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

Miguel de Cervantes

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Entries in spring (6)

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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Wednesday
Jun032015

Spring bean salad

This is one of my favourite salads. I make it, or a version of it, on a regular basis as a side with fish or chicken dishes or as part of an Ottolenghi-style spread that I like to do for BBQs and big dinner parties. 

Since I started working at Natoora I have played around with the ingredients a bit. I used to always make it with green beans and mange tout, which are great and easy to source. However, Natoora focuses on seasonal ingredients so I have swapped out the mange tout for white and green piattoni (Italian runner beans). They are sweet and tender and they look gorgeous.

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Tuesday
May192015

Pickled radishes

Somewhere over the rainbow... 

For my cooking demo at the Natoora shop this Friday I am pickling these beautiful heritage radishes from Good Earth Growers in Cornwall. Aren’t they gorgeous? I separated them into pink and purple and ended up with these two lovely colours:

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Monday
Apr272015

Cheese and Chard Triangles

On Friday I did my second demo at the Natoora shop in Turnham Green. I made loquat chutney, which we served with pappadums and naan bread, and these cheese and chard triangles. They were both very well received; a couple of people even asked if they could buy some, nice!

I deliberated a while over what to call these. In Australia I would have called them ‘pasties’ without a doubt, but in the UK that implies something Cornish and stodgy with a short and lardy pastry. Delicious, but not quite what I mean.

In Australia spinach and cheese pasties are almost as ubiquitous as meat pies. They are usually made with puff pastry and stuffed with spinach and cheddar or ricotta. My cheese and chard triangles are more like Turkish börek, since I use feta, as well as ricotta, and add dill and mint to the mix. I also tend to use filo pastry, though ready-made puff is a great cheat if you are short on time.

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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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