As I mostly work from home, I often eat lunch alone. Mostly I have an omelette or something on toast, but occasionally it’s nice to make a bit more of an effort. Not that this Caprese salad bowl with avocado and lettuce is much of an effort. Juicy ripe homegrown tomatoes, mozzarella, basil, avocado, crisp lettuce and some peppery olive oil is pretty much all this salad is, but oh my, it sure has a wow factor and it’s perfect for a light summer lunch or side dish.
It’s been a while since I last made beet kvass. Every few months, I get the urge to make some and this month of May was one of them. It must be my body telling me I’m in need of something therapeutic. Beet kvass, which is thought to have originated in the Ukraine a long time ago, is a probiotic drink that is chock full of health-giving properties and made using the humble beetroot.
Yes, spring has most definitely sprung. It’s been a long time coming. Soups may not be on the top of everyone’s list of things to eat as they bathe in the sunshine today, but the night’s are still chilly and a good bowl of soup is satisfying at almost any time of the year. Ribollita is a hearty vegan Tuscan soup made from cannellini beans, stale bread and kale. It may not sound that appetising, but it’s delicious.
It may be cold and blustery outside, but I’m noticing signs of spring here, with snowdrops and even daffodils emerging. This combined with the fast approaching, St David’s Day on 1 March put me in mind of Wales’ national bake, Welsh cakes. My wholemeal spelt Welsh cakes are super easy to make. They’re crisp on the outside, soft and buttery on the inside and incredibly moreish. This wonder food from the west is the perfect antidote to the Beast from the East.
Kouglof is a speciality of Strasbourg and the wider region of Alsace, that fascinating, oft-disputed region, where France and Germany rub shoulders. It’s a sort of brioche studded with almonds and raisins and shaped to look like a crown. Although they can be found all year round, they come into their own at the Strasbourg Christmas Market. The recipe for Strasbourg kouglof here is my take on this classic French bake.
Simple to prepare evening meals are my mainstay, even more so whilst I’m cooking for one. It’s good to have some variation though and this simple laksa noodle soup with tofu, red peppers and green cabbage is a filling and delicious addition to my repertoire. It has the added advantage of being vegan, so it makes a perfect dairy free meal.
Well I’ve moved and it’s all very exciting. However, I either can’t find anything or I’ve left whatever it is I need in Cornwall. In the general chaos I’ve pretty much been living on toast. This recipe for curd cheese, honey & walnuts on rye from Wild Honey & Rye by Ren Behan has revolutionised my toast eating.
Do you have a go-to summer pasta dish? This Sicilian pasta salad with tomatoes, olives and fresh herbs is mine. I learnt the basic recipe from my Sicilian sister-in-law many years ago and as the tomato season draws nigh, I wait in eager anticipation. Andiamo!
If you haven’t tried socca before, you’re in for a treat. It’s a sort of flatbread or substantial pancake made from chickpeas and it’s naturally vegan and gluten free. It’s also delicious. With little cooking or preparation required it makes a perfect meal for summertime. This socca spread with walnut basil pesto and scattered with toasted walnuts and purple mangetout scored particularly well.
Who wants to be stuck in the kitchen slaving over a hot stove in the summer? Not me. But I do like a summery bake or two. These raspberry rose friands are a good compromise. They’re full of summer flavour, quick to prepare and only take twenty minutes in the oven.