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New year, new plans: Steamed Buns with Red Bean Paste

First things first: Happy Chinese New Year to all my Chinese, or otherwise Lunar New Year-celebrating readers! Now I know what youre thinking, and no, I dont normally celebrate the Chinese New Year- you know, not being Chinese or anything. (Actually, thats a lie. Three years ago I made some tasty potstickers, but I think that was largely a coincidence.) But Im feeling pretty New Years-y lately, and I figured today was as good as any to make and post a favourite Asian treat. Read more

Mixin it up: Risotto-stuffed Portobello mushrooms

Ive often spoken about leftovers before, and how they tend to be the bane of my existence. Im not really one for scaling back recipes (didnt I leave math behind in high school?), and since I work from home on most days, I like to have lunch options that require little time and even less thought. Read more

More of the same: Tricolore Eggplant Bruschetta

I guess I was wrong. Last month, when I mentioned that eggplants/aubergines were at the end of their season here, I clearly didnt know what I was talking about. The lovely purple veg are still appearing at the market weekly, and if anything there seems to be more of them than ever before. Silly me, I assumed that something in the summer squash family would cease to be available once it wasnt summer any longer. But apparently, no amount of morning frost or chilly rain is getting rid of these. Read more

A Delicate Balance: Roast Eggplant and Cherry Tomatoes

Since coming back from my holiday earlier this month, Ive been somewhat lacking in culinary inspiration. Other than trying to re-create some memorable meals we enjoyed in Italy, Ive had few brainwaves for new and exciting dishes to make. When this happens, I have a couple coping mechanisms that I can employ: Read more

Brine-less but beautiful: Quick-Pickled Radishes and Cucumbers

Quick-Pickled Radishes and Cucumbers

Though I havent tried my hand at pickling (before now that is), Im a card-carrying dill lover. When I was little my Mum made sour dill pickles every year, to the delight of me and my sister. Every spring wed return from the market with basketfuls of tiny, perfect cucumbers, and through some magical process of vinegar, garlic, jars and time, they became pickles. I remember the jars lined up on the shelves of our cellar, and the long and tortuous wait until the day my Dad would fire up the grill and call for one of us to bring up a jar for dinner. (I also remember us sneaking sips of pickle brine straight from the jar, much to our parents disgust. Surely it would have been worse to pour ourselves a glass?) Read more

On Books and Bruschetta: Broad Bean and Feta Bruschetta

Broad Bean and Feta Bruschetta

No, that book isnt just there because the colour matches so beautifully; I really was reading Jane Austen in the kitchen. Emma is a favourite of mine, though for some reason it can take me weeks to get through it. Im not sure why I can pick up Pride and Prejudice after breakfast and practically be done by dinner but Emma is a demanding read for me. So when I feel like tackling it, Ill leave it somewhere I find myself often. Read more

Luxury on bread: Shaved Asparagus Tartine

Shaved Asparagus Tartine

I crave a simple and beautiful lunch. Something light but satisfying, taking just minutes to prepare but good for savouring over the next twenty or so. Working from home at times (and at a job mere steps from my front door the rest of the time), this is a luxury that I can afford. And I must say, enjoying it helps makes up for those I cant. Read more

Tit for tat: Polenta Pizza for One

Polenta Pizza

I was all set to post a different polenta recipe today, one I made last week but in the midst of a busy couple days hadnt managed to write about yet. But this morning I wandered on over to a favourite blog of mine, and a pleasant surprise changed my plans. Read more

A packet of escape: Curried Parsnip and Potato Pasties

Curried Parsnip and Potato Pasties

Several years ago, I went on holiday with my family to the furthest reaches of Cornwall. We stayed in a 200-year-old farmhouse just steps from the sea, rode around on open-topped buses, trekked the coastal path for hours on end, and discovered cultural and archaeological gems at every turn. What else? Oh yeah- we ate. Read more

Ways with Bread: Leek Rarebit

Leek Rarebit

Youve probably all heard of Welsh rabbit/rarebit, the delicious late-night snack and lunch dish so beloved of the British Isles. Its a simple idea, really: take some toasted bread and top with a mixture of egg yolks and cheese (often with flavourings like chili, Worcestershire sauce or ale), and put the whole thing under the broiler until bubbly and delicious. Apply to mouth. Read more