chargrilled asparagus with tomato, mint, chilli and lemon dressing

chargrilled asparagus with tomato, mint, chilli and lemon dressing
Yikes! Time is running out; the British asparagus season is so damned short, although perhaps that's what makes it all the more sweeter for asparagus lovers such as me. Frankly, I just can't get enough, which is why I am posting yet another asparagus recipe. Officially the season runs until late June, so I need to cram in as much of the good stuff as I can.

a little home-grown silliness; chargrilled courgettes, leeks and asparagus with lemon and walnuts

chargrilled courgettes, leeks and asparagus with lemon and walnuts
You know you've had a good night out when you wake up the next morning having lost your voice with a few hazy memories of floating home fuelled by far too much ale . . . or perhaps that's just me. (I don't get out much these days!)

flemish asparagus

asparagus with Flemish sauce
It is English asparagus season for which I will happily bellow three cheers (being such a shy and retiring person during the rest of the year . . .). But there are times when after I have sated myself with asparagus and melted butter or asparagus and Hollandaise sauce or even just asparagus dipped into a soft boiled egg, that I start to think about other ways of eating this glorious and short-seasoned vegetable. Will I do something spicy, Chinese-style? Or perhaps with a Mediterranean twist with lemon and chillies?

beef adobo: a fabulous slow-cooked stew from the philippines

beef adobo from the Philippines
Filipino food is typical of the food that fascinates me; the food that has evolved from settlers, traders and conquest. In this case, it is Malay, Chinese and Spanish influences that have helped to shape Filipino food.

what's in season: may

purple sprouting broccoli
Yet again, May has got off to a bit of a grey start - the sky over London is a murky shade of gunmetal. Last night there was a spectacular hail storm, although the garden doesn't appear to have suffered; everything is looking rather lush with bluebells, wild leeks, the odd nasturtium and some early roses, as well as a few tulips. It has of course been another mild and wet spring.

fancy breakfast or brunch? baked egg and proscuitto in a bread roll

baked egg and proscuitto in a bread roll
Every so often I find a couple of rock-hard bread rolls looking up at me forlornly from the bread bin. One of my favourite things to do with them is to reheat the rolls, stuffed full of a few of my favourite things - ham, cheese and eggs and a little fresh basil. A fabulous breakfast or brunch.

kaya toast: a weird but wonderful breakfast of champions!

kaya toast with soy eggs
It's not really weird, although it might sound a bit odd to English tastes. It's a Singapore-Malaysian thing - kaya toast for breakfast at a kopitiam (coffee shop). Coconut jam (kaya), which is very similar to say lemon curd, but made with coconut milk, is slathered over hot white toast, which is then sandwiched together with a slice of cold butter. Dunk this sweet toast into a bowl of very soft-boiled eggs with soy sauce. Sounds weird? Tastes heavenly!

a perfect spring pasta supper: spaghetti with leeks, parma ham and hazelnuts

spaghetti with leeks, parma ham and hazelnuts
Have you ever seen a recipe on a website, or while flicking through a cookbook or magazine and thought, I must cook that? And have you, despite modern technology, mobile internet, digital cameras and other technical fol-de-rols, failed to make a note of it, instead relying on your memory and an ability to substitute those ingredients you haven't got or that are hard to come by? So what happened? Did it turn out as expected, or like me, did it turn out that you had substituted every ingredient such that the recipe was unrecognisable and sadly just not terribly exciting.

fragrant and soothing: thai coconut chicken soup (tom kha gai)

Thai coconut chicken soup (tom kha gai)
Tom kha gai is a rich coconut broth infused with galangal (kha), lemongrass and kaffir lime leaves, topped with chicken (gai) and seasoned with fish sauce, tart with lime juice.

what's in season: april

scented clematis armandii - April 2015
April Rain Son
Let the rain kiss you
Let the rain beat upon your head with silver liquid drops
Let the rain sing you a lullaby
The rain makes still pools on the sidewalk
The rain makes running pools in the gutter
The rain plays a little sleep song on our roof at night
And I love the rain.

Langston Hughes, 1902-1967

Like Langston Hughes, I love the rain too. Of course, I am equally partial to a bit of sunshine too. Which is probably a good thing, since we seem to get both types of weather on the same day in England during April.

indian spiced potato cutlets (aloo tikki)

 indian spiced potato cutlets (aloo tikki)
I am pretty sure that I love snacking more than anything else. (My shame, sorry!)  Most of my favourite snacks are probably Asian. However, my mother used to make these potato cutlets or patties as a way of using up leftover mash and veggies. I suspect she learned some of this when we were living in the Far East. In those days, it never occured to me that they were snacks. It is no wonder that they are a few of my favourite things.

ash-e-reshteh - persian bean and noodle soup

 ash-e-reshteh - persian bean and noodle soup
It is Nowruz, a time to celebrate the Persian New Year and the first day of spring. Ashe-reshteh is a traditional celebratory soup, which is both comforting on a cold blustery day and packed full of fresh green herbs to feel like spring.