Yes, I have looked at the calendar. Yes I do realise that it is November. I even suspect that some of you will have had to plough your driveway to get to work, or at least switch from shorts to long trousers. In fact today here in Edinburgh we awoke to our first bright and frosty morning – all sparkly sidewalks and retina-searing but ineffective sun. And, here I am blogging about salad. Not a little – possibly acceptable – side salad, but a proper, in your face, entire meal kind of salad. With protein, fat, carbohydrates – the lot. Continue reading
When I think of gratins (more often than you might imagine) I think of a dense pile of creamy, cheesey thinly sliced potatoes, bubbling and browned. A dish so rich that when you dig out a lush spoonful it is umbilically attached by a stretch of gooey cheese. Now that’s a gratin. Continue reading
After last week’s one ingredient recipe (labneh) today I hit you smack in the chops with this multi-ingredient, multi-step dish. It may look a bit daunting, but really, if you have made a dal (or even lentil soup) before this is just a slight elaboration. Essentially this is a thick, fragrant dal (which basically just simmers away quietly to itself) topped with some fresh chopped bits, a quickly-made sauce (no chopping, just warming) and an Indian snack mix.
To make it easier, prepare the dal ahead and just warm it through when you want to eat. If pressed for time, skip the sweet-tart sticky sauce and just spritz with lime or use a prepared tamarind chutney. Definitely keep the crunchy stuff.
I don’t know why I am trying to talk you out of the whole shebang because it isn’t difficult, and the result is texture and flavour heaven. I could eat this stuff every day. 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
Although, living in Scotland, I no longer celebrate the 4th of July as such – it’s often a work day – it is fun to mark it with some kind of barbecue. If the weather plays ball that is. And so far so good on that score, if you don’t mind it a shade on the cool and breezy side. I know the 4th of July isn’t *just* about barbecues. There’s the whole ‘we are free from the Brits’ thing as well. Not really something that I can celebrate too enthusiastically under the circumstances. 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
This redder-than-red curry not only looks amazing (for a curry that is – curries not being known for their looks), but features homemade paneer cheese. Yes, homemade cheese. An easy, fail-safe cheese. How good is that?
It gets better. Well, maybe not better-better, but better for you. Not only is it pretty (-ish) and has homemade cheese, this curry is also cheap, nutritious and quite low in fat. Woo hoo! Continue reading
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
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