Courgette Fritters from Eat the Week with Iceland

Planning is certainly not my forte, but when it comes to food, I do like to plan. Let's be honest, having weekday meals planned makes my life so much easier and brings fun back to my everyday cooking. Being self-employed and often working from home means that I cook a lot and quite often end up with a bowl of cereal for lunch or a fried egg on top of some greens. We all need new ideas and inspiration when it comes to cooking.

courgette fritters

I'm all about simple and quick recipes, because really, cooking doesn't have to be complicated. Even simple recipes can be flavoursome and cost effective. We live busy lives, but feeding our families and providing them with the right nutrition and a balanced diet is very important.

I was really excited about a new cooking show called "Eat the Week with Iceland" with TV chef, Simon Rimmer, aired weekly on Channel 4. Simon shows that to have a healthy, balanced diet, you don't have to spend hours in the kitchen. He presents many easy and quick recipes that are simple, nutritious and fun to prepare even for busy families. With the help of a freezer, you can save time, reduce food waste and enjoy foods that are out of season.

courgette fritters ingredients

I'm sharing a recipe inspired by this Sunday's episode, One Pot Wonders. I love one pot dishes for many reasons. They are quick and easy, "just throw everything into a bowl or pot" kind of things, so you don't have to worry about a kitchen full of dirty dishes and you can spend more time with your family enjoying a nice meal instead. My favourite recipe from this episode was courgette fritters. Simon was serving them with a simple salsa which took the ordinary courgette fritters to a different level. It's such a great combo, and will help you towards your 5-a-day. I made a few changes to the original recipe, but the result was amazing.

Courgette Fritters

Serves 4

4 tomatoes – deseeded
1 cucumber – deseeded
½ red onion
Handful coriander
1 avocado
2 limes – zest and juice

For the fritters
2 courgettes, grated
6 spring onions, thinly sliced
75g feta cheese, crumbled
20g mint, chopped
100g self-raising flour
pinch of smoked paprika
2 large eggs, beaten
salt and pepper
oil for frying

In a bowl, mix together the courgette, spring onion, feta, mint, smoked paprika and flour. Stir in the beaten eggs and season with salt and black pepper.

Heat some oil in a frying pan and drop in a good spoonful of the mix. Cook for 2 minutes each side, drain on kitchen roll and keep warm until all the mix is used up.

Salsa – simply chop all the ingredients and put into a bowl. Season well and add the lime zest and juice.

Serve fritters topped with a spoonful of salsa.

Note: this post was written in collaboration with Iceland Foods. All opinions are my own.

Green Juice Vegan Martini

Vegan martini
Vegan martini

We've had a few unbelievably warm sunny days in London. Spring is definitely my favourite season here. As the days get longer, sun warmer and first blossoms emerge, the city starts to wake up after a long winter sleep. London parks get crowded with people enjoying first sun rays relaxing on fresh green grass. It's not too warm, not too cold, it's perfect. It's that time of year again, for picnics and garden parties.

Food is the quintessence of any celebration or a party, however no bbq or garden party would be complete without good drinks. I've been obsessed with gin for a while, always looking for a new gin based cocktail. Last night I tasted 'Vegan Martini' during a Sharing Series supperclub and absolutely loved it.

Apparently sharing cocktails is a new thing. Since sharing food has been very popular why not share cocktails. Anything that can be prepared in advance makes your life so much easier. I'm all about easy recipes so I tried to recreate the Vegan Martini at home and think I found my new favourite party drink. It has green juice as a base which sounds and looks so spring like. You can make your own juice if you have a juicer or just use your favourite store bought one. It takes a few minutes to make this cocktail and you can store it in the fridge ready for you party! Cheers!

Vegan martini

Green Juice Vegan Martini
Serves 5

400ml green juice (freshly squeezed or your favourite store bought one)
2cm piece of fresh ginger
juice from 2 limes
50ml Agave nectar
pinch of salt
250ml Tanqueray Gin

ice and fresh lime to serve

Place ginger, green juice, lime juice, salt and agave nectar in a jar of a blender and blend together. Pour through a sieve (to remove any ginger pieces) into a glass bottle or a jar, add gin and stir together. Store in the fridge. When ready to serve, pour into glasses filled with ice and decorate with a slice of fresh lime.

Note: this post was written in collaboration with Tanqueray gin. All opinions are my own.

Creative Gathering in Tuscany Spring 2017 | April 20 - 23

Three Acres Gathering Tuscany

I'm still in a hibernation mode yet I get ridiculously excited and happy at the thought of warm spring sun in Tuscany. I can't wait to be sitting under olive trees in the garden of Juls' Kitchen, soaking up as much of the healing sun's rays as possible, eating simple yet incredibly delicious and nourishing Tuscan food, talking inspiration, photography and life in general, as you do when you meet up with friends and likeminded people, before taking a walk along the medieval houses of Siena to taste even more food.

Join Giulia, Regula and me for a Three Acres Creative Gathering in Tuscany.

This time we will celebrate spring and everything it has to offer. You will stay at a lovely but basic agriturismo in the Sienese countryside on the outskirts of a tiny village with only a few houses. We will be cooking with fresh seasonal ingredients sourced from a local market, we will learn how to arrange flowers and decorate table. And since we are in Italy, we will of course bake sourdough pizza and bread in a wood fired oven. We always make sure our tummies are full and happy, but we also like to nourish or body and skin so will we will be making homemade natural body products and much more.


Three Acres – Creative Gathering | Spring 2017
April 20 – 23 2017
Siena countryside, Tuscany
Nearest airport: Florence or Pisa
You can also arrive in Rome and take a train to Florence.
Max 6 participants

Book your flights as soon as possible as the 25th of April is a national holiday in Italy, so many people will be traveling during the long weekend.

The cost
1.350€ per person, shared room, your own bed, one roommate
1.500€ per person, single room

The cost includes:
3 nights accommodation at Tenuta Mensanello, a beautiful Agriturismo just 2 km from the Studio
1 dinner on Thursday at Juls’ Kitchen
1 dinner on Friday in a restaurant in Siena
1 dinner on Saturday in an osteria in San Gimignano
3 lunches cooked at Juls’ Kitchen
3 Italian breakfasts at your agriturismo
1 cooking class
Drinks and refreshments during the weekend at Juls’ Kitchen
Transport during the weekend
All teachings and excursions

Not included:
Transport to and from Italy and to the agriturismo
Anything extra you would like to purchase personally
Travel insurance
Cancellation insurance

Cancellation Policy : Due to the involved logistics, we offer no cancellations or refunds. Please know you can make it before booking. We strongly encourage you to have travel insurance to cover the retreat in the event of strikes, natural disasters, health problems, and other unforeseen events.
The Schedule

Day 1 – Thursday the 20th of April3pm Check-in at Tenuta Mensanello Agriturismo
5pm Introductions & Aperitifs at Juls’ Kitchen Studio
Welcome Dinner at Juls’ Kitchen with home made pizza baked in the Tuscan wood fired oven

Day 2 – Friday the 21st of AprilBreakfast at Tenuta Mensanello
A trip to Colle Val d’Elsa weekly market for second breakfast, Italian coffee ritual & ingredient shopping. Visit to an artisanal butcher shop.
Cooking class and lunch at Juls’ Kitchen studio.
Session I – Food Photography
Food tour in Siena with some free time to explore the town on your own and perhaps buy some treats to take home
Dinner at a traditional restaurant in Siena

Day 3 – Saturday the 22nd of AprilBreakfast at Tenuta Mensanello
Tour of Tenuta Mensanello to discover where they produce their olive oil, wine, beer and charcuterie.
Session II – Sourdough bread making introduction with Manuela ContiTuscan Lunch with local produce under the olive trees at Juls’ Kitchen
Session III – Lightroom introduction
Walk in San Gimignano by night and dinner in a local Osteria
Gelato at Dondoli in San Gimignano, an artisanal and world renowned gelateria.

Day 4 – Sunday the 23rd of AprilBreakfast at Tenuta Mensanello
Session IV – DIY Natural Cosmetic workshop with Claudia Scarpaleggia
Session V – Table setting and flower details with Irene from Valdirose Lunch in the garden (weather permitting) at Juls’ Kitchen
Session VI – A talk on food writing
Goodbye at Juls’ Kitchen at 5pm

**Option to book an extra night at the agriturismo if you want to travel back on Monday. You are welcome to join us for dinner at a restaurant but each will pay for their own.
You have also the option to stay until Tuesday to take part in the Juls’ Kitchen Fettunta Party in the garden surrounded by olive trees. It is an annual event, a great way to meet fellow food enthusiasts and feast together. Fettunta is another name Tuscans give to bruschetta, a toasted slice of bread doused in good olive oil.

*Note the schedule is subject to change*

Click here for more info and registration. 

Three Acres Gathering Tuscany
Three Acres Gathering Tuscany Three Acres Gathering Tuscany Three Acres Gathering Tuscany Three Acres Gathering Tuscany Who can attend?
This gathering is open to everyone, not just photographers and bloggers, but all creative people who want to explore different styles and deepen their visual voice.

Who are we?

Giulia is the author of 5 cookery books, she has been running Tuscan cooking classes, food excursions and workshops for 5 years from her Tuscan family home and studio Juls’ Kitchen.
She also writes an awardwinning blog Juls’ Kitchen:
Twitter & Instagram: @Julskitchen

Regula is the author of 2 books on food and drink culture. She photographs and writes for a living. She is also a graphic designer. Her focus lies with reality, this can mean natural light or going on a fishing boat at 4 in the morning to capture the essence of a situation.
Regula also writes a blog which was shortlisted for a Saveur Blog Award:
Twitter & Instagram: @MissFoodwise

Sarka has been a professional photographer for 6 years working with editorial clients in the UK and her homeland Czech Republic. She has been tutoring photography workshops for years and she is your go to girl for the technical part.
Twitter & Instagram: @Sarkababicka

An Autumn Three Acres Gathering in Tuscany

Three Acres Gathering Tuscany

Last year in October, my friends Giulia, Regula and I hosted our first Three Acres Gathering in Tuscany. Inspired by our friendship and the idea of learning from each other, we wanted to open our get togethers to other like minded people. There's nothing better than spending time with friends cooking, eating, learning, laughing and just having a good time.

Tuscany feels like second home. I adore the beautiful countryside, its people, food, wine and fresh air. We couldn't have imagined a better place to spend a few unusually warm and sunny autumn days with our sweet guests coming to join us not only from Italy and the Netherlands but also as far as the USA and Ecuador.

Needles to say, we had a great time making pizza in a wood-fired oven, dining in the garden under olive trees with the warm autumn sun kissing our skin, learning and tasting local pecorino cheese, cuddling a baby goat at a local organic cheese farm, strolling the streets of medieval Siena before sunset, talking photography and inspiration, making homemade pici and sourdough bread, learning how to arrange flowers and set a beautiful table for a lunch with friends, making natural body products, all that while eating a lot of Tuscan food, drinking wine, laughing and enjoying each other's company.

Time flies when you are having a great time and we couldn't believe how fast the three amazing days passed by. We had to say good bye to our lovely guests Manuela, Simone, Irene, Debbie and Sofia but we knew that the memories of the times we've spent together would stay with us forever.

We also knew that we want to come back soon and experience Tuscany in all its spring glory and so we are excited to announce the dates of our next Three Acres Gathering that will take place April 20th - 23rd at Juls' Kitchen Tuscan studio. 

Registration will open in a few days so stay tuned for more info. Spaces are limited but you can email me if you want to be put on a reserve list.

Three Acres Gathering Tuscany Three Acres Gathering Tuscany Three Acres Gathering Tuscany Three Acres Gathering Tuscany Three Acres Gathering Tuscany Three Acres Gathering Tuscany Three Acres Gathering Three Acres Gathering Three Acres Gathering Tuscany Three Acres Gathering Tuscany Three Acres Gathering Tuscany Three Acres Gathering Tuscany Three Acres Gathering Tuscany Three Acres Gathering Tuscany Three Acres Gathering Tuscany Three Acres Gathering Tuscany Three Acres Gathering Tuscany Three Acres Gathering Tuscany Three Acres Gathering Tuscany Three Acres Gathering Tuscany Three Acres Gathering Tuscany Three Acres Gathering Tuscany Three Acres Gathering Tuscany


Spinach And Ricotta Cannelloni With Creamy Goat Cheese and Pine Nuts

Spinach and ricotta cannelloni with goat cheese

I'm known for cooking simple and quick recipes. I like to cook but I don't enjoy spending long hours in the kitchen. My everyday recipes are quick and straight forward, usually ready in about 30 minutes. However, there are days when I 'push' myself to cook something special and a bit more complicated.

This weekend, we had friends over, and with rainy and cold weather I felt like a nice comfort pasta dish would be the perfect thing for a dinner menu. Lasagne and cannelloni fall into my 'special occasion' recipes category as they require slightly more effort. I haven't had cannelloni in years so I decided to combine my favourite spinach & ricotta ravioli recipe with cannelloni pasta. When it comes to pasta I make no compromises. If I don't have time to make my own fresh homemade pasta, I use only the best dried pasta. I can't make cannelloni at home so I used Barilla, one of my favourite pasta brands, tested and recommended by many Italians.

Apart from sharing the recipe, I also wanted to let you know that Barilla is running an exciting competition, giving away a £1,000 voucher to use towards a weekend trip to Italy for 2! To enter, you need to post a picture of a pasta dish on Barilla UK's Facebook page or on Instagram using the hashtag #OutsidetheBox and #BarillaUK. I just came back from Italy two weeks ago, but I'd go back instantly! I'm still dreaming of all the delicious pasta dishes, fresh mozzarella and amazing Italian wine!

Spinach and ricotta cannelloni with goat cheese So finally, here's the recipe.

Spinach And Ricotta Cannelloni With Creamy Goat Cheese and Pine Nuts
Serves 4

600g fresh spinach
250g ricotta
2x 125g soft goat cheese
40g grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1 onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves
2x 400g chopped tomatoes
2tbsp red wine vinegar
salt and freshly ground pepper
18 tubes Barilla cannelloni
1 tbsp pine nuts
Olive oil

Preheat the oven to 180C.

Heat a table spoon of olive oil over low heat in a large skillet.  Add the spinach, cover with a lid and let it wilt. You may want to do this in batches if your skillet is not large enough. Stir it occasionally until all the spinach has cooked down. Transfer into a bowl and let it cool slightly.

In the same skillet, add another table spoon of olive oil and chopped onions. Cook the onions for a few minutes until soft and translucent. Add chopped garlic, tomatoes and vinegar, bring to the boil and let it simmer for 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

When the spinach is cool enough to handle, squeeze out most of the liquid into to a bowl and roughly chop. Return chopped spinach to the bowl with the liquid, add ricotta, one goat cheese, 1/2 of grated parmesan and stir together. Season with salt and pepper.

Spread half of the tomato sauce over the bottom of an oven proof dish  (25x30cm). Spoon the spinach mixture into a piping bag or a plastic food bag with a corner snipped off and fill all the cannelloni tubes. Lay them in the baking dish and spread the rest of the tomato sauce on top. Scatter over the second goat cheese and remaining parmesan and sprinkle with the pine nuts. Bake for 30 minutes until the top is golden. Remove from the oven and let it rest for a few minutes before serving.

Disclaimer: this recipe was created in collaboration with Barilla pasta. All opinions are my own.