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Everyone knows that the flavour of licorice is a love-hate thing. Personally I’m not a hater but I still struggle with how to use fennel sometimes. That aniseed flavour might go well with all sorts of meat and fish but it can overpower other vegetables quite easily. So I end up using it with onions as a base to stocks and soups and curries but I know I’m not doing it justice.

And that’s where braising comes in! The slow, moist cooking technique brings out the sweetness of fennel and mellows the punch of its licorice flavours. Add a dash of cream and cheese at the end and you even get a bubbling crisp topping too – all of a sudden fennel goes with anything because it’s so subtle and delicious, mmm…

fennel (more…)

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Is this a problem other people have? Possibly not, cause I’m a bit weird and I don’t really eat much bread so I don’t eat much toast and jam. But I’ve gotten really into making preserves over the past couple years so I end up with jars and jars of the stuff. Of course I give most of it away to friends, but you feel like you ought to keep one jar of each variety you make and even that ends up being loads more than I’ll ever eat. So here I am about to move house and trying to clear out the fridge – there are jars and jars of condiments that I refuse to throw away because I really love my condiments ok? So I decided to find some tasty recipes to finish off all those jars of jam instead!

bakewell tart
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Doesn’t this curly kale look beautiful? If only we judged vegetables by their looks sometimes. Not that I would’ve been up for eating this a few years ago, no matter how pretty it is. But now I’ve learned to stop worrying and love the greens. Black kale (cavolo nero) has definitely been in my top five vegetables for a few years now. What, you don’t have a top five vegetables list? Oh well, maybe one day there will be more of us in the vegetable geek club. In the meantime, here are some of the recipes that made me change my mind about greens..

kale
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No butternut squash risotto allowed! Sorry, I don’t hate risotto but am I the only one who’s noticed that this is the ‘go to’ dish for any chef who needs a vegetarian option for their menu?? I don’t mind if I only get one option at a restaurant or pub but I’d love it if that option was just a little bit more creative please. Anyway! Here are a few different recipes for these very versatile vegetables…

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Back in the autumn I was given quite a few kilos of pears, from a tree no one else was harvesting. I hate the thought of all those other pears rotting on the ground and I was determined to put mine to good use. If you’ve got a few pears, of course you can just eat them as they are, but when you’ve got a few bags of pears you need some more creative solutions…

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Broccoli has always been one of my favourite veggies. Before I got my vegetables via a box scheme delivery service (like an American CSA), I would buy it religiously every week. And then I didn’t eat any for ages – I guess I got a bit distracted by all the other vegetables I was discovering and I just forgot about good ole broccoli. But these are the recipes that remind me why I will always go back to where my love for vegetables began…

broccoli

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Answer: Definitely not throw it away! I am not a massive fan of Christmas pudding so I knew I wouldn’t eat any more of it. So I tried a couple recipes and I think I found a winner for using up the leftover pudding, or whatever dried fruit and nuts you’ve got in your cupboards…

christmas pudding biscotti (more…)

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