Harira with Root Vegetables

Harira is an earthy, spicy, hearty Moroccan soup, often eaten to break the Ramadan fast. I like to close my eyes and imagine myself sitting round a camp fire under the stars somewhere near the Atlas Mountains. This is a high-risk strategy as eating soup with your eyes shut is generally not to be recommended unless you’re drinking it out of a mug. Continue reading

Oysters Hot and Cold

Standing in a battered boat on a cold creek in the middle of winter might not be most people’s idea of fun, but I loved it. I was with Bill Pinney (that’s him, at the top), whose family has been farming oysters in Suffolk since just after World War Two. Bill is a mine of information, not just on oysters but on marine life in general and the art of smoking. Continue reading

Truffles: The Cheapskate’s Fix

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Black Périgord truffle, image courtesy moi-même

Truffles are divisive … you either love them or hate them, so if you’re looking ahead for a Valentine’s Day recipe for your beloved, it’s as well to check with them first. My husband once watched, with bemusement and possibly just a tinge of horror, as I troughed through an entire truffle-based menu at a French restaurant, from starter through to dessert. Continue reading

Scotch Broth

Image of frosted hydrangeaIn cold and icy weather there are few things more cheering than a big bowl of soup, thick with vegetables and pulses and preferably underpinned by something meaty.

There are probably as many versions of Scotch Broth – known in Glasgow as Your Granny’s Soup – as there are Scottish households. With not a drop of Scots blood in my veins, it is (unusually for a Sassenach) with some humility that I offer my version.  Continue reading

Basics: Pavlova

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I once tried to make a strawberry pavlova and it was such a disaster that I broke up the meringue and turned it all into an Eton Mess. Pavlovas … those big meringue nests you fill with cream and fruit to spectacular effect … can be a bit tricksy. They conspire with your oven to make you look like a bad cook. Then all your friends tell you how easy they are and how theirs work perfectly every time. Pah. Time for a fight-back. Continue reading

Hot and Spicy Steak Salad

Image of hot and spicy steak salad

Not so much a recipe, this, more a series of suggestions. At its simplest a steak salad is just that, strips of juicy rare steak, hot from the pan, piled on top of a green salad. How you marinade the steak (if you do) and what you put in the salad is up to you. It makes a fast and healthy supper, if you politely ignore the fries Him Outdoors had on the side. Continue reading

Mushroom Goulash

I keep reading articles exhorting me to move meat to the status of a relish and to make vegetables the star of my meals. That’s not a bad solution for people who don’t want to give up meat altogether but are cognisant of the arguments against its production and consumption. While it’s unlikely I’ll ever become a vegetarian (bacon!), let alone a vegan (cheese!), I do try to keep a healthy balance. Continue reading