a zesty beluga lentil and roasted tomato salad with herbs

a zesty beluga lentil and roasted tomato salad with herbs
I love the taste and texture of beluga (black) lentils, so-called for their supposed resemblance to caviar. Admittedly, when wet, the lentils seem to glisten like caviar fish eggs. But sadly, I find that they do lose their intense black colour during cooking. But brown or not, it really doesn't matter as they still taste good. If you can't get hold of beluga lentils then use Puy or French green lentils (which won't disintegrate during cooking).

tamarind and honey prawns (assam prawns)

 tamarind and honey prawns (assam prawns)
I've used Malaysian tastes for my influence with this marinade. Nothing could be simpler, just sweet with honey and bold with the sour taste of tamarind. It is lovely with prawns but very good with chicken too.

too hot to cook? zhejiang "drunken" chicken is the solution

Zheijang "drunken" chicken
The only downside of having a kitchen that faces south is that during the hot weather it can approach furnace-like temperatures, despite the fact that I leave the back door open while I am cooking. I find myself either cooking less or cooking things that can be prepared ahead of time, when the temperatures are a bit cooler, either late in the evening or early in the morning.

fresh coconut and coriander chutney

coconut and coriander chutney
One of my favourite chutneys or relishes is this one to accompany curries or dosas. Fresh and nutty, it zings with flavour. It is also rather good stuffed into wraps or sandwiches. Although quite often it doesn't even make it that far as I will eat the lot with a spoon! Unlike some chutneys, this doesn't require any cooking as all the ingredients are raw and it should be eaten soon after preparing, not that that is any hardship.

what's in season: august

a red pepper dragonfly!
Crimson pepper pod
add two pairs of wings, and look
darting dragonfly.
Basho 1644-94

I was ambling around the internet looking for some poetry inspiration to introduce this month's roundup of seasonal produce. Basho's haiku on the subject of red peppers and dragonfly wings really rather tickled me. His haikus are a joy and still speak vibrantly down the centuries.