recipes etc.
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Thursday
Oct162014

cauliflower & sumac linguine with hazelnuts

this dish is the result of my efforts to use a bottle of white balsamic that i bought, in something other than salad dressings. white balsamic vinegar is similar to its darker coloured sibling but has a slightly milder flavour with quite a lot of sweetness – it’s ideal for creating a subtle sweet and sour contrast.

having said i wanted to use it in something other than a salad dressing here it is actually a dressing for the pasta dish, as there is no sauce other than that created by the white balsamic along with some browned butter and a little of the pasta cooking water. the rest of the flavours – cauliflower roasted until it has softened and started to brown in places, so that the flavour intensifies, crunchy toasted hazelnuts, crispy capers (i added these after i took the photo – sorry!) plus a spice combination of sumac and fresh nutmeg – are an unusual combination but one that works really well, i think.

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Friday
Oct102014

borlotti beans with anchovy and rosemary dressing

this borlotti dish is based on another recipe from my new favourite cookery book, a change of appetite. it was prompted by seeing fresh borlotti beans in the local turkish supermarket – i love these beans with their brightly coloured  pink and white marbled pods. i also love their nutty flavour and creamy texture.

the thing that really appealed to me about this recipe was the dressing – an anchovy and rosemary dressing made of finely chopped rosemary leaves, mashed up anchovies plus lemon juice and olive oil. i chose a really grassy extra virgin olive oil and it worked so well with the other flavours, creating  dressing that has oodles of flavour and really complements the beans.

the original recipe calls for kale but i’ve not seen any yet, so i just used spinach. i also used ate the dish in a  slightly different way to that described - having eaten one portion as shown, my next step was to lightly mash some of the beans and then use this as a topping for bruschetta. garlic-rubbed toasted ciabatta topped with borlotti beans and spiach ina rosemary and anchovy dressing – heaven on a plate with flavours that pack a punch.

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Friday
Oct032014

red lentil and carrot kofte

i have a new cookery book and have been cooking up a storm. the book is diana henry’s a change of appetite and i love it. i have a few of her books – crazy water, pickled lemons plus the wonderful salt, sugar, smoke – and love thes way her flavours pack a punch, whether they are fresh and zingy or softer and gentle.

cooking for friends was the first reason to get stuck in and we kicked off with these red lentil and carrot kofte, topped with pomegranate and drizzled with a tahini dressing.  they are perfect if you’re hosting a meal as they can be prepared in advance and are eaten at room temperature. i say that but actually mine were a bit cooler as they needed some time in the fridge to firm up a little. leftovers the next day were also delicious.

the other dishes i served, all from the book, were chicken shawarma served on on a bed of chickpea puree with flatbreads and a salsa of pomegranate, sumac and onion plus, for pudding, earl grey poached pears with greek yoghurt. i loved the chicken but need to experiment with the pears as the bergamot perfume of the earl grey was missing.

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Friday
Sep122014

hanky panky

a friday cocktail for you: stir with ice, ¾ shot gin, 1¾ shot red vermouth, ⅛ shot fernet branca and ¼ shot freshly squeezed orange juice. strain and serve in a chilled glass with an orange or lemon twist

this is basically a sweet martini influenced by the addition of bittersweet and aromatic fernet branca. although not classically used in the original recipe, the hanky panky is greatly improved by the addition of a dash of freshly squeezed orange juice. this slightly clouds the appearance of the drink but the hint of fruit freshens and balances the heavy fernet branca.

Monday
Sep082014

chicken, fennel and courgette tagine

frankfurt’s summer vanished a couple of weeks ago but thankfully it seems to be back – sunshine and warm temperatures aplenty. having said that, this dish straddles the seasons nicely, being full of fresh summer flavours whilst also looking towards cooler weather when you know you want something warm and with a greater depth of flavour than the simplicity of a summer salad.

the recipe is courtesy of bill granger and flavours balance beautifully – harissa, honey and lemon; a few warming spices and fresh parsley leaves. i also really liked the lightness of the gravy.

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