Pasta with Calamari, Tomato and Caper Sauce

Blogging has turned me into a culinary diurnal vampire. “Huh?” you say. Let me explain: as a food blogger, you realize pretty darned quickly that without natural light your food photos look like … well … crap. This is the case even with a nice SLR camera. It all gets flat and yellow. You know what I’m talking about. It’s when the food looks kind of dessicated and (let’s face it) unappetizing.

I have a single window in my kitchen that faces vaguely north. So, being fairly obsessive-compulsive, I now find myself cooking dinner at 11 a.m. Then I take half a dozen photos of whatever I’ve cooked and I put it away. Or I eat it for lunch. In August I had no idea how grim things could get. Now, by three Continue reading

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

Split Pea Soup

I am jetlagged. Yesterday was my first day in Seattle (I flew in from London Sunday night) and my brain feels like Cheerios. Which means that last night I stared dumbly at the vegetables at the Madison Market for at least five minutes feeling not simply indecisive, but incapable of decision. Picked up some yellow cauliflower (cool looking, but $4.49 a pound. A pound!), put it down. Picked up some white radishes, put them down. Looked at the beets, felt like I was going to cry. When I wandered to the baking aisle I couldn’t deal with all the bags of things. So many packages! All with letters on them, all in a row, so OVERWHELMING. So it was with a feeling of weepy relief that I decided to make split pea soup.* Split pea soup was a staple of my diet 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

Fried Brussels Sprouts with Spiced Lentils and Sumac

It’s been a little while since I’ve done any home cooking posts, for which I apologise. This is because I’ve been whooping it up and dining out in a manner quite unbefitting my modest means. (A good friend flew all the way to London from Oakland, CA to visit; what else could I do?) But, winter comes equally for the grasshopper as for the ant. And so it was I found myself staring into a nearly empty fridge wondering what the hell I could make for dinner. Continue reading

Aioli

I love making mayonnaise. I love the colour, I love the texture, and I especially love the flavour of homemade mayonnaise. Aioli, the rich garlicky mayonnaise from southern France, is particularly delectable. Serve it with fried fish, cold cooked shrimp or crab, or put some on the table when serving roast chicken. Continue reading

Moules Marinières

There are as many recipes for this classic preparation of mussels as there are crotchety fishermen on the Normandy coast. Some people use butter, some use olive oil, some add bay leaves and fresh thyme. On a few things, however, everyone is agreed: the recipe must involve white wine, onion or shallots, parsley, and just a touch of cream. Continue reading

Sweety’s Plantains in Spicy Coconut Sauce

There are certain foods I don’t want to stop eating, no matter how full I am. Plantains are one of those foods.

Plantains are the übermensch of the banana family. Although they can’t be eaten raw (who wants an ingredient that gives everything up on the first date anyway?) plantains are delectable when cooked. Rich, savoury, sweet, and complex, plantains stand up to strong seasonings Continue reading