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.
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.
I’ve sung the praises of middle Eastern food before on this blog but I haven’t yet touched on Ful. Ful Medames (also spelt foule mudammas or Ful mudammes) is a mouth wateringly delicious Egyptian breakfast dish popular all over the Levant. The recipes vary as much as the region but essentially it consists of cooked broad (fava) beans blended with olive oil, garlic, lemon juice and cumin. A bit of a surprise it hasn’t cropped up here yet then; full as it is with all my favourite flavours. I have to confess though that I hadn’t tried it at all until recently when a good friend of mine (who experienced it first hand from the Syrian refuges she helps out) pointed me in its direction. I owe her; I’ve been hooked ever since my first mouthful and amazed that the rest of the world doesn’t want to start the day with the same style.
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
The other day I discovered another great ingredient. I’ve never been the biggest fan of peanut butter. I can’t help it, I just find it a little bit too flat tasting. And, yes, I do know I’m swimming against the tide here. But the good news for people like me is that there are now so many other great tasting nut butters out there that you can use instead. Macadamia, cashew and almond are all regulars in my kitchen but a few weeks ago I discovered a new gem which I hadn’t seen anywhere before and that was raw walnut butter.
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.
Now I have written a couple of posts before about breakfast and I think I’ve made it my opinion on breakfast cereals known. Unless you are buying the really over processed, brightly coloured, so sweet it’ll make your face pucker kind, cereal/ muesli comes in boxes that clearly were not meant to feed a family of 6 (or at least not a family of 6 that doesn’t live in a supermarket) and they are incredibly expensive. But even I have to admit that they are unbelievably convenient. Hence the reason we all keep going back to the cereal cupboard every morning.
Am I the only person in the world who has missed out on this cake in a jar trend? Apparently so. My teenage son caught onto to it way before me (and he’s not well known for his love of all things kitsch and cute) and challenged me on Facebook to knock him up a couple. Yeah, yeah, I said, I’ll get to it. That was a month ago, but this week as I was still ‘convalescing’ (read having a very lazy week) I decided to give them a go. It was almost worth having the flu for. We haven’t looked back, and have been gorging ourselves on cakes in jar every lunch time since.
We don’t often have a lot of leftover bananas in my house despite the fact that two thirds of the family don’t eat them. Well not as they come at least. Never-the-less they all seem to go, but as they say the exception only proves the rule and every so often I do find a couple that seem to slip through the net. My go to recipe for those unappetizing, slightly black or spotty ones is a gorgeously moist carrot cake, dusted on top with a thin layer of cinnamon and topped by a vanilla cream cheese icing. Isn’t it everyone’s? However, sometimes I like to ring the changes and yesterday was one of those times. Mostly brought about by not having any carrots until the veg man came later, but necessity is the mother of invention after all.