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Posts Tagged ‘side dish’

At this time of year where late summer drifts into early autumn and warm, sunny afternoons are punctuated by misty mornings and a slight chill in the air I find myself feeling very happy and content with my lot. I’m looking forward to snuggly winter which will bring a family wedding, my birthday and, hopefully, a finished kitchen. But I’m jumping ahead; there’s so much to enjoy in these harvest months. The squirrels I can see from the window are busy scampering about preparing for winter. Veggie boxes are brimming with goodies and the hedgerows are laden with hazelnuts, sloes and blackberries which I need to hurry up and pick before the Devil spits on them on the 29th!

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It’s been a crazy few weeks around here with lots more work happening to the house (unfortunately not in the kitchen) and a big helping of overtime to help afford some of the new cabinets we need to order. Who knew that taking a week off work would actually entail more work than the office job? With all that’s been going on I’m afraid I’ve let my cooking go by the wayside reverting to simple, slightly boring dishes and whatever’s left in the freezer. So please forgive me for posting something I’ve had lurking around on my PC for a little while. It’s a lovely little recipe from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s column in the Guardian which goes perfectly with barbequed meats or some simply baked fish, no fuss required. The only reason it’s been lurking so long is the frankly, pretty pathetic photos which do this salad no justice.

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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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Gratin dauphinoise is a sinfully good, classic French dish that I wish I could eat everyday. Unfortunately my hips would never forgive such indulgence so this dish is reserved for high days and holidays only. Oh, and those days when you realise you ‘accidentally’ bought too much cream and need a way to use it up. I can’t only be me who does that, right?

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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…)

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Well this probably should have been a Christmas post but with all the hustle and bustle and manic cooking I somehow forgot to take any photos of this great side dish. Not to worry though, I wanted an excuse to make it again, so I did. Butternut squash is, as you can probably tell by looking at my recipe index, one of my favourite vegetables. It can do no wrong and works in all manner of recipes soup, salad, pizza, tagines… So often it is the star of the show but it is also happy to sit alongside other dishes as part of your supper spread. It is especially good served with roasted meats (pork and chicken in particular) or brasied casseroles, cooked long and low, which should always be paired with some kind of mash to transport you into comfort-food nirvana.

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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…)

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