Tag Archives: dairy-free

Roast carrots with pomegranate molasses

8 Dec

roast-carrots-with-pomegranate2

In January my friend Margaret sent me a copy of the gorgeous “A Taste of Haida Gwaii” by the Canadian writer Susan Musgrave.

This wonderful collection of stories, recipes and photographs documents Musgrave’s life in the islands, where she is proprietor of The Copper Beach bed and breakfast. Continue reading

Roasted cauliflower couscous salad

5 Dec

roasted cauliflower couscous salad

I’m pretty organised with food shopping and meal planning, but even so, there are regular occasions when I just need to get something to eat on the table in minutes.

Leftovers are a lifesaver at such times, or a quick pasta like linguine with sardine pesto or pasta cacio e pepe. Eggs are good — scrambled, fried, or in an omelette or frittata.

And there’s usually a tub of salad that can be combined with some toasted pitta, hummus, olives and chopped vegetables for what we call a “lunchy dinner”. While it’s often kisir or tabbouleh, this roasted cauliflower couscous salad has recently joined the rotation.

Roasted cauliflower softens without going mushy, and has a deep, almost nutty taste. I find that the textures of the cauliflower and couscous really complement one another. Continue reading

Sweet potato and black bean tacos

18 Nov

Sweet potato and black bean tacos

Sweet potato and black bean tacos are currently the “go-to” taco around here. Last year was all about fish tacos, but the tilapia I favoured has vanished from the fish counter, for one thing.

Also, we are make a conscious effort to have more meat-free dinners each week, and these are helping with that ambition.

Continue reading

Roasted chicken with clementines and arak

12 Nov

Chicken with clementines, fennel and ouzo

If I had to pick my all-time favourite cookbook, Ottolenghi’s Jerusalem would be a strong contender. Every recipe I have made from it – and I’ve made a good number – has been a winner.

And if I had to pick an all-time favourite recipe from the Jerusalem cookbook, I’d choose his recipe for roasted chicken with clementines and arak.

I’ve made this dish any number of times – with chicken thighs and chicken breasts; with clementines, satsumas, and once with navel oranges; with arak, ouzo or Pernod.

I’ve skipped the marinating stage on occasion, and once accidently roasted the chicken for more than two hours. Nothing I’ve done has made a dent in its deliciousness.

Serve with steamed basmati rice, bulghur wheat or couscous. Continue reading

Turkey white bean chilli

6 Nov

Turkey white bean chilli

This turkey white bean chilli is a lighter, fresher take on the rich, red chilli con carne I grew up eating – though the chipotle paste ensures it still packs a punch.

Continue reading

Crab linguine

3 Nov

Crab linguine

This simple, delicious crab linguine takes me back to the week we spent camping in Cornwall, at the tip of the Lizard peninsula.

Once the seven-hour drive and rigamarole of pitching camp was behind us, we spent our days cliff walking, beach lazing, and body surfing, and our nights toasting marshmallows and sipping whisky round the campfire.

Before leaving London, I’d had the brainwave of freezing a few meals in large ziplock bags. These served as ice blocks for the cooler, keeping the milk and butter cool while they slowly thawed (a system that worked surprisingly well) until I heated them up on our little gas burner.

Continue reading

Roasted pumpkin seeds

31 Oct

Roasted pumpkin seeds

Along with pumpkin soup, roasted pumpkin seeds are a Halloween night staple. As soon as we’ve scooped out the pumpkins for the jack-o-lanterns, I get digging through the slippery pumpkin innards to collect the seeds.

Tossed with oil and seasoning then roasted in the oven, pumpkin seeds are great to snack on while carving the jack-o-lantern. They are also almost certainly the healthiest thing the kids will eat all day. Continue reading

Kimchi jjigae

26 Oct

Kimchi jjigae

As a lover of all things kimchi, I can think of nothing finer on a cool autumn night than a steaming bowl of kimchi jjigae. Chilli hot, vinegar sour, and packing a hefty garlicky punch, kimchi jjigae is not for the timid of palate  (though the chilli heat can easily be tamed down by using less gochujang, or even omitting the gochugaru).

Kimchi jjigae also has serious sinus-clearing properties, and when a cold threatens, I’d take it over chicken soup any day of the week.

I have yet to convince the girls to join us in a bowl of kimchi jjigae – as we say around here, they are still “learning to like kimchi”…;-) Continue reading

Tabbouleh

22 Oct

tabbouleh

“I’m sorry I called you worthy, tabbouleh, I was just infatuated with kisir…”

Now that I’m working more hours at the office, tabbouleh is becoming a weekly staple around here. I’ve been putting it in packed lunches with olives, cucumber slices and maybe a piece of feta on the side.

It’s also featuring in serve-yourself, mezze-style dinners on evenings where conflicting schedules prevent us sitting down together for a family meal.

Measurements aren’t that important with tabbouleh – I like mine to have roughly equal amounts of bulghur wheat and chopped herbs, but have eaten versions that were 90% herbs – find a balance that works for you.

Avoid the possibility of worthiness by seasoning generously (and seasoning again to brighten it up before serving if made in advance.)

Continue reading

Mung bean coconut curry

19 Oct

Mung bean coconut curry

Poor, unfashionable mung beans… While a number of ingredients have crossed the aisle from “health food” to mainstream (hummus, tofu), or even become trendy (quinoa, chia seeds), mung beans are not among them.

There is still something 1970s, socks-and-sandals, “knit your own yogurt” about mung beans (at least in their un-sprouted form). Or maybe it’s a name thing… if you were brainstorming names to market a new legume, I doubt “mung” would make the long list.

Having been a friend of the mung bean for years, I’d like to introduce them to a wider social circle. This mung bean coconut curry is a good place to start. Quick to make (mung beans don’t need pre-soaking), delicious, healthy and cheap, this curry is a winner.

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.

Continue reading

Homemade tahini

5 Sep

Tahini

The other day, I asked my husband to pick up some sesame seeds on the way home. Instead of the little packet I was expecting, he plonked a 500g bag on the counter. That’ll to take years to get through, I thought ungratefully…

I know that I have nothing to complain about. My husband and daughters are willing to pop to the shops at a moment’s notice, and generally return with a reasonable approximation of the requested item.

(Not like a former housemate who went to buy half a dozen eggs and returned with a six-pack of beer. “I knew it was six of something,” he said.)

And without that enormous bag of sesame seeds, I might not have discovered how easy it is to make tahini. Or how there is no comparison between fresh tahini and the pale lump of hardened sludge submerged in low-grade oil that is most store-bought tahini. Or how amazingly good it tastes.

Continue reading

Rosemary gimlet

19 Aug

Rosemary gimlet

Cutting back an unruly rosemary bush that was over-reaching itself in the garden has left me with an abundance of fresh rosemary. Besides incorporating it into our last few meals, I made a bottle of rosemary syrup to drizzle over apple-based desserts, and use to glaze my next rosemary loaf cake.

I then got the idea of making a rosemary-based cocktail… An internet search turned up this rosemary gimlet on David Lebowitz’s website.

Having tried it his way, I decided that I prefer mine with a higher proportion of lime juice and rosemary syrup to gin. That way you can have two…;-) Continue reading

Bean salad with smoked paprika dressing

6 Aug

Bean salad with smoked paprika dressing

Having made many a bean salad over the years, I’ve pretty much settled on this version.

I love the combination of smoked paprika, honey and vinegar in the dressing, which elevates the prosaic bean salad to unlikely heights. Continue reading

Grilled pepper salad (salada de pimentos assados)

7 Jul

Grilled pepper salad

A simple salad of grilled peppers is the traditional accompaniment Portuguese grilled sardines. While some recipes dress the salad with red wine vinegar, I prefer to allow the flavour of the vegetables to come through.

The peppers and onion can either be grilled on the barbeque, or roasted on a baking sheet in a hot oven. If you make grilled pepper salad in advance, be sure serve it at room temperature (or even warm) to bring out the flavours. Continue reading

Grilled sardines (sardinhas assadas)

6 Jul

Grilled sardines

I fired up the barbeque for first time this season to grill these sardines for our dinner. You can fry sardines in a grill pan or in a hot oven, but they are so much nicer cooked over an open flame.

These were delicious served with a squeeze of lemon, some crusty Portuguese bread and the traditional grilled pepper salad. The only possible improvements would have been a seaside table and a chilled glass of vinho verde. Continue reading

Croatian cucumber salad

4 Jul

Croatian cucumber salad

I served this simple Croatian cucumber salad to accompany the prawns alla busara we had for dinner last night. The recipe seemed so simple, I hadn’t intended to post it.

But it was so crisp, cool and refreshing that I changed my mind. Continue reading

Prawns alla busara

3 Jul

Prawns buzara

I’ve been wanting to cook prawns alla busara ever since I saw Rick Stein prepare them on the Croatia segment of his Venice to Istanbul cookery show.

By the time he’d rustled up a delicious-looking plate of prawns bathed in a wine-rich tomato sauce, my mouth was watering. Continue reading

Summer pudding

2 Jul

Summer pudding

Before moving to the UK, I’d never eaten summer pudding. I was dead impressed the first time my mother-in-law served one up for dessert.

As she’s a very accomplished cook, I assumed summer puddings required patisserie skills I’d never possess. Turns out she’s a canny cook as well – and summer pudding couldn’t be easier to make. Continue reading

Salade liègeoise

1 Jul

Salade liègeoise

After tasting her salade liègeoise this evening, my older daughter remarked that what she likes best about trying recipes from different countries is recognising adaptations of familiar dishes.

“Like this salade liègeoise, for example – this is just a salade niçoise for people who don’t have tomatoes.”

She’s spot on, and it really brought home to me one of the reasons I cook the way I do. It a way of engaging with the world, of opening a window into different cultures – “dining table” travel, if you will. Continue reading

Salata de vinete (aubergine salad)

28 Jun

Salata de vinete

Salata de vinete is a traditional Romanian dip or spread that is served with pitta or crackers. I did some research online – even watching a video of Nadia Comenici preparing salata de vinete – before asking my Romanian friend Dan for tips. 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

Romanian marinated mushrooms

23 Jun

Romanian marinated mushrooms

I grew up eating what we Canadians called antipasto – a mixture of fish, vegetables and olives marinated in a sharp tomato sauce – and these Romanian mushrooms reminded me of it.

While I really liked them, the rest of the family had their reservations. Lyra hated the mushrooms but loved the sauce, Nova found them too spicy, and Adam thought they were too acidic. Continue reading

Schnitzel

18 Jun

Schnitzel

Schnitzel was on the menu pretty regularly when the girls were small. Kids generally love breaded food, and it was a safe dinner option for playdates. (I once made a little girl cry by serving her a bowl of chickpea pasta soup…)

While veal is the traditional schnitzel cut in Austria, I’ve never used it myself. Chicken, turkey, or pork – they’ve all been pounded flat, dipped in egg, and rolled in crumbs and shallow-fried round here. Continue reading

Cabbage rolls (holubtsi)

16 Jun

Cabbage rolls

Cabbage rolls are the most Ukrainian of dishes, but they are also very Canadian. After all, Canada is home to more than 1.2 million Ukrainian-Canadians, – the world’s third largest Ukrainian population (after the Ukraine itself and Russia).

Where I grew up, buffets and potluck suppers always featured platters of cabbage rolls alongside the baked ham, potato salads, scalloped potatoes and tuna casseroles topped with crushed potato chips. Everyone seemed to adore them – everyone except me… Continue reading

Potato pancakes with sauerkraut (zemiakové placky)

15 Jun

Potato pancakes with sauerkraut

This Euro 2016 challenge has made me aware of how many eastern European teams are competing – the menu plan for the next month is a bit cabbage-tastic. Potatoes are well represented too – and Slovakian potato pancakes feature both.

Seasoned with majoram and garlic, these differ from the potato latkes I usually make. Unlike latkes, they also include a significant quantity of flour, resulting in a breadier pancake.

Continue reading

Salata de boeuf

10 Jun

Salata de boeuf

I first encountered salata de boeuf when we visited some  friends over the Christmas holidays, and were treated to a generous spread of Romanian delicacies. Continue reading

Guacamole

3 Jun

Chips and guacamole

Guacamole is one of those things it should be impossible to get wrong. Mash and season a ripe avocado, serve with tortilla chips – the shortest recipe ever.

And yet, there is so much lousy guacamole out there, it seems worth writing a few words on the subject. Continue reading

Lemon mint

11 Apr

Lemon mint

We spent Easter in Bahrain visiting friends, where we were introduced to a drink called lemon mint. One glass and we were hooked, ordering it at every opportunity.

Lemon juice and fragrant mint are blended with ice to make a lovely, refreshing pick-me-up. The key is not to over-sweeten the mix – add just enough sugar to take the edge off the lemon’s sharpness. Continue reading

Twelve-bean soup

3 Mar

Twelve-bean soup

I’m naming this twelve-bean soup because that’s what I called it in Canada. Here in the UK, I have only ever found ten-bean mix. (I’m not sure which two types of beans have been omitted, but the soup seems none the worse for their absence.) Continue reading

Fruit and vegetable tagine

29 Feb

Vegetable tajine with fruit

Tajine, cous cous, tajine, cous cous, tajine… When visiting Morocco, you have to go out of your way to avoid eating one or the other – or both – pretty much every day.

In Morocco, a tajine is both a slow-cooked savoury stew and the conical pottery cooking vessel in which they are prepared. So strictly speaking, while drawing on the flavours of Morocco, this fruit and vegetable tajine is not a tajine at all.

It is delicious though, and less oily than most I’ve eaten, especially those featuring chicken or lamb.
Continue reading

Sweet potato and carrot soup

15 Feb

Sweet potato and carrot soup

This sweet potato and carrot soup comes together in no time, making a great choice for weekday dinner. The sweet potato gives it a silky smoothness that contrasts beautifully with the crunchy seeds. Continue reading

Kimchi fried rice (kimchi bokkeumbap)

5 Feb

Kimchi fried rice (kimchi bokkeumbap)

One big positive of having a ready supply of kimchi on hand, is the possibility of turning last night’s leftover rice into a bowl of delicious kimchi bokkeumbap for lunch.

Continue reading

Beef barley soup

29 Jan

Beef barley soup

Pearl barley is the very definition of comfort food for me. It takes me straight back to childhood – to lunches of homemade soup and grilled cheese sandwiches round the kitchen table to fortify us against whatever winter weather northern Canada was serving up outside.

I read somewhere once that “Canadians eat for ballast”, to ensure they aren’t swept away by an Arctic blast when they venture out of doors. There may be some truth in that…;-)

Whatever the reason, beef barley soup is the kind of thing I crave now that winter is making a belated appearance in the UK. Continue reading

Prawn cocktail

29 Dec

Prawn cocktail

My mum always served shrimp cocktail before we tucked into our Christmas dinner. Now I’m wearing the apron, I’ve dispensed with the whole idea of starters. But it wouldn’t be Christmas without mum’s shrimp cocktail appearing on a menu at some point over the holidays.

Continue reading

Kimchi

15 Dec

Kimchi

Kimchi is indisputably Korea’s national dish. When I travelled round South Korea, I’m pretty sure I was served kimchi with every meal – including breakfast.

Kimchi is one of those love/hate foods like Marmite. Personally, I love it, but because it’s sold only in specialty shops in the UK, I don’t eat it as much as I’d like.

That is about to change, as last week, I got the big idea of making it at home. And if it turned out, maybe bestowing it as Christmas presents on some lucky folk…;-) (It did, and I will!)

Continue reading

Chicken, cannellini beans and kale

30 Nov

chicken-cannellini-kale

Chicken, cannellini beans and kale is not the catchiest of names – more of a list of ingredients really. Which makes sense for a dish whose elements remain proudly distinct while combining in a deeply satisfying way.

Continue reading

Vietnamese grilled pork balls

24 Nov

Vietnamese grilled pork balls

These Vietnamese grilled pork balls (nem nuong) are surprisingly light, and make a nice meal with an Asian slaw or this warm glass noodle and edamame salad. Continue reading

Warm glass noodle and edamame salad

21 Nov

Warm glass noodle and edamame salad

I made this warm glass noodle and edamame salad to accompany some Vietnamese-style pork meatballs the other evening.

Edamame are great favourite with the kids – though what they like is best is eating them from the pods.

Continue reading

Fasoulada (Greek bean soup)

6 Nov

Fasoulada

I love the way the word fasoulada rolls off the tongue. I’d order it just for the pleasure of saying “I’ll have the fasssooolaaadaaa please.”

And the girls are just as same. It’s “pass the fasssooolaaadaaa”, “my fasssooolaaadaaa is too hot” and so on throughout the meal.

Continue reading