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 Great British Bake-off is back! Returning from a week in Girona a couple of days ago, we didn’t even unpack our suitcases before sitting down to watch the first episode. We have our priorities straight around here…;-)
“You are going to bake along with them again, aren’t you mum? You could do the technical challenges this time…” (While the thought of attempting my own Jaffa cakes is tempting, I plan to stick with signature bakes for another season.)
So, first up, drizzle cake…
Lemon drizzle is the undisputed champion of the drizzle cake world – a sweet-tart, sticky-soft, tea-time treat you’d have to go some way to improve upon. But having already written about my mum’s lemon bread, I decided to make a grapefruit drizzle cake instead.
Tarator is a chilled yogurt and cucumber soup that is eaten throughout the Balkans. Apparently, it’s considered to be hangover cure, though I’ve yet to test that claim.
It’s very refreshing, and dead easy to make. I’d happily have a jug of tarator in the fridge for quick lunches on hot summer days.
Not that we’re overburdened with those in the UK… It’s probably best to make your tarator on the day and hope the thermometer hasn’t plunged by the time you were planning to serve it…;-) 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
Sourdough bread baking is on the rise (pardon the pun). To get in on the action, the first thing you need to do is acquire some sourdough starter.
There are three ways to go about this. The easiest way is to get some from a “culture-d” friend (like me). You can order dried starter culture through the mail, which should arrive with instructions on how to activate it. Or you can make your own. Continue reading
Borani are Persian dips or side dishes of thick yogurt combined with vegetables and herbs. I’ve come across aubergine, spinach, and courgette before, but beet borani was a new one.
Beets are so often paired with sharp flavours like vinegar or lemon, which masks their flavour, but that’s not happening here. Just the mild tang of the yogurt, and woodsy dried mint to play against the earthiness of the beets.
Beet borani is most startlingly gorgeous fuschia colour – the girls adored it on sight. Having made it with both raw and cooked beetroot, I’m surprised at how little difference cooking makes to the taste or texture of the finished dish. Continue reading
Smoked mackerel and beetroot salad is the kind of food I crave after December’s indulgences. Healthy without being “too healthy”, this winning combination of colours, textures and tastes feeds the eye before it feeds the rest of you.
The sharpness of the pickled beetroot contrasts beautifully with the mackerel’s oily richness, set off by the fiery horseradish dressing. I heaped forkfuls of it onto Ryvita crackers, and crunched away happily – feeling all Nordic – while catching up on the latest series of The Bridge. Continue reading