Monday, 26 January 2009

Cocktail time

I don't know why but drinks just seem to taste better from a cocktail glass, and there is something about the glass itself that makes me want to sip more slowly. Cocktails don't have to have alcohol - or even many calories! Pour some of your favourite flavoured water into a glass and spritz it up with something interesting, a dash of lime, a pinch of spice, a drop of tabasco, a mint leaf. Add ice if liked. Now sip with an air of refined elegance.

Monday, 19 January 2009


Tagine is one of those dishes to be avoided in restaurants. Browned lamb - honey on top - well, you get the idea. But the delicious flavour can be recreated at home in a CR-friendly fashion. I used Quorn chunks, though it would work well with chicken, turkey or a firm vegetable that won't disintegrate if simmered. Put enough of your main ingredient for four people in a pan. (I leave these quantities up to you) Add an onion and three cloves of garlic, finely chopped. Add a pinch of saffron, a knob of root ginger peeled and finely grated, a tablespoon of tomato puree, 1 teaspoon ground cumin seeds, half a teaspoon ground coriander seed, and half a cinnamon stick. For sweetness I use dried apricots (a good source of Vitamin E iron and potassium). Add as many or as few as you wish, but first cut them up with scissors into raisin size pieces, so they will plump up well as they cook. Add some low-salt or salt free seasoning and some freshly ground pepper. Pour on some water - enough to allow that it will have to simmer for half an hour. Bring gently to a boil and cook slowly for 30 minutes, during which time the aromas will perfume your kitchen. Serve with a green vegetable or leafy salad on the side.

Sunday, 4 January 2009

Spicy new year

Happy 2009 to everyone! I have the usual resolutions, of course. May we all achieve what we have set out to do. Here is a nice warming spice mix for the cold weather. 1 clove garlic, finely grated, 1 small piece root ginger finely grated, zest 1 lemon finely grated, (I use a microplane grater which does a really good job) small handful of coriander (cilantro) chopped, half to 1 tespoon harissa - I used the Sainsburys harissa rose rub which is a dry mix without oil. Mix well, and loosen with a little water or lemon juice if needed. Spread over fish fillets or whatever you like before steaming or microwaving.
I love ginger tea and find the soft pulp created by the microplane gives the best result, just add hot water and a little sweetener.