Tag Archives: vegetarian

Ratatouille

28 Oct

Ratouille is a classic French vegetable stew of aubergines, peppers, courgette, onions and tomatoes, served as a side dish or with pasta.

I’ve tried a number of recipes for ratatouille over the years. Some insist that each vegetable is cooked separately before being layered together, but I’ve found that to be an unnecessary amount of faff.

The main thing is to cook the vegetables in the correct order, avoid overcooking, keep the seasonings simple, and allow the ratatouille to rest before eating at room temperature (or reheating).

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Peanut butter and jam thumbprint cookies

22 Oct

Peanut butter was a lunchbox staple when I was growing up in Canada — peanut butter and jam sandwiches, peanut-butter-filled celery sticks, peanut butter cookies…

With the rise of nut allergies and “nut-free” schools, peanut butter has  fallen off the menu, and these peanut butter and jam thumbprint cookies are now a weekend treat.

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Carrot halwa

29 May

carrot halwa

My husband loves carrot halwa and always orders it when we go for an Indian meal.

I agree that it’s less sweet than many Indian desserts, which counts in its favour. But having tasted his portion any number of times, I never once regretted ordering the kulfi.

This all changed when we started making carrot halwa at home… Continue reading

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

Courgette fries with spicy mayonnaise

14 May

courgette fries

According to my daughter, these courgette fries are like “vegetarian calamari”.  I know what she means.

While no one would confuse the texture of squid with courgette, they are similarly satisfying in flavour and crunch. And being baked, they are reasonably healthy as well.

I first ate them at a Vancouver restaurant called Las Tapas that I adored, and have been making my own version ever since.

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Shakshouka

10 May

shakshouka

Shakshouka – eggs poached in a spicy tomato sauce – is one of our favourite Sunday brunches. It’s a good, quick supper too, and something I’ll think to make when feeding two.

When that’s the case, I preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C) and make the sauce in my cast iron frying pan. After cracking the eggs over the sauce, I pop the frying pan in the oven (uncovered) for about five minutes until the eggs are cooked through.

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Bean and pea salad with miso dressing

5 May

green bean, pea and peashoot salad with miso dressing

Lightly cooked green beans and peas on a bed of fresh peashoots with walnuts and a miso-sake dressing makes a fresh, healthy lunch.

I go with whatever combination of beans I have to hand – mangetout and podded edamame are both good and give an interesting visual and texture contrast. Continue reading

Spinach soup

29 Apr

spinach soup

I have two spinach soups in my repetoire – this soothing, mellow one with leeks, potatoes and a splash of cream – and a spicier, Asian-influenced soup with citrus and ginger.

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Japanese curry

26 Apr

Japanese curry

Making Japanese curry from scratch for the first time was the high point of my week.

I discovered Japanese curry when I lived in Tokyo after finishing uni, and became an instant convert. I love the thick, slightly sweet taste of the sauce, and the way it sticks to the vegetables like a thick coat of paint.

What makes Japanese curry unique is the roux, which is sold in thick bars. I’ve always lived where Asian ingredients are easy to come by, and usually have a packet of Japanese curry in the cupboard.

You fry, then simmer, your veg, meat or tofu to the point of tenderness, dissolve a chunk of roux in the pan and instant curry goodness ensues. Continue reading

Rocket and fennel salad with toasted seeds

20 Apr

There has been a fennel bulb languishing in the veggie tray for ages. It’s been there for so long, I can no longer remember my reason for buying it.

I now realise that it was  waiting for its moment to shine in this rocket and fennel salad with tahini-ginger dressing and toasted seeds.

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Hot cross bun and butter pudding

15 Apr

hot cross bun and butter pudding

Comfort food is having a bit of a moment around here, which makes sense. And things don’t get much more comforting than bread and butter pudding.

This one is made with a six-pack of hot cross buns that were inexplicably overlooked on Easter weekend. Continue reading

Chocolate chip cookies

13 Apr

chocolate chip cookies

This is a truly excellent chocolate chip cookie recipe. One of the things I like best is how a modest list of ingredients produces such a stellar result.

Even before these locked-down days, I’d come across a recipe with 250g best-quality chocolate, 4 eggs, two types of sugar, and bag of M&Ms thrown in for good measure, and think “of course that’s going to taste good – it’s a bunch of rich, sweet things mooshed together.”

We’ve made these chocolate chip cookies with plain and self-raising flour (no baking soda), wholewheat, and on one occasion khorasan flour. Dark chips, light chips, butterscotch chips or chopped baking chocolate. Whatever nuts we have on hand, or no nuts at all.

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Microwave banana pudding

13 Apr

microwave banana pudding

Microwave banana pudding has been a little spot of brightness in these worrying days, scratching a sticky toffee pudding itch we hadn’t known was there.

We’ve made this recipe from the BBC Good Food website four times in the past three weeks. It’s a great way to use up old bananas, takes 15 minutes start to finish, cooks while you have dinner, and tastes fabulous.

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Bran bread

15 Nov

bran bread

I love the simplicity of this bran bread recipe. All Bran, dried fruit and milk is left to soften before being mixed with some flour and baked for an hour.

It is essentially a baked bowl of soggy cereal, but what a difference that baking makes.

The resulting loaf is toothsome, moist and flavourful. “It’s like a cross between malt bread and Christmas cake,” my daughter said, and she’s spot on.

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Spiced plum muffins

21 Oct

spiced plum muffins

I make bran muffins most weekends, but occasionally I mix things up with lemon poppyseed or spiced plum muffins.

Plum and ginger always work well together. I love the extra hit the preserved ginger brings, but they are also nice without it. Continue reading

Cabbage and corn slaw

15 Oct

cabbage and corn slaw

Cabbage and corn slaw is an excellent accompaniment to Mexican dishes like enchiladas and burritos, providing a welcome crunchy contrast. Continue reading

Warm cannellini bean salad

6 Jun

This warm cannellini bean salad is of those happy marriages of ingredients that are just meant for each other.

The combination of colours, textures and flavours – floury beans, silky rocket and salty pancetta, loosely bound in a lemony crème fraiche dressing – is a delight. Continue reading

Anzac biscuits

25 Apr

Anzac biscuits

Eaten on April 25 (Anzac Day) to commemorate the sacrifice made by Australian and New Zealand soldiers, Anzac biscuits can be crispy, chewy or crunchy depending on the balance of brown and caster sugar.

This recipe hits the sweet spot between crispy and chewy, which makes them an excellent biscuit choice for homemade ice cream sandwiches.

It’s important to use whole rolled oats – not the instant ones – otherwise, the biscuits spread too much in the oven. Continue reading

Roasted kale, carrot and apple salad

5 Apr

Roasted kale, carrot and apple salad

I have a salad for lunch most days. When it’s cold wet like the last few days have been, I make it a warm one.

The kale is transformed by its time in the oven, softening and developing a deeper, woodsy flavour that contrasts nicely with the crisp apple and toasted seeds.

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Hasselback potatoes

9 Mar

Crispy on the edges, soft and buttery within, hasselback potatoes can make any meal feel a bit special. Continue reading

Parsnip soup with sautéed greens

5 Mar

parsnip soup with sautéed greens

I’ve made this parsnip soup with sautéed greens so regularly for so many years, that it was a surprise to realise that it wasn’t on this website. Continue reading

Beetroot and celery salad

24 Feb

beetroot and celery salad

I wouldn’t have thought of combining beetroot and celery, but thumbing through Elizabeth David’s French Provincial Cooking I was intrigued by her description of this “admirable winter salad”. Continue reading

Japanese sesame spinach (horenso no gomaae)

20 Feb

spinach gomaae

This dish of blanched spinach in a sesame seed dressing takes me straight back to my time living in Japan. Tokyo was (and is) an expensive city, and we ate in most nights — Japanese food mainly.

The local shops didn’t sell anything else, and anyway, it was fun to buy unfamiliar ingredients and figure out what to do with them.

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Lemon poppy seed muffins

14 Jan

I almost always make muffins for breakfast on Saturday morning.

For years, my go-to recipe has been these blueberry bran muffins, but in last few months lemon poppyseed muffins have been giving them a run for their money. Continue reading

Trifle

22 Dec

I make trifle only once a year – over the Christmas holiday, when a big creamy, custardy, boozy bowl of indulgence seems like just what Santa ordered…;-)

This is a very different trifle to my Grandma Ivy’s, which calls for red and green jello, candied fruit and optional coconut macaroons(!).

(If I’m to realise my ambition of cooking every family recipe in Fern’s Food, I’ll have to give it a go some Christmas, but we’re keeping it classic this year.) Continue reading

Endive, pear, walnut and blue cheese salad

19 Dec

Endive, pear, walnut and blue cheese salad

This is one of my favourite winter salads, especially at this time of year.

Fresh and light without being worthy, endive, pear, walnut and blue cheese salad is nice counterpoint to the the rich food we’ve  been indulging in.

It’s also delicious, with each ingredient bringing something to the party. Continue reading

Onion-tahini sauce

31 Oct

Onion tahini sauce is a legacy of my student days, when I would make this dish most weeks.

And not just because it was dirt cheap. The tahini, cumin and soy sauce come together in an unexpectedly delicious, savoury, satisfying way, delivering a wallop of what I now know to be umami. Continue reading

Fake soufflé

13 Oct

Fake soufflé was one of mum’s dinner party staples in the 1970s, but I remember she found the name embarrassing.

As if she was cheating her guests by not providing a “real” soufflé instead of this light, fluffy, delicious concoction.

I think fake soufflé could do with a rebrand. Continue reading

Pita bread

1 Oct

pita bread

Despite doing a science degree at university (or maybe because of it), I find regular moments of magic in cooking.

Egg whites stiffening into peaks, eggs and oil transforming themselves into mayonnaise, sugar melting into caramel – these things bring me genuine, uncomplicated pleasure.

Watching pita breads blowing themselves up like little balloons through the glass door of the oven is another one.

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Spinach and water chestnut dip

27 Sep

spinach and water chestnut dip

Spinach and water chestnut dip was all the rage in the 1970s, and I adored it.

An unlikely cast of ingredients – spinach, water chestnuts, powdered soup mix and mayonnaise – come together in the most silky, savoury, crunchy way imaginable.

As I remember, it was usually served in a hollowed out bread loaf, surrounded by chunks of bread for dipping. Continue reading

Lotus salad

17 Sep

Lotus salad

Years ago, my cousin part-owned a funky café-gallery called The Whip, in what was then a pretty scruffy part of east Vancouver.

The first time I ate there, I ordered the intriguingly named lotus salad – baby spinach tossed with blue cheese, dried cranberries and sunflower seeds, drizzled in a blackberry vinaigrette.

It was love at first bite, and I’ve been making my own version ever since. Continue reading

Plum butter (pflaumenmus)

13 Sep

pflaumenmus

Plum butter – or pflaumenmus  – is a German plum spread. Unlike the other jams I make, pflaumenmus is baked slowly in a low oven, which seems to intensify the flavour.

I made pflaumenmus for the first time last autumn. We hoovered up the first batch so fast, I had time to make a second one before the plum season ended.

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Spinach mushroom kitchri

9 Sep

spinach mushroom kitchri

This thick porridge of mung beans and rice might look like something Oliver Twist would have declined, but for me, a warm bowl of khitchri is pure comfort food. Continue reading

Waffles

5 Sep

waffles

This is Ten More Bites first-ever guest post, brought to you by my daughter Lyra:

Hello! This is Lyra, writing this blog post today about how to make waffles.

We love to make waffles for breakfast and so long as you have a waffle iron it takes no more then fifteen minutes.

P.S. this recipe makes six large waffles…

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Sweet potato fries

24 Aug

Sweet potato fries

When the girls were small, I’d usually have a bag of oven chips in the freezer to serve alongside fish fingers and peas when they had friends round for tea.

Now that our fish finger days are behind us, I almost never make chips (oven or otherwise), but I’ll occasionally rustle up a tray of sweet potato fries. Continue reading

Turkish bread

29 Jul

Persian naan

Whenever I eat in a Turkish restaurant, I resolve not to stuff myself with Turkish bread and dips leaving no room for my main course. And invariably fail…

The bread is fresh, warm and pillowy soft, the dips so creamy, garlicky, and moreish, it’s almost impossible to resist.

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Asparagus with wasabi mayonnaise

21 Jul

asparagus with wasabi mayonnaise
Asparagus with wasabi mayonnaise is a really nice, simple summer appetiser.

It contains so few ingredients – and is so straightforward to make – that it’s more of an idea than an actual recipe. Continue reading

Salame de chocolate

15 Jul

Salame de chocolate (Portuguese chocolate salami)

Portugal’s salame de chocolate is a little bit of kitchen fun.

A rich chocolately mixture studded with biscuits and nuts, shaped into a sausage and rolled in powdered sugar to resemble one of those dry-cured salamis. Continue reading

Fainá

12 Jul

faina

Fainá is a thick pancake (or flatbread) made of chickpea flour – and not much else.

It’s baked in a pizza pan in a hot oven, emerging crispy on the outside with an eggy-creamy interior.

Apparently, Uruguayans like to top their pizza slices with a wedge of fainá.
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Basler leckerli

10 Jul

basler leckerli

There’s something gingerbready about basler leckerli – despite the absence of ginger. And something Christmassy too, with the cloves, nutmeg and mixed peel.

So they weren’t my first choice for our World Cup cook-off, but the thought of eating cheese fondue in the sweltering heat tipped it in their favour.

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