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
Posts from the ‘Recipes’ Category
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
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
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
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
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
As with all ragùs, the flavour of this dish is enhanced by making it in advance and it also freezes well. The recipe here is basically the same as Nancy Silverton’s in The Mozza Cookbook except that I omitted the duck liver and did not finish the dish with the added 6T. of finishing-quality olive oil that she suggests.
This salad is based on Ina Garten’s version. I have made a few minor changes to it, namely to use grapeseed oil instead of olive oil which allows the tastes of the other ingredients to shine through, and to increase the amount of mint which I think makes the salad even more refreshing. Read more