|homemade spicy pork scratchings|
|char siu chinese barbecue pork|
|spicy butterbean and tomato stew with |
Turkish garlic sausage (sujuk)
I am yet to find the magic de-cheeser (and if anyone knows of one, please let me know), but I have discovered that Italians, being a thrifty bunch, have a fabulous way of using up leftover pasta by using it in frittatas including a little leftover sauce too.
claudia roden's tagine of chicken with preserved lemon and green olives (tagine djaj bi zaytoun wal hamid)
|tagine of chicken with preserved lemons, green olives, coriander and parsley|
While this is another wonderful seasonally warming dish (and a lovely taste of the sun in the depths of winter), it is one that makes a regular appearance at my table, all year around.
|citron beldi (Marakech lemons)|
It's a given that I liked to potter around grocery shops, to find out what they've got, what's new or unfamiliar to me. It's my favourite type of shopping and browsing.
|fat couscous (mograbiah) with harissa |
and orange dressing
|Valentine shortbread hearts: |
clementine and dark chocolate
Sugar for my honey,
Your first sweet kiss thrilled me so.
Sweets for my sweet,
Sugar for my honey,
I'll never ever let you go.
(Doc Pomus and
Mort Shuman - 1961)
I am not sure whether it is worse to be single on Valentine's Day, or whether it is actually worse to be in a relationship, what with the neon-pink commercialisation that has vanquished all of the dewy-eyed innocence of earlier centuries. But hey ho, it's the thought that counts and this heart-shaped sweet treat works beautifully as a delicious gesture of love, whichever day it is.
|Italian-style stuffed pancakes with ricotta,|
and tomato and mushroom sauce
I made some last year but the photographs I took looked like a dog's dinner - if that dinner had been ravaged by frenzied wolves. Pretty it was not, unless you like your food to have the appearance of some kind of slasher movie gore-fest.
I still haven't got the picture right, but what I can tell you is that while it may not be pretty, it tastes gorgeous and appeals to my sense of taste which mostly craves an intensely savoury experience.
|Shrove Tuesday pancakes or |
the home of The Clangers?
Our television (and yes, in those days, most families only had one), was positioned high up on top of a large wooden cabinet in our living room, out of reach of little hands. (Well my hands in particular.)
greet the new year and encounter happiness: honey and ginger roasted chicken thighs for Chinese New Year
|sticky Chinese-style honey and ginger chicken thighs|
Chinese New Year begins on 10 February this year. I already know what I'll be cooking. (It's Sunday, so I shall be roasting pork, but in a Chinese style rather than in a more traditional British way). But if you haven't thought about celebrating, but feel like something savoury, succulent, sweet and spicy; where you probably have half of the store cupboard ingredients, then this could be the recipe for you. Roast some chicken thighs in a sweet, sticky marinade of honey, garlic and ginger and say hello to the Year of the Snake.
|celeriac, onion and Stilton pithiver|
As the rapturous reception dies down, the applause quietens, and the cheers of "Oh my god, Rachel, that's amazing!" fade away, I blush prettily, shrug modestly and murmur "Oh it was nothing, but I'd like to thank . . ."
And the cheesy, dreamy fantasy bursts as I come down to earth and look at expectant supper-hungry faces - "Well it looks alright, but what's in it?" and my particular favourite "It's vegetarian? I don't eat vegetarian".
|nigel slater's carrot and coriander fritters|
|chicken stewed with Berber red spice paste|
"Well, Nigel Slater and Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall are rather good," I said.
"Are they on television?" He asked plaintively. "Yes," I replied, "but they don't shout". "Then no," my friend said firmly. Well that narrowed things down a lot.
"Not too old-fashioned," he said. "And I want pictures, and a few anecdotes but definitely no shouting. Or models. Or bloody fairy lights!"
|broccoli and blue cheese soup|
Beautiful cruciferous broccoli isn't just a vegetable to be served as a side dish. It's bitter-sweet intensely green flavour works beautifully in soup. Broccoli also has an affinity for strong salty flavours, so adding blue cheese is a marriage made in soup heaven!
|snowdrops in my garden|
She will creep behind the stove in March.
(Traditional English saying)
Clearly whoever came up with that saying had never met my cat; a cat so indolent that she never gets out of bed for anything less than nuclear fusion. (She spends an awful lot of time in bed!)
This morning was beautifully sunny. Definitely cold, but you can almost smell spring is on the horizon. So if you want to put the drab, dark days of winter behind you and put a little colour into your culinary life, then it is the right time to celebrate rhubarb.