All posts tagged: Cooking

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Wild Garlic Pesto (aka the Joy of Spring) [Recipe]

Wild garlic pesto does feel a cliché but when it is so delicious, why shouldn’t it be? Wild garlic, if you haven’t cooked with it yet, is a broad garlic flavoured leaf, slightly sour, and fantastic with anything creamy, cheesy and it is the best pal for the humble spud. It grows abundantly in the shade, white flours sprouting out in clusters on elegant stems, leaping towards the sunshine. It is wild garlic season here, but near me we mainly have three cornered leek (often confused for wild garlic), which is too grassy for pesto. I tried to source some proper wild garlic, I cried out for secret sources – I WON’T TELL ANYONE, I SWEAR! – but no joy, I failed. I am deeply impatient, and I had a visceral need for the stuff. Praise the internet for intervening and saving my brain and wild garlic free larder, a very kind twitter friend sent me some in the post, and I have been playing with it ever since. Wild garlic pesto is made in …

Buckwheat and Hazelnut Banana Bread (Gluten and Dairy Free Recipe)

Buckwheat and Hazelnut Banana Bread [Gluten & Dairy Free Recipe]

It was one of those mornings. I was out of eggs – what, how could I let that happen?! – and out of coffee beans. I was staring glumly at a bag of Moomin coffee, a hasty Helsinki airport purchase, and wondering how nasty that might be and what I could have for breakfast. On my counter were some very brown bananas, barely a patch of yellow left. I had some buckwheat flour, but not a lot, and a bag of hazelnuts. I thought I might try a new take on banana bread. It is worth buying bananas and letting them go really brown to make banana bread and pancakes. This is when they are at their best for cooking, rich and syrupy sweet. I never do this intentionally. I buy bananas and let them sit on the side. I feel guilty when I see them every day. I worry about waste, and then eventually they go completely brown, and they become banana bread or pancakes. I love the flavour of buckwheat, I use it …

[caption id="attachment_20439" align="aligncenter" width="840"] 'Nduja and Carmelised Onion Ragu with Eggs (Recipe)[/caption]

‘Nduja Ragu with Eggs for a Perfect Brunch [Recipe]

I never did love ketchup. I know everyone does. It is said to be the perfect combination of sweet, sour, salty and savoury, and tomatoes are one of my favourite ingredients, but I just find ketchup to be wanting, and something that is used to blanket other flavours not actually add to the dish. The flavour profile feels a bit two dimensional and dull to me, so I don’t have it in my pantry. Not out of snobbery, I love proper Asian instant noodles and all sorts of other things. I love good eating, and that comes in many forms, I am completely open when it comes to this.

Buckwheat Waffles with Rhubarb, Apple & Candied Hazelnuts

Buckwheat Waffles with Rhubarb, Apple & Candied Hazelnuts [Recipe]

Good morning? Is it safe to come out? I have been in hiding, taking an enforced break, so that I could catch up with everything else (work, book writing, the small matter of publishing a book myself), for it was all becoming a bit overwhelming, and I was losing sight of myself. But I am back now, and I am not very good at taking breaks anyway. My break actually turned out to be an intensive whirlwind of writing, cooking and planning; plotting travels too, and lots to share here. Mainly in my pjs, but you can forgive me that. And maybe you are guilty of wanting that for yourself?  I wanted to just indulge myself this morning, and write forever about Australia. One of my favourite places to visit, but not just me, the Economist listed four Australian cities in the Top 10 best places to live. I could easily live there, maybe even move in the morning for a bit, but London’s tentacles tend to keep me here. I love London, but you …

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Pellegrino Artusi & A Recipe for Perfect Pasta Dough (Photo Illustrated)

Pellegrino Artusi, Casa Artusi, The Art of Cooking Well in Forlimpopoli & A Recipe for Perfect Pasta Dough (Photo Illustrated) Pellegrino Artusi is widely referred to as the father of Italian cuisine. Penning the first pan Italian cookbook, (self) published only 20 years after the unification of Italy in 1891 and in the language of the new unified Italy (which was the dialect of Florence), when he was 71. Artusi’s cookbook, Science in the Kitchen and the Art of Eating Well, featured over 475 recipes gathered from Italian home cooks on his travels as a business man. 15 editions were published before he died 20 years later, with many further recipes added (finishing with 750). Science in the Kitchen and the Art of Eating Well was predicted to be a commercial failure by Italian publishers at the time, and they refused to publish it, but it was a tremendous success. It has been in print since publication, and is in almost every Italian home. It has been translated into several languages also (it was translated …

Mango & Lime Friands (Two Versions: Buttery & Dairy Free)

Sweet! I want something sweet! And full of sunshine. I can no longer take the grey, grey sky that hangs so low over my head. Friands remind me of Australia. Bright blue skys, rolling frothy seas, cliff walks, great breakfasts, and all of their wonderful cafés. We have many great Australian cafés in London now too, and the friands are popping up, but like everything, you really can’t beat making them at home. They are so simple and take a maximum of 10 minutes to prepare, and 12 – 15 minutes to bake. You will be stuffing your face with friands in no time, and your biggest problem will be trying not to eat them all. I love a friand but I don’t need twenty of them squeaking at me from the kitchen – eat me! eat me! eat me! – 6 is too many but it is the least you can make so make sure that you can share them with someone, or some colleagues. Maybe you are not like me and have some self control, but …

Homemade gnocchi (another phone photo - my camera was stolen a few weeks ago so bear with me!)

Recipe: Homemade Potato Gnocchi

Gnocchi were a mystery to me until I went to Italy. The ones that I had tried before (this was before I moved to London before you roar), were leaden and rubbery and I could never see what the appeal was. I mean, everyone else must be wrong, right? Wrong. I was just eating crap processed gnocchi. The joys of gnocchi were revealed to me for the first time at the tender age of 22 on a trip to Naples to stay with a friend, her Neapolitan boyfriend and his family. Andrea’s Dad (the Neapolitan), ex military and the most wonderful and tender home cook, cooked for us every day. 3 courses for lunch with wine, an aperitif, and then us Irish girls had to go to bed for a bit because we were not used to this at all. Lunch in Ireland before then had been one course at lunchtime with no alcohol and back to business. Everyday, Andrea’s Dad got up early in the morning to head to the shop to get buffalo …

Finish with your reserved coconut cream. And that is it, your Seafood Thai Green Curry is ready to serve.

Recipe: Siri’s Thai Seafood Green Curry Recipe Step by Step with Photos

Green curry is misunderstood in many places outside of Thailand. Often perceived as a mild curry that you would give most chilli phobics (certainly in the UK and Ireland), it is often bland and dull, full of green peppers and mushrooms and to my mind, unless you are somewhere very good, not very interesting. In Thailand, green curry is hot. Very hot and aromatic. Packed with flavour (which is the signature for most Thai food in my experience), you can choose the heat level you want if you make it yourself, so when we made this at the cooking school at the Khlong Lat Mayom floating market, we went for a compromise medium heat which was just perfect and not medium for our palates at all. Hot, so fresh and really delicious. Several things make this recipe flavourful: fresh homemade coconut milk and cream, fresh pounded curry paste (you must – so much better than shop bought), the wonderful herbs and aromatics, the fish pounded to a paste with fish sauce (which Thais use instead of …

Recipe: Banana, Coconut & Lime Bread

As with most children, I was a fan of cake. All kinds of cake, except coffee cake. That, to me, was a filthy abomination. I mean WHY would anyone put coffee in a cake, especially for children? I couldn’t understand it. Cake was a place for jam, cream, ice cream, lemon curd, chocolate, lots of things, but definitely not for coffee. (I get it now before you try to persuade me I should try it :) When I heard that we would be making banana bread in school, I thought that we were progressing down a similar path. We had cooked mackerel, and I was starting to become suspicious that perhaps Home Economics would not be fun after all. Despite growing up almost on the Atlantic shore, as a child I hated fish. Or, at least I thought I did. So, mackerel, then banana bread, I was losing faith. What does banana bread even mean anyway? It isn’t really a bread, there is no yeast or rising process, but then there isn’t for soda bread …

Easter Sunday Lunch

I have a new house! You may have heard me mention. Once, maybe twice, maybe more? I’ve moved in now and I love it, with it’s big kitchen, range cooker, bay windows looking out onto a little garden, full of yellow and pink flowers, bathed in swathes of light. I’ve yet to unpack but that didn’t stop us having friends around for a big Easter lunch. The ground floor with the kitchen and living areas was perfectly respectable, but upstairs behind every door and one in particular (mine!) lay bags and boxes, the house’s unconscious, repressed memories of former houses and bad wardrobe decisions, pots and pans, condiments and kitchen oddities purchased for celebrating obscure festivals, I do love randomness in my life! So, we kept everyone busy downstairs, collaboratively producing a fine Easter lunch, interrupted occasionally by an Easter Egg hunt or a munch on some chocolate or a painted duck egg. So, what did we do? We kept with tradition and had a succulent roast leg of lamb with garlic and rosemary with …

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 …

The Kitchen at Parson’s Green

Being busy as I have been of late, my cooking has tended toward the repetitive and unbloggable. Something on toast or some chorizo hash with a fried egg, anyone? Pasta soup? Linguine with a variation on a tomato sauce? It’s all good, but it does mean that I don’t have much cooking posts to share, I have however, been doing lots of other interesting things, which I will share with you here. Readers who are fans of cooking posts, I have a pork belly post and a very autumnal buttternut squash and sage orzo salad on it’s way. Recently, I had an opportunity to go to the Kitchen in Parson’s Green with some other bloggers, organised through my lovely new employers, TrustedPlaces. A new cooking concept established in the US but new to London and targetting us busy urban types, you order your food online, they do the basic preparation (onion chopping, sauces), you show up, have a very sociable couple of hours putting it all together with friends, the tables are cleared for you …