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Spaghetti al limone

27 Apr

Simple enough to have on the table in fifteen minutes, fancy enough to serve to guests – spaghetti al limone is a great recipe to have up your sleeve.

Like most dishes with few ingredients, quality makes a difference here  – use the good olive oil, and a nice piece of Parmesan.

Having made spaghetti al limone regularly for twenty years now, my version has evolved somewhat from the original River Café recipe, and uses considerably less olive oil and cheese.

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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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Yorkshire pudding

28 Sep

Yorkshire pudding

When I was a little girl, my dad cooked a roast dinner every Sunday. Gradually, he stopped  – maybe roasts got too expensive, or family schedules too complicated, I don’t know. But I do remember years where Sunday night meant The Wonderful World of Walt Disney, roast beef, and bath-before-bed.

We were a meat-and-four-veg family  – typically potatoes, beans, corn and carrots, but sometimes squash, peas, beets, broccoli, spinach or chard featured instead. Whatever the vegetable, it was always boiled or steamed.

But I couldn’t have cared less about roast meat or boiled veg – for me, that dinner was all about the Yorkshire pudding. Never mind that dad’s Yorkshire puddings were often the size and density of hockey pucks – they were utterly delicious, and capable of holding a generous splash of gravy.

While I now know that airy puff is what you’re aiming for with Yorkshire puddings, I retain a fondness for the dense little numbers of my childhood. (I’ve noticed many recipes call for twice the number of eggs dad used, which would no doubt make a difference to the rise.) Continue reading

Mexican layered dip

10 Aug

Mexican layered dip

Needing to bring something to our annual street party last weekend, I decided to make Mexican layered dip. While I’ve always adored this dip,  I did wonder how it would be received in London.

There is something slightly 1970s “hostess-with-the-mostest” about it. And despite having Mexican in its name, it seems unlikely to have originated south of the Rio Grande.

That said, when it is made with good quality ingredients, it is very tasty thing indeed – and it went down a storm. Continue reading

Borscht

24 Jun

Borscht

This is Mum’s borscht, which I grew up eating – she got the recipe from a Ukrainian neighbour who lived on our street.

I had a strong childhood aversion to beets. I didn’t like the sweetness of them, and remember hating how beet juice would seep into everything else on your plate.

Maybe that’s why I never minded borscht. For one thing, it was sour. Plus the seeping was a done deed, and everything stained a consistent shade of purply red. Continue reading

Nanaimo bars

26 May

Nanaimo bars

Nanaimo bars are a national institution in Canada. I’d always assumed these delicious bars of nutty, creamy, chocolatey goodness were first in Nanaimo (a town on Vancouver Island) – and research bears this out.

Loved across the country, there was even a knockout round in the first season of MasterChef Canada where competitors had to make desserts inspired by Nanaimo bars. Continue reading