“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.)
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.
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
Sugo alla puttanesca – or “whore’s sauce” – is a savoury, spicy, lip-smacking combination of tomatoes, chilli, capers, anchovies and olives. Usually served with spaghetti, I’d choose it over a bolognese sauce any day of the week.
The Neapolitan version of puttanesca doesn’t include anchovies, so I’ve listed them as optional. I love the depth of saltiness they bring to the dish (and once they’ve cooked down, the girls are blissfully unaware they’re in there) so I usually sneak some in.
Chicken tikka masala is one of Britain’s favourite dishes. Believed to be a local adaptation of India’s butter chicken, chicken tikka masala is such a part of the British culinary fabric, it goes by the acronym CTM.
Usually eaten in restaurants, or as a takeaway, I had never actually made chicken tikka masala myself. Continue reading
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
When I was a kid, we had a skipping song that included the lines, “Goulash, paprikash, one, two, three! Noodle, strudel, touch your knees! Rigatoni, macaroni…”
I can’t recall the rest, but I know that I hadn’t the foggiest idea what paprikash was back then – and until today had never made it. Continue reading