Irish Times

Image of view from kitchen sink

This has been my kitchen sink for the past 10 days. The view actually belongs to an old friend, Andy, a man with a sense of humour I have always treasured. When I once got the push from a job, he gave me a clock as a leaving present. Inscribed on the back was ‘tempus fuckit’.  Continue reading

Crab Beignets

Image of crab and lobster pots

There’s something about a Cromer crab that transports me straight back to childhood holidays, flying kites on the Norfolk cliff tops, running up and down the wooden steps to the beach and especially eating freshly cooked seafood. The crabs are in season now and though they’re perfect simply dressed and served with a salad, or tossed though pasta with a little lemon zest and chilli, this recipe is a bit special. Continue reading

Goat’s Cheese and Asparagus Salad

The simplest of recipes to showcase the fresh new season’s asparagus, this makes a lovely light start to a meal. A key component is the fabulous Wensum White goat’s cheese made by Fielding Cottage in Norfolk. I hope they don’t mind me taking a blowtorch to it. Continue reading

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

Image of black truffle

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