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

Miguel de Cervantes

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Entries in quick (13)

Tuesday
Apr122016

Monk's beard with burrata

Monk’s Beard, also known as Friar’s Beard or Goat’s Beard, is a delicious Mediterranean plant, mainly cultivated in Southern Italy, Spain and Northern Africa. It looks similar to chives, but the flavour is somewhere between samphire (salty with a hint of the sea) and spinach (minerality).

It is generally served blanched, lightly fried or steamed, so that it retains its crunch. I like it best with a simple dressing of olive oil and lemon, as in this salad, but it also works well with anchovies, garlic, chilli and/or fresh herbs. With any of these additions, it makes a great side for white, flaky fish.

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Monday
Jan212013

Smoked salmon dip with dill and capers

Email from Mum this morning: "Just went to your blog to look for your smoked salmon dip recipe. It's not there. Can you email it to me? Or why not put it up? It would be an easy one for you to add."

She's right. This is a really quick and simple dip that always gets a thumbs up. It is great as a sandwich filling, on toast or with crackers or oatcakes. I often make it to take to work for lunch, for picnics or as a something to serve as nibbles before a meal. It also makes a great filling for quesadillas (see below).

You can use light cream cheese if you prefer but the consistency will be a bit thinner. This is ok if you are using it as a dip or spread, but not great for quesadillas.

Oh, and Mum - it's not my smoked salmon dip. It's Dad's. Credit where it is due. He won't mind though, I stole it years ago.

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Thursday
Sep062012

Huevos Cordoniz

Back at Busot it was my turn to cook for the Lippy Witches. I did a spread of a number of things, including a couple of the tapas dishes from MoVida Rustica that I have posted previously – Pinchos and Alcachofas con Jamon. As always, however, the most popular dish was the simplest – Huevos Cordoniz (literally, quail eggs).

When I was 17 I lived in Granada for 3 months. My friend and I found a little bar near where she lived and it became our local. Granada is one of the few places in Spain where you still get free tapas with every wine or beer and Bar Rios on Calle Socrates is one of the few bars in Granada that gives you a choice of what that will be. We went almost every night to fill up before our night out.

The menu at Bar Rios has just 8 items and is very simple – chorizo on a roll, omelette on a roll, lomo on a roll, morcilla on a roll…  but the produce was good quality and all cooked and seasoned perfectly. My favourite was what they called Huevos Cordoniz, a baguette round with a slice of jamon topped with a fried  quail egg. For my English palette – it was like a mini mouthful of bacon and eggs. So simple but so good. I have made it many times since and everyone always loves it.

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Monday
Mar052012

Spicy lamb burgers with halloumi, tzatziki and harissa

I am particular about a lot of things, but I am particularly particular about burgers. I grew up in the land of Oz, where a ‘true blue’ burger is cow or nothing and comes with lettuce, tomato, onion (fried, not raw) and beetroot. Yes, beetroot. Some add egg, bacon and pineapple and call it The Works, but I find it doesn’t – you can’t pick it up for a start. But you can get messy - I add tomato sauce and mayonnaise and lots of it. Oh, and guerkins too.

A good burger should be big and sloppy and dribble down your arms. It should require a lot of napkins, a lot more than you ever get given. It should be impossible to put down once picked up for you’ll never be able to pick it up again in one piece. And it should not be eaten on a first date.

When I eat burgers out in London I am inevitably disappointed. I know beets are unlikely, but most of the time your lucky to even get a slice of tomato. So I make them at home and until recently I have never deviated from the above, but…

There is a new kid on my block. And it is making an impression.

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Monday
Apr182011

Middle Eastern mezze no.5: Tzatziki

Yes, I know, tzatziki is Greek, and Greece is not technically Middle Eastern, but the Turkish word cacik (apart from looking like it reads ‘cat sick’) would be likely to return blank stares from most of my English speaking readership.

Tzatziki and cacik share the same core ingredients – yoghurt, cucumber, garlic, olive oil and salt. However, strictly speaking, they are not quite the same. Tzatziki is always of a thick consistency, while cacik is sometimes diluted with water and served as a soup. Tzatziki is usually flavoured with lemon juice, while cacik would use lime. Both can be flavoured with dill or mint, but only tzatziki occasionally contains parsley, while sumac or ground paprika are sometimes used to season cacik.

Here I give a recipe for a basic tzatziki. I tend to go with the less is more approach because I usually serve it with a selection of mezze dishes – tabbouli, hummous, spicy lamb mince, falafel – where the other herbs and spices make separate appearances. Nonetheless, I encourage you to play around with some of the above ingredients to make it your own, particularly if you are serving it as a standalone dip.

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