The French toast to beat all French toasts

There is breakfast. You know, cereal, toast, porridge, a bit of fruit, yogurt, something grabbed from the coffee shop. Then there is brunch which, as far I am concerned, is just a bigger, often cooked breakfast so waffles, pancakes, eggs Benedict, scones, things that require more effort and are generally eaten at weekends. Then there is this, this being French toast from Plenty More. Continue reading

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Tomato and Parmesan clafoutis

In the week, if I’m home, I aim for two things for dinner: use as little kit as possible, so one-pot, or do as little shopping as possible, so using storecupboard ingredients, or both. It’s partly a question of time, partly that I don’t want to do loads of washing up and partly I want to use up stuff, rather than waste it. And this tomato and Parmesan clafoutis is a marvel on all counts.

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St John’s creamed spinach, aka my LBD vegetable

Yes, it may seem like vegetables have taken over this blog but I have been waiting ALL summer for the weather and light to change so that I can post this. Now that it has I can’t wait any longer.

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Caramelised fennel with goat’s cheese

There aren’t many vegetable dishes which make me want to lick the plate. This is one of them. I’ve made it twice in a week, once as a starter, once for lunch and I’m already craving a third instalment.  Continue reading

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Flammekueche

Apparently it’s going to be 26º later this week and though that should lift my spirits, you know what, it doesn’t. I’m bored with cold food (aka salad) and lighter clothes and have already started clearing out all the stuff I’ve not worn this summer and wondering if it’s indecent to start braising a few pig cheeks yet. I want to kick leaves, collect conkers and wear a jumper.

So, in the spirit of celebrating autumn, rather than hanging onto the dregs of summer (Christ, I must be getting old), here is my first cold-weather dish of the season: flammekueche, an easy Alsatian tart which requires very little prep or shopping. I first came across this, as I describe here, when I was a student in Strasbourg and, until recently, I had never found a decent recipe for it. Continue reading

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Three Good Things: squid, roast potatoes, chilli

I am a little sceptical, often with good reason, about cookbooks that sell themselves on a gimmick (e.g. a certain number of minutes; a limited number of ingredients). And I therefore had a bit of an aversion to Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s Three Good Things since ‘three’ didn’t actually refer to every ingredient used.

But, my, it was a very short-lived aversion because this book is stuffed with things I want to cook, things that suit a WTF-desire to minimise fuss but maximise flavour.

There are, for example, 20 recipes in the fish chapter and I want to make nearly all of them. This squid dish was the first one that I tried and, though devastatingly simple, it is bloody marvellous: fast (none of that peeling nonsense), one-pot and very short on shopping. My only criticism, and the only change I have made to it, is that 250g cleaned squid is not enough for the cat, let alone two adults. Double that to 500g and this is possibly the most perfect squid recipe ever. Continue reading

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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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