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Friday
Apr042014

white asparagus

it’s asparagus season at the moment and in frankfurt that means white asparagus – little stalls selling “spargel” have been popping up around the city.

in the uk white asparagus has a much lower profile than its green cousin but given the local passion for white, and the fact that i’ve not seen a peep of the green stuff, i’m getting stuck in. i’ve only cooked it once before and that was simply, just boiling it for a few minutes, and serving it to accompany a tomato and lentil salad.

this time i decided to draw inspiration from anna hansens’s roasted fennel with lemon, which i’be made every which way, and roasted it for c40 minutes along with some fennel and following the usual recipe. actually, i made a few tweaks - instead of using halloumi i crumbled a pack of feta over the roasting vegetables for the final ten minutes which created a lovely creamy sauce. fresh basil and potato gnocchi were the finishing touches in a lovely fresh and springlike meal.  

Tuesday
Apr012014

getting settled

we’ve been in our new frankfurt flat for a few days now and finding a home for everything that has been unpacked, whilst also working out what extra storage and furniture we need, is still something we’re working on.

i’m particularly trying to get my head around the kitchen and how to store the things we bought with us (it was really great to find that most food and drink items could come with us) but given i had been running everything down, i need to keep reminding myself that in london i would have had twice as much stuff (most of my kitchen cupboards were full to bursting) and no doubt i will want to replace various things which ran out before the move!

however, we’re getting by – the spices which were in a big heap in a box (see below) are now in a drawer and the amount of ingredients sitting on the floor or on the work surface is much reduced. getting cooking properly comes next as i’ve been far too lazy, indulging my love of cured meats, cheese and salads!

Thursday
Mar202014

auf wiedersehen, london

so, today i’m leaving london to move to frankfurt am main in germany. the move is a result of david’s work and has been in the offing since the end of last year. he moved in january and i’ve spent the past few months getting ready for the move from london, while he’s been doing the same in germany.

a lot of this preparation has been food-focussed. when we visited frankfurt in the autumn, to see if we would be happy to make the move, one of the things we spent time doing as we explored the different neighbourhoods, was explore some of the food shops and markets as well as the city’s restaurants and cafes. while london’s diversity is incomparable, there is a good range of things available and i’m expecting to be able to continue cooking and eating a wide range of interesting and delicious food.

i’ve also been preparing for the move in london – attempting to run down the freezer and my cupboards. i’m amazed by the volume of food that remains, despite 4 months of concerted effort! this has been part of the reason the blog has been quiet recently – freezer meals plus old favourites that don’t require too much thinking, have all featured highly in recent months.

as a result i can’t wait to stock a new kitchen, cook in a new space and discover new things to try. we’re also hoping to take advantage of our new location by travelling around germany and within europe, exploring new places. i’m also really looking forward to having more time to blog and share my new experiences with you via eat the right stuff.

finally, if anyone has any frankfurt connections or suggestions, i’d love to know about them!

Wednesday
Mar192014

herb ricotta gnocchi with mushrooms

 

another taste of spring, even if the herb gnocchi came out of the freezer! these gnocchi were made using suzanne goin’s ricotta gnocchi recipe, which i fell in love with two years ago, but with the addition of some finely chopped spinach, watercress, rocket and basil (i used a 100g mixed salad bag of the first three and a large bunch of basil).

the recipe was surprisingly forgiving – i needed a little extra flour but otherwise everything was as the original recipe.  as usual the gnocchi froze well - they cook from frozen, just add them to your boiling pan of water.

over recent weeks i’ve been working my way through various versions of “herb ricotta gnocchi with…” but i think this was my favourite – smoked garlic and chilli fried in olive oil, mushrooms (i used a mix of buna and shiro shimeji, shiitake and button mushrooms), white wine and seasoning plus a few spoons of mascarpone to create a creamy sauce; i added some extra basil to the sauce as well. a mushroom and pancetta sauce was also really delicious.

Monday
Mar172014

chorizo, feta and tomato salad

the weather in london has been very spring-like recently and i’ve really been wanting to make the most of this with my cooking. having said that, this salad was also a bit of an effort is using up various things which had been lurking in the fridge or freezer for a bit longer than i’d have liked.

i sliced a couple of chorizo sausages (the raw, cooking ones) and fried them in a little oil until they started to release their own oils. i then added  some fennel seeds, sliced red onion and red pepper and let these cook until the vegetables were soft and had begun to caramelise, so they added a lovely sweetness to the salad.

salt (not too much as the feta will be salty), pepper, a generous glug of balsamic vinegar and a tin of cannellini beans were the next additions and once everything had warmed through i added some halved cherry tomatoes which i let cook for just a few minutes as i wanted to keep their fresh, raw flavour (unlike a lot of tomatoes at this time of year, they were really flavoursome).

if i’d had any parsley or basil, i’d have added this now, just before serving in a large bowl, scattered with crumbled feta cheese and some fresh crusty bread – the first meal of 2014 that i’ve eaten in the garden.