Tag Archives: dairy-free

Courgette fries with spicy mayonnaise

14 May

courgette fries

According to my daughter, these courgette fries are like “vegetarian calamari”.  I know what she means.

While no one would confuse the texture of squid with courgette, they are similarly satisfying in flavour and crunch. And being baked, they are reasonably healthy as well.

I first ate them at a Vancouver restaurant called Las Tapas that I adored, and have been making my own version ever since.

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Shakshouka

10 May

shakshouka

Shakshouka – eggs poached in a spicy tomato sauce – is one of our favourite Sunday brunches. It’s a good, quick supper too, and something I’ll think to make when feeding two.

When that’s the case, I preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C) and make the sauce in my cast iron frying pan. After cracking the eggs over the sauce, I pop the frying pan in the oven (uncovered) for about five minutes until the eggs are cooked through.

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Bean and pea salad with miso dressing

5 May

green bean, pea and peashoot salad with miso dressing

Lightly cooked green beans and peas on a bed of fresh peashoots with walnuts and a miso-sake dressing makes a fresh, healthy lunch.

I go with whatever combination of beans I have to hand – mangetout and podded edamame are both good and give an interesting visual and texture contrast. Continue reading

Rocket and fennel salad with toasted seeds

20 Apr

There has been a fennel bulb languishing in the veggie tray for ages. It’s been there for so long, I can no longer remember my reason for buying it.

I now realise that it was  waiting for its moment to shine in this rocket and fennel salad with tahini-ginger dressing and toasted seeds.

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Chicken soup with kneidlach

12 Apr

chicken soup with kneidlach

I leave the chicken soup with kneidlach to my mother-in-law – a marvellous cook whose chicken soup draws superlatives from anyone who has the good fortune to taste it, whose fluffy kneidlach could potentially float up from the broth in their airy pillowiness.

But faced with a chicken soupless Passover this year, I dusted off my kneidlach making skills and took one for the team…

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Turkey soup

26 Dec

Turkey soup

Turkey soup is as much a part of our family Christmas as the main meal, and is one of those dishes that take me straight back to my childhood. There is no other dish that gives me more comfort.

We ate roast turkey only at Christmas and Thanksgiving, so we couldn’t have had turkey soup that often. But perhaps mum froze the stock and used it throughout the year. (And she also made pretty much the same soup with chicken carcasses or ham bones.) Continue reading

Chinese pork and beans

19 Nov

Chinese pork and beans

Chinese pork and beans is an easy working day dinner, coming together in the time it takes to steam the rice.

The flavours are akin to mapo tofu, though the crisp green beans and peanuts make it a crunchier affair. Continue reading

Pork and cabbage gyoza

8 Oct

pork and cabbage gyoza

Gyoza are a family favourite, and the four of us can easily get through a large panful for dinner.

They are both steamed and pan-fried, resulting in a juicy interior, silky soft sides and a crisp, golden bottom.

I usually go with the classic pork and cabbage filling, but they are also very good with minced raw prawn substituted for the ground pork.
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Pork bits Hawaiian

13 Mar

pork bits Hawaiian

“Are we having Hawaiian pizza for dinner?” my daughter asked when she got home from school.

She was in the zone – I was making pork bits Hawaiian, a childhood favourite of mine that I hadn’t thought of in years. Continue reading

Beetroot and celery salad

24 Feb

beetroot and celery salad

I wouldn’t have thought of combining beetroot and celery, but thumbing through Elizabeth David’s French Provincial Cooking I was intrigued by her description of this “admirable winter salad”. Continue reading

Japanese sesame spinach (horenso no gomaae)

20 Feb

spinach gomaae

This dish of blanched spinach in a sesame seed dressing takes me straight back to my time living in Japan. Tokyo was (and is) an expensive city, and we ate in most nights — Japanese food mainly.

The local shops didn’t sell anything else, and anyway, it was fun to buy unfamiliar ingredients and figure out what to do with them.

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Onion-tahini sauce

31 Oct

Onion tahini sauce is a legacy of my student days, when I would make this dish most weeks.

And not just because it was dirt cheap. The tahini, cumin and soy sauce come together in an unexpectedly delicious, savoury, satisfying way, delivering a wallop of what I now know to be umami. Continue reading

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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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

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

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

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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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

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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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

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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Al kabsa

20 Jun

Al Kabsa

Al kabsa is made by patiently cooking meat, vegetables and rice with an array of spices in a slowly simmering stock until it reaches a flavoursome tenderness.

Widely considered to be Saudi Arabia’s national dish, al kabsa is an obvious choice to represent the Saudi team in our 2018 World Cup cook-off.

There are many varieties of al kabsa and I looked at a number of recipes. It can be made with chicken, beef, lamb, goat, camel or seafood. (Chicken seemed the obvious choice there.)

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Soparnik

16 Jun

soparnik

I’ve yet to visit Croatia, but I’ve heard wonderful things about the food. So I feared my version of soparnik had done the Croatians a disservice in our World Cup 2018 cook-off.

In this Dalmatian classic, a simple filling of chopped greens, onions and garlic is pressed between two thin layers of pastry and baked until golden and crisp.

It sounded lovely, but the first bite was a little underwhelming. But as it sat a little longer, pastry and filling merged into a more cohesive whole, the pastry softened and the flavour emerged. Continue reading

Garlicky aubergine dip (mirza ghazemi)

15 Jun

mirza ghasemi

This garlicky aubergine and tomato dip is the most moreish dish I’ve eaten in a long while.

Rich, deeply flavoured and velvety soft, it is delicious spooned onto warm bread.

I had visions of taking the leftovers for my work lunch. However the rest of the family fell upon this dip like a pack of starved hyenas.

I’ll be doubling the recipe next time. Continue reading

Tomato salad with pomegranate molasses

11 Jun

This tomato salad with pomegranate molasses is a recent happy discovery.

Someone brought it to a friend’s barbeque buffet, and only good manners stopped me from eating an unseemly amount.

It turns out freshly sliced tomatoes and pomegranate molasses do very good things to one another.

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Sushi rice salad

30 May

sushi rice salad

This recipe for sushi rice salad comes from my friend Jenny – a wonderful cook, effortless host, and one of those people who is always generous with her time, home, and recipes.

Jenny was the first person we met when we moved house more than 20 years ago. I don’t know how common it is, but in a street of maybe 40 houses, we’re on speaking terms with well over half our neighbours. Continue reading

Cod and chickpea curry

6 May

Cod and chickpea curry

Cod and chickpeas are trusted companions, appearing together in Spanish, Italian and North African dishes.

They work well in this simple Indian curry too – standing their ground against the sharpness and spice of the sauce. Continue reading

Sweet potato, chorizo and red pepper

2 May


Sweet potato, red pepper and chorizo tossed in a simple vinaigrette is a very satisfying combination of ingredients.

I usually serve it as a simple, weekday dinner over couscous, but it also works nicely as a warm salad. Continue reading

Singapore rice noodles

28 Apr

Singapore noodles

It’s an ambition to cook a dish from every country in the world – a sort of travel by fork.

So I was disappointed to learn that my long-time favourite Singapore noodles won’t earn me my Singapore stamp. Turns out they are a Cantonese creation, and probably originated in Hong Kong.

I certainly ate them regularly when I lived in Vancouver and worked a short walk from Chinatown.  Continue reading

Tataki kyuri (smashed cucumber salad)

20 Apr

tataki kyuri

I tried this chilled cucumber salad at a Japanese pop-up kitchen the other day, and was intrigued both by the texture and the depth of flavour.

Turns out giving the cucumbers a few whacks with a rolling pin before dressing them is the secret. Continue reading

Broccoli spread

28 Feb

confit broccoli

I wasn’t sure what to call this broccoli concoction…

It started out as broccoli confit, but I’ve cut so much on the oil that the name no longer fits. I thought of broccamole, but decided the lack of avocados ruled that one out.

Patés are too smooth, dips are for dipping. Which led me to “spread” – so broccoli spread it is.

Whatever the name, it’s very moreish stuff. I serve it as an appetiser on toasted sourdough or crackers. I also eat it with a spoon straight out of the fridge. Continue reading

Cauliflower and white bean stew

20 Feb

Cauliflower and white bean stew

Cauliflower and white bean stew is a one of those no-fuss, mid-week meals I’ve been making for years.

There’s something vaguely Mediterranean about it – Spanish or maybe Greek – which can be played up by adding smoked paprika, or a scattering of crumbled feta. But generally I just make it as below.

It took awhile for the girls to warm to it (courgette has always been a hard sell for some reason), but they eat it happily now. Continue reading