Irish Stew


March 30th, 2020

Chef Mark Allison

 I remember making this dish so many years ago in culinary school back in my home town of Newcastle.

Irish stew is a Lamb and root vegetable stew native to Ireland. As in all traditional folk dishes, the exact recipe is not consistent from time to time, or place to place. Basic ingredients include lamb, or mutton (mutton is used as it comes from less tender sheep over a year old,

Read more ...

Asparagus & Bean Salad with Balsamic Parsley Dressing

Chef Mark Allison's Column

March 9th, 2020

Asparagus is available year-round, but spring is the best season for this nutritious vegetable. Crops are harvested from late February to June, with April being the prime month and high season for asparagus.

A few interesting facts about asparagus:
The stalks shoot up from the crown of the plant and grow into fern-like leaves when they are allowed to develop. However, the edible stalks are harvested strictly by hand before the actual fern leaves develop. You have to be patient to grow your own asparagus: It takes three years from the sowing of the seed to the harvest of the first stalks.

Read more ...

Flat Bread of Garlic Portobello Mushrooms


February 24th, 2020

This flat bread recipe is so easy to make, and has a hearty umami flavor, while the unexpected boursin spread takes it to the next level. One of the best garlic mushroom dishes ever!

Did you know?

The Portobello mushroom is just a large button mushroom! Largely produced in China, India and the United States, the portobello is produced by allowing the regular white button mushroom to continue to grow and mature. The result is a large, brown mushroom, with a hearty texture and a stronger earthy smell.

Read more ...

Keeping it Green - Fresh Noodle Salad


February 10th, 2020

If you like things raw, you'll love this dish. Everything is fresh, and no cooking is involved. Just buy the freshest ingredients you can get your hands on, either at your local farmers market or your local food store. Open a bottle of wine, pour out a glass and begin making this dish. It takes minutes, and you'll be enjoying the fabulous aroma and out-of-this-world taste.

Read more ...

Oats, Strawberries & Almond Milk

Chef Mark Allison's Column

 January 20th, 2020

A quick easy to make the night before breakfast to wake up to. Fresh strawberries infused with almond milk, gives you a strawberry milk shake flavor, combined with almond butter, local honey and gluten free oats, you have a tasty yet satisfying start to your day.

Almonds are a powerhouse when it comes to nutrition. They contain a number of important vitamins and minerals, as well as healthy fats. Some of their many amazing health benefits include lowering blood pressure, controlling blood sugar

Read more ...

Roasted Spiced Coconut Cauliflower

Serves 4

How about a little bit of cauliflower head tonight. This vibrant yellow fragrant cauliflower comes from the infusion of coconut milk, turmeric, Thai red chili and mustard seeds, finished with freshly chopped cilantro and mint - this makes for a perfect meatless Monday recipe. Did I say it was vegan! Yes it is - and as always it's very easy to make and I'm sure the whole family will love to try this for dinner tonight.

The nutrition profile of cauliflower is very impressive.
Cauliflower is very low in calories yet high in vitamins. In fact, cauliflower contains some of almost every vitamin and mineral that you need.

1 cup, or 128 grams, of raw cauliflower:
Calories: 25
Fiber: 3 grams
Vitamin C: 77% of the RDI
Vitamin K: 20% of the RDI
Vitamin B6: 11% of the RDI
Folate: 14% of the RDI
Pantothenic acid: 7% of the RDI
Potassium: 9% of the RDI
Manganese: 8% of the RDI
Magnesium: 4% of the RDI
Phosphorus: 4% of the RDI

Turmeric may help prevent heart disease, heart attack and stroke with its effects on some key risk factors of these three conditions. It may help stop atherosclerosis, the buildup of arterial plaque and it may help prevent blood clots, to the lowering of LDL, or "bad" cholesterol levels, as a possible benefit of turmeric. Turmeric may help prevent, manage and treat various forms of cancer, including skin, breast, prostate and colon cancer. However, evidence has only been found in test tube and animal studies so far. The antioxidant properties of turmeric are believed to be at least partially responsible for its anti-cancer activities.

Spiced Coconut Baked Cauliflower
Serves 4

1 large cauliflower, left whole
1 tablespoon coconut oil
2 inch piece fresh root ginger, peeled and grated
4 small Thai red chilies, finely chopped and seeds removed or 1 medium size jalapeno
4 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
1 tablespoon mustard seeds
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1x 13floz can coconut milk
1lb fingerling potatoes, washed, cut in half
½lb small carrots, washed and left whole
1 lemon, halved
1 tablespoon freshly chopped cilantro (optional)
1 tablespoon freshly chopped mint (optional)

Pre heat oven to 380'F
How to make:

Remove any large leaves from the cauliflower head. Turn the cauliflower upside down and, using a small paring knife, carefully cut a hollow in the middle of the central stalk to help the cauliflower cook evenly.

Place a large saucepan ¾ full of water on the stove over a high heat, when the water starts to boil, add ½ teaspoon of salt, then gently lower the cauliflower into the boiling water and cook for 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat, drain the water off the cauliflower, leave the cauliflower in the pan and place on a lid to allow the cauliflower to steam for 10 minutes.

Take a medium size saucepan, place over a medium heat on the stove, add the coconut oil, then the ginger, chili and garlic, and gently cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Then add the mustard seeds, turmeric and season with salt and pepper, stir well and cook for 2 more minutes, add the coconut milk and bring to a boil.

Place the cauliflower into a roasting tray, pour over the hot coconut milk. Scatter the potatoes and carrots around the cauliflower so they sit in the coconut milk, then add the lemon halves. Place the tray into the oven and roast for 45 minutes, every 15 minutes baste the cauliflower with the coconut milk.

To test if the cauliflower is cooked, insert a small sharp knife into the middle - it should be really tender and the potatoes and carrots will have soaked up most of the sauce. Remove the tray from the oven, squeeze the lemons over the cauliflower, scatter over the chopped cilantro, mint and serve.

Chef Mark .

Copyright © 2018 - 2020 Mark Allison


  One Cup Wonder

December 16th, 2019


Did you know that smoothies can make a healthy breakfast if you have a good balance of ingredients and nutrients, including protein, carbohydrates, and healthy fats. Always try to add at least one vegetable to your smoothie this instantly cuts down on sugar and increases the fiber content. Adding yogurt, avocado or a banana helps make your smoothie more filling and creamy, so you'll stay satisfied longer. Just be sure to choose varieties of yogurt that have little to no sugar and have zero artificial ingredients.

Read more ...

Turkey Kedgeree


December 2nd, 2019

I love leftovers, and what better way to use turkey leftovers than to make a "somewhat traditional kedgeree".

Kedgeree is a traditional Scottish (Indian) dish consisting of cooked, flaked Haddock, boiled rice, parsley, hard-boiled eggs, curry powder, and occasionally sultanas and it can be eaten hot or cold. Kedgeree was listed as early as 1790 in the recipe book of Stephana Malcolm of Burnfoot, Dumfriesshire, Scotland. The National Trust for Scotland's book "The Scottish Kitchen" by Christopher Trotter notes that Malcolm's recipe and other old examples of kedgeree were developed by Scottish regiments stationed in India in the late 1700's and early 1800's, which was then reinvented by the soldiers on their return home back to Scotland. Whatever the history of the dish is, its tastes fantastic and it's so easy to make, plus it's a great way to use up any leftover turkey meat from

Read more ...

Wild Salmon Curry



November 18th, 2019

Chef Mark Allison's Column

We love curries in our house. Curries work with just about anything, meat, vegetables, Tofu, fruit, beans, nuts and seeds. Even fish, and one of our favorites is wild Alaskan salmon curry. I was very lucky to live in Alaska back in 1998/9 while on a Fulbright teacher exchange program. Even luckier to meet and become friends with one of the best guys I have ever met Jim Hollis,

Read more ...

Roast Butternut Squash Salad with Goat's Cheese, Black Cherries, Quinoa & Orange

November 4th, 2019

Butternut squash sprinkled with garlic, thyme and olive oil, roasted in the oven and served with warm quinoa, arugula, balsamic vinegar, fresh black cherries and crumbled goats cheese is a wonderful combination of ingredients. It is a quick, easy and delectable way to start your evening. I didn't even mention that it's healthy. Turn on the oven, pour yourself a glass of wine and prepare your ingredients. You just need to pop the squash in the oven, and, as it cooks, make the quinoa and slice the oranges. Before you know it, you're combining all the ingredients together for a lovely family meal. Enjoy!

Roast Butternut Squash Salad with Goat's Cheese, Black Cherries, Quinoa & Orange
Serves 4 to 6

Read more ...


 October 28th, 2019

Try these three fresh taste bud tingling dressings to brighten up your everyday salad. Give your salads a fresh, colorful spin with these quick and easy salad dressings. A few steps and a handful of creative ingredients will wow your family or friends or add a burst of flavor to any weekday lunch-preferably one eaten al fresco.

Tahini Garlic Dressing
4 cloves garlic, peeled
½ teaspoon sea salt
½ cup tahini
2 lemons, juice of
3 tablespoons water

Read more ...

Brussels Sprout Hash with Sausages

October 14th, 2019

Serves 4

This is one of those dishes that's fabulous any time of the day, whether for breakfast, lunch or dinner, everyone will enjoy. Its take less than 30 minutes from start to finish, it's full of flavor, full of textures, looks amazing and gives you healthy protein, carbohydrates and fats all in one dish.

Some suggestions on good quality sausages:

Read more ...

Spicy Asian Chicken


October 7th, 2019

Let's spice up dinner tonight - who doesn't little a spice in their lives every now and again. This dish is so easy to make, literally minutes from start to finish. It looks like a delicious creation you would find in an authentic Asian restaurant, tastes amazing and is healthy for you, as you have "cooked it" and "you know what's" in it.

Fresh healthy ingredients will little processed products, quick and easy to make, my kind of food. Enjoy.

Read more ...

Fish Tacos

Chef Mark Allison's Column

September 30th, 2019

Who doesn't like taco night! Taco Tuesday is everyone's favorite night of the week here at the Allison/Davies home. A night filled with family, tacos, and all of the best toppings you can eat. It all adds up to the prefect eating experience. The boys love to choose a different kind of fish or meat and experiment with different spices, herbs and toppings to get the perfect matching flavors. You can do so much with tacos. They're a simple street food, but there's room for creativity. You can add any ingredients you want to create your own dream taco!

Read more ...

Roasted Tomato Open Faced Sandwich

 September 23rd, 2019


If you didn't know this already, tomatoes are part of the nightshade family, which also includes potatoes, peppers and eggplants. The U.S. Supreme Court declared them a vegetable in 1893, tomatoes are actually a fruit since they grow on a vine, form a flower and contain seeds. They're in season from May through October, with some variation depending on where you live in the US.

Read more ...

Pan Fried Halibut with Lemon Parsley Asparagus

Chef Mark Allison's Column

Septemeber 16th, 2019

James my youngest son loves fish, in fact any kind of fish he'll eat. His favorite being wild Alaskan salmon. Before James was born we actually lived in Alaska for 10 months on a Fulbright teachers exchange program back in 1998. I swapped my job at Neath Port Talbot College, our house in Swansea, even our little white car, to experience teaching in another country. California was the destination we were hoping for, but unfortunately no culinary instructors from that part of the world applied to go to the UK that year. So Alaska it was,

Read more ...

Late Summer Early Fall Fruit Salad


Septemeber 9th, 2019

As we move from summer into fall (my favorite season of the year). Summer fruits are just starting to pass their best. Peaches from the Carolinas can be somewhat "firmer" and more "sour" in taste then those bought earlier in the season. But with this easy to follow recipe you can still enjoy the wonderful taste of this delicious fruit well into the autumn.
Peaches are rich in many vitamins, minerals, and beneficial plant compounds.

Read more ...

Sweet Potato, Red Pear & Brussels Sprout Salad

Chef Mark Allison's Column

September 2nd, 2019

Made this stunning little tasty salad dish in the wellness kitchen at work the other day while cleaning out the fridge. All the leftovers just matched perfectly together. After I made it I took the finished dish to the 3rd floor to our admin staff. Believe me it was gone in less than five minutes. The feedback - "it tasted amazing chef". Give it a try, as always it's easy and nutritious!

Read more ...

Figs anyone?

 August 26th, 2019

Our fig trees are exploding this year. More fruit than all of us including Coco, who is climbing the tree to get them, can eat!

Dr. M

Figs anyone?

Ripe, luscious, soft and yielding, it's the fall and fig time!!! This temping small fruit full of tiny seeds that give a unique taste, smell and texture make it one of the most sought after fruits this time of year.

Read more ...

Coconut Shrimp Curry


August 19th, 2019

The first time I had coconut milk, was from wining a whole coconut at "The Hoppings", Europe's largest travelling fun fair, which is held on the Town Moor during the last week of June each year in Newcastle. This has got to be back in the seventies as a young excited child having the time of his life, riding the merry go round, driving the dodgem cars, sliding down the tall helter skelter.

I'd normally go home carrying a coconut and a gold fish in a bag of water. Unfortunately the gold fish never lived longer than a week, before being flushed down the toilet on its way back to the sea (poor thing).

Read more ...