It’s been a long time since I wrote ‘dill and beetroot’ on my list of ingredients to play around with. As individual ingredients, they both rank pretty highly on my mental list of favourite tastes; dill especially, because when it’s good, it’s breathtakingly aromatic. You could almost make a perfume from it, although that might be just a little bit weird. One of the first dishes that I mastered beyond cheese on toast (with tomato puree on the bread first… oh yeah) was whole rainbow trout, cooked ‘en papillote‘ with dill and lemon. I say mastered, but there’s no mastery involved because it’s a simple dish that’s breathtakingly easy to make, hard to over cook and incredibly flavoursome with tender flesh. A must-try if you’re a fish …come and read more!
There are many, many recipes on the internet going under traditional names which can only be described as bastardised. This comes in various guises, such as dairy, gluten, sugar free examples that I confess to having created on occasion, where you could argue the essence of a dish is compromised by the very removal of that element. Alternatively, people take a traditional recipe and affect some kind of alternative, contemporary slant on it, whilst retaining the hallowed name to describe it. [pullquote cite="Douglas Adams" type="right"] “For instance, on the planet Earth, man had always assumed that he was more intelligent than dolphins because he had achieved so much—the wheel, New York, wars and so on—whilst all the dolphins had ever done was muck …come and read more!
In my fantasy dream kitchen, the cupboards and fridge would be stocked at random by a stranger who chooses regularly changing ingredients, on top of the usual store cupboard staples. This kitchen would also be large, slick and cleaned nightly by a team who sneak in and shine it to perfection whilst I’m asleep, like little kitchen elves. Oddly, that makes my ideal kitchen sound a little bit like the set for ‘Ready, steady, cook’. The reason for this idea (the random ingredients, not the elves) is that great things can happen when you are forced to use unfamiliar ingredients. If I had to walk into a strangers’ kitchen and rustle up a good meal, there’s no doubt I’d end up using ingredients that I wouldn’t normally …come and read more!
Tapenade used to be one of those ‘things’ that I didn’t understand. It smells and tastes beautiful, and evokes romantic visions of lazy mediterranean lunches, but I never really knew what to do with it. Showing a stereotypical Britishness, I was confused because it’s not a chutney or a pickle, it’s not a jam and it’s not Marmite. I would see it on supermarket shelves and in delis, but leave it behind. I’d see it with some mustards whilst at lunch but wouldn’t know where it goes. Then eventually, my tapenade maturity arrived and I realised it goes with lots of things, and it’s an ingredient that makes simple pairings spectacular. There are loads of ways you can use it, my favourite uses …come and read more!
Back at the wheel. I’m back! Although you probably hadn’t noticed, I’ve been away for a little while. Not away ‘away’, but away from the blog. And what’s the event that has caused me to temporarily desert (mmmm, dessert) my beloved blog? Surely it must be something awful, heartrendingly terrible or existentially disastrous to pry my frantic fingertips from the surface of my keyboard? The good news is that nothing bad has happened. It was the arrival of a little creature, an 8 week old miniature poodle puppy who we called Bernard, that managed to get the better of me psychologically for a few weeks. That left little space up there to consider food, blogs or for that …come and read more!
Ambrosia is an often overused word, hastily thrown around with levity to elevate the status of a particular food. It’s a very serious word (to me, anyway) which means ‘food of the gods’, and religious denominations aside I try to be reserved in it’s use simply out of respect. So, it’s with a certain amount of reticence that I’m considering using it in the description here. Baba Ghanoush, Mutabal or Moutabal, are some of the different names this aubergine dip goes under, with slight regional variations in both method and ingredients depending on where abouts in the world it is being made. It originates from the Middle East and I came to know it through multiplus trips to Lebanese restaurants when my girlfriend and I had just …come and read more!