Foraging and Cooking with Wild Garlic

Last week a new friend of mine, Nicola (a brilliant cook and blogger in her own right), crowed on Twitter about a recent discovery: she’d found loads of wild garlic at a Secret Location. I immediately demanded to be taken to the spot. She agreed, but not before exacting a “wild garlic tax” (some of my orange-blossom-saffron-vanilla macarons). It was an easy trade. I adore wild garlic. Wild garlic, also known as ramps, wild leek, and wood leek, grows in cool damp woody areas. Its colour is strikingly chlorophyll green and it’s got a sharp allium flavour and intense aroma. It’s gorgeous stuff. Monday, the appointed day, was cool and very wet. Nicola picked me up from an Overground station, her sweet and excitable dog, Toro, in the back of the car, and drove us to the Secret Location, a lovely wooded path Somewhere In London. Continue reading

Winter Fava Bean and Fennel Salad

On Tuesday I finally had a long-planned lunch date with the lovely Sabrina Ghayour in  Brixton Village. Initially conceived as an outing for an Honest Burger (really good burgers are hard to come by in London), it morphed into a four-hour movable feast (hashtag: #Brixtonfoodcrawl). After a tasty lamb samosa at Elephant and a burger so blessedly rare it was practically mooing, somewhere in between sourdough donuts at Wild Caper and mussels at Etta’s Seafood Kitchen (a chilled out Caribbean café a far cry from the Tom Douglas eatery of the same name in Seattle), what did I do? I shopped of course. For food, naturally. Continue reading

Tomato-Garlic-Anchovy Sauce: A Sauce for Fish

This recipe post was originally intended to be about what I made for lunch. But the sauce I made was so delicious (really!) that I decided it deserved its very own entry, lest it be lost and forgotten with the fried sardines. It’s actually a wonderfully versatile sauce, and although it’s particularly nice with oily dark fish, like sardines, herring, or mackerel, I imagine it would also be lovely served, say, as an accompaniment to grilled shrimp, or even with more delicate fish like cod or sole (perhaps for dinner, with some boiled new potatoes). You could even put it on bruschetta and serve it on its own. Continue reading

Fried Sardines with Tomato-Garlic-Anchovy Sauce and Arugula

The exciting new development in my life, and the reason why I haven’t been blogging this week, is that I’ve moved. In every way this is a good thing. I’ve got a whole new part of London to explore, this flat feels mine in a way that my previous flat never did (even though I’ve only unpacked half my stuff and I lived in the other flat for two years), and it gets tons of light all day long. While delightful generally, from the perspective of my food blog this is FANTASTIC, as it means that I’ve got wonderful natural light to play with when photographing the things I cook. And let’s face it. On the internet, at least, we eat with our eyes, and fluorescent lighting doesn’t do food any favours. The bad news is that my budget is even more constrained, which probably means much less dining out and more home cooking. But I love to cook, and this hopefully will inspire me to be creative in cooking delicious food for relatively little money.

Which brings me to sardines. 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

Fried Smelt

In the Rue Montorgeuil, in Paris, is a fishmonger who’s got my number. Not literally! (Not yet, anyway.) He knows I can’t resist nice seafood – and, more than that, he knows I eat everything. Yesterday, as I was walking past, he beckoned me over. It was a hot day and most of the seafood was covered or in boxes. He lifted the lid of a Styrofoam box like he was unveiling a great secret. Inside were beautiful little bright silvery fish, 10 euros a kilo! In French, éperlan. In English, SMELT! Continue reading

Lemon Crème Fraiche Pound Cake

As my lovely friend and pastry chef extraordinaire Kathleen says, and as all good home bakers know, all sweets are formulas. Desserts are pure food science, which is what makes them so fun and so maddening.

One of my favourite formulas is the pound cake. In its purest form, a pound cake is a pound of eggs, a pound of butter, a pound of flour and a pound of sugar. I’ve never actually made a classic pound cake, although I love its OCD wacky precision. But a bastardised version of a pound cake is my go-to recipe Continue reading