Like I’ve said before this is the time of year that really makes me feel like a culinary throw back to the days long gone; if not quite medieval then definitely pre-refrigerators. The desire to preserve anything and everything is strong and, I’m not going to lie to you, gets a bit stressful at times. Well, for me anyway. The problem is that everything makes an appearance at once and stays at its best for such a short window. Damsons are no exception.
Scotland might not be renowned across the globe for its lovely hot summers but it is inextricably linked (in many British minds) to a fruit that seems to epitomise summer; the raspberry. Nothing says British summer to me more than a bowl full of raspberries and strawberries and this week they’re back. So despite whatever else is going on outside at least we know for sure. Summer’s here.
Every so often a few culinary planets align and something magical happens on even the most mundane and boring days. One such moment happened last week. I had a perfectly ripe avocado. Only one. And a perfectly ripe mango. Now I can always find a home for a perfectly ripe mango but only one avocado is slightly harder. In a family our size we need at least two so we can get stuck into some guacamole but waiting for another one to catch up never seems to work for me. Even with the help of the revered brown paper bag and over ripe banana. Of course there was always the option of devouring it mashed on wholemeal toast with some roasted tomatoes (one of my favourites) before anyone got home but I was feeling magnanimous. And summery. A winning combination. The avocado and mango ice cream idea was born.
One of the reasons why meat free Monday is such a great idea is that cooking veg is usually much less time consuming than a similar meat dish would be (in fact for that reason I think I’d change it to meat-free mid week if it were up to me, but all you meat lovers out there can breath a sigh of relief- it isn’t). And right now we’re finally coming to the time of year now when nature is really on our side, when most of the veg just needs the briefest of cooking times or even just dressing, helping make our lives so much easier and stress free. And tastier. Take this family friendly curry for example. It’s jam packed full of some really healthy spices and is ready in just less than half an hour. Perfect for any mid week night when the time (and more probably inclination) just isn’t there for starting on dinner preps before lunch is even finished.
So Spring is on its way and I’ve got the vegbox to prove it. The spring greens are out in almost full force and after the endless squashes, root veg and red cabbages of winter they are a very welcome sight. The complete opposite from all those roots, optimistic little spring greens are there to remind us what is just around the corner. Sunny weather full of veg that needs next to nothing done to it to shine, these are the greens that will see us through till that warmer weather makes an appearance.
I do love where I live. Who wouldn’t? It is pretty and rural and full of healthy things like fresh air and country walks. But just sometimes I miss some of the things I used to able to pick up at a moment’s notice when I lived in Frankfurt or New York. Take miso soup, for example. It’s not something that turns up on my local supermarket’s shelves. Why not, I do not know. They have all manner of horrible soups to make up in a cup, the kind that always leave a powdery residue on the bottom of any cup and always taste the same whilst giving absolutely no nutrition whatsoever, no matter what flavour you buy. But no miso. When most of us were struck down with the dreaded flu, all we wanted to eat was a nice warm miso soup, but despite my rudely healthy husband (I have not got over that yet, I am the healthy one round here) kindly bringing back supplies from London, we just didn’t have enough to go round. From my sick bed I gathered the family around and vowed that as soon as I was fighting fit again I would experiment until I found a version that I could knock up quickly and painlessly in my own kitchen so we would never have to go without again. I am happy to report that I did just that and now luckily we can get back to enjoying the country walks without cursing the lack of miso soups. Continue reading
Chayote (or mirliton) is one of those vegetables that doesn’t crop up too often in the UK. Strange that. It favours an almost tropical climate (don’t we all?) and shows up a lot more in Southern Europe as well as the Caribbean, southern American states and, of course, Mexico. But this week, I was lucky enough to be presented with a couple and therefore given a good enough reason to spend a day in my kitchen messing around with them. Continue reading
So, I know, it is Monday. I should be posting up a lovely quick meat free meal, but today is going to be different, just to keep you all on your toes. The reason behind this is simple. Last week, after hanging around with a variety of germ infested children, I went down with the flu. Now, what you need to understand is that I never get ill (in fact I can only think of one time in my life when I had the flu before) unless you count the odd hangover, so I really don’t make the best patient. It’s not that I don’t like lying around doing nothing, I just want to feel well whilst I’m doing it. And believe me, this flu was a killer. As it’s still hanging around now leaving all of us feeling like we’ve been run over by a bus, I thought today I’d rustle up something to perk us back up again so we can last out the last few weeks of this interminable winter.
Good, raw (i.e. organic and unpasteurised) sauerkraut is one of those ingredients that a well stocked kitchen shouldn’t be long without. Particularly at this immune draining time of year. I admit, it took me a while to get into it, but living with a German (in Germany for quite a while) meant get into it I did and I haven’t looked back. Continue reading