Have you got your romantic meal planned? Asparagus? Oysters? Caviar? Perhaps Spaghetti Bolognese a la Lady and the Tramp? Or, are you being whisked off for a slap up meal, after having sipped Champagne in a rose petal bath? Well, if you are like me and not particularly romantic, forward planning, or fond of lolling in baths, this quick and easy recipe is a cheat’s way of getting in the spirit of Valentine’s Day. Continue reading
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
As you see, I couldn’t hold out any longer. My little wordpress snowfall was my unambiguous clue to unleash the festive food. And as we are well into December, and there is a layer of snow, it feels pretty official. As a matter of fact I am even sending Mr A into the loft this weekend to fetch Christmas. 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
I know, I know. I go from sugar and spice and everything nice, to sardines and chermoula. That’s what you get when you come here: the unexpected, the unusual…the unpronounceable.
Apologies are due if you were lured in by last week’s summer berries crumble tart, a crisp pastry sheet cradling a Queen’s ransom of jewel-like fruits. It was really lovely: not too sweet, lots of colour and juice. A simple summer pud for pud-deniers. But hey, I’m a savoury girl at heart. A savoury girl who wants you to scoop out the fattest, reddest tomatoes you can find, and fill them to the brim with chermoula-laced whole grains, herbs and, erm, fish. Stop making that face. I can see you. Honestly. Have I ever lied to you? 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
Caponata is the epitome of summer sunshine. Italian summer sunshine, to be precise. A thick cooked-down mulch of all that is best from the summer garden (or market), this colourful Sicilian vegetable stew is a frequent gracer of the food to glow table during summer months. Or, if we are lucky, as a lap-based lunch while sitting in the garden, fending off marauding hens and lap-loving cats. It’s a hard life we have here *tiny violins playing*… Continue reading
No offence, but I want to hurry up and get this to you so I can GET OUTSIDE. Yesterday Scotland set a record for hottest March day on record, and today is poised to beat yesterday’s temperature of 22C. “Huh?” Well, believe you me, in Scotland 22C is a big deal. Even a big deal in the summer. Seriously, look it up. It is so unusually warm, and suddenly so, that yesterday as Rachel and I strolled up into town, she remarked, “I can’t believe we are in the same country as yesterday”; ‘yesterday’ having attained a high of 9C. That day I wore four layers on my upper body – inside. I’m not even counting the cosy ‘tv rug’ that I swathe myself in while watching, um, tv. I blame what I call my Florida blood.
So, after month upon month of layer wearing (and complaining of layer-wearing), I can now report that I am in cut-offs, T-shirt and bare feet. I’m not saying it’s a pretty sight or anything, but it sure feels fantastic to be so pared down; I must be at least 2 pounds lighter. Hurrah! And of course warm weather gives the boot to stews and suchlike, in favour of salads, light nibbles and barely cooked this and thats. So, if the weather plays ball, so will I, starting with this little nibble suggestion. Continue reading
I want to ask you something a bit personal: are you a snacker? The reason I’m asking is that I am, and I want to know if I am talking to likeminded people. I want reassurance that you are not part of a super breed of disciplined, shiny-haired, perfect, and frankly annoying people who are never hungry between meals. Or worse still (for me), get hungry but ignore and override the tummy rumbles that have lesser folk (that’ll be me) either grabbing whatever’s handy and not actually toxic, or fantasising about inhaling a family-sized packet of crisps/chocolate/yogurt-covered nuts/apples (okay, that last one is not realistic). If you are one of these perfect folk, I envy you. Now go and read my tofu recipes and come back later when I post a main meal. The rest of you Norma(n) Normals, I want to have a brief chat about snacking. Just brief, mind you. I get hungry after a few paragraphs and need to go for a forage in the cupboards. Continue reading
Today’s recipe (s) is one that I am really excited about sharing with you. I have had so much fun playing with/inhaling various versions over the past week. I really hope you want to try it. It hasn’t all been plain sailing though: poor Mr A has been pining for hot food (I think I heard him say ‘steak’ in his sleep), but he still cheerfully chomped his way through platters of rolls and sauces. What a trooper. Miss R is away in Geneva so has missed out on most of the concoctions. But because I’m a nice mum, I will make as many summer rolls as she can tackle -
if she brings back the black truffle brie that I asked for. Continue reading