Author: emma

My New Book “Fress”



I could not be more proud of my new cookbook “Fress”. From pen to print has felt like a long time and I have been eagerly waiting to share some of my most treasured and much-loved recipes with everyone. Many of my recipes have come from some very talented cooks; my mother, my grandmother, mother in-law, grandmother-in-law, great grandmothers, aunts, cousins and friends. Cherished recipes from people who cook with love, cook to feed and cook to celebrate something.

There are literally hundreds and thousands of cookbooks on the shelf ( I own most of them!) One of my many objectives with my book was to be different; stand out from the rest. My approach is very much from one home cook to another with uncomplicated, unfussy recipes which offer maximum flavour in minimal time. There are lots of mouthwatering dishes from small sharing plates, to large showstopping mains and killer deserts. There is a large focus on vegetarian dishes with unusual but winning flavour combinations. Many recipes can be prepared ahead of time leaving you to sit and enjoy the food with your fellow diners, whoever may they be, without getting up and down and tending to pots and pans.

Jewish food is definitely having its moment and deservedly so, long may it continue. I am happy to be riding that wave with the launch of “Fress” and I really hope you love cooking from this book and sharing the recipes with me on social media. If you could take a minute to download the free sampler; and leave me a review, I would be most grateful.

Happy Fressing!

Emma x

The Launch of my top 25 Recipes with Samsung UK to get Kids Cooking

I’m thrilled to be working with Samsung UK to launch their new Family HubTM Refrigerator, which provides new ways to shop for, cook and manage food as well as helping to plan family life with its unique exterior screen, all designed to act as a family’s digital command centre.

As part of the campaign I was asked to produce a digital recipe book to encourage kids to get cooking. A generation ago, kids up the age of 11 could cook 6 recipes; it’s now just 4. I’ve come up with the top 25 recipes that parents believe kids by the age of 11 can cook (with some supervision of course!)


I feel really passionately about encouraging my own children to think more about how much time, energy and money is spent putting a plate of food in front of them and there is nothing more disheartening to see that food being pushed around with a fork before it’s final resting place – the bin.

By teaching your children to cook; you not only teach them a very important life skill from an early age, but also get to spend quality time with them over something that can be made fun and interesting.


You can download the free digital recipe book at and please leave a comment if you manage to get your kids cooking!


My Obsession with Cutlery

Whether I am entertaining for easily pleased friends, or a proper formal sit down for those with higher expectations; my table always has to look good, actually no, make that inviting (there is a difference). I also have a minor obsession with cutlery. Its not so much the shape, though that is important, but more the weight and the feel of it. I judge restaurants by the standard of their cutlery and sorry to anyone I may offend by declaring this, I do judge my friends too. It doesn’t even have to be “posh” but it has to feel good in your hands.

My cutlery drawer offers a multiple choice. lightweight odds and ends for the kids who are old enough for stainless steel but whose little hands couldn’t yet cope with anything too heavy. vintage mismatched pieces from charity shops (and my mother-in-law’s collection), there is the old swirly set which I received as a wedding present and then there is the favourite, every day but also good enough for entertaining; my Robert Welch Norton and Malvern collection.

Table setting for a recent charity dinner with the Robert Welch Norton range

I have now amassed enough Robert Welch cutlery to comfortably offer every guest that can fit onto my large dining table the same beautiful shiny little pieces of steels. I don’t have a formal dining room and I don’t have expensive china or glassware so I like to create a style which is both casual but elegant and their collections blend perfectly. The latest  addition to my over-spilling collection is the new Malvern range Christmas edition which came with some amazing steak knives. Having never owned steak knives before, I wasn’t quite sure what I was missing out on but having tested them out on some of my guests at a recent charity dinner, the comments on the the cutlery were equally as complimentary as they were about the food!


Malvern Collection

The cutlery we eat with can really impact on our whole dining experience, as much and maybe even more so than the wine glass we drink out of and the plate we eat off. I may look as though I have just thrown a few things on the table for that casual mid-week supper for those easily pleased friends; but actually, I have thought about it just as much as when I set it for more formal dining and paying guests. I think about the style of place mats and candles, tablecloth and napkins (always paper to save on washing and ironing.) I do have choices on all these adornments because I collect so much but even if you don’t; get yourself a really good all-round cutlery range such as the Robert Welch Malvern collection, which you can use for all occasions and then you can feel confident that whatever you serve for your guests, they have the best tools in their hands to enjoy it with.

Priced at £84 for a 30-piece set, this makes an excellent Christmas present (to yourself if desired). For stockists, visit

My First Ever Pop up

The first time you do anything its daunting. Especially when its cooking for 60 people with really high expectations. That’s one of the only problems to have emerged from MasterChef; people expect really great things and with that comes the pressure of delivering taste that people could have only imagined through their TV screens.

I was approached by the Bull and Gate pub in Kentish Town after they saw an article about me looking for good pop up venues in the North London area. I received many offers of venues and saw a fair amount of spaces but as soon as I walked in the Bull and Gate; I knew I had found the one. Following extensive refurbishment which saw it go from grungy, old and tired pub, to elegant and modern pub, it still kept its legacy with many people I spoke with recalling fun nights out watching pre-famous bands playing in the sweaty back room. That sweaty back room is now a really charming dining room boasting exposed brick work, shabby chic decor and a view straight into the kitchen. It was love at first sight.

The General Manager introduced me to the head chef and his team who would be my full support on the night. I told him the menu I was planning and he got excited, always a bonus if as a cook, you are effectively leading the chef! So lets talk about my menu. Starting with the amouse bouche; Matbucha (a slow reduction of of red peppers and tomatoes, heavy with paprika, chilli and garlic) on a sour dough crostini and a Dorset Crab Falafel with Harissa Mayo.

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Starter was a souped up version of my finals dish; Seared King Scallops with a Lemon, Chilli and Coriander dressing, Black Quinoa, Pickles and Scallop and Cucumber Salad. The beauty of this dish was that all elements could be cooked and prepared in advance and served at room temperature, leaving only the scallops to be fried off last minute. We managed to find room to lay out all 60 plates and look at how beautiful they looked.

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In case you’re wondering, it tasted even better than it looked and went down really well to a very enthusiastic audience. As I said, the key to mass catering is to have as many elements prepared and plated in advance with just one ingredient added at the last minute. No rest for the wicked, it was straight onto the main. Starting with the Veggie option (which only person went for) Pan fried Cauliflower with Toasted Israeli Cous Cous, Almonds, Pine Nuts, Barberries and Za’atar with a sprinkling of pomegranate seeds. The other main wasLamb Neck Fillet marinated in Middle Spices and cooked Sous Vide with Tomato Bulgur, Cumin Scented Broad Beans and Labneh.  The last picture was me celebrating the last plate going out! sweaty, exhausted but really really happy.

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With desert plated; it was time to go and greet my tables and thank them all for coming to support my first ever pop up. The night was a great success and one which I look forward to repeating in September where I have yet another sell out.  The finale, Salted Caramel Hazelnut and Chocolate Tart with Tahini Ice Cream, Hazelnut Crumble and Toasted Sesame Seeds.

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The lovely Luca and his team helped make the event run smoothly, 60 covers felt very manageable and all those nights spent lying awake panicking needn’t have happened. I loved it all and it gave me a real taste of feeding paying customers….I hope to be able to do lots more of it!

Here are my favourite testimonials of the night;

“As we knew would be the case, Emma didn’t fail to come up with the MasterChef goods! I particularly loved the Crab Falafel and the amazing starter. There was also a great atmosphere and it was so good of Emma to personally visit each table to check we all had fun.” R.Morshead

“You gave us a brilliant evening thank you. Every course was superbly presented and absolutely delicious. The menu was varied and the tastes flowed beautifully. The service was attentive but relaxed which led to us having a thoroughly enjoyable evening. Please let us know of future evenings.” N.Sell

“I will remember those flavours for some time to come. The food was as good, if not better, than anything I have eaten in some top restaurants. It was lovely to meet you and I would definitely like to be kept informed of future dates.” J. Cantor

My kitchen Takeover

When the lovely Stephen Emms from Kentishtowner Magazine picked up my quest to find the perfect North London venue to host my first pop-up night; I had no idea it would lead me to such great places and people.

Quite a lot of restaurateurs and publicans contacted me with potential spaces but it was the Bull and Gate pub ( in Kentish Town that stole my heart. Just two months post refurbishment, the dining room is lovely and airy with a great vibe and a prefect size space. I sat down with the head chef (who has very kindly agreed to let me monopolise his fab kitchen for the night) and I was confident that these were the guys I wanted to team up with.

Menu decided, I asked the General Manager for a 24 hour head start to let friends know about the night before it got marketed through the pub, and social media channels. I pointed some of my contacts to the link on Eventbrite and a matter of hours later; all 60 tickets were sold!

Filled with encouragement, I have now secured a further date on the 8th September. Link will be posted to Eventbrite soon so this is me giving you all a little heads up first. Feel free to let me know if you want a ticket….they won’t hang around for long…..

The Lazy Cook

It’s been non-stop eating out for me for the past three weeks -all in the name of research though so that makes it okay.

I’ve gone Korean (multiple times), Indian, Middle Eastern and British. I felt the need to share a few reviews in the hope of spreading the word of some very good places. With so much choice out there, its always good to get recommendations from passionate foodies such as myself.

The first week of my eating out bonanza started with a trip back to home town of Brighton to see my mum. A bit rusty on the best places to dine, I sought the help of my close friend who recommended the Chilli Pickle in Jubilee Street, North Lanes. She had tried earlier that day to get us a table but they were fully booked. Not content with being told no, I drew the MasterChef card and tweeted them to ask for a table. I don’t do it often but when I’m determined to try somewhere good; I am drawn to desperate measures. So how pleased was I to be sat there enjoying some of the best Indian cuisine I have ever eaten? Very. Dishoom, watch out…if this place, expands to London, be afraid, be very afraid!

The menu was so exciting, it sent me into a bit if a tiz. I wanted everything but settled on some sharing plates.

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Poppadoms with a range of pickles and chutneys, Pani Puri and Masala Dosa with Biryani and lentils. The food was insanely good. Really fresh and flavoursome and exactly as I hoped it would be. I highly recommend this place if you are visiting Brighton. Book ahead and please order the Pani Puri whatever you do. Price point: £25 – 30 per head excluding alcohol for two courses

Next up was a birthday treat from my mum in the form of dinner at the Gingerman. Part of a collection of restaurants from the same duo, this was the posh one. Down a narrow little street heading down towards the sea, you will find this little place tucked away. Its small but perfectly formed with a lovely menu and delightful staff. I’m not normally a fan of food served so daintily, I’m more about rustic plates and generous portions kind of gal but they won me over. For the first time in my life,  I ordered rabbit and it was so good, I now feel like I’ve missed out all these years. My starter was chicken three ways with puffed rice and a barbecue sauce. It was an intrigiung combination and every bit as good as it sounded on the menu. It was small, but that’s what you are signing up for. The average eater would have been happy; I’m just greedy!  However after the previous night’s banquet at the Chilli Pickle, I was grateful for the relief to my expanding waistline.

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From left to right; My pressed chicken thigh, wing and leg with asparagus, puffed rice and barbecue sauce. My main was rabbit ballontine with ham hock and rabbit croquette, boulangere potatoes, heritage carrots and baby asparagus (yes I like asparagus). This was so good, lick the plate clean good and I was nicely satiated after this. The last pic was my mum’s beef fillet which was also nice, although I definitely think I chose better. I could learn a lot of their delicate presentation! A thumbs up if you want a nice quiet cosy place with for a spot of fine dining. Price point: £45 per head with wine for two courses.

Next up we have Honey & Co, the choice for my actual birthday dinner and a place which I had heard a lot of good things about. In fact during the filming of MasterChef, my sister in law kept trying to get me to eat there as somewhere which would have offered a lot of inspiration and good ideas. I never made it but I got there in the end and I’m glad I did, if nothing else, I could at least join in the conversations around a very much talked about place. I had been warned that the decor was a little lack lustre – it was more of a cafe type vibe rather than a restaurant. This I could forgive if the food had blown me away but it was a like more than a love on this occasion. We had a meze to start which was the usual suspects; Falafel, hummus, taboule, labneh. All tasty as expected but nothing to write home about.

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Now the mains, I definitely ordered the best thing on the menu – The Shawarma. Slow cooked lamb shoulder which was  melt in your mouth soft and so unbelievably tasty. The remaining three mains were made up of the Pomegranate Chicken (very nice) Manti with whipped feta and broad beans (so so) and Lamb Siniya which was baked with tahini and yoghurt (a bit rich and heavy.) It was definitely my sort of food, served in the way I love. Big portions and with a focus on flavour over presentation. I love what they are trying to do with bringing the style and vibe of a restaurant typically native to Tel Aviv; however I felt a little bit disappointed with the decor, or lack of. A few pictures on the wall would have brightened the place up a bit and perhaps the staff could have been  a bit more attentive. We waited a long time for our food which meant that the heavy nature of it lay on our stomachs well into the night having finished so late. To be fair, we did splurge on desert which was definitely the highlight.

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I got their signature cheesecake which is a must and I delved into the Tahini cookies with ice cream which was very good. A mug of mint tea later and I was fit to burst. The food is rich but you don’t need to be; with wine, it was very reasonable at a price point of £45 per head for three courses.

Next week’s reviews will include Koba, The Palamar and Goodman Steak House.


My First Ever Supper Club

I had such a good night, I really felt the need to spread the word and share my experience of my first ever supper club. I was very kindly invited by the lovely Phillip Juma of Juma’s Kitchen to come and try Iraqi cuisine at his supper club hosted at the Jam Tree in Clapham Common.

I haven’t done the communal dining with lots of strangers since I went travelling about 16 years ago so I was looking forward to both new company, and a new food experience.  The evening kicked off with a lovely welcome cocktail of Gin, Fig syrup and Elderflower which I was instantly poised to dislike seeing as I can’t stand gin! On the contrary, it was delicious, sweet, sharp and refreshing without a hint of the gin taste – a very good way to whet the appetite.

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It was a very eclectic bunch. To my right were  a couple in finance who dabbled in food reviews on the side, opposite was a charming Palestinian chef who along with her partner, were lively and outgoing with the same passion for good food as me, and to my left, was a city trader with his partner who runs a business promoting pop-ups and supper clubs. Everyone was charming, always a bonus when you’re stuck with them for the best part of 4 hours!

The courses started arriving and having saved my appetite all day (I have dined out a lot recently which is not a good thing with bikini season looming,) I eagerly tucked into the first course; Borek, Falafel and Baba Ganoush.

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Its not easy making Middle Eastern food look refined but this was great presentation and great cooking. The meat inside the borek was beautifully spiced, and the falafel lovely and crispy with the aubergine smokey but not too overpowering.

Next course was another little teaser; Dilaj Bilmynarinj better known to us Westerners as boneless chicken thigh served on wafer layered potatoes with a saffron sauce. The heady scent of saffron was intoxicating and the chicken beautifully cooked with crispy skin and crispy onions. I was still hungry though….

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Again loving the presentation; its very similar to something I did on MasterChef with the rich yellow sauce and vividness of the red amarynth. Tasted every bit as good as it looked.

Next up was the Kubba Hamuth. Kubba is one of my favourite things to eat and make. There are so many variations of this across the Middle East. Its a meat filled dumpling that can be made with bulgar, semolina, a combination of both or ground rice which was a new way on me; that’s how Phillip managed to get these so soft. They were an absolute delight and its a recipe I am sure to be hassling him for. The presentation, as novel as it was, made it hard to get to that delicious sauce but that’s just about the only negative thing I could possibly say. Still… tummy called for more food….

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Once the main came, I was very grateful that the previous courses had been just enough to satiate without going overboard. Warning: the following image does not represent the magic of this dish. It was in a word…..sublime. This was called Dolma: delicious fragrant lamb stuffed vine leaves, peppers and onions with french trimmed lamb cutlets, lamb bones and a fattoush salad. The lamb and rice combination was expertly spiced with a real homely taste; cardamom and cinnamon being the two dominant flavours. It was soul food on the most satisfying level and after this course…I was certainly not hungry anymore.

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Fit to burst, I was glad of the break between main and desert which was Knafa; a baked soft cheese with a stringy texture. The topping was Kataifi pastry, or very finely shredded filo which was topped with crushed pistachios and rose petals. It looked beautiful and smelt so fragrant with rose water but I was so full (probably had one too many stuffed onion) that I just couldn’t muster the appetite to eat it.

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Aside from some wonderful food and company; a special mention goes to slick organisation and the team supporting the supper club. The staff were great, the bar was well run and the venue really helped to make it the evening that it was. Phillip was absolutely charming, taking the time to talk with all his diners and thank people for coming. You could see the passion he has in both the food, and his attitude to cooking. I would encourage anyone to look out for his next dates and book up. I know my photography doesn’t sell it  as well as it should be sold but hopefully you will trust my Middle Eastern palate well enough to know that if I say its good……its good!

Follow Juma Kitchen on Twitter; @jumakitchen or

Welcome to my kitchen

Welcome to my new blog. I’ve loved cooking and all things food related for as long as I can remember. I love to feed, love to eat and love to put a smile on people’s faces with something I’ve created.

I am a busy person to say the least but always have time to cook. I want to share my recipes, my musings and my shortcuts to show that no matter how busy you are; there is always time to rustle up something impressive.

MasterChef was the turning point in my life and I am truly overwhelmed and somewhat humbled by how much support I had for my food. It was the toughest few months of my life; way bigger than anything else I had been through. That is not meant to belittle any other major events; but none of those were going to be televised to millions of people!

Walking through the doors of the studio on my first day – I genuinely thought my knees were going to buckle I was that nervous. Surreal doesn’t even come close to describe seeing John and Gregg standing there. There was a small part of me that wanted to turn around and exit but I am not a quitter, no matter how tough I think something is likely to be. My only objective – don’t be the first one out. If nothing else, I had to leave with my pride in tact!

Waiting for judgement….waiting for the first fork to reach their mouths….waiting for them to swallow the food and talk…longest few minutes of my life. Gregg’s first words; “Mate you can cook, that is superb” John; “watching you work today was a joy.” The relief came pouring out. I hadn’t made the mistake of my life entering the competition!

I’d love to think of a better analogy than roller coaster but that’s exactly what it was. The high’s; an amazing first invention test with Monica Galletti praising my food. The low’s; disappointing John and Gregg with my lack of ambition on the scraps test. There was so many good things in between. It was like a crash cookery course on the highest level – from beginner to Michelin starred in less than three months!

I learnt so much. Not only how to be better a cook, but how to cope with the most extraordinary pressure, how to take every ounce of criticism on board and learn from it and how to continually push the boundaries. I went so far out of my comfort zones at times I needed a compass to find my way back but I wouldn’t change any of it for the world.

Doing MasterChef was the best thing I ever did. I’ve walked away with the confidence to take cooking into a professional capacity and I’ve met some of the most  amazing people along the way, people I am now proud to call my good friends.