recipes etc.
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Friday
Aug142015

elderflower collins

we’ve been having amazing weather in frankfurt – it’s been hot and sunny for months. mostly i’m to be found glugging endless glasses of water and trying to keep cool, but if you fancy an alcoholic option instead, this is delicious. the downside is that it doesn’t taste particularly alcoholic, so is very easy to drink. i think it would be a great choice for a summer party and could easily be scaled up and served in jugs.

for each drink, squeeze two lemon wedges into a tall glass, then discard the spent wedges. add a handful of ice cubes and pour in 50ml gin and 15ml elderflower cordial (or liqueur). top with limonata (we’ve been using san pellegrino). garnish with 1 lemon slice and 1 mint sprig and serve.

Monday
Aug102015

chipotle chicken with chorizo rice and lime yoghurt

this meal was inspired by a recipe in my new diana henry book a bird in the hand, every uses chicken in every recipe. as is the case with so many diana henry recipes, this is a dish with bold flavours used in exciting ways – the chicken is marinated with spicy chipotle paste and lime juice; the brown rice has sweetness from roasted tomatoes, chorizo and slow-cooked red peppers and spring onions; the avocado and yoghurt flecked with lime zest add freshness.

while this is based on diana henry’s recipe, it is also quite different - i left my chicken on the bone and roasted it rather than frying, which meant that i could just add my halved tomatoes to the roasting dish and allow them to pick up the chicken-chipotle flavours, rather than basting them with a separate harissa and balsamic dressing - having said that, it is a great way to cook tomatoes and boost their flavour; i’ve been using this technique (which was in an earlier book of hers) for many years now and still love their flavour and versatility.

nor did i use the quinoa suggested in the recipe, preferring brown rice; the slow-cooked red pepper and spring onions were also variations on the original, which used spinach and left the spring onions raw. greek yoghurt instead of crème fraiche was the final change, but a much more inconsequential one.

despite all of this, the deliciousness of the meals was very much a testament to the original recipe and i’m looking forward to exploring the book further.

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Wednesday
Jul292015

courgette rosti with burrata and tomato salsa

 

this was so delicious! it’s a nigel slater recipe and i really loved the contrast of the courgette rosti with the rich creamy burrata, all made to taste fresh and delicious with a tomato, basil and lemon salsa. we had it for supper but i think it'd be a wonderful brunch dish.

burrata is most-easily described as pouches of mozzarella cheese, filled with cream – it’s a seasonal cheese and can be quiet difficult to track down as it quicjly loses its freshness, but if you can get it, it really is worth the effort. if not, a really nice buffalo mozzarella would also be delicious.

the salsa – basil and oil blitzed together and then mixed with diced tomatoes and lemon zest – was a variation on the recipe. my tomatoes were a bit bland so i dressed them with the basil and oil and used the lemon zest to add a bit more flavour. a little bit of black garlic would also have been nice, if they needed even more flavour.

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Saturday
Jul182015

last word

the weather in frankfurt has been glorious over the past month – temperatures of 35c and higher plus plenty of sunshine. as a result we’ve been eating lots of salads and drinking lots of water.

however, one evening this week this is what we sipped – a nicely balanced herbal tangy last word. 1 shot gin, 2/3 of a shot green chartreuse, 2/3 of a shot maraschino liqueur and 2/3 of a shot of lime juice shaken with ice and then strained into a chilled glass. garnish with a lime twist and a maraschino cherry. discard the lime twist before serving.

i love the colours - it reminds me of a watermelon.

Thursday
Jul162015

a new trick

adding a slice or two of lemon when you are making a tomato sauce is something i picked up from honey & co’s food from the middle east. it is part of their recipe for vegetarian moussaka and it, plus the cinnamon stick that was also used in the sauce recipe, gave the tomato sauce the most amazingly delicious smell when it was cooking.

so, when i was making a tomato sauce last night for eating with pasta, i decided to try it again, this time without the cinnamon. most of the centre of the piece of the lemon disappears into the sauce and i removed the outer circle of pith and peel (you can eat this, if you’re so inclined or even finely chop it and stir it back in).

the lemon gave the sauce a hint of freshness that balanced the rest of the flavours – garlic, chilli and a mix of fresh and tinned tomatoes – really nicely; it’s more subtle than adding herbs. i will definitely be using this trick again – i think it would work really well in a tomato sauce for a light summery lasagne or for serving with herb-and-lemon-zest-flecked meatballs.