Tag Archives: tomatoes

Penne a la vodka

22 May

penne a la vodka

Penne a la vodka was all the rage when I first moved to London. After ordering it in restaurants, I had a go at making it myself.

There wasn’t an internet to refer to, but it wasn’t complicated to work out what was in it – tomatoes, onion, garlic, chilli, cream… and vodka.

For some reason, I had the idea that the vodka should be set alight like the brandy on a Christmas pudding.

I’d cook down the tomato sauce, then pour the vodka over top and set a match to it. Blue flames would dance impressively across the surface and die down, after which I’d stir through the cream. Continue reading

Lasagne

23 Sep

lasagne

A well-made lasagne is a delightful thing. Unfortunately, the dish that passed for lasagne in my childhood did not fit this description.

According to the index card, mum got the recipe from a neighbour on our block. It calls for an entire tin of tomato paste, Kraft cheese slices, and a large tub of sour cream.

It was years before I ate lasagne again, and was happily surprised to discover how good it can be. Continue reading

Tomate aux crevettes

11 Jul

I liked the look of this Belgian recipe for tomate aux crevettes, but wondered if it might be no more than the sum of its (very few) parts.

But after a short spell in the fridge, the prawn filling both infused the tomato shell and set a bit so that it sliced surprisingly well. 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.

Continue reading

Red-red stew

8 Oct

red red

Red-red is a traditional Ghanaian bean stew that gets its name (and colour) from the tomatoes and palm oil used to prepare it.

The first red-red recipe I tried called for three types of chilli – fresh Scotch bonnet, chilli flakes, and chilli powder (plus additional minced chilli to garnish).

Despite cutting back significantly on the quantity of chilli (and omitting the chilli powder altogether), it was so blisteringly hot the girls were unable to eat it. Continue reading

Itch (Armenian bulghur wheat salad)

30 Sep

Itch (Armenian bulghur-tomato salad)

I’d want to make this Armenian bulghur wheat salad for the name alone…

While itch is similar to kisir, using tomato sauce to hydrate the bulghur wheat places itch more in the realm of side dish than salad. Continue reading

Gypsy soup

10 Sep

gypsy soup

I’ve been making gypsy soup for many years. I have no idea why the Moosewood cookbook calls it “gypsy soup”, or what it means by “a spiced and delectable brew of Spanish and Dickensonian origins”.

Is it a reference to Linda Dickinson, one of the thirty-odd “Moosewood people” credited at the front? Or a  mis-spelling of “Dickensian”? (Though what this soup has to do with Victorian England, social commentary, or sentimentality is anyone’s guess.)

Perhaps it refers to the length of the ingredients list?

Continue reading

Tomato, olive and feta galette

27 Jul

Tomato, olive and feta galette

“When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.”

And when life takes away the cucumber you need to make Greek salad, make tomato, feta and olive galette?”

Not as catchy, but the principle is the same. Plus, it’s how this recipe came about…;-) 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

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

Fattoush

2 Oct

Fattoush

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

Spaghetti puttanesca

30 Jul

Spaghetti puttanesca

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.

Continue reading

Chicken tikka masala

5 Jul

Chicken tikka masala

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

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

Chicken paprikash

26 Jun

Chicken paprikash

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

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

Penne amatriciana

8 Apr

Penne amatriciana

Pasta amatriciana is a classic Roman dish made with guanciale (cured pork cheek), tomatoes and chilli. Traditionally made with bucatini, I prefer it with penne and seldom use another pasta.

Guanciale being thin on the ground in these parts, I make mine with pancetta or even chopped bacon. Continue reading

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

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.

Continue reading

Lentil and smoked salmon salad

28 May

Smoked salmon and lentil salad

Lentils and smoked salmon make this a most satisfying main course salad. Easy to pull together on a weeknight, especially if you happen to have cooked lentils hanging about, as we often do. Continue reading

Spaghetti bolognese

10 Jan

spaghetti bolognese

Spaghetti bolognese is one of those family meals I make so regularly that I no longer follow a recipe. I always start with a soffrito of onion, carrot and celery – sautéed in olive oil with a couple of cloves of  garlic.  Continue reading

Winter tomato soup

13 Dec

Winter tomato soup

There’s something very Christmassy about a deep red bowl of tomato soup, especially when it has a dollop of creme fraiche and a scattering of fresh green herbs. (Actually, the girls wouldn’t agree with that – Christmas is all about chocolate and baked goods (preferably involving chocolate) for them. Continue reading

Warm chicken and runner bean salad

22 Sep

Warm chicken and runner bean salad

I was given a wonderful bag of produce from my friend Rachel’s allotment for my birthday last week. Courgettes, tomatillos, piquillo peppers, nasturtium flowers, electric daisies (which make your mouth tingle in a slightly alarming fashion), squash, French and runner beans –  a generous sampling of their bountiful harvest.

Whenever I find myself with runner beans, this salad is the first thing I make. I love the vibrant colours and contrasting tastes and textures – crunchy croutons, tender chicken, just crisp beans, juicy tomatoes – high summer eating at its finest. Continue reading

Butterbean and tomato soup

4 Sep

Butterbean tomato soup

I could live on soup, especially thick, puréed ones like this butterbean and tomato soup. Cooked butterbeans have a soft, floury texture, which makes them a great soup base, though I imagine cannellini beans would work here as well.

This is one of those dishes that tastes like more effort has gone into it, which I attribute to the addition of sundried tomatoes. The recipe comes from Rose Elliot’s Vegetarian Fast FoodContinue reading

Peperoni alla piedmontese

16 Jul

piedmont peppers

Considering what to do with the peppers left over from our Brazilian World Cup meal, I remembered a recipe for Piedmont peppers I used to make regularly. I served the peppers along with the linguine pesto I’d promised Lyra for dinner. The recipe is from Elizabeth David’s Italian Food, with a few adjustments. Continue reading

Chismol

12 Jul

chismol

I was surprised to notice that the recipe I’d found for chismol didn’t contain any chilli. But when I looked at a few others they had little or none, so I stuck with the version on the This is Honduras website. Nova loved this salsa, and polished off the leftovers with a spoon after we’d finished the baleadas. Continue reading

Kedjenou

2 Jul

kejenou

 

For our Ivory Coast meal, I went with kedjenou, a chicken and vegetable dish, cooked slowly in a tightly-sealed pot. There’s no liquid added, and you must shake the pot occasionally to keep it from sticking. Apparently “kedjenou” means to shake in Baoulé – one of the sixty(!) languages spoken in the Ivory Coast. I pretty much followed the recipe on the Whats4eats website, but all the ones I looked at were all pretty similar. Continue reading

Gazpacho

1 Jul

gazpacho

Expecting better things of  Spain, I put them on day 22 of our World Cup menu plan. This recipe takes about three minutes to make –– about as long as it took Spain to crash out of the World Cup…;-)

Nova has never liked gazpacho much, which dragged the family score down considerably. Continue reading

Beef suya

30 Jun

IMG_2500

Nigerian suya is thinly sliced skewered meat coated in a mixture of spices and ground peanuts and then grilled. Beef suya is common, but goat, chicken, liver, kidney and tripe are also used (and apparently cane rat). After looking at a few different recipes, I came up with my own combination that would work for a family meal. It is typically served with sliced tomato, onion and cabbage. Continue reading

Ceviche

25 Jun

ceviche

I decided to make ceviche our Ecuador World Cup dinner. I always thought ceviche was Peruvian, but it seems there are versions from around central and South America. Added corn nuts to my usual recipe to give it an Ecuadorian twist. Continue reading

Pebre

23 Jun

pebre

Chile’s version of salsa. Looking at a few recipes, the key elements are tomatoes, onion, garlic, cilantro and vinegar. I stuck with my version of the recipe from Sundays at Moosewood Restaurant, which I’ve been making for years. It keeps for several days in the fridge. Continue reading

Pizza

20 Jun

pizza

I served pizza and tiramisu for our Italian World Cup meal. I sometimes make a double batch of pizza dough and freeze half, which makes homemade pizza an easy weekday option. I copied the dough recipe from a magazine many years ago… Continue reading

Greek salad

19 Jun

Greek salad

When Lyra asked me what meal I would choose if I had to eat it every single day for the rest of my life, I picked Greek salad. As it is, definitely eat it at least once a week. Continue reading

Andrea’s salsa

5 Aug

Salsa

This recipe evolved through my attempts to recreate the salsa served at the Topanga Cafe in Vancouver. Continue reading