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Posts Tagged ‘lemon’

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.

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In an unwise decision the other night I decided to reclaim my cast-iron griddle pan from its box in the loft where it has been temporarily stashed since the start of our kitchen renovation, and introduce it to my temporary kitchen-in-the-lounge. Bad move people, bad move. My hankering for charred courgette salad nearly drove us out the house: the lounge’s complete lack of an extractor fan meant the room rapidly filled with billowing smoke − a good test for the fire alarms but a total common-sense fail. Whoops! Having safely deposited the rabbits in the back garden, we had to open up all the windows and doors to properly vent the smog. Goodness knows what our neighbours made of it all. Rest assured, for now the griddle pan has been retired back to the attic and any griddling action will take place on the barbeque if we ever get a long enough dry spell in the midst of all this rain.

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I’m very partial to meals made up of lots of little dishes that everybody shares; tapas, mezze and antipasti all make me a happy girl. I suppose these kind of buffets are a foodie’s dream since you get to try a little bit of everything rather than mooning over your dinner companions’ plates wishing you’d ordered what they had. Dinner envy: it’s a terrible thing. But you can create an impressive spread with just a little effort, especially if you supplement it with a few ready-made options like cheese and chutney, deli meats and olives. (more…)

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In preparation for this new year’s crops I’ve been clearing out the last of the over-wintered veggies from my garden. The rabbits made short work of the fuzzy leaves on the winter radishes while I dug up my two remaining celeriac which were decidedly puny but packed full of flavour. There are still plenty of lovely roots in the grocers while we wait for spring’s first asparagus, peas and greens and my cole-less slaw makes the most of their earthy sweetness. It also happens to look pretty vibrant and cheery on the dinner table with its tangle of white celeriac, orange carrots and bright pink beetroot. (more…)

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A few weeks ago I went to the cinema (a rare occurrence for me) to see The Artist before it was too late. Making the most of Orange Wednesday my mum and I headed out to the cinema early to make sure we got our two-for-one tickets then headed up to the cafe/bar to have a drink while we waited (thus totally undoing the saving we’d made on the ticket price!). While ordering a (ahem) pot of tea for two, mum spied an interesting selection of snacks for sale at the bar and decided buy something to try. She plumped for roasted almonds flavoured with lemon and sea salt which were utterly delicious. Crunchy, sharp and savoury – a perfect nibble to go with wine or beer. Or tea. On the walk home talk centred around Jean Dujardin, Uggie the dog and those almonds, at which point two things became clear to me: 1) I had to find a way of making some at home to save coughing up another £2.50 for a handful of nuts; 2) I want a slightly shaggy Jack Russel who follows me everywhere.

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Every so often I find myself craving a particular food after reading a (non-cook) book. Joanne Harris’ Five Quarters of the Orange made me yearn for fruit tarts and cherry liqueur and Kidnapped by Robert Louis Stevenson brought on a porridge fest. From a very early age I found recipe inspiration from literature; I remember asking my mum to let me make stone soup and trying my hardest to imagine what the Hot-Cold Goodies in Enid Blyton’s Magic Faraway Tree tasted like. I wonder how many foodies start off this way, obsessing about food before they even start school? I even used to get excited by pictures of food; I adored the idea of the Very Hungry Caterpillar munching his way through fruit, ice cream and cake. (more…)

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This is a cracking little recipe from the one and only David Lebovitz. A chef renowned for his sweet dishes, he’s also a dab hand at making simple, savoury ingredients shine. I frequently whip up a jar of feta marinated in olive oil, fresh herbs and chillis to consume over the course of the next few days in salads, on bread or, my current favourite, over baked sweet potatoes. At this time of year you can give it as a gift or keep it on hand for an impromptu nibble when friends come knocking.

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