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Archive for the ‘Vegetarian’ Category

The Xmas fairy (my Mum) granted my wish for the new Ottolenghi cookbook Plenty and I made the first of the dishes that took my fancy this week. Those of you who know this cookbook and the previous one with the eponymous title Ottolenghi will already be familiar with the rich, creative mix of flavours and ingredients that make really surprising dishes full of colour and flavour.
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For many years broccoli was simply something I ate steamed as a side serve with other foods. Occasionally I might tart it up a bit by tossing it in a little melted butter and sprinkling it with toasted almonds but essentially it was a green veggie that I didn’t do much with. Don’t get me wrong, I really like broccoli and I especially like the stalk which has a lovely sweetness to it – when I was younger and very very suspicious of vegetables I would only eat the stalk because I didn’t like the texture of the florets in my mouth!
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Surrounded by bubbling pots, steaming up the kitchen windows, I feel a little like the magicians apprentice as I try out every soup in the book (s), not entirely sure what the outcome is going to be.
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I had neglected making pumpkin soup for quite some time. Pretty much everyone likes pumpkin soup but I get the feeling that many people, like me, are constantly on the search for a better recipe – the perfect one. The classic pumpkin soup doesn’t do all that much for me and while I really like Thai influenced versions with curry paste and coconut milk they can be high in fat. Soup for lunch in winter is just about the perfect meal in my book and I’m always keen to have a wide variety. So I decided after recently making quite a range of soups, including creamy broccoli and pear & beetroot this week, it was time to revisit pumpkin.
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I have a lovely friend, J, who has just had her second baby (5 weeks ago) and I invited her and her little family to lunch on Sunday to have, as she put it, an adult afternoon. We (being the bad parents we are) put our two little ones in-front of the TV while we all had a leisurely lunch with proper courses and very little toddler interference.
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I’m feeling rather proud of this dish. OK its pretty simple but I made it up myself and I did it pretty much on the spot. I made it as a side dish to go with a Lamb Saag we had tonight. I had memories of another recipe made a couple of years ago with cabbage and carrot, stir fried with some Indian spices but I couldn’t remember where I got it from and a quick check in my obvious cookbooks didn’t yield a result. My parents were due back soon with Lola from her day at their place and I suddenly decided we needed a side dish. Inspired by 1/4 of a small cabbage, a green capsicum, green chilli and a bunch of spring onions in the fridge I decided I could whip something up.
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I’m not a vegetarian (this sounds like a confession) but sometimes the seasonal veggies look so gorgeous that I buy up big and then seem to have quite a lot of veg to ‘deal with’. This week I had a whole cauliflower, a large bunch of spinach, and excess potatoes and I wanted to use them while they were still humming with freshness. Indian food seems to me to be the very best way to go ‘veggo’ so I decided to head in that direction.
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