recipes etc.
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Thursday
Mar052015

tomato and coconut white bean cassoulet

i’m really loving dishes with rich tomato sauces at the moment – tunisian chicken and spicy chickpeas with ginger are two recent favourites. obviously, given it’s winter and fresh tomatoes are fairly flavourless, i’m relying on tinned tomatoes but that’s no now found good whole tomato and cherry tomato options.

this is another recipe from anna jones’ a modern way to eat and is one that i expect to make time and again, albeit in a tweaked format. the flavours are delicious and a nice mix of comforting and a little exotic - leeks, garlic, chilli and ginger are cooked until they sweeten, tomato and white beans are added with a little coconut milk and then baked topped with torn bread and cherry tomatoes. basil leaves should have also been tucked into the dish but i forgot this step and while i know it will be a great addition, the dish was fine without them - although it might have looked a bit less lurid with a few flashes of green!

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Tuesday
Mar032015

spaghetti with garlicky breadcrumbs and anchovies

 

oh my, this is such a delicious plate of umami flavours. spaghetti dressed with a carbonara-inspired sauce of egg yolk, asian fish sauce and chilli sauce is mixed with crispy breadcrumbs that have been fried with plenty of garlic, anchovies and chilli flakes. add lots of black pepper, some parsley and a squeeze of lemon juice for freshness plus a drizzle of some grassy olive oil. demolish the pile of pasta and then lick your plate clean.

the original recipe is here, below is my adapted version for 1 person. next, i'd like to do a version with rosemary instead of parsley, although i'll add this to the breadcrumbs when they are toasting.

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Tuesday
Feb242015

dark chocolate puddings

i don’t tend to make rich or heavy puddings, preferring something light and fruity most of the time. however valentine’s day was a good excuse to try something different and i was intrigued by the description of these dark chocolate puddings as having “a dense, satiny texture and a fudgelike flavor from the combination of bittersweet chocolate, cocoa powder and brown sugar” and the video that made it look very easy to make. it also coincided with finding a frankfurt source for dark muscovado sugar – yay!

they ticked all the boxes i was expecting and hoping for – easy to make, interesting dark chocolate flavour plus a rich and creamy texture. all kinds of delicious.

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Sunday
Feb222015

tunisian chicken

this dish reminded me of the spicy chickpeas with ginger that i made recently – they both have a rich tomato and red pepper sauce which packs a real flavour punch. the chickpea version uses fresh ginger to great effect, with underlying flavours of garlic, cumin and coriander; this version uses cinnamon and cloves to add a rich spiciness plus pomegranate molasses which emphasises the rich fruity tomato flavours.

the recipe is based on this tunisian chicken recipe - i kept most of the ingredients as listed but adjusted the proportions to suit my taste (more tomatoes, red pepper added, extra spice, more pomegranate molasses and some fresh mint in addition to the coriander) and simplified the method. the result was great and this is a dish i’ll definitely make again.

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Thursday
Feb192015

dal with crispy sweet potatoes and coconut

this is a fabulous recipe, from anna jones’ a modern way to eat. i bought this book in the autumn, at the same time as diana henry’s a change of appetite - whilst i was in the bookshop i couldn’t choose between the two, but once i got home it was diana henry’s recipes that pulled me in and which i have been enjoying in recent months (i am still particularly smitten with her citrus fruit with ginger snow).

however, i am branching out and have started to try some of anna jones’ recipes.  they are all vegetarian and while both books share a similar desire to eat lighter healthy food, i think anna often goes a step further with replacing ingredients in traditional dishes – the (now) ubiquitous cauliflower base for a pizza, for example. i do want to try some of these dishes but have started with ones that are closer to my comfort zone, not least so i can see what i think of the book and the quality of the recipes.

this is a definite hit (there have been some misses) and one that i’ve already made a couple of times. the dal is enriched with coconut milk and also has spinach and coriander for freshness (which gives it quite a green tinge!) but the spicing is mild and warming, including quite a lot of cinnamon, which works surprisingly well.

i really like the addition of the crispy sweet potato topping flavoured with fennel and cumin seeds, which means that you don’t need to serve this with rice (i’ve had it with flatbreads each time), but which is delicious in its own right so worth making extra of it. i’m keen to try the coconut and ginger chutney with fresh coconut, but the version using desiccated is definitely good enough to be worth the effort in its own right.

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