Tag Archives: how to

Indian Spiced Scotch Egg with Curry Mayo and Turmeric Potatoes

24 Nov

For those of you that don’t know, a Scotch egg consists of a hard-boiled egg (with its shell removed) which is usually wrapped in a sausage meat mixture, coated in breadcrumbs and deep-fried. They are traditionally served cold as picnic food.

The London department store Fortnum & Mason claims to have invented Scotch eggs in 1738  but they were most definitely taking inspiration from the Moghul dish Nargisi kofta where hard-boiled eggs are encased in a spicy meatball mixture. Continue reading

Tunisian Spiced Aubergine with a Soft Poached Egg

9 Nov

This is another 0ne of those aubergine dishes that you have to try even if you think you don’t like aubergine. We are coming to the end of the season here now so it maybe your last chance to change your life. Or your eating habits anyway..

This is dish from Delia Smith (we love Delia) and she got it from an Elizabeth David recipe. It is supposed to be served at room temperature, drizzled with olive oil and served with some warmed pita breads on the side, a blob of greek yoghurt and fresh herbs on the top. Continue reading

Tibetan Vegetable Momos with Coriander and Cashew Nut Pesto

4 Nov

Momos are a type of dumpling popular in Tibet and Nepal where they are sold as street food or fast food. The  main fillings include minced chicken or lamb/goat mixed with onions and spices, as well as finely minced vegetables or cheese. There are even sweet momos filled with chocolate.

They are traditionally steamed, or sometimes fried and served with a tomato based dipping sauce or in a  hot soup/broth. Continue reading

Andalucian Stuffed Vine Leaves with Spinach, Raisins and Almonds

4 Sep

I’ve been watching these grapes drying on the vine and turning into raisins. Every day I walk past them and wonder if they are going to pick them today or whether they are just leaving them to rot.

There’s a traditional Andaluz dish called Espinacas con Pasas y Almendras which is Spinach with Raisins & Almonds. I wanted to use this as a filling for stuffed vine leaves because it is similar to the Greek/Middle Eastern filling except they usually contain rice. I wanted to do and Andalucian version but I couldn’t find vine leaves anywhere, they just don’t sell them.

So I decided to pick some and use them, well I got The Washer Up to pick them actually. I read about how to prepare them here. Basically you just wash them, blanch them for a few minutes in boiling water, drain them, leave them to dry and then store them in the fridge or freezer.

Or you could just buy them in a jar and rinse them before using.

When you’ve made the filling you pile a heaped teaspoon onto the vine leaf at the bottom where the stalk has been removed. Then you fold the bottom leaves up over the filling, fold the sides in and roll up like a spring roll.

I only cooked mine for 15 minutes because my filling didn’t contain rice. Most recipes I looked at were cooked over a low heat for about 45 minutes to cook the rice. This is much quicker.

This makes quite a lot of filling and I didn’t have that many vine leaves (as I had picked them off somebody elses vine) so I used the rest of the filling to make some empanadas which were lovely too. You can buy ready to use round empanada sheets or make you own pastry from my recipe here.

Just pile  a heaped tablespoon of the filling on one side of the circle, fold the other side over to make a semi-circle and seal the edges with a fork. Brush with olive oil or beaten egg and cook at 200 C for 10-15 minutes depending on the thickness of your pastry.

Andalucian Stuffed Vine Leaves with Spinach, Raisins & Almonds

makes 24-36 stuffed vine leaves, vegetarian, gluten-free

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 500 gr frozen spinach, defrosted and drained
  • 1 red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 large clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 red chilli, deseeded & finely chopped (optional)
  • 75 gr whole toasted almonds, roughly chopped
  • 50 gr raisins
  • freshly grated nutmeg (about 1/4 tsp)
  • a handful of fresh parsley, chopped plus extra for garnish
  • salt & black pepper
  • 50 gr manchego cheese, grated (or crumbled feta)
  •  a squeeze of lemon juice
  • vine leaves (rinsed if in brine) see how to prepare vine leaves here

Heat the oil in a large pan over medium heat, add the onions and a pinch of salt and cook for about 5 minutes until softened and translucent. Add the garlic and chilli and cook for another minute.

Add in the nuts, spinach, raisins and nutmeg, season with salt & pepper and cook for another few minutes. Add a squeeze of lemon juice and the grated cheese. Taste for seasoning and drain away any excess liquid from the spinach. transfer to a bowl to cool.

Lay out your rinsed or blanched vine leaves (cut away any stalks) on a clean surface veiny side up. Pile a heaped teaspoon of the filling onto the bottom part of the leaf where the stalk was (see picture above) then fold the bottom leaves up and over the filling. Fold both sides of the leaf in and over the filling, then roll it up like a mini spring roll.

Place all the rolled vine leaves seam side down in a saucepan, squash them together so there’s no gaps. Drizzle with olive oil and then cover with water to about and inch over the vine leaves. Cover them with a heatproof plate (to stop them floating up), bring to the boil then lower the heat to a simmer, cover with lid and cook for about 15 minutes (if your filling doesn’t contain uncooked rice). Keep an eye on them though and try not to burn the bottom of the pan. I may or may not have done this!

Remove with tongs to a plate and leave to cool.

Serve at room temperature sprinkled with fresh parsley and a Greek yoghurt dip. I just mixed some Greek yoghurt with chopped fresh parsley, lemon juice and salt and pepper.

Things That Made Me Smile Today…….

My beautiful, if slightly mental cats……

The gorgeous and terribly aloof Anouschka. Also known as Moomin Mamma (If you don’t know what a Moomin is, they have big staring eyes).

The beautiful Biba, bonkers but very attentive….

And the baby Tallulah, looks evil, scared of everything but loves to be loved….

This is her favourite spot….

Wholemeal Focaccia with Homemade Sun-dried Tomatoes and Basil

30 Jul

I made my own sun-dried tomatoes this week, very proud. Well you might as well put the sun to good use. It’s out there all day blazing down and generally making a nuisance of itself.

If you’ve never tried it, now is the time (in the northern hemisphere anyway). It’s really easy and it makes you feel like a proper domestic goddess, for about five minutes.

I got the instructions on how to do it from Chica Andaluza, my fellow British food blogger in Andalucia. She grows her own tomatoes as well as many other things and I’m very jealous of her little huerto.

I don’t eat bread very often so when I do it has to be good bread. I’m not wasting my time with that supermarket bouncy fake stuff.

This is my favourite bread recipe and it uses sun-dried tomatoes and the oil they are soaked in.  I couldn’t wait to try it with my own sun-drieds.

If you are scared of making bread, like I am, don’t be sacred of this.  Me and yeast have issues, as in it won’t do its thing for me, ever.

I’ve lost count of how many heavy, dense and thoroughly unrisen loaves I’ve made. And the panettone? Don’t even go there, it was more of a flat tea cake than a light and airy, beautifully risen dome of loveliness.

This however, has never let me down, and I use wholemeal flour which is usually the kiss of death in any bread I’ve ever made. It’s a kind of flatbread so it’s not supposed to rise very much, but it does enough, every time.

You can use whatever herbs you like, rosemary is traditional, but I like basil with my sun-dried tomatoes. Just make sure you use the oil the tomatoes are soaked in. It adds so much more flavour.

Wholemeal Sun-dried Tomato & Basil Focaccia Recipe

makes one 8-10 inch round loaf, vegan

If you want to try making your own sun-dried tomatoes see Chica Andaluza’s recipe here

  • 450 gr wholemeal flour (or plain)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 7 g sachet dried fast action yeast
  • about 50 gr sun-dried tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 4 tbsp sun-dried tomato oil (the oil the tomatoes are kept in)
  • 300 ml tepid (warm, not hot) water
  • about 10 basil leaves, rolled up & finely sliced
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt (I used pink Himalayan salt)

Put the flour, salt and yeast in a large bowl and stir until well combined. Make a well in the middle and pour in 3 tbsp of the oil, the water and the sun-dried tomatoes.

Using a wooden spoon, mix it all together, then use your hands to make it into a soft sticky dough. Turn it out onto a floured surface and knead for 10 minutes until smooth & elastic, dusting with a little more flour if necessary but not too much.

Line a baking sheet with baking paper and then rub some olive oil over the paper. Shape the dough into a ball and slap it onto the baking sheet. Push it out with your fingers  to an 8-10 inch round about 2cm thick. Cover with a clean tea towel, tuck the ends under the baking sheet and leave in a warm area for 45 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 230 C. Uncover the bread and pour a little hand-hot water into a cup. Dip your index finger into the water and poke deep holes all over the dough, wet your finger each time.

Brush the remaining 1 tbsp oil over the top of the  dough (some will collect in the holes) and sprinkle with the sea salt and basil. Poke some of the basil into the holes.

Bake for 15 minutes until golden. Then remove from the tray and leave to cool for 15 minutes wrapped in the clean tea towel. Keep wrapped in the tea towel or in a plastic bag in the fridge if you want to keep it longer.

I like to cut it into quarters and then cut off  little slices or wedges to dip into some olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

Or you can cut it in half widthways, through the middle and fill it like you would a sandwich. Mozzarella, avocado and tomato is nice, especially toasted.

Things That Made Me Smile Today……

Dragonfly Porn… it was a bit windy, they were hanging on for dear life!

Is it me or does she look like she’s saying “What are you looking at?”…..

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