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
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
When it comes to food, does your inspiration well ever run dry? I must admit that, even though I teach about healthy eating for a living, I am sometimes stumped when it comes to snacks. If I am feeling a bit peckish I am as likely as the next person to be tempted by anything random, easy or rubbish that happens to have made its way into the house. Months’ old marshmallows from a summer barbeque (s’mores of course), old tortilla chips that need reviving in the oven, cheese of dubious age lurking in the inner recesses of the fridge: anything is eligible. Of course I always try and have more suitable grazing fodder around. I really do. But sometimes you want something that seems, well, a bit delinquent. Do you ever feel that way? Does your inner-child ever want to come out and wreak havoc in the kitchen?
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
A quick post today, but hopefully none the worse for it. I have a good excuse: as well as working I have been busy cooking, scribbling and snapping for an upcoming Easy Food Gifts For Friends and Family post. After a good bit of thought, and a thumb through some old cookbooks and recipes, I have put together a small but wide-ranging collection of easy to make holiday treats suitable for sharing with foodie friends and family. I will also give links to fabulous ideas from other food bloggers. Can’t wait!
Two weeks ago I was writing a post in bare feet and with a glass of freshly squeezed, tree-fresh orange juice at my elbow. Today, at a sparklingly sunny 5.5 C, I greet you with double layer socks, a woollen under-clothing shoulder warmer thingy, and a ridiculous number of layers. I am also jiggling my legs and flexing my toes to keep the circulation going. With any luck these fidgety movements will also burn a few calories. Don’t scoff: I’ve read that’s one reason slim people are slim. Must be worth a shot.
Across the northerly latitudes many a home-based worker will currently have on some version of my keep-warm-this-winter gear. Perhaps you yourself are sporting a fleecy leisure garment, or even some flannel. I am anticipating serious scarf action and fingerless gloves, a la Steptoe, in the not-too-distant future. And I’ve looked out my stash of jaunty berets and ski hats. I’m not joking.
At this time of year I can forget what a sight I must look, a combination of lost Inuit and itinerate gardener. Not infrequently do I open the door to wide-eyed unsuspecting neighbours hoping only for a small favour or to give me something from their garden. They cover it well but I must look such a wild contrast to how I appear when going out for the day. Or rather I hope it’s a wild contrast. I could in fact be setting myself up for an awful Trinny and Susannah-style makeover from ‘kind’ friends and relatives. As long as they let me keep my shoulder warmer…
After promising from the little box on the right-hand side that I would post this recipe, at last it is here. Just in the nick of time, before the British seasonal courgettes are finished. I know you haven’t been waiting with bated breath, but I can’t believe I have waited so long to post this fabby soup.
I love soup (as any right-minded person would) and this one is one of my most favourite, and easiest to make. Because it is so quick and simple it often features at my summer Maggie’s Centre nutrition workshops, where everyone seems to really enjoy it and want to make it at home. Energy and tastebuds certainly take a hit during cancer treatment so it’s great to have a bung it all together kind of recipe that tastes great, is nutritious and freezes well for another day. I am always immensely pleased when anyone says that they enjoyed their lunch at Maggie’s, but especially so by those whose appetite and taste are affected by treatment. I will be putting more of my easy, Maggie’s Centre-tried and tested recipes up for you and your family to try. In the meantime I really hope you go for this one. If you like Italian tastes but want something ultra-light, creamy-tasting but still filling, this might just do. Continue reading
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
This morning I realised we are experiencing an inexorable slide to ‘porridge weather’. All summer I have been vacillating between starting the day with berries and yogurt, poached egg with asparagus, and a breakfast bruschetta of chopped cherry tomatoes, olive oil & basil on sourdough. All very delicious and light. But this morning – without any thought behind it – I reached into the cupboard and pulled out a forlorn packet of Scottish porridge oats. Using a half and half mixture of soya milk and water, I simmered this companionable pairing before adding dried goji berries and a grating of apple. And it was heavenly. If that doesn’t say ‘autumn’ I’m not sure what does.
But it wasn’t just the instinctively pre-hibernation breakfast that signaled summer’s end. Although it doesn’t yet feel too chilly, the other omens are abundantly clear: more than the odd brown leaf on the lawn, mystery mushrooms colonising under the oak tree, a lower, moodier sky. But my most accurate harbinger is the two extra bodies on the bed. Today Mr A and I awoke to find our cats nestled and immovable among the folds of the the duvet.
Over the years we have realised that as soon as Max and Mimi pad up from the cool and serene downstairs to warm and cosy upstairs, summer is well and truly behind us. So, barring a freak heat wave (highly unlikely) it won’t be long until we fire up the central heating and start moaning about the cost of it. Until then it is an extra layer and the comfort of cat-warmed feet. Continue reading
I love being away. Especially when it’s to familiar, yet massively exciting London with my family. But, boy do I love coming home. I bet you are the same. There is something about your own bed and bath that is quite primal. Safety and familiar-comforts ultimately trump the unknown – however much fun. But we really had a terrific time, despite some pre-travel nerves at arriving while the situation in London was still volatile. Well I was jittery, Mr A and Miss R were their usual breezy, up-for-it selves. And they of course were right. We had a ball.
Although the riots and the lead up to them were deeply worrying and unsettling, the London we experienced was universally uplifting and positive. Everyone we encountered was friendly, helpful and polite – from the harassed Tube station staff (I was the zillionth person to ask the same dumb question), the stall holders in every market we visited, to the alarmingly young and fresh-faced policemen and women we asked directions. Even when I just about took out an elderly lady with my oversized ‘new’ vintage bag, having spied yet another pop-up vintage market to blow my money in, she just smiled and said, ‘It’s awright, my love’.
We also have the same experience in Paris. It always surprises us that London, and Paris in particular, is perceived as being populated with surly, eye contact-avoiding citizens who would sooner spit on you than help you. A little effort with the language, a show of politeness, and a smile are all we have ever found necessary to get on in these famously bustling cities. Maybe we have just been lucky but I do think that a bit of the old ‘do unto others as you would be done by’ can’t hurt.