Wild Garlic, Priceless Neighbours & TM5

IMG_0851I met my new neighbour two doors down just before he moved in.  It transpired this is his second home.  He and his wife have a house in Leicestershire too.  In the course of conversation he mentioned they had an acre of land covered in wild garlic.  I remember reading about wild garlic making a delicious pesto and told him so.  He offered to bring some the next time he came down.

When he texted to say he was coming down the next weekend I was in despair. I wasn’t going to be around!  Luckily, I had left my Thermomix with my immediate neighbour to play with in my absence.  This is a tale of why good neighbours and Thermomix are priceless: Continue reading

RED BEAN BUN TALE

The ‘tring’ of a bicycle bell always reminds me of the Bread Man of my Singapore childhood. A wrinkly but ageless Chinese man with a wide, gentle smile that reflected a very kind soul.

The tea chest attached to the back of his bicycle was a treasure trove of baked delights. Crusty baguettes we called elbow bread with his home made kaya (local coconut curd) was a tea time combination made in heaven. Sweet, fluffy brioche and a white bread that was crust off and cloud soft are delicious memories. The treat of all treats for me were his red bean buns sold in batches of nine. Continue reading

BLANCHING SIMPLIFIED

I created this salad whilst practising the process of blanching vegetables taught to me by fishmonger Nic Rascle  during a photoshoot at his shop La Petite Poissonnerie in Primrose Hill.  He had a huge pot of water boiling and another full of ice and water to stop asparagus cooking beyond 45 seconds.  Precision is everything for the perfect emerald green preservation of colour and crunch. Dunk, time, scoop, plunge.  It takes concentration, coordination and agility to get the veg out in time. It can be a bit like a stressful lucky dip trying to grab all the beans out at once! Continue reading

Clarification on Ghee

Sunday morning.  8 am.  Still in bed. I start to focus properly on the lunch I am to cook for friends arriving at 1 pm.  I had got very organised the night before and made chocolate cake for one guest whose birthday it was. That was going to be dessert with the addition of fresh berries and a dollop of cream and salted caramel sauce with a hint of cardamon. My lamb for minty lamb curry was marinating in the fridge and just have to make my leeks with split yellow peas, a chopped salad and steam rice in the simmering basket of the TM5. I plan to make the starter of creamy courgette soup with my guests on their arrival. The addition of freshly roasted and pounded cumin seeds gives that soup a lovely Indian flavour. All good till I realise I have no ghee and the lamb takes an hour to cook in ghee and it’s a Sunday morning so no shops till at least 11 am! Continue reading