Malaysian Squid Curry

I went to the Portobello Market today intending to buy a rabbit and some octopus. I was dreaming, vaguely, of Spanish food. I got there too late for the rabbit (damn jetlag!) and lovely Gary of Gary’s Fresh Fish said that octopus is too expensive right now for him to sell it at the prices he likes. But staring at me balefully from Gary’s bins were some giant – I mean massive – cephalopods. Continue reading

Spicy Black Bean, Coconut and Lime Soup

“Another soup?” I hear you gripe. “Didn’t Susan just make a soup?” To which I say, (a) yes, but (b) this soup is delicious! Also, (c) (cue plaintive voice) I’m jetlagged again, and (d) this month’s sweet heat challenge is SPICY SOUP! Continue reading

Aubergine, Slow-Roasted Tomato, and Chickpea Tagine

I regard the aubergine – that great, glossy, globelike sex organ of the nightshade – with something akin to worship. I didn’t always feel this way, however. Growing up in pre-culinary revolution New York, I only ever encountered the aubergine in eggplant parmigiana, in Bronx Italian restaurants. There, sliced thin, breaded, fried, and concealed under masses of garlicky tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese, the aubergine was flabby and insipid. Why order it when you could have pasta? Or clams casino? But the aubergine crept up on me. I first comprehended the Power of the Aubergine Continue reading

Plantains in Spicy Ginger-Tomato Sauce

For the past three days, I have been in a quandary hated by food bloggers the world over. It’s called, “Goddammit, No Good Pictures.” I made this delicious plantain dish on Friday as part of my austerity regimen* and since then have been wrestling with the fact that thanks to the hideous fluorescent lighting in my kitchen, every photo I took was utter shite. After three consecutive nights of relishing the leftovers, however Continue reading

Tamarind, Chile, and Ginger Marinade

I would like to talk about the holy trinity. No, I don’t mean leeks, carrots and celery. The holy trinity I’m talking about is tamarind, chile, and ginger. In fact, I think there is no more blessed union, or, if you prefer, no hotter ménage á trois. The marinade (really, a wet rub) I made using these ingredients as a base literally cannot be improved upon. It is rich, complicated, savory, tangy, and spicy. In short, it is freaking AWESOME. Continue reading

Spiced Red Lentil and Ginger Soup

I feel über-glamorous! I have received my FIRST REQUEST FOR A RECIPE! Admittedly, it is from one of my oldest and dearest friends, so it’s sort of like your mom reading your blog (except my mom wouldn’t, because she is confused by the internet) and suggesting you post that recipe for matzo ball soup. (I am, in fact, going to post a recipe for matzo ball soup soon.)

Anyway, Cecillia asked for a vegetarian lentil soup. I have a wretched cold so today’s soup is hearty and packed with ginger and spice. Continue reading

Jess’s Spicy-Sweet Roasted Tomato Sauce

In my opinion, most great cooking begins organically. (I do mean that literally as well as figuratively.) Yesterday, whilst walking down Wilton Road from Sainsbury’s back to Jess’s flat in the sparkling autumnal sunshine (it is August, people!), Jess suddenly gestured to her right towards a Turkish restaurant and said, “That place makes the most amazing tomato sauce.” And thus was born the idea to make a sweet tomato sauce to accompany our Caribbean meal. Continue reading