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Red-red stew

8 Oct

red red

Red-red is a traditional Ghanaian bean stew that gets its name (and colour) from the tomatoes and palm oil used to prepare it.

The first red-red recipe I tried called for three types of chilli – fresh Scotch bonnet, chilli flakes, and chilli powder (plus additional minced chilli to garnish).

Despite cutting back significantly on the quantity of chilli (and omitting the chilli powder altogether), it was so blisteringly hot the girls were unable to eat it. Continue reading

Lamb-feta burgers with yogurt sauce

4 Oct

Lamb and feta burger with yogurt sauce

These lamb-feta burgers are my first foray into the world of Armenian cooking.

While I’ve met a few Armenians over the years, and seen an unlikely number of Armenian films, thanks to Armenian-Canadian filmmaker Atom Egoyan, I’m pretty sure I’ve never eaten an Armenian meal.

These lamb-feta burgers were such a hit, we’ll definitely be eating them again.

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Spaghetti alio e olio (spaghetti with garlic and olive oil)

26 Sep

Spaghetti alio e olio

For all its simplicity, spaghetti aglio e olio is easy to mess up.

It’s really important not to overcook the garlic – no more than the faintest shade of gold, or it will taste bitter.

It’s also important to measure the salt. Too little, and the dish is insipid – too much and it’s ruined. Continue reading

Mujaddara

16 Aug

Mujaddrah

Mujaddara is filling, tasty and cheap as chips.

It was staple fare in my student years – along with mushroom barley soup (that stuff lasts forever), ratatouille, and the enticingly-named “lentil shit”.

I’d make a big pot of mujaddara one meal, then reheat portions in a frying pan with a splash of water (no microwaves in those days…) Continue reading

Potato and egg curry

8 Aug

Potato egg curry

Potatoes and eggs are a winning combination, whether in potato salad, breakfast burritos, Spanish tortilla, or that British classic, egg & chips.

This potato and egg curry is further proof of concept.

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Vietnamese fried chicken (VFC)

10 Jun

Vietnamese fried chicken (VFC)

I  seldom make fried chicken. Not because I don’t like it (I do), and not for health reasons either. It’s the time it takes, the mess it makes (all that spattering oil)… The end result never seemed to justify the hassle.

But that was before I encountered Vietnamese fried chicken (or VFC as we now call it) at a music festival.

Maybe I was influenced by the band that was playing (Noah and the Whale), or the unexpected blessing of sunshine, or the mellow party atmosphere, but that chicken was just about the best thing I’d ever tasted.

The moist and flavourful meat, the growing kick of chilli heat, the coating that was more crackle than crumb. Fried chicken this good was definitely worth the hassle. Continue reading

Kolokithopita (courgette pie)

17 May

Kolokithopita (Greek courgette pie)

I haven’t made kolokithopita in years. This satisfying combination of courgettes, feta cheese and phyllo pastry was a regular summer visitor when I used to grow courgettes – along with pasta alle zucchini and chocolate chip zucchini bread.

Last week my younger daughter announced that she was going vegetarian for a month. I’m very happy to support her with this ambition – we eat plenty of vegetarian meals already, and when I do cook meat it is seldom the main event, so it hasn’t made much difference to what I serve her for dinner. Continue reading