Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘fennel’

Today I’m dedicating this post to a very special sauce, something I think pasta must be proud to wear and something I think all cooking fans should be able to make well. Traditionally reserved for special occasions or Sunday best, a good ragù requires love and attention but won’t mind if you enjoy a glass of wine and a good book while you tend to its needs. During my time in Italy I ate some spectacular ragùs and it seems that every cook has their own special twist. One particularly fond memory I have is of sitting in a cozy restaurant in the hilltop town of Urbino on a bitterly cold January day. We sat huddled around a table trying to warm up our frozen hands and tucked into large plates of paparadelle with deeply flavoured wild boar ragù. After that meal I felt revived and full, ready to venture back out into the icy wind. Duck ragù feels doubly special for me since, in my kitchen, duck is reserved for special occasions and is a rare treat. It’s also something I feel a bit afraid of cooking in case a make a mess of things and spoil such lovely meat. My mum objects to eating duck on ‘moral grounds’ ever since she adopted a Mallard as a child; growing up I shared her view until I discovered how tasty they are so now I’m making up for lost time!

(more…)

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

Hello folks! Just a quick announcement before getting on with this post. Food Magazine‘s 2013 Reader Awards are accepting nominations for your favourite West Country food producers, shops, chefs, cafes and restaurants and, for the first time, bloggers. If you have any favourites that you think deserve some recognition you can vote for them here. And if you’ve enjoyed reading this little blog I would be over the moon if you nominated it. #awkward! Thank you!

(more…)

Read Full Post »

I love cooking vegetables on the barbeque and, even though I’m an omnivore, I’m quite happy to stick to vegetarian options when we get the grill out. The tendency (for me at least) is to make the most of the occasion and overeat so vegetable based options seem the way to go since they are usually a bit lighter than a slab of meat. I also love throwing halloumi on the BBQ, it’s texture transforms from tough to soft and  pleasently chewy and it’s salty flavour goes so well with charred veggies. It’s worth tracking down good halloumi made with sheep or goat’s cheese which has a much better flavour and texture than the stuff made with cow’s milk but, should you stuggle to find any, the marinating step makes even the mass-produced cheese taste good.

(more…)

Read Full Post »

This recipe was one of those off-the-cuff type things which I threw together one evening when I spent a little to much time wondering what to do with a bag of dinky little Chantenay carrots. Happily enough it turned out to be rather nice and I have repeated it since turning my salad into a lunch dish by mixing the sticky-sweet roasted carrots with a heap of lentils and topping them off with a crumbling of salty feta. The earthy flavour of the carrots is lifted by a sharp mustard and lemon dressing which also serves to cut through their concentrated honeyed sweetness. Toasted hazelnuts lend a some textural interest and their buttery taste plays along well with the rest of the dish. (more…)

Read Full Post »

Spring is in the air, daffodils are in bloom rubbing shoulders with crocuses, snowdrops and primroses. The birds are chirruping and there’s a warmth to the sun even if there is still a nip in the air. This weekend heralded the first spring-like day and as I walked home from a trip to the shops, I enjoyed the warmth of the sun on my back and felt like I could have been on holiday. As I walked I nibbled on the crackly ‘quignon’ of a still-warm sourdough baguette I’d picked up at the Real Food Store which was intended to go with this simple fennel dish. Fortunately there was still enough left for lunch! (more…)

Read Full Post »

Last weekend I plumped for another Riverford-inspired stew for dinner. I had bought a very nice boneless shoulder of pork from a local farm and wanted to complement it with ingredients from the immediate vicinity. My garden is pretty much dormant for the moment save for rosemary, parsley, bay and some overgrown sorrel but the farm shop is well stocked with root veggies, potatoes and lots and lots of lovely kale. I filled a bag with a mix of curly green and Russian red kale as well as some blades of incredibly dark green cavolo nero which has such a fun bubbly surface. A couple of knobbly pink fir apple potatoes (which manage to taste more like a potato than any other variety) came along for the ride, still caked in red Devon soil, and so did a bottle of fine, fruity tasting Cornish Buccaneer ale made by the Wooden Hand Brewery in Truro.

(more…)

Read Full Post »

This weekend I publicly confirmed, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that I am a vegetable obsessive: in the middle of a relaxing countryside walk I bolted for a mobile farm shop. Not that I really mind; even though I enjoy a good steak or tender, slow-cooked lamb, I could quite happily go vegetarian most of the time. To me, the range of flavours and textures in veggies is something to get excited about. Unfortunately there are still some things I struggle with and, up until very recently, fennel was one. I have successfully overcome taste aversions by constantly having a little taste; I once went from hating rocket to craving it in under a week. And the same thing has just happened with fennel. Little by little I started to enjoy subtle hints of fennel seeds then one day I tasted a fennel and spinach gratin and was instantly smitten. I’ve not been able to get it out of my head ever since. On the back of this success there’s still hope for mushrooms and aubergine! (more…)

Read Full Post »