Every few months I get the urge to re-arrange my folders and icons on my beloved Mac. Pity that enthusiasm for organisation doesn’t spill over to the rest of my life. The cleanup had refreshed my memory of food that I had made, loved, made again and photographed.
I thought it would be nice to share the stuff that’s been featured here with links to the recipe available elsewhere on fabulous blogs. Facebook and Instagram followers might have seen some of these already but I say they are worth a second look! Click on the titles to take you to the recipe source.
My kids have an early start to school and if their lunchboxes are not properly considered, arhem, they come home panting with hunger. I find these carb and protein rich lunchbox treats works really well and gives them something to look forward to.They also freeze brilliantly. I pop one out at bedtime into the fridge to defrost and straight into the lunchbox in the morning. It means that they aren’t foot-dragging, irritable mess of hunger-mad zombies at pick up.
The original recipe calls for a bread mix, but a standard home made white loaf recipe works here too. Roll the dough thinner than you think you need as these expand a fair bit. Anything is fair game for stuffing these. Picnics, when weather permits, are a perfect outing for these breads, along with chutney and pickles. Don’t forget the wipes.
David Leite claims you haven’t had a lentil soup till you’ve tried this cracker by Diana Henry from her book Food from Plenty. Tall claims perfectly met. This could qualify for a stew, it’s that thick. Eating this conjures up a fire in the hearth, the smell of woodsmoke in the air, the crackle of the flames and ice in cold bones melting away. It’s not a looker that’s for sure but the ras-al-hanout spices, the browned, spiced onion and chilli topping ensure your taste buds sing. It’s cheap to make, versatile, healthy and packed with flavour. I added chickpeas as I had half a tin to use up and bunged in some shredded leftover roast chicken. I also chucked in heaps of fresh coriander on serving. This is the kind of soup that I like serving for supper. Preferably while curled up on a sofa with a blanket and trashy telly.
If moroccan spices aren’t your thang, then David’s offered some other equally delicious sounding alternatives in the recipe. Lamb would be a good way to go too, calling on the classic Moroccan Harira soup vibe. And should keep hardcore meat-loving other halves placated. All in all, this is a pleasing, bolstering and soul warming bowlful, whatever you chuck in it.
If you want a collar tugging, brow sweating, nose sniffling curry then this is the firebrand plateful is for you. It is all out and absolutely sensational. Being a southerner, I love Chicken Chettinad but this recipe offered in Rick Stein’s book India is the real deal, no holds barred version.
The story goes that the Taj Gateway Hotel in Madurai hired a local housewife to cook some of the regional dishes and this is one of them. It’s also featured in Episode 6 of his wonderful India series. This is country cooking at its raw best. Stock up on black peppercorns, fennel seeds, cinnamon and curry leaves and you’re good to go. Finger licking good!
Busted out the big bundts for this beauty! Say coconut and I’m yours…foodwise. So when a pal who knows the depths of my coconut weakness posted the link to this cake, it was a done deal. The recipe features a 12 cup bundt, which I refuse to buy. The goliath size of the cake would have been far too intimidating. So I settled on using the Nordicware heritage tin and the mini bundt tin, both great favourites.
As for the cake itself – coconut cakes can be tricky to nail as the flavour can become so light and sometimes almost imperceptible in cooking, particularly when baked. This cake had good coconut flavour by virtue of toasted shredded coconut, the milk and coconut extract to ensure it doesn’t get lost. The lime used was just correct. Anymore and it would have dominated. In fact, on a repeat bake, I might reduce it just a touch, but that’s just my obsessiveness about coconut bakes talking!
Oh, but aren’t these buttery little discs absolute beauties. Slathered with thick Dulce de Leche they are irresistable. My daughter was on her ‘bestest ever’ behaviour for the love of these cookies. Alice Medrich is no stranger to those with a love of excellent cookbooks. Her cookie book will leave you frantic trying to choose what to bake. These discs were easy to get together and make the perfect vehicle for whatever sinful pleasure you wish to sandwich them with (they are a little dull on their own)- white or dark chocolate ganache, dulce de leche, nutella, sweetened nut butters, jam…..you get the idea.
Jerusalem, the cookbook, is a modern classic as far as I am concerned, along with Plenty. I’ve dived into those books time and again and still come away constantly surprised and further educated. These lads have the magic touch, no question. Tahini Cookies, a concept which made uninitiated friends of mine wrinkle their noses with barely contained censure, are nothing short of divine. These cookies are intensely nutty, with a buttery short, shortbread texture. Melting I’d say. I like these cookies slightly underbaked in the centre, with a ring of golden crumbliness at the edges. It means that the first few bites are melting and moves to a chewier note towards the centre. Just the way I like my cookies.
Ensure that you get decent Middle Eastern Tahini for this. Those horrible, health conscious dark, hard, bitter, so called tahini pastes will not get you anywhere with this. It has to be the smooth, light, luscious, liquid types. Search for those produced in any of the Middle Eastern countries, particularly Lebanon. There, I’ve done the bullying bit for the day!
These cookies aren’t overly sweet and that might surprise you on the first bite; it did me. Personally, I reckon it doesn’t need any more sugar. An increment would mean a difference in the final texture. The cookie tin lay empty within two days of making these. Kids love them, which is another surprise. Great way to get them to expand their taste buds from the usual chocolate-chip variety. My kids are already bleating for another batch and it’s only been a few days!
So there you have it. A snapshot of some of the good food that’s graced my table. I love that with a quick search, I can have ideas of what to put on the table without having to rattle my own brain cells. Some call that laziness, I call it management of resources. If the outcome is this delicious, why not?