Happily locked away in Cornwall, it’s a wine and ‘pick and lick’ menu at lunchtime. For my contribution at the table it needs something easily made (I am on holiday), and great for dipping or holding food that someone else expertly prepares: in this case spicy chicken, dips, sausages and a varied amount of food that tastes great and makes the lunch. So here was my contribution, a classic Middle Eastern flatbread, with a dough spread with homemade za’atar – herbs and sesame seeds. It really is quick to make with a crusty top with soft dough inside. This makes three breads, or break into smaller amounts if you want more individual sizes.
Summer, and in England at least crab comes into its own. I have used it elsewhere on this blog but sometimes with the heat of some chili and silky smooth pasta it can make a lovely, but light dish. If you want to serve it as a starter then add some cream, which makes the whole thing very rich – I think too rich for a main course. Victoria Moore in her terrific book on wine suggests a Burgundian chardonnay or Chablis goes well with this – as ever she is spot on.
Saturday morning’s a great time for brunch. Up later than normal, too early to bother with a wait for lunch, but looking for something more substantial to see you through the shopping or the rest of the day until dinner. Sometimes there are left over chips from the fish and chip supper the night before. Never throw them away, they cook up well and with some added chorizo, onion, garlic and a poached egg they make the morning go with a bit of sunshine. Serves two.
Makes about 15
I don’t know what it was that made me want to make these, but it has been a long term plan. I had some delicious croquettes at Fino the then sister restaurant to Barrafina in London: crisp outside, with that delicious melting interior made for a memorable occasion. These can be a larger starter dish, or made well in advance and smaller rounds dropped into hot oil to go with drinks in the evening. The key is to put them them in the fridge to firm up and hold together when being fried. I like to make a simple mix of mustard and mayonnaise as a side dip.
What is it at the moment, that makes me want to recreate recipes that remind me of living in America? Yes, I know this is more a Greek dish, but I lived in Texas where the weather is hotter all the year round, and this pie was always welcome. Here, I make it with fresh spinach, you can use frozen if you wish, but I think fresh is easier. I tend to pack the pie with more cheese and pine nuts. It is a more-ish and tasty lunch, or summer supper.
So, I remember first eating these in Hugo’s restaurant in Houston. Take the flowers of a courgette stuff with cream and herbs then deep fry in batter – who thought that one up? I’m glad that they did, and it really is an easy dish to make.
Better still, they are only around in the early part of the year and look as spectacular as they taste.
An autumnal or winter warmer if ever there was one. This celeriac and apple soup is made in minutes, provides a wonderful starter (you can add scallops for extra refinement) or just a nice Saturday afternoon dish. Continue reading
Boston, Provincetown, Maine, Cape Cod you are taken to the East Coast shores by these classic crustacean sandwiches. Even better, they can only be accompanied by chilled beer or cold white wine. They are a perfect match. The cold chopped mayoed lobster sits inside a buttered, lightly toasted brioche hot dog roll and it all just shouts summer and seashore. Ok so we had these sitting in the garden, but the memories they bring back (or create) are worth the expense and very little effort. Honestly, you will want them every summer. [Makes about 16 rolls]
Is 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.
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. (Serves 4) Continue reading