Entries in garlic (6)


pumpkin with garlic, chilli and thyme

this is the first week when the weather in frankfurt has felt properly autumnal. we’ve had several weeks of the leaves turning various shades of red and orange then starting to fall, but up until now the temperatures have been very mild. however, there is now a definite nip in the air and i’ve been enjoying looking at recipes better suited to colder weather.

pumpkin (and squash) is a favourite vegetable of mine and i’ve been enjoying pairing it with garlic, chilli (a bit too much chilli on occasion, now i’ve found a source for properly hot chillies!) and thyme.

this pasta was the starting point for this combination – while cooking the pasta i fried small pumpkin pieces in a mix of olive oil and butter with garlic and chilli. once i could smell the garlic i added a pinch of thyme leaves and a ladle of water from the pasta pan - the water helps the pumpkin cook quickly and creates a bit of a sauce. everything came together at roughly the same time, but i did add the pasta to the pumpkin pan, along with a bit of extra water, to help the flavours meld.

i used the same flavours in a risotto later in the week, using fennel in place of the onion that usually kicks off a risotto recipe (this squash and fennel soup reminded me what a great combination these two flavours create) and adding a ball of mozzarella at the end of the cooking period, to give a bit of extra richness. i’ve also used garlic, chilli and thyme to flavour some roasted pumpkin, which we ate with roast chicken.




last year’s love of thick hearty soups - ribollita, minestrone and white chilli have all been cooked in rotation, at least one a week, for several months now – continues unabated. however, i need some help – can you suggest something new for me to try? i’m particularly keen to find a harira recipe that i like.

the one pictured above is a vegetarian version from allegra mcevedy but it just doesn’t do it for me – the flavours weren’t bright enough and although a squeeze of lemon juice helped, it wasn’t as delicious as i’d hoped. maybe i need to do the lamb version first, and then play with vegetarian flavours? or maybe the combination of chickpeas, lentils and rice is just a bit too “worthy”?

however, there was one thing that did stand out - the chermoula that is served with the harira to lighten and brighten it. that i will retain, whichever harira recipe i end up with.

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slow roasted pork belly with sprouting broccoli and pureed garlic


we’ve been eating a lot of vegetarian food recently and as a result, last weekend i had a craving for something meaty. pork belly was the obvious answer, not least because it was one of the few pieces of “big meat” in the freezer.

i fancied trying a new recipe and, having flicked through my cookery books, decided to follow a skye gyngell recipe from her second book, my favourite ingredients.

her pork is flavoured with fennel (always a good starting point for me) and served with a garlic puree. i nearly didn’t bother with the garlic puree but am really glad i did – it worked wonderfully with both the pork and the gem squash that i served on the side.

the spicy broccoli that skye suggests as an accompaniment was also good, made better for me by the addition of our final home grown courgette of the season (and what a meagre season it has been), which i  sautéed in some butter, with the chilli, until it was just soft and then added the just-cooked broccoli.

my piece of pork was much smaller than skye’s recipe called for but apart from reducing the initial cooking period to 30 minutes i followed her timings. the meat was beautifully tender, most of the fat had rendered away and, thanks to the bed of vegetables on which it sat, didn’t have that slightly overdone bottom layer which it sometimes does.

a perfect meal for what was probably one of the last perfectly warm days of the year.

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salmon with wild garlic and courgette pilaf 


having used half my wild garlic to make a simple spaghetti dish, i fancied trying something a little more complex. although having said that, this really isn’t a difficult recipe.


it is, however, a real “fridgebottom” meal – i’d not been shopping for over a week and the only vegetables in the house were a couple of courgettes and some onions! the salmon was rescued from a corner in the freezer. however, thanks to the wild garlic that i had left we ended up with a really special meal.


the pilaf was brilliant – despite the lack of dairy, somehow it tasted quite rich and creamy and the mild garlic flavour complemented the sweetness of the slow-cooked courgette and onion really well.

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wild garlic


last week i spent a very interesting and enjoyable day with jonathan parker learning more about food production in kent. this is part of a new project of mine to find out more about the way our food is produced and how consumers can buy the best stuff at the best prices. i’ll write more about this in the coming weeks but first of all, and because it’s still just about available, let’s talk wild garlic!


wild garlic, aka ramsoms, is reaching the end of its season but there are still patches of this prolific plant growing in shaded areas of the kent countryside. it’s easy to spot as a result of the pungent smell and the pretty white flowers which are still in bloom.


as you can see in the picture above, the leaves of the plant are quite large and it is these which we grabbed a handful of for me to try cooking with. i also took some flowers as they too have a garlic flavour – much stronger than the leaves so use the flowers with care!


i used the wild garlic in a couple of different recipes, the most simple of which was a spaghetti dish with cherry tomatoes and herbs. the wild garlic added a very different flavour to that which you’d receive from garlic cloves – much milder, sweeter and herbier. i really recommend you try it – if you can’t find a local stockist or don’t fancy a day out foraging, you can currently buy it via food4london, jonathan’s newest foodie venture.

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