Posts filed under recipe

Monkey Porridge

Harrison wakes up earrrrrrly. Neither Tyler or myself would proclaim ourselves as early risers, but we have to now. (At least one of us does at a time. We take turns getting up with him every other morning which really helps ease the pain.)

On my mornings sitting in the dark daylight hours with him, I often get ambitious with breakfast. This is mainly out of boredom, but it's actually given me the time to think through what we eat a bit more than I had before... and has given me some extra creativity in the kitchen beyond my countless years of cereal.

These days, I'm cooking up pancakes and french toast with fruity compotes made from whatever frozen berries we have in the freezer. I'm whipping up cream to smear on toasted brioche, or concocting smoothie bowls or yoghurt bowls with a covering similar in size to that of a 6 year-old's FroYo cup. Its kinda like arts & crafts time for me... except I'm pulling through my dry good canisters and deep freeze rather than my glue sticks and paper racks.

Recently I posted an Instagram of our porridge and had several people message me for the recipe. My recipe? Umm, there's not really a recipe... but I figured I could walk you through the toppings to help you make your own.

And just in case "porridge" makes you think of some exotic British meal... it's just what we call oatmeal here. So... yeah, you're now one step closer to unlocking the mystery of Monkey Porridge. Follow along for the rest of the story!


What you'll need:

  • Oats

  • Water

  • Salt

  • Cinnamon

  • Peanut Butter

  • Bananas

  • Almonds

  • Honey

  • Chia Seeds (if you have them)

  • Bee Pollen (if you have it)

Cook oats according to instructions. (Use steel cut or good quality old-fashioned oats. None of that microwave nonsense. It's time you learned how to make the easiest meal ever.)

Add some salt. Add some cinnamon. Add some more cinnamon because it makes it so dang good. Stir everything in and let it cook.

Stir on medium-low and cook it slow. (I plan to cook mine for around 15 minutes.) It's not a race.

While the porridge is cooking, chop up a handful of almonds and put them in a skillet to toast over low heat. (Keep a watch on them- they seemingly sit forever and then turn black when you stop watching them.)

After your porridge is done, put it in bowls. Stir in a spoonful of peanut butter to each bowl.

Top with sliced bananas, chia seeds, shredded/desiccated coconut, bee pollen, roasted almonds and a drizzle of honey.

Serve with a hot mug of coffee and feel really smug that you have an insanely good breakfast that is great for your body and a good way to keep your weekly grocery bill on budget.

So, like I promised, it's not rocket science... but it is a fun way to make regular old oatmeal less boring and into something that is really quite tasty. 


Still hungry? Find some of my most popular recipes here:

Honey Pecan Salmon | Quinoa Crusted Fish & Chips | Garlicky Mushroom Bruschetta | Easy Banana Bars

*images original to Aspiring Kennedy

Posted on May 19, 2017 and filed under eat, recipe.

Virtuous (and Easy) Leftover Turkey & Barley Soup

There's a common consensus that turkey leftovers are one of the greatest gifts of the holiday season. To be honest, I'm very happy to have one big plate of Christmas dinner and wait until the next year. (Leftover pies, however, are different.)

I like to use our leftovers to make something that feels a bit different... but doesn't require another trip to the grocery store.

After Thanksgiving, my mom & I put together this light soup that only required what we had on hand. The overall effort was minimal and the end result was really tasty. Plus, the barley seems to add a new texture and taste that shifts the dish from feeling like a recycled Christmas dinner... even if that is exactly what it is.

This recipe teams up with Denby's Invention Test to win some Denby cookware and product (!!!), so consider this one-pot recipe my official "Inventions Test" challenge recipe using my Christmas left-overs.


Serves 6

- 2 cups leftover turkey (or chicken), chopped or shredded
- 1 diced onion
- 5 large carrots, roughly chopped
- 3 parsnips, roughly chopped
- 5 celery stalks, chopped
- 1/2 cup leftover gravy, chicken stock
- 1/2 cup pearl barley
- marjoram
- thyme
- basil (dried)
- salt & pepper
-1 T gravy granules, *optional

In a large pot, cook onion in some butter or oil. 

When the onions are translucent, add carrots, parsnips, & celery

Cover with lid and let cook for 5-6 minutes until softened.

Add turkey and stir.

Add leftover gravy, if you have it to the pan. Add 1L of water. (If you don't have gravy, add stock or cube here and top up with water.)

Add pearl barley and let simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Before serving when I didn't have leftover gravy, I sprinkled some gravy granules in the soup to up the flavour a bit and it was really nice. You won't need too much though, just one tablespoon should do the trick!

Serve with crusty bread and butter.

We don't have a microwave, so I really rely on these cast-iron pots to move things to/from the oven to table- as they heat up really quickly and keep the food really hot once it's on the table. I used a piece from Denby's cast-iron range that I use for easy weeknight meals or fancier, slow-cooked recipes. I find it easy to work with and difficult to let me make mistakes. ;) 

If you're up for a chance to win some Denby product (and some friendly competition!), head to @DenbyPottery on Instagram or Facebook and take part in the "Invention Test" by sharing your one-pot recipe ideas using #DenbyCastIron and #DenbyOvenware. 

Looking for more ideas for dinner? Check out some of my most popular recipes: 

Honey Pecan Salmon | Champagne Risotto | Garlicky Mushroom Bruschetta

*images original to Aspiring Kennedy
*this post is sponsored by Denby, but recipe and opinions are original to Aspiring Kennedy

Posted on December 24, 2016 and filed under eat, holiday, recipe.

Free Tutorial | The Perfect English Scones

This week, all of my students came over to our house for a special guest lecturer: Geraldine. Now, you may not know Geraldine- but for those of us that are lucky enough to know her, you'll know she is an amazing organiser... and a willing partaker in sweets.

Many of my favourite memories with her involve wandering the streets of Italy in search of a(nother) cup of gelato or eating her pavlova in the garden after Sunday lunch, but... my favourite memory has to be one rainy day when Viola was tiny. Geraldine had invited me over and we both arrived to her house a bit drippy from the rain. As I peeled off wet layers off us and sat Viola on the carpet to play, Geraldine walked in from the kitchen with a small mountain of hot scones, mugs of tea and small bowls of clotted cream and jam. It was a simple moment that was so lovely and warm.

And now, I force her to recreate it for my students. That'll teach her to be less charming. Ha! :)

The day was perfect- her in her Cath Kidston apron and matching oven mitt, her cute authoritative statements on scones as someone from Cornwall ("scone" as in gone, and not "scone" as in stone), and watching her wander from group to group helping them roll out the dough to the perfect height before cutting.

And whaddaya know? The scones came out perfect- just like they do every time.

And Geraldine had Viola and Harrison following her every move... just like they do every time, too.

If you're looking for a classic -and simple!- scone recipe, here's Geraldine's recipe. What my students pay for in credit hours, you get for free. (Just pay me back in an invite when you make them, please?)



  • 225 g/8 oz of self-raising flour

  • pinch of salt

  • 55 g/2 oz butter

  • 25 g/1 oz caster sugar (or standard white sugar in U.S.)

  • 150 ml/5fl oz milk

  • milk to glaze


  • Heat the oven to 220C/425F/Gas 7. Lightly grease a baking sheet.

  • Mix together the flour and salt and rub in the butter.

  • Stir in the Sugar and then the milk to get a soft dough.

  • Turn on to a floured work surface and knead very lightly. Pat out to a round 2cm/0.75in thick. Use a 5cm/2in cutter to stamp out rounds and place on a baking sheet. Lightly knead together the rest of the dough and stamp out more scones to use it all up. 

  • Brush the tops of the scones with milk.

  • Bake for 12-15 minutes until well risen and golden.

  • Cool on a wire rack and serve with butter and good Jam and maybe some clotted cream. 

*images original to Aspiring Kennedy

Weak-Night Cooking

One of our friends recently joked that I don't cook... I was a bit confused. What? Me? When I'm busy with a semester, I am eating out a lot because, well, I have to eat out. I'm just not home very often. When life is a bit slower, I love to try new things and scour magazines for new ideas. Not only do I enjoy it, but let's be honest- it's way cheaper and healthier than eating out all the time. And with little kids, it's way less hassle.

But....  right now it is not slow. We are in the first bit of a new semester and dinners at home are the last thing on my list of a million things to do each day. The only problem is... it's the first thing anyone else asks me when I get home. "What's for dinner?!"

I do a few things to keep afloat in these moments. Hopefully, I'll share my moves with you and you, in return, can give me some winning-no-brain-required-recipes!

1. WRITE IT DOWN | This one is so obvious... but only if you're actually doing it. Otherwise, you think you it doesn't make a difference. It does! I plan out every meal my family eats for the week on Sunday night. So boring, but so necessary. I meal plan and then I order it all on Ocado. (I'm a big fan of Ocado.)

I used to love wandering through the grocery stores here. Well, actually, I still do. I just have other things to do, so the last thing I want to do is run out to Tesco at 6:15 to buy French mustard or whatever other random ingredient I don't have. I schedule my delivery slot (always on Wednesday, because it's free that day) and have it all there and ready to cook when I walk in the door.

2. STICK WITH WHAT WORKS | Trying new things is so fun, and way easier the more you've cooked. With that said, when I'm busy- we are sticking to a shortlist of 10-15 things. I cook things that I'm very comfortable with and don't expend mental energy on daunting steps like braising and pickling. (I know my limits.)

3, TWICE IS NICE | My poor mother. I used to not eat leftovers. Gross. I only wanted "fresh food." These days, I live off of them. When I cook, I plan for the meal to feed us twice for dinner... or at least dinne + two days of lunches for whoever is home. There is little better than eating a delicious homemade meal... that you didn't actually have to spend anytime on.

4. SHARE THE LOVE | Sure life is busy, but if I'm meal planning- I try to plan to have guests over to share it with us. Or, I make extra and give it to our neighbors. (We know them, it's not creepy.)  I'm not making individual filets, so the extra price is nominal and the gesture is always so appreciated. I think that it's easy for us to feel self-centered when life gets hectic. It's a good push for me to think outward when what I really want to do is be inward. (It's so hard, isn't it?!)

5. FREEZE OUT | And for nights when you get home and everyone meets you at the door with gum in their hair and crying? Drag that bag of frozen chicken fingers out of the bottom drawer of the freezer, hold you head high knowing that you do the best you can.... and get out the peanut butter to start getting that gum out.

A few of my weekly recipes are from the links below. I'd love for you to post up your favorites, too!


-Creamy Feta Chicken with Peppers & Rice (A Diary of Lovely)

- Chicken Stew with Biscuits (Ina Garten)

- Honey Pecan Salmon (Aspiring Kennedy)



*images by noah darnell original to aspiring kennedy


Posted on September 26, 2016 and filed under eat, recipe, everyday living, work life.

Summer Recipe | Garlicky Mushroom Bruschetta


I'm trying hard to do a few things different to capitalize on this summer. First, eat as many meals I can outdoors. After a long winter, I crave sunny days outside eating on a patio. My recent attitude is that if it is even the slightest bit of a nice day- the table and chairs get shoved outside and so does mealtime.

The second thing that I am trying to do is put less meat on our weekly rotation. No huge reasons for that other than looking for light options that bring a bit of variance to what we eat while keeping grocery bills down.

Summer seems like a great time to bring in other forms of non-meat substance into mealtime. I've been tossing chickpeas into salads, slathering nut butters on pretty much every breakfast item I can think of and now have begun to foray into mushrooms. They're so affordable, so healthy (1 of your 5 a day!), versatile enough to be added to a slew of recipes that I already make... and they soak up flavor like a boss. :)

For a little afternoon tea out in the park with my friend, Camille, I made a really delicious mushroom bruschetta in lieu of the standard soggy sandwich selections. The combination of flavors was totally kicking- think garlic, lemon and lots of fresh parsley. Perfect for summer. (I got the idea from this site, Just Add Mushrooms, which, as the name implies, is a pretty great starting point for mushroom-centric recipes.)


And the verdict? Well, we ate every last bit of them in an embarassing amount of time.... so I guess that means we liked them. The contrast of the crunchy sourdough with the sautéed mushrooms on top was just lovely, and it's going to be something that I recreate throughout the summer as it was so affordable and so cheap. And in the spirit of summer outdoor dining, I'm sharing the recipe below. Enjoy!



SERVES 4 | Prep & Cook Time: 10 Minutes



Brown & white button mushrooms (200gm packets of each)

1 lemon

A small handful of flat-leaf parsley (fresh or frozen)

Minced garlic (3 cloves or 1 tablespoon of jarred garlic)

1 loaf of fresh sourdough bread, sliced

Olive oil

Salt & pepper



Chop your mushrooms up. This doesn't need to be exact, but I'd recommend smaller pieces if you're cooking with children in mind.

Put some olive oil in your pan over medium heat. Add the garlic and mushrooms. Sautee for about 5 minutes until the mushrooms are soft and have browned.


While your mushrooms are cooking, toss your bread into the oven for a couple of minutes. Don't leave them too long, because you won't want them too crunchy. Just a nice, golden toast for added contrast in texture.

 Squeeze half of your lemon over the mushrooms. Add the parlsey in. Sprinkle with salt & pepper.

With the remaining half of your lemon, slice a few pieces and lay them over the mixture while it rest. This will just give them an extra little kick of flavor.



And after that? Well you're done. You can either pack these up and take them out for a picnic or pile the mushrooms on your hot toast and eat them right away. You really can't go wrong.


Thanks for everyone's suggestions on Instagram for good (and mayo-less) picnic recipes. The next item that is on my mind is roasted veggies tossed with quinoa, olive oil & lemon- what a great idea! What's your go-to picnic item?


Looking for more ideas on how to bring mushrooms to your summer party? Follow along with the #MTMSummer campaign on Twitter and Facebook for recipes and seasonal inspiration.





*images original to Aspiring Kennedy

*this post was sponsored by Just Add Mushrooms. opinions, photography and recipe are my own.



Posted on June 6, 2016 and filed under eat, recipe, everyday living.

Piccadilly Street Party

Earlier in the week, I had plans to end our fun afternoon out celebrating our anniversary with a walk up through Soho so that we could buy cupcakes from our favorite little bakery. But then that morning, I started thinking realistically about how much time we would have and realized we wouldn't have time to make it up that way. So instead, I spent about ten minutes mixing up a batch of some extra chocolatey cupcakes from Betty Crocker, popped them in the oven while I made breakfast and tidied up the living room. Later, I spent a few minutes topping them with small mountains of chocolate icing, dusting them with bright sprinkles, and packing them in a little box down in my bag to take with us when we left.

After we left Floris, we walked down Jermyn street to Piccadilly Circus. it felt like one of those perfect London moments. We were there, the sun was setting, the lights were beaming and it just felt so nice to be together. (And our friend, Ben, who had rendezvoused with us after work.)  So there the three of us stood- shoveling cupcakes in our mouths underneath Eros on a Friday night. We talked about random stuff, Ben showed us where he used to work, and the guys rolled their eyes at me wanting to take cheesy pictures. And then we had a few more cupcakes! That, amigos, is my kind of street party.

So here's to you, Tyler. The man who has shared your home, name and life with me for nine years. While these cupcakes only took about 45 minutes of my life, from start to finish, you've got all the rest of it. Happy 9th Anniversary!

Have an everyday happening that you want to turn into a fun celebration? Join in on Betty Crocker's cute #iCAKEyou campaign that pushes you to make someone a proper cake to celebrate them. Here's how it easy it was to make the ones I made for us.

You'll need:

Box of Betty Crocker Tempting Chocolate Cake Mix | Tempting Chocolate Icing | 230 ml of water | 125 ml vegetable oil | 3 eggs | cupcake liners | optional, but really actually necessary: sprinkles 

STEP ONE: Mix all ingredients in a large bowl. Mix together for a couple of minutes until everything is combined.

STEP TWO: Drop cupcakes into lined cupcake tins. (My tins made about 18 cupcakes in total) and bake at 160C (325F) for 18-20 minutes. 

STEP THREE: Remove cupcakes from tins and let cool. Ice tops with frosting. Add sprinkles immediately after frosting each cupcake to help them stick better. 

Thanks, Betty Crocker, for inviting me to participate in this fun campaign for the past three months. Not only have I loved having boxes of cake mix & icing arrive to my front door, but the challenge to celebrate those around us has been really fun. 

*This series was sponsored by Betty Crocker. Opinions and fervent regard for cake my own.

*Images by Ben Clube, original to Aspiring Kennedy.

Turning the Winter Blues into Green.

I hate to time this with the New Year, but this past month Tyler & I have been trying to reign in our spending and cut back. I can't really give you any good reason as to why- no financial crisis- just an accumulation of overspending on nonsense that was adding up to numbers that didn't make sense. 

So then we decided it was time for the conscious cut-back. Never easy, not exactly fun, and definitely not galmourous- but it feels so good. I guess it could be compared to working out... but since I don't do that, I can't speak with authority. 

Coming as a shocker to no one, but the biggest area to cut back for us has been how we eat- and where. Eating at home! Meal planning! Writing out a weekly calendar to help avoid last-minute decisions that result in spending money when it could have been avoided with a little forethought. 

And do you want to hear the really annoying part? We are loving it. Not only watching our savings build back-up (which is good, because we've got several more months to watch it happen), but the routine has been really nice. We do really well with running around and living life on the go... but man, going to bed each night with the day ahead being thought through is a luxury we are enjoying.

So there you have it... life. A bit more boring for the time being, but there's some beauty in it. Beauty in putting away pennies while you eat peanut butter & jellies together. Beauty in not buying new clothes for ourselves... even though they're 75% off and I really want them. Beauty in learning to be content with what we have and take things a bit slower.

No complaints here. 


What are some of the ways you save- both money and sanity? There's beauty in sharing those kind of ideas with others, too!

I'm sharing three of the recipes that I've found in my reintroduction back into the kitchen. As a bonus, they're all homey, warming pies perfect for winter nights- and the next day for lunch, too.





*image original to Aspiring Kennedy


Posted on February 4, 2015 and filed under everyday living, recipe.

National Lampoons Christmas Baking

Every Thanksgiving, my mom asks everyone what their favorite pie is and makes them that pie for Thanksgiving dinner. Then come Thanksgiving morning, she wakes up early and bakes them all for us! Forget the turkey- I am alway giddy to walk in and see a dozen pies lined up along the counter with a mountain-sized bowl of rest whipped cream by them. "My" pie will always be the sole cherry pie sitting along side the pumpkins, pecans and applies with tiny hearts cut out of the top sprinkled with sugar and cinnamon.

At Christmas, she does the same with Christmas candies. Someone will always ask for peppermint bark, peanut butter fudge or toffee, but my standard request is homemade caramels. They are super chewy and so delicious. Thankfully, it takes so long to eat each one or I could consume the entire tray.

When West Elm asked me to create my favorite Christmas recipe, I gulped at the thought of taking on this task myself. Could I do it? Making caramels seemed like some magic skill that only my mom knew how to do... but I scoured Pinterest and found a simple recipe that indicated that maybe others knew how to make them, too.

I'll be honest: I am not good at baking or making sweets. Something about the process is too exact for me, and I just ALWAYS miss the mark by enough to make the result... meh. Even at thirty, I lack the confidence to crank out desserts. Pathetic, I know.


So was the case when attempting my caramels. I wanted to have a day in the kitchen with Viola where we could have some Christmas fun together. All went well, until she started making a mess of everything and stressing me out. And then started to burn a bit in the last (!!) step. I got nervous and pulled them off the stove before they hit the mandatory "248 F." I poured the boiling  into the pan, did the rest of the steps as if the process hadn't gone awry. I was so annoyed by the loss of time, amount of mess, and how many times I had snapped at the toddler standing at my feet in the process. I was doing my best Clark Griswald in the midst of high holiday hopes meeting terrible failure. Not even the jam of the month could redeem the moment.... but, perhaps cinnamon rolls could.

Never one to settle for total failure, I then set out to make a huge batch of Pioneer Woman's cinnamon rolls, a recipe that is has become a Christmas morning staple in my family over recent years. I've made them before with good success, so perhaps got a little too confident with myself. I cut half the batch way too thin and when baked, they tasted so weird. The good news is: the other half was perfect. Big buns for the win, and the icing laced with coffee & maple doesn't hurt either. Viola wakes up and says "Rolls!?" each morning since, and I have to agree. 

Whatever happened to the caramels? They have been sitting negectled in my fridge ever since. I wasn't sure what to do with them- they took so much work that I hated to toss them... but I didn't want to eat them either. 

Last night, Viola was begging for a "cookie!" as she does approximately forty-seven times a day. After eating all of her dinner, I searched for something small to buy her off. I looked at the caramels in the fridge and figured a one-year old may be the least discerning palette that I could pawn them off on. She ate it and clapped. I laughed. She begged for more, and I had to break her heart by telling her no, but as I filled up my glass of water later that night... I decided to try one of the caramels. And to my surprise- they were actually kinda good. Nope. They weren't moms, but they were respectable. I could totally put them out for guests and feel okay about it. It was a Christmas miracle.

I guess the good news here is: My daughter loved what I made and loved getting to "cook!" with me... so I'm chalking that up to a win. (And I'm also heading out for the airport so that my mom can show me what Christmas baking is all about.)



*products gifted by West Elm

Posted on December 22, 2014 and filed under eat, kids, holiday, recipe.

The Lovely Drawer: Sticky Toffee Muffins

I was just talking to Tyler about the first time we had Sticky Toffee Pudding. Perhaps it was the fact we were back at that same hotel that reminded me of it... or maybe it's just a special moment that no girl could ever forget.

Either way, it was a few weeks after arriving and I was on my first trip with students, taking them around the UK- to places I had never been before and totally winging it! We were staying at a really sweet little guest house in York, The Hedley House. They served dinner to our group and we were groaning with delight as they brought out giant roasted chickens to our table. How could this meal get any better? Well, when dessert came around and they brought out bowls of steaming Sticky Toffee Pudding drowned in pools of custard, we knew: it just had.

We surrendered to the bowls in front of us, and I've never looked back in my love for this classic British pudding. (What is a pudding? Not what we Americans think of... In rough terms, it's a word that is used for cakes or the dessert course.) I love the twist Teri has taken on this beautiful recipe by making them a bit smaller... but no doubt, just as yummy.

These would make a pretty great breakfast during the holidays, too. Warm, cozy, caloric and perfect for a crowd. And if you make them, send me your address. I'm not above uninvited caroling in exchange for baked goods.




sticky toffee muffins aspiring kennedy the lovely drawer


I’ll let you into a secret…I’m not actually a massive fan of British food. As a cuisine I’d first choose most others, which is why I usually add a bit of a twist to any Blighty dishes. British puddings however are true winners in my book! They are so homey and great for the winter months when you want a big bowl of something warm and comforting.

Out of all there is to choose from my absolute favourite is sticky toffee pudding. It’s very rich and I’m always needing a lie down afterwards but its so worth it! This recipe makes a pudding into muffins and yet keeps all of the sticky, toffee goodness for you to enjoy. My advice would be to heat them up before eating or eat them while they’re still warm. (I’m salivating whilst thinking about it.) Not to mention they couldn’t be much easier, so no excuses when it comes to giving them a go.


1. Start with the sauce by pouring the cream (use heavy whipping cream, if in the US), sugar and butter into a saucepan over a medium heat. Stir until the butter has melted and the sugar has dissolved and then leave to cool.

2. Preheat the oven to 200 C/ 400 F. Then place the chopped dates into a large bowl with the boiling water and bicarbonate of soda and leave to stand for 10 minutes. 

3. When 10 minutes is up, fold in the flour until just combined. Whisk the eggs and then add to the mix and once again stir until just combined. Be careful not to over mix.

4. Line a 12 hole muffin tin with paper cases and fill the cases 3/4 full with the muffin mixture and bake for about 20 mins until risen and golden. Leave to cool.

5. Then drizzle your toffee sauce (which you can heat back up slightly) over each one and sprinkle with flaked almonds.


Get more of Teri's amazing creativity over at her beautiful blog, The Lovely Drawer or at her sparkly Etsy Shop.



*all images by Teri Muncey for Aspiring Kennedy 


Posted on November 26, 2014 and filed under eat, the lovely drawer, recipe.

The Lovely Drawer | Quinoa Crusted Fish & Chips


Quinoa? Crusted? Fish and Chips? Yup. You read that right! Teri has taken perhaps the most classic of British staples and put a new twist on it. Not only is it a healthy twist, but it totally works... and totally will keep your heart from racing at full-speed like a normal portion of greasy fish + chips will.

Plus, the ingredients are really simple, so it's a great meal for cooking healthy on a budget.

Way to go, Teri. You amaze me again! Check out more of Teri's amazing creativity and craftiness on her really beautiful and totally slick blog, The Lovely Drawer.


Fish and chips is usually the first thing that pops into my mind when you say 'British seaside’. It conjures up images of families huddled on a bench, coats zipped up, soaking in the blistering cold sea air and the pebbly beach in front. There might be a distant fairground or arcade tune as background music and there will probably be an argument with a greedy seagull eyeing up your food. Ok this may be very stereotypical but perhaps there’s more than a shred of truth in there. There’s no recreating that battered cod and greasy chips in any other scenario. It just doesn’t quite do it justice but I came up with a slightly more nutritious version that’s kinder on the heart and you can enjoy it in the warmth of your own home. You still have to cover your chips with the obligatory flood of vinegar until your eyes water though. That’s an order.


Ingredients (Serves 2)


2 fresh cod fillets

Roughly 2 Cups of uncooked quinoa

Sprinkling of Paprika

2 lemons 

2 medium sized sweet potatoes

Cornmeal for dusting

Garlic salt

1 garlic clove

3/4 Cup frozen peas

Handful of mint

1 Cup Greek yoghurt

Handful of chives

Salt & pepper

Olive oil



1. Preheat the oven to 375F and line a baking tray.

2. Peel the sweet potatoes and cut into chunks. (I softened them slightly in the microwave to speed up cooking.)

3. Prepare the fish by squeezing half a lemon on top and seasoning with salt, pepper and paprika. Drizzle with some of the olive and rub into the fish. 

4. Pour the quinoa into a bowl and add garlic salt. Then dip each fish fillet into the quinoa to coat it. Transfer to the baking tray. 

5. Bake in the oven for about 25 mins. Check the fish along the way and if the quinoa looks as if it’s getting too dark in colour then cover with foil for the rest of the cooking time.

6. Meanwhile cook the peas. Then pulse in a blender with the mint, lemon juice from half a lemon, garlic, salt and pepper and a very small drizzle of olive oil. Pulse until the consistency is mushy but not yet a liquid.

7. Then make the lemon and chive sauce by mixing the chives, juice of half another lemon and a pinch of paprika into the greek yoghurt. Chill.

8. Drizzle the sweet potato chips with olive oil and cover with cornmeal.  Heat some oil in a pan and fry in batches. The cornmeal should give the outside a crispy coating.

9. Then assemble the whole meal when the fish is cooked. Make sure the fish flakes away as you’d expect. Serve with the remaining lemon in wedges for squeezing eat in true British style with malt vinegar and ketchup! 





*images original by The Lovely Drawer for Aspiring Kennedy

Posted on October 6, 2014 and filed under eat, the lovely drawer, recipe.

The Lovely Drawer | Pistachio + Raspberry Shortbread`


I love shortbread. One of my favorite parts about flying home from Europe has always been the snack packs they pass at towards the second half of your flight. Tucked inside is the complete compliment for the hours of video watching you're in the middle of enjoying: grapes, toblerone, kitkats... and, oh, that little packets of delicious buttery shortbread. Tagged along with a cup of coffee, I'm in my happy place.

Teri has taken this classic British tea treat and made a sweet twist on it. I have to say, it can be dangerous to remake such a household recipe.... but the result is amazing. White Chocolate, pistachios & raspberry? Such a good combination that even the Queen may have to add her to the Order of The Guard. Or give her a country or something.

So if you're in the mood for an easy dessert recipe that has a lot of personality, try out this amazing Pistachio + Raspberry Shortbread recipe. Pair it with a cup of tea and a great flick, and, by George, I say you're on to something special.



by The Lovely Drawer


This is a Scottish Classic, often associated with tea and tartan printed tins that promise that all butter, crumbly goodness. I have to say shortbread has been a slow burner for me and in fact I still don't love lots of recipes but this one I do!

I've added a few extras because I just can't bear to leave recipes alone. The pistachios add a bit of crunch, the raspberries give added freshness and that white chocolate makes it even sweeter! 




1.  Pre-heat the oven to 190C/375F/Gas Mark 5

2. Beat the butter and sugar together until smooth.

3. Stir in the flour to form a dough. Turn out onto a floured surface and roll out with a rolling pin until the dough is roughly 1cm/ half an inch. 

4. Cut rounds, sprinkle with icing sugar if you'd like and transfer to a lined baking tray. Chill for 20 mins before baking. 


5. Bake for 15-20 mins or until pale golden brown and cool on a wire rack. 

6. Chop the pistachios and raspberries really finely. You can use freeze dried raspberries if you'd prefer not to keep the biscuits in the fridge.

8. Melt the white chocolate in a heat proof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water or in short bursts in the microwave. 

9. Take off the heat and stir in a few drops of pink food colouring until you get your desired colour. 

10. Then dip half of each biscuit into the chocolate and sprinkle the chopped nuts and raspberries over the top. Lay out on a plate and chill  in the fridge until the chocolate is set. 

*images via Teri Muncey for Aspiring Kennedy

Posted on September 1, 2014 and filed under eat, the lovely drawer, recipe.

The Lovely Drawer | Summer Risotto



I love risotto. Immediately after I first fell for this Italian staple, I heard how daunting it was to recreate at home. Even with all the tales of arms falling off from stirring and crunchy failures, I couldn't stop myself from trying to make some for myself. I needed to unlock this mystery so I could eat piles of eat without having to trek to a restaurant. I cringe at paying $15 for a plate of risotto when I know I could make it at home for so much less.

And the first time I made it? Perfect. And every time since then? Perfect, too. It really isn't difficult to make risotto, and this time of the year is the perfect time to stir up a batch. The dish is light, yet it's heartiness lends itself to the cool days of fall soon arriving. I love the refreshing combo of feta, mint & peas for a tangy summer palette.

So go on... add this dish to your weekly lineup. Think of Italy. Or that crazy blogger from London who is still in Texas. Or Teri's gorgeous pictures. Or whatever. Just give it a try. I have a feeling you'll like it.

MINT, PEA & FETA RISOTTO by The Lovely Drawer

I reckon risotto is one of the most flexible dishes that I cook. I've certainly had fun trying out every single flavour combination I can think of and reasonable sure guests have been happy to test each one out along the way. From collective feedback - mainly from my husband - this is my most popular risotto, so I had to share it. It's not tricky at all. It just takes time. Think of the stirring motion as a free arm workout, or as calming and therapeutic like I do. 




1) Measure roughly 1 litre of boiling water in a jug and then add the stock cube. Stir and set to aside.


2) Fry the onion and garlic in a heavy bottomed  pan. You can do this with a drizzle of oil or often a nob of butter makes for a richer taste. Then snip up the pancetta into squares and add to the frying pan along with the chilli flakes and seasoning.

3) When the onion and pancetta are cooked add the arborio rice, coating in the oils and sautee. The rice should begin to look transparent- that's a good sign. On a medium heat add the white wine and allow for the alcohol to cook off whilst stirring constantly.


4) When a lot of the moisture has been absorbed into the rice turn the heat down to low and add a ladle of the stock. You will need to keep repeating this every time its been absorbed. The idea is to keep the rice wet as it cooks but not over saturated. Keep on stirring, working the rice as this is what will help to make it extra creamy. The rice should never stick to the pan. Use as much of your stock as you like in this part, until you get it to the right texture.


5) Add some of your mint (chopped) to start to get that flavour coming through.


6) When the rice is softening and the risotto is starting to look creamy add the frozen peas and stir through continuously. 


7) When the rice is very almost cooked through (give it a little taste), crumble in the feta and put a lid on the pan. Turn the heat up to medium and let it bubble for about 2 mins. Then take the lid off, stir through most of the parmesan and take off the heat. 


8) Serve immediately with some chopped mint and parmesan on top. I often add a squeeze of lemon to each, too. Oh, and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar added to any risotto tastes great in my opinion! 


*all images original to Teri Muncey for Aspiring Kennedy

Posted on August 6, 2014 and filed under eat, the lovely drawer, recipe.

The Lovely Drawer | Maple-Glazed (Baked!) Cinnamon & Sugar Donuts


Our life in England is pretty stinking charming.

(Well, when we are there. It feels like it's been forever!!)


Though I'm fairly sure that at least once a weekend, 

I wake up and roll over to Tyler and mutter something along the lines of:

"This place would be perfect... except for the %$&# lack of donut shops."


It drives me crazy that I can't buy

a bag of delicious, freshly made American donuts

anywhere in those silly British isles.


I digress...


Fortunately, my English friend, Teri, is helping solve this problem

by giving us this batch of baked cinnamon and sugar donuts

glazed with some maple goodness.


She may think of it as a breakfast treat.

I think of it as a reason to stay in England.


For more of Teri's talent and life-changing skills,

pop over to her chic site, THE LOVELY DRAWER.



This was actually my first time making donuts. I’d decided long ago that deep frying anything would be asking for some serious trouble when I consistently burn my hands/ fingers 4 out of 5 times I cook. My husband can testify. So I asked for a donut pan for Christmas with the low-risk brainwave that I’d bake my donuts instead. My lovely pan arrived and I’ve actually only just got around to using it with this recipe as a starting point. I then added pecans and a maple syrup glaze because clearly I felt there wasn’t already enough sugar!

As with any donuts I’d say: eat these on the day you cook them and preferably still warm which is, of course, the ultimate! 


1 cup all-purpose flour

3/4 tsp baking powder

3/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda (US read: baking soda)

pinch of salt

1 egg (lightly beaten)

1/3 cup buttermilk

1 tsp vegetable oil

2 tsp lemon juice

2 1/2 tbsp maple syrup


2 tsp cinnamon

1 cup sugar (I used 3 parts white sugar and 1 part Demerara/raw sugar)

1/4 cup butter


1/4 c butter

8 tbsp maple syrup

1 1/4 cup icing sugar

handful chopped pecans to finish

1) Preheat the oven to 400F

2) Mix together all the dry ingredients for your donuts in a bowl. Make a hole in the centre and pour in all the wet ingredients. Fold together until combined.

3) Transfer the donut batter to a piping bag or cut a 1/2 inch hole in the tip of a plastic bag and pipe into the shapes in your donut pan, making sure you don’t over fill in order to keep a hole in the middle.

4) Bake for 7-8 minutes until golden brown.

5) While baking combine the cinnamon and sugar in a bowl and mix. 

6) Once out of the oven, while the donuts are still warm, melt the butter and brush over all sides of each donut, then dipping each in the sugar mixture afterwards.

7) Then make the glaze by melting the butter and stirring the maple syrup and icing sugar in. Keep stirring until it reaches a smooth, creamy consistency. I transferred the glaze into a squeeze bottle to then create lines over the donuts but you could do this part however you want. 

8)Scatter the chopped pecans on top while it’s still wet.




*all images original to Teri Muncey for Aspiring Kennedy

Posted on June 17, 2014 and filed under eat, recipe.

The Lovely Drawer | Brie & Walnut Tart


It is of my unrequested opinion

 that brunch is the most photogenic meal of the day. 


The combination of fresh fruit, pastry, juices and coffee

scattered around the table  

glowing in the morning light

is nothing short than a visual feast.


If you've seen my instagram

you'll know that my habit of capturing

such plates & tablescapes lands me somewhere

somewhere an aspirational food stylist and a donut addict.



I sometimes get a little tired

of the same french toast, pancakes, eggs benedict lineup.


Don't get me wrong,

I still eat them with passionate love...

but I'm always eager to see a surprise

awaiting me on a menu.


Like these fresh tartlets my sweet friend, Teri, whipped up 

with her latest recipe from The Lovely Drawer.


Mmm... not only do these look gorgeous,

but they seem utterly delicious, too.







Brie and Walnut Tartlets


Everyone needs a stand by dish thats speedy and yet still full of flavour. This recipe is so simple that it’s almost silly to call it cooking. More like assembling! It’s has a nice balance of sweet and salty flavours mmmm and and can actually be adapted as to what you have in your fridge.

I’ll hold my hands up and say I only ever use bought puff pastry. Shortcrust I make from time to time but puff pastry always seems like a faff when I it’s cheap as chips pre-made and pre-rolled!

This recipe makes two tartlets but you can easily make more with the left over pastry if you add some more of the other ingredients.



You will also need a beaten egg or some olive oil to brush the pastry!



1) Preheat the oven to 220  Lay out your pastry. If it needs rolling then roll out to about half a cm thick. Then score around something circular to make your tartlet shapes. You can decide how big you want them but I used a soup bowl and had enough pastry left after cutting two to potentially have made two more if I’d rerolled.


2) Line a tray and lay you’re circles on top. Then use a pastry brush to lightly coat the outer edge of the pastry with oil or beaten egg. Fold over the edge all the way round and pinch together. The egg/oil should help it to stay in place. Then lightly glaze the whole of the pastry disc.


3) Heat a dry pan and toast your walnuts briefly. Set aside.


4) Chop and fry your red onion with a drop of olive oil, the soft brown sugar and balsamic vinegar. 


5) Spread the onions over the pastry, leaving the folded edge exposed.


6) Then tear pieces of the brie and scatter over the onions. Sprinkle over some of your walnuts and at this stage I usually like to add some chopped fresh or dry rosemary too.

7) Cut your apple into very fine slices and lay in a circle over the brie. Twist pieces of the parma ham and lay in between the apple. If you’d prefer you ham soft rather than crispy you can add it in half way through cooking.

8) Drizzle each tartlet with olive oil making sure the edges of the apple have been oiled and place on the middle shelf in the oven to cook for 20 mins or until the pastry has puffed up around the edge and turned golden.

9) Serve with some rocket and a drizzle of balsamic.





*all images by Teri Muncey for Aspiring Kennedy


Posted on May 20, 2014 and filed under recipe.

What To Cook Tonight? THIS.


I love cooking.


The daily wander around the market

trying to drum up something to make for dinner?


I hate it.


My sweet friend, Sophie,

once lived in London

and battled the grey skies alongside us.


She writes the cute blog, The Littlest Things,

and is one of those people who you just can't not like...

with her easy laugh and Aussie accent,

you'll feel like you've know her for years after spending the day with her.


Nowadays, Sophie has moved back home to Australia

with her fiance and family beside her...

and has launched the coolest project with her dad.


QB9A5016 2.jpg


Each week, they come up with a cookbook 

of crazy good menus for the week ahead.


He cooks. She photographs.


The end result is approachable meals 

 laid out for you withy

 easy step-by-step instructions.

I'm such a huge fan of the project.

Buy one to try it out

-they're cheap as chips! $1.19 for the week!-

and give it a go.


I absolutely get giddy thinking about having this

when we get back to London

to pair up to my weekly Ocado grocery delivery.


In the words of my friend, Sophie...

It's the littlest things, people.


Take 'em where you can.


Check out What To Cook Tonight.


It's fantastic...

and super cool to see yet another blogger

doing something AMAZING with their talent.


(Makes me smile almost as big as not having to think through dinner plans.)





*photos by Sophie Learmont for WTTC

Posted on May 1, 2014 and filed under eat, recipe.

The Lovely Drawer | Gingerbread Blondies

I love brownies like every other person,

but a blondie has certain mystical appeal to me.

I'm not sure why, 

but if I have the choice-

I almost always will defect from the chocolatey hero

and cling starry-eyed to it's paler counterpart.

You can imagine my wonderment 

when Teri whipped up these 

gingerbread blondies

in her kitchen

for this month's recipe.

Gingerbread yumminess

combined with a blondie

drizzled with white chocolate?

My mind was as blown 

as the first time I encountered

Slutty Brownies...

which my sister hilariously refers to as

"the Tur-Duck-En of desserts."

It's just one of those creations

you encounter that has 

so much goodness 

wrapped up in one tiny thing.

It's like, as the Brits say,

all my Christmases have come at once.

Here's Teri to walk you through

this lovely creation.

(Don't forget to read it to yourself

in a sweet English accent... it makes it so much better.)

*    *    *

These yummies may look like brownies but they are in fact gingerbread blondies and each gooey bite is worth every calorie. 

These are really straightforward to whip up and make a nice change to a standard brownie. They work well as a dessert with some vanilla ice cream or as an afternoon treat with a cup of tea or coffee, yum!

225g dark brown soft sugar

150g butter

4 tbsp black treacle

2 tsp ground ginger

2 eggs

2 tsp vanilla extract

125g plain flour

125g wholemeal flour

1 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda

1 tsp salt

100g gingernut biscuits

150g white chocolate


1. Preheat the oven to 180 and line or grease a 20x 20 baking tin.

2. Mash the dark brown soft sugar, butter and treacle together in a bowl with a spoon until the mixture is totally combined. Mix in the ginger, eggs and vanilla extract.

3. In a separate bowl, combine the plain flour, wholemeal flour, baking flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt. Add the flour gradually, incorporating between each addition.

4. Break the gingernut biscuits and 100g of the white chocolate into small chunks and stir into the blondie mixture.

5. Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and bake in the oven for 25 minutes. Leave to cool. 

6. Melt the remaining white chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a simmering saucepan of water, stirring constantly.

7. Pour the chocolate into a bottle with a small nozzle or wrap a sheet of greaseproof paper into a cone shape and snip the end off to drizzle the white chocolate over the blondies. Leave the chocolate to set a little and then cut into squares.

*    *    *


Teri is off to Brussels for a week,

and I'm hoping the sticky and sugar waffles 

provide some inspiration for her next recipe!

Check out her (amazing) blog,

The Lovely Drawer.

Posted on March 21, 2014 and filed under "delicious dish", "dessert", "guest writers", "the lovely drawer", eat, recipe.

The Lovely Drawer | Pad Thai

When we moved to Oxford,

I fell in love with Thai food.

I'll be honest:

before we moved over,

I don't think I have ever had it.

Why? What? 

Why was I wasting so much of my life?

These are all valid questions.

And to be honest:

I can't give you a good reason. 

I guess it just hadn't made it to Tejas yet.

But oh me-oh-my... 

I fell hard for some Pad Kee Mao

(from Oxford's Old Tom Thai),

and now Thai takeout

(from Walmer Castle or The Churchill Arms)

is a weekly happening in our home.

The great news is-

there is an Asian supermarket

about 100 yards from our flat.

So now, I just need to put this recipe into use

and save the cash from our takeout bill

for something special.

Who knows...

it could be save up for a vacation to Thailand

when I can go to town on some authentic deliciousness.

Welcome back, Teri,

and thanks for bringing this amazing dish our way.


*        *        *

Surely everyone likes Pad Thai? Well perhaps if you have a peanut allergy it's not top of your 'to make' list but it's a winner none the less. This recipe is a mixture of handy tips from my neighbour who recently cooked us this yummy dinner and a bit of good old experimentation. Now it's something I'll cook time and time again. 

You can equally enjoy this meal with chicken instead. I know some people get creeped out by seafood. (Personally, I could eat my body weight in the stuff!)


(serves four)

1. Make a marinade for the prawns using the chilli flakes, one garlic clove (minced) and half the coriander (read: cilantro). Marinade for at least an hour but ideally over night.

2. Thinly slice your onion and fry on a medium heat with some vegetable oil in a pan. Mince the other two garlic cloves into the plan and then add the bean sprouts.

3. Meanwhile bring a pot of water to the boil and add your noodles to cook. 

4. Mix the juice of 2 and half of the limes, sugar and fish sauce and chilli sauce in a bowl or jug. Mix well and add to the frying pan.

5. Turn down to a low heat and add your peanut butter, stirring to combine. Then add your prawns and marinade and cook.

6. Once your noodles are cooked, before draining, transfer a ladle's worth into the pad thai pan to give the sauce creaminess. You can add more depending on the consistency you like.

7. Add the noodles to the pad thai pan as well and combine on a low heat. 

8. Pour your peanuts into a blender and pulse until they become small pieces. When your prawns are pink, serve your pad thai with the peanuts sprinkled on top, the rest of your coriander (chopped) and a wedge of lime to squeeze on each.

9. Now you can devour it all! 

*      *     * 

Oh my yum.

Who's having me over for Pad Thai?


. . .

Get a bigger dose of Teri's creativity & aesthetic at

The Lovely Drawer.

*images original to Aspiring Kennedy

Posted on February 24, 2014 and filed under "delicious dish", "the lovely drawer", recipe, eat.

The Lovely Drawer | Spiced Pear Cheesecakes

So the holidays are over.

Womp. Womp.

Unless you are planning (re: neglecting) your Christmas tree

until it's a dry skeleton of what it once was

and hanging Valentines Day cards from it

like we run a high risk of doing...

January is a bit of dry spell of celebrating.


here's a little party you can throw for yourself:

these cheesecakes.

We went to dinner at Teri

& Nick's the other week

and she made these for us as "pudding" (re: dessert).

With it's pretty figs setting on top for decoration,

I jokingly referred to is as a Figgy Pudding...

and I, of course, also flipped out

because it was delicious.

* * *

Any cheesecakes is usually a winner but I have to say I spend a lot more time making baked cheesecakes than set ones. In my head I'd somehow resolved that they were far superior. But then again the appeal of a dessert that doesn't actually even need cooking is quite tempting, especially when it involves mascarpone! 

I adapted this cheesecake recipe to form a spiced, winter version which would almost be warming...if it was so...chilled. I used a 3x1.75 inch mini cheesecake pan with removable bases. You could even smaller versions and make more or use 9 inch springform/ loose-bottomed tin for a standard cheesecake. My tin equated to 7 mini cheesecakes. Mini desserts are my fave! 


1 C crumbled spiced biscuits, like Lotus (read: Speculoos) biscuits or similar.

1 oz walnuts 

5 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 pears

figs for decoration

2 tsp cinnamon 

1/2 tsp nutmeg

1 tbsp firmly packed brown sugar

14 oz full-fat cream cheese, at room temperature

11 oz mascarpone, at room temperature

3/4 C icing sugar, sifted

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 1/4 C water

1. Put the biscuits and walnuts in a bag and crush with a rolling pin until fine or blend in a food processor. Add 1 tsp of the cinnamon.

2. Melt the butter in a saucepan and then take off the heat stir in the biscuit and nut mix.

3. Press the mixture into each mini cheesecake tin. Compact well with your fingers or the bottom of a spoon and leave in the fridge while you prepare the rest. 

4. Peel and cut the pears into small chunks. Heat the water in a saucepan and add the sugar and the other tsp of cinnamon. Stir in and allow to dissolve. Add the pears and cook covered for about 15 mins. Allow to cool.

5. Combine the cream cheese and mascarpone in a mixing bowl and use handheld electric mixer to blend the cheeses together until light and fluffy.

6. Add the icing sugar a little at a time to incorporate and then add the vanilla to the mixture.

7. Make sure the pear mixture is cool and then squeeze the excess liquid out, gently through a sieve. Stir into the cheese mixture.

8. Spread this over your biscuit bases. Fill each mini tin and smooth over the top with a knife or spatula. 

9.Chill in the fridge for at least a few hours, ideally over night. The cheesecake firms up best when you remover them from their tins a few hours before serving and leave them in the fridge until you are ready to eat. Cut your figs into quarters and place on the top of each cheesecake.

Caramel sauce

1 1/4 C powdered sugar

5 ounces double cream (or heavy whipping cream)

3.5 tablespoons butter

1. Transfer the sugar into a heavy based frying pan, stir in 4tbsp water and then place over a medium heat until the sugar is dissolved.

2. Turn up the heat and bubble for 4-5 mins until it forms caramel.

3. Remove from the heat and carefully stir in the cream and butter. Leave the sauce to cool and then transfer into a squeezy bottle.

4. Drizzle over your cheesecakes.

* * *

So, there you have it.

2014 just got a lot more awesome.

Check out more of Teri's cool creations

on her prettier-than-mine blog,

The Lovely Drawer.

*all images original to Aspiring Kennedy

Posted on January 6, 2014 and filed under "delicious dish", "dessert", "the lovely drawer", eat, recipe.