Indonesian-ish Turkey (or Tofu) Fried Rice with Homemade Kecap Manis

indonesian turkey fried riceGot 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

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Baked Marinara-stuffed Arancini (Risotto Balls) – low-fat, lemony and delicious

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

Pan-fried Hake with Brown Shrimp and Caper Butter Sauce

After a summer of eating primarily with my fingers – the occasional appearance of fork and spoon notwithstanding (as an American I really don’t do knives) – I fancy a bit of, well, fancy. A spot of elegance. Something I can’t be tempted to scoop up with a flatbread or teeter atop a crisp bread. But, if you know me you know I don’t do fancy, or neat, or any of those other adjectives one may associate with ‘normal’ food bloggers and food writers.  In fact, rather than try and change I rather cling to my messiness. Fine dining is why I will go to a restaurant, not what I aspire to at home. I am essentially a home cook who happens to also cook for others, and write about it too. Continue reading

Goats Cheese, Swiss Chard and Walnut Strudel with Tomato Fondue

I dreamt of this combination one recent night. Luckily for me I keep a notepad and pencil on my bedside table (along with many tubes of hand cream for my dishpan hands), so was able to capture it before it slipped away into the dawning light. The sharpish, minerally flavours of the strudel with the almost-sweet, Spanish inspired flavours in the tomato fondue may sound unusual, but I do think they work. Whoever said ‘dreams can come true’ was right on this occasion. We wolfed down both strudels before I could take more than a few photos. I could however have taken a lot of pictures of flaky crumbs and smiling faces.  Continue reading

Crispy and Sticky Black Pepper Tofu

By now regular (and cherished) readers will have got the message that I am a) animal-mad, b) a bit of a nutrition geek, c) have a thing for tofu. I am also rather fond of big flavours – clashing, bold, in-your-face tastes and aromas. Maybe it’s because my eyesight is a bit poor, and my hearing isn’t too far behind, but I can’t be doing with too many bland or one-note foods.

Although I do graze from the fruit bowl and pick through the nut jar, I truly have a hard time sitting down and eating, say,  a banana – I want it sliced and sprinkled with cardamom. I must be a latent sensationalist, and instead of kite-surfing or gambling I find my thrills with food. But not in a quantitative, all-you-can-eat kind of way (well, not usually); for me it’s about the sensuous meeting of taste, smell, texture, sight and even touch. Think of how much nicer it is to eat corn from a cob, dripping with real butter, than to chase the kernels around your plate with a fork. Or appreciating the pop and sizzle of a stir-fry –  the hot smell of ginger and garlic taking over your kitchen, your house.  Many a fully-booked Malaysian and Korean restaurant says that I am not alone in my love of big flavours. I suspect that you have such leanings too.  Continue reading

North African Okra Tagine with Spiced Crispy Tofu

The basis of of this delicious autumnal jackpot of a recipe is thanks to
the estimable Martha Rose Shulman, food editor at The New York Times. I saw a link to her recipe on Twitter, and as I just happened to have a wee bag of the hairy little guys, I thought I’d have a go.  The okra was originally destined for a dip in spiced cornmeal and then shallow-fried to crispy Southern perfection, but this sounded much healthier, and indeed would be a main meal.

We really loved it, so much so that I had to hide the pan away so that it could be re-presented the next day: ‘Greed, not need’ seems to be our family motto.  Continue reading

Baked Veracruz Fish with a Twist

Fish. Love or hate kind of food. Like mushrooms or liver, fish will either elicit an “ooh, love fish,” or an “Ugh, smelly, horrible. Can’t stand the stuff”. Well, maybe not that black and white, but nearly.

Despite growing up in Florida I didn’t eat that much fish, unless it came with a side of coleslaw and hush puppies (the cornmeal-based fritter, not the soft shoe beloved of jazz musicians and math teachers). It’s not that I didn’t like it, rather that I wasn’t exposed to good fish dishes.

By the time I started cooking properly for myself I was married and living in the UK. Shortly after moving to the UK I found that eating meat didn’t agree with me at all. At home in Florida I could polish off White Castle burgers and steak tacos with the best of them, but post-move even the plainest of meats made me feel quite unwell. The only thing I could put it down to was the fact that the beef cattle in the UK were at the time raised on a different diet to their US brethern, especially in the winter when they would get a lot of root crops (another thing I couldn’t digest well, not having eaten many before. Florida doesn’t have the weather for many root veg). It got me thinking about the fact that we eat what the animals we eat, eats. Does that make sense?
Continue reading

Lemony Courgette and Fine Bean Tagliatelle in Herbed Creme Fraiche

I hope you all had a fine weekend of doing not very much. Or at least doing something that you wanted to do. Weekends are often the time when busy folk do all the mundane things they didn’t have time to get to during the week – weed-pulling, bill paying, car tinkering,…hen house clearing (me). But, as a discerning and cultured person, I am sure that you are much more interesting than that. While I am cleaning the chicken coop or sniffing and squeezing melons at Lidl, I imagine that you are meeting friends at some smart gallery for a bone-china cup of tea and a peruse of the paintings. Or at least enjoying a good book in the garden.

These are things I enjoy as well, but sometimes a bit of scrubbing, buffing and straightening are fine, too. As it happens, Mr A was away in Portugal smacking a tiny white ball around, and as he is the main instigator/scheduler in casa foodtoglow, Miss R and I were left to our own devices. Did we get all dressed up and go to Harvey Nichols to exclaim at the price tags and nibble sushi? Did we put the top down on my cute little pistachio-coloured Figaro and drive down the coast, hair flying, stereo cranked? Did we heck. Despite visions of girlie bonding time the reality of this past weekend was a homework marathon for Miss R (I know – what’s the rush?) and me on my knees scrubbing floors. And, do you know what? It was good. Sad, I know, but sometimes it’s just what is needed. Continue reading

Rocket Fritatta and Some Dinky Courgette-Parmesan Frittatas

As usual I am getting a bit carried away. For some weeks I have been threatening, from my little box thing on the right of each post, to give you a simple rocket (arugula) frittata. Here it is. But I also have a massive amount of sweet young courgettes (zucchini) to work my way through. I will try your patience over the next few weeks with a few courgette-based recipes, but I promise they will be easy, a bit different, and packed with flavour. All Scottish crops have grown like billy-o with their near-daily soaking, and courgettes are no exception. Rocket too. But I will give the courgettes a rest soon. In the meantime, bear with me as I work my way through many kilos of this easy to grow vegetable. You have been warned. Continue reading

Turmeric and Lime Salmon with Baked Lime-scented Rice

I’m hunched over my laptop while the rest of Edinburgh – and many thousands of visitors – are queueing for some of the 2542 different shows on offer during the three weeks of the Edinburgh Fringe. Like the original, more high-brow Edinburgh International Festival, ‘the Fringe’ is part of 11 official festivals that pop up annually in Edinburgh – six during the peak tourism months of August and September. One of my favourites is the Mela, a smaller southeast Asian festival with an international flair. You can watch flamenco, bhangra, African drumming and capoeira while munching on mainly Pakistani and Indian delicacies and waiting for a sari fashion show to start.  Multi-culturalism at its most accessible.

But the Fringe – officially the largest arts festival in the world – is arguably the best known and best-loved of all the festivals. Comedy is definitely king in this city but serious and not so-serious theatre, music of all descriptions, poetry readings, children’s shows, cabaret,  dance and physical theatre are all here as well. And you can see something almost 24/7 –  great if you are jet-lagged and have no idea what time, or even day, it is.

Performers from all over the world come to Edinburgh to make their name
during these three intense, and at times overwhelming, weeks. Perhaps they have been inspired by the likes of Hugh Laurie (House), Rowan Atkinson (Mr Bean), Steven Fry (polymath) and Emma Thompson (Oscar-winning actress etc), among many others who were talent spotted in this very city. Even if you never make it to a show (and locals complain bitterly in the local paper about the ‘London prices’) it is a must to at least wander around the Old and New Towns celeb spotting (John Malkovich two days ago) and watching the brilliant (free!) street performers and their eclectic audiences. It’s a real spectator’s paradise too, watching all the Lady Gaga-wannabes, perambulation-challenged fashionistas (which is amusing, as it almost always rains) and the period-costumed performers catching buses and hailing taxis. Maybe when I finish writing this up I will grab my umbrella and go do some celeb-spotting myself. But first, the salmon. Continue reading