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autumnal austerity


several months ago i went through all my kitchen cupboards, clearing away out of date products and making a note of the many things that were duplicated or needed stocking up on.

one of the items which i had a plentiful supply of was farro and the barley that i bought when i couldn’t find farro itself. this wholegrain is perfect autumnal food and i’ve been enjoying experimenting with this. adding a handful to soups and stews in an easy way to use it and last year i tried using it instead of arborio rice in a sausage risotto.

it was to risotto that i returned most recently intrigued by a recipe from ross dobson which called for the barley to be cooked in a stock flavoured with soy sauce.

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gorgeous food in glasgow

i’ve just spent a whirlwind girls’ weekend in glasgow and have eaten the most wonderful food as a result.

for supper on saturday night we went to arisaig, which is a glamorous but entirely unstuffy restaurant that serves scottish food. apparently it’s inspired by childhood holidays to the west coast village of the same name.

to start, linda and i had loch leven surf clams tossed in extra virgin olive oil with fresh dulse seaweed. i have never before eaten such fat, flavoursome and obviously fresh clams and the salty seaweed was a great contrast with the grassy olive oil.

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sausages with lentils and apples


having never been a fan i’m increasingly interested in eating sausages. good quality, interestingly flavoured ones obviously. pairing them with an old favourite, puy lentils , is something i’ve done a few times but this week i decided it was time to ring the changes.

well, some changes – the sausages and the lentils were staying but the addition of autumnal apples was new. obviously this isn’t a suitable combination for those among you who hate the thought of meat and fruit in the same dish but for those of us with fewer prejudices this is definitely worth a try. the apples add a lightness and sweetness which works well with the rich earthy flavours of the sausages and lentils.

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pastitsio, a taste of corfu


one of the books that my prize-winning mustardy mackerel fishcakes snaffled for me was rick stein’s mediterranean escapes. i’m a long time fan of rick stein’s cooking and having missed the tv show that accompanies this book it was really nice to be able to explore the countries he visited and foods he discovered with this book.

the first recipe that i have made from it, which really jumped out was this greek spiced beef and pasta dish. the flavours are very gentle but a really nice alterative from a lasagne which is probably the similar dish which many people make. as with lasagne, getting a decent photo is near impossible!

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

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baby aubergines


there are some things which i buy purely on the basis of how they look, these baby aubergines (or egg plant, or brinjal, if you prefer) being a case in point. thankfully though, the baby version is just as delicious as the full size one and my visual choice wasn’t a duff one. unlike many bottles of wine which, despite a pretty label, were not so pretty on the taste buds!

having said all that, the nigel slater spiced aubergine stew which they ended up in was cooked so long and slow that they did lose their shape and no-one knew just how pretty they were to begin with. apart from me of course which is what really matters!

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