All posts filed under: Savoury

summer pea, pancetta, and parsley soup

This dish will henceforth be known as the “three ps soup” in my house, both because it seems fitting, and because it’s a sister dish to my “four ps pasta”. But the latter does require a little explanation, if you’ll allow for a small detour from soup to pasta. The four ps pasta is one of the most memorable foods from my childhood. My mum would make it, without a recipe (although I do believe it originally started with Claudia Roden), seeming to conjure happiness out of a few fridge and storecupboard ingredients. To my hungry eyes, it seemed like my mum was in possession of the most entrancing kitchen magic as the house would fill with savoury-scented clouds of sizzling bacon, the hug-like fug of simmering chicken broth. Served in big bowls, with a little bit of brothy sauce, it has all the charm and healing powers of chicken soup, but with pancetta. Yum. Peas give it sweetness. Parsley a little earthy grassiness. And the fourth p? Well, that’s parmesan – unleash a few …

almond, manchego, and green olive bites

There are few food rituals I love more than aperitivo. Cocktail hour. It’s the in-between time. The day is ending, the night is beginning. It’s a time for talk. For laughter. For food. Whether it’s a stiff G&T and peanuts in an English garden on a sunny evening, or a vibrantly-coloured Aperol Spritz and a few olives on a cobbled street in Bologna as the lights twinkle on, you can’t really go wrong. J and I have reproduced this ritual many a time. It’s a treasured holiday tradition, and an elegant everyday treat. We’ve enjoyed it with our families. In far-flung places. Sitting in a sunny patch on our living room floor, like cats stretching out in a puddle of sunshine. It’s not fancy – that’s kind of the point. You don’t need much to throw together a pleasing nibble feast. You need a good drink, something you love. Some radishes. A small bowl of nuts. Some rosy, languorous lengths of proscuitto. A few olives. And, in my opinion, these compelling little bites. They’re ridiculously …

lime and chicken rainbow salad

I‘d like to say I’m the kind of cook that never feels like ordering a takeaway. That fresh, nourishing (if indulgent) food is the name of the game in my kitchen. But that would be… an untruth. Having had a surplus of tired evenings when my brain was wrung out and rewards were necessary, the takeaway drivers of South Glasgow were indeed summoned to my door bearing hot, naughty aluminium- and cardboard-encased dishes from far and near. And, let it be said, I have no regrets. However, in the bright light of day, I’ve been craving something that sets the balance to rights. It’s all very well and good to yield to temptation on occasion (and doesn’t it just feel great?), but the body wants it wants. And mine wanted zing. That mouth-puckering freshness that comes from citrus. The cleansing crunch of fresh veggies. And chicken because, well, who doesn’t love chicken? Having some leftover Zuni roast chicken and an overflowing citrus bowl that boasted a whole host of gleaming globes – including limes – …

courgette carbonara

Now, let’s get this out of the way first, the name of this dish is likely to cause consternation with Italians – Romans, in particular. Obviously, the only true carbonara is an actual carbonara. But I was faced with a dilemma: what do you call a pasta dish that utilises the basic components of a carbonara, but which actually uses courgette instead of pancetta (or guanciale)? Carbonara sans meat? Courgette pasta? Spring rigatoni? Nah. I’m just calling this like I see it – this is a courgette carbonara. By the way, you won’t miss the crisp chew of pancetta nubs in this. You can take my word for it – I have a true and lasting love for anything that even remotely resembles bacon. Lardons (yes). Pancetta (yes). Actual strips of bacon (hell yes). What I can’t abide, incidentally, are those freeze-dried bacon bits that somehow keep finding their way into jacket spuds. I mean, come on. There are so many better things to put inside a fluffy spud: baked beans and cheese, creme fraiche …

tomato and lentil soup (the inauguration of big bob)

Reader, meet Big Bob. He is my giant, shiny, totally lust-worthy Le Creuset casserole pot and I have a love for him that is bordering on the obscene (so look away now if you’re of a prudish disposition). But this zealous passion is ameliorated somewhat by the fact that he was given to me by my very own lust-worthy J; my love for them is intermingled and ardent. A present from J for my birthday last summer (presented to me Godfather style – tucked down at the foot of our bed, the sheets serving as wrapping paper), the Le Creuset known as Big Bob is now the head of my Kitchen Pantheon. The Zeus of Kitchen Gadgetry. The Odin of Cast Iron Cookware. And I am not ashamed to admit that there was bouncing and squealing involved when I saw the tell-tale box. Some ladies may squeel and bounce for a jewellery box – me, I go for Le Creuset every time. It’s sexy stuff, I assure you. I pondered how best to inaugurate and …

bagels: 4 ways

So, this week I had a hankering for bagels. This is not unusual – especially as blueberry bagels can be found in the UK again. Praise be the bagel gods! Personally, I believe that there’s no such thing as a bad bagel topping; these beauties will work with whatever you throw at them. But there are a few combinations that I LOVE. I’m going to limit myself to four of my favourites today, otherwise I could ramble on forever. And, word to the wise, I go for toasted bagels every time. Anyhoo, without further ado, here are four of my beloved bagels: sweet, savoury, hangover-alleviating, and Monday-morning-easing bagels of brilliance! Hangover Alleviating Bagel: Wholemeal bagel with cream cheese and sun dried tomatoes. This is an epic hangover breakfast; trust me, I’ve done the legwork on this one. It’s also best served with a strong cup of coffee made with one’s trusty Bialetti. I’d give you the rundown on how to make it, but it’s literally a healthy shmear of cream cheese, topped with whole sundried …

Egyptian tomato salad

Tomatoes are glorious. There, I said it. Whether fried green ones or cherry ones sliced on buttered toast, in soup or salad, tucked in a burger or the main event – I love them. I’m always on the lookout for new tomato recipes, and I’ve crossed paths with this one more than once recently so I took it as a sign from the universe. (That and I had a big bowl of ruby red tomatoes sitting on my kitchen table). This is a great dish to have up your sleeve for summery lunches with friends, especially as you can prepare it the night before and just liberally sprinkle it with herbs before serving in the manner of the totally cool, collected host that you are deep down inside… deep, deep down, if you’re anything like me. (Just be sure to let it come to room temperature before you eat – it will taste much better for it). I actually made this sitting at my kitchen table on a Sunday night while I was absentmindedly watching …

seafood linguine

Today was not a day for Basics spaghetti. Don’t get me wrong – some days are absolutely that, I would be the first to recommend it – when the spaghetti gets buried, perfectly crushed under the weight of a rich tomato sauce and lashings of cheddar. But today was not that day. Today was a day that started with hitting snooze for an hour. A whole hour. Followed by a day of work, which, granted, was not as bad as J’s work day, but still was hefty on the “suck” factor. In fact, because the day was what it was, I know that today is a day for linguine. De Cecco linguine. Tossed about in a light, but buttery sauce, made with shallots, garlic, lifted by parsley, before being drenched in a pale, dry rose, peppered with bright, cherry tomatoes and finally assaulted by king prawns. Maybe even some other crustaceans and other creatures of the deep. It’s that kind of day. All of which will be served with the aforementioned wine. Lots of it. …