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“There is no sauce in the world like hunger.”

Miguel de Cervantes

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Entries in garlic (15)

Tuesday
May312016

La nonna Pettineo's ragu

For my 30th birthday my friend, Geraldine, sent me a care package from the USA, which included a handwritten recipe and photos of her nonna’s ragu. Like everyone with an Italian grandmother, she says hers makes the best. And like every Italian grandmother, hers doesn’t follow a recipe, so you have to watch her to learn it.

A few years ago, Geraldine and I got into a friendly debate about what constitutes the best ragu and what one should call it. (You can read about that here). I argued with her about it, but mostly for the sake of it. Actually, I was very keen to learn her nonna’s secrets.

When she next visited her, she watched her make it and wrote down all the details step-by-step. The recipe is written in Geraldine’s beautiful cursive handwriting and comes with lots of notes and tips:

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Wednesday
Apr062016

Hummus with spiced lamb and pine nuts

The new series I am writing for Borough Market, Box Clever, is encouraging me to be much more adventurous with my packed lunches and how I pack them. Don’t you just love these Indian tiffin tins? I bought them for pretty pictures, but I find I am using them all the time.

I first tried this dish in a little family-run Lebanese restaurant called Emma’s on Liberty in Enmore, Sydney. They called it “traditional houmous” but it was so much better than any hummus I’d tried before. It did make me wonder why I’d been eating the unadorned version my whole life. Never again.

The dish is more often called hummus kawarma or hummus b’lahmeh, both of which mean hummus with lamb, but I am sure there are many other names to match the myriad recipes. There are almost as many versions of this dish throughout the Middle East as there are recipes for hummus. Chopped lamb or minced? Pine nuts or pomegranate seeds? Chunky or smooth? Tahini? Herbs? Spices? It depends who you ask.

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Wednesday
Oct212015

Andrew's Roasted Delica pumpkin with garlic, herbs and chilli

Pumpkin is not something I often choose to cook. I generally prefer something more savoury. But the Delica pumpkin from Natoora really is exceptional. They are grown in Mantova, Lombardy following traditional methods that involve a final curing process in heated warehouses that maximises the sugar contents and reduces the amount of water in the flesh.

My colleague, Andrew, made this recipe for the Natoora autumn seasonal meeting and it was a hit. Gone in seconds. It's a simple recipe which makes the most of the Delica's sweet and tender flesh. Roasted with garlic, herbs and chilli, it caramelises beautifully in the oven.

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Wednesday
Sep092015

Borough Market Blog, Sydney prawns and Dad's "benchmark" aioli

I’ve just started a series of guest posts for the Borough Market Blog. Check out the first post here. In the series I will be touching on some of the themes I have covered on my food anthropology page on food and identity. I’m interested in the special significance that people attach to the foods that they grew up with and the role this plays in defining who we are.

Over the coming months I will be speaking to seven traders from different ethnic backgrounds about the foods that are important to them and why. For the first post, I decided to ask myself the same questions I will be asking the traders. What are the foods that remind me of home? What foods make me feel nostalgic? What foods evoke special memories for me?

One thing I miss most about Sydney (my other home) is the seafood. In London, the best quality seafood is to be found at Billingsgate, which is very much geared towards the wholesale market. If you want to buy fish from there you have to get up at sparrows fart and trek out to Poplar (far for me). The Sydney Fish Market, on the other hand, is centrally located and aimed at both retail and wholesale customers. 

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Friday
Mar272015

Fennel gratin with leeks and anchovies

Friday fun-day! Today I did my first live cooking demo at the Natoora shop in Turnham Green. And they call this work! Well, sign me up and call me ‘Chef’.

A month ago I started working for Natoora, the UK’s biggest importer and distributor of fine quality produce. Their main clients are restaurants - Ottolenghi, Heston, Gordon Ramsay, Alain Ducasse – you name them, Natoora supply to them. There’s also an online and retail shop where you can buy all manner of delicious things and then some.

In the last 4 weeks I have tried so many new varieties of fruit and vegetables that I am starting to lose count. Oranges? Yes. Tarocco oranges with a blush of pink – new favourite.  Tomatoes? Obviously. Danterini, Marinda and Iberico tomatoes – everyday please. Radicchio? Been there. Radicchio Triestino – just about the most beautiful vegetable I’ve ever seen:

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