|panzanella (Italian bread salad)|
|sweetcorn fritters with crème fraîche |
and hot smoked salmon
|smoked salmon pâté|
|grilled salmon in smoky tamarind sauce|
In the past, if asked if I would like to go to a Mexican restaurant, I would typically answer "no". My experiences of Mexican food in London (and New York for that matter) had been typically awful - generally mushy beans, beans and more beans, with overly sweet sauces, uniformly sickly, accompanied by rotgut tequila. It turns out that I had been mistaking TexMex for genuine Mexican and that real Mexican food could be fresh and tasty without any kind of reliance on sugar and powdered garlic!
|BBQ cookbook display |
in the window of
my local library
At a time of austerity, I had to face up to the fact that I had a serious addiction. A book addiction. A dependence that in frugal times I could no longer afford to support. I would rather feed myself than feed my habit.
|lemon and garlic roast leg of lamb|
|moors and christians rice (moros y christianos)|
The Spanish name refers to a time during the Medieval period, when Muslims and Christians lived side-by-side in harmony. Sadly the Inquisition put paid to that but concord lives on in this delicious dish.
|Cuban sour orange mojo sauce|
|Cuban roast chicken with sour orange mojo sauce|
Cuban food is a fabulous combination of their historical influences and local ingredients. Since the island is the perfect example of melting pot influences, from Spanish, Portuguese and South American Indian to African, Chinese and Arab.
The food is also the food of ingenuity and creativity. You have to be imaginative when you are surrounded by hardship; when food is rationed. I had never been made more aware of this until I read the books of Leonardo Padura
|cherry and feta salad|
It is worth bearing in mind that English cherry orchards are in a parlous state; we have lost 90% of our traditional orchards over the past 50 years and the UK now imports 95% of cherries into the country. Yikes! Support the Cherry Aid campaign at FoodLovers Britain or on Facebook. As part of the campaign, you can plant, rent or even adopt a cherry tree to show how much you love them.
|cherry and feta salad|
|BBC Test Card c.1967|
|roasted sweet pepper salad|
|feta and sundried tomato bread pudding|
"This stuff is bloody gorgeous," he said, "I can't stop eating it," as he shovelled another small handful into his mouth. Between chews he offered me a taste. Well there is nothing like a free sample of someone else's stuffing to get the weekend off to a good start and I was in complete agreement with Mr Cramer, the butcher. This stuffing was bloody lovely!
|grilled steak with sweet chilli |
dipping sauce and Chinese greens
I was seduced by a local supermarket into buying a pack of steaks, because they were on special offer and frankly they looked good. Now, I don't often eat beef, not because I don't like beef. I do, but I have to save myself from myself. I like beef too much, in the same way I like cheese, something I would happily eat my own body weight in. So everything in moderation.
|migas - fried breadcrumbs |
Ok, a girl can dream. Sadly I am more a comfy country cottage sofa type than Swedish minimalism. But I do like crumbs, really. Stale bread is one of the wonders of the kitchen, and a fabulous weapon in the thrifty cook's arsenal.
what to eat on your ark: or how to whip up a delicious supper of sea bream with a chickpea and chorizo stew
|sea bream with |
chickpea and chorizo stew
|gooseberries - by Margaret Young|
The gooseberry’s no doubt an oddity,
an outlaw or pariah even—thorny
and tart as any
kindergarten martinet, it can harbor
like a fernseed, on its leaves’ under-
side, bad news for pine trees,
whereas the spruce
resists the blister rust
it’s host to. That veiny Chinese
lantern, its stolid jelly
of a fruit, not only has
no aroma but is twice as tedious
as the wild strawberry’s sunburst
stem-end appendage: each one must
be between-nail-snipped at both extremities.