Showing posts from April, 2020

Shiitake and Crispy Sage Gnocchi

I had a box of shiitake sitting in the fridge. I like shiitake - they hold less water than other mushroom types and have a meatier texture and lovely, smokey flavour. So when I was brainstorming what to do with them and came across a mixed mushroom gnocchi recipe from Sydney Markets, I decided to swap the mixed mushrooms for shiitake and to make shiitake gnocchi instead. What a lovely dish it turned out to be. 

Ingredients (serves 2):
300g gnocchi
300g shiitake mushrooms, halved
1 medium size onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
Sprinkle of chili flakes
20 sage leaves
100mL white wine (*substitute chicken stock if you don’t use alcohol)
grated parmesan
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp butter
1 tsp lemon juice
freshly ground black pepper

1. Prepare the gnocchi according to the instructions on the package and set aside.

2. Heat one tablespoon olive oil and one tablespoon butter in a large skillet and add the sage leaves. Fry until crispy. When done, remove the lea…

Leek Potato Soup with Smoked Salmon

After a few weeks of spring/summer-come-early, the weather has turned this week and gone back to the Dutch standard this time of year: cold and grey. A typical soup sort of day - when what’s nicest to do is curl up under a blanket and warm yourself with a bowl of soup, spooning in the oozy goodness. This is that kind of soup. The bonus? To make it literally takes less than half an hour from start to finish.

Ingredients (serves 2): 150g potatoes, finely diced (about 0.7cm cubes)  1/2 stalk of celery, finely chopped 1 stalk of leek, chopped (set aside a few rings of leek for the topping) 1 small onion, chopped 1 clove garlic, minced 500mL vegetable stock 50mL whole milk 50mL cream 1 tbsp butter 1 bay leaf salt and freshly ground pepper
To top: 50g salmon, chopped 1 tsp fresh chives, chopped a few rings of leek and a dab of butter (reserved from the leek above) a bit more cream
Instructions: 1. In a soup pan, melt the butter and add the potatoes. Sauté for a few minutes then add the cele…

Mango Chia Pudding

So, chia pudding. Like so many things, when it gets in my head it tends to stay there a while. That means it’s time for another chia recipe. This time, instead of mixing it with yoghurt and raspberries, I made a dairy-free version with mango and banana for sweetness. Completely, entirely vegan-friendly - and none the less rich for it. Happy breakfasting :) 

Ingredients (serves 2):
1 cup almond milk (coconut milk is a nice alternative too)
1 tbsp honey
1/4 cup chia seeds
1 ripe mango
1/2 banana
juice of 1/2 lime

1. Mix the almond milk, honey and chia seeds. Stir well so the chia seeds don’t sink to the bottom or clump, then stick in the refrigerator for 3 hours or overnight to let it set.

2. When the chia is done, take the mango and cut a few small pieces to reserve for garnish. Throw the rest in a blender together with the banana and lime juice.

3. In two glasses, layer the mango and chia pudding and top with a bit of chopped mango.

Eggs Benedict with Smoked Salmon and Chives

You know those things you think you just can’t do? For years I’ve been convinced I couldn’t poach an egg. I had tried and tried and tried again, and failed more times than I can remember. A darned shame too, because of all the ways eggs can be made poached is by far my favourite. 
But today is King’s Day in the Netherlands - and with all outside festivities cancelled it was up to me to make of the day what I could. So I put on a pretty dress and decided to get over myself and make myself the rich and festive brunch I’d been craving: eggs benedict with smoked salmon and chives. Poached eggs and all. And this time they came out perfect. The lesson here: never convince yourself that you can’t do something. 

Ingredients (serves 2):
80g smoked salmon
2 eggs (as fresh as possible - fresh eggs hold together better when poached)
2 slices of white bread
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
sprinkle of fresh chives
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

hollandaise sauce:
2 egg yolks

Hasselback Sweet Potato with Bacon, Sour Cream and Chives

Baked potatoes are always good. And then there’s hasselback baked potatoes - a ridged version that you can dress up by sticking all sorts of interesting things between the slices. Like bacon. And cheese. And garlic. You get my drift: yummmmm. They make a pretty handsome dish too. 

Ingredients (serves 2):
2 large sweet potatoes
6 strips bacon
50g grated cheese (I used Gouda)
150 g sour cream
1 tsp chives to top

Garlic herb butter:
1 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp unsalted butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tbsp fresh garlic
1/2 tbsp fresh parsley
Pinch of nutmeg, paprika, salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 220 degrees Celsius.

1. Clean and pat dry the sweet potatoes. Slice the sweet potatoes into about 3mm slices, as uniformly as possible, without slicing all the way through to the bottom (leave the bottom 1/4 of the potatoes unsliced so that the slices don’t separate from the potato altogether).

2. Stir together the herb butter ingredients.

3. Line a baking tray with foil and g…

Yellow and Green Courgettes with Feta, Mint and Almonds

I learned this late, but as they say: better late then never. Courgette (zucchini) isn’t just a wonderful vegetable to oven-bake, but it’s also really good raw and makes for lovely salads. Especially when you use a vegetable peeler to slice it into thin, elegant ribbons - much as I’d once learned to do with carrots and cucumber. This courgette salad is fresh, light and colourful: perfect for spring.

Ingredients (serves 2):
1 medium size yellow courgette (zucchini) and 1 medium green courgette
Juice and grated zest of one lemon (it’s easiest if you grate the zest first, then juice it)
15g shaved almonds, toasted lightly
140g feta cheese
handful of mint leaves
1 tablespoon olive oil
salt and freshly ground mixed pepper (pink, green and black kernels)

1. Cut the top and bottom off the courgettes, then use a vegetable peeler to slice them lengthwise into long ribbons.

2. In a large bowl, mix the lemon juice and olive oil, then season with salt. Toss in the courgette ribbons to coat them p…

Chick Pea and Cavolo Nero Soup

I had a big bunch of cavolo nero, and a bit of searching for some ideas on what to do with it brought me to the UK edition of Delicious Magazine, where I found a recipe of which this one is an almost exact copy. Delicious took me back, back in time - all the way back to 2007 when I followed my first basic cooking course from Wiljan Koopmans @ Kookschool Delicious in Amsterdam.

Ingredients (serves 2):
200g dried chickpeas, soaked overnight in ample cold water
60g olive oil
40g diced pancetta or bacon
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 celery stalk, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
500mL chicken stock
1 sprig fresh oregano
140g cavolo nero, roughly chopped
1 tsp lemon juice

pinch of chili flakes
salt and freshly ground black pepper
garnish with grated parmesan and sour cream

1. Place the chickpeas in a large pan of cold water. Salt the water and bring to a simmer. Simmer for 20-30 minutes, until the chick peas are tender. Drain and set aside.

2. In a frying pan, heat the oil a…

Shepherd's Pie

Like all good traditional home cooked meals, you can make a Shepherd's pie in just about a million different ways, and everyone plus their grandma has a slightly different version. I am not going to tell you that some are better than others (although some undoubtedly are), but I will tell you this: without lamb, it ain't Shepherd's pie.

All in all, it's a pretty simple dish - there really isn't very much to it. The things to watch for are mostly texture and proportion. The first time I made this it came out on the dry side and I overdid it with the potatoes. The second time I left too much juice in the meat which made it a bit too runny, which, although it tasted substantially better than the dry version, didn't serve very well. This recipe is somewhere in the middle. Not too dry, not too gooey, but oozing with lamby goodness.

Another nice thing about shepherd's pie is that like lasagna, it's even better the next day - and it holds up very well when hea…

Cream of Mushroom Soup

I’d never made mushroom soup before, and I hadn’t realised you needed so many mushrooms. Now I understand. What I like about this soup - or better said about this version of it in particular - is that you don’t blend it but use the mushrooms sliced, as they are - and thereby keep a nice bit of bite in the texture. And it looks lovely too, don’t you think?  

Ingredients (for 2 decent-size bowls with a little for seconds): 2 tablespoons butter 1/2 tbsp olive oil 2 small onions, finely chopped 2 cloves garlic, minced 750g fresh brown button mushrooms, sliced 125mL dry white wine 2 tbsp fresh thyme, chopped 500mL chicken stock 3 tbsp all purpose flour 1 beef bouillon cube 125mL cream freshly ground black pepper fresh parsley and thyme to garnish
Instructions: 1. In a large soup pan, heat the butter and oil. When foaming, add the onion. Sauté for 2-3 minutes, then add the garlic and sauté for 1 more minute. 
2. Add the mushrooms and thyme and cook for 5 minutes. Add the wine and cook for …

Vanilla Chia Pudding with Raspberries

Every now and then I get it: a chia pudding craving. And to be honest, I don't know why I don't make it more often - it's easy, healthy and good. Meets just about all the criteria for my go-to recipes. It’s even pretty for the eye - and let’s be honest, the eye wants something too. :)

Ingredients (serves 2): 2 tablespoons chia seeds 1/2 cup almond milk 1 teaspoon maple syrup, plus some to top 1/2 teaspoon vanilla essence few tablespoons Greek yoghurt per glass 200g strawberries

Instructions: 1. Place the chia seeds, almond milk, maple syrup and vanilla essence in a bowl and mix well. Put in the fridge and let it set for at least 3 hours, or overnight.
2. When you're ready to eat, take a glass. Pour in some chia pudding, then top with a few raspberries, then with a layer of greek yoghurt. Top with more chia pudding, then more raspberries, then another layer of yoghurt and then the rest of the raspberries.
3. Drizzle some maple syrup over the top and enjoy :)

And t…

Sticky Lamb Chops by Jamie Oliver

In the midst of this crisis I’ve been making extra effort to support our local stores. These days, I   do most of my produce shopping at smaller shops instead of the supermarket. Far more often than I used to, I go to Turkish shops - which have surprisingly good produce and delicious, much more affordable lamb than I can find at the supermarket. And so I came home with lamb chops - again. The next challenge was to find a recipe. I’d made this one once before, but all my pictures failed. So to share it with you, I had to try again. Not that that was something to be sorry about... :) 

6 lamb chops (about 600g in total), french trimmed
200g mixed colour baby carrots (out of season here, so I stuck with orange)
3 oranges
8 cloves garlic, unpeeled
15g thyme (about half a bunch
salt and freshly ground black pepper
olive oil

1. Score the fat of the lamb chops, and season them with salt and pepper. Then line them up like a rack, so that the fat is stuck together.

Baked Camembert with Roasted Strawberries

You know those days when you just don’t feel like dinner in the traditional sense, but would rather fork in snacks all evening? Yeah, I was having one of those - so I thought if I was going to go that way and succumb to my snack attack, then I might as well make myself some *proper* snacks. Ahem. This one definitely passed the test. :)

Ingredients (serves 2):
240g wheel of camembert (or brie, that works too)
250g strawberries
1.5 tbsp honey
1 tsp white balsamic vinegar (if you don’t have the white kind, just use brown)
1 tbsp finely chopped mint
1 tbsp chopped walnuts

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius

1. In a bowl, mix the honey and balsamic vinegar together.

2. Remove the green hearts from the strawberries and slice them in half. If they are big, quarter them. Then add them to the balsamic-honey mixture and stir around to coat them all.

3. Spread on a baking tray or dish covered in baking parchment. Bake for approximately 10 minutes, so they go soft but still ret…

Braised Egg with Leek, Kale and Za’atar

It’s Saturday, and it feels like a real Saturday. No ‘have-tos’, just loads and loads of time for myself. Sleeping in, wearing my pj’s half of the day, Netflix and comfort food. Starting off with this twist on an Ottolenghi recipe to satisfy my weekend brunch craving. 

Ingredients (serves 1): 2/3 leek, chopped into 1/2 cm rings 70g kale (I used the cavolo nero variety), chopped 40g feta, broken into smallish (1 cm) pieces 1 tbsp lemon (I quartered my lemon and used about half of the quarter), pips removed & chopped, including the rind and skin) 2 large eggs 100mL vegetable stock dash of cumin powder 1 teaspoon za’atar 1 tbsp butter 2 tbsp olive oil  salt and freshly ground black pepper
Instructions:  1. Put the butter and half of the olive oil in a small skillet that you can cover with a lid. Melt the butter and when it starts to bubble, add the leek. Season lightly with salt, then sauté for a few minutes until the leek softens. 
2. Add the kale and sauté for a few minutes more. …

Sweet and Sour Celery Cilantro Salad

After my lentil stew leftovers for lunch today (yum), dinner time called for something lighter. Something that was lighter, and made use of the celery stalks I still had sitting in my fridge. And preferably something for which I had everything in the house, as the fridge is still plenty full and I’m trying to limit the number of visits I make to the supermarket. Willow Arlen’s recipe was the answer. This is a slightly adjusted version. Ooo, and also - one of the first vegan recipes on this blog. Yay ;)

Ingredients (serves 2 as a starter or side, or 1 as a main): 4 stalks celery, chopped 1 cup cilantro, chopped 1 cup lamb lettuce 20 or so mint leaves, chopped 2 spring onions, chopped (use the bulbs and part of the green stalks) 1 red chili pepper, deseeded and chopped juice of 1/2 lime 1 tablespoon sesame seeds 1 tablespoon rice vinegar 1 tablespoon runny honey (if your honey isn’t runny, heat it to make it run) 1 teaspoon sesame oil
Instructions: 1. Put the celery, lamb lettuce, cila…

Fennel Baked in Cream and Parmesan

One month ago - on March 16th - I decided to spend some of my quarantine time blogging. I wanted to see if I could manage to post a recipe per day. At the time, quarantine was set to last three weeks. It has since been extended for another three until April 28th, and next week we will find out what happens after that. It’s not unlikely we’ll be looking at another extension. 
But that’s then, and this is now - once again the 16th. That means today is a bit of a milestone - with a whole month of once-a-day recipes behind me. And I haven’t given up just yet, so here’s another one for you :)
When you remove it from the oven, this dish doesn’t look like much. In fact, it looked iffy enough to give me some serious doubts. But then I stuck the first forkful in my mouth, and I was sold. It’s insanely delightful and makes a wonderful side dish. Proves yet again what we already know: just how deceiving looks can be. 

Recipe (enough for a side dish for 2): 1 large fennel bulb
250mL cream
1.5 cu…

Roasted Rhubarb in Maple Syrup

My local Turkish shop has delightful fruits and vegetables - and an array far broader than any supermarket around. The other day when I passed by I found fresh rhubarb, and couldn’t resist taking some home. Inspires by a great-looking Sainsbury’s recipe, this is what I did with it.  

Ingredients (serves 2):
400g rhubarb (roughly 4 stalks), chopped into 7cm pieces
4 tbsp Greek yoghurt
80g maple syrup
zest of 1 lemon

1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius. Place the rhubarb on a baking tray and drizzle the maple syrup over. Take a baking brush and brush it over the stalks.

2. Place the tray in the bottom third of the oven and bake for approximately 12 minutes.

3. Remove and serve with the yoghurt, sprinkled with the lemon zest.

Avocado with Tuna

This is a dish that came back over and over as I was growing up. And while it’s not particularly spectacular in any culinary sense, it’s wholesome and it’s gooood. As far as I’m concerned, that alone makes it a pretty good starter - although if you're serving this as part of an hours-long eating fest with lots of different dishes, I'd recommend scaling down the size by cutting each avocado into thirds or even quarters rather than halves.

It makes a pretty good brunch dish too. The added bonus: this is so easy it barely qualifies as cooking.

Ingredients (serves 4):
1 ripe avocado
1 can of tuna (145g)
1 small onion, finely chopped
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 tablespoon ketchup
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

1. Drain the tuna, put in a bowl together with the onion, mayonnaise and ketchup, and use a fork to mix well. Season with salt and black pepper to taste.

2. Cut the avocados in half lengthwise, remove the seeds, heap some avocado mixture on top of …

Chorizo Lentil Stew

After I moved to Bilbao in September 2008, this was one of the first Spain-inspired recipes I ever made. Bilbao is green and hilly and lies in the Basque north of Spain, a part of the country that is wilder, wetter and colder than the rest.

Eating out was cheap, so I ate out a lot. And at just about every local restaurant I came across, they served a variation on this dish. It’s perfect for cold rainy days - and for today, the coldest day in the past two weeks. It fills your belly and warms you right up.

Ingredients (serves 2):
1.5 L vegetable stock
100g potatoes (of a waxy variety, that retain their shape when boiled), peeled
120g carrots, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
100g chorizo, sliced
2 cups dried pardina lentils (or 1 can of pre-cooked lentils).
3 cloves garlic, peeled and cut into slices
optional: 100g pre-cooked chick peas
1 tbsp flour
dash of Worcestershire sauce
dash of Maggi seasoning
dash of Tabasco sauce
2 bay leaves
spices: 1/4 tsp each of cumin, paprika powder, and c…

Creamy Baked Pumpkin Risotto with Sage

I adore risotto but sometimes, I shy away from making it because it can be so hands-on. Easy, yes - but you do have to stand there and stir. Risotto’s not a dish you can afford to leave alone for long.

But risotto is also an ultimate comfort food for me, and I decided I wanted to try a pumpkin version so I went looking around for recipes. Then I came across this one - a creamy baked pumpkin risotto.

Could it really be - a practically stir-free risotto that makes itself while sitting in the oven? Turns out that it can - and I’m grateful to RecipeTinEats for putting this recipe out there.

Ingredients (serves 4):
1 1/2 cups arborio rice
600g pumpkin, peeled and deseeded
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
60mL dry white wine
800mL chicken or vegetable stock
50g unsalted butter
2 tablespoons sage leaves, chopped
salt and freshly ground black pepper
dash of olive oil

Crispy Sage and Brown Butter:
15-20 sage leaves
50g butter
pinch of salt

grated parmesan to garnish

1. Pr…

Frozen Yoghurt Berry Bark

Here in the Netherlands, we’ve just lived through week 4 of quarantine. Nationally we like to call it an ‘intelligent lock down’, but that doesn’t change a whole lot - much like elsewhere it means no physical contact. No meeting up with friends, no hand holding, no hugs, no sex. All that can be a tough pill to swallow - video chats may go a long way in terms of social contact, but the sheer absence of physical contact makes me realise how important it is to me - what can’t be replaced by smiles over a screen. I crave hugs. My body misses being touched. But it is what it is - so I try to make the most of it and go for the next best thing. 
If you can’t have sex, have ice cream ;)

150mL condensed milk
250mL Greek yoghurt
300g mixed fruit (I used a mix of blackberries, blueberries and red berries)

Needed: one baking tray. (I used a small one, about 18 x 18cm, because my freezer couldn’t fit anything larger - and I ended up with relatively thick bark. If your freezer is big …

Lamb Meatballs in Tahini (Lamb Siniya) by Amit de Leeuw

When I arrived at work one Friday a few jobs ago, just in time for lunch after a morning meeting in The Hague, I was greeted by a bouncing ball of enthusiasm in the shape of Amit. Amit was my partner in crime when it came to food. Not that food wasn't a common theme at our office; I doubt there was single (non-work related) subject we spent an equal amount of time talking and fantasising about. But Amit and I were particularly good at it. What I loved most was that neither of us felt much constrained by the boundaries of convention. I remember one time when we ate nothing but grapes and (five types of) cheese for lunch - for two days straight, because we’d brought so much we couldn’t finish it all in one sitting.

A few days earlier, Amit had come to work raving about tahini meatballs. That evening, he went home and made them, and he’d made plenty to spare so he brought me some for Friday lunch. Even better, he e-mailed me the recipe so I could make them myself and share it with y…

Roast Beef Baguette with Pickles and Red Onion Relish

Lunch, in the Netherlands, means bread. And most of us Dutchies eat it the way we were raised - open faced, with some ham or cheese and maybe some butter, but very little else. Or for the sweet breakfast version, with apple syrup, butter and chocolate sprinkles, or jam. And while as a Dutchie I’ll be the first to say that all that can be pretty wonderful when the bread is fresh and warm, and the ingredients are good - it’s not exactly exciting. 
But these days, I’ve got some extra time on my hands - which generally means good things as far as food goes. And while I generally wouldn’t really consider sandwiches to be blog-worthy, I was so happy enough with this one that I wanted to share. Ingredients (serves 1): 1 rye wheat parisienne or half baguette 50g cold roast beef (rare) 1 large pickle 2 tbsp mayonnaise 1 tbsp yoghurt 5 cherry tomatoes, sliced handful of lamb's lettuce couple of tablespoons of a sweet onion relish (try my Red Onion Compôte) Instructions: 1. Chop the pickle …

Open-faced Omelette with Arugula

My body craved protein this morning, my soul wanted greens. Why not both, my mind thought. So both it was.

2 eggs
1 tablespoon milk
handful arugula (rocket salad)
1/3 avocado, diced
1 teaspoon lemon juice
olive oil
dash of yellow curry powder
pinch of salt

1. Whisk together the eggs, milk and a pinch of salt.

2. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a small frying pan and add a dash of yellow curry powder, mixing them together. Then add the eggs.

3. Heat over medium heat for a couple of minutes until the bottom is set but the middle is still slightly runny. Flip over and heat for another minute.

4. Mix the arugula and diced avocado and sprinkle with olive oil and lemon juice.

5. Place the omelette on a plate and heap the arugula and avocado on top, in a little heap.

Shakshuka with Acini di Pepe and Merguez Sausage

When I visited the Turkish store yesterday, I was looking for Israeli couscous (also known as pearl couscous). Instead, the shop owner gave me a package of tiny pearl-shaped pasta called acini di pepe. The shopkeeper convinced me that it was just the same, and that this was what his family used when they couldn’t find pearl couscous. That they were pretty much interchangeable. I was sceptical, but decided to trust him - and it turns out he’s pretty much right. They are very, very similar.

The reason I was looking for pearl couscous, is because I had some merguez sausage and wanted to make this recipe from OhMyFoodness. Glad I did :)

Ingredients (serves 2):
100g acini di pepe or Israeli (pearl) couscous
400g chopped tomatoes
1 purple onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tablespoon ras el hanout spices
merguez sausage for 2
handful flat-leafed parsley
2 eggs

1. Boil the acini di pepe or couscous according to the instructions on the package - 10 or so minutes.


Zucchini Soup

I love soup. Especially in wintertime, although in summer I get quite a few soup cravings too. Soup warms the heart but at the same time, it’s easy and light.  What I especially love is that you need so little to make a good one. Sure - you can make soups as complicated as you like. But the same holds for the reverse - take one vegetable, some onion, garlic and bouillon, and you’re practically there.

Zucchini (or courgette) soup isn’t one I would soon have come up with on my own. But then someone made it for me - and sometimes that’s the way it works with cooking. Someone makes you something that triggers an ‘a-ha’, you go home and try it on your own and voila, there’s another recipe to add to the batch. So, too, with this one.

Ingredients (serves 2): 1 large zucchini 1 onion 2 cloves garlic 1/2 teaspoon curry powder
1L chicken stock olive oil optional: dash of cream, salt to taste

1. Chop onion and garlic. Slice the zucchini in half lengthwise, de-seed and chop in mediu…

Blackberry Yoghurt Popsicles

There it was: the first flip-flop day of the year. And flip-flop days, even in quarantine, call for ice cream.

Ice cream it is. The recipe I dreamed up for you was inspired by a late summer day a few years back, when I took a detour on my bike ride to work and ended up passing by endless rows of blackberry shrubs full of ripe berries, ready for the picking. Struck by the rare phenomenon of berry bushes that hadn't been plucked bare, I returned after work that evening with a Tupperware box and set to work. This is what I did with them.

Ingredients (makes 4 popsicles): 1/3 cup water 1/3 cup sugar 2 tsp honey 1 tbsp lemon juice 500g blackberries 1/2 cup yoghurt
Popsicle molds (if you don’t have those, you can use mini paper cups and wooden popsicle sticks)
Instructions: 1. In a saucepan, heat the water and sugar until the sugar is melted, then pour into a bowl and set in the fridge to cool. 
2. Puree the blackberries using a food processor or hand blender. Use a strainer (sieve) to s…

Plum Crumble with Cream

This morning I sat and read behind the window, sun rays warming my skin behind the glass. Like yesterday, the warmth gave me a tinge of nostalgia for Bilbao. Specifically in Bilbao, leaving Uribarri behind you and turning left opposite the Ribera, for a little restaurant around the corner called La Citronella.

La Citronella no longer exists but I as I’ve said before, I loved it. It had pattern-papered walls, others painted bright red, with tiny tables, a small kitchen, fabulous espresso machine, no-nonsense waiter and a different four course brunch menu every day, five days a week. One course always involved eggs - it was, after all, brunch - and the eggs were prepared a different way each day. And there was always a dessert, for what good is a menu without something sweet to send you home happy?

Basking in the spring sun and thinking of La Citronella, I decided to make some comfort food. And with comfort food goes a comfort dessert - light enough for sunny days, but full of rich flav…

Shaved Zucchini Salad with Cilantro Mint Vinaigrette

We hardly realised it, but Izzy & I walked a whopping 18km yesterday. When I got home, I was starved but too tired to stand on my feet. So I opted for a no-cook salad. All you have to do is a tiny bit of chopping, shaving, and you’re done. Oh yeah, and you toast the almonds - but that hardly qualifies as cooking. It’s the perfect under fifteen minute meal, and my body was ever grateful for the veggies.

Ingredients (serves 2): 2 zucchini 2 long sweet marconi peppers 100g goat cheese 150g almonds, skinned and unsalted 1 handful of fresh cilantro leaves 1 handful of fresh mint leaves
Cilantro Mint Vinaigrette:  10g cilantro, finely chopped 10g mint, finely chopped 1 red chili pepper, deseeded and finely chopped juice of 1/2 orange juice of 1 lemon  100mL olive oil pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper
Instructions: 1. Using a vegetable peeler or, if you have one, a mandoline, shave the zucchini in thin strips. Avoid the central seedy cores. 
2. Cut the marconi peppers into di…