Peeking shyly from sandy soil, these soldiers of Spring are a true April-May delicacy. Whether pale, undercover and interesting, exotic purple or (appropriately) spring-green, asparagus attracts us like no other vegetable. A few of you may demure from its herbal charms, but for the rest of us the arrival of this short-lived crop is nothing short of sigh-inducing. It is one of the few vegetables that really is at its best nearly naked, save for a butter sauce, or something like this carrot-miso concoction. To be honest, I like it best plainly roasted, then finished off with lemon and salt as it comes out of the oven. If I can be bothered it instead gets tossed onto a griddle pan to get those pretty, restauranty charred bits, but the oven is fine. I could eat it this way for days on end, only turning to ‘fancier stuff’ like this sauce when the sudden novelty wears off, or when just a heap of oddly-addictive vegetation – no matter how wonderful – won’t suffice. 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
Until yesterday this post was going to be the usual recipe with some nutrition facts thrown in. But today’s BBC headline story, “Processed Meat Early Death Link,” has rather shifted my focus. I won’t dwell too long on this issue (by my definition at least), but as many of you – including myself – eat some meat, the most recent large-scale research findings may prick up your ears. Continue reading
This recipe is one I make quite often at this time of year. But it is only one of many things that can be done with the humble cauli. Appropriately frugal in both expense and calories, winter cauliflower is a fairly magical vegetable. With little effort the pretty pale curds can be transformed into a credible mashed potato and rice substitute (paleo-adherents love this brassica), as well as being an equal partner in the UK’s number one comfort food, cauliflower cheese. I and others also like it tossed in a little oil and lemon or balsamic vinegar then roasted to golden perfection in a hot oven. And soon I will be posting how to make this vegetable go from pale to pukka in just a few ingredients. Continue reading
I was almost going to call this A Nearly Store Cupboard Shakshuka, but I realised that might be a tad presumptuous. I have had plenty of times in my life when the cupboards contained barely a tin of soup, let alone the fixings for a whole meal, so I can’t assume that the likes of marinated artichoke hearts are going to be sitting idle in your pantry. Tinned tomatoes, I hope, but perhaps not the ‘chokes or the roasted peppers. The point is that these aren’t fresh, and you don’t have to do anything but chop them and thrown them in the sauce. And they are optional anyway. So it’s just plain old Easy Shakshuka. I digress… Continue reading
Growing up in the Deep South, peanuts and peanutty foods were part of my scenery, rather like chips are here in Scotland, or good bread is in France. At its most basic is the peanut butter and jelly sandwich: always on white bread and usually with wobbly Concord grape jelly oozing out of the sides. This sandwich is an everyman food that literally everyone, whether rich or poor, black or white, Democrat or Republican, is happy to eat. A good honest sandwich. Real sweet-tooths might sub the jelly for marshmallow Fluff (the Fluffernutter), but neither is anything without a solid slather of peanut butter. 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
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
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