Garlic and Puy Lentil Soup with Smoked Paprika and Spicy Greens

There are few flavour combinations that I like so well as garlic and paprika. Married to one another, garlic and paprika have a greater-than-the-sum-of-their-parts appeal, a briny, lingering, and distinctive aroma and flavour that work equally well with seafood and meat, with pulses and with vegetables. I am, of course, immensely fond of Spanish food, which some might say has its foundations in this happy union. Paprika, or pimentón, supposedly was brought to Spain from the Americas by Christopher Columbus, and it has become such an integral part of Spanish food that in Spain, paprika is rigorously regulated for quality, with denominations of origin, like wine and olive oil. When cooking with paprika, invest in high-quality Spanish paprika (it makes such a difference), and keep both sweet and smoked in your cupboard – you’ll use both. Continue reading

Gougères

Okay world, first I have to apologise. I’m really bad at holidays. I forget birthdays. I buy Christmas cards only to discover them in my drawer, untouched, in February. Most of the time I don’t even buy them. I’m okay at Thanksgiving, but that’s mainly because it doesn’t involve quite the same type of advance planning as The Big Winter Holidays. So I’m afraid that I am not going to be your ready source for attractively iced and sprinkled holiday cookies, nor will I be telling you how to make your terrine look like a Christmas tree. (Or a dreidel.)

I do, however, love to throw parties, particularly parties involving lots and lots of food. And alcohol. 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

Basque Roasted Pepper, Garlic, and Tomato Soup

I think everyone in London woke up today thinking, “Cripes, it’s winter.” It was COLD, RAINY, and WINDY. Since it is, in fact, technically still summer, I refused to turn on the heat, even though my flat was freezing and my elderly arthritic cat was looking at me reproachfully. Instead, wearing a hoody over my pajamas and big ridiculous fluffy slippers, I decided to make soup. Continue reading