After the excesses of last week’s ingredient-fest that is gado-gado, we are down to earth. Quite literally. You can’t more down to earth than beetroot, can you? Continue reading
Botanically identical to tender-skinned summer squashes, winter squashes are my unsung hero of autumn-winter eating. Not only do they keep well – you can forget about them for over a month and they will still love you – they are just about the most useful and delicious of the cold weather crops. Butternut squash, acorn, Delicata, kabocha, Hubbard, sugar pie, red kuri, spaghetti, Hokkaido – and loads more – their tough unyielding armour holds rich, sweet, nutritious flesh. Continue reading
For many of you labneh will need no introduction. Anyone keen on Middle Eastern food will have no doubt at least come across a mention of this delicious and creamy cheese in the food press, or even some cookery programmes. You may even have had a smear of it as part of a mezze in a Lebanese restaurant. But did you know that it is ridiculously easy to make? And make really well? Continue reading
When it comes to food, does your inspiration well ever run dry? I must admit that, even though I teach about healthy eating for a living, I am sometimes stumped when it comes to snacks. If I am feeling a bit peckish I am as likely as the next person to be tempted by anything random, easy or rubbish that happens to have made its way into the house. Months’ old marshmallows from a summer barbeque (s’mores of course), old tortilla chips that need reviving in the oven, cheese of dubious age lurking in the inner recesses of the fridge: anything is eligible. Of course I always try and have more suitable grazing fodder around. I really do. But sometimes you want something that seems, well, a bit delinquent. Do you ever feel that way? Does your inner-child ever want to come out and wreak havoc in the kitchen?
I can’t really remember the first time I had hummus. Being raised in a Deep South commuter town, whose main highway was hemmed in with strip malls, Burger Kings and Dairy Queens, I seriously doubt it was there. We did have - and it is still there today – a lone Greek restaurant, but I only ever remember the ubiquitous but very pleasant Greek salad, with its starchy ‘garnish’ of yogurty potato salad as a sop to American tastes. But hummus? I don’t think so. This was the era of aerobics and low fat after all. If I had been more adventurous, and less figure-conscious, I would no doubt have found the hummus and been hooked from the get go. Restaurant hummus is always far superior to that we can make at home. Or, so I thought. Continue reading
Last post’s long and winding road to broth was probably a step too far for some of you. Although extremely gorgeous with the toasted Asian aromatics and the lightly seared vegetables, I have inserted into the post a welcome sentence, in bold: If you want to take a shortcut you may skip the first two steps and just pop everything in the pot as per a ‘normal’ stock. So, if you looked at the Really Useful Asian Broth recipe and thought “stuff this,” maybe I can persuade you to reconsider. Or at least read down to the tamarind meatball bit. Continue reading
Like you, I think I am pretty well up on world cuisines. This is despite being more of an armchair traveller these days – at least to on the pulse, exotic or slightly dangerous places. My favourite holiday destination is Cornwall. Not quite cutting edge. Or dangerous. Unless you count being bitten by a crab while dangling a pole over the harbour wall at Padstow. Ouch!
I am lucky that, over the years, my adopted city of Edinburgh has transformed from a culinary backwater of scampi in a basket (if you were lucky), overdone salmon (again, if you were lucky), and truly awful Chinese takeaways, to a capital city hosting not only a clutch of Michelin-starred restaurants, but also many affordable eateries, showcasing stunning Scottish produce (write to me if you want some names). Continue reading
As I write, Hurricane Sandy is set to bear down on the east coast of America. From coastal New Jersey to slightly more northerly Massachusetts, pretty much everything has shut down for the time being. This Frankenstorm, with its spooky Halloween timing, full moon and clash of warm and cold weather systems, has seen Presidential electioneering suspended (those annoying campaign phone calls will doubtless continue) and transport and public services halted. For goodness sake, even Wall Street has been abandoned. But I daresay, barring serious structural damage, trick or treaters will be out in force come Wednesday. Continue reading
There are some people who don’t like leftovers. That may even be you. It is sometimes me: as I am not a teen-aged boy I don’t understand the appeal of leftover pizza. But leftovers make sense. Make enough at one meal to do for another: whether chilled and eaten the next day, or wrapped, labelled and tucked in the freezer,
never to be seen again to be eaten later.
I do fight my irrational inner distaste of leftovers, tucking into leftover stew or curry (which admittedly always taste better the next day) and forking through salads made from leftover grains with added bits and bobs. All very worthy, time-sparing and cost-conscious. But, hmm, how do I put it? A bit dull? Yes, a bit dull, at least sometimes. I think I might not be alone in this. That’s where this recipe comes in. But first a confession of sorts. Continue reading
Remember when you were young and impressionable? When you would shriek in horror as your uncle presented you with ‘your nose’ between his fingers – aka his pokey-through thumb? Or, you would glibly give over all of your pocket money to your smirking brother to collectively buy something ‘really great’ for Mum’s birthday (because “two allowances are better than one. Mum deserves the best”)? Mum of course got what she always got, a sweaty box of Russell Stover candy and a hastily drawn card, while brother suddenly was in possession of a new skateboard.* Hmm. Or how about when, after an indulgent day at say, Florida’s Sunken Gardens, you would badger your exasperated parents for a $2 can of Florida Sunshine?
How could we have fallen for all that? I mean, really. Of course today’s children are far too sophisticated to be duped. Or are they? Continue reading