Tuesday, September 29, 2009

BREAD GLORIOUS BREAD. right in my head

A big thanks to Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall and his brill article in the G2 today. the recipe that really grabbed me was for a thing called 'Dukka' that i've never heard of before, an Egyptian spice mix, full of nuts and seeds too. as i've been baking a loaf of bread a day in the last few, it struck me that this little mix would lend it's self rather well to bread. typically i didn't quite have the right ingredients at hand.

so, to make the dukka, i used some ground coriander instead of his seeds, and didn't peel the hazelnuts, because i'm lazy! and on top of all the other toasted aromatics, i toasted a couple of handfuls of sunflower seeds too (because they remind me of my mum's steaming loaves). i then added the dukka to a bread that i've become rather fond of: a flat sort of thing that you bake on a tray like a foccacia and kneaded away. and instead of adding mint directly to the dukka, i bruised some fresh mint sprigs with olive oil in a pestle and mortar, and rubbed this on top of the dough, with lots of salt. i've already started pulling off hunks, and it is really rather good. i must save some for alice's dinner or i'll be in trouble.

if this unusual and inspiring dukka recipe is anything to go by, then "Taken from River Cottage Every Day" by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall is bound to be an absolute delight and an inspiration to cooks all over.

Monday, September 28, 2009

BRIXTON FARMERS MARKET. you snooze you loose.

i finally made it to the Brixton farmer's market this sunday (the first time in ages i haven't been at a wedding or under my covers all day, dying). and what a lovely market it is too. it really does add to what brixton already offers. we have markets 6 days of the week, both covered and on electric avenue, and now it's 7. so me and my granny shopping trolley can now be occupied every single day of the week.

i've always in the past made my way over to the peckham farmers market, but now i clearly don't have to. the farmers market was rammed with nobbly vegetable stalls and cheese, Luca's bread (now also on sale at Rosie's), fish and even a lovely looking plant stall where my friend Louise bought a little fig tree. and it's on one of my favourite streets in brixton, Brixton Station Road. there's a great portuguese cafe here where you can get a custard tart and smooth cafe con leche after you've done your shopping too.

with my spoils i made my dad a roasted pumpkin and wild garlic salad on water cress, with J.Gold cheddar shaved over the top, mopped up with Luca's Rustic wholemeal and sourdough loaf. we sat in the garden and chatted the sunny day away before heading over to Brockwell Park to meet the salad club girls. and later that evening i roasted the dirty and rather large parsnips that i'd bought, and served them up with a sausage, cider and borlotti bean casserole.

all in all it couldn't have been a better way to spend a sunday. get yourself down next sunday. as i said, you snooze, you loose!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


this is just delicious and nutty from the bursts of mysterious seeds. go to unpackaged and cath has the seeds and the recipe too. it's all rather lovely and interconnected!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009


funny you should say.... guess what i did today!

2lb onions6oz ginger
2lb marrow
3 dried small chillies
1 dsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground cloves
2lb golden plums
3 small apples
1 tsp salt
1pt malt vinegar + extra 200ml at beginning for sweating
1 ½ lb muscovado sugar

you can substitute the marrow with plums, but will need to cook it longer as there's more moisture to evapourate.

Roughly chop the onions and then place them in a blitzer to finely shred. Turn these out into a really large saucepan. Peel and roughly chop the ginger and do the same with this, blitzing until it is like rice grains. Add to the onions. Finely chop the dried chillies, and add with the cinnamon and cloves. Splash in about 200 ml of malt vinegar and sweat this off for 10 minutes on a medium flame. Mix frequently.

Meanwhile stone and roughly chop the plums into about 8 pieces each. Deseed and dice the marrow. Peel and core the apples and the slice small. Add these to the onion pot along with some salt, and cook until soft, about 20 minutes. Add the vinegar and turn the heat up to high to bring this to the boil. When it has reached a rumbling boil turn the heat down but sustain the boil for 35 minutes. Mix frequently. Turn the heat off.

Measure out the muscovado sugar and pour this into the chutney being careful to break up the chunks and again mix well. Bring the chutney back to the boil, and try to avoid sticking on the bottom of the pan. Now decant into sterilized jars and seal immediately. I once burnt my cleavage making chutney as it’s piping hot lava. Do be careful.

CUPCAKES par avion

clem, who helped out at the sink at Rosie's just sent me these lovely pictures of her cupcakes. i packed her off back to paris armed with my classic recipe and am delighted to see her french friends, glazed and sprinkled and so full of joy. and reassuring that my recipes actually work too!

Thursday, September 10, 2009


it's indeed tomato chutney time again. i've got it locked down now which is great. there's 2 mega jars and 2 regular ones, so now all i have to do is decide who's getting it for christmas!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009


caught by the river took me by surprise. i thought it'd be a blog about fishing. it's much much more, full of the meanderings of men who know a thing or two about pretty much everything. music, of course fishing, reviews and cultural musings. here's what i added to their lovely pot. and it definitely made me want to take up fishing too.


Tuesday, September 1, 2009

GREEN PAPAYA SALAD to allay the carnival comedown

after a pretty hectic Notting hill carnival, envolving 3 separate venues, a lot of dancing in the street, some beers and a pile of ackee and salt fish, i needed some more clean fun.

the thai green papaya salad is laden with small strong chillies and the papaya is steeped in a lime heavy dressing, sweetened with tomatoes and palm sugar. it couldn't be a better way to end the bank holiday, cleansing and double fresh. and the texture of papaya is lovely - really supple and silky. the main thing is to make sure that you mash up most of the ingredients in a pestle and mortar.

1 tbsp palm sugar
2 small chillies, finely chopped
6 cherry tomatoes
2 limes, juiced
2 tsp fish sauce
1 small green papaya
a handful of fresh mint, finely chopped
1 stick of lemon grass, blanched for 10 minutes in boiled water, and finely chopped
2 handfuls of unsalted peanuts

place the palm sugar, chillies and tomatoes in a pestle and mortar and really give it a good grind. this will bruise and bring out all the flavours. add lime juice and fish sauce and give it another good mash up. set this aside. peel the papaya, and then continue to use the peeler to shave off ribbons into a large salad bowl. use about 1/2 of the papaya. sprinkle over the mint and chopped lemon grass. pour over the dressing and clean out the mortar. now crush the peanuts and finally sprinkle these on top.

we ate this with rare brazilian steak from manuel's. it was the perfect antidote to a heavy bank holiday.