So I have eaten at Ottolenghi but never cooked the food. It always seemed a little too fiddly, too many ingredients and, I thought, would take too much time. Anyway, I apologise and say I am wrong on all counts. This is a lovely novel way to have lamb this weekend, and this is taken from the Nopi cookbook. It has all the flavours of the east, with a delicate sauce over the gently cooked swiss chard (now in season and stocked in good greengrocers). Most if not all these dry ingredients will be in your store cupboard, and brought together in this recipe produce a highly flavoured and wonderful meal. Serves 6, can be made the day before and reheated (and like most things in that category improves the flavour).
How 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.
The thing about Christmas lunch is that you want it to look special, but it helps if the appetizer isn’t overly filling or a pain to make. This one hits on both counts. First you make it in advance, and just take it from the fridge and put it onto the plate before serving. Second, the light crab flavour, with the coriander hit smoothed by that silky avocado mix is a magical start to Christmas lunch. This can feed six, personally I prefer this for four and get a bit more out of it. Some wholemeal toast on the side, with butter in the dish add to the delight of it all.
The thing about this weather is that even if it is a hot July (ok this is July in 2012 but you can use your imagination) Moroccan food still works. This is great, quick and has some deep flavours. The extra special thing about it is that the aubergine, sweet onions, mint and coriander work well along side a piece of lamb or can be eaten as a dish in themselves with some couscous and a dollop of thick, creamy yoghurt.
I have always wanted to cook using a tagine. It is something about slow cooked food, melding with the spices and ladled over buttery cous-cous that has captured my imagination. Fortunately, Christmas came with the bonus of being given a tagine as a present. After some home testing, I have tweaked this recipe a little and it is now a firm favourite. Yielding lamb, with garlic, saffron and cinnamon; the chestnuts replace potatoes and the whole lot is a deep and sweet delight. One tip, I like to fry the onions and brown the lamb in a separate frying pan, I find it works more quickly than in the diffused heat of the tagine. If you don’t have a tagine use a regular casserole dish, but don’t miss out on this warming treat of a meal.
Sometimes, as odd as it may seem, you really only need a soup. This one allows you to use cauliflower; much derided but a wonderful almost sweet vegetable. Add some cumin, then some goats cheese and stir. Crisp up some bread and sprinkle some coriander and you have a lovely warming supper. Enjoy.
This is a real festive treat. I was never one for thick cuts of ham, it just didn’t seem right. Then I discovered a Christmas-time recipe that I now make every year; and every year it is the one thing people want more of and never tire of eating. A boneless mild cure gammon, soaked in the flavours of fennel, anise, coriander and cloves. The whole lot is then glazed in cinnamon and smoked paprika. Not only does it taste wonderful, but the house smells even more of the Christmas cheer. I have put this on now so that you can do it if you want. When mine is done, a picture will follow.
This is a vegetarian version of a curry I do. On the meat version I am honest about it all: I am a bit of a wimp when it comes to curry. Sorry, I am just not a five pint and vindaloo man. Firstly, because I can’t take the heat, except in the kitchen, and secondly because I like to the taste the curry flavours and the meat, fish or vegetables in the thing. This can be a little on the warm side, but taking the seeds out of the chilles helps, and you can reduce their number too. I love this curry. The creamy coconut milk, infused with the basil and the background of coriander wafting up before you taste it always leaves me wanting more.