Apologies for the large gap between blog posts recently. I’m hoping things will settle down to greater regularity in the near future. In the meantime, though, as very meagre compensation, here is something that is not a real recipe but more of a suggestion for how to eat the season’s figs for breakfast. This bowlful looks lusciously like something you might be served at a fancy restaurant for brunch, and I did actually have one of those moments when I sat down with it for breakfast the other day and thought ‘instagram this and everyone will ridicule you’. But in the spirit of not giving a damn, here’s how: put some thick Greek yoghurt (not low fat) in a sieve lined with muslin or a clean J-cloth, and suspend it over a bowl in the fridge overnight to drain. You’ll be left with labneh, a thick cream cheese. Spoon some of this into a bowl. Quarter some figs and roast them for 15-20 minutes in the oven with a drizzle of honey. Spoon the figs and their juices onto the labneh. Sprinkle with a few lemon thyme, lemon verbena or basil leaves (or any of your favourite herbs, really), a drizzle of pomegranate molasses or date syrup (or a little more honey) and a handful of toasted pistachio nuts, walnuts or almonds. Eat with warm flatbread or pitta. It’s a touch of Middle Eastern sunshine to brighten up the darkening days of autumn.Read More
Sometimes people ask me why I love to travel. By ‘people’ I mean my mother, and by ‘sometimes’ I mean while I’m in the process of stuffing my 65 litre backpack into the freezer so all the Burmese bedbugs it contains can shuffle off this mortal coil amidst tubs of ice cream and frozen peas, or while I’m approaching my eleventh hour sleeping under a foil blanket on the floor of Stansted Airport waiting to be allowed to leave because a kind gentleman on my flight home mentioned that he’d put a bomb in the hold of the aircraft and apparently the police have to look into things like this, and it takes rather a lot of time. Time that trickles onwards in slow, sluggish gulps as you try and make the gratification from a crustless white bread sandwich endure for the entire night, and become far better acquainted with the minutiae of a Ryanair boarding gate than you ever thought possible, or desirable.Read More
How do you go about making a home?
Recently, I’ve been thinking a lot about the gradual process by which a place shrugs off its aura of newness and unfamiliarity and starts to become home. The repetitive performance of micro-rituals that, step by step, wear down the strangeness of a place and cosset it in the comforting blanket of domesticity and belonging. When do you stop being a tourist and start becoming a citizen? When does house become home? How do you stop staying in a place and start living there?Read More
1. One pumpkin, so many meals. My boyfriend has started to despair of my ongoing pumpkin obsession. I currently have at least five in a basket in my kitchen at any one time, and buy a gorgeous slate blue Crown Prince every time I go to the market. This is no mean feat, as they weigh about three kilos. But it’s worth it for the luscious bright marigold flesh, with the texture of delicate fudge and a deep autumnal flavour. I’ve discovered that a single one of these pumpkins can be transformed into about eight different meals, which is pretty budget-friendly considering they cost £1.20 at my local market. I also grew my own pumpkin this year (top left) - a proud moment. Here are just some of the recipes I’ve enjoyed with pumpkin over the last two months – catch them while they’re still in the markets and have a go yourself.Read More
I think it’s time to stop listening to ‘accepted’ kitchen wisdom. I first embarked upon this strand of culinary anarchy about four years ago, when I decided to take the dramatic - and, by all accounts, wholly inadvisable - step of baking a strawberry. Inspired by a berry upside-down cake I ate at a market in Prague, I whipped up a plain cake batter, lined a tin, and scattered handfuls of berries over the bottom with reckless abandon. Amongst their number was the controversial strawberry: hitherto I’d been warned by many a cookbook that strawberries are emphatically not a cooking fruit; they are simply too watery and will ruin whatever you dare to throw them into, bleeding like fresh corpses into your cake and polluting your puddings. The resulting dessert was a triumph, the cake crumb lightly flavoured by the intense sweetness of the berries, and I’ve been exercising my rebellious streak ever since.Read More