Tuesday, May 24, 2011

choice of fat, bit of a rant (sorry about that)

I like butter. Do not misunderstand me. Toast, pastry, crumbles, pancakes. YES.

But I am a Mediterranean girl at heart. I live with/for olive oil.

At the moment one of the people I live with cooks everything with butter. The assumption seems to be that if it tastes good, it is therefore evil, bingeworthy and made with butter. I caramelised some onions for a barbeque - for which I made those salads in the last post - and butterer was impressed and asked how I did it: just with butter?

NAY!!!! Go the evoo!

Onions, potatoes, pumpkin, rosemary, roast garlic, leeks, chicken, oogggggmmm ogm uhgrnm. (this is a throatier --> more realistic version of om nom nom)
What got me started on this today was my appreciation of salad dressing with decent vinegar and good oil. (Which happens to be imported from Italy. This I would not buy, but said butter-lover does not seem to have food miles or food ethics of any kind, really, on the radar. Coles tinned tomatoes from Italy, mineral water and olive oil from Italy, it pains me on my moral highchair. But Italian balsamic-olive oil blend tastes better than the nail-polish remover Coles white wine vinegar!) And sourdough dipped in evoo, like they give you complimentary at Tutto Bene.

So, darling reader, you sexy thing (did you love the Doctor calling the Tardis lady Sexy or what!!???), this is what I plan to cook tonight.

Chicken thighs (found in fridge, highly ethically dubious, but I want to use them before they have a chance to be extremely old, cooked and left on the stove for 24 hours, and fed to us with butter) WITH
chestnuts, olive oil, potatoes, rosemary and garlic (whole cloves) chucked in the oven and roasted. Salt and pepper, bien sur. May have to cover at some point to keep moist.
And leafy green salad. Possibly with some warmed bread on the side to mop up any juices.

Get some free-range (organic, I dare you) chicken and do the same. Tomorrow if not today.

PS. Do I use too many brackets in my blogwriting? What do you think?

Saturday, May 21, 2011

last of the summer barbeques.. well autumn really.

Potato, lemon and green olive.
These salads took me ages a few weeks ago. The beetroot one was popular.
That mush is actually delicious couscous with figs, grapes, almonds... and stuff.
Tabbouleh :)

farewell summer?

Avocadoes are getting more expensive. And tomatoes are going out of season.

And as Clotilde says, the world doesn't really need another hommus recipe. But it's the internet. So you're getting one.

chickpeas! - dried. half a 375g bag (or 190g). soak for a while, all day or night.
bay leaf
onion, cut in half
COOK THE CHICKPEAS IN WATER WITH THE BAY LEAF AND ONION. tastes so much better than canned chickpeas.
then after a bjillion years (or a couple of hours) put the chickpeas in a food processor with a little bit of the cooking water. if you are like me, and you decide to cook chickpeas at 11pm, and then finish it in the morning, even better (the seasonings need adjusting when it's cooled) - just refrigerate the chickpeas and their water. together. in the pot you cooked them in. no need to dirty another pot.

so chickpeas and a few tablespoons of cooking water in the food processor WITH:
3+ cloves of garlic
cumin, ground - 1-2 tsp
couple of tablespoons tahini
juice of lemon - 1 lemon's worth, depending on size
salt (~1 tsp)
olive oil - you know, some. 1 - 3 tbsp? and drizzle some on top when you serve the hommus in a nice dish, because it deserves it. you can sprinkle some paprika on too if you want.

This is quite similar to Clotilde's recipe, but I stole it from Matthew Evans in the Good Weekend 'anyone can cook...' section before it became 'the weekend cook' and then ceased to exist, which was a shame because it was a real highlight. he wrote the nicest little blurbs. Then I made the recipe a few times, lost the recipe, and kept making it. So it's a bit more approximate than the original. Sometimes if you put the salt and the oil and the lemon juice and tahini all on top of each other it turns BLUE, which is insane. but that goes away.

You'll need to taste and adjust the seasonings when it's cooled. Most importantly, enjoy, and don't forget it's in the fridge, especially if you are the resident dip obsessee in your house and everyone else just doesn't think of eating it.

Nom, as they say these days.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

great minds...


Deb from Smitten Kitchen made an asparagus salad a lot like my zucchini salad, in principle and appearance, I think. Check it out.

I've got some stuff to come on a few salads, and hoummous, or hummus, or hommous, or hvmmvs. Isn't it weird how other languages have such a variety of spellings? and yet in English .. well, there's also a variety, but we tend to want to spell it the way we learned at school. It will always be colour, for me, and favourite, and don't try telling me the U is unnecessary. That's how I write down my national identity. And English is a mish mash of languages so its rules are stuffed anyway.