onions braised in cider

onions braised in cider
Last Sunday, we had pork collar and I served these slow-roasted onions, braised in cider and topped with cheesy breadcrumbs as an accompaniment. I've just had a request for this Sunday too. I do love it when a recipe goes down well; everyone is happy!

roasted carrots with crème fraîche and harissa dressing

roasted carrots with crème fraîche and harissa dressing
It's June in England, where we are caught in that strange limbo over what to eat and what to wear. That might sound a bit odd, but you never know whether it is a time for fresh summer salads or warming winter casseroles. T-shirts or woollens? Flip-flops or galoshes? June's weather is so very often quite capricious. Two days ago, it was sweltering heat in London. Today it is grey and overcast; it feels like autumn. But this side dish of roasted carrots with harissa and crème fraîche seems to me to be the perfect compromise, since the fresh tart flavour of crème fraîche combines beautifully with sweet roasted carrots and toasty cumin and warming cinnamon. It is perfect, whatever the weather.

what's in season: june

a june rose from my garden
My garden is lush at the moment, overgrown with rampant roses, honeysuckle and elderflowers. I know I should probably have cut them back, but they do look so wild and pretty. (Although in my defence I have developed carpaI tunnel syndrome over the past few years, and sometimes it is just too painful to do any proactive gardening. This is also one of the reasons why I haven't been cooking or blogging much over the past few months, as I have had problems handling cooking utensils. It has just been far too dangerous!)

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.