socca "pizza" topped with lamb, aubergine and feta

socca "pizza" with lamb, aubergine and feta
Pizza is one of the dishes that I know from my friends on a gluten-free diet that they miss the most. So I just use socca, a chickpea flour pancake, as my dough base. I am not entirely sure whether I actually prefer the pancake base. I have to confess that I've been eating these a lot recently because firstly I am lazy, secondly I have been quite busy cooking for other people (yay! more of this another time.) and they are both easy to make and utterly delicious.

socca (chickpea flour pancakes)

socca (chickpea flour pancakes)
I've been "socca'ing" a lot recently. But before you roll your eyes and wince at the idea of me shimmying around the kitchen in sequins and a few gently swaying ostrich feathers in best Brazilian stylee, I should add that all I am actually doing is making a load of socca - Proven├žal chickpea flour pancakes, a popular Nicoise streetfood, where they are cooked in huge flat pans, the size of small cartwheels. You'll also find them just across the French border, in the Italian region of Liguria, where they are known as farinata.

chilli-lime butter

chilli-lime compound butter
Compound butters are a brilliant and easy way to inject a bit of flavour into your food with minimal effort, which frankly is my favourite type of cooking. Smother chargrilled corn-on-the-cob or roasted pumpkin with a generous slice of flavoured butter.

what's in season: august

a beautiful display of tomatoes in Borough Market - summer 2014
Hot town, summer in the city
Back of my neck getting dirty and gritty
Been down, isn't it a pity?
Doesn't seem to be a shadow in the city
All around, people looking half dead
Walking on the sidewalk, hotter than a match head

it's official! borough market demo on 25 July!

Borough Market tweet: it's official!
It's official! The tweet is out! Borough Market have just confirmed my appearance in their demo kitchen on Friday 25 July, from 12 noon until 2 pm.

spanish moorish skewers: pinchos morunos

pinchos morunos (Spanish Moorish skewers)
No country or its people particularly like being invaded by another, unless I suppose it is by friendly, high-spending tourists. But one of the things I love about looking at the history of food and the different world cuisines, is how conquest and migration can change or benefit a conquered country. Of course it is easy with the benefit and distance of a thousand or even a hundred years to look at the food highlights of conquest.

what's in season: july

clematis - london july 2014
I get so excited in July. If June is a dreamy, soft focus kind of month in muted pink. Then July is bright and full of sunshine colours with food to match. But this year, I have even more things to be excited about. If you weren't aware of the fact, then this is just to let you know that for the past few months I have been given a weekly column on The Guardian's website as part of their Live Better sustainable living challenge on the subject of leftovers, a subject very close to my heart!

mango with sweet chilli and lime dipping salt - a heavenly taste of the far east

mango with sweet chilli and lime dipping salt
I always seem to buy either mangoes or papayas that aren't quite ripe. I know that you are supposed to gently squeeze them - if they give slightly then they are ripe; if they still feel firm (like a crisp apple) then they are unripe.

nasturtium pesto

nasturtium pesto
My neighbourhood was a riot of colourful nasturtiums, that have self-seeded in any nook and cranny they can find. It was a bright spot in what is normally a somewhat grey patch of inner city London.

labneh cheese balls

From left to right : labneh rolled in sumac, in crushed nuts (a mixture of toasted sesame seeds and peanuts), and in Aleppo pepper.
Have you ever thought about making your own cheese, but worried that you don't have the right gear; that it's too difficult or technical?

tomato and chilli jam

tomato and chilli jam
I am very fond of toast, fashionable or not, particularly the cheesy kind (and a version I make with plum jam and bacon. Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it!)

beetroot and lentil spicy kofta

beetroot and lentil spicy kofta
Since I decided that I liked beetroot, I have become pretty evangelical about the stuff. These days I am making up for wasted beetroot opportunities, or the “lost Beta Vulgaris years” as I now regard them.