Weekly rumblings – 13

Still in a Latino frame of mind, I signed up to attend a dinner and talk by Monica Linton, the founder of an age-old Spanish establishment in London called “Brindisa”. Having discovered the first Brindisa tapas bar near London Bridge about 15 years ago, I have been a fan of their produce; sourcing their chorizo to take back to Singapore, when I used to live there.

Brindisa cookbook

Monica has now written a very comprehensive (and thick!) cookbook, that I am a proud owner of, and it joins others like the one by Claudia Roden on my Spanish bookshelf. One of the first things I checked was Monica’s recipe for “Churros”, and thankfully it didn’t contain eggs…Phew! I seem to have got it right.

Cooking failures

A question asked of me recently was why I didn’t write about my cooking failures. Statistically, if one’s frequently trying out new recipes, it’s impossible not to have a few failures. I do think I have become quite efficient in reading through recipes and judging what the end result before I try them out. The purpose of this blog is to share the successes with you. Occasionally, though things don’t work out.

Deliciously Ella flapjacks

I recently tried a recipe from Deliciously Ella’s cookbook. Although I disagree with her “clean eating” concepts, I know friends who like her food. I tried her flapjacks recipe, which seemed packed with good stuff like, oats, peanut butter and maple syrup. My first peeve was the lack of precision in the recipe (what size baking tray?). But having overcome that, I was severely disappointed with the outcome. The flapjacks were doughy and lacking flavour. Refusing to throw food out, we are now plodding through them, eating them like cereal with added milk.

The sting

Nettles

The farmers ‘market seems to have suddenly enlivened with lots more spring greens to choose from. I bravely bought a bag of nettles, in the knowledge that nettles are very nutritious. Nettles contain tonnes more iron and calcium than spinach and more protein than beans. If you live in the countryside, I guess you could just forage nettles, but for city slickers, the farmers’ market is a good alternative.

I realised very quickly trying to wash the nettles, that they are called “stinging nettles” for a reason. I do believe that my hands have seen it all, but the nettles got the better of me. I could only deal with them after donning gloves, but the effort was so worth it.

Cooking nettle soup
Nettle soup

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Converted to a simple soup, with the addition of stock and the usual suspects like celery, onions and a thickener (I had some cooked rice in the fridge, so that was perfect, but potato works too). Deliciously bright green,  garnished with some cream, and eaten with sourdough cheese toasties – it was a fantastic weeknight supper.

Food this week

Several years ago, I came across a “coffee cake” recipe in an ancient American “Better Homes & Garden” cookbook. Until then, I thought coffee cake was made with coffee, and in fact, is so named only because it’s meant to be eaten with coffee. We baked a version of this as the perfect afternoon treat, great especially if you like cinnamon.

There is always that day in the week, where you want to (or feel obliged to) eat a light guilt-free meal. We started eating mackerel only a few years ago in Singapore, where it was abundant and fresh at the wet markets. It’s another fish in the oily fish category, containing lots of healthy omega-3 and vitamin B12. It’s way cheaper than salmon and is sustainable, so if you haven’t tried it, I urge you to do so.

And this week, I am sharing two of our family favourites, A lamb meatball salad which is a one-dish wonder and “Agedashi tofu”, which is a Japanese dish, which sounds odd in the first instance – fried tofu dunked in broth, but the combination really works. If you already have a few basic Japanese groceries in your larder, give this a try. It rounds off a meal with the mackerel perfectly.

Another nail in the gluten-free coffin

A few weeks ago, I had briefly mentioned recent reports on gluten-free diet increasing the risk of diabetes. The latest in the UK press last week (from the NHS, no less) is that gluten-free diets are linked to higher risk of heart attacks. If you needed an excuse to eat (and preferably bake your own) fabulous bread, it’s not too late to start now.

Love your bread and eat it too!