Coconut dal with lime kale

Last year, a pressing sense of responsibility towards the planet prompted us to sign up for Veganuary. We soldiered on through gamely, experimenting with all sorts of alternative foods, but were not prepared to commit to long-term veganism: the end of our month-long meat and dairy drought was marked by a slap-up full English breakfastContinue reading “Coconut dal with lime kale”

Chickpea & tomato soup

Here is another recipe originally from Sophie Grigson’s Food for Friends. I’ve had to play around with it from the start because the officially published version has no tomatoes in it (in spite of the title) and, in any case, it lends itself to multiple variations. All sorts of tinned pulses will work just asContinue reading “Chickpea & tomato soup”

Oven-baked mushroom risotto

The traditional method of making risotto involves the slow addition of warm stock and a lot of stirring over a hot stove to produce a creamy mass of al dente rice. This alternative approach, devised by Delia Smith, saves all that bother and leaves the cook free for other worthwhile activities (like polishing off theContinue reading “Oven-baked mushroom risotto”

Slow-cooked lamb shanks

This dish ticks multiple boxes. Hearty and satisfying, it is sophisticated enough for a dinner party but also affordable if you get your lamb shanks from your friendly local Syrian butcher rather than from Waitrose. Once all the onions have been sliced, it also entails very little effort. The recipe is from the first RiverContinue reading “Slow-cooked lamb shanks”

Parmesan & poppyseed biscuits

These are a savoury version of kilted highlanders, the demerara-coated shortbread biscuits that Great-Granny would often wheel out at tea time. They’re incredibly easy to make, arresting to look at and make a great accompaniment to pre-dinner drinks. Given that the recipe comes from Ottolenghi (his first book), you might be surprised to recognise allContinue reading “Parmesan & poppyseed biscuits”

Brandy butter

The essential accompaniment to Christmas pudding, brandy butter is easy to make and keeps for ages in the fridge. I’ve learned from bitter experience not to go in too heavy with the brandy: it’s liable to split the mixture, which will still taste fine but will look, unappetisingly, like scrambled eggs. My version includes darkContinue reading “Brandy butter”

Christmas sauces

Here are foolproof instructions for two accompaniments to roast turkey: cranberry sauce and bread sauce. Both can be made in advance and stored in the fridge for a couple of days. The cranberry sauce will in fact keep for much longer if kept in a sterilised jar. Cranberry sauce Serves 6 Ingredients Juice of 1Continue reading “Christmas sauces”

Mulled wine

An essential lubricant at this time of year, mulled wine always fills the house with evocative smells. After literally years of experimenting with different versions, I’ve concluded that Jamie Oliver’s recipe is the best. Follow this and you can dispense with those ghastly sachets of spice mix or – even worse – the pre-mixed bottlesContinue reading “Mulled wine”

Christmas Day Brunch

A slap-up brunch on Christmas morning evolved as a family ritual after the grandparents moved to Garde. The kitchen is always a hive of activity, with one person (wo)manning the egg-poaching station, others grilling bacon, laying the table, picking at beigli or sneaking off for last-minute present-wrapping. Liverpool tops, Bloody Marys, chocolate coins from stockingsContinue reading “Christmas Day Brunch”

Hollandaise Sauce

Rosa and Zita are already dab hands at hollandaise sauce but the recipe merits recording because it is a key component of Christmas Day brunch – and indeed gets wheeled out as often as our arteries can stand it when we gather en famille. There are quicker ways to make it than the method detailedContinue reading “Hollandaise Sauce”