There is just something about this time of year that makes me want to keep serving up steaming pots of stews and casseroles. Preferably with loads of autumnal veg and definitely my fair share of carbs. I’m not sure why really. It hasn’t even got that cold yet but I for one am all about some comfort food right now. I could eat it all day; the only problem is finding the time to make it all. But that’s where this recipe comes in.
I know I’ve talked before about necessity being the mother of all invention on this blog before but never is that more true than in a house filled with boys. Maybe it’s just mine but I’m never sure whether they exist on the same dimension as me. I’m not complaining; it has led to quite a few spectacular culinary discoveries in my house and last week has was no different.
So I’m afraid I’m not done with those Sicilian flavours yet. If I’m being honest with I’m not sure I ever will be I just love the way that the flavours of everything you see growing there pervade everything you eat. If you’ve never sampled the food think almonds, raisins, oranges, lemons, garlic, olives and capers and you’ll get the idea. There isn’t much that wouldn’t be improved upon given this treatment with the possible exception of chocolate.
The poor potato has had a bad wrap in recent years with a lot of people wrongly equating it to spreading waist lines and other health related hyperbole. It doesn’t help that growers and supermarkets have eschewed traditional tasty breeds (along with their shorter harvesting season) in favour of an easier to harvest alternative their flavour has dramatically diminished (in my opinion anyway) leaving a lot of us reaching for cooking methods that more than make up for any lack of taste but do nothing for their unhealthy reputation. And to be fair, who doesn’t love a creamy, buttery mash? But luckily summer is upon us now bringing gorgeous new potatoes with it and no need for all that butter to make them shine.
You’ve got to love the humble courgette or zucchini as it’s known over the water haven’t you? Originally from the Americas, over the centuries the popularity of this firm fleshed fruit masquerading as a vegetable (like the rest of its fradulent family, the squashes) has spread world wide. It’s true that it often doesn’t really shine simply boiled as a veggie side (you should hear the cries of ‘boring!’ when I serve them up like that in my house) probably because of their rather inconvienient tendency to carry on cooking as they sit on the table but they are so versatile that you really shouldn’t feel the need to stop there anyway.
Deliciously aniseedy fennel, the marmite of the vegetable world (you either love it or you hate it), has made an appearance in my veg box again this week. Being a fan, I’m happy but I know a lot of people who’d roll their eyes faced with fennel. If you fall into that category (and you know who you are), do not stop reading now or think that this one is not for you. Quite the contrary, this one is especially for you.
Lamb is got to be one of my favourite roasts; particularly at this time of year. It goes so well with so many different herbs (a fact you may be forgiven for not noticing as it is so hard to break most people away from the ubiquitous delicious but dull rosemary and garlic combination) and the leftovers work really hard to see you through at least one more meal mid week. Moussaka, hotpot or the perennially popular curry are all options, two of which should possible with some judicious bone boiling. And, of course, there is no getting away from the fact that lamb is also the perfect back drop for garlicky and herby beans paired with perfectly cooked seasonal veggies. Continue reading
I have something to confess. I had forgotten all about Glamorgan sausages until just the other day when I was reading through a Riverford recipe leaflet. You know how it is. You make something, realise how delicious it is and add to your repertoire for the next couple of years and then bit by bit it gets nudged out of the way by new and trendier dishes. Something similar happened to me and Glamorgan sausage. I admit it; it shouldn’t have. These gorgeous little veggie sausages are jammed packed full of some of my favourite flavours and are a fabulous way to use up any semi-stale bread you might have hanging around. But with a cupboard full of leeks, a family always craving cheese, and a handy reminder from the Riverford kitchens, I figured now is the time for the sausages to stage a comeback.
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
This week has been our half term holiday, a week of catching up with friends and on much needed sleep. It’s a lovely break but somehow it’s always a shock to me though how much more food we get through when everyone is home all day. Even as I wrote that I can hear what a no brainer it sounds; but think about it. I make their lunches every day for school. Why shouldn’t I get through the same amount of food just because they are eating it at home? Because it’s just not the same, being surrounded by cupboards full of food rather than lunch boxes, that’s why. This soup is what I make when I can’t face the endless round of sandwiches and when I really don’t want to head out to the shops again. It’s really tasty, healthy and can be knocked up pretty quickly with the contents of any well stocked kitchen cupboard. But best of all, because you’re going to blitz most of it to get a smoother soup, it’s perfect to delegate to your children to make; you’ll never notice the hatchet job they might make of the fennel after five minutes with a blender.