22 Oct


“I’m sorry I called you worthy, tabbouleh, I was just infatuated with kisir…”

Now that I’m working more hours at the office, tabbouleh is becoming a weekly staple around here. I’ve been putting it in packed lunches with olives, cucumber slices and maybe a piece of feta on the side.

It’s also featuring in serve-yourself, mezze-style dinners on evenings where conflicting schedules prevent us sitting down together for a family meal.

Measurements aren’t that important with tabbouleh – I like mine to have roughly equal amounts of bulghur wheat and chopped herbs, but have eaten versions that were 90% herbs – find a balance that works for you.

Avoid the possibility of worthiness by seasoning generously (and seasoning again to brighten it up before serving if made in advance.)

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Mung bean coconut curry

19 Oct

Mung bean coconut curry

Poor, unfashionable mung beans… While a number of ingredients have crossed the aisle from “health food” to mainstream (hummus, tofu), or even become trendy (quinoa, chia seeds), mung beans are not among them.

There is still something 1970s, socks-and-sandals, “knit your own yogurt” about mung beans (at least in their un-sprouted form). Or maybe it’s a name thing… if you were brainstorming names to market a new legume, I doubt “mung” would make the long list.

Having been a friend of the mung bean for years, I’d like to introduce them to a wider social circle. This mung bean coconut curry is a good place to start. Quick to make (mung beans don’t need pre-soaking), delicious, healthy and cheap, this curry is a winner.

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Mango ice cream

16 Oct

Mango ice cream
I’ve had a large tin of mango pulp taking up precious space in the pantry cupboard for ages now. It’s been so long, I can no longer remember my reason for purchasing it. I’m thinking maybe cocktails…?

The other day, it occurred to me that it would lend itself nicely to making mango ice cream. To my surprise, none of the recipes I found used tinned mango, so I decided to go it alone.

I kept things simple – just mango pulp, double cream, lime juice, salt and Malibu liqueur (another thing that’s been taking up valuable shelf space for the last ten years.)

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Steamed vegetables with cheese

12 Oct

Steamed vegetables with cheese

On my work-from-home days, I often make a big bowl of steamed vegetables with cheese for lunch.

The idea for this dish came from some two-week, healthy-eating regime we followed years ago. Each day, you were presented with two choices of lunch – and whenever steamed vegetables with cheese was an option, I chose the other one.

Until the day I didn’t… and discovered that steamed vegetables with cheese is an immensely satisfying bowl of food. I’ve eaten it regularly ever since, with whatever vegetables are in season or on hand.

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Beef stroganoff

9 Oct

Beef stroganoff

Beef stroganoff is one of my life-long favourite meals – I can remember choosing it for my special birthday dinner.  I recently unearthed a class cookbook from first grade, and there in all its faded mimeographed glory was “Beef Stroganoff, by Andrea”.

Stroganoff was where my love affair with rosemary began. So I was genuinely stunned that in a survey of numerous beef stroganoff recipes online, not one of them included rosemary.

To my mind, rosemary is an integral part of the dish – it simply wouldn’t be stroganoff without it. (The poppy seeds on the noodles are non-negotiable as well.) Continue reading

Ed’s clam chowder

5 Oct

Dad's clam chowder

My dad Ed cooked only a few recipes – spaghetti, hamburger mince gravy, sourdough bread, clam chowder – and he cooked them very well.

His clam chowder is as good as any I’ve ever had. The much-loved and lamented clam chowder that the BC Ferries used to serve wasn’t a patch on my dad’s version.

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2 Oct


Fattoush – that tasty Middle-Eastern salad of chopped vegetables and bread – is worth eating just for the opportunity to say it. “What’s for dinner, mum?” “Fattoush – we’re having fattoush tonight.”

I’ve made several versions of fattoush over the years, all of which call for the bread to be toasted or fried. The fattoush recipe in Ottolenghi’s Jerusalem cookbook is a bit different.

The bread is not cooked, for one thing. And instead of the usual olive oil and lemon juice, the salad is tossed with a yogurt-based dressing.

I love the way the dressing soaks into the bread, softening it and leaving it to the vegetables to deliver the crunch. Continue reading