January, 2011

Jan 11

A fishy food story


One of my favourite food blogs and one I’ve brought you recipes from before belongs to Helen Graves – or ‘Proud of Peckham’ as her personal ad might read.

Not that she’d need one of course – she is forever whipping up luscious feasts for her particularly lucky chap and I read about them, hungrily, on her blog Food Stories.

Now, while we’re all trying to avoid eating naughty things post-xmas (and in my case, failing dismally), Helen opted to give up meat for January. And failed, I am glad to mention, dismally.

Still – post-failure she was back on track and turned her hand to the art of sousing – essentially ‘cooking’ fish in a spiced vinegar. A quick pickle, if you like – and a delicious, healthy and zingy, fresh way of serving fish – think really posh roll mops.

Anyway – in light of recent, er, failures I thought I’d bring you her gorgeous recipe for soused rainbow trout with pink peppercorns and lemon zest – a perfect way to restart a healthy January.

Chef’s note – you will need to use farmed trout for this. Large wild ones can carry parasites (as can many fresh water fish) and must be cooked before being eaten. You could try this recipe with a sea fish such as

Click here for Helen
Graves’ soused rainbow trout

Jan 11

Cooking for comfort


When the weatherman says it’s raining, you won’t hear me complaining goes the song. Not strictly true as motorbikes and rain aren’t the best of friends!

It does, though, give me an excuse to stay in and cook something slow on the hob or in the oven – something that requires plenty of preparation – chopping onions, celery, carrots or ginger, garlic and chillies.

Most days I’ll chop, flip and fry at the pace I’m used to from professional kitchens. But when the rain pitter-patters outside everything slows right down and I become a little more absorbed in what I’m doing. Lost in the steady grinding of spices or juicing oranges, the picking and chopping of herbs or the peeling of potatoes.

Filling the house with the warm aromas of a slow-cooked meal, waiting patiently listening to the radio – perhaps a drop of red as the meal nears readiness…it might be raining outside but that won’t dampen the mood.

This recipe comes from Becky whose blog is packed with delicious recipes and great pictures. She recommends serving it with a beetroot and yogurt salad, the recipe for which you can find here

Click here for Becky’s pomegranate molasses braised shoulder of lamb

Jan 11

Spicing it up


After all the Christmas excesses, the cooked breakfasts and the roast dinners, the leftover sarnies and the cheese boards, I end up wanting something completely different.

Curry flicks all my switches at this time of year – sorry for those of you who have a gallon of turkey curry still in the freezer but I didn’t see a single one over the Christmas period!

That is, of course, until I returned to London and was taken to the rather nice Ravi Shankar for a spot of chaat (the delicious cold Indian dishes often featuring yogurt, tamarind sauce, chickpeas or potatoes and all based around fried dough).

Fresh, tangy, zingy flavours with a good dose of fiery chilli and a crunch from raw onion add up to make these an incredibly more-ish snack – hence their popularity all over India.

Taken a tentative bit of inspiration from these dishes, I whipped up a quick dip that is the perfect counterpoint to roast sweet potato wedges – a lovely marriage of spicy chillies, cooling yogurt, crunchy spring onions and a hint of sharp lime. A brilliant snack to tuck into in front of a good movie with an ice cold beer.

Click here for my recipe for sweet potato wedges with garam masala, yogurt and chillies

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