Finger cookies

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Happy Halloween!

I’ve made these for our first proper Halloween in California and am, as I was then, still totally smitten with these weird cookies with their red varnished fingertips peeking out in-between the sweets in the bowl. They are totally charming and a mighty quick Halloween treat to make, so here’s the recipe for you to create some severed fingers in no time before the door bell rings. Continue reading

Black sesame ice cream

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Black ice cream for Halloween! Schwarzes Eis zu Halloween (dt. Rezept unten)!

Last summer I had the most marvellous inky-black sesame ice cream and got hooked: delicately nutty, creamy & sweet with a hint of vanilla pudding (I am guessing cornstarch played a role). Roasted black sesame seeds give this ice a wonderful toasted aroma and deep nutty flavour while the egg custard base provides the creaminess. I used quite a lot of sesame for a concentrated taste and a darker colour, admittedly boosted by a few drops of black food colouring for Halloween. Continue reading

Sweet & sour red chard

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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.

P. S. recipe in English + Deutsches Rezept am Ende Continue reading

green tomato, apple & zucchini chutney

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P.S. Recipe in English und Deutsch.

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

Lemon posset

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recipe in english & auf deutsch, s. u.

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.

Continue reading

Leeks with yoghurt, dill & sumach

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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, roast chicken 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

Lamb tagine with black garlic

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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