The veggie garden is looking a little sad at this stage in the year. Just a few scraggly kale plants, as-yet-unformed purple sprouting broccoli – but we still have some leeks, when we remember to cook them! We’ve recently been having a cold snap so I’ve been making lots of soups and, one day when I happened to remember that we still had to use up the leeks in the garden and actually had some potatoes in the house, I made a version of Clothilde’s minimalist Leek and Potato Soup, which she in turn had adapted from Sophie Brissaud‘s recipe. As I was just after a stock-making session, I used chicken stock as well as water in the soup for more depth of flavour, and finished it off with dollops of ever-present yoghurt. This is very much an approximation of the recipe – I just didn’t want to get out the weighing scales!
Tagged: natural yoghurt
Sunday was family dinner day. One of the advantages of living in the countryside in North Cork is getting to spend more time with my family – and getting to try out lots of new recipes on them! This time round I decided to go with something very simple – Roast Chicken with Garlic and Lemon. “That doesn’t sound like you at all,” the Little Sister said suspiciously when I was talking to her on the phone that morning. “What’s the catch?” The last time she was around we were talking about serving her rabbit from the back garden so her reserve wasn’t entirely unwarranted, although unnecessary on this occasion. A good chicken needs no disguising. I just pushed some lemon thyme under the skin on the breast, tucked a few cloves of garlic and half a lemon inside the cavity and landed it in the oven, serving it with roasted carrots and peppers (livened up with a few chillies) and potatoes. There was supposed to be a side dish of Buttered Leeks as well – our leeks, grown from a bundle of seedlings that a friendly neighbour left on the doorstep last summer, flourished in the garden all winter – but, between breakfast in bed and flat tyres we forgot to pull them.
Our last Bibliofemme bookclub – for The Rum Diaries by Hunter S Thompson – was held at my flat on a rapidly-darkening autumn evening. The previous evening had been cold and dreary as I walked home from my webmaster course so I decided to start a soup, leave it sit overnight, and then finish it off as the girls arrived. I’d recently come across a Julie Le Clerk‘s version of Harira in an old copy of Cuisine so this was a good opportunity to try it out. I had made a meatless version of this last year in Christchurch but this time I was going to make a meal in a bowl, stuffed with lamb, lentils, chickpeas and, after a look at Claudia Roden’s version of the fast-breaking soup, haricot beans.
On Friday night two friends were arriving in from Cambridge in time for a late supper. They didn’t arrive until after 9pm, fortunately, as the previous night at Mackerel and an after-work engagement party ensured that I didn’t get home until around half seven. Walking home from town I nipped into Spiceland to pick up some pita breads and a tin of dolmades (rice stuffed vine leaves) and together with a few house basics – potatoes, carrots, chorizo, eggs – decided on a simple tapas-style meal with a Mediterranean flavour.
Ingredient experiments – Pomegranate molasses: Bulgur and Cauliflower Salad with Pomegranate Molasses Dressing
When out shopping – especially in ethnic food shops – I’m a demon for picking up new and unusual ingredients that I’ve no idea how to use. I just see something in Dublin’s Asian Market, say, or – very especially – Middle Eastern shop Spiceland that looks interesting and, before I know it, it’s in my basket and I’m thinking: “didn’t I see a recipe for that somewhere recently?” Hence my food cupboards are filled with lots of things that keep getting pushed to the back and never used.
My friend the Film Critic had a birthday last week and so I took it into my head, late on Tuesday night, to make him a birthday cake. Wanting something simple – and that I already had the ingredients for in the house – I decided on a straightforward Gâteau au Yaourt, which seems to be a French national dish. I first came across this cake on Clotilde’s Chocolate & Zucchini blog and, subsequently, it also cropped up in Christelle Le Ru’s Simply Irresistible French Desserts and also as a Frenchwoman’s contribution to the Moneystown school’s charity cookbook. It was evidentially time to try it out.