lentil, mushroom and spinach lasagne


i remain entranced by my lentil and mushroom ragu. i’ve made it a couple of times now and each time i have used some of it to make lasagne.

the first version i tried used crème fraiche in place of the traditional final layer of white sauce. this is a cheat which i regularly use when making lasagne as the slightly sharp flavour that it provides can be a welcome contrast to the richness of the rest of the lasagne.

however, with the lentil ragu this didn’t really work – somehow it made it richer! this version, which uses a nutmeg-scented white sauce for the topping and a layer of wilted spinach in the middle of the layers was far more successful and the version i will use next time i have a batch of ragu that needs using.

this dish is my contribution to presto pasta nights, as hosted by ruth at once upon a feast.

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april foodie profile: anna colquhoun


as you’ll know, this year i want to make space on my blog to explore the huge range of food-related careers that exist and how they affect the way that people cook and eat.

this month we’re hearing from anna colquhoun, a chef who is currently eating her way round Europe, Turkey, north and west Africa, collecting recipes, stories and other culinary notes. Keep an eye on her progress via the Culinary Anthropologist.

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rhubarb crumble kuchen


it’s a funny time of year if you’re trying to eat seasonally in the uk. well, it is when it is when it comes to fruit – apart from stored apples and pears, almost the only locally grown choice you have is rhubarb.

to be honest, this isn’t much of a hardship as it’s a favourite of mine but it’s not a cheap option so i was keen to find a way to use it in a more frugal way than just stewing it for adding to smoothies or eating with yoghurt.

this, coupled with the approaching weekend and a desire for something lovely for breakfast, saw me decide to try nigella lawson’s rhubarb-crumble kuchen. the kuchen is a spiced sweetened dough which is topped with pieces of rhubarb and sprinkled with a crumble mix.

as promised by nigella, this is a lovely fruity bread to have with a cup of tea – just perfect for a slightly chilly weekend breakfast. and perfect too for the meeta’s monthly mingle which i have the pleasure of hosting this month and which has the theme spring fruit sensations! if you’re a food blogger, the 7th is the last day for you to post your recipe, just make sure you let me know about it.

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easy ice cream


this is the ice cream of my childhood and remains one of the few ice creams that i really enjoy. it is incredibly easy to make, not requiring a custard, churning in an ice cream maker or regular stirring as it freezes. it is also the ice cream that is responsible for a friend’s daughter stopping being a vegan – powerful stuff eh?

i decided to keep things simple and just added vanilla flavouring but you can adapt the recipe easily, adding chocolate chips or perhaps fruit puree and swirling it through the mix for a rippled effect.

it’s probably fifteen years since i’ve eaten this ice cream and it’s as good as i remember. it also passed the david taste test (he’s a big ice cream fan) and as a result will no doubt appear (briefly) in our freezer on a regular basis.

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petersham nurseries, richmond

as many of you will know, i am a huge fan of skye gyngell’s book a year in my kitchen. she cooks at petersham nurseries in richmond but as the restaurant is only open at lunchtimes it has taken me a while to get there and try her cooking for myself.

the setting is wonderful – we walked along the river from richmond station and then explored the garden centre which is very like a secret walled garden with plants piled up on tables and tumbling into the earth pathways, before presenting ourselves at the greenhouse which houses the restaurant seating area.

the walls of the greenhouse’s old-fashioned structure is lined with carpets and rugs which help keep the heat in on cold wintery days. the floor is earthen, tables and furniture are simple and mismatched and the plants, fruit trees and flowers scattered around the place create a magical feeling (look at these lovely photos).

the menu is short – a choice of five dishes for each course – which is helpful as so many of them sound wonderful and we all struggled to make our choices.

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