Tag Archives: dairy-free

Peruvian seco

3 Nov

Seco

Seco is a traditional Peruvian stew. Chunks of meat – lamb, chicken or beef – are simmered for hours until the meat is  tender to the point of falling apart.

Like dhania chicken, seco is definitely for coriander lovers only. It’s also pretty spicy, so I tone things down a notch when preparing it for the girls.

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Pumpkin soup with coconut milk

31 Oct

squash soup with coconut milk and lemongrass

Pumpkin soup with coconut milk is a Halloween staple at our house. I always feed the girls an early dinner before they head out trick-or-treating.

The menu hasn’t varied in years – toasted pumpkin seeds, witches’ fingers (chicken strips rolled in crushed potato chips), steamed green beans and bloodsucking jellies for dessert.

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Mushroom barley soup

9 Oct

Mushroom barley soup

Mushroom barley soup is a homely Jewish classic. I’ve been making this comforting, nourishing stuff for years. It’s perfect student fare, costing pennies a potful.

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Sugar-free orange cake

29 Sep

Sugar-free orange-almond cake

When the Great British Bake-off contestants were tasked with making a sugar-free cake, I immediately thought of Claudia Roden’s orange cake.

This Judeo-Spanish cake relies on puréed whole oranges for much of its sweetness, which I thought would make it relatively easy to adapt. And because it calls for ground almonds instead of flour, it’s gluten-free as well, which seemed in the spirit of the challenge.

As this was my first attempt at baking with agave nectar, I did some reading first. The recommendations are to cut the quantity of sugar by about quarter, reduce the liquid in the recipe and lower the oven temperature – all of which I did.

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Cranberry and almond biscotti

13 Sep

cranberry almond biscotti

Biscotti is the second signature bake on this year’s Great British Bake-off. I’ve eaten plenty of biscotti, and even knew that the name means “twice cooked” in Italian because they are baked once as a log, and again in slices. But I had never tried baking them myself. Continue reading

Miang kum salmon salad

10 Aug

Miang kum salmon salad

The Thai street snack miang kum (or miang kham) is the inspiration for this smoked salmon salad.

Miang kum is intense bite of hot-sweet-sour-salty bits and pieces wrapped in a cha plu leaf. Apparently the name translates to “all things in one bite”.

I’ve reproduced the flavours of miang kum in this salad, adding the lettuce and noodles to transform it into a more substantial dish. I made it with prawns the first time, but prefer the smoky element the salmon introduces.

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Pork saltimbocca with asparagus and cannellini bean salad

5 Aug

Pork saltimbocca

Saltimbocca means ‘jumps into the mouth’ in Italian, presumably because it’s so delicious. It is good! Traditionally made with veal, I came across this recipe for pork saltimbocca in an issue of Waitrose magazine.

Actually it was the asparagus and cannellini bean salad that first caught my eye. The meat and salad combine beautifully to make a quick, tasty summer meal.

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Muamba de galina (Angolan chicken stew) with funge

26 Jul

Muamba de galina

Muamba de galina is a flavoursome chicken and vegetable stew from Angola, and another foray into the world of African cuisine.

This rich and spicy dish is traditionally served with corn funge – a stiff porridge similar to polenta. Deliberately unseasoned, funge provides a starchy foil for the rich, spicy stew. Continue reading

Prawn and noodle salad

22 Jul

Prawn vermicelli salad

This prawn and noodle salad is pretty much a reinterpretation of a Vietnamese salad roll. I often make it for lunch, using whatever vegetables and fresh herbs I have on hand. Continue reading

Salmon and quinoa

19 Jul

Salmon and quinoa

As delicious as this recipe for grilled salmon with quinoa tastes, it’s the combination of textures that make it such a winner. The silky richness of the salmon, pop of quinoa, and juicy crunch of red pepper play beautifully off one another.

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Kachumber

16 Jul

kachumber

Kachumber is a simple, delicious Indian chopped salad that takes just minutes to make. It provides a welcome freshness to any Indian meal, and works particularly well with kebabs and grilled meat.

Kachumber is so straightforward to make that a recipe isn’t really necessary. But for the record, here’s the way I make it. Continue reading

Peach-basil sorbet

12 Jul

Peach-basil sorbet

Peaches and basil both say “summer” to me – and in this peach-basil sorbet they can say it together…

I made this sorbet with those little flat white peaches that have been appearing in the shops the last few years. The lovely rosy colour was a pleasant surprise – the result of leaving the skins on the peaches when I puréed them. Continue reading

Hummus

10 Jul

Hummus

Once exotic, hummus is now a grocery store staple. It is also now considered children’s fare (at least in the UK), along with fish fingers, chipolatas, and those mini Babybel cheeses. Both my girls adore sandwiches filled with hummus and sliced black olives.

Other vegetables are getting in on the hummus act. Butternut squash, red pepper, spinach and beet hummus are all a thing. Call me old fashioned, but if it doesn’t contain chickpeas and tahini, it’s not hummus – it’s a dip. Continue reading

Bruschetta al pomodoro (tomato bruschetta)

30 Jun

Tomato bruschetta

Bruschetta al pomodoro is simplicity itself – so why write a post about it?

Two reasons:

  1. While the list of ingredients is short and the preparation straightforward, there are a few things worth knowing that can make the difference between a mouthwatering crispy delight and a confused, soggy mess.
  2. I’ve been served so many disappointing, and frankly odd, versions of tomato bruschetta that it seems worth setting down how to do it right.

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Chicken soup with rice

28 Jun

Chicken soup with rice

“I told you once, I told you twice, all seasons of the year are nice for eating chicken soup with rice!” Maurice Sendak

From the moment I first read Maurice Sendak’s Chicken Soup With Rice to Nova, she was after me to make it for her supper.

More often than not, I opted for this Asian-inspired version, that uses  the cooking liquid left after making crystal chicken.  Continue reading

Chicken and tofu

26 Jun

Chicken and tofu
I’ve been making this classic Chinese dish for years – sometimes using prawns instead of chicken, or a  veggie version with just tofu and mushrooms  – and it’s always delicious. Continue reading

Scott’s martini

24 Jun

Scott's martini

There are a lot of strong opinions about what makes a great martini. Personally, I’m pretty flexible. I’ve enjoyed them with gin and vodka – dry, wet or dirty. I’m happy with olives, lemon peel or a cocktail onion (though actually I think that’s a Gibson).

Two essentials for me: A great martini must be icy cold. And it must achieve a satisfying balance between its elements. Otherwise, it’s just a cold glass of gin…

I’m in the happy position of having two good friends who make great martinis. As Scott is visiting from Canada this week, I’m featuring his version here (with permission).  Continue reading

Salsa verde

16 Jun

Salsa verde

Salsa verde (or “green sauce”) is the most wonderful Italian concoction. It goes particularly well with fish, and with some new potatoes and steamed green beans alongside makes a great weekday supper. Continue reading

Hamburger mince gravy

13 Jun

Hamburger mince gravy

At some point in my childhood, the responsibility for cooking the family meals shifted from my mum to my dad. I don’t remember what brought on this change – I’m not sure that I ever knew.

Before that point, I can recall him making only two things – the occasional roast dinner and his delicious sourdough bread. Once he became the main cook, Dad brought a typically structured approach to feeding the family. Continue reading

Crystal chicken

4 Jun

Crystal chicken

This is one of the simplest, tastiest and useful ways to cook chicken that I know. Crystal chicken is a meal in its own right, or perfect for adding to salads, sandwiches, stirfries and other dishes. I also make an Asian-flavoured chicken rice soup from the cooking liquid. Continue reading

Aloo achaar (Nepalese potato salad)

2 Jun

aloo-achaar

Where have you been all my life, aloo achaar? Waiting quietly on page 50 of my well-worn copy of Madhur Jaffrey’s World of the East Vegetarian Cooking, that’s where. I must have flipped past you a hundred times on my way to the very spicy delicious chickpeas or diced potatoes with spinach recipe. Continue reading

Piyaz (Turkish white bean salad with a tahini dressing)

23 May

Cannellini bean salad with tahini dressing

Piyaz is a traditional Turkish bean and onion salad, typically garnished with slices of tomato and hardboiled egg. The recipe varies from region to region – in Antalya they add tahini to the dressing, which gives it a pleasing mellowness.  Continue reading

Ca ri ga (Vietnamese chicken curry)

19 May

Vietnamese chicken curry (cari ga)

Cari ga, or Vietnamese chicken curry, is almost a chicken stew. With its familiar vegetable trio of carrot, potato and onion, it’s hearty enough to serve on its own, with maybe a hunk of baguette to soak up the sauce. Continue reading

Hong Kong green beans

14 May

Hong Kong green beans

Last November in Hong Kong we ate the most delicious stir-fried green beans one evening. Finding ourselves without dinner reservations on Saturday night, we were turned away from several places before finally landing a table in one of the many restaurants in the iSquare building on Nathan Road.

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Kisir (Turkish bulghur wheat salad)

7 May

kisir

While I’ve always found tabbouleh ever so slightly worthy, with kisir it was love at first bite. This Turkish bulghur wheat salad is a much more exciting number – from its vibrant orange colour to its fiery chilli kick. Continue reading

Balinese chicken skewers

5 May

Balinese chicken skewers

I can’t recall where I found this recipe for Balinese chicken skewers, and never having been to Bali I can’t vouch for its authenticity. But I can confirm that it’s dead easy, extremely tasty, and a great hit with the girls. Lyra has already requested it for her birthday dinner (next March). Continue reading

Szechuan celery with beef

2 May

Szechuan celery with beef

Szechuan celery with beef has become a family standby. As a lapsed vegetarian, I’m drawn to recipes where meat plays a supporting roles, and the celery is definitely the star here.

While there’s a bit of faffing around up front – peeling and blanching the celery, mainly – it comes together very quickly after that. Continue reading

Mini meringues

30 Apr

Mini meringues

Mini meringues are a great favourite with the girls – both making and eating them. For years it was deemed necessary to dye these mini meringues pink, but we’re finally moving past the “all things pink” phase.  Continue reading

Miso ramen

28 Apr

Miso ramen

A great bowl of ramen noodles is a wonderful thing. Hot, cheap, filling and reasonably quick to throw together – unless your culinary ambitions stretch to making your own ramen noodles, like the amazing Migrant Chef has done. (I am in awe of this achievement…) Continue reading

Frozen banana “ice cream”

23 Apr

Frozen banana

Frozen banana “ice cream” is a little bit of culinary magic – just sixty seconds in a food processor to transform frozen slices of banana into a smooth, silky dessert.

I first discovered it in David Cohlmeyer’s The Vegetarian Chef in my student days, and have been happily whipping up batches of the stuff ever since.  Continue reading

Fish rice broccoli bowl

21 Apr

Fish rice broccoli bowl

“Andrea has made… steamed Japanese rice, a store-bought smoked mackerel fillet, and steamed broccoli, garnished with strips of nori and a sprinkling of sesame seeds,” Nova drawled in wicked imitation of India Fisher, as we settled with our rice bowls in front of the telly to watch Masterchef.

I get this kind of thing a lot: “You’ve let yourself down on the presentation again, I’m afraid”, or “for me, the elements don’t combine into a single dish” or occasionally “this cherry sorbet is a lovely, lovely thing.”

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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

Baba ghanoush

9 Apr

Baba ghanoush

Cooking the aubergines until they are soft and charred is what gives baba ghanoush its lovely smokey flavour. I achieve this by either roasting the aubergines under the grill or cooking them on the barbeque. Continue reading

Spinach and abura age miso soup

7 Apr

spinach-tofu miso soup

This spinach and abura age miso soup makes a change from the tofu and wakame version I usually serve when we have Japanese food. 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

Green beans with mustard seeds and ginger

31 Mar

Green beans with mustard seeds and ginger

These Gujarati green beans with mustard seeds and ginger make a lovely side dish to an Indian meal. The combination of stir frying and steaming results in vibrant green, crunchy beans. Continue reading

Manhattan cocktail

29 Mar

Manhattan cocktail

I’ve been taking things easy on the drinks front since our cocktail-tastic Christmas. But as the end of a busy work week loomed, the thought of a TGIF cocktail was pretty tempting.

The Manhattan has only three ingredients – rye whiskey, sweet vermouth and bitters. As a Canadian, I have a nostalgic fondness for Canadian Club, but there are a lot of rye whiskeys to choose from these days, and bourbon works as well. Continue reading

Chocolate chip zucchini bread

25 Mar

chocolate-chip-zucchini-bread

This zucchini bread recipe comes from my high school cookbook – which is quite the period piece now, with its marshmallow Waldorf salad, Waikiki meatballs, ham and rice ring and “sex in the pan”.

The original recipe calls for raisins, but after substituting chocolate chips once, I’ve never switched back. It also makes two loaves. Sometimes I’ve halved the recipe by beating the three eggs together and only using half, but usually stick the second loaf in the freezer for later. Continue reading