Before barbecue there was barbacoa.
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When I serve salad niçoise, summer enters the house, whatever the season. Forget about the culinary arguments about what constitutes a ‘true’ salad niçoise and vary quantities and best quality ingredients depending on your mood and taste. My niçoise has seared rare fresh tuna, anchovy in the dressing (rather than whole) and big garlicky olive oil drenched croutons. The missing ingredient? A bottle of chilled rosé.
Continue reading “Salad Niçoise – The Taste of Summer” »
Sometimes we have dinner parties planned in great detail weeks in advance, with recipes poured over and refined, ingredients sought far and wide and a weekend spent busying away in the kitchen preparing our finery. And sometimes we don’t.
Continue reading “Easy Chinese Ribs – First open cold beer.” »
There is a Musar club. You are either an in-the-know member or not. Free membership here.
Continue reading “Bottle No.2: Chateau Musar Red” »
You’ve foraged for nettles and made nettle soup, you’ve foraged for berries and eaten, well, berries. You’ve been living in the wild for a day now, but it feels like a week, and you’re thinking foraging isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. And then out of the corner of your eye, you spy a little rabbit…
Illustration courtesy of Sam Chelton
The food you miss when you travel away from home is revealing. Returning from childhood holidays abroad, there were only two meals we craved: fish and chips and a take-away Indian. Curry, you see, is as English as it gets. Well it is now anyway. Vindaloo, more than other curries, has been transformed by time, culture, available ingredients and tastes for over more than 500 years. It is genuine and wonderful fusion food.
The dish in fact originated in Portugal and was taken to Southern India by Portuguese merchants who had first landed in Goa in the early 16th Century. The name vindaloo is derived from the dish “Carne de Vinha d’ Alhos”, a feast made of meat, generally pork, braised in wine with garlic. The Goans substituted vinegar for wine and added chilli and spice and sometimes also potatoes.
Continue reading “Lamb Shank Vindaloo” »
This is the best chocolate mousse possible if you like the true taste of chocolate – and it is genuinely low in calories. It also takes only 15 minutes to prepare. Sometimes you can have your cake and eat it.
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Gravadlax exemplifies what I think of as ‘kitchen alchemy’ – pure culinary gold created from raw ingredients through transformative technique, in this case a simple dry cure.
Originally, Scandinavian fishermen preserved the fish by burying it in the sand to be cured by saltwater – ‘gravadlax’ means buried salmon. It is beautiful, tasty and healthy. Gravadlax is also easy-peasy: The initial preparation – the actual work – takes a few minutes, and the curing process requires only that you have a fridge and turn your fish just once a day. The results are far superior to anything you can buy in a supermarket.
Continue reading “Gravadlax: Home-Made Is Best” »
Pho is Vietnam’s national dish, obsession, subject of poetry, and often described as the ‘soul of the nation’. Served by street vendors, it is eaten for breakfast, lunch and dinner. It is low in fat, healthy and tasty. It is a great restorative. Pho Bò with beef – originally from Saigon – is my favorite: The spiced beef stock flavoured with roasted ginger and shallots is sublime. Serve with clouds of steam straight from the pot.
This steaming dish of shellfish evokes windswept, seasprayed northern beaches. The smell is of the sea and it brings back memories of my childhood trips to the beach searching for crabs in rock pools, raking for cockles and snatching razor clams with a salt bait.
Continue reading “Beachcomber’s Shellfish” »