Ramen with tofu knots

Ramen with tofu knots

For the tofu knots:

  • 150g dried tofu knots
  • 1 teaspoon gochujang
  • 1 teaspoon sriracha
  • 1 teaspoon tomato purée or ketchup
  • 1 teaspoon maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce or tamari

For the ramen:

  • 1 tablespoon tahini
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated ginger
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated or minced garlic (about 1 clove)
  • 1 teaspoon miso
  • 500ml stock
  • 125g brown rice noodles
  • Green vegetables, eg pak choi or bok choi, washed, trimmed and sliced

To serve:

  • 1 spring onion, chopped
  • Sesame seeds
  • 2 lime wedges
  • Chilli oil (see my recipe for Garlic chilli oil below)
  1. Soak the tofu knots as per pack instructions. Preheat the oven to 200℃ normal / 180℃ fan.
  2. Mix the rest of ingredients for the tofu knots together to make a marinade. Once the tofu knots have soaked, drain them well and toss them in the marinade, spread them out on a baking tray and cook them for about 20 minutes until golden and crispy.
  3. Now make your ramen soup: heat up the stock in a saucepan and, in a small bowl, mix the tahini, ginger, garlic and miso to form a paste. Whisk the paste into the hot stock and add in the noodles to cook for as long as stated on the pack’s instructions. About 3 minutes from the end of the cooking time, add the sliced vegetables.
  4. Pour the soup into two bowls, add the noodles, vegetables and tofu knots, sprinkle over the sliced spring onion and sesame seeds, drizzle over some chilli oil and serve with a wedge of lime.


Garlic chilli oil

  • 300ml sunflower oil
  • I banana shallot (big one), finely and evenly sliced
  • 8 large cloves garlic, thinly and evenly sliced
  • 25g dried chilli flakes
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon tamari or soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons grated ginger
  • ½ teaspoon salt


Place the shallots, garlic and oil in a microwave-safe dish. Cook in the microwave, uncovered, for about 7 minutes on full power until the shallots and garlic are golden brown and crispy. If they are not cooked enough, continue to cook for one minute at a time (it is important that the garlic and shallots are fried until fully crisp). Or simmer in a saucepan on the hob. Set aside to cool for 1 minute.
Add the chilli flakes, cinnamon stick, maple syrup, tamari, ginger and salt. Mix well to combine. Add more oil as needed to submerge all the ingredients (I often do this to make it last longer as we eat so much of it!)
Refrigerate in an airtight glass jar for up to 2 months. If you won’t eat it all in this time, you can freeze some just after making it – or you can make half the quantity.

Rice & lentils in a basil dressing with honeyed halloumi

Rice & lentils in a basil dressing with honeyed halloumi

Serves 4:

For the rice & lentils:

  • 500g cooked rice 
  • 300g cooked lentils
  • 2 courgettes, diced
  • Olive oil


Pickled onions:

  • 1 small red onion, thinly sliced
  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • Pinch of salt


Cucumber & tomato salad:

  • 4 small Persian cucumbers, thinly sliced
  • 270g cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered
  • Drizzle of olive oil
  • Sprinkle of salt


Basil & yoghurt dressing:

  • 250g Greek yogurt
  • Leaves from 30g bunch of basil, thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • ¼ tsp salt


Honeyed halloumi:

  • Olive oil
  • 450g halloumi, cut into 2cm slices
  • Honey
  • Optional: chilli flakes or Aleppo chilli flakes 
  1. If your rice and lentils aren’t cooked yet, start by preparing those according to pack instructions.

  2. Preheat oven to 220℃ normal / 200℃ fan. Add your courgette to a parchment paper-lined baking sheet, toss in a little olive oil and salt, and bake for 25 to 30 minutes until the courgette is soft on the inside but just getting a little crisp on the outside.

  3. Prepare the pickled onions by mixing everything together in a small bowl. Massage with your hands to break down the onion, and set aside to marinate, making sure the onions all get submerged in the liquid.

  4. Prepare your cucumber tomato salad by mixing everything together in a medium bowl.

  5. Prepare your dressing by blitzing together all the ingredients until smooth. Toss this thoroughly through the cooked rice, lentils and courgettes.

  6. Prepare your halloumi by heating up a drizzle of olive oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat. Add the halloumi and fry for about 3 minutes each side until golden brown, drizzling with honey during cooking. Sprinkled with chilli flakes (optional).

  7. Serve everything together, mixed or separately, however you prefer.

Soba noodle salad in a citrus & ginger dressing with prawns

Serves 4, adapted from a recipe by Natalia Rudin


  • 400g soba noodles
  • 2 handfuls frozen edamame beans
  • 10 radishes, trimmed and finely sliced
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and coarsely grated
  • ¼ red cabbage, shredded


  • 90ml toasted sesame oil
  • 90ml ponzu (citrus soy sauce – or tamari with a squeeze of lime if you’re gluten free)
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce / tamari (if you’re gluten free)
  • 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • Juice of 1 lemon

To serve:

  • 40 raw, peeled prawns
  • 1 lime, quartered
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds, toasted
  • Leaves from a few sprigs of coriander
  • Chilli crunch / chilli oil
  1. Cook soba noodles according to pack instructions, add the edamame beans for the last 2 minutes of cooking, then drain and rinse thoroughly with cold water so the noodles don’t stick. Drain again.
  2. Make the dressing by shaking all the ingredients vigorously in a jam jar, then toss through the noodles. Stir through the radishes, carrot and cabbage.
  3. Pan fry the prawns in a hot pan with a little oil until just cooked.
  4. Transfer the noodles etc to a serving dish, scatter over the prawns, the sesame seeds, coriander leaves and serve with the lime wedges. Serve the chilli crunch / chilli oil on the side for those who like a little extra chilli kick.

Lemon drizzle traybake

The cake needs to be still warm when the topping is added so that it absorbs the lemon syrup easily, leaving the sugar on top. Do allow the cake to cool a little though – if it is too hot the syrup will tend to run straight through.

Can halve the recipe and put in a small tin – takes about 20 minutes to cook.


  • 250g (9 oz) butter, softened, or margarine
  • 250g (9 oz) caster sugar
  • 350g (12 oz) self-raising flour
  • 3 level teaspoons baking powder
  • 4 eggs
  • 6 tablespoons milk
  • finely grated rind of 2 lemons


  • 175g (6 oz) granulated sugar
  • Juice of 2 lemons


  1. Cut a rectangle of non-stick baking parchment  to fit the base and sides of a traybake tin or roasting tin, 30x41cm (12×16”). Grease the tin and then line with the paper, pushing it neatly into the corners of the tin. Pre-heat the oven to 160°C/325°F/Gas 3.
  2. Measure all the ingredients for the traybake into a large bowl and beat well for about 2 minutes until well blended, an electric mixer is best for this but of course you can also beat by hand with a wooden spoon. Turn the mixture into the prepared tin, scraping the sides of the bowl with a plastic spatula to remove all of the mixture. Level the top gently with the back of the spatula.
  3. Bake in the middle of the pre-heated oven for about 30 minutes or until the traybake springs back when pressed lightly with a finger in the centre and is beginning to shrink away from the sides of the tin.
  4. To make the crunchy topping, mix the lemon juice and granulated sugar in a small bowl to give a runny consistency. Spoon this mixture evenly over the traybake whilst it is still just warm.
  5. Allow the traybake to cool in the tin for a few minutes then lift the traybake out of the tin still in the lining paper. Carefully remove the paper and put the traybake onto a wire rack. Cut into squares when cold.


Prawn risotto

Serves 4, generously

© Laura Pope 2023

For the stock (this can be made in advance and kept refrigerated for up to 3 days until needed):

  • Shells and heads from 1kg shell-on, raw prawns (keep the tails on the prawns)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 1 stick of celery, roughly chopped
  • Pinch of dried chilli flakes 
  • 200ml white wine
  • 1 heaped teaspoon tomato purée 
  • 1 litre chicken/fish/vegetable stock, hot
  • 1 bay leaf
Prawn risotto
  1. Pick the shells and heads off the prawns – keep these. Put the peeled prawns to one side.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy-based pan over a medium heat and sweat the onion, chopped garlic and celery for 5 minutes. Add the chilli flakes, prawn shells and heads. Keep stirring until the prawn heads turn brown, then pour in the white wine and stir in the tomato purée. When the wine has evaporated, pour in the stock and bay leaf and bring to a gentle boil.
  3. Keep the stock gently bubbling for 30 minutes. Remove from the heat and strain the liquid into a measuring jug and top up with water so that you have 1 litre of liquid. Transfer to a saucepan and keep warm – this is the stock for your risotto.


For the risotto:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 320g risotto rice
  • 200ml white wine
  • 50g butter
  • Peeled prawns (tails left on) from 1kg of prawns (as above)
  • To decorate: leaves from a few sprigs of thyme


  1. In a large pan, heat the oil and butter and fry the onion until soft, but not golden – about 5 to 10 minutes. Add the garlic, stir for 30 seconds, then stir in the rice. Stirring constantly, fry the rice until the grains start to look opaque around the edges (but do not brown them) – about 4 minutes on a high heat.
  2. Pour in the wine and reduce over a fast heat until syrupy. Set the timer for 18 minutes and start adding the stock, one ladleful at a time – aim to keep the rice just covered by the stock at all times and stir constantly, keeping the liquid simmering.
  3. After 18 minutes, check the rice – it should be firm, but with no hint of crunch or stickiness. Cook for a couple minutes more if necessary.
  4. When the rice is done, stir through the prawns and let them cook for a couple of minutes until pink. Turn off the heat and stir in the butter.
  5. Check the seasoning and leave to rest for 5 minutes.


Tantanmen and ramen eggs

Tantanmen and ramen eggs

Serves 4

Ramen eggs (make at least 12 hours before eating):

  • 4 eggs, at room temperature
  • 3 tablespoons tamari (gluten free) or soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon mirin
  • 75ml water
  1. Put eggs in pan of cold water and bring to the boil, then simmer for 7 minutes.
  2. Mix the tamari / soy sauce, mirin and water.
  3. Once the 7 minutes is up, put the eggs into cold (or iced water) immediately. Once cool, peel and put in the marinade, ideally in a ziplock bag to ensure the eggs are surrounded by marinade.
  4. Keep in the fridge for at least 12 hours and up to 5 days – the yolk becomes more jammy as time passes and the flavours intensify.


The use of chilli bean paste or chilli oil while cooking this is optional – if making for children and adults, I leave these out during cooking and then add chilli oil or chilli crunch to individual bowls at the end.

Sauce base:

  • 4 tablespoons peanut butter
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 4 tablespoons tamari (gluten free) or soy sauce
  • Optional: 1 to 2 tablespoons chilli oil

Pork mince topping:

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 400g pork mince
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped or minced
  • 25g fresh ginger, finely grated
  • 2 tablespoons Chinese cooking wine
  • 2 tablespoons tamari (gluten free) or soy sauce
  • Optional: 1 tablespoon Chinese doubanjiang (fermented chilli bean paste) or chilli oil

Soup base:

  • 1 litre chicken stock
  • 600ml milk

Serve with:

  • 4 nests noodles (can use gluten free varieties, eg soba)
  • 4 bulbs of pak choi, cut vertically in half and then sliced horizontally into 1cm strips
  • 2 spring onions, finely sliced
  • 2 teaspoons toasted sesame seeds
  • 4 ramen eggs (see above), sliced in half
  • Optional: chilli crunch or chilli oil
  1. Whisk together the ingredients for the sauce base.
  2. For the pork mince topping, heat the oil in a frying pan and add the pork mince, garlic and ginger. Once golden, add cooking wine, tamari / soy sauce and bean paste (if using) and cook for a minute more.
  3. Cook the noodles according to pack instructions, then drain and run under cool water.
  4. Heat up the chicken stock and milk, then combine with the sauce base, add the pak choi and cook for a couple of minutes until just cooked.
  5. Pour the soup and pak choi into bowls, add the noodles, top with the pork mince and ramen eggs, then sprinkle over some spring onions and sesame seeds and some chilli crunch or chilli oil, if wanted.

Courgette & ricotta pasta

Serves 4, generously

  • 1kg small, firm courgettes
  • 10 slices streaky bacon or pancetta, chopped into small pieces
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and left whole
  • 200g ricotta
  • 30g parmesan, finely grated
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 500g pasta, eg gigli or shells
  • Zest and juice of ½ lemon
  • Leaves from 10 sprigs of mint, finely chopped
  1. Coarsely grate the courgettes.
  2. Heat a dry frying pan over a medium heat, then fry the bacon or pancetta until crisp. Remove to a plate lined with kitchen roll to soak up excess grease.
  3. Mix the ricotta with the parmesan, adding a few grinds of black pepper.
  4. Bring a large pan of salted water to boil and cook the pasta as per pack instructions.
  5. Heat the olive oil in a large pan and add the garlic. Cook until golden brown, then discard.
  6. Add the courgette and ½ teaspoon salt to the pan and cook, stirring regularly, for 5 minutes until it is cooked but not mushy.
  7. When the pasta is cooked, drain it and reserve about a cup full of the water. Add the pasta to the courgettes, stir in the ricotta and some of the reserved water.
  8. Stir until well combined, adding more water as needed.
    Stir through the lemon zest and juice, top with the crispy bacon or pancetta and scatter over the mint.


Marshmallow & chocolate chunk browned butter cookies

Inspired by a recipe from, but with my own amendments

Makes: 16 Large cookies

Cookie dough:

  • 225g cold unsalted butter, cubed
  • 340g brown sugar
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2½ teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 350g flour
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • ¾ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon corn flour
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 240g chocolate (your choice of dark or milk), cut up into chunks

To finish:

  • 80 mini marshmallows or 16 normal-sized ones
  • Flaky sea salt
  1. Preheat your oven to 175°C normal / 155°C fan.
  2. Melt the butter in a small pan over medium heat. Stir regularly, the butter will start foaming and change in colour from yellow to golden, then light brown. Watch closely as the colour changes pretty quickly. When it turns light brown and you begin to smell a nutty aroma, it’s done. Quickly transfer the browned butter to a large mixing bowl (this stops it cooking further and burning).
  3. Add the caster sugar and brown sugar to the bowl and mix together to combine.
  4. Mix in one egg at a time, then the vanilla extract. Your batter should be very smooth at this point.
  5. Stir together the flour, salt, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder, corn flour and cinnamon with a balloon whisk to remove lumps and combine the ingredients, then add to the batter, mixing until just combined. Fold together the cookie dough until there are only a few streaks of flour left.
  6. Add the chocolate chips and fold the mixture until there are no flour streaks, ensuring all the chocolate is well combined.
  7. Line 2 or 3 baking sheets. Divide the dough into 16 equal balls (you can do this by weighing the dough and dividing the weight by 16, then weighing out each ball – each one should be about 80g to 85g). Flatten each one and then wrap it around 5 mini marshmallows or 1 single normal-sized one, fully encasing them. Space the cookies out well on the baking sheets to allow for spreading while baking.
  8. Bake the cookies for 15 minutes, or until the edges are golden brown and the centre is set, but be careful not to over bake them – they will continue to set while they cool.
  9. Remove from the oven, sprinkle with flaky sea salt and allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely. Keep in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
Verified by MonsterInsights