Lemony Kale, Quinoa and Chickpea Salad with Vegan Parmesan Cheese: mouthful of a title, mouthful of a meal. Continue reading
Well, actually it’s not new, and quinoa is not a grain. But you know what I mean. Of course I’m talking about freekeh. And just to confuse us further freekeh is not a grain, but a process. Actually it sounds to me more like a dance from the 70s, but never mind. Continue reading
Once upon a time, in a land far, far away, lived a girl. She was an ordinary girl. Not a wallflower, but not a high-flyer either. She was loved by her family, got on well(-ish) at school, had the requisite number of boyfriends and breakups, and battled the occasional outbreak of pimples with spot cream and floor gazing. In short, ordinary. But one day, empty of wallet and loathe to keep tapping a generous-to-a-fault father for yet more money, she decided to get a Saturday job. So, armed with a short resume consisting of kid’s movie reviewer for the town newspaper, church choir member, and zero retail experience, this girl left the house. More in hope than expectation. Continue reading
Is it a bit chilly where you are? Have you pulled on a sweater yet? Here in Scotland the cautious flirtation with Autumn has ceased: we are now in a committed relationship. Continue reading
I know it sounds a bit gloomy to pop ‘summer’s end’ into the title, but it does seem appropriate. September is nigh, and unless you are of a southern hemisphere persuasion, autumn is here in all but name.
I may be a bit of a weirdo but I quite like autumn. I like its colours, textures and tastes: bumpy, rough apples with their creamy sweet-sharp flesh; prickly brambles, daring you to pluck their dark treasures; kale – proud and tall – emerald leaves fanned like peacocks. Even the air is different – better – tinged as it is with illicit bonfires and hints of vegetal decay. All seasons have their plus points: who can’t say that spring, with its shyly peeking plants and lengthening days isn’t welcome? But, at least here in the UK, early autumn is the best of all seasons – fresh food in abundance, dry warm-ish days and nights finally cool enough to sleep through. Unless you wake up with loads of crazy ideas that is. Continue reading
Can’t you just taste it? The sweet sticky-salty gingery flakes of salmon cosied up with crunchy veg and gloriously starchy brown sushi rice? Wow. I don’t think I have ever used that many y’s in one sentence. This is a dish that invites not only the y’s but also the hows. Continue reading
Cymbeline, Act 3, Scene 4, Lines 136-7. By William Shakespeare.
The three weeks of unalloyed golden heat have come to an abrupt end. And for some, not a moment too soon.
This was a most un-British of heatwaves: lasting, parching, predictable. We are used to our heatwaves coming in waves – crashing into the working week then rolling away by the week’s end, leaving only plant-shredding hailstones and blown over garden furniture. We are conditioned by years of experience to never expect a day of unbroken sunshine, never mind weeks of the stuff. And so when it happens, we are unsettled and disoriented. You see us bumbling about in our hastily-bought tank tops and shorts, fretting about whether or not to tuck a brolly in our bag (is it tempting fate not to? Will the heaven’s open and it be all our fault?). We smile a lot too. Or is that squinting at the sight of the light that burns? Continue reading
Welcome to our new favourite summer salad. Why is this our favourite? Well, it is at once creamy, crunchy, savoury, tangy, slightly bitter and ever so slightly sweet (from the corn). We love what I call ‘dimensional salads’: ones that not only have complementing textures, but also complementing flavours – and this is definitely one of those. There is even a little pop from the quinoa, which I liken – if cooked less than the packet instructs – to those crackly pop rocks candies we used to get as kids. Minus the sweetness and weird science-experiment ingredients, of course. I was inspired to make this health-giving bowl of goodness from a recipe I saw in Yotam Ottolenghi’s second book, Plenty (avocado, quinoa and broad bean salad). I have made many versions of this textural salad in the past couple of years, but this is probably my favourite. I tend to add so many vegetables that it is always bigger than the bowl I have for it. That’s a good thing, right? We ate it in last week’s long anticipated sunshine, but with a new ingredient. One of which I believe Mr Ottolenghi would approve. Continue reading
Because this is a rather detailed recipe I will keep my usual rambling preamble brief-ish. But take heart, it is only long because I have lavishly described the ins and outs of the gnocchi-making process, and given three ways to roll it out. In fact, I think it may take longer to read this post than it will to make this dish. If you heroically read through to the end of the recipe you will see that gnocchi is quite a playful, fun thing to prepare. Not at all daunting, unlike a souffle or creme brulee, or any one of a number of dishes we foodies/gourmands/greedy guts feel we should tackle in our lifetime. Once you get the rolling out down-pat the whole process shouldn’t take much longer than 20 minutes, not including an optional timeout (the dough, not you) in the fridge. It’s just that my ramblings only make it seem like the War and Peace of recipes, rather than the Very Hungry Caterpillar recipe that it is. 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