap it in cling film and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/gas 6 and grease a loose-based, 20 x 30cm/8 x 12in tart tin with dairy-free margarine. Prick the aubergines all over with a fork, put them in a baking tray and bake for 45 minutes until very soft.
- Meanwhile, liberally dust a large chopping board with rice flour and gently roll out the pastry to about 5mm/¼in thick. Put the loose base of the tart tin on top of the pastry and, using a sharp knife, cut around it. Shape the pastry trimmings into a ball and set aside. Lift the chopping board and turn it over to drop the pastry and base into the tin.
- Dust the chopping board again with rice flour and gently roll the remaining pastry out again. Cut it into strips wide enough to line the sides of the tin. To secure the sides of the tart, lightly brush some water along the bottom edges of the pastry strips that will overlap with the base. Gently press the pastry into the sides of the tin and along the bottom edge where it overlaps with the pastry on the base, taking care to remove any air pockets. Neaten the edges, using a sharp knife, then prick the bottom of the pastry with a fork. Line the pastry case with a piece of baking parchment and fill with baking beans. Bake alongside the aubergines for 12–15 minutes until lightly golden. Take the pastry case out of the oven and remove the parchment and beans, then bake for another 2–3 minutes.
- Remove the aubergines from the oven and turn the oven down to 180°C/350°F/gas 4. Cut the aubergines in half and, using a spoon, scoop the flesh into a bowl. Mash well with a fork, then mix in the sun-dried tomato paste.
- Spread the aubergine and tomato mixture over the bottom of the pastry case and cover with the sliced tomatoes, followed by the cherry tomatoes. Sprinkle with the basil and season with salt and pepper. Bake for 20–25 minutes until the pastry is golden brown. Serve either hot or cold.