The Italian blog: Locatelli’s sea bream with tomatoes, capers, parsley and garlic

Italy, unlike France, Spain and the States, has never been a place that has really tempted me. Especially not in food terms. This might have something to do with the fact that I am a tiny bit wheat-intolerant and can no longer remember the last time I ate pasta without feeling really unwell, a fact which makes me very miserable. Continue reading

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Sunday perfect: Peter Gordon’s Parmesan and pine nut scones

Once upon a time, there were three small children, my sister’s children. I loved making them food, even though that often consisted of serving them honey sandwiches (a true sign of my love for them, since I am a teensy bit phobic about touching honey), and pretending to be a French waitress, to make them laugh and distract them at mealtimes. These days those three children are either grown (21 and 18), or practically (15), and though I no longer have to make them honey sandwiches, I still love feeding them, because they are usually ridiculously appreciative and never leave any leftovers.

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Posted in Breakfast recipes, Peter Gordon | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments

Perfect, never-bore-of-it, granola

If there is one thing I make all the time, one thing that I can, just about, do without a recipe, it’s this granola. I wrote about it four years ago, on my first food blog, and it suddenly struck me this morning as I made it again, for the millionth time, that I really should move it to here. Because it is very much a WTF recipe: easy, quick (okay, not on a weekday) and yet somehow still a treat. I’ve been off cooking and, er, blogging, for weeks and I wanted something straightforward and simple to get me writing again. So here it is. My sister’s three children (15, 18 and 21) can eat the whole recipe in one sitting but, for most people, this should last a few days. Nice to be back. Continue reading

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The ‘Little Black Dress’ of roast chicken recipes

It is a truth universally acknowledged that, at some point during the year, usually at Christmas, most women’s magazines will mention the need for, and the delight of a LBD, aka as a ‘Little Black Dress’. Though the repetition of the story is a bit annoying, there is plenty of truth in it. There are some outfits that you can wear and know exactly how you will look and how you will feel: they are reliable, consistent and easy. I have two, a posh and a less posh, both black though they don’t have to be and, yes, whenever I am stumped and, to a certain degree, whenever I need reassurance, I wear them. They never fail. And this, dear follower, is the culinary equivalent, at least for chicken-eaters. You will never want for another roast chicken recipe again, or for something to make on a weeknight whether for yourself (I am that greedy), your family or because you have friends coming round and no time to cook. Continue reading

Posted in Chicken recipes, One pot, The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook, Wheat-free | Tagged , | 2 Comments

Dukka: party food par excellence

The weather is changing, my heart is lifting with it and my thoughts are turning to entertaining. Well, actually, they’ve already turned that way since I had my London Loop companions round last night and some of my Antic Disposition chums round two weeks ago. I suppose what I mean is that I’ve started thinking more about things to nibble with drinks on a terrace in the sunshine…and dukka (sometimes spelt dukkah) is one of the simplest yet most satisfying. It will transport you to another country even when you are still in N7. Continue reading

Posted in Food for friends, One pot, Party recipes, RIver Cottage Everyday, Salsa and sauce recipes, Vegetarian recipes, Wheat-free | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Smitten Kitchen’s lemon bars

Do you remember school dinners? Do you remember your favourites? Or, perhaps, like me, your least favourites were more memorable?

I, for one, have never been able to eat jam, or most gelatinous things like honey or jelly, after being force-fed it in my first week of infants school. For a whole hour I inched my way through a bowl of custard with jam, banned from leaving the table to go out into the playground by two monsters who said I had to finish it despite hating the stuff. The monsters were, of course, 7-year-old dinner monitors. It is one of my earliest memories and not one I cherish.

I also have a bit of an aversion to lemon meringue pie which most of my schoolmates loved. That combination of claggy meringue and over-sweet lemonyness has never won me over, yet I love lemon. So when I saw what sounded like a perfect lemon shortbread bar in Deb Perelman’s The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook I was won over by the simplicity of the recipe but wary of the result. It sounded a bit too close to lemon meringue pie, but with shortbread. And inverted. Okay, not that close but you know what I mean. However, the recipe was incredibly simple and I had a surfeit of lemons so, in the interests of research and wanting something to cheer me up everyday around 4pm, I went for it. Worse case scenario I could take them to the office and give them away. Continue reading

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Polpetto’s kale with almonds and shallots

If there is such a thing as the restaurant or restaurateur of the ‘moment’ in London then Polpo, and particularly Russell Norman, must be it. Right now, not only are they opening new branches and a new pub but Mr Norman himself is proving (or so I’m told; haven’t got past downloading it…) that food television doesn’t have to be all shouty-shouty, testosterone meanness, but can be considered, calm and constructive. Continue reading

Posted in Vegetarian recipes, Wheat-free, Winter vegetables | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment