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Cauliflower, cashew, pea and coconut curry

18 Apr

Cauliflower, cashew and pea curry

I’ve made this curry a few times now, as it proved popular with both girls. I like the way the flavours and textures remain distinct – the soft sweetness of cauliflower, fresh pop of peas and crunch of cashews make for a very satisfying dish. Continue reading

Kabuli pilau with/without lamb

14 Apr

Kabuli pilau

Kabuli pilau is my first foray into Afghan cuisine. Considered Afghanistan’s national dish, Kabuli pilau is usually made with lamb, though I also found recipes that used chicken as well as meat-free versions. Continue reading

Lentil and parsnip dhal

11 Apr

Parsnip dhal

Parsnips don’t feature very often in Indian recipes – but they should. Their sweetness works really well with curry spices, and adding chunks of parsnip to red lentil dhal provides an interesting contrast in texture. Continue reading

Mum’s meatloaf

4 Apr

Mum's meatloaf

Mum’s meatloaf is my dad’s favourite meal, and he’d always request it for his birthday supper. I included her recipe in Fern’s Food, but over the years I’ve made a couple of changes. I doubt my dad would approve, but this is the way we like it. Continue reading

Tuna fishcakes with tartare sauce

27 Mar

tuna-fishcakes

Fishcakes are a great store cupboard supper – quick to prepare using ingredients we nearly always have on hand. The addition of homemade tartare sauce makes it that bit more special, for those of us who like that sort of thing. For those who don’t, they are also nice with a wedge of lemon on the side. Continue reading

Very spicy delicious chickpeas

21 Mar

Spicy delicious chickpeas Very spicy delicious chickpeas is one of my favourite curries, and something I’ve been making forever. It seems like an excessive quantity of spices as you’re making it, but in time the sauce transforms into something thick, rich and delicious. Continue reading

Chicken satay sandwich

7 Mar

Chicken satay sandwich

Crispy, juicy pieces of chicken coated in spicy peanut sauce and stuffed in a bread roll or hunk of baguette, this chicken-satay sandwich makes a very satisfying dinner served with a heap of Asian slaw.

With meals like this, I always bring the elements to the table so each person can assemble their sandwich the way they like it.

I use chicken thighs, which I find more flavoursome, but chicken breasts would work fine too. The original recipe is from Nigel Slater’s Real Food. Continue reading

Chirashi sushi

14 Feb

Chirashi sushi

Chirashi sushi is an adaptable dish. It’s colourful and impressive party fare when arranged on a large serving platter, but makes a great midweek supper as well.

In the time it takes the rice to steam, I can throw together a quick Japanese omelette, soak and slice a few dried mushrooms, shred some nori and make the dressing for the rice. After that it’s just a matter of tossing things together.

Continue reading

Chicken suya

10 Feb

Chicken suya

During our World Cup cook-off last summer, Nigeria was deliciously represented by beef suya. These proved such a hit with the whole family that Nigeria easily topped Group F in the first stage of the tournament, blew past France (salade niçoise, chocolate mousse), and obliterated Mexico (fish tacos) in the quarter-finals, before falling before Colombia’s unstoppable barras de limón.

Recently, I was lucky enough to be given a bag of authentic suya powder from a Nigerian friend and chef. I decided to try chicken suya this time, which proved to be every bit as tasty as the beef version. Continue reading

Steamed fish with Moroccan roast vegetables

7 Feb

Steamed fish with roasted vegetables

I don’t recall ever eating roasted vegetables when I was growing up – not even roast potatoes. Vegetables were boiled or steamed, possibly mashed, and served with butter. Mum had a wok (not standard kitchen equipment in those days), and would occasionally make a big Chinese stir fry, but roasting vegetables wasn’t on the radar. Continue reading

Tandoori chicken

29 Jan

Tandoori chicken

I’ll often order tandoori chicken in Indian restaurants, but had never made it at home until recently. I wasn’t confident that my oven was up to the task, but it turned out beautifully. You do need to plan ahead, as the chicken should marinate for a day or so.

While you can easily buy tandoori masala (spice mix) at the supermarket, I made my own using the inspiring bag of spices my good friend Mary recently brought me from the Manama souks. I based my masala on this recipe from The Tiffin Box websiteContinue reading

Haggis, neeps and tatties

25 Jan

haggis-neeps-tatties

We celebrate Burns night every year, hosting a supper with friends. As dinner parties go, it’s an easy meal to prepare. I toss a Macsween haggis in the oven, peel a big bag of potatoes and a couple of swede (much tastier than turnips), make with the potato ricer and that’s about it.

We usually start with mackerel paté and oatcakes – homemade this year as the local shop was out. Before tucking in, we stumble through a reading of Burns’ “Address to a Haggis” – delivered in a range of appalling Scottish accents – before toasting the “chieftain o’ the puddin’ race” with a shot of whisky.

Continue reading

Spaghetti bolognese

10 Jan

spaghetti bolognese

Spaghetti bolognese is one of those family meals I make so regularly that I no longer follow a recipe. I always start with a soffrito of onion, carrot and celery – sautéed in olive oil with a couple of cloves of  garlic.  Continue reading

Tavë kosi (Albanian baked lamb and rice with yogurt)

16 Dec

tave kosi

Tavë kosi – Albania’s national dish of lamb and rice baked beneath a layer of yogurt custard – reminded me a lot of moussaka. And the Albanian tomato cucumber salad I served with it was essentially a Greek salad. The vegetables were cut differently, and the recipe didn’t call for lemon juice or oregano, but those are details. Continue reading

Swedish meatballs (köttbullar)

11 Dec

Swedish meatballs

I’ve never eaten Swedish meatballs in the IKEA café, but I have bought bags of frozen köttbullar from their food hall once or twice. They were nice enough, but these homemade Swedish meatballs are in a different league – crispy on the outside, soft and juicy within, and coated in a velvety cream sauce. Continue reading

Chicken with Szechuan pepper and star anise

7 Dec

chinese chicken

I love to cook, and am happy to make my own bread, stock, ice cream, sushi or whatever. So long as the effort justifies the end result, I consider it time well spent.

But I equally love it when a only small amount of effort is needed to produce something delicious. Along with Barbados cream, Grasmere gingerbread, and sardine pesto, chicken with Szechuan pepper and star anise is one of those recipes. Continue reading

Lemongrass beef stirfry

29 Nov

Lemongrass beef stirfry

Stirfries are standard mid-week fare in our house, especially if I have beansprouts to use up. The vegetables vary with the contents of the fridge, but I always like to have carrot, peppers, onion and something green like mange tout, snowpeas or broccoli.

Marinating the beef before stirfrying adds a nice depth of flavour to the dish.

Continue reading

Nikujaga (Japanese simmered beef and potatoes)

19 Nov

nikujaga

Nikujaga (or simmered beef and potatoes) is no-frills, homestyle Japanese cooking – something a Japanese mum would make on a busy weeknight the way I might make macaroni cheese. The Japanese call this sort of cooking ofukuro no aji, which means “mother’s taste”.

There’s a nostalgia associated with these dishes – while others may cook them, nobody’s tastes quite like your mum’s version. That’s because hers tasted of home and childhood… and love. Continue reading

Spaghetti carbonara

13 Nov

Spaghetti carbonara

Carbonara is one of those recipes that it’s worth doing properly – good quality ingredients, carefully cooked. It is also very rich. Instead of my usual 110-120g of dry pasta per serving, 100g per person is plenty with carbonara.

I always make spaghetti carbonara with linguine, preferring the way that the slightly thicker, flatter linguine strands become cloaked in sauce.

Continue reading

Stacked enchiladas

9 Nov

stacked enchiladas

While traditional enchiladas are rolled, in New Mexico they do things differently. Lightly fried corn tortillas are spread with sauce and cheese and stacked together, and often served topped with a fried egg.

This is my take on stacked enchiladas. I don’t bother frying the tortillas, opting to bake the assembled stacks in the oven instead. While they are very nice with just the traditional sauce and cheese, I often add toppings to each layer – mushrooms and olives, usually – to give the dish more substance. It’s important to slice toppings thinly so they cook quickly and the stack melds together in the oven. Continue reading

Chicken machboos

10 Oct

Chicken machboos

Some close friends of ours moved to Bahrain last year. Having never visited the Middle East (Turkey is the closest I’ve come), I know embarrassingly little about the countries in that region. For example, I did not know that Bahrain was a kingdom. I did not know that it was an island. And I did not know anything about Bahraini food.
Continue reading

Lamb with mustard seeds (lamb uppakari)

4 Oct

Lamb with mustard seeds (uppakari)

Flipping through cookbooks for ways to use a package of frozen lamb I’d unearthed from the freezer, I came across this recipe for lamb uppakari in Madhur Jaffrey’s Curry Bible. Uppakari is a lamb curry originating from South India – which I’ve always associated with vegetarian food. But apparently the Chettinad region of Tamil Nadu is renowned for highly spiced meat and fish dishes such as this one. Continue reading

Kimchi meatloaf

28 Sep

Kimchi meatloaf

My first thought on seeing this recipe for kimchi meatloaf was “why didn’t I think of that?” I tend to find meatloaf a bit meh – too often it’s dry and lacking in flavour. Because meatloaf is my dad’s favourite meal, mum would serve it for his birthday every year. Otherwise, it seldom made an appearance. Continue reading

Diced potatoes with spinach

12 Sep

Spinach potato curry
This potato and spinach dish is what I call a dry curry – there is no liquid used in the cooking, resulting in no sauce. It’s an easy weekday, store-cupboard meal. I prefer it with fresh spinach, but frozen also works.

The original recipe is from Madhur Jaffrey’s World-of-the-East Vegetarian Cooking, one of my all-time favourite cookbooks. Continue reading

Linguine with sardine pesto

25 Aug

Linguine with sardine pesto

Linguine with sardine pesto isn’t the most visually appealing dish, but it is so tasty I overlook that shortcoming. A regular tin of sardines makes enough pesto for two, so Adam and I will often have this while the girls go for the basil version. I don’t remember where I came across this recipe – I think I may have clipped it out of the newspaper way back when… Continue reading

Macaroni and cheese with crispy topping

17 Aug

Macaroni and cheese

Somebody gave me a copy of Annabel Karmel’s Baby and Toddler Meal Planner when Nova was born. Once I got past the freezing purées in ice cube tray stage, I moved onto her recipe for macaroni cheese. I’m pretty sure it’s the only recipe I ever made from it, and have long since given the book away.

The squirt of ketchup in the cheese sauce is something I wouldn’t have thought of myself, and the crispy topping is a nice touch. I’ve always made my macaroni cheese with a good, strong cheddar – and all the many children I’ve fed this dish to have happily scoffed it down. I eat mine with a  good dollop of Dijon mustard on the side.

Continue reading

Turmeric chicken

13 Aug

Turmeric chicken

This turmeric chicken dish was one of the first recipes I made when our new cooker was installed. I was so used to our almost fifty-year-old gas hob (recently condemned by the gas man)  that I’d long adapted my cooking to its idiosyncracies. What a treat to cook on a hob that is actually level! To reduce a sauce in five minutes instead of fifteen!

This dish would be delicious whatever you cook it on. I served it with steamed couscous tossed with chopped herbs and feta cheese. The original recipe comes from the Five and Spice website, who adapted it from The New Persian Kitchen by Louisa Shafia. So I’ll cite them both – to give credit where credit is due. Continue reading

Steak salad with horseradish dressing

11 Aug

steak salad

I consider this steak salad to be the summer version of a roast beef dinner –  grilled meat, roast potatoes, steamed green beans, and a horseradish-based dressing to dollop on top. I often make it with boiled potatoes, but as our stove top was condemned(!) by the gas man a few days ago, that wasn’t an option.

I serve the tomatoes, beans and onions in a large bowl; the meat and potatoes in another; and the dressing on the side. This works visually and also prevents the warm ingredients from making the fresh vegetables limp. It also cuts down on complaints from the girls, who are still “learning to like” horseradish – which is what I always say about those foods they currently shun. Continue reading

Mexican pork wraps

9 Aug

Mexican pork wraps

These Mexican pork wraps appears in Fern’s Food. As I’ve never come across Cajun seasoning in my local supermarket, I went with a mix of oregano, chilli powder, cumin and garlic instead. I’ve also used jerk seasoning when I have it. Otherwise, I was pretty much true to the original recipe.

I served the pork wraps with a watermelon feta rocket salad. Only when it was on my plate did I notice that both dishes featured the colours of the Mexican flag. Continue reading

Bengali prawn malai curry

7 Aug

Bengali prawn malai curry

Prawn malai curry (or chingri malaikari) is a classic Bengali dish. Prawns simmered in a coconut milk sauce that is fragrant with cinnamon, cloves and cardamom. It’s meant to be mild, which worked for the girls. My version is based on the recipe I found on the Something Special website.

Continue reading

Salmon phyllo parcels

26 Jul

Salmon phyllo parcels

This is a lovely way to prepare salmon. The fish steams in its pastry wrapping, and is soft and full of flavour, contrasting beautifully with the crispy phyllo.

The recipe comes from Delia Smith’s Summer Collection. The biggest change I have made to the recipe is the name. Delia calls them “Thai salmon filo parcels”, but I don’t see how adding lime juice and coriander makes something “Thai”. And I prefer “phyllo” to “filo” (which always makes me think of Filofaxes…) Continue reading

Panqueqas de carne

13 Jul

panqueqas

We opened our World Cup food project with this Brazilian meal of panqueqas de carne and cabbage salad on 12 June, and it seems fitting to end on the same note. Actually, the main reason I’ve cooked it again is because I had no intention of creating a blog, and didn’t bother taking any photos. Plus, we had a gas leak that afternoon, which meant unexpectedly cooking dinner on a hot plate, and I started drinking caiparinhas before I’d done any cooking… The recipe is from the Latin Kitchen website, but this time round I modified it a bit and added more spice to the sauce and filling, as we all found it a bit bland. Continue reading

Slavinken with appelmoes

9 Jul

slavinken

It wasn’t that easy finding a Dutch World Cup meal I thought we’d all enjoy eating, especially as a lot of the food seemed more like winter fare. I eventually settled on slavinken — ground meat seasoned with herbs and wrapped in bacon before being panfried – which I served with appelmoes (applesauce). If I make these again, I’ll cook six and freeze six for another meal — Adam ate two, but the rest of us were fine with one. Continue reading

Lomo asado with chimichurri

5 Jul

lomo asado

Argentina’s World Cup dinner was always going to be about beef. Great quality meat, salted and grilled slowly – what’s not to like? The chimichurri recipe comes from the Hot and Spicy cookbook by Marlena Spieler. Continue reading

Cevapi with “kajmak” and somun

3 Jul

cevapi

I messed up my timing with this Bosnian World Cup recipe. I forgot to start the cevapi or the kajmak the day before, and had to rush the bread along so Adam could eat with us before going out. In the end, I made a rough approximation of the kajmak by mashing some feta cheese, cream cheese and Greek yogurt together… There is a detailed description of this recipe on the Cooked Earth website, which I had every intention of following carefully, but things didn’t pan out that way. We’d all be happy to eat this meal again – and if I do make a proper kajmak I’ll write about it then. Continue reading

Kedjenou

2 Jul

kejenou

 

For our Ivory Coast meal, I went with kedjenou, a chicken and vegetable dish, cooked slowly in a tightly-sealed pot. There’s no liquid added, and you must shake the pot occasionally to keep it from sticking. Apparently “kedjenou” means to shake in Baoulé – one of the sixty(!) languages spoken in the Ivory Coast. I pretty much followed the recipe on the Whats4eats website, but all the ones I looked at were all pretty similar. Continue reading

Tortilla

1 Jul

tortilla

I often make tortillas to use up leftover boiled potatoes or green beans, reheating the vegetables in a frying pan then adding beaten eggs and allowing it to set.

For our Spanish World Cup dinner, I followed the recipe in the Moro cookbook, slowly caramelising the onions, frying the potato slices in olive oil, and turning it half way through to fry both sides instead of just sticking it under the grill.

More work, but a much tastier tortilla. Continue reading

Bibimbap

26 Jun

bibimbap

We eat bimbimbap at least a couple of times a month. In fact, Lyra was surprised to discover that her friends don’t eat it at their homes. The name means “mixed rice”, and one of the most satisfying things about the dish is stirring the carefully arranged rice, gochujang, egg and vegetables into a delicious, sticky mess. The only “speciality” ingredient is the gochujang, which is available from Asian grocery stores. Continue reading

Pastel de choclo (corn pie)

23 Jun

corn pie

I occasionally make the veggie version of Chilean corn pie from the Sundays at Moosewood Restaurant. This original meat-based version turns out to be very tasty as well. Actually, neither of the girls liked it much – I think the relative sweetness of the corn topping put them off. Ideally, the topping should have firmed up a bit more – I added extra milk while blitzing the topping mixture, which was probably a mistake. I made it following a recip on the Quericavida website, which I adjusted slightly. Continue reading

Algerian meatballs with chickpeas

22 Jun

algerian meatballs

This Algerian recipe for m’touem b’marqa hamra (meatballs and chickpeas in garlicky red sauce) is awesome. Meatballs are a bit time consuming, but worth the effort for this dish. I found the recipe on The Teal Tadgine website, and followed it pretty much as written. It claims to serve four to six people, but if it had made more, the four of us would have eaten it. Continue reading