Month: December, 2014

A Whiter Shade of Pale

It’s amazing how sometimes when you look in the fridge, it may seem like there is nothing and yet that is the exact time you will put that nothing together to make something you want to make over and over again. Today the fridge held some brussel sprouts, a cauliflower and a forgotten fennel bulb. This ended up being this rather pale but rather delicious salad. It matched the grey concrete sky out the window and also meant that I could play this while I cooked.

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A Whiter Shade of Pale Winter Salad

Brussel sprouts, woody end removed
1 cauliflower broken into florets
1 fennel bulb roughly chopped
2 tbsp cumin
Big pinch of flakey sea salt
Juice of half a lemon
2 spring onions
Big, generous handful of fresh coriander and Italian parsley
1/2 cup quinoa
Some garlicky hummus to garnish

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Heat your oven to 200°C while you prepare the brussel sprouts, cauliflower and fennel. Scatter in a roasting dish with plenty of olive oil and the ground cumin. These should take about half an hour to cook, you want them to still have a bite, but the fennel will have started to get lovely and sweet. You can cook your quinoa while the vegetables are roasting (half a cup of quinoa to a cup of cold water. Bring to the boil and then simmer until all the water is absorbed). When you pull the vegetables out of the oven, squeeze over the lemon juice and add a generous amount of salt. This will smell delicious and nothing like over boiled, sulphury brussel sprouts from school lunches in England (especially that time when you sat in Alex’s brussel sprouts with mince and mashed potatoes that you then carried round on the back of your school skirt for the afternoon). Mix this in with the quinoa, finely sliced spring onions and the herbs. Although it doesn’t add any colour, garnishing with some hummus really completes the sweetness of the fennel, the earthy flavours of the cauliflower and sprouts, the fresh herbs, nutty quinoa and the spicy cumin.

Perfect to serve hot with lamb and pita breads, or to put in a container to take for a work lunch when your work has no microwave.

Happy grey day x

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Thanksgiving

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On Thursday we celebrated our first Thanksgiving with some good friends, wine and plenty of food. The smallest turkey we could find was almost 8kg, so we cut it down the middle and just cooked half of it. I had never cooked a turkey before, just watched my mother do at least one killer turkey every Christmas, but was rather happy with how it turned out. I roughly cut carrot, celery, onion and halved three satsumas to cover the base of my roasting dish. I lay the turkey on top, put generous amounts of butter, orange zest, rosemary and thyme under the skin, and then wrapped it with bacon. This meant it was succulent and tasty. No dry turkey breast in sight.

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I served it with gravy made from the almost disappeared vegetables from the base of the roasting dish, cranberry sauce, sweet potato, carrot, leek, beetroot and red onion roasted in honey and thyme, crispy roast potatoes, brussel sprouts fried with bacon, a cauliflower and pomegranate dish and stuffing balls. These were made with roasted chestnuts, herbs, bread crumbs, pork mince, bacon and an egg to bind. I want to eat stuffing balls every day of my life.

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We had prosecco, mulled wine and red wine. Apple pie, pumpkin pie, home made gelato and a persimmon and pomegranate fruit salad. And it was glorious.

Bring on Christmas!