Golden Apple Pie Pancakes (gf/df) with Salted Caramel Sauce (easily veganised)

apple pie pancakes with slated caramelA few months back I eavesdropped on a Twitter conversation. This is unusual for me as I’m not normally prone to eavesdropping. Unlike in real life, where I am shy and retiring (cough), on Twitter I have no qualms about twanging a conversation thread with an unasked-for opinion or observation. Most people are pretty polite, as long as you don’t insult them. But in this case I wanted to know more. And I didn’t want to look foolish about my lack of experience.

Before you jump to all kinds of inappropriate conclusions, I was in fact eavesdropping on a conversation about chestnut flour. I know, how exciting is that? Other folk are meeting friends for drinks, or trading bonds and whatnot and I’m lurking on Twitter following a convo about flour. Continue reading

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Tandoori Lentil, Potato and Eggplant (Aubergine) Hash

tandoori lentil potato and eggplant hashNo 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

‘Creamy’ Broccoli-Basil Soup with Crisp Wonton Twists

broccoli basil soupJanuary 2014 Update: If you are here by way of Morrison’s magazine, thanks so much for stopping by Food to Glow, and you are very welcome. This is an older post so please feel free to look around or click on the Home button (above) and find out what’s new around here. PS the recipe is further down. Please do scroll past the preamble if you are in a hurry. I’ll never know…

By all rights we should be getting well and truly tired of sups. In fact, I have a good friend who swears off the stuff after St Patrick’s Day, opting for salads and wraps even if the mercury is mired in single digits and sleety rain. But I’m not quite ready to abandon my comfort blanket of warmed and blended vegetables, pulses and herbs just yet. How about you?

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Caponata: So Summery Sicilian Vegetable Stew

caponataCaponata 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

Ma Po Tofu: Revisiting A Chinese Classic

You don’t know how much I wanted to title this “Pock Marked Old Woman with a Drunken Sailor.” I could have got a whole new readership on that one title alone. Possibly not a readership whose comments I could publish. More the readership that clicks on ‘certain’ ads, for ‘certain’ products, shall we say.

So I resisted. The reason it was tempting was because, if you remember from awhile back, when I posted Cauliflower and Almond Pizza with Fresh Sauce and Greens, I mentioned this very translation. I did a whole post on odd-to-Western-ears translations, but Ma Po Tofu was my favourite, mainly because it is also my favourite Chinese dish.  Although disputed here in this very odd tale, the classic Sichuan recipe roughly translates as ‘pock marked old woman.’ So, joining in the spirit of poetic namings, I thought that the dry sherry and salmon could be the drunken sailor.  But then you probably wouldn’t want to try what to me is the best Chinese dish ever.  And trust me, you want to try it. Continue reading

Crispy Sichuan Pepper Mackerel with Rhubarb and Star Anise Sauce

I think today is the last of our summer days for a wee while. Unlike in many other countries, where seasons are either clearly defined, or a climate firmly established, Britain seems subject to the vagaries of a temperate maritime climate. I know by very definition ‘temperate’ should exclude ‘vagary,’ but with the Arctic systems looming large and frigid to our north, and an ill-mannered jet stream popping up and down like an attention-seeking toddler, we just don’t stand a chance at settled weather.

So, for the past week and a bit we here on this tiny weather-whipped island have been going at the barbecuing and skin-frying like there’s no tomorrow. Not for us the gradual tan or the weekend grill-out – oh no. The smells of lotion and charred meat have been wafting our way, every day, since the mercury nudged above 20C a week ago. And now it’s due to drift away and be replaced by a more skin-friendly 15C. I for one am a little bit, whispering this, grateful. It is heck of a difficult to be self-employed (-ish) when the usual, work-friendly Zeus-like clouds and wind are replaced by warm zephyrs and sunrise-to-sunset sunshine. It is frankly too much to bear. But bear it we must for another day or two. Once we are back on track with the scudding clouds and jolly hailstones I promise to break out the salad recipes. In the meantime, a seasonal, lightly cooked recipe: interim fare for interim times.  Continue reading

Quick Rosemary and Olive Potatoes and a Diet Book with a Difference (Review & Giveaway)

EATING FREE, by Manuel Villacorta, RD, MS, CSSD – a book review

On the back of award-winning dietitian Manuel Villacorta’s new book, Eating Free, is the headline, “Lose Weight and Look Great Without Gimmicks and Guilt.” This is from a man who proposes that potential pound shedders eat carbs and exercise less. On the face of it this sounds like the proverbial snake-oil salesman of old, with his bottles of magic elixir to cure lameness, or baldness, or both. It just sounds impossible; the stuff of fairytales. Continue reading

Sage and Walnut Cauliflower Cheese

We’re nearly there. The end of seemingly endless January. And it’s not been too awful, considering. Normally January is a clone of December, minus the parties, food, presents, fun. But, at least here in the UK, it’s not been too bad. Not bad at all: no snow to speak of, glorious crisp light, mild verging-on-balmy temperatures, and a gradual lengthening of day that is apparent to all but the most dreary of people.

Yesterday I overheard a gaggle of older ladies moaning about the dark days and the “bitter, bitter cold”. I felt like reminding them that we have almost 2 hours more light than on Christmas Day, and that 10 C is pretty darn warm for the time of year. We actually have colder summer days. It is very possible that these women are the same ones I hear complaining loudly about the July heat, while wearing tweed coats and hats. If you live in Edinburgh, you know what I’m talking about!

Other than the instant balm of a cheering cup of tea, one thing that might brighten these ladies up is a nice plate of cauliflower cheese. Continue reading

Beef and Winter Vegetable Casserole with Orange and Star Anise

This past week has been an especially food-centric one. Not one in which I cooked a heck of a lot, but we certainly ate well. You see, my younger sis was in town. Not that a visit from her would stop me from cooking – far from it – but as her visit was fleeting, we made the most of her time in my anything-but-boring adopted city. We were out every day, and I enjoyed seeing her appreciation of the beauty and excitement that is Edinburgh at this time of year. From the brightly painted storefronts in individual, boutiquey Stockbridge (Galeries Mirage is my favourite shop) to the grand Georgian splendour of George Street (the Dome is looking particularly stunning), we covered a fair bit on her short visit. Courtesy of Mr A, we even had afternoon tea and a massage – at the posh yet faintly spooky Hotel du Vin and award-winning Zen Lifestyle, respectively. Although the weather was rather chilly and windy, instead of complaining she just wore all of my warm clothes. At once. I even temporarily convinced her that my ‘Russian’ fake fur hat was fashionable. {Julie, I have deleted the photos. Promise} Continue reading

Butternut Squash and Tofu Curry Laksa

Edinburgh Maggie’s Cancer Caring Centres turned 15 this past week. Born from one woman’s idea of supporting those affected by cancer in a beautiful space, and with cancer support specialists, the Edinburgh centre was the first of 15 such centres around the UK. More are being built around the world as I write. Maggie herself, who died before the landmark Edinburgh centre was completed, would be truly stunned at her legacy. It is a remarkable place that means a lot to so many.

As for myself, every time I step through the elegant, transparent front door I am suffused with a sense of calm. Even when I am running late and the rain is lashing down while I’m bringing in nutrition workshop bits and bobs, my breathing slows and my shoulders drop. The natural light, the colourful handmade cushions, the burbling of the ever-on kettle, and of course the wonderful volunteers and staff, make this building so welcoming. Like a beautiful friend who also happens to have a PhD in something useful, the Maggies’ Centres combine form and function to great effect.

The occasion/achievement of turning 15 was marked with a day-long open-house event attended by I don’t know how many hundreds of people: a teensy bit like some fifteen-year olds’ Facebook -advertised birthday parties – minus the smuggled in alcohol and broken furniture. But unlike the parties our teens get asked to this one served soup (I made soup for 300), fresh bread and tables of delicious-looking home-baking. I say ‘looking’ because I didn’t get a chance to sample any. I was too busy getting a ‘soup sauna’, as wit and colleague Issy dubbed it, ladling out this and this.  Volunteer Margaret did a fab job with the mental maths and money collecting while I ladled and chatted over my two 37-litre soup pots. It was a terrific atmosphere with lots of laughter, cake eating, and surreptitious ogling of Maggie’s Scotland rugby team calendar. And lots of ‘friends reunited’.   Continue reading