Japanese hot dogs

5 Oct

Japanese hotdog
On our trip to Vancouver last summer, Japadog was on my list of things to do/try while we were in town.

For various reasons, I didn’t manage to eat one until we were at the airport, about to fly home. Probably just as well…

Japanese hot dogs are delicious, extremely moreish, and could definitely see myself working my way through their kurogoma kimuchi dog (turkey sausage with kimchi and black sesame seeds), ebi tempura dog (prawn tempura on rice) and yakisoba dog (“popular Japanese noodles and aribiki sausage”).

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Pita bread

1 Oct

pita bread

Despite doing a science degree at university (or maybe because of it), I find regular moments of magic in cooking.

Egg whites stiffening into peaks, eggs and oil transforming themselves into mayonnaise, sugar melting into caramel – these things bring me genuine, uncomplicated pleasure.

Watching pita breads blowing themselves up like little balloons through the glass door of the oven is another one.

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Spinach and water chestnut dip

27 Sep

spinach and water chestnut dip

Spinach and water chestnut dip was all the rage in the 1970s, and I adored it.

An unlikely cast of ingredients – spinach, water chestnuts, powdered soup mix and mayonnaise – come together in the most silky, savoury, crunchy way imaginable.

As I remember, it was usually served in a hollowed out bread loaf, surrounded by chunks of bread for dipping. Continue reading

Lasagne

23 Sep

lasagne

A well-made lasagne is a delightful thing. Unfortunately, the dish that passed for lasagne in my childhood did not fit this description.

According to the index card, mum got the recipe from a neighbour on our block. It calls for an entire tin of tomato paste, Kraft cheese slices, and a large tub of sour cream.

It was years before I ate lasagne again, and was happily surprised to discover how good it can be. Continue reading

Lotus salad

17 Sep

Lotus salad

Years ago, my cousin part-owned a funky café-gallery called The Whip, in what was then a pretty scruffy part of east Vancouver.

The first time I ate there, I ordered the intriguingly named lotus salad – baby spinach tossed with blue cheese, dried cranberries and sunflower seeds, drizzled in a blackberry vinaigrette.

It was love at first bite, and I’ve been making my own version ever since. Continue reading

Plum butter (pflaumenmus)

13 Sep

pflaumenmus

Plum butter – or pflaumenmus  – is a German plum spread. Unlike the other jams I make, pflaumenmus is baked slowly in a low oven, which seems to intensify the flavour.

I made pflaumenmus for the first time last autumn. We hoovered up the first batch so fast, I had time to make a second one before the plum season ended.

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Spinach mushroom kitchri

9 Sep

spinach mushroom kitchri

This thick porridge of mung beans and rice might look like something Oliver Twist would have declined, but for me, a warm bowl of khitchri is pure comfort food. Continue reading

Waffles

5 Sep

waffles

This is Ten More Bites first-ever guest post, brought to you by my daughter Lyra:

Hello! This is Lyra, writing this blog post today about how to make waffles.

We love to make waffles for breakfast and so long as you have a waffle iron it takes no more then fifteen minutes.

P.S. this recipe makes six large waffles…

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Salmon with orange-ginger miso noodles

1 Sep

salmon with orange-miso-ginger noodles

I’ve made this salmon noodle bowl several times this summer. It’s a versatile dish – equally good served hot or cold.

The orange-ginger miso sauce is the star of the show, adding richness and depth to an otherwise simple meal. Continue reading

Smoked salmon and cream cheese cigars

28 Aug

smoked salmon and cream cheese cigars

Necessity is the mother of invention and all that.

It was definitely the reason I “invented” these smoked salmon and cream cheese cigars to bring to our annual street party an hour before it started.

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Sweet potato fries

24 Aug

Sweet potato fries

When the girls were small, I’d usually have a bag of oven chips in the freezer to serve alongside fish fingers and peas when they had friends round for tea.

Now that our fish finger days are behind us, I almost never make chips (oven or otherwise), but I’ll occasionally rustle up a tray of sweet potato fries. Continue reading

Turkish bread

29 Jul

Persian naan

Whenever I eat in a Turkish restaurant, I resolve not to stuff myself with Turkish bread and dips leaving no room for my main course. And invariably fail…

The bread is fresh, warm and pillowy soft, the dips so creamy, garlicky, and moreish, it’s almost impossible to resist.

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Asparagus with wasabi mayonnaise

21 Jul

asparagus with wasabi mayonnaise
Asparagus with wasabi mayonnaise is a really nice, simple summer appetiser.

It contains so few ingredients – and is so straightforward to make – that it’s more of an idea than an actual recipe. Continue reading

The World Cup 2018 cook-off winner is…

16 Jul

Japan who achieved great heights with their fluffy pancakes!

England was lucky to be in Group H. Their Cornish pasties progressed to the knockout round with an 8.5 (where they were neatly dispatched by Colombia’s arepas con camarones y hogao), while Spain’s delicious churros with chocolate sauce failed to make the cut in Group B.

As ever, the four of us rated each dish or meal out of ten, which I then averaged. If I cooked more than one dish from a particular country, I averaged all the dishes into one score. This worked against Serbia, who failed to qualify when their pljeskavíca were dragged under by the less-popular krompir salata.

I like to think that the judges’ palettes are becoming more refined. Of the nine countries represented by something sweet, only six made it through the qualifying round.

Where two countries tied in the group stage, I used WordPress likes as a penalty shoot-out. (This allowed Colombia to place ahead of Japan in Group H), though they were later trounced by Iceland’s crepe-style pancakes in the semi-finals.

In the end, it was the battle of the pancakes. And what a match it was… Tied on scores, I then looked at social media, comments and downloads.

I was about to award the prize to Iceland, when the equivalent of VAR intervened. “The Japanese fluffy pancakes are just more impressive, mum,” my younger daughter said. So Japan it is (sorry Iceland!).

Colombia had to settle for third this time. Still impressive but not matching the triumphant barras de límon of 2014.

Salame de chocolate

15 Jul

Salame de chocolate (Portuguese chocolate salami)

Portugal’s salame de chocolate is a little bit of kitchen fun.

A rich chocolately mixture studded with biscuits and nuts, shaped into a sausage and rolled in powdered sugar to resemble one of those dry-cured salamis. Continue reading

Moqueca de camarão (Brazilian prawn stew)

14 Jul

moqueca de camarão (Brazilian prawn stew)

Moqueca de camarão is my kind of dish.

Simple, delicious, light, flavourful, every ingredient singing in harmony.

I’m so pleased I’ve discovered it, and expect we’ll be eating it regularly all year round.

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Cornish pasties

13 Jul

Cornish pasties

I’ve gone for Cornish pasties to represent England in this year’s World Cup cook-off.

Yes, it’s a shameless crowd-pleaser, but I suspect that England needs all the help it can get – both in the kitchen and on the pitch.

Strictly speaking, if it’s not made in Cornwall, it’s not a Cornish pasty.

But if I’d made these in Penzance instead of London, I think they might pass muster.  Continue reading

Fainá

12 Jul

faina

Fainá is a thick pancake (or flatbread) made of chickpea flour – and not much else.

It’s baked in a pizza pan in a hot oven, emerging crispy on the outside with an eggy-creamy interior.

Apparently, Uruguayans like to top their pizza slices with a wedge of fainá.
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Tomate aux crevettes

11 Jul

I liked the look of this Belgian recipe for tomate aux crevettes, but wondered if it might be no more than the sum of its (very few) parts.

But after a short spell in the fridge, the prawn filling both infused the tomato shell and set a bit so that it sliced surprisingly well. Continue reading

Basler leckerli

10 Jul

basler leckerli

There’s something gingerbready about basler leckerli – despite the absence of ginger. And something Christmassy too, with the cloves, nutmeg and mixed peel.

So they weren’t my first choice for our World Cup cook-off, but the thought of eating cheese fondue in the sweltering heat tipped it in their favour.

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Ful medames

9 Jul

ful medames

Mashed fava beans for breakfast… and why not?

It’s only a small step from the baked beans slopped onto every full English served in the UK.

And Egypt’s ful medames are all the nicer for not being in a sickly sweet tomato sauce. Continue reading

Churros with chocolate sauce

8 Jul

churros with chocolate sauce

Churros and chocolate sauce and another day of sun… It’s enough to make you feel like you’re on holiday… Continue reading

Kanelbullar (cinnamon rolls)

7 Jul

Swedish kanelbullar are more wholesome than the Canadian cinnamon buns I grew up with –  smaller, more bready, less sticky and sickly-sweet.

I was surprised at how well the citrusy cardamom stood its ground against the cinnamon sugar. All in all, a very satisfying thing to eat.

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Tarte tropézienne

6 Jul

tarte tropezienne

I first discovered the marvellous tarte tropézienne on a family holiday in Provence.

Queueing in the local bakery, I noticed several of the customers ahead of me were choosing what looked like a large, cream-filled hamburger bun.

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Jollof rice

5 Jul

jollof rice

Jollof rice is an excellent dish to bring to a buffet or barbeque.

Moderately spiced, with layers of flavour from the pepper-tomato paste and mix of spices, it’s definitely a crowd pleaser.

I usually keep it vegetarian so that everyone can eat it, but any leftovers reheat very well. Continue reading

Choripán with chimichurri

4 Jul

Choripán – or grilled spicy sausage in a toasted baguette – is Latin America’s take on the hot dog.

Argentinians make their choripán with chorizo sausages and slather them in fresh chimichurri sauce – definitely a winning combination.

Choripán are ubiquitous at football matches, making them an obvious choice for our World Cup 2018 cook-off. Continue reading

Arepas con camarones y hogao

3 Jul

I love it when I discover something new to cook that I know will become a fixture on the family dinner table.

These Colombian arepas are one of those things.

Delicious, crispy, light and filling, we made noises of happiness as we ate them. Continue reading

Alegrías

2 Jul

allegrias

I’m always on the lookout for easy, healthy-ish snacks to make for the kids, and I thought these Mexican alegrías sounded promising.

Amaranth is a great source of protein and nutrients, but there’s too much sugar involved for me to consider alegrías healthy.

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Smørrebrød

1 Jul

smorrebrod

My mum used to say that you feed the eye as well as the stomach, and that is certainly true of Danish smørrebrød. They are truly little works of art on a plate.

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Zapiekanka

30 Jun

zapiekanka

A zapiekanka is Poland’s answer to cheese on toast. Sautéed mushrooms are heaped onto a split baguette, covered with grated cheese and browned under a grill.

Zapiekanka is an excellent contender to represent Poland in our 2018 World Cup cook-off. Tasty (points all round), cheesy (ditto) and easy (extra points from me).

I even tracked down some Polish ketchup for authenticity. Its spicy sharpness was well received, and definitely worked in Poland’s favour.

The only thing dividing the judges was my younger daughter’s dislike of mushrooms.

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Königsberger klopse

29 Jun

Between Swedish meatballs, Italian spaghetti and meatballs and Algerian meatballs with chickpeas (not to mention the pork-courgette meatballs I make for banh mi) we’re pretty well covered on the meatball front.

But this year’s World Cup cook-off is an opportunity to represent Germany with these solid, trustworthy königsberger klopse from Fern’s Food.

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Sancocho de gallina

28 Jun

Sancocho de gallina is Panama’s national dish, making it an obvious choice for our World Cup 2018 cook-off.

Chicken and root vegetables are simmered to a melting tenderness, resulting in a gently flavoured, nourishing meal.

The problem is, none of us liked it much. Continue reading

Krompir salata (Serbian potato salad)

27 Jun

With its sweet and sour dressing, krompir salata is a departure from our go-to potato salads – French potato salad and mum’s potato salad.

I made it to accompany these outsized Serbian hamburgers in our World Cup 2018 cook-off.

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Pljeskavica (Serbian hamburgers)

27 Jun

These enormous hamburgers were a no-brainer to represent Serbia in our World Cup 2018 cook-off.

They’re super-easy to make as well – the only tricky bit was flipping them.

I found it helpful to form the patties on squares of grease-proof paper. I placed them meat-side down on the grill before peeling off the paper. Continue reading

Papas a la huancaina

26 Jun

In this Peruvian salad, thick slices of potato are blanketed in a delicious spicy cheese sauce and teamed with hard-boiled eggs and olives.

It all plays very nicely together, and unlike the Peruvian team it is in with a chance in our World Cup 2018 cook-off.

The huancaina sauce is definitely the star of the show. It tastes like you hope that nasty yellow nacho cheese sauce is going to taste (and never does). Continue reading

Orange and olive salad

25 Jun

orange olive salad

I love this classic Moroccan salad. Sweet orange slices and salty olives are a winning combination in my book.

Also in its favour, it takes minutes to make and looks beautiful arranged on a contrasting platter. Continue reading

Salatu niebe

24 Jun

salatu niebe

Bright, colourful, spicy, fresh… Senegal’s salatu niebe is something I’ll definitely make again after our World Cup 2018 cook-off is over.

This recipe makes a lot, so it’s fortunate salatu niebe keeps well in the fridge.

I served it on a bed of shredded lettuce one day, and heaped it into avocado halves the next. It would also work well stuffed into a pitta or wrap. Continue reading

Kimbap

23 Jun

kimbap

Kimbap are the Korean version of rolled (or maki) sushi. While they look pretty similar, there are differences.

Kimbap rice is seasoned with sesame oil instead of sweetened vinegar. And kimbap are generally bigger, with a combination of fillings, that tend to be cooked instead of raw.

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Icelandic pancakes

22 Jun

Icelandic pancakes

Iceland brings these delicious, crepe-style pancakes to our World Cup cook-off table.

They couldn’t contrast more with the Japanese fluffy pancakes, but once again the judges awarded them a perfect score.

Thin, light-yet-crisp, Icelandic pancakes have a welcome lack of sweetness. There is no sugar at all in the batter, just a little sprinkle of caster sugar after they are cooked. Continue reading

Lamingtons

21 Jun

lamingtons

Australia looks a strong contender in this year’s World Cup cook-off with their offer of lamingtons.

A delicate chocolate-coconut exterior conceals a substantial cake centre. Kind of like Giggs and Beckham on either side of Roy Keane, back in the day…:-)

The first time I made lamingtons was for an Australia Day celebration. I didn’t notice the advice about baking the cake a day in advance, and had a torrid time of the dipping and rolling.

There was much language and attrition, but the lamingtons I managed to produce met with our Aussie friends’ approval. Continue reading