Letter to Lina

English garden

Dear Lina,

Hello, my name is A. and I live in your house. Your former house, which is now our house, that is. We bought it off your family after you – well, there is no easy way to say this – passed away. I hope you don’t mind me disturbing your rest.

The neighbours have told me about you. How you liked to cook and entertain well into your 80s. That’s impressive. I want to have the same energy and spirit when I’m that age. And if I’m very lucky, that sort of friends, too, that would come to share the food and the laughter with me. I hope there will always be plenty of both.

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Kitchen Notes: Mujaddara with an Indian soul

Onions

I messed with a classic. And I would do it again. The results in this case justify the means. I used Indian techniques on an Arab dish, mujaddara. Cumin and coriander seeds were popped in olive oil, and joined by the sliced onion. They were given a lot of time together, about 40 minutes. First on the high heat to remove their moisture, after which they fried gently in the oil that they released back into the pan. The onions became deliciously caramelised and sweet, and hauntingly fragrant with spices. Lower notes of cumin and cinnamon uplifted by the flowery citrusy coriander. Insanely delicious. I leave it on a plate to mix in with the lentils and rice later.

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BEST OF 2007 at Maninas: Food Matters

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Zorra of Kochtopf and Sandra of Un tocco di Zenero are hosting a foodblogging event Best of 2007. My first thought was ‘What a fantastic idea’, and the second ‘Gosh, what a difficult choice’!

If I look at the list of my ‘Top posts’, this is the list (of recipes) at the moment:

Top posts:

These posts are also always very popular:

  • Croatian Roast Lamb on the Spit, or the village of Gangentine!
  • Christmas cake recipe!!!
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    But what, for me, is the best recipe I blogged this year? This is a very hard choice indeed…. Is it Catalan Chickpeas with Tomatoes and Almonds  or Nigerian Red Kidney Bean Stew with a Peanut Sauce – Itiakiet Stew, both of which had ‘in thrall’ for weeks? Or Kat’s Chicken Curry? The curry has the advantage of being a novelty, and it embodies my huge love for Indian flavours, as well as all I’ve learnt about Indian food this year. All in all, this has been a wonderful few months of blogging, and I made many amazing discoveries in the world of food. I enjoyed all of it thoroughly.

    Apart from the discoveries , it has also given me the immense pleasure of being creative with this newfound knowledge. For this reason, I have to choose one of my own recipes which, apart from it’s amazing flavour, summarises what is the best of 2007 for me, and that this year meant to me in terms of food. The title of the post is –  inspired: grilled halloumi with red chili, basil, lime juice and olive oil dressing (pictured below). The key word is: INSPIRED. I was hugely inspired by the combination of flavours and ingredients. This simple recipe has it all: chilies, which I can hardly live without nowadays; basil, which is an amazing herb; lime juice for the sour taste that I’ve become addicted to; and olive oil, which is an old comforting (family) friend, omnipresent in Dalmatian cooking (and used a little excessively by my Dad,  to put it mildly). It also has tomatoes, one of my favourite vegetables, so versatile and so delicious whether cooked or raw; and halloumi, a type of mild Cypriot cheese, which is one of the discoveries I made this year. To summarise, this recipe represents the year 2007 for me because of the following: INSPIRATION, BOLD FLAVOURS, DISCOVERIES, EXPERIMENTATION.

    Also, what’s not ‘the best’ about these amazing flavours? 🙂

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    And what do you think, my dear readers? What is the best recipe on this blog, according to you? I look forward to your answers immensely!

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    grilled halloumi with red chili, basil, lime juice and olive oil dressing
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    Food for Thought

    Cooking has many functions, and only one of them is about feeding people.

     

    –  NIGELLA LAWSON  –

     

    What do you think? I’m curious to know how do you feel when you cook, and what does cooking mean to you? What does eating mean to you?

    I look forward to hearing/reading what you think.

     

     

    Learn from my mistakes!

    Scene 1

    You are making one of your husband’s favourite desserts in the world, the lovely lemon tart. – Lah dih dah dih dah…..! Oh oh! What’s that? No more icing sugar? Well, that’s ok, isn’t it? I’ll just replace it with some caster sugar. – And you do.

    Scene 2

    You’re trying to roll the pastry. Unsuccessfully. It keeps falling apart. No matter whatever you do. You chilled it for 3 hours, like it said, but nevertheless, the bugger keeps falling apart. You try again…

    Scene 3

    … and again, and AGAIN!!!!!!!!! But the fucker just won’t – stay – together!!!! – And how do you transfer THAT to the baking tin?!!! HA?!!!! Bloody joke! Grrrrrrrrr

    Scene 4

    By this point, you are totally completely and unquestionably out of your wits! Lost the plot! Bye-bye! Gone! Ha ha!

    Scene 5

    But, here comes rescue – in the shape of a very goodlooking man…. 🙂

    Scene 6

    The stars are smiling again… He gives you a helping hand, and comes up with a brilliant idea – use small mince pie tins, lady! It’s easier to roll a small piece! And you do! Best of all, you do it together! Laughing your heads off by this point. Isn’t life good again?

     

    And the moral of this story is….

    If the recipe says ‘use icing sugar’, it probably says that for a reason! Especially if we’re talking baking here! I’d made this tart perfectly successfully 3 or 4 times before this occasion, and it worked every time. Rolled it out perfectly. This time, I use caster sugar, and it all goes wierd. Isn’t that a bit of a hint? 🙂 Anyway,  this was really really annoying. I cannot stress this enough. So spare yourself the headache, and do use the correct sugar. 🙂

     

    And for more of my kitchen mishaps/misadventures/mini-catastrophes, click HERE!

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