perfect pasta for a heat wave! tomatoes with basil and breadcrumbs

tomatoes with basil and breadcrumbs
We're having a heat wave,
A tropical heat wave,
The temperature's rising,
It isn't surprising,
She certainly can can-can. 

Well my anatomy is not likely, as Irving Berlin wrote, likely to make "the mercury jump to ninety-three" but this simple tomato and pasta dish "proves that she certainly can can-can" make a perfect dish for a blistering hot September day!

a lively marinade for chicken wings

lively marinaded chicken
English weather is topsy-turvy at the best of times and right now is no different. In mid September, it felt as if autumn was well and truly on its way. Chilly mornings and evenings and damp air all around. But it that beautifully perverse way that English weather has, as October approaches so does the balmy weather and that Indian summer we thought had passed us by has firmly come to stay.

tips: 4 interesting things to do with vinegar

I have recently been having a bit of an autumn clean up - cleaning my windows with a final spritz of vinegar which makes windows seem to glow and stops them looking streaky.

I was curious about what other household uses vinegar might have, not just in the kitchen and I was able to find a whole plethora. In fact I found so many that I think there might be a book in it! (I suspect it has been done before!)

sussex stewed steak

sussex stewed steak
A dark sticky stew, the meat a rich mahogany colour and a melt-in-the mouth texture full of beguiling savoury flavours. It is perfect for frugal times since this recipe stands up well with cheaper cuts of beef and is also worth the long cooking - particularly now the autumn evening chill seems to be settling in. It is simplicity itself. 

the full english!

the full english!
I have recently been rereading Phillip Kerr's wonderful Bernie Gunther detective novels. Don't worry I am not trying to convert anyone to the joys of detective literature, (although I would if I could get away with it!) No, there is definitely a food point to this posting. I am just going to make you work a little for it. 

A man is in general better pleased when he has good dinner on his table than when his wife talks Greek!

So said Samuel Johnson - a rather strange man; a bit of an odd-ball who was well known for his lack of social skills. (It is now suspected that he may have suffered from Tourette Syndrome). But what he lacked in charm he made up for his incredible contribution to the English language and to English literature. The man was a genius . . . however, very much a man of the 18th century, he wasn't fond of cucumbers (believing them to be poisonous) and he was certainly not in favour of female emancipation.

malay curry puffs

malay curry puffs
It was the last gasp of summer and I made my favourite childhood treat, the curry puff, for a drinks party in the garden. I haven't made them in a while and since my pastry-handling skills are not the best, it seemed like a good idea to get in practice . . . Christmas is on the horizon and these are perfect party nibbles.

elderberry cordial - great tasting anti-flu in a mug

My guest blogger, Heathcliffe's second blog post.

elderberry cordial
So. It's Elderberry season. And Flu season. Luckily, in a game of rock-scissors-paper-elderberry-flu; Elderberry beats flu.  

In essence: when you get flu, the viruses invade your cells, hijack the mechanics and turn the cells in to virus making machines . . . cranking out copies of the virus faster than your body can deal with them. The neuraminidase inhibiting chemicals in elderberries are one of the few things clinically proven to slow down their spread.

prawns with harissa dipping sauce and cumin salt

Prawns served with the spicy chilli dip, harissa and a squeeze of lime brings back memories of a holiday in Tunisia.

I actually got the idea for the recipe from an old copy of Australian Gourmet Traveller, one of my favourite food magazines, which in its turn got the inspiration from a chef called Matthew Gudykunst from the Smolt restaurant in Tasmania. And that’s all she wrote.

nut and mozzarella lamb kebabs

nut, mozzarella and lamb kebabs
Silvena Rowe's Purple Citrus + Sweet Perfume is a glorious adventure in the food of the Eastern Mediterranean. This is the cuisine of the Ottoman Empire; of the Oriental Mediterranean from eastern Europe, the Balkans and the Crimea to Turkey, the Lebanon and Syria. A style of cooking that certainly here in Britain, we seem to be much less familiar with. If this is a best kept secret in the culinary world then it is one that is screaming out to be made heard. So please pass it on!

eating for england

Faster, higher, stronger?
I am ready to serve my country . . .

I realise that recently I have been concentrating on the favourite food of the kind of people who like lots of variety in flavours and textures. Mezze, tapas and antipasti are perfect, not just for the summer (what summer I hear you ask, as the rain pelts past the window), but for champion nibblers like me. In fact, if grazing were an Olympic sport, I suspect I would have a shot at medal glory.