Red Swiss chard is unrivalled in its beautiful play of colours from deep dark reds to vibrant pinks and has a wonderful earthy taste akin to beetroot only lighter and a little more subtle – excellent requirements for a stunning vegetable dish. Briefly blanched the chard keeps its fantastic colour and fine taste and has its own delicate sweetness balanced by the sweet & sour slow-cooked onions, plump raisins & a splash of vinegar. Again something agrodolce, this time not from Sicily like the Caponata but from the Mediterranean nonetheless: a classic Spanish preparation for spinach served in London’s Barafina translated into chard; I have added wine (or occasionally Noilly Prat) for a smidgen of sauce.
A recent visit to my Mum saw me return laden with a veritable bounty from her garden: several large zucchini / courgettes with aspirations to be full-grown marrows, apples, butternut squashes, lavender offshoots, super ripe tomatoes which hardly survived the journey and one giant white cabbage, where half of it still lingers in the fridge. I had bought green tomatoes to make us fried green tomatoes again and delayed, so they needed to be used too. The situation could have not been more auspicious for chutney.
I love preserving and the taste of a richly & warm spiced, fruity chutney is one of the most delightful things to be made from surplus of a summer’s glut or from what is normally thought of inferior un- or overripe produce destined for the compost. This green tomato & zucchini chutney is excellent with a strong-ish Cheddar and English biscuits or crackers for cheese. Continue reading →
Possets have fascinated me for a long time. Like treacle, pemmican, ginger beer and peaches with condensed milk or Turkish delight they fuelled my childhood fantasies about English life and its ‘exotic’ delights courtesy of C.S. Lewis, Arthur Ransome, Lucy M. Boston & Enid Blyton. And a primrose coloured lemon posset is the ultimate lemon cream desert; light, delicate and absolutely addictive. Only three basic ingredients make light work and the result is this delightful nostalgic & quintessentially English pudding.
I am on a continuous quest for new vegetable dishes to ring the changes: alternative preparations, different seasoning spices & new flavour combinations who will not only rejuvenate the usual suspects of sides but add an exciting twist & surprise us with hitherto unknown delightful tastes (with occasionally mediocre results or sad failures). Even better, when those experiments turn out to be such marvels and immediately join the ranks of the favourites, like these leeks with yoghurt, dill & sumach.
Elementary ingredients of Greece & the Levant give the leeks a flavour makeover: the various citrus notes of dill and sumach accentuate the inherent sweetness of the leeks while the seasoned creamy yoghurt refreshes and adds piquancy at the same time. A fantastic little side that goes with absolutely everything from Middle Eastern to Western cuisine, lamb tagine to pork chops, falafel or cauliflower fritters, roastchicken or this gorgeous citrus-spiced salmon. Did I say, it is a cinch to make? Well, it is ready in a few minutes: assemble the yoghurt dressing while the leeks steam, drizzle it on and finish with a final flourish of crimson sumach. Done. How fast was that? Continue reading →
Black garlic is a real discovery for me. The cloves are slowly cooked or baked for ages until they have transformed into fudge-like black (garlic) truffels with just a faint hint of garlic (and no smell afterwards for those how might wonder). These mellow nuggets add an incredible depth of flavour to any dish and I am quite prepared to say that they are quintessential umami – albeit inflationary overuse of the term. If the gorgeous organic Spanish black garlic cloves (I am getting them at the Frankfurt Kleinmarkthalle) weren’t on the dear side, I’d eat them like bonbons. But, you’d better get some soon: the run might have already started since they feature as well in a few recipes in Ottolenghi’s new cookbook. Continue reading →
Well, it was getting darker and we were hungry, we’ll have it again this weekend, so photo update might be rather sooner than later (unless plans or the weather changes). Recipes in German at the end / Deutsche Rezepte am Ende
Altweibersommer (Old women’s summer) is what Germans call Indian Summer: spiders casting long strings to anchor their cobwebs which are wafting through the mellow & clear air reminding people of long grey hair of elder women. Currently, we are experiencing glorious summery autumn days with sunshine galore, silky warm air and blue skies. The leaves on the trees are slowly turning yellow, orange and red but it is warm enough to even have (an early) supper outside – fire up the grill! Continue reading →
Look for the German recipe at the end; Deutsches Rezept am Ende
Figs are abundant and at their absolute best right now. Here, dark purple figs from Turkey with their ruby red interior dominate the fruit displays and this cake, while Black Mission figs were my preferred choice when living in CA – naturally. Figs can either be very bland with woolly flesh or wonderfully sweet, ripe & bursting with flavour. And exactly those with a dark red jewel heart must be seeked out for this super easy & tasty tart, that can be thrown together in seconds. Most of the few ingredients might already be in your fridge and larder or can be stocked easily for an instant fruity cake fix. Continue reading →