Mussels with Fregola

I couldn’t look a mussel in the beard for years, because against better advice from a fellow diner when I was young and unwise, I pried open a tightly closed one and ate it. I regretted my decision for at least a week. Now, though, they’re one of my favourite shellfish. Mussels are full of flavour, they’re British and they’re as cheap as chips (and go rather well with a big bowlful of them). Continue reading

Poached Rhubarb with Orange and Walnut Shortbread

This is the simplest of seasonal recipes but perfect for the first days of spring, whatever the weather is doing outside the kitchen window. Brilliant pink forced rhubarb, poached with blood oranges and fresh ginger, served with orange and walnut shortbread. And joy, it’s all quick to make, allowing you (me) more time to prune the roses you (I) should have done a month ago. Continue reading

Cobb Salad

The Cobb salad is notable chiefly for being named after the owner of an old Hollywood restaurant, the Brown Derby, which was built in the shape of a brown derby hat. Well, bowler me over, this was Tinseltown in the 1930s. I’ll have mine with a side order of whimsy, please. Continue reading

Suffolk Toad

If any toad in the hole can be considered light, this is it. Rather than solid old sausages the Suffolk Toad is filled with comparatively dainty rolls of pork (or veal or chicken) with a herby, lemony stuffing. And if that sounds as though I’m hedging my words with lots of qualifiers, well, it is a batter pudding after all. It’s really very good, though, and I’d urge you to give it a try, especially as it’s British Yorkshire Pudding Day on Sunday. Continue reading

Potted Ham

In the good old, bad old days, making potted ham was a way of conserving food to keep it from going off before it could be eaten. Modern refrigerators and freezers mean we don’t have the same problem, but if you have any leftover ham after Thanksgiving, Christmas or a.n.other holiday, this is a delicious way of using it up. Continue reading

Cooking Under Pressure

We’re all cooking under pressure these days, aren’t we? Energy and food prices are rocketing, we’re on the brink of another recession (some say we’re already in one) and the government is making a dog’s breakfast of the UK economy. Or a pig’s ear, if you prefer a different beastly metaphor. So it makes sense to cook with economy. Continue reading