Posted on December 17, 2016 by Toral Shah | 0 Comments

Inspiration (both edible and aesthetic), for gifts to please even the fussiest of foodies. 

Le Creuset Rectangular Stoneware Dishes – I've always loved the brightly coloured and vintage style Le Creuset cookware and the stoneware dishes are a particular favourite. I have four of the smaller ones and one larger one, which I use all the time for roasting, baking and serving straight from the oven. from £46

Urban Kitchen Bundle – The ultimate selection of all my kitchen essentials, featuring an Urban Kitchen apron, whisk with ball bearing, microplane grater, silicon spatula, silicon oil brush and a £20 voucher for any Urban Kitchen service. £50 

Urban Kitchen Bundle

Wasabi Growers’s Yuzu Tree The yuzu fruit is the most recognised of Japanese citrus fruits and has a blend of grapefruit, mandarin and lime flavours. The hardiest of all citrus- yuzu can survive -5'C once it has reached 2-3 years old. I am obsessed with this delicious fruit and hoping for my own personal tree for Christmas. Great for green fingers and foodies alike. £59

Yuzu Plant

Microplane Grater – Officially the best grater in the world. This revolutionary design grates citrus zest, cheese, chocolate and nutmeg with equal ease. Buy them individually in John Lewis or other cookware shops or see our Urban Kitchen chef’s bundle! £23.95

High Mountain French Cheese Box – La Fromagerie off Marylebone High Street is one of my all time favourite cheese shops and anything from here would get me grinning. The French Mountain cheese box comes with three cheeses, wine and biscuits and reminds me of my time working as a ski chalet chef in France. £85

High Mountain Cheese

Copper pan – Adding a luxe and homely feel to any kitchen, I'm currently coveting a copper pan from Mauviel but but Lakeland and Lidl also have cheaper versions. £270 

Cooking classes – Classes make great gifts as they provide the opportunity to learn new skills and to do something that your recipient might not normally do. Below I've rounded up some classes I have either attended or have heard great things about. They're a fantastic way to treat those around you or even to book to do with them as a gift for you both. 
Ginger Pig Butchery Classes £155
Bread Ahead Bakery £160
The Urban Kitchen £65
Cheese Making with Wildes Cheese £150
Foraging Classes £50

Eat Grub: The Ultimate Insect Cook Book - This innovative cookbook features more than 55 recipes using a variety of insects, from grasshoppers to mealworms. A great gift for the adventurous foodie or the environmentally conscious. £17.99 (Use the code GrubXmas for 20% off)

Skandihaus Plates – These minimalistic speckled Scandi stye plates are great for an aspiring food stylist or keen Instagrammer. I particularly love the lagoon coloured plate. From £30


Skandihaus Plates

Food Dehydrator – A must buy for the healthy foodie, this state of the art machine easily dehydrates fruit and vegetables to create healthy snacks £159

Sous Chef Cookbook and Ingredient Set For those are are always looking to expand their culinary horizons, these sets come equipped with a best selling cookbook and the core ingredients needed for the recipes. From Korean to Persian cooking and even a Salt Block cooking set, there is really something for everyone. From £29.50

Joudie Kalla- Palestine on a Plate - Inspired by her mother, grandmothers and aunties, Kalla's delicate yet uncomplicated recipes capture the soul and flavours of a range of Palestinian dishes. £20

Palenstine on a Plate

Diana Henry- Simple - With a focus on mastering the basis, this recipe book contains a mixture of both simple and more advanced recipes. There are over 150 dishes, drawing inspiration from the author's travels around the world. This book is perfect for those new to cooking or those simply looking to expand their repertoire. £20

Cook Simple

Cocoa Runners Chocolate Subscription - There's nothing better than receiving a bar of chocolate through your letterbox. Cocoa runners curate the world's best craft chocolate and a subscription sends you 4 bars to try each month. Perfect for the chocolate lover in your life. From £18.95

Cocoa Runners


Himalayan Salt Block -  I love my salt block as it not only looks fantastic and makes me feel particularly cheffy but it also perfectly seasons grilled meat. I use it to sear steak and tuna as well as using it to serve food such as sushi. A great stocking filler for the seasoned chef who has everything. from £20



Posted on December 16, 2016 by Toral Shah | 0 Comments

I’m so inspired by the foods of the Middle East - the flavours, colours and textures all work to stimulate the senses and to create dishes that are both vibrant and delicious. Middle Eastern food is really having a moment in mainstream cooking and I've been enjoying producing recipes from Palestine on a Plate, anything by Yotam Ottolenghi and Cook for Syria

Christmas is full of spices and colours and nuts so it felt natural to create something with all of these ingredients. I love chestnuts but it can be such a faff to roast and peel them for a recipe alongside other cooking so I was extremely excited when I saw that Merchant Gourmet sells whole roasted chestnuts. 

Chestnut Pomegranate Pilaf

Serves 6 – 8 as a side dish


250g wild rice mix
150g whole roasted chestnuts, sliced
2 small red onions, finely sliced
60g pistachios, roughly chopped
1 large pomegranate, seeds only
5 cardamom seeds
4 cloves
1 stick of cinnamon
1 tsp mixed spice
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 tbsp olive oil
10g flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped
10g coriander, roughly chopped
juice of 1 lemon


Wash the rice with warm water well before bringing to the boil with the cardamom seeds, cinnamon and cloves with 3 times the volume of cold water. Cook accordingly to the instructions until it is cooked through but slightly firm to the bite. Drain.

Meantime, heat up the olive oil in a shallow pan and slowly cook the red onions for about 7 min.

Add the crushed garlic and chestnuts and fry for a further 3 minutes.

Add the rice, half the pistachios and mixed spice and season well.

Mix well and warm through before adding the lemon juice.

Remove from the heat and mix through the herbs, remaining pistachios and pomegranate seeds before serving.