All posts filed under: Vegetarian

Recipe: Silky Smooth Modernist Cheese Sauce for Perfect Mac & Cheese and Cauliflower Cheese

How do you like your mac and cheese or cauliflower cheese? No doubt you have your hidden secrets, your favourite cheese combinations (cheddar, provolone and parmesan work a treat, as one chef revealed recently to me), your personal twists (a little pickled jalapeno chopped and lingering like a tiny battleship), your many little ways of making your perfect cheese sauce. But do you ever get enough of that cheese hit? Even with all of that cheese? I make my sauce really thin with the smallest amount of roux possible (roux? a combination of flour and butter used to thicken sauces). Even so, I sometimes can feel the flour lingering below the surface, a little scratchy, and as a result, I end up with a sauce that is not as velvet rich as I would like it to be. The flavour of the cheese often feels muted too. Making it as cheesy as I would like involves a lot of cheese, and that can be a little too thick. What I want in my mac and …

rhubarb-rose-porridge

Recipe: Rhubarb, Rose and Pistachio Porridge

I had the weirdest day yesterday. In the middle of Balham, in broad daylight, a random stranger kicked me up the arse. I KNOW. I was shocked too. He kicked me hard too. Very aggressive and actually quite scary, he thought I had hit my shopping trolley off his car, started roaring at me. I explained that I hadn’t, that I had merely hit the kerb. He roared “HANG ON! WHERE ARE YOU FROM?!” and was suddenly further incensed. At this point it was obvious that he was out of control and I said that I would call the police if he didn’t stop. So he went for me. I am so thankful that someone intervened. It is all in the hands of the police now but WHAT A WEIRD DAY. I am tired and sore and in need of nourishment. I am also startled. If it weren’t so in line with a Fr Ted episode (kicking Bishop Brennan up the arse), it might not be quite so bizarre. As awful as it was, the …

Ode to the Humble Spud & a Recipe for Kale & Potato Cakes

I love the spud. I love it, I love it, love it, love it! How I love the Irish spud especially. Now, when I say this, people look perplexed. A potato is a potato, right? Not so my friends. I miss the fluffy Irish potato, boiled until just at the point of bursting its jacket or roasted until fluffy inside in a bold crisp crusted suit. A friend used to call them laughing potatoes, as they looked like they were laughing their heads off. I remember a large metal tray covered in jostling laughing potatoes at the centre of my grandmother’s table. A little butter – maybe a lot – placed on top and left to ooze, and that was all I wanted to eat. Literally, I refused to eat anything else for a time in my childhood. I especially miss the potatoes that grew in the field in front of my house, and the new season potatoes that would proudly be displayed outside shops when the season started. Before seasonality was a trend, when it was …

Evening Standard Recipe Column: Beetroot Latkes

I love latkes! What’s not to love? Grated potato shaped into a cake and fried before being served with apple sauce and sour cream. LOVE. I do a twist on them occasionally. Favourite Irish combination of parsnip and carrot is a favourite as is my recipe in today’s Evening Standard for beetroot latkes. A perfect recipe for January that is indulgent but also quite healthy. Those beetroot will help your liver detox. Recipe on the Evening Standard: Beetroot Latkes

Recipe: Cauliflower Cheese to Sooth the Nerves and Iron Out Your Soul

It’s hot outside, I know. But let us not deceive ourselves, it is October and that will all change soon, in fact, it’s changing already. So, I am going to help you to prepare for that first grim October day with a lovely comforting recipe for cauliflower cheese. A classic, no? What feelings does it evoke for you? It makes me think of nice warm fires and toasty toes in slippers. Dark nights closing in and mulled wine. Comfort, pure comfort, with a little hint of spice. I don’t go to the trouble of making a proper white sauce here. I prefer the simplicity and luxury of cream. It’s crap outside so lets make it very nice inside. There is a little pre-amble but it is worth it. I recommend flavouring the cream first with bay leaves, garlic and pepper corns. This gives the dish some warm aromatics and a little bit of oomph. Layers of flavour that will give your cauliflower cheese its own X Factor. Read more: Cauliflower cheese to sooth the nerves and iron out your soul …

Recipe: Spiced Chickpea & Squash Vegetarian Burgers

Call it an overdose of meat in Argentina, or an acknowledgement that none of my clothes fit and it’s time to get a little healthier. I want to feel good, and I want to feel lighter. I want to feel like I did 2 years ago before I started to over indulge in this crazy little blog world of mine, and gain weight. So expect some healthier recipes from me here, and the occasional over indulgence. I can’t diet, I love food too much. I can make lighter, nutritious food that still tastes great and sates my appetite. Ceviche is a perfect example of delicious food that is gorgeous and that won’t pork your waistline. I plan to dedicate my summer to cooking food like this, eating it and blogging it. Hopefully, at the end of it my clothes will fit too. There will be some exercise also – I cycled 15 miles yesterday. And the essential, occasional blowout. Yeehaw! Recently, a veggie friend came for lunch so I made some lovely veggie burgers. I …

Recipe: Ricotta Frittata with Tomatoes & Fiddleheads

Life is busy. Life is crazy busy. I’ve left my job and written a book (I am so excited to even type that!). It all happened in 6 months. In the middle of this my Dad has been seriously ill and I have been going home a lot. I have also been travelling elsewhere more than before. I have moved flat too. I’ve chosen this life, and I love it, I wouldn’t change a thing. Working doing what you love means that work never stops, and being so busy does take a toll. I have been ill more than is normal and I am growing pretty tired of it. I hate being ill at all. So today as I sat here coughing and wheezing with a scratchy throat, I felt depressed. I needed to eat something that would make me feel good and really wouldn’t take any time to cook or much effort to source the ingredients. I dragged my carcass to the local Waitrose and my face lit up when I spied there on …

A Quick Recipe for a Glorious Brunch: Turkish Eggs

The first time that I had Turkish Eggs at The Providores in London, I was hooked. Hooked and a little obsessed. I ordered it as I just didn’t know how it could work, but knew that it wouldn’t be there if it didn’t, right? The Providores version is non traditional, poached eggs on thick yogurt with chilli butter. It is utterly divine. It prompted me to go home and do some research on Turkish Eggs. I wanted to know more, I wanted to make it, I needed to eat them often! What would I get in Turkey? I found out, and this brings me to this recipe, traditional Turkish Eggs. The rewards are huge for such a simple dish. Greek style yogurt at the bottom of a bowl, 2 poached eggs on top, and sage leaves fried until crispy in a decent chunk of butter. You won’t regret the extra butter I promise you! Scatter the crispy sage leaves around the eggs and drizzle the butter. And swoon and eat. Now I want some more.

Recipe: Courgette and Truffle Carbonara

I have a really bad habit of going food shopping on a whim and being charmed by the glistening ingredients which I can’t resist. I pop them in my trolley gleefully, only to review when I go home and wonder, so how does all of this fit together, and when exactly amd I going to get time to eat it all? Eating it all is never really a worry, although it has worrying effects of late. It does prompt some creative cooking, driven by what I am in the mood for, and what I have nabbed en route home. I was faced with one such dilemna last night. All I knew is that I wanted to eat something rich, comforting and light, and it had to contain some pasta. Not just any pasta, I was eyeing up my box of Pastificio dei Campi linguine, the grand cru pasta (as declared in Italian food magazine Gambero Rosso) from Gragnano which I have been covetting. I never need an excuse to eat pasta, I love the stuff …

Recipe: Israeli Cous Cous, Beetroot Shards, Fresh Buffalo Cheese & Pea Shoots

Some of my favourite dishes are happy culinary accidents. You have a plan, it seems perfect and then for some reason something doesn’t work. Frustrating, but somehow, the solution offers up an alternative that you might not have thought of, so instead of one new dish, sometimes you have two. I found myself in that situation this morning. I have declared May a month of health, of vibrant lunches full of flavour, and of new dishes. I was making it last night, and had some enormous beetroots that I bought at the farmers market on the boil for well over an hour and a half, but they were still hard. I left them in the hot water overnight, hoping that they might cook a little as it cooled down, but they didn’t. I guess they were really very big! So, I was left with some semi-cooked, but still mostly raw beetroots which wouldn’t fit in with my original recipe idea. What to do with them? One thing was for sure, I was bringing lunch in, so …

Recipe: To Dal, Daal, Dhal, or Dahl, that is the question

I hate confusing spellings and names. Why the world can’t agree to spell and name everything the way I do, I just don’t know. University was a high point of this, not only can’t the US and UK agree on spellings, they give the same thing different words at times: adrenaline meet epinephrine. Oh! We look the same? Well, you are the same. The very same, but people like to call you different things.  Gah! It haunts me still in my world of cookery. Sichuan or Szechuan? I’ve seen both in print from reputable sources. What’s haunting me today is the most perplexing of all: Dal, Daal, Dhal, or Dahl? Again, all are online and in print. These last two we can only blame ourselves for. We can’t seem to agree how these words should appear in English. I want someone to tell me! Do you know? For now, I am sticking with dal, I’ve been told that the correct pronunciation is with a long a. So daaaal could be our new spelling. However you …

Beetroot, Tomato & Goat’s Cheese Tartlets with Mint

Every now and then I make something on a whim, expecting it to be nice, and I am pleasantly surprised when it tastes even better and becomes an instant favourite. Enter beetroot, tomato & goat’s cheese tartlets with mint. Last week at the market I was really stretched for time and sadly had no opportunity to make a vegetarian option. This was noted by a number of people, and I felt dreadful as some had come down especially for the tarts that I had made before, so I promised to make it up to them and did this week with tartlets. I don’t have a precise recipe as I was making them in bulk and on the hoof, however, they’re really straightforward. I used little tartlet cases but you could use a bigger tart tin. Line the greased/buttered tart base with homemade butter shortcrust pastry, it really is far superior to shop bought, and is very quick too. I had a fear of it for a long time after my Home Economics teacher, horrified at …

Burnt aubergine with sweet peppers and red onion

I have a confession to make! I published this post last weekend, and a few hours later a trusted friend queried my photograph, thinking that it didn’t do the dish justice. I took a look, and sure enough, they were right. It was like going out to work hungover and slightly frazzled wearing something that you think looks ok, and realising slowly that it was a horrible choice, ill fitting, and irritating for the rest of the day. So I took it down. I made the dish again today, same recipe, and here’s the post. In my defence, I made this dish for a friend and drank lots of wine as I was cooking (as did they!). So, lesson learned, don’t take food photographs drunk, and don’t rush blog posts! One of my indulgences is cookbooks, I love them, and I have a ridiculous amount. Some are  very well thumbed with weakening spines, others are neglected, bought out of curiosity and never properly investigated. I love concocting my own food and creating recipes, but I …

This is not mushroom soup

Picture the scene. Sore tum. Poor abandoned house guest. Need for healthy food, and need to feed a vegetarian. Vitamin B sounds like a good plan, good for the nerves, good for the metabolism and enhances the immune system. Sounds like everything I need in my current fragile state. Afflicted with an angry tum which won’t accept any food without severe complaining and, forgive the detail, swift ejection. The underrated mushroom offers bountiful Vitamin B and I just happen to have lots of them in my fridge. Large flat portebellini mushrooms, their gills exposed to the stars, and small coquettish button mushrooms, less bolshy in flavour, and bright white in complexion. I wanted lots of flavour, and lots of elusive umami in a vegetarian soup. I also wanted it to have a bright summer flavour, so decided I would serve it with some chive cream. The mushrooms had to be as intense as they could possibly be, so I roasted 5oog of the portebellini, with a liberal splash of extra virgin olive oil, some chives …

Asparagus and Truffle Carbonara

Life’s simple pleasures are the driving force for getting through each day with a smile on my face. Food, wine, music, friends, jokes, laughter, a good book, some occasional trashy TV, all contribute towards a day I brand a success, and one that makes me want to repeat the experience when I fall out of bed the next morning. Some days need more than this, whether you’ve had a grim day at the office, are entertaining friends or simply require a dash of some decadence in your life, some extras are called for. When I have had a bad day I comfort shop and I comfort eat. The two are inextricably linked. I buy things that give me comfort: good food, new sheets, nice wine, something nice to wear. I am nice to myself, when for whatever reason, I feel the world is rejecting me or treating me with disdain. Bah! This particular occasion I was in fine fettle and entertaining a good friend who happens to be a vegetarian, so no need to picture …

Brunch Baked Eggs

Sounds very elegant doesn’t it? Brunch. Baked. Eggs. It evokes luxury and comfort, and yes, it had both of these. But, It had something else too. Potatoes! I christened this dish Irish Huevos Rancheros when I made it last Sunday, but when writing this thought, as titles go, I might be going too left of field, and I don’t want to offend any Mexicans ;-) I did your dish proud, honest, but I gave it an irish potato-y twist. Like most of my recent dishes, this doesn’t have strict measurements. In fact I didn’t measure anything. It’s very simple, and in truth, you can’t go wrong. Now, people don’t believe me when I say this, and believe me to have some inside culinary knowledge or secret power, but, this is not true. It’s easy. I started by roasting some very sweet and delicious cherry tomatoes (about 3 handfuls) in olive oil with a finely chopped green chilli and some good extra virgin olive oil at 180 degrees. While these were roasting I parboiled some diced …

Cosy, quick and healthy snacking

Sometimes, with food, instant gratification is called for. As close to instant as is possible in any case. I am not talking about reaching for the haribo (although, that has been known to happen), but something flavoursome, healthy, crispy and super quick. Don’t worry, I haven’t lost my mind and am not about to tout the health benefits of leftover pork belly or a bag of crisps. Tasty: yes. Healthy: not so much. The snack I am about to describe, is colourful, pretty and delicious and so easy, it’s ridiculous. Take one tortilla (corn or flour), add a handful of chopped tomatoes, the best you can get, I like sweet, ripe cherry tomatoes. Top with some grated manchego (or similar cheese) and put in a preheated oven (180 degrees celsius should do it) on a lightly oiled tray. Toast for 5 minutes or until the cheese has melted. Drizzle some good extra virgin olive oil on top and season with salt & pepper. Serve with a handful of greens as a garnish, I used pea …

GOOD Oil & good food, a great combination

This food blogger cares about her health, it may not be obvious with my clear overindulgence in staples like chorizo and pork belly, but I do care about what I eat, I want to be and to feel healthy, and as a consequence, I do try to maintain a balanced diet. This is increasingly difficult in these busy times but I think I do ok. Recently, I was invited to try GOOD Oil, a hempseed oil, at a dinner party in West London with a group of fellow bloggers (Alex from Epicurienne,  Melanie from Fake Plastic Noodles, Helen from Food Stories, Lizzie from Hollow Legs, Chris from Londonist) and hosted by the lovely couple that have dedicated the last 8 years of their lives to perfecting this oil, Henry & Glynis, and their son and cook for the evening, Ben. It seemed like a really good opportunity to broaden my culinary horizons and have an all round nice evening with some of my blogger friends. I always feel like I need to say in these …

butternut squash curry

Butternut Squash, Chickpea and Spinach Curry

This has been a great couple of weeks for festivities. Diwali, Halloween, Day of the Dead last week, and Guy Fawkes coming up. It certainly takes the bite out of the impending Winter! I always like to celebrate anything like this with food if I can, hey, I don’t need an excuse I know, even if it’s just for me, or, better again with friends. Last week was busy but I did sneak in a dish that would in some way cover Diwali and Halloween, well, kind of. Diwali being a Hindu festival is all about vegetarian food, particularly curry, snacks and sweets. As for Halloween, well, Halloween is about spooks and scary things, but also pumpkins, so I thought, why not make a veggie curry with pumpkin in? Or, in this case, butternut squash. I had an ulterior motive, I felt I needed a few veggie days, or veggie meals at least. I usually have quite a balanced diet but lately I’ve been buying lunch out alot more than usual, and as I work …

Chanterelles on Toast

I love a decadent Sunday morning, that’s no secret. Lazy & grazy with big pot of coffee, the Sunday paper and a gorgeous brunch. Today I had lots of chanterelles to play with, courtesy of my lovely Italian grocer in king’s Cross. He has a friend who forages for them and kept some aside for me so that I could indulge this weekend. This is really quick, easy and super tasty. For one person, all you need is a couple of slices of good bread, toasted. Serve atop a couple of handfuls of golden chanterelles, fried in a knob of butter for a few minutes until cooked, add a tablespoon of cream and a couple of tablespoons of chopped flat leaf parsley. Yum!