Saturday, August 27, 2016

Coffee and Chilli Steak Salad

I"m a people pleaser at heart. It's a feature, and a flaw. I guess in cooking, it's more of a positive! My husband certainly appreciates that I have honoured him by not becoming a vegetarian.

In general, I find meat boring. I don't enjoy the taste, and that, together with the environmental impact and the cost, leads me to not prioritise it in my thinking. However, I keep making meals with meat as a way of pleasing my husband. And thankfully, over the years we've been married I've learned to cook meat in ways that both of us find interesting.

This salad makes us both very happy. Raw spinach is my favourite food and steak is his. The steak is crusted in a mixture of coffee grounds, chilli powder, smokey paprika, and cumin. The cooking time is short and so this made a fast weeknight dinner. It uses a single steak and made enough for three salads (his, hers, and one lunch).

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Pumpkin Pasta with Walnuts and Lemon

This unusual dish caught my eye because of the combination of ingredients I wouldn't have thought went together: walnuts, pumpkin, cream, sage, and citrus zest. I can perhaps imagine putting three of these things together (pumpkin, cream, and sage, maybe; or walnuts, pumpkin, and sage) but all of them at once sounded delicious.

Combinations like this characterise Yottam Ottolenghi's recipes for me. They are unexpected puzzle pieces that you suddenly know will fit together perfectly into an incredible dish.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Baklazhan: Georgian Eggplant and Walnut Appetizers

I have a colleague who lived in Moscow for several years. Last spring when Anthony and I decided we wanted to visit Russia in July, I started having long talks with my colleague to hear about all the things he loved (and also those he hated) about Moscow. He said authoritatively that Georgian food was the best Russian cuisine - and I have decided he was right.

When we had a free day in St Petersburg, we used our handy Lonely Planet to go to a recommended Georgian restaurant. The photo below is of an appetiser called baklazhan we had there. Baklazhan is made with slices of fried eggplant wrapped around a walnut and garlic paste. My rendition is pictured above - and it was delicious both times!

Thursday, November 12, 2015

How to Cook (and Enjoy) Broccoli Stems

Broccoli is my husband's favourite vegetable and we eat it incessantly. But I can't stand the little dark, curly leaves. And I think the stems taste like ick.

Thankfully a recipe from Ellie Krieger's cookbook Weeknight Wonders has come to my rescue. I have learned how to cook broccoli stems so that they are delicious. Yippee!

There are just two tricks:
1. cut away all but the sweet, inner portion of the stem, and
2. make sure the stems get the most heat while cooking.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Beer and Beef Skillet Stew

Thanks to Ellie Krieger, I have discovered how to make a quick dinner that resembles stew. Real stew, like the kind my Grammie makes, takes hours. I do not have that time on weeknights.... Let's be honest, I don't often have that time on weekends, either. To make a quick version, here are four easy steps.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Five Minute Mango, Papaya, and Basil Gelato

I think maybe the title of this recipe is slightly misleading, depending on your grocery store access and freezer habits. If you regularly buy frozen fruit or freeze your own, then this is a five minute recipe. If you only have fresh mangoes and papaya to hand right now, this is a twenty-four hour-plus-five minute recipe. So this gelato is the reason you should become the kind of person who always has frozen fruit to hand. Or it's the reward for already being that person.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Easy Ideas for How to Eat Grain-Free

Over the last two years I have transitioned from a pretty normal Western diet to eating grain-free. I discovered that my body functions better without grains. I did some two week elimination tests in order to come to this conclusion. For me, avoiding wheat is the most important, but I also don't eat oats, barley, rice, and corn. From time to time I eat a bit of rice or corn because they affect me the least.

Many people seem to be coming to the same conclusion as me. If this is you, or you are curious, here are some hints.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts

There are two types of people in the world: those who love Brussels sprouts and those who hate them. Well, I've realised that roasting makes all vegetables better*, and Brussels sprouts are no exception. If you would like to switch to loving them, this is how. If you already love them, this will make them even better.

*except maybe lettuce? Roasted lettuce probably isn't any good.

Actually, let's explore this roasting idea further. Roast potatoes are wonderful, especially when the skins are crispy and glistening with some oil. Roasted sweet potatoes are enough to distract me from even an expensive steak. Roasting aubergines or red peppers transform them into silky, complex dips (see here and here).

Friday, September 25, 2015

Beans with Sausages, Bacon, and Poached Eggs

My husband loves sausages, bacon, and all other pork products. A few years ago I took this picture of him.

I knew that he would love this Donna Hay recipe:
  • simmered borlotti and kidney beans with soft onions, rosemary, and thyme;
  • sausages wrapped with bacon and then baked;
  • all topped with poached eggs.

This is a pork-lover's dream! It reminds me of an English breakfast, but much more posh.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Loaded Hummus Plate

It was my pick at Eating with Ellie this week and I selected a recipe from Ellie Krieger's cookbook for this loaded hummus plate. A good homemade hummus should be in every cook's repertoire; it's a revelation compared to supermarket hummus. Here's a classic hummus recipe of mine. I also like cauliflower hummus!


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