We can eat well if we stock well. I can say this with confidence and first hand experience. Faced with a larder full of handy ingredients like roasted nuts, some good bread and a fridge stocked with eggs, greens, mustard, and some crunchy veggies, an excellent meal isn’t far away. If you have some favourite ingredients, do tell….. I am in the process of putting together a list of “prepared ingredients” that I always have on hand. It makes it nearly impossible to eat badly. Coming soon in a post near you!
Recipes this week
Ordinarily, I would be worried about posting a dosa recipe at the risk of being shot down by a nitpicking dosa expert amidst my readers. However, since I read Meera Sodha’s FT column, I have been emboldened. Firstly, there’s renewed interest in vegetarian proteins, and dosa ticks that box. Furthermore, it’s fermented, and there’s a renaissance in eating fermented food (think sourdough, yoghurt, and kimchi), as people become more aware of its health benefits.
There’s always one weeknight when I am rushing to put dinner on the table. I conveniently had Romesco sauce in my freezer from my dinner party a few weeks ago, and it was the perfect accompaniment for quick pan-fried fish.
A family favourite is carrot cake, and once again, it was brat no. 2 who pestered me to make one. To be fair, he did most of the work, and it’s such a simple cake to make, an inexperienced 12-year-old can do it. Some simple frosting, and voila, a gorgeous carrot cake. A word of caution – much though the brat in question tried to convince me that “carrot cake” is an excellent way to imbibe vegetables, be under no illusion. There are carrots in this cake, but not enough to count towards your 1-a-day (unless of course you eat vast quantities of it!)
A reader emailed to say that I always mention a green salad as an accompaniment to a lot of dishes, but haven’t yet provided a recipe for making one. All you need for a good salad is fresh greens, and a flavourful dressing. Although you can bung together some balsamic vinegar and olive oil with seasoning for a perfectly acceptable dressing, there’s one dressing that I turn to time and again; a bistro style vinaigrette.
As I was writing the salad dressing recipe, it occurred to me that there are 3 implements in my kitchen that are indispensable. They are cheap to procure and make life much easier, so I strongly recommend acquiring these if you haven’t already.
From left to right:
- A pair of study tongs for flipping steaks, tossing vegetables and serving pasta.
- Small wire whisks, I have two as they are used constantly in my kitchen. These are great for whisking salad dressings, small amounts so egg, making a béchamel, whisking milk for yoghurt, etc. I bought mine from Lakeland ages ago.
- Flexible plastic spatulas – Great for scraping bowls, stirring hot milk and folding in batters. The spatulas make easy work for emptying out pans and containers thoroughly without waste and without having to dig your fingers in. A pet peeve of mine is when I watch cookery shows is when the chefs pour out contents and leave so much behind. It’s such a waste!
Of course there are occasions where fingers are a must…and I am sure your children will tell you what those are!
My bedtime reading
I’m really enjoying reading “The Palomar” cookbook. As I flick through the pages, the list of recipes I want to try is forever growing. I may have to end up buying a copy at this rate. The Palomar, for those who don’t know, is a tiny establishment in London, run by an Israeli couple, with amazing food. Although their food sounds simple, it’s the way they combine flavours and put it all together that makes it so special. Thank you to my friend Radhika, who writes a terrific Spanish inspired blog for suggesting a meal there. We ate their Kubaneh bread, so I tried the recipe from their cookbook. It turned out perfectly delicious.
Lastly, I have been asked a few different questions by readers, and will be answering them in my next blog. So if you do have a burning foodie question, please email me this week.
The sun is shining in London today, and as I wander off to the farmer’s market, it’s German applekuchen (from Rick Stein’s book) on my mind…..
With that, love your family and bake (a carrot cake?) for them, or better still get the kids to do it!