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Somerset Maugham

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Entries in cinnamon (8)

Wednesday
Jul042018

Preserved lemons

I’ve been eagerly anticipating today for two months now. Birthday? Holidays? No! My preserved lemons are ready.

I love Love LOVE preserved lemons. They transform any dish into something special. I mostly use them in Middle Eastern inspired dishes – tagine, cous cous, Ottolenghi-style salads. They also add an interesting twist to fish dishes, dips and seafood pasta.

I used Amalfi lemons from Natoora for this batch, so I am especially excited about them, but any unwaxed lemons will do. You need to leave them for at least two months before using and they get better and better with age. These ones are still yellow, but my Dad used to have some so old they had turned brown. You can still use them, just be aware that their flavour intensifies with age so you don’t need to use very much with very mature ones.

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Friday
Mar302018

Hot Cross Buns

Hot Cross Buns are probably my favourite festive food. The smell of the cinnamon toasting and the taste of them – lightly toasted, thickly buttered – makes me feel all warm and cosy. They are one of my ultimate comfort foods.

I agree with Oliver Thring that “Buns are some of the best things to have emerged from English kitchens”.

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Tuesday
Aug252015

Apple and greengage crumble

There is only one month left of summer and while everyone else is busy catching the last rays of sun, I am trying to make the most of all the wonderful summer fruits at Natoora before they go out of season.

One of my new favourites is the Reine Claude Doree greengage. It is the variety from which all other greengage plums originate. Doree means golden; unlike most greengages, which have green flesh, these are golden when fully ripened.

The golden, jammy flesh of the Reine Claude Doree works beautifully in this summer crumble. The natural sweetness of the fruit is well balanced with crisp, tart green apples. Sweetened with honey and topped with a crumble packed with cobnuts, this recipe turns a simple dessert into something special.

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Sunday
Aug102014

Deb and Wally’s Ginger Spice Cake

This is one of my favourite cake recipes. I like it because it looks so modest; the kind of cake that not even the greediest child would bother picking up at a tea party. More fool them.

I got the original recipe from Kylie Kwong’s cookbook, It Taste’s Better.  I love the addition of white pepper, which I had never seen before in a cake – it gives it a real kick.

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Saturday
Dec182010

Moussaka; an unexpected history

 

MOUSSAKA        A dish common to Turkey, Greece and the Balkans, made with slices of aubergine (eggplant) arranged in layers, alternating with minced (ground) mutton or lamb, onions, and sometimes tomatoes, often with the addition of a thick béchamel sauce. In some recipes, courgettes (zucchini), potatoes or spinach are used instead of aubergine. The dish is baked in the oven.

This definition from Larousse Gastronomique pretty much sums up my recipe for moussaka. If I were sensible, I would accept it as gospel and be done with it. It would certainly save me a lot of typing and you a lot of reading. But sensible I am not and having looked further into the history and origins of the dish I feel the need to share.

The definition refers to Turkey and the Balkans, but in fact the description which follows depicts the Greek preparation. According to Wikipedia, Turkish musakka is not layered, “Instead, it is prepared with sautéed aubergines, green peppers, tomatoes, onions, and minced meat” and eaten with cacik and pilaf. The Bulgarian and Macedonian versions are layered like the Greek, but contain pork and beef rather than lamb and potatoes rather than aubergine. Like most of the recipes in the rest of the Balkan states, they are topped with a savoury custard.

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