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Posts from the ‘Recipes’ Category

A January Menu for 6

Baba Ghanoush & Crackers
Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen Christmas Salad
Red Wine Braised Duck Legs
Fennel, Celery Root and Potato Purée
Arugula Salad
Grand Marnier Soufflée with Crème Anglaise

With busy schedules it is difficult to find the time to entertain friends at home, but with this menu plan you can spread the work out over several days. Following each recipe here you will find suggestions for advance preparation and at the end I have added shopping lists. I hope you enjoy this winter menu and time to relax with your guests. Read more

Czechoslovakian Vánočka

This post is in honour of my Czech heritage, generations past, and my cousin Mary who has kept this bread-making tradition going over the years. She bakes several loaves of this bread and delivers one to my father, who looks forward to her visit and the enjoyment of this celebratory loaf, just before Christmas. Read more

Dark Chocolate, Pear and Pistachio Cake

Chocolate Pear Cake

With this cake, I followed my usual risky practice of making something for the first time and serving it to a group. I baked the cake the day before, added the ganache on the day it was served and carried it down the street to share with friends celebrating a birthday. I didn’t think to photograph it whole, but when it was unanimously judged to be blog-worthy, our host (thank you, David!) got out his iPhone to capture what remained: see the celebratory table and the candle holes left on the cake. Read more

Pumpkin Stuffed with Bread, Cheese, Garlic & Cream

Upon first reading of Dorie Greenspan’s Around My French Table, I knew that this stuffed pumpkin would find its way onto our Thanksgiving table this year. It may be too late for yours, but there is always Hallowe’en, American Thanksgiving, Christmas or anytime in the next few months while the squashes are fresh and beautiful. Read more

Plums, Memories and a Special Birthday

My father remembers that there would often be a plate of buchty waiting for him and his brother on the kitchen table when they came home from school in Prague. They would race in and grab one or two of the little buns which they considered to be the perfect snack: sweet dough wrapped around pitted and sugar-filled fruit. Read more

Who Kneads Pizza Dough?


I love bread and have kneaded it in various countries, in 45ºC kitchens, in electric, gas and wood ovens. While the kneading part (and the stoking the fire part) can be a satisfying and even a therapeutic exercise, it is more labour-intensive and time-consuming for many cooks these days. And we can buy such good bread here now that it hardly seems necessary to make it at home. Enter Jim Lahey, whose revolutionary no-knead bread dough has been written about in food columns for several years. And for good reason. Mixing the dough briefly, then a long slow rise, results in a crispy, chewy, flavourful loaf. Provided you plan ahead, the method is uncomplicated and you get the joy of smelling the intoxicating aroma of bread-baking at home and the kudos you receive for producing it! Read more

Nancy’s Chopped Salad with Grilled Pita Bread


This main course salad, compliments of Nancy Silverton again, is Nutrition and Summer on a plate. I served it for the two of us for a weeknight dinner recently, accompanied with grilled pita bread with Za’atar

…and there was plenty left over for lunch the next day. This salad can be adapted in so many ways, by adding or subtracting ingredients. Chop whatever vegetables you have on hand, and add any cheese or salami. I followed the recipe exactly, including the overnight soaking, then cooking the chickpeas (which imparts more flavour into them) but you can always use a can of drained ones instead. I used home-made pita bread, a recipe I will share another time, but store-bought would also be fine. Read more

Italian Dinner for 6

Mixed Mushroom and Gorgonzola Crostini
Arugula and Mint Salad with Watermelon and Feta
Duck Ragù with Potato Gnocchi
Grilled Asparagus and Raddichio
Vanilla Bean Gelato, Chocolate Madeleines and Strawberries

The cookbook that I am currently enamoured with is Nancy Silverton’s The Mozza Cookbook, which brings to the home cook some of the specialties from her popular restaurants in Los Angeles. She writes that she “wanted the recipes to include all the information the reader would need to successfully replicate our food at home”. With this goal in mind, she and her team painstakingly adjusted the recipes so that they work in a home kitchen. Her attention to detail which has contributed to making her such a successful chef, restaurant owner and writer, is reflected throughout the book.

I used this book to guide me in producing an Italian dinner recently, with the duck ragù and potato gnocchi as the centrepiece. Read more

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