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
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
“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.)
Fattoush – that tasty Middle-Eastern salad of chopped vegetables and bread – is worth eating just for the opportunity to say it. “What’s for dinner, mum?” “Fattoush – we’re having fattoush tonight.”
I’ve made several versions of fattoush over the years, all of which call for the bread to be toasted or fried. The fattoush recipe in Ottolenghi’s Jerusalem cookbook is a bit different.
The bread is not cooked, for one thing. And instead of the usual olive oil and lemon juice, the salad is tossed with a yogurt-based dressing.
I love the way the dressing soaks into the bread, softening it and leaving it to the vegetables to deliver the crunch. Continue reading
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.
Pide are Turkey’s answer to pizza, and surprisingly easy to make. The dough came together in minutes, and by the time I’d made the toppings, it was risen and ready to roll.
I went with two traditional toppings – spicy ground meat and spinach and cheese – but there’s definitely scope to experiment here.
I divided the dough into four pieces, and made four largeish pide, but you could just as easily make six individual ones.
Note that the recipe below is for the amount of filling you need if you plan to make both types of pide. If you want to make only one, either freeze half the dough to use another time or double the quantity of filling. Continue reading
I’ve made salad olivieh before, but this version is a knock-out. The roasted fennel and mustard seeds add lovely warmth to the dressing, and the Greek yogurt makes it less cloying than dressings made with mayonnaise. Continue reading