This week’s recipe is a transitional one. Much like how we will wear a poloneck jumper under a summery shift dress, or pair thick wool tights with strappy sandals (at least here in the UK), today I am using a rather S/S ingredient in a slightly A/W way. When I think of grilled polenta and beans together, my immediate thought is mmm, stew with polenta. Or mmm, a bean and polenta bake. Very wintry, very -5C. What I don’t automatically think is wouldn’t this be nice with stir-fried new season’s chard.
But chard is an early-ish, cooler-weather crop, with more than a hint of hardy wintriness about it – even when young and small of leaf. It is a robust, no nonsense kind of vegetable that stands up to rough winds, cold temps and punchy flavours like no other. I would love to persevere with more adamantly Spring dishes such as last week’s crab one, but we still need the warmth of this sort of dish, combined with the promise of what is to come. For after chard comes asparagus and watercress, then broad beans, beetroot and courgettes. And then the flashier summer crops of tomatoes, artichokes, corn and aubergines, and as many tender herbs as you can ever wish. I am already making haphazard lists and scribblings of the many spring and summer-crop recipes I want to make because, like Little Orphan Annie says, “the sun’ll come out tomorrow.” Crossed fingers. Continue reading
In winter many of us are happy to take a bit more time preparing meals – chopping stuff to pop into the slow cooker to enjoy later; cooking down a sulfurous pile of onions to a sweet tangle of deliciousness. But Spring, well it is the shape of things to come, with gardens to be pottered in, hills to be climbed, miles to be run (the first only for me!). After a cooped up winter we just want to be outside, not inside reducing a heavy sauce or tending to a stovetop stew. So even though the temperature is not yet playing ball, I am just going to pretend it is warm, willing on the thermometer with spring-fresh meals like this. Continue reading
No apologies for another lentil recipe in such quick succession. It’s the blinkin’ weather, I’m afraid. We really should be flirting outrageously with the new season’s produce, but since none of them are up for it – being under the snow and all – we are still indulging in stews, roasts, crumbles and other wintry fare.
No matter. It’s a great excuse to eat potatoes. And spicy potatoes at that. Thinnish coins of scrubbed new potatoes; little hash-style cubes of plump, regal eggplant; hearty, toothsome obsidian-black lentils. All sizzled up in a heady fug of Indian spicing. Although I am still a bit cross that someone ordered a double winter, Asian comfort food provides needed warmth and welcome spice. Continue reading
If you don’t know what a shawarma is, this recipe will not particularly surprise. But, if you know shawarma, you could be forgiven for uttering a popular acronymed Anglo-Saxon epithet beginning with W and ending with F. If you are from the Levant, you will no doubt be thinking an equivalent in Arabic or Turkish. Just perhaps not as rude. Continue reading
Got some leftover rice from last night? Or some in the freezer? Well you could do a lot worse than using it as the basis for this completely inauthentic, but insanely delicious, dish. Continue reading
I realise that you were not waiting with bated breath for this recipe. Not even my Dad will be doing that. But I did say on Wednesday that I would be back yesterday, Friday, and I hate not to be a woman of my word. I plead extenuating circumstances which I won’t go into but does involve me being an unexpected and unlicensed taxi on more than one occasion, dodging an almost certain migraine in a store with poor lighting, and meeting a hastily imposed deadline. All not on the cards when I wrote on Wednesday. The day did end well though with the best staff party I can remember Continue reading
Vegetarian and vegan food can sometimes get a bad rap for being boring and bland. Bean-filled this, wholemeal encrusted that, a few dried mixed herbs and hey presto, a filling meal. Are most vegetarians really eating like this? I don’t think so. At least I hope not.
Admittedly, if I peruse some of the vegetarian cookery books from the 70s and 80s even I, an ardent exponent of plant-based cuisine, will go ‘bleuch.’ Maybe our tastes have changed, but nut cutlets, lentil loaf and black-eyed pea rissoles don’t really do it for me. Then or now. Continue reading
This will be a shorter post than normal. I am hampered by two things: A deep gash to my finger – all bandaged up and throbbing, held above my heart like you’re told to do; and a very large cat (Max) insisting on sprawling on my lap. And, because he is long and tubby, onto the keyboard. Continue reading
“Food: the unifying language of the world”
quote from Sumayya Jamil, speaking at Food Blogger Connect, London 2012
Last Friday saw me quite literally stumbling onto the 7.15 Edinburgh-London train. I am not the most co-ordinated of people (I can fall off a pair of flipflops), but my flawed proprioception couldn’t be blamed on this occasion. As I attempted to board the train a sudden shift in the ever-present wind blew hair into my eyes, and I had a heart-pounding, and nearly electrifying, experience as my foot slipped between the step up and the clearly marked walkway. Still clutching my bags and cup of tea I just managed to lurch forward into the carriage, my body tingling with adrenalin that you get from a proper near-miss. Yowz.
The reason I mention this seemingly random incident is that I also experienced the same all-body tingle later that day. But not due to clumsiness or wind-whipped hair. When I pushed through the imposing blue doors into a sea of people at Food Blogger Connect I had that overwhelming ‘new girl’ feeling. You know, the heart-pumping anxiety you get when you walk into a room where everyone seems to know each other and you only have one shot at making a decent impression? I was that girl, but with fictional spots, greasy hair and a selection of slide rules and leaky pens poking out of my pocket. Yup, that nervous. Continue reading
After the challenges of what is usually a disappointing summer – weatherwise at least – we are often treated to a rather beautiful September. All summer long, folk up and down the country have been chased indoors from picnics, fetes, celebrations and barbecues by plant-ripping hailstones and sudden gusting winds. Sadly, grey skies and Great Britain seem to go hand and hand. You get used to it. Continue reading