Eggplant curry: the miracle meal

A few weeks ago I was catering for a retreat for 150 young adults. They needed to be fed for the whole weekend, which involved some serious cooking and quantities of food that were quite staggering. The friends who helped in the kitchen with me laughed and cried (onions, lots of onions), chopped, peeled, roasted,…

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Fennel and blood orange salad

A the beginning of winter this year I planted fennel in my vegetable garden for the first time. It’s been an astounding success and I am harvesting beautiful bulbs every few days. The aroma of the freshly cut young fennel is astonishing – so fresh and sharply aniseed, but also almost sweet in overtone. I…

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Carrots and beets and all the good things

It’s a lot harder to get people to ‘ooh’ and ‘aah’ over beets and carrots than it is to get them to ‘ooh’ and ‘aah’ over artichokes or asparagus, and I enjoy being able to take these humble, ‘lowbrow’ foodstuffs up a few notches and serve them with great exuberance. Charlie Trotter Hear, hear, Mr.…

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Doughnuts with strawberry sauce

When I was a teenager I  had a disastrous first experience making doughnuts. The dough was gluey, the oil not hot enough,  and the result so hideous they were inedible. It was years before I had the courage to try deep frying again, and only recently that I started experimenting with doughnuts. This recipe is…

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Warm potato salad with dill and almonds

It is always wise to make too much potato salad. Even if you are cooking for two, make enough for five. Potato salad improves with age – that is, if you are lucky enough to have any left over. Laurie Colwin My mother was  a proponent of the ‘you can’t have too much’ school of…

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Fig, raspberry and ginger cake

A great fig should look like it’s just about to burst its skin. When squeezed lightly it should give a little and not spring back. It must be almost unctuously sweet, soft and wet. Yotam Ottolenghi I was rewarded for a chilly early morning visit to the markets this weekend with a bounty of fresh…

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Wilted greens on sourdough

I used to visit and revisit it a dozen times a day, and stand in deep contemplation over my vegetable progeny with a love that nobody could share or conceive of who had never taken part in the process of creation. It was one of the most bewitching sights in the world to observe a…

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Roasted almonds with thyme and sea salt

Almonds are native to the Middle East, from Syria and Turkey and the regions  towards Pakistan. Spread by human settlement  along the shores of the Mediterranean into northern Africa and southern Europe, it is a prominent part of the food culture of both the Middle East and Europe – think tagines, marzipan, macarons and amaretti, and used in both sweet and savoury dishes.…

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Oat, date and ginger slice

This slice is a little bit like a muesli bar for grown-ups. The sweetness of the dates and subtle heat of the ginger are a great combination. It made a delicious morning tea after an early morning visit to the markets to shop for fruit and vegetables for the week. There is a charming camaraderie…

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Patatas puttanesca: a series of fortunate events

‘Puttanesca.’ It’s an Italian sauce for pasta. All we need to do is sauté olives, capers, anchovies, garlic, chopped parsley, and tomatoes together in a pot, and prepare spaghetti to go with it.” Klaus Baudelaire When my children were younger we read Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events, relishing every page, enthralled by the Baudelaire…

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