Cooking At Zero Degrees

This is a blog (it also works on an ipad and now has a Facebook page) about what we eat at home.  Starters, mains, sauces, side dishes, cocktails and links to local shops. It’s all here.

Food is fun,  it should be fun to make and fun to eat. For some people making a meal is a chore. If it is then don’t do it;  but please, it’s better to eat something, anything, that you make at home from scratch, because prepared, packaged supermarket dinners  and food have about as much flavour as the plastic or cardboard package they come in.  Food cultivation and husbandry is not just a moral argument.  Eggs that don’t come from battery hens do taste better, cattle properly reared have more flavour –  and just think about it: at its most simple, if they’re not being pumped full of chemicals then you’re not being pumped full of chemicals. How good is that? If you can buy local, use your neighbourhood shops, you will miss them when they are gone.  Most of all, have fun making a meal of it!

Oh, and why at zero degrees? Because that’s where we live – in Greenwich, London.

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Goat Cheese and Spinach Frittata

Frittata,  an omelette is what we would generally call it, but with added ingredients and then pushed under the grill to brown and plump up. They come in various shapes and sizes, and this is based on some we have seen. However, our added ingredient with this mix is onion. I don’t think it works as well without the taste of the sweet red onions. This is used as a light supper or as a side dish (easily for four people) with a griddled lamb chop (three to four minutes either side, so you can add that one to your timing if you wish).

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Wholemeal Bread

Wholemeal Bread

Wholemeal Bread

Baking has never really been my thing. It always seemed to take longer than I would be prepared to wait. Steak in six minutes or fish in four, that was more me. But… but…the smell of bread baking is one of those aromas that just says welcome home. Anyway, I began to wonder if I could bake bread, and was there a quicker way of doing it than what seemed to be such a long kneading…waiting…proving…kneading..waiting….process. Well, I searched around seeing eight or nine different recipes and this is a combination of those. It works. It is lovely, holds firm to cold butter, makes great toast. I have decided I can now.. Bake!

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Teriyaki Salmon

imageHow did it start that I wanted to eat teryaki salmon? First, I fancied a weekday supper dish that didn’t take too long to cook but it had to be fish. Then I wanted something with a sweet yet salty flavour. How often can you find that in a fish recipe? This is it. You get that ping of soy sauce, the hit of chilli and the clean sharp line of lime. On top of noodles, this fish stands out as a clear winner, and made in less than 30 minutes it is a sure favourite. This is changed from some other recipes you may find, I add a bigger hit of chilli and ginger then reduced the amount of noodles, but that is up to you. This feeds two.

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Cheese, Broccoli and Onion Tart

Vegetarian Tart

Vegetarian Tart

There is the complete version of ingredients and method here. Although that one is for a meat version, and this is vegetarian.

Either way, you could do a lot worse for supper on a blustery Saturday evening.


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Classic Shortbread

Classic Shortbread

Shortbread (makes 12 pieces)

I really wonder at the ease of this one. There is something wonderful about making a batch of biscuits within an hour, even when you come back from the pub (which I have done). These are one of my favourite, easy to make and easier to eat. Make sure you are watched when in the kitchen and they are cooling down or you may be tempted to take one .. or two … or..


  • 225g soft butter
  • 100g caster sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 280g plain flour


  1. Grease a 23cm round (or 20cm square) tart tin with a little of your butter then put the rest of the butter into a large mixing bowl and beat until it becomes creamy and pale.
  2. Add the sugar, salt and vanilla and then beat again.
  3. Sift in the flour and mix to an evenly blended dough.
  4. Press the dough into the tin, smooth it out with the back of a spoon and mark the edge of the shortbread with a fork and cut into 12 wedges. Prick each piece twice.
  5. Chill the shortbread for 20 minutes.
  6. Heat the oven to 160C/gas mark 2½ and bake the chilled shortbread for 70 minutes or until golden and a sandy colour.
  7. Leave to cool for five minutes and then recut into wedges and serve.
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Spicy Coconut Soup

imageIs it the cold weather? Is it my age? My mind turned back to a soup that we would sit eating in a very cheap but fantastic Malaysian restaurant in Soho. The added entertainment was watching the punters going in and out of the building opposite. Anyway, the restaurant sold the most wonderful ‘Santan Soup’ (which probably means nothing), and it came with a veneer thin layer of chilli oil over the top and was served way above boiling point. This is a variation. It provides a nice basic but spicy coconut soup, and you can then add the variations of chicken, vegetables, fish and even duck to change it out. Cheap, warming and hot – just what the punters want.

Serves 2 as a Main Course.


  • groundnut oil 1 tbsp
  • Red Thai curry paste 2 tbsp
  • Curry powder 2 tsp
  • Chicken stock 250ml
  • Coconut milk 400ml
  • Thai or Vietnamese fish sauce 2 tsp
  • Lime juice 1 tbsp, to taste
  • Palm or caster sugar a good pinch


  1. Add and heat the oil, then add the Thai curry paste and stir over a low to medium heat for a couple of minutes, then add the curry powder stirring again.
  2. Add the chicken stock and coconut milk scraping the bits from the bottom of the pan,  bring the lot to the boil making sure all the dry ingredients have combined with the wet ones.
  3. As soon as the stock and coconut milk are combined and have come to the boil, lower the heat so it simmers gently, cover with a lid and leave for about 20 minutes thickening the whole thing.
  4. Stir in the fish sauce, the lime juice and palm sugar to taste. At this point, add your vegetables and simmer for a further 3-5 minutes until they are cooked.
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Christmas Notes

So, here it is –  Merry Christmas, are you having fun?

Sometimes it is easier for others than for you in the kitchen, but there are some tricks and helpful hints that may make this year better. Below is a list of foods from this site. Some easier than others, but all fairly straightforward. Quick starters, and a few more difficult. The essential turkey cooking times,  and some alternative fish dishes.  Puddings to follow and of course the drinks list! Hope it’s a help in this festive and cool yule.

Some Christmas morning muffins.

Cheats Sausage Rolls.

Spiced Christmas Ham.

Cheese Puffs


Crayfish and Prawns on Toast.

Tian of Crab and Avocado.

Prawn Cocktail.

Goats Cheese Tartlets.

Cauliflower Soup.



Cooking a Turkey

Duck Breast and Mushrooms

Guinea Fowl

Roast Potatoes


Fish Pie;

Red Mullet;



Hot chocolate Fondant

Poached Figs




Egg Nog

Hangover Drinks

Bloody Mary

French Martini

Elderflower Cocktail



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Crumble Topped Mince Pies

Now, there are two ways of doing this. Following this recipe, or buy some sweet crust pastry and some made mincemeat (which you improve by adding some of these ingredients) and save yourself some time. I suppose you pays your money you takes your choice, but part of the fun of christmas is getting in the kitchen with the carols on the radio and shutting the world out. You can also have a glass or two of wine while you do it and just tell people you are being festive, or at least getting merry.

Anyway, these are deep, rich with a nut crumble topping. You can make them in advance and store in an airtight container for a week, or freeze the pies and reheat when they are needed.

I have put this on now so that you can make the if you want. When mine are done for this year, a picture will follow.

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Red Mullet and Pasta

Red Mullet and Pasta

Red Mullet and Pasta

It has been a while since I posted any new cooking, but when something new comes along and tastes as good as this does and is easy to make it has to be shared. Fish in the autumn, usually something with potatoes and cream. However, this light dish is really filling and on the darker nights (at least in England) this bit of colour lightens a mood. This serves two as a large main course, but you could cut back a little and serve four as a delicious starter. It is also quick and easy to make. Continue reading

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Crayfish and Prawns on Toast

Crayfish Tails and Prawns

Crayfish Tails and Prawns

When the weather changes, something light is called for. This little number was pulled together at the weekend. It can be a starter or main course. Actually, if you make it for small rounds of toast then it can even be a small canape with some drinks. It is that versatile and easy to make. The list of ingredients isn’t too long, and it is brought together very simply. However, it packs a lovely fresh and light taste. Perfect for spring into summer.  This feeds four and the method is the simplest yet.

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