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Miguel de Cervantes

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Entries in coriander (19)

Wednesday
Jul192017

Harissa

Harissa, if you haven’t discovered it yet, is a vibrant Middle Eastern condiment that can be added to many dishes to give them a zesty hit of sweet and spice and all things nice.

It goes particularly well with lamb. I often use it as a condiment alongside roast lamb, coated lamb chops in it, slathered it on burgers and my new favourite, in a bun with merguez sausage, mayo and rocket.

It can also work with chicken or a meaty fish, like monkfish or hake, so long as you are not too heavy handed. I love adding a tablespoon or two to a tomato-based stew, such as my chicken, chorizo and chickpea stew or albondigas. You can also stir it through mayonnaise or yogurt to give them a bit of a kick.

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Monday
May092016

Banh mi, Sydney style

I was so excited when I first saw bahn mi in London. They were one of my favourite lunches when I was a growing up in Sydney. There was a Vietnamese bakery next to my school where most kids used to load up on doughnuts and cream cakes. I preferred to spend my pocket money on 'Vietnamese pork rolls'.

For $2.50 you could get a Vietnamese baguette slathered with pate and mayo, crammed full of cold pork cuts, salad and pickles and finished with soy sauce, a few sprigs of coriander and a sprinkling of chilli. 

I have found few places in London that make them like this, perhaps because the French and Asian flavours sound like such a bizarre combination. Actually, I think that’s what makes it unique and interesting. It speaks to Vietnam’s colonial heritage and is a great example of fusion cuisine that really works.

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Sunday
Sep202015

Moroccan-spiced carrots

Today I am updating a post from November last year to make use of these glorious heritage carrots from Natoora. Of course, you can just use normal ones or baby carrots as I did originally. The introduction that follows remains the same, but I have edited the recipe.

As a budding young food anthropologist I feel very ambivalent about the name I have just given this recipe. I just spent my summer writing a dissertation querying the very notion that any dish or cuisine can be assigned a nationality. However, the alternative is a bit of a mouthful: “Carrots with preserved lemon, cumin, caraway and coriander seeds”. I could keep things vague, e.g. “Middle-Eastern spiced carrots”, but that only extends the problem, anthropologically speaking. Anyway, the point here is these carrots are bloody delicious and I really ought to leave such musings to my anthropology pages.

This is such a simple recipe. I threw it together for the first time a few weeks back when all I had in the fridge was a bunch of carrots from the farmers’ market and some preserved lemons that I made a few months ago. (Any excuse to use the lemons – they are fabulous.)

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Thursday
Aug062015

Gilpin's Chicken Tagine Thing

A few weeks ago some very dear family friends of mine all congregated at the Commonwork Farm in Kent to cook for the open day there. They have been doing this annually for many years now but in 2013 it gained particular significance. Our friend Gilpin, who used to be the head chef there, passed away very suddenly and unexpectedly of cancer. We were all left with a little less laughter in our lives. Gilpin was larger than life. We still have a lot of fun together, but we miss his presence keenly. 

A few months after his death the open day gave us all the opportunity to come together and say our goodbyes in an informal way in a place that Gilpin loved and where he was loved. Against the backdrop of bucolic English countryside – rolling hills, wild flowers and the smell of cut grass – we looked on as his wife, Gayle, trudged up and down over a neatly ploughed field scattering his ashes with the help of a ladle she had borrowed from the Commonwork kitchen (unbeknown to the new head chef). She read a goodbye poem to Gilpin and we all laughed and cried and sang and laughed some more. It was sad, it was funny, it was moving and it felt utterly appropriate.

 

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Tuesday
Apr212015

Loquat chutney

Loquats are a new discovery for me. I had heard of them before I started working at Natoora, but I only tried one for the first time last week. So when I was asked to do a cooking demonstration in the shop this Friday I thought I should experiment a bit with this lovely fruit. 

Loquats have a texture and flavour akin to apricots, but with a sweet and sour element that lends itself well to Asian cooking. In its initial stages, without the Indian spices, this chutney tasted like a fruity Chinese sauce for duck or pork. Had that been my desired outcome, I would have stopped there, but it tasted a little odd as a chutney.

I added cumin, coriander seeds and cardamom and it was transformed. The result: a sweet and sour and sour Indian chutney with warming spices and a little kick.

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